Can you improvise quality gear in some areas, to save money for items you can’t improvise? This video selection shows how to make simple survival/preparedness tools that are effective and that will save you money.
It’s Time To Prepare For A Future Disaster With An Emergency Survival Kit.
A survival kit is a group of critical survival gear and supplies put into a container (bag, pack, tin, etc.). And while that may sound fairly straightforward, there’s a lot to be said for owning a quality one.
Even if you’re a survival expert and can make fishhooks out of pop-tops, fashion hunting bows from plywood, and turn a shoe into a water filtration system – you never want to have to rely on those last resort measures.
At least not in a dire emergency situation.
Having a well-stocked emergency supplies kit, and some bushcraft gear at your disposal is smart. And in the long run, it can be more important than any fancy survival trick.
I am not saying a survivalist is only as good as his equipment. Being creative and adaptive in survival is still essential.
But having a good survival kit always improve your survival odds.
Think of it this way – an expert guitar player can make a crappy guitar sound good but if you give that same musician a Les Paul with Marshall Stacks and a pedal board, they’re going sound amazing!
It’s the same with survival.
You don’t need the professional setup to survive, but having one is always preferred.
Convinced yet? Before we start building a survival kit, let’s take a look inside one first.
Knowing which materials are worthwhile will help guide you to the perfect kit for you.
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.
Items That Go A Quality Survival Kit
It’s important to know what goes into a quality survival kit for two reasons.
First, you’ll know if it’s truly comprehensive or missing an essential item. Basically, you’ll know how to identify a high-quality kit from a poor quality kit.
And second, this list will help you build one.
And even if you do end up buying one instead of building one, you’ll see extra items you’ll want to add to one you’ve bought.
There are no rules against customization – in fact, it’s highly encouraged.
But, here’s the problem – a lot of you survivalists already have their “Bug Out Bag” packed and ready. And when we cover in detail what’s inside a kit, you might notice some crossover between the two.
So my advice is this: redundancy is never a bad thing when it comes to survival.
Having extra fish hooks and dehydrated meals is never bad. And many of those items, weigh little and are easily packed away, without taking up a lot of space.
If the crossover bothers you, you may want to include just those items you don’t have yet. As opposed to building a second “Survival Kit” that’s almost identical to your “Bug Out Bag.”
As A Way To Introduce You To Skilled Survival, We’re Giving Away Our #104 Item Bug Out Bag Checklist. Click Here To Get Your FREE Copy Of It.
Emergency Food and Water
Before discussing any survival gear, you need to make food and water a priority first.
Without proper hydration and energy, a small emergency can quickly take a turn for the worst.
Even the Red Cross recommends a minimum of:
- Water: one gallon per person, per day (3-day supply for evacuation, 2-week supply for home)
- Food: non-perishable, easy-to-prepare food storage (3-day supply for evacuation, 2-week supply for home)
Clean drinking water is critical for survival situations and from your water taps in everyday life.
Water filters or purification tablets should be one of the first things you put into any survival kit or bug out bag.
Iodine tablets are very useful and take up almost no space inside of your kit. Water filters tend to be larger but work faster than iodine so get a couple portable ones; like a Sawyer Mini.
Here’s my video review of the incredible Sawyer Mini.
Sustenance is one of the pillars of survival. Without it, you starve, shrivel up and die a miserable death.
Calories are energy, no matter how you’re storing them, so keep some form of food storage in your emergency kits is essential!
It can be as simple as a few energy bars or some freeze-dried dehydrated meals. Some people prefer energy gels, packets of peanuts, trail mix.
Another great survival food for your kit is called Pemmican. This survival snack was originally invented by the Native Americans for their own survival needs. It’s a protein dense survival superfood that can last decades without refrigeration!
Avoid relying on candies and other food with high sugar content. They will give you a short burst of energy and then you’ll feel more tired once it’s quickly used up.
The bottom line is to keep some emergency food in your survival kits.
Key Emergency Tools and Gear
Knives are one of man’s most important survival tools since the dawn of time. And that remains much the same today – don’t get caught unawares without one.
If you want an excellent compact survival knife that you can easily pack into an emergency kit – check out The Survival Neck Knife.
Waterproof Matches, Striker, and Lighter:
Because fire is one of man’s oldest survival tools so if you don’t have a way of making one you’re under-prepared.
Of course, there are a lot of ways to start fires without matches and lighters. But those methods are complicated, time-consuming, and less reliable.
Never make surviving an emergency any harder than it needs to be!
First Aid Kit:
Rarely should you include a complete emergency first aid kit in your kit.
If you do, it will consume most of your kits packing space. But you still need a basic set of first aid supplies. Medical supplies that are useful in survival situations.
Band-aids, antibiotic ointment, alcohol swabs, and some clean gauze are the bare minimum.
For an in-depth article on building a comprehensive survival medical kit, click here.
Cheap compasses are for sale everywhere, but make sure that it’s reliable.
Once you’ve found a cheap, but reliable compass like this; put one in every bag you own.
Your bug out bag, your hiking backpack, your purse… wherever! Compasses are useful tools to always have on hand.
As A Way To Introduce You To Skilled Survival, We’re Giving Away Our #104 Item Bug Out Bag Checklist. Click Here To Get Your FREE Copy Of It.
Fish Hooks and Line:
In wilderness survival, fishing is one of the easiest and most reliable forms of calorie acquisition.
Fish make for excellent survival protein, and you can find them in most bodies of water. And you don’t need a fancy pole and reel setup to catch one.
Some bait, a strong line, and a hook is all one needs to catch a fish in a pinch. And patience… lots and lots of patience.
Emergency sleeping bags or “space blanket,” as they are sometimes called, are essential for all Survival Kits.
They pack small and look like tin foil than an actual blanket, but these survival devices retain heat.
They were originally designed by NASA (hence their nickname “space blanket”) for astronauts. But they work just as well for cold survivors down here on Earth.
Of the ones, we’ve tested here at Skilled Survival the Tact Bivvy by Survival Frog is our favorite.
The traditional American “fix-all” tape.
Duct tape is highly useful for everyday tasks and emergencies. It allows you to build and repair just about anything you might have on hand in a survival situation.
It’s also a good way to temporarily waterproof something.
Hyperthermia is a cold sad way to go.
And if you’re stuck outside, with no houses, buildings, caves, or other structures to seek refuge, having an emergency poncho at your disposal is crucial.
Having two is even better – then you won’t have to share yours if you have a companion.
These are not only useful; they are fun to use.
Everyone loves glow sticks.
And in an emergency, they are very practical assets to have in your kit. They can be used to keep an area lit at night. And they will also help rescuers pinpoint your location.
Let’s be honest – none of us know ahead of time the sort of emergency we’ll end up in.
And if it’s one that includes fire, smoke, ash, dust, particulate matter, or other discharge of similar nature, then you are going to want a dust mask.
These protect your respiratory system from pollutants and toxins. They are cheap, lightweight, and easily pack away.
Or you can upgrade from a dusk mask to a full-blown gas mask for more dangerous chemicals in the air.
The applications for these are nearly endless.
Nitrile gloves are important when working with injuries. They’re useful for cleaning nasty things (like toilets), or toxic materials.
So stuff a couple of pairs of these into your survival kit. You never know what you’ll need them for, but you can be almost certain you’ll need them for something.
While you might have a loud shouting voice, survival whistles are always better at alerting people.
No matter how loud you think you can get, your voice will not carry as far as a whistle.
Survival Flashlight & An Extra Battery:
I recommend packing a survival flashlight that’s super bright and only needs a single AA battery.
Then just pack an extra battery of the same size (AA) and you’ll have light in an emergency or survival situation.
I don’t know what kinds of injuries I’ll be dealing with in a future emergency – and neither do you!
Biohazard bags are the kinds of things you do not need until you need them.
A deck of survival playing cards, a cribbage board, a book or magazine can make a huge difference in a survival situation.
Entertainment can preserves one’s sanity in stressful situations.
An emergency kit without some form of distraction is incomplete.
Do you wear contact lenses? If so, then you should stash a spare pair in your emergency preparedness kit. Being able to see in a crisis is essential, contacts can fall out or get debris in them.
Do you take insulin or special medications? Obviously, you need to add some spares of those critical items to your kit as well.
Think about the items specific to you and your health and add them to your preparedness 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.
Best Survival Kits Money Can Buy
Not every emergency kit is going to have all the critical survival supplies. They come in all shapes and sizes and sometimes there’s not enough room.
Some are big and bulky and will last four people for days. Others are small enough to fit inside of a bug out bag or backpacking pack.
I recommend assessing your needs and then finding the one that’s right for you and your budget.
This full sized backpack emergency kit is equipped to sustain four people for three days in an emergency.
It has almost everything we talked about above, and even a few more items not listed.
The pack is ideal for families. However, it’s the most expensive kit we’ll discuss (check out today’s price).
And for a good reason: it’s the most comprehensive and the largest.
Multi-tools, a striker, a compass, a portable wire saw and emergency whistle, among other things.
High-quality materials more than justify at this fair price (check out today’s price).
This kit is great if you plan on storing your survival kit inside of another bag because it is so small.
- A camouflage backpack
- 5 water pouches (4.227 fl oz.)
- Portable Stove
- 4 fuel tablets
- 1 stainless steel cup
- 1 squeeze flashlight
- 5-in-1 survival whistle
- 37 piece bandage kit
- N95 dust mask
- Pocket, tissues
- 3 wet naps
- Waterproof matches
- Mylar blanket
- Emergency poncho
- And playing cards
It’s got a lot of survival supplies at a reasonable price (check out today’s price).
This is the bare bones of a survival kit, and it’s in the mid-price range (check out today’s price).
Honestly, if you want a survival kit of this size, it may be more cost-effective to note what’s inside it and then just buy the materials on your own.
If your looking for a comprehensive urban survival kit that doubles as a bug out bag, look no further than the Urban Survival Bug Out Bag.
This kit includes all the basic equipment you need for a successful bug out, including gear and supplies.
Plus, these bag’s are colored to blend into the urban landscape environment since they are a simple black and gray combination.
For all you get, the price is surprising (check out today’s price).
Adding a Personal Touch To Your Kit
As I mentioned before, even if you bought a commercial survival kit, it is a good practice to customize it.
Never be afraid to add things to it – extra items such as:
- Favorite multi-tools
- Personal medications and prescriptions
- Polarized sunglasses
- Your favorite survival book
- A journal
- Your favorite candy bar
- Pictures of your loved ones
- An iPod loaded with your favorite songs
- Lucky tokens, etc.
Survival is all about thinking outside of the box. It’s a creative art that requires improvisation skills. Apply that towards perfecting your survival kit.
The more time and thought you put into this project the higher the payoff when the time comes to use it.
The Final Word
A survival kit is the kind of asset that makes the difference between a chaotic and difficult struggle, and a manageable challenge. With a single bag, you can prepare yourself for the worst emergency.
Now, as I mentioned, there is a lot of crossover between “Bug out Bags” and survival kits. THIS IS OKAY.
I recommend against supplementing one for the other. Why not have both? Even if they are roughly the same and loaded with a lot of the same supplies, it’s good to have two.
It means you’re doubly prepared in the event of an emergency. Redundancy in survival is often a good thing, do not be afraid to have more than one of the same survival tool.
There are so many survival kits on the market, all advertising a different list of contents. That is a lot of options for prospective buyers like you. And it can sometimes be overwhelming trying to pick the right one.
Use this guide to provide insight to get the perfect survival kit for you and your family.
Regardless of whether you choose to build your own kit or buy one, make sure you keep it at the ready. Ensure that your fate is in your own hands.
Prepare yourself with reliable gear, and an ultimate survival 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.
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 The Ultimate Survival Kit For A Disaster appeared first on Skilled Survival.
Everyone should own and carry non lethal weapons – even if you already carry a firearm.
Why? Because not every conflict or attack calls for a weapon of the lethal variety.
For example – does a starving pickpocket deserve a bullet in the head?
Sometimes a non lethal weapon is the right answer to deter, intimidate, or stop a threat.
Or maybe you’re not familiar with firearms and have no desire to do so.
In this case, your best bet is a non lethal weapon for self-protection.
That’s why there are so many types of non lethal weapons available. Weapons that make sense when the incident calls for a non lethal (but still extremely effective) defense tactic.
As you’ll soon discover, the best non lethal weapons are incredibly intimidating and can inflict severe pain. The best ones can stop an intruder in their tracks.
But they’re non lethal weapons that will most likely leave both perpetrator and victim alive to see another day.
Now, don’t get me wrong, you should still be ready to defend yourself and do so by lethal means if necessary.
However, that should be a last resort and not your go-to option. It’s always preferable to deter an attacker if possible first.
So today we’re going to share with you the 9 best non lethal weapons to keep you and your loved ones safe:
- StrikePen Tactical Pen
- ViperTek Heavy Duty Stun Gun
- Devil Juice Pepper Spray
- FastStrike Tactical Whip
- StrikeLight Flashlight / Baton
- Cold Steel Baseball Bat
- Monkey Fist
- Konnex ET15 Survival Shovel
- HyperWhistle Emergency Whistle
1 – Strikepen Tactical Pen
The StrikePen is a whole pocketful of EDC tools rolled into one milled aluminum package.
From the bright LED flashlight to the interchangeable tooltips. Thie StrikePen is a serious piece of survival gear.
The solid tungsten steel striker tip makes it an excellent close-quarters weapon. Plus it doubles as an emergency glass breaker!
Of course, it wouldn’t be a StrikePEN if didn’t write with a smooth black ball-tip point.
And a replacement ink cartridge is also a welcome addition.
But the bottom line is a tactical pen (like the StrikePen) is an ideal non lethal weapon.
That’s not to say it cannot kill someone if shoved into a lethal area of the human body. However, if you know how to use a tactical pen properly, it can stop an intruder in their tracks.
Hell, even if you must use it to stab an intruder in the eye, they will still likely survive the incident.
Yes, they will likely be blind for the rest of their life, but they will still be breathing.
2 – ViperTek Heavy Duty Stun Gun
The ViperTek produces enough electrical power to drop a large man in seconds flat.
Plus, it has extra design features such as snatch prevention.
If a threat attempts to take the device from you, the side shock plates will deliver high voltage shock. You sort of want them to try and take it from you!
The Vipertek Stun Gun also has ultra-Sharp spike electrodes. These help to penetrate thick clothing to deliver the high voltage shock with maximum impact.
It also includes an internal Rechargeable Battery. So no expensive batteries to buy and replace.
The main handle has a non-slip rubber coating to keep the device firmly in your grip.
3 – Devil Juice Pepper Spray
Earlier this year, I read an interesting news article. It was about a man hospitalized after eating one Carolina Reaper.
It said to be the hottest chili pepper known to man – at around 2,000,000 Scoville Heat Units!
This pepper causes intense dry heaves, blinding headaches, and some near-stroke symptoms.
But what if the “pepper” in a pepper spray was that powerful?
Devil Juice is measured at 3,000,000 SHU – an astounding 50% hotter than the Carolina Reaper!
It can spray this blinding defense up to 6’ and across 120deg. Devil Juice also gives you a wide strike zone for hitting your attacker.
Good thing it comes with a safety to prevent accidental discharge in your pocket!
4 – FastStrike Tactical Whip
But The FastStrike Tactical Whip is not quite like that; it’s better!
It’s a concealable, 17” stainless steel spring cable with a solid striker.
It’s simple to use and can strike from any direction, unlike a knife with only one sharp edge.
The FastStrike’s solid grip handle makes sure the weapon stays in your hand. And the pocket clip makes it easy to attach in a pocket, purse, or backpack.
Only drawback? It doesn’t make that sweet whip-crack sound!
5 – The StrikeLight Flashlight / Baton
When checking out a strange noise in the middle of the night, there’s always a toss-up.
Do you take a flashlight or a baseball bat?
With the StrikeLight, you can avoid the question altogether and carry both!
It includes a powerful LED flashlight and multiple light modes. The best self-defense light mode being a disorienting strobe setting.
With a StrikeLight, you’ll intimate a threat and head off a more serious altercation.
If the situation goes from bad to worse, the solid aluminum construction lets you use the light as a baton.
Plus, the aggressive teeth and end points make quick work of anyone on the receiving end of your swing.
If you need a little more reach, the barrel extends another 4 inches with the twist of a wrist. That’s 4 more inches of intimidation!
6 – Cold Steel Baseball Bat
Of course, a good old baseball bat is a shockingly good non lethal weapon!
While I love the look and feel of a wood bat for baseball, I don’t prefer it as a self-defense weapon. Why? Because they can splinter in two at the worst possible time – like during an attack.
At just over 2lbs, it’s got enough heft that anything you hit isn’t likely to come back for more.
Add barb wire to make your own better version of “Lucille” from the Walking Dead.
7 – The Monkey Fist
One of my very favorite self-defense tools is also one of the oldest – a Monkey Fist Knot.
The monkey fist surrounds a heavy ball with wraps of rope, giving you a weighted end on your line.
They’re great throwing a length of rope over a tree branch – or to make a devastating close-quarters weapon.
You can buy one pre-tied, but it’s way more fun to tie one yourself.
Plus, it’s a great skill to add to your plans and allow you to make them any weight and size you need.
All you need are:
- some 550 paracord
- a large ball bearing (or pool ball for a more dangerous option)
- a simple monkey fist jig
With these tools and a video, you can make your own Monkey Fist.
The Konnex ET15 is a solid survival tool, made for more than just digging ditches!
This survival shovel has tons of extra tools hidden in the handle. From a compass, a signal whistle to a Ferro rod fire striker capable of creating a shower of 3000 deg sparks.
The Konnex Shovel blade is also sharp on one side and acts as an axe blade. This blade can even do fine detail work such as shaving kindling.
The other side holds a saw blade for large wood and other materials.
Now, I’m not saying it was designed as a self-defense weapon; it was not. But a solidly built axe/saw on the end of a stout 24” handle isn’t something I’d want anyone swinging at me!
This survival shovel is intimidating without having to use it.
And if you do land a few blows, you’re going to inflict some serious (but likely non lethal) damage.
9 – The HyperWhistle Emergency Whistle
With 142dB sound levels, The HyperWhistle is disorienting and painful in close quarters. It’s so powerful that it comes with hearing protection for the user.
Imagine trying to fight with that blowing in your ear!
Even if your attacker persists, this loud whistle will draw attention from as far as two miles away.
A survival whistle is a smart device to add to your non lethal weapons arsenal but it would be wise to have some other weapons as well.
Non Lethal Weapons Wrap Up
If you’ve made it this far into this article, you’re serious about getting a non lethal weapon. Now it’s just a matter of deciding which ones make the most sense for you.
Or maybe its the Devil Juice pepper spray you can add to your backpack or purse.
I’d even suggest you get a couple of different options and learn how to use them all. That way, an attacker will regret ever having messed with you.
But this only works if you take action. You can only improve on non lethal self-defense if you invest some non-deadly weapons today.
Ok, before you go – did we miss any non lethal weapons? Is there a new gadget that you feel should be on this list but isn’t?
Don’t keep that information to yourself, share in the comments below!
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 9 Proven Non Lethal Weapons For Insanely Strong Protection appeared first on Skilled Survival.
The Complete Ferro Rod Survival Guide
A spark is an insanely powerful thing to carry in your pocket.
