Extreme Weather Survival

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Wes Siler recently wrote a fine article in OUTSIDE magazine titled “The 5 Principles of Extreme Weather Survival.” 

The key take-aways of this article are the subtitles:

  1. Never Leave Home Unprepared.
  2. Check the Forecast
  3. Tell Someone Before You Go
  4. Be Conservative
  5. Use Common Sense
Do visit my website to download a copy of my trip plan.  This is akin to the pilots flight plan.

Remember the phrase, “the devil is in the details.”  Well, Search and Rescue teams deserve as much detail as you can provide. 

Check out Wes Siler’s article.  It is certainly worth your time.

Darwin couple rescued from WA desert. What To Carry With You When Going Bush.

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The Darwin couple were saved from WA’s Gibson Desert. Picture: AAP

Things/Items to carry with you at all times when going bush: (1) A good winch, preferably a hand operated winch. (2) A post hole shovel. This shovel can be used to dig yourself out by creating ramps from the bog. It can also be used to bury your spare wheel to use as an anchor for winching your vehicle out of the bog. (3) Plenty of drinking water. You can survive for up to 3 weeks without food if you are fit, but you can only survive 3 days without water. Hotter conditions and exertion will shorten the time you can survive without water. (4) Food. (5) A 4 litre container of engine oil. (6) Extra fuel. (7) A good medical kit. (8) Tool kit. (9) Wool blankets. My Father always carried a wool rug in his car. This was a carry-over from the days when our cars had no heaters. It is however still relevant, because deserts can get cold at night, and if it is winter it can get cold wherever you are in Australia. (10) A good tyre pump. We have an electric one. If purchasing an electric pump, make sure you get a good one. This is a classic case of “you get what you pay for”! (11) A “snap-strap”. Just in case someone else comes along and is able to pull you out. (12) A high lift jack. We call them “wallaby jacks”.

North Korea threatens Australia with nuclear strike!

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Soldiers march across Kim Il Sung Square during a military parade on Saturday, April 15, 2017, in Pyongyang, North Korea to celebrate the 105th birth anniversary of Kim Il Sung. Photo: AAP

Procrastination: A Recipe For Disaster

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Procrastination: A Recipe For Disaster It’s the killer of motivation and success in all avenues of life. Procrastination is a nice comfortable void that millions of Americans fall into. There is such potential in the freedom loving America but it all gets ruined by the lack of inspiration and procrastination. That makes this article about …

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The Essential Things All Hunters Should Have!

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The Essential Things All Hunters Should Have! Hunting is not just all about having high-end weapons and other equipment, but it is also about overcoming the harsh and most inconvenient environment. Thus, to be an effective hunter, you should be prepared for whatever is ahead of your hunting venture. You should take note of these … Continue reading The Essential Things All Hunters Should Have!

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Prepping for Our Furry Friends – Stuff for Spot

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Written by R. Ann Parris on The Prepper Journal.

For a lot of us, companion animals are as much family as the people we don’t really want to see even on the holidays. For some of us, they are working partners, part of our mental well-being, and our therapy all rolled into one. While most of our companion animals are going to be cats and dogs, there are also birds, pigs, goats and even horses that fit the bill of a pet as opposed to solely being livestock. Livestock or pets, we took responsibility for a feeling creature’s life, and we owe it to them to take care of them.

That means adding to the long lists of things we need to do, buy and plan for should our worlds fall apart on either a small-scale or a large-scale.

I’ll mostly focus on the cats and dogs, but a lot will apply to anything, from ferrets to pot-bellied pigs.

Water for Mr. Whiskers

Just like people need food and water, so do our animals. Ferret to bunny, pony to puppy, if the animals dehydrate, we’re in a world of hurt.

Water is going to really be a biggie should the world or nation ever collapse. Try to monitor the water use in winter and in summer, or in high-activity seasons, so we keep at least a week or so on hand for them (ideally more).

With animals, we also have to remember that a lot of them pant. Whether it’s a stress action or cooling action, panting will dry them out and we’ll need to allot extra water for them.

It may be possible to do sub-cutaneous fluids for even very small livestock if it becomes necessary, but ideally, it’s not necessary. In an emergency, we’ll have to monitor our animals just like we do small children and seniors.

Bathing animals may take an even lower priority, but in that case, we may need to come up with a smell and-or pest plan.

Commercially Available Long-Storage Foods

Food might be simple, or it might be more complicated.

There are “normal” commercially available freeze-dried pet foods. There is no way I’d buy them. I’d be totally broke and then my beloved fur-balls would be in a shelter anyway.

There are long-term storage foods available in buckets. The Ready Store sells one, and  MayDay makes another. One of the wholesale bulk warehouse stores sells a bucket of food for cats or dogs as well.

I consider them about on par with Ol’ Roy, on top of being expensive. I do have a couple of buckets of cat food (I really think they came from Costco) but I have every intention of using a Pearson Square to make it part of the protein component and it’s mostly there for helping to clean their teeth.

MRE Depot sells doggy biscuit treats and at one point sold those “quart” #2.5 cans of dog and cat food. However, MRE Depot tends to … think very highly of their products, and I have dogs who consider those single-serving cans.

Plus, again, this is not Blue Buffalo or Nutrish level dining here.

Therefore, I tend to avoid the commercial long-storage options. I either repackage, or I create “normal” food storage for my furry friends.

Repacking for Rufus & Rex

I pack Milky Bones and Alpo squares in mylar and oxygen absorbers, and in canning jars with oxygen absorbers. I keep in several bags of food that get rotated, even with the oil-rancidity risks of our hot Southern summers. (Wowser article that I ignore)

I have tried to repackage bagged pet food in Mylar with oxygen absorbers, but it tends to barely extend the life by 2-4 months – which is not overly worth it to me. In cooler climates, with fewer or smaller animals, it might be worth it to be able to open smaller increments.

Stocking Up for Socks & Spot

I could just buy cans of cat and dog food, but we rarely feed it. That means whole stacks of flats end up donated on a regular basis as it comes time to rotate, and the deductible barely dents replacement costs every year.

While I don’t mind giving some extra love to unwanted shelter animals, I need to be able to take care of mine.

Years ago when imported foods started making animals sick, I started making homemade food. There are a million and five recipes available, with the best options very home and animal-specific.

We had incredible results from it. The older dogs perked up, leaned down, tightened up, and played more. Periodic tummy sensitivities and Gassy Gus went away almost overnight. Attention, retention, and stamina went through the roof.

I no longer make all of our pet feed, but I do still make a portion of it and I tend to make extras of certain foods to add to the scraps our animals get.

For us, a casserole or soup worked best. I make up enormous kettles in one go, freeze a portion, and pull out three days’ worth at a time to defrost. It’s then as easy as scooping.

For an emergency, it won’t be quiet that easy, since I won’t have fridge and freezer space for the pets’ foods, but I will still be making them basically human foods.

Storage Foods for Pets

Powdered Eggs make up the backbone of the protein and fats that are stored for the dogs and cats. Commercially, they’re available as whole eggs or scrambled egg mix. They can also be dehydrated at home if inclined.

Oatmeal, barley, brown rice & white rice are my go-to feeds for the dogs, both in daily life and in the stored foods. The oatmeal especially is cheap, fast, and easy. The grains make for a decent calorie base and belly filler for dogs and rodents.

Potatoes are stocked for both the cats and the dogs, home-dehydrated as well as commercial buckets and #10 cans of slices, dices and grated shreds. I even can baked potato skins, although the cats won’t touch those. They’re full of good nutrients for the dogs.

Apples, Carrots & Sweet Potatoes are present for the cats and dogs, with the dogs a little heavier than the cats on the apples and sweet potatoes or sweet African yams. Again, I can dehydrate them at home, or buy them in affordable bulk to repackage or already set in cans and buckets. The veggies give the animals much-needed vitamins, just as they do us.

Peas are no longer part of my animal-diet plan. Some dogs handle them, some don’t. There are enough other options, I tend to just skip them now, but for years I included them.

Berries are fine for cats and dogs most of the time, but they tend to be expensive and human favorites so with the exception of copiously producing cranberry-equivalent bushes, I don’t allot many to the animals. Cats and dogs are less likely to eat the bitter berries than birds or ferrets.

Greens are dehydrated, purchased dehydrated, and grown in tin soup cans, small Dollar Tree cubes and planters, and outside. They’re also foraged wild. While the animals may not be super wild about them, and the greens should represent a smaller proportion of feed than even something like apples or carrots, they are another one that is stacked-legit with nutrients – especially the nutrients we’ll find lacking in lean animals and winter.

Boiled with something meaty or flat-fried or baked-and-chipped eggs, our cats, dogs, rats, and ferrets will dive on greens just as fast as they will a chunk of salmon jerky or broth from meat trimmings.

Milk gets stored as a calcium source and calorie boost. My animals handle whey milk and soy milk without any problems, so I can buy whatever’s cheapest at the time. Previous animals have handled raw milk and goat milk even if pasteurized was off the table.

Most long-storage milk is fat-free, so I have to be aware and get their fats in from something else.

When’s lunch?

Fish is a major part of my dogs’ and cats’ long-term food storage plan. For a few dollars a year, I can spend days in the sun collecting dozens and hundreds of pounds of feed for them. Skins and some of the organs we don’t even want help boost proteins and oils for the animals.

Especially important with cats, pressure canning or drying fish for storage creates something I can open or soak-and-simmer to create an enticing scent. If cats can’t smell food, they won’t eat.

Without a fishing license or with prohibitive keeper restrictions, tuna in oil and then tuna in water (which will last longer) can make somewhat less-expensive food-flavoring options. There are places that sell cod, shrimp, and salmon, but it tends to be freeze-dried and pretty pricey.

Repacking well-dried jerky-like treats to extend the storage life might be another option to consider to induce kitties to eat.

Peanut Butter Powder is also in my storage for the animals, but it’s there mainly to make them homemade doggy “biscotti” biscuits that will give them something to gnaw and help keep their teeth in better shape.

Wheat & corn are in my storage, but not for my animals. A lot of dogs and cats don’t actually process much corn, and some are sensitive to wheat. With potatoes, rice, and oats inexpensive and compact, I can easily avoid having wheat and corn be their base calories.

Transitioning Foods

Pets or people, we’ll want to plan transitions between foods – almost always. While some animals don’t need it, even transitions between types of kibble or canned foods should be done slowly.

You replace 1/10 to 1/4 the feed for 2-5 days, then another 1/10 or 1/4. If an emergency requires it, you can go ahead and skip to 50-50 blends or 70-30 new-old blends.

My preference is to have dry food as a finisher or by itself at least several times weekly, because it really is better on their teeth. When we transition to smokes and raw bones, we use a step process as well.

It’s my personal belief that because my animals do get scraps and leftovers, and do get trimmings and bones stewed for them, their guts stay ready to process more foods. Skipping a meal or a few days of their usual feeds doesn’t bother my animals’ stomachs at all.

Just like people, animals vary widely, so consult a vet and add those transitions slowly.

