How to Start a Fire in the Wilderness?

This is a great blog written by Brandon Cox about how to start a fire in the wilderness. Check out his site stayhunting. He has some really cool articles and information. Thank you Brandon for letting us share your blog.

How to Start a Fire in the Wilderness?

By Brandon Cox / January 27, 2017

How to Start a Fire

Fire is so crucial for survival in the wild especially when lost or just taking an adventure. Ever wondered why almost every person starts a fire when in the wild whether camping or just taking an adventure? In a short while, I will show you exactly why fire is so important in the world and why you must know how to start one. You can agree with me that most people in the wild who find themselves in a situation where they need fire don’t have a lighter.

Well, I promise to show you exactly how you can start a fire in the wild with or without a lighter but first let’s see why fire is so important in the wild.

How to Start a Fire in the Wilderness?

Why is It Important to Start a Fire?​

Most people think of fire as a luxury only to realize of its crucial importance when in an outdoor visit or a survival situation. In a survival situation, fire can be lifesaving enabling you to do a lot and get through the danger of the wild. Most of the threats that people face in the wild when in a survival situation can easily be solved by fire going to show its importance.

Most common ways people die in the wildness and how fire can help?​

  • Hypothermia due to lack of body heat: Fire warms you.
  • Snake and spider bites: Fire scares them away.
  • Attack from predators: Fire keeps them away
  • Insect bites: Fire again keeps them away
  • Dehydration: Fire helps you melt water in ice regions
  • Hunger: Fire helps cook edible raw food
  • Think of committing suicide: Fire boosts your morale becoming your only friend

Those are just good examples to show you how fire is so important in the wild. In when in places with water sources, you will still need fire to boil the water and kill the pathogens and other bacteria in the water. Fire in the wild at night can be the only difference dying and seeing the light in the morning. It will warm you, give you light to accomplish tasks and scare away wild animals. The smoke from the fire can also act as a signal to the search team.

Do you see the importance of fire in a survival situation in the world?

I know you agree with me on this. Fire in the wild is very important to survival. The discovery of fire is what has changed humanity.​ Even before we learn how to start a fire in the wild, let first see how to prepare the ground for a well-built fire.​

​How to Build a Well-built Fire?

Well build fire

You don’t just gather wood and start the fire as most people think. Starting a fire in the wild requires you to prepare. Even in your home, you have the fireplace nicely set. The very first step in starting a fire in the wild is building a good fire pit.

1- ​Build a Fire Pit

There are no fire rings in the wild, so you have to prepare a fire pit. First, choose a good location as this is where you will most probably spend the night. Doing it under a huge tree or under some cliff will ideal. All the vegetation and grass on the chosen spot must be cleared for a distance of 8-10 feet. Once you have a cleared area, dig several inches into the soil to remove the top layer which is set aside for emergencies. You can even use the loose soil as firewall and mount it around the newly built fire pit. If in a place with rocks, mount rocks on the edge of the fire pit to insulate it.

2- Gather Materials​

What does your hunting backpack have that can help you gather as many materials as possible. You will need different materials that catch fire easily and others that burn for long periods. You can make it in the wild starting fire without enough materials to keep the fire going once it starts.

Scope the area and collect as much wood as you can to help you with the fire. If you’re in the camp where there is tinder, then use to start the fire.

​Tinder

Tinder is among the smallest and easiest materials to get a fire started in the campfire. The following are some of the tinder forms:

  • Wadded paper
  • Wax
  • Wood shavings
  • Cardboard strips
  • Fire starts and commercial fire sticks
  • Dryer lint
  • Dry leaves (works well in the case of wildfire where other materials are not easy to find)

Kindling

The next step is kindling the fire where you size it up by adding small branches and twigs that you collected earlier. Branches and twigs of about 1/8 and inches into the fire to size up slowly but ensure you don’t put it out.​

Tip: Add small twigs and branches and slowly increase their size as the fire grows.

Firewood

Lastly, you can add logs that burn for long to keep the fire going up to the next day. Whole logs or split ones can both work depending on how long you want the fire to burn. The logs and woods must be completely dry to burn and stay lit for long.

Tip: Splitting logs might be impossible in the wild so start by putting them near the edge of the fire and let them catch fire slowly.​

Water

Water is very necessary just in case you need to out the fire in the morning all when finished. Pour water on the fire when done to stop it spreading to other areas. Stir the ashes to ensure there is no fire left and then pour more water. You can always repeat this over and over until the ashes are cool to be held in your hand before you leave the scene. The worst mistake you can do is leave a campfire or a fire in the wild unattended as this can lead to a catastrophic widespread of fire burning the entire area.

Tip: The dirt or dug soil can be used to cover the fire area and prevent any chances of the fire starting on its own.​

Ignition Source

What is the easiest way to start a fire in the wild? If lucky to have a match or lighter in your hunting bag, then you’re good to start. However, what happens when you have nothing that can start fire fast? This is where your fire starting skills are tested. You have to go the old ways our ancestral used to start a fire with any available tools. Did you know your bow can be used to start a fire? If you go hunting with bows and arrows, then your bow can be used to start a fire, but we will get to that in a short while. There are several other ways to start a fire in the wild that will discuss in a little while as you look forward to improving your fire starting skills in the wild.​

3- Six Popular Ways You Can Build a Fire

​Before you build a fire, you need to understand all the six popular ways that people build a fire in the wild to suit specific reasons. The arrangement you choose to build your fire will determine how long it lasts and how fast it burns. You can see why it is important to know the way you will build your fire. I’ll show you some of the most popular ways that people build fires in the wild and the purpose each way serves.

​3.1- The Teepee Fire

The teepee is the most popular arrangement and one you need to know. Build a tepee by arranging the tinder and kindling it in the shape of a cone. Lit the center and let the logs burn from inside falling inward to feed the fire. Building a tepee is ideal when you have wet wood or green wood that does not burn well. The flame is usually hottest at the tip where there is oxygen. The heat generated from this arrangement is very intense and burns out wood quickly but ideal for warming you at night.

The teepee arrangement is probably the one you’ve seen in survival series where one needs to keep warm and have the fire burn until morning. The thicker end of a log or stick should always be placed at the top where the heat is intense so that it burns inward.

Video illustrating the teepee fire arrangement

​Pros

  • Gives intense heat
  • Starts fire faster
  • Can burn wet or green wood

Cons

  • Burns woods quickly

​3.2- The Lean-to Fire

The lean to fire is another great arrangement that does not need a lot of effort if you set it out correctly. Choose a medium sized log and place tinder next to it. The kindling is the leaned across the log as illustrated in the video below. Small dry branches and twigs can be placed after several layers of tinder. Once you light the tinder, you can add as much kindling as needed to grow the fire.

Video how lean fire is built

​Pros

  • Fire will size up without much trouble
  • Once set up, fire starts pretty fast without any additional task

Cons

  • More tinder and kindling are required.

3.3- The Cross-ditch Fire

The Cross-ditch fire is by far the most lasting arrangement for making any wildfires. On a tinder bed, put kindling in a crisscross fashion before you add woods and logs. Once everything is set, light the tinder and fire will slowly size up.

Video how cross-ditch fire is built

​Pros

  • Efficient consumption of fuel
  • Long lasting to see you through the night
  • Suitable for cooking

Cons

  • A bit tedious to build

3.4- The Log Cabin Fire

The log cabin fire simply means creating fire by having a cabin arrangement. This is achieved by first kindling twigs and branches into the shape of a cabin while leaving a space in the middle. Place two sticks in opposite directions 4-6 inches apart. Continue stacking more sticks across each other until a square cabin is created.

Create a reasonably sized box and add tinder into the box. Once tinder is filled in the box, place more sticks on top of the cabin to cover the tinder. When everything is set, go right ahead and light your tinder.

Video showing the log cabin fire

​Pros

  • Rarely collapses
  • Long lasting
  • Provides warmth on all sides

Cons

  • Burns out wood much faster

3.5- Upside Down (Pyramid)

The upside down fire is where your fire starts at the top and burns all the way down. It is quite simple to start. Place two small branches or logs on the ground in a parallel position. Have another solid log on top of the first layer in a perpendicular position. Keep on adding a few more layers alternating their direction each time. Each layer placed must be smaller than the previous layer.

When done, light the top of the layer and leave the flame to travel naturally down. This is another great way to light a fire in the wild without straining.

Video Upside down fire

​Pros

  • Long lasting
  • Fire burns downwards requiring no attention during the night
  • Quite fast to start

Cons

  • Requires several logs that might have to use some power tools like chainsaw to cut and split firewood
  • Does not produce intense heat

3.6- Create a Star

The star arrangement of fire is where you place log from different side meeting in the middle to form what appears like a star. I know woods in the wild can sometimes be in shortage especially if your hunting backpack does not have enough cutting items. Saving the few logs you find can get you through the cold of the night. This arrangement is quite effective at preserving wood where you pull them back a bit when you need to decrease the intensity if the fire.

Video How to build the Star Fire

​Pros

  • Quite effective and long lasting
  • Consumer wood well
  • Conserves fuel

Cons

  • You have to monitor and control the fire regularly

4- Bonus: Tips/Tricks When Building a Well-built Fire

4.1- ​Choosing the Fire Location

Choosing Fire Location

Fire in the wild does not have the comfort zones that come with building fires in the camp or at homes. There is no fire pit, and one has to set a good spot to create a fire pit. You can agree with me choosing a location is very important. You don’t have to be the one burning the forest down. Stay away from trees and bushes that may catch fire and spread it.

A clear area away from dry leaves and other dry twigs is an ideal one. You don’t want to wake up smelling smoke everywhere so carefully choose a location that does not bring smoke your way. Check for the breeze and if its steady, you will know which direction the smoke will be going. Start your tinder where you intend to build your fireplace. Many times I have seen people start a fire somewhere and carry the tinder to another place. If you start your tinder somewhere else, then create a temporary fire there before transferring the fire to your main location.

4.2- Choosing the Foundation​

Foundation

Choosing a good foundation is crucial as poor foundations will kiss fire that as just started. Avoid wet and cold areas if possible and build your fire on a dry foundation. In cases where every part is wet or cold, try and build a foundation for your fire using dry rocks. I REPEAT, DRY ROCKS as wet rocks can explode in your face. I will tell you later on why wet rocks are not ideal for starting a foundation especially those taken from the riverbed area.

The aim here is to elevate your foundation away from the water beneath. Dry dirt can also be used to raise the foundation higher. If possible, try and make air flow beneath the foundation. A good way to do this is have rocks on two sides with two opening instead of having rocks circle your foundation. A good spot with a good foundation and big rocks around it will make it easier for you to start a fire and maintain it. The big rocks act as the windbreaker creating a barrier around the fire pit preventing the wind from spreading the fire.