For most of human history, starting a fire’s been an epic and ongoing survival challenge.
Fire was such a crucial resource in ancient times; travelers carried embers with them. It was far easier to start a new fire from a smoldering ember.
After all, using stones to knock out a spark to catch a bit of tinder is not easy. Nor is using sticks to pop an ember out of a plank of wood.
And besides, they never knew if there would be enough dry fuel or the right stones to make a spark at their next stop.
It was much safer to carry an ember along wherever they went.
So what do you think ancient people would have thought about a spark generating device? One that fits in a pocket and throws off sparks hot enough to melt steel?
A device that throws sparks with just the flick of a wrist, and even soaking wet?
I bet they would have killed others for such a powerful device!
That would have been life-changing tech, back then. And anyone with access to it would have felt like a survival wizard.
Today we have a variety of fire-starting tools:
But there is only one type of fire starter that works under almost any conditions. A device that can get a damp bundle of sticks burning like a grease soaked towel in seconds flat.
But what are they exactly? How do they generate fire? How does one use a Ferro rod? And what are the best Ferro rods to buy?
Those are precisely the questions this article aims to address. The ins, outs, ups, down and all the nitty-gritty details of Ferro rods:
- What Is A Ferro Rod
- Why Ferro Rods Are So Awesome
- How To Use A Ferro Rod
- Best Ferro Rods
- How To Make A Ferro Rod
What Is A Ferro Rod
To understand what a Ferro rod is, you need to understand what it is made of. So, allow me to introduce you to Ferrocerium.
Ferrocerium is sort of like flint – but it’s not like flint at all.
Chemically, ferrocerium, the metal used in Ferro rods, is entirely dissimilar to natural flint rock. But they do, the same thing: generate sparks.
The main feature of ferrocerium vs. flint is it produces sparks that burn at around 5500-degrees F!
And can even result in molten globs of metal from the steel striker.
You can strike it using all sorts of dense materials, such as:
- glass shards
- knife spines
- or even flint
Whereas flint is stingy with giving up sparks without steel.
A typical survival Ferro rod consists of three components:
- The Ferro rod itself
- A striker
- A small length of string to bind them together
The Ferro rod was invented by the German scientist Carl Auer, around 1903. Since then Ferro rods have been widely adopted and used throughout the world.
They’ve been used in every modern war, and they’ve become embedded in survival culture.
Why? Because they are ideal for the outdoors as a staple survival tool in any scenario.
Ferro rods are a specific tool, with a specific purpose. However, they’re not like survival multi-tools that can function to serve a variety of purposes.
They do one thing, and do it damn well; they conjure fire.
Why Ferro Rods Are So Awesome
Let’s cover all the reasons why you should own and carry a Ferro rod.
Extremely Hot Sparks
As mentioned, when you strike a Ferro rod, you create a spark that burns upwards of 5000-degrees F.
At those temps, anything in its way is libel to melt or ignite without difficulty. They can even produce these hot sparks when they are soaking wet.
Making them a lot easier to use than the conventional steel-and-flint striker.
Size and Weight
Their size and weight play a lot into their usefulness.
Some Ferro rods are not much bigger than the size of a zipper. They are lightweight and fit comfortably into a pocket or compartment.
You can even attach one to a keychain, so you’ve always got a method for starting fires.
The bottom line is they are a useful tool for fire starting and a perfect addition to your:
Easy To Use
We touched on this earlier, but Ferro rods are dead simple to use.
Even without much practice, you can quickly figure out how to use a Ferro rod without a whole lot of guidance.
It’s a surefire way to bear flames even in the darkest, coldest circumstances.
It’s easy to take fire for granted in a world full of gas-powered stovetops, Bic lighters and blow torches.
Other Ferro Rod Uses
Ferro rods are useful for more than just starting fires.
Ferro rods also make decent signaling tools in the dark. The sparks they produce are so hot and so bright they are like a firecracker or a small flare.
So if you find yourself lost in the dark, and people are looking for you, use your Ferro rod as a backup signaling device. They can help people locate you in the dark.
The Ferro rod may be simple technology. But the purpose it serves is essential to civilization.
I can’t think of a single instance when it wouldn’t be useful to have a Ferro rod on hand.
How to Use a Ferro Rod
The first order of business (as with any fire) is to get your tinder in order. Make sure you’ve got a small pile of little, dry twigs, bark, grass, or cotton.
Now situate your tinder, so there’s plenty of air underneath and throughout. That way when the sparks touch the tinder, there’s enough oxygen to produce a flame.
Once your tinder bundle is ready, hold the Ferro rod in one hand and the striker in the other.
Next, place the end of the Ferro rod right underneath (or against) your tinder pile. Angle the striker at 45-degrees and drag it forcefully, and quickly along the Ferro rod’s length.
Great, bright sparks will erupt from the friction between the two pieces of metal.
Direct the hot sparks straight into your tinder pile. The more sparks land within the tinder the hotter it will get, and the faster a flame will manifest.
When you notice smoke coming out of your tinder pile, STOP, bend over and blow gently into your tinder bundle.
The air from your lungs should nurture the spark burning within the tinder into a growing flame. Be careful not to blow too hard because you can accidentally blow out your hard earned flame!
Once the fire has a life of its own, start piling larger sticks and logs on top until you have a roaring bonfire.
Best Ferro Rods
These days, no matter the survival gadget you’re researching, the choices are overwhelming. There are hundreds (sometimes thousands) of producers. All claiming to be the “best” option for you.
It can be almost impossible to cut through the noise.
Which ones are good? And which ones are trash? Which ones are too much and which are just right?
That’s why I’ve included a list of highest rated, most widely acclaimed list of Ferro rods. That way you don’t have to sift through the ocean of cheap, crappy Ferro rods that exist.
Survival Frog FireLaces
Why not upgrade your current hiking boot laces with ones that have Ferro rods built into the tips? It’s a smart way to make a significant survival upgrade.
You can check it out in the video below.
Bonus Offer: At the time we published this article, you could pick up a set of Survival Frog FireLaces for FREE (only $3.95 s/h). Click here to see if this amazing deal is still available!
Schrade SCHFS1 4in Ferro Rod Fire Striker for Outdoor Survival Camping
The Schrade SCHFS1 Ferro Rod comes in at only 4 inches long and only 1.1 ounces.
It’s the perfect example of practical simplicity.
It includes the Ferro rod and a striker connected by a simple black lanyard.
Schrade uses only the highest quality materials, so this Ferro rod will perform when it needs to.
überleben Zünden Thick Bushcraft Fire Steel with Wood Handle
Consider the überleben Zünder the luxury edition Ferro rod.
It includes a wooden handle and a high-quality Ferro rod. This survival rod is advertised as having between 12,000-20,000 strikes.
That’s 12,000-20,000 times this small piece of survival equipment can save your life.
The striker on this Ferro rod even comes with a built-in can/bottle opener. It’s also embossed with a 50mm measuring stick.
Light My Fire Swedish FireSteel Fire Starter with Emergency Whistle
Simple, and versatile, the Light My Fire Ferro rod is several tools built into one. Sor of like a firestarter multitool.
The grips on this Ferro rod are made of high durability plastic, and the rod is good for around 12,000 strikes.
Plus the striker can doubles as an emergency whistle as well. So, if you are stuck in a tight spot, you can always use your fire starter to call out for help.
Swiss Safe 5-in-1 Fire Starter Survival Pack
This Swiss Safe survival package includes a whole host of useful items; including two Ferro rods.
Each Ferro rod acting as a multi-tool with a whistle and a compass on top of being a fire starting tool.
One of the best parts about this item is its money back guarantee.
So if you’re not satisfied with your Fire Starter Survival Pack; return it for a full refund.
Bayite Survival Ferrocerium Drilled Flint Fire Starter Ferro Rod Kit
This option is a very basic, but its a proven highly durable, highly rated Ferro rod.
The rod itself is connected to the striker by a braided length of paracord.
This comes out to 9 ft worth of cordage.
HOODDEAL 10PCS Pure Magnesium Ferrocerium Fire Starter
Luckily, you do not have to buy a new Ferro rod setup every time you wear through one.
You can buy these replacement rods and use them to refresh your trusty Ferro rod set up time and again.
Making Your Own Ferro Rod Multi-Tool
For those creative souls out there, who want to take Ferro rods into their own hands, I have good news.
Homemade Ferro rods can often function better than those commercially available.
Because you can add whatever you want to it:
- Add a compass to your Ferro rod setup? Sure.
- Stick on a little ruler on it? You bet.
- Add a bundle of fishing supplies? Why not!
- Attach it to a knife or a walking staff? Cool.
- Tie on a container full of cotton tinder? Smart.
- Attach a flashlight, a signal mirror, a small folding knife or whatever else you might think of? Hell yes!
Making your own Ferro rod set up offers a chance to customize and personalize your survival gear.
First, buy yourself a plain, Ferro rod (like those in the HOODDEAL Ferrocerium Rod pack). Then make your own Ferro rod handle.
Then braid a length of paracord to use to attach the striker to the rod.
Finally, attach the striker and other tools you want, seal it off and pack it away with the rest of your survival gear.
Homemade Ferro rods also make great gifts for friends and family.
Few things say “I love you” like a tool that can help someone survive a shit storm!
The Final Word
A fire has not always been such an accessible resource to come by.
Ferro rods offer survivalists a confident way to start a fire. They generate sparks hot enough to melt steel.
They are good for tens of thousands of strikes. And they’re lightweight, packable, and some of them act as multi-tools.
Granting you the ability to start a fire wherever, whenever, no matter if it is soaking wet and miserable out.
Plus it has near-mystical power. The ability to conjure flames with a rod is one that our ancestors would have been utterly blown away by.
Ferro rods are just freaking useful. And once you start using one, you won’t understand how you ever felt confident without one.
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 Ferro Rod – The Best Ones To Own For Wilderness Survival appeared first on Skilled Survival.
If you find yourself in a survival scenario there are three things that you need to concern yourself with immediately. This scenario could be the realization that you are lost in the woods, it could be an urban survival situation or even recovery from a serious natural disaster. The beauty of survival is that these […]
The post Shelter, Fire, Water and the Survival Gear that Makes the Difference appeared first on American Preppers Network.
This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com I received a great email from reader Linda who brought up an important aspect of preparedness: clothing. Well-made clothes can be expensive, yet necessary for survival. If there is some kind of large-scale collapse, manufacturing and shipping may be interrupted, and clothes will be scarce. During the Great Depression, many people could not afford store-bought clothes and therefore had to make their own. Many had to trade items for materials or cloth or […]
The post Money Mondays: Preparedness Tips to Save Money on Clothing appeared first on Apartment Prepper.
The Ultimate List Of Cool Camping Gear
Once you’ve got all your camping essentials taken care of, it’s time to start adding some cool camping gear.
Cool camping gear that will make your next camping experience bit more convenient, comfortable, and fun.
Sometimes cool camping gear is new gadgets that were not around a few years ago. While other times its camping gear that’s stood the test and remains worthy of your attention to this day.
This article is Skilled Survival’s cool camping gear list – all those cool items you should take on your next camping adventure.
Here’s a sneak peek at the gear we’re about to cover:
Solo Camping / Bonfire Stove
Solo Stove’s been making high-quality stainless steel campfire tools for years.
They’ve earned a reputation for smart engineering behind their fuel-efficient designs. The high-temperature combustion means you use less wood, get more heat, and don’t have as much smoke.
Just think about the last campfire you had with smoke blowing in your face. Being forced to move your chair around every 5 minutes.
But with the Solo Stove Bonfire, that’s a thing of the past.
Plus, they’re specifically designed to place your large skillets over for cooking.
A RTIC cooler can pack out an entire elk – and 3” of insulation can keep ice on your beverages for a week!
They’re built using the same roto-molding process as whitewater kayaks. And they’re designed to resist bears break-ins!
RTIC coolers can even be pad-locked closed to keep everything ELSE out as well.
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Survival Frog Solar Power Bank
Without power, a lot of our favorite survival tools will stop to function. Radios, GPS, flashlights – you NEED a backup plan to keep them charged and working.
A good solar charger can provide you with a steady stream of power. And a battery pack can allow you to store that power for when you need it most.
The only thing better would be to combine the two – and that’s what the Solar Power Bank does!
No more connecting the charger to a battery, just put it out in the sun until it’s charged and then use it when you need power!
Crazy Creek Chairs
How can you be comfortable in your tent or your campsite if you don’t have a seat?
Instead, look no further than Crazy Creek Chairs.
I saw my first Crazy Creek Chair over 20 years ago. But the company keeps putting out new refinements and updates, and they’re better than ever.
The Crazy Creek Chair is excellent for hanging out at your campsite. Or on the beach, but it really shines as a canoe seat, where it makes long days paddling much more comfortable.
With enough padding and an adjustable back, you can fine tune a Crazy Creek Chair for any situation.
Survival Frog FireLaces
When it comes to survival tools, it’s always a good plan to have a few backup items in your everyday carry kit.
But if you can do so by replacing something you already carry AND serves dual purposes, all the better.
With no moving parts, fuel, batteries, and waterproof, this a no-brainer bootlace replacement!
Aqua-tainer / Water Brick
When it comes to bulk water storage, there’s a reason The Aqua-trainer ends up in so many campsites.
They’re inexpensive (under $20/ea), lightweight (about 1lb), and high-capacity (7gal).
Plus, they have a reversible tap that stows away for protection during transport. And a wide opening for quick filling and easy cleaning.
Another great option for campsite water storage is the Water Brick.
And while the Water Brick weighs slightly more and the capacity per brick is not as large; they’re stackable!
So for storing water in your home for emergencies, several Water Bricks in your basement is the way to go.
Then for camping trips, grab a few from your basement using the built-in handle.
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Survival Frog Neck Knife
But not all knives are created equal.
The Survival Frog Neck Knife puts a compact, full-tang survival knife on a chain around your neck. This access allows you have a useful sharp blade at hand whenever you need it.
Survival Frog’s Neck Knife Sheath also contains a signal mirror, compass, blade sharpener, and fire striker.
It’s a whole pile of survival tools in a tiny package you can carry at all times.
Garmin Fenix 5 Sapphire GPS Watch
The built-in barometric altimeter tracks your elevation and predicts changes in the weather.
The connected features tie into your other electronic devices (i.e., your smartphone). And the large full-color display makes it easy to track your progress at a glance.
All this tech is packed into a stainless steel and sapphire glass case that’s water resistant to 100m. So you know it’ll be functioning under the worst of conditions!
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AIDIER Reflective Nylon Guyline Cord
They can be a real disaster!
That’s why you should swap out your tent guylines with reflective ones from AIDIER.
They’ve got reflective strands in the sheath, making them pop out in the beam of even the weakest flashlight.
The 2.5mm diameter cord is strong enough for tents, clotheslines, and repairs around camp.
Pro-tip: a small loop of reflective cord on zipper pulls makes them easy to find as well.
Eagles Nest Outfitters DoubleNest Hammock
Sleeping in one can give you a great alternative to damp or rocky ground.
But that depends on getting a comfortable, lightweight hammock.
The ENO DoubleNest packs down to the size of a softball and weighs a little over a pound, but holds up to 400lbs!
The optional bug screen and rain fly make a full hammock camping setup simple and easy to set up in a hurry.
Survival Frog Tesla Lighter
Over the years, I’ve tried a lot of windproof lighters and found them all to be more “wind-resistant” than anything. The Tesla Lighter is a different breed – a flame-free, smoke-free, fuel-less lighter.
Try as hard as you want; you can’t blow out the twin plasma arcs. Instead, they produce easy fire starts to all types of natural kindling.
The compact Tesla Lighter is an excellent addition to your everyday carry tools. And a single charge (via USB) is enough to start hundreds of campfires!
Western Mountaineering Down Bootie
This often means lightweight sandals. But sandals don’t offer any protection from the environment or the frigid cold.
Instead, reach for these insulated down booties from Western Mountaineering.
These will keep your feet warm and dry while you do chores around camp.
They have durable rubberized nylon soles that are slip-resistant. Plus, the thermal foam insole and the thick layer of 800-fill down insulation will keep your toes warm.
Your feet will thank you!
Survival Frog Pocket Jumper
There are few feelings worse than having a dead battery in the remote wilderness. You’re now stranded miles from home.
In the past, you’d hope and pray for a generous stranger to give you a jump with jumper cables.
But those days are over; now you can rely on yourself with a Survival Frog Pocket Jumper!
In a package about the size of a small paperback book, you’ll find a battery pack and a set of compact alligator clips.
Don’t let the compact size fool you; it’s got enough juice to jump start even a large pickup truck.
Plus, The Pocket Jumper also has a useful flashlight, a signaling mode, and can power small USB devices!
Gear Aid Tenacious Tape
Eventually, you’ll have to throw a few stitches in to mend a hole. But this leaves an ugly repair which likely won’t keep the elements out.
Tenacious Tape is a far better alternative to your Frankenstein stitches. It will seal rips and tears in all kinds of fabrics fast and without resorting to needle and thread.
The patches are water resistant, durable, and you can carry enough for several repairs in a tiny kit.
JetBoil Flash Cooking System
The JetBoil Flash is a compact, self-contained cooking system. It includes a compact, electric starter and insulated heat exchanging cooking cup.
The JetBoil System runs on easy-to-find iso-butane fuel canisters and will boil a liter of water in under 2 minutes!
At just over a pound and the size of a water bottle, you can fit the entire JetBoil system into the smallest corner of your pack.
Survival Frog Emergency Solar Air Lantern
A few years ago, I bought a Survival Frog Emergency Air Lantern for a camping trip to a mountain lake.
It was high summer, and fire conditions meant a complete ban on campfires. So we wanted some light in camp after sunset.
Well after dark, a lost kayaker paddled up to our site, with a couple of solar lanterns sitting in the empty fire ring. She had seen our “campfire” from across the lake and couldn’t find any other way back to her friends.
This little inflatable light not only lets allowed us prep and clean up after dinner in the dark. But served as a beacon for someone in real need of help!
It’s now a standard part of my camping essentials, and we always leave one lit on the beach in camp.
Sportsman Industries Pocket Chainsaw
Last winter, I was heading home from a ski trip and came across a couple of small downed trees in the road.
They were too high to drive over even in my Jeep, and I couldn’t pull them out of the way.
I ran across this pocket chainsaw a few weeks later and put it to good use. It’s a better option than an axe for awkward angles and doesn’t need fuel or batteries to run.
It packs down into a small nylon bag and takes almost no space in my glovebox. It was an inexpensive addition that has saved me at least one cold night out since!
Lodge Dutch Oven
Campground meals become much more appealing when you move beyond just freeze-dried foods.
One of the most versatile camp kitchen tools is a cast iron dutch oven and a tripod over the campfire.
Everything from soup and stew to freshly baked bread comes out delicious! Pick an 8 to 10qt dutch oven to cook for a crowd.
If you take care of the cast iron, you’ll be able to hand it down to your grandkids!
Klymit Static V2 Sleeping Pad
The Klymit Sleeping Pad is one of the most popular camping pads on the market right now, and for a good reason. It provides nearly 2.5” of comfort at about 1lb – and packs down to only 3” x 8”.
The chamber design limits air movement. And it also reduces “dead” spots for side sleepers – where your shoulder or hip hits the ground.
