Hobbies That Will Save Your Life!

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By The Survival Place Blog

The great thing about life is that you gain experiences. It could be that you enjoyed a camping trip last summer, or playing 5-a-side soccer every Tuesday night. But while these are often seen as normal everyday experiences when taken at face value, more often than not they can double up as survival skills; it is just a matter of looking at them from a slightly different angle.

Think about it. Camping helps you understand how to live in the great outdoors and soccer improves your fitness; both of which would be highly sought after skills when survival instincts kick in. It is just a matter of understanding what skills and experiences you have, and how you can transfer them to another area of your life.

All too many people believe they wouldn’t survive in a state of emergency because they don’t have the skillset of a Navy SEAL or an SAS hero. But you don’t need their training to be able to survive. That is why we are going to show you what skills can be learned through just normal, fun activities.
Your preparation to survive a crisis situation starts now, and it starts with a smile.

Get Used To Life On The Move

When a crisis situation arises – whether that be war, zombie apocalypse or an alien invasion – nothing is going to become more helpful in your need to survive than your ability to live outside and live life on the move. That is where camping and backpacking come in. You see, learning how to shoulder a heavy load for days at a time can come as quite a shock to anyone who hasn’t done before, as can knowing how to survive in a tent, but these are so crucial to the longevity of your survival.
But it is not just about the hiking miles and miles with heavy equipment, it is also about the equipment you will have handy to you. If you have been camping, then the chances are you already have a huge chunk of the survival gear needed without even realizing. What’s more, if you have been wild-camping, then you will also have a steady understanding of what to look for in a good spot, such as the need to be on high ground and need a source of fresh water.

Know Enough About Mechanics

For a lot of people, this is a hobby that has helped them fulfill their petrolhead addictions. For others, it is simply a way to save money when it comes to getting their car, motorbike or plane fixed. Whatever the reason, when it comes to a scenario where survival is the main focus, this is going to be one of the most valuable skills.

Even by just learning the basic movements of an engine you will have a huge advantage. It could be that you manage to flee town in your Ford Ranger, which then ran into problems in the middle of nowhere. It could be that you stumbled across an airfield, and you have knowledge on how to jumpstart the plane in front of you, and thus be able to start flying in a Pitts S2C. Or perhaps, after days stumbling through a forest, you come across a lake, with a jetty, and a selection of boats, all of which require mechanical tinkering in order to get underway. That is where even a basic level of how engine works could save your life.

Hunting Is How We Got Here

These days – and quite rightly – there is a lot of stigma around hunting animals. We have done enough to harm the earth and all those that we share this planet with. But should the world start to implode, for whatever reason, knowing how to hunt is going to be the very skill that allows you to live? Without a food source, you can’t live, and it could be that you go days or weeks without finding a source of tinned food or non-perishable goods. It could even be that you had ample food stored, but this isn’t going to last forever, which is why knowing how to hunt will be critical.

What’s more, knowing how to hunt isn’t just about knowing how to kill. Hunting is about stalking, it is about blending in with your surroundings, knowing about wind direction, how to cover your scent, how to track and know how to avoid being tracked. All of these skills can help you avoid being detected by the enemy – or potential hostiles – meaning you will be able to effectively avoid the chance of being captured. Being spotted may be inevitable, that is why you will want to know how to disappear as quick as humanly possible, and without a trace too.

 

Back To The Basics Of Weaponry

Knowing how to hunt is going to heavily rely on your ability to shoot and kill while remaining undetected is going to mean using weapons that are silent. Basically, think Daryl in The Walking Dead. Knowing a little about archery is going to be your biggest asset when it comes to weapons.

But it isn’t just about offense, defense or being stealth; it is also about the fact you will be able to reuse your ammo over and over. This is not the case with modern weapons; with guns. When a bullet is spent, it is spent. When an arrow is fired, it is just a matter of collecting it and starting again. Crossbows are also incredibly durable too. As such, we recommend you start getting into archery, just in case. After all, it is relatively inexpensive, doesn’t require you to go through any thorough background checks, and doesn’t need a license. It could be the thing that keeps you alive in more ways than the obvious.
Of course, while these hobbies-slash-survival advantages are going to be imperative to your health and well-being should disaster strike in any form, it is also worth preparing yourself in other ways too. Such as knowing the surrounding area, understanding orienteering, and having a bug-out bag by the door. The more prepared you are, the better your chances of staying alive.

Originally published at The Survival Place Blog: Hobbies That Will Save Your Life!

Filed under: How To Prepare, Prepping

This Is How To Make And Recycle Rubber

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You need a fully functional tire (as opposed to a donut) in the trunk of your vehicle, and you may have gone through the extra expense to get it. Many other people haven’t even thought that far ahead, even this problem alone would lead to endless traffic jams and other problems in times of distress.

And there’s more bad news: even if you take good care of your tires and have a viable spare, there will come a time when all of your existing tires will have to be discarded.

Modern tires actually need to make contact with roads on a regular basis or they will begin to crack and rot. That’s why having the skill of making or refurbishing tires would worth a lot during crisis or after a major collapse.

Rubber is Older than You Think

While Europeans are credited with spreading the use of rubber throughout the world, it was first used by the Maya. They used latex from Hevea trees to coat balls that were used in a game similar to basketball.The latex was mixed with sap from the Ipomoea alba vine to make it less sticky and more durable.

In the 1700’s, French and English explorers discovered that rubber could be used for many other things. “Vulcanization”, which also makes rubber less sticky and more durable was not invented until the 1800’s by Charles Goodyear.

Since latex bearing trees only grew in South America, a great deal of effort went into protecting this monopoly, and it didn’t change until thousands of seeds were smuggled out of Brazil in 1876 by Henry Wickam. The plants that grew from these seeds were eventually used to build enormous rubber plantations in India, Indonesia, Asia, and Africa.

As automobiles became more popular, it became harder to keep up with the demand for rubber. Eventually, scientists found a way to synthesize rubber from petroleum. During WWII, this became a vital source of rubber that was used to keep the war effort moving forward.

Today, most, if not all rubber used in automobile tires is made from petroleum sources. As different nations become more unstable, there is an increased interest in finding plant based sources of rubber.

Russian Dandelions (T. kok-sanghyz) produce a latex that makes rubber almost as good a what you would get from a rubber tree. Milk thistle, or Prickly Lettuce, also produces enough latex to be used in making rubber.

There are also several other plants in the United States and around the world that may be suitable for this purpose, however much work needs to be done to find out which ones work best and how to get the most out of them.

Where to Get the Rubber From

Many preppers feel that it is very important to store away essential building materials such as wood, metal, glass, plastic, and cardboard. How many of them did ever think about storing away rubber, which is also a very important material to have on hand?

If you are building a stockpile of materials, you may find it a bit difficult to find rubber at a place other than Grainger. Rubber that hasn’t been made into some kind of product isn’t available to consumers. Make your own research in the following places, and you may come across limited supplies as they become available:

  • Repurposed materials
  • Public Surplus – if you are interested in used tires, this site may be a good place to start. Check if your local community has abandoned properties or other places where tire dumping is a problem. If you can get ahold of these tires, then you could do something with the rubber from them.
  • Salvex
  • Skycraft Parts and Surplus
  • Surplus Record – If you are part of a large enough prepper community and have plenty of land to work with, then think about building a small rubber factory. This site will give you information about equipment used to make synthetic rubber from petroleum. If you also have land that can be drilled for petroleum, it may be worth your while to think about turning some of it into rubber.

Even if you do not need to make rubber immediately after a major crisis, it could be an important commodity as society rebuilds and regains its capacity to bring people together to achieve goals. If you can produce petroleum and rubber, you and your group will prosper as different groups of people seek to regain the technologies and conveniences that may have been lost due to social collapse.

Never forget that future generations of your family will have to compete, and that will entail having marketable skills and products. As expensive as this equipment may be, it may be a wise investment that will set you and your family further ahead than you realize.

ENERGY SAVING PLAN – Find out how you can save energy following two simple steps! 

Basic Guide for Making Plant Based Rubber

If the Maya could make perfectly good rubber centuries ago, then it may also be possible for preppers to do the same. Making rubber from petroleum will more than likely be a lost skill after a major social collapse occurs.

As long as you have a source of plant based latex, then you should be able to make small as well as large batches of rubber to meet a range of needs. Here are the basic steps:

Step 1

Start off by harvesting latex. While Hevea Trees have to be “tapped” with V shaped slits in the trunk, the process is a bit different for plants.

For example, if you are going to use Milk Thistle, you will need to break open the plant stems to get at the latex, which is a milky white colored substance. If you decide to use dandelions (ideally Russian dandelions), you can get latex from the roots as well as the stems.

Step 2

Once you have collected enough latex, add some water and an acid to the sap. You can use vinegar or other weak acids. The ratios of sap, water, and acid will depend on the amount of latex in the sap as well as the strength of the acid.

For example, if you are using regular or Russian dandelions, you would use 1 part sap to 8 parts water and then enough vinegar to make the latex and water stick to whatever you are using to stir the mixture.

Step 3

Even though rubber made from dandelion will finish to “cure” or dry out on its own, you may still need to add sulfur and heat it to produce a more durable form of rubber. You may also want to try using Ipomoea alba sap to vulcanize the rubber.

Remember, different applications will require different levels of flexibility and durability. You will need to study the different characteristics of each type of rubber you plan to work with, and see what will work best to make them.

Video first seen on DSCDocumentries

When making plant based rubber, remember to start off with small batches and see how the resulting compound holds up over time and across different temperature conditions. Among other things, you will need to assess if the rubber will crack, and how well it will bounce back to its original shape after heavy weights are applied.

Give yourself plenty of time to explore this fascinating topic. Since there is still a great deal of trial and error involved in making rubber from dandelions and other more common plants, it is best to see what others are doing in this field even as you develop your own recipes and methods.

How to Recycle Rubber

Overall, there is a point where you can recycle rubber easily enough, and a level where it is well beyond the technical skills and assets available to most preppers. The complexity associated with fully recycling rubber lies in the process of vulcanization.

Let’s say you want to bake a cake that requires using eggs, flour, and some sugar. Let’s say you sift together the flour and sugar. Even though the sugar and flour are well mixed together, you can still separate them using various means. Once you crack open the eggs, in theory you can still put them back into the shell. To some extent, you can also still retrieve the eggs, sugar, and flour after they are all mixed together. Up until the cake is baked (the heat from baking drives off water and also causes different molecules in the batter to break apart and from bonds with other molecules), it is actually possible to separate out all the ingredients used in it.

In a similar fashion, once latex is treated with sulfur and heat, the molecular structure changes to a point where it cannot be reversed – or at least not reversed with ease.

Over the years, a great deal of effort has been made to see if there is a way to take rubber and turn it back to the latex stage. There is one patent, held by The Goodyear Rubber and Tire Company, on a process that uses high pressure and 2-butanol to reverse vulcanization.

This process is not something that can be done easily enough at the consumer level. Therefore, if you are interested in recycling tires or other rubber materials, you will need to take the existing rubber and use it for some purpose other than simply remaking tires.

