Prepper Hacks – Jumpstart That Survival Garden

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Written by R. Ann Parris on The Prepper Journal.

Spring Into Planting (Early & Anywhere)

Hopefully we’ve all sited or started making notes of where we want to plant, expand, shore-up and re-do our gardens, whether they’re beds or little containers, a string of tin cans or a tower of 2L soda bottles. Some of us are already sowing seeds directly, many of us have our tomatoes and peppers and squashes started for transplants, but some of us are likely lagging behind a little, whether it’s due to water, effort, space, weather, or time.

If planting is an interest – and it really should be for preppers – we may be itching to go ahead and start. Resisting those false springs and holding on through the last frosts and snows can be painful.

We can always do our germination testing, update our crop rotation plan or garden journals, or make up some seed tapes and mats with trash and a little glue, but sometimes we want to get those tasty edibles in the soil, no matter what the calendar says. The inclination for fresh food is likely to be even stronger following a winter of storage foods and with only dry and canned produce to get us through to mid-summer.

Happily, we can cheat the weather and time a little. We can get our survival garden ready indoors, with almost any amount of space and almost any budget and time available.

Digging Up Dirt

We may want to sterilize soil that’s coming from outside to do up some pots.

We may want to sterilize soil that’s coming from outside to do up some pots. It’s pretty easy, and can be done multiple ways.

We can add equal parts water and boil it for 10-30 minutes, or process it in jars in water-bath or pressure canners as we would tomato paste or meat. We can also bake it (350 degrees for 60 minutes, or 450 degrees for 30 minutes). Or, we can make sure it’s damp and then microwave it for 5-10 minutes.

Being able to use just about any soil means we can run out and scoop a couple of gallons from the yard, established beds, or – in small, polite increments – bits from a nearby ditch or park. We want to skip soil that may have been treated with a broadleaf herbicide, because most of our veggies are dicots.

Dicots – broadleaf plants; non-grasses (hay, corn, wheat and other grains are monocots).

Because we can sterilize our soil, we don’t have to worry about bringing any creepy-crawlies into the house.

Cheating the Calendar

We can start planting with our non-buggy soil right away, even if we live indoors with no windows, or if it’s going to be June before it’s safe to plant anything outside of a greenhouse.

A number of edible plants really don’t need much light. In fact, some of us are likely to grow a shelf worth of beets, radishes and lettuces indoors even if we have lots of yard space because we’re restricted by heat and too much sunlight.

Using just the ambient light from winter and early spring windows, some or many plants grow a little slower, but even doubling a microgreen, radish, or leaf lettuce that takes 14, 21, or 30 days means we’re munching in as little as 4-6 weeks, as much as 60 days in cool, very dim conditions indoors.

Any full-spectrum light bulb can go in any lamp in the home – we don’t have to get fancy there.

If we do get a specialty light for plants, make sure it’s for growth. (Those green-light bulbs make plants look better; plants will eventually die if it’s their only or primary source because they don’t absorb those wavelengths.)

Whether we use a window from across a room or a bulb in a “normal” stand, we’ll likely want to be able to spin our planters. It’ll help plants grow straight and tall instead of bending, and give them equal access to airflow.

Early Transplants

GrowVeg likes to promote the green pea-house gutter transplant method. You fill a shallow container 12-24” long with soil, plant out pea seed at high density, and then just slide the whole thing out when the seedlings and weather are cooperating.

The same can also be done for strawberries, spinach and baby lettuces.

Spinach and baby lettuces are ideal for it, because we can be harvesting the largest leaf of 3-5 leaves while they’re inside for weeks before we send them out to make bigger heads. However, they’re also fine just staying in that shallow dirt – especially if given some used coffee grounds or tea leaves now and then.

Beets can get the same treatment if desired.

A few leaves are sacrificed to salad, keeping it from producing a tuber. The seedlings are transitioned outside in stages, then the soil is slid out and into a bed. With the leaves less disturbed or undisturbed, the plant starts gaining enough growth to make that tuber for us.

Pots for Planting

We don’t have to spend a fortune on our planting containers. Depending on how “cute” we want them, we may not have to spend anything.

Some families are exceptions, but most of us use or can gain access to tins from canned foods, soda and juice bottles, milk jugs, and coffee cans (plastic or steel).

Even if our local fast food restaurants and delis no longer get or pass along food-safe buckets, we can get our hands on tubs the size gallon+ ice cream comes in, and giant condiment jars and tubs. The local humane society and ASPCA may not have kitty litter buckets, but we can cut down the giant plastic pour-bottles two different ways to buy some growing room.

Any plant that’s a candidate for soup cans (green onions, leaf lettuce, baby spinach, chickweed) is also a candidate for peanut jars and cashew tubs, peanut butter tubs, and bottles from bulk vegetable or olive oil.

A few holes for drainage in the sides and-or bottoms, and we’re in business. We may want to go easy on the pickle tubs for indoors, but it might not bother us on a porch or small balcony.

We can also line baskets of various types, or collect pretty lampshades to flip upside down and line, then add a fill like pinecones at the bottom for drainage and air space, and be very, very careful watering for the rest of the season.

Seed Selection

In keeping with this as an article for everybody, no matter their skill, budget or space constraints, I’m sticking with smaller plants that can be grown in anything and focusing on plants with cut-and-come-again convenience.

Cut and come again: You snip the tips or tops, or select-harvest larger leaves, but leave the plant growing; with the established root system and-or leaves still collecting sunlight, plants regrow faster than reseeding, allowing for more harvest total over a period of time even if each harvest is a little smaller.

I’m also mostly going to stick with plants that have low light needs. They can survive in a window, 6-8’ away from a window, or with the standard full-spectrum bulbs mentioned earlier – even the LEDs that burn so little energy. That keeps it open even for people with limited window space.

Using things like coffee grounds we get from Starbucks, McD’s, or our own pots, and tea leaves, we can keep even very small containers and “pots” fertile a pinch or two at a time, right on the surface of the soil to be watered in as we go.

A pinch or so of Epsom salt here and there will also keep our plants productive and flowering.

All of the leaf lettuces are excellent candidates for small “mini” pots and planters with shallow roots. So is spinach that will be harvested small.

Baby beet leaves are commonly included in field green mixes. Sprinkle or space at a half-inch, thin and eat the smaller sprouts to give a 1-1.5” spacing, and they’ll be fine.

Radishes, baby carrots, and even small beets or turnips for roots won’t work well in soup and small veggie cans – they just aren’t all that productive for the space used.

Radishes do work well with gutter sections, glass brownie and bread pans, and milk jugs and bottles that are cut to lay horizontally instead of stacked in a vertical tower.

Herbs go fifty-fifty. Some will stay smaller when grown in 20-oz., cans, and 2L jugs, but most will be fine.

Chives, parsley, thyme & basil especially have a lot of bang for the buck. The first three are also troopers with very long growing seasons, especially indoors.

Green/spring onions also pack a lot of flavor, and can have just a stalk harvested as well, so they’ll regrow from the roots like cutting lettuce.

Fenugreek has some restrictions, but is another tasty additive.

Mustards are salad add-in’s at our house, but can be grown larger and in more bulk for people who dig cooked greens.

Pea sprouts and shoots are an excellent spinach replacement. They can be harvested as “stems” with just little baby leaves, or allowed to grow larger.

Strawberries are happy with half a 2L, milk jugs, wider bean/fruit cans, and coffee cans & tubs.

They work for raw salads, cooking like spinach, or adding to Oriental noodles or lasagna. If you decide you don’t like the stems or if they get a little overlarge, just pinch off the leaves themselves to toss into meals.

Edible weeds are the real troopers of the plant world – which is how they become weeds in the first place.

Dandelion and plantain aren’t overly space efficient for small containers, but chickweed is fantastic, I love henbit, and I specifically abuse soil and find crappy dirt so I can grow purslane (which gets tossed in to roast with potatoes and autumn veggies). Pineapple weed is happy to grow in containers for us, as are wild garlic and onion to use as spicing.

Strawberries aren’t really successful in our soup cans or 20-oz. bottles, but they’re happy with half a 2L, milk jugs, wider bean/fruit cans, and coffee cans & tubs.

We can also start flowers so they’re ready for edible harvests earlier, or so they’re already blooming or established enough to serve as companions for our outdoor plants earlier in the growing season.

Spring into Sowing

We’re not going to feed ourselves off the contents of even a couple dozen small containers (or for that matter, 5-gallon buckets). However, it’s a good way to plan for disaster. Most of those cool-season, small-space, low-light herbs and greens are jam-packed with vitamins that can round out diets heavy in beans and rice or lentils and wheat.

It also gets our feet wet. Growing is both a science and an art, and very situational dependent. Even when we successfully grow one way, we may find switching to “easy” indoor plants – especially over winter – presents new challenges. Anything we plan to do “after”, we should go ahead and give a few tries now.

For a couple bucks worth of seeds, some trash, and some dirt (free or purchased) we can go ahead and start improving our diet, preparing for the future, and – for some of us – scratching the garden itch. They’ll take only a few minutes a day to care for, and using small plants and containers, can be grown in nearly any amount of space.

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8 Basic Survival Skills That You Ought To Know

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Editor’s Note: This post has been contributed by Paul. 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.


A lot of preppers do not possess the proper skills for surviving in case of any natural disaster even though it is essential to do so. The main reason for the lack of adequate skills is that many people lack the proper survival skills training to cope with any emergency situation. In the subsequent paragraphs, we are going to mention 8 important survival skills that anyone must have in his or her kit.

Locating and purifying water

It is said that an individual cannot survive for more than three days without drinking water. However, in case he or she needs to survive in a severe environment, it might not be possible for him or her to survive even that long.

Water is essential for the human body to function properly and this is why one of the most important survival skills will be to locate and also purify water. In case you’re able to light a fire then you might consider boiling the water. Otherwise, you might also store sufficient water prior to leaving for an exploration. Although it might not solve your problem entirely, it is the best thing that you can do during a survival situation. We all know that nature is our best friend and we should make it a point to learn which plants will provide us with drinking water; however, it might prove to be disastrous for you in case you fail to understand it properly.

Making a fire

 

It is definitely tough to figure out which particular survival skills are the most important in a disaster situation; however, one cannot ignore the importance of making a fire in this respect. A fire will help you in many ways such as purifying the water, keeping yourself warm and comfortable, sterilizing surgical equipment, making tools, cooking food, signaling for help and also safeguarding yourself from wild creatures. Above all, you will feel much more confident by having a fire.

Building a shelter

While you are outdoors, things can change all of a sudden at any time of the day. For example, there can be a great fluctuation in the temperature. Although you might be experiencing a dry climate in the morning, you should not be surprised if it rains heavily at night. While you are trapped in an emergency situation, you might use your vehicle as your shelter in case you happen to be with the car. Otherwise, think of some natural resources that you can use as your shelter. It will not be a bad idea to safeguard yourself from the inclement weather by taking a refuge inside a cave.

Predicting weather

Casio Men’s PAG240-1CR Pathfinder Triple Sensor Multi-Function Sport Watch – Compass, Barometer and Altimeter.

In most situations, we are hardly concerned about the climatic condition in our daily lives unless of course there are some natural calamities like tornadoes and floods. Being able to forecast the weather is an essential survival skill that you should have during any disaster situation. In case you happen to be in the wilderness, you can be affected very badly by any change in the weather conditions. You might find it extremely hard to light a fire if there is a heavy precipitation as well as a strong gale. You will never be caught unaware if you are able to develop this particular survival skill. But how is it possible? Below we have mentioned some fundamental forecasting skills the majority of which will depend on natural phenomena like:

  • Air pressure – Although it is impossible to measure the air pressure physically, you should be able to ascertain the direction of the air flow. Usually, the clouds will be moving from a high-pressure area to a low-pressure area.
  • Clouds – You’ll be able to forecast strong wind as well as rain by observing the clouds. Under normal circumstances, heavy precipitation can be expected in the presence of dark and low hanging clouds.
  • Wild creatures – Animals are able to understand any change in the weather by their natural instincts. For example, you can predict rain in case the insects start to disappear.
  • Hunting skills – Often you can suffer from lack of adequate food during an emergency situation. In that case, it is essential to have the ability to hunt wild animals who can provide you with a steady supply of food. In case you are a beginner, you should focus on catching some smaller animals like rabbits, fish and so on instead of going for larger creatures like the tiger, deer, etc. Hunting fish will not be much difficult for you but you should be careful while catching them. There might be other creatures like alligators in the water that you must avoid at all costs. Moreover, catching fish is not a joke and you need to be properly trained to do so. You might also try to set a trap near the river which should help you to catch some fish within a few hours.

Identifying edible vegetation

In case you are trapped in the forest, don’t go out eating everything you run across that looks good since they might even be poisonous for you. You might be starving, but you must have the ability to identify the plants which are edible. Consuming these plants will help you to avoid cooking as well as saving your precious time. There will be no need to hunt for animals, make a fire and cook. Moreover, these plants will provide you with the energy which you need for survival. Some edible plants that you can find in the wilderness include asparagus, burdock, and cattail.

Making use of survival tools

It is essential to choose the appropriate survival tools since these will help you to perform many jobs such as making your shelter or even repairing the one which you already have. Apart from this, they will also aid you to collect wood for making a fire which you will need to stay warm and also cook food. Some of these survival tools include a flashlight, emergency candles, tactical folding knife, hiking backpack, scissors, hammer, nails, pliers, etc.

Attitude 

Your attitude is going to play an important role if you get caught in any type of emergency situation. You must have the confidence that you will survive. Losing hope can prove to be fatal in the long run. Having the proper attitude along with a few survival skills will help you to overcome any tough situation.

 

Author Bio – Paul Watson is an outdoor enthusiast and aspiring expert who loves to fish and hunt. On his site, http://outdoorchoose.com, he shares tips on how to make your hunting and fishing excursions both exciting and successful . Follow me: Twitter , Pinterest

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Skills-Stuff: When Stuff Matters More

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Written by R. Ann Parris on The Prepper Journal.

I generally agree with the premise that skills are far more important than stuff, and that knowledge weighs nothing. There are skills that benefit us, every single day and definitely in a disaster – on any scale. However, sometimes collecting knowledge can be a pricey and time-consuming prospect. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t learn, but we need to prioritize as with anything else. We also have to honestly assess our preparedness level, plan, and current lifestyle. Pat’s Preparedness Arc is perfect for this.

Exceptions & Assessments

There are exceptions to some of what I’ll suggest. If you’re a wilderness adventure enthusiast or work in extremes, you already know it. If you truly have lots of free time but zero money after lots of cutbacks, and you have materials/resources lying around and don’t have to buy anything, okay.

If somebody is just into history, a reenactor, a hobbyist, I’m also not talking about that. Mental health clause – you need an outlet. However, interests are just interests and don’t belong in the “but it’s useful/preparedness” category of our time and financial budgets. It belongs under our entertainment budgets.

Please remember those caveats as you read the list. I’m talking about somebody learning from scratch specifically as a survival/preparedness skill in lieu of practicing, buying, or learning something else.

I also hear the argument put forth that somebody’s going to learn a skill or trade because then they can barter it. That is absolutely true in some cases (medical, mechanics, midwives). In others …

We have to ask ourselves: How many people who are preparing or not preparing are actually going to be around and need that particular skill? How do we plan to find those souls who are unprepared to do it themselves, but are expected to have surpluses worth our time and labor to trade for us?

Below are a few things I regularly see pushed as a must-have skill. I’ll break down the pro’s and con’s, and cover alternatives.

Image: How sustainable is our water plan – and our bodies – compared to our need to make soap or learn primitive fire making methods, or learning an already fairly common trade?

Alternatives After Assessment

Would it be better to develop the knowledge of how to find water by recognizing terrain and land cover patterns, a map of streams and springs in the area, and the physical strength to carry and drag water-level weight through woods, on crappy roadsides and ditches, and repeatedly lift buckets and containers out of a downed well or deep cut with cord, or over the side of a pickup?

Could we instead spend time locating buckets, storage totes, and barrels, the used and wrecked pieces of furniture and equipment on Craigslist and Freecycle to turn them into water catchment, and the afternoon or afternoons it takes to assemble them, to limit the amount of time we even have to go out hunting water?

We have to ask ourselves how important primitive skills are instead of something like wrapping a sprain.

Water is always going to be a focus for me, but there are other skills, too.

Gather wood for the stove/grill and practice cooking and canning on it. Learn hauling and tying knots, and practice felling, branch removal, and topping on consecutively larger trees. Learn to change your own oil and bike chain. Figure out how to unclog a drain using supplies and tools you already have on hand. Walk on the ditch verges and wooded hills to strengthen ankles.

We have to ask ourselves how important primitive skills are instead of something like wrapping a sprain, turning off water and gas mains, producing and finding food, mending a fence, sharpening a blade, rescuing a drowning/choking infant or child, and backing a trailer.

Fire From Scratch

If you happen to have a battery and steel wool, more power to you. It was never in my pack for fire tools.

Let’s start off with a super controversial one – yay!

First, I’m not talking about finding dry tinder in wet woods or making a feather stick. If somebody’s out in the woods regularly, the potential of injury in a downpour makes them worthwhile in the crisis stance. As a through packer (I think they call it ultralight now, but my bag was never light) and multi-day paddler, those are things that saved me time and energy for my hot meal.

I’m talking about Survivorman fire starting, primitive fire starting. If you happen to have a battery and steel wool, more power to you. It was never in my pack for fire tools.

Second, if you’re a remote-creek kayaker, canoe trekker, or a hiker, get a few pill bottles to stuff with wet-weather or DIY-coated matches and a few cotton balls or some dryer lint, and start wearing one around your neck and carrying one in a pants pocket. Get a ferro rod and block or a windproof cigar lighter, and replace the chain with 550 cord to wear on your belt or pants button or the snap of your life vest or knife. Keep another set duct taped to the bottom of your water bottle or glasses case.

No belt or knife? No glasses? Don’t worry about fire from scratch then. It takes a long time to master starting a fire with a bow and starting it with a lens requires a lens. If you don’t have a knife to make shavings and the bow and start the notch, there’s a stick and another stick, and you’d be far better served spending the time making a cocoon-style debris hut.

Matches/Lighters versus Primitive Skills

People do get lost in the woods, and eventually we absolutely will run out of matches and lighters on a homestead.

We’ll run out of them faster if we’re using smaller fires for short periods and thus starting them regularly. They can break, leak, get wet and grody, and strike-anywhere are harder and harder to find so you have to figure on the striker strips getting worn totally smooth, especially if we buy the big bulk boxes.

Learning to find tinder in wet woods is time-consuming enough (and worth it for some/many).

If you’re only bugging-out to a BOL, not in an INCH situation, or if you’re a boater, fisherman, hunter, hiker, or outdoors enthusiast, throw in a cigar lighter so wind is less of a factor – they fit in a Gerber case inside bags or small plastic bottles with matches and other fire-starting materials pretty well.

For a homestead/bug-in situation, we can say three meals and a snack a day, plus morning coffee. Starting five fires is pretty generous and buys time for us to learn how to bank a fire for coals and keep one going.

Say it takes us a couple broken/burn-out matches to get one started, so we need three matches per fire. Using 15 a day for a year gives us a total of 5.5K matches.

Bricks of 100 small kitchen match boxes run $8-15 bucks each for 3.2K matches – two would cover our needs for $20-$30. My dollar store also carries match books cheaper (not my first choice).

Or we could buy one of those multi-pack bricks for $10-15, and hit Amazon for a 100-pack of disposable lighters for $20 and a set of three big boxes of 300 matches for $7-$10. That gives us 4K+ matches and 100 lighters for $37-45.

We can store them in our currently empty canning jars, or spend $5-6 at the dollar store to get candles or nail polish or lacquer to waterproof them and some baggies to keep them in. Strikers and blast matches, cigar lighters that work even in whipping Montana winds, run in the $4-$12 ranges.

Yes, it costs money. Yes, if you already have the knife, tromping into the woods to do it like Bear doesn’t.

Tromp into the woods learning to not make noise, recognize animal sign, and recognize landscape features that promise water instead.

There are multiple situations (and future practical, everyday skills) that benefit from that knowledge.

Soap – Making vs. Buying

 

Let’s start with the basics of soap. There’s a couple of modern recipes, and a link to the history. About halfway down, that one breaks soap making into three stages of lye, fats, and combination – which is where we’d be at a total pioneer homestead or “My Side Of The Mountain forever” INCH lifestyle.

I’m going to discount any soap making as viably sustainable if it’s using a fat or oil that’s not locally produced. That’s including people who buy the glycerin soap blocks. (For soap making – no comment on other uses.)

That’s the whole argument about sustainable, colonial and primitive skills – they’re for when there is no store and we run out of things.

If you need palm oil, you’re storing something and you might as well store the finished product. (There are exceptions, like the many balms and other uses for various oils.)

Some basic soap-making starter kits are available for as little as $10-15. Better will run as high as you like. I couldn’t find one that already included a scale (soap making is one of those things that requires weights according to some experts, although others have converted recipes to volume).

$10-15 for a kit isn’t much, absolutely. However, soap requires those rendered animal fats or oils. Those aren’t in the kits, and some of the ones I’ve seen in recipes are pretty pricey.

Too, in a crisis, especially if we’re living off grass-fed livestock and wildlife and the diet food of garden produce, fats and oils are going to be precious to keep our bodies functioning.

There’s still tons of bar soaps available at the dollar store and <$1 at Walmart. Some are travel sized and singles in boxes. However, options are available in 2-packs and 3-packs of standard-sized bars. So for $10 I can get 18-27 bars of soap and still pay tax.

If I’m inclined, I can cut that down, get a bottle or two each of Dawn and pine cleaner for dishes and laundry, floors, and surfaces, and still get 14-18 bars of soap.

I once figured that between bathing and washing my hands and face, I run through a cake of soap a week, so I need more than $9-10 worth. I need more in the neighborhood of $20-$30, and about a shoebox of space. For laundry, surfaces and dishes for a year, and surface cleaning, depending on household, I need a couple of free liquor boxes and another $20-30 for liquid cleaners, even buying from the dollar store. (The dollar store is not the cheapest per ounce or most compact form, but they are incremental purchase and use sizes.)

Cost doesn’t apply for the folks who plan to have fatty pigs and cattle, and use their wood ash. For them, the comparison is strictly about time. For a lark, sure, jump one weekend. But weigh out what else could be learned, what other materials cost, and what family ties could be strengthened with a different activity.

Soap is compact. They are sensitive to dampness, so they need a Ziploc bag, lidded can, or plastic tub. There are environments where dry soaps melt, but most of North America could keep them in a shed. So will the ingredients for making soap, or finished homemade soaps.

Rendering suet for tallow

Some will still think it’s worthwhile. To each their own, but please refer back to the general premise and Pat’s arc to be sure it’s the best use of your resources and time as you stand now.

On the flip side, totally learn how to make suet and tallow if fatty animals and materials are present. They have a ton of uses, provide a storable sustainable fat source, and they fill very real needs in a self-sustainable lifestyle.

Treating Hides

Hides and making useful items from hides is 50-50 with me. On one hand, I know a woman who makes a bundle from it, and if you have rabbits or hunt deer, you have hides. On the other hand, should the world collapse to colonial and pioneer day levels if not the Dark Ages, lots of humanity will die fast enough for me to find underroos, sheets, work boots, and socks should I need to go out past my X date – they aren’t exactly the things being grabbed in today’s riots.

Photo from North American Bushcraft School

 

If it’s going to be a side business, sure, jump – after you do some market research. If it’s a niche market half-hobby, jump.

If it’s something on the to-do list because it seems like a great skill … maybe consider jumping on a maps website, finding farm fields and nearby specialty farms, making some non-nut cookies or muffins to carry, and sharing that you’re interested in breaking away from city life, would the nice farmer be willing to work out some kind of tag-along for labor deal so you can get a good idea of what’s involved.

Another option useful in disasters of all kinds is mapping power-line cuts to avoid traffic jams, snow and flood evacuation routes, and directions and A, B, C routes to and from kids’ schools and the school evac rally points.

Skills versus Stuff

Nine times out of ten, I would argue that knowing is better than having. However, there are exceptions – usually because of the time and-or resources they require, and sometimes because of the space.

There are lots of things that we should know just to be well-round humans, let alone homesteaders or – if inclined – nomads. However, sometimes we waste our precious resources learning something that only benefits most people during a very specific type of disaster, or a total breakdown and reversal that lasts for 5-10+ years.

Sadly, a lot of people who push and learn those lack the skills and supplies to survive long enough for some primitive skills to become valuable again. Some of those skills come at the cost of things that can benefit us, right now.

There are all kinds of things to do without spending more money or spending time on something with highly specialized skills and low-likelihood needs.

I figure I’ll get hate mail for the concept and for the specific few I listed. I just want people to weigh their to-do and to-learn lists so that they can prioritize based on where they already stand and where they want to go.

If there’s true need and potential – and sometimes there is – or it’s just a hobby, there’s nothing wrong with any of the primitive skills. I think most of us, though, have something we would be better served learning, practicing or building than the three listed.

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Off Road Checklist: Don’t Get Stuck Bugging Out

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Written by Pat Henry on The Prepper Journal.

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If you find yourself in a survival situation and realize it’s time to get your family on the road to safety, most of us are going to hope we can rely on our vehicle. All things being equal, a properly maintained vehicle of just about any configuration and size is going to be better than humping out-of-town under the power of your two feet. You can carry more stuff, further, faster and a vehicle affords you a little more protection.

However, one of the very real risks we face when we are trying to make our escape is that the way will be blocked with too many other cars. In evacuation situations, such as hurricanes, we see news reports of traffic backed up for miles and hear stories of people sleeping in their cars, running out of gas and getting into fights. This is certainly a possibility, but if you are prepared to bug out and act quickly ahead of the crowd, you could largely avoid this fate. In a dangerous survival situation, you want to be on the road, hopefully to your destination safely before anyone else even knows what is happening.

But there are no guarantees in life and so as preppers, we have backup plans. We have our bags ready to go, caches planned along our multiple routes and with some luck we will make it to our bug out retreats even if we must walk there. Vehicles can break down or become stuck and if this happens and we are not prepared, you could find yourself leaving the family bug out mobile parked, when you could have kept going with some simple supplies.

Those alternate routes could lead you through areas that aren’t paved over obstacles that could put a halt to your forward progress, but with this off road checklist, you could be able to unstuck yourself and keep going.

Off Road Checklist – Getting your vehicle out of a bad situation

If you are attempting a mud pit like this, I hope your vehicle is up to the challenge.

This list isn’t for the type of off roading enthusiast pictured galloping through the mud hole above, but for the prepper looking for a little insurance should you find your self on back-roads without the advantage of AAA. Now I know that not everyone is going to see a need for some of these items, but if you plan on going off the paved roads, some of these items could help you.

Jack and tire iron to change your tire – I’m going to start with some of the more obvious choices, but you should never get in your vehicle and set off on a road trip, certainly one that holds the fate of your family without the ability to change a flat tire. Off road terrain is rougher than asphalt and your average commuter tires have weaker side walls than off road tires. These tools and a spare will get you back on the road in a short time, but you must make sure you have them, AND know how to use them.

Spare Tire, Full Size – And since we are talking about tires… a full-size spare is going to allow you to go faster and will put up with more abuse, like those high-speed J turns you will be doing to get away from the zombies or the mutant biker gangs.

via GIPHY

Tire repair kit But what if someone shoots a hole in one of your tires as you execute that flawless J turn, keeping your family safe? Or as you are careening through the industrial park a hunk of metal punctures your back spare that you just put on before the evasive maneuvers? A tire repair kit may be able to get you back on the road.

Fix A Flat – To inflate that tire. Either that or a good air compressor you can connect to your battery to get aired up and going again.

Basic Tool Kit

Just an assortment of items you can use for minor or major repairs if you have to.

  • Screwdrivers
  • Pliers
  • Hammer
  • Wrenches (standard and metric)
  • Adjustable wrench
  • Sockets (standard and Metric)
  • Prybar
  • Electrical tape
  • Allen wrenches
  • Hacksaw
  • Spare Fuses

Getting Un-Stuck

MaxTrax – Makes getting out of snow, sand and mud easy even without 4WD

So that was the basic items, but if you are traveling across really rugged terrain, and assuming you have a 4-wheel drive vehicle, the following items can be used by you, hopefully with another buddy in another vehicle to get unstuck.

  • MaxTrax – These lightweight traction pads can get you out of snow, sand and mud easily. Just wedge them under the tire that is slipping and slowly roll out. There are cheaper knock-offs but I have read varying reviews on their durability. They stack nicely too.
  • Tow strap – If you are stuck in mud or sand, sometimes you will need some assistance getting un stuck. If your buddy has a trailer hitch, you can connect up and use the tow strap to pull your vehicle out and get back on the road.
  • More Power Pull – Don’t want to mount a winch to the family car? No problem, bring the winch along with you. The Wyeth 3-ton Ratchet puller works just like a winch in terms of physics, but you supply the power. You can attach to a tree and ratchet yourself out of that sticky situation. A winch is a nicer option, but that requires a more permanent commitment to your vehicles aesthetics.
  • Shackle or two – You can use these for connection points if you have them on your vehicle’s frame or to connect to straps.

A short-cut through a rain washed dirt road could stop your progress.

  • Chain (Grade 70) – Can handle a load up to 6,000 lbs. For serious hauling chores.
  • Receiver Hitch with D-Ring – Even if you don’t have a bug out trailer you are dragging along, that factory trailer hitch of yours can be used as a recovery point. Slide this in before you hit the trail and you will be ready to pull or be pulled.
  • Snatch block – Doubles the capacity of your winch.
  • Shovel – Because sometimes you will need to dig yourself out. Also works for burying number #2.
  • Axe – You might need to chop some branches to get an unobstructed connection for your winch cable or a downed tree could be blocking your path on that old logging road. Bonus would be a chainsaw, but not everyone would do that.
  • Gloves – With just about any work like this gloves protect your hands and give you a better grip for safety. Buy 12 pair..

What did I forget? I already know that some of you will have a long list of items and that’s what I would like you to share with the group. What’s in your off road checklist?

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Surviving Anarchy: Strategies to Avoid Dying at the Hands of the Mob

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Written by Pat Henry on The Prepper Journal.

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One of the scenarios we prepare for is the complete absence of any form of government, or at least the local governments we rely on to keep things quasi-normal. When the chaos is too great or the resources are overwhelmed due to illness, panic or scale of the issue, the systems we rely on now for support in bad times can disappear. Hospitals can become overcrowded and stop accepting patients. Police departments can be overwhelmed if crime is reported in too many areas or riots are taking the bulk of their staff. Fire Departments can be rendered obsolete if the water stops flowing or there are simply too many fires to put out.

Without law enforcement as a deterrent to crimes, desperate, opportunistic or even criminally motivated people take to the streets and chaos ensues. When this happens, you have anarchy. It’s just one of the many scenarios us preppers describe as SHTF. In some instances, anarchy like behavior is tolerated as in the 2015 riots in Baltimore where the mayor wanted to give protestors some “space” to destroy.

