8 Challenges Every New Prepper Will Face

Good things do not come easily.  If you want something that is worthwhile and valuable then you will have to work hard at it consistently with patience.  In our society we are used to having everything quickly such as microwavable food, fast food and ordering things online.  Then when something that we really want becomes hard or takes too long we get frustrated and discouraged.

challenges-for-preppers

Good things do not come easily.  If you want something that is worthwhile and valuable then you will have to work hard at it consistently with patience.  In our society we are used to having everything quickly such as microwavable food, fast food and ordering things online.  Then when something that we really want becomes hard or takes too long we get frustrated and discouraged.

When I became interested in the preparedness idea it was hard for me to pinpoint how to start or where to begin.  Searching on the internet resulted in hundreds of websites and YouTube videos each with differing views and experiences.  I became overwhelmed and discouraged.  I began to feel it wasn’t worth the time to sift through the information to truly become prepared.

However, everyday I see on the news and read in the papers daily what is happening in our world.  Natural disasters are happening more frequently.  Violence and hatred is at an all-time high in this world.  Then seeing the economy tanking with millions of people out of jobs I realized that it worthwhile to be prepared now.

Ultimately it was a verse of scripture that I came across that made the difference.  In Proverbs 22:3 it says“The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and pay the penalty.”  Now you may not be a Christian or even believe in a deity but you cannot deny the wisdom of that verse.  How many times have we seen societies and even regular people neglect to take heed to warning signs ending in tragedy?

As I continue this prepper journey there are challenges that I face almost daily.  It can be easy to let discouragement turn us around and neglect the warning signs that we see every day.  It gets hard but I believe that it is worth it to continue on.  Our work will not be done in vain.

With that being said I believe there are a few challenges that every prepper will face during their journey.  So I have included my suggestions on how to overcome those challenges.

8 Challenges Every New Prepper Will Face

1. Not knowing where to start

As I mentioned when I began my prepper journey I was clueless on whereto start.  I didn’t know any dedicated prepper.  My family members do not believe in the same way of thinking so I couldn’t ask them for advice.

Therefore, I turned to the wonderful world of the internet where many believe if it is on the internet then it must be true.  I spent endless hours studying and sifting through the knowledge available in order to find a foundation to build on top of.

Eventually after much studying of how to get started I was able to put together a plan.  This wasn’t a concrete plan but is something that is ever evolving.  Either way it is important to have a plan instead of mindlessly wandering buying gear here and there.

In a previous post Must Have Prepper Gear and Where to Start I outlined that plan.  It helped me determine what dangers are most likely to happen in comparison to other threats.  From there I was able to prioritize those threats by first getting a better understanding of them.

For example, you don’t want to build a fall out bunker because you saw it on Doomsday Preppers but not be prepared for a hurricane if you live in Florida.  Yes, a nuclear attack may happen but the likelihood that you will face a hurricane is a lot higher.  Therefore you need to identify the threats and prioritize them using that post.

2. Disapproval from friends and family

In our society people call someone who is a prepper crazy because they believe in being prepared for disasters instead of depending on a government to save them.  People have become so mindless that they believe something similar to a small pox outbreak could never happen in our time.  Then when they meet someone who does it shocks them.  The media has painted preppers to be crazy conspiracy enthusiasts which is true to extent but doesn’t apply to everyone who calls themselves a prepper.

As a single person I’m not dependent upon the approval of a wife or kids.  That is much more challenging especially if you are a new prepper and your spouse is not on board.  Many times they will roll their eyes at you or scold you for spending so much money on supplies.

In a previous post by Dan Sullivan he explains how you can be a prepper without looking crazy.  Our goal shouldn’t be to control family members into believing what we believe.  Instead we should try to speak their language.  For example, they may not believe in the potential of martial law being instituted but they could be concerned about an earthquake in your area.  Try finding their fears and speak their language to encourage them about the importance of being prepared.

3. Finding storage for your preps

As an apartment prepper it is extremely challenging to find space to store emergency supplies.  You don’t have a garage or able to expand your property to fit everything.  Storing food alone is challenging.  Then you have to find where to store gear.

This challenge is not only for the apartment prepper.  Even if you have a house you could be very limited to space due to having a family with kids.  So we have to find creative ways to build storage.

On Pinterest there are tons of articles on prepper storage that you can find to help you to either build your own storage or find small living hacks.  Another good option is look into renting off site storage.  Now I would recommend having the essentials in your house along with at least a 30 day supply of food.  The remainder can be stored in these off-site locations.  This is also good if you are raided and your supplies are stolen.  Off-site storage will give you a backup solution.

4. Getting caught up in prepper fantasies

A lot of new preppers have seen episodes of Doomsday Prepper and are attracted by what they see.  They see these bunkers and weapons thinking that it is all there is too prepping.  They are made to believe that they could be a one man army against the world.

I hear it all the time from new preppers when they are just getting started with building a bug out bag first.  They think that it is going to be like on the tv shows where they can evade danger to live in the woods without facing any challenges.  Of course they don’t realize that bugging out should be the very last option to consider.  You should be more focused on bugging in.

5. Too much focus on gear and not survival

Don’t get me wrong, this blog is about prepper gear where I share reviews of what I buy along with DIY survival gear.  But the focus should not be on the gear when you first get started.  The focus should be on surviving.  You can survive without a lot of the gear that is available.  Prepper gear just helps make it easier.  However, if your gear breaks or fails then you better be able to survive without it.

When it comes to survival you want to follow the rule of 3’s.  This rule states that you can survive only 3 seconds without hope, 3 minutes without air or blood, 3 hours in extreme weather conditions, 3 days without water and 3 weeks without food.  So you should learn the survival basics of each.  For example you can learn how to filter and purify water so that it is drinkable.  You could also practice building a fire to survive extreme weather conditions and so on.

6. Lack of money to purchase gear

A lot of us are feeling the effects of an economy that is suffering.  Even if the economy is doing well there will still be a lot of us that will still be suffering.  This makes it almost impossible to buy high quality gear because it can get pretty pricey.

This is why I share my experience purchasing prepper gear and testing it on this blog.  I can’t afford some of the high end stuff.  So I purchase the best possible gear at the most reasonable price.  Don’t get me wrong you pay for what you get.  Therefore if you buy generic then you are buying generic quality which typically isn’t great.  So you will have to sacrifice sometimes.

However, I try to provide you with the best possible price for the gear that I review and why I recommend purchasing from there.  Most of my gear is purchased through companies on Amazon because I don’t want to search all over the internet to find gear.  But there will be some gear that is not available on Amazon that I will purchase as well.

In my post 7 Great Inexpensive Places to Buy Prepper Gear I include a lot of great places to check out.  Some include yard sales, Goodwill, army surplus, etc.  Sometimes we may have to start with cheaper gear just to have something there quickly available until you can afford the better quality item.

Being a prepper is a lifestyle.  It isn’t something that is done overnight.  You will never be finished being prepared because there is always going to be something better to buy and learn.

7. Becoming fearful and overwhelmed

During my prepper journey there was a time that I felt extremely overwhelmed and stressed.  I believed that I didn’t have enough gear and didn’t have enough survival skills.  I felt like there was an imminent danger.

There is that fear that will be present when it comes to being a prepper.  This is especially true if you get caught up in a lot of internet shows and conspiracy theorists who live off of the fears of others.  Be very weary of people who constantly keeping you in fear in order to get you to purchase their products.  Stuff like that can drive you insane and into poverty.

Eventually you will have to realize that even if you are at least somewhat prepared you are still more prepared than millions of others in this world.  For example 53% of Americans do not have 3 days of emergency supplies.  So if you even have three days worth of supplies you are more prepared than millions of people in the United States.

8. Meeting other like-minded preppers

One funny thing that I have learned about preppers is that they are very suspicious of other people especially if you are also a prepper.  Many of them believe that if they let you know that you are a prepper then you are going to come to their house and raid them when SHTF.  So they don’t bother bonding together to build prepper communities.  This has been especially challenging for me.

There are few places or things that you can do to meet like-minded people.  You can find a local amateur radio club in your area.  A lot of the people who are HAM operators are preppers or are like minded.

Another great option to find like-minded people is to visit a gun range frequently.  You can also join a local rifle club or gun enthusiasts club.  Many of those people are concerned about defending themselves and others in times of a disaster.

One final suggestion is that you can find a local survival or bush craft group.  A lot of survivalists and bush crafters are also concerned with preparedness but may not necessarily call themselves a prepper.

Top prepper medicines to stock for survival

When there is no doctor and when there is no medicine, what then? Survival
medicine is doing what you can with what you have, so make sure you have something
when the rest of the world runs out! If you are passionate about your survival, 
consider asking your physician now for extra prescription medicines and antibiotics, or
stocking up on unusual homeopathic and non-prescription medicines. Stocking up on
medicines just might save a life: yours!

Let food by thy medicine and medicine be thy food. ” Hippocrates.

When there is no doctor and when there is no medicine, what then? Survival
medicine is doing what you can with what you have, so make sure you have something
when the rest of the world runs out! If you are passionate about your survival,
consider asking your physician now for extra prescription medicines and antibiotics, or
stocking up on unusual homeopathic and non-prescription medicines. Stocking up on
medicines just might save a life: yours!

Emergency Medical Technicians, nurses and doctors have one common shortcoming:
much of their power to heal and save lives becomes useless without support of
medicine and medical supplies. And therein lies the reality: eventually medicines and
supplies will run out in the end of the world as we know it.

Here are the top prepper medicines to stock for survival:

#1: Activated Charcoal Tablets (toxin adsorption*).
Activated charcoal is the black magic potion the prepper’s medicine bag. We’re not
talking Kingsford here (don’t use chemically laden charcoal briquettes): the
recommended medicine for your cabinet is a specially activated charcoal. While
activated charcoal has many uses (from teeth whitening to reducing your cholesterol)
its ideally suited for preppers as an emergency toxin removal. Activated charcoal,
through adsorption, traps toxins in the body to help flush them out. Another of the
major benefits of activated charcoal is that it helps alleviate gas and bloating.

Make way for Nature’s Way Activated Charcoal capsules, pictured left. Nature’s Way
Activated Charcoal (from Indian Hardwood) is commonly used to adsorb* digestive
gas. It also protects the body from overdosing on harmful toxic substances. Due to its
large surface area, activated charcoal has high adsorption properties, meaning that it
keeps certain substances from being absorbed in the body’s gastrointestinal tract.

    • * Note: adsorption, not absorption, refers to adhesion of atoms, ions, molecules
      from a dissolved solid, liquid or gas. The adsorption process flushes poison and
      toxins from the body.

 

    #2: Ammonia Inhalant (smelling salts).
    Ammonia Inhalant, pictured right, is a modern day version of “smelling salts.” It’s
    intended as a product to arouse patients who’ve fainted. An often overlooked prep,
    you will be happy to  know you can revive someone to save their life with a swift
    measure of ammonia inhalant.

    #3: Antibiotics – Fish Mox (amoxicillin – broad sprectrum antibiotic)
    The role of antibiotics in modern day is immeasurable. FishMox is the primary brand of
    amoxicillin (antibiotic) stocked by preppers for extreme catastrophic situations where a
    doctor or when medicines intended for humans are not available. Amoxicillin treats
    bacterial infections, but also presents a severe allergic reaction in some people which
    is sudden, intense and possibly deadly. Consult your doctor about FishMox* to see if
    this option is right for you and your family in a survival situation when prescription
    antibiotics will be hard to come by after a societal collapse. Remember, this antibiotic is
    intended for fish, not humans, but may be the only antibiotic available in uncertain
    times when a doctor is not available. Stock Fish Mox, but do not use it under ordinary
    circumstances, and do not stock it without consulting a doctor, nurse or pharmacist.
    Learn the proper dose for your bodyweight before you ever need it and discuss your
    family’s history of allergies! This is the value a medical professional can provide. Fish
    Mox is no longer currently available on Amazon.

    • Discover the nine best survival antibiotics from the Urban Survival website.
    • Nurse Amy and Doctor bones have a video about Fish antibiotics.
    • Medical professionals may like to order Antibiotics Simplified.
    • Did you know antibiotics are safe to use for at least five years after expiration? 
      Learn more about expiration dates. Save your unused medicines!
    • Read: Fish antibiotics for preppers.

    #4: Anti-diarrheal.
    An important prepper medicine to stock is an over the counter anti-diarrheal. It doesn’t
    matter whether you stock a brand name or a generic:

    • Imodium® A-D or other anti-diarrheal to controls symptoms of diarrhea. Here is
      more about the case for stocking Imodium.
    • Kirkland Anti-diarrheal includes the active ingredient (Loperamide HCI 2 mg.)but
      at a much lower cost.

    #5: Antihistamine allergy medicine (e.g., Benadryl)
    Benadryl is diphenhydramine, the brand name of antihistamine allergy medicine. Since
    1946 Benadryl has been providing temporary relief of seasonal and perennial allergy
    symptoms. Most notably, taking an antihistamine such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl)
    provides a measure of relief against bee stings.

    • Learn more about bee sting treatment.

    #6: Aspirin (painkiller).
    Much more than a painkiller, you’ll find many reasons to include aspirin in your preps.
    For your bugout bag, pack aspirin in small packets, pictured immediate left.

    #7: Boiron Oscillococcinum (Homeopathic flu remedy).
    Boiron Oscillococcinum is a homeopathic product for Flu-like Symptoms, pictured left.
    Boiron Oscillococcinum, pictured left, temporarily relieves flu-like symptoms such as
    body aches, headache, fever, chills and fatigue.

    #8: Colloidal Silver (natural antibiotic).
    A powerful anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-viral, Colloidal Silver soothes a number
    of skin ailments, including soothing burns, minimize scarring, relieving herpes sores,
    and medicating boils, ringworm or warts!

    Colloidal Silver is a mineral with wildly debated medical claims, but preppers agree it is
    a necessary item in the medicine cabinet. According to the manufacturer of Ultra Pure
    Colloidal Silver Natures Best Antibiotic, “There is no known disease causing organism
    that can live in the presence of even minute traces of Colloidal Silver. Colloidal Silver is
    used to treat a wide range of diseases and infections, both internally and externally.”

    The big pharmaceutical companies don’t appreciate these claims, and the Federal Drug
    Administration isn’t on board either and so colloidal silver gets a bad rap.

    While we don’t think anyone should self medicate, there may be a time in the future
    you may be faced in desperation to cure a disease. Preppers pack colloidal silver in
    their personal pharmacy because it is a natural antibiotic available without a
    prescription. It serves as an alternative when prescribed antibiotics are not available
    and infection is life threatening. Preppers also appreciate versatility of a prep.

    • Read more about the Benefits of Colloidal Silver for Preppers.

    #9: Digestive enzymes (Enzyme supplement, digestive aid).
    Your stomach won’t be quite the same after your diet changes. Many a backpacker has
    overdosed on freeze dried food and can testify to this. Digestive enzymes will help
    restore your body’s proper balance.

    #10: Frankincense (natural immune booster).
    Frankincense (Boswellia serrata) reduces inflammation, helps fight infection and boost
    immunity among so many uses. Read our full article on the benefits of Frankincense.
    Learn also about Myrrh Essential Oil.

    #11 Fresh Green Black Walnut Wormwood Complex (treats parasites).
    During a survival situation, you may be hunting and unable to provide a stable source
    of fresh drinking water. Have a plan to clear parasites out of the body with Fresh
    Green Black Walnut Wormwood Complex. This powerful extract, derived from the hulls
    of green black walnuts, is  a centuries old herbal tonic to promote healthy microbial
    activity. Fresh green black walnut wormwood complex comes highly recommended by
    The Patriot Nurse in a survival situation for those who plan on hunting.

    #12: Goldenseal (immune support).
    Popular as antifungal and antibacterial, Goldenseal root promotes a healthy immune
    system. Goldenseal, also called Indian turmeric or “ginseng’s little brother” by the
    Cherokee, has potent medicinal properties. It can kill germs on contact particularly in
    mucus membranes and not get absorbed in the blood stream, which can be
    advantageous for many, but can make blood pressure fluctuate, so check with your
    health care practitioner. It’s also used as a digestive aid and studies are underway for
    using goldenseal to support healing of cancer.

