“Micro-Homestead” This Modest Survival Shelter Could Save Your Life When It’s Time to Bug Out

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bug-out-woods

By Mac Slavo – SHTFplan.com

It certainly isn’t much, but when you have nothing else, it could be all you need.

In many emergencies, bugging out may not be the best option. Certainly it is not the best choice for every SHTF situation.

However, there may be situations where you need to leave your home or dwelling, get out of the city while you can, and lay low until/if sense ever returns to society.

You Tuber Kevin Coy shows you what may be the lowest cost, least effort way to build a viable survival shelter – which could also have uses for hunting, camping, play, etc.

He’s calling it a “micro-homestead.”

For the millions of Americans who can barely make it to the next paycheck, much less invest in high priced gear, supplies and stocks, it may be much better than nothing at all.

Here’s the set-up he came up with:

Of course, there are many other options, especially for those who have the means to purchase, build and develop more ideal structures and set-ups.

However, at 8×8, this building could likely be built without permit or on-grid approval in most areas, and could at least serve as a temporary structure until your dream getaway is ready to go!

Prepping requires time, energy, mental and physical effort and especially the mindset to plan ahead, make sacrifices in the “now” and put valuable resources towards insurance for the future. Many will contemplate taking action, but fewer still will actually be ready when the SHTF.

But the first step in this direction may prove to be the most important one you ever make…

This article first appeared at SHTFplan.com“Micro-Homestead” This Modest Survival Shelter Could Save Your Life When It’s Time to Bug Out

Filed under: Bug Out Bags, How To Prepare, Prepping, Shelter

Happy people: A Year in Taiga

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I’m pretty sure I posted this before, maybe last year, but in case you missed it it’s worth posting again.

Happy People: A Year in Taiga goes along the journey of one year with the professional trappers and hunters living along the Taiga river in Russia. These are hardy, no-nonsense old world people. They make a living in one of the harshest parts of the world, one that is at that beautiful and full of natural resources. The skill and resourcefulness they show is admirable.

It’s the second time I watch this documentary. Its four parts, one for each season (as in actual seasons of the year) each lasting one hour. Again, worth every minute of it.

One of the things that stuck with me this time though is that even though I bet they are happy people and some of them probably chose such a life, I sure wouldn’t trade places with them any time soon. In spite of the beautiful natural surroundings you can also see the Spartan way of life, in many ways limited. At the end of the day the trapping, fishing and hunting is done for good old money mostly, and they make rather little of it at that. Clearly being frugal is one of their main survival skills and if applied to any other line of work, likely one that pays better, it’s also understandable that a person would thrive as well.

Again, the skill and resourcefulness is amazing. How they cut down trees to make everything from skies to canoes, driving, navigating, repairing, fishing, hunting, trapping. While these people may be jack of all trades, they sure have mastered several of them as well.

Let me know what you think in the comments below.

FerFAL

Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”.

New To Prepping? Here’s Where To Start From

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New To Prepping

Bit by bit, the ranks of preppers are growing all the time. More and more people are waking up to the fact that the government can’t protect them and doesn’t even do a very good job of providing support in the aftermath of a disaster. Oh, they throw money at it, but money isn’t the answer to everything.

Every new prepper is faced with the same problems and the same questions they have to answer for themselves. It’s not that there’s no information available for new preppers to use, it’s that there’s too much information.

Check online for prepping or survival and you’ll find an enormous amount of information, not all of which agrees with other sources. Wading through all that and finding the information that one needs can be a daunting task.

You might very well be one of those newbies; someone who has just decided to look at prepping for the first time. If so, welcome to one of the most important movements in our country today.

Prepping is an individual journey that each of us take, with no two walking exactly the same path. Yet we are preppers together, part of a fellowship of like-minded people who have decided that it’s time to do something for themselves.

If you’re reading this, you’ve probably already decided that just looking at information isn’t enough. Being a prepper means taking action; preparing yourself and your family for whatever problem or disaster might come your way. Preppers believe in self-sufficiency; trusting in themselves in an emergency, not in the government.

But where does one begin? Of all the things that one can do to become more prepared, which one or ones are the most important? What does one have to do, in order to truly be prepared?

These questions are complicated by the fact that each person’s situation is unique. Oh, we all have things in common, but we also have our own needs, our own family, our own skills, our own resources and our own risks that we face. So cookie cutter prepping doesn’t work. Each person has to determine what their own needs are and how to best meet them.

Even so, there are some things we should all do at the beginning; things to get us on the road to becoming better prepared. The first steps we need to take on this journey may not be what you’re thinking. In fact, I’d be surprised if many preppers thought about these steps, before walking along the path for a ways.

Educate Yourself

It’s easy to think of prepping as just stockpiling supplies for a rainy day. That’s actually where most of us start off. Whether we just buy a couple of bags of beans and rice or go hog wild buying prepackaged survival food, squirreling food away for a rainy day seems like an almost instinctive act; something we easily gravitate towards, as a starting point for our prepping.

There’s nothing wrong with stockpiling food and in fact you need to do so; but before you start stockpiling, it’s a good idea to know what to stockpile. Not all foods keep well, nor do all of them provide the right nutrition to get you through an emergency. Take some time to research, before running off to the grocery store.

While you’re at it, you need to research much more than just what foods to stockpile. Our modern society doesn’t prepare us well for survival. If anything, it prepares us to die blaming others. But you can’t count on those others to help you survive. They don’t know how to either.

Our ancestors of 200 years ago were much better suited for survival than we are. For them, every year was about survival. They either stockpiled enough preserved food and cut enough firewood to make it through winter or they died. There weren’t too many other options available. Their lives were simpler, their needs and wants more closely associated with surviving and they had the skills they needed to take care of themselves.

There are a wide range of skills that you need to learn, some of which you might actually already know. If you like to go camping and spend time in the outdoors, you’re off to a good start, as the skills associated with those activities are closely related to survival skills.

Remember that a knife is a must have tool for outdoor survival as it helps you hunt, make shelter, start a fire and defend yourself.

Get your FREE easy to use and safely concealable Smith and Wesson Tactical Folding knife! 

Hunting, fishing, and starting a fire are all good survival skills. But you’ll also need to know how to grow food in your garden, purify water and defend your home as well.

For preppers, learning isn’t something that begins or ends, it’s just something that is. We start out learning about survival when we get into prepping, and we keep on learning for the rest of our lives. There’s always some new skill or information to learn; all of which is ultimately useful.

Develop a Survival Mentality

Most people tend to look at survival as a physical activity; but it’s as much mental as it is physical. You have to have the right attitude to survive or no matter what you do, you’ll fail.

What do I mean by the right attitude? I mean the attitude of a survivor. You have to be convinced that you’ll survive. You have to be convinced that you’ll overcome. You need to be convinced that you can do whatever is necessary to keep yourself and your family alive.

Here in America we’re protected from many of the harsher realities of life. Few Americans have had to kill and prepare their own food. Unless you’re a hunter; you probably don’t have the slightest idea of how to kill and clean a chicken for dinner, let alone how to properly field dress and butcher a deer or other large animal. But if it’s not done properly, the meat from that animal can be tainted in the process.

But you know the hardest part of killing and preparing that animal? It’s getting over the idea of having to do it. Most of us are squeamish when it comes to things like that; squeamish to the point that we’d die before killing that chicken.

Family food

Yet for millennia our ancestors hunted, killed and ate their own game, without the slightest bit of squeamishness. Men would bring the game home from their hunt, and their wives would clean and cook the animals. They didn’t throw up; they didn’t feel funny about it; they did it, and they enjoyed the meal that they prepared.

For us, here in America, overcoming the imprint of our society and accepting the needs of survival is paramount to being able to survive. Most have to do so at a moment’s notice, when they are faced with their first disaster. But those who develop a survival mentality learn to make the adjustment at their leisure, when it’s easier to do so.

Interestingly enough, attitude is so important to survival, that every military manual on survival starts off with a section on attitude. When you consider the amount of money and effort that goes into the preparation of those manuals, that one single fact is rather telling. Attitude is key to survival.

Analyze Your Family’s Strengths and Weaknesses

Each of us has a different family, with different strengths and weaknesses. Some family members might have skills or abilities which easily translate to a survival setting. Others have special needs that have to be considered when making our survival planning. Typically, we find a bit of each in our families.

Surviving as a lone wolf is much harder than surviving as part of a team. In a team, each individual is able to take part of the load, helping each other. With each one learning the necessary skills and doing part of the necessary tasks, not only does the work become easier; but more importantly, the chances of the team’s survival becomes greater.

Your family is your first survival team. Even if you join with others, in a larger survival team, your family is still the core of your personal team. As such, it’s important that you understand what your family is capable of doing, what it is capable of learning, and even more importantly, what you might need others to do for you, because you are incapable of learning to do it for yourself.

As part of this, you also need to analyze the assets you have at your disposal.

Do you have a vacation home somewhere, that you could use as a survival retreat if you needed to? Do you have a four-wheel-drive vehicle? Do you have enough land to turn your home into a homestead? Do you have camping equipment? How much money do you have available to use for prepping? What tools do you have, which will help you survive? Does your home have a fireplace? All of this, and more, will ultimately affect your ability to survive.

This process of analyzing your family will ultimately tell you what you need to do, in order to get from where you are today, to where you need to be. But don’t just do it once; from time to time you should reanalyze the situation and make any necessary adjustments.

Decide What Risks You Face

Prepping is ultimately about being ready to face a disaster, whether that’s a personal disaster, a regional disaster or a nationwide disaster. The problem is, none of us know the disaster that we are going to face. That makes prepping a little bit difficult.

But not knowing doesn’t mean that we can’t prepare. It just means that we prepare for likelihoods, rather than certainties. In other words, while it’s safe to say with certainty that we’ll all face some sort of disaster, sometime in our lives, what exact disaster we might face is nothing more than a likelihood.

So, the thing you need to do is figure out what the most likely disasters are, that you are going to face. That stats with figuring out what possible disasters you could face, ranging all the way from loss of a job to a zombie apocalypse, with natural disasters and the loss of the electrical grid in between. Don’t leave anything out at this point, as all you’re really doing is brainstorming possibilities.

Once you have your list of possible disasters, you need to give each of them two scores, say on a scale of one to five. The first scale is how likely you feel it is that you’ll actually face that disaster. The second scale is how much of an impact that disaster would have on your life. Some disasters, such as a zombie apocalypse might have an extremely low likelihood, earning it a one on that scale, but an extremely high impact, should it actually happen, earning it a five on that scale.

SVP prepping

(Note: The term TEOTWAWKI is commonly used by preppers to stand for “The end of the world as we know it.” This does not mean the literal end of the world, but rather, the end of our  modern lifestyle that we are accustomed to.)

Combining the two scores gives you a number from 2 to 10. That number is the one you use to prioritize considering that particular disaster in your planning. The way that usually works out, is that we concentrate on the highest ones and ignore the lower ones.

But in preparing for the highest ones, we are probably going to be prepared for whatever happens with the lower ones.

Begin Planning

Now that you’ve got a pretty good idea of what you have to work with and what you’re likely to face, you can start your survival planning. Once again, this is a process that will continue throughout the rest of your life. Everything you learn has the potential to change and improve your plans.

Your plan needs to define what you will do in each of the potential disaster situations you are likely to encounter, especially the high likelihood, high impact ones. You will find that there will be some overlap between different scenarios, but there will also be things that are unique to each one.

From this, you can determine how much you need to stockpile, whether it’s for a month, six months, a year or the rest of your life. You’ll also be able to determine the best place for your family to survive, in a variety of different situations. In many of those scenarios, you’ll be better off sheltering in place, or “bugging in.” But there might also be some which require you to bug out and go to a survival retreat somewhere.

Don’t expect that you’ll get everything right the first time around. You will most likely forget some items, because of being focused on other needs. That’s okay. As you continue to study, you’ll find the places you need to fill in, to make your survival plans and your stockpile more complete.

Prepping is a process, not a destination. You’ll probably never reach that point of perfection, where you sit back and say to yourself: “Self, I’ve arrived. I’m ready for anything.”

But rather, you’ll gain more and more confidence that you can take care of yourself and your family, no matter what comes your way. Each little step will give you and your family more security, and ultimately, that’s what prepping is all about.

A good knife is the most important tool you can have with you. Click the banner below to grab this offer!

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This article has been written by Bill White for Survivopedia.

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6 Solid Reasons to Invest in a Survival Bow and Arrow

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6 Solid Reasons to Invest in a Survival Bow and Arrow

Modern day survival enthusiasts are never without a trusty rifle or handgun. These weapons are often used for hunting game and for self-defense, which may become a very real necessity when you’re trying to survive in the wild. Of course, guns are easy, convenient, and powerful. But if you’re a survival specialist that’s looking for a real challenge, it’s probably better that you invest in a survival bow and arrow instead. In fact, a survival bow and arrow isn’t really something you should ever be without.

If you’re thinking you can get by without a bow and arrow, and you’re questioning whether you should really get one or not, this list of solid reasons should swing you towards the right decision.

  1. Lightweight and Portable – It’s any survivalist’s priority to maintain the lightest possible weight when in the wild. That’s because a heavy pack will make you feel more tired much faster, and can restrict the movements you can comfortably make. With too many guns and ammo in your bag, you might find yourself panting heavily before midday.

A survival bow and arrow can be very lightweight, collapsing into just three pieces or less, depending on the model you choose. This means you can easily fit it into a standard backpack or carry it around without working up a sweat.

  1. Versatile – The different parts of a survival bow and arrow can be easily adapted to perform several other functions. For instance, the bow can be used as a makeshift fishing rod, arrows themselves can be used as part of your shelter, and you can even utilize your bow to start a fire much easier. All that said, it’s easy to see that when you take a survival bow and arrow with you, you’ve got more than just a weapon.

 

  1. Silent – The best way to hunt down as much game as possible would be to take each one down without scaring off the others. When you shoot a rifle or a handgun, the reverberating noise can startle any other game in the area, meaning you’d have to go through the entire luring and calling process all over again. With a bow and arrow, you can take down your game without causing too much of a commotion, so you’d have more chances to hunt more down in the same proximity. Throw in the shooting rest you can find, and you can spend hours in the same spot, shooting down game without getting noticed.

 

  1. Endless Ammunition – When your rifle or handgun runs out of ammo, you become nothing more than a sitting duck. That’s why it’s any shooter’s priority to make sure they make the most of each bullet they have. With a survival bow and arrow however, you can have access to an endless supply of ammunition. Even so, if you don’t bother to retrieve your arrows, you can make your own from twigs, sticks, and wood you find around you. So you can be sure there’s always something you can use to make the most of your bow.

 

  1. Less Limited – Depending on where you live, there could be a plethora of different gun rules that you’d have to follow unless you want the cops at your doorstep. What’s more, buying a gun isn’t all that simple. There are lots of paperwork, documents, and requirements you need to submit just to register a gun to your name, and it could take weeks before you get your hands on your purchase.

With survival bow and arrows however, you won’t have to worry about the same issue. You can literally walk into a store and purchase one without any questions, and you can even have it shipped straight to your home when you buy it online.

  1. Adaptable – When using a gun for your hunt, you’d have to consider the size of your chosen game and select a corresponding gun caliber. If you’ve only got a few firearms in your possession, you may not be able to hunt down other sizes of animals because of the inappropriate caliber of your available gun.

With a survival bow and arrow however, you can screw on different arrow heads to allow you to take down literally any size animal you want to. Simply interchange the attachments to adapt your arrow to your chosen target and you’re good to go.

Another plus when it comes to adaptability is the endless number of attachments you can purchase for your bow. For instance, if you feel that your bow isn’t accurate enough or if you struggle to aim with a bow, you can purchase other attachments to make it easier to use. Often, the best bow sight can be bought for a very reasonable price, making the bow itself an economic choice compared to guns.

A survival bow and arrow can be a major investment, especially if you take your time to learn the ropes and master this uncommon survival weapon.

So, what are you waiting for? Up your hunting game and become a true blue survival expert by purchasing your own survival bow and arrow today.

 

About the author : 

Kevin Steffey is an avid hunter and freelance writer, the founder of Deer Hunting Field. He loves spending time in the field with his rifle more than almost anything else. He also occupies his off-time discussing deer and their habits online. But more than anything, he wants to teach and educate about hunting …
 

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Bushcraft 101

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Bushcraft 101 John Smith “Disaster Prep Guides” Audio in player below! Bushcraft is a term for wilderness survival skills that was originally created in Australia and South Africa. There are some areas in Australia that are called “The Bush,” which is an area that is mostly wilderness. If you are lacking the needed survival skills, … Continue reading Bushcraft 101

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12 Rare Skills That Will Come In Handy When SHTF

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If you’re at all familiar with the world of prepping for natural disasters or other life-changing, cataclysmic events, you may have made some simple provisions of your own. You’ve decided that having a bug out bag is a good idea; you’ve stocked up on nonperishable items in your pantry; you have a plan for where […]

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95 Survival Tips For When The SHTF: “Carry These. Do This. And Don’t Ever…”

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95 Survival Tips For When The SHTF: “Carry These. Do This. And Don’t Ever…”

Here is a quick barrage of sometimes unconventional survival tips for when the worst happens.

Some are useful supplies to bring along, others are simple tips you need to learn and practice before the situation gets real.

These ideas may help you stay alive, avoid losing heat and sweating, stay hydrated and establish shelter, fire and food:

Would you carry your bug out bag supplies in a guitar case to throw off suspicion, or remember aluminum foil as a simple fire starting barrier to moist or wet ground? Remember how to foster sparks when you need to start a fire without wasting too much valuable time?

What about homemade ballistic protection? Or a hobo fishing kit and toothpaste for bug bites? Glow sticks to attract rescue crews? Don’t forget first aid basics and cigarettes for barter, or alternately, bug repellent.

Most know the basics of water treatment, but carrying bleach, charcoal and/or tablets is a must for your bug out bag. This video remind you not to wash wounds or broken skin in questionable or untreated water, as infection could result.

Add a foil blanket inside a tarp or tent structure, and amplify the heat generated and kept in the temporary shelter – now a “super” shelter. Ponchos can turn into a shelter, block rain, or collect rain water for additional drinking sources.

There are many other simple tips and supplies you’ll want to think about ahead of time – consider these factors, and use them to upgrade and refine your preps and plans. Think ahead, practice and train – well before the SHTF.

Have some tips that weren’t covered in the video, or have it beat? Please share and discuss below.

History has shown us many times that it can all fly away in a split of a second. The biggest misstep that you can take now is to think that this can never happen in America or to you! Call me old fashioned; I don’t care…but I completely believe in America and what our ancestors stood for. They all had a part in turning this land into one of the most powerful countries in the world. Many died and suffered before a creative mind found an ingenious solution to maybe a century old problem. Believe it or not, our ancestors skills are all covered in American blood. This is why these must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same for our children and our children’s children. Our ancestors laid the bricks and built the world’s strongest foundation…that we are about to -irreversibly forget! I don’t want to see our forefathers’ knowledge disappear into the darkness of time…and if you care for your family…and what America stands for…then neither should you! Watch the video HERE .

 

Source : www.activistpost.com

 

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Emergency Fire-starter: Start A Fire With Bare Hands

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Starting a fire

Starting a fire with your bare hands may sound like the manliest activity you can do, doesn’t it? Bear Grylls has a couple of episodes about how to start a fire without any gear available, for cooking some crunchy worms, right?

I am kidding, of course, but knowing how to start a fire in a survival situation is a pretty useful skill to have. Without fire you can’t cook your food, you can’t get warm, you can’t dry your clothes, you don’t have light, you can’t signal your presence, you can’t disinfect water for safe drinking, and so on and so forth.

We rely on technology to survive; even when it comes to wilderness survival. We are comfortable thinking that it will be OK because we have a cool survival knife, even better than Rambo’s, not to mention our top of the line survival/emergency kit, which contains all the things we’ll ever need if SHTF, including some cool BIC lighters, impermeable matches and what not.

However, life has the unpleasant habit of ignoring our plans, and emergencies don’t seem to care about our personal inconveniences.

The question to be asked and answered is — what are you going to do if SHTF and you don’t have your survival gear on your person?  Well, you’ll have to improvise or die trying, right?

This scenario is pretty far-fetched at first glance; I mean, finding yourself alone and close to butt-naked somewhere in the woods, without any type of gear and all that jazz.

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

Fire is what separated the humans from the animal reign, along with the invention of the wheel and Facebook. (I’m kidding again, of course!)

But I can bet that even the invention of the wheel was somewhat related to fire, i.e. there are “cultures” in remote parts of the world who didn’t invent the wheel, but they know how to make a fire without a Zippo lighter. The idea is that if some troglodyte who still lives in the Neolithic period, technologically speaking, can make a fire using what’s naturally available, so should we.

And obviously, making a fire with minimal gear that you can do yourself will require a paleo approach, i.e. we’ll have to see how primitive cultures mitigate this problem.

As far as primitive fire starting goes, most of the methods (all of them actually, if I come to think about it) involve the 2nd law of thermodynamics, and I am talking about mechanical energy — friction in our case — which is converted into heat, another form of energy which leads to fire and a happy ending.

So, as the Greek philosopher and inventor Heraclitus said back in the day, everything changes, and so does energy. But enough with philosophy and let’s get down to business.

How To Start a Fire Using Sticks

The simplest method for making a fire via friction in dry climates is the hand drill. The concept is pretty simple: you’ll have to cut a V shaped notch into a piece of wood, or fire-board if you like, then to use a rock/knife or whatever you have at your disposal for making a small depression adjacent to the notch, where you’ll place a piece of bark which will eventually catch the ember and burst into flames.

In the next step you’ll have to put the spindle (a stick basically) in the depression and roll it vigorously between the palms of your hands. You know what I am talking about. You’ve seen endless “Wild Survival” documentaries about it.

Some tried it in real life and failed miserably, but this guy seems to have got the hang of it.

Video first seen on Videojug

It’s worth mentioning that two persons can do it better, i.e. one person will apply downward pressure to the drill constantly, while the other will use a shoelace or a piece of string to rapidly rotate the spindle.

How to Start a Fire by Friction

If you’re alone, you can use this method , which is way better than rolling the spindle in the palms of your hands, especially if you’re not used to manual labor. This method involves using a little bow for rolling the spindle and it’s order of magnitude is more efficient than doing it with your hands only.

Video first seen on AZ Film Company

How to Start a Fire Using a Cord Drill and a Pump Drill

Check out this guy who makes it all look very easy. Watching this clip, you’ll learn how to make a cord drill first, then to upgrade it to a pump drill (this can be used for making holes in things, which may prove useful). The cord drill is a spindle featuring a flywheel attached basically and it works very well for making fires and more.

Video first seen on Primitive Technology.

How to Start a Fire With the Fire Plow Technique

Another primitive method for making fire is the fire plow technique. The concept is pretty straightforward, as you’ll cut a groove in a soft piece of wood, which will be the fire-board for all intents and purposes, and then you’ll rub/plough the tip of a harder shaft up/down the groove.

This technique produces its own tinder as the sticks rubbed together will push out tiny particles of wood ahead of the friction.

Video first seen on Survival Lilly

How to Start a Fire With a Fire Piston

Here’s a cool method called the Fire Piston and it works under the principle that air gets very hot when compressed at high pressure.

If you’ve ever used a bicycle pump, you might have noticed the heat that is created in the cylinder. When you compress air inside a fire piston, it happens so quickly and efficiently that it can instantly ignite a piece of tinder placed at the end of the piston.

Video first seen on Discovery

Ancient methods of making fire pistons involve hardwood for the tube or even a horn. The tube must be closed at one end, accurately bored and very smooth inside. The gasket can be improvised from fiber or leather for creating a seal for the piston in order to get the compression required.

How to Start a Fire With Flint and Steel

A classic in the field of ancient fire making is flint and steel. If you strike a softer steel against flint (which is harder), you’ll produce sparks to ignite your fire. But you can also make fire with just what’s available out there, i.e. flint, marcasite, pyrite, fungus, grass/leaf and quartzite.

Video first seen on freejutube

Remember that fire provides you with a cooking flame so knowing how to start one with your bare hands will make your survival cooking easy as 1, 2, 3!

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This article has been written by Chris Black for Survivopedia. 

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How to Prep Like the Rich

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This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com I recently came across such as Doomsday Prep for the Super Rich and a few others that say the elite are preparing for disaster.  Many are concerned about widespread unrest and other large scale catastrophes.   We’ve been writing about preparedness for some time now so I am not surprised.  Anyone who considers how dependent we are on technology, electricity, transportation and infrastructure quickly realizes our way of life can be interrupted by a […]

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Lead: The Perilous Poison in Your Tap Water

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water_meter_contaminated_lead_drinking

lead_water_infrastructrure_jackson_flintLead is a killer.  To that statement, nobody is surprised.  The shock may be perhaps just how silently lead slips into our systems, not only in terms of its delivery often by aging public utility works or other modes, but also how it becomes absorbed into our human bodily systems.  More often than not, the serious harm of lead poisoning has long taken its toll on the physiology of a person before it exhibits itself overtly via a plethora of symptoms finally manifested in multiple forms of chronic illness.  It is a dastardly manner to get sick or die.  

So, as prepper’s intent on surviving this world’s outward disasters in the form of natural and unnatural events, how does one protect against the potential infusions of poisoning by lead sources?  First is to understand it, know it, then begin to practice cautions to guard against it, identify it, and recognize the threats and how to ward off its impact on our health and that of our family especially small children, who are more highly susceptible.  

Lead the Toxin

lead_poison_toxic_drinkJust for the sake of basic scientific information the chemical symbol for lead on the chart is Pb.  It is a highly toxic metal considered to be a very strong poison.  It builds up in the human body sometimes not exposing itself in terms of medical symptoms for months or even years.  Children are the most susceptible, because in their very youngest years they are still developing their brains and nervous system which lead attacks. Lead is primarily a neurotoxin in that it mainly targets the nervous system as well as the brain.  It causes a number of maladies and disorders within these physiological systems.  Lead poisoning can also cause blood disorders that can be equally terminal in nature.  

The Symptoms of Lead Poisoning

The list of lead poisoning symptoms in the human body is lengthy.  The listing includes abdominal pain, cramps, aggressive behaviors, constipation, sleep disorders, headaches, irritability, loss of appetite, fatigue, high blood pressure, numbness or tingling in the extremities, memory loss, anemia, and kidney dysfunction.  

doctor_medical_SWOT-2Additional symptoms often displayed are vomiting, muscle weakness, stumbling, seizures, coma, and encephalopathy, which is a form of confusion often combined with coma. The real trick is to not only to identify these symptoms or illnesses, but to prove the link of these ailments to actual lead poisoning.  Thank goodness for us, this can be proven by a series of appropriate specific blood tests.  In theory then the links to lead poisoning can be shown so that treatment regimens can be prescribed by the medical profession.  

Lead Delivery Threats

graveyard_water_towerRemember Flint, Michigan?  I am certain there are numerous other examples of both isolated and widespread excessive concentrations of lead having been delivered to the citizen population via municipal water systems.  Lead poisoning is after all caused by the ingestion of the material into the human body and thereby absorbed into the tissues. Though as we know, lead poisoning can also come from lead paint that was quite common in older residential housing construction as well as huge metropolitan housing complexes, apartment buildings and other dwellings.  Lead was also prevalent in older toys, and other items that children might have put in their mouths over extended periods.  Those sources of lead have now long been cleaned up and removed from society for the most part.  They no longer remain a threat to human health, but drinking water sources are another matter entirely.  

Lead sources can also exist within our soils, ground water, and surface waters and are considered environmental contaminates.  These are often quite prevalent in areas where lead is mined or exists within the earth structures naturally. Towns and cities all over the country are under the threat of aging water piping systems. These were constructed of lead pipes and soldiered joints and are still a widespread threat in America.  Rural water systems are not exempt either from lead poisoning.  Threats of lead in water also exists in private wells as well.  

Every drinking water source is subject to government regulations regarding the amount of lead registered as PPB’s or parts per billion.  The Federal Government’s EPA has established acceptable standards for lead and all chemicals in drinking water.  These sources are supposed to be tested and certified on a regular basis, but sometimes are not.  Are your sources tested?  Is the water coming from your tap right now safe to drink?  This, you better know.  

A Case in Point

sink_water_drinking_contaminationJust last year a municipality near my location, Jackson, Mississippi, experienced issues with elevated lead levels in the city’s drinking water sources.  After extensive sampling of water in 58 city sample sites, 22 per cent of the locations showed lead levels exceeding the accepted Federal levels. The Feds say that a water lead test above 0.015 or 15 ppb exceeds safe levels.  Jackson’s water tested at 0.017 to 0.02 ppb, which is above the Federal standard for safe drinking water.  The source or blame was reported to be the individual home internal samples, not originating from the city’s water distribution network.  And who exactly believes that?  City officials reported that homes built before 1988 were susceptible to lead contaminated water.  Corrosive (city supplied) water can cause the lead in older pipes and commonly soldiered joints to leach out thus causing the excessive high lead levels in the water tests. Action by the city was to correct the inadequate corrosion control in the city water piping systems.  Water chemistry reacts to home pipes and fixtures thus increasing lead levels.  One suspects aging city water systems also contribute to the leaching lead.

It was also noted that the summer heat experienced in the south causes higher lead uptake than in the winter months.  One assumes the external environmental heat raises the temperature in the piping systems thus increasing the temperature of the lead in those pipes furthering the leaching potential into the drinking tap water.  

Treatment and Protection

red_cross_first_aid.svgThere are medical treatments for proven lead poisoning caused from ingestion and absorption.  Blood tests can reveal this as well as other medical tests to assess damage to tissue and organs. The human body can be purged of excessive lead levels.  The process is referred to as chelation therapy.  The treatment binds the lead to be evacuated from the body through urination.  One of the medicines used in the chelation process is known as dimercaprol.  Far be it from me to discuss the medical implications and complications of lead poisoning any further.  Consult other medical information, physicians, or medical experts on the subject.  

Protection is by working to prevent the ingestion of lead.  There are numerous lead filtering systems available for home use to reduce or eliminate the threat of lead in your drinking water.  Have your water tested professionally or purchase a home water testing kit to verify if lead is in your drinking water.  Just knowing one way or the other may be of some relief.  This should be done on a periodically recommended schedule as things change in water delivery systems, even a home well.  

Lead is a noxious substance.  It makes people sick and can eventually kill them.  Part of prepping is to also protect ourselves at home or work or life in addition to being prepared for other SHTF events.  If you have any reason to suspect your drinking water sources are contaminated with lead, then test it, then filter it to be on the safe side.  

Always monitor local area news reports and public service reports on municipal water system safety.  Make certain public waters are tested on schedule.  

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Core Survival Skills: Master Them First and Then Keep It Simple Stupid (KISS)

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You have probably heard of the KISS concept, but do you really know what it means.

KISS is an acronym for “Keep it simple, stupid” as a design principle noted by the U.S. Navy in 1960. The KISS principle states that most systems work best if they are kept simple rather than made complicated. Therefore, simplicity should be a key goal in design and unnecessary complexity should be avoided.

“If you can’t explain it to a six-year-old, you don’t understand it yourself.” – Albert Einstein (Anderson, 2014).

When practicing your skills, imagine you are explaining what you are doing to someone else. If you can’t explain what you are doing then you need more time, more practice. Use this as a learning technique to improve or hone your own survival or Bushcraft skills, you may never achieve perfection, but you do want to achieve permanent. You want your skills to last, as we stated in an earlier article your successes from practicing have to outlast your failures.

The Basics

If you cannot make a fire in the middle of a pine forest, in a rain forest, or on a snow covered mountain in Montana, you won’t survive long. You need fire for warmth, cooking, lighting up the night and for a psychological boost, also to repel predators and flying pests, and most importantly in many cases, you need fire to purify water.

Humans that lived 10,000 years ago needed fire to survive every day. We need it today as well. We need fire to burn propane or natural gas to heat our homes, heat our bath water, cook our food, and even power vehicles, in some cases. We also need fire to cook our steaks and chicken on the grill, but it all seems so easy, well it is easy today, except when it’s not.

Just because you have matches does not mean you can get a fire going. What if the wood is wet, the ground soaked, or snow covered, and what if there is no wood.

No wood, well certain animal dung when dried makes a very hot fire, do you know what kind of dung? Herbivores are those animals that only eat plant material. Plant material that once dried will take a spark. Once you have created an ember, it will burn like charcoal briquettes. It will boil water, heat your shelter, and cook your food.

Matches, lighters, Ferro rods, and magnesium sticks can be carried in your pockets, packs, and vehicles. In fact, you should have all or most of these fire-starting tools in your cars, packs, and pockets at all times.

Along with the above mentioned, you can carry dry tinder, such as wood curls and cotton balls, along with fire aids such as petroleum jelly, cigars (they hold an ember), alcohol-based hand sanitizer, strips of duct tape, (duct tape burns) and then wrap them all up in aluminum foil. The foil gives you a dry base in which to build your fire if the ground is saturated or snow covered.

If the wood you need is wet, you can split branches to reach the dry core and lay the dry side over your small fire, or shave the outer bark until you reach dry wood. If you have enough dry fuel, you can dry larger pieces of wet wood next to the fire.

You have to be pro-active. The underside of bark can be dry and used, or wood lying under downed trees and wood found under rock shelves can be dry as well. You need to assess or zone the area immediately and begin the hunt for fuel.

Simply put if you have matches, magnesium sticks, Ferro rods and fuel you can start a fire, providing you know how to use a Ferro rod and magnesium stick. There are videos on how to build the perfect fire, but perfect is not required, but some practice is. Practice may not make for perfect but if you practice something, long enough the information becomes permanent, which is actually better than perfect.

Okay, fire has been discussed, so now what. Well how do you get those perfect wood curls, how do you split sticks to reach the dry center, and how do you clean your fingernails.

You need a knife, a decent knife, not a 300-dollar knife, but one with a full tang, sturdy blade and one that can hold an edge. Stainless or carbon steel, carbon steel blades are stronger but they rust and it takes more effort to put a good edge on one, however, once sharp they stay sharp longer.

Stainless is softer, easier to sharpen and rust is not a problem. All that said, though, your knife needs to be able to clean fish, spread jelly on your toast, skin a rabbit or deer and cut up your food and be stout enough to split saplings, make wood curls and in some cases be able to dig small depressions in the ground. Choose carefully and you don’t need to spend a fortune either.

If you can make fire and have a good fixed blade knife, you can go far, so far in fact, you can survive. Forest debris will be your shelter. Long grasses can be cut and twisted or braided into cordage to help build your shelter or you can excavate under a downed tree to make a small space or find a downed tree and use the root ball as shelter by cutting vegetation, pine boughs, and so forth to enhance the roof and sides. Simply entwine grasses, pine boughs or any vegetation in and through the roots sticking up.

Learning how to make a fire in any situation takes practice, so never leave home until you know for sure you can, and, of course, always have the needed materials. Have a knife at all times, and know how to build a shelter from forest debris, which also takes some practice and a certain skill set that you must advance.

After all that, you go on to make tools such as spears for fishing, and long bows for hunting and stone arrowheads for the arrows or even spearheads. Cordage is everywhere if you know where to look, and you very likely have some on your person right now. 

While we said Bushcraft is simplistic, it requires work, knowledge and a skill set. You cannot wake one day and decide you want to be Mick Dodge. You will need food, clothing, and tools. You can, of course, make all of what you need, if you keep your needs simple.

One approach is to combine, prepping, training, and preparing for a crisis in your community, off grid living along with Bushcraft skills. This doesn’t mean you live in caves and hollow logs, it doesn’t mean you hunker in a bunker or string razor wire around your home. It means you learn all you can about living where and how you live now and learning how to live if your home is gone and you are heading for the hills.

Learn how to survive until rescued, this means having an EDC/survival kit with you at all times. The basics are simple, KISS remember, fire, water, shelter and then food, but food is not as important unless you do plan to live in logs and caves as a chosen way of life.

Anderson, A. R. (2014). Retrieved 2017, from http://www.forbes.com/sites/amyanderson/2014/02/27/keeping-it-simple-doesnt-mean-youre-stupid/#500d894672ca

The post Core Survival Skills: Master Them First and Then Keep It Simple Stupid (KISS) appeared first on Preparing for shtf.

Forgotten Skills That Helped The Native Americans Survive Winter

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Forgotten Skills That Helped The Native Americans Survive Winter

Artist: Robert Duncan

Most of us head indoors and turn up the furnace when frigid weather hits, stacking in a good supply of wood for the stove or plugging in the old electric throw blanket — and praying that the power doesn’t go out!

For the native people of this land, however, they had none of those luxuries. Have you ever wondered just how the heck they stayed warm when it was dangerously cold? During blizzards and ice storms? Were teepees and other shelters really that warm?

Of course, there could be causalities during severe weather. You can’t help but picture the people who went outside to attend to nature’s call, only to find themselves half frozen within minutes, or lost in a driving snow.

Let’s take a look at how the indigenous people of this land not only survived during the harshest winter weather, but actually looked forward to it as a time to stay indoors, sleep, rest, spend time with family, and get caught up on chores.

An Ounce of Prevention

One way that native people prepared for harsh storms was forecasting them. Generally speaking, there were always one or two elders who seemed to have a knack of understanding that, for example, if the wind was bringing clouds from the north, it meant a blizzard, if from the east, it would bring snow, but nothing too harsh. Thin clouds meant cold weather. No snow and a ring circling the moon meant it would rain within 24 hours.

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It also helped to observe animal behavior. For example, woodpeckers sharing one tree or one nest meant a harsh winter was coming. It is also said that when muskrats made their holes high up on the banks of rivers, lots of snow was on the way.

In the far north, the elders looked for bright spots that appear on either side of that cold winter sun. An old saying was that those spots were fire, which the sun had made to warm its ears. This was a sign which meant a severe cold snap was coming quickly.

Forgotten Skills That Helped The Native Americans Survive Winter Native people were well aware that being caught without proper provisions during the winter would almost certainly mean death — so they prepared themselves accordingly.

When Caught Unaware

Literature has painted Native Americans as some sort of “magic” people who knew everything about nature, but the truth is that they were humans who made mistakes. This is especially true of young couples sneaking away for a little tryst, or young men trying to prove their bravery.

Sometimes, indigenous people were away from camp when a snowstorm or blizzard struck.  In these cases, stories of survival are almost all the same: People sought shelter quickly, made a small fire, tried to stay warm and wait it out. Shelter was the foremost concern, and it would take the shape of hollowed-out tree trunks, caves, rock outcroppings, even a quick lean-to made from branches, a tree and some snow.

Anything that would burn would be collected as quickly as possible, including horse or cow dung, pine cones, old pine needles, small branches – basically, whatever was dry. By surrounding the fire with rocks, they could radiate heat into the shelter.

If you were with someone else, you could share body heat. Natives would wait out the storm by sleeping as much as possible near the fire. It’s an old wives’ tale that people who fall asleep in the cold will never wake up. When you are cold enough, your body will wake you up to let you know!

Protect the Body

Next to the fire, your most precious asset is your own body heat. Native people considered their body as a natural fire that they never wanted to squander or allow to go out.

For the indigenous people, this meant never sitting directly on the ground, but instead perching themselves on furs or rocks near the fire that were covered with hides and fur. The Eskimo people were known to tie dried loon skins, including the feathers, to a rope, which they wore around their waist, similar to an apron. This was not only an extra layer of warmth, but if they were out and about, they would turn it around so the skins were lying on their buttocks, giving them a natural buffer between their fanny and a cold rock!

Native people kept their body fire protected by layering clothing. Better to remove clothing if you became too warm than to be caught in a snow storm wearing just a breechcloth!

Making the Cold an Ally

Of course, native people had many ways of dealing with the cold over the years that are no longer useful to us in modern times. Many tribes were nomadic and simply moved south along with the migrating birds. Other tribes used longhouses, where almost everyone in the tribe would spend the winters together in close quarters, their combined body heat making the interiors warmer.

Native people were known to cut wood when it was well below freezing. Why? Not only were they kept warm through the effort, but wood at 30 below (Fahrenheit) splits very easily!

Perhaps one of the best secrets of the indigenous people was that they saw the cold as a living thing that deserved respect. They did not try to prove how long they could stay outside in an ice storm. Native people believed that cold was a spirit that had great power worth of respect and attention.

Do you think you could have survived as a Native American in frigid weather? Share your thoughts in the section below:

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

3 Steps To Start A Fire When Everything Is Wet

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Start a fire when everything is wet

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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1. Find an Adequate Location for Making the Fire

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

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

Shelter means three basic things:

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

2. Shelter the Fire

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

Build a Windbreak

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

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

Make the Fire Under a Tree

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

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

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

Build a Fire Pit

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

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

3. Tinder, Kindling and Fuel

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

Video first seen on CommonSenseOutdoors

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

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

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

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

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

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

Video first seen on IA Woodsman

How to Make the Best Fire Starter for Wet Wood

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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This article has been written by Chris Black for Survivopedia. 

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Planning For A Zombie Apocalypse (And Other Bad Things)

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nuclear-war-1427454_1920

By The Survival Place Blog

The world is no longer a predictable place. There are a lot of things that can go wrong and a lot of reasons why they might. There is an uncertain political landscape, natural disaster, the possibility of super-flue’s becoming too much for antibiotics, global warming and terrorism (in whatever form that may come in). And we haven’t even mentioned the possibility of a zombie outbreak, which may be unlikely but doesn’t mean it isn’t entirely impossible. But as far apart as these threats may be from one another, there is one common interest that links them all: the need for a survival strategy. So, here is a list of things you should prepare.