“It’s a very delicate balancing act because while we try to make sure that they were protected from the cars and the other things that were going on, we also gave those who wished to destroy space to do that as well, and we work very hard to keep that balance and to put ourselves in the best position to de-escalate.” – Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake

The Anarchy I am referring to today is not your usual (these days) run of the mill rioting over social injustices – perceived or real, hypocritical outrage from the outcome of a political race or made up issues people want to scream about (hoop earrings, really?). I am specifically talking about situations caused by internal or external triggers that instead of leaving police in a position to allow thugs “space to destroy”, they are incapable of stopping it even if they wanted to. When this happens, things get violent quickly and for the prepper caught in the wrong place, they can turn deadly. Have you considered what you would need to do if you found yourself in that type of situation?

Identifying the threat

Without going into the potentially boring details of what Mob Mentality is, (you can read about that here if you care to) I think most of us would agree that when angry people get together to protest, bad things can happen. If you disagree with that statement, this article isn’t for you and perhaps you should be attending a local meeting of people who just want to “Hug it Out”.

In a WROL environment, there will be no checking the crowds. There will be no barricade of police officers to keep them noisily contained to one section of town, the mob will be free to roam as they see fit. Targets that fall into their hands will be random and the mob will not self-regulate. All behavior will be deemed acceptable because the crowd chooses to go along with each other. Cars are overturned, windows smashed and shops set ablaze. Innocent bystanders are attacked and beaten either for some perceived slight or out of the sheer glee of getting away with acts the perpetrators know are wrong. They simply don’t care.

What could cause an anarchy situation in your town? Any one of hundreds of reasons probably, but I will throw out a few hypothetical scenarios for discussion.

  • Migrants have moved into an area causing confrontations with the locals. Women are raped and law enforcement does nothing to stop this from happening. Locals form to put a stop to this. Things escalate.
  • Hackers take down the EBT system preventing anyone from obtaining any benefits. Over 46 MILLION Americans are no longer able to purchase as much food. Fear and panic take over as entire population centers descend into chaos as people try to hoard as much food and steal items to sell for money.
  • EMP device detonation over the middle of the US completely eviscerates the electrical grid. Instantly we are taken back to the 1800’s in terms of technology. The only problem is we have none of the 1800’s know-how to survive.
  • Fanatics succeed in several major assassination attempts on political figures and accept responsibility immediately giving race retribution as their motivation. Race war is raging in the streets and people are forced to choose sides. Large cities are worst hit.

You have options

So, the scenarios could come from anywhere, but the potential exists in many ways for a complete breakdown of society. I mean, that is one of the major driving forces for prepping, correct? OK, so when it all goes to hell and the mobs are a few blocks away, what are your choices?

Run – The best way to avoid conflict is to never get involved in conflict in the first place. Large unruly mobs who are motivated or who simply have enough time will take down even the most hard-core prepper. You do not have enough guns. You won’t be able to kill them all before they get to you so your best bet is to run before they are even close.

But how will you know when the right time to act is? First you have to as a prepper be very in tune with your local surroundings. This takes situational awareness to the next level. Make sure you have at least a casual understanding of world, national and regional issues that are going on. Unless something like an EMP happens, things usually escalate. Ham Radio or even CB communications are great tools for keeping tabs on where violence is. A great police scanner and a good area map of your city will help you pinpoint exactly where trouble spots are if the police have any presence at all.

Situations like this are exactly why your bug out bags are so important and should be ready at all times. With minutes notice you can have everything you need packed in the family bug out mobile and your town in the rear-view mirror heading to a safer location.

Hide – Hiding is a riskier option but it is still possible especially if you have any type of hidden rooms. Mobs aren’t going to be methodically searching house to house and may be content thinking you already hightailed it out of dodge if they arrive to find your doors open and belongs strewn on the lawn already. You can make your home look as though it has already been picked over and if they can’t quickly find people or anything they want to take, may just keep moving on. This isn’t a Walking Dead situation where they have time to sit and chat.

Blend In – This is not the same as joining in, but it may look virtually similar and this brings a higher amount of risk potentially and would require the least adherence to any moral code you have. If you have no other options, you could join into the Anarchy. Put your balaclava on and take a few swings with a sledge-hammer at the shop door for credibility. One danger in this is that you could be forced into a situation where you could be party to causing injury to someone innocent and then, well. You are the mob –  so you deserve no quarter.

Blending in for me would only work in a situation where you weren’t participating in any violence, but might be walking along with the crowd, chanting some of the same non-sense they are in order to move through an area safely. You join the throng from a side street pumping your fists and high-fiving everyone you meet. Carry on for a block or so and then exit out another side street to make your way out-of-town. You won’t be able to look like you are bugging out in this scenario though so the facility is of limited value I think and could only be used in the most extreme examples.

Could you fight?

Yes, you could, but I think you would die. Even if I had Seal Team 6 as my best friends and we were holed up in my house with about 10,000 rounds of ammo I would still think the better odds would be to get the hell out of there. You will be overrun, or burn out or a car could drive through the front door. Too many variables for the normal suburban prepper to adequately account for. Yes, the body count would be high on their side but I still think its a losing proposition. I certainly wouldn’t want to put my family at risk for those odds.

So much of what we prepare for is to be on our own in some sense to provide for our own safety. If we only had to worry about ourselves, survival would be less of an issue for most of us, but people are always going to be the greatest threat to our safety. Anarchy may be the worst expression of this threat absent an invading army. It’s best to plan now to avoid this type of situation as early as possible.

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6 Essentials for Prepping with a Special Needs Child

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

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Editor’s Note: This post was contributed by Saqib. 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.


Having a child with special needs calls for extra effort and care. You are required to learn a lot, practice an incredible amount of patience and get to know the comfort level of your young one. These are testing times but it is your own loved one at the other corner. It is about being prepared and having your things sorted out well in advance of need and also  adequate quantities enough to last. You can just not go haphazardly with these things because it is someone’s life that is right there in your hands.

Imagine having someone around with one or more disorders that include being non-verbal, delayed development, epilepsy prone, and an ever-growing diet. In a situation where everything is going down the tubes, there is hope. The amazing and joyful personalities these young ones are inspiring. The fact is that these guys are fighters — surviving more in his short life than most people have to in a lifetime.

So prepping for a child with special needs requires some serious thought, and some creativity. Read the following article, for some tips.

Inventory of Needs

It all starts with some good observation. It is not always that your young one will be speaking telling you what they need, he may not even know what he needs. Hence, it is recommended that you observe. Make a list of things that you consider are essential and can bring comfort. You can have a paper list and stick it on your refrigerator or save one on your mobile or tablet. This can include,

  • Routine Medicines
  • First Aid Box
  • Additional Clothing / Accessories (including diapers, wipes, gloves, wheelchair, stander, walker, etc.)
  • Medical Supplies (feeding tube supplies, bags, catheters, etc.)
  • Food Supplements

Communication

There is nothing better than communicating and learning about your child’s needs alongside with making him understand what is good and what is bad and sharing your prepping plans with them. This talking exercise also helps us understand how much the child is grasping, and sometimes that is more than our expectations. The subjects of these talks can be as ordinary as fire escape plans, our family meeting place, why we’re stockpiling certain things, and everything else one can think of. This is crucial. Sometimes simply explaining to the child which floor he lives on and how injurious it could become if he or she jumps out of a window.

Advanced Preparation Saves a Lot

Let’s say you are living in a high-rise building or probably somewhere in open, and are prone to fire or earthquakes. At a time when disaster strikes you can be or cannot be prepared for the emergency. And if you are:

Part of your prepping plans should include alternate transportation ideas like a stroller you can pull behind a bike.

Prepare for the Most Likely Event First

I live in the middle of nowhere surrounded by miles of timber in every direction. Wildfire is the most likely event I should prep for. The odds of having a fire come through my land are greater than other natural disasters.

What event is most likely in your area? If you haven’t yet started getting prepared, prep for that event first. Think through it in your mind, and start gathering what you’ll need.

Start by getting a 3-day supply built up of all your loved one’s essentials. You can look at this like a special bug out bag specifically catered to the needs of your child. It’s a baby step, but an important one.

Medical equipment is heavy. It’s bulky. And it certainly doesn’t move quietly through the woods. Depending on your child’s mobility, leaving home might be very difficult if not impossible.

When you’re making plans for a crisis, you might find it makes more sense to stay put. That way you don’t have to leave all of your equipment and medical stockpiles behind. If we don’t absolutely have to leave the farm, we’re planning on staying here.

Your child may need more supplies than the average person, but take this into account with packing and adjust your plans.

Storing the Right Things

It is not about just stock piling everything that you get your hand on. It is about stock piling the right things and making sure that your supplies are always refilled, and machines re-calibrated. There are ways that you can stockpile the medications your child needs. This again involves keeping a track of history and making a list. Make sure that when you are stock piling there are no expired medications in your cupboard. An essential to stock are baby wipes. These are very much-needed and at times running short of these can cause real-time havoc.

Learn Alternatives to Medication

Before you can think about replacing a medication, you have to know what it does. Ensure that you know the purpose behind every drug your loved one takes. You can see if there are over-the-counter medications that might work in a pinch as an alternative.

When you can no longer pick up medications, take an inventory of everything you have and see how many doses that is. Then, work backwards to slowly cut the doses down. That way instead of going from a full dose to nothing when you run out, you already have a plan in place for stepping off the med.

Author Bio: Saqib Khan, is an inquisitive blogger and loves to spread his knowledge. With a penchant for medical innovations and developments, Saqib’s new field of interest is herbal medicines. He is currently associated with a top online medical pharmacy in Pakistan offering variety of Pathological & Herbal Medicines such as flu medicine, first aid kits, cough medicine, etc.

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What To Do With Old Gas?

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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 Paul. 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.


When my family and I moved to a different house, I noticed the nice couple we bought the house from, left a lot of things in their garage. At first, we thought they forgot to bring them along with them as they were in a hurry.

But when I got a better view of the items, they were pretty useless. What am I supposed to with old knickknacks? However, something interesting caught my attention. There were at least 5 gallons of old gas.

It would be a waste to throw it away, the question now is – what to do with old gas?

Does Gas Go Bad?

This has been heavily debated over the years, and it’s still being argued up to this day. Some say that it’s only a myth that gasoline goes bad, and as much as I would love that to be true (as I can save more) that’s not really the case. Once it has been left ignored for a period of time, its quality will eventually degrade slowly. And the results of using bad gasoline would mean you’d have a hard time starting the engine.

And sometimes, it doesn’t run at all.

The reason why this happens is because gasoline has intricate characteristics. One of which is volatility. This means gas is quite sensitive of vaporizing. Because of this, it results to vaporizing unnecessarily when it’s not being used. That’s why whatever is left of its volatility and capability to combust appropriately will reduce.

How To Tell If It’s Gone Bad?

It’s pretty simple to tell, you’ll be able to recognize it by its color and smell. Once your fuel has been oxidized, it’ll become darker than usual. Also, try to have quick whiff if possible, there are cases where its fragrance turns sour.

Just to make sure, get two containers and fill one of them with your old gasoline, and the other with fresh gasoline. You’ll evidently see the difference with them both. You may check out this video on filtering old gas.

How Long Is the Life Span of Gas?

It’s actually pretty hard to tell. I mean, you could say that you’ve only bought the gas yesterday. But it doesn’t say anything about how old it really is. Chances are, the moment you’ll use the fuel, it’s already a month old.

Read More: Avoid the Lines: How to store fuel long term

Also, there are other gasses which have a better oxidation than other fuels. That alone, makes it pretty hard to spot right off the bat. But if you want to be on the safe side, it would be better if you don’t store your gas in a container for more than a couple of months or so. However, that’s pretty hard to live up to.

Use old gas in Your Mower

Surprisingly, a lot of people use it for their engines. I tried doing it, and it worked perfectly! I don’t only use it for my lawnmower, but I also use it for a leaf blower, pressure washer, and chainsaw. Trust me, it still works perfectly fine. However, I do want to advise you that it would be better if you’re going to mix it with new gas as well.

The ratio should be around 6:1 (new gas: old gas) a lot of people use this technique. Although there are others who would use it for their car engines, I wouldn’t recommend it. This is especially the case with newer cars. For extra safe measures, keep this in your mind: Old gas for old engines.

Fire ants don’t like gas.

Kill Ants With old gas?

PRI Fuel Stabilizer- For Gasoline – Keep your stored fuel longer.

Fire ants are probably my lawn’s number enemy – accidentally stepping on them is a literal pain! Luckily, you can use it to kill the ants with fire.

Or not.

Go grab your old gasoline, and pour it down on a hole. After doing so, you have to bury the mound appropriately. You don’t have to light it up, it’s enough to fume the nest out. After a short amount of time, it will kill then queen ant, and the entire nest dies along with it. You may also use it to kill unruly weeds in your yard, just make sure that you’re using it on an area where you don’t plan on growing anything for a long time.

Recondition old gas!

For those who want to securely recondition the gas, you may use Pri-G for your fuel treatment. It goes beyond expectation, it doesn’t not only repair gas, but it’s an excellent product for negating the destructive effects of ethanol contamination in fuel.

And as an added bonus, it’s ideal for preventing small engine breakdowns. It’s able to repair your lawnmowers, chainsaws, and weed trimmers while stabilizing gas. I do want to warn you that this doesn’t run so smoothly if it’s directly applied to old gas – it must be mixed together with a new, fresh one. When you do this, it’s able to keep it fresh for about a year and 3 months.

Start Reusing Now!

Personally, this is an amazing discovery as I’m able to save a lot from this – who knew old gas could be useful? Don’t forget, if you want to make your time with old gas and engines a more productive one – use Pri-G, it will automatically recondition your old gas like magic. But you do have to mix it up with new gas.

Here’s what you should do right now:

  • Compare your old gas with a new one
  • Check if it has gone bad or not
  • Get yourself Pri-G
  • Mix your old gas with a newer one
  • Use it for your home tools

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Are You Planning to Fail If SHTF?

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Written by Pat Henry on The Prepper Journal.

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You could encapsulate just about anything in the world of prepping under one simple word: planning. Preppers are planning for different scenarios where they must implement one or more plans for how to deal with various aspects of said scenario. We plan on how we will act, what prepping supplies we will need to acquire and we plan how to talk to family members and avoid neighbors.

Preppers plan for medical emergencies by selecting the right medical supplies, books and resources such as wilderness training to put us in a better position to render first aid to wounded family and friends. We plan for economic collapse by investing in precious metals, or diversifying our income by a second or even third job. Preppers plan to bug out and deal with violent confrontations from displaced and possibly hostile individuals or groups that will stop at nothing, including your life to survive themselves. Gardens, food, shelter, alternate power, FEMA, government abuses and on and on we have our plans. But are you planning to fail? Is what you are doing really a plan at all?

What is your prepping plan?

I have written a few articles on the subject of planning with respect to prepping because it seems to me like a logical step but I was reminded of this topic again while planning a backpacking trip with a small group of my daughter’s friends. We would be going into the woods in a remote location that I had been to before, but my “plan” focused on me really – the basics I knew I would need to take into consideration and I had not fully appreciated this group of kids that I hardly knew. I hadn’t expanded my scope of thinking outside of my own little bubble. Almost instinctively I was making lists in my head of what gear I would need and where it was stored. Mentally I calculated the weight I would be packing in and pictured myself walking through the woods with my faithful dog and a bunch of teenagers lagging somewhere on the trail behind me. It didn’t take long for me to figure out that I certainly couldn’t “plan” on each of these kids knowing what they were getting into and what they would need.

I started writing out a list of the basics: Who, What, When, Where, and How. I left out the Why because I don’t need an excuse to go live in the woods for a few days, I have been waiting for almost a year for the opportunity! In my revised plan, I focused on what they would each need to have, the conditions of the voyage into the great unknown and many details the parents would likely need to know. Before long my plan was a two-page word doc that my daughter laughingly said “detailed enough, Dad?” It’s a simplistic example, but I started thinking about my prepping plans considering that exercise.

A list isn’t a plan

When I started prepping, the first thing I did resembling a plan was to write out a long list of the items I thought I needed to focus on in order to “be prepared”. I still have that list around here somewhere but I remember exactly the types of things I scribbled down back so many years ago. There were sections for Food, Water, Shelter, Security, Finances, Gardening and Medical. Each section had a list of items I knew from my research could help me and my family. It was a good start but just writing down these supplies I needed wasn’t really a plan. It was a shopping list.

My list helped me get started with the acquisition of food. I was able to focus on first a 30-day supply of food and that grew as I had other items checked off. My list was constantly being analyzed for priority. If I got an extra $100 to spend I would look at my list and see where I had the biggest hole in my preps and move in that direction. Some months I was able to cross items off my list and other months I wasn’t able to. It helped me but again this was not a plan.

Having a ton of supplies isn’t a plan

Eventually my supplies stared to add up and I was feeling more comfortable with the odds of my family being able to survive, I still didn’t have a plan other than to stay in my house and use the supplies we had been scraping together. I had a supply of ammo, weapons, rain barrels, our garden was started and the pantry was filled with canned beans, rice and corn. I had freeze-dried food under the beds and medical supplies stashed in bins at the bottom of closets but after all this, the only thing I could really say was that my plan was not to need to go to the store for a while. I could sit pretty while the world collapsed at least for some time.

It wasn’t too long after that I realized a few things:

  • No matter how much you stock up, it will run out eventually.
  • Your plan to stay on your piece of land might need to change against your wishes.
  • If the world goes to hell, your reality will likely change. Your health, responsibilities and abilities could all suffer in a long-term collapse.

Going back to my backpacking analogy, I started to reflect on all the other people whose lives could impact my prepping ideals. It is wise to take these other people into account when I made my plans. My neighbors, the people down the street, law enforcement, rescue services, the military, gangs, relatives, friends. A disaster will likely be a dynamic event that you will have to adjust to and make changes to your plans on a daily basis in some cases. A warehouse of supplies is nice, but what if you are forced to leave all those behind?

So, in some ways all the work we think of as being the bulk of Prepping – the accumulation of gear, guns, ammo and supplies only gets us maybe 15% of the way to this mythical point of preparedness. The rest is what we will do with those supplies we have accumulated, how will we use them with our families in various situations. How will we ensure the use is done in a manner consistent with how you envisioned them when you purchased the supplies. Do we need to ration and when? Who can access the supplies and how will you deal with resupply? Who will you share with and what are you prepared to do in situations where you don’t want to share? But that’s just the Stuff part of it. There is so much more!

Prepping is not simply distilled only to the acquisition of gear. You should not relax when you have a pantry full of food and some camping gear and a rifle or two. Granted, that will put you ahead of many people, but that is only a short-term gain. If you are searching for true preparedness, your plans must begin to imagine a life without many of those supplies you have stockpiled because in a true grid-down disaster, end of the world calamity that you are imagining there is a pretty good chance your MRE’s will be long gone, your ammo could be gone and any medical supplies you had might have vanished months ago.

For me, a true prepping plan is being able to live without any of the supplies I am stocking up. I am pointed in that direction now with efforts on self-reliant power, food production and living off the land as much as possible. Does that mean I am not stocking up anything and I am only going to be prepared to eat bark and roots? Nope, but I won’t be sitting in my suburban bunker eating my canned peaches watching DVD’s on my solar-powered player either as the world burns outside. The supplies will only buy me time. That time is going to need to be spent on many initiatives that will lend themselves to survival. Survival for my family and everyone I can bring along with me.

What’s your prepping plan?

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10 Items That Sell out After a Crisis

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Written by Pat Henry on The Prepper Journal.

It could be your worst nightmare. A disaster happens and for some reason, you aren’t prepared at all. In a panic, you drive to the local store only to rush through the front doors and see row upon row of empty shelves. The survival items you need are gone, already picked over with nothing left except items of no practical use to you like cake decorating icing and gift cards.

Scenes like this happen all the time to people all over the world, but as preppers your job is to make sure it doesn’t happen to you. Your family should be preparing well in advance of any potential disaster and we have many posts that outline simple steps you can take now to be more prepared in the future. But let’s just play along with the scenario above.

If you had only one chance to make it to the store, what items would disappear first? If you were in a race with your neighbors to get anything you could before the stock was gone, which items would you need to throw into your shopping basket?

Items that sell out after a crisis

In a lot of ways, the crisis will dictate to some degree which items sell fastest, but we can imagine that in every crisis, power will be off. This fact dictates most of what will appear in the list below. I want to go over each item and give my reasoning for why you should have these items now or in some cases, what you can have on-hand as an alternative so that you aren’t that guy staring at an empty store wondering how you can use shoe laces in a survival situation.

Generators

1600 Running Watts/2000 Starting Watts, 4-Stroke Gas Powered Portable Inverter Generator

A backup source of power is not something most of us think about (before we prepped anyway) until we hear that eerie sound of silence when every electric device connected to the wall goes dead. In my house, I have backup batteries on my computers so as soon as the lights go out, the fridge stops running and any ancillary devices stop, I begin to hear an annoying beep. That beep is telling me I only have about 10 minutes before my computer shuts off to save any work, but it also signals that we are no longer connected to the power grid in a meaningful way.

Generator sales always peak after a disaster and I have heard stories of people fighting in parking lots over them. The day the hurricane rolls into your town is not the day to try to go to the big home improvement store and get a generator because it is likely too late. If you think you need backup power for emergencies, set aside time and budget now to get a model that will work for you. Most generators will not power your entire home, but a decent sized portable generator can power several lights, charge devices or one to two small appliances. These are great for just the essentials to keep you going. But you should ensure you have plenty of fuel on hand also.

Alternative: In lieu of a generator, you can use a power inverter and your car’s engine to do the same thing. You may even use less fuel and will certainly cause less noise.

Extension cords

So, you have a fancy generator running outside but you need to connect your devices to it. Extension cords are always in short supply after a disaster because people forget they need to get power to the other end of their home or across the street to a neighbor’s house. A few 50 to 100 feet medium duty extension cords will help you bring the power into areas and away from the noise of the generator.

Weather Radios

When the TV is out and so is the internet, people naturally revert to the good old radio for information, entertainment and comfort. A weather radio is usually purchased because most like the Eton FRX3 Hand Crank NOAA AM/FM Weather Alert Radio have a crank that you can use to power the unit instead of batteries. This will ensure you can listen to local broadcasts or even emergency weather alerts without the need for power. Well, you supply the power.

Batteries

Speaking of batteries, it’s good to do two things ahead of any disaster. First, standardize on a common battery size now. I prefer AA for most of my devices that take batteries. My radios, headlamps, flashlights all use AA. The second thing is to have plenty of batteries on hand before you need them. I have purchased a couple of the 48-packs of batteries and stored them away for emergencies. These are not kept with the battery supply that is dipped into for game controllers and toys for visiting children.

Alternative: Use rechargeable batteries and a solar charger to keep your supply fresh. Even the best batteries will die eventually so rechargeables are a longer running option.

Candles

Candles are a grid-down staple that can be used for other things beside light.  You can heat a room or cook with them if you have the right set up. They aren’t a perfect solution because I would still rather have a headlamp than a candle, especially to prevent fires but they do have their place. Funny, if you watch the walking dead apparently, they each have about 10 dozen with them at all times. Candles are your back-up’s backup.

Industrial fans

When the power goes out, a fan can be one of those conveniences that saves a lot of time and trouble besides just bringing a breeze. After hurricane’s Katrina and Sandy, industrial fans were used to dry out carpet before mold set in. In the summer time, they could cool a decent sized room too and keep things from overheating. Now, you are going to have to justify using the gas you have stored for a fan, but in some cases, these are sold out quickly. I can imagine how nice they would be in a hot Florida or Mississippi August.

Gasoline cans

What are you going to carry that gas in that you are standing in line for hours to get? Along with decreased or non-existent fuel supplies, having an appropriate container for transport is often overlooked. Your car is out of gas or more likely you don’t want to use gas to get to the store so you will need several fuel cans to cart any fuel you can obtain. Additionally, a yard wagon to haul 4 of these or more at a time (provided rationing will allow it) might be a good idea also.

Flashlights/Lanterns

Fenix Flashlights HL50 365 Lumens Headlamp

Most home have some version of a flashlight around for emergencies. My dad had several strategically placed at my home growing up and I have followed suite to a large degree. You never realize just how many flashlights you need when the power goes out and it’s pitch black. I would add a decent headlamp to this list for everyone in the family because I think they are superior for working hands free. Lanterns are great for powering a room like the kitchen when we all sit down to a nice meal of freshly grilled venison steaks that were going to go bad in the freezer. We can use the lantern to have enough light to see each other and eat with and not spend the batteries in other devices. I have a couple of battery-powered lanterns (little to no heat and zero risk of fire) and several Coleman propane lanterns for outdoor use or winter time, controlled usage. The heat off these is great in winter and you can cook on the tops too if you are desperate.

Non-Perishable Food/Water

Now, the most obvious item that sells out after a crisis, and that is food. I didn’t want to create a list of 10 food items, but let’s just say that you know food disappears when panic sets in. You know your family is partial to eating food because they do it every single day. You know that when the power goes out, your options for cooking that food will be a little bit different so take time now to stock up on canned food items that your family can eat either by heating over a camp stove or grill or even a fire. There are a ton of options that you don’t even have to cook. Have plenty of these on hand to feed your family because the stores will run out if this is really a disaster. Even if they get things running in 3 days, do you want your family to go without that long? Take steps now.

This list is just 10 items that sell out in a crisis, but they are by no means the only things that disappear off shelves that we might wish we had. What is on your list of prepping items to make sure you have before it’s too late?

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Lessons from History – Hand Powered Tools

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Written by R. Ann Parris on The Prepper Journal.

Crank It Out

When we hear “crank it out”, we tend to be hearing “get it done”. We have a lot of advantages with that these days. Nobody’s spinning a wheel on a giant roller to produce our news – we just tap a few buttons, and systems lift and press, roll, and cut for us, or we’re online and reading away without a walk to the morning paper at all.

The conveniences are all around us, from our coffee grinders and brewers, out in our sheds, and all around our homes and lives. But it wasn’t actually too far back in history that “crank” was a very literal term for a lot of those conveniences.

In my kitchen, I have a simple slider mandolin, mason jar pump-top onion chopper, and a salad spinner. I’m going to break down and get a cherry pitter this year or next year. They’re convenient. They save labor in time and energy. Grinders are there for coffee and wheat, so I stay happy/sane. My world is full of items that do the same, from my battery drill and power saws to the blender that cranks out curach and turns strained jelly peels and pulp into slurries for fruit roll-ups.

A disaster is a bad time to lose all of our conveniences in life. There are also some hand powered tools we can pull from the pages of history – and that inspire modern tools – that will help us with our self-reliance. They bounce back and forth from the kitchen to the workshop, out to the barn. Here’s a quick look at a handful of those things that can help us keep cranking it out.

Oil press

An oil press can be a big financial commitment, and it’s not for everybody. Until there’s enough land space to be producing foods, let alone oil nuts and seeds, it should go on the back-burner. On the other hand, if you’re in suburbia and you have the 1-2 working oil presses in 3-25 miles, you have a very powerful bartering tool at your fingertips.

Essential Oils Natural Remedies: The Complete A-Z Reference of Essential Oils for Health and Healing

That’s because fats are important. A lot of game animals are very lean in fats. In a world where we and our limited livestock are working just as hard as wildlife to eat, stay warm, prepare for winter, recover, and raise a family, we’re going to get leaner, too. That’s not always a good thing. There are vitamins and minerals our bodies can’t process without fats.

Fats are also important in baking, and make cooking (and cleanup) a whole lot easier. Plus, check out your powdered peanut butter. I’ll bet it tells you to add some oil for best results.

Sadly, even Crisco and powdered margarine won’t last forever, and it’s not like they’re all that good for you.

There is an alternative to a press to get those fats – at least one.

We can basically mince the heck out of various seeds and nuts, turn them into a slurry, let them settle (for hours or days), pour off the liquids (that’s what we keep), strain and press the wet mass (to get more of the liquids), and wait for the water to dehydrate (days). There are regularly additional steps for different types of plants, like shelling, simmering, filtering, additional pour-offs, and milling. Fermentation and spoilage risks are high. Labor and time are through the roof.

With an oil press, an impressive number of tree and grass seeds can be turned into oils.

Many presses have or can be fitted with automatic shellers and separators. The leftover meal can be dried to use in breads, thicken stock and gravy, or be fed to animals. The same presses can be used for a wide variety of seeds and nuts, sometimes requiring a gear change and sometimes extremely small or large seeds require an additional piece or to be minced. Sometimes we do have to take our peanut shells and skins off, and feed it just corn kernels.

(There are corn threshers and bean-pea shellers available crank-style, too.)

Not only is the time and effort hugely reduced with an oil press, our product comes out cleaner and we usually have more to show for it at the end of the day.

I won’t go into as much detail for the rest of today’s list, but those types of factors are there for all of them. It’s why the “convenience” and “efficiency” machines came into play in the first place.

Hand Beater

While we’re right there talking about speed and ease in the kitchen, let’s talk about rotary beaters.

I know that at various stages, there were also rotary and pull-cord blenders on the counters. This guy has good memories for me, though.

Moms and Grandma used to have a set. They made whipping eggs or cupcake frosting for twelve or a classroom fast and easy. If we’re going to be doing a lot of from-scratch cooking, or if we have months and months’ worth of powdered milk, butter and creamed soups stored, something as simple as a design that hasn’t much changed in 50-100 years and can still be found in stores is a force multiplier.

Peeler-Corer-Slicer

Another kitchen equivalent to the venerable 1911 is also probably one of the most commonly suggested and available hand-crank tools. It extends way beyond the preparedness-homesteading crowds. Like a cherry pitter, anybody who grows or processes a lot of fruit considers these things gold. When I’m only filling out a few drawers in a dehydrator I’ll still just whip out the mini-paddle mandolin, but when you start talking buckets and bushels, these apple peelers more than earn their price.

Ours has the option for using the coring center or just a spike, so I can also peel potatoes with it, and the slicing blade can come off so I can grate those, pears, or apples instead of slicing them.

Hand-Crank Food Processor

Once we’ve peeled or washed our produce, there’s another gem we can upgrade to if we want – people have actually started (or returned to) making hand-crank food processors. Like the electric versions, they make pretty fast work of assembling salsa veggies, dicing for relish and chutney, slicing salads, or cutting butter into pie and tart crust.

Salad Master

There’s another version we can use that bolts onto a countertop or table. I actually prefer it, because I like the resiliency of metal when I’m plunking down a chunk of change (Queen Klutz here).

You can get them in a number of styles and there are sets with attachments as far ranging as the modern Kitchen Aid base mixer. That means a single hand crank base can be adapted for ground meat and sausages, and pressing pasta, as well as mincing, slicing and dicing veggies.

Which styles we like best is just personal preference.

Applesauce and Baby Food Strainer

If we do a lot of jelly and jam canning, want to quickly churn out applesauce, or want to make our own baby food, there are some pretty simple devices out there still – and that we can pick up from old farm estate sales fairly regularly if we watch for those.

Like the Foley applesauce and baby food strainer, many are meant to be used as a stage in the process of cooking.

You can also find steam and hand-crank juicers that work for syrups and jellies. If you plan to forage or produce a lot of the cranberry viburnum and chokecherry type fruits, those are handy to have.

Butter Churns

When we think of churning butter, a lot of people apparently think of somebody sitting with the tall canister and paddle or plunger, lifting up and down. I think of my blender, personally.

Throughout history, however, there have been a lot of different styles and scales of butter churns, and some of the small and countertop hand crank versions are more likely to fit into our storage space – and regularly, our budgets.

