Best Neck Knife For Self Defense, Survival and Preparedness

The Ultimate Guide To Finding The Best Neck Knife For You

Neck Knife

Before sheaths and folding blades, our ancestors had to come up with some clever ways to carry a blade.

How could they safely take a blade with them every single day in an age before the pocket knives?

One clever and timeless solution to this ancient problem was the neck knife.

By tying a cord around their blade’s handle and wearing them around their necks, they had a weapon close at hand.

It’s both a simple and brilliant.

Few survival tools can double as a functional tool and fashion accessory at once. The neck knife being one of them.

But the variety of neck knives today is staggering and seemingly unending. Unfortunately, not all neck knives are created equal. Some neck knives are great while others simply suck.

Searching for the right neck knife can be a tedious and frustrating process. How do you pick a great one from such a large number of options?

Well, that’s exactly why we wrote this guide. In this article we’ll be covering the following topics:

  • What Is The Neck Knife
  • Brief Neck Knife History
  • Top Reasons To Wear A Neck Knife
  • What Makes A Neck Knife Good
  • The Best Neck Knives
  • Best Neck Knife Uses

neck knife with chain

What Is A Neck Knife

Quite simply, any knife you wear around your neck is technically a neck knife.

Since you carry a neck knife on your person, they also fall into the category of EDC knives. Neck knives are incredibly versatile in form, shape, and application.

Some are big; some are small, some are fixed blade survival knives, some are everyday folders. Heck, some are made more for fashion while others are purely functional.

  • Curved Blades
  • Tanto Blades
  • Combat Knives
  • Multi-Tool Knives
  • Serrated Blades
  • Drop Point Blades
  • You Name It

There are also short neck knife blades, long blades, thick blades, thin blades, etc. But no matter, all neck knives have one thing in common, they’re hung from a cord or chain around your neck.

Neck Knife History

So who exactly invented the neck knife? Sadly, that’s something we will never know. It’s one of those small historical facts lost forever.

Regardless, things have come a long way since those first, primitive neck knife. But the technology and the idea behind it have not changed.

No matter how high-tech and fancy the blade gets, the basic idea of the neck knife remains the same.

Many people carry a neck knife to this day, some tens of thousands of years after the invention was conceived. Because anything that remains popular this long has got something going for it.

It’s an accessory that can save your life. And when it does, you’re going to thank the mystery caveman who invented it.

tonife fixd blade neck knife

Top Reasons To Wear A Neck Knife

This could be a very long list – because when it comes to neck knives, there’s a lot to love. But, for the sake of brevity, I’ll try and limit this conversation to just the most significant advantages.

Always With You

This is the best reason to carry a neck knife.

No pockets, backpacks, belts necessary because everyone’s got a neck. Just sling your neck knife around your head, and it will always be there, hanging right by your heart.

And likely the main reason our ancestors invented them in the first place.

Quick Easy Access

When it’s hanging around your neck, it is always within easy reach. You cannot lose it; you cannot leave it somewhere, you won’t accidentally drop it.

The neck knife is always within arms reach, ready to be slipped out of its sheath and used. Ready for survival, self-defense, or any purpose you run into.

Can Intimidate Threats

If a threat sees you’re carrying a blade around your neck they know immediately you’re armed.

Most people are less likely to confront someone who’s visibly outfitted with a dangerous weapon.

Can Attract Attention

Neck knives are badass – plain and simple. No matter if you’re a woman or a man if you are wearing a neck knife it sends a clear message:

  • I am armed.
  • I am dangerous.
  • Ready to survive no matter what.

Wear your neck knife out and about, if you want some added attention (good and bad).

Or keep it hidden if attention is not your thing.

As A Way To Introduce You To Skilled Survival, We’re Giving Away Our Ultimate List Of Survival Gear. Click Here To Get Your FREE Copy Of It.

What Makes A Good Neck Knife – Good

There are a few key characteristics of a good, functional neck knife. No matter how it’s shaped, how large it is, or who makes it, if it has the following qualities it’ll serve you well.


Any neck knife that breaks as soon as you use it is not going to cut it for survival.

That’s why you choose one be made from high-quality materials, to resist wear tear and lots of abuse.

There are a lot of cheapo-neck knives out there that are more of a necklace than a functional, usable knife.

So be wary when you’re buying – read reviews, and test the blade yourself, send it back if it doesn’t meet expectations.

Also, if you want a neck knife for survival, then look for one that’s got a thicker blade so you can use it for abusive tasks such as batoning.


Because neck knives come in different shapes, sizes and styles, some end up being unwieldy.

A neck knife that’s a full tang oversized ka-bar hunting blade is going to be both bulky and heavy. You can count on that getting in your way more than it helps you out.

Fortunately, most neck knife designs have taken this into account. Most neck knives are lightweight and do not burden the wearer.

That’s the neck knife you want. One that’s so lightweight and compact you hardly notice it’s there, but it IS there ready and waiting.

Compact Tight Sheath

The sheath is as important as the knife itself. 

You want a neck knife sheath that keeps the knife safely tucked away, secure in the sheath. You want the knife to fit snug but not too snug.

If it’s too loose the knife could slip out of the sheath all on its own – not good. But if it’s too tight, then it may become difficult to pull it free.

You also want the sheath to leave a minimum imprint. That way you can wear it under your shirt and keep it hidden out of view.

The bottom line is a neck knife is only as good as the sheath it comes with.

Looks Good

Durability and functionality are first, but after that, you want one that looks cool, right?.

These things are basically necklaces. Yeah, that’s not their primary function, but it plays a role in your purchase decision.

Which means you need to like how looks when wearing it. Thankfully, there are a lot of really bad ass looking neck knives.

The Best Neck Knives

We’ve sifted through hundreds of neck knives out there and came up with this list. It’s a list of the best, most functional, effective, and popular neck knives on the market today.

The Survival Neck Knife From Survival Frog

Survival Neck Knife

This is our favorite neck knife and the one we’ve highlighted in the main image at the top of this post.

It’s our favorite because it’s the perfect size (not too big not too small), its full tang, it’s thicker than most neck knife blades and it’s got an excellent sheath.

A full tang blade is key for survival, unlike pocket knives.

Pocket knives have major weak points on their folding joints. These joints eventually break from hard use… making them useless in a crisis.

Just like a full-sized fixed blade, The Survival Neck Knife doesn’t have structural weak points. It’s made from one, solid piece of cold-forged steel. This full tang runs from tip to tail and will not break.

The Survival Neck Knife’s blade is also much thicker.

On average, The Survival Neck Knife’s blade is 3-4x thicker than a standard pocket knife.

Most pocket knife blades are extra thin to make them lighter.

Saving weight at the expense of strength isn’t going to do a lick of good in a crisis.

Fortunately, at 4mm thick, The Survival Neck Knife’s blade is thick enough for batoning wood, skinning large game, use as a pry bar… and more.

This neck knife’s sheath is made for survival.

The sheath on Survival Neck Knife comes complete with built-in survival tools:

  • Built-in compass and signaling mirror: Built into the case is a detachable compass, and on the reverse is a handy signal mirror.
  • Complete with sharpening stones: No need to buy an extra knife sharpener. On one side of the sheath is a built-in sharpening rod that will easily turn a dull blade into a razor sharp edge.
  • Will start a fire: The other rod on the sheath is a magnesium fire-starter. Scrape the rear of the blade against the rod and a shower of 5,400° sparks will start a roaring fire.

For survival, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better neck knife at this incredible price point.

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Columbia Survival Sherpa Neck Knife

This super-lightweight (1.75 ozs) minimalist neck knife come with a finely honed stainless steel blade.

The handle also functions as both a slotted screwdriver and mini-crowbar.

It comes with a breakable neck chain, and it snaps securely into its black nylon sheath.

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CRKT Minimalist Bowie Neck Knife

This deep bellied clip point bowie style blade is just 2.125” long but it looks sort of like the classic hunting knives made famous in the American West.

It comes with a custom glass-filled nylon sheath with a positive detent to lock the blade in place.

That way you’ll be confident it won’t slip out.

CRKT includes a paracord loop for wearing this knife around your neck.

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MTech USA MT-20-14 Series Fixed Blade Neck Knife

This is a full tang; fixed blade survival neck knife is made of 440 stainless steel, matte black, and double-edged.

It comes with a grippy nylon filled injection mold handle which makes it easy to keep ahold of during use.

The knife is 6.5 inches in length (the blade by itself is 2.75 inches) and comes with a nylon sheath and a breakable neck chain.

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MTech USA Mt-665Bk Neck Knife

This wicked looking blade is ideal for combat purposes.

In fact, it’s difficult to find uses for a karambit blade like this one, besides inflicting wounds.

This style of blade originated in Indonesia centuries ago. Today it is one of the most deadly (and frightening looking) blades legally available to carry.

This one is 7.5 inches long overall and comes with a sheath and a length of neck cord to secure it around your neck.

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Spartan Enyo Fixed Blade Fighting Neck Knife Kydex Sheath

Designed for survival, this single-sided blade is versatile and lightweight.

Supplied with a neck lanyard and a self-locking Zytel sheath.

This knife is 5.25 inches in length (with a 2.5-inch blade) and comes with a lifetime warranty against defect or damage.

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Off-Grid Knives, Hawkeye Neck Knife

One of the smallest, lightest weight options, this compact blade is only 5.75 inches long (with a 2-inch blade).

Named for its hawk beak shaped blade. This deadly little knife is useful for self-defense, outdoor, and survival situations.

It has an ergonomically designed handle to fit in your hand, and at only 2.8 ounces you’ll hardly notice holding it.

The blade may be small, but it has both a serrated edge and a curved hawkbit straight edge.

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Tonife Fixed Blade Neck Knife Full Tang

This blade is professionally heat treated which involves heating, freezing, and reheating, making the blade extremely tough with excellent edge retention.

The Tonife Squirrel features a G10 (lightweight, tough, corruption and extreme temperature resistant material) handle over its full steel tang.

It also comes with a Kydex Sheath that comes with a tough as nails ball and chain for wearing around your neck.

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Gerber Ghoststrike Fixed Blade Knife

The Gerber Ghoststrike has a compact, skeletal 420HC steel frame, and blade.

It comes with a black ceramic coating for minimal reflection + corrosion resistance.

The handle is a diamond texture rubber which provides superior grip.

Includes a modular sheath system that can be worn horizontally or vertically making it a great neck knife (or even a boot or belt knife).

Check Out Today’s Price

As A Way To Introduce You To Skilled Survival, We’re Giving Away Our Ultimate List Of Survival Gear. Click Here To Get Your FREE Copy Of It.

Best Neck Knife Uses

If you are thinking about buying a neck knife, this is a perfectly understandable question to ask. When would this knife actually become useful?

Well, there are a lot of answers to that question, and each one depends heavily on the circumstances. But we will go over a few of the important ones (and maybe a few of the more obscure uses).


Naturally, it can come in handy if someone tries to attack you. A typical response for anyone wearing a neck knife would be to whip that bad boy out and stab.

Self-defense is the main reason many people carry neck knives. They offer a fast, easy, small, stealthy, incognito weapon at hand.

This is a big reason why neck knives are excellent accessories for females traveling or walking solo late at night.


When you’re in the wild hunting animals (or even just hanging out) having a neck knife at the ready is handy.

Whether you’re field dressing a kill, preparing food, or carving tools, neck knives are at the ready.

Apocalyptic Weapon

When shit hits the fan, you’re going to want to be as armed as possible. Carrying a blade around your neck is one more place to keep a weapon at the ready.

You never know if or when we’ll all be caught off guard in an end-of-the-world scenario. So wearing a neck knife makes sure you’re never unarmed when that happens.


When out on the water, casting flies and catching fish, you’ll want something to gut or fillet your catch.

Yes, a good fillet knife is better, but when you’re camping or surviving, you might not have one of those with you. So in that case, good thing you have that trusty knife around your neck.

Being Crafty

Maybe you need to carve an arrow shaft or whittle a makeshift survival whistle out of wood.

Whatever crafty purpose you need a knife for, your trusty neck knife is going to be there to help you achieve it.

The Final Word

Most people get so hung up on keeping pocket knives in their pockets. Carrying a fixed blade knife on their belts, or dirks in their boots. But they overlook the advantages of carrying a knife around their neck.

It’s one of the handiest places you can keep a small badass survival knife.

And with modern knife technology, there are tons of options for any survivalist.

Once you start wearing a neck knife, you’ll never stop. The benefits are too great and significant.

Add one to your collection of survival gear, and it may quickly become your new everyday carry knife.

Will Brendza

P.s. Do you know where the closest nuclear bunker is from your home?

There are a lot of natural nuclear shelters in the US that are absolutely free. And one of them is near your home.

Click on the image above to find out where you need to take shelter.

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How To Build Your Ultimate Car Emergency Kit From Scratch

Helping Build A Car Emergency Kit That’s Right For You

Car Emergency Kit

As responsible adults, we understand the importance keeping emergency supplies in our homes. We’ve built a large stash of emergency supplies and tools for an unknowable future.

We buy plenty of band-aids and Neosporin for cuts and scrapes. We horde flashlights, candles and bulk packs of batteries for electrical outages.

Heck, many of us make it a priority to stockpile extra toilet paper for that surprise blizzard. Because running out of TP IS absolutely a real emergency!

We buy the extra large bottles of painkillers. We store fire extinguishers inside our kitchen cabinets.

And if you’re a reader of SkilledSurival, you’ve likely got an emergency water storage plan. And you’ve spent time building a food stockpile system, and built a bug out bag, etc. – just in case.

But when it comes to our cars, trucks, and vehicles, we act as if nothing bad could happen between point A and B.

Everyone knows they should take the time to build out an extensive car emergency kit but too few actually do.

But the good news is, you’re here now, you’re reading this article. So you’re finally going to get prepared for those treacherous roads with an epic car emergency kit.

After reading this article, you’ll have all the information you need build your own car emergency kit. And hopefully, you’ll also have the will to follow through and actually get it built.

So let’s get started.

Building The Ultimate Car Emergency Kit

Before we jump into building your car emergency kit, I just want you to double check you have the tools you need to change a tire. A car jack, a tire iron, a full spare (or at the very least an emergency donut spare).

If you don’t have those items in your car or truck or van right now, I want you to take care of that immediately.

DO NOT WAIT, if you get a flat without these basic tools, you’re 100% relying on others to help you. That’s not how we operate around here at SkilledSurvival!

And if you don’t know how to change a tire, it’s time to learn. If this sounds like you, watch the video below. For everyone else, let’s continue…

As A Way To Introduce You To Skilled Survival, We’re Giving Away Our Ultimate List Of Survival Gear. Click Here To Get Your FREE Copy Of It.

Emergency Kit Organization

The first step in building an emergency car kit is to figure out a way to organize everything.

Allowing your supplies and gear to haphazardly roll around in the trunk of your vehicle is a terrible idea. Not only will it be an annoying racket but it’ll damage the gear and supplies you’ll need during a real emergency.

So you need an emergency kit bag, duffel, or box. One that’s large enough to keep all your car emergency supplies organized and safe.

There are a lot of options so we’ll just show you one of our favorites and tell you why.

Duffel Bag Setup

Duffel Bag Setup

Red Rock Outdoor Gear Traveler Duffle Bag

This duffel bag is perfect to keep all your car’s emergency kit gear organized and safe. It’s got tons of storage (48 liters) and zippered internal dividers to keep your gear compartmentalized.

But what I like most about this duffel bag is that it converts into a backpack.

What happens if you need to abandon your car or truck? Well, you’d be silly to leave all our emergency gear behind. The gear in that bag is your lifeline.

Backpack Setup

But carrying duffel bags are great for short trips (like in and out of gyms or work) but they’re no good for long hikes. But backpacks with two straps over your shoulders, that’s ideal.

You can comfortably walk much further with a backpack on. So this duffel/ backpack combo is an ideal solution for a car emergency kit.

The duffel gives you the low profile, easy to pack and organize kit you want in your trunk, while the backpack option is great for the worst case survival scenario.

And if tan is not your favorite color, there are some other color options including all black.

Water and Water Filtration Options

Water is one of the most critical emergency/survival supplies – period. The moment you find yourself in an emergency without water, your survival countdown clock starts ticking.

Sure, in extreme weather (blizzard or heat wave) a shelter from exposure can trump the need for water. But in general, outside of those extreme situations, water is priority numero uno.

So make sure to add some fresh drinking water to your car emergency kit.

I recommend doing this by filling up a stainless steel, single-walled water bottle. This is the best way to store fresh drinking water in a vehicle.

Much better than buying those thin plastic water bottles. Why? Because those thin walled plastic water bottles are weak and can easily rupture.

They won’t hold up long term in a vehicle that’s always on the move. Plus, they’ll burst when exposed to extreme heat and cold conditions.

Protect your precious emergency water supply by keeping it in a strong water bottle.

Water Filtration

The second part of your car’s water plan is adding tools to turn natural water into drinking water.

If your vehicle is ever stranded in the middle of nowhere, you’ll quickly deplete whatever stash of fresh water you happen to have. Not long after, your body will begin craving water otherwise known as being thirsty. Soon you’ll be forced to scavenge for a natural water source.

Hopefully, you’re able to find a small creek nearby, or a pond, a lake, a puddle, whatever. But drinking water from a natural source without proper treatment is a big gamble.

Water can look fresh, clean, and delicious, but you can’t detect hidden microscopic bacteria with the naked eye.

So it’s smart to pack essential water filtration and purification tools and supplies.

That way, you can process that natural water and drink confidently knowing you won’t get sick. Because the last thing you need in any emergency or survival situation is to fall severely ill.

Drinking With A LifeStraw

Drinking contaminated water can cause severe diarrhea and vomiting. It can turn a serious situation into a deadly one in an instant.

So let’s start with filtration first; you should stash at least one personal water filter in your car’s emergency kit.

Both of the following options are good. Either one will work so take a look at both and decide which is right for you.

LifeStraw Water Filter

Sawyer Mini Filter

Water Purification

Water filtration is an important first step in processing natural water, but you’ll also need to purify it before consuming.

Sure, filtration alone is better than nothing, but why gamble at all if you don’t have to.

So there are a few ways to purify the water you’ve collected.

First off, you can boil the water for a few minutes to kill any remaining hidden viruses. As long as you can start a fire (we’ll cover fire tools in a later section), you can boil water. But only if you have a stainless steel SINGLE walled water bottle.

The key here is 1) metal 2) single wall.

You want it to be metal so you can put the water bottle on a fire without fear of melting.

If your container is plastic, the fire will melt it. And the best case with plastic is the melting plastic will contaminate your water. But the worst case is the plastic will put a hole in the bottle and poof, there goes your precious water.

klean kanteen stainless steel water bottleYou also need the bottle to be a single wall only. Because it’s dangerous to boil water in a double wall insulated bottle.

Double wall bottles are designed to keep liquids cool longer by having two walls (inner and outer walls). But if you try to boil water in one, it’s going to take a really long time because you have to transfer the heat through 2 walls.

And in the process trying to boil water, it’s possible for the trapped air between the two walls to build pressure. Build enough pressure, and the water bottle can explode. This explosion can also be called a bomb – so single wall water bottles ONLY for your car emergency kits.

Another way to purify the water is using water purification tablets. What’s nice about these is they’re cheap, small, and lightweight. So there’s no excuse not to add these to your car emergency kit.

Lastly, you could also add a UV light water purification pen to your kit. However, tablets are better because these pens are expensive and require batteries.

So your best bet is to get a small personal water filter, a single wall stainless steel water bottle, and some water purification tablets. With these three emergency water tools, your emergency hydration needs are all set. Congrats!

As A Way To Introduce You To Skilled Survival, We’re Giving Away Our Ultimate List Of Survival Gear. Click Here To Get Your FREE Copy Of It.

Emergency Shelter

Now, many people may be surprised that shelter is the second topic we’re covering (most think food would be next). But as we mentioned earlier, in extreme weather shelters can quickly become the number one survival priority.

Plus, food is one of the least important short-term emergency supplies. You can survive weeks without calories. Yes, severe hunger is no fun, but it’s not very high on the survival priority list (at least initially).

Ok, so when it comes to survival shelter options, there are two extremes we’re worried about. Freezing to death in a blizzard or dying from heat stroke and dehydration.

The good news is, we have a survival tool that can buy you precious time and save your life in either situation.

TACT Bivvy Main Image

The TACT Bivvy

This emergency sleeping bag is ideal for cold weather emergencies. It’s made out of a material originally designed by NASA for astronauts and is called Mylar.

Mylar is a very thin flexible material that doesn’t allow air transfer. So by default, it traps/reflects heat.

So, when you hop inside a TACT Bivvy, it’ll trap the heat your body naturally generates. This helps to prevent hypothermia and frostbite in extremely cold conditions.

It locks in your body heat, keeping your core and limbs warm and protected.

Sure, you could add a cheaper space blanket to your car’s emergency kit. And that’s better than nothing, but a blanket doesn’t contain your body heat nearly as well as the TACT Bivvy.

You see, the TACT Bivvy is more than a blanket, it’s a sleeping bag. This may seem like a small difference, but this setup traps heat much better than a blanket alone.

Also, the TACT bivvy is packed in a small portable bag. This keeps your Mylar sleeping bag organized and protects it from accidental punctures.

So for me, it’s worth the few extra dollars to get the TACT Bivvy.

But what about extreme heat? I did mention it can be helpful in these dire situations as well!

TACT Bivvy In HandYes, I did, and yes it does.

You see, Mylar’s superpower is reflecting heat. So when Mylar is facing toward you, it reflects your heat back to you. However, if you point the Mylar material away from you and toward the sun instead what happens?

Mylar will block the suns energy from traveling through it.

Just turn the TACT Bivvy inside out (so the mylar is now on the outside). Then find a way to create a makeshift canopy (using some more emergency tools discussed below). And get underneath it.

Instant shade, instant cool.

And if you happen to be in loose soil, you can dig a shallow pit (with a survival shovel) to expose cool layers of soil. Then you can lay in the cool dirt to help lower your core body temperature.

You see, with the right tools and knowledge, you don’t have to become a victim of a dire situation. You can act, save yourself and buy time for escape or rescue.

Note: if you dig a pit, don’t lay under a Mylar blanket or tarp, etc. with the blanket against the top of the hole. This setup now becomes an oven, the opposite of what you’re trying to accomplish. The tarp or Mylar blanket must be off the ground. You want it to create shade and allow air to flow through and out instead of trapping it.

Vehicle Recovery Tools

Ok, water and shelter are done, that wasn’t too tough now, was it? Now it’s time to talk tools and devices to prevent you getting stranded in the first place.

The three leading causes of becoming stranded in the middle of nowhere are:

  1. Flat Tire
  2. Dead Battery
  3. Running Out Of Fuel

We already discussed the need invest in tire changing equipment – most vehicles have these tools available by default. So let’s focus on the remaining two issues; dead battery and running out of fuel.

The best way to survive an emergency due to a dead battery or running out of fuel is to avoid it becoming a survival emergency in the first place. So it’s important to invest in the simple tools that can quickly fix these problems.

In the past, the only way to fix a dead battery was to carry a bulky set of jumper cables or to lug a large battery pack jumper around. However, with technological advances, intense crank power is now available in a device the size of a smartphone.

We tested the pocket jumper on a dead jeep wrangler and it started immediately on the first try!

This is a device is powerful and it’s so compact it fits your shirt pocket.

Plus, the age-old problem with jumper cables is they rely on another vehicle to work. So that alone makes them less than ideal.

Once you’ve got a pocket jumper to handle the occasional dead battery. You should put together a plan to deal with the “ran out of gas” problem.

Yes, we all should try to follow the Grandfatherly advice of “fill up your tank when it gets below half.” But life’s busy, and most of us wait until we’re on E and sometimes on fumes before filling up.

This is a recipe for disaster. But we normally get lucky and find a gas station around the next corner, at least until our luck runs out…


So the next best thing is to keep a bit of fuel in your emergency car kit. And while that may seem dangerous, with the right tools and precautions it’s possible.

This specially designed fuel bottle can hold fuel/gasoline for a period of up to three months. Fuel (especially gasoline) has a limited shelf life. So you’ll need to rotate it several times a year.

However, caution is required: Keep away from heat or any heat source. Keep it away from the reach of any other person than yourself. Keep it away from children. Make sure it is well sealed. Do not use or store it in any place where there is a potential risk for any damage to the bottle. Check the bottle frequently to make sure there’s no leakage.

It contains flammable fluid and should be treated as a dangerous material.

Ok, now that we covered those two issues, it’s time to add a few highly useful survival tools to your emergency car kit.

The following tools are what you need you ever need to go into true survival mode.

As A Way To Introduce You To Skilled Survival, We’re Giving Away Our Ultimate List Of Survival Gear. Click Here To Get Your FREE Copy Of It.

Escape and Rescue Tools

Now we need to remember what the goal is for most vehicle emergencies. 99% of the time the goal is rescue.

Maybe the check engine light comes on in the remote desert, and your car rolls to a permanent stop. Or maybe your SUV rolls on its side on a snowy mountain trail. Or perhaps you’re stuck on a mountain pass in a blizzard and get stuck in the drifting snow.

These are all vehicle emergencies that happen every year to lots of people and families. Sometimes the stories have happy endings, but occasionally they end in sad tragedy.

So any tool that can help contact the rest of the world to get help is a tool worth adding to your car’s emergency kit.

6-1 Emergency Car Tool and Charger

This smart car emergency tool is one you should keep in your car and not in the kit you keep in your truck. This is one tool you’ll want to keep front and center at all times.

This looks like one of those basic car chargers – the ones that plug into those old school push button cigarette lighters.

But that’s just 1 of the 6 tools behind this life-saving device!

It’s also a portable battery pack. It always keeps a small portable battery pack topped off with energy so you can keep your phone charged even with a dead car battery.

It also has a glass breaker built into the tip of the charger. This is huge for vehicle emergencies.

If you ever accidentally drive into a large body of water and your car starts sinking you have to get out fast. The water pressure won’t let you open and door and what happens if your window won’t go down?

6-1 Tool Glass Shatter

Glass Shatter

You need a way to break it.

With this device, you have immediate access to pull it out of the charger port and slam it against the glass.

Instant shatter and a fast escape!

But what about your seatbelt? What if it’s jammed and you’re struggling to unlatch it?

1-6 Belt Cutter

Belt Cutter

Well, this tool also includes a belt cutter. The cutter knife is built into the side of the device in a safe but effective way.

So between the glass breaker and the belt cutter you’ve got a tool at the ready to escape from a car fast – no matter what.

Whether it’s a fire, water disaster, or your vehicle’s flipped over, whatever, you now have a tool at the ready to get out when time is of the essence.

Ok so that’s 4 tools, there’s 2 more to go…

6-1 Tool Flashlight


The next tool in this 6-1 survival device is a built-in flashlight.

In my opinion, flashlights are sort of like EDC knives; you can never have too many. I like to keep flashlights everywhere, especially in my:

So I welcome having an extra flashlight as a part of this incredible survival tool.

Plus, the flashlight has a strobe mode which is ideal if you’re looking to get someone’s attention at night. The strobe function helps rescuers find you or get attention from a random traveler.

So the 6 in 1 Emergency Car Tool and Charger is a:

  1. Car Charger
  2. Backup Battery Power Bank
  3. Instant Shatter Glass Breaker
  4. Seat Belt Cutter
  5. Regular Flashlight
  6. Emergency Strobe Light

And all these tools within easy reach for the driver. It’s truly the smartest and perfect tool for vehicle emergencies.6-1 Survival Charger

Rescue Mirror

A rescue mirror is a small device that’s easy to add to your car’s emergency kit. It’s small and lightweight, but this device can be powerful.

It reflects the power of the sun so you can alert rescuers or any airline that may be passing overhead.

Just point the bright reflected light towards your target and move it back and forth quickly. This will create a flashing signal that can travel many miles.

This is another great tool to help you get help fast in a dire emergency.

Survival Lighter or Ferro Rod

One of the best ways to get the attention of a search and rescue team is to produce a bunch of thick black smoke. And fortunately, all vehicles have one excellent source of black smoke – tires.

When the rubber from tires is set on fire, it lets off an obnoxious thick black smoke. The sort of smoke that can be seen for many miles.

It’s a perfect beaconing SOS signal for a rescue helicopter who’s actively looking for someone.

The search goes from a needle in a haystack to shooting fish in a barrel. But this rescue signal won’t work if you can’t get a fire going in the first place. So make sure you pack a good survival lighter or Ferro rod.

A Bic, a Zippo or a Telsa lighter all will work fine for this.

Rescue Whistle

I like packing a survival whistle for 2 reasons.

First, the good ones absolutely scream. They are so loud the sound will travel several miles. And if you’re able to blast it frantically, anyone within earshot can’t help but investigate to see what’s going on.

Second, it might be the most affordable piece of gear ever.

They are small pieces of plastic so you can add one for just a few dollars. Now that’s what I call a fantastic return on investment.

It’s one of those “no-brainer” survival tools you just add to your car’s emergency vehicle kit; no questions asked.

Hazard Triangles / Safety Vest

If your car ever breaks down on the side of the road or worst in the middle of the road, you need a way to notify other drivers.

Bad things are going to happen if an unsuspecting driver coming around a blind bend only to find a broken down car in the middle of the road.

If they hit your vehicle at nearly full speed people are going to get hurt or worse.

Hopefully, you’re smart enough to get out of the vehicle and not stay in it or stand in front of it. If it gets hit and you’re in or near it you’re in fatal danger.

It’s sad, but it happens all the time all across America, especially on multi-lane highways in major cities.

Nothing good happens when vehicles are broken down on or near busy roadways.

But if you have hazard triangles, road flares, and safety vests, you can alert those upcoming vehicles of a hazard. Get them to slow down and move over.

It’s the right thing to do, and it’s an important emergency car kit tool I wish more people took seriously.

Medical Supplies

small first aid medical kitEvery car emergency kit should include basic medical supplies (like the medical day tripper). Bandages, gauze, painkillers, antibacterial ointments, etc.

But you might also want to add in a few specialty medical tools (depending on your level of skill and comfort).

Here are two kits you might consider adding to the basic medical supplies

Bleeding Control Kit (which includes a tourniquet)

Because uncontrolled hemorrhage is one of the most preventable cause of death in the United States.

Suture Kit (for stitching up nasty cuts)

The suture kit is a specialty medical kit that’s rarely needed until its freaking needed ASAP.

If you are serious about preparing for medical emergencies, check out our comprehensive guide to building your own survival medical kit.

As A Way To Introduce You To Skilled Survival, We’re Giving Away Our Ultimate List Of Survival Gear. Click Here To Get Your FREE Copy Of It.

Must Have Survival Supplies

Survival MultiTool

I think the survival multitool is one of the most underrated survival tools.

You want access to a variety of tools and sure, you can buy a survival knife, and a set of pliers and a screwdriver set.

Or you can get a smart survival multitool that has all these tools and more in one.

Communication Device

You must add a small radio to your car’s emergency kit.

If your emergency is due to adverse weather, you need a way to tune into the weather reports.

Is the blizzard you just accidentally drove into ending soon or is it just starting?

The answers to those questions is intelligence. The information you need to make better decisions during a dire emergency.

Here are a couple more ways a survival radio can save your life:

  • In a widespread emergency, you’ll want to know which roads have been knocked out so you can take the right ones.
  • If a major disease outbreak occurs you’ll want to know where it’s headed so you can avoid those dangerous areas.
  • Maybe a nuclear attack (or EMP blast) has sent the nation into turmoil – you’ll want to know which direction is safe and which is not.

Kaito Pocket RadioThe bottom line is you can never have too much intelligence, especially in survival.

So pack a small portable radio, the Katie Pocket Radio is perfect for this. You’ll get the intel you need without taking up precious emergency kit space.

Survival Shovel /Sand

Getting stuck in snow or mud is a major cause of becoming stranded. But if you can get your vehicle out of this situation, then you avoid becoming stranded, right? Yes.

You need to add a survival shovel to your vehicle. That way you can shovel your way out of snow or mud. Digging out from around your tires and work being able to work your way out is an important tactic.

KONNEX Survival ShovelWe recommend the KONNEX survival shovel. It breaks down into a compact size, but tough enough to get the job done.

It also includes a few extra survival tools as well, which will come in handy during an actual survival emergency.

Also, add a sack of sand or kitty litter as well. I was skeptical of using this stuff up until the first time I gave it a try, and it worked like magic.

If you’re stuck because your tires can’t get traction, sprinkle some sand in front of the slipping tire. You’ll be amazed how quickly the tires will grab and get you out of an icy rut.

Solar Charger with PowerBank

Portable solar panels are my new favorite survival technology.

Some people who are into survival mistakenly think all technology is bad. Because many new technologies make humans less self-reliant.

But in my opinion, portable solar chargers make us more self-reliant. You don’t have to rely on buying batteries or the power grid to harness energy. It means you can tap into the free power of the sun.

Survival Frog Solar ChargerA cell phone is actually an amazing emergency rescue device. It’s not one you want to rely on by itself, but if you can get a signal, you have a lifeline to help.

And even if you don’t have a signal, rescuers can still zero in on your location with cell tower pings.

The bottom line is, you should add a solar power bank to your car emergency kit. That way you’ll always have a way to keep your electronic devices (i.e., cellphone) powered up.


Paracord is amazing. There are hundreds of survival uses for paracord, and those are just the most obvious ones. There are thousands of possible uses.

Now, it’s easy to add some paracord to your emergency car kit. Just buy some paracord and toss it in or even better get a paracord survival bracelet.

Either way, find a way to get some paracord in your car for emergencies.

Self Defense Options

Becoming stranded on the side of a remote road in the middle of the night can be a scary proposition. It can be a helpless feeling.

Especially if a creepy person decides they want to lend you a hand?

You better have a way to defend yourself should their “help” not be so helpful after all.

Now, if you’re into firearms you’re all set. But if firearms intimidate you or you never learned how to use one, there are other self-defense options.

Pepper Spray

One of my favorite self-defense options (besides a firearm) is pepper spray. There are two important aspects to a good self-defense pepper spray.

1) the actual pepper spray effectiveness (or heat level)
2) the spray pattern and distance.

Sure, some people try to make their own pepper spray, but I don’t recommend that for actual self-defense.

deviljuiceInstead, we recommend you get something like this Devil Juice Pepper Spray. It’s extremely hot and has a long spray distance.

Illumination Tools

Ever tried to change a tire in the pitch black dark? Not only does it make this task more challenging but for some, it might make it impossible.

Breakdowns and accidents are not exclusive to daylight hours. Heck, they’re often more dangerous and more frequent during the night.

You’ve got to have at least one superbright EDC flashlight so you can see what you’re doing.

Food (a.k.a. calories)

Finally, it’s worth stashing some calories in your car emergency kit. And while this is a lower priority than the other items we’ve covered so far, it’s still worth adding.

But just remember, taste is not the goal of emergency kit food. The goal is to stash food that lasts and remain safe even after many hot and cold temperatures swings.

So you should focus on adding something with low moisture content and high-calorie density. These energy bars meet these requirements and are calorie dense. They’ll also “keep” well even under intense temperature swings.

The worst is to start rooting around in your emergency kit to keep your hunger pangs at bay, only to pull out a moldy orange or a melted candy bar.

Optional Survival Tools

In this section, I’m going to show you a few pieces of survival gear that are not 100% necessary but might make sense for you.

Survival Playing Cards

Survival Playing CardsIf you’re ever involved in a life-threatening emergency, then a set of survival playing cards will be the last thing on your mind.

However, if you’re just stranded, but you know help is on the way, you might need something to do. Something to pass the time and keep boredom at bay.

If you’ve got friends or kids with you, a deck of survival cards can help pass the time as you wait for the tow truck to arrive.

And you might as well get a deck of cards with some solid survival tips on them. Who knows, maybe you’ll learn a new survival skill that will save your life while you play a bit of solitaire…

Electric Hand Warmer

Electric Hand WarmerThis is 100% more of a luxury emergency car tool.

A good pair of gloves and some hot hand warmer packs will do just fine for most situations. But if you’re looking to prevent frostbite at all costs, you might consider this electric hand warmer.

