Into the Wild: Everything You Need for Your Camping Trip

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The weather is warming up, which means it is time to think about a camping trip. The trees are starting to sprout leaves, some spring flowers are in bloom, and birds are returning from their winter migrations. Spring is a good time to check out nature.

As fun as it is, camping should not be done on the spur of the moment. You need to consider what to take with you. Consider the following items.

  1. Shelter

    When preparing for your trip, you need to cover all of your physical needs: shelter, water, food, fire and hygiene. The expected conditions and weather of your campsite will determine what kind of shelter you should have. For example, tents come in two main types: four-season and three-season. Four season-tents are made of thick, sturdy material that enables the camper to weather a snow storm, while three-season tents aren’t designed for winter weather. Tents also come in varying weights, with the more lightweight tents being designed for backpackers. It’s also a good idea to get a tarp that can serve as a floor so you aren’t lying on damp ground.

  2. Containers for food and water

    Sturdy containers with lids are a must for a camping trip. Food in open containers will attract bugs and/or animals in short order. The best containers for food and water will be like those made by WaterBrick International. As a rule of thumb, a single person needs at least a gallon of drinking water per day, and they need even more if they are physically active and/or camping somewhere hot. Make sure there is enough water to cover other needs like cooking or washing.

  3. First Aid Kit

    Things can go wrong during a camping trip, and it will probably take time to reach a doctor. Give some thought to the likely hazards you might encounter and stock the kit accordingly. For example, you should have aloe vera for burns and moleskin for blisters. If you know there’s poison ivy in the area, you should bring some calamine lotion.

  4. A fire starter

    Be they matches, flint, or a fire steel, bring something to get your campfire started. Do not use lighter fluid, for it is dangerous and the resulting fire will be hard to control. It will also give anything you cook or roast in the campfire an unpleasant flavor.

While this is an admittedly partial list, it will help get you start preparing for your adventure. Other items to consider include sleeping bags, flashlights and cooking utensils. There are also portable stoves designed for camping trips.

About the Author: Lizzie Weakley is a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. She went to college at The Ohio State University where she studied communications. In her free time, she enjoys the outdoors and long walks in the park with her 3-year-old husky Snowball. Twitter: @LizzieWeakleyFacebook: facebook.com/lizzie.weakley

Fortifying Your Home

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2_house_safety_robberyIf a burglar, kidnapper, or home invasion robbing crew targeted your home, it would be good if your home were a hard target, like a castle for fortress of the ancient days, but the reasonableness of your security measures must take into account the likelihood and severity of the risks you might face. Let’s go over some ways to make your home more secure, focusing on hardware and structural changes, not skills or techniques to learn.

By Kurt Martin, a Contributing Author to SurvivalCache and SHTFBlog

Most people have already considered moderately-effective security improvements such as getting an alarm system, installing deadbolt locks on exterior doors, installing exterior lighting all around your home, trimming trees and shrubs around windows, and getting a dog.  Almost everybody reading this article will already own one or more “home defense” firearms.  These are all good steps, but so much more can be done.

For the purposes of this article, let us acknowledge that unless your home is built from the foundation up as a fortress, you cannot expect any security measures to stop a determined team of burglars who are willing to take some time and make noise to get inside. If they come when you are home, your security precautions can give you a warning, so that you can put your defensive plan into effect.   If you are not home, your alarm and other security measures could give cops or your neighbors time to respond.

First Objective: Know They’re Coming

In order to defend your home and/or quickly send other people to defend your home in your absence, the first thing you need to know is that an attack on your home is beginning. It would be desirable to see the arrival of the criminals on your property.  For this, you want windows or cameras looking out into your yard from every direction– the street, the sides, and the back yard.

3_high_window_securityWindows and cameras. Every side of your home should have windows from which you can see out. Upper floor windows make for safer viewing out and are less vulnerable to being entry points for intruders. Windows are also potential defensive positions for you and your family to try to drive off or repel the attackers. Virtually all security-sensitive businesses, government offices, and the homes of VIPs, have a camera surveillance system as part of the security plan. Today’s security cameras often come with infrared lights to workwith limited rangeeven in total darkness. We would all be safer if we had them for our homes. A peephole can be more useful than a window sometimes. All your exterior doors should have one-way peepholes in them, preferably with wide-angle lenses so you can see people standing to the side of the door.

Exterior lighting.  Motion detector activated lighting is important, as are floodlights that you can also turn on with a switch.  They should be positioned to shine away from your home, so that you can see out without getting any glare, and without the lights making you visible from the outside. If one side of your home has no windows, consider mounting a camera there.  Studies show that good lighting of your home and yard at night is one of the most cost-effective methods of home security to discourage burglars.

Perimeter motion detectors.  Another way of knowing when somebody is coming onto your property is to use a perimeter warning circuit in your home alarm system. Most home alarm systems will accommodate this kind of addition, but most homeowners do not upgrade to this level of protection.  Perimeter detection can be either of two popular types: wide area motion detectors or beam-break detectors.  Both kinds are available with two kinds of underlying technologies: passive infrared light, or microwave signals.  

Related: Handling an Active Shooter Situation

3_perimeter_safetyPerimeter warning units mount outdoors around your home and yard, on posts, tree trunks, or the side of your home.  Wide area motion detectors will alert to a human or large animal’s movement in your yard, within a cone-shaped zone. Beam-break type detectors come in sets of two units, and one projects a beam toward the other, and the line between the sending unit and receiving / reflecting unit is the “beam” that is being monitored. If anything crosses that line, its body will temporarily block the beam of infra-red light, and the alarm is triggered.  The more common models that you might buy at a big box home improvement store use IR light, and they have a range of about 50-75 feet. The commercial models used by businesses are more expensive, but reach out to over 300 feet.

Perimeter alarm systems work best in conjunction with physical barriers around your property, such as fences, and a gate across your driveway to slow the approach of unwelcome vehicles. These barriers serve to give you more of a warning, as the criminals approach will be slower and noiser.

Second Objective: Block Their Entry

If criminals attack your home, you want them to find all your doors and windows closed and locked. They may try to break through one of these points of entry, probably a back door, where they cannot be seen from the street or may not be visible to the neighbors. You want your doors to resist being pried-open or kicked-in.  Here is how you can make your exterior doors stronger:

2_castle_securityStrong exterior doors.  Not all doors are equal when it comes to construction. Some are thin molded plastic glued to a wooden frame. Others have steel sheet metal over a wooden frame.  Wood is weaker than fiberglass and undesirable in a high-security door.  Even solid wood doors, though strong across the middle, are weak where they are drilled-out for the lock components. Commercial fire-rated steel doors are stronger than ones made for residential applications, but they’re a lot more expensive. Choose a door that does not have windows in it, especially if that glass is located close enough to the lock mechanism that a criminal could smash the glass and reach through to the lock.

The weakest link of the door itself is where it has been hollowed-out for the lock sets– the door material here is pencil-thin and easy to rip away from the metal lock components.

High-security locks and door-mounting hardware.  A standard exterior door lock has a short bolt that only engages a tiny bit into a recess in the door frame. A deadbolt, mounted several inches above the standard doorknob, gives you a second bolt with a much longer range of motion; it will often reach over an inch into the door frame. Make sure the fit of the door to the door frame and strike plate is good, with a very small gap. Many locking doors have a lockset that is supposed to prevent easy opening with a stiff plastic like a driver’s license, but in the real world sloppy installation or the loosening of the door frame over cause misalignment that will allow anybody to “jimmy” the lock.

To address the inherent weakness in doors and door frames due to flimsy and thin wood components that surround the lock parts themselves, buy door security hardware that lets you screw steel reinforcing plates or “wrap-arounds” over the part of the door that has the lock mechanism. You can also reinforce your strike plate, which is the rectangular metal piece surrounding the hole in the door frame into which the bolt of the lock will enter.

In addition to bolting steel plates to your door around the lock mechanism, as reinforcements to the door itself, you should use bigger, longer screws in and around your door. Replace the short, skinny nails and screws that your door was installed with. Use deck screws, which come in lengths of over 3.5 inches.  

Augment your door’s locks with an external bar.  Remember, no matter how good your door’s locks are, the bolts can be cut with modern cordless power tools. Criminals have been known to use such battery-powered tools to cut chains and locks. Another way to prevent a door from being forced open is to use a locking bar that is propped against the door at a 45 degree angle. Some such bars require a slot or stud hole in your floor, but others use a rubber-coated end and friction to prop the bar in place.

1_burglar_barsReinforce your windows.  As for windows, the most obvious problem is that a criminal can break the glass, reach in, unlock the window sash, open the window, and climb in.  To make your windows stronger, consider putting up another layer of barrier in addition to the glass panes. Some people use rigid panes or sheets of clear plastic, and this is good if the type of plastic is polycarbonate, such as the brand Lexan. Do not use cheap acrylic plastic, it is not particularly strong nor shatter-resistant. There are also “security film” window treatments on the market. They are tough but flexible wraps of clear (or tinted) plastic that apply to glass doors and windows just as one would apply tint film to car windows. This security film will hold the window together even when the glass underneath is broken. It is tough enough and energy-absorbing enough that it can’t easily be ripped away to create a big opening for an intruder to climb through.

However, a window’s sashes or frame can be smashed-through, just like a door. That’s why some people in high crime areas fortify their windows (and sometimes doors) with burglar bars. These bars cover the entire window opening with a cage or screen. They are much less attractive than clear plastic. Although they look “ghetto,” they are high security.  One risk that comes from covering your windows with burglar bars is that it will often prevent the window from opening.  You should consider whether you might need to use that window for ventilation or for an emergency escape, such as in case of a fire. Some burglar bar sets have a quick-release system, accessible only from the inside of the home.

Third Objective: Have Hard Cover in Your Home

If intruders made it through your doors and windows and get into your home, while you and your family are there, one or more of you may want to fight off the intruders, while others escape, either by leaving the home or locking themselves in a safe room.

Safe room.  A safe room is a place inside your home for you to stay out of sight and out of reach of intruders, even if that means the intruders can steal anything they want from the rest of your home. It should be a room that is very hard to break-into, and one that is equipped for you to comfortably stay there for a long time. The door to the safe room should be an exterior grade door, or a fire-rated door suitable for commercial construction. It should have good locks and lock-reinforcing hardware installed as described previously in this article. The door should have a one-way, wide-angle peephole.

If you were building or remodeling your home, I would suggest making the walls of one of the smaller rooms in your home (a guest bedroom, big bathroom, or a large walk-in closet) extra strong for future use as a safe room. For this room, you may want to put steel mesh screen across the studs before you enclose them with sheetrock (drywall). A good type of screen for this purpose is “remesh” made for reinforcing poured concrete driveways. You may want to have the studs placed at 8” center to center instead of the normal 16” spacing, to make it impossible for an intruder to rip through the flimsy sheetrock and step into that room by passing his body in between the 2×4 studs. Or you could use sheets of plywood to cover those walls first, and then use drywall.  

Check Out: Estwing Axe

The safe room should also have weapons inside it to deal with the intruders should they manage to break into that room. You should also have an axe and pry bar in that room so that you can break OUT of it, if necessary, if for some reason that strong door was blocked or its lock jammed so that you could not open it.

KISS_SHTFblog-survival-cache-tactical-magpul-aimpoint-comp-ml3-fenix-pd35-troy-magpul-dissipator-stramlight-tlr-1Consider what is “cover” inside your home. If you had to grab a gun and fight intruders, would it be to your advantage to position yourself behind bullet-resistant cover? Of course it would. Every tactical shooting course and every instructor on the topic of combat arms shows you how to make use of cover while engaging your adversary. Inside your home, think of what you have, or could that would serve as cover. Keep in mind that cover is not the same as concealment. Concealment just hides you from sight. Doors are concealment. Even the interior walls of your home only “conceal” you from the bad guys, but interior walls will not stop incoming bullets. Cover is defined as something that effectively blocks or deflects bullets.  

With your knowledge of the layout of your home, you should anticipate the likely point of entry for intruders, and you should choose a few defensive positions in your home.  Don’t count on the corners of walls, or doorways, as reliable cover. All popular handgun and rifle bullets, as well as buckshot or slugs from a shotgun, will go right through interior walls easily, with lethal velocity as they emerge on the other side.  The only parts of an interior wall that can stop or significantly slow down handgun bullets are the wooden wall studs– and there is only one stud per 16 inches of wall length in most walls. If the bullet hits any of the other 15 inches along that section of wall, it encounters only a couple layers of drywall. Bullets go through drywall like a knife through butter.

A bookcase whose shelves are filled with books and other paperwork can stop bullets. A refrigerator full of food and beverages will stop handgun bullets and buckshot from a shotgun, and some small, high velocity rifle bullets. The same applies to ovens, washers, and dryers– consider them “cover” as to most common handguns, but not for rifle rounds. Furniture is no good as cover. Wooden chairs and tables don’t usually stop even pistol bullets, and upholstered furniture like sofas and reclining chairs are only “concealment” if you duck behind them, not cover. Your bedroom dresser, with the drawers full of clothes, makes better cover than the mattress and box spring of your bed.

Conclusion

In times of peace and relative safety, certain security measures are more “worth it” than others. It all depends on the risks you and your home face, and how much peace of mind you would attain from having a fortified home with a good security system. Because conditions in our society could change rapidly, it may not be unreasonable to beef up your home now, when you have easy access to all the hardware at the local shopping center. In times of trouble, the roads may be more hazardous for travel and the hardware and home supply stores could be closed or sold out of the products you need. It’s better to prepare now.

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8 Biggest Mistakes That Preppers Make

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This week I want to share a video by Homestead Launch (formerly known as The Daily Prep). Everyone–and I mean everyone–makes mistakes. This is especially when it comes to prepping, which is a lot more complicated than it looks. Your best bet is to learn from the mistakes of others, and that is the purpose […]

The post 8 Biggest Mistakes That Preppers Make appeared first on Urban Survival Site.

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

Top 5 Rabbit Hunting Tips with Bow

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Is rabbit bow hunting becoming a lost art these days with the obsession people have towards the latest firearms? Do not just count out rabbit bow hunting yet as it is very crucial in a survival situation. Learning to use your bow and make a kill is one of the greatest survival skills to learn. One of the tastiest meals you can have in the wild when lost is meat from a rabbit.

Using a bow to hunt a rabbit is a real challenge but also a rewarding one filled with excitements. The odds of killing a rabbit with an arrow and a bow are extremely low when you compare to the gun hunting. However, in a survival situation, a bow and arrow might be the only things available that can be made with easy. In fact, you don’t want to waste your precious ammo on a rabbit when you can use arrows that are reusable.

Let me share with you five rabbit hunting tips with a bow and arrow. Make no mistake; getting a rabbit from the field to a meal on the plate is no easy job. You need to be patient, understand their habits and have the best compound bow and hunting arrow.

Here are five rabbit hunting tips

Find the hidden food sources

If you need to hunt rabbits effectively, you must know where they feed. This means knowing the hidden food sources where rabbits are more likely to feed. Places with lots of green plants, vegetables and weeds are ideal places to start your hunt. Even if you don’t find rabbits, hung around they will come with time. Sometimes when hunting for rabbits, you have to wait for them to come to you. This requires an understanding of the feeding times and their best foods. Most rabbits will feed early in the morning when the sun has just risen. Getting to their feeding grounds early enough gives you a good hiding spot and a clear angle to make a clean shot.

Patience

Bow hunting is a waiting game that requires you to be patient at all times. In several ways, hunting rabbits is like fishing with a crankbait where you have to maintain rhythm at all times. Do not rush anything. When walking through the evergreen boughs, fence rows and brush piles, maintain a steady pace. Make 10-18 steps before stopping and surveying around for any movement and the glistering dark eyes of rabbits. If hunting with your dog, keenly observe his cues.

Practice makes perfect

Shooting with your bow is not that easy as most people think especially when in the wild. Real preppers practice out of their comfort zone. The way you shoot your best hunting arrow in the comfort of your backyard while smoking a cigar does not happen in a real survival situation. When in the wild and in need of a kill, you’re most likely going to botch the shot. Real archers know how to hit the target from a long distance, and this only happens with good practice. Practice for a real survival situation trying to hit the target with just a few seconds of setting the arrow, aiming and releasing. Learn to shoot your arrows in all manner of position. In the wild, you sometimes have to go vertical which takes us to our next tip.

Go vertical

Walking a level ground while hunting for rabbits looks pretty simple, but climbing can maximize your chances for a kill. Look for a brush pile, forgotten stack of cordwood or anything that you can climb on and observe the hunt area properly. The vibrations and noise above you can help you notice a rabbit and have a shooting opportunity.

Take care of things that indicate your presence

Rabbits are among the swiftest animals in the wild and run away with the slightest of hint that there is a human presence. You must learn to remain hidden at all times and never expose your arms or face. Try and be natural avoiding things like perfumes that alert the rabbit that there is someone around.

Try and avoid obstacles on your way like flowers and grasses that affect your aim. You can remain still and wait for the rabbit to move to a clear place instead of you changing positions. The most productive time to hunt for a wild rabbit is when the weather is cloudy, damp and cold. A foggy morning is also ideal when the air is filled with mist and woods are real quiet. This allows you to sneak close to the rabbits stealthily and get a good shot.

Final Verdict

Knowing how to hunt for rabbits in the wild using a bow and arrow can mean the difference between surviving and dying. Rabbits are a tasty meal that can provide you with proteins and get you going. You just need to learn how to stalk rabbits, stay still and motionless waiting for the rabbit to come to you.

Brandon Cox is the founder of StayHunting, who is passionate about all things of hunting and fitness. Through his hunting website, he would like to share tips & tricks, finest tech that will excite all of the intricacies of hunting whether you be an amateur or a professional.

Is Your Home SHTF Ready?

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Is Your Home SHTF Ready? Host: Highlander “Survival & Tech Preps “ Audio in player below! Is your home SHTF ready? We will find this out and perhaps give you a few ideas of what you could do or expect if you’re not “Home Ready”. With the growing threat of everyday random violence even the best … Continue reading Is Your Home SHTF Ready?

The post Is Your Home SHTF Ready? appeared first on Prepper Broadcasting |Network.

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

How to Learn More about Self Defense for Emergency Situations

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You never want to feel vulnerable walking down a lonely street at night or when approached by someone near your home. It may also be a priority of yours to be able to defend friends or loved ones if they are ever threatened while in your presence. What are some ways that you can learn to defend yourself or those who you care about?

Watch Training Videos Online

The internet has tutorials related to almost anything that you want to learn about. Therefore, it may be a good idea to watch a YouTube video or order training materials from a local self-defense trainer. This may give you a basic idea of what to do if you are ever threatened or attacked. It may also give you some insights into how you can keep a lower profile to prevent a possible attack before it happens.

Take a Job in the Security Field

During your training as a security guard, you will be taught self-defense techniques that you can use while on the job. Some companies, like Security Services Northwest, Inc., know that these tactics may also prove useful if you are ever attacked while out on the town or by someone who breaks into your home. In addition to your basic training, you may be given access to advanced classes as you gain more experience in your line of work.

Sign Up for Karate Lessons

Karate is a discipline that teaches you both how to defend yourself and how to use discretion when facing a possible attacker. This helps you control your emotions in a given situation, which may make it easier to resolve a conflict without having to turn to violence at all.

Talk With a Police Officer or Security Guard

If you don’t want to be a security guard, you could always talk to one if you want self-defense tips. Police officers may also be able to help you learn more about the subject. This may be helpful if you are doing a report or a project for school about the topic and don’t actually want or need to master defense tactics yourself.

Learning how to defend yourself can prevent a scenario in which you are the victim of a violent crime. Even if part of your strategy is to run, hide or call for help, the goal is to keep yourself unharmed. Ideally, you will be able to do just enough to subdue or outsmart your adversary until the police or other help can arrive.

Rachelle Wilber is a freelance writer living in the San Diego, California area. She graduated from San Diego State University with her Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Media Studies. She tries to find an interest in all topics and themes, which prompts her writing. When she isn’t on her porch writing in the sun, you can find her shopping, at the beach, or at the gym. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook: @RachelleWilber

Let’s Talk Knives: 12 Things You Should Know

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featured_survival_knife

kk_skeleton_review_fallkniven_survival_knifeNo survivalist’s kit is complete without at least one knife, and there’s always an open space in the collection for just one more perfect specimen. (I know many who refuse to leave the house without theirs: When going hiking or camping, you’ll almost always have a use for one.) A knife is the one thing you’d rather have and not need.

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

Here’s what you should know about buying, using, maintaining and owning your knives…

1. You should never buy cheap.

Aron Ralston, better known as the subject of ‘127 Hours’, was forced to amputate his own arm after getting trapped in a canyon. After the event, he stated that the knife he had bought was nothing more than a standard cheap gas-station pocket knife – dull, at that. Don’t buy cheap knives. Always buy the best you can possibly afford: Something that’s going to last you a long time, something that’s not going to rust, bend or break. You never know what you’re going to need it for, and that’s a perfect example.

2. Know what to look at for quality.

Article_SOG_PIllar_Knife_USA_Made_hand_choil_full_viewJust what makes a quality knife, then? Consider brand-name manufacturers rather than something you’ve never heard of that costs half the price – sadly, that is a good rule of thumb if you’re going to need your knife for life-and-death. Generally, buy something that comes recommended: Ask around. Try several in your hand before you buy one. You want to purchase a knife that feels right – something that’s too small or too big for your hands is going to be more of a danger and annoyance to you in the long-run.

Read Also: The SOG Pillar

3. Flashy is not always better.

A lot of people pick a flashy blade for their first (or carry-on) for no other reason than… It looks flashy. Don’t do this. Buying a knife because it looks flashy and cool assumes you’re going to have a situation come up where you’re going to want to flash it. (That, if you’ve seen anyone come out of a knife fight recently, is a terrible idea.) Buy a knife for practicality, never for show. (If you want to buy a piece simply for its beauty, that’s fine, but in the case it goes!)

4. Know the laws about knives in your state.

Laws on knives (and the concealment thereof) vary by state and country: Familiarize yourself with what you’re legally allowed to carry (especially in terms of blade length) and how you’re allowed to carry it before you take your knife out on the road. It can land you in far more trouble than it’s worth.

5. Always handle your knife with care.

Zero Tolerance EDC KnifeKnives are sharp; if not, they should be sharpened accordingly. Handle your knife with care (always!) and teach anyone you give a knife to as a gift to do the same. There have been far too many accidents involving knives, and we don’t want to be responsible for any more. (Note: When storing knives in your pocket, make sure that it’s one that won’t fly open and stab you in the leg by accident.)

6. Knives can be an heirloom; consider a customized piece.

Customized pieces are available online from many excellent, specialized knifemakers. Consider this as a long-term goal, especially if you’re a keen collector or would like to pass something like this down.

7. There’s a knife for almost everything.

knives_cheap_good_average_bargainAsk yourself what you’re going to need from your knife: Is it something exclusively for preparing food when camping? Is it something for taking plant samples? Are you going diving and need a good diving knife to take along? Do you need a knife with a built-in flashlight or compass? (At this point, you might have realized that there’s a knife for almost everything and that you might need to get several to fit your needs.)

8. Learn how to sharpen a knife properly.

Fallkniven_A1-Pro_survival knife_batonSharpening your own knives is a skill that both comes with time and is best practiced on one of the cheaper knives (trust us on that!). If you don’t yet trust your own hands, have your knives sharpened professionally – it’s not as expensive as you’d imagine and it’s much better than ruining your grandad’s favourite hunting knife. For those who want to learn how to do it themselves, there are great guides on YouTube, like How to Sharpen Kitchen Knives and How to Sharpen a Knife with a Flat Stone, or you can take a look on Amazon.com for knife sharpeners.

9. What knives can and can’t do.

Never over-exert a knife: Know what kind of pressure your knife can handle. I’ve seen people try to do excessively stupid things with their knives, and well, put simply… You really shouldn’t.

10. The danger with knife-fighting.

Knife-fighting is an art unto itself, and not one that should be practiced lightly. Ever. (Open up your search engine and look up “injuries from a knife fight” if you’ve got the stomach for it; your entire perspective on knife-fighting should change right about there). If you want to learn how to fight with a knife (or take a knife off of someone in self-defense), your best bet is to take classes from a professional in the field. (Anything, and we mean anything else is bound to lead to serious injury.)

11. Knife-throwing: The cool stuff.

You might want to learn knife-throwing as a way to show off your skills, improve your dexterity or simply demonstrate that you can be bad-ass with a knife. It goes without saying that safety applies (never practice this near children, animals, other humans; anything you can hit that you shouldn’t, basically), never indoors (no matter what you’ve seen on tv) and always with proper knives (not all knives are throwing knives). There are some great lessons available on YouTube, check out these from Tim Rosanelli for starters.

Check Out: Mora Knife

12. Using knives in the kitchen, too.

chef_knifeKitchen knives deserve a special mention, as you’re going to want special knives for food preparation. Chef’s knives can be expensive, but they are guaranteed to last a lifetime if taken care of properly. Again, there are several varieties so you should shop around: From stainless steel to ceramic. There are also paring knives, scaling knives and a range of others, each suiting your individual needs.

Use the comments to tell us about your favourite knife or some handy skills you’ve picked up over the years.

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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

Safe and Secure: How to Maximize Your Home Defenses

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Keeping your home safe and secure gives you peace of mind. Knowing that your family and belongings are protected can help you to sleep at night. These four tips will help you to maximize your home’s existing defenses against would-be criminals seeking to burglarize or damage your home.

Video Monitoring

Video monitoring is a helpful tool to boost the safety of your home. You can have cameras mounted around your doors so that you can see who is at the door without having to go to the door. Video cameras can also capture images of someone who might try to steal a package that has been delivered in your absence. They will also capture the image of anyone trying to break into your home through the door.

Lighting

Adding proper lighting to your home’s exterior is also essential to maximizing your defenses. Motion detecting lights can be placed along the sidewalk to your home, around your garage and back door and near your front door. Spotlights or directed lights can be shined at side doors and windows. Illuminating these parts of your home will make it more difficult for anyone to gain entry without getting noticed by you or passersby.

Locks

Locks are also a critical step in keeping your home secure. All of your home’s exterior doors should be outfitted with deadbolt locks. Consider having your locksmith, like those at A Carolina Locksmith, install the strike plates with extra-long screws that are drilled into the wooden framing of your home. This helps to prevent your door from getting kicked in. If you have an attached garage, have the same type of lock installed onto the door between the house and the garage. You may also wish to install window locks, but be sure to choose a kind that is easy to open from the inside in case you need to exit through a window during an emergency.

Home Security System

Many homeowners feel more secure with a home security system in place. A home security system consists of alarms placed on the doors and windows. If the alarm is triggered, the monitoring service contacts you. You can respond if it was an accident, but otherwise the police are called to investigate a possible burglary in progress. Every person deserves to feel safe at home. You should also have confidence that your belongings are safe when you’re away from home. These four steps will help to maximize your home’s defenses against burglars and other intruders.

Written by Rachelle Wilber

Go Gray and Stay Out of the Fray

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Go Gray and Stay Out of the Fray Host: Highlander “Survival & Tech Preps “ Audio in player below! The need to go Gray is something all of us prepper’s want, however you might not have heard of going gray before.  Well let’s break it down to what going gray or what a gray man … Continue reading Go Gray and Stay Out of the Fray

The post Go Gray and Stay Out of the Fray appeared first on Prepper Broadcasting |Network.

Preppers Stuck In Cities: Elite Chartering “Getaway Boats in Case of Manhattan Emergency”

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grid-down-city

By Mac Slavo – SHTFplan.com

There is an inherent dilemma for most of the people living in cities.

Even those who are aware of the extremely fragile fabric of society are often stuck living urban lives. Perhaps they plan to retire to a country abode, or construct a hideaway to escape to if the need ever arises, but for now, they are stuck in the city making a living.

This is true even for the rich, but now, they have a back-up plan.

The biggest of American cities, and one of the most gridlocked, is New York City, with Manhattan and Long Island both isolated islands – trapped during emergencies from the rest of the world.

That’s why those with means, and forethought, are now chartering emergency charters to get out of the city – probably a good idea, especially if the helicopter is out of your price range.

via NY Post:

“A lot of people don’t want to wait on a line to get on a ferry, and they don’t want to worry about walking off of Manhattan, as people had to do in the past,” [Chris Dowhie, co-owner of Plan B Marine] told The Post.“They know a boat is the fastest way, and we take the worry out of maintaining and preparing and always readying your vessel,” he added.

Not only does the company promise a speedy getaway, it plans individual evacuation routes for each person, depending on their personal needs.

[…]

“You don’t have a captain. You have to drive this boat yourself,” Dowhie told The Post, adding that in a crisis, people are more concerned with helping their own families than maneuvering someone else’s escape vehicle.

[…]

The unique evacuation service costs an annual fee of $90,000 and is catered toward wealthy individuals and corporations who don’t have time to mastermind their own escape.

Clients access the boats with an individual punch-in number, and should they need to abandon it at any time, Dowhie’s company will locate it.

Interesting concept, and the fact that this has become a business model is also telling of the times.

Estimates have placed evacuation from major coastal cities at more than 24 hours:

hd-120924.Hours.to.evacuate

Estimated evacuation times during major emergencies.

For Long Island, where millions of New Yorkers live, it would be 20-29 hours to get off the island – during that time, people will lose their patience, run out of gas, become hungry, be denied access to medications and drugs, need emergency services, resort to crime, etc.

The one percenters have long been serious about their prepping, for they know too well about the very real dangers being constructed, and the house of cards that is ever poised to collapse.

There has been a steady rise in the upper class investment into underground bunker communities – typically decked out with furnishings and amenities that nearly compare with above-ground living.

They have also been the high profile investors buying up getaway farms in places like New Zealand or South America, and hedging with mountain retreats and fortified safe rooms.

While the amount of money they are spending remains mostly pocket change the biggest players, it represents a serious consideration of the high risk for social disruption, chaos and mega-disasters, such as the collapse of the power grid.

James-Bond-Jetpack

The good news is that while the rich may indeed be living the high life, with escape hatches built in, there are many steps that the average, and more modest, individual can also take to increase your chances of survival during modest times.

Todd Savage, who specializes in strategic relocation, says that finding balance is key. For some, a permanent move isn’t possible because of work, medical needs or family life:

Not everyone will prepare for the same threats. It’s a personal choice. Some folks think that a nuclear exchange is imminent, others a socioeconomic collapse, maybe an EMP (solar or military), or a worldwide pandemic.

Everyone who is concerned with a potential disaster should perform a personal threat assessment. It can help you decide to either relocate permanently to a rural homestead or acquire a bug-out survival property.

(Survival Retreat Consulting)

When it comes to elite prepping, you have to always ask yourself: ‘Do they know something that I don’t know?

Considering their access to power, and their insider vision of human affairs, the chances are very good that they may.

Boats and hideaway properties can be arranged at lower prices as well, or DIY. If you’re not on an island, there are likely some back roads that can save your life, and keep you out of the major chaos. Plan your escape route, with several alternate routes, that avoid the major intersections with highways, bridges and other points at which the majority of traffic is forced to flow, at a slow, grinding and dangerous pace.

Safe rooms can been adapted to almost any space, and for relatively little money, and fortifications can be retrofitted where ever you need them. Just food for thought, better now than too late.

Something big is coming.

This article first appeared at SHTFplan.comPreppers Stuck In Cities: Elite Chartering “Getaway Boats in Case of Manhattan Emergency”

Filed under: Disaster Scenerios, News/ Current Events, Prepping

Tactics and technology!

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Tactics and technology Host: James Walton “I Am Liberty” Audio in player below! I am not sure if it’s my recent obsession with Batman or the fact that I have reached a certain age where these things just start to populate in a man’s mind. Either way I have spent more time looking at tactical … Continue reading Tactics and technology!

The post Tactics and technology! appeared first on Prepper Broadcasting |Network.

Hamish McLaren’s 5 Tips To Surviving Monster Winter Storms

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Having a safe bunker to withstand the wrath of a monster winter storm is a real benefit. Unfortunately, not everyone has this privilege but below tips can help you save yourself in times like this. Hamish McLaren shares his top five tips for surviving a monster winter storm.

  1. Stay Inside

    No matter how big or small your dwelling is, when a storm occurs, do not wander around to gauge the effect of it. Your best bet is to stay inside. When the storm is severe, a basement or closet might be the answer. It is easy to save yourself when you are in a shelter of some kind, so wait out till help arrives. In addition, don’t risk others lives by sending them out; it can be extremely dangerous and most likely to end in disaster. Seek out a cave or an overhang if you are stuck outside alone without a tent or car. A quick thinking during a storm can give you one more chance to live.

  2. Keep Yourself Warm

    If you are stuck inside a home or building, gather as many blankets as you can to keep yourself warm. Coats, tarps, bed-sheets – anything can help you escape from cold drift and prevent frostbite or hypothermia. If there are many people around under the same roof, use one another’s body heat as well. For those out in the wilderness, it is necessary to use some kind of signaling to draw other’s attention. One word of caution – people stuck inside a car should never let the engine run as any snow accumulating in the exhaust pipe can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning.

  3. Eat and Drink if Possible

    Food and drink, if you have access to them, is important to keep yourself warm and healthy during a severe winter storm. Stay hydrated either from your regular water supply or by melting snow. Store water for further use. If you have food and do not know when the help would arrive, ration it to make it last over many days.

  4. Plan For Your Next Move

    When the storm settles down, it is time to think about your next move. Obviously, this is to seek help by digging your way out of your house, car or whatever the shelter you are in. If you are lost and can’t get yourself out, stay still and wait till help arrives. If you are on the road on foot or in the wilderness and sure that it is safe to venture out, hike to safety in the direction of nearest civilization.

  5. Get Treatment Immediately

    Because of an explosion in the number of storms in recent years, many types of storm survival kits have arrived in today’s market. It is no longer a matter of waiting for the nurse to treat you in case of minor injuries. These kits have first aid materials that are really useful for wounds. So, take time to buy these kits and read the instructions on them. Understanding what each and every item in the kit does is absolutely necessary if you wish to stay fine.

The Mighty Oak: Survival Food and More

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survival_forage_oak_tree_mushroom_acorn

mighty_oak_treeOak is a favorite tree of survivalists.  It’s strong, dense wood is favored for utility and for firewood.  Acorns, though most species need to be prepared by leaching, are an important survival food.  Plus the acorns, bark, roots, and leaves provide important herbal medicines. Native Americans used many species of Oak for medicine and food.  Mainly the part used for medicine is the inner bark. With this being said, the acorns have been considered medicinal food as well as staple food.

By Nathaniel Whitmore, a Contributing Author to SHTFBlog and SurvivalCache

Oak is a far more versatile survival example than many realize. The uses of Oak are not limited to simple acorn consumption. For example, in The Way of Herbs Michael Tierra discusses acorn porridge as a common food for the treatment of tuberculosis and other wasting diseases.

Oak & Mankind

Acorns were a principal staple of our ancestors.  Talk of the Paleolithic diet has persisted long enough for real Paleolithic snacks to emerge among the over-priced, plastic-wrapped Paleo bars.  Yet in spite of the increase in grain-free snacks, cookbooks, and diet practices, I have not seen any increase in acorn use.  Though, a quick google search did turn up a few sites selling acorn flour.

The acorn was quite possibly one of the major foods that allowed our Paleolithic ancestors to start building agricultural society from hunting and gathering.  Largely, acorns are edible, though most species need to be leached and some are so astringent and bitter that they are considered inedible.  

food_acornsGenerally, acorns are leached of their tannic acid with cold water soaks or through slow cooking (while changing the water).  Some are sweet enough to be eaten raw or with relatively little cooking.  Early man learned to bury astringent acorns in bodies of water or to anchor in streams so that they could return later to the leached acorns and prepare food from them.  Enough acorns and our distant ancestors managed to hunker down for a winter… and the rest is history… until current times.  I don’t know how long it has been the case, but I just checked online and found a few companies selling acorn flour.  For years I had been saying that I hadn’t seen any for sale or in commercial products.  Until just the other day nobody ever responded saying they knew of acorns in mainstream commercial foods.

Acorns are one of my favorite foods, though I often don’t get around to them.  You have to find them at the right time (others are looking too and some of them, like the squirrels, take it more serious than me).  Once found they still need to be processed and leached.  Then cooked.  They can be eaten just like that, cooked into rice, mashed into pancakes, or dried and ground into flour.  The mash or flour can be used in just about anything.  It is very tasty.

Acorns as Survival Food

Although many animals eat acorns as they find them, a good number of the Oaks produce acorns too bitter and astringent for humans to eat without leaching.  The most efficient way to leach acorns if you are home or at a long-term camp is with cold water.  You’ll want to cook them (if possible) eventually, but you can save on fuel by doing the bulk of the leaching with cold water.

Related: Tree Bark as an Emergency Food

If you want to or need to speed up the leaching of acorns, you can do so by applying heat.  Just as with cold water leaching, when the water turns dark you should dump it and add clean water.  You might find it best to heat up a large vessel of water so that after you dump the tannin-rich water you can add hot water.  This will be quicker and will avoid any fixing of the bitterness from alternating between hot and cold.

Mushrooms that Grow with Oak

mushroom_Maitake_oakBesides the acorns as a potential staple food or nutritional side dish, Oak forests prove hospitable because of the large selection of edible mushrooms that grow with Oaks.  (Of course, the warning stands that there are non-edible and fatally poisonous mushrooms that grow with them as well.)  There are basically three different kinds of mushrooms: decomposers, parasites, and symbionts.  The subject is complicated by the various forms within these three categories and in that many mushrooms belong to more than one of the three.  Nonetheless, these basic groups are important to learning mushroom identification.  Decomposers break down dead material, such as a downed Oak or one that was killed by a parasite, so they are found on such material.  Parasites attack their host.  In the case of Oaks, they can take a while to succumb to the parasite and in many cases can grow for years before dying from the attack.  Parasites are therefore found on live, dying, and recently dead hosts.  Symbiotic species grow in association with their host.  In the case of mushrooms and Oaks, the fungus is attached to the tree roots underground so the mushrooms grow from the ground near the tree.

Edible species of mushrooms associated with Oak include all three of these types of mushrooms.  Two of the most abundant and well-known edible species are common in the autumn on Oaks – Maitake (Grifola frondosa, Hen-of-the-Woods, Sheep’s Head, etc.) and Honey Mushrooms (Armillaria spp.).  Chicken-of-the-Woods (Laetiporus spp.) is another abundant and delicious Oak parasite.  These three mushrooms (two of them are identified only by genus above because there are groups of closely related species known by the same name) are prolific enough to provide surprisingly large amounts of food.  Indeed, many mushroom hunters content themselves with only one of the three as a foraged ingredient for the table.  But they also miss out on many of the other fungal offerings under Oak.

