What if You Have to Walk Out of the City in an Emergency?

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This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com If you live or work in the big city there is always a chance you may have to walk out in an emergency.   This is not something that I hope ever happens; trust me, walking out of a sprawling metropolis does not appear anywhere on my wish list.  However, we know that the possibility exists that even in the most developed cities, transportation systems can be disrupted at any time. Besides knowing how […]

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Grand Canyon Survival Story: Student Stayed Alive. Could You?

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On March 12, 2017, Amber Van Hecke ran out of gas in the Havasupai Reservation while leaving the southern rim of the Grand Canyon. The twenty-four year old college student was there hiking for spring break when her vacation turned deadly. Thanks to her own resourcefulness and preparedness, she lived to tell the tale.

So, what can we learn from Amber’s experience? We found 8 survival lessons to learn from her adventure, and we’ll take them one by one in the following article.

When Hiking Goes Bad

First, I’ll bring you up to speed on what happened, then we’ll get to that part.

Video first seen on ABC News.

Amber’s problem started when she plugged Havasu Falls Trail Head into Google Maps and followed the directions, just like the rest of us probably would. She only had 70 miles of fuel left until empty, not counting the reserves (so she thought) in her tank and decided to roll the dice because, according to Maps, it was only a 40-mile drive to the next main road.

She took a right turn when it told her to, even though her gut told her that it was too early. She found herself on what she calls a “ratchet dirt road” and followed it for 35 miles before her GPS told her to take a right onto a road that didn’t exist. Being a person fairly experienced with backroads, and considering the horrible road she was already on, she thought that maybe part of the road had eroded, so she took the turn, hoping to run into the remaining section of the road shortly.

Instead of finding a road, she ran straight into a fence. Amber admits she panicked a bit and drove around trying to find the road when she should have just stayed put. By then it was getting dark and she was down to zero miles to empty, and her reserves were empty, too. She found the nearest man-made structure and decided to wait til morning to decide what to do.

She certainly didn’t lack creativity or motivation, and she had food and water because she was planning a hike. She actually had extra, as any good prepper or trail-savvy person does.

This is when her 5-day period of waiting began. She had no cell signal, so she made an SOS sign from rocks that were about 4’x10’. That didn’t work, so she spelled out “HELP,” again using rocks, but this time she went big – her letters were 20-30 feet tall. She tried getting help using a signal fire, but because she was stuck in an extremely dry area, the wood burned too clean to create smoke.

3 Second SEAL Test Will Tell You If You’ll Survive A SHTF Situation

After a truck drove right by her before she could flag him down, she barricaded the road (which was brilliant, actually, just in case). She had a flashing headlamp in her truck that she turned on at night, to no avail. Finally, after 5 days, she decided to take matters into her own hands and took off walking in an attempt to find a cell signal. Fortunately, she didn’t kill the battery in her car, so she was able to charge her phone.

She was smart about it, though. She left a detailed note with her vehicle, and she marked her trail. It said: “I started following the road EAST to see if I can get a cellphone signal. I am marking my way with white sports tape. If you read this, please come help me!”

After she’d walked 11 miles east of her vehicle and tried a whopping 76 times to get a call out she did manage to find a weak signal and contacted the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office. Her call dropped 49 seconds into the call and she couldn’t get another call out, so she just had to hope that they’d managed to locate her before the call dropped.

She walked almost all the way back to her car, but the helicopter did find her after searching with the limited information that they had. They spotted the glint off of her car and the help sign that she’d made. They also found her note and followed the direction that she said she’d gone in order to find her, and they succeeded.

Because she’d had a stockpile of water and food, she was in good shape when they found her. She rationed it because she didn’t know how long it would take, and she made ramen noodles on her dashboard.

8 Survival Lessons to Learn from Amber’s Story

With little to no injury, Amber survived because she was prepared and knew what to do in an emergency. Did she make mistakes? Yes, but don’t we all?

Just for those of you who need to know it:

Stranded with no way out =/= camping regardless of how well I prepared with my supplies.
I had a compass and I am fantastic at reading maps but I made the mistake of not bringing one this time.
Almost everyone has run out of gas at some point, mine just happened to be supremely inconvenient.
It was not a matter of simply turning around since I wasn’t aware how to get out and I was legitimately lost.

So, yes, I made silly mistakes. However, I also maintained composure when I found myself in an unfortunate situation…

Amber Van Hecke Facebook Page

Let’s look at what we can learn from her experience.

Don’t Depend Solely on Technology

Her gut told her she was turning too soon, and had she heeded that instead of doing what many of us are trained to do – trust that technology knows more than we do – she may have found her way and her story wouldn’t have been more than another leg of her travel plans.

Don’t Cut it Close on Fuel

Only having 70 miles left in your tank is just fine if you’re tooling around town or heading between one major town and another, where there are many opportunities to refuel. However, the US – especially the US West – still has many roads where there are at least 70 miles between gas stations.

As a woman who rides a bike, I have a standing rule – never turn down the opportunity to pee or get gas. It’s a good policy to follow, especially when you’re in a remote area.

Stock That Vehicle Bag

Let’s see … what did she use that many people wouldn’t have necessarily had in their vehicles? A flashing headlamp. The materials to make a fire. White sports tape. Oh yeah, she had books that kept her occupied. Pen and paper. Food and water. A mobile cellphone charger.

Did they all work? No, but she had options and tools, and some of them – the charger, the food and water, and the pen and paper saved her life. Any one of them could have worked had the right person flown over or driven by at the right time.

Don’t Risk Getting Lost

She makes a comment at one point in an interview that she got bored and tooted her horn to make the coyotes leave the prairie dogs alone. What if she’d panicked and taken off walking in the dark? What if she’d made a wrong turn on her way back to her vehicle after she made the call because she didn’t mark her trail?

She did everything right when it came to this part of her experience. She stayed where she had shelter – there wasn’t anybody there to honk the horn to keep the coyotes off HER – and she marked her trail when she did leave so that she could find her way back.

Pack Energy Dense Food

She purportedly had sunflower seeds and an apple left when they found her. Those are foods that are high in sustained energy – the apple because it has fiber that slows down the digestion process, and the seeds because they have both fiber to slow down the processing of the sugar, and fat that your body will use after it uses the sugar.

Packing food isn’t enough – pack the RIGHT foods.

Be Proactive

Nobody wants you to get saved more than you do. She communicated: she made signs, she built a signal fire, and, when none of that worked, she got tired of waiting and took her fate into her own hands and decided to walk til she was able to help people help her. Don’t just sit around waiting for the cavalry when they may not even know you’re missing.

However, don’t screw up your chances by not communicating – in this case, had she not left the note, the rescuers may have missed her.

Keep Your Vehicle in Good Repair

Yes, she ran out of gas, but the rest of her car was in good repair and ready for a trip. Had her battery failed, she may still be sitting there, out of water and out of hope.

Don’t Panic

Yes, I realize that it’s easier said than done, but she admitted that she ran the last of her gas out because she panicked. Would it have made much difference in her case? Probably not. But what if it was the middle of winter, when temperatures can drop to the single digits in the desert? What if she’d been in Maine or North Dakota instead of in Arizona?

By panicking, she didn’t just run out her source of transportation, she exhausted a major heat source, too. True, she could have started a campfire, but that would have left her to the animals, that likely didn’t have granola bars, seeds, and apples stocked back. Keep your head and think before you act.

Amber survived this situation because she was prepared. Of course, she also got herself into it because, when it came to fuel, she made a mistake and went in unprepared. Her story offers dual lessons of what to do and what not to do. Thankfully, she did way more right than she did wrong, and that – along with a bit of luck – ensured that she lived to tell the tale!

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This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.

References:

University Of North Texas Student Survives For Five Days Stranded In Grand Canyon

Many Preppers Fail to Do this One Thing

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This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com A lot of people are paying attention to prepping.  We’re even seeing articles in the mainstream media that more and more “regular” people are getting involved.  I’m glad about that. But after a recent visit forums and review boards, I know there is one step that’s not being done.  People get all excited about getting gear for emergencies, maybe even do a ton of research before purchasing.  Then they stash it away.  They […]

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Why I Keep Two Knives with Me

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This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com   One popular topic around the preparedness community is the “EDC” or every day carry.  These are items we keep with us wherever we go.   I have a number of items I consider part of my EDC, but today, I’d like to talk about knives.  I have two favorites that I keep with me: My Swiss Army knife Gerber Knife Why do I have two knives? It might sound a little redundant, but […]

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How To Recover Gold And Silver From Scrap

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If you’re reading this article, you’re probably a gold bug, or maybe a gold digger. Either way, you probably don’t know that in 100,000 cellphones there’s about 2.4 kilos of gold to be collected (as in recuperated) by a competent gold digger.

Yes, I know – 100,000 cellphones is quite a lot of old hardware. Besides gold, you’ll also find 25 kilos of silver and more than 900 kilos of copper (that’s almost a metric ton).

Considering the fluctuation in market prices, all that stuff combined makes for a cool quarter million dollars, give or take. The problem is, where on Earth can you get 100,000 cellphones and how can you get the gold out of those darn circuits?

How to Recover Gold from Electronics

Recycling electronics can be a lucrative business provided it’s done on an industrial scale. For regular folk, this kind of enterprise is quite difficult and time consuming, especially if not done nice and proper. Now, if you want to make your own personal scrap fortune, today’s your lucky day, so keep reading, I’m giving pearls here folks!

Besides cellphones, gold and other precious metals can be found in almost all types of electronic circuits, ranging from computer main-boards to processors and what not.

The idea is that instead of throwing your old gear in the garbage, considering that there’s a small amount of gold in all types of circuits, how about putting that gold in your pocket instead of making some scrap metal company rich?

Phones, laptops, cameras and the like are packed full of gold-plated circuit boards, due to the precious metal’s excellent conductibility. Even scanners and printers have silver, gold, copper, and sometimes platinum inside their guts.

Besides being pretty expensive, as in precious, gold is a highly conductive and pliable metal which was used for thousands of years by humans as a highly valuable commodity, as it retains its value better than almost any other commodity.

Until Nixon nixed (pun intended) the Bretton Woods system in 1971, even the US dollar was backed by gold. Since then, the dollar lost a lot of its value, i.e. $1 in 1971 had the same purchasing power as $7 today (official figures), but take a load of this: back then an ounce of gold was $35, now it’s like what, $1200 (it was almost $1900 at some point)?

So, you do the math and ask yourself if scrapping gold from old electronic gear is worth your time and effort. I am digressing – of course it is!

Let’s recap: due to its excellent properties, gold is the material of choice for manufacturing various electronic parts in computers, cellphones and what not.

Removing the gold from scrap parts requires access to various equipment and it’s a pretty complicated process. However, if you’re well-armed with the right tools and knowledge, you can extract, refine, and maybe sell scrap gold, provided you have enough raw materials to extract it from.

As a general rule of thumb, considering that you’ll have to deal with highly corrosive acids, you should perform all these operations outside and always use protective gear, such as gloves, goggles and even a respirator.

Start your own woodworking business – $9500 per month guaranteed! 

Here’s a short list for starting a gold recovery enterprise:

  • rubber gloves
  • goggles
  • a rubber apron
  • hydrogen peroxide 3% from your local pharmacy
  • muriatic acid 31% (it’s available at hardware stores)
  • methyl hydrate (this is basically 99% methyl alcohol) available at automotive supply stores or hardware stores (it’s used for fuel line antifreeze)
  • a couple of large glass-made containers (a coffee pot would do the trick.
  • a funnel filter (a drip-coffee filter)
  • a stir stick made of plastic or glass
  • a blow torch powerful enough to hard solder
  • an accurate weigh scale (at least to one tenth of a gram)
  • borax
  • clay bowls or anything that has a melting point above gold
  • a measuring cup
  • and of course, a lot of scrap electronics.

The general rule is that you should collect any type of electronic scraps which are prone to contain gold inside, including computer processors, jewellery, gold tooth crowns, and old telephone wiring with an emphasis on outdated electronics, which may contain parts with a higher level of gold than modern ones.

Video first seen on indeedItdoes

In the first step, you must sort the gold into gold-plated parts: circuits which require cleaning, gold fingers, gold plated pins and so forth and so on.

Before working with chemicals, don’t forget to put on your safety gear.

In the second step, you must put the clean circuit boards and the gold fingers  inside the coffee pot. Using a different container, mix one part hydrogen peroxide with  2 parts muriatic acid and add the mixture to the coffee pot until it just covers the gold-containing stuff inside (gold fingers for example).

You’ll have to wait for about a week for the process to complete and don’t forget to stir your concoction on a daily basis.

After 7 days have passed, it’s now time to collect your gold. You’ll see that the acid has darkened and there are flakes of gold floating around inside the coffee pot. If you pour the acid through the coffee filter, the gold flakes will be captured by the filter.

Save the acid though, don’t dump it. The remaining circuit boards/gold fingers must be checked out, the clean parts thrown away, and the uncleaned parts saved for re-dipping.

Now, pour some water through the filter and then flush using methyl hydrate to clean it.

In the next step, you’ll have to add borax to your “mined” gold. Borax works by reducing the melting point of gold from its regular 1063 Celsius. By adding some borax to your cleaned gold flakes, you’ll be able to melt your gold out of the heavy mineral concentrate to salvage it.

Next you’ll have to heat the clay bowl (don’t worry if it splits or cracks) and add borax. When the borax melts, put the gold flakes in too and add more borax, then heat it continuously until you end up with a nice bead of gold. Let it cool and weigh it. There you have it, your own gold from scrap electronics.

That’s one method, the simplest actually.

Here’s an interesting tutorial about the top 10 most valuable computer processors, as in the ones with the most gold inside for recovery by weight counted down.

Video first seen on eWaste Ben

Here’s a detailed hard drive tear-down video tutorial, teaching you how to look for precious metals (gold, silver, palladium and aluminum) inside your old hard drives.

Video first seen on Rob The Plumber

Good luck and scrap hard!

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This article has been written by Chris Black for Survivopedia. 

Do You Really Need That to Survive: A Manual Siphon Pump

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Manual Siphon

A Manual Siphon Will You Need One to Survive? Actually, you need at least two if not three manual siphons. One for drinking water only, one for fuels and possibly one for chemicals, such as liquid bleach that needs to be moved from one container to another when pouring is not a good option, for example.

A hand pump is essential if you have stored water in a large container that does not have a large enough opening in which to dip water. Furthermore, dipping water out could contaminate the water source, whereas you can sanitize the siphon for drinking water only rather easily each time to prevent contamination of the source.

A manual siphon only requires a small opening, which also lessens the chance of contamination. Some of the larger water barrels may not have a lid that can be removed. They may only have a cap for filling and extraction. Removing the entire lid greatly increases the chances of contaminants getting into your drinking water source.

You, of course, never want to use a siphon for drinking water that was ever used (even once) to siphon any fuels or chemicals regardless of how well you think you may have cleaned it.

What can you do with a hand siphon? You can siphon gas from a gas can without a spout into a vehicle, or in some cases siphon gas from a vehicle into a gas can or another vehicle. If the grid fails gas pumps will not work, but yet there will be many vehicles, and underground fuel storage tanks, but you must have a way of extracting that fuel for your use.

A hand siphon is ideal for filling up lanterns and kerosene heaters as well. Fill directly from the fuel container and there is no need for a funnel. If you have a five-gallon can of kerosene and heater that needs to be filled you cannot simply tip the can up and pour in the tiny hole and even with a funnel you would end up spilling precious fuel, not to mention creating a fire hazard in some cases. A hand siphon that you pump gets the job done without any spills, without handling heavy cans and helps prevent hazardous spills.

To help filter water from a contaminated water source you can use a ranger band to secure several layers of cheesecloth to the end that is inserted into the contaminated source. This filtering technique will only filter out large debris, so additional filtering to trap micro-contaminates will be required before boiling or chemical treatment for purification.

Use your siphon to remove water and/or antifreeze from disabled vehicles to add to a vehicle that operates. Again, during a crisis, normal supply chains will not be operational, and so if you need water or coolant for your radiator, you need a method to extract from one vehicle to another.

There are drain valves, of course, to drain radiators but they may be inoperable or otherwise cannot be reached to allow for draining, not to mention you would need a receptacle that would fit under the drain to collect the fluid.

There are other uses obviously, and you are only limited by your imagination, so start thinking of other ways you can use a manual siphon during a crisis, or in any survival situation, and remember, you need one dedicated to potable water only.

The post Do You Really Need That to Survive: A Manual Siphon Pump appeared first on Preparing for shtf.

Acquiring and Managing Survival Gear and Equipment

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survival_clutter_equipment_things

gear_equipment_survivalFor the sake of excusing any semantical argument over words here, we are going to basically equate the terms gear and equipment as the same.  I suppose one could separate the two.  For example, equipment might be an electric generator while support gear might be a gasoline can, electrical extension cords and connectors.  But, why bother?  

By Dr. John J. Woods, a contributing author to SHTFBlog & Survival Cache

The important part for preppers and survivalists is to have the proper gear and equipment to overcome any kind of a disaster scenario.  But, certainly not just to have all the essential survival stuff, but to organize it and know how to use it when the time of necessity arrives.

However you approach the acquisition of gear and equipment, have an organized plan to do so including a system of categorizing what you are gathering in support of your survival efforts.  Organization is essential.  This is to avoid just buying gear and equipment willy-nilly, this or that, and chunking it all into the garage in a heap of stuff.  You know, like it looks the Monday after you get home from a weekend long camping trip?  Begin the process with an organizational system.

The Prepper Notebook

plan_active_shooterWhen it comes to prepping and most other phases of life demanding a sense of organization, I tend to be a bit anal retentive.  That is, I have to have a plan, and an on-going record of everything to do with the entire process.  This helps me track all the efforts, intents, goals, objectives and not to mention the actual acquisition of gear and equipment as with prepping.  At my age it pays big time dividends to have it all written down where it can be consulted, changed, or updated regularly.  

When asked by wannabe preppers how to get started, my first recommendation is to start a prepping notebook.  This helps organize everything for everybody.  You devise the book however it works best for you, by gear category, equipment type, bug in emphasis, bug out concentration, or whatever.  Develop chapters, lists, files, or any form of organization that is simple for you to follow and keep up.  This notebook becomes your Prepper Bible so to speak.  

Sure the notebook can take many forms.  Mine is a simple three-ring binder that allows me to update it with new pages, re-do or replace old pages as lists change or new ideas come to the forefront of the overall organizational plan.  Some do this but use a separate binder for each prepping survival category.  As the system grows over time, this might be a workable approach.  You decide what works best for you.

The Foundation Categories

survival_garden_forage_foodCommon sense and logistics vary from person to person.  The goal is simply to find a system you understand and that works for you.  Everybody’s does not have to be the same.  However, if you happen to be working with a team, several families, or even a neighborhood, then standardization would be the most plausible way to go.  

As you review survival information and planning guides, you may begin to see familiar terms and references to the most logical ways to organize survival gear and equipment.  I use a set of basic foundations to organize everything for me.  

My own basic survival foundations or essentials include (1) food, (2) water, (3) shelter issues, (4) hardware gear, (5) software gear, (6) security and weapons issues, (7) communication modes, and (8) health and sanitation.  Your categories may be different as you develop your own unique working organization system.  But create one and use it.  

Now let me go through each to briefly describe what kinds of items ought to be included in each survival foundation.

canned_miscellaneous_prep1) Food. This encompasses everything you will stock up to eat for 3-6 months.  It should cover both options of staying home or escaping to an alternative site.  Survival food kept at home could be considerably different than foods hauled to a bug out site.  At home you can keep bulky, heavy, high volume space items like canned goods, and big bags of rice, beans, wheat flour and such.  

Related: Preppers and Survivalists Must be Hunters and Gatherers

If you have not already pre-stocked a bug out site, then you may be limited to easier to handling foods to carry out of the house.  This might mean MREs, freeze-dried foods, or classic pre-packaged survival foods commercially purchased.  

Try to vary your menus by adding a balanced diet of meat proteins, vegetables, and fruits.  Watch your plan to keep lots of carbs and starches under control.  As with an everyday diet now, try to mix things up not only for nutritional value, but variety as well.  

glass_of_water2) Water.  If you are lucky, you’ll have access to continued water service or a private well even if it has to be hand pumped.  Calculate ahead to plan for at least one gallon of water per person per day.  That is a lot of water.  A water purification system will be needed for essential daily water needs but also as a backup way to purify any available nearby water source.  There are chemical ways to purify water, so look into those methods, too.

winter_shelter_survival_fire3) Shelter Issues.  Bugging in or out, make sure you have shelter and that it is sound and secure.  Deal with maintenance issues or be prepared to.  In storm areas you may want to pre-plan for window and door covers.  Beef up security with locks, bars, or other security efforts.  If the power grid is down, think ahead for ways to cool, heat, and light your shelter.  This may mean an outside generator and fuel supplies to power the basics if not only for short periods of time.  Have a plan for shelter security, monitoring and observing areas surrounding the shelter.  

4) Hardware Gear.  This includes everything from common mechanical tools, to construction tools, and everything thought of as hardware.  Add an AM-FM radio, weather alert radio, lanterns, flashlights, knives, utensils, cookware, cook stoves, hatchets, axes, machetes, gardening tools, chainsaws, sledge hammers, jacks, storage boxes, tote boxes, and such.  Have a thorough diverse selection of hardware repair items including nails, screws, bolts, nuts, and you name it.  Supplying hardware gear probably never ends, but is easier to organize for a permanent home than perhaps a bug out location, but try.  Even if you are forced to bug out, you will still need most all of this gear.  

5) Software Gear.  Software is basically anything canvas or nylon or such for bags, cases, packs, backpacks, fanny packs, sleeping bags, all garments for all weather conditions and seasons, and the same for shoes, and boots.  Also think of software in terms of gear that supports your weapons arsenal including cases, holsters, gear totes, ammo bags, magazine pouches, slings, and all else.  

300_blackout_blk_rifle_with_supressor_silencer_outdoors_hunting6) Security and Weapons.  A selection of weapons will be needed for self-protection, property protection, thwarting external threats of all kinds, two and four-footed, and for securing additional foods for survival by hunting and foraging.  A well rounded weapons arsenal will include handguns, rifles, and shotguns.  Acquiring the appropriate guns is a study of its own and requires much consideration, thought, comparisons, and planning.  Seek out professional advice at gun shops, gun ranges, and through a host of information sources available these days.  Shop carefully and buy prudently.  

Check Out: The KISS AR-15

Owning weapons also means everything that goes with it including an extensive ammunition supply of ammo types for both self-defense and hunting.  You will need storage capacity, boxes, or ammo cases.  Guns will need safes, or lockable cabinets.  Maintenance supplies will be needed including gun cleaning kits to handle every firearm and the consumables that go with it.  See also software above for weapons uses as well.  

Security plans and firearm’s training will be needed.  This should be a regular on-going activity to support all other survival training and activities.  Security should include both for the physical residence or bug out shelter, but also for vehicle escape during any SHTF scenario.  

communications7) Communications.  During a SHTF  scenario, communications will be important between you, family or other survival team members and or with the outside world.  IPhones may or may not be operational.  Hand radios can help for short range talk at home, or in the neighborhood, or bug out property.  Having a HAM radio is not out of the question as well. Emergency communication devices may be needed too including lights, flares, bonfires, signal mirrors, beacon strobes, message flags, PLBs (personal locator beacons) or anything else to draw attention when you need help.  Know the Morse Code SOS signal of 3 dots, 3 dashes, and 3 dots as a universally recognized emergency rescue signal.  That could come in handy, too.

8) Health and Sanitation.  This is a big one and not covered last because of a lack of importance.  Just the opposite.  During any SHTF or disaster of any kind, personal hygiene and sanitation is paramount.  Plan ahead how you will attempt to stay as clean as regularly as possible, and how to handle human waste issues.  Look into a variety of options for a porta-potty on site.  

medical_bag_packedPersonal health is critical especially if you take regular medications.  Be absolutely certain you maintain ample supplies of all required medications.  In this day and age of Obamacare or whatever the next plan is to be, it can be difficult to secure much more than 90 days of most prescription medicines.  Talk to your doctor about this.  Maybe you can find a pro-survivalist physician to help out.  Also keep a full supply of every kind of OTC meds you might use.  Have a comprehensive first aid kit, and backups for all frequently used items.  

Gear and equipment is a big issue in the survival movement.  You have to devise a plan to acquire everything that is needed, next, keep it organized and then to manage it for both long term storage and use.  The process never ends, so get started as soon as you can.

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How to Build the Ultimate Survival Shotgun

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How to Build the Ultimate Survival Shotgun Having items for survival at hand in any situation is obviously the ideal situation. What people don’t know is that you can place a lot of the 5 main categories, Water, Fire, Shelter, Signaling and Food in some of the weirdest places you can think of. The first being a shotgun. Think about this, …

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14 Prepper Items To Look For At Garage Sales

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14 Prepper Items To Look For At Garage Sales Garage sale season is here! This is the time of year when people do their spring cleaning, clear out their basements and attics, have garage sales, and sell valuable items for next to nothing. If you haven’t been to any garage sales yet this year, you …

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Survival Gear Review: Survival Guides to Edible and Medicinal Plants of the Rocky Mountains

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Edible_Medicinal_Survival_Plants_of_the_Rocky_MountainsWaterford_Press_ground_unfolded

Waterford_Edible-Medicinal_Survival_Plants_of_the_Rocky_MountainsWaterford_Press_in_handSurvival Guides are a dime-a-dozen, but good ones, the real save-your-life guides are as rare as hens teeth. Luckily the two new plastic-covered foldouts from Jason Schwartz are an outstanding and necessary contribution to your survival kit that literally could save your life. For less than the cost of a box of American made ammo, you could outfit your survival gear with some to-the-point literature can make a difference when on an afternoon hike, or when the S really hits the fan.

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

Published in 2016 by the ultimate pocket guide company, the Waterford Press, these guides join an ever growing list of speciality reference booklets. “Putting the World in your Pocket” is Waterford’s motto, and it could be true given they’ve had over 500 publications with over five million sales.

Fast Food

Waterford_Medicinal_Survival_Plants_of_the_Rocky_MountainsWaterford_Press_knife_berriesThe two water-resistant guides under discussion are Edible Survival Plants of the Rocky Mountains, and Medicinal Survival Plants of the Rocky Mountains. Both guides are in the classic Waterford six-fold design leading to 12 individual vertically oriented pages. The full-color guides are printed on white paper and laminated heavily with factory-installed bends between pages.

The pictures are a godsend and make for fast field ID of plants. The brief descriptions confirm the identity and instructions follow for applying the part of the plant in the most useful form. Some are used as tea, some as topical, and some eaten outright.

The philosophy behind the guides according to their author is to, “provide a set of handy, yet realistic reference guides that will help hikers and backpackers lost in the Rocky Mountains forage for food, or treat injuries and ailments using wild plants and trees.” An assumption the author makes is that most survival situation are from three days to a week. This is reflected in the use of often low-calorie plants to get you to a better place and keep your spirits up.

Walkabout

Waterford_Medicinal_Survival_Plants_of_the_Rocky_MountainsWaterford_Press_berries_closeIn my own testing of the guides, I wandered my million acre backyard and looked for both plants listed in the guides and to see if a plant was in the guide. In most cases the obvious plants were covered, while locating specific plants took some time. A suggestion, if space permitted, would be to mention common locations of plants if they exist. Like kinnikinnick, dandelion, and thistle on old roads where the soil had been compacted decades earlier.

Knowledge is Power and Power Corrupts

Waterford_Medicinal_Survival_Plants_of_the_Rocky_MountainsWaterford_Press__neck_knifePoaching plants is easily as abundant as poaching animals. While the hunting laws don’t often address North American medicinal plants, there is the concern that someone with a little knowledge and a bunch of free time might pillage the local area of important plants. And in one rare case with the Curly-Cup Gumweed, there is a plant “species of concern” because it resembles a medicinal plant mentioned in the guide known as the Howell’s Gumweed. There is a very slim chance in a small region of the west that the more rare related species (Howell’s Gumweed) will be over harvested by an overzealous collector, but human nature is anything but predictable.

Related: Bushcraft Mushrooms

According to Schwartz, the highlighted plants were chosen for the wide distribution, easily identifiable traits, and ubiquitous presence across landscape and seasons. So with that said, you can take Rocky Mountains with a grain of salt. You will encounter most of the plants in these guides well outside the rugged terrain of the west, but not so much on the plains, east coast, or desert America, of course.

The Saguache County Colorado Sheriff’s Department found the guides so particularly helpful that they adopted them as essential equipment to have when backcountry survival might be an issue.

The Doctor Is In

Half the pages of the Medicinal Survival Plants of the Rocky Mountains IDs 18 plants of which seven are trees. The other half of the guide explains treatment options, medicinal preparations including infusions, tea, decoction, juicing as well as plant feature identification and author bio.

Half the Edible Survival Plants of the Rocky Mountains IDs 19 plants of which three are trees. And the reverse six pages of the over half include survival basics, 16 images of types of edible plants, the steps of the Universal Edibility Test, general plant preparation and eating practices, and a note on edible plant myths.

Read Also: Tree Bark as an Emergency Food

Each entry for a plant across both guides includes a description, the habitat, harvesting tips, preparation (in the Survival guide), and comments and cautions. I had to smile when reading about the Ponderosa Pine in the Survival guide. Jason Schwartz is a bushcrafter through and through. In the middle of the description Jason uses 15 words to explain baton. The baton, by the way and in Jason’s words is, “an arm’s length branch used as a mallet to pound the back of the knife.” Once a teacher, always a teacher.

waterford_tetons_wyomingHere’s the deal with these guides. They cost little and weigh almost nothing. They are filled with lifesaving options for when you really need them, and you don’t even need to read them ahead of time (but I would suggest it). And anyone living within 200 miles east or west of the Continental Divide should spring for the $8 apiece and put a set in every bug out bag and car or truck glove box. Better yet, head outdoors and familiarize yourself with the local edible and medicinal flora. You’ll thank me and Jason later.

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Design Your Own Weapon, In These 14 Steps

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Survivopedia Design Your Own Weapon In These 14 Steps

Weapons are the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones. Having the proper weapon makes self-defense much easier.

You don’t have to ruin your budget on the perfect gun, but you can challenge your skills and build your own homemade weapon. Learning how to build your own weapon is a handy skill that will serve you well in a survival situation.

It may be time consuming, but you will have a weapon that will perfectly fit your needs. It doesn’t matter whether you plan to build a knife that can be held better in arthritic hands or you want to design a super gun that breaks all the rules insofar as barrel length and projectile launching methods.

This article covers a step-by-step guide on how to build your own self-defense weapons.

If you follow these steps carefully and take your time with each phase, you will produce better weapons that will meet your needs.

Choose the Purpose of Your Weapon

Start off by deciding what you want to use the weapon for. Are you planning on building a self-defense weapon that will be used within arm’s length, or do you want to be able to attack something several feet to several yards away?

When considering this question, decide how lethal you want the weapon to be. If you are the kind of person that believes you cannot kill, there is no point to making a weapon that has a high chance of taking a life. In these cases, focus more on weapons that act as diversion, or those that will wound long enough for you to make your escape.

At this stage, it is also very important to decide how much you want to reveal about the weapon when you are carrying it. Do you want something that you can completely conceal regardless of where you are? If so, then you will need to list that as a priority so that you can fully evaluate which materials will meet your needs.

Click here to get your Green Beret’s Guide To Combat Shooting Mastery & Active Shooter Defense!

Choose a Relevant System to Study

Once you know what you want the weapon to do, look at systems that have already been developed.

For example, if you know that you want to make a bladed weapon, study knives. If you want something more lethal, then go ahead and study systems that include adding poisons to the knife.

During this stage, try to find at least 100 designs so that you know as much as possible about what has been developed through time. If you are combining systems, such as a knife and a poison delivery system, make it a point to find 100 designs for both.

Narrow Your Selection to One Design

Out of 100 designs, you may only find 5 or 6 that have sufficient appeal to work with. You will need to find one design that has the most appeal, and then keep detailed notes on the other systems that may work for your needs.

Make sure that you have a clear understanding of the advantages and disadvantages of each design.

Create Your Own Design

When it comes to developing new personal defense weapons, many people are tempted to start here instead of studying other systems first. If you did your research well, you will find this step easy.

Take the time at this stage to make sure that you have all the best ideas in place for each part of the weapon. If you are going to innovate or bring in ideas from other weapons systems, make sure you understand how all the pieces will fit and work together.

At this stage, it is also very important to figure out how you will make allowances for wear, repair, and making changes based on available materials.

You should also make sure that you know what tools and skills will be required to make the weapon, use it, and maintain it.

Make a Blueprint with Scaling and Measurement Notes

There are few things worse than building a weapon without a detailed blueprint. When you don’t have a solid pattern to follow, it can be very hard to make precision parts. You will also find that it becomes all too easy to go off on a tangent.

No matter whether you get hung up on adding a style element, or you cannot seem to get the right shape for a part, a fully scaled blueprint can help keep you on track.

Make a List of Materials and Tools

Once you have a clear idea about what you are going to build, it is time to start assembling the tools and materials. You should also have a list of alternatives on hand in case you cannot obtain the items that you identified as ideal.

This list will also come in handy if you find out that you first choice wasn’t as good for one reason or another.

Create a Production Timeline

Before you begin working on the actual weapon, it is important to know how much time you plan to spend building the prototype, and then a full working version. This can help you save time as well as ensure that you make enough room for this task.

The last thing you will want to do is try to build something at the last minute, and then find out you needed far more time than expected.

Test the Materials

From polymers to metal and wood, there is a definite learning curve that you must go through. Simply reading a package or some instructions will not prepare you for all the things that come up when you work with the materials.

It is very important to know that you are comfortable with each material so that you know exactly how you are going to work with it while making the weapon.

This will also give you a chance to see if you need additional tools, or if you would be better served by using a different material.

Build a Prototype

Many people do not build a prototype because they think it is best to just aim for something that will work. When you don’t have a prototype, you waste material and time.

When you build a smaller working version, it gives you a chance to build and test your skills as well as see how everything will fit together. Even though a prototype won’t detect all your design problems, it can still be very useful.

Build a Functional Weapon

If you have been eager to build your weapon, then this stage is bound to be your favorite. Now is the time to put everything you learned plus your skills into making the finest weapon possible based on your plans.

Do not rush through this stage. Make sure that all the modules work correctly, and redo parts if they don’t come out right. Remember, your goal is a final product that will work to save your life, not put it in danger.

Test the Weapon

Once the weapon is built, you will need to test it out for strength and functionality. Each weapon design will require different testing strategies.

Do not test on live animals or other human beings. There are many ways to use dummies, blocks of wood, or other materials to see if you have a weapon that works properly.

When testing weapons, do not forget to wear adequate safety gear. Never assume that the weapon will work correctly. It is best to be well protected in case you made a mistake in the design, or something unexpected happens to turn the weapon against you.

For example, if you are working with poisons, gases, or liquids, make sure you are wearing full eye and face protection as well as an appropriate coverall and footwear.

Store the Weapon

After you know the weapon works, set it aside for a while. Give yourself some time away from the active development and building phase so that you can go back later and look at it with fresh eyes. This will also give you a chance to see how the materials change over time.

If a material is going to degrade over time or lose its usefulness, then it is best to find out before you need to use the weapon for self-defense.

Continue Testing and Studying Your New Weapon

From time to time, it is very important to test the weapon out and practice with it. This will give you confidence in using the weapon and help you find design and material flaws.

Make Modifications as Needed

If you find a problem with the design or materials, it is important to go back and fix them as soon as possible. In some situations, you may have to go back to the design and development stages and then build another version of the weapon.

As time consuming as this may be, it is better to take these steps with care and come out with something better the next time around.

Remember that a personal defense weapon should be something you feel comfortable carrying at all times. Learn from the experts the secret of self-defense. Click the banner below to grab your guide!

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This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia.

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9+ Essential Items For Your Bedroom Survival Kit

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Survivopedia 9+ Essential Items For Your Bedroom Survival Kit

We spend about a third of our lives sleeping, so there is a good chance that you will awake to some sort of emergency at some point, if you haven’t already.

There you are, sound asleep until you are jolted awake by a bump in the night, a deafening siren, the rumbling of an earthquake or the shouts of a loved one. How prepared are you?

The purpose of the gear you have bedside should be to get you oriented and situationally aware and then get you to a safe room (often the master bedroom closet). This will delay attackers and provides hard cover as well as structural support against disaster to keep you safe and give you time to communicate and ready an appropriate response whatever emergency you are facing.

Situational Awareness

As you start awake, the first order of business is whether this is like a thousand other times you have awakened and gone back to sleep or whether this time is different.

Since you may be making that determination in a state of sleep drunkenness, it is to your benefit to make use of tools that can improve your situational awareness.

1. Worn Equipment

I make a habit of wearing an ordinary-looking necklace that has a small LED on it and some restraint escape tools inside it. This way I can always find my way in the dark, start a fire and have a shot at escape should I be unlawfully detained, even if I am hauled out of bed in the middle of the night in my underwear or otherwise caught at a disadvantage.

I started wearing it because I travel to places where the kidnapping of US citizens is a significant threat, but I found it so useful to always have an LED handy that I just kept wearing it. I vary its configuration depending on where I am and what I am doing.

The Survival Necklace

You can purchase a basic necklace pre-tied from Oscar Delta or contact them and ask if they’ll build you a custom model that meets your needs and level of training, which may require that you email them from a DOD or Department email, depending on what you want, since they are in the UK.

I suggest that you learn to tie and build your own so you can customize it as your environment and needs change and because survival is the king of all DIY pursuits. If you need help, just ask.

Survival Necklace

I’ll list the contents of mine as it is today, but I change it as needed and tie new ones as old ones get worn out in life or used in training.

  • Technora 200 Friction Saw – Cut zip ties, flex cuffs, rope.
  • Zirferrotech Zircon Ceramic Microstriker Bead – Great ferro rod striker and breaks tempered glass (side & rear car windows) with surprisingly little force both due to its extreme hardness. Your car door could be jammed in a crash, you could need to exit the rear of a vehicle when the locks have been disabled or you could need to safely break auto glass to rescue someone else. Non-ferrous.
  • Tungsten Carbide Microstriker Bead – Like the wheel on a lighter. Breaks tempered glass.
  • Large Fishing Swivel – I could have used any number of snap hooks but wanted mine to be able to pull double duty as fishing gear if needed. I just smooth any sharp edges.
  • SO LED – Red or White light models made by CountyComm. Availability is spotty but very inexpensive so buy a bunch if you find them. The slide switch is easy to actuate with one hand. Positive on/off. Simple design. MOLLE/snap clip accessory for bags and gear.
  • Silicone Tubing – Fuel line tubing conceals handcuff key and bobby pin.
  • Advanced Handcuff Key 3 – Matches the tooth spacing for TOOOL’s ultimate handcuff key. SnakeDr removed some metal from the barrel on this model so it works with the maximum number of high security handcuff models possible and still opens standard handcuffs.
  • Bobby Pin – “Reach around” tool for the handcuff key in case you get illegally detained in handcuffs with your fingers away from the keyways. Handcuff shim, lock pick, lock tension tool, sharp bit of metal to work knots or duct tape, etc.
  • Ferro/Magnesium Toggle – I use firesteel.com. Availability is hit and miss, but they are the best performing ferro rods I have tested to date and I have tested dozens. The bond between the magnesium and ferro rod is probably as strong as either and this combination gives magnesium to use as tinder which is a big plus in the Rocky Mountains in winter or in 99% humidity in the Brazilian jungle.

2. Light and Footwear

If you are jarred awake by an earthquake or similarly destructive event, your bedroom windows may be all over your bedroom floor, making footwear necessary to prevent injury.

When you wake, your eyes are adjusted to the dark, but you need enough light to orient yourself and grab what you need without making racket.

I prefer an LED with a low red setting work setting to save my night vision while I get my bearings when I wake up in the night. I tried the Streamlight Sidewinder Compact Military IR but it turned out to have a design flaw.

Boots

The switch takes a lot of force to turn and is just soldered to the circuit board without any load bearing support to the housing so they end up breaking after a year or so of moderate use.

I replaced it with the Petzl Strix IR, which has been rock solid to date. It has an IR IFF strobe, but lacks a visible strobe. I guess Petzl decided that was outside the scope of use for this type of light.

3. Cell Phone & Charging Cradle

Your smart phone can be a powerful tool for situational awareness, but the problem is that mobile voice service is often the first thing to stop working in a major emergency, so be sure to choose emergency notification services that notify you via text messaging.

If you haven’t yet, check out the National Weather Service page if you are in the USA or the equivalent in other countries and choose SMS notification services that are the best fit for the risks you face based on your location, climate, employment, etc.

Most of the notification services are free, but you can always pay for more features. Get the FEMA app if you are in the US (I haven’t had any black helicopters come for me yet) and any other notification services that apply to you.

Just keep in mind that these notification services are third party and are no substitute for All Hazards Weather Radio. The technology necessary to run the cellular phone network makes it inherently fragile. Because the All Hazards Weather Radio system is much simpler, it is much less fragile.

4. Public Alert Certified All Hazards Radio

Midland WR-120 Public Alert Certified RadioEvery survivalist should have one of these radios!

They can notify you of severe weather alerts, large scale disasters alerts such as earthquakes or any event warranting notification of the public and has saved my bacon more than once.

Given that most of us spend a third of our lives sleeping, without something to wake us up in an emergency, we very well may sleep right through the first crucial hours of an emergency. In an emergency where it is necessary to bug out to survive, you very well may miss your window.

As I consult with survivalists, I often find that they have spent thousands of dollars on 4-wheel drive vehicles and bug out bags and made elaborate preparations to bug out, but don’t have a $30-$60 Public Alert Certified radio that close a chink in their armor that leaves them exposed 33% of the time.

It’s good to have that warning the other 67% of the time that you are not sleeping as well.

There are two types of All Hazards Weather Radio:

  • NOAA Certified
  • NOAA Public Alert Certified.

Here, we are focused on the later. Many radios are NOAA certified, but not Public Alert Certified. They will receive NOAA alerts and can listen to weather radio channels but lack many of the features of Public Alert Certified radios, which are programmable with codes for each county to only receive alerts for the counties you specify.

They are programmable by severity, have a “wake up” feature that allows alerts to turn on the radio, display information important about the threat as a banner in their LED display, and have ports to attach external notification devices such as strobe lights, sirens or pillow shakers to help notify the hearing impaired and talk to other equipment.

To clarify, the words “Public Alert Certified” only appear on the programmable radios with external notification and auto wake up. If possible, you want a radio that is not programmable to your county, type of threat and threat level. Otherwise, your radio will constantly alert you to events that will not affect you.

By telling the radio what you are and are not concerned about (programming it) you can eliminate false alarms.

5. Security System Reporting Mechanisms

If you have a home security system, make sure that you have reporting mechanisms at your bedside. Many older alarm panels will tell you which zone was breached, but this will not be of any help unless you have a panel installed beside your bed so you can see it.

Many newer systems can send notifications and even real-time video to your cell phone, but may need Internet access to do so. Make sure that all alarm sensor and reporting has battery backup all the way from every sensor to the panel to your hub, switch or router to your cell phone.

If your system includes Dakota Alert MURS sensors, you will want a MURS radio receiver on your nightstand.

History has many survival lessons to teach on the subject of situational awareness sans electrical grid.

In the 1800’s in Utah Territory, there lived a man named Orrin Porter Rockwell.

Depending on who’s account you read, Porter Rockwell was an outlaw, a lawman, a bodyguard, a tracker and a scout in the Nauvoo Legion that waged a guerrilla campaign of harassment, robbing and burning supply trains, and preventing resupply of the US Army in the Utah War.

Porter was as famous as famous a gunfighter as Wyatt Earp, Doc Holladay, Bat Masterson or Tom Horn in his time and killed more men than all of them combined.

Between the friends and family of those he killed, upstart gunfighters looking to make a name, the men he jailed and those he fought against in the Utah War and other skirmishes, he certainly had to watch his back.

His employment had him on the trail tracking outlaws and guiding parties West to California during the gold rush which had him returning to the Salt Lake Valley alone and sometimes sleeping off a night of drinking on the trail, so Porter developed a strategy to give him some warning.

You might expect a man like Porter to have a large ferocious dog, but as many miles as he made horseback in a day would have killed most domestic breeds. Instead, he chose a little white dog that could ride with him horseback, behind his saddle.

He trained the dog to lick his face to wake him instead of barking when someone approached his camp. Porter’s portable biological alarm system helped him to die of old age instead of a bullet and is easily duplicated today and even easier if you don’t travel on horseback.

6. Smoke, Flammable Gas and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

It is easy to plan for the spectacular but improbable (based on history) threats and neglect threats that cause a lot of death and suffering. Make sure you have detectors throughout your home and in your bedroom.

Action

Situational Awareness Is Key Gear Can't Help You If You Are Asleep

So, you are now awake at bedside with your headlamp and footwear, have identified a threat or possible threat and it’s time to act. For most threats, you will sound an alarm (if necessary, to alert other members of the household) strap on your home defense waist pack and make for your safe room.

7. Home Defense Pouch

A standard preparation that I recommend is to seek professional self-defense, firearms and legal training and then put together His & Hers’ home defense waist packs as-long-as it is legal for you and your spouse to carry concealed weapons in your home.

If you carry openly, a belt can serve the same purpose. The idea behind this approach is that you can grab a single piece of gear, buckle it on and have the basic tools of self-defense at your disposal. I recommend keeping this in a hidden and locked safe that can be accessed quickly and in the dark.

I am not alone amongst firearms instructors in recommending this approach. Should you come out on top in defending your life, a second battle begins, one that will determine your liberty.

Consider your jurisdiction, the laws and how officers, prosecutors and judges may apply them. Depending on their dispositions, you may have a better chance of not going prison if you use ordinary-looking equipment and firearms than if you sleep with full battle rattle at the side of your bed.

Self Defense Pouch Contents & Training Gear for Drill with Hand to Hand

The main purpose of the home defense pouch is to give you the tools you need to fight your way to the cover of a safe room.

Click here to get your Green Beret’s Guide To Combat Shooting Mastery & Active Shooter Defense!

8. Home Defense Waist Pack

  • Centerfire Pistol with tritium sights – You need to be able to see your sights. You can keep a sidearm in the waist pack or place your sidearm in the waist pack when you take it off at the end of the day.
  • Spare Magazine or Speed Loader
  • Tactical Flashlight – You need to clearly identify intent, ability and opportunity and see what is behind your attacker.
  • Knife – Will never experience a stoppage and won’t run out of ammunition until you stop swinging.
  • Less-lethal Option – Lethal force is not always the best solution.
  • Compact GSW Kit – Any time you strap on a firearm you should also strap on a trauma kit.
  • Cell Phone – You are not going to want to have to go looking for a cell phone if you need to use this waist pack.

9. Turnout Bag

You may have seen firefighters using turnout bags to get ready quickly without forgetting anything. Under the stress of a life and death emergency, we are more likely than normal to forget things.

Checklists and turnout bags help mitigate this risk. It is important for survivalists to include checklists in turnout bags because we need to include ID, passports and other items that we can often only have one copy of. I keep these items in an EDC valet and check them off as I turnout.

The turnout bag concept lends itself handily to the Modular Survival Kit Model as turnout bags and specific ensembles can be layered on top of turnout gear as needed based on threat, mission, environment, climate, mode of transport and other relevant factors. You can read more about turnout bags and checklists here.