4.3- Best Time to Start a Fire in the Wild​

When is the best time to start the fire? Do you wait until dark falls to start the fire? When planning to start a fire, timing is very crucial. It is always important to start the fire a few hours before the sun goes down. This can be 2-3 hours earlier as you need the light of the sun to collect materials and observe what you’re doing.​

4.4- Safety Tips​

  • Never Leave Before Putting out the Fire​ – Fire might not seem dangerous especially when controlled but can turn ugly and destroy millions of properties and life. The first rule when leaving the spot of the wildfire is always to turn it off. I have said this before and will say again; ensure you extinguish the fire completely before leaving the scene. Poor water on the fire and cover it wet soil before pouring more water. You must be able to hold the wet ashes in your hand and confirm there is no slightest of burning wood that can start a wildfire once you’ve gone. Most of the fires seen around the world are mostly caused by human error, and you don’t want to be one causing it.
  • Never use Rocks from the River Beds​ – I talked about this earlier when building your foundation using rocks. Wet rocks from the river beds have water in them that will expand once heated. These rocks can explode on your face causing serious injuries when the water expands and breaks them apart. The water in the rocks boils and increases in size exploding the rocks into small pieces. It is simple science that you probably learned in high school that you must be aware of when using rocks to build a foundation.
  • Build Fires Away from Branches and Steep Slopes​ – To avoid the risk of the fire spreading, build it away from overhanging branches, rotten stumps, dry grass, leaves, logs and steep areas. Even the extra wood you set aside must be piled some distance away from the fire.
  • ​Never Leave a Wildfire Unattended – Even the smallest of breeze will spread the fire away and start a wildfire. This is why it is necessary to have every material ready before you starting the fire.​

Pro Tips to Start Fire in the Real Challenge Situations- Advice from the Famous Blogs

You probably have everything you need to start a fire in the wild but what if the situation is challenging? Can you start a fire in a rainy or windy condition? Advice from famous blogs written for the survival men and women out there will show you how to start a fire in the most challenging situations.

1 – Start a Fire When Wood is Wet – From EHow

It seems totally impossible to start a fire when the wood but when that is the only option, you have to do it to see the next day. You must put in some extra effort to overcome the challenges of damp wood. It might be a bit challenging, but the steps from the Ehow should help start the fire easily


2 – Start a Fire When It Raining – From ArtOfManliness

Starting fire is one thing and knowing how to start it in a rainy condition is a whole new thing. You can agree with me that learning the skill to start a fire in a raining place is important for avid campers and frequent hikers. Choosing a good location and collecting dry tinder are among the most important things to do. The ArtOfManliness blog clearly illustrate how to start a fire when it is raining.


3 – Start a Fire  When There is Snow – From OffTheGridNews

Starting fire when there is snow should not be difficult as long as you have a few dry limbs to set the base. The problem is when your wood is frozen. Frozen wood is even harder to start than wet wood as you have to thaw it first. Start by choosing wood from high up the branches where there is no snow. Lay the base of logs in the snow to act as your foundation. The melting snow should not worry you as it rarely melts and if it does it will not affect your fire. You can then pile your tinder and kindle it before lighting the tinder.

If there are rocks around, building a fire pit and raising your spot some levels above the ground is also a good idea. Follow this OffTheGridNews for step by step instructions on how to start a fire when there is snow.


4 – Start a Fire  When it’s Windy – From ModernSurvivalBlog

Well…, Windy conditions create a dangerous situation to start a fire in the wild. In fact, some states even have laws restricting fires in the wild or outdoor spaces when the atmosphere is windy. Windy spreads fire quite faster, and you can have the whole forest to fire in minutes. So, how do you get to start a fire in a windy situation?

The Dakota Fire Hole​

The Dakota fire hole is a method used to start a fire in a windy area and has several advantages over other methods.​

How to build a Dakota fire hole?

  • Dig a hole a foot long and a foot wide
  • Enlarge the bottom of the holes inches wide to accommodate more wood
  • The hole becomes the chamber of the fire pit
  • One foot away from the hole, dig an airway channel that will connect to your Dakota hole at the bottom
  • The diameter of the airflow must be a foot and angle down towards the bottom of the Dakota hole
  • Fill your fire pit with tinder and kindling before lighting it
  • Adds more materials to build the fire
  • The airflow acts as a suction drawing in air and resulting in a hot and efficient burning of wood.

​Pros of the Dakota hole

  • Burns very hot
  • Uses little fuel
  • Creates less smoke
  • Safe when there is the wind
  • The flame burns under the ground shielding it from being seen during the dark
  • Easily supports cookware
  • Easy to extinguish by filling the hole with soil
  • Avoids Detection

Cons

  • Might not be visible to the search team
  • A bit tedious to build

Top 20 Best Ways to Start a Fire Without a Match Lighter

Fire by Friction

1. Hand Drill

The hand drill is one of the simplest and old ways to make fire. Create a V-shaped notch on a board or piece of limb and drill it with a dry stick until the tip glows red and you have your ember collected. You must have your tinder nearby to blow and get a flame.​

2. Fire Plow

The fire plow is one of the simplest methods to start a fire in the wild if your hands ache from the hand drill method. It is simply rubbing two sticks together until heat is generated through friction. Create a groove on a piece of wood and use a stick and move a stick through the grove forth and back until ember is created. Once again, you must have your tinder nearby.​

3. Bow Drill

This is where your hunting tools come into play. In the bow drill, you don’t need your arrows but the bow to create heat on a piece of dry wood through friction. The string of your compound bow is used to tie to a dry wood that is then rotated on a dry board or piece wood to create an ember.​

The bow drill is easy on hands and requires less effort to drill. However, in a real life situation, it can be difficult to set up requiring a reliable cord.

4. Fire Saw

This method uses a piece of wood that is practically sewed into another wood on the ground to cause ignition.​ You can check this video on how fire saw works:

5. Fire Thong

The fire thing is a friction method that is quite fast and efficient. The method uses a split branch and a split rattan to create friction. The rattan thong is sawed forth and backward against the underside of the board to create an ember.

​6. Flint and Steel

In the flint and steel method, a spark is created from the steel when the two are put under pressure. You must have your tinder ready for the spark to land on it and start the fire. The ArtOfManliness giving you a full explanation of the flint and steel method

​7. With a Dead Lighter

You can start a fire using the dead lighter pretty simple using some deodorant and a piece of tissue. Spray the aerosols all over the tissue. You must have the tinder and kindling ready. Go ahead and flints the wheel on the lighter placing it closer to the tissue of paper. It may take several attempts, but eventually, the fire will start.

​If your lighter is dead, then don’t just throw it away, it can help you start a fire without straining a lot.

Using the Lens Based Methods

8. Lenses (Mirror/Glass/Magnifying)

You probably tried this when you were little children using lenses to focus light from the sun on the same spot for a few minutes. The concentrated watts from the lenses hitting your tinder will start a fire.

​Lenses can be quite effective in a real life situation. You just have to imagine of all the items in your hunting backpack that might be having lenses.

9. Fire from Ice

You will need a clear piece of ice to start a fire. Shape the ice with a knife to create the rough edges or grind it on stone. Use the heat of our body to finish shaping your ice by melting the rough edges. Hold the ice perpendicularly to the sky and move it to focus the brightest light on the tinder. The tinder will first smoke before igniting but be careful not to drip water on it.

​This is a good one if you’re lost in the wild, and there is ice. Make sure you start the fire before the sun disappears as we discussed earlier. 2-3 hours before the sun goes down is ideal.

10. Coke Can and Chocolate Bar

Any can with a bottom similar to a coke can also be used to start a fire. The bottom of the can is used to reflect light and focus it on the tinder, but first, you have to make it shiny enough using a chocolate bar. A chocolate piece can be used to brush the bottom of the can and make it polished.

​You can even try this on your own to know you can do it when in the survival situation. Who knows what comes your way in the wild.

11. A Flashlight

With your tinder and kindling set, break off the glass cover from the touch but don’t damage anything else. Take out the bulb and break it without damaging the filament. Put the remains of the bulb into the flashlight and screw it. Now you can place your tinder into the top of the flashlight and fill it up. Now turn the flashlight on. It has to ignite although sometimes it can fail if the process is not done correctly.

​Next time you get lost in the wild and need some fire, maybe is important to sacrifice that flashlight for warmth during the night.

12. With Water: Five Ways to Start Fire with Water

It a very unusual way but believes me water can start a fire. All the five ways use the same principle where water is used as the lens to focus light on the tinder and start a fire. The following are ways you can use water to start a fire:​

  • ​Water in an empty light bulb where the water in the bulbs acts as a magnifying lens.
  • Water in a plastic bottle
  • Water in a plastic wrap
  • Water and a picture frame
  • Using ice lens as discussed earlier

Using Chemical Combustion

13. Potassium Permanganate Crystals and Glycerin​

The use of chemicals is not the safest ways to start a fire and should only be attempted when it is the last solution. This is a chemical reaction with an explosive effect so ensure there are no kids around. When you mix these two compounds, a roaring fire explodes. Make sure you have your tinder nearby to start the fire.

14. Brake Fluid and Chlorine

Mixing a brake fluid and chlorine is a fun experiment that usually leads to an explosive reaction from which fire can be started. It is quite dangerous, and only a small amount can be used to start a fire.

​With Battery

15. Batteries and Steel Wool​

This one is quite simple and easy to perform. Just buy some batteries and some very fine steel wool. The finer the steel wool, the better it will spark. Rub the battery on the steel wool, and you will see sparks forming. However, you must be careful as the sparks can be quite dangerous.

​16. Gum Wrapper and Battery

The foil gum wrapper and battery does the trick helping you start fire quite fast. Make igniter strips using the wrapper. Shave small bit from the wrapper gum and create a 2mm bridge in the middle. Find a battery like the AAA batteries and hold the igniter to the ends of the battery. Sparks from the igniter will immediately start a fire.

​17. Jumper Cables and Car Battery

Get the jumper cables hooked to your car battery and try to let them touch. The Spark created can start a fire in the tinder.​

The jumper cables and the car battery is an essential one of you get stuck with your car in the cold and need some fire. It is an easier option that will not strain you.

18. Pencil and Car Battery

This is pretty similar to using the jumper cables, but here you don’t need sparks, the pencil connected to the jumper will become red hot and start burning your tinder.

Use Any Simplest Way to Start a Fire

19. Use the Fire Piston​

Fire pistons can also be used to start a fire. The fire piston compresses air rapidly heating it to the extent of igniting a fire. If you don’t have one, here is how you can build one using a few spare tools:

​The use of a fire piston is quite fast but one you might not have with you in the wild. However, it is always good to know what it can do.

20. Using Fire Steel

Fire steels produce molten sparks when scraped, and this can be used to ignite your tinder. A knife or scraper can be used to scrap it and get the ember.


Correcting Common Mistakes When Starting a Fire

​Smothering the Fire

​Most people in a rush end up throwing wood into the fire even when it is not ready. You have to know when to add wood to the fire. Smothering the fire will block the flow of air and eventually kill the fire. Take it slow and kindle it slowly until it is large enough to add small pieces of woods.

Starting Fire Without Enough Firewood Around​

How often have you found yourself looking for more firewood just as the fire starts to size up? You should not start a fire without accumulating enough firewood to see you through the night. This means leaving the fire unattended in search of more fuel. The fire can extinguish, and you start a fresh or even spread when you’re gone.

Leaving the Fire Unattended​

Never leave the fire unattended at any time as this can be the reason for a wildfire. Once the fire is set, you have to be around monitoring and controlling it at all times. There should be water close by or some wet soil in case it starts to spread.

Using Rocks from the River​

Rocks from the riverbed have water in them that boils turning into steam that can explode on your face. This is a common mistake that you should avoid when making a fire bed foundation. The explosion of the rocks can lead to serious injuries.​


Final Verdict

If you’ve gone through the entire article, then trust me you can start a fire anywhere no matter the conditions. Fire is crucial in pour lives and learning to start in any condition can mean the difference between death and life. Most of these techniques might not appear useful as you’re reading them from the comfort of your home but quite crucial in a survival situation.