Goodies for Evac Kits

Red Cross and FEMA sites are happy to list out supplies to consider for our animals. Whether we’re evac’ing alone, with a cat, or with a trailer of six crated dogs, two goats and three horses, there are some goodies we might want to add to make everybody more comfortable, both during the trip and after.

  • Portable, battery-operated fans (blow into crates)
  • Misting systems/bottles
  • Umbrellas, portable pavilions (shade, rain coverage)
  • Animal entertainment
  • Spare towels
  • Tarps
  • Treats (even hooved livestock like treats, such as applesauce or sweet pellets)
  • Hoods
  • Fly screen/fly hoods/mesh, and-or tiki torches or various Off fan types (flies and mosquitoes are bears)
  • Pool mattresses (elevated bedding)
  • Nail trimmers & file (to save the air mattresses)
  • Garbage bags, kitty litter, shovels (waste cleanup)


Remember that cats, especially, can’t take a lot of human or dog medications. Those need to be sourced and stocked separately. There are, however, a lot of overlaps between species, fish to humans, pigs to dogs.

We have to research any meds our animals are on or can be anticipated to be on, just like with humans. Contraindication can delay recovery and set animals back if we combine the wrong things, or push them at the wrong intervals. Just like human meds, we’ll want to stock up on prescriptions and OTC drugs our animals have used in the past, or that we can anticipated them needing in the future.

Flea and tick preventatives, dewormers, heartworm preventative, mange washes, lice and flea dips, and ear cleaners are just a few of the things we might consider stocking up on.

Prepping for Furry Friends

There’s a lot to think about with our family disaster plans, big and small. Figuring out how we’re going to take care of our critters – pets or livestock or working animals – just adds to the headache. The moisture content in animal feeds and the expense of some types of feeds can make it seem impossible at first, but with some twitches, we can use standard, inexpensive storage foods to keep the animals fat and happy. There are also things like a water plan and sport umbrellas or mesh screens that will not only make us and animals happier, they can help reduce diseases, illness and heat stroke. It takes a little forethought, be we can absolutely prepare to keep our animals in personal crises or nation-altering events.

The post Prepping for Our Furry Friends – Stuff for Spot appeared first on The Prepper Journal.

Survival: City Life Versus Country Life

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In a previous article we talked about living in a city and how, because of your location, you may be the target of an attack. A target simply because of the population density, or in some cases, you may be a target because of critical infrastructure, or your city may be having a symbolic celebration, […]

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Navigation, Family Practices for Security, Experience, and Fun

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Navigation, Family Practices for Security, Experience, and Fun

What if you had that one essential prepper/survival related item with you at all times that not only gave you security and peace of mind but was also family friendly, educational, entertaining, and fun? We all practice self-reliance in one form or another to some extent in various degrees. For many of us it can become mundane and the important reasons that got us started forgotten about. We become complaisant and lose interest more often than not because it does not include others, or we simply get bored.

 Outdoor activities are something I enjoy more than anything, especially with family. However, getting the family on board with an idea I may have can be akin to pulling teeth. The wife is usually fine, ready for a break from the house but not always excited. The kids generally want to run off with their friends or play video games. Now that I’ve found something that sparks their interest it’s all about what we will be doing next weekend? Where will we be going or can Jason and his brother come with us?

Besides my own interest in being outdoors it actually took three items to get everyone else’s attention in the family and make me pretty popular, a map, a compass, and a book. The latter I bought for myself but soon realized I had a little gold mine to share with the family. The book is titled “Prepper’s Survival Navigation” and can be found on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Indie Bound, Books-a-Million by searching the title and author, Walter Glen Martin. The book may even be in your local book store.

You can’t have one without the other. You’re going to find that after you get the book you are going to want a compass and topographical map. Both the compass and the maps can generally found at a sporting goods store. The maps are also available in most book stores, forest service or State offices, or google on line through several places. A good compass will generally cost around $20.00.

Now it’s not just about learning to read a compass and a map, which I thought I already knew. The book goes into great detail about declination, shadows and stars, distance, landmarks, pace count, dead reckoning, traveling in low visibility with a navigator and point person. The book also covers survival when the unexpected may happen. Medical emergency, fire craft, emergency signaling, winter/cold survival, and building shelters.

Once you have the tools the fun will begin. The kids are eager to learn navigation and have a lot of fun while doing it. It’s a great confidence builder. We get to go to different places we may have avoided before because we were not familiar with the area and for the fear of getting lost. For me, I find peace of mind knowing that in this day and age with so much uncertainty going on around us that in time of disaster or when my kids are out by themselves they have the skills to survive and find their way home.

Find Preppers Survival Navigation on Amazon HERE! 

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10 Ways to Find Water to Survive the Wilderness

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Finding Water in the Wild You’re in the middle of a multi-day hike. The plan was to follow the trail, but you took a wrong turn. Now you’re lost. You try to get back to the trail unsuccessfully and end up spending the night in the backcountry. By the time you wake up in the …

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Things You Should Not Do After SHTF

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Things You Should Not Do After SHTF You can find a lot of information online about how to prepare for a disaster. There are exact charts showing you how much food and water to store based on how many people need to survive. Even more, there are even risks analysis teaching you about emergency preparations …

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The Capacity Advantage

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

Editor’s Note: This post is another entry in the Prepper Writing Contest from JD. If you have information for Preppers that you would like to share and possibly win a $300 Amazon Gift Card to purchase your own prepping supplies, enter today.

There is nothing that sparks heated debate on the internet like the topic of which weapons are the best for (………..) purposes. However, when buying small arms for the purposes of a survival situation, there are some models that have advantages over others. Two of those models are the Glock 17 and the AR-15. This isn’t an article about which guns to buy, it is merely my personal thoughts on why these two weapons have advantages over others.

The AR-15, America’s rifle. There is more  aftermarket support for this rifle than perhaps any other on the market. That means you can outfit the weapon to your personal situation. Different optics from short to intermediate range red dots to long-range scopes. Lasers both visible and infrared. Night vision capabilities. It’s endless. And I haven’t even gotten into changing uppers. You simply push out 2 pins pull the upper assembly off and drop on a .50 bmg upper! Or numerous other calibers. There was at one point a crossbow upper made by PSE available. I think this model has been discontinued, but I’m sure can still be found for sale with a little research.

But the main point of why the AR makes such a good choice is because of its capacity. The standard 30 round mags offer serious firepower. They are plentiful and very inexpensive. I am a fan of the Magpul products. Mind you, I am not affiliated with Magpul in any way. I have never had a Magpul mag fail me in the thousands upon thousands of rounds I’ve shot using them. And if one did, for around 9 bucks I’ll just get another one.

The Magpul 60 round drum

The Magpul 60 round drum is a very nice piece of gear. Well made, very rugged, and well designed. Having 60 rounds of ammo on tap is quite a force multiplier. My opinion of it is, it’s not so you can shoot more, it’s so you have to reload less. Think about it, if you fired 2 rounds per second, which is a pretty slow cadence, that’s 30 seconds of very well-aimed fire. Not the spray and pray you see in the movies. That is the capability to keep offenders pinned down while your buddies maneuver and flank the offenders. 30 seconds doesn’t sound like a long time, but how far can you run in 30 seconds? The average person in decent shape can cover a lot of ground in 30 seconds. These drums also are a great option for defensive positions. Having 3 men strategically positioned with a few of these drums each, can lay down some serious accurate fire. The drums also have the advantage of being a storage device. In other words you can load them and leave them loaded until you need them. They are a bit of a challenge to load for some people. But after you’ve done it a few times, it gets easier. They are also not fast to load, so these are something you want to have loaded ahead of time. For those who money isn’t an issue, there are belt fed uppers available, combined with a bump fire type stock like the slide fire, and you have what’s called simulated full auto. All 100% legal without the NFA paperwork. Yes, most of us would love to own a Dillion aero mini gun, but being next to impossible to own, the belt fed offers some nice capabilities.

The Glock 17 is probably the most issued sidearm in the world. There is a reason why. It’s because they work. There are only 34 parts to a Glock. They just don’t have much to go wrong with them. The 9mm has also come a long way in its effectiveness. Modern 9mm hollow points don’t  give up much to its bigger brothers the .40 and .45.  Like the AR, the aftermarket support is huge. More so than any other high cap polymer framed pistol. They are also inexpensive. For what a high-end 1911 costs you could buy 2 Glocks with holsters, mags, and ammo. Now, I’m not crapping on the 1911. They are still nice guns and I enjoy shooting one from time to time. But for a purpose-built fighting weapon, it does not beat the Glock. Why? Aside from the weapon working in all kinds of dirty conditions, again it’s capacity. The Glock 17 holds in a flush fit mag, 17 rounds. With the gun topped off 18. That is more than double the capacity of the 1911. For those of you who subscribe to the mentality that, if you can’t get it done with 8 rounds then you have seriously screwed up, we are not talking about dealing with the meth head mugger in the alley. Potential situations I’m referring to are something like an active shooter, a mall shooting dealing with other shooters who may be skilled, a SHTF situation where you may be dealing with a mob of thugs wanting to steal your stash of food and have their way with your women. I could go on. The weapon is also easy to shoot. There are no decockers or safeties to deal with. Aim and shoot.

Getting back to the capacity advantage, there are other companies out there now making Glock mags. Magpul makes not only the 17 round mags but also a 21 and a 27 round magazine. Glock factory makes the 33 round mag. Elite tactical systems makes a 31 round mag, a 27, 22, and a 17 round mag. Yes I know you won’t carry concealed a 27 or 33 round mag, on your person. In a bag however, it gives you that advantage of being able to put lots of bullets down range. The 21 round mags offer a great compromise in capacity and concealment. If you decide to buy the more compact versions of the gun, i.e. The 19, or 26, you can still use the model 17s mags. Yes they stick out of the bottom of the grip but gives you the piece of mind you’ve got enough ammo to handle most any situation.

The fantasy of getting into 100 round gunfights is just that, a fantasy. Or is it? Remember the westgate mall shooting in Kenya? A group of gunmen stormed the mall and killed over 60 people. The concert shooting in France in 2015, nearly 100 killed. We are living in different times. I personally think a more realistic SHTF situation would be possibly getting caught in one of these attacks. I mean let’s face it, a pole shift or climate change is the least of our worries. These bad people are out there, and they hate us and our way of life. Capacity is king. Well, second only to shot placement. Arm yourself with weapons that give you an advantage. You don’t have to carry Glocks or AR-15s, whatever you do decide to pack, have the skill to be effective with them. Think about this, if you were caught in one of these type situations, which would you rather have, a weapon that packs 8 shots or one that packs 18?

I know which one I’d want.