The design also includes “side rails,” larger champers meant to keep you from sliding off the pad at night. And at only 10-15 breaths, the Static V2 also inflates fast, so you’re not wasting time (or breath) setting up camp!
For colder climates, the insulated ones have 3X the R-value. Making sure you stay toasty and comfortable even on frostiest of nights!
Survival Frog Pocket Light
Multi-use items are the backbone of any good survival kit – and that goes double for electronics.
This compact pocket lantern can serve as a flashlight for close up work and a lantern for an entire campsite.
The Pocket Light charges from either solar or any USB power outlet – and can be used as a power bank to charge small devices.
For a lightweight package about the size of a hockey puck, that’s a lot of functionality in a small space!
Dr. Bronners Soap
Soap? Seriously? Soaps not “cool camping gear”, right? This soap is!
I’ve heard more than one person refer to Dr. Bronner’s as “the soap with the crazy labels.”
While it’s true, there’s some interesting philosophy on the labels. Dr. Bronner’s soap is made with all natural ingredients and is safe to use around water sources.
It forms a great lather, cuts through kitchen grease as easily as it cleans hair. It also doesn’t irritate sensitive skin and rinses clean.
Before you buy an expensive “camp soap,” look for either liquid or bar soap from Dr. Bronners for your campsite.
Frontiersman Bear Spray
“Backpackers wear bells and carry pepper spray to ward off bears. Black bear scat is full of seeds, but grizzly bear scat is full of bells and smells like pepper.”
All joking aside, pepper spray has proven to be a reliable bear deterrent.
But not just any cheap, off-the-shelf brand will do.
You need the highest strength formula you can find and a spray canister with a long distance range. That way you can ward off an approaching animal from further away.
Of course, if it works for grizzlies, Sabre Frontiersman Bear Spray will work on human threats as well!
Survival Frog Quick Heat Handwarmer
What’s one item that’s often buried deep down in the bottom of most survival caches? A set of disposable hand and foot warmers.
At about $1 each, they’re easy to pick up, but they’re not all that reliable.
If you’re lucky, their airtight wrappers are still sealed, and they haven’t gone bad. But you’ve got no way to know without trying them.
The team at Survival Frog got tired of the uncertainty and developed a reusable hand warmer. One that provides heat and can be quickly recharged anywhere you have power.
Better yet, with three heat settings and quick warm-up time, it’s easy to pick the level you need. No disposable hand warmer can do that!
Coleman Classic Propane Stove
The Coleman “suitcase” stove has been around for decades and has proved it’s worth. Chances are your parents cooked dinner over one before you were even born.
They’re nearly indestructible due to their simple construction.
Their standard green propane cans are easy to find. And adapters allow the use of bulk BBQ propane canisters for long-term use.
The new models put out more heat than ever before (up to 22,000 BTUs!). And the fine tune control allows you to cook without burning your food.
If you’ve got the space in your vehicle or at a cabin, you can’t beat a Coleman Classic propane stove.
Cool Camping Gear Wrap Up
This is a quick rundown of some of our favorite camping tools – but we’d love to hear from you! What other new cool camping gear and gadgets are on your list?
Leave us a comment and we may just add it to this list!
P.s. Do you know where the closest nuclear bunker is from your home?
Click on the image above to find out where you need to take shelter.
How To Find The Best Survival Watch For You
I don’t know about you, but for me, a survival watch is the one thing I wear every single day. Where I go, it goes.
Yes, you can (but shouldn’t) wear your survival multitool to a nice restaurant.
However, a badass survival watch – that thing can go anywhere.
That’s why you should take the time to invest in a good one.
You want a survival watch that can go through hell with you and still got your back. A watch you trust through thick and thin.
So today we’re going to help you find the right survival watch by covering the following topics:
- What A Survival Watch Is (and what is not)
- How A Survival Watch Will Save Your Life
- Most Useful Features Of A Survival Watch
- Best Survival Watches
- Should You Rely On Technology
What A Survival Watch Is (and what is not)
Survival watches fall into one of two categories :
1 – Paracord Survival Watch
A paracord survival watch acts as a mini survival tin on your wrist. All these survival watches have similar features.
They tell time and often include a fire starter, whistle, and compass. Then the wristband is made out of paracord.
2 – Technical Survival Watch
These types of survival watch act as a mini survival computer on your wrist.
These watches include key features such as a compass, GPS, barometer, thermometer, altimeter, and sunrise/sunset times.
In this article, I’m going focus on the survival watches that act as a computer on your wrist. So whenever I refer to “survival watch” I mean ones that are a mini computer unless stated otherwise.
The reason I’m not going to cover paracord survival watches is that I’ve never come across a good one.
At least never one I’d be willing to wear. Instead, I keep my survival watch and my paracord bracelet separate.
Without naming names, I’ve tested a few and they’re just not good enough.
It’s sort of like buying one of those pre-made survival tins for $10. They’re a great concept, but they regularly lack quality.
The fire starters on these “survival watches” are minuscule, which makes them easy to break and hard to use. They also tend to have cheap, unreliable 2 cent compasses.
I can’t put my life in the hands of a product like that.
And as far as paracord goes, I carry it with me in other ways.
How A Survival Watch Will Save Your Life
Perhaps you’re out hunting, wound a deer, and begin the process of tracking its blood trail. Tracking further and further into the remote wilderness until you realize it’s almost dark out.
Or maybe you’re out picking berries and hear other humans approaching. You can tell they’re not friendly (maybe the mob) and you also can’t tell how many of them there are. Or if they’re armed.
So you panic and high-tail it out of there in an unfamiliar direction.
Or what if you’re just enjoying the great outdoors via an off-trail hike but the weather is changing for the worst fast. You’re forced to take cover before the storm hits.
What do each these situations have in common?
You’re stranded and lost in the wilderness. This is when your survival watch can become a real lifesaver.
This is when you need the critical information on your wrist only a quality survival watch can provide.
Most Useful Features Of A Survival Watch
Of course, a survival watch must first and foremost accurately tell the time and date.
It also must have excellent battery life (or even better be solar powered). It should also be waterproof and be tough as hell.
But once you go beyond these basic watch features, that’s the real survival features start to kick in.
A barometer sense atmospheric pressure. Often times changes in atmospheric pressure predict significant weather changes.
Two of the most dangerous threats in survival situations are extreme exposure and lack of clean water. But, if you have a barometer on your survival watch, you’ll be more aware of bad weather approaching.
You’ll know way ahead of time if the weather is making a surprising change. Allowing you to either turn back sooner and avoid getting stuck out there or hunker down well before it arrives.
In most cases, by the time you see rain coming, it’s too late. And if you get wet in cold weather, you’re in danger of hypothermia, and in a world of hurt.
Instead, you can utilize the barometer on your survival watch to better predict oncoming rain. This helping you prepare yourself for a risky situation.
Another way a barometer can help you survive is to prompt you to set up catchments collect oncoming rainwater.
If you happen to get stuck out in the wilderness and you know rain is on its way, get some of that fresh rainwater to quench your thirst.
If you live in a mountainous region and don’t know your exact location an altimeter can help.
An altimeter on your survival watch, tells you your exact altitude. So if you have a topographical map it helps to narrow down where you’re at on the map.
And when you know where you’re at, you can find your way back to camp or civilization.
This is a must-have feature if you live or enjoy traveling to regions with significant elevations changes.
The compass is one of the most valuable survival tools around.
Sure, there are several bushcraft methods to find your direction without a compass. But for accuracy and speed, nothing beats having a high-quality compass.
Natural navigation includes an understanding that thicker branches on trees often face towards the sun, which indicates a southern direction.
Doable but not easy. Even the experts can struggle to get natural navigation right every time.
But for survival, it’s best to learn how to navigate without a compass but then always HAVE a compass and a map! Why not put that compass on your wrist where you’ll never forget it.
Sunrise & Sunset Times
If you’re far away from your vehicle or campsite you’ll want to ensure you get back to safety before sunset. It’s never a good idea to navigate in the dark because it’s dangerous and difficult.
So it’s a big advantage to know exactly when sunset is. That way, you don’t have to use your extended arm and 4 fingers to estimate how many hours until sunset.
Instead, if you have a survival watch with sunset/sunrise times, you’ll know exaxtly how many MINUTES you have til darkness sets in.
I like to know what the temperature is at all times, so I admit it, and I’m a temperature geek.
It probably stems from the fact that I grew up in a rural farming area. But it’s essential to keep track of temperatures when you’re:
- Tracking game
- Building a survival shelter
- Preparing firewood
- Navigating in the woods
- Or anything you’re doing outdoors
But it’s easy to lose track of your own body temperature.
When you’re working hard and sweating, you won’t realize just how cold it is out. You feel hot and so it’s easy to think to yourself “it’s not that cold, I’ll be fine.”
The problem comes when you stop working, and you’re still sweating.
Maybe it’s cooler than you realized. Perhaps you were going to make your fire after your activities but run into issues getting one started. When conditions are wrong, hypothermia can happen fast.
So if you can keep an eye on the temperature, you’ll know if you’re sweating too much. And if it’s too cold and can’t dry off, you’ll have issues. Instead, avoid working up a sweat and take plenty of breaks.
In the words of Les Stroud, “if you sweat, you die.”
The same principle applies if it’s hot. If it’s hot and you’re sweating but think to yourself, “I just need to get this task done” you risk a heat stroke.
It’s easy to do, to focus so intensely on your activity that you don’t listen to your body.
Instead, use your survival watch to check the temperature often. And if it’s really hot, take lots of breaks and drink lots of fluids to prevent a serious heat stroke.
Best Survival Watches
There are so many great survival watches on the market today.
They are all tough, many are powered by solar, they include important sensors and data you need to help you survive.
So the best way to help you narrow down your search for the best survival watch for you, we’re going first highlight our favorite series of watches for survival.
From there you’ll be able to find the exact watch within a series that best meets your needs (color, price point, etc.)
The Casio Master of G-Series Watches is one of the toughest most durable survival watch series you can find. These watches are engineered to survive the most grueling situations you can think of.
They’re adapted and evolved to respond successfully to conditions in the sky, on the land and out at sea.
There are three main watch categories within this series:
The GRAVITYMASTER is a watch series with pilots and air travel in mind.
The MUDMASTER is built to withstand the cross trek adventures or in trenches.
The GULFMASTER is the ideal watch for those who spend time on or in the water.
These watches all include Shock Resistant Technology and most have Triple Sensors, which includes the following sensors:
- Barometric Pressure
And lastly, you might want to make sure you find one that uses tough solar to keep your timepiece’s battery topped off with the free power of the sun.
Casio’s PRO TREK watches are perfect for all serious outdoor enthusiasts.
These watches are powered by Android Wear 2.0 and feature important technology such as GPS, Location Memory, Moment Setter, and more.
These survival watches also come with Casio’s Triple Sensor technology (altimeter, barometer, temperature). In addition, they have a dual-layer LCD and are water resistant.
Casio’s PRO TREK line of watches are rugged, stylish and versatile.
Military Watch Exchange
Ok, this option is not a specific watch or even a category of survival watches, this is a site where you can find great deals on military watches.
But what’s the difference between a military watch, a survival watch, and an outdoor watch or even a tactical watch?
To me, nothing. I think all these watch terms just mean a badass watch that’s rugged enough to survive harsh conditions and with all the essential components you need to survive.
Should You Rely On Technology?
A survival watch worth investing in will be high-tech. They do so much more than just tell time.
So before we discuss these features, I wanted to be clear about my thoughts on technology.
I strongly believe you should never completely rely on technology in a survival situation. Technology can and does fail, pure and simple.
I have nothing against technology, but I do have a love/hate relationship with it.
Technology is there because it makes our lives easier. But easier is not a survival skill. It’s a survival curse.
If you want to be self-reliant you need the right survival skills, knowledge, and tools. Ones that don’t rely on technology.
At the same time, would you rather cut down a tree with a chainsaw or an axe? Obviously, the answer is a chainsaw, but I also own a sharp survival axe on hand, just in case.
I even enjoy using an axe. It’s fun; it’s good exercise, but when you want to get the job done fast, you use a chainsaw.
It’s the same idea with my survival watch. I use it all the time, but I always carry a map and compass with me as well.
I know how to get my bearing using nature.
It’s important to practice navigational skills, but when you want to get things done as easy as possible; use technology. And that’s why I choose to wear a high tech survival watch.
I love redundancy. I’ve got an engineering background, so redundancy is everything to me. That’s why I believe owning a survival watch is imperative.
It’s still important to learn navigation skills. And nothing beats basic survival skills, using a compass and a map, but a survival watch is easy to use, and technology can make life easier. That’s the whole point of technology.
If it makes survival easier, it leads to fewer mistakes.
You can find out about some recommended survival watches at http://www.topsurvivalweapons.com/survival-watches- guide/
P.s. Do you know where the closest nuclear bunker is from your home?
Click on the image above to find out where you need to take shelter.
The Ultimate Guide To Finding The Best Portable Solar Generator For Survival and Preparedness
Today I want to talk to discuss solar generators because there’s an awful lot of confusion surrounding them.
Everyone wants to know if they’re a reliable source of backup power generation.
For example, I get lots of questions about them, such as:
- How do they work?
- Won’t they stop working every time there’s a cloudy day?
- Will it keep me safe if I lose power for a couple of days?
- What about a longer-term power outage?
- Can I buy a smaller unit today and expand it later?
- Which is the best solar generator?
I get it; these are the very same questions I had as well.
But I’ve been digging into this new technology and sorting fact from fiction. Finding for answers to all your questions, and more.
So let’s dive into this amazing technology with the following solar generator topics:
- What A Solar Generator & How It Works
- Solar Generators vs. Fuel Generators
- Limitations Of Portable Solar Generators
- Who Should Get A Solar Generator
- Best Portable Solar Generators
- DIY Solar Generators
- Why You Must Have And Electrical Plan B
What Is A Solar Generator & How It Works
Before we can discuss solar generators in any meaningful way, we must learn a few of the basics first.
It’s crucial you understand on a fundamental level what a solar generator is and how it works.
A solar generator works differently than fuel based generators. Yes, they both convert a raw energy source into a useable energy source.
However, instead of using fuel as the raw energy, solar generators harness the power of the sun.
So, let’s talk about the components that make up a solar generator and how they work.
A solar generator consists of 2 main components; it’s a solar panel and a portable power generator.
Solar panels are the technology that converts sunlight into electricity.
They do this by using the sunlight to knock electrons free from atoms. This knocking free of electrons generates a flow of electricity.
Or more simply put, the sun’s energy excites molecules which creates a flow of electricity. If you get that, that’s all the technical understanding you need.
The bottom line is solar panels turn sunlight into DC power.
Portable Power Generator
A portable solar power generator is also made up of two main components – an inverter and a battery.
The inverter turns the DC power from the panel into more usable AC power.
Solar generators also include a storage battery. That way, if any of the power captured by the panels is not being used, you don’t lose that power.
Instead, it becomes potential energy stored in the battery for later use.
The battery also ensures there’s power available any time you use your solar generator in an emergency.
Solar generators also include various power outlets. These are often just like power outlets in your home.
They allow you to plug electrical cords, power tools or appliances into the generator.
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Solar Generators vs. Fuel Generators
Now we have a basic understanding of what a portable solar generator is and how it works. So let’s move to the more interesting and important topic of WHY.
Why should you invest in a solar generator? Why not stick to old technology you’ve always relied on – namely fossil fuels – for your backup power needs?
To answer that question, we must look at the pros and cons of solar generators vs. fuel generators.
Then we can take that information to make an informed decision.
Fuel Is Expensive
We all know too well that fuel is not free.
It costs serious money to fill up our vehicles several times per month.
The reason fuel costs as much as it does is due to a long chain of processes.
It takes money to get oil out of the ground and to transport that oil to oil refineries.
It costs money for those refineries to convert oil into gas and diesel and distribute it to your local gas station.
And of course, gas stations have operating costs as well.
Those costs – plus profit taking at each step – plus taxes – are what make up the price you pay at the pump.
And as we all know, those prices go up and down depending on hundreds of variables.
But when you fill up your vehicle, it’s definitely not free.
And if you’re serious about preparing for a future disaster, these costs will add up. If you want to run your fuel generator more than just a few days you’ll need to stock up.
That’s when the cost of choosing a fuel generator starts to seriously add up.
And if you think, “I’ll store a small amount today and stockpile more later” – think again. Bad idea.
But fuel is one of the first materials to run out after a major disaster.
You’ll quickly find it’s all gone and if you do find some, it will be crazy expensive due to the laws of supply and demand.
But all these stockpiling expenses melt away with solar.
With solar, your fuel is FREE.
Yes, the portable solar generator itself is not free, but the energy necessary to convert the power is.
So you don’t have the same headaches of stockpiling a massive amount of it ahead of time. Or the ongoing fear of running out in the midst of widespread panic.
You get an emergency power system today, with zero ongoing fuel costs.
This is one of the most attractive features of owning a solar generator.
Fuel Can Be Dangerous and Difficult To Store
Ok, back to that stockpiling fuel headache.
Not only will stockpiling fuel put a significant dent in your pocketbook. It’s also challenging to store it safely and for the long haul.
Liquid fuels are highly flammable materials. Gasoline fumes are highly explosive. And diesel is dangerous as well.
So they are not something you want to store in bulk anywhere near your home.
Sure, storing a small gas can or two in your garage for your lawnmower is fine. But not several large barrels of the stuff. For that, you’ll want to keep it far away from where you eat, sleep, and live.
Instead, you’ll need to store these large amounts of fuel in a backyard shed or a fuel tank on a rack.
Doing this adds even more hassles and more costs.
Plus, backyard sheds are not known to be air-conditioned spaces. So now you’re exposing combustible fuels to extreme hot and cold temperatures – not good.
And it might even be illegal for you to store a lot of fuel. Local laws rarely allow bulk storage of fuels in residential neighborhoods.
And even if you could, you still have the issue of fuels having a limited shelf life.
So now you’ll have to treat the fuel every so often with a fuel stabilizer. Or you could put a fuel rotation plan in place to use old fuel and replace it with new fuel.
The bottom line is storing a lot of fuel for a long-term backup plan is one big ol’ headache!
But with a solar generator, you avoid this entire issue.
You can safely store a solar generator almost anywhere. In your basement, garage, bedroom, bathroom, wherever….
It’s there for when you need it, safely tucked away wherever it makes sense.
The sun is “storing” your fuel for you. You just have to capture that fuel as it passes by – day in and day out.
Fuel Stockpiles Eventually Run Out
Another fatal flaw with fuel based generators is the fact that fossil fuels are not a renewable resource.
Once you use up all your fuel, you’ll have to get more. And if you can’t get more, your backup power generator becomes a big expensive paperweight.
- Your plan B just came to an end.
- You’re dead in the water.
- You’re up a creek without a paddle.
But the sun’s rays (from our perspective) is an infinite power source. Sure, the sun will stop shinning someday – it does technically have a finite amount of fuel.
But we’re talking billions of years from now (5 billion to be exact). So for all intents and purposes, it will never run out.
With a solar generator, even if you run short of power today, you’re never completely dead in the water. There’s always more energy to capture and convert tomorrow.
Gives a whole new meaning to lyrics “The sun will come up tomorrow…”.
Of course, cloudy days will “rain on your parade.” But in time those will pass as well.
Fuel Generators Are Noisy
We all know fuel generators are noisy buggers.