  1. Escape Route

Don’t just rely on one option. Have a Plan A, Plan B, Plan C and D,E,F if possible. This requires a lot of consideration. You’ll need to consider what transport will be available (given a lot of public services won’t be operating anymore). Will it be a car or a truck, or a boat, or maybe you have a plane tucked away. We recommend a boat (if you live near a river, lake or sea) or a economic 4×4 if you live on land. The other thing to remember is not to take major roads. These will be everyone’s first thought, so plan an alternative route that doesn’t rely on main roads. Oh, and take a handheld GPS with you.

  1. Your Pack

These are also called ‘Bug Out Bags’ and are becoming increasingly popular, you know, just in case. You never know when an earthquake may hit, or a flood, or riots, or zombies; so have a bug out bag prepared and left near an exit from your home or in your car or at work. Somewhere you can grab it easily as you go to leave. When it comes to rules, make sure your survival pack is easy and comfortable to carry. Make sure its contents are simple. Make sure everything in their is needed, no luxuries. Make sure the contents allow you to become totally self-sufficient. And plan for how long you want your back to last you, for example 72 to 96 hours will be great. Click here to see what we’re talking about.  

  1. Food and Water

It is crucial you take into consideration routes that take you to or near a natural source of clean water, such as a river or lake. These will allow you to replenish your supplies of water, which will be critical in your attempts to survive. It could also be a good idea to make sure you know where certain crop farms are, especially things like potato farms. Being able to collect a food supply of slow-release energy will help your bid.

  1. Choose Your Destination

This shouldn’t be one single point, but a selection of options. Options are going to be your best friend. The other thing to consider is having options in multiple different directions. There is no point in having two options both in the same town, and on the same street. Tips to consider are once again local water supplies, food supplies, vegetation and minimally populated areas. If you need to lock down for a long time, consider places like supermarkets where the security is strong and supplies are plentiful, including any first aid supplies you may need.

This article published by The Survival Place Blog: Planning For A Zombie Apocalypse (And Other Bad Things)

Filed under: Prepping

5 Top Tips and Tactics For Successful Urban Deer Bowhunting

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bowhunting

Did you know that the deer can live virtually anywhere, including the urban areas surrounded by cities and crowds of people?

Over the past few years, the populations of these adaptable ruminants have been on the rise in many cities. You’ll even hear cases of the animals raiding gardens and flowerbeds, and running in front of cars. This has turned their rare sightings into routine occurrences.

While this might be a disappointment to the homeowners and motorists, it means a great opportunity for the urban bow hunter to bag that monster buck.

Before you attempt to take down any deer in the urban places, make sure you go through the following tips and tactics for urban bowhunting.

5 Tips and Tactics That Will Make You An Expert Urban Bowhunter:

Pause a moment!

Before we discuss the expert tips and tactics for urban bowhunting allow me to tell you a few details about it:

Due to the obvious reasons, it’s not advisable to hunt with a high-power rifle. Imagine firing around homes? The sound of the rifle alone will scare the neighbor and promote them to call the police. A stray bullet could even make matters worse.

That being said, you’re always advised to use your bow and arrow for urban bowhunting; it’s not only safer but quieter compared to the rifles. And bowhunting is a great survival skill to have if SHTF.

In fact, most local municipalities and game departments consider bowhunting as the most appropriate method of controlling the deer population in the urban areas.

Now that you know the right urban hunting process, we can move on to our discussion….

1. Start By Locating Your Bowhunting Zone

bowhunting

Via myfwc.com

The first task you should do in your urban bowhunting mission is checking for favorite lands to hunt in (and seeking the landowners’ permission to do so).

Locating favorable hunting areas isn’t that hard, especially if you have bow hunted before. Look for river corridors and thick creeks, patches of woods, etc., that are likely to hold a deer. Don’t ignore the 5-acre track – it can as well hold a deer or two.

If there are houses nearby, don’t forget to ask them who the landowner – you might be surprised that they’re actually the owners of the land.

Most state governments now have websites where you can easily track down the landowners. Alternatively, you can plan a trip to the courthouse to track the owner.

As a side, always be polite and presentable when seeking permission from the landowner.

2. This Ultimate Scouting Strategy Will Get You To Where The Deer Is:

bowhunting

If you do your scouting well, you’re sure to move to where the deer actually is.

When scouting urban areas, make sure you look for the likely covers and food sources. The deer tend to look for thick vegetation where they can comfortably hide, bed, and even get food to eat.

As for the food sources, look for features like – dogwoods, honeysuckle, oaks, and soft mast forms.

Another proven tactic involves setting up an ambush around a garden where the animals have been raiding.

Scouting for the deer highways, you might also find the buck on the move.

With just small, wooden areas, the deer moving between patches might be limited in their choices. In other words, they’ll prefer walking in areas that offer some cover as they move from one to the next.

3. Urban Bowhunting Calls For Accurate Shot Placement

bowhunting

True! Keep in mind you’re hunting in claustrophobic environments – sometimes a few yards from the garden edge and near houses.

What do you think would be the outcome if the wounded deer you’ve just shot runs with an arrow on it?

To perfect your shot placement in urban areas, you better start practicing with targets in a setup similar to the urban environment. Usually, the deer to approach within 10 yards, so you ought to practice at close ranges.

Sometimes you can fire a bad shot, making your tracking job lengthy and harder. The blood trail might lead into properties you don’t have access to – and in worst cases, into neighboring developments or yards. This means you’ll have to do some cleanups and start knocking doors to seek permissions to track your deer.

Again, be polite when seeking permission in such scenario.

As a bonus tip:

Always remove your camo and leave your bow in your truck before you approach any landowner to increase your chances of being granted permission to conduct your tracking job on their lands.

You never know, you might even gain new hunting zones as a result of interacting with the nearby landowners!

4. Be Patient!

bowhunting

It doesn’t matter the area you’re hunting in – hunting remains a waiting game even in urban areas.

Not only do urban areas provide you with decent hunting place, but they can also give you an opportunity to harvest a trophy buck. In these regions, you’ll find fewer hunters hounding the bucks, and the hunting pressure is quite low. This translates to the animals living for more years (and developing a bigger rack).

Picture yourself setting up on a travel corridor. With subdivisions all over your hunting area, you’re dead sure that the travel routes used by the deer are limited.

As such, you just need to remain patient in your climbing tree stand – the ideal tree stand for urban bowhunting – knowing that a monster buck will eventually come through.

Your patience will ultimately get rewarded!

5. Be Prepared To Remove Your Kill As Fast As You Can

After following all the tips and tactics we’ve discussed above, you’ll end up with a successful urban hunt, with a deer on the ground.

Depending on the visibility of your hunting areas, you might consider removing the whole animals and field dressing in a remote location.

Check out this video: How to Field Dress a Deer

You simply don’t want to leave behind bloody drag marks on someone’s property or leaving the gut pile there, or even the neighborhood dog taking a share of the pile before heading for a couch at home.

Additionally, don’t attempt to remove or drag your kill when your neighborhood kids are out waiting for the bus!

Such things might compromise your hunting permission.

Want To Preserve Your Extra Deer Meat So That It Doesn’t Rot?

Check out this CD set that gives you 11 off grid techniques to preserve your deer meat for long term storage.

Click here to learn how to preserve your deer meat without electricity

 

Final Verdict

Bowhunting deer used to be confined in the large tracts of farmlands and forests. But these days are long gone. Today, as an avid bow hunter, you’ll like it more hunting the big game in urban areas, in someone’s yard!

Keep all the above tips and tactics in mind when setting out to bow hunt in an urban area and you’ll surely harvest that monster buck.

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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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The post How to Remove Rusted Nuts and Bolts appeared first on SHTF & Prepping Central.

Tree Bark as an Emergency Food

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cutting_bark_tree

bark_piecesAn almost forgotten food from the wild is that which comes from the bark of trees.  Once a staple, now it is barely known even as a coarse survival food.  I myself have been slow coming to it even with wild edible plants as a major preoccupation since my teens.  An obvious possibility for why tree bark has not been found much in modern cuisine is that it doesn’t taste good.  The modern imagination easily responds to the notion of tree bark as food with images of gnawing on trees – not exactly as exciting as fishing, hunting, picking mushrooms, or picking berries.  However, perhaps that assumption is wrong.  Maybe delicious foods can be prepared from tree bark.

By Nathaniel Whitmore, a Contributing Author to SHTFBlog and SurvivalCache

I have in front of me eleven books on wild edibles.  At first glance at the table of contents of each book, or the text or index if the plants weren’t listed there, I found nothing in ten of the books  related to tree barks as edibles.  Euell Gibbons (Stalking the Wild Asparagus) and others discuss Black Walnuts and Hickory for nuts.  Lee Allen Peterson (Edible Wild Plants) discusses the leaves of Basswood.  Bradford Angier (Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants) discusses the seeds of Maple and, of course, that the sap is boiled into Maple syrup.  …And the list goes on of other foods from the trees.  Only in one, A Naturalists Guide to Cooking with Wild Plants by Connie and Arnold Krochmal, did I find that the authors went on to discuss harvesting and preparing Maple bark.  They have a recipe for Maple bark bread that uses, along with other typical ingredients for bread, only ½ cup of all-purpose flour to 2 cups of ground Maple bark.  Another recipe for porridge is a typical porridge recipe with only Maple bark (cooked like farina, grits, or oats), along with a suggestion to spread it out to chill and thicken before browning in oil.

Cuisine and Nutrition

maple_treeI have not yet tried Maple (Acer spp.) porridge.  I have made porridge from Slippery Elm (Ulmus rubra) but only because I have acquired out-of-date stock from herbs stores here-and-there that I worked for.  The powdered bark is quite costly to eat like a breakfast cereal.  It is sold mostly for home-made lozenges and to add to smoothies.  Because the bark is quite mucilaginous, it is a great ingredient for do-it-yourself lozenges for sore or dry throat.  I like to always keep some in a convenient storage spot.  When I have plenty, I like to cook the powdered Elm bark with Maple syrup (and a little salt) for a real breakfast from the trees.  I have not yet attempted to powder the bark itself, though I do intend to.  Powdering bark is one of those things that is high up on my list of things to do that I never get around to doing.  Again, a survival situation might just re-prioritize that list.  The shredded bark is also readily available through commercial sources and is prepared as a cold infusion to produce a thick, moistening drink or ingredient.

Related: Food to Stock for Emergencies      

According to Daniel Moerman in Native American Food Plants, Green Ash (Fraxinus pennsylvanica) was cooked by the Ojibwa.  Apparently they believe it tastes like eggs.  I have chewed it and infused it for “tea”, but will certainly have to try to prepare it like scrambled eggs!  I doubt it is all that similar, but I do not doubt that it can be prepared so that it tastes good.  Remember, much of foraging is about timing.  Not only is bark easier to peel off the tree in the spring (when the sap is flowing), but it also is thick, juicy, and milder tasting than other times of the year.  Certainly, timing is important for Ash bark and the others.  Though, if starving to death you might eat tree bark even if it wasn’t the ideal harvest season and even if it didn’t taste like eggs.

white_pine_barkWhite Pine (Pinus strobus) and other evergreens were vital survival foods for Native Americans in cold areas.  Although they often have too much astringency and pitchy consistency to be ideal foods, they also have vitamin C, bioflavonoids, and many important medicinal constituents.  It would be interesting, and potentially important in a survival scenario, to look into the nutritional constituents of various barks.  It shouldn’t be too difficult to understand that Pine bark has lots of vitamin C, but what about the macronutrients?  Are barks able to provide sufficient sugar, protein, or fat?  Sugar seems the most notable macronutrient from bark, but I still wonder how much is there.  Certainly, Maple bark can taste remarkably sweet, like Maple syrup.  Clearly it has sugar in it.  The benefits of bark as a survival food are at least partially illustrated by the Natives formerly feeding Cottonwood (Populus spp.) bark to horses.  Certainly, humans have different nutritional requirements than the four-legged grazers, though I still think it says something that the deer, other wild animals, and horses can glean nutrition from bark.

Basswood (American Linden, Tilia americana) is unique as a food tree in that it produces large broad leaves that are edible right off the tree.  Young twigs and buds were cooked by Chippewa.  By this I would assume that the bark is also mild and edible.  However, I turned to Moerman’s book Native American Medicinal Plants to learn that the Cherokee used the bark for diarrhea and the Iroquois used as a diuretic, which has me wondering if the bark is too astringent and drying to use as food.  Of course, many such remedies are mild enough to eat or can be prepared to be more food quality and less medicinal.  Generally though, diarrhea remedies are astringent and can cause constipation when not needed for runny stool.  Moerman did also report that the Cherokee used during pregnancy for heartburn and weak stomach and bowels.  If it was used during pregnancy, I imagine it is mild enough to eat.  Basswood bark is now bumped up to the top of the list of wild foods to try out this spring.

Medicinal Uses of Tree Bark

Medicines from tree barks are many.  Though this article focuses on edible barks, it would not be complete without mention of medicinal uses.  In addition to those already discussed above, the medicinal barks included many categories, such as astringents, cough remedies, blood-moving medicinals, and pain relievers.

aspirin_vintage_advertisement_willowWillow (Salix spp.) was an original source of a well-known medicine known as salicylic acid (named after Willow).  Like the drug Aspirin (which is named after Meadowsweet which is currently Filipendula, but formerly Spiraea), Willow is used for pain, to thin the blood, and for fevers.  Salicylic acid is commonly used for acne, dandruff, and warts.  Poplars (Populus spp.) are closely related to Willow both botanically (though many people confuse Poplars and Birch, or Betula spp.) and medicinally.  Poplars have largely fallen out of use in modern times, but formerly were commonly employed as medicinals – the bark used like Willow, and especially the resinous buds used for coughs.

Oaks (Quercus spp.) and many other trees have bitter-tasting astringency.  Astringents tone tissue, remove inflammation, and stop discharge.   They are important medicines that are indicated for damp, inflamed conditions like diarrhea, rashes, bleeding wounds, and sore throats.  Astringents are also used for daily maintenance like washing the face and brushing teeth.  In small quantities, they are used to maintain tissue integrity of the gums and digestive system.

Read Also: Bushcraft Mushrooms

Like Cinnamon (Cinnamomum spp.), our Sassafras (Sassafras albidum) is used to stimulate circulation and clean the blood.  The bark is delicious as tea, and can be combined with other root beer ingredients like Black Birch (Betula lenta).  The leaves of Sassafras are mucilaginous as well as spicy and can be prepared as food.  They are used in gumbo.  As an aromatic, blood-cleansing medicinal, Sassafras is used to treat skin disorders, arthritis, and to warm up the body.  The FDA has a controversial ban on Sassafras and the oil derived from it, safrole.

cherries_cherry_treePerhaps one of best-known cough remedies, Cherry Bark (Prunus spp.) has been used for ages.  My guess is that Cherry became a standard flavor for cough syrups largely because the bark was a standard medicine for coughs, even though the bark does not exactly taste like the fruit.  It does have a distinct Cherry flavor, but even more distinct is the cyanide flavor, especially in the fresh bark.  Because of the toxic properties, the use of fresh Cherry bark has been discouraged in the literature.  Though, the fresh bark is used medicinally and is significantly stronger than the dried bark.  The dried bark is available through commercial distributions.  Especially the wilted leaves have been known to cause poisoning in farm animals, so it seems the toxic properties spike during drying.  There are also various ideas about the best time to harvest.  Since I am not a chemist, I cannot say much with authority about cyanide content.  Consider yourself warned, however.  I encourage you to do your own research (before you find yourself starving or coughing to death in a Cherry forest).  Since this is such a valuable medicine I do indeed recommend learning about Cherry bark.  In my experience it is a top remedy for coughs and I assume it has many other uses in line with how Peach (Prunus persica) is used in Chinese medicine, which is extensive.  If the medicinal barks were not strong-natured and somewhat toxic, they would have been discussed earlier as edible barks.  It is precisely because they are strong that they are medicinal.  

Black Walnut (Juglans nigra) bark is very medicinal.  It is one of the strongest antifungal herbs and is well-known as a remedy for intestinal parasites.  The inner bark stains yellow, as do the green hulls and leaves.  These parts also give off a distinct aroma that can help with identification and are doubtlessly related to the medicinal virtues.  Of course, Black Walnut is also known for its nuts, which are important survival food.     

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How To Build Your Best Camouflage

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Survivopedia How To Build Your Best Camouflage

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Camouflage Clothes – the Basic Gear for Ghosts

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

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

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

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

Video first seen on Random Things.

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

The Ghillie Suit

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Video first seen on Zachary Crossman.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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This article has been written by Chris Black for Survivopedia. 

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7 Crazy Ways To Use Tree Bark For Survival

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7 Little-Noticed Ways to Use Tree Bark for Survival

Image source: Pixabay

By  Ashley Hetrick – Off The Grid News

If you find yourself in a survival situation in the woods, you’re basically standing in a goldmine of potential resources, all of which are literally at your fingertips along the trunks of nearby trees. Knowing just how versatile tree bark can be might just save your life.

1. Cordage

Tree bark, specifically long strips of inner bark, can be wrapped or braided together to create durable and flexible cordage quickly. Simply cut away the flaky outer bark from a section of the tree, and then begin to peel the inner bark away in long strips. Don’t remove more than one-fourth of the bark around the tree, or the tree might not be able to survive. Longer cuts top to bottom are better than wider cuts going further around the tree.

Good tree species to try include cedar, aspen, basswood/linden, maple or willow.

Continue reading at Off The Grid News: 7 Crazy Ways To Use Tree Bark For Survival

Filed under: Emergency Survival Tips, Prepping

Poison in the Water? Trace Pharmaceuticals and Your Faucet

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pharmaceuticals

Vicodin5mgThe issue of pharmaceuticals showing up in public water systems is gaining more and more attention in the media, and for good reason—because it’s there! While it isn’t entirely clear what these drugs are doing to your endocrine system, it isn’t positive. Moreover, your exposure to trace pharmaceuticals is probably greater than you imagine. Consider these news articles:

I could go on citing more and more articles on the subject, but what’s the point? These are all legitimate news sources, not quack “fake news” and conspiracy theory sites. The issue is real. Do your own research and you will quickly see for yourself. Believe it or not, you are exposed to trace chemicals from the improper disposal of pharmaceuticals. 

By Danger Dave, a contributing author to SHTFBlog & SurvivalCache

But what exactly are “trace pharmaceuticals”? Denver Water states:

Trace pharmaceuticals are sometimes called microconstituents or emerging contaminants. They are products that enter the water supply through animal-based agricultural runoff or from human sources. A high percentage of pharmaceuticals in wastewater enter the water supply when people dispose of medicines in the sink or toilet. Most, if not all, pharmaceutical products — whether used in animals or in humans — are used in doses at which some amounts are passed through the user and back into water systems. 

New York Legislator Burke (from the first article) said, “I heard someone make sort of a glib joke the other day that they’re feeling depressed, so instead of going to the pharmacy they’re just going to drink a cup of tap water.” Funny, but no laughing matter.

From Prescription to Drinking Water

glass_of_waterHow is it that when we turn on the tap water we get a refreshing glass of… drug-tainted water? Well, what do people do with unused and expired drugs? Chances are they get dumped in the toilet and flushed. The water system is a circular system. It all comes back around. What is more, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) states that the flushing of drugs is only part of the problem.

“The main way drug residues enter water systems is by people taking medicines and then naturally passing them through their bodies,” says Raanan Bloom, Ph.D., an environmental assessment expert at FDA. “Many drugs are not completely absorbed or metabolized by the body and can enter the environment after passing through wastewater treatment plants.”

So drugs are getting into the water system simply by the fact people are taking drugs and then using the bathroom as they always do.

Drugs in our water is no easy problem to solve, and it’s the reason the FDA, in partnership with the DEA and community organizations, developed community-based drug “take-back” programs. (Click here to find a take-back program in your area.)

Dangerous?

doctor_medical_SWOT-2Everyone agrees that trace amounts of drugs are in the water. As we established, this is not “alternative facts” or theory. It is undeniable. What is not clear is to what extent it may cause harm to individuals consuming the water. According to WebMD, while scientists do not know the extent of the threat to our health, of particular concern is the presence of synthetic hormones, because “hormones work at very low concentrations in the human body.” They go on to say, “We know that kids, including babies and toddlers, as well as fetuses, are more susceptible to environmental exposures because their bodies are still developing and their exposure on a pound-per-pound basis is higher. And they lack the detoxification system adults have. So it is not unreasonable to expect they would be at a higher risk.”

Soooo… if it is of particular concern for kids, and the science is still out on the effects their presence in water has on adults, I am inclined to err on the side of safety.

Solutions

So there is no denying the research and concern. Drugs in drinking water is very real. While solutions for preventing the drugs from entering the water system prove somewhat elusive, there are concrete ways to get trace pharmaceuticals out of your water.

“Boil it,” you say? Nope. Boiling it does not solve the problem. “Then bottled water,” you argue. Not likely. Twenty-five percent of bottled water comes from the tap. Your best bet at addressing the problem? Filtering it between when it leaves the tap to when it reaches your mouth.

water_pitcher_epicPreppers are familiar with a few of the common water filtration available to them because they have purchased them as insurance against an environmental or man-made catastrophe to allow them access to safe drinking water. But why wait until catastrophe strikes to use them when those very filters could be used right now to clean your drinking water for safe(er) consumption? If you own the products already, why not use them on a daily basis now? If you don’t own the products, consider getting one, for the sake of your family’s health. A few that we recommend for prepping purposes also remove trace pharmaceuticals:

  • Black Berkey Filters
  • Epic’s Filtration Pitcher

From my view, any “prepper” product that can get used now is a must get. It makes far more sense to purchase these products before products that will sit on a shelf for a “just in case” situation that may not come.

Lastly, you can do your part to help combat drugs entering the water supply by following the drug disposal guidelines from the FDA found here.

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How to: Choose the right sleeping bag

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

by Leon Pantenburg

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Igloo interior during winter camping outing.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Make your sleeping bag choices wisely. Otherwise, you may have some really long, uncomfortable nights to ponder and regret your hasty choices!
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The Authentic Lumber Sexual Guide to Ax Work

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by Todd Walker

The Authentic Lumber Sexual Guide to Ax Work ~ TheSurvivalSherpa.com

I’m not sure when the bastardization began. But, make no mistake, it’s happened.

From a distance, there was an aura about the young man, he looked as though he had just stepped out of a 19th century lumber camp photo, like a man who knew the secrets of ax work and living off the land. The beard, plaid flannel (red and black of course), skinny britches rolled up a few turns to show off his vintage L.L. Bean boots with just a hint of wool sock protruding at the top. I imagined the aroma of wood smoke from his stack of flapjacks and coffee would hit me as I pushed DRG’s shopping cart past him on the frozen food aisle. Nope. Just another fashion-fabulous hipster.

A lot of my authentic southern readers may have never heard of this crossbred, the lumber-sexual. My Publix sighting confirms they’re here and not going anywhere no time soon. They seem to have migrated from their native habitat up north, the over-priced Minnesota coffee shops. Apparently, the lumberjack look was a new twist for hipsters. Remember the rhinestone cowboy craze from the 70’s? Same thing. They are born from cross-breeding a metrosexual and urban hipster (google these terms to get up to speed). The closest they’ve come to chopping a tree was the cutting of the Yule log at the office Christmas party. I guess the look and feel of simple lumber attire conjures up nostalgia, and, presumably, a boost in manliness.

I get it, chic clothing trends, like chiggers in a Georgia summer, never cease. A hipster sipping a passion tango herbal tea on a leather sofa at the corner coffee shop posing as a lumberjack seems non-congruent in my mind. I’ll give ’em one thing, they can buy an authentic lumber-look, even earth scented beard balm, but, to their chagrin, they can’t buy callouses. Those come by doing the stuff old lumberjacks did.

For the lumber sexual who stumbles upon this article, and feels the need to stop playing dress up, and would like to add authentic skills to match his attire, learn the art and lore of ax work. That wall-mounted ax over your headboard longs to feel its hickory handle whist through crisp air, hear metal separate wood fibers, and watch dinner plate size wood chips fling loose. This alone will assuredly add authenticity to your next filtered Instagram ax-selfie.  An added bonus… the calloused handshake over a craft beer reeks of masculinity… adding to your woods cred.

The Authentic Lumber Sexual Guide to Ax Work ~ TheSurvivalSherpa.com

No worries. Fixin’ Wax helps.

This guide may also be useful for the non-lumber sexual…

Authentic Ax Work (Not AXE Grooming Products)

Outside of fire, little else can contribute more to living comfortably in the wilderness than knowing how to properly use a well-chosen axe.

~ Mors Kochanski, Bushcraft, 1988

The ax is the oldest, most under-appreciated, yet invaluable tool which serves not only as a wilderness lifeline, but a simple machine that connects your hands to the forgotten craft of ax work. You’ll need an authentic ax to get starter. Don’t waste your money on box store axes. Once in my life, only once, I traded a Benjamin and some change for a Swedish ax just because of their reputation of forging fine steel. I was not disappointed.

A more budget friendly way, my preferred path, is vintage American made axes. Forgotten and left to rust in the corner of grandpa’s shed, these old treasures are waiting to be born again and eat wood.

For more guidance on choosing an ax, check out our article here.

How to Swing an Ax

All ax swings are inherently dangerous. Some are safer than others. But that’s part of the lure of ax work. Learning to reduce the risk of maiming (or worse) is your first priority.

It may not seem obvious, but the very first step, before your first swing in the woods, is to clear every vine, twig, overhead limb, camera man, and pet away from the area of your ax arc. The smallest thing can snag the ax on both backswing and forward chop. Look up and down the tree you plan to chop for any dead limbs. These hangers earned the name widow-maker for a reason. Even a small limb plummeting from 30 feet can crack your skull or destroy a shoulder. I know of a dead pine with a trunk split cradling a wrist-size limb in the crotch, tempting me to sink my felling ax into its trunk, but I resist, hoping and waiting for a gust of wind to bring it down. My gut tells me three thuds of my ax and DRG may be a widow. Follow your gut. Wise axmen strike the tree with the poll of their ax to loosen any potential hangers. Be prepared to drop the ax and follow exit routes you’ve cleared beforehand.

Ideally, you want level ground to plant your feet for chopping. That’s not always possible. If you’re new to ax work, find level ground free of tripping and slipping hazards and sink those vintage Danner boots in firmly.

For right-handers like me, grip the end of the handle with your left hand and your right hand on top of the left. Reverse this arrangement for southpaw. As you were taught in little league baseball, do not cross your wrists, right on bottom and left on top for right-handers, on swings. Coach Melvin told me this would break my wrists.

There are two basic ax swings: lateral and vertical. Certain guidelines should be followed for each swing.

Lateral Chopping

Lateral swings (diagonal and horizontal) are used to fell a tree, cut saplings in one swoop, and finish chops to separate a log while bucking. Any strokes outside your frontal zone is considered lateral swings. What’s your frontal zone?

Adapted from The Ax Book

Adapted from The Ax Book

In The Ax Book, which I recommend you devour until the pages are dog-eared, Dudley Cook describes the frontal zone as two parallel lines running along side the outside edges of your feet when chopping. All lateral swings should be outside the parallel lines, always. A miss hit or deflection from a full, extended-arm swing only stops when it strikes a target. Inertia forces the ax head to a stopping point, and that point could be your body if you disregard the frontal zone guidelines.

There are too many additional considerations such as, proper notching (face and back cuts), lean and lay, hang-ups, kick-backs, which can’t be covered in this one article, which is already a long but value-adding read, for you to safely chop down your first tree. I plan to write more on the subject later. Until then, read The Ax Book and watch more videos in the additional resources listed below.

With that being said, we will concentrate on ax swings which require wielding sharp steel within the frontal zone (toward your feet).

Vertical Chopping

Since the chainsaw removed the ax from most wood cutting, splitting firewood is by far the most used vertical swing presently. But, wanting to add authenticity to your life, there are other vertical strokes you should master.

Vertical chops fall into three categories…

  1. Backed up
  2. Non-backed, and
  3. Bucking, or chopping below the level of your feet

Backed Up

Backed up strokes are performed on another piece of robust wood (chopping block) wide enough to stop the ax swing momentum once it cuts through the target. The shorter the ax handle, the more dangerous the ax. The popular “boys ax” measures from armpit to finger length and makes a great all-purpose tool. However, care should be taken to understand that missing your target on vertical strokes with a shorter handle will likely bury the ax in your lower extremities. Keep the ax parallel to the ground at impact by bending your knees and waist during the downward stroke. This shortens your body and will likely sink the axhead in the chopping block, not your leg.

When chopping wrist-size green wood for your firewood pile, I’ve found this methods effective. Hold one end of the stick (about as long as you are tall) with your left hand and lay the other on a chopping block (backed-up stroke) with a notch or saddle on the edge of the stump. Accurately strike the stick where it rests in the notch at a 45 degree angle. Continue feeding the stick through the saddle notch until the last stove-length piece is left in your left hand. The angled cut should never be perpendicular to the stick. If struck too close towards your body, missing the saddle notch, the cut end will fly back toward your face like a wooden missile.

Steven Edholm has a great video demonstrating this technique on his channel, Skill Cult. He captures the wooden missile moment.

Another method, which I’m building at base camp now, is the Chopping Platform described by Mr. Cook. I’ll post the project once it’s complete.

Non-Backed Chops

Of all the vertical swings, this one possesses the most potential for injury. This stoke is not for a novice. Even experienced woodsmen make this cut only when other options are unavailable.

There may be an overhead limb which needs cutting. The safest way would be to saw the limb. However, an ax can be used with these precautions. Strike the limb with a modified grip by sliding your right hand half way up the ax handle to gain more control of the ax should it slice trough the limb. Strike at a 45 degree angle using only enough force to cut a portion of the limb’s diameter. Remember Newton’s first Law of Motion? An object (your ax) will keep moving until acted up by another force to stop its motion. Don’t let that other force be your body.

Do this ax stuff enough and you’ll encounter the bent sapling. I felled a broken Sweet Gum tree for the upcoming Chopping Platform project. In the limbing (de-limbing) video below, I demonstrate how to relieve tension with a non-backed, properly place ax stroke. Cutting a spring-loaded sapling near the ground unleashes unbelievable tension stored in the tree. If cut through, the potential energy converts to kinetic energy, and will not only mess up a well-groomed beard, but kill with a throat punch or head shot.

Bucking

Any wood large enough to stand on is fair game. The ax swing is safely backed up by the log being chopped as long the stroke stays below the level of your feet.

Again, clear all obstacles from the arc of your bucking swing. Hew two flat surfaces on either side of the cut line at the top of the horizontal log giving you a solid platform for your feet. If the log is on the ground and rocks while standing on top, step off and secure it by driving wooden wedges under each side for stabilization. Mark the width of your V notch with your ax on the side of the log to match its diameter.

The Authentic Lumber Sexual Guide to Ax Work ~ TheSurvivalSherpa.com

One side of a Sweet Gum log bucked

The Authentic Lumber Sexual Guide to Ax Work ~ TheSurvivalSherpa.com

The opposite, or back cut separates the log

I’ve used two methods to buck logs. First is to make a small V notch and widen it gradually to the desired width and halfway through the log. In my experience, I find the second method, described below, a more effective bucking technique.

Stand on top of the fallen tree and begin cutting a small (2-3 inch wide) V notch on the first mark with controlled strokes. This notch serves as the side cut for the larger notch. Now begin chopping the other mark at about a 45 degree angle. Use a pattern of overlapping cuts on the full length of the second mark (bottom to top). You should begin to loosen large wood chips from the entire notch at this point. Repeat this chopping pattern on each side of the notch to about halfway through the log.

Turn 180 degrees and face the other side of the log to repeat the same pattern. Ideally, you want the point of the two V notches to meet a hair off-center in the middle. When the log is close to separation, step to one side of the notch, the one securely supported, and separate the log with a few well placed strokes.

To cut closer to the bottom of the log, bend your back and waist and swing with fully extended arms. Chopping closer to the top of the log requires that you straighten your back but maintain extended arms on full swings. Do not choke up on the ax handle to make cuts at the top of the log. Pay attention to fatigue and rest as necessary.

For accurate downward strokes, swing the ax in line with your nose as you look at your target. Ax control and accuracy will develop with practice.

For the lumber sexual, authentic fashion is job one. Hijacking the ax, the lumber attire, and the beard on Instagram will develop neither the skills nor the callouses of lumberjacks. To be completely honest, I really couldn’t give a warm spittoon of tobacco juice that you look like an authentic lumberjack. You may have bought the look, complete with an expensive ax, but you can’t buy old skills. So grab an ax – chop, chop. And no, you can’t borrow mine…

The Authentic Lumber Sexual Guide to Ax Work ~ TheSurvivalSherpa.com

A few of my working axes

You may loan your last dollar to a friend; but never loan him your axe, unless you are certain that he knows how to use it.

~ Horace Kephart, Camping and Woodcraft

Ax Work Resources:

Keep Doing the Stuff of Self-Reliance,

Todd

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Wilderness First Aid Guide

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first_aid_bag_stocked

red_cross_first_aid.svgAdministering the right first aid correctly can help save lives and reduce discomfort when you are out in the wilderness.  Understanding the common challenges you may face and how to react under such conditions will help remove uncertainties and improve patient outcome. Having your first aid kit with you is the first step to handling emergencies. Here are some steps to take when faced with health emergencies or accidents in the wilderness:

By Ryan, a contributing author of SurvivalCache and SHTFBlog

1) Survey the Area: Before you jump in to help the patient, take a second to survey the area for any potential danger. It’s important you keep your instinct to help immediately in check and ensure that the area is safe for you. There is no need rushing in only to increase the number of patients by falling victim to whatever danger created the emergency in the first place. Watch for signs of dangerous animals, uneven terrains that maybe due to an avalanche, and so on.

2) Approach the Patient: Approach the patient and try to determine the cause of the injury or medical condition, and put on your gloves before you touch the patient.

3) Determine the State of Your Patient: Tap the patient on the shoulder and shout “are you ok?” If you don’t get a response, use 10 seconds to determine if the patient is still breathing (occasional gasps is not breathing).

4) If the patient is not breathing send someone to call the emergency number immediately. Get the patient lying face-up and ensure the neck, head and back are in a straight line. If it’s a child and the parent or guardian is around, ask for consent if you haven’t already. Then give rescue breath. The right way to give rescue breath is to tilt the patient’s head, raise the chin, pinch the nose, and then breathe in through the mouth till the chest expands. Give rescue breath one after the other.

5) If the chest doesn’t rise after two rescue breaths, start CPR immediately. If you witnessed the patient collapse, skip rescue breaths and start CPR immediately.

6) If the patient is still breathing, keep the airway clear by raising the patient’s neck and tilting the head.

Dealing with Bleeding

medical_bag_packedIf the patient is bleeding, it’s important you stop the bleeding immediately. Raise the wounded area above the heart level and apply direct pressure with gauze, clean cloth, sphagnum moss, or dried seaweed. However, if it’s a head injury, apply several dressings and press gently because the skull may be fractured.  If you feel bone fragments, depression, or a spongy area, DO NOT apply direct pressure. Use diffused pressure to control the bleeding. 

Related: First Aid Training 

For non-head bleeding that fails to stop after application of direct pressure, consider applying pressure at the pulse point between the bleeding area and the heart.

Once the bleeding is controlled, flood the area with water to wash out dirt and contaminants. If there is any dirt still visible the water can’t remove, use tweezers to remove it carefully. Clean the area around the wound with alcohol wipe if you have one in your first aid box. Ensure you do not clean the inside of the wound with the alcohol wipe. Apply antibiotic ointment to the wound, and add clean gauze, and then a wrap to keep it in place. 

Dealing with Bone and Joint Injuries

cast_orthopedicBone and joint injuries may be strains, fractures, sprains, or dislocations. Although it can be difficult for an inexperienced person without BLS certification to tell one from the other, the care to be given is similar. Check for symptoms such as deformity, tenderness, swelling, an inability of the patient to use or move the injured part without pain, loss of sensation, or open injuries to confirm you are dealing with a bone or joint injury. 

Also Read: What not to do When Lost in the Wilderness

Help the person rest the injured body part and immobilize it on the ground or with a splint if you need to move the person. Apply a cold pack if available on the body part, separating the skin and the cold pack with a gauze or clean cloth to avoid damaging the skin. Leave for 20 minutes. Use cold water if ice is unavailable. Elevate the fractured body part above the heart level if it won’t cause pain or discomfort. You can administer aspirin if the pain is severe.  Arrange for evacuation of the patient as soon as possible.

Apart from the above basic precaution, do not attempt to fix bone damage or a dislocation if you are not trained to do so as permanent damage may occur.

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Army Tricks To Learn For Survival

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Army Tricks Survival

Army teaches you unique survival skills and habits, useful not only in extreme situations, but also in your everyday life.

The first and the most important thing people in the military are forced to learn is to survive. They learn to think fast, to function under stress, to pay attention to details and to survive in extreme environments. There is no other option. You either adapt or you are out or you… die.

Not serving in the army doesn’t mean you don’t have to learn something from those who do.

From keeping a low profile to self-defense, here are the top military tips and skills to introduce into your survival strategy.

Situational Awareness

Situational awareness is a simple concept, it’s just being aware of your surroundings and understanding the reality of the threats that you may face in any given situation. It’s just constantly being aware of what’s going on around you.

To some, situational awareness is just a theory, but there is much more than that, and once you learn it you understand why it stands for the basis of survival.

How Do You Recognize a Suspicious Activity or Person

If you know what normal looks like, you should be able to pick out the things that stand out as being abnormal in any situation, and those suspicious things are going to stand out. Don’t be afraid to act by calling the authorities when you see it, better sorry than dead! It might be a false alarm, or your call could lead to the capture, kill, or arrest of a terrorist cell or network.

Detecting Criminal Surveillance

Criminal surveillance is watching something or someone to determine if you’re the target that they’re looking for. Once you are identified as the target, most probably they’re going to hit by robbing you, kidnapping you or your family or even worse.

Survivopedia_escapeHow to Lose a Tail

First, you have to be aware that you have a tail, then act to lose it.

If you’re on foot, start walking erratically, meaning instead of going straight from point A to point B, take some weird turns. Look for shiny or reflective surfaces (a mirror or a store window) to see if that person is still following you.

How to Keep a Low Profile

Keeping a low profile doesn’t mean to drive the most expensive car in the country and talking too much about what you do and why you do it.

The goal is to stay unnoticed so the danger wouldn’t meet you round the corner. It starts with the way you dress and the way you move when you are in a public place, and has to do with the way you act and react in order to not drawing attention.

How to Cope with Danger

The first thing you want to do is put as much distance between yourself and the threat as possible, then you want to make sure that you alert the authorities to what’s going on in case communication means are available. Give them all the information that you can to make their job as easy as possible.

Now it’s not always the case that you can get away. Sometimes you may find yourself in an active shooter type scenario where escape is not an option. You may have to do things that you are not trained to do and that you have never done before.

Just calm down, stay calm and think before you do. Think about each move that you’re going to make before you make it, and try and protect yourself and others, as Brian M. Morris says in his “Spec Ops Shooting” guide to combat shooting mastery and active shooting defense. This decorated former Green Beret shares a lot of lifesaving advice from his 25 years of service in this book.

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

Combat Tips to Use for Self-Defense

1. You should be armed. In most states it’s now legal to get a concealed carry permit, which allows you to carry a handgun concealed on your person. Thirty-seven of the states are now “will issue” states, which means that as long as you meet the requirements for a concealed carry permit and do not have a record of criminal activity or mental incompetence, the state is required to give you a permit, upon application.

Okay, so being aware and having a weapon on your person takes away a lot of the assailant’s advantage, but not all of it. They still have two major advantages over you; the first is that they choose the time and place and the second is their willingness to inflict harm on you.

2. When an attack comes, you need to react quickly and violently. Violently doesn’t necessarily mean that you kill them or even that you shoot them, it means that you react in such a way that they are convinced you are going to shoot them. That alone might be enough to get them to break off the attack and run away.

3. As part of that initial reaction, you want to move out of their line of fire. Most criminals are poor shots and not much more skilled with a knife. They’re depending on their ability to intimidate you. That doesn’t mean that they aren’t dangerous or that they can’t shoot you; just that they are likely to miss. Moving, whether dropping to one knee or moving to the side, reduces their chances of hitting you.

4. There’s a saying that anything that’s worth shooting is worth shooting twice. Police departments train their officers this way, teaching them to shoot “double taps”. Those double taps increase the chances that your shots are going to do enough harm to the assailant that you will be able to stop them. If your shots don’t stop them, keep shooting. Your goal isn’t to kill them, just to stop them. As long as they are facing you and holding a weapon, they’re a threat.

5. Once you start moving, keep moving. You should practice shooting while moving, so that you are prepared to do it. It is infinitely harder to shoot accurately while moving, than it is while standing still. Practice, so that you can do it when you need to. Your movement makes you a hard target to hit.

6. Events might transpire in such a way that you can’t draw your gun and return fire immediately. There are times that an assailant might get the upper hand, even if you are aware of your surroundings. Your first indication that anything is wrong might be seeing a gun or knife stuck in your face. If that’s the case and you can’t draw your weapon, play for time.

They’re keyed up to attack at first, but the longer they have to wait, the less ready they are. In such a situation, you want to try and wait until they are either momentarily distracted or let down their guard for a moment. That then becomes your moment to act.

Being able to master army skills is what makes you a warrior and helps you survive and protect other at the same time. It takes practice and time to build this mindset, but once you got it you ease your steps to survival.

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This article has been written by John Gilmore for Survivopedia. 

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Survival Fishing In An Emergency Situation

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survival fishing

So you have decided to build your wilderness survival skills set and are wondering how to add fish to the menu?  You are in luck, this is the article for you!  I am going to go through several different survival fishing scenarios using various levels of preparation to give you some ideas of what you can do to catch a fish in an emergency situation.  I will wrap up with thoughts on cleaning and cooking at the end; just because you are in an emergency situation does not mean you need to eat poorly-cooked fish!