3 Tips to Know Which Tires can be Salvaged

Consider a situation where a major catastrophe has made tires unavailable. While you are searching for replacements, you find a landfill and hundreds of tires stacked up. It may take a lot of work to find salvageable tires with a little bit of patience and effort, but you can do it if you keep in mind the following:

  • Tires with cracks in the sidewall and tread area more than likely have dry rot. The tread and sidewalls cannot be restored or reused for making new tires. If the tire is of a size that you need, you could take it apart and use the belts in combination with new rubber that you make from a plant based source. As long as the tire doesn’t show signs of having more than two patches, there is a chance that the inner anatomy of the tire is still intact. Even if you have to recoat the inner structures with more rubber, at least you will have some belts to work with.
  • Avoid tires that were punctured or slashed in the sidewall. If the tire is punctured deep enough, than it might have been discarded because it would not hold air. There are some methods you can use to repair a sidewall, but the tire may fail at a critical moment and cause a very bad accident.
  • Be wary of tires that are patched, even if the patches are less than ¼ inch in diameter and located far enough away from the sidewall.

Video first seen on Tank0923.

There are several different ways to repair punctures in tires. Depending on the size and age of the tire, you may find one that is worth patching even though the former owner chose to discard it. Remember, many people throw away good tires or repairable tires because their vehicle must be inspected and they don’t want to risk it failing. On the other hand, if you really need tires, then you could get some mileage out of them so long as you repair them correctly and drive carefully.

6 Ways to Use Tires for Your Homestead

  • The rubber part of tires can be ground up into a smaller bits that can be added to paving materials.
  • Rubber from tires can be cut into pieces and shaped into everything from shoe soles to waterproofing for containers.
  • When treated with acid, rubber softens and can be shaped into different objects.
  • Rubber products such as tires can also be burned to generate heat. From campfires to operating a steam turbine, you can easily use rubber tires and other products for this purpose, but keep in mind that it might have some health impact.
  • The rubber from tires can also be separated from the steel belt; which can be used to make new tires or for other purposes.
  • Rubber tires can also be used as raised bed planters. This may be especially useful if you plan to grow a garden in an area where water supplies and good soil are limited. In fact, if you want a cheap, easy way to make a multi-level potato planter, just stack up tires as the plants grow, and then harvest in the fall when it is time. Needless to say, if you are looking to hide your plants in open sight, a stack of tires may just look so unappealing no one will bother to look there for edible plants.

Video first seen on Just Az.com productions

Anatomy of an Automobile Tire

Today, there are many different kinds of tires that can be used for the same vehicle. For example, “all weather tires” are different from snow tires, mudders, and ones used for racing. Regardless of the tire type, they all have the same basic parts, however these parts may be designed a bit differently to accommodate different driving conditions.

Even though each layer of a tire also has many parts, here are the most basic ones you need to know about:

  • Treads – this is the outermost layer of the tire. It is the part that grips the road and wears out from friction with the road. The treads may also have sipes, or smaller grooves that increase traction when the tires are moving over ice, water, sand, and snow.
  • Grooves – these are also found in the outermost layer of the tire. Grooves are the long, deep channels cut into the tire. They help the tire to shed water and moisture so that it doesn’t clog up the treads.
  • Sidewall – this is the side of the tire that covers the other inner parts. It serves to protect and keep them clean and dry.
  • Belts – even though rubber bounces back to its original shape, it is not very strong. Without belts of nylon, steel, and even fiberglass, the tire would not maintain its shape very well. Depending on the tire, it may have several belts organized into layers just under the treads. When reclaiming rubber for other purposes, you will also be separating out these belts so that they can be used to make more tires, or for some other purpose.
  • Inner liner – separates the belt layer from the plies. It is also meant to act as a barrier to air so that it cannot escape into the belts, sidewall, and treads.
  • Plies – this part is what gives the tire most of its strength, and also the layer that holds air in. Typically, this layer is made up of materials that are organized so that the fiber runs across the tire instead of around it (the plies are perpendicular to the treads).
  • Bead – this is a metal cable coated in rubber that runs all the way around the inner rim of the tire. It is meant to keep the tire from slipping once it is mounted on a rim.

Why to Make Your Own Tires from Scratch

If you look at a modern tire factory, you may feel like it is impossible to make tires on your own. The task is going to be a bit difficult, but do not give up on researching and looking into automobile history to see how tires were made before robots and large factory machines were used.

Even if the tires you make aren’t as good, or don’t last as long as ones made in a modern factory, they may still be of use for short trips or keeping a tractor up and running.

Once you know how to make rubber and feel confident in your skills, the next step will be to see if you can recognize which tires can be retreated, and then figure out how to design your own tires and build them from scratch.

Retreading Tires

Not so long ago, retreading tires was seen as something dangerous and to be avoided at all cost. In many countries, including the United States, retreads are seen as a way to keep tires out of the landfill, and also as a means of cutting costs associated with vehicle maintenance.

As a prepper, you won’t have a modern retread factory or some of the more complex tools to work with. Nevertheless, if you look at retread factories in other places in the world, you can get some ideas about substitute tools, and then also figure out how to make the safest and most durable retreads possible.

Regardless of the factory type or situation, retreading requires the following basic steps:

  • Start off by inspecting the tire to check for signs of dry rot, punctures, slashes, and anything else that might have damaged the internal structures of the tire or its sidewalls.
  • If the tire is basically sound, strip off the treads. You will still need to leave some rubber behind for new material to adhere to.
  • Make sure the new surface is perfectly clean and ready to accept new rubber. If you see signs of belts showing through, or other damage, repair these issues first.
  • Apply rubber to the ground down surface of the tire. You may need to do this in several layers.
  • Next, apply the treads. These should be pre-made from rubber. If you know how to make rubber, then you can also use basic casting methods to produce strips of rubber treads that can be used for retreading.
  • Use heat and pressure to finish binding all the tire parts together.
  • Check the tire again for signs of holes, damage, or other problems.
  • Finally, apply a coat of paint or some other sealant to complete the tire.
  • Once the tire is dry, it should be ready to use. Make sure that you test the tire out in a safe area after mounting it to the rim. Do not forget to balance the tires and make sure that they are inflated properly.

As you can see, there is more to making rubber and using it for tires than you may have realized.

At the same time, tires and many other rubber products are integrated into almost every area of life. Since it is not always possible to replace rubber items with plastic ones, knowing how to make rubber and use it for a variety of purposes will help you a lot.

From fixing your own tires to bartering these services, you will always have something of value no matter what is going on in the human world around you.

Click the banner below for more!

This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia. 

Resources:

http://opensourceecology.org/wiki/Rubber_from_Dandelions#Temperate_Climate_Plants_that_Produce_Latex_and_an_Evaluation_of_their_Practical_and_Ecological_Use_in_Rubber_Making.

https://phys.org/news/2015-06-natural-rubber-dandelions.html

http://www.repurposedmaterialsinc.com/den-rolled-rubber-cheap-surplus-salvage/

http://www.publicsurplus.com/sms/browse/cataucs?catid=2503

http://www.scienceprojectideas.co.uk/make-rubber-band-from-dandelion.html

https://www.google.com/patents/US5891926

3 Essential EDC Fire Starters I Carry Everywhere

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by Todd Walker

3 Essential EDC Fire Starters I Carry Everywhere ~ TheSurvivalSherpa.com

What’s in your pockets? If you look at the popular trend of pocket dumps on social media, the answer appears to be everything, except the kitchen sink. I seldom see fire tools in these pocket dumps. Of course, our Everyday Carry items will look different depending on our jobs, lifestyle, and skill level.

Several of us from the Prepared Bloggers are sharing different EDC (Everyday Carry) items we never leave home without. Being the pyro that I am, I choose fire. Be sure to read the other value-adding articles by my friends in the links below this article.

The concept of carrying essential items on one’s person is smart habit. If ever separated from your main preparedness kit, the stuff in your pockets, plus your skillset to use said items, may be the only tools available.

The tool doesn’t determine your success. Your skills determine the tool’s success.

The quote above applies to preppers, survivalists, campers, carpenters, homesteaders, accountants, school teachers, and, well, all of us.

Pockets of Fire

If you frisked me, no matter the locale (urban or wilderness), you’d discover a minimum of three ignition sources in my pockets…

  • Mini Bic lighter (open flame)
  • Ferrocerium rod (spark ignition)
  • Fresnel lens (solar)
3 Essential EDC Fire Starters I Carry Everywhere ~ TheSurvivalSherpa.com

L to R: Key chain Exotac fireRod, mini Bic lighter, wallet fresnel lens, and two wallet tinders: duct tape and waxed jute twine.

Let’s break these down and discuss the advantages, disadvantages, and a few tips to successfully use each fire tool. Keep in mind that these are simply ignition sources and do not guarantee a sustainable fire. For more info on the importance of fire, you may find this article useful.

Bic Lighter – Open Flame

Since a road flare isn’t practical for EDC, I carry a mini Bic. The resemblance of road flares to dynamite puts people on edge, especially law enforcement officers. I do have them in my vehicle kits though.

The times you really need fire is usually when fire is hardest come by. I’ll take an open flame over sparks, solar, and especially fire by friction every day of the week and twice on Sundays! As mentioned previously, you must put in deliberate practice to hone your fire craft skills by actually Doing the Stuff or these fire tools just look cool in pocket dumps on Instagram.

To learn more on building sustainable fires, browse our Fire Craft Page.

Cold hands loose dexterity and make normally simple tasks, striking a lighter, difficult. Modify your EDC lighter by removing the child-proof device wrapped over the striker wheel. Pry it up from the chimney housing. Once free, pull the metal band from the lighter. Two metal wings will point up after removal. Bend the wings down flat to protect your thumb when striking the lighter.

What if your lighter gets wet?

On a recent wilderness survival course, I taught our boy scout troop how to bring a wet lighter back to life. Each threw their non-child-proofed lighter into the creek. After retrieval, they were instructed to blow excess moisture out of the chimney and striker wheel. Next, they ran the striker wheel down their pant leg several passes to further dry the flint and striker. Within a few minutes, lighters were sparking and each scout had a functioning fire tool again.

The lighters I carry in my bushcraft haversack and hiking backpack are more tricked out than my plain ole’ EDC Bic. Here’s a few ideas I’ve picked up for adding redundant lighters which may be of interest…

3 Essential EDC Fire Starters I Carry Everywhere ~ TheSurvivalSherpa.com

This full-size Bic is wrapped in duct tape holding a loop of cord which attaches inside my haversack. The green cap (spring clamp handle end) idea came from Alan Halcon. It keeps moisture out and prevents the fuel lever from being accidentally depressed.

3 Essential EDC Fire Starters I Carry Everywhere ~ TheSurvivalSherpa.com

The cap removed reveals the child-proof device missing.

Advantages

  • A mini Bic will give you approximately 1,450 open flames.
  • A wet Bic can be back in service within a minute or so.
  • So easy to light a five-year-old can use one.
  • Designed to be used with only one hand.

Disadvantages

  • It’s difficult to monitor the fuel level unless the housing is clear.
  • They are consumable… eventually.
  • Extreme cold limits a Bic. Keep it warm inside a shirt pocket under your overcoat.
  • A mythical disadvantage is that lighters won’t work in high altitudes. If Sherpas use them on Mt. Everest, this lowland sherpa is sold.

Ferrocerium Rod (Firesteel)

In the bushcraft/survivalist/prepper community, ferro rods have the hyped reputation of being a fail-safe fire maker. The device is simple and won’t malfunction, they say. Scrap the metal off the rod, and, poof, you have a fire, even in the rain. Sounds good but don’t buy the marketing hype!

