Do You Keep a Home Water Testing Kit In Your Survival Pack

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There are a number of testing kits on the market today, so it is important that you choose one that tests for bacteria, and heavy metals, in particular, lead and one that tests for pesticides as well. Many of the test kits cover the most common contaminants in your drinking water. Keep in mind, there […]

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Make a Common Sense Survival Kit for Everyday Carry

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common sense survival kitOne aspect of the prepper philosophy is common sense. After all, it is just common sense to plan for the future, regardless of what may or may not happen. That’s why we have retirement funds, car, home and health insurance and regular well-checks with the doctor. Planning ahead is also why you may stick an umbrella in your brief case or carry a light jacket on a sunny day. And it would be stupid to not carry a spare tire and tools to change a flat!

So when it comes to wilderness or urban survival, being prepared is just common sense, and you should insert a healthy dose of that commodity into any disaster or emergency planning.

So, I propose that you, a prepper, should also make a compact, easy-to-carry wilderness and/or urban survival kit to include with all your other survival gear. One that is based on common sense, not necessarily what survival sites and forums tell you that you must have.

Are you committed?

common sense survival kit

Carry survival gear in your wallet. I always have (from left) firestarter, charcloth (in a waterproof, plastic bag) and a signal mirror with me.

 

What’s “common sense” for me, may not be common sense for you!

Your goal for this common sense kit is based on what makes sense for YOU to carry, not a former Navy Seal living in Costa Rica who has a popular blog. Toward that goal, then, start by asking yourself:

  • Can I dunk a basketball?

I can’t. Never could. But watch any NBA game and you’ll see the guys slam the ball home at every opportunity. If you watch the survival “reality” shows, you may also see incredible techniques done routinely, under the worst circumstances. So what? Use the common sense filter. Just because somebody can dunk a basketball or perform wondrous survival techniques on TV doesn’t mean you can, or might be able to learn. Don’t rely on gee-whiz technology or esoteric aboriginal survival techniques. The idea is to survive, and during a disaster you won’t have time for on-the-job training!

  • Do I know anything?

Be honest! It doesn’t matter how much survival stuff you have. It’s worthless if you can’t, or don’t know how, to use it. Take a good look at your skills and abilities, and face your inadequacies. (See on-the-job training, above.)

  • Will I make a commitment to learn?

Again, be honest, and don’t put this off. If you don’t know how to perform first aid or make an emergency shelter, learn now. Sign up for a community college course, read good survival books, and talk to folks like the Search and Rescue people who are actually using these skills. If a disaster happens this afternoon, maybe all you will have to work with is what you’ve got.

If you can, sign up for a course with Preppers University and their small group classes with live instructors. I’ve taken 2 of these courses and have learned a great deal from ultra-wilderness survival expert Toby Cowern, urban survival expert Selco, pandemic researcher and author Steve Konkoly, and Tammy Trayer who lives off-grid and explained in detail how I could set up my own solar system. Being able to ask them questions, face to face, was priceless.

  • What gear is practical?

I am honored to serve as an Assistant Scoutmaster of a Boy Scout Troop in Bend, Oregon. Over the past 10 years, I’ve noticed a lot of “survival gear” that is nothing more than expensive junk. Before buying this kind of stuff, talk to someone in the know, and find out what urban or wilderness survival gear they use. Assess those items with your skill level and then decide what you need.

  • Will I make a commitment to carry this survival kit with me?

The best gear in the world does you no good if you don’t have it with you! Your survival kit must be compact and convenient to carry or it will get left behind. If it’s too heavy, too bulky, contains things you don’t think you’ll ever use — it will likely end up in the garage or a closet.

Now start making that common sense survival kit

Here are a few suggestions, once you’ve made a survival kit commitment:

  • Make your own

Commercial kits may include cheap and worthless things in them to keep the cost down. You don’t ever want to be in a situation where your life is in danger, grab a tool out of your pack that could save your life, only to have it break after 2 minutes of use. The components in my pocket-sized Altoids tin kit would cost about $50 to $60 to replace. My life is worth that to me!

Is a pre-fab kit worthless? Not entirely, but they are generally filled with low quality items. However, if you start with one of these and then begin to diligently work to improve and customize it, it may be a helpful way to get prepped in a hurry.

  • Can you use everything in the kit?

Using some suggested items may be beyond your skill levels. Remember that dunk shot? Your choice is to learn how to use everything, or replace that particular component. YouTube videos, including this Survival Common Sense channel, is full of instructions for using survival gear. Just be sure to weed through videos from questionable “experts”.

common sense survival kit

Here’s one way to keep some of the basic survival tools with you at all times. On the keyring: LED flashlight, fingernail clippers, whistle, Boy Scout Hot Spark firemaker and Classic Swiss Army knife. The other knife rides in a pouch on my belt, wherever it is legal.

  • Don’t let your survival kit give you a false sense of confidence.

Gear doesn’t replace knowledge. I guarantee you that most everyone who buys a pre-fab “survival kit” from Amazon, packs it in the trunk of their car or in their house and doesn’t give it another thought. Survival kit = survival, right? Nope. Keep learning and practicing using the tools and gear in your kit and don’t assume that just because you have it, you have some sort of cloak that makes you invincible.

Every survival book or website has some variation of this basic list of essential outdoor tools. Some of the items are common sense, such as a survival knife (read this to identify the one that is best for you), fire-making gear, extra clothing, and a map and compass. Always make sure you have all the recommended items with you!

Finally, apply the common sense filter to anything associated with your survival. Beware of “survival experts” websites, TV shows and articles. Just because someone has a website, logo, book or magazine column doesn’t mean they know anything! Use the tips in this article to identify true experts in the areas of survival and preparedness.

View any information with your eyes open and apply the common sense filter. If your BS alarm starts to go off, there is probably a good reason for it! And how about that dunk shot!

Article contributed by Leon Pantenburg of Survival Common Sense with additional commentary by Noah.

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

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

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

When Hiking Goes Bad

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

Video first seen on ABC News.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

8 Survival Lessons to Learn from Amber’s Story

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

Just for those of you who need to know it:

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

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

Amber Van Hecke Facebook Page

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

Don’t Depend Solely on Technology

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

Don’t Cut it Close on Fuel

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

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

Stock That Vehicle Bag

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

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

Don’t Risk Getting Lost

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

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

Pack Energy Dense Food

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

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

Be Proactive

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

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

Keep Your Vehicle in Good Repair

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

Don’t Panic

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

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

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

Could you survive?

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This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.

References:

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

How to Build the Ultimate Survival Shotgun

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

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Mountain Biking Getting A Kit Together

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Mountain biking, just the thought of it conjures up images of Rough Mountain trails, crisp pine scented air, and spectacular views. In many cases, the reality will match your imagination. However, there is another reality you may have to deal with along the trail and that is survival. What ifs have to be dealt with, and thus, how you prepare for your mountain biking adventure may determine whether you survive or not if you find yourself in a survival situation miles from civilization.

As a side note, mountain biking is an ideal way to stay in shape while enjoying nature, not to mention the planning and preparation aspect of the adventure  helps to build survival skills, which can be used in any situation.

You don’t ride your mountain bike on city sidewalks or generally along well-marked biking trails. No, you want the rough terrain, and you want to imagine you are the first one to see the spectacular views and to inhale the rarefied air. You want the challenge, but what happens when there is a mechanical failure, a flat tire, or a chain becomes loose or even if your bike cannot get you back home, what ifs and what if you are caught in a survival challenge.

Mechanical devices can and will fail, and according to Murphy’s Law, (if anything can go wrong it will) they will never fail while sitting in the garage. It’s always along the trail miles from anywhere. You have to assume you could end up on foot when out mountain biking. If the terrain is rough for your bike imagine how rough it will be if you have to hike out. Not only can you end up on foot, you could end up spending a night or two along the trail.

To Keep You Bike Rolling Along You Will Need Tools and Materials

  • Patch Kit And Make Sure It Is A Quality One, And  That You Have More Than Just One Patch, Fresh Glue, And Make Sure You Know Exactly How To Use The Patch Kit
  • Spare Tube (s)
  • Tire Pump And Make Sure You Know Your Valves (Presta valve/ Schrader valve) You Can Use CO² Canisters as Well
  • Tools To Remove Wheel If Needed

Many Bikes Will have Tension Levers, Which means You Do Not Need an Adjustable Wrench or Socket to Remove the Wheel

The above listed are the basics, but the basics are not enough if you become stranded, or lost or stranded because of an injury. Remember, you may have to spend the night in the wilds.

Survival Kit

Pack for overnight regardless of how long you expect to be gone. You always have to assume something could happen. Those that believe nothing will ever happen always curse the fact something did happen, and the fact they failed to prepare. The unexpected, no, you are packing for the expected crisis. If you expect it to happen, you will prepare accordingly.

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What We Can Learn From The California Evacuation

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california evacuation

Imagine waking up one morning, to find that your home, which you thought was safe, was in fact, is in danger. Not just a little danger, either; but one which could destroy your home, wiping it off the face of the Earth. What do you do?

That’s the situation which has faced almost 200,000 people in Northern California, as the risk of flooding from the Oroville Dam and Reservoir is increasing. An unusually wet winter has led to the reservoir reaching dangerously high levels.

Erosion damaged the primary spillway, as a 200 foot long, 35 foot wide hole formed in the bottom. Closing this spillway merely caused the water to rise even higher, overflowing the emergency spillway.

However, the emergency spillway only had a concrete lip, with the rest of the spillway being nothing more than an open hillside, leading down to the river below. Not capped with concrete, it was subject to erosion, which the water flowing over it quickly caused, raising concerns about the emergency spillway collapsing and releasing a 30 foot tall wall of water on the towns below.

This prompted an emergency evacuation that touched on four counties, with all the confusion and problems of any mass exodus. People had an hour to get out of their homes and on the road, where they found traffic moving at a snail’s pace and gas stations overwhelmed by people who needed to fill their tanks. As gas stations and then cars ran out of gas, people were forced to abandon them and take out on foot.

What’s Wrong With Conventional Prepper Wisdom

This is where the average prepper says it’s time to grab the bug out bag and put Plan B (for bug out) into effect. While that is a logical conclusion from a near-term survival viewpoint, it may not be the best possible solution from a long-term survival viewpoint. Even if your home is destroyed in such a disaster, there are many things within that home, which you will need as you rebuild your life.

“The clear answer is to bug out to some other urban area, which is far enough removed from the epicenter of the danger your home is facing, to make it a safe haven from the pending disaster.”

The problem is, most of us think of bugging out as something to be done in an emergency, with the intent of living in the wild. But that’s not necessarily the best solution. Living in the wild is infinitely harder than living amongst our fellow humans, where we have the entire infrastructure of modern society to support us. It really only makes sense to bug out into the wild when we need to escape from our fellow man, such as in the case of a breakdown of society.

In those cases, we’re usually referring to a nationwide catastrophe which has led to the breakdown of society. There is no safe populated place to go, leaving us with heading into the wilderness as our only viable option.

On the other end of the scale, we have bugging out to a refugee relocation center, often referred to as a FEMA camp. That option works for those sheeple who expect the government to care for them from cradle to grave, but it doesn’t work for us. Most of us don’t trust the government all that much and definitely don’t want to put ourselves and our families into their hands.

So if prudence dictates that we bug out, but it doesn’t make sense to either bug out to the wild or bug out to a FEMA camp, what are we to do?

It is easier to find the things you need to have in order to survive, if you’re in an urban area, than if you’re in the wilderness. Not only that, but if you have to rebuild your life somewhere, it’s also easier to do that in the company of others, than out in the middle of nowhere.

We have to understand that not all bug-outs are equal. There’s a huge difference between bugging out due to a natural disaster, than bugging out due to a breakdown in society. Because of this difference, we need to adjust our plans accordingly and not use a “one size fits all” style of prepping. The bug out bag might be the only thing we can take with us so make sure you have your bug out bag ready to go.

Planning for an Evacuation

9343130 - tsunami roadsign near pescadero, california

While mandatory evacuations are by no means common, they aren’t unprecedented either.

There was a mandatory evacuation ordered before Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. A similar order went out for Hurricane Sandy.

If a tsunami was ever to head for any of our shores, you can be sure that a general evacuation order would go out.

But the most common evacuation orders are those that happen for floods and forest fires. This evacuation in California falls into that category.

If we accept that such an evacuation is different than bugging out due to social unrest or a breakdown in society, then we need to determine what we should do differently. More than anything, this affects the things we should being with us.

Since we would not be heading off into the wild, we wouldn’t need a massive amount of wilderness survival gear. Oh, we’d need some, as there would always be the possibility of being forced to abandon our cars and take out on foot. In such a case, it would probably be wise to avoid the roads and head cross-country, especially if a lot of other people were caught in the same predicament.

The simple fact of being prepared makes you and I too good a target for mooching and stealing, for us to stick around others who have had to abandon their cars as well.

In that case, the bug out bag might be the only thing we can take with us. But if we work things right, we won’t have to abandon our cars. In that case, we can take a whole lot more with us. Specifically, we can take the things we’ll need to have in order to rebuild our lives.

So, what are those things?

  • Clothing: both rough clothing for the wilderness and professional clothing for seeking a new job.
  • Valuables: there’s no sense leaving valuable jewelry behind to be looted or buried in the mud. Better to take it with you, so that you can use it. If nothing else, it can be sold to provide you with food.
  • Cash: whatever cash you have on hand will be needed to keep your family going, wherever you are going to end up.
  • Photos and other important memories.
  • Professional tools that you would need to have so that you could continue working or working a new job.
  • Important documents: birth certificates, professional degrees, marriage license, certifications, car titles, property deeds, medical records, kids school records.
  • Computer: today, so much of our lives and our work is on our computers, that we will need them to help us rebuild our lives, if our homes are destroyed.

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The thing is, with only a few hours to pack up and leave, or even less, chances are that you won’t be able to pack those things up, or even that you’ll think of them all. That’s why you need to have a checklist of things that you should take with you, besides your bug out bag.

In fact, you probably need several different checklists, based upon different scenarios. That way, you’ll be able to choose the checklist that’s most appropriate to the situation.

It’s much easier to think through what you need to do, when there is time, and things are calm. In the moment of crisis, the mind tends to go blank; so don’t wait for that moment to come. Prepare your lists and note where those items are kept. That way, you won’t need to waste precious time looking for it.

Lessons to Be Learned

As with any such disaster, there are lessons for us to learn. Professionals who deal with disasters and crisis situations always do an after-action-review, to see what they can learn. It doesn’t even have to be a situation that they were involved in; they’ll review other actions, so as to find what lessons they can learn.

We can do the same thing, simply by looking at what happened and putting ourselves in the place of the families who became victims of this potential disaster. In doing so, we can see what went wrong and what remedial action needs to be taken, to make sure that it doesn’t happen to us, as it did to them.

Know Your Area

The people living downstream of the Oroville Dam should have known that they were living in an area with a high risk of flooding. It doesn’t matter that there has never been any problem with that dam before, the very fact of its existence creates risk, especially in earthquake-prone California. Knowing that, they should have planned what they would do if anything ever happened to the dam.

Granted, their problem isn’t yours or mine, but we need to ask ourselves what risks we have overlooked. It’s easy to look around us and totally miss the most dangerous things in our area. As preppers, we need a good handle on every risk that exists in our area and we need to know if something happens to increase the risk from any of them.

Keep Your Ear to the Ground

One of the most important elements of an effective bug out is knowing when to bug out. Most survival instructors teach that it’s best to shelter in place as long as you can; but there are always cases that go against that advice. The situation in Northern California clearly fits that description. In that case, getting out sooner is clearly better than getting out later. If nothing else, it helps you to avoid the traffic.

But that requires knowing what’s coming, before it becomes public knowledge. In other words, you need good, solid information about each and every one of the risk elements that can affect you. That way, you can take action before it is too late.

Don’t just depend on traditional sources of information. The news media has proven that we can’t trust them; so why should we trust them for this? They could easily avoid telling of a pending disaster, just to further some political point that they feel is more important. To the left, we are nothing more than pawns in their power game, so they don’t really care what happens to us.

In the case in point, the knowledge that they had just passed through an extremely wet winter should have been a warning to anyone who recognized that dam as a threat. That would then lead to further investigation, finding how high the water was. From there, they would want to keep an eye on the water level, seeing it continue to rise and the mounting risk that it was creating.

Don’t Trust “Expert” Analysis

While experts have their place, we shouldn’t put all our trust in what they say. In this case, experts had said that the emergency spillway was safe for much more water than what was pouring over it. Yet they quickly found that their analysis was incorrect. Hey, they’re human, they can make mistakes too.

Those experts were even faced with complaints, filed by various organizations, which stated that the design of the emergency spillway was inadequate and not up to government mandated standards. Yet, bowing to the pressure of their own senior management, who didn’t want to pay the expense of capping the emergency spillway with concrete, they stood their ground, saying that it was safe.

So listen to what the experts say, but don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Make your own analysis, based upon the knowledge you have and logic. If something doesn’t look right to you, there’s a good chance that it isn’t.

Trust Your Gut, Don’t Wait

While the people weren’t given much notice, I’m sure there were one or two who had developed their own idea of what was happening. Knowing that, I would be surprised if they didn’t have thoughts of bugging out early. Had they followed their instincts, they would have been the safest and most comfortable people out there.

I understand that we don’t want to disturb our lives for nothing. That makes sense. At the same time, there are situations where we need to disturb our lives. This is such a situation. Maybe nothing will happen; but maybe it will. With that being the case, it’s better to be safe than sorry. You can always call it a practice drill.

Have Gasoline on Hand

fuel Unsurprisingly, one of the problems the evacuees faced was that the gas stations ran out of fuel, leaving them without enough gas to get their cars to where they were going.

Gas stations don’t stock fuel for an emergency, but rather to meet their daily sales. There is no way that they can meet the needs of a mass evacuation.

In this evacuation, as in any other, a large number of vehicles ended up parked on the side of the road, when they ran out of gas.

When you consider that most people run their cars on the bottom half of the tank, that’s not at all surprising. I’ve got a shocking message for those people, it doesn’t cost any more to keep the top half of the tank filled, than it does to keep the bottom half filled.

More than that, you should have a stock of gasoline on hand, all the time. That’s a bit tricky, because gasoline doesn’t store well. But if you rotate that gas supply, putting it in your vehicle’s tank and replacing it with fresh gasoline every six months, you’ll always have a good supply of gasoline for bugging out with, should the need arise.

Have Alternate Escape Routes

Not only are the gas stations inadequate for a mass evacuation, the highways are too. Highways are expensive to build, so they build them based upon actual and projected traffic. Adding enough extra lanes to handle a mass evacuation is impractical.

This means that the highways are going to be overcrowded and that traffic will slow to a snail’s pace in any evacuation. But in most cases, the side streets and back ways will be totally devoid of traffic. There will be ways that will be open, especially country and farm roads that aren’t used a whole lot. Learn those routes and make sure that you have maps to use in figuring out alternate ways to get out of Dodge.

Have a Destination

Finally, make sure you have somewhere to go. I don’t know about you, but the last place I’d want to go is some overfilled school gymnasium, which had been turned into a refugee center. I’d much rather pitch a tent outside and have a modicum of privacy.

Most people will only go as far as they have to, in order to avoid the disaster. So, you can easily get away from the crowd by going a little farther. Don’t stop in the first town you get to, go on through and stop in another, on down the road. There will be less people there competing for hotel rooms and other necessities.

Better yet, scout out some good locations to go to in the case of an emergency. Take a few weekends off and do some traveling, visiting other cities and finding the resources that you’d need to have, if you have to abandon your home. That way, you have some idea of where to go.

Be Prepared

Emergencies can happen at any time. I’m sure that the majority of the people living downstream of that dam had no idea that they were in danger. Their first indication that there was a serious problem was when they were told to evacuate. Since most of them were unprepared, they ended up leaving with whatever they could grab.

The truly sad thing is that they could have received adequate notice, if the authorities were willing to share information about what was happening. But they didn’t.

While they gave a flash flood warning to Sacramento, miles downstream, they didn’t say a thing to the people who lived closer. Those were the people who ended up having to evacuate with a one hour notice.

That’s the way we can expect things to happen. That’s why it’s a good idea to be prepared. We never know when an emergency will happen, how much information will be withheld from us or how much time we’ll have to evacuate, but we can prepare to deal with a disaster.

Having a good knife makes part of your preparations. Here’s a great offer for you, click the banner below to grab it at once!

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This article has been written by Bill White for Survivopedia.

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Try making hardtack: A great, cheap addition to your survival gear

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Looking for a way to use up surplus flour, or make a cheap trail food or durable survival ration? One answer may be hardtack, a baked, unleavened wheat cracker. As a survival food, hardtack has a proven track record.

by Leon Pantenburg

Vicksburg, MS: My gray-clad brothers-in-arms and I  hunkered down to eat. In the morning, we would do battle with those “heathen Yankee horde” Civil War re-enactors at Champions Hill, between Jackson and Vicksburg,  Mississippi.

I was “under cover” on assignment for the Vicksburg Post to photograph the battle, one of the biggest re-enactments of the year. Except for the Nikon safely hidden  in my haversack, my gear, weapons and accouterments were authentic in every way.

Hardtack can have different ingredients to make it more flavorable.

Hardtack can have different ingredients to make it more flavorable.

Since I was working for the Post, I had to represent the home team and be a Confederate. (This probably caused a minor earth tremor in Ruthven, Iowa, as my great-great-grandfather, James Hallowell,  92th Illinois Infantry, rolled in his grave!)

My only excuse was that like most Confederate soldiers, I had been drafted, thought “The Cause” was illogical, had no choice about being there, and wanted to go home!

I ‘d learned a lot about being a Civil War infantryman in one short, sweltering afternoon: the food was absolutely awful; our wool uniforms were too hot, and felt like you were wearing a sweatsuit: the Kepi-style caps provided no sun protection and the canteens were too small.

The Sargent, sensing my discontent (because of  my constant whining and complaining) picked on me.  He proclaimed to all within hearing distance that I was a “slacker,” and called me a “baboon” when I dropped my canteen during drill. As darkness fell, the re-enactors would sleep under wool blankets, not to stay warm, but to fight off mosquitoes.

But the food was the worst. Dinner was a piece of hardtack, a fatty piece of bacon toasted on a bayonet over a campfire;  horrible boiled coffee brewed in my tin cup and a wormy-looking apple. After eating my meager meal, I was ready to either desert or form a raiding party to attack  the Yankees and get some real food!

A hardtack biscuit

A modern hardtack biscuit

Hardtack is one of the original trail and emergency foods, and it is worth considering if you are a prepper or are interested in wilderness or urban survival.

The advantage is that hardtack is easy to make, transports easily and will last a reasonably long time if stored in appropriate containers. The disadvantage is the bland taste, and traditional toughness.

Even after yeast was discovered by the Egyptians, there was a purpose for unleavened breads. It was easy to carry and durable, so it was standard fare for hunters and warriors.  Centuries later, Christopher Columbus took unleavened bread on his journeys.

Hardtack remained a staple in the New World. During the early settlement of North America, the exploration of the continent, the American Revolution, and on through the American

Hardtack was a durable, if bland-tasting, field ration.

Civil War, armies were kept alive with hardtack.  A basic concept in war is that the side that keeps its soldiers from going hungry will probably win.

Hardtack is also reasonably nutritious. Wheat flour is more than 10% protein and includes Vitamin B. During emergencies, people can live for quite a while on just bread and water.  Although raw flour is hard to digest, in the form of hard bread, it is edible.

No one has determined just when, or how, during the American Civil War, hard bread began to be referred to as hardtack. Apparently,  it was first called hardtack by the Union Army of the Potomac; although the name spread to other units, it was generally referred to as hard bread by the armies of the West.

Regardless of the time frame, if you’re a history buff, prepper or hard-core survivalist, you should consider including hardtack in your emergency food supplies or survival kit. A guaranteed conversation starter at any campfire, campout or outdoor event, hardtack can have a useful place  in today’s survival kit.

(It only takes a few additional ingredients to turbocharge  the nutritional value of hardtack. To each cup of flour in the recipe, add one tablespoon of soy flour, one teaspoon of wheat germ and one teaspoon of powdered milk. There is no difference in the taste, and these ingredients combine to make the bread a complete protein.)

There are many versions and varieties of hardtack recipes: Try some of these to start out.

Army Hardtack Recipe
  • 4 cups flour (preferably whole wheat)
  • 4 teaspoons salt
  • Water (about 2 cups)
  • Pre-heat oven to 375° F
  • Makes about 10 pieces

 

After cutting the squares, press a pattern of four rows of four holes into each square, using a nail or other such object. Do not punch through the dough.  The appearance you want is similar to that of a modern saltine cracker.  Turn each square over and do the same thing to the other side.

Place the squares on an ungreased cookie sheet in the oven and bake for 30 minutes. Turn each piece over and bake for another 30 minutes. The crackers should be slightly brown on both sides.

The fresh crackers are easily broken, but as they dry, they harden and assume the consistency of fired brick.

Swedish Hardtack

I cup water

3 tbsp. vegetable oil

3 tbsp. honey

3 cups rye flour (or 1 1/2 cups rye & 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour)

1  1/2 tbsp. brewer’s yeast (optional)

1/4 tsp. salt

Mix liquids together.  In a separate bowl, mix dry ingredients.  Combine the mixtures, stirring to moisten throughout.  Form a ball.  On a floured surface, flatten the dough, and roll out thinly. Cut into squares and prick each cracker with the tines of a fork a couple of times.  Transfer to lightly greased baking sheets. Bake at 425° F for around 8 minutes, checking to be sure not to over-brown.  It is best served warm.

Mix: two cups of all-purpose flour and a half teaspoon of salt.  Use more salt for authenticity. Mix by hand. Add a teaspoon of shortening and a half cup of water, stirred in a little at a time to form a very stiff dough.  Beat the dough to a half inch thickness with a clean top mallet or rifle butt.  Fold the sheet of dough into six layers. Continue to beat and to fold the dough a half dozen times until it is elastic. Roll the dough out to a half-inch thickness before cutting it with a floured biscuit cutter or bayonet. Bake for about a half hour in a 325° F oven.

The basic ingredients are flour, salt and water. General directions are also similar: Dissolve the salt in water and work it into flour using your hands.  The dough should be firm and pliable but not sticky or dry. Flatten the dough onto a cookie sheet to about 1/4 inch thick, and cut into squares 3 inches by 3 inches.  Pierce each square with 16 holes about ½ inch apart.  Bake in oven until edges are brown or dough is hard.

Preheat the oven to 400° F For each cup of flour add 1 teaspoon of salt. Mix salt and flour with just enough water to bind. Bake 20-25 minutes.  The longer you bake the hardtack, the more authentic it will appear.

A Sailor’s Diet

In a separate container, mix:

  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk.
  • 3 tablespoons honey.
  • 1/2 cup melted bacon drippings or shortening.

Combine the two sets of ingredients. When the dough is thoroughly mixed, roll it out on a floured board to a thickness of about a quarter inch.  Cut out circles of dough with a large drinking glass dipped in flour and put them on a lightly greased cookie sheet.  Bake for about 5 1/2 minutes at 450° F.

Let the hardtack cool on a wire rack before serving with jam or jelly.

 

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Things to Consider When Packing Your Survival Kit

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Before you even start to stuff your pack with the supplies, gear and materials you think you need to survive you will need some wilderness survival training/knowledge, and be able to exercise good judgment first.

Furthermore, you must be able to accept the fact that you will make mistakes, which brings us to having and needing, the ability to adapt when your first set of plans has gone off the rails because of a mistake made or due to circumstances beyond your control.

If you cannot adapt, or refuse to adapt because of stubbornness, pride or from the lack of knowledge or training then you are setting yourself up for failure, and failure at this level can mean death. No gear in the world will save you from a mistake, a mistake you may be reluctant to admit. Failure to admit you made a mistake, or had overestimated your own abilities means you are not correcting the problem.

Not everything should go in your pack. There are certain core survival tools and materials that should be carried in your pocket or lashed to your body in some form or fashion. A pack can be lost if you fall in a river or stream, or are caught in an avalanche. The pack can be lost if you take a tumble and a strap or harness breaks and then your survival gear is over the cliff and riding the rapids toward the warm waters of the Gulf.

Anything can happen, so it is important that you have a compass, a map that is waterproofed, fire starting materials in a waterproof container, communication devices, knife, cordage, thermal blanket (s), and water purification pills in pockets or hooked to your belt. Also on your belt, you should have a full metal canteen and a small quality flashlight.  A metal canteen means you have a metal container for collection and purification of drinking water.

Failure to do your research can be deadly. We have stated this time and again. You must, to the best of your ability, know the area in which you are traveling, hiking, camping, or hunting. Know the terrain, likely weather conditions, wildlife, insects, and reptiles you may encounter, as well as flash floods and fire danger.

Some might say, “Well I had no idea I would be in such and such a place”. Well, how could you not know? You started out from somewhere with a destination in mind. You want to go hiking, so you know where you want to hike, the same goes for camping and hunting, you start from somewhere and end up somewhere and the areas in between, as well as the destination should be well researched.

You have to know the route and likely dangers, resources and so forth before you start out. Planning an outdoor adventure is not a random thing where you start out driving with no destination in mind and then decide a path through the underbrush looks good for hiking, or simply drive aimlessly until you find a spot that looks good for camping or hiking. These things have to be planned. Impulsiveness when it comes to the wilderness is deadly. Mother Nature is unforgiving of those that do not show the proper respect and of those that lack a certain level of expertise or common sense.

Gear, gizmos, and gadgets are fun to play with but do you need all of it. Batteries die, and gadgets malfunction, so do not stake your life on either one. If you cannot read a compass and a map, you had better stay home and play in the tree house out back.

Electronics can be a lifesaver in a crisis, but if they don’t work, well, do you die then? If they can save your life and they don’t work, you have problems. Carry your gadgets, but have a map and compass, as well, and make sure you know exactly how to read both.

There is no magic formula when it comes to your backpack weight. The 25 percent of your body weight is simply a general rule. You may be able to carry more or maybe even less comfortably. Remember, out on the trail is vastly different from hiking up and down the sidewalk in front of your house to see how much you can carry.