Mycorrhizal (symbiotic) species include delicious edibles like Boletes, Chantarelles, and Milk Mushrooms (Lactarius spp.).  Chantarelles (Cantharellus spp.) are pretty well known and pretty easy to identify.  Also, closely related is the Black Trumpet (Craterellus spp.).  Boletes (Boletus spp. and other related genera) are perhaps more difficult to identify than Chanterelles.  Although there are many species of Chanterelle, there are a few obvious species that stand out.  The Boletes, however, are a very large group.  Although it is not really true, some people consider all Boletes to be edible (at least those without a strong bitter or spicy flavor).  Certainly, some are very prized.  Lactarius is a group with many non-edible and poisonous species, and many people avoid them.  However, there are some delicious species that grow with Oak, like the Voluminous Milky (L. volemus).

You might want to check out Macrofungi Associated with Oaks by Binion, Burdsall, Stephenson, Miller, Roody, and Vasilyeva.  It is over 400 pages on mushrooms associated with Oaks and includes information on edibility.  

Chicken-of-the-Woods

mushroom_chicken_of_the_woodsChicken-of-the-Woods (not to be confused with Hen-of-the-Woods, Grifola frondosa) is also known as Sulphur Shelf and Chicken Mushroom.  I avoid the name Chicken Mushroom because it also refers to another, and Sulphur Shelf is really only good for certain varieties.  It is called Chicken-of-the-Woods because it tastes like chicken and has a similar texture.  I have served it to folks who thought it was chicken, though I wouldn’t have done so intentionally – as some people do react to even the thoroughly cooked mushroom (she helped herself to the pan of leftovers).  As with most mushrooms, Chicken-of-the-Woods should be cooked, and with this one in particular it should be done thoroughly and with plenty of oil.  It has mixed reviews, but I think it is mostly due to it being harvested past its prime (which is common) or cooked improperly (it really does suck up the oil – be libral).  Many people love this mushroom, even if they generally don’t like mushrooms.  Plus, it often grows in abundance.  This is a very significant survival food.

Hen-of-the-Woods

mushroom_maitake_hen_of_the_woodsHen-of-the-Woods is another mushroom that can grow very large and in abundance.  It is also known as Maitake, Sheep’s Head, Ram’s Head, and more.  In this case “Hen” refers to the appearance more than the taste and texture.  When found young (they can still be young and be quite large) they are quite delicious.  Hen-of-the-Woods should be cooked thoroughly to avoid digestive troubles.  It is revered as a medicinal as well as an edible, being used for the immune system to help with infections and cancer.

Mighty Materials

Although the modern world has largely forgot Oak as a source of food, its wood is still commonly recognized as a superior building material.  Used for hardwood flooring, furniture, and more.

Read More: The Survival Staff

Oak is also still used as an ideal material for martial arts weapons like the bo staff and for the handles of nunchaku.  It is very strong and makes a good choice when a superior and strong material is desired, such as for tool handles and sturdy furnature.

Oak as Fuel

fire_flame_facts_top_tenThough there is significant variety among the many species of Oak, it is generally a superior firewood.  It is dense and hard and has a high heating rating.  It does burn a little slow, which is one of its benefits, but it also doesn’t put out light as well as some other choices of wood (Hickory, for example, is also very hard but burns bright.  Lighter woods that burn quick will often put out more light.).  It can easily become smoky when not dried well or not tended to in the fireplace.  Of course, being dense means that it dries slow.  In my mind the classic “all-nighter” is a nice, large, dry Oak log placed on a hot bed of coals.

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Pure Hydration: 9 Ways to Maintain Clean and Healthy Water

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Water is the most essential element for the cells in your body. Because the human body is made of water the number one thing you need in an emergency is safe drinking water. In a survival situation you might be able to last weeks without food, but without water you’d last only days. Unfortunately, not all water is safe to drink.

How can you be sure your water is safe to drink?

In a survival situation, it is always safest to assume water is carry pathogens and contaminants. Below are some contaminants that might be in your water:

  • Bacteria, like E. coli, Vibrio cholera, Salmonella typhi or Salmonella protozoa.
  • Microsporidia, like Giardia, Amoebae, Ciliates and Cryptosporidium.
  • Helminth zoonoses, like hookworms, liver flukes, nematodes or pinworms.
  • Human and animal waste, including fecal matter and carcasses.
  • Chemical pollution, from both industrial wastes and natural erosion increasing mineral concentrations.

Be prepared to filter and purify all your water before drinking. It’s also a good idea to regularly test your well water, and pay attention to water reports for municipal water sources. Clean water is important for your daily survival as well as disaster survival.

What are good sources of water in an emergency?

Dew, atmospheric distillation, water from puddles and clear tree sap all offer sources of water in survival situations. Snow, sleet and rain can be gathered in containers. Use tarps to expand your precipitation-collection area. Rivers, lakes and springs are obvious sources of water. You can also store bottled water. For a basic 72-hour survival kit, you need three gallons of drinking water and two gallons of sanitation water per person.

What can you do to make your water clean and safe?

In a survival situation, it is always safest to assume water is carry pathogens and contaminants. Below are some contaminants that might be in your water:

  • Boiling. An ancient and reliable method, boiling water keeps it above 185 degrees (the boiling point is 212 degrees) for the five minutes necessary to kill biological contaminants.
  • Chemicals. Chlorine and iodine will sterilize water, however chemicals also affect the taste.
  • Water softener. Hard water contains calcium and magnesium, but it can be softened through an ion exchange.
  • Filters. Gravity and pump filters are available in a variety options including ceramic, silver impregnated carbon and multi-stage cartridge filters.
  • Iron filter. Iron, manganese, sulfur, and pH levels vary from well to well. In-line filters work for most household systems, but a back-washing iron filter might be better for high levels of iron or iron bacteria.
  • Survival straw. Small and lightweight, these carbon filters are used like a straw. You suck the water through the filter to drink.
  • Reverse osmosis. The most effective water filters on the market use reverse osmosis. The process removes, basically, everything from water leaving it safe, pure and clean. RO filters are a great choice for your home, as they remove fluoride and hydrofluorosilicic acid.
  • UV light. UV devices disrupt the DNA of pathogens quickly, but are only effective in clear water with no particulates.
  • Distillation. If your only water is brackish or contaminated with heavy metals and radiation, distillation is your safest option. Heavy particles stay behind as the water becomes steam and then is recaptured as potable water.

Not all filtration devices are equal. Do some research to find out more about these and other options.

Knowing and maintaining several water purification methods, treatments and equipment now will prepare you for emergency situations. It’s a great idea to know how to find and purify life-giving water in any situation. Your survival could depend on it.

Dixie Somers is a freelance writer and blogger for business, home, and family niches. Dixie lives in Phoenix, Arizona, and is the proud mother of three beautiful girls and wife to a wonderful husband.

Your Survival Library

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wilderness_book_survival_educateWe all know that knowledge is power; but when it really comes down to an emergency, the right kind of knowledge could be the difference between life and death. We take a look at some of the best survival books for your library or Kindle. The books in this collection were chosen because they truly make life easier. Why make stupid mistakes when you can learn from the mistakes from others?

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

The books on this list serve as a cornerstone of good survival habits and practices. Any competent survivalist will understand the information conveyed in these materials.

The Ultimate Guide to Wilderness Living

Also known as the Naked Wilderness Survival Guide, this book’s slightly longer title tells you every you need to know about it: Surviving with nothing but your bare hands and what you find in the woods. John and Geri McPherson are well-known in survivalist circles, and have been instructing people in the art of wilderness survival for decades.

Read Also: Survival Books for Your Bunker

Fire Skills: Methods for Starting Fires Without Matches

A collaborative project by David and Victoria Aman, this book teaches you more about how to make fire in the field – fire is one of the most primitive human skills, and in a situation where you’re fighting for survival, knowing how to make, use, and control fire will be one of your most critical skills.

A Field Guide to Western Medicinal Plants and Herbs

This one’s part of the Peterson Field Guide series; check out the rest if you want to broaden your nature library. This one applies to western medicinal plants and herbs: What you’ll encounter in the wild and what to do with it. Knowledge of plants, it goes without saying, is essential if you don’t want to die from eating or applying the wrong thing.

The Complete Book of Knots

By Geoffrey Budworth, this book really is the complete book of knots. Knot-making can get you out of a lot of tight situations: You might need to tie together a knot to keep your gear or shelter in one place, and that’s just two examples. Knots are useful. Learn how.

First-Aid WikiBooks

WikiBooks is a great resource for information, and this one is specifically geared towards basic First-Aid. You won’t find much of survival info in here, but at the end of reading this one you should know what to do in a medical emergency at the very least, which makes it worth a look.

Related: 3 Types of Books you Should Read and Why

The American Red Cross First-Aid and Safety Handbook

First-Aid is vital, so here’s another take on the First-Aid straight from the American Red Cross. You know the information you’re getting in here is accurate, so make sure you’ve got this one standing on your bookshelf, or hanging around on your Kindle device.

US Air Force Survival Handbook

Also known as The Portable and Essential Guide to Staying Alive, the US Air Force Survival Handbook is surprisingly available for order off of Amazon. Get your copy and learn how to stay alive from the experts.

The Complete Survival Shelters Handbook

survival_book_complete_survival_shelters_handbookBy Anthonio Akkermans, The Complete Survival Shelters Handbook contains guides on how to build shelters for almost any environment and climate using materials you’ll find around you in such a situation.  According to the book’s description, you can expect to find out more about everything from a Yurt to a Debris Hut and Scandinavian Lavvu. In any survival situation, crafting adequate shelter is crucial. Having multiple ways to construct shelter is A worthy inclusion to anyone’s library!

The Bushcraft Field Guide to Trapping, Gathering and Cooking in the Wild

Food: Even outside of a survival situation, you’re screwed without it. Here’s the field guide to trapping, gathering and cooking in the wild. It goes without saying that you shouldn’t take this one on the road if you’re just planning a camping trip at a nearby game reserve; that being said, it’s essential info for the serious survivalist.

A Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants: Eastern and Central North America

This one is also part of the Peterson Field Guide series – see, we told you to go look! This one is geared towards Eastern and Central North America. Even if travelling there isn’t in your plans, familiarize yourself with the area’s plants and their uses. As we all know, survival situations rarely stick to a plan.

Survive! Essential Skills and Tactics to Get You Out of Anywhere – Alive

Written by the guy behind the TV show Survivalman, this book comes highly recommended by many survival experts. The book promises a no-BS look at survival, and that’s pretty much exactly what you get. It covers everything from shelters to survival kits as well as “why the notion of hunting and tracking large game is largely a pipe dream” in a wilderness situation.

The Ultimate Survival Manual: 333 Skills That Will Get You Out Alive

The Ultimate Survival Manual is certainly comprehensive; the book offers a run-down of skills that you absolutely cannot afford to be without.

The US Army Survival Manual

Know the ins and outs of survival like a real soldier: It could be the difference between life and death.  This one goes well with the US Air Force Manual (recommended further up), and it teaches you not only what to do in a survival situation, but how to prepare yourself for anything you might encounter mentally. Things like first-aid and health are also covered at length.

Bushcraft 101: A Field Guide to the Art of Wilderness Survival

Dave Canterbury is well-known in survival circles, and there are a couple books that add to the Bushcraft series: This is only one of them, and focuses purely on the art of survival in the wilderness. Also take a look at Advanced Bush Craft once you’ve read your way through the rest.

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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

Femme Fatale: How Your Wife and Daughters Can Keep Themselves Safe

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Recent surveys have shown that in developed countries, men feel significantly safer than women do in the same neighborhoods. In the United States, 45% of women have said that they do not feel safe walking down the street at night versus only 27% of men. While this is a sad statistic, it may not be based on subjective data alone. Although women feel that they are in more danger than men are, they also have fair reason to believe this because many women are targeted by predators on the streets, in their cars, in their homes and online. For men, it is important to take a stand for the females in their families and to find ways to protect wives and daughters from being another statistic of harassment or violence in the neighborhood.

Put House Lights on a Timer

Predators often stake out houses to learn where the bedrooms are. It can be easy for them to see this because the bedroom is typically the last room that is lit in the house. Women can fool possible predators by placing randomized timers on a variety of lamps in the house for a nightly switch-up.

Take Self-Defense Training

Women should learn how to defend themselves against attackers or rapists. Self-defense classes are usually preferable for this as compared to martial arts classes. Martial arts classes can be a huge commitment of time and typically do not teach women specifically how to get out of a variety of holds.

Carry Pepper Spray

Pepper spray can be a cheap, easily obtainable weapon. While it is not ideal for some situations where a quick response is necessary, it is a good choice for women who like to go jogging in the mornings or walking in a local park.

Carry a Concealed Weapon

An even better option is becoming licensed for a concealed carry weapon. Most states that allow this require individuals to take a class to learn how to use the weapon. Women who carry a concealed weapon should find a smart way to hide the weapon in everyday situations, such as by choosing a stylish concealed carry purse, which is nice to have and easy to make an unobtrusive statement with.

Practice Hotel Safety

Even the best hotels are excellent places for predators to lurk. Women staying in hotels should never open the door to the room to anyone unless they know exactly who the person is or have been given solid proof as to why the individual is there. Many predators pose as police officers or hotel staff to fool women. After entering their rooms, women should immediately lock and chain their doors and should check to ensure that the windows are locked.

Practice Safe Traveling at Night

Nighttime is prime time for harassment or assault of women because it is easy for predators to hide in the shadows. Women should always park close to stores and under parking lot lights. Before entering their cars in parking lots, they should check beneath the car for a predator. Women can also ask security guards to walk them to their cars at many businesses, such as malls and hospitals. Finally, women should never be talking on their phones in parking lots at night but should be highly vigilant of their surroundings.

Harassment of women can be anything from catcalls and leering to carjacking and kidnapping. Family men have been entrusted with the task of ensuring that their wives and daughters are fully protected whether they are at home or away from home. Men can use these tips to teach the women in their lives how to be safe and what items they can buy to help ensure their safety.

Written by Rachelle Wilber

Basic Essentials for Cooking Fish Off the Grid

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survival_bucket_of_fishFish are a nutritional powerhouse; with lots of protein, healthy fats, and a potent cocktail of nutrients that influence human brain function, optimize hormonal production, and even prevent aging! They’re also a camper or survivalist’s dream come true. Why, you may ask?  Fish go fin-in-stream with the most important resource – water! Whether you love the outdoors, want to be a little greener, or need to eat to survive, learning to cook fish using traditional “off-the-grid” methods is a useful addition to any culinary arsenal. There are a many techniques available to catch wild fish, ranging from building your own rod to catching with your bare hands, but this article is going to discuss how to best cook up your catch.

By John S., a Contributing Author to SHTFBlog & SurvivalCache

First, let us discuss the different types of fish meat. “Oily” or “fatty” fish are fish that are over five percent fat by weight, while lean fish are under five percent. Oily fish include anchovies, carp, herring, salmon and sardines. They are generally known for their moist texture and richer flavors. Lean fish include bass, cod, catfish, and perch. They’re known for being a little tougher and a little less flavorful. Your location will be a big factor in determining what types of fish are available to you. Study up on your local species to be best prepared to feed yourself, for fun or survival.

Baking on Smoldering Coals

survival_coals_fishOne of the best, and most basic, off the grid cooking techniques is baking on smoldering coals. While this method is useful for any kind of meat, it adds a certain smoky edge to fish that’s extremely delicious. Oilier fish are especially good when cooked with this method, since the hearty fats seal in a moist texture. Salt is a staple in every kitchen, and you may often hear people talking about bringing salt on outdoor excursions. This isn’t only for the taste, but it’s also especially useful in preserving food, so you should take care to keep some with you on all outdoor cooking excursions and during your survival practice.

Read Also: Best Glide Survival Fishing Kit

As for leaner fish, they’ll bake best wrapped in foil or, in an emergency situation, large leaves will do the trick. The wrapping helps trap moisture in and steams the fish. Feel free to dress a coal-baked fish up with some lemon juice and butter if you’re cooking for leisure! It’s probably safe to say you won’t have these items handy during a survival situation, but in that situation, anything edible, and especially nutritious, will be delicious.

Pan Frying (if possible)

fish_survival_pan_fryingFrying the fresh catch in a large cast iron pan is also an option, if you came prepared with the pan and a little oil. If you’re frying for fun, a simple mix of flour, breadcrumbs and your favorite seasonings will keep well in a zip lock bag, is easy to transport, and makes for yummy treat. Even without the mix, the fish will be a great meal on it’s own; especially if you’re eating for survival. The biggest key is to make sure the oil is hot enough, a spit test should do the trick. Simply wet your fingers with some water and flick the moisture into the pan, if the oil “spits”, or jumps and bubbles, on contact, then you’re ready to cook.

You will need long tongs or a durable cooking spoon to flip and “fish” out the filets once they’ve fried to a light golden color. This method tastes great, even with only light salting, and works well for both types of fish. If no tongs or cooking spoons are in your repertoire, you can use a multi-tool or knife so long as you’re careful not to damage it, as you will need it for other important tasks as well. Worst case, there should be twigs and sticks around for you to use as cooking tools.

Building Your Own Smoker

Last, but not least, fish meat is fabulous fresh out of a smoker. Not only is it fresh, but smoking fish, or any meat for that manner, is optimal for survival-based situations because prolonged smoking results in dehydrated, well-preserved food that can be saved and stored for several days. Building, or finding, a smoker can be tricky, you just need to create a small space where a rack can hang above a fire and a ventilation system to bring the smoke up through the fish meat.

Related: Teach Them to Fish

Stacking appropriately-sized rocks is a good and, usually, convenient method of construction. Covering the vents with foliage can help trap in smoke and improve the cooking process, and burning clean, dry logs will provide the best smoky flavor for the food. While this process does take longer than the other two, the preservation effects of smoking could mean the difference between life and death, so it’s definitely worth learning about and practicing. For example, if you are in a survival situation and are having luck catching some fish, you may want to use a lot of that meat in the smoker simply for preservation, and then consume the meat at a later time when you may be running low on food.

Conclusion

survival_fish_filetLuckily, there are a lot of options when it comes to preparing fish off the grid using very little materials. Salt is perhaps one of the most underrated items in a survival situation, as it offers a convenient method of preservation. Adding other herbs, spices and extras will provide a welcome kick to your next camping meal, but of course, this may be out of the question in a survival situation. Lastly, Always make sure any fish you consume is thoroughly cleaned and cooked before consuming. This, combined with thorough cooking, will ensure you have a nice edible fish packed with nutrients to keep you going. Practice makes perfect, so next time you’re out in the backcountry or doing some camping, try cooking some fish with as little materials as possible, ideally using natural objects around you. Good luck!

 

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You Can’t Be Serious About Prepping If You’re Not Serious About Your Health

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Image: You can’t be serious about prepping if you’re not serious about your health

By  – Natural News

(Natural News) While no one knows what life is going to throw at us, it is safe to say that it won’t hurt to be prepared for an emergency, disaster, or SHTF (S**t Hits The Fan) scenario. According to Back Door Survival, some three million Americans, or 1 percent of the total population, are making detailed plans and taking measures to prepare themselves for a major catastrophic event.

Many people still believe governments will step in when disaster strikes. However, when we look back at the horrible scenarios during Katrina and Super-storm Sandy, we know that that isn’t going to happen. Those affected had to wait days for aid or face hour-long lines to get some water. It has become apparent that the government isn’t prepared to handle massive rescue operations, nor can they provide for everybody during a disaster. (RELATED: Read more survival news at Survival.news.)

Whether it’s another economic collapse, natural disaster, or the end of the world, preparing yourself for opportunities so that you can take advantage of them when things turn for the worst are paramount during these uncertain times. As the world continues to spin out of control and people start to lose their confidence in governments it is very likely the number of preppers will grow in the coming years.

Survival of the fittest

Being prepared for an emergency is as simple as planning ahead. However, what many people often forget is that prepping is more than just stocking up on survival essentials. If you are going to take prepping serious, it is also time to start working on your health and fitness level.

Should the worst happen, chances are your life and environment aren’t going to look the same. In a world that has erupted into chaos, life will become more physically demanding. You might have to run, jump, climb, and fight your way through out-of-control situations. However, if you are out of shape or in bad health, chances of surviving out there can be pretty slim.

Continue reading at Natural News: You Can’t Be Serious About Prepping If You’re Not Serious About Your Health

Filed under: Prepping

Survival Tips for Camping

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The great outdoors is in fact great. It provides food, fresh air and a chance to unplug from technology and reconnect with nature. Sometimes, though, the great outdoors isn’t so great, turning your fun overnight hiking trip or weekend camping trip into a rough, wet, tiring experience. Here are 8 camping survival tips and tricks to make your experience a little more manageable and enjoyable.

  1. Make fishhooks from a zipper or tab from an aluminum can.

Whether you’ve lost, broken, run out of or forgot to pack fishhooks, don’t fear. You can make one using a zipper or the tab off an aluminum can. Simply break off the loop on one side, pull it out to a 90-degree angle and then sharpen the exposed tip on a rock until it becomes a sharp point.

  1. Use an aluminum can as a stove.

You can use a soda pop or beer can when you need a portable camping stove. First, you need to use your knife to cut a capital shaped I into one side of the can, with a vertical cut and a horizontal cut at the bottom and top. Next, you peel open the “window” you just created, place your fire starters inside the can and then light it for your very own portable, windproof cooking stove.

  1. Use loose strands from your socks as fire starters.

If you or someone with you happens to be wearing cotton or wool socks, you can use any loose strands from said socks as fire starters if you can’t find any other fire-starting materials.

Just take your shoes off, pluck the strands from each sock and make a flammable tinder pile. Once you have your little pile, set it where you want your fire and throw a few sparks on it to start your needed fire.

  1. Dry your boots out faster with fire-heated rocks.

Wet feet are the worst. Whenever your boots get wet, don’t just sit them by the campfire. That method takes way too long to thoroughly dry them out. Instead, gather up two or four large and dry non-porous rocks and place them on the edge of your campfire. Once the rocks are really hot, carefully place them into your shoes. Don’t use your hands unless you have thick gloves on, and really it’s best to use sticks or some kind of kitchen utensil to remove the rocks from the fire and place them in your shoes. This method may seem wacky, but it works at a quicker pace to thoroughly dry wet shoes from the inside and outside.

  1. Use tarp to make an emergency rain shelter.

Never leave for an overnight camping trip without a tarp, even if the weather forecast says no rain. Storms can hit out of nowhere and ruin your night in the great outdoors. A tarp makes a great shelter against unexpected rain. Create your emergency rain shelter by staking one corner of the tarp facing the wind. Next, prop a pole up under the opposite corner, and then tie a strong line from the top of the pole to a ground stake. Next you want to tightly pull the remaining two corners and stake them into the ground. The end result is a half-pyramid shape rain shelter that provides good water drainage, can stand up against strong winds and keeps you dry.

  1. Utilize a shower curtain to keep the floor of your tent dry overnight.

If you don’t have enough tarps but have an old shower curtain at home, fold it up and bring it with you. Unfold it and place it underneath your tent to keep your tent’s floor dry (as well as you and your sleeping bag) during the night and early morning. In the morning, you can throw it out or lay it out in the sun to dry so you can reuse it later that night.

  1. Keep pesky bugs away by throwing a stick of sage into your campfire.

It doesn’t matter how much you love nature—no one loves being eaten by mosquitos or having bugs flying around them and their food. If you forgot bug spray or ever run out, you can still keep those pesky bugs away from your campsite. Just find a stick of sage and throw it into your campfire. Bugs don’t like the sage scent that emits from your fire, making it an effective and natural way to keep bugs away.

  1. Always pack the right camping supplies.

Last on our list, and arguably the most important, is to bring along essential camping supplies, including a knife, warm sleeping bag, energy-boosting snacks, extra water, extra clothes, first aid kit, a compass and an emergency shelter. These supplies can literally be a lifesaver. You may not end up using every item you pack, but it’s always better to be prepared for every worst-case camping scenario.

The post Survival Tips for Camping appeared first on American Preppers Network.

Hiding Home Guns in Plain Sight

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hiding_guns_dog_couchThe idea of packing iron around the house at home every day does not appeal to everyone.  So, what are some alternatives to toting your favorite personal defense gun from room to room all the time?  It may sound problematic to hide multiple guns around the house all day or night, but some other approaches can put defense guns within reach as needed.

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

First of all, if you want a hide gun in every room of the house, then there is nothing wrong with that “overkill” concept as it were, but just be certain that your domicile is secure inside and that everyone residing there knows guns are hidden around the place and where exactly they reside.  Ideally they will be trained in quick response actions as you cannot be home all the time.

If you have young children at home or school children in and out, then extra caution is needed to avoid accidents or misuse.  One idea is to place firearms up in higher places not easily accessed by young prowling eyes and fingers.  

In reverse, if you are retired and at home a lot, then you can pick your own strategies for placing easy to reach firearms so long as you can remember where they are.  That is not as funny as it might seem.  Us older folks often go to the garage, freezer or work room and forget why we are there.  Deal with it.  

The Home Scenarios

city_dangerous-2An investigation of national crime statistics does reveal an increase in home invasions over the past decade especially in certain high crime areas of America.  Think also in terms of such crimes that could just as well impact your bug out location during a SHTF event.  Wherever you reside at any given time is under the same potential threat.  This extends to travel. Whether you stay in a motel, an RV camping area, an interstate highway rest area, a national park, or at any bug out location, the threat potential remains the same.  

So, what is defined as a home invasion?   We typically think of this crime as somebody breaking in our house while we are at work, school, shopping, or just gone.  They steal easy to grab valuables or stuff to hock at a pawn shop or on the street, then are gone in a flash.  Don’t ever discount securing your home against these crimes in the first place by installing extra locks, hardened secure doors, and monitored security systems.  

Read Also: Handling an Active Shooter Situation

Such break ins are one thing, but an invasion implies that somebody is at home at the time and therefore subject to the active threat.  Often these threats can turn violent. Sexual assault, battery, and even death can result from such home invasions.  “Leave no witnesses” is the standard mantra of scummier home invaders.

So, there you sit watching television in the den, office, or man cave, your wife is in the kitchen, or sewing room, and the kids are playing on their Wii.  In such a scenario, you have little precious time or none to unlock a safe, open a locked gun closet, or other security practice to grab a gun to defend yourself in order to confront the threat that crashes violently into your house.  Multiple Hornady gun vaults might be an option.   

What you need is a defensive gun you can grip as you dash from your chair to the breeched entryway.  It has to be conveniently placed and easy to grab virtually without thinking about it.  It is a mindset for sure, that should be practiced.  

hidden_gun_bathroomSee just how long it takes you to get out of your repose, grab a gun across the room, or in the TV controller console or off the top of a bookcase.  Practice also lying on your bed, as though awakened at night, reading your favorite magazine in the restroom, or other common in home activities.  Become comfortable in your movements, time response, and skills at getting into a defensive mode.  It might stop an invasion and save lives.

Selecting Home Guns

browning_hi_power_close_upPicking just the right home hiding gun is about as difficult as selecting ice cream at a Baskin-Robbins.  There are a lot of flavors to choose from and a whole bunch of them are really good.  This is a decision you have to make for yourself and other family members in terms of what you are comfortable with using, handling, loading, charging, aiming and shooting well especially in tight, pseudo-confined spaces such as down a hallway, or foyer, or room doorway.

The best probable choice would likely be a handgun, revolver or pistol in the category of a universal concealed weapon.  That means small, easy to grip, handle, and to hide.  Sure, I like a big Smith .44 Magnum with a 4-inch barrel, but it would not be the ideal handgun for this task.  For this purpose, look at the 9mm or perhaps a .380 ACP with proper specialized defensive ammunition.  

Related: The Unappreciated 10mm Auto

If you like and can handle a 1911 semi-auto in the .45 ACP, then more power (literally) to you.  These are not choices anybody else can make for you.  The same principle stands if your choice, or a secondary hide gun would be a shotgun in 12 or 20 gauge.  Some even might be thinking a defensive rifle such as an AR-15 as a selection, but these could become problematic once a threat is already inside the house.  

In this discussion, one also has to consider the issue of bullet penetration when shooting inside a dwelling.  There is ammunition available now that is intended for interior defensive use.  The penetration and bullet expansion is controlled so as not to overpower the construction materials of a typical house, therefore not creating a threat to innocents in other parts of the dwelling.  If you question this, practice your ammo choices on some sheetrock, 2×4 lumber, and plywood, so you’ll know its capabilities.  

Also consider now whether to reply on one gun model with multiples placed in the house, or a one or two gun approach.  Whatever route you choose, make certain every participant in the family is fully versed and practiced with your in home hidden defensive gun(s) defensive plan.  

Hiding Home Guns

guns_hidden_doorWhere to hide an easy to grab defensive weapon?  Walk the house, tour every room, including the kitchen and bathrooms.  Where do you spend the majority of your time in the house?  Scan each room with the singular goal in mind to identify secure locations to place or hide a firearm.  Maybe among the books in a bookshelf, on a fireplace mantle, down beside the cushion of a couch, next to the television or stereo system.  

Nearby every entry door, maybe on an umbrella stand, or next to a flower vase on a table.  Perhaps there is a foyer piece of furniture to hide it.  At other entries, maybe hangers mounted above the doors, or a window sill.  They may be placed visible inside, but never allow them to be spotted from the outside.  

Be creative where you hide home guns, but always with safety in mind.  Propping a shotgun in the corner of a room may be convenient, but not secure.  Place them with care, and practice moving to those locations, and drawing the weapon into a defensive position.  And then hope it never comes to that.  But, if it should, you’ll be ready.  

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Survival Gear Review: Survival Guides to Edible and Medicinal Plants of the Rocky Mountains

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Waterford_Edible-Medicinal_Survival_Plants_of_the_Rocky_MountainsWaterford_Press_in_handSurvival Guides are a dime-a-dozen, but good ones, the real save-your-life guides are as rare as hens teeth. Luckily the two new plastic-covered foldouts from Jason Schwartz are an outstanding and necessary contribution to your survival kit that literally could save your life. For less than the cost of a box of American made ammo, you could outfit your survival gear with some to-the-point literature can make a difference when on an afternoon hike, or when the S really hits the fan.

By Doc Montana, a Contributing Author of Survival Cache and SHTFBlog

Published in 2016 by the ultimate pocket guide company, the Waterford Press, these guides join an ever growing list of speciality reference booklets. “Putting the World in your Pocket” is Waterford’s motto, and it could be true given they’ve had over 500 publications with over five million sales.

Fast Food

Waterford_Medicinal_Survival_Plants_of_the_Rocky_MountainsWaterford_Press_knife_berriesThe two water-resistant guides under discussion are Edible Survival Plants of the Rocky Mountains, and Medicinal Survival Plants of the Rocky Mountains. Both guides are in the classic Waterford six-fold design leading to 12 individual vertically oriented pages. The full-color guides are printed on white paper and laminated heavily with factory-installed bends between pages.

The pictures are a godsend and make for fast field ID of plants. The brief descriptions confirm the identity and instructions follow for applying the part of the plant in the most useful form. Some are used as tea, some as topical, and some eaten outright.

The philosophy behind the guides according to their author is to, “provide a set of handy, yet realistic reference guides that will help hikers and backpackers lost in the Rocky Mountains forage for food, or treat injuries and ailments using wild plants and trees.” An assumption the author makes is that most survival situation are from three days to a week. This is reflected in the use of often low-calorie plants to get you to a better place and keep your spirits up.

Walkabout

Waterford_Medicinal_Survival_Plants_of_the_Rocky_MountainsWaterford_Press_berries_closeIn my own testing of the guides, I wandered my million acre backyard and looked for both plants listed in the guides and to see if a plant was in the guide. In most cases the obvious plants were covered, while locating specific plants took some time. A suggestion, if space permitted, would be to mention common locations of plants if they exist. Like kinnikinnick, dandelion, and thistle on old roads where the soil had been compacted decades earlier.

Knowledge is Power and Power Corrupts

Waterford_Medicinal_Survival_Plants_of_the_Rocky_MountainsWaterford_Press__neck_knifePoaching plants is easily as abundant as poaching animals. While the hunting laws don’t often address North American medicinal plants, there is the concern that someone with a little knowledge and a bunch of free time might pillage the local area of important plants. And in one rare case with the Curly-Cup Gumweed, there is a plant “species of concern” because it resembles a medicinal plant mentioned in the guide known as the Howell’s Gumweed. There is a very slim chance in a small region of the west that the more rare related species (Howell’s Gumweed) will be over harvested by an overzealous collector, but human nature is anything but predictable.

Related: Bushcraft Mushrooms

According to Schwartz, the highlighted plants were chosen for the wide distribution, easily identifiable traits, and ubiquitous presence across landscape and seasons. So with that said, you can take Rocky Mountains with a grain of salt. You will encounter most of the plants in these guides well outside the rugged terrain of the west, but not so much on the plains, east coast, or desert America, of course.

The Saguache County Colorado Sheriff’s Department found the guides so particularly helpful that they adopted them as essential equipment to have when backcountry survival might be an issue.

The Doctor Is In

Half the pages of the Medicinal Survival Plants of the Rocky Mountains IDs 18 plants of which seven are trees. The other half of the guide explains treatment options, medicinal preparations including infusions, tea, decoction, juicing as well as plant feature identification and author bio.

Half the Edible Survival Plants of the Rocky Mountains IDs 19 plants of which three are trees. And the reverse six pages of the over half include survival basics, 16 images of types of edible plants, the steps of the Universal Edibility Test, general plant preparation and eating practices, and a note on edible plant myths.

Read Also: Tree Bark as an Emergency Food

Each entry for a plant across both guides includes a description, the habitat, harvesting tips, preparation (in the Survival guide), and comments and cautions. I had to smile when reading about the Ponderosa Pine in the Survival guide. Jason Schwartz is a bushcrafter through and through. In the middle of the description Jason uses 15 words to explain baton. The baton, by the way and in Jason’s words is, “an arm’s length branch used as a mallet to pound the back of the knife.” Once a teacher, always a teacher.

waterford_tetons_wyomingHere’s the deal with these guides. They cost little and weigh almost nothing. They are filled with lifesaving options for when you really need them, and you don’t even need to read them ahead of time (but I would suggest it). And anyone living within 200 miles east or west of the Continental Divide should spring for the $8 apiece and put a set in every bug out bag and car or truck glove box. Better yet, head outdoors and familiarize yourself with the local edible and medicinal flora. You’ll thank me and Jason later.

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Five Emergency Toothache Remedies From Wild Plants

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tooth_ache_painThe crippling pain of a toothache can occur at inconvenient times – perhaps when far from your dentist or even your emergency first aid kit.  Because of the potentially intense pain and potentially critical health concerns associated with a tooth infection, wild herbs to treat toothache is an important category of medicinals to become familiar with in preparation for emergencies in the bush.

By Nathaniel Whitmore a Contributing Author to SHTFBlog and SurvivalCache

In my previous article Five Best DIY Toothache Remedies I mentioned three herbal remedies (the other two were oil pulling and shiatsu / acupressure).  Of the three, only one related to herbs common in the wild in North America.  I chose to focus on Barberry (Berberis spp.),  though it is a representative of the group – the berberine-containing antimicrobials.  Others include Goldthread (Coptis spp.) and Oregon Grape Root (formerly Berberis but now Mahonia aquifolium).  These and the other berberine-containing antimicrobials are great toothache remedies, and will be discussed in detail below.  The other two remedies in that article, though “natural”, won’t be easily found in the North American forests.  Clove is from Indonesia, and besides it is typically the essential oil that is used for toothaches.  Toothache Plant (Spilanthes spp.) is largely of the tropics.  It can be grown here (quite easily, actually), but I do not know it in the wild of even the warm locations I have been to in North America.  So, what other toothache remedies do we have around?

Berberine-Containing Antimicrobials

Lately, I have been focusing on Barberry (Berberis spp.) in regards to this group.  It is a common invasive where I live (I harvest it regularly as part of maintaining my property in New York state).  It also has the genus name that is the source of the name “berberine” – for the constituent that gives the roots of these plants a yellow color and strong medicinal properties.  Plus, for many years Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis) has been in the spotlight to the point that this native plant has been overharvested.  There are different virtues to the various berberine-containing species.  For instance, Goldenseal roots are fleshy and are therefore easier to harvest and process than the woody roots of the prickly shrub Barberry.  For this reason, Goldenseal is a good herb to grow if you don’t have it locally abundant in the wild.  In the bush, it is basically a matter of finding whatever species you can.

Related: Five Best DIY Toothache Remedies

oregon_grape_forageBarberry species are common in some areas (often invasive).  Once harvested, the inner bark can be scraped off the root.  It can be packed directly onto the tooth or into the cavity.  Oregon Grape Root, also being shrubby (though small), is similar (See image – the root bark is scraped, showing the yellow inner bark.  Also take note of the bowl full of edible berries.  These pictures were taken in Montana.)  Goldthread is so-named because the rhizomes are thin and string-like.  The Chinese species used in medicine is much more fleshy.  Goldenseal is fleshy and can be easily chopped for making tinctures or chewed on for direct treatment of toothache.  Chinese medicine also utilizes a species of Skullcap (Scutellaria baicalensis) with berberine-containing roots.

Phellodendron is another berberine-containing herb commonly used in Chinese medicine.  Often the three Phellodendron (Huang Bai), Goldthread (Huang Lian), and Skullcap (Huang Qin) are used together, perhaps with other non-berberine-containing “yellows” like Astragalus.  Many websites claim that the medicinal actions of berberine are unverified.  (Who knows if it is really berberine that is the main active constituent anyway?  And certainly each herb has countless active chemical constituents.)  However, the berberine-containing herbs from all over the world make up one of the best examples of verification in herbal medicine from different parts of the world.  To the best of my knowledge, all cultures that had access to yellow, berberine-containing roots figured out their medicinal uses.

barberry_tooth_ache_remedyIn addition to a distinct and very useful antimicrobial activity, Barberry and these other herbs are very good for stimulating the liver and gallbladder (take note, for gallbladder attacks are another medical emergency worth preparing for and herbal remedies can be very useful).  They are the quintessential bitter, “heat-clearing” herbs.  The bitter taste indicates cooling, cleansing actions.  “Heat-clearing” refers to the antimicrobial and antiinflammatory properties.  These herbs are often the best antibiotics around.  However, because of their strong bitter taste people generally don’t want to use them.  Plus, as with all herbs of powerful effect, there are some cautions and contraindications.

Regarding products available for sale, tincture can be quite useful to treat toothaches.  Perhaps, ideal is powder.  Powdered Goldenseal is often available.  Because of overharvest of native wild stands it is generally best to buy powder made from (organically) cultivated roots rather than from wildcrafted stock.  I would discourage it altogether, except that it really does work like a charm.  Very good to know about.  The powder can be applied directly to the trouble area.  It is also possible to tuck dried material into the gums near the affected tooth.  For instance, a Chinatown apothecary would likely have slices of Huang Lian that could be placed right between the cheek and gum.  Whether from the wild or from the store “chewing” these roots (like tobacco – chewed a little and tucked into the cheek) is a great way to keep the medicine local.