Homepage

Ways to Help Replenish Your Electrolyes

Only six electrolytes minerals needed by the blood in fairly large amounts are obtained from the diet.

1. Sodium
2. Chloride
3. Magnesium
4. Potassium
5. Calcium
6. Phosphorus

The first two are provided by table salt: sodium chloride. Adding about 1/2 teaspoon of salt to your diet per day provides enough sodium and chloride. The typical American diet already has plenty of salt in junk food, fast food, etc., so no additional salt is needed. But if you are eating from a survival garden and from stored food, you might need to add salt to your meals. Be sure to include plenty of table salt with your stored foods.

Magnesium is found in whole grains. Although whole grains spoil sooner in storage, it might be a good idea to have some whole grain flour, brown rice, and whole-wheat pasta in storage. You can also grow amaranth, quinoa, and buckwheat three crops high in magnesium.

Potassium is highest in potato. Tomato juice and sun-dried tomatoes are also high in potassium. Fruits and vegetables generally contain some potassium. Canned tomato sauce, paste, and juice are a good source of potassium. Potatoes can be easily grown in a survival garden. Some varieties of potato can be grown from seed, rather than from small chunks of potato.

Calcium and phosphorus are both found in cheese and other dairy products. Long term storage of cheese is a little tricky. You can store those boxed mac and cheese dinners the kind with the powdered cheese or the deluxe kind with a paste like cheese sauce. Your other good option is to throw a blocks of cheese in the freezer. Frozen foods keep indefinitely, but the consistency of the cheese may suffer.

If you are trying to survive from stored foods, you will need the three macro-nutrients: protein, fat, and carbohydrates, as well as the above six electrolytes. A survival garden is a good option for supplementing stored food. And if any food is still available at markets after the SHTF, you should prioritize macro-nutrients and electrolytes.

Tip on Preventing Blisters

First of all, remember that blisters require three conditions to occur: heat, moisture, and friction. Eliminate any one of those factors and you prevent blisters.

Buy boots that fits

Friction happens when your shoes or boots don’t fit your feet well. Buy them in a store where the staff knows how to measure your foot size. Try on a variety of brands because they all fit slightly differently; find the brand that fits your feet best. If the best boots you find still don’t fit perfectly, try after-market insoles to customize the fit.

Eliminate heat and moisture: Keep your feet dry

This may be the easiest and most effective strategy  employed: Whenever you stop for a break of five minutes or more,  take off your boots and socks and let them and your feet dry out, eliminating or at least minimizing heat and moisture. As simple as that.

Carry extra socks

If your feet get chronically sweaty, change into clean, dry socks midway through a day of hiking. Try to wash and cool your feet in a creek and dry them completely before putting on the clean socks.

Wear lightweight, non-waterproof footwear

Any footwear with a waterproof-breathable membrane is not as breathable as shoes or boots with mesh uppers and no membrane which also dry much faster if they do get wet. If you’re generally day hiking in dry weather, why do you need waterproof boots? It may seem counter intuitive, but non-waterproof shoes or boots may keep your feet drier because they won’t sweat as much.

Tape hot spots

Carry blister-treatment products like Moleskin—but also carry athletic tape, which sticks well even on damp skin. If you feel a hot spot developing,  stop immediately and apply two or three strips of athletic tape to the spot, overlapping the strips, and then check it periodically to make sure they’re still in place.

Tape preemptively

When you’re taking a really long day hike where you exponentially increasing the amount of friction that can occur, tape your heels before starting out, because you may have developed blisters on them on day hikes longer than 20 miles in the past. If you routinely get blisters in the same spots, tape them before your hike.

Use a skin lubricant

Distance runners have employed this trick for ages: Apply a lubricant to areas that tend to chafe or blister, like heels, toes, or even the inside of thighs, to eliminate the friction that causes that discomfort. Numerous products do the job, from the traditional Vaseline to roll-on sticks like BodyGlide.

The Pine Tree and Its Many Uses

Did you know pine trees can be used as food, medicine and survival equipment?

The pine is one of the most useful trees on the planet, providing food, shelter, medicine and fuel. Knowing how to utilize this versatile resource could someday be the key to your very survival if you find yourself alone in the wilderness.

There are many species in the pine family (or genus Pinus), and they can be found virtually everywhere in the world.

Food:

Many types of pine needles can be used to make a tea rich in vitamin C. Simply steep a handful of needles for 5-10 minutes. The longer you steep them, the less vitamins will remain, so don’t overdo it.

It’s important to note that some pine needles are poisonous be sure to avoid consuming the needles from the Norfolk Island Pine (Araucaria heterophylla), the Yew (Taxus) and the Ponderosa Pine (Pinus ponderosa also known as Western Yellow Pine, Bull Pine and Blackjack Pine). Make sure to learn the differences between the edible and non-edible varieties before making pine needle tea.

Pine nuts from all varieties of pine are edible, although some are small and not typically harvested. They can be a little tricky to harvest and perish quickly once they are shelled but can be stored longer if left in their shells or roasted.

Inner pine bark and pine resin are edible; male pine cones and their pollen can also be eaten. Native Americans chewed pine resin as sort of a natural chewing gum. The inner bark of large pine trees is edible, and the bark from young pine twigs can be eaten as well. Be careful not to damage or kill a pine tree by tearing off too much bark, and never ring the bark from a pine tree.

Instead, tear off small pieces of bark or look for branches that have already fallen. The inner bark can be eaten raw it can also be boiled, fried or cooked over a flame.

Medicine:

Pine resin is a natural antiseptic and disinfectant. It also has antimicrobial and antifungal properties. It can be directly applied to wounds or sores and helps keep germs out. Pine resin can also be used to staunch the flow of blood.

The resin can also be used to extract splinters just dab some on the skin where the splinter is embedded and within a day or two the splinter should come out on its own.

Fuel:

Pine resin makes a great fire starter, particularly in damp settings. You can usually find a spot on a pine tree where resin is oozing out from a break in the bark try not to injure the tree to collect pine resin, but if necessary, make a small break in the bark or break a branch. The resin will begin to ooze out as protection for the tree.

If you are in an area where there are pine stumps, look for places on the stump where resin has soaked the wood and made it sticky. Tear small strips of the stickiest wood from the stump and save them as aids for starting fires.

Shelter:

Pine boughs can be used to create shelter, and pine needles can be used to make a soft, warm and dry bed.

Water-proofing and other uses:

Pine resin can be used as a waterproofing agent and works well on tent seams, boots and mittens.

Heat pine resin up and mix with ashes or charcoal from your campfire to make glue. Once cooled, the glue will harden but can be easily heated up again when it is needed.

Wild Edible And Medicinal Plants in Wisconsin and Surrounding Areas

We get a lot of questions about what wild plants are there in Wisconsin that are edible to eat or use for medical uses. I did some research and found that are many out there in the wild. I am going to list a few and there uses.

1. Purslane

Also called pigweed. Grows everywhere. Very commonly seen in cracks in the sidewalk. Also grows among woodchips. Comes out in June. Best to harvest in the fall. This is when the plants are large. Has small dark seeds that fall out. Harvest in the morning. Nutritional content varies, depending on what time of the day it was harvested. Cultivated and eaten in Greece. Good in tabbouleh, on gyros and eaten with feta. Tastes like green beans. Very important – purslane is reported to be the highest plant source of Omega 3.

2. Chamomile

Also known as pineapple weed, wild chamomile grows in rocky soil and is seen commonly in driveways. It’s very aromatic. I can smell it when the wind picks up and follow the smell to the chamomile. It’s commonly made into tea and it’s good for digestion, nervousness, anxiety, irritability; it helps to calm and soothe you and it helps you sleep. Chamomile is so safe and mild it is used on children and babies.

3. Mint (Catnip)

Emerges in spring. By June the plants are quite large. If there is an extended growing season, (warm weather into the fall and winter) there can be a second resurgence. This plant is more of a medicinal herb than food, although it can be used in place of traditional mint in any recipe. It’s very aromatic. The smell is dissimilar to mint found in grocery stores and distinctive. Use its smell to identify it. It grows in shady areas, under trees and other large plant growth. In cats, catnip is a stimulant and in humans it’s a sedative. Catnip tea can be good for allergies and the respiratory system. Some studies say catnip repels fleas and ticks better than DEET. This plant can help induce menstruation. Pregnant women should be cautious. In large quantities catnip can be an abortifacient.

4. Woodsorrel

Woodsorrel has a sour and lemonly flavor. It can make a good substitute for lemon in dishes. Looks like clover but is brighter and has small, yellow flowers. I see it growing a lot among woodchips, but I don’t think it’s particularly picky about where it grows. A naturopath once told me it was good for the liver, but only when fresh. Not when dried.

5.  Plantain (Plantago Major)

As common as it comes. Brought here by Europeans. Edible and medicinal. The most nutritious thing I have ever heard of. Fights inflammation in the intestine – from carrageenan for example. Detoxifies. Purifies blood. If you have a bee sting, take a piece of plantain, chew it and then place it on your wound. Good for blisters. Speeds healing. Natural Awakenings named them (and dandelion) in a piece about herbs that fight cancer. It can also help with psoriasis.

6. Watercress

Similar to a radish. Spicy and clean flavor. Grows near streams, creeks, pure running water and can grow in mud. Watercress is only as clean as the water it grows in. Boil or sanitize if at all questionable. High in vitamin C. Good for soups, salads, you name it. The wild variety is the same as the kind you can buy at the grocery store, except it is free.

7. Ginkgo Biloba

There are male and female trees. Only the female trees make the fruit and the ginkgo nut, which can be eaten. The fruit is not eaten. The popular ginkgo biloba supplement is made out of the leaves. When harvesting ginkgo nuts, gather the fruit. Remove the fruit using gloves (some people get a rash when touching the fruit, some do not) Wash and then cook the nut. Boil, fry, saute. Whatever you like. When cooked, the shell will remove easily. The cooked ginkgo nut looks an awful lot like a pistachio and you can put it in your mouth and between your teeth to crack then remove the shell, just as you would with a pistachio. The inside is green and reminiscent of a jelly bean. Ginkgo biloba is very nutritious, but also has toxin. They must be eaten in moderation. Taking vitamin B6 with ginkgo cancels out the toxin. (Still – eat in moderation!!!) Do not eat ginkgo nuts raw. Eating the nuts raw is unheard of. It is hoped the cooking process will eliminate toxins, but there is little evidence to suggest it does. In spite of this, cooking them is still your safest bet.

8. Chicory

Young leaves and roots are edible. Found very often on roadsides and in open fields. Comes out in the height of summer, along with echinacea. The root can be made into a coffee substitute and leaves can be enjoyed as a salad green. (There is a variety of chicory grown for its leaves.) The small blue flowers are beautiful, delicate and rare.

9. Sweet Pea

Usually toxic and inedible. The toxin makes you starve to death / waste away. One you’ll want to avoid. Some kinds are edible and can be enjoyed but it’s hard to distinguish the edible from inedible varieties. It’s just as hard to distinguish edible from inedible sweet peas as when foraging for mushrooms. So this is one that should only be undertaken if you’re an absolutely amazing forager and you really love peas and want free ones. Vetch is a look alike.