AUTHORS NOTE ON SURVIVAL SITUATIONS:  Emergencies vary greatly.  If you are in a dangerous situation during which stopping to fish will risk your wellbeing, you need to keep moving.  We could discuss specific situations, but for the broad scope of this article let’s assume you are not under any present danger from terrain, weather extremity, or animal / human threat.  Let’s also assume you are near a body of water where fish are if not abundant, at least present in sufficient numbers for success.

SURVIVAL SCENARIO #1: YOU HAVE A KNIFE, SURVIVAL FISHING KIT, AND FIRE

This is by far the best-case scenario for an emergency situation in which you need to catch and eat a fish.  If you do not have a survival fishing kit, click here to check out a DIY guide to creating a good survival fishing kit from the supplies most fishermen already have.

However, if you do have a survival fishing kit, and can successfully catch a fish through normal means, you now come to the point of cleaning and cooking your catch.  Let’s cover that after we go through some other potential emergency situations!

SURVIVAL SCENARIO #2: YOU HAVE A KNIFE AND NO FIRE

OK, so you accidentally left your survival fishing kit behind when you got yourself into an emergency situation, and now you need to catch a fish.  Let’s discuss some good ways to catch a fish with your knife!

If wood is available, a spear is always an option and can double as a hiking pole when you are not using it.  Contrary to the way Hollywood portrays this action, this is not as easy as it looks.  First of all, let’s talk about the spear.

Select a pole around 6-8’ in length, 1-2” thick.  The pole should be either green or nearly green, dead wood is brittle and will break too easily.  Instead of carving a simple point on the spear (even with barbs this is just not efficient) take the blade of your knife and split the end of the spear down about 6”.  I find the easiest is to make two splits, ending with four 6” sections on the tip of my spear.

Place small sticks in the grooves (smaller stick on the bottom, larger on top) and use a piece of shoelace or vine to secure the separators.  Then carve barbed points onto the four well-spread split sections and you have effectively created a paralyzer tip for your spear, giving you the highest likelihood of retaining your fish when you spear it.

BE CAREFUL WITH YOUR SPEAR TIP!

survival fishing

An hour of work can be destroyed with one careless toss into the rocks.  Try to spear horizontally along the water, where even if you miss, your spear does not impact rock or soil.

If you do not have wood available, the knife will not help much catching the fish unless you are skilled at throwing it; move onto Scenario Three!

SURVIVAL SCENARIO #3: YOU HAVE NOTHING BUT CLOTHING AND GOOD SHOES

This is by far the worst scenario imaginable.  Here you are in the middle of an emergency situation with nothing, no knife, no fire, nothing you can use to your advantage.  However, there are ways to catch a fish, if you have patience and a good eye for advantageous situations.

IN EMERGENCY SITUATIONS WHERE YOU CAN POTENTIALLY CATCH A FISH, YOU WILL BE IN A BACK COUNTRY ENVIRONMENT AND NEED TO RETURN TO MORE CIVILIZED REGION TO ABATE THE EMERGENCY.

In this situation a good rule of thumb is to follow a water source as it flows downstream.  This will eventually lead you to a civilization.  An exception I have found in high-altitude situations is that it is good to follow at a distance because the rapid changes in altitude during the water’s decent mean terrain that is difficult or impossible to traverse without a rope.

As you follow the water source, be on the lookout for small channels leading away from the main body of water.  If you can successfully chase a fish or small group of fish into a shallow channel the potential to club or stone one is far higher than in their natural swimming environment.

Look for ripples in the water.  This indicates a shallow flow over rocks.  When the fish are swimming through an area like this, they are easier to stun with a club or rock, because the projectile loses less force from water friction and you can pin the fish to the bottom.

Fish can be attracted to saliva.  If you are in an emergency situation and come to pool without movement, try spitting!  This can sometime bring out fish that are lying out of reach and unseen.

CLEANING YOUR CATCH

survival fishing

So let’s go through two situations:

YOU HAVE A KNIFE

This should be self-explanatory, clean the fish as you normally would.  Save head and guts for fishing bait or to bait your snare traps.  Remember, you can eat the bones of smaller fish, up to 6-8” long, without stomach issues.

YOU DO NOT HAVE A KNIFE

So you can eat all parts of the fish, but let’s imagine you would like to only eat the tasty parts :) first scrape off the scales as best you can by rubbing the fish from tail to head with a rough object.  Then take a rock or sharp stick and create a slash or gash across the neck.  Insert your finger and push until you reach the anus (small hole by the tail), force your finger out through the anus, and rip the guts and belly out.  It is easier than you think and now you are ready to cook!  Leave the head on, cutting it off crudely will remove good meat from the back of the skull.

Want To Preserve Your Extra Fish So That It Doesn’t Rot?

Check out this CD set that gives you 11 off grid techniques to preserve your fish for long term storage.

Click here to learn how to preserve your fish without electricity

COOKING YOUR CATCH

Again, let’s go through two situations:

YOU DO NOT HAVE FIRE

Hope you like sushi, buddy!  While you can cook on a hot rock in the midday sun, go ahead and man up to have a bite at this point.  Working from the dorsal fin use your teeth to tear down the flesh along the ribs, this will ensure you get more meat and less bone in your bites and lets you efficiently strip the body.

YOU HAVE FIRE

At this point if you have included a small packet of salt in your survival fishing kit you are going to be eating pretty good!  I see many people trying to roast the fish on a pointed stick, which is not a bad idea, but we can do better.  If you find a fish-sized plank of wood, soak it in water for 30 minutes, then lay in in a bed of hot coals with the fish in the center.  As the wood smolders it will bring a nice smoky flavor to your catch.  A large, flat stone will work well in the middle of your coals as well.  Be sure the wood is not a toxic variety and also that the stone does not have water inside (river rocks often do) that will cause it to explode when heated.

Good luck!

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How To Speak Survival Abroad: SOS Signs And Languages

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Survivopedia How To Speak Survival Abroad Sos Signs And Languages

So, it just so happens that you’re on vacation in Italy when SHTF in a small or large way. You were dependent upon your little English-to-Italian dictionary or Google Translate, but somehow it seems inefficient to stop to look up the translation for “help me, I’m choking.”

Are there universal words or gestures that transcend language barriers so that you can survive no matter where you are? Sort of.

We’ve had some questions about learning a “universal language of survival” and we are going to adress them now.

“One thing I have never seen suggested is to learn a few key words or better yet, phrases, in multiple languages. As our communities become ever more diverse, knowing a few phrases in at least two other languages may make the difference between getting help or getting shot! Just knowing the word “Doctor” in another language may save you or a member of your family or team and could mean life or death in a SHTF meltdown. I hope we never need any of these things we prepare for but as my dad always drilled into my head, “Better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it!”. I had no idea how important that saying would be until I was face to face with a situation that required prior prepping to have survived it. Thank God I did and I am here to report it works but you need to do it now (prepping), when you find out you should have, it will be too late. Thanks daddy for riding me hard and may you rest in peace, I had it when I needed it!”

Twister Jones

First, understand that you need to be very clear when using gestures, and at least educate yourself a bit about local customs and gestures.

For example, the A-OK sign here (pointer and thumb touching, other fingers up), and in most other places, will get you a smile and an acknowledgement that everything is, indeed, OK. However, in France, it means zero or worthless. In Venezuela or Turkey, you’re implying homosexuality, and in Brazil, just go ahead and save yourself some time by flipping them the bird. That one’s universal.

The thumbs-up sign is another that you may want to avoid, especially in the Middle East. Here, we have a similar meaning if you start with the thumbs-up sign by your leg and jerk it up – it means, basically, “up yours.” There, just the thumbs-up is enough to convey the sentiment.

On the other hand, there are some gestures that are universal: shrugging for “I don’t know,” nodding for “yes,” shaking your head for “no” (except from Bulgaria, where they are reversed) and putting both hands to your throat to indicate that you’re choking. And that’s about where the open line of universal communication ends.

Even different militaries can’t get on board with a universal signaling system. There are, however, two realms that DO have international signals: sailing and diving. Very few people outside of those two worlds understand all or even most of the signals.

Learn the long forgotten secrets that kept our forefathers alive!

The same thing goes for Morse code. One thing that everybody should know, though, is Morse code for SOS, or distress. It’s three long (or slow) taps, three short (or quick) taps, and three more long (or slow) taps.

Video first seen on survivexnonprofit

Come here, or follow me

If you’re trying to get somebody to come to you or follow you, it may be a good idea to use the closed palm, sweeping gesture instead of the one-fingered come-hither gesture that is perfectly acceptable in the states. That one is offensive in several places.

Stop

This one is crazy confusing and has even been associated with examples of lethal miscommunications. Stop means stop, but there is no universal sign for it. Some people use a closed fist, which can be associated with a “right on” expression or even a Seig Heil-type sentiment.

An open palm, which is more common with Europeans, can be a sign of welcome or a sign that a person isn’t armed in some cultures. It is, however, the universal diving signal for “stop”.

Listen

This one actually is pretty universal. Cup a hand to your ear to tell somebody to listen.

Look

To get somebody to look at something, the gesture of pointing your pointer and middle fingers at your eyes, then toward whatever you want the person to see is fairly universal. Again, this is also the universal diving sign for look.

Distress

This one is much more universal, though not in a social scenario. You may have noticed that the distress signal in Morse code had a bunch of threes in it.

Three is a common number for distress signals. If you’re building an emergency signal fire or sign, place three fires or indicators in a triangle pattern. If you’re using a whistle, use three blasts.

Choking

This one actually has a universally-recognizable signal. Place both hands at your throat. If only everything was this simple.

Buddy up, or stay together

This one is pretty much universal. Point to the people that you’re referring to, then touch your index fingers together horizontally. You can also pair the middle fingers together with the pointer fingers, which may indicate more than two people.

I’m cold

Cross your arms over your chest and rub your upper arms.

Throughout my research for this article, I was hard-pressed to come up with any words at all that are universal, and very few signs or signals other than those used to indicate distress. I have, however, had some experience with diving and believe personally that their system is a good one. The signals are clear, concise, and universal to the diving community.

There are, of course, some signals that are local due to native dangerous fish, etc. but for the most part, the signs are recognized all across the community.

With a combination of signals and body language, you may be able to get your point across. For example, if you cross your arms over your chest with your fists closed and shake your head vigorously, people may understand that you’re trying to tell them that something is dangerous.

The “X” is sort of a universal code for dangerous or poisonous – think skull and crossbones.

There doesn’t seem to be any single word or phrase that can be used to communicate effectively even in a survival situation. The best thing that you can do is coordinate with the people whom you are traveling with.

It’s also a good idea to learn the native words for stop, danger, food, water, cold, shelter, help, come here, fire, exit, and any other emergency word that you can think of that you may need in a survival situation.

the-lost-ways-cover_wild

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia. 

References: 

http://www.neadc.org/CommonHandSignalsforScubaDiving.pdf

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How To DIY A Paracord Survival Grenade

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DIY Paracord Grenade

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Video first seen on TyingItAllTogether

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

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

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

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

Video first seen on MOD

5 Essential Steps to DIY the Perfect Paracord Survival Grenade

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

1. Built it around a carabiner

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

2. Put some fishing and trapping gear inside

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

3. Add a small LED flashlight

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

4. Include a small blade and a Ferro rod

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

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

5. Wrap the survival items in tin foil

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

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

Video first seen on LittleMtnOutdoors

This particular paracord grenade hides essential survival tools inside:

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

Click the banner below to grab your Paracord Survival Kit! 

paracord-grenade

 

This article has been written by Chris Black for Survivopedia. 

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Conduct a Prep SWOT Analysis

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strategy_image-2

pen_paper_SWOT-2American management practices use a lot of techniques to examine planning, program development, future goals, and modes of execution to achieve those goals.  One of the business school tactics used by many groups is called the SWOT.  This stands for (1) Strengths, (2) Weaknesses, (3) Opportunities, and (4) Threats.  Walking through this process applied to your prepping plan can assure confidence of achievements, point out items for improvement, expose future opportunities and recognize potential threats.  It is an assessment strategy to reveal all the functional aspects of your prepping plan and processing.  

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

Remember that your SWOT is not my SWOT or Reuben’s down the street.  There can be no two plans or executions just alike.  Therefore, there really is no textbook SWOT to copy or plagiarize.  It is a process that only you or your prep team can solely experience, define, construct, refine, and deploy.  It has to be customized to your situations, conditions, and circumstances.

Strengths

strengths_SWOT-2What have you done right and what are you doing right?  Do you have a basic plan advancing to a more thorough plan laid out, via paper, or PC or both?  Is all this development work documented in a file, notebook, or folder for constant referral and reference?  If not, this is the place to start. Your personal prep manual needs to be easy to reach and within reach at all times.  Then when an idea or lightbulb thought pops up, you can jot it down.  Keep plenty of plain paper in the side pocket for such notes, then refine them to move to the main manual pages if appropriate.  Prepping is a constant moving target, but the ideas need to be collected.  

Review all your prepping components.  You may have a “Bug In” section as well as a “Bug Out” section just in case options are a viability.  Then break it down into all the categories of stuff that have been discussed here at Survival Cache and our Blog pages over time.

Related: 10 Bug Out Bag Essentials

Confirm what items you have completed and what items need work.  Review your supply lists, weapons cache, and every item in your prep plan so far.  This is an emphasis on your plan’s strengths, but does not imply completion.  

Weaknesses

prepare_SWOT-2This is not the time for dogging yourself or your plans.  It is a time to constructively peel back the layers to see what is not working, at least not yet.  On this examine it is time to reveal things you are not doing or have failed at completing.  A good practical example is training achieved to date.  Can you put that tent up in the dark, even in the backyard?  Do you know how to disassemble that AR you bought for Christmas?  Have you finished calculating how much food and calories your family will need for an extended SHTF?   Is your bug out camp ready to go? Do you need a course in auto or engine mechanics, welding, carpentry, or camp cooking?  

Also examine what factors or elements are preventing you from moving weaknesses to strengths.  Is a limited, tight, or reprioritized budget part of the issue?  Are you setting any funding aside for prepping causes regardless of how little it is?  Have you considered weekend employment or selling off some unnecessary items to raise funds for prepping?  This is not easy.  

Again, weaknesses are things that are probably on your prepping plan list but you simply have not followed through.  If it is a critical element like securing proper quantities of food, water, ammo, medical supplies or whatever, then just dedicate yourself to chipping away at these issues.  

Opportunities

ATVs_at_camp_SWOTThese can be difficult to recognize.  The possibilities are everywhere, it is just a matter of nailing them down or acting to take advantage of them.  Perhaps a neighbor offered you an old boat if you would come get it, patch it up, repaint and repurpose it.  It could be other stuff too, like an old ATV, chainsaw, or other useful tools, equipment, and hard goods.  

Maybe next month the local community college is having a free series of classes on various skills issues.  You need to block out the time to pursue these free chances to learn new stuff when they become available.  Likewise a big box outdoor store might offer seminars on camping, fishing, trapping, canning, knife sharpening, reloading ammo, or whatever.  Sometimes lumber and hardware supply outlets have building classes and tool demonstrations on a Saturday.  Don’t miss these opportunities.  

Opportunities can come in all sizes, unexpected, and at any time.  Sometimes you have to act fast to cash in on them.  Maybe on trash day your neighbor has piled up some 2x4s on the curb.  Could be good supplies for bug out camp building projects.  

Perhaps a neighbor, work colleague, or other friend invites you to go fishing one day, or hunting, or yard sale perusing.  One never knows what such an invitation could turn into.  Fish or meat in the freezer would be nice.  A set of wrenches for $5 would be sweet, too.  

Threats

doctor_medical_SWOT-2Threats are the things that hinder you from completing plan goals or objectives.  Whatever they are, they need to be recognized and addressed.  Do you have medical issues that restrict your progress?  Perhaps you have a bum shoulder that needs surgery, knee or whatever.  Maybe you are long overdue for dental work.  Take care of these things, now, while you can.  In the midst of a SHTF is no time to expect dedicated medical care to be available.  

Read Also: Survival Books for Your Bunker

What if you live in a declining neighborhood and you don’t like what is happening around you.  Is it time to move?  It is time to bolster your home security in terms of technology and or defensive measures such as adding another gun or two or training family members to use them?  

Perhaps there are threats that are completely out of your control.  You at least need to identify them, recognize such threats, and understand its impact on your planning.  It could be such things can be bypassed, kept at a distance or minimized in the short term.  Keep them on the radar screen though.  

A SWOT analysis can help you achieve many things, but awareness is the main benefit.  These are elements of prepping that you simply cannot afford to ignore.  So don’t.  

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Grid Down Weekend: How To Find The Holes In Your Off Grid Preps

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off grid, grid down weekend

Preparation for disaster can be a difficult exercise. Frequently, we think we have it all worked out if we are going to be off grid. The right food stored, plenty of water and water treatment supplies, light, heat, and so on. But how many of us have really put it to the test? How many of us have actually relied on that little gadget to do what we think it will? Eaten our storage food? Used our communication setup?

A great bunch of off grid preparedness folks I know have started a yearly tradition known as the Grid Down Weekend.

At an appointed time (usually 5:00pm on a Friday night), we all go to the breaker panel in our homes and shut off the main circuit breaker. It will stay off for 48 hours, and we live on and test out our disaster preparations for life off grid.  We have held the Grid Down Weekend in the winter, and here in Wisconsin, cold weather both solves and causes problems.

We usually integrate our Emergency Contact Protocol during this off grid drill, as well. Most families and individuals have amateur radio setups. At pre-arranged times or pre-arranged frequencies we attempt to make contact with one another. Diverse occupations are represented in the families, from a physician to a sheet metal worker, an auto mechanic to a soldier and couple Marines. Being able to communicate to help solve problems is a valuable survival skill.

The experience of going off grid for 48 hours is very revealing. As an outdoorsman, and backpacker, I have lived outdoors for weeks at a time. Trying to maintain your family in a home without power -even for just 48 hours- presents a different sort of challenge. In this article, I’ll examine some of the challenges encountered and the lessons learned by our family during these drills.

First Problem: Retooling Heat Sources To Keep Your Pipes From Freezing

Heating your home and ensuring your pipes do not freeze and burst is one of the obvious problems when the temperatures dip below freezing. Three families that participate in the Grid Down Weekend have wood burning stoves installed in their homes, so maintaining a comfortable temperature was fairly simple, provided you had wood put up for the winter.

off grid, grid down weekend

Accessing stored fuel for generator use.

Our family also has an indoor-rated blue flame heater that we connected to the gas line inside our home. We had multiple CO and smoke detectors to make sure the “Indoor rated” heater did not misbehave. As an experiment, we ran the blue flame heater instead of the woodstove for half a day.

We quickly discovered that one brand of smoke detector started going off. No, not a CO detector. The CO detectors remained silent, but a smoke detector. I can only surmise that it was the water vapor produced by the blue flame heater that triggered the smoke detector.  That was something that could only have been discovered by actually doing it.

Second Problem: Water Conservation

Our rural home relies on a well for its water. Our well relies on electricity. Thus, no power equals no water. As part of our preparedness plan, we store 110 gallons of water in two barrels. I devised a means to backfeed the water from the barrels into the house water system using an 12 volt RV water pump. It really worked very well, but because the system worked so well it did not really encourage water conservation.

off grid, grid down weekend

Connecting the battery to the RV water pump which moved stored water through existing house plumbing.

Third Problem: Food Storage

The old maxim of “eat what you store, and store what you eat” comes in to play here. Although we had leftovers and such in the refrigerator, we elected to eat some of the storage food. We had bean soup with freeze-dried ham simmered all day on the woodstove, with cornbread made in a camping oven, and other storage food standby meals.

Our kitchen stove burns LP gas. Unfortunately, it uses electricity to run the temperature sensors for the oven, and to light the burners. When the knobs are turned, gas still comes to the burners. It was a simple task to light them using a flame.

off grid, grid down weekend

Although the propane kitchen stove still worked, the electric igniters did not. An “aim-n-flame” did the trick.

Fourth Problem: Lighting

We chose to light the living room with lanterns, and a small LED array. I had an “Aladdin” kerosene mantle lamp. I tried to use it, but I had left it with fuel in it (you know, just in case) and when I tried to raise the wick, it wouldn’t budge. Apparently the kerosene had somehow gummed up the mechanism. I could not get it operational for anything. My propane lanterns worked well, were relatively quiet, and produced a lot of light.

The heat they produced was a bonus on a winter’s night. I have since looked into the small adapters to refill the small one-pound cylinders from a 20 pound tank. Outside of the lighted areas, headlamps were the undisputed kings of light. To have both hands free and light wherever you were looking was a blessing.

off grid, grid down weekend

These two lanterns provided plenty of light and not a little heat

Fifth Problem: Refrigeration

Remember my comment that winter weather was a blessing and a curse? In the case of refrigeration, the cold weather is a blessing. The food from the freezer was OK for the 48 hours, but we were careful to keep the door closed, unless it was to check to make sure it was all still frozen. I had purchased several small “aquarium thermometers” for <$5/piece at Deal Extreme, which let me monitor the refrigerator and freezer temps without opening the door.

In the chest freezer, I normally keep the unused space occupied with water-filled 2 liter bottles . This provides thermal mass in the case of a power outage. I swiped three of the bottles from the freezer and put them in the refrigerator to act like ice in an cooler. When they were close to melted, I swapped in frozen ones, and put the thawed ones outside to re-freeze.

off grid, grid down weekend

A $4 aquarium thermometer helped to monitor refrigerator and freezer temperatures.

Sixth Problem: Having A Generator To Power Your Home

I have an interlock on my circuit breaker box. It allows me to safely feed power from my generator into my breaker box. I shut off all breakers, power up the generator, then turned on the loads I wanted to power one at a time, pausing after each one to allow the generator to address any start-up surge. I ran the generator for an hour in the morning and an hour at night, running the refrigerator and freezer, and some overhead lights.

I also ran the well pump, so we could take showers, do dishes and refill the water storage barrels. Thankfully, our water heater didn’t use any electricity, just LP. We also had the opportunity to rotate some fuel from our fuel storage.

off grid, grid down weekend

Connecting the generator to our home.

 

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Seventh Problem: Defense

Among our group, we traded unopened envelopes with “complications” in them that we had thought up for one another. These complications would be opened at prearranged times .  One complication was a broken finger (I actually went through the first Grid Down Weekend with a splint on my finger. Everything was more difficult to do!), one was a fire in the kitchen, etc. One complication was a broken window and subsequent concern that there was an intruder in my house.

What do we do first? How do I “clear” my house? Is the battery in my weapon-mounted light still good? Even though I knew this was a make-believe scenario and there was no one in my house, it was an adrenaline and thought provoking exercise.

Eighth Problem: Communication

All of our ham radio setups use a deep-cycle battery to power them. We were able to communicate initially with our standard, 100 watt radios. But after a few minutes, a couple of hams with 1500 watt amplifiers got on our frequency, and the Grid Down Weekend participants weren’t able to find each other again. I take solace in the fact that there will probably be a lot fewer 1500 watt stations on the air after a SHTF event.

We did break out an AM/FM radio, and I thumb tacked up a 20 foot length of wire for an antenna. To our delight a local radio station ran “Old Time Radio Shows” on weekend evenings. It was pretty cool to have the kids entertained by a 1930’s “Lone Ranger” radio serial rather than a video game.

off grid, grid down weekend

Using ham radio and an Emergency Contact Protocol to connect to other families also participating in the Grid Down Weekend.

 

Summation:

The Grid Down Weekend is a great way to test your preparedness level for life off grid. In fact, it is my conjecture that you are missing out on a great opportunity to actually see what really works and what you THINK works if you do not run a similar off grid drill yourself. I am not sure you can consider yourself prepared unless you have put your plan to the test. So grab your calendar, find a weekend, and shut your breaker off and live off grid for 48 hours. See where the holes in your plan are. I guarantee you’ll find at least one.

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23 Ways To Compromise A Backpacking Trip

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Backpacking Trip

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This versatile bag can be your next best backpack!

2. Trying to fill your backpack.

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

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

3. Lack of research.

You need information to plan effectively.

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

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

4. Don’t use a checklist.

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

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

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

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

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

7. Don’t bring a notebook and pen.

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

Notebook

8. Packing heavy items low in your pack.

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

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

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

This perfect waterproofed bag is light, tough and durable!

10. Forget to trim your toenails.

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

11. Don’t layer

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

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

12. Dress for daytime temperature.

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

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

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

Map and Compass

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

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

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

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

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

16. Wear brand new boots.

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

17. Fail to plan as a group.

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

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

18. Poor planning exacerbates poor hygiene.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

22. Head out on an expedition with untested companions.

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

23. Bet your life on battery powered equipment.

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

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

Consider the following:

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

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

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

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Useful Skills And Items For Bartering After SHTF

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Useful Skills And Items For Bartering After SHTF

There’s no way of telling quite how different life after a major disaster or serious collapse of society could be, but humans are remarkably resilient, so life would certainly go on. One thing is certain, though: in the aftermath of a widespread disaster or the collapse of civil society as we know it, you’ll want to have useful skills and items that you can barter or trade with. In this article, I’d like to discuss some of the most useful items you can stockpile now, as well as skills you can develop that will serve you well should you ever need them.

First, let’s start with 5 indispensable skills that you could develop, any one of which will guarantee that your skills will be in high demand in a post-SHTF scenario of just about any scale.

  1. First aid and basic emergency medical care; think knowing how to stabilize a broken limb pending proper care, how to reduce or stop traumatic bleeding, how and when to apply sutures to a wound, etc. If you’re really inclined, you could go all the way and become a medic, a practicing nurse, or a doctor or surgeon. In general, medical training and knowhow are always in demand after a disaster or major catastrophe. There are never enough doctors or medics when you need them, so by developing some of those skills now, you can ensure that you’ll have skills that are in high-demand if you ever have need of them.
  2. Mechanical knowledge; knowing how things work, how they are taken apart, and how to put them back together or repair them with whatever you have on hand, is never more useful than after TEOTWAWKI (The End Of The World As We Know It). Study up on how to repair generators, farm equipment, even cars (they’ll be around for a while, even in the case of most super horrid events). Even being able to fix and repair clocks could serve to be a useful skill, get creative.
  3. Gunsmithing, repair and ammunition loading; take a moment to think about how many gunsmiths you know. Did you come back with a long list of names?Now think about the number of people you know who own guns and various other firearms, and think about how many firearms are going to be in use in a post-SHTF situation. While you don’t necessarily need to turn full arms-dealer, being able to repair various guns and maybe reload some ammunition would be useful skills to have indeed.
  4. Weaving, tailoring, sewing and mending; while these skills are on the more homely side of things, don’t let that fool you. Clothing wears out over time, especially when worn for hard labor, and everyone appreciates a good pair of socks. Holes will need patched, socks will need darned, and eventually new clothing will need to be made.
  5. Butchering animals; this might take a little while to show its merit, but if you’ve got the guts and knowhow to slaughter and butcher a variety of animals for consumption, demand for your skills will gradually return and rise as society starts to regulate again. Even during the hardest of times, if you can find work as a butcher it is usually sufficient to allow you to keep food on the table, as you can at least trade your skills as a butcher for a suitable share of the meat, if nothing else.

RELATED : 15 SKILLS THAT WILL MAKE YOU PRICELESS IN A POST SHTF BARTER WORLD

In addition to those 5 suggestions of useful skills you might choose to acquire, there are also many items that can be stockpiled with relative ease for use in trade and barter.

  1. Cigarettes, cigars, loose tobacco; supplies may be limited or altogether unavailable after whatever catastrophe has occurred, so tobacco products would become even morevaluable than they already are. Tobacco doesn’t keep forever, but properly stored loose tobacco, cigarettes or cigars can last several years.
  2. Lighters, matches, and/or butane fuel; if electricity grids are down for an extended period of time, or permanently, fire will become integral to daily life. A stockpile of lighters, matches and particularly fuel for refilling lighters, can provide you with a good barter item should you need it.
  3. Alcohol; in the form of beer, wine, champagne, and various hard liquors, alcohol ranks alongside tobacco for long-term popularity and usefulness as a trade and barter item. If you’re so inclined, you could also learn to produce alcoholic beverages, but that requires both the knowhow and the supplies, and may make you the target of potentially violent criminals who compete as producers / suppliers. By contrast, a case or two of fine wine or aged whiskey can just be nice to have on hand in case you need to trade for something or wish to celebrate a very special occasion.
  4. Older (pre-1964) US silver coins; from dimes and quarters to half-dollars and silver dollars, pre-1964 US coins are comprised of 90% silver content.Because of their various sizes and weights, old US coins are perfect for barter and trade in a post-SHTF scenario or after a major, debilitating disaster.
  5. Non-GMO, organic or heirloom vegetable seeds;after things settle down following a disaster or serious collapse of civilization, farming will be a top priority for anyone who wants to survive. Having heirloom variety, non-GMO seeds is another way to ensure that you have something valuable to trade and barter with if you ever need it.
  6. Sugar, salt, pepper, and other spices; many spices are quite affordable these days, but spices, sugar, even salt were much scarcer commodities traditionally.Stocking up on these kitchen staples now can provide you with desirable commodities for trade or barter, as well as for use in your own cooking and meals.
  7. Spare tools and basic hardware; think along the lines of hammers, saws, wrenches, nails, screws and other basic odds and ends. Even a few pairs of decent work gloves could prove to be a useful barter item, but nails, hammers and other basic tools will definitely be in high demand post-SHTF.

Saving our forefathers ways starts with people like you and me actually relearning these skills and putting them to use to live better lives through good times and bad. Our answers on these lost skills comes straight from the source, from old forgotten classic books written by past generations, and from first hand witness accounts from the past few hundred years. Aside from a precious few who have gone out of their way to learn basic survival skills, most of us today would be utterly hopeless if we were plopped in the middle of a forest or jungle and suddenly forced to fend for ourselves using only the resources around us. To our ancient ancestors, we’d appear as helpless as babies.

In short, our ancestors lived more simply than most people today are willing to live and that is why they survived with no grocery store, no cheap oil, no cars, no electricity, and no running water. Just like our forefathers used to do, The Lost Ways teaches you how you can survive in the worst-case scenario with the minimum resources available. It comes as a step-by-step guide accompanied by pictures and teaches you how to use basic ingredients to make super-food for your loved ones. Watch the video below : 

Source : www.survivopedia.com

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The Weed Wacker Generator

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When the world goes to hell in a handbasket, you’re going to want people who know how to do stuff like the guy in THIS video.

Just look at the Generator he built just using a broken weed-wacker.

Pretty cool right!?

There’s just one problem…

While some people can look at this video and figure out how to put that generator together, other people need a little more help.

So if you’d like help on putting the project in this video together, here’s what you need to do.

First: Download Our Ethical Looters Checklist.  EthicalLootersChecklistCover

This checklist show you exactly what parts you need to go and find, and where to find them for building this weed wacker… it shows you how to put together 10 other really cool projects from scrap parts as well.

Then next…

We created an Electrical Wiring & Assembly guide that shows you how to put a weed wacker like this together.  And right now, that assembly guide is available as part of a bundle of SHTF Engineering guides we’ve just published specifically on how to build great DIY Survival projects in a post collapse environment where we’re assuming the stores are closed, and you have to find every part from stuff you can scavange up around town.

Learn More About Our SHTF Engineering Guides Here

Check it out, and give some of the projects a try, I think you’ll find them pretty cool.

Talk Soon,

Chet

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7+ Tips To Survive When Camping In Winter

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Survive When Camping In Winter

For the average Joe out there, myself included, winter camping usually means renting a cabin somewhere nice in the mountains and spending the holidays with friends, family, and a few bottles of booze while chatting, listening to CCR and enjoying the downtime. (Still I would survive out there without these, if I have to.)

However, there are hardcore outdoors aficionados who actually resent the idea of camping in a heated cabin by a romantic wood stove. That’s not camping – it’s glamping.

Moreover, there are adventurous folks who prefer to grab their backpack, rent a snowmobile, and go somewhere in the wilderness away from the mad world, the rush, and the insanity of civilization for a few days or weeks.

Regardless of what your pleasure is about camping during winter, there are a few tips and tricks you should know before going out in the cold.

Hypothermia is a very “cold” (pun intended) fact to consider if camping outside in extreme weather conditions. If you want to return home in one piece, with all your thumbs and toes in working condition, then keep reading, as I will share with you some important information about how to stay warm even in -45 F. Okay, maybe not toasty warm when it’s that cold, but you got the idea.

To begin with, you should be realistic and realize that winter camping is not for everyone. However, if you’re properly equipped and trained, you may very well have the time of your life even on Everest.

Let’s begin with the basics: pre-trip planning. Pre-planning prior to any type of endeavor is the key to success, especially if we’re talking about camping during winter.

If you remember that old Bob Dylan song, you don’t need a weatherman to tell you where the wind blows. In other words, regardless what the weather forecast says, you must always prepare for the worst winter conditions possible. Better safe than sorry, right?

1. Plan Your Trip

Even if it may sound like overkill, make sure you’ll be packing all the emergency supplies you’ll ever need in a winter survival situation, such as extra food and water supplies (or means to procure water by melting snow and ice), extra clothes, etc., especially if you’re going somewhere remote.

Also, if the weather conditions are likely to bad, as in dangerous bad, you should play it safe and postpone your trip, that is, if you don’t want to win the Darwin award, if you know what I mean. If not, Google it. It’s fun in a macabre sort of way.

Pack light, but don’t scrimp on essential gear, like a camping snow shovel, plenty of lighting, spare batteries, a first-aid kit, ski poles/walking poles and always go for a strong/sturdy waterproof tent.

20 Survival Uses For An Emergency Survival Blanket. Get yours today! 

2. Take a Friend With You

Another crucial rule when it comes to winter outdoors survival is a rule I’ve learned from a Jack London novel. Never travel alone. Period.

3. Research the Campsite

Research the area you’re going to visit, check the surroundings, see if there’s a forest nearby (read firewood), see if there are any villages or small towns around, learn how long it will take to get from point A to B, etc. We’re living in the age of Google Maps and satellite imagery, so you don’t have any excuse not to get proper intel before going in!

Choose the right campsite (the sun is your best friend during the winter, so check out where it rises), start your fire first thing, before anything else, plan ahead, and stay warm folks.

4. Inform Your Family & Friends

Also, remember to inform your friends and family about your whereabouts, i.e. where you’re going to be for the next couple of days/weeks or whatever, thus making sure you’ll be able to get help if SHTF. If you can give them a detailed map of your route, that’s even better.

5. Keep Warm

Now, let’s talk about keeping warm. Obviously, the main thing to consider when camping outside during the winter is the right clothing. That’s the detail that will make all the difference in the world.

Dress in Layers

Layers is the word. Wear layers of clothing, as layers are the outdoors explorer’s best friend, besides a good fire. Layers work by trapping air between them, thus insulating your body from the cold. A few layers of clothing are more efficient than a single one, regardless of how thick it is.

Also, stay away from cotton clothes, because cotton absorbs moisture (you’ll get sweaty at some point during your trip) and damp or wet clothes are your worst enemy when it’s cold outside.

Basically, you should use three layers of clothing: the base layer, something like a second skin which helps you trap the body heat (synthetic materials/merino wool are the best for the base layer), the mid layer, which works as the main insulator (you can go for fleece lined trousers/heavy fleece) and the outer layer, which must be waterproof.

Dress In Layers

Keep Your Feet Warm

Feet are the infantry’s secret weapon, as my old drill sergeant used to say, so when you go out camping during the winter, pay extra attention to your feet.

To avoid cold feet, keep your cotton socks at home and go for polyester socks or wool socks. Specialty stores stock special foot gear (read socks and boots) designed for hiking. Obviously, the boots are very important too, as they must be waterproof and grippy, especially if you’re going to hike through the snow or ice.

Never Neglect Your Head and Your Hands

A huge amount of body heat, almost half of it in fact, is lost through the head during the winter, so make sure you wear a hat that’s going to block the wind and keep your heat in. Finally, don’t forget a nice pair of gloves.

6. Know Your Gear

The sleeping bag is an essential piece of gear when it comes to winter camping, so know your gear well if you want to survive low night-time temperatures. The idea is that you’ll require a high-quality sleeping bag if you want to be comfortable during the night and wake up healthy.

Or, double up your existing one just in case by putting one inside the other. Remember to always put a foam roll mat (or 2) under your mattress.

The idea is that shelter is pretty important when camping during the winter, as you may experience snowstorms, strong winds, and the whole palaver. Don’t get cheap on your tent, nor on your sleeping bag. They can make the difference between waking up relatively warm and safe and having somebody find your popsicle body.

7. Know Your Body

Together with knowing your gear, knowing your body is very important. Some folks sleep cold, others sleep warm. There are variables, like your age, sex, fitness level, experience, the amount of body fat and lots of other factors, which differentiate between the comfort levels achieved by different people using the exact same gear.

If you’re not familiarized with winter camping, it’s better to be over-prepared than not prepared enough. I am talking about layers of clothing, sleeping bags, and just about anything else that counts toward survival.

Go to Sleep Already Warmed Up

Always remember to go to bed, (inside your sleeping bag that is) already warmed up. The idea is that warmth cometh from within, while the sleeping bag is playing just the insulation part, so if you’re freezing and sleepy, do a few press ups/sit ups or just jump around a little before getting inside your sleeping bag. You’ll thank me later.

Eat Late

Another trick for a good night’s sleep while winter camping is to eat late, ideally a hot meal just before going to sleep. The ideal meal would be fatty (as opposed to carbohydrates), as fat gets metabolized slowly by your body (it lasts longer) and, needless to say, you’ll require fuel to make heat, right? Cheese, olive oil, bacon, pork; you know what I am talking about.

Eat high-energy food at all times, preferably in the form of warm meals. If you can’t, go for nuts, chocolate, and energy bars. Cover your exposed skin in animal fat or vaseline, just like the Inuit have been doing forever, thus preventing frostbite and windburn.

Keep Your Sleeping Bag Dry

Keep your sleeping bag dry at all costs, add more layers outside eventually as you need them. This doesn’t have to be clothes; it can be as simple as putting a metallic survival blanket over your sleeping bag.

This Emergency Survival Blanket helps retain 90% of your body heat. Get yours now! 

Video first seen on Survival Frog

Avoid breathing into your sleeping bag while sleeping (it introduces moisture) and sleep with your boots in your bag. Put them at the bottom of your sleeping bag so they don’t freeze during the night.

Leave your water filter at home and concentrate on boiling the snow. Chemical filters work painfully slow in the cold while mechanical ones may crack/fail due to the cold.

Hydrate

Don’t forget to drink enough water, even if you don’t have your usual thirst reflex, which is common in extreme cold. However, dehydration is a serious danger in sub-zero conditions, especially if you’re sweating. Also, a lot of moisture gets lost while breathing in and exhaling the cold air, as the air is very dry during the winter.

Try to prevent your water supply from freezing, but that’s easier said than done.

If you have other ideas or suggestions, feel free to comment in the dedicated section below.

This article has been written by Chris Black for Survivopedia. 

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Top 10 Skills for the Advanced Prepper

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CPR_skills_survival

danger_prepper_gunsApocalypse, Doomsday, Judgment Day, Armageddon — for those of you who believe that the end of the world as we know it is drawing near, it doesn’t matter what you call it, as long as you’re prepared for it. Right? Right. If you’re reading this article, and you are a Prepper, then (1), let’s be friends, and (2) here are some of the most important skills that you, an advanced prepper, should know in order to be fully prepared for that day. 

By Ryan, a contributing author of SurvivalCache and SHTFBlog

Find yourself without these skills and your life will be significantly more difficult. While the skills in this list may seem complicated, with hard work and dedication, they can be mastered. Don’t let the gravity of these skills dissuade you from learning. You’ll feel much more comfortable knowing these abilities.

1. Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)

You can become CPR certified through the American Red Cross, which will, most likely, offer a class at a location near you. Community Centers, employers and churches may offer a class or two at their locations as well, having trained professionals leading the class. You can also get your BLS certification, which includes how to administer oxygen, splinting broken or dislocated bones and how to stop excessive bleeding.

2. First Aid

red_cross_first_aid.svgThis covers a slew of topics, including how to treat burns, cuts and bites, along with how to stop and administer to those who are bleeding and to those with frostbite; how to perform the heimlich maneuver, and so much more. First Aid courses are usually offered in conjunction with CPR classes through the American Red Cross and National Safety Council. Once you pass, your certification card should be valid for two years.

3. Surviving Outdoors

There are so many factors that go into surviving in the outdoors. A few of them include:

Building a fire – No excuses. Know how to do this.

Purifying Water – Purchase a filter and water purification tablets.

Building a shelter – Learn how to build the following: A-Frame, Lean-to, frame-and-tarp and Cocoon. To build these shelters, you should know how to tie various knots and use a hatchet.

Entomology – This is the study of insects and will help you identify poisonous and non-poisonous bugs, as well as those rich in fiber and protein.

Botany – This is the study of plants. Having this knowledge will save you from drudging through poisonous plants. You will also be able to identify edible plants and flowers, and foliage is best for all-natural salves.

Fishing and hunting – You can procure a license for both activities in most states online via the Department of Fish and Wildlife.

4. How to Handle a Crisis

Chaos is sure to ensue when the end is near. As a doomsday prepper, you need to know how to stay calm and keep a level head despite what is happening around you. If you can do this, then you and your family are more likely to survive.

5. Bartering

In an apocalyptic setting, money will no longer be of value. You need to know how to make smart trading decisions. You’ve got to give something to get something.

6. HAM Radio/Communications

Knowing how to operate a HAM Radio will make you an invaluable member of your community come D-Day. In order to send communications via a HAM Radio, you will need a license to do so. You should, without a doubt, also own and know how to use walkie talkies.