Common Types of Turnout Bags and Ensembles

  • Covert (Everyday) TOB – Normal “gray” concealed carry clothing in earth tones.
  • Overt TOB – Minuteman bag with overt camouflage.
  • First Responder – If you work or volunteer as a first responder (or plan to) you will need a dedicated turnout bag for that.
  • CBRN (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear) Ensemble – These threats require specific personal protective equipment and training.
  • Extreme Cold Weather Ensemble, Covert
  • Extreme Cold Weather, Overt

Safe Room

A safe room provides a protected area to shelter in place or to get ready out of your turnout bag before grabbing your bug out bag and proceeding to an assembly area in the event that your home becomes unsafe.

Many families decide to locate safe rooms in master bedroom closets or adjacent to them. Locating it at ground level or above gives heavier-than-air gases someplace else to go, but requires more shielding to protect against radiation if it is planned to also serve as a fallout shelter.

Safe Room Features

  • Turnout Bags
  • Hard Cover – Protection against small arms. If you lack the funds, you can measure between studs and pour steel-reinforced concrete panels to install between them.
  • Structural Reinforcement – Protection against earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes.
  • Reinforced Locking Steel Door – To slow down aggressors.
  • Alarm Panel
  • Monitor – For cameras so you can monitor the situation outside. Lacking money for this for my first safe room, I installed a framed one-way mirror which worked well and didn’t require power.
  • Long Guns with Lights – Don’t forget spare ammunition and a PC way to carry. Carrying it in a satchel instead of a plate carrier may avoid the appearance that you were hoping to need it.
  • Fire Extinguishers
  • Escape & Utility Shutoff Tools – The rubble you escape from may not resemble the home you live in today. Windows and doors may jamb or be blocked.
  • First Aid & Trauma Kit – Include gear based on your family medical needs and risks such as Epi-pens, inhalers, insulin or Naloxone which can save lives.
  • Concealed Emergency Exit
  • Water & Food
  • Blankets & Pillows
  • Portable Toilet
  • Bug Out Bags
  • Materials to Flag Your Home – Flagging your own home can save time and may keep Search and Rescue personnel from breaking into your home to search it if you decide to evacuate. I will write an article describing how to do this.

Training

Independent of what preparations you decide to implement, training will help iron out the kinks.

Start the drill in bed, dressed as you normally sleep. Don’t cheat and think you have it down because small details matter here and differentiate your precise situation, equipment and body from everyone else’s.

Note the time and kill the lights. Choose a few different emergency scenarios based on the types of emergencies you believe to be most probable. Run through the most probable. Note the time when you finish.

Debrief afterwards nothing what worked smoothly and effectively and was less effective than you would like and make changes. Running the most probable scenarios in sets of three times each will give the best return on your skill training.

When you are comfortable with the drill, work it in as the first step in a timed bug out drill. There is no substitute for experience, but stressed, timed training is about as close as you can get without responding to real emergencies.

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This article was written by Cache Valley Prepper for Survivopedia.

References:

http://www.weather.gov/subscribe

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Porter_Rockwell

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3 Steps To Start A Fire When Everything Is Wet

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Start a fire when everything is wet

Starting a fire in adverse weather, whether is rain or wind or both is a very important survival skill every outdoors aficionado must possess. The ability of igniting a fire when things are less than perfect is a fine art which must be learned and practiced until mastery is achieved.

The thing is, nature doesn’t care much about our best laid plans, mice and men alike and an emergency never comes alone. I mean, when confronted with a survival situation, you’d at least expect fine weather, cool breezes and sunshine.

In reality, your survival in an emergency situation will become much more complicated than initially thought and I would dare to say nine times out of ten, as you’ll end up not only lost in the woods or wherever, but you’ll also have to deal with rain, cold and high winds.

Emergencies almost always bring bad weather with them, it’s almost like a 2 for the price of 1 deal. And that’s fine as long you’re prepared both physically and mentally.

However, in critical times, your survival may depend on your ability to light a fire under rain and/or wind and any hardcore survivalist, even Bear Grylls will tell you that you should always carry at least 2 primary and 2 secondary tools for starting a fire.

The idea is that a regular fire starter may not always provide you with the best results, especially if it’s raining and it gets wet. Also, if it’s windy and rainy, your chances of igniting a fire with just one match are pretty slim. If it’s freezing cold, your BIC lighter (which uses butane) may not work at all.

Basically, starting a fire when it’s windy, cold and rainy is one of the worst situations imaginable, other than starting a fire under water, which is a skill only Chuck Norris masters (he uses phosphorus by the way).

I think I have already told you a dozen times in my previous articles about the holy trinity of survival, which includes fire as a means of providing you with (cooked) food, (safe) water and shelter (warmth, protection from wild animals etc), but also about the importance of location.

But do you know which survival essential is the first most important?

Find out how this little survival stove that fits in your pocket can save your life!

1. Find an Adequate Location for Making the Fire

Everything in life is location, as Van Helsing used to say back in the day, and the same mantra is true when it comes to making a fire.

The first thing to look for is an adequate location for making a fire in harsh weather conditions. The idea is to provide your fire with as much protection possible from both wind and rain if possible. And if you’re not in the middle of a frozen desert with no snow around, that’s not impossible.

Shelter means three basic things:

  • shelter from the wind
  • shelter from the rain
  • shelter from the ground water.

2. Shelter the Fire

Ideally, you should shelter your fire on more than one side (upwind).

Build a Windbreak

You can protect your fire by building a C shaped windbreak with the open side downwind. You can build a windbreak using wood, rocks, snow, dirt, just use your imagination.

To shelter your fire from the rain when outdoors is the hardest job, but it can be achieved.

Make the Fire Under a Tree

But pay attention! The easiest way is to make your fire under a tree, as evergreens can be regarded as a natural tent of sorts. All you have to do is to pick a big one and make your fire under the lowest branches.

Making a fire under a tree may not seem like the best idea, as there are inherent risks attached, like setting the tree on fire, but if you’re paying attention and keeping your fire under control, the chances of such an event happening are minor.

You can minimize the risks further by building a good fire pit with no combustible materials around the fire.

Build a Fire Pit

The third requirement is how to protect the fire from ground earth, with the previous two taken care of by now. The easiest method is to use rocks for building a fire pit on a spot where the ground is raised from the floor.

Or you can do that yourself, i.e. you can build a little mound and on top of the mound you’ll put a layer of rocks, thus preventing your fire from staying directly on the wet ground and also making sure any running water will be drained ASAP.

3. Tinder, Kindling and Fuel

So much for location folks, let’s move on to the next issue and I will start with an axiom: if you don’t have the Bear Grylls flame-thrower with you, starting a fire using wet wood is basically impossible and a no-go under any circumstances. You’ll waste your time and your gear, bet on a dead horse and the whole palaver.

Video first seen on CommonSenseOutdoors

However, there are ways, as Gandalf used to say, but ideally, you should try to find something dry for starting your fire. As a general rule of thumb, a fire gets started in 3 stages: tinder, kindling and fuel.

The tinder is a combustible material which is very easy to ignite, i.e. it will catch fire quick and easy.

The kindling can be improvised using pieces of finger-thick wood that will be lit from the kindle.

The rest is pretty straight forward, as far as your kindle gets ignited you’ll start the main fuel and you’ll have a fire burning in no time.

Two of the best survival-tinder (fire starters actually) which can be used for igniting a fire in adverse conditions (even with wet wood) are cotton balls soaked in petroleum jelly and dryer lint mixed with paraffin. These will burn for at least 2-3 minutes, thus providing you with plenty of time to get your fire started. I’ve already written an article about this issue.

As an interesting factoid, even in the midst of a rainstorm, you can almost surely find dried branches under the bottom of big/old pine trees. Another great place to look for dry combustible is the underside of uprooted (or dead) trees.

Video first seen on IA Woodsman

How to Make the Best Fire Starter for Wet Wood

The best fire-starter for wet wood can be home-made using black powder (gunpowder) and nail polish remover (the one that contains acetone). The acetone will be the solvent for the gunpowder. The idea is to make something that burns slow and as hot as possible and the gunpowder/acetone mix is by far the best in this regard.

Making the mix is fairly easy, as you’ll start with a small quantity of gunpowder the size of a golf ball put inside a ceramic/glass bowl. Start adding nail polish remover so that the mound of gunpowder is totally covered then mix it together slowly and thoroughly (always wear rubber gloves).

Once the stuff inside the ball gets in a putty-state, you can pour off the extra nail polish and then start kneading the putty, just like when making bread. i.e. folding it over time and time again.

The purpose of the kneading is to create layers inside your fire-starter. In this way, the burn rate is more controlled. The more layers, the better your fire-starter will be. The finished putty can be stored in an airtight container, but keep in mind that you’ll want to use your putty when it’s still moist. If dried, it burns too fast.

This fire-starter burns at 3000 degrees Fahrenheit and a golf-ball sized piece will burn for more than 3 minutes. Basically, you can set anything on fire with this baby and even  dry out damp wood in the worst conditions imaginable.

One final thing, it would always be nice to use fire accelerants, like gasoline (or alcohol, paint thinner etc), for starting a fire in rain or wind.

If you have your car around, the better, as you can siphon out some gasoline from the tank and start a fire even with damp wood in a jiffy. Okay, you’ll not receive those extra bonus style points, but that’s okay.

You’ll always have the peace of mind knowing that no matter where you go and no matter how bad the weather is you’ll be able to start a fire and safely cook food and boil some water. Click the banner below to grab this offer!

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This article has been written by Chris Black for Survivopedia. 

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How To Build Your Best Camouflage

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Survivopedia How To Build Your Best Camouflage

When talking about camouflage, there are basically two types of gear: camouflage clothes and ghillie suits.

Camouflage gear is is a must have piece of gear  if you’re a sniper, a soldier or a hunter. Ghillie suits were originally designed for hunting purposes, but later on they were used by military forces, because they’re great at making people invisible or very close to it.

Basically, regardless of your intents and purposes, if you want to blend into your surroundings, camouflage gear is essential.

The key elements for efficient camouflage are inspired from the animal reign (think polar bears or chameleons), i.e. the color scheme is essential, together with  efficient 3D dimensional textures, which is aimed at diffusing and blending your figure/silhouette into the surroundings, thus fooling the eye.

If these two work together as a whole, the color scheme and the 3D (three dimensional) textures, you’re hitting the sweet spot in terms of good camouflage, being basically unrecognizable and virtually invisible from the distance.

It’s just like in the cool meme, with the apprentice sniper being admonished by the sergeant, something like “Smith, I haven’t seen you at camouflage practice” and Smith going like: “Thank you Sir”.

Let’s take a closer look about camouflage basics and start from there.

So, commercial or home-made regular 2D (bi-dimensional) camouflage is pretty good at helping you blending into all sorts of backgrounds, but it can’t mitigate one of the most tell-tell signs of you presence, i.e. your silhouette.

Hard core hunters and veteran hiders, such as military snipers or undercover spooks always rely on 3D camouflage, which consists of entire suits that are built using billowy materials, which help with blurring their outline, thus allowing them to become virtually invisible or to disappear in plain sight.

So, there’s regular 2D camouflage and the ultimate 3D camouflage, namely the ghillies.

Ghillie suits were first invented by Scottish folk, game keepers who probably were pretty good at tax evasion too using those suits (just kidding).

To begin with, let’s quote Sun Tzu, the Chinese general who wrote The Art of War thousands of years ago:

“Be extremely subtle, even to the point of formlessness. Be extremely mysterious, even to the point of soundlessness. Thereby you can be the director of the opponent’s fate.”

Find out more on how to improve your defense techniques to survive disaster! 

Camouflage Clothes – the Basic Gear for Ghosts

The first step is to determine your required 3 base-colors i.e. the top three most prevalent colors which are to be found in the environment you want to blend in. Don’t worry about exact tones and hues, just choose general colors.

For example, go for dark green/dark brown/black clothes and don’t waste your time trying to find pine needle green or chestnut brown.

If you’ve already determined the color scheme required for your camouflage purposes, buy plain colored T shirts/long sleeve/whatever you need in the respective color and stay away from fancy/expensive brands, the name of the game is utility and economy, otherwise you can buy commercially available camo, right?

The same concept goes for the hat and pants. Here’s a video tutorial with a guy who made his own camo shirt and pants using just a few common items besides the clothes themselves, namely a spray paint, some spare newspapers and some foliage with leaves.

Video first seen on Random Things.

The trick is to spray paint the leaves pattern onto the clothes and that’s about it, you’ll end up with home made camo for dirt cheap prices, especially if you’ll be using old clothes. The end result is pretty convincing.

The Ghillie Suit

Ghillie suit Now, with the basics taken care of, let’s see about the really good stuff, namely the ghillie suit.

Ghillie suits are arguably the best type of camouflage one can wear, as it helps you to integrate seamlessly (if it’s proper made obviously) into your surroundings, as it uses branches, foliage and/or leaves to break up your silhouette.

You’ll start with your already-made camo clothes, i.e. normal clothing spray painted (you can also use fabric patches) to match your desired surroundings.

A ghillie suit is basically 3D camo and it’s usually built using burlap, netting, sewing needles, dental floss and glue. Nothing fancy, nothing expensive.

The thing is, there are two basic designs for ghillie suits: the simple net for fixed positions and the suit construction.

The simple net design has advantages and disadvantages. For example, it’s pretty hard to use while on the move through forests/brush and it’s also very difficult to crawl in. The bright side is that simple net ghillies are light weight, hugely adaptable to fixed positions and they roll up forming a small bundle.

You can use camouflage netting which can be bought at army surplus stores, else you can always choose shrimp net or fish net (the former is the best as it’s treated with anti rot coating).

Suit construction requires a decoy bag, raffia grass, burlap, fabric dye, rubber bands, jute twine and seam reaper. Here’s a video on how to build a ghillie suit from the ground up using readily available and dirt cheap materials.

Video first seen on Zachary Crossman.

The most important customizing option for your ghillie suit it the use of natural vegetation, but this trick comes with the disadvantage that natural vegetation will wither and brown in a couple of hours. Here raffia grass comes into play, as it’s perfectly suited for dyeing and it’s extremely effective in desert, grassland and winter environments.

Other options include using spanish moss, carpet moss or even artificial vegetation and there’s a wide selection of artificial vegetation at hobby stores. You can mitigate its glossy appearance which is common with plastic made plants by using a flat spray paint in your desired color. Plastic vegetation can be painted/repainted ad nauseam,

Don’t worry, building your own ghillie suit doesn’t require mad skills, you’ll just have to know how to tie simple knots, to recognize plant shapes and mix different colors together.

What’s important before proceeding with your DIY job is proper fieldwork research, namely taking notes and photos that will help you with color matching your ghillie suit. Yes, you’ll have to do some scouting, going out to the grasslands/woods/desert plateau or wherever you plan to use your camo and observe the coloration of the terrain with your own eyes.

Building your own ghillie suit offers you some advantages and tactical options vs the commercially available ones (which are also pretty expensive).

For example, you can add a recoil pad pocket if you’re using your suit for hunting purposes, or a hydration pack for wearing it in warm climates, not to mention waterproofing on the areas that come in contact with moisture, thus helping you stay dry in wet environments.

Another advantage of a home made ghillie suit is that it will match accurately the color of your desired environment you wish to blend into, as opposed to commercial ones which are usually available for just 2 environments.

That about sums it up for today. I hope you enjoyed reading the article. If you have questions or comments, don’t hesitate to use the dedicated section below. Good luck, and stay prepared folks!

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This article has been written by Chris Black for Survivopedia. 

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How to: Choose the right sleeping bag

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One piece of gear you don’t want to have to improvise is a sleeping bag. If you can’t sleep at night because you’re cold, the next day is guaranteed to be exhausting.

by Leon Pantenburg

I graduated, less than penniless, from Iowa State University in 1976, and decided to go backpacking in the mountains.

So I did. Trips to the Bighorn and Pryor Mountains in Wyoming only whetted my appetite for more, and I couch-surfed at John Nerness’ house in Mountainview, CA, between trips. In addition to several weekenders around central California,  my grand finale was a 14-day hike of the John Muir Trail in the Sierras.

My backpack came from Target. My clothing was whatever I had – at the time I’d never heard of cotton killing anyone. My shelter was a piece of visqueen. Freeze-dried food was too expensive, for the most part, so my diet consisted of such things as macaroni and cheese. I borrowed a Swea 123 backpacking stove.

This 1977 photo from Lassen National Forest in northern California shows my gear was pretty sketchy.  I did invest in a quality knife, sleeping bag and boots.

This 1977 photo from Lassen National Forest in northern California shows my gear was pretty sketchy.

But I didn’t scrimp on a few items. My Buck folding knife was purchased for $25 at the Ace Hardware Store in Lovell, WY. My boots were on sale at the War Surplus Store in in Powell, WY, for about $30.

But my sleeping bag was bought at an upper end backpacking store for about $80, which, at the time, was about a third of all my “assets.”

That gear was used extensively in the next few years. The Buck, a Swea 123 and the sleeping bag went on several major backpacking trips and ended being used on my six-month canoe trip down the Mississippi River. None of this gear ever let me down.

Today, I have close to a dozen sleeping bags, ranging from indoor sleepover styles to a pair of  -15 degree winter bags. All  have their specific purposes. You will decide what the best sleeping bag is for your needs, and here are some considerations.

Where will the bag be used? Location is  important. I have slept on top of a sleeping bag in Louisiana, when the night time temperature was about 90 degrees, and snuggled deep in an arctic bag one night during a raging Iowa blizzard when the temperature got to -10 degrees, not counting wind chill.

Both bags were adequate for their jobs, but radically different from each other. One could not have safely replaced the other in those dramatically-different circumstances.

If you will be tent camping, you won’t need as warm a bag as if you’re sleeping under the stars. But that doesn’t mean you can or should buy a cheap, light bag!

Possible uses: The size, weight and composition of the insulation will all  be determined by the potential uses of the bag. A backpacking mummy bag is different from a full-cut bag designed for car camping. The car camping or elk camp sleeping bag, that won’t be carried anywhere, can be roomier, bigger and heavier. If you intend to backpack, or canoe, you’ll need something smaller and more compact.

Igloo interior during winter camping outing.

A heavy winter bag would be needed to sleep in this igloo. It would also need to be one that dries out easily.

Mummy or full cut: These are the two main styles of bag.You wear a mummy bag, so if claustrophobia is an issue, don’t get one! (One of my mummy bags is so snug-fitting it feels like I’m wearing a loose sausage casing. It doesn’t bother me, but make sure you to crawl inside any prospective bag in the store before buying it.) A full-cut bag is roomier, but the additional bulk and weight makes it harder to backpack.

Type of insulation: Sleeping bag insulation can be broken down basically into two categories: down and synthetic. Decide before buying: What is the potential for the bag getting wet?

Goose down insulation is the classic insulation used in sleeping bags, and, despite all the technological advances, is still the most efficient insulation around. Goose down provides the most warmth for the least bulk and weight, allowing for very warm sleeping bags that are in very, very small packages.

But goose down insulation is USELESS when wet, and it can take forever to dry. This could be deadly: What if you fall in a creek, soak all your gear and desperately need to warm up? Or suppose part of the bag gets soaked inadvertently during a rain? I don’t own a down bag, and get along very well with my synthetics.

But some of the very experienced Boy Scout leaders I backpack and camp with do use down bags. They swear by them, and I must admit, the tiny, light bundles the down bags compress into is very appealing!

Synthetics: There are a variety of good synthetic insulation fills on the market, and
generally you’ll get what you pay for. Check the internet and manufacturers’ specifications to decide which will be best for you.

My first synthetic bag paid for itself in my first two days in the Sierras. Here’s an excerpt (to read the whole story, click on  my 1976 John Muir Trail Journal:

Sunday July 25
Last night was the worst I’ve spent in the mountains so far. It rained all night, and I got completely soaked in my sleeping bag. The rain started after I was sound asleep, and drenched me before I even woke up. (I’d slept under the stars, and not bothered to set up the tarp).
The bag kept me warm, but it was sure was wet and clammy. Stayed awake most of the night. The rain kept stopping, then pouring down, so I kept getting wet, then getting wetter.
My camp was at 10,500 feet, so the temperature was pretty cold. Some of my clothes got wet, but I made sure to keep my boots dry.
“Got up, wrung out the sleeping bag and placed everything on rocks to dry. The sun is just coming up over the mountains, and the sky is clear. Looks like another nice day.

It rained, intermittently for  nine days straight after that, and keeping anything dry was a real struggle. I’m glad I didn’t have a down bag on that trip!

Weight: Sleeping bag weight is supposed to be a determination of how warm the bag might be. But beware! A lightweight down sleeping bag will be very warm, while a heavy, cheap cotton-filled bag will be heavy and cool. A better indication of warmth is probably the temperature rating.

Temperature Rating: My experience is that the manufacturers are very optimistic and that these ratings are more a statement of purpose than anything else! My rule of thumb is to look at the temperature rating and subtract 20 degrees.

Also, some people sleep colder than others. My snow camping equipment consists of a four-season dome tent and a minus 15 degree sleeping bag. I have slept comfortably in that setup down to zero, during blizzards with gale-force winds. But my wife took the same gear on a June Girl Scout campout in Oregon and was very comfortable.

What about getting sleeping bags that zip together so the loved one can snuggle? Again, this will depend on the couple.  If one is a colder sleeper than the other, both will be miserable.

Make your sleeping bag choices wisely. Otherwise, you may have some really long, uncomfortable nights to ponder and regret your hasty choices!
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First Aid During Winter: Can You Handle It?

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Winter First Aid

In an emergency situation, it’s difficult to provide good first aid even in good weather, but if you must tend to sickness or injury in freezing weather, your job is going to be twice as hard.

You’ll have greater difficulty getting to a warm place to provide treatment, and snow and freezing weather will make it difficult to start a fire or find healing herbs that would be abundant in warmer weather.

You will also have to take care of yourself by wearing appropriate cold weather gear, which may impair you.

In this article we’re going to discuss how to meet these challenges and provide adequate first aid even in freezing weather.

How to Reduce the Risk of Injury

The first problem that you’re going to face is that chances for injury are going to be much greater. You’ll be facing the risk of frostbite, hypothermia, falls and hunting injuries. As a provider of first aid, the first rule is to avoid injury yourself.

In freezing weather, it will be an uphill climb to provide life-saving treatment without risking yourself as well.

Get this lifesaving information about surviving when doctors, pharmacies and hospitals are shut down! 

Hypothermia

The first challenge that you’re going to face when providing first aid is avoiding hypothermia on top of treating the injury, or perhaps the injury is hypothermia. The problem is that in order to treat hypothermia, you need a way to warm up the person, which isn’t going to be easy if you’re stuck outdoors.

In severe temperatures, your core temperature can drop dangerously low when exposed to the elements in a matter of minutes even if you’re awake and active. If the patient is unconscious, their body temp drops even faster because they aren’t moving about to generate extra body heat.

When you sleep, your body temperature drops by as much as a couple of degrees, which can be critical since hypothermia, by definition, is a decrease in body temperature. When you’re in a deep sleep, you don’t shiver to maintain body temp.

Your body also pulls heat from the shell (your limbs) to maintain core temp, which puts the extremities at risk for frostbite. Loss of blood increases the chance because blood is basically the hot water in your body’s radiator – the warm blood in your vessels keeps the surrounding temperature warm.

The take-away here is to keep the person awake and warm, even if he or she is in pain and you would normally encourage sleep.

Though you may need to shed at least your gloves or mittens to provide treatment of wounds, it’s critical that you stay warm in order to prevent becoming hypothermic, too. If both of you are down, there’s a high probability that you’ll both die.

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Frostbite

If a person has an injury that requires removal of clothing, such as a gash or puncture wound, there’s a much greater risk of frostbite.

Like with hypothermia, it doesn’t take long in freezing temperatures for frostbite to set in and cause potentially permanent tissue damage that can result in loss of digits or limbs, or even gangrene.

The risk is particularly high around the wound area because it’s wet so it’s important to get it dry and keep it dry, or at least under a dry dressing so that the wet material and flesh isn’t exposed to the cold.

Ice

Ice presents many problems when traversing terrain in bad weather. The risk of broken bones, severe bruises, concussions, and just about any other injury is increased exponentially if you’re walking or traveling on ice. It will also make it much more difficult to get an injured person to safety.

If you have to provide first aid in an icy environment, don’t forget the first rule – keep yourself safe.

If a person has fallen through ice on a body of water and you’re trying to save them, do the best that you can to ensure your own safety. Tie yourself to a secure tree or fixed object before going after them, and if you have to go out onto the ice, lay flat so that your body weight is distributed over a larger area.

If you have a path that you use several times a day, use rock salt to melt the ice. You don’t have to use much, but you will need to reapply it at least once per day to keep the water from the melted ice from re-freezing.

Some ice on a shelter may act as an insulator, but if it gets too heavy for the structure to bear, you’ll find yourself without shelter. Monitor and do what needs to be done.

Inability to Travel

First aid is called that because it’s often meant to be the precursor to a higher level of medical treatment. For instance, if a person has severed a digit or limb, or has a severe injury, they’re going to need more than a bandage and some antibacterial ointment.

Tourniquets can only be used carefully and for a short amount of time without causing tissue death or damage and wounds such as gunshot wounds need surgery if the bullet or foreign object is still in the patient.

Freezing weather, especially in a SHTF scenario, makes travel much more difficult. Trying to travel in severe weather may result in further injury to the patient, or injury to you, and we already know that’s the last thing that needs to happen.

The best way to prepare for this is to know how to make snowshoes and to keep a means of transporting a patient, such as a sled, handy in case you absolutely have to get out.

Proper vehicle maintenance will go a long way here, too. It’s also good to know how to make a litter to carry somebody should they be injured away from home or camp.

How to Keep Supplies and Equipment from Freezing

All of those great balms, ointments, and elixirs that you have stored in your first aid kit are likely to freeze, and the lubrication in your equipment can freeze and make them difficult, if not impossible, to operate.

The same thing can happen to cloth bandages if they’re even remotely damp.

Any liquid treatment made with a large percentage of alcohol will likely be fine. That includes tinctures and rubbing alcohol. Peroxide will remain liquid up to -60 F or so. If you’re in temperatures that cold, you have bigger problems that a need for peroxide! Other meds such as cough syrup or saline bags will be popsicles.

One med that you really need to keep from freezing is insulin. Every package insert I researched was adamant about not freezing the product. I did some further study, thinking that this was, perhaps, Big Pharma’s way of keeping you from stockpiling product.

What I found was that “R” type insulin may survive freezing and still be viable, while “N” types don’t fare so well. That being said, I am certainly not a doctor, or even a diabetic, so if you have to use frozen insulin, do so at your own risk and monitor your levels closely. Also know that you’re going to be affected by cold weather more than your non-diabetic peers.

For your other antibacterial and special-use ointments, it seems prudent to store them in small enough packages that you can warm them just by holding them in your hands or placing them in your sock or somewhere else on your body.

Carrying MRE heaters or heat packs to warm them as well.

To keep vehicles running in freezing weather, make sure to use a lower viscosity oil in any internal combustion engine and follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding the proper antifreeze to use in the radiator.

Working with Layers of Clothing

If it’s below freezing, providing treatment while wearing gloves will be difficult. Another problem is that the injured person may need to have protective layers of clothing removed to be treated. In both of these scenarios, the risk of hypothermia and frostbite is increased.

To protect yourself, always carry rubber gloves. This will help in two ways – it will keep you from getting your gloves and skin wet, and rubber gloves will help keep your body temperature in at least a little.

To protect your patient, provide treatment as quickly as possible and get them re-dressed immediately.

Again, carrying heat packs such as hand warmers in your medical kit can help – you can tuck them into areas such as armpits where the heat will be best utilized.

A nice down-filled jacket that was keeping a person warm ten minutes ago can quickly turn into a body-heat sponge that wicks away warmth if it gets wet. Carrying extra clothing in a water-proof pack can be a life saver.

How to Stop Bleeding and Wound Care

When your body is cold, circulation is increased, which means that your blood pressure goes up. Depending on what type of wound you’re dealing with and whether or not blood flow has been restricted in favor of keeping the core warm, it may be harder to stop bleeding.

If the cut is deep and on the trunk, you may have increased blood flow, which means you’ll have to work harder to stop the bleeding.  If it’s on an extremity, you may not have problems stopping the bleeding, but will want to make very sure that your bandage is loose enough that it’s not restricting what little circulation is getting to that area.

The bleeding may be large, medium or small, but in the vast majority of cases, (in 80% of them) the bleeding stops through compression if you press down for 3 to 5 minutes. This is one of the things that I’ve learned from dr.Radu Scurtu after reading his book “Survival MD”, but believe me that it’s only a tiny piece of the medical survival knowledge you can get from his guide.

One more thing to learn in order to properly stop the bleeding: take a good look at the color of your blood since it will tell you how bad the wound is and how likely is to stop it by yourself, without involving specialized help. Arterial bleeding has red, purple blood, venous bleeding has black, dark blood. In the first case, you might stop it by compression, but the second one is much more life threatening, and it’s very likely you will need to get the victim to the hospital as soon as possible.

Caloric Intake

We already know that your body needs more calories to properly heal, but it also needs more calories and possibly even more water, to survive in extreme temperatures. Part of this is because every chore is harder because you’re traveling in snow and bad conditions wearing a ton of clothing, and part of it is because your body burns a ton more calories just keeping warm.

Don’t be surprised if you have people experiencing light-headedness or sugar lows, especially if they’re diabetic, if you’re treating them in freezing conditions. Yes, it may be the onset of hypothermia, but it may also simply be that their body is out of gas or dehydrated.

Make sure that everybody in your party makes allowances for up to twice the caloric intake and at least half again the water requirements to avoid this problem. In a pinch, you can always melt snow and ice for water.

Providing adequate first aid in freezing weather will be challenging, but it’s not impossible. The important thing is that you educate yourself and understand the adversities that you’ll face before going in. As in all things survival-related, knowing and being prepared is half the battle.

How to Stay Dry

Aside from gushing wounds or injuries that render you unconscious, being wet is probably the quickest way to die in freezing weather. Wet clothing, including wet shoes and socks, leeches your body heat and causes your core body temp to drop at least as quickly as if you were standing there naked.

If you have a patient that’s gotten wet, the first thing that you need to do, after treating severe bleeding or more life-threatening conditions, is to get them dry. Pack extra clothes in a way that they won’t get wet.

Another point that you may not consider is that sweating makes your clothing wet. For this reason, dress in layers, with the layer next to your skin being made of a wicking material such as wool. This goes for your feet as well as the rest of your body.

If you’re wet, get dry immediately before the doctor … err, first aider … becomes the patient.

Building a Fire

First order of business when setting up camp should be to find a way to get and stay warm and cook food. Building a fire in snow isn’t nearly as easy as it is in warmer conditions but it’s definitely possible, especially if you have a good fire starter.

Carry a fire starting kit to help you kick start your fire.

Finding or Building Shelter

In warm weather, it may be just fine to sleep under the stars but in freezing conditions, you need something that’s going to hold in heat and protect you from the wind and freezing temperatures. In the end, it’s a survival situation and the rule of three is still applying.

If you’ve studied up on your bush craft, you should already know several ways to build a shelter that will sustain the conditions and hold in heat.

You can even build a snow shelter, though it’s a lot of work and takes hours to do. Ice and snow can act as insulators, though that seems counterintuitive. If for no other reason than building a wind-proof shelter, you should carry garbage bags, moon blankets, or tarps.

In addition to making the walls secure against the weather, you also need to make a floor that will protect you. Lying on cold ground will suck the heat right out of your body. You can use tree boughs, tarps, a thick sleeping bag, or even layers of clothing or newspaper to do this.

How to Avoid Detection

If you’re in a survival situation, you may need to avoid detection. That means that you won’t be able to build a fire during the day because of smoke, at least in an open area, and you’ll need to shield the light from dangerous entities at night.

Since a fire is just about a necessity in freezing weather, learn your local terrain and how to use it to build a fire that will keep you warm without giving away your location. If it’s absolutely not possible, you may have to resort to shared body heat to stay warm.

When I lived in WV and CO, there were numerous caves that could be used both as shelter and as a means to have a fire without being detected, but in many places, that’s not an option. Just know your area and work out ways to make this happen.

If you can think of other challenges to providing first aid in freezing weather, please share them with us in the comments section below. And remember that knowledge is the only doctor that can help you survive when there is no medical help around you!

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This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia. 

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6 Ways To DIY Emergency Firestarter Kits

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Survivopedia ^ Ways To DIY Emergency Firestarte kits

To begin with, I’d take it as an axiom that any respectable prepper should know how to start a fire in an emergency. Also, I am a firm believer in the theory that any bug out bag or survival kit should pack a fire starter, together with a couple of Bic lighters, just in case.

If you’re wondering why, well, you should contemplate the fact that fire is maybe the most important invention in the history of mankind.

For starters, fire keeps you warm and that’s quite important during the winter season, especially when confronted with a survival situation, i.e. you get lost out in the big bad wood or whatever.

I am aware of the fact that we live in a day and age when people don’t go out much, especially in the woods/in the wilderness. Getting lost is a pretty rare occurrence as we’re surrounded by high-tech GPS capable gadgets, Google Maps at our fingertips, mobile internet, offline maps and whatnot.

However, nasty things can happen at any given moment. The likes of earthquakes, hurricanes, terrorist attacks or good-old power outages may render your central heating system useless in no time.

There are also still folks out there, in flyover country, so to speak, who still go out hiking and hunting (in my time it was called having fun), even in the winter, so you may face a situation where having a fire starting kit will save your life.

So, ranting aside, besides keeping you warm and preventing frostbite from incapacitating you in an emergency, fire will allow you to cook your food, purify water for medical treatment or drinking, keep wild animals away, and signal your presence during the night or during the day via smoke signals.

Survival isn’t all that fire is about though; it’s also needed for complex things that made civilization possible, like metallurgy or pottery.

Yes indeed folks, fire is pretty important in almost all aspects of our modern life, yet we seem to take it for granted, as we got lazy due to our high-tech dominated and lavish lifestyle.

Start a fire anywhere using concealed fire-starting tools worn right on your shoes. Click here to grab these amazing fire laces!

Getting back to our story, let’s talk about a few ideas with regard to DIY-ing emergency fire starters.

To begin with, I bet you’ve already watched a dozen movies where Crocodile Dundee or that weird dude which has the improbable name of Bear Grylls is rubbing 2 sticks together and somehow a fire magically appears. Believe me folks, that’s next to impossible if you’re a regular guy who never tried that before (like 200 times).

Here, the fire starter kit comes into play because, after all, we’re living in the 21st century and we’re supposedly smarter than your average troglodyte in the Amazonian jungle (I am not sure all of those guys discovered fire yet).

An emergency fire starter kit is aimed at making your survival story more pleasant and interesting to tell to your friends, and also more probable, as in “Staying Alive”, if you know that Bee Gees song.

What I am trying to tell you is that even if lighters or matches, are the easiest way to start a fire, having an emergency survival kit is pretty cool and it will make you stand out in the prepper crowd.

Joking aside, the main purpose of a fire starter kit is to help you with making a fire in adverse weather conditions (read rain, wind, snow or any combination of 2), when a simple lighter will not suffice.

1. Mini Fire Starter Kit

The first DIY project is the Micro Fire Starter Kit and it’s my personal favorite because it involves a Bic lighter, obviously.

The genius of this DIY fire starter kit is its simplicity. All you need is an old empty Bic lighter which is cut in half with a saw/knife or whatever. This creates a very small fire starter.

The striker still works obviously, and you’ll also use the storage chamber underneath (where the lighter fluid used to be) for your fishing hook.

You’ll also use cotton and the phosphorus paper, all of which are the must-have ingredients for an old school fire starter, sealed and waterproofed with hot glue for using in survival situations. I know what you’re thinking: you’d prefer a  brand new/working Bic lighter instead of that DIY fire starter kit, but life is not always easy folks.

Video first seen on American Hacker.

2. Micro Emergency Fire Starter Kit

Here’s another idea for DIY-ing an emergency fire starting kit using another Bic lighter for creating an ultra-light and uber-tiny keychain survival tool.

This project involves some tinkering with the lighter, but you’ll end up with a very small emergency fire kit which uses the same principle, i.e. the working striker of a Bic lighter combined with cotton balls mixed with petroleum jelly as combustibles, that are stored inside the cut-down lighter’s innards.

Video first seen on MeZillch.

3. Pocket Size Fire Starter Kit

For another idea, take a look at this pocket-sized fire starter kit which is made from an old pain reliever tube and nothing much else. By nothing much else I mean old wax, a Ferro rod and a striker. But just watch the video and you’ll discover a very clever way for making a fire starter from scratch, and most importantly, one that really works well (I tried it myself).

Video first seen on supergokue1

4. Self Igniting Fire Starters

Here’s a (clumsy) compilation of some of the best DIY self-igniting fire starters and combinations – a kit of sorts – which contains cool stuff like:

  • a self-igniting pine pitch fire stick fire starter
  • self-igniting dust fire starters
  • pine pitch fireball fire starters
  • pine pitch fire bomb fire starters
  • fire crackle fire starters, fatwood fire stick fire starters

This also includes char rope, char cloth, and a fire light candle. The idea is that you can buy all these gizmos from eBay and see how they’re made, then try to reverse engineer them if you think they’re worth the stretch.

Video first seen on The Tera Farley Channel

5. Chemical Based Fire Starters

Now with the old-school fire starter kits taken care of, let’s see how a chemist would make a fire in the absence of lighters, matches, Ferro rods, sticks and stones, etc.

Truth be told, this is something resembling a chemistry class, as the video tutorial will show you some pretty cool chemical reactions – four oxidation processes respectively –  which will all result into an open flame, provided you have the materials at the ready.

Basically, you’ll learn how to make a fire without matches if you get lost in your chemistry lab or something along these lines. The idea is that you’ll require sulfuric acid, potassium permanganate (these are hard to get over the counter), potassium chlorate, zinc powder, glycerol, acetone, ammonium nitrate and several other chemicals. It’s never a bad idea to know how to make fires this way because you don’t know what situation you may find yourself in.

However, as far as chemistry experiments go, these ideas are among the best out there, being nothing short of spectacular. Just don’t let your kids see the video, okay?

Video first seen on Thoisoi2 – Chemical Experiments!

6. How to Make Fire With a Lemon

I saved the best for last, as you can imagine. Now, sit down, take a deep breath and learn how to make a fire with a lemon.

Yes, folks, you can make a fire with a lemon if you’re from Sweden and you have a thick accent. Okay, and you have lemons, obviously.

This is not a joke, as the principle behind the lemon fire starter is pretty straightforward: the lemon is an acidic fruit, the juice inside is the electrolyte, and sticking a few copper/zinc pins (think electrodes) into the lemon will make for a primitive circuit which provides you with electricity when closed. You see where this is going, right?

The battery will be used for creating basically a short circuit via a thin wire, which will go incandescent in the process, meaning that you’ll be able to use it for lighting up dry tinder, thus making for a good fire starter by any measure.

Take a look at the video and see for yourself. It’s massive fun. As far as out-of-the-box workable ideas go, this one is the best in the world. I mean, if life gives you lemons, make a fire with them.

Video first seen on NorthSurvival

And yes, it works, I’ve tried it.

If you have other ideas or comments, feel free to express them in the dedicated section below.

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This article has been written by Chris Black for Survivopedia. 

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Ways Camping Can Help You Survive

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Ways Camping Can Help You Survive Camping season is only a few months away and for some, it never ended! Most people consider it a hobby that is done during the warmer months of summer. They can enjoy a swim in a lake or a nice hike without having to worry too much about the …

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How To DIY A Paracord Survival Grenade

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DIY Paracord Grenade

If you’re an outdoor aficionado, you’re probably checking constantly for survival tips and tricks and, as you may already know, paracord is one of those special items you should have on your person when SHTF. In other words, always have it within reach.

When it comes to survival gear, there are 4 basic things you should be capable of doing with it: shelter-building, filtering water, gathering food, and starting a fire. In an ideal world, your survival kit must be able to resolve all these issues without problems.

If you’re able to achieve this goal, you’ll be able to survive for a few days until help arrives, or possibly even indefinitely, in case the cavalry is busy somewhere else. You know what I am talking about – if you can procure water, food, shelter, and make a fire in a survival situation, you’re pretty much guaranteed for winning the prepper academy award.

This brings us to today’s topic, how to DIY a paracord survival grenade. Truth be told, a well-made (as in smart) paracord survival grenade can be described as the mother of all survival gear.

That’s because a properly made paracord grenade will provide you with all the basics of survival, i.e. you’ll be able to hunt and fish, start a fire, build yourself a shelter and, why not, even boil water.

The devil is in the details. That’s an old saying which is truer than ever when it comes to paracord survival grenades.

The thing is, you can buy a pre-made one. In case you’re wondering why, well, paracord survival grenades have already achieved legendary status among the prepper community, which is growing exponentially year after year. Because of that, this pre-made item sells quite well indeed.

13 Essential survival items are included inside this Paracord Survival Kit. Grab this offer now!

In a nutshell (pun intended), a paracord survival grenade has a core which contains essential survival items, all wrapped with paracord, which in itself is another crucial survival piece of gear, ending up in a nicely-wrapped, portable, space-saving packet of survival goodies.

Now, talking about commercially available items, some of them are wrapped together using a cobra knot with the paracord. This style knot makes the grenade look great, but looks won’t help you survive if it’s not functional.

The problem with the cobra knot is that despite its cool appearance, when the rubber hits the road and you need to use it, it is pretty hard to deploy. It’s not as quick as you may need it to be at the critical moment when your life depends on it.

Now, the problem with using other types of knots is that you may end up with an ugly looking paracord grenade, but in my book, usability trumps beauty, so fair warning.

As per future reference, I would suggest DYI-ing your paracord grenade using the quick-deploy type of the cobra knot, which is the solomon bar.

This type of knot requires some practice and patience, but it’s fairly easy to do after you get the hang of it, and it’s lightning fast to deploy if so desired. Here is an example, take a piece of paracord and start practicing.

Video first seen on TyingItAllTogether

Moving along with our story, nowadays almost everyone has heard about paracord bracelets, which actually became more like fashion pieces rather than survival items for the urban prepper. A survival paracord grenade has more than just plain rope, but what’s inside is what matters the most. It’s here that you must pay extra attention.

A basic survival paracord grenade holds about twenty feet of paracord. Ideally, you should go for mil-spec paracord, but any type of high-quality paracord, rated to at least 500 pounds, will do the job if you’re stranded in the middle of nowhere, in the wilderness and all that jazz.

Obviously, you can create a bigger or a smaller one, depending on your needs and personal preference, but as a general rule of thumb, 20 feet, or roughly 6 meters, of paracord are marking the sweet spot, dimensions-wise. The idea is to strike the perfect balance (as in portability/convenience) with your survival grenade, else you can choose to carry some rope and a bunch of survival tools in a bag if you’d rather.

As I already told you, one of the key issues with DIY paracord grenades is to be able to take them apart easily. For example, consider that you’re out there in the cold (it’s winter after all) and your hands are frozen stiff. Struggling to untie the knots of your paracord grenade for deploying your survival gear in order to make a fire is not the best idea in a survival situation, right?

Video first seen on MOD

5 Essential Steps to DIY the Perfect Paracord Survival Grenade

So, if you want to build the perfect paracord grenade, you must follow a few simple steps, together with knowing perfectly well what survival tools to include inside.

1. Built it around a carabiner

A paracord survival grenade is built around a carabiner. That’s what makes it look like an actual grenade. Aesthetics aside, a carabiner is a staple item in any respectable survival kit.

2. Put some fishing and trapping gear inside

Next, considering that one must eat in order to live to fight another day, you must put some fishing and trapping gear inside your survival grenade. Items such as snare wire, small game trapping items and a small fishing kit would be perfect.

3. Add a small LED flashlight

A small LED flashlight would come handy when in need, i.e. starting a fire is not possible and you can’t find your way in the darkness. After all, the sun has a tendency to disappear for hours, especially during the winter, and if you’re afraid of the dark … I’m kidding of course, but an LED flashlight is an excellent item to have in your survival kit in any situation.

4. Include a small blade and a Ferro rod

Another item to consider is a small blade and a Ferro rod, as an additional fire-starter item. Ideally, one should carry a survival knife at all times, but having a backup is always smart, hence the small blade recommendation.

These are the bare minimum survival items to consider, but use your imagination and don’t be afraid to improvise (a small lighter or match sticks, striking sheet, etc).

5. Wrap the survival items in tin foil

Last but not least, once you have decided what to put inside the core of your survival paracord grenade, don’t forget to wrap ’em all up using a tin foil. Besides keeping your survival gear inside dry, the tin foil sheet can be used as a water container and you also can boil the water in it, thus destroying the bacteria.

Remember – all items must directly contribute to base survival in one way or another.

Video first seen on LittleMtnOutdoors

This particular paracord grenade hides essential survival tools inside:

  • 6 feet of fishing line
  • a razor blade
  • 2 small hooks
  • 2 split shot sinkers
  • a small strip of sandpaper
  • 6 strike-anywhere matches,
  • 2 band aids
  • 1 foot of jute twine for tinder and aluminum foil
  • the paracord itself.

Click the banner below to grab your Paracord Survival Kit! 

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This article has been written by Chris Black for Survivopedia. 

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23 Ways To Compromise A Backpacking Trip

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Backpacking Trip

Backpacking can be great fun or a death march. It is up to you to control the ratio of fun to suffering.

I have crisscrossed the globe since I was a child and have been in plenty of situations I would rather others learned about through observation rather than experience, patching bullet wounds in people and vehicles, exploring ice caves in the Eiger in the Swiss Alps without any socks (don’t ask), being robbed by a gang of Gypsies in Portugal and battling prehistoric mosquitoes in Brazil, to name a few.

If you are new to backpacking, please take a moment to review a few too common mistakes in order to maximize the recreational aspects of backpacking and dial down the Suck-O-Meter.

We started with only seven mistakes, that you might know already if you read our previous article on backpacking. But there’s more to it, so here is what you need to know!

1. Thinking you can put everything you need in your backpack.

  1. First off, the most important things one can bring into the outdoors are outdoor survival skills, judgment, vision and adaptability. If an individual is gravely deficient in one or more of these areas, there is nothing they can put in a pack that will save their lives. If this is you or someone you know, be sure you or they are accompanied by someone you trust who can teach and guide.
  2. Second, core survival/self-recovery equipment should be carried in your pockets, not your pack. That way, when any of untold numbers of unpredictable scenarios where you can be separated from your pack occur, (you are ejected from a vehicle, pinned in wreckage, set your pack down to rest, lose your pack in an avalanche, you are compelled to ditch your pack in order to swim, etc.) you will not lose your core survival equipment along with your pack.
  3. Third, don’t be too much of a gear critic. The other day, I heard someone trashing a great pack because a strap broke on theirs. By definition, survival is the most DIY (Do It Yourself) of disciplines. All equipment is a compromise between light weight and durability. If you use your gear, you will break it and must be able to repair it in the field. You should be able and equipped to repair gear or to improvise.

Repair Kit 4. Fourth, strive to become less gear-dependent. There is a balance to strike between gear and knowledge. The more you know, the less you need. I’m not saying not to bring any gear and backpack barefoot and naked, but that there is a balance between gear and knowledge, and most folks tend toward the equipment-dependent side of that balance. If you strike a balance, your back will thank you as knowledge is lighter by far than gear.

This versatile bag can be your next best backpack!