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Survive Water Contamination

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Survive Water Contamination The Big List of Nasty Disasters has a ton of great articles about surviving specific disasters. I really enjoy these and I brought you this one on water contamination and drought. This is one of those disasters that people don’t really get excited about. I wonder how many people were reading articles …

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Beware of Home Storage IRAs

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Beware of Home Storage IRAs   On some of the most well known talk radio shows we often hear them talk about the benefits of a precious metals IRA. These are commercials and ads for their sponsors so they would not dare say a bad thing about them  Do I fault these hosts? Yes. In …

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Extreme Weather Gardening

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Extreme Weather Gardening   Last year my garden was totaled by extreme weather. It was well into May and my plants were looking great. This is a reality that we all must plan and plant for. This article offers 7 powerful tips for extreme weather gardening. There is nothing more depressing than looking over the …

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DIY Indoor Vertical Herb Garden

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DIY Indoor Vertical Herb Garden Its so important that we start growing our own food. It comes from the necessity to combat this factory farming epidemic as well as a push towards self reliance. Not everyone has the ability to grow food because of space limitations. I have seen the look on their faces when …

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11 Tips That Will Help You Succeed at Prepping

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11 Tips That Will Help You Succeed at Prepping –  Prepping for anything from a burn at a cookout to a full on economic disaster brings with it many challenges that go beyond the things you can buy. Your skills and mental aptitude largely determine your chances for actual success in a survival situation, not …

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Are you training to Survive or to Kill?

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Are you training to Survive or to Kill? James Walton “I Am Liberty” Audio in player below! We often get the best look at ourselves when we separate from what we do on a daily basis. In survival and preparedness heavy introspection is so important. It’s a lonely and oftentimes thankless effort that only shows … Continue reading Are you training to Survive or to Kill?

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Donald Trump and War with Syria

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Donald Trump and War with Syria –  It would seem like the perfect storm is ginning up for our new president. We have watched the white house take a tough stance on North Korea and now drone strikes on Syria. This article is written with both of these scenarios in mind and speaks to the …

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Growing Mushrooms in a 5 Gallon Bucket

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Growing Mushrooms in a 5 Gallon Bucket   I started growing Shiitakes almost 5 years ago and I can tell you they are one of the nicest surprises of the fall and spring season. Its surprisingly easy to grow mushrooms but most people don’t do it.  This method from Instructables offers a new and even …

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DIY PVC Tomato Cages

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DIY PVC Tomato Cages There is no other plant as hotly contested as the tomato. Growing tomatoes brings out whole communities of people who believe various ways and means of producing the best fruit. They are a fruit, like it or not. Things get as interesting as choosing the proper type of tomato plant to …

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52 Survival Skills your Kids Should be Learning

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52 Survival Skills your Kids Should be Learning Our little angels are the prospectors of the future. Its hard to look at them as they crawl or run or discover and consider the hardships they will one day face. Of course, we must allow them the time to push around their toy cars and enjoy …

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Getting Accurate Compass Readings

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I found these recommendations a while back when I was researching techniques for using a magnetic compass.  A small error when using a compass can result in a significant error in measurement on the ground.

To obtain accurate readings when using a compass:

  • Ensure the compass has be adjusted for declination. 
  • Hold the compass level and steady so the needle swings freely.
  • Hold the compass about waist high in front of the body, except when using a compass with a sighting mirror or a sighting type compass.
  • Raise and lower eyes when taking a bearing, do not move your head. Always use the same eye when taking bearings.
  • Directly face object that is being measured.
  • Magnetic fields will give incorrect compass readings. Avoid taking readings near magnetic fields such as steel, iron (ferrous metals), vehicles, rebar, and clipboards. Even belt buckles, glasses, and rings can interfere with the compass reading.
  • Take bearing twice. 
  • Adjust for magnetic declination as appropriate.
  • Follow the direction of travel arrow, not the compass needle, when walking a bearing. Always follow the line indicated by the compass rather than relying on judgment as to the direction.
  • Use back bearings to ensure you are on track when navigating.

Lessons from History – The Importance of Water

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Written by R. Ann Parris on The Prepper Journal.

Throughout history, settlements form near water. The largest and most successful settle with plentiful water. There are a number of reasons for that. One, water really is life. We require water for drinking. We also use it for cleaning and laundry. As the human species advanced, we needed additional water for livestock. Then we became stationary, mastered various forms of irrigation, and bred our crops to become more and more dependent on water. Doing so allowed us to reap larger yields of sweeter and more mild crops, but it also tied us inexorably to water systems.

Historically we were further tied to water systems for faster and easier travel and trade, and we eventually turned to it for some of our labor. First with direct-labor systems such as grinding mills, then for the generation of power that could be sent across distances, water made life easier as well as sustaining it.

We are no less tied to water now than the caveman, Viking or European colonist. We just don’t always notice. And because most of North America enjoys easy, low-cost water, we aren’t great about conserving it.

Test Your Water Use

Want to see just how influential water is, and how much we use? Easy enough. Turn off the water at the main for a day. Remember to also tape or turn off faucets so you don’t empty any hot water heaters and end up with problems.

If you’re on a well, use your backup pump system. If you don’t have a backup system, one immune to fire and earthquake and the prepper-minded EMPs, you don’t actually have a water system. Turn it off.

Do it on a standard day. A day you’re not off backpacking, not working on your three-day bare-minimum drill doing a dry camp in the living room or backyard. Really ideally, do it in summer or autumn on the day(s) you’d be watering if you irrigate gardens, and on a day you’re hunting or harvesting some doves, chickens and rabbits.

For less-immersive comparison, just monitor the water gauge. For livestock on a non-metered system, fill containers that can have checks and tally lines added quickly.

Don’t let yourself become complacent or say, “well, that’s just because” to justify the amount of water used. Yes, our grooming standards can go down and change, and we can adopt some laundry methods and clothing treatment from the past that limit our uses more. Eventually, though, hygiene suffers.

If water’s out, something else is regularly going on, from “small” family-sized crises to storms and other disasters that affect the area and region. Roads and doctors may not be available if someone does become ill.

If anything, a crisis is a time to focus more on proper hygiene.

Handwashing, especially, can make a major impact on fecal-oral route infections, which tend to be the root of most of the illnesses laymen call “food poisoning”.

If your hygiene is dependent on wipes, run that test as long as you can to get the best possible average for how many you run through per day. Whatever your backup toilet system is, use that.

Use the data to create a baseline. How much do you use? How long will your stored water last? What seasons can you reasonably count on resupply?

From there, we look for ways to increase our sources and our efficiency in harvesting and using the water we can access.

A Double-Edged Sword

Water is one of the few things we can’t do without, and a functioning stream, river or lake system or even just a marsh can make a huge positive impact on our preparedness. They aren’t without hazards, however.

Flooding is a primary risk, although healthy marsh systems can actually mitigate and minimize floods. Still, the levee systems in the U.S. are aging and Midwest floods aren’t uncommon. Colorado and Tennessee have both had major, devastating disasters due to river- or creek-originated floods.

In a protracted crisis, the hydro dams put in by the Tennessee Valley Authority and in the Northwest are likely to suffer failures, on top of the failures we see washing out roads and creating mudslides and large floods right now.

In addition to those failures, there are mines and factories along our waterways these days. We’ve seen in just the last year what can happen as they fail and toxins leak out. Nuclear plants are routinely along waterways.

Failures combined with flooding can wash those contaminants into our farmlands, cities and suburbs, affecting creeks and wildlife long before and long after we can see the effects.

EPA Accidentally Turns Colorado River Orange With Pollution, Putting Drinking Water At Risk

Livestock are also a contamination risk to both well intakes and streams, just like human waste can already be right here in the U.S. Those risks are even more prevalent in some of the third-world nations that live without our level of basic services. Disease is rampant after earthquakes, hurricanes, and floods due to fecal wastes, and can be expected to go up after a major disaster.

Mosquitoes and the spread of ever increasing and previously “dead” diseases by insects are another risk.

Many of those risks can be limited with site selection and sculpting the land a little, by planting a few things that can help create buffers, predators, and sinks for water and its diseases and pests. An interruption in “easy” water after we’ve become accustomed to it is still the bigger and more likely threat for most of us.

While a gravity-driven well with a pressure-driven cistern would be ideal, not everybody is there. Not every well can either reach or hit the amounts needed for livestock and crop irrigation.

Self-Sufficiency through Streams


A moving channel is a fantastic element to site. One aspect to watch for with small systems is that they don’t dry out in summer. Ideally, they won’t even dry up in the 25- and 50-year drought cycles.

Through much of history, moving water has helped us either with direct labor, such as the old mills we can still find here and there, or later by producing power for us to then use however we like.

Running streams, creeks and rivers can also turn water wheels that help us by lifting water into aqueduct systems or into cisterns that will produce enough gravity from water weight to push water further away from the source.

With even a small amount of motion, there are sling pumps capable of moving water for us. Even if a sling pump won’t reach all the way to gardens and livestock, saving us the bend-lift labor of filling buckets and being able to fill a cistern while we move the first load can make an enormous difference.

With greater rates of movement, we can create hydro re-directs to lessen some of our labors and in some cases produce small amounts of energy. We can dam small waterways to increase pressure or create channel- or pipe-based systems to generate power.

In some cases it’s not going to be a lot of electricity, but even the ability to slowly charge electric tools, appliances, and our music and photo devices can be a huge boost.

Slow it, Sink it, Spread it, Store it

In permaculture, there are several “S’s” promoted in regards to water. They simplify the desires to:

  • Catch water for future use
  • Prevent flooding even on the “daily” and seasonal scales, and by doing so prevent erosion and soil hardening via water (runoff, soil compaction)
  • Allow water to infiltrate so roots can access it, and to lift the water table for springs and swale systems
  • Keep chemicals and waste from running across landscapes and polluting our waters or gardens

Catchments are one way we capture water – storing it for later and preventing it from running wasted over the surface of the soil.

Water catchment on a huge scale was and still is used in Australia, with systems similar to water towers and large roof-to-cistern systems both above ground and below ground.

Sheep and cattle stations and small farmers also create nearly lock-style channels to store water for the three- to six-month dry seasons. Those systems can be duplicated in North America depending on local laws.

In places where regulations prohibit such large scale water harvesting or hoarding, it may be possible to obtain permits to put in lakes or ephemeral or permanent pond systems, which can function similarly and have added benefits for homesteads.

On a small scale, water can be stored using systems as complex as we like, or we can go simple and create pyramids or triangles of trickle-over buckets and barrels with no plumbing and just mesh or permeable cloth to prevent mosquito infestations.

Small, shallow swales sequester less, but can prevent damage from rains over years. Larger swales can hold more water, allowing that water a greater amount of time to infiltrate. That water then creates a “lens” beneath the surface of the soil and allows plants a longer period of time to access it.

The slope of the land and the soil type and structure play the biggest roles in the types and sizes of swale systems we put in.

Preexisting vegetation and the type of vegetation we want to put in, if we plan to move livestock through the swale systems and what type of livestock also affects what type of swale system will work best for us.

Reducing Reliance On Systems

We have to have some water, and ideally a constant source. However, even with the best of planning and siting, sometimes we run into droughts or damaged systems. One way to build resiliency to those is to lessen our overall dependence.

Silvopasture over turf can provide forage and fodder even in drought years, and lessen dependence on irrigated grains and delicate pasture and hay. Some silvopasture is coppiced, but most will be either pollarded or selective-drop of large limbs from each tree.