This device is rechargeable and will warm up your hands or feet within minutes.

Wrap Up

My goal for this article is to get more people to build vehicle emergency kits.

I hope we provided some unique tools and devices you’d never considered. And we hope many of them make sense for your car’s emergency kit.

However, we also know there are many other tools and devices that other people recommend. So if you know of a vehicle emergency tool that you feel should be on this list, but you didn’t see it, leave us a comment.

We’ll check it out, and if it makes sense, we’ll be sure to add it to this car emergency kit list.

“Just In Case” Jack

P.s. Do you know where the closest nuclear bunker is from your home?

There are a lot of natural nuclear shelters in the US that are absolutely free. And one of them is near your home.

Click on the image above to find out where you need to take shelter.

The post How To Build Your Ultimate Car Emergency Kit From Scratch appeared first on Skilled Survival.

Suture Kit – The Forgotten Lifesaving Survival Asset

How To Find A Survival Suture Kit That’s Right For You

Suture Kit

Your skin is the largest organ in your body and it holds you together like a sack.

It keeps your internal organs and fluids from spilling out.

It protects your insides from external forces, and it regulates your body temperature.

But sometimes – often – in survival situations, your skin gets sliced wide open.

Maybe you cut yourself with a can-opener or a knife. Or maybe you hit your head on a rock. Or perhaps you caught a jagged branch in the chest, and now you’re laid wide open.

What can you do?

Without a way to seal a severe laceration shut, you’ll quickly find yourself in a heap of trouble. That’s where a doctor or medical professional comes in handy.

One of those 24-hour medical clinics where you can get immediate help. The ones with local anesthetics and nice nurses who’ll stitch you up with a smile.

But hospitals and health clinics are not resources we can always rely on. In the wild, a battlefield, or the apocalypse, you won’t find such medical conveniences.

You’re going to have to rely on yourself, your survival knowledge, and your survival gear.

That’s why you should own a medical grade survival suture kit.

One you can stash in your bug out bag, or with your survival equipment. It puts you on another level of preparedness.

You should, of course, already have a basic first aid survival kit. And check out this guide to building a tactical medical kit if you want to build your own.

But when you’ve got a nasty cut that needs stitches, you’re going to be glad you packed that extra suture kit.

But for those who don’t know what makes a good suture kit, we’ve compiled this article to help you find the right one. We’ve sorted through all the cheap and crappy ones, and found the best of the best, so you don’t have to.

And if you’re not familiar with the art of sewing human flesh, we provide a brief how-to for stitching up a cut. And even, a couple of ways to improvise sutures in a pinch.

We’ll be covering the following suture kit topics in this article:

  • What Is a Suture Kit?
  • Why Suturing Wounds is So Important
  • The Best Survival Suture Kits For Survival
  • How To Suture (brief introduction)
  • Improvising a Suture In A Pinch
As A Way To Introduce You To Skilled Survival, We’re Giving Away Our Ultimate List Of Survival Gear. Click Here To Get Your FREE Copy Of It.

Surgical Instruments

What Is a Suture Kit?

If you’ve made it this far into the article and still don’t know what a suture kit is; I owe you an explanation.

In the medical world, a “laceration kit” is a set of tools and supplies used to close an open dermatological wound. That is to say, it’s a medical sewing kit, for sewing up human skin.

Paramedics carry them. First responders carry them. Wilderness first responders, firefighters, and military personnel carry them. Even concert venue first aid staff, carry suture kits.

They’re a staple for medical preparation and good for survival preparedness.

But the process of suturing a wound closed is a serious mini-surgery. And it takes both extensive research and practice to suture successfully.

Do NOT buy a suture kit unless you plan on learning how to use it, and are fully prepared to do so. Otherwise, its a useless piece of survival gear.

Attempting to close an open wound, when you have no earthly idea what you’re doing, can be a quick way to go from bad to worse.

Suture Practice Kit

Why Suturing Wounds is So Important

Stitching (or “suturing”) open wounds make it possible for a laceration to heal faster and properly.

Often, if an open wound that requires stitches is left untreated, it will open up again. Without stitches, accidental bumps, scrubs, or rubs will pop a weak scab back open.

This prolongs the healing process and makes the wound more susceptible to infection.

But by suturing the wound closed, you’re providing extra support to hold the skin together. That way so it can heal at maximum speed and efficiency.

This is particularly useful in the wild or in a survival situation where mobility is critical. A sutured cut will stay closed and continue to heal, despite the less-than-ideal conditions. While moving with an open gash or wound is both painful and dangerous.

It can impair your ability to survive, and deplete your limited but vital energy reserves.

The Best Survival Suture Kits For Survival

Suture kits are one of those survival items you don’t really need until you really freaking need one. It very well could sit unused in your backpack for months, even years, without being touched.

But one day, when your hand slips on a survival knife or you gash your leg on a sharp rock, it could make the difference between life and death.

That being said, you want one that you can depend on.

If you pull a suture kit out in your time of need, it shouldn’t be missing any pieces. Or the tools shouldn’t be too cheap to use effectively.

That’s why we’ve identified some of the internet’s highest rated, medical grade suture kits:

Meditraining 32 Piece Suture Kit

This kit has everything you need for suturing wounds.

It comes with a reusable suture pad made of hyper-realistic flesh (for practice). It also includes:

  • Needle holders
  • Forceps
  • A scalpel
  • 12 silk-braided sutures with needles

All these items are packed into a deluxe carrying kit and elastic loops help hold the instruments in place.

It packs easily into a bug out bag or medical kit and is efficiently organized. It also comes with a “best money ever spent, & 100% money back guarantee.”

Check Out Today’s Price

Matrix Mixed Sterile Suture Kit

This kit has all the basics to start suturing wounds:

  • Sterile pads
  • Surgical Sutures
  • Forceps
  • Surgical Tweezers
  • A stainless steel surgical needle
  • Four different types of non-absorbable suture threads

Check Out Today’s Price

Your Design Medical Suture Accessories

With nylon sutures, a scalpel, forceps, scissors, and a suture driver, you’re ready to start stitching.

This training kit also comes with a silicone flesh suture practice pad.

That way, you can hone your flesh sewing skills before taking them to the field.

Check Out Today’s Price

Suture Syringe Medic First Aid Kit

This kit is affordable, practical, highly useful, and extremely compact.

It comes with a variety of different sterile medical supplies including:

  • Sterile gloves
  • A catheter
  • Several syringes
  • Three different sized needles
  • Antiseptic wipes and alcohol swabs

This one and done suture/syringe kit is sold in sealed packages meant for single person use.

This is an extremely affordable addition to your bug out bag, get home bagsevery day carry kits or travel gear.

Pick up a few of them for your different survival bags. That way, no matter when or where you need them, you’ll have suture supplies on hand.

Check Out Today’s Price

As A Way To Introduce You To Skilled Survival, We’re Giving Away Our Ultimate List Of Survival Gear. Click Here To Get Your FREE Copy Of It.

Wound With Stitches

How to Suture (brief introduction)

There are loads of different suturing techniques for sewing shut skin.

It’s been a necessary medical skill for a very long time – roughly 30,000 years in fact! So it’s nothing new.

Cavemen did it, after all, so it can’t be that difficult, right? Not exactly.

Suturing is medical science, and it takes some practice to master the skill. Hence, the suture practice pads included in some of the suturing kits listed above.

Not just that, but there are a lot of needles types and suture threads for various lacerations. It even depends on what kind of cut you’re dealing with and how thick the skin in that area of the body is.

A worthwhile medical textbook will help you choose which threads and needles sizes to use for different situations.

But, no matter what type of needle or weight of suture thread you are using, the basic technique is the same. Here is a brief overview of how to go about sewing someone up:

1. Assess The Injury

First of all, is this something you can handle? Really?

If not, it might be best to wait for a medical professional.

  • Is the cut is too massive for you to stitch up on your own? Seek medical attention.
  • Is there’s too much blood exiting the wound and you can’t work with it? Seek medical attention.
  • Are there are foreign objects in the wound you can’t get out? Seek medical attention.
  • Is it a cut you feel confident you can deal with? Go for it.

Sometimes, though, you’re not going to have much choice in the matter. In a worst-case scenario, where professional medical help is not an option, you may have to try or die…

2. Prepare Everything First

Make yourself (or your patient) as comfortable as possible.

Sterilize all the materials with a sterilizing solution or hydrogen peroxide. Clean the wound with iodine and rinse it with saline solution.

Make sure your needle is affixed to your suture thread, and a knot is tied at the end of it.

Grasp the needle with the needle grabbers vertically (or hold it if you do not have needle grabbers).

Apply a local anesthetic if you have one, to mitigate the pain. If not, warn your patient this is about to hurt like hellYou might have them bit down on a stick to prevent them from breaking their teeth.

3. Start Stitching

Start at the end of the cut closest to the patient’s face, and work away.

Pierce the skin as close to the cut as possible. Try doing this without hemorrhaging or compromising the strength of the stitch.

Loop it down through the flesh, nearly as deep as the cut. You may have to stabilize the skin with a tissue stabilizer to puncture the needle through both sides.

When the tip of the needle is poking out, grasp it with forceps, and pull it through the other side gently. You should try and cause as little trauma to the skin as possible.

The needle should always penetrate the skin at a 90-degree angle to minimize entry wounds. And should also exit perpendicular to reduce exit wounds.

Both sides of the cut should end up looking like mirror images of each other.

4. Tie The Knot

Once you’ve run your suture through, fasten the loop in place with a knot. This is called an “interrupted suture” when you tie off each individual loop.

There are knot tying devices doctors use, but in survival, you won’t have access to such equipment. In that case, the square knot is traditionally used.

Realistically, the knot itself doesn’t matter much, as long as you can trust it won’t fall out or loosen up over time. Stitch every loop through, individually tying each closed as you go along.

Snugly tug on each one to make sure they are not too loose.

5. Disinfect Again, Bandage

Just for the sake of keeping it clean, iodine and saline rinse your recently sealed cut.

The most significant danger of suturing a wound shut is an infection, so do everything you can to prevent that.

Once everything is sterile, bandage the injury with gauze and medical tape. Replace the bandage and clean the wound once a day until it has healed and stops oozing.

6. Removing The Sutures

Once the wound is healed, you are going to have to take out the stitches you put in.

This is not a particularly complex, painful, or delicate procedure. But, you should be careful not to damage the freshly healed flesh.

Using sharp disinfected scissors and tweezers, cut the individually stitched loops. Pull them gently through and out of the skin.

Wipe the wound down with alcohol when done. And that is it! You’ve been stitched, healed, and fixed and now you’re good to go.

Here’s an excellent video showing you several more stitching methods you can practice.

As A Way To Introduce You To Skilled Survival, We’re Giving Away Our Ultimate List Of Survival Gear. Click Here To Get Your FREE Copy Of It.

Super Glue Bottle

Improvising a Suture In A Pinch

Even if you own suture kits and have practiced, you might not have what you need in a survival situation, which means you may be forced to improvise.

That’s okay, because, in fact, there are some very effective makeshift sutures out there….

The Super Glue Suture

Cyanoacrylate (aka “super glue”) was widely used by medics in Vietnam to suture wounds shut. And it was highly effective in the field.

Sadly, the FDA never approved it for legitimate use in the states. It was due to fears that the chemicals contained within them were not safe to put in the body. So, the technique fell by the wayside.

But superglue still works wonders when it comes to closing wounds.

It’s a necessary item for any first aid kit, medical kit, and definitely in any suture kit. Super glue is an easy medical-hack that can mimic full-on surgical stitches reasonably well.

I recommend keeping it in mind throughout any survival or wilderness emergency.

The Duct Tape Suture

Duct tape is far from ideal, but it works if you have an open wound and you need to shut it ASAP. And if all you have is a shiny roll of duct tape, use it.

It will work as a makeshift suture, but it’s not going to last very long.

Be careful not to cut off circulation with it, though. It’s best to rip the tape into narrow strips and place them across the wound like steps on a ladder.

Then fortify those makeshift stitches with long strips that run the length of the wound. These should be laid on top of the shorter individual strips.

The Final Word

Suture kits come in handy in the most dangerous and most dire survival situations.

However, they will not serve you unless you really need them, but when you really freaking need them, they will serve you well.

Without a proper suture kit and the knowledge of how to stitch a wound, you may find yourself up a creek without a paddle. Bleeding out and wishing you had bought and packed yourself that survival suture kit.

Don’t let that happen! Prepare yourself today, and thank yourself tomorrow.

Will Brendza

P.s. Do you know where the closest nuclear bunker is from your home?

There are a lot of natural nuclear shelters in the US that are absolutely free. And one of them is near your home.

Click on the image above to find out where you need to take shelter.

The post Suture Kit – The Forgotten Lifesaving Survival Asset appeared first on Skilled Survival.

Best EDC Knife For Self Defense, Survival and Preparedness

A Guide To Help You Find The Best EDC Knife For You

Best EDC Knife

When a specific tool’s been used for centuries and found across several continents, you know there’s something special going on.

Knives are the perfect example of such a special tool.

And it’s not like the basic knife design has evolved all that much over time either. No, the idea of a blade (stone and later metal) has been with us since the dawn of man.

Knives have maintained their basic applicability, retained their form, and sustained their usefulness since their creation.

Why? What is so great about knives? They’re just really good at cutting stuff, right?

Well, in a word, yes. Knives get their greatness from the versatility they offer in accomplishing simple functions like cutting, chopping, slicing, stabbing, whittling, carving, etc.

But these functions are essential for all sorts of everyday uses; such as:

  • Self-Defense
  • Cooking Prep
  • Skinning Game
  • General Utility (opening boxes)
  • Shelter Building
  • Entertainment (knife throwing)

And that’s why it’s so important to keep an Every Day Carry (EDC) blade with you at all times.

EDC Knife 1.1

Why Carry An EDC Knife

When you’ve got a pocket knife, neck knife, boot knife or belt knife, you’ve got one of the most ancient survival tools at your side.

But these days, EDC knives are more compact, lighter, and maintain their edges better than knives from the past.

Better than the fixed blade hunks of iron our ancestors had to lug around.

But when it comes to finding an EDC knife, things can get tricky fast.

There are many knife companies making EDC knives today. Trying to find the best one quickly becomes an overwhelming endeavor.

And buyers beware! Not all EDC knives are created equal. Some are designed and built to higher standards of quality than others.

Some EDC knives make incredible survival resources while others are barely a flimsy excuse for a letter opener.

You do not want to waste your money on a product that’s going to fail you when you need it most. That why today we’re going to cover the following EDC Knife topics:

  • Four Types Of EDC Knives
  • Most Important Qualities For Your EDC Knife
  • Best EDC Knife For Survival
  • Caring For Your EDC Knife
As A Way To Introduce You To Skilled Survival, We’re Giving Away Our Ultimate List Of Survival Gear. Click Here To Get Your FREE Copy Of It.

Boot Knife

Types of EDC Knives

There are lots of EDC knives designed specifically for survival purposes while others are made for general application.

But no matter the specific design you prefer, they’re all extremely useful tools. It’s a necessary addition to any survivalist’s belt, pocket, get home bag or your packed bug out bag.

However, you decide to carry it, you must choose the type of EDC knife that will work best for you.

Folding EDC Knives

Nowadays, the most popular type of EDC knife is a folder. This kind of knife simply folds in half to reduce its overall length and size when tucked away.

I’m sure you can see the appeal here.

The only major downside to carrying a folding knife is they cannot take as much abuse as a full tang fixed blade survival knife.

If you try chopping or batoning with a folder, you’ll quickly destroy the knife at it’s weakest point – the folding joint. So for most everyday carry uses, a folder is hard to beat, but don’t mistake a folder for a true survival knife.

Fixed Blade EDC Knives 

Unlike a folder, where you retrieve the knife and flip it open, with a fixed blade knife, well, the blade is fixed. There’s no joints or hinges; no unfolding or flipping it open.

So a fixed blade full tang knife can handle a lot more abuse. Think of it as a mini survival knife.

Now there are different ways to carry a smaller fixed bladed EDC knife. So let’s cover each of those options next.

Neck Knife Carry

A neck knife is typically a shorter fixed blade knife that fits in a slim sheath with a cord and the cord goes around your neck.

The better ones have a thin profile when in its sheath. It also should be lightweight, so it doesn’t become annoying or uncomfortable to carry every day.

Unlike a folder, where you retrieve the knife from a pocket and flip it open, with a neck knife,  you grab the knife’s handle and pull it down to release it from its sheath.

Boot Knife Carry

A boot knife is a small fixed blade knife worn in a sheath that wraps around your ankle or calf. Hence, the term “boot knife.”

You don’t necessarily have to be wearing boots tho.

Long pants work to keep the knife concealed as well, even if your wearing shoes. However, you probably don’t want to carry a boot knife around town in a pair of shorts.

Belt Knife Carry

Next, we have the popular belt knife carry.

Again, this is typically a shorter fixed blade knife that rests in a sheath but in this case, it rides along on your belt.

The biggest downside to this type of EDC knife is that it’s more difficult to conceal.

Now, maybe you don’t want to conceal it? Or maybe you want everyone to know you have a knife at the ready. Or maybe you wear long loose shirts and can still conceal it.

For some, the belt knife is the most convenient and most comfortable way to carry a small fixed blade knife around town.

Also, there’s also a newer type of belt knife hitting the market.

One where the small fixed blade knife is concealed in the belt buckle. These have a quick release clip so you can just grab the buckle, pull and you’re knife is ready to go.

pocket knife on split tree branch 1

Most Important Qualities For Your EDC Knife

As with any tool, there are a few basic components and characteristics you’ll want to look for.

But, everyone’s exact needs and preferences are going to be different for every person. And personal preference plays a big part in picking out the best EDC knife that will work well for you.

You have many factors to think about, from:

  • the weight
  • the shape of the handle
  • the size of the blade
  • the carry location
  • the blade design
  • the handle material

One specific knife might feel great for you and awkward as heck to the next guy. That’s normal. With this in mind, here’s a list of essential features good reliable EDC knives have in common:


Folding knives are exceptional in this regard.

For millennia knives were made with fixed blades that required sheathes for safely. These had to be strapped to a belt or pack. But in the 1900’s, when folding knives hit the scene, it changed the game.

Suddenly, you could put your EDC knife in your pocket, discretely tucked away but at the ready.

Some of the best EDC knives are folders. Not all great EDC knives are folders, but many are. They’ve become popular for everyday carry for a reason.

But short fixed blade EDC knives are compact as well.

Ergonomic Handle

The handle is a critical part of the knife. It’s the part of the knife you’ll be most intimate with, so make sure it feels great in your hand.

It should sit comfortably, and it should be easy to grip. If it feels too small or too large, try another size or another knife.

Don’t compromise here.

A knife that fits perfectly in your hand will help build a bond between you and your survival tool. It should feel like it was made for you.

Locking mechanism (folders only)

On the handle, there should be a button or a sliding clip to lock your blade in place.

I’ve seen people maimed by stray blades accidentally opening in their pockets. It’s essential for your safety that you can lock the blade in place when its folded and extended.

Fixed blade knives don’t have or need locking mechanisms.

Low-Riding Pocket Clip (folders only)

I would argue that the clip of a knife, is every bit as important as the folding mechanism or the blade lock. The clip makes it insanely easy to fasten a knife to the outside of a pack, or into a pocket.

Clips are essential when it comes to EDC knives, but some of them can be a pain.

Some clips are large and bulky and mostly just get in the way. Finding a knife with a nice, low profile clip, is a huge step towards finding the perfect survival EDC knife.

Good Sheath (mainly fixed blade knives)

With neck, boot and belt knives carry options you need to spend as much time researching the sheath as you do the knife. The sheath in these carry locations will make all the difference.

You want a sheath that’s compact but not flimsy and it should have a small profile. It needs to have enough material and size to do its job but no more.

It also should feel snug when the blade is seated.

Lightweight and Durable

There are some incredibly cool looking folding blade knives.

For example, I’ve seen some are made out of hardwood and inlaid with turquoise. Or made out of mammoth bone, with their blades forged from Toledo steel.

While these tools look cool, they are also way more cumbersome than your EDC knife should be.

A knife made out of durable, lightweight materials will serve you far better. Plus, it’ll weigh on you less throughout your day-to-day activities.

There’s a reason they don’t make bejeweled screwdrivers and golden plated hammers. Tools are meant to be used and beat up and worn down; not bedazzled.

If they’re made from precious materials, it compromises the utility of the instrument.

Legal Blade Length

The laws on “how long a knife blade can be” change from state to state and place to place. Some areas only allow knives of specific lengths to be carried on your person legally. While in other places, they might not allow people to carry knives at all.

Researching your states knife laws is an important step in buying an EDC knife.

If you don’t pay attention and buy a knife that’s illegally for open carry, it might get confiscated. Or worse, you might get a ticket for carrying it.

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The Best EDC Knife For You

Here’s a list of the best and most acclaimed EDC knives.

The following weapons have all the qualities listed above. These are very well-made blades you can rely on.

Folding EDC Knives

The Benchmade Griptilian 551

Benchmade knives are some of the best in the world. They are so renowned for their quality that the US military uses them as the standard issue army EDC knife.

I carry this exact blade in my pocket at all times, and it’s the best knife I’ve ever owned.

The thick stainless steel blade folds nicely into a highly durable. Plus, it has an extremely lightweight handle molded in the “griptilian” pattern.

The weight is perfect, and the balance of these knives is impeccable. You cannot go wrong with Benchmade, and this is one of their most popular blades.

The best part about Benchmade EDC knives is the lifetime warranty that they come with.

If your Benchmade blade ever fails, or malfunctions, you can send the knife no problem. Benchmade will work with you to replace the item.

The Kershaw Composite Blackwash Leek

This sleek little EDC knife comes with a 3” blade, and a D2 steel edge, and a very low-profile, reversible pocket clip.

The blade features SpeedSafe open-assist. This flicks the blade open very quickly, with just the touch of a button.

The locking mechanism is located at the bottom of the handle and fixes the blade in place when engaged.

Perhaps the best part about this Kershaw blade is its slim design.

Even when it’s folded into the handle, the knife is extremely slender, hiding easily in a pocket or on a belt.

The Spyderco Civilian

There are few EDC blades out there as wicked-looking as this knife. Its curved blade is serrated and developed for elite undercover law-enforcement agents.

Much like a handgun, this knife is designed for one thing: self-defense.

A mid-positioned back-lock prevents accidental closures/opening. Spyderco is a Colorado company that’s been making top-of-the-line knives for years.

Their products are some of the best in the blade business, and their price-points reflect that. They are expensive.

But you’re paying for extremely high quality and a lifetime guarantee.

Gerber Gator Folding Knife

Gerber is one of the oldest and most reliable knife-making companies in America. Making the Gerber Gator a highly reliable survival tool.

It’s basic, it’s simple, it’s versatile, it’s durable, and it’s authentic.

The handle is covered in a ballistic nylon grip molded to look like gator skin. And the thick, stainless steel blade is edged to perfection.

If you’re looking for an affordable, reliable EDC knife, there are few better options.

Columbia River Knife and Tool

CRKT makes some of the most affordable knives for the best quality. They are the perfect balance between affordability and excellence.

This knife is the perfect example of that.

The handle is made from high-durability textured glass filled nylon scales. The stainless steel blade features a seatbelt cutter on the Carson Flipper. It also includes a tungsten window-smasher on the butt.

The flipper can be pressed for an automatic single-hand opening of the tanto-shaped blade.

This knife is made for function, not for fashion but that does not mean it doesn’t look good.

There are several different handle color options available to choose from.

Neck EDC Knives

If you’re going to trust your life with a knife, it has to be strong enough for the job.

That’s why full tang fixed blades like the Survival Neck Knife are great for survival…

Survival Neck Knife

Survival Frog Neck KnifeFirst off, the Survival Neck Knife’s blade is much thicker than most.

On average, it’s blade is 3-4x thicker than a standard pocket knife. Why? Because most pocket knives are made thin on purpose to make them lighter.

Guess what. Saving weight at the expense of strength isn’t going to do a lick of good in a crisis.

Fortunately, at 4mm thick, the Survival Neck Knife’s blade is thick enough for batoning wood, skinning large game, and even using it as a mini pry bar.

Second, deploying the Survival Neck Knife is easy and frustration free.

It hangs comfortably around your neck, all you do is grab the handle and pull down.

So your blade is ready to go in less than a second.

That sure beats spending 5-10 seconds searching for a pocket knife or fumbling for a blade in a bag. The Survival Neck Knife is superior in a crisis or self-defense situation.

Lastly, the Survival Neck Knife can be easily concealed, making it invisible to the naked eye.

This is a HUGE advantage over carrying the standard fixed blade in a sheath on the hip.

 Just slip the survival lanyard over your neck and slide the Survival Neck Knife underneath your shirt and it’s hidden from sight.

Doesn’t that mean it’ll be hard to grab fast?

Nope, just pull up on the lanyard and the Survival Neck Knife will slide out from behind your shirt.

Ready to do whatever you need.

Not to mention that it’s extremely comfortable to wear. At just 3.2 oz. in total weight, you’ll barely notice you’re carrying this featherweight knife.

It’s the SkilledSurvival team’s most recommended neck knife and it makes for a damn good EDC knife too; especially for survival.

Boot Knives

Here’s the thing about boot knives, they’ve sort of gone out of style.

It used to be one of the most popular ways to carry an EDC knife. However, with the gain in popularity of folders, boot knives are just not as appealing.

Now, many companies call their knives “boot knives” but then they don’t provide a sheath with an ankle wrap to go along with it. To me, that’s not a “boot knife”.

The sheath and the wrap are an essential component. They must be designed and sold together for them to work properly.

So with that said, here is one solid boot knife for those who are determined to carry this way.

Gerber Ghoststrike Fixed Blade Knife Deluxe Kit with Ankle Wrap 

The Gerber Ghoststrike boot knife is compact with a skeletal design. It’s made from 420 HC steel and includes a black ceramic coating.

This coating reduces reflection for better evasion and helps prevent corrosion in harsh conditions.

The handle is textured and rubber for superior grip.

The overall knife length is 6.9 inches while the blade comes in at 3.3 inches.

The ankle wrap is made out of neoprene which offers both a comfortable and secure knife carry position.

Or you can get this knife without the ankle wrap (but still with the sheath) and carry it as a neck knife.

Belt Knife

Now when you think of belt knife, I’m sure you think of a knife in a sheath that can attach to your belt. Because that’s what a belt knife is, right?

Yes, but first I also want to share with you another take on the belt knife I think you’ll like.

Renegade Gear Belt Knife

This is a new take on the traditional “belt knife”.

The knife is completely contained in the belt buckle! Just draw the knife from the buckle anytime, anywhere fast.

It’s an ultra sharp steel knife that includes a serrated blade for sawing action.

Talk about hidden and comfortable to carry – this knife can’t be beat in those categories.

The key here is the belt. If the knife is great but the belt sucks, then who cares right? Nobody wants to wear an uncomfortable belt every day – even if it has a knife.

But the good news is, this belt is great too.

It has super tough webbing and fits all standard pant loops. Plus, it has a locking mechanism to keep it snug all day long without loosening up.

Lastly, you remove the knife without loosening or removing the belt.

Here’s a short introduction video, that show’s you better how this belt knife works.

Knife Sharpening

Caring For Your EDC Knives

Just like any knife, EDC knives need a little TLC from time to time. Maintenance and upkeep are necessary if you want them to continue to perform at their best.

But it’s nothing difficult or complicated. All it takes is the occasional sharpening and regular cleaning. Doing so will make a quality EDC knife last several lifetimes (or longer).


Most EDC knives are made of stainless steel. This makes cleaning them extremely easy.

First, scrape off any crud or grime from the blade (use a surface cleaner, like Windex, to get out stubborn stains).

With a damp rag, you can wipe down the blade and handle. And with a q-tip, you can clean out all the nooks and crannies a typical folding EDC knife has.

It’s also a good idea to oil your knife once in a while. To keep the hinge swinging like it is brand new.

Gun oil works best for this, applied to a q-tip and gently rubbed on the hinge-point (but you can also use WD-40).

Don’t go overboard though! A little oil goes a long way. Be sure to wipe off any excess oil afterward.


Many knife makers will sharpen your knife for you.

If your Kershaw, Spyderco or Benchmade blade is getting dull, send it back to the manufacturer. Let them use their specialized equipment to sharpen it correctly.

This also ensures that the blade is sharpened correctly and evenly.

Of course, this means parting ways with your EDC knife for several weeks.

You can also sharpen an EDC knife yourself, using a multitude of knife sharpeners.

Sharpen your blade every once in a while. Make sure you stay on top of it, a dull knife is more dangerous than a sharp one!

The Final Word

Buying an EDC knife is an important step towards becoming a prepared survivalist.

It’s a tool that serves a vast multitude of purposes, and it fits comfortably inside of a pants pocket, under a shirt, in a boot or on a belt.

EDC knives are an essential tool for anyone who considers themselves a survivalist. But finding the right one can be difficult.

Do your research, shop around, and find the best EDC knife for you.

It makes all the difference in the world carrying an EDC knife. Find one that feels like the perfect fit for your body, your preferences, and your survival needs.

Will Brendza

P.s. Do you know where the closest nuclear bunker is from your home?

There are a lot of natural nuclear shelters in the US that are absolutely free. And one of them is near your home.

Click on the image above to find out where you need to take shelter.

The post Best EDC Knife For Self Defense, Survival and Preparedness appeared first on Skilled Survival.

Portable Solar Panels – Enjoy Your Outdoor Adventures Worry Free

Helping You Find The Best Portable Solar Panels For Your Next Great Adventure

There’s been a recent boom in portable solar panels. And their increasing popularity has taken the survival world by storm.

Why? Because they’re so incredibly useful in wilderness and emergency situations. Not to mention how convenient they are for camping and outdoor adventures.

These portable devices turn solar energy from the sun into usable electrical power. Energy to power any device that relies on electricity to function all while on the go.

Portable everyday carry gear such as:

  • Smartphones
  • Tablets
  • Cameras
  • GPS units
  • Flashlights
  • Headlamps
  • Rechargeable batteries
  • Etc.

The key here is the portability of these solar chargers.

People have been installing large solar panels systems for years now. The market for large solar generators has also been on the rise recently as well. And while these systems are no doubt powerful, they are not mobile.

That’s why the latest portable solar panels are so exciting. They allow you to harness the power of the sun with a device that fits in your backpack or pocket!

So today, we’ll be covering the following topics:

  • The Benefits Of Owning A Portable Solar Charger
  • Who Are Portable Solar Panels For?
  • Best Portable Solar Panels For Camping and Survival
  • Best Portable Solar Setups
  • Pros/Cons Of Portable Solar Chargers
As A Way To Introduce You To Skilled Survival, We’re Giving Away Our Ultimate List Of Survival Gear. Click Here To Get Your FREE Copy Of It.

Portable Solar Panel Charging A Phone

The Benefits Of Owning A Portable Solar Charger

Portable Power

So the first reason you should own one of these devices is power on the go.

If you enjoy camping, hiking, hunting, or any outdoor adventure, you should invest in one.

That way, you can keep all your small electronic devices charged and at the ready, just in case. Whether it’s to call a loved one, stay on track with a GPS device or charge some batteries for your flashlight.

Not to mention the benefit of powering a cell phone in an actual emergency situation.

“Free” Power

Next is solar power is “free” power – after you’ve invested in a way to capture it and store it. Sure, portable solar panels cost more than a few packs of batteries, but it’s a just one-time investment.

An investment that will easily pay itself off over time.

After the initial investment, you get to charge your devices anywhere for free.

Backup Power

If you’re a regular visitor of Skilled Survival, you’ve thought about your power failure options. If you haven’t, now is the time!

When the power grid goes down, all your home devices have a finite power life remaining. Once the battery hits zero, it becomes an expensive paperweight until the power comes back on.

All those survival books on hunting and foraging you saved to your tablet? Gone.

The full-color step-by-step survival guides on your laptop? The ones detailing how to build everything from a single night shelter to a full log cabin? Lost without power.

And while GPS satellites will continue to send data, it doesn’t matter if your GPS devices are dead.

So they’re smart for small-scale backup energy systems.

But why should you invest in a portable solar charger and not an extensive roof solar array/battery bank system?

First off, large rooftop solar systems are great.

If you can afford to add them to your home as a backup power system or to get off the grid, you should. But, they’re not portable.

It’s a good idea to have a sizeable alternative energy system for survival. But it’s still helpful to have a smaller scale system for your everyday carry devices.

Who Are Portable Solar Panels For?

Campers and Backpackers

Portable solar charges are great for camping in remote sites or the comforts of a state park.

At either location, you’ve undoubtedly come across times when you’re getting low on power.

Being able to charge up the camera for a few more photos or to boost the GPS for you to follow your trail out is a great option. And as portable solar panels get smaller and more efficient, you’ll hardly notice it in your pack!

Solar chargers are quickly becoming essential gear for camping.

Hunters and Fishermen

Most hunters and fishermen carry at least a cell phone and a flashlight with us into the field these days.

More and more, they’re also carrying camera equipment, rangefinders, and a GPS. That adds up to a lot of different spare batteries and chargers.

A portable solar charger can take advantage of downtime in the middle of the day to charge all your devices.

Backcountry Travelers and Emergency Situations

Every winter, we hear stories of a family outing turned deadly. When someone blindly follows a seasonal road and find themselves stuck in freezing cold weather.

Many times, these people used up their vehicle battery to keep warm. However, eventually, their vehicles become powerless. And their cell phones start dwindling along with their chances of rescue.

Using a portable solar charger to gain a few minutes of cell phone power can be enough to send an emergency text. It can also help ping a cell tower, giving searchers a general search area to focus on.

Best Portable Panels Camping and Survival

For your first solar charger, we think you should consider a small, portable model. Here are a few of the best portable solar charges we’ve used and own.

Survival Frog EasyPower Solar Power Bank (Internal Battery)

Survival Frog Solar ChargerThe EasyPower Solar Bank (from Survival Frog) is dead simple and convenient. No moving parts and the only cords you need are the USB cables for the devices you want to charge.

It works with any device that has a USB port and provides up to 5,000mAh of power. That’s enough to charge a smartphone 1-2 times.

The built-in power level gauge is excellent for tracking your remaining charge. Or estimating how much more solar time you need to top off the battery. And, with the dual USB output jacks, you can charge two devices at the same time!

It’s also non-slip, with molded grips in the sides and rubber caps for the USB jacks. It includes a heavy-duty shock-proof design. This means the EasyPower can handle a beating and keep working.

portable solar panel

The body also includes a large handle at the top, making it easy to hang from your pack or in a sunny spot. They even include a small carabiner to do just that!

The EasyPower only takes up about as much space as a paperback book, 5.5”x3.0”x0.5” and 5.5oz.

It’s a GREAT option for anyone looking for a quick solution to keeping crucial devices powered up.

Lantern Solar Solar Power Bank (Internal Battery)

Lantern SolarThis week, I had a chance to test out the Solar Power Bank, from Lantern Solar.

The width and height measurements of the Solar Power Bank are almost the same as the EasyPower (5.4”x3.0”). But, it’s 0.25” thicker and weighs a roughly 2oz more.

It turns out those couple ounces must ALL be the extra battery.

The stand-out feature of the Solar Power Bank is the 10,000mAh internal battery. This is a massive amount of stored power – enough to charge the newest smartphones nearly four times!

Lantern Solar BankThat power is all accessed via a pair of 5.0V USB ports – one 1.0A and one 2.0A for faster charging on larger devices.

Wrapped around that large battery is a rubberized shell. It also has a small metal clip on the back to hang the unit in the sun or from a pack strap.

It’s not the most secure clip, but it’s enough to position the solar panel while in camp.

There’s also a subtle white panel on the back of the Solar Power Bank, which turns out to be nice diffused LED light. This is good for in camp chores and finding the zipper in the tent at night.

Pressing the power button once will turn on the internal battery status light. This shows you how much charge is left. Holding the button down for a couple of seconds will turn on the rear light. Hold it down again, and the light turns off.

