Prepping for Our Furry Friends – Stuff for Spot

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Written by R. Ann Parris on The Prepper Journal.

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

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

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

Water for Mr. Whiskers

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

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

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

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

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

Commercially Available Long-Storage Foods

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Repacking for Rufus & Rex

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

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

Stocking Up for Socks & Spot

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Storage Foods for Pets

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

When’s lunch?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Transitioning Foods

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

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

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

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

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

Goodies for Evac Kits

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

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

Medications

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

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

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

Prepping for Furry Friends

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

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

The Capacity Advantage

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

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


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

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

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

The Magpul 60 round drum

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

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

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

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

I know which one I’d want.

The post The Capacity Advantage appeared first on The Prepper Journal.

Lessons from History – The Importance of Water

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Written by R. Ann Parris on The Prepper Journal.

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

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

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

Test Your Water Use

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Double-Edged Sword

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Self-Sufficiency through Streams

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Slow it, Sink it, Spread it, Store it

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Reducing Reliance On Systems

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

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

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

Our livestock selection can also lessen dependence.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Water Is Life

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

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

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

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

 

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

DJI Mavic Pro Unmanned Air Vehicle – The Ultimate Prepper X-Factor

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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 Vermont Prepper. 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 concept of preppers utilizing unmanned air vehicles (UAVs) for forward surveillance and other situations is not new.  Until recently, the technology has been unattainable except for those with deep pockets. In recent years a decent consumer UAV with desirable features would cost thousands of dollars to achieve what DJI has done for a fraction of the cost in designing the DJI Mavic Pro.  Out of the box, the Mavic Pro is extremely easy to fly, has collision avoidance technology, and a 4.3 mile range (the longest range offered by a DJI – even more than their most expensive UAV).   If you combine this aircraft with a $22.00 app by Litchi Software, it adds an ability to pre-program a flight plan with waypoints, while varying your altitude, speed, and camera orientation to focus on points of interest (POIs) along its route.  Additionally, if in the event that you lose signal, the Mavic can be programmed to hover in place or automatically “go home”, or to wherever the controller may be – if you happen to be on the move.  The bottom line is that this craft is not a toy and with proper training, it has some serious tactical applications.  I have detailed a series of flight testing below to show that the Mavic can successfully drop a small payload via parachute for very little cost.

Before I continue, I want to quickly get two things out-of-the-way.  First, I have no connection at all to DJI and receive zero in return from them for writing this article. Secondly, you may be asking yourself, why do I keep referring to these machines as UAVs?  The simple answer is that I believe the use of the word “drone” does not do a UAV justice.  A drone can be a form of AI (a robot), or some other ground based machine or gadget.  Back in the mid to late 80s, prior to the adoption of the term Unmanned Air Vehicle, the pioneers initially used the term “Remotely Piloted Vehicles”, or RPVs.  I will use both RPV and UAV interchangeably as I believe these terms better define the Mavic.  That said, I realize most people refer to them as drones as do I in other content that I produce.

Much like most advanced technology, the consumer use of UAVs was born from the pioneers in the US Government that began using them for surveillance and lethal applications in the late 1980s/early 1990s.  The technology was cutting edge at the time, but rudimentary by today’s standards.  Think of the difference between the first cell phones versus the smartphones of today.

Additionally, the concept of using UAVs to many in the Government was scary.  In the beginning, they were inherently unstable and a lost signal would result in a crash.  They could only be tested on military ranges or large swathes of private land, primarily with the sanction of generous landowners in the Southwest.  As an added obstacle, some in the Government lacked foresight into the program capabilities and wanted to cut off funding as they believed these vehicles could never be stable or reliable enough to use in tactical situations.  Thankfully, the ragtag team of pioneers persevered and were able to eventually produce one of the first stable

DJI Mavic Pro Fly More Combo: Foldable Propeller Quadcopter Drone Kit with Remote, 3 Batteries, 16GB MicroSD, Charging Hub, Car Charger, Power Bank Adapter, Shoulder Bag

UAVs of its kind known as the gas-powered EXDRONE (I never liked the name).  Launched from a rocket, or as I refer to it as a big bottle rocket, the EXDRONE had a rudimentary autopilot, with a fraction of the accuracy built into the Mavic Pro, that has a built-in GPS.  It also had a real-time video feed, mostly unheard of at the time.  Basically, a heading could be programmed into its system, but the EXDRONE required some old school flight planning including wind calculations.  With some bright communication experts on hand to fine tune the antennas, the RPV range was extended from about 20 miles to 50 miles, and teams along the route could be deployed along high points to keep line of sight for the real-time video feed and take control as necessary utilizing a regular Futaba controller, which was the prevalent RC aircraft controller at the time (and still now to a certain extent).  Each team would have its own portable base unit and use a 4×4 Sony video screen to navigate along the flight path.  As a note, prior to the autopilot, the teams would need to fly it manually from the start and practice handing it off by giving notification to the forward team that they were turning off their Futaba in “3, 2, 1”….  At the same time the forward team would turn their controller on when the countdown ended.  This “handoff” was the time when the RPV was at most risk.  Lost communication would result in a crash.  Again, the technology was rudimentary, but it was shown that forward surveillance could be achieved via UAV.

These pioneers had no idea that what they were doing would eventually provide a huge impact in keeping the world safe from terrorism.  Given the limited technology, support, and budget, it was hard for them to see the eventual development of RPVs such as the Predator and its use of hellfire missiles to take out terrorist targets.  In my view, we are still in the infancy of the UAV revolution.  The technology is advancing faster than ever and there are still many yet untapped uses for these vehicles.

Some preppers may still be hesitant on the utility of RPVs such as the Mavic Pro.  With a cost of $1000, it is not inexpensive, but given the possible uses in a SHTF scenario, it may be the best money you ever spent.  Let’s first take a brief look at some of the specific features of the Mavic and why I think it gives you the best bang for the buck.  I will follow with some tactical uses with a specific design I am testing to deploy a small payload.  I am sure some of the smarter readers can think of other uses and I would be happy to see them in the comments.

Features of Mavic Pro – base cost $1000

27 Minute Flight Time/4.3 Mile Range – The Mavic comes with one battery that gives a 27 minute flight time after a full charge.  This time is a little better than the average UAV.  The 4.3 mile range is one of the furthest ranges out there in the consumer market.  A reasonably priced special antenna boosting apparatus ($13.99/Amazon) can be used to boost the range of the transmitter, though given a 27 minute flight time limitation, flying out too far may drain out the battery on the return trip.   In contrast, the DJI Matrice 100 has a 40 minute flight time, but it is over triple the price of the Mavic.  Additionally, the range of the Matrice 100 is less than 3 miles.  If budget permits, it would be optimum to obtain a few extra batteries, which cost $89 each.  One benefit of using the Litchi software is that it will give an estimated flight plan time (assuming no wind) to prevent the battery from fully draining.

Lightweight, Foldable Arms and Props – The Mavic arms and props fold up nice and neatly to easily fit in a small backpack for deployment.  Alternatively, there are many hardshell cases available on Amazon if better protection for the RPV and its accessories are required.

Software – The Mavic can be controlled using free DJI GO software or via Litchi.  With DJI GO, there is currently no autopilot capability except auto takeoff and land.  I enjoy the use of this software when just flying around the vicinity to have fun.  It is not, however, recommend it for mission style sorties.  For missions, the Litchi software is highly recommended.  As mentioned above, a flight plan can be programmed into the aircraft so that you can concentrate on the real-time video feed to gather intelligence.  As mentioned previously, altitude changes, POI camera focus, loitering, and speed changes are all standard Litchi features.  In my view, Litchi is superior to the DJI app in with the exception of not having the ability to “Go Live”, namely on Facebook or YouTube (DJI allows live broadcasts).  You can also store missions for future repeat use.  Lastly, the software provides real-time verbal telemetry feedback (altitude, distance, battery power, etc.), which comes in handy if you might be focusing your attention on a POI.  The Litchi learning curve is helped with tons of YouTube instructional videos.

Collision Avoidance – The Mavic, unlike many similarly priced competitor UAVs, has a collision avoidance system built-in.  Even if you tried to manually fly it into an obstacle, the Mavic avoidance system would first beep as a warning and then stop.

Insurance – It is highly recommended to purchase DJI insurance ($99.00) which even covers damage from crashing into water.  It can be used twice.

Limitations

No Thermal Camera Capability – At the time of this writing, I do not know of any plans by DJI to offer a version of their Zenmuse thermal camera on the Mavic Pro.  In my opinion, a thermal camera offering would put this RPV at the top of the heap for first responders and the military, giving them the ability to conduct night search and rescue operations.  While the thermal cameras are not inexpensive (6-12k) for an average consumer, it would be a lot cheaper than using helicopters with FLIRs, and the Mavic noise signature would be virtually undetectable from above.

Payload Limited (not really built for payload deployment) – The Mavic is really not built to carry a payload.  DJI has other UAVs for this purpose, but they are triple or quadruple the cost.  

Battery Life is Average – With a 27 minute battery life between charges, any mission would be limited to a short-range, especially if you decide to embark on the payload experiment detailed below.

Tactical Applications for a Drone

Tactical Use Caveats – all uses assume a SHTF environment.  My scenarios also assume you have a DJI Mavic Pro, not some toy that hovers 100 feet in the air.  Additionally, keep in mind the FAA has an altitude limit of 400 feet above ground level (AGL), no fly zones, and it is illegal to fly at night:

Threat assessment for specific location(s) – The Mavic can provide valuable intel if you might be concerned of a specific location in your vicinity.  With a preprogrammed flight plan, the UAV can circle the area from a safe distance and orient itself towards the POI.  It can be programmed to remain there as long as the battery limit permits (approximately 27 minute flight time per charge).

Avoid/Monitor Civil Unrest – In a SHTF scenario, it is quite possible there would be civil disturbance as people run out of food, water, and medical supplies.  Prior to making supply runs, the Mavic can scout ahead to determine if there are pockets of unrest blocking your route.

Avoid Capture by Hostiles – Much like the civil unrest scenario, the Mavic might provide some help in trying to avoid captors.  In this scenario, you might have a further standoff or climb to a higher altitude to minimize UAV detection.  The Mavic is pretty quiet and cannot be heard and is hard to see at 400 feet AGL.  In a SHTF environment, if the altitude limits go out the window, it would allow for an even further standoff.

Zombie Horde Herding/Redirection – I actually have to give my 16 year son credit for this one.  Given zombie affinity for sound, if flown low enough, the Mavic RPV could redirect a zombie horde away from you.  In all seriousness, I am sure there are some readers that can think of real life diversionary tactics that might be applied utilizing the Mavic (I mean no offense to Zombies).  I can see some kind of small battery operated sound generator, maybe on a timer, being attached and used as a diversion prior to an offensive (or defensive) operation.

Scout for Water/Food Supplies/Vehicles – Food, water, and other supplies will become harder to find in a disaster scenario.  While large bodies of water might be easier to identify, the Mavic may be able to assist in finding some lesser known streams or tributaries.  Additionally, while drones cannot be used for hunting, all bets are off in a survival situation.  The Mavic can help to possibly locate wildlife and even herd them towards your location.

Disaster Surveillance (Inaccessible Area) – A survival situation can occur not only from nefarious individuals/governments, but also from natural disasters such as earthquakes, tornados, and hurricanes.  In August of 1992 I was at ground zero in S.W. Miami Florida in my house with my mother and brother when Category 5 Hurricane Andrew hit.  For anyone that was there, they would remember that it hit landfall at 4:30 AM and the worst of it lasted for about two hours.  It was a relatively small hurricane, but it left $23 billion in damage in its aftermath (As a memento, I framed the front page of the August 25th Miami Herald publication, titled “Destruction at Dawn”, where the picture taken was about a mile from my house).

It was almost like a nuclear bomb hit, and it was this event that spurred me into a prepper mindset in my 20s.  Communities were reduced to rubble.  There were many dishonest people both within and from out-of-state who swooped in and took advantage of the less fortunate.  It was sickening to see blocks of ice being sold for $50.00, and $300.00 generators being sold for thousands.  The roads were not navigable due to flooding and debris.  I think back quite often as to how a Mavic Pro could have helped us avoid a lot of dead ends, obstacles, and gridlock in trying to get out of the city, which would not restore full power for 6 months.

Small Payload Drop – In certain scenarios, small amounts of food, medical supplies, or communications can be dropped from a Mavic.  By my best estimates, the Mavic has between a 1-2 lb. payload capability.  I am currently flight testing it for payload stability and experimenting with a payload drop mechanism that does not require the addition of any electronics.  If you use the idea below, I just ask that proper credit for the theory be given (a link to this article would be greatly appreciated).  I have not seen too many YouTube videos with Mavic payload experiments, so I will share my idea as I believe we all benefit if someone has success.  Here is a YouTube link to the maiden voyage where the Mavic drops a 1.5 lb. ham radio.  It is recommended you have a detailed plan and be sure to consult some flight testing reference material.  If you decide to experiment on your own, perform tests in small increments at low altitudes.  Keep good notes, develop a flight test checklist, and be aware of your area.  Most of all, expect that things will not goes as planned and both major and minor adjustments will be required:

 

Eight Design Payload Deployment Criteria

  • Low cost, material readily available
  • Max 2 LB payload (actual payload weight will be determined during flight testing)
  • Use of parachute to drop from high altitudes, protecting the payload
  • No servos or other added electronics
  • Aircraft stability
  • Avoid prop wash
  • Simple to Fabricate
  • Reusable

Theory – Before you crack up laughing at some of the materials, keep in mind that I have a method to my madness and an Aerospace Engineering degree with some UAV flight testing experience.  Before the current technological revolution in UAVs, in the late 80’s and early 90’s, the pioneers activated certain features during flight by extreme altitude drop (free fall).  The solution offered below utilizes this same premise, mixing old theory with the new technology demonstrated with the DJI Mavic Pro.  All of the items were purchased on EBay for less than $20.00.  Keep in mind I have seen payload release systems that range from $100-$1000, all of which are servo actuated.  These are great, but I do not know of any application that uses a payload mechanism without having to add some kind of electronic actuation.

Design – A Tupperware container will be attached to the four UAV arms via fishing line and zip ties.  Eye hooks will be fastened to the four corners of the container, hung from the arms via four pieces of fishing line, each cut to 2 feet.  The end result would be that the container with payload will fly approximately 2 feet below the UAV to avoid prop wash.  Four lines were used for flight stability purposes.  The payload will be attached to a parachute via zip ties and placed in the container.

A trap door will be fabricated at the bottom of the container with a release mechanism that uses gravity to release the payload.  You can buy a 36” flare parachute on eBay or fabricate a parachute from bedsheets (36” is the size needed to safely drop up to a 2 LB payload – there are templates online).  The payload will be dropped by using its own weight first by vertically rising at the fastest rate possible, then descending quickly to break the bond of the release mechanism.  The trap door “release will be fabricated from a black office clip, zip ties, and an electrical connector.  The trap door was made by cutting out three sides of the bottom part of the container, leaving one short side intact.

The reason for leaving one side intact is that it will act as a “hinge” to allow the payload to fall through.  I also put duct tape around the edges of the cuts so the parachute would not get snagged.  The free side of the trap door will be attached to the side of the container utilizing the zip ties, the electrical connector, and office clip.