The type and number of livestock and the amount of labor desired affects what style of silvopasture is effective.

Our livestock selection can also lessen dependence.

Ducks tend to be wasteful of water, while with drip waterers, chickens can be highly efficient. Pigs really need a lot of water to gain weight efficiently, and they need regular access to it. Comparatively, dairy and meat goats need a little less access and less total water per pound of produce.

If we veer a little further away from the American norm, camels need less yet, and have traditionally been used for milk, meat and hides and in some cases angora just like llamas.

We can also look into more water efficient breeds from typically dry regions of the world. They may be more expensive as an initial investment and have less-efficient feed-milk-meat ratios, but in a survival situation, the fact that they do survive with little water may make them invaluable.

If we have a fair bit of property, we can also tailor habitat for hunting small game, and focus our water labors on egg and dairy producers.

Hugelkultur beds are another way to limit use and dependence on rainfall and irrigation. Once established, a properly sized and layered hugel bed requires almost no assistance at all. It retains and essentially generates moisture from within.

When we do use water, we can use it as many times as humanly possible instead of letting it run and flow past our fingers.

Gray water systems, using cooled cooking water in gardens or for livestock, and reclaiming runoff from sprouts and sprouted fodder for livestock or re-watering can all help decrease our total draw.

Then there are little things like using a cup of water to rinse while brushing teeth, and having catch basins for washing hands or rinsing produce that then gets used for laundry or put back into the garden systems – at least once, and in some cases, several times.

Water Is Life

We have always been dependent on water as a species, and civilization and modern post-industrial life has made us more so. However, we can look back at history and to some of the underdeveloped nations to find ways that we can harvest and store water against need, and in some cases, use water wheels and even small creeks or lake properties to help us move water or generate a little bit of power.

There are a few tips here. The TPJ article about gardening in droughts has additional lessons from fairly recent history that can be applied to reduce water uses for human and livestock food production, large scale or small, urban or rural.

When we’re ready to delve into long-term disaster planning, water needs to be a focus. Without water, and a backup plan for water, all the rest of our preparations become null and void in a large-scale emergency.

Water can also be dangerous. It’s worth researching the local flood patterns, especially pre-levee system, and looking up the diseases, symptoms and cures common to waterways in third world nations and after disasters.


The post Lessons from History – The Importance of Water appeared first on The Prepper Journal.

Stockpiling ammo for SHTF – How much is enough?

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Many preppers invest a lot of their hard earned money in stockpiling ammo. This practice is widely spread and is considered a safety net in case it hits the fan. Answering the age-old question of “how much ammo is enough?” is not easy and the following should be considered. Most of my friends often ponder … Read more…

The post Stockpiling ammo for SHTF – How much is enough? was written by David Andrew Brown and appeared first on Prepper’s Will.

Indonesia Elections. An Islamic Threat.

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Right now the Australian government is sanctioning genocide in West Papua committed by the Indonesian government. Now there is an election in Jakarta with one of the candidates being pro Islamic. Indonesia has always posed a threat to Australia, but if Indonesia becomes a strong supporter of Islam, what then?
WHY is the Australian government supporting genocide in West Papua? WHY is the Australian government still paying millions of dollars to the Indonesian government? WHY is the Australian government trying to disarm Australian citizens (All semi-automatic rifles have already been confiscated http://www.police.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0007/133198/FACT_SHEET_Firearm_Types_Oct_2012.pdf )?

WHY has the Australian government made it illegal for Australian citizens to carry anything that may aid them in defending themselves against violent physical attacks, rape & murder? WHY has the Australian government made it illegal in the new National Firearms Agreement for Australian citizens to use a firearm in defence of their lives in a home invasion!?





Personal and Family Preparedness.

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Personal and Family Preparedness.

Personally I don’t see one thing as being more important than another. There is no point in prioritising shelter if you are unable to protect & defend. But for the purpose of this article, I will start with my home & work my way through other priorities.

We have two dwellings, a main house & an old cottage. Both are situated in a forest that we own. We do have fire breaks, but this winter we will be widening those breaks because of the new threat posed by global warming. On the main house we have two 5000 gallon cement water tanks, plus another 1000 gallons in a polly tank for the garden. We have two fire pumps, one on the lower cement tank, & one down at Cattail Pond. The Cattail Pond pump can pump water up to the main house & the cottage for gardens & fire fighting. The gardens supply us with all our vegetable needs for the house & the chooks, but we also keep on hand a good supply of dried, bottled & canned foods. The chooks are kept mainly for eggs.

The main house & the cottage are both off grid & self-sustainable with grey water systems & composting toilets. The cottage has two 1000 gallon water tanks but we will be adding another larger tank soon. Heating of both houses & hot water is provided by wood burning stoves, plus a wood heater in the main house & a large open fire in the cottage. Cooking of course is also done on the wood burning stoves & the forest supplies all our firewood. 240 volt Electricity is supplied by solar panels & batteries.

We have four 4WDs, The Lada is only used on the property, but the Hilux & Triton diesels are registered for the road, as is the X-Trail SUV. If we ever have to leave here, the whole family can just fit in the Hilux & the two Tritons with all our equipment. Every family member that is able to carry has their own pack & arms. I am a primitive skills instructor & I have passed my skills on to my three sons. Arms are a mixture of modern breech-loaders, muzzle-loaders & traditional bows. Our equipment is all 18thcentury except for medical supplies & some of the water containers. We do not expect to have to leave our forest home as we have plenty of people & arms to protect what we have, but we are prepared to leave if we consider it necessary.

Individual equipment is much the same for everyone with a few exceptions including arms, types of packs, clothing. & personal items.

Equipment List:

.62 cal/20 gauge flintlock fusil. 42 inch barrel.

.70 caliber smoothbore flintlock pistol.

Gun tools and spare lock parts.

Shot pouch and contents.

Leather drawstring pouch of .60 caliber ball (in knapsack).

Powder horn.

Ball mould and swan shot mould.

5 Gunpowder wallets

Lead ladle.

Butcher/Hunting knife.

Legging knife.

Clasp knife.


Fire bag.


Belt pouch.

Fishing tackle in brass container.

Two brass snares.

Roll of brass snare wire.



Market Wallet.

Tin Cup.


Water filter bags (cotton & linen bags).

Medical pouch.


Piece of soap and a broken ivory comb.

Dried foods in bags.

Wooden spoon.


Whet stone.

Small metal file.


One blanket (Monmouth cap, spare wool waistcoat and wool shirt rolled inside blanket).

Two glass saddle flasks.

Length of hemp rope.

Bottle of rum.

Basic list of what I carry. This list is made up from items that we know were carried, from items that my research has shown were available, & from items that have been found, such as the brass snare wire. I am not saying every woodsrunner carried all these items, but I am saying that some woodsrunners may have carried all these items. From experimental archaeology results in historical trekking, I think the items I have chosen are a reasonable choice for any woodsrunner that is going to live in the wilderness for a year or more.

Skills: All adult male family members have these skills. The only reason the women don’t have these skills is because they have not shown any interest. Two of the women can use a gun & one of the girls has her own bow. One of our family is a trained nurse & others have skills such as cooking, clothing manufacture, weaving & gardening.

Skills List:

Fire-bow Flint & steel fire lighting

Wet weather fire lighting

fire lighting

Flintlock fire lighting

Flintlock use, service & repair

Marksmanship with either gun or bow.

Field dressing & butchering game

Blade sharpening

Tomahawk throwing

Making rawhide

Brain tanning

Primitive shelter construction

How to stay warm in winter with only one blanket

Cordage manufacture

Moccasin construction and repair


Axe and tomahawk helve making





Reading sign

Woods lore


Primitive trap construction & trapping

Open fire cooking

Fireplace construction

Clothing manufacture

Drying meat & other foods

Knowledge of plant tinders & preparation

Knowledge of native foods & preparation

Knowledge of native plants in the area and their uses for other than tinder and food.


Basic first aid.

Finding and treating water.

General leather work.

5 Prepping Things to Accomplish in April

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5 Prepping Things to Accomplish in April Preppers so rarely engage in the self inspections. The first tip in this article is about getting around your home and your property and looking for things to fix or secure. This is such a crucial step in the process of what we do. You learn so much about …

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Surviving in the Wilderness

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Surviving in the Wilderness A different take on an old idea. You know, its easy to disregard and article based on a often covered topic. What you are missing in doing so is the fact that every person is a unique experience and they offer that in their writing. Its often those little tips and …

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How to Get Started Homesteading

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How to Get Started Homesteading For someone who just heard of it, homesteading might be a lifestyle that is impossible to achieve in modern times. Most people imagine homesteading means you have to move to a remote place, building your own home, growing and raising your own food, and living without electricity. Basically, like how …

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How to Start a Fire with Firesteel and a Knife

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How to Use Firesteel

Using firesteel in a survival or emergency situation can be tough. Here’s how to properly use a ferro rod and knife to start a soul-warming, life-saving blaze – every time…

Here’s What You’ll Need:

using firesteel


First, you’ll need some REALLY DRY tinder (this is the fine stuff) because this is ONE of the MAJOR keys to SUCCESS. Dead grass or weeds, fine, dry wood shavings, twine pulled apart, dryer lint or cotton balls all make good tinder.

Next you’ll need a campfire all set up and ready to go – I recommend a teepee fire for beginners – we’ll talk more about this in a minute.

You’ll need some comfortable leather gloves and a ferrocerium fire steel rod such as the Bear Grylls, Schrade and Exotac rods.

And last but not least, you’ll need a fixed blade knife.

Set Up Your Tee Pee Fire

using firesteel
Now… set up your tee pee fire with your dry tinder on a dry surface like sticks or a rock, and add kindling. Then top it off with some larger sticks for fuel.

Your Survival Knife

using firesteel
Next we’ll need our knife. Just about any sturdy fixed blade knife with a 90 degree / squared-off AND UNCOATED spine.

The Bear Grylls knife is a popular one with those just getting into survival land. With its included ferro rod and well-designed, notched, coating-free striker area on the spine toward the handle, it’s a perfect knife to start with.

Ferro Rod

using firesteel
Now… If you are using a new ferro rod (like the one that comes with the Bear Grylls knife, you’ll need to remove the dark rust-inhibiting coating from the portion of the rod you are going to strike.

To do this, angle the spine of your blade and scrape off a good bit of the coating. It should throw a nice shower of sparks.

using firesteel

Bonus Tip
Most beginners make the mistake of striking the ferro rod by pushing the knife over the rod and toward the fire… This often results in TOO MANY sparks falling short of the tinder, AND by pushing your knife out toward the fire you run the risk of knocking your fire over as your hand travels forward… which is really frustrating.

So Here’s the Right Way to Do It

using firesteel

With gloves on, hold the knife firmly with your strong hand, spine side facing down and the edge facing up.

Brace your hand on the ground close to your tinder for support. This hand will be stationary during the process.

Now grip the ferro rod with your other hand and bring it under your knife spine tilting it at about a 45 degree angle to the blade.

To generate sparks, pull the ferro rod toward you while it rubs against the edge of the knife spine.