Echinacea

echinacea_cone_flowerConeflower (Echinacea spp. – the genus name is also used as the common name) is one of the best-known herbal remedies, made famous right alongside Goldenseal in the simple American formula Echinacea / Goldenseal that used to be the quintessential herbal antibiotic formula.  Unfortunately, many of the Echinacea products on the market are basically worthless due to the fact that Echinacea has a short shelf life as a dried herb.  Best products, in general, are tinctures made from the fresh root, flower, or seed (the leaf and stem are less potent).  The dried material does hold up for a little while, but not long.  

If you happen to live in an area where Echinacea grows wild, or if you find some in a flower garden, you can simply pick it fresh to chew on it.  If the cone part of the flower is still fresh, you can cut into it to and remove the center for use.  You can also unearth a piece of the root.  It is easy to figure out which part is most potent by chewing on it.  Echinacea, like Toothache Plant (Spilanthes spp.), creates a distinct tingling sensation on the lips, tongue, or whatever part of your mouth it touches.  It also encourages saliva production.  The more you tingle and salvate, the better.  It indicates medicinal potency.  It also numbs the ache.  You can also compare different species by taste.  

Prickly Ash

zanthoxylum_americanumSpecies of Zanthoxylum also have a tendency to produce saliva and a sensation that helps relieve pain.  In this way, it is very much like Echinacea and Toothache Plant.  Sometimes, Zanthoxylum is known at “Toothache Tree”.  The name Prickly Ash is in reference to the pinnately compound leaves, which are similar to Ash (Fraxinus spp.).  Prickly Ash and Ash are not very closely related. There are many species.  I am not sure how all their medicinal properties compare,  If you live near them or are travelling through an area where they grow.  It is worth getting to know them.  You might even find a toothpick, as the name Prickly is not in vain!  The bark is the main part used.  It is available through herb shops as well as in the wild.

Calamus

acorus_calamus_sweet_flagCalamus, or Sweet Flag, (Acorus spp.) is another very interesting medicinal plant.  Like the berberine-containing herbs, the medicinal virtues of Calamus have been verified by many cultures all over the world.  It has been a major medicinal of European and Chinese herbal traditions and has been among the most revered herbs of Ayurveda (the ancient healing tradition of India) and Native American medicine.  Several Native tribes have used Calamus for toothaches.  Moerman (Native American Ethnobotany) lists that the Blackfoot, Chippewa, Cree, Creek, Mahuna, Okanagan, Paiute, Saanich, Shoshoni, and Thomson used Calamus as a toothache remedy.

Read Also: Tree Bark as an Emergency Food 

Unfortunately, one of the main side-effects of Calamus that is relatively common is that it can cause or exacerbate heartburn.  This clashes a bit with the chewing method of administration I have been promoting for the treatment of toothache.  Perhaps, for mild toothaches a small amount of Calamus would be beneficial and tolerated by most.  But with higher doses, such as one with an intense toothache might be driven towards, there will be a higher rate of intolerance.  Try a little first.

Calamus has many benefits, mostly relating to its pungent, aromatic, and somewhat bitter flavor.  It stimulates digestion, opens the lungs, and benefits the mind.  Native people have traditionally used it to help with concentration and as a stimulant when travelling or for ceremonial dance.  Likewise, yogic and Taoist traditions have used Calamus for the mind.  It is a primary remedy for lung congestion.

The name Sweet Flag is because it looks similar to Iris (the leaves- not the flower), which can be called Blue Flag or Yellow Flag, etc. (according to the flower color).  “Sweet” because it smells nice (such as when walked on), not because it tastes sweet.  If you happen to walk on it, there is a good chance your feet will be wet, as it mostly grows in swampy conditions.  It is also called “Swamp Root”.

Spruce

spruce_tree_tooth_acheSpruce (Picea spp.) and its evergreen relatives are readily available toothache remedies.  I mention Spruce as the representative genus here because they tend to be pitchy and seemed to have been favored by Natives for toothaches.  The pitch is antimicrobial, pain relieving, and can be applied directly to the trouble area.  It can also be used to pack a cavity to fight infection and close the hole.  Cedar, Pine, Hemlock, Fir, and Juniper can likewise be used.  The needles and inner bark are also medicinal.     

Barberry Photo Courtesy of:

anneheathen

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What Makes The Best Just In Case Place?

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Image source: Pexels.com

By The Survival Place Blog

Ever wondered what makes the best Just In Case locations, for when the SHTF and you need somewhere away from all the inevitable trouble that will start happening? If so, you’re in the right place. We’re going to go through a few of the vital things you need to consider when choosing the location of your bolt hole.
It’s a critical decision that you need to get right now, as it will be too late after the event. All your preparation, investment, and work in build the perfect Just In Case place will be for nothing if you a) can’t get there and b) choose the wrong location. Let’s take a look at everything you need to know.

 

Somewhere close

When a national emergency or worst case scenario occurs, you can bet on a few things; one of which is, the authorities will set up roadblocks and close major road arteries. And that’s going to cause anyone wanting to travel a lot of trouble just a few hours after the event. So your bolt hole’s ideal location has to be somewhere close to your current home – a place you can access within a few hours. Not only will it help you avoid roadblocks, but the smaller distance will reduce the number of potential incidents that you will encounter along the way.
Within walking distance

Ideally, you will want to choose a place that you can walk to. Within five days is your best bet – and given you will only be able to walk a maximum of 12 miles a day, that means your bolt home should be within 60 miles. Of course, the route you take will also be critical – are there enough places along the way to keep out of harm’s way? You should already know how to build a survival shelter, of course, but you’ll also need to have somewhere safe to set up at the end of every day.

pexels-photo-173479

Image Source: Pexels.com

Near water

Finding a location with a natural supply of water is essential, and will save you a lot of work. Whether you are buying land to build a survival hut or plan to use public land, make sure you are within a reasonable distance of a natural spring, river, or lake. Not only is water vital for hydration, but you can also use it for sanitary purposes and power – all of which are going to increase your chances of survival.

 

Somewhere hidden

Finally, the sad truth is that in the event of a critical national emergency, there will be people out there willing to take whatever they find on their own – including your survival home. Therefore, the better hidden your Just in Case place, the less likely it is someone will see it. Avoid areas that are near well-travelled routes, and the more challenging it is to get to your location, the fewer people will find it. Don’t forget; it’s not just about blending your hut in with its surroundings. You’ll also need to find somewhere that hides much of the smoke and light from fires or smells from food.

This article published by The Survival Place BlogWhat Makes The Best Just In Case Place?

Filed under: How To Prepare, Prepping, Shelter

Urban Survival with The Prepping Academy

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Urban Survival Forrest & Kyle “The Prepping Academy” Audio in player below! On “The Prepping Academy” for this episode our host Forrest and Kyle are discussing urban survival. You might be thinking to yourself this doesn’t apply to you. Let us assure you it does. Current statistics say that approximately 82% of the United States population … Continue reading Urban Survival with The Prepping Academy

The post Urban Survival with The Prepping Academy appeared first on Prepper Broadcasting |Network.

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 .

 

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Fitness Training For The Smart Prepper

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When the grid fails, only the strong survive, so you’ll need to be in the best physical condition of your life. Just start early, because by the time you need this strength and endurance it may already be too late. Here’s a look at how you can develop your own boot camp using the workouts military experts use to increase flexibility and improve strength.

The Basics

While fancy weight machines and free weights might look impressive, they won’t build the flexibility and strength that come in handy in a gridless world. Some of the best fitness standards are ones you can achieve without expensive equipment. Minimum requirements for the Army PFTs are simple, from ages 17-21, men must be 42 push-ups-strong and women 19. Both should reach the 53 sit-ups requirement, and a 2-mile run should take a man no less than 15 minutes and 54 seconds, and a woman 18 minutes and 54 seconds. Keep in mind that, as age increases, minimum requirements decrease. The best part is you can keep up this regimen anywhere in the world and don’t have to worry about being bogged down by equipment.

Track Fitness

Sometimes tracking your progress isn’t easy. State-of-the-art mobile devices, like the Apple Watch and the Apple iPhone 7 can monitor your step count, heart rate and even calories burned each workout session. There’s even an app that allows you to pick a charity of your choice and, as you run, walk or cycle, a corporate sponsor donates a few cents for every mile you manage. Of course, you can do more than this with your new iPhone and Apple Watch, which are both compatible with medical-grade hardware and software. For instance, the Kardia Mobile smartphone case and the Kardia Band can capture EKG measurements, electrical measurements in your heart, and send the data directly to your doctor.

HIIT Training

HIIT, or High-Intensity Interval Training, is a technique that builds endurance, strength and recovery time. HIIT focuses on all-out, one hundred percent bursts of activities for a short time. These bursts are followed by short, and sometimes, active recovery sessions. Many people use HIIT techniques to increase their metabolism. The metabolic boost you get from a HIIT workout can raise your metabolism for 48 hours. Another reason HIIT routines are so popular is they’re quick. Giving one hundred percent of your physical effort, even for a short time, wears you out quickly — which is why most HIIT workouts are 30 minutes or less. Lastly, no equipment is needed for a HIIT workout. HIIT promotes workouts that use body weight, which promotes optimal muscle gain and fat loss.

So how do you get started with your first HIIT workout? It’s easy. Start off slow — or at least follow a routine that won’t cause you to pull a muscle or strain a tendon. For instance, your first workout might consist of a 10-minute routine, 20 seconds of exercise, 10 seconds of recovery. Start with 20 seconds of cross-punch jabs. Make sure you stay on the balls of your feet and pivot with each jab, which will turn your body and work your abs. After 20 seconds, take 10, then transition into jumping jacks for 20 seconds. Your last set will be 20 seconds of sumo squats. Once you’ve done each exercise, begin again from the start. Repeat until ten minutes is up. While this is just a sample workout, there are far more you can explore that will work other parts of your body to get you in peak physical condition when you need it most.

Deadly Poisons, Wild Edibles, and Magic Medicinals of The Carrot Family

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carrots

carrots_foragingApiaceae, is known as the Carrot Family, the Hemlock Family, and the Umbel Family (after the old name “Umbelliferae”).  It is one of the most important botanical families for the survivalist to become familiar with.  Its diversity and importance are implied with common names for the family ranging from one of the world’s most important vegetables, the Carrot (Daucus carota), to one of the most famous and deadly poisons, Hemlock (Conium maculatum).  With medicinals like Angelica (Angelica spp.) and Osha (Bear Root, Ligusticum spp.), which have been revered around the world since the earliest records of herbal medicine, this plant family seems to have it all.  

By Nathaniel Whitmore, a Contributing Author to SHTFBlog and SurvivalCache

This article follows Wild Edibles & Poisonous Plants of the Poison Ivy Family in a blog series on poisonous plants that began with 5 Poisonous Plant Families the Survivalist Should Know.  The initial article outlined some basics of five major plant families with poisonous plants.  The article on Poison Ivy included some basics on botany and plant names, in addition to the discussion of the Poison Ivy family.  Here we will focus on Apiaceae.

Umbels & Aromatic Roots

umbel_flower_forageA characteristic of Apiaceae is the flowers being arranged in umbels, which is the source of an older name for the family- Umbelliferae.  The umbel flower is umbrella shaped, or bowl shaped, partially due to the divisions of the flower-top (the pedicels) arising from a single point.  The pedicels therefore, are like the ribs of an (upside-down) umbrella.  Many other flower-tops appear to be umbels, but are supported by a branching structure that does not stem from a single point (Yarrow of the Daisy Family, Elder and Viburnum of the Muskroot Family, and others).  Another distinct tendency in Apiaceae is aromatic roots.  Sometimes people will attempt to explain that Wild Carrot roots can be distinguished from Poison Hemlock and others because they smell like Carrots, but this is far too subjective.  Because it is standard that members of this family have aromatic roots, including poisonous species, many of them could be said to “smell like Carrots” in that they are similarly aromatic.

Read Also: Medicinal Uses of Pine Trees 

Apiaceae members also tend to have divided leaves.  There are many technical terms used to describe leaves and their arrangements on plants.  Plants in the Carrot Family tend to have leaves that are lacey or otherwise finely or not so finely divided.  The leaves of Carrots and Parsley (another genus that is used to name the family) are characteristic. Celery is also in Apiaceae.  It is a good example of another tendency in the family to have the visible vascular strands (“strings”) in the stem.

Categories of Plants in Apiaceae

As usual with nature, it is difficult organize Apiaceae by category since in reality there is much more of a spectrum (from delicious and nourishing to extremely toxic).  Our human minds, however, like categories,

The primary categories of plants in Apiaceae are:

Edibles

Medicinals

Toxic Medicinals

Fatally Poisonous

These oversimplified categories are complicated by plants like Parsnip (Pastinaca sativa), which is a well-known edible (at least used to be), but also known to cause rashes in sensitive people upon contacting the leaves of the wild plants.

Edible Members of the Carrot Family

One of the world’s best-known vegetables is the Carrot, Daucus carota, which is the domestic variety of the Wild Carrot, which is also known as Queen-Anne’s-Lace.  The root is usually much smaller than the domestic version, white in color, and quite fibrous, but it is indeed a Carrot.

Biscuit Roots (Lomatium spp.) were top foods of the northwest Natives.  I have never tried them, but apparently their starchy roots are good food.  The genus is certainly worth learning about for those living in the Northwest or travelling through (there are notable medicinal species as well), but there are concerns regarding population decline so learning about Biscuit Roots is more in preparation for emergency survival than for expanding your regular diet.

Bishop’s Weed (Aegopodium podagraria) is also known as Goutweed, for its medicinal effect.  It is a common groundcover that was introduced from Europe.  It often spreads “uncontrollably” in landscapes and can be found persisting on old home sites.  It is cooked as a spring green, or potherb, when it can help rid the body of the uric acid build-up after a heavy meat diet in winter.

Though so many edibles and many culinary herbs belong to the Carrot (or Parsley) Family, you should approach this group with caution.  As there are many poisonous species.  Culinary herbs in the group include Parsley (Petroselenium crispum), Cilantro (Coriandrum sativum – the seed is Coriander), and Dill (Anethum graveolens).  

Medicinal Members of the Carrot Family

carrots_stackedOf course, all members of the Carrot family are medicinal, just as it can be argued that every plant is medicinal.  There are many home-remedies that utilize Carrots.  Plus the greens and seeds have medicinal uses.  (While you could argue that it is not “medicinal” one of the best-known uses for Wild Carrot is as a morning after contraceptive).  There are also the toxic medicinals, which are described below, that are too poisonous for home-care use.  Here, we will look at the well-known remedies from the Carrot family.  It is an all-star line up.  

Osha and its relatives (Ligusticum spp.) are top medicinals.  A couple species are known to Chinese medicine and used extensively.  Garden Lovage is well-known to the western world, though somewhat forgotten.  And the Osha of the Rocky Mountains it one of our Nation’s most famous medicinals.  In fact, Osha is one of the few herbs that I have come to depend on that is not available in the wild or even in the garden of my area.  Osha grows in high elevations, usually over 9,000 feet.  It has many medicinal uses but is best known as an antimicrobial for lung and respiratory infections.  The Navajo call it Bear Root and consider it a cure-all for lung ailments.  It works remarkably fast, especially if used at the onset of a cold.  I like to chew the root or hold it in my cheek like chewing tobacco.  Once, when harvesting Osha with a friend in Colorado just after he had harvested his honey, we filled jars with roots and topped them with the fresh honey.  A very delicious way to take Osha indeed!  The roots softened in the honey and were then easy to chew.  Plus, the honey was infused with Osha.

dong_quiAngelica is a very important genus of medicinal herbs and worthy of its own article.  In fact, I have already written a paper on AngelicaBut that too only scratches the surface.  With a name like Angelica, its got to be good – or at least it was revered at some point.  Angelica archangelica is the main European species known to medicine.  It has been used for respiratory, digestive, and circulatory disorders, among others.  It is a common ingredient in “digestive bitters” as it is a quintessential aromatic bitter.  Bitter herbs are bitter (not just bad tasting, but bitter, like Dandelion).  Aromatic bitters are also pungent or are predominantly pungent but are similar medicinally to bitter herbs, particularly in that they benefit digestion.  The pungent aromatics are also generally good for moving mucus and blood, which is largely how Angelica species are employed in medicine.  The famous Dong Quai (A. sinensis) is a top herb in Chinese medicine for moving blood (treating blood stagnation) and nourishing blood (treating anemia and similar deficiencies).  It is especially used to treat menstrual disorders and injuries.   

Rattlesnake Masters (Eryngium spp.) have been used for snake bites and as an antidote to poisons.  

Toxic Medicinals in the Carrot Family

Angelica_venenosaMany Angelica species belong in this category, as they are far too toxic to use for the uninitiated.  In fact, even those species above can have properties that are too strong and inappropriate at times, such as because of blood-thinning properties.  Most, if not all, Angelica species are blood thinning, especially when fresh.  However, they are most commonly used dried and because they are so commonly known and used I included them above. (The point about plants being more toxic when fresh is important.  Especially since many herbs in common use are mostly or only available dried, but when you are lost in the bush or otherwise seeking out herbs in an outdoors or end-times emergency you might only have access to fresh plant material.)

Deadly Angelica (A. venenosa) has poisonous properties (as you might expect from the name), yet the Iroquois employed it in poultices in the treatment of injuries.  Another, Poison Angelica (A. lineariloba) was used by the Paiute for pneumonia and spitting up of blood.  

See Also: Tree Bark as an Emergency Food

Sanicle species (Sanicula spp.) have some toxic properties, or some toxic species belong to the genus.  On the other hand, they were also used as poison antidote and for snake bites.  They are also known as Snakeroots (like Echinacea and Black Cohosh, Cimicifuga or Actaea).  It is not uncommon that snake bite remedies have some toxic properties.

Fatally Poisonous Members of the Carrot Family

david_-_the_death_of_socratesOne of the most famous poisonous plants and perhaps the most famous of Apiaceae is Poison Hemlock (Conium maculatum).  It is the plant that killed Socrates.  Water Hemlocks (Cicuta spp.) are also very poisonous.  Cicuta douglasii has been called the most deadly plant in North America. Though they too undoubtedly have medicinal uses, they should be considered far too toxic to mess with.  It is said that a single bite of Poison Hemlock is enough to kill an adult man.  It is these deadly poisonous species that make this family dangerous.  Study carefully.

The common name Hemlock is shared with the basically non-toxic member of the Pine Family.  Herein lies the importance of scientific names.  Mentioning Hemlock often causes eyes to open wide in surprise, so well known is Hemlock as a poison.  When scientific names are used alongside the common, we can easily avoid confusion.  Conium and Cicuta belong to Apiaceae, while Tsuga belongs to Pinaceae.

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Keep Your Belongings and Supplies Safe from Looters

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By The Survival Place Blog

If you’re a dedicated prepper, then you’ll understand the importance of keeping your belongings safe. When disaster strikes and everyone’s survival instincts kick in, you’d be lucky if you don’t run into looters and hooligans who resort to stealing from others. When we’re in a nasty situation, it really is survival of the fittest and if you can’t hide your belongings and most important pieces of gear safely, then you’re going to be vulnerable and it’ll only take a single night for your survival chances to turn from decent to grim.
To help you survive the threat of thieves and looters, here are a couple of handy tips that you can employ right now to keep you, your family and your friends safe.

Fencing

A sturdy fence around your home is the first line of defence from looters. Combined with CCTV and traps, a fence can not only protect an area, but it can also deter people from wanting to try and steal your belongings. The more fierce looking your surroundings, the more likely people will stay clear from your place to loot you. However, it’s good to keep in mind that a fence will be your first line of defence because it is the most easily penetrated. Dedicated looters will be able to cut through the fence with ease, and agile climbers will easily be able to vault over the fence or climb over it. This means you shouldn’t spend too much of your money on fencing, just enough so it surrounds your home and deters intruders.

Safe Boxes

Your most valuable possessions should be kept in a safe box or a disguised storage container. The Safe Depot has plenty of good examples of this. They’ve turned everyday essentials such as water bottles and cans into sneaky storage solutions for small belongings and bits of equipment, but you can also invest in a large safe to store things like weapons and money. A smaller safe box that you can carry around with you is a good place to store everyday essentials such as a flip knife, multi-tool and rations.

Shutters for Windows and Doors

Full lockdown of your home is ideal when it comes to avoiding looters and hooligans. Shutters can often buy you enough time to fend off thieves, and in some cases, if the shutters are strong enough it can make your home virtually impenetrable. This is an excellent long-term solution that will not only protect your home from looters, but also from natural disasters such as extreme gales. Shutters can be installed for relatively low prices, but you need to keep in mind the quality of the metal itself. The heavier it is, the sturdier it will be but it will also be hard to maintain.

Locks and Doors

In the event that your shutters have failed, you need to consider falling back to a defensive location that houses all of your supplies. In this case, a strong metal door is a great way to fend off attackers and also make your supplies almost impossible to steal unless the intruders have the key. Sturdy locks are also great for when your supplies are housed outside of your home so that you can keep all of your prepped supplies safe during the night.

This article published by The Survival Place Blog: Keep Your Belongings and Supplies Safe from Looters

Filed under: How To Prepare, Prepping

Force Multiplier!

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Force Multiplier Forrest & Kyle “The Prepping Academy” Audio in player below! Force multipliers. If you’re not familiar with what these are this is a good show to listen in on. The essence of a force multiplier is any tool or tactic that gives you the upper hand. It’s a very broad term and can … Continue reading Force Multiplier!

The post Force Multiplier! appeared first on Prepper Broadcasting |Network.

House on Lockdown: How to Secure Your Home for Any Eventuality

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Protect your family and valuables by learning how to put your house on full lockdown. Whether you’re worried about the weather or intruders, you can take steps to ensure that your property can easily be secured when you need it most. Here’s what you should know about preparing for those emergency situations.

Keep the Trees and Shrubs Maintained

In storms, projectiles are one of the biggest threats. Weak and dead branches are easily torn from trees and sent flying through the air. One way to make your home safe in severe storms is by keeping the trees maintained and strong. Bushes should be trimmed so that they don’t touch the house. This will also limit hiding spaces for intruders.

Go with Security Window Tint

Window tinting is great to improve the energy efficiency levels in your home. You’ll improve the comfort levels in your home, and you’ll also make it harder for people to break in. The great benefit of security tint is that it helps hold glass shards together even if the window is broken. Thieves are thwarted, and projectiles are less likely to be hurled through the window in a storm.

Hide the Valuables

They say that if someone really wants into your home, they’ll find a way. However, they will need to get in and out quickly to avoid being caught. You can further protect your belongings by keeping them in secure places. Put them in hollowed out books hidden on a bookshelf or get a safe.

Security Cameras with Remote Access

Another option is to install security cameras with remote access. When you can log in from your phone and see what’s going on at home, you’ll have peace of mind. Some companies, like Johns Brothers Security, know that having peace of mind is incredibly important. If anything seems amiss, you can call a neighbor or police to check on the property.

The Right Door Design

The best lock on the market is still only as strong as the doorjamb that’s holding it in place. A common method of entry is to just forcibly kick a door in. This splinters the frame and bypasses the lock completely. Special metal doorjambs can be used to replace the wood support that’s in place. The jambs are screwed to the framing, and they transfer the force of a kick along the full height of the door. The result is a door that’s virtually kick-proof.

Protect your home by getting it ready for a lockdown. It’s a smart idea to protect your property from storms and intruders alike. You’ll sleep better at night, and you’ll be ready for all types of emergency situations.

Written by Rachelle Wilber

Planning For A Zombie Apocalypse (And Other Bad Things)

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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

21 Urban Survival Hacks That Will Save Your Ass

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Most people have become so dependent on technology that they’re not even a little prepared for a true survival situation, let alone attempting to survive it without any traditional survival gear. In a situation such as a natural disaster, terrorist attack, or economic collapse where you are stranded away from your home and without any […]

The post 21 Urban Survival Hacks That Will Save Your Ass appeared first on Urban Survival Site.

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

The Survival Staff

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survival_staffs_standing

survival_staff_inhandIn this “back-to-basics” article, we will look at a basic building material, tool, and weapon- one that can be used for shelter, a tool handle, walking stick, and the most basic and primitive weapon.  As a weapon, the more-or-less six foot staff is one of the most universal among many martial arts traditions, and often the first taught.  Shaolin, Wing Chun, Kobudo and other schools of martial arts teach staff “forms”, or choreographed practice sequences that have been passed down through the ages.  For basic utility, the staff can be used to carry firewood and water (by hanging bundles or buckets at the ends and carrying over one’s shoulders), and for other forms of transport (such as game, strung up between two people; or to craft a sled or skid).  Sturdy poles can be used to build tripods, lean-tos, and other structures you might need around camp.  A staff can also be used to make a spear or whittled down for a tool handle.

By Nathaniel Whitmore a Contributing Author to SHTFBlog and SurvivalCache

There are many articles online regarding various types of survival staffs that are basically types of walking sticks, perhaps of lightweight material, that have chambers to hold objects for survival.  There are many clever designs.  I do like the idea of such staffs, but wonder how well they will hold up.  For this article, we are discussing the primitive staff.  It might seem a very simple subject, but there are many considerations worth becoming familiar with, including wood selection, crafting tools and handles, building possibilities, self defense, and weapon-crafting possibilities.

Gathering Resources

survival_staffs_hemlock_and_white_pineAt my campsite in the Catskills there were White Pines (Pinus strobus) and Hemlock (Tsuga canadensis) saplings about 10 years or so in age and thick enough to block visibility and make walking difficult.  Besides other considerations regarding location, it seemed fitting for a campsite to clear the thick trees that were already shading each other out.  Small trees a few inches in diameter can be easily cut with a hatchet, camp saw, or machete.  They provide material for building structures and for other craft.  The unused material dries relatively quickly to provide future kindling and firewood.  Plus, depending on the species of trees being felled, food and medicine can also be gleaned.  In the case of White Pine and Hemlock the needles and bark can be used to make “tea” for medicinal use, pleasure, or as a nutritional supplement.  Many tree barks have medicinal uses and sometimes leaves or other parts are also useful as food or medicine.  

Related: Medicinal Uses of Pine Trees 

Once felled, the branches can be removed from the saplings with a machete or hatchet.  A small saw can be useful.  I also like to have pruners in my pocket and some loppers nearby.  Though more time consuming to use, such tools can more cleanly remove branches if desired.  I like to leave interesting branches and crotches in case they are useful for some project later.  But for the most part the idea is to work the sapling down to a relatively uniform building material.  After the branches are removed the poles can be organized by size.  This process gives you lots of material to work with for shelter building and the like.

survival_staffs_red_cedarYou might consider removing the bark while the saplings are still green.  For one thing it is easier to remove than when it dries to the trunk.  You also may want to use it for making rope, baskets, and the like.  It can be used as lashing for certain things right away.  You probably can’t get nice sheets of bark from small trees such as you would want for bark baskets, but the possibilities with even small strips of bark are many.  In some cases you will be able to find a stand of smaller trees that died from being shaded out.  The wood might still be good quality.  The Cedar (Juniperus virginiana) pictured is good quality even though it died as taller trees outgrew it.

Use as a Walking Stick  

survival_staffs_cabinA primary use of a staff is as a walking stick.  My first mentor in the world of wild edibles and survival skills, Taterbug Tyler, used to walk with a garden hoe that had been cut down to just a small triangle left of the blade.  He claimed that he once saved himself from falling over a ledge by grabbing onto a tree root with the hoe.  Mostly he used it as a walking stick in the rugged territory we hiked through looking for Ginseng (Panax quinquefolius).  The blade came in handy for unearthing roots and flipping over rocks.  It is a good tool and could be reproduced with the natural form of a hardwood staff.  

Another use for a staff as a walking stick is for crossing streams.  In certain territory you might have many streams weaving around, or you might need to repeatedly cross a stream that you are traveling along.  Even if you find logs and rocks to help you cross, a staff can help you maintain balance.  Without rocks to cross on a staff can be used like a pole vault to help you jump across what you otherwise could not.  For these reasons, it is useful to carry a staff.

As a Weapon

survival_staffs_cut_woodI am fascinated with the bo staff and like to go with just over six feet as a standard cutting length.  Particularly when Hickory (Carya spp.) or some other hard wood is found, it is an ideal size for a weapon as well as to begin making a bow or spear.  When cutting the trees down and into length, look for nice straight six-foot sections.  It is generally good to cut the trees where they bend in order to preserve straight sections and removed the crooks.

The staff has been a most basic striking implement since ancient times.  Needing to use a weapon against wildlife is an unlikely scenario, but not impossible.  Certainly, it could make you feel better to have some protection in hand.  There has been more than once when the sound of coyotes or something unknown has prompted me to pick up a stick.  Better yet is the feeling of knowing how to use it.  Most people should be able to wield a staff should an emergency arise and be able to perform basic strikes to protect themselves.  With training, the staff becomes an increasingly useful weapon, with several distinct benefits: there are reasons otherwise to keep it at hand, it is superb blocking instrument, any part can be used as the handle, and it can be used for a variety of strikes to virtually any part of the body.  It can be swung with great momentum.  It can strike low or high, as well as both in relatively rapid succession, and one can thrust with the end of the staff with the potential for damaging penetration.  For these reasons, the staff is a primary weapon of many styles of martial art.

Read Also: Low Profile Survival Weaponry

bruce_lee_bo_staffKobudo – the martial art of the Okinawan weapons (which is often integrated with Karate), Shaolin Kung Fu, Wing Chun Kung Fu, Ninjitsu and many others have their study of the staff.  Learning the forms, or kata, of these arts is a way to learn special combat moves.  Becoming proficient with these moves not only makes the weapon more effective, but provides a healthful exercise that improves balance, coordination, circulation, immunity, and awareness, all of which are important in a survival situation.  Plus, study of the forms could provide a pastime during life in the wilderness.

Shelter and Selecting Wood

survival_staff_witch_hazel_shrubWhen selecting a location to set up camp one should consider finding a nice stand of relatively young trees or saplings that can serve as a source of materials.  Your lean-to could be positioned centrally to reduce expenditure of time and energy.  Of course, you also want to consider exposure to sun and other elements.  In the part of the world where I live you generally want your lean-to opening toward the south to increase sun exposure in cold seasons.  If there is a strong prevailing wind you will want to put the back of the lean-to toward it.  You can also look for suitable trees to support a lean-to before you chop them down.  

Of course, when gathering trees for utility, one should consider the various types of wood and their pros and cons.  Generally, hardwoods are prefered.  “Hardwood” usually refers to deciduous trees, even the softer ones.  And “softwood” refers to conifers, which are usually softer than hardwoods (though soft hardwoods are softer than hard softwoods).  Hemlock and Pine are both softwoods.  Particularly White Pine is soft.  Although both softwoods, Hemlock is much harder than White Pine.  The White Pine saplings that are staff size (naturally or whittled down) are quite weak.  They have certain uses, but would break far too easily under any significant weight or force.

White Ash (Fraxinus americanus)  has a low moisture level, even when green.  My freshly cut staff looked stouter than it felt, compared to the heavier woods (Witch Hazel, Iron Wood, Hickory…) I had been working with.  Regarding bushcraft, one advantage of a lower moisture percentage wood is that building materials have less time to rot.  If you are planning to turn the bush into a campsite there is a good chance you’ll be using some green wood.  If you are building with green wood, there is a good chance for mold to develop as the wood dries out.  Thick, heavy, damp wood will dry out much slower than something light like Ash.  In fact, Ash has so little moisture that it can be burned green.  As we all know, the drier the better.  The survivalist, however, should be aware of the low moisture content of Ash in the event of finding no dead wood.  Perhaps green would might be a better choice than soggy logs from the ground.  Regarding a staff, Ash has the interesting benefit of being lighter.  So, the strength of a green stick with the weight more of a dry one.  Ash is the primary wood for baseball bats as it has strength but receives the vibration.  Although not nearly the strength of Hickory, Ash is used in much the same way for bows and tools handles.

The bushcrafter should be aware of the various kinds of woods, including their benefits and weak points.  Although the basic staff (or bo) seems simple, it’s uses are many.

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Doomsday Survival Priorities that Everyone Needs to Know

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Arguably, every human being should know some necessary skills for doomsday survival, since we never know when it will happen. But, what are these priorities? Let’s face it;

  1. Finding and sterilizing drinking water

    In a survival situation, water is one of the most important resource you will need. You may go for 3 days without water but, you will easily become incapacitated in those 3 days. This may lead to serious health problems, or worse, making very obvious and stupid mistakes. In the long run, not drinking water can lead to dehydration and eventually death. Plus, if you don’t have the right skills to purify water, you could drink all nasty stuff filled with bacteria that could eventually get you sick.

  2. Learn first aid skills

    It is always a good idea to know some of the basics of first aid – in fact; it should be on the top of your priority list. Remember, injuries and accidents are unpredictable. You should take some classes to learn the basics of first aid so that you can be ready when you need to be ready.

  3. Self defense

    Learning how to counter attack with or without a weapon is important. Some of the best fighting forms for self-defense is Krav Maga. Obviously, the best way to master any kind of self defense is to go to a nearby studio where experienced defense masters teach you how to defend yourself. However, if you are not a big fan of taking classes you can easily find a DVD or an online class from which you can learn some self defense skills at home.

    You should also learn which type of weapon you should carry and the best way to use it for self-defense.

  4. Build your own survival bunker and library

    Having a survival bunker with preserved food stocked can increase your chances of survival significantly. It goes without saying that the more information and resources you have, the higher your chances of survival. You can find many valuable resources and guides that can assist you to learn about survival tactics and how to escape an emergency.

  5. Building a shelter

    A decent shelter will protect you from strong wind, rain, and bad weather. This is crucial skill for those people that did not or could not afford to build their own survival bunker. It’s also an important skill to know for general winter wilderness survival. So, you should learn how to build a proper shelter in case of an emergency.

  6. Food

    Food is important for long term survival. While you can survive for a couple of days without food, eventually without food you will starve and die. You need food to give you energy and provide those necessary calories. So, you should learn food preservation techniques to avoid running out of stock during crucial moments.

The bottom line;

At the end of the day, you must know what your survival priorities are, its important so that you can still survive when doomsday comes. With the tips highlighted in this article, I am sure you will do well.

About the Author

Tom loves spending time outdoors learning new survival techniques, when not outdoors, he shares his learned skills on his blog Thrifty Outdoors Man.

Bushcraft Mushrooms: 5 Uses of Polypores and Other Mushrooms

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otzi_ice_man_mushrooms-2Mushrooms were among the earliest survival essentials of man.  Otzi, the Ice Man, had two mushrooms with him.  One, the Tinder Polypore (Fomes fomentarius), used for firestarting and the other, the Birch Polypore (Piptoporus betulinus), was quite possibly being carried for medicinal reasons.  The fire-starting and fire-carrying properties of Tinder Polypore and others like Chaga (Inonotus obliquus) have been well known since ancient times.  

By Nathaniel Whitmore a Contributing Author to SHTFBlog and SurvivalCache

As punk, dried Polypores can be lit and hold the ember very well.  It is for this reason that their benefits begin with the first spark of the fire, which will stay aglow easily on good punk.  Tinder Polypore, Artist Conk (Ganoderma applanatum), and others have a felty interior when the hard fruiting bodies are broken open.  These mushrooms are also called conks, shelf mushrooms, and bracket fungi and are perennial, developing layer upon layer, year after year.  This type of mushroom is very good for tinder.  The felt can be teased with your knife.  There are other types of shelf mushrooms that are not perennial.  Often, they will be more moist and fleshing, or otherwise maybe not the best for tinder… perhaps because of their texture.  Also, there are Polypores that aren’t shelf mushrooms.

polypores_bushcraft_1Polypores (many-pored, or many-little-holes) produce their spores in tubes that are usually under the “shelf” of the mushroom, though many species take on more of the form of the “cap & stem” mushroom.  They are common, seen even in winter because of the persistence of the perennial species and of the dried remains of the tougher annual species.  Even as I write this, I can count several species of Polypore on my eclectic assortment of firewood piled by the wood stove – dried, so even though the wood is punkier than desired the mushrooms will burn with it quite fine.  Earlier today I noticed a Polypore I am not used to seeing on a Pitch Pine (Pinus rigida), along with several other species of Polypore that I see regularly.  I also saw the crumbled remains of an annual species that was edible in the fall.  In fact, now that I stop to think about it, that’s a lot of Polypores for a short walk along the road and through the woods!

Related: Emergency Storage of Wild Plant Foods

It is especially the Polypores that are of interest to the bushcrafter and survivalist.  They are a pretty safe group for edibles.  Many are not considered edible because of toughness or taste, but the majority of poisoning is relatively mild.  Of course, many well-known “choice edibles” and some of the most sought after mushroom delicacies are Polypores.  They have medicinal uses.  Many of the most important herbal medicines come from Polypores.  They can be used to start fire.  Because they keep lit well and burn slow they can also be used to carry fire (potentially very useful without matches or a lighter on hand), and can also be burned for insect repellant.  The dried fruit bodies, or slices of them, can be used to maintain an ember when not feeding wood to the fire.  Polypores can also be used to make torches.  They can be made into charcoal.  They can be pounded into felt (another trait the Tinder Polypore is particularly known for).  They are great for storing fish hooks.  And I am sure there are countless other uses.  

Edible Mushrooms

edible_mushrooms_mycophilic-2Mushrooms are sometimes abundant and are very important survival foods.  It is an interesting thing that mycologists consider cultures to generally be either mycophobic or mycophilic – mushroom fearing or mushroom loving.  Some cultures favor mushrooms that most others avoid.  I have often wondered if this and the deep appreciation some cultures have for mushrooms is due to ancestors being repeatedly saved from famine by mushrooms, which has certainly happened throughout the ages.  

I myself have eaten massive amounts of mushrooms, especially Polypores like Chicken of the Woods (Laetiporus spp.), Hen of the Woods (Grifola frondosa, Maitake, Sheep’s Head, etc.), and others that grow very large and are delicious.  Many times I have eaten more than one meal a day that consisted primarily of mushrooms.  I have often felt very revitalized when doing so, particularly during Morel (Morchella spp.) season when eating lots of Dryad’s Saddle (Polyporus squamosus), Morels, and wild vegetables.  Mushrooms are very nutritious foods.  Since ancient times they have been revered for their rejuvenating properties.

The all too well known problem with mushrooms as edibles is that some are deadly.  Coupled with the fact that mushrooms in general are difficult to identify, eating mushrooms can  clearly be risky.  Do your research before starving to death so that you can be certain to take the time to seek out knowledgeable people as well as good books.  There are many excellent mushroom websites.