    #13: Neem Oil.
    Neem oil reduces skin inflammation and helps remedy skin disorders, including acne,
    eczema and psoriasis. Commonly also used as an antiviral, antifungal, and
    antibacterial, you’ll find neem oil is also an antiparasitic; and neem oil is also used as
    an organic pesticide!

    #14: Oregano Oil (an antiflammatory and more).
    Packed with protection against bed bugs, fleas, lice, even mosquitoes, and tape worm!
    Oregano oil is also effective against vaginal infections, cold and flu, and a host of other
    homeopathic uses.

    • Read more about oregano oil, and other natural antibiotics.

    #15: Potassium Iodide Capsules (radiation emergency).
    Potassium Iodide is a prepper medicine often overlooked and yet essential to take if
    radiation is imminent and may be limited or unavailable when health officials notify the
    public of exposure and urgency. Potassium Iodide capsules, pictured immediate right,
    can help maintain a high level of beneficial iodides in the thyroid gland. Potassium
    Iodide supports the body’s normal detoxification processes, including the removal of
    heavy metals, though it’s not a cure for radiation sickness.

    • Learn more about radiation exposure and survival.

    #16: Stool softener (constipation relief).
    You’ll be eating foods you’re not used to eating, so consider that bowel movements
    may fluctuate more often. Miralax, pictured bottom left of page, is a stool softener to
    help you get through eating too much freeze dried food.

    #17: SaltStick caps Plus (hydration).
    Avoid cramping during and after long distance and high elevation hikes. Trusted by
    marathon runners, SaltStick buffered electrolyte salts plus caffeine and sodium,
    pictured immediate right, will give preppers on the move an edge. In addition to
    reducing muscle cramping, these totally vegetarian capsules reduce heat stress,
    maintain electrolyte levels and increase energy levels. It’s a great bugout-bag item or
    for hunting.

    #18: Tea Tree oil (external use only).
    Tea Tree Essential Oil, pictured left, is best known as a very powerful immune
    stimulant. It’s a powerful anti-fungal and disinfectant for topical use only. It can help to
    fight all three categories of infectious organisms (bacteria, fungi, and viruses), and
    there is evidence that Tea Tree Oil massages prior to an operation may help to fortify
    the body and reduce post-operative shock. Tea Tree Oil can help with colds, measles,
    sinusitis and viral infections.

    Tea tree oil is very penetrating oil to help cure infections and boils, and even seep
    through toenails. It’s great for athletes foot! Learn more about tea tree oil benefits.

    • Do NOT ingest tea tree oil! You may wind up in the hospital. Some apply tea
      tree oil sparingly to sores in the mouth and on lips, but this is a deadly
      concoction to some and not worth the risk for others. Never ingest tea tree oil!

    #19: Thieves Oil (pandemics).

    • Ebola preventionPossibly, however, the U.S. Federal Drug Administration has
      been very careful in preventing Thieves Oil manufacturers, like Young Living from
      marketing their product as a drug to prevent Ebola and has sent them a severe
      warning letter. Such products are not intended for use in the diagnosis, cure, 
      mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease and should not be marketed as
      such, according to the FDA. It is illegal to market this product as an anti-viral for
      any purpose.

     

    • Plague prevention: There is evidence that Thieves Oil keeps plague at bay
      During the 15th-century plague, thieves used an oil of cloves, rosemary, and
      other aromatics to protect themselves while robbing plague victims.

     

    • Upper respiratory support: In the Survival Medicine Handbook: A Guide for
      When Help is Not on the Way by Joseph Alton M.D. and Amy Alton ARNP, they
      recommend stocking Thieves Oil! (Page 78.) for upper respiratory infections.

    #20:  Topical Anesthetic Gel – Hurricaine (tooth pain relief).
    Nothing bites worse than tooth pain! Hurricaine topic gel, pictured  right, will
    anesthetize muscle tissue to provide temporary relief in discomfort in teeth and gums.
    This medication will be a godsend for the day when a dentist is not available. In the
    old days, the agony of dental pain was among the top causes of suicide.

    Nature’s medicine cabinet
    Interested in other prepper medicines? Preppers also stock a variety of home
    remedies, salves, unconventional medicines, and essential oils for survival:

    • Aloe vera. Aloe will provide soothing relief from sunburns.

     

    • Coconut oil. Learn to cook with coconut oil.

     

    • Echinacea. A medicinal powerhouse and secret of Native Americans, echinacea
      has been popular as an antiviral and antibacterial sold to help fight symptoms
      of cold and flu.

     

    • Elderberry. Proven effective for use against swine and avian flu, elderberry
      extract is manufacturered as Sambucol. Safe and effective for kids, there are no
      known side effects.

     

    • Epsom Salts. Discover the medicinal uses of Epsom salts, including how Epsom 
      salts help flush out toxins from the body, improve absorption of nutrients, and
      even soothe aching muscles.

     

    • Honey. Honey is ideal as a topical antibiotic because apparently honey kills
      bacteriaaccording to Science Daily. What’s more, honey will last almost
      indefinitely! Consider the many good reasons to hoard honey.

     

    • Hydrogen Peroxide. As a first aid essential, hydrogen peroxide can help prevent
      infection in minor cuts, scrapes and burns. It may also be used as an oral
      debriding agent. It can aid in removing phlegm, mucus or other secretions
      associated with a sore mouth. Stock hydrogen peroxide in your prepper’s
      medicine cabinet and learn more about applications for your survival.

     

    • Onions Onions have natural anti-fungal properties. For immediate relief, rub on
      affected areas. Here’s how an onion can soothe a bee sting.

     

    • Peppermint oil. Peppermint oil is great for your health, and you’ll keep pesky
      little critters away. Spiders hate peppermint oil and rodents too! 100% 
      peppermint oil will burn their little nostrils!

     

    • Salt. Discover the many medicinal uses of salt.

    More great finds:

    • Christopher’s Infection Fighting Formula (dietary supplement, flu season).
      Pictured at the bottom of the page, Christopher’s Infection Fighting Formula is
      highly rated on Amazon. Such dietary supplements offer added peace of mind
      during the flu season. Get through pandemic situations knowing you’re charging
      your family with infection fighting vitamins.

     

    • Melatonin (sleep aid). Many preppers stash coffee and tea for survival. They
      need also stock something to help them fall asleep: Melatonin. During a crisis, 
      your mind may be hyper alert with thoughts keeping you awake at night, but
      without adequate sleep you may not be able to follow through on an effective
      strategy of survival. That’s where Melatonin comes into play. Melatonin by
      Nature’s Bounty, pictured right, is great for people experiencing occasional
      sleeplessness, those with jet lag, or anyone seeking to improve their quality of
      rest.

     

    • Caffeine (alertness and energy aid). Caffeine supplements will help you stay
      awake and five-hour energy boosters may help provide the endurance you need
      to protect your family or meet another critical survival need.

     

      • Is a caffeine pill hard to swallow? Try decaffeinated chewing gum!

     

      Considering that stress and poor nutrition along with reduced hygiene and total lack of
      medical care are very real threats to your health during a catastrophe, it’s wise to
      prepare; however, for any health or dietary matter, consult your Doctor well in
      advance of needing to use any of these products. This medicine cabinet supply list is
      intended for long-term storage and use only for a scenario where a pharmacy and
      medical professional network is unavailable.*

      Happy Endings…
      It’s better to have medicine (and not use it) than to need medicine (and not have it)!

      Survival Eating

      Food is not just a source of energy and sustenance, but a comfort item as well. When you are hungry, morale goes down and chances of survival dwindle.  There will be several opportunities to find food after the supermarkets close, you just need to know where to look and what tools to have.

      The first thing you need to know is that meat will only take you only so far.  If you read Meriwether Lewis’s journals from their exploration; the men still felt hungry although they were eating several pounds of meat per day.  You can eat 10 rabbits a day and still “starve” as rabbit lacks everything except protein for your body’s survival.

      Food is not just a source of energy and sustenance, but a comfort item as well. When you are hungry, morale goes down and chances of survival dwindle.  There will be several opportunities to find food after the supermarkets close, you just need to know where to look and what tools to have.

      The first thing you need to know is that meat will only take you only so far.  If you read Meriwether Lewis’s journals from their exploration; the men still felt hungry although they were eating several pounds of meat per day.  You can eat 10 rabbits a day and still “starve” as rabbit lacks everything except protein for your body’s survival.

      Trapping

      Trapping is the most feasible option to maintain a steady supply of fresh meat for the “table”.  There are several traps and many more that can be improvised.  Many people have trapped animals, even if it was just setting a mouse trap to get rid of a pest. The most important thing to prepare for using traps to supply food is to educate oneself on the habits and lifestyles of the animals in your area.  If you must travel to your secure location, remember to research and study the areas for the areas you will need to travel through.   My experiences are mostly in the Midwest and Southeastern US, so some tips or items may not be as suitable for a Western environment but I will try and offer tips based on what I have read or been told by trappers/outdoors-men in those areas.

      survival-eating

      Animal tracks are a sure sign that something is or has been in the area. Tracks can be the obvious footprints in the sand or dirt but can also be as subtle as the scratches on a tree trunk or small holes dug into the ground where your prey was hunting their own meal. Several books are available for studying the footprints of the animals so you can know what animal you are targeting is.  I’d prefer NOT to trap a skunk or opossum unless they are my only choice.  Time and energy spent on setting traps for the wrong animal are time and energy you will not get back.  Also, setting a rat trap or 110 body grip trap for a raccoon or ground hog is wasted time, as you will not be using the proper tools.

      There are several different brands and sizes of store bought traps available on the market. The 3 major types are:

      1) Foothold traps– These come in a variety of sizes and even styles.  There are single jaws (most common) and double jaws; toothed (think of the old bear traps) or smooth jaw; long spring or coil spring.  The long spring has single or double long springs which are made by “folding” a piece of spring metal over and then pinching it to allow the trap to be set.  Tension is supplied by the animal stepping on the “pan” and releasing the lock, which allows the long spring to expand back to its “U” shape and thus applies pressure holding the trapped animal. Coil spring traps use coil springs either in a double or 4 coil set up.  The more coils, the stronger the traps strength to hold an animal, but too much strength can break a bone and thus allow the animal to tear off its foot and escape (thus the legend was born of animals “chewing” their leg off to escape a trap). Trap sizes increase with the “number”.  The added weight of the long springs is useful for drowning rig set ups, but coil spring traps are smaller for packing.

      2)  Body grip (commonly referred to as connibear)- These traps are square in shape and they normally kill the prey upon capture. They utilize 1 or 2 springs and a single trigger/lock mechanism.  They come in 3 common sizes, 110, 220, 330, size grows with the number.  Some manufacturers have “middle sizes as well, but they are not as common. When selecting these traps, read the description and choose the trap by the opening size (110 = 7inch by 7 inch opening; normally) and what you will need for the animals in your area for planning purposes.  I use 110’s for squirrel, muskrat, rabbit, etc for planning purposes, 220 for raccoon, ground hog, fox, etc; and 330 for beaver, coyote, really big raccoons, etc.  Some reading this will wonder why I included foxes and coyotes but if you are secure in your homestead and something raids the chicken coop or garden plot; you may have to trap for varmint control as well as food.

      3) Snares– These handy gems can be bought already made or obtained by buying the different components and making custom sized snares for game not normally trapped in today’s normal living conditions.  Snares are designed to catch an animal as it walks through the hoop of the snare and then being strangled. You can fix these to small saplings or branches being bent and anchored to a stake with a trigger device to spring back to their original position and creating a very fast choke or even breaking the neck of the prey. Most modern snares are made from aircraft cable of 5/32 or 3/16 inch diameter. You can also use heavier gauge as long as it is pliable and you customize the hardware for the thicker cable. Snares can also be improvised from a variety of materials, fishing line being a natural choice. I carry braided line with 60# test or higher for such purposes and also to use for limb lines. Regular sewing thread or light weight (2-4#) fishing line is useful for securing the snare to brush or fencing to keep its shape and stay in place once set.   Snares made from 6-10# fishing line works well for birds. For hiking in parts of Alaska and Canada (possibly other locations), it is required by law that you have a couple snares in your pack and the knowledge to use them.

      These are the main types of animal traps used for trapping fur-bearers for their pelts. They can add immense possibilities to the prepper for putting food on the table if and when the need arises.  Improvised traps are also very important; not only will they be used if caught in an emergency where you don’t have your kit, i.e. an aircraft crash since we can’t carry our kits as a carry on.

      Deadfalls are probably the best known and easiest to construct improvised trap.  These are created by using an object or objects that weigh enough to kill the intended target by crushing it.  Rocks, trees, branches, cast off equipment or materials (bricks, sandbags, vehicle parts, etc) can all be used for the weight. You balance the weight and attach the bait to a trigger, a type 4 trigger is the most common but takes practice to make, and when the animal pulls on the bait, it causes the weight to fall and crush it.  You can also use a manual trigger by attacking a string or rope to the brace and pulling the brace out manually once the target enters the “kill zone.”  This can be practiced by using a laundry basket and catching birds in the back yard, great training and practice for the little ones and it will teach them patience and the need to be quiet and still.  The basket or a bucket can also be used in a survival situation to catch small animals in the same manner, just know that the target will still be alive and will need to be approached with care.

      Pitfalls or punji pits can also be used. These are simple in design but require a lot of work to make. By digging a hole deep enough and covering it so the target does not see it, they can be lured to the pit or dig it along a trail they travel. The pit must be deep enough and/or lined so the target cannot climb or jump out.  By adding punji stake (sharpened sticks) to the trap, you will injure, maim or kill whatever falls into the trap.  This will help ensure the animal stays but can also become dangerous to unsuspecting people falling into the pit.  These are also dangerous to livestock or pets, so use common sense and care when utilizing these traps.

      Fish traps are also a valuable commodity to use for gathering food. These are normally constructed on site, using natural materials combined with brought items.  By placing obstacles, sticks, rocks, boards, etc, in the waterway, you funnel the fish swimming through at a certain point.  At this point, place a net and anything swimming through will be captured.  You can also use fencing [poultry netting (chicken wire) works best for its pliability and small mesh size).  Form the fencing into a cylindrical shape and fasten it together with cable ties, rope, tie wire, etc.  After gauging the opening size, cut more of the fencing used to form a “funnel” to fit into the opening(s); if only 1 funnel is used, you must form a “wall” on the opposite end to secure the trap.  The funnel needs to extend into the trap about 1/8 – ¼ the length of the cylinder and reduce in size down to an opening that will allow the fish to swim in but not so big they can swim out extremely easy.  The idea is they will have room to swim out, but by have the funnel opening centered in the trap, most fish will miss the opening and not swim out.  You may lose some, but the majority of any fish swimming in will be there when you check your traps.  You can add bait by attaching small bags filled with bait to the fencing.  I like attaching mine to the bottom to get the fish to swim away from the opening of the funnel. A practice trap can be made by cutting a 2 liter pop (soda) bottle off just after it gets to its full size.  By turning this around and inserting it into the body of the bottle with the pour spout inside the bottle, you now have a minnow trap to collect bait. Punch small holes through the bottom of the bottle and sides to allow water to flow through it.  I use a small rod of re-bar to anchor this to the creek bed.  Secure the cut off portion with glue is best, but if the cut is made cleanly it can be held with friction.  Place the opening to the upstream side, so water pressure will build and help hold the top in the bottle body. This will also give a visual of what a bigger trap made from fencing should look like.   This type of trap will also catch crabs, lobster, crawdads and even some small marine mammals.

      Traps can more than pay for themselves on the return of food and even pelts for clothing, pot holders, blankets, etc in a survival situation. There are several books on the subject written by people with a lot more experience than me.  If possible and legal to do so, practice trapping animals before the need arises and your learning curve means whether you and your family eat or not. You can get clips to hold body grip traps in the “set” position on the side of a tree.  Bait the trigger wires with corn or nutmeats, even peanut butter, and squirrels will come to feast on your offering and roasted squirrel or stew is on the menu.  The clips are sold via trapper supply houses for marten and fisher trappers.  The clips can also be improvised out of small pieces of conduit or pipe.  The spring on the body grip trap can have a rope tied to it and secured to a branch so it will swing the trap and your catch away from the tree to keep scavengers from easily stealing your meal.  I carry a few premade snares, two 110 sized body grip traps and 1 #4, four coil trap in my rucksack or in my MOLLE vest.  I also carry heavy weight (60# +) braided fishing line to improvise snares.  I carry lighter weight fishing line for snares for birds or to use as sewing thread to repair clothes or gear. Remember to get repair parts for any traps you have and acquire the skill to repair them.