The idea is that the weight of the payload, combined with a sudden upward or downward movement, will cause the electrical connector to release from the office clip, allowing the payload to deploy through the trapdoor at the bottom of the container.  The payload I used is a Baofeng BF-F8HP ham radio.   I attached it with the antenna via zip ties to the chute.

Photo 6 shows the whole contraption attached to the UAV. A radio was chosen as a payload to illustrate a real live first responder scenario, where communications might be desired with individuals in an area rendered inaccessible due to a natural disaster.

Challenges/Risks

  • The payload may be too heavy for the container and deploy before desired
  • Wind may cause the payload to prematurely deploy
  • The fishing line could break and get tangled into the props, causing catastrophic failure
  • Sudden RPV turns or altitude change can prematurely deploy the parachute
  • The setup may cause unstable flight
  • Flight time most likely shortened
  • Undue strain on electrical system

The key to success is to find the optimum payload weight so that the UAV can fly stable without premature deployment.

If it is too heavy, the payload will be deployed before it is desired since the mechanism works via gravity.  If too light, it would not deploy at all.  Once the optimum weight is found, quarters can be added or removed to balance it out depending on the payload.

As you can see, though the Mavic cannot carry huge payloads like some of its older brothers and sisters in the DJI line up, I believe you get the most bang for the buck if you want to utilize it in a SHTF scenario or even as a First Responder.  With a little bit of ingenuity, I am sure others can come up with a fancier/prettier payload release for the system.

The post DJI Mavic Pro Unmanned Air Vehicle – The Ultimate Prepper X-Factor appeared first on The Prepper Journal.

Introduction to Gunsmithing – Part 2

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Written by John Hertig on The Prepper Journal.

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

Other Tool Considerations

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Knowledge

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

Gunsmithing the AR-15, The Bench Manual

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

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

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

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

Skills

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

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

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

Parts

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

Gunsmithing, Why Bother?

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

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

Emergency Bags Every Prepper Needs to Have

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

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


Prepping is not an easy job as you always have to be prepared for the worst. Still, while everyone talks about the supplies you need to carry no one actually specifies what to carry all this stuff in. Your emergency bag is just as important as the supplies inside it, so pay close attention to what you are buying.

The good news is that there are tons of bags out there that will do well as emergency bags. The bad news – it can often be intimidating when deciding which one to choose. This is why we’re going to go over the basics of emergency bags with you, so you know exactly which type you should purchase for different situations.

The Features You Should Be Looking For

Make sure your emergency bag has the following properties:

Lightweight: The importance of an emergency bag’s weight cannot be over-stressed. You don’t know how long you’ll be carrying it around, so you need something which is lightweight and thus will not hinder your movement. You need to put a lot of survival gear in there, so the bag itself should not add much to the weight.

Some bags can weigh as much as one-third of your body weight, once filled. While these bags are spacious and you can pack a lot of supplies in them, they are difficult to haul around for a long time. It is better, therefore, to choose a lighter model.

Subtle is Best: Sure, pink or orange is your favorite color, but when it comes to choosing an emergency bag, go for a dull, solid color. Your bag should not be screaming, “Look at me!” Black works perfectly because it is not visible at night, and also it does not draw attention to itself. In an emergency situation, you do not want people to focus on your gear and blending in with the surroundings is your best bet.

Internal Frame: An internal frame backpack is a better option because it lets you move freely. You can walk, run, jump or climb without the bag hindering your progress. This kind of bag hugs your back and thus feels more comfortable.

Waterproof: Make sure your bag is waterproof. After all, you do not want all your supplies to get wet when it rains or snows.

Size: Don’t go for something which is too big. Again, it draws too much attention to itself and you might find yourself in trouble as people try to rob you thinking you have a ton of supplies in there. Also, the larger the size, the more difficult it will be to carry the bag. At the same time, the bag should be spacious enough that it lets you carry everything inside.

Rush 24 by 5.11 – Great option for a Go Bag.

A good idea is to measure your own height from shoulders to the torso. Your bag should be around this big. If it is bigger, it will ride below your hips and thus bang against them every time you move. If it is smaller, it will be too high up on your back and will not feel comfortable.

Durability: The bag you buy should be built to withstand the elements. If a zip breaks, or a strap tears, you will be in huge trouble. Never compromise on the durability of a bag, even if you need to spend more. The fabric of the bag should also be tough.

Compartments: Bags which have many zippered compartments are easy to handle as you can organize your goods. That way, whenever you need anything, you do not have to turn all the contents topsy-turvy to find it. It also lets you prioritize your stuff so you know where the important things are.

Comfort Level: Your emergency bag is something you will be wearing for extended periods of time, as in a bug out situation you will constantly be on the move. Before you purchase your bag, wear it to see if it adjusts well to your body shape and structure. The straps should be adjustable and comfortable; they should not dig into your shoulders and waist. The bag should lie comfortably across your back and not bounce around too much when you move.

It should also be easy to wear and remove your bug out bag. You don’t want to spend ages putting it on and adjusting the straps every single time.

Types of Bags

Gerber and Maxpedition make smaller but tough as nails bags to hold plenty of survival gear

Let’s talk about the different types of emergency bags in the market, and which one will suit your specific needs.

Go Bag or 72- Hours Bag

This bag will sustain you for three days, and is best used in case of a natural disaster, when help might be on the way. The go bag is only large enough to carry three days’ worth of food and water supplies. You can also pack some essential tools (like a knife) and a first aid kit, but that is basically all you need.

Car Bag

This kind of bag is meant for people who travel via car a lot. The bag will have tools and supplies to repair your car, like a jumper cable and tire repair tools, so if you are stranded on the road, you can fix your vehicle and get going. The bag should also have other essential items, like food and water which will sustain you for about a day, in case you cannot fix your car and thus have to wait for help.

Bug Out Bag

A bug out bag is something which will sustain you for a long time. This bag is meant to carry supplies which will help you survive in any dangerous situation. The bag not only has food and water, it also has supplies which will help you make it on your own in the wilderness.

If the situation gets so bad that you need to leave your house and go to the wild to survive, alone, you need this bag. Here, you will have cooking supplies, hunting gear, change of clothes, fire starters, a knife, medical kit and other goods which will help you.

Duffel Bag

A tactical duffle is another option to quickly store a lot of gear.

A duffel bag can be used as an emergency bag if you have nothing else at hand. It is spacious and large and thus you can fit a lot of your gear inside. However, keep in mind that it is not the ideal option. You cannot compartmentalize the goods in a duffel bag, and just have to stuff everything in the same big space. This can prove to be rather cumbersome if you need something which you packed in the bottom of your bag.

Get your Emergency Stuff Ready

You never know when disaster might strike, so there is no time like the present to prepare yourself. Get a great bug out bag and pack your supplies so you can be ready to leave in a few minutes, if you need to. Remember, surviving in the wild is difficult, but not impossible. If you have the right equipment, you can certainly make it.

Do you have any particular bag you want us to know about? Let us know your preference in the comments section.

About the Author: Daniel Carraway knows everything there is to know about survival, hiking, camping and backpacking materials. If you want a review of any gear, he would totally be the best person to ask and he can also tell you a lot more about the best bug out bag backpack. Daniel learned a lot from attending REI Outdoor School, and one day he hopes that all his knowledge will help him in climbing the highest peak in the world.

The post Emergency Bags Every Prepper Needs to Have appeared first on The Prepper Journal.

The Top 10 Survival Supplies That Can Save Your Life

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

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


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

1. Dry bags

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

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

2.Fire starters

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

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

3. Sleeping bag

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

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

4. Water purification tablets

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

5. Canned liquids

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

6. First Aid Kit

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

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

7. Bear pepper spray

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

8.Fishing line

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

9. A proper map of your immediate location

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

10.Fuel

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

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

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

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

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

Introduction to Gunsmithing – Part 1

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Written by John Hertig on The Prepper Journal.

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

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

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

Tools for Disassembly and Reassembly

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tools for Maintenance and Testing

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

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

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

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

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

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

Prepper Must-Haves: Vices

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Written by R. Ann Parris on The Prepper Journal.

Are vices really and truly a must-have item? No. History is full of periods and survival situations, particularly during the exploration of the colder climates, when even people accustomed to “modern” conveniences went months and years without goodies.

Our vices aren’t necessary to our survival in many cases, but when you cut us off from them, hard times and adjustments just get harder.

The ramifications on families and partnerships in stressful but not life-threatening situations are out there to be viewed in rates of dissolution’s, divorce, separation, domestic violence, addiction-abuse, and suits and counter-suits. If you think a crisis will smooth those away, I have a bridge to sell ya.

We can add one more stress to those difficult times, or we can find alternatives (some of them long-term sustainable) and plan supplies and caches to make things as easy as possible.

Top Vices

Some of the top vices are going to be sugar and caffeine, with tobacco and alcohol right there with them. I can’t do anything to prepare a family to lose internet and TV besides make sure we have puzzles and games, but I can slow our transition away from some of our other vices.

Bad times are already stressful, and we’re already looking at making some hard adjustments. Things that we consume daily before we even feel human are worth stocking – in bulk and out of proportion to the rest of my supplies, really.

If I like coffee, I might also consider stockpiling tea. I can get gallons to the cup per dollar for tea, without taking up much if any more space than pre-ground or instant coffee.

If I’m in a warm enough climate, I might even go so far as to plan greenhouse or protected space for a yaupon holly for caffeine and tea camellia species. Herbal teas will lack the zing, but many tea herbs have the benefit of being perennials and hardy.

There are a wide range of trees that can be tapped for syrup, all of which (and honey) will boil down into candy or can be dried to crystals. Sugar beets and stevia are just two options for producing sweet syrups and flavor at home even outside sugarcane territory.

Everyday Cravings = Higher Priorities

While we tend to look at sugar, caffeine, alcohol and tobacco as the common vices and see them high on bartering lists, they’re not the only things we’re doing without. Pure sugar is a fantastic preparedness item with both vice and food-preservation value, but we don’t all have a sweet tooth.

Our vices are our feel-goods.

They’re our comfort foods – be they salty or sweet or savory – activities, and even exercise or hobbies. All of those may be crimped in an emergency, whether it’s widespread or personal.

Know your actions, and those of family.

Just because my priority leads me to crunchy-salty goodies and chicken broth, and I am willing to scoff off sweets, without sweets my lover is pretty miserable. He is also annoying, gets antsy, and breaks down and goes to the store.

When determining priorities (and budgets), snag and stash the store receipts for a couple of weeks or months. Snag them ahead of holidays and in-family events as well. Do it in all four seasons.

They will rock-solid determine what you’re getting, and even when.

Just going by the shopping list and menu plan isn’t enough. I recently realized that a full third of our Walmart-supermarket spending is not on the lists. They’re not even impulse. They’re actually the things my lover ends up going to the store for because they aren’t on my radar as much.

Those are the kinds of everyday priority to watch for.

My vices, my parents, the kids’ – they’re taken into account with small, compact puzzles to bring out, stashed books, a portable hard drive of movies, little games, baking mixes, inexpensive instant pudding, Hershey’s syrup, and the ability to add crunch to our lives on a regular basis through familiar cold cereals, chips, crackers and dry cookies.

It didn’t actually add all that much to the preparedness budgets to do it, and it allows “treats” and normalcy in unrest, even if I never harvest anything else.

Anticipated Cravings

We can look at history and the way modern North Americans and Western Europeans eat to anticipate some of the food cravings we’re likely to see and can account for with our storage.

Meat – For most of us, meat is going to become a treat, just as it has been for most of human history. It will go back to being more of a flavoring, especially if a crisis drags on.

Anticipating that, I stock it.

I have no lost love for t-rats and MREs. I dislike canned meats pretty much across the board. But they’re in my pantries and caches, because the men in my life will dive after them, and I might wind up desperate enough to eat my share.

Things like pouches of bacon bits, canned hash, the less-expensive freeze-dried meats like crumbled sausage, and the TVP-soy products we can buy for long storage can at least give me and my guys some flavor and the hint of our usual meats.

Things like Slim Jim’s and small beef sticks can be used as a snack, presented as a whole to bite into, or sliced into cold pasta and wheat salads.

Non-Spoon Foods – Maybe somebody eats oatmeal and farina, soup for lunch, and Hamburger Helper or shepherd’s pie pretty much daily. Most of us are probably accustomed to picking up, cutting or stabbing something somewhere through there.

For parts of the growing season, we can adapt how we prepare fresh foods to create a fork-and-knife meal. Some fruit trees will also allow us to present a crunchy for weeks or sometimes a couple of months after harvest.

One advantage to MRE entrees like the feta chicken is that it’s not as gag-worthy, but also, it’s a nice, whole breast portion. You can flake it with a spoon, but you can also stick it on a bun or a bed of couscous.

Planning for pancakes and omelets, to turn Bisquick into pseudo-tortillas, stashing dry cookies in canning jars with oxygen absorbers, and stashing bigger pastas and spaghetti for fork meals will help alleviate the boredom with spoon meals.

Dairy/Cheese – Without dairy animals and specific skills, a long-term crisis will affect us hard and fast in the cheese category. We love fresh cheese. I’m lucky enough that we also really like Bega, and I buy it on sale cycles.

Local stores sell tins of mild cheddar chip sauce at a fairly reasonable price, and it can readily top potatoes or be used as a cracker spread or pretzel dip, even if chips are painful to store due to the bulk they require. Velveeta and Cheez Whiz live on shelves as-is, too. Cheese soup can season rice, potatoes and macaroni.

Powdered parm from the pasta aisle can at least impart some flavors and toast up on top of zucchini, or be used in pasta salad.

There are shelf-stable cheese sticks and slices from companies like Northwoods and those awful combo packets put out by Jack Links and others, but they’re almost as expensive as freeze-dried cheese (and soooo much worse tasting).

I also keep most of the cheese packets that come in our processed foods. I dislike them, but as mentioned in the article about canning jars, being able to whip them up to top or season something makes them well worth a few oxygen absorbers.

Portion Control

The canning jar article also talked about portion control, and how I accomplish it on a regular basis. That goes for both the annual “events” and the weekly-monthly allowances we put back.

If we’re accustomed to free-grazing coffee and tea (I am), we may very well start our path to ratcheting back by only pulling out enough for a day at a time instead of buying things in a giant tub. Maybe we only buy instant packets for a week or a month, and keep it somewhere *else* in the house or kitchen to keep us and our families from snagging out of habit. As we adjust to our new levels, we might bring it out more often.

Cool drinks are another place where we might portion things out.

Instead of mixing up a pitcher and trusting all the kids (and adults) to pour the same amounts, which is bound to lead to arguments (adults, too), maybe we stash a rotating couple of short juice bottles with the wider mouths. We mix up the pitcher, everybody gets their (labeled) bottles. Once that’s gone, that’s it. No discussion of “I only poured half a glass earlier” or “everybody’s pouring extra and I only got half a cup” or “I’ve only had one cup of coffee, but the whole tub is empty, and now I want my second cup with my cookie”.

And I’m serious – anticipate that stress and aggravation or just personalities will pull that crap out of adults as well.

Once things settle into a new normal, no big deal. But I can drink an entire pot of coffee without realizing it until it’s empty, and I’ve seen people mow through a bag of chips or pack of cookies one or two at a time without realizing just how many they’re having.