Styles like the canning-jar base are also a lot more hygienic than the wooden ones and the larger, longer metal designs. You can clean them more effectively in between uses.

If we’re in a world with limited outside assistance, that becomes even more important. Goats aren’t as likely to have a milk infection, but cattle used to get them regularly. They still do in some cases. Some of those diseases will only spoil flavor, but some of them have human health concerns. If that milk is transferred into plastic or wooden containers, it takes a lot of cleanser and then a lot of rinsing to regain comfort in using them. Water is going to be a hugely important resource for a lot of people, and it still might not do the trick.

Smaller glass and metal vessels can fit inside pressure canners and are easier to reach (and rinse) than larger ones, and long, skinny churns.

They’re far faster than shaking a jar or rolling it underfoot – although if you’re about to shell a solid ton of peas, the foot thing might work for you.

Centrifuge for Butterfat Testing

So, we have our goats, sheep, camels or cattle, and we want the ones with the highest butterfat for butter and clotted cream. How do we find out in the second and third generation of livestock after a crash?

An old-school hand-crank centrifuge.

That centrifuge can also be used just to find out which animal’s butterfat or heaviest creams separate fastest and easiest.

Instead of having shallow containers sit for hours – without jostling – with the risks of pests, dust and heat spoilage, we can also use various turn-of-the-century tools to speed that process.

Hand-crank sewing machines

When a ram horn catches us and rips a hole in our clothes, or our pockets start failing, when growing kids need clothes made out of curtains, we can sit down with a needle and hand sew, but if a sewing machine is available, it tends to be a lot faster of a process.

It’s also an easier process for old and damaged hands – some tension adjustments and threading is required, but then those hands (and eyes) can relax a bit.

You can hunt up antiques, or run some searches for non-electric sewing machines – they’re out there, especially from/for some of the still-developing nations.

Modern Manual Drill

Nothing is going to help us rebuild a shed or fence or put in a new milking bench like our electric drill and driver, but there are still manufacturers out there for hand-crank versions that will be faster and easier than doing it all with a screwdriver.

Hand augers are commonly seen on the lists of disaster tools, and are shaped a bit differently. They’re really good at what they do. Modern and yester-year manual drills that can also be fitted with our current drill’s screw tips have some advantages, too.

Combined, they make a pretty handy pairing around a house or farm that’s looking at losing power. 

Bench Grinders

Modern-made and antique, there are all kinds of handy things for the shop. While a drill is one of the most commonly reached-for items in our house, the wheel grinders are in high demand at my father’s. They make fast work out of sharpening tools and blades.

Some of the hand-crank versions are massive beasts that can be set up for two hands, and can handle light notching, planer, and plank sanding and some can even be set up as circular saws and used to cut pipes, tubing and OSB. (Those are two-person jobs for safety reasons.)

As with the kitchen, the speed and work effort compared to a hacksaw, steel wool, and sharpening stone plays a factor when looking at the costs.

And, as with the kitchen, both the bench grinders and the manual drills mean that people with injuries or ailments can still get work done in a lot of cases, and do that work faster. That, too, factors into what we’ll pay and how we prioritize.

The Wide Range of Shop Tools

Shop tools of all kinds are out there. I don’t use a drill press often enough (and they’re expensive enough) to have given it its own listing. But they’re out there. So are things like barn beam boring drills, smaller tinker-merchant and jeweler’s presses, ratcheting drill presses and nail setters.

Farm horses used to regularly be hitched to circle and power things like turnip slicers, grain threshers, and grain mills. Horse-drawn harvesters dug, separated and in some cases even sorted potatoes and turnips, working off gears attached to the wheels. Dogs and goats can handle some of that workload with smaller versions.

Modern Spins

Just as some of the hand-crank and -lever tools that bear consideration can be had from current production runs, the modern world has not turned its back on hand cranks.

They’re there in tire pumps and emergency lights large and small. We can also buy little hand-cranked battery boxes to charge our small electronic devices. One of my earliest articles dealt with laundry, with several modern takes on manual washers and wringers.

In some cases, we can find those devices in bike-pedal powered forms as well.

Cranking It Out in the Modern Age

The internet is a wonderful thing. It brings the whole world right to our fingertips, and it can regularly have most of that world delivered to our door.

We didn’t jump from caveman sticks and rocks directly over to sending email over HAM radio. Throughout history, there are gadgets that made lives easier and allowed us to do more work. As preparedness spending grows, we can find a lot of new manual gadgets becoming available from suppliers and inventors.

Whatever you reach for this week or this month, especially over planting and harvest season and the next DIY build or repair, make a note of it (a real, physical note). Is it a force multiplier? A must-have? A beloved convenience? How important does it rate on your scale?

If you’re doing things by hand or planning for a world without power, it might be worth popping a “manual” or “hand-operated” search for that item into your browser. There are fair chances somebody has one, makes one, or has a hack to create one.

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Radio Silence – Communication Without Electronics

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Written by R. Ann Parris on The Prepper Journal.

I love modern technology, particularly the electronics that allow me to communicate so quickly and easily. Even so, the loss of that capability – for whatever reason it’s lost – doesn’t have to be entirely devastating. We communicate not only without our electronics, but without noise all the time.

I tap my wrist, hold up my hand with my fingers splayed. Across a room, instantly, I’ve told someone they have five minutes, or that I need/want five minutes. I tap beside my eyes, point in a general direction, and then point lower or higher in an aisle of a store. It tells somebody at the other end that I found what we’re looking for, or that I want them to look at something, and then where more specifically that something is.

We do it nearly instinctively, some of us more than others. While hand gestures especially change meaning culture to culture, the ability to communicate without speaking is inherent to our species. It has been since before the first cave painting.

Recently the topic of communication without radios came up. The possible reasons for a non-radio life are pretty varied – a generator or solar panels with significant damage, low winter light, extended-time crisis when even rechargeable batteries are exhausted, seasons and locations when it’s hard to get messages through, EMPs and solar storms, neighbors who have the skills to survive but don’t have the same EMP-proof stockpiles we do, newer homesteaders and preppers who can survive but haven’t moved into serious “thrive” supplies yet.

There are also times we want to communicate, but don’t necessarily want to be heard. Hunting and tactical reasons are two of those.

History and modern technology have given us a lot of options to work around those possibilities and needs. Here are a few.

Morse

Morse code can be applied to a lot of communication options. While it’s primarily associated with radios, it was once a common ship-to-ship and ship-to-shore communication method using light instead.

Navy signalman using Morse –

It wasn’t until I started looking for an image online that I realized how dependent people are on the blinker-clicker features of their flashlights for light-transmitted Morse. If you have a milspec light that can take that abuse, great.

If not, cover and uncover your flashlight with your hand.  It’s still fast and easy.

For some of us with broken and aging fingers, and for people who are turning their lights on and off to get the same effect, it’s not only actually easier, sometimes faster, it’s also going to save your light a lot of wear and tear.

You can use a laser pointer for it as well, or cover and uncover a battery-candle-oil lantern with a box (or an oatmeal tub, coffee can, small ones with your hand).

Containing Light

Light stands out like it’s cool at night. Even a little green-red-blue laser light. It travels a long way when it’s dark-dark.

If you’re only trying to not stand out to everybody with one of those insane fifty-yard beams and you’re working from a set, expected position, you can signal by flashing the laser light or a flashlight into your palm or onto your chest, onto a tree or certain wall that’s visible from another location but not most of the property.

If you anticipate the need to really not be seen by anybody but your LOS partner, carry a flattened toilet paper roll wrapped around your small flashlight. (Flattened but tube, not sliced.)

When you’re ready to send a message back to the house, to the other side of a building, along the length of a wall, or down a roadway, cup the tube in one hand so you’re blocking the back, and stick the front of the light just inside it. Or, hold a laser sight/pointer just outside it.

The roll contains the light, so only somebody facing you sees it. If you want, add a mirror or a white disk to the palm to make it a little easier for that person to see.

I pretty much prefer those two general methods, regardless, because you stand a really good chance of blinding the person you’re trying to signal, or at least giving them dots in the eyes, especially with a pointer.

 

Ship Flags

The sea services have been using specific flags to communicate since some of the earliest days, from pirates warning about trying to run from them, warning others that illnesses are aboard, to requesting assistance. This site has a list of international signal flags, their phonetic name, and the navy/maritime meanings.

The phonetic name becomes valuable, because some of the meanings at sea translate directly or with minor modification to things we face on land, too. The Morse, semaphore, or ASL of the phonetic name can be flashed or signed to convey a whole thought or message, just as a flag would.

The flags can be made – painted on boards or drawn on cards to use in windows or to be flashed, or drawn in chalk on a wall or sidewalk as needed. It doesn’t have  to be fabric, or flying in the air.

Any flag, banner, or windsock at all can be part of group and neighbor communication.

If we all normally fly the local team’s colors, but somebody puts it at half-mast or upside down, they could be saying they need help – or they’re ready for harvest/planting assistance. One person with a weather station might say rain, so a blue banner goes up. A black cross on yellow might mean a woman went into labor and the local sheep keeper would be welcome as a midwife. A black dot might mean there’s sickness – don’t come calling.

A flag might also just mean all’s well here, and a quick snip to drop it on the way past alerts all the rest that the gunfire wasn’t practice, it’s real, or that there’s a fire-fire, not burning waste or smoking out bees.

We can get as creative or simple as we want.

Semaphore Flagging

Another powerful tool in the box for sending messages visually, with the same alpha-numeric capabilities of Morse, is semaphore signaling – that signalman out there with the two bright flags or cone lights. Semaphore flag signaling was also once done using a single flag in just four positions (you can find it called wigwag signaling as well).

 

With two flags, there are fewer combinations to remember, but you also have to have two flags – and hands – available. For both, a larger line-of-sight space is required so the flags can be seen.

Established Shorthand Codes

Radio Q codes  and 10 codes have a lot of value for quickly sending messages.

Various established codes provide shorthand communication for “Suspicious vehicle” (10-37), “your keying is hosed and hit every branch of the ugly tree on its way down” (QSD), “Report to [location]” (10-25), “stand by” (QRX), and “Be super-duper quiet” (“Do not use siren or flashers”) (10-40).

Those are all phrases we might use, from communicating across a yard or across a farm, as a simple survivor with a neighbor or family, or as a group with defensive and patrol forces. 10-codes especially have a lot of preexisting elements that are of use in many situations.

They can be transmitted with clicks, whistles, a pipe smacked with a hammer, marker on a dry erase board, flashed/blinker lights, or using semaphore flag(s) and hand signals.

We can also easily modify or truncate existing codes.

“QRO” (are you troubled by static noise) can become “do you hear anything”.

10-81 (breathalyzer report) becomes “just a drunk”.

10-90 (bank alarm) can become a prefacing code for an audio or visual alarm, with the location following it.

As with cop and amateur radio codes, there are hospital codes that can apply or be readily modified to fit life without radio communication. Heavy equipment operators and divers also have signals we can steal and modify. Knowing the common motorcyclist signals can be applied to daily life as well as serious disasters.

Military Hand Signals

Whether we’re ever planning to clear a house or a yard with another person or not, military and police hand signals also have applications for many situations. The numbers alone are useful. There are also action-information signals that are pretty handy.

The difference between “stop” and “freeze” gets used with my dumb dog 20 and 200 feet from our house with some regularity. I prefer to just go extract her or the ball from my pots and planters, but sometimes I just want her to stay generally where she is while a car passes. “Go back” translates to “out/away” in our world – I want her to back away from me, usually while I’m playing with sharp things or might squish her.

I originally thought it was just my quirky father telling dogs, the rest of the family, and hunting buddies that we were going to the vehicle with his “steering wheel” gesture. For a while I though the military had stolen the “down” signal from hunters with dogs.

Turned out, not so much. He just modified them from his military days.

Even without need for silence, it’s just really easy to whistle or clap a hand once, tap a window, ring a triangle, and then make a quick gesture, as opposed to shouting fifteen times or hiking out to somebody.

The gestures themselves are rooted in military hand signals we each learned (decades apart). In most of my lifetime’s applications of them, they’ve had no military bearing at all. But like the ability to say “I love you” a last time from a window, or immediately flag a distress signal in a boating-savvy community, they entered into our world and stayed in use.

ASL

American sign language has some of the same benefits as the everyday-everyone useful military signals. There are a world’s worth of truncated single-gesture shorthand signs, for everything from “man” or “female child” to “taking lunch”.  Deaf-mute people are able to hold the same sophisticated conversation as speaking and hearing folks. The addition of spelling and broader concepts to military hand signals allows ASL signers to be more specific across even distance, silently.

It’s also just a handy skill to have and might increase your employability when you stick it on a resume.

Written Word

As with flags and hand signals, we can take cues from history and modern eras with leaving drawn symbols – or flashing cards and posters – as well.

Here’s a fairly comprehensive listing of WWII symbols. It wouldn’t be completely crazy talk to go with another nation’s symbols, such as German or Russian, if you want to keep the information a little more segmented, although there tends to be a lot of commonality.

The old hobo symbols can be a little tricky. I can think of three or four for “safe water” alone. It also means adjusting from “black spot of death” and “X marks the spot” to slashes and X’s are bad, and dots are good.

However, from “dangerous man” and “vicious dogs” to “rickety bridge” or “avoid this in rain”, there are many apply, whether we’re planning on a community, thinking “Kilroy” situations, or just making notes for family or a core group.

The symbols also allow us to quickly and easily annotate our own maps for areas of concern or resources.

Limitations

The limitation to all of these is line of sight. But in some to many cases, being able to communicate even from a driveway to the house, the length of a hall, or stacked in a ditch, without making noise or taking a lot of time, makes them worth considering. There’s a good reason many of them have never faded from use, even with today’s technology.

If you want to communicate at range in the dark, you’ll need flashlights or pointers, (or oil-candle lanterns if your non-radio needs are expected due to long-duration interruptions in shipping). For us, that’s balanced, because we have lights on us, almost always, but not always a cell signal and not always a radio. That might not hold true for everyone.

Hand and flag signals are limited in range, while light carries longer distance. However, blinker-light comms is only really reliable at night. I may be able to use red boards, car windshield heat reflectors, or white flags to increase range in the daytime.

The number-one piece of gear for longer-distance communication without electronics is going to be binoculars or a scope.

Day or night, if I can’t see what you’re sending, clearly, we have delays or miscommunication. They’re inexpensive enough and should be part of most preparedness closets anyway.

If you’re mostly in brush country and are only talking about distances of double-digit yards, don’t break the bank there – there are more important things. If you’re looking at using blinker lights and somebody climbing a windmill or water tower daily or weekly to do a neighborhood-town flag check, a simple scope should work.

It’s also a lot to learn.

Instead of planning to use all of them, maybe take notes, print guides, but cherry pick. The very basic hand signals (heard, saw, numbers, armed or unarmed, child, adult, animal, danger, recover/relax, say again) and basic Morse code would take priority. 10 and Q codes can be added on. A few flags or graphics to represent ideas or situations follow.

Radio Silence Backups

The point is not to discourage anyone with fifty-five million more things to learn or buy. It’s that we have lots of options even if electronics-driven communication becomes unavailable. With any luck, there are some ideas here that can add some resiliency and redundancy to existing plans.

And, since a lot of it is learning based, not resource based, non-radio comms can be a way to improve preparedness with free-inexpensive skill building while saving up for purchases.

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Choosing the Best Weapon Light for SHTF

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Editor’s Note: This post was contributed by Roger. 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.


Tactical situations and hunting expeditions don’t always offer the convenience of daylight. Indeed, night-time operations can offer significant advantages to those who are prepared. A weapon light is an essential tool for tactical operators and hunters, and can be a vital addition to your bug out kit in case of a SHTF scenario.

In an ideal world, you’d be able to fit your weapons with the perfect light for each situation and set them up with the configuration you’re most comfortable with. But when it comes to a post-collapse situation, keeping multiple lights, multiple rigs, and multiple sets of batteries may be a luxury you can’t afford. This quick guide highlights a few of the considerations to make when choosing a weapon light to include in your emergency prep kit.

Versatility

As with most gear in these situations, versatility is the name of the game. While there are a number of dedicated weapon lights, a handheld light that can be easily and securely attached to a weapon’s rail systems offers you the 2-in-1 capabilities that proprietary gear can’t. Lights like the Fenix TK20R can be used as ultra-bright hand-held devices and then easily be attached to the rails of a shotgun or rifle. Best of all, true tactical lights like the TK20R feature tactical switches and grips for easy one-handed use in conjunction with a handgun, and crenellated bezels that add an extra level of close-quarters self-defense.

Ergonomics

FENIX TK20R USB Rechargeable 1000 Lumen Cree LED tactical Flashlight

Comfort is only part of the story here. A flashlight with the proper ergonomics will ensure that it’s as useful when used in hand, or in conjunction with a handgun, as it is when it’s mounted on a rifle. A tail switch with constant and momentary on, a “cigar ring” grip, and adequate knurling will ensure you can comfortably and effectively utilize the light with one hand with a variety of tactical holds. Pistol-mounted flashlights are beneficial for several reasons, but a rig like that might not be practical for every situation. Again, the versatility of a hand-held device saves on the amount of gear you need to keep in your bug-out-bag, making your kit lighter, and more manageable.

Durability

Durability is obviously important for any piece of gear you’re going to depend on in a post-collapse situation. That’s doubly true when you’ll be using that gear to defend your life. Luckily, many modern flashlights are built with the rough use of tactical operations and hunting expeditions in mind. A few durability features to keep in mind:  Dual-spring construction puts solid contact on both ends of the battery, ensuring consistent contact throughout the firing process and eliminating noisy rattling. Anodized black finishes are resistant to scratches and corrosion and reduce glare. Tempered glass lenses are impact resistant and allow for maximum performance without losing transparency and reducing output over time.

Attachment Method

There are a lot of options when it comes to accessory mounting on firearms. Each rail system has its own strengths and weaknesses, and each user has their own reasons for using the systems they do. The important thing to keep in mind is to ensure you have a reliable mount that is compatible with your rail system, and that you have whatever necessary tools on hand for quickly attaching and removing the accessory. Consistency here can go a long way.

Battery Type

Like with competing rail systems, there are many schools of thought surrounding which batteries are best for emergency situations. AA’s are obviously the most abundant and cost-effective. They also offer versatility as they can be used in and harvested from countless other electronic devices. The trade-off is most AA’s are not rechargeable, and they limit your device’s performance. A high performance LED flashlight packing a 3.6 Volt 18650 or two 3 Volt CR123’s is likely to provide more lumens better run times than a AA device.

Lights running off of 18650 batteries are popular for a number of reasons. First, there are a number of high performance lights on the market running on a single 18650 platform, meaning you can pick from some of the world’s most trusted brands. 18650’s Are also rechargeable, meaning if you have access to a generator or solar rig, you could get an impressive lifetime out of each cell compared to traditional alkaline batteries. And finally, most lights powered by 18650’s can also be powered by two (non-rechargeable) CR123A cells, giving you an added level of versatility.

All of the pros and cons need to be weighed against each other and, just like with any gear, the right answer will depend on your needs and expectations.

The best flashlight is one you have on you at all times.

Lumens

Lumens get a lot of attention when shoppers are looking for a new flashlight. The truth is, most modern flashlights are plenty bright for most applications, including tactical operations. At 1,000 lumens, the TK20R easily provides the kind of illumination you’d need to light up a dark warehouse, alley, or field, and multiple settings allow you to step down the brightness to save on run time or cater to more reflective surroundings. One thing to keep in mind is ANSI ratings. Non-ANSI rated lights will often have inflated lumen measurements. That’s not to say they aren’t bright or high quality devices – it’s just important to compare oranges to oranges.

There’s no question that a weapon light can be a life-saving device in a SHTF world. Whether it helps you spot an intruder, or helps you track game after the sun goes down, a quality torch attached to your firearm will pay off in dividends the first time you truly need it.

When planning for worst-case-scenarios, keep versatility in mind, and look for gear that can be put to use effectively in a variety of applications. A quality LED flashlight can be just as crucial navigating rough terrain while collecting firewood as it can be spotting assailants in dangerous territory. There’s no shortage of quality gear on the market, and no shortage of opinions as to which styles and configurations are the most effective. Shop around, consider the variables, and choose your gear wisely.

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The post Choosing the Best Weapon Light for SHTF appeared first on The Prepper Journal.

How To Build Your Own Survival Fishing Kit

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

Editor’s Note: This post was contributed by Ted. 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.


If you are planning to build a survival fishing kit by own and so are looking for some guides, then your search stops right here. Survival fishing kits could be of any size and shape, and it would adapt readily to suit your particular needs.

To get started on how to build your own survival fishing kit, we have come up with a list to help you out.

Building Your Own Survival Fishing Kit

This best fact about this kit is that it wouldn’t cost more than 20 dollars to create. The tools and materials that would be used here are easily available along with the fishing essentials.

Tools and Materials:

  • 1” Threaded PVC Adapter
  • 1” Threaded PVC Cap
  • 1” PVC Pipe Of 10” Length
  • PVC Cleaner
  • PVC Cement
  • Scrap Wood
  • Paracord
  • One Small Washer
  • Fishing Line Of 100.’
  • Drill Bit Of 1/8”
  • Drill Bit Of 1/16”
  • Hand Drill.

Fishing Elements:

  • Lures
  • Hooks
  • Bobbers
  • Swivels
  • Sinkers.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1: Attach The Threaded PVC Adapter To The Pipe

First step is to connect the 1” PVC pipe to the threaded PVC adapter of 1”. You could either press the two materials together or glue them employing PVC cement and PVC cleaner.

Via www.instructables.com

 

However, gluing the pieces would be better as, if by chance the adapter becomes loose from the PVC pipe, then your fishing essentials could get loose.

For attaching the two pieces, you would need to clean the areas of joining with PVC cleaner, and then use PVC cement to press the pieces all together.

If you slightly turn the PVC cap after it got fitted on the pipe, you would get sure whether it has bonded firmly or not.

Lastly, let the pieces sit for 30 minutes.

Step 2: Add a Lanyard to 1” Threaded Cap

At this level, you would use the drill along with the drill bit to bore two evenly spaced holes in the 1” PVC threaded cap’s top.

Via www.instructables.com

 

After it is done, you would now have to lace the paracord of 20” length through these holes and tie a knot.

Via www.instructables.com

 

The lanyard would help to carry the fishing kit quickly. It could be even wrapped around the wrist at the time of fishing to prevent the kit from slipping down from the hand.

Step 3: Forming And Installing The Front End Plug

Most of the survival fishing kits employ a PVC end cap for closing the fishing kit’s front end. This is because these caps are available easily and could be installed quickly. But such caps could create a problem while casting the fishing line.

Therefore, it would be better to make a customized cap that would fit tightly on the pipe.
You would need to chuck a wood piece and make its diameter same as the 1” PVC pipe’s outside diameter. You would have to shoulder it off till it gets fitted inside the pipe snugly.

Via www.instructables.com

 

After this, you would need to cut a portion of the turning to have a slight cone or rounded end. It would help your fishing line to come off in an even manner while casting.

Lastly, you would have to employ the 5 minutes epoxy for affixing to the fishing kit’s end.

Step 4: Drill Holes To Secure The Hook

Once these steps are complete, the next thing you would have to do after epoxying the front plug is to bore some holes. These holes would not have to be very deep as they are only to secure the hook.

Via www.instructables.com

You could drill about six holes around the plug to have many points for attaching the hook.

Step 5: Wrap The Handle

Paracord is always a great prepping supply to have in a survival scenario so you could wrap some of it around the handle. This would not only help you to use for many things but also would offer a solid grip to prevent the kit from slipping out from the hand.

Step 6: Add the Fishing Line

Next, bore a small hole of 1/16” in the 1” PVC pipe for adding the fishing line. You would need to thread one end of the line through the hole and let it come out from the kit’s end.

Via www.instructables.com

 

After this, you would have to tie a small washer on the line’s end employing a stronger knot. The washer would help to fix the line on the kit and prevent it from coming out.

Via www.instructables.com

 

After this, you will have to pull the line steer to draw the washer’s end into the kit and start to wrap the fishing line around the PVC pipe. If this wrapping is done nicely, then the line would unspool exactly as it does from fishing reels while casting.

Step 7: Loading It Up

After completing the fishing kit, you would now have to load up the fishing essentials or survival gear in the kit. It would be entirely upon you that which things you would pack according to your needs.

Via www.instructables.com

However, small hooks, lures, sinkers, swivels or bobbers could be some of the materials that you might include.

Step 8: Ready To Cast

A fishing kit would work almost like a fishing rod. You would just have to hold the fishing kit around the paracord with your hand and hold the line’s hook end in place with the index finger.

Via www.instructables.com

 

Now you could either employ underhand or overhand movement for casting the line.

If you catch a ladyfish then the question of whether to eat it or not might haunt you. Well, this post on fishing and eating ladyfish will definitely help you.

Conclusion

Well, we hope that our process of how to build your own survival fishing kit will help you a lot to make a kit easily. A survival kit is always necessary as it would keep you sufficiently equipped to survive in any situation. However, if you have any suggestion regarding this article, please let us know in the comments below.

We would be happy to hear from you.

About the author: Hi there, I’m Ted Thomas from GrayWolfLife, an ardent adventure writer. I write for readers with a genuine interest in enjoying the great outdoors. By sharing my experiences camping, hunting and fishing, I hope to inspire others to fully explore the depths of their passion.

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10 Self Defense Tips for Women

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

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Editor’s Note: This post was contributed by Joe. 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 a perfect world, one would like to think that when disaster strikes, people would rush to help and support each other through it. And while people certainly will, such catastrophes unfortunately sometimes bring out the worst in many people as well. And these opportunistic predator types don’t target strapping he-men either. They’ll be looking for what they think are vulnerable victims; the elderly, the disabled, and women.

While in these more enlightened times few people still think of women as the “weaker sex”, most men still retain some advantages in physical height and strength.

Fortunately, there are a number of self-defense tips and techniques that can level that playing field and allow women to protect themselves and those that they are responsible for protecting. Some of them involve an outlay of money, some involve exercise, some involve surprisingly simple preparation, but all of them should be considered now, not after the worst happens. Below are some of the more effective ones.

Get And Stay Physically Fit

The healthier and more physically fit you are in the aftermath of a crisis, the better.

You’ll be able to run from danger. You’ll be able to run and get help and possibly track down prey.

Weight lifting will allow you to…well…lift weights.

Rock climbing and ropes courses now may help you to extract yourself and assist others in escaping from collapsed buildings, scale cliffs, and climb trees.

And the great thing about physical fitness programs is that they need not involve memberships at expensive gyms. An exercise regime as simple as daily rope-jumping may have you putting others to shame when trouble strikes.

Don’t Be Afraid Of Fear

It’s a perfectly natural emotion, designed by nature to help you avoid serious problems. But there’s a fine line between breaking down into hopeless hysteria or running blindly off of the edge of a cliff, and making your fear work for you.

Don’t be crippled by fear, but do listen to that little voice warning you when going into unfamiliar areas, encountering strange groups, etc. And remember that the adrenaline produced when you enter the “flight or fight” mode actually increases your physical strength. Use it accordingly.

Every Heel Has His (Or Her) Achilles Heel

Even physically fit women may not prevail in a confrontation with a man that involves running or brute force. So don’t let him get the upper hand, but calmly and effectively go on the offensive by attacking him in areas that will hurt, with blows and kicks to the:

  • Eyes
  • Groin
  • Kidneys
  • Nose
  • Adam’s apple (that “bulge” in the throat)
  • Shin
  • Instep
  • Solar plexus (between the sternum and stomach)
  • Knee
  • Nose
  • Jaw
  • Sternum (the flat bony area in the center of the chest)

Make sure that these blows are hard, and yes, they work just as effectively on women. And in situations like these, biting is absolutely fair play, and effectively painful. For some defense moves that you can try out, check out this article on The 3 Essential Self-Defense Moves.

Take A Class

There are a couple of reasons to take formal self-defense courses now.

The first one is that you will be learning in a safe and comfortable environment with professional instructors. This guarantees that you’ll be learning how to use techniques effectively, having questions answered by knowledgeable sources, and reducing the chances of injury to yourself or another student.

The second reason is that retentive learning of this nature tends to go better in a group situation, with the positive feedback, support, and hands-on learning opportunities offered by this type of classes.

Join A Shooting Club/Go To A Firing Range

Waiting until the apocalypse is nigh upon us is a bad time to become comfortable with using a firearm. It’s also possible to receive instruction at these locations to insure that you know how to effectively protect yourself with a firearm against attackers.

Other (Non-Lethal) Firearm Knowledge That All Self-Defenders Should Have

Neither the survivor party that you’re trying to protect nor the gang of slobbering attackers that you’re facing will be too impressed if your gun jams or you shoot yourself while firing it, now will they?

The Israeli Woman Teaching the Art of Stiletto Self Defense

Survivalists or preppers who know or think that they will be handling guns should:

  • Know how to load and unload various types of firearms
  • Know how to clean and perform at least minor types of other maintenance on guns
  • Be conversant with various parts of firearms
  • Know how to correctly wear a holster, as well as correctly drawing from and returning a weapon to it

It would also be very helpful to master the not-difficult but time consuming art of reloading, or manufacturing your own ammunition.

Prevention Is The Best Cure

The most effective self-defense? Avoid putting yourself in situations where you have to use self-defense!

Avoid traveling by yourself, traveling at night, or traveling in exposed or isolated areas. Sometimes of course, one has no choice. In such situations, keep a straight, tall posture, walk quickly and purposefully, and keep weapons out and in your hand.

Use Caution In Making New “Friends”

Until you actually get to know them, all unknown parties should be treated with caution. This means maintaining a distance of a couple of meters when meeting and speaking to them. You say this seems rude? Consider this. It buys you some space if the “friend” goes into attack mode, and allows you to observe what most vulnerable body parts the attacker (see #3) is exposing to you.

Maintain Self-Confidence

It can be hard to keep a stiff upper lip during the End of Days, but remaining calm and assertive will not only help you combat depression and feelings of self-hopelessness, it will make you appear less of a “mark” to attackers and other unsavory types.

Hunker Down At Home

If the crisis is short-term or there’s no immediate danger, like Dorothy said in the Wizard Of Oz, “There’s no place like home”. Make sure that your palace is a fortress though, by pre-stocking plenty of non-perishable foods, potable water, and medical supplies. Regardless of weather, all unused doors and windows should be secured. Install an “alarm” system even if it’s just a dog, and if possible, create a well-stocked “panic area” in the home where you can flee from intruders, and they can’t follow. Better still, be cautious about admitting any strangers to your home.

Wrapping Up

What do you think, are there other important factors women need to keep in mind to be able to effectively defend themselves? If you have some thoughts on the subject, please share them with us by commenting in the comments section below. We would love to hear from you!

About the author: This article was contributed by Joe from SmokingBarrelUSA.com. Joe is a gun enthusiast that started his blog specifically to not only learn more himself, but to also share what he learned with others in the community. SmokingBarrelUSA.com aims to help promote gun safety, debunk some myths that exist today about firearms, as well as help folks to choose the right equipment to suit their specific needs.

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Preppers: Now Is Not the Time to Let Your Guard Down

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Written by Pat Henry on The Prepper Journal.