You should know immediately if you can handle the weight. If you know you can’t, then do not convince yourself things will change once you get out on the trail. Things will change but not for the better.

What weight you can handle depends on many things, so a subjective number you read on a chart somewhere about body weight to pack ratio, means nothing, the reality of your situation is what matters.

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9+ Essential Items For Your Bedroom Survival Kit

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Survivopedia 9+ Essential Items For Your Bedroom Survival Kit

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

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

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

Situational Awareness

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

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

1. Worn Equipment

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

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

The Survival Necklace

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

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

Survival Necklace

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

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

2. Light and Footwear

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

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

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

Boots

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

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

3. Cell Phone & Charging Cradle

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

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

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

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

4. Public Alert Certified All Hazards Radio

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

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

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

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

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

There are two types of All Hazards Weather Radio:

  • NOAA Certified
  • NOAA Public Alert Certified.

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

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

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

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

5. Security System Reporting Mechanisms

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

6. Smoke, Flammable Gas and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

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

Action

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

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

7. Home Defense Pouch

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

8. Home Defense Waist Pack

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

9. Turnout Bag

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

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

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

Common Types of Turnout Bags and Ensembles

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

Safe Room

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

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

Safe Room Features

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

Training

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

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

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

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

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

spec_ops_shooting_cover

 

This article was written by Cache Valley Prepper for Survivopedia.

References:

http://www.weather.gov/subscribe

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

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How to Remove Rusted Nuts and Bolts

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How to Remove Rusted Nuts and Bolts You may just thank us one day for sharing this little secret, If SHTF and you need to remove rusted nuts or bolts, remember this! This is an old secret that a lot of us don’t know or forget! There are hundreds and hundreds of lotions and potions …

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Make A Practical Water Purification System Part of Your Survival Kit

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In a disaster, no single item or piece of gear can absolutely guarantee your ability to purify water for drinking. But several carefully-chosen pieces of water purification equipment might give you a fighting chance!

by Leon Pantenburg

As a newspaper reporter covering various natural disasters, including tornadoes, floods and forest fires, I noticed a common aspect among all of them: Drinking water was always in short supply.

My first flood taught me that. I was working for the Vicksburg Evening Post and was sent to photograph the high water in Chickasaw Bayou, north of Vicksburg, MS. The nearby Mississippi River had reclaimed some of its flood plain, sending high water into a subdivision and forcing residents to leave.

I rode in a jonboat with a sheriff’s deputy, and we cruised the flooded streets. It

A drainage ditch might be the only source of water you can find.

was Mississippi summer hot, the heat reflected off the muddy, nasty water and the bottom of the metal boat, and the  deputy and I baked in the sunshine.

Though  there were miles and miles of water, there was not one drop to drink (to update and steal a cliche from “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner”). I would have gotten  really thirsty, except the deputy was prepared with extra water and willing to share!

I’m not sure anything could have made that vile floodwater stew after Katrina potable! But regardless of where you are, staying hydrated is one of your first priorities.

Where I live in Central Oregon, I am within striking distance of high desert, mountains, temperate rain forests, the Pacific coast and beautiful deciduous forests. I love to roam all these areas, and frequently, during hunting season, may end up miles from the vehicle and my backup water supply. But these areas all require different variations of hydration gear, and here’s how to decide what will work best for your region.

Here’s an important consideration before choosing hydration gear: How long will it take to work? Some sport bottle systems work instantaneously – you fill them up, prime the filter and drink. This can invaluable if you need to quickly re-hydrate a child or someone who is dehydrated to the point of medical emergency.

The chemical treatments, such as the Polar Pure, can require upward of 30 minutes to work, depending on the water temperature. Some filters just take a long time to work. Generally speaking, boiling is not a particularly quick operation. The time it takes to boil water varies, depending on altitude, heat source, shape of container etc.

Buy this filter.

Here’s what I carry as part of my hydration system, and so far, everything has served me well. (Many of these items are multi-use):

Water Containers: You must have durable, large capacity water containers available. If you’re out all day in the desert or a flood, for example,

The Nalgene in the center is what I drink from and the Platypus flexible bottles on either side are backups.

there probably won’t be a place or chance to replenish your drinking water, and all you’ll have is what you carry. Also, you might find someone without any water at all. You don’t want to give away your backup!

  • Nalgene bottle: I like the wide-mouth model, and modify mine with a paracord loop and duct tape. The loop is designed so the bottle can be carried on my belt, or tied to a cord to lower into a stock tank, depression or water source that is hard to get to. Don’t think you can just tie something onto the lid retainer – chances are it will break at some point, and as these things go, probably when you need it the most.

Duct tape is useful for everything, and around the water bottle is a convenient place to carry it!

  • Platypus flexible water containers:  These collapsible water containers are available in various sizes as water storage units and they roll up into a small, lightweight pack when empty. I generally carry two or three large-sized extras, rolled up and empty, in my daypack, since they weigh next to nothing and don’t take up much space.   Then, if you need to carry water from a spring or other water source, you won’t have to improve. (Tip: Since you will probably need a minimum of a gallon of water per day, it makes sense to take enough flexible water containers to haul a gallon!)

Tin or metal cup for boiling or dipping water out of hard-to-reach places. Boiling water is probably the safest, most effective method of water purification available, providing you have a heat source, and a tin cup works great and is incredibly useful.

I usually carry a large (about 24-ounce capacity), metal cup for several tasks. My trusty, large blue enamel cup and a spoon comprised my mess kit for nine days in the Boundary Waters in northern Minnesota. I never needed anything else. I have brewed countless cups of tea or coffee over various heat sources with that piece of gear, and I don’t leave home without one!

How long should you boil the water to purify it? Bring the water to a boil, and that should kill anything that boiling will

This Central Oregon high desert spring is the only water source for miles. The water will require purification before using.

This Central Oregon high desert spring is the only water source for miles. The water will require purification before using.

kill. Water boils at 212 degrees, then vaporizes. Extended boiling will not make the water hotter or kill more nasties, but it will use up more of your fuel!

Polar Pure or Potable Agua: These are chemical purifiers, and require a certain time period for them to work. I used the Polar Pure system exclusively on a nine-day canoe trip in Minnesota’s Boundary Waters and the system worked really well. Potable Agua comes in capsules and is easy to carry and use. Either Polar Pure of Potable Aqua goes on every outing. (Order Polar Pure here.)

Six-foot piece of aquarium tubing: I got this tip from survival expert Peter Kummerfeldt. Peter recommends including the tubing in case you find water in a crack or crevice and can’t get to it. Just stick the tube in the water and suck it out.

Coffee filter and bandanna: If you can filter the mud and debris out of the water, it will make any filter last that much longer. In especially turbid, muddy water, wrap the coffee filter around the bottom of any filter and attach it with a rubber band. It will help! The bandanna has many uses, including serving as a water filter. A clean one, that you haven’t used to wipe your nose, is preferable!

Large garbage bag: Another multi-use item. Use this to catch rain or dew, or as a reservoir for holding water.

Water filter: Some lightweight  method of filtering and purifying water can be incredibly useful.  Several companies make sport bottles with filters in them. Use is simple – fill the bottle and suck the water through the filter.

These are the best for hikes along streams, or in areas where you know there is running water available.

If the water is really nasty, two drops of plain chlorinated bleach or iodine can be added to each refill before filtering. This will kill minute pathogens such as viruses, and the disinfectant will then be filtered from the water entirely removing its odor, color and taste.

So, these items work for me. My hydration system is set up with the idea that there is a piece of equipment that should be able to handle any situation. Do your research, select your equipment carefully and include an integrated hydration system in every survival kit.

And make sure to  use your common sense to stay hydrated in the first place!

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Car Survival in Winter

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carsinsnow

It’s predicted to be another harsh winter and, for most in the U.S., this means trouble if someone gets stuck out on the road during a blizzard or other extreme conditions. Hypothermia (the effects on the body from exposure to cold) may occur on the wilderness trail, but also right in the driver’s seat of the family car. It’s important to have a plan in case you are stranded in your vehicle.

 

Your Car

 

Winter conditions don’t just affect people, they affect cars as well. Cold affects rubber and metal; it even decreases the battery’s efficiency. Tires become stiff and flat for the first few hundred yards. Your oil and other lubricants become thicker at cold temperatures. This makes the engine work harder.

 

Therefore, vehicles that will be doing duty in extreme cold should be “winterized”. This involves switching to a lighter viscosity oil, changing to snow tires, and choosing the right (anti-freeze) ratio of coolant to water. Gas tanks should never be less than half full.

 

Your Life 

 

You’re not a bear, so you can’t hibernate through the cold weather; you’ll have to live in it, so take measures to avoid becoming a victim of it. Many deaths from exposure are avoidable if simple precautions are taken.

 

The first question you should ask before you get in the car in cold weather is: What’s the forecast? Is it possible that you’re driving straight into trouble? Checking the weather beforehand is a lot better than finding out about it on the road.

 

The second question should be: “Is this trip necessary?” If the answer is “no”, you should stay home. For most people that work, however, the answer is “yes”. If you have no choice but to hit the road during a winter storm, drive as if your life depends on it (because it does). Brush ice and snow off windshields, side mirrors, or anywhere your view might be blocked. Don’t speed, tailgate, or weave in and out of traffic. Make turns slowly and deliberately; avoid quick stops and starts.

 

Notify someone of your travel plans before you head out, especially if you’re in rural areas. Take your cell phone with you but save it for emergencies. Your focus has to be on the road, not on texts from your friends.

 

Stranded!

 

If you live in an area that routinely has very cold winters, you may not be able to avoid being stranded in your car one day. Your level of preparedness will improve your chances of staying healthy and getting back home. So what should your plan of action be?

 

  1. Stay calm and don’t leave the car. It’s warmer there than outside and you have protection from the wind. Having adequate shelter is one of the keys to success, whether it’s in the wilderness or on a snow-covered highway.
  2. Ventilation is preferable to asphyxiation. Crack a window on the side away from the wind for some fresh air. People talk about water and food being necessary for survival but, first, you’ll need air to breathe. Wet snow can block up your exhaust system, which causes carbon monoxide to enter the passenger compartment. Colorless and odorless, it’s a deadly gas that kills in enclosed spaces without ventilation. Clearing the exhaust pipe of snow and running the engine only ten minutes or so an hour will help prevent monoxide poisoning.
  3. Group Hug. If you’re in a group, huddle together as best you can to create a warm pocket in the car.
  4. Keep Moving. Rub your hands, put them in your armpits, or otherwise keep moving to make your muscles produce heat.
  5. Don’t overexert yourself. If your car is stuck in the snow, you’ll want to dig yourself out. A lot of sweat, however, will cause clothing to become wet. Wet clothing loses its value as insulation and leads to hypothermia.
  6. Let others know you’re there. If you have flares, use them. Flashing emergency lights on your vehicle will drain battery power, so use them only if you think someone might see them.

The Winter Car Kit 

caraccidentwinter

If you’re going to travel in very cold conditions, there are a certain number of items that you should keep in your vehicle. This is what an effective winter survival car kit contains:

 

  • Wool Blankets. Wool can stay warm even when wet.
  • Spare sets of dry clothes, including socks, hats, and mittens.
  • Hard warmers or other instant heat packs (activated, usually, by shaking, they’ll last for hours)
  • Matches, lighters and/or firestarters in case you need to manufacture heat.
  • Candles, flashlights (keep batteries in backwards until you need them).
  • Small multi-tool with blade, screwdrivers, pliers, etc.
  • Larger combination tool like a foldable shovel (acts as a shovel but also an axe, saw, etc.)
  • Sand or rock salt in plastic container (to give traction where needed.)
  • Tow chain or rope.
  • Flares.
  • Jumper cables.
  • Water, Food (energy bars, MREs, dehydrated soups, candies).
  • Baby wipes for hygiene purposes.
  • A first aid kit.
  • Medications as needed.
  • Tarp and duct tape (brightly colored ones will be more visible and aid rescue.)
  • Metal cup, thermos, heat source (to melt snow, make soup, etc.)
  • Noisemaker (whistle)
  • Cell phone and charger

The items above will give you a head start in keeping safe and sound even if stranded. With a plan of action, a few supplies, and a little luck, you’ll survive even in the worst blizzard.

 

Joe Alton MD

AuthorJoe

11 Gifts Under $25 For Preppers

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Preppers gifts

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

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

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

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

1. Emergency Mylar Blanket

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

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

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

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

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

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

2. Ferro or Magnesium Fire-starting Rod

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

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

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

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

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

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

3. Water Filter

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

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

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

4. Dutch Oven

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

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

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

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

5. Multi-tool

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

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

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

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

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

6. Prepping Books

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

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

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

This book provides some useful uses for common household items.

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

7. Paracord Jewelry

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

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

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

8. Gun Cleaning Kit

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

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

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

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

9. Camping Mess Kit

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

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

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

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

10. Tactical Vest

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

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

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

11. Biomass Camp Stove

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

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

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

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

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

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.

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Don’t lose your gear: Pop a top for equipment safety

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Hanging on to your tools may be critical. Here’s how to rig small items so they don’t get lost.  

by Leon Pantenburg

I learned a valuable lesson the hard way a few years back when my wife and I dumped a canoe at the top of a rapids. (Read the story)

Prevent loss of small critical survival items by attaching a poptop, and securing them to a clip or lanyard.

Basically, it amount to this: You keep the stuff that is tied down or secured. You lose the stuff that isn’t.

But some small items, such as butane lighters, Chapstick or some survival knives, don’t have a way to attach a lanyard or safety snap. (Here’s how to make a lanyard.)

Here’s an easy way to fix that.

Take an aluminum poptop and attach it to the small item with a piece of bright tape. Then, whenever you use that piece of gear, clip or attach it to a lanyard. Attach the lanyard to your belt, button hole or zipper fob.

Get into this habit and you’ll never drop or lose that critical piece of gear.  This is particularly important in areas with a lot of snow, like where I live in Central Oregon.

Add several feet of duct tape and a poptop to a standard BIC mini lighter and you have a firestarting kit. Secure the lighter to a lanyard with the poptop.

Add duct tape and a poptop to a standard BIC mini lighter and you have a firestarting kit. Secure the lighter to a lanyard with the poptop.

I frequently am out in areas with several feet of accumulation, and dropping a butane lighter in these areas of deep snow virtually guarantees permanent loss. Even if you can find the lighter again, chances are the cold will disable it for several minutes.

And what about that all-important knife? Drop one in deep snow, and it’s almost guaranteed you won’t see it again. Putting a lanyard on a survival knife is one of the smarter things you can do for winter survival in deep snow.

Either of these situations is a problem if you desperately need to build a warming fire and your hands are numb!

Avoid potential emergencies caused by losing gear by thinking ahead!

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15 Things Cowboys Carried With Them In The Wild West To Survive

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15 Things Cowboys Carried With Them In The Wild West To Survive

Those of us who are fascinated with life in the “Wild West,” beyond what Hollywood shows us, realize that our pioneering forefathers had it hard. True history, not the kind shown on Netflix, isn’t filled with gunfighters and stick-up artists, but rather hard-working men and women who faced deadly situations on a regular basis. While some succumbed to the dangers of the West, many more survived.

We can honestly say that each and every person who took part in settling the West was a survivalist — especially those who chose to live outside the city. Whether they were farmers, ranchers, prospectors or shepherds, their first job was to survive. So everything they did and pretty much every item they owned was centered around that need.

The average rancher had few permanent employees. A few hands to check the herds and ride the range to look for dangers that might hurt or kill the cattle were all he needed. Many would try to pick terrain to settle on, which would naturally mitigate against the cattle wandering. One of the best things for this was water.

Cattle, of course, need water, and few will wander beyond a day’s walk from that water, unless being driven by men or predators. In much of the West, where water is scarce, laying claim to land with a spring or creek on it gave ranchers access not only to much-needed hydration, but an easy way of keeping their cattle home where they belonged. That reduced the labor they needed to hire — an important factor in a land where cash money was hard to come by.

But there were times when cattle operations needed more hands than the few semi-permanent staff. That was at roundup time and for a cattle drive. For these all-important events, ranchers would hire some of the many “drifters” who roamed the West, moving from ranch to ranch, often riding the “grub line” until they could find a job.

Paratrooper: The Survival Water Filter That Fits In Your POCKET!

This made the cowboy’s life one of survival. He literally lived out of his bug-out-bag. Of course, they didn’t call it that back then. Rather, they called it their “bed roll.” His bed roll, his saddle bags (which served as his survival kit) and his saddle were about all the worldly goods that most cowboys owned. Many didn’t even own their own horses, but rather rode those that belonged to the ranches they worked.

So, if the cowboy’s blanket roll and saddlebags were respectively his bug-out-bag and survival kit, what sorts of things did he carry in them?

1. A good knife

The first thing that any cowboy had was a good knife. They didn’t have hatchets, machetes, wire saws and multi-tools like we carry in our bug-out bags today. Their only tool was a knife. So it was important to have a good one. This would usually be a mid-sized sheath knife, which was used for everything from cutting wood to skinning game.

Few had a honing stone, but the cowboys would often sharpen their knives on whatever stones they could find. A good chunk of granite or a piece of sandstone — it didn’t matter. Either one became a honing stone in turn.

2. Guns and ammo

15 Things Cowboys Carried With Them In The Wild West To SurviveFew cowboys roamed the West without a firearm. While they weren’t all laden down with guns, as we see in the movies, they pretty much all had something. It might be a pistol, but in most cases it was a rifle. The pistol was more convenient, but the rifle was better for hunting game or fighting Indians.

Many of the cowboys had been soldiers in the Civil War. When they were discharged, they were allowed to take their guns with them. This meant that most had long guns, even if they didn’t have a pistol.

Rarely did the cowboy carry his gun on him, unless he was on the trail. It was too cumbersome and got in the way of handling cattle. But when on a trail drive, they pretty much always went armed. In the case of a stampede, that gun might be the only thing to save your life.

3. Fire-starting

A tinder box was an essential piece of every cowboy’s kit. In it, he would store bits of tinder that he gathered along the trail, always ensuring that he had some with him. He’d also keep a piece of flint in it, often sewn into a leather cover, thus improving his grip on it. If he had matches, they’d be in the tinder box, as well.

4. Canteen of water

The canteen was an essential piece of equipment, especially in terrain where water was scarce. The typical canteen was about 2-1/2 quarts. It would be covered with layers of scrap fabric, usually hand-sewn by the owner. By soaking that fabric in water, when he filled his canteen, the cowboy could keep his water cool.

The first thing that a cowboy did when he stopped at water was to fill his canteen, even before drinking. That way, if he had to leave in a hurry, he had a full canteen to take with him. It didn’t matter if he was only going to town, he’d stop at the water trough and fill his canteen, often dumping out the old water to replace it with fresh water.

5. Cookware

A cowboy’s cook set was pretty minimal, but he usually had one. This would consist of a small pot, a coffee pot, a tin plate and a cup. That was enough for him to cook anything he needed to, out on the trail. Coffee was prized, and having a coffee pot to make coffee was important to men who spent 14 or more hours per day in the saddle, in all kinds of weather.

6. Food

A cowboy never left the bunkhouse without taking some food with him. He never knew what the day would bring or even whether he’d make it back to the bunkhouse that night. So, he kept a little bit of food in his saddlebags at all time. This could include:

  • Bacon — a favorite staple in the West.
  • Biscuits or hard tack.
  • Coffee & sugar.
  • Dried fruit (if they could get it).

Range eating usually wasn’t all that good. The food that the cowboy carried was intended to keep him going if he couldn’t make it back. Beans and bread were common fare, along with just about any type of meat imaginable. But they rarely carried that with them. Those were things kept in the chuck wagon or back at the ranch.

New 4-Ounce Solar Survival Lantern Never Needs Batteries!

It was common for cowboys to hunt their meat in order to avoid eating the cattle they were raising. It’s not that cowboys had anything against beef, but rather that those cattle were worth money. If they killed one, it was highly unlikely that they could preserve the meat, so much of it would be lost.

7. Fishing line & hook

15 Things Cowboys Carried With Them In The Wild West To SurviveMany cowboys carried some line and a hook, so that they could catch fish when they camped by the water. This wasn’t a given, but it wasn’t uncommon, either. They’d dig up worms to use as bait, or find grubs, crickets and other insects.

8. Piggin strings

Piggin strings are thin strips of leather or rawhide, like leather boot laces. Their main purpose was for tying the feet of the cattle when thrown for branding or castration. However, they became the cowboy’s equivalent of paracord, using it wherever they needed cordage. A typical cowboy kept a few pieces of piggin string in their pockets, along with a ball in their saddlebags.

9. Rain slicker

Storms could come up suddenly in the West, especially for those who were in the mountains. Those could be dangerous for cowboys, drenching them and causing hypothermia. They’d keep their rain slicker tied behind their saddle, either in a small blanket roll or alone, where it was ready at hand. That way, they could put it on, without having to dismount.

10. Blankets

An actual blanket roll was much bigger than what we are used to seeing in the movies. It could be as much as a foot in diameter. That was too big to carry while riding the range. On the trail, the cowboys would leave their blanket rolls in the chuck wagon, retrieving them at night. In the morning, they’d roll up their blankets once again, with their other possessions inside. At the home ranch, those possessions were in the bunkhouse.

But no matter what, a cowboy would have a couple of blankets tied behind their saddle. Call it the predecessor to the sleeping bag. Few would only want one blanket, as that wasn’t enough to deal with the fall and winter chill.

11. Coat

Just as today, coats were seasonal things. But you’d never find a cowboy leaving the home ranch, without a coat, if there was any chance of it getting cold. If they didn’t wear it, they’d tie it behind their saddle, along with their blankets and rain slicker.

Those that could get them would have gloves, or more likely mittens. A slit would be cut in the mittens, allowing the index finger to slide out when they needed to do something that required some dexterity. But mittens were safer than gloves, as they would allow the fingers to share heat, lowering the chance of frostbite.

Few cowboys could afford work gloves. Rather, their hands became as tough as leather from the work that they did. It’s not that they wouldn’t have used the work gloves, if they had them; but a cowboy’s wage wasn’t enough to afford many luxuries.

12. Bandana

The bandana was a useful part of any cowboy’s kit. More than anything, it was used as a dust filter over the nose and mouth. This was especially important when “riding drag” behind a herd. But the bandana served many other purposes, as well, including protecting the neck from the sun, being a handy washcloth and serving as an emergency bandage.

13. Tobacco

cowboys-1-cm-russellEven cowboys who didn’t smoke tended to carry tobacco. At that time, tobacco was the ultimate trade good. Offering someone a smoke was often the start of many a conversation, especially out on the trail.

14. Books

Surprisingly, many cowboys carried books with them. A large number were much more highly educated than you’d expect, having come from the East and being products of eastern schools, even universities. They were drawn to the West for a variety of reasons, and many gave up a life of wealth and position for the opportunity to travel.

Be Prepared: Get The Ultimate In Portable Backup Power!

Reading material was highly prized in the West. Cowboys would carry books along with them, trading them with each other as the opportunity arose. In this way, they were able to experience a wide variety of reading material while not having to carry much with them.

15. Extra clothes

Cowboys didn’t change their clothes and bathe every day, like we do today. Nevertheless, having a bath and getting cleaned up was one of the joys of coming off the trail. While they didn’t have an extensive wardrobe, most had a couple of changes of clothes, including one nice suit. They’d keep that in their blanket roll, taking it out for church and other important events.

A Final Word

When you compare this list to our modern bug-out-bag, there seems to be a lot missing. But the cowboys of the past could stay alive with the things in this list. Few carried more, as their horses would tire too quickly if they were overloaded. And few cowboys could afford a pack horse, in addition to the one they were riding. So, they were limited in what they could carry by their lifestyle.

Nevertheless, the cowboy had the essentials. Of course, they were a much hardier breed than we are today. For them, hardship was a daily occurrence, and danger was their constant companion. They were better suited for survival than we are today. Maybe if we lived our lives on the back of a horse, instead of sitting in front of a computer, we’d be, too.

What would you add to our list? Share your tips in the section below:

Learn How To ‘Live Off The Land’ With Just Your Gun. Read More Here.

A Fire Starter Kit List

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I keep a fire starter kit in a Ziploc bag in each of my various ‘bags’ (72-hour kit, my Versipack’s for hiking or outdoor adventures, etc..). The ability to make fire is one of the essentials of survivability, and having more than one way to make a fire is just good preparedness. Within my fire-starter […]

Encourage preparedness mindset with this book: “The Unthinkable”

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Suppose that significant other isn’t into preparedness. What is the first thing to do to get them thinking about the possibility about the “unthinkable” happening?

Hand them a copy of this book.

by Leon Pantenburg

Amanda Ripley’s “The Unthinkable” is not about disaster recovery: It’s about what happens in the midst  of one – before emergency personnel arrive and structure is imposed on the loss. It’s about the human reaction to disaster and how you should act if you want to survive.

Survival Book Review: The Unthinkable: Who Survives When Disaster Strikes and Why By Amanda Ripley

This is a  fact: Nine of 10 Americans live in places at significant risk of earthquake, tornado, hurricanes, terrorism, or other disasters. Tomorrow you may have to make significant decisions to save yourself and/or your family. Or maybe you could have to make those decisions before you finish reading this!

It may be in an urban or  wilderness survival situation. Or you may have run to the grocery store for a gallon of milk when the earthquake or tornado hits.

Regardless of where or when the incident occurs, you will have to take decisive actions to survive.

But the overwhelming response, of the great majority of people, to that concept is something along the lines of:…I, personally, will not be affected by any of those emergencies…. And even if a disaster happens, it somehow won’t threaten or engulf  me or my family… But if it does, there’s nothing I can do anyway, so there is no need to prepare…

This is denial. If that continues to be part of your mindset, then you have just gotten into the first phase of a deadly, downward behavior progression that could cost your life.

The Unthinkable: Who Survives When Disaster Strikes and Why” Amanda Ripley, an investigative journalist, writes about the human psychological reaction to disasters. Ripley covered some of the most devastating disasters of our time, and retraces how people reacted. She interviews leading brain scientists, trauma psychologists and other disaster experts. She comes up with the stunning inadequacies of many of our evolutionary responses.

Ripley’s book is not about disaster recovery: It’s about what happens in the midst  of one – before emergency personnel arrive and structure is imposed on the loss.

Ripley describes a “survival arc” everyone must travel to get from danger to safety. The survival arc’s three chronological phases of denial, deliberation and the decisive moment make up the structure of the book.

And while the path to survival may resemble a roller coaster rather than an arc, Ripley writes, it’s rare that anyone gets through a disaster without passing through these main stages at least once.

If you’ve ever thought about a disaster and possible reactions to it, then you’re on the right track. Ripley starts the survival arc process with the thought “I wonder what I would do if…”

Here’s the survival arc progression, according to Ripley, of a typical reaction to a disaster situation:

Denial: This can’t be happening. This isn’t happening to me. It’s all a bad dream. I’m imagining this. In a moment everything will be all right.

Denial is the most insidious fear response of all.“The more I learned, the more denial seemed to matter all the time, even long before the disaster, on days that passed without incident,” Ripley writes. Denial can manifest itself in delay.  Or it can cause people to freeze or become immobile in disbelief. Many, if not most, people shut down in a crisis, quite the opposite of panic. Denial can paralyze you.

Deliberation: We know something is terribly wrong, but don’t know what to do about it. How do you decide?

The first thing is the realization that nothing is normal. We all think and perceive things differently. We become, Ripley claims, superheros with learning disabilities. At this point, you need to have some training, or prior “What If?” planning  to fall back on. The overwhelming tendency will be for your mind to go blank, and you won’t have clue on what to do next. Let’s hope you learned the STOP mindset  exercise. (See story link below).

Your brain may be like the computer that has lost all its connections. Remember STOP as one of those vital links. Embed the acronym, and how to use it, into your psyche. To get through the deliberation phase and on to the decisive moment, you will have had to rely on your survival mindset and prior training.

The Decisive Moment: You’ve accepted that you are in danger, deliberated the options and
now it is time to make a plan to do something. If you’re in a group, about 75 to 80 percent of the crowd will do nothing, according to John Leach in “Survival Psychology.” Another 10 to 15 percent will do the wrong thing, and only about 10 percent will make the right decisions. And these people who react appropriately will do so because of previous training.

Anybody with a “Be Prepared” mentality hopefully moves quickly through the initial denial phase. We’ll also hope that you have read and studied survival techniques so you will be able to deliberate effectively and move on to the decisive moment phase. But even if you think you’re prepared mentally for surviving a disaster,  “Unthinkable” is a book you need to read.

The book  is not about stockpiling food, tools, weapons or prepping. You must understand what goes on in your head during a disaster before you can use your tools. You’ll need information and techniques to respond correctly. Some of that information can come from “The Unthinkable.”

The book’s information is a powerful survival tool. It should be in your prepper or survival library.

“This awful catastrophe is not the end but the beginning. History does not end so. It is the way its chapters open.” St. Augustine.

Click here to listen to earthquake expert geologist James Roddey on SurvivalCommonSense.com Radio

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Can You Make Me a Student Survival Kit?

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Can You Make Me a Student Survival Kit? We got a reader question asking us if we could make a low-budget student survival kit. If you yourself are a student or know one and would like to give him or her a survival kit that would be excellent for wilderness survival but that doesn’t break …

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

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

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7 Essentials in Your Emergency Survival Kit

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7 Essentials in Your Emergency Survival Kit All ready for a disaster? Nobody wants to experience a disaster, but there’s no guarantee that it will not happen. You need to prepare for the worst even if you hope it doesn’t happen. This means packing a survival kit that contains some of the essential items needed …

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The 7 Essential Items In Your Emergency Survival Kit

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The 7 Essential Items In Your Emergency Survival Kit

For this Infographic Monday, I have The 7 Essential Items In Your Emergency Survival Kit from the great folks at More Prepared. So what are  the 7 items? Well, it’s more the 7 categories of items you need. They are:

  • Food
  • Water
  • Lighting And Communication
  • First Aid 
  • Survival Gear
  • Shelter And Warmth
  • Sanitation and Hygiene

 

Food

I’ll add a few thoughts to some of the items. Food is a no brainer for us preppers. We know that we need food. But you would be surprised by the number of preppers that don’t have food stored for their pets. They are your family too and you need to have food stored for them too. Do not be like that idiot on Doomsday Preppers that said they were going to eat their cat in SHTF. I can’t imagine eating Bjorn the cat. 