2. Trying to fill your backpack.

There is a tendency to see a backpack as a container to be filled. “You have space, so you can fit one more piece of gear in there.” Make a list of everything you need and nothing you don’t. Pack that.

If you don’t fill your pack, tighten down the compression straps or move your gear to a smaller pack, but it’s better to have a little extra room in case someone gets injured and you need to pack out some of their equipment on top of your own.

3. Lack of research.

You need information to plan effectively.

Some examples would be: distance you will hike, change in elevation, terrain, climate, possible extreme weather events, altitude, creepy crawlies and other environmental dangers, which water sources are year-round or seasonal and their condition, road condition, distance from services, permits or licenses needed, cell coverage area, local radio frequencies and repeaters.

You should also check if there is a waiting list or mandatory check-in with a ranger station, local laws, local customs, if you will be hiking in hunting season or other events that mean more pressure on the area, ecological concerns specific to the area and endangered species, presence of historical or archaeological sites and so on.

4. Don’t use a checklist.

This is a great way to forget important equipment and the tendency is exacerbated by stress so be sure to include checklists, contents lists and instructions with all layers and modules of survival and emergency gear. Someone else may be using it to save you and they won’t know what you packed.

5. Don’t empty your pack before you pack it.

Having a pack ready to grab on your way out the door is a great thing … for emergencies. If you have the time, use it by emptying out your pack, doing a gear inventory and repacking it. It is decidedly less effective to haul some heavy piece of gear you don’t need along on a punishing trip because you forgot it was hiding in your pack.

6. Don’t pack the items you will need first where you can easily access them.

If you are going to stop along your trek to filter water, you don’t want to have dig the gear you need to do it out of the bottom of your pack. Thinking modular terms will save you time and money and help you to not forget important gear.

7. Don’t bring a notebook and pen.

Keep an adventure journal or pertinent information such as position, date, time, temperature, humidity, weather, altitude, injuries, incidents and so forth on your trips. Note what works and what doesn’t and what you wished you had brought with you. Eliminate non-emergency-related gear that you don’t use regularly.

Notebook

8. Packing heavy items low in your pack.

Pack heavy items like water high in your pack and close to your back.

9. Adjust your pack so that weight rests on the shoulders.

This will tire you out and make you sore. A backpack should have a well-padded waist belt and a sternum strap. If yours doesn’t, add them or get a new pack. Adjust your pack so most of the weight rests on your hips.

This perfect waterproofed bag is light, tough and durable!

10. Forget to trim your toenails.

Foot Care Or round them off instead of cutting them straight across before your trip. This causes your toenails to be driven back into your toes on long downhill stretches causing pain and discomfort.

11. Don’t layer

Or don’t use layering properly. Pack and wear clothing so you can add and remove loose-fitting layers of clean, dry clothing as needed to control your temperature and provide ventilation.

It is better to be a little bit colder than is comfortable as you backpack than to let sweat and moisture accumulate inside your clothing. Your clothing is your first line of protection against exposure.

12. Dress for daytime temperature.

Instead of nighttime temperatures on day hikes. Any time you head out, you may end up spending the night due to unforeseen circumstances.

13. Don’t know how to use a map and compass or don’t bother to bring them.

Even if you know every inch of the terrain your are in, you may still end up needing a map to convince a lost group of their true position or to call in coordinates for a rescue.

Map and Compass

14. Pack a filter that uses micro-tubule tech on a trip where it may freeze during the night.

I have seen rashes of five star reviews extolling the virtues of new water filters using hollow fiber technology claiming to filter 100,000 gallons of water. They must not camp in cold weather. If you allow even a single microscopic ice crystal forms in this type of filter, the only way you will know is when you double over vomiting with a terrible case of diarrhea.

“No problem, just keep it in your jacket and your sleeping bag.” says the guy who can’t manage to wash his hands before meals on the trail. But he will remember to move his wet water filter inside his jacket, not gripe when it dribbles and gets his base layer wet and then transfer it to his sleeping bag after he forecasts that the temperature will dip below freezing … sure he will.

15. Eliminate essential safety gear because you haven’t used it on the last 10 trips.

The thing about emergency gear like trauma kits and signal gear is that unless you are incompetent, you won’t need it often, but when you do, you will REALLY need it. While you are at it, don’t be the ultralight guy who brags about how little weight he carried and then turns around and borrows half a dozen pieces of gear from his buddies and eats their food either.

16. Wear brand new boots.

Break in new boots before you take them on the trail to avoid blisters.

17. Fail to plan as a group.

Boy could a lot of survivalists stand to learn from this.  A well-run scout troop is organized into patrols. Each scout carries his personal gear and then his share of the patrol gear. They understand that if each guy brings every conceivable piece of gear that he could possibly need, you end up carrying a lot of unnecessary weight.

A group of 6 people doesn’t need 6 axes, 6 files, six sharpening pucks, 6 rain flies, 6 frying pans and so on. If you are traveling as a family, plan as a family. It is also nice to have access to a variety of tools instead of everyone carrying exactly the same equipment.

18. Poor planning exacerbates poor hygiene.

Maintaining proper hygiene takes planning and extra effort in a survival setting or while backpacking. Folks who have lived their whole lives with hot running water tend to back-burner hygiene if it means a cold bath in the creek, but you will be more comfortable and suffer less if leave your comfort zone and

  • Don’t pack gear to wash your hands before eating. Much is made of treating water to kill parasites like giardia and cryptosporidium, but water is only one way to become infected. You are just as likely to be infected with giardia by failing to wash your hands before eating as not treating water, yet even graduates of some of the best survival schools on the planet either don’t understand this or regularly fail to put it into practice.
  • Plan to eat meals inside your tents and cook near where you bed down instead of in a separate spot. For every person dragged out of a tent by a bear, there are 100’s who have had holes chewed in packs and tents by rodents, raccoons or skunks looking for a meal. With a more sensitive sniffer than a bloodhound, if you eat inside your tent even once, you should not use that tent in bear country ever again. You don’t want to become a soft taco for a bear, but you don’t have to be camping in bear country for eating inside your tent to be a bad idea, and it does not take a bear to chew holes in your gear in search of food.
  • Don’t bring gear to wash up properly after meals. I once left a camp full of scouts on the beach of lake in the Sonoran Desert to help drain a boat and change its plug in the middle of the night since the boat was taking on water. Upon our return to camp, I swept the shore with the spotlight to find a troop of skunks in the camp with one standing atop a sleeping scout lapping the remnants of the young man’s supper right off his face.

19. Make your pack weight conform to some arbitrary number that likely has nothing to do with you and your abilities.

Despite what “professional” backpackers (I never imagined I’d see the day where backpacking would be a profession) may write, there is no magic number for how much weight to carry.

Learn your limitations, know them and abide by them. You may be able to safely carry 2-4x recommended weights based on your bodyweight, sex and physical condition or you might need to carry a fraction of it.

20. Don’t bring a hiking stick or trekking poles.

They can prevent ankle sprains, dunks in cold rivers and disastrous spills in addition to acting as shelter poles, fending off snakes, preventing you from needing knee surgery one day, reaching someone who has fallen through ice and saving you pain two dozen other ways.

21. Don’t stop when you start to feel a hot spot.

Giant blisters start out as hot spots. If you feel a hot spot, don’t be shy about it. Stop and take care of it before it turns into something worse.

22. Head out on an expedition with untested companions.

If your friends are going to give you grief over stopping to take care of your feet, educate them or get some new friends before you need to count on them in a real emergency. You shouldn’t head out on the trail or a hunt with people you can’t count on. Try some afternoon outings with them until you feel you could count on them on a serious expedition.

23. Bet your life on battery powered equipment.

There is a false perception that the moment you press the SOS button on your PLB (Personal Locator Beacon) you are saved, a Blackhawk will immediately swoop down and pluck you from the jaws of death in the middle of a blizzard. In reality, electronics break, batteries die, everything that uses radio waves to communicate is capable of experiencing interference and human error can cause Murphy to rear his head at any of a number of points between you pressing that button and when you are safely home.

Do bring a PLB, cell phone, radio or other communications equipment, but don’t bet your life on it. You may be out longer than planned, so be sure to bring extra batteries.

Consider the following:

  • Who would respond to your call for rescue? Know who would get the call and what their capabilities are. This will help you to plan realistically.
  • How will they get there and when? Not all SAR teams have access to air assets and even if they are available, the weather has to be good enough for them to be able to fly, and they have to have the visibility to search for you. Many SAR teams are county volunteers. It may take 8-12 hours for them to muster and they will probably need daylight. Bad weather may delay a search so be prepared to survive another day or two and signal once they are in the general area
  • Who will foot the bill for the rescue?

This bag has the very best closure seal on the market which allows for heavy duty use.

This article has been written by Cache Valley Prepper for Survivopedia.

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Survival Hax Tactical Flashlight Review

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This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com I had an opportunity to try a review sample of the Survival Hax Tactical LED Flashlight. What’s included? Flashlight Rechargeable 3.7v 18650 battery with plastic sleeve Charger AAA adapter How does it work? Operating the flashlight is very simple.  To turn it on and off, you simply press the green button at the bottom of the flashlight .  Lightly pressing the green button also allows you to switch among the following lighting modes: High […]

The post Survival Hax Tactical Flashlight Review appeared first on Apartment Prepper.

6 Basics To Follow When Building Your Weapons

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Basics To Building Weapons

From self-defense to fighting terrorists, the question of how to build newer and better weapons will always be a challenge. Where to start from? What weapon is the most effective one? What features to have in mind? A lot of questions are to be asked, and finding the answers isn’t the easiest task.

The basics are always where you will return to solve problems as well as where you will go to explore new innovations and ideas.

So let’s start with the basics!

When it comes to the arena of personal defense, a good quality weapon must have at least six basic features. We’ll take them one by one in the following article.

Be Effective Within the Limited Scope of Self-defense

Consider a situation where you believe that a nuclear bomb is the most powerful weapon on the planet, and a ballpoint pen the weakest. Do you really need a nuclear bomb (as they exist in known modern technology) to take out a thug trying to get into your home?

While you may be enraged enough to lob a nuke, that doesn’t mean it is an effective weapon for your situation. Oddly enough, the ballpoint pen will actually make a better weapon against a single attacker. A modified ballpoint pen that can deliver poison or a dart will work even better.

Video first seen on ValvexFTW – ” How-to’s Weapons Inventions “

Put the Element of Surprise Back on Your Side

There is no question that an AK-47 or an AR-15 can be used to deter one person or several from harming you and your loved ones, but the size of these weapons makes them a bit hard to hide.

If you are out in public, carrying these weapons can alert more determined attackers to the fact that you are ready and able to defend yourself. This, in turn, takes away any element of surprise that might have bought you both leverage and a second or two of time.

Because there are limits to legal weapon ownership, but no limit to what criminals can obtain, this can put you at a serious disadvantage.

Perhaps we can even say never bring an “assault rifle” to a machine gun fight. In this situation, you might be better off carrying a concealed handgun because it won’t be noticed unless there is a need to use it. At that point, your attacker will have already underestimated you and followed through with an opening action that you have a better chance of defeating.

Even if you have a .45 caliber handgun, you may be overpowered after taking out just one adversary. This is just one area where being able to innovate and design better weapons will serve you well as a prepper. Being able to pack the power of a machine gun with the selectivity of a conventional rifle into something the size of a handgun would put you well ahead of any attacker.

Be Focused in Target Acquisition 

As far as small, effective weapons go, grenades are certainly easy to conceal and add plenty of surprise to a situation. Now let us look at a situation where someone pulls a gun on you, either in your own home or while you are in public. Let us also say that a family member, or even other innocent people are in the area.

No matter how carefully you aim the grenade, there is a chance that innocent bystanders will be hurt by the shrapnel. Unless you have a well-staged fire zone to throw the grenade into, and an ability to limit damage to bystanders, it won’t make for a good personal defense weapon.

In a world where terrorists are running rampant, it can be said that a weapon with too limited an impact has just as harmful an impact on bystanders as one that is too far reaching. For this scenario, let’s say you are out in public and a terrorist wearing a suicide bomb vest pulls a gun on you.

Even though a grenade won’t work in this scenario, a knife or a ballpoint pen won’t do much good either.

A rifle, on the other hand might be more suited to stopping this tragedy because it will be possible to shoot the terrorists while he/she is still further away from large numbers of people. This is yet another area where innovation in consumer level self-defense weapons might do far more good than you realize.

Be Free of Interference by Others

This includes free of the cost of ammunition, repair, and legal oversight.

Many people look to guns as classic self-defense weapons because they are effective, reliable, and efficient.

As effective as guns, tasers, and other projectile based systems may be, they also come with a number of prohibitive costs that include:

  • The actual cost of the weapon. A good quality handgun from a reputable manufacturer can cost several hundred dollars even before you add on better sights and suitable hand grips.
  • The cost of basic training and practice. If you weren’t raised in a community where gun ownership is part of the society, then it can be quite expensive to learn how to shoot, store, and manage a gun. In a similar way, if you live in a city or other restrictive area, honing and keeping your skills up can be quite expensive. Aside from paying for time at an indoor range, you may also have to pay for ammunition provided by the facility.
  • The cost of advanced courses and situation awareness training. The legal definition of a crime includes having making a specific, knowing decision to commit that act. As such, it should come as no surprise that someone intent on committing a crime will also be as well prepared as possible to carry it out.

If you are interested in self-defense, then you must also be prepared with as many skills and strategies as possible. Unless you are in law enforcement or in the military, the cost of that kind of training is very expensive.

Click here to subscribe to Survivopedia’s newsletter and get this month’s Free Report about the fundamentals of self-defense weaponry.

No matter whether you choose knives, bows and arrows, guns, tasers, or swords, the cost associated with advanced training and practice may well be beyond your budget.

  • Weapons, like any other machine, require maintenance and repairs. Contrary to popular belief, guns aren’t the only weapons on the market that come with a high repair and maintenance costs. Bows, knives, and swords can also cost several hundred dollars to repair or maintain over time.
  • The cost and availability of ammunition. If you remember the scandal surrounding the cost and lack of availability of .22LR ammo? No matter how you look at it, the cost of weapons that launch projectiles can be very expensive. To add insult to injury, ammo scarcity can act as a control point that may make it difficult, if not impossible to use the weapon you bought for self-defense.
  • The cost of permits and licenses. While terrorists and criminals who get away with murder and mayhem on a routine basis never worry about these costs, the average prepper has to deal with them along with every other expense on this list.

In these times, you might not always feel comfortable with learning how to make your own weapons and ammunition. At the very least, the basics may come in handy if a social collapse occurs and you wind up having to develop designs that go beyond a crudely fashioned spear made from a sapling and knapped stones.

Even something as simple as understanding what kind of blade shape will be most effective can make the difference between life and death.

Expand Your Strategy Options, Not Limit Them

In the arena of self-defense, it is very easy to have too many weapons that don’t work well at close range, or ones that don’t do enough damage to the target regardless of the distance. Avoiding both traps will require a good bit of trial and error. Before you even begin designing a new weapon, take time to study existing weapons and try them out.

While you are studying different weapons, pay careful attention to the basic parts and how they work. Think about how the weapon would work in a building, in a crowded area, or in very close quarters.

By the time you complete your study, you should have a list of weapons that will work well within arm’s length, some that will work several feet away, and others that will work up to or beyond 100 yards away.

No matter which one you plan to build, think about how existing devices limited defensive and offensive strategies, and think about how you can change the fundamental parts of the weapon to better suit your needs.

The Best Weapon is One You Have

Over the years, considerable controversy has emerged over the “Top 5” guns, knives, tasers, crossbows, swords, and other weapons. People in the military, law enforcement, or other walks of life are always more than happy to share their experiences with any given weapon.

For every testimonial shared, you are sure to find dozens that had a similar experience, and just as many others that had differing outcomes.

If you actually go out and try these different weapons, you will more than likely find yourself agreeing with some people, but not all of them. From that perspective, the best self-defense weapon isn’t one that you heard about, and should aim to acquire. Rather, it will have the following features:

  • It should be a weapon that you are comfortable using. Just because a .45 caliber semi-automatic has plenty of stopping power, that doesn’t mean you should give up a lower caliber revolver that you feel comfortable with. In a similar fashion, if you feel more comfortable wielding a knife at close ranges, it doesn’t make much sense to draw a gun just because you have it on hand.
  • Your personal defense weapons should fit your needs, budget, and comfort levels. In a stressful, life threatening encounter with a criminal or terrorist, a weapon that you are uncomfortable with can cause you to freeze up, miss the target, or lose complete control of the weapon and the situation.

A personal defense weapon should be something you feel comfortable carrying at all times. Remember, even a ballpoint pen can kill at close range in numerous ways. Never underestimate the simplicity of a device just because it looks harmless, or others don’t see it for what it is.

Within some limits, a weapon that you design yourself can truly be more effective and more efficient than anything you might buy based on the beliefs of others.

spec_ops_shooting_cover

This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia. 

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

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

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10 Mistakes To Avoid When Packing Your Backpack

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backpacking

We, real preppers, tend to be religious about our backpack. At one point or another each of us have fallen victim to every slip-up in the book until we learned our lesson.

Do you remember the mistakes you’ve made when preparing your backpack?

Let’s see what to avoid!

1. Choosing the Wrong Size of the Backpack

Usually, the bigger pack you have, the more tempting it is to fill it up even if you really don’t need those things. What’s next? In case you’re bugging out, you might find yourself leaving behind a part of your pack because it’s to hard to carry it.

That’s why you need to choose the right size of your backpack, and it depends on how much are you able to carry, and also on how long is the trip you are planning.

As a general rule of the thumb, here are some basic weights:

  • a 50-60 liter pack is appropriate for 1-2 day trip
  • a 60-80 liter pack is appropriate for 3-5 day trip
  • a 80-90 liter pack is  appropriate for 5-7 day trip

Don’t be mad if you don’t get it from the start, people usually use three or four backpacks till they find the proper size for them.

This versatile bag can be your next best backpack!

2. Too Much Weight

Contrary to conventional wisdom, ideal pack weight for survival scenarios is both relative and subjective: saying that everyone’s pack should be x% of their body weight across the board is somewhat naïve.

That’ why you need to take into account for each of the group member that you belong to:

  • the overall fitness level
  • lean body mass
  • body fat percentage
  • physical size
  • cardiovascular fitness
  • backpacking experience
  • level of mental toughness
  • determination of the individual.

Taking all of these factors into consideration, target pack weight may range anywhere from 15%-50% of target body weight for your build and height. That’s 15%-50% of what you should weigh.

If you’re overweight, calculating your pack weight based on your body weight will yield a pack that’s too heavy and you will suffer miserably under its weight on top of the extra weight that you are already carrying.

weight

3. Wrong Choices about Items to Carry

There are different lists on what your bug out bag should contain. I will give you one too, but you’re the only one that can decide over how many items should you carry.

And remember: more skills means less to carry.

bob

4. Not Having a Balanced Pack

You need to create a balanced pack so you could carry it properly.

Briefly, the core of your backpack is best for heavy objects. If you place them on top, they will make you fall forward, if you have them on the bottom, they will drag you down.

Do you wonder where this mistake comes from? Read the following one!

5. Not Packing Properly

If you have to unpack half of your items to get to the fire starter and prepare your meal on the go, then something is definitely wrong in the way you packed your things. Keep it simple and keep it light!

camping

6. Not Having a Waterproof or at Least a Water Resistant Pack

When you go into the wilderness, things can go wrong and they probably will. For example, you can fall into a water or face a heavy rain for hours. After that, you will definitely need dry clothes and a warm shelter, and you won’t get them if your pack turns into a wet sponge.

Waterproof pack or a water resistant one? Well, let’s see the difference before choosing what’s best for you.

A water resistant pack will keep your items dry when raining because it won’t let the water in. A waterproof one will seal the content inside and will keep it dry even if you fall into a river. And it will be even 30% lighter, as the seams are welded instead of being sewn together.

This perfect waterproofed bag is light, tough and durable.

7. Putting Your Pack On in a Wrong Way

A fully loaded pack sitting on the ground is a load that can harm you if not lifted properly.

Use your legs to lift the load, not your back with straight legs. Get into a lunge position to prepare to hoist your pack, then lift pack and rest it on your bent knee.

Thread an arm through the shoulder strap, swing the pack around and thread your other arm through the other shoulder strap. Lean forward to plane the pack against your back and snug your straps in the same order as you did when fitting your pack.

8. Not Adjusting the Fit of Your Backpack

Start with all straps loos and set the hipbelt on your hipbones, then fully tighten. Pull forward the hipbelt stabilizer straps, and tighten shoulder harness so that it fits over your shoulders with no gaps.

Pull down on the upper load stabilizer straps, and make them snug but don’t tighten too much.  Back off a little pressure from the shoulder harness, if needed.

When taking off the backpack, remember to loose all straps in reverse order.

Does it feel better or what?

9. Not Being Physically Fit, but Still Backpaking

Exercises and practice cannot be overrated. How could you carry your backpack on foot if you are not able to walk more than one mile?

All of us get old, but aging is more than just getting a few lines around your eyes; it affects the way you move and the way you think. Being able to move well and think quickly may be two of your greatest tools in a survival situation. Looking young while you’re using those tools is just a bonus!

Exercise doesn’t necessarily have to take place at a gym; you can walk or jog around the neighborhood, do lawn work or housework, or play a sport. Hiking is a great way to get your exercise and to teach your kids survival skills at the same time.

7. Not Caring for Your Backpack Properly

If you don’t care of your pack, it will let you down, which means you need to wash it and store it so you could preserve it for later use.

Wash it by hand and avoid detergent, as it may harm the coating. Waterproof it and use a plastic coat to protect it when walking in the rain, but also to keep the items packed dry.

Keep your backpack in a cool, dry place, and avoid storing it against a concrete wall or floor, because the moisture and the chemicals in the concrete might damage the pack. And avoid storing chemicals in your backpack, for the very same reason.

Did we lose something? Do you have anything to add? Share your thoughts so other people could learn from it!

This bag has the very best closure seal on the market which allows for heavy duty use.

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11 Gifts Under $25 For Preppers

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Preppers gifts

I don’t know about you, but just thinking about what to get a few of my friends and family members for Christmas makes me crazy.

They either already have everything, or I just can’t think of something that they’d like. I’m just not good at it. Plus, who thinks of prepping gifts for Christmas? It’s just not at the top of most people’s minds.

We’re here to save the day and, thanks to Amazon Prime, if you’re subscribed there’s still plenty of time to get these gifts and have them wrapped so that the prepper in your life can shake it and wonder about it for a bit before it’s time to unwrap it!

These gifts are also great for birthdays or just because you want to be nice.

1. Emergency Mylar Blanket

blanketWhen it comes down to surviving, a Mylar blanket is useful for many other things than just keeping warm, though it does trap up to 90% of your body heat.

They’re 52”x82”, so you only need 1 to cover you unless you’re really tall.

It’s waterproof and can be used as an emergency windbreaker, blanket, or raincoat.

It can also be used to catch water and form the top, sides, and bottom of a shelter.

The best part is that they take up less space than your wallet. As a matter of fact, you could get 3 in the space that your wallet would take up.

We chose the Titan brand 5-pack because they’re an American company owned by veterans, and all of their products have a lifetime guarantee. You can buy the cheaper ones sold in China, but why would you do that?

2. Ferro or Magnesium Fire-starting Rod

Without fire, you won’t last long in the wilderness, and your prepper knows it.

The problem is that matches get wet, tinder and kindling get rained on,ferro and lighters run out of fluid.

Starting a fire doesn’t have to be hard, though. Magnesium and Ferrocerium are two minerals that create extremely hot sparks that give you a leg up when you need to start a fire.

This one is our top pick because it comes with everything you need to start a fire quickly: wood chips, hand-cut fatwood sticks, jute string dipped in wax that catches fire easily from the sparks that are created by the ferro stick and striker.

The stick will light thousands of fires. It’s all packaged in a tin can that fits in a shirt pocket, and it’s extremely affordable.

This one doesn’t come with the tinder, but it IS attached to a paracord lanyard that can be used for many different things in the wilderness.

3. Water Filter

bottleYou can only survive for three days without water, but it’s not safe to just drink any water that you find. Water filters are a must-have in a survival kit, and there are a wide variety of them out there.

The thing to remember is that it’s not necessarily the thing that you can see in the water that you have to worry so much about; it’s the chemicals and pathogens in the water.

This bottle is BPA-free and converts crude water to potable water by filtering out 33 contaminants, 99.99% of microbial pathogens, and undissolved impurities from the water. It also reduces chlorine and trihalomethanes. That may sound technical, but your prepper will appreciate it!

4. Dutch Oven

Preppers, homesteaders, and just people who love to cook love cast iron, and a Dutch oven is a classic. These wonders are so great for camp cooking dutch oven that pioneers reserved precious space and weight in their wagons to carry them across the country.

The thing about cast iron is that it can literally last for hundreds of years. I have an iron skillet that’s more than 150 years old and it’s still an integral part of my cookware.

Dutch ovens such as this one serve triple duty because it can be used as a pot on the stovetop or in the oven, and the lid serves as a skillet, too.

Put the two together and you can bury them in coals in a campfire and cook anything that you want, including cakes, breads, and biscuits. Even though this one is $35, it’s still list-worthy because the lid is a full-sized skillet. This one falls within the $25 price guideline and is good, too.

5. Multi-tool

multi-toolBecause a person can only carry so much, multi-purpose items take top priority for a prepper.

There are many types of multi-tools that range in price from just a few bucks to nearly $100.

This one is a flat one that also comes with a flint fire starter, an emergency whistle, and pocket cover.

The tool itself has 25 uses including a knife, bottle opener, ruler, smartphone stand, saw and butterfly wrenches.

You can also go for traditional ones that offer hand tools, like this one. It’s attractive and the tools in it are actually useful instead of repetitive even if a person wants to carry it around as an every-day pocket knife. It comes with a bonus keychain mini-mulitool.

6. Prepping Books

One of the things that any good prepper will tell you that they know for sure is that they don’t know everything! It’s impossible to remember everything about survival, especially if you’re not doing it every day.

Since most of us aren’t living in the woods on a daily basis, or trying to exist without power, a guide is always a good thing.

The Bushcraft Field Guide to Trapping, Gathering, and Cooking in the Wild is good because it’s not easy to remember how to make a trap or memorize every tip for gathering and cooking outdoors in an emergency. Another skill that’s important to preppers is using everyday items in many different ways.

This book provides some useful uses for common household items.

Finally, this book is great for comprehensive information that touches on a bit of everything. Consider it an all-around guide to survival.

7. Paracord Jewelry

550 paracord is an integral part of any prepper’s kit because it has so many uses that you really can’t even count them all.paracord

Paracord jewelry is the best of both worlds because it has an earthy,  stylish look but is extremely functional; one bracelet has around twelve feet of paracord. That may not sound like a lot, but it really is!

This one has a fire starter and compass on it, or if you’d like to design your own unique piece for your favorite prepper, or even his dog, check out this site!

8. Gun Cleaning Kit

gun-cleaning-kitWhen it comes to weapons, cleanliness is next to godliness, because a dirty gun can quite literally be the death of you in a few different ways.

If your prepper is a gun owner, he or she will most certainly enjoy a gun cleaning kit.

This one is nice because it’s universal. You don’t need to know what kind of weapon your prepper has because this one works for any kind, handgun, shotgun, or rifle.

If you’d like, you can also buy some bore cleaner and lubricating oil to make it a total package.

9. Camping Mess Kit

camping-messOne of the biggest decisions that face a prepper is deciding what to pack in the bug-out bag. There are many things that a person will need, but one person can only carry so much.

This camp mess kit has everything needed to cook and eat a meal in the wilderness, and is lightweight anodized non-stick aluminum.

It even has a wooden spatula that can be used for many different things. It’s all nicely packaged in a carrying bag.

The way that it’s made, a person could even pack some fire-starters or any other smaller items inside of it, making even better use of the space. It goes over our $25 limit by a dollar, but it’s a dollar well-spent.

10. Tactical Vest

tactical-vestWhether your favorite prepper enjoys shooting or just needs space and pockets to put other survival items in, a tactical vest is always a good investment.

The weight is carried in the front, leaving the carrier’s back open for a backpack.

There are many different types out there, but this one is economical and functional. For additional surprises, fill the pockets with goodies such as a fire-stick or ammo!

11. Biomass Camp Stove

This biomass stove is a bit bigger than the original SoLo stove, but it can hold a pan instead of just a can. It’s lightweight but sturdy and allows your stoveprepper to build a fire without the need for oil, charcoal, or gas.

Its lightweight design makes it a viable addition to any survival kit.

We’ve tried to include diverse products with a range of prices, but if you’re still having problems thinking of a great gift for your prepper friend, head to your local Outdoor World, Bass Pro Shops, or Cabela’s. Better yet, hit the local Army surplus store.

Chances are good that you’ll not only find a gift for your friend, but will find something cool for yourself, too.

This pack of cards contains 52 encapsulated survival tips, covering everything from water purification to OPSEC.

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.

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The Trucker’s Friend An All-Purpose Survival Tool Made in America

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It is called the “The Trucker’s Friend”, but after taking a closer look we here realized it is a friend to all, because it is a tough all-purpose tool. A tool that combines the indispensable functions of an ax, (ax blade sharpened using a file), a claw hammer, crowbar, nail puller, wire twist, spanner wrench, grapple hook, tire chain hook and more.

What Is A Spanner Wrench? A wrench (or spanner outside of North America) is a tool used to provide grip and mechanical advantage in applying torque to turn objects—usually rotary fasteners, such as nuts and bolts, certain pipes or can be used to keep them from turning.

What Is A Grapple Hook? A grappling hook is a device with multiple hooks (known as claws or flukes), attached to a rope; it is thrown, dropped, sunk, projected, or fastened directly by hand to where at least one hook may catch and hold. Generally, grappling hooks are used to temporarily secure one end of a rope.

This tool does not have what would be considered a traditional “grappling hook”, called a grapple hook by the makers, but the hook can be used to help you traverse certain inclines in the wilderness (grab onto an exposed root or limb, for example, or to help hoist yourself up if trapped in a damaged structure.

Truckers friend survival tool

The Trucker’s Friend as the name implies is designed for truckers, and it is ideal for truckers, but this tool is also ideal for Preppers, campers, hikers, first responders, and for all those tough jobs around the house. This demolition tool will stand up to the rigors of camp life, survival situations and for those jobs around the home. This tool can also be used by emergency responders for rescue operations.

If your area is prone to earthquakes, this tool should be in your emergency kit for extracting yourself from a damaged structure or for rescue operations.

The weight is only 2.24 pounds so it can be lashed to a pack or carried on your belt without adding to much weight to your body. Keep one in your vehicle, garage, tool chest, and/or go-bag for any job that requires hacking, pulling, prying, pounding, demolition or even for self-defense.

Manufactures’ Specifications

  • All-in-one hammer, nail puller, pry bar with ‘V’ slot and lever, wire twist, tire chain hook, grapple hook, hose spanner, with a 4.5″ curved ax head
  • Shock-absorbing PowerGrip
  • Materials: cast alloy steel blade and shank, heat treated for extra strength
  • Non-conducting fiberglass handle (use caution when working around live electrical lines even through the handle will not conduct electricity)
  • Rust-resistant matte finish
  • Temporary blade guard included
  • Dimensions: 19.25″ x 5″ x 1.25″
  • Weight: 2.24 lbs.
  • Made in the USA: Parowan, Utah

Trucker's friend extraction tool

We have stressed in previous articles about having a tool that can do several jobs instead of having several tools packed in your kit. The Trucker’s Friend fits the bill as far as that goes. You can split logs for your campfire, cut limbs, pry up rocks, and even dig a hole in an emergency with this tool using the claw hammer.

The ax blade will require sharpening, and how often will depend on the type of jobs. Use a quality metal file to put a good edge on it, and then use a whetstone for touchups. Wipe the blade clean after use if possible and treat with oil to prevent rust. If you do see some surface rust, rub some steel wool over the metal to remove it and always coat the blade with oil after use and before storage.

The tool is well balanced, not as heavy as it could be, but this is not really a hindrance. Weight does help with demolition and chopping but the blade size is proportioned to the weight. It can tackle most jobs you would encounter, but as with any tool, match the tool to the job so you do not wear yourself out or damage your tool.

This tool is, obviously not as big or heavy as a full sized firefighter’s ax, for example, but as a Prepper, hiker, or camper, size and weight can be a hindrance. You simply cannot tote around a full sized firefighter’s ax in your bug-out-bag or hiking backpack, or store one in your emergency kit at home. A full sized ax would end up in the garage or basement and not be there when you had to grab your action bag to escape to a safe room in the home. It packs well in any vehicle and most members of your family can handle it.

You can use this tool to smash your way through certain doors, car windows, and even force your way into a locked truck in some cases. The uses are endless and you will not know its full potential until a situation presents itself. Be ready, by carrying a Trucker’s Friend in each vehicle, have one in your bug-out-bag, and keep one in your home’s emergency kit as well. You can get a Trucker’s Friend for $59.99 at innovationfactory.com.

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6 Ways to Survive and Be Found After a Car Crash

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6 Ways to Survive and Be Found After a Car Crash In 2011, a man named David lost control of his vehicle on a slippery rode and tumbled down a ravine. His family thought he was a goner. But five days later, the local police traced his cell phone to the general area of the …

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The Truth About Survival Gear

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Today I want to share a video by Canadian Prepper. It’s about all the new survival gear showing up in the market. The preparedness niche has grown massively ever since the Great Recession, and with all these new products to choose from, it’s very tempting to become obsessed with buying the latest and greatest survival […]

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

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WCK-cover-a

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

Here’s How It Works..

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

Layer #1: Sub Base Layer

Winter Clothing Kit

Sub-Base Layer Moves Moisture Away from Your Body

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

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

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

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

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

Winter Clothing Kit

Cotton Retains Moisture that Can Dangerously Lower Your Core Temperature

Cotton Clothing Warning

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

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

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

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

NEXT Up… We Need Socks… Wool Socks

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

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

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

 

Layer #2: Base Layer

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

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

Winter Clothing Kit

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now We Need Some Pants…

Winter Clothing Kit

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Winter Clothing Kit

Layer #3: Core Layer

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

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

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

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

Layer #4: The Outer Shell

Winter Clothing Kit

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

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

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

For extreme cold… nothing beats a down parka.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NOW for your Feet Neck, Head and Hands…

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

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

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

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

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

Winter Clothing Kit

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

Headwear
Next… You gotta… Cover your head…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Winter Clothing Kit

Sun Glasses


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

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

Share

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

EMP Survival: 3 Ways To Build A Faraday Cage

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DIY Faraday Cage

Storing a few key electronics that would be of use in a protracted power grid failure will ensure that you’ll still receive information, communicate and carry out other critical functions in the event of an HEMP. It’s common knowledge that a Faraday cage is the safest way to protect them.

Faraday cages shield their contents from electromagnetic energy. If you have ever had a magnetic resonance imaging or you have been inside one, though you may not have even noticed.

How hard is it to build this device by yourself? Read this article to see three simple Faraday cage designs you can build at home!

A HEMP is a multi-pulse of strong electromagnetic fields generated when a nuclear weapon is detonated high in the atmosphere which could cripple the power grid of a city, or even the entire lower 48 states if more than one weapon is used, or a weapon is detonated at sufficient altitude.

Faraday cages are not necessary to protect most electronics from the type of an Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) caused by solar storms (magnetohydrodynamic EMP.) To protect most electronics from that EMP, you just need to make sure that your equipment is not connected to the grid and then have a renewable energy source to power it without the electrical grid.

I hosted a series of EMP Q&A sessions at PrepperCon 2016 for Survivopedia and a lot of people asked questions this subject there too. Given the importance of EMP preparedness, I would like to get as many questions answered as possible.

Faraday Cage Construction

One common thread throughout many readers’ questions is that there is conflicting information online about Faraday cages. While building a Faraday cage does not have to be a complicated endeavor (if you keep it small and simple with no penetrations in the shielded envelope), there are some gaps in the public sector knowledge on the subject and quite a bit of conflicting information online.

Faraday cages are EM (electromagnetic) shielding and must be properly designed and implemented or they can cause more harm than good by acting like an EMP antenna instead of an EMP shield.

How to Build a Faraday Cage

Building a Faraday cage can be very simple. Here are a couple of designs to build by yourself:

1. Aluminum Pressure Cooker Faraday Cage

Line an aluminum pressure cooker with a large heavy duty freezer bag. You’re done! Equipment goes in the bag. Secure the lid and you are good to go.

This cage is compact and an aluminum pressure cooker provides more shielding than any other object you are likely to have in your home that I can think of.

I like this cage because it is very simple and provides so much shielding that it should protect the contents against even a super EMP weapon even if sky zero was close by. Second hand stores such as Good Will, Salvation Army or Deseret Industries are great places to find an aluminum pressure cooker cheap.

Pressure cookers are also very useful multipurpose survival items long after a nuclear HEMP or should you experience some other catastrophe as opposed to HEMP:

  • Pressure canning: Pressure can food to store until the next growing season or future years.
  • Sterilization: Sterilize bandages, sutures and instruments for medical procedures.
  • Cooking: Loosen the lid and use a pressure cooker as a stock pot to create stews. Stews preserve more nutrients and caloric content than grilling foods and having fats and oils that are difficult to replace under survival conditions drip into your cooking fire.
  • Distillation of water: You can make a number still designs with a pressure cooker and some designs using pressure cookers are more efficient than with a simple stock pot if you store a little copper tubing and a collection vessel will be cooled.

2. Locking Lid Trash Can/Faraday Bag Faraday Cage

I like this build and use it often. Faraday Cage

It is easy to access the contents and they can store quite a bit depending on the size of trash you can get.

Step 1: Line a new locking lid, galvanized steel trash can with a tight-fitting lid, like the rodent-resistant cans made by Behren’s (often used to store feed or protect the contents form animals) lined with a rubberized, waterproof pack liner or dry bag.

Step 2:  Line the pack liner or dry bag with a large Faraday Bag. The pack liner or dry bag is a non-conductive layer which will insulate the Faraday bag from the conductive trash can and provide an added measure of waterproofing and dustproofing in case this is an outdoor Faraday cage or in case indoors becomes outdoors in the course of a catastrophe.

General preparedness will serve you better than the reality TV negative stereotype of preparing for a single calamity to the exclusion of all others. You should be able to find waterproof pack liners or dry bags any place that sells military surplus or sporting goods.

Step 3: Line the pack liner or dry bag with an XL Faraday Bag and place the gear you want to protect inside the Faraday Bag. The Faraday bag provides about 45 dB of shielding by itself, protects the contents from water and provides a non-conductive layer to insulate the contents of the bag from the conductive layers so lining it with another layer of non-conductor is not necessary.

Alternating layers of conductor/non-conductor is more effective than a single layer of the same thickness. Alternating conductive and non-conductive layers prevents the Faraday cage from re-radiating EM energy into the space you are trying to protect. Good Faraday bags such as the one I recommended incorporate alternating conductive and non-conductive layers.

Step 4: Button everything up tight. Zip up the Faraday Bag. Tie a goose neck in the pack liner or fold and buckle it, depending on the type of bag. Place the lid on the trash can, making sure that it seals tightly all the way around and raise the locking bail/handle. You’re done!

3. Ammo Can/Static Bag Faraday Cage

People use ammo cans every day and most survivalists have plenty of them knocking around. They are also frequently used to house battery systems and radios, so it sure would be handy if they could count on them to protect their radio equipment from EMP.

This would add a whole new dimension to some popular product lines so I’ll give them a few pointers. This is a slightly more involved, but still relatively simple build, if you have a few tools on hand.

tools-and-supplies

Step 1: Remove the rubber gasket from the lid of the ammo can. It is held in place by 4 metal tabs. Use a hooked tool (like the one you see in the picture above) to remove it.

If you do not remove it, the rubber gasket is not conductive and will impede the free flow of electrons through the shielded envelope, re-radiating EMP into the interior you are trying to protect.

non-conductive-rubber-gasket

Step 2: Remove paint along all surfaces of both the lid and body of the ammo can where the lid will mate to the body of the ammo can and where you will install a conductive gasket to replace the non-conductive rubber gasket.

I used a rotary tool, some diamond coated bits and a small sanding drum. The corners are the most time consuming but it didn’t take long.

non-conductive-rubber-gasket-pulled-from-ammo-can-lid-paint-removed-from-now-conductive-mating-surfaces

Step 3: Repaint mating surfaces with conductive paint if desired. If you don’t want to go to the expense, don’t. Government agencies and police departments pay big money for rugged Faraday cages installed in vehicles and the mating surfaces are unpainted and have no conductive paint or coatings so I am going to skip this step in my build.

Step 4: Install a conductive gasket. If you don’t want to go to the expense of buying conductive gasket material, you can just layer aluminum foil or sheeting and cut it to the shape you desire.

making-a-conductive-gasket

conductive-tinfoil-gasket-cut-to-size

installing-the-conductive-tinfoil-gasket

While a little harder to procure and more costly, a conductive metal gasket would be more durable and a nice touch.

conductive-gasket-installed-under-gasket-retention-tabs

Maybe I’ll build some ammo can Faraday cages for radio and battery kits with conductive gaskets but since most of you will use tin foil, I will demonstrate the technique in this build.

I used about 24 layers of heavy duty tin foil. If you use thicker foil sheeting, you will use fewer layers. I used a box cutter and a ruler the first time, but a pair of tin snips or multipurpose shears made future jobs a lot easier.

If you cut or bend the gasket and it doesn’t go in beautifully, you can either redo it or just patch it with some tin foil. The electrons won’t care, but you might. It may not hold up for as many opening/closing cycles of you patch it and you should check the gasket every time you close it.

The cage will be just fine as long as there are not any gaps greater than ¼” in any direction. If you use an adhesive, be sure that the adhesive is a conductive adhesive, or just don’t use adhesive if you use tinfoil. A tinfoil gasket will stay in place without adhesive thanks to the tabs that held the rubber gasket in place.

Step 5: Line the ammo can with a non-conductive layer such as a small pack liner or a 2-ply zippered-seal freezer bag to protect your gear from the conductive shielded layer.

If you have the space, this could in turn be lined with a Faraday bag, but for tight builds like radio kits, you may have to shave down some pieces a millimeter or so in order to nest the kit inside the non-conductive layer and still fit the assembly inside the ammo can, so you may not have enough extra room to line it with a Faraday bag.

now-conductive-mating-surfaces-tools-used

Step 6: Seal it up tight. Close up the lining and lock the lid down, making sure that there are no gaps greater than ¼”. Pay special attention to the tinfoil gasket.

finished-ammo-can-faraday-cage

There you go!

Three easy Faraday cage builds are available at once!

A Note on Grounding

You may have noticed that these small, simple cages are not grounded. That is intentional. For a simple cage like this, built by a novice, grounding would cause more problems that it would solve. There is no need to ground a simple cage like this and it will do its job without being grounded.

There are some applications where Faraday cages should be grounded, so I am not saying never ground.

Large cages that could have their integrity damaged by lightning, and cages that have penetrations in the shielded envelope or which run mains power inside may indeed benefit from grounding, but those are more complicated builds well beyond the scope of this article.

After studying what our enemies, leaders and strategists have said on the subject and exactly what it would take to get the job done, for many years now, it is a wonder and blessing that we haven’t had an HEMP attack occur already.

Please do not waste the opportunity to protect yourself against this threat!

power_whisperer_banner_620x270

Be aware that protecting some basic electronics will make a huge difference for you after a nuclear HEMP attack. If you still have questions about your specific situation, please ask in the comments below!

This article has been written by Cache Valley Prepper for Survivopedia.

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Buying a Survival Kit? Why It’s Always Better to Make It Yourself

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Buying a Survival Kit? Why It’s Always Better to Make It Yourself There are a lot of pieces of gear you can buy to increase your chances of survival, but one that’s most frequently marketed toward survivalists is the “handy dandy” survival kit. Is it wise to buy a survival kit? Are these things ever …

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The post Buying a Survival Kit? Why It’s Always Better to Make It Yourself appeared first on SHTF & Prepping Central.

3 Reasons You’ll love Wish App For Survival Gear

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3 Reasons You'll love  Wish App For Survival Gear
3 Reasons You’ll love Wish App For Survival Gear

3 Reasons You’ll love Wish App For Survival Gear

Have you use the wish app for survival gear yet? Why not? I’ve mentioned it on the podcast a few times. It’s kinda like amazon for Chinese made goods. 

Before you say anything about not buying chinses stuff I don’t even want to hear it. The stuff you can get locally is all Chinese made and cost more. 

I would rather pay less and get the same thing. 

When I first heard of the wish app I was not impressed. None of the things I was looking for at the time were on there. Of course, I was looking for Olympic weights. Not the cheapest things to send. 

I mostly thought that it was for trinkets and jewelry. Being a manly man I cared not for these things. 

When I actually decided to give it a try I found out how amazing the wish app is for survival gear. Since then I have made several purchases I’m happy with. 

So what makes the Wish Ap for Great for Survival? Let’s dig into a few points.

 

Price!

The prices in the wish app for survival gear are very reasonable. With some being incredibly cheap. 

Just for example, the have Mechanix Branded tactical gloves for $5. The cheapest I can find on Amazon are $12 with amazon prime. 

On many of the things, I have checked wish has the cheaper price. Usually around half the price. 

Variety

The variety of things you can find is the best part. If you search right. And for the right things. 

I have noticed that the most high level you search for things the better the results. Unlike in amazon. Where you get getter results looking for the exact thing you want.

So looking for morainic will return no results in the wish app. But looking for high-level results such as Survival, Tactical or bushcraft. 

Basically, you want to search for the phrase that will catch the most results then scroll. You may not find what you are looking for but you will find something you want. 

Quality?

How is the quality of the items you will find from the wish app? It varies. It is a shopping app with many vendors selling their wares. 

You will have to look at pictures, rating stars and reviews if there are any. 

If the item looks cheap and junkie it probably is. 

The refund process is easy, though. So no big worries on being ripped off. The people at wish will treat you good even if the vendors might be shady. 

That being said I nor anyone I know who has ordered had been unhappy with their items. 

With clothing make sure to do your homework. The sizes are always weird. You are better off ordering a size too big. 

Conclusion

In conclusion, I recommend the Wish app for Survival for several reasons. The positives of the app outweigh the negatives. 

The prices on gear are often incredibly cheap on most things. There are a few items that seem overpriced. Most seem way underpriced.

Even though the quality is not always great it is always decent. I have not been disappointed with anything. 

Also since I haven’t mentioned it before the shipping is slow. The items are generally coming from overseas. Usually from China. Although I had an item come from the Netherlands once. 

The only issue I ever had with an item not showing up was refunded promptly. 

 

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

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The post 3 Reasons You’ll love Wish App For Survival Gear appeared first on Survival Punk.

The OFFGRID Survival 2016 Holiday Fishing Gear Guide

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OFFGRID Survival’s Holiday Fishing Gear Guide: The top fishing gear selections from the past year. With Christmas coming up, they all make great gifts for your favorite Angler! […]

The post The OFFGRID Survival 2016 Holiday Fishing Gear Guide appeared first on Off Grid Survival – Wilderness & Urban Survival Skills.

5 DIY Survival Tools To Make From Scratch

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DIY survival tools

Let’s begin today’s article with a question: do you know what homo sapiens means? Well, I bet you do. But then again, how about homo faber? What’s the relation between homo sapiens and homo faber?