There are many reasons why people start prepping. For me I had growing sense of the fragility of the social and economic fabric that weaves our daily systems together back in 2005. Call it a gut-check that was caused by impulses I am still not even aware of the source, but I felt an urge to take steps to protect my family. From what? From all manner of normal, everyday events and tragedies that affect people all over the world and have since the beginning of time. Fires, earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, famine, disease, war, economic downturn, zombie invasion, pandemic, loss of a job, drought, flood. The list goes on and on but I began a journey back then that continues, almost without ending to this day to be prepared for just about anything that can happen.

Many of my other prepper friends though seem to have hinged their motivation for prepping on a political urgency. Their own reasons for prepping stemmed almost directly from the recent political climate and actions taken by one political party or another. The fear of regulations or rules coming down from an abusive, tyrannical despot drove them to prepare for a loss of rights, confiscation of firearms or riots in the streets. But after one election cycle, the urgency has waned for these preppers. The fear of gun confiscations is gone because one man left office and another woman failed to become his successor.

Now, instead of burning up the comments on many of the more popular prepping blogs out there calling for everyone to take steps now, it seems that so many preppers who were in full swing a year or two ago have relaxed and stopped worrying about the need to prepare. Has this happened to you?

When you stop prepping

Now don’t get me wrong, my urgency to prepare has highs and lows and I have myself gone through periods where I prepare with more vigor than other times. This can be for a lot of reasons. For some preps, I spend a little more money and if the finances aren’t where I’d like them, I scale back. The months before Tax Day usually slow things down in that respect. Other times, when I do have the finances and want to purchase some prepping supplies, I go after it a little more enthusiastically. Sales have a great way of motivating me too.

But the difference is that I have never felt in the entire time I have been prepping, that everything is OK. That I don’t have anything to worry about and all that was wrong in the world has been repaired. Never. Not even once. Perhaps some of that boils down to what I think some of the major problems are and what I am more concerned with. After the basic level of preparedness for life’s curve-balls, my big worry is economic collapse. That to me is the big one to get concerned about because trigger reasons aside, if that happens, we could easily see rioting, disease, mass death, wars, etc.

Additionally, I have been slack in some of my every day preparedness occasionally and I end up smacking myself for letting my diligence slip. For example, we recently completed a trip out-of-state to see family. We didn’t take my vehicle which has a pretty complete vehicle survival kit and a lot of other supplies that would enable us to survive for a good while with nothing else. Instead we had my wife’s vehicle, which is less stocked. Usually, I would move everything over as I packed and make sure we were covered. This time I was lazy and although nothing happened to us on the road, I thought about the lack of supplies the entire trip. Some days I leave the house without my concealed carry weapon and I worry that this will be the day when I find out I needed it. Fortunately, that has never happened.

Now is not the time to let your guard down

These are minor fluctuations that happen to everyone based upon life. I haven’t abandoned my other preps and I will redouble my efforts on my next out-of-town trip so that I am more prepared for whatever life throws my way.

But some people think that just because one person won an election, that the need to prepare is lessened, if not removed altogether. For those people who were prepping solely because of the political environment they saw as a threat, the words coming from the new boss are different, more aligned to what they believe, their own principles and morals – so the urgency has gone away.

Now is not the time to let your guard down

I wrote a post back in 2013 titled Misplaced Hope: The Futility in Picking Sides Politically where I basically said my own personal belief is that it does not matter who is in charge politically in the grand scheme of things. Our government isn’t truly representative anymore and your interests are not placed above the interests of those in power. This doesn’t change really no matter which side is in power so believing that just because one side wins all your problems are solved is folly. Your mileage may vary.

To those preppers who think that now since the last election, our economic issues are over, that government will stop spying on people, that your freedom will increase, that the world as a whole will be a better place and people will start to reason and get along. Those who think we will never have conflict with another country, that our health and prosperity will continue forever… You’ve got to get your head out of the sand. The man behind the podium doesn’t control the economy, the banks do. The Deep State doesn’t care who is in power because they don’t have to answer to anyone and besides, you freely give your privacy away to any one of dozens of companies already.

Prepping is a Marathon, not a sprint

I could go on, but the point I am trying to make is that you shouldn’t stop prepping because your team won the last big game. Things can change and one election doesn’t alter the course of history typically. I maintain, that each of us should keep our heads down, our eyes peeled and continue to prepare. Maybe you spend less time arguing with people on Facebook, but your journey to preparedness shouldn’t stop because you think the reasons you had for prepping have gone away. Elections happen every 4 years and even outside of that, major events happen that change things in ways you could never have imagined. Look at 9/11 and what that did to our view of the world and outlook on many things. Surprises do still happen.

So to all the preppers who stopped and all the new preppers from the other side who are just as worried now as some of us were before November 8th and who are now prepping with an urgency many on this side have lost – don’t let your guard down! We should be prepared for anything. Don’t let what is happening in the media from day-to-day dictate whether or not you are taking steps to protect your family. Look at the larger picture, to history and keep making strides day by day to learn new skills, to set aside food and water, to get in shape and obtain training you could need one day.

Prepping is a Marathon, not a sprint and the race is far from over.

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10 Medical Resources You Can Get from Nature

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

Your list of home remedies is about to get even more interesting and spicier. Although these natural herbs are have been used hundreds of years, doctors and scientists are now recommending them to be used for healing purposes. These natural medical resources can be easily substituted as traditional methods of medication. The plants have capabilities to heal and reduce cholesterol, high blood pressure and arthritis pain to name a few. Some of the best healing herbs even have the ability to treat cancer cells and also help alcoholics to curb their drinking habit.

The natural medical resources or herbs and other natural remedies are as effective as traditional treatments. In some cases they are even more effective without any side effects. Here are some of the best medical resources that you can get from nature. These super-healers can be added into your natural medicine or herbal products cabinet along with your favorite recipes. Fitting a few of them in your daily routine can be beneficial for the body.

Turmeric

Turmeric is a rhizomatous herbaceous perennial plant of the ginger family, Zingiberaceae. It is native to southern Asia

Turmeric contains anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancerous properties. Who ever thought an ingredient used for taste in curry can help to relieve pain? This spice which is popular for its use in curry contains curcumin that helps to treat arthritis. Curcumin is a powerful anti-inflammatory and an important element that works just like Cox-2 inhibitors drugs to reduce the Cox-2 enzyme which results in the swelling of arthritis.

The herb is known for doing wonders. Another reason why turmeric is popular because it reduces precancerous lesions when taken with quercetin which is found in apples, onions and cabbage. Turmeric also helps to clear plaques in the brain that are important characteristic of the disease.

Cinnamon

A recent study on type 2 diabetics showed that taking cinnamon extract everyday reduces the blood sugar level in the body by 10%. It reduces risks related to heart and slash cholesterol by about 13%.

1 g capsules of cinnamon extract everyday helps to tame blood sugar while 1 to 6 g capsules reduce cholesterol. However, a large amount of actual spice in not good for health. Thus, it’s better to stick to water-soluble extract.

Rosemary

Heterocyclic amines or HCAs are some vital carcinogens that are present in several types of cancers. These amines are created after grilling, frying and broiling meat at high temperatures. Rosemary extract which is a common powder mixed in beef after cooking reduces HCA levels in the body.

Rosemary extract also prevents carcinogens from binding with DNA and stops them from entering in the body. It is the first step of the formation of tumor and rosemary extracts helps to prevent cancer at an initial stage. Thus, taking rosemary extract will kill carcinogens before they turn into a tumor. This research has been only carried out on animals but the extract has a tendency to prevent cancer.

In order to reduce HCAs in the body, make sure that you add rosemary extract in any spice mix. It will also enhance the taste, making the dish stronger in flavors. You can mix the herb with oregano, parsley, thyme and onions for a perfect mix.

Ginger

Ginger can protect your stomach from various sources including motion sickness, pregnancy and chemotherapy. This is an old home remedy that we often hear from our mothers and grandmothers. They are right because it really works!

Ginger is a powerful anti-oxidant that blocks the effects of serotonin in the body. It is a chemical that the stomach and body produces when you feel nausea by stopping the production of free radicals which is also another cause of an upset stomach.

Garlic

High consumption of garlic have cured colorectal and ovarian cancers. People have also experienced reduction in the number and size of precancerous growths. The benefits of garlic are not only limited to lowering risks of cancer, but it also decreases high blood pressure. There are about 70 active phytochemicals in garlic including allicin that deceases blood pressure by 30 points.

Garlic in your diet slows down the arterial blockages and prevent strokes. Fresh and crushed garlic offers the best cancer-fighting and cardiovascular benefits. However, one should have at least five crushed garlic cloves to enjoy maximum benefits.

Holy Basil

Several animal studies back holy basil, a special variety of the plant you use in your pesto sauce, Holy basil is effective in reducing stress by increasing the noradrenaline and adrenaline along with decreasing serotonin in the body. The herb is also popular to relieve headaches and indigestion. Tea leaves of the holy basil is a great natural resource which is more effective than traditional methods of relieving pain.

Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera was used in traditional medicine for treating skin disease, constipation, infections, worm infestation and colic. In Chinese medicine, it is popular for treating various fungal diseases. In today’s modern times, the herb is used in various cosmetics to make skin softer.

Surprisingly, Aloe Vera consists of more than 78 active components. Studies have shown that the herb also contains antiviral, anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal properties. It builds up the immune system and does not cause any allergic reaction.

FeverFew

FeverFew is a natural herb that has been used over centuries to ease headaches, toothaches, stomach-ache, infertility, menstruation problems and labor during childbirth. The healing effect comes from a biochemical present in the herb known as parthenolides. It fights against the widening of blood vessels during migraines. The herb also prevents blood clots, dizziness, relieve allergies and reduces arthritis pain.

St. John’s Wort

St. Johns Wort herbs are not used to treat the physical symptoms but also used for relieving anxiety and mild to moderate depression. The best thing about it is it works effectively as any other drug without any side-effects.

Saw Palmetto

Saw palmetto is used as a supplement consumed by men to treat prostate cancer. It also contributes to several health issues related to men such as hair loss, libido and enlarged prostate. Other than that, it is said to promote relaxation, treat respiratory conditions and boost immune function.

Author Bio: Saqib Khan, is an inquisitive blogger and loves to spread his knowledge. With a penchant for medical innovations and developments, Saqib’s new field of interest is herbal medicines. He is currently associated with a top online medical pharmacy in Pakistan offering variety of Pathological & Herbal Medicines such as flu medicine, first aid kits, cough medicine, etc.

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5 Reality TV Shows That Can Help You Prep for a Disaster

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Written by Laura Johnson on The Prepper Journal.

Despite all of the unnatural intervention, there are some reality shows that preppers can get more from than strictly entertainment. These reality shows can help you prep for a disaster.

The post 5 Reality TV Shows That Can Help You Prep for a Disaster appeared first on The Prepper Journal.

Lessons from History – Staying Warm in Winter

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Written by R. Ann Parris on The Prepper Journal.

Whether bedding down in a sturdy home, on the move, or making a temporary camp for the snowy season, there are a lot of lessons we can take from history to keep us safer and more comfortable.

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Ensure Your Family Has Safe Water If the Grid Goes Down

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Written by John Hertig on The Prepper Journal.

The only problem is, this continuous availability of water depends on a lot of infrastructure, and if some or all of that collapses, water is going to “dry up” quickly.

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Recurve, Compound, or Crossbow? What is The Best Choice For SHTF Scenario?

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

Every prepper ought to have a bow in their survival gear today, considering its endless benefits! If you find yourself in a SHTF situation

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Tactical Gear List & Considerations for SHTF

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Written by Orlando Wilson on The Prepper Journal.

The below personal tactical gear list is taken from a proposal I put together for counterinsurgency / tactical team in West Africa a few years ago, this should give you a few hints on kit etc.

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Practical Bug Out Reloading

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

With about $300 to $400 invested in reloading equipment, all those hundreds or even thousands of once fired brass casings can be reloaded for a tremendous savings over buying factory new ammunition.

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Winter Prepper Project Ideas – Outdoors

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Written by R. Ann Parris on The Prepper Journal.

There’s a lot that winter (or early spring) can tell us about our properties, both for planting decisions, siting various things around our property, and for mitigating some of the weather that comes with winter and spring.

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For Those of You Waiting on Financial Collapse…

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

Ladies and gentlemen, I am a banker. That’s right, that evil, fat cat, wall street banker that became such a popular moniker during our last administration and I’m also a prepper.

The post For Those of You Waiting on Financial Collapse… appeared first on The Prepper Journal.

Stacking Functions: Increasing Efficiency with Multi-Function Spaces

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Written by R. Ann Parris on The Prepper Journal.

Analyzing homestead elements for multi-functionality and redundancy were covered in the first article. This time we’ll look at combining them into multi-function spaces.

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Stacking Functions: Increasing Yields & Decreasing Labor with Multi-Function Elements

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Written by R. Ann Parris on The Prepper Journal.

Stacking functions is a quick term for the concept of planning things (elements) and areas (space) to perform the most services for us.

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Planned Parenthood for Preppers

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Written by R. Ann Parris on The Prepper Journal.

Managed Livestock Breeding Livestock keeping is one of the things that those interested in self-sufficiency regularly end up considering. There are factors involving breeding, especially, that can increase our success and let us custom-fit our livestock’s needs to our situations. While some aspects of controlled breeding may seem obvious, especially to experienced livestock keepers, other […]

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Is Stocking up on Gold and Silver Smart?

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

You have a gold coin that you paid $1100 for back when the world was still somewhat sane. Do you offer that coin for a loaf of bread? 100 loaves or a years supply?

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3 Ways Prepping Pays Off Right Now

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

It’s far more likely to encounter a little emergency than a major movie-style event. So what to do with the big pile of food, gear, etc. that represents an investment of time, money, and storage space?

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One Plan Is Not Enough: 7 Tips to Create a Successful Food Plan

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

What are the most important things to consider? In this article I cover some of the requirements of creating your master food plan.

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Field Weapon: Constructing a Bow & Arrows Using a Knife

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

Using only what is available to from the natural surroundings and what small amount of belongings you have, it’s time to construct one of the oldest tools used by hunters, the bow and arrow.

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Booby Traps – A Historically Proven Component of Psychological Warfare

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

Historically speaking, booby traps do not win wars. They are, however, considered a key element in psychological warfare.

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The 3 Essential Self-Defense Moves, You Must be Aware of

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

Self-defense is your right and it will be beneficial in a SHTF scenario, if you know how to tackle the consequences on your own with a sharp presence of mind instead of relying on others.

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Metallic Cartridge Reloading In The Prepper Tool Kit

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

With the interest in the preparedness lifestyle growing at an explosive rate, one important skill is often brushed aside: reloading ammunition.

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Hiding in Plain Sight – Innovative Ways to Discreetly Wear Survival Gear

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

In this article I list some of the most unique ways that some basic survival gear, weapons, and defensive tools can be disguised in items you already wear every day.

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The Keys To Effective Prepper Communication

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

This article attempts to cover some of the basic pros and cons of various forms of communication and introduce the reader to some additions that should prove helpful in crisis and bug-out situations.

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Self Defense Options: More than Just Guns

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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 valknut79. 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.


Imagine being in the middle of a crowded festival, enjoying your time with your family.  All of a sudden, you find yourself near some drunks who start a fight, and you can’t help but separate from your family, and get pulled into the fray. You’re a prepper, and like most preppers, you’re carrying a small firearm, in this case a small pistol.  Do you use it?

Some would say yes – it’s time to defend the family, and that’s what a weapon is for, right?  Others hold off – bringing deadly force into a relatively small conflict is a certain legal issue and is probably not necessary considering that these people are drunk.  That said, this is clearly a self-defense situation.  Considering that a gunshot in a crowded public space is one of the fastest ways to start a riot, potentially getting you or your family even more harmed, the balance point for many tends to tip towards leaving your weapon holstered.

Imagine again.  This time, you and your family return home, and see the basement window broken.  Alarm bells are going off in your head, and you draw your weapon, instructing the kids to wait in the car.  Upon entering, you are able to see that the dangerous infiltrator is actually a 14-year-old boy who lives down the road.  Is he dangerous, or just a neighborhood nuisance?  You have less than seconds to decide.

Maybe you are one to draw in these circumstances, however, I believe that these are two examples of situations where yes, a gun could be advantageous to you, but it would be better left holstered.

Of all the four major prep areas – food, water, shelter and defense – it is defense that is most often overlooked.  I know preppers who think that all they need is a pistol and some ammunition, while others stock an armory, but the fact remains that for most, defense is simply just about the weapons you choose to keep.  In reality, self-defense is so much more.

Personal Defense                

The fact remains that for most, defense is simply just about the weapons you choose to keep. In reality, self defense is so much more.

The first line of defense to prepare is your last line of defense – your ability to defend your own person.  Guns are fantastic, but are not always the best solution to a conflict.  The best way to start that process is to take a martial arts class regularly.

Martial arts classes are incredibly varied, and depending on where you live, you should find a broad spectrum of different styles.  You could opt for a striking art like TaeKwon Do, Karate or Kung Fu, or you could focus on a martial art that emphasizes grappling such as Judo.  There are many arts that are combinations by nature (any MMA style or Krav Maga), and there are many schools of striking or grappling arts that borrow from outside of the strict boundaries of their chosen style to incorporate a broad range of self-defense elements.

Striking arts are probably what everyone thinks of when they imagine martial arts, as they are based on using your hands and feet to punch, chop and kick your way to safety.  These arts value speed and quickness over size and power, and often incorporate a large variety of cardio exercise practices that will double as your workout for the day.  The major advantage to learning a striking art is clear – these arts are focused on disabling an opponent quickly from a (relative) distance, and allow you at least a small chance of fighting multiple opponents.  A typical class will involve practicing kata or patterns of movements, practice kicks and punches against air, striking heavy bags or padded opponents, and jumping techniques.

Grappling arts are going to be more similar to wrestling than what you’d likely think of as a “martial arts” technique.  Instead of punches and kicks, you’ll learn disabling holds, pressure points, and throws.  A certain amount of size and strength is not necessarily essential, but will definitely help.  Classes for grappling arts tend to emphasize one-on-one, back-and-forth style of practice (I’ll throw you, then you throw me), and may not be as exercise-heavy as a striking art.  The advantages of studying a grappling art are the fact that they focus on defending yourself from abductions and mugging-style grabs and unarmed defense against an armed opponent, which are highly practical scenarios.  In addition, many people who have studied street fights have noted that over 80% of these encounters end up on the ground, where grapplers have a distinct advantage.

Both styles give you opportunities to practice against your classmates in simulated fighting scenarios.  Striking courses usually incorporate sparring practice where you use heavy pads and light contact to simulate a fight and test your reflexes and skills.  This allows you to safely practice your skills so that you’ll know you can function in times when you need to defend yourself. Grappling arts use amateur wrestling, or kneeling wrestling known as rendori as sport-practice.  In rendori, you maneuver your opponent on the mat in an attempt to make them submit from a painful or inescapable hold.

Finding a style is a good choice, but it may be better to find a school first and a style second.  Not all martial arts courses are created equally.  Many are black belt factories, where you pay a certain fee and are guaranteed a black belt after a certain amount of time.  Other schools are going to emphasize tournament performance or flashy-but-not-realistic jumping and leaping attacks.  Good schools are hard to come by, but they’ll offer a variety of different types of skills and performance elements, have a wide variety of people at varying levels of abilities and ages, and have experienced instructors.  Park districts are an excellent place to begin, but there are some valuable strip mall dojos that offer different types of instruction.  Ask for a free trial class, or at least to watch a class before signing up.

Non-Gun Weapons

Some models of tactical flashlights have stun guns or preprogrammed SOS signals that can add to its functionality.

In addition to a basic level of skill in hand-to-hand combat, I think it’s also important to find a hand-to-hand weapon to supplement your firearm and EDC kit.  My personal choice is a tactical flashlight that functions as a striking weapon, a strobe light to distract and disorient my attackers, and a tool that I can use in my everyday life.  Some models of tactical flashlights have stun guns or preprogrammed SOS signals that can add to its functionality, and since it’s a small flashlight it is a very inconspicuous weapon that is never taken away from me at sporting events or theme parks.  If you don’t like that suggestion, consider some of these other hand-to-hand weapons that are easy to carry:

Remember that no matter what weapon you choose to carry that you are well equipped and ready to use it.  A knife may not be the best weapon for every encounter, but if that’s what you choose, that’s what you might be stuck with.  If you pull pepper spray from your pocket or purse, know how to use it, or it will be taken away and used against you.

Dogs

Best Prepper Dog for SHTF

My final suggestion for personal defense is to get yourself a dog.

Dogs are fantastic companion animals that are also overlooked but highly practical pieces of a prepper’s armory.  They require much more regular upkeep than what you’re storing in your gun cabinet currently, but are also useful for a wide variety of situations.

Dogs are not a fail-safe mechanism for security.  Just check YouTube and you’ll find hundreds of home security videos of dogs peacefully approaching burglars and not making a peep if that burglar thought ahead to bringing some dog treats with them.  That said, training and mentally stimulating your dog will certainly help in developing his senses enough to make him a versatile tool and defense mechanism as well as a companion.

Training your dog to be a more aggressive “guard dog” is certainly an option, but one that I would strongly discourage.  It is important for your dog to be socialized among other animals and be extremely selective about whom he attacks.  An “attack dog” is not a good choice, and will likely do you more harm than good, both in terms of legal trouble and difficulty in raising and training him.

If you don’t want a traditional guard dog, and if your dog is more likely to lick your home invader than attack him or warn you, then why bother?  It’s easy – prepper dogs are a highly effective deterrent for would-be attackers.

There is an old adage that states “When you’re running from a bear, you don’t need to be the fastest, you just need to not be the slowest.”  Choosing a large breed of dog, such as a Rottweiler, or an American or Olde English bulldog will definitely make your home significantly less appealing for any home invaders or burglars. More intelligent breeds, such as German Shepherds can act as an early warning system for people approaching your home, and may be able to be put to work around your home for basic tasks if you keep livestock.  These kinds of dogs are also those that have a reputation of being aggressive (even though they’re not), and their reputation alone can be a deterrent.  Keep in mind that many of our modern breeds, even those poorly designed for defense like bloodhounds or greyhounds, were originally bred to be hunters or highly specialized seekers, and have many practical applications in SHTF or survival situations

Taking dogs with you when you go outside for exercise or a walk is a good way for urban preppers to discourage muggers and attackers.  Even rural and suburban preppers can benefit from having a dog along on walks or runs in case of twisted ankles, or in the event that you are involved in some sort of accident.  My mother-in-law was riding her horse that she’d ridden thousands of times in the past, along a trail that she had ridden hundreds of times before, and when her horse was inexplicably spooked she fell off.  It was her golden lab that ran back to the farm alone to find help while she was knocked out.

All told, the advantages of having an animal companion are significant, specifically in terms of defense.  For those with allergies, there are some hypoallergenic dogs that are available, and depending on the breed you choose, you may find yourself unaffected by short-haired breeds.

A dog is not the highest priority on the list, but can certainly be a helpful addition to a home or personal defense system.  I certainly feel better about leaving my teenage daughter home alone for runs to the store or when I’m out to dinner with my wife when Arthur (my 90-pound monster of an American Bulldog) is home with her, even those he’s secretly a big softie.

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Emergency Medical Preparedness: Prepare Yourself for a Medical Emergency

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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 Suzanne S.. 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.


When it comes to prepping, there is a lot of talk about what material needs we should have on hand. A bug-out bag, freeze-dried food, water, transportation, first-aid kit, weapons for protection and a place to bug-out to. The idea is to have the basic needs of food, water and shelter readily available. The problem is; when the SHTF not everyone gets to just go merrily about their way, to easily head out and get gone. In fact, it is quite likely that many of us will sustain significant injuries that need to be tended to. Whether it is ourselves, our loved ones, or the friends who will be with us, we will need to know how to take care of each others injuries and illnesses.

I am an Emergency Medicine Physician Assistant with more than 20 years of Emergency Room experience, the majority of it in Level I Trauma centers (where the most severe cases…crashes, gunshots, severe work injuries, falls from heights, etc. go). Prior to becoming a PA, I was an EMT. I have a great deal of experience dealing with trauma victims and worked in an ER where we saw multiple gunshots daily. I have lectured at several colleges in the Chicago area as well as being responsible for teaching EMT, Physician Assistant, Medical and Podiatry students. I have also been an instructor for the American Red Cross teaching First Aid, CPR and Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) classes.

There is a lot of information out there about what makes up a good medical kit for your bug-out bag. Everything you need can be either assembled by you or purchased as anyone of a variety of pre-stocked kits. While the kit you have with you when you bug out is obviously important, it is also completely useless if you have not taken the time to learn how to use it. The truth is you can stop most bleeding with direct pressure. Sometimes you need a torn shirt, some duct tape and a pair of trauma scissors. You don’t have to be MacGyver to do it. You do need proper training.

Pamela Rauseo, 37, performs CPR on her nephew, 5-month-old Sebastian de la Cruz, after pulling her SUV to the side of the road. The baby was rushed to Jackson Memorial Hospital, where he is reportedly doing OK.

That said; EVERYONE who expects to deal with the aftermath of when the SHTF needs to know basic CPR and at least basic Trauma First Aid. That means taking classes and practicing what you learn. I can tell you stories about people attempting to administer first aid who had no training, but I won’t. Suffice it to say the outcomes were less than desirable.

The Survival Medicine Handbook: A Guide for When Help is Not on the Way

Let’s think about some injuries you can expect in the woods, hiking or running to find cover. Or for that matter, just being in a place where help is not going to come anytime soon. Falls are very common and can result in anything from a scrape to sprains to more serious injuries like fractures and head injuries. So ask yourself; do I really know how to treat a sprain? What about a fracture? Do I know how to stop bleeding and properly clean a wound? Have I ever done those things? Would I be able to actually do the job the right way should I need to? What if it was something life threatening? Could I save a person’s life?

If the answer to any of the above is NO, then you can have all the gear in the world at the ready, but YOU are not ready to bug-out!

I’m going to give an example of injury event that can be a tragedy if you are not properly trained to treat it. Remember, this is about knowing: both what TO do and what NOT TO do.

You and your companion are moving quickly through a heavily wooded area and your companion falls. When you reach them, you see a branch has impaled their arm. They are essentially stuck to a tree because of a branch sticking all the way through their arm. Your companion is in shock and not even aware of the extent of the injury. They are confused. There is blood coming from their arm and also from a gash on the right side of their head which is bleeding profusely. You think you see bone exposed through the head laceration and it seems that one of their legs has something wrong. Closer examination shows you that the ankle is sitting at a strange angle. What do you do now?

If you are like most people, you freak out, try to compose yourself so you don’t freak out your companion, get really pale and nearly pass out and then reach for your cellphone to call 911. Oops, no connectivity, so no help coming. So what now? The first aid kit! You have a first aid kit with a manual in it to walk you through caring for these injuries. You dig out the kit, open and it and check the book only to find it’s great for small cuts and bruises and simple things, but it has nothing remotely close to what you’re dealing with now.

Suddenly, you realize that maybe it wasn’t such a good idea to cancel that first aid class you had signed up for but decided you were too busy/tired to take. Besides, someone else will know what to do or I’ll call 911 anyway, I’ll never need to use it.

WOW! Talk about contrary to prepper philosophy. Or is it? It would seem that Emergency Medical preparedness training is a no-brainer, but in reality, most prepper sites and stores that cater to preppers are focused on the medical equipment you need rather than the training required to use it.

So anyway, I can’t teach you the how to do it in this article. I can give you a good idea of what good, accurate care and treatment of this fall will require. And yes, you can look all these things up on the internet. However, unless you learn from a real, live person who can guide you and correct mistakes you will surely make as you learn, you are never going to be able to really address the problems this very real scenario depicts.

STOP, LOOK, and LISTEN.

The very first thing required in any trauma/accident situation is an evaluation of the site of the accident. Stop, take a breath and look at where you are about to go. Is it a safe place to enter? In the urban world this is akin to a Paramedic called to the scene of a gunshot victim. In that situation, the Paramedic cannot help the victim until the Police have arrived and determined that the Paramedic is safe from the danger of being shot herself when she goes to help. At that point the scene is declared “safe” and the Paramedics can get to work.

In the wilderness or woods, the dangers are different but still just as potentially deadly. Is the ground stable? Are there dangerous branches or rocks that could fall onto you as you make your way to your companion? Will you slip and fall as well if you attempt to help? Do you need to take time to tie off before going to the person? What about wildlife? Are you in danger of animal or insect attack when you go to help? Can you find a way to make the scene safe?

Only after you treat the area as if it were a busy street corner will you be safe. You have to STOP, LOOK, and LISTEN.

Once the scene is determined safe, or made safe the next thing is to get to the injured person and take stock of the situation by doing an initial survey of them. This is done by looking and speaking to them without touching them. Encouragement to stay still is recommended at this point. Usually saying “Hold on, try not to move, I’ll be right there,” is a good start.

Look carefully at the person and where they are lying. Do you see any blood? Where is it coming from? What about limb deformities? If so, which ones. Are there any objects that will cause difficulty in treating the injuries? Can they be cleared or do you need to find a way to work around them.

Now it’s time to your ABCDE’s: Airway/Head and Neck, Breathing, Circulation, Disability/Deformity, and Exposure assessment.

Airway: If the person is conscious and talking, then they have a clear airway, but they might have a neck injury which will require stabilization. In the case of any significant fall, or one with an accompanying head injury, be sure that the cervical (neck) spine is stabilized. If the person is unconscious or can’t talk, be sure that the airway is clear of obstruction before going further. Gently lowering the jaw while holding the forehead steady will allow you to see if anything is causing an obstruction. Look for broken teeth, blood, dirt or some foreign body causing an obstruction. Remove any obstruction you can see. Do not blindly probe their mouth. You could push an unseen object backward and cause an obstruction where none had previously existed.

Breathing: Is the person breathing on their own? If they can talk, they are breathing. Is there any reason to suspect a possible lung injury? Do they have any evidence of a chest injury that could have broken a rib? A broken rib can puncture a lung and lead to air in the chest collapsing the lung on that side. You can check this several ways. One is to watch the rise and fall of the chest and see if both sides rise equally. Another is to put your ear on one side of the chest, then the other and listen for breath sounds to be equal on both sides. If you notice that the trachea, the tube that runs down the middle of your neck, is pushed to one side; that is a clear sign of a lung injury. The best case scenario is that you have a stethoscope in your kit that will allow you to hear the actual breath sounds easily. If there is a lung injury, this is a true emergency and will need to be treated quickly, but that is a procedure that requires specialized training.

Circulation: Check for obvious bleeding, but also in the case of extremity injury, is there good blood flow to the far portions of the extremity? Is the color of distal (far) limb pink or pale/bluish? Is it warm to the touch or cool/cold? Pink and warm = good. Anything else indicates blocked blood flow which may be due to arterial injury or compression. Arterial injury needs repair soon. Compression can often be correct by adjusting the limb to an appropriate angle.

Disability/Deformity: Is neurologic function intact or are they confused, unable to answer questions or showing other signs of significant head injury? Are there limb deformities, obvious chest or facial depressions indicating broken bones? Depending on what you find, a variety of things may be needed from re-evaluation of the airway, to splinting or bandaging.

Exposure: How long has it been since the injury took place? Are they becoming chilled or hypothermic? Cold =shock. Putting a warm cover over an injured party ASAP is essential even in hot weather.