Portioning things out can also help us truly plan for daily, weekly and monthly uses.

Not everything needs to be strictly regimented, but some things are really easy, and would be easy to lean on early, until they’re all gone. That big stack of canned meats looks like a lot, but can drop fast.

A case of canning jars (or three) and a couple of boxes or kitty litter buckets labelled 1-12, cold or warm, lets us really and truly portion things out.

Pudding fits 3, 5 or 6-8 in a jar, and might be a monthly or quarterly allowance. We might stick our Lorna Doone’s and Cheez-Its in baggies before we put them in a Mylar bag, and take out only this week’s or month’s to jazz up a plate or have as a snack. Instead of just calling it “good” with a few dollar-store boxes of Slim Jims and pepperoni, a test run and then busting in and separating will help them last, in an appropriate amount.

Vices in a Crisis

Not all disasters are equal. Some are very personal, and some are widespread – localized, regional, national, international. Some are short term, while some leave a question mark and some we can anticipate being truly devastating and taking years to recover from.

Or stored supplies and our resupply-production plans should reflect those varying possibilities.

Regardless of the crisis, it’s likely to be stressful. Change itself is stressful. Combining the two is already a recipe for hard times.

Adding the dynamic of spouses and family, any partners, and the potential of neighbors and coworkers to still be contending with creates additional stresses and variables.

Regularly our vices are not all that good for us. It’s still not a great idea to go cold turkey on all of them immediately or shortly after a life-altering job loss, spouse/partner death that affects funds, natural disaster, long-term outage or rolling brown-outs, or big-time disaster.

At no other time in our lives are we likely to be so grateful for whatever our vice is – a couple little cookies and a cup of tea, strawberry syrup for topping pancakes, campfire tin-can cakes topped with applesauce, something nice and salty and crunchy, popcorn with Molly McButter, a cracker-cheese-meat snack or meal after a week of beans and various grains, a new puzzle or game, the ability to put our feet up and watch a show, or delighting Grandpa and the kids with some little Lego vehicle kits to then race across the dining room table.

With a little forethought and planning, we can readily and affordably still have and give our loved ones those feel-goods, to enjoy with a candlelit game of Tsuro or clustered around a screen watching old cartoons. They’ll offer breaks from reality, just as they do now, and help destress our lives a little.

The post Prepper Must-Haves: Vices appeared first on The Prepper Journal.

Wilderness Safety Tips for Women

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

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


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

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

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

Physically and Emotionally Fit

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

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

1. Exercise

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

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

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

2. Survival Course

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

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

3. First Aid and Quick Response

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

4. No Giving Up

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

5. The Mind Game

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

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

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

6. Gun and Ammunition

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

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

Conclusion

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

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

The post Wilderness Safety Tips for Women appeared first on The Prepper Journal.

Building Your Own Firearms (Part 2 – The Methods)

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Written by John Hertig on The Prepper Journal.

[NOTE:  I am not a lawyer, or a representative of any law enforcement or government agency.  The information provided here is the best I could find, but must not be taken to be legal advice.   If you decide to engage in the described activity, you assume all responsibility of ensuring that this information is CURRENTLY accurate, and investigating the CURRENT state and local laws of your location.  Furthermore, you assume all legal and physical liability resulting from your engagement in this activity.] 

In the last article, we looked at the option of building your own firearm and found that it is (or was) legal (most places in the U.S.)   And we saw how it could possibly cause you legal problems even though you met all laws and regulations.  Also, note that although it might not necessarily be the cause of legal problems, if someone were to steal your self-manufactured non-serialized firearm there would not be a reliable way to get it back if it ever shows up again.

Fortunately, there is a way to reduce these annoyances.

How to Improve the Situation

As mentioned, no serial number is required by Federal law or regulation on your self-manufactured firearm.  But, rightly or wrongly, (modern) firearms without serial numbers are looked at with suspicion, and might even violate State or Local law.  To avoid this problem, as well as be able to identify it as yours, put on a valid serial number.  This gives you the “appearance of legality” and some recourse if the firearm is lost or stolen.  Even if you intend for no government organization or database to ever be aware of the firearm, you might as well meet BATFE regulations that serial numbers be “unique” and “hard to alter or remove”.  Practically (and legally), this means the serial number should be unique TO YOU (that is, don’t make several with the same serial number or use “trivial” serial numbers like “1”), and should be at least 0.003″ deep and 1/16″ high in a visible, non-removable location on the receiver.  It is best to do this before the 80% receiver has any work done, so it can be easily shipped, and anyone can do the engraving for you if you prefer.  Once you make even a start finishing the receiver, it is considered to be a firearm and getting any professional to work on it is has risk of violating laws or regulations, to the detriment of everybody involved.  While you are at it, there is some additional specified text, which if you include on the receiver, makes it even less “suspicious” looking.

These are the same labeling requirements that a licensed manufacturer must follow, specified in 27 CFR § 478.92, making the self-manufactured firearm appear “equivalent” to a commercial firearm.  Several text elements are specified by this regulation:

  • (A) The model, if such designation has been made; if no model is intended, no model marking is required.
  • (B) The caliber or gauge; for an AR-15, whose caliber is not controlled by the receiver, this is not required on a receiver for which the caliber has not been finalized. You could mark the receiver “Caliber: Multi” or “Caliber: Various” if you wanted.  When you assemble the complete firearm, the exact caliber is to be engraved somewhere; the barrel would seem to be the most reliable location, since that is the thing which actually determines caliber.  If you know what caliber it will become and that the caliber will never change, then you can mark that caliber on the receiver if you prefer (I wouldn’t).
  • (C) The name of the maker or an abbreviation recognized by the BATFE (usually the DBA name on the manufacturing license). Since you don’t have a license, you don’t have a “recognized abbreviation”, but since you are not a licensed manufacturer, you don’t HAVE to put your name.  I wouldn’t; I’m still stuck with a bunch of obsolete stuff which I can’t get rid of because of the old “just engrave your social security number on it to discourage thieves” suggestion.  Initials or a nick name should be an adequate alternative for a self-manufactured firearm.
  • (D) The city and state where it was made.

Starting in 1994, when “assault weapons” were banned, any new “assault weapon” also had to be marked “RESTRICTED LAW ENFORCEMENT/GOVERNMENT USE ONLY” or, in the case of firearms manufactured for export, “FOR EXPORT ONLY”.  Although the AR-15 is (wrongly) considered by many (including the government, who ought to know better) to be an “assault weapon”, this ban expired (due to a 10 year sunset provision) in 2014, making this annoying marking fortunately no longer required, even though the regulations have not been updated to remove this wording.

There is no law or regulation requiring the safety to be marked, but if you are already doing any stamping/engraving/etching, you might as well mark the FIRE and SAFE positions.

The SBR, Another Risk

Most people know that a SBR (Short Barreled Rifle) with a barrel less than 16″ or an overall length less than 26″ is illegal, at least without going through the registration and taxation process the BATFE uses for “non-sporting or destructive” weapons defined by the NFA (National Firearms Act of 1935).  If you make your own firearms, you need to make sure that not only do you never create a SBR, but don’t even give the appearance of intending to do so.  If you build your own rifle and then decide you would rather turn it into a pistol, don’t.  You would be creating a SBR, which would be illegal unless you filled out all the paperwork and paid the $200 tax stamp in advance.  If you even store a receiver which was originally built as a rifle with the parts to make a pistol, you could be in for harassment.  A better process is to get the receiver intending to make it a pistol, document that intention via notarized statement, and then keep the receiver separate from any obvious rifle parts until the pistol is completed.

Note that there is no problem with turning a pistol into a full-sized rifle, and even turning it back into a pistol (ATF ruling 2011-4).  Just make sure that you never “pass through” a state where it has a stock and short barrel and, per the regulations quoted in the ruling, it would be risky to store a receiver which was made as a rifle “in close proximity” to a short barrel.

What You Need to Complete the Receiver

The key characteristic of a legal non-completed receiver (at least for AR-15 and AR-10 type firearms) is that the trigger/hammer cavity is not milled out.  To complete the receiver, you must mill this cavity out.  The best way, of course, is with a CNC (Computer Numerical Control) milling machine.  The odds that a person owns one of these personally or can even rent or borrow one have been infinitesimally small until recently, but there is now a company selling the “Ghost Gunner” for $1500 which may be an option if you think you might complete several receivers (or one if cost is no concern).  Possession of a “manual” mill machine is a bit more likely; you used to be able to get a “drill/mill” for very little, and can still get one for as little as $500.  A more common setup, particularly for making only one or two firearms, is a “jig” and vise used with a drill press or a good router.  You will also have to drill the holes for the hammer and trigger pins and the selector, which a drill press will do nicely, or you may be able to manage it with a hand drill.  Of course, you will need the correctly sized End Mill and drill bits, and perhaps some “cutting fluid”.  A shop vacuum to suck up the chips will be handy.  Possibly a file or Dremel tool may be needed to clean up any roughness, and for some jigs, a digital caliper will be very helpful setting your depth.   The jig will probably require some wrenches for assembly and disassembly, and safety glasses are a must.

Usually you will be working with a receiver which is made out of aluminum or a form of plastic.  If the receiver is steel or some other tough material, the drill press and router techniques probably will not be up to the task.  The “Ghost Gunner” is air-cooled and light duty, so even though it is a true mini “CNC mill”, it also will be inadequate to the task.  For a steel frame, you will probably need a true mill and lots of oil to cool and lubricate the cutter.

Make sure the jig you get is designed for the method you are using (drill press or router).  If using a drill press, remember that unlike a mill or drill/mill, it was not designed for side to side pressure, and is somewhat fragile in that axis.  When milling sideways, make sure you do shallow cuts with minimal pressure.  The router IS designed for side to side pressure, but in wood, not aluminum, so again, shallow cuts and light pressure keep the odds of disaster low.

People have been known to mess up this process, so getting a backup 80% receiver may be worth considering, particularly if you have rented or borrowed any of the equipment and can’t afford the time to order a replacement receiver.  If you want to get rid of a receiver which is past that 80% barrier but “unusable”, you shouldn’t just throw it out (because it is legally a firearm now).  Cut it in pieces so it cannot be reassembled or deliver it to the local police.

Future Changes to Laws and Regulations

Not only are there efforts at the some State and the Federal levels to “ban” (re-ban) the AR-15, but as you might expect, those who think firearm ownership needs to be tightly controlled are outraged about this self-manufacture “loophole”.  There have been and almost certainly will continue to be attempts at the Federal level to restrict self-manufactured firearms, if not entirely, at least to the same degree as commercial firearms.  And some states have and likely will continue to pass laws which directly or indirectly will limit your ability to build, or require registration of, or ban, certain firearms or types of firearms.  So if you have the skills, equipment access and desire to build your own, it might be better to start on it sooner rather than later.

The Other Options

For full disclosure, I will mention that an AR-15 receiver can also be printed using a 3D printer.  It would require a machine able to do something of that size and complexity, and using a material which was adequately strong and stable, and powered by the appropriate programming.  I don’t have any personal experience with 3D printers, and in the only case I know of where someone did print an AR-15 receiver, it was judged to be not safe or even usable without more work.  This is not to say the technology is not viable, or even will never be viable, just that I would want to see it “proved” and reasonably priced before I considered it.

Also, you can cast your own resin receivers with metal reinforcement.  Prior to the metal reinforcement, they seemed resistant to heat, cold and chemicals, and seemed ok for aimed (slow) fire, but in rapid fire reliably cracked at the takedown hole and did deform and eventually broke when stress was applied sideways to the buffer tube.  I have no indications on whether the metal reinforcement overcomes these weaknesses, but this option seems interesting if your talents are more “chemical” than mechanical.

If you want to build a firearm, but not mess with “manufacture”, you can buy a complete “stripped” receiver through normal firearm purchase channels, making the completed firearm legally indistinguishable from one made by a licensed company.

In the next two articles, we will look at what parts you need to complete an AR-15.

The post Building Your Own Firearms (Part 2 – The Methods) appeared first on The Prepper Journal.

Altoids Survival Kits… Are a Joke

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

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


This article may open up a can of worms, but I think the premise needs to be thought on. Altoids survival kits, in my not so humble opinion, suck. It seems to be one of the favorite pastimes of the prepper/survivalist community to make and talk about these kits, and how one could “survive” with them. I think the majority of people who make one of these kits put it in their vehicle or pocket and think that they can survive anything more than a night outdoors, are kidding themselves. And unless the one night you need to survive outdoors is in a northern climate during the winter months, pretty much anyone in decent health can last a night outside without such foolish kits. In other words, the point I’m trying to make is, if all one needs is to last a night before rescue, one can stay a night without one of these kits. Or any gear for that matter. But if things are bad enough that you need a survival kit, I’d want something substantially better. I understand that survival is something that we cannot guesstimate. We don’t know how long it will be before rescue, or finding the way out. Therefore, why rely on some joke of a kit to see you through? There are better options…

The main flaw of an Altoids kit, is that you can hardly put anything in them! The three basics of survival are shelter, fire, water. After those, food, and defense. Let’s look at these basics applied to the Altoids Survival kit.

Shelter: you cannot fold up a tarp to put in an Altoids Survival tin. How much paracord can you get into a tin along with all the other stuff? Not much. A primary tool to make shelter is a good fixed blade knife. I’ve seen where some pics displayed a Swiss Army knife in the kit. I’ve built many shelters in the outdoors and not a one of them would I wanted to have to use a Swiss Army knife to build them with. In reality, the main blade of a Swiss Army knife is good for not much more than sharpening a stick to cook a hot dog on. It isn’t made for heavy-duty use. Now in certain areas and climates of the country, you may not even need a knife to make a debris shelter. But I assure you, in the northern climates where I live, you will need a substantial shelter when snow is on the ground. One that will require a sturdy framework. Which means having a capable cutting/chopping tool. Ever baton firewood with a Swiss Army knife? No me neither.

You can fit a lot of things in an Altoids Survival Tin, but will it help you Survive?

Fire: OK we can put matches in an Altoids tin. Just don’t drop it in water, because the tins are not waterproof. Bic lighters when wet are iffy. Sometimes they will work sometimes they won’t. You can almost count on it NOT working when you need it most. Some of the smaller ferro rods and strikers will fit into a kit. I’m just not much of a fan of the gimmicky small equipment. When I’m cold and wet and its 30 degrees outside, I don’t want to mess around with some ferro rod that is an inch long putting out measly sparks. I want something that’s gonna rain down a shower of sparks that are 5000 degrees into my bird’s nest of tinder to get a fire going as soon as possible. Yes we can put waterproof matches in the kit. OK, I’ll give you that one. But how many are you gonna need? How many can you put into the kit still leaving space for all other items?

Water: you can’t carry any in a tin. You can’t get a water filter in a tin. The tin is hardly a container. If you’re in a desert environment, managed to get a fire going but need to boil water, your time is going to be consumed filling up your Altoids tin and boiling water because it’s not large enough to carry the necessary amount of water to stay hydrated. Depending on where the water source is, this could be a vicious circle.

Same deal with food and defense. You’re not gonna get a mountain house pouch or MRE stuffed into the kit nor will you get any kind of firearm or blade suitable for defense in one. I see lots of pics on the internet where people put band aids in them for first aid. Folks, a band-aid is NOT going to save your life! Real first aid gear deals with trauma, gunshot wounds, major lacerations, broken bones, etc. Good luck using those band aids on a compound fracture.