“Much of the social history of the Western world, over the past three decades, has been a history of replacing what worked with what sounded good.”
~ Thomas Sowell

In my experience teaching both children and adults, using a ferro rod for the first time ends in failure more times than not. Yet everyone is told to add one to their emergency fire kits. I carry a small one on my key chain because I enjoy practicing fire craft skills. They’re a novel way of making fire but, like any skill, require practice to become proficient.

3 Essential EDC Fire Starters I Carry Everywhere ~ TheSurvivalSherpa.com

The fireROD by Exotac  has a watertight compartment which will hold a full cotton makeup pad for tinder.

Of these three ferro rod techniques – push, pull, and thumb lever – the latter is my favorite on softer firesteels. It offers more accurate placement of sparks. The drawback is that the thumb lever requires more fine motor skills and coordination which go bye-bye in an adrenaline spiked emergency scenario. That’s why I carry a Bic!

If you’ve never tried the thumb lever technique, here’s a short video demonstration which may help…

One of the many reasons I practice fire by friction is the fact that it teaches the importance of preparing proper tinder material. Marginal tinder takes more heat to combust. Even with 3,000 degree ferro rod sparks, you may fail to ignite damp, finely shredded tinder. The amount of heat needed for ignition depends on the amount of surface area compared to its volume. Think in terms of small hair-like fibers. When you think you’ve got fine tinder, shred it some more.

Even without a “proper” striker or knife, any object hard enough to scrap metal off makes a good substitute.

A ferro rod/metal match is not my first choice in fire starters. It’s a fun bushcraft tool to use though.

Advantages

  • Scraped with a sharp rock, broken glass, or any object sharp enough to remove metal particles, 1,500º F to 3,000º F sparks spontaneously combust as they meet air.
  • Sparks even in wet conditions.
  • The average outdoors person will never use up a ferro rod.
  • Can ignite many tinder sources.
  • For more info on ferro rods, click here. My EDC rod is way smaller than the one in the link.

Disadvantages

  • They are consumable… eventually.
  • They’re difficult to use if you’ve never practiced with this tool.
  • Intermediate skill level needed.

Fresnel Lens

A quality fresnel lens is useful for starting fires, examining plants and insects, splinter and tick removal, and reading navigational maps. I carry a 4 power lens in my wallet. It takes up about as much space as a credit card. I ordered a 3-pack from Amazon for under $7.

Sunshine is loaded with electromagnetic energy in the form of photons. A fresnel lens simply harnesses the energy to a focused point creating enough heat to start a fire.

A few tips I’ve learned may help here. Not all tinder material will combust. You’ll get smoke and char but may never have an actual flame. In the short video below, within a second you’ll see smoke on crushed pine straw. Once a large area was smoldering, I had to blow the embers into a flame.

Increase your odds of solar ignition by keeping the lens perpendicular to the sun’s rays and the tinder. Move the lens closer or further away until the smallest dot of light strikes the target. Brace your hand to steady the spot of heat. Smoke should appear almost immediately. Afternoon sun is stronger than morning sun. Keep this in mind when practicing this method.

3 Essential EDC Fire Starters I Carry Everywhere ~ TheSurvivalSherpa.com

Keep the lens perpendicular to the sun’s rays to concentrate the most radiant energy on your tinder.

Just for fun, I discovered that cocoa powder, which I carry in my bushcraft kit, makes a useable coal with solar ignition. Have fun playing and experimenting with fire!

Advantages

  • Beginner skill level. Ever drive ants crazy with one as a kid?
  • Can ignite different tinder materials
  • Lightweight
  • Saves other ignition sources on sunny days.
  • Never wears out. Always protect your lens from scratches and breakage.

Disadvantages

  • Dependent on sunshine.
  • May only create an ember which can be coaxed into flame.

EDC Fire Tinder

Duct tape and waxed jute twine ride alongside my fresnel lens in my wallet. You’ll also find a full-size cotton makeup pad stuffed inside the cap of my ferro rod. Wrapping a few feet of tape around an old gift card gives you an emergency tinder source for open flame ignition. Setting fire to a foot long strip of loosely balled duct tape will help ignite your kindling. There are so many multi-functional uses of duct tape, fire being one of them, that you should always carry at least a few feet in your wallet.

The waxed jute twine can be unravelled to create surface area for spark ignition. Unraveled, it can also be used as a long-burning candle wick. Either way, it’s nice to have another waterproof tinder in your pocket/wallet. Here’s a link if you’re interested in making your own waxed jute twine.

If all you have for ignition is a ferro rod, duct tape will ignite, but again, don’t count on it if you haven’t practiced this method. See our video below…

It never hurts to have multiple fire starting methods on your person. Drop us a comment on other EDC fire starters that I haven’t mentioned.

Be sure to scroll down and check out the other articles by my friends at the Prepared Bloggers.

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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Thanks for Sharing the Stuff!

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.

 

The Prepared Bloggers present - Everyday Carry Bag. What will you find in ours?

The Prepared Bloggers are at it again!

Everyday carry, or EDC for short, refers to items that are carried on a regular basis to help you deal with the normal everyday needs of modern western society and possible emergency situations.

Some of the most common EDC items are knives, flashlights, multitools, wallets, smartphones, notebooks, and pens. Because people are different, the type and quantity of items will vary widely. If you have far to travel for work or have young children, your EDC could be huge!

But, even if you’re just setting out for a walk around the neighborhood, taking your essential items with you in a pair of cargo pants with large pockets, may be all you need to be prepared.

Follow the links to see what a few of the Prepared Bloggers always carry in their EDC.

Shelle at PreparednessMama always carries cash, find out why and how much she recommends.

John at 1776 Patriot USA tell us the 5 reasons he thinks his pistol is the essential item to have.

LeAnn at Homestead Dreamer won’t be caught without her handy water filter.

Justin at Sheep Dog Man has suggestions for the best flashlights to carry every day.

Bernie at Apartment Prepper always carries two knives with her, find out what she recommends.

Nettie at Preppers Survive has a cool way to carry duct tape that you can duplicate.

Todd at Ed That Matters tells us about the one item you’ll always go back for…your cell phone

Erica at Living Life in Rural Iowa knows how important her whistle can be when you want to be safe.

Todd at Survival Sherpa always carries 3 essential fire starters wherever he goes.

Angela at Food Storage and Survival loves her Mini MultiTool, it’s gotten her out of a few scrapes!

Prep Blog Review: Homesteading On A Budget

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Whether you are preparing for a disaster, or you just want to be self-reliant, homesteading should be an important part of your prepping plans. And here comes the real challenge – building a sustainable homestead on a budget is everyone’s dream, right?

You don’t have to spend a fortune to start homesteading so this makes the topic for this week’s prep blog review. I’ve gathered 4 articles on this topic and I hope you will enjoy them.

  1. 10 Hacks for Homesteading with Almost No Money

“Homesteading is about being self-sufficient and self-reliant. To do this, you need to figure out some hacks to make it easy and simple. This involves adopting better gardening methods, conserving electricity, minimizing wastage, and consuming locally grown food. You can also go a step further and produce your own clothing, craft-work, and other home accessories.

The following are some simple hacks you can adopt:

Leave your Clothes Out to Dry

Forget the dryer. You can still dry your clothes in the outdoors, balcony or rooftop. Light clothes dry within a few hours even in the chilly weather while heavier garments will take longer. Besides saving you high monthly energy bills, this hack leaves your clothes smelling fresh and natural.

Grow Tomatoes Vertically

Having a small space doesn’t mean you can’t farm your own tomatoes. There are some breeds that grow vertically rather than horizontally. Besides taking little space, most of the plant is off the ground and is less-likely to be affected by parasites and diseases. You also use fewer pesticides to take care of it.”

Read more on Plan and Prepared.

  1. 45 Homestead Tools for Off the Grid Living

“Laura Ingalls didn’t have a power drill, but I bet you her life would have been a lot easier if she did. Listen, your homestead isn’t going to collapse and crumble without having every single one of the tools on the list–at least not right away. But over time as weather wears on your roof and rain mucks up your roads, you are certainly going to need some reinforcement. The following list of homestead tools includes just about everything you will need.

Homesteading isn’t a process that happens overnight. Purchase these homestead tools as you need them until you have everything covered. Start taking stock now and begin gathering the essentials. To make it simpler, I broke the list into four sections: everyday tools, emergency tools, agriculture tools, and luxury tools.”

Read more on Homestead Survival Site.

  1. Homestead Geese – Easy to Care for Barnyard Protectors and Weed Eaters

“Homestead geese are not the first animals that come to mind when you consider homestead livestock. That award usually goes to backyard chickens, or dairy goats with the occasional pastured pig thrown in. But geese deserve to be fourth on that list in my opinion.

Geese are entertainment, lawn control, homestead guardians that also happen to taste pretty darn good.

Goose fat is prized among top chefs, and many a hawk or fox has been scared away from a chicken dinner by the threatening wing span of an angry goose.

You might share that opinion if you encountered an aggressive goose in childhood (or adulthood for that matter).

However, geese raised by you, from goslings (a young goose), can be as friendly as the family dog and twice as formidable when strangers or predators happen on to your homestead!”

Read more on Common Sense Homesteading.

  1. How to Raise Meat Rabbits in Small Spaces

“Whether you are planning to survive disasters or simply want to be self-sufficient and less dependent on outside resources, raising your own meat animals is a smart choice. That said, raising farm animals can be tough for those who live in urban areas, small homes or apartments, or under the rule of restrictive homeowners associations. If that sounds like you, consider raising meat rabbits.  Rabbits make it possible to produce your own meat without raising an eyebrow!

Why rabbits? Meat rabbits are an excellent way to supplement your family food supply.  Rabbit meat is tender and mild, plus rabbit meat is one of the healthiest meat sources, even beating chicken for low calories, high protein, and lower cholesterol levels. Not only that, rabbit meat is also far lower in fat and is higher in calcium and phosphorus than other meats.”

Read more on Backdoor Survival.

This article has been written by Drew Stratton for Survivopedia.

Spend Your Summer Wisely: Preparing For Survival

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Image Source: Pixabay.com

By The Survival Place Blog

There’s a million and one things you could do this summer. Lying by the beach, hosting a BBQ in your backyard…but what will you actually gain from this, beyond a few hours of pleasure? If you want to make the best possible use of the good weather, then you need to head outside and cement your survival skills. Summer, with its fine weather, is an ideal time for those people who haven’t quite got the skills they need.

Into the Woods

Of course, to practice survival skills you’ll need to take yourself away from anything man made, but also somewhere that contains plenty of life. Regardless of where you live, you most likely have a deep, dark forest somewhere within driving distance from you. Make that your base for a week or two and you’ll return to civilization with a whole host of new skills.

Finding Food

Most people underrate their ability to find food when it really matters. It’s a basic skill that everybody can learn if they put the effort in; just most people don’t put the effort in. Your best options for food will be: animals, fish, and foraging plants. It can be tricky to catch animals if you’ve never done it before, but fishing is a skill that everyone should have. Take a read of fly fishing explained and get into the water: one day, it could be the difference between life and death. Also, having a book that outlines which plants can and cannot be eaten will be an invaluable resource, so make it one of the few things you take with you on your trip.