The important thing to do now is stay calm and determine what needs to be treated first. If there is copious bleeding indicating probable arterial involvement (this can also be characterized by blood that sprays with each pump of the heart) apply direct pressure and if necessary a tourniquet that can be tightened and released easily. If there is no major bleeding issue, then recheck the airway and breathing. If there is chest deformity and/or other evidence of a collapsed lung, that is the next thing to deal with unless there is now evidence of airway obstruction or the person is not breathing on their own. The former requires clearing the airway, the latter requires rescue breathing. The collapsed lung requires specialized training you can’t get from the internet or a book. Any other injuries can wait. Remember; the brain starts to die after 3 minutes without oxygen. Airway is first unless bleeding is so profuse that not stopping it would mean there would not be enough blood to circulate oxygen.

Back to our fall victim; we have bleeding, limb deformity, confusion and a fall. The fall means we have to have high suspicion of a neck injury and the confusion could be shock or it could indicate a more serious injury such as concussion or a brain bleed. We also have a penetrating injury which may have been an insult to a major artery. This person is seriously injured and qualifies as a trauma patient. Ideally, we would get this person stabilized and out of there ASAP, but that is not an option. Instead, we have to stabilize and create a sheltered space as close to where we area as possible so we can begin to treat the various injuries.

Assuming there are no immediate life threats (Excessive bleeding or collapsed lung/blocked airway) we begin by stabilizing the neck. A towel, shirt or thick cloth of some kind can be rolled and taped carefully in place to accomplish this. Next stabilize and splint any limb deformities so that we can move the victim with the least amount of discomfort to them. Continue to talk to them to assess their mental status. At this point, things get tricky…

People’s first instinct when presented with something sticking out of or through a body part is to remove it. STOP! Don’t do it! Not only is it exactly the wrong thing to do, it could quite possibly be the thing that kills the person. I know it is scary looking and seems like the danger comes from it being stuck in the person, but at this point the person is alive and has survived impalement. Leaving the object embedded is not dangerous at this point; it is actually the safest thing to do. As long as the object is left in place, it is acting to tamponade (stop) the bleeding. That is, it is putting pressure on any lacerated vessels and preventing any major bleeding. Yes there will be some oozing around the injury site, but it will be minimal as compared to what happens should the object be removed. NEVER REMOVE AN IMPALED OR IMBEDDED OBJECT FROM A PUNCTURE WOUND unless you have been trained to handle this procedure. This is another procedure that requires specialized training courses.

But what about infection, you ask? Yes, infection risk is high, but it is not a life threatening problem at this time. A neck injury or brain injury will need prior attention as will the bleeding from the head wound. Antibiotics are something you can give, but not at this time because the victim has a decreased mental status and it is not clear if they can swallow a pill without causing an airway obstruction or aspirating it into a lung.

For the time being, the safest and most efficacious thing to do is to cut both ends of the branch so that your companion can be maneuvered to the sheltered spot. Start with the end of the branch still attached to the tree and try to keep the arm as immobile as you can while doing so to minimize pain. You can then trim the protruding opposite side.

Don’t cut the ends short. Leave enough to be able to grasp both ends firmly to assist removal when it is time. Use your gauze or Ace wrap to secure the branch so that it moves as little as possible during transport to avoid causing undo pain.

Continue to monitor the ABC’s and mental status and address what need to be done ASAP. Once you have done as much as you can, find a way to get this person out of there and to an emergency care center as quickly as possible otherwise, they will likely not survive for very long.

This all started out as a fall but resulted in multiple injuries placing your companion in danger of dying. With the proper training, you could swing the odds much more in favor of a good outcome. So before you buy that cool medical kit, or put one together on your own, get out there and get trained. If you know someone who has been trained and can teach you the emergency survival techniques you’ll need, ask them to teach you. Meanwhile there are a multitude of courses in first aid, tactical lifesaving, wilderness emergency medicine, survival medicine and CPR. Don’t forget to look into classes that teach herbal remedies. Know what plants can ease pain or prevent infection, they may be the only medications you’ll have available.

So go out and get prepared. Learn.

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Shoot To Kill: Instinctive Shooting

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Written by Orlando Wilson on The Prepper Journal.

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In close quarters, defensive shooting, you do not aim as such using your handguns sights, because you usually you do not have time for this. You use a method known as instinctive – or point shooting. Instinctive shooting is simple you point the gun and pull the trigger. You need to ensure you have a good grip on your handgun, your wrist is locked and the forearm of your gun hand is in line with your handgun.

For instinctive or point shooting at ranges of about 3 to 10 yards, you should bring the handgun up with stretched arms at chest or chin level, with both eyes looking at your target area. Point the handgun at the target area (i.e. head or chest); when the target is aligned, you fire. There is no need to use the sights, you simply point and shoot. I have seen students, who have been taught to always use the sights on their handguns, even at close quarters, and have difficulty getting good results when shooting. This is usually because they are concentrating too hard on lining up their sights. They are usually amazed how easy, fast and what good results they can get from point shooting. You want to practice instinctive shooting with an unloaded handgun before you go to the range. To start, pick a point in the room you are in, for example, a light switch. Now with a straight-arm point your finger at the switch. Look down your arm and see where your finger is pointing- it should be pointing at the switch.

You have been pointing at things your whole life right? Practice this a few times and then try it with an unloaded handgun. Point the handgun at the switch without using the sights and then look down the sights to see where the gun is pointing. It should be pointing at the switch. If not, adjust your aim and try again. You should practice this strong and weak handed while sitting, standing or lying in bed, this will build up your muscle memory and make you flexible with the weapon. You want to work up to drawing from a concealed holster, pointing and dry firing (handgun unloaded) at different points, from different position, this is good training and will improve your shooting.

Instinctive Shooting takes practice

To train in instinctive or point shooting at the range with live ammunition, place a silhouette target at approximately 5 yards down range. Hold your handgun with a relaxed two-handed isosceles or modified weaver / boxer’s stance and pointed at the bottom of the target. Look at the chest area of the target and raise your handgun until it is pointing at the area where you are looking at, without using the sights. When your gun is stable fire one shot, check the target to see where the shot hit. Lower the handgun and continue with this until your shots regularly hit the chest area, then move on to the head. Next bring the target in to 2 or 3 yards and practice firing from the hip. The handgun should be fired with one hand; just look at the chest area of the target and point the handgun where you are looking and fire one shot. Check the target to see where the shot hit and adjust your aim as required. Continue with this until your shots regularly hit the chest area. You need to practice these drills strong and weak handed, I will discuss this more later.

You want to practice instinctive shooting with an unloaded handgun before you go to the range.

You then want to progress to firing two quick shots; this is called “double-tapping”. At first, take this slowly; as you get more confident and accurate, speed up, make sure both of the shots hit the target. You want to work up to being able to fire at least five shots instinctively, rapidly and accurately into a target at 5 yards/meters and beyond. If you are involved in a hostile situation you need to put as many rounds as possible into the criminal as quickly as possible to end the confrontation before you, your family or clients get hurt. Remember, you need to have a good grip and keep your wrist locked and forearm aligned with your handgun. As you will see Instinctive, or point shooting, is simple: just get a good grip on the weapon then point and shoot. A lot of instructors over complicate things to try to make themselves look intelligent. This is OK for competition shooting but could ultimately cost you your life in a street situation- keep it simple.

As I have previously stated, if you are unfortunate enough to ever have to use your handgun for defensive reasons, you need to continue to put rounds into the criminal or terrorist until they go down and no longer present a threat. If you do not think you could ever shoot and possibly kill a person, then don’t carry a gun and consider other non-lethal methods of self-defense. If you pull a gun and freeze, you could be giving the bad guys a weapon they could take from and used against you.

When starting out use the center of the chest area of the target as your point of aim and, in time progress to head shots. As you will have read, the best place to shoot someone in order to immediately incapacitate them is in the head. The issue with head-shots lies in the fact that the head is a smaller area to aim at and hit than the chest. You stand a better chance of getting a bullet in your opposition by aiming for the center of the chest but one round to the head and the confrontation will be over. You must remember that in a real-life situation things will happen quickly, as you and your target will most probably be moving and chances are it will be dark and you will need to put bullets into your opposition quickly. Head-shots are best and you should train for them, with practice you should be able to put rounds into the head area of a silhouette target at 5 yards/meters with little effort. A lot will depend on your capabilities with your handgun, if you know you cannot get head-shots past 5 yards/meters go for the chest. If you are engaging moving targets at your medium distance go for the center of the chest and as always fire multiple rounds.

When starting out use the center of the chest area of the target as your point of aim and, in time progress to head shots.

Do not get into the habit of shooting the center of mass on police qualification silhouette targets as this is usually the middle of the stomach area, shots there will kill someone in time but there are no vital organs there that immediately incapacitate someone. A good example of this could be the Toulouse (France) terrorist incident in March, 2012 where the terrorist “Mohamed Merah” was killed by French Security force. The terrorist “Merah” was responsible the numerous attacks on unarmed French military personnel and Jewish families which resulted 8 deaths and others wounded. The French police and security forces located Merah at his 2nd floor apartment and a siege situation developed. After several days, the tactical team “RAID” assaulted Merah’s apartment, which he had barricaded to slow down attackers. When the RAID team made entry Merah attacked them with guns blazing, in the resulting gun battle 3 members of the RAID team were shot. Merah was shot over 20 times but still managed to jump through a window, where he was finally killed by a sniper with a head shot.

It was reported Merah received multiple shots to the arms and legs, it’s clear the RAID assault team were not going for head shots, the after incident reports state over 300 rounds were fired. Especially at close quarters you must be hitting vital organs and bones to end the situation as quickly as possible. The RAID team is very highly trained but at close quarters when lead is flying and there is no cover luck has a lot to do with not getting hit! So, avoid the situation or end it as quickly as possible!

After a while of practicing instinctive shooting, you should be consistently hitting the target in the chest and head areas, without using your sights and firing multiple rounds. You should then practice with the target at 7 yards and then at 10 yards as your shooting gets better. Novice shooters are usually surprised at how inaccurate a handgun can be. Numerous times we have had students who fire a 5-round aimed grouping at a target 25 yards and are baffled why they missed. Everyone misses to start with and you must remember that you cannot become an expert marksman after shooting 50 rounds- it takes time and practice.  It is only in the movies that someone can shoot from the hip with a handgun and hit a person running 100 yards/meters away. Handguns are meant in general for close quarters conversational range targets.

You need to practice firing with one and two hand grips both left and right-handed, firing from cover, firing from a seated position, firing from a kneeling position, etc.

If you intend to carry a handgun, you must learn to draw the handgun from your holster. You should buy a quick draw holster, without thumb breaks or retention devices, but I will discuss this in a later chapter. To draw a handgun, you simply grip the handgun, pull it from the holster and point it at the target in one smooth movement. The handgun should take the shortest route from the holster to the target. Care must be taken when you initially start drawing from a holster and you should practice first with an unloaded handgun until you feel confident enough to draw with a loaded handgun.

When you can draw from a holster and instinctively shoot and hit your target make things a little more difficult by practicing drawing while wearing a shirt or jacket. Additionally, you need to practice firing with one and two hand grips both left and right-handed, firing from cover, firing from a seated position, firing from a kneeling position, etc. Again, these drills can and should be practiced dry firing, until you feel comfortable enough to do them with a loaded handgun.

If you are training properly after putting several hundred rounds down range, you should be able to smoothly draw your handgun from a concealed holster and put multiple rounds accurately into the vital areas of two targets at 7 yards/meters. You will then be ready to carry a handgun for defensive purposes and be better trained than many supposed professional’s firearms experts, criminals and terrorists.

About the author: Orlando Wilson is ex-British Army and has been in the international security industry for over 25 years. He has initiated, provided, and managed an extensive range of specialist security including investigation and tactical training services to international corporate, private, and government clients. Some services have been the first of their kind in the respective countries. His experience has included: providing close protection for Middle Eastern Royal families and varied corporate clients, specialist security and asset protection, diplomatic building and embassy security, kidnap and ransom services, corporate investigations, and intelligence, tactical, and paramilitary training for private individuals, specialist police units, and government agencies. You can learn more about Orlando and his services at his site Risks Incorporated.

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Survival Group Selection: Would You Take Yourself?

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Editor’s Note: This post is another entry in the Prepper Writing Contest from GoodPrepper. 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.


Survival groups whether you call them that, a Mutual Aid Group, “The Team”, or any other monikers have become ever more popular over the past few years. While I think this is a fantastic idea for those of us that see what is coming I also see a lot of online bragging in forums about how “prepared” their group is followed by 3 paragraphs detailing firearms purchases and maybe some references to a few members being ex-military. Tactical skills are great but I see two problems with the way most individuals and groups approach them.

First, people tend to focus nearly 100% of their time, money, and attention on the sexy gun stuff with nearly nothing left over for the other skills that make for a well-rounded survival group.

Second they tend to overestimate their tactical abilities. I once heard it said that buying a gun (or dozens of them) doesn’t make you a marksman any more than buying a piano makes you a pianist. Having been in the military doesn’t necessarily mean a person has much competency with firearms. Many units only get to the range twice a year and almost never with pistols. Add to that the vast majority of those in the military (all branches) aren’t trigger pullers but rather are in support functions sitting on the FOB or on a ship out at sea and you will see why having even someone with a deployment under their belt also doesn’t guarantee you have a gunfighter on your hands. I myself was in the army for 15 years to include a year in Afghanistan but recently I had to come to face the fact that I was a mediocre marksman and a poor gunfighter (2 different things) at best. Now after several years of spending thousands of dollars on quality training instead of buying more guns (I couldn’t properly fight with) I have improved by leaps and bounds and wish I had half these skills when I was deployed.

Are you as good as you think you are with a firearm? On a related side note how is your gear? Of course you won’t know the answer to this unless you have gone out and run it hard in a realistic class setting. I recently had a coworker that went out and bought the latest cool guy holster everyone on the internet told him the Israeli soldiers were using (so it must be good then, right?). He went to a class I recommended for him and 30 minutes into the class the holster broke into pieces. Had he not gone out and really run the thing he would have been potentially betting his life on a bad piece of kit.

I myself was in the army for 15 years to include a year in Afghanistan but recently I had to come to face the fact that I was a mediocre marksman and a poor gunfighter.

But back to the topic at hand, if many survival groups are mainly made up of people whose only skill set is “providing security” and for some reason you found yourself looking to join a group either now or after a collapse, would you take you? If you are honest with yourself the answer is probably “no”. The reason is, you’re just not worth the calories it takes to feed you when running gun battles might only be occurring 0.001% of the time in any given week or month depending on your location (if they are more than that you might want to relocate). So the next question is what other skills do you have or can you develop to be worth someone taking you in?

What skills do you bring to a survival group?

I personally see the following as the new member value hierarchy. This is based on the composition of prepper groups I have seen firsthand or read posted about. If your entire group is made up of a commune of expert farmers and ranchers then that skill set would obviously not be as high a priority. So in order of low to high for me:

Guy with a gun– Low value, even lower if they have the low skill-set and poor equipment many firearm owners do. (90+% of preppers)

Guerrilla Gardening

Gardener– Someone who regularly kept a backyard garden, this person might also have learned to can their excess. You definitely won’t have to shoot it out with the zombie mutant biker hordes every day but you do need to eat every day! (20% of preppers….most preppers meant to develop this skill but “never got around to it”, “didn’t have space”, or “insert other excuse here”).

Communications person– Someone who knows their stuff, not the guy that went out and bought the $30 Baofeng UV-5r and plans to learn how to use it later and doesn’t want to get licensed because “when the SHTF there won’t be no FCC around to stop me”. I’m talking about someone who has accumulated the extensive equipment required and trains on it regularly. This guy can run something like PSK31 digital mode transmission to still communicate around the world during even the most challenging propagation conditions. He might also be your power person because he has spent a lot of time researching batteries and solar setups to keep his rig running while out in the field for extended periods. This guy might even be higher up than I have listed, after all without him you might literally not know what is going on in the world beyond what you can see from your window. (Less than 5% of preppers)

Someone who knows their stuff, not the guy that went out and bought the $30 Baofeng UV-5r

Farmer/Rancher– This person devoted their livelihood to raising food – either vegetables or livestock of some combination of both. They understand how to produce on a large-scale and how to deal with procuring the inputs needed and dealing with the unused byproducts. (Less than 5% of preppers)

Medical professional– TRUE medical professional. While taking a CPR class and buying an Israeli bandage is nice this is not the same thing as being in the medical profession. Also while natural medicine has its place as off the shelf medicine becomes scarce you will want someone who has experience operating on people at an EMT level or above to address trauma and is expert at diagnosing larger issues such as whether an infections requires a gram positive or gram negative antibiotic to treat. (Less than 1% of preppers meet this category.)

In SHTF, you won’t be able to count on medical treatment being available.

I’ve surely missed some here like skill sets here like someone who is an expert in human waste sanitation, or a logistician that can track your supply usage or even something more exotic like a blacksmith. Part of this is because I don’t think these are full-time jobs unless you have a very large group and partly because the purpose of this article isn’t to feed you the right answers. What I want to get you thinking about is that if you step back and look at what your own group would need or imagine the needs of a group you are looking to join, would you take someone like yourself in?

You might not like the answer so pick something higher up the hierarchy and get to work! Much like anyone that tells you that they don’t have 20 minutes a day 3-4 days a week to exercise is lying so is anyone that says they don’t have the time or money to learn a new skill. You may not be able to become a doctor but in my case I decided I would become a ham radio operator. It seemed daunting, I didn’t grow up around this stuff and in the military I just called over the S-6 private to fix my radio in the MRAP whenever it wasn’t working. Turns out it is VERY EASY and inexpensive to get your license in amateur radio. Whole articles have been written about it but I will say it really only takes about 45 minutes of studying every night for 10 days to 2 weeks and then about $10 (or sometimes free) to sit the test and you’re on your way with a Technician class ticket. Now get to know the old guys at the ham club in your town that administered the test and you’ll be amazed at how generous they are with their time, they’ll even let you use their equipment for free! Plus who here doesn’t know how to use YouTube to learn almost any new skill….for free! I’ve since upgraded to General and then Extra class (the highest level). I have put together a highly portable mobile set up and I get out in the field to test my equipment and refresh my skills at least twice a month. That’s just one example of how you can build worth as a group member beyond being the “gun guy”.

Lastly if you decide you only care about guns and are “too cool” to learn anything else at least learn as much as you can not only in training and tactics but also maintenance and repair. Attend an armorer course and acquire the tools and spare parts to do the work. You still won’t be worth as much to me as a farmer but you won’t be a dime a dozen.

I realize this article might offend some but hopefully it gets you thinking and honest about your value especially if you are currently a “lone wolf” looking for a pack. People have covered how to find other preppers but I wanted to include some information on how to be as valuable as possible once you find them. Good luck and get learning!

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How Chemistry Class Saved My Life

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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 West Texas Backpacker. 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.


While in high school chemistry class you would have been called a geek or nerd if you ever truly believed that “I am going to use this one day,” while everyone else was saying “I am never going to use this in my future, so why must I learn it now?” I’m here to tell you today that I was that nerd that believed such things and further studied chemistry for another five years into college.

During my academic career my interests always sparked when I learned about chemicals that could be used for some medical treatment, or were able to create an exothermic reaction and generate enough heat to produce a combustion of sorts. One that was very particular to me was a chemical called Potassium Permanganate (KMnO4). Potassium permanganate was especially interesting because if mixed in the proper quantities it can be used as an aseptic treatment to prevent infection on wounds and injuries. To add to its unique properties if mixed with a locally bought form of glycerin it would create an exothermic reaction to cause a small flame to form.

Now that I have given you some background information I will tell you of my experience when chemistry class saved my life. During the fall semester of my junior year in college I joined a backpacking adventure group that was composed of individuals, whom all shared the passion to learn survival skills and backpacking techniques. Being a rookie in the world of prepping this group caught my interests. So as meetings began to start and we practiced various skills such as cooking over fires, knots, survival skills and techniques. As we continued expanding our knowledge we also planned our first outing into the back-country of New Mexico during the month of October.

We assembled our gear and packs and planned out our route with enough food to last our 30 mile trip into the wilderness. Along with the checklist of items that we were given that would be necessary for any camping trip; I thought it was necessary to pack my trauma kit, and some chemicals for a chemistry experiment. This experiment was to take place towards our highest elevation at 13,000 feet above sea level and to be as much for entertainment for the group as an experiment for me.

We trekked for two days up and further into the back-country until the only tracks we saw were our own and the native wildlife. As the group approached the summit the weather began to rapidly change and thunderclouds started to form. We had made a group decision that in order to get back into the tree line for cover, we needed to summit the peak and descend on the other side as quickly as possible, because the route back down on the ascending side if caught in a storm would become even more dangerous due to its steep and narrow trails than the route descending on the other side.

Moving with a purpose the group quickly summited the mountain while fighting the wind that was gusting approximately 60-80 miles an hour the entire time. As the group began the descend one of the female hikers tripped and tumbled down the steep rocky path and received a moderate laceration on her knee. Quickly I dumped my pack and my skills as a nurse took over. I quickly had another member pour approximately a teaspoon of potassium permanganate in a one liter water bottle and shake it until dissolved while I readied the bandages and wraps for her knee. I cleansed her cut with our prepared aseptic solution and bandaged and wrapped her knee so that she could continue down the best she could.

Shortly after our unfortunate event our luck continued to fail and heavy rainstorm began just before we reached the tree line. Quickly the group of six gathered firewood, and threw together a tarp lean-to for shelter. Wet and miserable some of us were experiencing early signs of hypothermia, and we all desperately wanted to feel some small amount of warmth. Several members tried various means to start-up a fire from lighters, storm-proof matches, to even burning their own cotton shirt to get a flame to arise and light our fire. However the wind was awe to powerful and would extinguish our flame before it could ever catch.

It was then I remembered my plans to do an experiment and rushed to my bag and removed the small baggie of potassium permanganate and small bottle of glycerin I picked up at the store. I paused before I began and looked back on my previous trials with this combination. I remembered back home in Texas at 3500 feet elevation it would take approximately 5 seconds to generate a flame, but at this elevation and wind I knew my chances would be limited. So then I figured I’d better go for broke and used my remaining supply of both ingredients. What seemed like an eternity ended up only being about a minute before the greatest sight of our lives appeared.

A huge, bright fire-ball arose from our stack of tinder and kindling, and the group simultaneously began tossing larger logs onto the fire for it to chew on before the wind would have a chance to counter its warm punch. Our fire was a great means for improving morale and keeping at bay the clutches of hypothermia. We were able to dry our wet clothes, cook a warm meal and drink some tea and hot chocolate under the tarp until the rains subsided. After the rain stopped and we were all dry and full we set up our tents and crawled into our sleeping bags for much-needed rest. Once we woke up that morning it was as if the rain had cleansed the mountain of any bad juju, and we finished our adventure safely and pleasantly back to the truck.

There were numerous lessons learned from my first trip into the back-country that I have since benefited from. Most importantly the one that I and the group agreed on was that if there hadn’t been a chemist in the group then we all undoubtedly would have had a much more difficult time fending off hypothermia than we did that night.

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Winter SHTF Planning and Preparation

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Written by Huples on The Prepper Journal.

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Editor’s Note: This post is another entry in the Prepper Writing Contest from Huples. 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.

 


Currently enjoying the first real Winter storm of the season up here in Canada and I must say I really like it. Got me thinking about those things relating to Winter survival that are either not really talked about or, worse yet, ignored. I am assuming you do not have a massive solar array and geothermal power. I am also assuming you live in the snow belt meaning two to five months of Winter and arctic temperatures.

It is Snowing. A lot!

Here at work I just opened our Storm accommodation plan so staff can sleep overnight rather than risk life, limb, and fenders trying to get home as 20cm of snow falls (8 inches). They have the option to sleep in warm, dry, secure location and get a free meal voucher. Awesome deal but in SHTF when it snows hard it gets complex. Stay or go? I’d stay put until the obvious storm front has passed me by as I really will have no idea if the snow is stopping in an hour or going to keep dropping the next three days.

This means in the Winter season you always need to have a Winter bug in kit on you at all times you know you cannot easily get back to home base. You should always have a compass on you in SHTF as fog, rain, and snow can easily get you lost real fast even close to home base. This is my minimum gear I’d have on me if venturing any distance in the Winter season in Southern Ontario away from the home base.

  • Emergency bivvy bag. Many makes of these are available. Get an expensive one you can reuse. In SHTF you cannot reorder from Amazon easily.
  • Emergency stove and fuel. The goal here is to boil water for hot drinks and food and to get a bit of heat. I’d use my BioLite but a basic rocket stove made from an old number 10 tin can would work great. Carry fuel and ignition. Snow means getting a new supply might be impossible. The BioLite Wood Burning Campstove is expensive and heavy but really awesome on fuel usage and heat. It also charges a good light source (get the orange one not the blue version)
  • The clothes I’d be wearing would be Winter proofed. Look up and learn how to dress for Arctic temperatures. I’d have extra gloves, hat, socks, and leg/arm thermal wrapped in the pack as well.
  • Metal water container that can be used to boil water. Some emergency filters won’t work so well in minus temperatures however hard you suck on the ice!
  • Emergency shovel. Dig a hole and then a ditch around the base so water will run away from you. Consider covering it to make a snow cave. Know how to do this safely.
  • Those high calorie life boat rations and MREs would also be great in this situation. I’d want 5000 Cal minimum but 10000 Cal would be safer. Candies and a couple of boil in the bag meals will help with variety.
  • A couple of Mylar survival blankets and a 6 by 10 piece of transparent plastic sheet. The better the survival shelter, the warmer you will be.
  • 50 feet of paracord.
  • Decent amount of duct tape
  • Folding saw and a knife in case fuel is available
  • Flash light that works without solar or batteries. Hand crank or squeeze (I use the BioLite for this one).
  • Sun glasses
  • Sun screen. I never use it except in the Winter. So easy to burn your face

At this point you are probably rolling your eyes but this kit is for my local conditions not for yours! Deep snow is a killer up here and will be much worse in SHTF. Mostly I won’t venture more than 2 miles from home base and this is my minimum carry is for extend trips beyond 10 miles in December through March. It would be a lot smaller for local sojourns. If you can safely get back to home base then get back to it. If unsure bug in and make camp until it is safe to walk home. What did I miss? What should I not carry? Let me know in the comments and why of course.  I excluded snow shoes as I’d have them on if it had already snowed but would not carry them if it had not. I can make a pair using the folding saw, knife, and paracord if I had to.

Winter Storm in SHTF from your cozy bug in or bug out location

If you have prepped right and have been lucky then you should have adequate calories and comfort to survive the storm. If not then you are SOL. However these are some of my ideas that might be overlooked by some in SHTF.

Toilet Paper

I have loads of it but it will run out. The supply I have will be withdrawn from circulation after the first four weeks of SHTF. I will tell my girlfriend she has to let go of the past and embrace the now. Likely she will leave me at this point and I will have doubled my supply of white rice! The paper toilet paper will be strictly only for use if sick or in deep Winter (and her birthday. I’m not heartless). I have precut a large supply of linen toilet ‘paper’ from old jeans and shirts. In the warmer months that is what is used to wipe and polish. In deep Winter the ability not to have to wash the toilet rags will be an awesome asset (pun intended) and avoid a real problem in arctic temperatures.

Fuel

For me this will be wood. I plan worse case and SHTF forever. You need about 5 cords of wood to get through the Winter here but around my bug in home I can collect wood for sure 10 months of the year so this can be reduced. At my bug out cottage that drops to about 8-9 months of the year. Sure I can hack down standing dead trees but realistically how many of them will be close to me abode after a few months? Wood gathering and storing will be a continual endeavor all year-long. Collect birch and ignition materials will also be a yearlong activity. However if I can avoid chopping and processing wood when it is below minus 10C then I absolutely will. Sure that makes for great looking prepper videos but to me it means they did not prep smart.

Exercise in SHTF should be avoided and exercise in arctic temperatures should only be done in a life or death situation. Like the bears your plan should be to basically sleep through the worst of the Winter. Using wood from one or two years ago that has been stacked properly is a great idea but think for a moment. In SHTF you will probably use your entire stock of wood in the first year if you neglect to add to the supply each and every day. Like toilet paper you never, ever can store enough wood but try.

Fuel Storage

Fuel for me means wood. I do not expect gasoline or propane to be widely available in SHTF and do not construct my preps around anything that cannot be found or used 5 years down from the SHTF event(s). Wet wood needs to dry before use. Cold wood needs to be warmed before use as does kindling. You can, with effort, work around this but why even try? Your bug in or bug out place needs to be able to accommodate a large supply of wood and ignition material inside the place. Going outside in a storm is the last thing you will want to do and having an ample inside store means not opening the door and prewarmed and dry wood. Have lots of mouse and rat traps as the critters love wood piles. In the Spring store wood at least 30 feet from your shelter. Have a wheelbarrow to help move wood and water around when there is no snow.

Water

If safe to drink then snow can easily be melted provided you have lots of wood available. Remember to add unfrozen water to the pan and add snow slowly in small amounts and stir. If can and will burn if you just dump it into the hot pan. You need to use a window or an additional chimney to direct the steam outside your shelter. Water vapor gets everywhere and moisture can kill you in SHTF. Bang a few empty cans together and use aluminum foil to funnel the rising steam into the cans. Have it open through a window and use bubble wrap and duct tape to seal. Block the inside end with cloth when not creating steam.

You should have a lot of treated water stored year round but remember to move it inside the warm room before freezing starts to occur.

Home is where the hearth is

One room is your home in the deep Winter. Heat that one room and use plastic sheets and Mylar to reflect heat back into the room and trap heat in the room. Bubble wrap should have been hoarded for all the windows before SHTF. Hand plastic sheets on both sides of all the doors and avoid using them as much as possible. Stack soil and wood around the outsides of that inner room to add insulation but make sure it is in trash bags and is dry.

Set up a tent inside this room to sleep in but, as with the plastic sheets make sure there is zero risk of a fire or a melting happening. Have several fire extinguishers and a smoke and carbon monoxide alarm inside this room as well. If you cannot set up adequate ventilation do not use anything other than the fireplace to cook in. I’m using the BioLite as well as the fireplace but with the additional ventilation system for steam described above.

Plan how to gather more fuel and food in the warmer months. Figure out how to preserve that food for the next Winter. Keep mentally busy as Winter is not a great time to wander around outside when snow is on the ground. It takes far too much energy to do so and has a lot of risks.

The Roof

Have a suitably angled roof for your worst case snow fall activity. Sure you can go up a ladder and sweep it off but I can tell you a lot of elderly males get spinal injuries each and every year in Ontario from doing that. Have your roof renewed more frequently than you need as roofers will be in short supply in SHTF.

Winter SHTF is not all suffering, eh?

Can you skate and do you have frozen rivers and lakes near you? For most of Ontario’s history travel in the Winter was easier than in the Summer and this will happen again a few years into SHTF as the bridges fall and the roads fail. Good time to go out and meet the neighbors. Winter is a wonderland and a great time to think about ice fishing.

Keep a supply of pre SHTF goodies hidden away and some tinsel. December 25th or as near as you guess the date to be wrap up some presents using newspaper and eat some decent food. Sing carols and make merry. This birthday and special day celebration is what makes suffering through SHTF worth while. Never neglect to think about how to make yourself happy in SHTF even if most days it will be as awful as the weather is right now 🙂

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

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Bug Out- Building a Load out Plan for Your Vehicle

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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 GoodPrepper. 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.