Does this cover the basics of Shelter, Water and Fire?

I also see people put X-acto blades in their kits. Really?! Trying to use those to cut something when your hands are freezing sounds more like a serious injury in the making. But fear not! There are much better options for a mini survival kit that will actually be of value if the time comes when you need it.

There are many manufacturers out there nowadays making pouches of all sizes, some of which are waterproof and ones that aren’t can be made waterproof by using a waterproofing type spray. These pouches are much bigger than an Altoids can but smaller than say a fanny pack or a butt pack. Lots of them have compartments and or loops made of elastic material to organize the contents. You can pack them with real first aid gear like gauze rolls, tourniquets, clotting agents, etc.

Real fire starting devices like a blast match or my favorite formerly known as the Gerber strike force. Now it’s made under Ultimate Survival Technologies, still known as the strike force. I’ve had mine over 20 years and started 100’s of fires and it’s probably got another 20 years left before I need to replace it. These pouches are large enough to pack a LifeStraw or Sawyer Mini filter to get clean water into yourself to maintain hydration. SOL makes a tarp/survival shelter that easily fits into some of these pouches. At the very least you can pack a space blanket or two. Another item which won’t fit in a tin.

My personal mini kit that I keep in my vehicle is the mini EOD pouch from High Speed Gear Inc. I’ve got enough stuffed into that pouch that I could stay a few nights outdoors, find my way, light my way, stay warm dry and hydrated. I can also stop bleeding while munching on some Cliff bars LOL. I think the Altoids kit is not a serious option when things get salty. For a little money, way better choices can be had. An Altoids kit can be better than absolutely nothing, if you have the proper items put in it, but in my opinion, it’s still a joke.

The post Altoids Survival Kits… Are a Joke appeared first on The Prepper Journal.

Bamboo – Nature’s Gift to Preppers

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Written by R. Ann Parris on The Prepper Journal.

I have a love-hate relationship with bamboo. I’m from parts of the country where the stuff takes over the edges of some roadways and chokes out some of the natural diversity found in some locations, usually locations with a lot of uses for wildlife and foraging. On the other hand, bamboo is really useful stuff. Whether somebody’s looking at a long-term, widespread, nation-altering event and wants the sustainable source of materials, or whether somebody’s just trying to save a few bucks to get ahead of the curve or save up for basic preparedness, a stand or two of bamboo has a lot to offer us. Even hitting some examples for inside and outside homes, gardens, and livestock I can’t even touch on all its uses. Feel free to list out what I miss at will, from its use as cups to the impressive BTUs bamboo can offer, furniture to bridges. It really is a handy material to locate.

Harvesting Bamboo

I’m going to encourage you to drive around looking and knock on doors or don a blaze-orange vest and harvest from roadsides instead of planting bamboo. Try to wash off boots, vehicles, and tools after any harvest of wild species, especially in damp areas. There are all kinds of things from phrag grass to kudzu that will hitch rides, plus various diseases and pests we can transfer between locations.

The great *they* like to tell us that you’re supposed to harvest bamboo from as close to the ground plane as you can.

I don’t do that.

I prefer not to create future punji sticks and heel-catchers we can’t see from all the future leaf fall. Nor do I cut at knee-height.

I tend to cut up in the rib to head level. It eats up the earth space or footprint and takes longer to die back and be replaced, true. However, pretty much nobody is going to get speared when they kneel down, nobody’s going to snag a boot or toe, and nobody’s dog is going to gash its face.

What size bamboo you want is dependent on your task, but as you harvest, don’t just abandon the leafy bits.

Remember, bamboo is really just a big, thick grass.  In most cases, the leaves make fine mulch and compost. You can also use trimmings as a fiber element for goats – especially goats that are getting rich tree and shrub fodders. Chickens and rabbits can have it as well.

There is a handy knife-type saw the Japanese and Koreans each have specifically for bamboo. I use mine for all kinds of harvests. However, for bamboo, I’m more likely to go with either style of long-handled pruners, a laminate or hardwood blade on a hacksaw, or the same on a sawsall – it depends on what’s waiting closest in my truck and sometimes how much I’m planning to harvest.

The hacksaw or pruners are handy for dropping, then immediately bucking off the tops and the leafy “branches”, and sorting as I go. I tend to always have good one-handed pruners in my pocket or bag(s), though, so there are times I alternate cutting and stripping instead.

Garden Trellis

I can’t do an article about bamboo and not talk about one of its best-known uses as a garden trellis material. However, because it is so well-known, I won’t beleaguer the point.

What I’ll say instead is that bamboo is fairly long-lived, but not indefinite, especially in the damp-soil conditions of a lot of gardens. It’s not as strong as steel. However, it is pretty tough, and it does last out a season or longer, easily. The thicker the bamboo, the longer it lasts. I will also point out that unless it’s the UV-resistant type, or painted, PVC is also going to crack under a lot of conditions – sometimes in a season, sometimes after two or three.

So if you’re able to find it for free, and are looking for a long-term sustainable material that can be whacked and added to compost or used as mulch when it’s failing, bamboo can be a super alternative to buying tomato cages or lumber for squash and bean trellises.

I also want to point out a handy trick. Instead of using just cord, or any cord at all, you can drill out holes near the tops of your poles, and use thinner stalks as a pin.

I prefer drilling bamboo while it’s green, first with a thin “standard” bit, and then either a larger drywall bit or a narrow auger, depending on the size hole and thickness of the bamboo.

You can use other lengths of bamboo as a spacer to create a wider tripod, or keep it snugged up tight for a teepee type structure.

The amount of “top” left above the holes and pin can change what the bamboo will do for you. You can lay out another thick piece or pieces across the tops to move water, form a longer bean trellis, or support a row cloth or plastic cover. Or, you can trim it nice and tight for a neater appearance and create fewer perches.

Other Garden Uses for Bamboo

Bamboo can be used in lots of other ways for our food production.

It has been used to create irrigation systems in both frigid and steamy-humid parts of the world for millennia. We can use it to create “gutter” or “PVC” style tiered raised beds for shallow-rooted plants.

It can be split or small branches can be stripped and bent while green to create exclusion nets or frames – to keep butterflies and thus their caterpillars off our plants, or to protect plants from dog tails, birds, or chickens. The same types of frames can be used to create feed-through graze boxes for chickens, preventing just how much of a plant they can reach and damage, which allows the plant to survive and grow back for continuous feeding.

It has also been used to create the framework for hoop houses.

Bamboo can be used to create our whole greenhouse, point in fact, and to build raised garden beds. By size and desired style, it can create everything from neat, tidy faces to woven wattle. It can be left raw and rustic, or have boards added to smooth the upper surface.

Again, this stuff isn’t cedar, it’s not CMU brick, and it’s not landscaping timbers. It will have to be replaced more frequently than those. However, it’s been used pretty much forever and it does offer that free, sustainable material instead of paying for something.

Fencing

While we’re building our garden out of free, sustainable materials, we might also want to fence it. Bamboo can also help either lower those costs or eliminate them.

We can weave it in wattle style, or get artsy and cute. We can fill in gaps on rail fences to prevent dogs and rabbits from slipping through, or extend the height of fencing to deter deer.

We can place it tightly or weave nearly mats with it to help buffer winds and create snow fences as well, which lets us almost pick the places snow will pile up or spread the snow load out to create lower drifts over a larger area.

Housing & Enclosures

Bamboo can also keep our livestock housed and where we put them.

From bird cages to goat pens, and even for the live otter and primate trade in parts of the world, it’s been doing so for centuries.

We can create full sheds and barns out of it, using either the lap-roof, tile or thatching styles for roofs.

We can also create fish traps and boxes of various types. Those boxes can be used in our aquaculture and aquaponics systems to separate breeders and growouts without needing separate tanks, or to purge our fish before harvest depending on our feeding systems.

Bamboo can also be used to create the drop-out or crawl-out tubes for various types of BSF larvae or mealworms for our feed systems as well.

Construction

Around the world, from places like snowy Nepal to steam Thailand, bamboo gets used for long-term construction on a regular basis.

The most effective roofing style is the split-overlap that prevents drips, although roofing is also done with mats and thatching styles using bamboo stalks and leaves.

In many cases where load-bearing is of issue, you’ll find bamboo bundled into pillars and pillars closer than we use in 2×4 stick construction.

As mentioned with beds and trellises, construction isn’t going to last forever. However, folks have been using it for centuries and in places with high winds and snow loads, they’re still using it.

If we have running water, we can use some of those eons-old construction methods to make our lives easier.

Water wheels use running waterways to lift relatively small amounts of water up into aqueduct style irrigation systems or through channels or piping to cisterns – which either hold it, or are used to create pressurized tanks to then distribute that water elsewhere.

Bamboo is also used to build mills that Westerners are more accustomed to seeing. Those mills can be used to do work directly – like threshing and grinding grain – or to spin low-level turbines for pumps or generating energy.

Similar designs for slow-moving fish wheels exist as well, spinning in rivers and streams and using scoops to drop fish into catchments. They’re not super efficient, but like a yoyo, they’re fishing while we’re off doing something else.

Creativity – Corn Crib or Coop?

Even if we don’t see plans for something straight off, the flexibility of bamboo and our minds can help us cut costs.

There’s no reason a shelf system can’t be combined with a plan for hampers to create a drying rack for foods, herbs, tea, or seeds.

Likewise, with some modifications, a coconut caddy we see from the balmy East can be modified into a corn crib, or a hay feeder that will reduce wastes and costs – even now. That caddy and what we know about cages can be used to create a bird coop or rabbit hutch, or that hutch can be converted back to grain drying and storage or curing potatoes or sweet potatoes.

We aren’t limited to the styles we see, either. While slender wands aren’t as strong, we can use them pretty much anywhere bamboo would have been split.

We can also take inspiration from the uses for bamboo, and apply them to things we may have in excess in our area, like young stands of aspen, copious privet, or willow.

Seventh Generation

As much as I love bamboo for all the things it can do, it doesn’t really belong running loose in North America. While certain species are less invasive than others, and it can be controlled by mowing around it and keeping it contained, I caution against planting it. Some of that is the Seventh Generation outlook on life. Sure, even invasive stuff can be fairly easily controlled on a property now, with mowing or due to other plantings or the terrain. But what happens when we’re no long fit and able, and it’s no longer our property?

So while I love it, I highly encourage preppers and homesteaders and craftsmen to find a patch of bamboo, not plant it. They’re out there, California to Wyoming, Florida to Vermont. They’ll usually be found on a secondary highway or county road, routinely in damper areas along those roadsides, or near homes.

The post Bamboo – Nature’s Gift to Preppers appeared first on The Prepper Journal.

Alternative Fishing Methods – When You Don’t Have Rod and Reel

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

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


Fishing is a pastime that is enjoyed by millions of people.

There is nothing more relaxing for me than watching the sun rise while I cast a line into the water. However, there is much more to fishing than the fun part of it.

Around the world, fish feed more people than just about any other source of protein. This is part of the reason why a large percentage of the world’s population lives near the water. The waters of the world are bountiful sources of life for everyone.
I realized early in my survival career that fishing was one of the best ways to get calories when your body was craving for food.

Wild edibles are perfect for some vitamins and minerals, and they help you fill your belly. However, they do not provide much like calories or protein do. Hunting and trapping are challenging. But fishing is a more consistent way to get those calories and protein. Problem is, you do not always carry the gear that is ideal for fishing.

During my first survival challenge, fish gave me the fuel I needed to keep going. I went the first day without food as I spent my time building a shelter and purifying water. The next morning, I set out at dawn with a hand line and found a pond. I fished for about an hour before snagging one of the heaviest large-mouth bass I’ve ever caught.

The fire went out in the storm overnight, and everything was wet. It took me three hours to get the fire going again. After the fish was cooked and eaten, I felt the energy flow back into my body. I relied on fish for the rest of the challenge, cooked it in water to create a warm broth.

Alternative Fishing Methods

Remember that the rest of the world have other means of fishing aside from using a rod and reel. In most survival situations, you too do not usually have this gear handy. That means that knowing how to fish in other ways is vital to your survival.

In this article, I will cover a few effective alternative fishing methods as ways to fish without standard gear.

Hand Lines

Hand-line fishing with a buzz bomb in Barkley Sound, BC.

This method is the closest approach to using a rod and reel. You still have a line with a hook on the end and some bait or lure, you just don’t have the rod and reel apparatus.

With hand lining, you whip the line around in a circle with your dominant hand. The centrifugal force creates the momentum needed to launch it in the direction you choose. It can be hard to get distance, so weighting your line is important to help with your launch.

It is also good to have a spool of some kind to keep your line from tangling. A bottle or block of wood works well. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Wrap your line around the object towards one end and hold it on the other end.
  2. When you release the line through the air, keep your spool pointed in the same direction so it easily slides off.
  3. Then re-spool the line as you pull it back in.

For many people, this is the best way to use the little fishing kit you may have in your bug out bag.

Trot Lines

A trot line is a passive method of fishing in which you set several hooks and come back later to collect your catch.

To build one, stretch out a long primary line. I typically make it about thirty feet long and tie loops in the line about every three feet. I then attach secondary lines that can be anywhere from one to three feet long. A baited hook is connected to the end of each secondary line.

It is best to tie one end above the surface and weight the other end so it sinks to the bottom. This allows you to cover every depth and also cover a wide area of the water.

There are two peak times that fishes are more likely to strike — around sunrise and sunset. Therefore, it is best to check your line just after these times to collect fish and add any bait needed.

Nets

Nets are one of the most common methods for catching fish worldwide. They allow you to actively or passively catch multiple fish at once.

Gill Net

I like using a gill net. It is set up vertically so any fish swimming through that area is caught. Passive fishing is ideal in streams, rivers, and tidal areas but can be effective in any water.

I tested out my gill net a while back in our pond and caught eleven fishes in just a few hours. An ideal net is weighted at the bottom and has floats along the top to keep it vertical. It can be tied between two trees, or a pole can be installed to hold up one side.

Throw Net

A throw net is another popular option. It can be used in any water and are active in nature. It is cast out and spun so that it expands as it flies through the air. Then it sinks and tangles the fish underneath so that they can be drawn into it.

It takes some practice to get the hang of using a throw net, but it can be extremely useful.

Jug Fishing

If you like fishing with a bobber, you may like jug fishing too.

A jug or large float is tied to a weighted line with live bait. The hook and bait drop to your desired depth and many people like to jug fish at the bottom for catfish.

You know that the line has a fish when the jug starts to move. You can either wade out to place the jug and wade back to collect it, or you can attach a drag line to draw it back from the shore.

This method works best in still lakes or ponds. Several jugs are usually set to cover more water.

Sapling Lines

Fishing with saplings is similar to fishing with a rod and reel except that there is no reeling action.

Long saplings are cut with a line attached to the narrow end. The thick end is driven into the mud along the bank, and the baited hook on the other end of the line is thrown out into the water using the same motion used with hand lining.

You can either watch the tip of the sapling for movement, or you can attach a small bell to the end to alert you of movement. Typically, several saplings are set in an area to cover more water.

I use this method to go after channel catfish in small, muddy rivers. The challenge is dragging in the fish. I suggest using leather gloves to avoid cutting your hands on the line.