10. Creeping Charlie

Related to mint. Can be eaten in salads and used to make tea. Abundant. Creeping charlie can be bad for other plants because it can wrap around the plants and choke them. Has purple flowers. Contains a toxin. Nutritious, but eat in moderation. Very commonly seen as wild ground cover.

11. Garlic Mustard

One of the first plants to come out in the spring. Frost, snow and cold weather doesn’t seem to bother it. Invasive, originally from Eurasia. Bad for the environment (in Wisconsin). Grows everywhere. There are volunteers devoted to destroying and pulling this plant up. Take as much as you want. Edible raw but if you boil and change the water several times / eat garlic mustard this way, it will have a milder flavor. Also good when dried. It smells and tastes very strong. Reminiscent of garlic.

12. Stinging Nettle

Emerges in spring. By June the plants are quite large. If there is an extended growing season, (warm weather into the fall and winter) there can be a second resurgence. Used for food as well as herbal medicine. Very stingy. Harvest with gloves, or you may get welts. Some say these are good for your immune system but many things are. No need to get stung in my opinion. Boil stinging nettle then serve. Nettles are nutritious and a good source of calcium as well as many other vitamins and minerals. There is a contest in the UK where contestants eat as much stinging nettle as they can. Whoever survives is the winner and the toughest / manliest. It’s very entertaining to watch.

13. Cattail

Edible shoots and pollen. The pollen can be used to make pancakes. Very good in survival situations. The brown top can be used to carry an ember. The white, inner spear tastes faintly of watermelon and is the most fibrous food I have ever eaten. The fiber content makes them very good at cleaning teeth.

14. Lambsquarters

Used as food and as medicine by Native Americans. Very mild and tasty. Almost buttery. Wonderful taste for a green vegetable. Not bitter at all. Called wild spinach and by many other names. Contains oxalates, as do spinach. A nutritional powerhouse, but the nutritional content depends on where you harvest it from. It can soak up nitrates from the soil it grows in. Quinoa is closely related to the seed of lambsquarters. The seed of lambsquarters is edible, but hard to harvest. Many people say it’s not worth the trouble. Don’t let that deter you from trying the seed at least once.

15. Rose

There is the wild rose and the cultivated variety. Rose hips are an easy find for the urban forager. There is scarcely a park or garden without rose bushes. The fruit of the rose, the rose hip, ripens in October. The rose hip is edible throughout the winter. This is intentional. Some plants are edible throughout the winter so hungry animals have something to eat. Rose hips are high in vitamin C, fiber and antioxidants. They boost the immune system and fight off colds. The outer hull of the rose hip is what is eaten. Some guides say the seeds are edible, some say they are not. I eat the entire rose hip, seeds and all. I grind and chew it very well, but they are prickly and hairy. They can cause irritation. I think it’s too much work to remove the seed, but the best / tastiest experience is to remove the seeds and eat only the outer hull. Miranda Kerr uses rose hip seed oil for beautiful skin. Rose petals are also edible, but strong tasting and for lack of a better word, bitter. Rose petals are often used to make rose water.

16. Violet

Comes out in spring, usually in March but can be April or May if there is an extended cold period / winter. Violets can be violet, magenta, white and yellow colored. The leaves, stems and flowers are all edible. Use in place of spinach in your favorite creamed spinach recipe. Delicious! The roots are used to induce vomiting. Violets are commonly topped with sugar. Candied violets are used in baking sweets, treats, and to top pastries. Violets are common, beautiful and grow low to the ground. They grow along with grass, dandelion and garlic mustard, which also grow close to the ground.

17. Echinacea

It is found in prairie and grassland. It flowers in July along with chicory, during the height of summer. If you look for it late, you can find the cones without flower petals. These should be left because they contain the seeds, which create the next generation of echinacea. This is more of a medicinal herb than food. It is good for the immune system. The leaves, flower petals and root are used for herbal tea and tincture. A mild tingling feeling is experienced when drinking echinacea tea. It is unique and reminds me of being electrocuted.

18. Milkweed

Milkweed is of immense importance to monarch butterflies. Many plant it to attract butterflies to their garden. The shoots, flowers, green, unopened pods can all be eaten, but they must be boiled first. Milkweed is poisonous in its natural state. Discard the cooking water. The silk inside the young pods has a texture reminiscent of cheese. Once the growing season has passed, the dead stalks and seed pods still remain. These can be used to identify where new milkweed will appear. Note: The pods must be harvested when they are less than 1.5 inches long. If you harvest them late, they are too fibrous to be eaten.

19. Chickweed

Chickweed is edible and medicinal. It is found all over the world, even in the Article Circle. Its blossoms open in the late morning. Its leaves fold up at night and before rain. Chickweed’s stems, leaves, flowers and seeds are all edible. Mouse-ear chickweed must be cooked. Other kinds can be eaten raw. It contains nitrates. Do not ingest any kind of chickweed preparation if pregnant or nursing. This could potentially harm an unborn or nursing child due to the nitrates it contains. One should consider the nitrate levels in the leaves. Upon consuming chickweed, if one feels dizzy, weak, or faint, if you have a headache, see a doctor immediately. You may have nitrate poisoning from consuming too many nitrates. Avoid chickweed if allergic to daises. Good when young as a salad green. Rumored to taste like corn silk raw. Tastes like spinach when cooked. Can be added to soups or stews. Do this in the last five minutes to prevent overcooking. Chickweed contains ascorbic-acid, beta-carotene, calcium, magnesium, niacin, potassium, riboflavin, selenium, thiamin, zinc, copper, and gamma-Linoleic acid. In addition, chickens love to eat chickweed. This is where chickweed got its name. Chickweed can be used in topical form to calm rashes and eczema, too. It alleviates irritation and swelling from insect bites. Chickweed is not recommended for children in oral form. It can be used to treat an insect bite on a child so long as they do not put chickweed in their mouth.

Some of the fruit plants are Elderflower & Elderberry. Flowers and berries are the only parts edible. Boil or cook them first. Good for the immune system. Grape – fruit, leaves, seeds, young vines shoots are all edible.In fall it has bright red leaves and similar looking berries, they are not edible and very spicy. Black raspberry – leaves can be made into herbal tea, spring time makes the best tea. Mulberry- comes in black, purple,red, pink and white. Black/Purple are rip, Red are unrip, Pink/White are the sweetest.

Survival Strategies for the Woman Living Alone

Most preparedness information out there seems to assume that everyone is part of a family with a mom, a dad, three kids, and a dog. Or, if not that, an extended family that includes brothers, uncles, and a grand-pappy.  Somehow, the picture presented always includes a man.

The truth is, that is not always the case; there are a lot of women alone out there who are also preparing, and it often seems like they are left out of the equations.

There are all sorts of reasons that a woman might be living alone. She may have just left the nest and is out there joining the adult world with her first job and apartment. She may be divorced or widowed. She may not have children, or those children may be off raising families of their own. Whatever the case, family-based preparedness suggestions don’t always apply to the woman living alone.  Not that these tips are only for women.  Many of them are important for any person who wishes to be prepared, and especially for the female prepper that is living alone.

Be extra vigilant with home security.  As they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Make sure that you have motion-sensor lights at all of the entrances to your home and property. Get a dog.  It does not have to be a big dog; a little dog is a great early warning system!. Install high quality locks and be sure you have a fortified door frame.

Learn to use a weapon. If you decide to purchase a firearm, get some instruction and go to the range frequently to optimize your skills. If you aren’t comfortable with guns, your weapon of choice can be something else; just make sure you have a way to defend yourself. Consider pepper spray or a stun gun such as this one that doubles as a flashlight. Heck, even a can of wasp spray has a long range and can do some very painful damage.

Take a self-defense class. Classes geared specifically towards women are the best if you need a crash course. Of course, if you’re already a black belt in martial arts, all the better!  If you can find a recurring class that lets you spar with a bigger “attacker” this will help the moves become more natural for you.

Learn to use tools. Being able to repair things yourself is a big part of being self-reliant. Practice makes perfect. Find workshops that teach you how to make something. It is a great way to get your feet wet. Also, if something in your home breaks and is in need of repair, search YouTube for some related repair videos and give it a shot yourself. If you do have to call a repair person, hang out and watch, and don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Be careful what you say.  Obviously your closest neighbors will be aware that you live alone. But when you’re out and about, don’t broadcast it. Many stalkers first became interested in a victim in the most innocuous of settings. Court records have shown that some stalkers were repairmen, pizza delivery guys, and mechanics who realized that the woman they became obsessed with lived alone. As well, in the event of an emergency, you do not want people to remember that you mentioned having a year’s supply of food in the basement. You don’t want to be a target.

Don’t make it obvious your house belongs to a woman alone. While you shouldn’t need to be afraid to be feminine, you might want to tone down the pink girlie stuff in the front yard. You can also purchase a large pair of used men’s work boots, get them dirty, and leave them beside the door as though someone just took them off to go inside.  And for heaven’s sakes, don’t get those stick figure families for the back window of your vehicle to represent you and several pets. Be discreet.

Learn to change a tire. If you don’t already know how to do this, be sure that you know how to change your own tire. A flat is one of the most common vehicular issues that will leave you stranded.

Do not be discouraged if you aren’t part of a large family or group. For you, it is still very important to prepare and perhaps even more so.  Go ahead and adapt the preparedness information that’s out there to fit your personal situation, and be the hero of your story, not the damsel who needs to be rescued!

 

Doctors Explain How Hiking Actually Changes Our Brains

hiiking

While it may seem obvious that a good hike through a forest or up a mountain can cleanse your mind, body, and soul, science is now discovering that hiking can actually change your brain… for the better!

Hiking In Nature Can Stop Negative, Obsessive Thoughts

Aside from the almost instant feeling of calm and contentment that accompanies time outdoors, hiking in nature can reduce rumination. Many of us often find ourselves consumed by negative thoughts, which takes us out of the enjoyment of the moment at best and leads us down a path to depression and anxiety at worst. But a recent study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that spending time in nature decreases these obsessive, negative thoughts by a significant margin.

To conduct this study, researchers compared the reported rumination of participants who hiked through either an urban or a natural environment. They found those who walked for 90 minutes in a natural environment reported lower levels of rumination and they also had reduced neural activity in the subgenual prefrontal cortex, an area of the brain related to mental illness. Those who walked through the urban environment, however, did not report decreased rumination.

The researchers noted that increased urbanization closely correlates with increased instances of depression and other mental illness. Taking the time to regularly remove ourselves from urban settings and spend more time in nature can greatly benefit our psychological (and physical) well-being.

Hiking While Disconnected From Technology Boosts Creative Problem Solving

A study conducted by psychologists Ruth Ann Atchley and David L. Strayer found that creative problem solving can be drastically improved by both disconnecting from technology and reconnecting with nature. Participants in this study went backpacking through nature for about 4 days, during which time they were not allowed to use any technology whatsoever. They were asked to perform tasks which required creative thinking and complex problem solving, and researchers found that performance on problem solving tasks improved by 50% for those who took part in this tech-free hiking excursion.

The researchers of this study noted that both technology and urban noise are incredibly disruptive, constantly demanding our attention and preventing us from focusing, all of which can be taxing to our cognitive functions. A nice long hike, sans technology, can reduce mental fatigue, soothe the mind, and boost creative thinking.

Hiking Outdoors Can Improve ADHD In Children

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is becoming more and more common among children. Children who have ADHD have a difficult time with impulse control and staying focused, they get distracted easily, and exhibit excessive hyperactivity.