Lantern Solar Charger

Simple controls and easy to do even with gloves.

My only gripe with the Solar Power Bank is the rubber dust cap over the USB ports. It’s not easy to get seated all the way and feels somewhat fragile. It’s also not a very secure cap, so I’m sure I’ll get dirt and grime inside the ports at times.

This is not the end of the world, but I wish the caps were better designed since the rest of the unit seems so well-built.

I’ll see how long it holds up to everyday use, but it’s a very minor issue. One I’ll gladly deal with in favor of the extra battery capacity.

The team over at Lantern was kind enough to provide 100 (20% off) coupon codes exclusively for our readers. Click here and proceed to checkout, then use code SOLARSALE20 to see if there are any coupon codes remaining. But you’ve got to hurry because they’re going to go fast.

Goal Zero Guide 10 Plus Kit (External Battery)

Goal Zero Battery Recharge KitThe Goal Zero Guide 10 Plus Kit is a polished setup consisting of two major parts.

1 – The Guide 10 Power Pack
2 – The Nomad 7 Solar Panel

The Nomad 7 solar panel is a compact little unit at 9″x7″ X1.5″.

It weighs in at about 13 ounces.

That’s slightly heavier than some other comparable units. But that’s offset by extra features and a lot more durability than the competitors.

First off, the two solar panels are well protected in a robust nylon housing.

It folds up with magnet closures and has lots of attachment points to secure the unit.

This makes it easy to hang it outside your pack or clip it to a chair in camp.

On the back of the panel, there’s another nice touch – a zippered cable management pocket.

Opening it up, you find several options for connecting your devices.

There’s a standard USB outlet, providing up to 5V/1A straight to your phone, tablet, or anything else with a USB cord. Next, to that, there’s a 12V “Solar Port” which allows you to plug in a car adapter.

Finally, there’s a “Mini Solar Port,” which plugs into a wide array of Goal Zero products. There’s also a Mini Solar Port input – which allows you to chain together several panels for more power.

The accompanying Guide 10 power pack is more than just a simple battery pack.

It’s a compact battery charger with some nice features. It accepts four rechargeable AA batteries which pop right into the unit for charging.

Once they’re topped off, you can use them in anything that takes AA batteries. Then pop in four more rechargeable AA’s to keep the energy production going.

There’s also an adapter to fit AAA batteries, so if you find you use more of those that will come in handy.

My headlamps nearly all use AAA batteries, so I’ll get a lot of use from this.

The Guide 10 also includes a small white LED bulb. So you can use as an emergency flashlight or for quick light inside the tent at night.

It’s enough light to adjust your sleeping bag, find something you dropped, or open the tent flap to get out. And it’ll last over 100 hours on one charge.

If Goal Zero price is a concern, look for an integrated battery solar charger instead (which we just covered above). Integrated chargers are battery/panel in one-piece units. So there’s nothing left behind and no cords to snag or break.

They’re often more rugged than folding systems too. But they often have less efficient cells. And they require more sunlight to charge a comparable amount of energy.

As with most things, there are always tradeoffs but you tend to get what you pay for.

Check out our review video below of the Goal Zero Guide 10 Plus Solar Kit.

Click Here To Enter To Win a Goal Zero Guide 10 Kit!

Make sure you click the link above and enter to win the Goal Zero Guide 10 Kit being reviewed in the video. This solar recharging kit was sent to us for free from Goal Zero for the purpose of this review and giveaway.

Thank you Goal Zero!

A Few More Portable Solar Charger Options

The 3 solar panels we just covered are the ones I’m most familiar with and have personally used. However, that doesn’t mean they are the only ones on the market.

Here are several more highly ranked solar panels you might be interested in.

As A Way To Introduce You To Skilled Survival, We’re Giving Away Our Ultimate List Of Survival Gear. Click Here To Get Your FREE Copy Of It.

Best Portable Solar Setups

I own three portable solar charger models (the ones reviewed above). Two have an internal power pack, and one is paired with an external battery pack.

I use them differently for different reasons.

Shorter Trips – Internal

The internal battery systems are best for short duration trips. Ones where I won’t need more than one night’s worth of light or a partial GPS charge.

Enough power to find my way back to the truck, transverse backcountry mountain trails or navigate an afternoon canoe trip.

These small solar chargers are lighter and take up less space in my pack than larger units making them excellent choices for “get home” bags, bug out bags or survival kits.

Longer Trips – External

For longer trips, I turn to the external battery model. These allow me to use one battery pack while I charge a second.

This setup is larger and bulkier. But along with the weight increase, you’ll also get more power generation.

Instead of trying to power your devices directly with this setup, you’ll use the portable solar panels to power an external battery bank.

Charging a battery pack in this way, allows you to set up the charger in the most convenient location. And this prevents you from being tethered to it at all times.

With the GoalZero Kit above, an external battery bank was provided. However, this is not always the case.

Purchasing An External Battery Bank

If you purchase a portable solar panel that doesn’t come with an external battery, then you should buy one.

Many companies make USB battery packs. But, I prefer the most capacity for my dollar. These are usually the generic and off-brand battery packs.

Look for ones with a capacity of at least 10,000mAh and a price around $25. It should have one 2.1A or higher outlet for fast charging and a few extra outlets are always useful.

For example, The Anker PowerCore 10000 Portable Charger fits the bill.

The other bonus of charging battery packs (besides pure storage) is managing the variability of incoming solar power.

Yes, most battery packs will accept a wide variety of incoming voltages. But “smart” devices are more restrictive on the incoming voltages.

This steady power requirement is to protect the internal circuits. But this built-in device protection makes direct solar charging challenging.

For example, voltage variations trick my phone into disconnecting. This issue happens whenever a cloud passes overhead and sometimes for no apparent reason at all.

So it’s better to charge a battery pack first and then use the stored power to charge your devices. This setup allows you to buffer out those pesky variations.

Thus, providing steady and consistent power to your devices.

Pros/Cons Of Portable Solar Chargers

As with any device, there are pros and cons to owning one. So let’s cover the advantages first and then go over a few challenges.


  • No Fuel
  • No Trace Left Behind
  • Silent
  • Modular
  • Lightweight

Let’s dive into each of these in more detail.

No fuel Needed

Solar is a clean energy source. You don’t need liquid fuels or gases to run a generator. You don’t need to burn wood to generate heat to create energy like bio stoves.

Instead, portable solar chargers just collect the heat from the sun to excite cells. These excited cells convert heat into energy.

You get to capture the sun’s energy rays hitting the earth day in and day out. And while the sun’s energy is technically a fuel source, it’s abundant, available and free.

No Trace Left Behind

Like the “no need for fuel,” you also capture the energy without leaving any trace behind.

It’s both a clean and zero impact energy solution.


In survival, you never know when evasion is the goal. One critical aspect of evasion is silence.

Capturing energy without a fire or a loud generator will keep your location hidden.


Many of these solar devices can be daisy-chained together to create a more powerful system.

Hooking up 2 or 3 or 10 portable solar chargers in series will increase your power capabilities.

This means you’d be able to capture more solar power faster. Allowing to you to either power larger devices or fully charge your battery packs more quickly.

So buy one portable solar charger today and invest in more in the future. By doing this, you’ll grow your solar systems output over time.

Light Weight

Many of the original “portable” solar panels were quite bulky and heavy. By comparison, new portable solar panels are much lighter and more compact.

Many of the smaller models are the size of a deck of survival cards. And feature integrated batteries for power storage – and still weigh under 8oz!


  • Sun Required
  • Need Separate Battery Pack To Store Power
  • Variable Output Issues
  • “Perceived” Durability Issues

However, I believe the “cons” of a solar charger is either misunderstood or can easily be overcome.

Sun Required

The obvious argument against solar is that it only works when the sun is shining. That’s both true and false. To be sure, at night, your solar charger isn’t going to be providing you with any electricity.

That’s why you need to pair it with a battery pack in the first place, right? But what about cloudy or overcast days?

The latest photovoltaic cells used in solar panels are more efficient than ever. They can convert a larger percentage of the incoming sunlight to electricity.

So while they may drop in output on a cloudy day, they can still charge your devices over more extended periods.

Need Separate Battery Pack To Store Power

Solar cells don’t store power; they only convert solar to energy.

To store power, the device must either have an internal battery pack or you’ll need to invest in an external one.

Variable Output Issues

First off, the angle of sun influences how much power is produced.

Pointing solar cells directly towards the sun captures the most amount of power. But, this requires constant fidgeting.

It’s a pain to continuously manage the orientation of the charger as the sun moves across the sky. No, it’s not time-consuming and only needs to be done on the hour, but it does mean you can’t leave it for very long.

In desert climates, dust on the panels will reduce efficiency and keep you from charging even in full sun. Also, the window tint in most cars is enough to reduce the collected power.

“Perceived” Durability Issues

Another misconception with solar chargers is that the photovoltaic cells are extremely fragile. Again, both true and false.

Large solar panels (the ones used on roof systems) are sandwiched between layers of glass, laminate, or acrylic.

This allows them to take 120+mph winds, hail, and falling branches. The chances of breaking one of these after installation are significantly minimized.

On the other hand, portable solar charger designs have made some vast improvements. The latest ones are built for more rugged treatment than earlier versions.

They often feature plastic instead of glass. They also now have rubber or plastic bodies surrounding the cells.

As A Way To Introduce You To Skilled Survival, We’re Giving Away Our Ultimate List Of Survival Gear. Click Here To Get Your FREE Copy Of It.

Final Word

If you’ve read this whole article, I know you’re serious about adding a portable solar panel to your survival gear.

I’d encourage you to get one for each family member and to be sure to test how it works with your devices.

Chances are, you already have small electronics in your EDC and Bug Out Bag. And you may even depend on them in an emergency.

Solar power is an EASY upgrade to your survival gear and your survival plans.

It’s a smart survival insurance policy. One to guarantee access to communications, navigation, light, and information when you need it most.

Jason K.

P.s. Do you know where the closest nuclear bunker is from your home?

There are a lot of natural nuclear shelters in the US that are absolutely free. And one of them is near your home.

Click on the image above to find out where you need to take shelter.

The post Portable Solar Panels – Enjoy Your Outdoor Adventures Worry Free appeared first on Skilled Survival.

Hatchet or saw: Choose the best portable survival kit woodcutting tool

Should you carry a hatchet or a saw? It depends. When choosing any tool for wilderness or urban survival, anticipate where you might be when you may need the tool, and what tasks it will need to perform.

The Best Gas Masks for Preppers and What to Look For

A gas mask is technically a kind of respirator which focuses on filtering out chemicals and gases. They are a very specific tool, that won’t protect you from everything, and is definitely overkill for some hazards. Still, you can find relatively cheap and modern gas masks to protect your body and your respiratory system from. . . Read More

The Best Survival Blanket – Plus 9 More Awesome Emergency Blankets For Survival

The Best Survival Blanket – Plus 9 More Awesome Emergency Blankets For Survival Images: A strange but very important addition to your survival kit. After watching the many evacuations and migrations over the last couple years I have come to realize that a forced evacuation or even a bugout should offer up some level …

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The post The Best Survival Blanket – Plus 9 More Awesome Emergency Blankets For Survival appeared first on SHTF Prepping & Homesteading Central.

The Ultimate Guide to Cast Iron Skillets & Cookware

Every Prepper Needs a Big Beautiful Cast Iron Skillet | Backdoor SurvivalI love my cast iron skillet. Even though I have had it for less than a year, it is the most used piece of cookware in my home. Perhaps it is nostalgia for what I perceive to be the good old days – think Pa and the boys cooking up some chow on Bonanza – or simply a longing to, in some small way, shun our spit-shined, high tech society.

Whatever the case, I am now really “in” to cast iron.

If you were lucky enough to get some cast iron cookware from Santa, you probably have some anxiety about using it. And even if your are a cast iron diva – well experienced in its glories – you may have some questions about it’s use and care for the long term. Today I offer some suggestions that will guarantee your cooking adventures with cast iron succeed.

1. Seasoning is your friend.
Cast iron needs to be seasoned in order to acquire non-stick capabilities. An unseasoned piece is a disaster waiting to happen. You food will taste like, well, rusty iron. Food will stick like crazy. And clean-up? Forget it.

These days, if you are starting new, you can purchase a pre-seasoned pan. That is what I did. Lodge as well as other manufacturers sell pre-seasoned pans for just a few dollars more than the unseasoned kind. But not to worry if you acquired an old rusted out or unseasoned pan from a friend, relative or thrift store, You can find my instructions for seasoning a cast iron pan from scratch in the tip area below.

Prepping Step By Step: Survival Caching

Caching is a tried and true solution to the problem of putting all your eggs in one basket.

Every journey begins with a single step. If you have yet to take it, one simple cache will set you on that road.

Once you see how easy it is and the peace of mind it gives you, you may decide you want more caches.


  • “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.” is what caching is all about.
  • There are many times of caches, so build caches that meet your most urgent needs first.
  • Outdoor caches must be water tight if stored long-term or your supplies will end up useless. PVC and PVC Glue are great materials for making sure this does not happen.
  • Some soil types cause rubber gaskets to rot, so ammo cans and other containers that incorporate them are poor choices for burial in many areas.
  • Caches do not need to be expensive or complicated. I have been able to find small plastic ice chests everywhere I travel, and they work great for many types of caches. They are cheap, water-resistant and hide in plain sight.
  • Caches should generally be sterile, meaning impossible to tie back to you.

 5 Reasons to Cache

If you’re not sure why you should build caches, then take a minute to think about the following:

  • What would your life be like without the resources you have accumulated in your home?
  • What if you had to leave right this moment, knowing that your home would not be there if you come back?
  • Caching is an effective survival strategy that is all about redundancy and saving for a rainy day.
  • Caching is a correct principle that underpins antifragility, survivalism, self-reliance and emergency preparedness.
  • “The more you know, the less you carry!” has some truth to it, caching makes it possible to carry less and have access to lifesaving supplies.

Types of Caches

As many thing in life, there are many types of caches, and you should be aware of each of them refers to, so you could cover them step by step and finally ensure your survival.

Supply Cache: Redundant deposits of supplies necessary to sustain life.

Primary Equipment Cache: An equipment cache to get you back on your feet and on your way if your residence is destroyed or captured or equipment at a retreat that might be looted if it was discovered before your arrival. It might contain a complete load out or it could contain food, tools and seeds.

Travel Cache: Usually one of a series of supply caches containing primarily consumables to sustain a journey such as food, fuel, medicine, hygiene items and ammunition, thus making it possible to travel a far greater distance.

Exit Strategy Cache: A cache to aid your flight from an (possibly hostile) area. These usually contain a go bag which in turn contains: money, valuables, medicine, travel documents, maps, compass, phone, SIM card, data, radio, transportation or other items to aid in getting back to friendlier territory.

Operations Cache: This cache contains mission-critical equipment for pre-planned missions and operations. You may be able to carry certain weapons openly today, but there is no guarantee that will always bet the case.

Transition Cache: A transition cache is a tradecraft-based operations cache used to transition between wild lands and populated areas. They may contain disguises or just a pair of battery powered clippers, hygiene kit, clothes that blend in, and money so you can make yourself look like you came from up the street as opposed to down out of the mountains.

How To Build a Small Bunker in Your Backyard with $400

Temporary Cache: Just as miners, mountain men, Native Americans and pioneers used temporary caches while traveling to avoid robbery or trouble with local law enforcement, survivalists bugging out or trying to return home sometimes use temporary caches to hide valuables, food or weapons. Temporary caches are a sensible precaution when entering a town that may be a non-permissive environment or is simply an unknown.

Field-expedient Cache: It is sometimes necessary to lighten a load to enable faster movement. Constructing a temporary field-expedient cache enables the survivalist to cache equipment or supplies, keep them out of the hands of enemies and possibly recover them in the future.

12 Principles of Effective Survival Caching

1. Buy vs Build

Many purpose-built survival cache solutions have appeared on the market in recent years. This offers consumers a choice: to buy everything you need in one place or to build the set yourself?

Buy: There are a lot of companies selling convenient manufactured cache containers. Most commercial caches will survive burial if properly packed. The downside is that most are expensive.

Build: If you build and intend to bury, my advice is to build with materials designed to survive being buried without leaking much longer than the term you intend the cache to last. Ferrous metals do not fare well in soil. Do not bury caches with rubber gaskets. Rubber gaskets rot in many soil types and can cause the cache to leak. Ammo cans have two strikes against them since they incorporate both ferrous metal and a rubber gasket.

2. PVC

Using PVC and gluing the end caps provides a truly water-tight seal. If I need to access a cache repeatedly, I install a cleanout plug. PVC is inexpensive, non-magnetic, non-ferrous, rubber free and does not leak.

If you cache a lot, you will realize that all you need is a container than works. Why spend more time or money than necessary?

3. Number 10 Can Cache in a PVC Tube

You can afford more caches if they cost less and can be built quickly. Simple food caches can be built out of 4 number ten cans.

One can of rice, two of beans, and fill an empty can with salt, honey, bullion/soup/gravy base, spices, matches, water treatment of your choice, some hanger wire and other consumables and seal it. If sealing it would present an obstacle, use a plastic lid for this one. Add a little meat and just one simple, inexpensive food cache provides a lot of meals and even pots to cook them in.

If you want to roll first class, substitute number 10 cans of Mountain House Freeze Dried Foods. Then you will not even need to add meat. This cache is very easy to mass produce. Vary the contents and length as necessary to meet your needs.

4. Location, Location, Location

If you cache, only to have your cache become unreachable, be discovered or destroyed by construction or the curious, your energy will be wasted. Worse yet, enemies may be alerted there is a survivalist in the area.

You may not be able to predict the future, but you can research zoning, history, local habits and generally keep your eyes open.

5. Cache Locations

  • Submerged in Water Tight Containers – Usually attached to a line anchored near a land mark of some sort. Most effective locations are natural lakes or other water that is unlikely to be drained, searched or to lower substantially. Attaching cables to caches may enable them to be lowered into a pipe, vent, underwater or into a crevice or raise them out of sight. The problem is, that unless the cordage connected to the cache looks like it belongs there or is hidden from view, it may lead someone right to it.
  • Trees or Stumps – Hollowed out limb or hollow of a dead tree or stump where dead trees are far too numerous to warrant attention and will not be logged can be effective. Urban tree caches must often be installed above ground.
  • Rocks
  • Buried
  • Structures – Fortunately, structures usually have plenty of hiding places and plenty of visual clutter to hide the presence of a cache, but urban places can also have a lot of eyes, so you may want to use a lens finder to sweep for cameras and choose an area that is observable from as few angles as possible.
    • In Walls or Behind False Walls
    • Under Concrete Foundations, Pads or Flooring
    • Crawl Spaces and Attics
    • Rooftops
    • Negative Spaces
      • Duct Work, Vents – Real or false.
      • Cabinetry
      • Under Stair Cases
      • False or Unused Pipes
      • Welded Tubular Construction
      • Hidden Compartment
    • Elevated: High in a tree canopy, on a tower, platform, rooftop, cliff or similar feature. Woodsmen have been doing this for ages to prevent bears from being able to destroy their caches. Elevated and above ground caches can be also buried or covered. Even a couple of inches of soil or material can fool a casual observer that may otherwise become curious.

6. Recovery

Access to the site will be a primary consideration in choosing location. Caches should be able to be retrieved during the types of calamitous circumstances that would necessitate retrieval.

  • Retrieval: If you buried your cache, retrieval will probably need to occur under the cover of darkness and/or a blind erected over the cache site. Multispectral camo netting can be used to help hide you from most common sensor technology.
  • Easy To Find: Caches do not need to be easy for anyone to find, just those who will use the cache. I often hear the opinion recycled that cache locations should be easy to find day or night in any season and easy to describe the location to another and to photograph cache sites or make sketches of the sight. I prefer to maintain OPSEC for caches sites by applying an easily remembered algorithm or cipher system. This way, written instructions for finding caches can be hidden in plain sight in the form of a seemingly unrelated document ore as meaningless gobbledygook.
  • Documentation: Unencrypted images and documents are an intelligence gold mine. If you create anything like this, be sure they are encrypted, offline and cached.

7. Access

With what frequency will the cache be accessed? Some caches must be able to be accessed repeatedly and frequently while others may be accessed only once.

If you need to access a cache frequently, this will likely limit the distance you are willing to travel and impact the design since you will not want to have to dig it up every couple of weeks. Concealed caches are much more convenient to access regularly.

8. Term of Storage

The duration of time that the cache will be in place will affect everything from how materials must be stored to the construction of the cache itself.

9. Moisture

Moisture is your enemy, and it is relentless.

  • Bag Items Separately: Certain items are best cached separately in order to preserve them. Bag items within each cache separately according to moisture content and chemical composition in order to separate reagents. Otherwise you may dig up a bunch of gear fused into a conglomerate of useless junk. LOLSAK® bags work well. The new OPsak bag survives higher temperatures, is odor proof and is still food safe, making it very useful for a multitude of survival applications.
  • Desiccant Packets: Desiccants are a cost-effective way to fight rust and premature spoilage.
  • Oxygen Absorbers: Chemically, rusting is basically metal burning in slow motion since oxygen consumes ferrous metal as is combines it with oxygen.
  • Gas Displacement: Displacing air with inert gas, such as pure nitrogen, displaces air and all of its component gases including oxygen, water vapor and a small amount of carbon monoxide, which can promote rust or bacterial growth.
  • Electric Dehumidifiers: If you are building a cache into a structure with electrical wiring or in the proximity of wiring, installing a small electric dehumidifier (like many of use in gun safes) is an effective way to combat moisture.
  • Rust Prevention: Zerust® manufactures a line of rust preventative bags, vapor tabs, oils and other products that fill the bill nicely.

10. Temperature

When storing fuel, water or anything potentially damaged by freezing in a clime where it may freeze, you may need to add antifreeze.

In hot climbs, food spoils much more quickly, but deep enough burial has a stabilizing effect on temperature since the Earth has such an immense thermal mass for purposes of conduction.

11. Camouflage

How much trouble those searching for the cache will go to, and how important the items you cache are to you, both factor into how much effort to decide to put into camouflage. Camouflage applied to a cache should also take the following considerations into account:

  • Urban vs Rural vs Wilderness: May dictate the use of overt or covert camouflage.
  • Visual: In addition to the spore or sign evident when turf, sod or topsoil are disturbed, when subsoil is disturbed, it also leaves signs visible to the naked eye, such as depressions or mounds, that are often visible for decades, centuries or even millennia. To avoid this, the backfill must be compacted to match the soil’s original density.
  • Abundance of Good Cache Locations: Someone scavenging for a survival caches will search areas around popular camping areas and lines of drift for good cache sites. In areas where they are few, it might be easier to find a cache than you think. In areas where cache sites are abundant, it becomes considerably more difficult.
  • Countering Metal Detection: Depending on what you have cached, the importance you place upon it, and the resources at the disposal of those looking for it. You may want to seed the area around the cache site with brass from firearms, junk or ferrous chemicals, but it is most effective to use a cache location that has already been organically so seeded with metals with a similar bulk, depth and detection signature to the cache.
  • Less Is More: The less you disturb the environment, the less sign there is to find.
  • Hidden in plain sight: Imagine you want to store sand to fill sandbags or mix concrete for a contingency plan. You might install a sandbox some other typical improvement. Just dig it deeper that you need and you will have a spot for your sand. My grandfather used a similar rouse to hide a large quantity of coal on a property.
  • Odor: Wildlife and dogs detect scents. Bury food in bear country and you are asking to get your cache dug up and eaten.

12. Sterile

Do not break any laws, but some types of caches should be sterile, meaning free of fingerprints, fibers, hair, bar codes, receipts, labels or numbers that could be tied back to you. This is easiest to achieve if you buy supplies to be cached new (to you), cache them right away and wear gloves when handling them.

When operating outside your home country, make sure caches are also sterile of brand names, trademarks, nationality that could connect the cache to you, your home country or its allies.

Purchase materials and contents discretely, with cash, in small quantities, with unrelated items and without a cell phone on your person or in your vehicle.

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

Top Features to Look for While Purchasing a Suitable Survival Knife

Written by Billy, Perkins Knives A survival knife is the one tool which is equivalent to numerous tools that would help you in surviving in the wild. It can take care of many tasks for you to ease your stay in the outdoors. When it comes to survival, choosing the right knife is imperative. Such a knife comes with a whole lot of features and all you need is to be assertive of what you require. Before making a purchase, […]

The post Top Features to Look for While Purchasing a Suitable Survival Knife appeared first on Apartment Prepper.

What You Need To Know About High-Altitude Mountain Survival

Every day, millions of people board airplanes in shorts or short skirts and open-toes sandals without a second thought. This is no wonder as the airline industry uses chance of accident per mile traveled statics of large commercial aircraft to convince them that airplanes are surrounded by magical safety bubbles.

“The risk is so low that there is no sense concerning yourself with it.”, they say. 

To effectively assess risk, one must consider the total risk, not just “accidents” per mile traveled of large commercial aircraft. What happens if we add in private planes? How about small planes?

We must also consider the exposure to risk. While the risk may be low, the exposure is severe. In fact, the total risk is significant enough that planes are required to carry approved survival kits to fly over water, in Alaska and Canada.

Survival kits are needed because rescuing survivors from remote areas requires time, planning and the cooperation of the weather. Without survival kits, people would not survive until rescue, especially in mountainous terrain.

I remember flying over the arctic circle for the first time as a child, looking down at the mountains, tundra and icebergs on that flight and thinking that it must be a whole lot more comfortable up there in the plane than down on the ground. I knew that if anything went wrong, that is where we would end up.

There are many ways to wind up on high on a mountain. And here’s how to survive if you find yourself in a situation like this. Briefly:

  • Exposure is the leading cause of wilderness survival-related death, so dress based on the coldest nighttime temperature instead of the daytime temperature.
  • Carry critical survival gear in your pockets, not in your pack, which is very likely to be separated from you when you need it most.
  • By the time water boils, it is safe, even on the highest mountains in the world where you could not even survive without bottled oxygen.
  • Altitude sickness can be deadly. If you ascend past 8,000’ descend below 4,000’ as soon as possible at the first sign of a headache and any other additional symptom of altitude sickness unless you have a doctor with you and he or she tell you different.
  • Despite advances in avalanche safety technology, avoidance is still your best and safest option.

Mountain Survival by Ecosystem

Viewed from space, the Earth’s atmosphere is surprisingly thin. At high altitudes, little atmosphere exists to lessen exposure to UV radiation and oxygen concentrations are lower. The greenhouse effect is also lessened, so the higher you go up a mountain, the colder it gets.

There is also more wind at higher altitudes, so as you climb, forest density gradually decreases until trees cannot grow at all. This line on a mountain is known as the tree line.

This is important to survival as survival becomes more difficult without trees and the biodiversity that they support. There are far fewer resources available for survival above the tree line.

Alpine: Tundra and Grasslands

Alpine is the ecosystem of a mountain above the tree line. There are fewer plant species in this zone, with tundra, grasslands or shrublands. Plants are mostly lichens, moss, cushion plants and grasses.

Subalpine: Below the Tree Line

Just below the tree line, continual exposure to icy winds means that trees able to grow here are scattered and growth is stunted, deformed and gnarly. The term used to describe this characteristic tree growth is Krummholz, which means, “twisted, crooked or bent.”

Descending the mountain, decreased wind enables trees to grow straighter, taller an in sparse stands as the forest line is approached. For the survivor, descending to the lower subalpine typically means encountering firewood and some degree of shelter from exposure.

Montane & Submontane: Forests, Meadows and Rivers

The forest line or timberline is where the sparse stands of trees thicken into forest or dense stands. These are the highland forests, typically coniferous or mixed. Survivors able to descend to this point, typically find better shelter from the wind, UV light, abundant firewood and more abundant resources of all kinds.

Mountain Survival Dangers & Difficulties

The historical record is replete with stories of guerillas fleeing into the mountains to survive because mountain life is both dangerous and difficult.


Cold exposure is the leading cause of death in mountain survival. The higher you go, the colder it gets. Find a mountain high enough and you will encounter snow even if the mountain is on the equator. With a summit of 20.703’, Chimborazo, in Ecuador, has snow year-round, and Mount Kilimanjaro and the Andes have glaciers.

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

Even in the lower 48, Wyoming, Colorado, California, Nevada, Utah, Washington, New Mexico, Montana, Idaho and Arizona all have mountains over 12,000’. At high altitudes like this, mountains can be extremely cold at any time of year. Mountains can also make their own weather. Where I live in the Rockies, it snowed on the 4th of July one year.

Every year, people die from exposure in the mountains. Most of them travel up from lower altitudes and underestimate the overnight low temperature.

High Winds

High winds produce wind chill, making it feel colder than indicated by the temperature. Wind chaps skin and drives ice crystals and precipitation causing wind burn and chapped lips. It can also drive rain and snow up under shelter and make it difficult to start fires.

Solar Radiation

At high altitude, less atmosphere means more intense UV radiation which causes sun burns much faster than at sea level. Snow also reflects sunlight, causing snow blindness.


Avalanches are snow slides and typically occur on or below slope of 30-45 degrees. Avalanches can be very powerful and can bury survivors before they have time to react. If entombed in enough snow and ice, escape is often impossible without air pockets because the body is immobilized by the weight of ice and snow. Survivors are often disoriented, do not know which way is up and cannot see.

Scarcity of Resources

Alpine and subalpine zones often lack resources encountered at lower altitude, further complicating survival. Without shelter from exposure and fuel to keep a fire going, it becomes even more difficult to keep hypothermia at bay.

Altitude Sickness

Anyone can get altitude sickness regardless of heath of physical conditioning.

Young people are at greater risk. People who live at or near sea level may experience feelings of breathlessness at altitudes as low as 5,000’.

Acute attitude sickness can occur as low as 6,600’ at a pressure of around 0.79 atmosphere (80 kilopascals) in otherwise healthy patients, so take a ski trip in the Rockies and attitude sickness is a possibility.

While most people can ascend to 8,000’ without symptoms, susceptibility varies. Over 8,000’ attitude sickness is a risk.

Onset of symptoms typically occurs six to ten hours after ascent. For most, symptoms improve within two days, but some the condition is more serious.

There are three flavors of altitude sickness with the last two sometimes being life threatening:

  • Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS)
  • High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE)
  • High Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE)

Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS)

AMS is the most common and mildest form of altitude sickness. Symptoms of AMS are a headache at an altitude above 7,900’ with a pressure below 0.75 atmosphere and one or more the following “hangover-like” symptoms:

  • Nausea
  • Weakness, fatigue, dizziness, lightheadedness, insomnia
  • Swelling of hands, feet and face
  • Muscle Aches
  • Persistent rapid pulse
  • Pins & needles sensation
  • General Malaise

High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE)

HAPE is a buildup of fluid in the lungs and is very dangerous and can be life threatening.

  • Bronchitis-like symptoms (coughing up pink, frothy spittle or mucous, wheezing, shortness of breath, chest discomfort)
  • Persistent dry cough
  • Blue or Gray Skin
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Bubbly-sounding breathing, gasping or wheezing
  • Excessive sweating, dizziness, lightheadedness, weakness can be signs of drop in blood pressure

High Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE)

HACE is the most dangerous form of altitude sickness and involves buildup of fluid in the brain. HACE is life threatening.

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Insomnia
  • Diminished Appetite
  • Confusion
  • Coma

Mountain Survival Techniques & Tips

Dress for the Coldest Nighttime Temperature

Whether traveling by small private plane or a large commercial aircraft, as soon as it goes down, what you are wearing matters a great deal provided you survive the crash.

Today, people are more insulated than ever from the environment. They transition from one climate controlled shelter to another, be it a home, garage, automobile, airport or aircraft, I see people in shorts and flip flops in 13 degrees below zero Fahrenheit, dashing from a store into an SUV to drive home.

Carry Critical Survival Gear in Your Pockets

Survival/self-recovery gear should be carried in your pockets or otherwise attached to your body as opposed to carrying it in a bag or pack. Bags and packs get removed when we sit down, ride in transportation, and when we eat, rest or sleep.

If you fall in water, you need to doff your backpack to swim. In an avalanche, you also need to lose your pack in a hurry. Packs and bags often become separated from us when we need them the most, so survival gear goes in your pockets, on your belt or otherwise strapped to your body.

Because the upper zones of mountains can be devoid of resources, survivors stand a much better chance of surviving if they have basic equipment on their person. The ability to start a fire in a cold, wet, windy environment and protect it from precipitation is a literal lifesaver in a mountain survival scenario.

The survival/self-recovery gear I carry every day of my life includes a small tube of white petrolatum, which is very helpful in mountain survival. Applied to the skin, it prevents and treats wind burn and chapping, can be used to start fires and has a surprising number of survival uses.

Study Wild Edibles

Cladonia rangiferina or reindeer lichen (sometimes misnamed reindeer moss) is a common and easily identified edible medicinal plant that grows in alpine tundra. Your body needs energy to produce heat in the cold.

Knowing what wild edibles may be available in each ecosystem, what is edible in each season and how to prepare them is helpful in a long-term survival scenario. Otherwise, travel with a soccer team so you will have plenty of teammates to eat should you end up stranded for weeks or months.

Boiling Water at High Altitude

Every kid learns in elementary physics that water boils at increasingly lower temperatures as altitude increases because air pressure decreases.

Unfortunately, they do not learn that the temperatures at which pathogens are deactivated are so far below the boiling point of water at sea level that water is microbiologically safe by the time it boils even on the highest mountain on the planet.

Unless you are a high-altitude balloonist in an unpressurized cabin, you do not need to worry about this. Boiling water beyond the point the point it reaches a rolling boil just wastes precious fuel that could be used to keep you alive longer.

If you are interested in saving fuel, get a Water Pasteurization Indicator (WAPI). It is a plexiglass tube with a wax pellet inside that melts when the water has been heated sufficiently and is microbiologically safe to drink. Since this is long before the water boils, WAPIs save fuel.

Acclimate to Altitude

The faster you ascend to altitude and the higher you climb, the more likely you get altitude sickness. In a survival situation, you may not have diagnostic equipment. If you develop a headache and at least one other symptom within a day or two of ascent, you may have altitude sickness.

If your symptoms are severe, you will need medical attention. You need to get below 4,000’ as soon as possible, without endangering yourself further or anyone else and get to a doctor. Stay alert to symptoms, and descend before altitude sickness becomes serious.

Acclimatizing your body reduces the chance of altitude sickness.

  • Start your ascent below 10,000’. If you fly or drive, stop here and spend at least 24 hours while your body gets used to the altitude.
  • Ascend a maximum of 1,000’ per day on foot.
  • For every 3,000’ you ascend, spend 24-hours at rest at that altitude.
  • Stay hydrated. Drink 3-4 quarts of water per day and make sure that at least 70% of your calorie intake is from carbohydrates.
  • Do not use tobacco, drink alcohol or take sleeping pills.
  • Descend to a lower elevation at the first sign of symptoms.

Avalanche Avoidance & Safety

Traveling ridges is safer than traversing slopes, but avoid cornices and other overhangs while doing so. Avoid slopes of 30-45 degrees and stay out of the track, which is the path the avalanche will take.

When I was a kid, it seems like avalanche technology was a St Bernard and a stick. Avalanche tech has come a long way since those days. We do still use dogs and sticks, but now they are supplemented by backpacks with big airbags that can deploy, enveloping a survivor in an instant, creating airspace necessary to survive trapped in a wall of snow. They can also trigger a locator beacon.

Despite advances in technology, avoidance is still your best and safest option. Avalanches can occur so quickly that you may not even have time to react. If you are caught in an avalanche and do have time to react:

  • Jump up slope past or toward the fracture line. Inches are often the difference between life and death.
  • Doff your pack and heavy gear. A nice feature on military packs is quick release straps for rapid doffing. Critical survival gear should be carried in the pockets of your clothing and should not be affected by doffing your pack.
  • Get out of the way. Make a run for the edge of the track. Even if you do not make it out of the track, the snow may be shallower along the edge.
  • “Swim” for all you are worth toward the edge of the avalanche.
  • Protect your head with your elbows to create and air pocket.