7. Mend Clothes

Target isn’t going to be open during Judgment Day, so we suggest learning how to sew on a button, whipstitch a hole and put on a patch to make your clothes last.

8. Spending Time Alone

The hard truth? You might end up alone during the last days. Prepare for this harsh reality by doing things by yourself once or twice a week.

9. Car Maintenance

If you have a car during Armageddon, it sure would be great if you knew how to maintain it. Know how to change the oil, change the tires, replace parts, and if you lose your keys, start the ignition without them.

10. Navigation Skills

You may not want to rely on Siri to get you through Doomsday. Learn how to use a compass, read a map and navigate when it’s dark using the stars.

flight-plane-accident-crashIt can be a frightening to think that one day, the world might end. True or not, we should all be prepared for disasters and hardships to come. There’s an old adage: better to need it and not have it, than need it and not have it. The logic of that adage is applicable here. Even if we are never parties to a cataclysmic event in our lifetimes, the skills in this list will be important for everyday activities. Preppers, get to prepping. Good luck.

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Bushcraft Basics for Preppers

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Bushcraft Basics for PreppersPrepping is made up of many different aspects of life, and Bushcraft is one of them. You don’t need to be a Navy Seal to understand tactics and defense. You don’t need to be the CEO of a fortune 500 company to invest in gold and silver, and you don’t need to 30 days in the wild to understand Bushcraft.

As preppers all we need to do is take the advice from people who have done these things, and incorporate them into our prepping plans as we see fit. Today in the show I talked to Shawn who does take Bushcraft seriously, and he talked about the aspects of wilderness survival that are important to preppers.

SPP184 Bushcraft Basics for Preppers

In this show we tried to cover as many topics as possible, and it’s pretty hard to do. This show is general information about Bushcraft for preppers. We plan on digging deeper into these topics and how Bushcraft applies to the 5 areas of preparedness in the future.

Here are some notes that Shawn put together for the show this week. If you do have any questions or comments, just leave them at the end of this article.

What is Bushcraft?

Definition of Bushcraft by Horace Kephart

– The Art of Getting along well in the wilderness by utilizing natures storehouse. –

“A good woodsman must be able to- enter the wilderness, with no outfit other than what’s carried by horse, canoe, or his back, and find his way without man made marks to guide him; they must know the habits and properties of trees and plants, the ways of catching and dressing fish and game, and cooking them over a fire. They must know how to build adequate shelter against wind and rain, and keep himself warm through the bitter nights of winter.”

Water Safety

  • Water borne bacteria in North America, Ghardia & Cryptosporidium.
  • CDC recommends filtering water first, then boiling for decontamination.
  • Iodine, & Chlorine dioxide tablets/drops: These are useful, but not for long term. The recommendation is no more than 3 weeks. May be resisted by Cryptosporidium and are unsafe for pregnant women.
  • Most chemical measurements are based on 32 oz., Mark a dimple large metal bottles.
  • UV steri-pens not worth using long term, batteries are not reliable.
  • Charcoal & Ceramic Filters by themselves are useful in time sensitive situations (bugging out), but no filter is 100%. Filters like the Sawyer and life straw are far better than a field expedient water filter.
  • Boiling should always be used as primary method when possible, kills 100% of pathogens.
  • Distilling water systems remove Lead, Arsenic, other metal substances, but are high energy, or slow/minimal effectiveness when using The Sun.
  • Contact Time: CDC recommends boiling water for 1 min. to kill pathogens. 3 min. Above 2000m (6,562ft)
  • Use metal containers, for water boiling and other uses (char material, medicine, cooking food). Plastic is not recommended.
  • When no metal is container available, water can be boiled using a wood container, and hot stones.

Medicine & Edibles (Pine)

  • North America holds 46 Species in 5 genera, very widespread and common throughout the States. Pine trees are one of most versatile and useful trees/plants.
  • Best Pine to use is soft pine or white pine.
  • An easy trick to identify White Pine is the needles. These pine trees have 4 or 5 needles together in one bundle, all others have 1, 2 or 3.
  • Ponderosa, Lodgepole and Monterey pine are known to be harmful to livestock. Yew tree can be deadly to humans.
  • Different parts of the pine can be used as an Antiseptic, Expectorant (Respiratory), Antifungal, Drawing properties (splinters), Vitamin C, Vitamin A.
  • Pine needles can be used for making Tea, weaving baskets and fire tinder.
  • Pine nuts edible on all pine species. Pine nuts are easier to find if the pine cone has not opened yet.
  • Inner bark of the pine can be used for baskets, band-aid and even  fried & eaten like pine potato chips.
  • The sap from the pine can be as a glue (sap+charcoal), directly on cuts/burns/blisters, as a salve (sap+beeswax+oils), Bug Repellent (sap+castor oil+tea tree oil), and even a temporary tooth filling.
  • The boughs can be used as roof shingles for shelter or bedding.
  • Fatwood is an outdoorsmans best friend. It can be used as tinder or kindling, and makes starting a fire much easier. Here is an article that explains fatwood and shows some examples.
  • The wood itself can be used for shelter, fire, tool handles, log splitting wedges.

5 Must Have Tools

In the show I asked Shawn what tools he considers a must have. He also mentioned how you should conserve your tools as much as possible. Try to use other resources whenever you can. You can also keep your tools oiled with cooking oil, and try to keep your tools sharp. A sharp knife is much safer than a dull knife.

Axe/ Hatchet: primary tool for Processing firewood, planks, shelter, wood carving, field dressing wild game and other common cutting tasks. You will want it to have an 18″-20 handle minimum, 26-28″ for large axe. Use Wedges whenever possible to extend the lifespan of your axe.

Belt Knife: primary use is skinning, cutting meat, prepping food. Secondary use is cutting sticks & Fine carving, processing smaller size wood. The blade should be about 5 or 6″ long, high carbon steel, full tang, no exaggerated point needed, sharp 90 angle usually on spine for fire and wood shavings, 1/8″ or 3/16 thick.

Jack Knife/ Carving Knife: This could be a Folding knife, or multitool with good blade that you always have in your pocket. Frontiersman used folding knife as primary whittling knife, but a separate knife specific to woodcarving is great to have. Mora makes excellent knives for carving. Can be stainless, but still prefer carbon because they hold their edge better.

Saw: These are safer and easier than axe and are an essential tool, especially in winter. I prefer metal bowsaw for camp with interchangeable blades. A wood bucksaw can be made. Some people also prefer the folding saws for on the trail like the silky or Bahco. Here is a comparison of 3 folding saw and how well they work.

Sewing Awl/ Scratch Awl/ Crooked Awl: High traded items in frontier times. Useful for drilling and poking holes in bark, canvas, leather, clothing. Needles and thread are hard to remake in the wild, so always have some with you. Speedy stitcher, extra needles and thread, sail needles, and a steel crooked awl.

The Basics of Shelter

  • Shelters should be set up in places with adequate drainage to avoid flooding, near water, have wind protection, have fire material nearby. Shelters can be made from dead branches and even entire trees around you.
  • A shelter is anything that keeps you warm and dry. A coat can be considered shelter because it protects you from the elements.
  • The materials available to you fro building a shelter depends on the season and where you live.
  • Shelter isn’t just the materials you find in the wild. You can use hammocks, tents, tarps and bivys along with wood shelters
  • Sleep and comfort is the most neglected aspect of shelter building.  Getting a good nights sleep is essential for endurance and energy. You could use your bug out bag as a pillow, and find some materials to make bedding.
  • There are many different types of shelters. A “lean to” shelter is good for warm nights, and an “A frame or debris hut” shelter is good for cold or stormy nights.
  • Tarp Shelters usually require hand made stakes, toggles, and rope to construct. If you carry a tarp with you, you need to know how to set up a tarp shelter. Also think about which water proofing methods are possible.
  • Just a side note, frontiersman would have frowned on modern tents. they liked the open air, and fire beside them.

The Basics of Fire

There are many ways to get a fire started including a sun glass, flint & steel, a ferro rod, a mag bar and even a Bic Lighter.

Try to use your most precious resource last. This meas that if you have a Bic lighter, try to get your fire started with a ferro rod, and save that fuel for later when it might be crucial.

Sun Glass: This can be eye glasses, compass, camera lens, frenzel lense or a magnifying glass. This can be a tough way to start a fire and requires direct sunlight.

Flint & Steel: This could be a specific kit you have, a knife or any high carbon steel used with Quartz or Flint. works well with dry birds nest & char cloth or fatwood shavings. (see below)

Ferro Rod: Using a ferro rod takes practice. It should take 2 or 3 strikes as a goal to get a spark to catch. use the ferro rod with a separate striker or sharp 90 degree edge on back (spine) of knife or other piece of carbon steel. use dry birds nest,  char cloth, fatwood or charcoal from punk wood to make this method easier.

Lighter: A full size Bic cant be beat, it’s easy to use, easy to store and when all else fails you’ll be glad you have it. You’ll want to know other methods of starting a fire, but always have a Bic (not a cheap lighter) with you just in case.

Materials for Easy(r) Fire Starting

Fatwood: This is from the resin collecting part of tree. It is a darker orange color, very flammable and smells like turpentine or pine sol. Collect whenever possible to use in the future. Use shavings as tinder, and sticks as kindling. Found in lower branch crooks, root balls, and dead stumps. watch for stumps as wasp nests.

Punk Wood: Dead & rotten part of tree. Works best when feels spongy and will compress between fingers, but it doesn’t crumble apart. Can be used just like char cloth to make char coal, even works well as is.

Char Cloth: To make char cloth you need some100% cotton material. The way it works is you put the char cloth in a tin and starve it of oxygen. Then you cook it until smoke stops coming from the tin. I did this video to explain more about how char cloth works.

The post Bushcraft Basics for Preppers appeared first on Survivalist Prepper.

Healthy Ways To Lose Weight After Christmas

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Lose Weight

Now that the Christmas season is over, you’re probably scared to even step on the scale. After a month and a half of cookies, candy, stuffing, gravy, and eggnog, you’re probably sucking in your breath to button your jeans.

Well what if I told you that you didn’t have to give up the good stuff to do get back into your skinny jeans?

Read on to learn how to lose weight and get back into peak shape so you’re prepared for any emergency that may come your way.

The Low Fat Myth

Back in the 50s, President Eisenhower had a heart attack and top nutritionists and other government agencies decided it was time to find out what was causing such an increase in heart disease and obesity.

They did some quick research and decided that dietary fat was the problem. After all, being fat was the problem, right? So, the idea to follow a low-fat diet as a means to become healthy was born.

The only problem with this conclusion is that they didn’t consider how the body works, nor did they factor in other behaviors and conditions that we now know are bad such as smoking, eating too much sugar, and not exercising.

We all know that if you eat a tomato your skin doesn’t turn red, right? Or if you eat an apple, you don’t become apple-shaped. Well, saying that you’re going to get fat if you eat fat is sort of along the same line of thinking.

Now before you start thinking I’m off my rocker, hear me out. I’m not saying that you should start gobbling down fat willy-nilly. I’m just saying that fat has been unjustly demonized. It’s true that our bodies take longer to burn fat, and that it burns it as a last resort, but what most “educated” nutritionists don’t realize is that the solution lies in that statement.

Our bodies take a long time to burn fat, which means that fat is a steady source of energy, once our bodies burn up all the carbs to get to it.

Think of your body like a camp fire. You light kindling and small bits of dried wood to get it going, and they flare and then quickly burn out. While they’re flaring, you put on a nice log that burns steadily for a long time, then add another log when that one’s about out.

Well, carbs are the kindling that burns hot and fast, and fat is the log that burns long and steady. That’s why they call it a “sugar rush”; you get a lot of energy quickly, then you bottom out. Carbs, even those from fruits and veggies, are not a viable source of consistent energy. Unfortunately, since fat has become a swear word in the nutritional world, the solution is to eat more carbs more often. Well guess what your body does with extra carbs? That’s right – it converts them to fat.

Your body has three sources of energy – carbs, fat, and protein – and it burns them in that order. You don’t want to get to the point of burning protein because at that point, you’re damaging your kidneys and losing muscle mass.

On the other end of the spectrum, though, you’ll struggle to find a consistent plane of energy by consuming carbs alone. That leaves healthy fats which, gram for gram, provide twice the energy potential as carbohydrates.

Why Big Business and Big Pharma Push Carbs

Ahh … as with most things, big business and big pharma don’t want you to lose weight. There’s no money in it for them because they make billions every year from pushing junk food, processed food, diet pills, and a host of medications that treat obesity-related conditions. Now that the money train’s rolling, they don’t want it to stop.

Just think how much money the general population throws to Big Pharma. High blood pressure medications, cancer medications, diabetes medications, Alzheimer’s and dementia meds, arthritis meds, sleeping pills, pain pills and the list goes on and on.

They don’t care about our health because they’re making a fat living off of our illnesses, pun intended.

The truth is that processed foods are killing you, and Big Business and Big Pharma are getting rich while you get fat and die.

This Simple “Bible” Trick Can Help You Instantly Burn Unwelcome Weight!  

Junk In, Junk Out

It’s true that you are what you eat. When you eat garbage, your body rots. There are a whole host of conditions related to eating improperly (translation: too many processed carbs and bad fats), including:

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Alzheimer’s
  • Obesity
  • Metabolic Syndrome
  • Diabetes
  • Acne
  • Early Aging
  • Joint Pain
  • Chronic Fatigue
  • Bloating
  • Inflammation
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Brain Fog
  • Insomnia
  • High Cholesterol
  • Cancer

This is just the short list, and it’s now backed up by scientific fact.

Did you know that your brain is comprised of at least 60% fat and can’t function properly without it? Or that Alzheimer’s has been dubbed Type 3 diabetes because it’s now been linked to insulin resistance and deficiency in the brain? Well, now you do. Imagine the bucks that Big Pharma is going to make selling more Alzheimer’s meds to treat THAT.

Your brain can’t function properly without fat, and once people add healthy fat back into their diets and decrease carb consumption, one of the first two improvements that they note is increased cognitive function and weight loss.

Your brain isn’t the only organ that needs fat, either. Your gallbladder needs it to function, fat protects your liver from alcohol and other toxins and actually makes it dump its own fat cells, you can’t make critical hormones without fat, and your bones need it to adequately absorb calcium.  Oh, and they help you control the stress hormone that causes you to retain belly fat, the most unhealthy (and unappealing) kind there is.

And those are just a few ways your body uses fat. The complete list of whats and whys would be the length of a thesis, not an article.

Oh, and a steady supply of fat boosts your metabolism, even when you’re sitting still. Yes, I just said you can lose weight while you’re watching TV. And you can eat fat while you’re doing it.

Though modern science has proven over and over again that our bodies NEED healthy fats, even saturated fats, it’s been vilified for so long that the mindset is tough to change on a country-wide basis. Other countries who consume significant amounts of healthy fats, such as those in the Mediterranean, are twice as healthy as the average American. They’re significantly skinnier, too.

Good Fats vs Bad Fats

Now, that I’ve blathered on about how you need fat to get skinny, let’s talk about what kinds of fats. Specifically, you want to consume unsaturated fats such as those found in nuts and seeds and fatty fish, and healthy saturated fats such as those found in coconut oil, olive oil (which has both), butter, and, yes, even some red meat (gasp).

Good Fats

Omega-3 fatty acids are the real hidden gems in many good fats. They do everything from help you lose weight to preventing Alzheimer’s and are found in olive oil, fatty fish such as salmon, nuts, seeds, avocados and a host of other foods. They’re the gold standard of fats.

You know what fats you shouldn’t eat? Fake fats, aka, trans fats. This is man-made fat created by hydrogenating vegetable oil so that it stays solid at room temperature. They’re terrible for you. They really do lead to obesity, increased bad cholesterol and other diseases that most fats are blamed for. Like I said, it’s all about the good fats. Put down the margarine and butter your veggies instead.

Oh, and grow your own in compost that you’ve made because commercial ones are grown in nutrient-poor soil and aren’t nearly as high in nutrients as they used to be. You’ll notice that most of these low-carb foods I’ve listed can be easily canned or stored in other ways so that you can stockpile it. That will keep you healthy even if SHTF.

Now, we’ve given you a head start on how to lose those Christmas pounds, but how do you put them to use? Well, you know what you need to know to get started, but we’ve found a system that lays it all out for you. With it, there’s no calorie counting, no starvation, and no energy roller coasters.

The girl who created the system actually found it when she was reading the Bible looking for ways to help her husband, who had been diagnosed with ALS. She compared the way the bible instructed people to eat with modern scientific studies and came up with a plan that works.

It’s called the Shepherd’s Diet, and outlines exactly what you need to eat (or more accurately, what you won’t have to give up) as well as providing you with detailed shopping lists that help you buy the foods that you need in order to get lean and healthy.

Anyone can do follow her plan – remember, she came up with it while looking for a treatment for ALS – and it comes with some great free gifts, including a great guide to help you reduce stress with food.

It really is worth checking out. If not, do your own research and put together a plan that incorporates the right balance of good fats, protein, and healthy carbs. The upside to the system is that she’s already done the work for you, but if you’re willing to invest enough hours, you can do it yourself if you insist.

Regardless, we wish you a lean, healthy New Year!

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This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia. 

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Get Outdoors!

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get_outside_benefits_survival-2

get_outdoors_winter_tipi-2Believe it or not we spend more time in our vehicles than we do outside.  I have friends who live in or around the city and their idea of getting some nature is to go down to the park and have their kids play on the swings for a half hour while the parents play on their phones.  A friend came up to our house to visit from the city a year ago and I took her young son and my five year old daughter to the woods.  This boy walked about twenty feet and tripped over a log because he didn’t know to look at the ground for obstacles.  He was so used to walking on manicured lawns and paths it never occurred to him that there might be something in the way!

By Jarhead Survivor, a Contributing Author of SurvivalCache and SHTFBlog

Kids between the ages of five and sixteen spend an average of six and a half hours per day in front of a screen, which is terrible; however,  I do believe the kind of screen time spent is important.  I assume that most kids spend their time watching videos, playing games, and engaging on social media.  This kind of screen time is passive and they are just sitting there slowly turning into a vegetable.  If they are producing something on the other hand, like writing a blog post, then I think the screen time isn’t as bad.  Yes, they’re not physically active; however, if they are producing some kind of content then they are stretching their minds and growing in that regard.

get_outdoors_snow_play-2Physically, on the other hand, this can’t be good for them.  I have a seven year old boy who would gladly veg in front of his Kindle playing games all day if we let him.  I also have a five year old girl who would sit in front of the TV watching Netflix and eating chips if we gave her the thumbs up, but we don’t.  My wife regularly throws the kids outside and makes them play out there.  The funny thing about kids though is that once they’re outside playing they don’t want to come in.

Balance

There’s nothing wrong with technology per se, it’s only when we allow it to consume our lives that it becomes an issue.  From the first moment we get up to the time we go to bed, we are stuck to some kind of screen.  I’m not saying I don’t, but we do try to have a little balance in our lives.  My wife hates the amount of time the kids spend in front of their devices. As such, we will force them to play outside.

Read Also: 10 Ways to Improve Your Survival Fitness

We live on a nice piece of land in Maine where there’s plenty of forest and open space.  My son learned to ride a bike when he was three, got his first motorcycle when he turned five, a 125 cc four-wheeler when he turned seven and drives them like pro.  My daughter loves to create crafts and I set aside time for her and I sit down where she will create things while I draw.  I have a tipi and wilderness camp where we spend a lot of time and the wifi doesn’t reach.  My boy can start a fire with a firesteel and can recite the Survival Rule of Threes.

get_outdoors_fire_start-2I like to think my family has a good balance with learning the old ways, being outside, and today’s invasive technology.  I grew up in the 70’s and 80’s, so I remember what it was like without a smart phone, computers, and when the only TV had antennas.  Cartoons only played on Saturday and after a few hours of watching them my mom would boot us outside until lunch.  We hung out with our friends in person and built dangerous bicycle jumps, climbed trees, and did other things that, by today’s standards, would certainly have got our parents in trouble for neglect.

But let’s face it, barring some kind of major SHTF Carrington event, our smart devices are here to stay and I don’t think that’s a bad thing; however, we do need to balance screen time with outdoor time.  Kids need to get outside and play.

Location!  Location!  Location!

We used to live on a  busy main road, which I absolutely hated, but when it was just Mrs. Jarhead and myself, we were willing to tolerate it because it was easy for us to jump in my truck and drive ten miles to the local hiking trails.  As soon as we found out she was going to have a baby, we put that house on the market and moved as fast as we could.  We did not want our kids being brought up near a dangerous, noisy road.

It was the best decision we ever made.  We now live on a back road in Midcoast Maine with tons of woods surrounding us.  It’s not like we lived in downtown Manhattan before the move – we actually moved less than ten miles, but the location we chose was much better suited to our lifestyle. People might say, “But Jarhead!  You’ve never lived in the city!  How can you make a comparison?”

get_outdoors_coffee-2Good question.  Actually I used to be a consultant for a big company based out of St. Paul, Minnesota and for two and a half years I lived on airplanes, stayed in hotels, and drove rental cars all over the country five days a week.  As a matter of fact, I spent the last two months traveling in NYC:  Queens, Manhattan, and Brooklyn.  I’ve been to just about every major city this side of the Mississippi and a few in Canada.  (I actually liked Toronto.)

So yes, I can make a strong comparison between the slow country life and fast paced, high stressed, city living.  Listen City Dweller – I’m not telling you to move to the country, although I’ll bet you’d be a lot happier if you did.  People in the cities are stuck in their high-rise caves, living on top of each other, stressed out of their minds at the high cost of living and lack of paycheck.  They stay in these dark caverns venturing out only to work or to do other things inside.  Few people actually have a chance to get back to nature and I find that very sad because they don’t realize the health benefits they are missing.

Ironically, it’s these same city people who say, “If TSHTF I’m going to bug-out to the wilderness and live there until it blows over.”  Hmmm, not so much.  Folks, if you’ve never spent any time in the wilderness and that’s your plan, I beg you to reconsider.  If I had a choice to choose between a city dweller with a full pack and my son with a firesteel, I’d take my boy ever time.  At least he knows how to start a fire using natural materials and to look for shelter!  Surviving in the wilderness is extremely difficult even for people who’ve been trained.

Get Outside!

get_outdoors_jarhead_dad-2Take your family camping.  Take them on a long hike in the woods, wherever that might be.  Let your kids know what it’s like to carry a backpack and walk for awhile.  It’s ok for them to be a little uncomfortable.  Give them responsibility to do things like gather kindling or firewood.  Show them how to set up their tent.  Allow them to help in the decision making for certain things.

My five year old loves coming out to the tipi with me because I’ll make her noodle soup.  Not the most nutritious meal, but being outside climbing trees and running around is great for my kids and we do it several times a week.  My son is old enough now to use a hatchet and loves the opportunity to swing it at dead trees to help with firewood.

Granted it’s a little more difficult in the winter, but we still do it.  I’ll go out on a Saturday or Sunday and stay four or five hours and sometimes will even spend the night out there (yes – even in the winter).  My kids come out to visit and when they’re tired from cutting and carrying wood, climbing trees and wrestling in the snow, they walk back to the house.  It’s awesome!

Related: Cold Weather Camping – Why You Should Try It 

get_outdoors_reading-2If there aren’t any kids in your family take yourself outside.  You’ll be happier and healthier for it.  Being in nature has shown to bring positive health benefits, so if you’re feeling depressed, you might want to spend a few days in nature without electronics and see if that helps before running to the doctor for a prescription. But that’s another article! Questions?  Comments? Sound off below!

 

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Build a Culture of Grit and Deliberate Practice to Master Self-Reliance Skills

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by Todd Walker

Build a Culture of Grit and Deliberate Practice to Master Self-Reliance Skills - TheSurvivalSherpa.com

Every craft has pinnacle performers. What separates people who master a skill from the rest of us?

They appear to have innate self-reliance super-powers. But here’s the thing…

It’s not that they were born with copious amounts of talent. Their skill wasn’t genetically transmitted. The truth is that there is not a friction fire gene, or an ax-manship gene, or a gardening gene… no matter how effortless they make it look. Talent, in and of itself, is overrated!

Whatever skill you practice, these two traits will determine your level of mastery…

Grit and Deliberate Practice.

Grit

Besides being abrasive particles in your swim trunks, as a personality trait, grit is a “positive, non-cognitive trait based on an individual’s passion for a particular long-term goal or end state, coupled with a powerful motivation to achieve their respective objective.” ~ source.

Angela Duckworth condensed the meaning of grit as perseverance and passion for long-term goals. ~ source.

As an educator, I see all manner intellectual measures. I.Q. has little to do with overall success. Perseverance and passion trumps smarts and talent. Over the years I’ve seen students with lower I.Q. scores outperform students with higher intelligence levels. That’s not suppose to happen.

Grittier people’s secret to lasting success is lasting. In real-world performance, with talent and skill being equal, my money is on the person with the most grit. But there’s a catch to the personality trait of grit. Simply showing up for a long time is not enough to master a skill, as we shall discover later in this article – if you have the grit to read it through.

Grit Check

Duckworth developed a scale aimed at measuring levels of grit. Find out how gritty you are by answering the 10 questions here. How gritty are you?

Grit fuels the second trait needed for mastery…

Deliberate Practice

The secret of all top performers is not a result of, as we are lead to believe, innate talent. The little known secret is the result of intense, not particularly enjoyable, practice for a minimum of 10 years. Actually, it’s no secret at all. We all know what it takes but few are willing, or in most cases, unable to pay the price.

Your goal, like mine, may not be to reach exceptional performance levels. Let’s face it, skills are perishable and there are so many self-reliant skills that no one person could ever hope to master them all. Our community is the land of “jack of all trades, master of none.”  And this is not a slam. Any progress towards breaking dependence on others and our fragile system is the step by step action needed.

Becoming proficient in the skills which captivate your interest, which is the key to getting started, is very doable by working in the “purposeful practice” stage mentioned below.

Anders Ericsson, a Swedish psychologist, has spent his entire career studying how people learn. He studied world-class performers in several fields and found these stages common in all…

  1. Naive practice
  2. Purposeful practice
  3. Deliberate practice – the Gold Standard of all three

Naive Practice

Every new skill that sparks our interest begins at this stage. We decide to trade theory for action. We practice until we’ve mastered the easy stuff. Once we reach our acceptable level of proficiency, the easy stuff becomes automatic. It’s totally okay to be fair to middling or average. However, Ericsson’s research shows that we stop improving once we reach the stage of acceptable performance – even if we continue “practicing” the skill. In fact, more years of practice on easy stuff can actually cause a decline in the skill level you’re practicing.

8 Unorthodox Fire Resources Hidden in Your 10 Piece Kit | TheSurvivalSherpa.com

My instructor, Brian Manning, Snow Walker Outdoors, explaining details on my Alpine Compass

To improve performance, you must practice at the next level.

Purposeful Practice

We’ve already learned that years of repeatedly practicing the easy stuff causes our skill to deteriorate. Nothing you probably didn’t already know, right? In purposeful practice, specific, measurable goals take you step-by-step toward achieving longer-term goals. This takes focus.

Let’s take the bow and drill friction fire method as an example. You may have watched a video, read a blog post, or seen someone demonstrate this method which sparked an interest in learning. After several attempts, you find success. You make a few more hit-and-miss fires to amaze your friends. You’re still the FNG (effing new guy) but want to improve your newfound skill.

At this point of skill progression, you break down your desired outcome into baby steps to help you get there. You spend hours of  spinning sticks together hoping to improve performance. But something is missing… feedback from someone with more experience than you in the art of fire by friction.

Direct feedback is critically important in this stage – and especially so in deliberate practice. Self-correction only happens when previous outputs are fed-back to adjust our future practice. Simply practicing for years won’t improve skills. Some educators work for 20 plus years and only have one year of teaching experience. They choose to stay in their first year comfort zone for twenty plus years – never attempting to engage students in new ways.

Moving past our comfort zone involves failing. But that’s how you got to this stage of practice… failing forward. You could spend 10 years of silently practicing the same easy steps and still be fair to middling (or worse) at primitive fire, blacksmithing, or any other self-reliance skill.

My Top 4 Most Useful Basecamp Builds ~ TheSurvivalSherpa.com

Camp comfort!

Try something you’ve never worked on before… like twirling up an ember in the rain. You’ll fail. But learn from the experience and keep Doing the Stuff until you get it right.

The journey from Naive to Purposeful practice will greatly increase your skill level. But even purposeful practice is not enough to master a skill.

Deliberate Practice

My research attributes the following quote to George W. Loomis as recorded in the “Michigan School Moderator” (1902) discussing the best way to teach students to spell properly…

Much of the time spent in hearing children recite—guess till they get it right—should be spent in a definite teaching process, until they can not get it wrong.

How long will it take until you can’t get a skill wrong? Studies suggest 10,000 hours or 10 years of intense, deliberate practice at a craft. It took 10 years of deliberate practice before Mozart produced a memorable work. This should be instructive for all the insta-experts popping up lately. I call it the “Shroomery Effect.” They pop up like mushrooms but don’t last long.

Ancient Atlatls: How to Make a Down-N-Dirty Spear-Thrower ~ TheSurvivalSherpa.com

Scott Jones firing the bamboo atlatl at a class this summer

This stage is very similar to purposeful practice except it involves direct instruction, teaching, and/or coaching to offer feedback and focused techniques to improve performance. Think of elite athletes. They all put in a crazy amount of hours training. But it’s not just the hours they put in but how they spend those hours. Instead of chasing the latest novelty, top performers focus on subtle nuances of their craft. Bottom line… they spend years re-working their work.

Here are a few constraints to consider about deliberate practice:

  • Resources – Time and energy, access to training material, professional instruction, and money to pay for transportation to training facilities.
  • Motivation – Having the grit to pursue long-term improvement for years of intense, boring practice without immediate reward. This stage is not inherently fun.
  • Effort – Deliberate practice can be sustained for limited amounts of time daily. Recovery time from each session is necessary to avoid exhaustion and/or injury. This why it takes a minimum of 10 years/10,000 hours to develop expertise in a skill.

Do your due diligence when choosing instructors. Seek out those who have a minimum of ten years of deliberate practice and field experience in the skill you wish to learn.

Re-Doing the Stuff

Pressing the publish button always scares me. Will people find value in my articles? Could I have improved the piece? Did I re-write enough? I don’t pump out blog posts like I did five years ago. I write almost daily but only publish about once a week. A few years ago I realized that to become a better writer, I needed to spend more time re-writing. I’m only halfway into my “10 years of writing” but I hit publish anyway. Some crash. Some fly. Some end up in the draft graveyard.

Revision is needed on my earlier line, “the key to lasting success is lasting.” Lasting is the gritty part. It’s learning to love the boring times of re-doing the fundamentals. Progressing through the stages of practice takes years of grit and intense, deliberate practice. There’s not enough time for us to master all the skills of self-reliance. But I’m committed to die trying to master a few.

Feedback time. What skill are you deliberately practicing to master? If mastery is not your goal, in which skills are you becoming proficient?

Keep Re-Doing the Stuff of Self-Reliance,

Todd

P.S. – You can also keep up with the Stuff we’re Doing on TwitterPinterestGoogle +, YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook… and over at our Doing the Stuff Network.

P.P.S – If you find value in our blog, Dirt Road Girl and I would appreciate your vote on Top Prepper Sites! You can vote daily by clicking here or on the image below. Check out all the other value-adding sites while you’re there…

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Copyright © by Survival Sherpa: In light of the recent theft of all my content by a pirate site, my sharing policy has changed. I do not permit the re-posting of entire articles from my site without express written consent by me. My content on this site may be shared in digital form (200 words or less) for non-commercial use with a link back (without no-follow attribute) to the original article crediting the author. All photos, drawings, and articles are copyrighted by and the property of Survival Sherpa. You are more than welcome to share our photos and articles on social media for educational purposes as long as you link back to the original article/photo with credit to the author.

Unity of Effort in Patriot Movement

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If there is something to be learned from this last election it is you seek or swim politically as a team.  The groups that are able to put differences aside

Staying Off Grid When “Nearly Everything Is Chipped, Almost Everything Is Tracked”

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grid-vulnerable

By Mac Slavo – SHTFplan.com

If you weren’t paranoid before, it may be time to start paying attention.

“They” are spying on everything you do, and are collecting information about every purchase, appliance, vehicle or place you make, do or interact with. For the first time in history, we have arrived at a time when nearly everything is chipped, and almost everything is tracked.

It really is true, and it’s no longer a conspiracy theory.

They are spying on everyone, collecting all the available data and tracking you, your family and everyone you know. All the time.

And worst of all, it does matter, it will be used against you – for revenue collection, social control, fines, fees and evidence if necessary – even if you haven’t done anything wrong. Is it any wonder why many states have made living off the grid illegal, and have attempted to get everyone on the grid?

If you don’t conform to the habits of most Americans – and harvest alternative stores of power, fuel, food, water and supplies, then your energy use and digital footprint (or lack thereof) will cast you as a suspicious anomaly, worth of investigation, seizure of goods, subject to violations and codes, and NOT off the radar.

Meanwhile, your interaction with other people will intercept data about you and your activities even if you don’t carry a smart phone or wearables.

The extremes are already here. The murder case where police have sought data from an Alexa smart device is just the beginning of what is to come:

In what may ultimately lead to a precedent setting case and/or landmark court ruling, police in Arkansas have demanded that Amazon provide them with recordings made by an Amazon Echo device that was located in the home of murder suspect… (source)

Many other attempts have been made to microchip people, while the cashless grid has already found widespread acceptance.

Former CIA director David Petraeus admitted to the tech community that the Internet of Things (IoT) was about to become one of the greatest assets in the spy community – as an endless pool of data could turn the tables on any ‘persons of interest.’

In other words, maybe you. As Wired reported in 2012:

More and more personal and household devices are connecting to the internet, from your television to your car navigation systems to your light switches. CIA Director David Petraeus cannot wait to spy on you through them.

Earlier this month, Petraeus mused about the emergence of an “Internet of Things” — that is, wired devices — at a summit for In-Q-Tel, the CIA’s venture capital firm. […]

All those new online devices are a treasure trove of data if you’re a “person of interest” to the spy community. Once upon a time, spies had to place a bug in your chandelier to hear your conversation. With the rise of the “smart home,” you’d be sending tagged, geolocated data that a spy agency can intercept in real time

“Items of interest will be located, identified, monitored, and remotely controlled through technologies such as radio-frequency identification, sensor networks, tiny embedded servers, and energy harvesters — all connected to the next-generation internet using abundant, low-cost, and high-power computing,” Petraeus said.

More and more of these smart chips are being integrated into absolutely every imaginable device.

Unless you are investing in vintage equipment, you will be buying into this system, even with basic appliances

An alarming report in 2013 highlighted concerns over some Chinese-made irons and tea kettles that included wireless spy chips… for purposes unknown, since these devices are not “smart” gadgets with computer interfaces and high-dollar functionality.

via AndroidHeadlines.com:

To this date, Qualcomm has shipped over a billion of Internet of Things (IoT) chipsets, the San Diego-based semiconductor manufacturer revealed on Tuesday. While speaking at the CES Unveiled press event yesterday, the company’s Senior Vice President of Product Management Raj Talluri said that the firm is already serving all segments of the IoT industry, from smart TVs and thermostats to connected speakers, wearables, and home assistants. Talluri specifically pointed out that smartphones and tablets aren’t included in the one billion figure.

Qualcomm’s impressive shipment numbers are mostly driven by the company’s presence in the wearable industry… numerous consumer electronics manufacturers are already implementing the cutting edge Snapdragon 835 chipset into their products…

As this chart demonstrates, the Internet of Things (IoT) will literally incorporate devices throughout consumer & home, retail, security and surveillance, IT and networking, transportation and industry, healthcare, energy

iot-chart-beechamresearch
Click for larger image, via Beecham Research

Notice that “Elderly and Children” are considered “things” in these digital tracking grid which otherwise incorporates refrigerators, stoves and smart appliances to share data and “spy” on individuals in their own homes.

And people are just another track and traceable part of the system.

It is absolute confirmation that “mark of the beast” technology is coming into full force – whether or not they will succeed in implanting microchips into people remains to be seen, but a major attempt is in the works.

In the meantime, there is now information about every move you, or any piece of “inventory” makes inside the system.

This isn’t just hypothetical talk.

This is the society that has been built.

Good luck avoiding it. You won’t avoid these devices by accident, it will take a lot of work to remain anonymous, off the grid, and out of their grasp.

As Sargent Survival at BeSurvival.com explains, getting out of the system is no easy task. Any serious attempt to “delete” yourself from the system actually go undetected would involve some very methodical footwork.

Not impossible, but not the default by any means:

  • There are 30 million plus surveillance cameras on the US, one camera for every ten Americans.
  • The average American is in 200 databases.
  • Putting a plan in motion to keep you from being tracked is a good idea if you want to devise a new life for yourself
  • Right before you leave, change your appearance significantly
  • Before you leave, terminate all of your accounts (email, bank accounts, credit cards, etc).
  • Don’t terminate your social network sites as you can use these sites to provide disinformation.
  • Before you leave, delete all of your computer files and get rid of your computer’s hard drive  – boil; smash; run a Degausser/ electromagnetic wand
  • Get rid of your cell phone or tablet as these can be easily used to track your location
  • Break your normal patterns (what you eat, where you frequent, how you shop, the kind of work you do, etc).
  • Completely change your lifestyle [and employment]
  • Pay for everything with cash.
  • Ditch your car and find a substitute; get rid of the toll pass which can track your movements
  • To change your identity … petition the court to change your name legally to a new–and common–name.
  • Apply for a driver’s license under your new name.
  • Buy a basic pre-paid cell phone (not a smart phone). Replace the pre-paid phone frequently, about every 2 weeks.
  • To get back online use a new laptop. Stay away from libraries!
  • Always use a hard wire to your laptop and turn off the wi-fi; reroute your ip address so your location can’t be determined
  • Be aware of the NSA spying and the ECHELON program in the US which monitors phone and computer transmissions for keywords and messages.
  • There are 70+ FUSION centers in the US which coordinate surveillance and other information.
  • Technology is now available to identify you by the way you walk, your facial measurements and biometrics
  • It will be 7 to 10 years before your old identity drops off of databases, if ever.
  • The less you interface with technology, the better off you will be.

Living off grid is a great dream, and a good principle to live by. Preparing to deal with emergencies and escape the danger zones in modern cities is essential. Using technology in this world comes with many advantages, but also some serious disadvantages.

Make sure that your use of technology is serving your purposes, and not giving you away during good times or bad.

This article first appeared at SHTFplan.comStaying Off Grid When “Nearly Everything Is Chipped, Almost Everything Is Tracked”

Filed under: News/ Current Events, Prepping

Prepare to Help Your Community in an Emergency

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This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com There have been several large disasters in recent memory – Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Sandy, the 2016 Louisiana floods, tornadoes, ice storms, where hundreds of people lose vital infrastructure, or are displaced.  It take several weeks or months to recover.    Even though a state of emergency is declared, sometimes even ahead of the event, people bemoan the fact that the government wasn’t around to provide much needed help.  Well, the truth of the […]

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How People Will Become the X Factor in a Crisis

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How People Will Become the X Factor in a CrisisThere is a lot of debate in the preparedness community about how people will react in any sort of SHTF scenario or crisis. This week we talked about how people will become the X factor in a crisis, and how people can either make a bad situation even worse, or a little better.

You have no doubt heard the scenario where a woman and her children come to the door asking for food, while her husband is hiding around the corner waiting in ambush. While this situation is certainly possible, we need to take into consideration other situations that aren’t so obvious.

People as a whole are pretty predictable, and these disaster scenarios are also fairly predictable. Things get a little more complicated when you start to look at these events and how people will react on a smaller scale, or an individual level.

SPP183 How People Will Become the X Factor in a Crisis

In this week’s show Lisa and I went over some things to look for and expect with people in any sort of disaster situation, and even events that are not large scale “Mad Max” type situations. As we see on Black Friday every year, it doesn’t take much for people to lose their minds…especially when there is a group of them.

We also wanted to make the point this week that it’s not always about people reacting badly. People will create communities and look for support because people need people. It is our responsibility to figure out who might be an asset to our situation, and who might be a threat to our survival.

Leaders, Followers & Turds

People can be boiled down to 3 categories. Some are leaders, some are followers and some are just plain turds. While all of us probably have a little of each of these quality’s is us, the majority of our character is made up of one of these.

Leaders: We all have the ability to be a leader in us, it’s just that some of us are more reluctant than others. It’s also important to remember that being a leader doesn’t mean being a good guy, a turd can be a leader as well. But as the saying goes “A polished turd is still a turd”

A good leader is usually someone with a high moral compass, and someone who is looking out for everyone in the group. A good leader is also a good listener and makes decisions based on what’s good for the group, not personal gain.

Followers: Being a follower can be either good or bad. On the bad side are the sheeple, and there are far more sheeple than there are leaders and turds. Sheeple will follow blindly based on what a leader says and not question anything they do.

As a prepper it’s ok to be more of a follower than a leader, as long as we don’t become one of the sheep. Some people would rather be part of the team, than lead the team. A team member might be a better term for this type of person because there will be a greater need for team members than leaders.

Turds: These are the people we need to look out for. These are the people with no moral structure whatsoever, and who will make decisions based on their needs, regardless who gets caught in the crossfire.

Turds are the criminals, the looters during riots and anyone looking for an opportunity to take advantage of the weak. Unfortunately, most of these people believe they are “leaders” because when the rules don’t apply, you can do or say anything. This type of leader preys on the follower.

Between a Rock and a Hard Place

In the show this week we talked about how the rules will change in any sort of disaster or survival situation. Decisions we make today while everything is “normal” will be far different than decisions made your life is on the line.