There’s a reason why campgrounds restrict generator usage times. Noisy generators can wake an entire campsite.
However, with a solar generator, you can throw those restrictions out the window.
You can quietly generate power whenever the sun is shining without making a peep.
And this no noise setup is not only handy for campgrounds. It’s strategic in the event of a prolong widespread disaster.
In a long-term power outage, the last thing you want is to notify your neighbors you have a generator.
You don’t want those who don’t have power (but would love some) to start snooping around. If someone knows you’ve got a generator you can bet someone’s going to want it.
This goes double for a situation where power is out indefinitely.
But with a solar generator, you avoid this entire racket altogether.
Fuel Generators Create Fumes
Finally, with traditional fuel generators, you have to deal with the fumes.
The way fuel generators work is with lots of mini explosions. These small explosions create a lot of energy. But they also produce a nasty byproduct – poisonous fumes.
These fumes are harmful to breathe.
That’s why you should never let your car warm up in an enclosed garage. These poisonous fumes can kill in dense amounts.
Usually, these fumes release into the atmosphere where they are rendered less harmful. The poisonous fumes become diluted in the atmosphere.
However, solar creates zero fumes. It’s a zero emission technology.
Making solar generator’s a “green” technology as well.
The Limitations of Portable Solar Generators
Ok, so if I stopped writing here, you’d walk about with only half the story. You’d be missing what you need to make an informed decision.
But here at Skilled Survival, we don’t do that.
We provide you with all the information you need to figure out what’s best for you and your family.
That’s why we want you to understand the limitations of solar generators in their current form.
Their Output Is Somewhat Limited
Portable solar generators are not complete home grid power replacements.
If that were the case, we’d all be buying and living off solar generators, right?
Sure, some large, expensive solar array systems on a roof can offset all your energy needs. But that takes several thousands of dollars and permits and contractors.
Instead, we’re talking about a portable backup power generator at a much lower price point.
These units do capture a fair amount of energy. But not enough to replace the amount of energy a typical household uses on a daily basis.
Most American homes have ALL the following devices:
- a refrigerator
- a heating and cooling system
- several TVs
- lights everywhere
- a deep freezer
- multiple computers
- C-Pap (or other medical related devices)
- etc. etc. etc.
To date, portable solar generators are not capable of capturing that level of power.
And to be honest, they cannot produce as much power as a comparably priced fuel generator.
So you’re spending more money up front to produce less sustainable power. Bummer, I know.
So you have to weigh this against all the pros of solar generators.
Now, remember, the upfront costs may be more, but you have to think about the long-term costs as well. Plus, all the other positives of a solar generator.
But no matter if you choose a fuel generator or a solar generator for backup power, you’ll have to prioritize.
For example, you need to figure out which appliances and devices are essential and which ones are not.
Remember, you’re purchasing an emergency backup power system. That means you’ll have power for a few emergency necessities.
And NO, bing watching Game Of Thrones is not a necessity.
They Cost More Upfront
We touched on this already, but solar generators are an investment. The best ones do cost a few more dollars upfront.
But don’t forget traditional generators have ongoing fuel costs you must consider.
So the more you use your solar generator, the more affordable it becomes. This is especially true when compared to a traditional fuel-based generator.
Plus, there are so many intangible costs to consider as well such as:
- the cost of running out of fuel
- excessive noise
- fuel storage safety concerns
- harmful fumes
So you have to think long-term and big picture. That’s how you decide whether the upfront investment is worth it for YOU.
Recharging Is Not Instantaneous
It takes time for a solar panel to recharge a battery.
Solar panels are not an on and off device. The power they capture fluctuates based on the power of the sun.
Solar panels are affected by the angle of the sun to their surface. If you set your panel in a fixed position and let the sun move across the sky, you’ll get a curve of power production.
It will start out small, ramping up to peak, hold peak power conversion for a while, and then back down to zero.
The hope is you can produce enough power over this time to run your appliances and charge your battery. Then use the stored battery power from sun down to sun up (overnight).
Again, you’ll have to look at the appliances you need and how often to use them. This is all about smart power supply management!
Of course, the more panels you have, the more power you can produce in a given time frame. But if you charge your battery too quickly, you’ll need more batteries to store any excess energy.
But expansion is not always as simple as buying more panels or batteries.
Many Units Cannot Be Easily Expanded
Components in the ready-made solar generators are not typically designed for easy expansion.
When you buy a ready-made portable solar generator, you can’t easily upgrade the inverter. You can’t add a bigger battery (at least not internally). Nor can you increase the photovoltaic surface area or install a better inverter.
Some models do allow you to add more solar panels to increase the speed of recharging. But eventually, you’ll hit the upper limit of the inverter in a ready-made generator.
So for the most part, you get what you get with a ready-made solar generator.
If this is a big concern of yours, you should check out some DIY solar generator options (covered later).
Repair Can Be Difficult
Solar panels and power generators are not devices that are simple to repair. They take unique components and serious expertise to fix.
In the case of solar panels, it’s typically more cost effective to buy new ones as opposed to trying to repair them.
Fortunately, newer solar panels are extremely durable and are difficult to break. Most of the ones built nowadays can even handle extreme hail storms.
So the odds are low that you’d need to repair a portable solar generator repair. But if you do, it’s not going to be as easy as changing a tire or replacing wiper blades.
Who Should Get A Solar Generator
So now that we’ve covered all the aspects of solar generators, it’s time to figure out if they make sense for YOU.
Of course, that depends upon your situation and your survival plans.
And since I cannot answer that question for you, I’ll provide some general thoughts instead. To give you some general guidelines on when a solar generators purchase is good and when it’s not.
If you consider a solar generator as an emergency back up and not a full replacement, then they are a good purchase.
They are not a direct replacement for your homes power consumption. If that’s what you were hoping for, you’re mistaken.
Heck, even a sizeable nonportable fuel based home generators struggle with such a task. And those cost tens of thousands of dollars.
A reasonably priced portable backup generator system (solar or fuel) requires prioritization.
Do you want one to run a small refrigerator in a crisis? Great a solar generator may be able to do that, but that will be about all it can do.
Do you want to run a CPAP machine and charge a few smartphones? Great, but then running a freezer as well won’t be possible.
Do you want a way to have some lights at night and be able to use your microwave several times a day? Perfect.
So you’ll need to think about your energy needs in a holistic way. You’ll have to prioritize.
For example – one of the best solar generators can provide up to 1,500 continuous watts of power. That about enough energy to charge the following devices:
- cell phone
- survival radio
- a few lights
- a small appliance or a critical medical device
Obviously, this depends on the energy needs of all these devices when added together.
Or maybe, just maybe, with proper power management, you could power your freezer INDEFINITELY.
If you can do this, you’ll never have to worry about your food reserves going bad.
But the point is a single solar generator cannot do it all.
If you want to get it all, you’ll have to buy more solar generators. But that comes at a significant cost increase.
So the bottom line is you must fully understand what a solar generator can and cannot due.
That’s how you make it a wise survival investment.
Best Portable Solar Generators
Ok, so after all that, if you’re like me, you’re still interested in the power of solar generators.
The pros more than outweigh the cons, and now it’s a matter of finding the best solar generator for you.
So it’s no small feat to figure out which ones are worth your hard-earned dollars.
Many new solar generator brands and models are cropping up every month.
However, we’ve done a ton of research for you. Looking for the very best solar generators available on the market today.
The ones you should seriously consider for your back up energy and survival needs.
The Patriot Power Generator
If you want one of the best solar generators on the market today, look no further than The Patriot Power Generator 1500.
It’s a favorite solar generator for many survivalists and preppers.
Perfect for your home emergency backup needs. As well as for camping, tailgating, or using power tools in remote locations.
The Patriot Power Generator is designed to be easy to store, transport, set up and use.
It also includes the panels you need as well as the power generator – all as one complete package.
This is not the typical case, as you’ll see below. Most often you have to figure out and buy the panels and the generator separately. Hoping they work well together when you get them home.
The Patriot Power Generator 1500 features:
Up to 2000 life cycles. This means you can charge your Patriot Power Generator from empty to full 2,000 times before performance starts to diminish.
You can charge your Patriot Power Generator in multiple ways. Through the solar panels or a conventional electrical outlet.
You can also charge it using a wind turbine or other sources of energy.
It charges fast with just a 3.5 hour charge time. This allows you to get The Patriot Power Generator from 0 to 100% in 3.5 hours.
It will hold a full charge for up to 1 year with little to no power loss.
It can produce up to 1,500 continuous watts of power. They claim this is enough power to run:
- a cell phone
- small appliances or “critical medical devices.”
The Patriot Power Generator also comes with
- 2 x 120 volt AC outlets
- 4 x USB outlets
- 1 x 12 volt DC outlet
- 1 x 12 volt Anderson Power Pole outlet (used to power emergency radio and CB units)
See how important having a generator of this power and quality is? Your life could depend on it!
And because of its small size, portability making it perfect for camping, hunting, and fishing trips. Take it along on your next RV vacation, or even weekend tailgating.
So you’ll want to use it all year around using the free power of the sun!
Goal Zero Yeti Lithium Portable Power Station
The Goal Zero Yeti is an excellent power generator. But most of these models don’t come with a solar panel (sold separately).
They have several models and sizes to choose from:
All the units include two AC outlets (300W continuous, 1200W surge), three 2.4A USB ports, and two 12V ports.
The weight of each unit varies based on the model but ranges from 17 lbs for the 400 series up to 75 pounds for the 3000 series.
Here’s the Yeti 1400 Solar Kit – which does include a solar panel.
Inergy Kodiak 1100 Watt (1.1kWh) Power Bank Solar Generator
The Inergy Kodiak Solar Generator is another popular option in the survival and preparedness world.
That’s because its one of the only units to include an external battery bank connection. This allows you to add more batteries to the Inergy Kodiak to store even more backup power for an emergency.
Some of the basic features of the Inergy Kodiak are:
- Its an ultra-lightweight option at about 20 lbs.
- Expandable with deep cycle lead acid batteries
- Solar charging – minimum charge time 2.5 hours
- 1100 Watt-hour lithium-ion battery and is rated for up to 2000 cycles
It’s another great solar generator option worth taking a closer look at.
Note: solar panels are sold separately with this unit.
AIMTOM Portable Solar Generator
The AIMTOM Portable Solar Generator is the most affordable option on this list, but it also has the most power limitations.
This unit is perfect to charge a few devices around a campsite, but it won’t work as well for backup emergency power.
Its rated for 155Wh with two 110V/ 100W AC outlets so it’s more of a badass portable solar charger than a solar generator.
However, it can provide power for small home appliances (max 100W), laptops, CPAP, etc.
The AIMTOM has three 5V USB output for phones, iPad, GPS, mp3, camera, RC helicopter, etc.
And three 12V DC output ports (max 180W, with a cigarette socket) for car devices and more.
Plus, there are also three ways you can recharge it.
You can use a supported solar panel (not included), a car charger or an AC wall charger.
The AIMTOM only weighs 3.48 lbs and includes an easy-carry handle. Designed to be a travel-friendly power station. Take and use it pretty much anywhere.
Note: this solar generator doesn’t come with a solar panel (sold separately).
DIY Solar Generator Build
Now, if you want a solar generator, but you don’t like the price, you could always go the DIY route.
This is not a project for the faint of heart. It should only be attempted by those who are proficient in the world of DIY.
Or put another way, this is NOT a DIY project you should cut your teeth on.
The good news is there are blueprints available on how to build a DIY solar generator system. These blueprints are a step by step solution to build one for a fraction of the cost.
Sure, the blueprints cost a few dollars, but just think of all the money, time, and headaches you’ll save.
You should check out the Smart Solar Box DIY Solar Generator plans.
Why Everyone Should Have An Electrical Backup Plan
Some people believe all technology is dangerous.
Thinking all technological advancements are moving us all further away from a culture of self-reliance. And instead, moving more towards a culture of helpless fools.
It’s an idea captured perfectly in one of my favorite quotes:
“What we call survival today is what our great-great-grandparents called everyday life.”
And mostly they are right. Here are just a few of the technologies that make us less self-reliant:
- The Power Grid
- The Food Distribution Network
- Corporate Farming
- Food Manufacturing
- Interstate Delivery
- Grocery Stores
- The Water Distribution Network
These “advancements” have made us more dependent on these advancements for our survival.
Take one of them away, and all hell breaks loose. Because when these “societal advancements” fail, few people have a real plan B.
They have no way to survive without help and handouts.
Sure, in ordinary life, technology is beneficial. When things are functioning smoothly, it’s awe-inspiring. But that’s the problem; that’s precisely what makes it so dangerous.
Modern day technological systems are convenient as hell. But they come at the cost of our self-reliance
We become conditioned to helplessness. In times of severe trouble, the real costs of these technologies will become known.
The pain, suffering, and loss will be horrific.
Imagine a widespread, prolonged blackout. How many people could survive a few months without power? Sadly, not many.
But not all technologies are bad.
There are a few technologies being developed that do the opposite. Ones that make us MORE self-reliant!
One of those technologies is the solar generator and that’s why you should invest in one.
As A Way To Introduce You To Skilled Survival, We’re Giving Away Our #78 Item Complete Prepper Checklist. Click Here To Get Your FREE Copy Of It.
The Final Word
The solar generators available today are impressive and worth the cost of admission. They are the future of self-reliance that welcomes this sort of technology.
But you cannot delay. Getting a solar generator (or a traditional generator if you prefer) in place is critical.
You have to have a backup power plan for everyday emergencies and blackouts. And if you’re like me, you’ll want to have a longer-term blackout power plan in place as well.
And solar generators deserve a place in that plan.
Remember: Prepare, Adapt, and Overcome,
“Just In Case” Jack
P.s. Do you know where the closest nuclear bunker is from your home?
Click on the image above to find out where you need to take shelter.
The post How To Find The Best Portable Solar Generator For Emergencies appeared first on Skilled Survival.
There are literally hundreds–if not thousands–of prepping tools, gadgets, and supplies that are great to have during a disaster. But if you had to pick, what would be your top 10 favorite survival items? Making a list like that isn’t as easy as you might think. I’ve made this list several times, and each time […]
The Ultimate Guide To Figure Out The Right Gas Mask And Filters For Yous
The iconic gas mask.
It’s that one piece of survival gear we always associate with chaos, war, terror, and mass destruction.
Just its image alone conjures up thoughts and feelings of spine-chilling events most of us prefer not to think about.
Events where the very air we breathe is not safe. Where the air is toxic. Where the air is deadly and the world as we know it is officially over.
In my opinion, too many survival articles begin by pointing out that water is the number one survival priority but it’s not.
I’m NOT saying that clean water isn’t essential for survival (it is), but it’s secondary to air.
Access to clean, abundant, breathable air trumps water every single time.
Why? Because while it’s a well-established fact you can only survive 3 days without water (less time in intense heat), you can only survive a few MINUTES without oxygen (and you’ll go unconscious well before that).
Most of us take clean breathable air for granted…which can be a deadly mistake.
But you might argue “air won’t just vanish” and you’d be right. Our entire atmosphere won’t instantly vanish.
However, just because air is breathable doesn’t mean it’s not deadly.
It’s possible to breathe highly toxic chemically infused air. The sort of air where even a few small gulps and you’re headed for an early grave.
Of course, this all depends upon the actual toxin involved and its intensity, but for the worst case scenarios, your ultimate fate will be set in stone.
What really sucks in this situation is knowingly being forced to breathe the toxins in. Because you can only hold your breath for so long.
But at the same time, each breath brings you closer to your premature demise.
In other words “damned if you do, damned if you don’t”.
So if the thought of this horrible scenario frightens you (it does for me), you should be highly motivated to invest in a high-quality gas mask.
There are reasons why the military, police departments, and firefighters all have gas masks.
They prepare and practice rushing headlong into the worst disasters to assist their communities; even if it’s a chemical or nuclear attack. They’re equipped to survive even if the air is deadly breath.
So if you’re like me, and you’re serious about preparing, then you must invest in a quality gas mask for survival.
In today’s article, we’ll be focusing on how to find a quality (and affordable) gas mask. We’ll cover all the technical details and at the end, we’ll also share with you two excellent gas masks we recommend.
Here’s exactly what’s covered in this Gas Mask Guide:
- Gas Mask Basics
- 2 Types Of Gas Masks – Pros And Cons
- Full Face Gas Mask Options
- Gas Mask Filters
- Gas Mask Recommendations
Note: If you just want our recommendations without the technical information, feel free to scroll to the end of this article.
As A Way To Introduce You To Skilled Survival, We’re Giving Away Our #78 Item Complete Prepper Checklist. Click Here To Get Your FREE Copy Of It.
Gas Mask Basics
A gas mask is simply, a small, portable, personal air purifying device.
It’s an invention with one exceptionally important task – providing detoxified “clean” air.
Similar in concept to a portable water filter that cleans water prior to drinking. The key difference being you can avoid drinking water for longer than 3 minutes!
And the gas mask has been around a lot longer than you realize.
The first known gas masks were made by the ancient Greeks. They were crude versions using sponges.
A few centuries later, a pair of Iraqi brothers produced a rough prototype of a 19th-century version of the gas mask. Ever since they’ve been used by soldiers, miners, doctors, and civilians under wildly different circumstances, but always to achieve the same end goal: clean air.
But these were very primitive. They didn’t work very well, at least not well enough to ensure survival. But to be fair, chemical and nuclear warfare were still yet to be invented.
The first practical gas mask, with real survival potential, was created by a Brit named Edward Harrison in 1916 shortly after the invention of chemical warfare during WWI.
Since then the gas mask has morphed into a symbol of the apocalyptic. But as menacing as they may look; they save lives.
But they do require research, preparation, upkeep. And a little bit of know-how to buy the right one.
2 Types Of Gas Masks – Pros And Cons
The first steps to making an informed gas mask purchase are to determine which style gas mask is right for you. And you do this by deciding what level of protection you desire.
Let’s start with style first; you have 2 options:
1 – Air Purifying Respirator
If you want a down-n-dirty, quick-n-easy, cheap solution you could buy an air-purifying respirator. But take note, these respirators only cover your nose and your mouth.
While they do technically purify the air, it leaves your eyes totally exposed.
And yes, eyeballs are extremely vulnerable to chemical damage and biological infection. And to be blunt, you need your eyesight if you want any chance to survive a real chemical attack.
Stumbling around in the dark during an attack is a recipe for failure.
2 – Full Face Gas Mask
The second option is a full face gas mask. As you probably already guessed, this version includes eye protection.
These gas masks are the ones you normally think of when someone utters the word, “gas mask”.
They include a large filter attached below the mouth area and they cover the entire face. Your eyes are inside this mask and you can see out of glass or plastic plates.
My advice? You really only have one option.
Here’s a video showing you these different levels of respirator protection :
Full Face Gas Mask Options
The next most important decision to make is what type of respirator do you want with your full face gas mask.
Here we have 2 basic options to choose from:
1 – Air Purifying Respirator
The first option called an “air-purifying respirator”.
These are the most affordable and simple full-face gas masks. The filter canisters on these units are replaceable and they screw directly into the mask.
It uses the power of your lungs to pull and push air through the filter.
This setup works fairly well as long as you get can get and keep a good seal. You see, air pressure always takes the path of least resistance. As you pull air in and push air out with your lungs YOU are creating this air pressure.