 

Survival Gear

In The 7 Essential Items In Your Emergency Survival Kit infographic, they mention having plastic sheeting. I like to prep with trash bags as well. I like to get clear garbage bags to collect water through transpiration. A few of them take up almost no space and are the easiest way to collect safe water to drink. Way better than digging a solar still in my opinion. 

I also like to carry drum liners. They are huge thick trash bags. They have many uses. You can use them like a bivy sack or tube tent. You can fill one with leaves to make a mat for sleep on. If you split it you could make a tarp. The ideas are endless. 

Check out the infographic for the whole list of  The 7 Essential Items In Your Emergency Survival Kit.

The 7 Essential Items In Your Emergency Survival Kit

The 7 Essential Items In Your Emergency Survival Kit

 

 

 

 

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10 Secret Ways To Turn The Panic Room Into A Bunker

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Panic Room

Even if you travel to the ends of the Earth to reach the perfect bug out location, or you think you have everything accounted for in a bug in scenario, your survival may depend on  the contents and security  of a single room.

Some people feel panic rooms are useless, or that escaping is always a better option, but a panic room is really useful until immediate dangers pass.

When used with awareness of the pitfalls of panic rooms and within the context of a comprehensive survival plan, panic rooms can save your life. Here are the right answers  that will help you turn your panic room into the safest location on earth.

You Need Safe Entrances and Exits

Some preppers disregard the usefulness of panic rooms because once you go into the room, there is usually no other exit. If someone that intends to cause you harm finds the entrance or manages to break in through some other part of the room, you will have no way to escape.

Is there any way to solve this issue? I think there are some ways you can try to mitigate this problem and still have a panic room located close enough to where you live. Here’s what to do:

  • Have at least two entrances or exits to the panic room.  One should be well hidden in a wall or some other area where it will not be easily found.  The other entrance should lead underground or through some other route that would not be easy to follow.
  • Both entrances should be booby trapped so that they are destroyed once you pass through them (use the traps only if you want to prevent others from reaching you.) For example, if you have an entrance behind a closet in your home, set traps so that the building or parts of it near the entrance collapse. Even if someone enters the home looking for you, it may take a few hours, or even a few days before they are able to find the doorway or the panic room. If you must exit the panic room by the second doorway, make sure that no one can follow you by setting the entire room to collapse.
  • If you are escaping through an underground tunnel, or moving from tunnels, through crawlspaces, or other unusual routes, do not forget to booby trap them as well. Remember, you won’t be trying to go back along the way you came, but you may need to slow attackers down as they pursue you.
  • City dwellers and others that rely on building shafts or underground tunnels should travel through these areas at least 3 – 4 times a year. Make as many diverse routes and maps as possible, plus be aware of all risks associated with being or surfacing in certain areas.

Get Electronic and Manual Surveillance

If you are going to box yourself and your loved ones into a room, you still need to know what is going on in the world around you. Cameras and surveillance equipment may seem important, however, they can fail at the wrong moment, be tapped into by adversaries, or even alert others to the fact you may be hiding somewhere nearby.

That’why, before purchasing and setting up these devices, always make sure that you know what their vulnerabilities are, and whether or not you can get around them.

Rather than rely solely on electronic surveillance equipment, consider some manual methods that can be used regardless of the situation. When building your panic room, look into different natural acoustic systems that will enable you to pick up different sounds around you without revealing your presence.

Use these listening posts in combination with dogs, insects, or other animals that will either make noise, or stop making noise when someone else is around. You can also use mirrors set at different angles to see further into nearby rooms that are located near the entrance of your panic room.

Don’t Forget About Secure Communications

Great care must be taken when choosing communications equipment for the panic room. Not every situation will be one in which you don’t want others to find you.

For example, if there is a tornado or other natural disaster, you’ll need to be able to call out to rescue teams or anyone else that can get to you, so keep a cell phone with  you, and also a ham radio.

When setting up the panic room, make sure that you can get a signal out so that you can call for help. Or you can install phone lines and other communication lines in such a way that they won’t be destroyed in a disaster scenario.

Considering the way the world is going these days, there may be times when you need to reach out to other survivors without drawing attention from rioters or others that might harm you.

In these cases, cell phone, radio, and most other signals can lead attackers right to you, so you could try using trained carrier pigeons or other animals that can be relied on to deliver messages. It will take more time than you like, but it may be better than doing nothing at all.

Depending on  the distances involved, spark gap generators combined with unique codes similar to Morse Code may be of use.  If there are other survivors that may take to panic rooms in your local area, you can set up acoustic pathways between buildings or along underground paths that can be used to transmit tapping or banging sounds.

Trained animals may pick up these sounds at greater distances and be used to draw other survivors to a place where they can better hear the signals being sent.  Just remember that prospective attackers may also have trained animals available to pick up sounds. This is why working out a unique code that is only known to those you trust is very important.

How To Build A Panic Room

Basic Daily Living Need Supplies to Store

Food, water, hygiene products, medications, first aid kits, clothing, and other basic items are important to be stored in your panic room.  Since you may be staying in for days, weeks, or even months, there are some other things that could help you survive:

  • Blankets and other equipment that you can use to keep warm or cool off
  • Weapons for your defense
  • Verified safe mushroom starter kits for mushrooms that will mature in just a few days or weeks, and seeds for sprout gardens
  • Insect farms and necessary eggs for growing and maintaining successful colonies
  • Lighting and soil sufficient for growing key herbs that can be used to manage medical and first aid needs.
  • Zeer pots and ice/salt chests that can be used for refrigeration. You might be preparing most of your foods from fresh sources, and you’ll need at least some refrigeration onhand.
  • Printed reference or “how to” materials that can be used to help you manage different needs while in the panic room. Since modern computers and cell phones all contain tracking chips, keep them off and with the power source (including backup batteries) disconnected to protect your location. Rely on printed materials as opposed to looking them up on an electronic device.
  • Fire starting and other basic emergency gear that you can take with you if you have to leave the panic room.  Try to fit everything into a single “bug in” bag so that you can live mainly from that bag and travel at a moment’s notice.
  • Simple hand tools such as screw drivers, hammers, nails, wrenches, measuring tapes, sewing kits, wrenches, crowbar, ax, and saws, and maybe goggles, ear plugs, and dust masks. You probably won’t be doing much with these tools while you are in the panic room, but they might become useful if you have to plan your way out.

Is It Secure From Information Gathering Methods?

One of the most important things about a panic room is that it must be difficult, if not impossible to detect. Unfortunately, most people stop at sound proofing and do not consider other technologies that can be used to find panic rooms above and below ground. Since this technology is always changing, do you research to figure out how to best secure the room.

For example, not so long ago, an underground bunker or panic room was considered best because few things could detect the outline of the room or what was inside. Today, ground penetrating radars can easily reveal the location of a panic room and also the exact location of the exits.

If you decide to have the panic room above ground, be aware that there are now systems that can “see” inside houses and reveal the presence of guns, people, and anything else of interest. Make sure that the room will not reveal itself on thermal imaging sweeps as well as ones designed to pick up different kinds of objects within a location.

In just about every case, the way things are distributed through the room will be a key factor. For example, if you have water stored in the panic room, break up the locations so that the box-like shape of the cases doesn’t register. Always try to make everything either look like a natural formation (for the setting in question) or so small that a single item would be mistaken for some kind of debris or simply  seem to belong there.

Make the size and shape of the room as irregular as possible. For underground panic rooms, study how underground caves and caverns look. Think about how entrances, exits, and tunnels can be disguised so that even if they are detected with various kinds of equipment, they will be overlooked.

If the panic room is located in a wall or some other part of a building, make it look like a space that no person would be living or hiding in. If necessary, store your caches of equipment in different areas that you can get to easily enough. Make sure that all paths between caches are also protected from different kinds of surveillance equipment.

Choose Walls, Floors, Ceilings, and Doors that Cannot Be Breached

Do you fear the panic room won’t resist? Here are just a few things that the walls of a panic room must be able to withstand:

  • Bullets, grenades, or any other propelled munition –  sand bags, earth, and thick layers of cement may be your cheapest and best options.
  • Nuclear radiation – earth and water will be your two cheapest options.  While lead can also stop nuclear radiation, it takes very thick walls to be useful.
  • Electrical discharges or EMP waves – surround the room with a Faraday cage.  Contrary to popular belief, underground rooms can also be susceptible to electricity. When hunting for earthworms, all you have to do is stick electrodes in moist ground, and the electricity will cause them to surface.  If someone is determined to harm you or drive you from the panic room, consider that they may decide to use high voltage.
  • Flooding – in a natural disaster or some other situation, flooding may be the biggest threat to your safety. Make sure the room is waterproof and can also withstand large amounts of water flowing around it.
  • Mechanical force – no matter whether your panic room is in a building or underground, earthquakes, bombs, or other powerful mechanical forces can easily cause everything around you to crumble.  The panic room needs to be well fortified so that the walls, ceiling, and floors do not give way.  If at all possible, try to make the outer area of the room somewhat egg shaped and not tethered to anything around it.  At the very least, if something comes crashing down or around the panic room, it may be pushed out of the way instead of absorbing the entire crash. You can also use extended walls as energy absorbers much like the way crumple zones are used to absorb the force of a crash in modern cars.
  • Temperature fluctuations – when you are stuck in a room with no place to go, it may be harder than expected to control the temperature.  Choose materials that insulate well so that you need as little fuel as possible to change the temperature.  Together with that, at least the inner layers of the panic room walls, ceiling, and floors should be able to disperse humidity that gathers up in the room.  You may want to keep the humidity in the room and condense it to form water, or let it escape through an intermediary layer in the wall system.  Aside from being very uncomfortable, excess humidity can also lead to the buildup of mold, mildew, and algae.  Making sure the walls can vent properly is very important if you wish to stay healthy while in the panic room.

Capacity to Renew and Recycle

One of the most important, but overlooked part of panic rooms is the capacity to renew and recycle everything that is used or produced in the room. Water, food, and medicine usually run out sooner than later.

You must be able to grow your own foods, produce herbal medicines, and produce water. As icky as it may sound, that means you will need to be able to recycle urine and feces as opposed to simply looking for ways to dispose of it.

Learn about different composting systems and also water purification methods, which includes making sure that you know how to eliminate pathogens, and also work safely with waste materials. If at all possible, put an annex onto the panic room where you can take care of these matters.  Some other things you should be able to do in the panic room include:

  • create compost from cooking waste and scraps
  • make paper from scraps and bits
  • use tin cans, plastic bottles, or anything else found in the room to your advantage.

Power and Lighting

If you build your panic room to be as secure as possible, chances are there won’t be any windows, so you will need a secure and renewable source of lighting that does not include making fires.  Here are some things you can try:

  • Generate electricity using exercise equipment, body motion gear, and gravity fans.
  • Know how to use tin foil and other reflectors to concentrate light so that you can grow a larger range of plants.
  • Keep LED bulbs on hand and make sure that you have the proper sockets and power supply boards for them.
  • Make sure that everything in the room can run on 9 volts or less.  You should also know how to make earth batteries and other low-tech batteries

If you can make light and mirror tunnels, maybe you can get light from the outside into the panic room. Remember that even one small mirror or what looks like an air or access shaft can give away your presence or allow toxic fumes, pathogens, or other dangerous materials into the panic room.

No matter how secure you feel about your store of flashlights and batteries, make sure that you can improvise every single part of a lighting system from within the panic room.   Light is absolutely essential for plant growth, and also for carrying out many daily activities.

Along with electricity, you may need some other fuels for cooking and keeping the room at a comfortable temperature.

You Need Air Purification

No matter how large or small the room is, you must be able to renew oxygen levels in the room, otherwise you will suffocate.  Use multiple methods so that if one fails, you have another means to achieve this goal:

  • Choose plants that absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen regardless of whether it is day or night.
  • Use a combination of ventilation shafts and filters so that you can remove contaminants from air that will be released into the room.  You can study the filters used in biohazard, nuclear, chemical hazard, and dust respirators to see which materials to use in the air purification system.  Since many of these materials need to be replaced on a routine basis, you should either know how to recharge the materials or make replacements from scratch
  • Keep chemicals on hand that will release oxygen when mixed. This would be an emergency system that may give you a few extra hours while you repair other systems or prepare to exit the room.

Remember that oxygen concentrators do not produce oxygen. Rather, they take oxygen from the air and deliver it through narrow tubes so that more reaches the person in need of extra oxygen.  In an airtight panic room, an oxygen concentrator will not be of use unless it can actually produce more oxygen, and then release it into the room.

It Has to Be Defendable

The basic idea of a panic room is that you will be safe from anyone that might try to harm you.  On the other side of the equation, thousands of people that have hidden out in panic rooms have been captured or died because the location of the room was discovered.

As a last ditch resort, you should have some kind of weapons on hand so that you can stave off attackers long enough to escape, or take out as many as possible before they capture or kill you.  You will also need weapons that can be used once you leave the panic room. Here are some things that may be of use:

Since the panic room is going to be fairly tight and cramped, you will need to lead intruders to kill zones where you either have traps set up, or where you can attack with ease.

A low caliber handgun may be more useful than a rifle or other gun with more stopping power. Remember that if the walls, doors, ceiling, and roof are well fortified, bullets are also likely to ricochet off them.  You can try building in a bullet absorbing layer, however lower caliber rounds may still be your best option.

Have bullet proof helmets, vests, and other gear for you and everyone else in the room. If you do have to shoot, or you wind up being shot at, this gear may keep you from getting killed.  If you are hit while wearing bullet proof gear, you can expect bruises, broken bones, and other injuries.

Swords, knives, spears, bow and arrow, slingshots, monkey fists, axes, poison darts and other hand combat weapons may be of use.  Be sure to carefully study different kinds of bullet proof and weapon proofing gear so that you can get through any kind of armor with your weapons.

Depending on your outlook, you may also want to rig the panic room up so that it will blow up and take everyone with it.  As a last resort, if you cannot escape, and do not want to be captured, this may be your last and final option.

A number of things must be carefully considered when building a panic room, where you can recover, regroup, and gather strength after a major disaster.  A panic room can also be a serious liability if you do not prepare for all the problems that can occur. From mold build up on the walls to cell phone signals revealing your location, even the most minute details can spell disaster.

If you do decide to build a panic room, try living in it for hours, days, weeks, and months.  Once you know that you can live in the room for extended periods of time, and escape if needed, the room will truly be a key survival asset instead of just providing a false sense of security.

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This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia. 

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Worth Reading: “Survival Psychology” gives the mental baseline for survival

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BOOK REVIEW:  Survival Psychology by John Leach

One idea survival book authors may be able to agree upon is that mental attitude is critical. Countless documented cases  prove  your attitude and reaction to the situation,  not your gear, is the most important factor is staying alive.

by Leon Pantenburg

Some twenty years before the rash of “reality” or “Survival” shows, or anybody had ever heard of Les Stroud or Bear Grylls,  psychological studies resulted in a book about people’s  reactions  in emergency situations.

“Survival Psychology” by John Leach, PhD, of the University of Lancaster, England, was a groundbreaking study, that today is a reference source for many wilderness and urban survival bestsellers. If  some of Leach’s writing or thoughts sound familiar, it is because you’ve read or heard them before!

Swampy Lakes Trailhead is on the edge of thousands of acres of wilderness. Many visitors deny they will ever need emergency gear or training.

Leach studied survivors’  reactions, including those of Union prisoners at the horrific  Andersonville prison during the Civil War;  to shipwreck survivors; to people who made it through plane crashes and natural disasters. Distilled down to one sentence, here’s what Leach found: Psychological responses to emergencies follow a pattern.

One goal of  SurvivalCommonSense is to help you develop the survival mindset to stay alive. So, start with the baseline knowledge of what happens to people, mentally, in a survival situation.

Until you know what might happen in your mind, or in the heads of the people around you, there’s no way to come up with a plan to survive.

Survival situations bring out a variety of reactions – including some that make the situation worse.

Leach’s studies show that only 10 to 15 percent of any group involved in any emergency will react appropriately. Another 10 to 15 percent will behave totally inappropriately and the remaining 70 to 80 percent will need to be told what to do. The most common reaction at the onset of an emergency is disbelief and denial.

Here’s the typical disaster reaction progression, according to “Survival Psychology”:

Denial: The first reaction will probably be: “This can’t be happening to me!” But an emergency, disaster, accident or crash can happen to anyone, and it can result in a situation where your life is at risk.

This disbelief can cause people to stand around, doing nothing to save themselves. The 80 percenters in any survival situation will have to be ordered to help themselves.

Panic: Once you get past denial, there is a strong chance you may panic. This is when judgment and reasoning deteriorate to the point where it can result in self-destructive behavior. It can happen to anyone. To avert this problem, realize it may happen, and use the STOP mindset exercise.

Hypoactivity, defined as a depressed reaction; or hyperactivity, an intense but undirected liveliness: The depressed person will not look after himself or herself, and will probably need to be told what to do. The hyperactive response can be more dangerous because the affected person may give a misleading impression of purposefulness and leadership.

Stereotypical behavior: This is a form of denial in which victims fall back on learned behavior patterns, no matter how inappropriate they are. The Boss may decide to continue in that role, even though he/she has no idea of what to do. Sadly, the underling may also revert to that subordinate role, even though he/she may be better prepared mentally.

Anger: A universal reaction, anger is irrational. Rescue workers frequently come under verbal and physical attack while performing their duties.

A few years ago in Central Oregon, the Search and Rescue team rescued a man who had dumped his raft just before going over a waterfall. Miraculously, he saved himself  by clinging to a mid-stream boulder. During the whole rescue effort, the rafter denied he was in trouble. After being plucked from the rapids, he flipped off the rescuers, and walked back to the parking lot. He never thanked anyone for saving his life.

Psychological breakdown: This could be the most desperate problem facing a victim, and this stage is characterized by irritability, lack of interest, apprehension, psycho-motor retardation and confusion. Once this point is reached, the ultimate consequence may be death.

So, according to Leach, one key to a “survival state-of-mind” is to be prepared and confident that you can handle an emergency. This brings up another deadly behavior pattern: lack of preparation. People don’t prepare for emergencies (see denial), Leach writes, for three reasons: Planning is inconvenient, preparations may be costly and an ingrained folk myth says to prepare for a disaster is to encourage it.

This is all too common in Central Oregon.

Last November, I was at Swampy Lakes snow park near Bend, getting ready for a snowshoe trek. An older couple pulled up next to me, tourists, apparently, from the looks of their inappropriate clothing and rental equipment. They had no survival gear of any kind that I could see.

They struggled to put their snowshoes on, then asked if there were any maps around. I gave them one of mine, and offered to orient it for them with my compass.

They declined.

They also didn’t want the book of matches and a packet of firestarter I tried to give them. And here comes the quote that keeps the Search And Rescue teams busy:

“We’re just going out for quick outing,” the lady said. “We’re not going to do any of that wilderness survival stuff.”

…And she was absolutely right.

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10 Survival Kit Items Every Pet Owner Needs

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10 Survival Kit Items Every Pet Owner Needs

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Your family’s safety may be foremost in your disaster preparedness, but remember that your pet is a family member, too — with a different set of needs.

So, make an emergency kit for your pet. The following items should be at the top of the list:

1. Sufficient supply of water

The importance of having sufficient water on board cannot be overstressed, especially with pets around. Since they do not understand the need for conserving water, and cannot express their needs verbally, they may become cranky when the normal amount of water is not available to them. If you usually keep a bowl of water around for the pet to drink at will, the absence of the same can be unsettling for it. Moreover, it’s always more dangerous to ration the drinking water for animals than for people, because the signs of dehydration are less noticeable in them.

2. Pet food

Whether it is a cat, dog, rabbit, etc., your pet should have a good supply of its regular food in the emergency kit. In addition to the regular food, for pet dogs especially, you should stock up on special treats that are reserved for rewarding good behavior during dog training. It will help them adjust to the new situation faster. Also, have a mix of wet and dry food. Wet foods are particularly useful in case you are running low on water, as they will mitigate dehydration to some extent. If your pet is accustomed to canned food, then you should buy single-serve cans to avoid unnecessary food waste. You may have power disruption, or may not even have access to a refrigerator!

3. Veterinary drugs and first-aid

Many drugs meant for people may be safely given in lower doses to pets in an emergency, but it is far from ideal. There’s a high probability of pets getting hurt when natural disasters strike. You should carry a few common drugs, such as analgesics, for relieving pain, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to reduce inflammation resulting from minor injuries.

Re-Charge Your Laptop And Nearly Everything Else With The New Pocket Power X!

If your pet is on prescription drugs or if it has conditions requiring regular medication, it goes without saying that you should have a 2-4 weeks’ supply of those drugs. Your veterinarian may help you source them for your emergency kit.

4. Restraints and ropes

When animals are faced with disturbing circumstances, their responses are unpredictable. Even when their owners are around, they feel ill at ease in strange surroundings. After being confined to a room or the basement for long periods, they may run out the moment you open the door, quite unmindful of any dangers outside. You may have to keep them restrained at all times until normalcy is restored, or they may go and hide in inaccessible and dangerous places, or get lost. Leashes, halters or collars should be included in the emergency kit along with a long piece of rope.

5. Pet carriers

10 Survival Kit Items Every Pet Owner Needs

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Your pets may have to travel with you on different modes of transportation, including air travel, during an emergency evacuation. Having appropriate pet carriers such as crates or boxes at hand will make transfers smooth. In some cases, the pet may have to be taken to a veterinarian by rescue operators or admitted in a hospital for treatment.

6. ID tags and papers

At times of emergencies, we cannot always have our way. Whether you like it or not, your pet may be separated from you. You may be asked to house the pet in a rescue home with a number of other pets.

It is not rare for pets to get lost during an emergency. An ID tag on the dog and papers proving your ownership, including some pictures of you and the dog together, will greatly improve the chance of reuniting with a lost pet.

7. Medical records

Keeping a copy of your pet’s medical records will help it get the right medical treatment. If the dog has to undergo surgical procedures, a record of its health status is invaluable. Sometimes you may have to admit the pet in a shelter which insists on having all its animals vaccinated. Your assurance will not satisfy them, but the proof of vaccination in the pet’s medical records will.

8. Grooming kit

Whether you are cooped up in your basement or housed in a community shelter or a hotel room, your pet will be happier if you continue with the usual grooming routine. It might be feeling out of sorts with all the recent changes, but your attention can calm it and make it feel at home.

9. Sanitary kit

This kit should have the necessary items to keep the pet and the surroundings clean and sterile. All your housebreaking efforts and potty training are put to severe test at times like these. Even the most well-behaved pet can have plenty of accidents in strange surroundings. If your dog or cat has been trained to relieve themselves outside the home, and now they are cooped up indoors, what else can you expect?

Have a good supply of disposable gloves, poop bags and bins to keep the waste.

10. Bowls for food and water

People can eat and drink directly from tins, cans and pouches when necessary, but animals may not be able to do that. Have a set of bowls to serve your pet food and water. You can pack in collapsible dishes to save space, but ensure they are stable. You don’t want more messes to clean up on top of all other troubles.

What would you add to our list? Share your tips in the section below:

Learn How To ‘Live Off The Land’ With Just Your Gun. Read More Here.

Survival Kit for Not Quite the End of the World

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Written by Pat Henry on The Prepper Journal.

You can still have some level of preparedness without going to the lengths that some of us choose to do. Granted, you are only going to be as prepared as the level of time and energy you put into it, but something is better than nothing.

The post Survival Kit for Not Quite the End of the World appeared first on The Prepper Journal.

How To Make Chloroform For Survival

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Chloroform

You’ve likely watched many movies where chloroform is used to knock people out in order to kidnap them or disable them for some other reason.

It’s definitely good for that, but subversive maneuvers isn’t what it was originally made for. Originally it was used as an anesthetic to knock people out for surgery.

Sounds like a handy thing to have in your supplies, right? The problem is that you can’t just walk into your local superstore and pick up a gallon of it from the shelf beside the milk. You can, however, make your own.

Chloroform, whether pharmaceutical grade or homemade, is lethal in the wrong hands. Don’t use it without training!

That being said, if you have a medically-trained person in your group, knowing how to make it can come in handy in a variety of ways. You can use it to anesthetize people for surgical procedures,  or to operate on animals for procedures such as castration. It’s also used in pesticides, disinfectants, dry cleaning solutions, photography development and refrigerators.

So, how can you make chloroform at home? Actually, it’s not that difficult – it involves two common household items – but it is a bit dangerous for both the patient and anybody within several feet of it.

There are actually a few different ways to make it, but keep in mind that this can very well kill the patient you are trying to save. Yes, I’ve already said that, but it bears repeating. Now, on to it.

Gather Your Ingredients

You know all those warnings you’ve heard about mixing your cleaning products? Well there’s a good reason for them. When combined, certain chemicals such as bleach create toxic fumes such as chloroform (yes, I said TOXIC), hydrochloric acid, chloroacetone and other things you really don’t want to breathe.

Since we’re actually trying to make one of those chemicals, let’s proceed with it. Household bleach is your first ingredient. It needs to be at least 6 percent without any added ingredients. If you use a higher concentration, you’re going to need more ice, which I’ll explain in a second.

The second ingredient is used by most women for cosmetic purposes and by many men (and women) to shine their rides with an awesome paint job. Acetone, also known as finger nail polish remover or paint reducer. Be careful to read labels though, because these products aren’t always pure acetone, or even acetone at all. You can buy acetone in the cosmetics section of your local superstore and you can also buy it at most paint stores where it will probably be labeled simply as acetone.

The final ingredient is one that’s really tricky. You’ll actually have to walk all your way to the freezer for it. It’s ice.

So to recap, the ingredients you will need are: household bleach, acetone, ice.

Gather Your Equipment

  • You’re going to need a large glass container. HDPE buckets will work because the reagents won’t attack it, but you won’t be able to see the chloroform forming as well.
  • A separation funnel will be needed to separate the chloroform from the other ingredients. You can do it with other tools such as an eye dropper, but that’s a long row to hoe. You can get a separation funnel online for about $25.
  • A gas mask is highly recommended because of the risk of inhaling the fumes. You should make the chloroform in a well-ventilated area even if you’re using the mask. The vapors alone can make you nauseated, give you a headache or even make you pass out.
  • A stir stick will be necessary. Glass is, of course, the best tool for this job.

Make the Chloroform

I feel the need to warn you again to be careful. This isn’t something you should use as a family science experiment. If you’re ready to move ahead, gather your ingredients and equipment together in a well-ventilated area.

It’s best to start with the bleach and acetone chilled even if you’re using ice because the reaction will cause the mixture to heat up by at least 85 degrees. The higher concentrate bleach you use, the hotter it gets. The ratio for making chloroform needs to be 1 part acetone to 50 parts bleach. That’s 1 teaspoon of acetone per cup of bleach.

  • Place the bleach in the container, then add several ice cubes. Add the acetone and stir the mixture, or swirl it around if you’re using a vessel that allows you to do that without sloshing it out. If you’re using a high concentrate of bleach, i.e. 12 percent, add more ice.
  • Leave the mixture alone for 30 minutes to an hour so that the chemical reaction can develop and the mixture can cool. First you’ll notice a white cloud of vapor coming from the solution and the solution itself will become cloudy. You don’t want to breathe this! You’ll also be able to see a white residue, powder, or bubble forming on the bottom. That’s the chloroform.
  • After the hour is up and the mixture is cool, gently pour most of the liquid off the top. Be careful to leave the chloroform on the bottom.
  • Once you’ve gotten most of the liquid out, transfer the rest to your separation funnel. Let it settle, then drain the chloroform out, leaving behind the water.

You’ll yield around 50-70 percent of your starting material volume in chloroform.

At this point, the chloroform is created but if you’re going to use it on people, or animals for that matter, it needs to be distilled in order to purify it. Obviously, you’ll need a distiller for that.

Video first seen on: Magneto!

Other Ingredients to Combine

If you have a copper still (and who doesn’t?) laying around, this is the way to distill your chloroform into liquid. You can use the ingredients listed above or you can use 4 parts of bleaching powder (32.5-34.5 percent), 3 parts 96% alcohol, and 13 parts water.

The actual distillation process for this is lengthy and requires several different steps. It’s not particularly viable for the average person, but I wanted to make you aware of it.

Because chloroform, either pharmaceutical grade or homemade, is thought to be carcinogenic, is dangerous to use and make, and doesn’t have much of a shelf life, it may not be your best option for use in a survival situation. Topical analgesics or oral pain meds may be the better option. Shoot, even doing it like they did in the Wild West is a better option – take a shot of liquor til you feel no pain.

Seriously, chloroform is nothing to fool around with. If you want to make it at home, now you know how but do so with care. Your life, or the life of the person you administer it to, will depend upon it.

If you have ever made chloroform or have anything to add, please feel free to do so in the comments section below.

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Prepare, practice these tips to keep kids safe outdoors

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In an instant, the backpacking trip in Idaho’s Sawtooth Mountains turned from an idyllic family outing to every parent’s nightmare.

By Leon Pantenburg

One moment, my son Daniel, 16 months old at the time, was playing around the campsite. In the next, despite the close supervision of four adults, he had vanished.

Though warmly dressed, this youngster would be hard to find if she got lost in the winter woods. Her clothing blends in with the surroundings and there is no whistle attached to her coat.

The adults immediately split up to search for Dan. I sprinted back down to the lake, while my wife, Debbie, ran the other way, up the hill. Out of the corner of her eye, Debbie caught a flash of Dan’s bright red jacket as he disappeared over the rise. She collared the would-be wanderer, who thought the chase was part of a game.

We took my oldest son, Dan, on his first backpacking trip when he was five months old. Debbie carried him and all the paraphernalia associated with an infant, and I carried all the camping gear.  When my brother, Mike, went backpacking with us, he and I would split the weight up. We didn’t go far, but we still managed to get back into the mountains, away from most of the crowds.