Fish Traps

There are a few fish traps that can be easily made in the wild for passive fishing.

Using a Plastic Bottle

This can be used in any body of water for smaller fish. All it requires is a clear, plastic bottle. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Cut the top of the bottle just below the taper.
  2. Reverse the top so the opening is facing down.
  3. Reattach the top using cordage to sew the pieces together.
  4. You can then cut the opening to your desired size and add bait inside the trap.

Fish will swim in the opening and will get confused trying to find their way out. You may want to use a weight to hold it in place.

Using Poles or Rocks

You can also use poles or rocks to create a large trap in the shallow water. Either shove poles vertically into the bottom, or pile rocks to create walls.

You want the shape of your trap to resemble a heart with an opening at the point of the cleavage. Then choose what to do next from these options:

  • add bait
  • throw rocks to scare fish into the trap
  • just wait it out

The fish again swims into the narrow opening and gets confused trying to find the way back out. In larger traps like this, you may have difficulty catching the trapped fish.

Try throwing a bundle of tall grasses or other vegetation onto the fish and then scoop the whole bundle throwing it onto the shore. The vegetation traps the fish as you fling it aside.

Hungry? Be Creative

As you can see, there are several ways to catch a meal without using conventional gear.

Any of these fishing methods can be accomplished using items in your bug out bag along with garbage or debris you might find along your way. If your belly is rumbling and you have the time, get creative and try out one of these alternative fishing methods.

Always remember: all nets, lines, and traps should be pulled out of the water when you are done so that no fish dies unnecessarily.

The post Alternative Fishing Methods – When You Don’t Have Rod and Reel appeared first on The Prepper Journal.

Building Your Own Firearms (Part 1 – The Laws)

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Written by John Hertig on The Prepper Journal.

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[NOTE:  I am not a lawyer, or a representative of any law enforcement or government agency.  The information provided here is the best I could find, but must not be taken to be legal advice.  If you decide to engage in the described activity, you assume all responsibility of ensuring that this information is CURRENTLY accurate, and investigating the CURRENT state and local laws of your location.  Furthermore, you assume all legal and physical liability resulting from your engagement in this activity.] 

In the United States, if you want a particular firearm, and you are legally allowed to purchase that firearm by your Federal, State and Local governments, the easiest methodology is just to buy it.  This has some potential downsides.  If you buy it from a licensed dealer (a FFL – Federal Firearms License – holder), then you will need to go through a background check and fill out paperwork identifying you and the firearm, which is kept on file.  You can only buy what some company decided to make or what is left on the shelf.  Plus the price you pay will tend to be close to “list price” (or even higher if demand far outstrips supply).  Alternatively, you may be able to avoid the bureaucracy and possibly get a better price if you can find a private party with the desired firearm for sale.  Of course, then there is a risk of purchasing a stolen or defective firearm, or unintentionally violating some law with unpleasant consequences.

A third methodology is being pushed lately – making it yourself.  Most often, this is the AR-15 style firearm, although the parts for others, including the AR-10 (Armalite), AR-308 (DPMS), 1911 (Colt), 10/22 (Ruger), AK47 and even some Glocks, seem to be available.  Such a firearm is often referred to as a “Ghost Gun” because it does not exist in any firearms database.  Can you really do this?  Yes (most places in the U.S., as of early 2017 at least), although there are some potential “gotchas” which those pushing this methodology either don’t know or don’t care if you know.

Building your own firearms may be a pain, unless you like doing mechanical things like that, and might well cost you more than just buying the thing ready-made, especially if you have to buy the tooling.  The advantages (other than pride and any fun you have) are that you can get exactly what you want, you will know how to repair and modify it, and you don’t need to have the background check or fill out the paperwork, either of which could ease confiscation some day.  No, this is not paranoia; it is history.  Look at the places that used to have guns allowed but then no longer allowed them, and note that those places implemented registration first.  It is much easier to implement confiscation of something if the government knows where they all are…  “Oh, but that can’t happen here”?  Check out what happens in Chicago if you miss your yearly registration date.

The “Fine Print”

The receiver of a firearm (the main part which has or could have a serial number) is considered to BE the firearm.  Everything else is “just parts”.  Any item (in particular a partial receiver) which is in a condition where it “cannot be used as a firearm or readily converted into a firearm” is generally considered NOT a firearm and does not need to follow any  “firearm” laws or Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) regulations.  These not (yet) firearm receivers are commonly referred to as “80% receivers”, although this is not a “technical” term, merely a marketing term based on a BATFE general principle that if 20% of the major work to make it a firearm remains to be done, it is not a firearm.  It may seem silly to consider an AR-15 receiver as a “firearm” since by itself it does not look like and cannot be used as a firearm, but it does follow the principle since it is “easy” and “quick” to install the buffer tube, trigger group parts and attach the top part, and then you do have what is unquestionably a firearm.  And be glad this is the way it is, since you don’t have to go through any annoyances to buy or ship or install other parts of the firearm.

In the case of the AR style firearms, “80%” means that the cavity in which the trigger, hammer and other trigger-group parts are mounted cannot be already milled out or partially milled out or even marked, and no trigger group pin holes can be marked, or partially or completely drilled.  Since a legal 80% receiver is “not a firearm”, anyone can buy one (subject to State and Local laws) and it can be shipped (within the U.S.) by any method.  Note that a source of these which has not submitted a sample to the BATFE and had it validated as “not a firearm” could possibly sell you one which the BATFE then decides IS a firearm, resulting in unpleasant consequences (as happened with EP Armory’s earlier 80% which had the trigger group cavity molded in a different color).  Therefore, before buying an “80% receiver”, it is wise to ensure you are buying one which has been BATFE validated.

Anyone who meets all Federal, State and Local laws to own that firearm can “finish” an 80% receiver, and even mount all the parts to make it fully functional.  There are, of course, some conditions other than the possession and weapon type laws of your location.

Conditions under Which a Non-Licensed Person Can “Manufacture” An ALLOWED Firearm

An “allowed” firearm is one which does not violate any of the restrictions implemented by the NFA (National Firearms Act of 1935) or any later law or regulation.  “NFA” firearms include fully automatic weapons, “sawed off” shotguns, short-barreled rifles (SBR), and weapons with bores greater than 0.5″ which are determined to have “no sporting purpose”.  Yes, most shotguns have a bore greater than 0.5″ and are allowed because they have been determined to have “sporting purposes”.

The manufacture of firearms as a business requires a license from the BATFE.  In order to avoid any appearance of manufacturing firearms without a license, any firearm which is self-manufactured should be intended strictly for the personal use of the person making it.  It you do any part of the manufacturing for someone else, or have anyone physically help you make it or do part of the work for you, again, the specter of manufacturing without a license raises its head.

The BATFE has its benefits and a number of competent and diligent people working for it.  It is, however, a government agency, and sometimes a representative makes a statement they believe to be true (or wish were true), but which is not supported by the underlying laws and regulations.  As a result, a number of statements about restrictions on self-manufactured firearms are floating around out there, which are not supported by the actual regulations and rulings.  To get to the bottom of what actually is and is not allowed in three key areas (location and tool ownership, markings and transfers), I went to Richard Vasquez, former Assistant Chief of the BATFE Firearms Technology Branch, now a consultant to the firearms industry.  He has access to and knowledge of the statutes, regulations and official ATF letters and rulings, which are what is validly enforceable.

There are a number of claimed restrictions on ownership and location of equipment used.  Most appear to not be valid; that is, current regulations allow you to use any equipment you own or borrow or rent in any location as long as neither the equipment nor location is used by a licensed manufacturer of firearms.  Personally, I would err on the safe side and not use any commercial equipment or a commercial location (say a machine shop I owned or worked at or could get access to outside of business hours).  If this were ever questioned, it may eventually be decided that it was allowable, but the process to get that result could be annoying.

If you meet the requirements and laws to self-manufacture a firearm, then there are no Federal or BATFE requirements for a non-NFA self-manufactured firearm to have a serial number or any specified markings on it. As long as it is in the possession of the person who made it, and no subsequent laws say otherwise, it is legal for the maker to possess it and use it.

It is claimed that you can’t sell or transfer a non-serialized firearm, or even bequeath it to someone.  This is not the case.  Just be sure not to give even a hint that you are engaged in the “business” of manufacturing (that is, you have a valid reason why personal use of that firearm is no longer desirable or practical).

Note that because the receiver IS the firearm, any restrictions refer to the finishing and transfer of the receiver only, not the assembly or modification of the complete firearm, or transfer of any other part.

Warning:  California residents, make sure you check out AB 857.  It requires you to apply for a serial number from the CA DOJ before making any firearm after July 1, 2018, and apply for a serial number from the CA DOJ on any firearm without a serial number which you possess after that date, with possession of a firearm without a serial number becoming a crime in the state on January 1, 2019.  What this says to me, is if you want to make any, do it before July, 2018, and if you do make or have already made any, ensure you add your own serial number(s) before July of 2018.  What is not clear is what you need to do for a commercial firearm (probably pre-68) which legally never had a serial number.

The law mentions manufacture and assembling.  This is troublesome, since the Federal definition of a “firearm” is the receiver, so “assembling” would seem to be meaningless (if it is a firearm already, nothing you can do to it makes it “more” of a firearm).  But since California seems to include adding parts under this bill, then it would seem that not only the receiver, but the whole firearm has to be completed before July to avoid the state number requirement, and they might even be able to harass firearms owners who after the July date, change out any parts on their firearm legally completed and with a serial number prior to that date.

It also seems to require polymer receivers to have a specified amount of a specific metal in it, prohibits transfers which Federal law permits, and prohibits manufacture of “assault weapons”.  And CA interprets this to be “evil-looking” weapons such as the AR style.  Of course, check out all the other CA laws which seem to ban possession of magazines with greater than 10 round capability, redefine “bullet button” rifles which previously were “non-assault” weapons as “assault weapons” now, and require all “assault weapons” to be registered with the state.  Pretty much all you can do (besides move someplace saner) is build your AR-15 “featureless” (without adjustable stock, pistol grip or thumbhole stock, vertical forward grip or flash hider) and then it is not an assault weapon by California’s flakey definitions.

How a Legal Self-Manufactured Firearm Can Mess You Up

Ok, let us say that you carefully followed all the rules and regulations, and you are fully legal.  You are safe, right?  This is not necessarily so.  Let us say some busybody sees your legal firearm and decides it “looks illegal”, so they call the authorities.  Police or other officials look at it, and with no serial number, it doesn’t look kosher to them either.  They might treat you as if the firearm was illegal, and then you would have to prove it is legal.  That is, that you legally obtained all the parts and they were all non-restricted, that at that time you were allowed to build that type of firearm, that you intended it for personal use, that you did all the work yourself, and that the equipment and location used were legal for making it.  Oh, and that no State or Local laws were violated, and no import/export restrictions (use of foreign parts is limited to some degree, and ITAR – International Traffic in Arms Regulations – prohibits export of most firearms parts) were violated.

The first should be fairly simple, just keep the receipts, making sure they have the date, identify the seller and purchaser, and describe what was purchased.  Matching credit card statements or cancelled checks can be helpful.

Showing your intent is going to be rather more of a challenge.  There is a period of time, beyond which if you still have the firearm, a reasonable case of intent of personal use can be made, but that time period is not defined anywhere.  It might be wise to write a statement describing your intent, and get it notarized before starting construction.

A set of pictures or videos showing you doing each major step should be enough to show that you made it and identify the equipment and location.

It is important to keep good track of the significant dates when you manufactured the firearm, so the laws and regulations in effect at that time can be referenced.  To avoid any import or export questions, buy American and keep it in America.

Tune in next time for a way to reduce the risks and annoyances of owning a self-manufactured firearm and a look at the various ways you can complete a receiver.

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The post Building Your Own Firearms (Part 1 – The Laws) appeared first on The Prepper Journal.

Practical Preparedness – Simplify Your Shopping List

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Written by R. Ann Parris on The Prepper Journal.

When we embark on the road of preparedness, whether we aim small or plan to survive a nuclear holocaust, there are a million and five things to learn, build, do, and buy. It can be overwhelming at every stage. In fact, it can almost be more overwhelming at some of the intermediate stages than early on. You have great piles of stuff, but then you start thinking longer-term, sustainability, self-sufficiency, and the needs/wants just balloon all over. In some cases, the financial aspect alone is such a burden that people fall out and let go of the preparedness bug.

One thing that can help is to simplify the shopping list. In some case it’s about paring it down. In other cases, it’s about finding multi-purpose items.

The major benefit of the latter is that it can simplify things for beginners and old hands alike. When we pick something that can do multiple jobs right now, it gives us the ability to later expand to more specialized items as we’re ready. I’ll mostly focus on those items. I’ll also touch on some items I commonly see stocked deep that can get reduced or eliminated.

Pine Cleaner & Dish Detergent

Pine Sol is proof of a higher being or Mother Nature that loves us. Pine cleaner can be just about all things. It’s a disinfectant, and it doesn’t create color changes in fabric or wood. As such, pine cleaner can be used for:

  • Floors (tile, linoleum, hardwood, carpet)
  • Laundry (electric HE washers to hand-scrubbing)
  • Toilets & bathrooms
  • Kitchen and butcher area surfaces
  • Vehicles
  • Dusting surfaces with rags
  • Bedding

Happily, it also comes in a whole variety of scents for those of us who don’t actually like lemon or pine scented cleaners.

Pine cleaner also has a major case for being the be-all number-one cleaning product because it can be had in super condensed forms that you dilute as much as 10:1 and 25:1 by purpose.

Dish detergent is another one that can do a lot of jobs. As a pet owner and cook, little breaks the grease around the stove hood or sickness stains in carpets the way dish detergent will – and usually, especially with hot water and a decent scrubby sponge or brush, with the least amount of elbow grease of anything else I’ve purchased.

This is the stuff we count on to kill the raw chicken germs on our cutting boards and knives, and to prep jars for another year of canning – it’s fine as a surface cleaner for nurseries, kitchens, and sick rooms.

Dawn gets counted on to work pants from whatever my father and I picked up through the day. The incredible oil breaking compounds also save critters after oil spills. While it will upset the microbe communities, Dawn is safe to use for potted plants and garden beds, which lets us reuse the water we’ve pulled for cleaning and laundry.

Bleach

Bleach has its place in the cleaning world and in preparedness, but usually in limited quantity. Plain, unscented bleach gets used 5-8 drops per gallon to help clean water for drinking – a single bottle will do hundreds or thousands of gallons of water.

However, that bleach has a shelf life, and the more unstable the temperatures, the faster it breaks down and loses its abilities.

Bonus fact: When you use bleach in hot water, you’re nullifying its purification abilities. It’ll brighten whites, but it’s the hot water killing germs in those cases.

Since you can wash anything in Pine Sol that you could in bleach, and get it sanitized to the same degree, consider keeping a little around for water supplies and cool-water post-wash dips for food service or sick room supplies, but you don’t really need a gallon a week or even a gallon a month.

Vinegar & Windex

Instead of stocking up on both window cleaners and vinegar, consider just going with vinegar. And if you’re not yet, give your windows and bathroom bright-work a scrub-down using sheets of newspaper or phone book pages instead of paper towels next time around.

Vinegar can be used full strength if needed, or diluted and combined in various ways for doing windows and mirrors. It can also be used to unclog shower heads, remove water spots, kill ants, deodorize drains (or, change the smell coming from them, anyway), and act as a fabric softener in laundry water.