You never know what a trip that is supposed to be easy might bring, and how would you be forced to make use of your survival skills. What can you do to stay alive? Practice the skills, know your limits and learn the latest tricks for your survival!

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

Turn Your Cellar Into A Survival Shelter In 10 Steps

Modern threats continue to evolve, so it isn’t enough to simply store some food in your basement and hope that it will be enough to get you through the worst days of a disaster.

From nuclear contamination to massive epidemics caused by biowarfare agents, having a safe place to hide should be your primary concern. You might already have the best spot for this purpose, so you’ll need to put in a good bit of effort to turn your cellar into a survival shelter.

While these below ground rooms have many advantages, they can make your survival worse if not prepared with modern threats in mind.

Keep reading to find our how to make it fit for your survival needs!

Make Sure the Cellar is Sound

Before moving anything into the cellar or preparing it for survival needs, make sure that the basic structure is sound: the foundation is secure, and the ceiling and overhead structures will not give way.

Also, make sure the cellar is as free of dampness as possible.

Simply using Damp Rid or other moisture controllers may work for routine needs, but will not be of much help in a survival situation. You might spend weeks, or even months in the cellar, so you constantly need to try and manage dampness.

The cellar should also be free of mold, mildew, algae, and other signs of unwanted microorganisms, as their presence show the cellar is not fit to live in on long term. Mold can release toxic spores into the air and create numerous health risks.

If the cellar is not sound, and costs too much to repair, you better start a new one by digging out an underground bunker, then consider adding a tunnel that goes from the basement to the bunker. Aside from being cheaper, an underground bunker system is also much easier to expand as you build up your stockpile and think of new things to be included in your survival plans.

How To Build a Small Bunker in Your Backyard with $400

Manage Air Quality

One of the most important, yet overlooked parts of preparing a basement for survival revolves around ensuring air quality. Make sure that the cellar is air tight, because any air leaks can pose a serious hazard from nuclear fallout as well as infectious diseases and toxic gasses.

Once you are sure that the cellar is airtight, make sure that you can purify the air and restore oxygen to it. Use certain houseplants as well as air purifiers that are designed to release oxygen into the air.

Remember, most medical oxygen concentrators will not actually produce oxygen. Instead, they take air in, and simply let out more oxygen than other elements. If there is not enough oxygen in the air to begin with, these concentrators will be virtually useless.

You can still try keeping a few oxygen cylinders in the cellar, however they will not last more than a few hours.

Managing air quality must also include removing other toxins from the air. This includes exhaust fumes and anything else that may come in from the outside.

Activated carbon filters will offer the best means for cleaning the air. Do not forget, however, these filters must be replaced often to ensure a clean air supply. You should know how to make your own activated carbon, or reuse spent carbon, and then develop your own air filters.

Check Incoming Water Resource

Next to clean air, a reliable source of water is necessary. Don’t rely only on municipal or well water access in your cellar if a major social collapse occurs.

If you have municipal water, see if you can dig even a shallow well in the basement or nearby, and use hand pumps to move the water into the cellar. These pumps can be made from PVC, or you can purchase a metal pump that can pull water from further depths.

Don’t overlook the moisture already in the air, or any that may become available during living in the cellar. For example, as you can use fans and desiccants to concentrate water into a bucket, and then collect the evaporated water into a clean container.

You can also use a similar method to retrieve water from urine and any leftover water from cooking and washing. This is especially important if you have a small cellar and limited amounts of room for storing water or equipment that could be used to purify it.

Stay Safe with Food Storage

Technically speaking, you can get by for several days without food, as long as you have safe water to drink. If you were contaminated with nuclear radiation or have some other injury to deal with, nutritious food is going to be very important, especially in the first few days after a major crisis occurs.

This is just one of many reasons why you should store at least 2 – 4 weeks of food in the cellar. If you are short on space, try to store away MREs or other meals that are nutrient dense and require very little in the way of preparation.

When it comes to food storage, think well ahead to a time when you’ll begin putting your life back together, because once you emerge out of the celler, there will be no food available.

Even if you are fortunate enough to find a safe place to hunt and fish, you’ll still need to grow edibles for medicinal and food purposes. Store away a cache of heirloom seeds from as many plants as possible as well as instructions on how to grow them in conventional gardens, hydroponics arrangements, and indoors.

Plan Your Food Production

Not so long ago, sheltering in place for about 2 weeks would get you through most disasters. Today, bioweapons, larger numbers of people, and other problems may mean that you will need to stay in the cellar much longer.

When room and funds are limited, your next best option is to secure the means of growing sufficient amounts of food in the basement itself.

Here are three ways to produce biomass:


Basically you will be letting seeds from certain plants germinate, and then eat the sprouts when they are just a few days old. Choose plants that produce large numbers of seeds from a single plant (such as mustard), or large plants from a single seed (beans).

You will also need to be able to grow some plants to full maturity to produce enough seeds to consume. Since sprouts can produce several pounds of biomass from less than ¼ pound of seeds, it is well worth your while to explore this option.

Insect farms

Hundreds of ants, crickets, grubs, and other insects can be raised easily in shoe boxes and other small habitats. They can also live on kitchen scraps, or just about anything else depending on the insect species.

If the thought of consuming insects is troublesome, bear in mind that you are probably consuming almost a pound of insects a year from conventional food sources without realizing it. Insects easily get caught up in food production and processing machinery and find their way into the food supply.

To get started with consuming insects, grind them up into flour or something else that removes the visual effects of the insect it came from.


These fungi easily grow in dark, cool, damp places. You can purchase mushroom kits with pre-seeded spores, as well as learn how to cultivate successive generations from those kits. You will need to practice mushroom growing skills, as it can be a bit dangerous to handle the spores.

Inexpensive, Easy to Build Cellar Will Protect Your Life and Supplies in the Next Crisis

Mind About Hygiene and Sanitation

One of the best additions you can make to your cellar is a composting toilet. This will make it possible to manage waste and recycle it for growing mushrooms or other edibles. Make sure that you research on the safety of these toilets, and how to manage them, because human waste carries many dangerous diseases and should be managed with care.

Make sure that you can wash clothes and keep your body as clean as possible while living in the cellar. Antibacterial wet wipes do not take up much room, so you should be able to store away enough of them to last for several months.

Insofar as washing clothes, you can use a 5-gallon bucket with a plunger agitator, or make a scrub bag with a washboard.

Insulate for Temperature Control

If you made the cellar airtight, then temperature control shouldn’t be very hard to do. Add extra insulation (sandbags work well and serve a second purpose of preventing bullet ricochets) to all the walls, floor, and ceiling, to help sound proof the cellar.

As the days and weeks go by, any people left above ground will be looking for food, water, and a safe shelter. If they hear sounds of life coming from your cellar, rest assured they will try to get in to see if there is anything of value. Never underestimate the determination or lack of integrity of panicking people that may form into loose bands of rioters or looters.

You will also need to prevent smoke or other signs of life from escaping out into the air around the cellar. Make sure that vents used for burning fuel are directed underground and in ways that they do not reach the surface near the cellar.

Unfortunately, this ventilation will be a necessary evil because you will already be in a closed space with a limited air supply. Even if you have carbon filters going around the clock to clean out toxins from the air, it may not be enough to keep up with fumes from burning various fuels. Try to see if you can use the heat from compost piles or other passive heating methods to heat the cellar.

Insofar as cooling, your quietest and safest options will revolve around 5-gallon bucket “air conditioners” and similar devices that require a minimal amount of electricity. You can also experiment with gravity fans or other devices that will run on mechanical energy instead of electricity.

Prepare Multiple Exits

Right now, you may not care much that there is only one way in and out of the cellar, but it could be a disaster in a time of need, especially if the cellar door is easily visible to others. If the cellar door is located inside the house, looters and others that break in can also find it and trap you where you are. These are just a few reasons why you need at least one secret exit out of the basement.

Cost wise, this may be one of the more expensive elements of converting your basement into a survival shelter. Among other things, you may need to drill through the floor to reach ground that can be dug out for a tunnel.

You’ll also need to fortify the tunnel so that the house doesn’t collapse. Ideally, the tunnel should come up somewhere along the boundary of your property, or some other area where you can come up to ground level without being seen. Disguise the entrance with shrubs, noxious plants such as poison ivy, or something else that others will avoid at all cost.

Defend Your Survival Cellar

No matter how hard you try, rioters or other bad people might discover your hiding place. You can use crossbows and develop zones of fire that will help you stave off attackers.

Depending on the size of the basement and the way it is set up, some guns types will be better than others. You’ll need a weapon that has suitable stopping power without tearing up the walls or other items stored in the cellar.

There are also ways to build trip wire alarm systems that will let you know if someone above ground has gotten too close to your shelter, or you can use your secret exit to get to ground level, and then do what is needed to solve the problem.

Don’t Skip Power and Communications

While taking up refuge in your cellar, finding out what is going on in the rest of the world is crucial. Crank radios can be of use, as can foxhole radios and small battery powered devices.

Limit power needs and devices to units that require the least amount of voltage and have rechargeable batteries. You won’t be able to use solar or wind power generation options, but don’t overlook bicycle generators, magnetic engines, and other devices that can be used to recharge batteries.

In fact, if there is one appliance that you should buy for your cellar, I would recommend a bicycle generator. Aside from producing a reasonable amount of electricity, it will help you stay in shape. Within just a few days of being in the basement, you will need the exercise if you expect to remain in any semblance of good condition.

Depending on the nature of the disaster, you may or may not want to reach out to others around you. It would still be a good idea to keep some basic tools nearby for this purpose. Banging on metal pipes will easily draw attention to your area, as will smoke signals.

Finally, if you can get above ground and want to reach a specific person, think about using a bullroarer. Make sure the person you are trying to contact knows to listen for your signal, and how to interpret the sounds.

Even as I write this, news is emerging that North Korea may be just as likely to use bioweapons as nuclear warheads. There are also many other disasters, both natural and manmade that may require retreating to a hardened shelter. In this case, your cellar is the perfect place to modify for this purpose! Be smart when planning your actions to survive disasters that are about to come!

This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia.

Blake Miller: Compass Accuracy and Why You Should Care

Accuracy is critical when it comes to hunting rifles, writing news stories and court testimony, but what about that old reliable (?) compass? How accurate is it, and how important can that be? Navigation expert Blake Miller explains what accuracy  standards to look for in magnetic compasses, and why the backcountry traveler should care. by Blake […]

The Best 10 Tips For Survival Camping In The Rain

You might love walking in the rain, but it doesn’t mean you enjoy being stuck in the rain while camping. If you are in a situation where you are camping out of necessity, getting caught unprepared for rain storms can lead to illness and many other problems.

Survival camping in the rain does not require much equipment, but you will still need to know what to do to get the most out of the basics you should already have in your everyday carry (EDC) bag.

Important Items to Have Onhand

Whether you are camping in an open field, a forest, or some other outdoor setting, you need basic items onhand. Ideally, these items (and others) should be with you at all times, regardless of where you go, so you could use them for your survival.

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

If you already have them in your pocket book or some other wearable EDC (they take up about 1 liter of space or the size of a medium fanny pack), then you are well on your way to being fully capable of camping comfortably and safely in the rain.

  • Your EDC bag should be waterproof. Failing that, everything in the bag should be kept in Ziploc freezer bags or some other waterproof container.
  • A printed instruction book – you can use anything from laminated index cards to a small notebook for storing important information on how to start fires, treat medical emergencies, purify water, and build a basic shelter. You can start with the basic topics in this article, and then build on the information to address other scenarios. Do not forget you can also print diagrams and other pictures from online resources and include them in the book.
  • A knife
  • Flashlight
  • Waterproof matches, tinder cloth, and tea lights
  • Paracord
  • Screwdriver kit
  • File or emory boards
  • Sewing kit
  • Bandages, gauze, tweezers, cotton swabs, tissues, and tape
  • Antibacterial ointment
  • Medicines and herbs in accordance with your needs. Do not forget you can divide salves and powders into straws and seal both ends for single use packages.
  • Rubbing alcohol or swabs
  • Petroleum jelly
  • Heavy duty construction bags
  • Plastic shopping bags
  • Rice (approximately 2 cups stored in a waterproof bag)
  • Small packets of salt, sugar, electrolyte, and nutrition bars
  • Water
  • Compass
  • Water purifying straws
  • Solar powered battery charger
  • Dish towel
  • Pair of socks
  • Electronic devices in accordance with personal needs and preferences

Avoid Lightning

While you may be more concerned about getting away from all the rain, it is very important to make sure you remain safe from lightning.

Here are some basic tips:

  • Don’t use an umbrella or anything else metallic that will draw lightning to you.
  • If you have a tent, make sure it does not conduct electricity.
  • Don’t camp under trees or areas where lightning may jump onto you.
  • Try to stay in areas where shrubs or low growth is of uniform height
  • Don’t go to the high ground or any area where lightning will try to use you as the fastest path to the ground
  • Remain in the trench or safe area for at least ½ after you no longer see lightning or hear thunder.
  • Stay away from water, especially in ponds, mud puddles, or any other standing water. Even if lightning does not hit you, but does hit the water, it will still shock you and may kill you.
  • If you try to wait out the storm in a ditch or other depression in the ground, make sure water is not flowing in it. You may have to abandon the ditch if you see water starting to build up or flow. In this situation, stay as close to the ground as you can while moving to another area of safety.

Avoiding Flash Floods and Related Hazards

In some ways, staying safe from floods and mudslides while camping in the rain is just the opposite of staying safe from lightening. When it comes to floods, you will be seeking the high ground as much as possible.

The best way to avoid problems with flash floods and mudslides is to be familiar with the area you are in. Stay away from areas where flooding and mudslides occur.

If you are not familiar with the area, then make sure you know the signs of areas where floods and slides are likely. This might include studying signs of previous floods in creek beds, rock patterns, and other indicators that problems may develop during a rainstorm.

Waterproof Shelter

With a few hours and suitable natural resources, you can build a shelter that will last for several days and be waterproof. This includes making small A-frame shelters from saplings as well as using vines and other materials for thatching and walls.

Video first seen on Haven.

If you do not have tarp on hand to build simple shelters, you can still bind together large leaves or grasses to make a mat. This includes using rushes and reeds found near the edge of ponds and streams. Insofar as short term shelters, just about anything will do as long as you can braid or knot it to keep the pieces together.

Once you have a basic mat built, you can plug up any holes in the structure with a mixture of grass and mud. Alternatively, if there are pine trees nearby, you can collect the sap and make pitch out of it.

If you happen to find a small hill and have more time, you can also create a small dugout shelter. Just make sure that you fortify the walls and have a suitable exit in case the structure floods or leaks in the rain.

If the rain hits suddenly, you can use a large size construction bag as a poncho until you find a place sheltered enough to build a fire. Keep at least one bag ready for this purpose.

Just cut a hole for your head to fit through the bottom of the bag and then pull the bag on when needed. When cutting arm holes, make sure there is enough plastic to drape wide over your shoulders so that rain doesn’t drip into the sides of the bag.

If there is a breeze, or you must move around to accomplish some other task, simply use some paracord to tie the bag closer to your body.

Starting and Maintaining a Fire

From drying out clothes to keeping animals away, being able to build a fire in the rain is the most important thing you can do. If you are carrying waterproof matches, tinder cloth, and tea lights, most of the work of finding suitable burn materials will already be done. All you will need to do is find some dry wood for the fire.

This may include anything from saplings to the inner material of fallen tree trunks. To start a fire with what you have:

  • Use the waterproof matches to ignite the tinder cloth. Some people also use cotton balls or dryer lint soaked in petroleum jelly for this purpose.
  • A tea light will provide necessary fuel until smaller bits of kindling catch fire. If you do not have a tea light, try using a pine cone.
  • There are several different ways to stack the logs when building a fire . Try out different methods before you are caught in the rain to see which one you are most comfortable with.

Get Dry and Stay Dry

Once you have a decent fire going, dry out your clothes and remove as much dampness as possible from your skin. This is especially important if you are prone to taking chills, or catch colds easily.

If you have a small towel on hand, use that to dry off, and then use the fire to dry out your clothes.

Unless you have a shelter, staying dry can be difficult as long as it is still raining. A plastic bag poncho will still keep the worst of the rain off you, but it can also block off the movement of sweat away from your skin. As a result, you must be very careful to pay attention to when your clothes feel damp, or open the bag up to allow it to vent from time to time. Needless to say, you will not be able to use the bag as a covering when sitting by the fire.

Drying Out Electronic Devices

Unless you are camping during a complete social collapse, you might obtain cell service as long as your phone works. In addition, you may also need your phone to access other information, especially if you don’t have a set of printed notes with you.

If your cell phone or solar power charging kit got wet, start off by removing as much moisture as you can with cotton swabs and tissues. Do not forget to remove the battery and dry as much as you can in the battery compartment.

Be careful when drying off the gold contacts located on the battery as you do not want to inadvertently short it out. From there, if the device doesn’t start working when you reinstall the battery, store it in a bag of rice for 24 – 36 hours.

The rice will, hopefully, absorb enough moisture so that your device will work properly again.

Navigating in the Rain

Many people that go camping stay in one place while it is raining. While this may have advantages insofar as keeping a fire going and having a reliable shelter, it may not work in a survival situation.

If you must reach a distant location in a short period of time, you may not have hours or days to waste sitting in one location. You will also need food and water fairly quickly. Even if you aren’t going to move very far away from the campsite, you may still need to find your way around and back to it.

Video first seen on The Hidden Woodsmen.

When navigating in the rain, keep in mind a few things.

Use Laminated Maps

If you are traveling a distance, laminate your maps on both sides, with the edges sealed, and keep them in a waterproof bag.

There are few things worse than thinking your map is waterproof, only to lay it down on a damp surface and see it get soaked from the bottom. By the same token, a map that does not have sealed edges can also pick up moisture very quickly and carry it into the printed area.

Write Down Your Position

Always write down compass readings while moving away from the campsite, to have a better chance of backtracking to find your previous location. Remember, even if you only go a few feet away from the campsite, it can be very easy to get confused and wind up going in the wrong direction.

Leave Trail Markers

You can use anything from patterns of stones on the ground making arrows to carving markers in trees to help you find your way back to the campsite or some other area of interest.

Use a Walking Stick

In order to reduce the risk of falling or incurring other injuries, use a walking stick while it is raining and the ground is wet. Wet leaves with hidden mud under them can easily cause you to slip and fall, especially if you are traveling along a decline and hidden rocks slip out from under your feet.

Using a walking stick will also help you avoid stepping on snakes or other creatures that might be hiding in the leaves. If you are not a seasoned hiker or aren’t paying enough attention to where you put your feet, it is very easy to get startled, lose your balance, and wind up with sprains, cuts, bruises, or broken bones.

Put the Fire Out Before Leaving

Even if you are planning to return to the campsite, put the fire out before you go. It is never a good idea to leave a fire unattended regardless of the weather or how assured you feel that you will return in time to take care of a problem. It simply isn’t worth the risk to keep a fire going if you don’t have eyes on it at all times and are ready to put it out if something goes wrong.

Signaling Without Electronic Devices

Unfortunately, if it is raining, you will not be able to use a mirror to capture light from the sun and signal for help. If your cell phone isn’t working, that leaves using sound and smoke.

Here are some things you can try to draw helpers to your site:

  • Use the fire to generate a smoke signal. Make sure the fire is in an open area where as much smoke as possible will be seen by others.
  • Make a whistle from reeds or other hard, hollow stems. You can also use your knife to carve out a whistle that may send sound further out.
  • If you have been hunting, take skins from fish or animals and stretch them over a hollowed out tree stump. Next, simply beat on the skins to create a drum sound.
  • Make a bullroarer or similar device – these devices have been used for thousands of years and in cultures all over the world to send information over long distances. They are little more than thin pieces of wood attached to a rope. As the wood is spun, it makes a sound that can be heard for miles around.

Video first seen on Jungle Jay Adventures.

Managing Illness and Injuries

Overall, there isn’t much difference between managing illnesses in the rain and when the weather is clear. You will still need to keep wounds clean and dry.

If you have a sprained ankle or broken bone, you will still use the same methods to isolate them in order to prevent further damage. That all being said, when it rains, you may want to take some extra precautions to avoid getting sick.

For example, if you are comfortable with using garlic, ginger, or other herbs that reduce inflammation and kill off a wide range of bacteria, you may want to take them to stave off an infection.

Camping in the rain can come with a set of special challenges that you may not give much thought when the sun is shining. Even people that have gone camping before may not always think about keeping a set of tools in their EDC that can be used in case they are stuck in a situation where they must camp outdoors for survival purposes.

Today, you can look over your EDC gear and see if you have everything you need to survive camping for a day or more in the rain. If you do, then you will be well served by practicing your skills the next time it rains.

Even if you camp out in your backyard for a few hours, it will give you some good ideas about what skills you need to hone as well as how best to use the gear that you have on hand. Use any opportunity to practice your survival skills as this can save your life one day!

This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia.

7 Ways To Fry Your Electronics (Beside EMP)

As preppers, we necessarily expend a lot of energy in preparations against EMP because of mankind’s enormous exposure to that threat, but in doing so, could there be other threats that we are forgetting?

Beside EMP, what threats are there to electronics? There are at least 7 other factors that can broke your electronics, and you have to learn how to control, so they would keep working and serve you.

Keep reading to find our what they are! 

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  • Sometimes electronics are cheap enough that you can store spares, but when you may be fixing it yourself, industry-standard, component-based electronics are much easier to fix and find parts for than proprietary architecture equipment.
  • Ever had alkaline batteries leak and ruin electronics? Lithium batteries are a better choice for electronics stored in vehicles when they must be stored with batteries installed to be effective.
  • Wear an antistatic wrist strap and connect it to bare metal surface on the chassis of the electronics you are working to minimized risk of damage from ESD.
  • Electronics that specify a ground do so for a reason. Go around them and you are asking for trouble.
  • Online, 3-phase uninterruptible power supplies prevent a whole host of power problems, prevent damage from bad power and greatly extend equipment life.

Proprietary vs Open Architecture

For a survival vehicle, you are better off with a vehicle that can be fixed relatively easily and with commonly-available parts. That easy-to-fix survival vehicle is like a computer that is not proprietary. (It is OK to be a driver and not a mechanic, but it is important that the vehicle be field-repairable by someone nearby and for a reasonable cost.)

The same is true, to a degree, of electronics. With less-expensive electronics, you may be able to get around this, to a degree, by stocking spare electronics instead of spare parts. The larger and more expensive systems are, the harder it becomes to stock spares because of cost and space.

So, consider where it makes sense to purchase highly-integrated and proprietary electronics and stock spares and where more modular, repairable electronics and spare components and tools to repair them would be more effective.

Enemies of Electronics

Battery Problems

Have you ever left a flashlight in the car and opened the battery cover to find that alkaline batteries have corroded and leaked? If stored long enough, without maintenance, a battery leak can ruin some electronics.

A simple fix is to switch to lithium batteries. This is especially important for gear stored in vehicles that need to be stored with batteries installed. Lithium batteries store longer, are lighter weight, last longer (especially in high current applications) and are far less likely ruin valuable electronics if stored too long.

Unfortunately, lithium batteries are also more expensive. If cost is an issue, store alkaline batteries separately and install them only when you use the electronics.


Lightning is beautiful and awe-inspiring when observed and the wrath of God when experienced. I will address lightning separately because it is not always so much a power problem, but is induced by the environment.

Lightning protection equipment routes surges of more than then 300 volts to ground, but surges lower than 300 volts can still damage connected equipment, so lightning protection must be used in tandem with surge protection.

There are four parts to protecting a building from lightning:

  • Lightning Protection System
  • Building Ground System
  • Surge Protection
  • Connected Equipment Properly Grounded.

Phones, electrical, antenna, conductive underground piping … everything should be tied into the building’s ground system. This ground should be singular, continuous (not spliced or brought to a terminal strip) and properly designed and installed.

Lightening will take the path of least resistance, so all connected equipment must be properly grounded. If connect your computer to a little two prong extension cord without a ground prong or use adapters that eliminate the ground, you are asking for trouble.

Electrostatic Discharge (ESD)

You know that little shock you feel and see when you touch a conductor after rubbing your feet on the carpet? The spark occurs as the electric field surrounding your body, balances with the electric field of another object. The spark is called electrostatic discharge and it is why electronics come packaged in static bags.

You can build up an electrostatic charge on your body by rubbing a balloon on dry hair or a loose knit sweater, combing dry hair with a plastic comb, or by dragging your feet on carpet wearing socks. These examples build up electrostatic charge in a process known as tribocharging, which builds a charge when two materials are brought together and then separated.

You may have felt this as you have removed products from certain types of plastic bags. This is the result of tribocharging causing electrostatic buildup as packages are jostled during shipping.

Microelectronics incorporate tiny transistors that run at very low voltages. This makes them cheaper, cooler, faster and more energy efficient. It also makes them more vulnerable to ESD. Microchips are particularly vulnerable to ESD.

Precautions against ESD are especially important when humidity is low (below 30%), and when wearing baggy or woolen clothing.  The chassis of most electronics offers a degree of protection against ESD, but when handling or working on electronics, on electronics, (such as removing a card or memory from a computer or opening protective cases) an antistatic wrist strap should be worn.

Connect the wrist strap’s alligator clip to a non-painted, conductive metal surface of the chassis of the electronic device you are working on. This balances your electric field with that of the object you are working on and prevents ESD. Take care not to touch circuits or contacts with fingers or conductive tools and protect vulnerable electronics with static bags.


Moisture, salt air and high humidity (above 80%) can cause corrosion. Corrosion can prevent electrical contacts from making an effective connection or worse. Corrosion is a frequent problem with automobile battery connections and electrical plugs on trailers because they are often exposed to the elements and not frequently disconnected and reconnected.

Auto battery terminals can be cleaned with a saturated solution of baking soda and water. Care must be taken not to get battery acid contained in the white, powdery corrosion residue in your eyes, on your skin, clothing or the vehicle’s paint.

Clean any tools used to work on battery terminals as well. Saturate a bowl of water with baking soda until no more will dissolve and add another teaspoon or two, which will collect in the bottom of the bowl.

When you place a battery terminal in the bowl and gently swirl the solution onto it, a chemical reaction will begin as the baking soda solution dissolves the acid buildup. Baking soda will be used in this reaction and some of the baking soda in the bottom of the bowl may dissolve and become suspended in solution.

Dry the terminals with a disposable rag or paper towel and immediately dispose of them to reduce chances of acid damage. Then use a battery post and terminal brush to clean up battery and terminal connections.

Electrical connections between vehicles and trailers are typically best cleaned with very small wire brushes. Once corrosion is cleaned up and contacts restored, keep them from corroding again with felt discs impregnated with corrosion inhibitors or corrosion inhibiting spray.

Moisture can also be a problem when storing electronics long term or caching them. Use desiccant packets, and seal electronics in plastic bags treated with a dry vapor rust preventative like Zerust or add plastic tabs impregnated with it. This method or storage does not involve liquids that can short circuit electronics or messy cleanup.


Sunlight’s UV rays can damage some parts of electronics, turning them weak and brittle. When you read general storage directions, they typically tell you to store things out of direct sunlight and in a cool, dry place.

Temperature Extremes

Extreme heat can cause electronics to malfunction or permanently damage them. Extreme cold, can sap batteries, freeze moving parts or cause parts to become brittle. Most electronics have recommended operating temperatures. Pay attention to these when purchasing electronics, where applicable.

Today, it seems that many people accept the integration of electronics even in applications where live depends on their proper function, and do so with little thought as to potential reliability problems.

A few years ago, some US soldiers realized that some optics issued had questionable reliability in extreme cold and this caused quite a stir in the optics industry.

The optic for my Dragunov has a cold-weather battery compartment that I can clip inside my clothing when the temperature drops to ensure reliability of its illuminated reticle. If you operate (or may be forced to operate) in extreme heat or cold, take these factors into consideration to keep your electronics working.

Power Problems

You have probably heard about the aging patchwork electrical infrastructure millions of American lives depend on. The power supplied to your electronics by the utility can cause problems or even damage equipment and you can expect even more power problems during periods of high order volatility.

Fortunately, connected equipment in your home can be protected from power problems by power protection equipment such as the Uninterruptible Power Supply or UPS.

  • Interruption – The power problem that is probably most visible to most people is the complete interruption of power, commonly known as a blackout.
  • Surge/Spike – Surges or spikes are short increases in voltage that can trip fuzes, damage or destroy electronics and are caused by lightning strikes, improper wiring or load shifting by utility companies.
  • Sag/Under-voltage – Sometimes called brownouts, while a surge is too much voltage, a sag is too little, can be cause by heavy demands on available power, poor circuit design or too little power being produced, and can degrade electronics over time, trip fuzes or damage them outright. Sags can last from moments to hours and are much more common that blackouts, but may go unnoticed.
  • Line Noise – Distortion caused by Electromagnetic Interference (EMI) or Radio Frequency Interference (RFI), line noise can be caused by high voltage power lines, bad fluorescent light ballasts, severe weather or radio signals. Line noise can cause electronic degradation over time, snow on video electronics or static noise on audio electronics.
  • Swell/Overvoltage – Swells or overvoltage involve too much voltage like surges and spikes but are of longer duration.

Home Power Protection

In addition to the steps mentioned under lightning protection, home power protection is typically accomplished by pairing electronics, or small clusters of them with an UPS (Uninterruptable Power Supply).

Quality UPS’s are three-phase, converting the AC power supplies by the utility over to DC power and back to AC and protect against all the power problems listed above. They also feature a battery to supply power until power is restored or until equipment is safely and properly shut down, which can be accomplished automatically with most computers.

If longer duration of battery-supplied power is needed, some models allow for additional batteries to be added to increase total battery capacity, but for longer term needs, a standby generator is typically installed.

UPS’s can also be wired directly into electrical building electrical systems in applications where one to one or cluster installation would be less-effective.

Many power problems may go largely unnoticed or users may fail to connect the fact their electronics have been damaged to the power problems that caused the damage. A quality UPS can prevent many of these problems and extend equipment life.

Be smart and protect your electronics so you could use them at the right time!

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

The 3-Days Survival Blueprint Everyone Should Follow

A major disaster hitting in your area might leave you high, dry, and helpless unless you can think ahead, react quickly, and shield yourself and others in a crisis.

If you would only knew in time… And if you would, how much could you do to prep. Let’s say, could you prepare for any disaster in just 3 days?

Let’s see where to start from, and where to head to, in order to survive!


  • “A man’s gotta know his limitations.” – Harry Callahan. While survival is largely a DIY proposition, you have to realize your limitations and when calling in a specialist is your most effective move.
  • A plan needs a Statement of Commander’s Intent (SCI) to keep everyone’s eye on the desired end-result.
  • Using a modified version of the “Rule of Threes” as a mnemonic for survival priorities enables the survivor to plan for a wide range of survival scenarios without missing key priorities.
  • “Skills trump gear.” Is an oversimplification that reflects ignorance of the fact that both skills and gear are necessary to save lives in most life-threatening emergencies. Used effectively, emergency tools and supplies save time and calories, and saving time and calories saves lives.

A Loud Knock at the Door

Let’s say you’re not a prepper, and you are enjoying your favorite TV show when you are startled by a loud knock at the door. You approach the door and peer out.

To your relief, you see a beloved family member staring at her cellphone. It’s been a while as she has been busy with work as the county emergency manager and you are glad to see her. As you open the door, she bursts in and hurriedly explains that there a new airborne pathogen is raging out of control and that the math cannot be refuted.

A global pandemic with a mortality rate above 50% has begun, and the federal government is already frantically preparing. The feds will not announce the threat for 72 hours to give them time to move personnel and supplies, but a longtime colleague at the CDC could not bear the guilt and tipped her off.

She simultaneously pleads with you and issues a mandate that within three days, you must quarantine your home for 90 days to have any hope of your family surviving this without loss of life. You must be ready before the announcement because panic will surely ensue.

You knew that a major disaster was a possibility, but just did not ever think that it would happen during your lifetime. You have never seen the need to prepare before now, but then there was no concrete threat at your door.

Now things have changed and so your vision has changed. You have experienced the all-important paradigm shift and now have precious little time to act.

How much could our survivors possibly prepare in just three days?

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

I know plenty of folks who have been preparing for months, years and even decades who don’t feel they are adequately prepared! Well, I enjoy a good survival challenge, so let’s take a stab at it.

3 Days to Be Prepared Blueprint

Even a relative novice to preparedness would be quick to concede that being prepared involves more than just equipment and supplies.

Our survivors must execute some immediate actions to give them any realistic hope of survival beyond sheer luck and the compassion and forbearance of others.

Immediate Actions

1. Establish Leadership

First things first, someone needs to step forward. A leader must be decided. Chain of command must be established. A state of emergency should be declared. There will be times when they can, and should, be democratic, but this is not one of them.

The leader should explain that this is not permanent. They should also explain why the changes are necessary and clearly describe the circumstances that will bring it to an end and they will step down and things will get back to normal when the family is out of danger.

2. Secure a Plan

Normally, I would say to create a plan, but as the family in our case study could not hope to become experts in any aspect of preparedness in just three days, our would-be survivors would do well to enlist the services of a competent emergency-preparedness expert to guide them in their preparations.

Our new leader does not have to be an expert to execute a well-drafted plan, and everyone would benefit greatly if that plan was drafted by someone with considerably more experience than they currently possess.

A realistic appraisal of the situation and decision to pay the price to bring in an expert would be our new leader’s best move. The plan should be simple and focus on the basics necessary to survive the situation at hand.

3. Execute the Plan

In executing a plan, the family should be instructed to pay attention to the first lines, which will communicate the Commander’s Statement of Intent. It this case, it will should be along the lines of “Enforce a strict quarantine of the structure occupied even if the use deadly force is necessary to enforce the quarantine.”

Systems will be put in place to warn the public to stay out and hopefully make the use of any level of force unnecessary, but since is the number one place the plan could break down, the family must be ready, unflinching and must not hesitate should use of force be necessary. If they pay attention to this, it is possible that everything else could fall into place.

4. Understand Physiological Responses to Danger

For most people, functioning effectively in an emergency is more easily said than done. Academics use the 10/80/10 Rule to describe this: Only 10% of people respond effectively in an emergency, 80% freeze, and 10% panic or respond in ways that are counter-productive to survival, such as drinking seawater or opening an emergency exit on a pressurized airplane at 30,000 feet.

You may have heard disaster survivors describe instances of tunnel vision, tunnel hearing, feelings of time slowing down, instances of victims repeating, “This is not happening.” over and over or outright refusal to recognize threats.

Physiological responses like tunnel vision and normalcy bias occur when the brain provides less detail in effort to prevent us from succumbing to analysis paralysis and freezing like a deer in the headlights. The connection I think academics fail to make is the role that the modern pattern of life we have engineered for ourselves plays in this process.

“Developed” modern city life insulates people from life and death decisions to such a degree that it causes the evolved protective response to backfire, resulting in paralysis, like it evolved to prevent. Understanding that physiological responses to danger exist is the first step to overcoming them.

5. Improvise, Adapt and Overcome

Emergencies are dynamic and even the very best plans do not survive contact with the enemy. Survivors plan to shelter in place and end up having to move to another dwelling or location to survive. It is not the strong who survive, but the adaptable.

The Plan

What might the plan look like?

Depending on the size of the household, the family may benefit greatly by doubling or tripling up with other families as they may not have the manpower to mount an effective watch and secure the quarantined structure. The best candidates would likely be other family, friends or neighbors who are already prepared. Our professional would surely advise them of this need should it exist.