Mushrooms can be dried.  Though, it is a funny trick of nature that they tend to grow when there is more humidity and can be difficult to dry.  Those in the Rocky Mountains will have a much easier time of it than I do down in the Delaware River Valley between New York and Pennsylvania.  For off-grid sites, consider a solar dehydrator, such as passive solar using glass to trap heat.  For sites with electricity consider one of the many commercially manufactured dehydrators, or make one with a simple heating unit such as a light bulb.

Medicinal Mushrooms

polypores_bushcraft_3The medicinal properties of mushrooms have been getting increased attention lately, though they were well-known before the modern world.  Many of the medicinal uses of mushrooms pertain to first-aid care, so this subject is well worth learning for the survivalist.  If the notion of medicinal mushrooms seems strange, consider that out first antibiotic drug, penicillin, is fungal.  

Indeed, primary traits among the medicinal mushrooms are antimicrobial and immune-boosting properties.  Polypores in particular, like Turkey Tail (Trametes versicolor) and Agarikon (Fomitopsis officinalis), are known for benefiting immunity and fighting off pathogens.  They are used for lung ailments, respiratory infections, systemic infections, cancer, and even auto-immune diseases.  As in the case with Otzi, ancient people all over the world have probably recognized the medicinal benefits of mushrooms.  Today they remain primary ingredients in herbal medicine.  Many cultures have long-held reverence for medicinal mushrooms.  China, for instance, has an extensive and ancient lore surrounding Ganoderma spp., called Lingzi, which means “Longevity Mushroom” or “Spiritual Mushroom” just as the Japanese name, Reishi, does.  For a well-researched reference on many species of medicinal mushrooms see The Fungal Pharmacy by Robert Rogers.

While Reishi is too tough and strong tasting to be eaten (rather, it is decocted into a “tea” or broth), many medicinals are good food.  Maitake (Grifola frondosa) is another name that seems to reflect a long-found reverence.  In Japanese it means “Dancing Mushroom”, which some say is because it was worth so much (so revered were such medicinal mushrooms) in ancient Japan that you would dance for joy upon finding one.  Or, perhaps if you were suffering from a life threatening illness that Maitake was known to cure you would have even more reason to dance.  Locally, Grifola is one of the most commonly picked mushrooms, known as Sheep’s Head or Ram’s Head – largely an Appalachian name.  American field guides and grocery stores (this one is also cultivated) usually call it Hen-of-the-Woods.  It is so abundant in certain Oak forests that people will often eat more than their fill and still have plenty to dry, can, or freeze.

Mushrooms even have antifungal properties.  If this seems strange, consider that you are protected by pathogens by your skin.  Fungus has no such barrier, but must still protect itself against pathogens… including fungus!  Fungus tends to prefer dark, damp, dirty areas where other fungus also likes to grow.  Much of the immune-boosting potential of mushrooms is explained in this way.

Many mushrooms, especially certain Polypores and the Luminescent Panellus (Panellus stipticus) can be used to stop bleeding.  The species name stipticus is from styptic, meaning that it is used to stop bleeding.  And yes, the common name is because it glows in the dark- at least the North American variety.

Fire-Starting with Fungus

polypores_bushcraft_6As already mentioned, mushrooms can be very good for “catching the spark” when starting fire with flint or maintaining the ember when starting with the bow drill and the like.  A nice dry piece of Polypore can be used in the middle of your tinder bundle.  Species with a felting interior, like the Tinder Polypore, can be fluffed into very nice tinder by scraping them with your knife to tease the fibers into fluff.  While it can obviously be very helpful to have nice downy tinder, it is not always necessary as even chunks of dried Polypore can stay lit with just a spark.

Transferring a “coal” from bow or hand drill methods is simply done by contacting the mushroom with the ember so that it keeps lit.  One might even use larger flat polypores underneath the fireboard so that the hot wood dust falls directly on the mushroom.

Polypores are like punk, meaning that they stay lit easy.  Punky wood (dry and rotten) might very well stay lit for hours from only a spark or ember, but generally wood requires sufficient heat to keep burning or it goes out.  Polypores can stay lit for many hours, often slowly burning from just a small ember until all the mushroom is burned up.  This has several uses.  Such as in primitive times, lit Polypores can be bound in leaves and bark so that the fire could be carried to the next spot.  I have also maintained embers in the firepit by setting in them a piece of Polypore during times when I did not desire to build up the fire by adding more wood.  Obviously, the standard rule is to keep watch on a fire at all times, but we are talking survival here.  Perhaps, you are lost in the woods with no fire-starting implements and need to spend the day hunting, fishing, or gathering mushrooms.  You certainly don’t want to lose your fire, but you don’t want to build it up either right before leaving.  It could be much safer to feed the embers with mushrooms than to pile on firewood.  

Also Read: How to Start a Fire With Your EDC Knife and a Shoelace

Mushrooms don’t have the tendency to burst into flame, even though they stay lit well.  In order to produce flame, hot pitch can be poured on the Polypore and then lit to produce a torch.  Alternately, clumps of pitch can be set or stuck (depending on consistency) on a Polypore and then lit.  The pitch will melt down into the mushroom and this makes good fuel.  

Polypores can also be made into charcoal in the same manner as making char cloth.  I have used the leathery Polypores, like Turkey Tail, as well as slices of thicker species like Tinder Polypore and Reishi.  I usually use tins, such as old Altoids tins, to fill with the mushrooms and then place on the hot coals until smoking ceases.  Then remove, let cool, and add to your tinder box for later fire-starting.

Fiber from Polypores

tinder_polypore-2Tinder Polypore can be made into felt.  This can be done by boiling and pounding the interior portion (which looks felty even when fresh).  A friend of mine has hats made of the felt, similar to that worn by the famous mycologist Paul Stamets.  I have also seen purses and other crafts from the felt.  It might be a stretch to consider making an outfit out of Tinder Polypores in a survival scenario.  Small pouches and such, on the other hand, could be very realistic and handy.

At the New Jersey Mycological Association’s yearly Fungus Fest they set up a paper-making station.  Violet Tooth Polypores (Trichaptum biforme) and other similar mushrooms are blended in water in order to produce a fibrous mush that is strained, pressed, and dried to produce a sturdy craft paper.  Violet Tooth Polypores work well for fiber extraction because they are thin, like the well-known medicinal Turkey Tail and other mushrooms that comprise the “leathery” group of Polypores.  

Taking Care of Tools with Polypores

polypores_bushcraft_2Pieces of dried Polypores can work great for storing fish hooks.  I like to slice the fresh mushroom into thick strips before drying them.  This makes them handy for decocting into medicine, for stashing in tinder boxes, and for piercing a selection of fish hooks into in attempt to keep a tackle box orderly.  It also makes them ready for making charcoal if, for instance, they are cut so that they fit into an Altoids box or some other vessel that can be used to make charcoal.  Have a line-up of fish hooks in a small rectangle of Polypore makes it easy to grab a few hooks to throw in your pocket or in your sack.  If it keeps dry, you’ll even have fire-starting material with you.  If it gets wet, just toss it – you have plenty more stashed away.

Apparently Birch Polypore can be used for stropping.  An alternate name commonly cited for the Birch Polypore (Piptoporus betulinus) is Razor Strop.  I have never tried it, but the dried fruiting bodies certainly seem to be the correct consistency (usually leather is used for stropping).  

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The Survivalist’s Pantry

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Lots of bottled water There is a lot that goes into prepping. We all know we need to stock up on food, but we aren’t always sure what needs to go in our emergency food supply. Every prepper should have a fully stocked pantry in case of emergency and we’ve got a few tips and tricks for you to start yours or update it a little to give maximum preparedness.

Start by getting water. Water is essential to having a successful pantry in an emergency. You will need it to cook many things and clean up messes, not to mention you can’t survive without it for longer than three days. Products like dehydrated and freeze dried foods need water to be edible. According to Utah State University, a family of four needs 270 gallons of water to have a three month supply, or 90 gallons per person. There are many things that require water so you can never have too much.

Many people go for canned foods and MREs (meals ready to eat) when stocking up their pantry, but these aren’t always the right choice. Those are good basics to have just in case you run out of everything, but start with foods you know your family will eat. You don’t want to take them totally out of their comfort zone and people are more likely to stay optimistic if there is something familiar to them. Buy items you know your family will eat in bulk when they go on sale in order to stock up. Foods you think will be easy to buy and store but your family might not like can be implemented into your diet before a disaster so when the time comes, they will be used to the food. You should also Make sure you try items to make sure they will be eaten before you buy too much.

If you learn to can or dehydrate food, you might be able to increase your stockpile faster and cheaper. Dehydrating food isn’t the fastest process, but it is a healthy and rewarding process. Your family will be able to eat all the foods they’re used to without it taking up as much space to save or effort to make. Canning isn’t for everyone, but it can be a cheaper alternative to buying canned foods and you know exactly what is going into the food you’re feeding your family. Here is a beginner’s guide to canning.

When you think of pantry, you think of food. Things like cleaning or sanitation supplies don’t really come to mind, but they are just as important as food to making a useful survival pantry. You’re going to need some disinfectants to clean up mess or pots after cooking. If the sewer system isn’t working, you’re going to need somethings to get rid of waste products, like buckets and heavy duty trash bags. Dish soap and laundry detergent should round out your cleaning supplies. You can’t wear the same thing every day and might want to wash your hands every once in awhile. Other bigger items like a washboard, broom and drying rack aren’t entirely necessary, but aren’t a horrible addition to your pantry.

Now you have all the essential foods, but how are you going to cook them? Pots, pans, bowls, and a grill are vital to have in your pantry. Cooking on an open fire might not always be a possibility and you will want to have a backup grill for those times. While everyone else is worrying about how they’re going to eat, you’ll be sitting in comfort with your meal cooked on your camping grill. Gas for your grill is something we overlook as well. And for when you are cooking on an open fire, you can take the cooking grate off your camping stove to grill your food. You’re killing two birds with one stone having that grill. Stock up on paper plates and plastic utensils so you don’t have the hassle of cleaning dishes when you’re already dealing with the hassle of the world ending.

There are many skills preppers need to learn (ACLS renewal, CPR certification, water purification, gun safety), but knowing how to create a well stocked pantry is the most important. We can survive without knowing how to shoot a gun, but we absolutely cannot survive more than a few days without food and the proper equipment to eat.

Ryan is an emergency preparedness blogger who is passionate about helping others prepare for the worst. Follow Ryan on Twitter, @ryan_thompson03, for more emergency preparedness tips.

Winter Survival & Preparedness!

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Winter Survival & Preparedness Forrest & Kyle “The Prepping Academy” Audio in player below! On this episode of The Prepping Academy we cover something essential for this time of year. Winter survival. Every year we hear about American’s going off the roads and getting stranded. Even worse, we hear about people freezing to death in their … Continue reading Winter Survival & Preparedness!

The post Winter Survival & Preparedness! appeared first on Prepper Broadcasting |Network.

4 Keys to Maintaining Communication in a Disaster Situation

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When faced with a disaster, either human-made or natural, it’s critical that you and your family are prepared. Have you thought out and gone over what everyone is supposed to do? Do you have an emergency supply kit that could save your lives? But perhaps the most important thing is planning to be able to communicate, with your family, loved ones, friends and relevant authorities, in a disaster situation. Here are the keys for how to do that.

  1. Have a Meeting Spot

  2. Technology can fail, so if communication is ever cut off or you can’t get a hold of anybody, have a previously-established meeting spot or place to go in case of an emergency. This should be near your home but not too close to it, as buildings can collapse due to earthquakes or fires could spread to nearby vegetation and structures. You could even have a reciprocal arrangement with a neighbor or neighboring family, making their home a designated meet-up and safe space for your children or vice versa.

  3. Have a Way to Charge Devices, or Batteries

  4. Batteries last a long time, and can easily be purchased and kept in an emergency kit for years and still be functional. Most devices come with rechargeable batteries now, so keeping a spare, fully-charged battery for important devices like your mobile phone is a very good idea. You can also charge cell phones and most other devices in your car if you have an adapter, so keeping those spare adapters and cords in your vehicle is a good idea as well.

  5. Prepaid SIM or Phone Cards

  6. You can purchase a SIM card to install in an old cell phone to be used only in case of an emergency. Old cell phones without service plans can be used to dial 911, but won’t be able to contact friends and family members, hence why a SIM (possibly a prepaid one) is a good alternative. Prepaid phone cards are also a good option that allow you to make calls only when the need arises, so you don’t have to pay monthly service fees on it like usual.

  7. Keep a Battery-Powered Radio and Two-Way Radios

  8. Keeping a battery-powered radio you can use to listen for updates on the situation, as well as battery-operated two-way radios to stay in contact with the other people with you, can help you maintain communication without having to worry about having to recharge cell phones. Also, make sure you are signed up for federal and local emergency alerts on your phone, so you can receive information and be better prepared in case of an emergency.

Being able to communicate with loved ones and authorities during an emergency situation can mean life or death, and it’s imperative that you think ahead and have some kind of preparedness and plan ahead of time. Do try and limit cell phone calls or data usage during an emergency to free up networks so emergency calls can get through for other people affected in your area. Establish the four things listed above and you and your family should be all set!

Dixie Somers is a freelance writer and blogger for business, home, and family niches. Dixie lives in Phoenix, Arizona, and is the proud mother of three beautiful girls and wife to a wonderful husband.

Wild Edibles & Poisonous Plants of the Poison Ivy Family

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poison_ivy_featured

poison_ivy_treesThe Poison Ivy plant family, Anacardiaceae, is well known to those who spend time outdoors. Poison Ivy (Toxicodendron radicans) is one of the most notorious weeds of the wild, feared by campers and other outdoorsy folk because of the nasty rash it can produce with contact. While poison ivy is largely reviled, Anacardiaceae yields enormous benefits for humanity. The family, often known as the Cashew Family, also produces several well-known edibles like Cashews, Mangos, and Pistachios. Moreover, poison ivy itself has a number of medicinal uses.

By Nathaniel Whitmore a Contributing Author to SHTFBlog and SurvivalCache

Anacardiaceae (Ending with -eae indicates a family name. The Cashew genus is Anacardium.) is more a tropical family and in the north we only really have the Sumacs (Rhus spp.) as edibles. Since the family produces potentially irritating oils, even in species producing edible portions, it is good to learn to recognize the various species in the Poison Ivy Family. In “5 Poisonous Plant Families the Survivalist Should Know” I discussed some details regarding identification of plant families and general information regarding toxicity. Here, we will explore species of Anacardiaceae, starting with the two genera of my area – that of Poison Ivy, Toxicodendron, and that of the Sumacs, Rhus. (1)

On Botany & Plant Names

journal_binomial_nomenclatureSince this is the first article to expand on the above-mentioned blog regarding major families of poisonous plants, we should review basic taxonomy for field identification and discussion of plants. Species are named through binomial nomenclature, which consists of the genus name and the species name. Together, these two give each plant its formal name. Since species names, like names of people, are often used for different plants and the genus name represents a collective of species, only the two together identify a certain individual species. (Similar to the first and last name for people, except human names are often repeated while each species, in theory, has its own unique name formed by combining genus and species names.)

Related: 5 Poisonous Plant Families the Survivalist Should Know

For instance, there is a Blue Sumac called Rhus glauca. “Rhus” refers to the genus for Sumac and “glauca” means blue. (“Glaucous” plants are those with a powdery or waxy bloom, often bluish in color.) The species name is applied to other genera. Festuca glauca is Blue Fescue and Echeveria glauca is Blue Hen-and-Chicks, for example. Picea glauca is White Spruce, but it is not uncommon to have scientific and common names include names of different colors, which can be confusing. To add to the confusion, Blue Spruce is Picea pungens. This is the case too with Birches. Black Birch is Betula lenta while River Birch is Betula nigra (since “nigra” means “black” you might assume the scientific name for River Birch would be applied to Black Birch). (To further the confusion even more, many colors in names don’t correspond to popular perspective, like in the case of Red Clover and Purple Loosestrife, which might both be considered pink.)

kiowaSmooth Sumac is Rhus glabra. The genus name is Rhus, which is capitalized. The species name is glabra, which means smooth. This is an example of the scientific name and a common name having the same meaning. Of course, common names are highly variable. Rhus glabra, for instance, which was known as an edible to many Native tribes, has many names in various languages. The Kiowa name refers to “smoking mixture” (similar, I assume, to the well-known name “Kinnickinnick” that is used for both a mixture of herbs for smoking and to name specific ingredients.), “Maw-kho-la”. “Chan-zi” (“Yellow Wood”) is used by Dakota, Omaha, and Ponca, while the Pawnee say “Nuppikt”, meaning “Sour Top”. (2) Because common names are so variable their use in literature is often followed by the scientific name, which is italicised.

A genus is a group of species. Rhus is a collective of species mostly known as Sumacs. Toxicodendron includes Poison Ivy and related species.   There has been significant discussion of Toxicodendron related to the differentiation of Poison Ivy species, including that Poison Oaks (usually Toxicodendron pubescens in the east and Toxicodendron diversilobum in the west) are variations rather than a distinct species. Poison Sumac (Toxicodendron vernix (notice not Rhus)) is quite distinct.

Usually when species of a common genus are listed or written about the genus is abbreviated with an initial after the first mention. So, if we were to list the species of Toxicodendron in North America, rather than write out the genus name each time as in the previous paragraph we would list them as: Toxicodendron diversilobum, T. pubescens, T. radicans, T. rydbergii, T. succedaneum, T. vernicifluum, and T. vernix.

If several species of a genus are lumped together for discussion, “spp.” might be used for plural tense, as in Toxicodendron spp. If the species name is unknown in reference to one plant (singular tense), “sp.” is used.

Poison Ivy

poison_ivyAlthough Poison Ivy and its relatives have distinct medicinal uses, the genus should be regarded as poisonous and not consumed nor even contacted. Most people will react to Poison Ivy if they come in contact with the plant’s oils (which often is not the case by merely brushing up against the leaf). Some people lose sensitivity to the plant through desensitising protocols that use gradual contact. Some methods include eating the plant, though this is often strongly encouraged as a dangerous practice. Usually to desensitise the young buds and leaves are consumed. One man who attended a plant walk I was leading insisted that the trick was “white bread and mayonnaise sandwiches” per the Appalachia tradition he knew of through his uncle and others. It is also important to keep in mind that people who have never reacted to Poison Ivy can suddenly react with the typical red, itchy, and blistering rash. Such a change is often the result of a potent exposure.

Be careful cutting firewood that has Poison Ivy growing on it. Or even that had, as the toxic properties are quite persistent in dried plant material. It is also important to know that one can be poisoned through the smoke of burning Poison Ivy. Also take care when digging near Poison Ivy to avoid getting juice from the roots on your skin.

Treating Poison Ivy Rash

jewelweedBy far the most impressive Poison Ivy rash remedy in my experience is Jewelweed (Impatiens spp.), or Touch-me-not. It is best when fresh. The plant can be crushed and rubbed onto the affected parts. If timely, such use of the plant’s juice can stop a Poison Ivy reaction with one application. The Iroquois (who believed the rash was sure to occur if one jumped when they touched Poison Ivy) used Jewelweed. I have met countless people who depend on Jewelweed. As a child I got a pretty bad Poison Ivy rash pretty regularly. Fortunately, I learned to recognize the plant in order to avoid it and learned to apply Jewelweed if I did contact it or begin to experience the itching, redness, or blistering of the rash. Although I occasionally get a small skin reaction, it has been many years since I have experienced a severe Poison Ivy reaction.

There are many other remedies, though often not as seemingly miraculous as Jewelweed. Herbs like Plantain (Plantago spp.) and Yellow Dock (Rumex spp.) are used to sooth irritated Poison Ivy rashes. Astringents, which are indicated for redness and inflammation as well as watery discharges, are used for the rash. Such herbs include Oak (Quercus spp.), Pine (Pinus spp.), Raspberry and Blackberry leaves (Rubus spp.), and many others.

The Iroquois used White Pine (Pinus strobus), particularly the boiled knots, for Poison Ivy. They also used Black Locust leaves (Robinia pseudoacacia) and a formula with Cleavers (Galium aparine). The powerfully medicinal (and potentially toxic) Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis) was also applied by the Iroquois to Poison Ivy rash. (3)

Medicinal Uses of Poison Ivy

Although mostly regarded as a toxic plant, Poison Ivy does have medicinal uses. It is especially used to “ripen” skin disorders, such as for sores and rashes. Iroquois, Delaware, Meskwaki, Potawatomi, Kiowa, and Cherokee used Poison Ivy in this way. Interestingly, the Cherokee also used Poison Ivy internally used as an emetic (induces vomiting); and they used Poison Sumac (Toxicodendron vernix) to treat fevers, asthma, and other diseases.

Pacific Poison Oak (T. diversilobum) was used for eye problems by the Diegueno. Mendocino Natives used it for warts and ringworm, and the Yuki applied it to rattlesnake bites. (4)

Sumac-Ade

sumac_poison_ivy_usesIt seems that the best-known use of Sumac (Rhus) as a wild edible is to make Sumac-ade, which is so-called because its sour taste allows it to be used to make a beverage like lemonade. The berries of various species can be soaked in water and then squeezed and strained. A sweetener is then added to the liquid. I prefer maple syrup. People often worry about Poison Sumac, but it has white berries instead of the red berries of Rhus species. Poison Sumac was once classified in the genus, but is now in Toxicodendron. Plus, Poison Sumac typically grows in bogs not near species of “true” Sumacs.

Technically, the fruits of Sumacs are not berries, but drupes. Drupes are fruits with a hard inner seed surrounded by the fleshy fruit. In common language, such as in the previous paragraph, Sumacs fruits and others that are not technically berries are still referred to as berries. In many cases the flesh of drupes, or stone fruits, are quite edible, like Peaches and Plums. With Sumac, however, the flesh is rather insignificant compared to the seed and we generally squeeze the juice from them rather than eating the fruits. With Staghorn Sumac (Rhus typhina) the hairs on the fruit are also quite flavorful. So, by soaking the fruit clusters in water (cold infusion) you can extract the flavor from the hairs and then crush for full flavor from the juice.

The hairs should be carefully removed from the beverage because they can be quite irritating to the back of the throat. This can be accomplished by straining well or by letting the hairs settle to the bottom of the vessel before carefully pouring the clarified liquid off. It can then be heated in order to mix in the sweetener. However, if it is heated with the plant material still in the liquid you will extract more of the astringent properties. Much of the medicinal use of Sumac is from these astringents, but it will be particularly drying because of the astringents and the sour flavor of the fruits will be tainted with the bitterness of the astringents.

If the fruit clusters are picked before they are ripe (although they may be quite red and appear ripe), they will be too astringent to make Sumac-ade. The taste is so water soluble that you can collect drops of red rain water with your finger from drupe clusters that is pleasantly sour. If collected too late the sourness will be faded and washed from the fruits. With a little practice, you will learn just when to harvest for Sumac-ade. And you will become familiar with the medicinally important astringency of Sumac. Astringents are used for rashes, diarrhea, and other damp, inflamed conditions requiring a cooling, drying remedy that restores tissue tone.

Additional Foods from Sumac and Bushcraft Uses

euell_gibbonsYoung shoots of Sumac species can be peeled to reveal a tender core that serves as a delicious raw or cooked vegetable. Though seasonal, this is an important vegetable. It can be eaten raw, which is not true of many wild edibles. Plus, it might be found in abundant populations in the wild. Like the fruits, the “shoots” can be astringent if not harvested at the right time. Learn to recognize the more tender edible portions. Euell Gibbons, in his classic book Stalking the Wild Asparagus discussed using Sumac-ade to make Elderberry (Sambucus) jelly. (5) The fruits are a well-known culinary spice in the Middle East. “Wildman” Steve Brill gives a recipe for a Sumac Hollandaise sauce (7).

Also Read: Survival Books for Your Bunker

Another important trait of Sumac is that the wood is relatively soft and has a low moisture content, which enables it to be burned green. Because of its size, it is often easy to cut firewood size pieces. Sumac also has a central pith, which allows branches to be hollowed out easily. The bark and wood can be used to make baskets.

A beekeeper friend of mine uses the hairy Staghorn Sumac fruits to smoke her bees to sedate them while working in the hives. In this way, like punk, the smoke can be used as an insect repellant. Stinkbush Sumac (Rhus trilobata) leaves can rubbed on the skin as an insect repellant, as done by the Hualapai.

A Range of Benefits from Anacardiaceae

It is clear that the survivalist has much to learn about Anacardiaceae, the Poison Ivy family. From knowing how to avoid Poison Ivy and its relatives that can cause a terribly itchy, blistering rash… to knowing that even with these poisons are obscure medicinal benefits. Maybe forgotten by the modern man, but there is a reason Native people knew the plants so well and how to use them.

The survivalist can enjoy many benefits by becoming familiar with Sumac species, from vegetables and beverages, many craft applications, fire-starting potential, to medicinal uses. These plants are within reach for the prepper, because of their size and their common occurrence.

Sources

Photos Courtesy of:

Normanack
Suzanne Schroeter
Vlad Podvorny

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Prepping for a Winter Bug-Out

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As the climate begins to take a turn for frigid and icy conditions, make sure your doomsday prepping skills are a match for the weather. Your normal bug-out bag will just need a little tweaking and your vehicle may need to be upgraded. Here are 5 tips to how you can successfully survive a winter bug-out situation when disaster hits!

Vehicle

For a winter bug-out you will not want to be on foot or left out in the cold when your little car breaks down. You will want to invest in a proper winter vehicle that includes the following features;

  • 4-wheel or all-wheel drive
  • plenty of cargo space
  • all-terrain capability
  • reliable
  • comfortable capacity for you and your escape party

These are just the bare necessities, but ideally you would also want your vehicle to have protection against bullets and be able to run on flat tires if it ever came to that. Visit a store like Dualtone Muffler Brake & Alignment if you have any concerns.

Layer Clothing

Polyester is the best bottom layer because it won’t soak up your sweat like cotton will. You will want 2 layers of synthetic material. The middle layer will serve as insulation. Fleece and wool are a great choice. The outer layer should be waterproof and breathable. Make sure that these layers can be taken off easily so start with the shortest sleeves and work your way up.

Keep Dry

This is essential to a winter bug-out. If you happen to get wet, you need to remove the wet clothing immediately and dry them next to a fire. If you continue to wear wet clothing then you will be exposing yourself to hypothermia when if freezes.

Bug-Out Bag Essentials

You will, of course, want all the bug-out bag essentials such as a hatchet, food and a first aid kit, but there is more to be added when you consider a winter situation:

  • gloves
  • boots
  • snow goggles or glasses
  • warm headgear
  • insulated bottles
  • Mylar or “space” blankets
  • shovel
  • winter socks
  • wool clothing
  • warm portable shelter

Not much needs to change about how or where you house yourself as long as you prepared well enough for wet conditions. One thing you will want to keep in mind is even though it is freezing outside, you will want to make sure that you keep the air moving in your shelter. Another tip to your shelter is to keep someone else in there with you to cuddle up to. This may be awkward depending on who you bring along, but it could save your life.

Dixie Somers is a freelance writer and blogger for business, home, and family niches. Dixie lives in Phoenix, Arizona, and is the proud mother of three beautiful girls and wife to a wonderful husband.

Prepper Planning Tips for 2017

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new_year_prepThe coming of any new year starts out of the gate brimming with a plethora of opportunities to achieve many things.  This includes wrapping up goals, projects, and missions from the previous year and a new chance to sit down to lay out the priorities for the year ahead.  All of this should be approached with a fresh breath of air.  You know how it feels and smells just after a big storm has passed, especially a lightning storm that charges the air with fresh ozone.  You can smell it.  Take it in, breath deep, chin up and embrace the coming 12 months with a positive attitude to keep plugging away at your prepper initiatives.  

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

The virtual plague of the past eight years is ending.  Pro or con, this country has slipped into an international quagmire of disrespect and disregard.  We hope this status can be regained in short order. Domestically, the economy is beyond flat.  Regardless of what the administration peeps say, nearly 8 million Americans are out of work and countless more are underemployed.  All of this is seasoning for a SHTF recipe.

The New Political Climate

irs_logoFive generations of citizens have been on welfare now to the point that it is considered the entitlements of all entitlements.  This needs to end, too.  And the “government” still does not get it.  The IRS just rolled back the per diem expense allowance for vehicle business travel for 2017, ostensibly because they say fuel costs are down.  Today at home, unleaded gasoline is $2.19 a gallon.  Up over twenty cents in a month.  An executive order just cancelled more offshore drilling and the huge new oil field in Texas cannot be tapped even if we had the pipelines to transport it to refineries.  All this adds stress to an economic recovery.

Related: Prepper Guns on a Budget

Health care for the working class is in crisis.  My wife and child pay $1100 a month for basic care with a huge deductible.  It is only good for a catastrophic health incident or accident.  Doctor and hospital costs are totally out of control.  My GP’s office charges $65 for a flu shot, while a local pharmacy charges only $25.  Go figure.  And on and on it goes.  

Taking Care of No. 1

money_budget_gunsNot to be purely selfish, but this is the age of taking care of you and your family first, then help others as you can.  This includes the entire realm of personal attentions to health and welfare for you and family, then taking care of business in preparation against any potential threats that might develop this year and beyond. Once you have your own affairs relatively in order, then you can reach out if you choose or then direct your efforts or attention to other projects.  This is a tall order, so there is no better time to take it all on than right now.  Nothing happens all at once.  It’s like a huge marble statue that you chip away at day after day.  You may never see the final product, but you can take pride and honor in the constant effort toward the final goal.  

Review the Current Plan

This is assuming you have a plan or sort of directional guide in hand and that it is written down to pass around, invite comments, add to, take away, alter, shift, redirect, adapt, adopt, and then initiate.  If not, do this first, now.  Perhaps reconsider bugging in or out. For existing plans, review them now, item by item.  If you have achieved some of the steps, check them off and or add comments about parts that need to be rechecked, revised, or completed.  Try to add completion dates so that some achievement schedule can be established.  Otherwise, everything is just floating out there undone or half done.  

Things change all the time.  Adjust your plan according to changes that you anticipate or not.  For example, maybe you plan to acquire a new bug out property or perhaps an RV, camping trailer or other major purchase to give you options during a SHTF event.  Such changes can produce a number of new tasks to accomplish.  Plan accordingly.  

2017 To Do Tips

bug_out_essentials_stuffDefensive security should be reviewed and shored up if lax.  Add new supplies, weapons, ammo, accessories, and gear to fulfill your security needs.  Again, review what you have and then move forward.  Perhaps it is time to beef up your home security with heavier locks, window storm covers or other precautions. This first initiative includes inspection, maintenance, repairs, or replacements of weapons, gear, and equipment already in hand.  Add to this additional time for training, shooting practice, formal shooting course training, and then more practice for everyone.  This should include reactionary drills at the bug in or out location.  Have everybody comfortable to respond as necessary.  If needed, buy an extra firearm and add to ammo supplies.  

Unpack your bug out bags, inspect everything, recycle old out of date supplies and repack.  Inspect the bag, too for wear and tear, zipper function, clean it up.  Refresh the entire kit bag.  Same for other quick grab bags full of gear for a bug out.  Do the same for your EDC satchel, bag, or backpack.  Clean guns, oil knives, refresh batteries in everything, and get the everyday carry squared away again.  

Read Also: Survival Books for Your Bunker

Check out your entire bug in food stocks and supplies both at the bug in locale and the secondary bug out site, camper, trailer or whatever.  Recycle dated foods, snacks, staples like beans, rice, flour, sugar, etc.  Add new canned goods, and other foods you eat regularly. Restock or recycle water stores and add more as space allows.  

batteries_prepReplace batteries in everything you own including house smoke alarms, security system backups, communication radios, AM-FM-Weather radios, flashlights, electronic or regular illuminated gun scopes, rangefinders, bore lights, lanterns, cameras, hearing aids, and such.  Charge or replace vehicle batteries, ATV or SUV batteries.  Replace old batteries in storage with fresh ones.  

Revisit all medical supplies, personal medicines, aid devices, CPAP, and OTC med stocks.  Check first aid kits, refresh as needed.  Add new boxes of band aides, gauze, wraps, bandages, and other medical supplies.  Check stocks on antiseptic ointments, creams, Vaseline, lotions, and other supplies to support health care and injury recovery.  

Do an inventory on all other kinds of consumable supplies.  The list could include all types of paper products from paper towels, toilet paper, paper plates, a variety of tapes, glues, oils and lubricants, grease, chainsaw oil, and anything else other than cooking materials that you use up on a regular basis.  Inventory all types of parts for plumbing, HVAC, motor parts, etc.  

Refresh fuel supplies from regular gasolines, diesel, white gas for lanterns or camp stoves, bottled propane, and charcoal lighter if used.  Ditto on charcoal for outdoor cooking, newspaper supplies for charcoal chimneys, and stock up plenty of matches and butane lighters.  

Now is the time to take advantage of New Year sales, too.  Watch newspaper ad flyers, visit the big box outdoor stores, gun shops, and gun shows to stock up or shop for advantageous price points on gear and stuff you need or want to add.  

A bright horizon comes with 2017 but that is no reason to let our guards down.  Natural disasters cannot be controlled.  Terrorism is still viable and a threat.  Our borders remain open for now.  Crime is still rampant.  There is plenty to be considered about to remain vigilant.  

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Emergency Storage of Wild Plant Foods

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squirrel_eating_food_storage

hickory_nuts_acorns_food_storageWild foods are largely known as survival foods for emergencies or as novel delicacies to spice up normal kitchen fare.  In either case long term storage is not a primary concern.  In the event of a long-term survival situation you would want to store surplus food away as soon as you were feeling well-fed enough to have it.  If you were faced with fending for yourself for unknown duration while far removed from electricity and the globalized food network, you would want plenty of time to enjoy the beauty and quiet of your surroundings.  I figure the luxury would come only after many daily chores and activities, and only alongside a nice storage cache of food.   How could this be accomplished without electricity?

By Nathaniel Whitmore a Contributing Author to SHTFBlog and SurvivalCache

Today’s food is riddled with preservatives.  Such chemicals are so commonplace that the average person might think nothing of it.  Certain items, like bread that remains soft longer than natural, have become everyday foods.  If you have made bread at home or purchase it from a bakery you know that bread begins to get stale very quickly.  For countless generations making bread was a daily or weekly task.  Even storage of flour would have been relatively difficult – bugs, mold, and rancidity were all very real problems, as they still are today.  Grains, however, in their whole form (better yet, unhulled form) will store rather well.  Once cracked or ground, seeds are dead and won’t germinate.  In their whole form, seeds are “designed to last”.  Of course, many do have short shelf-lives.  Gardeners often know which veggie seeds can be saved for years and which should be all planted rather than saved for a later season.  Some seeds have been proven viable after thousands of years.

Related: Choosing the Best Survival Food for Your Bug Out Bag

The storable properties of seeds is a major reason grains and beans became primary staple foods around the globe.  Likewise, roots, which also have the capacity to store energy, have been primary storage foods around the world.  Many roots will sprout leaves even after sitting in a root cellar through a whole winter, or in the fridge for longer than you intended.  This is a clear indication that the root still has life.  Once the root has died, however, it will begin to rot.

apples_food_storage_rotMany plant parts do not store away energy in the manner of a seed or perennial root.  Perhaps this is most obvious in fruits. Fruits are, in a certain way of looking at them, designed to rot.  The fruit carries the seeds and “wants” to be eaten in order to assist seed dispersal.  Consider the various berries, for instance.  When birds eat the fruits the seeds pass through their digestive system and get deposited, with a nice bit of fertilizer, in a different location.  (It should be noted that the term “fruit” has different uses.  In some context “fruit” might refer to the seed itself.  Here we are talking about the fleshy fruits that surround seeds, such as what is commonly thought of as fruit when considering the food groups, including things like Apples and Cherries.)  The nature of fruit is such that at the peak of ripeness it has already begun to rot.  So, while certain hearty fruits, like Apples, are well-known storage foods, many fruits are difficult to keep around.  Of course, as will be discussed later in this article, there are many ways to prepare fruits for storage.

If we consider the vegetative (the green, leafy) portions of plants we can see that they also do not have the same storage properties as the roots and seeds.  The nature of the stems and leaves is to grow, not so much to store energy for later use.  We know that cuttings can take root, which indicates that the living aspect of the plant remains even in the part that is removed.  (Compare this to the animal organism.  If you lost your arm, it wouldn’t so easily grow another person.)  But it doesn’t take long before the leaf or stem cannot survive after it has been removed.  The leaf quickly perishes.  With drying we can save much of the nutritive properties of vegetative plant parts.

Methods of Storing Wild Foods

There are few basic methods of storing wild foods.  As with most things, there are pros and cons of each storage method.

Root Cellar Storage – If lost in the wild, you may not have a root cellar per se – here we refer to the simple storage of whole roots and similar plant parts in some form of insulated chamber.  Just as a proper root cellar puts the plants below the ground for insulation, you might do the same with a hole or natural structure like a rock ledge.  The idea here is to get the food away from the freezing temperatures that could destroy them.  The same idea applies to high temperature in which the insulation prevents spoilage by keeping the food cooler than the outside air.  

Drying – This is one of the oldest food storage methods.  It can be easy with electricity.  Without modern electricity, drying foods well poses many potential problems.

Pickling – Though another ancient and relatively simple preservation method, pickling does pose distinct problems in a survival situation.  The challenges mostly related to having the appropriate materials like vessels and plenty of salt or vinegar.  

Pemmican – This preparation is a mixture of protein, fat, and fruit.  The ingredients are preserved through drying and preservation is assisted by the fat content.  

Submersion in Water – This method came to mind mostly in relation to acorns, which are submersed in order to leach the tannins and render edible.  It is a traditional method of storage to leave them underwater, besides that it is a method of leaching.  It might be worth considering such a method for other foods as well.  

Root “Cellar” Storage / The Cache

squirrel_food_eatingStoring foods in a root cellar or similar structure is one of the oldest and most time-proven methods.  Even animals like squirrels store foods in a cache.  Just recently I turned over a sort of compost pile that was composed of weeds and cuttings from the yard and garden and included a large number of sticks and twigs.  The thicker, woody branches provided a certain structure to the heap that the local red squirrels (not knowing my intentions to flip the pile) thought perfect for storing the Black Walnuts in, which were growing nearby.  The entire heap was full of Black Walnuts.

Caches of nuts and acorns that were stowed away by wildlife could be important survival foods.  One method of storage is to simply let the animals do their thing and make a note of where they have done so.  I suppose a main problem with such a method is that you might not be able to predict when the squirrels will return to their cache and remove the nuts.

It is possible to imitate the squirrels and store your own harvest of Hickory nuts, Black Walnuts, or acorns by mounding them up with leaves and other forest debris.  However, you might then find that your cache has been raided by some critter when you go to uncover it.  This could be very disappointing.