And, of course, there’s the fact that we can use white vinegar for canning and cooking, something we’d never do with a window cleaner.

Windshield Glass Cleaner

If you do want to have and stockpile a separate, specific window cleaner, consider getting the tabs and concentrate packets that fuel stations use for restocking their squeegee buckets such as Kwik Blue, 303, or Bug Blitzer . They dissolve in even cool water, then can be transferred to a spray bottle for cleaning. They can cost pennies per gallon while storing very compactly.

Baking Soda & Epsom Salts

Baking soda had its own article as a prepper must-have item. Both were also mentioned in some of the barter articles. Between them, they do a lot of jobs in and on the body, in and around the home, out in the yard and garden, and on the road.

I could hardly write an article about do-it-all shopping and not include them, but they truly deserve 6-12 articles all their own.

Standard & Common Ammo/Firearms

As much as possible, I try to standardize at least ammunition if not actual firearms. I also try to pick up long-production-run and common firearms. Doing so means increased aftermarket parts and accessories at (more) affordable rates.

That allows us to use a step-up program.

I can buy a basic firearm, then a different/extra barrel or stock. I can upgrade as I’m able, using the reviews that abound for the more-common firearms, accessories and gear.

Being a freak, I also tend to take both magazine cost into account, as well as the variety of pouches and holsters with and without a rail/light system and-or the sling systems available for the firearms.

And then sometimes I pick a firearm because it has a wide range of magazines it will accept, as opposed to one that only takes its specific model, or the H&K AR model that is ever so slightly different and is thus restricted to H&K mags made just for it.

The same applies to ammo.

Rimfires like the 10/22 that aren’t picky about what type of ammo they get fed are also more likely to come home with me.

By sticking with common calibers, I can readily find an affordable round that shoots just like my preferred self- and home-defense ammo for practice. In some cases, it means I have a wider array of hunting, defense, and special-purpose rounds and-or bullets ready and waiting for me on the shelf.

Having commonly-used calibers also means that there’s a better chance even if somebody can’t use my magazine or stripper clip, they can reload theirs from mine if need be.

Bedding & Clothes

Cheat on your bed linens. If there’s a queen and a full bed, just buy queen sheets for both. You might have to tuck the sheets in further and tighter and more often for the full, but they mix and match. That means when a set or two rip, it’s no big deal. I have used king blankets and comforters on queens and full beds half my life. It works.

Fun fact about that king comforter: It folds up to fit either a full or a twin bed as a mattress pad just fine, and you can tuck it under queen bedding if needed as well most of the time.

That means that as age starts wearing mattresses, we can extend their lives. It also means that should somebody be sick or potty training, we can throw some garbage bags between the mattress and the comforter, and the bags won’t shift as much (and annoy the sleeper). Should somebody sneeze or giggle and dribble a little, we’re washing and drying a big blanket and sheets, not trying to clean, then cover a mattress, and inviting mold and mildew right into bed with us while it dries much slower.

Clothing can also be simplified with some regularity.

Shoes are pretty specific and socks need to fit a well, although with kids we can skip sizes and plan for 2-3 pairs of socks. Most other clothing has some leeway. If we make sure there are drawstrings and belt loops, we can tighten, add suspenders, pin up, and roll clothing.

Also, a hair elastic makes a hand sleeve garter for washing hands and dishes, or any other time rolled-up sleeves might try to un-roll or slide down.

 

As somebody who now gets her nephews’ hand-me-downs instead of us passing things to them, I can tell you that some oversized clothing is hazardous because it will catch and snag, but a M-L and a L-XL soul can share a lot of outerwear if it’s purchased in the larger size.

Storage Containers

As we start seriously accumulating things, we need somewhere to put it.

Tip #1: Avoid the “I’ll sort it later” trap of a junk drawer, junk shelf, “Misc.” box, and a catchall laundry basket.

If you truly go through weekly and put things in their place, that’s cool. Most of us toss, say we’ll get it later, don’t, toss, repeat, toss, repeat, and a 5-15 minute job of sorting turns into an hour+ that we then really start dodging.

There are lots of options for holding our goodies, any of which let us sort things as they come home.

Laundry baskets of varying sizes are cheap, and pretty durable. Lined with a sheet, towel or garbage bag, the holes don’t matter. If at some point we need to, they allow us to re-line or remove the liner and plant in them. They can be doubled up into fish traps or holders, large baskets can be turned into cribs (lined! lined well!) or puppy crates, we can use them harvesting larger produce, and then we can sponge them with pine cleaner and turn them into something else all over again.

Accounting or banker’s file boxes with the separate lids aren’t as durable as storage totes, but most of mine actually keep their lids better than the storage totes. They readily fit on shelves and they’re a size that’s reasonable to carry whether they’re packed with papers, books, or (oops) canned goods. They stack well and uniformly across manufacturers.

It’s easy to pop up a lid instead of re-taping or doing the four-corners tucks, which will also help us keep our storage supplies fairly neat.

The downside to them, of course, is that they’re not water- or bug proof. We can line them with trash bags, and-or wet-pack our supplies in gallon and two-gallon Ziploc, but it still leaves the potential that at some point, the cardboard will dissolve into sodden mess. Still, apples to apples with standard cardboard boxes, they hold their own.

They’re less expensive than most moving boxes, but if there’s a liquor store, go with the free boxes there instead – those will be nice and sturdy, too.

Then there are the things like kitty litter buckets we might get for free or buy instead of a smaller container of litter.

While not appropriate for everything, they, too, hold a ton of weight, and multi-function when needed. Today they might be canned goods, medical stuff, or actual litter for winter weight and traction. Tomorrow they might be a water catchment system, a stacked vertical tower for the garden, or sub-irrigated gardening containers. Given another year, they might start holding bulk seeds or garden tool heads.

Like the file boxes, square buckets have an advantage in being a nice, standard size (which simplifies shelving) and not wasting as much space as a rounded and deeply V-ed storage tote or bucket would.

Defunct coolers are another that can make for nice storage containers. The downside to those is the space lost to insulating, but wheels, sturdy handles, and a flip-top lid can definitely be handy sometimes.

Simplified Shopping Lists

Hopefully these few examples were enough to start the brain churning for experienced preppers and beginners alike. From things like pasta that we can use to make a dozen different distinct dishes to having two firearm calibers, from what we stock for cleaning to the lawn-and-garden supplies, there are a million ways we can simplify our shopping and thus simplify our lives. Working off lists of multi-use items can be an affordable way to get started, or to fill in gaps we’ve started noticing after a trial run.

In some cases, we can buy one thing and cross eight others off our lists as a result. Other times, we might choose to hold off on some of the diversity we want to add.

By simplifying lists, we can also eliminate a little of the pressure on our storage spaces, and we may be able to identify and rectify gaps in our supplies when we sit down to compare what we have to what we use normally. It might also let us make a switch in our daily life that will save money in the long run, opening up the budget for extra seeds, Sevin dust, shoes, sugar and storage racks.

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How to Hunt Deer with a Bow Effectively

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

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


Deer hunting can be done in two ways; either by using rifles or using bows. If you are one of the many hunters who prefer the latter option, this is the perfect article for you to know the practice tips to hunt deer with a bow. Dedicated hunters will know that practice sharpens your skill on shooting a bow with precise and accurate shots. Thus, here are a few tips to pave your way to become a skilled bow hunter.

Practice during unfavorable conditions

Obviously, a good hunt is scheduled during the peak seasons when the weather is favorable for hunting and trekking. However, weather can be a greatly unpredictable thing, and while out on a hunt, it’s better to be prepared for anything.

Practicing in windy conditions where the direction and force of the wind can greatly affect your accuracy can improve your bow skills. Think of this way; if you can shoot well in crappy weather, then you can do so better in normal conditions. More importantly, you are prepared for any kind of situation when you’re out hunting.

Take it slow

If you’re planning to shoot your first buck from a tree stand, you cannot do so successfully without learning how to shoot from a higher position.

 

It’s not wise to push your limits while at the beginner stage of bow hunting. The best strategy to gauge your skills is to start slow. Start shooting at small distances until you can perfect your shot at that distance. Only then should you further increase the increments.

This strategy can also minimize frustration because it will let you know the farthest distance where you can shoot most accurately. On the field, it will help you gauge your Effective Kill Range (EKR), or the distance range wherein you are most likely to take down a deer without messing up the shot.

Learn how to use a bow sight

A bow sight is an essential tool when shooting long distance. The best bow sight can greatly enhance your long-distance shooting by a tenfold. Basically, it has pins set at different distances which can help you shoot long-distance targets from stagnant position, such as a tree stand.

Other than a bow sight, you should also use other essential bow accessories such as a bow stabilizer. A bow stabilizer, on the other hand, is an accessory that helps minimize torque, stabilize shots, and increase the accuracy of your shots.

Know how to shoot from a higher position

If you’re planning to shoot your first buck from a tree stand, you cannot do so successfully without learning how to shoot from a higher position. Because the trajectory will change once you shoot from an elevated place.

So one of my tips is to practice shooting dummy targets from a tree stand. Once you get a hold of this skill, you’ll find tree stand hunting an easy task.

Target for easy-kill areas

The most humane way to kill a deer is to shoot it in the chest area, where the arrow can pierce through the lungs or heart and deliver almost instant and painless death. To practice this skill, you can use target print-outs of a deer in order to enhance your ability to kill instantly.

Moreover, this will also minimize the possibility of the deer running away because of a shot in the belly, hind, or legs. With accurate shots to the chest area, you can harvest your kill easily.

Don’t hesitate to ask questions

If you’re not sure about something, ask a more experienced bow hunter than you. Remember that it’s not a competition of who is best. Every great bow hunter starts somewhere, and while you’re a beginner, it’s best to take advice from experts and use it to work on your weak points.

Other than constructive criticism, you can also form bonds with other bow hunters and potentially join them on their next bow hunt. This will be a big plus for you: because not only do you have new hunting buddies, you also have a lot of people to help you work on your skills.

Practice with your bow in low-light conditions

You can also master shooting with it during near sunset or near dawn conditions.

Most often, whitetail deer make an appearance before sunset when the light is dimming and your bow sight is getting difficult to use. Although most bow sights come with a glow-in-the-dark pin feature, it will be much wiser and a skill-builder to practice shooting in low light.

If you have a bow sight with a low-light feature, you can also master shooting with it during near sunset or near dawn conditions. In this way, you won’t need to fumble with your bow sight while on the field.

Adjust your bow according to the wind

The wind plays a big role in the accuracy of your shot because, as said before in this article, it can affect the direction and/or trajectory of your shot. When hunting deer with a bow, you’re also most likely confined to shooting from far distances. Therefore, it’s better if you learn to adjust your aim with the wind.

Most importantly, with this skill you can reap rewards when a supposed to be sunny day turns into a windy one. Remember: the weather is completely unpredictable, and as a hunter, don’t expect it to always be in your favor.

Work on your form

As a beginner, the best form for archery is one of the most difficult aspects to master. It’s imperative that you work on your form every time you practice shooting. Moreover, you can also ask an experienced bow hunter to evaluate your form and tell you the mistakes that you’re making.

Why does this need to be done? Well, a great form will directly affect the accuracy of your shot and help you shoot better. Otherwise, a bad form can lead to inaccurate and imprecise shots that will just leave you discouraged. Thus, remember to work on this aspect along with everything else.

Learn how to wait for the perfect shot

In deer hunting, timing is everything, whether you shoot with a bow or a rifle. The proper timing of your shot will decrease the chances of a botched kill. Since deer are highly receptive of sound, you can scare away a bunch of them if you have off timing with your shots and they end up on a nearby tree or the ground.

Unfortunately, the only way to practice your timing is to do it on an actual deer. Because automated practice targets have predictable movements, they aren’t great options for practicing timing. Unlike with deer, you can learn how to assess their movements and make it predictable to you.

Conclusion

Here, we’ve highlighted the best practice tips to hunt deer with a bow. It’s not the actual camping and hunting that’s the most difficult part, but the practice on shooting a bow. Thus, the best option you have in order to be the most prepared hunter in the world is to practice at every chance you get.

Did you like this article? If you did, leave us a comment below and tell us what you think. You can also share this with your friends. Thanks for reading!

 

About the author: Joseph Gleason is the founder of Captain Hunter. CaptainHunter.com is a site dedicated to the sport of hunting. We have a deep respect for nature and for the environment, and we therefore take the sport of hunting very seriously.

Never think that you are alone in the woods again. Our goal is to share what we know with who needs it most.

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Start Prepping Without Feeling Overwhelmed

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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 Kena 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.


Everyone has different reasons for prepping. For us it was the combination of hearing about the increasing devastation of more natural disasters in the U.S. and abroad, and seeing how many people lost their jobs and homes during the economic recession. Initially, our thought was just to have some extra food in the cupboards in case I lost my job. We started by emptying out the closet in our extra bedroom, which allowed us to get rid of some of the extra “stuff ”we all seem to accumulate. Next, we purchased a few shelving units on sale, and secured them to the wall inside the closet. From there, we researched food items with longer storage lives like beans, instant rice, oatmeal, pasta, instant potatoes, honey and sugar and then started buying a little extra food each time we went to the store, focusing on sales to keep things cheaper. Once home with the the food, I wrote the “use by” date on the labels of the food before storing them in the closet so the items that expire soonest would be used first and those with the later expiration dates would be placed behind those to be used later.

As time went on our food storage grew and became more diverse. We began to compare our closet to a savings vault and the more food we put in it, the richer we felt. Coincidentally, the more we collected, the more interested we got in the whole prepping concept. I organized the food according to categories like beans, rice, oatmeal, canned fruit, canned vegetables, canned fish and meats, boxed meals, spices, baking items, drink mixes (coffee, tea, hot cocoa, hot cider, instant milk, Gatorade, Tang, Kool-Aid, etc.) and so on. We not only thought of ourselves, we also planned for the possibility that other members of our family might have to leave their homes, so we downsized more of our “junk” to create more space, and collected more food.

The biggest challenge for me was storing water. I didn’t want anything to be so heavy it would fall on our heads, collapse the shelves, or worse to leak and ruin our food, so I boiled water and stored it in glass quart jars that I had saved from empty juice containers, and then dated the jars and placed them upright, underneath the shelving units where lucky for me, they fit perfectly. I also purchased and stored some plastic drinking water bottles. Since the minimum recommendation is to save one gallon of water per day, per person and pets, and since water is life, I found it difficult to determine how many days we should save for and where to find enough space to store it all. Eventually, I got creative and found other places throughout the house to store more water and we kept empty 5 gallon water containers with our camping gear so we could use them to gather more water, as needed.

Prepping isn’t a new idea – What is new is the idea that you don’t need to prepare.