Stepping it Up

If you’ve been on a survival trip before, then summer is a good opportunity for you to step it up and real test your skills. For example, try going into the woods without a tent and see if you’re capable of making your own shelter. In an emergency, it’s unlikely you’ll have a waterproof, easy to put up tent just lying around. Similarly, you should have water with you, but see first if you could make it without access to clean water. Where would you go for water in an emergency? Would you know where to look? Before doing either of these things, let someone know where you’re going and when you’ll be back.

Celestial Navigation

The clear summer nights are ideal time to learn how to navigate yourself using only stars. Once you know a few basic rules, you’ll know that it’s actually very easy. And if you have no access to any type of technology at some point in the future, you’ll still know how to get around.

Learning Lessons

At the end of your trip, have a think about what worked and what didn’t. How ready would you be, really, if something terrible happened and you needed to survive in the wild? There’ll almost be areas that you need to improve on, and they can become the focus for your next trip into the woods.

Originally published at The Survival Place Blog: Spend Your Summer Wisely: Preparing For Survival

Filed under: Outdoor Recreation, Prepping

5 Survival Reality Show Screw Ups

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accident_truck_fear_factorReality TV shows generally tend to go two ways: Either they turn out to be partial or complete fakeries behind the scenes, or in some cases things veer a little too close to reality and people get hurt – in 2011, a contestant was involved in a massive crash on the set of Fear Factor, and that’s not the only case by far.

By Alex Coyne, a contributing author of Survival Cache & SHTFBlog

Here are some of the worst survivalist reality show screw ups yet…

1. Kid Nation

kid_nationKid Nation first aired in 2007 as a reality show by CBS, and it goes down in history as one of the worst ideas for a reality tv show ever to make it to the airwaves. The premise of the show was simple: Forty kids were placed in a reconstruction old Western town and, well, told to run it by themselves with absolutely no adult intervention. This involved all of the tasks you’d expect from keeping a town going, from milking the cows, making the food, doing the dishes and establishing some form of government. Please note that these were kids, with ages ranging between eight and fifteen.

The show was subject to serious controversy right from the beginning, and it didn’t take long before things got completely out of hand: It became a power struggle almost immediately into the show, and saw older kids heavily abusing their power. (Doesn’t that remind you of a little something called the Stanford Prison Experiment?)

There’s even someone on Reddit who says they were one of the show’s contestants.

2. Koh-Lanta

koh-lantaKoh-Lanta is better known as the French version of the popular reality show Survivor. You can check out the intro for Koh-Lanta on YouTube over here. Back in 2013, while filming a new series, contestant Gerald Babin (aged 25) suddenly got sick during the first task in Cambodia – a game of tug-of-war between teams – and then, well, died from cardiac arrest.

The season of Koh-Lanta was cancelled immediately, and it raised a lot of questions about the safety of contestants on reality shows. French authorities immediately launched an investigation into Babin’s death to see whether or not it could be ruled manslaughter.

Check Out: Ten Facts You Should Know About Fire

That, however, is not the end of the story: The show’s on set doctor (Thierry Costa) committed suicide shortly after the event, feeling – according to his suicide note – that the media attention arising from the event had brought irreparable damage to his name.

(Interestingly, this is one of two cases where a contestant has died on international versions of Survivor, and is not by any means the only occasion where contestants in any version of Survivor have been hurt enough to be removed from the game.)

3. Bear Grylls’ The Island

bear_gryllsBear Grylls is a well-known name: He’s had several of his own TV shows, written several books on his version of the art of survivalism, has the Bear Grylls Survival Academy and generally has no idea what he’s doing. (Yes, he has been forced to apologize for faking it on reality TV, and we wouldn’t trust his advice – period.) This particular mishap happened during Season 3 of The Island with Bear Grylls, a show where regular people are made to participate in survival set-ups. (That already sounds like a great idea, doesn’t it?) Patrick Dauncey (then aged 19) fell off a cliff during filming – a spectacular thirty foot drop. You can see the video from The Guardian.

Read Also: Your Survival Library

Needless to say, he was airlifted to hospital – seriously injured, but it could have been worse. He can now be found on Twitter, for some reason.

That would have been the end of the story, at least until The Island with Bear Grylls got in trouble again – this time, a crocodile was stabbed to death. In another case, contestant Mike Tindall had to be…well, airlifted due to serious injury. Again. Really nice, Grylls.

Oh, and applications are open.

4. Steve Irwin

steve_irwinIt’s been more than a decade since his death, but most people still remember Steve Irwin as The Crocodile Hunter: He’s either seen as a man with a unique touch for interacting with wildlife, or someone who shouldn’t have gotten that close to wild animals in the first place. Whatever your opinion, he remains, at least, notable. While filming his tv show The Crocodile Hunter in September 2006, Irwin got a little too close to a stingray: A move which resulted in his death. It was widely publicised, and we’d be lying if we said it didn’t raise more questions about what should and shouldn’t be part of reality television.

His family continues his legacy in education and conservation. You can find the official website for The Crocodile Hunter here.

5. The Jump

jump_reality_showThe Jump is a Channel 4 (British) reality show that takes various celebrities and puts them against each other to compete in winter games-themed tasks. This sounds like a great idea until you realize just how dangerous the premise of this show could be. For example, here’s an article on The Huffington Post about how many celebrities have had to be removed from the game due to injuries…so far.

Just some of the injuries courtesy of The Jump include Beth Twiddle’s neck injury, Ola Jordan’s potentially permanent leg injury and Heather Mills’ injured thumb and leg. Surprisingly, the show made it as far as a 2017 season, with contestant Spencer Matthews taking home a prize we’re not sure should have been up for offer in the first place.

What’s the worst reality TV show injury you’ve heard of so far? How about the craziest reality show overall? Link us to it in the comments: We love getting in touch with readers!

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How To Survive In A War Zone

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Image Source: Pixabay.com

By The Survival Place Blog

It hasn’t been a question that many Western civilians have needed to ask in the past couple of decades because we have remained relatively clear of any world wars, military invasions or coups. However, whether we like it or not, the political landscape has changed a bit, what with Trump, May and Putin leading the free world.
As such, the chances of us getting caught up in a war zone type scenario are increasingly higher than they have been. Korea is testing nukes. Russia is influencing elections. Ukraine has been made unstable. And a lot more. That is why we have taken the time to give you some advice on how you can survive a war zone.

  1. Water and food are going to be your priority and that is because they are usually the two first things to be subjected to limitations, whether through the panic of enemy tactics. As such, stock up on non-perishable foods and learn how to effectively store water.

 

  1. Never expose yourself unnecessarily, especially during a firefight. Your best bet when it comes to surviving is to stay as concealed as possible, and that means learning how to use cover and stay low. It also means staying away from obvious and potential targets.

 

  1. Protect your home or hideout. Your defensive strategy is going to be absolutely key to your survival rates. So block the doors and board the windows as an immediate measure. Then see what other methods are available to you. If you can get hold of blast curtains, then do. Otherwise, use furniture as a means to protect yourself from any explosive damage. The more you can protect your home, the better.

 

  1. Spend the time learning about basic first-aid. Chances are that electricity will go pretty quickly in a war zone, so stock up books that will educate you on how to survive, and how to perform basic first aid. If you are with a group, then don’t keep this knowledge to yourself. This isn’t The Walking Dead, this is war, and so your vital knowledge needs to be shared.

 

  1. Know the area in which you are. It could be that you are familiar with the area, know the terrain and have a solid understanding of the different routes you can take to escape or move around. If you don’t have this knowledge, then get a map and learn all you can about your surrounding area.

 

  1. Learn how to use a firearm. This may not sit well with you, but it is better to know how to use a firearm and not need it than to need it and not know how to use it. You will want to do this without giving away your position or alerting anyone to your position. So start off with learning about the safety and how to reload. Then learn how to be comfortable holding a firearm. It could be enough to deter someone. It is also worth knowing how to maintain any firearms you have.

 

  1. Be disciplined when it comes to light and sound. At night, light and sound can travel a long way, so make sure you have a self-imposed curfew and stick to it. Another tip should be using red lights instead of natural lights, as it doesn’t travel as far. This could be a matter of life or death, so ensure there is nothing in your vicinity that shines or rattles without your permission.

This is only the basics but it gives you a good base line to start you thinking and making plans for just this sort of scenario.

Originally published at The Survival Place Blog: How To Survive In A War Zone

Filed under: Emergency Survival Tips, How To Prepare, Prepping

Everyday Cures for an Aching Tooth

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cures_home_toothache

It may still be true that most people just don’t like going to the dentist.  That remains the case even today although modern advances in dental care, techniques, and pain medications can take care of most tooth ailments.  Maybe it is just the sound of that air drill cranking up in your ear.

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

lion_home_teeth_acheIn the old days before dentists were as common as bus stops at city corners, grandmas would go into the kitchen or on the back porch to brew up some tonic to chase just about any pain away.  All those herbs and spices hanging swinging by strings from the rafters where not for scaring werewolves away.  In those pioneer days those dried plants were the only medicines available.

For the most part those old log cabin remedies are long gone, but some basic mixture cures can still be found among books and articles on primitive medicines.  Some of them can still be used today with some effects.  

Related: Five Best DIY Toothache Remedies

Here are seven of the most basic, common home remedies for a toothache.  Now, understand that relieving pain in the short term is far different from a permanent cure.  These toothache pain suspenders are just more or less temporary.  If you have a cracked tooth, or other serious dental issue, then I’m afraid there is a dentist in your future.  But, meantime, try one of these.  You never know, it just might make a permanent fix for some issues.  

Oil of Cloves

When I was a kid, my mom kept a small bottle of clove oil in the bathroom medicine cabinet.  I remember taking the cork out just to take a whiff of the clove smell.  I liked it.  She used it on toothaches and as I recall it did a pretty good job.  She would just dab a bit on the tooth with her little finger.  The pain was gone and the taste lingered.  

Put the oil of cloves on a cotton ball or a small cotton roll like dentists use.  Let it soak in, but don’t overdo it.  Then place the oil soaked roll or cotton ball next to the affected tooth.  Leave it there until the pain subsides.  Repeat as needed.  

Ginger-Cayenne Paste

toothache_ginger_pasteUse this home remedy in small amounts, because the combination makes for a hot mixture.  Form a paste with ginger and ground cayenne pepper flakes using a small amount of water.  Mix until the consistency is like a glue or pudding like substance.  Dab the mix with a cotton swab.  Place the paste directly on the tooth, but try to keep it off the gums and cheek inside your mouth.  Leave it there as long as you can stand it.  

Either spice can be used by itself, so if the pepper is too hot, try the ginger by itself.  

Salt Water Gargle

salt_toothachesPractically everybody knows this remedy, but its use may have gotten lost in the sands of time.  You can use common table salt or even sea salt, but add a tablespoon or so to water and heat to dissolve the salt.  After it cools to a warm solution, simply gargle the salt water for 30 seconds or so.  Repeat several times to ease the tooth pain.  

Peppermint Tea

ache_tea_toothVarious teas have long been known to provide pain relieving benefits.  Peppermint tea in particular seems to work well, perhaps because people simply like the taste of it.  Peppermint though has other properties to help with aches and pains as well.  The tannins in tea also assist with reducing swelling.  Brew the tea and swish it in the mouth to help knock the edge off the tooth pain.   Some even recommend placing a wet tea bag right against the tooth.  