Here are a few of the other topics we covered in the Survivalist Prepper Podcast this week…

– People might be forced to make decisions they wouldn’t make today. When a situation is life or death, a person will easily rationalize stealing and even killing if it means their survival.

– The rules for ethics and morality will change. In general, people are followers and will do what society deems correct. In a disaster situation, people (including us) will have to live by a different set of rules. As preppers we wouldn’t need to lie, cheat and steal, but some people would…most people would.

– We always think about how others will react, but what about us and our family? We will have to make decisions and live with the consequences. Whether we choose to turn someone away, or let them in, there will be consequences.

– People need people, and people will seek support groups. These support groups could be good or bad depending on how and why they were formed. If a bad group of people are able to provide what someone needs to survive, some people might join them. The same holds true for the good guys. A community of people is safer and more productive than the lone wolf.

– One of the most dangerous parts of any disaster (large or small) is the mob mentality. It seems like the more people you put together, the less brain cells there are. This is yet another example of how people are followers, and will follow the herd rather than make their own decisions.

– One thing we tend to overlook is teens and young adults. People in their late teens and early 20’s are very impressionable, and need proper guidance. This is why terrorists, gangs and cults prey on these people. It is much easier to convince someone at this age that your way is the right way than it is if someone is older and “wiser”.

–  We also talked about how in Franklin Hortons book “Ashes of the Unspeakable” They must let people out of prison. How would it be ethically decided that they get let out if necessary? And what would the repercussions be on society?  We also did an interview with Franklin that you can listen to here.

Learning to Read People

A while back I wrote this article about how to read people and peel back the onion. We need to be careful how much information we give out to people, but sometimes we might not have a choice. As we get to know someone more we start to feel more comfortable about giving out information. We need to be careful about how much information we give out, and to who.

In that article, I also talked about how to read someone you know very little about, or nothing at all. We need to look for “tells.” Tells are what someone does that can give them away. If someone is not making eye contact, if someone is being fidgety or if someone is stuttering can all be tells.

As preppers we have a tendency to focus on the disasters themselves and not the events that will follow. It’s important to understand how people might react in a crisis, and how they can become the X factor that makes a bad situation worse, or a bad situation better.

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How to Get Out of Handcuffs and Other Restraints

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How to Get Out of Handcuffs and Other Restraints

We’ve all seen it in the movies: the hero gets captured by the villain’s henchmen and is either handcuffed or tied up, but somehow finds a way to break free of their bindings, escape, and go on to defeat the bad guys.

This type of scenario may be viewed as romantic or unrealistic by some. But in reality, there are several ways to escape from zip ties, handcuffs, rope/paracord, and duct tape. If you ever find yourself captured by foes in a SHTF or disaster scenario, with a little know how, you can escape and make it back to your group or family.

It’s important to attempt an escape from your bindings at the right moment. If you are seen escaping from your bindings, it will only complicate things for you. As the old saying goes, practice makes perfect. It’s crucial that you practice all of the methods below in a recreational setting, at home, before your life depends on it.

ESCAPING ZIP TIES

Zip ties are extremely useful items in a bug out bag or survival kit, and one of the many uses that they fulfill is none other than to tie people up if necessary.

In order to understand how to escape a zip tie restraint, you first need to understand how zip ties work. Zip ties are made of a durable Nylon tape with several, tiny teeth that run down one side of the tie. A molded ratchet is located on the end with several more small teeth in a small case.

Since it is molded, the ratchet can allow pressure to be placed downward when the tape is placed through the open case, and then brought back up so that the areas in between the teeth on the tape come into perfect alignment with the teeth inside the ratchet. This is what causes the zip ties to lock…when this happens, more movement will tighten the tie, but moving it backwards will not. It is precisely for this reason that zip ties can make for an effective restraining device.

Even though they are strong, they are not invincible. In fact, one such way to free you from them is to break them. If you have enough strength, it is possible to break apart the locking mechanism, but you can’t always count on this.

As an alternative method to break them apart, you can raise your hands above your head (assuming they are tied in front of you), and then bring them down with much force and speed against the upper part of your abdomen, while simultaneously pulling your elbows back and apart as much as possible.

If done with enough force and speed, the action will break the locking blade in the zip tie. The downside to this method is that it typically multiple attempts and it does cut deeply into your wrists.

Here’s how to escape them even if you’re tied behind your back:

 

READ FULL ARTICLE HERE 

 

 

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Millennials Lack Basic Survival Skills

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Millennials lack basic survival skills compared to older generations, this according to a survey conducted in the United Kingdom (WHITE, 2017).

Granted the survey was conducted in the United Kingdom, but we here in the United States can certainly see some similarities. The culprit, the reason why, according to the survey is technology. Google maps have replaced the paper map, GPS service on Every Smartphone, and Google itself has made us all geniuses, smart people until the Internet goes dark and then what.

The survey goes on to say that, 40 percent of those surveyed could not tie a simple knot could not spark a flame to create a fire, 50 percent had never swum in the open water, and 44 percent of those surveyed had never been camping. This means we assume that those 44 percent had never slept on the ground.

Millennials are taught about “trigger words”, “safe places”, and how to enact civil and not so civil discourse if they don’t agree with a certain point of view. However, what happens when the SHTF and safe places are smoldering ruins, and desperate people roam the streets looking for food, water, medicine and are looking for someone in charge to blame for their misery. A misery some may claim had been brought on by a lack of knowledge in even the basics of human survival.

It seems that there is a lack of knowledge on how the world really works, and some, if not many may not realize until it’s too late that each person is responsible, when it comes down to it, for his or her own survival. Teachers, professors and those from the government cannot keep you alive when you find yourself in a survival situation. The burden, in the end, is on you.

You can’t wake up one morning and be a Cody or Matt, Bear or Dave, but some skills can be self-taught, in as little as a day in some cases. How to tie a knot so your tarp doesn’t blow away, how to shave some dry wood to get curls for fire tinder, how to read a compass all can be self-taught in a matter of hours. However, it takes practice and using your skills regularly to really master them.

Remember, you only need to survive long enough to be rescued or until help arrives after a natural disaster in most cases. Of course, there may be a time when you have to survive for an extended period in your own home or in the wilds. If not prepared for this then your chances are not good. You can succumb to dehydration in three days or even less in some instances, so if you do not know how to find, collect, and purify a source your survival hangs in the balance if you are not rescued.

The skills needed to survive a few days to a week in the wilds are not that complicated, but it may seem daunting if you never had to apply those skills. You don’t want to have to drink your own urine or eat twigs to survive a few days so with a little preparation you can survive without taking drastic steps like that. Start now, and we here can help, so stay tuned.

WHITE, M. (2017). Retrieved 2017, from http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/749101/millennials-lack-basic-survival-skills-London-Boat-Show-Bear-Grylls

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How To Choose Warm Clothes For Cold Days

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survivopedia_how-to-choose-warm-clothes-for-cold-days

Cognitive function begins to be impacted when you lose just 2 degrees of body temperature. In temperatures below freezing, that can happen in just a matter of minutes if you’re not dressed properly.

The right clothing can quite literally be the difference between living and dying if you’re caught outside in bad weather.

Of course, keeping all of your fingers and toes and avoiding freezing to death are benefits of choosing the right clothes for cold weather, too!

Today we’re going to talk about the top considerations to keep in mind when choosing your winter clothing. Your primary goals are to stay warm and trap body heat inside.

Dress in Layers

The first and most important step to keeping warm is to dress in layers. This helps in several ways.

First, it allows you to shed some clothing if you get too warm. There’s nothing more miserable that sweating so much that your clothing gets wet, then being exposed to cold. Staying dry is extremely important if you’re planning on surviving long enough to warm your toes by a fire somewhere.

Layers also serve different functions. Your inner layer (or layers) should be made of something that wicks away sweat. A middle layer should be warm and insulating, and the outermost layer should block the wind. It’s also good to make this layer waterproof.

cold-weather-dressing

Now, most people make the mistake of only thinking about a coat; if you’re going to survive, you need to cover as much as your body as you can, while still maintaining mobility. You lose most of your body heat through your head, hands, and feet, so make sure that you keep those well-insulated.

Lower your home heating bill with this D.I.Y. Home Energy System! 

Layer One

The first layer, your long underwear, should wick away sweat. There are any number of synthetic and natural fibers out there, but the best wicking fabric is wool. Of course, it’s also itchy. Merino wool is much softer than other wools and wicks well, but it’s a bit pricey.

Of course, you can always get really into the project and raise your own sheep and make wool yarn so that you can knit your own long underwear, but that’s not an option, or a preference, for many people.

A cheaper, less time-consuming option may be to choose something other than wool.

Polypropylene doesn’t absorb moisture at all, which makes it a great material for your bottom layer, but it’s flammable. Just keep that in mind around the campfire at night.

Silk feels great but it doesn’t wick very well. Stay away from cotton and flannel because they hold moisture. That’s bad when it comes to staying warm, because that wonderfully soft fabric that felt so good on your skin when it was dry turns into clingy, heavy material that sucks out all of your body heat when it’s wet.

Oh, and anything that sucks your body heat out is promoting hypothermia, which, if you don’t know by now, is a bad thing. It also creates a petri dish for bacteria.

Speaking of which, there are several synthetic blends out there that actually have compounds in them that inhibit bacterial growth. This isn’t really a big deal if you’re going to wear it for a day or two, but if you’re going to be in it for several days or more at a time, it’s a concern.

With this D.I.Y. Home Energy System you can take control of your home’s energy. 

The Middle and Outer Layers

Your coat may serve as both the middle and outer layers if it’s stuffed with insulating material and has a wind-proof outer shell. The stuffing is the middle layer, and the shell is the outer layer.

Coats that are made to keep you warm as you go from your car to the office often offer more aesthetic incentives than functional ones. They keep you warm, but they’re not built to keep your heat in long-term or to really block wind or keep you dry.

When you’re choosing a coat for serious warming power in the real outdoors, go for a coat that has baffling – those little layers of pockets full of fluff that are sewn together, sort of like a quilt.

It’s good because it helps hold the down in place and create what coat folks refer to as loft. We normal people would probably just call it fluff or puffiness. You don’t need as much stuffing if your coat has plenty of loft.

Down coats are great, especially if you choose a good one, and they’re light. Cheaper varieties often use feathers instead of down, which aren’t as insulating. It’s all about the density of the down that traps the warm air in. You can tell how many feathers are in it by giving it the pinch test. If you can feel quills, there are feathers.

There are also good synthetic blends that offer great insulation as well as breathable yet waterproof shells that block the wind. Two common ones are polyester and nylon.

Since polyester is basically made from plastic, it has great value as an insulator and a windbreaker. Nylon is tough and doesn’t absorb much water. What it does absorb, it doesn’t hold. Instead, the moisture evaporates, making it great outer shell material.

Gloves/Mittens

You absolutely have to have gloves – think of them as a coat for your hands. For that matter, you want your gloves to have the same properties as your coat.

Mittens are the best option because they keep all of your fingers together in one warm little pocket, whereas with gloves, your fingers are isolated. It’s important that your gloves have great insulation if you choose to use them instead of mittens. Gloves do offer much more mobility than mittens.

What type of fabric you choose depends on your activity. If you’re going to be sweating, you want something breathable that wicks moisture away while keeping your hands warm. If you’re not going to be active, you may want to go for something with more insulation.

Socks and Hat

Cold feet are miserable. Not only that, they can be deadly. If you get frostbite, you run the risk of developing gangrene too. No fun. Wool socks are, again, the best because of their wicking and insulating properties, and cotton socks are the worst. Just as with coats, there are blends that work wonderfully, too.

If you want, you can always buy a coat with a hood. There are some limitations when you’re wearing a hood versus a hat, though, so if you opt to go with a hat, follow the same rule as you do with socks. Wool is good because it’s both insulating and wicking.

Oh, and don’t forget to cover your face. Your nose is one of the quickest appendages to freeze, so cover it up! A good wool balaclava will keep your head, face, and neck warm and toasty.

Choosing winter clothing that will keep you warm every day and alive if SHTF doesn’t have to be difficult, but you should consider your environment and assess your needs (durability, flammability, etc.) before investing in good outdoor clothing.

Some things you can skimp on, but this probably shouldn’t be one of them. Buy the good stuff – your life may depend on it at some point.

Make your home 100% immune from future power outages or blackouts with this D.I.Y. Home Energy System. 

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.

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The Day When The ATMs Dried Up

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The people of India suffered through a difficult December, caused by a sudden action of their government.

On November the 8th, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that as of midnight the 500 and 1,000 rupee notes would no longer be valid. As their replacement, the new 500 and 2,000 rupee note didn’t hit circulation until weeks later, it left people in a bind.

There’s a lesson to be learned here; and that is that our money isn’t safe.

The move was made in an effort to curb corruption, forcing both wealthy people who were keeping their assets in cash and criminals who avoid banks to either deposit their money or lose its value.

It’s germane to note that the government stands to make a tidy profit on this move, as people who have been avoiding paying their taxes will be easily caught when they make those deposits.

But in the mean time, it’s left people in a bind. While India is a much poorer country than the United States, with many people dealing only in cash, they are still an industrialized nation, with modern banking, including ATM machines. Just like the rest of the world, electronic money is replacing the paper kind in many places, so people were lined up at ATM machines, with the obvious result, as they tried to get what cash they could.

ATM machines can hold a lot of money; much more than they typically do. Even so, with the massive number of people who were trying to get their hands on cash, even a full ATM machine will run out of bills quickly.

And that’s exactly what happened in India, as ATM machine after ATM machine ran out of money and went out of service, leaving a line of people who had waited to withdraw money that was temporarily unavailable.

Even with all the consternation that the people of India were going through, trying to get their hands on funds to use in their daily lives, it was nothing more than a temporary inconvenience.

It was nothing like the problems faced by the citizens of Cyprus, when the government froze citizens’ assets and stole a percentage of them. Then, they limited how much people could withdraw, so that there wouldn’t be a run on the banks.

How Safe Is Our Money?

I’m saying it again: our money isn’t safe.

Money in the bank can be seized by the government. Money we keep at home can be made worthless at a moment’s notice by the government, canceling denominations, just like they did in India. Our accounts can be locked up and our access to our own money can be denied.

Then there’s the risk of the whole system collapsing. Most money today is electronic, rather than paper or coin. All it takes to make it disappear is erasing a number.

While there are many failsafes in place to protect our money, there are some things which are bigger than those failsafes. Whether they would impede our access to our money temporarily or permanently, any of them would make life more difficult.

Many people put their confidence in the money they have as their security. They figure that no matter what happens, they’ll always be able to buy what they need.

While that might work in normal times, what would those people do, if they couldn’t access their money? A financial crash, the ATM system going down, an EMP attack or a terrorist attack taking out the power grid could all make that happen. Those people would literally go from financially comfortable to financially broke in a moment’s time.

As a society, we have become largely dependent upon our modern conveniences. Unlike emerging countries, where the infrastructure is unreliable, we’ve learned that ours is… at least, most of the time. Since we expect it to be reliable, we live our lives as if it is, putting ourselves at risk.

This is the antithesis of being a prepper, as prepping is all about becoming self-sufficient. Yet I’ve even met preppers who have large bank accounts, filled with money to use on that proverbial rainy day. Yes, they stockpile supplies as well, but they also stockpile money; after all, the dollar is accepted around the world.

But what would happen if that rainy day shut down our financial system? What will those people do then?

What Is More Valuable Than Money?

The truth is, we can’t depend on any money that’s not in our hands, and we can’t even depend on that. As the Indian people just learned, the government that prints that money can declare it worthless at any time. So, what we need isn’t money, it’s something of universally understood value. That limits us considerably.

For most, that means investing in precious metals. Those are much more secure than any nation’s currency. Gold and silver transcend time, with a long history of being accepted as valuable currency in trade, going back even before written history.

But precious metals aren’t the only thing of value. I’ve said for quite some time that my favorite investment for the average person is non-perishable food. Not only doesn’t it lose value, but inflation is hitting food harder than many other things. Then, of course, you can eat it to keep alive in an emergency. In that sense, food is the ultimate investment.

I seriously doubt that if an EMP struck, you could buy much with good old greenbacks, even if you had them. Nobody would be accepting them, simply because they wouldn’t be sure that they could buy anything with them themselves.

Oh, you might be able to use those dollars for a few days, but all it would take is one person refusing to accept cash as a medium of exchange and the whole system would come crashing down.

Our financial system, like that around the world, is based upon the belief that money has value. As long as everyone believes that it has value, it does. But the moment people stop believing, the value of that money will plummet. For this reason, preppers tend to put their money into something of lasting value, like the gold, silver and food I just mentioned.

Do you Remember the Argentinian Crisis?

When cash loses its value, people turn to other means of exchange. Rather than accepting money in trade for goods, they want something that will be of value to them. So, they quickly go back to the barter system.

That’s what happened in the Argentinean economic collapse of 1998 to 2002. Groups of people even set up barter co-ops, so that they could trade things they had, for things they needed.

It wasn’t until the country had recovered from the financial collapse, four long years later, that people started trusting their nation’s money again. In the mean time, they did what they had to do, in order to stay alive. In many cases, that meant avoiding the government and the government’s money.

Video first seen on Albert Clack.

What Would This Crisis do to America?

So, what will happen here? I’m afraid that we might not fare as well as Argentina and Cypress did.

Americans are much more accustomed to everything working and have little idea what to do, when it is not. Without access to money or the ability to use the money in their bank accounts, most Americans will find their options severely limited.

Of course, a large percentage of our society has been infected with the entitlement mentality. So, rather than help themselves, they will expect the Nanny State government to take care of them. Some will even die waiting for that help to come. Others will see that no help is coming and demand that those who have share what they have with them.

This is the point at which society will begin to break down and things will begin to get ugly. It will be a mere three days to a week after the cash stops flowing.

By then, those people with the entitlement mentality will have eaten what is in their homes and will be getting hungry. Some will try begging for food. Others will shoplift. Stores will be looted, both for useful things like food and also for alcohol, tobacco and drugs. Crime will run rampant, as people’s baser instincts take over.

When the stores are empty, these people will start looking in other directions. Some smarter ones will seek out warehouses and other places where there is a likelihood of an inventory of food.

Others will look to their neighbors, trying to see who might have something they can beg, borrow or steal. As they get more desperate, they will even be willing to kill for that food.

Those of us who have prepared for such an eventuality will have to make a choice. We either use the supplies we have to help others, ensuring the demise of our own families, or we shut those people out, condemning them to suffering and death, so that we can protect our children.

As the situation continues, violence will increase. That’s what happened in Argentina. Law abiding citizens had to lock themselves in their homes to defend themselves. Children were no longer able to play outdoors, unsupervised.

Those who were still driving would run red lights, merely slowing to ensure that it was safe to go through the intersection. They had to, as stopping at an intersection opened them up to attack. Anyone they didn’t know personally became a potential enemy, as crime rates surged.

We can expect the same… and even worse. The larger number of guns in the United States and their ready availability will mean that those who turn rogue in their search for food will have the capability of greater violence. An equally high amount of violence will be needed to stop or subdue them.

Those of us who are prepared will use our guns to protect our families. But what of those who are not?

Only a small percentage of Americans, even American conservatives are preppers. So the number of conservative gun owners who have guns but aren’t preppers outnumber those of us who are. While conservatives tend to use their guns to protect, rather than to commit crimes, all bets are off when their children are hungry.

Desperate people, as they say, do desperate things. Some of those people, even though they were the best of honest, law-abiding citizens all their lives, will snap, when their children start crying for food.

It will be ugly; that’s for sure. We depend on money too much, to live without it. Oh, we can live without it if we prepare to live without it, but that requires time and work. Few are making that effort; too few.

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This article has been written by Bill White for Survivopedia.

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How to Craft a Base Camp Bucksaw in the Woods

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by Todd Walker

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My regret is that I didn’t watch more quality YouTube videos on my journey of self-reliance. There’s a sea of regurgitated material out there, and, sadly, few quote their sources of knowledge. My latest project was inspired by watching Kelly Harlton build a bucksaw with Mors Kochanski on Randy Breeuwsma’s channel, Karamat Wilderenss Ways.

For larger cutting tasks at base camp, a bucksaw is a thing of beauty and a joy forever. The 21 inch takedown bucksaw I built from scrap dimensional lumber is portable but usually hangs on my shop wall. I needed a dedicated base camp saw stowed away in my shelter.

My first foray into bucksaw building in the woods was a wobbly failure several years ago. The crossbar/upright union was the weak point. Kelly’s design fixed all that. Thank you, Kelly!

Base Camp Bucksaw

Material and Tools

  • Knife
  • Ax
  • Rope
  • Wood
  • Saw Blade
  • Hardware – two bolts, screws, nails, or key chain rings

Step 1: Collect Wood

An abundance of dead cedar surrounds my base camp. A green sapling will work just as well. I used cedar. For the uprights, cut two wrist-size (or slightly smaller) sections measuring elbow-to-finger-tip (approximately 18 inches). The crossbar should be of similar diameter and slightly longer than your saw blade. You will cut this piece to exact length later.

Remove any bark from your chosen wood. The dead cedar I used had only small amounts left. I scraped it off with the spine of my knife and added the “waste” to my tinder pile in the shelter.

Step 2: Prepare the Uprights

Lay the two uprights side by side and compare any bow in the pieces. I purposely used two cedar uprights with slight bows. The concave sides should face each other or inward.

Once aligned, baton your knife down the center end of the upright until a split is created to accept your saw blade. Don’t split too deep or the upright will become two pieces. Repeat this step on the other upright making sure the splits are on the same plane as the previous one.

Carve a shallow V-notch perpendicular to each split at the base of each upright. The notch will allow the bolts or other hardware to seat securely against the wood when sawing.

How to Craft a Base Camp Bucksaw in the Woods ~ TheSurvivalSherpa.com

I recommend carving the notch after you check to see how far the saw blade fits inside the split. My first notch is pictured too far above the bolt.

Now you’ll carve down the sides of both uprights to create a 90 degree corner which faces inward. Only whittle away enough wood to make a sharp corner so that the wood is not weakened. This corner should run from a few inches above the blade to over halfway up each upright. Take care to keep the corner edges in line with the blade splits.

How to Craft a Base Camp Bucksaw in the Woods ~ TheSurvivalSherpa.com

Whittle away to form a 90 degree corner

Step 3: Attach Saw Blade

Insert the saw blade into each split on the uprights. Use your knife to open the split slightly to start the blade if need be. Once the saw blade is inserted into both uprights, attach hardware through the holes in your saw blade. Place one upright on the ground while holding the other upright and blade vertical. Step on the bottom upright and tug to tighten the hardware against both uprights.

How to Craft a Base Camp Bucksaw in the Woods ~ TheSurvivalSherpa.com

Lay the saw on the ground and align the uprights perpendicular to the blade.

Step 4: Prepare the Crossbar

Place the crossbar across the uprights to form an H pattern in the middle of the uprights. With one end aligned at the midpoint of one upright, mark and cut the crossbar to length at the midpoint of the other upright.

How to Craft a Base Camp Bucksaw in the Woods ~ TheSurvivalSherpa.com

Leave the crossbar longer than needed until final measurements.

Next, carve away each end of the crossbar to form a tapering wedge shape. Leave about 3/8th of an inch on the end of the wedge. If using green wood, a knife works fine. I used my ax on the seasoned cedar to expedite the trimming. Again, take your time and keep both crossbar end wedges on the same plane. They should appear identical or very close once carved.

How to Craft a Base Camp Bucksaw in the Woods ~ TheSurvivalSherpa.com

One of the wedged ends of the crossbar.

At the ends of each wedge, carve a 90 degree notch. Again, on softer, green wood, a knife will carve the notch just fine. On seasoned cedar, I used my small saw on my Leatherman tool to remove the bulk of the notch and tweaked them with my knife for final fitting.

Test the fit by placing the crossbar between the uprights. The corner notches should mate without gaps at the union points. If not, trim until they do.

How to Craft a Base Camp Bucksaw in the Woods ~ TheSurvivalSherpa.com

Spaces between these two pieces will cause instability.

Step 5: Make the Rope Windlass

Cut and smooth two paddle sticks about 8 inches long which will be used to tighten the windlass ropes. Set aside for now.

Wrap a length of cordage around the two uprights. Tie the ends of the cords with a secure knot to form a loop. Rope with little to no elasticity is ideal. I didn’t have “ideal” so I used 550 paracord. You’ll need two of these loops so repeat this process.

How to Craft a Base Camp Bucksaw in the Woods ~ TheSurvivalSherpa.com

Place one end of a loop near the top of one upright and move the other end to down the opposite upright near the crossbar. Repeat this with the other loop of cord to form an X-shape of rope between the uprights. Make a note of where the loop ends will rest. Now carve shallow notches at those locations where the loops will rest once tightened.

Step 6: Assemble the Saw

Insert a paddle stick between one set of loop cords. Rotate the paddle until slight tension is created. Repeat this process in the other loop cord. Continue spinning the paddles alternately until the saw blade is tight as a hat band. Note: Kelly used smaller paddle sticks on his saw in the video which didn’t stop on the crossbar but on the opposite loop cords. I tried this method and found, due to the length of my saw blade maybe, I needed longer paddles to create more tension. My paddles held tension by resting on the crossbar.

How to Craft a Base Camp Bucksaw in the Woods ~ TheSurvivalSherpa.com

Fully assembled and ready to go.

The crossbar can be adjusted with a few taps to help square the H frame after tensioning the saw. You can also adjust the saw’s throat depth by bumping the crossbar up or down the corner notches on the uprights.

Put finishing chamfer cuts on all the upright ends and you’re ready for some serious sawdust. This 36 inch bucksaw may be overkill for my woodcutting needs in our mild Georgia winters. Still, I think it will come in handy for the log cabin project floating amongst my gray matter.

Below is Karamat Wilderness Ways video of Kelly Harlton’s H bucksaw…

Keep Doing the Stuff of Self-Reliance,

Todd

P.S. – You can also keep up with the Stuff we’re Doing on TwitterPinterestGoogle +, YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook… and over at our Doing the Stuff Network.

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Copyright © by Survival Sherpa: In light of the recent theft of all my content by a pirate site, my sharing policy has changed. I do not permit the re-posting of entire articles from my site without express written consent by me. My content on this site may be shared in digital form (200 words or less) for non-commercial use with a link back (without no-follow attribute) to the original article crediting the author. All photos, drawings, and articles are copyrighted by and the property of Survival Sherpa. You are more than welcome to share our photos and articles on social media for educational purposes as long as you link back to the original article/photo with credit to the author.

Tech And Tips You Need Camping In The Wilderness

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By The Survival Place Blog

Are you planning on taking a trip into the wilderness for your next vacation? Then, you need to be prepared for everything that the elements can throw at you. You might think that it’s easy to survive the outdoors. Particularly, if you’re heading to a place that you know quite well. But you might be surprised because the weather can turn at any moment leaving you in trouble. For instance, you might be camping miles from the nearest point of civilization. Imagine, if fog falls thick and low over the ground. You would struggle to find your way back and would need to rely on the kit that you had with you. If you didn’t have enough supplies, you might find the next few days incredibly difficult. So, what do you need to survive camping in the wilderness?

 

A Portable Heater

 

You may want to consider purchasing a portable heater for camping in the wilderness with a good supply of fuel. It does depend on whether you’re traveling on foot or in the car. You might also want to consider whether you’ll be moving around a lot. That said if you’re camping a portable heater can be incredibly useful. Particularly, if you are camping in the winter. If you don’t take a portable heater, you need to make sure you have a survival sleeping bag. The best sleeping bag has a hood to keep you warm, even when the temperature has dropped below freezing outside. It’s possible with the best sleeping bags to stay warm and dry even without a tent!

 

A Compass

 

There are two things you’ll need to make sure that you don’t get completely lost wandering in the wilderness. The first is a map and the second is a compass. Ideally, you should have adequate orienteering skills to make sure that you can find your way back to camp. However, even if you don’t, with a compass, you should always be able to find your way back where you started. By knowing what direction your campsite is, you’ll always be able to find your way back to the starting point. You will even find some winter jackets come with compasses included on them. This shows how important that piece of kit is. You might also want to think about some night vision goggles. Night monoculars will allow you to see for miles even when it’s pitch black. You’ll always find your camp site with these and you can check out a review on a site such as www.opticscastle.com/night-vision-monocular-reviews/

 

pexels-photo-167696

Image Source: Pexels.com

Axe

 

Make sure you have a device or tool that you can use to chop down wood. In extreme situations, you might need to collect wood for shelter or even to supply fuel for a fire. Be aware that to make a good shelter or fire the wood has to be dry. If it’s not, it won’t light, and you’ll struggle to keep your body temperature at a normal level. You might be camping in an area where it is illegal to cut down trees. However, if it is a matter of survival, be prepared to ignore rules like this. Your safety should always be the top priority.

 

Tracker
Finally, this is another useful tool that you can find on most winter, explorer jackets. Check out some of the latest winter jackets on http://snowboarding.transworld.net/news/oneill-launches-gps-jacket/.  A small tracker is embedded in the material. When pressed it will send a signal to the closest rescue team. They will then be able to track your exact location and avoid you being lost in the wilderness for days.

This article first appeared at The Survival Place Blog: Tech And Tips You Need Camping In The Wilderness

Filed under: Outdoor Recreation, Wilderness Survival Gear

10 Mistakes To Avoid When Packing Your Backpack

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

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

Let’s see what to avoid!

1. Choosing the Wrong Size of the Backpack

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

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

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

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

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

This versatile bag can be your next best backpack!

2. Too Much Weight

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

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

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

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

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

weight

3. Wrong Choices about Items to Carry

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

And remember: more skills means less to carry.

bob

4. Not Having a Balanced Pack

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

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

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

5. Not Packing Properly

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

camping

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

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

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

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

This perfect waterproofed bag is light, tough and durable.

7. Putting Your Pack On in a Wrong Way

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

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

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

8. Not Adjusting the Fit of Your Backpack

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

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

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

Does it feel better or what?

9. Not Being Physically Fit, but Still Backpaking

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

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

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

7. Not Caring for Your Backpack Properly

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

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

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

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

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

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Winter Survival: How To Start A Fire In The Snow

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With winter here and global warming a thing of the past (now it’s climate change or something), knowing how to start a fire in the snow may save your life someday. I don’t know about you, dear reader, but in my neck of the woods it’s been snowing for days.

If you’re asking yourself why you should learn how to start a fire in the snow, well, the simple answer is: you never know, so be prepared for any situation.

Winter time is arguably the hardest in terms of outdoor survival and if you can’t build a fire, you’re dead meat regardless of the gear you have at your disposal.

And if you’re out there, stranded in the snow in the middle of nowhere and waiting impatiently for help from above, knowing how to make a fire will make the difference between life and certain death.

As night falls, the temperature will plummet, making you feel like you’re in an icebox. If you can’t make a fire, you’ll find yourself in a life-threatening situation if there ever was one. In addition to keeping you from freezing to death, fire keeps wild animals away and it allows you to cook (or defrost) your food, and even make water by melting snow or ice.

Fire is your best friend when it comes to wilderness survival, as it takes care of all that’s important for a prepper: food, water, and shelter (warmth).

For most modern folk, especially youngsters who live their lives pecking at their smartphones, starting a fire in any type of outdoor scenario is a rare occurrence, let alone making fire in extreme weather conditions (snow, wind).

On the other hand, if you never leave your house or the city, you may think bad things will never come to you. That works for hobbits, yes indeed, but then again, there are plenty of scenarios when your bubble can burst in a matter of hours.

For example, what will you do as you get trapped in the snow during your vacation in the Rocky Mountains or wherever, with a blizzard coming out of nowhere, blocking the roads and/or your car somewhere in the middle of…well, you see where this is going, right?

How to Start a Fire in the Snow

Getting back to our “story”, starting a fire in the snow is the second hardest thing after trying to do it during a rainstorm.

Starting a fire in the snow will present you with two basic problems.

First things first – snow will definitely melt at some point and the water may quench your hard work, together with the flames.

Another thing to contemplate about fires, snow, and winter is that cold comes into play, i.e. you’ll have to raise the temperature of your combustible materials farther than in the summertime in order to ignite them. That means that making a fire during the winter is more difficult than in the summertime, as it starts slower than “normal”, provided you know what normal is.

Video first seen on The Outside Files

Choose the Right Spot

Everything in life is location, and the same principle applies to starting a fire in the snow, obviously. Selecting a proper site is the first thing to consider and is exceptionally important for your success (survival). The location should ideally be protected from wind, water, and snow.

Folks traveling outdoors during the winter prefer to make a fire under a tree most of the time, but be aware of trees carrying a lot of snow on their branches, as the snow may fall into your fire as it melts and put it out. And then you’ll be in a world of pain.

If you’re going to start your fire under a tree, make sure you knock the snow off the branches first. That eliminates the aforementioned risk and also, it will make sure you don’t have to clear your spot twice.

Start with a Clean Spot

This brings us to the next step: clearing the snow from your desired fire location. You can’t actually make a fire directly on snow, maybe on ice though, provided you can build a platform from rocks/logs.

You can clear the snow by brushing it away or you may walk on it in order to tamp it down. If you’re going for the tamping, you must realize that the snow will melt at some point, so make sure the water resulting from melted snow can drain away from your fire.

Also remember to clear the snow off the ground on a place near the fire for storing your extra wood, and, if possible, try to use rocks for raising your wood storage spot above the ground. If you don’t have enough rocks, you can use sticks laid cross-ways or make a platform using branches (the same can be used for the fireplace itself in case you can’t find rocks).

Both ways are good for keeping the wood from coming in contact with the ground, thus offering it the chance to get as dry as possible before using it.

When it comes to starting a fire in the snow, or in rainy weather for that matter, it would be ideal to use a large, flat stone as the fire-floor.

Video first seen on ExploringWithGeorge.

Prepare Your Tools

Raising the combustible materials just 1’’ or 2’’ above the ground will make all the difference in the world by offering the water the required drainage channels to run off through.

Another thing to consider and that is hugely important is the heat reflector because, after all, starting a fire in the snow is all about keeping you warm, and a good heat-reflector is aimed at accomplishing exactly that.

A cliff face makes for a good heat reflector, also a big tree or a large rock. You can always improvise one from a blanket, the silver survival types, using the silver side which will provide you with the best reflection.

Read more about these 52 ways to save your life while laughing!

Starting the Fire

Now, with the “preamble” taken care of, let’s talk a little bit about the actual fire-starting procedure. Lesson learned the hard way: along with a first aid kit, always carry something that can be used as a fire starter. A packet of waterproof matches and a couple of BIC butane lighters are a must-have item in any survival kit.

Ideally, you should also carry a dedicated fire-starter kit, which consists of a block of paraffin and sawdust mix, available just about anywhere. You can DIY a good fire starter using cotton balls soaked with Vaseline (petroleum jelly), carried inside a film canister.

The idea is to use a fire starter that doesn’t die out fast whilst providing a lot of heat at the same time.

If you don’t have a dedicated fire starter, you can always use small pieces of dry wood, which may be a problem, but these fellas are usually easy to spot near the trunk of trees. Avoid wood that was in contact with the snow, as it definitely has a high moisture content.

If you can’t find small dry pieces of wood, get your knife, find the driest dead  branch possible, and whittle down until you hit dry wood. If you don’t even have a knife, I don’t know what you’re doing outdoors, really. You’ll have to get creative.

Tips to Remember

  • Always collect enough fuel to keep the fire burning for a long time. You don’t want to stop in the middle of the “show” to get more wood, as the fire may die out while you’re hunting for combustibles and you’ll have to start again from the beginning.
  • Always remember to gather large pieces of wood if possible, along with tinder kindling and smaller pieces for the initial fire.
  • The big chunks of wood are excellent for keeping the fire burning overnight, thus keeping you warm and allowing you to go to sleep without worrying about your fire dying and all that.
  • To get the most out of your fire, you’ll have to make sure that the fire and your shelter (if any) are as close together as possible.
  • Try to build your fire right at the shelter’s entrance and to use rescue blankets on the roof and at the back of the shelter for keeping the heat inside, thus keeping you warmer.
  • Don’t set it close enough that it’s going to catch your tent or shelter on fire, though.
  • Always travel with several rescue blankets in your survival kit; they’re hugely important and you’ll always want one of them between you and the ground, right?

You can also heat rocks into the fire and use them for warming your bed before going to sleep, or wrap a heated rock using a sweater or something like that and use it as a heater (yes, sleeping with a rock, a true love story). If it gets cold enough, you’ll see what I mean.

One thing to remember: coals generate the most heat in a fire, so make sure you keep adding enough wood to your fire so it can burn and turn to charcoal.

If you have any ideas or comments, feel free to comment in the dedicated section below. Stay safe, stay warm.

If you want more tips, click the banner below and discover the survival secrets that helped our ancestors survive harsh winters!

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This article has been written by Chris Black for Survivopedia. 

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Home Remedies for a Toothache

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leo-animal-savannah-teethTeeth are one of the most important parts of the human body, but they are also unfortunately very vulnerable to wear and tear. Regularly in use, teeth are exposed to substances that cause damage, and, can eventually lead to toothaches. It is important to know how to take care of a toothache in the absence of medical professionals and prescription drugs. Fortunately, there are many home remedies for toothaches and plenty of preventive care you can take to avoid toothaches all together.

By Derrick of Prepper Press

First, brush and floss. Doing so now can prevent problems you might not be fully equipped to deal with in an emergency situation down the road. Brushing at least twice a day is the most effective and efficient way to prevent toothaches before they start. Commercial toothpastes can be effective nearly two years after the expiration date listed, and there are ways to make your own toothpaste so you do not have to be dependent on commercial products in the case they are not available or have passed their effective date. A simple paste made out of baking soda and water can make an effective toothpaste, and add some crushed peppermint leaves to flavor it if you prefer.

Essential Oils, Herbs, and Spices

peppermint_tooth_ache_remedyPeppermint does a lot more than add flavor – it can also serve as an effective way to ease a toothache. You can use peppermint essential oil to remedy for a toothache simply by rubbing a bit on the area where the toothache is. A q-tip works well for this application. You can also make a tea of mint leaves, and depending on how severe the toothache is and how you know temperature affects it, drink it either cold or lukewarm.

Related: Five Best DIY Toothache Remedies

Cloves are another effective way to ease a toothache in the absence of dentists and painkillers. Like peppermint, you can use either the essential oil or plant form to treat your pain. Apply clove oil directly to the hurting area with a q-tip, cotton ball, or other like product, or just chew on clove buds to release their healing properties. Cloves are an especially good home remedy for toothaches because they are a source of eugenol, which is an anesthetic and anti-bacterial. If your toothache is being caused by bacteria, cloves and clove oil can not only ease the pain, they can help eradicate the source of the toothache. However, be careful not to put too much clove oil on at once, as it can cause side effects when swallowed. For this reason, if you are treating a child’s toothache, be sure to carefully apply a minimal amount yourself. Don’t let them apply the oil as it would be easy for them to accidentally ingest some of the oil if too large an amount is applied and there is excess to swallow. Like cloves, vanilla extract contains eugenol. If clove oil is too strong for you to handle, try using vanilla instead.

Oregano oil and oregano leaves are another natural remedy for toothaches that is easy to have on hand when medical care might not be available. Oregano has both anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties that help to soothe and combat toothaches. As with other herbal oils, apply it topically to the toothache area using a q-tip or cotton ball.  You can also use crushed up leaves as a paste to apply topically. A mortar and pestle works well for making a paste out of oregano leaves.

garlic_toothache_remedyGarlic also has anti-bacterial properties, and so is useful in fighting a toothache. It also has anti-inflammatory properties, so it soothes the pain while it is helping to heal what is causing the pain. And, as an extra bonus, garlic can also help fight tooth decay. Garlic can be used by simply chewing it. Before you chew the garlic, though, you should rinse it off to ensure it is clean and will not transfer anything into your mouth that could potentially cause further infection or damage. When you have chewed the garlic enough to get juice out of it, at which point you may feel your mouth or tooth go slightly numb, spit out the garlic and rinse with water. Your breath might not be great after chewing on garlic, so you can also try chewing on a peppermint leaf right after the garlic. This will not only freshen your breath, but give you a double-dose of toothache remedies.

For another slightly unpleasant smelling, but effective, toothache remedy try chewing on onions. Like garlic, onions are anti-bacterial. Prepare and chew the onion in the same way as the garlic to treat your toothache.

Ginger is another commonly available spice that can help you deal with the pain of a toothache. It’s also generally helpful to have on hand in any medical supply kit you are compiling, as it also helps with everyday health issues such as nausea and headaches. Ginger can be used as a home remedy for toothaches that have not yet progressed to the point where it is too painful to chew. In order to use ginger for a toothache remedy, you should cut a piece of ginger root, peel the brown skin off, and chew on the peeled piece of ginger. Try to focus your chewing on the tooth where the pain is centered so that the juice from the ginger root gets on and around the tooth and gum area that hurts. You can also try brewing a cup of ginger tea, waiting until it is lukewarm, and swishing it around.

Like ginger, apple cider vinegar is effective both at calming nausea and soothing toothaches. As a result, it is a valuable addition to any medical prep kit. Apple cider vinegar also has a long shelf life – up to five years for peak effectiveness, but is still safe to use, albeit less effective, after that time. To ease a toothache with apple cider vinegar, apply it with a cotton ball or q-tip as you would for essential oils.

If you have it available, a sip of alcohol that you swish around in your mouth before swallowing can help with your tooth pain. Not only will it help you tolerate the pain, but alcohol’s antiseptic properties will help to attack the toothache itself.

Essential oils, bottled goods, and dried herbs and spices need to be stored in a cool, dry place to ensure they are at peak effectiveness. You also need to be aware of the length of time they have been sitting in your stores. After a period of time, the effectiveness of these products can wear off. Thankfully, you can grow many herbs and spices that are useful for toothache home remedies either in a garden or indoors with the proper light. A garden or indoor pots that are carefully maintained to encourage the healthy growth of plants means that even in an emergency you can have fresh food, and a supply of plants that are useful in easing the aches and pains of your body.