Infants are easy to take along, as long as you have properly prepared their gear. They can’t wander off, and a tarp in the sunlight, along with some favorite toys, quickly turns them into happy campers. And talk about fantastic  memories!

The difficulty starts when kids reach the toddler stage and before they’re old enough to go to kindergarten. Kids in this age group have boundless energy and curiosity, no concept of danger, and a near suicidal lack of  common sense. By the time children reach kindergarten age, they are generally considered old enough to be taught. But if you’re taking a little kid into the backcountry, plan on spending all your time on full alert.

Here are some steps to make your child as safe as possible, and outing preparation should start long before you arrive at the trailhead. These tips have worked well with all three of my children:

* Always dress kids in bright clothing. Soft, muted earth tones or black or white jackets are like camouflage, and the youngsters should be highly visible at all times. You may want to take along some fluorescent duct tape and/or flagging and attach it to the youngsters so they will be even more visible. ALL FLORESCENT FLAGGING TAPE

* Permanently attach a whistle on their coats or somewhere it won’t be lost. Explain that the whistle is always to be carried with them and only used if they get separated. Fox 40 Pearl Safety – Pink

* Teach them (and practice) the drumming game: Teach the child that if separated from the group, find a tree and a stick and start hitting it to make noise. Blow the whistle as part of the game.

* The usual rules about not talking to strangers are suspended if the child gets lost in the wilderness. Explain that there will be many nice people trying to help find him or her, and these searchers will know the child’s name. You don’t want the child hiding from rescuers. Re-enforce this idea as you hike, so they don’t forget.

* Keep them hydrated and fed, even if separated from you: Dehydration in the wilderness is a danger to anyone. For youngsters, especially, it can be deadly. My kids each had a bladder-style hydration system, which work well. CamelBak Skeeter Kid’s Hydration Pack The novelty of  being able to drink out of a drinking tube, and the fact that the system was carried like a backpack, means the child probably won’t lose their water.  If the child is lost, it may take several hours to find them, and they will need to drink. It’s also a good idea to put snacks in the backpack part of the bladder backpack, so the child learns to look there for food. Clif Kid Zbar Variety Pack – 8 Chocolate Chip, 8 Chocolate Brownie and 8 Honey Graham per Box

Here are some child safety recommendations from Deschutes County (Oregon) Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue:

* Everybody stays together.

* Teach the children that if they get lost or separated, to sit down, stay put, drink water and eat their snacks.

* Look bigger for searchers: Your waiting space, if possible, should be near an open space. Blow your whistle if you hear or see anybody!

* Don’t lie down on bare ground.

* Stay away from large rivers and lakes.

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PrepperCon 2016: Why To Attend?

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preppercon

PrepperCon 2016 promises the celebrity speakers, classes, vendors and attractions that one might expect from one of the nation’s (which means the world’s) largest survival expo’s, but with creative and competitive twists.

This year’s PrepperCon features a number of competitions to hone survival skills and keep emergency preparedness fun. Events such as a Fear Factor-style competitive eating of taboo survival food sources, a knife fighting tournament, a prepper chef cook-off and archery tag.

I attended PrepperCon 2015, which I reviewed for Survivopedia readers. I learned (while being interviewed on a live and archived PrepperCon Radio show) that PrepperCon’s CEO read my review of the 2015 Expo and took some feedback into consideration for this show.

When I review something, I have to do so critically and honestly. Even if that something is great, like the 2015 show was, know that I will still let you know what could have been better. I will keep that in mind as I critique the 2016 show.

Celebrities

This year’s celebs are:

  • Kyle Bell and his son Ben from the survival TV Show “Mountain Men”
  • David Holladay has trained many of the primitive survival reality TV stars you likely watch now has his own show, “No Man’s Land” on the History Channel. I never thought I’d see him on a show because he has never been one to seek fame, is wise and has no doubt heard his students’ war stories of producers pressuring them to do things no one in their right mind would do, but the History Channel seems to be a very different channel form NatGeo and I can’t imagine R. Lee Ermey taking any crap from them, so I guess I can see that. David is one of the granddaddies of the primitive survival movement and one of the “Three Musketeers” who founded the Boulder Outdoor Survival School. The man is a world class primitive skills instructor who really lives the life.
  • Doomsday Preppers: Tim Ralston, Braxton Southwick and Becky Brown – Last year, Becky commented on how NatGeo tried to cast her as a “crazy prepper.” Tim has come up with some notable inventions and innovations including the Crovel tool and the very cool survival model Motoped. Braxton has authored two books on survival and has been working the morning radio show circuit.
  • America 2016 Julie Elizabeth Harman, the official PrepperCon spokesmodel

Attractions

Last year’s event was creative with a survival fashion show, and costume events that you would expect to see at ComicCon, the comic industry event that helped inspire PrepperCon.

PrepperCon 2016 promises to be no less creative, with attractions I have not yet seen at other survival shows so I’ll give them high marks for originality. Now we will have to see how well they are able to execute these ideas and how they are accepted by the preppers who attend.

Attractions are slated to include:

  • Home Invasion Training House
  • Prepper’s Choice Survival Food Tasting Table
  • National Guard Rock Wall
  • Children’s Tsunami tank where kids can see how earthquakes generate waves
  • Hurricane simulator where you can experience category 3 winds

Education

Classes will cover some 35 survival and emergency preparedness subjects, covering a surprising spectrum topics. I will be among them, in an EMP Survival Q&A where a crowd will batter me questions about EMP survival for an hour beginning at 2:00pm on Friday. If you can’t come or miss my class, email at editor@survivopedia.com and I would be happy to answer your EMP survival questions too.

Survivopedia for PrepperCon 2016

Attendees have to buy a ticket to get in, but once they do, most of the classes are free … mine included. Check the website for other classes though because some classes, such as concealed firearm permit courses, have to charge fees and limit the number of students.

Competitions

The spirit of competition is apparently alive and well in Utah, because several of the events are competitive in nature. There is nothing wrong with getting the blood pumping at an expo. I am curious to see how these work out and what the participation level is.

  • Taboo survival food eating competition with David Holladay
  • Knife Fighting Tournament
  • Archery Tag Shooting Range
  • Prepper Chef Cook-off

Vendors

Vendors fill the balance of any exposition and far more registered this year than last year.

I am glad to hear that because the vendors provide a lot of value for attendees and it is a sign that both the survival/self-reliance movement and the market that it drives are health and growing. Many businesses provide deep discounts and giveaways at survival expos so they are an important draw.

As the survival industry grows, who knows … maybe YOU too can “fire your boss and give yourself a raise” and work at something you are passionate about. It is a risk to turn your hobby into a business, but it is enabling many preppers to realize dreams of relocation into a simpler and better life.

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Restraint Escape Carry: 16 Ways To Go Undetected

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SVP big REK

Having an escape plan is a basic tenant of survival. While a prepper’s escape plan is often a good indicator of his overall state of preparedness, carrying a restraint escape kit doesn’t make him an evasion artist any more than owning a first aid kit makes him a physician.

The restraint escape kit is one facet of an escape plan, which is part of a survival plan that includes preparation, skills, training, planning, awareness and fitness in each of the basic areas of life. Knowing how to use and carry it, is another part of the deal. 

You already know about the Survival Sensei Restraint Escape Kit from my previous article on Survivopedia about restraint escape kits. SS REK is a kit that I’ve designed to address shortcomings in commercially available kits, and now I’m going to tell you more about how to (and how not to) carry restraint escape gear.

Stay tuned, more is still to come about techniques specific to escape and evasion.

What Not To Do

Many vendors designing and selling restraint escape gear should know better than to hide it in wallets, glue it under a Rolex, attach it to or carry it in anything you are likely to be unceremoniously relieved of when mugged, much less abducted.

Unfortunately, some vendors are more interested in moving product than in your well-being, which is unacceptable. Some of the good guys currently teaching restraint escape are failing to think like bad guys. Police officers and soldiers may not be interested in taking your watch or wallet from you, but criminals are.

Some criminal organizations in the business of kidnapping strip victims down to their underwear and/or take their footwear once they are transported to a site where they can be held. Victims not ransomed are sometimes killed, sometimes prostituted and sometimes sold. The stupid and lazy criminal is a stereotype Hollywood uses to entertain and parents use to get young children to sleep.

Now that you know how a criminal acts, avoid these places to put your restraint escape gear unless you want it discovered and taken at the outset of the ordeal:

  • Wallet
  • Survival kit (Even a small kit is a target if stored in your clothing or worse yet, in or attached to a bag.)
  • Fake credit card
  • Watch band or under the watch (Especially an expensive watch. I have had watches as cheap as $15 stolen right off my arm.)
  • In jewelry that someone in a hurry could imagine to be of value
  • Bag or pack
  • Behind a badge, in a badge wallet or ID
  • In or attached to a gun belt or load bearing equipment
  • Bundled together or packed together in a Kit bulky enough to be found in a pat down and carried from the skin out.

The Balance Between Ideal and Convenient Carry

I carry restraint escape gear daily, so I understand the need to balance best practices with convenience. A REK or PSK (Personal Survival Kit) is not going to do you any good unless you have it when you need it.

People tend to leave gear behind if it is inconvenient to carry, so some degree of bundling of gear may be necessary in order to have the tools on hand that are necessary for you to escape the restraints most likely to be used on you.

If you decide to carry it all together in a single kit, justifying that you won’t carry it otherwise, at least consider carrying it in a kit that you can stash under layers of clothing, cheek, tape or deep carry in the event that your situation becomes dire and you have time to do so. I do not recommend planning on having time to hide RE gear at the last moment, because it may be too late by the time you realize that you need to do so.

If you are unlawfully restrained, it is unlikely that you will know beforehand what type of restraints will be used or in what position you will be restrained. If you are restrained with your hands in back and the tools you need are in front, you won’t be able to reach them and vice versa.

You need to be able to reach your tools whether your hands are in front of you or behind you. This can be accomplished by carrying two sets of tools, carrying them on your wrist, hands or feet, tying them to a cord that circles your waist, wearing them so they can be lowered or dropped into your hand, and so on.

It doesn’t matter how you do it. It only matters that the method is effective when you need it to be.

Carry For Your Environment

In jurisdictions or situations where the danger of being searched is high and/or the consequences of being caught carrying RE gear are severe, then carry everyday objects that can be quickly modified to serve the same purpose, e.g. mini binder clips can be carried as money clips and the handles used in place of handcuff keys.

RE Tool Substitutes

If you have long enough hair, wear hair clips and bobby pins.

RE Tools Made From Everyday Objects

In deciding on what to carry, this is what you must take into consideration:

  • Am I in a permissive or non-permissive environment? What are the risks and my exposure to those risks if I am caught with RE gear? What is my risk and exposure if I don’t carry RE gear and I end up needing it? Are there laws that apply to RE gear in the jurisdictions I will travel through?
  • Who are my potential enemies? What are their MO’s, motivations and capabilities? e.g. in one part of the world I frequent, a common method of murder is to bind the victim and tape a plastic bag over the head of the victim. It’s cheap, convenient, relatively quiet and doesn’t make a big bloody mess. It’s also a death you just might be able to escape if you are aware of the threat and properly trained and equipped.

Carry Options for Restraint Escape Gear

Carry options are only limited by imagination. Any given method is only effective with gear of the right size and shape, so I modify my RE gear to be adaptable to a great number of carry options, some of which are:

Elastic Loop Carry

The RE Modules can be folded in half and carried in elastic handcuff key loops sewn on many belts designed for concealed carry. The elastic loop also serves as the belt’s tag.

Elastic Loop Carry

This method is convenient in that your belt can be moved to whatever clothing you are wearing that day without having to move the tools. You can also sew elastic webbing loops onto other belts you own or even some articles of clothing. If you do, use a slightly wider elastic loop which enables you to store the kit laid flat. This makes the kit more difficult to detect in a pat down.

SERE Belt Carry

Laid flat, both RE Modules, the E&E Module, money, a friction saw and a couple of last ditch ingestible items all fit in mine without any noticeable bulges and room to spare.

The Black Ops by Oscar Delta is the best design I have found to date because it constructed like a taco that closes at the top with a thin strip of Velcro. This makes it easy to retrieve tools from the belt without dropping them.

SERE Belt Carry

The belt looks like a high quality version of countless other web belts and does not have a paramilitary look to it or the gimmicky molded buckles used to hide gear that are common.

Suspended Carry

It’s not cheap to buy a restraint escape kit and have it sewn in to each article of clothing you own, but it is affordable to add “suspender buttons” to your trousers and shorts so you can hang tools by a Kevlar thread/trip line for retrieval.

Suspended and Fly Button Carry

The line serves double duty as a lanyard for small tools to prevent them from being dropped out of reach into the dark by hands that are cold, wet, muddy, sweaty, bloody and/or injured.

You will most likely be operating at significantly less than 100% due to a mix of fear, fatigue, stress, pain, hunger, thirst or exposure. With this method, only two sets of RE tools (one accessible in front and one in back) are necessary since they can be moved each time you change clothing.

Hang tools so they lay behind reinforced areas of clothing like the flies, seams, tags, etc. and in areas that don’t typically get touched in a pat down.

Safety Pin Carry

Low tech and simple are often underrated these days. All modules of the SS REK come with a subdued safety pin to affix them inside. Most kits worth carrying can be adapted for this method with a safety pin, a little Gorilla tape and/or vinyl tape and a hole punch.

Safety Pin Carry

Safety pins are also useful tools in their own right. The inside of your underwear is one of few places your gear is likely to go unnoticed if you are forced to strip down to your drawers and change clothing, which is SOP for some organizations.

Fly Button Carry

Like a suspender button, you can loop a thread or cord over the button of button fly trousers. This is also a popular carry method for Go Tubes or Stash Tubes and an RE Module and most of the E&E Module or up to $1000 US in a 2.6″ tube using this method.

Under Tag Carry

RE modules are small enough to fit under the tags of some clothing brands. It is hard to feel tools underneath semi-rigid leather tags and it is a small matter to remove a tag from one article of a clothing to another.
Moleskin or Band Aid Carry

You can stash a cuff key and/or shim under a patch of Moleskin, Molefoam, a Band-aid or similar dressing from your First Aid Kit before going into a high threat situation. Make it look real and use the flattest cuff key possible. The E&E portion of the kit includes an extra pocket for a handcuff key modified for flat storage.

Moleskin or Band-aid Carry

Using bandages, medical devices, casts and even surgical implantation is a method of smuggling that enjoys a long and storied history including the famous Lincoln assassination, but Ed Calderone (Ed’s Manifesto, Libre Fighting Systems, TAD Black Box Course) arrived at the idea independently and would like to receive credit for it.

Considering his contributions to the field, I would be the last person to deprive him of that. (Well … that and the fact I don’t want to get hung on a meat hook and used as flesh piñata for one of his Black Box courses) … so, “Great job Ed!” : )

Patch Carry

The SS REK is sized to fit under Velcro flag patches on uniforms and in Velcro Covert Patch Pouches which are carried underneath a flag patch or on top of the Velcro on uniforms and hats and have an interior pocket to hide REK or E&E gear on a uniform, hat or anything else with a flag patch.

Flag Patch Carry

Smuggler’s Underwear

There are several brands of underwear on the market that have stash pouches designed into them. They range from hidden secret pockets to just well-placed pockets.

Travel Boxers

I travel to places where armed robberies are common enough that anybody who is streetwise carries an old cellphone in their hand or pocket in public and carries their newest phone in their underwear.

If it is so common why does it work? Probably because typical MO is that criminals will board a bus, one puts a pistol to the driver’s head and the other goes down the bus with a bag and a handgun telling everyone one to drop their wallet and their phone in the bag. If you don’t comply, they shoot you in the face and move on.

The laws are so easy on minors that in many countries that it’s mostly minors doing the robberies. In this case, the criminals are young, scared, in a hurry and don’t have time to search people … even foreigners. You need to stay situationally aware. That means understanding your enemies, their motivations, their situation, their capabilities and the same for yourself.

Jewelry or Accessory Carry

Escape kits or tools can be built into necklaces, earrings, hair clips, eye or sun glasses, bracelets, rings or any other accessory. To be effective, you want to avoid: looking like an escape tool, the appearance of being valuable, looking paramilitary in nature or standing out in any way.

Jewelry or Accessory Carry

Objects that look common, worthless and benign are more likely to be overlooked, but even this depends on the knowledge of your captor, how much of a hurry they are in, at what point you are in the abduction process and so on.

Objects hidden in plain sight are most useful immediately after capture or during transportation because they will likely be found later on.

Shoelace Carry

Most shoes come with a built-in friction saw in the form of shoelaces. Depending on the material use to restrain you, your shoe laces may work as a friction saw in a pinch, but it’s a simple matter to replace factory shoelaces with heat resistant, high strength, abrasion resistant cordage. A friction saw is a piece of cordage with loops tied on the ends and work similar to a wire survival saw.

Sheathed Kevlar Shoe Laces

The saw is threaded through restraints, you put your feet through the loops and use a bicycling motion to cut through restraints by generating heat. This technique can be used to cut para cord without a knife by using the cord to cut itself.

Friction saws are effective against duct tape, zip ties, rope or Zip Cuffs, but you may need to use a handcuff shim, bobby pin or other object to thread the saw between the bindings and your skin if it is tight. Tying a knot in the center will give the saw extra bite to cut rope made of natural fibers but knots are less effective when cutting synthetics.

Para cord works, gives you a source of cordage and comes in so many colors that it’s not difficult to find one that looks normal on boots, but Technora and Kevlar look less para military and are more resistant to heat. Sheathed Kevlar looks sharp on dress shoes. Just cut the cordage to length, burn the ends and add some aglets or improvise a pair from clear tape for a temporary, field expedient solution.

Shoelace Handcuff Key

At least one model of handcuff key is made to be crimped onto a shoelace in place of an aglet, hiding in plain sight.

Shoe Carry

Placing escape gear on the feet, or in footwear solves the problem of accessing a tool whether you are restrained with your hands in front or in back. Footwear often has complex lines, taped seams, insoles, soles and heels, making them a favorite of smugglers for hiding small objects.

Tools hidden in footwear are best used early on in the ordeal because captives are often relieved of their footwear at some point, but some of the best opportunities to escape often occur shortly after capture or during transportation. In some cases, abductees have been forced to give up their shoes but allowed to keep their socks.

Caching

At some point, it may be to your advantage to cache RE gear. You need to have RE gear on your person to start out with, but many escape tools are tiny so it is not unreasonable to carry a little extra. You will not likely be able to cache gear in the van used to abduct you ahead of time, but what about the trunk of your own car? Kids fatally trap themselves in car trunks often enough that interior trunk releases are now mandatory, but older vehicles don’t typically have them, they can be disabled and your chances of escape improve if you have freed yourself from restraints prior to opening the trunk and making a break for it.

Hiding an RE Module, a light source and a side arm in your car trunk can improve your chances of survival should you be stuffed into the trunk of your own vehicle by an opportunistic criminal who has underestimated you.

In the US, if a criminal armed with a handgun attempts to transport you, the chances the motive is robbery are almost nil and your chances of survival after being restrained and transported drop to single digits without an RE kit. Your chances are statistically far better if you fight and run … but this is only in the US and you have to make the call based on the circumstances and your abilities or lack thereof.

Percentage-wise, even if you are shot with a handgun during the escape attempt, you are 5 to 6 times more likely to survive than if you allow yourself to be bound or cuffed and put inside a vehicle. Given the opportunity, you may decide to cache some of the RE gear you carry or have obtained during the ordeal to prevent its discovery.

A glue dot or a little tape can help you seemingly defy the laws of physics to cache RE tools or hide them in a search of your person. Methods as simple as taping the kit to the bottom of a foot have escaped detection and enabled successful escapes.

It is also a sound practice to cache resources to aid in self recovery including backup RE gear in your area of operations. If you do manage to escape, it will likely be with precious few resources and stealing or using social engineering to get what you need can increase risk of recapture. Putting caches in place can be a simple insurance policy. Caches can be simple and inexpensive but need to be accessible 24/7/365 without anyone taking notice or being able to trace the cache back to you by any means if discovered.

Cheeking

Given the opportunity, you may be able to sneak a tool into your mouth. A slim shim is easiest. Definitely wouldn’t try for more than a handcuff Key and a bobby pin unless you are a magician and have gone so far as to make a dental prosthesis or have a flap surgically installed in your mouth. Like most techniques cheeking effectively takes practice.

Ingestion

Swallowing items for later retrieval is another option if capture is imminent, but the technique is dangerous, so you should make a risk-reward assessment according to your circumstances.

Candidates for swallowing are small non-ferrous, non-magnetic objects without any sharp edges making them less likely to damage the GI tract or get stuck in it which may require medical intervention to remove. The best candidate is a plastic hideout cuff key compatible with a reach around tool such as a bobby pin which should not be swallowed. Small button compasses have been swallowed by pilots and some instructors will tell you to do it, but that is risk-reward call.

I would absolutely not swallow a magnet or pairs of powerful rare earth magnets like I carry to use as a general direction compass by placing it on a small non-ferrous float or suspending it from a thread to point to magnetic North.

Once a magnet makes it’s way into the intestine it can attach to another magnet or a ferrous object, pinching off the intestine or the blood flow to an intestine which can be fatal. If either of the objects have a sharp edge or there is a small metal object such as a tiny flake of metal from grinding an object or using flint and steel in your GI tract, it could perforate your intestine.

Body Cavity Carry

This carry method is common enough that every culture seems to have it’s own euphemisms for carrying gear in the rectal cavity, the colon or any other body cavities you may happen to possess.

I get that this is not a topic for polite conversation or one where you are going to want to put in a lot of “range time” and is dangerous, but it is something people at risk should be aware of, should they find themselves in a desperate situation requiring such extreme measures. This technique is somewhat taboo to discuss, unpleasant to think about and surely more unpleasant to do … especially in situations where the pucker factor is so high you could scant drive a toothpick betwixt your cheeks with a sledge hammer.

Unfortunately, survival often entails going outside comfort zones and getting past cultural taboos. Ingestion and rectal insertion are dangerous and I certainly do not advocate this as an EDC method, but I did take this into consideration the design process.

Body Cavity Carry

This carry method typically involves placing the items to be carried inside a stash tube which is hidden in the rectum. The tube should made of a materials that are at short term biocompatible (at minimum), be as small as possible and free of any sharp edges.

It is possible pack a kit in a tight bundle without any sharp edges and tie it inside a condom. Obviously form factor and minimalism are of utmost importance here so an Altoids tin probably isn’t going to be a good candidate.

According to Don Rearic’s research on the topic, at least one desperate prisoner carried a small stash tube for 15 years or more, carrying it high enough in the colon to not be found in cavity searches. The SS REK is small enough that most of it can be packed into a stash tube and keistered for later retrieval.

The longer a stash is carried, the larger it is and the less biocompatible it is, the greater the danger will be to your health and the greater chance of discovery will be. See above for why a magnet and a ferrous object or more than one magnet in your GI tract can be fatal.

Disclaimer from the Author

This topic may hurt some feelings and make some of you sad or otherwise uncomfortable. Even for the rest of you, it will take many of you outside your comfort zone. I try to keep my material family-friendly and generally positive … not Pollyanna positive, but optimism, proactivity and courage save far more lives than reactivity, negativity and fear mongering.

Restraint Escape is about improving your chances to survive certain harsh realities of the world we live in, so if you are a child or emotionally fragile, please stop reading and get parental consent or guidance before continuing. Survival and restraint escape involve tools and techniques that are dangerous, may be illegal in some jurisdictions and which can get you killed if misapplied.

The author of this article is not a physician or a lawyer. This material is not presented as legal counsel or medical advice and is not intended to encourage or train the reader for any criminal activity. The author’s intent is to make readers aware of information that criminals already know in order to better protect themselves and save lives. The author does not advocate attempting to escape legal restraint or arrest by law enforcement. Attempting to escape legal restraint by a police officer is a quick way turn a misunderstanding or lesser crime into a felony or possibly even a funeral.

But still remember that anarchy and disaster don’t follow the rules, and the skills that you have will be your only mean of survival.

BPHcover1

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

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9 Life-Saving Survival Uses For Basic, Ordinary Dental Floss

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9 Life-Saving Survival Uses For Basic, Ordinary Dental Floss

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While packing your survival kit, weight is a major concern. Fortunately, you can lighten the load significantly by carrying small and lightweight but very versatile items that fulfill a number of different survival purposes. Dental floss is one of those items. After reading this article, you’ll hopefully feel compelled to include at least a couple of packs of dental floss in your kit.

Here are nine important survival uses for dental floss:

1. Tripwire. Wrap a few strands of dental floss together to make it tighter, and then string it around some trees at about knee height. The thinness of the floss should cause it to blend in nicely, and any intruders who try to invade your area will be in for a surprise.

2. Tourniquet. If you have nothing else available, dental floss can be used as a tourniquet in order to slow the bleeding from an open wound.

New Water Filter Fits In Your Purse And Removes 100 Percent Of Water-Borne Bacteria!

3. Stitches. A second medical application for dental floss is to use it to stich. Open wounds are a major threat in any survival situation, and it’s important that you close the wound off after you’ve stopped the bleeding with a tourniquet. Dental floss can do the trick.

4. Clothesline. If you string dental floss between two separate trees, it can be used as a clothesline for lighter articles of clothing such as socks and light shirts. It is possible for it to hold up heavier articles of clothing such as jackets or pants, but only as long as you wrap multiple strands of it tightly together.

9 Life-Saving Survival Uses For Basic, Ordinary Dental Floss

Image source: Pixabay.com

5. Spear making. Dental floss can be used to tie your knife around a pole or branch to make a spear for hunting, fishing and self-defense purposes.

6. Fishing line. Since we just mentioned fishing, there’s another fishing purpose that dental floss fulfills as well: making a fishing pole. You can craft together an entire DIY fishing pole out of nothing more than a suitable branch, dental floss and a soda can tab for the fishing hook. At that point, all you need is the bait!

7. Rope. If you wrap multiple strands of dental floss tightly together, it will create a thin rope that can do almost anything rope can do. For example, sealing garbage bags and hanging items.

8. Shoelaces. It will be a real bummer if your shoelaces ever break while you’re out in the woods, but threaded dental floss is a near-perfect temporary solution that will work until you get replacement shoelaces.

9. Sewing. Last but certainly not least, a needle and floss can be used for nearly any kind of a sewing application. Whether it’s stitching ripped clothing back together, fashioning mosquito netting, or repairing tents or blankets, dental floss will be more than up to the task.

What survival uses for dental floss would you add to the list? Share your tips in the section below:

There’s A Trick To Navigating Federal And State Gun Regulations. Read More Here.

8 Life-Saving Survival Uses For Basic, Ordinary Dental Floss

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http://www.offthegridnews.com/extreme-survival/8-life-saving-survival-uses-for-basic-ordinary-dental-floss/

Image source: wikimedia

While packing your survival kit, weight is a major concern. Fortunately, you can lighten the load significantly by carrying small and lightweight but very versatile items that fulfill a number of different survival purposes. Dental floss is one of those items. After reading this article, you’ll hopefully feel compelled to include at least a couple of packs of dental floss in your kit.

Here are nine important survival uses for dental floss:

1. Tripwire. Wrap a few strands of dental floss together to make it tighter, and then string it around some trees at about knee height. The thinness of the floss should cause it to blend in nicely, and any intruders who try to invade your area will be in for a surprise.

New Water Filter Fits In Your Purse And Removes 100 Percent Of Water-Borne Bacteria!

2. Stitches. A second medical application for dental floss is to use it to stitch. Open wounds are a major threat in any survival situation, and it’s important that you close the wound off after you’ve stopped the bleeding with a tourniquet. Dental floss can do the trick.

3. Clothesline. If you string dental floss between two separate trees, it can be used as a clothesline for lighter articles of clothing such as socks and light shirts. It is possible for it to hold up heavier articles of clothing such as jackets or pants, but only as long as you wrap multiple strands of it tightly together.

http://www.offthegridnews.com/extreme-survival/8-life-saving-survival-uses-for-basic-ordinary-dental-floss/

Image source: Pixabay.com

4. Spear making. Dental floss can be used to tie your knife around a pole or branch to make a spear for hunting, fishing and self-defense purposes.

5. Fishing line. Since we just mentioned fishing, there’s another fishing purpose that dental floss fulfills as well: making a fishing pole. You can craft together an entire DIY fishing pole out of nothing more than a suitable branch, dental floss and a soda can tab for the fishing hook. At that point, all you need is the bait!

6. Rope. If you wrap multiple strands of dental floss tightly together, it will create a thin rope that can do almost anything rope can do. For example, sealing garbage bags and hanging items.

7. Shoelaces. It will be a real bummer if your shoelaces ever break while you’re out in the woods, but threaded dental floss is a near-perfect temporary solution that will work until you get replacement shoelaces.

8. Sewing. Last but certainly not least, a needle and floss can be used for nearly any kind of a sewing application. Whether it’s stitching ripped clothing back together, fashioning mosquito netting, or repairing tents or blankets, dental floss will be more than up to the task.

What survival uses for dental floss would you add to the list? Share your tips in the section below:

There’s A Trick To Navigating Federal And State Gun Regulations. Read More Here.

Emergency Evacuation Kit

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Emergency Evacuation Kit

 

Lets talk about why you need to know how to make an evacuation kit. Everyone is at risk for emergency evacuations due to some type of disaster. The two main reasons you will need to evacuate your home are due to floods and wildfires. Now, before you dismiss this article or think that you are not at risk just take a few minutes read through this and view the risk area maps below. Evacuation kits are easy to make and relatively affordable. You can even buy complete survival kits already put together for you.

Two weeks ago flood survival was receiving a lot of attention as several of the Southern States experienced massive flooding. Now we are looking at surviving wildfires as over 400,000 thousand acres of land has burned in Oklahoma and Kansas this past week. Crews are still battling the blaze that started almost a week ago.