As mentioned under immediate action number 3.) the plan will be headed with a Statement of Commander’s Intent (SCI). The rest of the plan will support this statement. Beyond the SCI, the plan should include pre-quarantine, quarantine, end of quarantine and post-quarantine phases, and should focus on the following principle areas:

  • Quarantine/PPE
  • Security
  • Austere Medical
  • Shelter
  • Water
  • Food
  • Hygiene
  • Communications
  • Morale

Pre-quarantine (The next three days)

I will detail the pre-quarantine phase of the plan since that is that phase that this article deals with. The pre-quarantine focus will be a three-way split:

  • Procurement
  • Preparation
  • Training


Most of the procurement should be done locally. Again, the survival consultant or experienced survivalist uses established best practices (based on a modified rule of threes mnemonic) to guide the family in creating a list of supplies to procure in order of importance and urgency:

  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), Antimicrobial Products, Antibiotics, First Aid & Austere Medical Equipment
  • Air Filtration, Positive Air Pressure, Quarantine and Barrier Materials
  • Zoned, Layered Security, Lighting (and a renewable energy solution to support it), Movement Denial & Self-Defense Gear Including Bullhorns, Materials for Signs, Yellow Quarantine Flags and Field Phones (to act as an intercom and avoid face to face communication and create space and time to react), Firearms, Ammo, Concealed Carry Gear, LBE, Cleaning Gear and Force Multipliers such as Night Vision if resources allow for such.
  • Appropriate Clothing, Heaters, Interior and Personal Lighting, Cordage & Tools
  • Water, Water Treatment, Transport, Storage Supplies, Drinking Water Hoses and Buckets
  • Food Storage, Stove, Cooking Fuel, Fire & Carbon Monoxide Safety Equipment
  • Hygiene Supplies and Accommodations
  • Bug Out Bags, Service Vehicles, Gasoline Storage, Map & Compass
  • Battery-powered Radio Communications Gear
  • Reference Library


A quarantine zone must be established. Ideally, it should establish a posted perimeter to create a reactionary gap and identify the home as quarantined.

The principle aspects of the household must be modified to operate off-grid since infrastructure requires maintenance and an event like this would almost certainly affect the workforce that maintains the infrastructure that the family depends on for power, water and trash pickup.

  • Establish Perimeter, Area Denial, Signage, Communications Points, Entry/Exits & Decontamination Points
  • Seal the Structure, Establish Positive Air Pressure, Air Filtration, Entry/Exits, Decontamination Points and a Quarantine/Treatment Area (in case someone becomes infected.)
  • Establish Security Barriers, Fighting Positions, Listening Post/Observation Post (LP/OP), Guard Posts, Charge of Quarters Desk and Duty Roster
  • Create and Stock Medical Triage and Treatment Areas
  • Establish a Mud Room, Heating Systems and Fuel Stores
  • Establish Water Storage, Treatment, Transport & Hygiene Systems
  • Setup and Test: Lighting, Renewable Energy & Communications
  • Create Hidden Off-site Caches of Emergency Supplies and Weapons (This way you may still be able to survive if your home is captured, destroyed or surrendered to a superior force. Do not inform the children of their existence.)


Three days is not a lot of time, but it is enough time to get a lot done. Luckily for our survivors, three days is enough time for an initial training, followed by three spaced repetitions. This will get the best bang for our buck memory-wise given the time available with the instructor.

After that, the family will have to continue training on their own. Unfortunately, the first day is going to be a long one, but it’s OK if the family doesn’t not have high initial retention. Repetition is the key.

Training sessions will be short, but they will be hands on. The basics of each topic will be introduced the first day and repeated once each day. Classes will be videoed for reference and the family will learn the material knowing that each of them will have to re-teach it. The training regimen will be along these lines:

  • Biohazard PPE & Enforcing Quarantine of an Occupied Structure
  • Quarantine and Treatment of an Infected Individual
  • Armed Self-defense & Defense Drill
  • First Aid
  • Shelter
  • Water Treatment
  • Food Preparation (using the fuels and gear they will be using), Preservation and Food Storage
  • Hygiene Under Quarantine Conditions
  • Renewable Energy, Lighting & Communications


Should we consider a longer-term scenario? The problem is that no amount of stuff can ever make you prepared for a more challenging ordeal, and three days would not give a person who had not started preparing a realistic chance.

Still this less-challenging, shorter-term scenario is more easily survivable, not because training and skills trump gear, but because you need BOTH to realistically give you the best chances and to help prevent the morale compromise and traumatic experiences that result when survivors lack either. If you do not cache supplies, you are not likely as skilled equipped to deal with serious survival ordeals as you think, and cannot possibly know until you are already in the situation … and that is too late.

There is an attraction of carrying a little less equipment and supplies than you need and relying on your wits and skills to see you through. That is an effective way to train and develop antifragility, when you have a safety backup, but not such an antifragile approach to actual emergencies.

It is thinly disguised too little, too late and the story too often ends with a damaged operator, which not antifragile, it is just plain fragile.

The moral here is to prepare. You do not have to identify as a “Prepper” to be responsible, stay fit or to survive a disaster.  The truth is that if you have a first aid kit, exercise or a keep a little cash on hand, you are already preparing for emergencies and fit the widest definition of a “Prepper.”

It is my hope that more people will recognize that emergency preparedness is simply a responsible behavior, just like owning a fire extinguisher, volunteering or brushing your teeth, and that these actions are responsible independent of labels or stereotypes.

This is what actually makes the difference between a victim and a survivor!

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

Pros And Cons Of Modifying Your Firearms  

Most firearm manufactures build their weapons based on what they think most shooters will want. But defensive, hunting, and target shooting all require specific adjustments, so it shouldn’t surprise anyone that most shooters wind up modifying their weapon to get the most out of it.

In addition, there are likely to be aspects of the firearms that might not totally fit your particular shooting style, eyesight, or hand size. While this not a good thing to modify your weapons just to be different, or to see if it can be done, other adjustments may fall into the category of necessary.

Click here to get your guide to a layered survival defense!

But how do you actually do it? Here are some modifications that you might take into consideration.


Night Sights

These sights give you a good sight picture even in low light conditions, which increases your chance of hitting the target. Even though this can be very useful, bear in mind that the sights must first be activated by a light source. They are also incorporate Tritium, a radioactive isotope of hydrogen.

Unlike other sights which can last for the life of the gun, night sights must be replaced every 8 – 10 years.

Fiber Optic Low Light Sights

Instead of using Tritium, these sights use small colored fiber optic inserts in the front and rear sights. Usually, the rear sight is green, while the front sight is red. They will only work if there is enough surrounding light.

Unlike the Tritium based sights, these will work as long as the fiber optic material is intact.

Trigger Spring Upgrade with After Market Trigger

This upgrade ensures the weapon to shoot easier and better. These upgrades can also address common complaints such as the trigger is hard to pull, excessive trigger creep, or the trigger is too light/heavy.

Some people prefer a lighter trigger for quick shooting, while others want a stiffer one to reduce the risk of accidental discharge when shooting or reholstering.

After Market Magazines

Even though the magazines that come with your gun are reasonable quality, the ones you can get after market are much better and are designed to give a lifetime of reliable service.

In many cases, the better quality magazines reduce the risk of malfunctions caused by bent magazines, faulty magazine springs, or followers. This increases the reliability of the weapon and also reduces the risk of damage to it. Always use match grade pistol magazines to get the most out of each unit.

Even though after market magazines are more expensive, they usually come with a lifetime warranty and are well worth the extra cost.

Upgrade the Pistol Grips

The easiest and fastest way to reduce felt recoil is to upgrade the pistol grips. Choose grips that fit your hands properly. This will also make the weapon more comfortable to shoot and improve accuracy.

If you choose slim grips, they will also make the gun easier to conceal, while thicker ones may give you a printing problem. To get the most options, try aftermarket grips that allow you to choose the side panel and back strap combinations.

AR-15 Rifles

Change the Upper Receiver to the Adams Arms Piston System

Piston driven AR-15’s function better because the hot gasses released from firing are not constantly being dumped into the body of the weapon.

The second advantage is the weapon operates more cleanly with no blow back of powder and gas into the breach. Instead, you only have to be concerned about a small amount of powder residue in a tiny area around the piston. These advantages make for a more reliable weapon that can be shot longer during each session. You can also wait longer between deep rifle cleanings.

Even though the piston system improves the overall performance of the AR-15, the complete upper is quite expensive. Since it is not a standard part like the impingement system, you will also have a harder time finding spare parts when needed.

If you are interested in this upgrade, there are two ways to go about it. First, you can buy a complete upper receiver and match it to the lower receiver that your rife came with. Second, there is also a conversion kit that can be used to modify your existing upper receiver.

Nickel Boron Bolt Carrier Groups

Nickel boron coatings on the interior and exterior make it much easier to clean the bolt carrier group. All you will need to do is rub the bolt a few times in order to remove the fouling. Even though the rear bolt will still be a little harder to clean, it is much easier than it would be if you were still wrestling with a traditional phosphate bolt carrier.

Over the lifetime of the rifle, you will also find that nickel boron bolt carrier groups are also more dependable.

As with changing to a piston system, you will find that nickel boron bolt carrier groups can be quite expensive. To get the most for your money, choose Mil-Spec to ensure your system will be compatible with military parts.

Replace Springs

If there is one chronic problem with AR-15’s, I’d have to say failure to feed issues are at the top of the list. While many people continue to believe bad magazines or fouling are the main causes, the AR springs may also be at fault.

Remember, it is the buffer and extractor springs that receive the most damaging wear and tear because they control the opposing reaction of the energy delivered by the gas.

Sadly, many weapons either have springs that are too weak to withstand this abuse and remain reliable, while others may have a buffer that is too light. The failure of these springs will render your AR-15 about as useful for shooting as a paper weight.

When replacing the springs:

  • Choose heavier ones that are on the recommended spring listings for your AR.
  • Field test the AR to insure the proper functioning of the new springs.
  • Always keep a spare part kit for every AR you own, including extra springs. You never know when something will break or wear out.
  • Never put in new springs in the AR and then fail to function test the rifle.

Use Duracoat or Cerakote as a Protective Coating

These coatings will protect your rifle from friction related problems and moisture. The additional barrier against corrosive elements will extend the lifetime of the gun and ensure its reliability. In addition, these coatings offer a tactical advantage because they can be used in camouflage patterns. Even though these coatings can be relatively inexpensive to do on your own, it is also easy to make a mess. While it costs a lot more to have a professional do this job, it is worth the cost.

Upgrade the magazines – As with pistols, upgrading the magazines for your AR-15 gives you a chance to buy better quality units that will last longer. In this instance, I recommend the Magpul PMAG. It is to your advantage to avoid cheap, poor quality magazines, or ones that do not have a good reputation on the market. Not only will they cause endless malfunctions, they will seriously hamper the performance when the rifle actually does fire.

Pistol grip – Most people replace the standard A2 pistol grip on the AR-15 because it is too small for shooters with larger hands. For comfort and increased proficiency, try the Magpul or Hogue grips.


Next to pistol grips, replacing the stock triggers is the most common upgrade for AR-15’s. There are many designs to choose from as well as manufacturers. Do your research carefully and consider what you want to use the gun for when selecting a trigger upgrade. Here are some designs to consider:

  • Single stage – These are heavier triggers that will fire after using steady pressure on the trigger until it fires.
  • Two stage – A two stage trigger will allow you to pull the trigger part way, hold it, and then fire when you are ready. It is useful for hunting or defensive shooting.
  • Match – Very lightweight trigger that improves accuracy when shooting targets.
  • 3 gun competition – If you have pistols, rifles, and shotguns, matching the trigger with the one on your AR-15 may be of interest if you have a disability or need consistency across all weapons for some other reason.
  • Adjustable – This trigger lets you set the weight, creep, and amount of trigger travel. This trigger is ideal if you want to test out different trigger configurations or want something that can be adjusted for different shooting types.
  • Non-adjustable – If you already know what you are looking for in trigger weight and other factors, choose this one to save money vs the adjustable model.
  • Straight or curved bow – This is purely a matter of personal taste. Some prefer a curved trigger, while others are more comfortable with a straight one.


Most AR-15 rifles sold today come with, in my opinion, a mediocre, cheap Mil Spec six position stock. Replacing it with a collapsible stock can increase accuracy and also make the rifle much more comfortable to shoot.

Video first seen on chanderson1.

You will still need to choose the right size stock for your rifle’s buffer tube. While a stock upgrade can give you a lot of advantages, you will need to do your homework to find a good quality stock. In this market, expensive doesn’t always mean better, and you can very easily wind up with an over-priced piece of junk.

Bump Fire Rifle Stocks

Contrary to the beliefs of some individuals, bump fire rifle stocks do not turn your AR-15 into a full auto weapon. They simply use the recoil from the past shot to operate the sliding action a bit faster. However there are people that can pull a trigger faster, and more accurately than the bump stock users! Here are some other things to consider before pursuing this upgrade:

  • Right now the BATF finds that this product is not a machine gun as defined under the Gun Control Act, 18 U.S.C. 921(a)(23), however this might change. If it does change, you will need to find out if pre-existing bump stocks will be grandfathered.
  • The stock allows the AR to shoot between 400 to 800 rounds per minute.
  • When shooting with the stock in the bump position, it will use more bullets and heat up a lot faster. As a result, it is likely to jam.
  • Bump stocks will reduce accuracy.

80% Finished Receivers

Even though this isn’t a modification of an existing gun, you can buy an 80% finished receiver and build your own. This receiver is usually made of aluminum.

Once again, contrary to popular belief, you cannot simply buy a kit and expect to produce a functional, reliable weapon with just a few hand tools and no experience in metal working. To finish the receiver, you must either install, complete or assemble the fire control group, trigger pin, hammer pin, trigger slot, and safety selector hole.

While the kit will include the instructions, jigs, drill bits, and parts, do not be fooled into thinking you can assemble with absolute ease. Drilling can go wrong very easily as can other assembly stages. If you are off in your measurements or make a mistake, the entire project will be ruined and you will have to buy a whole new 80% finished receiver.

About the only advantage you will get is you will not need an FFL to buy the receiver, and you will not have to fill out all the paperwork. As long as AR-15s are legal in your state, you will be able to own it where you live.

Pump Shotgun Upgrades


These are the most common and useful upgrades for the pump shotgun. You can shorten the stock to reduce the overall length of the weapon without making it illegal. Pistol grip stocks, top folding, and collapsible stocks will all make the gun more accommodating for people with longer or shorter arms.

You can also try a complete stock replacement system that includes a 6 position collapsible stock with shell holder, front picatinny rail, and military length forend. Even though there are several different materials available, the best and most durable stocks are made from lightweight carbon fiber reinforced polymer.

Rail Systems

Upgrading to a M1913 Picatinny top rail with key-mod mounts at the 3, 6, and 9 o’clock positions makes it easy to mount scopes and other accessories. When choosing a rail system, make sure it does not hang over the muzzle. An aluminum rail will keep the weight down without sacrificing the options offered by this rail upgrade.

Magazine Tube Extensions

Magazine extensions come in either 2 or 3 round capacities. When it comes to home defense, the addition of these two or three rounds can be a lifesaver.

This upgrade is also very easy to install and can be attached without making any modifications to the gun. Just remember that these extensions can extend past the muzzle. This can lead to a carbon buildup or discoloration of the magazine tube.

Upgrade the Barrels

If your pump action shotgun comes with the capacity to change barrels, you may want to have shorter and longer lengths on hand. This will make your weapon suitable for different purposes without needing to buy a whole new gun. You can use shorter barrels for home defense, and then longer ones for hunting.

Regardless of the length of the barrel, changing them out is no harder than cleaning the shotgun; and can be done with no tools. Just remember different barrel lengths have advantages and disadvantages:

  • Longer barrels improve accuracy, however they are harder to maneuver in tight spaces and weigh more than shorter barrels
  • Shorter barreled shotguns have a shorter sighting plane, more noise, more muzzle flash, and more recoil, all of which reduce accuracy and make them harder to manage when firing.

When you buy a new gun, that is only the beginning of a journey to make it as useful as possible for your needs. From customizing the gun so that it is more comfortable when firing to managing physical impairments, there are endless options to choose from.

As you consider the possible upgrades for your weapon, always keep in mind what you want to improve about the weapon’s performance, the reputation of the manufacturer, how best to accomplish the upgrade, and the laws in your area.

Once you know all of these, look at the cost and figure out if these upgrades are truly worth your while, so you could keep your family safe!

This article has been written by Fred Tyrell for Survivopedia.

Survival Gear Checklist – 27+ Items to Get You Started

Getting started with gear is another one of those overwhelming and potentially expensive challenges for the the beginning prepper. Today I would like to suggest a starter list of 15 items that can be purchased, in total, for $350 or less. Don’t have $350 to spare. No worries. Purchase one item a week or one item a month. Along the way you will find other items and soon you will have a nice kit, ready to go when the big one strikes or the flood waters hit.

Crank-Up Radio: This model from Kaito Electronics will set you back about $50. It comes with all the features that you need in an emergency situation such as a multi-band AM/FM and shortwave radio, 7 NOAA weather channels, a five LED adjustable reading lamp, and a multi-function LED flashlight that can be used in both both a normal bright color mode and red color for emergency use. All of these features can be operated indefinitely without external power using a hand crank. There is a solar panel that charges the built-in batteries or you can use AA batteries or you can plug the radio into a USB device.

Other options? The Etón American Red Cross Self-Powered Radio with Flashlight, Solar Power and Cell Phone Charger for about $34.

Review: Pak-Lite compact backpacker/survival nine volt LED flashlight

A good, reliable flashlight is essential, IMHO. And getting one that is light, convenient to carry and reliable means you will most likely take it along on dayhikes or longer excursions. I found this Pak-Lite at a preparedness show, and it is worth taking a look at.

How To Build A Boomerang And Use It For Survival

When it comes to survival defense, which means self defense in a SHTF scenario, it would be best to have a firearm with you. That’s layer one of survival defense in my book. Guns are preppers’ best friends and they’ll never let you down.

However, sometimes one must improvise, and here alternative survival weapons come into play. When the unexpected happens, you’ll have to rely on more primitive methods to save your life, or to hunt or whatever.

Enter the boomerang, also known as the rabbit stick or the bunny stick. Would you know how to use it? Let’s see!

A Story of Many Continents

The boomerang is the Australian version of the Native American (let’s call it Indian for all intents and purposes) rabbit stick.

The thing is, almost all primitive cultures which relied upon hunting for survival invented something similar to the boomerang, i.e. a throwing stick used as an effective hunting tool via gradual improvements over time.

Both the Australian boomerang and the Indian rabbit-stick are basically the same type of weapon.

And to tell you a little known factoid, the real deal Aussie hunting boomerang does not fly in a circle when thrown. I mean, a proper boomerang does not return to its owner upon release, and there’s a simple explanation for this: a stick (as in a weapon) that flies in a circular trajectory when thrown would be almost impossible to hunt with, think about it.

The ballistics of such a gizmo would be almost impossible to master by a normal man, which doesn’t spend 10 hours a day practicing throwing a returning boomerang since he was a 5 year old bushman wannabe.

Don’t throw rocks at me, I am aware of the fact that returning boomerangs are all the rage for Indiana Jones aficionados and the like, and they do exist.

A returning boomerang can only be used in large-open spaces, like hunting in the desert (hunting what exactly in the desert?) or in meadows, basically in places where there’s no vegetation nor tall objects that may disrupt the boomerang’s flight path.

However, even on the ideal hunting ground, it’s incredibly hard to aim precisely at distance using a returning boomerang; I mean you’d have to be at least some upgraded version of Crocodile Dundee to do it. Maybe you are, I’m just saying.

Now, even if boomerangs were used by the indigenous people in Australia for millennia, similar primitive hunting tools were also discovered in Stone Age Europe. The most used version of the boomerang is the non-returning variety, which is basically a throwing stick,  yet more slimmer and aerodynamic.

The non returning boomerang slices through the air at amazing speeds due to its peculiar design: this bad boy has one arm longer than the other and is very aerodynamic.

You can use a non returning boomerang even for hunting large game, provided it hits the animal’s head or breaks its knee/leg or whatever. These boomerangs are great for killing/maiming a target, whether for hunting or self defense.

Video first seen on Throwsticks Channel.

Can You DIY a Boomerang?

When it comes to the DIY thing, to begin with, you’ll have to do a little scouting for that perfect piece of wood. Ideally, you’ll have to get your hands on a tree limb which is about 3 inches in diameter and also boasts a natural curve in it.

Hardwood is best for this kind of job and also look out for knots, they’re a no go. Your future boomerang should be as knot free as humanly possible (goes to balance).

After you have located the perfect limb for your DIY project, cut a 3 foot section of it, with the curved centered as closely as humanly possible. You’ll probably not use the whole 3 feet, but it’s nice to have a little extra wood to play with. In a perfect world, you’ll allow the limb to season in a dry, warm place for a few weeks.

Now, you’ll have to carve up your boomerang from the piece of wood and for the initial roughing up, an axe would be great. You’ll have to thin down the top and the bottom of the limb, looking for a thickness of about 1 inch.

Make sure the blade of the boomerang goes the full width of the limb. When the job is done, you should have something like a 1 inch thick by 3 inch wide board, featuring a curve in the middle.

Here comes the detailing work, i.e. take your survival knife and start adding the final touches to your boomerang.  One end of the boomerang/rabbit stick must be narrowed down/rounded off to make for the handle, whilst the blade should be 1 inch thick in the middle through its entire length, and tapered down making a rounded edge on both sides. If you leave the edges too thin, they’ll get dented/damaged when you hit rocks or trees with your boomerang.

Video first seen on Driftwood George.

And here’s a tutorial about making a rabbit stick for survival hunting.

Video first seen on OmegaGear.

Mind you, if you want to hunt using such a device, be prepared for long hours of practice. But in the end, this is what you’re actually doing with every skill you need for survival, don’t you?

Practice, practice and practice till you’re sure that you’re good enough to save you and your family, then you start practicing again.

I hope the article helped. If you have any ideas or comments, please feel free to comment in the dedicated section below.

Survival Defense: Here’s How To Escape Handcuffs

Anybody can buy handcuffs. It only takes a few bucks and a criminal mind to turn this simple item into a mean of terror against a person whose freedom is suddenly compromised.

Even so, rememeber that handcuffs are employed for temporary restraint. Which means that if you are left alone in handcuffs, you can escape. If you don’t know how to do it, then this article is exactly what you need.

Keep reading!


  • Freeing yourself from handcuffs can save lives or get you a court-appointed lawyer. Exercise sound judgement as to when to use and when not to use this skill.
  • After I wrote about restraint escape kits and how to carry them, readers requested articles about how to use restraint escape gear. This article is one of a series on how to do just that.
  • If SEALs can be captured, so can you!
  • More than anything else, executing a restraint escape takes practice.

Clearly, the decision to use this skill is very situation-dependent. As is the case with many of the survival skills, freeing yourself from handcuffs could potentially save lives, cost them or worse, so be sure you understand and carefully weigh the potential consequences before attempting to do so.

“I don’t think you should teach people to escape double-locked handcuffs because criminals only single lock them and LEO’s double lock them.”

LEO (Law Enforcement Officer)

I disagree.  The idea that less information makes people safer is a slippery slope.

Whether software, hardware, safety equipment or security equipment, it is better to expose security flaws and limitations to the average consumer, voter or shareholder so they can be corrected, making the things that protect us more effective.

It is reckless to assume that anyone who might illegally restrain you must be stupid and uneducated.

SEALs are Issued Bobby Pins

I have heard a lot of big talk and bluster from self-proclaimed death machines about how they will never be taken prisoner or walk away from a fight.

Do they impress you? Put the fear in you? Interest you? Me either … I guess death machines must bore their enemies to death.

One day, I noticed that a request for proposal for SERE kits for one of the SEAL teams included a lot of the same gear that I carry, including bobby pins. Why carry bobby pins? Because they are ubiquitous, don’t scream “restraint escape tool!”, easy to hide and easy to improvise serviceable restraint escape tools from.

In trained hands, they can shim handcuffs, pick handcuffs, act as a reach tool for handcuff keys, pick locks, tension locks, push a friction saw past tight flex cuffs or duct tape and have many more restraint escape applications.

Before you decide you are too hard or too righteous to ever possibly need to escape, consider this: If SEALs can be captured, you can too.


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

SEALs carry tools to execute a last-ditch escape plan. What do you carry?

Anyone can Buy Handcuffs

One does not need to be a law enforcement officer to buy handcuffs. All they need is a few bucks of credit and a heartbeat.

Under the circumstances, you are wrong thinking that you’re safe!

Still some people are more prone than others to get into this kind of situations.

Who Are People with High Risk of Illegal Restraint?

Violent Crime

While many Americans think that the risk of restraint-related crime is too low to justify learning to escape, the US is only ever one congressional vote away from becoming the newest banana republic and one cyberattack, EMP, financial collapse or Black Swan away from sliding back to third world status.

Also, when assessing risk, considering the probability of occurrence, but ignoring your exposure to the risk is a recipe for disaster.

Where I live in the US, the rate of violent crime is very low, but the fact that so many people own or carry firearms helps keep it that way. In Brazil, it’s just the opposite. Home invasion and related crimes involving illegal restraint are on the rise, with groups even crossing state lines to perpetrate crimes. It can happen to you.

International Travel

Kidnapping for ransom, lighting kidnappings and politically-motivate crimes involving illegal restraint are significant risks in some parts of the world, especially for Americans. I spend months at a time in parts of Brazil and travel to other countries where illegal restraint is a significant threat, and often precedes homicide.

Journalists, Reporters, Media

With high visibility, comes elevated risk.

Sex & Stalking-related Violent Crimes

Some people just won’t take, “Hell, no!” for an answer and believe it or not, it doesn’t just happen to women.

I will never forget how a 6’4” man’s man bawled like a baby as he tried to recount the experience of explaining to his son how a group of bikers abducted him from a gas station, drove him outside of town in a van and sexually assaulted him repeatedly.

If criminals try to restrain you during a crime and transport you from a populated area, your chances of survival drop to single digits, whereas 6 in 7 victims shot with a handgun in a US city survive. You may be much better off making a run for it in this situation. Escaping your restraints may position you to fight and/or run, affording you your best shot at survival.


Whether working overseas or on active duty, military personnel are high value targets for politically and religiously-motivated crimes.

International Aid Workers

Too often victims of “wrong place, wrong time.”


Don’t laugh, the internet has made it possible for the average person to reach a worldwide audience. It is also a dream come true for stalkers.

How Handcuffs Work

Essentially the same basic handcuff design most widely used in the USA has changed very little in over 100 years. It is so widely used that changing it would be expensive and create a huge logistical headache.

Most arrestees are cooperative, so leadership does not want to deal with said headache and does not typically value officer safety very highly. They whitewash over the fact that the standard handcuff design has security vulnerabilities with SOP, stating that standard handcuffs should be used only to secure prisoners temporarily while an officer is present.

Since departments don’t typically issue high security handcuff for situations that fall outside this rule, there are plenty of situations where officers do not have other tools at their disposal. These factors make standard handcuffs both widely used and relatively easy to escape.

Standard handcuffs have a single strand with ratchet teeth that pivots on a that bisects both arms of a double strand. The single stand interlocks with teeth on a locking bar. This feature makes handcuffs simple to apply and adjustable.

Once the single strand is closed around the wrist and its ratchet teeth engage the opposing ratchet teeth on the locking bar (normally obscured by the cheek plates), the single stand will not open. In this condition, the handcuffs are single locked.

To double lock the handcuffs, the double locking bar is engaged by depressing a recessed detent pin with a short push pin, called a stem, located on the top of the key. Once the double locking bar is engaged, the handcuffs are double locked. In this condition, the handcuffs are secure and cannot be tightened further.

Unlocking Handcuffs

To unlock standard handcuffs, simply Insert the handcuff key and turn it counter-clockwise, as this disengages the double locking bar. Turning the key clockwise and maintaining pressure disengages the teeth on the locking bar from the ratchet teeth on the single strand, enabling the single strand to open.

Caution! These techniques are best practiced with a key handy and a second responsible party nearby to aid in removal of handcuffs if necessary. If handcuffs are over-tightened for an extended period, they can cause nerve damage!

Standard Counter-picking Features

The keyway has a post protruding from its center which make it difficult to insert tools into the keyway to manipulate the locking bars, but allows handcuff keys to seat because the

To further thwart attempts to open handcuffs by picking, the double lock bar is often replaced with two thinner double locking bars so if a tool that matches the shape of a handcuff key is used to manipulate the double lock bar, but is too thin, the tool will only disengage one of the two locking bars at a time.

Methods & Tools for Defeating Handcuffs

Today, the cultural norm is to solve problems with money. Need a tool? Buy it online. To me, survival involves solving problems without money, stores or the internet. If you really want to buy a specific tool, I’m sure you can get someone to sell you on (including me).

But I strongly suggest that you start making basic restraint escape tools yourself and save your money for the more specialized tools, like a cutaway handcuff with one of the cheek plates replaced with plexiglass. They are not perfect for practice as the cheek plate is thicker than actual handcuffs, but it will enable you to manipulate the internal parts and understand how they work.

Not only will you save money making tools, but you will learn a lot and build a skill set that cannot be easily discovered taken from you.

You can make escape and entry tools from any material that is sufficiently strong and ductile, including aluminum cans, bobby pins, wiper blade, feeler gauges, street sweeper bristles, water bottles, cordage, tubing, lip protectant and any number of other bits of trash that litter areas inhabited by humans.


If handcuffed effectively from the point of view of preventing escape, the palms of your hands will be facing away from the keyways and the handcuffs double locked. This position and the fact that the handcuffs are double locked makes it very difficult for anatomically normal folks to reach the keyways and movement is further restricted if hinged or rigid handcuffs are applied.

Not all police departments use this method though. Some departments handcuff with palms together to prevent nerve damage if the suspect struggles or the handcuffs are not removed in time.

The solution is to use an extension or reach tool to extend the reach of a concealable handcuff key. I explained the pros and cons of different models of keys in a prior article.

A reach tool that I like that can be used with many key designs is the bobby pin, but any number of tools can serve the purpose. A short length of silicone tubing (like I wear on my necklace) can be useful with some models and can be employed to pad your fingers as you bend metal.

Necklace designs, keys and ways to conceal them in the articles linked in the BLUF section.


Modified Mini Binder Clip Handle

The modified mini binder clip is one of my favorite ways to open handcuffs. I carry mini binder clips as money clips for cash. I prefer to distribute cash on my person instead of preparing it for theft by gathering it in a single, easy-to-find wad. I also find it handy to separating foreign and domestic currency. Now I have plausible deniability should a loose binder clip handle be discovered on my person … it must have fallen off a clip I was using as a money clip.

If you can find binder clips of the right dimensions that’s great, you won’t need to modify them. If you can’t, the modifications are difficult to notice, especially to someone without a lens or an idea of what they are looking for.

Shorten the length of the bend of the binder clip handle that will be used as the tooth of a handcuff key to 2.80mm including the diameter of the wire. The diameter of the wire should be reduced to 0.85mm to ensure that it can pass feely between the keyhole in the cheek plate and the security pin. Modifications can easily be performed with a wire cutter and a diamond jeweler’s file, by rubbing it on a concrete or stone surface of appropriate grit or with a diamond cutoff disc for a rotary tool. The detail-oriented can even re-finish the clip to avoid detection.

To use, bend the clip open. Work the “tooth” into the keyway and use it to sweep and/or stab open the double locking bar(s) in a counter-clockwise direction and then the locking bar in a clockwise direction and … “Presto!” you just opened double locked handcuffs without a key.

Hook Pick

A medium or so hook lock pick can be used to manipulate the locking bars as with a mini binder clip handle only you will be pushing at an angle to manipulate the locking bars as opposed to sweeping. Give it a try.

Bobby Pin

Same deal basic idea. The technique can be sweeping or pushing depending on how you bent the bobby pin. Believe it or not, SERE shops online actually sell “pre-bent” bobby pins, but if you lack the wherewithal to bend a bobby pin, you aren’t realistically going to be escaping anything. Better to retreat to your safe space and trust in the mercy of captors.


Shims are tiny, easy to conceal and can open handcuffs quickly and quietly, if the handcuffs are only single locked. Shimming will not open double locked handcuffs because the double locking bar prevents downward travel of the locking bar, which is necessary to disengage the teeth enough to wedge a shim between the two sets of teeth.

Shims can be purchased inexpensively or improvised from hair clips, bobby pins, cotter pins or similar objects. Just understand that many models currently sold will not open even standard handcuffs featuring narrow single strands and ratchet teeth, like UZI brand and some generic cuffs sold at military surplus stores without modification.

I test every new shim I see hit the market and measure them with a caliper. Most are too wide to reliably open cheap handcuffs. (Shim manufacturers take heed!) Many shims need to be modified by narrowing the width.

We are not talking huge measurements here, just a fraction of a millimeter, so a narrow shim can open handcuffs with a wider single strand just fine, but the opposite is untrue. Unfortunately, that fraction of a millimeter of extra width is the difference between a shim not working or working.

To shim handcuffs, insert the shim beneath the teeth on the single strand, where it enters the handcuff body. Wedge the shim between the single strand teeth and the locking bar teeth, maintaining constant (stabbing) pressure on the shim, pushing it in between the two sets of teeth. Maintain pressure once in place and simultaneously tighten the single strand, taking care not to over-tighten.

One ratchet click should be enough to seat the shim between the teeth! If the shim does not seat in a couple of clicks, start over and do not risk nerve damage in training! As the single strand is tightened, it forces the teeth to disengage for an instant before the locking spring slams them back shut. In this instant, the shim can be wedged between the teeth, preventing them from engaging. Once seated, the shim can then travel a couple of centimeters inside the handcuff body as the single strand is tightened and the single strand then be opened since its teeth will slide along the shim instead of engaging the teeth on the locking bar.

Slipping Handcuffs

Human anatomy varies a great deal. Some folks have wrists that are larger than their hands, flexible hands or muscular forearms. All the preceding anatomical features aid in slipping handcuffs. The higher handcuffs are applied on the forearms, the easier it is to slip them.

Flex your forearm muscles discreetly as handcuffs are applied. When your muscles are relaxed, your forearms will become thinner. Even if you are not able to slip the cuffs at this point, your range of motion should be increased.

Applying handcuffs over long sleeves or coat sleeves increases range of motion and applying a little petroleum jelly, white petrolatum, lip protectant or even butter or grease from food can act as a lubricant and aid in slipping handcuffs.

Breaking Handcuffs

Breaking the Chain

It is possible to break the chain of most models of standard handcuffs by pulling the chain taught and then twisting both wrists so that the cheek plates bind on one another, creating a fulcrum. Employ pressure at the rivets that bind the single strand to the double strands, using the strands as levers to gain sufficient mechanical advantage to snap the chain.

The downsides are that practicing this technique is on the expensive side and you will still want to remove the handcuffs.

Cutting the Single Strand

Do not cut the single strand near the rivet! If you do, the ratchet teeth may prevent the single strand from opening. Cut it closer to where the single strand enters the handcuff body. That way it can open, pivoting on the rivet.

The Secret to Restraint Escape

The secret recipe for effective restraint escape (and most other survival skills) is simple. Whichever method or tool you choose,

…more than the best instructor on the planet,

…more than raw talent or genius,

…more than sexiest or best tools,

… effective restraint escape requires practice and dogged persistence! The others may help a little, but practice and persistence mean the difference between proficiency and failure.

Avoid This Too Common Mistake

Practice. As you do, start with the models of handcuffs you are likely to need to escape from.

A huge mistake a lot of folks who live the tactical lifestyle often make is practicing with only well-maintained, high quality handcuffs they own or are issued as opposed to models of handcuffs criminals are more likely to use.

If you carry handcuffs, you should be experienced in escaping from the handcuffs you carry and carry a spare key attached to a reach tool, but a street criminal perpetrating a home invasion to get money to score drugs is more likely to use a pair of cheap army surplus store handcuffs that have been rusting behind the seat in his truck for the past 5 years than a pair of well-oiled high-end handcuffs.

Practice with both! This is how you will be able to make the smart move when your life would be on the edge!

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

Survival Gear I didn’t Need

Survival Gear I didn’t Need This is just a great honest article from a prepper who is in the game. It is no secret that this can be a very profitable niche to be in. Still, you have to be aware of when you are reading an article by a real prepper or a ghost …

Continue reading »

The post Survival Gear I didn’t Need appeared first on SHTF Prepping & Homesteading Central.

The 5 Types Of Cold Weapons For Urban Survival

There are literally millions of cold weapons that already exist in urban settings, and the best ones tend to be those that don’t look like weapons at first glance, and can be easily concealed.