Hiking In Nature Is Great Exercise And Therefore Boosts Brainpower

We already know that exercising is fantastic for our overall well-being. Hiking is an excellent way to burn between 400 – 700 calories per hour, depending on your size and the hike difficulty, and it is easier on the joints than other activities like running. It has also been proven that people who exercise outside are more likely to keep at it and stick to their programs, making hiking an excellent choice for those wishing to become more active on a regular basis.

Researchers from the University of British Columbia found that aerobic exercise increases hippocampal volume — the part of the brain associated with spatial and episodic memory — in women over the age of 70. Such exercise not only improves memory loss, but helps prevent it as well. Researchers also found that it can also reduce stress and anxiety, boost self esteem, and release endorphins. Many people take medication to solve each and every one of these issues, but the solution to these ills may be a lot simpler than you think!

How Can You Begin To Start Hiking?

Luckily, hiking is one of the easiest and least expensive sports to get involved in, and it can have great benefits for the whole family, including grandma! Start out small and test your abilities. Do what works for you — if that means just walking through trails in a park, that’s fine. Any exercise outdoors is better than none. You can easily find maps of trails around your home online, and there are plenty of smartphone apps to map them out, too. I recommend turning off your signal and your phone while hiking though, so you can reap the most benefits of the hike (though it may be wise to at least carry it with you in case of emergency).

Make sure you have some good sturdy hiking shoes, a hat, and a water bottle, and be sure to layer your clothing so you can take things on or off easily as you warm up and cool down. You may want to consider using trekking poles as well, which can increase your speed and take some of the pressure off your knees. Now, can you just do one thing for me?

Go take a hike!

Linked from: http://www.cosmicscientist.com/doctors-explain-how-hiking-actually-changes-our-brains/

Sleep and survival – smart prepper’s guide to choosing the best portable bed

Today, let’s talk essentials, but with a twist. We’ll talk about sleep and the choice of a best portable bed (air mattress or a sleeping pad) should you ever need one.The word, essentials has been used and rehashed in the preparedness community that the very meaning in vague for most people, so let us take a step back and ask ourselves, “What are the basic human needs?”

Water. Food. Sleep.

Right?

And while the topics of the clean water and water filtration systems and food, energy bars, our minimum needs are a subject of every 4th or 5th article that pops up in the community, try and think back to the last time you read an actionable article about sleep.

Chances are – you can’t…sleep is the one most commonly misunderstood basic human needs. The misconceptions about it have transferred from our everyday lives to the way we think about preparedness.

It all started the very first time we thought to ourselves, “I have to finish these reports but I’ll make up for the lost sleep at the weekend.”

Importance of sleep

The making up for the lost sleep at the weekend thing – IT’S A MYTH AND IT DOESN’T WORK. It’s been proven in studies for some time now that only one night of lost (or bad) sleep interferes with how our body functions.

And while those reports being late might not be such a big deal – what if you vigilance and responsiveness are affected when the time comes to defend what you love the most?

So, with that said, let us move on to the meat of this guide – proper planning of our sleeping arrangements or, to be more precise, choosing the best air mattresses for our shelters and sleeping pads for our BOBs.

Choosing an air mattress for our shelters

Whether you have an off-the-grid shelter or disaster strikes at home, the importance of owning a versatile secondary bed (s) cannot be over-stressed. There are a number of scenarios that will put them to good use.

Bear in mind that the kind of air mattresses we’re talking about here are only really an option for your shelter or as a backup bed to have in your home, not for your backpack. They are way too bulky and heavy.

Still, to get the most out of it, you have to know what you’re doing when choosing – so let’s make sure that you do.

Today, we’ll be talking about the INs and OUTs of choosing a good air mattress.

Materials of top airbeds

Most of airbeds are made of PVC, with some plasticizers added to increase durability and comfort – we want only the most durable and reliable air mattresses for our shelters.

There are thousands of them out there and it can be confusing, so let us cut through the clutter and get very specific about what to looks for.

Increased durability and low puncture resistance

Look for thicker PVC for increased durability. Go for anything close to 0.6 mm thick. Most of the airbeds will feature PVC that’s around 0.4 mm thick, there are only a handful that are extra thick…and don’t worry about not finding the information, those companies that make the extra-durable blow-up mattresses go out of their way to stress in the fact sheet.

Always take a special note of the weight of these babies because 50% added thickness will usually mean 50% added weight, so think about how that applies to your plans. It’s a good fit if it’s standing on the shelf in your shelter, but it’s not an option if you plan to bug out with your essentials in your backpack.

Safety and fumes

If you’ve ever owned an airbed, you know the issue of the rubbery smell lingering for days. It doesn’t feel great and there’s always that underlying feeling that it can’t be healthy.

In reality, safety concerns of an airbed are a thing of the past and the chemicals used in the manufacturing are a thing of the past. In fact, a study of off-gassing (fumes) as reported by users has shown that, in the long run, the issues of fumes and smells with airbeds is lower than any other type of mattresses (see graph below).

air mattress and fumes

Make sure that you inflate/deflate the air mattress a couple of times and leaving it out of that bag for a day or two before storing it on that shelf.

This will allow you to notice any flaws with the product as well as air it out and get rid of the plasticky smell.

If you still have concerns, you can always go with an air mattress that’s completely PVC-free and entirely textile-made. These are even more durable and less prone to punctures but there aren’t many of them and it might be a challenge to find one that would suit our other needs (like power-independent pump).

Power sources and the pump

Power outages are one of the first things that our minds go to when we think about calamity and it should, chances are high they’ll happen.

So the last thing that we want is to be stuck with a piece of plastic in a bag that requires electricity to be inflated, so…

Choose an air mattress that can be battery and manually-operated…

We are looking at an air mattress here with our prepper glasses on and the ones that you would do choose as a guest bed for when you have friends over will not do the trick.

We want a product that’s self-sufficient and that will serve its purpose even if the power is out. This spells battery or manually operated (preferably both).

Air Mattress Manual Pump

Lucky for us, there are airbeds out there that are designed for prolonged camping trips and these beds check all the boxes of our needs, too.

Making sure it fits the bill:

  1. Inflate/deflate the bed using the batteries or the manually/leg pump (usually comes separate)
  2. Make sure that the nozzles that come with the pump fit and can be used with your new air mattress
  3. Again, leave it out and inflate/deflate it a couple of times before storing to make sure it all works properly

Comfortable air mattress – what to look for

You might think that being comfortable is only secondary in a survival situation but let’s go a step back and remind ourselves of the importance of PROPER sleep.

Proper sleep doesn’t mean just getting the few hours – it means getting enough of all the sleep phases. That’s where the comfort comes in.

It might not be a big deal for a night or two, but should you find yourself sleeping on your secondary bed for months, it becomes increasingly important, so let’s take a moment and discuss what comfort means when it comes to air mattresses.

Chambers, weight distribution and comfort

When it comes to comfort, it all comes down to how well your weight is distributed across the sleeping surface – and chambered designed a much better job at that than any other internal structure.

Cchambered Design of an Airbed

Most of the time, the choice will come down to beams (air columns that run side to side) and the mentioned chambers.

Chambers pretty much act as a spring in a regular mattress, making the bed more comfortable and reducing the stress the seams suffer, making the bed most durable.

Go for 30+ chambers.

Thinking size and height

Air mattresses come in all the same sizes as your regular mattress and the size issue is pretty self-explanatory and comes down to what your space can accommodate but, thinking from a prepper’s perspective, twin size is the sweet spot.

Here’s why…

Twin size airbed comfortably sleeps two people. If you go a size up to a full, queen or king size and you still have a bed that can still only comfortably sleep two people but takes much more space.

You can also pick between a low rise and high-rise air mattress.

To sum it up – specifics of your scenario might change but generally, if you are looking for an air mattress for your shelter, a twin-sized chambered designed air mattress made of extra-durable PVC will cover most scenarios.

Thinking quality

An airbed is not something you can save a lot on and even if it was, you shouldn’t.

I guess you could say that about every item in your preparedness plan but it goes double for an air mattress since it is much more fragile and the difference between a high and low-quality airbed and a high and low-quality flashlight will be much more noticeable.

So, for your shelter, stick with the best brands and products that have stood the test of time.

How can you tell?

Look for low long the air mattress has been around

If you have set your eyes on a particular model, take your time researching it, looking it up on e-commerce sites and see how far back the users reviews go. Read the reviews of the air mattress and what people are sharing about it…its ability to hold air, the comfort, the reliability of the pump, etc.

Look for any changes in quality that might not be evident at first glance (know how to read air mattress reviews)

With the shady outsourcing practices and tenacious attempts of the companies to cut cost, it has never been more important to be an educated buyer.

Here’s a good tactic to spot any patterns of quality change – when you ticked all the quality and feature boxes, you still haven’t confirmed if the blow-up beds merit the ratings you are seeing today.

So, sort the reviews and read them starting from the more recent ones – these will be most relevant and will give you the best idea about the current quality of the air mattress.

Any change in quality will be reflected here.

Bottom line

A well-rounded survival plan cannot ignore sleeping preparations anyway you look at it.

What good is an expensive blade if the hand wielding it is shaking?

In Dirt Farmer Wisdom, Jo Jo Jansen says, “Without enough sleep, we all become tall two-year-olds” and he’s right on the money.

Protecting what you cherish and love calls for you to be your best self. Good sleep is an important piece of that puzzle.

Stay smart about staying safe.

Linked from: http://homesteadandprepper.com/sleep-and-survival-smart-preppers-guide-to-choosing-the-best-portable-bed/

Will the Elections Change Anything for Preppers?

elections-and-preppers-logo

As usual, no one can answer this question without setting out the parameters of the argument. I need to set the record straight first. What is wrong in America?

First, I must admit I am truly an impartial voter. I do not have a dog in this fight. I believe these elections are mostly rigged and nothing more than sheer folly these days. It is much like believing in Santa Clause for me. Sure there are new toys under the tree on Christmas morning. But did Santa really bring them, or does it just look that way? Are most of the promised gifts missing, having been replaced by badly knitted scarves and neck ties cleverly wrapped in bright foil? Are we supposed to be so excited that the day has finally arrived, that we won’t fuss about those forgotten promised gifts?

This article is more than just an argument regarding the American elections, and their outcomes.  It’s about more than which candidate will be able to fix America’s many problems once elected. It is above all else, I hope a way to shed some light on the real issues that face this country. And on the world for that matter. I hope it will open some doors of discussion, maybe shed some insight into the inevitable first steps involved in changing the crisis that America faces. Let me start by helping the prepper better understand why this is happening to him or her.

Sure, I may be a grey-haired old man, half a bubble off plumb, who spends way too much time by himself in the backwoods. Nevertheless I do keep up with my politics. More then most people these days. Unfortunately for the younger readers, I formed many of my opinions years ago (Can’t Teach an Old Dog New Tricks). These are the opinions I will share with you as we move along.

Should we still keep prepping if Trump wins? That is the question here isn’t it?

Well absolutely. Our problems in America are far more complex than either one of these political candidates have eluded to in their campaigns. Two hundred and forty years ago, a righteous revolutionary act by the American colonies began a new form of nation. A nation which found itself, far from home, cornered by a tyrannical monarchy and without any remaining choice but to defy the current status quo and revolt against tyranny.  Thus was born the “Declaration of Independence” a fertile seed that grew into the US Constitution and begat the essence of the Bill of Rights.