This is just the beginning of the severe weather season and it is also the rainy season. More floods are sure to come and later in the year when the rain subsides there will be more wildfires. Almost every area in the U.S. is either prone to flooding or flash flooding and the same is true for wildfires. Some areas are definitely at a higher risk than others but no one is 100% safe. You may think you are safe from wildfires and floods but the truth is, even if they don’t effect your home directly, they can still cut you off from the rest of civilization by way of causing damage to or blocking roadways. Wildfires have a reputation for starting homes on fire that are miles away from the actual fire due to burning embers floating through the air and landing on or near the homes.

Flood Risk Map

Presidential disaster declarations related to flooding between 1965 and 2003, shown by county.
Red: four or more flood disaster declarations
Orange: three flood disaster declarations
Yellow: two flood disaster declarations
Green: one flood disaster declaration
Wildfire Risk Map (FEMA)
By reviewing the maps above it is evident that most of the country is at risk of flooding and more than half of the country is a risk for significant wildfires. So whether you are at risk for flooding, wildfires, or both; it would be wise to be prepared and have an emergency evacuation kit ready to go. If you don’t want to go through the trouble of making your own kit you can buy survival kits that already include the items you’ll need. Many kits have extra room for you to add additional items like a spare change of clothes, personal hygiene products, and other items to customize the kit to fit your needs.

How to Make an Evacuation Kit

Simply find a duffle bag or a large backpack and fill it with items needed for basic survival. Remember, room is limited and you are preparing for “Survival” and not for comfort. The space inside your bag/backpack is extremely valuable – so fill it wisely. Create a customized evacuation kit for each member of the family.

What to include in your Evacuation Kit:

– Backpack or Duffle Bag
– Bottled Water and/or a Water Filtration Kit or Water Purification Tablets
– Long Term Food Items (dehydrated or freeze dried food, granola or cereal bars, peanuts, beef jerky, snack items, etc.)
– Reliable Fire Starting Materials
– Small Camp Stove
– Cooking Vessel to boil water and to cook food in (small lightweight camping pot or stainless steel camping mug)
– Eating Utensils
– First Aid Kit
– 550 Cord or Rope
– Sharp Knife
– Wood Cutting Tool (Hatchet Axe, Small Machete, or Small Saw for chopping/cutting wood for fire or emergency shelter support.)
– Travel sized Personal Hygiene Items (tooth brush, tooth paste, deodorant, tampons/pads, shaving items, lotion, etc.)
– Trash Bags (for human waste, water/rain catch, moisture barrier, etc.)
– Baby Wipes / Biodegradable Camp Wipes for wipe down showers and for cleaning your self after using the restroom outdoors
– Sun Screen
– Insect Repellent
– Flashlight (rechargeable-by-hand are good so you don’t have to worry about batteries)
– AM/FM Radio (rechargeable-by-hand so you don’t have to worry about batteries)
– Flares (use for rescue signaling and for starting fires)
– Kem Lights / Glow Sticks
– Cell phone charging pack or solar charger
– Waterproof case for your cell phone
– Extra Cash
– Change of Clothes (Include tennis shoes in the event you have to walk a long distance, include a couple pairs of cotton sport socks to keep your feet clean and dry – don’t use ankle socks. Keeping your feet healthy and dry is a must if you need to walk a long distance for any reason.)

About the Author:  Darren Gaebel is a U.S. Army Veteran and has a decade of experience with natural disasters as a catastrophe claims adjuster. During Darren’s catastrophe experience he has seen the toll it takes on families who are unprepared. For this reason he created this blog to help educate and spread awareness for disaster preparedness. Darren also created UrgentSurvival.com to provide a way for individuals, families, and disaster relief organizations to have access to a stress free solution for getting prepared.  A portion of all proceeds from the website are donated to non-profit disaster relief organizations.

The post Emergency Evacuation Kit appeared first on American Preppers Network.

The Ultimate Survival Kit!

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The Ultimate Survival Kit

The Ultimate Survival Kit prepared-school safety“Be prepared for the worst,” this is what we hear every day but look around- are you really prepared? If tomorrow a disaster strikes or a war breaks out, is your survival plan set? Most of us do not even know where to begin with! Preparing for the worst is very scary. Start with the basics then; make your own survival kit. You never know how seconds can change your life, hence start preparing.

Survival is only possible when you know you can handle yourself in such consequences. When you believe in yourself. This belief comes from the mental and physical preparation. How to mentally prepare yourself, start with the following:

  • To make sure you are capable enough start with some form of physical exercise and build it up to strength training. Jog and run so that your stamina can be built for such instances.
  • Self-defense is very important! Join martial arts classes where you can learn to fight. This will ensure that you can take care of yourself when things go wrong.
  • Moreover, learn to use a weapon. You may have to kill in order to protect yourself, thus master the art of using pocket knives and guns so that you do not feel weak in the moment.
  • Learn basics such as how to light a fire, how to set tents, how to hunt, how to fish, how to swim etc. These basics will give you confidence to survive what is coming forth towards you.
  • ­Survival also requires a calm mind, rationale thinking and quick decision making. Meditation helps a person to stay calm and composed and to think clearly. Try meditating twice or thrice a week so that you can practice the same when things get stressful. ­

While you are preparing yourself, start making a survival kit too! Survival pushes a person out of their comfort zone thus you cannot carry everything you own. Focus on what you need rather than what you want. The basic human needs to survive are food, water, clothing, shelter, weapons and medicine, this is how you will categorize the items that will make it to your survival kit.

Food: Make a food storage where food can be stored. Your survival kit should also have basic food supplies, and seasonings so that you can survive at least two weeks. Make sure that the food being stored has time to expire. Items such as vegetable powders, fruit powders, and dried food are available in the market. These products offer to be essentials during a survival situation. Moreover, carry match sticks to light fire, lighters, fishing rods and knives. You might have to hunt, set traps or learn about gathering, hence your survival kit should include products such as knives, wires, guns, that can help you with these acts.

3-18-16 2Water: Water is the basis of human survival. Human beings cannot survive three days without water. Your survival kit should include empty vessels and bottles that can store water for you. Keep extra water stored in your home fridges that can be picked and tossed in the kit when time comes. Also, keep water purification tablets in your survival kit as they can be helpful when you do not have a source of clean water around you.

Clothing: Having proper clothing on you is very essential. You cannot survive a cold winter night in a basic tee shirt! For your survival kit, your clothing has to be comfortable yet protective. Do not pack everything in your survival kit. Study the general climate of the region you reside in and pack clothes accordingly. For nights, keep some warm clothing because you never know how temperatures can change. Moreover, your shoes are very important! The right shoes can take you towards surviving. Shoes should be easy to walk in, protect you from the rain and sun and survive rough walks, wear and tear and different terrains. A good pair of sneakers and socks can do the trick.

3-4-16 fireShelter: Where would you survive is a question worth pondering over. Planning a shelter is very important. Mark out places where you can head to when things go wrong. If you think your home is your shelter place then you have an advantage- added space for more storage. Assign areas in your neighborhood that can serve as a shelter. However, for survival kit purposes, carry maps, compass, tents and sleeping bags so that you can seek shelter anywhere!

First Aid Kit: A survival kit without a first aid box? That is just incomplete. Make sure your survival gear has a first aid kit that includes your everyday medication, band aids, gauze, cotton, antiseptics, antibiotics, pain killers, anti-allergies and other such over the counter drugs that you would need.

Other Essentials: When you carry that survival kit and walk out of your house, your home, to survive you would be filled with mixed emotions. There are loads of memories and mixed emotions that would be over whelming you. Furthermore, the question that you will keep asking yourself, “will I come back to all of this again.” When these feelings take over, one feels the need to carry everything with them. Do not make that mistake. Essentials in your survival kit should include sanitizers, tooth brush, tooth paste, toilet paper, extra cash, batteries and torch.

Throughout centuries we as humans have survived. Survival is what has evolved mankind and put us where we are. Survival is only possible if you are prepared. Hence do not take that lightly and start your survival preparation before it is too late!

The post The Ultimate Survival Kit! appeared first on The Prepper Broadcasting Network.

Organizing Your Survival Kit into Levels

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

Editor’s Note: This post is another entry in the Prepper Writing Contest from Lani Ringeisen with Cibolo Creek Tactical . If you have information for Preppers that you would like to share and possibly win a $300 Amazon Gift Card to purchase your own prepping supplies, enter today. Kit, gear, or whatever you like to call […]

The post Organizing Your Survival Kit into Levels appeared first on The Prepper Journal.

10 Must Have Natural Remedies For Preppers

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For thousands of years people have relied on nature for remedies against all sorts of ailments.

So why should we put our money into Big Pharma’s pockets and probably feel worse than we felt in the first plane, when we can rely on natural remedies that, if used correctly, have no side effects at all?

We’ve put together this infographic that gathers 10 of the most used and most efficient alternative cures for common problems that will make it so much easier for you to focus on what shouldn’t be missing from your natural medical kit. 

10 MUST HAVE ALTERNATIVE REMEDIES FOR PREPPERS

Make sure to use the comments section below to let us know what other remedies you would add to the list!

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This article has been written by Brenda E. Walsh for Survivopedia.

 

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Homage to the Split Paper Match

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Master Woodsman

Early on in a 7-day class taught by Cody Lundin, myself and two other fellas learned for the first time how to split a paper match. My initial thought was this is a “just in case” solution should a resource become limited, i.e., two fires from one match. Little did we know there was much more to […]

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Adventure Medical SOL Pocket Survival Pak, a Review

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pocket survival pakA few days ago, Adventure Medical sent me a SOL Pocket Survival Pak to review.  Now this kit is not designed to be a get home or bug out bag, this is a pocket survival kit.  It is designed for one thing to help you stay alive until you can get help.

It is small compact and will fit in your pocket.  With this and the normal items that I carry in my pockets, a good flashlight and knife, I would feel fairly confident if I had to spend a night in the woods.

Contents  

  • Duct Tape
  • 1 – Duct Tape, 2″ x 26″ – always useful for repairing gear.
  • Instrument
  • 1 – Pencil Leave – messages
  • 4 – Safety Pins #3, 2” – repair clothing or gear, secure equipment, make a sling.
  • Sewing
  • 1 – Heavy Duty Sewing Needle – sew clothing or treat blisters
  • 1 – Heavy Duty Nylon Thread (50 ft.) – repair clothing or use for cordage or fish line
  • Survival Instructions
  • 1 – Waterproof Survival Instructions
  • Survival Tools
  • 1 – Aluminum Foil, Heavy Duty, 3 Sq. Ft. – use for cooking
  • 1 – Compass, Button, Liquid Filled – self rescue
  • 4 – Fish Hook, #10 – catching fish or ducks
  • 1 – Fresnel Lens Magnifier (2″ x 3″) – fire starting or use as magnifying glass
  • 1 – Nylon Cord, #18, Braided, (10 ft. 150 lb test) – shelter building
  • 1 – Pocket Survival Pak Contents List
  • 1 – Safety Wire, Stainless Steel, (6 ft of 0.020″) – make snares
  • 1 – Scalpel Blade #22 – use as knife
  • 1 – Signal Mirror, Rescue Flash™ – to attract the attention of rescuers
  • 1 – Snap Swivel, Size 12 – fishing
  • 1 – Spark-Lite™ Firestarter – fire starting
  • 2 – Sinkers, Tin – fishing
  • 4 – Tinder Quik™ – fire starting
  • 2 – Waterproof Paper – leave messages
  • 1 – Whistle, Rescue Howler – attract attention

pocket survival pakIn all this kit is compact and would be easy to carry in a pocket.  I think I will include this kit in my everyday carry.  For the price of $34.00, it is reasonably priced.  You may be able to make your own a bit cheaper.  But when you consider the time and effort it would take you to make one, you are probably better off to just buy it.

Howard

The post Adventure Medical SOL Pocket Survival Pak, a Review appeared first on Preparedness Advice Blog.

10 Things You Throw Away That Can Be Used For Survival

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10 Things, Straight From Your Own Trash, That You Can Use For Survival

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How much trash do you throw away each day? As a survivalist, you need to look at all of the items that you have on hand – including what you may toss in the trash – and think how else you could use them.

We’re definitely not saying that you should hoard everything and throw away nothing, but there are still a lot of things that we all commonly throw away that can be immensely useful when it comes to survival — and that may end up saving your life.

Here are 10 commonly discarded items that you can use for survival:

1. Old towels and rags. Almost all of us have old towels and rags lying around somewhere. Don’t throw those old towels and rags away; instead, wash them and set them aside for when you’ll need them in a survival situation. You can use them to make bandages, stitch them together to form blankets, or rip them up into smaller shreds to start a fire.

Restore Your Old Blades To A Razor’s Edge In Just Seconds!

2. Gardening hose. Garden hoses (obviously) are used mostly for transferring water from one place to another place. This same principle applies in a survival situation, but to gasoline instead of water. You can use a gardening hose as a gas siphoner to remove the last ounces of gasoline from abandoned vehicles.

3. Empty food cans. Even after you’ve eaten the food out of the cans in your pantry, don’t discard them! Empty food cans serve a multitude of uses during a survival situation. You can string them together across your property and then fill them with pebbles to make an alarm system, or you can use them to cook food. You also can use them to help organize items.

4. Empty soda cans. The same basic principles that apply to food cans also apply to soda cans, but with soda cans you can remove the tabs and fashion them into fishing hooks.

5. Garbage bag. Many survival experts actually consider the simple garbage bag to be one of the most versatile survival items of all time. It doubles as a poncho so long as you cut three holes for your head and arms in it, and it can be used in the construction of a shelter. It also can be used as a bag to transport your survival items.

6. Socks. Rather than throw away old socks, keep them around for survival. While they don’t purify water, they will help to filter it by removing most of the sediment that is visible. Cotton socks are an excellent source of tinder for starting fires.

Portable Backup Stove Lets You Cook Anything, Any Time, Any Where

10 Things, Straight From Your Trash, That You Can Use For Survival

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7. Altoid tins. Altoid tins are simply perfect for making miniature survival kits that you can fit in your pocket. They are durable and can be tightly shut to ensure that everything is kept together. Inside an Altoid tin, you can store things such as small knives, compasses, matches, lighters, bandages, gauze pads, needles and thread, fishing line, hooks, medications, kindling, and so on.

8. Paper clips. One of the most ubiquitous items in America is none other than the paper clip. You can use it as a fishhook, as an antenna or as a splint for fingers and toes. You also can use it for sewing or for hanging up clothes on a line.

9. Egg cartons. Egg cartons are simply great for planting seedlings and making small gardens that you can take with you on the go.

10. Old ChapStick. Many of us like to throw away old ChapStick tubes when the actual ChapStick is almost out, but we suggest that you save as many as you can. When applied to open wounds, ChapStick will seal the wound off against outside elements to (hopefully) prevent an infection from developing. When rubbed against cloth, cotton balls, or even wood, it’s a great fire-starter and will hold a flame.

Related:

6 Clever Reasons Chap Stick Should Be In Your Survival Kit

How To Turn Your Altoids Tin Into A Personal Pocket Survival Kit

What would you add to this list? Share your survival advice in the section below:

Learn How To ‘Live Off The Land’ With Just Your Gun. Read More Here.

Recipe: Make quick, easy apricot energy bars

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Are you using the storage foods in your pantry? One piece of preparedness advice is that mossy old saying: “Store what you eat, and eat what you store.”

Food is the fuel that keeps you warm in the outdoors. (Pantenburg photo)

Food is the fuel that keeps you warm in the outdoors. (Pantenburg photo)

by Leon Pantenburg

This philosophy makes sense, since your stored food is an investment. No matter what the expiration date may be, it’s always a good idea to rotate the stock.

Another thought is to make full use of those stores. Rather than spending upward of a dollar or so for a commercial energy bar, try making your own.

And if you can find a recipe that uses your stored food, that’s a bonus. Not only can you experiment and tweak the recipes, but you can also find a flavor combination that is just what you’re looking for.

If you can bake cookies, you can make your own energy bars, and here is a recipe that uses stored food you’ll like!

Apricot Bar Recipe

Chop in a food processor:

        • 1 cup dried apricots
        • 3/4 cup almonds
        • 3/4 cup walnuts
        • Mix fruit and nuts with:
        • 1/2 cup honey
        • 1/2 cup wheat germ
        • 2/3 cup flour
        • 2 tablespoons oil

Add: Enough liquid (2 to 4 tablespoons juice) to form a thick batter.

Mix well. Press into an 8-by-8-inch square greased pan. Bake 30 minutes or until firm at 350 degrees. Cut into 12 bars but leave in the pan to cool. Later, package individually and store in a refrigerator or freezer. Makes 12 bars with about 220 calories per bar.

For more recipes using natural foods, click here.

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Amazon.com Widgets

Flint and Steel

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Master Woodsman

by Michael May Mankind has possessed the ability to control fire for many thousands of years, and in this time we have developed a number of clever ways in which to start fires. To begin with, the most widely spread methods of fire making were friction-based. That is to say, the heat created by rubbing […]

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Restraint Escape Kit: Why You Need the Ability to Escape

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Escape restraintHave an escape plan. This simple concept is one of the most elementary principles of survival. In the most basic sense, an escape plan can be as simple as identifying exits to help children escape the smoky chaos of a fire. More complicated escapes have involved escaping organized crime syndicates, prison systems and even countries.

A restraint escape kit doesn’t have to be a “break glass in case of emergency” kit that is only useful in the event that taken prisoner. It can help you to get your bearings in unfamiliar terrain or help you solve everyday problems such as misplaced keys, forgotten combinations or even provide you with a little backup cash when you need it.

It can give you a means to cut seat belts and knock out side of rear auto glass in the event of an auto accident. You might enjoy the training too. The “snick-click-click” of a defeated handcuff giving way to your assault with a tiny bit of metal can be surprisingly satisfying, even addicting. So can picking locks…especially in today’s world where so many people work with keyboards instead of their hands.

Some argue that they have not needed to escape in the past or that the probability of an individual being illegally restrained is low, and it is true that some of us are at greater risk than others due to our employment, where we live, relative wealth or pattern of life. But that risk increases when things go sideways.

Do not be Nassim Taleb’s turkey who concludes that the butcher has always fed him and never harmed him for the past 999 days, prompting him to project with “ever-increasing statistical confidence” that the butcher will not harm him in the future. What the turkey fails to see is that the butcher is fattening him up for Thanksgiving and is about to slaughter him.

Our world is turning more complicated, fragile and volatile. As it does, the frequency of robbery, home invasion, kidnapping for ransom, rape, murder, sex slavery and a host of other crimes that routinely involve illegal restraint are on the rise. At any moment, you may find yourself in circumstances where the capability to escape may save lives. At such time, any “increased statistical confidence” that accumulated each day you were not illegally restrained will go out the window.

What the Structure of the Kit Is

I developed this kit to give my clients an adaptable, modular kit that doesn’t come in a box that will get found in a pat down or with cheap plastic keys that break when you need them. Even worse are kits that come in a wallet or in a credit card form factor, meant to be stored in a wallet, because your wallet will be among the first things taken from you.

Survival Sensei Restraint Escape Kit (SS REK)

The basic modules of the kit are as follows:

  • Mini Report Binder Clips (3) – Use in place of money clips. Pinch off handles from one of the clips and place one in a front pocket and one in a rear pocket.REK Mini Binder Clip
  • Restraint Escape Module (2) – Two small vinyl tool pouches containing tools to defeat common restraints. One goes where it can be accessed if you are restrained with your hands in front and the other behind you.Restraint Escape Module Flat vs Folded
  • Friction Saw Necklace – Technora friction saw can be worn as a necklace, worn around the waist or in clothing. Kevlar friction saw material is cheap enough to sew in into the waist band of each pair of shorts and trousers you own if desired but Technora or sheathed Kevlar is better for a necklace. The necklace looks like a craft project, but can knock out a car window, free you from many high security handcuffs or saw through most disposable restraints, zip ties, duct tape or rope.
  • E&E/Entry Module – Vinyl tool pouch about the same length of a credit card and half the width. Can be worn inside some belts, pinned or suspended inside clothing. The contents can also fit inside a Go Tube of sufficient length.SS Restraint Escape Module pouch shown with Velcro Stash Patch and Flag patch

Survival Sensei Restraint Escape Kit (SS REK)

Front and back SS Restraint Escape Modules and Entry Kit with Escape Necklace and mini binder clips

This survival restraint escape kit contents:

  • Mini Report Binder Clip (3) – Use as money clips to spread cash across your person while keeping it compact, organized and separate from ID. The wire handles are the perfect size, shape and strength to sweep most standard handcuffs even when double locked with the right size clip and sufficient practice. I carry these where carrying handcuff keys is illegal or raises suspicion. Worst case, somebody will think you are too cheap to buy nice money clips.
  • Survival Sensei Restraint Escape Module (2) – One of the bobby pins acts as a folding handle or extension to the shims making what is effectively a tiny escape multi-tool. One carried so it can be accessed if restrained with your hands at your front, the other in back. Alternately, a single kit can be rigged for deep carry using friction saw cordage to retrieve the kit from front or back.
  • Advanced Handcuff Key 3
    • Easily concealable.
    • Opens both standard handcuffs and many models of high security handcuffs even when double locked.
    • Can be used with “reach around tools” to reach keyways because this can be difficult when properly cuffed with rigid or hinged handcuffs with hands behind your back and even more so when cuffed with your palms facing out.
    • Steel construction is less prone to failure than plastic keys when turned with too much force due to severe stress, under less than ideal real world conditions when your fingers are cold, wet, muddy, bloody or injured. Plastic keys tend to work fine the first couple of times opening quality, well-maintained handcuffs. I have had many plastic keys fail while attempting to turn the key in the keyway at difficult angles and when attempting to open poorly maintained or cheaply constructed handcuffs.Standard vs High Security Cuff Key
  • Bobby Pin(2)
    • Fashion “reach around tools” for handcuff key to reach handcuff key ways when properly cuffed with rigid or hinged handcuffs.
    • Fashion expedient lock picks and turning tools.
    • Manipulate double lock pins and switches on handcuffs.
    • Sweep single locked handcuffs.
    • Bypass some padlocks by releasing the locking dog by way of the keyway.
    • Thread friction saw past tight bonds of duct tape, zip ties Flex Cuffs or rope.
    • Clip the kit or tools to underclothing or in hair in order to layer gear across body to reduce chance of detection.
  • Key-type Handcuff Shim, Thin
    • Shim open handcuffs with thin ratchet arm (typically inexpensive versions criminals are prone to use) when single locked that wider shims on the market cannot open.
    • Shim open some Zip Cuffs and zip ties.Standard vs Split Pawl vs Thin Hand Cuff Shim
  • Stainless Steel Split Pawl Handcuff Shim
    • Shim open some shim-resistant single locked handcuffs.
    • Use in combination with Technora friction saw to open some Darby-style handcuffs (largely considered antiques or obsolete in the US, but still in use in many countries) and do not open with a standard modern handcuff key.
  • Zirconia Ceramic Razor Blade
    • Cutting edge for defeating duct tape, zip ties, disposable restraints or rope.
    • Make fine cuts to in clothing or objects in order to hide E&E gear.
    • Lanyard Hole to aid retention and control.
    • Extreme hardness and a sharp 90 degree spine make for a good ferro rod striker.
  • OD Kevlar Thread, 60 Lbs. Test Lanyard
    • Prevents dropping of tiny tools with fingers that are cold, wet, muddy, bloody, injured or all of the above.
    • Enables kit to be suspended from a suspender button, button fly, belt loop, belt or tag.
  • Vinyl Micro Tool Holder, Modified – Keeps the module of tools together and convenient to carry making the kit more likely to be carried.
    • Fold in half to fit in elastic handcuff key tunnels and pockets that come on some tactically-oriented belts, shirts and footwear or can be sewn into clothing or footwear.
    • Carry laid open to reduce thickness and prevent printing through clothing or discovery in a pat down.
    • Spacing of holes enables kit to be pinned inside clothing with a small subdued safety pin which is also multi-use.Restraint Escape Module in the cuff key loop of a 511 Belt
    • Can be suspended from a loop of thread to attach to belt loops, belts, suspender buttons or tags.
    • Form factor small enough to hide under flag patches, in a Covert Patch Pouch when laid open and fits in .75″ diameter Go Tubes or similarly sized aluminum or titanium pill or stash tubes when folded in half.
  • .75″ Vinyl Electrical Tape,  Black or Coyote Tan
    • Pinch onto ceramic razor to create more surface to grip the tool in order to cut bonds.
    • Manufacture tool handles.
    • Hide tools by taping them to body, under shoe, inside belt or to objects in order to cache them for later retrieval.
    • Tape a mini light stick to a bobby pin to improvise a work light than clips to clothing or objects to illuminate a work area or to read.
  • Rust Preventative – When you wear ferrous tools against your body and are active, you sweat on them and they rust.

Escape Necklace, Survival Sensei Mod

It can be worn standalone or with other modules and can be worn as a necklace, stuffed into a stash tube or Go Tube without the LED, suspended inside clothing or inside some belts. There are many designs and modifications of existing designs of escape necklaces.Survival Sensei Mod of Restraint Escape Necklace

This one is a design form Oscar Delta that I have modified not look like a bunch of escape tools attached to a necklace or anything worth taking. I have racked up dozens of flights with it in half a dozen countries with mine. A couple of times, I even handed it to security officers to hold and it never received so much as a second glance because it does not look like anything out of the ordinary.

  • Technora Friction Saw
    • Para cord works for some of the same tasks but is more paramilitary looking.
    • Friction saw can be used with a shim to open some Darby-style cuffs.
  • Advanced Handcuff Key 3 – Concealed handcuff key. Same features as Advanced Handcuff Key 3 above.
  • 2″ Bobby Pin (2) – Same as 2” bobby pin above.
  • Zirferrotech Microstriker Disc – Innocuous looking zirconia ceramic bead.
    • Sharp 90 degree shoulder make it a great striker for ferro rods.
    • Brass liner is non-ferrous the tool will not rust.
    • Extreme hardness makes it capable of shattering tempered but not laminated glass used in most side and rear car windows when swung by a cord.
    • It looks like an ordinary craft bead.
    • No sharp edges, so no problems with TSA.
  • LED – in the 4-8 lumen range. Positive On/Off makes sure it will work when you need it.

Survival Sensei E&E/Entry Module

Contents of SS Entry-E&E Module

It contains minimalist last ditch gear for once you have defeated your restraints to facilitate the rest of your E&E, self-recovery or rescue, even if that means a naked sprint to the nearest consulate.

  • 70mm Diamond Wire Saw
    • Sometimes I use diamond jeweler’s files which I shorten and flatten.
    • Will grind through a surprising number of materials given enough time.
    • Useful in constructing other tools.
  • EZ Decoder Lock Tool
    • Open many combination padlocks.
    • Bypass some keyed padlocks by releasing the locking dog(s) though they are thin for this purpose and often break.
  • Quick Stick Lock Bypass Tool
    • A lock knife tool in a compact format that allows of discreet carry.
    • Quickly bypass many of the most common keyed padlocks.
    • Bypass many wafer locks (used on some truck shells, tool boxes, file cabinets and storage cabinets).
  • Bogota Mini Ti Flats Lock Picks
    • Flat, making them easy to conceal.
    • Titanium construction.
    • Fit into a Micro Go Tube (just barely), function as both pick and turning tool.
  • General Direction SERE Ring Compass
    • Flat compass the thickness of a couple sheets of paper is difficult to detect.
    • Float in water inside a bottle cap or in hand to use.
  • $100 Bank Note – Self-recovery means your goal is to hitchhike or call a cab instead of dialing 911. Self-recovery is easier with money than with social engineering.
  • Glue Dot (4) – Very thin adhesive dots make it possible to hide tools underneath surfaces or to the sides of objects.
  • .75″ Vinyl Electrical Tape,  Black or Coyote Tan
    • Pinch onto ceramic razor to create more surface to grip the tool in order to cut bonds or manufacture tool handles.
    • Hide tools to by taping them to body, under shoe, inside belt or to objects in order to cache them for later retrieval.
    • Tape a mini light stick to a bobby pin for a work light you can clip to illuminate what you are working on.

The contents of the E&E/Entry module fit inside a Go Tube or stash tube for deep carry. The kit is easily adapted by adding or subtracting tools or modules. Subsequent article(s) will demonstrate the usage of each some of the tools, demonstrate carry options and addition options.

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This article has been written by Cache Valley Prepper for Survivopedia

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How to Make Your Own Pill Bottle Survival Kit

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Survival At Home has a tutorial on how to make a survival kit with a prescription bottle and 18 items including paracord, matches, a mini flashlight, safety pins, dental floss, tweezers, medicine, bandaids, aluminum foil, etc. The great thing about this kit is it easily fits in your […]

The post How to Make Your Own Pill Bottle Survival Kit appeared first on Urban Survival Site.

Pros and Cons: Body Power Systems For Survivors

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big backpack

When people think of long term, catastrophic power outages, EMP based crisis situations tend to be the ones that come to mind first. While an EMP can truly be devastating, earthquakes and many other events can also wipe out the grid for miles around your location.

As such, even if you have a homestead, being at the epicenter or ground zero of a crisis situation may mean that your off grid power system will fail or be rendered useless because of extensive damage.

Although the following systems may not generate huge amounts of electricity, they may offer just enough to power medical devices, radios, smart phones, computers, or any other small devices that can help you get through the initial crisis period.

No system is perfect, nor will it work in every situation that you find yourself in.

This article does not cover bicycles or other larger devices that may be used to generate power, but is dedicated solely to small devices that can fit into a backpack, or can be carried around with relative ease.

Solar Generating Backpacks

VoltaicBasically, a solar generating backpack is just like a regular backpack in the sense that you can pack books, food, or just about anything else in it.

The solar generating backpacks also have a rechargeable battery (usually in the bottom), and a solar panel on the outside of the pack.

Depending on the model that you choose, some may only be able to power cell phones and other relatively low power devices while others can power tablets and medical devices that have a similar power usage range.

A solar generating backpack works just like a regular solar panel in the sense that the panels need to be exposed to sunlight in order to generate power. Typically, you can go as low as 50% sunlight and still get a fully charged battery in just a few hours. As with conventional solar power generation panels, they still work best when they are in full sunlight.

Advantages

One of the main advantages to solar generating backpacks is that you can generate power with them when you are walking or hiking. This is ideal if you have to travel on foot, bike, or some other mode of transport over large and small distances. Even if you decide to travel through a forest or other area with some degree of shading, you can still generate at least some power.