Translated literally, homo faber means “man, the maker.”

To put it simply, let’s assume that dolphins are very intelligent creatures since that’s what I hear constantly on National Geo and the Discovery Channel.

But that intelligence doesn’t help them much; they’re just the same as they were 500,000 years ago. Cute, intelligent creatures that constantly get caught in our fishing nets (by mistake) and they can’t get out. They often end up in tuna cans (that’s why I never eat tuna, but I’m digressing).

Are you starting to get the picture?

Homo faber is a peculiar creature, and I mean us, the people, the only “animals” on the planet which are able to control their environment through the use of – you guessed it – tools. Okay, tools and a juicy brain-to-body ratio. Some say that we control our fate too with those same tools, but I have my doubts about that.

Regardless of what you’re thinking about your fate or the lack thereof, tools are pretty cool to have, especially in a survival situation. But then again, tools aren’t necessarily defined by what you can buy for $3.99 in your local hardware store.

Actually, some while ago, I saw an octopus on TV that was using a small rock to break a clam’s shell. By most accounts, octopuses are pretty stupid compared to humans.

The idea is that when confronted with an outdoors survival scenario, you can improvise tools from scratch, thus living to fight another day. If an octopus can do it, so can you, right?

So, if early humans were able to manufacture tools using first animal bones, then stones, then metal and then via 3D printing, what’s there to stop you from learning from your ancestors?

Now that you have the general idea, let’s see about a few primitive-technology ideas which may very well save your life someday, or at least improve the quality of life for you and your family in a survival scenario, which is the next best thing.

1. How to build a fresh water prawn trap from scratch

The idea is very simple and straightforward: one must eat in order to stay alive. So, with the prawn trap you can catch prawns and eat them. The trap is very easy to build using lawyer cane, vine, and sticks. Prawn/fish traps are very easy DIY traps which can successfully be used to catch aquatic life thanks to their peculiar shape.

Basically, you’ll have to build a simple basket with an entrance designed in a funnel-like fashion so that the prawn will get funneled in, but it will not be able to get out. Here’s the detailed video tutorial about the DIY-ing job itself.

Video first seen on Primitive Technology.

The trap must be placed under some tree roots or something similar in the water and it doesn’t require bait, as curiosity kills the cat … err, prawns. You’ll require a little bit of basketry practice but if you’re into outdoor survival, learning this skill may prove very useful some day for many different tasks.

2. How to make a survival spear from scratch

Spears were among the first hunting/self defense weapons used by mankind and this video tutorial will teach you how to make your own survival spear  from (almost) scratch.

Video first seen on Animal Man Survivor.

All that’s required is a cutting tool, which may very well be a knife or a stone with a sharp edge. and a piece of wood of the desired length. Watching the video will also teach you how to make a fire using what’s available in the woods, i.e. almost nothing.

Oh, I almost forgot – here’s how to make a rock knife if you don’t carry a survival blade on your person 24/7 (not good).

Video first seen on Captain Quinn.

3. How to build a grass hut from scratch

You do remember the holy trinity of survival, right? Food, water and shelter. I know that a grass hut made from scratch is not a tool per se, but it’s a shelter by any definition and it can be built basically anywhere on Earth, provided there’s grass available. Which means, almost anywhere.

This project is easy to build, with a simple yet effective design and you’ll only require a sharp stone (or a knife) and a digging tool (stick, shovel, whatever). Here’s the video tutorial.

Video first seen on Primitive Technology.

4. How to DIY a Bow and Arrow from scratch

While hunting with a spear requires some mad skills, bows and arrows are the ideal hunting tools for long-term wilderness survival.

This video tutorial will teach you how to DIY a bow and arrow outdoors, using primitive “technology” – natural materials and tools made from scratch, i.e. a stone chisel, a stone hatchet, fire sticks and various stone blades.

Video first seen on Primitive Technology.

5. How to DIY a cord drill from scratch

Check out this video tutorial and you’ll learn how to make a cord drill from scratch. This baby consists of a fly wheel, a shaft, and a piece of cord and it can be used for making a fire without getting blisters on your (soft) hands or for drilling holes.

Video first seen on Primitive Technology.

Now, with the “survival stuff” taken care of, let’s see about a few life-hacks, i.e. some “more benign” tools made from recycled materials.

Next time you destroy a tape measure, you can improvise a depth gauge using a piece from the broken tape-measure by cutting out a twelve inch section using a pair of tin snips. To get an usable zero to twelve inch scale, start cutting at the beginning of a one footmarker and then use the ultra-thin, elastic material for measuring stuff in small/confined places

You can use scrap wood from the shop for improvising a table saw push stick for keeping your hands and fingers on the safe side when feeding wood to the saw at a consistent rate.

Video first seen on Adam Gabbert.

Here’s how to make a scratch stock cutter from an old hand saw which can be used for scraping/scratching a decorative profile into a piece of wood, a method used by furniture manufacturers on historic pieces for creating a hand-made appearance.

Video first seen on Wood By Wright

You can improvise an adjustable marking gauge by driving a dry-wall screw into a piece of wood.

Video first seen on Paul Sellers.

You can use an empty bottle as a glue dispenser, thus saving money by buying glue in bulk. You’ll require an empty bottle that features an extendable cap, which allows you to distribute a consistent amount of adhesive for, let’s say edge-gluing boards.

When closing the cap, you’ll prevent the glue from drying out. The best bottles to use are bottles with sports caps, such as water bottles,, Gatorade bottles, or dish soap bottles. An expired credit card is excellent as a glue spreader.

If you want to drill perfectly perpendicular deep holes without a drill-press, just use an old piece of mirror and position it against the drill bit.

You’ll have to fine-tune the position of the drill until the reflection and the bit are combined in such a way that they look perfectly aligned. That’s all!

Or you can make your own smart saw at home. Click the banner below to find out how to transform your ideas into real projects.

CNCbanner

This article has been written by Chris Black for Survivopedia.

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The “Economical” Knife

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

Editor’s Note: This post is another entry in the Prepper Writing Contest from Scott H. 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.


The knife is an essential part of any survival kit. We all know that. We all carry a knife on a daily basis. If you don’t, you need to move to a Free State or start carrying one if it is legal. That said, knives are like vehicles and firearms. Everyone has an opinion on which knife is the best and most economical knife. Today you get mine.

Based off of every day, or at least situational use, my choices have been tested. The following opinion is based on practical, not tactical use of edged tools. All may be used for offensive and defensive purposes, but are not designed for that said purpose specifically.

The pocket knife – Tier 1

Spyderco makes high quality knives at very reasonable prices.

Spyderco makes high quality knives at very reasonable prices.

Every Day Carry. There are plenty of cool “tactical” folders on the market know. Open-assist is the bomb! I own several, as well as pre-ban switch-blades. There is nothing cooler than flicking a button/scale/lever and having a blade pop out to impress your friends. I have yet (even with the “high end”) to have one not fail in one way or another. So you really need to put some thought into your EDC pocket knife. It is not a “do-all” like a fixed blade. It is the do-most for everyday use.

As a kid growing up on a farm, I had the original “Leatherman”… An “Old Timer” multi-blade folder and a pair of pliers. Later I graduated to a “Buck” lock-back, single blade folder. I still have both of them. 30+ years’ worth of EDC. When pocket clips became the rage, I switched to a Gerber EVO Jr. I carried and used it for many a year. It finally got to the point that the blade would wobble no matter what I did to fix it. So it got retired. I picked up a Kershaw “Onion” as its replacement. Great knife. It is now retired as a Kershaw “Barge” has replaced it. So far, this is the ultimate pocket knife for me. I do tasks with it I would NEVER do with any other pocket knife. Besides everyday use, the wedge end is a fantastic Kubaton and the thick blade is very durable for defense. Check it out.

The fixed blade knife – Tier 2

fixedblade

Fixed blade knives offer greater strength and can be used in more situations.

This is my GHB knife. There are SO many good options in this category that an article unto itself could be written. The main thing I want is a decent steel and full tang construction. Several factors also come into play depending on your AO. I kicked this one around for a couple of years and determined for me, that the blade should be no larger than 7”. Single edged. Light weight. Full tang. Hold a good edge and be easy to re-sharpen in the field.

I tested 3 knives extensively. 1st was the Morakniv. This is a GREAT knife! Unfortunately it did not meet the criteria for me. They are not full tang. While they are strong and functional at most levels, the two I field tested broke at the hilt after a few rounds of batoning. I still keep multiples of this knife around. I really do love it. It just doesn’t fit my needs for a tier 2 knife.

The 2nd test was the Smith & Wesson SW6 Extreme Ops recurve. This dude is a beast. I believe it is 420 steel, so not the best, but it is thick and hefty. I have batoned 100’s if not 1000’s of logs with it for the backyard fire-pit and camping adventures. You do need to Loctite the scales if you want to keep them on if you baton. I use a file to sharpen it as that is the only way I have found to get a good edge on it. Yes, I know how to sharpen a recurve knife. Cheap steel. I beat the crap out of this thing and it keeps coming back for more. Between the steel and the weight, I have placed it in the Plano Box as opposed to regular carry. I have lost one set of screws batonning with it. I am not sure it can retain a decent edge for defensive purposes? It would make a great billy club though.

The 3rd test was the SOG Seal PUP. This is a good, light-weight, all-purpose knife. It retains a good edge, it is easy to sharpen and it comes with a decent sheath. I take this where ever I go. I don’t even know it is there. Mine has the serrated edge which is great for Para cord slicing and general rope duty.

The Kitchen Sink Knife – Tier 3

gurkha-kukri-aeof4

This is the big boy. A large knife can do everything a small knife can, but not vice-versa. As a proud American, I absolutely LOVE the Bowie knife. It is large and heavy. It really meets all of the requirements if you look hard enough. Decent, full-tang Bowies can be found for around $20. That said, the do all for me is the Kukri. I like the Ghurka House blades. It is an ax. A hammer. A scythe and a terrifying offensive/defensive weapon. If you get one of the budget ones, keep in mind that they are typically good steel. You will need to modify the ceremonial handle to not get blisters. They usually come with a couple of utility knives. Work with them. The sheath is moderate. You can modify it to your needs. Of course other options are available. “Combat” knives usually fall into this category as well. They are typically designed for one reason. I’m not saying that they can’t handle most situations, but do you really want to baton with your $300 “Hisshou”? Or dig a trench with it? Look at your overall situation and make an informed decision. Think about what you need and not what you want because it is cool.

Summary. Get the most bang for the buck. You can go all “Mall-Ninja” and get worthless gear. Survival relies on true and proven gear. I am offering my field tested opinion. Mileage may vary.

If you liked this article, please rate it.

The post The “Economical” Knife appeared first on The Prepper Journal.

Why you should make a mini survival kit part of your wardrobe

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I hadn’t dumped a canoe in years, so unexpectedly entering the water just above the John Day River’s Clarno rapids was quite a shock. I righted myself, pointed my feet downstream and tried to follow the course originally set for the canoe.

by Leon Pantenburg

The Central Oregon rapids last about three-quarters of a mile, and we’d managed to hit a rock cross-ways right at the head. My wife, Debbie, paddling in front, was also thrown out of the canoe. Her head bobbed above the rapids as she navigated the whitewater. Several minutes later, I pulled myself out in the slack waters of an eddy. From downriver, Debbie waved to show she was OK.

Integrate these items into your wardrobe and "wear" them every day. You may be grateful you did!

These items are easily carried on an every day basis

Picking my way over the rocks toward her, I did a mental inventory of my survival tools. Everything we had, all of our fishing, camping and survival gear, was headed downstream toward the Columbia River. It was a hot day, with no danger of hypothermia, and the other members of our float party were at the scene.

Neither of us was injured, and  it was not a survival situation. But if we had been alone, here’s the survival tools we had left:  I didn’t lose my hat, glasses or the GPS in my pocket.

But the Mora knife was gone from its sheath on my belt, and the butane lighter in my left front pants pocket had disappeared.  A whistle was attached to my life jacket. I had charcloth in a plastic bag, firestarter and my key ring survival gear, except for the flashlight, still worked. Debbie had a whistle, too, but her survival gear was somewhere downstream. But even soaking wet, we could have started a fire to warm up and signal for help.

You could get dumped out of a canoe, thrown off a horse that runs away or be in a shopping mall or hotel when there is a power failure. In these cases, all you’ll have is a survival mindset and the tools in your pockets or on your person. But a little planning can help a lot if you make some basic survival tools part of your wardrobe.

This is what I carry on a daily basis: These items are on a separate key ring that clips to my car keys or belt loop.

On the keyring: LED flashlight, fingernail clippers, whistle, Boy Scout Hot Spark and Classic Swiss Army knife. The other, large Swiss Army knife rides in a pouch on my belt.

On the keyring: LED flashlight, fingernail clippers, whistle, Boy Scout Hot Spark and Classic Swiss Army knife. The other, large Swiss Army knife rides in a pouch on my belt.

    • LED flashlight: This is one of the most-used items.  A flashlight could be what gets you out of a dark, fourth floor hotel room that is filling with smoke! It may also require leadership training before using. In any dark emergency situation, the person with the flashlight automatically becomes the leader!  Make sure you get an LED light with an on-off switch. Otherwise, you’ll get really tired of pinching the light to make it work.
    • Nail clipper: Until you have torn a finger or toenail on a camping trip, with no way to trim it, you can’t imagine how important a clipper is. In a pinch, it works as a tweezers to pull out splinters.
    • Whistle: A necessary signaling device, since you can only yell until your voice gives out. A whistle can be heard at a great distance, with less energy expended than shouting for help. The universal signal for distress is a series of three, equally-spaced blasts.
    • Magnesium or ferro rod: In this case, a Boy Scout Hot-Spark firestarter is the chosen tool. It can be used with cotton balls and petroleum jelly, or Chapstick, or Purell hand cleaner,  to start a fire.
    • Swiss Army Classic model knife: This knife’s capabilities are much bigger than its size! A classic has a knife blade, scissors, screwdriver blade, tweezers and toothpick. Most important, it can be carried with you at all times.

In my left hip pocket:

    • Bandanna or 100% cotton handkerchief: This item can do a hundred different tasks, including wiping your nose! Other common sense uses include shredding as tinder for the magnesium stick; signaling, and improvising a head covering or sun shade. I always carry at least one, and prefer to have several along.

In my right hip pocket is my wallet with the usual driver’s license, credit cards etc. These survival items are designed to fit in the credit card holders:

Firestarter, charcloth and a signal mirror can all be carried in a wallet.

Firestarter, charcloth and a signal mirror can all be carried in a wallet.

    • Charcloth: If you can catch a spark, from any source, on a piece of charcloth, then you should know how to blow that spark into an ember, and then a fire. Charcloth should be carried in a waterproof plastic bag.
    • Waxed firestarter: A credit card sized piece of this material, also carried in a waterproof plastic bag, will supply several minutes of flame when lighted with a match or some flame. The firestarter supplies that link between ignition and getting tinder and small sticks to burn.
    • Signal mirror: I made this mirror out of a piece of flexible mirror material (available at most auto repair stores), and purposefully sized it to fit a credit card holder. In addition to signaling, the mirror can be invaluable for locating something in your eye or directing light into a hard-to-see area. The plastic covering on the mirror face is left on for protection. Directions for use are on the back.

In my left front pocket:

    • Butane lighter: I don’t smoke but always carry a small lighter. It’s easy to “Flick your Bic” to light a fire, or make a signal at night, especially if you’re injured. (You can also use it to show your age at a concert!) Wrap it with a couple feet of duct tape, and you have added another survival tool.
    • Chapstick: Get the kind with sun protection, and you can use it for lip, face, ear and skin protection. Chapstick works as a firestarter when combined correctly with a shredded cotton bandanna.

In the right front pocket:

    • Hand cleaner: Keeping your hands clean may keep you from getting sick later. Purell liquid handcleaner also works well as a firestarter with the shredded bandanna.

In my shirt or jacket pocket:

      • Notebook and pen or pencil: You may need to write down map or GPS coordinates, phone numbers or leave directions and you’ll need something to write on. Don’t forget to leave a note telling someone where you went.

These items may help you get by in an emergency situation, but don’t rely entirely on them if possible. Always take your Ten Essentials on any outing, and know how to use them.

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Pocket-sized Survival Gear

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Pocket-sized Survival Gear
Pocket-sized Survival Gear

Pocket-sized Survival Gear

For survivalists who pride themselves on always being prepared, pocket-sized gear is often the most useful. The fact is, gear you can’t keep on your person won’t be available when you need it the most. That’s why pocket-sized tools, though small, are powerful and reliable. But what is the most useful pocket-sized equipment for the savvy survivalist? Here’s a look.

 

Multi-Tool

This may be the most obvious item on this list, but a multi-tool like a Leatherman or Gerber is an indispensable tool. With multiple knives, screwdrivers, scissors and more, both brands have a plethora of options that have an extensive collection of tools, or lighter, slimmed down models for those who want to cut down on weight. Gerber’s tools have a lifelong warranty, while Leatherman’s lasts 25 years. Leatherman’s also come at a slightly higher price point, but are name brand and have a reputation for durability. Whichever you choose, you’ll have a reliable tool wherever you go.

The Altoids Box Kit

While many companies make and sell their own pocket survival kits, like Whiskeyfox, you probably know what items you will need more or less of on your adventures. The absolutely essentials, after your multi-tool of course, can all be fit in a metal Altoids box. For instance, a smaller, lock-back knife may be handy. As will a Zippo lighter, magnifying glass, matches, Band-Aids and alcoholic wipes, a razor blade,and a roll of medical tape. This can all fit in an Altoids canister if you’re economical with space. Remember, you’re the one who knows just what and how much of each supply you might need depending on your plans and the environment you’re in.

Overflow

There are some tools that won’t fit in an Altoids tin, however. The company Vigilant Trails makes a nifty pocket fishing kit that includes hooks, weights, lures, line, knife and even a rod alternative. This kit is great for those who expect they’ll be near a body of water, like a lake or river.

If you get caught out overnight, you may need an emergency blanket. Emergency blankets are light, cheap (at around five dollars a pop) and made of plastic that rebounds your own body heat back at you.

While a GPS was once too large for a pocket, backcountry GPS devices from Garmin have slimmed down and become much more power efficient. The Garmin eTrex 30 weighs a paltry 4.8 ounces, has 25 hours of battery life and a 2.2-inch screen and is made specifically for backcountry hikers and survivalists. The eTrex 30 is also one of the cheapest GPS devices on the market, so you won’t spend an arm and a leg. Of course, with the holiday season right around the corner, stores will have special sales on tons of outdoor equipment. This is the time of year to get the most bang for your buck.

If you have a ready water source in your vicinity and don’t plan on leaving it, the LifeStraw is a straw that lets you drink directly from a river, stream or pond by filtering the water before it hits your lips. This is the smallest, simplest water filter system on the market.

 

Author

Alex Clark-McGlenn is a graduate of the Northwest Institute of Literary Arts Writer’s Workshop. His fiction is published in the Best New Writing 2016 anthology, The Cost of Paper, Smokebox.net, and others. In his spare time he enjoys cycling, soccer, and reading. He lives the Pacific Northwest.
 

The post Pocket-sized Survival Gear appeared first on Survival Punk.

Survival Gear!

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Survival Gear! Josh “7 P’s of survival” Listen in player below! On this episode we talk all things survival wear with Dustin Hogard. If you can’t survive with your everyday carry then you need to modify that everyday carry. I have tested a variety of survival bracelets, belts, micro kits and clothing. I have to … Continue reading Survival Gear!

The post Survival Gear! appeared first on Prepper Broadcasting |Network.

7 Essential Items in Your Emergency Survival Kit

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You do not know when an emergency or disaster may strike you. It is important to stay prepared and alarmed since safety is a must precaution for almost everyone.

However, staying prepared for the emergency ensures that you have the right kind of items in the survival kit. Whether you are moving out of the house in an emergency such as earthquake or hit by a landslide during a hike, it is a necessity to have some of the essential elements in the survival kit box.

As per the rule of the federal Government, people need to stay self-sufficient for at least 72 hours. So when you are placing the items in your survival kit make sure that they will be able to help you sustain and fight for your life at least up to three days.

So while you decide what to take in your survival kit first make out where you are going to need it. Is it your car where you need to use it? Are you going to use it while hiking or simply you need for a camping?

Whatever your plans maybe it is important to have seven essential items in your survival kit. They are –

  • Water
  • Food
  • Proper Lighting and Communication Mode
  • First Aid
  • Survival Gears
  • Sanitation and Hygiene
  • Proper Shelter

Water among all the items mentioned here is the utmost important. It is important to have a three-day supply for water for every person. Along with food, there should be enough food mostly dry to sustain a life for three days.

A flashlight is important for the night and dark places, a radio, extra batteries, mobiles with travel chargers and few emergency contact numbers.

Never forget to place both prescribed and non-prescribed medicines in your survival kit. And the choice of the makeshift toilet is the best way to survive an emergency and take care of your sanitation and hygiene. As for shelter, have sleeping bags or tents to give you warmth and good sleep anywhere.

If you ensure that your survival kit has these items, then you are sure to tackle an emergency or disaster single-handedly up to 72 hours.  The below infographic created by More Prepared, an emergency preparedness experts, will explain everything in detail.

 

bug out bag, survival gear, emergency survival kit

 

Mina Arnao  is the Founder/CEO of More Prepared, the emergency preparedness experts for over 10 years. More Prepared’s mission is to help families, schools and businesses prepare for earthquakes and other emergencies.  Mina is CERT trained (community emergency response team) and Red Cross certified.

Social Links:
https://twitter.com/Moreprepared/
https://www.facebook.com/moreprepared
https://www.youtube.com/user/ moreprepared

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How You Can Start A Fire From A Portable Cell Phone Power Bank

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How You Can Start A Fire From A Portable Cell Phone Power Bank

We have all seen videos around the internet on starting a fire with steel wool and a cell phone battery. That is  a great way to start a fire in an emergency. The issue is that many phones now have sealed batteries. So I wondered Can Start A Fire From A Portable Cell Phone Power Bank? With phones dying so fast many people carry these portable charging devices. 

 

How You Can Start A Fire From A Portable Cell Phone Power Bank

How You Can Start A Fire From A Portable Cell Phone Power Bank

The Parts

For this build, I bought the cheapest power bank I could get. It was $4.88 for a 2,000 mah battery bank. Which should, it states, provide you with one charge. For our needs, this will be plenty of juice. The usb battery pack came with a tiny usb cable. also we will need steel and tinder. I used some charcloth and a cotton ball. Note do not get the steel wool with soap in it. It was all I could find and it

Note do not get the steel wool with soap in it. It was all I could find and it doesn’t work well. I had to wash it off and let it dry all day. 

We will need to cut the end that plugs into your phone all of the mobile battery pack. Mine only had to wires. Strip off a little of the wire to expose the bare wires. 

Starting The Fire

I tried several times with just the cotton ball with no luck. I added a piece of charcloth under the steel wool and got it to work right away. Once the charcloth caught I started slowly blowing it to get it to burst into flames. It took just a few minutes to work. 

Can Start A Fire From A Portable Cell Phone Power Bank? The answer is yes. Save your phone and just 

 

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

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Surviving Blackout: 12 Survival Alternatives To Candles

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Survival Candles Alternatives

The electric is out and you’re digging frantically through the drawer trying to find the candles. Or maybe you’ve already used all of your candles and still need alternative light.

Well, the good news is that you have plenty of options and most of these are readily available in most homes.

Before we talk about makeshift candles, we need to talk about wicks and containers for a minute.

If you don’t have any candle wicks at home, you can make one using:

  • A shoestring with the plastic end cut off (which, by the way, is called an aglet!)
  • A strip of cotton cloth from a shirt, towel, sock, etc.
  • A piece of rope from a mop
  • Para cord
  • Candle wicks, which can be bought online individually or by the roll or at craft store.

Unless you’re using actual candle wicks that aren’t coated in wax, prime the wick by dipping it into whatever you’re using as a candle. Good containers include:

  • Mason jars
  • Sturdy used food jars
  • Tin vegetable/fruit cans
  • Sea shells
  • Empty tuna cans
  • Altoids tins
  • Teacups/coffee cups
  • Metal lids
  • Aluminum foil shaped into a cup/bowl
  • Beer/soda cans
  • Birch bark

Crayons

Crayons: those magical wax sticks that allow your 4-year-old to express his artistic side on your wall. Well guess what? They’re flammable and can serve as a candle in a pinch. Granted, you won’t get much light from a single crayon, but it’s better than nothing and one crayon will burn up to 30 minutes.

Before you light the tip, heat the bottom a little bit, then stick it to a solid surface. Put it on something that you don’t mind getting wax on. Then all you need to do is light the tip.

You can also create a longer-burning candle by taping 3 crayons together around a wick, then lighting a wick, or go big and make a pillar candle in the same manner using as many crayons as you want, along with a couple extra wicks.

Video first seen on DaveHax.

Crisco

A single can of Crisco can light your nights for a month. That’s right – just one can will burn for 8 hours a day for a month. Just stick a wick down the center of it, push the Crisco back around it, and light it.

If you’d like more light, put more than one wick in it. If you want to spread the light around into different rooms, put some Crisco and a wick in a few smaller containers such as jars or cans.

Bacon Grease

Do you keep a cup of bacon grease in the fridge? I still do! If the lights go out and you don’t have candles, stick a wick down the center of your bacon grease just like you would with Crisco. If you don’t have bacon grease, don’t worry!

If you have bacon in the fridge, you need to use it before it goes bad anyway. Pull off the fatty pieces and wrap it around a wick, put it in a container, and you have a candle. Plus … it smells like bacon!

Canned Fish

Cans of tuna, salmon and sardines, which we’ve already suggested that you stockpile, are some of the canned foods that are packed in oil. Now remember: some are packed in water, which is what many people prefer, so this idea won’t work – the meat has to be packed in oil.

Either drain the oil out of the meat into another container, or just poke a hole in the top of the can, push the wick in, and burn off the oil. Don’t forget to prime the wick. The meat is still edible after you burn the oil out of it. With sardines that you eat right out of the can, you can just eat them and then put a wick in the oil.

Cooking Oil

Just about any cooking oil – vegetable, corn, olive, coconut – will work as fuel for a candle. Pour it into a jar or can (a jar works better because you can put a lid on it and poke a hole in it for the wick. If you use a can, just hold the wick up with a clothes pin or something. It’s doubly important that you prime the wick.

Butter

Yup, you heard it. Cut a wedge of butter in half, stand it on end on a plate, and stick a wick in it. You’ll get about an hour per tablespoon, which means 8 hours per stick. If you’ve canned butter as we’ve discussed here, you have an instant candle just by adding a wick.

Video first seen on Grant Thompson – “The King of Random”.

Lard

Lard was actually what was originally used to make lamp oil and candles, so it’s tried and tested. The reason that I mention it separately from Crisco is because this is something that you can make at home. If you’ve already canned it, just pop the top, stick a wick in it, and you have a candle. You can also divide it into smaller containers to divide between rooms.

Cheese Wax

If you’ve turned some of your extra milk into stored cheese, or bought waxed-cheese, then use the wax off your cheese – or any extra wax that you have stored back – to make a candle. Shape the wax around the wick and you have an instant candle. The more wax you use, the bigger the candle.

Petroleum Jelly

We all know that cotton swabs dipped in petroleum jelly make great fire starters. It makes an excellent candle replacement, too. It’s not a good idea to use the plastic container that it comes in, so dip it out into another container, add a wick, and you’ve got a candle.

You can also dip a cotton ball into the Vaseline, then fold it up into foil. Cut a small x in the foil, pull a bit of the cotton swab through, and light it. It will burn for about 30 minutes.

Old Candles

Chances are good that you have candles that you’ve burned down, but didn’t use all the wax. Get that out of the jars by warming up the jar or gently using a butter knife to crack it into pieces to get it out of the old containers.

Melt the wax together. Place a wick with a weight on it, either the little piece of metal if it came with it, or even a little rock so that it stays in the bottom, then carefully pour the wax in. Let it set and you’ve got a brand new candle.

Lip Balm

These are nearly always made from either petroleum or from natural oils such as coconut oil or jojoba oil, all of which are flammable. Especially if you buy the little tins of lip balm, you’ve already got your own little candle, just add wick. If it’s in a plastic tube, just roll it clear up and squish it into a container that you can burn it in and add a wick.

Bonus Cooking Candles

This is a great way to warm up a can of soup or even cook something. It’s like a home-made Sterno, sort of. Use a tuna can, a sardine can, or some other short metal container. Cut a strip of cardboard that is as wide as the can is high. Wrap or fold it so that it fits tightly into the container. Pour wax or enough oil to saturate the cardboard over the cardboard and light it. You have a mini-stove!

Make a Candle Out of an Orange

You don’t even need a wick for this one! Cut the orange in half and clean out the pulp, leaving the center pith. Fill the peel with wax or oil and you have a candle!

So what’s the lesson of the day? Be creative and keep multipurpose items in your stockpile! Can you think of anything else that will work as a makeshift candle? If so, please share it with us in the comments section below.

And be prepared to survive an EMP! Click the banner bellow and prepare yourself for this disaster scenario before it happens.

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This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia. 

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Prep Blog Review: Are You Ready To Bug Out?

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Millions of people around the world find themselves in the situation to bug out. Think about how Hurricane Matthew messed up the lives of so many Americans from Florida to Georgia and Carolinas.

But not all of them know all the useful things about bugging out that you are reading about. Bugging out is not just about having a go out bag to grab when SHTF. Bugging out requires a lot of thinking, planning and physically and mentally preparing.

This week I’ve found 5 great articles on this topic to help you answer this one simple question: are you ready to bug out? Let me know in the comment section bellow.

  1. What mistakes to avoid when bugging out

Bugging out mistakes

“Whether you chose to bug out on your own terms or you are ordered by local authorities to leave your home, make sure you have everything covered. Survival for you and your loved ones may depend on the preparations you make and your chances increase greatly if you avoid these bugging out mistakes.

Bugging out requires some thorough planning and deep thinking because the road is never safe and there are too many unknowns you will have to face and overcome. Even those who prepare for a bugging in scenario must take into account that at some point they will be forced to evacuate.

It’s impossible to precisely predict how a disaster will unfold. Your fortress may be well-equipped, but if you have to leave everything behind, survival will depend on the bugging out plans you’ve made.”

Read more on Prepper’s Will.

  1. Have these go bag essentials

Go bag essentials

“It’s also common to mix up the definition of a go bag and a bug out bag, so let’s first discuss the difference between the two. A go bag is generally a bag that you carry with you that has the essentials of short term survival inside. These bags are designed for 24 hours or less of survival, containing the very basics to help you survive long enough to get home or to another secure location.

Bug out bags are generally used when you literally need to evacuate and leave your home. Bug out bags have enough supplies to last at least 72 hours or more in a survival situation. Inside of these larger bags are essentials for your survival over a longer period of time. In contrast to the go bags, bug out bags are larger and store a heavier amount of gear and are designed for surviving from a few days to a few weeks.”

Read more on Survival Sullivan.

  1. Have a bug out vehicle plan

Bug out car plan

“In the face of disaster, preppers know we need to move quickly. We should be prepared to act in a minute’s notice when we realize our family is in jeopardy. We each have our Bug Out Bags ready to go or they should be but it is a different matter altogether if the family bug out mobile is involved.

How many times have you watched a Prepper show where the family simulated loading all of their gear to escape town? Often it took them much longer than they anticipated and in at least one case, they couldn’t even take their main prep with them.”

Read more on The Prepper Journal.

  1. What papers and documents to take in your bug out bag

important-papers-for-bug-out-bag“A ‘Bug Out Bag’ (or BOB) containing some food & water provisions and various supplies is purposed for an evacuation of sorts… a time when you need to get out or ‘bug out’, for whatever reason or circumstance.

One consideration is to include important papers and documents (or copies thereof) in your BOB, just in case you might need them.

For example, let’s say that there is a high confidence forecast of a hurricane impact in your area and you have decided to leave. As you are putting ‘stuff’ in your vehicle, you realize that your home might be damaged to the point of losing it, and the things inside. Are there important documents that you should take with you?”

Read more on Modern Survival Blog.

  1. Why a dog is the perfect companion for bugging out

dog-bugging-out-companion

“When you are in danger, it is natural to get stressed. However, the way you handle your stress and respond to the danger make a huge difference to whether you will come out a winner. And, your odds improve if you have a well-trained dog at your side. So if there is a bug out situation, you definitely want a dog at your side. It will give you peace of mind and also ensure you come out unscathed from the SHTF situation.

If you are skeptical about taking a dog as your companion for bugging out, here are 10 reasons to allay your fears and change your opinion.”

Read more on Backdoor Prepper.

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This article has been written by Drew Stratton for Survivopedia.

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5 Things That Make The Difference About Water Purification

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Water Purification

The market is flooded with so many options that choosing the right path for purifying water for drinking turns into a challenge. There are water bottles that purify water as well as straws that allow you to drink straight from the stream. There are pills, and also filters in different sizes.

How could you say which one is best? Before making any choice, make sure that you know the tricks and traps of water purification so you won’t put your life at risk.

There are at least five things that make the difference when comes for water survival. We gathered them for you below, to help your prepping.

The Difference between Water Filtration and Water Purification

You need to understand the difference here because it’s critical to your decision. There are three types of disease-causing pathogens in water, not counting minerals and pharmaceuticals:

  • Bacteria: Some examples that you’ve probably heard of are E. coli and salmonella. There are many more and, so that you know what filter to look for, they can be as small as 0.1 microns, though a 1-micron filter will capture 99.9% of bacteria.
  • Protozoan Cysts: these are hardy little “eggs” that have an extremely hard shell. The only way to kill them is by boiling them but they can be filtered out. Examples include Giardia and Cryptosporidium. They range in size from 1-300 microns.
  • Viruses: Right now, these are rarely found in American or Canadian waters but that could change quickly if SHTF. Viruses include hepatitis A and rotavirus and range in size from 0.005-1 micron. Only purification by some means can remove these from the water; filters won’t work because the viruses are so small.

The Difference between Purified Water and Distilled Water

The debate about the health benefits of purified versus distilled water is a hot one. There are those who claim that they feel tons better since switching to distilled water and there are those that claim that distilled water is the devil.

Water already has minerals in it, but not after it’s been distilled or purified using reverse osmosis. Both of those processes remove most of the impurities – up to 99.5% of them – from the water, but also the “good” minerals along with the bad stuff.

Proponents of re-mineralizing water advocate the process for a few different reasons.

  1. You need the minerals, especially if you’re not eating properly or you’ve been out in the heat sweating. The primary minerals that your body needs to replenish are calcium, magnesium, potassium and salt, though there are many others, too.
  2. Re-mineralized water quenches thirst better and is absorbed by your body faster. This is a point of contention but the argument for faster hydration states that adding minerals back into the water boosts the pH and brings it back to an alkaline state. The water becomes ionized, which makes the water molecules cluster into smaller groups, which makes it easier for your body to absorb.
  3. Re-mineralized water tastes better. Though this is subjective, it’s true that the human palate is used to the flavor of water with minerals in it. It gives it a fuller flavor (that is to say, it gives it SOME flavor) that many people find preferable to distilled water.

This Survivopedia article includes some options for those who want to know how to re-mineralize water for drinking.

Reverse Osmosis and Distillation, by Themselves, Do Not Remove All Harmful Agents

Reverse osmosis filters out the clean water and pours the excess water, or brine, down the drain. Most systems lose about 3 gallons of brine to get one gallon of fresh water. Many people adjust for this by re-routing the brine to a bucket that they use for watering plants or other uses that don’t require purified water.

Distillation mimics the hydrologic cycle of evaporation (boiling to steam), precipitation (precipitation in an apparatus), normally a condensing coil), and condensation leading to rain (water cooled usually by a fan and and drips into a sterile container). Some chemicals evaporate and re-condense, just like the water, and pass through with the “pure” water.

Be careful when choosing your water filter, and remember that all reputable RO and distiller units are always coupled with good carbon filtration, preferably carbon block, to ensure removal of these contaminants.

Reverse Osmosis

 

Drinking Salt Water Kills You Faster Than Thirst

Though our planet is covered in water, only one half of 1 percent is drinkable! For example, people who live in coastal regions are surrounded by water but it does them no good because one of the quickest ways to die of dehydration is to drink salt water.

There are ways to make that water potable, though, and science is finding even more ways. In order to turn salt water into drinking water, you need to desalinate it first. That just means that you need to remove the salt. There are many methods for doing this but the most efficient and realistic way to do it at home in a survival situation is by using the distillation by evaporation method.

One of the easiest ways to convert salt water to drinking water is by using heat. You simply heat the water until it turns to steam, then capture the steam.

Basically, the water will evaporate but the salt and other impurities won’t. The problem here is that it requires a ridiculous amount of energy in the form of heat to get the job done. Still, it’s effective and if you combine the process with others, such as cooking or heating, you won’t be wasting nearly so much fuel.

Read this Survivopedia article on how to turn salt water into drinking water to discover a few methods of distillation by evaporation.

Tap Water Is NOT Safe!

We walk to the kitchen, turn on the tap and pour ourselves a big glass of that elixir of life: water. We assume because it has gone through the city water purification plant that it’s safe to drink. Wrong! According to some sources, water contamination makes 2 million Americans sick every year and that number will increase exponentially if SHTF.

Regardless of the water source, there’s always a chance that the water that you’re drinking is contaminated. There are many different ways that this can happen; in your home, it can be from outdated plumbing or antiquated water purification methods or equipment that don’t filter out modern-day contaminants such as pharmaceuticals and chemicals.

If you have a well then draught, flooding, mining activity or hydraulic fracking in the area can disrupt the water tables and contaminate your water.

Streams and other unpurified water sources can be polluted by chemicals, pesticides, antibiotics and fertilizers caused by runoff from nearby industrial plants or farms. They are also vulnerable to leaky sewage systems as well as animal defecation. Even acid rain and smog can pollute water.

Hexavalent Chromium (aka Chromium 6), lead, arsenic and fluoride are only a few top pollutants and contaminants found in water so that you know what to test for. There is more to add to this list if you read this Survivopedia article on the topic.

Do you have other concerns about water purification that we should know about? If so, tell us about them in the comments section below.

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This article has been written by John Gilmore for Survivopedia. 

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Do You Really Need That to Survive?

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We are starting a series of articles on gear, material, and supplies for survival that you may or may not need. Finances are a big problem when it comes to prepping, and if you are avid readers of survival forums, websites, and blogs then you are inundated with recommendations on gear and supplies, the problem, however, is money.

Many of the sites do a good job of convincing you that you need a certain product or you won’t survive. We here always try to present the pros and con’s, who may benefit the most from a product and in some cases, may state a certain product is not for everyone.

You as a Prepper have to consider all aspects with the financial aspect front and center in most cases. Will a certain piece of gear help you, will it pay for itself, and how easy is it to use all have to be considered when buying gear and products.

Money is not always a consideration when buying a product. Your safety is, as well, along with avoiding cluttering up your survival backpack, with needless items, and not to mention adding weight.

It is easy to get lulled into a sense of security or even accomplishment if you think you have gear that does it all. Gear fails and some products do live up to the hype. You have to know what you need to survive and then make sure you have what you need to meet the basics for survival. The basics for survival in all situations, and given the threats out there today, you may find yourself in one that you never imagined could happen.

You can’t afford financially or from a safety standpoint to buy gear and equipment that doesn’t work or cost you your hard-earned dollars and is not up to the job.

Instead of reaching for your wallet, maybe do some research on the product first, and evaluate whether it is a true piece of survival gear or just a shiny, looks good Rambo knife for example. There will always be reviews online for any gear out there, so check several places and do a careful evaluation before buying.

Reinventing the mousetrap does not necessarily make it better, and yet some of the survival gear out there is just a flashy version of what has been around for years in some cases. You don’t need to buy a Rube Goldberg contraption to crack an egg.

A previous article talked about freeze-dried foods and should you buy one to do your own. You have to decide and don’t take our word for anything, do independent research and then decide.

The next article we will choose a piece of gear or equipment and discuss its survival value.

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Money Mondays: Take Advantage of National Preparedness Month Sales

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This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com Just a quick post on this Labor Day holiday.  I hope everyone is taking a day off to unwind, spend time on fun things like hobbies or any end of summer festivities. September is  National Preparedness Month A lot of people take a break from preparing for emergencies during the summer.  That’s not a bad thing at all.  Sometimes, it’s a good idea to take some time to relax and not feel burnt […]

The post Money Mondays: Take Advantage of National Preparedness Month Sales appeared first on Apartment Prepper.

How To Survive If You Get Lost In The Mountains

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Surviving In The Mountains

Many people find themselves wishing that they could spend the rest of their lives in the mountains. Perhaps this is why many people choose these places to go on vacation regardless of the time of the year.

While there is much to see and enjoy in a mountain setting, there are also some dangers that you must be aware of, especially if you get lost. 

Even if you are a seasoned mountain hiker, you may still get lost and need to know how to survive until you get back to civilization.

The following guide is meant as an introduction to how to survive in the mountains so that you can increase your chances of getting home quickly, easily and safely.

Always Pack and Choose Partners for Success

Before you go into the mountains, it is very important to make sure your backpack contains all the necessary supplies for routine travel as well as if you become lost or injured.

  • Make a detailed travel plan and make sure that each person traveling with  you has a copy of it.  This plan should also include meeting points in case something happens that causes you to get separated from the group.
  • Aside from having first aid supplies, one or more people in the group should be trained in how to handle medical emergencies. It will also be helpful if this person knows how to use natural medicines.
  • Try to travel with at least 2 other people. It is not advisable to travel alone.
  • Everyone in the hiking party should have their own backpack equipped with basic survival supplies. This should include a compass, map, mirror, small first aid kit, whistle, flashlight, a fully charged cell phone or satellite phone (with emergency phone numbers), and bright colored material to attract aerial rescuers.
  • It is important to always bring food or water with you even through it is only a day hike.
  • Each member of the party should have a compact water filter system and water purification tablets.
  • Bring an emergency blanket and a tarp to help you stay warm.
  • Pack the correct clothing for the time of year. If it is cool or cold, then pack clothing that can be worn in layers to put on or take off as necessary.
  • Bring the correct type of gear for the time of year. This could include snowshoes, cross country skies, insulated boots or ice grippers for the boots.
  • If you are going to be in a snowy country,  be sure to pack your emergency beacon and emergency airbag. When activated, the airbag will give you more buoyancy, which helps to keep you on top of the avalanche.

Make Sure Others Realize You Might Need Help

Planning your route through the mountains does more than give you a clear idea of the terrain you will be traveling through. Your plans are a key survival tool. Copies should be left behind with someone that you trust.

The best plans are:

  • Made well ahead of time and compared with detailed trail maps.
  • Include information from professionals who have traveled in the area; search information about the route and what to expect – this includes landmarks in the area and what dangers can you expect.
  • Always check the weather forecast for the area you plan to hike in, plus the time of the sunrise and sunset.  This information will help you gauge expected temperature changes so that you have enough time to setup camp or gather materials if needed.
  • Let others know where you might go or be if you are in an emergency situation or cannot travel.
  • Set clear time frames for when you will be leaving and when you are expected to come back.
  • Give information on what rescue groups are in the area in case you do not return as expected. If you don’t return at the expected time, this will make it easier for the person you left plans with to initiate a rescue mission.

Things to Do When Hiking

  • Every so often, look behind you. This will help you remember what the route looks like on the way back home.
  • Look for landmarks and try to locate them on the map.
  • Take some photos of the route you have taken. Include pictures with your hand pointing in the direction to go when heading back home.  Try to include landmarks located near the trail.
  • If you become concerned about not being able to find your way home, make some arrows on the ground with loose rocks or branches. Be sure to destroy them on the way home.

Surviving the Mountains

How to Manage Getting Lost

Even though you may have hiked along happily for several hours, there is going to be a moment when you realize that you aren’t where you thought you were. Regardless of how you got lost, it is important to take the following steps:

  • First, DO NOT PANIC!
  • You must stop, stay calm, stay put and make your plan.
  • Sit down, eat and drink something. This will calm you down and give you a chance to make a plan.
  • Panicking can only make it worse for you.  The last thing you want to do is go thrashing around further away from a viable trail or deeper into the mountain wilderness.  If it is getting late in the day and you are in a safe area, it may be best to make camp and get a good night’s rest before starting again in the morning.
  • If you feel you are lost do not start running or walking faster than your normal pace.   If you do, you risk the chance of falling in the mountainous terrain.
  • Never split from the group or split the group up. If you do so, the rescue party will be looking for two groups of people instead of one.

Action plan

After you have regained your composure and come to terms with being lost, use the following plan of action to get yourself out of mountains safely:

Think

  • How did you get here?
  • What land marks should you be able to see?
  • What was the direction of travel?
  • What was the last known position where you were sure you were on the right trail?

Observe

  • What does the terrain look like?
  • Where on the map does it look like that?
  • What is the sun’s location in the sky?
  • How much time is left before sunset?
  • What is left in the supply inventory?
  • How long will the supplies last?

Plan

  • Never move from this area until you have a plan.
  • Based on your observations and thinking, come up with workable plans, and then use the best one.
  • Even though phones may not work deep in the mountains, you may be lucky enough to have coverage.  If you can get a signal, call for help.  The person answering may tell you how to get back to a main road safely, or they will arrange for someone to come and help you.
  • Try to signal to other hikers in the area by blowing a whistle three times (this is the international distress signal.)
  •  If you are trying to signal to aircraft, try using a mirror, put on bright colored clothing, or arrange objects to spell out HELP  or SOS in an area where someone in a plane or helicopter can spot them.
  • If you are carrying a flare gun, shoot a flare when an approaching aircraft is coming towards you. When the flare is seen, the aircraft will circle you to let you know that you have been spotted.

Dealing With Injuries

If someone is injured in your party the best thing to do is to stay put and signal for help.  Look for a sheltered spot to keep you out of the rain and wind before it gets dark. Depending on the temperatures and the situation:

  • To avoid hypothermia put on more clothing to help you stay warm.
  • Use the tarps and emergency blankets to make a tent to sleep in.
  • Don’t sleep near bodies of quickly moving water. The noise might make it hard to hear the rescuers.
  • Carefully start a controlled fire for warmth and to help signal your location to rescuers.
  • Hang colorful items from the backpacks on trees and bushes to help rescuers find you.
  • If you feel confident enough after some rest, try to retrace your footsteps to find the path you were on yesterday.

Quick Tricks to Get Off the Mountain

If you are able to travel, pick a direction and keep moving. It does not matter which direction. Just keep moving straight until you reach running water. Here’s why:

  • In the mountains, communities are located around water supplies. Finding a river or creek and following it may lead you to a small town. Always follow the water downstream. At some point you are going to cross a road or a road junction. Following the water downstream will also eventually take you back to more populated areas.
  • If you’re hiking above the treeline in the mountains, follow cairns and blazes to get you down the mountain.

Skills You Need for Surviving in the Mountains

If in the event your short day hike turns into a multi-day disaster, it is to your advantage to have the following skills:

  • How to start a fire.
  • Build a shelter.
  • Find or secure safe drinking water.
  • How to determine what is and what is not safe to eat.
  • Signal for help.
  • Hunt, trap, or fish for food.
  • How to cope with freezing temperatures, blizzards, and other severe weather conditions. With each increasing foot of latitude, temperatures fall and so does your chance of surviving if you don’t know how to stay warm. Even if it is summertime in the foothills or valleys, you may still have freezing temperatures on the mountain tops.  No matter how warm you may think it will be in the mountains, keep extra layers of clothes on hand, plus heavier gear.  Pack them in vacuum bags if you need to compact them for easier travel.
  • Manage your breathing in higher elevations (especially if you aren’t used to thinner air or are a bit out of shape).