Bonus Tip2

Problems? Here’s What to Do
If after a minute or two you can’t get a fire, your tinder is probably too wet or may not be the proper material.

So, if you have a choice, find new tinder. If not, keep trying. It might take up to 20 minutes to get a fire going in wet or humid situations.

ONE Last thing…

Since practice makes perfect… Here’s a simple way to practice using your ferro rod and knife without starting an entire camp fire.

Grab a cotton ball and add a small dab of petroleum jelly…This will allow the cotton ball to burn much longer.

To prepare your cotton ball tinder… Simply pull it apart a bit, expanding it to two or 3 times its original size, so it literally catches the sparks.

Then follow the steps we talked about earlier… AND with a strike or two… You should have a nice little practice fire in no time.

using firesteel


10 Steps To Take After The SHTF

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There are many things you can do at the onset of a disaster. Most people panic. But when you panic, it leads to drastic and dangerous decision making. Panic leads to the type of radical actions that get people hurt or killed. Another thing people do at the onset of disaster is freeze. They haven’t […]

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Americans Need Thermal Evasion Suits

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Americans Need Thermal Evasion Suits Some time back there was technology introduced that would protect the wearer from the thermal imagery of drones above. This thermal wear was in the media for a brief period and then seemed to disappear shortly after. I was surprised to find that only a few companies in the world …

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Vehicular Terrorist Attack

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Vehicular Terrorist Attack Could you ever have imagined a time when we would be concerning ourselves with the threat of vehicular terrorists attacks. The fact is our nation and western nations around the world have been so inundated with people who hate the beauty of western society that terrorism happens at anytime, anyplace and by …

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Conceal Carry the ScotteVest

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Conceal Carry the ScotteVest Some inventions are made for preppers and the creators don’t even know it. This product showed up on the hit television show Shark Tank but I never knew about it until this article. The ScotteVest is basically an Every Day Carriers dream you can carry food, water, phones, tablets, sunglasses, cameras, …

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How to Make Real Bugout Plans

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How to Make Real Bugout Plans There is always room for a nice bug out article. The bugout has been adulterated by over saturation and over simplification. It almost seems like a vacation when I read some articles and watch videos about the bugout. The truth is, when you decide to leave the protection of …

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17 Futuristic Weapons You’ve Got to See to Believe

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17 Futuristic Weapons You’ve Got to See to Believe With all the stresses and struggles of daily life and the concern over world ending situations, sometimes its just nice to sit down and look at GUNS! This article is offering up profiles and pictures of 17 weapons that have the look and feel of the …

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The Military Phonetic Alphabet Guide

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The Military Phonetic Alphabet Guide Have you ever had trouble talking with someone in a loud setting or over a bad cellphone connection? Even spelling out what you are trying to say can be misinterpreted. The problem with understanding people in those situations is that many words and letters sound the same. A phonetic alphabet …

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Introduction to Gunsmithing – Part 2

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Written by John Hertig on The Prepper Journal.

In the previous article, we discussed what gunsmithing is, and saw that it had three components, tools, knowledge and skills.  We started out by looking at some of the universal basic tools of gunsmithing.  In part two, after some final thoughts on tools, we’ll look at knowledge and skills needed in gunsmithing.

Other Tool Considerations

In most cases, a firearm will come with everything securely fastened in place.  If you remove a screw which was “Loc-Tited” in place, you should have a little tube of Loctite on hand to allow you to refasten it.  If a part is “staked” in place (surrounding metal is “mushed” into the part), don’t remove it unless you know what you are doing and have the appropriate staking tool.

A set of magnifying glasses or an Optivisor can help you see small details better, and safety glasses will ensure you can keep seeing anything.  If lighting at your work station will be a problem, a small, bright “headlight” would be in order.   I find the Bushnell headlamps from Sams Club to be small, light, very useful and dirt cheap.

So far we have discussed a good beginning set of general tools for testing, basic maintenance, disassembly and reassembly.  If you get good quality tools and shop wisely, you should be able to get started for well under $400 (not including headspace gauges) and probably under $200 if you go with medium quality.  As to “specialty” tools for each firearm you intend to work on, the trick is to have the ones you need and not waste money on ones for tasks or firearms which are not in your current plans.

If you are going to start changing things while you are inside the firearm, the general tool list gets bigger (and more expensive too).  Here is a gunsmith tool set recommended by AGI, one of the better “distance” gunsmith schools, for a “professional” gunsmith.  The video on the page has more information about the recommended tools than does the printed list and is interesting to watch.

All of the tools they include are “general purpose” tools, so their set does not include any specialized tools for particular models or classes of firearms, which is completely understandable.  They don’t have a clue what firearms you will work on or what procedures you will do.  I think the $2000 estimate mentioned is quite low if you get good quality tools (some of the ones they show look like they could have come from a “bargain bin”), and if you add specialized tools, the total tends to really zoom upwards.  In case you were wondering what the top end training package which includes all these tools as well as all the training runs, it is $15,000.  But unless you are becoming a “professional” (when there are tax deductions and professional discounts available), you don’t need all these tools or education to begin with.  Get the basics, and add the other items as you need them.

Some of the tools you can get from common tool sources, or Amazon or eBay.  For some of the more esoteric ones you will probably have to go to a gunsmith tool supplier.  Brownells used to be the standard for gunsmith tools, and they are still around today, although the ratings of some of their tools seem to indicate the quality of some items may have declined.  I really don’t know of another “go to” place for specialty tools, although many of the standard tools and a few specialty tools are available from online firearms stores such as Midway or Optics Planet, or my new favorite, Primary Arms.  Let your fingers do the walking through the internet.

It is a good idea to have a specific container and location for your gunsmithing tools.  If you mix them in with your “regular” tools, you will tend to use them for non-gunsmithing tasks, and they can get scattered or worn out early.  If your set is fairly small, a portable tool case or pouch may do.  For a medium-sized set, a multi-drawer toolbox or two is just the ticket.  I used a four drawer toolbox for assembly, disassembly, lubrication, adjustment and measuring tools and supplies, and a three drawer one with tools and supplies for making modifications, which worked out perfectly for my needs and still could be carried in one trip.  For a large or professional set, you want a room or part of a room, with workbench, power tool stands, peg board and tool drawer systems.


This one is tricky.  For convenience, we divide this into “general” and “specific”.  General knowledge is the “basics”; including types of firearms and how each type works (or is supposed to work), basic tools and their usage, “universal” disassembly, reassembly and minor modifications.  This will be covered in a good gunsmithing curriculum, or you can get a good handle on this from books, internet articles and online videos.

Gunsmithing the AR-15, The Bench Manual

“Specific” knowledge is knowledge some of which you don’t need – until you do.  For instance, details of a specific model firearm you don’t have any immediate plans to work on or a specific procedure which you don’t currently plan to perform.  Since it is somewhat impractical to learn it all (and remember it 10 years later when you finally need it), generally this is best covered (or relearned) by reference books (paper or online) which you refer to as needed.  If you plan to specialize (use some specific knowledge a lot), then learning that subset of specific knowledge would seem the only practical methodology.  In this case, you may be able to get it from self-study, or you may be better served going to classes in that area of study.

For classes in gunsmithing, there are a number of possibilities.  If you have a local gunsmithing school or junior college/trade school/specialty school which offers courses, that may be a viable option.  It will be expensive and probably take up to two years for a degree, although a “certificate” may be a shorter time option.  If you don’t have live classes locally, then generally attending classes “away” is not practical, since not only are there the tuition costs, but lodging and other expenses.  Not to mention existing and temporary employment.  In the “old days”, they had mail order courses, which have been replaced with online training and DVD based training.  If you can keep engaged, some can provide INFORMATION as well as or even better than local “live” classes (you can repeat something as many times as you need), but there are some severe weaknesses.  Many of these don’t have a method for you to get questions answered, and none provide guided “hands-on” experience.

As a point for comparison, AGI’s basic “108 hour” video course is about $5000.  On the other hand, Phoenix State University claims their online training is “the best and quickest and cheapest”, at $99 for the basic certification, $149 for the intermediate one and $199 for the top one.  I’ve always heard that “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is not true”, and that seems to be the case with PSU, based on the huge number of similar complaints (them not providing what was promised and using delaying tactics until the grace period for a refund has expired) I found about them.  A legitimate online course seems to run about $1500.

The instructions which come with specialized tools you buy is “knowledge”.  As a hint, store them in a good location.  When I dusted off my set, I found that I had forgotten not only how to use some of the specialized tools, but even what they were for.  If the instructions had not been in one of the drawers of the toolbox, I might still be trying to figure a couple of them out.


“Skill” is the difference between “knowing how to do something” and “being able to do it”.  If you have a fair amount of mechanical experience, you might be able to become competent at many gunsmithing skills fairly quickly through trial and error.  If you are not mechanically-minded, you will likely need to be shown how to do something, and then practice it.  The best place for this is gunsmith classes which have guided “laboratory” sessions.  If you have a school locally, at a reasonable price, you are lucky.  Otherwise, online or video classes may be able to show you what to do, but you won’t be able to do it until you have done it, and that may take someone who has done it before watching over your shoulder or even guiding your hands.  You may be able to find a local gunsmith who will work with you; perhaps even set up an apprentice relationship.

The other option is just to try things on your own.  Here’s a hint:  the first time you try something, don’t try it on an expensive firearm or critical firearm part…  In fact, go to gun shows and get the cheapest beaters you can find, even non-working or partial ones, to practice on.  To learn skills, videos are often better than written descriptions; being set up in front of the TV screen is about as close as you can get to a live expert present.

To be clear, there is no “distance” course which can provide you skills.  The best ones can guide you in attaining the skills on your own.


A functioning firearm generally has all the parts it needs included.  But parts break or wear out.  And if you take the firearm apart, small parts can get lost.  Sometimes stock parts are sub-standard, such as the MIM (Metal Injection Molded) extractor in modern Remington 870s replacing the machined part in older production.  Many aftermarket companies put out parts which are easier to use, more accurate, more durable or just cooler looking.  Improving the functionality of a firearm, such as replacing the safety with an extended version, is often wise.  For disaster planning, having some spares for firearm parts which are at risk of breaking or loss is wise.  Things like a firing pin, extractor, and springs and pins seem a good choice, and usually are not terribly costly.  Some sources even have gathered together a set of parts in an “Oops Kit”.

Gunsmithing, Why Bother?

You may have noticed that I am suggesting that you spend money on tools and possibly education, and perhaps worse, a significant amount of time.  Presumably you are already spending money on getting survival supplies and time learning survival skills; I’m not saying this is MORE important than any other skill or equipment.  But if you plan on relying on firearms in a crisis situation, you had better be able to keep them working, and if one happens to stop working (or if you come across one which is not working), get it working again.  It might even save you money in the long run if you don’t have to always go running to an expensive gunsmith when a firearm needs repair or modifications for optimal utility.  It can be a source of extra income or an alternate career.  Even if you can’t see gunsmithing as a worthwhile part of your personal survival plans, remember that gunsmithing will be a “primitive profession” which will have a lot of value in bartering in a post apocalypse world.