Native Americans regularly stored food by burying it in the ground.  I imagine this was often the only method available because of the nature of the camp and travelling needs.  As is often depicted in tales and stories of the semi-nomadic days of the Native, such caches would spoil relatively easily.  Mold would have been a common problem.

Much of the benefit of the root cellar is related to the ground remaining around 55 degrees at a certain depth.  That constant is generally not attained with the depth of a root cellar, but any depth provides more consistency than the outside air.  For this reason foods can also be kept cooler in the summer with this kind of storage just as they are kept from getting too cold in winter.

In the wild there are far too many variables for us to exhaust here.  Depth and insulation requirements depend on the conditions, timeline, and more.  The main point is that through burying or covering material various storage requirements can be attained.  One can consider natural rock forms and other natural formations that might lend themselves to cold storage.  Rocks and logs can be used to build up sides.  There are many possibilities.  The principle is that the earth is the insulation, potentially with the help of rocks and wood.

The cardinal directions apply (one should always have a good compass and pay attention to the movement of the sun and moon in relation to north, east, south, and west).  A north-facing slope, which receives less sun, will generally be cooler than the south-facing slope.  Water also affects the temperature changes of the area.  Such things are all taken into consideration of site and design.

One method of winter storage is to bury things in layers so that an assortment of foods are available each time you dig up a layer.  Leaves or straw can be used to keep your goods from direct contact with the earth and to provide insulation and marking for each layer.  Roots, certain fruits, and other storage foods can do surprisingly well if put away properly with consideration of temperature and humidity.

Drying

russula_food_storageDrying is one of the oldest methods of food preservation.  I have even seen squirrels drying mushrooms for storage (Russula spp.)  It is quite natural.  However, it can also be difficult.  Without proper airflow, temperature, and humidity, drying can be quite difficult.  In many cases drying of certain mushrooms, perhaps aging as well, could help remove mild toxins and help transform something usually avoided to an edible.

Air drying is easiest in dry climates and seasons.  Sufficient airflow is often an issue.  With increased humidity is an increased need for airflow.  If electricity is available, a simple fan can help.  Exposure to sun can help.  Certainly it is good to avoid areas so cut off from the sun that they remain constantly moist.  Too much sunlight, however, could be damaging and foods should be removed from exposure when they are dry enough.

A great way to utilize the sun is to construct a solar dehydrator.  There are many possible ways to do so, though I like the idea of the heat-trap channelling to a container with shelves and vents.  A simple design is like that of a small children’s slide.  The heat-trap is like a slide painted black with glass or plexiglass covering it.  As it heats up in the sun, the hot air is allowed to rise into the area with racks of plant material.  Vents can be adjusted to regulate the temperature.

Another method that might prove useful in a survival situation is to use fire to assist in drying.  Perhaps nice flat rocks used for the fire-ring can act as drying plates as they heat up by the fire.  Another possibility is to construct racks near a fire.

Of course, today many people simply use an electric dehydrator.  They come in several varieties.  They work quite well and can be used for preparing many different foods for storage.

Pickling

pickles_food_storagePickling requires salt or vinegar.  Some methods also require pressure.  Pressure is obtained through the old-fashioned plate and rock method, which is just that – a plate and a rock placed on top of the contents of the crock to provide weight, or by the mechanics of a pickle press. A major nutritional consideration of pickles and other fermented food is probiotics.  Probiotics help with digestion in general, which is particularly a concern during nutritional imbalances that might occur in a survival situation.  Probiotics also help recovery from certain illnesses, especially diarrhea and other imbalances that can affect the gut flora.

Pemmican

Pemmican is a method of storing protein, fat, and berries.  Animal meat and fat, such as from buffalo or deer, is mashed up with berries.  The items are dried to some degree before being ground together.  Then patties are formed and allowed to dry appropriately for storage.  Pemmican is considered to be an ideal survival food and was a staple food of North American Natives of cold areas.

Submersion in Water

acorns_food_storageOne time I held an acorn-shelling party.  Well, I like to call it a party, but more of a gathering set on shelling significant quantities of acorns.  In spite of protests from friends who had helped with the tedious task, I wanted to test out the primitive method of leaching the astringent tannins out of the acorns by leaving them in a stream.  My comrades we sure something would go wrong, and they were right.  Because of the time that it takes for the tannins to leach out of the acorns I had left them in the stream for quite a while.  Then, the stream froze and this enabled the squirrels to use the ice bridge as a trail to my stash of acorns.

Read Also: Emergency Foods From Wild Plants

Another traditional method was to dig the acorns into the mud below a body of water.  I have never tried it.  It would certainly help to avoid the problem I just described, and would avoid leaving them somewhere to get frozen in the ice. Though I have mostly regarded submersion as a method for acorns, I wonder about other potential.

An additional form of submersion is to submerse food in the snow or ice.  This has been practiced by arctic people and through winters since ancient times.  I imagine the drawbacks are similar to leaving acorns in the stream.  Though I wonder who might come around to find meat submersed in wintery insulation.  Freezing damages root crops and you would not want to subject your stored seed to that much above-ground moisture.

Preparation

Maybe this is all seeming a little nuts.  I did, after all, mention squirrels at least twice.  (Strange how similar we could be to the little critters.)  It has become my work, as an herbalist and educator, to learn the traditional practices of foraging for wild foods and I have spend a lot of time off the grid wondering how these things might be done, if food and electricity were suddenly unavailable.  In my opinion this knowledge should be kept alive as a matter of general responsibility.

While some of the above discussion relates directly to being separated from the civilized world, much of it can be adapted to the common kitchen.  Drying and pickling can take place right on the counter, and it should not be difficult to create a root cellar in even the modern kitchen or just outside one’s home.  Learning these things can reduce your reliance on electricity while increasing your food storage space at home.

 

4 Things to Do For Your Survival in 2017

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4 Things to Do For Your Survival in 2017 Another year has passed and, thankfully, we’re all still alive and well. Most of us, at least, because people die every day and there’s nothing we can do about it. What we can do is make sure we increase our chances of survival even further by … Continue reading 4 Things to Do For Your Survival in 2017

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5 Key Survival Disciplines to Prepare You Now – for “Then”

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Ultimet Survival Tips-Survival Plan

You can determine your chances of surviving any critical crisis, emergency or catastrophe by developing what you WILL need *then* – NOW. How? By increasing your “survival probability” quotient through the habits, attitudes, and mindset you choose today. Let me explain…

Have you watched some of the survival shows on TV where you just know that the person with all the mad survival skills is going to be the one to crush it….and how rarely that is the actual outcome? It isn’t just practical survival skills that matter but what is going on in your head and how you are accustomed to approaching life!

Habits don’t get developed easily. On the other hand, habits die hard – which is a good thing when you are thrust into an unexpected survival or crisis situation with some great habits established.

Let’s look at some lifestyle disciplines – or habits- you might want to develop.

#1 – Intentionality

Ultimate Survival Tips-Survival Plan-IntentionalityOne of the best choices you can make when considering how to live out every day is to choose to live intentionally. So MANY people live in a random fashion as if the forces of life are out of their control. Then, frustrated and maxxed out, they disappear into the oblivion of hours of media input only to emerge, rubbing their eyes and wondering where all their time and energy went and feeling depressed because nothing of personal significance seemed to get done that day beyond the “must-do’s” of life. I know the New Year’s resolution thing is widely bashed but *whatever* time of year it is when you realize you are living “less than”, is a GREAT time to sit yourself down and get intentional. Assess the past. Where did you fail? Where did you grow? What did you totally rock? Why? What is one area of your life that most needs for you to get a plan and be intentional? Nations are not won without a strategy nor relationships, jobs and daily events.

In a survival situation, you would most likely be entering into a big unknown – a situation where all elements may be completely foreign. Without a habit of intentionality and the ability to make a plan, you would surely succumb to the pressures and stresses of the unknown.

#2 – Focus

Ultimate Survival Tips Survival Plan Focus
Have you ever tried to communicate with a child who simply is not “able” to be still enough to hear what you are trying to communicate? My response is usually to get on their level and say, “So and so, I want you to stop and look into my eyes with your eyes.” Inevitably I gain a moment of their focus and a piece of calm enters into the chaos.

We live in a culture where we are literally bombarded (!!) with sensory stimuli on every side and our jobs and relationships are ordered to play into this paradigm of chaos. Cell phones and computers are requirements for life to carry on! Aaauugghhh! How many of us have said we want to run away from it all? I have! How can we accomplish the incredibly important goals of our intentionality if we are lost in the swirl of the chaos around us? It is so important to determine what it is we want/need to accomplish and be able to set those goals as our priorities for living even when that means that good things get pushed to a lesser priority. It’s hard stuff. “The sun’s scattered rays are too weak to start a fire, but once you focus them with a magnifying glass, they will bring paper to flame in seconds.” “If everything is important, nothing is.” and so on….Let’s look into the eyes of our own souls and determine what it is that we will intentionally focus on this coming year and determine to walk in that place of purposeful calm in the midst of everything else clamoring for our attention.

In a survival situation, you have to be able to assess priorities based upon your specific scenario. Do you get shelter taken care of first,or fire or food or water? Trying to do everything without a plan and a focus just might cost you your life. Having developed this skill in your day to day living will set you up to operate in a survival scenario with composure and confidence – a quality that may also bring others around you out alive.

#3 – Self-Control
Ultimate Survival Tips-survival-plan-self-control
We all want what we want when we want it. Isn’t that something we are cultivated to believe is our right and inheritance in this world? Yikes. McLife, as it were. I will refer to children again as I use the example of childishness lack of self-control and the reasons why a good parent will train a child to develop self-control. A child without self-control is unruly, usually self-centered, unable to think past the present want or demand, hurtful, lacks the ability to think about consequences of their actions on themselves or others around them, are high-maintenance, cannot say no to things that are not good for them that they want, and the list goes on….

Well, guess what? All those things are true of adults who lack self-control as well! As the list above highlights – developing self-control not only is a benefit to ourselves, but a great benefit to those around us as well. I like to use food as a means of continually developing my self-control because it’s an area where I can get to feeling really entitled, so I know it’s also an area that should really be kept in check. I will decide to do a month of raw foods only or a year of no sugar or grains or whatever I feel is something that will also benefit my health conditions at the moment. So not only do I develop a personal discipline of being able to say no but it is also something that is bearing exponential benefits in my life as I feel better and function better, etc. It might be something different for you, but a good question to ask to determine where you can develop some more self-control is: Where do I feel entitled, like this is my right to enjoy such and such? Ouch.

Now there is another angle to self-control dealing with the deeper realm of our inner man: If you deal with anger or other emotional manifestations of a lack of self-control, may I encourage you to read David’s page on The Ultimate Survival Tip? There are some areas of our lives where we really need what only God can give to help us change. As a Christian, self-control is considered a fruit of the Holy Spirit’s refining power in our lives.

So why would self-control be important in a survival scenario? Being in a habitual pattern of doing without is such a key when you must do without. Knowing you *can* flourish without the things you think you must have is very liberating.

#4 – Flexibility

Ultimate Survival Tips-Survival Plan-Flexibility

 

When I did my student teaching in an elementary school umpteen years ago, I got very high marks for my ability to be flexible with unforeseen changes in the day. I think being a parent also trains you in this discipline. Considering flexibility as a discipline seems a bit like an oxymoron, and allowing yourself to be interrupted seems contrary to intentionality and focus, but think of it this way – life happens. Are we going to fritz out when it does? Or are we going to be able to adapt our intentionally planned focus to be able to flow with the things we cannot control – because, let’s face it – life is full of things we cannot control! So the key here is not throwing out our intentionality or our focus (or our self-control!) but adapting them into whatever scenario we are forced to live within. These are the little mini-survival scenarios of life, people. Leaning into the wind and putting one foot in front of the other, continuing to head toward that goal. This is where the guts of life are developed. Who hasn’t had the unspeakable thrown at them when they least expected it? Do we curl up in a ball and give over on everything we are pressing toward? I think of the palm trees left standing after a hurricane. Deep roots hold them fast in those crazy winds.

The ability to hold one’s wits about oneself and continually revise a plan toward a goal is key in any survival situation. Being in an unfamiliar circumstance in every way will surely require the ability to be able to adapt to the unexpected.

So these are just a few things I am thinking about today as I look over my past year and into the one coming, seeking to live purposefully and redeem the time, but there is just one more I want to add which is, I think, perhaps the most important and that is….

#5 – Thankfulness

Rehearsing the things around you that are GOOD is such a “super vitamin” for being able to thrive in a difficult circumstance. And there are *always* things to be grateful for! When you make a practice of looking intentionally for these things daily – even multiple times a day if life is really hard- it is like reestablishing a plumb line for your emotions and mental health.
Have you ever been around someone who is continually critical, condemning or complaining? It just sucks the life right out of everyone around them. It is toxic. Simply put, you cannot survive very easily with such toxicity either coming from your own heart or someone else’s with whom you have to share space. A person like this in a survival scenario can be more lethal than a crouching predator. If *you’re* that toxic one, shut that voice up with speaking out those things that are good and keep it up until that toxic root is dug out completely and the desire to complain is neutralized.

Good Luck and Best Wishes as you enter into a season of endless possibilities! ~Carin

5 Poisonous Plant Families the Survivalist Should Know

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dogbane_2The subject of poisonous plants is complex.  Conditioned by the grocery store, modern man often considers it a black and white subject, with things being either edible or poisonous.  Realistically, toxicity in plants is much more like a spectrum.  Some things are very toxic and some very safe, while most are along a spectrum of the in-between.  The subject is further complicated by variables such as dose and preparation.  Hence, the saying “the dose makes the poison”, as even water proves fatal in excess. (See “Water Intoxication”.)

By Nathaniel Whitmore a Contributing Author to SHTFBlog and SurvivalCache

Often people ask, “Why are there poisonous plants?” or “Why would God create poisons?”.  While this could prove another very complex discussion, it’s sufficient here to point out that even the most poisonous plants have medicinal uses.  In fact, it is precisely the poisonous plants that have provided the most powerful and dramatic medicines- they are poisonous or medicinal because their chemical constituents are so strong.  So, everything has its place.  The survivalist should get to know the most toxic plant families to avoid accidental poisoning and to become familiar with the myriad uses of such plants.

There are certain generalizations that the botanist can make regarding the identification of plant families.  Likewise, there are generalizations that the forager and herbalist can make about the edible, medicinal, and toxic properties of plant families.  This is very useful for plant identification and use of plants for food and medicine.  However, while generalizing is useful for learning – it is not the full story and one must also learn the details.  The Carrot Family (Apiaceae), for instance, is one of the most poisonous plant families that also gives us Carrots, Parsley, and other well-known edibles.  The forager should know that the family in general is quite toxic.  But they must also learn which species are good edibles, which have medicinal properties that are also somewhat toxic, and which are fatally poisonous.  Learn the ends of the spectrum first- the most edible and the most poisonous.

One could argue that the safest method to learning about wild edibles is to learn the most deadly poisons first.  Then, one would know what to avoid to avoid death.  All other mistakes would be mild in comparison.  This is good theory, but in reality it is much more common and natural to learn a little bit here-and-there about edibles, medicinals, and poisons.  Still, the point has been made.

Because of the “spectrum of edibility” an exhaustive article on plant poisons would be very long.  For this post we will focus on five plant families of common occurrence and some of the most deadly plants.  This will be a good starting place for the subject.  The five families covered are the Poison Ivy Family (Anacardiaceae), the Carrot Family (Apiaceae), the Milkweed Family (Apocynaceae), the Buttercup Family (Ranunculaceae), and the Nightshade Family (Solanaceae).

Anacardiaceae – The Poison Ivy Family

poison_ivyAnacardiaceae is also known as the Cashew Family.  Poison Ivy (Toxicodendron radicans) is a complex species group that may or may not include what is otherwise known as Poison Oak.  They deserve mention here not only due to “poison” in their name but because these plants are among the most trouble to people spending time outdoors, some people anyway.  A decent percentage of people can react to the Poison Ivy oils and experience a troublesome, blistering rash.  Some people do not react, but must still maintain some respect for the plants as sensitivity can develop at any age.  People also lose sensitivity spontaneously or through desensitising protocols.  The best remedy for the Poison Ivy rash is fresh Jewelweed (Impatiens spp. or Touch-Me-Not).  The juicy plants can be crushed and rubbed on the exposed area.  You should learn Poison Ivy and its relatives as well as Jewelweed.

Poison Sumac (Toxicodendron vernix) is another in the genus.  Sometimes when people get a bad Toxicodendron rash they will say it is Poison Sumac because of how bad the rash is.  However, because Poison Sumac grows in swamps and bogs it is much more rare to come in contact with.

Mangos (Mangifera indica) and Cashews (Anacardium occidentale) belong to Anacardiaceae, as do our Sumacs (Rhus spp.).  It is believed that eating these foods can help against Poison Ivy reactiveness.  People sometimes worry about consuming Sumacs because of Poison Sumac.  But Poison Sumac belongs to Toxicodendron and Staghorn Sumac and its close relatives belong to Rhus.  They are different plants.  Rhus species provide several edible and medicinal parts.

Apiaceae – The Carrot Family

Apiaceae is also known as the Poison Hemlock Family, the Parsley Family, and by its old name, the Umbel Family or Umbelliferae.  This latter designation has persisted since Apiaceae became official largely because it describes the flower type, the umble, which is characteristic.  To describe it here is slightly too technical (will save it for an article focused on this family alone), but perhaps you already know it.  Carrots (Daucus carrota), Angelica (Angelica spp.), Parsnips (Pastinica sativa), Dill (Anethum graveolens), Poison Hemlock (Conium maculatum), and Water Hemlock (Cicuta spp.) all have umble (umbrella-shaped) flowerheads.  Yarrow (Achellea millefollium of the Aster Family) and Elderberry (Sambucus spp. of the Elder Family, Adoxaceae) look at first to have umbels, but when inspected closely the stalks supporting the flowering parts arise in a branching pattern from the main stem while true umbles branch from a single node of the main stem.  That is, umbels come from one point.  

david_-_the_death_of_socratesPoison Hemlock, Water Hemlock, and the related species are very deadly.  Water Hemlock (Cicuta douglasii) has been considered the most poisonous plant in North America.  Poison Hemlock is infamous as the plant that killed Socrates, as it was used in ancient times as a euthanizing agent.  Umbel flower-heads should be a warning.  Eat and use such plants carefully to avoid confusing a desired species with a fatally poisonous one.  Even those that are edible can produce toxic parts.  For instance, Parsnip has been cultivated for generations as a delicious vegetable, but the above-ground portions of Wild Parsnip are well known to produce rashes in some people.

Like Parsnip, Wild Carrot is the wild version of the domestic vegetable (same species).  It is one of the most commonly consumed vegetables around the world.  Some people cook with the greens as well.  However, it is not considered safe to freely eat the greens or seeds in that there are some toxic properties.

Apocynaceae – the Milkweed Family

dogbaneApocynaceae is also known as the Dogbane Family, especially since Milkweed was formerly classified in Asclepiadaceae (the families have been merged).  I call it the Milkweed family because Milkweed (Asclepias spp.) is a much more commonly known plant and because I often teach about the edible properties of it.  Dogbane (Apocynum spp.) is commonly known as the poisonous relative of Milkweed.  Besides the toxic properties of Dogbane, the survivalist should get to know the plant as an important source of fiber for cordage.  A common species A. cannabinum is sometimes known as Indian Hemp (which is referenced in the species name that refers to Cannabis) because it was a primary fiber plant.  

Ranunculaceae – the Buttercup Family

marsh_marigold_buttercup_familyIn spite of being named after a food, Buttercups (Ranunculus spp. ) are generally toxic.  One species, Marsh Marigold (Caltha palustrus) is a well-known edible (must be cooked properly), but the family should be treated with caution.  It would be another whole article (or should I say will be another blog) to discuss the range of toxic plants of the Buttercup Family, from the Common Buttercup (Ranunculus spp.) to the “most deadly plant” in the world – Aconite (Aconitum spp. ).  If you live in an area where Aconite or poisonous relatives like Larkspur (Delphinium spp.) grow, you should learn these plants.  Aconite is also known as Monkshood and Wolf’s Bane.  

Another member of the family is known as Baneberry (Actaea spp.)  In my area we have Red Baneberry (A. rubra) and White Baneberry, or Doll’s Eyes, (A. pachypoda).  It has created some confusion since Black Cohosh, formerly Cimicifuga, was included in the genus, and some concern since the common medicinal is not as toxic as the Baneberries.  

Ranunculaceae is also known as the Crowfoot Family.  Members of the family are quite common, especially in wet areas.  Often, they go unnoticed when not in flower.  It is worth learning the leaves, by which they get the name Crowfoot.  Even Ranunculus species can blister your mouth if chewed on.  There are also important medicinals in Ranunculaceae, like the famous antibiotic herb Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis).

Solanaceae – the Nightshade Family

This is one of the most famous and controversial plant families.  While there are still many more families to discuss (such as the Lily Family, Liliaceae) in our exploration of poisonous plant groups, it is fitting to close with such an interesting group.

Solanaceae produces deadly poisons (hence the name “Deadly Nightshades”), hallucinogens (like Jimson Weed and Belladonna), food crops (like Potatoes and Tomatoes), and other exceptionally interesting plants (such as Tobacco).

daturaJimson Weed (Datura spp.), Deadly Nightshade (Atropa belladonna), and other similar plants are very toxic.  They have been associated with Witchcraft, crime, and other dark and deadly affairs.  They are also important medicinals.  Before asthma inhalers these plants were often used in the same fashion, though inhaled as smoke.  Still today, we get crucial medications from these plants like atropine and scopolamine.

Although widely associate with Italian food, Tomatoes (Solanum lycopersicum) first came from South America.  It is widely believed that they were first cultivated as an exotic ornamental and thought to be poisonous before they became a staple cooking ingredient and primary garden “vegetable” (it is the fruit, technically, that we eat from the Tomato).  Wood Nightshade (Solanum dulcamara, also known as Bittersweet) helps to show why Tomatoes were once thought to be poisonous, as it has small, poisonous, red fruits that look very much like Tomatoes.  Black Nightshade (Solanum nigrum) is still believed by many to be deadly poisonous, though it was once promoted as “Wonderberry” in seed catalogues.  Common knowledge of the plant has been growing due to the popularity of Samual Thayers’ Nature’s Garden in which he discusses Black Nightshade and similar writings.  But still, edibility is not always clear and many diets (such as macrobiotics and anti-arthritis diets) recommending the near complete avoidance of Nightshades.     

Knowledge is Power

So, understanding poisonous plants will take some time and study.  The investment comes with the reward of knowledge that could save a life through prevention.  So start small, with the study of plant families and the identifying characteristics of the most poisonous species.

Maybe you noticed the word “Bane” in the names of plants in these families.  That is an indication of poison.  Apocynaceae has Dogbane.  Runuculaceae has Baneberry, Bugbane, and Wolf’s Bane.  Asteraceae (the Aster Family) has Fleabane (Erigeron spp.) and the list goes on.  Throughout the lore of plants, include in their names, has been woven the knowledge of toxicity.  Such is its importance.    

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Tech And Tips You Need Camping In The Wilderness

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By The Survival Place Blog

Are you planning on taking a trip into the wilderness for your next vacation? Then, you need to be prepared for everything that the elements can throw at you. You might think that it’s easy to survive the outdoors. Particularly, if you’re heading to a place that you know quite well. But you might be surprised because the weather can turn at any moment leaving you in trouble. For instance, you might be camping miles from the nearest point of civilization. Imagine, if fog falls thick and low over the ground. You would struggle to find your way back and would need to rely on the kit that you had with you. If you didn’t have enough supplies, you might find the next few days incredibly difficult. So, what do you need to survive camping in the wilderness?

 

A Portable Heater

 

You may want to consider purchasing a portable heater for camping in the wilderness with a good supply of fuel. It does depend on whether you’re traveling on foot or in the car. You might also want to consider whether you’ll be moving around a lot. That said if you’re camping a portable heater can be incredibly useful. Particularly, if you are camping in the winter. If you don’t take a portable heater, you need to make sure you have a survival sleeping bag. The best sleeping bag has a hood to keep you warm, even when the temperature has dropped below freezing outside. It’s possible with the best sleeping bags to stay warm and dry even without a tent!

 

A Compass

 

There are two things you’ll need to make sure that you don’t get completely lost wandering in the wilderness. The first is a map and the second is a compass. Ideally, you should have adequate orienteering skills to make sure that you can find your way back to camp. However, even if you don’t, with a compass, you should always be able to find your way back where you started. By knowing what direction your campsite is, you’ll always be able to find your way back to the starting point. You will even find some winter jackets come with compasses included on them. This shows how important that piece of kit is. You might also want to think about some night vision goggles. Night monoculars will allow you to see for miles even when it’s pitch black. You’ll always find your camp site with these and you can check out a review on a site such as www.opticscastle.com/night-vision-monocular-reviews/

 

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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

Prepper Guns on a Budget

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money_budget_gunsIf you were charged with putting together a basic 3-gun set of weapons for prepping and survival use, how much money would you need to spend to get the job done.  If you are new to this game, then this may be a perplexing question.  It is one I highly recommend for some judicious research, reading, inquiry and shopping. After all, in a tight situation, your life may depend on the answer. There are a multitude of choices. Think of this guide as a baseline for your budget picks.

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

Let’s suppose we gave you $1000.  Could you assemble a weapon’s set including a basic handgun, a rifle, and a shotgun with that amount?  We’re talking good, serviceable guns, too, not rusted junk either.  Let’s explore the options.

A Presumptive Assumption

shotgun_prep_budgetBefore we wrestle with the suggestion of a mere three gun weapons set, know we are simply laying out the most basic defensive weapons deployment for personal and property security, hunting, and other prepper uses.  We know full well that most preppers will have many more options, but we have to start somewhere, then build on it.  For the purposes of these recommendations, we are limiting our selection to one handgun, one rifle, and one shotgun.  The idea is to suggest that such a cache could be acquired for at least $1000, possibly less.   And we are not necessarily talking used guns either, but that option should be left open.  There is nothing wrong with used guns in great condition.  

Our choices may not be your choices, as there are many, many options in today’s gun market.  Enough so as to be rather confusing to those just getting into prepping and deciding that some form of personal protection in the manner of firearms may be needed.  To that end, our suggestions are focused to fit these restrictive budgetary limitations.  

The Basic Prepper Handgun

For practical purposes here, we are not going to engage in a full or detailed dissertation on all the potential choices as to handgun type, brand, model or caliber.  Thus we are not going to mince words either.  

Read Also: The Katrina Pistol

handgun_bug_outThe recommended choice for a first prepper handgun or rather pistol to be used primarily for self-defense is a semi-automatic pistol chambered for the highly common and widely available 9mm.  Sure there are other choices, but this is a solid middle of the road choice between the .380 ACP and a .45 ACP.  Sorry, but the .22 rimfire is not on the list for defensive purposes.  

Why a pistol and not a revolver?  For a one gun choice, the capacity to quickly change out loaded magazines is paramount.  Indeed, revolvers may be easier to learn to handle and shoot, but they are too slow to reload under most conditions.  A pistol is a better choice when used correctly.  

With very careful shopping, a consumer can find a 9mm pistol in the $300-400 range, $500 tops.  Among the list to inspect would be the SCCY (pronounced sky), Beretta Nano, Glock 43 (used), Hi-Point, Kel-Tec, Ruger LC9 (used), Ruger P-Series, Smith and Wesson (used), Stoeger, Taurus and perhaps some others.  There is no evaluation of these models here, just cost considerations.  

As with all gun purchases, a trustworthy gun dealer can steer you to a quality gun either new or used to suit your purposes.  Just do your research, inquire of other shooters, and go into any gun deal with eyes and ears wide open.  

The Survivalist Rifle

ar_15_budget_rifleNow it gets a bit tougher.  It would be easy to simply suggest getting an AR-15 platform rifle in 5.56/223 or even perhaps the .300 Blackout or 6.8 SPC for a bit more power.  You make that choice, but know the AR-15 would be a good choice.  For some, a bolt action rifle would be good, too.  An AR could be used with basic open sights, but likely a bolt action will need a scope for an extra cost.  Optics could be added later of course.  Either can be used for hunting.

Right now AR prices have moderated especially since the election and the 2nd Amendment scare is over for now, we hope. Dealers overstocked thinking Hillary would win.  Now they are trying to sell off their inventories.  Right now is a good time to buy an AR.

Working gun shows regularly, I have seen new, in the box ARs selling for slightly under $500, $600 tops depending on the exact model.  Check out these brands: DPMS or Bushmaster.  They offer utility bare bones models.  Used ARs can be found, but inspect them thoroughly before buying or get a return guarantee if possible.  Avoid buying somebody else’s trouble.  

As with the pistol, the AR rifle offers quick change magazines that can be pre-loaded and ready.  Under dire circumstances sustained fire can be critical.  The AR accessory aftermarket is loaded with options.  For a basic first prepper rifle, the AR is hard to beat.  

The Elementary Smoothbore

shotgun_stock_ammoBuying a decent shotgun is probably the easiest of the triple threat.  Recommendations are easier, too.  Buy a pump action shotgun, either a classic Remington 870, a Mossberg 500 or Savage in 12 gauge.  Get serious and forget the 20 gauge.  Stick with a basic hardwood stock, but synthetic is OK if the price point is right.  An ideal defense shotgun would have a barrel of 26-inches or less.  The 20-inch tactical barrel is easier to handle indoors and around barriers.  Make sure the barrel accepts screw in choke tubes so the shotgun can be used for multiple purposes such as hunting.

Related: Survival Shotgun Selection

Good, serviceable used pump shotguns can be found for less than $200.  New ones can be found for $269-329 with some companies offering rebates as well.  I just saw an H&R Partner Protection model at Academy for $179, new.  There may be additional sales after the New Year begins.

If you work hard, shop smart, and have some luck, this 3-gun set can be bought for $1000 or close to it.  Next as appropriations become available start stocking ammo.  How much?  At least 1000 rounds each of pistol and rifle ammo and 500 shotshell rounds.  Again, these are starting places.  

Undoubtedly, these recommendations will spark debate, criticism, and opinions.  We welcome that.  The ultimate goal here is to outfit new preppers with the basic gear they need to survive a host of SHTF scenarios.  

Medicinal Uses of Pine Trees and Their Relatives in the Northeast

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forest-trees-fog-foggyEvergreens are also known as conifers.  They make up the bulk of a group of plants called gymnosperms.  In my home area we have one conifer that is not evergreen: Larch or Tamarack (Larix).  You can also find the deciduous Bald Cypress (Taxodium distichum) under cultivation.  The broadleaf gymnosperm Ginkgo biloba is often planted, but this article will stick to the conifers (Pinophyta).  “Gymnosperm” means “naked-seed,” which means that the female part is exposed so that it can be directly pollinated by the male pollen that blows to it on the wind.  The angiosperms that are responsible for all the beautiful flowers like Tulips and Roses have female parts that are enclosed and must be reached by the male pollen through the complexity of the flower.

By Nathaniel Whitmore a Contributing Author to SHTFBlog and SurvivalCache

Recognizing a gymnosperm is relatively easy.  Look for the “Pine Trees” (or, more properly, the conifers).  But take note that while many refer to any conifer, or evergreen, as a Pine Tree there are really three botanical families represented in our area: the Pine, Cypress, and Yew families.  So, “Pine” means “Pinus” and “Pine family” means “Pinaceae.”  As this is my first SurvivalCache article on the subject, I am focusing on the area I know best- the Northeast (particularly that which is centralized in the New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania tri-state area, or the Delaware River valley) to discuss some species and introduce some basic botany and survival considerations.  For future posts I will discuss other regions of the country.

pine_varietiesThe Pine family contains several genera.  Pinus (Pine), Picea (Spruce), Abies (Fir), Tsuga (Hemlock), and Larix (Larch) are found in our area.  Pseudotsuga menziesii (Douglas-fir) and some others (including non-indigenous Pine) can be found in cultivation.  I regularly use White Pine, which is partially due to it being more common in my area than the other Pines.  I also commonly make use of Hemlock, which is a primary tree of certain forests and the host of one of my favorite medicinal mushrooms, Ganoderma tsugae (Reishi).  This is a very useful plant family for the survivalist to get to know.

The Cypress family has Taxodium (Bald Cypress), Thuja (Arbor-vitae), Chamaecyparis (Atlantic White-cedar), and Juniperus (Juniper and Red Cedar).  There are many medicinal uses of species in Cupressaseae, but it should be regarded as less edible in general than the Pine family.  Thuja essential oil, for instance, is considered quite toxic.

Read Also: Natural Headache Remedies

The Yew family is mostly found in landscapes as our native Taxus (Yew) is over-browsed by deer.  English and Japanese domestic varieties are quite common under cultivation and sometimes naturalize (spread into the wild from cultivation).  Yews are toxic.  So, to avoid poisoning, the beginner should quickly learn the difference between Yews and the others, especially the Hemlock and Fir that superficially resemble Taxus because of the leaf (needle) arrangement.  The red “berry” of Taxus is edible, but not the seed (which is actually visible, indicating it is a gymnosperm, in the cup-shaped “berry”).  It is very common for poisonous plants to concentrate toxins in the seeds while producing an innocuous fruit.

The Pines and Yews have needles while the Cypress family has scale-like leaves.  (One exception to this generalization is Bald Cypress, which has needle-like leaves that alternate on deciduous terminal twigs.)  They are all needle-like in a way, but you will notice the scale quality in the Cypress family, such as with Juniperus or Thuja.  If you then learn to recognize the Yew needles (which are rare in the wild anyway), the remainder varieties of needles can be known as belonging to members of the Pine family.  

Pinaceae – Pine Family

pitch_pine_conePinaceae is the representative family of the gymnosperms, as the group consists of the most quintessential evergreen trees.  They tend to be pitchy (they have thick, sticky, aromatic sap), with a piney or citrus-like scent.  Their leaves are needles.  And they have the most quintessential cones (often called “pine cones” no matter what genus they occur on, even if the genus is of another family), compared to the berry-like cones of Juniperus and Taxus (Yew), for instance.  The cones have spirally arranged scales and the seeds have wings.

One of the easiest ways to get to know this family of trees is to get to know the individual genera: Pinus, Tsuga, Picea, Larix, and Abies of our area.  Cedrus and Pseudotsuga are native to other parts of the country.  Cathaya, Pseudolarix, Keteleeria, and Nothotsuga are native to China.                      

scotch_pinePinus sylvestris (Scotch Pine or Scot’s Pine) is the most widely distributed Pine.  It was brought here from Europe and can normally be found along driveways and cultivated lands.  It can be easily distinguished from the other common species by its orange-shaded upper bark and the light blue-green of its needles.  It has been used extensively in traditional European medicine and has also been used for pharmaceutical preparations.

The Ojibwa used Jack Pine (Pinus banksiana) to to revive consciousness.  Arthritis, muscle pains, sores, wounds, and pains associated with colds and febrile illnesses have all been treated with various Pinaceae species.  Our most common native species, White Pine (Pinus strobus) and Pitch Pine (P. rigida) have been used extensively as wild food and medicine.  Pines were a primary dietary supplement for winter as a source of vitamin C and to treat coughs, colds, and fevers.

tsuga_canadensis_adelgesHemlock (Tsuga canadensis) has horizontally arranged needles with white stripes (giving a pale appearance on the underside) that are dark green above and have been important for survival in the Northeast similar to Pinus.  Hemlock is a common tree of stream gorges.  It hosts a species of Reishi (Ganoderma tsugae) and is being attacked by a devastating insect, the Wooly Adelgid.  The cones are quite small and persist so that they are often found dried but still on the tree.  The genus name is from Japanese.  The common name is shared with Poison Hemlock (Conium maculatum), which causes a deal of confusion in some circumstances.  Poison Hemlock, being in the Carrot Family (Apiaceae) is not very closely related at all.

Balsam Fir (Abies ballsamea) is used for coughs, colds, cuts, and sores.  Its taste and aroma is quite pleasant.  I would use Fir species much more commonly, except they are not abundant locally.  Those in the Western states might readily fine useful and interesting Abies species nearby.  

Tamarack (Larix laricina) is used for stomach, colds, coughs, fatigue, sores, soreness, and infections; and as a tonic for general health, laxative, and diuretic.  Chippewa used infusion of bark for anemic conditions and poultice of inner bark for burns.

The various species of Spruce (Picea) have been used like others from the Pine Family for colds and other general uses.  The pitch in particular is favored as fire-starting material and for topical medicinal application, such as in the case of boils, infections, and cuts.

Cupressaceae  – Cypress Family

red_cedar_saplingRed Cedar (Juniperus virginiana) This is by far the most common representative of this family and genus in our area.  Common Juniper (J. communis) can also be found, but is not so common (despite its name) due to habitat loss and deer browse and is easily differentiated from Red Cedar in that it is a low-growing, spreading shrub.  Red Cedar is much more tree-like, though it can’t compete in our peak forests.  Sometimes you will find significant numbers dying in the shade of taller trees.  Healthy stands are found in old fields and similar locations.  They have dark blue berry-like cones.  

A Red Cedar sapling that died after getting shaded out by taller-growing trees.  The small, dead twigs are easy to remove to turn the tree  into a staff , handle, or utility pole.

TAXACEAE  –  Yew Family

yew_cross_sectionTaxaceae includes only three genera worldwide, only one of which, Taxus, which occurs in this country.  Of the nine (estimated) species of Taxus in the world, three can be found wild in the region- one of which is native: T. canadensis.  It is the only species found wild in the immediate area, but is suffering from deer overbrowse.  The most common place to find Yew is in hedgerows where it is commonly planted.  A friend cut down a hedge in Hawley, PA.  A slice of one trunk that I have here on the table has 47 growth rings and is only four finger-widths thick (see image below).  Particularly in the Northwest, Yew is a favorite wood for bows.  

Related: 10 Tips for When You Get Lost in the Woods

It is easy to recognize Yew by the bright red berries (arils), which (as it is a gymnosperm) are open on the end, exposing the seed.  The flesh of the fruit is the only edible part of the plant, but the seeds are highly toxic.  T. canadensis and Pacific Yew (T. brevifolia) are used to make a pharmaceutical drug Taxol that is used to treat cancer.  Natives used Yew to treat numbness in the fingers.  Yew species can be recognized by their lack of aromatic properties that are present in Pinaceae and Cupressaceae.

Bibliography 

The Plants of Pennsylvania by Ann Fowler Rhoads and Timothy A. Block

Iroquois Medical Botany  by James W. Herrick

Manual of Vascular Plants of Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada  by Henry A. Gleason & Arthur Cronquist

Native American Ethnobotany by Daniel E. Moerman

 

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

Natural Headache Remedies

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headache_human_normal_remediesHeadaches are a part of being human. Some people get them regularly, and others get headaches only rarely. Severity varies from person to person, as does the cause of the headache. Even when only mildly annoying, a headache can affect your ability to function fully and alertly.  If you’re in a situation where Tylenol, aspirin, or prescription pain medication isn’t an option, nor is doing nothing because you have to be focused on taking care of yourself and others, you need to know how to keep a headache at bay.