Are you interested in finding more about surviving in the mountains? CLICK HERE to subscribe for Survivopedia’s newsletter and get more tips on how to get alive when you get lost in the mountains!

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This article has been written by Fred Tyrell for Survivopedia.

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Survival Gear I’m Ashamed to Own

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Here’s something different (and funny) for a change. Canadian Prepper is one of the most knowledgeable preppers on Youtube, but even he has made some questionable decisions, such as the decisions to purchase these ridiculous survival items. I myself have made some silly purchases before, so I can definitely sympathize with him. However, I never […]

The post Survival Gear I’m Ashamed to Own appeared first on Urban Survival Site.

Endless Match Unboxing: A Great Cheap Survival Tool You Need

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Endless Match Unboxing: A Great Cheap Survival Tool You Need

I unbox the Endless Match I bought from Wish. With shipping, this great survival tool set me back three bucks. You are supposed to fill it with lighter fluid before use. Which I didn’t know because it does not come with instructions. In my case, I could smell lighter fluid in it. So the two times I light it didn’t damage it. Using it is simple. I figured it out in a few seconds.

It has a tiny ferrocerium rod on the side. The match has a tiny striker and wick on one end. You just strike it till the wick catches. The flame that this little match puts off is pretty impressive. Using it to start a fire would be no problem.

The Endless Match claims to be waterproof as well. I have not tested that yet but it screws in tightly with a gasket. This also hopefully retains the lighter fluid as well. The last thing I want is lighter fluid leaking out my endless match all over my pack or pocket. I don’t want to become the endless match myself.

Even though it is made to be carried on a keychain I would rather throw it in a pack or pocket. The tiny keyring to attach to a keychain is very flimsy looking. I am rough on Key ring EDC items and most don’t last. Either they break, get lost from poor retention or damage my pants. I had to stop wearing P38 can opener because it kept shredding my pockets.

 

 

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Emergency Survival Gear for Students

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

Editor’s Note: This post contributed by Julie Martin. 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.


The dangers in this modern century require survival basics from all of us. This article provides some essential information on a few prepping basics of emergency survival gear which may be especially useful for older students. Learning some of given rules and tips may save time in a dangerous situation or to keep you alive in case your life is threatened.

Every Day Carry

EDC is a basic of the basics if you want to be prepared for something out of the norm. It is a misconception that such a gear is a large bag of stuff which most of the people would never use. Firstly, if you think about the critical situation which may occur ‘you never know when’ having it already guarantees some feeling of security. Secondly, EDC should consist of small light tools which make the whole gear comfortable to carry around.

The specialists advise some obvious tools like some sort of small knife, multi-tool, watch, and flashlight as well as things not everyone could figure out as survival kit: spare cash, flash drive with copies of necessary documents or handkerchief which can be used as a dust mask, sling or tourniquet. The pro-gear will also include something to make fire with, firearm, paracord, and other tools which are better to learn before carrying around.  You can fit each of these pieces together to make your own variant of EDC that works for you.

“Big Three” Rule

You just can’t predict when a critical situation occurs; this is the reason to keep your emergency kit in three places: car-home-university. By doing that you are able to reach some necessary tools in a limited amount of time and increase your chance to save your or somebody else life.  Don’t forget to organize your ‘Get Home Plan’ if getting an emergency kit from your class is impossible.

Get Home Plan

Our natural instincts force us to get home in a disaster and it is reasonable as usually at home we have supplies designed especially for survival, we know where they lie and how to use them. For those students living in their family’s house, it is also important to reach their parents and make sure the rest of the family is safety. But what about getting home? Specialists advise thinking about a Get Home Bag for students studying more than few miles from their home. It has to contain basic supplies you might need to reach home: water, some food, gloves, lighter, multi-tool, headlamp, dust mask, and some medical tools. A number of supplies depend on whether you’ll drive home or walk in case car is damaged. Make several plans of getting home for alternative situations, for example, “roads are blocked” or “impossible to reach the car” and plan about 5-6 routes home through different areas. It is very useful to have a communication plan with your family: remember that in a disaster it is difficult to rely on cell phone communication.

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Plan multiple routes you can take away from school back to safety and a communication plan with family.

Reacting to Active Terrorists’ Attacks

One of the most extreme situations possible to happen in your university building is a terrorist attack in which your aim should be not to get shot. Dealing with the hostile situation is all about reaction: when every second counts it is better to have already planned actions in mind. Consider the plan of building, possible paths, means of communication in the building, and the safest zones. Panic can be fatal during hostile and avoiding it is only possible through good prepping. If there is an accessible escape route, attempt to leave the premises; don’t try to hide under the desk in case there is still an unblocked emergency path.

If you’re locked in the building and attacks have begun, think about the cover. Look for positions you may use as a cover from the view (bush, tabletop, door, rubbish bin, shadow), and from the fire (concrete wall, dead ground, car, heavy furniture, thick tree, curbstone).  While using a cover as a shield always look around it, not over the cover. If you need to move while staying in cover, look around and select a piece of cover you will fast move to but stay low.Be careful with light-colored walls and lights as you may silhouette yourself. Camouflage yourself using light colors: black is always easy to notice even at night as there is quite a little black in nature and interior.

Moving Through a Building and Evacuation during Terrorists’ Attack

It may be dangerous to go through the doorway: always consider that there are no threats in the room or corridor you enter any possible way. If you have to evacuate from the building – do it as fast and quiet as possible: plan your path and don’t use obvious routes which could be already blocked or trapped. Always keep low while walking down corridors staying a couple of feet off the wall: that may prevent ricocheting part of the wall if you get under fire. Also use the door as a cover in the corridor while moving. It should be noticed it is important to check behind you constantly but not to stand up: stay on knees if you want to check what is happening behind your back and be aware of possible shadows you cast. Don’t stay behind the door for too long: if terrorists use rifles, they may shoot through the door easily.

It should be mentioned that even in such a critical situation it is vital to keep a cool head: avoiding panicking may save not only your life but lives of many people. If you’ll manage to escape the building – leave the dangerous area and summon support.

On the Run

It is very important to get familiar with the basic instructions on how to escape from terrorists or kidnappers. In planning your actions, you should consider having good knowledge of the area where you study and live: learn all the safe areas in your locations and possible paths as long as your goal in such situation is to reach a safer place. Download the app which enables to track you in case you need to escape quickly and make sure needed maps are downloaded so they may be opened without network or Internet access. Be very attentive with booking tickets in case you escape from the unfamiliar city: some programs show your current location. It’s useful to remember that equipment which helps you to survive and escape has to be small, light and nondescript, like a thin wire, small lock pick set, razor blades or whistle. Learn more about escape equipment and evasion kit here.

About the Author: Julie Martin is a content writer for assignment help blog MyMathDone. She also makes training for students about how to behavior in dangerous conditions and emergency actions. She leaves in California, where nature and human influence always become a reason of dangerous situations. That’s why even if you are in class you should be ready for everything. You can catch Julie on Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn for more interesting stories.

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Surviving Nature: How To Prepare For A Hurricane

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If you live anywhere near the Gulf of Mexico or the Eastern Seaboard of the United States, you know that hurricane season can be a time of great stress.

Some years, you have nothing to worry about. Other seasons, such as the season of 2004, teach you the value of preparedness.

What is a Hurricane?

A hurricane is a type of tropical cyclone.  In the Northern hemisphere, this refers to the organized, counter clockwise movement of the circulating weather system in the northern hemisphere over tropical waters.

In order for a storm to build from a tropical depression, then to a tropical storm, and finally build into a full-fledged hurricane, it must travel across the open ocean and keep in close contact with warm water currents. If a hurricane leaves the warm current of water, it will become weaker and less organized.

In some hurricanes, the prevailing wind pushes the hurricane off the warm water currents, and it only has  a short period of time to reach the landfall before weakening.

Tropical Cyclones or Hurricane Classifications:

In order to keep informed, it’s important to understand the classifications of storms. Sometimes  even small storms can wreak havoc, so it’s important to follow the hurricane preparation steps below. Here are the classifications of storms.

Tropical depression

  • This is an organized collection of clouds and thunderstorms with a defined circulation and maximum sustained winds of 38 miles per hour or less.
  • The winds must rotate fully around a closed low pressure center.
  • Is a closed low pressure system.

Tropical storm

  • These are very organized and very strong thunderstorms and cloud systems with a defined circulation pattern and maximum sustained winds from 39 to 73 miles per hour.
  • There is a clearly recognizable rotation in the storm.
  • They are more organized than a tropical depression because of their tighter, more circular formation.

Hurricane

Once a tropical storm reaches wind speeds of 74 miles per hour, they are reclassified as hurricanes. There are 5 categories of hurricanes as explained below. Hurricanes are categorized by the strength of their winds, with the greatest speed found in the center, or “eye”.  According to the Affirm-Simpson Hurricane Scale, the weakest hurricane is a category 1, while a category 5 storm has the strongest sustained wind speeds.

  • A hurricane is a very intense tropical weather system with a well-defined circulation and minimum sustained winds of at least 74 miles per hour.
  • The circulation pattern is large and spins counterclockwise with rain bands that spiral to the center of the storm.
  • Hurricanes receive their energy from the warm waters of the ocean below them, and have a warm core and a distinctive eye at the center.

Where do Hurricanes Come From and Why Does it Matter?

During the hurricane season, hurricanes can start at three different points on the globe. It typically depends on the time of year, and where a hurricane originates generally dictates it’s impact on the US.

Gulf of Mexico

In the early part of the season, a tropical depression can start in the Gulf of Mexico and head northward into the US. These hurricanes are not as strong as the other types, hit landfall quicker, and the rainfall is very heavy as the storm changes from a hurricane to a very low low-pressure system. These low pressure systems travel eastward with the jet stream causing bad flooding in their wake.

West Coast of Africa

  • As the season progresses, the tropical depressions start off the West coast of Africa heading west through the Caribbean and finally striking the US mainland. As these hurricanes come westward, they pick up power and intensity. These hurricanes can turn into super hurricanes and are more likely than those that build in the Gulf to turn into more intense storms. Often, they can reach category 3, 4, or even 5. Water surges often accompany hurricanes and can reach 25 feet or higher, causing bad flooding miles inland.

Eastern Pacific

  • Towards the end of the season, the tropic depressions start in the Eastern Pacific around Mexico or Southern California. These storms usually skirt Western Mexico and Southern California before heading out to sea on warm ocean currents. The named hurricanes in the Pacific Ocean are called hurricanes between the area of the West Coast and Hawaii. After this point they are called Typhoons.  These hurricanes usually head out to sea with little wind or water damage to the coastline. There have been some of these hurricanes that have come ashore, but the damage is usually mild.

hurricane andrew

What Should I Do As A Hurricane Approaches?

If you are unable to leave the expected landfall zone or surrounding areas, you will have to rely on your emergency hurricane kit.  Make sure your home, back yard, and the designated safe room are all as ready as possible. Here are some tips to help you buckle down.

  • Board up windows
  • Designate areas for bathroom needs, cooking, and sleeping.
  • Keep your emergency tool kit and supplies for minor repairs in the room where you will be sheltering. Be ready to move to, and have supplies on, the upper floors or roof to wait for rescue.  If your attic doesn’t have windows, be sure to store sledge hammers, axes, life jackets, rope, and tarps there so your family doesn’t get trapped in the attic and drown there.
  • Have on your person a good pocket knife or a multi-tool.
  • In a tool box, have a good set of hand tools with nails and other fasteners.
  • Have ropes, buckets, towels, and tarps to fix water leaks.
  • To help preserve food stored in freezers and refrigerators, turn the temperature controls to the coldest setting possible.  This will help keep the food a little longer if the power is lost.
  • Before evacuation, call a good friend or family member that lives outside of the storm area to let them know what your hurricane plans are.
  • Be sure that your hurricane survival kit is fully stocked and ready to go.
  • Be sure that all battery operated devices are charged and ready to go.
  • Make extra ice and bag it in the event power is lost to the freezers and refrigerators. Store it in coolers or in extra freezer space.  Keep salt on hand to extend the usefulness of the ice.
  • If you have a generator, test it away from the house (never in or near the house). Be sure you have plenty of fuel for the generator.
  • Be sure all available functional vehicles are full of fuel.
  • Secure all yard furniture, tools, and yard decorative items and anything else that could become a flying missile in high winds.
  • Secure all boats, campers, RV’s and other “toys” that can’t be stored in a garage in the safest place in your yard by tying them down or anchoring them down. Remember to take into account that there may be some storm surge.
  • Secure all doors and windows with locks and shutters or use plywood.
  • Also plywood the garage doors and windows.
  • Store you cars or other motor vehicles in the garage to further protect them from the storm.
  • Move items from the lower floors to higher floors if they can be water damaged and you are not taking them with you.
  • If you can, seal all important small items that you’re leaving behind into water proof containers and move them to the higher floors.
  • Caulk and fill bathtubs and sinks to help store extra water for personal hygiene.
  • Do your laundry, wash dishes, and take a shower before the storm arrives to save water.
  • Close and fasten gates so they will not swing in the wind.
  • Close chimney flues.
  • Close and lock all inside doors and cabinets.
  • Cover and protect all skylights on the roof.
  • Lock down and cover all roof turbines.
  • Make sure you have adequate insurance on your property, including flooding and water surge protection coverage.

If you have a boat, prep it before the hurricane:

  • Remove the life jackets and first aid kit to the house in the event that they may be needed.
  • Remove all cushions, boat tops, and other loose items and store them in the garage.
  • Tie down all hatch covers.
  • If you have a boathouse, turn off all exterior electricity to boat house.
  • If your boat is moored at a dock and cannot be removed, tie down the boat with as many dock lines as possible to keep the boat safe.

What Do I do During the Storm?

  • Stay inside and away from all windows.
  • Always be alert for tornadoes and high wind shear warnings. These are extremely high wind conditions and can kill you or destroy your home or other buildings.
  • Do not play in flood waters or storm surge. It can be deadly to humans or pets.
  • Warning! Be aware of the eye of the storm. It may be calm, but the winds can pick up speed very quickly once the eye passes over and you could be caught outside in possibly deadly conditions.
  • Always unplug electric and electronic devices that are not in use to avoid electrical surge damages.

What Should I Do After the Storm Leaves the Area?

  • Avoid downed power lines, know power line safety.
  • Know what food is safe to eat and for how long it will be safe to eat before it spoils due to lack of refrigeration.
  • Know how to use a chain saw safely.
  • Know how to use your electric generator safely.
  • Know how to safely treat drinking water and when to do so.
  • Listen to the local news casts regularly.
  • Always use flashlights instead of candles to reduce the risk of starting a fire.
  • Inspect your house for damage as soon as it is safe to do so.
  • Stay off the roads as much as possible for your safety. There may be washed out roads, power lines down, flood waters in your area, or other unsafe conditions.
  • If you have a pool, it may have to be super chlorinated before it can be used again safely.
  • Beware of heatstroke. After a hurricane, there are usually days of very hot humid weather. You must take steps to keep yourself and others cool. Remember to wear light colored clothing with a hat, drink plenty of liquids, and eat smaller, lighter meals. Dampen your clothes and yourself to use evaporation to help cool you.
  • Beware of stray pets and wild animals. In their disoriented condition they might attack humans out of fear.
  • Under no conditions should you try to capture animals or corner them after the hurricane. Call the animal control of your city or county.
  • If any animal bites you, seek medical attention immediately.
  • If you get snake bitten, try to identify the type of snake and if it is poisonous so that the correct anti-venom can be given.
  • Rats can be a problem after a hurricane. Secure all food supplies and keep traps up and in good operating condition.
  • Remove all animal remains on your property.
  • If you find displaced hazardous chemical containers on your property, stay away and call your fire department to inspect them and remove them.

Hurricanes are no joke. If you’ve experienced one, you know that damage can range from inconvenient to catastrophic. Perhaps the most important thing to remember is that no matter how wonderful our technology is, there is absolutely no way to determine exactly what a hurricane is going to do.

That’s been proven over and over, so it’s best, if you’re in the cone of uncertainty, to prepare for the possibility that the storm will make landfall near you.

If you live in an area where a hurricane may make landfall, or are near enough to the coast that it may reach you, you need to know how to develop a hurricane survival plan, build a hurricane survival kit, and how to prepare to evacuate.

To learn what you need to do before, during, and after a hurricane, CLICK HERE to subscribe for Survivopedia’s newsletter and receive our special free report on hurricane preparedness.

If you’ve ever experienced a hurricane, or have anything that you’d like to add, please feel free to do so in the comments section below.

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This article has been written by Fred Tyrell for Survivopedia.

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Baofeng UV 5RV2+ Review: Why Baofeng Radios are a Bad Choice for Preppers

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When it comes to emergency communications there’s a lot of advice out there on what types of emergency radios you should carry in your bug out bags. Baofengs are often called the perfect radio for preppers; They are NOT! […]

The post Baofeng UV 5RV2+ Review: Why Baofeng Radios are a Bad Choice for Preppers appeared first on Off Grid Survival – Wilderness & Urban Survival Skills.

Prep Blog Review: Knives, Guns and Camouflage

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PBR 6 aug

Food, water and shelter are not the only things we need for survival. Today I want to discuss what’s important for our self-defense.

First on the agenda is a popular multipurpose survival tool – the knife. Do you know how to choose a good one? Next, do you believe in these gun myths?

Plus, more about camouflage and other self-defense tips in our weekly prep blog review.

Enjoy!

1. Everyday Carry: Your Guide To Choose The Best EDC Knife

PBR weapons

“Carrying a folding pocket knife everyday has many advantages. From opening boxes and clam shell packaging to preparing food, they are extremely useful. Several professions such as hunters, fisherman, trail guides, butchers, emergency personnel, or military service members often carry knives every day. I would like to discuss folding knives for your everyday carry.

In this article I will review several criteria for choosing the best EDC knife. I consider several basic criteria. They are reasons to carry, local laws, weight, blade length, blade shape, blade treatment/finish, edge grind type, steel type, handle materials and design, cost, opening mechanism, retention (blade and pocket), lock type, fit & finish, and finally…appeal. Before we get to those criteria though, let’s look at pocket knife anatomy. It is my hope that by the time you finish reading this article, you will have a solid basic understanding of EDC knives. I will also provide a short list of quality knives I own and use.”

Read more on Knife Planet.

2. 5 Gun Myths Dispelled 

“If you are like me, you love watching exciting “Action” movies. Who doesn’t love a good movie scene with an exciting car chase and lots of explosions? Unfortunately, many times what we see in the movies is NOT what happens in real life. Firearms are no exception. In fact, many times Hollywood (and the public in general) gets firearms and how they really function completely WRONG.

So I thought I would take a look at 5 myths or beliefs on firearms that are either erroneous, or at the least very misleading.”

Read more on Plan And Prepared.

3. Camouflage and Concealment: The Art of Staying Hidden

PBR weapons

“It makes me laugh when I see a lot of SWAT Teams and PSD guys wearing Tactical Black and other colors that look cool but do nothing but make them stand out. In reality black is one of the worst colors to wear. Ask yourself, what is black in nature? Look around you and what in your surrounding’s are black? I expect very little… In urban areas most walls are white, gray or cream… Light colors! The colors you wear should blend in with your background whether its day or night.”

Read more on The Prepper Journal.

4. 6 Self-Defense Tips For Urban Survivalists

PBR weapons

“Finding yourself unarmed while facing an attacker is a nightmare scenario. If they have a weapon and you don’t, then no matter what their weapon is, the odds are severely stacked against you. Even if they aren’t armed, fending off an attacker without a weapon is an intimidating prospect. Fortunately, there are ways to tilt the odds back in your favor. In case you ever find yourself staring down one or more attackers and you have nothing but your bare hands with which to defend yourself, consider these self-defense tips and tactics.”

Read more on Urban Survival Site.

5. 13 Homemade Survival Weapons: Prepare, Adapt, And Overcome

PBR weapons

“The following 13 homemade survival weapons are an ideal way to help you prepare, adapt, and overcome. We preach the art of preparation like it’s our business because it is. We are here to instruct, inform and discuss how to prepare for all survival situations. And preparation is the key to survival. That’s why we build our bug out bags and assemble our survival medical kits. It’s why we stash weapons, bury survival caches, collect tools, stay in shape and stock up on food.”

Read more on Skilled Survival.

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This article has been written by Brenda E. Walsh for Survivopedia

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Offgrid Survival: 12  Ways To Move Heavy Weights

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archimedes-148273_640From ancient times to now, people have always been looking for ways to lift heavy objects. While we may not know how structures like Stonehenge and the menhirs were built, there are still a number of simple devices that can make life as a prepper much easier.

Have you ever tried to move furniture around your home, or during a move from one place to another? If so, then you may also be very familiar with what can happen if you use poor form while lifting, or you do not use the proper equipment.

As a prepper, avoiding sprains, muscle tears, and other injuries will be very important. In addition, if it is not feasible for you to lift heavy items without help, and you cannot build up to a suitable level, you need to know about devices that can make lifting heavy loads easier. Throughout time, scholars, historians, and scientists have labored with these questions and have come up with a number of useful, and simple devices.

The following devices work on the most simple laws of physics and can be used by anyone that needs to lift heavy objects. If you learn how to build these devices and keep them in your stockpile, you will find it much easier to manage your stores and move faster from one area to another if needed.

Friction Reducing Slides

When you want to move a couch from one side of a room to another, aside from being very heavy, the legs of the couch may either dig into a solid floor or catch on the surface of the carpet. When rough surfaces encounter each other while in motion, drag or “friction”, it takes more energy to move the objects.

Friction reducing slides have two basic parts. The upper part sticks to the bottom of the object while the bottom part facing the floor is very smooth. No matter whether the objects is being moved across linoleum, a deep pile carpet, or some other surface, the slider will reduce friction and make it much easier to move the object. Even though friction reducing slides will not reduce drag as much as wheels, they help moving furniture or other heavy items around a smaller area.

For example, if you place several food buckets on a wooden palette in your store room or cellar, placing casters underneath the palette will make it much easier to move around. You will find these coasters much cheaper than heavy wheeled utility carts or other wheeled systems that can also be used for moving items around a single room.

Friction reducing slides are also very useful for furniture that you may want to move in a hurry in order to get to a hidden trap door or supplies hidden within a wall. Since the coasters are usually not very high off the ground, no one would realize that the furniture is very easy to move or that there might be something hidden behind it. In addition, these coasters are also very common in many homes, so they may also escape attention because it is not unusual to move furniture around from time to time.

Wheel and Axle

From automobiles and wheelbarrows to bicycles, wheel and axle systems are some of the most popular simple machines used to move heavy objects from one place to another.

When building your own wheel and axle system, consider the following:

  • The axle material must be durable enough to support the load placed on it, yet lightweight enough to reduce the load on the wheels. Metal and wood can be used to make axles, but also study some of the newer polymer compounds on the market. Some of those are extremely lightweight, yet they are more durable than wooden axles.
  • When choosing wheel size, bear in mind that larger wheels will be harder to push, but they will travel further for each revolution of the axle.
  • Always know the ratio between the radius of the axle and the radius of the wheel. The smaller the ratio is between these two sizes, the less efficient the wheel and axle will be.
  • Be careful about the material used and the construction of the wheel. Since you are looking to reduce friction and drag, you need the smoothest wheels possible.  Preventing skidding, stopping the wheels from moving forward, and being able to make curves are also very important, and all these require at least some drag on the wheels. As you will note from automobile and bicycle tires, tread design and depth are very important for generating just enough friction to keep the vehicle under control as it moves forward. Even if you make wooden wheels or spoked wheels from metal, make sure that you can fit some kind of rubber or other material with treads over the wheels. This surface protects the rest of the wheel from damage, and will be easier to replace than the part of the wheel that attaches to the axle.

To get the most out of wheel and axle systems, I recommend having a number of different wheel sizes that can all fit on one axle. If you need to use less force for a heavier load, use the smaller wheels on the axle. If the load is lighter, put on the larger wheels so that more ground is covered for each rotation of the axle.

If you build a two axle cart or some other system (small model Pinewood Derby Cars are excellent to experiment with), load the vehicle with heavier items towards the back of the cart. Make the front axle narrower than the back one so that the front of the vehicle is narrower. This will reduce surface area in the front and make the vehicle less resistant to forward  motion.

Making the front end lower and keeping all edges as rounded as possible will also reduce air friction and drag while the vehicle is in motion. Anyone that has ever driven a Volkswagen Beetle vs. more conventionally designed vehicles can certainly relate to how the difference in weight positioning and aerodynamics affect the way the vehicle handles!  Use those same principles when building a wheel and axle system for moving heavy items from one place to another.

Pulleys

Pulleys are used to lift heavy weights vertically.  A basic pulley system requires rope, a wheel with a groove in it for the rope to sit in, and an area to suspend the pulley wheel from. The raised area must be higher up than the total height the object must be raised. Depending on the weight of the object, you can use multiple wheels and ropes.

The basic rules for creating a pulley system are:

  • The raised area must be strong enough so that it will not crash when the object relies fully on it for support. For example, if you attach a pulley wheel to a weak old wooden beam, it will probably crash to the ground if you try to hoist 2 ton object. Even if the pulley wheel and ropes are strong enough to bear the weight, the suspension frame must also be strong enough.
  • If you use multiple ropes and wheels, less weight will be applied to each rope. You still cannot exceed the capacity of the ropes and wheels and expect the system to work safely.
  • For each wheel and rope that you add, you will have to pull double the amount of rope to raise the object the same height as you would with one rope.  As a trade-off, you will need half the amount of energy to hoist the object. If you want to hoist 100 pounds with one rope and wheel, for every foot of rope that you pull, the object will raise 1 foot off the ground. Now let’s say you add two wheels and two ropes: you will find it much easier to pull the rope however for each foot of rope that you pull, the object will only move ½ foot off the ground. Depending on the weight of the object and the amount of strength you can apply to the job, you may have to try different numbers of wheels and ropes to get the best outcome.

In physics, many things come down to the size ratios between one object and another. You’ve already seen this in action in wheel and axle systems. With regard to pulleys, you may want to explore using double rope systems in conjunction with larger and smaller wheels. For example, you can try using a smaller wheel at the top of the system that turns faster in comparison to a larger wheel located near the object to be lifted. This may reduce the amount of energy you need to expend while pulling on the rope and also require less rope to raise the object to the desired height.

There are many times when you might need to raise an object or pull it along an incline. You can try arranging the wheels horizontally in relation to each other and also make use of belts within the system to increase the ratio between larger and smaller wheels.

When you attach a pulley to an axle, there is nothing to stop you from using the shaft of a motor as the “axle”. As long as the amount of force required to lift the object does not exceed the motor’s capacity, you can lift all kinds of objects. If you have a weaker  motor, then you can still use more wheels in the system to reduce the amount of energy required at any given moment.

Gears

330px-Helical_GearsAs far as building blocks for simple machines that can be used in many weight lifting applications, gears are truly my favorite because they are incredibly versatile and can be easily integrated into other systems.

Even though pulleys are much easier to make, gears have a distinct advantage because they will not slip while you are pulling on the rope.

On the other hand, if the wheel in a pulley system is very worn, gets stuck, or does not turn as freely as it should, you will wind up exerting much more effort than needed.

Essentially a gear is a flat round object (cog) with teeth on it. As long as the teeth of the gear match the  same pattern as the teeth on another gear, the rest of the gear can be any diameter or thickness.

As in pulley systems and wheel and axle systems, the radius of each gear in relation to other gears it is meshed with determine how much force is delivered by the system.  In the case of gears, larger ones spin slower than smaller ones in the system.

In order to use gears, each one used in the system must be attached to a shaft.  Even if you only turn one gear or apply a motor to one gear, they must all still be able to turn on a shaft in order to build force. You can use a single shaft for multiple gears, however you will still need a separate shaft for each gear that must mesh with another gear.

If you’ve ever overloaded a paper shredder or some other gear driven system, then you may already know how frustrating it is when the teeth break on a gear. In a survival situation, there are bound to be times when you make a decision to overload weight lifting equipment or fail to take proper care of it. As versatile is gears are, once they break, there is simply no way to replace the teeth and expect them to mesh properly.

During the process of building simple devices to lift weights using gears, you should focus on using “cage gears” because you will be able to make them as needed, and may also be able to repair them. Basically, a cage gear has two flat disks with spokes between them that function as the teeth.  If you make a cage gear from wood, metal,or plastic, you can try replacing the spokes that broke.  Even though these gears will take up more space, they offer an important advantage in the sense that they can be repaired to some extent.

It should also be noted that most cage gears on the market mimic spur gear designs.  Look into fiberglass and other polymers that may be useful in constructing curved spokes that will replicate other gear types.  If you happen to be able to forge metal, there is also a chance that you can still use metal for the gears and fit them into the cage design.

Levers

Levers are some of the most simple lifting aides that you can devise.  You can use anything from a branch and a rock to a metal rod and a part of a cinder block.

In order to use the lever, all you have to do is place the fulcrum (a rock or some other object) under the branch or rod, and then make sure the end of the rod is sitting directly under what needs to be pushed out of the way.  To move the heavier object, simply push down on the opposite end of the rod.

In the modern world, there are many examples of levers and ways that they can be used. When constructing lever, the position of the weight in relation to the fulcrum and the length of the rod determines how much work will be required to lift the load.  There are three “classes” of levers that you should know about. Depending on the weight of the object, you can use different tools based on each class of lever to lift loads.

Ramps

Historically and in modern times, ramps are some of the most common devices used to move heavy objects from a lower point to a higher one. In fact, it is speculated that even the Great Pyramid of Egypt was constructed in about 20 years using little more than ramps and rollers to lift blocks that weigh thousands of pounds.

Today, we also see ramps used to push heavy objects onto trucks, or even make it easier for the disabled to access any number of facilities. Aside from making it easier to lift objects from one level to another, ramps can also be used to move objects more easily down a decline.

For example, if you have to move items down a marrow staircase, you can cover part of the staircase with a board and let the objects slide down the board. Just make sure that no one is standing in the area where the object may land, and you can control the speed of descent so that damage does not occur to the object.

As with other simple machines, ramps are easy to construct, however they must still fall within certain laws of physics. In this case:

  • The material used for the ramp must still be strong enough to bear the weight of the object moving over it. For example, if you are trying to move a 500 pound barrel over a ramp, that ramp must be able to hold that amount of weight. If the support beams for the ramp or the boards that make up the surface cannot bear 500 pounds, then the ramp will collapse.
  • When you build a ramp on land, several points are likely to be resting on the ground.  As with a house or any other building, a ramp needs to have a firm foundation. Even if you only put a ramp up for temporary purposes, the foundation needs to be solid enough to bear the combined weight of the ramp and the load being pushed across it.  If you need to build a foundation, do not forget that it may need to extend beyond the size of the visible portions of the ramp so that the ground beneath the the foundation does not give way beneath ramp.
  • As you may be aware, gangplanks and other ramps used on ships do not have solid anchor points on the ground for support. When constructing and using these ramps, you may need to tie the ramp to areas deeper in the ship or use as many solid areas along the start and finish points to make sure the ramp is secure.
  • The greater the distance between the starting height and finishing height, the longer the ramp needs to be. A gentler incline will be easier to push objects along than a steeper one.
  • You can reduce resistance of objects moving along a ramp by choosing materials that produce less friction.
  • When pushing an object up a ramp, you must apply constant force on the object. If you get tired or slip, the object will roll backwards and can crush you.
  • If you are going to move a lot of stuff from one area to another, it makes sense to have at least one ramp that you can use to move objects from the ground into a vehicle.   Even if your vehicle is not already fitted with one of these ramps, you may be able to find a portable, commercial model that will meet your needs.

Screw

The screw is one of the most fascinating machines because it is the only one that can be used to raise liquids from one area to another without enclosing them in a separate container. While an “Archimedes Screw” is traditionally used to generate electricity, it can also be used to lift water from a lower level to a higher one.

To construct an Archimedes Screw, you only need to take a core with a spiral on it, and then enclose that in a column large enough to let water into the apparatus.  Next, attach a crank or some other means to turn the screw so that the water will lift as you turn the crank.

In some ways, you can think of a screw as little more than a ramp that has been curled around a core so that the threads are aligned at an angle in relation to the core.  In order to lit an object, simply twist the core and the ridges on the screw will either raise or lower the object.   You can use pulleys, motors, and  gears to turn the screw.  When deciding what angle to use for the threads of the screw bear in mind that:

  • Gentler angles (thread angles with a  lesser incline when viewed from the top to bottom of the screw) will require less effort on each turn to lift the object.
  • The larger the crank used to turn the screw, the faster it will turn, and the faster the object will raise. Just bear in mind that it takes more work to produce a large circular motion than a small one.

Gas Springs

Have you ever had to lift a heavy objects several feet off the ground and found yourself wishing that the object could just bounce from the ground to where it needed to go? If so, then you may have also thought about using springs or coils for lifting heavy objects. Even though it is true that you can get a good bit of power from compressed metal springs, gas springs are easier to work with and more reliable for lifting heavy weights.

Basically, a gas spring uses a piston and a cylinder filled with compressed gas (nitrogen) and oil to provide upward lift. You cannot make this type of spring using DIY methods, you can still scavenge gas springs from a number of locations. For example, most office chairs that have an adjustable height use gas springs. If the chair is rated for 200 or 300 pounds of weight, there is a chance that the spring can also be used to lift and support that weight. Gas pistons are also used in automobile struts, car doors, and on each side of the trunk door. 

Here are some advantages and disadvantages associated with using gas springs:

  • Depending on what the springs were used in, they may not be able to lift a load very high. For example, most office chairs will only lift 18 – 24 inches before the end of the piston is reached. On the other hand, if you are fortunate enough to find gas pistons used to raise automobile hatch backs, they may extend a bit longer and also be able to lift heavier weights.
  • Gas springs usually lock in place as soon as you stop putting pressure on them.  For example, when you raise or lower an office chair, it stay at the same height as long as the weight placed on the chair does not exceed the capacity of the gas spring.
  • Gas springs are ideal for applications where the items must be lifted gently and slowly.  They also make good shock absorbers for boxes filled with fragile objects such as glassware.
  • Gas springs can be used on vertical alignments as well as horizontal ones.
  • You can create a number of “power assist” devices for very short ranges for people who are disabled.  These power assist devices may help you do everything from lift plates or heavy buckets to carry out other household tasks.

The Chinese Windlass

When you pull on a rope to turn a pulley, that motion will work, but it is far less efficient than using a circular motion. The windlass is basically a crank that you can attach to a pulley system that makes it even easier to lift heavy objects. Wishing wells, fishing reels, and many other devices use a windlass to lift heavy objects.

Video first seen on mrpete222.

The most basic windlass utilizes a crank attached to a shaft that is mounted on posts or some other form of support. As the crank is turned, rope winds around the shaft so that the object can be raised. While this system is far more efficient when combined with pulleys or even gears, the object will drop unless you lock the rope into place. If you are going to use a windlass system for lifting objects, you are best served by adapting it to a Chinese Windlass or Differential Windlass:

  • Instead of a shaft that has the same thickness across the entire length, the Chinese Windlass is thicker on the side located further away from the crank.
  • The rope used to lift the object is wound onto the shaft in such a way that it winds onto the thicker area as it is feeding off the narrower part of the shaft.  If you turn the crank in the opposite direction, the rope will wind back onto the narrower part of the shaft as the object is lowered.
  • In most cases the difference in size between the two ends of the shaft is very small. Nevertheless, the power required to turn the crank is much less even for the tiny difference in ratios.

Conveyor Belt Ramps

There are bound to be many times when you aren’t going to be interested in lifting objects vertically as much as you will transporting them over somewhat short distances vertically. When you do not have a a vehicle or cart, you will still need some way to push or pull the object from one place to another. If you have ever used a manual treadmill for exercise, then you will already have a good idea about how to make and use a conveyor belt ramp system.

Let’s say you want to move an 800 pound object a distance of several yards. Here are just a few things you will need to consider for the sake of safety and practicality:

  • You must be able to control the speed of the load as it moves along from Point A to Point B. This includes making sure that you can stop the forward motion of the load and also prevent backwards motion.
  • The object must remain in proper alignment with the mechanism

Now let’s say you originally planned to simply left the object with a pulley system and then use something like a crane arm to pull the suspended object to a location where you want to set it down.  While this method may be efficient and relatively safe, it may not be feasible in a situation where you do not have metal, motors, and other resources to build a proper crane.

By contrast, a conveyor belt ramp system may take longer to build and require more work, it will still get the job done using simple resources such as wooden logs and plastic sheeting.

Unlike a traditional ramp, a conveyor belt ramp will have a belt with two distinctly different surfaces on it.  The lower surface should produce as little friction as possible as the belt is dragged over the ramp and logs (that act more or less as pulleys) at each end of the conveyor.  The upper surface of the belt should adhere firmly to the object being moved so that it does not slip or fall off.

Depending on how you build the incline, you may also want to add a windlass system so that it takes less effort to move the belt and the object along from one position to the other.  If you have to go over longer distances, you will also benefit from making a series of mobile ramps so that you can fit them together as you go along.

Twisted Strings or Ropes

If you take two pieces of rope and continue to twist them around each other, they will get shorter. If you tie one end of the ropes to a crank, and the other end to a heavy object, the object will be pulled forward when you turn the crank in a way that causes the ropes to twist tightly. You can easily see this in action if you have ever used a yo-yo. As the string becomes more tightly wound around the axle of the yo-yo, the distance for the yo-yo to travel is also much shorter.

At first glance, simply taking two ropes and twisting them around each other may not seem like a very glamorous or useful way to move heavy objects.   Here are some advantages to consider:

  • Twisting ropes can be much longer and are much easier to assemble than conveyor belts and ramp systems.
  • You can use twisting ropes to lift objects vertically or drag them along a horizontal surface.
  • Newer materials such as fishing line give you far more power and shortening capacity than older materials.

As useful and low tech as twisting ropes may be, they have one very critical drawback. You must be very careful about the materials you use for twisting. Most, if not all ropes will degrade and lose their strength very quickly if they are twisted in a way that causes excess friction on the inner core of the rope.

If you do decide to store away rope for this purpose, make sure that you choose rope that is braided and has a suitable core. If you choose to use nylon line or other synthetic materials, make sure they will be able to bear heavy weight loads even if they are twisted to half or less of their original size.

Magnetic Levitron

Every machine or tool used to lift and move heavy objects must overcome the Earth’s gravity and inertia (essentially a body at rest tends to stay at rest) before anything useful can happen. With the exception of magnetic rails, just about every other device featured in this article requires mechanical force to overcome gravity and inertia.

Magnetic rails take a vastly different approach. Instead of using physical force to move objects, these systems use the capacity of magnets to attract and repel each other.  For example, magnetic levitation trains weighing thousands of tons glide effortlessly over tracks at speeds faster than obtained by trains that utilize conventional engines.

At the current time, “magnetic levitation” is in its infancy insofar as consumers being able to use the power of magnetic levitation to lift heavy objects. The Levitron is one of the best studied devices that may be modified to lift heavy objects. This particular devices basically has a base that generates vibrations (oscillating field) and a copper plate sandwiched between a non-moving magnet and a floating “top” magnet. The upper magnet spins as the vibrations from the base create changes in the magnetic fields of the system.

You can also purchase kits that allow you to build small levitation device models, or you can build your own using a few basic ideas:

  • Use magnets oriented in such a way that like poles are always pointed towards each other.
  • Since magnetism can be induced by passing electric current through a wire, try combining that with magnets to push and pull a floating object within the generated fields. You can use opposing as well as attracting orientations just by adjusting the flow of electricity at different locations.
  • Orient the magnets in such a way that opposite poles are facing each other. This will cause the magnets to move closer together, and drag any object connected to them along as well.

As you study these devices, consider keeping the raw materials to build them in your stockpile. You can also build smaller models and test them on lighter loads before committing yourself to building or using these machines for lifting heavier objects. Since heavy objects are dangerous to be around while in motion, look for ways to include backup systems that will prevent serious injury if ropes fail or something else breaks at just the wrong moment.  

When it comes to the most successful survival tactics – practice and hands on experience will always do more for you than simply reading and trying to file information away hoping that it will be of use later on.

emp3new_red

This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia.

References:

http://www.docfizzix.com/topics/construction-tips/Mouse-Trap-Cars/making-big-wheel.shtml

http://www.maximum-velocity.com/fivekeys.htm

http://www.explainthatstuff.com/pulleys.html

http://www.technologystudent.com/gears1/pulley2.htm

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gear 

http://www.hizook.com/blog/2015/01/13/twisted-string-actuators-surprisingly-simple-cheap-and-high-gear-ratio

http://science.sciencemag.org/content/343/6173/868

http://physics.kenyon.edu/EarlyApparatus/Fluids/Archimedes_Screw/Archimedes_Screw.html

http://www.its.caltech.edu/~atomic/display/displaycase.htm

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Start with these basics for your wilderness survival gear

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You don’t have any wilderness experience, but you want some.  So what do you take along to make sure you get back? 

by Leon Pantenburg

One of the most common questions from wilderness newcomers  is: “What gear will I need?”

And that’s a really good question! Walk through any sporting goods store and you’ll notice a bewildering array of gear, stuff, doo-dads, knick-nacks and junk. The buyer must decide which is which.

Depending on what store it is, and the salesperson, you could end up buying some very expensive – and unnecessary – items. In some stores, the salespeople work on commission and push high-priced gear. Or you might end up with a clerk who is covering the counter for somebody at lunch.

So, here’s where to start. The Boy Scouts of America have been preaching the gospel of survival common sense for 100 years. Who actually coined the term “Ten Essentials” is probably unknown. But there is no question that a facsimile of  this basic list is the basis of all emergency preparedness kits. Get your Ten Essentials first.

Here is a list of the Boy Scout Outdoor Essentials, and product suggestions. Check out the links for more info on any of the topics. Look at these ideas, and then decide what will work best for you.

Strong family resemblence; from top: Next Gen, Genesis, GNS and the Rouge river

Any of these bushcraft knives would work very well as part of your Ten Essentials.

  • Knife:  The best knife is up to your personal preference, but you must have some sort of cutting edge along. The only survival knife you have is the one you have along!
      • First Aid kit:  (A first aid kit should go along on every outing, even if you never use it.)
      • Extra clothing: (This will depend, of course, on the climate, time of year and where you are. Clothing needs for my high desert area are much different than for those people in the tropics.)
      • Rain gear: You have two choices for protection from the rain: rainsuit or poncho. I use both, depending on the circumstances.  I hiked the John Muir Trail with a poncho for rain protection. It rained nine days straight! The poncho kept me dry, even though I was expending a lot of energy to hike. I prefer a rainsuit while hunting or fishing, because it won’t flap in the wind, and a rainsuit offers better protection while sitting or standing for long periods of time. Decide what’s best for your needs.
      • Water bottle:  Water is an absolute necessity. I generally carry a Nalgene or other rigid water bottle to drink out of. In my pack, I’ll carry several soft bottles to replenish my Nalgene. The soft bottle are protected in the pack, and

        This combination works well. The rigid Nalgene in the middle is used for drinking and the Paltypus soft bottles store extra water.

        when empty, can be rolled up. The softies  weight virtually nothing, and  take up hardly any space. And if you find a water source, and need to re-supply, you’ll have ample containers along.

        Make sure to include some system of chemical purification or a water filter.

        I’m not a big fan of the water bladder systems, for no really good reason, but they are great for kids because the drinking tube encourages drinking. (And the novelty of  using a bladder water system will keep them well-hydrated until the newness wears off!)

      • Flashlight or headlamp: (I field-dressed a deer shortly after darkness fell  one evening, holding my mini-maglite in my teeth. It was pretty gross – talk about drooling on your gear…) Anyway, ever since that experience I carry a good headlamp. A headlamp leaves your hands free if you are spelunking, end up walking out to the car in the dark, scrambling over rocks etc. Besides, if the lamp is on your head, chances are less that it might be dropped and broken.)
      • Trail food: This is another personal preference. I like to make most of my own, because of my inherent cheapness and a Depression-era mentality inherited from my Dad. But in all my packs, I have several Clif bars, some jerky, sardines, and hardtack.  The gourmet food comes from the Dutch oven. The emergency food is fuel.
      • Matches and firestarter or other methods of ignition – you should have several different types.
      • Sun protection Sunscreen is an item that needs to be in every survival kit, regardless if you’re in the arctic or the tropics. I carry the tube type, because it is less messy to apply.

These are basic navigation tools: compass, emergency whistle, map and GPS. 

    • Map and compass A GPS is also useful, but not without a map and compass! Always include spare batteries for your GPS!

This is the bare bones list, and you should expand and add categories to fit your individual needs. For example, my Ten Essentials includes some method of shelter, such as a tarp, trash bag, bivey sack etc., and I always carry at least 50 feet of parachute cord or light rope, and four aluminum tent stakes.

Neither the scouts, nor I, recommend including fishing gear as a survival tool! Many of the items, such as  the knife, first aid kit and Clif  bars, have multiple memberships in my different  specialized survival kits. Another necessity is the proper size spare batteries for any device that is battery-powered.  It’s a good idea to get battery-operated items that all use the same size.

Your outdoor essentials list can also vary seasonally. I always include a snow shovel and  insulite pad on my winter showshoe treks.

My summer and winter extra clothing choices would also be different. An extra stocking cap is always a good thing to have along, but in the summer, a broad-brimmed hat for sun protection is a necessity.

Some items you shouldn’t cut costs on are boots or hiking shoes; a sleeping bag, and a reliable shelter.

Use this Outdoor Essentials list to form the basis for your own survival kit, then read and research to get new ideas. Your survival kit, if it’s anything like mine,  will probably end up being an evolving project. After every outing, think about what you used, what you didn’t need, and what you wished you had. Then adjust accordingly.

The best survival kit or gear in the world is worthless  if you don’t know how to use it, and just having a survival kit won’t save you. In fact, it might give you a false sense of confidence that could be deadly!

Start your wilderness preparation by reading a credible survival book, or taking a class from a competent instructor. Be wary of any survival-related internet blog or website. Just because someone has a website, doesn’t mean they know anything! Don’t get your survival training off a prime-time survival “reality” show.

Then practice with your equipment. Learn how to make a fire, or pitch your shelter in your backyard. Try out your sleeping bag on a chilly night on the deck to make sure it’s going to be warm enough. Make your mistakes at home, so you won’t in the backcountry, where a screw-up can kill you.

And let this be your mantra: “My survival kit won’t save me. My equipment or gear can’t save me. I will save me.” And  include common sense with every outing!

Please click here to check out and subscribe to the SurvivalCommonSense.com YouTube channel, and here to subscribe to our email update – thanks!

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13 Multi-Use Survival Items You Can Find At The Dollar Store

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Survivopedia 13 from the dollar store The question here isn’t so much what you CAN buy at the Dollar Store for survival, but what you CAN’T buy. They have everything from bleach to charcoal and everything in between.

So, instead of talking about individual survival items that you can buy at the Dollar Store, I’m going to give you the top 13 multi-purpose items that you should stock up on, along with several ways that they can be used.

To make it interesting, I’m going to pick unlikely items that you may not even think about, or provide you with new ways to use the ones that are obvious. I’m also going to pick some of the ones that are the best deals so that you can REALLY get some bang for your buck.