      Fishing

      There are several articles written, as well as countless books, on the subject of fishing. I will only briefly touch on the subject.  Irecommend using limb lines in a survival fishingsituation. You use a heavy weight line and attach this to a very sturdy branch overhanging or very near the water source.  I prefer one with a little flexibility to allow for the fish to fight without breaking or ripping the hook from its mouth. Limb lines can be utilized using normal store bought hooks or improvising natural materials into something to hold the fish. “Skewer hooks” can be made easily and very quickly, even by a child. You take a piece of wood and sharpen both ends to a dull point.  You can rough up the “barrel” of the wood to help hold the bait or even tie the bait on with string.  You attach the line by tying it around the barrel in the center of the piece of wood.  When the fish swallows the bait and the skewer, it will lodge in its throat or guts, depending on size of fish.  When you pull the line, it will cause the skewer to turn sideways and thus make an extremely strong hold on the fish allowing you to haul it in.  If using limb lines in waters with a large turtle population, they can be used to catch turtles as well, but I would recommend using steel leaders to help keep the turtles from biting the line off.

      Treble hooks work extremely well, but until used for a true survival situation, they are normally illegal, so check your local laws.  You can also cut pantyhose down, tie it around the bait and use it to help keep fish from stealing the bait.  Safety pins and needles can also be used to adapt something from its intended purpose to use as a makeshift hook.  These will not be barbed, so extra care is needed to maintain control over your fish once caught.  I would also recommend buying and using cane poles even during routine fishing outings.  I love my spin cast and bait cast reels coupled with a good rod, but if they break, a branch more closely resembles a cane pole than a $300 rod and reel combo.  Throw nets or casting nets are also valuable in obtaining fish.  These do require practice, but the return can be very rewarding and the difference between a full belly and an empty one. I’d even try and obtain topo maps of the lakes, rivers, streams, etc for the area you will be when the need arises. This will give you bottom structure and locations for optimum limb line locations.

      Hunting

      Several articles have been written and posted on hunting.  This is the method most people plan on obtaining their meat in a survival situation.  Study the animals in your chosen area and learn all you can about their habits, food sources, activity cycles (nocturnal or diurnal), and home (burrows, nests, meadow, water, lodge (muskrat and beaver), etc).  Choose a weapon that will easily take the game animal but not ruin the meat; you do not want to hunt a rabbit with a .308 or a 12 gauge slug.  A .22 long Rifle will take most animals, even deer, with proper shot placement. Using a .22 LR are illegal to take certain game, so read game laws before using in a non survival situation.  If I was able to choose just 1 higher powered rifle, I would choose a .308 Win./7.62mm.  They are available on an AR platform for those who want the self loader or even the battle proven M14 (Springfield’s M1A1).  A bolt action would be fine or even a pump.  The reason I would choose the .308 is several fold; 1)  They are a common caliber and ammunition will be available; 2)  They have much more range and power over the .223/5.56mm, I can hunt medium game like antelope and deer with a .308 but would NOT want to tackle a moose, elk or bear with a .223; 3)  The added firepower will allow me to keep the 2-legged varmints farther out of their preferred range and in the ranges I practiced at before I had to use it.  Optics are also a requirement in my opinion.  A good survival rifle will have open iron sights as a backup, as scopes get broken, but optics allow for a more accurate shot placement when the adage of “every shot counts” is truly “gospel” in a survival situation.  Ammunition can be in very short supply and harvesting that game means you and yours eat is not the time to try shots that you can brag about, the only bragging that needs done will be when you carry in that nice venison haunch.

      Blackpowder weapons will be an excellent choice for a survival weapon if you also gain the knowledge to make your own blackpowder and cast your own lead balls. I would recommend a flintlock over percussion cap. Flint can be picked up in just about every corner of the US. By casting your own lead balls and making blackpowder, you can have a long term firearm to hunt with and conserve your center fire ammunition for real emergencies and self defense. Muzzleloading weapons act and shoot differently than center fire weapons; flintlocks can have a “lag” between the time you pull the trigger and the time the powder actually ignites to propel the ball down the barrel. If you choose to use this type of survival tool, please get one as early as possible and practice to learn the intricacies of this traditional food gatherer.

      Archery equipment, especially the knowledge on how to build self bows such as the Native Americans, would be a great asset. They are quiet, can take a multitude of game, can be replaced (if capable of making them) and arrows can be made also. Their use will save ammunition for self defense and extremely dangerous game (bears, mountain lions, wolves, feral dogs, etc).

      Do not underestimate the power and ability of a slingshot to put dinner on the table.  It is easy to find ammunition; any rock will do and are perfect for the younger hunters.  They are quiet and capable hunters, especially when using lead round balls. They are modestly priced and found at almost every discount and department store. You can “store” vast amounts ammo for it and nobody be the wiser; just do some landscaping and use river rock instead of mulch.

      Regardless of equipment and tactics, make sure you get as close as possible and take the sure shot.  Those nice antlers only mean you can make another tool, while does and yearlings usually have more tender meat and are an easier quarry.  Always choose the sure shot.  Other uncommon tools for hunting include, spears, air guns,boomerangs/throwing sticks, and even a bolo. The biggest thing is to practice with whatever method(s) you choose so as to be an expert in their use as there is NO substitution for knowledge about your intended game animal(s).

      Gathering

      Gathering wild edibles will greatly enhance your meals and chance of survival. Several books are written and a must have at least in the survival retreat or Bug Out Location (BOL).  I would also find a small one to keep in your Bug Out Bag (BOB) like the book from  Judy of the Woods.  Sassafras root makes a good tea and even chewing the leaves will cause saliva to be generated to help reduce thirst or just give you peace of mind from food, similar to chewing gum. Cattails are one of nature’s greatest survival gifts. You can eat the young shoots, the roots are like a potato, and even the seed (the part on top that gets to looking like a dusty corn cob) is a great flour additive, added to stew or can be eaten on its own.  Some other plants to learn and know are: Solomon’s Seal, May Apple, wild berries, any nut tree, pine needles (for tea), pine cones for pine nuts (place a “closed” pine cone near a fire and they will “open” to obtain the nuts/seeds inside), birch sap (can be made into a great syrup for your acorn pancakes), wild mint, swamp cabbage palm in the southern swamps, fish eggs, mushrooms, etc. These items are edible in whole or in part and will provide extra flavor and much needed calories in an emergency.  Please read books or find someone who can give precise instructions on edible plants and try them before it becomes necessary.

      Remember, all bird eggs are edible; many are small but they will provide calories and much needed nutrients.  Eggs dipped in wax can be held up to a month without refrigeration or spoilage. That little extra bird feed and the bird houses while times are good; could be a bountiful investment for when times get bad.  I would also recommend books on wild herbs to help with the seasoning of food and natural medicine once the pharmacy is looted.

      Gardening

      Gardening has been covered in depth, so I will only add to the obvious benefit of growing food, the garden plot will bring in wild game to trap or hunt.  Also, planting fruit trees in advance will supply fresh fruit to the diet and animals will travel long distance to eat a sweet dessert like an apple.  This will bring the game to you and thus reduce risk and visibility by having to venture further and further from your secure location.  I would also think about establishing a pond for fish farming and if the space is available, digging deep ditches for irrigation and drawing animals for water.  Dams can be used to control water depth.

      Also, if able, a greenhouse will allow year round growing. You can add bee hives to the greenhouse and the bees will pollinate the crops and give you a natural sweetener. Honey also has many medicinal uses and when the going gets rough and many comfort items are no longer available, who wouldn’t want something sweet to help boost morale?

      Livestock

      Raising livestock is also important, but does require land to use as pasture.  Goats would be a prime animal, they will supply meat, milk and depending on the breed, wool to make cloth from.  This all takes more knowledge and land, which some of us may or may not have.  Poultry will help eat bugs in the garden, supply meat and eggs, act as an alarm system (geese and guineas), eat weeds from the garden (geese), and can supply down for quilts if the situation turns into a truly long term event.

      These are but suggestions to stimulate ideas and comments from others to bring a more balanced and as close to full thought process on the subject of feeding ourselves in the worst of times.  Everyone’s location and access to land and other resources will dictate how we must personalize any ideas to meet our needs, abilities, and resources; not all can afford to dig ditches and a pond or have the land to do so.  I hope I have helped some or maybe caused others to think in a direction they had not thought of.  My purpose is to give basics to those who are starting, maybe add some insight to those who have not been able to experience some of these skills, and caused the experienced to share their ideas or knowledge in comments of things they have actually tried or even heard of so the group gains the knowledge to try or research tricks or skill sets that will help them survive.

      Summary

      I have eaten ground hog, raccoon, snake, fish, alligator, squirrel, rabbit, beaver, muskrat, crawdad, crabs, lobster, wild boar, deer, moose, elk, bear and even a rat to cover most of my vittles in the past.  Those who hunt, try carrying your day-pack and other gear (where legal) while doing so. This will allow you to see how it affects your shooting and whether the game animal will be spooked by what you have.  Sound is your enemy, so tie everything down secure.   When squirrel hunting, I wear my MOLLE vest, carry my emergency survival gear and a sidearm (especially handy because of the feral dog problem). I hunt with either a 22 LR rifle (normal) or pellet gun.  This allows me to continually improve my ability to move quietly through the woods while wearing the extra gear I will have when the situation(s) we prep for become a reality.  Also, if you have them, take the kids; the younger the better.  They will learn to move quietly and be still, get satisfaction in knowing they helped “earn” their dinner and it creates a bond not easily broken.  If you find it difficult to be patient with them when only a successful hunt is on the line; how will you react when the very meal you MUST have is cost?  Each child is different and will handle the experience differently. You must decide when they are ready to see an animal harvested and then again when they are ready to witness the butchering process.  I prefer skinning and gutting my game in the field, innards stink when in your garbage at home, but in the survival situation, they become bait for traps or fishing.  Animal stomachs, turned inside out and washed very thoroughly, make excellent pouches and/or water bags.  Learn to skin the game as cleanly and whole as possible to save the pelt.  Rabbit fur is soft and works well for mittens, ear muffs, etc; ground hog hide is extremely tough and makes good leather lace.

      DIY Portable Bucket Air Conditioner

      portable-ac

      If you had to come up with a top 10 list of uncomfortable situations, being stuck inside on a hot day without air conditioning is probably on there. Having a fan blowing hot air around is little relief, but you can take that same fan and turn it into a portable AC unit with only a few additional supplies. This portable bucket air conditioner can easily and cheaply be put together and serve as a personal cooling device making life a little more comfortable.

      Things You’ll Need

      • 5 gallon bucket
      • Styrofoam inner bucket (minnow bucket)
      • 1 1/4-inch PVC, about 12 inches
      • 1 5/8-inch hole saw
      • 7-inch portable fan
      • Utility knife
      • Gallon jug of water, frozen

      Supplies for this project are cheap and readily available. Five gallon buckets can often be recycled from painters or bakeries. Making these devices and distributing them to those in need would be a great community service project during the hot summer months. Some people without air conditioning, especially the elderly, can be extremely vulnerable in hot weather.

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      Set the fan upside down on the lid of the bucket and trace the outline.

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      Using a utility knife and being very careful, cut along the traced line. Cut slowly using a sawing motion. You might need to trim slightly to get a good fit with the fan.

      Note: If the lid is made with thick, rigid plastic, it might be easier and safer to cut the hole with a jigsaw and fine-tooth blade, a rotary tool or a fine-tooth keyhole saw. Make a starter hole for inserting the saw blade by drilling just inside the marked outline with a 1/2-inch bit.

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      Depending on the type of fan you are using, it might be necessary to cut away supports or stands. A hacksaw works well for this.

      portable-ac-5

      Fit the fan into the cut hole and set aside.

      portable-ac-6

      Clamp or hold the bucket securely and drill three holes in the side of the bucket with the hole saw or Forstner bit.

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      Cut the PVC pipe into three pieces about 3 to 4 inches in length. A hacksaw works well for this.

      The Surprising Benefits of Honey

      Throughout history honey has been considered a food with unparalleled nutritional and physical benefits. For over 10,000 years (and maybe more) honey has been used as a staple food and as a medicine. This deliciously sweet substance is one of the few foods that can actually sustain human life all by itself. If you’re not already storing honey as part of your survival strategy, learning about all the surprising benefits of honey ought to convince you to start.

      surprising-benefit-of-honey

      Throughout history honey has been considered a food with unparalleled nutritional and physical benefits. For over 10,000 years (and maybe more) honey has been used as a staple food and as a medicine. This deliciously sweet substance is one of the few foods that can actually sustain human life all by itself. If you’re not already storing honey as part of your survival strategy, learning about all the surprising benefits of honey ought to convince you to start.

      Storage

      Honey lasts forever; if stored properly you will never need to worry about your honey going bad, forget about FIFO with honey. There was actually edible honey discovered in the pharaoh’s tomb in Egypt. It is also a healthy substitute for sugar that contains no fats or cholesterol.

      My honey is hard and crystallized!

      Not to worry, if your honey has become crystallized all you need to do is heat it to return it back to normal. Or if you like, turn it into mead!

      Health

      Skin

      Honey is great for overall skin health and can even help to reduce wrinkles and nourish the skin.

      Antibacterial

      Honey has been used as an antiseptic for years, it was even one of the most popular treatments for wounds in the First World War. Recent science has explained to us why honey is such an effective antibacterial agent.

      One New Zealand researcher says a particular type of honey may be useful in treating MRSA infections. Antibacterial properties of honey are the result of the low water activity causing osmosis, hydrogen peroxide effect, and high acidity. 

      Wounds

      Honey has also been shown to reduce odor, swelling and scarring when used to treat wounds, aside from its antibacterial effects.

      Stomach Ache

      Got a stomach ache? No problem, mix one teaspoon of honey with a hot glass of water, squeeze in about half a lemon and your stomach ache should go away.

      Pink Eye

      While it has only been proven in rats, honey was considered an effective treatment for conjunctivitis.

      Allergies

      Folk medicine suggests that taking local honey will help your allergies because you gain a tolerance to local pollens. Recent studies suggest that while it doesn’t help by eliminating allergies it helps reduce allergies.

      a recent study has shown pollen collected by bees to exert an anti allergenic effect, mediated by an inhibition of IgE immunoglobulin binding to mast cells. This inhibited mast cell degranulation and thus reduced allergic reaction.

      Coughs

      Honey coats the throat, making it great for a sore throat. To cure your sore throat simply take about 1 teaspoon of honey and let it slowly trickle down your throat.

      Burns

      Honey is also great for burns since it removes the pain and helps aid in the healing process.

      Colitis

      Honey is shown to reduce the damage done to the colon in Colitis.

      Insomnia

      Some studies suggest that honey can also help with various nervous disorders such as insomnia. If you can’t sleep, mix 1 teaspoon of honey into a warm glass of water and enjoy a good night’s sleep.

      **Because of the spores contained in honey, infants under the age of 1 year cannot consume it. While it’s fine for older children and adults, infants under 1 year can contract botulism from honey

      7 Great Inexpensive Places to Buy Prepper Gear

      It is true that if you buy cheap you buy twice.  However, I still believe that you are able to find good deals on prepper gear without sacrificing quality.  It is just a matter of identifying these places.

      If you are like me you are probably prepping on a budget.  With the prepper gear market growing we are starting to see some increase in prices.  With that being said, in my search to find prepper gear I have identified a few inexpensive places.

      7 great inexpensive places to buy prepper gear

      inexpensive-places-to-buy-prepper-l

      It is true that if you buy cheap you buy twice.  However, I still believe that you are able to find good deals on prepper gear without sacrificing quality.  It is just a matter of identifying these places.

      If you are like me you are probably prepping on a budget.  With the prepper gear market growing we are starting to see some increase in prices.  With that being said, in my search to find prepper gear I have identified a few inexpensive places.

      7 great inexpensive places to buy prepper gear

      1.  Pawn shops

      Pawn shops are the ideal places to find inexpensive prepper gear.  Many times the items that you find at a pawn shop are only there because the owners had found themselves in between a rock and a hard place.  So it’s not that the items weren’t of great quality.