Hydrogen Peroxide

toothache_hydrogen_peroxideThis is an easy remedy for toothache, but use it with some caution.  Use a 3 percent solution to swish around the impacted tooth.  Do not swallow the hydrogen peroxide but spit it out.  Repeated applications can be used, but again, be certain not to swallow the mixture.  

Ice Cubes

Ice cubes are of course frozen and the super cold tends to deaden nerves.  Application can be done in various ways, chipped or cubes can be placed into a sealed plastic bag, then wrapped in a piece of cloth.  This pack is applied next to the tooth.  The same ice pack can be placed outside the mouth along the cheek near the affected tooth.  Use until the pain is numbed.  

Tincture of Myrrh

myrrh_toothache_Commiphora_myrrha_-_Köhler–s_Medizinal-Pflanzen-019Bought on line or at specialty vitamin stores, myrrh is a natural gum or resin extracted from small trees of the Commiphora species.  The resin or oil acts as an astringent which reduces inflammation.  Make a mixture of the myrrh by simmering a teaspoon in two cups of water for about 30 minutes.  Then use a tea strainer to separate the material from the solution. Let the solution cool.  Then put one teaspoon of this solution into a half cup of water to further dilute it.  Rinse in the mouth over the tooth 5-6 times a day.  This should help reduce the pain and ache of the hurting tooth. Again, everybody gets different results from these various home remedies.  Continue to monitor the condition of the tooth.  Finding a dentist during a SHTF or any disaster can be a problem.  If the tooth gets worse, then begin a search for one.  Right now, find out if one should happen to live close to where you live or near a potential bug out location.  

Check Out: Making Maple Syrup

This is even more reason to pursue regular medical care as a preventive measure.  See your family doctors regularly, and a dentist at least twice a year.  If you take care of business, maybe you can avoid troubles later on.  
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Bushcraft: must have prepper survival skills!

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Bushcraft: must have prepper survival skills! Forrest & Kyle “The Prepping Academy” Audio in player below! Kyle and Forrest discuss bushcraft. What the heck is bushcraft? Isn’t that for survivalist and mountain men? It’s for everybody! Learning bushcraft skills should be one of the fountains stones for your preparedness pyramid. Before we get in to … Continue reading Bushcraft: must have prepper survival skills!

The post Bushcraft: must have prepper survival skills! appeared first on Prepper Broadcasting |Network.

Making Maple Syrup

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1_featured_syrupandshack

2_tappedinsnowMaking Maple syrup is an annual celebration of spring, as it is one of the first wild plant foods of the year and the rising of the sap marks the beginning of the spring harvest.  For the do-it-yourself tapper, it is not so much about calculating (the work to syrup ratio turns many a woodsman to purchase rather than boil, and perhaps even to the manufactured, corn syrup based, imitations) as it is about experiencing the full spectrum of early spring weather while communing with the forests and partaking in one of the most quintessentially American traditions.

By Nathaniel Whitmore, a Contributing Author to SHTFBlog and SurvivalCache

For me, cooking sap is a way of remembering my first mentor who taught me of wild edibles and medicinal herbs.  It is also a time to remember the Native Americans who taught early colonists how to tap Maple trees and boil the sap into syrup and sugar.  It is also a great way to start off a new year with an act of self-reliance.  Even if you don’t have the time or lifestyle to make syrup every year, you should be familiar with the basic principles and practices in the case of necessity.  The process is rather simple, but there are several things to know and be aware of.  This article will explain the basic steps of making syrup, including some information you should know about trees, the season, and the process of cooking.

When to Make Maple Syrup

When the dormant sap of trees first rises in the late winter and early spring, its sugar content is high and it is free of many of the stronger tasting constituents of the sap of a fully awakened tree.  It is this sap, that rises and descends back to the roots with the warm and cold of early spring.  Once the trees bud, the sap takes on bitter flavor and remains suspended in the tree, while the hole you drill to receive the sap through starts to heal up.

This year, because of regular warm spells, the sap is very watery.  I have not counted the gallons I boiled or the syrup resulting from it, but I have heard a couple people say that a local paper reported that the ratio was around 70 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of syrup.  Good cold winters followed by ideal spring conditions (such as a March, in my area, with lots of warm days well above freezing alternating with cold nights well below freezing), produce much sweeter sap than warm winters.  We had sap flow all year and by mid February people were tapping trees and getting good sap flow.  Often, it is still much too cold in February for much sugaring.  Generally, a good year starts off with Sugar Maple yielding around 1 gallon of sap for 35 gallons of syrup.  The average for Sugar Maple is said to be 40 to 1.  The average for Red Maple is 60 to 1.  In spite of the watery sap, the syrup still tastes delicious!

Which Trees to Tap

Generally, syrup is made from Maple trees.  However, many other types of trees were tapped by Native Americans, including Birch, Ash, Hickory, and Black Walnut.  The ideal tree is Sugar Maple.  Quite a lot of syrup is made from Red Maple.  Silver Maple, Ash-Leaf Maple (Box Elder), and others can also be used.  

9_maple_leaf_imageMaple trees are relatively easy to pick out.  One distinct characteristic of Maples is that they have opposite branching.  When looking at the buds or branch silhouettes, you can see that the buds are formed directly opposite each other and the branches tend to remain that way (of course, here and there one of two opposite branches breaks off, but overwhelmingly the opposite branch arrangement is obvious).  Most other trees have alternate branch arrangement, where the branches come from one side then the other, or spiral around, so that they are alternating, rather than opposite.  A third type, such as is seen in many evergreens, is the whorled arrangement, in which several branches spread out from a certain point, or node.

The only other trees in my area besides Maple that have opposite leaves are Ash trees.  Ash are easy to tell apart because, having compound leaves, the branches are rather stout (the smaller branching taking place in the deciduous stem of the compound leaf).  Since Maple have only simple leaves, they need more finely divided branches.

Maple bark is distinct, but difficult to describe and highly variable.  Red Maples develop a much more shaggy appearance in older specimens, while Sugar Maple has its distinct folds.  Red Maples have large red buds, while those of Sugar Maple are smaller and brown.  Sugar Maple prefers upland, more exposed areas.  Red Maple prefers moist areas and is also known as Swamp Maple.  (Sugar Maple is known as Hard Maple and Red as Soft Maple because of the density of the wood.  Sugar Maple is good firewood.)

Besides the sugar content of the sap, Red Maple often doesn’t flow as well as Sugar because of the cooler shady areas it tends to grow.  Generally, people try to tap on the south side of the tree of trees with good southern exposure.  This is because on an average year, the trees that warm up the easiest run the best for syrup productions.  However, if you are tapping the same trees year after year, you will want to spiral around the tree with the taps each year to avoid damaging the “sweet spot”.

Tapping the Trees

9_dropofsapI use a non-electric drill to make the holes for my spiles.  It is a traditional tool, works well, is much more peaceful than a power drill, and doesn’t run out of battery power.  The holes are drilled so that they are a little deeper than the spile will need to go (you don’t want to smash it into the back of the hole) and at a little bit of a downward slant so the sap doesn’t stagnate in the back of the hole. When you hammer the tap, or spile, into the hole, take care not to split the tree.  If you split the tree, sap will run out of the crack and less through your spile into the sap bucket.  I listen for a change in tone as I tap.  When the hollow thud turns to a crisp note, I know the spile is seated tightly.

Hang your bucket, cover with the lid, and, if the weather is right, enjoy the pings of the drops of sap landing in the empty buckets.

Boiling Maple Sap

Cooking of the sap is best done in a shallow pan, for surface area.  Bring the sap to a good boil.  As it gets cooking and for a little while after it is boiling impurities will rise to the top in the form of foam.  Use a sieve to scoop the foam from the boiling sap. Repeat this until it is cooking well without abundant foam production.  Every time you add sap, you will need to repeat the process of removing impurities as they foam to the surface.

3_3_goldenelixerAnother type of foam marks the end of the process.  Once the sugar concentration gets to a certain point, which depends also on the temperature, it turns to foam.  This is a very important point, for if you are not carefully watching towards the end, you could miss this stage as the syrup all turns to foam and bubbles out of the pan.  Many people like to finish the process inside.  It is particularly dangerous to leave almost finished syrup unattended in your home.  It could foam over and cause some problems.  This second foam, which marks the sugar concentration of syrup, is not to be removed with the sieve – it will simply calm back down to syrup once taken off the flame.

Finishing Steps

Once cooled, the syrup should be poured into large jars and let settle so that the sediment can sink to the bottom.  You can then pour the clear syrup off the top.  It might then be left to settle again, to remove any more sediment or sugar sand.  Often, people like to filter the syrup.  It can then be jarred.

With time, and sometimes quite quickly with watery syrup, mold can develop.  In order to recover moldy syrup simply bring to a simmer again and skim the mold off the top.  Let it simmer for a bit, being careful not to let it foam over, and skim repeatedly to make sure the syrup is heated up well and the impurities are completely removed.

Equipment

4_buckets on Red MapleI use the old fashioned galvanized buckets.  Many people today use plastic equipment, including plastic hose linked together to replace buckets at each tree.  I have often wondered about ways to make syrup without these specialty spiles and buckets.  Natives would sometimes collect sap through “v” shaped cuts, rather than holes with spiles.  It is, of course, possible to fashion spile with wood, bamboo, or other plants.

The process of cooking becomes much more challenging without metal.  The large, flat, pans used for sap boiling are perfect for the job.  I can’t easily imagine trying to boil without it.  Native people used hot rocks to boil sap, and apparently for making sugar.  I am sure they had ingenious ways for doing so, but any quantity of production will be much easier (and still plenty of work) with metal.

Drinking Sap

5_maplesyrupWhen I first began making Maple syrup, I was warned not to drink the sap.  However, this old knowledge was either misguided or the wisdom, for better or worse, has been forgotten.  Today, there are many companies bottling the sap itself for commercial sale.  It is being promoted as a sort of northern version of Coconut water. Sap, especially the first of the season, is indeed delicious.  It has a noticeably sweet taste and is otherwise clean and crisp like water.  Besides sugar, it has significant mineral content. It is also enjoyable to use the partially concentrated sap for making tea and oatmeal.  So, really, there are many ways to enjoy Maple sap, straight from the tree, during the cooking process, and as syrup.

Even if making Maple syrup is not much of an option, sap is a potentially important clean water substitute.  Weather permitting and without a good water source, it could be possible to tap a tree in the spring and collect the sap for cooking and drinking.  I mostly use 3 gallon buckets on the trees and on good days they can overflow.

One year I made some syrup from Black Birch when boiling from a stand of Red Maple.  The Maple ran for a couple weeks before the Birch started.  The Birch continued after the Red Maple had stopped.  The Black Birch produced copious amounts of sap.  Similarly, the Black Walnut that we tapped this season, though it dripped a little when first drilled it did not run much at first, when the Sugar Maple were productive, but then started to run well.  So, the staggered timing of the various tree’s sap flow is significant.  Knowing when which trees tend to run could help you collect sap beyond the season of any one species.

Pancake Ideas

pancakes_syrupOne final thought about Maple syrup- pancakes!  Since much of the delight in Maple syrup is in gathering food from the trees, I especially like to include other ingredients from the trees when eating it.  One of my favorites is acorn pancakes.  Properly prepared acorns are delicious and make very tasty pancakes.  I also like to use Slippery Elm powder as an ingredient.  (Sometimes, I simply make a gruel with Slippery Elm and Maple syrup.  It is very delicious.)  Walnuts can be added for additional flavor and nourishment from the trees.