Second, one of the biggest problems with large scale and home based solar power generation systems is that the sun moves a significant degree every 15 minutes. As such, there are very few systems that can keep up with this motion and have the entire panel absorbing as much heat and light from the sun as possible.

By contrast, a solar generating backpack can be easily repositioned. No matter whether you set up camp and plan to stay for several days, or you are traveling by car, simply change the orientation of the panels to get as much sunlight on to them as possible. This includes easily changing the angle of the panels to accommodate seasonal changes that are even harder to compensate for in stationary systems.

Disadvantages

Here are five problems that you may encounter with solar generating backpacks:

  • Depending on the battery size, the overall weight of an empty pack can be a quite heavy. Though five pounds for a battery and solar panel may not seem like much now, that weight can be extremely burdensome over a long hike. Even though you should be able to carry 40 – 60 pounds for several hours at a time for the sake of survival fitness, there are bound to be times when you will find yourself thinking that you aren’t getting quite as much power as you hoped considering the added weight of the pack.
  • Solar panels and batteries can all be destroyed by an EMP.
  • Even though modern solar panels are sturdier and last longer, they will eventually wear out. Pay careful attention to the warranty on the panels and batteries. If the manufacturer will not fully guarantee the product for at least 10 years, then you should not expect it to stand up to harsh conditions or uses that might occur in a survival situation.
  • It may be hard to shield the panels from damage during rainy weather or cold temperatures.
  • You will not be able to generate power at night or on days that are below 30% of full sunlight.

What About DIY Options?

Interestingly enough, some of the most common problems that you might encounter with a solar generating backpack may be solved by creating your own system. Here are some advantages:

  • You can use any backpack that you like. This includes a heavy duty backpack with rails, a surplus military pack designed for rugged conditions, or just about any other pack that appeals to you for use as a bug out or bug in bag.
  • You can choose any battery and power rating that suits your needs. No matter whether you want to see if you can get batteries based on cotton, nano technologies, or some other battery type, they can all be added to your pack after purchase. As you may be aware, cotton based batteries may be as much as 50% or more lighter, will last longer, and supply much more power.  Waiting for this technology alone to hit the markets may be well worth your effort instead of buying a pack that cannot be changed over time to accommodate a different battery type.
  • Today there are also many advancements in solar panel and solar energy harnessing technologies. This includes solar power collecting materials that can be printed out using a regular printer. These soft, light weight, pliable solar collectors can be custom fitted onto your backpack and give it an even larger area for collecting solar energy.
  • All of the parts that you can choose can be selected with long term ease of repair or rebuilding in mind. For example, if you choose printable solar panels, you can easily pack extras away or make sure that you can always manufacture new ones as needed.

Piezoelectric Power Generating Sneakers

power shoesPiezoelectric Power Generating Sneakers are worn just like regular shoes.

Depending on the model, they may have thicker soles or some other adaptions to accommodate tiny batteries and the main power generating area in the soles.

No matter whether you are walking or running, they will generate power and charge up batteries.

Quartz crystals, tourmaline, and some other materials will emit electrons in one specific direction if the material is squeezed or heated. In the case of piezoelectric power generating sneakers, the materials respond to pressure from your foot by emitting a small amount of electricity.

This electricity, in turn, is captured by a rechargeable battery which can be used to power any number of devices. Typically, the amount of power generated by these shoes is very small, however as the technology improves, it may one day rival backpack power generating systems.

Advantages

One of the greatest advantages of piezoelectric power generation sneakers revolves around the fact that you don’t have to do anything extra in order to generate power. No matter whether you are walking, hiking, running, or even pedaling a bike, the energy you are already expending to carry out these activities will also go into generating power.

Since these shoes are also fairly light weight, you don’t have to worry about them becoming burdensome on a long or protracted journey.

In a survival situation, the ability to generate electricity can easily be something that draws unwanted attention in your direction. For example, if you are running around with a solar power generating backpack, or something else equally obvious, rest assured that people might try to steal it from you.

On the other hand, if you chose piezoelectric power generating sneakers, that blend in with others commonly worn in your area, chances are no one will ever know you are generating power as you walk.

Disadvantages

Even though these sneakers have a lot to offer when compared to heavier or more obvious power generation methods, they also fail to generate as much power as you might need.  In some cases, they may also not be as durable, and the shoe itself may be very uncomfortable.

It is also important to think about how long shoes actually last in the modern world. For example, if you walk a few miles a day and purchase a mid-range pair of shoes or boots, you will be lucky if the soles don’t fall apart in 4 – 6 months.

From that perspective, piezoelectric power generating shoes may not be a good option if you plan on using them to generate power beyond a few months. To add insult to injury, the electronic components and batteries may even fail long before you have to get a new pair of shoes.

What About DIY Versions?

There are many advantages to making your own piezoelectric power generation shoes. Here are just a few things to consider:

  • You can customize just about any pair of shoes and never worry about a name brand or other feature giving away the fact that your shoes can generate power. For example, if you have a favorite brand of hiking boots, you can customize them with a DIY insole and then add the battery to another part of the shoe where it will not be uncomfortable
  • Once you know how to build a DIY piezoelectric power generation system, you can adapt it to as many shoes, or even other items that can be used to generate power. This includes straps that you wear while talking or eating as well as ones that you can use when using hand grip exercisers.
  • Making your own insoles will make it easier to repair or make new ones as needed. At the very least, if you have shoes that will last for several months, you may be able to replace the insoles as needed without having to buy a whole new pair of shoes.
  • It may also be possible to build EMP proof systems that can be used in just about any situation. Just be aware that your battery options may be a bit limited because of the small size that you will be working in.

Backpack Powered by Walking

nPower-PEG-Carried-in-BackpackWhen it comes to generating power, backpacks that generate power from walking are often used for tablets and other higher drain devices.

This particular system does not use solar panels or other forms of external energy to generate electricity.

Rather, they rely on the repetitive motions of your body to generate power as you walk, run, or carry out other activities.

If you do some research, you are sure to come across a range of devices that generate electricity by using gears and other assemblies. In this case, backpacks that generate power by walking or running rely on cords that connect the backpack to your feet or arms.

As you move, the motion from your body is translated into electricity via the gears or other devices inside the backpack. From there, the power is stored in a battery, much as it would be for solar power generation backpacks.

Advantages

Unlike solar power generating backpacks, the body powered models do not require sun or any other energy from the environment. If you are inclined to walk on a rainy day, at night, or even in a snowstorm, these power generators will continue to work. As long as the ropes are hooked up to your shoes or arms, and you are moving, then you will have a steady supply of power moving into the battery.

Unlike piezoelectric power generating shoes, anyone can put on the backpack and start walking to generate power. Since the ropes are fairly easy to adjust, they are truly a “one size fits all” power source that can also be used to carry important items from one place to another.

Body powered backpacks are also more durable. You will never have to worry about an electronic solar panel wearing out, or a shoe insole breaking down.

Disadvantages

Even though body powered backpacks can generate a good bit of power, they can also be very uncomfortable to wear. For example, if you decide to attach the ropes/cords to the back of your shoes, you will constantly feel the pull of that cord while you are walking. If you don’t like being a puppet on a string, then you are not likely to be comfortable with this feeling.

Aside  from being uncomfortable, you will need to make sure you can walk or run with these cords even if you are in a woods or some other area where they might get tangled up easily.

Perhaps it can be said that if you are fortunate enough to be walking along a wide or well kept trail, then you can use this system without too many problems. Otherwise, you may have to disconnect the cords and use them in a  location that has fewer obstructions.

The cords for body powered backpacks are also going to be very obvious to others when you are walking around. Looters, rioters, or anyone else looking to steal may well recognize that the pack you are carrying generates power, and then they will want to steal it from you.

No matter whether you need this power to charge up medical devices or something else of importance, all your hard work can be lost in a matter of minutes. Unfortunately, if you try to tuck the cords inside your pants, they will not work as well, if at all. To add insult to injury, the constant rubbing along the backs of your legs can cause burns and other problems.

What About DIY Options

Even though you can convert a regular backpack into a body powered device, it may not be worth your effort. Among other things, you may not be able to overcome the basic disadvantages of this design let alone gain any benefit from doing so.

That being said, if you are intent on creating a single backpack that can generate power using multiple methods, it never hurts to integrate this system with a solar powered system. At the very least, if you decide to travel at night through an unpopulated area, you can still generate power for a range of needs.

DIY Propeller Hat Power Generator

6666898_sHave you ever seen the striped hats with pinwheels or propellers on them?

If so, you may find them more of an amusing toy than an actual means to generate power.

But with some creative insight and a few simple materials, you can, indeed, use these propeller hats to generate a good bit of power.

If you have ever seen pinwheel caps, then you should also realize they can be a fun, easy way to generate power. While these caps are often the prop of stereotype geniuses, there are no caps on the market that can be used to generate power.

However, if you add a coil of wire to the hat and some magnets to the propeller, you can induce an electrical current. Just make sure that you don’t get a shock from the cap, and that you have a suitable battery solution.

Depending on the speed that the propellers move and the efficiency of the coil and battery system, you may be able to generate enough power for medical devices, tablets, and perhaps higher drain cameras.

Advantages

In the time during, and well into the post-crisis period, being able to avoid detection is going to be very important. Typically, anything that you have of value can make you a target of looters and just about anyone else that wants to steal from you so that they can gain something to sell or use for their own needs.

Unlike many other means of generating power, a propeller hat will easily be missed. Though people may think you look a little odd, they aren’t likely to see a reason to take the hat from you. In fact, if you dress in scrubby clothes and look a little on the dangerously deranged side, people may even decide to avoid you because they think you have nothing. Just be careful that bullies and other predators don’t try to hunt you for sport because they think you can’t defend yourself.

If you are far enough away from the main site of an EMP event, simple coils and magnets should not be damaged by the event, therefore, you will still be able to generate power as if nothing happened. In a worst case scenario, simply carry extra batteries and charging links in a Faraday cage.

As with many other body powered devices, you can also adapt any number of hats, helmets, and caps to generate electricity. In this case, you may also be thinking about situations where you will need to wear a gas mask or even bullet proof head gear in order to survive a riot situation.

While it may sound strange to put a propeller on any of these headgear items, never forget that you can still be generating power that might be used for targeting systems, or anything else where battery failure would spell disaster for you.

Disadvantages

When compared to other body based power generating systems, there is a definite limit to the amount of power you can generate from a single cap. Among other things, the weight of the magnets and coils can get fairly heavy and become burdensome.

It should also be noted that this system will be inducing both magnetic and electric currents very close to your brain. As such, there may be long term health risks such as cancer and other diseases. If you do not trust  bluetooth technology, cell phones, WIFI, and even electric sockets because of the radiation they emit, then you may also want to rethinking generating electricity so close to your head.

In the modern world, it is often easy to get mired in complex technologies and other assorted ideas aimed at generating fairly large amounts of power. On the other hand,  there are also a number of toy and body based power devices that might just provide enough power for smaller devices that are also of immense importance to you.

Depending on the device that you choose, even a small investment may be enough to test out some alternative energy sources as well as make it much easier to survive just about any situation and keep small, low power need devices operating at a time when you need them most.

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This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia.

 

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Protecting your preps!

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Protecting your preps!
Josh “The 7 P’s of Survival

So you have a BOB, does it help you become self reliant?

Protecting your preps!BOB, Inch Bags, 72 hour kits, EDC Bag, Survival Kit, TEOTWAWKI kit….. Whatever you call the selection of gear you carry as you embark on your adventure into the woods my question is do you think you could be self-reliant over the short and long term out of a backpack? Tonight I will explore something I ask myself a great deal when packing a kit for a longer trip and that is 1) do I really need this item and 2) how does it help me become more self reliant?

12-22-15 20140712_020809My kit evolves on what seems like a weekly basis as I trade and test new gear and as seasons change, but I can tell you one thing if you expect to live out of a backpack for the rest of your live you better have a skill level that is off the charts! In this show I will talk a good bit about items you can add to your kit that will help effect your long-term self reliance (this will be a tool heavy kit) and we will also talk about a few things that can help you reduce the suck factor along the way.

12-22-15 20151009_170958This show will take things from lessons from minimalist camping, woodcrafters, campers, hunter/trapper, and homesteading trying to mash all those styles into a self-reliant backpack of tools to effect long-term wilderness self-reliance.

I hope many of you will call in as this is something that is an ever evolving process that can only be perfected by field testing and lessons learned. Let my success and failures save you time and money if bugging out to the wilderness is in your plan.
Join us for The 7 P’s of Survival “LIVE SHOW” every Tuesday 9:00/Et 8:00Ct 6:00/Pt Go To Listen and Chat

Listen to this broadcast or download “Protecting your preps” in player below!

Get the 24/7 app for your smart phone HERE! 
Put the 24/7 player on your web site HERE! 
Listen to archived shows of all our hosts . Schedule tabs at top left of page!

The post Protecting your preps! appeared first on The Prepper Broadcasting Network.

Your kit & long term survival!

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Your kit & long term survival!
Josh “The 7 P’s of Survival

So you have a BOB, does it help you become self reliant?

Your kit & long term survival!BOB, Inch Bags, 72 hour kits, EDC Bag, Survival Kit, TEOTWAWKI kit….. Whatever you call the selection of gear you carry as you embark on your adventure into the woods my question is do you think you could be self-reliant over the short and long term out of a backpack? Tonight I will explore something I ask myself a great deal when packing a kit for a longer trip and that is 1) do I really need this item and 2) how does it help me become more self reliant?

12-22-15 20140712_020809My kit evolves on what seems like a weekly basis as I trade and test new gear and as seasons change, but I can tell you one thing if you expect to live out of a backpack for the rest of your live you better have a skill level that is off the charts! In this show I will talk a good bit about items you can add to your kit that will help effect your long-term self reliance (this will be a tool heavy kit) and we will also talk about a few things that can help you reduce the suck factor along the way.

12-22-15 20151009_170958This show will take things from lessons from minimalist camping, woodcrafters, campers, hunter/trapper, and homesteading trying to mash all those styles into a self-reliant backpack of tools to effect long-term wilderness self-reliance.

I hope many of you will call in as this is something that is an ever evolving process that can only be perfected by field testing and lessons learned. Let my success and failures save you time and money if bugging out to the wilderness is in your plan.
Join us for The 7 P’s of Survival “LIVE SHOW” every Tuesday 9:00/Et 8:00Ct 6:00/Pt Go To Listen and Chat

Listen to this broadcast or download “Your kit & long term survival!” in player below!

Get the 24/7 app for your smart phone HERE! 
Put the 24/7 player on your web site HERE! 
Listen to archived shows of all our hosts . Schedule tabs at top left of page!

The post Your kit & long term survival! appeared first on The Prepper Broadcasting Network.

Check out these do-it-yourself preparedness gifts kids can make

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As far as I’m concerned, a home-made Christmas gift with some thought behind it trumps the most expensive thing you can buy. And, this is guaranteed:  If  a child makes a preparedness gift for a loved one, that item will be cherished, included in a survival kit and used.

by Leon Pantenburg

When my daughter, Mary was 12, she decided to make all her Christmas presents. Starting in October, she painted pictures, ceramic plates and coffee cups, decorated photo frames and made jewelry for loved ones. All the recipients cherish those gifts, and I wouldn’t trade my handpainted coffee cup for the most expensive item from the Cabala’s catalog!

Here is a list of do-it-yourself survival gear that kids can make. The materials are free or don’t cost much, but they can really provide some quality items. Have the youngster hand-write or draw simple directions along with the SurvivalCommonSense.com links on how to use them. Then, put these under the tree, or use them as stocking stuffers.

What gift is more thoughtful than one that might save your life?
A 55-gallon trash bag can make a quick, effective emergency shelter.

A 55-gallon trash bag can make a quick, effective emergency shelter.

55 gallon plastic trash bag: This plastic bag can provide a quick shelter for getting out of the weather, and be used for many other purposes. A hole can be cut in the bottom, and the bag can be worn for emergency rain gear.  It can be split along the seam  to make a sheet of plastic for catching rainwater, or as a shelter from the sun. Strips can be cut off it and braided into a rope or cord.

Plastic Bread Sacks: Yeah, those sturdy, clear plastic bags that come as bread wrappings should be included in a survival kit. Fold two of them, and place in a plastic sandwich bag. The bags can be used to make transpiration bags for gathering water, as vessels to transport water, or as foot coverings.

In a pinch, take off your boots, put your stockinged foot in the bread sack, and put the shoe back on. Secure the top with duct tape or cord, and you have a reasonably effective method of keeping you feet dry.

The bags can also be used for a variety of  survival techniques: Put your dry tinder in a bread sack as you gather it in the rain. On damp ground, use a bag as a sit-upon.

cotton ball and petroleum jelly firestarter containers

These free containers work well for storing firestarter.

100 count bag of cotton balls and 12 oz of petroleum jelly: This is the raw material for one of the most effective firestarters available. Just gob the cotton balls with the jelly, fluff as much as possible and ignite with a magnesium stick, lighter or match. The system works great, and is virtually foolproof.

Free Containers for Infused Cotton Balls: Put the infused cotton balls in a free container, such as a 35mm film canister/ diabetic test strips container or Red Bull energy shot container, and you have an effective and reliable firestarter system for pennies. And talk about a great stocking stuffer for that hunter, hiker or outdoors-type who is hard to buy for!

Waxed firestarter: Melt  old candles and dip worn-out 100 percent cotton Teri-cloth in the wax to make a very serviceable, waterproof firestarter.  Tear off small strips and pack them in your survival kit.

It took some duct tape and paracord to make these quart Gatorade containers into serviceable canteens.

Quart Gator Aid container: These rugged plastic water containers are free with the purchase of a quart of GatorAide and they can be reused for a long time. The containers are a great backup for other water storage systems, and can easily be replaced. Affix a loop of paracord with duct tape, and you can carry the water bottle on a belt or affixed to a caribinner.

Insulite Sit-Upon: This is an old Girl Scout  tip: Take that old insulite sleeping pad in the garage nobody will ever use again and cut it into squares about 14 inches  by 14 inches. Take it along with your survival gear. If you’re hunting, the pad will allow you to sit  on a cold, wet log without soaking the seat of your pants. Use the sit-upon in combination with your trash bag survival shelter to get through a cold, wet night.

The insulite is easily written upon with a permanent marker. It’s a great place to put holiday greetings!

Hardtack: The original survival ration, hardtack is a hard cracker that works very well as an addition to

Mark's hardtack recipe is tasty and nutritious!

Mark’s hardtack recipe is tasty and nutritious!

the survival kit. The recipe is simple and if the kids like to bake Christmas cookies, they’ll probably enjoy making hardtack.

Notebook and pencil: I learned how to make pocket notebooks several years ago, when my daughter’s elementary school project was to find a way to recycle commonly-used stuff. Since I use a lot of notebooks,  Mary and I figured out a way to make note pad fillers out of  standard writing paper. All you do is fold and cut the used paper three times, then staple the pieces to a piece of  cardboard. It make a great pocket-sized notebook that will fit in a pocket or survival kit. A notebook is a necessity for leaving notes, recording compass bearings, GPS locations and taking map notes.

School or Family Photo with Message on Back: This is probably the best gift. Have the youngster write something on back, such as “Be Safe,”  and make sure that picture gets stored in the survival kit. Then, if that loved one gets in a tight spot, he or she can look at the photo and recall why it’s important to never give up!

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Don’t Waste Anything: Survival kit and craft projects from big game animals

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There is more than just meat to harvest from a big game animal. With a little thought and ingenuity, you can find useful projects that will use many of the other parts of the animal!

by Leon Pantenburg

Before the foreigners arrived on the American scene, the indigenous people used virtually every part of  a big game animal.

They had no choice! The carcass of a deer, elk, buffalo, antelope or other game animal was their combination grocery/hardware and home store. A large animal provided the raw materials for food, shelter, weapons and virtually everything else needed for wilderness survival.

Today, a harvested big game animal is still a great survival resource. And, IMO, the best way to show respect and appreciation for the animal whose life you took  is to use everything possible.

To start with, every shred of usable meat should be harvested. That means learning butchering and meatcutting skills to most effectively cut, wrap and preserve the meat. (Every prepper and survivalist should know basic butchering as a survival skill!) Get good tools, and practice cutting and wrapping meat whenever you can. The better you are at butchering, the less meat you’ll waste.

Get a meat grinder or grinding attachment for your blender. I have been using the same Osterizer blender with grinder for over 20 years. By now, it has ground up the meat from a small herd of deer and elk and is still going strong.

The ability to make your own hamburger is cost-effective, and assures you save all the tougher and less flavorful cuts to eat.

Don’t neglect the organs. Last October, after a successful Oregon elk hunt, the intact heart was saved from one elk  carcass. It was donated to  Mountainview High School (in Bend, OR) to be used in the anatomy class for dissection.

Dog Food: My office supervisor is Belle, a 14-year-old Labrador (non)Retriever, and there are no wasted scrap meats at my house. While butchering, meat scraps are placed in gallon Ziploc bags, labeled, and frozen. Later, the scraps will boiled and used to supplement Belle’s  food. The broth is also saved. Belle’s favorite meal is  boiled elk or deer scraps, with broth, poured over her regular dry dog food.

Dog Liver Treats: If boiled deer scraps are Belle’s favorite meal, then baked liver treats are her favorite food on earth! If you don’t personally like liver, don’t leave it in the gutpile! (Take along a 2-gallon Ziploc bag and it will be big enough to carry a bull elk liver!) Give the liver to someone who will eat it, or use it to make dog treats.

Here’s a quick recipe for liver treats that will have your dog begging for more! Slice the liver into slices about 1/4-inch thick. Boil for awhile. Put on a cookie sheet and bake at about 300 degrees until the meat is dried and hard. Store  the completed liver treats in a plastic sandwich bag in the freezer until ready to use. If you don’t have a dog, give the treats to somebody who does. I imagine other organ meats could be prepared in a similar manner.

In no particular order, here are some suggestions to make the fullest use of that elk, deer or antelope carcass.

Leadhead jigs are very effective fishing lures, and can easily be made of feathers and hair from game birds and animals.

Leadhead jigs are very effective fishing lures, and can easily be made of feathers and hair from game birds and animals.

Fishing Lures: If you know a fly tier, give the tail to him or her. The hollow hairs of a whitetail make great lures, and flytiers – good ones, anyway – are notorious, constant scroungers of natural materials such as animal hairs, feathers and other stuff. Play your cards right, and you might get some neat flies back. Squirrel tails are another fantastic resource for fly and jig lure makers.

Buck Tail jig: One of the finest all-around lures I know of  is a simple leadhead jig tied into a bucktail. Making one is simplicity itself – all you have to do tie some of the long tail hairs to the jig and go fishing.

Tip the jig with a minnow or a nightcrawler and and you have a very effective rig for catching walleye or northern pike. One of the most effective colors for the jig is the hair’s natural brown.

Soap: If an animal has fat, that fat can be rendered into lard, and made into soap. I made some soap one year from a fat whitetail doe, and distributed it to the rest of the hunting club members for Christmas presents. I called it “Buck Rub,” but think about it while you’re while out on stand, and you can probably come up with a better name!

Soapmaking expert Karla Moore regularly makes soap with a variety of wild game tallows. Click here to get her recipe for a basic  bar soap.

Hides: I am too lazy to attempt braintanning a hide like the indigenous people did.  But the hide can still be kept, rolled up in a garbage bag in your freezer,  until it can be donated to a worthy cause. In many areas, barrels are placed at check stations to collect hides, and local civic clubs process the hides as fundraisers.

In my hometown of Bend, OR, the local taxidermist trades hides for leather gloves. The hide has value, even if you don’t personally want to tan it.

Antlers or Horns: Talk about a useful material! You can make handles for knives, and other tools, and use them for a multitude of pioneer products.

Saw an antler into thin slices, drill two holes in the center, and you have bone buttons. These become prime barter items at historic re-enactments or mountain man rendezvouses.

I used a piece of horn for the handle of my blackpowder rifle’s round ball short starter. It’s easy to make powder measures out of antler tips. Just cut off the desired length, clamp it into a drill press and start drilling. Pour sand or salt into the hole from a powder measure, and keep enlarging the hole  until you get the right sized hole for the desired volume. When you’re done, check the capacity of the horn with a powder measure and gunpowder. These are so easy to make, you can have several.

Elk Ivory: Every elk has two ivory molars in the back of their jaws. I got a pair of nice ivories when I can across a kill site from some other hunters. My Leatherman allowed me to quickly remove the teeth.

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Simple survival tips for using a map and compass

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It’s really hard to think when there’s this awful, nauseating realization that you may be lost in the wilderness and you start to panic. Suppose you have a map and compass along, and a basic idea of how to use them. But maybe you didn’t think about using them…

The day may start out nice, but suddenly bad weather threatens. And – you don’t know where you are.

by Leon Pantenburg

After all, the sun was out, the day was nice, the trail is clear, the scenery beautiful and you stuck the map and compass in the pack somewhere. It was hard to get to, so you didn’t check it.

And, the point was to get out in the woods and relax, and who can unwind when you have to fool around with land navigation tasks? Besides, you’re well prepared, with survival knife, a survival kit, tarp  and…all that stuff.
But then it starts to get dark, or the weather changes, and you don’t remember which of the forks in the trail you took. At this point, many people will start to panic, and when that happens, you can’t reason.

But in this situation, remembering some common sense land navigation memory aides and acronyms will help calm you down. Once you can correctly orient the map, you can figure out where you are and where to go.

You can also decide if the smart option is to set up a shelter, build a fire and stay put while waiting to be rescued. Don’t try to make this kind of decision when you can’t think!

Humans are hard-wired to want an activity pattern. Creating a routine to fall back upon in this situation could help calm you down. It will hasten your ability to make good decisions.

Here’s a survival mindset exercise that uses simple, easy-to-remember map and compass memory aides. Memorize them, and the order they’re in, and you’ll have one more tool in your survival kit.

STOP: First and foremost, in any wilderness emergency is the need to focus on the situation. Stop (sit down while you’re doing this part), Think, Observe and Plan. Stay seated until you reach “P” and don’t get up until you have a plan. Then, get out the map and compass.

Red=N: Which end of the needle is north? Maybe you want to write this on the compass somewhere: Red = North.

These are basic navigation tools: compass, emergency whistle, map and GPS. Start with the basics: does the red compass needle point north?

Yeah – this is elementary stuff, but really important. Disorientation is a symptom of dehydration, fatigue, hypothermia and panic, and you can have all these problems at once. And maybe you also have to deal with  pain, because of an injury.

Also – and this sounds really elementary – make sure the needle actually does point north before you buy a compass. Twice, I have found name brand, quality compasses where the red needle pointed south. (I’m not the only one – wilderness expert Peter Kummerfeldt relates a similar story, with a different brand of compass.)

The first instance was on a compass that belonged to a member of Boy Scout Troop 18, in Bend, Oregon. I noticed the compass on an outing, when the scout was navigating by the white arrow. I convinced the scout that the compass was dangerous (It really was!), and bought it as a joke for Gordon Cotton. (Cotton, director of The Old Court House Museum in Vicksburg, MS., collects all types of  Southern memorabilia. A “Rebel Compass,” of course, would naturally point south!)

The other instance wasn’t funny, and could have lead to tragedy. I happened across a compass, with a red needle that pointed south, on the shelf of a local sporting goods store. An unsuspecting customer could have bought the compass, assumed the red needle pointed north and gotten really, really lost. The salesman was appalled, and checked out all the rest of the compass inventory on the spot.  Never, ever buy a compass that has anything whatsoever wrong with it!

Red in the shed: OK – you remember, and are positive, that red is north.

This compass needle is aligned with the orienting arrow. The “Red is in the shed.”

But, next, aren’t you supposed to do something with the pointy do-hickey in the bottom?

It’s probably more dignified to say “Box the needle” or “Align the red, north-pointing needle with the orienting arrow figure on the bottom of the dial.” But you’ll remember “Red in the Shed,” because it rhymes and the alignment box resembles, with a little imagination, a tall, skinny shed.

Two norths? There are two norths on a topographic map: Magnetic north and True North and the difference could confuse an exhausted, cold person.

Magnetic north is where the needle points to the actual magnetic North Pole. In 2005, that was about 800 miles from the geographic north pole, near Ellef Ringes Island in the Canadian Arctic (Latitude: 82.7, Longitude: 114.4).

True north is the direction to the top of your map.  Since the earth is a pear-shaped object and a map is flat, inevitably, there will be some variations

So remember this acronym: MN to MN = Magnetic needle, magnetic north: The Magnetic needle on your compass points to magnetic north. MN-to-MN.

True north is always and truly at the top of your map.

But that’s not the only thing about true north and magnetic north you need to know.

The difference in angle between true north and magnetic north is called declination, and you’ll have to adjust your compass and map.

Which way to adjust for declination? How do you remember if you adjust for easterly or westerly declination?

In the continental U.S. , just look at the Mississippi River. If you have to go east to get to it, then you adjust for easterly declination. If you have to go west, it is westerly declination.  And, if you live in the zone along the big river, you probably don’t have to adjust for declination at all.

Anyone venturing out into the wilderness needs to have a good working knowledge of a map and compass.  Never rely on a GPS alone. Any electronic device can fail, and the best GPS in the world is only as good as its power source.

These tips are a very small piece of staying found. A critical tool in your survival kit is knowledge and skill. Invest the time and money to take a good land navigation class, then buy a quality compass.

Another good idea is to make your own topographic maps. I use the National Geographic Topo! Outdoor Recreation Mapping Software, and make a custom map whenever I go out. There are other fine mapping programs on the market also, and don’t forget google maps as a resource. 

Memorize these aids, and that potential panic attack will dissipate while you figure out where you are!

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Preparedness Items To Bring When Traveling In Your Car Or Truck

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Recently having traveled several hundred miles to visit some friends and family for a number of overnight’s, I thought that I would reflect back upon the preparedness ‘prep’ items that I took along in the truck. While I did not take ‘the kitchen sink’, I did bring along a few extra things for ‘just in […]

Top 10 Types Of Meds You Need To Stockpile

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BIG 10 MEDSStockpiling medicine is not an easy task: it’s about money, it’s about making the best choice, it’s about availability. You should have at least a month’s medical supply, and the medications you stockpile can be easy to come by and are over-the-counter medications available at any large pharmacy.