Simple Remedies

pexels-photo-30492In addition to essential oils, herbs and spices, there are some simpler home remedies for toothaches. One is as simple as an ice pack. Ice is easy to make if you have a freezer, or even if you simply live in a cold environment. There are also many ice packs available for purchase that you can store and activate when needed if you are in a situation where electric freezers are not an option, if water is at a premium, or if the climate isn’t cooperative. Ice can ease swelling and numb pain, and so is good for easing pain as you fight a toothache caused by bacteria with garlic, oregano, or another plant. When you are using ice, though, you must wrap the ce pack or ice cubes in a cloth or towel before holding it against the painful area. Applying ice directly to the skin can cause burns. When you’re trying to solve one health issue, there’s no need to cause yourself another unnecessarily! You should also be careful not to apply ice for more than 15 minutes at a time, but after a break in the application you can reapply it several times throughout the day.

Read Also: Top 5 Worst Incidences of Martial Law in the United States

Another simple home remedy for a toothache is rinsing your mouth with saltwater. Dissolve a small amount of salt, a teaspoon or so, in warm water, then swish it around in your mouth and spit it out. Repeat a few times until the glass of water is gone, and then repeat again later in the day. Saltwater is effective for fighting toothaches because it’s alkaline, and as such discourages the growth of bacteria that thrive in acidic areas and can cause toothaches. Salt also has healing properties, so if your mouth also has sores or other discomfort, the saltwater will help to expedite the healing process of those and increase the overall health of your mouth.

Take Care of Your Teeth

toothbrush-toothpaste-dental-care-cleanMany of the home remedy options for toothaches are based in supplies that are useful for other medical or health issues, and so should be kept at hand anyway in order to ensure you are prepared for any eventuality. However, toothaches should not be taken lightly as they can lead to infections and further problems. As such, in a situation where professional medical and dental care is not readily available, it becomes especially important that good dental hygiene is practiced in order to stave off tooth decay and tooth pain as much as possible.  You need your teeth to keep the rest of your body healthy, so take care of your teeth, be prepared, and know how to deal with a toothache appropriately.

Derrick Grant is the founder of Prepper Press, a publisher of post-apocalyptic fiction and survival nonfiction. Follow his Facebook writer page for all things dystopian and apocalyptic.

 

Hot Tent Survival Camping: How to “Stay Warm In the Harshest Winter Climate”

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Video still: Wilderness Rocks, YouTube

By Mac Slavo – SHTFplan.com

How can you stay warm even in the coldest of climates if you are compelled to trek through the great wilderness around us?

There’s no way to know the exact conditions you may have to endure, or the situation that will lead way to the SHTF we have all been anticipating.

But you can be ready, and practice to hone your skills until that day comes.

Whether camping or bugging out, there are some good tips and skills for adapting for harsh winters, and these may come in handy, particularly if you live in the northern parts of the country.

On top of the appropriate warm gear, it would be wise to be able to control heat while backpacking or on the run. While it isn’t easy to do in every situation, it is possible even in a temporary structure.

One of the best strategies to use a portable, wood-burning stove designed to safely set up inside tents, with the stove exhaust exiting through a sectioned-pipe (also portable) that is designed to vent through hole in the roof of the tent or shelter.

Best of all, these stoves are relatively affordable (or you could make your own).

Check out this video via Wilderness Rocks:

Hot Tent Wood Stove Bushcraft Overnight winter survival Backpacking.

Here are some other videos on how to best handle the harsh climate of winter survival camping.

As usual, there isn’t just one right way to do it, but putting these strategies into practice will give you the opportunity to work out which methods work best for your needs.

The last thing anyone wants to do is discover they are inadequately prepared to deal with the cold once there is no turning back.

Solo Bushcraft Camp. 2 Nights in Snow – Natural Shelter, Minimal Gear.

Warmest Winter Survival Shelter – Deep In Bear Country

Bush Camp Long Term Winter Survival Shelter Construction

Whatever you do, make sure you stay out of the cold long enough to avoid getting hypothermia, or succumbing to the elements.

Surviving in this climate can be one of the most deadly settings you’ll ever encounter.

Continue reading at SHTFplan.com: Hot Tent Survival Camping: How to “Stay Warm In the Harshest Winter Climate”

Filed under: Emergency Survival Tips, Fire, Prepping, Shelter

Survival Books for Your Bunker

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survival_book_bunker_cat_books_in_caseBe honest, you probably own somewhere between a handful and a shelf-full of various survival and prepping oriented books. And you have the intention of reading them, but know that you probably won’t unless you absolutely must. My personal survival oriented book collection occupies about eleven linear feet of shelf space. While the books address many topics, they fit into about a half dozen specific genres. There are the military survival manuals, the medical and first aid tomes, those pages that address wilderness lore and primitive skills, general prepping, hunting, tracking, gardening, game preparation, food storage, a few odd tangents, and plenty of survival stories. So how to take my library on the run?

By Doc Montana, a contributing author to SHTFBlog & Survival Cache

survival_book_bunker_waterproof_caseFirst, the bunker. I chose the Pelican Storm Case iM2400 waterproof polycarbonate container. If the end of the world is more of a whimper, then this case is overkill. But if it’s more of the bang I suspect it will be, then this Pelican is just the bird for the Storm. The size is about the same as a small suitcase, and was chosen to provide some focus to the bunker, but not to limit this to a Top Ten List. Additionally, weight and size need to play a role in your decision making. If I Bug In, I have all my books, magazines, manuals, and pretty much everything else in my prepping world. But if I have head to my BOL (Bug Out Location) then I need a single, durable, waterproof package that just might contain my entire Library of Alexandria.

Importance of Purpose of Bug Out Books

survival_book_bunker_tracking_navigation_trackingLike many with a survivalist/prepper bend, I tend to accumulate books about all aspects of survival from pet first aid, to boobytraps, to gardening within a square foot, to firearm repair. But as my library increased in weight, I decided what I really needed is a Bug Out Bag Of Books or BOBOB. Or another name I use is my Survival Book Bunker or SBB. In other words, a consolidation of reading material chosen specifically for when one must take the survival literature show on the road. Bug Out Books are not about Bug Out Bags (that ship has sailed), but instead the necessary skills that might be needed in the future to survive and thrive post Bug Out.

Read Also: Prepping Advice From Books

Lately, however, I have admitted to myself that I won’t be reading many of these books cover to cover but rather just referring to them or studying their table of contents so I know the gist of the book. And instead of putting the books back on the shelf, I have decided to build a portable bunker for them when when I have to throw the Survival Book Bunker (SBB) in the back of the Bug Out Vehicle (BOV) when I head to my Bug Out Location (BOL) with my Bug Out Bag (BOB).

The books I’ve selected are not in stone. They are just the best representatives of the different categories or genres of books that I think will be mission critical in a true Bug Out situation.

Current Book Categories

 survival_book_bunker_military_survival_army_sas1. Advanced strategic survival techniques: These books are the military survival books that address situations across all terrains, weather, and adversaries. They often lean towards the escape/evasion/short and long term survival from a non-apocalyptical point of view. But no matter the perspective, they are the broad-spectrum information antibiotic for survival. If you don’t have these books, you might not need the rest of the books in the bunker.

2. First Aid and Emergency Care: This category of books should need no introduction. But what it does need is a variation of complexity. For some who might use this Book Bunker, basic first aid might be a new skill. Others however, might be advanced and need guidance in surgical techniques for removing bullets and suturing wounds and cauterizing arteries. And not just for humans. Animal care might be part of your kit. I know Pet Vetting is part of mine.

3. Primitive skills and Woodlore: Books in this pile are geared towards self-reliance and off-grid life. They include topics about solid shelters, cooking, toolmaking, and pretty much anything else you might need for long-term life in the woods. There are plenty of sub-genres in this category including hunting and gathering, long-term food storage, long-term shelter building, tanning hides, making cordage, and literally basket weaving. On a side note, my particular copy of “Wilderness Living and Survival Skills” is autographed and signed by both authors. I’m not sure it will improve my chances, but everytime I see the signatures I will know I am not alone in the survival world.

survival_book_bunker_woodlore_wisdom_game_processing4. Gardening and Food Preservation: Maybe 50 or 100 years ago, a basic understanding that everyone would have is how to preserve game, salt meat, and can fruit. Not that those skills are difficult, but rather just elusive in today’s technofied world. But luckily they can be regained rather quickly with a few minutes of reading, and a few hours of doing. Gardening? Well that is another matter entirely. Gardening, like marksmanship, is a skill gained through practice and experience that is also perishable. But when it comes to food production, the stakes are a little higher to getting it right the first time.

5. X-Factor books: There is room for a few in my Survival Book Bunker for a couple tomes about boobytraps, parameter security, and a few other unmentionable topics that might provide a level of security and survival advantage beyond the suggestions in mainstream literature. And I’ll just leave it at that for now.

MIA

A few topics are missing from my Book Bunker. I might add them later, but for now I will leave them as just concerns on the horizon. 

Farming and Ranching: Frankly, I would find it more likely that I would stumble across a library of books on animal husbandry than I would find a herd of cattle in need of an owner.

Blacksmithing: A couple of hundred years ago i would have worried about making my own ironworks including blades. But today I am going to reserve my Book Bunker  space for dead-on needs over imagined scarcity. In fact, for blacksmithing I would need much more gear in my BOB than just a book on how to forge metal like a hammer, anvil, bellows, and shop.

Drug chemistry: While it would be nice to grab a handful of whatever is around and formulate some broad-spectrum antibiotics, in reality the chance of cooking up some perfect drugs for your needs is pretty slim. In the end, I will leave my chemistry needs to medicinal plant guides and chicken soup for colds.

Related: Five Best DIY Toothache Remedies

hugh_glass_illustrationSurvival Stories etc.: There is an entire shelf of books that no longer have immediate relevance because, as I noted above, “That Ship Has Sailed!” These books including general preparing, how to Bug Out, what to consider with your Bug Out Vehicle, where you should put your Bug Out Location, and what you should cache in your BOL. Also of lesser consequence are lists of supplies, and the endless pile of survival stories (although there is still plenty of successful data mining to do if you have the time).

In the end, if you toss in a Bible of your persuasion and a copy of the US Constitution into your Survival Book Bunker you should be good to go. Think I missed something? Add your suggestions in the comments.

Survival Lessons From The Old: One Pot Meals

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For eons, entire meals from stews to casseroles have been made in one pot.

The cowboys and settlers did it because they only had the luxury of one pot on the trail, and we do it today because of the convenience and simply because there are so many recipes out there that are delicious as well as fast.

We follow their example, and learn from their knowledge. Here’s what we should know about this old way of cooking!

As preppers, it’s important that we know how to cook without electricity, and though I’ve included slow cookers in this article, the rest of them don’t require anything other than fire and the vessel.

There are some rules for cooking in a single pot if you want the meal to be delicious and safe to eat, but for the most part, they’re quick and easy to prepare and clean up.

Adjust Cooking Times of Veggies

First, you want your vegetables to cook evenly, so if you’re standing over the pot, you may want to throw hard veggies like carrots in 15 minutes or so before you add the rest.

For soft veggies such as cabbage and broccoli, put them in at the last minute since they only take 10 or 15 minutes to cook in a pot. This isn’t a necessity, if you’re throwing something in the crockpot and leaving, so just know that some veggies may be a little mushy if you put them in all at once.

Sear Your Meat

Next, searing your meat adds flavor to the meal. This is especially true of large pieces of meat such as roasts, pork chops, beef tips, and other meats that are thick and solid. You don’t have to do this, but if you do, it will add an extra layer of flavor. Hamburger and Salisbury steak has a crispier texture if you sear it beforehand.

Beware of Pathogens

You must make sure that your meat cooks all the way through, especially if it’s poultry. This isn’t such a big deal with red meat as long as you don’t mind it a bit rare in the middle, but birds carry salmonella.

Trust me – one bout of food poisoning from that and you’ll make sure it never happens again! USDA guidelines say that red meat should be cooked to 145 degrees F, ground meats should cook to 160 degrees, and poultry should be 165 degrees.

When you’re finished eating, make sure that you refrigerate it. Bacteria begin to grow quickly between the temperatures of 40 degrees F and 140 degrees F, so too avoid the risk of food poisoning, refrigerate your food within 2 hours (1 hour if the temperature outside is above 90 degrees) after it comes off the heat.

Cold foods, especially ones that contain mayo or eggs, should be kept at 40 degrees, so just put them in a bowl of ice if they’re going to sit out, and stir it frequently to keep the entire dish cold.

Leftovers can be kept in the fridge for 3-4 days as long as their stored in containers, and can be frozen almost indefinitely, but they’ll begin to lose flavor after a month or so depending upon the food.

Types of Cookers

There are several types of cookers that you can use depending upon the dish and the circumstances. Especially if you’re cooking over a fire, you’ll want to cook as efficiently as you can, and one pot meals are certainly the best way to do that.

Since our primary concern is cooking in a survival situation, we’ll start with those methods.

Dutch Ovens

This is one of my favorite ways to cook outside because you can quite literally cook anything that you want to in them. Whether you want to make stew, chopped steak, or breads, a Dutch oven will do the trick. They steam the food internally, which keeps it moist and tender. You can buy aluminum and cast iron Dutch ovens, though the cast iron, in my opinion, is far superior in nearly every way.

The history of the Dutch oven is believed to date back to Holland in the early 1700s, and was brought to America with the first settlers. They were popular with settlers and other people, such as ranch trail cooks, and were used in work camps during WW1. Paul Revere improved the design by adding a flanged lid and made some other modifications, likely to improve the strength and consistency of the cooking.

Joseph Lodge built a cast iron foundry in Tennessee that still produces arguably the highest quality Dutch ovens and iron skillets available today.

They come in different sizes and two primary designs – the bean pot or kitchen oven, best for use indoors or placing on a rack over an open fire, and the camp or outdoor oven, which has a flanged lid that can also serve as a skillet. It also has legs, a flat bottom, and a sturdy wire handle so that you can hang it or lift it from the coals.

They’re great for cooking indoors or out and can be used in the oven, over a campfire, or buried in the coals, depending upon your needs and what you’re cooking. Cooking with a Dutch oven is simple, too, once you get the hang of it.

Solar Oven

Cooking with a solar oven is a great alternative when you don’t have (or don’t want to use) electricity. Though you can convert many of your own personal favorites and use them with your solar oven, here’s a recipe written specifically for that cooking method. You will surely love this pot roast cooked on your solar oven.

Ingredients for this tasty recipe are:

  • 3 pound rump roast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder or 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 large onion, quartered
  • 4 medium potatoes, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 5 carrots, cut into 2 inch chucks
  • 1 tbsp. Italian seasoning
  • 2 c beef broth (or 2 cups water with 2 bouillon cubes).

Put the roast in a roasting dish and sprinkle with salt, pepper, garlic, and Italian seasoning. Add the veggies around the roast and then pour the bouillon in. Place in your solar oven and bake for 3 hours or until tender.

Stop asking yourself if the solar oven works during winter, because it does, and here’s the proof!

Video first seen on jnull0.

Let’s celebrate the Winter Solstice with a special offer for Survivopedia readers!

Use the promocode SurvivoSolstice and get 10% discount to boost your cooking! 

Iron Skillets

Thank you again, Joseph Lodge for making iron skillets of the highest quality readily available in the US. The original iron skillet dates back to 1707, when Abraham Darby invented a process to make cast iron in large quantities so that they could be produced for common use.

Iron skillets come in a variety of shapes and sizes, often with lids, and are great for cooking one pot meals in smaller quantity. They’re not quite as versatile as the Dutch oven, but certainly have value, especially for cooking quick meals such as breakfast scrambles and meals that don’t require a deep pot or long cooking times, such as Salisbury steaks, cornbread, camp biscuits, and fried chicken.

Slow Cookers

Ahh, possibly one of the best cooking inventions of modern times. Just as with man, the slow cooker started as something quite a bit different than what it is today. In 1952, West Bend came out with the electric bean pot, which was just a ceramic pot that sat on top of an electric heating element. This wasn’t much different than cooking on a stove, but was perhaps the first commercial attempt at a portable cooking vessel.

Enter Irving Naxon. He had developed the idea of a portable cooker that would have a crock sitting inside a casing that contained a heating element, thus providing even heating. He applied for the patent on May 21, 1936 and received it in January of 1940.

Naxon credited the idea to his Lithuanian grandma, who told him about how she used to cook dish called cholent after hours at a local bakery. She would prepare the meal, then place it in the oven so that the fading heat would slowly cook it overnight. This provided his inspiration for “low and slow” cooking.

He brought his idea, called the beanery, to market in the 50s and in 1970, Rival manufacturing hired Naxon, rebranded his product as the Crock Pot, and put it on shelves across America for $25. Surprisingly enough, that price hasn’t increased by more than a few dollars for a standard version since then.

There are, of course, improved versions with fancier technology and higher capacity that cost more.

Slow cookers are absolutely fabulous for all sorts of meals from stews to ribs that you want to cook slow and low while you’re away from the house or busy doing other things.

Canning

As survivalists, we would be remiss to leave out this method of preparing one pot meals.

We’ve discussed in another article how to put these together and, like our other cooking methods, canning is a great way to prepare both meals and desserts. You can also dry-can meals using dry ingredients that only require that you add water.

The one benefit that makes canning stand out is that you can eat the meal right out of the jar. It is, of course, more delicious if you heat it up, but if you’re without power and don’t want to draw attention to yourself with a fire, eating straight out of the jar may be your only option.

Another benefit here is that you can prepare the meals years in advance as opposed to cooking them on the spot. In a survival situation, that’s a huge plus.

The Beauty of One Pot Meals

There are a ton of reasons why a one pot meal is so appealing, but from a survival perspective, the ease of cooking is probably the biggest one.

You can cook a pot roast complete with all the fixings in a Dutch oven and you can even cook such meals as chicken and dumplings. They’re not just for soups and stews.

Having a variety of delicious meals is a huge morale booster as well as a way to get all of your nutrition out of one pot. Though beans and cornbread are delicious and filling, it gets old after a few days and isn’t a well-rounded meal.

One Pot Cooking Ideas

A quick internet search will net you a ton of great ideas for one pot meals, but you can always just use your imagination. There are also some recipes that you should know by heart. They aren’t necessarily one pot meals, but they are essentials that will help you keep your crew full and nourished.

  • Want fried potatoes, eggs, and sausage for breakfast? Toss your potatoes in first, then add your sausage and cook both til they’re done and throw in your eggs. Scramble them all together, and you’ve got a delicious one pot meal.
  • How about beef tips with gravy and a baked potato? Toss your beef tips into your crock pot or Dutch oven, wrap your potatoes in foil and toss those in with it. When they’re done, remove the potatoes and add some flour and milk to the beef tips. Cook it for a few minutes until the gravy thickens and you’ve got dinner.
  • Soups and stews, of course, are obvious, but how about ribs with corn on the cob and roasted potatoes? Easy peasy. Cut your potatoes into cubes and toss them in your seasoning. Wrap them in foil packs. Do the same with the corn after you break the ears into halves, or cut it off the cob. Put your rub or sauce on your ribs and toss them all into your Dutch oven or crock pot and you’re good to go. You can also do the potatoes and corn in the coals.

One pot meals are, for the most part, only limited by your imagination. They’re easy to throw together, toss into your cooking vessel of choice, and forget about. Also, you’re getting many more nutrients than you would if you only cooked a single item. That makes them a great survival food.

There is a great opportunity for Survivopedia readers to prepare for cooking in the sun, so grab this offer available only for a few days!

Use the promocode SurvivoSolstice and get 10% discount to boost your cooking! 

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.

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Best Way to be Prepared While Traveling: Advice from Scott Finazzo, Author of Prepper’s Guide to Knots

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This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com Today we are featuring Scott Finazzo’s latest book, Prepper’s Guide to Knots. Prepper’s Guide to Knots  provides clear directions on tying various knots to help you in survival situations such as: Creating shelter Transporting an injured person Moving logs Protecting your home against intruders Hanging food bags to store or keep dry Except for using paracord, I have to admit I have not spent much time tying knots until I read this book.   […]

The post Best Way to be Prepared While Traveling: Advice from Scott Finazzo, Author of Prepper’s Guide to Knots appeared first on Apartment Prepper.

Food to Stock for Emergencies

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canned_miscellaneous_prepFor experienced preppers or survivalists, this is a no brainer, but for those just getting started down the road of preparing for worst case scenarios, this may be all new stuff.  Really, it is not rocket science, but for some it could be overwhelming or intimidating.  Let’s try to simplify things for you. I am amazed though at the frequency that inquiries come in about what foods to stock up for a bug in situation plan or to larder up a pantry at a secondary bug out location.  Emergency foods are important. It is crucial to stock up on these materials. How long are you going to be able to sustain yourself from gathered materials? 

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

There are plenty of choices and considerations to make with emergency foods. This is part of the challenge in prepping. If you have limited space at a bug out site, then sheer volume limitations might dictate to have these foods as a primary option instead of canned goods.  You decide what works best for you.

Stock What You’ll Eat

snack_shtf_prepRight now if I go through my own bug in pantry, I am going to find some items in there that either we decided we did not like or they just got shoved to the back of the drawer for one reason or the other.  I see three cans of black beans.  Black beans are OK, but not a favorite.  If I were hungry or starving that would be different.  I probably will not buy any more any time soon.

Related: Mountain House Review

So, look through your cabinets and take a poll of the family likes to decide what you eat most regularly.  That is a starting place.  Common sense then tells you to stock up on items that the family will consume without picky issues.  Things will be stressful enough without hearing, “yuk, I don’t want that junk.”  Do yourself a favor ahead of time and avoid those arguments.  

Remember, too, the power grid may be down.  You may lose everything in the fridge and freezer.  Cook what you can of meats and such, but plan on not having fresh or frozen foods for a while.

Proteins, Proteins

One of the more common food stocks mistakes is going heavy on carbohydrates.  You need some, but balance the pasta and such with foods high in energy sustainable proteins.  These can be meats, fish, and even protein bars for in between meals or snacks.  

protein_prep_food_shtfSome or many of the prepared canned meat products are very high in fats and salt.  Try to avoid those if these give you other troubles.  It just goes with the territory of most canned foods these days.  If you can find more healthy alternatives, then go for it. Try to balance any SHTF diet with fish such as canned tuna or salmon.  These are good sources of nutrients and would be easy to prepare or easily eat in a hurry.  I know there are many other options, so shop around.

I am not a nutritionist, but I know what my family and I will eat.  My plan is to not add on extra stress by having to eat some foods we simply don’t like or may avoid.  That would be a waste of time and money, both crucial during a SHTF event.  

Veggies

vegetables_prep_shtfBy all means plan to add a whole selection of vegetables to your SHTF diet.  Mostly these will be canned items.  If you have access to a fresh garden, then great.  Variety is indeed the spice of life.  Nobody wants green beans five days in a row and there is no need to do that.  Selection at the grocery is wide.  Beans of endless kinds, greens, corn, tomatoes, asparagus, beets, mushrooms, hominy, and so much more.  It would be cheaper of course to buy by the case, but be sure to monitor the expiration dates carefully on all foods.  

Fruits and Desserts

fruit_prep_shtfBe sure to add canned or dried fruits to your stores.  Fruit can add a tremendous variety food and can be eaten almost like a dessert or snack.  Select a wide variety from peaches, pineapple, apple sauce, fruit cocktail, pears, strawberries, and cherries for example.  Fruits are a bonus. Think about some snacks too that have some shelf life.  We like puddings and the little fruit cups as well.  Some candy bars might be OK, but also have a selection of snack bars with nuts, chocolate, and caramel or whatever.  Bags of hard candy make occasional special treats. Boxed crackers and cheese sandwiches can last for a while.

Quick and Easy

Sure, I like my share of the easy to pop open items that can be quickly heated or eaten right out of the can.  There is a wide selection here, too.  Such items include all types of pasta with or without some kind of meat, along with a tomato sauce.  There is canned mac’n’cheese and other cheese concoctions.  Then there are hordes of canned soups, and chili.  Just shop the grocery aisles to supplement other foods with these items knowing their nutritional value is dubious, but then you likely already eat some of these items anyway now.  

Canned or Pouch

If you have the space at either your bug in or out locations, then canned goods are long lasting, durable to handle, and easy to utilize.  Ironically, the empty cans have many other uses as well, and the paper labels can be removed and used as fire starter materials.  Make sure you have a manual can opener.

Read Also: Choosing the Best Survival Food for Your Bug Out Bag

pouch_food_prep_shtfOf course the down side on cans is the weight and volume, so they are not easily transportable in an emergency.  That is why pre-event stocking is good planning at home or at an alternative evacuation site.  Clearly it is best to have these tasks done ahead of time for the most part.  Keep rotating and resupplying as time goes on. Pouches, foil bags, and other such food containers have many advantages for storage and long term use.  Rip off the top, and eat or pour into a pan for heating if you want.  They are simple and most of the packaging can be consumed in a fire and not a waste dump.  The overall food variety is not that great with items in this type of packaging compared to conventional cans.  

Now, if you are lucky enough to have electric power that can change a lot of things, but don’t plan to count on it.  That is why I skipped baking, breads, and such on purpose, but there are other cooking options, too.  Again, variety is best, maximize shelf life, and buy items that could be eaten without adding water or having to cook or heat it.  Stock up enough for at least a month at a bare minimum.  More is better.  

11 Tips On How To Survive A Polar Vortex

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The term “polar vortex” isn’t one that most people became familiar with until just recently. We had to face it last winter, and we have to face it again these days.

Now, however, it’s a serious concern and needs to be figured into your potential disaster events if you live in areas that may be affected.

Read the following article to find out what a polar vortex is, what it isn’t (if you haven’t been affected by one), and what you need to do to prepare!

What is a Polar Vortex?

We have two polar vortexes – one around each pole. It’s an area of low pressure that circulates counterclockwise in the stratosphere around the pole all the time, but weakens in the winter time.

Sometimes it wobbles a bit and throws a surge of bitter cold south into the US, and other countries in equivalent latitudes around the world.

When this happens, it can drop temperatures below zero. It’s a phenomenon that is always around, but we just don’t notice it until it puffs a blast of freezing air toward us.

scientific-american

It actually plays a big part in the weather worldwide throughout the year. Think about it – how often do you ever hear of cold fronts coming from the south?

Usually, polar vortexes force temperatures down into the single digits in areas of higher latitude such as the Dakotas and Michigan, but the temperatures go up farther down the map.

Still, even if temperatures drop into the teens or twenties, even a light wind will make that temperature seem exponentially colder.

What a Polar Vortex Isn’t

There’s a lot of misinformation out there about polar vortexes, so let’s clear some of them up. First, they’re not a sign or result of global warming. Though many weather anomalies of recent years are linked to the warming of the Earth, polar vortices aren’t. They’ve existed exactly as they are since we started tracking them and the frequency or intensity hasn’t changed.

Next, a polar vortex doesn’t bring snow with it. Weather events such as rain and snow occur in the lower level of the atmosphere and polar vortices occur right above that. They bring bitter cold that can make snowstorms much worse, but they don’t actually bring snow or freezing rain with them.

What you need to Know about a Polar Vortex

The first and most important thing that you need to know about a polar vortex is that it can be lethal.

Even if you’re in a warmer part of the area that’s affected by the vortex, temperatures combined with wind chill can easily drop to temperatures that can cause frostbite and hypothermia quickly if you’re not bundled up.

Polar vortexes also tend to set in fairly quickly and hang around for at least a few days. If you don’t have to go outside during one, don’t. Avoid driving anywhere if you can, because it’s a guarantee that the roads are going to be icy even if it does snow.

If snow or freezing rain is going to happen right before or during a polar vortex, that danger is going to be amplified because temperatures that low can cause several disasters including car crashes, hypothermia, collapsed rooves, limbs, and powerlines, and burst water pipes.

Obviously, even one of those can be horrible, but they may also occur in tandem. It’s not outside the realm of possibility that your roof can collapse while your power is out. That’s why you need to take precautions and be prepared.

How to Prepare for a Polar Vortex

There are relatively small steps that you can take in advance that will help keep you safe. Other steps will need to be taken during/after the snow, but they’re relatively minor.

Technically, to prepare for just a polar vortex, you only need to worry about the cold, but since it often coincides with a snow storm, we’re going to assume that the worst case scenario and prepare for both a polar vortex and a snow storm.

1. Stockpile Food and Water

You may have a tough time getting to the store because of ice or snow, so make sure that you have at least a week’s worth of food and water stored back.

Yes, you’ll have access to plenty of snow, but if you want to drink that, you’ll have to filter and purify it. Stockpile at least 2 gallons of water per person per day. You’ll need to drink more because, oddly enough, water needs increase with extremes in temperature.

Regarding food, figure on at around 2000 calories if you’re going to be outside for more than just a few minutes at a time because your body burns a lot of fuel just to keep warm when temperatures drop that low.

You typically have several days of warning, so there’s no excuse not to be prepared.

2. Stay Inside

Seriously. If you don’t have to be outside, don’t be. In temperatures in the single digits, it only takes 15 minutes or so for frostbite to become a possibility, and when the temperatures are below zero, that time decreases even more.

Hypothermia is also a problem and, like frostbite, increases the colder it gets. Wind plays a big factor in the onset of both conditions.

Also, it’s a guarantee that there’s ice on the road, so there’s no reason to risk it if you don’t have to. Be prepared in advance, because crashing your car for a gallon of milk is bad, but dying for it just isn’t worth it.

3. Wrap Your Pipes

If you can access them, wrap your pipes to protect them from freezing. This tape keeps your pipes warm enough that the water in your pipes won’t freeze. If you don’t know how to do it, read our article about how to insulate your heating system.

This not only saves you a ton of money if your pipes burst, but also ensures that you have access to your water and heat as long as you have city water or a generator for your pump.

4. Trim your Trees

There’s nothing cozier than sitting around a tree limb that’s fallen through your roof and into your living room. Oh wait – yes there is.

This is a relatively easy disaster to avoid – simply keep your trees trimmed back from your house. Here’s a short guide on how to prepare your garden for winter.

5. Bundle Up

If you absolutely must go outside, bundle up. Make sure that your fingers, ears, nose, and toes are particularly protected because when you get cold, your body automatically pulls the blood flow to the center of your body to preserve heat. This leaves your extremities vulnerable to frostbite.

You also naturally lose more heat through the top of your head, the bottom of your feet, and your palms, so make sure they’re covered well to preserve that heat.

Mittens are actually better than gloves because they keep your fingers together and allow the heat that emanates from your palms to warm your entire hand.

mittens

6. Your Animals

Your animals are going to need some special attention depending upon what kind they are. Regardless of their species, they’re going to need to stay warm and they’re likely going to need extra food and water to meet the caloric needs required to stay warm.

Extremes in temperature can also cause animals such as milk cows and chickens to stop producing milk and eggs, so it’s especially important to keep them comfortable.

Winterize your barn and coop by sealing it up, but leave ventilation going through in order to keep the air fresh. Know your animals and adjust to meet their needs.

7. Check your Roof

Before winter even sets in, check your roof and rafters for damage and stability. This is one of the biggest risks you have in the case of a polar vortex and snow storm clashing.

If temperatures drop enough to make building materials brittle, then heavy snow is piled on top, the odds of your roof collapsing increases quite a bit.

8. Seal Windows and Doors

Your heating system is working hard enough to keep you warm even if your house is well insulated and sealed.

Cracks around windows and doors can really dampen that effort and make it nearly impossible to keep your house warm, so take care of that before winter sets in. It will also help save you money in the summer by keeping cold air in.

Read this Survivopedia article to find out how to build your own frames for insulating windows.

9. Winterize Your Car

This may not seem like a big deal, but it can save your life. You need good tires, but not as much for traction (nothing really sticks to ice though good tread does do much better in snow and mud) as to make sure that you don’t get a flat.

Chains for your tires, adequate anti-freeze, winter-grade thinner-viscosity oil, and just a general winterizing is important. Getting stranded in freezing weather is extremely dangerous.

On that note, make sure that you have a get-home bag in your car. You need a full change of clothes, extra socks and gloves, and even extra shoes. Also, have several bottles of water, hand warmers, several protein bars or MREs, and flares.

Blankets, at least emergency blankets, should be in there, too, and a fire-starter wouldn’t hurt. Besides these essentials, you just need to know your circumstances and build the rest of the bag around your needs.

10. Have Alternate Heat

If you rely on electricity for heat, you REALLY need to have an alternative heat source. Installing a wood burner is probably your best option, but a generator or wood for your fireplace (if you have one) are good, too.

Whatever you decide on, have plenty of fuel and the equipment to start it. Be realistic and base your heating needs on your house and your family, not some ideal version of them.

newEMP_2

11. Include Games and Activities in your Stockpile

You’re going to get bored pretty quickly, especially if you lose cable and power. Make sure that you have several different games, books, or hobby supplies on hand to alleviate stress and boredom.

Being prepared for a polar vortex is extremely similar to preparing for a blizzard, except you need to make some modifications for the extreme temperatures that you may have to deal with.

If you have any suggestions or ideas that I’ve missed here, please feel free to add them in the comments section below.

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.

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Cold Weather Camping – Why You Should Try It

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climbing-225x300Most folks are inherently afraid of the idea of camping out in cold weather, but before we go further let’s define cold weather.  A person from Alabama is probably going to have a different definition of what cold weather is than someone who lives in Maine or any of the northern latitudes.  I consider temps 30 to 50 degrees pleasant to sleep in.  Anything below 30 degrees is starting to get cold and once the temperature hits 10 degrees, I consider it true cold weather camping.  The coldest I’ve ever slept in was -40 degrees Fahrenheit, which is pretty cold!

By Jarhead Survivor, a Contributing Author of SurvivalCache and SHTFBlog

So why would someone want to subject themselves to the torture of sleeping in the cold?  A couple of reasons:

  1.  To prove to yourself that you can do it.  If you ever have to bug-out in the cold with just a tent and sleeping bad you know you’ll be able to do it.
  2. Once you’ve done it a couple of times you’ll have your gear tweaked for the cold just the way you like it.
  3. Experience.  Nothing beats actual hands-on experience when it comes to any kind of camping, but particularly cold weather camping.
  4. It’s actually fun once you understand how to stay warm out there.  It only sucks when you’re not prepared for it!

Gear

tent-300x225Shelter and Sleeping:  A four season tent is good if you’re going to be camping in higher elevations or where it’s windy; however, I’ve slept in three season tents in dead winter and they worked just fine.  They’re just not as sturdy in a high wind.  I’ve also slept in tipi’s, five and ten military tents, and snow shelters, all of which did a good job of keeping the weather off.  In my mind the sleeping bag is the most important piece of gear you can take with you into a cold weather environment.  The colder the bag rating the better you’ll sleep.  I’ve had a few nights where I slept cold (meaning I was shivering in my sleeping bag) because I took the wrong bag or was experimenting with different sleep systems.  A sleeping pad is important too because it separates you from the ground, which will try to suck the heat out of your body.

Stove and Fuel:  Other than small wood stoves, you can put in wall tents or military tents my favorite stove is the MSR Whisperlite.  Check out this video I made a couple of years ago.

Sled or Toboggan:  An easy way to move gear through deep snow is with a sled or toboggan.  I’ve pulled sleds called ahkios, which we used in Norway, but probably the most prevalent sled I’ve used is the toboggan.  The toboggan isn’t just a death ride into the valley, it’s actually designed to carry gear.  It’s slim width is well suited to fit into your snowshoe tracks as you pull it behind you.

Snowshoes:  If you think you’re going to hike long distances in deep snow without snowshoes, think again.  Let me save you the trouble and tell you that it is exceedingly difficult moving through deep snow without them.  Invest in a decent pair and your life will be much happier.

Clothes/Boots:  Synthetics and wool are your best choices here.  Remember the old adage, “Cotton kills!”  When it gets wet, cotton is pretty much useless when it comes to keeping you warm.  Dress in layers using synthetics and wool and you’ll be fine.  A good, warm pair of boots is also a good investment.

Water Filter:  If it’s warmer than 32 degrees F., you can get by with a filter.

Pot Set/Mess Kit:  If it’s really cold, you’ll likely be melting snow into water, so make sure you’ve got a pot to go with your stove.  Snow is super fluffy compared to water, so you’ll need a bunch of snow to  make just a little water.  Plan accordingly.

Fire Starter:  Lighters are good, but remember that butane doesn’t perform that well when it gets really cold.  I always carry a firesteel as a back up.  Matches are good as long as they are fresh and don’t get wet.  I’ve used the wax tipped matches with mixed results in cold and wet weather and would rather have a lighter. Experiment and see what works for you.

Flashlight:  Since it gets dark around 1630, it’s wise to have a couple of flashlights and even a lantern on hand.  I love lantern light and that’s what I use 95% of the time when I’m cold weather camping in my tipi or military tent.

Toilet Paper:  When there’s three feet of snow under you and no leaves, you’ll want to have some TP with you.  You’ve been warned!

First Aid Kit:  You’ll want a comprehensive first aid kit.  In cold weather you could see anything from a cut by an axe to trench foot.  Be prepared with knowledge and how to treat the injury.

Navigation:  You all know how I feel about GPS.  Yes, it’s totally awesome when it works.  I love looking at my phone and seeing what’s over the next hill, but when the phone or GPS dies where are you going to be?  Carry a map and compass. More importantly, know how to use it!  If you’re in the back country snow shoeing and get lost, you have suddenly entered into a true life and death situation.  Make sure you know how to get home, or at least to the nearest road.

Considerations

winterfire-300x225Some things to think about in cold weather.  Carry extra long underwear with you.  When you stop for the night and you’re still warm from moving change into something dry as soon as you can.  If you’re already dry, no worries, but if you’ve been sweating you’ll be a lot more comfortable if you change. Everything takes longer in cold weather.  Moving, setting up your tent, getting water… everything.  Make sure you give yourself extra time when setting up camp the first time, so that you can get a feel for how long it takes.

Related: Your GPS is Awesome Until it Gets You Lost

Things tend to break easier in cold weather too.  The cold makes plastic brittle so it cracks easier, cold metal sticks to wet skin, batteries die faster, and other fun stuff you’ll discover when you get out there.

Stay Hydrated!

You won’t feel as thirsty in cold weather.  Remember to stop and take frequent water breaks as you’re moving.  One good thing about snow is when you urinate it’s easy to gauge how yellow it is.  If it’s dark, you need to drink way more water.  If it’s as clear as the snow, good job!

Going to the Bathroom At Night

snowmobile-300x169Of all the things about cold weather this is the one that sucks the most.  When you have to get up at 2:00 am to go to the bathroom and it’s -10 outside you might wish you were dehydrated, but don’t do it.  I sleep with wool socks and as soon as I get up I stick my feet in my boots, grab my soft coat, and go outside.  Usually there’s a designated area to go to the bathroom, but what you’ll probably find is at night people will take about five steps away from the tent and let fly.  If there’s no wind it’s not too bad.  Look up at the sky and marvel at how crystal clear it is.  If it’s windy and snowing, you’d better hurry because you’re probably going to freeze your ass off.  Once done, race back to the tent and crawl into your sleeping bag and get warm again.  You’ll be surprised at how fast you get back to sleep!

Read Also: Cold Weather – The Great Equalizer

Another  option is to use an old water bottle as a “piss bottle”.  Just maneuver around inside your sleeping bag until you’re in position, open up the old bottle and urinate into it.  Be careful you don’t miss!!  Cap it up and slip it outside the bag when done.  It’s more comfortable, but riskier if you can’t see what you’re doing.

Summary

Despite all the things I’ve told you to watch out for here winter camping is still an enjoyable experience.  Once you’ve got your gear nailed down and your winter knowledge solid, you’ll  enjoy those trips into the back woods.  The only way to know for sure is to get out there and try it.  Remember, when you’re walking from your heated car to the office and you’re wearing thin pants and winter jacket you’ll tell yourself, “No way in hell am I camping in this!”  But as soon as you put on three or four layers and climb to the top of a mountain somewhere, the wind hitting you in the teeth feels refreshing.

Don’t sit around for life to pass you by, folks.  Get out there and grab it by the tail and live it like it was meant to be lived! Questions?  Comments? Sound off below!

Photos Courtesy of:

Jarhead Survivor
Kim Tashjian 

15 Skills For Surviving A Collapsed City

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Urban Survival

Will you survive a disaster in a city without having resources such as water, food, and safe shelter at your immediate disposal? You’re going to be facing hard times and the adversity from your fellow urbanites who aren’t survival-savvy.

Whether it’s a financial collapse or a natural disaster, you need to know how to survive. You can prepare building a food and water stockpile. But the most important thing to stockpile is knowledge.

That’s going to be the difference between you and 99% of your neighbors. Knowing what to do to survive is three quarters of the battle.

You still have time to learn and develop your skills by grabbing the amazing offer we have for you. Read the whole article to find it!

1. Adaptability

First and foremost, you need to know how to adapt. To do this, you’re going to have to be flexible and think outside of the box. It may reach a point where paper money has no value; instead, commodities like food, hygiene products, and useful skills will become the new dollar. This is where stockpiling, prior skill acquisition, and living simply will come in handy.

2. Find Water Reserves and Sources

Do you know where the city water pipes are? What about the main source of drinkable water? Do you know where dairy and produce farms are in the immediate areas surrounding your city?

Clean water and access to purification methods will be critical to survival, not only for drinking and cooking, but also for personal hygiene and disease prevention.

Water filtration

3. Scavenging

Gleaning, dumpster diving, freecycling, or upcycling: regardless of what you call it, scavenging is a great way to find perfectly useful products and edible food. Though we live in a society that places a huge stigma on going through somebody else’s trash, we’ve also taken wasting to all new levels.