By Derrick of Prepper Press

Thankfully, there are quite a few natural remedies that can alleviate the pain of a headache. There are also many natural ways to keep headaches from becoming an issue at all, or at least to minimize your risk of being stricken with one. By employing preventative and natural measures, you can successfully reign in the annoyance of headaches without drugs.

Preventative Measures and Action 

hydrated_water_headacheFirst and foremost, stay hydrated. Water is the cure for so many ills, and headaches are no exception. Should you find yourself in a situation where water is scarce, be mindful of what else you are putting in your body to ensure it is not using up valuable water. Salt, alcohol, sugar, and caffeine will dehydrate you. While all of those can initially ease the pain of a headache, they can also put you in danger of further headaches after the initial easing of pain. If water is plentiful, it is the easiest remedy for a headache – and if it’s curing your headache, you’ll likely notice you have more energy and feel more alert as well.

Related: Emergency Foods From Wild Plants

Lack of sleep can be a contributing factor to headaches, as well. In an emergency situation, sleep may be hard to come by, but you should always get as much as you are able to. In fact, studies show that poor sleep contributes to migraines. Even if you don’t end up with a full-blown migraine, lack of sleep and the dull pain of a tension headache are a poor combination that no one wants to deal with. Forcing yourself to be awake does nobody any favors – go to bed early when you are able.

stretching_headache_reliefMild headaches can also be relieved with stretching. Stretching doesn’t require any resources, simply your own energy and a little bit of space. The first section of your body you’ll want to focus on is your shoulders. Are they lifted up and tight? Let them drop and let out a deep breath. You may notice a difference from just this as your muscles loosen up. A stretch nearly as simple is to straighten up your neck, look straight ahead, and then put your chin down. Look back up, then go left, right, then back, finally returning your chin to the front. Put your chin down on your chest again, and gently roll left to right, keeping your child down while doing this. Repeat until you feel loosened up. Doing these stretches relieves headache-causing pressure from your nerves.

Another way to relieve tension that requires no medicine and simple household objects is to bite down on something – a pen or pencil, for example. Doing so will cause you to use certain muscles that become tight, leading to tension headaches. You might feel silly trying this out, but that won’t matter if you can get rid of a tension headache without worrying about how to find pain relief medication.

Many common herbs and spices can also ease the pain of a headache. However, if you are planning on storing these be aware of how long they have been stored for. Many herbs and essential oils do have somewhat short shelf lives and may lose their efficacy. Be sure to store them properly to get as much use out of them as possible, too.

What herbs can help alleviate a headache?

chocolate_mint_headachesPeppermint is an herb with soothing qualities, and its scent can help to calm nerves and relieve tension, thus lessening your headache. You can boil some water with peppermint leaves and make a peppermint tea to drink (or, if you have them available, use ready-made peppermint teabags). You may also notice that the tea has a strong scent – that’s good, and you should breath it in as you drink the tea. Or, simply breathe in the scent of the steam from your hot tea without even drinking the tea. The strong scent of peppermint alone can relieve tension and ease headaches. You can also use peppermint essential oil to soothe a headache; just rub a small amount on your temples. Dried peppermint has a fairly long shelf life – up to three years, and the essential oil lasts about four years if kept in a cool, dry space.

Feverfew is a famous and oft-cited herb for combatting migraines. It can not only help to lessen the intensity of a migraine once it starts, but has also been credited with preventing the headaches before they start. If you are a regular sufferer of migraines, you might find it worth your while to get a supply of feverfew supplements to keep on hand in case you are in a situation where you don’t have access to your prescription migraine medicine anymore. Additionally, you can grow feverfew either inside (if you have a grow light or a very sunny window) or outside. It’s fairly easy to grow, so if you or someone in your family gets regular migraines it is certainly worth trying to keep a plant. It’s a perennial, so you won’t have to replant every single year, and you’ll have a regular supply of fresh feverfew leaves to help with headache relief. The fresh leaves from the plants can be chewed, about two at a time, to relieve and/or prevent headaches. Some people even include the leaves with their regular meals, in a salad or on a sandwich. Be cautious, though, as if you are new to using feverfew you will want to ensure you are not one of those who experiences swelling of the mouth area from chewing the leaves. Some people also have gastrointestinal issues associated with use of the herb, so try it out cautiously as you first begin using this remedy.

Read Also: Easier Gardening

Cayenne is a spice that you can put to good use as a headache remedy. Commonly available, this spice works to relieve headaches because it contains capsaicin, a pain inhibitor. Using cayenne as a natural remedy is easy enough – just mix a bit (about 1/2 teaspoon or so) with water to dilute the spice, then take a cotton swab, dip it in the mixture, and very gently dab the inside of your nostril with the swab. It’ll be uncomfortable, but as the slight burning sensation subsides, so will your headache. Like most other herbs and spices, dry cayenne pepper has a shelf life of about three years, and should be stored in a dry, cool place. If you have cayenne pepper older than three years, just test it out by giving it a quick sniff – if it doesn’t smell of anything, it’s lost its effectiveness, but if it still has a strong scent, go ahead and use it. You’ll be able to tell pretty easily if it’s still potent.

ginger_plant_headachesGinger is another go-to spice for pain relief. Using ginger to relieve your headaches is pretty simple – steep some fresh ginger root to make a tea, either by itself or with lemon juice. Chewing on some ginger might also help ease side effects of more severe headaches like nausea. You can also grow ginger at home, either outdoors if you live in a warm climate, or indoors in a pot or tub. Doing so will provide you with a supply of fresh ginger root to use not only for headaches, but for a variety of other ailments as well.

Like ginger, apple cider vinegar is can provide relief from many aches, pains, and ills. It has a longer effective shelf life than dry herbs and spices, as it lasts about five years at full potency. After that time, it’s still probably safe, just not as effective. Be sure when you’re storing it that the cap is always screwed on tightly and it’s in a cool, dry place. To use apple cider vinegar as a remedy for headaches, you have a couple of options. You can boil it with water, at about a 1:1 ratio, then breath in the steam from the concoction. If you want to trap the steam as you do this, drape a towel over your head to fully immerse yourself in the scent. You can also mix a small amount of apple cider vinegar with water and drink the mixture. Be cautious of how much apple cider vinegar you are using, as it is very strong and as little as two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar mixed with a cup of water can be effective. To temper the taste of the vinegar, you can also add lemon, honey, or both to the mixture. Lemon has its own therapeutic properties that you might find to be beneficial, and if the headache is accompanied by a head cold, honey can help to soothe your throat.

Adapting to Your Situation

aspirin_old_ad_headachesIn the modern world, it is very easy to reach for an aspirin to cure your headache. If none is available, though, there is a plant found in nature that is nearly equivalent to aspirin in how it treats headaches – the bark of a willow tree. It’s active ingredient is salicin, and the bark is also useful in treating pains other than headaches, including lower back pain. If you live in an area where willow trees grow, identify one, cut a square of bark, and boil it to make a tea. But of course, as with any other herb or plant, if you are not completely sure, don’t ingest anything from it! You can also simply, but carefully, chew on the bark. Be aware that you are not swallowing any splinters of the bark, though – just the saliva that now has the salicin from the bark in it.

As you can see, nature is bountiful when it comes to headache remedies. While those who suffer from the most severe of migraines may not be able to fully feel the relief of modern prescription pain medications, there are ways to mediate the pain should there be no such medication available. For the more mild headaches that everyone gets, but that still interfere with the ability to fully function, simple steps like drinking more water, getting more sleep, and stretching can help to prevent and relieve the pain. Herbs and plants that are commonly available are highly effective in relieving headaches, and make a valuable addition to any medical storage and preparing you may be doing. While modern medicine has its perks, there are other options and with the right supplies and knowledge you won’t have to suffer even if you don’t have access to prescriptions and technologically-enhanced medical facilities.

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.

10 Bug Out Bag Essentials

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bug_out_essentials_stuffCall this back to basics, or getting started from the get-go, but there are as many varieties of opinions on bug out bag contents as cats have lives.  And then some.  Then there are the definitions of exactly what constitutes a bug out bag, but no two preppers or survivalists bags are the same much less their contents. So, up front, let’s politely agree to disagree if this suggested list varies from yours.  After all, my bug out bag is not your bug out bag.  Your circumstances are not the same as mine. 

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

You may live in a congested mega-city.  Others live in rural areas or in the suburbs.  All of these conditions allow for differences in what we put in a bag to grab on the way out of the house, office, or vehicle.

Bag for Bugging Out or a Body Bag?

My idea of a Bug Out Bag is a single source medium sized bag with the bare minimum of supplies to last 24-48 hours with some potential stretch.  This bag was created to last long enough to get out of Dodge to an alternative secure location or to a pre-determined supply cache or a more permanent pre-supplied bug out location.

Related: More Tips for your Bug Out Bag 

This Bug Out Bag is not intended to be a long-term supply resource.  It will not weigh a hundred pounds or contain long range subsistence or gear for a camp out in the wilderness.  Your bag may be designed for other types of missions or alternative plans.  That is fine.

Bug Out Bag Priorities

handgun_bug_outThis is where the fight of opinions usually starts.  What to pack first and what items are most likely to be needed initially with other bag items being needed or available as the bug out ensues.  It is easy to argue that the choice of any self-protection defensive weapon, most likely a handgun and ammo should be readily available for access or as appropriate worn in a weapon ready condition.   Let’s accept this as the first item in a bug out bag.  

Sure, when you grab your bag to jump in your escape vehicle or head down a long flight of stairs to evacuate a work site or other location, you may be darn thirsty or maybe even needing a boost of energy from a bar, but first, you’re going to want to secure your mode of personal protection.  From there the other items in the bag don’t matter in terms of priorities until they are needed.  So, grab a drink, but go slow on it.  Some of the items in your BOB you may not end up using at all, but it is nice to have them along just in case.  

Read Also: Knee Deep in Bug Out Vehicles

So, here are the ten items of basic need or utility I place in a BOB.  Other than the pistol, no particular order of priority.  Also, note, there is no suggestion of which specific item or brand to get or have, just the categories are listed here.  You figure out what you want on your own.  

The Other Nine Essentials

Meds or OTC.  If you have to have certain medications to live, then you best have them.  This goes for diabetic supplies, heart meds, or any other life essential medicines.  Support that with over the counter pain medications, antacids, antiseptics, etc.   You can keep these in the original bottles or boxes, or get a little personal med kit to store them.  Just organize them so you can find what you need quickly.  This could include a small, basic first aid kit, too.  

Water.  Have several bottles of water or a canteen.  Have more in your vehicle, but always carry some along.  Make the judgement on how much to carry balancing weight and volume in the bag with your hydration habits.  

Food Items.  Pack energy bars, not candy bars.  These should provide carbs, but some real nutrients as well.  Small bags of nuts, trail mix or other snacks that are not junk food.  Check the contents and calories ahead of time so you know how much to take along.  Again, you can store additional food in your vehicle, assuming you get to it.  

knife_handgun_bug_outKnife.  Have some sort of cutting instrument.  You choose, but be practical.  Remember, reliability and function are absolutely crucial. You may not need that huge Bowie knife on a bug out.  A good, solid, sharp folding knife that locks for safety works.  Multiple blades are great, but not the 87-blade-tool version.  I could be talked into a multi-tool that has a good cutting blade.  

Flashlight.  Gotta have one or two.  Pick a light that is super durable, extra bright, uses standard batteries, and has shock resistance in case you drop it, which is likely.  Some like to add a red or green lens cover for clandestine hiding or in vehicle use at night to reduce drawing attention to your location.  

Cell Phone/communications or News Radio.  A way to call or get calls is important, so long as the towers function.  Add to that a good basic emergency radio even a hand crank variety.  You need to get news and government broadcasts if there are any.  Ironically, even being able to get a music channel can add some comfort factor during a stressful situation.  

Firestarter.  If your travel plans get waylaid for any multitude of reasons, you may have to stop over and spend the night somewhere.  A fire can be a great comfort and under some conditions a lifesaver.  So, have a selection of ways to ignite a fire from simple matches, butane lighter, or a strike stick.  Pack a tiny bag of wax soaked cotton balls, too.  

bug_out_clothingSeasonal Clothing.  Pack a jacket, preferably a rain jacket that doubles with some insulation with a hood.  Depending on the season, add items like a warm hat and gloves, or a lightweight shirt, jeans or shorts, hiking shoes-boots and socks.  Of course, pack according to your environment. If you are in more northern environments, be sure to have warmer clothing. Additionally, more clothes should be kept in your vehicle.  

Cover Tarp and Cord.  Finally, if you have to camp out, have a temp-tarp.  Staying in the vehicle may or may not be comfortable.  A good cover will give you extra options.  

There, that’s one BOB equipped and ready to run.  Is it perfect?  Hardly.  Some can do with less, others will admittedly want to add more.  That is why we are all individuals.  Regardless, have one, supplied, packed, and ready to grab.  

Photos Courtesy of:

Dr. John Woods

Freedom – How to Escape Handcuffs

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By Ryan – Modern Survival Online

We have all seen it in the movies… the hero has been captured and picks his handcuffs to escape. I recall a time from my youth when I found myself in handcuffs and pulled a staple from a cork board to try and pick the lock. It did not work.

Needless to say this is a skill that takes some practice. Unlike the movies, you cannot just grab a hair pin and pop open your cuffs. The good news is that this is a challenge you can handle. Once you understand how the lock works, you should be able to consistently free yourself.

Also, if cuffed behind your back you should always be able to sit down on the ground and move your bindings to the front. This is the easiest way to break free.

Caution: Never practice picking handcuffs without having two keys within reach. Also, never tighten them down to the point that they cut off the circulation to your hands. You do not know how long it will take you to get your hands free.

Continue reading at Modern Survival Online: Freedom – How to Escape Handcuffs

Filed under: Emergency Survival Tips, Prepping

Survival Gear Review: Hybridlight Journey 160 Flashlight

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I was listening to The Survivalist Podcast a couple weeks ago while driving to work, and the featured guest was a well-spoken survivalist gentleman by the name of Tim Ralston (inventor of the “Timahawk” survival tool), and he was discussing bug-out gear. When the conversation turned to flashlights and illumination, Mr. Ralston verbally swooned over a flashlight product by a company called HybridLight. The product he’d mentioned was the Journey 250, and the description and testimonial was compelling enough for me to track down the company and see what they were all about. So I looked ‘em up and shot ‘em an email.

By Drew, a contributing author of Survival Cache & SHTFBlog

solar_panel_hybridlightWhile performing the initial research on the Journey 250, I quickly found my way to HybridLight’s website and started scanning. The “About” link filled me in on the basics: HybridLight offers solar-powered illumination (yes, you read that right) products across a variety of platforms. That’s the basis of the product design – but there’s more to it than just a flashlight with a solar panel. HybridLight goes one step further: the majority of their products boast standard USB ports to act as charging stations for your cellphone, tablet, MP3 player, GPS, you name it. If your electronic gadget utilizes a USB cable to charge, chances are a HybridLight will play nice with it. The company found its roots in 2006 when Terry Peterson started toying with solar-powered technology. Solar panels were becoming smaller, more dependable, and able to be used in a multitude of applications. Terry has since developed hybrid solar power into an immensely useful tool – not just to capture and store solar energy, but tailor it to be used to charge cellphones or tablets. All this works – extremely well.

The HybridLight Journey 160 Rundown

After some jovial communications with the incredibly nice HybridLight team, they sent me a Journey 160 model flashlight to use, abuse, and evaluate. The Journey 160 flashlight is a tidy little number, 6 inches in length. 1.75” wide across the lens bezel, and 4.5 ounces. The handle profile features a solar panel, about 1” wide by 4” long, inset into the polymer casing. The only control on the Journey 160 is a single rubber push-button mounted just ahead of the solar panel. This button tells the enclosed 2,400 mAh lithium-ion to send power to the LED bulb in low or high intensities, and features a strobe function if held for a moment. The bezel and lens are fixed; no Maglite-type focusing beam here. Nice and simple; simple things don’t break as easily. The Journey 160 blasts out 160 lumens of useful light at its highest setting.

Read Also: Streamlight Stylus Pro Pen Flashlight Review 

hybridlight_usbUnder the waterproof O-ring sealed tail cap at the rear of the Journey 160, you’ll find two ports: one is a “power-in” Micro-USB port; the other is “power-out”, a standard USB dock. You can use a standard micro-USB cable to charge via a standard outlet-mounted wall charger (such as the one that comes with your smartphone – not included with the Journey 160.); all you need to do is plug the Journey 160 in just as if you were charging your phone – just plug the Micro USB end of the cord right into the port on the flashlight. A red LED, mounted just forward of the power switch, will illuminate to show that you are charging the sealed battery. Once the battery is full, the LED turns green.

To charge the Journey 160 via the integral solar panel, all you need to do is put the flashlight in direct sunlight with the panel towards the sun. Foolproof. The Journey will still charge if there is cloud cover, albeit at a much slower rate. Charging via USB from your home outlet is substantially faster than the solar method.

To use the HybridLight Journey 160 as a device charger, all you need to do is insert your standard USB cable into the larger port, and the other end to your device that needs a charge. The Journey 160 works with micro-USB, Older Apple cords as well as Apple Lightning chargers, mini-USB…you name it. It will charge Android as well as Apple devices with equal aplomb; but the included USB cable will not work on Apple products, so you’ll have to supply your own.

As reported by HybridLight, the Journey 160 is waterproof to 1 meter and floats, and can  withstand drops from one meter. One full charge will supply 25 hours of continuous light at the low brightness setting, and 8 hours at the brightest 160 lumen setting. The battery will, according to the manufacturer, hold a charge for years if not used.

How The Journey 160 Holds Up Under Daily (Ab)use

Website-issued specifications are all well and good, but how does an item such as this flashlight – a life-saving tool for sure – stand up when used and abused on a semi-daily basis? Well, I’ve been beating my specific Journey up for a couple months now, in all sorts of weather and varying conditions, and I’m happy to report my findings.

hybridlight_durable_snowMy three-year-old son LOVES flashlights, so the very first thing I did after taking the Journey 160 out of the packaging was to turn it on and hand it over to him for his version of QC inspection. Over the course of the next twenty minutes, he subjected it to far more abuse than I usually punish my gear with over the course of a year. The flashlight got thrown across the room, ricocheted off a pellet stove, rolled over floors, bounced off end tables, dropped about a hundred times, rolled around on hardwood floors, crashed into by Hot Wheels cars, and, of course, found its way into the toilet after lil’ dude overheard me telling my wife the flashlight floats (it does). I took back ownership after the initial abuse testing, and there was nary a scratch or dent in the casing of the Journey 160, and the bezel lens was pristine. As a matter of fact, all photos shown in this review are of the flashlight AFTER it’s been used for quite some time, toddler torture included.

I also did some testing of my own. I performed some waist-high drops onto our kitchen tile floor, including one gentle toss of about eight feet. The HybridLight bounced a couple times, and that was about it. Pretty anticlimactic; the Journey 160 earns high marks for ruggedness in my book. Honestly; most light sources ride in glove compartments, kitchen drawers, pockets, or packs until they are needed, so they can lead a pretty pampered life under normal use. Provided the Journey 160 doesn’t take a tumble off a cliff or get run over by a tracked vehicle, I’m confident it can withstand all ordinary, and some extraordinary abuse most users will subject it to. It can’t be used as a hammer or anything like that, but it’s quite sturdy for a moulded plastic casing that weighs 4.5 ounces.

Charge!

Oh yeah, the Journey 160 is a portable charging station as well as a splendid torch. The onboard 2,400mAh battery can be used to charge portable devices. If one leaves the flashlight plugged into a device via USB cable and leaves the light in the direct sun, the solar panel will continuously charge the flashlight’s battery, which will then charge the device’s battery.

hybridlight_charging_androidHowever, solar power is not needed to charge devices – assuming a fully-charged battery, 80% of the 2,400 mAH battery is on tap to charge devices; the remaining 20% is always saved on reserve to allow the Journey 160 to soldier on for a time in its primary illuminating mission. Most modern large-screen smartphones have batteries in the 2,500-3,000 mAH range; an iPhone 6S has a 2,750 mAH battery, and an LG G4 and Samsung Galaxy S7 both boast 3,000 mAH batteries, so the Journey 160 won’t provide a complete battery charge in one sitting for most cellphones – but it’ll get you about halfway there. My personal LG G4 smartphone went from 12% to 64% before the Journey cut the power, with a charging time of probably 20 minutes – faster than expected.

Charging via a wall-mounted charger takes an hour or so from a depleted battery to full. Charging the Journey to full charge via solar power alone takes a while – like 18-20 hours in direct sunlight. So, unless you’re in Alaska in July, you’re not going to get enough direct sunlight during the course of one day for a full battery charge. And if you’re counting on fully charging a smartphone and the flashlight in that period of time, you’ll probably be pretty disappointed. However, I was able to charge both of my Motorola MJ270R walkie-talkies in one day of bright sunshine – so results will vary based on equipment you use and ambient daylight levels.

Wrapping It Up

In the usefulness department, the Journey 160 is aces. Not too big and not too small, the flashlight fits in a hand beautifully, with the kinda-rubbery feeling polymer being contoured to provide adequate grip without being obtrusive (think an old 4 “D”-cell Maglight) I’ve been keeping the flashlight by my bedside for night duty, in my jacket pocket when I go outside or to work, and have just made a point to make sure that it is readily available for when I require illumination. While it’s a bit big for an EDC (every day carry) pocket flashlight, the Journey 160 is a wonderful size for general-purpose flashlight use, and it has supplanted my old similarly-sized rechargeable Streamlight Scion as my favorite go-to flashlight. The HybridLight Journey 160 is just a killer flashlight that throws a useful amount of illumination- and that’s even before you consider that you can charge devices from it.

Related: Bug Out Flashlight Wisdom

The price on one of these bad boys is lower than expected – just $34.95 via their website. And when I tell you you should run right out and get one, you should. Get two. Or Three. This is the best general-purpose flashlight I have in my house: it keeps a full charge, I never have to worry about the kids stealing the batteries to put in the TV remote control, and it can bounce around in the “miscellaneous stuff” drawer along with paperweights and your spare hammer and it’ll be ready when you need it. Same goes for the Journey 160 being a stellar Bug-Out-Bag light – it weighs almost nothing, is sturdy, and charges itself – emergency perfection. Really, the only improvement I could envision to this flashlight

More Journey 160s – one for my truck box and one for my tacklebox – are on my Christmas list; I’m hoping Santa is nice to me this year. But seriously: go get a Journey 160. Right now. I am without doubt that you’ll positively love it. Questions? Got something that does the same thing but better? Sound off in the comments below!

 

5 Easy Steps for Emergency Preparedness at Home

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Nobody likes to think the worst, but being prepared can make you feel more secure about the future. These five strategies can help you deal with a multitude of scenarios.

Invest in a Security System

A security system not only deters burglars, but the company that monitors the home can alert the police and send you messages in regards to the status of your house. Invest in a security system that will provide you peace of mind in the event of an intrusion or other home front emergency. Alarm monitoring can also detect detect smoke and fire, whether they’re the result of an electrical issue, a cooking mishap or a spark from a heating unit.

Prepare an Emergency Kit

An emergency kit should contain a NOAA weather radio, flashlight, cell phone, whistle, dust masks, antibacterial wipes, manual can opener, local map, and enough food and water for at least three days. Keep in mind that you’ll need one gallon of water per day per person, and don’t forget supplies for pets, if applicable. Additionally, keep extra batteries and an emergency gas shut-off wrench with the kit.

Learn Basic Emergency Skills

If you don’t already have a fire extinguisher, get one and make sure to familiarize yourself with the instructions. Consider getting trained in basic first aid such as CPR. You can find classes by contacting Red Cross, a local community college or your library.

Learn How to Shut Off Utilities

If your home uses gas, familiarize yourself with the shutoff valve on the gas meter. The utility line closes when you turn the valve a quarter in either direction. The goal is to have it run crosswise to the pipe. Once the gas is shut off, only a professional can turn it back on.

The location of the valve for the waterline depends on your home and location. In warm climates, it’s usually located near the water meter. In colder regions, you might find it in the basement or near the pipe that leads to the water heater.

In regards to electricity, always turn off all individual circuits before switching off the main breaker.

Have a Plan for Pets

If you need to leave your home in an emergency, keep in mind that pets aren’t allowed in most designated evacuation shelters. Prepare for that scenario by making arrangements with a friend or family member beforehand. You should also microchip any pets and invest in a GPS tracker.

While you can’t prepare for everything, completing these steps beforehand will allow you to keep your focus when dealing with a potential emergency. Make sure that everyone in your family is on board with these steps, and discuss your safety plans regularly.

Rachael Murphey is an entrepreneur and writer on topics relating to business, personal finance, personal growth, and emergency preparedness. She currently lives in Denver, CO with her dog Charlie.

Emergency Foods from Wild Plants

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cattails_food_edible

dandelion_edible_forageMany people start learning about wild foods from common field guides focused on the subject.  There are often plants mentioned as wild foods that are not abundant enough to supply much of a harvest (such as Spring Beauties, or Fairy Potatoes), not nutritionally rich enough to offer much to survival situations (such as the many greens, which have few calories), are not very tasty (such as bitters like Dandelion), or are difficult to harvest and prepare (such as tree bark).  Further, the limited season of many nutritious edibles (like Cattail pollen and acorns) keeps them unavailable for much of the year.  The forager naturally sorts through plants as he learns about them, more-or-less forgetting many while focusing on the “choice” edibles.  (Mushroom hunters in particular refer to the best edibles as “choice”.)

By Nathaniel Whitmore a Contributing Author to SHTFBlog and SurvivalCache

For those who are learning about wild edibles to add to their daily diet or to harvest for restaurants, it only makes sense to focus on the best.  For the sake of preparing for end times, survival situations, and emergencies in the woods, however, one should learn as many edible plants as possible.  Perhaps many are not tasty or are time-consuming to harvest and/or prepare, but while these are very legitimate obstacles for every-day life in the “normal” world, you will likely enjoy even strange flavors when you are starving. The gathering of calories might turn into your top priority when there are none at hand.  In order to prepare for emergencies, it is well worth learning about the wild plants that the field guides deem “trailside nibbles” or “survival foods”.

Tree Bark

elm_treeA very important survival food is the inner bark of trees.  It is a common belief that the work “Adirondack” means “tree eaters”.  Maybe this is originally from the Mohawk word for porcupine, or maybe it was mostly derogatory referring to bad hunters (who had to, therefore, eat tree bark) but the truth is that Natives of the woodlands ate many tree barks.  My favorite is Slippery Elm.  I have prepared much of the powdered bark available through commercial herb distributors.  Cooked with Maple syrup it is a delightful breakfast “cereal” from the trees.  It is worth considering the powdered bark for emergency storage as an edible and medicinal.  Learn to recognize Elm trees and learn where they grow for emergency use and because they host the famous Morel mushroom. In my area they are found mostly along rivers.

Another tree I have consumed a bit of is White Pine.  While I was stripping bark from the logs for my log cabin, I chewed on the inner bark and prepared it as a “tea” (decoction- material is simmered, not just steeped).  I did not get around to grinding it to prepare as meal, as the Native Americans did with many of the barks they used as food.  It was enough work for my spare time to drag logs through the snow and carve notches in them.  Plus, I am still trying to figure out just how much of the evergreen trees are safe to consume.  Pines and their relatives have been important survival foods as well as winter foods, providing many medicinal and nutritional benefits.  However, there is concern regarding ingesting too many of the thick, resinous compounds in the pitch.  These agents give the evergreens many of their medicinal properties, but can gum up the kidneys if over-consumed.  Perhaps Native Americans knew things about preparing these barks that have been lost to the modern world.  When the end times come, however, we might be wishing we did our research.

Many other trees have edible inner bark, such as Poplar (though it was probably more often used to feed horses so that more desirable food could be hunted) and Ash.

Additional Foods From Trees

It is much more common today to consume the needles and small twigs of the evergreens by preparing as a tea, than to strip the bark and prepare as gruel.  By steeping the needles we can extract the vitamin C and many of the aromatic constituents.  For survival situations, I am sure thicker inner bark has more to offer nutritionally.

Read Also: Five Best DIY Toothache Remedies 

black_walnutMany other parts of trees can be used as food and should be mentioned here, such as the leaves of Basswood (American Linden).  Of course, one of the most important wild foods from trees is nuts, such as from Hickory and Black Walnut (which is another important medicinal, being used for parasites and fungal infections).  We also have acorns from Oak and many lesser-known seeds such as Beechnuts from Beech.  Many don’t realize that sap can be made into syrup from more than just Sugar Maple, including other Maples as well as other trees like Hickory.  It is clear that the survivalist has much to learn about trees in preparation for emergency.

A major consideration for emergency food, are the winter caches of wildlife.  Squirrels and other critters store piles of acorns, nuts, and seeds, which can be found by digging through leafy brush piles and other areas conducive to storage of such foods.  

Roots

evening_primrosePlants store energy in two distinct places- roots and seeds.  There are many roots that are generally overlooked as edibles, but could prove life-saving in emergencies.  Evening Primrose, for instance, was once a staple vegetable of Natives.  Today, it is common to find along roadsides and is worth getting to know for roadside emergencies.  Like many edible roots (including Burdock and Wild Carrot), Evening Primrose is biennial and best harvested in the fall of the first season or the spring of the second.  During the second year the plants develop their flower stalks and the roots become tough in order to support the stalk and because they are on their way out (they will die after seed is produced, while the autumn of the first year they store energy for the next).  

Garlic Mustard, because of its pungency, is usually used as a condiment (like Horseradish) more than a vegetable.  When push comes to shove, however, you might overcome the bitter, pungent flavor, or figure out how to reduce it through cooking.  Yellow Dock is similar in that it is avoided largely because of its intense bitter taste, and because being perennial it will get tougher with age.  Yellow Dock species are quite common and I am very often told by budding wild food foragers that they began eating the greens.  Usually I assume that if someone is eating Yellow Dock they have not learned about the other, more palatable options, and I tell them so.  Often, when seeing them at a later time I am informed that they moved on from Yellow Dock to tastier greens.  However, concerning survival, Yellow Dock might be an option.

Strong flavors generally indicate that the plant is not suitable for consumption in large amounts.  Bitter, pungent, and sour flavors are commonly indicative of constituents that shouldn’t be consumed in large amounts.  There is a reason we appreciate these flavors in relatively small doses.  Likewise, there is a reason we like the sweet flavor – it is the mark of calories (food energy).  All our macronutrients are sweet, which includes carbohydrates, proteins, and fat.  Roots that are relatively bland or sweet, such as Evening Primrose and Burdock, are generally more edible.  Wild Carrot also has a bit of pungency, and although Carrots are staple food, many members of the Carrot Family (Apiaceae) are quite toxic.  It should not be assumed that because something tastes good it is edible.  It is said that Poison Hemlock tasted quite good to those who were able to tell us so before they died.  Cattails produce very starchy roots (rhizomes) along with many other edible portions.  

Cattail

Cattails were called “Nature’s Pantry” by Euell Gibbons, one of our nation’s first famous wild food experts.  The rhizomes store much starch, which can be easily extracted to used for porridge or baking.  The young shoots are edible as are the bases of younger leaves.  The best vegetable portion is the young flower stalk, including flower, while it is tender and still wrapped inside the leaves.  The pollen can also be gathered, which is very nutritious.

Because starch is very water soluble and due to the structure of Cattail rhizomes the rhizomes can be pounded in a bucket of water.  The starch is then suspended in the water making it possible to strain out the fibrous strands, joints, and peel.  It can then be left to sit so that the starch settles to the  bottom.  Maybe not the ideal form of carbohydrates to the modern man, but an abundant source of nutrition in a survival situation.  

The vegetable portion can be nibbled off the bottoms of leaves that are young enough to have a tender portion intact.  The young shoots at the end of the rhizomes can also be harvested.  In my opinion, one of the best wild vegetables is the flower stalk.  Many old books refer to treating it like corn on the cob.  This has led to the misunderstanding that one should eat the flower (the “cat tail”) off of the stalk.  However, it is the stalk itself, when tender, that is the delicious vegetable.  It can be found by peeling the coarser material away to reveal the tender part.  You can develop an eye for the ones with flower stalks developing by the way the plant elongates upward during growth.  It resembles corn on the cob because it can be cooked in the same way, which is also why it is a very convenient camping or survival food.  Simply pick the whole above-ground/water plant by pulling straight up so that it separates from the rhizome.  You can confirm that is has a flower stalk by observing the base.  If there is no stalk, you will only see the crescent-shaped overlapping leaf bases.  If it has a flower stalk you will see it’s round base.  Then throw the plants, green leaves and all, directly onto some hot coals.  Turn them until thoroughly cooked.  When done, simply peel back the tough parts to reveal a tender, cooked vegetable within.  

The pollen is gathered after the flowers emerge above the leafy portions by shaking the yellow powder from the plants into some kind of container.  It is very nutritious and should be considered an important emergency food and nutritional supplement.  Many other pollens, such as Pine, can be harvested as well.

Seeds

I have already mentioned seeds from trees above (in the section “Additonal Foods from Trees”).  Here we will consider seeds from shrubs and herbaceous plants.  Perhaps the best-known staple of our Northeastern woods is the Hazelnut.  Although, because wildlife love it Hazelnuts are often hard to come by.  Still, the survivalist should learn to identify the shrub.

Amaranth seeds, though small and covered by a tough outer layer, are edible and very nutritious.  Plus, the young plants are good as cooked greens.  Likewise, Lambsquarters, one of the best cooked greens from the wild, can also provide nutritious seeds.  

Jewelweed, which is well-known as the poison ivy remedy, has edible seeds.  They pop from the ballistic seed pods when ripe and disturbed (by wind or animal).  Pinched just right, the seeds can be released into your hand.  Small, but they taste just like Walnuts.  The young shoots of Jewelweed have raised concerns regarding their edibility.  I used to eat them when a few inches tall and after cooked, but I have not done so in years.

Vegetables

There are many wild vegetables.  It is worth learning the lesser-desirable species as well as those commonly sought after.  However, vegetables are not the focus of this article because in emergency survival situations we are often more focused on calories.  Although greens are nutritious, they are not calorie rich.  Still, in survival situations there might be need to focus on certain nutrients that are available from vegetative plant parts.  Many greens are high in nutrients that would be cooked out of other plant foods.  For this reason, it is important to include some lightly cooked or raw vegetables in the diet.

Related: Choosing the Best Survival Tools for Your Bug Out Bag

Dandelion, in spite of its strong bitter flavor, is a safe source of edible leaves.  They are high in calcium, iron, and many other nutrients.  The flowers are also eaten.  The root is too bitter to be a common vegetable, but is often dried and/or roasted for tea. Sorrel, including both Wood Sorrels and Sheep Sorrel, are edible and tasty, but shouldn’t be eaten in large amounts because of the oxalic acid content.  Oxalic acid binds easily with calcium making the calcium unabsorbable and potentially leading to other problems, like kidney stones.  Lambsquarters (mentioned above) is also quite high in oxalic acid, as is Purslane.  One should be aware of these things, as it very well may come into consideration in a survival situation.  Purslane has many nutritional benefits, most notably that it is high in essential fatty acids for a vegetable.  

milk_weedMany of the important vegetables must be cooked before consumption.  Those mentioned above with oxalic acid can be cooked to reduce the acid content.  (The old fashioned parboiling that is looked down upon today as destroying nutrition has its place here.)  Plants like Pokeweed and Milkweed are put through a couple changes of water to render edible because of their toxic properties.  Ironically, when this is done they become two of the best wild foods.  Some greens need to be cooked to a lesser degree, such as Winter Cress (Yellow Rocket or Wild Mustard).  It doesn’t require changing water, but it should be cooked thoroughly.  

Conclusion

The plants listed above are only a few of the many options in the wild.  There are choice edibles – those few species we seek after as even superior to domestic veggies.  There are the deadly poisonous – some so much so that one bite can be fatal.  Then, there is a large spectrum in between.  The vast majority of plants are somewhere between choice and deadly, and the vast majority of them are not consumed.  In an emergency that includes a food shortage, it could be very useful to know obscure edible properties of plants.

The survivalist should learn to identify the two ends of the spectrum first.  Obviously, anybody at all interested in the subject wants to know about the best edibles.  It is perhaps even more important, however, to first learn the most poisonous (watch for another article).  If you know the handful of deadly plants to avoid, you can more safely explore your options in an emergency even if you don’t know everything about all the plants at hand.  Then, the survivalist can continue to explore the vast world of wild edibles in order to prepare for any situation.   

Warning

In this article many wild plants are mentioned that might be toxic if prepared improperly, might have toxic parts even if other parts are edible, or might produce very real problems if consumed as part of a dramatically imbalanced diet (such as what might occur in a survival situation).  I only mention them here.  If you want to eat wild plants, ensure that you are thoroughly educated beyond what can be gleaned from a short blog article.  Read books, attend walks, and seek out knowledgeable foragers.

jumpingrabbit_foodFurther, this article contains speculation regarding possible survival foods.  Details regarding the situation, including climate, health conditions, and other aspects of the diet might make certain foods more-or-less inappropriate.  Several plants have been mentioned with some toxic or possibly some toxic properties.  If over-consumed as part of a diet deficient in essentials, some of these plants might be harmful, even if they can be regularly enjoyed as part of your regular diet.  Consider rabbit starvation, during which what many consider to be good meat (rabbits, for instance) possibly becomes worse than not eating at all.  The ideas expressed above are done so in the spirit of researching for possible survival scenarios.  At the brink of starvation it might just make sense to wander into the gray area of wild edibles and to risk consuming things that are not usually consumed.  In everyday life, however, it is best to avoid eating in such risky territory.

Photos Courtesy of:

Rich Bradshaw  
Julie Falk  
All other photos are in the public domain. 

Data Storage for SHTF Emergency Bug Out

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Data Storage for SHTF Emergency Bug Out Highlander “Survival & Tech Preps” Audio in player below! The thought of bugging out is a real threat. Have you thought of the data you have and how you would store it, take it with you or use it on the road? The world today offers us many … Continue reading Data Storage for SHTF Emergency Bug Out

The post Data Storage for SHTF Emergency Bug Out appeared first on Prepper Broadcasting |Network.

Are You Only a Prepper If You Call Yourself One? Preparedness as a Way of Life

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Are You Only a Prepper If You Call Yourself One? Preparedness as a Way of Life Do you know many other preppers in person? Are there people in your life that don’t call themselves preppers but pretty much do the basics of what any prepper would want to do – keep their house well stocked …

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The post Are You Only a Prepper If You Call Yourself One? Preparedness as a Way of Life appeared first on SHTF & Prepping Central.