The obvious drawback to Maple syrup is its high simple sugar content.  For this reason, I also like to use Cinnamon at times in my pancakes.  Cinnamon is known to help with blood sugar problems.  Blueberries (and other dark-colored fruits) are also good, as their high antioxidant content helps offset the sugar concentration.  Using such healthy ingredients makes enjoying Maple syrup a more wholesome and nourishing experience.

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Top 10 Safest and Possibly Best Countries for “Preppers” to Relocate to Outside the U.S.

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Could large parts of the U.S. become uninhabited following apocalyptic nuclear war? Yes. If you’re not cut out for a major bug out, take a serious look at international relocation beforehand.

Here are ten countries to consider relocating to and why

It’s no secret that millions of people across the U.S. are worried.

They worry about their future, about their employment and income, children, safety, quality of life, and much more. During the most recent presidential election numerous celebrities claimed they’d leave if Donald Trump won the presidency. We all know where that led.

While the rich celebrities are out of touch with reality and tend to be spoiled brats with little redeeming qualities, real, hard working Americans see the writing on the wall. We know what’s coming and that’s why we prepare.

Preparedness leads to stronger survival skills and foresight

We prepare with stronger survival skills, backup plans, and foresight into the future. We’ve seen the increase of natural disasters and climatic weather events on a steady increase for many years. Who can dispute that? We hear the threats growing from the Middle East and would be foolish to think that Radical Islam is simply going to stop their desire to destroy everything the U.S. stands for. Anyone who thinks it’s going to go away needs to get their heads out of the sand.

Threat of nukes, high level hacks, Islamic terrorism

Throw in all the threats of nuclear war coming from North Korea (and don’t forget about Iran at one time estimated to be connected to 80% of the world’s terrorism), coupled with dangerous hacking from the Russian and Chinese on all levels of U.S. infrastructure, and it’s clear that we face multiple threats that could sink us (with or without Trump in the White House), and not just to the U.S.

Story of the Titanic: America’s story?

We’ve compared the U.S. to the Titanic in recent years, the ship that the world was told was unsinkable. Realize this — if the U.S. has already hit the iceberg, it doesn’t matter who is the captain of the ship, Trump or not.

America’s enemies aren’t going away. Thanks to all that hacking by foreign governments, government spying, etc., etc., other superpowers in the world have the ability to sink us.

Attacks on the power grid, attacks on communications

They can attack our power grid for example, a loss of power leading to tens of millions of deaths in the first year alone (or the vast majority of the U.S. population say some experts on the threats to the grid, including EMP attack). What if these same foreign governments can interfere with communications from the White House that would give the order to U.S. ICBMs to launch retaliatory nukes at another country that had launched at us? Result: Their nukes strike. Ours never launch.

Today’s life planning should include preparedness

Instead of thinking only about college, careers, or retirement, or where to take that next vacation, now is the time to instead think about being adequately prepared with a get home bag and survival skills for surviving a long term disaster. For others, and the focus of this article, now may be the time to consider ‘getting out of Dodge while the gettins good’ and, for many, that may mean finding good, safe, and reliable places to live far from U.S.A.

Not everyone is cut out for a bug out

The fact is not everyone is cut out for a major bug out into wilderness or even just a remote town somewhere many miles distant. Bugging out successfully takes good health, resources and supplies, and a bit of ruggedness and even tactical know-how that some readers would rather not tackle.

Either choice should be something we should all be praying over, getting our lives right with God, so we know we are making the right decisions.

 

Top 10 Best and Safe Places Internationally for Americans to Consider Relocating To Before SHTF

Here are the top 10 we have found for Americans looking to relocate internationally as a way to survive a potential Perfect Storm of events that could lead to the toppling of an empire.

Falkland Islands

For those people in their 50s, 60s, or 70s, they probably remember hearing about the Falkland Islands in the 1980s. A British controlled territory in the southern portion of the Atlantic seaboard, the Falkland Islands remain under British control, but they’ve become much more self-sufficient in recent years.

The Falkland Islands are located in the southern Atlantic Ocean, some 400 miles from the South American mainland and 850 miles north of the Antarctic Circle. They are located between Latitude 51° and 53°S and Longitude 57° and 62°W; coincidentally, that is approximately the same latitude south as London is north.

Their main economic drive involves fishing, agriculture, and tourism. There has also been some exploratory drilling for oil that’s been met with some success, so it’s believed this could be a strong economic boost in the near future for the island nation.

The Falklands offer a number of benefits, most notably stability. With a large military presence from the British Empire (thanks to a failed insurgency from the 1980s), the Falkland Islands remain independent without any major threats to its residents or tourists.

Even though there’s a large military presence here, the Brits are said to not be involved in local politics. Schooling here is solid and the cost of living index remains comfortable for the average person looking for a better alternative to living in the U.S.

Malta

Malta has been on many radars as a place to consider for relocation in recent years and it’s really beginning to make some waves in the global perspective. The small nation is home to more people who are in long-term relationships. It’s not clear as to why this is the case, but it offers a low cost of living and some quality employment opportunities. More than that, a majority of respondents to a survey stated they are completely delighted with their partner.

A major draw for Malta is that it offers plenty of wonderful leisure activities, especially for those with some strong financial means. While Costa Rica ranked at the top of one list for personal happiness, Malta comes in a close second.

When asked, more than half of people living in Malta planned to remain there for the rest of their life, which was considerably higher than the global average.

The climate in Malta is relatively mild, and the summers can get hot and humid. For those who lived most of their life in the northern portion of the U.S., this could be like moving the Southeast part of the country.

While safety isn’t a major concern, some regions of the country are not as well kept or clean as others and this may be a deterrent for some. Cost of living is on the rise at the moment, but it still provides a great alternative to living in the U.S.

French Polynesia

A group of about 1,700 islands make up French Polynesia, located in the Pacific Ocean about halfway between California and Australia. While the total area, including water, is about the size of the European Union, land mass only consists of about 1,056 square miles, or slightly smaller than the state of Rhode Island.

What many people find attractive about French Polynesia is the climate. Yes, it can be quite hot and humid here during their summer months (between November and March), but even then the average temperatures hover about 85 degrees F. The water temperatures get to be about 84-degrees F during that time period as well.

As far as crime is concerned, it’s almost unheard of through many of these islands. Tahiti is the most commonly thought of island in French Polynesia, and also the most attractive to tourists.

Bora Bora, Moorea, and Huahine are commonly viewed as exceptional destinations. The nation has been under French control since the 19th century, but there has been a concerted effort in recent years to gain independence through economic development.

This makes it attractive for folks looking for a place to settle down and make their mark, and they get the added bonus of the tropical climate.

Australia

There are many people from the U.S. and beyond settling into Australia for a number of reasons. However, many of the same political issues that are currently plaguing the U.S. are beginning to filter down under.

One of the most attractive features of Australia is its incredible expanse of warm beaches and incredible (though dangerous) Outback. The climate in Australia can be relatively warm along the northern portion of the country, but winters in the south can be quite cold.

There is no shortage of recreational activities to enjoy in Australia and there’s no real language barrier for Americans deciding to call this country home in the future. However, you will need to learn some of the interesting and unique dialect, such as ‘barbie’ for barbeque.

Population levels are considered relatively low in Australia, which is a benefit for many Americans who are looking to get away from a growing population boom in the U.S.

One thing that may concern some is the new gun ban that went into effect in the country a couple of years ago. As most ardent patriots and survivalists understand is that a citizenry that’s disarmed allows its government too much control and power over it; one day that could be a bad thing.

Settling in near Melbourne or Queensland offers better safety than the rural outlying areas. The Outback can be potentially dangerous for those with little to no experience with unadulterated nature.

Costa Rica

Costa Rica has been a staple among men and women looking for a change of pace from the U.S. One of the main attractions for people moving to Costa Rica is the laid back attitude the entire country seems to have. In comparison to the U.S.’s ‘rat race,’ this pura vida, which literally means ‘pure life.’

This means most people here in Costa Rica have a relaxed and casual attitude about almost everything, including delivering the mail, restoring power when it goes out, or trying to accomplish any goal within the government.

Most people initially find this new attitude refreshing, but when you want things done on a schedule, it’s going to be incredibly frustrating. It also means you’re not going to find the infrastructure here in the best of conditions. Then again, if you’re from New York, Chicago, or just about any other major city in the U.S., you might even think Costa Rica’s infrastructure is better.

Because it’s a tropical climate, you may be in awe of the incredible surroundings, the jungle atmosphere, foliage, volcanoes (hopefully which stay quiet), and incredible scenery just about everywhere throughout this country. Of course, that also means some serious insects that are probably the size of small dogs or cats back in the states. There’s not much you can do about this, but if you’re okay with it, then settle in and enjoy life.

As far as safety is concerned, it’s the safest Central American country next to Nicaragua as far as violent crimes, but if you leave your home unattended too long, it will probably get broken into. Pickpockets target tourists and new people to the country frequently.

However, there are ways to prepare and protect yourself against these kinds of crimes and when you do, it’ll be a fun place to live.

New Zealand

If safety is your biggest concern, then New Zealand is a place to live. It’s one of the safest nations in the entire world, but there is a drawback; it’s far away from almost everything.

To go anywhere outside of this nation, you need to either cruise on a boat for a long, long trip or fly. Those are your basic options. This usually isn’t a big problem for many, but after what we witnessed in the U.S. after 9/11, when air travel is stopped, you could very well be stranded, at least until flights resume.

The scenery in New Zealand is often described as breathtaking, but it doesn’t have much in the way of historic buildings. While it doesn’t have a great number of people living there (about 4.5 million for a country about the size of Great Britain), this can be nice but there isn’t a great deal of public transportation and housing isn’t the best.

Job opportunities are limited, but for someone working remotely (online), that wouldn’t be an issue, either. Cost of living is decent, but not the best.

All in all, New Zealand would make a great option for any American who’s living with the belief that America has probably hit the iceberg and may go the way of the Titanic. Her sins are piled high to Heaven, as many evangelicals claim. God may be about to take action to upset America’s status in the world and the U.S. may go the way of the ancient Roman Empire, lost to the ash heap of history. If you do go to New Zealand, you may want to stay away from the city of Christchurch, which has been hit with severe and destructive earthquakes in recent years. Some evangelicals even claim that these earthquakes that have rocked Christchurch, New Zealand are a sign. Whatever it is, maybe it is a bit more than coincidental.

Canada

Canada remains a strong beacon for people seeking benefits coupled with a beautiful country. There are some issues to be aware of, however, before looking to Canada.

Yes, it has universal health care coverage and free public education, but nothing is free; the tax rate in Canada can be high, especially for those earning more than the average citizen. Also, if you enjoy city living, get ready to pay a premium for it, with real estate prices continuing to spiral upwards, almost out of control in Toronto, Quebec, and even Calgary.

If you’re interested in avoiding the harsh winter (at least in comparison to the U.S. in many spots), focus on the shoreline. Vancouver and Newfoundland can offer some respite from the seemingly endless winter cold that strikes inland more harshly, but does offer pleasant summers in many of these places that endure winter cold.