Our country’s historical struggle with government overreach, and corrupt bankers, does not sound very different than today’s mess. Many citizens find it hard to believe that ones’ countrymen can do this sort of thing to one another, mocking it as a conspiracy joke. Yet, somehow it has become the same old same old today, in the land of the free. Lets face it people. This country has been brought down by the exact same tyrants that WE THE PEOPLE took it from in the first place, two hundred and forty years ago! Back then we stood up and created our own government, “we the people,” vowing never to be ruled by tyrants like King George and his Bankers ever again.

However, “THEY”RE BACK,” and instead of a fat English King, we have a Plutocracy in his place. Instead of elitist banker families, we have a greasy Wall Street gangs, running a globally controlled Central Banking system. Sounds way, too familiar, does it not?

Will this coming election fix the USA, or to coin a phrase, is this election simply just fixed?

First to all you readers consider this one question: Did your politicians from our recent past (Not exactly the cream of the crop mind you) become so easily fooled by these crooks and con men that they gave up our nation to them, simply “Handing over the keys to the vault, so to speak,” or did they benefit from this treason too?

Moreover, are these politicians and Banksters simply the same old scoundrels? The one who berated our forefathers, oh so many years ago, until they had no choice but to utter bold statements like, “Give Me Liberty, or give me Death” when pushed to their limits?

Have these same Banking Elitist once again usurped what has been referred to as “the greatest social experiment of true freedom ever devised in the history of mankind,”?  All the while cleverly sidestepping a perfectly constructed document, our U.S. Constitution, to again conquer the once great Republic called the United States of America. Have they done this all without firing a single shot? Wow, I feel pretty stupid, don’t you?

American Elections: are they Freedom of choice or just an illusion?

Let’s dig a little deeper now. It’s unanimous “we the people” of this great nation have once again lost control of our nation to those same fraudsters. We finally have we turned into what our forefather’s fought for, an international joke.

How did this happen? These politicians and banking bastards have harangued our nation, with nothing more than speeches, into one of their colonies again. They managed to do this all within just a few decades. The once good people of the United States are now so easily pacified by this illusion of freedom that we allow them to control us with merely a sideshow, held every four years, and a promise of change and mock freedom. A promise mind you, that is never delivered. A promise made to us as if it’s a treat a parent would give a child to persuade them to stop complaining in public. I don’t know about you, but I am no longer a child, are you?

We the American citizenry, pretty much pretend that we live in a democratic society these days. Upon closer inspection, we clearly do not. Your new owners, the Banking Elitist, hold these mock elections as proof of our elusive freedoms. Yet they are just a lark, a joke, a periodic dog and pony show, with a sole purpose of entertaining and pacifying the peasantry. Sure, they happen every four years, and like fools, we argue among ourselves over the inane issues and outcomes as if it makes a difference. The election “show” has merely created the illusions of a free and democratic society, which I see only as a joke on us. These elections steal your rights from you one farcical vote at a time and are merely for the entertainment of these tyrants. They are laughing at us all the way to the Federal Reserve. Elections have actually changed nothing for the people of this country, and history proves me right. If you take time to review the past half-century of these political fools and this country, you will see a steady decline.

Stealing Votes is Not New

There has been more then one smoking gun of voter fraud in the past elections. For example, the Florida incident and the Bush win, and the all too convenient counting of these votes by Jeb Bush, the brother of the winning candidate.

Now, take Mrs. Clinton’s new Democratic Party, one she has molded in her image. Her recent Colorado event clearly sent a message of fascism. The people of Colorado had their voting rights stolen from them by a monster, called a Super-delegate, during the pre-election nomination votes.

I wonder if the Bernie supporters actually understand what really happened that week. But that’s not all, the people of Colorado were further insulted by democratically controlled media spewing bogus “legalese” over the airwaves, repeating their same old shtick. “That’s the process you asked for, don’t you remember, we voted on it ourselves.” These hollow statements may have subdued some of the Colorado voters, but it was a slap in the face to the rest of us. We were sent back to the kiddie table, feeling even more like their little children, still not mature enough to SUP with the grown-ups yet.

I do not know about you people, but this stuff really pisses me off. My vote does not mean anything anymore. It seems to be happening every election. Over-and-over, each-and-every one of us are merely allowed to decide on a chosen party leader, who then tells us what to do, and how to think.

Trump vs. Clinton

THE ELECTION is COMING; THE ELECTION is COMING

Or

The Lesser of Two Evils

Will these political promises surface after the election?

So, what difference does this election make to our future, you may ask?

The Election Train of 2016

This election is not really a reflection of anyone’s reality is it?

What does the average person need from these Electoral Nominees?

Most of us around this great big world are very disappointed with our government. Well, at least the 99% of us who are waiting for a break from all this chaos. They the “politicians,” who claim to represent us, are only representing corporate or international banking interests. Not to mention the ire “we the people” have for other foreign governments that project their dishonest public relations as an image of freedom. All this, while exploiting and stealing basic human dignity from their very own citizens.

The truth is that approximately Ninety-One percent (91%) of Americansdo not trust these candidates from this coming election, be it Republicans, Democrat, or Independents. We are sick of their theatrics! We want real change. We can all agree on that one thing, can we not? None of us, no matter from where we hail, are happy with the direction our country is headed.

Human Rights are still at stake. On the one hand, we have Democratic candidate (Hillary), a candidate who keeps promising to bring to fruition a new socialist Orwellian future inflicted by the current democratic party, her party. The Democratic party flogged this same idea at the Obama administration and still is during his waning days as this country’s President? The promise is as soon as Hillary gets into power things are going to stay exactly, the SAME, and wow, maybe worse.

Her claims during the campaign are not only the boasting about going down the same old rabbit hole as the last eight years, but she is willing to orchestrate the final death knell of what was once the freest nation on earth. She plans to do it by infringing on your “Constitutional Rights,” again, and so be it. Suck it America.

The New World Order

This is the new fusion of a Crony capitalism, socialism, and fascism. A new type of government designed by the “new world order,” gang. If you have been really paying attention, it has been a nothing short of a political volleyball game. The ball has been set up above the net by previous Presidents, from both of the bought and paid for parties, standing behind our newly appointed Queen. She is now ready to spike the ball over the net.

This plutocracy has already demonstrated a willingness to circumvent the constitution by many past deeds of ignoring your civil rights and imposing Martial law whenever they like. Tactics such as in the Boston bombing attacks when that city was lock down for a house to house search. (This was Illegal by the way, a search and seizure of private property and private homes without warrant and without due process) But “we the people” welcomed it because it was under the guise of “protecting us all” from the horrible terrorist bombers.

Or maybe the little trick by the CIA, DOD, FBI, DOJ or some other acronym of government Nazi’s that orchestrated the Jade Helm Psyop. This was when your government actually used military personnel to patrol the Streets of America practicing maneuvers in civilian uniforms. (Using U.S. troops in America against its own citizens is highly unconstitutional)

Where We Now Stand

Do you still think we can relax and not prepare anymore because salvation is finally here? As soon as these elections are over everything will change.

Bear in mind if you plan to protest any nowadays, especially regarding the current administration, you should also, be prepared to be suppressed by these black booted thugs of Big Government. They are willing to impose all sorts of unconstitutional behaviors, on us citizens whenever “we the people” try to resist them.

Actions like restricting your right to travel freely within your country without being detained and searched. Or the right to privacy, the right to assemble, the right to protest, all being denied using the same Nazi behaviors of the Third Reich. Well that should drive their elitist message home. Their control over you is being backed up by their unconstitutional Patriot Act and the infamous NDAA Act, allowing such crimes as indefinite incarceration of citizens without trial, or the confiscation of private property without due process.

Constitutional Rights? Hillary has promised to sidestep the Bill of Rights and the US Constitution by force if necessary if elected. In doing so, she is stealing away many of your rights, such as the 4th Amendment (the Freedom of Speech), or the Second Amendment (the Right to Bear Arms), and your Right of Assembly. These tools of her gun control campaign, coupled with the Patriot Act, NDAA, are already enacted in some states. They will be used to quell any so-called unruliness or social upheaval on your part. There is no way for you to stop her or any President from using such tactics.

Think about this. No more Second Amendment Right to Bear Arms for your personal defense or to defend your country against domestic terror. No individual defense against an enemy of the state such as a terrorist or even a tyrannical Government. No more state Militias to defend our quickly fading US Constitution. Ask a Veteran what they think about this.

How about, confiscation of property without due process, the right to a fair trial, where did those come from? These Acts remove things like that “nasty due process thing from your lives.” Merely by using an illegal use of the “color of authority”, the politicians have manipulated the fake U.S. congress using lobbyists. This process is circumventing the constitutionally protected rights of the people. Gone are those rights like unlawful detainment, illegal search and seizure of persons or propert done without warrant or due process. This government is proving to be the actual Orwellian prophecy come true. And they would like to continue it before you catch on to stop them.

Is there any HOPE: Can we stop this by voting?

There is some that say another side of this bi-partisan coin has appeared, some say it is hopeful. I say yes, perhaps there is hope still, but it is very thin.

The less intrusive governance of a Trump administration is perhaps waiting for us around the corner. But perhaps his coming government is just as detrimental in the end to our civil liberties as the current one. Here, is why I still see nothing changing. The average sovereign citizen doesn’t give two cents as to who controls a tyrannical government. A stolen right, is a stolen right, is a stolen right. Chipping away at any of the rights will ultimately lead to losing many, many more eventually. These people will not stop, they cannot stop. It seems as if it’s a hidden agenda. Even if the next administration respects your rights, the subsequent administration may still abuse your rights because these historical acts of Congress still remain on the books unchallenged.

Donald Trump’s, best intentions may not be enough to make America Great again

Donald may be legit. He may not always be following constitutional law when he repeats things like “ I will impose eminent domain with the XL pipeline project,” or he allows the torture of political detainees. (Remember the Patriot Act overrules constitutional law and allows detainee citizens indefinitely. It also lists all of the “citizens of America” as potential political enemies under this act, and its vague definition of terrorist).

If Trump continues to use the power given to him by these Acts (and he has stated he is thinking of doing this), he will still be catering to the Money tyrants who now control the nation. This will be just as all of the other recent Presidents have done before him. (You decide for yourself how far back this goes)

Just because I’m Paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t watching me

Hunter S. Thompson once said, “Just because I’m Paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t watching me.” This statement maybe very profound after all the election votes are tallied this Fall.

Using the NDAA, the Patriot Act, CISPA, SIPA, and any other relentless unconstitutional Law, Act, or Bill will eventually affect all future American citizens one day. These unconstitutional laws ultimately only serve the money masters controlling your government now.

I have noticed that no matter how we complain about these, Unconstitutional Acts, and infringements on our civil liberties, they never get rescinded. As Alice once said curiouser, and curiouser. They just seem to quietly settle out of site, waiting for something. For what I wonder? Perhaps they are waiting for the right moment to use them.

Obama claimed he would never pass the any of these acts. But then he slid them through during the Christmas break, when congress was out for holidays. When it was publicized, he then claimed he would never use them the way they are worded. Good God no, not him. Yet, he secretly does. But do not fear, because if you are not one of the bad guys, you have nothing to worry about, RIGHT?