At some point, we began to expand our storage items from just food into thoughts of our pets needs, first aid, extra indoor and outdoor clothes and shoes, towels and blankets, soap, shampoo, lotion, toothbrushes, toothpaste and the like, again purchasing items on sale. We started going to garage sales to look for things like oil lamps and camping items. We made Bug Out Bags for ourselves should we need to evacuate at a moments notice and I even stored a few emergency items in my purse and in our vehicles. We have a camp trailer so we also got it ready with extra sleeping bags, food, hygiene items, books, puzzles, cards, and toys for the grandkids. It became a game to us, always thinking of things we might need and how to purchase them without spending tons of money. We bought things like tools, personal protection items, backpacks, cooking and camping gear for each other for our birthday and Christmas presents. During the winter when the weather was too bad to go outside, I used my time to copy our important papers, put family pictures in a small photo album, and wrote down their addresses, phone numbers and birthdays and anything else of importance I could think of (scars, blood types, etc). We stored some state and Forest Service maps in the glove box and our backpacks in case we had to travel or use the back roads. I also started collecting recipes for ways to use the freeze-dried foods we’d purchased.

In the spring we expanded our garden area and mostly planted food that we could freeze, dry or can. We felt really good growing our own food because we kept it organic and knew it would taste so much better in the winter than grocery canned foods. We read articles on sprouting and bought seeds so we could try it. Since we owned an acre of land outside the city limits we figured we should utilize our property to help us survive, so instead of a yard full of grass and ornamental trees, we opted for edible landscaping by planting a few fruit trees, berry plants, rhubarb and herbs. We even raised our own chickens for eggs and meat, and had rabbits and turkeys for awhile.

Keep in mind that none of this happened over night by any means. It was something that we started that grew over time. It grew because we saw the importance of it, turned it into a game and then had fun doing it.

What could possibly go wrong?

As our adult children came to visit they began to notice all the food we were collecting and they laughed saying if the Cascadia Fault line acted up, they would just bring their friends and come to our house since we were already so stocked up. I had read an article about someone who opened his property to a few friends who ended up bringing other friend after the Katrina hurricane in 2005 but no one brought anything to contribute towards the cause and soon the years worth of food that he had saved for himself was gone because he had to share it with everyone else. Remembering this, I told the kids that they were more than welcome to come and to think about what they could bring to contribute (food, bedding, towels, etc), and that we had indeed planned for them to stay with us if need be, but then I had to let them know that we did not have enough for their friends, so they would have to prepare for themselves or plan on going someplace else. I felt like I was being a bit mean, but when the SHTF, we all have to decide who can enter our domain and who can’t…and what we are willing to do in order to back that up.

Major cities affected by a disturbance in this subduction zone include Vancouver and Victoria, British Columbia; Seattle, Washington; and Portland, Oregon.

That year for Christmas, I gave the kids a mini survival bag for the glove box of their cars that included things like a metal cup with a bit of food, a pocket knife, flashlight, fire starter, and hand warmers and a tiny address book that I wrote our address and phone number in, thinking that in an emergency they may not have cell service so it would be helpful to have important numbers written down with the hope they might be able to use a land line. I told them it was just a starter kit, and encouraged them to add to it.

After some time, I noticed it seems the kids have been paying attention. They have started to collect extra food in case the power goes out or they get sick and can’t go to work or get to the store. My 80 year old mother recently had to rely on the water and food she had stored for just such an occasion when she was unable to leave home due to a heavy snow storm. Fortunately she didn’t lose power, but if she had, she would have been OK because she had candles, a flashlight and an indoor propane heater on hand that we had given her. She had extra blankets and winter clothes too, all things we had given her or that she had gotten for herself. It was a big relief to know she was prepared as we do not live in the same town and are in fact divided by a mountain pass that may have been impossible for us to go over during the storm. Fortunately, she also has a kind neighbor who helped keep her walkway shoveled and some folks from her church who stopped by to check on her. I would prefer that we lived closer so we could help her more, but for now at least, that is not the case.

Whatever your reason, I hope this article inspires you to begin your prepping adventure. Keep it simple, make a game of it, and don’t spend a ton of money upfront if you don’t have it. Second-hand stores, Dollar stores, garage and estate sales, all have great deals. Online stores and military supply stores are great places to look for backpacks, camping supplies, military clothing and a whole host of other items without paying an arm and a leg for it like you might at a specialty-type store. There are numerous prepping articles full of great advice and helpful lists of whatever you might be interested in, like what to put in your first aid kit or your bug-out bag for example. There are also plenty of prepper-type stores online to buy freeze-dried and dehydrated food if you choose to go that way, and they tend to have different items on sale every month, which is how I am building up our freeze-dried and dehydrated items. You can even find a limited supply at some stores like Walmart. So, there are lots of options, and the more you get into it, the more you will want to do. Perhaps you can get others to join you – encourage your family, friends and neighbors to have extra supplies on hand “just-in-case” explaining you never know when you might get sick or when the power will go out. Let them know they don’t want to be the one stuck without gas, food or water. They wouldn’t want the power to go out and be sitting in the dark without some sort of light, heat, or a way to cook and clean. Invite your friends to go to a garage sale with you as a fun way to get started.

There is still so much I want learn like emergency first aid, tying knots, identifying edible mushrooms and wild foods. Reading books and watching survival-type shows is a fun way to be introduced to different ways to build shelter, make fires, use weapons and just live off the land, but of course nothing prepares you for this type of survival like taking a class and practicing your skills and I look forward to it all. I hope you do, too.

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5 Insects You Can Eat To Survive In The Jungle

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

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


When you’re out hiking or camping, you can never be sure of what awaits. A simple unpredictable weather event or losing track of where you are on that hike into the wilderness, can ruin everything including your clothing and food. For some reason, you might be forced to stay in the jungle longer than you had planned. But regardless of what happens, the last thing you want to be is starving. The great news is, you can never starve in a jungle – if you are motivated, but it is always up to you differentiate between what is safe for eating and what is not.

As a regular camper, I would suggest that you turn to insects. Reason being, they are rich in nutrients including proteins, fiber as well as fats you will need to survive in the jungle. Another great piece of news is that it is unlikely that they will make you sick. But just like any other food, there are those insects that are safe for eating as well as those that are not.

This post has compiled a list of five edible insects that might save you from starving when you are stuck in the jungle. They are easy to access, could allow you to survive in the jungle, and the best part is they don’t require a long procedure to prepare.

Locusts

One insect you can never miss while you are out in the jungle is a locust. Locusts are always everywhere and most importantly, nutritious. Up to 50 percent of locust’s dry weight contains protein which is quite high than what you will find in cows. Other valuable nutrients include fats, carbohydrates and more.

You can catch more locust during the day because that is the time they are most active. All you need is some net. But make sure you release them in some bucket immediately, you’ve caught enough to prevent them from eating your net. You can then prepare some locust meal, by dry roasting them, adding some salts and serving.

Crickets

Crickets serve as an excellent source of food in many parts of the world. They are also among the most nutritious insects you can easily catch in the jungle. For example, 100 g of crickets has up to 121 calories, 5.5 grams of fat, 12.9 g of protein.

The insect also packs many nutrients including calcium, phosphorous and much more. To catch some crickets, place some sugar into a deep bowl or a jar. Find their location and sink the jar into the ground. Leave it there overnight and expect a large meal of crickets very early in the morning. You can also store them for some time by adding a breathable material on top of the jar. You can then dry roast them, add some salt and eat them.

Ants

Ants are always everywhere and the best part, easy to catch. They are packed with proteins providing your body with the amino acids. They are also rich in copper, phosphorous and many other nutrients. Ants are easy to catch because they always match in one line. Just look around to see if you can find one or locate an ant hill.

If you’ve found an ant hill, place some stick through the opening. The ants will start climbing on it trying to bite it. When this happens, take the stick out and dunk the ants on the stick into a container filled with water. Once you have gathered enough, you can boil them for approximately, five minutes to neutralize the acid in them and then eat.

Termites

If you want something tasty, then you will love having some termites for lunch or dinner. Apart from being among the most nutritious insects in the jungle; they also offer a variety of health benefits. For example, they have been used for medicinal purposes, particularly in the rural areas of the world. Studies have also shown that they have some antiviral properties that make them effective in treating a variety of complications including asthma, bronchitis, sore throat, whooping-cough and more.

To catch some termites, break and open a log and then shake them out. If it is raining, you can place some light into a bucket. They will gather around the light. You can then collect as many as you want. Prepare them, by roasting them in a dry pan on a campfire.

Stinkbugs

You might despise their name, but stinkbugs are great when prepared well. They are also among the best delicacies in Mexico. Apart from being nutritious, they offer a variety of health benefits just like termites. Stinkbugs are easy to access and catch during winter. You can find them hiding or taking shelter under logs or rocks, and sometimes you will see them on the open ground.

Stink bugs unlike many insects in this list can be eaten raw, but it is always advisable that you soak them in some warm water for approximately, 10 minutes then roast them in a dry pan. You don’t have to eat them immediately. After being boiled, stinkbugs can last a week without going bad.

Additional Tip

Even though most insects are nutritious and safe to eat, it is advisable that you be a little bit cautious when choosing your food. For example, experts advise that you avoid brightly-colored insects and those with strong smell because they can be toxic.

Also, remember; some of the edible insects mentioned here such as ants and the rest produce some toxic chemicals when offended. So, make sure you’ve prepared them well. Also, make sure that your cooking water is safe. No matter where you are planning to get your water, make sure it is boiled properly before use. If your only source is spring, I would suggest that you consider spring water testing.

Final words

If there is one thing I’ve learned about camping is survival. One fact is, a jungle has everything you need to survive, but it is up to you to figure that out. These five insects will without a doubt serve you well, but that never implies that they will be available at the location you will choose to set your tent or at the time you need them most. Using the methods mentioned above, make sure you’ve collected enough when you get the chance, prepare and store safely to use later.

About the author:  Christina is a young blogger who is very passionate about her work. Her long experience has a blogger made her an expert on different niches like home, lifestyle, leisure, etc. As a blogger, she believes in quality content and backs up all of her posts with relevant research information. It is her goal to share this quality information in the form of guidelines, reviews, lists, and other types of blog posts to her readers. She believes in constant exploration and evolution as a blogger. You can learn more about Christina at RainyAdventures.Com

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Prepping with Pets – Evacuating with Animals

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Written by R. Ann Parris on The Prepper Journal.

Whether they’re solely companion animals or serve some level of function, many of us have animals. In some cases, they are members of our families as well as partners. Having accepted responsibility for them – simple companion, paddock pony, pet horses, livestock guardian donkeys and llamas, barn cats, or working dogs of various types – we are responsible for their welfare in a disaster. I’ll start with some of the tough situations first, and then list some tips for evacuating with animals or temporarily surrendering them to a shelter for a natural disaster.

When it comes to disaster planning for pets and livestock, we tend to have a lot of choices in North America, especially the United States. More and more human shelters are accepting crated and kenneled animals. Animal shelters and rescues also accept cats, dogs and other small companion animals in advance of hurricanes or when flood evacuation orders are issued. ASPCA barnyards will commonly work with owners as well, given enough of a head’s up. We have enough advanced warning of storms — and even wildfires to some degree – to heighten awareness and choose to evacuate them if it looks at all sketchy.

There are a few steps we can take to make evacuations a little easier.

One thing we should not do, ever, is leave them to fend for themselves, whether we think we’ll be back in a couple of days, or we’re thinking of setting them “free” or dumping them on somebody’s property.

Short-Term Emergency

If we evacuate, we need to evacuate our animals.

Following ever major hurricane and regularly after fires out West, people flood shelters and help lines because they’ve left pets and companion animals behind, and now roads are closed or completely washed out, bridges are missing, and roads are blocked by downed trees.

Private and public-funded rescuer organizations go out in force to try to save as many as they can, but animals perish. In some cases, they wind up far from home, never identified, and never adopted.

Some time on the phone ahead of a disaster, attention to weather news, and pre-packing for animals can mitigate some of the complications and make it possible for us to get our animals out of harm’s way before highways and roads become clogged or impassable.

If we act early, we can also work through local shelters and rescues to leave our animals with them while we evac or take refuge in a storm shelter.

Long-Term Disaster

In a long-term disaster, stray animals are almost guaranteed to increase in number. In some cases, it will be because they got lost and without infrastructure, were never returned. Unaltered animals will increase, and then further multiply, adding to the loose animal populations.

And then there will be the people who dump their animals.

Nine times out of ten, a pet is ill-equipped to survive on its own. A cat that seems to be an excellent hunter and one that is already outdoors may seem like a good candidate to take off somewhere and leave to fend for itself.

Don’t.

There are a lot of ways to die in this world, especially for animals, many of them slow and painful. They’ll be in competition with other animals. Coyotes and cougars already kill and consume even sizable canines every year – deeper and deeper into residential areas. Livestock owners are going to be totally justified in shooting animals that could menace their own either through predation or the spread of disease.

It’s already heartbreakingly common for people to dump dogs and cats across a gate in rural properties, especially if they see there are already dogs or cats.

Resist that temptation, too.

One, a lot of us in rural areas have dogs that double as flock and herd protection. Those dogs will attack and kill strange animals, especially if the newcomer chases or bristles up at them.

Two, it puts the “strange” cat, dog, bird, or goat at risk of fighting with existing dominant animals, or a whole pack of them, and it puts our animals at risk, makes us pay for meds and vet bills after a fight, even if there’s no death.

Three, some of us have donkeys that will stomp a canine and even the odd cat to death. Our dogs know to avoid them, or we have a hot line or fence you may not see to keep them separate.

Four, chances are good we are already at our carrying capacity for animals, well ahead of a crisis, and have not planned to feed an additional dog or cat or five. That means we’re left with the sad duty somebody else is dodging, and have to take it in to a shelter (now) or, in the future, may have to choose between chasing it away and hoping it doesn’t starve to death or run afoul of a local stray pack, and killing it so that at least it doesn’t suffer any more.

Those are sucky choices. They’re really sucky to lay at somebody else’s feet.

We need to plan to do the responsible thing and take care of our animals ourselves. In some scenarios, with no shelters/rescues/vets available, the kindest thing we can do will be to cull our herds and-or euthanize our companion animals.

Personally, I think everybody who considers getting livestock or a companion animal should have to volunteer at a shelter. They might weigh out the financial and emotional costs associated with animals – and the trials of disaster planning and recovery for them – a little more closely. There should be a lifelong commitment to that animal, and to treating even livestock respectfully.

End of Life

No matter how well we plan, our companion animals will end up with low quality of life from age, disease, or severe injury.

With any luck, we’ve considered that and are prepared to end their suffering.

In most situations we’ll face, there will still be options. Some pre-planning and supplies can prevent the need to choose between keeping a healthy animal and leaving it at a shelter permanently or long-term, or having to euthanize at home due to widespread, long-term crises that leave them slowly starving.

Evacuating with Animals

It’s not the easiest thing with multiple animals, especially larger livestock, but just as we have BOB’s and evac kits, multiple methods of evacuation, and plans for our families, we need to have the same for the critters in our lives.

When the authorities say it’s time to go, go.

Yes, sometimes to regularly it’s no big deal. There’s a lot of moving parts with animals, though, especially larger livestock. Hotels and campgrounds that accept dogs and cats are more common now, but in an evacuation, they’ll be getting picked over. Especially with livestock, whether it’s fire or flood risk, don’t delay.

Waiting too long puts animals and rescuers at risk after the fact. It’s easier and safer for everyone just to get them out early.

Trailers & Crates

If we have livestock that won’t fit in the backseat or pickup bed, we need a trailer. It’s almost that simple to me.

We need something we can rig with a ramp and cattle fencing even, and we need to train livestock to ascend and descend. Horses, goats, and cattle are lost in every wildfire, from Fort Mac to California and Arizona, because they won’t load when seconds and minutes count.