The post Introduction to Gunsmithing – Part 2 appeared first on The Prepper Journal.

Survival Fishing: How To Catch A Fish Without A Fishing Pole

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If you happen to get stranded near a river, creek, pond or any water body with fish, and you have at least a day before help arrives, then you’ve got to make good with the materials around you to stay alive and kicking. Chances are you may have no fishing gear with you. But if … Read more…

The post Survival Fishing: How To Catch A Fish Without A Fishing Pole was written by Bob Rodgers and appeared first on Prepper’s Will.

5 Brilliant Homestead Hacks Grandma Never Taught Us

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5 Brilliant Homestead Hacks Grandma Never Taught Us

If your grandmother was anything like mine, it seemed like there was nothing she couldn’t do. She could sew just about everything, grow just about anything, and seemed to know just about everything!

This is because my grandmother raised children during the Great Depression. She learned to make things herself … or do without! She passed some of these skills on to my mother, and I picked up a few myself, but I was thinking the other day about things my grandmother did that she really never talked about.

Looking back, I can see that these little “hacks” of hers were pretty darn useful, yet for some reason, she never felt the need to explain them.

So, in this article, I want to share the top 5 hacks that my grandmother practiced, but never talked about, just in case your grandmother never shared them with you, either!

1. Keep straight pins sharp

My grandmother kept two pin cushions. One was the typical cloth “tomato,” but she also had another one that was simply a bar of soap. I foolishly thought that my grandmother was just too cheap to buy a new pin cushion, but low and behold, I later found one of my friends using a bar of soap as a pin cushion. When I asked him why, he told me that this kept his straight pins sharp and the soap made them glide through the fabric easier.

2. No more lonely socks

When I would lose a sock or if by chance one sock developed holes or the elastic wore out before the other one did, I would give them to my grandmother. This was at her request. I never asked why she wanted them; I assumed she would make sock puppets (which she did on occasion) or use them for some “silly” purpose, but it wasn’t until I saw my mother use an old sock for dusting that the light bulb went off in my head.

Get Instant Electrical Power In A Convenient, Portable Briefcase!

I was buying those microfiber towels for dusting, and here the answer to dusting was right under my nose. My old socks work just as well as my microfiber towels — and they don’t cost a dime!

3. Umbrella or sunhat?

5 Brilliant Homestead Hacks Grandma Never Taught UsMy grandmother was fond of saying things that seemed strange as a kid but later made me laugh, such as “if you can see the moon and stars, it won’t rain.” Well, if you can see the moon and stars, that means there are no clouds! She would go stand in the front yard and stare at the clouds for a minute or two, and then come inside and announce whether we should take umbrellas or hats for a sunny day. It was many years before I realized what she was doing; grandma was watching the movements of clouds. Clouds that become bigger as they move toward you (of course) indicate it likely will rain later.

4. No more sticky salt

It wasn’t until I moved to a more humid climate that I realized why my grandmother always filled her salt shakers with a mixture of uncooked rice and salt. The uncooked rice absorbed the moisture in the air, allowing the salt to stay drier and move more freely. I discovered this while Googling how to stop the salt from clumping! My grandmother knew this secret years before Google did!

5. Loose screws

No, I’m not talking about your in-laws; I mean those nail holes or screws with holes that have become enlarged over time. Occasionally, you can simply use a larger screw or nail, but with some items, such as a wooden kitchen cabinet door with a handle that will only take a certain size nail, you need a better hack than super glue! This is a true grandma hack that everyone can appreciate. Simply take a wooden toothpick and insert it into the hole. Break it off and then re-use your nail or screw. If it’s a really big hole, try two toothpicks. If grandma didn’t show you this one, perhaps grandpa did.

If you were lucky enough to come from a family who believed in handing down hacks like these the way some families handed down clothes, consider yourself fortunate!

What are your favorite grandma or grandpa hacks? Share your tips in the section below:

Is the US about to Bomb North Korea

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Is the US about to Bomb North Korea Last week we did a story on the newest threat from North Korea. With each passing day their nuclear capabilities improve. What once seemed like an isolated yet despotic regime, North Korea is extending their reach. So much so that the United States government has taken serious …

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Are you Fit Enough to Survive a Crisis

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Are you Fit Enough to Survive a Crisis Unfortunately, fitness tends to take a back seat in the preparedness world. This always boggled my mind because so many in the community are ex military. I am a huge proponent of being in top shape. Strength and, more importantly, endurance are the tools you will need …

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Getting Started with Bushcraft

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Getting Started with Bushcraft I love the stance this author takes on bushcraft. Many of use tend to take a strange approach to wilderness survival. We spend hours on youtube and amazon and before long our inventory of wilderness survival gear has grown but our actual time in the environment has not. The author makes …

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Are We Headed for Matial Law

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Are We Headed for Martial Law Whether you realize it or not we have experience martial law in this nation. It hasn’t made front page news and it certainly wont go down in history as such. Events like Hurricane Katrina and the Boston Bombing saw authorities seizing guns and setting curfews. If that’s not martial …

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Stores That Hand Out 5 Gallon Buckets Free

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Stores That Hand Out 5 Gallon Buckets Free Now is the time for winning the resource game. We live in an age of excess and preppers all over should take advantage of this. I don’t know about your but I use 5 gallon buckets for tons of things. I mix fertilizer in them, bring home …

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Could Hackers Exploit 911 Services

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Could Hackers Exploit 911 Services Hackers don’t physically break into homes. They don’t rape or shoot people and in this way they appear less dangerous than many of the threats we face. The truth is hackers ruin peoples lives everyday. This article discusses their capabilities when it comes to the 911 emergency services. For many …

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Planning a Fruit Tree Guild

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Planning a Fruit Tree Guild Gardens are fun and exciting. They grow lots of food if you know what you are doing. I would recommend that every home have some small area that gets plenty of sun and can grow some food. Still, there is something near mystical about a growing fruit on trees in …

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Shade Cloth and Hoop Houses

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Shade Cloth and Hoop Houses There are so many trains of thought when it comes to gardening. Its very easy to “geek out” over very little things when it comes to your garden. One of the ideas almost all gardeners wrestle with is the greenhouse or the hoop house over colder months. Some people allow …

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A Guide to New Income Streams

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A Guide to New Income Streams I am obsessed with the idea of diverse income streams. I think as preppers we should never be latched onto a single income stream. The days of the big salary just aren’t doing it for me anymore. The funny thing is I look at the big salary as far …

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Body Armor for the Prepper

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Body Armor for the Prepper For  me body armor is one of those purchases that is on the periphery. I know that I am not alone. The idea of body armor is alluring and the fact that its used by police and military are a testament to its effectiveness. This article is one of those …

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Alternative Food Garden: Straw Bales

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Alternative Food Garden: Straw Bales Though not everyone like to garden or grow food, everyone does need to eat! From a preparedness point of view, it makes sense to have the knowledge of several different food garden methods. It’s even better when you are able to practice them so you don’t have to try and …

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Dating a Non Prepper?

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Dating a Non Prepper? Prepping is not an easy thing to admit to. After the damage done by Nat Geo’s terrible Doomsday Preppers show we were all turned into laughable nuts. Of course, that narrative is the one that the general public seems to be stuck on. Its normal to feel guarded and secretive about …

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Training Survival: Building Shooting Muscle

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Since you carry a gun for self-defense or to save the life of another, then you are concerned with combative firearms skills rather than shooting merely for the experience of shooting.  To reach this goal, you engage in training, mostly in the form of practice on a range.  How close you get to your goal […]

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The Top 10 Survival Supplies That Can Save Your Life

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

Editor’s Note: This post has been contributed by Sarah. If you have information for Preppers that you would like to share and possibly win a $300 Amazon Gift Card to purchase your own prepping supplies, enter the Prepper Writing Contest today.

When a disaster happens, you don’t have time to start thinking about survival supplies you need. You need to be prepared and function on autopilot – when it comes to fighting for your survival, drafting shopping lists just isn’t possible. So, what are those essential supplies you need to have prepared for when disaster strikes? Here is a list of the ten survival supplies that could save your life.

1. Dry bags

One of the most important survival supplies is a stock of dry bags. These are similar to dry boxes and they are designed to ensure the contents stay dry and untarnished. If you’re clothing or electronics get wet, then you are going to have a tough time surviving and thus, these things are the first things to purchase.

You can keep the dry bags unpacked, but it can be a good idea to prepare a few with extra clothing. This way, you are always guaranteed to have dry clothes – some underwear, a pair of hiking trousers, a fleece shirt and some socks are enough to get started.

2.Fire starters

Aside from staying dry, your second most important survival element deals with setting a fire. You need heat not only to keep warm but also to cook things, among other important functions. There are tons of different fire starter supplies and it’s a good idea to even learn how to set fire with nothing but what nature has on offer.

However, make your survival a bit easier and get automatic fire starters. The magnesium fire starters are a solid option and you can use it in challenging conditions.

3. Sleeping bag

Sleeping is probably to least of your worries when things go sour, but you shouldn’t skip it. We need to sleep and rest our brains – without it, we can’t function properly and all your survival efforts will go to waste.

A sleeping bag is a must-have supply and you should have enough of them to ensure you can put your head down. You want the sleeping bag to be good quality – don’t try to save money with this purchase.

4. Water purification tablets

You definitely need to have a solid stock of water purification tablets, such as Polar Pure. Without water, you won’t last very long and therefore, it is an essential part of surviving in the wild or during a disaster. When you buy water purification tablets make sure to learn how to store them and use them! Test your tablets a few times to ensure you’re able to use them effectively.

5. Canned liquids

Food supplies are essential for a survival kit. You should definitely have a good stock of food supplies (canned meat, canned vegetables, protein powders and so on) at your home or designated survival location. However, you should focus on a few food supplies above anything else and keep these at hand at all times. The magic supply? Canned liquids like canned juices, condensed milk, coconut milk, chopped fruit in their own juice and so on. These are the best for survival because they provide you with both nutrition and hydration at the same time.

6. First Aid Kit

Sometimes survival becomes more than just finding shelter and food. You might be injured and you won’t have access to modern medical facilities. It’s crucial to be able to tend to your wounds and know how to get through injuries without causing more damage.

First aid kit with basic essentials like alcohol for cleaning wounds, scissors, bandages of different kinds, blasters, and so on, are a must-have part of a survival kit. You can create your own or opt for pre-made first aid kit from places like the Red Cross.

7. Bear pepper spray

While you definitely should get your hands on other forms of weaponry, your immediate survival kit should have a can of bear pepper spray. The spray is a great way to protect against animals, whether a mountain lion or your neighbour’s dog. It’s easy to use as well so make sure to teach your younger family members as well! You just have to point the can in the general direction of the animal or human attacking and they should be disoriented and run away. At least the spray is good for buying more time and getting your hands on a knife or a gun.

8.Fishing line

The beauty of fishing line it’s in its versatility. You can use it as a traditional fishing line and catch food but you can also use it to tie things, cut things and set different types of traps. Fishing line is durable and it’s cheap.