How Not to Die: 20 Survival Tips You Must Know

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How Not to Die: 20 Survival Tips You Must Know Survival skills aren’t just for the adventurous mountain climber; anyone can find themselves in a dangerous situation where survival is threatened.  Popular Mechanics has a list of survival tips that address situations anyone can get in.  To drive the point home, there are also statistics …

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Extreme Winter Survival Vehicle Preps: “Stay Warm and You Will Be Found”

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screen-shot-2016-12-08-at-8-21-47-am

By Mac Slavo – SHTFplan.com

Bad weather, slippery roads, snow and ice, car wrecks, even avalanches.

It wouldn’t be hard to imagine a scenario where you really could be stranded in your vehicle, and cut off from the rest of the world, with freezing weather and extreme conditions to contend with – especially in the Northern states.

While this situation is survivable, dozens of people die every year in these dangerous events. One of the major reasons is that fewer people are prepared in their vehicles.

But in an unexpectedly bad situation, especially one where you don’t know how long you could be stranded, it is vitally important to keep a kit in your vehicle. At a minimum, it should include blankets and coverings for warmth, medical supplies, an emergency supply of water and food.

For some real life cases of this, people had better fortune when they stayed close to their car, and had a source of heat to avoid hypothermia or other life-threatening complications. If you stay near the road, and in or near your vehicle, you will be found. With some common sense, you will be found alive.

Sensible Prepper writes:

Extreme Winter Survival Vehicle Kit. We’re putting together the items that can give you a fighting chance against Old Man Winter. Inspired by the Story of the family in NW Nevada who in 2014, was stranded in their vehicle for 48 hours in -21 degree temps and their story of survival.

Meanwhile, this video covers some of the most useful items that you may need to survive the winter, deal with power blackouts, snow ins, provide emergency warmth and sustainable heating methods.

33 Winter Preps and Survival Gear

Everyone’s needs are different, depending upon where you live, and how used you are to living self-sufficient.

Nonetheless, the winter can be harsh and unforgiving for anyone. Be ready.

This article first appeared at SHTFplan.comExtreme Winter Survival Vehicle Preps: “Stay Warm and You Will Be Found”

Filed under: Emergency Survival Tips, Prepping

Five Best Toothache Remedies

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featured_barberry_japanese_toothache

syzygium_aromaticum_-_ko%cc%88hler-s_medizinal-pflanzen-030As is generally the case with any illness, we want to consider the cause of the illness as well as the most urgent manifest symptoms.  There are many possible causes of toothache.  Let us consider for this article one that is undoubtedly a major cause – infection.  Obviously, if infection is causing a toothache, we want to address the infection with antimicrobial agents.  Most of our toothache remedies have some antimicrobial properties.  Barberry (Berberis spp.) will be discussed in this article, though it represents others of the group that are also quite useful and most better-known; such as Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis), Oregon Grape Root (Mahonia spp.), and Goldthread (Coptis spp.).  Spilanthes is also a stellar antimicrobial.  It will be discussed here additionally because it has numbing and sialagogue properties – a perfect toothache herb.  Another classic remedy that must be mentioned is Clove (Syzygium aromaticum), usually used as essential (distilled) oil.  Sesame (Sesamum indicum) oil, or another cooking oil, can be used in a remedy called oil-pulling.  And the fifth remedy is the technique of shiatsu (acupressure).

By Nathaniel Whitmore a Contributing Author to SHTFBlog and SurvivalCache

There are many additional remedies that can be found outside in various ecosystems.  It is well worth getting to know your local forests and camping areas in case the need arises to find a toothache remedy.  Toothache is some of the worst pain I have experienced.  It can keep a person awake at night and feeling very miserable.  If you are in the woods or otherwise away from medical care or even your home medicine cabinet, there will likely be many herbal remedies found at hand among the plant life. 

Trees in particular offer many toothache remedies.  Prickly Ash in certain areas is a helpful remedy.  More wide-spread are the conifers.  Pines, Spruce, Fir, and others produce resins that can be very helpful.  Myrrh is another tree resin well-known for treating toothache.  Willlows and Poplars as well are well-known pain relieving herbs.  Among the herbaceous plants there are things like the Mints, Yarrow, and other aromatic and/or antimicrobial plants.  A study in toothache remedies, however abundant they are, might best start with the five classic remedies mentioned above.

Barberry

japanese_barberryJapanese Barberry (Berberis thunbergii) is a common and hated invasive in my area.  Though not in every patch of woods, it is widespread and in many areas has taken over to the point that the growth of other vegetation is dramatically suppressed and walking is difficult to near impossible.  There are many other species as well.  Oregon Grape Root was formerly considered a member of the genus, but is now Mahonia.  The constituent credited for the antibiotic and other medicinal effects, as well as the yellow color of the roots and bark, is called “berberine” after these plants.  Goldenseal and Coptis (our native Goldthread as well as Huang Lian of Chinese herbal medicine and others – another name is Canker Root, which indicates use in mouth infections) are perhaps better known, but I focus on Barberry because it is invasive.  Barberry is also of interest as a wild edible.  The fruits are not highly sought after, but they are edible.  …

Toothache Plant

toothache_plantToothache plant is also commonly known by its genus name Spilanthes and by the name Eyeball Plant, for the flowerhead which lacks rays.  It is largely a tropical plant, where it often grows as a perennial.  In my part of the world, we grow Spilanthes as an annual.  I think of it as a quick-growing Echinacea analogue, as Echinacea takes several seasons to mature.  Like Echinacea, or Cone Flower, Toothache Plant produces a distinct tingling as well as an increased flow of saliva.  

If you are lucky enough to have fresh Toothache Plant growing (or smart enough to have planted it), simply pick a flower-head and chew it, or at least bite into it once or twice before stuffing it between your gum and cheek (or maybe under the tongue) near the troubled tooth.  

If you do grow Toothache Plant you can tincture it by chopping and soaking the plant (or just the flower heads) in high-proof alcohol.  After about four weeks (one moon cycle) you can strain the liquid off (perhaps by pouring through and then ringing out through cheesecloth) and store in a tightly sealed jar.  If dispensed from a one or two ounce bottle with a dropper lid, it is easy to drop from a few drops to half the dropper directly onto the trouble area.

Related: Survival Eating

The tingling effects from Toothache plant are quite immediate and strong in effect.  In fact, it can be overwhelming.  If you place too much tincture in your mouth or chew a bit too much of a flower-head, you might find your mouth producing almost more saliva than you can swallow.  Here-in lies some of the benefit, however.  Spilanthes helps to move the saliva and lymph and “wash out” the sick fluids around the tooth. Additionally, Toothache Plant is a distinct antimicrobial.  It quickly helps to resolve the infection that is at the root of the pain.   

Clove

cloveEven the Hagakure“The Book of the Samurai” mentions the protective and healing powers of clove.  Still today Clove is revered for its medicinal uses, and is known as a primary remedy for tooth pain.  Aromatherapists, herb shops, and distributors of essential oils have promoted especially the essential oil of Clove for toothache, and it is indeed a convenient remedy.  The distilled oil is liquid and usually sold in small bottles with a dropper.  Simply place a drop or two on your finger to apply or apply directly from the dropper onto the trouble area.  Clove is quite spicy and warming and will cause the tissue to burn.  Don’t use so much as to cause excessive irritation.  This burning sensation and warming of the tissue is in part what distracts one from the pain.  There is a numbing quality as well, and Clove has antimicrobial properties.

Clove essential oil can be mixed with other essential oils, like Tea Tree (Melaleuca).  Tea Tree is a wonderful antiseptic, though I am not real fond of putting it in my mouth.  It’s antiseptic properties are undeniable and for this reason I usually have some around, particularly for tick bites but also as a general antiseptic for cuts and the like.  Since you should have some around in your first-aid kit (I keep it in my truck, home, cabin, and even motorcycle saddlebags), it is well worth considering as a toothache remedy, especially mixed with Clove.

Clove oil or combination of oils can be mixed in with the oil used for oil pulling, described below.  It is also used in sword oils, for tending to the shinken or katana (sword).  So, depending on what type of survival situation you are preparing for, there are many possible reasons to have Clove oil around.  It can also be useful for digestive, respiratory, and circulatory problems, headaches, and in the treatment of injury.

Read Also: Eating All Your Veggies

Powdered Clove can easily be used by placing a pinch in the troubled area.  It can also be infused into oils, though you would want to allow more time for the oil to extract the medicine from the powder than when using the essential oil.  Even more time should be allowed if using whole Cloves.  Quite likely, you will want to grind them if you have only whole Cloves.  For storage purposes, whole Cloves might be prefered to the powder because of their longer shelf-life.  

Oil Pulling

oil_sesameOil pulling consists of swishing oil, such as Sesame oil, through the teeth and around the mouth in order to absorb the impurities of the mouth and gums.  Any oil will do.  Simply swish until your saliva has thoroughly been mixed with the oil and then some, about 15 to 20 minutes.  Then spit it out.  Repeat for acute toothaches.  Practice daily to avoid toothaches or for minor ones. Sesame oil is a commonly used oil, partially because Sesame has been used to strengthen the bones and teeth.  Of course today using Coconut oil is very popular.  In many areas Olive oil will be the most available.  Grapeseed oil is good too.  For an active infection, you can consider adding small amounts of clove oil, tea tree oil, or other antimicrobial oils.

Shiatsu

Shiatsu (Japanese for “finger pressure”), or acupressure, is also very good for toothache.  There are some points locally – some in the jaw for any toothache, and of course some might be of particular focus according to which tooth is affected.  There are also some points around the base of the skull, neck, and shoulders that help, partially by releasing the tension that often accompanies, and contributes to, tooth pain.  There are also distal points that are located elsewhere on the body.

A primary distal point for toothache is between the thumb knuckle and metatarsal bone of the index finger.  There is more-or-less a muscular mound that when pressed will usually be quite sore.  The point and general area can be pressed or massaged.  

Most of the other relevant points can be  simply felt out by massaging the area of the jaw, occiput, neck, and shoulders.  Especially the joint of the jaw, the muscle there, and the area around the teeth should be palpated for soreness and pressed or massaged.  Likewise, the base of the skull, the neck (especially the muscles and along the spine), and the tops of the shoulders should be rubbed and palpated.  There is one point in particular worth mentioning (the rest have to be saved for an article specifically on the subject).  It can be found by working one’s fingers along the base of the skull.  Although everyone is built a little different, there is usually a soft, and sore, spot between a mound behind the ear and a mound at the back of the neck.  By treating this point with pressure or massage it is possible to relax the whole neck, jaw, and shoulders and bring great relief to the pain.

Photos Courtesy of:

Anna Hesser
Sara Rall
mwms1916
Lynda_2008
Nattu
Yukoinsunshine

Interested in writing for us? Send a sample of your work and an introductory statement to joel@survivalcache.com. Please use subject line: ‘Write for SurvivalCache/SHTFBlog’. If you’re a good fit, we’ll publish your work and compensate you accordingly.

Five Best DIY Toothache Remedies

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featured_barberry_japanese_toothache

syzygium_aromaticum_-_ko%cc%88hler-s_medizinal-pflanzen-030As is generally the case with any illness, we want to consider the cause of the illness as well as the most urgent manifest symptoms.  There are many possible causes of toothache.  Let us consider for this article one that is undoubtedly a major cause – infection.  Obviously, if infection is causing a toothache, we want to address the infection with antimicrobial agents.  Most of our DIY toothache remedies have some antimicrobial properties.  Barberry (Berberis spp.) will be discussed in this article, though it represents others of the group that are also quite useful and most better-known; such as Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis), Oregon Grape Root (Mahonia spp.), and Goldthread (Coptis spp.).  Spilanthes is also a stellar antimicrobial.  It will be discussed here additionally because it has numbing and sialagogue properties – a perfect toothache herb.  Another classic remedy that must be mentioned is Clove (Syzygium aromaticum), usually used as essential (distilled) oil.  Sesame (Sesamum indicum) oil, or another cooking oil, can be used in a remedy called oil-pulling.  And the fifth remedy is the technique of shiatsu (acupressure).

By Nathaniel Whitmore a Contributing Author to SHTFBlog and SurvivalCache

There are many additional DIY remedies that can be found outside in various ecosystems.  It is well worth getting to know your local forests and camping areas in case the need arises to find a toothache remedy.  Toothache is some of the worst pain I have experienced.  It can keep a person awake at night and feeling very miserable.  If you are in the woods or otherwise away from medical care or even your home medicine cabinet, there will likely be many herbal remedies found at hand among the plant life. 

Trees in particular offer many toothache remedies.  Prickly Ash in certain areas is a helpful remedy.  More wide-spread are the conifers.  Pines, Spruce, Fir, and others produce resins that can be very helpful.  Myrrh is another tree resin well-known for treating toothache.  Willlows and Poplars as well are well-known pain relieving herbs.  Among the herbaceous plants there are things like the Mints, Yarrow, and other aromatic and/or antimicrobial plants.  A study in toothache remedies, however abundant they are, might best start with the five classic remedies mentioned above.

Barberry

japanese_barberryJapanese Barberry (Berberis thunbergii) is a common and hated invasive in my area.  Though not in every patch of woods, it is widespread and in many areas has taken over to the point that the growth of other vegetation is dramatically suppressed and walking is difficult to near impossible.  There are many other species as well.  Oregon Grape Root was formerly considered a member of the genus, but is now Mahonia.  The constituent credited for the antibiotic and other medicinal effects, as well as the yellow color of the roots and bark, is called “berberine” after these plants.  Goldenseal and Coptis (our native Goldthread as well as Huang Lian of Chinese herbal medicine and others – another name is Canker Root, which indicates use in mouth infections) are perhaps better known, but I focus on Barberry because it is invasive.  Barberry is also of interest as a wild edible.  The fruits are not highly sought after, but they are edible.  …

Toothache Plant

toothache_plantToothache plant is also commonly known by its genus name Spilanthes and by the name Eyeball Plant, for the flowerhead which lacks rays.  It is largely a tropical plant, where it often grows as a perennial.  In my part of the world, we grow Spilanthes as an annual.  I think of it as a quick-growing Echinacea analogue, as Echinacea takes several seasons to mature.  Like Echinacea, or Cone Flower, Toothache Plant produces a distinct tingling as well as an increased flow of saliva.  

If you are lucky enough to have fresh Toothache Plant growing (or smart enough to have planted it), simply pick a flower-head and chew it, or at least bite into it once or twice before stuffing it between your gum and cheek (or maybe under the tongue) near the troubled tooth.  

If you do grow Toothache Plant you can tincture it by chopping and soaking the plant (or just the flower heads) in high-proof alcohol.  After about four weeks (one moon cycle) you can strain the liquid off (perhaps by pouring through and then ringing out through cheesecloth) and store in a tightly sealed jar.  If dispensed from a one or two ounce bottle with a dropper lid, it is easy to drop from a few drops to half the dropper directly onto the trouble area.

Related: Survival Eating

The tingling effects from Toothache plant are quite immediate and strong in effect.  In fact, it can be overwhelming.  If you place too much tincture in your mouth or chew a bit too much of a flower-head, you might find your mouth producing almost more saliva than you can swallow.  Here-in lies some of the benefit, however.  Spilanthes helps to move the saliva and lymph and “wash out” the sick fluids around the tooth. Additionally, Toothache Plant is a distinct antimicrobial.  It quickly helps to resolve the infection that is at the root of the pain.   

Clove

cloveEven the Hagakure“The Book of the Samurai” mentions the protective and healing powers of clove.  Still today Clove is revered for its medicinal uses, and is known as a primary remedy for tooth pain.  Aromatherapists, herb shops, and distributors of essential oils have promoted especially the essential oil of Clove for toothache, and it is indeed a convenient remedy.  The distilled oil is liquid and usually sold in small bottles with a dropper.  Simply place a drop or two on your finger to apply or apply directly from the dropper onto the trouble area.  Clove is quite spicy and warming and will cause the tissue to burn.  Don’t use so much as to cause excessive irritation.  This burning sensation and warming of the tissue is in part what distracts one from the pain.  There is a numbing quality as well, and Clove has antimicrobial properties.

Clove essential oil can be mixed with other essential oils, like Tea Tree (Melaleuca).  Tea Tree is a wonderful antiseptic, though I am not real fond of putting it in my mouth.  It’s antiseptic properties are undeniable and for this reason I usually have some around, particularly for tick bites but also as a general antiseptic for cuts and the like.  Since you should have some around in your first-aid kit (I keep it in my truck, home, cabin, and even motorcycle saddlebags), it is well worth considering as a toothache remedy, especially mixed with Clove.

Clove oil or combination of oils can be mixed in with the oil used for oil pulling, described below.  It is also used in sword oils, for tending to the shinken or katana (sword).  So, depending on what type of survival situation you are preparing for, there are many possible reasons to have Clove oil around.  It can also be useful for digestive, respiratory, and circulatory problems, headaches, and in the treatment of injury.

Read Also: Eating All Your Veggies

Powdered Clove can easily be used by placing a pinch in the troubled area.  It can also be infused into oils, though you would want to allow more time for the oil to extract the medicine from the powder than when using the essential oil.  Even more time should be allowed if using whole Cloves.  Quite likely, you will want to grind them if you have only whole Cloves.  For storage purposes, whole Cloves might be prefered to the powder because of their longer shelf-life.  

Oil Pulling

oil_sesameOil pulling consists of swishing oil, such as Sesame oil, through the teeth and around the mouth in order to absorb the impurities of the mouth and gums.  Any oil will do.  Simply swish until your saliva has thoroughly been mixed with the oil and then some, about 15 to 20 minutes.  Then spit it out.  Repeat for acute toothaches.  Practice daily to avoid toothaches or for minor ones. Sesame oil is a commonly used oil, partially because Sesame has been used to strengthen the bones and teeth.  Of course today using Coconut oil is very popular.  In many areas Olive oil will be the most available.  Grapeseed oil is good too.  For an active infection, you can consider adding small amounts of clove oil, tea tree oil, or other antimicrobial oils.

Shiatsu

Shiatsu (Japanese for “finger pressure”), or acupressure, is also very good for toothache.  There are some points locally – some in the jaw for any toothache, and of course some might be of particular focus according to which tooth is affected.  There are also some points around the base of the skull, neck, and shoulders that help, partially by releasing the tension that often accompanies, and contributes to, tooth pain.  There are also distal points that are located elsewhere on the body.

A primary distal point for toothache is between the thumb knuckle and metatarsal bone of the index finger.  There is more-or-less a muscular mound that when pressed will usually be quite sore.  The point and general area can be pressed or massaged.  

Most of the other relevant points can be  simply felt out by massaging the area of the jaw, occiput, neck, and shoulders.  Especially the joint of the jaw, the muscle there, and the area around the teeth should be palpated for soreness and pressed or massaged.  Likewise, the base of the skull, the neck (especially the muscles and along the spine), and the tops of the shoulders should be rubbed and palpated.  There is one point in particular worth mentioning (the rest have to be saved for an article specifically on the subject).  It can be found by working one’s fingers along the base of the skull.  Although everyone is built a little different, there is usually a soft, and sore, spot between a mound behind the ear and a mound at the back of the neck.  By treating this point with pressure or massage it is possible to relax the whole neck, jaw, and shoulders and bring great relief to the pain.

This post is for informational purposes only.  Please consult your local physician if you have a real medical issue such as a toothache. The author is not a medical professional and does not make any claim to be one.

Photos Courtesy of:

Anna Hesser
Sara Rall
mwms1916
Lynda_2008
Nattu
Yukoinsunshine

Interested in writing for us? Send a sample of your work and an introductory statement to joel@survivalcache.com. Please use subject line: ‘Write for SurvivalCache/SHTFBlog’. If you’re a good fit, we’ll publish your work and compensate you accordingly.

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DIY Fuel: How To Turn Wood Into Briquettes

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DIY Fuel

By Chris Black – SurvivoPedia

Let me start today’s article with an axiom: despite the fact that DIY-ing briquettes is a hard and messy job, if you’re not afraid to get your hands dirty, you can make a reasonable income by selling (your extra) charcoal/wood briquettes.

The idea is that you can make DIY briquettes for your homestead provided you’re fine with “dirty jobs” whilst making an extra buck by selling some of them to your neighbors.

The demand for these babies is pretty high, so there’s definitely money to be made from briquettes.

Continue reading at SurvivoPedia: DIY Fuel: How To Turn Wood Into Briquettes

Filed under: Fire, Prepping

Winter Clothing Guide: How to Dress Warm – For Cold Weather

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WCK-cover-a

Well, I don’t know about you, but I hate freezing my butt off when it’s cold outside! Now add a worst-case scenario, and you could DIE out there, so it’s important to know how to dress for extended exposure to the frigid cold. Fortunately, it isn’t as hard as it might seem… especially with the addition of new clothing technology and a common sense approach.

Here’s How It Works..

Your body is a furnace that continuously generates surplus heat (when it is working properly), so all we need to do is use scaleable layers of the right clothing to PRESERVE the heat your body creates and maintain a comfortable micro-climate between your skin and outer layers of clothing- adding layers when you get cold and removing layers when you get too warm.

Layer #1: Sub Base Layer

Winter Clothing Kit

Sub-Base Layer Moves Moisture Away from Your Body

I’ve found that a snug pair of briefs and a long sleeve or sleeveless top made of nylon or polyester that is breathable, dries quick and pulls sweat away from your body works great. Short sleeve shirts tend to bunch up and be uncomfortable under thermals.

Under Armour and Exofficio brands are durable and have worked well for me and are great for year-round use, travel and bug-out bags because they wash out easily and dry quickly and can be reused without laundering.

Both brands make great sub-base layer products for the ladies,too.
Under Armour – Boxer Brief:
http://tinyurl.com/Boxer-Brief-WCK

Under Armour – Sleeveless Shirt:
http://tinyurl.com/UA-Shirt-WCK

Exofficio Briefs:
http://tinyurl.com/Exofficio-Brief-WCK

Winter Clothing Kit

Cotton Retains Moisture that Can Dangerously Lower Your Core Temperature

Cotton Clothing Warning

Cotton clothing is terrible for active extended exposure to the cold. Why? Because when you sweat or get wet from snow or rain, cotton absorbs moisture, loses its insulating properties and draws heat from your body instead of retaining it.

That’s bad news…
AND a sure fire recipe for hypothermia!

 Merino Wool is Best - It's NOT Scratchy and Keeps You Warm - Even When Wet

Merino Wool is Best – It’s NOT Scratchy and Keeps You Warm – Even When Wet

NEXT Up… We Need Socks… Wool Socks

AND not just any wool socks… I prefer Merino Wool Socks.

Merino wool is warm and softer than other wools so it’s NOT scratchy…. I hate scratchy wool!

Plus Merino wool is tough, wicks moisture, is breathable and naturally elastic, so my socks stay up in my boots.

 

Layer #2: Base Layer

We used to call these Long Johns or Thermals… NOT anymore.

Long sleeve top and bottoms made out of breathable yet insulating polyester like my PolarMax Base Layer are lightweight, roomy, warm and comfortable down to almost zero degrees Fahrenheit. But for extreme cold, I pull out my military issue polypropylene thermal top and bottoms.

Winter Clothing Kit

Your Base Layer is Essential to the Whole Equation of Staying Warm on the Coldest Days

Extreme Cold Base – Top:
http://tinyurl.com/Extreme-Base-Top-WCK

Extreme Cold Base – Bottom:
http://tinyurl.com/E-Base-Bottom-WCK

PolarMax – Double Base – Top:
http://tinyurl.com/PolarMax-Top-WCK

PolarMax – Double Base – Bottom:
http://tinyurl.com/PolarMax-Bottom-WCK

Heavyweight Merino Wool Base Layer:
http://tinyurl.com/Extreme-Base-CWC

Now We Need Some Pants…

Winter Clothing Kit

Wool or a 60%+ Polyester Blend Works Great – But I Prefer Wool

Durable, water and wind repelling pants made of wool or at least 60% polyester work great.

5.11 or Proper Tactical pants work really well over your base layer… but for extreme cold it’s hard to beat my military surplus winter wool trousers. Oh yeah!!!

And don’t forget your belt and multi-tool.

60% + Poly – Tactical Pants:
http://tinyurl.com/Tactical-Pants-WCK

Surplus Wool Pants:
http://tinyurl.com/Wool-Pants-WCV

Fleece Lined Pants:
http://tinyurl.com/Fleece-Lined-Pants

Paracord Belt:
http://tinyurl.com/Paracord-Belt-WCK

Multi-Tool:
http://tinyurl.com/Multi-Tool-WCK

Winter Clothing Kit

Layer #3: Core Layer

For tops, I layer two 100% poly fleece pullover shirts… a thinner one closer to my body and then a thicker one on top. And tops with 1/4 zippers on the front are helpful for regulating heat.

Fleece Pullover – Light:
http://tinyurl.com/Fleece-Shirt-WCK

Fleece Pullover – Heavy:
http://tinyurl.com/Fleece-Pullover-WCK

Keep ‘Em Loose
Make sure your core layers are NOT too tight because what really keeps you warm is having pockets of warm air between each clothing layer.

Layer #4: The Outer Shell

Winter Clothing Kit

A tough, insulated, water and wind repelling jacket is what you need.

For moderately cold temperatures, my tactical softshell jacket with hood works great and is very durable.

BUT when the temperature goes south of freezing I’m wearing a jacket with an outer shell that is highly water resistant and totally blocks the wind. Your coat must be well insulated to keep your core heat in and I think a hood is essential.

For extreme cold… nothing beats a down parka.

Tactical Jacket:
http://tinyurl.com/Tactical-Jacket-WCK

Free Country Insulated Jacket:
http://tinyurl.com/WP-Jacket-WCK

Extreme Cold Weather Clothing System – Coat
http://tinyurl.com/Mil-Tec-ECWCS-Jacket

Down Parka:
http://tinyurl.com/Parka-WCK

How About Ski Pants?
Although ski or 100% polyester pants may seem like a good idea, they can be pricey and also run the risk of melting when they come in contact with a spark or flame.

Winter Clothing KitBONUS Tip – How to Become Waterproof
To add a tough, scaleable, wind and waterproof outer shell for extreme weather protection… I recommend the Helly Hansen Impertech Jacket and Pants… just make sure you size them large enough to fit over all your winter clothing.

Helly Hansen Impertech – Rain Jacket:
http://tinyurl.com/HH-Jacket-WCK

Helly Hansen Impertech – Rain Pants:
http://tinyurl.com/HH-Pants-WCK

Boots
To keep your feet happy, I recommend comfortable, rugged, insulated, waterproof boots, that are not super bulky.

Winter Clothing KitThey need to keep your feet warm and dry and be able to stand up to hard extended wear if needed.

My current favorite all purpose winter boots are my Rocky Men’s Core Hunting Boots with 800 grams of Thinsulate… They are tough, warm, waterproof and SUPER comfortable to wear all day… but there’s a lot of choices out there… so you’ll have to try some boots on and find what works best for you.

NOW for your Feet Neck, Head and Hands…

Neckwear
Now around my neck I usually wear a polyester BUFF headwear scarf as a base layer to wick moisture and add a layer of cold resistance… Winter Clothing KitAnd then as an outer layer I add either a polyester neck warmer – like my vintage turtle fur… or a Shemagh Scarf Wrap.

Both are good options… but the Shemagh is my favorite due to the many ways it can be wrapped and used for neck, face and head protection… the downside is that the Shemagh is made of cotton… so it will be useless if it gets soaked.

BUFF Neck Wool Base Layer:
http://tinyurl.com/Buff-Neck-Base

Shemagh Scarf:
http://tinyurl.com/Shemagh-WCK

Neck Fleece:
http://tinyurl.com/Neck-Fleece

Winter Clothing Kit

Goofy Looking and Ridiculously Warm, this Natural Sheep Skin “Bomber” Hat is What Rides on My Head on the Coldest of Days. Nothing Else Even Comes Close

Headwear
Next… You gotta… Cover your head…

As a base layer for keeping the old NOGGIN’ warm, I recommend a simple fleece watch cap in addition to your insulated coat hood. Together they will offer scaleable protection from the cold and wind.

But for extreme cold… nothing beats my sheepskin bomber style hat.

Fleece – Cap:
http://tinyurl.com/Watch-Cap-WCK

Bomber / Trapper Hat
http://tinyurl.com/Bomber-Trapper-Hat

Winter Clothing KitGloves
Last, but not least, we need some tough and warm, water-resistant gloves. For maximum warmth, I can’t find anything better than a durable pair of insulated mittens, but for a versatile, glove made to work AND keep your hands warm, the Carharts Insulated Work Gloves are worth a look. I’ve been really pleased with them so far.

Carhartt Cold Snap Gloves:
http://tinyurl.com/Carhartt-Gloves

Leather Mittens:
http://tinyurl.com/Mittens-WCK

Winter Clothing Kit

Sun Glasses


One last final touch are sunglasses to protect your eyes from light reflecting off the snow and from bitter winds. I prefer tactical shooting glasses that provide maximum coverage.

So, there you have it… a simple, scaleable system that can keep you warm if you ever have to survival in the cold. Be Prepared and Stay Safe! ~David

Share

HERE’s a Bonus List of Arctic and EXTREME Cold Clothing Upgrades to ADD to Your Standard Cold Weather Clothing Kit:
http://tinyurl.com/Extreme-Base-Top-WCK

Extreme Cold Base – Bottom:
http://tinyurl.com/E-Base-Bottom-WCK

Bomber / Trapper Hat
http://tinyurl.com/Bomber-Trapper-Hat

Heavyweight Merino Wool Base Layer:
http://tinyurl.com/Extreme-Base-CWC

Muckluck Boots – Military Surplus (Don’t forget the liners):
http://tinyurl.com/Muckluck-Boots-WSC

Baffin Arctic Boots:
http://tinyurl.com/Baffin-Arctic-Boots

Balaclava – Extreme Face and Head Protection:
http://tinyurl.com/Extreme-Face-Prote…

Arctic Mittens:
http://tinyurl.com/Arctic-Mittens

Arctic Expedition Parka:
http://tinyurl.com/Expedition-Parka

Extreme Cold Weather Clothing System – Coat
http://tinyurl.com/Mil-Tec-ECWCS-Jacket

Arctic Expedition Pants
http://tinyurl.com/Expedition-Pants

Anti-Fog Snow Goggles:
http://tinyurl.com/Anti-Fog-Goggles

How to Keep Your Students Safe in an Era of Random Violence

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An uptick in violence has taken place in the United States in recent years. With over 10 incidents of school shootings in 2016 so far and additional incidents expected before the end of the year, it’s more important than ever that school staff prepare themselves for these and other so-called “random” acts of violence.

Students and adult campus visitors acquire weapons from:

  • Family members and friends
  • 3D printer designs shared freely online
  • Merchants who don’t follow gun control laws
  • Domestic and international terrorist groups

To keep students and yourself as safe as possible when violence erupts, do the following at your school immediately.

Educate Students and Staff

Educating students and colleagues about random violence is critical to their safety. Speak with your school administrator about providing classes that deal with situational awareness and recognizing the signs of a potential sudden violent event, protocols for reporting these signs and appropriate reactions to violence. Run live drills involving different scenarios to help students and staff better understand what to expect so that they’re more likely to remember their lessons during the real thing.

Involve Parents and Guardians

A community that works together to prevent violence has a better chance of doing so. Beyond asking parents/guardians for permission to teach their children critical survival skills, ask them to become active participants in the process. If any parents/guardians or their relatives are emergency first responders, ask them to speak at the school about their jobs and their protocols for responding to different worse case scenarios of random violence. Prepare parents/guardians for the potential questions about random violence that they might receive from their children. Additionally, talk to them about their own situational awareness and the actions they should take if they observe questionable events taking place when visiting the campus.

Take Self Defense Classes

You can’t hope to protect others if you don’t know how to protect yourself. Seek out a self-defense teacher who has a Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice. Keep in mind that the degree is important as post-graduate studies often focus on individual and group security measures related to random acts of violence. Take notes so that you can pass the knowledge and guidance you receive from your own teacher to students, teachers, other staff members and parents/guardians.

You can’t always prevent violence from occurring on a school campus, but you can help reduce injuries and deaths. Be as prepared as possible by implementing these techniques into your educational routine. Preventative safety measures save lives.

Meghan Belnap is a freelance writer who enjoys spending time with her family. She loves being in the outdoors and exploring new opportunities whenever they arise. Meghan finds happiness in researching new topics that help to expand her horizons. You can often find her buried in a good book or out looking for an adventure. You can connect with her on Facebook right here and Twitter right here.

Building a Basic Defensive Arsenal

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revolvers_prep

oil_well_americaTimes are tough. The economy is rolling, but not like a freight train. The country is in heavy debt from social spending and the support of conflicts abroad that are not really our conflicts. The middle class is taxed to death. The oil industry is still dragging. Ironically, we continue to import oil from the Saudis just as we discover a huge new oil field in Texas. Families struggle to support themselves with two or more jobs. Medical care costs are out the roof and insurance is crazy expensive. The post-election turmoil continues. Who knows how that will turn out?

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

With all this going on, how can any person, family or team interested in prepping afford to supply themselves with essentials much less build a decent protective weapons cache? It can be done. It has to be done with consideration for a bare bones approach. Here are some suggestions to formulate a plan if you are just getting started.

Begin with the Basics

chevy_truck_articleA good Ford F-150 or Chevy pickup will get you to work, and to bug out camp just as well as a $100,000 Land Rover. Actually, the pickup is probably the better choice anyway. It is the same concept in putting together a starter kit for personal protection prepping weapons. You don’t need the top bill guns to start out. What you need to do is shop smart and buy wisely.  With all kinds of debates on this topic, everybody has their own thoughts and opinions on what to get. The bottom barrel scratch kit should include a basic defense handgun, a good pump shotgun, and a defensive rifle. Again, this is not a wish list, but a base set of guns to get the job done.

Handgun of Choice

In the realm of handheld weapons there are base choices: a 5-6 shot swing out cylinder, double action revolver, or a magazine fed semi-auto pistol. The choices for a newbie are overwhelming. If you are so new to this game that you know virtually nothing about guns, then do your homework. There are plenty of resources: shop a good prepper gun book, the internet,  and seek out advice from firearms professionals.

As for revolvers, I suggest you find a good .357 Magnum, six shot, 4-6 inch, double action. With this handgun you can also shoot less recoiling .38 Specials in the same gun. There are two bonus features to that. Learn to shoot with less powerful loads that are cheaper to shoot, then have the full power .357 when needed.

9mm_handgunsIf these revolvers are too large to be comfortable for your grip, then opt for a smaller .38 Special with a four or six inch barrel. This is a protective wheel gun, not a concealment firearm. Go with fixed sights such or quality adjustable sights.  If you want to tackle the more complicated semi-auto pistol that is magazine fed through the base of the grip, I highly recommend the 9mm. This is a widely available, mid-range power pistol cartridge.I also recommend professional shooting instruction. Pistols have various safety mechanisms and other factors that demand instruction. Reading the owner’s manual is not enough.

There are dozens of choices for this type of pistol on the market. Choose a high quality pistol brand such as a Beretta, Glock, Colt, Smith and Wesson, Ruger, SCCY, SIG, or CZ. Handle as many full-sized pistols as you can. Steer away from the pocket pistol for an initial handgun.

Handgun costs vary widely for new and used guns. Revolvers can be found from $300 to $1000. Pistols are the same pricing from $400 on the low end to $1000. If you shop carefully, I think you can find a good pistol for $500 or less. Add a couple extra factory magazines and at least 500 rounds of ammo.

Smoothbores

shotgun_stock_ammoLet’s go simple here. Buy a pump action, 12-gauge shotgun. The 26-inch barrel is good, but some can handle an 18-20 inch barrel. Get screw in chokes so you can hunt with the gun. Choose either plain hardwood or black synthetic stocks. These shotguns will only have a bead sight up front to align when looking down the barrel. I am biased toward the Remington 870, but other brands are available.

In regards to bird hunting, buy several boxes of hunting shells with shot load sizes in #6, 7 ½, and 8. For defense, get some loads in buckshot or high brass #2s or 4s. Add a box or two of shotgun slugs for heavy hunting or heavy threats.

A good used 870 can be bought for $150-250. A brand new one can be had for $289 at Academy or other outlets. Buy the base model with matte finish and wood stock at this price.

Prepper Rifles

There is plenty of content available on prepper rifles. Treat this purchase as mentioned above for handguns. Again, let’s cut to the chase. If you could only have one defensive prep rifle to start with, then it needs to be a basic AR-15, 5.56 Nato/.223. There are dozens of options to buy.

ar15_purchase_gun_storeThe basic AR that offers the most versatility is an “optics ready” version or a model with a flat top Picatinny rail for mounting open sights or an optical scope. The hand guard should offer an accessory mounting system, Picatinny rail, M-Loc, or KeyMod arrangement so you can add sling mounts, flashlight, or handstops as needed.  Don’t go wild with accessories on a first, primary rifle. Learn to handle it, shoot it, maintain it and carry it. Accessorize it later. A good AR should cost no more than $800. At present there are nearly 500 AR rifle makers. Stick with a well-known, common factory rifle. Buy a manual on its upkeep, running, and maintenance.

For basics, add at least 10 high quality polymer magazines. Build your ammo stock up to a minimum of 1000 rounds. Add some practice, hunting, and defensive rounds. Load all your mags and mark them accordingly.

This is your basic piecemeal prepper gun kit. At the very least, this is a good place to start: one handgun, shotgun, and a rifle. The options are many. Wade into the swamp as soon as possible, get instruction, and practice. Advance your strategic and tactical skills with time. Soon you’ll be ready.

Photos Courtesy of:

John Woods
Diane Webb 
Stokes-Snapshots

A Survivors story!

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A Survivors story! Bob Hawkins “The APN Report” Audio in player below! A Survivors story. This week’s show we’ll be introduced to Joe Moore. When Hurricane Matthew roared up the Carolina Coast, all eyes were on the coastal regions as to the extent of the damage it brought. But days afterward an equally devastating storm came … Continue reading A Survivors story!

The post A Survivors story! appeared first on Prepper Broadcasting |Network.

Life-Saving Skills All Preppers Should Have

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Image Sources: Pexels.com

By The Survival Place Blog

As you can imagine, there are a lot of people in the prepper community who think they’re better prepared than they really are. They assume that because they have a getaway vehicle, bugout safe house, and an arsenal of different survival tools, that they’ll be safe if and when a disaster began tearing at the fabric of civilization. This isn’t necessarily true! The tools for survival are only as good as the person wielding them, so here are some essential skills every prepper must learn.