1. Maxi Pads

You probably already know that maxi pads are great for stopping bleeding, packing wounds, providing insulation, and of course their intended use but they have many other uses as well. Did you think of using them to make hot or cold compresses? Since they retain water, they’re great for this. On the flip side, they’re great fire starters.

They’re also good to use to hold a poultice in place because the pad will absorb part of the poultice material and also absorb and leakage of blood.

Finally – are you ready? – maxi pads are good for starting seeds. They hold moisture extremely well and keep the seeds just moist enough to sprout.

2. Vinegar

Yes, it’s great for cooking and cleaning windows, but did you know that ACV has several medicinal properties? It’s a great antiseptic and also works to cure acid reflux. You see, the reason for acid reflux is often not TOO MUCH acid as many people think, but of too little acid. Reflux occurs when your stomach is churning to digest the food with what little acid it has.

Antacids reduce the amount of acid even more, which makes the problem worse. Try taking a couple tablespoons of ACV instead of an antacid and see how you feel.

Other uses of ACV? Use it to curdle cream and make cottage cheese, kill weeds in the garden, deodorize just about anything, and treat such conditions as warts, sore throats, and skin irritations. Finally, ACV may give you a bit of an energy boost and help prevent the buildup of lactic acid, which leads to muscle fatigue. You can also make apple cider vinegar at home.

3. Chapstick

You can get this stuff for crazy cheap at the dollar store. Packs of 3-5 are only a buck, and if you have a really good dollar store, you can get even more. The base of chapstick is petroleum jelly, but it’s in a handy little container that’s useful, too.

Here are  just a few good ways to use chapstick for survival:

  • Lubricate knives, zippers, strings, tools
  • Prevent rust on saws, knives, or other metals
  • Sunscreen – it doesn’t work as well as actual sunscreen but it will do in a
  • Use it as a candle – dip one end of a cotton swab in it, then stick the other end of the swab into the tube. Light the top and you’ve got a candle that’ll last long enough to get a good fire going and then some.
  • Use it along with a cotton swab or ball to make a fire starter
  • Rub it in some ash and smear it under your eyes to prevent snow blindness.
  • Stop small cuts from bleeding
  • Lubricate your skin to prevent blisters
  • Protect skin from the elements to prevent windburn or frostbite
  • Use the tube to hold small items such as matches, bills, cotton swabs, or wire

4. Steel  Wool

Sure it’s great to scrub your pots and pans, but steel wool is flammable and is great to use to strike sparks into in order to get your fire started.

Video first seen on wildernessoutfitters.

You can also sharpen knives with it, and hold a stripped screw in place.

5. WD40

We all love it and it can be 4 dollars a can or more at other stores, so WD40 definitely makes our list. Of course it’s good for lubricating things; that’s what it’s promoted as. There are literally hundreds of other uses for WD40 though.

  • Removes sap and other goo from your hands or skin that could cause irritation
  • Keep your fishing equipment, knives, and other metals from rusting
  • Most fishermen swear that WD40 helps them catch fish, though the company denies these claims. Still, where there’s smoke…
  • Waterproof shoes, boots, and clothing.
  • Spray snow shovel with WD40 and the snow won’t stick to it as easily.
  • Helps keep your axe or knife from sticking in the log when you’re splitting it
  • Spray on kindling for a quick fire starter
  • Clean your gun with WD40

6. Aspirin

Of course it’s good for a headache, but aspirin is also good for heart health, namely reducing blood pressure, because it thins the blood. That could be good in a survival situation for people with heart problems and strokes. It also:

  • Works as a mild pesticide directly on your plants and as a fungicide in the soil
  • Gargle with aspirin to help soothe a sore throat
  • Crush it and rub it directly on your gums to get rid of a toothache
  • Crush it and make a paste with water or honey to treat warts and pimple

7. Pantyhose

Of course they make your legs look tan, but pantyhose have many different survival uses. Here are some of them, but you should also read our article to see why they deserve a place in your survival kit:

  • Strains particulates out of water
  • Acts as a fish net
  • Adds a layer of insulation
  • Prevents skin from rubbing together and chafing
  • Holds gauze bandages on
  • Acts as a sling
  • Can be used to lash things together
  • Can be used to carry light items
  • Can be used as mosquito netting

8. Can of Coffee

This is probably the one survival product that you’ll save the most on at the dollar store. Coffee has the obvious benefit of mental alertness but it has several other uses, too. Buy the type that’s in a metal can. Use the coffee for:

  • Energy
  • Antioxidants
  • Relieving depression
  • Barter
  • Grounds are good to add to your compost pile
  • Sprinkle it around plants to deter pests such as ants and snails
  • Mix it into mulch, grass clippings, etc. and add it to acid loving plants
  • Clean your pots and pans with them
  • Use it as a cloth dye

You can also use the can for:

  • A hobo stove
  • Storage
  • When cut, it’s extremely sharp and can be used in a pinch to cut just about anything, and the shards can be used as a makeshift weapon

9. Mouthwash

Again, a huge money saver with numerous survival uses. Go for the unflavored kind if you can.

  • Mouthwash is an antiseptic. That’s why it freshens your breath; it kills the bacteria in your mouth. Use it to clean wounds in a pinch
  • Sanitize your pots and pans with it
  • Put it on a blister – it numbs it and kills any bacteria that may cause infection
  • Apply it to a tick that’s burrowed into your skin. The tick will back out and your skin will also receive a dose of the antiseptic
  • Use as an antifungal for such ailments as athlete’s foot
  • Relieves the itch from insect bites, bee stings, and poison ivy

10. Zip Ties

These are fairly cheap – around $3 or $4 – just about anywhere, but you’ll likely only pay a buck for them at the dollar store. If you buy 5 packs, you’ve saved at least $10. Not bad, and there are about a kazillion survival uses for zip ties.

  • Use them for make-shift handcuffs – as a matter of fact, many police forces use them for that now
  • Tie up a tarp for a tent for shelter
  • Tie a tarp or garbage bag in a tree for water collection
  • Strap gear to your bug out bag or backpack
  • Mark trails with it so that you don’t get lost or go in circles
  • Compress your equipment and clothes so that you can carry more
  • Close off the bottom of your pant legs so that bugs and snakes can’t get in them
  • Hold a splint together
  • Lash together logs to make a raft or shelter

Video first seen on SensiblePrepper.

11. Clay Pots

Yes, you can put plants in them, but clay pots have several survival uses.

12. Bungee Cords

They’re stretchy but strong and you’ve probably used bungee cords for a myriad of tasks during your life. They’re extremely versatile and you can buy them in packs of several at the dollar store for practically nothing.

  • Strap your bug out bag to a tree so that animals can’t get in it
  • Strap other items to your bug out bag or your body
  • Use to hold a pressure bandage in place
  • Hang up a tarp for water collection or shelter
  • Use it as a belt
  • Bundle your items together with them
  • Use as fishing line in a pinch
  • Replace broken magazine straps on your tactical vest

13. Crayons with Sharpener

I bought a big box of crayons for my nieces the other day and they were almost $10! I should have gone to the dollar store, but didn’t feel like going that far out of my way. I did notice, though, that the sharpener would come in handy and that the box of crayons with the sharpener would be going in my stockpile, along with a few other toys.

  • Crayons are flammable and make great fire starters
  • If you light the tip of a crayon and put it upright, it will burn for up to 30 minutes as a small candle
  • You can use a crayon to mark trees so that you don’t get lost
  • Wax is a great water-proofer in a pinch.
  • The sharpener can be used to make either wax or wood shavings to start a fire with.

There are thousands of items at the dollar store that you can stockpile for survival and these are just a few that I found that were both multi-purpose, and could save you significant cash over buying them somewhere else.

Surely, you can think of other awesome survival items available at the dollar store, so please share them with us in the comments section below!

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This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.

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Money Mondays: Should You Pack Emergency Gear While on Vacation?

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Many people prepare for emergencies at home, but decide to forgo prepping while on vacation. After all, being on vacation means being carefree, and no one really wants to think about disasters while on vacation. Should you pack emergency gear while on vacation? The inescapable fact is, you shouldn’t leave home without at least a minimum amount of emergency supplies.  Pack items you already own to minimize on cost. Of course, your emergency kit would have to be portable, inconspicuous […]

The post Money Mondays: Should You Pack Emergency Gear While on Vacation? appeared first on Apartment Prepper.

10 Essential Medical Resources You Can Get From Nature

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leechesJust because there is a currency collapse, martial law, or a natural disaster, that does not mean you can ignore medical needs. What will you do when there are no bandages, no medications, and no way to get help?

Even if there is only “weeds”, trees, and moss around, you may have a number of useful medicinal aids at your disposal.

Learning how to recognize natures medical resources is a very important part of preparing for a crisis. Aside from simply reading a few books and going on a few field trips, take the time now to make sure you know how to prepare specific treatments in a range of situations.

How to Use Nature’s Medicines

As someone with a keen interest in herbal remedies and natural medicines, I concluded long ago that it is truly difficult to remember all the incredible healing resources in nature. It is truly to your advantage to gain hands on experience and keep a well organized journal that contains detailed information on both the resources and how to use them. This journal should be treated with as much care as other sources of information such as maps and anything else that you consider indispensable to long term survival.

If you choose to keep a copy on your computer, do not forget that it may no longer be accessible if you do not have access to electricity.  A good medical journal may span several hundred pages and may also be quite thick from pressed specimens, however it is well worth its weight.

In time of need, you would truly be amazed at how confusing a sketch or even a photo may look when compared to a specimen that you can see and touch for a closer comparison.

celandine

Taking courses in how to use natural medicines is critical if you expect to know what you are doing in time of need and be successful. No matter whether you study online or actually attend wilderness medical excursions, do not simply put the materials aside once you are done with the courses. Always make the information part of your personal wilderness medicine journal and try to practice making medicines and equipment as much as possible.

Herbal Remedies for Chronic Illnesses

Most preppers already know that good quality medical care is essential for preserving health, managing injuries, and ensuring that the next generation of humans can be born and grow to maturity.

Many people also realize that in a major crisis or social collapse, medical care will be unavailable. Critical medications such as antibiotics and other drugs will be even more important in the post-collapse world. Even though you, and others may already know about herbal remedies and may also know how to grow and prepare them, that does not mean your work is done.

Consider a situation where you have been growing garlic, ginger, turmeric, and other herbs that can be used as herbal antibiotics. Perhaps you have even made oils from these herbs or dried them out for later use. Now let’s say  a major crisis occurs and you cannot get home for several days in order to retrieve your stash of herbs, or worse yet, your stash gets ruined while bugging out. In these situations, not knowing about the local wild plants in your area can spell disaster.

Here are some things you can do right now to ensure you will always be able to find and prepare the wild herbs in your local area for medicinal needs:

  • Get a field guide that features pictures and descriptions of medicinal herbs in your local area. The guide should give you full details about where they grow and also how to recognize them. The guide should also give you a listing of plants that are commonly mistaken for the plants you will need for medicinal purposes.
  • Make a list of all herbs that may be of interest to you. Do not list herbs that are from rare species or ones that are listed as endangered.
  • Go to sites where you can find the plants you identified as useful for your needs. Once you find a good sized patch of herbs to work with, take samples of leaves, stems, roots, flowers, and any fruit the plants may bear. These small samples should be done for all four seasons and folded into your journal.  You can also take pictures of the leaves and other parts of the plant, print them out, and keep them with the actual samples. In your journal, also make note of the spot where they are growing and the basic characteristics of the area.
  • Find a local herbal specialist or Cooperative extension and ask an expert to confirm that you have all the plants labeled correctly.
  • Once you have confirmed that your listings are all correct, you can begin looking for other places where these herbs grow well, and also start learning how to prepare them for medicinal needs. If at all possible, try to gather seeds from the wild plants. If you have to bug out or move to another area, you can try planting these seeds indoors and see if you can get them to grow.

In a major crisis, it is entirely possible that you will wind up traveling hundreds of miles as part of a massive evacuation form a dangerous area. Since there is no telling where you will wind up, you will need to use some additional methods for spotting medicinal herbs. You can try keeping field guides on hand.

One way to expedite the process of finding medicinal herbs in foreign locations is to see if you can find ones related to herbs that you already know about.  Herbs that grow in other regions may be more or less potent than the ones you are used to. Make sure that you know how to test herbal potencies for your own safety and well being.

Non-Herbal Remedies for Skin and Wound Management

No matter whether you are trying to find your way out of the city, navigate through a woods, or move objects from one place to another, injuries are bound to happen. During a major crisis, you can also expect infectious diseases to increase because of poor sanitation and increased risk of exposure to infected individuals.

In many cases, wounds that you would normally pay little attention to may become infected and require direct application of antibiotics.  If you are moving through unfamiliar areas, you can also expect increased problems with wounds because your immune system may not be as well adapted to the exact strains of pathogens in the area.

Here are some natural remedies that you can apply directly to skin and wounds:

1. Honey – even though honey has a sweet taste and seems very mild, it is one of the most powerful antibacterials you can find.  It has been used successfully on both oral and skin wounds for centuries without major side effects or other problems.  If you are able to find a beehive, be very careful when gathering the honey.  Since while honeybees are at very high risk for extinction, try to take only as much honey as you need, and try to avoid breaking apart the entire hive.  You should also do your best to subdue the bees with smoke instead of killing them.

2. Sphagnum Moss – Since sphagnum moss contains iodine, it will work well as an antibiotic. You can usually find this moss in bogs or other marshy areas.

3. Salt Water – If you are near an ocean coastline or other source of salt water, you can spray salt water onto wounds as a form of antibacterial. Do not rub the wounds with the salt water. Instead, try to run the salt water over the wounds similar to taking a shower.  Before using salt water, you should also filter it and boil it to make sure it is as clean as possible.

salt water

4. Tannic Acid – If you have rashes, blister, sores, boils, or other skin ailments, tannic acid may be of use.  You can obtain this acid from boiling acorns, and also from nutgalls that form on oak trees.

Splints and Bandages

To make bandages, non-poisonous leaves can be used to put pressure on the cut, and also to protect it from the elements. The best leaves to use are from the Plantain plant. If you chew on the leaves to release liquid from within the leaves, you will also have a natural antibiotic in the form of mashed leaves to put on the wound. From there, just use a second leaf to wrap around the crushed Plantain and the wound.bandage

Some fungus that grow on oak and silver birch trees may also be safe to use for bandaging.  Since it is notoriously difficult to tell safe fungus from poisonous ones, be sure to ask a local expert on mushrooms, molds, and mosses so that you know what to look for. As with locating and identifying useful herbal remedies in a woods or field, be sure to take samples and photos for your journal of useful organisms as well as ones that it may be confused with.

Splints for broken bones and injuries can be made from just about any tree branch.  To keep the splint in place, make rope from yucca leaves or any other leaf that has strong, straight fibers in the leaf.

If these plants are not available, tree bark from smooth bark trees can also be used. In order to avoid friction burns and abrasions, use mullein leaves (or any other non-toxic leaf) as a cushion between the splint and the the body part being immobilized.

In order to make a splint from a branch:

  • Choose a branch that is long enough and wide enough to support the area that needs to be immobilized.  The finished splint should also be long enough so that the joint above and below the injured area will also be immobilized.
  • The branch should be as straight as possible and of even thickness for the required length.  You can use a branch that is bent or curved, but try to use the straightest area parallel to the injured area.
  • Try to avoid branches that show signs of fungal growth, insect damage, or anything else that might increase the risk of developing an infection.
  • If you have sharp enough knife, try to smooth out the rough areas of the branch so that it is as smooth as possible.  You may also want to flatten out the splint so that there is a wider surface area.  Just make sure that all areas that you cut are covered so that your skin does not come in contact with the unseasoned wood.
  • When placing a splint, make sure that the rope or cord is not too tight or too loose.  A wrapping that is too tight can cut off blood circulation and lead to further problems.  If the wrapping is too loose, the splint will move around and cause more abrasions.  A loose splint will also fail to support the injured area and keep it properly immobilized.
  • Remember that if you have a broken bone or a dislocated joint, splinting the injured area is only a temporary fix.  You will still need to find a competent medical professional to move the bone or joints back into place.  Unless you have taken courses and practiced bone and joint setting, it is best to leave these matters to a doctor.  A broken bone or dislocated joint can still be near blood vessels or nerves that are still intact.  The last thing  you will want to do is try to manipulate the broken or dislocated areas and wind up causing damage to other tissue in the area.

Tourniquets and Wound Packing Materials

When you have a deep wound, or one that is bleeding heavily, you may need to use several different methods to stop the bleeding and then make sure the wound is protected.  Once you address the most immediate problem, you may still need other items from nature to ensure that the wound is managed as well as possible.

1. Tourniquets –  When blood is spurting or pouring form a wound limb, there is no time to prepare a bandage let alone a wound filler. Your first job may well be to cut off the blood flow as quickly as possible using a tourniquet.  Just about anything that can be wrapped tightly between the wound and the heart can be used.

For example, if you are in a meadow or field, tall grass or straw can be twisted together quickly and wrapped above the wound.  Anything that is pliable enough to wrap, and then twist will work to form a tourniquet.

Remember that you must be able to loosen and tighten the tourniquet every few minutes in order to avoid gangrene.  If you only have straw or other relatively weak stalks or even tree bark to work with, you may need  to make several tourniquets to manage the injury.

2. Pressure Bandages – If you have an abdominal wound, or some other wound that cannot be isolated using a tourniquet, you will need to make a pressure bandage. Once again, just about anything will do as long as you can apply pressure without completely stopping blood flow. You can try taking several leaves from safe plants and roll them up to form a pad large enough to cover the wound.

If soft, absorbent leaves such as mullein are available, use them close to the wound, and then stiffer ones on the outer layer. From there, use your hands, or even a flat rock to hold the leaves in place and apply additional pressure.  Remember that as with a tourniquet, it can take several minutes for pressure and blood clotting factors to finally stop the bleeding.  Try to make additional bandages from leaves so that you can apply new ones as needed.

3. Cauterizing Agents –  If you are bleeding from a major artery, then it is possible you will need to burn the wound so that it stops bleeding.  While cauterizing carries many risks, those problems can be dealt with later on. If you are bleeding heavily, stopping it needs to be your first priority. Even though you may not have access to metal in the woods, you can still build a fire and heat up rocks (after you remove soil and debris from them)  that can be applied to the wound. Be very careful about the rocks you choose, as they can explode when heated, or just as bad, have poisonous chemicals that will get into the wound.

In a sense, choosing rocks for cauterizing, and other medical needs is not so different from choosing herbs.  You will need to know a good bit about the geology of the area and the chemical makeup of rocks and their inclusions.  For example, if you found a nice, flat piece of gray shale, that does not mean the entire rock has the same chemical composition.  It may have some hidden parts that have toxic chemicals that will move out of porous areas of the rock when it is heated.

As with herbal remedies, try to obtain a comprehensive field guide that gives you detailed information about rocks in the local area and how they are most inclined to form and mix together.  Next, go out and collect as many samples as you can. Bring your samples to a local geologist and ask him/her about which rocks can be safely heated up and used for medicinal needs such as cauterizing.  If you can find a geologist or rock hound that has a special interest in hiking or natural medicine, then he/she may be a more viable source of information.

4. Wound Fillers – After you stop a wound from bleeding, there may still be large holes that need packing in order to prevent further damage.  Here are three substances that you can use. While some require more preparation than others, at least you will have some options to choose from based on the materials available.

  • Pine Sap – warm up the sap so that it is soft and sticky.  Aside from having antibacterial properties, pine sap will protect the wound and will also stop the bleeding.
  • Calcium Alginate – if you happen to be near a bed of kelp, or brown algae, you can extract calcium alginate from the leaves.  When applied to a large or open wound, the moisture from the wound will cause the calcium alginate to form a protective gel.  As with cauterizing, you still run the risk of developing a serious infection of the wound is not managed properly or if the  calcium alginate does not all form up into a gel.  That being said, this substance can also help stop blood flow, and may be of value if you have the time to prepare it.
  • Sphagnum Moss, Leaves, and Other Soft Materials – Non-toxic mosses, leaves, and even grass can be used to pack wounds and keep them from reopening.  If you must use leaves, try to find herbs to mix in that also have antibacterial properties.

Makeshift Syringes

Chances are, if you are working with herbs or other natural medicines, there may not be much need to inject substances into the bloodstream.  Nevertheless, it may still be necessary to isolate insulin from animal sources  to treat diabetes, or other injectables that require some kind of syringe or needle.  If you think about the basic parts of a syringe, you may be surprised to find that there are quite a few ways to make a makeshift version from natural materials.

  • The Needle – to work effectively as a makeshift syringe needle, the material used must be very thin, strong enough to resist breaking when puncturing the skin, and hollow.  Some possible sources of needles include wasp and hornet stingers (do not use bee stingers because they are barbed), fine porcupine quills, and very thin reeds.  If you are going to use insect stingers, make sure that the all of the venom is removed from the stinger.
  • The Barrel – this is where the medicine will be held until injected into the bloodstream.  Just about any rigid, hollow stem from a non-toxic plant will do.  Thicker reeds, bamboo stem, and other dried, durable stems can be used for this purpose.  To attach the needle to the barrel, you may need to set the needle at an angle so that there is less chance of breaking it.  Next, you can seal off the space between the needle and the barrel with pine pitch or some other natural glue like substance.
  • The Plunger – anything from a well trimmed tight fitting small branch to a solid, rigid plant stem can be used for the plunger.  Just bear in mind that the plunger must fit snugly inside the barrel so that the medicine is pushed through the needle instead of squirting out the back end.

Some problems that you may encounter when using a makeshift syringe:

1. It will be very hard to make exact dosage measurements.  If you have a way to determine how much material is ejected from the needle, then you can try making notches in the barrel and the plunger so that you can make  a reasonable estimate.  Before you go into a crisis situation and run out of syringes, make it a point to know exactly how much liquid should be discharged with each dose. You can do that with a measured syringe now, and then make a circle representing that amount in your journal.  If possible, try also allowing one single dose to stain the page so that you can observe the size of the liquid stain on a known paper source.  Make sure that you have an additional blank page so that you can make comparisons in the field.  Do not forget to make these comparisons for herbal or animal based injectables that you may need to prepare from scratch.

2. Even though you may be able to get medicine to move through the needle, you may not be able to create enough of a vacuum to pull medicine into it.  You will be best served by creating a simple leaf funnel or using some other means to pour the medication into the syringe.

Once you are able to make needles in a wilderness setting, do not overlook applications other than injecting medicines.

Solid needles can be used to stitch wounds (using animal sinew, fibers from plants) and also for acupuncture. Today, even conventional medicine includes acupuncture as  valid treatment for pain and other ailments.

As long as you know how to sterilize the makeshift needles and where to apply them, there are plenty of ways you can use this remedy as part of your wilderness survival kit.

Crutches and Carriers

When it comes to making improvised medical supplies, crutches are probably some of the easiest to make.  If you are in a wooded area, simply pick a branch or tree limb that has a fork at one end.  Try to pick one with the widest angle possible in the fork so that your armpit has a larger surface to rest on.

Next, use leave and vines/makeshift cordage to create a cushion that will fit under your arm.  If possible, add an absorbent top layer of leaves so that the padding does not all become soaked with sweat.  You may need to change the pad often for the sake of comfort and to avoid infections.   When cutting the wood for the crutch, make sure that it fits comfortably.

If you are in a group, those who are injured may slow down the entire group.  Rather than leave people behind or take a risk on not getting where you need to go, try making a litter or other form of carrier.  Adults and children can be dragged along far easier than they can be carried.  You can make a simple carrier using the following basic instructions:

  • Take 2 saplings or branches that are about 1/3 longer than the height of the person who needs help being transported.   Next, take 2 more saplings that are a little longer than the shoulder length of the individual.   If the person is very heavy, or you do not have durable materials to make a mat with, then collect 2 or 3 more of the shorter branches.
  • Use vines, bark rope, or other cordage to tie together the saplings.  The longest saplings should be parallel to each other.  Set one of the shorter branches at one end of the longer branches, but leave a few inches so that the bottom of the longer branches is the only thing that will be touching the ground.
  • Set the second shorter branch at the opposite end.  There should be just enough room between the top and bottom for the person to lay down without his/her feet or head flopping over the frame.  You should also have enough room at the top of the litter to pick up the longer branches and drag them along.
  • Add the remaining branches between the top and bottom ones. Try to make them  equal distances apart.  When you are done, the frame of the litter should look something like a ladder with the longer sides extending  out further than the “steps”.  Alternatively, you can also have the longer branches aligned so that they cross in front of the area where you will be standing.  You may need longer branches for this method.
  • Next you will need to add padding to the litter.  Moss, leaves, and anything soft can be used for this purpose.  You can also use vines to tie the materials down and make a more compact bedding. You can also used animal hides as long as they are well scraped and have been drying for at least a few days.  Choose leaves and other materials that are as dry and clean as possible.
  • If you have enough materials to make additional cordage, create a belly band or harness that attaches to the handles of the litter.  You can use the harness to drag the litter and keep your hands free or pull along with your hands if you so choose.
  • Unfortunately, in nature, there are not many ways to reduce friction on the bottom of the litter where it can catch on rocks, stumps, and many other things that will make it harder to drag along. You can try attaching very smooth, flat rocks to the impact areas.

Animal Based Remedies

Many people do not study animal based medicines because they think that plants are more diverse, easier to find, and easier to harvest.  On the other hand, some of the most powerful and useful medicines are harbored within “dangerous” animals that you may already be hunting for food.

Study  Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine to learn how to prepare medicines from these animals. It should be noted that there are a number of newer drugs based on compounds found within these animals, however it may be difficult to find out how the important molecules are isolated. Given that the Chinese traditional healers, Indian practitioners of Ayurvedic medicine, and Native American medicine people may have been using these animals to reliably treat illness, they are your best source of information on this matter.

Here are a few animals you can ask about as long as they are relevant to the local area for you and the practitioner has direct knowledge of the species of animals in the area:

  • Frogs – produce natural antibiotics on their skin.  Some frogs also produce neurotoxins and other poisons that may work in lower doses as painkillers and muscle relaxants.
  • Pit Vipers – aside from carrying compounds in their venom that work as ACE Inhibitors (used to treat high blood pressure), snake venom may also be used as an anti-coagulant,  to treat heart failure and preserve kidney function in diabetics.  While venoms vary from one species of viper to another, local and indigenous medicine people may still know which animals can best suit your needs as well as how to safely milk the vipers of venom without killing them.
  • Gila Monster – if you happen to be in the desert and need a stimulant to produce insulin, venom from these lizards may be of some use.
  • Spider Venom – some species of spiders and tarantulas produce venom that can treat cancer, reduce pain,and relax muscles.
  • Spider webs – as fragile as spider webs look, they can act as a strong, gentle network that allows flesh to grow back into place.
  • Cone snail – if you are near a body of saltwater or near the ocean, cone snail venom may be an option for treating pain, managing heart disease and preventing epileptic seizures.
  • Horseshoe Crab – if you aren’t sure if a bacterial infection is present, expose water, food, or other materials to the blood from a horseshoe crab. If the blood becomes thick and coagulates, then you know a dangerous infection is present.
  • Centipedes – centipede venom can be used as a painkiller.
  • Scorpion Venom – this venom can be used to treat cancer and also as a painkiller.

Poison Antidotes

Chances are, you already know that activated charcoal is one of the best antidotes for swallowed poisons. As long as you have trees and a fire, you can make charcoal as a form of poison antidote.  To get the most out of the charcoal, crush it up and mix with water.

While some people recommend mixing tannic acid with charcoal, researchers have found that the tannic acid is actually absorbed by the charcoal, thus making less room available to remove the poison.  If you need to draw poison from a wound, you can try using a charcoal poultice.  Mud poultices and some herbal poultices may also draw poisons out of a wound.

Some modern research suggests that honey badgers, squirrels, and opossums have molecules in their blood that can neutralize venom from snakes, spiders, and other venomous animals that you might encounter. As with other animal remedies, try asking indigenous people in the area about how they treat venomous bites, and if they use preparations from these animals.

If you already know how to hunt these animals and use them for food, then you may already be on your way to an important natural  remedy for venomous bites.

Worldwide, thousands of people die each year from consuming poisonous plants or mushrooms, getting bitten by venomous animals, or ingesting poison from some other source.   While activated charcoal can help in some cases, there is very little else in nature that can act as an antidote.

You can still try to mitigate the effects of some poisons if you know what you came in contact with and how it affects your body. Once again, you should never experiment  with these ideas.  Take them to a certified herbalist or other practitioner of Chinese or Ayurvedic medicine to see if they already have experience with these methods.

For example, if you know that you have been bitten by a snake whose venom acts as an anti-coagulant, it may be possible to wash the site with some herb that has the opposite effect, but will not interact in ways that multiply the effects of other parts of the venom.

If you need to induce vomiting, warm salt water can be used for that purpose. Try to avoid herbs (unless you know they are safe to take with the poison in question)  that induce vomiting because they can also interact with the poison and make it more dangerous. As a means of last resort, you can still try and focus on herbal or animal based remedies that counter the effects of the poison.

Fire Cupping

In ancient Chinese medicine, Fire Cupping was often use for pain relief.  This particular treatment basically relied on creating suction by heating a round, hollow object, and placing it on the skin.

fire cupIf you can generate heat and suction as in fire cupping, then you may be able to create a makeshift venom removal kit. Some things you might try using for the “cup” include hollowed bones, or mud that has been shaped into a bowl with a narrow opening and fired. Needless to say, if you have, or find  a small glass bottle or a cup, then you can use that to for suction purposes.

When choosing natural materials to make a fire cup, choose items that:

  • Can easily be fashioned into a small, round cup with a narrow neck.  If you cannot create a rounded cup, a longer, narrower form will do as long as the neck is still narrower than the body.
  • The cup should be able to retain heat well.  If the material loses heat easily, it will not generate sufficient suction.  The material should be able to retain the heat for at least 3 – 5 minutes.
  • If you are going to keep an open flame on the cup while in use, it should be non-flammable.
  • You can try boiling a wooden cup, however it may not work as well as other materials.

Rocks for Generating Steam

From winter colds to spring allergies, and other respiratory ailments, inhaling steam or herbs mixed with steam is often the best remedy.   While this may seem like a novel idea,  generating steam for these purposes is possible using natural resources. As with heating rocks to cauterize wounds, you need to be very careful about which rocks you use and how you use them.

Here are some important things to keep in mind:

  • When rocks are heated, they can crack or break apart causing sharp projectiles to fly all over the place.  Porous rocks are usually the most problematic because water from rain, dew, and other sources seeps into the rock.  Once the rock is heated by a fire, the water turning into steam will create pressure that causes the rock to break apart.
  • Heated rocks can also emit gasses that are poisonous.  It does not matter if the rock is porous or not, since even surface contaminants can emit poisons when heated.
  • When you pour water onto hot rocks, the sudden changes in temperature can also cause the rock to fracture or explode.
  • As hot water seeps into the rock, it can mix with other chemicals hidden deep in the pores. These chemicals will escape with the steam and can be poisonous if you inhale them.
  • Because rocks very so much in composition and formation, you need to work with a reputable geologist in your local area in order to help reduce the risk of choosing rocks that can cause more harm than good.
  • When creating a steam bath, many people try to keep the steam in an enclosed area.  Never put yourself in a position where the materials used does not allow adequate ventilation.  For example, never use plastics or any kind of tarp that does not allow air to flow through it.  It is better and safer to take the time to create a leaf or bark mat then wind up suffocating in a steam bath.  When choosing plants to make the covering, make sure that you wash and dry them thoroughly so that you do not pick up stray chemicals that can be harmful if inhaled with the steam. Only work with plants that you know to be safe and non-toxic for this purpose.
  • Never use steam sweats unless someone else remains outside the steam area and can monitor you for signs of trouble.  This includes making sure that you exit the steam area every few minutes so that you do not dehydrate or suffer from heat stroke/exhaustion.

Leeches and Maggots

When science was in the process of overtaking religion for control of the masses, the use of leeches and maggots was dismissed as quackery.  Today, modern doctors have had to substantially revise their opinion on the use of these animals as part of sound medical treatment.

Here is how you can use leeches and maggots in time of need:

  • Leeches can be used to suck blood from serious injuries. Basically, if you had to sew up a limb that was amputated or almost amputated, or some other injury that caused damage to the blood vessels, the blood will pool and slow down healing.  If you apply leaches for a few hours each day, they will absorb the blood pool and allow the veins to heal.
  • Historically speaking, leeches were often used in “bloodletting” for colds, and many other diseases.  At this time, it is believed these therapies do more harm than good.  That being said, if you need to stimulate blood production, sucking out small amounts may actually do more harm than good.
  • Maggots are used to manage deep infections where the flesh is rotting or is very close to that stage.  To use maggots for this purpose, simply let flies rest on the wound.  Once the eggs from the flies hatch, they will become maggots that eat up the rotted flesh. Once you see blood an feel pain from the wound, then you know it is clean. Wash out the maggots and let the wound continue to heal.

In these times, we are often led to believe that there are very few, if any alternatives to modern medicine.  Throughout the world, indigenous people have been using medicines for thousands of years from items found in nature.  While herbal remedies are the most commonly discussed treatments, there are truly many other medicinal wonders that nature has to offer.

As a prepper, you should learn all you can about wilderness medicine and how to use it in a time of need. Aside from courses aimed at basic treatments, also consider studying indigenous methods so that you can expand your skill sets even further and utilize more materials in different geographic settings.

NewSMDCover3This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia.

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7 DIY Safe House Projects To Hide Your Valuables

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Survivopedia hidden safebox

You know that old saying that everyone’s got something to hide except for me and my monkey? Well, nowadays even my monkey has something to hide, so we put up today’s article about DIY safe house projects.

When speaking of things to hide, I am not referring to your dirty past, but valuables, stuff like jewelry, cash, sensitive information/documents or even gold which may very well be subject to confiscation.

It was in the past, if you remember the good old pre-World War 2 days and 1933’s Executive Order 6102. If you don’t remember, well, it’s time for a reality check, because history has a bad habit of repeating itself, whether you’re a scholar or just the average Joe Public.

Now, regular folk tends to keep their valuables in a bank safe box or at home, under a cipher lock or something similar, in case they can afford such luxuries.

However, keeping your stash in a bank safe deposit box is not the best idea in the world, if you’re familiar with the notion of bank runs or the aforementioned confiscation policies, in which case your valuables will disappear like fresh driven snow in the Kalahari Desert.

The other option is to keep your valuables at home, in a classic safe box, but these things tend to be really expensive and also they draw attention, if you know what I mean.

Another thing to contemplate if you’re a proud safe-owner is that a burglar who was tipped that you have such an abomination on your premises will be perfectly able to force you at gun point to open it; you know what I’m talking about, right?

Basically, could be pretty hard to maintain OPSEC when you have installed a safe-box in your house. I’m not trying to downplay the notion of safe-boxes, they sure as Hell have their uses, but a smart prepper (especially a prepper on a budget) should look at alternative means to hide his/hers valuables.

Now, from what I’ve learned about the psychology of a home invader, whether he’s a police officer or a burglar, I discovered a modus operandi which can be summarized in three basic rules: home invaders first look for openly displayed valuables, after that they look for juicy-looking (as in appealing) storage spaces (like classic safe boxes) and after that they’ll look at any other type of place which may be harboring valuable things like cash and jewelry.

Basically, all home invaders follow this simple algorithm for maximizing their chances of success, given the fact they only have a limited amount of time to spend in your home.

And here our DIY safe projects thingy comes into play, as they look inconspicuous generally speaking, making them the ideal choice for storing your valuables, sometimes even in plain view. And you know, stuffing money inside your mattress is getting old, get over it and keep reading.

The Lego Safe Box

My first project is about how to build a safe box (yes, you got that right) using your old/left-over Legos, thus turning them into a hidden/secret/magnetized/whatchamacallit safe. It sounds pretty darn’ interesting, doesn’t it?

The beauty of this project is its “in your face” simplicity. I mean, who would think that you’re hiding cash or jewelry inside a Lego block? All kids have Legos and that means you’ll draw next to zero suspicion hiding your valuables inside a Lego-made safe box, right?

Another cool thing about this project is the fact that you’ll not require spending lots of money on materials and tools and you probably already own a Lego set. It doesn’t get any better than that, believe me folks.

Now, just take a look at this video and learn how to turn your left over Legos into a magnetized safe. By magnetized I refer to attaching a bunch of magnets to your safe, making the secret drawer accessible only if you already know where the internal magnet is located.

The general idea is that you’ll be creating a Lego structure which features a hidden drawer inside, the perfect place to hide some cash or your engagement ring (use your imagination, ok?). The magnet gizmo makes the secret drawer to open only when using another magnet.

Video first seen on HouseholdHacker.

Pretty cool concept, don’t you think?

Hidden Wall Safe

Moving along with the article, the next DIY project is a secret/hidden wall safe. You may be familiar with the concept or not, but just take a look at this cool instructable video below and you’ll learn how to securely hide your cash/other valuables almost in plain sight via an easy to make wall-safe box which comes handy for storing even things like guns and ammo.

This particular project uses a fake wall-socket which masks a relatively small safe-deposit box behind, the perfect spot to hide some money and jewelry, but the limit is your imagination when it comes to hidden wall safes.

You can make them as big as you want, for example building a secret (and very big) compartment behind your TV using the same principle.

Video first seen on PostmasterPrepper.

The Fake Air Vent Safe Box

Another idea is to build a secret compartment/safe box using a fake air vent as a cover. The idea is basically the same, making for a clever and inexpensive way to hide your valuables in plain sight.

Obviously, you can use all these different ideas for keeping your stash safe, as in “don’t put all your eggs in the same basket”. Redundancy is the name of the game.

Check out the video and you’ll learn how to install your fake air vent securely using just a hot glue gun, screws, a jig saw and sheet rock saw, it’s a fairly easy project which may be completed in a couple of hours.

Video first seen on DIYeasycrafts.

The Floating Shelf Safe Box

How about a floating shelf featuring a secret compartment? I know, the idea is not new, I’ve already seen dozens of movies in which the hero draws a gun from a secret compartment inside a shelf and stuff like that, but that’s hardly a problem.

Video first seen on Moy perez woodshop.

I mean, can you think of a house where there are no shelves around? Shelves are ubiquitous, they’re an intrinsic part of the American culture and way of life sort to speak. And that makes them the perfect place to secretly store your valuables, don’t you think?

The Hollow Book Safe Box

Another idea for secret compartments to stash your valuables/guns or whatever is also borrowed from the movies: a hollow book (usually a Bible) and this one is a true classic. And the best thing is that you can find a hollow book for sale almost anywhere, they’re that popular.

However, here’s a video about the DIYing just in case.

Video first seen on Von Malegowski.

The Keyboard Safe Box

Now, if you’re a PC owner, you can create a small secret compartment in the unused portion of your keyboard, the Number Keypad respectively, as per this video. This is as cool as it gets, the bummer is the space is relatively small.

Video first seen on kipkay.

The CD Safe Box

Last but not least, this is one of my all-time favorites: how to build a secret safe using old CDs. Provided you’re old school, just like yours truly and you’re still using CDs, you can easily make a  secret-safe-hidden-in-plain-sight by using a cake box full with DVDs or CDs, whatever you have lying around the house.

The idea is to cut their inner hole and then glue them together, thus creating a secret hiding space inside where you can keep diamonds, rubies or some cash.

Video first seen on Shake the Future.

Try one (or more) of these clever methods to protect your cash or your valuables, use your creativity and get back to us with a comment in the dedicated section below.

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This article has been written by Chris Black for Survivopedia.

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This Is How To Use Styrofoam For Survival

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Survivopedia styrofoam

When confronted with a survival situation, you will have to make the most of what’s available for getting through the day. Styrofoam is one of these items.

Today’s article is about Styrofoam, which may come handy in a variety of scenarios, being a versatile and useful material especially when you’re strapped for resources.

To start with the basics, let’s define our terms: Styrofoam is basically a commercial term/a trademark brand for expanded polystyrene, which is often used for building food containers and all sorts of housing insulation.

Styrofoam is also common as cushioning material in packaging, for making disposable dishes/coffee cups, for building coolers and things of that nature, due to its excellent insulating properties. Styrofoam is very lightweight and buoyant, as it’s made from 98 percent air.

Styrofoam for Starting Fire

Considering the holy trinity of survival in any imaginable scenario, i.e. water, food and shelter, let’s see how/where Styrofoam comes into play. Starting with shelter, one of the most important things related to outdoors survival is the ability of making fire. Fire keeps you warm and keeps predators away and that’s kind of important in my book.

Fire is also essential when it comes to purifying water and for cooking your food, thus being able to make a fire in a SHTF situation is crucial in this writer’s opinion.

Check out the following video that will make you think twice before throwing Styrofoam in the garbage bin instead of transforming it into something resembling home-made napalm.

Video first seen on MarcelsWorkshop.

The general idea is that mixing gasoline with Styrofoam you’ll get a sticky substance that burns slowly which makes for an awesome fire starter. Just imagine you’ll have to make a fire in an outdoors emergency situation and all you have for combustible is damp wood/cardboard, it’s windy and you’re cold and tired, you got the picture.

The Styrofoam fire starter is a must-have item for your bug out bag or your survival kit as it’s dirt cheap and highly efficient. This home-made napalm will transform you into a modern Prometheus in two shakes of a lamb’s tail.

Styrofoam for Insulation

Now, if you remember that Styrofoam makes for an awesome insulating material, how about using it for protecting you from extreme cold weather?

To upgrade your clothes with Styrofoam for surviving in harsh climates is relatively easy and it doesn’t require mad sawing skills or special tools. All you have to do is to gather a few pieces of Styrofoam, a sharp tool (a knife will do), very large shirts/pants, Velcro strips and a can of urethane glue.

The idea is to use the Styrofoam for filling your mittens, lining your parka etc. by trim fitting your clothes/shoes with pieces of Styrofoam. This procedure is simple and highly effective, but remember: for best results, the Styrofoam must be worn next to your skin.

You can also make knee pads/bun pads from Styrofoam in case you want to sit/kneel on snow or ice for extended periods of time.

Basically, using Styrofoam you can live comfortably when confronted with extremely low temperatures and even if you’ll look fat, at least you’ll be warm and you’ll live to fight another day. And that’s the name of the game when it comes to survival, doesn’t it?

Also, speaking of insulation, you can build yourself an improvised shelter in a very cold environment, something like a cardboard shelter to preserve your body heat. A tight and well insulated shelter will use your body heat for warming it up and for best results, you should use Styrofoam due to its excellent insulating properties.

For example, you can take a big cardboard box, like a refrigerator box or a big screen TV box or whatever is available for improvising an outside shelter, wrapped in plastic sheet on the outside to keep the moisture away and insulated on the inside with Styrofoam. You can use duct tape or glue for fixing the Styrofoam plates on the cardboard.

Styrofoam for Boiling Water

I bet you never thought about boiling water using a Styrofoam cup, did you? Well, it’s doable. Check out the video below and you’ll see how.

Video first seen on Zack Of All Trades.

Even if most people can’t believe you can achieve that, the trick is to let your fire burn down into a nice bed of coals. The next step is to put your water-filled Styrofoam cup on the coal bed, not on the open flame, that’s all there is to it.

Boiling water is the best thing to do if you want to get rid of bacteria and microbes, hence here goes another survival use of Styrofoam.

Styrofoam for Lifesaving Jackets

Styrofoam pellets can be transformed into improvised life jackets (you just fill a bag with the stuff and hang on to it) or you can even build a life raft from Styrofoam planks, as it’s highly buoyant. Here’s a video about DIYing a cool Styrofoam life jacket for emergencies using basic/readily available materials and tools, like wrapping film, stockings and blocks of Styrofoam.

Video first seen on waqashassanansari.

And here’s another video about homemade rafts using Styrofoam, with the frames welded together and the Styrofoam taped onto the respective frames, making for an excellent survival raft which holds the water impeccably.

Video first seen on RedneckInnovation.

Styrofoam for Casting Metal

Another interesting and potentially survival-related feature of Styrofoam is to use it for casting purposes. Check out this video and learn how to use Styrofoam for casting metal in an emergency. The possibilities are endless.

Video first seen on Grant Thompson – “The King of Random”.

This technique is called lost foam casting and it can be used for building any number of basic tools or even (stabbing) weapons, provided you have the ingredients, i.e. aluminum, sand and enough Styrofoam.

Now, let’s see about a couple of not-so-dramatic uses for Styrofoam.

For example, you can use a small piece of the respective stuff to hold small nails into place instead of using your fingers for that, thus avoiding bashing your thumb/forefinger.

If you’re in a SHTF situation, hands are very important and you’ll have to remain functional 100%, right? So, use a small piece of Styrofoam for steadying the nail against the wall instead of your fingers and live to fight another day!

Also, you may use Styrofoam peanuts for buffering sharp objects like awls inside your tool box, thus avoiding injury and staying healthy in an emergency situation.

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I hope the article helped. If you have any other ideas or questions, feel free to comment in the dedicated section below.

This article has been written by Chris Black for Survivopedia.

References:

http://www.motherearthnews.com/diy/make-your-own-cold-weather-clothing.aspx?SlideShow=4 

http://www.practicalsurvivor.com/urbansheltercoldweather 

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Ropes And Knots: Basics for Survival and Everyday Use

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Survivopedia knots and ropes

There’s good reason our military have trained men to tie them for generations. Knots has always been a skill the inexperienced take for granted, but any experienced outdoorsman, has had enough successes (and failures) to know there’s always a good knot, but only if the rope maintains its quality.

If you use the wrong knot, or type of rope, it could lead to a disaster. For safety sake know what knots, and rope materials to use.

Over the years knot tying has become a diverse practice with many specialty designs used in different jobs and occupations. This article will show you how to choose and care for rope, and prepare it for tying 13 of the most important knots for survival needs.

Subscribe to our newsletter (link available at the end of the article) and you’ll have access to one valuable free report with tutorials about 13 knot tying basics for survival and everyday use. 

What Kind of Rope to Use?

Before you can do any knot tying, you must know which rope to use, and how much weight the rope can support vs the expected load weight. Also be aware of the condition of the rope, and which knot to use for the application.

There are four basic types of commonly available rope:

  • Laid Rope is made from natural and synthetic fibers. These fibers are often twisted into yarns, then into strands, and finally twisted into rope. This is done in such a way that the twists are equalized so the rope is stable but flexible. Although laid rope patterns are very common and good for making knots, they are not recommended for rapelling, suspending heavy weights, or for long term durability. Each time you use the rope or put weight on it, the fibers will rub into each other and wear excessively internally. This can be very hard to spot and spell disaster if it breaks at the wrong moment. Laid rope is still the easiest for knotting and you can start off with it until you master the basic steps for each knot.
  • Sash Cord or Clothesline – Is woven of cotton and glazed with starch or other filler. It is unreliable and clumsy for knot tying and also not good for applications other than hanging clothes.
  • Woven Rope – Synthetic fibers are often woven or braided into line or rope in smaller diameters. Some braided ropes may also have non-woven or specialty fiber cores that will not rub and wear as quickly as other configurations. In terms of survival needs, you should choose several different kinds of braided rope and then practice making knots with them so that you are always ready for any situation. You should also know how to prevent unraveling, which is done by fusing with a flame or hot iron instead of whipping.
  •  Binder twine is too weak to be used in knots where strength is needed and should be avoided.

paracord

How to Care for Your Rope

How people care for their rope depends on the individual. Some people totally neglect the rope leaving it without whipped ends, unraveling, or trailing in the water if used in boating. Then you have those individuals that are very obsessive. They take rope care way beyond what a normal person would do.