      On the contrary, many pawn shops will not purchase items that do not have great quality.  Without quality items pawn shops are not able to make an extra dollar.  So they are sure to inspect much of the equipment that is being pawned or sold to them.

      Still you will want to inspect the items before purchasing.  There will be some shady pawn dealers who are just looking to make a fast buck and will swindle you.  This is especially important if you are purchasing guns.  You will want to make sure that the gun is functioning properly and safely.

      Some of the great prepper gear that you can find at pawn shops include weapons, tools and hunting gear.  It is important to have a great set of tools.  If the grid goes down or if the crap hits the fan there will be no one else around to fix stuff besides you.

      2.  Thrift shops

      Thrift shops many times will have some great quality items to purchase.  Prepper gear that you can find include grey man clothing, radios and even camping gear.  Furthermore, most of these items were donated by well off people who barely used them.

      3.  Military Surplus

      Many cities will have a military surplus shop.  Unfortunately most of these shops are found in the bad parts of town.  However, it is definitely worth the trip.

      Some of the great prepper gear items that you can find at military surplus shops include military grade clothing, equipment and camping gear.  When bugging out I don’t recommend wearing camo in the urban environments.  However, if you do make it to the woods you could change into something that will help you blend in with the environment.  Military clothing is also built to last.

      4.  Yard Sales

      Most items being sold at a yard sale have great quality.  Many times families are just looking to clear out their closets with items that they don’t really use anymore or have replaced.  So yard sales are the perfect place to find inexpensive prepper gear.

      Great items that you can find at yard sales include clothing, camping gear, food and even coins.  If you look carefully into these coins you can find some valuable treasure.  This is especially true with finding silver. Silver should be saved because if the economy collapses or if crap hits the fan the price of silver will grow exponentially.  If you take a look at the financial struggles of 2001 and 2008 you will see the price of precious metals more than doubled.

      5.  Facebook groups

      Now Facebook groups are a great place to find prepper gear but you should be cautious about these transactions.  I have heard of people being scammed and even stood up.  On the other hand I know of some people that have bought some really great gear.

      There are Facebook groups for virtual yard sales, prepper swaps and even private gun sales.  Many times you will find “preppers” who are giving up on prepping or giving up the lifestyle.  So they turn to online outlets to sell their gear for the cheap.  I would advise meeting with these people in public well lit places.  Also, never go alone.

      6.  Craigslist

      Just as the previous tip, you want to be very cautious when making exchanges with people over Craigslist.  There have been cases where people have been kidnapped and even murder.  At the same time, I have made some great purchases through Craigslist as well.  I would use the same advice from the previous suggestion.

      7.  Auctions

      Finally auctions are a really great place to find inexpensive prepper gear.  I know of one prepper who found some really great deals on guns and ammo at auctions.  As a matter of fact, there was a prepper who died but had an arsenal prepper gear that was auctioned off.  It just so happened another prepper purchased that gear.

      So these 7 places are really great for finding inexpensive prepper gear.  If you have another other suggestions please leave a comment below.  I would love to find some additional places.  Also, don’t forget to subscribe to my email list so that you can stay up to date with all of the newest content.

      8 Life-Saving Survival Uses For Basic, Ordinary Dental Floss

      While packing your survival kit, weight is a major concern. Fortunately, you can lighten the load significantly by carrying small and lightweight but very versatile items that fulfill a number of different survival purposes. Dental floss is one of those items. After reading this article, you’ll hopefully feel compelled to include at least a couple of packs of dental floss in your kit.

      dental-floss-for-survival

      While packing your survival kit, weight is a major concern. Fortunately, you can lighten the load significantly by carrying small and lightweight but very versatile items that fulfill a number of different survival purposes. Dental floss is one of those items. After reading this article, you’ll hopefully feel compelled to include at least a couple of packs of dental floss in your kit.

      Here are nine important survival uses for dental floss:

      1. Tripwire. Wrap a few strands of dental floss together to make it tighter, and then string it around some trees at about knee height. The thinness of the floss should cause it to blend in nicely, and any intruders who try to invade your area will be in for a surprise.

      2. Stitches. A second medical application for dental floss is to use it to stitch. Open wounds are a major threat in any survival situation, and it’s important that you close the wound off after you’ve stopped the bleeding with a tourniquet. Dental floss can do the trick.

      3. Clothesline. If you string dental floss between two separate trees, it can be used as a clothesline for lighter articles of clothing such as socks and light shirts. It is possible for it to hold up heavier articles of clothing such as jackets or pants, but only as long as you wrap multiple strands of it tightly together.

      dental-floss-for-survival-2

      4. Spear making. Dental floss can be used to tie your knife around a pole or branch to make a spear for hunting, fishing and self-defense purposes.

      5. Fishing line. Since we just mentioned fishing, there’s another fishing purpose that dental floss fulfills as well: making a fishing pole. You can craft together an entire DIY fishing pole out of nothing more than a suitable branch, dental floss and a soda can tab for the fishing hook. At that point, all you need is the bait!

      6. Rope. If you wrap multiple strands of dental floss tightly together, it will create a thin rope that can do almost anything rope can do. For example, sealing garbage bags and hanging items.

      7. Shoelaces. It will be a real bummer if your shoelaces ever break while you’re out in the woods, but threaded dental floss is a near-perfect temporary solution that will work until you get replacement shoelaces.

      8. Sewing. Last but certainly not least, a needle and floss can be used for nearly any kind of a sewing application. Whether it’s stitching ripped clothing back together, fashioning mosquito netting, or repairing tents or blankets, dental floss will be more than up to the task.

      How to find and use soap plants

      As functional members of our modern society, we are somehow accustomed to take things for granted and we become dependent of stores and the items we buy. Soap is one of the many items that we take for granted and if stores would stop selling this item tomorrow, we would have no clue how to make do without it. Luckily for us, there are soap plants that we can use as substitute when soap runs out. Sanitation will become an important task during a crisis scenario and although you may have stockpiled enough soap to last you for a lifetime, it is always better to learn about the alternatives we have. Learning how to make soap is a skill that will come in handy and it will help you stay clean when stores will close. However, in today’s article I will share some of my knowledge regarding a natural, cost free alternative; the soap plants that can be found in the wild!

      soap-plants

      As functional members of our modern society, we are somehow accustomed to take things for granted and we become dependent of stores and the items we buy. Soap is one of the many items that we take for granted and if stores would stop selling this item tomorrow, we would have no clue how to make do without it. Luckily for us, there are soap plants that we can use as substitute when soap runs out. Sanitation will become an important task during a crisis scenario and although you may have stockpiled enough soap to last you for a lifetime, it is always better to learn about the alternatives we have. Learning how to make soap is a skill that will come in handy and it will help you stay clean when stores will close. However, in today’s article I will share some of my knowledge regarding a natural, cost free alternative; the soap plants that can be found in the wild!

      Interacting with nature and using all its resources is an important aspect of preparedness and off-grid living. If you are familiar with this site, you’ve probably noticed by now that I encourage people to get back into nature and learn about foraging and every other skill that will help them survive when our modern society will collapse. Foraging for wild plants is a forgotten skill that will prove very useful if you are forced to leave your home and head for the woods. Nature provides all sorts of plants that can help you survive and thrive in a harsh environment. Besides the medicinal plants and the wild edibles, there are quite a few plants that contain saponins (steroids that dissolve in water and create a stable froth). These plants will help you stay clean when exploring the great the outdoors.

      Most of the soap plants that you can find in the wild were used by the Native Americans and the first pioneers. Although they are different from the old fashioned soap that your grandma used to make on the farm, these plants work just as well and they are a great substitute for the traditional soaps.

      Some of the soap plants listed in this article are found everywhere in the wild and they can be prepared very easily.

      Soap plants – Yucca (Yucca spp.)

      soap-plants-2

      Yucca is one of the soap plants used by the Native Americans and there are numerous species of yucca spread throughout the plains and western States. This is one of the arid edibles I wrote about in a previous article and it is very easy to identify it. The plant produces a stemless cluster of long, rigid leaves which end in a sharp point. The leaves are 8 to 35 inches long and have a gray-green color. This is a versatile plant and the Native Americans used it extensively for various purposes. Besides being used for soap, the plant produces several good foods, quality fiber that was used to make sandals. It was also used as tinder and it helped improvising carrying cases or quivers from the mature, hollowed-out flower stalks.

      Although many prefer to use the root to make soap, digging up the root is an intense labor and you may even get fined for doing so because some Yucca species are listed as endangered. To make soap easily you can cut the leaves (even one would do) and strip them into fibers until you have a handful of very thin strands. Add water and agitate between your hands until soap forms. You will need to pay attention when cutting the lives because you can hurt yourself with the sharp tips or you can slice your fingers on the edges of the leaf. Make sure you snip off the sharp tip before you strip the leaves. Yucca soap has extremely good cleansing properties and the leaf fiber helps in scrubbing. It provides medium to rich lather depending on the species, but since the leaves are available year-round and the plant is widespread it makes Yucca one of the soap plants that can be used the most.

      Soap plants – Mountain Lilac (Ceanothus spp.)

      soap-plants-3

      This plant is also known as soap bush and there are over 50 species of shrubs or small shrub trees. Most of the species are confined to North America. The soap bush is common throughout the southwest and if you go hiking in the spring, you will notice a spot of white, blue or purple along the trail and on the hillside. Many species can be used as soap plants even though their botanical properties will sometimes be different. To make sure you have mountain lilac that can be used as soap you can do a simple test. Take a handful of blossoms, add water and rub them between the hands. If you get a rich lather with a mild aroma, you got the right plant! The plant will lose its flowers early summer and it will form some sticky green fruits. Don’t worry if you missed the flowering period of the mountain lilac because the fruits can also be used to make soap. The early pioneers used to dry the fruits and used them for soap when needed. If you decide to dry the fruits and store them for later use, you must know that the fruits will get very hard and you will need to ground them into a fine powder before using it as soap. Once you have the powder, add water and rub vigorously. The soap doesn’t have the same quality as the one made from the fresh fruits, but it is a good alternative when nothing else is available. Mountain lilac has good cleansing properties and it’s worth traveling to the difficult terrain to collect its flowers and fruits.

      Soap plants – Soaproot (Blitum californicum)

      soap-plants-4

      This is a plant that was used by the Native Americans both as medicine and as a food source. The leaves of soaproot can be cooked, drained and used as you would use spinach. This is often confused with lamb’s quarter by many foragers, but if you pay attention, you can notice that soaproot has a large taproot. This is the part that can be used to make soap and it is often similar to a ginseng root or an overgrown carrot. Getting the root requires some effort and in hard soil it can be a foot deep, making it impossible to be harvested without a good shovel. The first pioneers learned to make soap from the Native Americans and they used to preserve the root in a dark, cold place for later use. In order to make soap you will need to grate the root with a sharp knife. Add water and rub between the hands to obtain a soap that many consider superior to store-bought soaps. The taproot produces a frothy lather that has very good cleansing properties. This plant is harder to find since most of those who know about its cleaning properties would take entire taproots and store them for later use. It can be found only in isolated patches and if you plan to use Soaproot, make sure you only use small taproots and leave the rest.

      Soap plants – Amole (Chloroglaum pmeridianum)

      soap-plants-5

      Amole is widespread plant that is part of the lily family and it can be identified easily due to its long liner leaves growing from the base of the plant. It develops flowers on a long stem and it grows a large brown bulb. To reach the bulb, which is the part used for making soap, you will sometimes have to dig down up to a foot deep. The bulb is usually covered in layers of brown fibers and you will need to remove these fibers until you reach the white bulb. The white bulb is stick and has many layers, just like an onion. You can take some of these layers, add water and agitate between your hands. As a result, you will obtain a rich lather that can be used for any sanitation operation you might need. You can use it to take a bath, to wash your hair and even to clean your clothes. You can also dry the bulb for later use, but just like for all other soap plants, the soap made from the fresh parts is far superior. The bulbous root of the Amole plant can be dug year-round if you know where to look for it. In the fall the plant is dormant and although it is widespread in various areas, it will be harder to find compared to the other soap plants.

      Soap plants – Buffalo Gourd (Cucurbita foetidissima)

      soap-plants-6

      This plant can be found in the central and southwestern United States and northern Mexico and it even grows in urban vacant lots. Some people know it by the name of coyote melon and based on its form, you can notice that it is a relative of squash and pumpkins. The Native Americans used the plant as rattles, but also as soap to for washing clothes. In order to make soap, they used the tender growing tips or the leaves of the plant. Adding water and agitating between the hands will result in a green frothy lather that has satisfactory cleansing proprieties. If you decide to use buffalo gourd to make soap, you have to handle the leaves with care as they are covered with tiny rigid spines. These tiny hairs are known to cause irritation to the skin for some people and many survivalists will use this soap plant as a last resort.

      Soap plants – Bouncing Bet (Saponaria officinalis)

      soap-plants-7

      Many people know this plant as soapweed or crow soap and it is widely available since many gardeners will plant it for its pink flowers. This is an introduced plant and it is mostly used by European countries as soap substitute.  Although the leaves and the roots can be used, it is much easier to use the leaves since it will also help maintain the plant alive. There are various ways you can use the leaves to make soap. You can agitate the fresh leaves between your hands with water or you can boil them to produce a lather liquid that has the ability to dissolve fats or grease. Take a handful of fresh leaves, bruise and chop them for 30 minutes in 1 pint of water. Strain the liquid and use it as you would use liquid soap. This plant has satisfactory cleansing proprieties and it is a good alternative if it grows abundantly in your area. You can plant it in your off-grid garden as a useful ornamental and use it as soap substitute year round if no snow has fallen.

      Soap plants are just another proof that Mother Nature will take care of your needs and it can provide you with viable alternatives to commercial products. The plants listed in this article will help you stay clean when your soap supplies run out and this is knowledge worth knowing.

      Defense

      The power grid is down. Communication methods do not work. All businesses are closed. No method for pumping gas. Groceries cannot be purchased. Medical prescriptions will not be filled. Most automobiles won’t start. No TV. No drive thru’s. No calling your loved ones on your cell phone. No going to work. No running up to the corner store for a gallon of milk and loaf of bread. Life as you know it has ended.

      defense

      Firearms must be an integral part of any survival and preparedness system.

       

      Why? The reason is simple.

       

      Consider a solar flare or EMP attack which causes most all electronics to fail-

       

      The power grid is down. Communication methods do not work. All businesses are closed. No method for pumping gas. Groceries cannot be purchased. Medical prescriptions will not be filled. Most automobiles won’t start. No TV. No drive thru’s. No calling your loved ones on your cell phone. No going to work. No running up to the corner store for a gallon of milk and loaf of bread. Life as you know it has ended.

       

      How are people going to deal with this situation? Within hours panic will set in as no one will know what happened. People will be displaced from their homes with few methods of traveling other than to walk. Within days food, water, and medical supplies will start to run out and desperation will set in. It is a cold hard fact that people who are not prepared will either die or more likely they will look to take from others. Guess who “others”is. It is you and you must be prepared to protect your supplies and your family.

       

      Survival situations vary widely as to conditions, threat level, environmental specifics and longevity. During Hurricane Katrina in 2005 gangs of looters violently rampaged throughout New Orleans– even in broad daylight. Armed robberies and even sniper fire went on for days and gunfire could be heard throughout the city. The point is that in any serious situation – predators will take advantage and violence will spread.

       

      Due to the unfortunate fact that no one knows what the future holds or what type of situation one may find themselves in – I approach the structure of a survival battery with diversity and flexibility in mind. It is a requirement for a battery of firearms to be able to function successfully in as many situations as possible. For the rest of this article – this is a given.

       

       

      My preparedness philosophy regarding firearms and selection may not work for everyone. Firearms are a very personal thing to most people. What follows is a general recommended structure for building a survival battery.

       

      1. Semi-Automatic Rifle/Carbine – Used for ranges short (0 yards) to medium (150 yards+) depending upon specific model and caliber.

       

      Required characteristics:

       

        • Reliable – must be able to fire many hundreds of rounds without disruption
        • Accurate – must be able to engage and hit targets effectively out to 150+ yards with either open sights or optics
        • High Magazine Capacity – minimum 15 round magazine capacity with a preference for 20-30 rounds
        • Quick Handling – A long gun is not nearly as maneuverable as a short gun. For moving though tight spaces, room to room, and getting in and out of a vehicle – shorter firearms make such tasks easier.
        • Lightweight – The lighter the weight the less effort needed to carry it around.