Probably half of what goes into a landfill isn’t actually garbage: it’s just something that somebody didn’t want any more or didn’t bother to fix. We encourage such behavior by making new items so affordable and accessible that it’s easier, and often cheaper, just to throw something away.

Scavenging now can save you a ton of money and decrease the amount of waste, if even by a bit. Imagine if everybody did it!

In an urban survival situation, scavenging may just save your life. After all, there may not be any stores open to buy parts to fix your generator, replace lost clothing, or buy fresh produce; these are all items that will be readily available in the dumpsters nearest you if you’re just willing to look.

This is all part of living simply and switching to a more frugal, less wasteful frame of mind.

4. Bartering

The art of getting a good deal for what you buy and trade is a valuable skill now but will be absolutely critical to surviving an urban collapse. Know what your possessions are worth, and have a stockpile of items that you know will be valuable in that situation.

Hygiene items, food and useful skills are going to be at the top of the list when it comes to barter. Weapons and ammo may be up there, too, but that may be something that you want to keep for yourself depending upon your situation.

The take-away here is that you need to know how to barter in such a manner that both you and the person you’re bartering with feel like a good trade was made.

5. Escape from Debris

If an event such as earthquake or engineering failure, you may very well find yourself trapped in a sea of debris. Knowing how to escape without causing further cave-ins or getting lost will be a valuable skill.

It will be similar to escaping a thick jungle full of hazards that can kill you if you’re not extremely careful. For that matter, it may kill you, or trap you, through no fault of your own.

You’re going to deal with not only keeping yourself safe and treating your own injuries, but also helping others out.

Learning how to escape debris requires adaptability, medical skills, a bit of structural and physics knowledge, tracking and woodcraft skills to prevent going in circles, and psychological skills. Being physically fit will also work to your advantage.

6. Living Small

This is a skill that you should learn now, and it goes along with many of the other skills that we’ve discussed: bartering, scavenging, adapting. Living small simply means decluttering your life and learning to make do with what you need, not want you want right at any given moment.

Your goal is to eliminate everything that isn’t directly integral to your survival or happiness.

Fixing things instead of throwing them away, being willing to upcycle products instead of always buying new, growing as much of your own food as possible, and leaving a small carbon footprint in general are all parts of living simply.

The less you depend upon other resources for your survival, the harder it will be for you to adapt to a survival situation.

7. Cooking on a Car Engine

Did you know that you can cook an entire meal on a car engine? All you need is some aluminum foil. First, warm up your car and feel for the hottest parts, and parts that get too hot to touch, but not so hot that they’ll catch things on fire. Most of these spots will be directly around the engine.

Many of those spots have nooks and crannies where you can tuck your food to cook while you travel. You don’t necessarily have to go anywhere – you can cook as long as the car is running – but it’s a waste of fuel.

Remember that potatoes and corn will cook much faster than a roast, so make sure that you put those on after you put the roast on to cook. You may also want to cook meat for the first half-hour or so in the hottest spots, then move them to places that aren’t quite so hot so that they cook all the way through.

Video first seen on Howcast

8. Stopping Bleeding

The first goal of urban survival is surviving! You can’t do that if you or the people that you care about bleed to death before you escape the building that’s fallen on you or whatever other disaster you find yourself in.

There are several different herbs that can help stop bleeding. You also need to know how to apply a tourniquet and how to pack a wound. Also, none of these skills will do you any good if you can’t keep your cool and adapt to the situation as you need to.

9. Start a Fire from Scrap

You likely won’t have access to trees and forest debris to start fires, but you will have access to broken doors, window sills, clothing, cotton swabs, and other extremely flammable items. Just about anything will burn, but it’s important that you learn what materials are toxic and which ones are safe to burn. Also, you want to burn items that don’t produce much smoke.

Again, just being able to adapt and think outside of the box will serve you well.

10. Cooking Under the Radar

Without a doubt, there are going to be a ton of starving people if things get bad enough. After all, we know that we, as preppers, are the small minority of society. If you want to survive, it’s going to be important to learn how to cook and eat without being noticed.

If you live in an apartment, developing a joint apartment communications team can help avoid this problem. They watch out for you and you watch out for them. This is something that you need to do before SHTF, and it’s still a good idea to play your hand close to the vest and not reveal exactly how much or what you have stockpiled.

Help avoid problems by hiding your stockpile, and don’t tell anybody that you’re even building one now. Even the nicest, most honest people will turn on you when they’re hungry and desperate.

Finding ways to cook without people smelling it will be one of your biggest problems.

The Urban Survival Playing Cards offer tips and hacks that will help you survive an urban crisis, and the best part is that you can carry them with you so that you can flip through them in an emergency.

urban_survival_cards_optin_620x350

11. Building Small Traps for Defense

Booby traps are quite easy to make but you need to be careful about how you set them. You don’t want your kids or old Mrs. Cunningham in 204 to get caught in them. Booby traps should blend into the environment. Cover holes in the stairs with old carpet, for example.

If you have an area that’s particularly difficult to defend, it may be best to seta a trap that causes a local, yet heavy, cave-in. You want it to be so dense that they can’t get through, but you don’t want to run the risk of weakening the structure of the rest of the building.

The idea is to make it difficult enough to get through that they leave in search of easier pickings.

12. Underground Navigation

Knowing how to get from one point to another unobtrusively is a valuable skill to have. Most cities sit atop a network of sewers, maintenance tunnels, and subways that make for excellent discreet navigational avenues.

Even if there is somebody else there, it’s easy to slip into the shadows and wait for them to pass. Most of these blueprints are available at city hall if you just know where to go.

This is part of gathering info and knowing what your resources are.

You can actually escape the city if you understand the underground tunnel system well enough to navigate them, even if part of them become blocked by cave-ins or are being observed by opposing forces.

13. Losing a Tail

If anybody so much as suspects that you have a supply stash, there’s a good chance that somebody will try to follow you home. This may also be the case if you’ve been out surveilling and the enemy catches on. In both these cases, you need to know how to lose a tail.

How you do this will, of course, depend upon your situation. If you can get lost in a crowd, losing a tail will be easier. Remember to walk at the pace, and in the direction of, the crowd.

Change your appearance as you go. Take off a hat or jacket because that’s what your tail will look for first – identifying clothing. Sneak in the front of a place and out the back.

14. Building a Shelter from Scrap

You’re going to need a place to stay if your apartment or house is breached or rendered uninhabitable. You can build shelter from debris such as cardboard, old doors, washer and dryer lids, garbage bags, and other items that you scavenge.

Knowing where to build a shelter is critical, too. Knowing the tunnel systems and the source of fresh, clean water will both play roles in helping you find a safe place to stay.

15. Staying Unnoticed by Keeping a Low Profile

If you’re prepared, you don’t want people to know it. You want to blend in. This means eating away from everybody, acting as if you’re in the same situation as everybody else, and behaving in as nondescript a fashion as possible. In essence, you want to be invisible by being just like everybody else around you.

However, you don’t want to change so much that you make other people suspicious of you, either. If you’re normally helpful and friendly, keep those traits even if you have to tone them down a bit. That probably won’t be hard because it’s who you are at your core.

The truly hard part is going to be resisting the urge to offer too much help. While it’s true that there is safety in numbers, the bottom line may be that you have limited resources that you can’t afford to share if you want your own family to eat. Decisions may be difficult.

One More Tip for Your Survival

Without a doubt, surviving a collapsed city will present more, or at least different, challenges than surviving an emergency on a well-stocked homestead that’s already partially off the grid. Still, it’s going to be the reality for many of us, and it’s a situation that you can survive if you’re adaptable, knowledgeable, and prepared.

Need a way of “trying the waters” with extended family and friends? Give them a pack of these playing cards or break them out the next time you get together to play poker. You’ll be able to tell by their reaction, whether they are interested. Who knows, you might even plant a seed in their minds, converting them to your point of view.

This is a great idea, especially as a way of introducing survival to people who are not yet preppers. It can be used as a tool for teaching children and adults alike. Either way, it could turn into a great Christmas gift.

Discover more than 52 survival tips that will help you thrive after disasters and breakdowns in urban areas. 

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia. 

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Prep Blog Review: How to Survive Winter In The City

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Winter survival

Winter holidays are just around the corner and I am sure you are dreaming about unforgettable moments with your loved ones. But don’t lose focus from your prepping and be ready to overcome any survival situation, even though you live in the city.

For today’s prep blog review I’ve gather five articles with useful tips for winter survival in urban areas.

1. 5 Strategies To Survive In The City When SHTF

Survive in the city

“When we think of survival and disaster preparedness the images most people conjure up are basically rural. Preparedness is all about being ready to harvest the essentials from the land, and there’s a distinct echo of pioneer families about it all. But is this realistic? The latest figures, from 2015, show that 82% of Americans now live in urban areas. If you’re one of them, being ready for the worst brings a whole new set of challenges with it.

In rural America space equals time. People are more spread out, and that buys time in all sorts of ways. Civil disorder will take longer to spread, giving you time to prepare. You probably stockpile essentials anyway, rather than buying them a few times a week from the convenience store, so you have at least some reserves to fall back on. In a city it’s different. You’re in close proximity with thousands or millions of other people, and things are a lot more precariously balanced. If the SHTF in a city it’s going to do it fast, and you need to be able to react fast to stay ahead of events.”

Read more on Ask a Prepper.

2. 7 Greatest Dangers for Preppers in the City

Dangers for urban preppers

Although I think it’s possible to survive most types of disasters while living in the city, that doesn’t mean the city isn’t more dangerous than the countryside. By choosing to remain in the city, you are facing several potential dangers, and it’s important that you be aware of those dangers. In this article I’ll cover the 7 greatest dangers for preppers in the city.

Scarcity

“One of the biggest drawbacks to hunkering down in a city is the lack of resources and space. Big cities are not typically self-sustainable, and instead have many lifelines of food and supplies shipped in from a multitude of locations.

Food is a vital resource that will quickly become scarce. Foraging is a short-term plan at best, since grocery store shelves don’t restock themselves and your average downtown area isn’t exactly teeming with herds of game.

The natural way to combat a food shortage is to already have a stockpile available. If you have the space to do so, stock up on several months of an emergency. And if you don’t have the space, then make space. You should also have an escape route planned and a bug out location to go to.”

Read more on Urban Survival Site.

3. Winter SHTF Planning and Preparation

Snow Storm

“Currently enjoying the first real Winter storm of the season up here in Canada and I must say I really like it. Got me thinking about those things relating to Winter survival that are either not really talked about or, worse yet, ignored. I am assuming you do not have a massive solar array and geothermal power. I am also assuming you live in the snow belt meaning two to five months of Winter and arctic temperatures.

It is Snowing. A lot!

Here at work I just opened our Storm accommodation plan so staff can sleep overnight rather than risk life, limb, and fenders trying to get home as 20cm of snow falls (8 inches). They have the option to sleep in warm, dry, secure location and get a free meal voucher.

Awesome deal but in SHTF when it snows hard it gets complex. Stay or go? I’d stay put until the obvious storm front has passed me by as I really will have no idea if the snow is stopping in an hour or going to keep dropping the next three days.”

Read more on The Prepper Journal.

4. DIY Heater for Emergencies

DIY Heater

“Each year, as the weather gets colder, I receive emails from readers who lose power in their homes or apartment.  They are worried about heating their space when the power is out.

I have written about keeping your apartment warm in the winter without power.   The following article provides some good instructions on making a homemade heater with items that are easy to obtain.  Please note this DIY heater is not meant to replace a heating system.  The flower pot heater is a backup so you can heat up a room in the event that power is out.”

Read more on Apartment Prepper.

5. Prepping for a Blizzard

Prepping For A Blizzard

“Few can deny the common sense behind preparing for something that is definitely going to happen, yet every year, an impending winter storm sends people rushing out to the store at the last minute, prepping for a blizzard that is due to hit in mere hours.

Every winter, if you live in certain climates, blizzards are going to occur. Usually, at least one storm will hit that will cause you to be snowed in.

Often, those storms mean you will also lose power. There is the inevitable rush to the store for milk and bread, during which people battle it out for the last supplies left on the shelves.”

Read more on The Organic Prepper.

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This article has been written by Drew Stratton for Survivopedia.

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Freedom – How to Escape Handcuffs

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handcuffs

By Ryan – Modern Survival Online

We have all seen it in the movies… the hero has been captured and picks his handcuffs to escape. I recall a time from my youth when I found myself in handcuffs and pulled a staple from a cork board to try and pick the lock. It did not work.

Needless to say this is a skill that takes some practice. Unlike the movies, you cannot just grab a hair pin and pop open your cuffs. The good news is that this is a challenge you can handle. Once you understand how the lock works, you should be able to consistently free yourself.

Also, if cuffed behind your back you should always be able to sit down on the ground and move your bindings to the front. This is the easiest way to break free.

Caution: Never practice picking handcuffs without having two keys within reach. Also, never tighten them down to the point that they cut off the circulation to your hands. You do not know how long it will take you to get your hands free.

Continue reading at Modern Survival Online: Freedom – How to Escape Handcuffs

Filed under: Emergency Survival Tips, Prepping

Silent Hunting After The Collapse

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Pick any post-SHTF scenario. Maybe from your favorite novel or maybe from your imagination… One of the major points of post-SHTF survival is staying off the radar, staying of the ‘X’, laying low, being the gray man, blending in, keeping silent. While many or most of you reading this may have an adequate (or more) […]

Fail to Prepare Fail to Live

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destruction_katrina_featured

insurance_policy_prepDoes it make sense to be a prepper?  Should you spend time and money on things that will help you survive a potential disaster that might never happen?  I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about these questions and always manage to circle back to the same answer:  prepping is your auto, life, and house insurance all rolled up into one. Would you drive around without insurance?  You could, but if you get into an accident you’ve got the potential to be paying expensive medical and vehicle bills the rest of your life.  In my opinion it’s hardly worth it.  Even if you’re not the one causing the accident you might still wind up footing the bill if the other person is uninsured.  Life is a crap shoot and you need to stack the odds in your favor as much as you can.

By Jarhead Survivor, a Contributing Author of SurvivalCache and SHTFBlog

ice_storm_98_trees_line_noaa6198Sure, paying insurance premiums sucks.  I hate to see a portion of my hard earned pay check go out the window on payday to pay for something that might never happen, but I do it.  I look at prepping the same way.  You don’t know when a natural disaster or any other kind of disaster is going to happen.  For example:  winter is coming and we might get another ice storm like we did in ’98.  Some people lost power for two weeks during that time and it was really something to see how people reacted to it.  A few years ago we had a storm go through Maine and I lost power for three days.  Not too bad, but then again I have a generator and my house is wired with a transfer switch.   I had running water, cooked on a camp stove, used my grill, had lights, TV for the kids, and refrigeration. Although it was a pain putting gas in the genny every day or so, it would have been far worse without it.

Get Prepared

What I found interesting is that during that time people would say, “Man, you’re lucky you have a generator.”  Hmm, not really.  I show up for work every day, have a side gig writing for a blog, and stay busy doing wilderness survival training for myself.  I don’t consider myself lucky.  I just show up for work every day.

Related: Toughen Up and Take The Pain 

tv_wasting_time“I don’t have time to prep!”  Is something I hear from people who spend hours binge watching The Walking Dead.  If you’ve got time to watch TV, you have time to do some prepping.  I quit watching television back around the time MTV started airing that first “The Real World” series.  I watched two episodes and felt like I’d lost a little piece of my life I’ll never get back. I turned off the cable and never looked back.  After the cable is gone and there’s plenty of time I hear, “But I don’t have the money!”

You don’t need to go out and buy a huge stockpile of food, weapons, and ammunition the first day.  This can be a game of little wins.  Check out this post about how to buy a little more every week to get some extra food in your pantry.  Within a reasonably short amount of time you can have a pretty decent amount of stores in and ready to go in case of emergency.

What about firearms?  My personal opinion is that firearms should be down the list of things you need to start prepping, but I guess that depends on where you live and who you might be expecting for company after TSHTF.  I know this flies in the face of traditional prepper thinking and I’ll probably take some heat for it, but I’d rather have food to eat and keep out of sight then to have a large supply of guns and ammo, but little or no food to feed the family.  A single well thought out firearm should do the trick for most people.

But let’s say you do want a gun and don’t have a bunch of money to throw at it.  Check out this post from Road Warrior about how to spend your hard earned money on surplus firearms.  If you decide to get a gun and take from someone else who’s prepared, that makes you an armchair commando.  It’s also a good way to get yourself killed or branded as someone who needs to be locked away.  Chances are good that the SHTF event – whatever it may be – will not last forever and there will be a day of reckoning for those who went down the wrong side of the law, or moral code, or whatever may be in place at the time.

Ask yourself what’s the downside of having some extra food and water on hand?  If you’re doing it right there shouldn’t be a down side.  You should be eating the oldest part of your rotation and moving the new stuff to the back just like they stock groceries at the super market.  If the lights go out for whatever reason, you’ll have food and water for awhile.  That’s being smart, but you’d be amazed at how many people only have a few days food or less in their pantry at any given time.  A lot of city folk out there like to pick up dinner on the way home so it’ll be fresh.

Taking Care of Number One When The Lights Go Out

generator_prep_liveI don’t think everybody will be a bad actor, but there are definitely a few out there that will act badly during an SHTF event or even a short range crisis.  One of my favorite examples is during ice storms in the Northeast.  There have been reports of people stealing generators while they’re still running and even death threats to line crews if they didn’t get electricity out to someone’s home!

Think about how important electricity is to us.  It’s literally the blood that flows through the nation’s arteries keeping our food fresh, our lights on, helping to heal our sick people, and keeping us warm.  When the power goes out many people band together and help each other out, but there’s always those few who aren’t prepared and will do anything to help themselves.  You need to be prepared for those people as well.

Also Read: Urban Survival

If you can’t afford a full generator, or it doesn’t make sense because of where you live, you might also try a back up solar generator.  It’s small, quiet, relatively inexpensive, and good enough to power lights and small appliances.  It’s also renewable as long as the sun is shining!  What could be better than that?

My first responsibility is to my family.  I have a wife and two young children still living at home and I want to make sure they are safe and as comfortable as possible during any emergency.  I’ve spent some of my hard earned money to ensure that happens and you probably have too.  Part of that planning is protecting your equipment from those who haven’t and feel justified taking what is yours.  My generator is in a small shed and bolted down.  Someone could get it if they really wanted it, but it would mean some time and effort on their part.

Priority List

tent_sheter_rule_of_3Here’s a simple priority list based on the Survival Rule of Three’s.  This is off the top of my head, so if you have anything to add leave a comment at the bottom of this post. The Rule of 3’s looks like this: You can survive 3 minutes without air. You can survive 3 hours without shelter. You can survive 3 days without water. You can survive 3 weeks without food. I translated the rule like this:

Air – People die every year during blackouts because they have their generators in the basement or somewhere not ventilated properly.  Make sure your generator is in a place where it doesn’t build up carbon monoxide.

Shelter – You already have shelter and now it’s a matter of staying warm.  Wood stoves, propane heaters, and kerosene heaters, are all ways you can keep your family warm during those times when the grid is down.  You can also “huddle in place” by getting under some blankets if none of those options work for you.

Water – Have enough water stored in your house for at least three days or have a way to filter or clean it if you have a pond or other water source nearby.

Food – As you can see food is down the list as far as survival needs go; however, try telling that to your four year old when she gets hungry.  Stock up on food so that if something happens you can at least feed them for three days or a week.

Conclusion

Aim to be self-sufficient. To answer the question at the beginning of this article:  yes, it makes sense to be a prepper.  I dislike the show “Doomsday Prepper” because the producers always have them say something like, “I’m preparing for a solar flare,” or some such drivel.  Most preppers I know are preparing for anything.  To say you’re preparing for one specific event is absurd.  Prepare as broad and deep as you can and no matter what happens you’ll be ready when the time comes. Questions?  Comments? Sound off below!

Photos Courtesy of:

Pictures of Money
B Bola
Drew
Insomnix
Matt Davis
Glen B. Stewart 

More Food from the Wild and Your Yard – Graft Fruit Trees!

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LoquatVeneerGraft4

Despite a smashed thumbnail, the author bravely grafts a loquat tree in his food forest.

I once did a horticultural analysis of a property way out in the scrublands. The owner had good clean water, no real neighbors, a great location… and hot, fast-drying, mineral-poor sand that was really, really bad for gardening.

There was no couching it. I had to tell him: this area just won’t cut it for most of your planned annual gardening projects. It will barely support much in the way of fruit or nut trees.

What it did have was a decent amount of native American persimmon trees. They were dwarfed by drought and stress, but they were strong and alive. That said, I saw very few with fruit.

With antive persimmons you deal with a variety of drawbacks. Unlike their cultivated Japanese persimmon relations, they’re dioecious. That means you have male and female trees – and you need both to get fruit. The male won’t make fruit but it does provide the pollen that allows the females to fruit.

Japanese persimmons are self-fertile, plus they make hefty, sweet fruit that’s very worth growing. They’re also regularly grafted onto American persimmon rootstock.

Seeing the wild trees gave me an idea: why not use the existing trees as rootstock for Japanese persimmons? They’re already established and growing in poor soil, making them a perfect support for a higher-producing and delicious variety of improved persimmon!

Sometimes our first observations aren’t the best. You might see a crabapple with lousy fruit in your yard and think “I hate that thing! I’ll tear it out and plant a good apple in its place!”

Step back and think about it: maybe that tough tree is a resource you can use. With grafting you can go nip some twigs off good apple trees and just graft them onto the tree you don’t like. If it’s a happy and healthy mature tree, use it! If you can graft fruit trees, you can grow more food for less money.

Another interesting factoid to consider: you know those stupid ornamental pears people grow for the blooms? You can graft REAL pears onto them. There are folks doing that in California right now by illegally “guerilla grafting” street trees:

Doesn’t that change the landscape a bit? Ornamental trees are generally a non productive liability… productive trees are a serious asset. If you’ve got ornamental pears, plums, peaches, apples, etc… why not switch them up by grafting on some good varieties?

Grafting In Local Woods and Property

Here’s another thought for you.

In my neighborhood there are wild persimmons growing here and there around the block. Some of these are on empty lots and in unused property with absentee owners. We don’t know how bad things are going to get in the future so it makes sense to grow as much food as possible near our houses… even if that food is on other people’s land right now.

Wild persimmon fruit is only found on 50% of the trees (since the other half are male). That fruit is about 1″ in diameter, plus it’s astringent and seedy.

I have Japanese persimmons in my yard that make fruit that looks like this:

Hachiya1

That fruit is as large as a beefsteak tomato and just as delicious (if not more so).

Though the legalities are rather grey, I don’t think anyone would really mind if I were to take buds off my Japanese persimmon tree and graft them into the wild trees here and there around the neighborhood. People will find it rather puzzling, sure – but be upset by it? I doubt it. Heck, at the very worst all I’ve done is improve somebody’s tree. Hehhehheh.

Just thinking out loud here. In your local woods you may have quite a few trees growing which could be judiciously improved, turning them into fruit-production machines rather than marginally useful wild specimens.

Grafting Is Easy

I know what many of you are thinking: “All the above is nice, Dave… but I don’t know how to graft fruit trees!”

I understand that feeling. I was in your shoes for a long time. Grafting was something that seemed… complicated. Planting beans? No big deal. Drying fruit? Easy.

Grafting? OMIGOSHNO! THAT LOOKS HARD!

Well… it takes a little whittling experience (unless you go this route)… and a couple of decent tools… but it isn’t really hard. If you’d like a quick illustrated guide, click here. Though it states that wood should be dormant, I’ve been able to successfully graft in summer here in Florida, at least on loquat trees.

One of my favorite (and most successful) ways to graft is called “veneer grafting.” At my site you can see how I saved the genetics of an improved loquat tree hit by a string trimmer by grafting some of its buds onto some seedling loquats.

Don’t worry about messing up. We all mess up. There’s no harm in trying something new.

This spring I grafted a big, sweet improved plum onto a sour native plum tree. I did five grafts – one took:

WildPlumGraft1

The leaves on the grafted plum variety are about 10 times the size of the weenie leaves on its native plum host. The author finds this strangely hilarious.

Now, in the fall of the same year, that branch is about 3′ long. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to have it bear fruit this coming spring.

Get yourself a sharp pocketknife, some pruning shears, a roll of grafting tape and your courage… then start experimenting.

Grafting can help you get food from unproductive trees and lots – harness it and you’ll be just that much more prepared for an uncertain future.

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Basic Survival Skills for Living a Good Life

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Basic Survival Skills for Living a Good Life It may seem like survival skills should come along with common sense, but with modern conveniences, it’s easy to get someone else to do most things for you.  Food preparation, laundry services, and vehicle maintenance can be easily outsourced these, days but what do we do in …

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5 Winter Survival Skills That Will Keep You Warm, Dry … And Alive

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5 Winter Survival Skills That Will Keep You Warm, Dry ... And Alive

Image source: Pixabay.com

Every different climate delivers a unique set of challenges in a survival scenario, and winter is no exception. If you aren’t too careful, the frigid wind and cold can immobilize you with frostbite and then kill you off with hypothermia.

In this article, we are going to look at five specific skills that you absolutely must have in order to survive when you’re stuck outdoors during winter.

1. Getting a fire going … and keeping it going

Knowing how to start a fire is an important skill to have in any survival scenario, but it’s extra important during winter. If you are ever wet and cold, a fire may be the only thing that gives you a chance of surviving. You also need a fire to dry out any damp clothing.

Unfortunately, it’s harder to build and maintain a fire during winter. The ground often is blanketed in snow or ice and the wood that is above the ground is saturated with moisture, too. On top of that, there could be high winds that put any spark you manage to create out in an instant. So how are you supposed to start a fire during winter?

The answer is to keep cotton balls that are coated in Vaseline with you at all times – especially during winter. These are highly flammable and will be a lifesaver in a winter survival situation. (They’re also inexpensive.) You’ll also need something to cause a spark, such as a ferro rod. But this is just the solution to getting a fire going. How can you keep that fire maintained?

Discover The Tricks Of The Top Survivalists In The World!

Construct a pit into the snow that is approximately two feet deep. This is so that the walls of the pit will protect the flames from the wind. The bottom of this pit should then be covered with logs and sticks. Next, set some tinder and your Vaseline cotton balls on top of these logs.

If all of the wood that you find is already wet, then use a knife or a hatchet to cut into it and see if there’s any drier kindling that you can get from the inside. Then, set up your kindling in a pyramid. This will allow the wood to dry and then burn faster.

The technique above might save your life.

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2. Building a warm-enough shelter

This is another survival skill that is important in any situation — but arguably more so in a winter scenario. During winter – unlike other seasons — you have to keep yourself warm and dry. For these reasons, you would be wise to spend more time working on your winter shelter than, say, your summer shelter.

Your shelter should be constructed in a site that is flat and on higher ground, with plenty of trees for cover from falling snow and wind. The trees also provide the natural resources you’ll need to build your winter shelter.

One of the best winter shelters to make is one that has natural cover, such as the boughs of a tree. You can dig around the trunk of the tree underneath the lowest boughs, so that the branches spread above you protect you from the snow and wind. The snow walls would then provide additional protection, and you can even set up a little place for you to make a small fire.

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3. Maintaining a proper body temperature

During winter, it’s easy to get too cold – but also too hot. Wear an outer shell layer that deflects the wind and the coldness, an insulation layer that keeps your body warm, and then a final layer that sticks right to your skin. When you’re traveling through the snow with all of this clothing on you, you can easily overexert yourself. The sweat will then freeze and make you at risk for both frostbite and hypothermia.

Keep close attention to your body temperature and add and remove layers as needed. If it is snowing or raining, wear all three layers so that your shell layer can keep your inner two layers dry. But when you’re traveling out in the sun or working on building a shelter, remove one or more layers so that your body can cool down and avoid perspiration.

4. Making snow goggles

While we most commonly use sunglasses during summer conditions, the ice and snow during winter can reflect the rays of the sun back to your eyes – essentially blinding you. If you don’t have snow goggles or sunglasses with you already, then you’ll need to know how to make them on your own, out of natural resources.

New 4-Ounce Solar Survival Lantern Never Needs Batteries!

The easiest snow goggles to construct are made out of birch bark. Birch bark is best for snow goggles because it can be removed from the trunk of the tree in sheets. Cut out a sheet of bark and then cut small slits in it for your eyes.

Next, cut holes into the sides of it so that it can be tied around your face. It may not sound like much, but these simple DIY goggles will provide your eyes with the protection they need when the sun is out.

5. Building a pair of snowshoes

Snowshoes distribute your weight over a larger area so that your foot will not completely sink into the snow. If you’ve ever tried to walk through a winter forest without snowshoes, you know how exhausting and time-consuming it is. Snowshoes will save you a lot of time and energy.

If you don’t already have a pair of snowshoes with you, you’ll need to make some on your own.  The simplest form of DIY snowshoes are groups of boughs that are tied together and then lashed onto the feet. More traditional snowshoes will require some time and energy to build. You’ll need to find a long, flexible stick that you can bend and then tie at the end, followed by crisscrossing the insides of the snow with more sticks, vines, and/or rope.

 

 

Should you successfully build a pair of snowshoes, it’s guaranteed you’ll be able to make it out alive much faster.

What winter survival skills would you add? Share your tips in the section below:

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

Extreme Winter Survival Vehicle Preps: “Stay Warm and You Will Be Found”

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By Mac Slavo – SHTFplan.com

Bad weather, slippery roads, snow and ice, car wrecks, even avalanches.

It wouldn’t be hard to imagine a scenario where you really could be stranded in your vehicle, and cut off from the rest of the world, with freezing weather and extreme conditions to contend with – especially in the Northern states.

While this situation is survivable, dozens of people die every year in these dangerous events. One of the major reasons is that fewer people are prepared in their vehicles.

But in an unexpectedly bad situation, especially one where you don’t know how long you could be stranded, it is vitally important to keep a kit in your vehicle. At a minimum, it should include blankets and coverings for warmth, medical supplies, an emergency supply of water and food.

For some real life cases of this, people had better fortune when they stayed close to their car, and had a source of heat to avoid hypothermia or other life-threatening complications. If you stay near the road, and in or near your vehicle, you will be found. With some common sense, you will be found alive.

Sensible Prepper writes:

Extreme Winter Survival Vehicle Kit. We’re putting together the items that can give you a fighting chance against Old Man Winter. Inspired by the Story of the family in NW Nevada who in 2014, was stranded in their vehicle for 48 hours in -21 degree temps and their story of survival.

Meanwhile, this video covers some of the most useful items that you may need to survive the winter, deal with power blackouts, snow ins, provide emergency warmth and sustainable heating methods.

33 Winter Preps and Survival Gear

Everyone’s needs are different, depending upon where you live, and how used you are to living self-sufficient.

Nonetheless, the winter can be harsh and unforgiving for anyone. Be ready.

This article first appeared at SHTFplan.comExtreme Winter Survival Vehicle Preps: “Stay Warm and You Will Be Found”

Filed under: Emergency Survival Tips, Prepping

Which Comes First – Emotion Or Thought?

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(These days? A Tantrum) A recent comment here on the blog brought up a good topic… “Which comes first? Emotion or thought?” Can emotions cloud our judgement and actions during an emergency? Do emotions adversely affect the actions of people during everyday life? Should they? How many people ‘react’ first rather than ‘think’ first? Is […]

DIY Fuel: How To Turn Wood Into Briquettes

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DIY Fuel

By Chris Black – SurvivoPedia

Let me start today’s article with an axiom: despite the fact that DIY-ing briquettes is a hard and messy job, if you’re not afraid to get your hands dirty, you can make a reasonable income by selling (your extra) charcoal/wood briquettes.

The idea is that you can make DIY briquettes for your homestead provided you’re fine with “dirty jobs” whilst making an extra buck by selling some of them to your neighbors.

The demand for these babies is pretty high, so there’s definitely money to be made from briquettes.

Continue reading at SurvivoPedia: DIY Fuel: How To Turn Wood Into Briquettes

Filed under: Fire, Prepping

Top 10 Survival Skills You’ll Need To Know To Survive The Coming Collapse

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survival skills

There’s a ton of worry around the world today. A new President in the US, terrorism, natural disasters, and movies and TV shows based on worldwide disaster have only heightened the worry. Who knows if Hollywood and the news are making people more anxious about the state of affairs in the world, or if movies and news reports are just reflective of what people are feeling. Regardless, it’s important to think about what you would do if the world did collapse? Do you have any survival skills? What would you need to do if a coming collapse actually occurred. To help you prepare, we’re going to give you 10 survival skills you should know.

#1 Be Ready to Move

Riots, terror attacks, looting, and even natural disasters could be a reality if the world were to collapse. One of the best defenses in this situation is to be ready to move. Not only do you have to move fast, but you and everyone in your group must be ready to cover a ton of ground in a short amount of time. The faster you can move, the further you can get away from any danger.

To help you move faster during an emergency, you must plan ahead. Pack an emergency bag and basic food supplies in anticipation of an emergency. Many survivalists keep these “go bags” in the trunk of their vehicle or bed of their truck. That way if the time to move comes, the gear is already loaded and ready to go.

#2 Know When to Run and When to Fight

survival skills

In an apocalyptic world, danger comes in all forms. In some situations, danger may be all around you, or approach you when you least expect it too. For this reason, it’s necessary to know when you should run and when you should hold your ground and fight.

If you’re on your way to your family’s rendezvous point and you see a conflict in your neighborhood, you may have to make a hard decision. Do you stay and help your neighbor? Do you put your life and the safety of your family at risk? Or, do you stick to your plan? It’s a tough call, and one nobody probably wants to consider, but you need to.

Running into someone else’s conflict is a good way to get yourself killed. If your family is counting on you to keep them safe, you’re also risking their safety. Especially if their chances of survival are greatly reduced if you die. So, instead of running towards a conflict in your community, you need to assess the situation first. Find a place to conceal yourself and get a good idea of what is happening. If you’re outnumbered or unarmed, there probably isn’t much you can do to help. If there is nothing you can do, you should retreat to safe ground. If it’s weighing on your mind, you can come back later and see if there is anything you can do.  In most situations, unless you or your family is directly involved in a confrontation, it’s best to run and only fight as a last resort.

#3 Fire and Run…Repeat

If you can sprint fast this skill is exactly what you need to remember. If you’re being shot at, the best defense is to fire and run. What this means is fire your weapon, run, and then repeat. Doing this buys you more time to flee. Keep repeating the process until there is no longer anyone pursuing you. The process is the same no matter what weapon you are using. If you have a pistol or a shotgun, you’ll be able to do this easily. If you’re lucky enough to have one of the best compound bow at your disposal, you’ll be able to follow the same pattern with great success.

#4 Get to Know the Land

survival skills

In the days after the world collapses, you’ll likely be traveling quite a bit by foot. Eventually, you’ll find an area that will let you lay low. As soon as this happens, you need to get to know the terrain. Where is their water? How will you evacuate if trouble persists? It’s important to take a minute to relax, but never let your guard down. Instead, you must be ready to exit in a hurry.

To help prepare for this type of situation, you should think about the areas you would flee to if needed. Google Map is a great way to determine where you would head. Maps of local areas can be seen on Google Earth and will give you a good idea of where there is cover, water, and whether an area is inhabited or not.

#5 Always be Alert

When danger is everywhere around you, you need to always be alert. In fact, everyone in your group will need to be on high alert always. The moment you think you’re safe and don’t have to be as cautious is the moment you could be attacked and killed.

#6 Be Cautious When Contacting Others

If the world is thrown into turmoil and anarchy is everywhere, you probably won’t know who to trust. That’s exactly how others will feel about you too. Because everyone including those in your party will be suspicious, you must be cautious when trying to contact other groups trying to survive. Chances are they could be just like you, or they could be savages looking to take advantage of others and stealing their supplies. Usually, in these situations, it’s best to trust your gut. If you aren’t sure whether you should trust a group, it’s best to just avoid them altogether.

#7 Look Out for Booby Traps

Have you seen “Home Alone”? Little Macaulay was ready to trap the robbers and held nothing back. This same theory will apply if the world collapses. People are going to set traps. Traps aren’t always designed to hurt or maim. Sometimes a booby trap might be used to warn a camp that strangers are near. If booby traps are present, one wrong step could lead to your demise.

#8 Can you Defend Yourself?

survival skills

Shortly after the collapse, a leader will present himself. Whether he or she is appointed beforehand or not, it will be obvious who this person is eventually. You can count on this person for many things, but no one will always be available to defend you. For this reason, you need to know how to defend yourself. Self-defense is a good idea for anyone to learn, but with so much turmoil in the world today, it’s an absolute must.

#9 Food and Water Storage

For at least the first few weeks or months after the collapse of civilization, you’ll likely be on the move. In this situation, it’s best to know how to store food and water for consumption. When you have a designated place, it’s easier. On the run, it’s much harder. Don’t forget to scavenge as you move through areas. You’d be surprised how many containers, empty plastic bottles, and you can find if you look hard enough. The same goes for food. In a rush to get out of harm’s way, there’s a good chance non-perishable food was left behind. It’s also important to know what types of items you should stockpile for survival situations. Some foods are much easier to store and don’t expire or have long expiration dates.

#10 Shelter

survival skills

If you have more than two people in your group, it’s best to sleep in shifts. At least one person should always be on watch while the others sleep. Finding shelter is easy in areas that have been abandoned, but it’s important to never stop being cautious. If you’re facing cold temperatures as well as an uncertain world, you must know how to survive cold nights too.

There you have it 10 survival skills that could help you survive after the coming collapse. If you’ve planned for a world with no law and order, you’ll be better prepared for what lays ahead of you. Keep your wits about you and you’ll be more likely to survive.

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Top 3 DIY Survival Projects That Could Save Your Life in the Coming Collapse

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Anyone who is awake can clearly see the social and economic turmoil all around us. The need to prepare has never been more clear. The three DIY projects described in this article could be part of a ‘Plan C’ survival strategy. Plan A might be to shelter in place. Plan B might be to bug out to a cabin. But what if Plan B doesn’t work out? What if the cabin gets overrun by combatants? Or, what if you can’t make it to the cabin for some reason? This is why it’s prudent to have at least one additional backup plan.

All of the projects explained here are built with woven polypropylene sandbags filled with local soil, sand and/or gravel. When filled with moist subsoil and solidly compacted they are called earthbags. Gravel bags are sandbags filled with gravel. These are often used on lower course to prevent wicking of moisture up into the earthen wall.

Sandbags or earthbags have been used for hundreds of years for military bunkers and other fortifications, and flood control. Sandbags are low cost, easy to transport, simple to fill and require only a few simple tools such as a shovel. They are extremely bullet and blast resistant. (Check YouTube for some interesting bullet tests on sandbags.) The original jute burlap bags have been replaced by much stronger polypropylene bags. The same material is also available in rolls, which is often used to build earthbag tube walls. Tubes are faster and easier to work with than bags since you don’t have to stop and tie the ends of bags.

In addition to the projects outlined here, another good possibility is military style sandbag fortifications such as bunkers for protection if shooting breaks out. Empty sandbags don’t take up much space, so the bags can be stockpiled and the fortifications built after the collapse as needed. Building the fortifications in advance might draw unwanted attention.

Kelly Hart and I have been providing earthbag training materials for about 15 years. We have thousands of pages of free material on various websites. For beginners, be sure to check out this Step-by-Step Earthbag Building tutorial. http://www.instructables.com/id/Step-by-Step-Earthbag-Building/

1. Bomb Resistant Earthbag Dome Fallout Shelter


DIY survival projects
This multi-purpose shelter can be used for many different purposes such as a root cellar, storm cellar, tool shed or fallout shelter in case of a nuclear event. These shelters can be built for as little as $300 dollars. Domes are extremely resistant to wind and so are particularly well suited for storm shelters in tornado or hurricane country. Adding soil and grass on top makes the dome more blast and fallout resistant, but is optional. You can bury the dome partially or completely underground.
DIY survival projects
Tools and materials (listed left to right): woven polypropylene bags (about 18” x 30”), bucket chute (4-gallon bucket with bottom cut off), 4 or 5 heavy duty 2-gallon cement buckets, stringline, metal chisel and scrap steel for cutting barbed wire (or bolt cutters), hammer, sheetmetal slider (about 13” x 16”), 15 gauge galvanized wire, knife, wire cutters, tape measure, 4-point barbed wire, corner guide, grub hoe or grape hoe, level, tampers, bundle 500 bags, shovel.

This video shows the main steps of construction. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ODplmnpSts
Complete building details: http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Build-an-Earthbag-Dome/

2. Underground Earthbag Survival Shelter

DIY survival projects
This round earthbag shelter for up to 4-5 individuals is designed for survival through disaster, plague, etc. It is low cost, durable and practical. This shelter is designed for DIYers on a tight budget who will do most everything by hand. Complete instructions available from Dream Green Homes http://dreamgreenhomes.com/plans/survival.htm include numerous key details not evident on the plan: venting, roof framing, how to reduce excavation by 50%, drainage, water supply, etc. I have not seen a better, more practical survival shelter plan.
When I designed this survival shelter, I had four key concepts in mind: practicality, simplicity, safety and cost. Each concept is discussed in more detail below.

DIY survival projects

Practicality
Round structures enclose more space for a given amount of materials. There are no dead corners or wasted space. Round earthbag structures are the easiest shape to build. Poly tubes (the easiest and fastest method) or poly bags (lower cost if recycled and suitable for someone working alone) are easily shaped into curved or round shapes. A tube filling machine is very efficient and highly recommended. http://www.naturalbuildingblog.com/hyperadobe-quick-wall-machine/

Simplicity
Another main advantage is simplicity of construction. What could be simpler than filling and stacking bags of earth? Almost everything you need to know is freely available on the Internet. The main skills can be learned in a few minutes simply by being shown or watching a video. My Naturalhouse YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/user/naturalhouses shows all steps of construction. And most people already have the basic tools around the house – shovels, buckets, garden hose, ladder. The other few tools required can be easily made or purchased inexpensively.