Image Source: Pexels.com

Water Purification

You’ve probably heard before that we can go three weeks without food, but a mere three days without water. Water is by far the most important thing you’ll need in a survival situation, so learning how to purify dirty water sources is essential to your skills as a prepper. There are three main techniques you can use to purify water. Boiling it for at least five minutes is probably the most accessible, provided you can start a fire and source an appropriate receptacle. Where you don’t have a heat source, chemical purifiers such as chlorine, iodine and potassium permanganate can be used, provided they’re in small enough doses not to be toxic! Store-bought charcoal and ceramic filters can also be handy for purifying water. Get familiar with all three of these techniques; your life could depend on it!

Fire Making Without a Lighter or Matches

After water, heat is among the most essential things you need for survival when civilization breaks apart. This will allow you to boil water and therefore purify it, cook food, ward off wild animals, and protect yourself from the cold. Fire is one of the first technologies that our earliest ancestors are thought to have harnessed, and there’s good reason for this! While you should certainly try to have a decent stock of matches and lighters in preparation for a worldwide disaster, these things are going to run out eventually, and after that you’re going to have to rely on your own means. Make sure you learn a few techniques for starting a fire, such as using a fire bow or flint and steel.

Whittling and Wood Working

One of the major things that’s going to make it hard for most people to adapt to life post-disaster is not having easy access to all the materials and commodities which we take for granted in our day to day lives. Without oil rigs, steel mills and so on, preppers need to learn a bit about manipulating the one material they’ll always be able to get a hold of: wood. You may have hated it in school, but get a few woodworking tools and start learning the basic principles of making some of the wooden structures and tools that you may need. Here’s a useful reference that will get you started. Of course, you’re going to have limited access to electricity when the grid goes down. However, learning woodworking can be exceedingly helpful even when you only have hand tools.

Learn these three skills, and you’ll be in a much better position when disaster strikes!

This article first appeared at The Survival Place Blog: Life-Saving Skills All Preppers Should Have

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

A Few Items for Your Dog’s Bug-Out Bag

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California Mountain Dog If you haven’t considered your pet for bug in and bug out situations, it’s about time you should. We’ve all seen videos of people caught in disasters who’re more concerned about finding their cat than they are about where they’re going to sleep at night. Besides, pets will be of immense value post-collapse when it comes to moral support. To them, all it matters is that you’re still together…

In today’s article I want to focus on dogs and their needs in bug out scenarios. Depending on its size and strength, a dog may or may not carry his own stuff. The rest will either go in your bug out vehicle’s trunk or inside your own BOB.

So let’s see some of these items that you should make part of your survival plan.

An Emergency Leash

If your dog is anything like mine, he’s going to be really, really scared if and when general panic sets in. You’re going to want to keep him on a leash at all times, particularly if you’re bugging out with your car. If you’re the one driving, you can’t afford Lucky to distract you, so have someone sit with him on the back seat.

Food and Water

Don’t pack too much, because they’re heavy. It all depends on the size of your dog. Store extra food and water in your car’s trunk and beware of high temperatures. Anything inside your car’s trunk that’s perishable should be rotated more often than what’s in your pantry or basement.

A Collapsible Dish

You can use it for other things, such as collecting rainwater or foraging. The more containers you have with you, the better. You never know what you’ll end up putting in them.

A Dog Crate… Also Collapsible

This is something you could add to your car bug out bag and even use it to store other supplies. Particularly useful if you’re going to camp in the woods, if you don’t want your dog to run away while you’re sleeping.

A First Aid Kit

You can opt for those pre-packed ones on the market or you can assemble one yourself. Just keep in mind that there’s a difference between a FAKs for people and those for dogs. If you do decide to assemble them yourself, I suggest you keep them separated.

Body Armor

Come again? Why would your dog need it? Because you’ll never know when a wild animal might attack him… or get hit by a bullet You don’t want him unprotected when he’s trying to protect you. Soft armor vests are lightweight and have lots of pockets where you can fit many of the items given in this article.

Two Inflatable Mini-Beach Balls

This may sound weird but consider the scenario where you all need to cross a large body of water. Even if your dog can swim, can he do it with weight on his back? If you add something inflatable on both sides of the backpack, it’ll be much easier. A couple of small inflatable 5” beach balls will do.

Glow Sticks

Glow sticks make great emergency lighting because they have a 5-year shelf life (so long as you don’t crack them open), they pose no fire risk and are powerful enough to light your way. Tie one to your dog’s collar to be able to see him in the dark.

A Few Ziploc Bags

They have numerous alternative uses so it’s always good to have a few. These should be in every survival bag (GHB, BOB, car BOB) and even as part of your edc – they are crucial for survival because they have so many uses.

Vaccination Records

If you can laminate them, even better. If your dog gets lost and someone finds him or if he bites someone, they might help.

Dog Nail Clippers…

…because SHTF hygiene is crucial.

Dog Boots

During a bug out, it’ll be easier for your pup to run and walk on uneven terrain. Boots don’t add too much extra weight on its back. The only thing to do beforehand is getting it used to wearing them.

A Small Toy

A toy might keep a scared dog busy. If you put it in your own bag, you can use it to make him come to you if he strays away.

A Muzzle

A scared dog is an aggressive dog, and you don’t want him biting someone to hinder your bug-out. A muzzle will also tell other people that your dog bites (even if he doesn’t), and some of them will be discouraged to attack you.

A Respirator Mask

…in case Yellowstone decides to erupt, but also useful in case of a nuclear meltdown to keep radiation particles out of his respiratory system, though these respirators aren’t bulletproof; they’re just better than nothing, for larger particles such as dust.

A Few Items for Your Own Use

If you have enough room, you might as well put things that are really for the benefit of everyone. For example, you can put some dryer lint, because it’s a great fire-starter as well as lightweight…

Now What?

One you start getting some of these things, you’ll need to get your dog accustomed to wearing boots and having a backpack on his back. Heck, you can even go as far as simulating a bug out situation just to see how much Lucky will slow you down and see how easy it’ll be to keep him near you when you’re in a hurry.

The writer of this article would like to follow his own advice and remain anonymous.

The 6 Unbreakable Laws Of Survival You Need To Know

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Survival Life recently put together an awesome article based on a video by the Youtube channel, City Prepping. It serves as an excellent introduction to preparedness and survival. What do you think are the 6 most important preps / abilities every prepper should have? This article has the answer. Vince writes, “When it comes to […]

The post The 6 Unbreakable Laws Of Survival You Need To Know appeared first on Urban Survival Site.

Environ-Home: Live Life Alongside the Environment With These Awesome Hacks

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By The Survival Place Blog

Making your home more environmentally friendly is important. You need to live a greener life alongside the environment. Becoming more self-sufficient is a wonderful way of making sure you improve survival skills and help care for the planet too.

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Solar Energy

We are moving towards a greener and more eco-friendly world, and this is a good thing. But we still have a way to go yet. So you need to do as much as you can to make sure you are as energy-efficient as possible. In recent years we’ve seen the likes of Chile’s Renewable Energy Conference show the importance of greener living. It doesn’t matter if you’re a business or an individual, renewable energy is the future for all of us, so we need to understand that and prepare for it.

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Image Source: Pixabay.com

Grow Your Own Food

One of the key things you can do to have a greener life is to start growing your own food. And you’ll notice that more and more people are doing that these days. You don’t even need an allotment to do it. You can convert areas of your garden into a vegetable patch, etc. Growing your own food is a wonderful way to enjoy the freshest produce and save yourself some money in the process. It also allows you to learn the skills of planting and growing and feeding yourself naturally.

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Limited Technology

Technology is so prevalent in life these days that many people have forgotten how to do things without it. There are a lot of things we take for granted these days because we have technology to do it all for us. So, to enjoy a more natural life, you need to make sure you limit your technology usage. This doesn’t mean you have to go all out Amish. But, you should try to cut down on the amount you use, and, where possible, refrain from using technology. This will give you a greater appreciation of the outside world and how wonderful nature can be sometimes.

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Learn to Live off the Land

It’s important to learn valuable survival skills wherever you can, and that means living off the land. You can take weekend or week-long excursions to learn how to do this. You can also move to somewhere more remote so you can make full use of the natural resources that are around. Our ancestors used to live off the land all the time, and we have lost our way somewhat. If you can learn to do this, then you will have picked up some of the most valuable survival skills. It means that if anything were to go awry, and you had to survive in the wilderness, you’d be fine.

Having a more simple and stripped back existence is crucial for helping you live life alongside the environment. You want to try to turn your home into an eco-home and learn to live alongside nature a bit more. We get so caught up with technology these days that we wouldn’t survive without it. At least you’ll be okay if the apocalypse should hit!

This article was first seen at The Survival Place Blog: Environ-Home: Live Life Alongside the Environment With These Awesome Hacks

Filed under: How To Prepare, Prepping

5 DIY Survival Tools To Make From Scratch

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DIY survival tools

By  – SurvivoPedia

Let’s begin today’s article with a question: do you know what homo sapiens means? Well, I bet you do. But then again, how about homo faber? What’s the relation between homo sapiens and homo faber?

Translated literally, homo faber means “man, the maker.”

To put it simply, let’s assume that dolphins are very intelligent creatures since that’s what I hear constantly on National Geo and the Discovery Channel.

But that intelligence doesn’t help them much; they’re just the same as they were 500,000 years ago. Cute, intelligent creatures that constantly get caught in our fishing nets (by mistake) and they can’t get out. They often end up in tuna cans (that’s why I never eat tuna, but I’m digressing).

Are you starting to get the picture?

Homo faber is a peculiar creature, and I mean us, the people, the only “animals” on the planet which are able to control their environment through the use of – you guessed it – tools. Okay, tools and a juicy brain-to-body ratio. Some say that we control our fate too with those same tools, but I have my doubts about that.

Continue reading at SurvivoPedia: 5 DIY Survival Tools To Make From Scratch

Filed under: Emergency Survival Tips, Prepping

Natural Disaster Prep: Essential Supplies for a Local Emergency

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A disaster caused by a severe storm, earthquake, volcano or other natural event can happen at any time. Although you should always prepare for a natural disaster based on the types of emergencies that occur in your geographic region, you should also prepare by having the following supplies in emergency kits in your home, office and vehicle:

Medical Supplies

Natural disasters often cause physical injury to people and pets. These injuries can range from small scratches and cuts to broken bones, burns, concussions and blocked airways. Set up a tote or pack with the most important common medical supplies, including bandages, antiseptic, burn cream, wraps, antihistamines, pain killers, splints, cold and heat packs, and a folded heat reflective emergency blanket. Additionally, add an emergency event common injury and treatment guide to your kit and a 30-day supply of medicines sealed in a water-proof plastic zipper-style bag.

Clothing and Blankets

Sometimes a disaster forces individuals and families to relocate at a moment’s notice. Pack at least three outfits and a week’s worth of underclothes and socks in your kit along with a tightly rolled up regular blanket secured with a belt. Although an emergency heat blanket is smaller and great for short-term use, it’s also wise to have a non-thermal regular blanket handy for more frequent use when you’re displaced from warm conditions for longer than a day. You can also use the blanket to cover the ground to create an eating area or as a privacy screen at a shelter.

Activated Charcoal Filters

Dehydration is always a possibility after a natural disaster. Although you might add bottled water to your natural disaster kit, a water purification system offers a more lightweight and long-term solution. You can easily buy activated charcoal filters to add to your emergency kit. Keep them in your kit or even a backpack to remove many types of contaminants and impurities like dirt, sand and organic and inorganic chemicals from rain barrel, stream, river, lake and other water sources.

Non-Perishable Foods

Beyond clean water, you also need to have access to nutrient-rich foods. Regularly refresh your emergency natural disaster kit with non-expired granola bars, dried fruit, vegetable chips, canned foods and other non-perishables so that you don’t have to worry about dealing with low energy, poor thinking and hunger right after a natural disaster. Don’t worry about the expense of creating your emergency kits. You will see that the upfront investment of time and money was well worth it when a disaster happens.

Written by Rachelle Wilber

Cold Weather: The Great Equalizer

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forest_cold_winterFor preppers, cold weather has to be the worst of the elements.   In some parts of the country we are just entering the phase of the harshest part of winter. It has been pretty mild in most cold zones, but Mother Nature being as she is, I expect that to change.  Remember, if you saw the Seattle-Minnesota NFL playoff game last year, the air temp on the field was at or below zero not counting the -10-20 degree wind chill factor. How would you like to be outside during a SHTF in that?

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

How do you prepare for and survive a bug out with outside temperatures in the teens or worse? It is the ultimate challenge in my mind. Cold has a way of sinking into the soul. Can you remember photos of the German Army marching in to Russia in WWII?   How about Valley Forge with soldier’s feet wrapped in mere cloth because no boots were available? I shiver just thinking about it. Cold can zap your spirit and take your life.

Structural Preparation

But like any other part of preparing for a SHTF, preppers can prepare for cold weather, too. First and foremost some kind of shelter has to be paramount. You simply cannot sustain yourself in zero temps huddled under a tarp cover. Even a cloth or nylon tent is sketchy. One exception might be a high quality outfitters wall tent with a good wood, propane, or gas stove inside. Protection from cold, wet and wind is essential to survive the winter months.

Related: Tarp or Tent Debate 

Better yet some kind of a fixed house, barn or structure. Doors and windows can be sealed and walls insulated. A wood stove or even a fireplace would generate some heat to stave off the penetrating impact of the cold. Kerosene or propane gas heaters could also be deployed. If you live or escape to where it could be cold, then plan now.

Camping trailers are an option, too, as a bug out shelter in addition to being available for regular recreational use.   If considering a trailer to tow, shop for one with good wall and floor insulation and a good heating system. Most likely a heater and cook stove will be fueled by propane, so plan for ample supplies for a long term stay if needed. Try to park and anchor a trailer out of prevailing winds with a tree line screen or other protective block.

Clothing Matters 

Obviously proper clothing is an essential defense against cold.  That cotton hunting outfit will not do. Forget the blue jeans for driving winds and snow. And don’t be fooled by some highly marketed super fabrics either. Many of them fail in the cold. Go for well insulated outfits and or wool. Wool from head to toe will provide better body heat retention than just about anything else, even when wet.

Read Also: It’s Winter – Don’t Go Hiking Without Proper Clothing! 

Though you’ve heard it many times until you’re dizzy, layering is still the best strategy. Use wicking layers against the skin and work out from there. Then, just like a wall thermometer, as you heat up or cool down, you can adjust by taking off or putting on layers. Don’t forget a good hat or beanie to stop body heat from escaping through your head. Use a scarf for the neck.

Get proper boots, and gloves, too. If there is a driving wind, then a protective facemask adds warmth and skin protection as well. Cold weather boots such as Schnee’s or Kenetrek boots with the wool liner inserts provide exceptional foot protection from the cold. Your boots should be totally waterproof and well insulated.

frost_tree_pine_winterSupplemental heat can also be added to the exterior of the body by using the chemical heat up pads that can be placed in gloves, boots or as body wraps. The ones that stick on the bottom of socks add an extra measure of warmth for cold feet. Place them on top of the toes and the bottom for even longer heat generation. There are battery operated or rechargeable boot heaters, too, but these require extra batteries or access to a power source to recharge them.

During super cold you have to eat right and hydrate more than you might think. Internal ovens  fed with protein foods with a good mix of carbs.   Cold weather will drag on your mind and body. Prepare ahead to withstand it and you will survive it.

All Photos Courtesy of:
John Woods

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The Fallkniven Professional Hunting Knife: When Quality Really Matters

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fallkniven_phk_professional_hunting_knife_closeAs knife designs evolve they have to overcome the traditions and stereotypes of the past. In an effort to drive knife sales, manufacturers have produced more versatile, creatively inspired blades. While this has yielded a multitude of blades, some manufacturers have missed the mark entirely with poorly designed, gimmicky knives. Others, like Fällkniven, produce modern blades that are just as useful as traditional blades. In 1984, Fällkniven opened its doors to the world and pushed blade technology to new limits. 

By Doc Montana, a Contributing Author of Survival Cache and SHTFBlog

There seems to be very few constants in knife making these days. I can think of two constants: human strength and cutting capacity. The ideal blade isn’t too dull, flexible, or blunt. If you will, the ideal blade is a ‘Goldilocks Blade’. Beyond that, there are few rules. With this being said, there are many traditions and these must be properly navigated in order to innovate.

The Hunted

fallkniven_phk_professional_hunting_knife_blade_profileSince the mid-1980s the Fällkniven Knife Company has served the needs of those who might find themselves floating to earth under a parachute, or working their way back home after a crash landing. The Fällkniven F1, also known as the Swedish Pilots Knife, is a small package of cutting dynamite. With the F1, hunting is on the menu, but the menu is quite large with many vegetarian options. I carried the F1 in my hunting kit, but often found myself looking around for something better when it came to hunting tasks and game processing. Fällkniven, in usual fashion, answered the call.

Read Also: Survival Gear Review: Fällkniven A1 Pro

The Fällkniven Professional Hunting Knife, or PHK, is a gorgeous upswept-point blade of mildly larger proportions than dusty traditions would specify. Frankly, the moment I saw the design of this blade, I knew it would be good. There was just something so right about it. It carried forward the belly of a skinner with the rigidity of a wilderness blade while offering the user more control. The Fällkniven Professional Hunting Knife has an upsweep-drop point which seems like it could be an oxymoron, but in fact it’s the best of both worlds. Perhaps it is the best of all worlds.

The potentially contradictory blade shape of upswept-drop point is an irony of iron that really works. Traditionally upswept designs are elegant but small slicers are arguably more effective. When the blade exceeds the distance between palm and index finger, the whole hand must move beyond the grip. This motion compromises safety and is simply inefficient. It’s a dangerous move that requires practice especially when done quickly or blindly. On traditional larger drop point blades, the tip of the blade rides below the index fingernail meaning it’s easier to poke a hole into the skin or membrane during a slice. The pros can drag the tip precisely like a surgeon’s scalpel, but anything done in the field or elements is risky. And the more blood and sweat in the mix, the more likely the game won’t be the only one skinned. However, on the Fällkniven Professional Hunting Knife the upswept drop point allows fairly precise driving even from the back seat. The thick spine provides firm control and the added length in front of the fingertip is user friendly.

Iron Maiden

The iron coursing through the veins of the Fällkniven Professional Hunting Knife blade is a 3G laminated steel scoring a 62 on the Rockwell hardness scale (HRC). The tang is a broad protruding one that, like Fällkniven’s survival blades, pops out the back of the grip completing the solidity of this package. A single grommeted hole graces the far end of the kraton grip allowing a lanyard to be attached.

Related: Fallkniven A1 Survival Knife

fallkniven_phk_professional_hunting_knife_archeryBut with change comes controversy. If mildly noticeable deviations from the blade norm raise eyebrows, then drawing your PHK from the sheath will leave mouths agape. Without knowing it, most survivalist and hunters are carrying on a tradition that began long ago. The camo-clad crowd spouts “two is one, and one is none.” Big blades and little blades have been complementing each other for millennia. Big jobs are for the big knife and small jobs are for the small knife. A further refinement of this concept did develop further prejudice and that is with the sacrificial blade and the primary blade, or the Pawn and the King, if you will. In hunting circles, there is the hunting knife that is cared for, babied, and often rides safe and warm in the hunting pack instead of on the belt. Then, there is the working knife that does all the daily maintenance and dirty jobs far below the noble duties of the king. I admit that I practice this bit of favoritism, but in terms of survival, the OO knife (double-oh knife), or Only One knife concept is very real when the hunting gear must be high speed, low drag.

Traditions Change

I think hunting knives began to evolve when hunting moved from an out-the-backdoor activity to a pseudo-military expedition into the untamed wilderness. There’s not a lot of hardware to carry when popping a Bambi off the back porch. You gut the beast right there donating the innards to the predators that keep the place clean and tidy. Afterwards, you drag the carcass back home and string it up on a tree to cool. When ready, you head to your  kitchen for some meat and bone-specific cutlery. 

All is fine and dandy until you are miles into the woods and your quarry might not go down willingly like the whitetail snacking on your hedges. Enter the big hunting knife. When money and carry-weight is tight, items seem to gain more uses. Military knives moved from BDU belt accessory to top-tier hunting wardrobe. The knife needed to run triple-duty as a camp knife for those lifetime adventures in the national parks, off-grid hunting expeditions, and self-defense.

Like all evolutionary change, as one critter specializes, another pops up to capitalize on the available niche. So as the hip-hugging hunting knife moved away from the detailed work and more towards bigger cruder jobs, little knives moved in like tiny mammals taking over the mini-landscape left behind as the dinosaurs grew bigger. Then, when the mighty asteroid dirtied up the place 65 million years ago, the little furry warmbloods made their move. And here we are, more or less.

fallkniven_phk_professional_hunting_knife_gutting-birdSpecialized knives started to weigh down the hunter who might actually carry a combat blade for general outdoor use, a razor-sharp cutting knife, a skinning knife, a bone saw, and perhaps even a hunting hatchet to split open those pesky big game rib cages and detach bony limbs. What drove this equipment frenzy was the search for exactly the right tool for the job, and not the best tool for many jobs. While at home, you can have all the specialized tools and blades you want. Carrying them on your back and belt is a different story. Especially when you know you will need to use the knife for many other non-hunting chores and rarely for the chore it was designed for.

Small is Big

In a strange twist on a perpetual theme, there was a movement that started out with good intentions but ended up causing a mess. That movement was fueled by the belief that the better a hunter you were, the smaller the knife you needed. This was the opposite of the Bowie and Tennessee Toothpick persona. Imagine Rambo whipping out his Spyderco Ladybug. Maybe let’s not. The issue rose to epic proportions when a hunting knife could be mistaken for a scalpel complete. Of course, another knife was needed for regular camp tasks, and an even larger blade was carried for the traditional forest duties. So add to the growing pile of knives the sharpening tools and extra blades necessary to keep the knives in the fight.

Further Reading: Three Excellent Survival Knives for Under $100

But the same evolutionary rules that lead to the population explosion of knives can also lead to extinction. Blades were staying home and hunters were squeezing more performance and specialized jobs out of knives obviously not designed for such work. As the proverbial pendulum began a healthy swing back towards center, so started another renaissance of sorts with hunting knives. The short ones got a little longer, thin ones got a little thicker, the pointy ones got a little more dropped, and knives of all kinds implemented the full belly of the skinner.

fallkniven_phk_professional_hunting_knife_carvingTaking advantage of this enlightenment in hunting knives was none other than Fällkniven. By creating an obviously unique take on the philosophical concept of a hunting knife, the Fällkniven PHK has hints of many different blades from Samurai Sword, to Tanto fighting knife, to skinning blade, to wilderness knife, to survival blade. In fact, the PHK is like a piece of contemporary art that assumes the preferences of the viewer as much as standing on its own. In other words, the PHK does it all, and most things well. At five millimeters thick, the PHK blade shares a level of strength uncommon to traditional hunting knives. And its blade length exceeds the hunting industry standard by about an inch. Further, the attention Fällkniven gave to hygiene is something more in line with the butcher shop than the killing field. The stainless steel and kraton grip clean up nicely and provide few homes for bacteria.

In general, the PHK guts like a gutter, skins like a skinner, chops like a chopper and slices like a slicer. It does none of these things quite as good as a blade specifically designed and dedicated to such tasks, but the PHK is well within the margin of error for modern task-specific cutlery. Adding to this list, the Fällkniven PHK also worked great as a minor clever as it crunched through upland game bird wings and legs with skill and finesse. The full belly rolls smoothly through all things aviary, and breaks the bones of any fish you can lift. But big game is another story. Processing hundreds of pounds of animal requires some seriously edged firepower so pushing eight inches of blade length around a carcass is a task well within the Fällkniven Professional Hunting Knife skill set.

Photos Courtesy Of:

Doc Montana

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Life-Saving Tips For Evacuating A City

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By The Survival Place Blog

When we think of large-scale terrorist attacks, epidemics, natural disasters, or any of the other threats facing society, I’m sure you’ll agree that the one place you don’t want to be is in a large city. This is where there’s likely to be the biggest loss of life, and a massive crush of fleeing people that will make it extremely difficult to survive. However, if you’re living in a city, it’s still possible to survive in the event of a major disaster. Here are a few valuable pieces of advice to keep in mind.

Know your Route(s)

Seen as it’s where you live, I’ll assume that you know your city and the area around it like the back of your hand. If you had to evacuate at short notice, which route would be the fastest out of the city? This is probably easy to determine for any local. After you’ve established this however, you need to start thinking about back-up routes. During mass-evacuations, it’s very common for highways and main routes out of urban areas to get clogged up with traffic, and bring everything to a standstill. This is not the route you want to take when you need to get out! If you can’t use your primary route, think about alternatives, and rank them according to how quick and accessible they’ll be.

Secure a Bug-Out Vehicle

If there’s one thing that’s going to influence your chances of survival in the event of a disaster more than anything, it’s the vehicle you have. When I say “bug-out vehicle”, I mean a real one, not just any ordinary car. Trucks and SUVs are generally the best choices for people with families. It needs to be AWD, well-maintained, and capable of tackling pretty much any terrain. After securing your bug-out vehicle, you need to get into a routine of checking on it, making sure it’s well-maintained and ready to go whenever you need it. While a car of some description is the best choice if you have a family to take with you, motorcycles can often be a better option if you’d be evacuating alone. This is due to their ability to negotiate high-traffic areas, and their versatility on various landscapes. If you’ve never rode a motorcycle before, start doing some research on blogs like Bikers’ Basics.

Know the Warning Signs

If you know what to look for leading up to a scenario where it’s necessary to evacuate, you’ll have a considerable edge. The authorities will always announce a citywide evacuation when it really hits the fan. This will cause a massive, sudden rush of people, causing entire roads to be jammed up with traffic, and possibly some rioting. As you can imagine, you’ll stand far better chances of survival if you’re one of the people who leaves before the authorities tell everyone to. Your routes will be more accessible, and the sense of calm will reduce the chances of you running into any other serious problems that come with the panic of a citywide disaster.

This article first appeared at the Survival Place Blog: Life-Saving Tips For Evacuating A City

Filed under: Emergency Survival Tips, Prepping

6 Vital Emergency Kit Additions

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Emergency kits contain many items that you’ll need during a crisis, such as flashlights, flares, bandages, radios, and bottled water. These items are necessary staples, but there are plenty of useful items that aren’t usually included in your basic kit.

Water Purifier

Bottled water is a definite necessity to include in your kit, but there’s always the possibility that you will run out. Keeping a purifier on hand will allow you to purify nearby sources of water if your stock of bottled water runs out.

Vitamin Supplements

You never know when your alertness level could be the difference between life and death, so it’s important that you stay awake during a crisis. Vitamin supplements can help with fatigue by giving you bursts of energy, and can also help to boost a person’s immune system when they’re dealing with high levels of stress. The last thing you want to worry about is getting sick during a crisis. Pre-packaged vitamin blends often have daily essentials in addition to energy boosters.

Power Banks

You may not have cell phone service during a crisis, but you should still keep your phone fully charged. Your cell phone is your lifeline, so make sure you have a spare charger to put in your emergency kit. Power banks are more useful than standard chargers because they can charge your cell phone even if you don’t have electricity. Many crises leave victims without electricity, so a power bank definitely qualifies as a necessity.

Pepper Spray

Criminal activity still occurs during natural disasters, so it’s important to be prepared for it. Protecting yourself from the immediate danger should be your first priority, but that doesn’t mean you need to leave yourself defenseless to other threats. Pack one container of pepper spray for each member of your home so that no one is left defenseless.

Portable Toilet

You might not have access to a bathroom during a crisis, so it’s vital that you have a portable toilet to avoid any discomfort. Many outdoor retailers, like Blackpine Sports, offer high quality portable toilets for camping or emergencies. If you invest in a portable toilet, be sure to also get plenty of extra waste disposal and odor control bags to go with it to keep sanitary and comfortable.

Cash and Copies of Identification

If you’re forced to evacuate your area, you’ll need cash and identification down the line. Identification is especially important in the event that your home is destroyed or your property is damaged, as you may need it to present to law enforcement or your insurance company.

You can never be too prepared for a crisis. Prepare for any emergency and pack your provisions accordingly. Stocking up on necessities now is the best way to reduce your risk of danger later.

Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and recent graduate of the University of New Mexico. She writes for many online publications and blogs about home improvements, family, and health. She is an avid hiker, biker and runner. Contact her via twitter @BrookeChaplan.

Family Fun That Doubles As The Preparedness Training You Need

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By The Survival Place Blog

The stereotype of preppers is one that very much doesn’t fit the reality a lot of us live in. Many will imagine that we’re loners without families. In reality, a lot of us have kids and spouses who we’re keen to protect as much as ourselves if not more. So, as a prepper with a family, you need to start preparing them, too. It just so happens to be that there are plenty of activities you can get into year round to help with that.

Real camping

An obvious activity to get into is camping. There are plenty of great spots for it. But we’re not talking about the places with running water and electricity within five feet. To really benefit from camping, you need to go as wild as you can. You need to teach your family to create rope from nature, how useful a knife is for first aid and cooking and how to really thrive in the wild.

Traversing those waters

Being near water when out in the wild is important. Being able to move over it is even better. If cars and public transport fail, then water is one of the best ways to travel. Look up the best sit on top kayak and get practicing. It helps a lot that kayaking is one of the most fun ways to spend your time in the water.

Nature hikes

When you’re not camping, considering taking the family to see some of the most beautiful environments that nature has to offer. But don’t just take the sights in. Learn them. Consider using apps to start identifying different plants. There are those with harmful properties as well as helpful ones. Not to mention all kinds of foodstuffs that could be foraged when needed. Make your hikes a much more educational experience. That knowledge of nature is something we’ve been lacking for far too long.

A good fishing trip

As important as nature is, it’s also important we learn how to sustain ourselves from it. Fishing has that obvious benefit. But it’s also a great way to teach your kids some important values. Values like patience and dedication. It also serves as a time to spend one-to-one with your kids. The intimate peace of a fishing trip can be a tremendous force in building lasting bonds.

Winter building

Not every activity is best done in Spring and Summer. Camping is one thing, but it’s not enough in the Winter. Yet Winter can be one of the most magical times to get out in nature. So take your kids somewhere you can all practice building a Winter shelter together. Build yourself a cozy space where you can sit inside with your family and watch the landscape fill up with snow. The kids are guaranteed to love it and you’re guaranteed a skill that could one day be the deciding factor for your survival.

What we consider recreation was once essential for survival. If the world we know changes (as it has before and will again), they might be essential still. Make sure your family is as prepared as you.

This article first appeared at The Survival Place Blog: Family Fun That Doubles As The Preparedness Training You Need

Filed under: How To Prepare, Outdoor Recreation, Prepping

Essentials To Convince Your Non-Prepper Friends They Need

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By The Survival Place Blog

It goes without saying that we are living in uncertain times. Anyone who keeps their eye on the news will know that the human race hasn’t been so divided in most of our living memory. Of course, there are people around now who lived through World War 2, so it would be disrespectful to say things have never been so bad. But right now, it’s easy to envisage a scenario in which things escalate fast.

When you’re a prepper, you get used to people’s reactions to you telling them. For the longest time, it has been a case of glazed eyes, polite smile and “Oh! OK!” from the majority and “Tell me more” from a few. Perhaps for the first time for a lot of us, the latter reaction is becoming increasingly frequent. So if you’re speaking to a friend, family or a trusted acquaintance, what would you tell them is the most important thing to have should the worst happen?

We’re not talking about people becoming preppers here. Some people are too tied to their everyday homes to be ready for it yet. You won’t persuade everyone. But you can tell them a few things that they can put in their home, glove box or their boot. It’s a start – a kind of mini everyday carry.

As Much Drinking Water As They Can Fit

When things go down, infrastructure takes a hit early on. Some people even say that local authorities turn off water supplies so that they can put in place a state of emergency. True or not, it does mean you find yourself stuck without one of nature’s essentials. And that sends people straight to the grocery store to panic-buy as much as they can carry. So stocking up in advance is just common sense.

A Power-Outage Preparedness Kit

A generator would usually be best, but not everyone can be talked into buying one. If they feel safe in their home, they often don’t want to keep fuel around there, and if they don’t need a generator they don’t want one. Add to that the fact that fuel prices skyrocket in such times, and it takes commitment to make that jump. But a gas stove, heater and a flashlight like a Vultra Bright Torch can never be a bad idea.

A Means Of Self-Defense

Nothing divides preppers and non-preppers like getting armed. It’s a controversial issue, and if you want to help someone you won’t insist that they buy a firearm. It’s a good way to scare them away. However, non-lethal methods of protecting yourself are essential tools in the middle of unrest.

Along with the advice that you never engage someone unless there is no alternative, pepper spray is an option. It’s a safe, non-controversial means of keeping things from getting too hairy. If someone’s not ready to become a hero, do not advise them to try. That’s a situation that will end badly for someone – probably them.

Some people just aren’t of the mindset to go full prepper and bug out when the situation demands it. But you can help them stay safe – and let them know you’re at the end of a phone if they need more help.

This article first appeared at The Survival Place Blog: Essentials To Convince Your Non-Prepper Friends They Need

Filed under: How To Prepare, Prepping

20 Tips for Soldiering Through an Economic Meltdown

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20 Tips for Soldiering Through an Economic Meltdown

By Gaye Levy – Backdoor Survival

Three years ago, I wrote about our deteriorating economy.  As I recall, the words were “current lousy economy”.  The good news is that so far, a global economic meltdown has been abated.  And the bad?

From what I can determine by simply opening my eyes and looking around, we are nowhere near the recovery that politicians and the economists in their hip pocket are touting. If anything, we are barreling forward to a collapse not unlike the big crash of 1929.

Continue reading at Backdoor Survival: 20 Tips for Soldiering Through an Economic Meltdown

About the author:

Gaye Levy started Backdoor Survival so that she could share her angst and concern about our deteriorating economy and its impact on ordinary, middle-class folks. She also wanted to become a prepper of the highest order and to share her knowledge as she learned it along the way. On Backdoor Survival you will find survival and preparedness tools and tips for creating a self-reliant lifestyle through thoughtful prepping and optimism.

To read more from Gaye, visit her website, Backdoor Survival. You can also follow Gaye on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest or purchase her eBook, The Prepper’s Guide to Food Storage on Amazon.com.

Filed under: Economy, Prepping

When The Day Comes, You Best Know How To Get Your Own Food

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By The Survival Place Blog

We’ve been talking about how frequent unrest is becoming nowadays. The silent majority has spoken and maybe those above don’t like it all that much. We don’t know when it’ll happen, but we’re edging closer to collapse. If that happens, then you need to be prepared. Not only to fend for yourself but to feed yourself. Here, we’ll look at some of the essentials you’re going to need to sustain yourself when all the stores are shut.

Access drinking water

The very first thing you need to do is learn how to get your drinking water when the pipes go off. We can’t survive very long without water. There are a few steps to it. In the short term, build up your stock of water purifying tablets. Bear in the mind that you need a water filter system before you use these tablets. They can’t get rid of large impurities. But you need to prepare for when your stock of those run out, too. Do that by learning how to build a well on your very own property.

Getting your catch

Hunting and fishing are going to become some of the most valuable skills to have when the time comes. Don’t treat it as a hobby, treat it as practice. Take lessons if you have to. Make sure you know your equipment and stock up on things like the best trolling motor battery. The tools that make hunting and fishing easier might seem like a convenience now. But when fishing becomes your primary source of food, you better believe they’ll be some of the most valuable tools in your arsenal.

Identifying safe foraging food

Back in the day, before life got comfortable, foraging was how we spent our time. We found the food most convenient for us and we learned which ones we could eat. Practicing that skill now is going to help you in the near future, too. It’s not enough to learn as you go. If you want to survive, do your studying on which foods are safe to forage now. Learn and practice while you still have access to the internet and books on the matter. Above all else, don’t try to eat any foods unless you’re 100% sure that they’re safe.

Storing food the manual way

A smart hunter-gatherer doesn’t just find food, of course. They also know how to keep as much of it in surplus as they can. If you prove good at your skills, then you might have extra that you don’t want to spoil. So you have to start learning the skills of preparing long lasting foods now. From turning those berries into jams to learning how to dehydrate and keep long-lasting chicken. Food storage is what separated the ruling class from the ruled back when civilization started. If you’re living from hand-to-mouth, it makes you an easier target.

Learning these tips isn’t just good for dealing with a potential collapse. It makes you a survivor in any environment. There are few things as rewarding as being able to provide for yourself.

This article first appeared at The Survival Place Blog: When The Day Comes, You Best Know How To Get Your Own Food

Filed under: Emergency Survival Tips, Food, Prepping

5 Tools You Need To Build The Perfect Survival Shelter

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By The Survival Place Blog

Whatever you think about the recent results of the US election, it’s not an exaggeration to say we’re living in strange times. A lot has changed around the world in the last few months and years. Who knows what might happen from here? And, there’s always the threat of natural disasters, which never truly go away. It’s always a good idea to have a survival shelter in case the worst was to happen, so let’s take a look at how to build one.

Shovel

For any survival kit, the shovel is an important necessity. A shovel can be used for all sorts of reasons with a shelter, from building a makeshift bed to solving drainage problems. You’ll need to be sure that you get a high-quality shovel if you’re planning to build a good shelter. You can find these across the web if necessary.

Power Drill

A power drill is an important tool for any circumstance, let alone building a survival shelter! You’ll need this to reinforce the shelter and carry out all manner of DIY tasks related to it. There are a lot of different drills on the market, and you might need to seek more helpful tips about which ones you’ll need for certain tasks. Be sure to have the right type of drill to hand when you’re building your shelter.

Tarpaulin

This might not be a tool to actually build your shelter with, but it’s an important necessity for the shelter itself. To be honest, a tarpaulin presents you with a readymade shelter from the off. It can be used for all sorts of other things, including providing ground insulation. Or, as a basic need to stay warm, it can be used to wrap around yourself inside the shelter during cold moments. A necessity, for sure.

Hatchet

You never just know what you might need a hatchet for. In a particularly troublesome scenario, it could be used as a self-defense mechanism. More likely, you’re going to use a hatchet to chop wood and hack tough materials. Ultimately, the hatchet is a great tool for the survival build because of its many uses. It’s also something you can carry around with ease, unlike some other tools which might need plugging into the mains.

Knife

Has a survival shelter ever been built without the use of a knife? Whatever type of knife you use for the task, you’re bound to get a lot of use out of it. In a similar fashion to the hatchet, the knife can be useful for a wide variety of tasks. Close-up work both inside and outside the shelter will be easy to tackle with the convenience of a knife. It’s also worth equipping yourself with a pocket knife for any nights you spend inside the shelter later on. You never just know when it might come in handy.

We hate to suggest that anything bad might be on the horizon, but it’s always worth having a shelter just in case. It’s also quite a fun task to get involved with, especially if you’re a fan of DIY! There’s no time like the present to get started.

This article first appeared at The Survival Place Blog; 5 Tools You Need To Build The Perfect Survival Shelter

Filed under: Prepping, Shelter