       

      Preferred Model: Stag Arms Model 2 5.56mm M4-variant

       

       

      Having owned the Stag Arms Model 2L pictured above for 3 years I have found it to be extremely reliable and accurate. My preferred firearm for this category would be any quality AR-15/M4-type weapon. I prefer the AR-platform of weapons as it has a proven track record of reliability and performance. Another advantage to the AR is the availability of many accessories available so each firearm can be tuned to fit its owner. Quality high capacity magazines are very plentiful and as of this writing are very inexpensive (due to varying political climates this could change at any time).

       

      Largest drawback for the AR-type firearm is the lower powered cartridge,which limits its range, and the cost of the firearm itself. AR variants are not inexpensive.

       

       

      Alternative #1: Ruger Mini-14

       

      A very popular and capable semi-automatic firearm is the Ruger Mini-14. Costing a few hundred dollars less than most any AR-variant the Mini-14 is reliable (with proper magazine selection) and with some recent manufacturing improvements very accurate. The Mini-14 fires the .223 Remington cartridge which is nearly identical to the AR’s 5.56mm round.

       

       

      defense-2

       

       

      Alternative #2: AK-47 variant

       

      The AK-47 is very popular and has an exceptional track record of reliability in most any condition found on the planet. Firing the 7.62x 39 mm cartridge – the AK edges out the AR platform in the power category. The AK-47 is worthy of consideration when looking to purchase a semi-automatic rifle/carbine.

       

       

       

      1. Pistol – Used for short range situations such as house clearing and when a long gun is not available. Generally carried on the hip ready to be accessed when needed. Allows hands to be free and still be armed.

       

       

      Required characteristics:

       

        • Reliable – must be able to fire many hundreds of rounds without disruption
        • Accurate – must be able to engage and hit targets effectively out to a maximum range of 25-30 yards
        • High Magazine Capacity – minimum 10 round magazine capacity with a preference for 12-17 rounds
        • Quick Handling – For moving though tight spaces, room to room, and getting in and out of a vehicle – pistols are excellent.
        • Lightweight – The lighter the weight the less effort will need to be made to carry it around – and the quicker the pistol can be moved into position.

       

      Preferred Model: Smith & Wesson M&P9 9 mm semi-automatic pistol

       

      The Smith & Wesson M&P9 9 mm is a fantastic pistol. Extremely reliable and superbly accurate – the M&P is an excellent choice for a sidearm. The ergonomics are fantastic and recoil is negligible. Trigger pull is better than acceptable and quick follow up shots are easy. 17 rounds of 9 mm are held in each magazine. Cost is in right in line with other polymer framed combat pistols.

       

      Alternatives: Pistols are very much like cars – everyone has their personal preference and this is one of the reasons there are so many to choose from. There are many reliable quality pistols on the market today. Most any of them would do just fine as a defensive pistol.

       

      A few that fit my requirements are as follows:

       

      • Glock Model 17
      • SpringfieldXD9
      • Ruger SR9
      • FN FNP 9
      • Taurus 24/7

       

       

       

      1. Shotgun – Meant for short ranges from point blank to 25-30 yards. Shotguns can fire shells of different load types for different purposes. Due to the ability to fill many roles – the shotgun is often looked at as the most important and versatile piece in a survival battery.

       

       

      Required characteristics:

       

        • Reliable – must be able to fire many hundreds of rounds
           without disruption
        • Full Cylinder Bore – This means no choke on the end of the barrel.
        • Magazine Capacity – minimum of 5 rounds in the tube
        • Quick Handling – 18” – 20” barrel maximum length and full stock only – no pistol grip stocks.

       

      Preferred Model: Remington 870 Express Tactical 12 gauge Pump-Action

       

      The Remington 870 is one of the most popular shotguns in the world and is used extensively for purposes such as hunting, sport/target shooting, and self-defense. The 870 is a shotgun with a proven track record of reliability and performance second to no other.  Alternatives: Mossberg 500

       

       

       

      The Mossberg 500 carries an excellent reputation for performance and value. Available in many different models – the Mossberg 500 can be purchased with a multitude of options and due to high aftermarket support can be outfitted to fit each owners needs.

        

       

       

      1. Bolt Action/Long Range Rifle – For engaging targets out to 300 yards and beyond. Excellent for hunting large game.

       

      Required characteristics:

       

        • Reliable – must be able to fire many hundreds of rounds without disruption
        • Accurate – must be able to engage and hit targets effectively out to 300+ yards
        • Caliber –  .308 Winchester

       

      Preferred Model: No preference

       

       

      There are so many great bolt action rifles like the Winchester Model 70 pictured above – can’t pick just one. Ruger, Marlin, Savage, Mossberg, and Remington all make rifles of varying prices and each carrying unique features of their own.

       

      Prices for these quality firearms can vary from just a few hundred dollars up to a few thousand. Budget-minded folks can buy a bolt action .308 with a scope for under $400 and be able to hit a gallon milk jug at 200-300 yards.

       

       

       

      1. Utility Firearm – Versatile firearm to be used for training, harvesting small game, potential – but not recommended – for self defense.

       

      Required characteristics:

       

        • Reliable – must be able to fire many hundreds of rounds without disruption
        • Accurate – must be able to engage and hit small targets effectively out to 100 yards with either open sights or optics
        • Magazine Capacity – minimum 10 round magazine capacity with a preference for 20-30 rounds
        • Lightweight – The lighter the weight the less effort will need to be made to carry it around.

       

      Preferred Model: Ruger 10/22 .22LR Semi-Auto Carbine

       

       

      The Ruger 10/22 is arguably the most popular rim fire rifle ever sold. With its rotary 10-round magazine this carbine can fire literally thousands of rounds without experiencing failures of any kind (proper cleaning needed of course). A proven firearm – the 10/22 has good accuracy and due to tremendous aftermarket support can be accessorized per the owners requirements.

       

      Alternatives: Although there are several very good rim fire carbines and rifles on the market made by major gun manufacturers – the Ruger 10/22 in my opinion is inexpensive, ultra-reliable, accurate and fills the role of “Utility Firearm” like no other. You can’t go wrong with the Ruger.

        

      These have been my recommendations for a basic survival battery. As already stated – not everyone will agree with it nor will it work for everyone. Folks living in the city will certainly require a different composition to their battery than those living in rural or country areas. This should serve as a basic guideline to assist in developing your own survival battery.

        

      A few random thoughts on building a survival battery:

       

      • Safety, safety, safety – Common sense I know but when dealing with firearms that have no compassion for you or your family – the person behind the trigger must. If unfamiliar with firearms – take a course and learn to handle your firearms appropriately and responsibly.

       

      • Ammunition – A rifle without ammunition is a very expensive and poorly made “club”. Find what ammunition your firearm likes (reliability and accuracy) and stock up on at least a few thousand rounds of each caliber for each firearm.

       

      • Magazines – Several spare magazines should be purchased for every single magazine-fed firearm in your survival battery. Factory magazines are often the most reliable however some aftermarket models work extremely well. Research your particular weapon to determine what to buy. Regardless – stock up as many as you can afford as what you have may be all you can get should a serious situation develop.

       

      • Take care of your firearms – After each use each firearm needs to be cleaned and lubricated. The better you take care of them – the more likely they will work to take care of you. Cleaning kits can be found at any local gun shop or purchased online very inexpensively.

       

      • Optics – Make sure you can shoot each firearm accurately prior to placing any optic on it. Optics such as red dot sights and scopes are great – but they can fail. Should your optics fail – be ready to use standard open sights.

       

      • Equipping members of your group – Assuming a survival battery of firearms are meant for more than just one person – how should each person be armed? One pistol and one long gun is my suggestion.

       

       

      Remember……gun control is being able to hit your target!

      Food/Water

      First – Why store food? There are many reasons why it is beneficial to store extra food. Numerous life events can impact the ability to provide for your family. These events can include unemployment, inflation, sudden unexpected expenses, and of course some catastrophic disaster (man-made or natural). The bottom line is – you will always need food. Period.

      What follows willfocus on short-term, medium-to-long term, and long-term food storage options.

      First – Why store food? There are many reasons why it is beneficial to store extra food. Numerous life events can impact the ability to provide for your family. These events can include unemployment, inflation, sudden unexpected expenses, and of course some catastrophic disaster (man-made or natural). The bottom line is – you will always need food. Period.

      What follows willfocus on short-term, medium-to-long term, and long-term food storage options.

      Getting started: Short-term food storage

      Much of what sits in your cupboards and pantry right now are foods that can be stored for the short-term (3 months to 2 years). If you are beginning a food storage program – the bulk of your food should sit in this category. There is a saying – “Store what you eat and eat what you store.”I am a big believer in this as common everyday foods – compared to many specialty long-term foods – are relatively inexpensive and readily available at your local grocery store.

      Virtual grocery store trip – Since I can’t go to your local grocery store with you – I went to mine and snapped a few photo’s (and received some very strange looks!). The purpose of this was to show you some food storage items that are available and inexpensive.

      One note on shelf life: I will be discussing shelf life in terms seen on the packaging of the food. My experience as well as numerous others is that the actual shelf life of most food is MUCH longer that indicated on the packaging. With today’s lawsuit friendly environment as well as to increase sales – expiration dates are very conservative.

       

      Soup

       Soup.  Does the body good. Right?

      Canned soup has been a mainstay of family pantries for decades. Relatively inexpensive and having a pretty good shelf life (2-3 or more years). One great thing about soups is the huge variety of flavors. Bean & Bacon is my personal favorite from Campbell’s – but there are probably more than 50 varieties to choose from.

      I typically stock up on Campbell’s Chicken Noodle and Tomato for as little as .20 cents a can when bought on sale and also using coupons.

      This is a excellent place to take your shopping cart first during our virtual shopping trip.

       

      Stuffing…..great side dish and decent shelf life

       Side Dish. Stuffing isn’t just for Thanksgiving! These dry boxes of stuffing store well as long as they are kept in a location where critters cannot reach them. Shelf life is usually around 1 year. Dry stuffing requires the addition of a little water to prepare and then heating. Excellent to add variety to your “Store what you eat and eat what you store” program.

      Next.

      Coffee!!!!!!!A great morale booster and barter item

      Coffee.Who could forget coffee. I could because I hate the stuff but I know that most everyone can’t get their day started without it. Excellent barter item and morale booster. Coffee can be purchased on sale and using coupons very inexpensively. Shelf life should be literally forever.

      Throw a few in your shopping cart.

      Canned Pasta

      Pasta. Pasta is a great source of carbohydrates which provide energy. Canned pasta comes ready to eat right out of the can. Like other canned foods – shelf life is around a couple of years. Often can be bought on sale and using coupons to maximize savings.

      Moving on.

      Beef Stew, SPAM, and canned Ham…….oh my!

      Beef Stew, SPAM, and Canned HAM!!

      Solid ingredients to a well rounded food storage program right here on these shelves. These items are a little pricier however this is where protein comes in (and a whole lot of salt with the SPAM). Beef stew contains a many ingredients to add variety to your post-SHTF diet. Shelf life similar to soup. SPAM is one “kinda-meat-like” substance that can store for many year. Of course a canned ham would be a welcome addition to the dinner table deep into a grid-down situation. Shelf life for canned ham is several years – minimum.

      Just imagine – many people struggling to figure out what they will be eating after SHTF, and pop open a canned ham. Feel bad for them…..don’t be one of them.

      Start filling that cart up here……

      More soup – such a huge variety…..

      More soup. Ok…..I got lost and ended up back at the soup. Just look at this……more and more soup of all kinds of flavors and varieties. Especially in colder climates – soup is a welcome meal when it is cold out.

      Go ahead…..you know you want to….throw a few more cans in the cart. (Don’t dent them!)

      Hormel Compleats Meals……poor man’s MRE

      Hormel Compleats. These are great as they are all pre-cooked and taste very good. These meals come in a plastic tray with some type of thick Mylar top. Often referred to as a poor-mans MRE as it does come Ready to Eat. These cost around $2.00 each – cheaper with coupons.

      Stack ‘em up….

      Canned Chicken

      Canned Chicken. There are not that many sources for storage-grade meat from the grocery store. Canned chicken (as well as tuna) is one of them. Not very cheap – but stores well and would be very valuable when food sources are scarce.

      Add some to your cart……..

      Beans, beans………and more beans

      Dried Beans. Dried beans are super cheap and very versatile. There are so many things you can do with beans. Years ago beans used to be called the “poor mans meat”. They are high in carbohydrates, low in fat, and contains protein as well. Do some research on bean storage and recipes – you will be happy.

      Stack ‘em high!!

      Rice…..a food storage basic

      Rice. Combining rice and beans in a meal provide a “complete protein”. Rice, like beans, is very inexpensive. Buy it and store it in bulk. There is a tremendous amount of ways that rice can be prepared. This one food can and should be a major part of your food storage program. Shelf life? If properly stored – forever.

      Load up about 20 pounds right now in your shopping cart……

      Canned Beans

      Canned beans. One of my favorite foods. I love to open up a can of Bush’s Baked Beans. Good shelf life (2+ years) and inexpensive considering the amount you receive in a can.

      Stock up…….you can’t have too much.

      Ramen Noodles…..gotta have ’em

      Ramen Noodles.A common food item discussed in preparedness forums. Ramen Noodles are popular due to their lightweight, decent taste, and very very inexpensive. These do require a decent amount of water to prepare. Cost runs less than .25 cents per serving. Shelf Life? If properly stored more than 2 years.

      Get another shopping cart and fill it up with just Ramen Noodles.

      Instant Potatoes

      Instant Potatoes. Potatoes have to be one of the most used and consumed foods – next to corn. Instant potatoes which are prepared generally with water, milk and butter is very inexpensive. Coupons are often available. Shelf life on the package is usually a little over 1 year.

      Buy a bunch – along with some powdered milk.

      Oatmeal & Grits

      Oatmeal & Grits. If you like this stuff (I don’t) stock up on it. Inexpensive – you can get a lot for your money. Another good candidate for storing what you eat and eating what you store. There is a lot you can do with both of these as far as preparing them in different ways.

      Grab a few…….

      Peanuts

      Peanuts. An all-time favorite snack. As a survival food – peanuts contain a high amount of energy in a small amount of food. After SHTF – calories will be valuable. Peanuts are high in calories. Shelf life is a couple of food.

      Throw a few varieties in your shopping cart……..

      Pancake Mix & Syrup

       Pancake Mix & Syrup.  Obviously these go together. There are several varieties of pancake mix available that need only water to make. This would be the best kind for storage. Easy to prepare and a great morale booster. Shelf life…..like many others – up to 2 years or more.

      These are cheap……go ahead and get a few boxes and a couple bottles.

      Hot Cocoa Mix………cheap “smiles in a cup”

       Cocoa Mix. Got kids? Being able to make hot chocolate….especially in the cold….will be of great comfort when things are not the best. Shelf life is a good couple of years.

        Get at least 3 boxes……get the ones on sale.  

       

      That’s it……that’s the tour.

      Summary: Buy lots of your favorite foods on sale and using coupons when you can. From there……store what you eat and eat what you store.

      Medium – Long Term Food Storage: This food category is often stored in larger quantities in easy to stack pails.  Military MRE’s are generally stored in boxes by the case.

      Here are a few examples of typical bulk-packed food items in this category:

      • Wheat
      • Rice
      • Beans/Legumes
      • Oats
      • Honey
      • Sugar
      • Instant Milk

      Many when considering these types of foods for storage think of wheat, milk, honey and salt (Mormon basics). For variation and to reduce monotony – additional items need to be included.

      What is critical for proper preparation of these bulk foods are additional supplies/equipment such as grain mills, spices/seasoning, and oil. Eating bowls of boiled beans and rice will not be very satisfying day after day.

      Properly stored foods from this category can have a shelf life from 7 to 20 years. Several of my sponsors carry these products so take a look around.

      This is one subject that I must pass the torch to the experts.

      • Wheat
      • Honey
      • Breads and Cereals
      • Beans

      One significant advantage of these foods is the cost. It is possible to establish a years supply of bulk packed food for one person for less than $500. Not bad at all. 