Here are five basic categories of cold weapons to consider.

Before choosing one for your defense, think if you can wield the weapon effectively and efficiently, how will you train your skills and stay in good form with each weapon that you decide to carry.

A cold weapon can be defined as any device used for self-defense or killing that does not use fire or explosives to propel a projectile.

1. Edged weapons

These weapons are very common, and have been used throughout history for hunting or combat. They are the best to use for cutting, hacking, slashing, or stabbing in close combat. While some edged weapons focus on sharpened edges, others also have points that are used for thrusting rather than slashing.

Edged weapons are usually suitable for trained adults and teenagers, but they can also be used by children in an emergency. There are many edged weapons that you can purchase or make from metal or plastic.

Combat knives

This is a heavy duty fighting knife designed for hand to hand or close combat fighting.

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

A good example of this type of knife is the USMC KA-BAR. While these knives are designed with military personnel in mind, they are also freely available on the civilian market.

Homemade metal shanks or shivs

These are primitive and very easy to make deep cover knives. Metal shanks are easy to make from just about any piece of metal that measures 6 inches long (with three inches for the blade and three for the handle).

The basic design can be cut out with a hacksaw and then sharpened with a file. The handle can be wrapped with tape or cloth to protect the user. This shank can do great bodily harm and can be used to stab the victim multiple times without breaking.

Glass shanks

Are made from a piece of glass about a half of an inch thick and about 6 to 8 inches long. The blade can be 4 to 5 inches long. The handle should be about 3 inches long and wrapped in cloth or tape to protect your hands.

A glass shank will usually only withstand one use before weakening and falling apart. When the victim is stabbed with this weapon, it will break and shatter into many small pieces that can make nasty to fatal wound.

Obsidian stone knives

These are very sharp stone knives that ancient man used for fighting, hunting, game dressing, and utilities. The blades were made by a process called knapping; where small slivers of obsidian were broken off in order to make a blade sharp and to sharpen the edge. The knife blade was then secured into a handle by wrapping thin wet leather strips around the blade and handle.

Plastic non-metallic knives

Since these knives use no metal in there construction, they are very hard to detect by X-rays or metal detectors. These knives are made of hard plastics or polymers and can be made into any design and length.

The strength and durability of the knife, however, will depend largely on the material used to create the blade and handle. In the case of polymers or other non-metallic resins, the hardening or curing process can also play a large role in how well the knife stands up to different kinds of usage.


Double edged blade designs are useful for slipping between ribs to do great bodily harm, or to kill.

Bowie knives

A long knife (8 – 12 inch blades) with a blade double-edged at the point. These knives can do a considerable amount of damage, and can kill when wielded for that purpose.

Spears with metal, obsidian points, or fire hardened tips

A spear can be used as a thrusting weapon in close quarters, or can be thrown to stop an individual at a distance. Spears should have a 6 to 8 foot shaft made of hard wood that is as straight as possible. The spearhead can be made of metal, obsidian, stone, or have a fire hardened tip.

You can also disguise spears as walking sticks. To do this, the spear point can be concealed under a tight fitting cover made of the same material as the shaft. When a spear is needed, just remove the spearhead cover.

2. Blunt force trauma weapons

These are primitive weapons designed to deliver blunt trauma force to inflict damage on the target. Most of these weapons are club-like in the sense that they depend on the weight of the weapon and the strength of the user to inflict damage.

These weapons should be used by strong adults or teenagers. Children can also use the lighter weight devices in an emergency.

Baseball and T-ball bats

Usually made of wood or aluminum. In countries where baseball is not commonly played, baseball bats are often thought of as weapons and are not legal to carry or possess. T-ball bats are also used in this manner. Since they are smaller and lighter, they can be easier for children and people with less physical strength to wield.


A large metal flashlight, like a Maglite can make a very effective improvised club. Though not specifically classified as a weapon, it is often carried for self-defense by security guards, bouncers and civilians, especially in countries where carrying weapons is restricted.

Black Jacks

A hand weapon featuring a leather-covered bludgeon filled with small lead shot; and a short, flexible shaft or strap. It can break a bone, knock you out cold, or kill. These weapons have been outlawed in the US since the 1980’s, however that doesn’t change the fact that they are very easy to make and conceal.

Shillelagh (Irish walking stick)

This is a wooden club cut as a walking stick, typically made from a Blackthorn tree. Shillelaghs also usually have a large knob on one end, and a slight tapered point on the other end.

Monkey’s fist

This is a small weapon that looks like the small bunched fist or paw of a monkey. One end of the monkey fist is a rope, while the other holds a metal weight inside a winding of rope. The rope is designed to be extended or shortened to suit your needs.

Video first seen on EveryDay Knife Guy.

A monkey fist can easily fit on your key chain, and can also be used to store paracord for emergency needs. As innocent and small as these weapons look, they can inflict lethal injuries.

3. Object throwing weapons

These weapons can be used by all age groups and are simple to make and use.

Rope slings

The sling is inexpensive and easy to build (see my article on how to build and use one). It has historically been used for hunting game and in combat. They are typically used to throw blunt projectiles such as stone, clay balls, or pieces of metal.

Sling shots

Have a Y-shaped handle made of wood or metal with an elastic strip or rubber surgical tubing between the prongs. Sling shots are also used for launching stones and other small projectiles. Modern metal and rubber surgical tubing sling shots are powerful enough to kill small game as well as critically injure, or kill a human.


This is a type of throwing weapon made of wooden, stone or metal weights at the ends of three interconnected cords. Usually, one cord is longer than the other two so that the heavier weights fly at the front parallel to each other and hit either side of the targets legs. The lighter weighted cord then wraps around the legs of the target. Bolas are used primarily for capturing animals, however they can critically injure, or kill a human depending on how they are aimed.

Archery equipment

Longbows can be made easily enough from natural materials as can the arrows. Crossbows are harder to construct, however they can be every bit as lethal, if not more so than a handgun. Aside from the fact that crossbows can launch their projectiles across great distances, they are also extremely quiet and are very hard to regulate.

You can build a crossbow with a minimal amount of skill in wood and metalworking.

4. Farming, gardening, and hand tools

Many agricultural tools have been used throughout history as improvised weapons for self and property defense as well as warfare. In medieval times, farmers pressed into military service often carried only their own farming tools. These tools can be used as weapons by all age groups.

  • Sickles – A hand-held agricultural tool designed with curved blades for harvesting. It is a good weapon for slashing and stabbing.
  • Hoe – One of the most practical weapons among farmers because it can be used as a staff for striking and blocking, or as an edged weapon.
  • Pickaxe handles – Pickaxes are common tools in the United States, thus replacement handles are still widely available. These handles have a good weight to them can be used as a club or staff.
  • Machete – A machete is a broad blade tool that can function as a knife or an ax. Themacheteblade is used for cutting, while the weighted upper blade provides force for chopping. Because the machete is common in many tropical countries, it is often the weapon of choice for insurrections or uprising. In combat the machete is used like a short sword.
  • Axes – An ax is a tool typically used for chopping, shaping, or splitting wood. Combat axes are usually either a bit larger or smaller than utility axes. The lighter weight ones can be wielded with one hand, while the larger, heavier ones require two hands. Combat axes also usually have thinner, more narrow blades designed to make deeper wounds.
  • Wire or rope – Use rope or wire to make a garrote. These weapons can be disguised as belts to hold your pants up. If you make a garrote, be sure to install safety handles on it to keep you from getting cut. Garrotes are outlawed in most countries, however they are so easy to make, disguise, and carry, it is impossible to say if these laws have any tangible effect.
  • Hand tool kits – These are the multi-purpose tool kits you usually keep around the house or in your vehicle. Screwdrivers can make excellent weapons, as can wrenches and hammers. Razor blade utility knives can also make excellent slashing weapons. Considering that the perpetrators of 9/11 used simple box cutter knives against unarmed citizens, it is plain enough to see just how dangerous various components of hand tool kits can be.

5. Improvised weapons

Improvised weapons are common everyday objects that can be used as defensive weapons. These objects are not physically altered in any way to make them into more functional weapons. They are generally utilized in their normal state.

Once you see the weapon potential of an object, you will still need to figure out how to carry and wield it for self defense. The truth is that almost anything can be used effectively as an improvised weapon and in many cases can be normally carried on the average person’s body.

These weapons can be used by people of all age groups. Since all of these items are plain everyday items, you will not need special permits to carry them around. Some, however, may be banned from carrying on planes or other sensitive areas.

Nail clippers

Small metal pocket nail clippers with a metal file/nail cleaner can make an excellent slashing weapon. Just grip the file/ nail cleaner in your dominant hand so that it extends about an inch beyond the thumb and first finger. Aim for the attacker’s eyes, face, hands, or any area that is sensitive to pain and exposed.

Pens and Pencils

Pens and pencils make good thrusting weapons when held in your hands. Your target areas will be the face, arms, and chest. The wounds made by these weapons can critically injure or cause death. You can also buy tactical pens that include other weaponized options such as blades and bright flashlights. Just make sure they are legal to carry in your area.

House or car keys

Key chains holding at least 3 or more keys make a good defensive weapon. Just set the keys so that the shafts stick out between the fingers of your dominant hand and then make a fist. Once again, you will be aiming for the arms, chest, or face. If the attacker isn’t wearing heavy garments, you can also try a blow to the abdomen.

Pant belts

A good way to use a belt to defend yourself is to hold it by the buckle and use the leather portion as a whip. The target areas will be the face, neck, back, or any other place that would cause a lot of pain.

Insect sprays

These sprays can be just as, if not more effective than mace or pepper spray. Be sure to aim for the face and eyes of your attacker. While these sprays won’t kill, they can distract an attacker long enough so that you can escape.

Contrary to the belief of some, the lack of guns will not make times safer. If anything, relying only on cold weapons can easily increase stress levels and lead to far more violence due to a reduction in the sense of personal security and safety.

Even so, having a cold weapon on hand or being able to turn a regular item into one, is a lifesaving skill! Do you master it?

This article has been written by Fred Tyrell for Survivopedia.

Gear I Hate – How to Avoid Survival Gear that Can Get You Killed

Survival gear is supposed to help you… Right? But some survival gear is just junk that can waste your money, time, energy – and could even get you killed. Let’s take a look at a few of the items on my “Most Hated” survival gear list.

I’m keenly aware that hate is a strong word, I did not loosely choose it for this title. I really do hate the pieces of equipment that I am going to take a look at here today.

First Aid KitI am in the business of teaching people how to survive under uncomfortable conditions. Conditions in which gear can often make or break you. I often emphasize that to survive in any condition, you should focus your training on four different aspects in a specific order: Mindset, Skills, Tactics, and Gear. More often than not people reverse that order and focus on the gear. When doing this, it’s easy to fall victim to marketing and get gear that is either a poor choice in general, or you could simply do without with it if you had the knowledge and skill to achieve your goal by another means.

What I want to do for you today is not just point out a few items of gear that are terrible, but also give you alternatives so that you don’t make the same mistakes that I have seen others make time and time again.

First Aid Kit
You will see these virtually everywhere. Small portable first aid kits that have “SURVIVAL MEDICAL KIT” or “OUTDOORSMAN FIRST AID” or similar. You will find these in the big-box stores, sometimes even in the checkout lines. Most of these amount to nothing more than a few adhesive bandages, some useless medical tape, and some antiseptic wipes.

You are almost always better served by building your own first aid kit. I do keep a few adhesive strips in my kit for little boo-boos – the best, most sticky and durable ones that we’ve found are these ones from Band-Aid, but I also carry rolled gauze, and duct tape for extra security.

The whole purpose of using these items is to cover a wound so it does not get bacteria, dirt and/or grime in a wound and set up infection. Gauze and duct tape stay on, much better than adhesive strips.

Also put in a small bottle of hand sanitizer, or alcohol strips to clean around wounds, but not in them. You should also include in your kit, some more useful items like a tourniquet, a chest seal, and a nasopharyngeal airway (nose trumpet). These are bit more technical to use but are used every day and designed to save lives. To use them, you need to find a good remote, tactical or technical first aid class.


A junk compass can lead you astray and even get you killed in a survival situation.

You should have a good compass in your kit and the knowledge on how to use it. What I often see is people getting the cheapest compass they can find. This is a critical piece of gear and you should not entrust your land navigation ability to subpar equipment. Some things to look for are bubbles in the bezel, an arrow that does not spin freely, and a bezel that moves side to side rather than just turning. Compasses are just like knives: you can go inexpensive, that is for certain, but your life may depend upon it. Spend a little more so you can have a piece that you can depend upon. There are a few companies that we recommend. For base plate compasses choose a Silva, Brunton, or Suunto. For a lensatic compass, Cammenga is the way to go.

Wire saw stuck in a tree – which is a typical sight.

Wire Saws
This is one of those items that has two very distinct reasons to be considered at all for a kit. The first reason is due to popular culture. We like logs and sticks to be nice and tidy on the ends therefore we want something in our kits that will help- us achieve that. A wire saw seems to do this easily and it is small, lightweight and affordable. However in my practice and training, which now spans four decades, I can find no real need for such neatness. There are very few traps, fire material, shelter materials, etc., that need real clean cuts. For those cuts I can use a knife.

The other reason I think people want these is because they never actually use them, they like the idea of using them. Once you do, you will quickly realize that they are only easy to use on small material, are it is easy to get clogged, brake, and get dull very quickly. Not to mention the number of calories expended using them should be a serious consideration for survival training.

Your alternative for this item is to gain knowledge so you do not need to have everything perfectly cut, as well as get a Bahco Laplander, Silky Saw or similar hand saw. See David’s Survival Saw Showdown Video for head to head comparisons of top wilderness saws.

Bent shovel

Folding shovel fail.

Shovels or Entrenching Tools (E-Tool)
Shovels and e-tools can be an incredibly useful piece of equipment but not if you get a junk one. There are any number of companies that are selling lightweight, easy to carry shovels, or similar, and they do not stand up to moderate use.

I cannot begin to tell you how many of these lighter tools I have seen come to our survival classes and get bent within the first few minutes of use. There are not a lot of uses for these tools in general survival use. We use them a lot more in our tactical survival classes. However, if you want to get one, go ahead and realize that you are going to need to get a solid military issue surplus e-tool. They simply cannot be beat for portability and durability. They are heavier, but that weight is due to hardier materials that do not bend under use.

How to Avoid Survival Gear that Can Get You Killed

Today, it’s really easy to find great gear and avoid gear that could put your life at risk in a survival situation.

First, take a survival class or two. Swap ideas with others and observe what gear performs the best. When you see several people using the same stuff and it works, you may have found your next piece of gear.

Next, search Amazon or YouTube for the gear you are looking for. On Amazon, people are pretty transparent in their comments. When you find gear that has over 4 stars and lots of reviews, you may have just found a “good bet.” On YouTube, watch reviewers that you trust, who have tested and used the stuff you are interested in.

Stay tuned for more terrible survival gear to avoid, that we’ll feature in future posts. We look forward to helping you keep quality and budget minded so you can purchase solid gear, and not break the bank by wasting money on gear that will not last.

~ About Craig Caudill ~

Craig-Toon-BustCraig Caudill is the Founder and Chief Instructor of Nature Reliance School. He specializes in wilderness and urban survival, land navigation, scout/tracking and defensive tactics training for private, public and government agencies. Craig is a frequent survival and preparedness contributor to TV outlets, blog sites, magazines and is a popular online outdoor educator on YouTube via Nature Reliance and Dan’s Depot channels.

Craig also has advanced rank in both Judo and Aikido and continues to teach and train after 20+ years of training in each and is also an avid student of all things gun. Forever a student, Craig always attempts to find ways to help others to develop their mindset and critical thinking skills so they can think on their own and for themselves.


Why is Paracord So Important & How Can it Save Your Life?


I recently got a question from one of our subscribers asking why they should use paracord instead of more affordable plain nylon cord.

This is a great question because on the surface, we really don’t see much of a difference between the two. They’re both cord, about the same diameter and weight. And one is half the cost of the other.

So What’s the Big Deal About Paracord Anyway?


And why should you even care if you use paracord or just plain nylon cordage in your Bug Out Bag, emergency kit or on your next camping trip?

The answer is simple…

Paracord gives you many more options for improvising in a survival situation.

Let me explain…

Take a look at standard 150lb test weight nylon cord, next to a length of Type III commercial grade, 550 parachute cord.


The 550 means that the paracord is rated with a minimum breaking strength of 550 pounds or about 250 kilograms. Let me point out that this stuff is strong, but it’s not rated for climbing or things like that.

So just in its load-bearing strength, we already we know that our Type III 550 paracord is over 3 times stronger than the nylon cord… and alone, this is enough for me…

But That’s Not All…


The real genius of the parachute cord, is how it’s engineered with an outer casing and  ours has 7 internal yarns. Each yarn in OUR paracord is made of 2 individual strands.

NOTE: We use high quality, U.S. Made commercial grade Type III 550 paracord that has 7 yarns and 2 strands per yarn. However, Genuine MIL-SPEC MIL-C-5040 Type III Paracord has 7-9 yarns and 3 strands per yarn. The problem is that Mil Spec paracord can be expensive and hard to find. So for our purposes and budget the U.S. made, commercial grade 550 paracord we use is fine. However, if you plan on jumping out of a plane, I suggest you use Genuine MIL-SPEC MIL-C-5040 Type III Paracord 🙂

This design prevents the cord from totally failing if it’s nicked or damaged slightly… because even if the casing and a few yarns are harmed, we should still have several independent yarns and strands keeping this thing together.


But strength and resistance to damage are not the only beautiful things about having  paracord in a survival situation…

Check This Out…

So 1 foot or 30 centimeters of paracord is actually 8 feet or about 2.4 meters of usable cordage when you pull it apart. This means that 100 feet or 30 meters of paracord… that weighs only around 6 ounces or 170 grams… gives you up to 800 feet or 243 meters (well over two soccer or American Football fields) of strong usable cord when you pull it apart. How cool is that?

So you simply pull the casing off…


And now you have this rugged outer casing that has many uses alone… including: making a great boot lace, a tie down and thousands of other uses… AND there are 7 pretty tough individual YARNS inside that are often called the guts…

These tough little guys are suitable for sewing, a fishing line, net making, shelter building, bushcraft, snares and traps, and any other use you can dream up when you need to improvise to stay alive.

paracord paracord paracord

So we’ve just taken a look at some paracord basics and why paracord is generally a better choice for survival and emergencies than regular nylon cord. Widgets

Rappelling: A Guide To Basic Equipment And Knots

When it comes to learning new survival skills, there are several things that many think of as sporting or hobby techniques as opposed to something that can save your life in a crisis.

For example, many think of rappelling as a hobby for people interested in the outdoors or mountain climbing instead of something that may be needed to escape an inner city skyscraper or some other area where great heights are involved.

Keep reading and you’ll see what you’re missing!

Before you begin learning how to rappel, it’s important to get good quality gear and know how to tie the basic knots used in this activity.

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

Remember, no matter where you are rappelling down from, you will be relying solely on your equipment and proper technique. If the equipment or your knots fail, the odds are you will die.

Mandatory Equipment You Need for Rappelling


Having and wearing good quality leather climbing gloves is a good idea when rappelling. They will protect your hands from rope burns (especially if you are moving down the rope too fast) as well as from getting dirty from contact with the rope.


Actually, this should be the first to mention. The next questions is, what kind of rope should you use? If you climbed a mountain to reach a point to rappel down from, you will more than likely use the same ropes that were used during your ascent.

Before rappelling with these ropes, check them over for signs of stretching, cuts, or other damage that occurred while climbing. I’s always helpful to keep a spare set of unused ropes that you can use for rappelling in case the first set is damaged. Use different colored ropes so that it is easier to figure out which one to pull on.

In the US the standard length of rope for rappelling is 200 feet long. If doing a long rappel two of these ropes must be used. These two ropes are joined together by one of four rappelling knots.

If you are doing a short rappel of under 100 feet, then double back the rope on itself to allow for the 100 foot rappel.

It is safer to use ropes with a 10mm to 11mm diameter. This diameter rope will give more friction when they feed through the rappelling device than smaller diameter ropes. Also, the thicker ropes are less likely to be burned or cut than the thinner ropes.

Safety note: Never tie a thick cord to a thinner one. There is a chance that the knot might work itself loose and create a situation where you will fall to your death.

Rappel anchors

For your safety, a minimum of two anchors are needed to rappel off a cliff. Some people consider three anchors a redundancy, however it never hurts to use one more just in case a problem occurs with the other two.

Anchors can be bolts, pitons, cams, trees, or tied off boulders.

Rappelling ropes

Are always threaded through metal anchor material such as screw quick links, steel descending rings, carabiner.

Never, under any circumstance, use nylon slings as an anchor. These slings can melt, break, or fail if they come into direct contact with the rope and the friction it produces as you are rappelling.

Rappelling device and locking carabiner

The choice of rappelling devices depends on the situation. To help cut down on your climbing weight, it is best to pick a rappelling device that could also be used as a belay device.

Black Diamond ATCs and Trango B-52s are excellent choices for rappelling devices.

Some climbers like to use the Figure-8 descender because it is easy to use and gives the individual a fast smooth ride down.

On the down side, the Figure-8 descender can put kinks in the rope and cause a twisted mess to uncoil that will have to be fixed before you can finish a safe rappel to the ground.

Safety note: Be sure you have a sturdy extra large auto locking carabiner to attach the rappelling device to your harness. A screw gate carabiner will work, but bear in mind it can unscrew and open under load causing serious safety issues.


Safety note: Always use a climbing harness when rappelling.

A harness forms a comfortable seat for rappelling. The harness is fitted around the waist and upper legs. It is very important that the waist belt fits tightly, has no cracks or worn spots, and has a belaying loop on the front.

If you don’t have a harness, you can make one from webbing.

Personal anchor tether

If you are going from rappel station to station or plan on multiple rappelings, you will need to immediately clip yourself into the anchors at the bottom of each rappel.

If you have already rigged a personal anchor tether on your harness, then it is possible to clip into them as soon as you reach them. Now that you are safe, you can unhitch from the rappelling device and ropes to let the next person rappel down to join you.

Important Rappelling Knots

The autoblock knot

When rappelling, safety must always be your first consideration. As a safety back up, always use an autoblock knot.

This knot is tied below the rappelling device and will prevent you from sliding all the way down the rope if you happen to let your hands go from the rope, you lose control of the speed of descent, or you need to stop traveling downward.

If you stop, this particular knot will tighten automatically and prevent you from rappelling further.

The autoblock knot works well for rappelling because you can loose it and tighten it easily as you move down the rope. It will lock and release while under a load and remain safe. This is also one of the easiest friction knots to tie and remember how to use.

Video first seen on REI.

You are always in control when using an autoblock knot. It allows you to stop and hang to do the following without endangering yourself:

  • Clear rope snags.
  • Toss a rope farther down a cliff.
  • Free twists and knots from the rope.
  • Keeps you from losing control on free or overhanging rappels where you can’t touch the rock.
  • Stops you if you get hit by falling rocks.
  • Prevent you from falling if you feel sick, or something else causes you to need to stop unexpectedly.

Safety note: If you need to stop make sure you let go of the knot. Beginners have died because they gripped the knot, which can cause it to slips and fall apart. Remember to let go and let the knot do its job and lock.

How to keep the autoblock knot from jamming

To keep the autoblock knot from jamming, make sure the cord or sling that forms the autoblock isn’t too long. If it is too long, then the knot can jam in the rappelling device when you stop.

To avoid problems make sure the sling is short enough before rappelling. If it’s too long, tie a knot in the end of the sling to shorten it, or extend the rappelling device from the harness by attaching it to a sling.

Safety note: Always get in the habit of using an autoblock knot whenever you are rappelling.

Stopper Knot

For safety sake always use a stopper knot on the ends of both rope ends to keep you from rappelling off the rappelling ropes.

Video first seen on Gearaholic.

The actual knot configuration is a matter of personal choice. An overhand or a figure eight knot will do well, and is preferred by many rappellers.

4 Important Knot Configurations

The following four knots are the most commonly used and are the best knots for tying your rappelling ropes together. All of these knots are good strong knots.

To work right, however, these knots must be tied right. Your life depends on it. Take the time to practice these knots until you can tie them in the dark, without looking at them, even if you are very tired and exhausted. The more you practice tying these knots, the better chance you will have of tying them correctly in time of need.

The knot you use to tie your rappelling ropes together is a personal choice. It is to your advantage to pick one knot and use it every time you rappel.

Whichever knot you choose, you must be very familiar with it. You must know how to tie it, untie it, and know how much tail to leave at each end to tie the backup knots.

Safety note: All of the 4 rappelling knots except the double overhand knot must have a fisherman’s knot tied on either side for safety.

1. Double overhand knot

This is the fastest and easiest knot to tie of the four rappelling knots. It has less bulk which makes it less likely to snag or get stuck on the surface you are descending.

Safety note: Warning do not use on ropes of different diameters because the knot can untie with very little tension.

2. Double figure 8 fisherman’s knot

This is the usual way to tie rappelling ropes together. It is the strongest of the four, and if tied correctly, will not come undone. It is easy to visually check, and can be used to tie ropes together of unequal diameters.

It is also fairly easy to untie when weighted. On the downside, this knot is quite bulky and can get caught in cracks or other features of the surface you are rappelling down from.

3. Square fisherman’s knot

Of the four rappelling knots this not is the easiest to tie and untie. This knot is just a square knot backed up with double fisherman’s knots on either side.

Safety note: When using this knot always use the back up knots. It is possible for this knot to come untied without them.

4. Double fisherman’s knot

This was the traditional knot to tie two different diameter size ropes together before other knots became more popular.

This knot is hard to visually check, and very hard to untie when wet or being weighted. Today it is used more to tie thinner pieces of accessory cords together.

Even though rappelling equipment isn’t especially complicated, it is still very important to choose good quality gear. When you aren’t using the ropes and other equipment, make sure that it is stored in a clean, dry place.

Do not forget to examine your ropes often and always make sure they are in good condition. No matter whether you are rappelling from a skyscraper or a mountain cliff, it will do no good if the rope has been rotting for several years before you actually need it.

As with many other aspects of prepping, maintenance of your rappelling gear is every bit as important as knowing how to use it. And remember that skills and training are much more important than any gear you might have, becausethey are making the difference between a victim and a survivor!

This article has been written by Fred Tyrell for Survivopedia.

Prep Blog Review: Top Communication Skills For SHTF Survival

How many time have you ever wondered what you need to communicate in a disaster situation or what skill you need to have?

Most people consider that they only need a handful of devices on hand, but what are the most important electronic appliances that you will actually use? Some give a list based on their priorities but these are not always the same for everyone, as we each have our own criteria of what’s important and what is not.

Another problem worth mentioning is, that it’s one thing to have them by your side and a completely different story in using them. We all know how to change a battery, that’s true, but what other options do we have in case of a disaster and when these are not longer available.

Sometimes we can just rely on old, proven techniques and sometimes we can improvise.

With this in mind, we have put together a list of 5+1 articles that will help you out so let’s get started !

1. Ten Principles of Preparedness: #10 Communication

“In the second season of one of my favorite television shows, “Jericho”, there was a perfect illustration of what can happen if reliable communication does not exist (I recommend you renting this two-season series or at least catching some of it on

While communication is the last aspect of the Principles of Preparedness, this doesn’t mean it’s insignificant in any way. In fact,  there’s a lot of danger, panic, relying on misinformation and chaos that can arise, all from the lack of communication.”

Read more on Preparedness Pro.

2. How To Modify An Am Radio To Receive Shortwave Broadcasts

“You can convert AM radios to receive shortwave frequencies between 4 and 9 MHz and used it that way for a while. You can make a like conversion on an AM radio you own. This can be really helpful when SHTF and you need to communicate.

Shortwave frequencies bounce off of the ionosphere and return to earth halfway around the world. It is easy to receive broadcasts from another continent; depending on conditions, time of day, signal strength, and target area for the broadcast.”

Read more on SHTF Preparedness.

3. SHTF Survivalist Radio Lists

“From monkeys in the Amazon Rainforest, to dolphins in the Caribbean, to ants under your picnic table, all species rely on communication with each other for survival. Humans are no different – we rely on communication to both warn and inform us, especially in times of crisis.”

Read more on Ask a Prepper.

4. Light, Fire and Smoke | Emergency Communication Signals

“In ancient days, people communicated by firelight. Signal fires were the “in thing.” Not only did they tell friendly forces of a presence, or of success in battle, a large collection of fires also intimidated intended victims.

Fire and smoke have been used to communicate trouble or distress among people ever since. The invention of the telescope in the 1700s significantly increased the range of long distance silent communication—observers could see signals at far greater distances.”

Read more on Survival Life.

5. Off-Grid Charging System For AA-AAA Batteries, Plus USB

“Off-grid charging for the AA or AAA battery and other consumer batteries can be accomplished with a combination of the right portable solar panel and battery charger to get the job done. When might this be useful?

While off-grid, camping, hiking, a remote location, or simply for your own preparedness.

-Communications devices
-Portable radios
-Handheld GPS

While on the go, out in the field or backpacking, the following off-grid charging equipment will charge the most popular size consumer batteries (AA, AAA).”

Read more on Modern Survival Blog.

6. Campfires From Scratch: No Boy Scout Juice Required

“Liar, liar, pants on fire! I discover at a young age that pouring Boy Scout Juice on sticks for a “quick” campfire was not real smart. Boy Scout Juice is a vague term which includes all sorts of liquid accelerants. We had gasoline at the cabin that day.

I can’t remember who to blame for this grand idea, Henry or Craig, but I vividly remember the low whoosh sound that transformed a flickering kitchen match into a flaming mushroom cloud billowing up my legs. Screaming and wild dancing, reminiscent of cartoon characters, commenced in a desperate attempt to extinguish my now flaming trousers.”

Read more on Survival Sherpa.

This article has been written by Edward Szalinksi for Survivopedia.

Best Bushcraft Tips To Learn And Share For Survival

Bushcraft survival tips are a very hot topic in the prepper community, especially considering that old saying about “the more skills one has, the less gear one needs.” This “omnia mea mecum porto” (a Latin proverb meaning “all that’s mine I carry with me”) mindset is a prepper’s greatest asset, and I really did not mean it to rhyme.

To begin with, one may ask what on Earth is bushcraft?

In layman’s terms, bushcraft is what kept our ancestors alive and kicking for tens of thousands of years, well before the invention of agriculture, cozy cities, and our modern-day conveniences. Bushcraft is the ancient art of survival in the wilderness, using only the (sometimes scarce) resources provided by “the great outdoors.”

Keep reading to get the essentials!

Bushcraft is basically a fancy Aussie word for wilderness survival and it combines the know-how with regard to DYI-ing basic tools with how to use animals and plants at your disposal for outdoor survival in a SHTF scenario.


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


For true-blue preppers, learning bushcraft skills will increase your survival chances exponentially in a nasty environment/situation, via  increasing your ability to adapt to new challenges and unforeseen situations.

You Can’t Skips the Basics

The more self-sufficient and confident one is, the better. The quintessential bushcraft skills to master include hunting/trapping game, food foraging, shelter building, water gathering/purification, and fire making.

Basically, everything that revolves around food-water-shelter, the holy trinity of survival, is an essential skill to master for a survivalist.

Let’s make a basic list, so you could count them better!

  • When it comes to living off the land, as in food foraging, one must have in-depth knowledge of local flora, which is essential when it comes to efficiently harvesting edibles whilst at the same time avoiding toxic plants.
  • Camp cooking is also a must-learn skill for outdoor enthusiasts. And speaking of flora, remember that cattails are edible and easy to find in shallow waters along the shore. Read my article about cattails for further reference.
  • Trapping and hunting/stalking game is all about knowing how to build snares, how to use lures, how to fish (always remember to pack fishing gear in your survival kit), how to read animal signs while hiding your own (human) scent, making cordage, tying knots, cleaning/dressing/cooking game in the field, and the whole nine yards.
  • A solid survivalist must be able to gather and purify water by using an improvised water filter, and also know how to make a fire for boiling/purifying water, and so forth and so on.
  • Shelter building skills must include knowledge of how to make cordage, how to tie a good knot, how to harvest building materials (branches, fallen trees), how to use a knife for batoning, how to waterproof/make natural insulation for your shelter, etc.
  • Knowing how to start a fire in the wild using readily available materials is a must-learn art, including gathering tinder, collecting wood, building a fire pit, building a fire plough/a bow drill, or other device, and you should also know the different types of fires and their best uses in a particular situation.

If you’re just starting out in the fine art of bushcrafting, you should focus on basic survival skills, such as batoning wood, making simple tools, knot-tying techniques, basic fire starting, and building basic camp structures, including the tripod.

If you’ve already acquired basic bushcraft skills, you should concentrate on shelter building, foraging for food, building a fire without lighters/matches, basic trapping and making snares, and water purification.

For advanced bushcrafters (I am not sure that word really exists), you can engage in complex projects, such as land navigation (celestial navigation for example), making cordage and rope using plant fibers or animal tendons, tracking, and advanced structure building.

Now, let’s talk about some tips and tricks, because after all, that’s what today’s article is all about.

Tell Someone That You’re Leaving

To begin with, remember that communication is key. Before going out on a trip, tell someone about your plan, including where you’ll be going, for how long, and also share if you have a specific route set up (it would help with tracking you down in a SHTF scenario).

Don’t Lose Your Temper

Next, remember to keep your composure in any situation. Always remain calm, cool, and collected, think positive, and hope for the best while preparing for the worst. I know it doesn’t sound like much, but optimism goes a long way, even in a SHTF scenario. No matter how alone and scared you may feel, everything starts with your attitude in a survival situation.

If something doesn’t work as it should – let’s say starting a fire in the wilderness, for example – keep calm, don’t rush, and don’t panic. Just stop, relax, breathe in-out and try something else.

Proper Tools

Remember that at its most basic level, wilderness survival, aka bushcraft, is surviving out there in the woods with nothing more than an edged tool (say, a knife) and the clothes on your back.

Which takes us to the next tip: a blade (read survival knife) is one of the most important tools to have in a survival situation.

A light and sturdy blade is as important to the bushcrafter as the katana is for the samurai. And yes, I am  talking about a high-quality, full-tang blade, which may be used for a multitude of purposes, ranging from self-defense to digging a shelter.

Another must-have and highly versatile bushcraft tool is a hatchet or a tomahawk. Given its design, a hatchet is perfect for heavy-duty tasks such as chopping wood, splitting logs, hammering (posts or stakes), butchering large game, and so on and so forth. If two items are too much for your “money”, you can go for the ultimate bushcraft tool: the machete.

A machete can be described as the best of both worlds, being a hybrid of sorts between a hatchet and a knife. And yes, a high-quality solid machete can be used for digging, chopping wood, clearing bush, batoning, and more.

However, the best bushcraft tool is the one you have on your person, so don’t complicate things too much, alright?

Considering the fact that death from exposure is a regular occurrence when it comes to outdoor survival scenarios, you must always pack some type of shelter in your EDC survival kit (a poncho, a $1 tarp, etc.), together with a couple of large, contractor-sized garbage bags.

When filled with leaves, the garbage bags will make for awesome insulating pads on which you can sleep or sit.

Video first seen on KGB Survivalist.

You should  carry a good-quality fire starter with you at all times, tied and braided to your knife lanyard, and I am talking about waxed jute twine. Always remember to pack a couple of protein bars in your survival kit; they’re incredibly nutritious and lightweight. Also, they don’t spoil easily.

Learning basic body insulation methods may be a life saver in many survival scenarios. Think about stuffing leaves, newspaper, or dry grass under your clothes, so you’ll be retaining body heat in harsh weather conditions.

If you wrap plastic bags (remember those garbage bags?) around the leaves on a tree, the sun will evaporate the water from the inside of the leaves, which will then be forced to condensate on the inside of the plastic bag (read trapped inside).

The same trick can be used to extract water from plants.

Now that you know these survival tricks, would you make it on your own if stranded deep in the wild?

Now, it’s your turn. What are your favorite survival tips you’d like to share with us?