Now if you have a good seal around the outside of the gas mask, then the path of least resistance is the filter itself. Which is what you want.
However, if the seal breaks or fails for any reason, the path of least resistance is no longer through the filter; it’s through the breach.
The breach route will have less resistance than the filtered route (hence the term “path of least resistance).
And that’s the one big disadvantage to this type of gas mask: any prolonged leak makes it 100% ineffective.
If there is a gap between your chin and the mask, outside air will bypass the filter and enter through the leak. And you may die.
So just make sure that seal is absolutely airtight and you’ll be just fine.
Two notes of caution here:
1) If you have a beard, you’re going to have to shave it off because facial hair makes these masks difficult to seal.
Or, you can try what this guy in the video below did with his beard. He uses Vaseline to create a seal without saving off his beard.
2) Also, be careful what tasks you are performing while in the mask. You don’t want to accidentally run into anything that could break the air seal.
So try not to be clumsy or perform any unnecessary acrobatics if you can help it.
The bottom line is even if you initially establish a good seal, you still need to be diligent enough to KEEP a good seal.
2 – SCBA Masks
The second variety of mask is by far the most effective, and the heaviest. It is the type of mask that firefighters use to breathe in smoke-filled rooms. It is called the “self-contained breathing apparatus system” (or SCBA).
These masks require you to carry around a tank full of air (usually strapped to your back). But they provide the highest level of protection and security of any respirators on the market.
The tanks contain air and it keeps pumping it into the mask at a constant rate. This design keeps a positive pressure in the mask at all times, which essentially eliminates the need for a perfect seal.
Why? Because of physics. Air moves in one direction only. From high pressure to low pressure.
One simple way to understand this concept is by thinking about a flat tire. An inflated tire contains pressurized air. Or another way to explain it; it has more pressure in the tire than the surrounding atmosphere.
Hence, when you get a flat tire, the air moves from its higher-pressure environment (in the tire) to the lower pressure atmosphere (out of the tire); never the other way around.
So a gas mask filled with pressurized air will leak out, never in. As long as the gas mask maintains a relatively higher air pressure than the surrounding atmosphere leaks are not dangerous.
Ok, enough science for one day…
But the SCBA setup is not without its trade-offs: for one, it’s bulky, heavy and unwieldy in all circumstances. SCBA equipment is also a challenge to store in small spaces.
It takes up serious square footage in a regular sized closet. Also, most tanks only contain about 30-60 minutes of fresh oxygen anyway and you can only refill them using special equipment.
So as you can see, there are upsides and downsides to each of your options. It is totally up to you to determine what kind of chemical or biological threat you plan to face, how much you are willing to spend, and how protected you want to be.
Bottomline: Not all gas masks setups are equal. Some are glorified surgical masks while others are only used by serious professionals in the most dangerous circumstances.
Now at this point, I could cop out leave it at “just do your own research” but that’s why you’re here; looking for advice. So here’s my advice.
Invest in a full-face air purifying respirator and practice putting it on and getting a good seal.
And if you have a large and gnarly beard and refuse to part ways with it, good luck with that…
Here’s a short video covering the basics of using a full faced gas mask.
Ok, before you pull the trigger on a purchase we still have some more technical groundwork to cover. So stay with me…
How The Filters Actually Work
The common full-face air purifying respirator gas mask uses filter canisters to keep the air you breathe, poison and disease-free.
There are three general types of filter designs:
- Particle Filtration
- Chemical absorption
- Chemical reaction to neutralize other chemicals
Particle filtration is the most common and the simplest of these three options (and it’s also the oldest). Just like the ancient Greeks who held sponges up to their faces, particle filters act to block foreign substances from entering your lungs.
Recall a time when you’ve pulled your shirt over your nose in an attempt to block the smell of a particularly repulsive fart. You were employing a crude version of particle filtration.
Very fine particulate filters are helpful against biological threats, like anthrax. However, these filters have a limited life.
They can only hold so much particulate matter before they clog, so you have to replace them after every 20-24 hours of use (always verify these numbers on any gas mask filter you intend to purchase).
If you are trying to prepare for a chemical threat, then you will have to take a different approach. While particle filtration is an effective system, it does little to purify the air of chemical agents.
For that, you will need to use an activated charcoal system for chemical absorption.
Most deadly chemical warfare agents come in the form of gaseous vapors (not particulates) and will slip straight through your particle filtration filter system and kill you.
Your best bet, whether you are trying not to breathe household chemicals or a neurotoxin, is activated charcoal.
Charcoal is a highly porous form of carbon. So porous, in fact, that it chemically attracts gaseous or liquid substances strongly enough to trap the harmful chemical vapors. But it doesn’t catch everything.
Certain chemical agents aren’t chemically attracted to carbon and will pass straight through (such as sodium and nitrates just to name a couple).
This is to say that the activated charcoal will absorb some chemical agents while totally ignoring others. Chemicals that could be as equally dangerous.
The final type of filter option uses chemical reactions to neutralize. This is a very effective way of defending against one specific chemical agent or another, but you have to know exactly what you are up against so that the respirator is loaded with the right counteractive chemical.
For instance, in WWI during chlorine attacks, soldiers would be fitted with masks containing sodium thiosulfate, which would react with, and neutralize the chlorine in the air.
When you buy these filters they are color coded to indicate which type of gas or acid they work to diffuse.
Unfortunately, for most people, this type of mask is ineffective, because it’s impossible to predict what kind of chemical will be present in any given attack.
No matter what type of filter you end up choosing, you will have to invest regular time and money in keeping them maintained. No filter lasts forever – in fact, most only last about 20-24 hours of use.
So every time you use your mask, you will probably have to replace the filter afterward. Filters usually run for between $40-$60 a pop, and it is highly advised that you keep several on hand for each gas mask at all times.
They also have a limited shelf life, so you will have to check up on them every so often and replace them once they expire (even if you did not get the chance to use them yet).
A final note of caution: Don’t use any filters that were made during WWII or early. Back then, asbestos was considered the ideal filter medium. Now we all know that breathing asbestos is highly dangerous and will lead to asbestosis and lung cancer. You’ve been warned.
The Final Word and Recommendation
Here’s the ultimate rub: when it comes to any gas mask, a little late is almost always too late.
Even if you buy the most expensive, advanced, top-of-the-line gas mask and keep yourself stocked and loaded with innumerable backup filters, if you put your mask on after you realize there is a chemical agent in the air, you are probably already dead.
Real life doesn’t happen like it does in the movies. Every second of respiratory exposure, be it biological or chemical, is a second closer to death.
It’s also impossible to tell when or where you’ll need your respirator. Soldiers and police often get a heads up and can deploy their masks quickly because they always carry it with them.
Civilians don’t get such a notice.
We are at work, or in our cars, or hanging out with friends most of the time. And should word of a chemical/biological attack reach you while you’re away from home, you’re going to wish you’d taken your respirator with you.
The best way to avoid this is to buy several gas masks and store them in various places where you often spend time. Keep one in your car, one in your office at work, one at the house, one in your get home bag, and one in your bug out bag.
As A Way To Introduce You To Skilled Survival, We’re Giving Away Our #104 Item Bug Out Bag Checklist. Click Here To Get Your FREE Copy Of It.
If there is a place you spend a lot of time, hide a gas mask nearby. Not only does this provide peace of mind, but it also increases your chances of chemical attack survival by tenfold.
Finally, gas masks are not a foolproof solution.
They are actually a means to an end, rather than an end in themselves. For instance, you can’t live your entire life in a gas mask. You can’t hang out in a room full of noxious chemicals forever just because you are wearing one.
Eventually, you will need to eat and drink. Eventually, the filter is going to go bad and you are going to have to replace it.
So gas masks are a defensive measure, a temporary solution to a hopefully temporary problem.
So don’t put too much faith in any gas mask getting you through a long-term emergency/disaster/attack. Gas masks are a survival tool, meant to buy you time in a toxic situation. It may just be enough time to escape and keep your life. That is the hope, at least…
And this article wouldn’t be complete without a final recommendation or two. One high-end gas mask and one more budget-friendly option.
An excellent high-end gas mask is the SGE 400. It has the following high-quality features:
- Military NBC 40mm Gas Mask made in the USA with NATO specifications
- Full Face NBC Protection Gas Mask Respirator
- 40mm Filter Compatible with 3 Filter Ports
- Full Visibility Face Protection and Heat Resistant up to 800 Degrees Celsius
It’s one of the best gas masks on the market.
Click here to check out today’s price.
If you’re not a gas mask enthusiast and just want to get something simple and cost-effective for protection then get an Israeli Gas Mask.
It’s a simple proven design, replacement filters are readily available, and it’s at a very reasonable price point.
I won’t say it’s the absolute best gas mask you can buy, but I do think it’s one of the best from a cost per dollar standpoint. Allowing you to get a couple.
Note: There’s a debate on whether it’s a “real gas mask” or a just a toy. Here’s one question and answer:
Answer:It is. Doesn’t come with filters or the attachable canteen though but has the drinking straw inside
Also, make sure you check out the video review below for even more information about the Israeli gas mask.
Click here to check out today’s price.
P.s. Do you know where the closest nuclear bunker is from your home?
Click on the image above to find out where you need to take shelter.
Why You Need To Test And Use Your Survival Gear | episode 176
This week Mike and I return to talk about Why You Need To Test And Use Your Survival Gear.
We had a much too long break with me getting married, building things for the house, Honeymoon and more.
I got the idea for this show the night of the wedding. Serenity and I were camping with a few of our guests. I brought my Hennessee Hammock and some whoopie slings to hang it.
The whoopie slings weren’t made for a Hennessee so I had to try to adapt it and that’s when the trouble began.
I brought carabiners to hang it but didn’t bring enough. With help from Matt French and Scav we kept trying different things trying to get it to work.
It was a blast but would have been better if I had prepared better and got it up right away. I know Why You Need To Test And Use Your Survival Gear and still dropped the ball.
Now the vacation is over the podcasts will be coming out back on schedule. It’s good to be back.
- Don’t just buy and keep
- Test everything
- Have backups
- If it can break it will break
- Shelter size
- Proper Packing
- Adapt and move on
- Going cheap is usually a bad idea
- Used Gear
- Read and watch reviews
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The post Why You Need To Test And Use Your Survival Gear | episode 176 appeared first on Survival Punk.
Whether you call it a Medical Kit, First Aid Kit or Emergency Survival Kit doesn’t matter. What matters is that you have one and it’s ready at a moments notice.
It doesn’t matter where you are or what you’re doing when misadventure strikes. If you’re not prepared to handle a medical emergency, things can go from bad to worse fast.
Whether you’re camping, exploring a foreign country, navigating the high seas, or simply surviving a catastrophic emergency – having a functional medical kit is essential for survival.
Everyone needs to built or buy a survival medical kit.
Ask any medical worker what you can do today to save yourself or others in a serious medical emergency. They will tell you to 1) have a tactical first aid kit 2) learn how to use it.
They also know really good medical first aid kits, the kind that provides peace of mind, are hard to come by.
But fear not! You’ve come to the right place.
This Ultimate Survival Medical Kit Guide is here to solve that problem. Specifically, we’ll be covering the following topics in detail:
- How To Build Your Own Emergency First Aid Kit
- Choosing A Medical Bag
- First Aid Kit List
- Basic Medical Tools
- Over-The-Counter Medications
- Lotions and Creams
- Advanced Wound and Trauma Supplies
- Popular Prescription Medications
- Misc Medical Supplies
- Medical Kit Packing Strategies
- Best First Aid Kit You Can Purchase
- Developing Your Survival First Aid Skills
How To Build Your Own Emergency Survival Kit
The following describes everything necessary to build an emergency survival kit.
Some of the first aid supplies listed will include advanced medical supplies, above what a medical novice knows how to use. But if you follow the first aid list to a T, you’ll be prepared you for nearly any acute medical problem.
Use this as a personal guide or supplement to aid your medical preparation. You’ll be grateful you did.
Choosing The Right Medical Bag
Collecting the contents for a survival medical kit is actually the second step in building your own first aid kit.
You need a bag or pack to put all the supplies in. Whether you use a bag, a box, a basket, or an entire emergency vehicle, you must store your medical kit properly, and as orderly as possible.
Which requires a meticulous approach. Take your time, and think this through.
How will you build this to best suit your needs?
Will you be storing your medical kit in a home or a car? Is this something you’ll want to carry places? How durable does your med kit need to be? How thorough?
Size, shape, weight, and intention are all important factors to consider at this point.
If you are going to be rafting down the Grand Canyon, you need a waterproof bag that can easily transport between rafts.
If you are going on a backpacking trip through South East Asia you will need something small, light and packable.
Wilderness Responders use small duffle bags or entire backpacks for their medical kits.
Choosing your container may seem like a mundane decision, but in reality, the choice carries a lot of weight. To make your survival medical kit a perfect fit customize it so it best serves and protects you.
Here are some of the best medical bags for building your kit:
A Unigear Dry Bag is ideal for building a medical kit for wet environments.
A regular medical bag just won’t cut it in environments such as rafting, boating, or any water adventure or sport.
Why? Because they are completely waterproof.
Perfect for stashing medical supplies in extreme wet or humid environments.
This is a compact 1000D anti-abrasion polyester bag.
It’s a MOLLE compatible pouch for emergency or tactical situations. And it is a perfect addition to your bug out bag.
It has a tri-fold design with a rip away Velcro panel. It has a wide handle for removal or carrying.
The compact pouch also includes a pair of quality EMT shears.
The MedPac 3800 is not just a bag that you convert to being a medical kit bag. Instead, it is a bag made to be a medical kit.
So it’s compartments are made for medical supplies and keeping it all organized.
It has 5 adjustable dividers to organize larger supplies and equipment in the spacious main compartment.
The MedPack 3800 has adjustable buckle-assembly keeps the full-access lid upright for visibility and access. A gusseted front pouch has multiple instrument pockets and elastic loops.
The MedPac 3800 is made of water-resistant Ballistic Nylon with thick foam padding for shape and structure.
Yes, it’s not cheap but this is a serious bag for a serious medical kit build.
No, it’s not specifically made for medical supplies, but at this more affordable price point, you can make it work.
The Family Emergency Kit Storage Box is made out of durable plastic.
It also includes an organizing divider tray to help keep small medical supplies from getting mixed up.
It’s an all around nice family emergency medical kit you can stash in a closet at the ready.
That’s why this the TravTac “go anywhere” design is perfect when a larger pack is too big, too bulky and too heavy.
This pack can fit a ton of medical tools and supplies but not so big to become cumbersome.
It also can be worn in 3 configurable ways (across back, across chest or hand carry).
This is a MOLLE compatible pouch and has 3 zippered compartments.
The TravTac Stage II the right size, the right shape, and right design to make an excellent portable medical kit.
First Aid Kit List
In order to build a comprehensive medical kit, it’s best to start with the basics.
From diarrhea to headaches – from inflammation to small cuts or minor infections, the basics supplies will have your back.
These basics will be the resources you use most often in your emergency survival kit. So they should be the most accessible as well. Make sure to pack extra.
Most of these supplies can be bought at drugstores, pharmacies or even online. You’ll have no trouble assembling the contents in the following section.
Basic Medical Tools
Tweezers are a commodity, right? All tweezers are created equal…
Not even close! Cheap $2 tweezers are not good enough for your medical kit. Upgrade to these tactical tweezers to remove hard to get at splinters and foreign objects with ease.
You should look for an infrared forehead thermometer, especially if you have small children.
Trust me, trying to hold a traditional thermometer under your kid’s tongue, armpit or rectum is a hassle of the past.
When time is of the essence (and what medical emergency isn’t) you’ll want to get a temperature reading fast. Get a thermometer like this one.
These high-quality EMT shears feature a fluoride coating that provides a non-stick surface for all of your emergency cutting needs.
It includes sharp edges and milled serrations for cutting through the toughest material over and over.
These surgical nail clippers can handle even the thickest toenails due to diabetes, psoriasis, or fungus.
They are sharp, ergonomically designed and made of stainless steel to prevent rusting or corrosion.
They also come with an unconditional lifetime guarantee. The last pair of toenail clippers you’ll ever buy and good enough for medical emergencies.
Because there are just some medical tasks where nail clippers are the only tool for the job.
For basic medical emergencies a sharp scalpel and blade will do; like this one.
But if you’re looking for something more advanced, look into getting a suture kit.
The price range of stethoscopes is extreme. It’s hard to believe but the more advanced ones are several hundreds of dollars.
But unless your an EMT or a physician, a standard stethoscope like this one is all you need.
Over-The-Counter Medications (Recommended numbers included)
Next up is the list of over-the-counter medications your emergency medical kit should include:
- Ibuprofen (Advil), 20+
- Acetaminophen (Tylenol), 15+
- Aspirin, 15+
- Anti-histamine, x10
- Immodium/Loperamide, x10
- Sudafed (or an equivalent), x10
- Throat lozenges, 10+
- Bismuth tabs, x20
- Oral rehydration, x3
- Cranberry extract, x10
- Dramamine, x10
- Stool softener and/or Laxative, x15
Note: If your uncertain what each of these does, click the link to find out more specific information about each recommendation.
Lotions and Creams
These are the medical creams you should add to your first aid kit to help keep wounds clean and free from infection, to control minor rashes, reduce inflammation, stop fungus growth, etc.
- Antibiotic ointment (Neosporin or equivalent)
- Anti-Bacterial Bar Soap (for wound cleaning)
Advanced Wound and Trauma Supplies
This is where a more advanced level of survival medical training comes in handy.
Treating wounds is not always a simple ordeal – especially trauma – and it is often a job that is best left to the professionals.
But in a survival situation, it may be your responsibility to treat these injuries to the best of your ability.
Realistically, outside of a hospital, no one is prepared for every medical emergency. Wounds can be ugly. Trauma can be horrifying! But here are some tools that will help prepare you for both:
Wound Treatments (Recommended numbers included)
- Nitrile gloves, 4+ pairs
- Irrigation syringe
- Sterile gauze pads, 5+
- Band-Aids, 20+ (various sizes)
- Alcohol wipes, 15+
- Ace Bandages, x2
- Triangle bandages, x2
- Tegaderm, x2
- Steri-strip or butterfly closures, 3+
- Sam-splint moldable foam splint
- Israeli bandage
- Suture kit
Popular Prescription Medication
Individuals seeking to build an advanced medical kit should consider including some prescription medications.
These drugs require an advanced understanding of medicine to administer. But if you have access to these supplies and have reason to believe you will need them in the field, prepare yourself accordingly.
- Epinephrine 1mg: Treats severe allergic reactions.
- 1ml small syringe with needle
- Ciprofloxacin 500mg: Treats infections, also given to individuals exposed to anthrax.
- Azithromycin 500mg: Treats atypical mycobacterial infections and bacterial infections of the heart valve.
- Bactrim d.s. 160/800mg: Treats bacterial infections
- Amoxicillin 500mg: Treats infections or stomach ulcers.
- Flagyl 500/400mg: Treats bacterial infections.
- Fluconazole 100mg: Prevents and treats certain fungal infections.
Misc. Medical Supplies
- Asthma Inhalers: Albuterol is a basic prescription drug that people carry who have difficulties breathing.
- Vitamins: Pack your favorites, or pack them all. Multivitamins are handy for saving both space and weight.