Newfoundland has been dealing with the effects of a depressed real estate market for some time and that means you could get some good deals on real estate if you relocate here. Just remember that jobs may be sparse in this part of Canada.

Schools are considered good, health care is good, and quality of life is often reported as being higher than in most other nations throughout the world.

Ecuador

Ecuador has been on the leading edge of people looking for a great place to live. While it’s beginning to show signs of slowing down and losing ground against other nations on the list, it’s still a strong alternative to living in the U.S. during uncertain times.

Ecuador offers a strong working abroad index, ranking 30th out of 67 countries, which is way down from where it was just a couple of short years ago. Job security is what’s holding back Ecuador from another top finish to many rankings.

A big part of the problem here is that few see the economic climate in Ecuador as being very positive.

Another major problem for this Central American country is safety. It had ranked much higher in previous years, but only 22% of people calling this nation home feel very safe here now.

One thing that makes Ecuador an appealing place to live is that it’s relatively easy to settle in and become comfortable. More than one fourth of people surveyed felt very happy about their decision to live in Ecuador, which is about 10 percentage points higher than it is for the rest of the world when asked about their home country.

Ecuador, as with several other Latin American countries, does have some safety issues, most notably cartels that kidnap children or other family members for ransom. So, life here definitely calls for being able to blend in so that you don’t stand out as a Westerner — having some kind of Hispanic heritage could be an asset, as well as a strong grasp of Spanish.

Just remember that avoiding some of the less populated regions and focusing more on the major cities where people tend to settle down can provide more safety, as long as you practice situational awareness and staying away from areas where criminals target tourists. Making and developing friendships, even marrying into a local family, with trustworthy citizens can be assets to living long term and not coming on to the radar of kidnappers in a few less populated areas.

Spain

Spain is only second to Taiwan (Taiwan isn’t on our list due to it’s close proximity to communist China) when it comes to overall contentment of foreigners calling a nation other than their original one home. Spain is an ideal location for a number of reasons, not the least of which is its incredible climate and when you plant yourself closer to the coast, miles upon miles of incredible sandy beaches.

Spain is a member of the EU and while that may cause concern for some people, it hasn’t dealt with some of the same issues plaguing other parts of the European Union. Politically speaking, it has a tendency to keep a low profile and doesn’t attract too much unwanted attention.

As with most places around the world you need to know where to live in a particular country. If you have children or plan to raise a family, Basque Country ranks highest in education in the country with Extremadura and Ceuta ranking lowest.

As far as safety is concerned, Basque Country ranks highest and Ceuta lowest. In fact, Ceuta, which borders Morocco, has issues with reported terrorist cells recruiting for ISIS and other organizations in Iraq and Syria.

Opportunities exist in Spain for skilled foreign workers in engineering, language teachers, and skilled trade, as all of these are currently in high demand.

Czech Republic

First off, since the EU formed, the Czech Republic has been on a boom economically. Housing is at a premium and is often more expensive for foreigners. However, it’s a rich and diverse culture that is ideal for those seeking history, culture, and rich architecture.

You’re nowhere near the sea in the Czech Republic, so if you enjoy the beach, this might not be the place for you. However, there’s a lot to do here and incredible outdoor hiking and other places to visit.

Crime is relatively low, but you’ll want to protect your wallet as there’s a rise in pickpockets in recent years. Salaries for work here are great, but you’ll have to contend with a lot of government bureaucracy.

It’s also not easy to get a driver’s license in the Czech Republic, but public transportation is cheap and reliable; you simply need to be aware that many taxi drivers try to take advantage of foreigners who aren’t familiar with the area.

If you’re looking for alternatives to uncertain times ahead in the U.S., there are plenty of great options to consider.

A dynamic President, but the same destiny?

As much as supporters and the rest of us appreciate Trump and his strong words for helping make America great again (who wouldn’t want that?), if the U.S. has enemies in the world, and it does, then only time will tell how these U.S. enemies will react. Don’t be fooled; if massive hacking is taking place, and it is, then potential scenarios where massive hacks attack U.S. infrastructure must be considered, and we should be prepared for that, whether it’s to the power grid or goes beyond the grid and includes White House communications with the military.

Hacking defenses are too little, too late

Trump’s plans to bolster America’s defenses to hacks are an essential step for a world superpower to take in the modern day. But it may be too late. Only time will tell just how much foreign governments have learned about essential U.S. operations from the thousands of hacks reported to have taken place and still taking place.

Conclusion

Maybe you’ll choose to bug out. Maybe you’ll bug in and do just fine instead.

Or maybe you’ll decide that a sunny beach in Costa Rica or a rugged Canadian coastal town or the Falkland Islands or even French Polynesia could be a better place to wait out the coming storm ahead.
Source : secretsofsurvival.com

 

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Acquiring and Managing Survival Gear and Equipment

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survival_clutter_equipment_things

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

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

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

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

The Prepper Notebook

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

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

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

The Foundation Categories

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

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

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

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

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

Related: Preppers and Survivalists Must be Hunters and Gatherers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Check Out: The KISS AR-15

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

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

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

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

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

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

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10 Best Survival Skills for Natural Calamities

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Tomorrow is never certain.  We never know when there might be a dissonance which can disrupt the comfortable nature we are used to on a daily basis. There are many different emergency events which some people prepare for but, unfortunately, most of us tend to ignore. At some point in our lives, we will have

Building a Natural Emergency Shelter With No Tools

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ominous_forest_coldHave you ever tried to build a shelter from natural materials in the woods?  Have you ever tried to do it with no tools?  Have you ever tried to do it with no tools in the winter in a foot of snow? Well I did, and here’s what happened. I went out snowshoeing with my yellow lab (Phyllis) and thought it might be cool to pretend that I was lost and needed to set up a shelter for the night.  It was about noon in mid-February, which meant I had roughly four and a half hours to build a shelter and get a fire going.

By Jarhead Survivor, a Contributing Author of SurvivalCache and SHTFBlog

Since I never go into the woods without minimal equipment I can’t say that I had zero gear, but I didn’t use any of it when I built it.  Here’s a little video of just how easy it is to build a shelter from natural materials in the snow with no tools.  What could go wrong?

Time Line:

  1.  Fall on my ass:  5 seconds
  2. Swear:  17 seconds
  3. Gather wood:  1:20
  4. Breaking wood:  2:51
  5. Constructing the shelter:  4:54
  6. Tipping:  6:08
  7. Covering the shelter:  6:53
  8. Digging the firepit:  7:19
  9. Lighting the fire:  8:24
  10. Chillin’ in the shelter:  9:03

Don’t Lose Heat!

Before we actually build the shelter let’s take a look at some of the objectives.  First and foremost, don’t lose heat!  You lose heat through the following processes:

  • Convection – think blowing wind here
  • Conduction – like sleeping on the cold ground or sitting on a cold rock or log
  • Radiation – heat leaving your body like heat waves coming off  a woodstove
  • Evaporation – sweat

Building a shelter from what you have around you with no tools and keeping these rules in mind is a bit of a tradeoff.  Do the best you can with what you have.

Resources and Construction

In my case, I decided to build a lean-to style shelter from what was lying around in the forest.  In the section of forest I was in, there were a lot of standing dead fir trees about three to four inches at the base.  I looked all over and found a good supply of what I’d need, then went back to where I’d decided to set up my camp.

Read Also: Emergency Storage of Wild Plant Foods

It was in the forest near water, although this wasn’t absolutely necessary since there was so much snow on the ground.  However, it’s easier to gather water or ice then melt snow, so you exploit whatever edge you can, which is what I did in my mock survival situation.  It was also close to my supply of wood and a decent amount of fir trees, which I’d need for the fir boughs.

Next I laid a small log between two trees supported by small logs I’d broken and put underneath to hold it up.  This “cross beam” was about three feet off the ground.  Then, I laid a couple of ribs along it to get an idea of how long they’d need to be so I could break bunch to the right length.

survival_shelter_fallen_treeAfter this, I went and gathered what I hoped was enough wood to put the ribs on the shelter.  (If you haven’t seen the video, you should check out the first minute or two.  I completely fall on my back, while breaking some trees off).  Hey – nobody said it was going to be easy. Next I had to break the tree length sticks to the right size.  To do this, I found two trees close together.   Then I stuck the wood I wanted to break between the two and pulled on it until it broke where I wanted it to.  This isn’t pretty, but it gets the job done.  (Again, see the video for a demonstration).

I tried to build the shelter with it’s back to the wind so as to cut down on convection.  When you have a wind blowing it lowers the temperature considerably and with my shelter set up with it’s back to the wind and the fire throwing heat in, I was in pretty good shape.

Covering It Up

winter_shelter_survival_fireOnce I had the ribs on it was time to cover it up.  There are plenty of fir trees in that area, so I resorted to a technique called “tipping”, which means to break the tips off some fir branches in order to get what I need.  This doesn’t particularly hurt the tree as long as you don’t snap off every branch.  I gathered five or ten armloads and put some on the outside of the shelter and a few armloads inside as well to avoid losing heat through conduction.

Related: Ten Facts About Fire

Special note:  if I were going to build this for real, I’d put a lot more pine boughs over the top and on the ground to really help with the insulation.  Since this was a demo and I was getting tired I decided to go light on the insulation.

Next I broke some wood up for the fire and grabbed some small dead branches off fir and pine trees.  I piled the wood up and put the tinder on top then lit it with a lighter I happened to have in my pocket.  (I could have used a firesteel, but the lighter was quicker and easier).

Pretty soon I had a merry blaze going and decided to make myself some coffee.  Part of that small kit I told you about is a military canteen cup, so I poured in some water and made coffee using a coffee bag (exactly like a teabag, but with coffee instead).

After Action Report

canteen_cup_fire_shelter_survivalIt really wasn’t that difficult making a shelter using natural materials.  True, I don’t feel like I totally finished it, but it would have been easy enough if I needed.  I could have also covered it up with snow to really insulate it or added more to the front to make it less of a lean-to and more of a full shelter instead. The total time to make the shelter, even in the snow, was about two to three hours.  The thing about a shelter like this is you need a lot of wood to keep you warm through the night.  In the area I was in, it wouldn’t have been a problem because of all the dead wood laying around, but in other areas it might not have worked out so well.

Again, you’ll need to adjust the kind of shelter you have according to the materials available. Questions?  Comments? Sound off below!

 

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The Most Important Survival Skills According to Grandpa

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The Most Important Survival Skills According to Grandpa   When people think about survival skills, they tend to lean more toward things like starting fires, making shelters, gardening, hunting, and being able to filter water. While all of these are indeed fantastic survival skills, they are actually secondary to the most important skills that people …

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Inferno: Ten Facts You Should Know About Fire

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fire_flame_facts_top_tenFire can be a beautiful thing to behold; knowing how to make fire is an essential skill that kick-started the next phase of human evolution, and it’s been keeping us alive ever since. As majestic as it is, fire is equally dangerous and will become deadly if unprepared. Fire can cross your path in several forms: As a way to create warmth; to send a signal; to prepare food and boil water; it can be as simple as lighting a cigarette or a campfire, or you can be faced with the wrong end of a ranging forest fire.

By Alex Coyne, a contributing author of Survival Cache & SHTFBlog

Here’s what you should know about fire…

The three elements of fire.