But others you need are more difficult to get. They include narcotic medication and other prescription medications you have been prescribed by a doctor. Narcotics are good for severe pain but are potentially addicting so most doctors–even yours–won’t write a prescription for it without good reason.

That’s why we made it easy for you, and put up a list of those meds that you should not skip from your medical stockpile.

Tips to Follow on Buying Meds

In some cases, the prescription medications can be gotten from your doctor. For prescriptions, including narcotics that you can’t get at the doctor’s office try looking for an overseas pharmacy online, but it’s hard to predict which ones will be reputable or not. Try purchasing just one or two items from them and if they deliver reliably a medication that has the manufacturing label intact with the right medication name, you can continue to purchase from them.

You have to familiarize yourself with the generic names of medications because when you purchase over-the-counter medications or buy them online, even overseas, the generic forms are often much cheaper by far than the name brands. Knowing the generic names will help you determine what medications you’re getting online as well.

Often the labels are in another language but the generic name of the medicine is very similar or the same as the English version. These should be good substitutes for American-made medications.

But there are also other ways to get these medications. I myself needed an antibiotic, and I went to the drugstore and didn’t tell them I was a doctor. In some situations and in some places, you can get antibiotics and non-narcotic pain medication over the counter. You just have to claim that you are on treatment and you need to continue it, but that you’re not at home and that you need a dosage for one day. Chances are good nowadays that they’ll ask for your ID and your doctor’s phone number.

What if you don’t have access to what you need, though? Can these drugs be replaced with other substances, such as veterinary substances? Yes they sometimes can, if you keep the proportions, and with caution, but you have to check the dose because this is really important. Otherwise, if you take a dosage for a horse you will die. Look on the blister and see what it is, then divide it with the knife, in 2, 3, 4, 5, dosages as necessary.

As for the storage, stockpile medications nearby medications that are related to one another. For example, stock the respiratory medications together, the stomach medications together, etc. In a crisis, it pays to be organized.

Items past their expiration date may still work, however the will have a lesser potency. In rare cases, a medication much past its expiration date will have altered its components to contain something dangerous if you take it but it is rare. When in doubt and if in need, you can take something past its expiration date but it will have a lesser efficacy (effectiveness).

10 Categories of Medication that You Need

There are several categories of medications you’ll want to purchase, and you shouldn’t miss the following types of medication:

  1. Cold and flu medication: For congestion, cough, the pain of sore throat and body aches).
  2. Allergy medications: Include sedating and non-sedating types of medication.
  3. Pain medications: Include over the counter and prescription pain medications.
  4. Breathing medications: This especially includes inhalers.
  5. Gastrointestinal medications: For heartburn, stomach distress, diarrhea and constipation.
  6. Skin medications: These include sunscreen and medications for various rashes and skin problems.
  7. Antibiotics: Include those that cover for the majority of infections you might encounter.
  8. Birth control pills: A disaster is no time for a pregnancy, especially if nuclear radiation is present.
  9. Psychotropic medications. This especially involves medication for sleep and anxiety.
  10. Children’s medications: If you have a baby or young child, you’ll want liquid medications specially designed for their needs.

There needs to be many more medications taken and stockpiled in disabled people and seniors’ medications than in children’s medications, and these medications include:

  • Fiber laxative
  • Aspirin as a blood thinner
  • Atherosclerosis medication. Mevacor (lovastatin); Zocor (simvastatin)
  • Blood thinners for stroke Coumadin (warfarin)
  • Medications for arthritis Aleve (naproxen)
  • Heart burn medications. Zantac (ranitidine).
  • High blood pressure medication. (Lisinopril); Tenormin (atenolol).

A Few More Words on Cold and Flu Medication

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The cold and flu are different viral infections but they share some of the same symptoms, so they are included together.

Cold and flu symptoms include congestion in the nose, sore throat, sinus pain, and cough.

The flu also has a great deal of body aches and malaise, where you just don’t feel good at all and need to lie down and rest.

Medications you’ll want to have on hand include the following (the brand name is capitalized, the generic name is in parentheses):

  • Sudafed (pseudoephedrine): This is for nasal and sinus congestion. You have to ask for it behind the pharmacy counter even though it is not a prescription medication because it is one of the main ingredients in methamphetamine, and they don’t want people to purchase large quantities of it at a time. Follow package instructions for sinus and nasal congestion. Usually you take 1-2 pills every four hours.
  • Tylenol (acetaminophen), Advil (ibuprofen) or Aleve (naproxen): These are all good medications for fever, sore throat, and body aches. Take two every four to six hours.
  • Robitussin DM (dextromethorphan): This comes in pill or liquid form and helps the cough. You need to be careful and just purchase plain Robitussin DM. Robitussin CF contains a decongestant that you already are taking when you take Sudafed. Robitussin DM also contains guaifenesin which breaks up the thick mucus in your system.

What About Pain Medications?

There is a range of medications that are successful for pain. The three main categories are simple pain relievers, anti-inflammatory medication, and narcotic pain relievers.

  • Tylenol (acetaminophen): This is a simple fever and pain reliever that works on all sorts of pain. It is safe to take by anyone who does not have liver disease as it is metabolized by the liver. It is usually taken in adults as 2 500-milligram tablets every 4-6 hours. It has the added advantage of being able to be taken with anti-inflammatory medication in a pinch when the pain is severe and you want to take something more than Tylenol.
  • Advil or Motrin (ibuprofen), Aleve (naproxen): These are anti-inflammatory medications that work best on pain caused by inflammation like arthritis. They also work on fever and generic pain. Some people will get stomach upset if they take these medications on an empty stomach so it’s best to take them with a small amount of non-acidic food. Try taking 2-3 tablets or capsules of ibuprofen every 4-6 hours. Take naproxen at 2 tablets every 8 hours.
  • Narcotic pain relievers. These work for strong pain and include Vicodin (hydrocodone and Tylenol) and oxycodone. Give one to two tablets every 6 hours. Be alert for signs of confusion if the patient is taking too much. You can get this online or get a prescription from your doctor.

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What You Need to Know about Antibiotics

Choosing a simple antibiotic is difficult because people have allergies and intolerances to antibiotics and there is no perfect antibiotic for every illness. Poll your family members for allergies before selecting one.

Any antibiotic must have several properties: it must be inexpensive, easy to administer, it mustn’t cause resistance and it must act on as many bacteria as possible, in as short a time as possible. A good choice is a broad spectrum antibiotic like cephalexin or Keflex. Two other choices include erythromycin (or azithromycin) and sulfa antibiotics like Bactrim or Septra (trimethoprim and sulfamethoxazole).

If you have these five classifications of antibiotics, you’ll have covered for several kinds of infections including:

  • Cephalexin: Respiratory and upper respiratory infections, skin infections
  • Erythromycin or azithromycin: Upper respiratory infections and lower respiratory infections such as “walking pneumonia”, skin infections
  • Bactrim or Septra: bladder infections, some gastrointestinal infections.
  • Cipro or Levaquin: used for bladder infections, respiratory infections, or skin infections
  • Flagyl: used for parasitic infections and some gastrointestinal infections

Antibiotics won’t cure the common cold and they will do nothing for influenza but it does wonders for sinus infections stemming from the cold, a case of strep throat, and certain cases of bronchitis, pneumonia, bacterial skin infections and bladder infections.

You need to use them judiciously, when you know that you’re dealing with a bacterial infection.  This means you have a fever, yellow or green drainage from the nose or coughed up from the lungs and redness around a wound. Strep throat and bladder infections are hard to determine.  You just have to guess.

Give the body, the limb or the spot in question where the injury occurred, time to recover. Do not immediately jump to drugs, don’t start pouring the entire reserve of drugs down the patient, because you won’t solve anything like that. Sometimes the simplest solution is to not do anything, not to force it.

If you dole out antibiotics before you give the body a chance to heal, you’re wasting valuable medical supplies that may be needed later. Wait and see, and only when things are going towards the worse end should you start with antibiotics.

Breathing Medications You Need to Stockpile

In some disaster situations, even people without asthma will have problems with wheezing and shortness of breath. The best choice for this is an inhaler containing a beta-agonist, which opens the breathing passages.

The trick is to use these medications in such a way that the medication gets in your lungs and not in the back of your throat. With inhalers, you take a deep breath with the inhaler in your mouth and when you’re in the middle of the deep breath, press the plunger and keep breathing in. The medicine should get sucked down into your bronchial passages.

This is the main medication you’ll need:

  • Albuterol: This is available in an inhaler form but it can be given in liquid form to young children. It needs a prescription so get one from your doctor or on the internet. Take two puffs as directed above every four hours for wheezing and cough.
  • Primatene Mist: This is a less effective over-the-counter medication containing aerosolized epinephrine. Take two puffs every four hours. Use it when you absolutely can’t get albuterol.

Gastrointestinal Medications

There are a large variety of medication choices for the gastrointestinal system and you’ll need to condense them down to just a few. You’ll need something for the upper part of your GI system—your stomach.

Medicines for excess stomach acid and heartburn include TUMS, a medication like Zantac, and a medication like Prilosec. TUMS is just calcium carbonate and it quickly neutralizes the burn of heartburn or the rumbling of an acid stomach. If you can’t afford to wait for a few hours, try Zantac, which is a histamine-2 blocker, blocking the production of stomach acid.

If you can afford to wait a few more hours but want all day relief, try Prilosec, which is a proton pump inhibitor. It more thoroughly blocks the production of stomach acid; it just takes a few hours to kick in. The medication or medications you choose for stomach problems and heartburn depend on your personal preference and on how much room you have in your stockpile.

For nausea, the standard treatment is Compazine, given as 10 mg tablets or 25 mg suppositories if the person cannot tolerate oral medications.

There are medications for constipation and diarrhea — problems that can befall anyone in a disaster situation. For constipation, you can choose Miralax, a medication that must be mixed with a glass of water, X-Lax, which contains natural sennosides, or Correctol, which contain biscodyl. Of the three, biscodyl is the strongest, which means it might result in diarrhea if taken to excess. Choose the medication you are most familiar with and stockpile it.

For diarrhea, you can choose Kaopectate, which is for use in adults and very small children. It is a liquid medication that doesn’t need water to use.  You can also choose something like Imodium-AD (loperamide), which is a pill form of a medication helpful in treating diarrhea when the disease is not a result of an infection. It can be taken only by adults as 1-2 pills every 6 hours or closer together if the diarrhea is persistent.  If space is an issue, select only one of these medications.

What You Need for Treating Your Skin

20235219_mNo medication stockpile would be complete without items for the treatment of wounds, sprains and strains.

There are a number of items to choose from. While no one might become injured, disaster situations put people in positions they can’t predict so make sure your injury kit is well stocked.

Items to stockpile include:

  • Antibiotic ointment like bacitracin or Neosporin
  • Antiseptic cleansing wipes
  • Scissors
  • Cloth or paper medical tape 1-2 inch wide
  • 4 x 4 gauze; it can be folded over when the injury is small.
  • Ace bandages — 3-5 inches wide for the lower and upper extremities
  • Sling for the arm in adult and children’s sizes
  • Splinter remover to remove foreign bodies
  • Ice pack; you can buy chemical ice packs that turn cold on hitting it with a fist

You can get very elaborate with injury supplies, such as buying upper and lower extremity air splints and buying cervical collars for neck injuries but that may be overkill. The above list will cover the vast majority of injuries you’ll get in a disaster situation.

As for skin ointments and creams, there are several medications you need to have on hand for your skin. The first is antiseptic ointment. Use this for cuts and scrapes so they don’t get infected. Conditions may not be optimum for keeping a cut or scrape clean so using the ointment is the next best thing. Most antiseptic ointments contain either neomycin or bacitracin or even both. An ointment called Neosporin is good for all types of open injuries to the skin and contains both medications.

You might add a cream or ointment that contains hydrocortisone. The maximum over the counter strength of hydrocortisone you can get is 1 percent, which is effective for many different rashes. Rashes like poison ivy or other itchy rash can be managed with hydrocortisone cream. Allergic rashes can be treated with hydrocortisone cream as well.

These should be the basic when preparing your medicine supply. But don’t forget about the healing power of nature, and prepare yourself for replacing meds with natural remedies if needed.

Interested in more about survival medicines and techniques? CLICK HERE to find out more!

DISCLAIMER: The data contained in this article are for informational purposes only, and do not replace by any means professional advice. 

This article has been written by Radu Scurtu for Survivopedia.

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How To Guarantee Your Survival Even If You Can’t Get Your Bug-Out Bag

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How To Guarantee Your Survival Even If Your Bug-Out Bag Is Destroyed

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The need for making sure you have the necessary equipment and supplies for survival can’t be overstated. While it is theoretically possible to survive off of what you simply find, the reality is that the less you start out with, the worse your chances are of survival. That’s why people store items in survival kits.

But what if you can’t get to your survival kit, bug-out bag, everyday carry bag or get-home bag? What then? While we like to think that we keep ourselves equipped and supplied at all times, the reality is that there are always times when we’re not. What do we do in those times? Or what do we do if our home is destroyed and we can’t get back in to pick up our bug-out bag?

A lot would depend on the disaster that was happening and how much warning you’d have. But there are some cases that would make it impossible. Maybe they’re not very likely, but they do exist.

Take a nuclear war, for example. Granted, we’re not living in the Cold War anymore and the chances of a nuclear confrontation have been reduced drastically. But that doesn’t mean that they don’t exist. Both Russia and the United States still have large stockpiles of nuclear weapons, with other countries having considerably less. Rogue countries would like nothing more than to detonate such a bomb in America.

But there are many other things that could make it impossible to get back home, such as an earthquake, a chemical spill, a major storm or certain acts of terrorism. In any of these instances, you might suddenly find yourself without your bug-out bag or the ability to go home and get it.

This Crazy New Device Can Start A Fire Even In The Worst Conditions

That’s why you need at least one spare bag or kit, hidden in an alternate location. This set of gear might not be quite as good as your main bug-out bag, but it should still cover all of the bases, giving you enough to live off of. It should also have the necessary food and other supplies that you’ll need to stay alive. Ideally, it would be a mirror image or your bug-out bag, but the reality of cost will probably force you to go with some lesser expensive options.

For that matter, why stop at one? If an extra set of gear is a good idea, why not have two or three of them, secreted in different locations? Not only will that help ensure that you have access to them, but that you have access no matter where you are.

How To Guarantee Your Survival Even If Your Home Is Destroyed

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Your spare kits should also include at least one good sturdy set of outdoor clothing, a jacket and a good pair of walking shoes. Odds are that when you are away from home, you won’t be dressed for heading out into the wilderness, so you’d better make sure you have what you will need. Bugging out into the wild in a shirt and tie or a short dress just doesn’t work out all that good.

The other thing to consider hiding with your spare kits is weapons. If you have a concealed carry license and are carrying every day, then that might not be much of an issue; but if you don’t, then any weapon you stash with your backup kit would be the only one you’ll have.

Find a Good Place to Stash It

Stashing your backup kit too close to home totally negates its purpose. On the other hand, you don’t want to stash it so far from home that you can’t get to it within a day, even if you’re on foot. So, you need to pick the location or locations carefully, making sure that they are someplace you’ll be able to get to.

If you own a business that’s a ways away from your home, that might be an excellent place to make a stash. For that matter, you might want to do more than just stash a bug-out bag there, splitting up your stockpile and keeping part of it at your business. That gives you a secondary bug-in location, if you can’t use your home.

Another option is at someone else’s house if you have a like-minded friend who lives in an appropriate area to leave your stash. That could even be a reciprocal agreement, where you keep a kit at their house and they keep one at yours. Doing it that way will motivate them to say yes and probably to leave your kit alone, so that it’s ready when you need it.

This New Lantern Provides 100,000 Hours of Emergency Backup Lighting

How To Guarantee Your Survival Even If Your Home Is Destroyed

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A third possibility is a storage rental. These are available all over the place and some of them are quite inexpensive, especially if you’re just renting a small one. Like your business, this would provide you with a place where you have room to store more than just a bug-out bag, for a small monthly fee. While most of these places say that they’re only open during the day, if you can get over the fence during an emergency, you can pick your stuff up at night, too.

Finally, you can always consider burying your spare kit in the middle of nowhere. There are a number of ways of waterproofing equipment that you want to bury underground, such as using PVC pipe or a five-gallon bucket. Burying it will make it hard for others to find so that it hopefully won’t be bothered. Just make sure that nobody sees what you are doing so that it won’t be stolen. (Recommended: How To Build A Waterproof Underground Cache On A Budget.)

There are two problems with burying a stash. The first one is making sure that you have good landmarks to find it once again. Remember that some landmarks may disappear, such as trees that die. So have more than one set of landmarks that you can use. Secondly, you’ll need something to dig it up with. That can be a problem if the soil has a lot of clay in it or is difficult to dig in for some other reason.

Don’t Stop There

Having a spare set of gear is probably the most important reason to set up a survival stash. But let me give you one more. That’s to stash extra food. A typical bug-out bag has only three days worth of food in it. That’s not enough, as far as I’m concerned. So you might want to create some stashes which are just food.

These stashes will be easier and cheaper to set up, because you don’t have the cost of all the equipment. You can easily stash five days worth of food in a five gallon bucket and bury it somewhere, giving you accessible food when disaster strikes.

Do you have secondary caches? What advice would you add? Share your suggestions in the section below:

Could You ‘Live Off The Land’ With Your Gun If Necessary? Read More Here.

36 Lessons Learned From Testing a 72-Hour Kit

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I recently found an article on The Survival Mom that makes a really good point: There’s a lot of talk about developing preparedness plans, but there’s not much talk about testing preparedness plans. Have you ever grabbed your bug out bag and headed into the wilderness, just to see how […]

The post 36 Lessons Learned From Testing a 72-Hour Kit appeared first on Urban Survival Site.

9 Items That Are Wasting Space In Your Bug-Out Bag

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9 Items That Are Wasting Space In Your Bug-Out Bag

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Have you ever seen or read about someone who just piles dozens and dozens of items into their survival kit or bug-out bag? They keep adding to it with no regards on how they’re actually going to carry it on their shoulders or for the fact that they need to leave extra space, just in case.

Filling your survival bag to the brim is never a good idea. To fit everything inside, you either need a bigger bag or you need to take some of the stuff out. This last approach is what I want to discuss in today’s article.

Let’s look at some of the things you could remove from your bag so you can better focus on the essentials.

1. Certain comfort items

Sure, it’ll be nice to have a bottle of your favorite drink to cheer you up when everything around you is falling to pieces, but some of these items can be heavy and provide little or no nutritional value. If you want comfort items, stick to the ones that are light and have added benefits.

Hard candy (the sugar variety) is such an example. It’s small, lightweight, has a long shelf life and provides you with fast absorbing carbohydrates that will provide energy while on the run.

2. Canned food

Canned food is a bad idea for the same reason a bottled beverage is: It’s too heavy. You’re much better off with freeze-dried food. All you have to do is bring water to a boil (which purifies it at the same time), add the food, let it re-hydrate for a while and you’re ready to eat a nice, nutritious meal.

It’s best to keep your cans of food where they belong: in your pantry.

3. A glow stick

Some people think glow sticks will save them in an emergency and they might, but when you’re able to build a fire, the smoke will attract a lot more attention than the stick.

This Crazy New Device Can Start A Fire Even In The Worst Conditions

As long as you have adequate means of starting a fire in your kit or bag, you really don’t need this.

4. A flare gun

Same thing with flare guns. You don’t really need them as long as you can make fire and, as far as self-defense is concerned, you should already have a firearm and your survival knife to protect you.

5. Foldable chairs

9 Items That Are Wasting Space In Your Bug-Out Bag

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Let’s keep those for when you’re going camping, OK? In a survival situation, I wouldn’t even put them in the trunk of my car because there’re much better ways to use that space.

6. Condoms

I get that you can carry water in them but as long as you have your stainless steel bottle and your canteen cup, you won’t have to. Some reality televisions use this trick to attract eyeballs to their survival shows, but we need to look at things from a different perspective.

7. Sporks

They’re even more annoying if they have a knife on one edge. Much better to get a multi-tool that has a fork, a spoon, a knife, a can opener and even a cork screw.

8. Water purification tablets

This is somewhat ironic because I actually recommend them as part of your everyday carry, particularly if you live in the city. The reason they’re not useful in a survival situation is because you should already be able to boil water or use your portable water filter, such as a Paratrooper Filter.

This Ultra-Efficient Water Filter Fits In Your Pocket — And Removes 100 Percent Of Water-Borne Bacteria!

On the other hand, if you don’t have your kit or bad with you (such as when you’re trapped in a get-home situation), then you won’t have your portable water filter or the means to boil water. In such cases, it’s safer to include a few water purification tables.

9. The SAS Survival Guide

That was one of my personal mistakes I made a while back. I was shocked to notice how my bag got a whole lot lighter once I removed it. Yes, there’s also the pocket edition but it’s still something you may want to reconsider adding to your survival kit. Much better to print out the essential information you need and keep the rest on your phone.

Final Word

Before I wrap this up, I just want to remind you that this isn’t a list that you should follow to the letter. This is just something to think about. If you’re looking to build a larger bug-out bag, there’s nothing stopping you from keeping all of them. But if you’re not in good shape or your bag is too large, then this list is a good starting point.

What items would you add to this list? Share your thoughts in the section below:

Learn How To ‘Live Off The Land’ With Just Your Gun. Read More Here.

5 Reasons To Make A Bug In Bag

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Bug in BagEven fans of Home Alone can tell you that when your home is your castle, you don’t need to worry about trying to live out of bag. But there is a huge difference between a problem that lasts only two or three days and a complete social collapse.

More, the kinds of situations that lead to a major social collapse are also likely to render at least some parts of your home inaccessible. For example, in a major flood, you will need to shelter upstairs, while a nuclear explosion or tornado coming through will dictate moving into the basement. 

While caching a limited number of supplies throughout the house may be of some help, there is still a core of tools and vital materials that should be with you at all time.

Read the following article, and have a look at some other reasons and ways that a bug in bag can be very useful in a time of need and even now as you begin preparing for total collapse scenarios.

Easier to Hide Away and Protect From Home Invaders

Consider a situation where you live in an area where your home is constantly being broken into. To add insult to injury, you may not be able to get a gun because laws in your area favor criminals instead of good and honest people.

Needless to say, in a crisis scenario, any rogue that decides to invade your home will have plenty of time to go through everything and take what they want. Under these circumstances, you may not even want to think about how much worse the situation will be in a total social collapse.

You may also be feeling very frustrated because you already know that storing away goods and supplies to help you during an emergency will be virtually impossible. On the other hand, a small bug in bag weighing less than 30 pounds may be fairly easy to tuck away in a place that would be overlooked by home invaders. As long as you are able to keep it hidden and secure, then you can have confidence in knowing that you can get by until the situation resolves.

In a home invasion and crisis situation you may have one psychological advantage in the sense that you know what you are guarding and how important it is. If you have followed advice about keeping a low profile and creating optimal fire zones, then you may just be able to protect your bug in bag or escape with it before the situation gets worse.

Even if you cannot  have or get a gun, there are plenty of small things that are far more lethal that can be placed in your bug in bag. Just look at how easy it is to make a Molotov cocktail or other lethal explosives. While you may not relish the idea of basically exploding a bomb in your home, it may be just enough to enable you to escape or encourage those home invaders to leave.

Reduce Immediate Budget Strains Associated with Prepping

If you do some research, you will find that in some areas, the price of bottled water is doubling and tripling. By the same token, failing crops and other problems are also sending food prices upward. Aside from these basic budgetary problems, you will also find that the best and most recommended survival gear tends to be very expensive.

No matter whether you are talking about independent power generation, suitable clothing, guns, ammunition, or storage containers, each item can cost well over 100.00. When you can barely afford to pay the rent or put food on the table, chances are you also won’t have money for the more conventional purchases associated with prepping.

On the other hand, a well designed bug in bag can cost well under 250.00, including all of the tools and supplies. Here are some other ways that focusing on building a bug in bag can help you save money now and in the long run:

  • A bug in bag can be as simple as a regular backpack that can carry 30 – 50 pounds of weight. I have been known to take a 15.00 backpack and use it for years on end to carry heavy items. While some people would never attempt this without a bar system on the back part, you can still use a basic backpack for a bug in bag and be able to mobilize with it if needed. As an added bonus, choosing a backpack without rails will make it much easier for you to fit into the landscape of people. Without a question, if rioters or thieves see you running around with a more expensive backpack, they are sure to think you have something of value in it. On the other hand, if your bug in/out bag looks old or “regular” they won’t think you have anything of major value in the pack.
  • Focusing on small tools can save money and give you a wider range of versatility. As a prepper you may spend a good bit of time in the tool department. While you are wandering around, you are sure to appreciate all those battery operated power tools (even though they don’t work nearly as well as corded ones!) and boxes of fancy screwdriver, pliers, and multi-piece tool kits. On the other hand, my personal tool kit that I have used for an endless variety of chores and projects can fit into a much smaller space. For example, my screwdriver kit includes a regular sized ratcheting handle and a second one for smaller spaces (each one cost about $3.00 and came with a bunch of bits). Bits for these screwdrivers can be purchased for about a dollar a dozen, or upward depending on the quality of the bits. As an added bonus, I also have sockets, star bits, and a few others that can be used on just about any fastener. A monkey wrench, coping saw, mini hacksaw, metal cutter, two regular pliers, one needle nose pliers, tweezers, hammer, level (you can get one for about a dollar and then take it out of the frame), floral wire, multi-meter, composite file, 2 xacto handles plus blades, and tape measure round out my basic tool kit. Even at today’s inflated prices, you can build a mini-tool kit like this one for well under 30.00 and have no problems carrying it around in your bug in bag. In fact, even when I was commuting long distances, this exact kit served as a main part of my auto emergency kit and went with me no matter where I went.
  • A bug in bag gives you a focus point to start with and the flexibility to change your plans if needed. When you only have a few dollars to work with, it can be very frustrating to purchase something and then realize that it won’t suit short term, let alone long term survival needs. At the very least, if you start off with a bug in bag, you can test out each piece and see how it fits into your pre-crisis lifestyle as well as how you will use it during and after a major crisis scenario.
  • Creating a custom bug in bag is cheaper and better than buying a pre-packed kit. For example, if you buy a bug out bag, it may contain all kinds of hunting and navigation gear, and perhaps even some toilet paper and a transistor radio. On the other hand, these same pre-assembled bags may not include good quality tools or other resources that you can purchase for less and store away in a bag of your own choosing. As you develop your own bug in bag, you will also get to know how to use every part of it and actually practice enough to feel confident of your skills no matter what happens.

You Can Live in a Smaller or More Limited Space if Needed

Depending on the situation, the building you are living in may still be in relatively good condition after a major crisis occurs. Sadly, supporting community systems such as municipal water, gas, and electricity may all be temporarily or permanently disrupted.

To make matters even worse, structural damages to the building you are in may not be severe enough to warrant repairs, yet still limit your ability to use certain rooms. Under each of these circumstances, you may wind up having to bug out.

Even if you can travel to a friend or family member’s house, it may not be possible to take along a large stockpile. At the very least, if you have a well stocked bug in bag, you can live in your home for as long as you choose or bug out at a moment’s notice. Here are some other ways that a bug in bag can help you survive in a smaller space:

  • A small, alternative powered dehumidifier can provide enough water for cooking and cleaning even if no other water is available. This is especially important if you already suspect that your home will be one of the first that rioters and looters will come to visit. In most cases, if you have water on hand, they will take that first. As long as they don’t see or know about your bug in bag, they will not be able to steal the dehumidifier that has far more value than the water they just stole.
  • Solar power packs can be used to generate enough electricity to charge batteries or directly power a range of devices. If you do choose to purchase a solar power pack, make sure that you can also charge any batteries that may be used in medical devices.
  • A box (after you unfold it) and some tinfoil can act as a solar oven that can be used to prepare food or heat up a room.
  • Seeds packed away in the bug out bag can be started and eventually produce crops that can be consumed for food and medicinal purposes. If you need food within a few days, do some research on beans and other plants whose seedlings can be consumed after sprouting. In some cases, these sprouts can be started in little more than a moist paper towel and be ready to consume in under 48 hours. Chances are, you will be amazed at just how many sprouts you can get from a pound of alfalfa, cress, or bean seeds! Just make sure that you store away plenty of viable seeds so that you have enough to last several days plus enough seeds to produce a harvest.
  • You can also store away ant eggs and other insect eggs that can be used to raise edible insects. Depending on what you choose, an area as small as a shoebox can be used to raise these insects. Aside from increasing your range of foods, insects are some of the most nutritious, protein rich foods that you can consume. Once you get past the “ick” factor, you may just decide that you never want to go back to commercial meat and all its toxins. As with a dehumidifier, rioters and looters may not think seriously about a bug farm sitting in your living room or other areas.   In fact, if you really want to stir up rioters and other hostile invaders, it may be to your advantage to raise some stinging insects or others that will attack as soon as rioters are foolish enough to disturb their home. No doubt, if you have ever seen fire ants swarm, or other insects that attack en masse, then you can truly understand how these insects can help you fend off invaders while others can be used for food.
  • When used in conjunction with fire zones, pen guns, darts, poisons, rope, wire, and other small weapons can be of immense value. A good array of these weapons usually weight less than a pound and can fit into something as small as a salt box. Not only will you have the element of surprise if someone invades  your home, you can build all of these devices for just a few dollars.  As an added bonus, no matter how much anti-gunners try to limit your access to conventional guns, there is nothing they can do about non-metal bearing weapons that you build at home and in complete privacy.
  • A backpack with two side pockets offers the perfect way to make cheap, lightweight Faraday cages.  These side pouches can be used to store away tiny FM radios and smaller sized smart phones that would otherwise be destroyed in an EMP blast. If you have a lot of information stored on your computer, a good quality unlocked WiFi phone with expandable memory (don’t forget to copy all your files onto the chip that you will use with the phone) can be used to store and access this information. Even though you should always strive to learn as much as possible and remember it all, it never hurts to have a backup data source. Just make sure that you choose a phone that can be switched out to a custom Linux variant. This will help improve your overall security and make it harder for others to find you.
  • If you make a list of the basic needs of daily life, you are sure to find cheap, small devices that will fit into a bug in bag and make it entirely possible to live for weeks or even months without ever leaving the building.  While this is sure to be psychologically taxing, at least you will be able to weather the weeks and months after the post crisis period with as little contact as possible with others who may be carrying dangerous diseases or exposing yourself  to other problems.