Does this mean they will have finally achieved their evil goal of complete control over the United States of America? Will they soon be moving on to the rest of the world without themselves ever firing a shot?

The real enemies of any country are the men behind the scenes manipulating us. Those men who have stolen your rights by proxy, using corporate tools that they twist to destroy the economy for their own benefit. Trump knows this as a fact. Therefore, despite his good intentions, Donald’s improper use of Presidential privileges like “eminent domain” or the Patriot Act, and NDAA after he is elected is just another form of tyranny (Even Eminent Domain was designed for War time and sovereign emergencies only).

At the very most, Expropriation of privately held land must be used in lockstep with an individuals constitutional right to property ownership. It must not be used as a Presidential hammer for building better economies. Even if that is, the quicker solution, remember Chip, Chip, Chip, goes your Rights.

Catering to the Oil and Gas Industry is not vital economic growth, and I can prove it.

It is not that simple. The right to have and own property is guaranteed to the all citizens by the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Even people “in the way” of a Nation’s economic progress must be compensated for their losses. Having due process, or “their day in court,” is guaranteed by these documents. All property owners that will have their land expropriated should be paid in full for their losses. This includes but is not limited to their loss of use of that property and Nuisance, Inconvenience, and/or Adverse Affect after the fact.

We all must be concerned when it comes to private corporations using government policy to steal land from the nation’s citizens to benefit their company profit line. Whenever private companies cause damage to this Nation’s land and land owners, by way of our government policies for energy projects, such as fracking, oil and gas exploration, and pipelines construction, we all pay the price. These ventures should not automatically be considered in the public’s best interest, but should be dealt with case by case and locally. Utility and Oil & Gas projects are not always national Energy Concerns.

These Federally held, so-called back room deals are actually “corporate theft” of the nation’s natural resources. Remember when Nixon sold our national parks to these bankers as collateral for more debt? Probably not, because it was a back page story and still isn’t talked about much. But take time to check it out. I contest that the entire Nation’s highways, byways, major pipelines, and utility Companies should be owned and operated by the people collectively, and all the profits that they create should go to the people not the corporations.

How to handle “Property Rights” properly

An individual or citizens’ right to property should be handled with kid gloves, not by “Eminent Domain.” This is not a hard task to accomplish for any honest government. It is the simple use of honest negotiation and local arbitration hearings. It involves the recognition of the four (4) heads of compensation, used to determine losses by a landowner.

Having an arms length open house meetings, and negotiations upfront regarding such issues of property rights, environmental concerns, water use and rights, and compensation. These are essential to solving the nation’s energy problems without conflict. All of this plus the embracing of community involvement must be resolved before any government approval is allowed. Not to mention proper negotiations between landowners in any form, like so-called second and third party land interests.

I know this idea works because I was a “Land Agent in the Oil Patch for over Twenty years, and this is how it should be done. (Sorry we all have our little secrets)

Smaller Government: Our Federal government needs to be much, much, smaller, allowing the states to act like a republic again, handling their own affairs whenever possible. The rest of the Nation needs to butt out of these local and state decisions. Not every energy issue in America is a Federal issue, in fact none of them should be.

Each state has the right to determine how it exploits and taxes its own energy source, and how it utilizes it for itself. That is what a Republic is all about. Federal Government is the lattice. (Concerned with the infrastructure of the nation only) Not the ruler of a republic, that’s a dictatorship.

What if, TRUMP WINS? What can we expect from him?

As far as I can tell, Trump is not a magician or a sorcerer. So, I bet even with good intentions it will take at least two terms with every man on deck, working 24 hours a day and 365 days a year with him as President to turn this big ship around. Face it kiddo, we are on the good ship “Titanic” here. I am not sure that even this Nation will actually miss that proverbial Iceberg. I highly doubt it!

Trump brought up some real interesting issues, but are they enough?

Trump mentions upholding constitutional law, enforcing citizen’s rights, and real government transparency. Not the kind of transparency Obama or Bush promised I hope.

Sure, perhaps we have a chance to stem the tide of Tyranny for at least another 4 years by electing Donald Trump. But will he listen to the American people once he is in power? Who really knows? He may be the only reasonable hope left to America. Trump may help the nation “become great again,” especially if what he says he can do comes true. However, how can we be sure? We have been promised many things, many times before, by many politicians. And they never came through.

Even if Trump wins, will he fix our problems?

Sure, he seems to be the lesser of the two evils these days, and he has my vote because of that it.

(Footnote: Allow me to qualify my position by stating this; It is for lack of any other voting option. Like I said “No dog in the fight”. I’m more of a Libertarian, though that party is without real representative. It has strayed so far from its original doctrine, its lost. Face it Gary Johnson is a joke, already he has admittedly been bought and paid for by the Koch Brothers, when they were allowed to back his campaign this election. Yeah, that is right. I am a staunch supporter of no one in particular, and a pessimist when it comes to politicians in general, they all lie for your votes.)

Can Trump Do What He Says Even?

The Questions and the Facts:

Will Trump be able to do what he claims to want to do? He may not have much of a chance to succeed even if in the end, he is elected. So many entrenched enemies are already in the system. He is outnumbered by these posers, so then what?

Can he win using a rigged and flawed election system? Will your vote even be counted in the end? There is no shortage of evidence regarding the election tampering these days.

Can Trump succeed on the issues where he wants to, after elected? Bear in mind Trumps winning of this job is like asking someone to a game of Billiards and handing him a rope when everyone around him has a pool cue. In addition, can he do what he needs to do, because he really needs to clean house when he gets in power. If he is to take back this country from the bankers that control it.

Finally, yet most importantly will he be allowed to prosecute politicians for past crimes? Do you think he will actually go the distance and prosecute Hillary for her alleged crimes? This may actually be the defining moment for me as a voter. If Trump actually brings to trial and convicts Hillary for crimes she has committed. I will certainly become more involved in politics if this happens, and I bet, others will too.

My Conclusion

With all the points that I have brought up, I would think that it is apparent that our problems in this world are not going to be solved overnight. A presidential election one way or the other won’t magically solve anything. I do not know about any of you, but I feel it changes nothing in the short term.

Linked from: http://www.survivalsullivan.com/will-elections-change-anything-preppers/

What If You Find Out the Zombie Stories Were Real?

OK, I will admit right now that I like a good zombie movie. Call me what you will, but for escapism fun, not much tops a mindless horde of undead walking up on the unsuspecting good guy. As they shuffle slowly, arms outstretched, your body tenses as they get closer to him nearly reaching his back with dirty long fingernails. Naturally, our good guy realizes that a bunch of stinky, usually moaning, rotting corpses, with tattered clothes, are behind him just in time to whirl around with some form of blunt weapon, nicely smashing a skull or 5 before riding off in either an abandoned Hummer or astride a horse. This is the type of movie scenario that just about anyone can see themselves in because you don’t have to have super powers, or physical strength. You simply have to avoid being snuck up on. Oh, and having an axe helps.

There are literally thousands of zombie movies, games, TV shows and assorted marketing paraphernalia out there and it seems that daily we have yet another zombie product or treatment. Why have zombies become so popular lately and why do Preppers almost universally latch on to this as something to prepare for? People seem to have polar associations with the term “zombie horde”. I have seen some blogs out there devoted entirely to the coming zombie apocalypse. Others, like me mention this in articles and it almost never fails to draw some comment to the effect of “You don’t really believe in zombies now, do you?”

Why it’s fun to use Zombies

Let’s take the Hollywood make-believe theater out of the equation for a while and examine how zombies are used in the prepper community. I think there are two main schools of thought.

The “Believers” – I think there are some people out there that genuinely believe that a zombie future is in store for us and they are planning for that. These people have elaborate systems designed to protect themselves from zombies and play out scenarios for how to evacuate the city should their position be overrun. They have purchased a higher than usual selection of bladed weapons as this seems to be the most efficient way of dispatching the undead.

The “I’ll believe it when I see it” crowd – I think an even greater number of us out there use Zombies as a metaphor for potential states (more on this later) and have fun with the visual. In my articles, I do sometimes use the visual of zombie hordes, or mutant zombie bikers from mars as an illustration to a point I am trying to make. This visual, is for some people easier to see/imagine than a lot of real world scenarios. Additionally, from a macabre standpoint, planning for zombies is more fun for me than planning for real life. I will lump myself in with this group.

Separating fact from fiction

MissingLegs

Zombies don’t even need legs.

When you hear the word zombie, most people form that image I mentioned above almost instinctively. The zombie is usually walking with a limp (why is that), their clothes are tattered and frayed and soaked in the blood of their last victim. They almost immediately have bad teeth and horrible fingernails and walk slowly toward you. For the person who has a little confidence and their wits about them, these creatures don’t seem too hard to beat with all they have going against them.

The thing that I never understood was how they could live forever. I mean, undead doesn’t make sense to me. If you are a machine you need fuel. A body requires something for energy and zombies don’t have to have anything, even organs it appears, to live. They eat their victims you say? Well, that works for some zombies, but if our current zombie movie fetish is to be believed, they can’t drown, you can’t hang or burn them, they could be buried up to their necks for years and not die. How could that even be possible? I guess this is where I have to willingly suspend disbelief and I do, because I want to be entertained.

Now, how could the zombies come true if I believe as I said above that it really is impossible given what we know about the human body? How could some genetic mutation or global pandemic really create a nation of zombies? Why are so many preppers talking about zombies and why are serious, rational adults acting like this is possible? That your neighbors would slowly shuffle toward you with arms outstretched, eyes glazed over, bent on killing you.

Because it is possible.

I don’t mean the Hollywood movie version of zombies, but I do believe that with the right event or circumstances, most of your town, state or country could be wandering aimlessly looking for food. I personally consider the potential of zombie hordes as all of those who didn’t prepare. The people who laughed and mocked preppers and who after a disaster threaten your life because they have to have what you have in order to live. It’s just a metaphor for mindless, killers who you will have to watch out for. If you take away the limp and the movie make-up, the people hunting you could be starving and willing to do anything it takes to get into your home and get to your supplies.

So, what do you do in this type of scenario? I think the better question is why aren’t you already preparing for this type of possible outcome?

I think that you have to seriously consider how you are going to act when someone you know comes to you for help or food and you know that with each cup of food you give away, that your children will eat one less meal. When neighbors are begging you for fuel that you know could power the generator that will keep your mother’s medicine cool and as a result keep her alive. What will you do when your friends from work come beating on your door because they know you have weapons and ammo stored up and they have none?

None of this is pleasant to think about. In fact it is probably one of the worst part of any hypothetical collapse of society. This would be our zombies coming to life. No, they wouldn’t be trying to eat you, but they would be a threat to your survival and you would have to deal with them. Would you plan for charity? What will you do when the amount you have set aside for charity is gone? What if the person banging on the door is your brother with his entire family?

Zombies aren’t real, but they can be used to get your mind thinking about things like this. Have you thought about what you will do if you are forced to choose?

HOW TO BE PREPARED FOR ANY SURVIVAL SITUATION-A GUIDE FOR NEWBIES

Those that have decided it is now time to begin prepping may be overwhelmed with information. You may have watched the reality shows, and have researched extensively on the Internet and still find it hard to know where to start. In this article we will cover some of the fundamental knowledge you will need to survive any situation.

First, you must realize that most preparations are not disaster specific, which means that regardless of the survival situation you find yourself in you will need certain tangible items. Once you have gathered these essentials, then you can begin to work on the intangible.