9. A proper map of your immediate location

Always have a sturdy map in your survival supplies kit. We’re too used to using modern technology to getting around, but when the worst happen, your iPhone is unlikely to save you. A good map with plenty of detailed information of the roads and terrain won’t cost a fortune and will ensure you find your way if other forms of communication are gone.


Finally, you’ll need to stock up on some fuel. If you look back to some modern disasters, such as Hurricane Sandy, people were queuing to get fuel because the generators were out. Don’t be the person who has to find fuel after the disaster, but keep a few cans of it in secret locations – make sure it isn’t near things that could ignite.

Now, when it comes to having these supplies, it’s important to keep check of your stock and to ensure things aren’t going old (although by nature these supplies should last a long time, you do need to ensure the packages don’t get tampered with and so on). You can make savings with all of the above supplies if you shop with VoucherBin UK – it has a range of camping retailers offering discounts.

You should ideally have one set of kit available at your house, one smaller kit in your car and another stock at your designated safe house. This ensures you have a few access options when disaster strikes and you’re not left stranded.

So, when it comes to being prepared, don’t forget to get your hands on these ten supplies – they might save your life.

The post The Top 10 Survival Supplies That Can Save Your Life appeared first on The Prepper Journal.

Some Simple Truths about Survival

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In today’s society, if you haven’t noticed already, there are some people that describe themselves as victims, a group of so-called unfortunates who demand others take care of them, they need rescuing from their own victimhood it seems because of some perceived slight or oppression, and even harsh talk sends some over the edge never […]

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Growing Tobacco In Early America

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Growing Tobacco In Early America
Published on Apr 13, 2017

Today Justin Filipowski from George Washington’s Mount Vernon sits down with Jon to talk about the tobacco trade in early America.

Mount Vernon Website ▶ http://www.mountvernon.org/ ▶▶

Help support the channel with Patreon ▶ https://www.patreon.com/townsend ▶▶

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Avoid Rookie Prepper Mistakes

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Avoid Rookie Prepper Mistakes There is much to be said about learning from your mistakes. and when it comes to preparedness there are two trains of thought. It pays to make mistakes and get better When the time comes there is no room for error Depending on the situation a mistake could cost you your …

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Medical Preparedness

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Medical Preparedness A topic that many people attempt to avoid, medical preparedness is important. There are very few who spend lots of time on understanding how to be medically prepared for a disaster. Much of this has to do with the fact that to be a doctor you spend untold amounts of time in school …

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Natural Health: Plantain

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Natural Health: Plantain One of the most common growing “weeds” in the nation. This is not an article about the hard bananas you see in the market. No. This is about a small, leafy green that grows with a low profile in your driveway. You may be shocked to find out just how much can be …

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25 Make Ahead Camping Meals

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25 Make Ahead Camping Meals It may seem like 25 make ahead camping meals wouldn’t be much of a topic for SHTF. In fact, that couldn’t be further from the truth. There are many opportunities for make ahead camping meals. The most obvious of course is the food storage department. The meals that are shelf …

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SHTF Ammo Debate .308 or .223

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SHTF Ammo Debate .308 or .223 On a subject like this there is an awful lot of conjecture. You find that many people have opinions but very few have factual data to support those opinions. Of course, either round would be a great on to stockpile. I think this article offers some insight that will …

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10 How-To Books Worth Owning

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10 How-To Books Worth Owning They say knowledge is power and that you need wits to survive when the world around you crumbles. As preppers, we are used to stockpile food, water and survival gear. We gather all the things we might need during a crisis and we hope for the best. However, gathering knowledge …

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Spring Diet Cleanup And Fitness Challenge |episode 144

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Spring Diet Cleanup And Fitness Challenge |episode 144
Spring Diet Cleanup And Fitness Challenge |episode 144

Spring Diet Cleanup And Fitness Challenge |episode 144



This Week we talk all about a spring diet cleanup and the 6-week survivalpunk Fitness challenge. 

Over winter man of us put on a few pounds. Either from all the baked goods for the holidays or from being inside all winter. 

I’m no exception and with spring here I am evaluating my diet and fitness. 

I’m being my biggest critic and evaluating what has been working and what hasnt. 

Also, I have just finished reading Robb Wolf’s new book, Wired To Eat, and have got some great new ideas. 

It is definitely worth a read if you want to geek out about the neuroregulation of appetite. Or just loose weight. 

Also, don’t forget to stop by the facebook group and join in the 6-week fitness challenge. 





  • Why bother with dieting? 
  • Seasonally evaluate your diet and GPP.
  • What has and hasn’t been working on your diet 
  • Go back to the basics. Plain paleo. Check that things haven’t slipped in
  •  Hold yourself accounted And check yourself.  
  • Use tools like my fitness pal to track your calories and macros
  • Get friends on board. 
  • Go play outside. Get some Vitamin D and be active


Survivalpunk 6 week fitness challenge

2-mile time (Can Be Running, or Walking)
For time over 10 minutes or AMRP 20 minute cap
10 burpees
20 push ups
30 Sit Ups
40 Air Squats
Record every week and compete against yourself.


Wired To Eat


Subscribe to the Survival Punk Survival Podcast. The most electrifying podcast on survival entertainment. 

Want to hear yourself on the podcast? Call in with your questions at (615) 657-9104 and leave us a voice mail. 

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The post Spring Diet Cleanup And Fitness Challenge |episode 144 appeared first on Survival Punk.

Introduction to Gunsmithing – Part 1

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Written by John Hertig on The Prepper Journal.

What is “Gunsmithing”? It is the process of repairing or modifying firearms. You can do it on your own firearms without any problem, and you might be able to do it for friends and family, especially if you don’t get paid for it. But if you do it as a “business”, then you will need to be licensed by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE).

There are three aspects necessary to do successful gunsmithing: Knowledge (what to do), Skill (capability to do it) and Tools (what to do it with).

Tools are perhaps the “easiest” aspect to achieve. After all, it is a binary condition. You have the tools you need or you don’t have them. If you need a tool and don’t have it, all you need to do is track it down, and be able to afford to buy it (or rent it or borrow it) or be able to make it.

Tools for Disassembly and Reassembly

Gunsmithing tools are often similar to “regular” tools, but sometimes there is that slight, critical difference. For instance, the “first” type of tool to consider is the lowly screwdriver. No you can’t go down to the big box store and buy their no-name cheap screwdriver set. Or go to the fancy tool store and buy their top-of-the-line screwdriver set. Most “regular” screwdriver sets have a limited number of sizes AND their blade shape is a blunt wedge (taper ground). And this is a recipe for disaster when working on firearms. They have a lot of screws, often of the slotted persuasion, and in a wide number of sizes. Your “standard” tapered screwdriver set probably won’t have a blade of the right thickness or width, and without this degree of fit, the screwdriver will mar up the slot. Even if by some lucky coincidence the screwdriver is the right size, the tapered sides of the blade have a tendency to cam the blade out of the slot, which messes up the top edge of the slot. And firearm screws are often blued so any marks you make tend to really stand out. If you are looking at a gun with buggered up screws, the odds are someone who did not know what they were doing (and had the wrong tools) has been monkeying around inside of it (or failed to get inside).

What you need is a screwdriver set with a wide number of sizes AND parallel sides (called “hollow ground”). Because of the number of sizes, the best choice is usually a set with one or more handles and a large number of bits. Kind of the “reference” for this class of tools is a Bownells Magna Tip Set.

Their beginner’s sets are not cheap, and their top of the line set with 75 standard, 4 Phillips, 17 hex (Allen), 11 Torx®, and 13 specialty bits for sights, scope mounts, grip bushings, Ruger ejectors, and other unique applications, along with 7 assorted handles, runs $320. You can get cheaper hollow ground sets, but they usually won’t have the variety of bits and may be of lower quality than the Brownells sets, but can still be quite adequate. It is a reasonable methodology to start out with a small set, and add additional bits as you need them, although when you find you need a bit, you “should” stop what you are doing until you can get the correct bit. But this is often unacceptable in the real world. If you are gunsmithing professionally, get every bit you can; otherwise, get any new bits you need every time you access a new firearm. If there is a bit which you use “a lot”, having a spare of that bit is wise. Note that if you don’t have the right sized bit, you can grind a bigger one to size.

You may find some Phillips screws, particularly in rifle stocks, and Allen (hex) screws have become fairly common. Thus having Phillips screwdrivers (or bits) and a set of Allen wrenches is recommended. Allen bits are available, but the “L” shaped wrenches tend to be more durable.

Another thing found in abundance in firearms are “pins”. These can be solid or “roll” pins. To get them out and back in, you need the “second” type of tool to consider, a set of punches in various sizes. For solid, flat end pins, you use flat face, constant diameter “pin” punches. For roll pins, roll pin punches with a little bump in the middle of the face are strongly suggested. If you will be doing a lot of roll pins, a set of roll pin “holders” would make things easier; since each holds the pin in position and drives it part way through. Occasionally you will have a pin with a rounded end, and a “cup” face punch is optimal for these. If you have a pin which is stuck or extra tight, a “starting” punch is often suggested, but I don’t trust these. They are tapered, and although they do reduce the chances of bending or breaking a punch, only the face is the correct diameter, and I’m concerned they could deform the pin hole. Pin punches come in various lengths; shorter ones tend to be more durable, but if not long enough to drive the pin all the way out, less useful. A non-marring (brass) pin punch set may be useful, but for me, the deformation they could suffer outweighs the low mar factor they offer. However, a non-marring “drift” punch of brass or nylon (or both) should definitely be included.

Weaver Deluxe Gunsmith Tool Kit – beginner set with basic tools.

By themselves, punches are of limited use. When driving a pin in or out, you need a way to provide some impact force to the punch, and you need something to support what you are driving the pin out of, and a place for the pin to go without running into anything. These aspects are provided by a small hammer or mallet, with brass and sometimes rubber or plastic faces, and a “bench block” with holes you can drive the pins into.

To handle small parts, a selection of hemostats, large tweezers and precision “needle nose” pliers is in order. I also include a pair of parallel jaw pliers, a small Vise-Grip and a strip of thick, raw leather (to protect the part from the Vise-Grips) in my pliers assortment, but these are usually not required for normal disassembly or assembly. Assorted picks and probes can help you get gunk out of a tight space as well as help to manipulate small parts.

These are the “universal” basic disassembly/assembly tools. Specific firearms sometimes have specialized tools which make it easier (or in some cases “possible”) to disassemble or reassemble that firearm or class of firearm. If you will be working on that particular firearm, some of its specialized tools could be considered “basic”.

Tools for Maintenance and Testing

In order to keep a firearm functioning optimally, you need to maintain it. Maintenance usually involves cleaning it after use (or after it is exposed to an adverse environment). A cleaning kit is in order to clean out the bore. This includes some solvent, a caliber specific set of patches (squares of cloth), “mops” (fuzzy cylinders) and (soft) wire brushes, and a rod to push these items through the bore. Cleaning rods can damage the muzzle (and thus accuracy), so some sets have a bore guide included in them; some others use a coated rod or a very soft rod material. Some sets, particularly those intended to be carried with you, use a cable to pull the cleaning elements through the bore instead of a rod used to push. Alternatively, some people prefer to use a “bore snake” these days, claiming these pull-through combinations of mop and brush are quicker and safer (than rods). To clean the rest of the gun, a selection of brushes and cloths is in order.