      MRE’s (Meal, Ready to Eat): The MRE was developed for the military for use in a combat environment where full cooking facilities may not be available. These meals come fully cooked and are – as the name suggests – ready to eat right out right out of the package. Each bagged meal contains approx 1200 calories which come from the main entree as well as snacks, a side dish, and a dessert.

      Typical contents of a Meal, Ready to Eat

      MRE’s are a very popular food storage item due to their dense caloric content, ease of preparing, cost, and decent taste. MRE’s made specifically for the military are not easy to find and in my opinion the least desirable type of MRE. I prefer MRE’s made for the civilian market which is often manufactured by the same companies that make them for the military. The advantage of civilian MRE’s is you have better knowledge over how they have been stored. You never know if the case of military MRE’s that you just purchased might have sat in the 120 degree sun in Iraq.

      Shelf-life is reported to be in the neighborhood of 7 years – more if stored in cool conditions.

      Cases of MRE’s are available through several of my sponsors – so check them out

      Long-term food storage – 25+ years
      Freeze Dried Food is known for being lightweight, have a very long shelf life, and are great for activities like backpacking and hunting. Freeze dried foods are easy to prepare – generally needing only water and a heat source to warm. Due to this these foods are often used for survival kits, bug out bags, and of course as an ingredient in long-term survival preps.

      This category is exciting to me due to the incredible shelf life and variety of foods available. Many of my sponsors carry a variety of freeze dried foods in multiple packaging methods. One very important factor with freeze dried foods – is taste. I have tried quite a few varieties and for me – taste is hit or miss. Some are great – some are not. I must admit I am a picky eater so for you this may not be much of an issue. Small foil packs can be purchased for taste tests.

      Bottom line – freeze dried food is an excellent food storage solution for pretty much any disaster situation. They are more expensive than every day grocery store foods – but of course they have several advantages over them to justify the cost.

      There you have it folks. Now – check your inventory and make a plan to add to it. The reality is….your and your family’s life just may depend on it.

      The Most Important Preps Of Your Life

      Many have threads, blogs, magazines and even books on the single most important prep that people have to stockpile. Some of the common phrases you may hear include “you need three of this” and “make sure this is in your bag”. Whether it be weapons, tactical gear, water filters, can openers, or any number of other items, all of these things are nice to have in multiples of each. Like the old saying goes “one is none and two is one”, but there is something that most people forget when it comes to their preps. It’s something that a lot of us have the ability to control and improve, and it can give you and your family a fighting chance in TEOTWAWKI or a SHTF situation. I’m referring to your body, your health, and your mind!

      most-important-preps

      Many have threads, blogs, magazines and even books on the single most important prep that people have to stockpile. Some of the common phrases you may hear include “you need three of this” and “make sure this is in your bag”. Whether it be weapons, tactical gear, water filters, can openers, or any number of other items, all of these things are nice to have in multiples of each. Like the old saying goes “one is none and two is one”, but there is something that most people forget when it comes to their preps. It’s something that a lot of us have the ability to control and improve, and it can give you and your family a fighting chance in TEOTWAWKI or a SHTF situation. I’m referring to your body, your health, and your mind!

      How Do I Know This?

      First, let me share a little about me with some quick highlights. I am a Marine Corps combat veteran Infantry Sgt., trained in tracking and personal security, and I am a combat lifesaver with three tours under my belt in a PSD (Personal Security Detail). I have been to Iraq twice and Afghanistan once. We were tasked with the security of the Battalion Commander and Battalion Sgt Major as well as other big wigs, like former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen and numerous generals as we traveled our battlespace doing large scale operations, training the locals, and doing meetings with local leaders in Iraq and Afghanistan. I left the Marines and did personal security for a former CEO of a major cellular company. I now am an EMT firefighter in a major city in the Midwest. So why does all of this matter? How does it make me knowledgeable enough to speak on the body and mind in SHTF? I have seen what happens when “it” hits the fan. I have seen what happens to people when an IED goes off and then the gunfire starts and the RPGs fly. I have seen the importance of being in the best shape you can be to carry that tactical gear everyone has. I know the importance of training your mind as well. I have trained Marines and security personnel in areas to help them live longer by fighting harder. My hope is to maybe inspire people to prep their body and mind. The following is not for everyone and should be used on a case by case basis, depending on each individual’s ability, health, and fitness levels. Always talk with your doctor before starting any fitness training.

      Your Body

      Your body and the condition it’s in, physically and mentally, is going to determine how long you can make it in a TEOTWAWKI scenario……….period! Your body IS the most important prep, not sweet n hot beef jerky, although that is mighty tasty stuff. If we have a hard time walking to the corner store without being short of breath, how are we going to run, maneuver, or just hike with your plate carrier, chest rig, battle belt, weapon systems, pack, ammo, and other gear? Most of us have this gear. Have you tried walking in it in your house or yard? Have for you walked in this gear for a mile, three miles, et cetera? It is nice to have, but if you can’t move in it what’s the use in having it. Should something large scale, especially a nationwide situation, happen, the supply chain could very well be shut down. There would be no more super markets open or stocked where you could go to get your groceries. You could find yourself going on long expeditions to find food and foraging. So how do we improve our ability to move in all that gear, let alone just our bug out bag?

      You start slowly, especially if you have not been doing much physical activity as of late. Start off with walking your neighborhood or on a treadmill. Then start throwing in some full body weight training. The key again is slowly getting into it to lessen the chance of injury and setting you back further. Once you have been doing the both of them for some time and your body is getting used to it. Move up to walking with your full combat load out, if you have an area that you can do so without drawing too much attention. The next step is to start getting formal training through places like Gunsite Academy, Tactical Response, or onPoint Tactical. As with any skill, seek to improve it. Continue to improve your fitness level at your body’s pace. Even if you just plan on wearing a pack and rifle or just the clothes on your back, increase your body’s cardio ability and strength output regardless. It will make it that much easier when that threat presents itself.

      Food and Drink

      I love the sweets and sodas as much as the next person, but I’m sure we all heard the saying “stockpile what you eat, and eat what you stockpile.” The main purpose behind that is so that during stressful times there is not a shock to your system. You don’t want your body left wondering where the six Dr. Pepper a day habit you had went. I cut out pop a long time ago to increase my overall health from the amount of sugar and of course to curb the habit. I almost always drink just water. We all can stand to improve the quality of food intake. So, should there be TEOTWAWKI, we can all probably agree that we will go through our entire food stores, right? At some point we are going to run out or lose it one way or another, whether that be from using it, damage, spoilage, theft, et cetera. I know I personally do not have a lifetime supply of supplies. So what does that mean? Well, it means that we will have to resort back to eating single ingredient foods– foods that we get from our environment and our surroundings. These include leafy greens, vegetables, fruits, animal protein, and so on. So the closer to that we can be to that today with our diets and our storage, the better off we will be should that time come.

      Something that can also fit into the food and drink category is alcohol, tobacco, or any other bad habits. I know everyone knows the downside of alcohol and tobacco, so I am not going to beat this dead horse too much. However, have you thought about how tough it would be if your supply ran out and you were thrusted into a SHTF situation? We all know how tough it can be to break these habits because of the addiction and the effects on the body. It is not something I would want to go through in a world with limited resources. Another given is the amount of money that can be saved that could, in turn, be used on other critical preps.

      Gear Considerations For a Healthy Body

      • Weight is first among other things to think about when it comes to your bug out gear or tactical gear. Remember when you are packing your bug out bag or loading up your tactical gear “ounces equal pounds, pounds equal pain.” When you are packing, ask yourself, “Do I really need this?” Remember that a bug out bag is to get you from point A to point B. It’s not to sustain you indefinitely. Also, think about when wondering if for your main battle rifle you should go .223 or .308, part of the reason the 5.56/.223 was adopted was that you could carry more rounds with less weight. With that being said, you can increase your weight-carrying capacity by increasing your physical fitness.
      • Balance is another gear consideration. For example, if you do plan on having a full on tactical load out, why have every mag you own on your chest? Spread it out to a pack on your back and to a battle belt. Why kill your back being forced forward from the ten or twelve full 30’s in your rig? Lower the center of gravity of your setup with a battle belt. Or even if you plan on just having a bug out pack, use the cummerbund, if it has one. It is there to place some of the weight on your hips and make the hike more comfortable. Maybe consider upgrading to a pack that has one, if yours currently does not, especially if you find yourself being a pack rat.
      • Footwear is a BIG one to think about. You have to take care of your feet or you will get nowhere. If you plan on having a set of footwear that is only in case of a bug out situation, break them in. There is nothing worse than major blisters on your feet from shoes that are not broken in or don’t fit properly. For the ladies out there that wear heels to work, be sure you have that back up pair of footwear in your pack. Also when choosing your shoes or boots, choose them based on your environment and time of year. Running shoes may not be the best form of footwear during a Midwest winter, for example.

      Emergency Supplies and Products

      Prepping With Children: Getting Them Interested

      It is a perfectly fine, pleasant Tuesday evening. You are playing with your children in the park. Your son is climbing up to the slide while your daughter is whooshing in the air on the see saw. A perfect day until an Earthquake strikes! One minute, this one minute will be changing your entire world. Your evenings may never be this perfect again.

      prepping-with-children

      It is a perfectly fine, pleasant Tuesday evening. You are playing with your children in the park. Your son is climbing up to the slide while your daughter is whooshing in the air on the see saw. A perfect day until an Earthquake strikes! One minute, this one minute will be changing your entire world. Your evenings may never be this perfect again.

      When we are in our happy moments we never realize that they may never last forever. It is always good to be prepared for the worst, to be prepared for survival in situations filled with despair. As adults, survival for you may not be this big of a challenge as opposed to your young children in the same situation. As elders, parents and guardians it is our duty to prepare our children- teach them how to survive. The question however is, how to prepare them?

      Stay Calm

      Children can sense the urgency in a parent’s tone. Take survival preparation seriously but let it not scare your children. If they are scared they might not pay attention to your instructions or be involved the way you want them to be.

      Make it Engaging

      To gather the interest of children it is important to keep them involved. Involvement for kids comes in the form of fun. You can make prepping fun for your kids by starting a prepping story. Build a story where they get to be the characters. Put forward survival challenges and show them how to succeed.

      Let them know where to head to in case things go wrong. You can also the kids for a weekend in the woods, a family trip. In this camping trip show them how to connect with their surroundings, look for food, learn to fish and learn to hunt. Kids of today are dependent on technology. On this trip show them what life without technology is. Engage them in maps and compasses!

      Prepare a first aid kit and teach them how to tackle small emergencies such as cuts and falls. Moreover, find survival books for children and discuss stories such as that of Robinson Crusoe. These stories and books will inspire them. Hear them out. Talk to them. Listen to their fears and comfort them. Their opinions may give you some ideas too.

      Let Them do Some Storage and Cooking

      When you head out to the store to shop for your survival food storage, take them along. Let them select the food. Foods such as dried food, vegetable powders, fruit powders are survival essentials, tell them why they are important. One of the best ways to store food is to grow vegetables and fruits in your back yard.

      Involve them in the gardening so that they know why that this is their essential to survive. Moreover, involve the kids in cooking too. Teach them recipes that are easy so that they can survive on their own when need comes. However, do not assign everything to them. Take it slowly. Too many responsibilities may push them away.

      Let Them Master the Art of Hygiene

      Germs and bacteria are harmful species that affect humans. Children are more prone to them due to their weak immune system. In survival situations getting sick can be harmful.

      The best way to prevent falling sick is to take care of hygiene and sanitation.  Talk to children about the importance of hygiene, the importance of washing hands, showers, why towels should not be shared, why using sanitizers is Important, wiping themselves,  teach them about the skills to use a public bathroom and other such skills.

      Healthy children can survive germs. However to be healthy, children must know why hygiene is emphasized on.

      While preparing your children, you have to realize that you job as a parent is not over. While they prepare for survival, you have to make the necessary arrangements for them too.

      Food

      Children have a different dietary requirement. Look at your children and store the food that you think will be the most important for them. For infants stock up formula milk as a mother may not be able to breast feed her child all day. For growing kids stock powder milk, dried fruits and organic food.

      The stock you have may deplete thus you should know how to hunt, fish and gather so that with your assistance the children can survive.

      Water

      Water is essential to survival. Staying dehydrated is very important. While preparing for survival make sure you have stored water enough to sustain you and the kids. Storage bottles are very handy for this job.

      Pack Emergency Kits

      As parents, it is your job to pack their emergency kits that will ensure their survival. Pack their clothes, blankets, one of their favorite toy (so that they feel safe), medicines and other such important tools. Carry cards or board games so that they have something to stay entertained. Also give them communication devices and radios so that they can be aware.

      Having a family is the best feeling in the world, but imagining them in tough times can tear you apart. You cannot stop something wrong from happening but you can equip your loved ones with the power to tackle such situations. This power only comes from preparation. Hence to survive, teach them to how to prepare!

      27 Uses for a Five-Gallon Bucket

      Texans may have their five-gallon hats, but the rest of us preppers have our five-
      gallon buckets! Grab some of those buckets, because there are dozens of do-it-
      yourself projects you could be starting. Consider this your prepper “bucket list”!

      Texans may have their five-gallon hats, but the rest of us preppers have our five-
      gallon buckets! Grab some of those buckets, because there are dozens of do-it-
      yourself projects you could be starting. Consider this your prepper “bucket list”!

      Dozens of Do-it-yourself Prepper Projects with Buckets
      Here’s our bucket list of dozens of projects you can do yourself if you have a food-
      grade 5-gallon or 6-gallon bucket:

      #1: Assemble and off-grid laundry station.
      Include a Rapidwasher mobile washer agitator, which is much better than a plunger
      because it has slots for the water. Also it uses minimal water and less soap
      (because of the agitation motion). Fill your bucket with your favorite laundry soap,
      borax,  baking soda, and stain remover, along with a clothesline, clothespins, and
      rubber gloves. Right, Prepare My Life has assembled everything for you in a kit with
      a gamma seal lid.

      #2: Fuel up at Costco with Charcoal.
      This is an easy do-it-yourself prepper project: charcoal storage. Preppers must stock
      a variety of fuel and charcoal is ready to go! The problem is that the bags are messy
      and are not moisture proof. At Costco, you’ll find Kingston Charcoal: it’s around $20
      for two huge bags. Grab them, then stash your charcoal treasure into a couple five-
      or six-gallon buckets. Having charcoal in a bucket provides the added security of a
      weather tight capsule.

      • Why hoard charcoal? Charcoal is highly combustible and paired with a lighter
        is an easy source of fuel. Charcoal has an indefinite shelf life when the
        product is stored in a cool, dry place. Use charcoal after you exhaust your
        supplies of propane, kerosene and other liquid fuels.
      • Is commercial charcoal good for composting? No! Kingston Charcoal and
        other briquettes won’t aid in the breakdown of organic matter, because they
        contain other ingredients to make them light faster. You’ll need to dump your
        commercial charcoal in an area separate from your composting.
      • #3: Tackle this one: create a bucket for your fishing gear.

      Go fishing for tackle supplies and make a tackle bucket. Pictured right is a tackle
      organizer. There are organizers for inside and outside of your bucket. Complete
      your tackle bucket with a comfortable seat lid. Makes a great gift.

      • Fishing Bucket Organizer. Right, from Wild River Tackle, is a five-gallon
        bucket organizer that fits most 5 gallon buckets. It’s a single solution soft
        tackle bag with an integrated flexible neck LED light system that allows you to
        see into the bag or the bucket when natural light gets scarce. This is a clip on
        LED light that can be moved to illuminate any area of low light. It also
        features a zippered pocket ready for your aerator to keep your bait lively. The
        rigger has storage areas for two 3500-series trays and extra pocket to hold a
        third reel or fishing line. A fisherman’s dream, this organizer features a
        removable self-retracting steel cable lanyard for clippers or small tools. It has
        clear internal pockets to keep maps and fishing license dry but visible. The
        exterior mesh pockets will allow you to carry popular tools and easily view
        contents.
      • Sit-n-fish. Left, from Frabill is the Sit-N-Fish bucket. It’s the perfect fishing
        bucket for on the ice or during open water season! This bucket is the “real
        McCoy”! Keep your bait inside during both seasons, and sit comfortably on its
        padded seat whenever you’re out. 6-gallon outer plastic pail; Removable 8-
        quart insulated foam bait bucket; Keeps bait alive and frisky without freeze-
        up; Comfortable snap on / off padded seat lid is included.