This is basic high school science, yet something a lot of people discard when in an emergency. Fire needs heat, fuel and an oxidizing agent to burn. This is known as the Fire Triangle, and it’s vital when you’re making a fire or trying to kill one. (Fire needs 16% oxygen to burn; the air around us contains approximately 21%).

Have a fire starter kit.

Fire starter kits are cheap and there are thousands available for order on the internet; take a look at some of the options on Amazon.com and make sure that you have one as part of your survival kit. You’d rather have it and not need it, right?

If you make your own fire starters, do it carefully.

Many frugal survivalists prefer to make their own fire starter kits at home instead of buying them. That’s great, as long as you do it safely. (One of the most disastrous examples I’ve seen was an enthusiast who made his own portable kit in a small tin, then placed it next to the fire: It heated up, and the results should be relatively obvious. Store combustibles safely. It’s fire. Be careful).

Read Also: PureFire Tactical Survival Fire Starter

Don’t rely on matches.

Matches are a go-to for many avid campers, but it could also be their biggest mistake. Yes, there are ways to light wet matches – take a look at this article on WikiHow to see how – but that is not a chance you can afford to take when it’s your survival being put at risk. You’ll very likely be safer with a flint fire starter kit.

Certain woods are poisonous when burned.

poison_sumacKnow how to identify different types of woods, and know which are poisonous when burned. Novice fire starters often collect any wood they can find for their fire, only to be told by the locals later that they should have stayed away from it – or, in the worst-case scenario, serious illness or death occurs. Some include Elder wood, poison Sumac, and poison oak. Illness or death can occur from fumes, and any food prepared over a poison-wood fire could kill you.

Know how to treat a burn.

Common remedies for treating a burn include the application of some sort of fat or oil: Mayonnaise, butter, cooking oil or margarine. DON’T. This literally adds fuel to the burn, and it can lead to anything from infection to grilling your burn wound like a steak. Emergency guides generally recommend immediate cooling of the burn until help can be found – cold, sterile water. Have burn gel as part of your emergency kit, always.

Putting out fires are different.

Depending on what kind of fire you’re looking at, the way you put it out differs. Never grab the nearest thing and throw it on the fire; in many cases, that’s going to be an accelerant like alcohol, petrol or paraffin. (Also, never pour water on an oil fire. You’ll turn a fire into an inferno). Have a fire extinguisher handy, and keep baking soda and sand nearby. Remember how fire has three elements? Remove its oxygen.

Related: Six Steps to Harden Your Home Against Fire

Don’t forget smoke inhalation.

top_facts_smoke_fireIn most house and forest fires, the cause of death isn’t being burned alive, but smoke inhalation. Symptoms can include a dry cough, dizziness, nausea and potentially coughing up blood. Go down, because heat travels upwards and smoke tends to be less dense at the bottom. Fire can also be dangerous in other ways, like falling debris and burning embers.

Burnt food is carcinogenic; keep an eye on that fire!

Hone your barbeque skills at home when you’re not in a survival situation: Learn the tricks behind fish versus chicken versus beef; you can even bake on an open fire if you know how. Keep in mind that when food burns, acrylamide forms – this is a carcinogenic and obviously dangerous to your health.

Putting out camp and food fires are essential.

Put simply and in the words of an anthropomorphic bear, only you can prevent forest fires. Always make sure your fire is properly extinguished (and a fire that looks dead isn’t always), never leave a fire unattended and don’t put your tents, sleeping bags, gear or combustibles too close to the fire. Sand is your best friend for putting out smaller fires, so always keep a bucket or two nearby.

Send us your best fire starting tips for in the field (or at home) through the comments.

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Preppers and Survivalists Must Be Hunters and Gatherers

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empty_grocery_shelvesIt just isn’t realistic to think all of our prepping supplies will hold out forever. My family, friends, and I may have devised the best survival plan there is, even better than most of the selection of “you can make it” books at the big box book store.  But, as time dwells on, the supplies will dwindle. Maybe our Bug In survival scheme has enough food stocked for the millennium.  Good for us.  Tell me again how long that is?  Not unlike the Lord’s return if you believe in that survival book, we know not when the end comes.  So, how do you plan for it?  

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

Likewise, my loved ones and I had the forethought and the financial commitment to branch out to secure a designated Bug Out backup survival location.  This comes complete with a farmhouse, water well, and rural power.  A backup generator with a 1000 gallon fuel tank surely ought to last long enough until stability returns.  Well, we hope so anyway.

At the Bug Out, our panty is chocked full of long term foods, a mix of food types, and tastes.  With the available water we can mix up just about any variety of menu concoctions for breakfast, lunch, and dinner with a few snacks thrown in.  We are among the lucky ones to have provisioned so well for the long haul.  

Time Bears On

We’re six months into the SHTF and doubt is starting to creep in.  The food stocks have gone past the first three rows in the cabinets, and now variety selections are waning.  Everybody is getting tired of canned meats, and if they eat another helping of tuna, they may start to grow gills.  Everybody’s eyes are not green with envy, but green from all the green beans and green peas.  Sure we are fine, but we all want something more, something different.  

Our Bug In residence is only two blocks away from a wooded area, and open sage fields teeming with natural life, both plant and animal.   The Bug Out escape house is near a huge forested area.   So far, neither area seems to have been approached by anybody else in the immediate area.  Scouting hikes provides good Intel that nobody seems to be using these available resources.  It’s time to take advantage of this situation.  

Hunting Becomes Necessity

squirrel_hunting_meatThis section is not so much about how to hunt, but more emphasis on the why we should.  Apart from whatever food supplies we laid by in store, we should be mixing in available game meat to supplement our diets.  Actually this should be done from the get go.  This makes our pantry supplies extend further well into a longer period of unrest or instability, or no new food supplies at the usual outlets.  We have to learn to supply some of our own food resources. The argument here too is for the value of this supplemental food source.  I am not a nutritionist, but everything I read about food recommends that protein is a good thing.  In a SHTF survival situation, adding meat to a diet would seem to be a very wise move.  

Read Also: Fallkniven Professional Hunting Knife 

What will you hunt?  If you have never hunted before and nobody in the group if there is one has never hunted, then you need to start to learn how now.  Books, videos, hunting television, seminars, and other participation activities can bring you up to speed fairly quickly.  I highly recommend a good library of hunting books, and everything to do related to the subject.  

Now, if you are an experienced hunter already, then you know what to do.  Generally this activity is initiated by on the ground scouting to inventory what game might be available to harvest.  This can be done by simple stealth hikes into prospective hunting areas.  Maintain as secret and as low a profile as you can.  Once you fire a gun to hunt, then you have given notice of your presence.  Archery is also an option to consider.   

Scouting can also be accomplished to a certain degree by observing via optics from a distance away.  You must have good binoculars and or a spotting scope to do this part well.  You are looking for obvious signs of game movement, tracks, deer rubs, and other game sign.  Visual confirmation of game in the areas is a really good start.  

hog_hunting_survivalWhat game might you expect to find?  Naturally this essentially depends on where you are in the country.  The United States is very blessed with a long list of wild game species available for pursuit via hunting.  The short list is white-tailed and mule deer, elk, antelope, goats, sheep, big bears, big cats, wild hogs and wild turkey.  Small game could be rabbits, squirrel, raccoon, and such.  Upland game will include all kinds of bird species from quail, dove, woodcock, pheasant, grouse, and the list goes on.  If water is around, you may find waterfowl in ducks and geese.  Find out what is normally available where you live and where your Bug Out site is located.  Your state wildlife agency will have a web site and likely pamphlets for this information.    

For hunting you will likely already have the necessary firearms including a decent, accurate, scoped rifle, one of at least .30 caliber, but a .223 or others can be used with the correct hunting type ammo.  Small game can be hunted with a rimfire rifle or handgun.  A shotgun will be useful for birds, waterfowl and small game.  Have a variety of shotshells on hand besides self-defense type loads. Certainly, you can add all types of hunting gear and accessories including hunting clothing, camouflage, knives, game bags, and everything else to help you secure the game meat you need.

Sport Fishing for Sustenance

fishing_survival_nutritionWhen we highlight hunting, we do not mean to slight or ignore the freshwater or saltwater fishing opportunities where you might reside during a SHTF.  As you have prepared for hunting, also prepare for fishing.  Fish are a high priority, good quality food to add to the menu. As with game animals, research what fishing opps are available to you and which types of fish can be caught.  I won’t list all the possibilities here, because the variety is so regional.  You should know your area well enough to know about fishing lakes, rivers, streams, and even small rural farm ponds, any water source that might hold edible fish.  Take the same advice on fishing as with hunting, if you do not know how.

Stock up on basic fishing tackle, rods, reels, line, lures, tackle supplies, hooks, weights, etc.  Have the whole shooting match on hand.  Again, a good book on general fishing will describe what to buy, and how to use it.  You may find also like hunting that fishing is a good recreational activity as well.  You’ll need that as well to support mental health during trying times.  

Gathering

survival_garden_forage_foodThis is my own weakness beyond knowing how to grow a garden.  By all means make plans and provisions for growing a garden of any size.  As you know Mother Nature also provides many sources of plant life that can be eaten raw, added to salads, or cooked. Again a good regional resource book will be valuable for finding greens, flowers, seeds, legumes, mushrooms, wild fruits, and other plant-vegetable life that is indigenous to your area.  This resource will be valuable so you’ll know what to gather and how to process it for food.  

Related: Tree Bark as an Emergency Food

So, obviously this was a quick treatise just skimming the bare essentials of food harvesting skills you will need to acquire and practice.  Ideally, you have stored up enough food stuffs to grind it out over a long period of time.  However, it is just smart to learn to supplement these supplies with fresh foods found in your local habitats.  Learn now what these resources are in your area, how to harvest or gather them as supplemental food sources.  

Photos Courtesy of: 

John Woods
OakleyOriginals

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

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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

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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.

Get The Essential Secrets Of The Most Savvy Survivalists In The World!

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?

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

1. Find an Adequate Location for Making the Fire

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

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

Shelter means three basic things:

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

2. Shelter the Fire

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

Build a Windbreak

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

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

Make the Fire Under a Tree

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

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

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

Build a Fire Pit

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

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

3. Tinder, Kindling and Fuel

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

Video first seen on CommonSenseOutdoors

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

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

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

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

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

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

Video first seen on IA Woodsman

How to Make the Best Fire Starter for Wet Wood

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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This article has been written by Chris Black for Survivopedia. 

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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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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

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.

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! 

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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

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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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Image Source: Pexels.com

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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backpacking

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

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

Let’s see what to avoid!

1. Choosing the Wrong Size of the Backpack

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

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

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

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

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

This versatile bag can be your next best backpack!

2. Too Much Weight

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

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

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

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

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

weight

3. Wrong Choices about Items to Carry

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

And remember: more skills means less to carry.

bob

4. Not Having a Balanced Pack

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

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

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

5. Not Packing Properly

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

camping

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

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

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

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

This perfect waterproofed bag is light, tough and durable.

7. Putting Your Pack On in a Wrong Way

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

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

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

8. Not Adjusting the Fit of Your Backpack

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

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

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

Does it feel better or what?

9. Not Being Physically Fit, but Still Backpaking

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

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

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

7. Not Caring for Your Backpack Properly

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

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

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

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

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

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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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survivopedia-polar-vortex

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.

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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.

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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.

urban_survival_cards_optin_620x350

This article has been written by Drew Stratton for Survivopedia.

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