Feel free to comment below.

This article has been written by Chris Black for Survivopedia.

The Ugly Part of Water Purification: Top 5 Mistakes You Make

Water is part of the survival triad – water, food, shelter. You can only live for about three days without it and even after twenty-four hours, you start experiencing physical and cognitive decline.

Right now, it’s easy to turn on the tap and get fresh, clean water, but even without a SHTF situation, many of us are doing what we can to live off the grid. I’ve written several articles on collecting rain water and purifying water, and now I’d like to discuss how to make sure that your water is safe to drink.

Water purification is a primary skill that you need to have even if you don’t know much about other facets of survival because if you don’t have clean water, you’ll die. It’s that simple.

The EPA warns that as much as 90 percent of all of the water on the planet is contaminated in some way, so this is becoming a bigger issue for many of us who are trying to go off the grid. Even rainwater can be contaminated, and it’s best to assume that all ground water needs purified.

Even though being able to purify water during daily life and in an emergency situation is critical, you need to do it right. Improperly purified water can be just as fatal – but much more miserable – than having no water at all, so be sure not to make these mistakes.

Mistaking Water Filtering and Water Purification

There are many water filters out there; there’s a good chance that you have one in your fridge right now. But don’t make the mistake of thinking that filtered water is the same as purified water. Most water filters do exactly what they say: they filter out physical impurities such as debris, minerals, and pollutants such as insecticides. Most of them don’t purify the water, though, because illness-causing microbes are too small to be caught in the filter, nor are the filters designed to kill them.


This Device Easily Turns Air Into Water!


Your water may look clean and clear and delicious, but it may also be deadly. There are only two ways to ensure that your water is pure – heat and chemicals.

Not Getting Water Hot Enough

Though pathogens start to die as the water heats, at 160 degrees F to be exact, there are many disease-causing bacteria and viruses that won’t die until the water reaches the boiling point of 212 degrees F. Keeping that in mind, you need to maintain a rolling boil for at least one minute, and three is better, especially at higher elevations.

If you’re short on water and worry about losing it to evaporation, putting a lid on the pot will help with that. Then just leave it covered until it cools.

Using Chemical Purification Incorrectly

There are a few ways that you can mess up chemical purification. First, you can use too much. This is most definitely not a case of more being better because whether you’re using iodine, sodium hypochlorite (bleach) or calcium hypochlorite (pool shock), too much of it can make you sick or even kill you.

  • If you’re using iodine, use 5 drops/quart for clear water and 10 drops/quart if cloudy
  • If you’re using bleach, use 5 drops/quart for clear water and 10 drops/quart if cloudy
  • If you’re using calcium hypochlorite, dilute a teaspoon of the powder in a gallon of water, then add 2/3 ounce of that to a gallon of water. A small shot glass is useful because it usually hold one ounce.

There are also a few things to keep in mind when choosing your water purification method. Liquid bleach has a shelf-life of six to twelve months, so it expires and loses its strength. Pool shock keeps forever and a one-pound bag will treat 10,000 gallons. Iodine makes the water taste weird, but if you let it sit for an hour, you can add vitamin C (Tang drink mix or something similar) to eliminate most of the bad taste after the purification period is up.

Make sure that if you’re using bleach or pool shock that the product is pure without any additional additives such as perfumes. Let the water sit for at least 30 minutes before drinking.

Cross Contamination

This one seems like it may be simple, but it’s easy to re-contaminate purified water. Make sure that you don’t use the same containers or utensils for the clean water that you used before it was purified. In other words, don’t gather the water from a stream in your water bottle, boil it, then put it back in your bottle. You just re-contaminated your water and wasted time and fuel.

If you’re purifying in your bottle, make sure to pour some of the chemical into the lid and around the threads/ mouth of the container.

Failing to Purify AND Filter

This is another reason that you need to understand that filtering and purifying are two different processes. You need to purify your water to rid it of illness-causing pathogens, but you need to purify it to remove chemical toxins such as fertilizers and insecticides.

Of course, it also removes any other debris such a sand, rocks, and minerals. It doesn’t really matter what order you do it in, but I’d recommend filtering first then purifying just because it’s cleaner and there’s less risk of cross-contamination.

Either way, strain water that has visible debris in it before you purify it or filter it. Run it through a coffee filter or a densely woven cloth such as a bandana. Just a note: chemical purification is most effective if the water is at least 60 degrees F.

Studies show that at 50 degrees, only 90 percent of Giardia cysts were inactivated after thirty minutes. Warm up the water in the sun (or after it cools a bit from purifying), or let the water sit for an hour.

Failing to purify your water can cause such diseases as cholera, E.coli, rotavirus, hepatitis, staphylococcus, cryptosporidium and Giardia. These cause everything from upset stomach and cramps to severe vomiting, diarrhea, and even death. In other words, it’s nothing to mess around with, unless you want to die a slow miserable death.

Don’t put your life at risk! You need only clear water to stay safe!



This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.

Top 10 Rules To Follow When Choosing Protective Clothing

Whether you are planning to go camping, do some yard work, or live outdoors, you’ll need appropriate clothing. From extreme temperatures to injuries, health risks, and even dangers posed by other people, these specific fabrics and garment will keep you safe.

Contrary to popular belief, you do not need to buy new clothes or even ones that are pre-made, and stockpile them for a crisis situation.

Focus on these 10 questions about material and fit, and you can easily find good quality clothing that will remain in good condition over time.

Is It Easy to Wear in Layers?

If you are expecting to be outdoors in cold weather, it is very tempting to look for the thickest, heaviest garments that you can find. While a certain amount of density in the fabric is important, the ability to have air spaces is also vital for retaining heat.

Choosing thinner garments that you can wear in layers creates air space, and also gives you a greater range of temperatures that you can feel comfortable in.

When choosing garments for layering, you must also pay attention to the garment size and how easy it will be to shift it comfortably between layers, or eliminate altogether.

You may need to buy a ½ to a full size bigger as you reach the outer layers. If at all possible, see if you can try on all the layers at once to see if they feel comfortable and don’t limit your range of motion.

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Does the Fabric Wick Well?

No matter what the temperature and humidity conditions are, your body is going to release sweat. If you are active and moving around a lot, your body will release even more sweat in order to cool down.

A buildup of moisture next to your skin can cause several problems including:

  • an increased risk of skin breakdown, especially in areas where garments rub into your skin
  • an increased risk of infection in any are where the outer layer of skin has been compromised
  • because your body produces sweat in order to cool down, you may lose vital heat if too much moisture stays near your skin. Even if you are in very cold temperatures, the sweat your body produces will cause this cooling effect and spell disaster. Fabrics that wick away moisture will help keep your core body temperature stable.

Will the Fabric Resist Tearing?

You might be going through dense underbrush, or areas where there are apt to be thorns that would scratch your skin if your garments didn’t protect you properly.

A scratch from a thorn or a shrub branch may not seem like more than an inconvenience, but your skin can infect if left unattended. This is especially important if you’re traveling through damp areas or other places where mold, bacteria, mildew, and other pathogens can be introduced into the opening in your skin.

To add insult to injury, if your clothes do not wick correctly, or are uncomfortable to wear, these problems can also make the skin wound even worse.

Choose at least one outer layer garment that is as tear resistant as possible, to prevent this kind of problems. Look for lightweight clothes that are designed to be worn outdoors and a name brand that have a good reputation for producing tear free garments.

Remember, even if you cannot afford new garments, it is not all that difficult to create a loose fitting shirt and pants from suitable material. You may also be very surprised at what you will find at estate sales, yard sales, and flea markets.

How Will the Colors Affect Heat Absorption?

You know that white blocks energy and black absorbs, but you may not give it much though when choosing clothes for outdoor wear. If you are going to be out in colder weather, have an outer layer garment that is black or some other dark color.

On the other hand, if you expect to be out in warmer or hot weather, wear something white or light colored. Bright colors will also absorb heat from the sun, so it is best to reserve them for cooler or mid-range temperatures.

When you are planning an outdoor excursion, make sure you have at least one white, one black, and one neutral color so that you can switch them on and off as needed for your outer garment layers.

Also, if you need different sizes for the inner layers, take along at least one white garment so you can wear it as a single inner layer if you happen to be in hotter temperatures and need to remove all but one layer.

Choose a garment that has long sleeves or legs so that you can still protect yourself from injuries created by thorns, underbrush, or insects.

Can I Adjust the Visibility of this Garment?

Regardless of whether you hunt or not, you may be at risk of being shot or injured in the woods if you aren’t aware of where people are hunting.

You may also come across intentional poachers or those who are hunting out of extreme need outside of legally defined hunting seasons. That’s why it’s best to wear clothes that will ensure you are easy to see and that you will also not be mistaken for game.

Typically, blaze orange is the best color for wearing in an area where hunting will occur because it will not be as easily mistaken for colors found on certain animals.

On the other hand, you might need to escape from a city during crisis or prefer other people be unable to spot you. In these situations, wearing blaze colors, or even white might spell disaster. If your prime concern is visibility, wear a neutral color for the terrain you are traveling through.

For example, you might choose a dark green for the woods, or a tan for desert terrain. If you find that you want to be seen easily, then carry blaze orange arm bands, patches, scarfs, or other coverings that you can easily affix to any outer garment.

What Temperature Ranges is it Best Worn in?

Many people think that layering garments means you can simply wear the same garments all year round, but just add or subtract layers as needed. This won’t always work because different fabrics have different densities to their weaving that make them suitable for some temperatures and not others.

Pay attention to the fabric type and density so that you know which garments may work better for the season. You can still keep one or two items on hand that will fit a mid range, however the rest should be divided between materials suitable for hot or colder temperatures.

Here are some common fabrics and the temperatures they will work best in:

  • Linen – hot weather – this fabric breathes and wicks well, dries fast, and is also lightweight.
  • Cotton – depends on the weight. Lighter weight cotton can be used for summer and hot weather, and then use heavier weights for mid range temperatures. Never use cotton for cold weather or any temperature where you must preserve core body temperature because it sucks up sweat easily and will pull heat from your body with the sweat.
  • Polyester – cold weather – use for inner layers to build air spaces. This fabric does not breathe well, so try to keep it away from your skin.
  • Wool – cold weather. Is a good insulator and also dries quickly.
  • Nylon – use as an outer layer for keeping dry and as a wind breaker. Nylon also doesn’t breathe well and should be reserved for outer layers that can be opened up easily to improve air circulation.

Is it Waterproof?

Aside from needing to find out if an outer layer of clothing will withstand rain and other forms of moisture, you have to evaluate the same information for inner layers of outdoor clothing.

While you will want at least one garment to wear when it rains or you need to keep excess moisture out, it will not be a good idea to have waterproof material on any of the inner layers of your outdoor clothing.

Typically, waterproof garments do not wick well, and they will also prevent moisture that has been released by your skin from escaping, which can cause hypothermia in cold weather, and increase the risk of infections because of poor air circulation.

Does it Cover Me Properly for Woods and Rough Terrain?

Have you ever been outdoors in hot weather and didn’t even want to wear a T-shirt? If so, then you may also be tempted to wear the lightest and skimpiest thing you can find to go in the woods.

Unfortunately, this can be a recipe for disaster because:

  • As you travel through underbrush, you will inevitably brush into brambles, thorns, and twigs. These can easily cut your skin and leave an opening for infection.
  • Ticks, mosquitoes, and other insects are drawn to anything that might look like a meal. In this case, they can easily land on the back of your neck, upper leg, or other areas where you won’t notice them until it’s too late. The best way to prevent Lyme disease and many other insect borne illnesses it make sure the bugs can’t land on your skin to begin with. Insofar as clothing choice, your best option is to wear garments that cover as much of your skin as possible.
  • Many people think they can just spray insect repellent on their skin and clothing, and then avoid wearing clothes that cover their skin. These sprays are expensive and exposing you to dangerous poisons that can have long term health consequences, are not likely to be available in the post crisis world. Choose and wear clothes that will cover your skin properly now so that you won’t have to adapt later on.

Can I Adjust the Garment to Keep Out Ticks and Other Insects?

Aside from choosing garments with long sleeves and legs, make sure you can use rubber bands, velcro, or something else to seal off sleeve and pants cuffs.

Add a lightweight turtleneck stop shell in order to prevent insects from landing on the back of your neck. If you cannot find one for sale in a suitable fabric, you will find they are very easy to make.

Make sure they are properly secured and sealed to the garment below them so insects cannot crawl in.

How Well Will it Protect from UV Radiation?

Are you the type that packs the sunscreen away as soon as summertime is over? If so, then you need to use fabrics that have a proven SPF rating for outer layer wear all year round. As long as there is sunlight available, UV rays can reach your skin and cause damage. Even if it is a cloudy day or a very cold one, it is important to wear UV proof clothing.

Contrary to popular belief, fabric garments will not automatically block out all UV. To perform a quick test, hold the fabric up to the light. If you can see any light at all shining through, then the garment will allow UV to reach your skin.

Since you will be buying lighter weight garments to create layers, this test is extremely important all year round. To be on the safe side, choose at least one outer layer garment from a reputable company that gives an SPF rating on the label.

As with choosing garments that can be adjusted for keeping insects away, choosing garments that protect your skin from UV can help in a major social collapse scenario. Why worry about buying sunscreen when you can use these garments to do the same job. You can increase the lifespan of your sunscreen stockpile until you figure out a way to make your own using natural materials.

If you visit any department store or mall, you will find all kinds of expensive “outdoor” gear, and find yourself wondering what to buy. Try starting off with lighter weight garments that can be worn in layers, and then focus on color, visibility, waterproofing, UV protection, and insect management.

Asking ten simple questions about each garment, and thinking about how you will use it, will also help you evaluate garments in other places.

No matter whether you visit a second hand store, flea market, or decide to sew the garments, you will have confidence in evaluating the garment and fabric within the context of your needs as opposed to always relying on name brands and testimonials.

This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia.

What You Need To Know About Owning Body Armor

We’re living uncertain times, when everybody needs to feel safe and protected. Under the circumstances, owning body armor comes with many benefits for civilians.

However, before you buy any particular type of body armor in the USA, you should understand the existing laws and regulations. It’s mostly legal to wear body armor for civilians across the United States but there are some states with certain restrictions.

Keep reading to find out what they are!

All civilians in the US have a right to protect themselves and their families but certain restrictions apply. For example, if you’ve been convicted of a felony, then you surrender their right to own body armor, since the US has a federal ban on the possession of body armor by convicted felons (18 U.S.C. 931).

But if you have written permission by an employer stating that you need if for your work, then you may purchase body armor.

One more thing to keep in mind about owning this item: retailers and distributors are not liable for what happens to body armor after it is sold.

Regulations by State

Let’s see what laws apply regarding this kind of ownership in every state:


Alabama does not have any additional body armor laws. In Alabama, any civilian can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or in person.


In Alaska, civilians can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.


Like many states, Arizona has a law in place that makes it illegal to wear body armor during the commission of a crime. This does not affect body armor retailers.


In Arkansas, it is a Class A Misdemeanor to possess body armor if you have been convicted of murder, manslaughter, aggravated robbery, assault, or battery, and this law does not affect body armor retailers.

In any other case, civilians can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.


In California, civilians can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.


In Colorado, anyone can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.


Of all the states, Connecticut has the toughest law on body armor, prohibiting residents from buying or selling body armor except through a face-to-face sale. Online retailers cannot market and sell to Connecticut residents.

In Connecticut, it is a class B misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment for up to six months, a fine of up to $1,000, or both, to sell or deliver body armor unless the transferee meets in person with the transferor to accomplish the sale or delivery.

The law exempts sales or deliveries to:

  1. authorized officials or sworn members of local police departments, the State Police, the Division of Criminal Justice, the Department of Correction, or the Board or Pardons or Parole;
  2. authorized municipal or Department of Administrative Services’ officials who buy body armor for the above agencies;
  3. authorized Judicial Branch officials who buy body armor for probation officers; and
  4. members of the National Guard or armed forces (CGS § 53-341b).


Delaware has a law in place that makes it illegal to wear body armor during the commission of a crime. This does not affect body armor retailers.


Florida has a law in place that makes it illegal to wear body armor during the commission of a crime, and, and this does not affect body armor retailers.

In Florida, any civilian can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless that adult has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.


Georgia has a law in place that makes it illegal to wear body armor during the commission of a violent crime, or while trafficking drugs. This does not affect body armor retailers.

In Georgia, civilians can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless that adult has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.


In Hawaii, all civilians can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless they have been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.


In Idaho, anyone can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.


Illinois does not have any additional body armor laws pertaining to retailers. In Illinois, any civilian can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless that adult has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

However, it is illegal to for individuals to wear body armor while in possession of a dangerous weapon, other than a firearm, during the commission or attempted commission of any offense. Unlawful use of body armor is a Class A misdemeanor.


In Indiana, any civilian can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless that adult has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or in person.

A person who knowingly or intentionally uses body armor while committing a felony commits unlawful use of body armor, a Class D felony (up until July 2014, when a new law takes effect). The new law states that a person who knowingly or intentionally uses body armor while committing a felony commits unlawful use of body armor, a Level 6 felony. Again, this law effects criminals, not retailers.


In Iowa, any civilian can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.


In the city of Topeka, Kansas, it is illegal to possess, carry or wear a bulletproof vest during protests, parades, rallies, assemblies and demonstrations. This statute does not affect retailers.

In Kansas, civilians can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or in person.


In Kentucky, any civilian can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless that adult has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.


Louisiana has a law in place that makes it illegal to wear body armor during the commission of a crime or on school property. This does not affect body armor retailers. In Louisiana, any adult can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless that adult has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.


In Maine, anyone can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless they have have been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.


Maryland law mandates that all civilians with a prior conviction for a crime of violence, or a drug trafficking crime, are prohibited from using, possessing, or purchasing bulletproof body armor without a permit issued by the Secretary of the Maryland State Police.

A civilian with a prior conviction for a crime of violence or a drug trafficking crime may file, for good cause shown, a petition with the Secretary for a permit to use, possess, and purchase bulletproof body armor.


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Massachusetts has a law in place that makes it a felony to wear body armor during the commission of a crime. In Massachusetts, anyone can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless they have been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.


In Michigan, any civilian of age can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless that civilian has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

In Michigan, an individual who commits or attempts to commit a crime that involves a violent act or a threat of a violent act against another person while wearing body armor is guilty of a felony, punishable by imprisonment for not more than 4 years, or a fine of not more than $2,000.00, or both. This is not applying to state officers and security officers performing their duties while on or off a scheduled work shift.


In Minnesota, anyone can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.


In Mississippi, any civilian can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless that adult has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.


In Missouri, any civilian can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.


In Montana, anyone can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.


In Nebraska, anyone can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.


In Nevada, anyone can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

New Hampshire

New Hampshire has laws in place that make committing a crime while wearing a bulletproof vest a felony, but does not have laws in place that prohibit sales of bulletproof vests by retailers.

A person is guilty of a class B felony if he commits or attempts to commit any felony while using or wearing body armor.

New Jersey

In New Jersey, any civilian can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless they have been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

Additionally, in New Jersey, a civilian can be charged separately for wearing a bullet proof vest while carrying out criminal acts. The practical effect is more jail time and fines. Separate penalties have a wide range depending on the seriousness of the underlying crime.

Experimental body armour from World War I

Experimental body armor from World War I

New Mexico

In New Mexico, anyone can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

New York

In New York, any civilian can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless that adult has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

A civilian is guilty of the unlawful wearing of a body vest when acting either alone or with one or more other persons he commits violent felony offenses while possessing a firearm, rifle or shotgun and in the course of and in furtherance of such crime he wears a body vest. The unlawful wearing of a vest is a class E felony.

North Carolina

North Carolina has a law in place that makes it illegal to wear body armor during the commission of a crime. This does not affect body armor retailers. In North Carolina, any civilian can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless that adult has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

North Dakota

In North Dakota, anyone can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.


Ohio does not have any additional body armor laws. In Ohio, any civilian can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless that adult has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.


Oklahoma has a law in place that makes it a felony to wear body armor during the commission of a crime. This does not affect body armor retailers. In Oklahoma, anyone can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.


In Oregon, anyone can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.


Pennsylvania does not have any additional body armor laws. In Pennsylvania, any civilian can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless that adult has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

Rhode Island

In Rhode Island, any civilian can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless that adult has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

In 2012, Rhode Island’s General Assembly passed a bill that forbids anyone convicted of a felony that is a crime of violence from buying or possessing body armor. This does not affect retailers of bullet proof vests.

South Carolina

South Carolina has a law in place that makes it illegal to wear body armor during the commission of a crime. This does not affect body armor retailers. In South Carolina, any civilian can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless that adult has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

South Dakota

In South Dakota, anyone can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.


Tennessee has a law in place that makes it illegal to wear body armor during the commission of a crime. The unlawful wearing of a vest is a Class E felony. This does not affect body armor retailers. In Tennessee, any civilian can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless that adult has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.


In Texas, anyone can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.


In Utah, anyone can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.


Vermont does not have any additional body armor laws. In Vermont, any civilian can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless that adult has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.


Virginia has one additional body armor law, like many states: Any person who, while committing a crime of violence or a felony violation, has in his possession a firearm or knife and is wearing body armor designed to diminish the effect of the impact of a bullet or projectile, shall be guilty of a Class 4 felony. This law does not affect retailers.

In Virginia, any civilian can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless that adult has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

Washington State

In Washington, anyone can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

West Virginia

In West Virginia, a civilian who wears or is otherwise equipped with body armor while committing a felony offense, an element of which is force, the threat of force, physical harm to another or the use or presentment of a firearm or other deadly weapon, is guilty of a felony. This does not affect body armor retailers.

In West Virginia, any civilian can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless that adult has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.


In Wisconsin, any civilian can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless that adult has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

In Wisconsin, donning a bulletproof vest during a felony or attempted felony can lead to an additional felony conviction, or the adding of extra years to the final prison sentence. This law affects certain individuals who might wear bulletproof vests, but does not affect retailers.


In Wyoming, anyone can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

Where to Buy Body Armors From

Body armors can be sold to any person in a face-to-face transaction. No ID or background check is required and no special record keeping is needed.

Body armor can also be shipped to 49 states, while sales to customers in Connecticut can only be done via face-to-face transaction, since they cannot be sold via the post.

If you are interested to have a body armor, you can find it and buy it via a store, gun show, website, via the phone or catalog. But you cannot ship, take, bring, or send body armor outside the USA without Federal permission.

Whatever you choose, choose wisely and be aware what using this item means for you and your family protection!



This article has been written for Survivopedia by Thomas Bowman from SafeGuard.

Unnoticed Survival Defense: The Best Way To Carry Concealed

As with choosing a gun, the type and design of the holster for concealed carry is a personal choice and preference. There is no such thing as one holster that will work for everyone, let alone one design or body placement that everyone would agree is the best.

To get started, ask yourself: “What is the best way for me to conceal my firearm that will give me the quickest, safest draw, and still allow for comfort?”

It’s up to you to choose between fashion, seasonal dress norms, and a holster that will enable you to draw fast and shoot if needed. Whatever is the idea you follow, choose a holster that you are willing and able to carry at all times.

As with the gun itself, if you are going to leave it home or avoid wearing it because of discomfort, it is best to look for something more suitable.

General Holster Choice Considerations for Women

Most dresses, skirts, evening wear, and even some business wear for women are designed to flatter the body, not conceal a handgun. Aside from the weight of the fabric being all wrong, the lack of pockets, belt loops, and other items make it hard to conceal a gun, magazines, or speed loaders.

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Women should choose garments or holster types carefully to avoid having a gun print while trying to wear it concealed. Let’s see what the options are, as well as some pointers to keep in mind while choosing between them.

Purse or Fanny Pack

There are many purses, handbags, and fanny packs sold that have special compartments to conceal firearms, like those from Gun Godess, even if you want to carry a larger gun. Be sure to choose a purse or fanny pack that has a hidden holster that is secured by a fast opening zipper.

Don’t use a purse or fanny pack that doesn’t have a holster. It is to dangerous to keep an unsecured handgun loose in a purse or fanny pack.

Overall, a fanny pack or purse is not a very safe place to keep your firearm even with the special holster option. A gun should never be in pack or bag that others can snatch because purses and fanny packs are always eye candy and prime targets for robbers.

Purses and fanny packs frequently wind up in shopping carts, left in bathroom stalls, or even laying on the floor of the car. If you do choose a fanny pack, make sure that you feel comfortable enough that you never have to remove it while wearing it. Remember, when carrying concealed, it is still your job to keep the gun from being stolen, and to have control of its location, and use at all times.

Some people choose a fanny pack or purse thinking that they can simply shoot through the material without having to actually draw the gun from the holster. Doing this may cause the weapon to malfunction, miss the intended target, or the bullet may not rip it’s way through the purse or fanny pack material.

Drawing and firing from a fanny pack or purse takes a lot of practice and can be time consuming. It should also be noted that a gun can easily get tangled up in purse or fanny pack straps as you are trying to draw the weapon.


The bra concealed carry has made a new comeback with Flashbang holsters. This holster is connected directly to the bra and can be worn below or between the breasts. It uses a Kydex clamshell design holster to better secure the handgun and protect the trigger guard; which protects the wearer from accidental discharges that could be fatal.

For best results when drawing from this holster, you must have easy access to it. The more clothes you are wearing, or the tighter they are, the longer it will take to draw the gun. Clothing wise, you will do best with a well fitting, sturdy bra. Light weight tops that are easy to lift up and replace will also make it easier to draw as quickly as possible when needed.

Garter or Thigh Holsters

These holster types are suitable if you prefer to wear dresses or skirts. The thigh holster is kept in place by a wide elastic band around the upper thigh that keeps the holster from slipping down. It should fit snugly on your thigh and the holster should also have features that protect the trigger from accidental discharge.

Garter and thigh holsters can be a bit uncomfortable and slip down if the gun is too heavy, so you may need to carry a lighter weight gun.


Some women like the idea of an ankle holster because it’s off the waist line and easy to hide under a pair of wide legged pants.

There are two ways to wear an ankle holster. The first is to use an elastic garter system that fits snugly around the calf of your non-dominant leg with the holster attached just above the ankle with an adjustable Velcro strap. The second way is to just have a Velcro wrap-a- round adjustment strap to secure the holster.

Drawing from an ankle holster can be very awkward under normal conditions, and also when driving. In a situation where you must fight or dodge blows, it may be nearly impossible to draw the weapon and remain safe while doing so.

If your normal concealed carry weapon is too heavy or too large, it can disrupt your gait, and also be very uncomfortable to wear over a long period of time. You may have to use a lighter or a smaller caliber handgun to use the ankle holster safely. Insofar as manufacturers, I recommend Uncle Mike’s and Galco.

Inside the Waist Band (IWB)

If a woman wants to use the IWB carry, jeans or other heavy cotton pants work best. These pants need to have belt loops that will be able to support the weight of the handgun, extra magazines or speed loaders, a flashlight, and a knife.

To cover up this type of carry, wear a shirt, sweater, or light jacket that offers quick access to the firearm. Most individuals that use this carry prefer to wear their cover clothing over the outside of their pants.

When compared to other holster types, this one is safest because the gun is always on your body. It is also located in a place where you will be able to grab it fastest without having to shift your body around.

IWB holsters such as the Kydex Hybrid inside the pants holster by Cleveland Holsters are also the hardest to detect because you can easily wear bulky or loose fitting clothes that will prevent it from printing.

General Holster Choice Considerations for Men

If you are a man and wish to carry a handgun concealed, it can be just as complicated as finding the right holster for a woman. While your body placement options will be different, the ability to conceal a specific gun size and avoid printing can still be challenging.

Here are some of the most popular body placements to consider as well as things to consider about how they are used.

Shoulder Carry

This holster positions the handgun in the vertical or horizontal position on one side of your rib cage, below the armpit. A coat or jacket will be needed to hide the shoulder rig from sight. You can carry larger weapons easily with this holster type, and also conceal them with relative ease. It also gives you plenty of room for more than one magazine, a flash light, and a knife.

Since you can position items all over the harness, it is easy to balance out the weight around your body. Insofar as drawing from the harness, you will need to practice a weakside holster with a strongside cross draw across the chest. This can take some getting used to.

Holster Shirts

As the name implies, this is a tight fitting t-shirt with carry pouches on either side of your body under the armpits. Each of these pouches are designed to carry a pistol or a magazine, depending on your dominant shooting hand. It’s to your advantage to wear a loose fitting shirt when using this carry to keep from printing as well as for easy access to the pistol. Tucked in shirts will do nothing but slow down the draw. Many men prefer holster shirts to shoulder carry because holster shirts are newer, and are therefore considered more fashionable.

Inside the Waist Band Holsters (IWB)

This is one of the most popular and carried concealed carry systems because it is easier and faster to draw from than any other holster type. IWB holsters also have a reputation for being one of the easiest kind to conceal. If you are right handed the pistol is usually carried around the 5 o’clock position.

For left handed shooters the pistol is carried around the 8 o’clock position. To keep the holster stable, belt clips wrap around your belt and offer greater retention of the holster, extra magazine holders, flashlights, and knives. To cover the IWB holster, wear long pants with your shirt or sweater not tucked in for faster drawing.

The IWB carry is excellent for anytime of the year. Always be careful what you plan to carry depending on the time of the year. If it is warm and you are wearing light weight clothing, it is possible to print the weapon on your shirt or pants (which could get you arrested in some states).

To avoid printing, use a firearm that works with your body type and wear looser fitting clothing. Choose dark colored shirts instead of white or light colored ones to prevent the gun color from showing beneath your shirt.

Pocket Carry

The pocket carry is a very popular concealed carry for men because it is easy to hide in shorts as well as long pants. The main challenge with this holster type is that it is primarily designed for smaller pistols such as the S&W Bodyguard .380 or the Ruger LCP.

It is very important to only carry a pistol size that fit properly into the holster without trying to squeeze it in. You must also be very careful to choose a good quality model that has a trigger guard. If your gun has a manual safety, make sure it is engaged and functional when wearing this holster.

While these holsters may sound appealing and conceal well, they can also be the most dangerous when it comes to accidental trigger pulls. The last thing you will want to do is shoot yourself in the leg, testicle, or elsewhere because the trigger accidentally depressed while the gun is in the holster.

Learn how to draw and release the safety as fast as possible rather than take the chance of hurting yourself by leaving the safety off when using this kind of holster.

Ankle Carry

The ankle holster is another popular concealed carry that works well with smaller sized pistols. If you do a lot of sitting during the day, this holster can give you fast and easy access to the pistol.

As with women, however, you will find it challenging to draw this gun if you are standing, running, or walking. In a self-defense situation where you are fighting, it may be nearly impossible to manage every other move you must make and draw the weapon.

You may also find that an ankle holster will disrupt your gait or lead to muscle soreness on one side if you don’t shift the carry from one leg to the other on a regular basis. Alternatively, you may need to choose a lighter, smaller weapon for the sake of comfort and safety.

It’s very important for both men and women to think carefully about where to place a concealed carry gun on their body and which holsters will work best. Once you find a holster design and body placement that works, practice regularly with it until drawing techniques become second nature and encoded in your muscle memory.

As with the gun itself, in the end, the best holster will be the one that you are comfortable with and actually use and practice with so that you can succeed in defending yourself quickly and efficiently.


This article has been written by Fred Tyrell for Survivopedia.

EDC Kit: Back To Basics (Guest Post)

When becoming involved in survival and prepping, there are many different ways to get started. For instance, some people start by learning about specific survival skills, while others start by buying supplies. Some people buy a few survival tools and learn how to use them, while others just spend time becoming more self-sufficient. There is no … Continue reading “EDC Kit: Back To Basics (Guest Post)”

Prepper’s Guide To Cleaning The Glock 27 Subcompact

Some would say that Glock is America’s handgun, since you can find almost everywhere, from Police forces to Hollywood movie makers (do you remember Die Hard?) It’s small, potent and effective, which makes it perfect for a concealed carry.

But only if you clean and maintain it.

This short guide will show you how to do it, if your Glock is a 27 Subcompact.

The Glock 27 is a backup subcompact pistol that was specifically designed for concealed carry, and delivers the same safety and reliability as any full size Glock. As with any other pistol, it must be cleaned and lubricated on a routine basis in order to keep it in good working condition.

Cleaning and lubricating removes bullet and powder residue from the action, slide and barrel, and rails. This process also gives you a chance to spot and Gage mechanical wear as well as make replacements for worn parts in a timely manner.

Click here to get your Green Beret’s Guide to combat shooting mastery & active shooter defense!

Simple Wipe Down

It is to your advantage to clean your firearms immediately after firing them. Wiping down all exterior metal parts of the pistol removes oils deposited by your fingers, as well as powder residue that can cause the metal to start rusting.

Ideally, you should do a simple wipe down before you leave the range, and as soon as you are done firing the gun.

Standard Cleaning for the Glock 27

As with cleaning any other gun, make sure you have all your cleaning supplies on hand. Work in an area where you have good ventilation, and where you will not be disturbed.

WARNING: Make sure the gun is unloaded before you start cleaning!!!

Start by pointing the pistol in a direction where you will not hit a living thing or something of value if the gun fires. Next, remove the magazine and rack the slide back, and look carefully to see if there is a round in the chamber. If you see a round, remove it.

You must always remove the magazine before checking the chamber, otherwise racking the slide will cause a round to go into the chamber.

With the magazine still out of the well, lock the slide back and look to see if the gun is cleared of ammo and safe to work on. Insert your little finger into the chamber to check the bolt face, chamber and the magazine well to make sure the pistol has been cleared and made safe.

To complete this process, dry fire the Glock 27 while pointing in a safe direction. Once again, rack the slide to return it into battery and to close the action. Give one final check to make sure the chamber is clear.

While the slide is still in battery, pull the trigger while pointing the gun in a safe direction. You will feel and hear a click as the firing pin moves forward. To remove the slide, the trigger must be in its rearward position.

How to Disassemble the Pistol

The Glock 27 has 4 main components: the guide rod/recoil spring assembly, barrel, slide, and frame/receiver. The disassembly process will break the gun down into these main units.

After you have determined that the pistol is unloaded and safe, grasp the pistol in your right hand with your thumb under the slide and your fingers over the top of the rear part of the slide.

Pull back approximately 1/4”. Pull down on the slide lock by grasping it on both sides with your thumb and finger.

Pull down on the slide lock while releasing the slide forward. Be careful not to let the slide fall off onto a hard surface that could damage the guide ring.

Remove the slide and take the recoil spring assembly out, then remove the barrel. You now have the Glock 27 pistol in the field stripped condition.

How to Clean the Barrel

  1. Wet a clean cleaning patch with gun cleaner or solvent. Thread this patch through the slotted tip of the cleaning rod. Insert the cleaning rod (patch end first) into the breech end of the barrel to clean the chamber and bore. Keep pushing the cleaning rod down the barrel until the patch exits the muzzle. Next, pull the cleaning rod back through the barrel until it comes out of the chamber and breech. Work the wet patch 5 or 6 times through the entire barrel.
  2. Remove the patch from the cleaning rod and attach a brass bore brush. Insert the rod into the barrel, brush end first. Go from the breech or chamber side and scrub the entire bore. Keep scrubbing vigorously until the bore looks clean and appears bright under a strong light.
  3. Use some more solvent to dampen the larger side of a two ended cleaning brush. Scrub off any carbon deposits that may have built up on the feed ramp and barrel hood.
  4. Take a rag dampened with solvent and wipe down the outside of the barrel.
  5. Use some dry patches to dry out the bore. Keep swabbing the bore with dry patches until they come out clean and dry.
  6. Finish cleaning the barrel by taking an additional dry patch and wipe down the outside of the barrel with it.

How to Clean the Slide

WARNING!! Work carefully and do not allow lubricants or solvents into the firing pin channel. Any lubricant or solvent in this area can cause the weapon to malfunction.