The bore of a firearm is critical to its performance, so a way to check out its condition is necessary if you are considering acquiring a particular firearm. And for that matter, after you clean the bore, you want to check that you did a good job and that no damage has occurred over time. The reasonably priced way to do this is with a bore light; a lighted bulb which fits, or a drives a fiber optic tube which directs the light, into the bore. Alternatively, you can use a mirror, prism or “light pipe” to direct an external light source into the bore. For the well-heeled, there are even “bore camera” systems. If you see crud in there, you need to do (or redo) bore cleaning to get the crud out so you can see if there is any damage under the crud.

Once you get a firearm clean, you want to lubricate it with the appropriate grease and/or oil, and perhaps give it a wipe down with oil or other protectant to provide some protection against rust to the finish.

If the firearm is operating correctly for you, then it is sort of “self-testing”. If there is a new (to you) firearm for which you want to verify the functioning, or an existing one which it seems might be having problems, testing is in order. For testing feeding function safely, some “dummy rounds” are wise. Polymer dummies are cheap, but I prefer machined aluminum ones, or even better (if you can still find them these days), ones made of actual brass and bullets, but of course, no primer. Avoid ones which are “painted”, as the paint tends to flake off in the firearm. If you reload, you could even make your own; just mark them so you can tell them from active ammo at a glance. For testing the hammer and/or trigger function safely, a brightly colored “snap cap” (or six, for revolvers) would be useful. In order to verify a firearm is correctly headspaced and thus safe to fire, “GO” and “NOGO” gauges for that caliber are useful but costly. A complete set for a caliber, with GO (measures against the minimum factory specification), NOGO (measures against the maximum factory specification) and FIELD (measures against the maximum safe headspace after lots of use) will probably run $90 or more. You can buy the gauges individually, but do NOT mix brands of gauges for a caliber.

This is a good starting set of tools. Tune in next time for a discussion of Knowledge and Skills.

The post Introduction to Gunsmithing – Part 1 appeared first on The Prepper Journal.

5 Things You Need for Solar Energy

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5 Things You Need for Solar Energy Solar is getting better. In the near future we will be looking at solar energy options that are comparable with that of our on grid providers. That said there are still viable options for solar use today. What this article offers are 5 necessities if you wish to …

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How to Can Beef Stew

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How to Can Beef Stew I love these canned chickens and canned beef stews. For me they close the loop on sustainability. Its one thing to be able to grow or rear it, its another to be able to process it, its another skill set entirely to be able to prepare it. Then, to be …

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Triangulating your Position

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Triangulating your Position  Navigation in the wild is intimidating. There is no getting around that. Its like anything else you know very little about. The consequences could be high and if you are uninformed you could be lost out there amongst the bears and wolves. Of course, that’s a terrifying thought. This article employs several …

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62 Wild Edibles with Pictures

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62 Wild Edibles with Pictures What an amazing resource. Don’t just read this article but bookmark it as well. It might even be worth saving it all into some sort of PDF format you can print in color. To a guy who loves foraging this article is a dream come true. You can spend two …

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9 Strategies for Self-Sufficient Living

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9 Strategies for Self-Sufficient Living There is something so wonderful about these listicle style articles. I really like reading them. They are easy to digest and bring lots of great ideas to the forefront. This article is no different. These are not concrete things to be done like BUY CHICKENS GET SOLAR POWER Instead this …

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Self defence laws put Australians at risk.

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Statewide man hunt ends in Tamworth pub after woman stabbed in face, and neck.

Yet another home invasion and the occupant left helpless to defend herself against a stronger attacker. In Australia it is now illegal to use a firearm in the defence of self and family. It is illegal to carry anything outside the home for self defence. The government would sooner citizens were murdered than attackers harmed or killed. Why is that?

The Post Collapse World Will Be Violent and Brutal

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The Post Collapse World Will Be Violent and Brutal Brutal is the key word with this article. If you have a weak stomach or if you are opposed to seeing violence and even death this article is gonna bring all of that to you both in video format and the linguistic. BE WARNED!  Beyond that, …

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Tips for Using Emergency Generators

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Tips for Using Emergency Generators A backup generator can be a godsend during power outages, but making sure you’re prepared takes more than just buying one and “waiting for a rainy day.” In addition to making sure you understand how much power your property needs to function, you’ll want to make sure you get a …

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DIY Solar Oven Prototype 1

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DIY Solar Oven Prototype 1 Cooking is an everyday part of survival unless you’re happy to crouch in the dark eating straight from a cold can of beans. Collecting firewood isn’t too hard – but in a long term survival situation, you’ll have to travel farther and farther to find the fuel you need, especially …

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Wilderness Safety Tips for Women

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

Editor’s Note: This post is another entry in the Prepper Writing Contest from Julie. If you have information for Preppers that you would like to share and possibly win a $300 Amazon Gift Card to purchase your own prepping supplies, enter today.

In today’s world, when a calamity knocks, people would go after one another to offer help and support each other all the way. However, sometimes, tragedies bring out the worst out of people. Some of these scheming calamities seem to target defenseless victims like the aging, the disabled and of course, women.

Most of the times men escape death because they know how to fight and to protect themselves. Their physical weight and height come in handy in most times too.

A lot of times, women are referred to as the fragile and weak ones. Favorably, many self-defense tips and approaches can trim that disadvantage and grant women the ability to shield themselves and those that they are obliged to protect, for example, their children.

Physically and Emotionally Fit

Women need to be physically and emotionally fit at all times. For example, if they have gone camping, should any danger arise, like a sign of an intruder from afar, they need to be ready to jump into action. They will need to run, really fast, to protect themselves from danger or to simply go and get help. Sometimes, the threat may not always be represented as a person. Other tragedies may be manifested in natural disasters like an avalanche, a storm or a tree falling.

Below are some of the wilderness safety tips women can put in place to be safe. Although sometimes all one may need is a survival boot knife, other regimens may be more helpful. Some of the tips revolve around things women may have been doing before, in preparation, not while faced with danger.

1. Exercise

It is important to keep fit. Otherwise, how will you jump into action if you cannot run? Exercising at least five times a week may be helpful. Other activities may also involve lifting weights or moving a log. These training tips are advisable because strength is vital in getting help.

Another idea to get in shape to be ready to defend yourself while out camping is rock climbing. This is especially easy since you do not need to go to the forest to become good at rock climbing. While the best practice would be the natural setting, today, rock climbing can be done at malls or even at the comfort of your home. Makeshift rock-climbing walls may not give the exact situation, but they prepare you for what’s on the outside for when you do go rock climbing or are faced with a situation in which you need such skills.

The good thing about exercising for survival and fitness is that one does not to be a member of a professional gym or hire an expert trainer to show you the ropes. All it takes is a simple regimen to keep fit, be it running, jogging, breathing exercises, and so on.

2. Survival Course

As much as you may be ready and willing to go out in the wilderness and enjoy the fresh air, the risk you are running is as real as a snake bite or a fractured knee. Many people may not be willing to try it out, but survival and defense classes are becoming more popular by the day.

The courses are short and have more to do with practical situations than the theory. What’s more? They are offered by professionals who may be retired Marines, medical practitioners or survival experts.

3. First Aid and Quick Response

Many courses will train you on how to avoid being in harm’s way. However, in the case of disaster, what else could you do to survive? There are a number of quite basic First Aid tips that women should have in hand to be better placed to save their lives. They are such as knowing how to stop a nosebleed, treat a snake bite or improvise and stabilize a fractured bone.

4. No Giving Up

The main thing the trainers and those who have survived tragedies in the wilderness will tell you is that you need to keep a positive attitude throughout the process. The positive attitude will help you stay focused during training and in the face of disaster. So many people have talked about going for hours, sometimes days, without water, fresh air or warmth. In the case of an avalanche, it is important to keep in mind that rescue is on the way and you just need to hold on.

5. The Mind Game

A danger is not always presented in the form of a person, but when it does, it is time to play smart, rather than showcase your mastery of the Kung Fu skills. Naturally, men are more muscular than women, and if they are your attacker, then it is time to play smart. Mind games such as playing defenseless and trying to understand your attacker’s psychology may save you more than a high kick or a blow to the face will. It is, therefore, important to keep in mind where you are, and who may be out to attack you. Some of the questions you need to ask yourself include:

This information will be vital especially if you are going camping in a different region, away from home. Read news and crime journals and reports about the general security of the area. Such information may be readily available on the internet. Reading about a new area gives Intel on what to expect, or not to expect.

In the same vein, know your surroundings. You should have contact details of a nearby hospital or sheriff’s office. This will be substantial even if the danger is not presented in the form of an attacker. In the case of a storm and the cabin is struck by lightning, perhaps reaching the sheriff’s office for assistance in the event of accidents may be essential.

6. Gun and Ammunition

Being fit may get you out of a situation, but being smart may save you faster and in a better way. Women, and indeed everyone else, need to be familiar with the gun and security laws governing their state or country. If you are going to be in a place that may put you at risk of being attacked, it only makes sense to have protection.

Most people keep guns in their houses or on them, but this is subject to the law and the permits required. If all the legislation boxes have been checked, then it’s time to learn how to load the gun, and of course, fire. Know what gun you are most comfortable using and if you need to spend some little time at the range to perfect your aim, then, by all means, do so.


All in all, security is key, not just for the women, but for everyone who is going to spend some time out of the comfort and safety of their home. Whether survival classes or keeping fit, always be on the lookout for what harm may come your way and how best to stay safe.

About the Author: Julie is the founder of Outdoorzer, where she and her associates blog about camping, hiking, RVs and surviving in the woods. Outdoorzer is a website for those who love the fresh air outdoors – It’s the best gift Mother Nature gives us!

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Best Animals to Hunt During SHTF

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Best Animals to Hunt During SHTF Host: Highlander “Survival & Tech Preps “ Audio in player below! As with most topics we have a lot of what if’s? Food storage with preppers is a big deal and we think we have enough. We prepare for so long the amount we think we’ll need, but alas … Continue reading Best Animals to Hunt During SHTF

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25 Survival Shelter Tarp Configurations Infographic

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25 Survival Shelter Tarp Configurations Infographic


Courtesy Of  rollingfox.com with this graphic.

25 Tarp Configurations Infographic


The folks over at Rolling Fox let me know about their 25 Survival Shelter Tarp Configurations Infographic and I had to share it with you guys. 



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How Our Ancestors Survived When SHTF

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How Our Ancestors Survived When SHTF  SHTF isn’t just a modern phenomenon. Our ancestors survived many disasters. It’s best to learn their lessons. The Gila Cliff Dwellings are a great example. In the mid-13th century, SHTF when a 24-year drought uprooted Native Americans throughout the U.S. Southwest. One band of the Mogollon (muggy-YON) people resettled …

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