People in Fort Mac were supposed to have been safe, so some of the ones who ran out of fuel and rode their horses out or lost the seniors and slow ones to lung damage later have an excuse, but by and large, we can pay enough attention to cut and run. If we have to call around finding trailers and vans first, we’re already behind the curve.

If we have cats and dogs, we need to socialize them and we need to train them to go on trips or to load in crates, too.

If we have multiple small companions, sheep or goats, it may be absolutely necessary that we have enough crates and kennels on hand to move them at once – and thus, a vehicle or trailer capable of holding those crates and kennels, even if we have to stack them.

Animals that are friendly when loose may become aggressive with each other when stressed and over-tired. One trick is to keep cardboard, plywood or blankets on hand that we can arrange around, over and between crates if we need them. The visual barriers can help keep the peace.

Data Prep

Attach information about the animal to that animal, as well as to their crate or trailer. For dogs and cats, and even goats, that might be a collar or harness with a standard tag on it.

On their leads, crates, or trailers attach a larger card or sheet that’s cased in plastic with primary and secondary contact information, and a second point of contact.

Note any behavioral issues or medical needs. It can help keep others and the animals safe.

If the animal is being surrendered to a shelter temporarily, include the same and make sure there are updated photos for claiming them after the disaster.

There is livestock marking ink that can be used to write a name or number (or both) on even medium or large dogs as well as hoofstock. In an evacuation scenario, it’s not a terrible idea to use them.

For smaller animals, it’s easiest to have a pre-cut stencil that says “Baby Parris – ###-###-####” and color the fur through it with the sticks or spray.

Go Kits for Critters

Just like humans, animals should have a go bag or go kit.

When I had larger animals, hefty rolling trash cans that I could lash to the very front or the very back of the trailer(s) or run off the porch onto my tailgate and pickup bed were handy. I could carry several days of grain feed, a set of tack, electric fencing and battery/batteries, long-lines and short leads, shipping blankets and booties, and the Old Man’s old-horse mash mix and supplements in a couple of trash cans.

I also had a rolling trash can with a portion cut out near the bottom and a board blocking the hole that I could fill with hay and bring with us, then just haul down about a square bale and a quarter if I needed to. Both the ponies and the goats could feed from it.

They were easy to grab and pre-load if things started looking iffy, so that I could just load the animals when we made the call to cut and run.

For smaller companion animals or just a couple of goats, life can get even easier.

Several days of water and-or food and-or dishes can just wait around in rolling coolers. Coolers lose some space efficiency, but they’re nice and sturdy (and usually make handy seats and umbrella props). They can also be made water-resistant pretty easily with a roll of duct tape. Rolling luggage and storage totes offers a lot of the same advantages.

With kits pre-packed and ready to go, all we do is rotate the contents.

As with humans, they’ll need shelter and water, which can be wow-painful for large stock. Research the area and contact the ASPCA or Humane Society, Sheriff’s department, or animal rescues within your county and area to find out if they have ideas or resources you can tap. Do it well in advance of an emergency.

There are some parks that do still allow livestock. Another option is to work through the county extension, farm bureau, and county co-ops to find somebody at 20-50-150-300 mile intervals who would be willing to let you camp on their properties and pump or haul water.

Preparing for Furry Friends – Leaving Home

It can be difficult to deal with everything in the moment of a crisis. There are fifty-five things to remember to do and load. Make a checklist to make it easier, and have a way to stick it right by the door.

When we make our lists and plans, hopefully we’re preparing for our animals. With any luck, we’re taking them into consideration for the everyday and seasonal/annual occurrences that strike our modern world regularly. Planning for long-term care of pets and livestock can be difficult, especially if we’re not yet where we want to be for our human families.

It needs to be done, though. Like our children, our animals are helpless in a world we create for them. They count on us to be the responsible party.

Sometimes that can mean we have hard choices and tough actions that we need to be ready to take. Just like in our modern world, at some point a working animal or companion is going to be gray and pained, overcome by tumors, or crippled with disease or injury. Right now and in a lot of situations, shelters are available if we have no recourse left. If we’re planning on some WROL, nation-altering event, we need to plan to deal with those scenarios ourselves.

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6 Inexpensive Skills Every Prepper Needs

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

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


Take a second and think if there is anyone you know who has loads of supplies packed in their home. Now ask yourself if that person has the knowledge and skill level to employ that equipment in critical times. What about you? Do you have the know-how when the going gets rough?

Maybe you’re just getting started with prepping and have an extremely tight budget. Your community and family are going to need capable people who can execute vital tasks when times are hard and lives are on the line. Don’t sell yourself short if your finances prevent you from acquiring massive amounts of equipment for any number of disasters. Think about the people on the other side of the coin who have lots of gear, but not lots of training on how to use it. Aristotle’s said, “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts” and pulling together as a community can pull you through any difficult circumstances.

Take a stroll through any prepper website and you’ll see that a ton emphasis is placed on gear and gadgets. I’m here to tell you that skills beat gadgets any day of the week and twice on Sundays! Knowledge weighs nothing and you always have it on you. People often try to buy their way out of a problem, but skills are built through habit and time. Today we’re going to focus on 6 basic skills that every prepper needs: Shooting, Medical, Survival, Communication, Gardening, and Leadership.

Shooting

A rifle with a sling in the hands of trained marksman can devastate and enemy force or consistently provide meat for the pot.

When things fall apart, it’s handy to know how to handle a weapon. Not just for self-defense purposes, but also for hunting. Even if you only have a .22 rifle, you can become deadly with it. Fancy scopes, match-grade barrels, suppressors and bi-pods are not required. A rifle with a sling in the hands of trained marksman can devastate and enemy force or consistently provide meat for the pot. You need to learn how to shoot – it can literally save your life!
Project Appleseed is a non-profit nationwide community of volunteers that teaches traditional rifle marksmanship that will “transform you from a person with a rifle into a principled and skilled Rifleman.” They offer inexpensive weekend shoots in nearly every state. Check out their site and get signed up for one of their events.

Medical

Medical emergencies don’t wait for the end of the world. They happen every day to thousands of people in your community. Trained First Responders can mean the difference between life and death. It’s likely that everyone will have to deal with some sort of medical or traumatic situation so it’s probably not a bad idea to learn how to deal with medical emergencies before they occur.

There are many counties/cities in every state that need volunteer firefighters. Since almost 80% of their calls are medical related, there are departments that will pay for your Emergency Medical Technician (EMT)- Basic Certification Course in return for your volunteer service to their department. This is an outstanding way to learn a crucial skill (for free) and get involved in your community. During my time as an EMT, I’ve seen first-hand the varied and extreme reactions of people’s response to stress while also developing the muscle memory to stay calm and provide emergency care to the sick and injured.

Survival

Whether you’re bugging out during a crisis or simply lost in the woods, survival skills are foundational to maintaining life. There are a lot of great resources on this topic that are free. Check out your local library for books or DVDs on survival. YouTube can also provide a lot of information regarding water purification, shelter building, fire-craft, signaling, navigation and snaring. There are a wide variety of techniques in the survival community so focus your search on practical skills and less on the primitive living techniques that can take years to master like fire by friction, tanning hides, flint-knapping, etc.

Communication

It’s a good idea to learn how to use radios now before you need them.For communities to effectively work together during catastrophes, they have to be able to communicate. In today’s society, we’ve become complacent with luxuries like the internet and cell phones that are highly vulnerable to failure when things go south.

In times of need, HAM radio operators stand in the gap to provide lifesaving information. This allows communities to prepare for incoming threats, make informed decisions, adjust provisions for crisis duration or work in concert with nearby communities. You can learn the basics of HAM radio with this free course.  Also, it’s less than $40 to get your license and using a simple handheld radio you can be talking to other operators in your community in no time!

Gardening/Canning

A garden is simply a prepping must-have to live off-grid.

You’ve probably heard the saying that “Growing your own food is like printing your own money” and in hard times this has never been truer. Imagine your delight eating fresh tomatoes or strawberries after two weeks of freeze-dried food. Or opening a jar of raspberry jam in the middle of winter that you canned earlier that summer. Gardening and canning are skills that can be learned with a minimum amount of startup costs. If you have no idea where to start, check out your local county extension or city. They likely offer free workshops on these subjects and some even provide supplies to take home! Don’t worry if you don’t have a lot of space. A simple window sill herb garden can teach you the learning curve that comes with gardening. The beauty of gardening is that even if crisis never comes, you’ll still enjoy the fruits of your labor. Ha…you see what I did there?!

Leadership

Working together is a key factor to surviving disasters and leadership is a fundamental role in making that happen. Your community is a lot like a tribe and it needs leaders at the local level. Good leadership comes from being informed and understanding what people need in hard times. One part of leadership is understanding what planning and execution is taking place at the city, state and national level. FEMA has tons of free online courses so you can work together and relay community challenges using the local chain of command. Here is a snapshot of some of the courses they offer:

  • Understanding the Incident Command System
  • Emergency Planning
  • Decision Making and Problem Solving
  • Planning for the Needs of Children in Disasters
  • Natural Disaster Mitigation

Check out their site to learn more:

There are also free courses on personal emergency preparedness offered by your city or county. A quick Internet search should point you in the right direction.

Sometimes the hardest part with most things in life is getting started. The good news is that you don’t need a fortune to start building your skillset. The danger here is not acting on this information; you have to apply it! Like Derek Sivers says, “If information were the answer we’d all be billionaires with perfect abs”. Now you know how to get started and move towards your goal. This can actually be a lot of fun. Invite a friend along with you and learn something new together. You might even find a new hobby!

About the Author: JD is the founder of  I Will Make You Hard to Kill. His site is dedicated to a wide variety of skills that improve survivability in emergency situations as well as everyday life. He is a SERE Specialist with 18 years of military service teaching aircrew and special operations personnel how to survive, evade, resist and escape at the U.S. Air Force Survival School located at Fairchild AFB, WA.

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Why The Rangefinder Binocular Is The New Must-Have Tool For Hunters

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

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


There are many things that can cause you to miss the target when hunting, one of which is a misjudged range. Speaking of underestimated range, have you ever tried to measure a target’s range and field miserably? If you have, then it might be time to invest in a rangefinder binocular.

The best rangefinder binoculars give you the best of both worlds. It is for this reason that I consider a rangefinder binocular to be an infallible asset to any hunter. Rangefinder binoculars are becoming more mainstream as more and more hunters continue discovering their usefulness.

So why are they so important to hunters? To answer this question, we have to look at what you get from a rangefinder binocular, which is,

Ease of use

Ask any hunter who uses rangefinder binoculars, and they will probably tell you that they are easier to use than laser rangefinders. Rangefinder binoculars weigh more compared to ordinary binoculars. The added weight gives them stability and makes them easier to hold. The two-hand grip of these binoculars guarantees more accurate range readings. Additionally, with a simple push of a button, you are able to get the range of your target within seconds.

Two-in-one

As a hunter, you will have to carry some accessories to aid you in your hunting. These accessories can include a rifle or bow, a binocular or a scope, and a rangefinder. Transitioning from one device to another can be time-consuming.

For example, let us say you have spotted an animal with your binocular but do not know how far away it is from you. The logical thing to do is pull out your rangefinder to measure the range. This process can be time-consuming.

With a rangefinder binocular, you spot the animal and are able to know how far it is when you spot it. Binoculars with a built-in rangefinder often have an impressive range. There are rangefinder binoculars that will offer you a 1000 to 2000 range. Thus a rangefinder binocular is a two-in-one device that will serve you exceptionally well.

Overcome rangefinder shortcomings

A rangefinder functions by sending out a laser beam. The beam hits the intended target, and the rangefinder measures the distance of the beam’s reflection. This essentially means that rangefinders do not work well in thickly forested areas. With a rangefinder integrated into a binocular, this problem is solved.

With a binocular, you can scope an area before turning on the rangefinder. Scanning the area first helps you know if there is anything that might be in the way of the laser beam. This increases your chances of hitting the target and getting an accurate range.

Also, you will be able to identify vantage points where you can get a more accurate range. The binocular’s ability to give you a clearer view of your surroundings enhances the rangefinder’s performance. Thus, the two devices built into one gadget complement one another and improve your hunting skills and reduce the chances of you missing.

Angle compensations & ballistic information

Apart from having a built –in rangefinder, most rangefinder binoculars come fitted with an angle compensator feature. This comes in handy when you are aiming from a tree stand. Some models come with pre-programmed ballistics charts that will be useful in your hunting.

This information allows you to adjust your shot based on the ballistics curve of your firearm’s bullet. This information integrated into the binocular improves your accuracy and minimizes guesswork. The ballistics technology found in some models consider factors such as temperature, air pressure, and ballistics curves. This is the kind of information that professional snipers rely on when making a shot. Therefore, with a rangefinder binocular, you will have this information at your fingertips.

Preparation

Most animals are creatures of habit. This means that they frequent specific parts. This is a weakness that you can exploit. To do so, you will need first to scout the specific areas where your prey frequents. Next, you will need to identify the perfect vantage point to take the shot.

With a rangefinder binocular, you will be able to scan and get a range simultaneously. You will need to identify a good spot from where you will stalk your prey. The binocular will come in handy when measuring the range between this spot and your prey’s preferred spot.

This preparation is best done during the day, and the hunting is done at night or dawn. At night, light conditions are not so good you will be able to know where to go to make a kill.

Avoid getting close

One of the biggest mistake you can make as a hunter is getting too close to your prey. Animals have heightened senses and can hear things at longer ranges than we can. With a rangefinder binocular, you will be able to stalk an animal from a safe distance.

Some of the best rangefinder binoculars out there offer a range of up to 1300 yards. It is hard to spook an animal off at 1300 yards. Average rangefinder binoculars normally have a range of between 600 and 800 yards. Thus, a rangefinder binocular minimizes the chances of you getting too close to make a shot. Also, this binocular helps improve your long-range marksman skills.

Continuous scoping

Every second count when you are hunting. Thus, taking your eyes off your prey for even a minute can change things. The rangefinder binoculars are designed to be sophisticated. Thus, there are models that feature an in-view LED display. The latter display usually resembles a fighter jet’s display area or HUD. All crucial information is displayed on the LED display. This way you can keep your eyes on your prey for a longer period of time.

Additionally, binoculars have a wider field of view compared to rangefinders. Thus, a binocular’s eyepiece can accommodate more information than a rangefinder’s eyepiece. Therefore, you get all the information you need clearly.

Conclusion

Rangefinder binoculars are the future, and it is estimated that in the next decade or two, rangefinder binoculars will render conventional binoculars obsolete. In summary, as a hunter having a rangefinder binocular will make work easier for you.

 

About the Author: Daren Rifen Founder of Binoculars Guru is an enthusiastic hunter with over 10 years’ experience. A native of Texas, Daren hunts everything from whitetail deer to ducks. Daren has mastered different hunting techniques including archery, using rifles and handguns. As a native of Texas, Daren learned his hunting skills from his father, who learned from his grandfather. He possesses an extensive knowledge of everything firearms, hunting binoculars and riflescopes. When he is not hunting, Daren is either hiking or fishing.

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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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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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The post Skills-Stuff: When Stuff Matters More appeared first on The Prepper Journal.

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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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

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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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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.

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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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