Always give your rope a good inspection at the time you buy it and inspect it regularly as well as before each use.

Basic Rope Care Guide

Do you know what the life expectancy of your rope is? Rope manufactures have recommended retirement schedules that state the life of a rope. How long you will use a rope depends on your own inspection, knowledge of the rope’s history, and assessment of the rope.

In order to prolong its life, always keep your rope off the ground to protect it from dirt containing sharp small chips and crystals. If dirt or sharp bits of debris get into the rope, they can scratch the fibers and weaken them.

Avoid contact with chemicals, acids, bleach, and oxidation agents. Avoid embers, sparks, and matches. And try not to walk on the rope for this may work sharp debris into the rope core.

Even though most modern rope fibers have little nutrition value for rodents, they may still try to get into it or remove bits for nesting. Avoid rodents at all cost.

To preserve a rope when not in use, to keep it supple, and free of kinks, follow the advice below.

  • It should be coiled in the direction of it’s lay.
  • A right handed rope should always be coiled clockwise.
  • A left handed rope should always be coiled counter-clockwise.
  • Never store a coiled rope damp or wet. This will mildew the rope very quickly.
  • Mildew damage only becomes apparent when the rope breaks suddenly.

Be careful your ropes don’t get kinks in them. If they do, the kinks can overtax the fibers of the rope causing a weak spot in the bend of the kink. Wet rope is more likely to kink.

To avoid kinking in rope, lay the coil on the floor with the inside end down. Reach down through the center of the coil. Pull this end up and unwind the coil counter clockwise. If it uncoils in the wrong direction, turn the coil over and pull the end out on the other side.

When removing kinks from rope, the twist can be removed by dragging the rope forwards and backwards along a smooth section of ground. Pulling the rope forwards and backwards around a tree, a pipe, or other straight object.

How To Coil A Rope

To coil a twisted rope to hang on a peg you must do the following:

  •  Never pick up the rope and loop it repeatedly over your arm with the loops dangling from you hand because this puts kinks in the rope.
  • Before starting a coil, shake out the rope in a straight line along the ground to shake out the kinks in the rope.
  • Next, hold one end in your left hand and reaching forward with the right hand to gather enough rope to to make an eighteen inch loop.
  • As you place the loop over the palm of your flatly extended left hand, roll the rope between the thumb and forefinger of your right hand, giving it about a half turn towards your body.
  • This half turn counteracts the twist put in the rope as it was looped and prevents kinking of the rope.

And this is how to uncoil the rope:

  • When playing rope out of a coil, begin with the end in the center of the coil.
  • All coils should be unwound from the inside and in a counter clockwise direction.
  • If the rope uncoils clockwise, The end should be pushed through the center of the coil and played out from the opposite side.

How to Clean Your Rope

  • Ropes should be washed by hand in cold water with a mild soap.
  • Rinse free of the soap.
  • Wet ropes should always be hung out to dry on a pole, ladder, or a tree limb. Do not put the rope in direct sunlight to dry or near a source of heat. Hair dryers, clothes dryers, and other dryers can also ruin rope.
  • Leave the rope hung up and uncoiled until completely dry, then coil the rope.

How to Work the Rope to Prepare for Knotting

If your rope is a cotton braided variety, it will be soft and ready to use when you buy it, and will also become more soft and pliable with use. Manila rope is a good general purpose rope, but it is very tough and stiff when you buy it depending on how tight the lay is.

It will also kink very easily and leave fine slivers of fiber in your fingers. To remove the fibers simply rub the entire rope down with a coarse rag a couple of times. A hard-laid rope is no good to anyone. It must be thoroughly worked until it is reasonably soft and pliable.

How to Tie Knots

All knots and hitches are formed by two or three methods of laying rope: bright, loops, and overhand knots.

Bright is formed by turning the rope so that the end is parallel to the rest of the rope.

1-Bright

Loop is made by crossing the rope end over or under the rest.

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Overhand knot it’s made by passing the end of the rope through the loop.

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There are 13 types of knots that you should learn for survival and everyday use. CLICK HERE to subscribe for Survivopedia’s newsletter and get the free report on how to tie them!

It does not take much time or effort to learn how to tie knots, however the advantage of doing so can last you a life time.

If you have any questions or comments about knot tying, or just want to share your knowledge please leave them in the comment section below.

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This article has been written by Fred Tyrell for Survivopedia.

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DIY – Survival / Bug Out – Hunting Fishing Cooking Kit

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DIY Survival Food Kit

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

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

So let’s build a modular, everyday-carry, survival FOOD kit – that will allow you to cook, hunt, trap and fish and is designed to clip onto a bug-out bag, slip into a pack, throw in a vehicle or keep close by… just in case.
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Here Are the Core Item’s You’ll Need for Your Survival Food Kit:
!.  A MOLLE Compatible 4-inch by 10-inch pouch
2. A GSI Outdoors Stainless Steel Cup / Pot
3. A Stanley Camp Cook Kit
4. A 4-ounce Stove Gas Canister
5. A Compact / Lightweight Burner
6. Some Emergency Food and Spices
7. A Fishing Kit
8. A Mini Sling Shot…
9. And a Few Other Items that We’ll Talk about in a Minute
Our Pouch…

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

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

Let’s start by assembling our cooking supplies…

Our Cup…

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

Our Cooker…

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

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

DIY Survival Food Kit

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

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

DIY Survival Food Kit

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

DIY Survival Food Kit

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

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

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

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

DIY Survival Food Kit

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To Further Complete This Kit

DIY Survival Food Kit

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

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

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

DIY Survival Food Kit

You can add whatever nutritious and packable food you like.

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

Eating Tools

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

Fire Starters

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

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

Now We Need a Knife

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

A Light is Always a Handy Tool

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

Fishing Kit

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

Snare Kit

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

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

First… for a Good Solution…

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

For a Better Solution…

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

And for the BEST solution…

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

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

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

DIY Survival Food Kit

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

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

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

DIY Survival Food Kit

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

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

DIY Survival Food Kit

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

 

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

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Guns, Blood and Hypocrisy: The Largest Dealer Pushes For Gun Control

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Survivopedia gun control

Were you relieved to hear that the US Senate shot down all four gun control measures presented by the Democrats on June 20th? I was, but I was also just as disturbed to see that SCOTUS refused to hear the case against assault weapons bans.

No doubt Hillary and her merry band aren’t going to stop pushing for gun confiscation here in the United States.

So why is it that the Obama administration allowed Hillary to make so many deals that practically sold our military assets to countries that have a record for serious human rights violations?

How is it that these countries, plus one or more companies that sold these weapons through Hillary also contributed massive amounts of money to the Clinton Foundation and/or to her political campaign?

When Sam Jacob at ammo.com sent me this infographic, my first thought was “this is incredibly disturbing because terrorists will be coming through our leaky sieve of an immigration system with guns that Hillary sold to them even as she moves to disarm our innocent citizens.”

If you, or anyone else needs a good answer for why our citizens need to own an “assault weapon” here in the United States – quite frankly – the way things went down in Syria and this infographic says it all!

Guns, Blood and HypocrisyWorldwide Weapons1

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This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia.

References:

http://ammo.com/articles/earths-largest-arms-dealer-is-obama-administration-infographic

http://www.ibtimes.com/clinton-foundation-donors-got-weapons-deals-hillary-clintons-state-department-1934187

http://medium.com/@JeanetteJing/secretary-clinton-approved-millions-in-global-sales-for-the-sandy-hook-gun-maker-9e8b0e78c58d#.naku5aklu

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What’s the Best Survival Tool? 16 Preppers Reveal It All!

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What’s the Best Survival Tool? 16 Preppers Reveal It All! One of the biggest questions I get a lot is, “What’s the best survival tool and why?” This is a fair question. After all, people want to buy something that will get them out of serious trouble when the time comes. Let’s think about that …

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The post What’s the Best Survival Tool? 16 Preppers Reveal It All! appeared first on SHTF & Prepping Central.

Why You Should Keep Tarp in Your Survival Kit

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A few weeks ago, we took a day trip to a wilderness area for a picnic. There was no rain in the forecast that day, and there were no clouds in the sky when we set out. After an hour’s drive, we arrived and scoped out a spot by some trees. A couple of hours later, the clouds started coming in. Pretty soon the sky was dark and you could just feel a slight cool down in the temperature, which signifies rain. The wind came in and we knew we were about to have a downpour. […]

The post Why You Should Keep Tarp in Your Survival Kit appeared first on Apartment Prepper.

10 Survival Essentials That You Absolutely Can’t Go Without

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10 Survival Essentials That You Absolutely Can’t Go Without There are thousands of survival items out there. From knives to magnesium sticks and more, it can make a beginner feel completely overwhelmed. For example, should you invest in matches or lighters for building a fire? Or both? Should you forget both of those and simply …

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The post 10 Survival Essentials That You Absolutely Can’t Go Without appeared first on SHTF & Prepping Central.

20 Uses for Tarp

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This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com On our last road trip, we used tarp to protect camping gear on top of the truck.   The tarp held up very well and the contents stayed dry in spite of heavy rain.  Use tarp closest to the color of your vehicle to make it look as unobtrusive as possible. It also came in handy when we went on a picnic by the river and got caught in a sudden rain storm.  I […]

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Prep Blog Review: DIY Water Projects To Try NOW

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big DIY water

Our long weekend and the first one of summer, got me thinking of ways to enjoy DIY projects again. I’ve always been their biggest fan. I get excited about the idea of a new project, start the work, and can’t wait to finish and use them at their best.

I’m getting more and more worried about my water reserve (must be the heat). So I’ve decided to mix useful and fun, in choosing posts for this week’s Prep Blog Review, and I’ve found some pretty interesting stuff to try.

1. How to Find and Purify Water Sources You Never Considered

water diy

“This is Part II of a pair of articles on finding and obtaining water in the field.  The last one we covered some methods of chemical purification, and stressed (as we stress here): boiling is the safest method to purify your water.  Keep in mind something I didn’t mention in the previous article: water that is contaminated by pollutants such as toxic chemicals and industrial wastes is not able to be purified by chemicals or boiling to make it safe for drinking.  We will address that in a minute.”

Read more on Ready Nutrition.

2. Prepping: Water Storage

water DIY

“Water is a topic that is something that is touched on in preparation but I think most times it is often seen as getting by with the min.  amount rather than what a person really needs to store on hand as well as making clean drinking water for the future.  I can tell you from my own 5 day no tap water test that one gallon stored per person a day might be okay for three days.  But it will not be enough even for a week long outage.  Sure it’s better than nothing but I don’t know about you but I’m not prepar­ing based on better than nothing”.

Read more on Hot Gas.

3. 22 Ways To Conserve Water In Your Home

water DIY“Water shortages brought on by droughts have caused water restrictions in many areas of the country. Many are seeing the excessiveness of their lifestyles and are finding that the landscaping around their homes and in-home water usage isn’t as conducive in minimizing their water usage.

The water consumed by the United States is among the highest in the world. On average, one household uses 350 gallons of water. Did you know that if a household started conserving water, you can reduce your in-home water use by 35%? This means the average household, which uses 130,000 gallons per year, could save 44,000 gallons of water per year.”

Read more on Prepper Dome.

 4. How to Adjust the pH in Soil and Water for Abundant Harvests

“In terms of plant growth, the pH of the soil the plant is growing in can have a massive impact on yield, so it is important to optimize the pH in soil. Solutions shown to be 7 on the pH scale are neutral, so pure water would be neutral. Solutions under 7 on the pH scale are acidic – cider vinegar, for example, is around 4 on the scale and stomach acid (hydrochloric acid) is around 2-3. Solutions over 7 on the pH scale are alkaline – bleach is around 13 on the scale and a baking soda solution about 9.”

Read more on: Ask a Prepper

5. Safe Drinking Water in Any Situation

DIY water

“Everyone agrees that you should have an emergency supply of water. Most experts advise that you should have a minimum water supply for 72 hours and the CDC recommends that you have 1 gallon of water for each person in your family for each day. If you have a family of 4 you will need 12 gallons of water for those 72 hours. This is pretty easy to do with bottled water. Bottled water is pre-packaged and has clear expiration dates so you know that the water is still safe to drink.

Acquiring safe drinking water becomes a little more difficult if you need to abandon your home or if the emergency lasts longer than 72 hours. Each case requires understanding of water safety, contamination, and treatment.”

Read more and on SHTF Preparedness.

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This article has been written by Brenda E. Walsh for Survivopedia

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Four Axes That Every Prepper Should Own

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This post was originally published in Surviving Prepper Written by Marc When the SHTF and there is no electricity or fuel, hand tools and the knowledge of how to use them, will be incredibly important. When you escape to the woods the almighty axe is the go-to tool. Axes can be used to fell a tree, build a shelter, chop firewood, and even defend yourself if needed. There are many different types of axes. Some have very specific purposes, while […]

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15 Ways A Prepper Can Use Magnets

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Survivopedia 15 uses for magnets

If you only think about magnets as the things that keep your shopping list stuck to the fridge, then you are missing out on dozens of ways to use them. Both before and after a major crisis, you will be amazed at how much you will need them.

Have a look at this list of applications so that you can see where not having a robust supply of magnets in your stockpile can cause more problems than you anticipated.

Speakers and Radio Receivers

No matter whether you use a foxhole radio or build something a bit more robust, the system will be useless without some kind of receiver that translates the radio frequency back into sounds. Just about every speaker and receiver on modern communication devices rely on magnets.

If you cannot scavenge speaker parts, but you have a few magnets on hand, then you can still build a receiver with relative ease.

For example, this receiver is made of little more than paper, copper coil, and a magnet. It will work as well with a crystal radio as more complex designs that may be in your stockpile. In fact,if you need to replace a speaker/receiver for a phone, CD Player, DVD player, or just about any other device, you can use these crude speakers to gain access to the sounds made by the device.

Video first seen on Plusea.

Generating Electricity

Of all the uses for magnets, this is truly my personal favorite. All electricity generating systems come down to finding ways to get a magnet to cause current to flow in a nearby wire (coil).

Today, most systems set the magnet in the center of a complex, tightly wound coil to form a motor. Motors can be used to generate force to turn other objects, or they can be used to generate electricity. Depending on how the motor is designed, it may or may not be possible to use the motor for both purposes.

When it comes to generating power in a situation where “low tech” requires simple tools and low skill levels, it is my personal belief that it is better to find ways to get the magnet to spin while keeping the coils stationary. Even though less power may be generated using this method, the coils are far less complicated and can easily be wound by hand if needed. That being said, if you don’t believe this, try opening up even a simple 1 – 2 volt DC motor.

Pay careful attention to the coil wound to fit around the main shaft. Feel free to unwind it, and then see if you can rewind it exactly as you found it before. In just about every case, you will find this task impossible to achieve. Winding a coil is not like winding up a ball of yarn. Wire tends to be much stiffer, and it also can be much harder to line up without good quality motor winding tools. You will also need fresh wire on spools made specifically for winding coils.

From personal experience, and more than a few adventures with shorting motors and other assorted mischief, I can safely say that you should not, as a prepper, rely on anything that you can’t replace from scratch.

While there may be people that have the tools and materials available to build more complex coils, others are best served by using simpler methods that still get the job done. When it comes to generating electricity, you will find it easier to develop systems in which the magnets move and then you can replace simpler, DIY winder/hand wound stationary coils as needed.

Convert any Motor and Speaker into a Generator

Remember all those old motors you have laying around that you’ve been told can’t be used to generate electricity? Were you told that it would cost more to “convert” these motors than it was worth? This video reveals an incredibly easy way to attach a magnet to the shaft of a motor so that it can be used to generate electricity.

In this video, the magnet is placed near a speaker so that the vibrations from the speaker generate power. You can use this or other means to generate power. Just make sure that you are able to generate more power than what is consumed by the motor.

Video first seen on Giesbert Nijhuis.

Clean Algae from Hydroponics Aquariums

If you have any kind of aquarium, then you also know that algae is going to form and cause all kinds of problems. While you may be able to use a simple sponge to remove algae from smaller tanks, that is not going to be an option for bigger tanks that have areas that are hard to reach. In the meantime, during a crisis, any chemicals that you may be using to control algae will also be unavailable.

You can get rid of algae easily enough by placing one part of an aquarium safe magnet inside the aquarium. Next, use the other half to move the magnet around from outside the tank. As the magnet moves, it will also take the algae along with it. This option will release algae into the water, where it will be picked up by the filters. Just change the filter media in a few days and you will have solved your current algae problem.

Extend the Life of Your Hot Water Heater

Did you know that corrosion is the single greatest enemy of your hot water heater? Contrary to popular belief, it is not the water itself that causes the corrosion. Rather, it is calcium dissolved into the water that causes the corrosion.

Before producing scale on the inside of the heater, calcium will either form carbonate or aragonite. Even though calcium is not magnetic, strong magnetic fields do have an impact on it. In this case, as the calcium and water pass through a magnetic field, it will form aragonite instead of carbonate. Aragonite will either form no bond or a much weaker bond than carbonate on the inside of the water heater.

To take advantage of this effects, make sure that you have copper pipe going into the hot water heater. Place two neodymium magnets on the outside of the pipe and leave them there. When placing the magnets, make sure they do not interfere with the internal electronic workings of the heater.

The whole arena of magnetic treatment of water remains a controversial topic. Nevertheless, there has been some research done on reducing scale buildup inside hot water heaters. At the very least, adding two magnets won’t harm the heater, and might just do some good.

Extend the Life of an Engine

No matter whether you have a tractor or some other kind of farm equipment, the engines will wear out even if you have good oil and filters on hand.

Some of this wear can be reduced if you are able to keep metal bits from the piston and engine block from getting past the filter and back into the oil. Since many of these bits are magnetic, you can try placing a ceramic magnet in the oil pan.

As the oil flows into the pan, the metallic bits will be attracted to the magnet and trapped by it. When you change the oil, make sure that you clean the magnet before replacing it.

Close off Heating and Cooling Registers

Have you ever been in a situation where you had to close off parts of the house because you didn’t have enough resources to keep all the rooms warm or cool enough?

If you have central heating or any other system that relies on vents, your efforts to close off unused rooms will be of little use because the vents won’t completely close. You can use tinfoil or any other flexible, fireproof material to cover the registers , and then use the magnets to hold the material in place.

Why wait for a bad weather situation to use magnets this way? You can cut back on your heating and cooling bills right now just by finding a better way to close central heating registers in rooms that you aren’t using.

Cold Weapons

Some of the most interesting, and deadly weapons for defense can be made with magnets. There are three basic kinds to consider. If you have enough magnets and power, these devices can also be used for perimeter defense.

Railguns

These devices require two rails, a source of power, and, in the original versions, a projectile that conducts electricity. The projectile serves to close the circuit between the rails and the power supply.

railgun

Once the projectile reaches the end of the rails, it is going so fast that it will continue on its path without using more energy from the power source. There are also newer designs that do not require a projectile. Newer rail guns being developed by the military can use pure energy as the “projectile”. Typically, these guns fire as much as 33% faster than conventional explosive based guns.

Coilguns

Instead of using rails, coilguns are little more than a series of coils that are energized in a sequence that causes magnetic ammunition to move forward at great speeds. This sequence may also include inducing current in such a way that the bullet also rotates in the barrel without the use of rifling.

Coilgun_animation

When compared to railguns, coilguns are much easier to make. You can build a hand held version from magnets, wire, and a few capacitors.

Directed Energy Weapons

Instead of firing a projectile, these devices are designed to emit large amounts of energy at a specific target. Usually, the energy will disrupt or destroy electronic circuits or cause some other kind of damage.

Even though many of the more robust applications are beyond the average prepper, there are others that you may be able to build for the purpose of jamming radar or any number of weapons that use unshielded electronics. If you do decide to try and build magnet based weapons, make sure that you also know how direct energy weapons may be used to neutralize them.

In some cases, you may find that a few simple adjustments to the shielding will be enough to ensure your weapons continue working regardless of the kind of energy beam aimed at them. Other times, you may need to go back to more simple designs that eliminate integrated circuits and other vulnerable technologies.

Find True North Without a Compass

These days, just about everyone uses a GPS and a smart phone with a map app to find out how to get from Point A to Point B. In fact, even if you go camping, hiking, or off the beaten path, you may use a GPS for navigational purposes. No matter how many times you read about adding a compass to your bug out bag, chances are you haven’t gotten around to buying one. Worse yet, you may have settled for a cheap compass that doesn’t even work properly.

Let’s say a major disaster happens and you don’t have an hour or so to chart the position of the sun in order to figure out where North is. If you don’t have a compass, but you do have a magnet, you can make a crude compass with it. Just take a straight pin or a sewing needle and rub it across the magnet around 50 times. Make sure that you always rub the needle across the magnet in the same direction.

Next, push the needle or pin through something that will float easily in water. A cork, or any other buoyant item will work perfectly. Set the needle and the cork in a bowl of water so that the needle lays flat on the surface. The needle will point to true north as long as there are not other large metallic objects in the area to throw it off. As with any other compass, you must be careful about where you take your readings so that you do not wind up going astray.

Locate Magnetic Objects Hidden in Walls

As simple as this one may sound, it is also one of the most versatile ways to use magnets. If you are trying to locate studs, chances are they were nailed into place with nails that will respond to the presence of a magnet.

Why spend all that money on a stud finder when a magnet can just as easily do the job? Aside from that, anything magnetic in the walls will also cause the magnet to be attracted to it. This is a good way to locate magnetic pipes and anything else would be of interest.

Find Missing Magnetic Objects
When you have a homestead, or must maintain your own bug out location, you will wind up building and repairing many things. From building a wind turbine to adding on to your home, nails and other magnetic items are bound to fall and get lost. Instead of taking the chance of getting a nail stuck in your foot, or pulling everything apart to reach a valuable object, you can use a magnet to find and retrieve the object.

To get the most out of the magnet, simply attach it to a pole and then use the magnet end to sweep across the area where you have been working. Not only will you avoid a tedious visual search, you may just find a whole bunch of other magnetic objects that escaped your attention earlier.

Keep Metal Objects in Place 

No matter whether you are building a deck or sewing up some new clothes, you will wind up reaching for things like nails, pins, and other items that will rest in some kind of container. If you want to save time and make your tasks easier, you can use magnetic containers and bands to hold these items. For example, if you pinning a pattern to cloth, just use a magnetic strap around your wrist to hold the pins. You can also use a similar wrist strap to hold nails, screws, or even paperclips if you are assembling paper packets.

Here are some other simple ways to use magnets to keep objects organized and in place:

  • Take a plastic bowl and place a flat magnet under the bowl. Now you can add screws, paper clips, or anything else magnetic to the bowl. As you add items to the bowl, they will be drawn to the magnet and stay in place.
  •  Use magnetic strips on desk surfaces to store paper clips or other items that you use often. You can also use another magnet to hold paper notes to the magnetic strip.
  • If you happen to be driving and need to spread out a map, you can use magnets to hold the map to a flat surface on your vehicle.
  • When making repairs to your vehicle, you can also use magnets to hold diagrams in place while you are working.

Save Space and Organize Your Desk, Walls, and Cabinets

There is no such thing as a cabinet shelf or drawer that can be filled to capacity without creating more chaos. Magnets can be used to reclaim all kinds of wasted space and also help organize areas that you thought were impossible to manage.

Here are a few things to try:

  • Embed magnets in wood or other materials to create shelves that you can hang on the refrigerator. Just make sure that you use strong magnets and that the weight of the rack and items stored on it do not exceed the power of the magnet.
  • Use magnets to keep paper clips, nails, screws, and even keys organized in drawer systems.
  • Use magnet pairs to hold blueprints to walls and other locations where they will not take up space needed for other things.

As Parts of Toys for Children

When was the last time your kids actually built something or engaged in some activity without running off for the smart phone or the video game as quickly as possible?

No doubt, as prepper parents, you are struggling to find ways to keep your children active in the real and tangible world instead of constantly escaping into a virtual world that will disappear and leave them unable to manage even simple tasks in a crisis. Because magnets can be used for so many fascinating things, they can be used as parts in all kinds of projects.

Here are just a few things your children might enjoy building and exploring:

  • Simple experiments that show magnetic fields – just take some paper, a magnet, and iron filings to show your children what magnetic fields look like. For even more fun, try slowly spinning the magnet or seeing how the wave form for a magnet in an electric circuit looks
  • Magnetic levitation toys – your children can make everything from tops and spinners to vehicles that will run on rails.
  • For younger children, DIY versions of Mr. Potato Head, buildable construction sets, and much more can be built at little or no cost using magnets. If you are tired of throwing away all kinds of plastic toys because they break or require batteries, some of these ideas may be the perfect alternative. Try building these items with your kids and give them the chance to improve on motor and logic skills.
  • Science fair oriented projects – children of all ages that love to build things will have a wonderful time using magnets to build linear accelerators and explore other useful topics. This link offers just a few projects that can be built using household scraps and magnets. Take a look at the References section for links to more ideas. Do you see some things that can help you along with prepping or ways to adapt them for use as something more than toys?

As you can see, there are many uses for magnets that go far beyond what you may have thought possible. From weapons to extending the life of key appliances, magnets can help you save money and also make survival in a crisis scenario a bit easier.

If you explore all the different ways to use magnets, you’ll develop a set of tools and equipment that can be used to survive in any situation.

EMPCover1

This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia.

References:

http://www.all-science-fair-projects.com/science_fair_projects.php?s_terms=magnets&s_difficulty=&s_category=

https://www.kjmagnetics.com/blog.asp?p=water-treatment

http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/article/0,,1099731,00.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnetic_weapon

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Railgun

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coilgun

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Directed-energy_weapon

http://www.rd.com/home/7-ways-to-use-magnets/

http://www.hellowonderful.co/post/7-FUN-MAGNETIC-TOYS-AND-GAMES-TO-MAKE

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Off-Grid Mechanics: 8 Steps That You Need To Know

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Survivopedia Off-grid Mechanics

What kind of vehicles and equipment do you use every day? What would you use instead in a SHTF world without the power grid?

When modern equipment won’t work anymore, the prepared have a plan in place. They know that with a little ingenuity and some elbow grease, they can get the job done. But a willingness to work won’t get you very far if you don’t have a pile of materials to work with.

Using What You Have

Modern-day preppers can learn a lot from the Depression era mentality of saving. I know that I have!

My Grandpa never threw anything away. When we first moved back to the family property, I thought his old junk pile was an eyesore. Tires. Old tractors. Tons of screws, bolts, and who knows what else. It was a huge pile of junk.

In today’s use it and toss it society, I simply couldn’t fathom why in the world my Grandpa kept this junk. I was embarrassed by it. I wanted to scoop it all up and take it to the dump. Thankfully, we couldn’t afford to do that.

Because over the years since we’ve been back, I’ve realized the true value of that junk pile. We’ve taken parts from equipment of old to fix what is broken. We’ve used scrap metal and junk to fill a need and solve problems around the homestead. And we’ve saved a lot of money.

That junk pile? I no longer view it as junk. I think of it as our insurance. You see—when the day comes that we can’t just go buy something, we’ll have a leg-up. We’ll have stuff to work with.

So if you don’t have a junk pile of your own, I’d recommend you start one. If you have property, just gather your junk in a remote corner. If you don’t, you’ll have to think creatively.

Can you save extra nuts and bolts in a drawer in the garage? Can you partner with a country friend to create a joint pile? Can you devote a closet to accumulating odds and ends?

As odd as it may seem to save junk, recycling and reusing becomes crucial when the modern economy is gone. You simply won’t be able to go buy what you need. You’ll have to use what you have.

1. Make a List!

What kind of automated systems are you running right now? Since each of us have a different lifestyle and processes, we won’t all need the exact same things.

To figure out what you need, you have to make a list. Grab a piece of paper and write down all of the systems you’re currently using that run on electricity and modern machinery. Here’s some common ones to get you thinking:

  • Milking machines
  • Automated sprinklers for the garden
  • Tractor for plowing the field
  • Rototillers for the garden
  • Irrigation systems
  • Lights
  • Food storage (fridge and freezer)
  • Laundry care
  • Cooking
  • Personal vehicles to get from place to place
  • Heating a greenhouse to grow food year round

You’ll probably have more to add. Most of us are very dependent on modern innovations in today’s life. Now that you have your list, it’s time to start thinking through SHTF scenarios. Let’s work through a couple together:

Milking the Animals

How would you milk your cows if you had no power?

If you only have a couple of cows, you’ll probably be able to switch to hand milking. You might even get away with switching to once a day milking depending on how much milk your ladies are giving.

milking

But, what if you have a whole herd and depended on a milker? What powers your machine milker? Do you know how your vacuum pump works? How will you clean the pieces if you don’t have running water?

Learn everything you can about the mechanics behind the automated systems you use every day. Read the manual. Study how the pieces work together. The more familiar you are with the parts and pieces, the more likely you’ll be able to repair it when the time comes. You’ll also know what sorts of extra parts to start stock piling.

Vehicles

When vehicles first came out, they were fairly simple machines. Most people could handle their own repairs. With today’s chips, computers, and complexity, that’s no longer the case.

These detailed systems often require specialized tools and scanning software to repair. There isn’t much you can do yourself without a large amount of mechanical knowledge. You might want to consider having an older vehicle around, just because it’s easier to work on.

They’re also more likely to run after an EMP. Here’s a great Survivopedia post on the best vehicles for an EMP event.

No matter what you’re driving, it’s essential that you start learning to repair it. If your car is broken, do some basic troubleshooting yourself. Every time you do this, you’re improving your mechanical ability.

If you take your car to the mechanic, learn all you can. Ask to see the broken part and where it was in your vehicle. You’ll learn more about your car, and start building a relationship with someone local with a mechanically minded skill-set. Or you can chose to grow animals for transportation.

Growing Food

You can’t just plop a variety of seeds in the ground and expect to magically grow enough food to feed yourself and your family for the entire year.  There’s a lot of work between planting and harvesting. Many people rely on automated systems to do a portion of this work. From tractors to electricity or automatic watering systems, food production hasn’t escaped modern marvels.

Take a look at what you’re currently doing for food production. Do you run a rototiller over the ground each year? If so, it’s time to think about switching to a no-till method of gardening.

In this method, you prepare your soil initially before planting. Then you cover it with a thick layer of mulch.  When it’s time to plant, you gently remove some of the mulch, and bury your seeds.

As your plants grow, the mulch holds in water, which is essential in a crisis situation. You continue to add compost and mulch to your garden. But, instead of digging the new stuff in, you just top-dress it by adding layer upon layer up on top.

This same method works in the field as well, though on a larger scale. Instead of a plow to prep the field for planting, you’d use a harrow. The impact on the land is a lot less, as harrows pierce the ground instead of turning it over.

Harrows are also more energy efficient since you can plant at the same time. That means only one trip around the field is needed instead of multiple.

Large Equipment

If your farm equipment fails, do you have a backup plan? Some people keep horses around, but horses aren’t the only animal that can work a field. Dexter cattle have been called a tri-purpose cow because they’re good for meat, milk, and work.

You’ll probably need to do some innovating to get your equipment to pull by animal instead of machine. Harnesses will be essential to keep your animal safe while working.

You can look for older equipment now, while you still have the benefit of used marketplaces. Horse drawn machinery are often cheaper than their modern counterparts, and  they’re also easier to work on.

Video first seen on jamminjamy.

Watering

It’s not only the planting of the field that you should think about, it’s also the watering. Water typically runs on a pump. If you don’t have power, you’ll lose the accessibility of water. Gravity fed systems are one solution.

Look for an elevated area on your property where you can collect rainwater.

If you prepare a large container with a hose connector and a plug down low, you’ll be set to use the water. When it’s time to water, hook a hose up to the container. Gravity will force the water through the hose to where you need it. Just be sure to put the plug back on your system when you’re finished.

You can also build a series of wooden troughs to carry water from a waterfall or creek if you have one on your property. This one requires a little more mechanical know-how, as you’ll have to ensure your angles are correct. Otherwise the water won’t flow.

Harvest Time

To harvest your plants without machinery, you’ll need to learn how it was done in the past. If you’re growing your own wheat, instead of a combine you’ll need a scythe to cut it. You’ll also need to think through the threshing.

Only you know exactly what you’ll need to switch your automated systems over to manual ones. You’ll definitely need to have raw materials and tools on hand to keep your systems in good repair. But what can you do right now to start this process?

2. Stock Up on Printed Resources

There are plenty of books and details online that walk you through the systems you need. Now is the perfect time to stock up on printed research materials. After all, you won’t be able to do a whole lot of surfing the internet after the SHTF.

You won’t be able to learn everything in one sitting. That’s why having printed material is so beneficial. When you need it, you’ll be able to pull it out and learn on the go.

3. Develop a Repair or Reuse Mindset

When something breaks, it’s so easy to throw it away and buy another one. But, that attitude won’t get you very far in a crisis. Starting today, take time to learn about what’s broken.

If it’s something you were going to throw away anyways, you have nothing to lose. Examine the parts. See if you can pinpoint what failed. Then take it apart and see how everything fits together.

You might discover it was something simple that you can fix. If not, you gained valuable experience in troubleshooting and disassembly. Those skills will be crucial in the future.

Instead of throwing away things that break, see if you can come up with a more innovative solution. Can you pull the components and save them for an upcoming project? Can you hang onto the gears?

You might not have the space to save everything. That’s why it’s essential to have your list. What items will you use the most to keep your needed systems up and running?

4. Develop Your Creativity and Innovation

Instead of going out and buying something new, think creatively. Is there any other way to do what you need to do? Can you reuse something, or build a DIY model?

This will put your creative thinking skills to work. You’ll start thinking outside of the box. But just coming up with ideas isn’t enough. Innovation is the ability to put those skills to use to solve a problem.

5. Improve Your Mechanical Mind

Some people are naturally gifted in the area of mechanics. They’re tinkerers, always working on something. Others don’t have this natural ability.  But, everyone can learn. If you’re not mechanically inclined, start asking questions. Watch what others do. Learn from them.

6. Carry Tools

You never know when you might need a screwdriver or a knife. If you aren’t currently carrying a multi-tool, start.

Put a basic repair kit in your car, and know how to use the tools in it. If you leave your vehicle in an emergency, you’ll be able to grab a couple of tools. Those may make the difference between you making it home or not.

saws

7. Invest in Hand Tools

You’ll also want to build a solid supply of hand tools around your homestead. Think beyond the screwdriver and hammer. How would you cut firewood without a chainsaw? Pick up a hand saw that you can use if you need to.

8. Learn the Basics

While you can’t learn everything there is to know, you can learn a little about a lot of things. Here are some things to study that’ll help you be better prepared:

Every bit of knowledge and hands on mechanical experience you gain will help make you stronger in the future.

What’s your biggest struggle when it comes to off-grid mechanics? What systems would you have to replace? Could you survive off-grid, living the life our ancestors lived? Click on the banner below to find out more about their way of living and use their secrets for your survival.

the lost ways cover

This article has been written by Lisa Tanner for Survivopedia.

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Using Airsoft As Prepper Practice!?

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Here is where airsoft comes in as good training for Preppers. When you are wearing your full load out including water, loaded magazines, armor panel’s, your conditioning yourself and becoming use to your gear and its weight. After two hours of high impact fast paced play. You have just moved one step closer to becoming … Continue reading Using Airsoft As Prepper Practice!?

5 Little-Known Cold Weapons For Your Defense

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SVP 5 little know weaponsMany modern textbooks say that Native Americans and other cultures lost out to Europeans because the latter had the advantage of guns that easily outstripped bows, arrows, spears, and other common personal defense weapons.

It is also a well-known fact that if you are in a close range fight, most large guns will not be of much use to you. From that perspective, there are actually better, and far more lethal options that you can use for personal defense. A short look back in the history would help you a lot.

Since these “cold weapons” tend to be easy to build or obtain, there is no such thing as making them “illegal” or ever really putting as many controls on them as with guns and their relatively limited manufacture options.

As an added bonus, there are even limitations on many of these weapons because they do not require complex ammunition, if any at all.

1. Kusarigama

The Kusarigama is one of the most fascinating and deadly weapons used by the samurai of Japan. It is basically a combination of a chain and a sickle. If you add a larger ball at the other end of the chain, then you would also have the added benefit of a mace in a single weapon.

kusarigamaYou can use the Kusarigama to:

  • deliver lethal cutting blows with the sickle,
  • use the chain to trip up someone trying to hurt you,
  • strangle an adversary using the chain
  • use the ball end to deliver blows to the head or strike at the eyes
  • you can also use the chain area to wrap around your arms or other areas where you need quick armor.

Before building or trying to use a Kusarigama, remember that the free moving end can very easily come back and hit you if you don’t know what you are doing. In the same manner, if you aren’t paying attention, or have no experience with using chains in a fight, then you may trip yourself up or get your limbs tangled up in the chain.

Practice with foam and breakaway string versions and then move up to light weight wood so that you become accustomed to the way the chain and each end move. As you add more weight to the weapon, you will also have to adjust your movements to compensate and also to redevelop your accuracy.

2. Throwing Star

The throwing star or death star is little more than a piece of metal fashioned into a 3 or 4, or more pointed star shape. They are easier to manage than throwing knives and can be much smaller in size.

throwing starAs with spring assist guns, you can dip throwing stars in poison or adapt them to a range of needs. Throwing stars can also be made from just about any material including tin can lids or even very hard plastic if it is sharpened right.

Here are some adaptions to the basic throwing star that may make them even more lethal and versatile:

  • The Maya used to take wood and then add very sharp obsidian blades along the edges. You can try using this method to fashion a wooden throwing star and then use obsidian for the blades. Since the obsidian can be made into a sharper edge than metal, the star would have more cutting power.
  • Try making a polymer throwing star that is just thick enough to add springs into the center. Use the springs to release needles once the throwing star acquires its target.
  • Make foldable throwing stars that can be easily disguised and even easier to carry
  • try a different number of points or blade shape. For example, how does a curved blade work versus a straight blade?

Since the throwing star is thrown, there is always a chance that you will not be able to retrieve it. Therefore, you will have to make and carry several of them for effective self-defense.

On the other side of the equation, always practice with your throwing stars so that you do not wind up throwing in a way that creates a boomerang effect.

When using or carrying a throwing star, remember that it will be very difficult to use if the person is within arm’s length. This particular weapon is best used when the attacker is a few feet away and the star has enough distance to gain some rotational force. Always have a weapon on hand that can be used at closer quarters to back up the throwing star.

3. Atlatl

The Atlatl or spear thrower is a Mayan invention. This device is basically a half round tube with a cap on one end. It can be used to launch both spears and darts. Basically, as the Atlatl and the projectile are moved forward, additional force is stored in the Atlatl.

atlatl

As the spear or dart moves away from the thrower, it has more power and speed because the Atlatl is also pushing it.

Historically speaking, Atlatls were made of wood. You can also try making them out of plastic or other materials that are readily available. Few weapons can rival the Atlatl for being light weight, easy to conceal, and completely impossible to control.

If you can make a pipe with a cup on the end and a few darts, then you have a formidable device that can disable or kill many different kinds of attackers.

As with throwing stars, the Atlatl is best used for longer distances. Since the projectile can travel at almost 100 mph it can do more damage than several other weapons. You may also want to adapt the Atlatl by adding springs to the cup end to see if you can get better speed out of the projectile.

Even though you may not reach an average of 1700 mph (the average speed of a bullet), you may be able to get up to 500 mph out of the Atlatl when combined with other technologies.

4. Tetsubishi

The Tetsubishi is another fascinating device invented by the Samurai. Basically, it is three dimensional six pointed star with very sharp points. It is usually aimed at the feet of attackers.tetsubishiIf someone steps on these weapons, the points will break through the bottom of their shoes and puncture their feet. At face value, this particular weapon doesn’t seem like more than a deterrent.

You can make the following adaptions to make the Tetsubishi more lethal and more effective against modern shoes:

  • Either make the points thinner or use needles on the ends to create a sharper point that can penetrate even the thickest work boot soles.
  • Use spring assist on the needles for more force and to deliver poison payloads
  • Dip the points in poison or even mercury if nothing else is available.
  • Do not overlook what you can do with the center of the Tetsubishi. When your foot lands on something, there is a natural reflex to be distracted and to pause for a split second. Even if you cannot get a strong enough needle or springs to fit into the points, there may be a way to deliver a more lethal payload from the center of the Tetsubishi. This includes a mini bomb that will detonate as the points collapse or something else that will do more than slow up your attackers. Even though the original design is not meant to have collapsing points, there are still some advantages if you want to use that collapse to launch a projectile up into an attacker’s foot.
  • Your design should be lightweight so that you can carry several of these devices.

When it comes to fighting off attackers, many anti-gunners make the insane claim that guns are more dangerous than other weapons because they can kill multiple people at one time. Sadly, their imaginary and ignorant thinking does not take in the reality that one bullet can only hit one target, and that only one bullet can leave the gun at a time.

That being said, many cold weapons do have the disadvantage of being mainly person to person defense weapons in situations where you may have multiple attackers.

The Tetsubishi has an advantage in these situations because you can throw a handful of small ones at a group and potentially trip up 5 – 6 people with one action. Alternatively, try throwing them from a bucket or other launcher and you can trip up dozens of people in less time than it would take to raise and fire a machine gun.

5. Yawara

The Yawara is a small piece of wood or metal that is designed to be held in the palm of your hand. In Japan, it was used to hit pressure points and other sensitive areas such as the eyes or parts of the face.

yawara

This is a very close range weapon that can also be used to make punches more effective.

Today, many self-defense classes teach you how to use house and car keys for a similar purpose.

If you want to customize the Yawara to make it more effective, consider spring assist technologies that can be used to push a poison needle into the flesh of an attacker.

At close ranges, you will not so much need fast projectile speed as you will the opportunity to reach flesh.

In order to use the Yawara effectively for this purpose, you will also need to know how to make fast acting poisons and sedatives. Fortunately, there are many poisonous plants that are easy to grow as well as a number of animal venom that are hard to regulate.

As a cold weapon, this one stands out because it is very compact and easily overlooked. There are also a number of adaptions that can make it more effective.As you can see, there are all sorts of cold weapons that may not be as powerful and compact as guns, however they can save your life in a crisis situation and be easier to conceal than guns.

With a little bit of practice and modification of these basic designs, you may even have a combination of personal defense weapons that will make guns useless in the hands of your attackers.

Subscribe to our newsletter (if you haven’t already) to get more knowledge about these uncommon weapons for your personal defense, and click on the banner below to find out the most effective techniques to defeat intruders!

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This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia.

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DIY Projects: How To Re-purpose Old CDs 

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Survivopedia Re-purpose Old CSs

Today’s article is about an almost extinct technology, the dinosaur of today’s modern digital media. Yes indeed, the good ole compact disc is near the end of its life cycle because it’s been almost completely replaced by USB drives, flash sticks and things of that higher-tech nature.

But what can we do with the zillions of CDs already in existence? Throw them away in the garbage can?

That’s not what a super-prepper would do; au contraire, waste is not cool in my book, as I’m all about recycling when it makes sense and repurpose as much as possible. Hence, today’s piece will present you with a few ideas about how to re-purpose your old CD collection.

solarstove

Are you ready? Let’s start with…

1. How to make a solar panel (using your old Metallica CD collection, boot legs included)!

It sounds relatively implausible, I know. I mean, how on earth can you build a solar panel using shiny old plastic disks? Well, this is not a “real” solar panel, but it makes good use of the CD’s reflective surface for creating a solar heating panel. It’s a very simple and efficient project that even your kids could finish in a couple of hours.

Materials required for the CD solar panel:

  • super glue,
  • cardboard,
  • measuring tape,
  • a couple of dozen CDs (depending on the size of your window),
  • a utility knife,
  • a pencil,
  • a clear plastic drop cloth,
  • a few S hooks,
  • scissors,
  • an awl,
  • black spray paint,
  • masking tape.

You probably already have the gear, so let’s move it along.

Directions: The first step is to measure the width and the length of your window. Use your utility knife to cut a piece of cardboard using those measurements and adding four inches to the previous window measurements – add8 inches extra for the width and 8 inches extra for the length. For example, a 20 inch by 30 inch window will require a cardboard piece of 2 inches by 38 inches.

Next, use the black spray paint on the cardboard piece, and paint one side completely black (black is excellent for its heat retention capability). Let the paint dry completely and if necessary, add one more paint coating for best results.

In the next step, you’ll have to form a box from the cardboard piece, by cutting a four inch square from each of its corners, then bending the sides of the cardboard in such a way that the corners meet i.e. making for a box with the black painted side inside. Now you must use the masking tape for taping up the corners.

The CDs are now ready to be put inside the box in rows with the shiny metal side out. Make sure the rows are as even as humanly possible. You’ll have some wiggle room left, but that’s not a problem. Just make sure that the bottom row of CDs touches the bottom side of the cardboard box, and the same story goes for the top row – it should touch the top of the cardboard box.

Next, use a pencil for tracing the center holes of the CD rows (both top and bottom), then remove them and using your utility knife, cut the holes out. Next, you’ll glue the CDs with super glue over the holes. After that, you’ll glue down the rest of the CDs, but remember to leave a tiny space below the top and above the bottom row. Also, allow for some space below and above the center row.

It’s time to cut 4 rectangles out of the left-over cardboard, four inches wide and 3 quarters of your box’s width. Glue the rectangles into your box like maze walls, on the edge. The first rectangle will be placed above the bottom CD row/against the left side of the cardboard box, the second below the center row/against the right side, the 3rd above the center row/against the left side and the 4th below the top row/against the right side. After you’ve finished, allow the glue to dry for a few hours.

The final step is to cut a piece of plastic drop cloth, three inches longer/wider than your cardboard box then stretch it over the top, gluing it well over the sides,  making it as airtight as you can. Let the glue dry overnight, then make 2 holes in the upper corners of your cardboard box and introduce S hooks in each hole.

Now you can hang the solar thermal panel on your window, preferably on a south-facing one for best results, and benefit from free heat.

2.  Tesla CD powered-turbine

Using plain old recycled CDs, you can actually build a working turbine.

The Tesla turbine is very different from regular ones, as it uses just disks, working on the boundary layer effect principle. For this DIY project, you’ll require

  • CD spindle,
  • CDs,
  • glue pipe fittings.

Obviously, this is a beginner project and functions on garden-hose pressure. However, the same idea/design can be used with an air compressor. It’s extremely versatile and useful.

The CD turbine project comes with a unique design which doesn’t require bearings, seals, or a moving shaft; it’s almost frictionless. This particular design can run on either air or water pressure, mainly for fun purposes.

The materials required are half a dozen hot glue sticks, methylene chloride for welding the CDs to each other, ABS to PVC cement, PVC pipe primer, ¾ inch PVC plastic pipe, garden hose shut off valve, 1-1/2 inch plastic tube or straw, CD spindle with cover, Orbit WaterMaster Extension Nozzle Model 91129 and of course, CDs.

The tools needed for the job are a utility knife, a glue gun, sand paper and a dremel tool if you have one (optional). Here’s a video tutorial or read this Survivopedia article for detailed instructions for this project.

Video first seen on MrfixitRick.

3. Secret Safe

Too much high tech for today? Let’s see about how to build a secret safe using old CDs, and keep it simple folks!

Check out this cool video tutorial. I find it very interesting – I mean a stash of old CDs transformed into a secret safe for your money and valuables? Pretty smart, don’t you think?

Video first seen on Shake the Future.