Most people’s primary plan is to bug out by vehicle which makes a lot of sense given how much further you can travel and how much more you can carry. Most of us have a bug out bag that we have packed and repacked (and repacked again) and we know exactly how much it will hold and what goes where. Now how many of you have done this for your vehicle?

If you haven’t, I think you will find much like you probably did with your bug out bag, space fills up FAST!

Today I’m going to teach you one way to plan for a vehicle load out, this will do two things for you, first it will save you time in an emergency by helping you know in advance of the balloon going up what all will fit in your vehicle and where it goes. Also I will help you develop a plan to secure the load so you can travel more safety.

So where to begin? First get out a piece of paper and list out the things you intend to pack. Hopefully by now in your preps you have seen the advantage of using bins or bags to group items so you are able to stay organized and load large amounts of stuff quickly.

Next prioritize these items, what if your loading gets cut short and you have to stop what you are doing and immediately get on the road? What would you want going in there first? For my wife and I it would be our Bug Out Bags and primary weapons followed by water, medical kit, food, spare gas, tools, ham radio equipment, generator, and finally personal luggage.

Plano 1919 Sportsman’s Trunk

Once you have the list prioritized draw out the rough shape of your vehicle’s interior and start “filling” it with the items you plan to pack. So if you know you medical bag is about 1/3 of the width of the back of your SUV then draw that there with the giant vehicle repair and recovery box that you think takes up about 2/3 the width of the back of your SUV next to it. Now what can go on top of that? What can go behind it? At this point you may have to make trade-offs as to what on the priority list gets loaded first because something heavy just has to go on the bottom. That’s okay.

Now if you plan to put a cargo carrier on the trailer hitch, pull an actual trailer, or have a roof rack start “filling” this up as well. As I mentioned above spare gas is high on my priority list but obviously this is stored outside the car.

Okay so now we have a rough plan all done without having to lift anything. If you aren’t great at estimating dimensions you can speed up the accuracy of your first round draft by measuring the inside of your car and then measure some of the larger bulkier items while making your paper draft. Because I had been camping with most the items in the past I sort of knew how much room most of my things took up.

Now it’s time to physically go out and bring each item to your vehicle and see if your plan works. You will discover several things when you go to do this. First your stuff is ALL OVER THE PLACE! How many trips did you make to the basement, garage, kitchen, bedroom, storage room, storage shed, etc? Lots and in some case things weren’t where you thought they were. Imagine going through that for the first time in an emergency?! So while you are gathering the things on your list just note where they are like: “Med kit- Basement top shelf”.

Roof top storage is an often overlooked place to store many items. Make sure you have appropriate tie down materials.

I don’t expect you to store everything in one place, for one thing while it would be awesome to have everything stored two feet behind my truck but my garage isn’t heated and cooled so I wouldn’t want to store medicine in there for example. Second I don’t want all of my preps on display every time I open my garage door! So it’s okay to store things you plan to bug out with in different places but try to limit the total number as best you can and document where each item is. As an added hack I put a small piece of bright red duct tape on each item that is part of my vehicle load out to make it easier to see on shelves next to everyday items that may not be going.

Having gear stored in one location is nice, but not always possible.

The second thing you may discover is you over estimated how much space you have or you fit it all in but in the case of a car instead of a truck you may find it riding on the bump stops. I was actually pleasantly surprised to find out I went too conservative and I had more room to stack things than I planned so I was able to add to my list. Either way now is the time to fine tune and in some cases make some tough decisions as to what doesn’t make the cut. Hopefully everything you pack is just bonus because you are headed to an already well stocked Bug Out Location but I know many folks aren’t there yet. If you do have a place to store things at your Bug out Location this might be time to think about what you can live without at your primary residence and go ahead and preposition more out there.

Once you have become Tetris-master 9000 and fit everything together as efficiently as possible and in an order that makes sense (all while documenting where it came from) you need to do two final things. First ensure the things you want to be able to get to (quickly in some cases) can be. How many times have you seen the people by the side of the road unloading a trunk full of stuff to get to their spare tire? Don’t be that guy! You should be able to get to anything you may reasonably expect to need to assist your vehicle in making it to your destination. Perhaps just as importantly you will need to be able to get to anything you plan to grab should you have to abandon the vehicle and head out on foot, possibly in a hurry!

Careful planning now can save hours of wasted time when you need it.

Lastly SECURE YOUR LOAD! My initial exposure to load out plans came from my very first days in the army when it was impressed upon us how devastating something like a couple of full ammo cans flying around a vehicle in the event of an accident or roll over could be to the occupants. Most of us can imagine the dangerous road conditions under which we may need to bug out and so the likelihood of an accident is much higher than during our normal daily drives. Add to this a loaded down vehicle that will not be able to respond or perform as well as normal and other stressed out drivers trying to make good their escape and you can see why all that stuff in your vehicle needs to be secured as best possible. If you have a pickup truck this is made easier by tie down points. Do you have the ratchet straps or cargo netting you need to do so? Inside of a car can get trickier but it can be made safer. For example the ammo cans I mentioned could be wedged down behind the back of the front seats on the floor board rather than stored on top of a box on the back seat parallel to the back of your head. Use your imagination and actually try tying things down to see if you have what you need. Now add those bungee cords, ropes, and ratchet straps to your list and note their location.

That’s it, you’ve done it, you have a load out plan. I recommend you practice fully loading your vehicle for a load out twice a year. It’s a pain but it will improve your time getting out the door, reveal any items that “magically” moved from where you thought they were stored, and remind you to make updates as your packing list and especially your vehicle possibly changes. Good luck and be safe out there!

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Feeding the Beast During SHTF – Soups & Substitutions

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Written by R. Ann Parris on The Prepper Journal.

Sometimes we may feel pigeonholed or daunted by the storage foods we can afford, or overwhelmed by how we’re going to use those storage foods without the endless repetition taking a toll. Here are some formulas and ideas for turning common storage foods into actual meals, increasing the variety of meals we can make with a few standard ingredients, and some substitutions that can lower our costs or improve the serving size, nutrition, and flavor of our cooking.

I’m not a big baker and I don’t thrill to the stove top – only the dinner table. Given the amount of work a lot of us are going to be doing just hauling water where it’s needed, plus the labor of gardens and any animals, rearing our children, cooking from scratch, cleaning without a dishwasher and washer-dryer, I’m planning to go simple with a lot of my cooking. So even if you’re not a big cook, there are ideas here that can help, ideas that can be made even with off-grid cooking methods.

Replacements

While I’ll get into some specifics in a minute or two, one thing to consider in our disaster cooking is simple substitutions.

Wheat is commonly pushed for home storage due to the price and condensed calories, and then people feel obligated to buy a grinder, and then they feel like slackers for not practicing their home-ground wheat flour bread options. I do think we should practice what we plan to use, but I don’t think everybody with buckets of wheat actually has to view it as only a future bread dough.

Wheat can be boiled and served with the same seasonings as every side dish, from herbed buttered noodles to fried rice.

Whole wheat berries & fruit in cream

Wheat berry & white bean soup

It can also be boiled to be part of or replace oatmeal and cream of wheat (soaking it overnight will make it boil faster in the morning).

If there’s a soup that calls for barley, couscous, or rice, wheat will work there, too, and cooks in about the same amount of time as barley, maybe a hair longer if it’s stored oxygen free and is older than 2-3 years (45-60 minutes usually, without a pre-soak).

Having an alternative use for the first 50-300# (or more) of wheat can buy us a little more time before we get pushed into buying not only a good grain mill, but then all the replacements for it.

Point in fact, most of our grains, from starchy dent corn to barley, wheat to quinoa, and amaranth to rice are fairly interchangeable. They take different times to cook in some cases, they definitely have their own flavors, but there’s little that can’t be made to work for any of them.

Likewise, spaghetti can be very easily used in place of an Oriental noodle, especially whole-grain spaghetti or angel hair pasta. That’s pretty handy, since even the good stuff is pretty cheap, and two pounds of spaghetti stores in about the same space than two packages of ramen.

Those substitutions exist all over.

And once we do get our grain mill, don’t neglect the other things in the pantry.

We can grind dry oats – even rolled oats – to replace part of our flour as well.

Old dry beans that don’t want to soften can be turned into flour to replace a quarter or a third of a recipe, either bread or fry batter or even for gravies.

Until recent times, we used flours from barley and maize as often as we did wheat, and a lot of the world still uses them – just as often or as a partial replacement for flavoring. So can boiled or roasted acorns. We can grind dry oats – even rolled oats – to replace part of our flour as well. Doing so can sometimes to often improve the protein components of our foods, decrease the glycemic index, and help us use something that’s not really moving in our pantries.

That inexpensive oatmeal can also be turned into homemade granola bars, muffins, and griddle cakes, decreasing the amount of flour we need to use and providing a fork or finger-food in a world of spoons.

Recipes

When seeking out recipes specifically for preppers, a fair number use a lot of ingredients or require a fair bit of prep. Call me lazy, but I’m just not there, even in today’s world. Camping and backpacking recipes regularly seem to call for things we might not have on hand anymore, too, and a lot of perishable foods these days.

One, a lot of the no-fire, no-gas cooking methods really lend themselves to such. Two, the less ingredients and effort, the more time reading with kids, playing a game, or sitting with my eyes closed listening. I kind of like those options better.

Pioneer Soup

If you’ve heard of 3-5-7 can soups, you’re familiar with this. It’s basically just a rule of thumb to help check the boxes on the main “eating” components:

  • Filling/satiety
  • Fast-access energy
  • Slow-access energy
  • Proteins
  • Vitamins

The general concept is to pull 1-2 items from each category to make sure the body is getting all the nutrients it needs, which is increased by consuming a rainbow. That said, even I don’t make broth with just one seasoning. Still, the lists from the guidelines can help.

One that I ran across breaks it into “Five F’s”:

  • Fat: Oil, margarine, butter, lard, tallow, fatty meat (bacon, salt pork, hocks)
  • Flavor Root/Shoot: Garlic, onion, scallion, celery/celeriac, turmeric
  • Flavor Leaf: parsley, marjoram, thyme, oregano, basil, nasturtium
  • Filler (starches): Potato, pasta, grains & corn, pseudo-grains, cattail root
  • Fuel (protein): Legumes (beans, peas, lentils), jerky, meat sticks/sausage, ham, fish, game

The breakdowns are nice as more than a check-box guide to make sure nutritional needs are being met.

Sometimes soup get pigeonholed, which is a shame, because from a creamy red bean and rice soup to veggie to chicken-noodle to some of the Oriental soups and things like borsch and solyanka, we have a ton of options available to us. Even working off of simple, cheap, condensed-calorie prepper staples and garden veggies or wild edibles, we can present a huge variety.

Alternating what we combine and even how we serve it can help avoid appetite fatigue, which is another aspect where limiting ourselves to 1-2 items from each category can help.

How we present soups can make a big difference as well, creating significantly different feels to meals even with the exact same ingredients, or very minor twitches.

That applies whether we use the 5-F method, or one of the other guides.

One of those other common formulas for pioneer soup breaks it into three fuel categories – the primary fats, proteins, starches – and then three filler (belly filling, short on calories) and flavor components:

Veggies – tomatoes, tomato powder, green beans, carrots, zucchini, yellow squash, radish and mustard sprouts, cooking/roasting radishes, autumn squash, bell peppers, salsify, turnip, parsnip, beets, etc.

Leafy Greens – spinach, beet tops, lettuce, swiss chard, mizuna, cabbage, endive, turnip tops, dandelion, plantain, nettles, borage, leeks, ramps, radish tops, water or upland cress, mustard greens, mache/corn salad, sweet pea leaves, dock, kale, sprouts

Herbs & Seasonings – tart/sour berries, garden herbs, cress, wild onions, hot radishes, horseradish, onion, garlic, ground or cracked mustard seed, modern-day seasoning blends & stock bones

Soup Alternates

Part of what makes soup an economy food is that the broth helps us feel full and increases the satisfaction from the meal.

That said, we can break apart our general standard for pioneer or 7-can soup and still get the benefits of economical belly filling balance and variety.

A pasta salad can easily be made from storage foods and fresh garden or foraged goodies, especially if we plan ahead for something like powdered Parmesan cheese that can be a pick-me-up. Three or four roasted autumn veggies on a pile of fresh or wilted leafy greens creates another fork-ready meal.

We can turn our protein component into a creamed soup or just serve a broth beside either of them to get some of the belly filling aspects back, or incorporate dried beans or cut-up dry sausage (or Slim Jims).

Shrimp Tacos

Likewise, we can turn simple ash cakes or thinned-down Bisquick into tortillas or crepes, mix up a cabbage slaw, and bust open a can of small shrimp to sear in fajita spices as a pick me up. Just a few shrimp and a couple of tacos can provide the mental boost of a non-spoon meal, even served with a pile of rice on the side and-or a cup of spicy black bean puree soup.

Instant Potatoes

Potato buds that say they’re ready to eat and just need water are telling bald-faced lies. That said, instant mashed potatoes are in a lot of kits and come pretty inexpensively on their own. Even without extra seasonings and evaporated milk for them, instant potatoes have a lot of value, especially in conjunction with our pioneer soups.

One, little says I love you like a wedge of shepherd’s pie. We can use those general basic flavorings to make a brothier version to make it stretch further, or increase the veggies beyond the usual ratios.

We can also indulge in things like a broth-heavy roasted marrow meal or just serve our Bear Creek or homemade beef or veggie soup with a happy mound of potatoes to the side or right in the middle. The seasonings from the soups will (hopefully) help mask the bland flavor, and it creates a different presentation – which is good for the mental aspects of eating, especially if a lot of our diet is rice and beans and boiled wheat.

Two, instant potatoes can be turned into goodies like potato pancakes. Or, we can mix them as directed (even in cold water; they’ll absorb it in a minute) and then bake them off to create a pseudo-dumpling or biscuit with little effort and little clean-up.

Instant potatoes can be turned into goodies like potato pancakes.

Instant potatoes also make a great thickener for our soups. We can use them to create a gravy-like broth or to imitate a creamed soup or chowder. They can also make a nice, easy flavor and calorie base for standard potato chowder without taking as much time as potatoes would to cook and mash.

Assortment of foodstuffs with a high fiber content, including various fruits and vegetables, wholemeal bread and baked beans.

Emergency Foods

While things like soup and the common basics for food storage focus around economy, it doesn’t mean we have to break the bank to jazz it up one way or another. We can avoid falling into ruts – now and later – by figuring out new ways to use the items we already have.

We can apply a little creativity and still get meals that offer variety by adding in a few things like a variety of pasta and some feel-good seasonings like powdered parm and fajita spices. Spices and sauces like soy, Dale’s, Old Bay (or the generic) and Adobo powder pack a lot of bang for the buck. We can make use of things like hot radishes, sprouts, microgreens, and wild edibles to season and bulk up our serving sizes.

We can also ease our workloads by harkening back to pottage with soups, casseroles, and one-pot meals.

In some cases, examining where we stand on our preparedness arc and how balanced our preparedness health wheels are invaluable, because it can help us decide if we need something expensive like a good grinder or a wood stove, or if our storage is at a point where a smaller set of fixes makes more sense – at least for now. Being able to buy inexpensive foods like grains, pasta and dry beans, and still create filling, varied, satisfying meals out of them, can help open up the budget for those items.

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Cupcakes and Conservatives

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Written by John D on The Prepper Journal.

Editor’s Note: This post is another entry in the Prepper Writing Contest from John D. 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.


An unusual phenomenon is occurring on College Campuses these days. It seems that students are offended by just about everything. Microaggressions, is the term used to identify a ludicrous branch of political correctness that defines certain everyday words or behaviors as offensive, bigoted or racist. Commonly used words and phrases are causing so much stress and anxiety, that students now need “safe spaces”, to escape. In addition to hurtful words and phrases, certain Halloween Costumes have been banned, and posters are only permitted in so-called “free speech” areas. Tampons are being placed in men’s restrooms, which would be considered odd, if not for the fact that some students don’t seem to know which bathroom to use. Counseling has been made available for those who can’t deal with the election of Donald Trump.

If you see a college-age student wearing a safety-pin (on his shirt, not holding his diaper up), you should know that he or she is doing that to show support for people who may be frightened. Be advised that the safety-pin wearing person won’t do anything to help you, other than to run with you to a safe space. They’re very good at running away from threats, real or perceived.

Safe spaces are designed to give students who might find comments “troubling” or “triggering,” a place to recuperate. Rooms are sometimes equipped with coloring books, bubbles, Play-Doh, calming music, pillows, blankets, and videos of frolicking puppies. Yes, I’m talking about college, not kindergarten. This avoidance of anything unpleasant by college students suggests a level of unpreparedness when dealing with difficult conditions. If harsh words and unpleasant situations are too much to deal with today, those precious snowflakes certainly won’t be prepared for the realities of life after the SHTF.

The problem exists because many liberal professors on campus view conservatives as inferior, and not worthy of respect. For the most part, college students are impressionable, and easily duped. College students are sheltered from reality. They are without children, and carefree. They don’t pay taxes, and don’t know what if feels like to earn $100k per year, only to have $50k of that taken away from them. College students are away from their parents for the first time, living on their own and making their own decisions. They see their conservative parents working productively in order to cover college expenses, but at the same time are exposed to liberal professors who promote themselves as intellectually superior. They don’t seem to see the irony; while liberal professors tend to have no skills, other than teaching, they view productive and multi-talented conservatives as inferior to them.

It’s understandable, I guess, that college students tend to be more open-minded than their old-fashioned, conservative parents. It’s actually a good sign. It suggests that young liberals can turn on a dime, and adjust to life after an apocalyptic event.

Because you’re reading this, you’re probably not one of those delicate butterflies. You may ask, “what does this pussification of young adults have to do with me?” It’s simple; in a post-apocalyptic world you’ll have to live among them. They’ll be the ones who’ll come to you begging, when they realize they have no survival skills. So what do you do, give them pictures of frolicking puppies and send them on their way? You’re not going to have time to coddle, or retrain them. You’ll be too busy focusing on your own survival.

Having been thoroughly indoctrinated in liberal ideology, some of the precious snowflakes will not respond well to retraining, especially training from someone they regard as inferior to themselves. They’ll be confused at first. Why is it, they’ll wonder, that this clearly inferior person is living comfortably, while I’m suffering? They need to learn early on that they can’t survive if they cling to their current mindset. They are in desperate need of a paradigm shift. When things are crumbling around them, your voice of reason will do more good than you can imagine. It may take a little time to sink in, but eventually they’ll learn that they can’t survive, expecting others to be responsible for their well-being. Perhaps the best you can do is give them survival literature, and hope they’ll transform by themselves. You might have an opportunity to teach them about bartering. If they come to you expecting a handout, ask them to provide a service, such as working in your garden, in exchange.

For those who remain hostile to views not aligned with the political left, make it clear that you won’t tolerate liberal behavior, and that you have no tolerance for Prima donnas. You’re a survivor, and you don’t have time for that. And, you certainly won’t tolerate efforts to redistribute what little wealth you may have. This will be a time for tough-love. Excessive generosity not only diminishes your survival potential, it is counterproductive as far as the precious snowflakes are concerned. The only exception, that is to say the only reason to give generously, is to help the disabled, the sick, the very young, and the very old. Our Christian values demand that we do that.

To survive, all able-bodied people need to pull their own weight. Liberal cupcakes can be a valuable asset, due to their knowledge, if they can adjust. Among them will be medics, engineers, scientists, agriculturalists, etc. However, it’s not enough just to provide services. They can’t just run off to a safe space, every time someone speaks harshly to them. It’s not enough just to grow, process, and store food. It has to be protected. Those providing services after a catastrophic event must be reliable. The only “safe space” should be the womb. Ironically, even that is not a safe space today. Thanks again, liberals.

The problem exists because many liberal professors on campus view conservatives as inferior, and not worthy of respect.

There will be plenty of time to reintroduce liberal principles once society has stabilized. In a post-apocalyptic world, there will be those who’ll do exceptionally well. Perhaps some will amass a great deal of wealth off of the backs of the poor. In time, due to a sense of guilt, liberals will once again emerge. To deal with the guilt, they’ll promote government handouts. They’ve never had a problem giving away someone else’s money. That’s what liberals do. Liberalism will be less absurd in a post-apocalyptic world. It must be. It will be a time to show more compassion to the victims, and less to the criminals. In a pre-apocalyptic world, a theft might be covered by insurance, or used as a tax write-off. In a post-apocalyptic world, a theft may impact your survival.

Conclusion

Our police, military, and firefighters risk their lives for us every day. Expecting snowflakes to pull their own weight is not asking too much. Survivors in a post-apocalyptic world will be those who can work with others, invent, build, grow, and fix things. Many of those who cannot do those things will die off, but all should be given the opportunity to adjust. Don’t despise those who don’t seem to have any skills, encourage them. They just need to be reprogrammed, that’s all. Don’t be upset because some don’t know which bathroom to use. Retrain them. Let them know that gender is based on reality, not on how they feel on any given day. In other words, it’s time to reintroduce common sense into their lives. Watch out for those who don’t adjust, and those who believe they’re entitled to what you’ve worked for. Those begging for food or supplies need to learn that they must give, in order to receive. Expect that. Lead by example. If you offer something in exchange for labor, keep your word. Be humble. If you’re fortunate enough to live a long productive life, eventually you’ll need someone to take care of you. Be kind, be fair, and be ethical. Today’s precious snowflake may be tomorrow’s post-apocalyptic doctor, who’ll save your life.

I know that not every college student, or professor, is a liberal. I know that some liberals are not as extreme, or as incompetent, as I’ve portrayed them in this article. Still, for many, it’s time to grow up.

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Survival Without Prepping

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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 Hazard12. 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.


I continue to see articles that offer good advice about prepping, But survival is education, training, and skill. Barricading yourself in the home for defense or Bugging out! Yes, Fine. The more you have and can do works, but you and I have different meanings of the word. My transportation breaks down 40 miles from somewhere in snow/ice 20 degrees, and 30+ winds…. is a nice, but inconvenient adventure. I wish to tell a story, and make a “comedy media” about it. Not funny when you hear/see people die, but fantastic if you can learn for when you need it.

There are stories in Oregon, of instant storms, rain and wind for eons, beautiful country and hypothermia. Meaning rapid condition changes. Easy to prepare for if you know what to expect, but, lets talk about what you really mean by prepping. It’s too late for many who live in those countries where the violence and breakdowns are occurring now or that have destroyed once wealthy nations. Earthquakes, the Tidal Wave, economic collapse, War, and societal breakdown. For the purge, or martial law, I’m armed ready, trained… and not going to be sitting here. Now for the coming zombie apocalypse, there is always the better ground. They call mine, the cascade mountain range, from Alaska to Mexico. what do you call yours? If I’m away from Portland, and in a 100 mile move, I can choose Mountain, Desert, Coastal, or the greatest ditch to ocean drainage system in which to live, prosper and hide in that ever existed – with perfect climate.

In my opinion. personally I hope most people go to the outskirts for their protection and care. They will not make it in cities, but the government will be there to Sign U UP, have a sandwich, sorry NO gear allowed, dress warmly. I don’t want to live in a city, now, or then. Being a Oregon country Man, I’m a little rough around the edges, had a couple bad habits, you probably know a similar story, Ex-USAF, pain pills, drinking. I seemed to have finally turned out OK. And no, I have no one to volunteer witness for me. But I digress.

So Its cold, snowy, I’m at a friends cabin, on Mt Hood, Anyone knowing Trillium Lake and Still Creek Campground should know what I am saying here. As usual, HWY 26 is right there, you can’t see it, but you can hear it. Chains, trucks until the winds shut down the highway. My friends cabin is less than 2 miles from a liquor store, beer store, food? Although there are 3 foot drifts on top of 2 foot snow pack.

Noticing we didn’t bring enough supplies to and it is already 7pm. The sun sets at 5. I decide to walk a trail cut through to the campground which will be easier. This time of year, the gates are closed and locked, you can not drive to government camp from here… kinda.. 5 miles back down the snowed in road, cut over, hit 26, and back up the mountain, sanded and police.. where you belong.

The Winter Survival Handbook: 157 Winter Tips and Tricks

I smoke to improve my health, most know what I mean by now. This night I have a partial pint in my pocket, a beer in my bare hand. I dress in open cell polyurethane foam, with a field jacket, stocking hat, and boots. I’m good for -10 and 50 mph winds except hiking through the snow will make you sweat.  So I open my chest to the air. Feels great. It’s actually somewhere around 25 degrees Fahrenheit with 20-30 mph winds. And snowing. The year was 2009-2010 if you wish to look at the storms. 3500 feet above sea level. Portland is 50 miles at 85 feet sea level. I used to live 30 miles down there. 600 feet above seal level at the time.

Read More: Winter Car Survival Kit

So imagine my surprise to hear a commotion, some movement, and a light. Not many bears or lions and definitely not this Lyon, ever use flashlights at night, except sparingly. We all do use light properly, bears are just too smart to consider a “flash” light. The noise was caused by a group of people stranded.

So add to the confusion, these people are stuck. Their vehicle is still warm inside with motor off and radio and lights on. In these conditions,  the car may stay warm for a couple of hours or so? As long as it starts. If it doesn’t, these people are in for some serious trouble. I think the driver said he had just under quarter tank. v-8 Ford car, nice. Should have left it in Portland and brought a truck.

I also came up here in a car and plan to leave the following afternoon. Now consider this from the side of the people in the car. You are semi lost with your car stuck, although not that bad. There are 2 men, 2 women, and you are angry, blaming, and maybe scared? I don’t know, and am not judging. You look out the front windshield, and a Bigfoot sized man, wearing a field jacket, open at the chest, drinking a beer walks up to you. He pulls out a pint, takes a slug, indicates sharing.

The guy inside rolls down the window and says, “what are you doing out here?” I reply, “Well, I was hoping to make the liquor store before they close”. The window goes up, and I feel, I should probably get moving. I’m out here in this environment because its my favorite thing. Had they acted sooner, those poor people would have suffered, at best getting their four Arses out and unsticking the car. But we know potheads, don’t matter, no need to listen to this guy. Be your own man. You aren’t going to listen? are You?

So a guy gets out the passenger door. That’s the right side front door, for you common law, private property folks that know, you don’t have a passenger vehicle. Title 18. When the liquor store is already closed, it’s illegal to take retail drink off premise, or outside in the winter. I could talk about title 31, legal tender and silver coins and walking back with a bottle but there is not much having to do with survival in that subject. I no longer drink alcohol much, but when a drunk is smarter than you, prepping may not come to mind.

So I tell him how far, and what they should be doing, to get out, if they stay where they are they will die, etc. He gets back in already freezing, while I actually have been semi stationary and ready to now button back up since having cooled down a bit. I am probably running a 100 degree body core. So to make the short story long, and the long story short. Against my advice the women want to go with me. Uh, no. A man wants to go with me to the store. If he is borrowing gear, he should be OK. My thoughts are with the 5 of us, lets dig, support, and push this vehicle out, and you all drive down this tree lined road, right here back home. Driver thinks he should go down the ridge. But with the Lake gate closed I ask how he is gonna climb back up in this snow? Once the car is free, point it the way home.

What did I do next?

What are you going to do, and how will you know? When you are a prepper you help people, in a survival situation those people you are trying to save might injure or kill you. Getting cold and hurt helping is always a bad idea. Sometimes you know not to. I hope we can all learn that safely? Not being seen, heard, tracked, is and will be necessary, while traveling, hiding, holed up, or even when it is time to attack. Warrior? He’s the teacher, dump him out naked in Alaska, in a week he’ll be sitting in Florida with a drink in his hand in your back yard. Observe and learn from this man, do not engage. (paraphrased from the sarge in Seagal’s on deadly ground) Green Beret Tactics.

Seriously now, I step back and short hop behind the tree,over a snow berm. erasing my tracks with a branch. (snow, wind, remember) and I walk to the village known as Government camp Oregon, 97028. Some time goes by, and I am in the bar, purchasing my goal and enjoying a nice drink, when in come the group from the stranded car. They look all brave and proud of their escape and are, like me having a drink, and talking about heading back home. As I depart, I understand that in front of me is a 2 mile walk in the storm. I am happy to go. In coming prepper days, there will be no time for fun and games. It wont be humorous anymore. But little will change for me the way I see it. I will have powerful trained friends, or I will be alone.

The other story was in Oregon, around the same time, I’m pretty sure. Of the Kims whom made some random mistakes. in the much safer coast range. Yet, with no drunk hillbilly to advise them what to do. The family survived without the Father, being rescued we are told. they were missing. The people in the Mt. Hood forest were not. yet. and they might have been OK. Maybe I should mind my own business?

Maybe I should not write a stupid article containing, alcohol use or smoking the evil marijuana? Fine. Maybe you all will learn, be the teacher, prepare for timing, retreat and advance. Learn martial arts, gather friends, recognize enemies. Plan to move. Prepare, train, practice till it’s a reflex. Relax, never panic, always respond. Conserve energy. Create energy. Everyone has my excessive survival tool for all occasions, a magnifier, or a Fresnel lens. Nothing excessive about my knife.

So that’s enough rambling on, you can thumb me up, or subscribe to the newsletter, or respond to me in the comments at the bottom. Luck favors the prepared mind. Your worst enemy, other than bankers, government, and media; will be shock, at loss, injury, family. War sux and will mess you up. I’m already messed up, so they cant win. I have nothing to lose. except some family and friends. If I don’t lose them, its like carrying my magnum, so I don’t have to argue or fight. If I do, well, a hazard may be upon them.

Prep well, folks. Remember what the greatest teacher said. “and I will be with you Always, even to the end of YOUR DAYS.” I’m gonna win this challenge, so are some of you. Survive!!

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The Importance of a Medical Kit in Your Preps

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Editor’s Note: This post is another entry in the Prepper Writing Contest from Audra S. 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.


Medical Kit: Is it important?

OF COURSE.

Whether your bugging out with a group or bugging out alone it is extremely important to have someone with some degree of medical knowledge and/or skill. If you’re bugging out with a group and you’ve got a plan in place, but no designated “medic”, you have a problem. If you’re bugging out alone and you don’t have any basic medical knowledge, again, you have a problem.

It’s easy enough to say “I never get sick” or “Ill tough it out” when it comes to an illness or injury in everyday life, but if you’re bugging out, everyday living will cease to exist. Whether you’re hunkering down in a bunker or climbing up foothills or mountains, sh*t is bound to happen. Maybe someone in your family brought in a simple cold. It doesn’t take long for that simple cold to turn into a sinus infection, which once your immune system is beat down enough, can turn into pneumonia. Consider you’re climbing in the foothills or hunkering down in a forest and you drink some bad water…maybe your Lifestraw has already filtered its limits, or maybe your water wasn’t heated for long enough. Bacteria can take hold of your body’s systems within days, sometimes hours, and cause unfortunate and inconvenient effects such as vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration and eventually, death. You get my point.

So what can you do to prevent this? Well, stay healthy, take your vitamins, and boil your water. Stating the obvious, right? Prevention is great, but like I said, and I’ll say it again, sh*t happens. A contingency plan for those SHTF moments is the key to efficiency and more importantly, survival. You can create a top-notch medical kit addition to any bugout bag or kit easily and cheaply. All it takes is basic medical knowledge and a small pack to potentially save you, your family or your friends in a SHTF situation.