      #4: Make an emergency toilet.
      Here is a port a potty you can actually port… Take a five-gallon bucket (use a
      colored bucket, so you don’t mix it up with your food grade buckets) and line your
      bucket with appropriate bags, chemicals or Borax to keep down the stench, and of
      course, toilet paper and a plastic toilet seat lid and you have a grid-down
      emergency solution! This portable potty is also an ideal solution for camping,
      hunting, and having an adventure in your RV.

      #5: Use your noodle and stockpile the macaroni!
      Preppers don’t often think of storing macaroni in food grade buckets, but it will keep
      you from eating your emergency stash on an everyday basis. You can fit 25-lbs or
      more of elbow noodles in a six-gallon bucket. Next time it goes on sale, use your
      noodle and stock up on versatile elbow macaroni or your favorite pasta. Remove the
      pasta from the plastic bags and insert them into mylar bags with oxygen absorbers
      to enhance their shelf life. Include the boiling instructions on the inside of lid of the
      bucket. To make retrieval easier, get a gamma seal lid. Be sure to use a food-grade
      bucket or the plastics will leach into your macaroni or other pasta. Be sure also to
      store your macaroni inside your home, and not in a basement or attic, which has
      heat fluctuations. Be sure to store enough water to boil your noodles!

      #6: Sugar up your food storage!
      Sugar lasts indefinitely and is another easy prep for a food grade bucket. Sugar
      doesn’t need. Head to Costco for pure cane sugar, preferably organic, which has a
      hint of brown color. Get a gamma lid for easy retrieval of your food storage. Don’t
      stop your food storage projects with sugar or macaroni. In addition to sugar, buy in
      bulk to save and stockpile:

      #7: Build a better mouse trap!
      Featured on Doomsday Castle, the concept of a five-gallon bucket  rat trap at first
      seemed a little far fetched, but it worked! Here’s a how to build a better mousetrap!

      Why You Need To Garden Now

      It’s easy to find excuses not to garden: I’m too busy, I don’t want to ruin the lawn, I don’t have enough space, I’ll start when I move to the country. There might even be a few who bought a container of heirloom seeds, tossed it into the freezer and checked gardening off their to-do list.

      why-you-need-your-garden-now

      It’s easy to find excuses not to garden: I’m too busy, I don’t want to ruin the lawn, I don’t have enough space, I’ll start when I move to the country. There might even be a few who bought a container of heirloom seeds, tossed it into the freezer and checked gardening off their to-do list.

      The main fallacy in all these excuses is that you need all the experience you can get in growing your own food now, before your life depends on it. Of course, there are also many benefits to gardening: saving money as food costs continue to increase, learning to preserve your harvests, learning to cook fresh produce in appetizing ways, eating healthier foods, adjusting you (and your family) to a different diet before you have no choice.

      Time: everyone is busy. We also make time for what is important to us. Starting a new garden is labor intensive; if your schedule includes exercise then gardening can replace it at this stage.

      Lawn care: gardens don’t have to be an enormous rectangle in the center of the yard. A large border garden along the fence can be very productive and attractive. Raised beds can be built with stone or pavers. If you absolutely can not dig up any of your lawn because of a militant HOA or an impending sale, container gardening is the answer.

      Space: be inventive. Look into community gardens, allotment space, friends or acquaintances with room to plant. Elderly neighbors who might not be up to the physical exertion of maintaining a large garden could be willing to share their space for a portion of the produce. They will often be an excellent source of information regarding gardening for your climate and soil.

      What if you don’t want to invest the time and energy into a garden where you live now when you will be moving to the country or a bug-out place? The answer is: you had better be putting in the work somewhere! If you own land but can’t live on it now, make time to get out there and begin the process. A long weekend, or even better, a week vacation spent camping on your land can see a lot of clearing work done. If nothing else, a spade, bag of compost, stack of cardboard for mulching and seed potatoes will be the starter garden that sets you up for future efforts.

      Soil quality has to be your number one concern. Many suburbs and housing divisions are begun by grading the land flat and seeding grass onto what is left. When the grass is dug up what the home owner isn’t going to find is topsoil. The first step is going to be amending the growing medium; a.k.a. making really good dirt for healthy plants. There are choices available for this step. If money isn’t an issue landscape companies will truck in topsoil for you or you can make your own with compost.

      Be aware of your gardens needs when placing it. Alan Titchmarsh, prominent British gardening expert, recommends spending a day in a lawn chair observing the space. Watch where the sun hits, what is shaded by trees or fences and where the wind blows unchecked. Know the needs of your chosen crops: is there full sun for corn? Is a place sheltered from the midday and afternoon sun best for the lettuce?

      Did you observe any pests? Rabbits can be a serious problem in town where many won’t kill them because they are considered ‘cute’. Do you have family pets which will dig or trample your tender seedlings? Even a knee-high fence made of chicken wire may be enough to keep these out while still allowing you easy access. Another option is to use a greenhouse, polytunnel or coldframe to both keep pests out and extend your growing season by protecting from frost and wind.

      Remember that other plants can interact with your garden. My yard is filled with black walnut trees which produce a chemical to retard the growth of other plants. I can’t even use the leaves for compost. Two years ago I opened up a second garden area and I’m still struggling to get decent crops to grow there. These also allow for earlier planting by providing protection from frosts. Eventually, it will be as rich and productive as my first garden. The time and work is an investment that will be rewarded.

      Whatever method you choose, start now. This may literally save your life someday.

      10 Tips for Preppers to Prepare for SHTF Situations

      Being prepared really isn’t that complicated, it just takes a willingness to do something about your situation. If you haven’t started prepping, it’s time to start taking the decisive actions you need to take to keep yourself and your family safe.

      Being prepared really isn’t that complicated, it just takes a willingness to do something about your situation. If you haven’t started prepping, it’s time to start taking the decisive actions you need to take to keep yourself and your family safe.

      Here are 10 ideas that can help get you started:

      1. Threat Assessment

      Part of truly being prepared for anything, means knowing exactly what threats you’re going to face and then analyzing how those threats will affect you in the future. By performing a realistic threat assessment, you can get a better idea of what threats you’re facing, and learn how to prepare for those threats in the future.

      2. Planning for the most likely SHTF Scenarios.

      When you’re just getting started in the world of prepping, preparing for an EMP or an asteroid hitting the earth is probably not the best course of action. While both of those scenarios are scary, the probability of them happening is actually pretty low. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t prep for these things, I’m just suggesting that you prep for the most likely dangers first.

      3. SWOT Analysis

      Performing a SWOT Analysis is a great way to determine how prepared you really are. A SWOT Analysis is a simple, but useful method of pinpointing your Strengths and Weaknesses. Performing one will also help you identify Opportunities that you can exploit, and Threats that you might face in a SHTF situation.

      4. Living Debt Free… Is it part of your survival plan?

      It’s great to be prepared for an end of days scenario, but what happens when you’re faced with a foreclosure or the possibility of living on the streets? Is that not a survival situation?  To be truly prepared for the worst, we must also think of our financial security. That means paying off debt, living within your means, and starting an emergency fund.

      5. Get in Shape NOW

      No matter what survival situation you may ultimately find yourself in, there’s one thing that you’ll likely find; survival is going to be hell on your body. One of the best things you can do to ensure your survival, in just about any situation, is to make sure your body and your mind are trained and prepared to survive. That means motivating yourself to get off your butt and get in shape.

      6. Train with Repetition

      To really be able to rely on your knowledge when things go bad, you need to run through your survival techniques in a number of real-world scenarios and environments. The more you train in real world situations, the more likely it is that you’ll be able to perform these skills in a high stress survival situation.

      7. Train Your Mind

      Survival isn’t glamorous, and it’s nothing like what’s depicted on T.V. Survival shows. It is downright brutal, and will beat the hell out of you not only physically, but emotionally as well. Don’t overlook the importance of cultivating a mindset that will allow you to face life’s greatest challenges.

      8. Survival Intelligence – Power of Information

      In a survival situation, knowledge is going to be a critical factor in determining the outcome of your situation. The ability to be able to predict what will happen during an emergency is an important part of being prepared. Start gathering a list of trusted resources and information sources that can help you prepare for whatever the future has in store.

      9. Be Prepared to Bug Out

      Many preppers talk about the prospects of bugging out; but how many of them have the skills, or the strength to actually do it? It’s one thing to talk about bugging out; it’s another thing to carry your gear 10-15 miles a day in dangerous and unforgiving conditions.

      10. Bugging out with Kids

      During a SHTF situation, maintaining a sense of normalcy is going to be a very important concern when dealing with children. With children, comfort items can go a long way in helping them feel as safe and secure as possible. Don’t overlook how important it will become to give them a sense of comfort and control during a stressful SHTF situation.

       

      Threat Assessment – What are the most likely threats that you will face?

      Part of truly being prepared for anything, means knowing exactly what threats you’re facing, and then analyzing how those threats will affect you in the future. By performing a realistic threat assessment, you can get a better idea of what threats are out there, and then learn how to prepare for those threats in the future.

      Performing a threat assessment will help you improve your ability to handle threats, manage threatening situations, and protect the people you love from harm.

      There are three primary objectives when performing a threat assessment – Identify, Assess, and Manage.

      IDENTIFY The Threats

      The first step in analyzing your overall preparedness level is to identify the most likely threats that you will face.

      What are the most likely threats that you will face? Who/What are the threats, and what are your vulnerabilities?

      • Natural disasters: What are the most likely disasters you will face based on your geographical location? (Hurricanes, Floods, Earthquakes, etc…)
      • SHTF scenarios: What do you believe are the greatest threats to you livelihood? (Economic collapse; political instability; chemical, biological, radio logical, and nuclear threats; riots; wars; etc…)
      • Personal Threats – Economic Problems, Job Loss, Home Invasions, Debt, etc..
      • Security: What are the largest security risks that you face in your area? (Gangs, Criminal Activity,issues effecting urban areas, etc…)
      • What are the immediate dangers in your location? Is there anything that stands out about your neighborhood? Are there obstacles or dangers that are specific to your geographical location that could leave you vulnerable? (terrorist threats, chemical and/or biological threats, threats to critical infrastructure, criminal activity, inadequate access to supply routes or escape routes during a disaster, etc…)

      ASSESS The Threats

      The next step is to assess how these dangers will affect you, and then figure out what needs to be protected?

      • How will each of the above listed threats affect you, your family, your property, and your survival plans?
      • How will each situation affect your overall preparedness efforts?
      • Are there any areas in your plans, security, or overall preparedness efforts that need to be addressed?
      • What steps do you need to take to protect yourself, your family and your property?

      MANAGE The Threats

      The final step is to take immediate protective actions that will help prevent, or minimize your exposure to these potential threats.

      • What can be done to minimize your risk?
      • Develop appropriate emergency response plans, and threat reduction strategies for each situation.
      • Are you prepared to Bug Out if the situation calls for that action?
      • Intelligence – Those that are truly prepared will seek information from multiple sources. Make sure you have a good way to gather information before and after a disaster hits. (BEFORE: Survival Websites, Books, Radio etc… AFTER: Personal Networks, Ham & Shortwave Radio, etc…)

       

      What are the most likely threats that you should be prepared for?

      Deciding what types of disasters to prepare for will mean something different to everyone. From you location, to your health and financial situation, there are a number of factors that can play into what you should focus on first. While we can’t tell you individually what to prepare for, there are a number of things that you might want to consider.

      Preparing for a Job Loss

      Remember prepping isn’t just about preparing for cataclysmic events; it’s about being prepared for whatever dangers or pitfalls are around the corner. While the loss of a job may not be as sensational as asteroids, EMP’s, or a zombie apocalypse, it is the one thing that almost everyone reading this will face at some point in their life.

      Preparing yourself and your family to survive and thrive during a time of unemployment is something that everyone should be prepared for. Ask yourself the following questions….

      • If you lost your job today, how long could you go without a paycheck?
      • How much food do you have on hand, and how long will it last?
      • What steps do you need to take to ensure your families survival?

      Preparing for Floods & Fires

      When we start prepping, it’s easy to get caught up in a worst case scenario mentality. While preparing for the worst is a good thing, it can sometimes cause you to overlook the smaller disasters that can be equally as devastating.

      One of the most common disasters that most Americans will face in their lifetime is the threat from Fires and Floods. Again, it might not be the most exciting topic in the world, but preparing yourself and your home for this danger is one of the first things you should learn how to do.

      Preparing for Natural Disasters

      Hurricanes, Earthquakes, and Tornadoes are all disasters that often strike without warning. But they are also easily predictable.

      While you can never predict exactly when they’ll happen, you can find out if you live in an area that’s prone to one of these natural occurrences. Unfortunately, as we often see every hurricane season, most people fail to prepare for these types of events. If you live in an area that’s prone to natural disasters, you need to start prepping to survive those situations.

      Preparing for an Economic Collapse

      As far fetched as this may sound to some, it really shouldn’t be that shocking. All you have to do is look back at 2008 to see how close this country came to a complete financial meltdown. Although the idiots in the media claim the economy is recovering, just remember, they’re the same idiots that didn’t see 2008 coming.

      If the economy crashed tomorrow what would you do? Are you ready for this type of scenario?

      Preparing for The Dangers in your Neighborhood

      It’s often the dangers in your own community that pose the biggest threat to your health and safety, are you prepared for them? Do you even know what they are?

      • Is there something in your community that could make your town a potential terrorist target?
      • Are there chemical or power plants in your area that could pose a danger if an accident happened?
      • Are there areas of your town that pose a danger because of crime, gangs, or other criminal activity? If a disaster hit, would these people pose a threat to your home?

      Bad things can happen quickly and often without warning.  Knowing what types of events are most likely to occur in your community can help you plan for those disasters. If you start with the mindset of being prepared for these common problems, you will then have a good foundation to build upon that can help you survive pretty much any crisis, disaster or SHTF situation.

       

      A SWOT Analysis is a simple, but useful method of really understanding your Strengths and Weaknesses. It will also help you identify Opportunities that you can exploit, and Threats that you might need to avoid during a survival situation.

      Performing a SWOT Analysis on yourself and your capabilities is a great way to determine how prepared you really are.

      SWOT: STRENGTHS

      A good place to start is to take an inventory of what you currently have. This can be everything from stockpiles of food and ammo, to stockpiles of knowledge.

      Analyzing your strengths will give you a good idea of what you’re capable of doing. It’s also a good way of discovering things that you may have never considered to be strengths, but could be extremely beneficial in a survival scenario.

      • What survival gear, equipment, and tools do you currently own?
      • What other items do you have in your home that might be useful during a crisis situation? (Blankets, food, tools, etc….)
      • What skills do you have that can be used in a survival situation?
      • What resources do you have in your area that can be used during a survival situation?
      • Make a list of what you feel are your general everyday strengths, and then determine if these strengths would be useful during a crisis or disaster.

      SWOT: WEAKNESSES

      This is where you really have to be honest with yourself; but it’s also where you’ll get the most benefit out of this exercise. By honestly detailing your weaknesses, you can then better prepare to survive a crisis situation. Once you know what your weaknesses are, you can tweak your training to deal with them.

      • What skills do you need to improve on?
      • Are there certain survival skills that you have never actually practiced?
      • Is there anything about your location that could be considered a weakness? (Lack of natural resources, hard to defend, etc…)
      • Do you have any medical problems or disabilities?
      • What other things do you lack that may become a problem during a Crisis Scenario?

      SWOT: OPPORTUNITIES

      When listing your opportunities, try to imagine what resources and opportunities are currently available to you, and what will be available when a disaster strikes. List the opportunities that you can take advantage of now, as well as those that will be important during a survival situation.

      • What resources and opportunities can you exploit in your area when things go bad?
      • Are there opportunities that you can take advantage of that will help strengthen some of your weaknesses? (Local classes, survival schools, library, websites or other learning resources)
      • Do you have a network of people who can help?

      SWOT: THREATS

      To truly be prepared, you need to have a realistic idea of what threats are out there and how likely it is that each threat could happen. By going through this exercise, you can better prepare yourself to face each one of these scenarios.  You will know exactly what skills you need to work on, what plans you need to put in place, and what equipment you will most likely need.