- Epinephrine: Mentioned before in the prescription section. Epinephrine is a medication for severe allergic reactions. It usually requires a certification to administer to another person (except in the case of a life-threatening emergency).
- Small toy or puzzle: Children can be distractions, and in medical emergencies, they can often be a danger to themselves. Keeping a small toy or puzzle to calm a child down, or to offer comfort can be as good as any medication for agitation or distress. It can sometimes even work with adults.
- Toiletries: Just a razor, deodorant, a toothbrush, and toothpaste can make a huge difference in survival. Having extra hygiene supplies never hurts.
- Aquamira or other iodine tablets (for water purification)
- Bug repellent
- CPR pocket mask
- Survival lighter and waterproof matches
Medical Kit Packing & Storage Strategies
Keeping an organized medical kit is equally as important as any of the contents.
In a medical pinch, time is of the essence. Neither patient nor caretaker can afford to waste any time sifting through a sack full of unlabeled drugs and sterile swabs. Preparation is everything.
Divide your kit into a few general categories. There are a number of ways you might approach this, but one effective example is to separate the contents as follows:
- Prescription medication
- Over the counter medication
- Personal supplies
Trauma and prescription supplies are typically required in more urgent scenarios.
So make sure to keep them stored in an easily accessible part of your med kit.
Here are several ways to keep these categories separate and organized:
Separate The Compartments
It may be as easy as using the existing compartments of your container (like in a medic backpack or utility box) to separate your categories.
Most are made from water-resistant material and are extremely durable, very light and highly packable.
They are available at almost any outdoor retailer, surplus store or online.
These also come in different sizes, shapes, and colors for storage and color-coding.
Additionally, Tupperware is relatively cheap and accessible anywhere with a grocery store.
Use a sharpie to label them clearly.
Zip-lock bags are also effective at containing spills so that leaky soap or iodine bottle doesn’t taint the rest of your emergency survival kit.
A good rule-of-thumb: if it can leak, keep it in a zip-lock bag.
They are also extremely useful for keeping Band-Aids and other small components organized.
They are cheap, reusable, and recyclable.
Keeping Yout Kit Updated
So, the contents have been acquired and organized. The container has been chosen and packed. And you are prepared to deal with a medical emergency to the best of your ability. But the work doesn’t stop there.
Much like a plant, or a pet, your medical kit needs regular attention and updates. Medicines expire, and it serves no one if everything in your survival med kit has gone bad by the time you need it.
Be sure to systematically check for expired medicine.
Occasionally, container seals fail, and leakage amongst your supplies is bad. It helps to unpack and repack your entire kit once every few months to take stock and replace whatever is necessary.
Some may find it useful to create your own first aid kit list and keep it with their medical kit at all times. This can help to keep track of what you do and do not have, how much you’ve got, and when certain medications are due to expire.
Devise a system for this step. It can be a major pain to maintain a medical kit and keep it updated if you are sloppy about the process. Be scrupulous and you’ll be prepared.
Below is a long but extremely detailed DIY Tactical Medical Kit Build video (worth watching if you’re serious about building your own medical kit). It may be more advanced than what you’re looking for but you’ll learn a ton about building a tactical medical bag:
Best First Aid Kits You Can Buy
High-quality medical kits can be hard to find at the right price, especially for the really good ones. However, we’ve done a ton of research to find them anyways.
You can purchase one and then customize it by adding extras and personals. This is a very efficient and hassle-free way to build a versatile survival medical kit.
Here are several high quality, professional medical kits ready for any survival scenario:
Every component in this survival kit is meticulously labeled. This helps you identify what each item is and what it should be used for.
This helps prevent rummaging through your first aid kit for non-existent items or out of date!
The first aid kit bag is water resistant, durable, strong zippers, and double stitched handles.
There are also belt loops and reflective piping to help find the kit in the dark.
This small first aid kit is made out of 600D Polyester. Making it one of the strongest bags in its price class.
This kit includes large stainless steel scissors that can cut through clothing or seatbelts fast.
The kit comes with 100 essential basic life-saving items but still only weighs 1 pound. It’s small enough to fit into your car’s glove box.
It also includes MOLLE compatible straps on the back. This allows you to add to larger bags or your belt.
The water-resistant bag and waterproof inner laminate bags protect all items from moisture.
If you’re looking for a complete EMT Trauma Bag without the hassle of building it yourself, this First Responder Bag by Lightning is about as good as it gets.
This bag has everything you can think of organized and ready to go.
However, if you’re new to medical emergencies and survival, then this bag has way more medical gear than you need (or even know how to use).
The biggest perk of this small pack is the waterproof container, which comes with QuickClot, gauze, a trauma pad, triangle bandages, and more.
This adventure kit is specifically designed to respond quickly to control bleeding at the scene before seeking more advanced care. Making it ideal for major trauma for combat and everyday situations.
Durable, waterproof, and reusable packaging will stand up to abuse in the outdoors.
This bright reflective bag has several large compartments. 2 front pockets and 2 zippered side pockets.
It includes basic first aid supplies plus a basic blood pressure cuff, stethoscope, gauze pads, burn gel, eye wash, triangle band-aids, & multi-trauma blood stop dressing.
It contains enough first aid supplies to treat any basic emergency.
Developing Your Survival First Aid Skills
Medical experience is an extremely helpful accessory to this project, but it’s not a skillset that everyone has.
The most important part of building an advanced medical kit is an understanding of how to use what ‘s inside.
Sure, you could enroll in an EMT course at your local community college. Or you could sign up for Wilderness First Responder training. Both of those options are excellent if you have money and time.
But I recommend you check out the medical information product called Survival MD.
Survival MD Training Guide
It’s the only complete medical survival guide for the laymen (like you and me). It shows you how to treat yourself and your loved ones in an emergency when doctors, pharmacies, and hospitals are shut down.
It’s a simple and straightforward, step-by-step program. And you don’t need any medical training… plus: there’s no need for a medical professional to look over your shoulder.
And here’s the best part: You won’t need to spend a bucket load of cash or waste weeks poring over hundreds of pages either. Because there are no weird medical terms to learn!
It’s so easy, a 12-year-old can understand it.
You’ll be amazed what a difference it makes to finally know how to use your medical supplies and protect your family from even the worst medical emergencies.
Unfortunately, it is no cheap endeavor to prepare for a medical emergency. Whether you buy a pre-made survival medical kit, build one of your own or buy one that you improve upon it will likely cost you a pretty penny.
But if things ever go bad and you need to use your survival medical kit, every cent will have been well spent.
A prepared future is a worthwhile investment.
Under the luckiest circumstances, your survival medical kit will gather dust where you store it. You hope that it remains unused (though well-updated).
Emergencies are never fun, especially when it involves severe trauma. And any day you have to break out your tactical medical kit is a bad day.
The best precaution is safety, and the best way to stay safe is to stay prepared. Good luck out there.
P.s. Do you know where the closest nuclear bunker is from your home?
Click on the image above to find out where you need to take shelter.
The post How To Build The Ultimate Emergency Survival Medical Kit appeared first on Skilled Survival.
How To Find The Best Survival Water Filter For You and Your Needs
If you had to list the most critical resources in your survival plan, water will always be in your top 3.
Just think about all the ways you use water in your daily life:
- Flushing Toilets
- Brushing Teeth
- Cleaning Dishes
These are all tasks we perform EVERY day!
Now imagine for one minute, it’s gone. Taps dry…
You couldn’t flush your toilets. You couldn’t bath. But more importantly, you couldn’t quench your thirst. The dehydration countdown would begin. You’d be forced to find a different source of water.
And while the image of a crystal clear, pure mountain stream sounds appealing; reality is likely far different in a survival situation.
When you’re in survival mode, you may have to consume water wherever you can find it –
- muddy puddles
- algae-filled ponds
- livestock tanks
- river runoff
- roof runoff (i.e. rainwater harvesting)
These sources can be teaming with all kinds of bacteria, viruses, and chemicals.
You need a way to remove these dangerous contaminants for drinking and cooking. You need a survival water filtration plan.
So today we’re going to cover the following survival water filter topics in detail:
- 3 Types of Survival Water Filters
- Filtration vs Purification
- Critical Survival Water Filter Factors
- Best Inline Survival Water Filters
- Best Small Group Water Filters
- Best Large-Scale Water Filters
- Simple DIY Gravity Filter
- Water Filtration Best Practices
- Survival Water Action Plan
3 Types of Survival Water Filters
There are 3 main types of survival water filters. Each type works best for different situations and setups.
So let’s quickly go over them in general now. Then we’ll go over what we consider the best water filters for survival later.
In-Line Water Filter
Think of them as a large straw where the easiest way to use one is to suck (just like a straw).
The sucking action pulls water through the interior filter medium and removes harmful contaminants. Simple but effective.
Hand Pump Water Filter
The pumping action pulls water through the filter medium to clean the water of contaminants.
Hand pump water filters are larger than inline personal filters. Not too big to pack and carry but bigger and slightly heavier. They can also process more water faster than inline filters.
So they are ideal for small to medium-sized groups on the move.
Gravity Fed Water Filter
Gravity fed water filters are systems take up the most amount of space to set up. The filter itself can be small but you need a reservoir of water above the filter and a collection reservoir below it.
That’s because gravity filters are passive. You set them up and let them work via gravity while you go away and do other things.
You don’t have to suck or pump to filter the water, instead, gravity does this for you.
Again, the filter doesn’t have to be large, but the setup is. So this type of filtration system is not ideal for travel.
Heck, many of the popular gravity fed systems are not mobile at all and are better suited for a countertop.
Due to the passive filtering and the setup size, gravity fed water filtration systems are best for large groups who are staying put.
Filtration vs Purification
First, a little terminology lesson.
I’m going to be very deliberate with my use of two words. So pay attention because they mean very different things in the world of water treatment.
Term 1 – Filters
“FILTERS” are mechanical devices that remove particles from the water.
They’re rated by the size of the LARGEST particle that’s able to pass through the filter pores.
Most filters are rated in microns (1/1000000th of a meter). So a 0.2-micron filter can safely remove the majority (i.e. 99.999%) of bacteria, protozoa, and sediments.
Term 2 – Purifiers
“PURIFIERS” may or may not remove particles. Instead, they render dangerous contaminants inactive.
Purifiers add a layer of protection against viruses. It kills viruses which could slip through all but the smallest filters.
You can purify water through the use of UV light, chemicals, or mechanical filtration.
Also, some purifiers contain secondary treatment (usually activated carbon or chlorine). These secondary treatments remove dissolved chemicals, taste and odor.
In today’s article, we are primarily focusing on water filtration, you should check out our water purification article as well.
The bottom line is that the simplest, most cost effective two ways to purify water are to 1) boil it or 2) add water purification tablets to it.
Critical Survival Water Filter Factors
There are a lot of factors which go into the selection of right water filter system for you.
You have to think and plan for future use. Keeping in mind your needs may change over time and as you travel, so it’s often best to have a couple of options available.
Also, for such a critical resource as water, I always have backups for emergencies.
With this in mind, here are the most important aspects to consider in your search for the perfect survival water filter.
Source Water Quality
The most important factor to choosing a water treatment system is; “What do you need to remove from my water?”
If you’re near the water source (i.e., glaciers, cold springs, snowmelt), you’ll need very little treatment.
In these locations, the water is mostly pure. It has had little chance to become contaminated with bacteria and viruses.
These situations are ideal for a basic water FILTER.
But, if you’re filtering near farms, cities, or swamps (where most of us live) contamination is more likely. Upstream human activity has probably contaminated the water to some degree.
So you’ll need more and better treatment than a basic filter.
Plus, you’ll also want to purify the water as well to remove viruses, chemical runoff, and any bad tastes and odors.
Another critical factor is the size of the group you plan to provide with clean water.
If you only have to supply for your own needs, you may be able to get by with a lightweight inline filter or filter straw.
They’re cheaper, lighter, and take up less space in your pack.
If this expands to a small party (2-5 people), a personal filter no longer makes sense. Instead, you’d be better served by a small pump water filter.
They’re faster for filling several water bottles, and you can take turns pumping water.
If you plan to make camp in one place for a while, gravity-fed filters are a good option. They remove much of the effort of treating lots of water. They can provide gallons a day as long as someone keeps adding raw water.
The downside is they’re bulky and sometimes heavy. But you can’t beat the convenience of water at the turn of a tap in camp.
Weight and Size
A lot of our survival plans involve being mobile, even if only while we make our way to a bug-out location.
The smallest in-line filters weigh nearly nothing and can fit in the tiniest of pockets. But, as you move into larger systems, the weight and pack size can add up.
The larger pump-style and gravity filters are great options for a cabin or vehicle, but won’t work in a pack.
It all comes down to weighing the technology against your needs. You’ll need to understand the tradeoffs to develop your survival water filter plan.
Finally, we all know quality survival gear doesn’t come cheap.
When comparing water treatment systems, be sure to check the specifications carefully. Two seemingly similar filters can have wildly different prices.
There’s a significant difference between a 1-micron “filter” and a 0.2-micron “purifier.” They are different regarding function and cost, even if they come in similar packaging.
That said, sometimes a simple filter is all you need. In these cases, paying more for a high-tech purifier leaves you with less for other supplies.
Best Inline Survival Water Filters
For most, the first line of defense in water treatment systems is a personal filter to take care of their own needs.
Everyone should have a personal filter in their pack at all times, even if you’re traveling with a group. If your group needs to split up, you don’t want to strand anyone without access to water treatment.
With the ultra-lightweight options nowadays, there’s no excuse.
Everyone should add a little bit of water filtration insurance to your pocket or pack.
LifeStraw Water Filter
In the past, we’ve detailed the LifeStraw personal straw filter.
These are impressive little filters that can treat up to 1000L of water. Using a LifeStraw is as simple as, well, drinking from a straw.
Their 0.2-micron filter material is effective against waterborne bacteria and parasites. Plus, they don’t need any extra chemicals or moving parts to function.
They’re only 2oz, and just under 9″ long, so they fit in any corner of your pack – or even a coat pocket. And, at this incredible price, they’re easy to stock up on for a group.
However, the LifeStraw isn’t the only personal filter on the market.
Sawyer Mini Filter
I’ve recently become a big fan of the Sawyer Mini Filter.
This tiny water filter can process up to 100,000 GALLONS of water through a 0.1-micron filter.
Unlike the LifeStraw, the Sawyer Mini has hose adapters on either side. This design allows you to a large variety of water retrieval options.
- Splice it into your hydration pack
- Convert it to a gravity filter
- Use a small piece of hose to gather water out of a small crack
Plus, it has a threaded end which screws onto a small bladder (or any soda bottle) to let you filter and drink on the move.
It also only weighs 2oz and is only 4″ long.
Again, for this price, it’s an excellent survival water filter for daily use or emergencies.
Best Small Group Water Filters
When you go from a single person to a group, a personal water filter alone may not be practical. In this case, it’s often helpful to transition to a pump-style water filter or purifier.
They are typically about the size and weight of a 1L water bottle.
This weight increase makes it harder to carry, and it’s not practical for everyone in a group to have one.
But with a group, you can share and distribute the weight of other supplies. One person can carry the group water filter, while someone else packs more food. This distribution helps the group to even out pack weights accordingly.
There is a wide range of filter options on the market. From the simple sub-$100 filters to more advanced purifiers costing over $300.
It comes down to understanding your survival needs the likely conditions you’ll encounter.
MSR MiniWorks Purifier System
On the less expensive end is the MSR MiniWorks EX purifier system. This system combines a filter and a purifier for better virus protection.
Plus, the MSR MiniWorks (and most MSR products) commit to designing field-serviceable equipment.
In this case, you can disassemble the entire filter without tools. A toolless disassembly allows you to clean and replace the filter core anywhere.
In fact, regular cleaning of the surface of a ceramic filter core (via a scrub pad) helps keep the water flowing.
The filter/purifier cartridge is good for about 2000L, after which you’d have to replace it with a fresh one.
While the cost of entry is low, the filter replacement costs will add up over time. Filtration costs are even more of an issue if you depend on the MSR MiniWorks for everyday use.
Also, the two-step treatment workflow is a bit clunky. However, you can decide whether you feel virus treatment drops are necessary. Then conserve them for the times they seem justified.
The MSR MiniWorks EX purifier is ideal for small group water treatment. Perfect as a temporary portable filter (traveling to a cabin) that won’t see a ton of use and you’re on a tight budget.
MSR Guardian Purifier
For longer-term and worst case water situations, check out the MSR Guardian purifier. It’s another decent option, though it is a bit more expensive.
The Guardian is a mechanical filter purifier.
Mechanical filters don’t rely on any added chemicals. It uses a tiny filter pore size (10x smaller than the MiniWorks EX). And this filter removes microscopic viruses from the water.
In the past, mechanical purifiers were incredibly quick to clog with sediments.
But MSR has found a way to deal with this limitation. They now divert 10% of the water on each pump stroke to flushing the filter element.
This design allows The Guardian to remove the tiniest viruses without sacrificing flow rates.
In fact, it maintains flow rates more than double what you find in comparable filters. So when you’re filtering for a large group, that equates to a LOT of saved time and effort every day.
I’ve heard stories of people returning their Guardian because they pumped too easily! The users couldn’t believe the water was actually going through the filter.
Having used one on a couple of trips, it certainly made me double-check at first as well.
In addition to filtering smaller particles, The Guardian is rated for over 10,000L. That’s more than 5x the MiniWorks EX.
This massive volume helps to offset much of the cost difference.
If your group plans to be on the move and encountering suspect water sources, the MSR Guardian is an excellent survival water filter.
Best Large-Scale Water Filters
In the world of survival, having a permanent (or even semi-permanent) camp is indeed a luxury.
But, with a good plan and essential camping equipment, it’s a great way to conserve resources and energy.
On a long trip, even a single no-travel day can feel like a vacation from the everyday routine of breaking camp.
With larger groups, one of the first resources to secure is an abundant supply of clean water.
Sure, you could sit and pump gallons and gallons of water through a hand-held filter. But it’s far more efficient to set up a gravity filter.
A gravity filter allows you to go about other camp chores while your water takes care of itself.
LifeStraw Mission Purifier
One of the more portable gravity filters, the LifeStraw Mission purifier. This unit combines a 0.02-micron filter purifier (0.02 not 0.2) with either a 5L or 12L reservoir.
The reservoir is like a dry bag, with a roll-top seal and a hose port on the bottom.
The LifeStraw Mission also contains a handy pre-filter. That way you can use murky water but remove the larger sediments to prevent clogging of your primary filter.
From there, the water flows through a modified version of the LifeStraw filter. But, unlike the LifeStraw, this model includes a backwash valve for cleaning.
The LifeStraw Mission system gives you up to 3 gallons of fresh water per hour. That 3 gallons with no effort on your part except to fill the reservoir and hang it.
When not in use, the whole system packs down into a small stuff sack and weighs less than a pound. It’s a tremendously useful turn-key system.
The LifeStraw Mission is an inexpensive way to provide bulk amounts of filtered water for a group camp.
Another gravity filter option is the MSR AutoFlow. This unit provides much higher flow rates (1 gallon in about 3 minutes) through a 0.2-micron filter.
But that high flow rate comes at the cost of virus protection.
If you’re in a pristine environment in the wild, the MSR AutoFlow is a great option for filtration.