The Survival Medicine Handbook: A Guide for When Help is Not on the Way

I am a trained EMT and I’ve dealt with massive injuries from car accidents, physical violence, and other traumatic events. I’ve also dealt with medical emergencies such as heart attacks, diabetic episodes and anaphylaxis. If you’re a true prepper, I know you’ve spent hours thinking about all of the things that could go wrong while bugging out. Gunshots, car accidents, sickness, poison, you name it. I can definitely say the same for myself, and I refuse to be the helpless ninny that stands over and screams and begs someone with a gunshot wound or knife wound not to die. It won’t work. Don’t be that guy.

I’ve spent a solid 6 months researching and developing a small, compact and lightweight medic “bag” that has the potential to be helpful and effective in almost any type of medical emergency. Check out my pack, and some of the emergency’s I’ve planned for below.

The Basics of a Medical Kit:

Ibuprofen: So Underrated. It’ll help with mild pain, but more importantly, it can help take down and break a fever. How fun is it trying to function at your day job with a fever that turns into a massive headache that turns into hot flashes and cold sweats? Now imagine dealing with that while you’re lumbering through the wilderness. Not fun.

Pepto Bismol: Once again, underrated. Not only will this reduce your burning desire to throw up those repulsive MRES, but it has the potential to get diarrhea under control. Having to stop every 5 minutes to see a bush about a horse? Inconvenient AND unpleasant.

Benadryl: Works for both people and dogs, making it a vital part of my personal bag. Hiking through the woods and your dog steps on or eats a wasp? I know I don’t want to carry my almost 50 pound dog for very long, how about you? 1 MG per pound of body-weight will take care of that problem. It can also be used to ease a dog’s anxiety, just lower the dose a bit. If you’re traveling or hunkering down with someone who has an allergy whether it be to a food or animal, a quick response with a dose of Benadryl can make a bigger difference then you would expect. I carry a bottle of Benadryl and a tube of Benadryl Cream for topical use.

Medi-Lyte: Uncommon, but not unimportant. I used to work in the oil fields during the big boom, and this was something I always kept stocked for my guys. It is used to replace electrolytes from excessive loss of liquids. I’m talking sweat, vomit, whatever. You can purchase 500 tablets on Amazon for twenty bucks. 100% WORTH IT. Oh, and try two tabs for a hangover, it’ll do wonders 😉

Hydrocortisone Cream: Once again, suitable for both you and your dog. Hiking out in the woods comes with a price. While an occasional bug bite is not something that will really bother you, being covered in them probably will. The same goes for your dog. Mosquito bites, tick bites, flea bites, poison ivy, weird rashes; it covers it all. Literally.

Triple Antibiotic: This one is basically the jack of all trades. Use it on burns, cuts, scrapes, and anything else you’re worried about getting infected. I would suggest only using it the first 1-2 days after the injury is sustained. After scabs are formed it won’t do much and there is no point in wasting precious supplies.

Everyday Allergy Meds: Sudafed, Zyrtec, Claritin, because there is nothing worse than trying to walk long distance or climb bluffs or mountains with a runny nose.

CPR Rescue Mask, Adult/Child Pocket Resuscitator

CPR Mask and Sterile or Nitrile Gloves: I don’t care how well you know someone; do you really want to take a bath in their bodily fluids? I didn’t think so. Carry a CPR mask with you in your medic bag and remember the basics from CPR Class, compressions and breaths, 30:2. Compressions should be done by finding the middle spot between the nipples and pumping your overlapped hands down onto their body. They won’t tell you in your average CPR class, but I will; you will hear ribs cracking, if they survive they will be in pain from it, and it is not easy on the body to lean over and perform compressions on someone. You will be sore. Saving someone’s life though- 100% worth it. If you haven’t taken a basic CPR class yet, don’t be a dummy. It’s 50$ on average and takes only a few hours of your time.

Hot Hands: There is nothing worse than being sweaty, cold, and out in the wilderness. Once you’re cold it is very hard to get warm, but a hot hands pad can make the world of difference. Toss one onto the top of your head and cover it up with a hat. My dad has told me since I was little; heat rises. Keep your head warm and your body will be warm.

Various sized Band-Aids, bandages, ace wraps and anti-bacterial wipes: Obvious, but easily overlooked. I was on a mountain climbing trip in Montana this fall, and I got stuck coming down at night. Not smart, and not fun. I tripped on a tiny rock and my ankle bent and twisted. The next morning I had a 7 mile hike to a primitive forest service cabin across two mountain ranges and I could barely walk without my ankle giving in. An ace wrap and some duct tape made the world of difference.

The Not-So-Basics:

I don’t expect you guys to have giant stockpiles of these things lying around, but I can guarantee you if you dig through your cabinets and junk drawers you’re bound to find one or two of these things lying around. Please also remember I am not a doctor, and I’m not god, so take everything I say with a grain of salt. Having these things does not guarantee a life saved.

Elite First Aid Fully Stocked GI Issue Medic Kit Bag, Large

Epi-Pens: Unfortunately, these have gotten harder to come by recently, on account of obnoxiously high prices, but if you or your family member has an allergy that requires you to carry one of these, don’t leave it behind when you bug out. Not only could it save your life for what it was intended, but it could save someone in your groups life should they encounter an unexpected allergy source.

Muscle Relaxers: If you’ve done any hiking, walking or running long distances you know how exhausting it can be on your body. Imagine doing it for days at a time while trying to find the perfect camp location. These come in handy to both relax your body and your mind, making it much easier to carry on hiking or even sleep. Personally I can take one of these and continue on with my day, but I’ve heard stories of people taking them and falling asleep within the hour, so remember that everyone responds differently.

Antibiotics: I know I can’t be the only one that’s been prescribed antibiotics and not taken all of them. Do you have a stockpile of half taken antibiotics? In everyday life it’s not a good idea to take half of a dose and leave the rest behind, as it puts you at risk for antibiotic resistance, but if you’re in the wilderness or an emergency situation and you need antibiotics, I think you can afford to take that risk. The same goes for your basic antifungals.

Higher Dose Pain Relievers: If you have left over pain killers from a surgery or injury, pack them up and take them along. I will let you imagine all the possible injuries that may require their use.

Israeli Pressure Bandages: These bandages have been carried by the Israeli Army for ages for a good reason. They compress, clot, and cover a wound. The instructions are on the packaging, and they are fairly simple, lightweight, and about 9$ a piece on Amazon. Worth it.

Suture Kits: Also available on Amazon, although they are usually labeled “for veterinary use only.” They will work in time of need. It’s basically a needle and thread. Buy a few and practice stitching up an orange, or if you’re looking for a little more “real world” (and gross) experience, a pigs foot. It’s pretty much what you see on TV. Unless you went to medical school, you will not be an expert, but if it’s absolutely and undeniably necessary, you’re better than nothing.

I have all of these things in my bugout bag, and it only takes up a very small portion of it. Scrounge up what you can from what you already have, and buy the rest when it’s convenient or on sale to keep costs low. If you’re low on space, take the pills out of the bottles and package them in plastic instead, but remember that the bottles can have other uses in your bag.

I have no doubts that with even 1/2 of these items in your bag you will be better off than your average prepper. Never underestimate the power of basic medical knowledge and preparation. Good luck out there!

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The Honcho Poncho: Prepper Gear Review

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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 Matt “Papa Bear” Wooddell. 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.


The words “poncho liner” resonate deeply with anyone who has ever been a Soldier or Marine. This light, warm, compressible, somewhat water repellant, and quick drying piece of gear has been indispensable equipment for Soldiers and Marines both at home and while deployed. When I was on active duty, it seemed that no one ever went anywhere without the poncho and poncho liner, even if it was just across the street. Anyone who has ever been caught in the field overnight, wet, and cold can tell you the poncho liner has quite literally saved their life. But is it really a poncho liner? I mean can a person actually line their poncho with it? Or is it just a great blanket?

A great man named Ranger Rick Tscherne, some years ago, suggested taking a 100 inch sleeping bag zipper and sewing it along the bottom and side of the poncho liner. This man was a genius! I did this to my poncho liner while I was in the Army. I had to buy another poncho liner from clothing and sales for TA-50 inspections but I always took my poncho liner with the zipper to the field and on every deployment. This new sleeping bag poncho liner was so wonderful but I still thought about why it was called a poncho liner. It didn’t fit under the poncho or attach to it readily and it couldn’t be easily worn under the poncho.

Finally, someone has made my dream a reality! A company called Cascade Designs carries a piece of equipment by Thermarest called the Honcho Poncho and it is amazing. This thing is what I have needed in my kit for years. It has helped reduce the space in my bug out bag and has a ton of applications. It is wearable like the poncho, over the head, insulated and very warm. It is waterproof by itself, without needing to wear another poncho over it. It is compressible and packable like the original poncho liner. It has snap buttons on the sides to snap it up to make it into a light sleeping bag. It comes in yellow or blue. I have the blue. It is dull enough to be acceptable in the woods and it doesn’t make me look like I’m wearing a piece of tactical equipment either.

honchoponcho1

The Honcho Poncho is waterproof by itself, without needing to wear another poncho over it. It is compressible and packable like the original poncho liner.

I always dress for the weather. You will never catch me leaving the house in December wearing only a sport coat. If you ever did see me dressed like that, I would be carrying my real coat to the car with my free hand. Where I live, there can be a 40 degree difference in the daily high and low temps in the spring and fall and -20 for days on end during the winter. So, much of my kit revolves around staying warm and dry. Just like when I was in the service, I always have my poncho and poncho liner in my bag, although now I keep the Honcho Poncho in my kit instead of the regular poncho liner.  I’m all about layering to keep warm and dry. If already wearing a coat, the Honcho Poncho is plenty to layer over it when the temp drops, the wind picks up, and it starts sleeting. For sleeping, it works great snapped together inside of a Sea to Summit reactor sleeping bag liner inside of a SOL OD green escape bivvy off of the cold ground. I’m all about the layers. The Honcho Poncho helps to keep my bag  and versatile.hp1

The price seemed steep at $130 but I hadn’t seen anything even close to this quality anywhere else. Because of the price, I wrestled with the idea of purchasing it for about two days. I was able to get a 15% off first purchase coupon by signing up for the retailers email list. I was fine with that. After all, I could always ignore, delete, or unsubscribe later. That extra savings coupon convinced me to make the buy. I am glad I did! I am frugal. I compare the cost, quality, and value of everything I buy.  That being said, I am glad I shelled out the money for this purchase. I have encouraged other people I know to buy one too.

This idea for the Honcho Poncho is not exactly new. Persons having traveled south of the border may see a resemblance to clothing like the cobija blanket or Mexican hooded wool poncho. The idea is the same. The wearer can bundle up in it when it is cold or for a siesta, leave it open or throw it over one shoulder in the heat of the day. One thing noticeable about the Honcho Poncho is that it is light weight. The shell material is similar to a light nylon in appearance. So, it will snag and could tear on stuff like barbed wire, thorns, and etc. The weakness of the exterior shell can be mitigated effectively by wearing a regular poncho over top of it and using it as (you guessed it) a poncho liner. A person would not want to wear a Honcho Poncho while doing something like breaching a mined wire obstacle or entering and clearing a trench. It is likely to be torn on concertina wire ruining your poncho and snagging you in the process. For a hike after putting your car in a snow bank, for campfires, and regular prepper uses, it will work just fine. If traversing stretches of thick woods, I would suggest putting a regular poncho over top of it to protect it from snagging on thorns, briars, and branch tips.

Even though I recommend against wearing it to breach mined wire obstacles doesn’t mean there are no good tacticool or SHTF uses for the Honcho Poncho. One of the great advantages of using it is the wearer’s ability to easily access weapons in the belt line without impedance. One catch about carrying a concealed weapon in the winter time is that the coat or jacket is another layer of clothing between accessing and presenting your weapon. No matter how fast or trained you are, more layers of clothing means that it takes longer to get a concealed weapon into action. During a surprise attack, speed in response is vital to defense. The unsnapped Honcho Poncho is much less of an obstacle than a zipped coat when retrieving a weapon from the waist line, whether the weapon is concealed inside the waist band or carried outside the pants on the belt. Another consideration if you are carrying a weapon or some type of load bearing or duty belt outside of your coat is that it can earn you extra attention you may not want. In the event of TEOTWAWKI and SHTF and total WROL you may not care about open carrying a weapon but how often does TEOTWAWKI and SHTF and total WROL happen? It’s easier to be unnoticed when carrying a weapon, even outside the pants with your poncho covering it, as long as you are a legal and licensed concealed weapon carrier of course. Another great application for the Honcho Poncho is for the prepper who keeps a ready to go shooters belt or duty belt with their kit. Instead of buckling it over your coat, put on the gear belt, wear your Honcho Poncho over it and your armed and incognito.

honcho_poncho

To sum it all up: it’s a great piece of kit with many uses. It can be used as a sleeping bag, a poncho, an over coat, and to conceal weapons. It is lightweight, warm and compressible so you can put it in a stuff sack and squash it down. It is water proof all by itself without need for an additional poncho. It is wonderful as a warm layer over another lighter jacket. It’s perfect for sitting around a campfire also. It comes in yellow, and a nice blue color with OD green to be coming soon.  Now that I have this, I do not carry my old poncho liner in my get home bag anymore. I still keep my poncho liner in my camping gear, as it is an excellent camping and hunting companion.

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Prepping After 60

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Editor’s Note: This post is another entry in the Prepper Writing Contest from Sundee Z. 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.


Ever wonder how you will live if the SHTF? Ever try to answer all the questions that you ask yourself about how you will survive as a single, senior woman living alone with no family, no spouse, no other support other than yourself? I ask myself everyday as I grow older and a little weaker in body and strength. I used to be able to lift fifty pounds of feed or move a bale of hay easily but now it gets to be a real trial. But, since I am alone, I have to do it anyway I can and I usually do. It is the same in prepping for just myself, my livestock, and the homestead.

I live on seven and a half acres in a rural southern California area which is like a mountain/high desert mix when it comes to weather and vegetation. My well is a good one and does the job of watering the livestock which consists of chickens, turkeys, goats, sheep, a llama, horses and assorted dogs and cats. So, I have a good start on being self-sufficient. I decided to not bug out but to bug in if SHTF ever happens. So, I have devoted my time and meager income to this place.

When you are older and alone there are a lot of things that go thru your mind when the subject of prepping comes up. A lot of the questions such as what happens if I can’t get to town, how will I get my medications, what happens if the grid goes down, how do I function as an older woman alone in a non-functioning world, etc., etc., etc. Yes, there are hundreds of questions and sometimes the answers are easy and sometimes they elude us. Being older and alone does pose many unique problems for the one facing this uncertain world. When faced with these problems, I decided to sit down and access my situation and made a lot of decisions and lists. The first one was to bug out or not. Being that I have some disabilities such as arthritis and a bad back, there is no way I could walk out of here or ride my horse great distances to get to…Where? I don’t have a bug out place and if I did I would never make it there alive. I found that most of what I needed to survive was right here in my home.

womanfarming

I used to be able to lift fifty pounds of feed or move a bale of hay easily but now it gets to be a real trial. But, since I am alone, I have to do it anyway I can and I usually do.

So, I took inventory and started my first list of what I had in the way of survival gear, food, water, clothing, medications, tools, and a second list of what I needed to get. If I did bug out, I could not begin to carry what I would need to travel to an unknown destination. I would be a moving target for those who would like to take what I had. And, what would happen to all my animals? I have a pretty good start on being self-sufficient here with chickens and turkeys for meat and eggs, dairy goats for milk, butter, cheese and, a horse for transportation, a llama for packing, sheep for meat, wool and milk and in the spring I will be starting to raise rabbits, one or two cows for meat and milk and guineas for an alarm system. I have all I need here. Why leave it? I am comfortable here and feel a modicum of safety and I know some of the people and the area. That is a big thing to consider in deciding whether to stay or go and how you will get there. It is not very safe for older women to go out alone now so just think of how it will be if things get rough?

I made a third list of things I needed in the way of tools for survival, building supplies and weapons for protection. I bought a few power tools and two small gas-powered generators to run them and a little chest freezer. I bought that so I can freeze meats, cheese and butter and make gallon sized ice cubes to use in the antique ice box that was used by the previous owner for a liquor cabinet. I have tried it out and it works like a dream. I have also made a list of things I want to learn to do and can now scratch off such as learning how to can with a pressure canner, use a chainsaw for cutting firewood, and I turned my front porch into a greenhouse so I will have tomatoes and lettuce in the winter. I had to learn how to butcher the chickens and will have to learn how to do the cute fuzzy rabbits. But, if it means I will eat then so be it. We all have to do things that are distasteful but will do them to survive. I do believe that the older generation is better at getting it done than the younger and we don’t need a cell phone for that.

As for protection? I believe that in the future people will revert to old-time weapons for protection such as bows and arrows and spears and such. If the grid goes down there are only going to be so many bullets and no one to keep production up and not everyone is adept at reloading. So, my weapons of choice is the long bow, a cross-bow, and several pistol bows. I practiced a lot to become proficient in archery and can hit what I aim at. Even being 65 I can pull 40 lbs. And, it is a silent weapon. Pretty good for an old lady! But, I also have shotguns and pellet rifles. I learned almost all that when I turned 60. I made me a practice range on my place between the silage corn I planted and the wheat where I could and still do shoot regularly.

texasfarm

I have also made a list of things I want to learn to do and can now scratch off such as learning how to can with a pressure canner, use a chainsaw for cutting firewood, and I turned my front porch into a greenhouse so I will have tomatoes and lettuce in the winter.

I believe that if there is a will there is a way. Just because you are older and maybe not so strong physically does not mean you just lay down and die. I think that because I am older and alone it drives me to want to survive anything that is thrown at me. The instincts to survive are there and all you have to do is use your head, do the research, organize, learn, learn, learn, …and maybe, join a self-sufficiency /prepper group for moral support. When I needed gutters put up on the eaves of the house to catch rain water for the livestock, I looked on the internet for DIY instructions and got it done. When I needed raised garden beds for my gardening, I designed one and got it built. Now I have many of them. It wasn’t too hard but still there are things I wish I had help with but with a little ingenuity I usually get it done.

After my dad died, I had to decide where to move my 84-year-old mother and myself. I have always wanted to move back to the country and live out my life in a rural setting, so that is where I landed. That was four years ago and since then the outside world has grown more violent, unpredictable, and totally dangerous with rumors of war, terrorists and possible financial collapse and EMPs. I have not been able to ignore it any longer. Something big is going to happen and soon. I feel it in my bones and not being prepared made me start making lists, reading about emergency preparations and being more aware of what has been going on around me. Then my mother was diagnosed with third stage dementia and since early this last year has had to make the transfer from here to a nursing home. I found myself turning 65, needing back surgery and losing income from taking care of my mom. I kept making lists of foods, household goods, clothes, weapons for self-defense, first aid and medical stuff, tools, livestock, and a lot of other things including what I already knew and what I wanted to learn about. I read, searched the internet, read blogs and always ask questions. As time has passed I felt overwhelmed with the stuff I needed to get done and for the first time in a while felt completely alone. It took a good talking to myself to set me right on the prepper path and now I find myself making great strides in becoming totally self-sufficient and ready for anything. And, I don’t feel my age is a hurdle anymore but actually has been a blessing.

I know that living in the country is very different from living in the city. I have lived in both and when the time comes and the grid goes down, preparing oneself with food, water, and the tools you need to have to survive are almost the same. You still need warmth, a roof over your head, a way to cook, and protection. You still need to be ready to hunker down where you are and have survival items unique to your circumstances. I know that it can be a bit overwhelming and lonely when having to make decisions concerning your safety and comfort especially when you are by yourself. But, if you have studied, learned and listened to the rumblings you will be prepared and will survive. After all, you have made it this far so you can be called a senior citizen.

womanshotgun

Something big is going to happen and soon. I feel it in my bones and not being prepared made me start making lists, reading about emergency preparations and being more aware of what has been going on around me.

Not everything in prepping for one is dreary. One thing I realized while making my shopping list the other day for my food storage was that it contained foods I really liked and I got to pick and choose what to purchase. No one else had a say in what I bought. That was a bonus since I lean towards comfort foods and not gourmet stuff. The pros definitely outweighed the cons like not having to share my favorite candy bar with anyone. Do take an inventory of all the items you have now and build on that. Don’t forget to prep for you pets and do splurge on some good books, puzzles and crafts supplies to keep busy if you ever have any free time. Make sure to store up batteries so you can play your cd player and listen to music. It is a treat for yourself after a long day of working to keep yourself alive. This can be true today before the SHTF. And, don’t feel sorry for yourself for being older and alone. I don’t believe Karma gives us more than we can handle and hard work and challenge build character even in seniors.

As for being a senior, you should be able to draw on that vast supply of experience on keeping yourself healthy, active, sharp and for learning new things. Just remember, it is not how old you are or how infirm you might be, don’t think you cannot do it. You can if you believe you can. You will find a way. Even not having a lot of funds for purchasing items for your survival shouldn’t deter you. Get creative and go to garage sales, second-hand shops, Good Will and Salvation Army. I shop a lot at the dollar store and have saved tons of money on paper goods, canned goods and other household items. Personal items are a good buy there as well.

I found out a long time ago, when my kids grew up and all moved away, and I divorced my husband that you only have yourself to rely on. No one is going to look out for you and it will be really true when the SHTF comes around. I found out there were things I didn’t think I could do but found out that I can. Being alone lets one really get to know yourself. Being older doesn’t mean that your world has come to an end. I believe I have every right to survive as the next person. Maybe more. That I have worked harder, learned more, done more and have earned the right to live with my own two hands by being more creative, smart, knowledgeable and resilient than the younger generation who can’t get the cell phone out of their face. Sit back at the end of the day and think of all you’ve accomplished all by yourself and be proud of it.

So, let’s get busy and quit thinking about how old we are and how much those joints hurt and start getting ready for that uncertain future and let’s survive. After all, we’ve lived this long, I’m game for twenty more years…are you?

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Pocket Illumination: Shedding Light on EDC Flashlights

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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 Dan K. 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.


I work in a retail store’s warehouse. As anyone familiar with logistics work knows it’s basically just a big windowless box, and the lights are a long way off the ground, with lots of areas of shadow. One of my jobs is to drive order pickers down the rows and raise the platforms up around 40 feet in the air to gather orders off the shelves. Over the summer, I was all the way up at the top rack with my order picker, when I heard an explosion outside the building and the lights went black. The normally gloomy area was now completely dark; I couldn’t see my hand in front of my face. A lot of people told me afterward that if they’d been in my position they would have panicked. I didn’t, however, because I had something on me that I always carry, no matter what: a flashlight.

What had ended up happening was that lightning had struck a transformer across the field, flash-vaporizing the oil inside and cutting power to our whole building. The sad thing was, we only had a couple of flashlights and over forty people were on duty in the store at the time. Luckily I had two on my person and another three in my van, all of them with extra batteries. My coworkers laughed, but I was able to help locate confused customers and start restoring order.

The point of that anecdote was to provide a case study of a very mundane event—a power loss due to electrical storm—that my prepared mindset enabled me to react to in an efficient and helpful way. I got laughed at, sure, for having so many flashlights, but I had more people come up and thank me for being able to lend a hand.

Flashlights are often overlooked as a part of a prepper’s Every Day Carry, especially for beginners. They’re not sexy, like guns and knives and monkey fists. They’re often considered bulky, awkward to use, and unnecessary. But as my story goes to show—and I have numerous others from various jobs and situations—they are far from unnecessary. In fact, flashlights are one of the most useful pieces of prepper gear you can carry on you at all times. You’re far more likely to whip out your flashlight than your gun or even your knife (and I say this as someone who always carries at least two knives and owns numerous firearms) in day-to-day interactions.

So, with all that by way of introduction, what are some good characteristics of an EDC flashlight that will serve well both pre- and post-event? Let’s look at a quick overview.

Characteristics of a Good Every Day Carry Flashlight:

EDC flashlights have to do a few basic things: They have to be easy to carry, take readily available batteries, be lightweight, streamlined, easy to operate, and provide adequate illumination. Let’s break these categories down a bit.

The best flashlight is one you have on you at all times.

The best flashlight is one you have on you at all times.

An EDC light that’s easy to carry is one that you are going to have no second thoughts about throwing in your pocket or purse. It’s kind of like the “Always Gun” concept for flashlights. For those of you unfamiliar with the Always Gun concept, it means that even if you have a bigger, more powerful gun for specific situations you still need a gun that you will always carry, meaning it’s small, light, and easy enough to use that you won’t leave it home. With a gun this could mean you carry your Ruger Redhawk when walking in bear country, but a Ruger LCR when you’re at work in the city. Applying this to flashlights, this is the difference between a big MagLite 4 D-Cell flashlight that you keep by your bed and don’t take anywhere, and the little MiniMag penlight you keep on your keychain.

Readily available batteries should be self-explanatory but for a surprising number of people it’s not. The current rage in prepper products is for all things Tacti-Cool. These items have the appearance of being for high-speed operators, but are in reality bulky hindrances designed for mall ninjas. Case in point: more and more modern flashlights come with rechargeable batteries. I’m not against rechargeable batteries per se, but I do think they make for a bad EDC choice. Many of these batteries require USB charging cables, meaning they need to charge off of a computer or mobile power pack. This may be fine for a flashlight you keep in a truck or charging on the nightstand, but it’s not convenient to carry when prepping for life’s little (or not so little) emergencies. If you don’t carry any spare batteries on you (which you should, since a single change of batteries for a good EDC light adds negligible pocket mass and weight) or if your batteries have expired or gone bad, having very common batteries allows you to either swap supplied with someone else who is similarly prepared (this is why my sister and I carry flashlights that take the same batteries, since we work together), or allows you to buy them quickly from almost any retail or convenience outlet. It also allows you to help others if their light has gone out. Recently I tried to help a man whose flashlight was on the blink, but couldn’t because his light was highly specialized and only took one specific kind of battery I not only didn’t have but had never heard of.

Goldenguy 5 Pack Mini Cree Q5 LED Flashlight Torch 7w 350lm Adjustable Focus Zoomable Light - Great stocking stuffer.

Goldenguy 5 Pack Mini Cree Q5 LED Flashlight Torch 7w 350lm Adjustable Focus Zoomable Light – Great stocking stuffer.

A side point to keep in mind, where practicable, is to keep as much commonality between the power sources for your EDC flashlight and any lights on your EDC handgun or go-to home defense long gun. This is not a hard and fast rule, and often not applicable, but it will streamline supplies if it is possible. My EDC flashlights and the lights I’ve attached to my Ruger 10/22 and Mossberg 500 20 gauge shotgun (I live in town so need lower-powered firearms for home defense) all take the same batteries, meaning I can supply them all from the same stockpile.

Weight is a major consideration for an EDC flashlight. Most of us can’t go around in military web gear or with assault packs on our backs. We need something that we can easily fit into a pants pocket or a purse, and that isn’t going to slow us up, pull our pants down, or give us a sore shoulder. I have never weighed any of my EDC lights to get an exact measurement, but I know that they all come in at only a few ounces, even with batteries.

Another consideration is a streamlined design. Lots of lights look cool and techno, or tactical, or retro, or whatever floats your boat. But when selecting an EDC light, you have to keep in mind what kind of clothing you’re most likely going to be wearing and what kinds of activities you will most likely be doing while carrying the light. Believe it or not, what kinds of work you’ll be doing actually has a lot to do with what kind of light you select. That’s why I have a modest array of lights I can choose from depending on what I’m going to be doing. If I’m going to be mostly sitting at a desk or riding in a car, then I don’t need to worry much about a light that’s easy to turn on in my pocket because I won’t be moving my leg much. On the other hand, if I’m going to be out in the woods, at work, or on the range, where I’m going to be doing a lot of moving, squatting, or bending, I’ll carry a different type of light that isn’t so easy to turn on by mistake. There’s nothing worse in the world of flashlights than to pull your light out of your pocket and not have it shine because you’ve accidentally worn down the battery. So pick something that will fit within your lifestyle and the kinds of clothing you wear. If you wear cargo pants you’ll be able to get away with one design, skinny jeans or dress pants will require a different approach.

flashlights

One important feature when thinking about design is the activation method. There are two main activation types on flashlights: Twist and push. Twist-type flashlights require you to twist either the head or the end cap to get it to turn on. I don’t personally like them because they’re almost impossible to use one-handed, but their advantage is that they seldom if ever turn on in your pocket.

Push flashlights can be further subdivided into standard push lights—where the button is up near the head of the light—and tactical, where the button is on the end cap or somewhere near it. Obviously this is a generalization, there are tactical lights with the push button near the head, and non-tactical lights with end cap activator. But for the sake of discussion this broad classification will work. By and large I recommend a tactical-style light with a somewhat recessed end cap button, as this is the hardest to accidentally activate. Standard types are the easiest to burn out through careless pocket activation, but there are some with good stiff buttons that are more resistant to this.

Easy to operate is fairly straightforward: get a light that fits your needs and that you can easily grab and turn on without thinking or looking. Odds are that you’ll be in the dark when you need it, and fumbling for your light’s on/off switch is the last thing you want to be doing, as you’re more likely to drop it than anything else.

One other thing to keep in mind when considering ease of operation is the bulb type. I am a fan of LEDs because they never get hot, do not need to be changed, and will not break so easily if dropped. However, if you have very sensitive eyes and will need to be using the light in close proximity to your face, such as in very tight quarters or inside an engine or mechanical assemblies, you may want to consider a standard incandescent flashlight. While they do not last as long and do not put out nearly as much light, they are gentler on the eyes.

Personally, I like a high-lumen light that provides a very bright beam over a short, wide space.

Lastly, I want to touch on adequate illumination. This is a tricky subject because it’s going to be different for everyone. The illumination a flashlight offers is measured in lumens. Without going into the physics definition of what exactly a lumen is, this unit is used to measure and compare the brightness of a flashlight’s beam. A higher number of lumens will be a brighter beam, and most likely reach farther. However the latter is not assured, as other factors including the lens material of the flashlight, mirrors inside the light head, the condition of the lens, and a few others dictate exactly how far a beam will reach.

Personally, I like a high-lumen light that provides a very bright beam over a short, wide space. This is because I’m usually using the light in cramped quarters or indoors, so I don’t need it to illuminate very far. If I were going to be spending a lot of time in the dark outdoors I’d consider something with a longer beam. Take into consideration how much light your eyes need to function. My sister carries a relatively weak flashlight because she has very strong eyes and can practically see in the dark anyway. I, on the other hand, have very weak eyes and need a lot of light to do anything, so I carry a much brighter light most of the time. Another criteria is the type of beam you want. Depending on what you think you’re going to need the light for, you may want a very tight, long-range beam, a broad, well-defined inspection beam, a diffuse beam from the many smaller lamps of a pocket work light, an adjustable-focus beam, or yet another variety. Choose your light based on your normal environment and the kinds of things you expect could go wrong there. I personally work indoors and tend to be in tighter quarters, so I want a wider, short-range beam to illuminate more of my immediate surroundings and not cast so many shadows.

Earlier I mentioned flashlights getting the cold shoulder in favor of guns and knives and other defensive gadgets. While these tools are more effective in a truly deadly confrontation, I would be negligent if I didn’t address the defensive use of the flashlight before I close. A bright, easy-to-use flashlight ready on your person can be used to shine in a nighttime attacker’s eyes, blinding him and either giving you time to escape or draw a more effective weapon. Just one more reason to carry some form of pocket torch.