Safety
Round structures are inherently stronger than rectilinear structures. This means the enormous forces of soil against walls below grade (many tons of pressure) will be transferred around the structure. This concept is often stated “round is sound.”

3. Hidey Hole Survival Shelter
DIY survival projects

The Hidey Hole can be adapted to most any environment including mountains, forests and deserts.
The Hidey Hole provides a defensible, affordable and relatively fast survival shelter suitable for year-round use. It can be adapted to most any environment including mountains, forests and deserts. In addition to providing emergency shelter, the Hidey Hole could also be used to provide storage space for survival supplies in case of a SHTF scenario. The scale of the project is small enough that several shelters could be built to spread the risk of your supplies being stolen or damaged. Use whatever materials are available locally as much as possible. For instance, this shelter could be completely concealed in forested/mountainous terrain using stone, logs, soil and vegetation. A carefully concealed Hidey Hole would nearly undetectable if built correctly. The closest thing I’ve seen to the Hidey Hole is a shelter built by minimalist Ran Prieur. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Odg8IqoogTE

DIY survival projects
Hidey Hole shelter details:
– 79 square feet interior
– circular shape resists thrust of surrounding soil
– earth-sheltering helps keep living space comfortable
– excavated sand or soil can be used to fill the earthbags
– use 6 mil plastic sheeting on all sides, floor and roof as a moisture barrier
– curved roof provides additional headroom inside and helps shed water
– the dry stacked stone wall (no mortar) doesn’t have to be perfectly constructed stone masonry (make it look as natural as possible)
– you could build in a rocky area and use the existing stone to maintain a natural appearance
– tiny twig stove for heating and cooking can be handmade from salvaged materials
– the door could be made of slab wood or recycled wood at no cost and simply wedged into place without hinges or door frame (a door just large enough to crawl through would provide additional concealment)
– easy to adapt the basic concept to make something that suits your needs

More Free Desert Shelter Plans http://5892-presscdn-26-36.pagely.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/Desert-Shelters-PDF.pdf and http://www.naturalbuildingblog.com/earthbag-hidey-hole-shelter/

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Toughen Up and Take the Pain!

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participation_trophy_sad_cultureThe United States has become a nation where  the pursuit of happiness and the absence of discipline has turned us into a land of politically correct, overweight, sissies intent on pointing the finger at someone else as the source of the problem rather than looking in the mirror like we should.  All the kids get trophies now.  Used to be that a kid got the idea of what it took to be a winner either by winning something and knowing what it took to get there. If they lost, they’d appreciate what it took to get a trophy. Collectively, we used to know that if we put in the long hours and the hard work, it would pay off and we would be successful.  Not enough people know this now. It would seem as though we’ve lost something in our culture that we used to rely on to win. At some point in time, we became soft.

By Jarhead Survivor, a Contributing Author of SurvivalCache and SHTFBlog

We go through our lives now from one carefully controlled environment to the next.  Not many people want to work outside in the cold winters or hot summers anymore.  We wonder why immigrants are taking our jobs – it’s because not many people are willing to show up and work in the fields or do the menial jobs any more.

If you’re reading this blog there’s a good chance you don’t have this attitude.  Why?  If you’re here, you’re probably interested in surviving a catastrophic event.  Anything from a national power outage to a nuclear war; we prepare for it all.  You also know that survival will mean hard work and suffering – something many, if not most Americans don’t want to experience.  I’ve talked with people in the past who have actually said, “If the power went out forever I wouldn’t want to survive.”  So much for the pioneering spirit our ancestors brought with them.  They would roll over in their graves if they saw what has become of our spirit.

If a little pain and suffering makes you quit, good luck when times get tough.  To those with weak mental fortitude: all I can guarantee is pain, suffering, and uncertainty.  If society collapses, nobody can say how others will react.  Some people riot and others band together to help each other.  Hopefully you live in an area where people help each other out.  If society takes a nosedive, most visitors of this site will at least be somewhat prepared. Those who fail to see civilization is premised on a fragile infrastructure will be in a world of pain when conditions deteriorate.

Take the Pain!

Obese or overweight?  Out of shape?  Terrible diet?  On a ton of medication?  I’ll bet that if you lost some weight a lot of those ailments would disappear.  If the idea of giving up McDonald’s food and exercising daily makes you cringe, good luck when the balloon goes up.  Ask yourself this question and be honest:  if you had to bug-out twenty miles right now – right this second, could you pick up your bug-out bag and walk the distance?  Could you walk it without your bug-out bag?  If the answer is no, then you must consider getting yourself back in shape.  It could save your life several different ways.  One, by making you healthy again allowing you to get rid of the medications and living a healthy life. Two, by giving you the ability to do physical, potentially life saving activities.  Go to your local shopping center or mall and stop in the middle of a bunch of people and look around.  In your opinion, how many could walk or run five miles in an emergency?  I’ve done this exercise many times and I’m always surprised at how few would be able to do this.

People are more interested in a magic pill will allow us to eat and drink whatever we want. Most people avoid entertaining the idea of exercise and diet.  We want all the stuff, whether that’s food, drink, drugs, or electronic toys, that will give us that little dopamine hit instead of working our asses off and being healthy.  We now have a national epidemic of people taking opioids. It’s been around for a long time and it seems to just keep getting worse.

A lot of times improving yourself involves some kind of pain, whether it’s the pain of going without alcohol or drugs, or of denying yourself that extra piece of cake.  Maybe it’s the pain associated with learning something new instead of watching three hours of T.V. every night. Sometimes you gotta sacrifice for the greater good.  Take the pain!

No Easy Road

flipping_burgers_self_sufficiencyThere’s no easy road to success.  If you want more money find a better job or get better at the one you’re doing.  A lot of young folks out there today don’t even have jobs and a good number of millennials are happy to live at home with mom and dad.  If you’re one of these kids, I say get off your ass and get a job that will allow you to help pay the rent.  I don’t care if you’re slinging burgers at McDonald’s or working on Wall Street, you need to be grown up and self sufficient because mom and dad aren’t always going to be there wiping your nose for you.  Check out this crazy story about a 28 year old man who killed his parents because he didn’t want to move out and fend for himself.  Sick eh?  Granted, it’s the millennial mindset taken to the extreme, but it’s telling that this happened at all.  As if all that was bad enough we’ve got rich companies skimming whatever they can off the top and people who don’t want to work skimming off the bottom.  Pretty soon there won’t be enough left over for the guy in the middle.

What Can We Do?

First, our kids have to know that hard work and pain is ok.  It’s part of the human condition.  If you make sure that your kids never feel any pain, they’ll never have a chance to grow.  You’re doing them a disservice.  Now don’t go around saying, “Jarhead says to starve my kids!”  Let’s not be stupid here.  What I’m saying is that if your kid comes up to you fifteen minutes before a meal and says they’re hungry, it’s perfectly fine to tell them to wait instead of giving them a candy bar.  If you give in, they’ll never know what it’s like to wait a few minutes.  Teach them discipline.

youth_football_goals_painA friend of mine came over with his son and we were all working out.  My son (seven years old) gave up after ten minutes and started upstairs.  He asked his friend to come with him and the friend said no, he wanted to try out for the football team.  I said, “That’s because he wants it”. My boy came back downstairs and started working out again.  I didn’t berate him.  I didn’t yell at him, but I opened the door to hard work by pointing out that his friend was working to achieve a goal.

Later this season my buddy called me up and told me his son was killing it on the football field.  When he mentioned to his son what a great job he was doing, his boy said, “That’s because I want it, dad!”  My buddy had to call me up and tell me what an impact my words had on his son.  He was willing to take the pain to get what he wanted.

You don’t need to be friends with your kids.  You should love them, but your children need someone who’s going to show them right and wrong and enforce it.  Not a mom or dad who wants to be friends and will give in because they don’t want the kids mad at them.  Guess what?  If your kid has never been mad at you, you either have one hell of an exceptional kid or you aren’t doing your job right.

Set a Goal

finish_line_goalsFind something you want and set a goal.  If you want to change the world you’ve first got to change yourself.  I don’t care what it is, but when you set the goal follow up on it.  Maybe you want to lose twenty pounds, write a book, walk five miles with your bug-out bag, race in a 5K, or give up drinking beer and eating hotdogs.  Whatever it is, this is how you do it:  set a realistic goal and a completion date.  Remember, a goal without a due date is just a dream and will never happen. Next, take instant action on whatever that goal is.  If you want to quit drinking, pour all your booze down the drain.  If you want to write a book, make a goal to write a thousand words a day or whatever you can produce.  Whatever it is you want to do make a small advance towards that goal every day.  Your kids are looking to you as an example. If you set a goal and abandon it a week later, guess what?  They’ll do the same thing.

Take Responsibility For Your Actions

When I went to Marine Corps bootcamp, one of the first things the D.I.’s pounded into us was to take responsibility for our actions.  If we did something stupid or screwed up, we were expected to own it.  They didn’t want to hear excuses or lies, they just wanted to hear you say, “The Private screwed up, sir!”. We were then expected to do whatever we could to make it right.

I think if more people – adults and kids – were held accountable for their actions, we’d live in a different world.  Then again, maybe not.  If you lack integrity, all the rules in the world won’t make you a better person.  What do you think? Am I way outta line here? Questions?  Comments?  Sound off below!

Photos Courtesy Of:

Daniel Lee
AZ Hook
Mr.Moxtra
DavioTheOne
tj.path

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Survival Times: A Winter Survival Skill Where Speed Counts

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by Todd Walker

survival-times-a-winter-survival-skill-where-speed-counts-thesurvivalsherpa-com

In the context of wilderness survival, the speed at which you are able to build a fire could mean life or death. There are many real-life accounts available where cold and wet people die in the woods… well within the 72 hours most people are found by rescuers.

The purpose of these exercises is not to compete against one another. However, a little friendly competition among friends is always fun. The most important aspect of practicing emergency fire craft and shelter building is the role these skills could one day play in keeping you alive in the wilderness. Plus, they make camping way more comfortable.

Survival Times: A Winter Survival Skill Where Speed Counts ~ TheSurvivalSherpa.com

Fire means camping in comfort… and there’s coffee involved!

Poor Decisions and Survival Experts

You don’t have to reach “survival expert” level to build a fire or make shelter. Here’s a little something for the self-proclaimed survival experts to think about. My buddy Tommy runs a popular Facebook group and put an interesting spin on this disturbing online trend… something I’d never thought of but makes total sense.

Here’s my paraphrased version…

Expert status takes thousands of hours and experience in a chosen field. Making poor decisions typically lands you in a survival situation. People claiming to be survival experts should also add to their resume, “Poor Decision-Making Expert.” I’ve never seen nor have I heard of anyone being in a real survival situation for 20, 30, or even 40 years and lived to tell about it.

To be an expert in survival, one would have had to be in hundreds of real survival situations. That basically makes one horrible at preparing beforehand. I can’t speak for you, but “Poor Decision-Making Expert” is the last thing I’d want in my bio… or tombstone.

I prepare by practicing in the field with varying conditions. Carrying a few pieces of emergency equipment and developing the skills needed to use said equipment gives you an edge if things go sideways in the woods.

The following speed drills have suggested times to shoot for based on our physiological response to cold. Cold stress has a way of slipping up on you and can overwhelm the body’s ability to thermoregulate. Consequences include impaired performance and even death.

2 Fire Speed Drills

Besides being well clothed for your environment, fire craft may be the most forgiving of all survival skills. Here are two speed drills to help develop proficiency in making life-sustaining fire.

For more info on my philosophy on Emergency Fire Kits, read this article. We can play around with “what if’s” to manipulate and test our skills. But at the end of the day, my trusty Bic is my go-to for fire. That’s only because I don’t have a road flare in my kit. Oh wait… I do, thanks to Alan Halcon’s suggestion. The point of these drills though is to practice different “what if” scenarios.

1.) Five Minute Water Boil

Disinfecting water for hydration can be achieved by boiling. For this drill, you are allowed to use a spark ignition source only. For context, you’re unprepared and only carried one lighter and no sure fire tinder… and the lighter was emptied when the tab was pressed down against that can of sardines stuffed in your backpack.

Survival Times: A Winter Survival Skill Where Speed Counts ~ TheSurvivalSherpa.com

Flames surrounding all sides of the canteen.

Equipment:

  • One metal water bottle (32 ounce size)
  • Ferro rod and striker
  • Natural tinder material and sticks off the landscape for your kindling/fuel
  • Use a large tin can to hold the 32 ounces of water if you don’t have a metal canteen
  • Timer

Collect tinder, kindling, and fuel size material. This task will consume the most time for this drill. Try to collect these materials in 10 minutes or less. Look for standing dead trees with low hanging limbs. Become familiar with the trees in your locale which produce instant kindling. Resinous trees are a fire-making dream.

Breaking the small twigs, you should hear a distinctive snap signaling a good, dry candidate for fire. I’ve found living Cedar and Beech trees often times have small, dead limbs within arms reach. If you have Hemlocks in your area, you’ll not find a better source of dry, pencil-led size kindling.

Once you have all the necessary natural material collected, start the clock and make your fire lay, ignite your fire, and bring the water to a rolling boil… in under 5 minutes. Remember, time is of the essence.

“Fire don’t care about pretty. It eats ugly. In fact, fire loves chaos.”

For this drill, I’ve found that making a long tubular bundle of small twigs and breaking the bundle over my knee to create an A-frame structure works well. Credit for this technique goes to Christopher Wick’s demonstration at the Pathfinder School years ago. You may want to use gloves for this part.

Survival Times: A Winter Survival Skill Where Speed Counts ~ TheSurvivalSherpa.com

Chris Wick preparing kindling

Common Water Boil Mistakes:

  • Natural tinder material not prepared properly for spark ignition.
  • Kindling too large (not enough surface area to volume ratio) for quick ignition.
  • Canteen tips over. Lay finger-size sticks flat on the ground to form a flat platform. The stick platform also reduces heat transfer from the cold ground to the metal container.
  • The fire lay doesn’t surround the canteen. You want flames to contact as much of the canteen as possible.
  • Blowing or fanning the fire from the top down. Get down low and blow from the bottom of the fire lay… without singeing your eyebrows off.

Now add a variation to this water boil drill. Use a lighter or matches and your favorite emergency fire tinder. Compare your times. How’d you do? Get creative and try doing this drill one-handed to simulate an injury. Try it in the rain, as well.

2.) One Billet Boil Up

One-stick-fires are not new to me. However, I discovered the interesting history behind this challenge on Chris Noble’s site, Master Woodsman. I wrote an article about this challenge with an excerpt below for details.

Camp Craft Challenge- The One Billet Boil Up - TheSurvivalSherpa.com

Equipment:

Here’s what you’ll need. Keep in mind that these are challenge guidelines not competition rules. You’re only competition is you for the sake of testing your skills.

  • One wood billet (species of your choice) around 6 inches in diameter and about one foot long – I used a standing dead red cedar billet for my challenge.
  • Sharp ax or hatchet
  • Sharp knife
  • Bush pot or tin can large enough to hold one quart of water (32 ounces)
  • Kitchen matches (strike anywhere type)
  • Timer

There are dangers involved when using a sharp ax. Even more so when using a short-handled ax/hatchet. A bleeding ax wound puts you a whole new survival situation. If you practice this speed drill, know that you are using sharp cutting tools which do not discriminate about what they cut… fingers, shins, and hands included. If you are new to ax and knife work, spend time learning to properly handle these cutting tools. You are responsible for keeping appendages if you practice this drill, not us.

Take your time and keep it safe. One piece of gear worth considering for beginners is a Kevlar or chain mail glove.

For those experienced in ax and knife work, the time frame for this speed drill is under 10 minutes once you have your wood billet ready. The idea is to create all the needed items, tinder, kindling, and fuel from one log. This drill will come in handy if you ever need to find dry material for fire in a rain-soaked forest.

My first attempt at this drill took over 12 minutes. My second attempt was in the eight minute range. Below is my video of this drill:

Check out this lumberjack competition where a lady smashes all the guys with a time of 3:06!

Don’t get hung up the stated times for the speed drills. The important thing about timing yourself is that you are able to evaluate your progress in this skill. Let us know if you give these a try.

Additional Resources

Keep Doing the Stuff of Self-Reliance,

Todd

P.S. – You can also keep up with the Stuff we’re Doing on TwitterPinterestGoogle +, YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook… and over at our Doing the Stuff Network.

P.P.S – If you find value in our blog, Dirt Road Girl and I would appreciate your vote on Top Prepper Sites! You can vote daily by clicking here or on the image below. Check out all the other value-adding sites while you’re there…

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Copyright © by Survival Sherpa: In light of the recent theft of all my content by a pirate site, my sharing policy has changed. I do not permit the re-posting of entire articles from my site without express written consent by me. My content on this site may be shared in digital form (200 words or less) for non-commercial use with a link back (without no-follow attribute) to the original article crediting the author. All photos, drawings, and articles are copyrighted by and the property of Survival Sherpa. You are more than welcome to share our photos and articles on social media for educational purposes as long as you link back to the original article/photo with credit to the author.

Prep Blog Review: Ultimate Winter Survival Tips

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Winter tips

Winter is here! The winter season and the holidays bring a lot of joy but the cold weather adds significant challenges to your prepping, such as health problems, home heating issues and even extreme situations when you have to survive a winter storm.

But you can overcome any challenge with the proper knowledge, with practice and experience, right?

Have you ever imagined how our ancestors survived during harsh winters? Well, for this week’s Prep Blog Review I’ve gathered four articles with winter survival tips, many of them inspired by the lessons of our great forefathers.

1. 15 Live Saving Tips for a Winter Bugout

Winter Bugout

“In 1939 the Soviet Union invaded Finland in what was called The Winter War.  This war caused about 70,000 Finnish causalities with most of them being innocent civilians.  As a result of this invasion many Finnish civilians were forced into a winter bug out in order to avoid death or being captured.

At the beginning of this invasion Finnish military went through towns and villages letting them know that they had 15 minutes to leave and burn down their own houses so that the Soviet army couldn’t use them for cover.  They had to leave all of their belongings.

The Finnish people didn’t have time to sit down and put together a bug out bag list or even given the wealth of knowledge that we have in the preparedness community.”

Read more on Smart Prepper Gear.

2. Winter Storm Warning! Surviving a Winter Storm Trapped Outside

winter storm

“Winter weather can go from beautiful to deadly in a matter of hours. Whether you’re on the road or in the wilderness on a winter camping trip, it’s important to know how to keep yourself and your loved ones safe when a winter storm warning is in effect and until the storm passes.

According to Farmers’ Almanac, the winter season for 2016-17 is expected to be much colder this year as opposed to last year.”

Read more on Survival Life.

3. 20 Herbal Remedies for the Winter Season

Herbal Remedies

“While the winter season brings joy to both the young and the old as families come together, it also brings some health problems we shouldn’t ignore.  We are all familiar with the common cold and the flu and we know they can strike when we are stressed or run down. The following herbal remedies will help you deal with all the problems the cold season may bring.

In this polluted world we have to be careful of what medicine we take as we are bombarded with chemicals every day, from every direction.  I’ve been using herbal remedies ever since I can remember and I learned their secrets from my mother and grandmother. “

Read more on Prepper’s Will.

4. 7 Things Our Ancestors Stockpiled To Survive The Winter

Ancestors

“Life was hard for our ancestors — much harder than it is for us today. Most of them didn’t have running water and electricity to make their lives easier. These modern conveniences have changed our way of life, to the point where we often forget what people had to do throughout history in order to survive.

We look at survival today as something needed in a time of emergency, but to many of them, survival stared them in the face every day of their lives. That was especially true in the wintertime, when it wasn’t possible to glean what you needed from nature. Basically, if you weren’t ready for winter, you didn’t survive.

So our ancestors all became experts in stockpiling. They’d spend the warmer months preparing, so that when the cold winter months came around, they’d be ready. You could tell a lot about a family’s wealth and industry by that, as there were those who struggled through the winter and those who didn’t.”

Read more on Off The Grid News.

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This article has been written by Drew Stratton for Survivopedia.

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Life-Saving Skills All Preppers Should Have

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Image Sources: Pexels.com

By The Survival Place Blog

As you can imagine, there are a lot of people in the prepper community who think they’re better prepared than they really are. They assume that because they have a getaway vehicle, bugout safe house, and an arsenal of different survival tools, that they’ll be safe if and when a disaster began tearing at the fabric of civilization. This isn’t necessarily true! The tools for survival are only as good as the person wielding them, so here are some essential skills every prepper must learn.

Image Source: Pexels.com

Water Purification

You’ve probably heard before that we can go three weeks without food, but a mere three days without water. Water is by far the most important thing you’ll need in a survival situation, so learning how to purify dirty water sources is essential to your skills as a prepper. There are three main techniques you can use to purify water. Boiling it for at least five minutes is probably the most accessible, provided you can start a fire and source an appropriate receptacle. Where you don’t have a heat source, chemical purifiers such as chlorine, iodine and potassium permanganate can be used, provided they’re in small enough doses not to be toxic! Store-bought charcoal and ceramic filters can also be handy for purifying water. Get familiar with all three of these techniques; your life could depend on it!

Fire Making Without a Lighter or Matches

After water, heat is among the most essential things you need for survival when civilization breaks apart. This will allow you to boil water and therefore purify it, cook food, ward off wild animals, and protect yourself from the cold. Fire is one of the first technologies that our earliest ancestors are thought to have harnessed, and there’s good reason for this! While you should certainly try to have a decent stock of matches and lighters in preparation for a worldwide disaster, these things are going to run out eventually, and after that you’re going to have to rely on your own means. Make sure you learn a few techniques for starting a fire, such as using a fire bow or flint and steel.

Whittling and Wood Working

One of the major things that’s going to make it hard for most people to adapt to life post-disaster is not having easy access to all the materials and commodities which we take for granted in our day to day lives. Without oil rigs, steel mills and so on, preppers need to learn a bit about manipulating the one material they’ll always be able to get a hold of: wood. You may have hated it in school, but get a few woodworking tools and start learning the basic principles of making some of the wooden structures and tools that you may need. Here’s a useful reference that will get you started. Of course, you’re going to have limited access to electricity when the grid goes down. However, learning woodworking can be exceedingly helpful even when you only have hand tools.

Learn these three skills, and you’ll be in a much better position when disaster strikes!

This article first appeared at The Survival Place Blog: Life-Saving Skills All Preppers Should Have

Filed under: Emergency Survival Tips, How To Prepare, Prepping

Prepper Rules-Of-Three

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Guest article by NRP; Preparing and Survival for the most part may be broken down into “Time-Lines”. These concepts have been written about in many articles and seemingly are explained very simply. My attempt here is to expand on those concepts and to add a few more “Time-Lines” to think about. 1. 3 Nano-Seconds to […]

The Age of the AR-15

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ar_15_vietnamWhen Eugene Stoner invented the AR-15 in the 1950s, I doubt he ever imagined the rifle’s success of today. In the age where hardwood stocks and full power cartridges reigned supreme, the little “Mattel toy” rifle with plastic stock and aluminum parts looked like something from a science fiction film. First adopted by the Air Force, and then by the Military as the M-16, the rifle went on to widespread use in Vietnam. Teething problems and improvements quickly followed for the M-16 and found their way into civilian model AR-15s. This would be the case for the next 40 years.

By Zach Dunn a Contributing Author to SHTFBlog and SurvivalCache

The AR-15 began as a semi-automatic civilian rifle started when Colt started selling the rifle in the 1960s. At first, sales were slow, prices were expensive, and problems found on service rifles were mirrored in civilian AR-15s. The AR was never a popular rifle during the 20th century for civilians. Surplus WWII firearms, cheap Chinese imported AKs and SKS rifles, and other similar, cheap guns took a huge bite out of the AR’s market. Their reputation as a problematic firearm that jammed when slightly dirty did not help either.

Related: AR-15 Magazine Management Strategies 

clinton_signing_awbThe 1994 Assault Weapons Ban seemed like the final nail in the pine box for the AR-15. Instead, it spurned one of the greatest quality improvements of a product in firearms history. During the ban, small companies started to improve the AR platform. At the same time, the Military adopted the M-4 Carbine. M-4 semi-automatic clones soon hit the civilian market when the ’94 AWB expired. The War on Terror and the expiration of the ’94 ban in late 2004 unleashed a flood of greatly improved tactical rifles that took the civilian market by storm.

The NRA successfully brought to civilian attention that an AR-15 is not a fully automatic assault rifle, but a very accurate and utilitarian rifle. All of this coupled by an increasingly gun-friendly society spurned sales. Though the AR competed with cheap AK pattern imported rifles in the early 2000s, scores of veterans returning from the Middle East provided a loyal following for the AR-15. With the election of Barack Obama in 2008 and threats of gun bans, the popularity of the AR-15 soared.

Every Shape and Size

ar15_stoner_designsWith the adoption of the M4 by the US military and the sunset of AWB in ’04, almost all AR-15s are modeled after the M4 carbine. These compact AR-15s with their 16-inch civilian length barrels are built with 3 goals in mind. Accuracy. Reliability. Modularity. The modern AR-15 is the equivalent of the adult erector set. With a small set of tools and an Armorer’s wrench, a shooter can modify his rifle in his garage, or build one from scratch.

The AR-15 outfitted with its flat top receiver can use almost any optic available to man, from traditional rifle scopes, to combat optics such as the ACOG. Quad rails allow mounting of lights, rapid transition sights, lasers, and a whole host of other accessories. I know a shooter who mounted a bottle opener on his.

You can still find full-size AR-15 rifles the same dimensions as the M-16A2/A4, or you can opt for a Carbine length rifle. A mid length rifle is the same size as the carbine length M-4, but they offer the ability to be able to correctly mount a bayonet and provides more reliability with its gas impingement system.

The AR-15 Today

police_at_sandy_hookHow has the AR become so popular? A huge reason was the threat of gun bans on semi-automatic rifles and what many Americans saw as a possible infringement of their 2nd Amendment rights. In 2008, one of Barack Obama’s campaign goals was a permanent version of the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban. American shooters poured into gun stores over the next 8 years and purchased millions of semi-automatic rifles that were targeted by left-leaning politicians and anti-gun groups. This repeated itself in 2012 with Obama’s reelection, after the Sandy Hook shooting and right before the 2016 Presidential election. Between 2008-2016, it was estimated more than 1 million AR-15s were produced annually for civilians in the USA. That doesn’t count parts kits and lower receivers for people to assemble their own rifles.

A greatly improved product with the reliability nearly equal to an AK has helped as well. In fact, torture tests have demonstrated that the AR-15 is closing the gap with the AK pattern when it comes to reliability. Longevity, however, remains with the AK, whereas an AR-15 will need some critical rebuilding after 20,000 rounds or so.   Aftermarket products such as grips, stocks, sights, and internals have spurned a huge custom rifle movement.

See Also: Sig Sauer MPX-C 9mm Review 

Lastly, the increased demand starting in 2008 created an interesting problem. It forced gun makers to greatly increase production, saturating the market and causing prices to drop drastically. Prices have fallen on the AR-15. It used to cost a shooter at least $1000 for a decent AR-15 rifle. They can be had now for $400-$500. No longer is the AK the budget defensive rifle, that has now been taken over by the formerly expensive AR. In fact, a good com-bloc imported AK is now more expensive than an AR-15 from Palmetto State Armory. With a saturated market, improved quality, and a movement behind it, the AR’s time has truly, and finally arrived!

Featured Photo Courtesy of:

Sean Dobbins
All other photos included are in the public domain. 

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Wilderness Survival Skills: When You’re Lost in the Woods

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lostinwoods

Wilderness Survival Skills: When You’re Lost in the Woods

It’s easy to be thrust into a survival situation; go fishing, take a walk in the woods, a Sunday afternoon drive and all of the sudden, you find yourself stranded. What started out as a time for relaxation and enjoyment suddenly turns into a wilderness survival situation.

The question is; are you ready?

Do you have the knowledge you need for a wilderness survival situation and have you brought the equipment along to help you survive? This isn’t the time to look up that information; it’s time to take action. You have to be ready or you just might not make it.

Before You Go

Before you leave for that walk in the woods, it’s always a good idea to let someone know where you are going, the route you are planning on taking and when you expect to be back. That way, if you don’t return or contact them when you are expected to, they can raise the alarm about you being overdo. Knowing where you are gives officials and rescuers a much better chance of finding you.

51fjz7tryzlAlso, make sure you take at least a basic survival kit along. There are lots of different ideas about what that survival kit should include, but at a minimum, it needs to have some means of providing you with the basic necessities of wilderness survival; shelter, water, food and fire. In a pinch, you can do without the food for a couple of weeks.

There’s one other thing you need; that’s a means of calling out for help. Your cell phone might be able to help you with this, but only if it is charged and you are in an area where you have a signal. A spare battery pack might be worthwhile to carry around too.

But don’t just count on your cell phone. A whistle is a great means of calling for help. The other old standby is a signal mirror. Airplanes ten miles up in the air can catch the glint off of your mirror, allowing the pilots to pinpoint your location and pass it on to searchers.

RELATED : HOW TO USE A COMPASS: A LIFESAVING SKILL IN THE WILDERNESS

When You Realize You’re Lost

Once you realize you are lost, stop. Before running off and making the situation worse, you need to take stock of your situation. What do you have with you that you can use for wilderness survival? How much daylight is left? What’s the weather like? Are there any landmarks you recognize? Do you have any cell phone signal?

If you have cell phone signal, you should contact someone as quickly as you can and tell them you are lost, as well as whatever other information you can, which will help rescuers find you. Make your report clear, quick and organized, as you may not be able to contact them again. If your phone has GPS and you can get coordinates off of it, then tell them the coordinates you are at as well.

In most cases, you’re better off allowing rescuers to find you, rather than trying to find your way back out of the woods. So, unless you have a pretty good idea of where you are (which would mean that you’re not lost) or it has been several days and they haven’t found you, don’t try walking out.

Establish Camp

emergency-shelter-campWhen the sun goes down, it’s going to get colder. Even in the summertime, the temperature can drop enough to cause you to have hypothermia, especially if you are wearing wet clothes. So, if it is less than two hours to sunset, basic wisdom of wilderness survival states that it’s time to establish camp, right there where you are.

You can easily estimate the time till sunset by measuring the height of the sun above the horizon. Extend your hand and place the edge of your pinky on the horizon. Each finger’s width that the sun is above the horizon is approximately 15 minutes.

 

If you have more than two hours of time, you can try to locate some water. Setting up camp near water will save you from having to move camp the next day to find it. But don’t set your camp up right at the water, as that will deny it to the animals living in the woods. Instead, set up camp about 100 feet uphill of it. That’s close enough to give you access, but far enough to keep you from scaring the animals off.

Setting up camp basically means two things, building a shelter and building a fire. There are many ways of building shelters in the woods, but the easiest is to take shelter under a pine tree, if there are large pines you can use. There will be space under the lower branches, enough to sit up in, even though the tips of the branches might be brushing the ground. Clean out branches and debris, pile leaves around the base and you have a shelter.

Fire is necessary for several wilderness survival purposes. It will provide you with warmth, light, and protection. Most animals won’t go near a fire, so as long as you have a fire burning, you don’t have to worry about wild animals bothering you. But be careful that your fire can’t get out of control and turn into a forest fire.

RELATED : 18 Urban and Wilderness Survival Hacks That Would Make MacGyver Proud

Signaling for Help

Besides keeping yourself warm and drinking plenty of water, your biggest responsibility while waiting for rescue is to signal the rescuers. That means using your whistle and signaling mirror. Blow the whistle all day long, with pauses to listen for anyone crying out. Typically, the whistle can be heard much farther than the sound of a human voice, no matter how loud.

If you still have power and signal for your cell phone, use it occasionally to give update reports on your condition. Don’t leave it on all day though, as the battery will go dead. Then it won’t help you at all. Remember, text messages can get through at times when voice calls can’t.

If You Have to Walk Outimages1

If you haven’t been rescued in three days, chances are that you will need to walk out. The easiest way to find your way out of any woods is to go downhill. Wherever you are, there will be roads downhill, if you go down far enough. Just keep going until you find a road or community and then ask for help.

 

 

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Source : www.expertprepper.com

About the author : Skip Tanner is more than a writer, avid outdoorsman, hiker and international survival expert. He is also the creator of The Ultimate Survival Guide Books, The Family Survival Garden Guide, Becoming a King in the New World Guide and ExpertPrepper.com. Skip’s been studying, sharpening, and expanding his skills every day since he was 15 years old. At expertprepper.com, he brings you the news you need to know as well as breakthrough information from some of the best authors and experts in their field. Together, they share their deepest secrets of survival with you.

The post Wilderness Survival Skills: When You’re Lost in the Woods appeared first on .

Your GPS Is Awesome – Until It Gets You Lost

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featured_appalachia_navigation

china_maine_gpsThe other day my wife sent me on a mission to China to recover an important tactical item.  That would be China, Maine and the item was a coffee table she found on Craigslist.  Anyway, I jumped in my trusty pickup truck, fired up the GPS, and headed inland from the coast to grab the package.  The GPS, a literal device, took me on the shortest route. Which, as you’ve probably discovered, doesn’t always necessarily mean the fastest.  I was going up over mountains, down back roads, and twisting back and forth on an old dirt road that made me happy I have survival gear in the back of my truck.

By Jarhead Survivor, a Contributing Author of SurvivalCache and SHTFBlog

Now, the coffee table was in South China, and when I got to an intersection where I could go left to South China or right to China it took me right.  Confused, I stopped and checked it out a little closer.  It took me north over China lake and down the other side.  Ok, I thought, maybe they consider “south” to be on the west side of the lake.  People and directions are funky and I was willing to give my GPS the benefit of the doubt.  With a few misgivings, I followed the GPS.

Related: Why I Prefer a Map and Compass Over GPS 

I should have listened to my instincts.  I got to the other side of the lake and all my warning bells were now going off like a  five-alarm fire.  I pulled over, looked, and sure enough the GPS was taking me to the wrong address.  I put in the address I wanted and it pointed to another area.  I won’t use the real address, but here’s an example of how it appeared. Address I typed into the GPS:  83 Fire Road #45, China Me.  It decided I really wanted to go to: Fire road 45, no number address.  Ok, they give addresses very oddly in China, so I tried this instead:  Fire Road 83, #45. It then decided I really wanted to go to Fire Road 11. WTF?

I poked at it for a few minutes with rising frustration then did something I haven’t had to do for awhile.  I asked for directions. There was a guy across the street playing with his dog and I pulled in and asked if he knew where Fire Road 83 was.  He rubbed his chin for a minute while his friendly black lab sniffed my leg.  I patted the dog (best part of the whole trip) while he thought about it.  He then pointed me to the other side of the lake with some head scratching, giving me low confidence in his directions.

At a store on the top of China lake, I stopped and asked directions.  Nope.  They had no idea.  I called the woman I was getting the item from and she asked where I was.  When I told her I was at the top of China Lake, she said, “What are you doing there?”  She then gave me some confusing directions on how to get to her house.  I finally asked her what she was near and she gave me the address of a bank.  When I put that in to the GPS, it worked and I followed it there. Of course, when I got there, the GPS told me I was at Fire Road 83, #45, just where I wanted to be.  Really? Thanks a lot!

Not Just Road Directions Either

gps_compass_lostA few years ago I was hiking behind my house following my GPS.  As you know, driving and hiking are two very different forms of navigation, so being the paranoid survivalist that I am I was keeping track of my location with a map and compass too.  At one point I looked down and it showed my location in a town about fifteen or twenty miles away in a completely different county!  There was a moment of “congnitive dissonance” as I looked at both map and GPS.  Finally I put the GPS away and followed the map and compass.  I knew exactly where I was even if the GPS didn’t.  I told a friend about this and he said, “Yeah, sometimes that happens.”

So, I did what any self-respecting human being would do and turned to Google.  Turns out this is a pretty common issue. Wow.  I’m no Luddite.  I love my phone and my laptop.  I use Linux.  I understand computer networks.  I get it.  But after a little study, I’ve determined that if you’re going to trust yourself to a technology that works “most of the time,” you might find your ass lost in the woods crying about your GPS.

Carry a Compass

appalachian_gps_trailI’ve written about this before and I’ll write about it again.  If you’re going to go out in the wilderness, carry a map and compass.  Carry it, know how to use it, and at the very least be able to follow a cardinal direction. A few years ago Geraldine Largay went off the Appalachian Trail and got lost.  Her body was found a couple of years later.  She had a compass but didn’t know how to use it. A compass is not an ornament.  If you put it in your pack, at least know the basics of how to use it.

In my opinion, the best way to operate in the wild is to use your GPS as primary navigator with a map and compass as backup.  This accomplishes two things.

  1.  You’ll learn map and compass reading almost as well as how to use a GPS.
  2.  If your GPS fails for whatever reason, you’ll know where you are and how to get out safely.

Use a Bailout Azimuth

I coined the term Bailout Azimuth. If you’re lost and can’t go point to point, you can at least follow your compass until you hit a road, stream, river, or landmark.  Refer to the map on Geraldine Largay. Look carefully at where her remains were found and then look where the Appalachian Trail is.  A little common sense and some very basic map reading skills could have saved this woman’s life, but she chose to walk north looking for a cell phone signal instead of following her compass south back to the trail.  I’ve been in this part of the Maine woods before and it would be quite easy to walk off the trail and get lost.  That’s why a compass is a critical piece of equipment.

Related: GizzMoVest GPS Cases 

In this case, she moved north of the trail.  The moment she discovered she was lost, she should have pulled out her map and compass.  She would have seen that she was hiking east on that particular piece of trail. With a little study, she would have found that moving south or east would bring her back to the trail.  Instead she made a fatal error and moved north.  This really breaks my heart because a small amount of time spent at a compass class could have saved her life.

There are many stories where a GPS led people off road in their vehicles and they wound up stranded in the wilderness.  Sometimes they get rescued, sometimes they don’t.  Don’t be a statistic, folks.  Learn how to read a map and compass and be a survivor.  That’s why you’re here isn’t it?  To learn how to survive?  Trust me, if there’s one skill you can learn that trumps everything else, it’s how to navigate in the wilderness with a map and compass.

Summary

Use your GPS!  Like I said, I love mine; however, I try to be critical of it when traveling because it’s not always 100% accurate.

Here’s a little challenge for you.  The next time you decide to go on a trip take out a map and plot it by hand to see if you remember how.  I’ll bet when you look at the route you selected and where your GPS wants to take you, you’ll be thinking, “Why the hell is it taking me that way?” Questions?  Comments?  Sound off below!

Photos Courtesy of:

Jarhead Survivor
Filkferengi

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Environ-Home: Live Life Alongside the Environment With These Awesome Hacks

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Image Source: Pixabay.com

By The Survival Place Blog

Making your home more environmentally friendly is important. You need to live a greener life alongside the environment. Becoming more self-sufficient is a wonderful way of making sure you improve survival skills and help care for the planet too.

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Solar Energy

We are moving towards a greener and more eco-friendly world, and this is a good thing. But we still have a way to go yet. So you need to do as much as you can to make sure you are as energy-efficient as possible. In recent years we’ve seen the likes of Chile’s Renewable Energy Conference show the importance of greener living. It doesn’t matter if you’re a business or an individual, renewable energy is the future for all of us, so we need to understand that and prepare for it.

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Image Source: Pixabay.com

Grow Your Own Food

One of the key things you can do to have a greener life is to start growing your own food. And you’ll notice that more and more people are doing that these days. You don’t even need an allotment to do it. You can convert areas of your garden into a vegetable patch, etc. Growing your own food is a wonderful way to enjoy the freshest produce and save yourself some money in the process. It also allows you to learn the skills of planting and growing and feeding yourself naturally.

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Image Source: Pixabay

Limited Technology

Technology is so prevalent in life these days that many people have forgotten how to do things without it. There are a lot of things we take for granted these days because we have technology to do it all for us. So, to enjoy a more natural life, you need to make sure you limit your technology usage. This doesn’t mean you have to go all out Amish. But, you should try to cut down on the amount you use, and, where possible, refrain from using technology. This will give you a greater appreciation of the outside world and how wonderful nature can be sometimes.

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Image Source: Pixabay.com

Learn to Live off the Land

It’s important to learn valuable survival skills wherever you can, and that means living off the land. You can take weekend or week-long excursions to learn how to do this. You can also move to somewhere more remote so you can make full use of the natural resources that are around. Our ancestors used to live off the land all the time, and we have lost our way somewhat. If you can learn to do this, then you will have picked up some of the most valuable survival skills. It means that if anything were to go awry, and you had to survive in the wilderness, you’d be fine.

Having a more simple and stripped back existence is crucial for helping you live life alongside the environment. You want to try to turn your home into an eco-home and learn to live alongside nature a bit more. We get so caught up with technology these days that we wouldn’t survive without it. At least you’ll be okay if the apocalypse should hit!

This article was first seen at The Survival Place Blog: Environ-Home: Live Life Alongside the Environment With These Awesome Hacks

Filed under: How To Prepare, Prepping

5 DIY Survival Tools To Make From Scratch

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DIY survival tools

By  – SurvivoPedia

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

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

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

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

Are you starting to get the picture?

Homo faber is a peculiar creature, and I mean us, the people, the only “animals” on the planet which are able to control their environment through the use of – you guessed it – tools. Okay, tools and a juicy brain-to-body ratio. Some say that we control our fate too with those same tools, but I have my doubts about that.

Continue reading at SurvivoPedia: 5 DIY Survival Tools To Make From Scratch

Filed under: Emergency Survival Tips, Prepping