AlexaPure & Berkey
These gravity filters consist of stacked stainless steel reservoirs and high-quality ceramic filters.
Yes, they are more expensive, bulky, and heavy. But, they can withstand years of daily use with only occasional filter changes.
They also provide convenience at the flip of a spigot.
You wouldn’t want to hand a dry bag and inline filter up in your kitchen for everyday use, right?
But with a sleek stainless steel container, they can look great sitting on your countertops.
Simple DIY Gravity Filter
Of course, there are those out there who want to keep costs to a minimum and aren’t afraid of DIY.
If that sounds like you, building a gravity filter from a Sawyer Mini is simple.
There are several ways to set up a gravity filter but they almost all use:
- an elevated reservoir (a bucket, bladder, or tank)
- a length of tubing
- an inline filter (like the Sawyer Mini)
- a second reservoir for clean water
Seriously, that’s it!
Plumb a valve into the bottom of a 5-gallon bucket (large elevated reservoir). Then attach several feet of hose to your inline filter. Let the water drip into a second 5-gallon bucket (or bottle, or whatever).
Voila! You have a simple, inexpensive gravity filter.
The greater the elevation between the reservoir and the filter, the more pressure.
Pressure is what you need to force the water through the filter element. The good news is a few feet is usually enough, but more will help to increase the flow rate.
A simple gravity filter can filter at the same rates as the commercial version, at a fraction of the cost.
Water Filtration Best Practices
No matter what type of water treatment system you choose, there are some best practices.
Techniques you should use to make it work as smoothly and efficiently as possible. These best practices should become simple habits when you’re filtering and treating water.
Water Source Selection Matters
First off, this is critical, don’t make your filters do any more work than they have to.
Try to find the cleanest, most transparent water available to you. Avoid muddy water and water with visible pollution if at all possible.
The manufacturers filter ratings are all based on a generic “bad” water specification. But that’s usually a whole lot cleaner than something like a stirred up muddy puddle.
The more material you put into your filters, the faster the pores will clog. Soon you’ll notice a drop in flow rates and an increase in the effort to move water through the filter material.
Eventually, they’ll clog so severely you won’t be able to use the filters at all.
Sometimes you don’t have any options though, and this is where pre-filtering your water can help.
I keep a small piece of filter sponge, a survival bandana, and some elastic hair ties with my water filter. That way, when I encounter silty water, I always have a prefilter with me.
To prefilter the small debris, I place the filter sponge over the filter inlet. Then I cover it with at least one layer of the bandana and wrap the whole thing with a hair tie.
This setup creates a DIY prefilter to remove the sand, muck, and leaves before it enters the filter inlet.
The prefilter reduces the work my filter element has to do and extends the filter’s useful life.
One common mistake I see people make with water treatment systems is cross-contamination.
They allow raw water to drip onto the clean water end of the filter. This means the contaminants can pass on to your next batch of treated water.
This is why most commercial filters have clear labels or color codes to let you know which end is which. Many also include protective rubber caps for both ends to reduce leakage after use.
If you’re careful not to cross-contaminate, you reduce your risk of waterborne illnesses.
Take Time To Learn Maintenance
Take time to read and follow the maintenance instructions for your treatment system.
Some need to be flushed with clean water after each use. Others only require this if you plan to store the filter for extended periods.
Some filters need to be scrubbed instead of flushed to prevent clogging. Other systems do it automatically.
Others with ceramic filters can crack if frozen.
Most instructions are simple and quick reads. But following them to a T can extend the life of your water treatment system.
Don’t skip them just to save a couple of minutes.
Survival Water Action Plan
As you can tell, there are a lot of options out there for water treatment.
These are just a few of the brands we’ve tried, but they represent a good cross-section of the market. We hope they give you an example of how they work and their differences.
From here, you’ll have to think about your survival water plan.
Remember, clean water is one of the most crucial elements of your survival plan. From cooking to cleaning, and staying hydrated, everything stops without life-giving H20.
There are lots of ways to make sure your plan doesn’t leave you without clean water. And I highly recommend a good backup (or two) just in case.
Honestly, if you want the most options at the best price, pick up a couple Sawyer Mini’s. That way, you’ll kill two birds with one stone.
You’ll have a personal water filter with a massive 100,000 filter lifespan. Plus, you can use it to create a simple group gravity water filter as well.
It’s the easiest, most cost-effective way to cover all your bases regardless of the type of emergency you’re dealing with.
P.s. Do you know where the closest nuclear bunker is from your home?
Click on the image above to find out where you need to take shelter.
The post The Complete Guide To The Best Survival Water Filters appeared first on Skilled Survival.
How To Have A Survival Radio Setup You Can Be Proud Of
In our modern society, what’s the first thing most people reach for in an emergency?
Their bug out bag? No, way. (remember, I said “most people”, not those of us who are prepared).
A survival knife? Unfortunately No.
Their survival radio? Probably not.
Most people pull out their cell phone because it’s our societies fastest way to call for help. And that makes perfect sense since nearly 95% of all US adults currently own a cell phone.
And there’s no shame in utilizing this modern technology. If the cell phone network is operating as normal, by all means, dial away.
However, what most people don’t realize is their cell phone is an extremely unreliable mass emergency communication device.
So in today’s article, we’ll be covering the following survival radio topics:
- Never Trust Cell
- The Best Survival Option – Amateur Radio
- Amateur Radio License
- Ham Radio Clubs
- Amateur Radio Equipment
- Ham Radio Setup
- Best Entry Level Ham Radios
- More Survival Radio Options
Never Trust Cell
Even with a cell phone signal booster, you still don’t want to rely solely on a cell network as your only means of survival communication.
For small, individual emergencies (such as fender-benders or house fires), cell phones are great, but for widespread or large disasters, they cannot be trusted.
For example, 70% of the cell towers were out of operation for multiple days during Hurricane Katrina.
Just minutes after the Boston Marathon bombings, cell phone networks become overloaded and all volume was blocked.
When thousands of people begin dialing for help at the exact same time cell phone networks jam. They’re not designed for that level of call volume.
All cell phone networks are limited by a design capacity – similar to how highways are limited by a design capacity. Once traffic hits a certain level, you end up with a massive traffic jam.
Large-scale emergency events take the cell networks well past these capacities in seconds.
Once, a cell network jams, no one can get through.
The Boston Marathon attendees were calling for help or calling their family to let them know they were alright. Plus, everyone outside of Boston who heard about the event was trying to call to see if their loved ones were safe.
Hence, no one could call in, and no one could call out – cell network gridlock.
This phenomenon was summed up perfectly by The Fast Company.
Mobile networks have bandwidth that is more than sufficient 99% of the time. However, when disaster strikes, the decentralized nature of the network means that whole geographic regions can be knocked out by increased call volume.
It’s it’s not just cell tower jam-ups that make cell phone communication unreliable in emergencies.
During Hurricane Sandy, the cables between towers were damaged due to high winds and flooding. Again, cell phone communication was severely restricted when people needed to contact each other most.
You pull out your cell phone to get help only to quickly discover you’re holding an expensive paperweight. That’s why cell phones should never be your only means of survival communication.
The bottom line is the cell phone is a low-reliability survival communication device.
You need to invest in a survival radio.
What About Cell Network Backup Systems?
Ok, maybe your still not convinced. We have smart people building these cell phone networks and they’ve put in place back up systems, right?
Yes, but in a long-term electrical outage, the cell phone networks will eventually cease to function entirely.
Most cell towers do have a backup battery system in place. These battery/generator systems keep them functional for short-term power outages.
Cell towers use AC power to function, so if the grid goes black and the backup generators don’t get refueled, they eventually stop working as well.
Basically, for any long-term power outage, cell networks may become entirely useless.
The Best Survival Option – Amateur Radio
Now that you understand what’s not an acceptable survival communication option (cell phone) – the obvious next question should be “what is?”
I’ll cover what I consider the best option for a prepper radio. Then follow that up with some runner-up options as well.
Amateur (ham) Radio
Once you understand the importance of communication during a crisis you also realize that there are only a handful of possible long-term survival communication methods, and I consider a ham survival radio the best.
Ham radios will become the only long-range communication network in a broken world.
Why? Because they have the longest communication range and the lowest dependency on grid power.
Yes, the radio’s themselves need power, but as an emergency communication device, many ham operators plan for that ahead of time.
Many have invested in personal backup power system like solar power generators..
So when the cell networks are down, and grid power is down, I guarantee you a dedicated group of ham radio operators will still be chatting away.
During the hurricane Katrina aftermath, when cell networks were down and power was out, amateur radio operators stepped in to relay emergency communications.
So locally, and even regionally, ham radio operators will be in touch and talking even in a worst-case disaster.
However, for long-distance communication, you’ll need repeaters to boost the signal. And repeaters need power as well.
However, those in charge of these repeaters understand their crucial role in emergency communications. Many have planned elaborate secondary sources of energy in preparation for worst-case scenarios.
So ham radio systems are our best chance at communicating when the grid power goes down permanently.
If you want a basic understanding of how ham radio works, watch this excellent video by TinHatRanch:
Another reason to get a ham radio is the fact that you can tap into remote and mobile internet access.
It takes specialized gear and knowledge to set this up, but it’s a nice bonus that comes with getting a ham radio.
To Get Your Amateur Radio License or Not…
Ultimately I’m going to argue in favor of getting your license but will share the argument against it first.
The argument against getting a license is in a real survival emergency, permits won’t matter. Permits are only valid and necessary in calm, civil times.
When SHTF licenses are silly, unenforceable gimmicks and a waste of the paper they are written on. I buy that argument 100%.
The other issue with licensing is privacy. In order to get licensed, you’ll need to provide your name, address, and some other personal information. Some people (especially those who are preparing) don’t want to provide these details. They prefer to keep their personal information private.
However, I believe operating a ham radio with proficiency is a skill you must practice. It’s nothing like using a cell phone. It’s more like learning how to ride a bike. It takes practice to get good at it.
And the only way to confidently communicate at long ranges using a ham radio is through repetition. Which means you should get your license asap so you can begin practicing.
The best ham radio operators have years of experience and reliable gear. Some are able to communicate around the world.
To join this club, you must properly power your ham survival radio and purchase the large antennas (for longer communication potential). Ham radios operate over radio frequencies and it takes some practice to perfect this skill.
You shouldn’t wait; it’s time you got your license.
How To Get Your Ham Radio License
All “official” ham radio operators required a license, and this includes everyone inside and outside the United States.
There are three basic levels of licenses available:
- Technician License
- General License
- Extra License
The Technician License is an entry-level license.
It’s the easiest to obtain and provides the legal right to communicate on local frequencies. This license is relatively easy to achieve, especially since it’s no longer requires proficiency at Morse Code.
It consists of passing a 35 question exam.
Pick up this study manual, read it thoroughly, take notes, and then schedule an exam. And just like that, you’re now an official ham survival radio technician. Congrats!
As soon as you’re licensed as a ham radio operator you’ll be official.
This alone will help you gain some respect and acceptance among other qualified ham radio operators.
I’ve heard stories about ham radio operators who won’t even speak with fly-by-night operators if they don’t have their license. I’m sure in a real emergency exception would be made, but again, this friction makes practicing more challenging.
Once you have your technicians license, the next step is to get your General License.
Having this license expands your transmission ranges. Your restriction to local frequencies goes away and you can now transmit as far your equipment allows.
Finally, you need to pass a thorough 50 question exam to achieve an Amateur License. This license grants all U.S. Amateur radio privileges for all frequencies via all modes.
I often get asked if you can bypass the first two levels and just focus on getting your Amateur’s License. The answer is No.
You must achieve all previous levels of licenses to obtain the next level. No skipping allowed.
You must obtain your Technicians License before you can get your General License and you must pass both the Technicians exam and General Exam to get your Amateur License.
So get this ham radio study guide as a first step.
Here’s a video from TinHatRanch about getting your HAM Amateur Radio License:
Join A Local Ham Radio Club
If you serious about getting your license, I highly recommend you join a local ham radio club.
Joining a local ham radio operator’s club will assist beginner operators in learning the exact methods and procedures for proper communications with other ham operators.
Most clubs are patient with new operators as long as the new guy isn’t a pain in the ass. And operator clubs are the best way to pick up all the details from the experts. This is by far the fastest way for you to become a competent ham radio operator.
There’s no reason to struggle on your own. There are lots of people who are willing to show you the ropes and get you up and running in no time.
ARRL.org is a website that can help you locate a local club.
Learn The Basic Ham Radio Equipment
You’re solely responsible for the maintenance and repair of your ham radio.
As a new operator, you need to understand all the components of your ham radio and even take a repair course.
Because, in the case of the end of the world as we know it, you can’t count on being able to run to the local Radioshack store for spare parts.
In an emergency, a ham operator immediately becomes a ham radio repairman.
Also, you can use YouTube to watch others fix and repair their old ham radios.
How To Set Up Your Ham Radio Studio
You want to organize your ham radio studio to get good results.
This includes connecting to a dedicated power source and antenna placement.
You should also plan a backup power supply with a battery bank, generators, and solar energy. Without a reliable backup power plan, you might have a ham radio but it won’t be ready for survival.
You need a backup energy supply for all your families survival need anyways- not just for communications.
That’s why you should check out this new backup power solution called The Patriot Power Generator.
Here are a few more things to think about as you begin setting up your ham radio operations:
Favorite Entry-Level Ham Radios
BaoFeng BF-F8HP (UV-5R 3rd Gen) 8-Watt Dual Band Two-Way Radio
Having communications on the go or in your bug out vehicle is a tremendous advantage in survival.
For example, a hurricane will require a mass evacuation of a region’s population, and you won’t be able to rely on your usual studio set up. Instead, you’ll want a radio you can take with you on the go.
An easy upgrade to your portable unit is a better antenna.
Swap the default antenna out with this one to transmit and receive at further distances.
Also, consider getting a radio chest harness to wear your communications while on the move by foot.
This will allow you to move tactically while still being able to communicate.
Make sure to check out this detailed review video of the BaoFeng BF-F8HP as well:
Yaesu Original FT-450D HF/50MHz Compact Amateur Base Transceiver
If you want a unit with a bit more power (but not as portable) check out the Yaesu Orginal FT-450D amateur radio.
Its a solid setup for those who are new to amateur radio.
Here’s an overview of the Yaesu Orginal FT-450D radio:
Practice Going Off Grid
Learning how to operate an amateur survival radio is of little use during an emergency if you don’t practice. And not just any practice, you need to replicate real-world situations.
Come up with a few hypothetical situations and try to recreate these scenarios in practice sessions.
You lose power; do your backup off-grid systems work?
If you have something like a Patriot Power Generator, do you know how to use it to power your radio systems?
You only have two minutes to pack up and go; are you ready to move that fast and take your radio equipment with you?
These are the type of conditions you should practice regularly.
More Survival Radio Options
Ok, maybe at this point your a bit overwhelmed and intimidated by amateur radio. I get it, it can be a complex and the equipment can be costly.
So you might be wondering, “is there an option for those who don’t want to go down the ham radio rabbit hole?”
Yes, of course, there are few more survival radio alternatives as well.
Everyone knows about walkie-talkies. Many of us used them as kids to communicate with friends or family at short distances.
They’re also used throughout the US in manufacturing and construction crews. They’re perfect for communication between departments and operators.
So if you’re interested in local survival communications, invest in a high-quality set of walkie-talkies.
If your interested in loca2-way communication but would prefer to still use your cellphone then you should check out this new gadget – The goTenna.
The goTenna allows for local encrypted cell phone communication while bypassing the need for cell towers.
It’s like carrying around your own mini personalized cell phone tower.
Make sure to get two because both people need one in order to communicate via cell.
Hand Crank Solar Radio
Another option is to get a hand crank solar radio, so you can listen in to local radio stations. The biggest downside here is it’s a “listen only” device.
There’s no 2-way communication, you’re just tuning in to what’s going out from emergency broadcasts.
However, I really like that this radio has 2 ways to charge it without using electrical power.
Crank the small generator to generate enough power to listen for a few hours. Or leave use the sun to recharge the battery via solar.
Either way, this little survival radio ensures you can listen to the major radio broadcasts and the weather stations no matter what.
Katio Pocket Radio
If you want to pack and carry a “listen only” survival radio, then you have to get the Kaito Pocket Radio.
It’s the smallest, lightest survival radio option I’ve ever come across!
Prepper Radio Wrap Up
So while the mainstream public may not see the need for survival radios, this view will change after SHTF.
When it comes to self-reliance and making good decisions in a crisis, intelligence is key. You need to get your hands on as much information as possible to increase your odds of survival.
You should definitely invest in an amateur radio setup for long range 2-way communication but don’t forget about some listen only radios as well. The more intelligence and communication the better.
Those who survive are those who prepare.
Remember: Prepare, Adapt and Overcome,
“Just In Case” Jack
P.s. Do you know where the closest nuclear bunker is from your home?
Click on the image above to find out where you need to take shelter.
There are hundreds of reasons people prepare for emergencies, and hundreds of scenarios that could occur that you may consider preparing for. Natural disasters, civil unrest, war, pandemic, solar flares – the possibilities are incredibly varied and no list of necessary tools can possibly encompass every scenario. In this article, we are focusing on high […]
The post 6 High Tech Gadgets That Would Come In Handy During a Disaster appeared first on Urban Survival Site.
How To Use Desiccant For Survival and Preparedness – Plus The Best Desiccants To Buy
In order to properly prepare for future emergencies, you must be willing to make significant investments.
Investments in dollars to amass supplies. But also an investment in time research the right life-saving supplies.
We do this to protect ourselves and our families from an unknowable future. But these critical emergency tools and supplies will likely sit around for months (or years) before they actually get put to use.
And honestly, we all should hope and pray the day we actually need these supplies will NEVER come. No one in their right mind hopes for a real disaster to strike!
But if it does, you want to ensure you’re keeping your supplies in the best condition possible. You don’t want your investments to spoil, rust or decay.
One of the best ways to protect your survival investment is to keep them away from water, moisture, and humidity.
That’s why you need desiccants.
So today in this article we will be covering in detail the following topics:
- What’s A Desiccant Anyways?
- Items You Should Protect Using Desiccants
- Common Desiccants & Makeshift Desiccants
- Desiccant Safety
- Best Desiccants For Survival and Preparedness
- Difference Between Oxygen Absorbers and Desiccants
What’s A Desiccant Anyways?
Simply put, a desiccant is any material that adsorbs moisture and holds on to it.
For your survival supplies, you place them inside an enclosed space and if the container is 100% sealed, the desiccant will remove a bunch of harmful moisture from the container.
Desiccants are also ideal for keeping sensitive electronics, tools, and weapons rust free – especially in humid climates.
Humidity (moisture in the air) is one of the primary drivers of survival supply corrosion and spoilage. Desiccants are made to combat this harmful humidity.
A prime example of this in action is most commercial desiccants help maintain the freshness of their food items. Especially foods easily damaged by moisture.
So if you’ve spent money, time, and energy dehydrating or freeze-drying food, desiccants can help protect it. They prevent the dried foods from re-hydrating (due to humidity in the air) and spoiling your supplies.
At the time of publishing, you could get a FREE 72-Hour Survival Food Kit from Food4Patriots when you cover shipping. Supplies are limited so claim your 72-hour survival food kit right now.