      • What are the most likely threats that you will face? (natural disasters, economic threats, SHTF scenarios)
      • What obstacles will you face?
      • What are the immediate dangers in your location?
      • Who is the biggest threat in your neighborhood? (gangs, criminals, etc…)
      • Take another look at your weaknesses? Can any of your weaknesses seriously threaten your survival?

      THE NEXT STEP…

      The most important part of performing a SWOT Analysis is what you do with your findings. There is no point in performing one, unless you plan on taking action. Now that you have a good idea of your overall level of preparedness, you need to act on your findings and create a strategic plan of action.

       

      Did you know that the average American family has over $15,000 of credit card debt, and a staggering total debt of over $75,000.? And if that’s not scary enough, when you factor in the $130,000 that every American tax payer would have to shell out just to pay off the national debt, our situation starts to look pretty bleak.

      So what does living debt free have to do with survival anyways?

      Well in my opinion, living debt free is an extremely important part of your overall survival plan. Living debt free is about your long-term survival. It’s about thriving, living a comfortable existence, and having peace of mind while everyone else is living in chaos.

      But what if the economy collapses?  How will living debt free help you survive?

      As the country falls deeper into economic turmoil, living a debt free lifestyle can help shield you from some of the initial pain. As things start to get worse, creditors are going to step up their collection efforts and really start to come after debtors with a vengeance. The last thing you need prior to an economic collapse is a sheriff knocking at the door because you couldn’t pay your bills.

      Remember, debtor prisons were once a real thing here in America and if things get bad enough they could make a comeback.

      5 Ideas for Living Debt Free:

      Establish a Budget

      It’s really amazing how much money Americans waste. Establishing a written budget will help make sure that every dollar you make works for you and not against you. At the end of every month, you should have a written plan for every dollar that you will bring next month.

      Establishing a budget can help you to realize how much money you spend on things that really aren’t necessities.

      Use the Envelope Budgeting System:

      If a written budget seems a little tough, you may want to consider the good old envelope system. Basically you put your monthly budget into various envelopes; food, gas, utilities, rent or mortgage, entertainment, preps, etc….

      This can help you make sure you’re not spending more than you should be on a certain category (like entertainment).

      The Debt Snowball:

      Paying of debt can sometimes seem overwhelming which is why Dave Ramsey’s Baby Step #2, The Debt Snowball, is a great way to get started. For those of you who are not familiar with Dave Ramsey, he is basically one of the top debt free living advocates in the country. In his book, The Total Money Makeover, he outlines 7 baby steps to living a debt free life.

      Baby step #2, the Debt Snowball, suggests that you list your debts from smallest to largest and then start with the small debts first. The rational is actually pretty simple; the motivation that you obtain from paying of these small easy debts will create a snowball effect that will help you stay motivated when the going gets tough.

      As Ramsey points out in the book, Personal finance is 20% head knowledge and 80% behavior. When it comes down to it, we all know what we should be doing; most people choose not to do it.

      Stop going in debt by maintaining a high credit score.

      One of the biggest scams that the financial institutions have managed to pull on Americans is the myth that your credit score somehow equals your financial security. Nothing could be farther from the truth; in fact, keeping a high credit score only ensures one thing. It guarantees that you will constantly be in debt!

      The only way to maintain that high credit score is to continually borrow money, pay that money off, and pretty much live in debt for the rest of your life. The only thing that having a high credit score means is that you are good at borrowing money, not good at making it!

      Make More Money

      This one is a no brainier; the only real way to combat the increasing cost of living is to start making more money.

      In the long run, one of the best ways to increase your cash flow is to go into business for yourself. Whether you’re a mechanic, a car salesman, or even a factory worker you have talents that can be taken outside of the workplace. Figure out what your good at, and find a way to make money off of it.

      Let’s take the mechanic example. Instead of making your boss rich, why not buy some old clunkers, fix them up, and then sell them?  Even if you do one every couple of months, imagine what you could do with that extra income.

       

      No matter what survival situation you may ultimately find yourself in, there is one thing that you’ll likely find, it’s going to be hell on your body. From dealing with a lack of sleep and inadequate hydration, to coping with hunger pains and other stress-or, survival can take a huge toll on your body.

      You must be prepared to face a number of physical and mental challenges.

      One of the best things you can do to ensure your survival, in just about any situation, is to make sure your body and your mind are trained to survive. This means motivating yourself to get off your butt and get in shape.

      Being in shape is going to be hugely important to your survival in any situation.

       

      In the beginning, it really doesn’t matter what exercise program you choose, the main thing you need to do is pick something and stick to it. Consistency and follow through is really the most important thing when starting any fitness routine.

      Now I know a number of so-called experts are probably screaming at the screen saying “What do you mean it doesn’t matter what program I choose?”  Well stick with me here.

      If you’re a fitness guru and all you do is work out then this article isn’t meant for you. What I’m talking about here is those who know they’re out of shape, but have never really done much about it.

      I have a few friends who work in the fitness industry. In fact, a few of them work at some very big name companies. When I talk to them about their customers, across the board a couple of things are always the same.

      Inconstancy, laziness and a lack of motivation.

      While these three things are horrible for your body, they’re actually great for most of these companies. In fact, many of them count on your lack of motivation to drive their profits.

      They make their money off the people who sign up for a program, attend a couple of times, and then never show up again. Once the new year comes around the cycle starts all over. Most people sign up again, either hoping they’ll do better this time or because they feel a sense of shame for not sticking to the program.

      Think about it, we all know we need to exercise and eat well, but how many people make it a habit to do so? Once you’re comfortable in your routine and have made a habit of working out you can then start to tweak your overall plan.

      The biggest hurdle in the beginning is staying motivated. Studies show that if you can stick with something for at least 30 days it usually becomes a habit that will stay with you for life. So why not challenge yourself and commit to starting even a basic exercise plan?

      For 30 days commit to a 30 minute time frame that is dedicated to getting in shape. Even if it’s just taking a 30 minute walk in the morning, schedule a time and stick to it. At the end of those 30 days I’ll bet you look forward to that time and it will likely become part of your daily schedule.

      If you really want to challenge yourself after the 30 days or you need a little bit of structure, I suggest checking out the P90X: 90-Day Extreme Home Fitness Workout Program. Like I said before, the program you choose is not important, but I have personally gone through this system and have seen some amazing results in others. I have since taken some of the routines and have incorporated them into my normal workout schedule.

      Good luck and let us know how it goes…. Remember your survival depends on it!

       

      Want To Ensure Your Survival in Any Situation? Repetition is the Answer!

      Having a basic understanding of survival and knowing the techniques is not enough. While knowledge is a key aspect of survival, repetition is the underlying piece of the puzzle that ultimately makes the difference between success and failure.

      Last week we posted an article on studying the basics of survival. In that article, I mentioned how important training in those basic skills was to your survival. While knowing those basic skills is extremely important, I probably should have placed more of an emphasis on repetitive training in those skills.

      If you’ve ever trained with the Marines, you’ve probably noticed how differently they train. In my opinion, there is one thing separates their training style from most other types of tactical/survival training, and that is repetition. They spend countless number of hours training on specific skills that others might only spend a couple of hours on. Through fatigue, injury, and pain they run through their techniques over and over until they can’t fail.

      They are masters at what they learn, because they run through these skills again and again in a number of different scenarios and environments. They become masters because of repetition.

      Want to ensure your survival?

      To really be able to count on your knowledge when the SHTF, you need to run through your techniques in a number of scenarios and environments. Just like the Marines, you need to use repetition in your training until your skills become second nature.  The more you train in real world situations, the more likely you are to be able to perform these skills when it really matters.

      Being able to start a fire in your back yard when it’s sunny, and you’re well feed is one thing. Being able to start a fire when it’s raining, cold, windy, and you’re about to fall over from a lack sleep is entirely different. The best thing you can do, is to use these skills as often as possible.

      Oftentimes people come on here complaining that they just don’t have the time to train. But in reality, even the busiest people can still find a way to fit training into their routine, it just takes a little bit of imagination.

      Take the fire starting example that I talked about above. Maybe you don’t have the time to go off into the wilderness; but if you barbecue on the weekends, why not use that as a time to hone up on your skills? Instead of using a lighter to start your grill, why not take a couple of minutes and start the fire with one of your fire making techniques?

      If you want to be a master in the art of survival, training with repetition is essential to ensuring your survival.

      Do you let what you can’t do dictate what you can do?

      Doesn’t it seem like life is always ready to throw you a curve ball? Well, the key to life and survival is being able to tweak the bat at the last minute, and hit that ball out of the park. Unfortunately, far too many people let their hardships rule their life.

      We all have challenges and weaknesses, but to survive everything that life can throw at you, you need to cultivate a mindset that doesn’t allow your weaknesses to dictate what you can or can’t do.

      People who have overcome challenges, and kicked their lives into overdrive

      Ludwig Van Beethoven: Deaf, but one of the greatest composers ever!

      Ludwig Van Beethoven had horrible hearing throughout his life, and actually became completely deaf. Despite a handicap that would make most people give up, Beethoven continued to compose, conduct, and perform music and is known as one of the greatest composers of all time.

      Bruce Lee: Broke His Back, Bad Eye Sight, and one leg that was Shorter than the other.

      Bruce Lee overcame an amazing amount of odds; he had bad eyesight, one leg that was shorter than the other, and a severe back injury that doctors said would keep him from ever kicking again. The injury caused him pain throughout his life, but he never let the injury or his other limitations keep him from his dreams.

      If you’ve seen his movies, you also know that he didn’t let it affect his martial arts. He became the world’s most famous martial artist, and his blazing fast speed is a testament to overcoming any handicap.

      Michael Jordan: Told that he wasn’t good enough to play.

      Michael Jordan was kicked off his high school basketball team, and told that he wasn’t good enough to play. At this point most people would have completely given up, but not Michael; he continued to work on his weaknesses until he became one of the best players off all time.

      I shared these examples with you in hopes that one day when the going gets tough, you will remember to dig down deep, and give life a swift kick in the ass. Don’t ever let your weaknesses dictate what you can or can’t do.

      Survival Intelligence – Gathering Intel During a Disaster

      The ability to be able to predict what will happen in a survival situation is an important part of being prepared. While that may sound like some mystical mumbo jumbo, it’s really not as hokey as it might sound. This ability to predict what will happen is not some supernatural physic power, but instead lies in your ability to gather and interpret information.

      In the military world it’s referred to as Intelligence and it has played a critical role in every major combat operation in America since before the Revolutionary War. Without this critical information our military would be operating blind, which would mean more lives, battles, and even wars lost.

      While most people in America rely on the evening news as their main source of information, this strategy hardly prepares you to survive a disaster, let alone a SHTF situation. Intelligence is only good if you receive the information in a timely manner.  Often times what’s reported on the evening news is anything but real-time information. The longer it takes to receive your intelligence, the less likely it becomes that you’ll be able to use it to react to the given situation.

      Preparedness Intel: Survival Information Resources

      Don’t Underestimate the Power of Information: Having multiple sources of information is critical to your preparedness efforts.  Those that are truly prepared will seek information from multiple sources.

      Social Networks – Social networks such as Twitter and Facebook are excellent sources for gathering real-time information on just about any topic. When a major disaster, event, or SHTF situation occurs, these social networks can be a great way to secure localized real-time information on what’s really happening.

      Social News Aggressors & Social Monitors. There are a number of really good social monitoring tools out there that can greatly increase the effectiveness of how these social networks work. One free tool that you might want to check out is called TweetDeck. This program allows you to customize what you’re monitoring, and even allows you to break it down by keyword based on the event.

      RSS Readers – RSS readers like FeedDemon allow you to subscribe to different websites, blogs and news websites. You can then gather that information in one easy to use interface.

      Survival Websites – Don’t forget to check out our big list of survival websites. These sites can all be a great resource for learning how to survive in a variety of situations.

      Survival Books – If the SHTF and the grid goes down, you want to have a basic library of survival information at your disposal. I strongly suggest investing in a couple of Good Survival Books that fit your specific situation.

      An even better idea would be to invest in a E-Reader or Tablet like the Kindle Fire, which can hold a complete library of over 6,000 survival books and manuals. And to make sure you can still access your information when the SHTF, I suggest looking at a compact solar charger like the Solio Bolt Solar Charger. This will allow you to charge your small electronic devices even if the grid goes down. Once you have one of these devices, check out our list of Survival ebooks and PDF downloads.

      Ham Radio – When the power lines go down, radio stations stop transmitting, and the internet stops working there is one line of communication that will still be alive and well: Ham Radio!  Having a good Multiband Ham Radio will allow you to send and receive critical emergency information during a disaster. It’s also a great way to find alternative news sources from around the world — the kind of news that isn’t filtered.

      In a survival situation, knowledge is going to be a critical factor in determining the outcome of your situation. Don’t underestimate the power of staying informed.

       

      Are you actually prepared to Bug Out?

      A great way to prepare for this situation is to start backpacking.

      While you can never simulate an actual bug out situation, backpacking helps you prepare in a number of different ways.

      • It prepares your body for the rigorous conditions that you are bound to face.
      • Backpacking can help you figure out exactly how your body will respond to carrying gear across different terrains.
      • It helps you get a good idea of how much ground you can realistically cover during a Bug Out Scenario.

      Having an evacuation plan is great… But have you ever actually used it?

      By backpacking the routes that you plan to take in a Bug Out situation, you greatly increase your chances of surviving a real life disaster.

      Hit the trails, study the surroundings, and take plenty of notes.

      • Figure out how far you can comfortably hike every day.
      • Take note of what natural resources lie along your route.
      • Be on the lookout for any possible dangers, and figure out how you can avoid them.
      • Take your maps and mark the location of every watering hole or possible emergency shelters that are near your route.

      Test your gear now when your life’s not on the line.

      The last thing you need in your bug out bag is a bunch of crappy gear that doesn’t hold up out the trail. Now is the time to start testing that gear.

      When you’re out on the trail ask yourself these important gear questions:

      • How easy is it to use?
      • How many times did you actually use that piece of gear and was it really a necessity?
      • Was there a piece of gear that you wish you would’ve had?

       

      Do you have a Separate Bug Out Bag for your kids?

      During a crisis or disaster situation, one of your most important jobs will be to help your child feel as safe and secure as possible. Something that I’m a big proponent of, and something that I think helps give children a sense of security, is involving them in your preparedness planning as much as possible. One great way to make them feel like they have a voice, and a sense of power, is to give them their own dedicated bug out bag.

      Having their own child-sized Bug Out Bag, filled with familiar items and comfort foods, can be a real life saver during an emergency. With children, comfort items often become a top priority; having a bag filled with comforting and familiar items can help ensure their overall mental health during a crisis or disaster.

      What Items should go into a kids bug out bag:

      What goes into the bag really depends on your child’s age, and their maturity. While the needs of each child are going to be different, there are some things you should consider when building an emergency bag for your child.

      Basic Survival Items: These should be lightweight, age-appropriate items. Heavier items and gear should always be in the adult’s bags.

      • Flashlight
      • Emergency whistle (clipped to the outside of pack so they can easily find  it if they become separated from you)
      • Laminated emergency contact list with name, home address, and telephone numbers.
      • Pre-paid cell phone
      • Poncho
      • Extra socks, pair of gloves and knit hat or bandanna (depending on your climate)
      • Dust mask
      • Goggles
      • Small pocket knife for the older kids
      • Band aids & wipes
      • Small bottle of hand sanitizer

      Comfort Items: When building a bag for a kid, comfort and mental stability is really the main purpose of the bag. Don’t overlook the importance of entertainment and comfort; during a disaster, the last thing you need is a kid who is overly stressed out and anxious.

      • Stuffed animals
      • A couple small light-weight toys
      • Pack of playing cards, or travel size games
      • Baseball or small Nerf football
      • Harmonica
      • An IPad, tablet, or small device to play games on
      • Hard candy
      • Bubble gum
      • Sugar packets
      • Trail mix
      • Drink mix packets

      Remember, a kid’s bug out bag is not meant to be an adult BOB. Its main purpose is to provide comfort during a stressful situation, and give your child a sense of control. With younger children, comfort items are a top priority, and will help ensure their overall mental health.

      Make sure you customize the bag for your child’s age, personality, and overall fitness level.

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