4. Old CDs for Pest Control

The next project is even easier and more fun, as it involves using CDs for pest control, and I don’t mean playing your favorite CD from a boom box to scare the crows out of the field (though that might work, too).

The idea is to hang old CDs from a fishing lane around the perimeter you want to secure from pests, and as the wind blows, they move. Their random movement, together with the prism effect, will (hopefully) scare the garden-gobbling birds away from your property.

Video first seen on eHow.

5. DIY Lamp from Old CDs

Now, let’s see about how to make a lamp from recycled CDs in just 2 minutes with absolutely no tools required. If you still own stacks and stacks of unused CDs lying around your room (like your truly, I just can’t let them go), why not put them to good use?

The easiest and smartest way for DIYing a lamp using old CDs is to slide a source of light down the middle of the CD stack. Pure genius, right?

The problem is that you’ll have a hard time finding a fluorescent tube thin enough to fit that tiny hole, so you’ll have to buy under cabinet LED lights, as they come in thin strips that will perfectly fit the core of the CD stack.

Also LED lighting doesn’t produce much heat like regular bulbs or fluorescent ones, hence you’re in no danger of setting your house on fire. Here’s a video tutorial, enjoy.

Video first seen on HACKADAY.

The CD repurposing adventure stops here, with an interesting video that depicts even more uses for old CDs, such as turning them into USB-powered fans or even a clock.

Video first seen on MultiPenat.

I hope the article helped and you’ll have tons of fun tinkering around with your old CD collection.

If you have questions or comments, don’t hesitate to use the dedicated section below. And if you are in the mood for DIYing something bigger, click on the banner below to find out how to build the ultimate survival shelter on a budget! Good luck, have fun folks!

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This article has been written by Chris Black for Survivopedia.

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Urban Vs Wilderness Bug Out Bag: Choosing The Right Gear

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If you were born in the 70’s or earlier you probably remember when the term Bug Out Bag was virtually unknown. Nowadays at least three out of four people you meet in a social context are likely to be familiar with the term. It’s a sign of the times in which we live.

However, we don’t hear a lot about the concept of varying the items in one’s BOB depending on whether it’s an urban or rural environment the person will be dealing with. I won’t spend time going over all of the items one should have in his/her pack as I suspect this is well covered ground for most reading this article (CLICK HERE to make your custom bug out bag list & have it sent straight to your inbox!). Whether one is in the city, countryside, or deep in the wilderness, much of the pack contents should be the same. Much, but not all.

Choosing The Right Tools For The Job

I have read advice about the best items to select for a BOB as if the general environment where it will be used is irrelevant. In my view this is akin to having a handyman show up to your home with only a small tool box without telling him whether it’s a plumbing or an electrical problem he will be addressing!


urban bug out bag

Having the right tools to survive can mean the difference between life and death! Choose wisely…

As a cop working in the greater Los Angeles area for over two decades, I’ve spent some time observing the kinds of scenarios typically encountered when things go awry in urban and suburban environments. Some were accidents, while others involved intentional violence. The point is that all of these events are likely to occur during and following a major disaster, with two major differences:

  1. The effects of these incidents will be exponentially larger, and

  2. Any resources available to respond to same will be overwhelmed, and possibly unavailable altogether.

Worse yet, in my opinion there is likely to be a synergistic effect if the scope of the disaster is severe enough to severely impact the infrastructure (including police response). Those who live their lives as predators (i.e., gang members and others) will in all likelihood become aware of the lack of first responders far more quickly than the rest of society, and will take full advantage early on. I would like to be proven wrong, and perhaps I will, but don’t count on it.


urban bug out bag

A disaster doesn’t tell you when it is coming

Disaster Planning: Know Your Environment

Making a Bug Out Plan that is specific to your locality is vitally important. You want to include the intricacies and potential dangers that are local to where you are going to be operating.

Urban Disaster Planning

If one should find himself/herself in an urban environment after a catastrophic incident that essentially collapses the infrastructure, the primary objective should be to get out of the heavily populated area ASAP. This is one of the major differences between bugging out through an urban area and doing so in a rural location. Time is a much bigger consideration in the former. With this in mind, one should prepare so that he/she can:

  1. Be equipped to determine alternate routes while on the move (or at least with little time to make route changes).

  2. Have the means to defeat the varied physical obstacles potentially to be encountered.

  3. Have the tools capable of extricating one’s self or others from confinement due to structural collapse, vehicle collisions, or other situations more common in urban disasters.

  4. Be equipped to create large holes in interior walls to facilitate escape from threats present inside the building.

  5. If escape/avoidance is not possible, have an effective means to defend against violent attack.


wilderness survival kit

A wild fire can move incredibly fast and destroy EVERYTHING in its path

Rural Disaster Planning

Contrast the above with the typical priorities for a short duration rural or wilderness survival scenario, such as:

  1. Capability to process wood for starting and maintaining fire.

  2. Means to put together basic (short term) shelter.

  3. Less important, but worth mentioning, is the means to fashion additional crude tools (e.g., hunting devices) to aid in survival conditions should the scenario turn into a longer term one.

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URBAN (and SUBURBAN) PACK ITEMS

MAPS

A map of the city where one works (as well as where one lives if not the same city) is imperative. Unlike as is often the case when traveling through rural or even wilderness locations, urban travel after a disaster can present fluid situations chock full of potential extreme danger requiring sudden and unexpected route changes. No matter one’s skill and/or type of weapons he/she may have, avoidance of conflict at virtually all costs is going to be the better option. And in the process of changing direction (perhaps multiple times as part of evasion), even the best of us can find ourselves disoriented. Pack a map! And have at least one (preferably two) reliable light sources to study the map during darkness. I have found that unlike when navigating through wilderness, a small inexpensive compass will suffice for city map work.


Map Reading Skills

Click on the image to brush up on your map reading skills

DOWNPLAYED APPEARANCE

Unlike when hiking through wilderness locations, having/wearing high quality state-of- the-art gear while walking through heavily populated areas when the infrastructure is down is a mistake. Wearing the latest “tacticool” pack can be an equally big mistake.

Since two-legged predators will be aware of the increased opportunities the conditions have created for them, the less attention one invites, the better. I know from experience that many street smart bad guys have a surprisingly keen eye for quality gear, even when it comes to items they know almost nothing about.

Don’t advertise your cool gear if you can possibly help it. Wearing a pack is likely to draw at least some extra attention no matter what—this is largely unavoidable. But donning a pack that appears to be very used, or even dirty, is a better option than a brand new pack. And a “plain Jane” civilian pack is more likely to ride under the radar than a tactical pack. Ditto all of the above when considering the clothes you will wear during these conditions—especially shoes! Learn and practice your Gray Man/Woman Skills now to fly under the radar when a disaster strikes (Click HERE to learn how).


gray man theory

Click on the image to learn how to be a Gray Man or Woman

LARGE KNIFE VS TOMAHAWK

On many occasions I have watched other first responders use a variety of tools when handling emergencies. I have also used some of these tools personally to gain entry into semi-fortified homes during the course of police work. Other than issued weapons (police) and medical equipment (fire department/paramedics) the tools used most often were those designed to defeat barriers typically encountered in cities (everything from car doors and windows to steel home security doors).

Although you might convince yourself you would not stop to help another in need if it delayed your bugging out from a dangerous environment, you really never know until faced with that scenario. Moreover, you just might need the means to get yourself out of a jam.


bushcraft tools

Each has its place…

With the growing threat of terrorism and active shooter incidents, being equipped to create a travel path (breaking out a hole to crawl through) between a building’s interior rooms is a reasonable preparation. There are many scenarios that could prompt the need to bug out through an urban area—a massive terrorism incident is certainly one of them.

I am trying to make the case for not including a large knife in favor of a rugged tomahawk. Never mind that many “experts” insist on having a large hard use survival knife in any and all BOBs. A person is better off with an affordable tough tomahawk for urban scenarios any day of the week. And a suitable “hawk” can be had for about half the price of any survival knife capable of doing other than traditional knife chores!

Estwing’s Black Eagle Tomahawk fits this bill. It is not very attractive, and the workmanship shows only minimal attention to finish and fine symmetry, but I can personally attest to the tool’s capability. I have used the spike end to break car window glass, punch through heavy steel mesh and car trunks, as well as breaking a six inch diameter hole in a cement cinder block (I encountered no steel rebar however). I have also used this “hawk” to pry apart two-by-fours fastened with 16D nails. After all of this, the business ends of the hawk’s blade are still not much worse for wear (cosmetic damage only). Does anyone think any of the better quality survival knives out there could perform these tasks without causing damage, or even breaking, the blade?

I once watched a fellow patrol officer show off his $250.00 tanto bladed knife by punching through the steel door of a typical gym locker. Worked fine. He repeated the feat an hour later to show off his new knife to another observer. This time it significantly damaged the blade’s tip. He was so angry we couldn’t talk to him for over an hour. Knives simply are not meant to be used to defeat steel, concrete, or even glass! Check out our article on Picking The Best Tomahawk For Your Bug Out Bag HERE.


Best Tomahawk Survival Tomahawk

Click on the image above to learn how to pick the best tomahawk

I have no financial interest in Estwing, and there may be other equally well performing hawks out there for a similar price (about $35 HERE on Amazon), but I have not found them. I have discovered far more expensive hawks but never purchased or tried them. And I have tried a couple of the lighter hawks sporting plastic handles, but found their performance lacking—seriously so! The only real downside to the Estwing is its weight. At 27 ounces it is admittedly heavy. The Becker BK2, a popular hard use survival knife, weighs about 10 ounces less, but the capability of the Estwing hawk makes it well worth these extra ounces in an urban environment.

I would feel adequately equipped If my urban BOB cutlery items were limited to a robust hawk and my multi tool (a must for any BOB, regardless of setting, check out our Guide for Picking The Best Multi Tool HERE). The former could handle any rough cutting tasks, while the latter’s small blade could deal with finer cutting chores.

If someone absolutely insisted on carrying another knife for more traditional cutlery chores, a Mora Kniv would fill the bill for about twenty dollars. And it’s doubtful the Mora’s extra 4 ounces (including sheath) would be noticed.

Finally, a hawk can be used for protection against a violent attack when all else fails. As for whether a hawk or a good knife would serve this purpose better…well, that really depends on the individual as well as the circumstances. After all, neither is the best tool for self-defense, for more reasons than one (a topic for another article). Let’s just leave it with the idea that a hawk can be used as an effective self-defense tool in a pinch.


Flooding generally affects a huge area

Lightweight Wire Cutters

Being able to cut through standard chain link fence could prove to be the difference between escaping a very bad scenario and falling victim to one. I can conjure up a half dozen scenarios where a person might need to escape a threatening situation, seek shelter, or simply shave off valuable travel time by cutting through a fence.

Chain link fencing is ubiquitous in virtually any urban area. Unfortunately, I have found multi tools fall short of being capable of cutting chain link in a reasonable manner of time and effort. Find the smallest/lightest tool capable of cutting chain link in one clipping action (Tekton makes a good pair, see them HERE). Bending or sawing through wire takes too long under most scenarios that would warrant cutting fencing in the first place.


RURAL/WILDERNESS PACK ITEMS

Knife vs Tomahawk vs Hatchet

You’re probably asking, “Didn’t he just cover this issue?” I did—for the urban setting. However, after spending a good deal of time in the wilderness (including several nights without a tent), both recreationally and as a search & rescue volunteer in the California Sierras, I prefer a good large knife in any environment other than an urban/suburban one.


wilderness survival kit

Surviving in the wilderness doesn’t have to be hard…IF you have the right tools and skills.

Hundreds of years ago, the tomahawk’s philosophy of use was multi-faceted. Only one of these intended functions involved the processing of wood for structure building or building fire. The hatchet (hand axe), on the other hand, was designed for one purpose only—processing wood. As one could predict, the hatchet proved to outperform the tomahawk for wood processing, while the hawks performed better as weapons. I have tried many a “woods hawk” over the years, but in the end I have found quality hatchets of similar weight simply do better with wood chores.

Given the points made in the “Disaster Planning” section of this article, the hatchet gets the nod over the tomahawk for a rural BOB.

All of the above notwithstanding, I prefer a large survival knife to a hatchet for my rural BOB. The hatchet will almost always out chop a knife of similar weight, but this isn’t the end of the story. When it comes to cutting wood a small lightweight folding saw offers a better choice than a tool that chops the wood to the desired length. But the primary element of fire wood preparation involves splitting the pieces for fire building.

A quality knife with a 7 to nine inch blade can be used very effectively to split wood using the “batoning” technique. And in my opinion it is a safer means of splitting wood than swinging a hatchet to accomplish the task. When “batoning”, only the piece of wood used to strike the knife spine is being swung through the air. The odds of a catastrophic accident are greater when using the hatchet for the job. This can be ever more the case when working in cold climates outdoors. As for the argument that “batoning” to split wood constitutes abuse of the blade, I call B.S. I have split at least a cord of wood over the years with my Ontario SP50, and other than destroying the black blade coating, the knife is still in great working shape. Check out this video to see how batoning works:

I know there are many (far more than hawks that can compete with the Estwing) quality large survival knives that can also perform well when it comes to wood prep. I would, however, urge anyone selecting a fixed blade knife for his/her wilderness BOB to go with a seven inch blade or larger. This makes splitting wood of three inches or larger diameter much easier than using a shorter blade. To see our comprehensive guide on choosing a fixed blade CLICK HERE NOW.

COMPASS

When travelling through areas where there are no street signs, or even no streets, a higher quality compass becomes very important. Land navigation where there are no streets is a skill that demands time and effort to learn. Knowing how to navigate through these types of surroundings using a topographical map is not for the novice! If at all possible, stay on a road, or at least keep the road in sight. In any case, a rural BOB should always include a high quality compass.

MAKING FIRE

This should be a “no brainer”. When bugging out through an urban setting under circumstances where you might have to spend some resting hours in the dark, it might or might not be advisable to make a fire. Fire attracts the urban predators, while it tends to repel the four legged type.


survival after bugging out

Furthermore, having a fire in a location where there is no man made shelter available is uniquely important. In addition to heat and minimal light, it is well documented that a small fire can provide a significant psychological boost for the solo survivor/traveler.

Having established the greater importance of being able to create fire in a rural setting, ensuring one has the ability to do so becomes paramount. Having multiple means to create fire is a must for the rural/wilderness pack:


everstryke pro review

Click on the image to see how to get a Free Everstryke Pro

Don’t forget to Include a few petroleum jelly soaked cotton balls as well. They will ignite with a decent spark (paper and many other tinders requires actual flame) and continue to burn for several minutes. If you want to learn 6 ways to start a fire WITHOUT matches, CLICK HERE.

STEEL WATER BOTTLE

Any BOB will include a container to carry water (I’m assuming this goes without saying), so why not have one that can also be used to heat or boil water? A single walled stainless steel water bottle like the Klean Kanteen (or similar design) products can be placed over open flame or coals to heat water.

Boiling water is a dependable way to kill any pathogens (chemical contamination is another issue). I once used a heated steel water bottle as an improvised hot water bottle to ward off hypothermia in a snow cave. Not sure if it was literally a lifesaver, but I was sure glad to have it. Make sure to remove the cap before heating water to avoid a pressure build-up and the subsequent likely explosion.


Conclusion

My experience has convinced me that for urban applications, escaping the locality as fast as possible should be the key objective in a SHTF scenario. Sheltering in place, even for a short time is likely to be catastrophic. In my view a robust tomahawk, coupled with a good multi-tool and small wire cutters, is close to the perfect set of BOB tools—but this could be surpassed with a new invention at any time.

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For rural/wilderness environments, night travel is far less desirable and sheltering through the night(s) becomes a priority. Creating fire and crude shelter is paramount for the wilderness trekker under any circumstances. For this application, a large survival knife becomes the tool of choice, edging out both the tomahawk and hatchet in the versatility and safety categories.

The very fact that those reading this article have probably already put together a bug-out bag at all places them way ahead of most. Having a readily accessible BOB, even if not perfectly constituted, is 90 percent of the game in itself. However, it’s still a good idea to evaluate equipment choices every so often, keeping a philosophy of use mindset while doing so.


If you are ready to build your custom Bug out Bag List, click on the button above now.

Further Reading:

For more info on this topic you can check out these articles:

Your Thoughts?

Do you have an item that is a “must have” for your urban or rural bug out bag? Can you think of any other big differences between what you would pack for these scenarios? Let us know in the Comments Section below, thanks!

About The Author

Frank LaFlamme spent almost a quarter century in law enforcement in the Los Angeles area serving for three local agencies as well as an assignment with the DEA Los Angeles office. His assignments included uniformed patrol in one of the most violent areas in California, narcotics investigation, gang enforcement, robbery and homicide investigation, high risk warrant service, and a terrorism liaison officer position. Upon retiring, Frank volunteered as a Search & Rescue “ground pounder” with a sheriff’s department in the Sierra Nevada Mountains near Yosemite National Park. Additionally, he started a small disaster preparedness consulting business called F& D Consulting. In 2014 he published a novel titled EMP Los Angeles (an Amazon best seller for a while, CLICK HERE to see it), a raw and gritty cautionary tale of a post EMP attack Los Angeles.


EMP Los Angeles

Click on the book to go check it out on Amazon!

The post Urban Vs Wilderness Bug Out Bag: Choosing The Right Gear appeared first on The Bug Out Bag Guide.

6 Ways To Defeat Facial Recognition Cameras

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Survivopedia facial recognitionWould you like the ability to control when your image is or is not captured by facial recognition software?

Many Americans feel abuse of this technology routinely violates either the God-given or constitutional rights of US citizens.

Facial recognition software enables the image of a subject to be identified by assigning values for the relative proportions of aspects of the subject’s face, and then comparing to databases of values for the faces of individuals whose identity is known, such as databases of passports, military ID’s, driver’s licenses, law enforcement databases, year books, school records and so on.

Newer technologies employ three-dimensional information about the shape of a face and skin texture analysis. This information can be misused to violate rights such as freedom of assembly, freedom of movement and, some believe, can constitute unlawful search and seizure or other rights violations.

Rights and property predate law. Law was created in order to protect rights and property, but is now all too often used to legally plunder them.

Professor Alessandro Acquisti conducted a series of experiments at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) which identified strangers, identified their personal information and, in some cases, even social security numbers and credit reports. The experiments were both on-line and off-line and used only photos, social media and resources available to end users.

He demonstrated the ability at the BlackHat security conference in Las Vegas … five years ago in 2011!

Think this technology is only available to the government and highly paid private investigators? Unfortunately, it’s attainable by pretty much anyone who knows how to read and has the will and a smartphone. CMU even developed an app that overlays personal information on an image of the person’s face.

I don’t think the fact that facial recognition software and social media increase privacy risks is a new idea to most people, but I think that the seriousness of their personal exposure often is. People tell me all the time that they don’t like to think about privacy, and global surveys bear out the fact that people tend to ignore known cybersecurity risks the world over.

Does your own normalcy bias extend to social media?

Is privacy a factor when you choose smartphone apps?

Do you manage your on-line data footprint?

How easy would it be to identify you using facial recognition?

I’m not talking about the government, police or tech nerds wearing products like Google Glass here. I’m talking about anybody with the will and a smartphone being able to not only identify you, but access your personal or sensitive information.

I’m sure most of you do not lay awake nights worrying about whether it is possible to identify you through facial recognition, but could you successfully avoid facial recognition if you determined you had a need to do so?

Many preppers find it useful to consider “what if” scenarios involving grid-down, WROL (Without Rule of Law) scenarios in the theoretical vacuum of a technology-free world. Placing theoretical boundaries on survival scenarios is fine for recreational daydreaming, but less effective as an aid to serious preparation. With the sheer number of cameras in circulation, some will likely still be working in the majority of scenarios.

A reversible hat, two or more hats of different colors and designs may enable you to quickly change your appearance enough to escape detection by someone with a verbal description of you.

Hats, long-sleeved shirts, hoodies, reversible jackets, sunglasses, umbrellas, newspapers and gloves are all tools that aid in masking physical characteristics, enabling you to stand out less if you have to travel through, as area where you may be perceived as an outsider or wish to remain anonymous, on or off camera.

  1. Camera Finders

Cameras can sometimes be detected and avoided if you see them before they see you, or if you know where they are ahead of time. Then they can be neutralized with something as simple as a disguise, a tilt of the head or placement of an opaque object between you and the camera you wish to avoid.

wegaOne of the easiest ways to detect cameras is to use a camera finder.

Camera finders would be more correctly called reflection or lens finders because they use light reflected off camera lenses to find hidden cameras.

These devices typically have a lens or filter that the operator looks through to sweep an area for cameras while the device projects light, which is reflected back by camera lenses and highlighted when the operator looks through the camera finder’s lens or filter which matches the color of light.

Some devices employ magnified lenses and can aid in the detection of cameras at 6′-30′ distance. Some operate in the NIR range so you don’t have to darken the room in order for the device to be effective.

Alternatively, you could use a wireless camera finder, but they only find wireless cameras that are transmitting. You could use a glint finder, but they are really designed to find a camera with a flash by illuminating the retro-reflective material in the flash element, but they can sometimes aid in finding a lens.

Or you could try a glint finder app. They attempt to employ your smartphone LED as a glint finder, but I yet to see one that I would describe as effective.

Pro’s

  • Compact.
  • Helps you find cameras to up your situational awareness, improve your security and better avoid them.
  • Works on cameras whether they are on or not.
  • A simple version of this tools can be improvised out of materials you probably have laying around the house or could buy at a Walmart if you enjoy the thought of hastening the US economy along its charted course. Not one of your many skills? Pull up an Instructable or “How To” article on-line.

Con’s

  • Won’t find a camera if it is hidden behind a reflective surface like a one-way mirror, so you should inspect any reflective surfaces to make sure they are one-way and don’t have any pinholes.
  • Only identifies cameras as opposed to “tricking” facial recognition software.
  • The process of sweeping for cameras will seem strange under most circumstances if done in public.
  • Today, cameras have lenses, but innovators are working hard on lens-less camera designs that would not be able to be detected by this technology.
  • Quality varies.
  1. Clothing and Accessories with NIR LEDs

These products use bright NIR LEDs to overload the light sensors on a digital cameras resulting in unusable images.

According to Kit Eaton at FastCompany, if you wear clothing or accessories that protect your privacy, you are “cartoonishly paranoid.” But manufacturers do not seem to be bothered by liberal media naysayers and are making clothing and accessories with features like NIR LEDs to defeat surveillance and facial recognition cameras.

gogglesThe first product I saw was a pair of eyeglasses designed by professors Isao Echizen and Seiichi Gohshi of Kogakuin University. They sported an array of 11 NIR LEDs in front of the face to blind digital cameras. Now there are baseball caps, hoods and even a burqa.

Pro’s

  • Some are not overtly visible to the naked eye.
  • Can be integrated into clothing and accessories.
  • Can be a DIY project.

Con’s

  • Very obvious on camera that you are using the technology.
  • It hides your face as opposed to “tricking” the camera that you are someone else.
  • Writers might call you names.
  1. Retro-reflective Clothing and Accessories

Wearing clothing that has even a couple of inches of surface area that is retro-reflective makes it trivially easy for anyone with a flashlight or night vision with an IR illuminator to find you in the dark, but it can also blind cameras in much the same way that NIR LEDs do.

androidJust make sure the material is near your face. Retro-reflective eyeglass frames and hoodies with retro-reflective trim are two effective options.

slidehoodieCertain materials like BlackMagic by 3M do not reflect visible light, but do reflect NIR light.

Pro’s

  • Not necessarily overtly visible to the naked eye.
  • Good for night signaling in an emergency.
  • Good for roadside safety.

Con’s

  • Users stand out to searchlights at night.
  • Very obvious on camera that you are using the technology.
  • It hides your face as opposed to “tricking” the camera that you are someone else.
  1. URME Prosthetic Mask

This high quality prosthetic mask of the face of privacy activist Leo Selvaggio is not your typical Halloween mask.

The name is pronounced “U-R-Me” and I believe the mask started on Indiegogo and may still be available on ThatsMyFace.com. The mask fools Facebook’s facial recognition software and are sold at cost because Selvaggio believes that everyone has the right to privacy.

selvaggioThis mask is so high quality that the chances of someone calling you on it on the street are pretty slim as long as nothing looks out of place with the rest of your appearance and you don’t have to speak to them. But a facial recognition camera is not going to notice that your lips are not moving.

Pro’s

  • Convenient.
  • Quick change.
  • High quality.

Con’s

  • Expensive at $400.
  • “Why are you wearing a mask?”
  • If someone stops you, and you speak, they will probably notice that your lips aren’t moving.
  • Some software may eventually filter out this “face” unless masks of many more faces are made.
  1. Hair & Makeup

By styling hair and wearing makeup in certain patterns, facial recognition can be fooled.

makeupAdam Harvey devoted his master’s thesis to fooling facial recognition and arrived at the makeup patterns in the image. He says that they work by throwing off the symmetry that the software recognizes as a human face.

If you are going to apply camouflage makeup, why not incorporate a pattern that will fool facial recognition cameras?

Pro’s

  • Inexpensive.
  • Probably not going to motivate someone to call the police and report you.
  • DIY.

Con’s

  • May not work 100% of the time.
  • “Why are you dressed like that?“
  • Not quick or convenient to change your appearance.
  1. Balaclava, Sunglasses & Hat

I always have one or more hats, some quality sunglasses and a balaclava in my EDC bag and use this method to protect my identity in photos I post to social media or when editors, radio shows or Expo’s want a head shot.

cacheOne of my favorites is a no-drip, fire and flash-resistant flesh tone balaclava of DryMax material, but I have others I wear in cold weather or for specific purposes. I like the Shemaughlava by 782 Gear too and always have a large 100% cotton handkerchief or shemagh handy.

The same tools can help protect you from exposure, protect your eyes or can help protect your identity if you have to do something you’re not proud of in a world full of cameras.

When things go sideways and the lights go out, I find comfort in reaching for low tech tools to solve the problems at hand and hats and balaclavas are just that.

If you use this method, be sure to cover as much of your face as possible. Object recognition does not use the covered portions of your face and some software can identify faces with as little as 30%-50% of the face unobstructed.

Pro’s

  • Easy to explain why you carry it.
  • Low tech.
  • Multi-use.
  • Inexpensive.
  • Practical.

Con’s

  • Hides you as opposed to “tricking” the camera.
  • Will not work with thermal imaging unless you use materials designed to do so such as multi-spectral camouflage.
Whether facial recognition is of the high-tech or low-tech variety, some survivors will be identified with the aid of camera technology, hunted down, tried and punished for crimes…not necessarily in that order, and even if the “crime” was simply being of the wrong political affiliation, race, ethnicity or nationality. This happened in and after the Balkans wars in the 1990’s. So prepare and beware!

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This article has been written by Cache Valley Prepper for Survivopedia.

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The Easy Way To DIY Rope And Cordage

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SVP DIY rope

There is no such thing as prepping for survival without having rope and cordage in your stash. You can use them for fishing lines, bowstrings, trap triggers, snares, lashings, and many other things.

And do you know what items would be the first to become unavailable in a crisis? There are a few, and cordage and rope will be among them.

But even if rope and cordage will be out of stock, there are plenty of materials you can use for making it.

Here are the materials to consider and the basic info that you need to make your own usable rope.

What to Use from Animals to Make Rope

Leather Strips

You can make leather from animal skins from game you have hunted or dead carcasses, then use it for making cordage.

  • Start off by skinning the animal and spread the skin out so there are no folds or creases.
  • Next, scrape as much mucus and membrane off the inside of the skin as you possibly can, then dry the skin out in the air and sun.
  • Cover the skin with an inch or so of dry dirt over it. Gently force in the dirt with repeated, light strokes, then remove the dirt and replace it with fresh dry dirt.
  • Adding and removing several coatings of dirt helps get the skin cleaned and dried. Once the hide is in good shape, cut it into thin strips.

When you are ready to use the strips for rope, tie the strands together to get the length you need, then wet it a bit and apply it to whatever you’re going to tie or lash together. When the skin dries, it becomes very hard and strong. This is one method for making rawhide.

In order to make shoe strings, foot gear, clothing, shelter, or bags, you will need to tan the animal skins. If you plan to make furry items, remember to scrape all the flesh off on the inside only. To make leather you must scrape both sides to remove all the flesh and fur.

To tan the skin to make leather, first make a slurry with water and the cut up brain. Soak the skin in the slurry until it feels like cooked pasta. Play with it, stretch it, scrape it some more, and let it set a day or two in the slurry. Next rinse it and let it almost dry.

While it is still pliable, scrape it some more, and work it over a piece of log or stone like you were buffing your shoes with it. Do this until the leather is soft and supple.

You can also try using this method with the fur intact, however it may come loose.

Tendons and Sinew

Video first seen on EarthWalkerPrimitive.

There are two ways to get tendons and sinew in the wild. The first way is if you come across an old carcass from a dead animal. The other way is after you’ve cleaned, skinned, cooked, and smoked what you need from a fresh kill.

Look over all the animals bones and limbs and look for tendons. Tendons are the hard, almost plastic like pieces that you really can’t eat. They will come out in long strands and be tough. Scrape these tendons with rock and try to get all the excess tissue off them, then let them dry.

Even though tendons will be hard and look very brittle, they are quite strong. Use a rock and beat on them a bit to break them open into fibrous strands. Pull these apart, and wet them again to make them pliable.

The longest sinew is found in the white cords that run along either side of an animal’s backbone. Cut out the sinew and remove it’s protective sheath, then clean and dry it. To separate the individual fibers, pound each strand with a rock as you would do for plant stalks, then put the fibers in hot water.

When moist, twist them or braid them together to the desired tensile strength and length. You do not need to tie them together for length as they will dry and harden together and be very secure.

Animal sinew can be used to produce a very strong rope or twine: a strand about the diameter of a carpet thread can hold the weight of a man. This size sinew is an excellent choice to make bowstrings, fishing lines, snares, wrappings, and threads.

Another useful property of sinew is that when wet with saliva before wrapping, it will shrink and “glue” items near it. This is why you usually don’t need to tie rope ends together to increase the length.

How to Use Plants and Grass to Make Cordage

Remember these facts when using natural fibers for making cordage:

  1. Anything green and pliable is possible to use.
  2. If the material is dry or it is winter, soak the material in water.
  3. If a fiber is really hard to work with, try boiling it.
  4. Test everything with your eyes and hands to see if it’s usable before starting working with it.
  5. Test everything after you make it to ensure that it is usable.

Grasses

Grasses can be used to make lashing and cordage. The key to using grasses as cordage is in the bundling.

First gather a lot of grass to make bundles of same length grass. Tie the bundles about an inch from the top and bottom ends as well as in the middle. Make as many ties around the middle of the bundle as required to keep it together. When grass is bundled this way they become a flexible strand suitable for making rope.

Plants

The dried inner skin of stalks of some fibrous plants will also make good rope. When working with pithy plants such as dogbane or milkweed, it is possible to strip the material you need from the stalk in long ribbons as long as the stalk is dry. It is still better to to crush and open the stalk, then break off short sections of the woody core, leaving a long ribbon of fibers in your hand.

The best way to prepare non-pithy plants like nettles or rushes is to place a dry stalk on a piece of wood, and pound it with a rounded rock. But be careful when doing this if you use a sharp rock there is a chance of cutting the fibers. When you splice the fibers together you can make cordage of any length or thickness that is needed.

Here are a few plants that I have used to make cordage: stinging nettle, velvet, leaf, dogsbane, milkweed, fireweed, hemp, and evening primrose. But there are many other plants that can be useful for the same purpose.

sweet flag

Leaves

The cattail plant is an excellent source of raw material for cordage that is not good for something like a bow drill, but you can use it to lash things together. These plants usually grow in a stand of many plants. To harvest the leaves of the cattail break a bunch off near the stock and let them dry for a day or two.

To make a midsize cordage you will have to use the whole leaf and braid it into a rope. To make smaller cordage, shred the leaves lengthwise in half or even in quarters, this will make a much stronger rope that is suitable for things like tying an arrowhead to a shaft or other vital jobs that need small cordage.

How to Make Cordage from Cattails

This is the way I used to make cordage from cattails in the past:

  1. Twist the leaf until it bunches up.
  2. At this point, take a hold of the top strand with your thumb and forefinger and twist it away from you.
  3. Then using the small fingers of right hand, twist the whole thing towards you.
  4. If you need longer pieces of cordage, please refer to the sections below dealing with reverse wrapping and splicing.

Tree Bark

Many trees have naturally flexible bark that can be peeled off in strands, which can be torn into thinner strips to give you the foundations of good cordage. If you do not have the knowledge or experience in relation to which trees to use, you will have to experiment with trees that you have in your area. Practice stripping the bark and testing it to see if it can be used safely to make good cordage.

What I have found is that the bark from following trees will make good cordage: basswood, elm, walnut, cherry, cedar, aspen, maple, cottonwood, hickory, oak, and ash.

The dried inner bark of most trees will supply you with a workable raw material. If you are in a true life or death survival situation, you can also strip the sections of the inner bark from living trees and dry them. Be sure to take only a few thin strips from any one tree. Cutting all the way around the trunk can kill the tree.

Instead of using just the trunk bark, try using the bark off small and intermediate branches. If you have trouble separating the inner and the outer bark. Just soak the strips in warm or boiling water until the fibers come apart easily.

Video first seen on LearnBushcraft.

Roots

Plant and tree roots are also a good source of material to make cordage. Look for trees and plants that have long flexible roots, and take as many of these flexible roots that you can find to make your cordage.

I personally recommend digging for roots if you come across suitable trees. For example, if you find a spruce or a fir tree, digging into the ground underneath will reveal long ropy roots that can make decent cordage. Split the roots in order to make rope, but remember that plant and tree roots dry out fast, which makes them a bit more prone to becoming brittle and breaking.

I have used for making cordage roots from cedar, pine, juniper, tamarack, yucca, spruce, and sage.

Vines

Thin vines are the best vines to use but, you can also use fat vines. Often vines will have bark that is excellent for making cordage. If you find small vines, it is possible to use them as twine, and if you find big vines peel them first and then use them.

Wisteria, grape, and similar vines are very good to use. Do not use poison ivy, oak, or sumac because these vines can caused skin rashes and other health problems.

How to Make Rope and Cordage in a Survival Situation

First, you need to have a good supply of raw materials, and you’ll have to decide how long and how thick the finished cordage will have to be.

If you need a trap trigger or need to make a piece of wilderness dental floss, the odds are you would only use a couple of fibers and there would be no need to wrap it. If stronger cordage is needed, then wrapping which strengthens the fibers, will be needed.

In order to wrap fibers together, you may have to break down the materials a bit more. If you are working a ribbon of bark or other plant material, roll it between your wet palms or against the leg of your pants to separate the fibers. Work along the entire length of the strip until only the fibrous threads are left.

Making a Simple Wrap

  1. To do a fast wrapping job, where strength is not the primary concern, hold onto the fibers and roll the whole bundle against your pant leg in one direction.
  2. By making repeated strokes along the entire length, the fibers should twist into a strand of makeshift cordage that is many times stronger than the original strands of the material.
  3. To secure the twist, take the middle of the strand in your teeth and bring the two ends together. Warning – Be sure that the fibers are from a nonpoisonous plant.

Reverse wrap

The reverse wrap is for a much tighter and stronger wrap.

  1. Start by twisting the fiber bundle in the middle until it kinks.
  2. Then hold the kink between the thumb and the index finger of one hand.
  3. With the fingers of the second hand, twist the bottom strand toward you and wrap it once around the the other.
  4. Now hold this wrap with the first hand.
  5. Then twist the new bottom strand toward you and wrap it around the other.
  6. Continue the process along the entire length of your cord.
  7. If you need only a small section of the cord. Tie a knot at the end of the double wrapped piece and use it as is.

How to Splice

If you wish to make a long rope or a string, simply splice together many shorter pieces as necessary in the following way:

  1. Twist and kink the bundles so that one end is twice as long as the other. This will eliminate the chance of making parallel splices that would weaken the cordage.
  2. Using the reverse technique, wrap within an inch or two of the short end.
  3. Separate the fibers of the short end with your fingers so that it looks like a broom head.
  4. Attach a second bundle of equal thickness by spreading and fitting its fiber ends into those of the first bundle. Important note: To keep a uniformed thickness in the cord, cut out about half of the fibers in each bunch before pushing them together.
  5. Continue twisting and wrapping as before. Taking care not to pull the strands apart.
  6. When you come to the end of the original long strand, add a third piece and so on until you have the length of cordage that you need.
  7. Important note: Make sure that you never have two splices in the same place. A splice must always be wrapped with a solid strand.

Double Strength

When you need an especially strong length of cordage, you might think that all you do is begin with bigger fiber bundles, but this is not always the case. Strength is produced just as much by twisting and wrapping as it is by thickness. You can simply twist and double a strand you’ve already wrapped.

For cordage of even greater strength and thickness, take a pair of reversed wrapped strands and join them with another group of reverse wraps. With the use of repeated splicing and doubling you can make a rope of almost any length and thickness you might need.

Finishing Techniques

After you have completed all of the wrapping and splicing is done, there are usually a lot of fibers sticking out along your length of cordage. To get rid of these, run the piece quickly through a flame. This will burn off the stray fibers without damaging the main ones.

Finally, to keep the ends from fraying, weave them back into the twisted cord, secure them with simple overhand knots, or whip the ends by wrapping and tying them off with a thinner cordage.

How to Make Cordage and Rope From Natural Materials at Home

Video first seen on Bob Anderson.

Collecting and obtaining your basic raw materials for making cordage and rope is basically the same way as you would do it in any survival situations.

At home you must learn to be a scrounge. This means to save anything that could be cut up, shredded, or twisted to make cordage or rope. An example of this is saving plastic shopping food bags, long pieces of string or twine, lengths of cloth, the cord removed from old rugs, and other craft projects.

Making Cordage Using Hand Powered Machines

What are the easiest ways to make rope at home? It’s with a rope making machine, of course.

There are many plans and styles for these machines. There are also many free the schematics you can use as a basis for making these machines cheaply out of materials from around the house. When the machine is finally completed and tested, it is possible to make a very strong rope from any type of natural raw materials or synthetic materials.

This is how this type of machines work:

Video first seen on linen2rope’s channel.

How to Make Rope Out of Plastic Bags

When you look around the house, it is amazing how quickly and how many plastic bags pile up. Instead of throwing them out, try turning them into a plastic rope. This fun and easy method of making rope is shown below in the following video:

Another way to make rope an easy and simple way is to braid it using a three pieces of twine with a loop at one end. Place the loops over your finger and then braid the strand.

I have also used a rope making machine and recommend it because it can easily be kept in a bug out bag or backpack. Once you build the simple parts and practice with it, you can make some cordage or rope with it. Check the references at the end of this article to get the necessary information for this project.

Being able to make cordage and rope is very important for survival and off grid living. Still an easy place to build and practice your cordage and rope making skills is at home. Not only can you practice with natural raw materials found in the wilderness there, but there are a lot of household items that pile up that could be used to make cordage and rope.

Is there anything else that you used for making rope? Are there any old secrets that preppers need to know for making cordage? Share your experience in the comment section below!

the lost ways cover

This article has been written by Fred Tyrell for Survivopedia.

References:

http://rewild.wikia.com/wiki/Cordage

http://usscouts.org/scoutcraft/BoyScoutRopemaking.pdf

http://whatknot.tripod.com/knots/Rope.htm

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PrepperCon 2016: Why To Attend?

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preppercon

PrepperCon 2016 promises the celebrity speakers, classes, vendors and attractions that one might expect from one of the nation’s (which means the world’s) largest survival expo’s, but with creative and competitive twists.

This year’s PrepperCon features a number of competitions to hone survival skills and keep emergency preparedness fun. Events such as a Fear Factor-style competitive eating of taboo survival food sources, a knife fighting tournament, a prepper chef cook-off and archery tag.

I attended PrepperCon 2015, which I reviewed for Survivopedia readers. I learned (while being interviewed on a live and archived PrepperCon Radio show) that PrepperCon’s CEO read my review of the 2015 Expo and took some feedback into consideration for this show.

When I review something, I have to do so critically and honestly. Even if that something is great, like the 2015 show was, know that I will still let you know what could have been better. I will keep that in mind as I critique the 2016 show.

Celebrities

This year’s celebs are:

  • Kyle Bell and his son Ben from the survival TV Show “Mountain Men”
  • David Holladay has trained many of the primitive survival reality TV stars you likely watch now has his own show, “No Man’s Land” on the History Channel. I never thought I’d see him on a show because he has never been one to seek fame, is wise and has no doubt heard his students’ war stories of producers pressuring them to do things no one in their right mind would do, but the History Channel seems to be a very different channel form NatGeo and I can’t imagine R. Lee Ermey taking any crap from them, so I guess I can see that. David is one of the granddaddies of the primitive survival movement and one of the “Three Musketeers” who founded the Boulder Outdoor Survival School. The man is a world class primitive skills instructor who really lives the life.
  • Doomsday Preppers: Tim Ralston, Braxton Southwick and Becky Brown – Last year, Becky commented on how NatGeo tried to cast her as a “crazy prepper.” Tim has come up with some notable inventions and innovations including the Crovel tool and the very cool survival model Motoped. Braxton has authored two books on survival and has been working the morning radio show circuit.
  • America 2016 Julie Elizabeth Harman, the official PrepperCon spokesmodel

Attractions

Last year’s event was creative with a survival fashion show, and costume events that you would expect to see at ComicCon, the comic industry event that helped inspire PrepperCon.

PrepperCon 2016 promises to be no less creative, with attractions I have not yet seen at other survival shows so I’ll give them high marks for originality. Now we will have to see how well they are able to execute these ideas and how they are accepted by the preppers who attend.

Attractions are slated to include:

  • Home Invasion Training House
  • Prepper’s Choice Survival Food Tasting Table
  • National Guard Rock Wall
  • Children’s Tsunami tank where kids can see how earthquakes generate waves
  • Hurricane simulator where you can experience category 3 winds

Education

Classes will cover some 35 survival and emergency preparedness subjects, covering a surprising spectrum topics. I will be among them, in an EMP Survival Q&A where a crowd will batter me questions about EMP survival for an hour beginning at 2:00pm on Friday. If you can’t come or miss my class, email at editor@survivopedia.com and I would be happy to answer your EMP survival questions too.

Survivopedia for PrepperCon 2016

Attendees have to buy a ticket to get in, but once they do, most of the classes are free … mine included. Check the website for other classes though because some classes, such as concealed firearm permit courses, have to charge fees and limit the number of students.

Competitions

The spirit of competition is apparently alive and well in Utah, because several of the events are competitive in nature. There is nothing wrong with getting the blood pumping at an expo. I am curious to see how these work out and what the participation level is.

  • Taboo survival food eating competition with David Holladay
  • Knife Fighting Tournament
  • Archery Tag Shooting Range
  • Prepper Chef Cook-off

Vendors

Vendors fill the balance of any exposition and far more registered this year than last year.

I am glad to hear that because the vendors provide a lot of value for attendees and it is a sign that both the survival/self-reliance movement and the market that it drives are health and growing. Many businesses provide deep discounts and giveaways at survival expos so they are an important draw.

As the survival industry grows, who knows … maybe YOU too can “fire your boss and give yourself a raise” and work at something you are passionate about. It is a risk to turn your hobby into a business, but it is enabling many preppers to realize dreams of relocation into a simpler and better life.

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This article has been written by Cache Valley Prepper for Survivopedia.

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How To Start Building A Flashlight From Scrap

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SVP big flashlight

In the modern world, flashlights are very common, and therefore some of the most overlooked when it comes to a complete prepping plan. Let’s say you have stored away plenty of flashlights and rechargeable batteries, but what would you do if you won’t be able to use it?

Do you know how to build a flashlight from scavenged parts, or develop something new once the most important parts become unavailable?

No matter where you wind up living in the post-crisis world, there will come a time when you can no longer rely on supplies and tools that you were able to stockpile. Even before that time happens, you and others are bound to wind up scavenging for items that can no longer be manufactured or are not available for other reasons. Once these “waste” materials are gone, you will wind up having to improvise.

That’s why you need to know a few basic things before building a flashlight from scrap. Read this article to find out!

7 Basics for Your DIY Flashlight Project

There are many light sources that would never qualify as “flashlights” even though they may provide needed lighting. Therefore, before you start storing away parts that might be used to build a DIY flashlight, think about the following elements and how they contribute to the success or failure of a flashlight design:

  1. It must be portable

Even though you can turn on a lamp, or use some other means to light up an area, flashlights are novel in the sense that they can be easily transported from one place to another.

If you cannot take a DIY flashlight into a basement or other area without wires dragging behind you, or other inconveniences, then your design will not be successful.

  1. Must be lightweight and compact

Even though there are huge 9 volt lanterns on the market, most people still prefer the smallest design that produces the most light.

For example, even though LED flashlights are still on the expensive side, they are very popular because a tiny USB flashlight takes up less space and weighs less than other flashlights that put out the same amount of light.

  1. Must be energy efficient

Today, many people are converting to small rechargeable batteries and solar chargers in order to save money on batteries for flashlights and many other devices. That being said, there are still many different flashlight bulbs on the market, and some require much more power than others.

  1. Must be easy to power or recharge

There is nothing worse than turning on a flashlight, and then find out that the batteries are dead or very weak. While you may not be able to completely overcome this problem in a DIY survival flashlight, you should still be able to either recharge the batteries or find an alternative means of power.

  1. Design must be scalable

A tiny key chain flashlight may work just fine if you are trying to find the door lock, but it won’t be of much use if your car breaks down and you have to look deep into the engine compartment.

As you develop your flashlight design, always make sure that you have a way to add more bulbs and more power so that you can always have as much light as you need.

  1. DIY flashlights should have a hands free option

When you are trying to climb a fence, need to use your hands to hit, shoot a gun, or carry out some other task, trying to hold onto a flashlight can cause a lot of problems. While most modern flashlights do not have a practical means to make them wearable, your design should give the optimal amount of light when the unit is not in your hand.

For example, you can aim the reflector and bulb so that light is where you need it most while wearing a headband, or even on a cord hanging from your neck or around your waist.

  1. Parts, especially bulbs, must be interchangeable

No matter whether you decide to bug in or bug out, the passing of time after a social crisis will lead to fewer and fewer supplies being available. If your scavenged flashlight only works with incandescent bulbs or even LEDs, you will be at a disadvantage sooner than expected.

Always make sure that you can change the most common parts of the flashlight and still have a working unit regardless of the situation.

The Basic Parts of a Flashlight

Bulb

Of all the parts of a flashlight, the part that actually produces the light will be the hardest to replace. Unlike bulbs in other devices, one sitting in a discarded incandescent bulb flashlight may still work even if other parts of the system have failed.

Even if you find hundreds of bulbs in a pile of trash or laying around in an abandoned factory, there is a very good chance that the filament inside will be broken, or something else will be wrong with them. By the same token, if you find discarded LEDs, they may have been damaged by an EMP or they may have burned out for some other reason.

I have personally seen LED arrays that were supposed to last for 10 years and up burn out in a matter of days. This technology is quite fascinating, however it is still relatively new and there are a lot of bad (yet cheap) knock offs on the market that can lead to problems.

Battery Case

Aside from holding the battery, the battery case may be integrated with the body of the flashlight. These should be available for some time after a major collapse occurs. They will not always be easy to make from scratch if you have to find substitutes for wire, solder, contacts, or anything that controls the amount of power