Tools

Try out Different Tools and Equipment to See What Works Best

Have you ever purchased a clearance sale first aid kit or something else that looked like it might be of use some day? Did you get a nasty surprise when you opened up the kit or actually tried to use what you bought in an actual situation.

If so, then you can well understand what it will be like when a crisis happens and you try to use an array of items and tools that either don’t work, or you have no skill with using. In this case, a bug in bag can help you practice with a relatively limited number of tools and supplies. If something doesn’t work, you can do some more research and find something that will.

Ultimately, you should make it your business to try and live for at least 3 months exclusively on the resources housed in your bug in bag. Once you find things that work, you can always replace what you use, or better yet, in the case of plant seeds and insect eggs, simply store away extras from your harvests.

When you start using the tools and supplies in your bug in bag before a crisis happens, you may also find that it will change your life and daily habits. For example, after a few months of eating plant sprouts from heirloom seeds or insects that do not contain all kinds of commercial meat hormones and toxins, you may be looking and feeling much better than expected.

If you find something that works well for you, there is no need to go back to other food sources that cost a lot of money and rob you of your good health at the same time.

By the same token, as you become more adept other tools in your bug in bag, you will have more confidence in your ability to take care of household repairs. Once again, not only will you save money, but you will also be able to streamline and simplify your life in some very satisfying ways.

Important Items Will not be Overlooked if You Must Leave

No matter whether you have to take refuge in an attic, basement, or closet, chances are you will still panic after a major crisis occurs. Under these circumstances, you may forget even the simplest things that will not be easy to gather up once you go to a safer location within your home. On the other hand, if your bug in bag is within easy reach, all you need to do is grab it and take it along with you.

It should be noted that the bulkiest part of your bug in bag is going to be dedicated to clothes. This will also be the most expensive part of your kit since you will need to focus on thin fabrics that either keep you warm or help you stay cooler.

Oddly enough, many people give very little, if any thought to how they will manage clothing during a crisis. Consider a situation where you need to leave town quickly. As you look through your wardrobe, it is very likely that you will pull out (and pack) the worst possible clothes.

For women, this may include high heels, dresses, and other fancy garments that are completely useless for hiking, climbing, kicking, punching, and running. By the same token, men may be tempted to pack hats, ties, and other clothes that are relatively useless outside of a particular social context.

When you have a few basic garments stashed away in your bug in bag, at least you won’t have to worry about trying to dig through your wardrobe, the clothes you just washed, or the laundry hamper.

There is no question that bugging in can take a lot of work and preparation. All of that can go to waste if rioters and looters get into your home and steal everything before you have a chance to use it up in the post-crisis world. By the same token, structural damage, loss of utilities, and other factors can make it even harder to bug in without having a good quality bug in bag.

By outfitting a bug in bag now and practicing with it, you can be assured that you can live just about anywhere, including just one room or part of a room within your home. Why should you go through all the trouble of making sound and reasonable bug in plans and then overlook one part of the prepping process just because it is traditionally associated with bugging out?

Interested in long-term survival? CLICK HERE to find out more!

This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia.

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How to Make the Perfect EDC Survival Kit

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joshua’s website is Strange Danger

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Hazardous Or Harmless? The Mistakes That Could Kill You

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First aidWe all know and expect that there will be massive shortages in the aftermath of any disaster, that’s why we stockpile. Our stockpile is our safety net, intended to get us through the bad times. Hopefully, it will last us until things get back to some semblance of normal or until a new normal can take over.

But what are we going to do if our stockpile doesn’t last long enough? I’m not talking about food here, enough people talk about that; I’m talking about other things. Things where we may have to substitute one thing for another. Are we ready to do that? Do we know the things which are safe to substitute for others? Or are we likely to use something dangerous, just because we don’t know any better?

To be honest, it’s probably impossible to know every possible substitution there is. I’m sure that I don’t know them all. But it is a good idea to know at least some substitutions for commonly needed items. It’s also useful to know recipes which can be used to make some commonly used items that might run out.

While this guide won’t be complete, I want to take a look at some common items and what substitutes we can safely make, as well as some of the risks we face in making the wrong substitutes.

Water

Okay, there is no true substitute for water; you’ve got to have it. But how do you know if water is safe to drink or not? The basic rule of thumb is that you don’t consider any water safe to drink in a survival situation. The microscopic pathogens in the water are too small to see, so there’s no way of telling if water is good or not, just by looking at it.

Some people have talked about making filters for water out of rolls of toilet paper or tampons. This is extremely hazardous. These materials can’t filter out bacteria and protozoa, because of their small size.

Some might be caught in the fibers of the toilet paper, but more will get through. The same goes for bio-filters made in a two liter soda bottle. While a bio-filter works extremely well, that isn’t a big enough filter to capture everything.

One of the easiest ways of ensuring that water is safe to drink is with normal household bleach. Eight drops of bleach per gallon will purify it. Just mix it in and allow it to sit for 20 minutes. Bleach is chlorine, which is the same chemical that city water authorities use to purify water.

You can also purify water with heat. Most people boil it, but you really only need to get it up to 158oF to purify it. At that temperature, the pathogens all die, leaving you with water that’s safe to drink, regardless of how it might look.

About the only natural water that you can count on being safe to drink is rainwater. But that’s only if you can capture it in a rainwater capture system that you know hasn’t been used as a latrine by the birds. Don’t trust water that has fallen on your roof, as you can be sure that the local bird population has visited there.

First-Aid

first aidFew people stock enough first-aid supplies, so this is one area where just about everyone is going to run out. The chances of injury during a survival situation are higher than they are at other times, so we’ll go through what supplies we do have faster than normal. So this is one area where we will need to be ready to make some substitutions.

Looking at basic wound treatment, the first thing needed is something to clean out the wound. This is normally done with purified water and an irrigation syringe. If you have water that is clean enough to drink, then you have water that is clean enough to irrigate a wound.

If you don’t, then use fresh urine. While that may sound gross, urine is biologically clean; it contains no active bacteria, protozoa or viruses. So, it can be used to clean out a wound safely.

Of course, alcohol can be used for cleaning the wound as well. For centuries, people have used wine, whiskey and any other alcoholic beverage, in place of rubbing alcohol.

If you don’t have any antibiotic cream to put on the wound, use crushed garlic. Garlic is a powerful natural antibiotic and antifungal, and most people have it. Garlic powder will work as well, although garlic salt is not a good idea, as it will sting greatly.

As for bandages, almost anything will work. In olden times, they took scrap cloth and boiled it to sterilize it. That still works today, as boiling kills those microscopic pathogens we’re concerned about. For that matter, if you have to sew up the wound, you can use a normal needle and thread, as long as it has been boiled.

Food

We are surrounded by plants, many of which can be perfectly fine to eat. The problem is identifying which ones can be eaten and which ones can’t. However, there is an actual procedure which can be used for determining which plants are safe to eat. It requires one member of your party being willing to try the plant and is time consuming, so you want to make sure you do it with plants that you have a lot of.

Before trying this test, one should abstain from eating or drinking anything but purified water for eight hours. That will help isolate any symptoms, proving that they came from the plants being tested. Nothing but those plants should be eaten during the testing process.

  • Separate the plant into parts. The same plant can have edible and inedible parts. Each part needs to be tested separately; roots, leaves and berries.
  • Visually inspect the parts of the plant, looking for evidence that insects have been eating it, but have abandoned it. If they have abandoned it, there’s a good chance that the plant is rotten.
  • Check for contact poison by touching and then if there is no adverse reaction, rubbing the plant part on your skin. The best place for this is the inside of the elbow or wrist. Wait 8 hours for any sign of contact poisoning. Contact poisoning usually appears as a rash, such as caused by poison ivy.
  • Cook a small portion of the plant part. Some plants are only poisonous raw, so it is safer to test it cooked. Of course, if you can’t cook it, or cooking it would be impractical, such as in the case of berries and fruit, skip cooking it.
  • Test it on the lips by touching the plant to the lips for three minutes. The lips are the most sensitive skin area on the body, making them a great test for things like acids. If there is any burning, tingling or other unpleasant reaction, stop the test.
  • Place a small amount of the plant part on the tongue and leave it there, without swallowing, for 15 minutes.
  • Chew the plant part and then hold it in your mouth, without swallowing, for another 15 minutes.
  • Swallow the plant and wait 8 hours to see if you have any adverse reaction. Do not eat or drink anything else during that time, except for purified water. If you feel sick during that time, induce vomiting or take activated charcoal.
  • Eat 1/4 cup of the cooked plant part and wait another 8 hours for adverse reactions. Once again, avoid eating or drinking anything but purified water. If there is no adverse reaction during this time, the plant part is safe to eat.

The same test would need to be done for each part of the plant, as well as for other plants that you are considering eating. Once done though, you can add that plant part to your list of known safe plants to eat.

Of course, you can save yourself a lot of time by having a guide to edible plants for your region. The plants that are in the guide will be plants that others have tested, saving you both the time and the risk of doing it yourself.

 

Lighting

kerosene lampMost of us collect tactical flashlights for emergency lighting; they’re great. We probably have some candles sitting around as well. But one of the best forms of emergency lighting is oil lamps. The nice thing about them, is that you can use just about any flammable fluid you can find in them for fuel.

For more than a century, mineral oil has been used in oil lamps. The advantage that mineral oil has is that it is odor free and doesn’t produce a lot of smoke.

But you can use just about any type of oil you can find; used motor oil, cooking oil or oil that you render from hog fat.

All of them will burn, offering different amounts of light and different odors for you to tolerate or enjoy. Hmm, I wonder if pig fat smells like bacon?

You don’t want to try using more flammable substances, like gasoline. While gasoline might burn in one of these lamps, it might burn too fast, allowing the flame to travel down the wick into the bowl, causing an explosion.

If you have to try a flammable liquid in an oil lamp and you’re not sure how it will do, run a test first. Fill the lamp bowl 1/4 full and take it outside.

If you have a fire pit, place it inside, so that the walls of the fire pit can capture any exploding glass. Then light it, using a long stick and keeping your body as low to the ground as possible. That will help protect you from flying glass. If it doesn’t’ explode, you’re home free.

Want to improve your medical survival skills? CLICK HERE to find out how.

This article has been written by Bill White for Survivopedia.

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Use desert survival techniques to gather water during a flood

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An  irony of floods is that muddy, filthy water inundates everything, but there is generally a shortage of drinking water! People stranded by standing water may be able to adapt desert survival skills to gather potable water.

by Leon Pantenburg

Widespread flooding is occurring all over.  Deadly floods have slammed South Carolina, and other areas are inundated as heavy rains hit. To add to the disaster, several dams have been breached, and other are under observation. Roughly 40,000 residents have been left without drinkable water. Some 550 roads and bridges remain closed, including nearly 75 miles of Interstate 95, the main link from the south-east US to the north-east.

As of this publication, about 40, 000 South Carolinians are advised to boil all water.

transpiration-bag1

Enclose living vegetation with a clear plastic bag to gather water through plant transpiration. (Peter Kummerfeldt photo)

Who knows if the worst is over?

But what happens in a long term situation, such as after Hurricane Katrina, where people were stranded by for long periods of time? In those situations, staying hydrated in the heat becomes incredibly important.

“In priority order, after shelter and the need to defend your body temperature, preventing dehydration is the survivor’s next most important necessity,”  says survival expert Peter Kummerfeldt.

In some areas, drinking water can be found in vines. Another way to gather drinking water during a flood might be to set up transpiration bags, a method typically considered a desert survival technique.

transpiration bag

The amount of moisture that can be gathered from a transpiration bag varies, depending on a different environmental factors. (Peter Kummerfeldt photo)

“Using clear plastic bags to enclose living vegetation and capture the moisture transpired by the leaves can be an effective method of collecting water,” Kummerfeldt says. “Any time you have a plastic bag and living vegetation it should work.”

This survival  technique relies on a process called transpiration, which goes on constantly during the daylight, in deserts and swamps alike.During transpiration, trees absorb moisture through their roots, and evaporate water

Condensation from the vegetation will be caught in the plastic bag. (Peter Kummerfeldt photo)

Condensation from the vegetation will be caught in the plastic bag. (Peter Kummerfeldt photo)

through openings in their leaves, according to USGS Science for  a Changing World. Trees tend to transpire more with increased temperatures, sunlight intensity, water supply, and size. When it gets too hot, though, transpiration will shut down.

“The vegetation should be given a vigorous shake before placing it in the plastic bag,” Kummerfeldt advises. “This is to remove any insects, bird droppings or other materials that might contaminate the water.”

Within a short period of time, water will begin to condense on the inner surface of the bag, collect into water droplets and drain to the lowest point of the bag.

Water quantity depends on the amount of moisture in the ground, and vegetation type. Other factors affecting water production include the amount of sunlight available, (it doesn’t work at night) the clarity of the plastic bag and the length of time the process is allowed to work.

“It is not uncommon to find two or three cups of water, and sometimes much more, has accumulated over a six-to-eight hour daylight period,” Kummerfeldt said.

The best way to remove the water without disturbing the bag, he added, is to insert a length of vinyl aquarium hose through the neck of the bag down to the lowest point where water will collect. (This should be done during assembly of the apparatus) The water can then be sucked out or possibly siphoned into a container.

“When enclosing vegetation in the plastic bag it is advisable to place chicken egg sized stone in the lower corner where the water will collect” Kummerfeldt said. “The weight of the stone creates a separation between the enclosed plant life and the water and keeps plant saps from contaminating the water.”

“You can’t count on large quantities of water being produced in individual transpiration bags,” Kummerfeldt cautions. “But you must do everything you can to stay hydrated.”

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Amazon.com Widgets

Another Source For Emergency Preparedness Gear Not To Overlook

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Regular readers of Backwoods Survival Blog might recall about a year ago when I reviewed the Utilitech LED lantern I purchased from my local Lowe’s Home Improvement. My household actually owns 3 of those, having purchased them as gifts that double as emergency preparedness gear for our family. Regardless of having that particular area at least somewhat squared away, however, I’m always cognizant of the need to expand on preparedness and deepen redundancies.

Just today, I was afforded an opportunity to do so when browsing through one of the many Facebook yard sale group pages for my area….

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VSSL Gear – Supplies Survival Kit – Rugged and Made in Canada

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VSSL Supplies Survival Kit

It’s VERY rare that I get excited about a survival kit anymore – but when I saw the NEW VSSL Gear – Supplies Survival Kit online I said, “Yes! Finally an NEW Innovative and Original Approach to Survival Kits… AND rushed to get one in here.

When I knew that my VSSL Kits (yes, I got the supplies, first aid and zombie) arrived, I was so jazzed that I let the cameras roll to get my first impressions.

Birthed Via Kickstarter

VSSL Flashlight

3-Mode Flashlight

Birthed via Kickstarter the VSSL kits come in a 9″ long by 2″ diameter anodized aluminum case that is rugged and just plain looks cool. At the top of the cylinder there’s a nice 3-Mode LED flashlight that is the top cap and includes a high low and SOS beacon mode.

The bottom cap a ridiculously nice oil-filled compass that flips over to reveal a 4 hour beeswax candle.

Inside we have several marked round tins that contain essential survival gear and the kit even comes with round instructions that are coded to each tin that provide concise instructions how to use the contents of the kit.

VSSL Everything

Modular Tins

Here’s  a List of All the Gear Contained in this Kit:

• Dual mode (static and SOS) LED ‘flood’ beam lantern light, illuminates a large area (batteries included)

• Compass (oil filled)

• 4 hour pure Canadian beeswax candle

• Razor blade

VSSL Survival Guide

VSSL Survival Guide

• 6 Aquatabs® water purification tablets

• Wire saw (high tensile, 60lb working strength with handle straps)

• Aluminum beadless emergency whistle

• Waterproof matches

• Tinder Quik® fire starters

• Fishing Gear

• Signalling Mirror

First Aid Kit

First Aid Kit

• Marine grade rope (250lb breaking strength)

• Reflective trail markers

• P38 military GI Type can opener

• First aid supplies

• VSSL priorities of survival and instructions

Pros and Cons of VSSL Supplies Kit:

First Let’s Look at the Downside…

The flashlight switch is waterproof, super high quality and easy to use… but it’s also VERY easy to accidentally turn on. So you’ll want to flip the center battery around until you need the flashlight to make sure you don’t exhaust the batteries by accident.

VSSL Compass Cap

VSSL Compass Cap

Next – Although the compass is one of the best I’ve ever seen in a stock survival kit, it’s comes as the bottom of the VSSL… And because I don’t know how it’s going to hold up over time as the bottom… I’d switch it around with the flashlight top which has less glass exposed and use caution when placing the compass side down on hard, uneven surfaces – like rocks.

Next, the flashlight batteries are E90s – NOT standard AA or AAAs – but the smaller length of E90s ARE necessary to keep the flashlight size down… So I’d recommend carrying a spare set.

So I was able to fit an extra set of 3 batteries – one each in the Fishing, Water Purification and First Aid PODS… You may want to do the same.

Although the Tin PODs keeps everything neat and organized – they are not the most efficient way to fit the maximum amount of gear in the Aluminum VSSL container. But those with “Type A” / OCD personalities will love this kit – “as is” while those that tend toward the messy side will surely like to stuff more gear inside.

NOW on the Upside…

VSSL Supplies Kit Contents

VSSL Supplies Kit Contents

The VSSL is a Cool Looking, Rugged Aluminum and Water Resistant Main Container – with a high quality, bright – 3 Mode Flashlight (including an SOS beacon) and has one of the best pre-made survival kit – compasses I’ve ever seen built into the other cap.

VSSL is easily customizable – since you can buy empty or pre-loaded tins OR just shove your own gear inside.

VSSL is VERY well Organized with Individual Tins that include Basic Survival Gear AND has some basic but cool instructions that actually tell you how to use what’s in the kit.

AND as a BONUS – You could use any one of the tins to make char in the field (See my video on how to make char cloth).

VSSL Holds 11 -12 Ounces of Water

VSSL Holds 11 -12 Ounces of Water

Now I was just thinking… if this container keeps water out… could we remove the stuff inside and use it to keep water in… as a cup or even a canteen in a pinch…

So I just tried this… using the empty Supplies VSSL… with over 11 ounces of water. Now you can seal it inside… But I want to let you know that doing this could risk your flashlight… especially if you don’t put the black plastic battery cap on tight.

But it makes a pretty darn good cup and that’s a bonus for sure.

So who’s the VSSL for?

VSSL Supplies Survival Kit

VSSL Supplies Survival Kit

At just under $100 U.S. (at the writing of this article) VSSL’s cost may be resisted by the budget conscious, but for those who appreciate form and function the VSSL Supplies Survival Kit is a nice, basic kit for those that wants a practical, portable, and tough, preloaded kit for hunting, camping, backpacking, outdoor adventures, bug out bags, vehicles or general emergency preparedness or for those who what a good basic kit that they can tweak to meet their needs.

VSSL Gear also sells Empty VSSLs with flashlight and compass top and bottom that you can load with whatever you want. And in the future we’ll take a look at the first aid and Zombie VSSls. For another modular Survival Kit check out my review of the Gear Pods Wilderness Survival Kit.

Okay… so you can check out more, here are links to this VSSL kit and a few other VSSLs as well:

VSSL Gear – Supplies Survival Kit

VSSL Gear – First Aid Survival Kit

VSSL Gear – Emergency Shelter Kit

VSSL Gear – Zombie Kit

VSSL Empty – Fill it with YOUR Stuff Container

VSSL Polished Aluminum Flask Light

Rules of Survival

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Master Woodsman

This article contains my current thoughts and perspective on survival rules and more. As this is a life or death topic, I take it very seriously. That being said, what follows may or may not be the right approach for you, i.e., I am not trying to be evangelical in what I have written, I am […]

The post Rules of Survival appeared first on Master Woodsman.

5 Survival Hacks That Could Save Your Life In The Wild

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Surviving in the woods is something that you may, at some point, need to know about. Even if we never experience a local or global natural disaster that would force you into the woods in order to survive, there are always other times when you may need it.

For instance, if you’re camping and lose your way or if your car breaks down in the woods and you are miles away from civilization, you’ll need to know how to survive for a day or two.

Survivopedia has teamed up with the guys from Survival Know How to bring you a series of videos about 5 crucial hacks for your wilderness survival. We will teach you how to build a snare to catch small game, how to make a simple water filter, how to create fire using a mirror, how to make a tarp shelter and how to make a 2-liter bottle fish trap.

Each of these survival hacks requires very little in the way of materials and most of them, you’ll have in your bug-out bag or your vehicle bag anyway. If not, they’d be good to add.

1. Catch Live Game with a Wood Cage Trap

This is a pretty cool way to create a basic snare to catch small game. In the video below, Malcolm uses bamboo and a few feet of string but you could use any kind of sticks that you can find. It’s important that the sticks be relatively small in diameter. This is because the snare is going to be built by stacking the sticks atop each other in a manner that will leave gaps as large as the stick. If you use sticks that are too big around, your prey will be able to escape through these gaps.

You’ll be using the strings as the frame for the snare and will build the walls in such a way that when the snare is complete, it will be held together by the tension on the string. It’s extremely simple to put together.

Next you’ll learn how to make the stick that holds the trap up, which is actually quite clever. Finally, he’ll show you how to set the bushcraft trap so that it will snare a small animal. It’s easy and it seems as it would be effective. Check out the video!

Watch this video on Survival Know How.

2. How to Make a Simple Water Filter

There’s nothing more critical to survival than water. Our bodies are made mostly of it and your brain and organs are quickly affected if you don’t have enough. As a matter of fact, you can only go about 24 hours without water before your body and your brain stops functioning optimally. It won’t be long after that you die.

The how-to video below shows you how to make a simple water filter using a scrap of cloth and two empty containers. It works on the wicking method and the water will still need to be boiled or sanitized, but it will be free of debris and dirt.

Watch this video on Survival Know How.

3. How to Create Fire from a Mirror

Next to lack of water or food, exposure to the elements is the next biggest danger to you if you’re stuck in the woods. You need to know how to build a fire for a couple of reasons. First, many places get incredibly cold once the sun sets, and may even be dangerously cold during the day. You’ll need to build a fire to keep warm and to cook your food.

Another reason that you may want to build a fire is so that rescuers can find you. One of the first things that search parties look for is smoke, especially if they’re searching from the sky. Of course, if you’re trying to hide, you’ll want to build a smaller fire in the cover of trees of in a cave in order to hide the smoke.

Regardless, you’ll still need to stay warm and cook the meat that you caught in the snare, so watch this video to see how to start a fire using a vanity mirror. We’ve always said to include a mirror in your kits, so you won’t have anything more to add; you’ll already have what you need. Well, that and sunshine. Check it out – you may be surprised by how well this works!

Watch this video on Survival Know How.

4. How to Make a Tarp Shelter

You’ve got food, you’ve got water, you’ve got fire, and now you need shelter. Those are the basics that will keep you alive if you’re stuck in the woods trying to survive. Since we always recommend carrying a tarp or plastic garbage bags and 550 cord with you in your bug-out and vehicle bags, you won’t need much more other than a little bit of elbow grease.

The video below goes into detail about where you should build your shelter and offers some advice about where NOT to build it. He also talks about the prepping steps that you should take prior to putting your shelter up then tells you how to make it warmer and more comfortable. Check it out – you’ll love the simplicity of it.

Watch this video on Survival Know How.

5. How to Make a 2 Liter Bottle Fish Trap

Just in case your snare doesn’t work, you may want to have a back-up plan. Fish is pretty tasty and it’s also extremely good for you. It has a ton of protein and healthy fat that will help you to survive no matter what your circumstances are.

For this project, you’re going to need a 2-liter bottle, some string and a knife. Though the video shows a 2-liter bottle, you could use a smaller water bottle or even a larger jug. You’ll be catching minnows, which you can eat or use as bait to catch other fish. This is actually a pretty cool trick that you may want to use if you’re a fisherman in order to catch fresh bait throughout the day as you float along.

The concept is the same as commercial crab traps and is a pretty slick hack.

Watch this video on Survival Know How.

All five of these hacks are easy to do and don’t require any other materials than you should have in your bug-out kit or vehicle bag. Not only are they great for survival, they’re even good if you’re just out camping and having fun.

We’d love to hear what you think if the videos so let’s hear your opinion in the comments section below. Also, if you have any other cool hacks, feel free to share those, too!

 

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia. The videos have been created by Survival Know How.

Creating Emergency Preparedness Kits

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Several of the most frequently asked questions in emergency preparedness have to do with kits: “Check out my kit–What am I missing?” for example, or “Help! My bugout bag is too heavy!” When I put together emergency preparedness kits, I go through three mental checklists. These checklists are flexible enough that they are useful whether I am building an EDC, an Altoids tin kit, a Nalgene bottle kit, a get-home bag, a bugout bag, or a 72-hour kit. All I need to do is adapt the requirements for the space and weight constraints I’m facing.

pskThe Rule of Threes

One can survive for:

For air, I might consider such items as a gas mask, an N95-rated particulate respirator mask, and first-aid treatments for bleeding. For shelter, I think in terms of starting a fire, keeping warm, keeping dry, and replacing electrolytes. For water I consider what containers I might want and how to disinfect and filter water for drinking. Because food is something I can go without for weeks, I not only pack food as space permits, but I also think about getting food–purchasing (so cash), fishing, or hunting, etc.–and also I think about what happens when eliminating bodily waste at this point.

Second, I run through David Canterbury’s 10 C’s of Survival.

David Canterbury’s 10 C’s of Survival

The 5 “must have’s:”

  1. Cutting tool (knives, saws, razors, etc.)
  2. Combustion (ignition, tinder, fuel)
  3. Cover (tents, raincoats, ponchos, blankets, garbage bags, survival blankets)
  4. Container (canisters, bladders, pouches, etc. for water and cooking)
  5. Cordage (rope, 550 paracord, thread)

The 5 “should have’s:”

  1. Candle (illumination)
  2. Cotton
  3. Compass (compass, maps, GPS)
  4. Cargo tape (duct tape)
  5. Canvass Needle (AKA sail needle)

I like to add another 5 “nice to have’s:”

  1. Conflict (firearms, pepper spray, batons, etc.)
  2. Communication (radio, whistle, marking tape, Sharpie pen, paper, signal mirror, etc.)
  3. Constitution (first aid, medicine, wellness)
  4. Connectors (sewing kit, superglue, safety pins)
  5. Cells (batteries, solar power)

Third, I make sure I can document what Shane Steinkamp calls my IESSEP. This can be documented on paper or some sort of flash memory.

IESSEP

  • Identity
  • Education
  • Skill Set
  • Earning Potential

I travel quite a bit, and having an electronic copy of my passport, drivers license, birth certificate, etc. could come in handy if the original documents are stolen or not available. In the case that I can’t go home again, it makes great economic sense to be able to document my degrees, certifications, skills, etc. and to be able to produce a résumé. I generally include a collection of precious family photos on any flash drive as well.

In terms of quality, I find myself going two ways. On the one hand, many of my kits are only meant to get me through a few days or so. Combine that with the fact that like many preppers I have many kits (OK, maybe I have too many kits), and it’s no wonder the gear in my kits is not necessarily top quality; it doesn’t have to last me for the rest of my life, just for those few days. On the other hand, if I am going to be trusting my life to the gear in my kits, I want the quality to be high enough that I can rely on it if needed.

What am I missing?

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MARSOC SERE FIELD GEAR LIST

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Marines inspecting contents of Jungle Survival Kit

MARSOC (Marine Special Operations Command) SERE (Survive, Evade, Resist, and Escape) school, is the Marines elite Special Operations. This is their current required gear list for their in house SERE school. This list outlines what Marines are using to survive their SERE school and what they most likely carry on their person when going into combat. This list can be used to develop your personal survival kit or Bug Out Bag. 

Required field gear:

(1) Issued survival kit or
possess equivalent kit (A period of instruction will be given

during course and student will
be afforded opportunity to build kit, all students will be required to have

one before field training)

(1) Fire starting device
(Magnesium block/striker, matches or lighter allowed)

(1) Signaling device (Signaling
Mirror or Camouflage paint kit w/mirror)

(1) Bottle water purifying
tablets or chlorine tablets if allergic to iodine (Will be issued)

(1) Wrist compass

(1) Whistle

(1) Fixed blade knife or
Multi-tool (Only 1 knife or 1 multi-tool is allowed not both!)

(3) Water carrying devices (3
quarts of water minimum)

(1) Issued Digital Poncho or
Tarp with liner

(1) Pair gloves (Leather, Nomex
Flight gloves or green cotton/wool or unit issued)

(1) First Aid Kit

(1) Pair eye protection
(Optional or can be issued)

(1) Pen or Pencil

(1) Paper or notebook

(1) Fleece watch cap

(1) Headlamp w/red lenses or
(1) Flashlight w/ red lenses

(1) Canteen cup (Regardless of
type of water carrying device)

(1) LBE/LBV or equivalent

(1) 5 foot length of 550 cord

(1) Ruck Sack or ILBE pack

(1) Package of map pens (1)
protractor

(8) Pair socks, (2) t-shirts,
(2) pair underwear

(1) Bottle of foot powder

(1) Camouflage paint kit

(1) Boonie cover

(1) Gore-Tex top

(1) Gore-Tex bottom

(1) Warming layer top-Seasonal
Dependant

(1) Warming layer
bottom-Seasonal Dependant

(2) Boots (Marine Corps issued
or MARSOC issued, desert colored boots)

(1) Entire modular sleeping
system with storage compression sack and Gore-Tex bivy.

(1) Set of appropriate civilian
attire

(1) E-tool