Items You Should Protect Using Desiccants
One of the first questions people ask me about desiccants is, “What survival supplies can they protect?”
Upon review of my survival gear, I quickly realized everything in it is susceptible to moisture damage!
I keep my garden seeds in a sealed container with several small desiccant packets. These packs prevent the seeds from sprouting prematurely or growing mold.
During the winter, I keep a survival blanket and spare clothes for car emergencies in a giant ziplock bag in the back of my vehicle. I add a large capacity desiccant to prevent them from feeling damp if I ever need them in a roadside emergency.
Just about any survival tool or supply in your emergency plan needs be kept as clean and dry as possible.
And that’s why desiccants are a critical survival tool in and of themselves. They help protect your important survival supplies for the long haul.
Here are 10 surprising uses for silica gel desiccants:
There’s a broad range of desiccant options on the market. Remember a desiccant is any material to removes moisture, there are lots of materials that can do this.
Some are good at removing moisture from large spaces while others are best for small enclosures. The fundamental materials in each type of desiccant are different.
So let’s cover the most common types of desiccants used for survival and then we’ll cover a few makeshift desiccants as well.
One of the most common desiccants you’ll run across is silica gel. It’s a stable polymer (usually in the form of small beads) which can adsorb roughly 10-20% of its weight in water vapor.
You can find small silica gel bead packs in medication bottles, food pouches, and even shoe boxes. This past weekend, I opened a bag of beef jerky to discover the familiar white silica gel pack keeping my favorite snack dry.
One interesting fact about silica gel beads is even after they’re fully saturated, they don’t feel damp or lose their shape.
Most small disposable silica gel packets are for single use only. But, most large silica gels containers are reusable.
These reusable ones often include a moisture indicator of some sort. A moisture indicator that changes color once the silica gel beads are completely saturated.
Since they can be reused, they can be “recharged”. This is done by drying them in a low-temperature oven, which drives off the moisture. Once cool, you can reuse your dry silica gel desiccant!
Here’s a good video on how silica gel actually works:
When you need to remove A LOT of moisture from a larger area, reusable silica gel packages are not your best option. Large humid spaces are where calcium chloride desiccants are most useful!
Calcium chloride is a fancy name for salt and is generally found in bags of small white pellets. Unlike silica gel, calcium chloride is not a reusable desiccant, but it makes up for this with ease of use.
Most calcium chloride desiccant setups are simple. They are basically a small basket of pellets held in a mesh basket over a bucket.
As the calcium chloride adsorbs water, it slowly dissolves and drips down into the bucket. Eventually, leaving a bucket full of water and an empty basket.
These require more hands-on attention meaning you’ll need to periodically empty the bucket and refill the basket with fresh calcium chloride.
But the results are impressive. I’ve seen calcium chloride used in electronic cabinets the size of a small bedroom on ships.
Dry Uncooked Rice
In the modern world, we’ve all heard horror stories of dropping a smartphone in the kitchen sink or toilet.
Common knowledge is to leave it turned off and to stick it in a bag of rice for a couple of days. Once it’s dry, you should be able to turn it back on without shorting out anything.
The reason this works is that dry rice is a natural desiccant.
In a small, enclosed area like a plastic bag, it can absorb the trace amount of water inside your electronics. It will slowly dry it without having to open up the phone case.
Of course, it’s still nowhere near the efficiency of other desiccants, but rice is easy to find and cheap.
Plus, it’s an excellent long-term food for survival caches. I love any survival tool or supply that can pull double-duty!
Odd Makeshift Desiccants
Non-Dairy Coffee Creamer
It turns out that non-dairy coffee creamer packets contain a surprisingly good desiccant.
One of the creamer ingredients adsorbs moisture from the air. So you can build yourself a makeshift desiccant from a bunch of creamer powder!
No, not my first choice for a desiccant (especially with valuables), but it’s good to know it works in a pinch.
Another desiccant to file under “it works, but now what?” Cement mix is a powerful desiccant.
The nature of cement attracts moisture and converts it into a solid mineral.
Don’t believe me? Try leaving a couple of bags of ready-mix concrete out in the rain. You’ll soon notice they suck in moisture and turn the bag into a hard concrete pillow.
In a humid climate, this can even happen even without direct contact with water.
Of course, turning the powdery concrete mix into rocks isn’t the best way to control moisture. But if you have a bag of concrete on hand and need a desiccant in a pinch, it may be worth trying.
Yes, you can use your stash of old newspapers for more than just starting fires.
Whenever I have wet boots or gloves that can’t go into a clothes dryer, I crumple up some newspaper and stuff it inside. Then I leave the paper stuffed boots overnight in a warm place.
Dry newsprint paper is particularly good at absorbing water. So it draws moisture out of the fabric and holds onto it.
Try swapping out the newspaper a couple of times a day to helps dry your boots even faster.
This idea was contributed by a Skilled Survival reader (Illini Warrior)
Drywall can also be used as a makeshift desiccant.
“Heat it gently to dry it completely countries …. – use a piece as a container base or line your container completely – used commonly in the 3rd World”
While most of the time desiccants are not extremely dangerous to handle, they can be harmful in certain situations.
Not For Consumption
We’ve all seen the silica gel bead packs in a box of shoes and gave a chuckle because of that silly “Do Not Eat” warning plastered all over it.
Seriously? They don’t look or smell at all appetizing, so I’ve always wondered “why the stern warning”? But it turns out there’s a reason to avoid consuming desiccants.
Desiccants are, by design, very good at adsorbing water and holding it. They can even pull water directly through your skin.
In particular, you should keep them away from your eyes, nose, and mouth. Powerful desiccants can damage sensitive skin and tissue in these areas.
Have you ever mixed concrete and noticed a sharp stinging sensation in your nose? That’s concrete dust you inhaled. It’s the lime in the cement pulling water out of your nasal passages.
You’ll also notice your hands are dry and chapped if you came in contact with the fresh cement without gloves. Again, the desiccant has pulled the water from within your skin.
The effects could be even worse if you happened to consume a hefty dose of desiccant. It can form a large solid mass INSIDE your stomach that needs to be removed by surgery!
So when working with a powerful desiccant (like concrete mix), always protect your eyes, nose, and mouth. It’s also smart to wear gloves and protective clothing on any exposed skin.
And for those small silica gel packs (I can’t believe I even need to say this but..) – “Do Not Eat Them.”
Note: While those “do not eat” warnings might seem silly, the bigger fear is that a baby or pet would accidentally consume them.
Babies put everything in their mouths and dogs love anything that smells like beef jerky. So those warnings are to let YOU know to keep them away from those who might accidentally consume them.
Keep Away From Pets
Keep all desiccants away from your pets.
Most pets avoid the stinging sensation of an airborne desiccant like concrete dust but don’t take chances. Keep your pets clear.
Some of the improvised desiccants (dry rice, flour, etc.) are food items and might be enticing to your pets. Keep them stored out of their reach, and you’ll both be happier.
Trust me; pet surgery isn’t much cheaper than human surgery these days.
Another safety concern comes from one of the color-change indicators in silica gel desiccants – Cobalt (ii) Chloride.
This material is a light blue color when dry but slowly changes to a bright pink when it has adsorbed a significant amount of water.
These blue/pink indicator silica gels are common in the US. They are also available in sporting goods and craft stores. But, there is some concern that cobalt (ii) chloride is a hazardous material.
The European Chemicals Agency suspect it may be carcinogenic. But test results aren’t conclusive yet, so it carries a label of “substance of high concern.”
Since there are several other moisture indicators on the market, you may as well play it safe. I recommend avoiding the blue/pink indicator silica gels altogether.
At the very least, it adds one more argument NOT to snack the silica packets in your new shoes!
Here’s an article from the National Park Service. It includes more information on cobalt (ii) chloride in silica gel: https://www.nps.gov/museum/publications/conserveogram/02-15.pdf
Best Desiccants For Survival and Preparedness
When it comes to survival and preparedness, the best type of desiccant depends on the intended use.
The desiccant you use to keep your basement, garage, or gear cache dry will not be the same you toss in your gun safe, ammo storage containers or toolbox. A
And when it comes to keeping food safe, the requirements change again.
But, they’re a consumable product and so reuse is not an option. The good news is active ingredient is available relatively cheap in bulk.
I would start off with all purpose-built system like Dri-Z-Air.
Dri-Z-Air is an all-in-one solution, and you can refill with fresh calcium chloride pellets.
When the basket is empty, and the material has adsorbed water, just dump the contents down the drain.
The basket is held shut by a cotter pin so you can easily refill it.
If you go through a lot of calcium chloride (say, winter in the pacific northwest), you’ll need to buy in bulk.
Fortunately, calcium chloride is also a good deicing material. So it’s usually easy to find in bulk bags.
Morton Safe-T-Power is one available brand, consisting of nearly pure calcium chloride.
It can be used in the same “basket and bucket” systems as Dri-Z-Air, which makes it an excellent refill material.
For smaller, more enclosed spaces (such as a gun safe), calcium chloride systems are often too large and messy. The area is too small for all the white dust and buckets of water.
In these situations, I turn to silica gel with a moisture indicator.
I have several sleeves of bulk silica gel, tied off in cotton socks to form a desiccant beanbag. These are great to toss in the back of the gun safe to provide a lot of protection.
But, you can’t see the moisture indication color change through the cotton material. So I also have one prepackaged silica gel visible on an eye-level shelf in the safe.
Most of these prepackaged desiccant packs are made of perforated metal. They include a window to see the moisture indicator, like the ones sold by Hydrosorbent.
I buy packages containing the orange moisture indicator, rather than the blue/pink. It’s slightly more expensive but doesn’t have the same hazardous cobalt (ii) chloride.
Once the silica gel changes color, it’s time to toss the bulk sock and the smaller pack in a low-temperature oven. Just leave the desiccants for several hours to drive off the moisture and recharge them.
If you don’t want to go the pre-packaged route, you can always put bulk silica gel beads in a clear glass container. Then just punch a few small holes in the lid to allow moisture in, while keeping the beads contained.
When it comes time to recharge the beads, take the lid off and put the whole jar in the oven.
Here’s a review of one of these silica gel color changing packs:
On a smaller scale, jars or packages of dried fruits or jerky need their own desiccant protection. For these small containers, I turn to individual silica gel packets.
You can buy these in bulk and create small packets with fabric or coffee filters. The commercial 1g and 5g sizes are widely available and inexpensive.
They don’t have a moisture indicator added to the silica gel. But this means fewer chemical stored with your food, so it’s not a significant inconvenience.
Whenever I open a bulk container of dried food, I toss in a packet or two. Doing this prevents outside moisture from creeping in and spoiling the remaining supply.
Similarly, when we jar a batch of dried fruit, I store it in glass jars with a silica gel packet. The desiccant keeps our dehydrated fruit from adsorbing extra humidity during our wet winters.
As A Way To Introduce You To Skilled Survival, We’re Giving Away Our Family First Food Planning Guide. Click Here To Get Your FREE Copy Of It.
For those who like to Do It Yourself and save a few dollars, you can create your own desiccant containers from a few cheap materials.
This idea came from a skilled survival reader (Illini Warrior) –
Difference Between Oxygen Adsorbers and Silica Gel Desiccants
Ok so if you’ve read this far into this article, you already know how silica gel desiccants work. So let’s briefly talk about oxygen absorbers.
Oxygen absorbers are tiny packs that contain three ingredients:
- Iron filings
The clay material provides moisture and helps the salt activate the iron filings.
This activation process begins once the oxygen absorber is exposed to oxygen. The iron filings start oxidizing.
This is essentially the same process of creating rust on the iron filings. But the rust is a byproduct, the important fact is this process releases nitrogen.
Adding nitrogen to sealed food packs helps keep it fresh for longer periods of time.
This chemical reaction also removes oxygen from the package. Without oxygen, nasty bug and insects (such as weevils) cannot survive.
Most oxygen absorbers have a small pinkish pill. This pill changes to blue once the oxygen absorber is no longer effective.
Some more interesting oxygen absorber facts:
- Do not use oxygen absorbers with salt or sugar. If you do, you’ll end with a rock hard block.
- Only store unused oxygen absorbers in airtight glass jars or mylar bags. This is to prevent them from being prematurely activated using turning the surrounding oxygen in the air.
- You should try to calculate the correct number of oxygen absorbers you need for the specific application. Use too many and you’re unnecessarily wasting money. Use too few and the food you’re trying to protect won’t be fully protected.
- You cannot reuse oxygen absorbers, they are a one and done device. Because the chemical reaction only works in one direction.
Can you use oxygen absorbers and silica gel together?
The answer is yes, but…
“The desiccant bags must not be close to the oxygen absorbers.Desiccants will negatively affect the performance of the oxygen absorber when stored close by”.
Oxygen absorbers need moisture in order to function.
So if a silica gel desiccant is located close to the oxygen absorber it will absorb the moisture, stopping the oxygen absorber’s activation process. Thus, turning the oxygen absorber a useless device.
You’ve put a lot of time, money, and thought into which items are critical resources. The survival resources and supplies to keep yourself (and your family) safe and secure.
Keeping those items clean, organized, and free from damage is a crucial part of your survival plan.
No matter your survival plan, take time to ensure your food, weapons, and tools are at their best when you need them.
Desiccants are cheap insurance against moisture damage. Using them to protect your supplies is a necessary investment.
We’ve shown you a few good options for different scenarios. There are plenty of ways to adapt desiccants into your preparations!
P.s. Do you know where the closest nuclear bunker is from your home?
Click on the image above to find out where you need to take shelter.
The post Desiccant – The Ultimate Survival Tool To Combat Moisture appeared first on Skilled Survival.
The Ultimate Guide To Finding The Best Neck Knife For You
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
P.s. Do you know where the closest nuclear bunker is from your home?
Click on the image above to find out where you need to take shelter.
The post Best Neck Knife For Self Defense, Survival and Preparedness appeared first on Skilled Survival.
Helping Build A Car Emergency Kit That’s Right For You
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…
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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:
- Flat Tire
- Dead Battery
- 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.
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.
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.
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?
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?
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…
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:
- truck’s glove box
- survival kits
- bug out bag
- first aid kit
- everyday carry bag
- get home bag
- bedroom side table
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:
- Car Charger
- Backup Battery Power Bank
- Instant Shatter Glass Breaker
- Seat Belt Cutter
- Regular Flashlight
- Emergency Strobe Light
And all these tools within easy reach for the driver. It’s truly the smartest and perfect tool for vehicle emergencies.
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.
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.
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.
It’s the right thing to do, and it’s an important emergency car kit tool I wish more people took seriously.
Every 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.
Must Have Survival Supplies
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.
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.
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.
We 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.
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.
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.
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.
Instead, we recommend you get something like this Devil Juice Pepper Spray. It’s extremely hot and has a long spray distance.
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.
If 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.
This device is rechargeable and will warm up your hands or feet within minutes.
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?
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.
How To Find A Survival Suture Kit That’s Right For You
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
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.
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:
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
- 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.”
This kit has all the basics to start suturing wounds:
- Sterile pads
- Surgical Sutures
- Surgical Tweezers
- A stainless steel surgical needle
- Four different types of non-absorbable suture threads
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.
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.
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.
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 hell. You 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.
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.
P.s. Do you know where the closest nuclear bunker is from 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.
A satellite phone is a life-line for those who live off grid. If you need emergency services and/or rescue you need a reliable way to get help. For preppers, satellite phones can be a way to navigate, signal for help, or simply keep in touch when the grid goes down during a disaster. But, with. . . Read More
Timilon is a company that makes a lot of products, most of which have to do with air quality. The Fast-Act sample kit that they sent to me contained a Vapour-Klenz mask, a decontamination mitt a small amount of dry product in bottles. First, I want to say that I reviewed their Vapour-Klenz mask a. . . Read More
A Guide To Help You Find The Best EDC Knife For You
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:
- 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.
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
Types of EDC Knives
There are lots of EDC knives designed specifically for survival purposes while others are made for general application.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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 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.
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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
P.s. Do you know where the closest nuclear bunker is from 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.
Short range radio communications have some major advantages at times. First the radios used are often much more functional and rugged for general use than a cell phone and besides the initial purchase price and the cost of keeping up the batteries, they are less expensive than a cell phone. When cells won’t work, your. . . Read More
There are a lot of things missing in a lot of the premade medical kits you get out there. For major trauma you are usually on your own to add these items. Besides bloodstop powder and clotting bandages, every major medical kit should have a tourniquet. If you like to go into the back country. . . Read More
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:
- GPS units
- Rechargeable batteries
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
The Benefits Of Owning A Portable Solar Charger
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.
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.
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)
The 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.
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)
This 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!
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.
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)
The 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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
P.s. Do you know where the closest nuclear bunker is from 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.
Not all situations need to be met with lethal force. A lot of the more common attacks on your well being are scary. You have to be able to assess a situation and meet it at the right level. For example, if you are a victim of road rage you might want to fend off. . . Read More
Every level of prep needs a pepper spray. It can provide simple protection from everyday assailants, or it can even be an effective and non-lethal option to defend yourself without rule of law. The immediate burning pepper spray inflicts leaves most attackers temporarily blinded and struggling in pain. However, the more someone is exposed to. . . Read More
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
There is a lot of info out there about how to build a bug out bag. While there are some advantages to putting together your own, some people may just want an all in one solution to get them through a short term emergency or at least provide the foundation that they can add a. . . Read More
The Best Survival Blanket – Plus 9 More Awesome Emergency Blankets For Survival Images: http://www.skilledsurvival.com/ 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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I 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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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
- Negative Spaces
- Duct Work, Vents – Real or false.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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, […]
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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.
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 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.
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.
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:
- 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.
- Shortness of Breath
- Diminished Appetite
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 […]
There are a lot of concerns about the air we breath and part of a solid prepping plan is reducing the contaminants that we are exposed to either every single day or in an emergency. Special BDS Discount: There is a BDS exclusive 20% off discount code here using code “bds20” at checkout! The question. . . Read More
A knife that you can comfortably carry every day is an important tool for any prepper. Knives have always been a big part of my life. As a child, my dad always had a massive knife collection and would have friends over that he would trade with or fix their knives up and sharpen them.. . . Read More
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.
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
- Waterproof matches, tinder cloth, and tea lights
- 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 purifying straws
- Solar powered battery charger
- Dish towel
- Pair of socks
- Electronic devices in accordance with personal needs and preferences
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.
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.
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!
- 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
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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:
- Austere Medical
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:
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
- 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.
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.
But how do you actually do it? Here are some modifications that you might take into consideration.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
When you make the decision to go off grid, you make a conscious decision to reduce your carbon footprint in as many ways as possible. That being said, being off grid doesn’t mean that you have to live a life akin to an 18th Century pioneer. Dishwashers are a convenience most people enjoy, getting the. . . Read More
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.
Footwear is a critical part of prepping. Without the right shoes, bugging out is not going to be possible. You have to be able to cover some ground and be comfortable while you do it. Around your place during good times you may need footwear that is going help you get through those times when. . . Read More
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.
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.
- 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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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 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 …
There is a whole world of multi tools out there to choose from. Before you go shopping there are some things to consider so you make the choice that is best for your situation. Avoid the urge to get the one with the most gadgets There are some multi tools out there that have tools. . . Read More
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.
This is a heavy duty fighting knife designed for hand to hand or close combat fighting.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I 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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.