  1. With the muzzle facing downward, hold the slide vertically. Clean the extractor, the area round the extractor, and breach face with a two sided brush.
  2. Use a fresh cotton swab clean inside the slide and the slide rail cuts. Keep doing this until a fresh cotton swab comes out clean.
  3. Use a damp rag, or a patch slightly dampened with solvent to clean the inside and underside of the slide. The wide end of a scrubbing brush will also work for scrubbing inside the slide.
  4. For the slide rail cuts, use the smaller end of the two sided brush. Be sure it is dampened with solvent. Continue scrubbing until the slide rail cuts are clean.
  5. Take a clean, dry patch and wipe down the inside of the slide rails and slide.

Cleaning the Receiver

Remove carbon deposits from the locking block on the receiver and metal contact points with the wide end of the cleaning brush. You may or may not need to use solvent, but if you do, remember to wipe off excess solvent with a dry rag.

Brush out any debris or remaining unburned gunpowder that may still be left in the receiver with the wide end of the cleaning brush. Wipe the trigger bar, locking block, cruciform, connector, and the ejector until they are clean.

Inspect the Glock’s main components and function check. With every standard cleaning it is a good idea to take the time to inspect and function check the Glock’s main components. This is best done with the Glock disassembled in its 4 main component parts.

WARNING: If your Glock does not pass the following tests, do not try to put it back together again or fire it. At this point, you need to send it back to Glock, or have it inspected and possibly repaired by a certified Glock armorer.

Here are the components that should be inspected.

Barrel: look for lead deposits, dirt, obstructions, bulges, or cracks.

Firing pin and firing pin safety: (test has 4 parts.)

  1. Start off by removing the barrel and recoil spring assembly. Hold the slide so that the inside is facing up. Pull the firing pin lug to the rear and ease forward until it stops. Don’t allow the firing pin to snap forward as it hits the firing pin safety. Next, move the firing pin lug forward toward the muzzle. The firing pin lug should not go past the firing pin safety. As you look at the breech face of the slide, the firing pin lug should not extend through the firing pin hole.
  2. Hold the slide with the muzzle facing down. Press in on the firing pin safety button in the slide’s interior. The firing pin should move down, with the tip slipping through the firing pin hole in the breech face.
  3. Retract the firing pin so that it is back in the slide. While the muzzle is facing downard, vigorously rack the slide. The firing pin should be stopped from going through the breech face by the firing pin safety.
  4. Use your fingertips to depress the firing pin safety button while shaking the slide from one end to the other. You should be able to hear the firing pin as it moves freely within the firing pin channel. If you do not feel or hear the firing pin move, it may mean that the firing pin might be broken, or the firing pin and its channel may be blocked or caked with debris. Both these situations require inspection by a certified Glock armorer.

Extractor: Look a the extractor on the breech face of the slide to make sure it is clean. You should also make sure there are no chips or breaks on the extractor claw.

Ejector: You will find the ejector protruding forward from the left rear of the frame or the receiver. The ejector must be clean and free of cracks, breaks, or other signs of damage.

Slide stop and lever test: Start by gripping the receiver with your dominant hand. Pull up on the slide stop lever with the thumb and index finger of your other hand. The slide should snap sharply down into the frame. If it doesn’t, have the pistol check over by a Glock armorer.

How to Lubricate the Pistol

Lubricate the Glock using a good quality rust protective oil or lubricant. To do the job right it should only take six drops of oil. Any more than this will be to much and can cause dirt and other contamination problems.

Slide: Hold the slide so that the slide rail cuts are facing up, and the end of the muzzle is facing a bit down. Take a lubricant applicator and drag one drop of lubricant down the whole length of each rail cut. Use another for the front inside of the slide where it rubs against the upper part of the barrel.

Barrel: Wipe down the exterior of the barrel with an oiled cleaning patch. Put another drop of oil on the outside of the barrel, and the rear side of the barrel lug with a lubricant applicator.

Receiver/Frame: Hold the receiver in your dominant hand so that the left side is facing down. Put one drop of oil on the curved, upper extension of the connector, and another at the right rear corner of the receiver/frame. Look for the area on the connector where it touches the back of the trigger bar.

How to Reassemble the Glock 27 and Do a Function Test

There are a few steps to follow in order to reassemble and test your pistol:

  1. Reverse the steps you used to disassemble the pistol.
  2. To function test the pistol, start off by making sure the pistol is unloaded and pointed in a safe direction.
  3. Slide cycling: Rack the slide back several times. It should move smoothly and freely.
  4. Trigger function: Pull the trigger to the rear to make sure it works. Don’t forget to keep the gun aimed in a safe direction.
  5. Trigger reset: Rack the slide, which will return the pistol to battery and also reset the trigger. The trigger should be in its cocked, forward position. Pull the trigger and listen for the sound of the firing pin falling. Pull the slide back as far as it can go and release it. Release the trigger after the slide snaps forward into battery. At this point, the trigger should be cocked forward.
  6. Trigger Safety: You will find the safety partly within and to the front of the trigger. Make sure the pistol is pointed in a safe direction, and grasp the sides of the trigger. Do not depress or touch the trigger safety. If the trigger safety is working correctly, the trigger will not move to the rear and release the firing pin; and the safety will remain engaged.
  7. Pistol inspection: The outer parts of the Glock 27 should be free of corrosion, dirt, rust, and any signs of damage. Don’t forget to make sure the sights are aligned properly, clean, and free of damage.
  8. Check over all the magazines to make sure they are working properly. Use the slide open test for this. While the pistol is in battery, insert an empty magazine. Pull the slide back until it locks open. Remove the magazine and repeat with all other magazines that you have. If a magazine is broken or defective, the slide will not lock open.
  9. After all cleaning, lubricating, and function testing is completed. Wipe down all of the Glock’s exterior surfaces to remove excess lubricant.

Deep Cleaning the Glock 27

Any firearm that is fired a lot will require deep cleaning (total disassembly, thorough cleaning, and lubrication). If you are not sure how to do it, contact a qualified gunsmith to help you out with this and inspecting the parts.

Since the Glock 27 has looser tolerances than several other weapons on the market, it does not require deep cleaning as often. But you should still do a deep cleaning:

  1. After shooting 1000 plus rounds of cheap dirty ammunition.
  2. If the pistol has fallen into salt or dirty fresh water.
  3. If the pistol has not been fired or not given a standard cleaning for over two years.

In addition, if your Glock 27 does any of the following, then it needs a deep cleaning:

  1. Misfires when trigger is pulled.
  2. Failure to feed ammunition.
  3. Failure to eject fired brass.
  4. Pistol very dirty inside and out.

Insofar as cost, a local gunsmith might charge you from $75.00 and up plus the cost of parts and hand fitting to deep clean and inspect the Glock 27. At this time, Glock customer service is mainly for warranty issues only.

Before starting on any deep cleaning and inspections, always be sure that the Glock 27 pistol is unloaded and safe to be handled.

Disassemble the pistol into its four main component parts: slide, barrel, guide rod/recoil spring assembly, and frame/receiver. The instructions are in the Glock standard cleaning section above. You now have your Glock in the field stripped condition.

Disassembing the Upper

  1. You will need a Glock armorer’s tool to remove the slide cover plate by pushing the firing pin spacer sleeve down. This will put the spacer sleeve in the unlocked position on the slide cover. Now you can push the slide cover plate off with your thumb.
  2. Remove the firing pin assembly and extractor depressor plunger.
  3. Remove the extractor last. The extractor will drop out when you push down on the firing pin safety.
  4. Now remove the firing pin safety.

Disassembling the Receiver

  1. Start off by removing the locking pin. You can remove the pin in either direction. Just remember, when you reassemble the pistol, this pin must be reinstalled first.
  2. Remove the the trigger pin. Move the slide stop lever or jiggle it to the front and rear of the receiver while pushing on the trigger pin with the armorer’s tool from the left to the right.
  3. After removing the trigger pin, remove the slide stop lever from the receiver.
  4. Remove the locking block. Place the armorer’s tool under the locking block and pry upward. Upon reassembly, the locking block will only fit back in one way.
  5. After you push out the trigger mechanism housing pin, which is located on the backstrap, pull the ejector assembly up and lift out the trigger group.
  6. To remove the slide lock lever. Turn the receiver on its side. Push downward on the slide lock lever spring to release the slide lock lever. The slide lock lever will drop out of the receiver.

Deep Cleaning and Inspection of All Parts of the Glock

  1. Now that the Glock is totally disassembled, go ahead and clean all the parts of the pistol. The goal of this cleaning is to remove all the dirt and grime, old lubricants, and anything else that does not belong there.
  2. While you are cleaning the parts, make sure they are all in good condition and within set standard for each part. If a part is worn, broken, or damaged, it should be replaced at this time.
  3. After the deep cleaning and inspecting, go ahead and reassemble your Glock.

Reassembling Your Glock Upper

To reassemble your Glock upper, reverse the disassembly steps, and be sure not to over lubricate the Glock upper. Follow the testing procedure in the Glock standard cleaning section above dealing with which parts need testing and how to test them properly. When finished set the upper aside.

Reassembling the Receiver

To reassemble your Glock receiver, reverse the disassembly steps, with the exception of the order installing the locking block pin. Remember, the spring on the slide stop lever must always be under the locking block pin. If you get this part confused, the gun will only fire a single shot, and then the slide will lock back after each shot.

The next pin to be installed is the trigger pin, and then, finally, the trigger housing mechanism housing pin located in the backstrap.

Video first seen on Humans4Targets.

 How to Reassemble Your Glock

  1. Lubricate as directed in lubrication points in the standard cleaning section above.
  2. Set the upper on the receiver, pull the upper backwards all the way back, and release. This locks the upper and the receiver together.
  3. Function test the Glock, also as noted above in the standard cleaning section.
  4. After the Glock has passed all of the function tests, it can be fired again.

Keep your Glock 27 pistol clean and functioning correctly. While this handgun does not require quite as much cleaning a some other pistols, it must still be cleaned and lubricated on a routine basis.

If you cannot do this job yourself, do not hesitate to work with a local gunsmith. Your guns will keep you safe when nobody else will. Keep them close and ready, and practice your shooting skills, learning from the best in the branch! Click the banner below for more!


This article has been written by Fred Tyrell for Survivopedia.

Further Reading (for standard cleaning)

Alien Gear Cloak Tuck In the Waist Band Holster Review

This post is by Bernie Carr, Today we are reviewing Alien Gear’s Cloak Tuck 3.0 Inside the Waist Band (IWB) Holster. What the Package Includes The holster itself is in black leather, with a neoprene padding in the back.  A Parts Pack, which helps you customize the holster, also came with it.  It contains:  screws, rubber spacers, T-nut, washer and hex key. Alien Gear holsters are made in the U.S. Trying out the Holster We tried the holster on […]

The post Alien Gear Cloak Tuck In the Waist Band Holster Review appeared first on Apartment Prepper.

VSSL Supplies Review & First Aid Canister Kits Review: Cleverly Designed for Peace of Mind

When it comes to being prepared, the bare essentials for survival and first aid should never be far away. And whether it’s a daypack, camping pack, car trunk, or bug-out bag, VSSL’s canisters do a great job overall at keeping those essentials ready, organized, and easy to access. VSSL canisters have different themes, but each. . . Read More

The post VSSL Supplies Review & First Aid Canister Kits Review: Cleverly Designed for Peace of Mind first appeared on Backdoor Survival.

LuminAID Packlite Max Review – Hands-on with this Solar Lantern Charger

In terms of innovation, I assumed that camping lanterns had already reached their peak. Some lanterns might have better features, burn brighter, use batteries instead of gas, weigh less, or be more durable, but they’d all essentially be different versions of the same product. Special Note: The folks at LuminAID were kind enough to set. . . Read More

The post LuminAID Packlite Max Review – Hands-on with this Solar Lantern Charger first appeared on Backdoor Survival.

Best Emergency Window Breakers for the Unexpected

It’s the last thing you want to think of; losing control of your car and sliding down into an embankment with a splash at the bottom. Freezing water begins to fill the interior and you realize you are stuck. Did anyone even witness the accident? Emergency car window breakers have made a lot of news. . . Read More

The post Best Emergency Window Breakers for the Unexpected first appeared on Backdoor Survival.

FiveJoy J2 Entrenching Survival Shovel Review – Hands On Testing

As soon as I unpacked the , I was impressed. It has a real heft to it, with no hint of that dreaded “cheap feeling” you get from some tools as soon as you pick them up. The carbon steel head feels very strong and solidly attached to the natural wood handle. While quite attractive-looking,. . . Read More

The post FiveJoy J2 Entrenching Survival Shovel Review – Hands On Testing first appeared on Backdoor Survival.

Best Amazon Prime Day Survival and Prepping Deals – Camping, Food Storage, and More!

Prime Day is here again! 2017 promises to be a record breaking blockbuster when it comes to both the quantity of deals available and the depth of discounts. Sorting through the best deals is half the battle. Not all the deals are really “true” deals (although Amazon promises better deals in general). This page will. . . Read More

The post Best Amazon Prime Day Survival and Prepping Deals – Camping, Food Storage, and More! first appeared on Backdoor Survival.

Expert Advice: Why You Need Physical Training For Shooting

There is no doubt that physical conditioning is overlooked a lot of times. Human beings get older, and as they get older they have health conditions and they get lazy.

We’re not all in the same shape that we were in our prime, and some of us in our prime are not in the shape that we should be, so there’s no doubt that it affects your overall combat effectiveness.

Does it mean that a person that’s overweight or out of shape can’t shoot as well as somebody that is in great shape?

Not necessarily, when you’re talking just strictly shooting, but when you put the whole package together, then yes, because in order to survive you have to be able to do three things: shoot, move and communicate.

Why You Need Physical Conditioning for Gun Training

In order to shoot, yeah, it can be physically stressful, more so the ability to lower your heart rate and to be able to keep and have good enough cardio that your breathing doesn’t have an effect on your shot group, and that’s something that can happen.

Moving, of those three, is probably the biggest factor in why it’s important to stay in good shape. It just goes without question that the better shape that you’re in, the better you can move. You need to be able to go over obstacles, under obstacles, upstairs, down stairs, down ropes, to high points to see or gain a better shot, to run for cover, or to perform individual movement techniques.

Those things take energy, and the better shape you’re in, obviously the better you’re going to be to do those things. In a real-life situation, you may have to run towards the aggressor, or you may have to run away from the aggressor. Those actions take energy and at least a bit of agility. In order to expel that kind of energy you need to be in good shape, or at least in better shape than the person that’s shooting at you.

So yes, when you look at it as a full package of shoot, move and communicate, being in shape is very important. As far as shooting, I would say that it’s more about being able to control your involuntary physical reactions – those things that we do that physically affect our shot group.

When we aim at something and then we shoot, there are physical factors that are involved that can affect the shot group – your breathing can make that shot go too high or too low if you don’t have anything to support your weapon and you’re just using your body as support. Understanding your breathing and understanding how to shoot during that natural respiratory pause are very important factors in accurate gunfire and they can be affected by the type of physical conditioning that you have.

That is true about just shooting, but more so about everything else. I would say physical fitness affects movement, the ability to move from one covered and concealed position to another. The ability to move quickly under fire and still shoot accurately is all going to be dependent on the type of shape that you’re in. Being in good shape is always going to be a bonus, or it’s always going to be something that can give you that tactical edge that you need to become the victor in any gunfight.

Whether you’re in shape or not could also affect others around you. For instance, what if you get shot and somebody has to drag you? Is it better that they’re trying to pick up a regular sized guy or are they now trying to drag somebody that’s 350 pounds? Think about others around you that may be involved in a gunfight with you. It’s important that you don’t throw them under the bus by making them have to carry your big butt because you didn’t want to do any physical training.

If you get shot, your physical conditioning has a lot to do with your ability to stay alive – the better shape that you’re in, the better your chances of survival when your body goes through a traumatic situation; that’s a proven statement, so it’s very important to stay in shape for that reason, too.

Click here to get your Green Beret’s Guide to combat shooting mastery & active shooter defense!

Being in good shape helps yourself and others, because you can survive a traumatic gunshot wound or getting blown up or fragged or something like that, better if you’re in good shape. If you’re in decent shape, you’re not so heavy that it becomes a burden on others around you to have to carry you out of a bad situation, and also vice versa; your ability to carry other people if they get shot or to drag them to a covered and concealed location.

Those things are all dependent on how strong you are as well, so yes, it is always a good thing to stay in shape and be in the best shape that you can be, that’s why when you look at our elite forces, physical conditioning is such a big part of what they do. It’s for that very reason that they are able to endure hours and hours and hours of high-stress situations.

I guess that the last thing I would say is that it’s also a proven fact that the better shape you’re in, the longer you’re able to endure high stress environments without them having an effect on your heart, on your mind, or on your body. Being in shape has a lot of benefits; enough so that the benefits far outnumber the drudgery of the time that you have to put in to staying in shape. It’s worth it when you do a risk versus reward analysis, so get out there and walk, run, do exercises, keep your cardio strong and maintain (or improve) your ability to lift weights.

I would say, one of the things about exercise that I took from my years in the Special Operations community is that just going through the motions of running or lifting weights can be boring and mundane, but when I got over to the Special Operations community, we did a lot of realistic training that was also very physical. I think that’s one great way to stay in shape.

If you can, set up a big range where you have to run and lift “guys” (aka full feed sacks) up and carry them to safety and then shoot your rifle and do things like that where you get your heart rate way up there. Then you’re incorporating shooting into it, so you’re putting shooting, moving and communicating all into one activity. Do that on a regular basis and you’ll be able to stay in shape. You’ll also be able to shoot, move and communicate which is incredibly important in any type of a situation.

Video first seen on trainmetoday1

Here’s an example of a drill that can help you get fit as well as prepared.

Run a couple of laps, and then get down into the prone or maybe the kneeling unsupported position. Take a couple of shots at a target, then run to a covered position. Get into the standing position, take a shot from either side of an obstacle or a wall, then put your weapon on safe. If you have a wall, climb it.

Once you get to the other side of the wall, take another shot then low-crawl under some wire that you’ve set up. When you get to the other side, take a shot from the prone unsupported position, then run 100 meters to another position and take a shot from the prone supported fire position where you have maybe a sandbag or something like that and you’re laying down.

Make it a competition; go against somebody else and see who gets the best time and the most accurate shot groups. Make it fun but make it realistic.

Incorporate shooting, moving, and communicating into one event and get out there, have a good time, stay in shape or get in shape and become a better shooter.

Why Breathing While Shooting is Part of the Training

How you breathe depends on the type of shooting we’re talking about. The more accurate and the more distance-related the shooting event is, the more breathing is going to be a factor. The further the distance a shot is, the more every little thing is going to influence it.

Video first seen on Rated Red

If you’re talking about a long-range shot, everything’s a factor. Your body position, stance, breathing, trigger control, trigger squeeze; all those things are going to have an effect on where that round impacts. Would you be able to keep them up if not being fit?

Now, is that true at short range or close-quarters combat? Sure, but it’s nowhere near as much of a factor as when you’re talking about long-range shooting, so I guess I would say that I’m going to break this up in two parts.

The first part is about close-quarters combat. When you’re talking about close-quarters combat, the biggest thing about breathing is just to breathe naturally and make sure you don’t forget to breathe when you’re under stress. I know that was an obstacle that I had to overcome in my early days of learning how to shoot in a close-quarter type situation. I tend to hold my breath when I’m under stress, and that’s not a good thing because now you’re cutting off oxygen to your body and to your brain.

It starts influencing cognitive thought and you physically cramp up; it does all kinds of things to you physiologically based off of the fact that you’re not breathing. It also helps you to relax when you breathe. When you relax, you are a better shooter, you make better decisions, and you can think clearly, so breathing is very important when you’re talking about close-quarters combat from that perspective.

When you start talking about the effect of breathing on point of aim/point of impact, we’re talking about those long-range shots, those technical shots, and shots in closer ranges also. When I say technical, I mean maybe there’s a hostage situation and you may not be that far away but you’re trying to take a shot 6 inches away from the person that’s being held hostage. A 6-inch difference in movement of that round could be the difference between the bad guy getting the bullet between the eyes and some innocent woman getting shot in the head.

Breathing is a factor in those types of situations. That and obviously long-range shots where everything that you do influences a round, I mean if you breathe in while you’re pulling the trigger the rounds tend to go low, if you breathe out when you’re pulling the trigger the rounds tend to go high, so that vertical point of impact is going to be affected seriously by your breathing in and out. Also, if you’re not breathing, you can shake and it can do all kinds of things to your composure that are going to influence pulling the trigger and on where that round goes.
When you fire your weapon, you pull. If you don’t breathe, it may cause you to jerk the trigger because you’re not thinking straight.

Be careful about the horizontal shifting left and right. If you are left-handed and you jerked the trigger, you tend to shoot to the right of the target, and if you’re right-handed and you jerk the trigger, you tend to shoot to the left of the target, so those things can all be affected by breathing as well. Mainly, though, when you’re talking about breathing, you’re talking about the vertical impact of the round.

Let’s talk about the natural respiratory pause. What is that? You hear that term a lot in shooting schools. When people are learning the fundamentals of marksmanship training, we’ll teach them about the natural respiratory pause; every 4 or 5 breaths, there’s a natural pause that you take where you’re not breathing but you’re calm and you have plenty of oxygen to the brain at that point. They, whoever they are, say that that’s a really good time to take a shot. But I think that “they” are not reflexive shooters, they are more talking about those long-range shots.

So if you’re talking about using natural respiratory pause to take a shot, my personal opinion is that it’s either for long-range shots or for very technical shots at closer ranges.

When you’re talking about reactive shooting where you’re reacting to something and then you’re using reflexive fire where you’re either putting that aim point of your long gun or the front sight-post of your pistol onto the target and pulling the trigger, I don’t think that breathing is as important as it is for those longer or more technical shots.

It takes practice and time to build the mindset of a warrior, but once you got it you ease your steps to survival.

Learn from the experts the secret of self-defense. Click the banner below to grab your guide!


This content has been written by Brian Morris for Survivopedia.

Sharpening a Knife with No Sharpener

This post is by Bernie Carr, Having a knife available at all times is handy for unforeseen chores and other small emergencies.  That’s why I keep two.  But if the knife is dull, it is not only useless, but can be dangerous.  You have more risk of cutting yourself if your knife is dull.  You can carry a knife sharpener too, but what if you don’t have one available?  Here is a way to sharpen your knife without one. […]

The post Sharpening a Knife with No Sharpener appeared first on Apartment Prepper.

10 Awesome Survival Gifts for Father’s Day

 10 Awesome Survival Gifts for Father’s Day Father’s Day is coming up soon. Whether you have a dad that you are looking to give a gift, or if you are that dad dropping a hint for your kids- an awesome survival gift on Father’s Day never hurts. If you are an avid prepper and survivalist, …

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The post 10 Awesome Survival Gifts for Father’s Day appeared first on SHTF & Prepping Central.

How to cope with the precipitation: Ten tips for comfortable camping in the rain

There is nothing like rain to make you appreciate sunshine! After decades of backpacking and scouting, I have learned some ways to cope with rainy weather while camping.

Best Selling Prepper Items – Why They May Not Work for You

Written by Pat Henry on The Prepper Journal.

I personally shop online for almost anything I can for a couple of reasons. First is the incredible ability to research and check prices. I can read or watch video reviews for any products I am considering before making a final decision. Secondly, I hate going to the mall or just about any other shopping center type of place with a passion – I would just about rather take a kick to the head than go to the mall during Christmas, but even the rest of the year shopping online is just my preferred option. I was looking around for more prepper and survival gear the other day and often readers ask for gear recommendations so I wanted to give you this list of the best-selling prepper items but with a twist. I want to also give you my opinions on why this list is wrong when taken from the standpoint of what people should be focusing on. I will show the best sellers and give alternate items you should have if you don’t already.

LifeStraw Personal Water Filter

The LifeStraw is a great idea and Water is the highest priority, all things being equal, you should focus on when preparing for any kind of unforeseen emergency. But I think the LifeStraw itself has some limitations and drawbacks that would make me choose another option for water filtration.

For starters, the LifeStraw is really meant for only one person. If you have a couple of people to provide clean water for, this isn’t ideal. Next, you must stick your face down in the water for this to work. Not only does this require you to get up close and personal with your water source but it also prevents you from being able to fully stay aware of your surroundings. Yes, you can fill a container up with water and stick the LifeStraw in that, but why? Additionally, can’t take any water with you for later because the LifeStraw only works when you have a water source to stick the straw into. Lastly, the LifeStraw only filters up to 1000 liters before it is no longer safe.

For me, there are a couple of other options. For just about the same price, size/weight footprint, the Sawyer Mini Water Filtration System is far superior. It filters 100, 000 gallons, comes with it’s own bag that you can fill to quench your thirst, then refill for the road and still has all the microorganism filtering benefits. To me, these are the most minimal and basic water filters you can get, but it’s probably better to expand to a slightly larger capacity system.

The best solution in my opinion is a gravity fed water filtration system. Why? Unlike manual pump filters like the Katadyn Hiker or the MSR Miniworks (which I own and like), gravity fed filtration systems have no moving parts to break. Also, you can just let the water filter do its job while you move on to other issues like setting up camp or observing your surroundings. I am a HUGE fan of the GravityWorks by Platypus, but they are much more expensive. They taste far better than any type of Iodine water filter system like the Polar Pure, last far longer too, can easily support multiple people and I don’t have to worry about those little glass bottles breaking on me.

Mountain House Freeze Dried Food

The next 3 items on the list of best-selling prepper gear are food so I will combine them. Mountain House is listed as the best seller and I certainly have recommended their products as a great camping or backpacking option that also work great as a preparedness option. They only require hot water and you have a meal. Now, is this the best prepper food you should get if you are trying to stock up food for emergencies?


Mountain House or any one of the many other manufacturers of quality freeze-dried food out there fill a need and as part of a larger food self-sufficiency strategy I think they fill a great role. If you have nothing else but Mountain House, you will still be able to feed your family with decent tasting food that requires nothing more than a fire or stove to heat the water. You can even eat out of the bag. However, I recommend a little more diversity.

Your pantry should be filled with a larger portion of foods you already eat and let the Freeze-Dried food supplement that should you need to. You probably wouldn’t want to break out some Mountain House Lasagna with Meat Sauce if your friends were coming over for dinner, but after a snow storm knocks your power out for a week, this stuff is awesome. Your own family’s needs and preferences will dictate what you store but for tips on how to get started, check out my article on 30 days of food storage for ideas on how to get a jump-start.

Emergency Disposable Rain Ponchos

No offense to the good-looking group pictured here, but preppers shouldn’t be buying these cheap bags expecting protection.

Number three on the list of the best-selling prepper gear is Emergency Rain Ponchos? Seriously? Granted, this is from but these are glorified trash bags meant to give you some protection if you are out at a theme park let’s say and an unexpected downpour threatens to ruin the fun. No self-respecting prepper should have to resort to this because if you can’t find out what the weather is going to be and plan accordingly, you have bigger things to worry about most likely.

Instead of a disposable trash bag, if you are looking for some prepper gear that isn’t a rain jacket, consider a legitimate poncho instead. These are more expensive, but the construction is vastly better and you can use these to provide shelter if you combine them with a little paracord. Usually they come in camouflage colors but you do have options if you are trying not to look tactical. You can even combine them with a poncho liner to have a great cold weather system that can keep you dry and warm.

Gerber Bear Grylls Fire Starter

Number 4 is a means to start a fire and magnesium fire starters are a great grid-down item to have. There are many other brands out there and while I haven’t personally tested the Gerber line, I have been very happy with the craftsmanship and quality of other items like their multi-tools that I own. The Bear Grylls Fire Starter is just branded merchandise but it should do the job admirably.

Now I own several fire starters like this but you know what I own more of? Disposable lighters. They are cheap (you can get a pack of 10 for the price of one fire starter) and easier to use. Yes, they won’t last anywhere near as long as a fire starter, but if I needed to get a fire going quickly, I would much rather start my tinder off with a quick flick of my Bic and then move on.

Survival Shack Emergency Survival Shelter Tent

Keep the rain off you? Maybe? Sun? Yep. Will it keep you warm in cold climates?

Number 5 on Amazon’s list of best-selling prepper gear is essentially a big piece of Mylar with some rope. It is cheap, lightweight and compact, but when it comes to staying warm, I don’t see how this big open tent is going to help you.

In the right environment, creating a survival shelter is a free option but that assumes a lot of things. First that you have materials you can make a shelter with. Debris shelters are all the rage on YouTube for preppers and survivalists, but what if you don’t have any trees, limbs lying around or millions of leaves to cover it with?

A better option may be a survival bivvy. Advanced Medical Kits sells an Emergency Bivvy that will keep two people warm. First, it’s enclosed so you don’t have air blowing through it and wiping away any heat convection your body was making – think survival sleeping bag. It doesn’t require trees to string a rope and you get the added benefit of body heat from your buddy – assuming you are with someone. It is a little more expensive and does take up a little more room, but seems like it would be more effective at keeping you protected from the elements.

Is Best Selling Gear really the Best for You?

There are many other items on the list of best sellers and I just scratched the surface. I think in some cases; the things people buy are often out of convenience and cost savings but those two factors alone could leave you just as unprepared as if you didn’t purchase any prepper gear. Before making any prepper gear purchases, use the internet and conduct research. Take a look at what your survival priorities for the place you are or where you are going. Read articles – there are thousands out there on just about any subject related to prepping you can think of. Watch videos on YouTube and make your own mind up on what makes sense. But don’t stop there.

Actually try out the gear you just purchased. Use it to collect water and drink from it. Take that freeze-dried food out with you and make a meal. Try spending a night in that shelter or working in the rain in that poncho – start a fire. You will learn more from your own experience than anything you can read on a prepper blog and it will give you the knowledge you need to make your own, better, decisions on survival gear that works best for you.

The post Best Selling Prepper Items – Why They May Not Work for You appeared first on The Prepper Journal.

Survival Hax Paracord EDC Keychain – Review

This post is by Bernie Carr, Today we are reviewing the Survival Hax 10 in 1 Paracord EDC Keychain with Waterproof Pill Bottle. What is it? It’s a key chain (comprised of woven paracord and carabiner), with a waterproof pill container that contains a survival kit.  I opened the pill container and found: cotton tinder fire starter rod fishing line hooks weights floaters sinkers swivels eye knife safety pins wire saw I’m amazed they were able fit all these […]

The post Survival Hax Paracord EDC Keychain – Review appeared first on Apartment Prepper.

14 Survival Uses For Lip Balm

I already know what you’re thinking: what does lip balm and survival have in common?

Also known as chapstick, this inconspicuous piece of gear which is to be found in almost every woman’s purse has quite a lot of survival uses.

Ideally speaking, when it comes to DIY EDC kits, survival kits and bug out bags, the best thing would be to pack those with items which have multiple uses, for space saving reasons obviously. And lip balm definitely qualifies.

Lip balm is not just for protecting one’s lips, though this was its initial purpose. It can also be used as a survival tool. Just as many preppers never leave the house without duct tape, after finishing reading this article you’ll probably carry lip balm on your EDC from now on.

Another great feature of lip balm is that it’s available pretty much everywhere. You can find the stuff in gas stations and drugstores, on the Internet, in big box stores and so on and so forth.

Also, there are many brands and different varieties of lip balm, which are all making wild claims about their magical properties and what not, including the level of awesomeness they’ll deliver.

Regardless of the marketing, you should always go for the tube lip balm, this is the best option as it has multiple survival uses.

Discover what survival things the Pioneers took with them when they traveled for months!

Start a Fire

Lip balm can be lit up and used for starting a fire! Yeah, you got that right. Lip balm is a petroleum based product and that makes it flammable, hence if you’re out there in the wild and you need to start a fire real quick, just smear a small quantity of lip balm on any flammable object, like a cotton ball, cloth, lint, dry bark, gauze or whatever (they all work well) and they’ll ignite very quickly.

Lip balm is awesome for igniting tinder without wasting precious fuel or matches.

Make a Candle

Here’s a neat trick for maximizing your chances of survival in the dark: if you stuff a matchstick vertically down into the lip balm tube, a half inch or maybe more, thus creating a balm-coating, you’ll end up with an improvised/emergency candle that burns slowly and also makes for a pretty good fire starter.

You can also melt the lip balm and insert a wick in the container, hence ending up with an emergency candle.

Video first seen on SensiblePrepper.

Treat Small Cuts

Lip balm can be used for a variety of medical emergencies. To begin with, you can protect abrasions with the stuff, treat small cuts (thus preventing them from infecting), ameliorate scrapes from grime or dirt just by smearing some lip balm on the affected area.

Keep in mind that you’ll only require a light coating.

Stop Minor Bleeding

Lip balm also stops minor bleeding. If you’re going to hike long distances, you can prevent your heels and other areas on your feet from getting blisters by rubbing a little lip balm on them.

Protect Your Skin

Lip balm will provide you with some sort of lubrication and thus it will prevent you from getting blisters.

Another thing to remember: if you’re outdoors in extreme weather conditions, you can use lip balm to protect the skin on your exposed body parts from cracking and drying, think fingertips or your nose.

Also, you can reduce glare from extremely bright places (like in the desert or snowfields) by making a mixture from lip balm and ash, which must be rubbed under one’s eyes.

You can use lip balm as sunscreen in an emergency, as most of them include a sun protection factor of 15 to keep your lips from getting burned by the sun.

Camouflage Your Face

Another cool thing about lip balm: if you mix it with a little bit of dirt, you can use it for camouflage.

Video first seen on Erkin

Reduce Irritations

A soothe and irritated nose can be a pest, especially in a survival situation. However, you can get fast relief from that irritated skin around or inside your nose by applying some lip balm with your finger over the respective areas.

Protect Pet’s Paws

Lip balm is great for protecting a pet’s paws from ice in wintry conditions. You’ll have to coat the paw pads with lip balm before walking on snow or ice, as the lip balm will work as a barrier to protect sensitive paws.

Lubricate Your Gear

Lip balm is great in emergencies for its lubrication properties. For example, you can use it for unlocking a zipper, to prevent nails from splitting wood (you’ll have to rub some over the hardware before hammering in nails) or to rust proof gear. You can also use lip balm for sealing up a leaky seam in your jacket or your tent, or to wax a bowstring.

Keep Blades from Rusting

Lips balm also makes for a great blade protector for your survival knife. Keeping your knife well oiled when you’re not using it will prevent it from rusting.

Protect Leather Gear

Speaking of protection, lip balm is an excellent leather conditioner, whether we’re talking about your skin or the leather on your shoes and boots or the sheath of your survival knife.

Remove Stuck Rings

Lip balm is great for removing stuck rings pr other items. For example, if your ring gets stuck on your fat finger, whether we’re talking about a wrong fit or from swelling, a little lip balm will save the day.

Defog Glasses

If you’re wearing glasses, you can use lip balm as a defogger. Just rub some lip balm on the lenses then polish them thoroughly with a clean cloth. In this way, you’ll leave an invisible film of lip balm on your lenses that will prevent them from fogging (works with goggles and binoculars too).

Hide Small Survival Items

Even the empty container can be used for storage purposes. Once you’ve used all your lip balm, the plastic tube will make for the ideal place to store things like basic survival gear, i.e. matches, a fishing hook and fishing line etc.

Next time you’re cruising your local convenient store, don’t forget to grab some tubes of  lip balm. Is dirt cheap, easy to carry and an essential item to have in your EDC/BOB or survival kit.

Now that you know how to use lip balm in an emergency situation, discover more valuable survival secrets from our forefathers.

Click the banner below for more!

If you have questions or additional ideas, feel free to comment in the dedicated section below.

This article has been writen by Chris Black for Survivopedia. 

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

This post is by Bernie Carr, 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 […]

The post What if You Have to Walk Out of the City in an Emergency? appeared first on Apartment Prepper.

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

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.


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

Many Preppers Fail to Do this One Thing

This post is by Bernie Carr, 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 […]

The post Many Preppers Fail to Do this One Thing appeared first on Apartment Prepper.

Why I Keep Two Knives with Me

This post is by Bernie Carr,   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 […]

The post Why I Keep Two Knives with Me appeared first on Apartment Prepper.

How To Recover Gold And Silver From Scrap

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

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


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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The post 14 Prepper Items To Look For At Garage Sales appeared first on SHTF & Prepping Central.