A flashlight may seem unnecessary in our modern world of 24/7 ceiling lights and power at the flick of a switch. But even without a major disaster it’s still possible to be left in the dark for minutes, hours, or even days. For the purpose of brevity I didn’t go into all the further points to consider when choosing a flashlight for your home or vehicle, but hopefully this short piece helped provide some items for consideration next time you’re looking over your EDC load.

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Introduction to Building a Storage Shed – Part 2

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Written by John Hertig on The Prepper Journal.

In Part 1 of Introduction to Building a Storage Shed we considered why as a Prepper or survivalist you might want to build a shed, and gave some options and preliminary decisions to make and checking out to do.  In this part, we will look at some other things to consider before you install your storage shed.  And some general lessons learned to keep in mind through the process.

Storage Shed Kit Sources

Doing an online search seems to be an effective method.  Doing a search for “shed kit” on eBay gave me an idea of what was available.  Searching for the top brands found companies specializing in shed kits such as ShedsForLess.com.  Once I found the make and model I was looking for, more specific searches found the best price.  Prices seem fairly universal, although I did happen to find a sale on my choice.  A local source may be cheaper since delivery can be handled in house, but will be increased by sales tax, so the total price should be compared with companies which have to include freight in the cost but don’t have to charge tax.  It seems that shipping is usually “free” (more accurately, included in the cost) on some of the major brands.

Keep in mind that the floor is usually not part of the kit, although often can be ordered with the kit.  Often it is delivered first, from a local source, which means the quality might not be optimal.  On mine, most of the joists could be forced into place, but I had one beam which was warped at a knot, and attempting to force it straight caused the beam to snap.  Replacing it was not trivial, since the only receipt I had was the shipping order, and it took a long time for the local store to find it in their system, since it did not have my name on it or even the name of the company I ordered from.  It was under the name of the kit manufacturer.

shed015

There are kits which are material only, and those which are pre-cut.  The latter is easier to assemble and requires less equipment.

Also, when pricing a (wood) kit, keep in mind that hardware is often included, but paint and roofing are usually not, and these products are not cheap.  I could not believe they get over $30 a gallon for paint these days; fortunately Ace had a buy one gallon, get one gallon free sale.  For most (wood) sheds, the specified roofing is shingles, and those run about $1 a square foot.    Flooring, roofing and paint was about 1/4 of the total cost of my kit, and that did not include the roofing gun and scaffolding which will be used for other projects as well.

Options

Often a kit company will offer “options” such as additional or different doors, windows, a ramp, shelving/cabinets and various ventilation methods.  If offered by the kit company you pretty much have to order it with the kit.  Ventilation is good to prevent heat build-up; a “ridge vent” methodology is probably the best, but usually not available with the kit.  If you are going to use the shed strictly for storage, then windows would seem to be pretty silly since you lose wall space and reduce the security.  However, if you are going to be spending much time in there, a window or two will be quite helpful for light, ventilation and to reduce claustrophobia.

storage-sheds-building-4

What to Have on Hand

The first thing to attempt to arrange is other people.  There are a couple of aspects of building the shed which will be very difficult for a single person to accomplish, without using “tricks” which need to be purchased or constructed.  More people not only allow completing these aspects in a “normal” manner, but will make things quicker and perhaps even “more fun”.  After all, if a single person needs to drive 1000 nails, two people only need to drive 500 each, and so on.  Plus, don’t discount the motivation having others involved provides.  If you can arrange for a person or group to help, that should be great.  If you don’t have people available or that you trust, it does not mean you are out of luck, just that you will need to approach the project differently.

There are certain basic tools you will need.  For a pre-cut wood building, that will be a hammer, drill (primarily for driving screws), tape measure (25′ may be adequate for medium sized buildings), level, framing square, carpenter’s pencil and a circular saw.  Having a cut-off saw was nice (more ergonomic and precise), but is not really needed by the pre-cut kit; the square and circular saw will suffice since there are not that many cuts left to be made.  A panel saw would have been handy, but for the one cut needed for the floor of my kit, a long straight edge, a pair of clamps, and the circular saw did just fine.  And you will need a ladder or two.  And, of course, don’t forget safety glasses and work gloves.  Plus arrange for the equipment for your preferred painting methodology.

Remember those 1000 nails?  I’ve used a nail gun for construction and it is very helpful indeed.  However, since the kit came with all the correct nails, I did not bother getting the pneumatic equivalents.  However, roofing nails were NOT included, and roofing is enough of a pain; I got a roofing nail gun and the nails for it.  Some kits say that “felt” under the shingles is “optional”.  I disagree.  Not only does it provide protection from a small leak in the shingles, but it protects the shingles from the roof panels and vice versa.  For the felt, you will need a hammer stapler and staples (no, a pneumatic stapler won’t do; it goes right through the felt, and your hands will hate you if you try using a standard squeeze stapler).  For the shingles, a utility knife and a bunch of hook blades for it, and a pair of tin snips (for the edging).  Be sure the hook blades fit your utility knife; my knife had a couple of extra pins which match up holes only in the same brand’s (much more expensive) blades.

10x12-storage-shed-plans

This list assumes that everything goes perfectly, which it sometimes does not.  For instance, if there is a warped or twisted board, it can often be forced into position using a pipe wrench.  Or a twisted beam can be encouraged to stay in place with a long bolt and nut, tightened with a wrench and socket wrench.  Some places get rain, and getting raw wood wet is not wise.  A tarp big enough to completely cover the roof (and bungee cords to fasten it down with) can be a great help.  Things sometimes don’t fit quite right; I found a package of composite (not wood) shims (from Timberwolf) to be of great help in these cases.  If you end up with a crack or hole that insects can get through, some spray foam like “Great Stuff” can help.  Although roofing CAN be done with ladders, it is a tedious, slightly more dangerous process.  Buying or renting scaffolding can make it go quicker and is a bit safer to boot.  Of course, it might be easier and not much more expensive just to hire someone to do the roofing.

I used several other tools which I had on hand, to overcome problems and make “enhancements” to the shed.  These should not be normally needed.

Caveats

It is tempting to just order the kit and work on the site when the floor kit arrives.  This can be problematical; it took me over a month to get the floor flat and level (since the ground was very much neither).  Yet, the shed kit arrived only a few days after the floor kit.  Be aware of what the relative weather is between the source and your location.  My kit came from Pennsylvania when it was cold and wet, and arrived in Arizona where it was warm and dry, and sat in that wildly different environment for over a month.  It is not surprising that I had more warping and twisting than expected.  Two lessons learned.  Prepare site before ordering, and be aware of relative weather between source and destination.

home-show-010-small

The floor kit is often delivered by a local lumber outfit, who may have a trailer and fork-lift, and can put the pile in a relatively out of the way location.  The shed kit may be shipped by a standard shipper who has nothing other than pallet jacks to move things around with.  Pallet jacks require a smooth, solid surface, so they had to leave my kit in the road and I had to quickly and manually move it into my pickup.  The total kit weight is a bit over a ton, so to move it from curb to site will take more than one trip with a “1/2 ton” pickup.  When you get to the site, have something for the materials to sit on to keep them off the ground, sort the parts by size, and then stack them with the last needed pieces on the bottom and the first needed pieces on top.  I had two stacks, one of boards and one of sheets.  Cover with tarps if precipitation is expected.

Find the inventory list before you start unpacking and use it to verify the contents as you unpack.  I did a manual inventory, and matching it with the official one I found later was a bit of a challenge, since my descriptions did not match theirs.  There were a couple of pieces missing and a couple which were unusable; a call to the company got replacements sent right out.  Read the manual from cover to cover before you start, then follow it “exactly” (except for any typos) unless you are doing the build by yourself.

It was annoying that the 16′ shed floor kit came with 8′ runners; it was a challenge to keep them together and straight; I eventually gave up and used “StrongTie” connectors to hold them together end-to-end.

Standard felt is very easily torn.  It usually takes two people to install, and after we got one side up and took a break; the wind, more accurately a gentle breeze, ripped most of it off.  I finally had success with double thickness felt which is somewhat stronger, a “tool” I built which allowed me to put it up by myself, and putting on the edging as quickly as possible to prevent  wind from getting under the felt edges.  Yes, you need more rolls (being thicker, there is less length in each roll), but in climates such as ours, you generally put on two layers of standard felt anyway.

How to start

The first step is to figure out everything you want to accomplish with your shed, then find out any limitations on what you are “allowed” to put up and where you want to put it.  This includes finding out what is required by building codes.  Make sure you have plans for any alterations to be made to the shed; find the materials and figure out when in the build process you will need to diverge from the standard instructions.  Next, find the model or models of kits which you like, and get an idea of the pricing.  Arrange financing (cash or credit), prepare the site (marking and leveling for wood, forms. rebar and pouring for concrete), then order the kit.  Find out when it will be delivered and arrange to be available, with a truck or two to move the parts from where they deposit them to the construction site, and preferably people to help to load and unload.

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The post Introduction to Building a Storage Shed – Part 2 appeared first on The Prepper Journal.

Feeding the Beast During SHTF – Bread Options

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Written by R. Ann Parris on The Prepper Journal.

A crisis of any scale is a tough time to either have to learn to do without, or create a lot of work for ourselves. With a little practice and planning, we can still have things that make our next dish of soup or pinto beans or squirrel a little happier, and give us some versatility in how we use flour and mixes for baked goods. We can do it without adding a ton of steps, mess, and in most cases a lot of ingredients to our daily tasks. Whether we’re at home or on the trail, that can save some sanity as well as time and labor.

This is me, so you’re mostly going to see 5 ingredients or less through here, and a focus on cleanup. I’m just not Martha Stewart. But I do like my breads and I do like something sweet now and again, so here’s half a dozen ways we can still get them, even without a working oven or supermarket.

Ash Cakes & Bannock 

What would a soup be without some sort of bread? Not as happy, that’s what. Two of the simplest breads to make have already been talked about in the 6 One-Day Projects article, down in the list of other things to try. 

Any flour will work for either an ash cake or bannock bread, even purchased mixes like the dinner rolls Augason Farms apparently figures I’ll be making – ever, but especially in a disaster. Even when it’s got extra stuff in there, I go ahead and follow the cup-tablespoon-teaspoon ratio for bannock, or just drizzle in water or milk for an ash cake.
biscuit-dumpling-i
Those ash cakes and bannock can also be augmented by rolled oats, rolled wheat, or instant rolled barley, although you need to let those sit for 10-20 minutes to make sure they have a chance to soak up some liquid, and you’ll probably need to add more liquid than usual. It’s a way to both add some texture and variety to diets, as well as use up some of the cheaper ingredients like oatmeal that are in our storage even when we haven’t planned for no-bake cookies.

Any cornbread or cornmeal can also be turned into ash cakes or pseudo-Johnny cakes, to go beside a soup or under a stew, or to add variety to our breakfast meals.

Drop biscuits & dumplings

Most pancake and dinner roll mixes have the potential to turn into nice, easy biscuits; and anything that’s a biscuit (or bannock bread) can be dropped by mounded tablespoons into a simmering pot of broth, gravy or soup, simmered for 10 minutes, flipped, simmered another 10-12 minutes, and whala – we have a fluffy(ish) bread right there in our soups.

Head’s up: Biscuit dumplings will regularly turn your clear, light broth into something thicker and more gravy like. That is not a bad thing, just a point.

Something that can be a bad thing, is that if you completely cover the top of your soup with dumplings, it gets really hard to stir the bottom.

Both of those factors go away if you opt to make your meal in a solar oven or similar. You can do it one of two ways, just like a regular biscuit bake – stick the biscuits/dumplings on the bottom to slowly rise and fluff, or space them out on top from the get-go or after part of the bake time has elapsed.

biscuit-bake-ii

An advantage to dumplings over other ways of getting a breading into our soup meal is that it’s still only one cooking pot.

Drop biscuits have advantages in clean-up, too, and in time and waste. When we mix a batter and then spoon biscuits out onto a sheet pan, we don’t even have to dip our fingers in flour for molding them. We sure don’t have to flour a counter and a rolling-pin or drinking glass (which is also what I usually use for a cutter).

When I make drop biscuits, they’re ingredients to oven in 5 minutes or less, and my cleanup involves a bowl and two spoons. When Mr. P makes *real* biscuits, I consider just torching the kitchen and starting over.

In a life with limited water, limited resources, and a lot of labor involved with every aspect of survival, the differences can matter. The same holds true for the drop biscuit dumplings instead of rolling out and cutting even more to make flat drop dumplings.

Hardtack

hardtack
Hardtack is definitely an option to go with our soups, just like it was in colonial and pioneer days. There are lots of recipes online for baking it.

There are not as many as I’d have expected where people actually eat this stuff, and discover that it’s best soaked for a few hours first, then simmered right along with broth, tea, or soup, anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour depending on the alignment of the stars*.

*Snicker; but not entirely kidding on the predictability front.

That veers it away from a convenience food, but if you’re using a crock pot or equivalent, or are simmering soup for a few hours anyway, heating the house anyway, it’s pretty handy to be able to pop open a bucket of these things 2-5 years after you made them and have a nice, portable, calorie-dense portion to pick up and eat or saw with a fork and knife. We can even sub in some of our crazy flours like ground dry beans, acorn, and barley if we’re so inclined.

Just be aware that real hardtack is not Mountain House pilot bread or a cracker, and that 5-20 minutes under gravy or in a fry pan goes nowhere without a pre-soak once it’s hard and dry.

Beer bread

I am lazy, if it was not obvious from the articles about bed sheets, laundry, and gardening. I’m also not big into babysitting food at timed intervals.

Beer bread fits me to a T.

Price out some inexpensive light beer, and don’t neglect the option of a local store ordering a couple flats of forties for you. They’re actually the cheapest option for me, both bottles and cans, because I’m not willing to buy Natty Ice even for a disaster, even though there’s boxed wine in case I decide a wine IV or camelback is necessary for my sanity.

There are many recipes online. I like this one, although I sometimes just omit the butter entirely or use oil instead. This one skips the salt and goes straight to self-rising flour. We can sub in a dinner roll mix or Bisquick for either.

And the sifting … I call it optional.

We can use a beer bread recipe in any kind of cooker, from a crock pot or facsimile to a solar oven. We can make it in little cans around a campfire or rocket stove, too, or atop a clay pot candle heater.

Spread out in a pie plate or frying pan instead of a loaf pan, or separated into muffin pans, it’ll cook faster and be easy to portion out.

That can save arguments over who does or doesn’t get the heels (there are freaks out there who consider that a lesser slice). It can also just make it faster and less messy to serve, while also saving cooking fuel and time.

If you want more flavor to your bread, you can go with heavier and darker ales as you like. While I’m happy sipping a well-built Guinness or Killian’s Red, I don’t actually like them in my bread and that bread is no good for PBJ.

Griddle Cakes 

Another cheat I learned for backpacking is that you can make any baked good into a griddle cake. For those of us who want fast and easy in a disaster, or who aren’t *ready* yet and are dying for a quick and easy treat, bag and box mixes I have successfully made into little rounds of goodness with a pan or on the greased top of a canteen mug and any heat source include:

  • Oatmeal cookies
  • Brownies
  • Muffin mixes
  • Cake mixes
  • Scone mixes
  • Cornbread & corn muffin mixes
  • Hushpuppy batter

You can follow the directions (or portion them, depending on how easy fresh or powdered eggs and oil are to divide) or cut some of the liquids, and they come out about like puffy pancakes.

Thin them down a fair bit, and, boy oh boy, we’re starting to look into the gourmet side with crepes.

They can be eaten as-is like a soft cookie or roll-up, or topped with powdered sugar, cinnamon sugar, ice cream and milk flavoring syrups, nuts in syrup, honey, tree syrup, Karo, and jelly.

Frosting in a Ziploc bag offers the ability to make cute spirals and grids or fluffy artistic mounds. Pudding can be reserved and mixed thick to do the same, or used as a filling for crepes.

They can also be topped or filled with canned or rehydrated fruits, cannoli filling, pie filling, cream cheese, or peanut butter. You can also play with adding shredded coconut and nuts (and chocolate) to German chocolate frosting, or use sweetened condensed milk and shredded coconut as a super-sweet filler.

Fun note: They can also be baked in a skillet to cut like wedges of cornbread. I regularly bake muffin mixes in a pie pan to create thin little slices that are usually drizzled with something. Tuna cans and soup cans can also be used for any batter, as can small Pyrex bowls or ramekins. Those containers are also all options for baked pancakes, such as this one .

Off-Grid Cooking

Even when we’re not as prepared as we’d like to be, or when we like convenience and we want to continue to have convenient options in a disaster, we can still get the feel-good foods that bread and even “baked” sweet treats can be.

Whether it opens up options for us, just provides some extra backups, or becomes part of our daily habits, keeping an open mind about what we can accomplish – and how much effort it has to take – can only benefit us in the future.

This focused on my weakness: Breads. (And laziness, okay.) I totally endorse knowing how to do and make things from scratch. There are preservatives and cost issues with some of my cheats. However, from things like ash cakes and bannock that truly need few ingredients, to new ways to make and use mixes we might already have around, we don’t want to pigeonhole ourselves, especially if our disaster plans involve holing up in summertime or a lot more physical labor year-round.

Other things to consider when we look at these lists are the amount of fuel some of the treatments take, the amount of pan scrubbing and kitchen cleanup involved, and even the cookware we have at our disposal.

We also might want to look at some of our guilty pleasures when it comes to eating. Even if we don’t stock our cupboards to make it a daily or even weekly staple, we might consider stashing some premade mixes, hiding away some beer, and holding onto some tin cans so we can pop them out now and then for special occasions.

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Radiological Medical Response Kit: Ideas to Manage Injuries in a Radioactive Environment

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Written by Huples on The Prepper Journal.

Editor’s Note: This post is another entry in the Prepper Writing Contest from Huples. 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.


Seems everyone online is focused on prepping for a nuclear war these days. Shows the stupidity of humanity that this is even a thing but it is, so I thought I’d share the contents of my radiological medical response kit. There are plenty of excellent sources out there covering the other issues around this topic but get a hard copy of Nuclear War Survival Skills. There is a free download is the 1987 version. There is a 2012 updated version for purchase but I do feel some books require owning as hard copies and this is one of them.

My kit started in 2008 before I became a prepper after attending a compulsory Canadian Government conference for a few days on the Medical Emergency Treatment for Exposures to Radiation (METER) . I am sure some of you have had more recent training and I’d love to read about USA and UK equivalent training. The course enrolment in 2008 was managers of trauma hospitals and emergency services and included a dirty bomb table top exercise. It was fascinating stuff and great speakers. I am including some more recent information from the Ontario Government Radiation Response Plan.

I did not use FEMA for this article but this slide show is interesting if you want more background of a general nature on Medical Management of Radiologic Casualties

I am including some directions to take materials and over the counter medications to limit radiation dosing but you should only take these on medical advice and under medical supervision. No self-treatment even in the apocalypse!

Treating a Casualty

Read More: Generic Procedures for Medical Response During a Nuclear or Radioactive Emergency.

I am not going through the types and methods of exposure, or the protective materials/clothing/masks. Look that information up but there are a few things the average person might overlook. I am giving the general ideas here and some will not work in a nuclear war but work great if it was a dirty bomb or power plant incident so adapt as required.

Exposure to Radiation

Exposure to Radiation

If treating an exposed casualty keep them outside an established Cold Zone (an area where outside material, clothing, foot wear never enters. The area of treatment is a Hot Zone so protect yourself as best you can while there. Try to avoid treating for prolonged periods near the casualty as they might be radioactive enough to give you a lethal dose. Have your Cold Zone at least 5 metres (About 20 feet) away from any casualties and preferably with a concrete wall in between. Alter this if contamination is everywhere but even if they have driven to you still remember they might be a radioactive source internally or externally.

Decontamination is supposed to occur after treatment of any regular injuries but honestly I would decontaminate first to avoid exposing yourself while treating. Minimum here is double gloves and plastic suit with duct tape sealing the arms and legs. An NBC mask would be great but goggles and a N95 mask might be all you have. None of these supplies should be reused if possible or left anywhere near the Cold Zone after use. Be checked or check yourself every 5-10 minutes to make sure your gear is intact. Approach the casualty with the wind to your back if possible. Remove all their clothes by cutting gently to avoid making anything airborne and dispose away from the casualty and the Cold Zone.

Use potassium iodide to block your thyroid's absorption of radiation.

Use potassium iodide to block your thyroid’s absorption of radiation.

Water is not recommended for decontamination but likely it will be all you can find to achieve removal of visible and invisible external contamination. Pour clean water over them and hose them down if you can. Try to make sure this water runs away from the Cold Zone and think about any drains it might enter. If you have enough consider using wet wipes rather than water and will you have enough clean water anyway for this sort of thing in a nuclear war? The goal is to remove anything visible and then hopefully wash off any invisible sources of radiation. This will not make them safe to enter the Cold Zone as they might have absorbed, ingested, and/or inhaled radioactive material and remain deadly to you. A few hours to a day will tell as they will show obvious signs they are going to die. If you can keep them outside the Cold Zone for at least 24 hours and a week would be good but again depends on who it is and circumstances locally.

Treat injuries but place Cold Zone equipment in minimal amounts on doubled clean tarps not the ground. Remember not to kneel down or rest against walls or the casualty. Ideally the casualty should be doing all of these interventions themselves with you shouting encouragement and throw gear to them. If you have to move them then place them on a thick clean tarp and a sheet and literally wrap them up entirely to avoid contact for the transport.

They are contaminated until a Geiger counter says they are not or several days have gone by and they are showing no major progressive radiation illness. Until then treat them as if they are radiative to you. Do not forget this ever. As the hours and days go by the threat of this lessens but it does not take much source material to kill.

Radiation Sickness

Occurs a few hours to several weeks after exposure and are mainly the signs and symptoms from dead stem cells that you will see. Of interest if you have seen Threads or any film it takes 2-4 days before you see gastric signs. Diarrhea and abdominal pain take about 48 hours for most lethal doses to appear so being fine a day afterwards means nothing for survival. Gastric symptoms lead to a horrible death in about ten days so if they get to two weeks it looks good but… it takes 30 to 60 days before you know they will not die from blood failure. The earlier lack of appetite, nausea, vomiting (persistent), and lack of energy occur the more likely it is the casualty will die.

See graph page 21

The most useful sign is their consciousness as it gets hit hard early by lethal and high radiation. It can kill in 24-48 hours but expect drowsiness and feeling very ill even in none lethal exposures. Diarrhoea is always a bad sign for survival and remember that poop might well be radioactive so keep away from it and keep it away from your Cold Zone.

Bleeding and vomiting and diarrhea can all occur within minutes of high level exposure. Interestingly a type of pneumonia can occur after about 50 days and pulmonary fibrosis can occur about a year afterwards. Carry a few N95 or similar masks with you everywhere you go as inhaling is the easiest way to become contaminated in a nuclear incident.

Radiation Symptoms and Management.

Radiation Symptoms and Management.

Treatment

This gets complex but basics are needed such as an antiemetic (Gravol). Antipyretic such as Tylenol but do not use Aspirin as they are likely to bleed and this really won’t help that. Keep hydrated and warm. Treat other injuries as best you can. Use ciprofloxacin and/or cephalosporin antibiotics and consider also using Vancomycin (Gram Positive antibiotic) and Amphotericin B (anti-fungal). You will need a Doctor to prescribe these but Vets have these and there are sources available to treat your tropical fish that might help in a pinch. Antivirals (acyclovir) are good but there is no information on using HIV treatments for Acute Radiation Sickness but if available I would consider it. The casualty is going to feel really ill from this therapy but worth a try if available and if not obviously dying.

Cutaneous Syndrome

Typically a hand or foot might develop this even if there are no signs of systemic Acute Radiation Sickness. Of note the First Aider is at high risk from this if the casualty has high doses. This is basically a really bad burn that swells and then develops tissue death. Treat with removal of dead tissue, ingesting steroids, eating lots of protein, and avoiding nicotine (vasoconstrictor). Pain killers will be nice here as it is agony so consider early amputation if loss of the area is clear.

My Radioactive Medical Response Kit

Most radioactive elements are not easily absorbed by the bowels but Iodine, Tritium, and Cesium are 100% absorbed. Strontium is about 30% absorbed while most other elements about 10%. This is an ongoing issue in a radioactive environment so consider using double bag clean soil and secure water barrels to construct your Fall Out shelter with and using these for food production later on after clear vegetation and soil from your garden (this is arguable as might put you at risk of inhaling)

Metamucil. High fiber intake promotes bowel clearance to flush out any ingested radioactive materials. Start as soon as you think there is a radiation issue. Vegans clear the bowel in less than 24 hours and meat eaters about five days.radiationsickness

Use Potassium Iodide tablets to block radioactive iodine from being absorbed by the thyroid gland in the neck. Ontario Government gave me free ones but I’d go for 14 days supply for all members of the group and a 28 day supply for all people under the age of 25. Make sure they are not allergic to iodine (shell fish) and it only works if taken before exposure and only helps the thyroid not the entire body. A 130mg tablet provides protection after six hours and last about 36 hours. One tablet for adults a day and half a tablet ages 3-18. Under 3 years give a quarter of a tablet. Under one month an eight of a tablet. Only used if intake of radioactive Iodine is likely. 130mg of Potassium Iodide is equivalent to 170mg of Potassium Iodate.

Drink fresh water in large quantities (3-4 litres a day) as it helps flush some elements out and you need to be hydrated if you get sick. Urinate outside the Shelter and think about drainage away from the Shelter. Not likely to be radioactive but no point doing all this and overlooking the portable toilet in the shelter that is emptied every week. The goal is to reduce all radioactive exposure as far as possible and for as long as possible.

Barium Sulphate (not commonly available but see if you can get a friendly ICU nurse to get you a supply). Not an enema but the oral version as it is really good at binding to Strontium and excreting it via the bowels. Your poop will by clay like and you should consider it to be radioactive. Use one oral dose of 300mg but repeat is ingestion reoccurs. I’d basic this on where the food is from and if your poop is normal again but honestly do not eat or drink anything that is not from your stores to avoid this fate. It causes constipation so a mild laxative added to the Metamucil is a good move.

Use Prussian Blue by mouth as it is absorbed in the bowel instead of Cesium, Thallium, and Thorium which is then pooped out. Your poop is highly radioactive in this case. Use about 3gm per day for a minimum of 30 days. It is not absorbed by the body and is relatively harmless. It will cause constipation and your poop will turn blue. If used, maintain a high potassium diet as it rips this out of you as well and that can easily kill you.

Maalox or similar. You want colloidal Aluminum Phosphate or Aluminum Hydroxide (antacids). Hard to find these days as the anti-aluminum movement due to Alzheimer’s risks means many brands no longer contain Aluminum. Read the label. Use about a 2.5 gm dose once a day for five days. It binds to the radioactive elements in the bowel allowing you to excrete them in your poop .

Sodium Bicarbonate. This helps depleted or enriched uranium leave the body by the kidney. I can only find intravenous doses but it seems a spoonful a day for a week might help if you can stomach it. The dose is two tablets every four hours until three days after there are no symptoms but tablets might be hard to find. Use pure sodium bicarbonate powder and check the label for additives.

You might consider charcoal ingestion but this is not recommended for radioactive contamination as it does not do much to block absorption and can lead to vomiting and then aspiration of radioactive material into your lungs which is a far worse issue than in the bowels.

I also have the ability to stop all treatment humanely. Well that is my kit and the background to it. Enjoy!

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Safe, Effective Concealed Carry Policies in the Workplace

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

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The right to bear arms in America remains strong. But it behooves individual gun owners and employers to keep up with the ongoing legal and political caveats in their respective areas. Company policies and state and federal laws are all bound to clash when enacting concealed carry rules for employees. There is also the matter of providing peace of mind to workers who do not carry firearms. The following guidelines will help shape concealed carry rules for your individual company.

Law vs. Policy

Maria Ivette Ros was fired from her job as a Wells Fargo branch manager in Oldster, Florida, in 2014 for carrying a concealed weapon into the bank. The company has a strict policy against employees carrying firearms onto the premises, with the exception of security personnel. Ros filed a lawsuit in state court claiming her Constitutional rights were violated. Wells Fargo argued it is not a government entity, but a private company that can make its own rules pertaining to firearms. It’s unclear how the case was adjudicated, as court records indicate it was dismissed with prejudice in August of 2014.

The Ros case would have provided a blueprint for employers in right-to-work states like Florida that also strongly adhere to Second Amendment precedent. Know the laws of your state before writing concealed carry policies. Several states have adopted “parking lot laws” that allow employees to carry concealed weapons in their vehicles while parked on company property. States like Arizona, Pennsylvania, and Texas either have no laws addressing the issue or specifically prohibit employers from enforcing anti-concealed carry policies.

Most state laws pertaining to workplace concealed carry are fairly straightforward. But in states like Kansas, Kentucky, and Wisconsin where the laws aren’t as clear, it’s best to consult a Constitutional attorney before writing your policies.

ConcealedCarry

Safety First

The General Duty Clause contained in Sec. 5 of the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) requires all employers to provide “a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to his employees.” Education and accountability are key for compliance to OSHA’s broad safety rules.

Inform all employees of your intent to enact concealed carry policies. Clearly, state in a memo why you’re enacting the policy and how concerned employees can address said issues. One oft-repeated concern among pro-gun control advocates is the “assault rifle” fallacy. A great way to educate and bridge those gaps is showing them how false that label is.

Visit an online gun library and point out, for example, a Ruger Mini 14 versus an AR-15. Emphasize that both are semi-automatic, use .223 ammo and have 30-round magazines. The only difference between the two is that the previous looks like a BB gun, while the latter looks much more menacing. Conveying this type of knowledge about firearms will also put skeptical minds more at ease.

ConcealedCarry

Follow Examples

An aviation insurance firm in Georgia enacted a company policy earlier this year that requires all employees to obtain a concealed carry permit. Once they obtain the permit, the company owners give them Smith and Wesson handguns just as other employers provide computers, office supplies, and coffee in the break room, local news station WSB-TV reported. The company owner said the policy was enacted as a result of a crime surge in the metro Atlanta area. Georgia law grants civil and criminal immunity to employers who comply with guns-at-work laws, which of course is more reason to consult an attorney beforehand.

Belly bands make a good concealed holster for some people.

Belly bands make a good concealed holster for some people.

Speak with those who already have policies in place. There’s no substitute for real-life experience when it comes to drafting and enforcing workplace gun policies. No database or easily accessible list of employers with current concealed carry policies exists, but rifle clubs and shooting ranges are the best places to get word-of-mouth information like this.

More General Guidelines

Laws and safety supersede everything else. When drafting your policies, there are some basic elements that should be included:

  • Proper channels for employees to report threats, intimidation or harassment should be clear, confidential and easily accessible.
  • Potential disciplinary action for employees who violate any part of the policy should also be included.
  • Security personnel or other measures that limit access to your parking lot should be considered for companies that allow concealed carry in cars only.
  • Human resources personnel are encouraged to involve law enforcement when terminating employees with known tendencies of violence.

An armed workforce deters criminals from interfering with your day-to-day business, but doing it the right way ensures you stay out of the courtroom and keep your employees happy at the same time.

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