You may have a strong belief that there may be a major volcanic eruption, or you fear a nuclear, chemical or biological attack, civil uprisings or possibly a collapse of the financial markets. There may not be any evidence of such an event occurring but that does not make it any less real in your mind. However, the reality is that there are certain disasters that you know will happen such as seasonal storms that cause power disruptions, flooding, and wind damage. These real events must be the ones you prepare for initially.

The Basics

Everyone must realize that your standard of living during a crisis will not be what it was during normal times. A crisis will be an emotional time and it is important that you introduce normalcy as quickly as possible. Children and others will still need meals at their regular time clothes need to be laundered, and baths given. You must prepare so that you can perform as many of the same functions during the crisis as you did before the calamity.

You will need shelter, food, water, fire, and energy

It is assumed for all practical purposes that you have a shelter and it will available during a disaster. However, it may be damaged because of the crisis so you should have tools and materials available to make emergency repairs to your home. Sheets of plywood and waterproof tarps can be used to cover openings and holes in the roof to prevent further damage. Sheets of plastic and duct tape can be used to cover glass windows from the inside to prevent injury from flying glass and to cover any openings to the outside. Use plywood to cover windows and to cover holes in the walls or roof as well.

Consider emergency shelters such as family sized or one-person tents that can be set up on your property if your home is damaged to the point you cannot live in it. Have cots and sleeping bags available for everyone.

For natural disaster preparedness, you should have at least a 14-day supply of food and water. Calculate Food Storage For Your Family. Use the recommended one gallon per day per individual to calculate amounts. If you plan to use dehydrated foods, you will need to increase the amount of water needed. If you are preparing for longer than a 14-day period increase the water amount to three gallons per day for laundry needs and cooking. The one-gallon recommendation does take oral care and personal hygiene into consideration.

Planning for any crisis should also include plans for evacuation. Ensure each member has a backpack(bug-out-bag) with 72-hours worth of food, water and other essentials. Any disaster can force you to abandon your home or city. Have supplies in the home for sheltering in place and have the means to carry supplies with you if you leave. You may not have time to gather supplies once you realize you must evacuate so ensure the bags are always packed and ready to go.

Medical supplies are important along with specific medicines for children and any prescription medications. Talk to your health care professional about emergency supplies of maintenance medications such as for the heart, diabetes, high blood pressure and so on. You will need these medications everyday and you may not have access to pharmacies during the crisis.

If you require insulin and have more than a 30-day supply on hand, you will need a way to keep the medication chilled. You can store insulin out of refrigeration up to 28 days between 59 and 86ᵒF according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA, 2012).

Additions item everyone should have on hand for a crisis:

  • Illumination such as propane or oil fueled lanterns
  • Matches and other fire starting means, never rely on matches alone to start a fire you should have lighters, magnesium sticks and Ferro rods available (carry fire starting materials in you evacuation bags as well)
  • Communication devices other than cell phones and landlines, devices can include Citizens Band radios (CB) two-way radios (Walkie-Talkies) and ham radios (carry two-way radios in your bug-out-bags, one for each backpack)
  • Portable solar radios
  • Signal flags or brightly colored cloth to signal rescue personnel
  • Compass and maps of the area state and country in the event you have to evacuate (in bug-out-bag)
  • Emergency thermal blankets for each person and include one in each evacuation bag
  • Rain Gear such as rain suits or ponchos and include in your backpacks
  • Have all-important documents/paperwork packaged so they are protected against water and other damage. Carry the documents with you if you have to evacuate.

The list of course is not comprehensive and it must be adapted to suit your personal preferences and specific needs. This article assumes you would have the typical household items such as eating utensils, pots, pans and so on.

In Survival Situation-Be healthy and get plenty of sleep

11-13-things-sleep-doctors-sleeping-on-stomach

Not seeing the results you want from all your hard work in the gym and dedication to your diet? The logical response is to ramp up the workout intensity or volume and cut out those last few calories, but the most effective measure may be to do nothing at all. Sleep is one of the most important factors in maintaining optimal metabolism, supporting normal endocrine function, and regulating appetite. If you are serious about your body, optimum health doesn’t always begin in the gym or the kitchen,  but often between the sheets.

Guidelines

Sleep requirements change over the course of an individual’s life; therefore, guidelines are primarily based on one’s age. The National Sleep Foundation recommends up to 17 hours per day for newborns, and down to 6-8 for older adults. Advocates increased sleep time for those with particularly active lifestyle. There are also a series of sleep hygiene recommendations that can help you get the most out of your bedtime. The latest guidelines suggest not napping during the day to maintain normal patterns, avoiding stimulants later in the day, and establishing a consistent bedtime routine. One of the most important factors to keep in mind is that experts almost universally agree that attempting to “catch up” on sleep is a losing proposition. Even if you may initially feel more rested, following sleep deprivation with longer bouts of sleeping ultimately affects your circadian rhythms and may make it more difficult to set a consistent regimen. Like healthy eating and exercise, the effectiveness of sleep is highly dependent on consistency.

Sleep Deprivation

Lack of sleep can have significant metabolic and endocrine effects that may reduce or even completely undo the success of your weight management efforts. Cortisol, the “stress hormone” secreted during times when the “fight or flight” response mechanism is initiated, is proving to be one of the most important factors in both fat loss and lean muscle tissue gain. In fact, one recent study found that participants on a professionally designed diet and exercise program found it impossible to lose weight when not reaching sleep recommendations. Cortisol levels influence body composition by inhibiting the processing of amino acids, obstructing growth hormone release, altering the proper regulation of blood sugar levels, and even making it more difficult to stick  to diets.  A 2010 study found that those functioning on less than optimal levels of sleep had higher levels of cortisol throughout the day, and subsequently had less success in their weight management efforts. If you are experiencing an otherwise explainable uptick on the scale, it may be time to reevaluate your sleeping patterns.

Recent research suggests that sleep deprivation may also sabotage your dieting efforts. Sleeping less than six hours has been shown to increase hunger, increase hunger, increase cravings for sweets, and ultimately may lead to weight gain. Sleep deprived individuals often  exhibit several endocrine regulation. Lack of sleep can increase the secretion of ghrelin, “the hunger hormone”, which regulation satiety and reward  perception accompanying specific foods. Sleep deprivation appears to increase caloric consumption through two separate mechanisms, by increasing the sensitivity of the brain’s reward system for ingesting energy-dense foods and  encouraging one to eat more in response to the extra energy expended while staying up as opposed to sleeping. If you are having difficulty sticking to your healthy diet goals, the culprit may be your sleeping patterns.

The amount and quality of sleep also may impact your workout performance. One recent study found that short-term sleep deprivation resulted in significantly decreased strength, power, and cardiovascular performance. After only a single night  of less than adequate sleep, study participants exhibited characteristics similar to those suffering from over training, and the effects seemed to increase over time, which can increase exercise accident risk.  Furthermore, lack of sleep has been shown to be detrimental to exercise recovery, meaning you may need to exercise less and expend more effort on proactive recovery techniques to continue progressing and remain injury free. If you don’t feel like working out today or notice your intensity and performance waning, the first step should not be toward a stimulant, but your bed.

Progressing toward your fitness foals requires a lot of dedication, hard work, and even more rest. One of the most researched benefits of essential oils are their calming and relaxing properties. Including essential oils in your bedtime routine may be the extra push you need. A few drops of Lavender on your bed sheets and diffusing your favorite calming and grounding blend as you prepare for rest will create the calming sleep environment your body requires for recovery.

Recommended Essential Oils and Blends”

  • Lavender
  • Vetiver
  • doterra Peace
  • doterra serenity calming blend

 

Yellowstone Supervolcano: Some Things To Consider

yellowstone2

When it comes to cataclysmic events that could cause a global SHTF, a super volcanic eruption ranks right around the top.  A super volcanic eruption of the Yellowstone volcano in the United States would likely cover much of the nation in volcanic ash.

Additionally, gigantic volumes of volcanic particles would be forced high into a layer of the atmosphere called the “stratosphere” where it would likely remain for several years.


A large amount of volcanic ash being suspended in the atmosphere would have an impact on the amount of incoming solar radiation making it to the surface of the planet.  The Earth depends on sunlight to warm the planet.

A major disruption in sunlight reaching the surface of the Earth will cause disruptions in weather patterns and plant life (causing a domino effect).  After a super volcanic eruption, it is thought that global temperatures would fall dramatically causing a nuclear style winter.

Volcanic eruptions are measured on the Volcanic Explosivity Index (VEI).  The VEI is basically a measure of a volcano’s characteristics.

Three of the primary characteristics measured are:

1.) The volume of volcanic material (aka ejecta) being ejected from a volcanic explosion
2.) The description of a volcanic explosion
3.) The height at which the volcanic plume reaches

Here is the scale just based on the volume of material ejected:

VEI=8 – >1000 cubic kilometers
VEI=7 – >100 cubic kilometers
VEI=6 – >10 cubic kilometers
VEI=5 – > 1 cubic kilometers
VEI=4 – > 0.1 cubic kilometers
VEI=3 – > 0.01 cubic kilometers
VEI=2 – > 0.001 cubic kilometers
VEI=1 – > 0.0001 cubic kilomters

Super volcanic eruptions are eruptions categorized as VEI 8 eruptions.  This is classified as an “Ultra-Plinian” eruption.  VEI 8 eruptions are eruptions ejecting a volume of at least 1000 cubic kilometers (about 240 cubic miles) of ejecta.  The plume heights for a VEI 8 eruption would exceed 25km (approximately 82,000 feet).  The description of an eruption in the VEI 8 range is “mega colossal”.

Here is a graphic from the USGS to give you an idea of the magnitude of a super volcanic eruption compared to other eruptions:

untitled-32

THE GOOD

Yellowstone is monitored around the clock by the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory (YVO).

A large scale eruption will likely be preceded with plenty of warning time.  Geologists keep a close eye on many different potential indicators of a pending eruption.  They are basically looking for signs of big changes/movement within the magma chamber beneath Yellowstone.

Many scientists agree that the odds of Yellowstone erupting any time soon are very low.  According to the USGS, there is about an annual “0.00014%” chance of another caldera forming eruption happening at Yellowstone.

Contrary to what some people claim, Yellowstone is not overdue for another super volcanic eruption according to the USGS.  The USGS uses the average of the 2 estimated intervals between the 3 major eruptions to come up with an estimated average of 730,000 years.  The last cataclysmic eruption was thought to be around 640,000 years ago.

An eruption at Yellowstone might not necessarily be super volcanic in size.  There could be smaller scale eruptions at Yellowstone.

THE BAD

Even though the chances of a major eruption are thought to be exceedingly low, no one really knows for sure when it will erupt, or the true effects of a super volcanic eruption.

Even though they claim it is not overdue for an eruption, the fact that the U.S. government monitors it 24/7 should tell you that it is a concern to them.

The magma chamber beneath Yellowstone is much larger than previously thought which could mean the potential is there for a larger eruption.

If there is a super volcanic eruption, nothing can be done about it other than to heed any official warnings (if there is lead time) and have a plan to get out of dodge before it erupts.

If an eruption were super volcanic, gigantic volumes of ash would be deposited across the country and across the nation’s food supply.

In the event of a super volcanic eruption, gigantic volumes of ash would blanket untold numbers of structures and dwellings causing buildings to collapse.

Volcanic ash looks like shards of jagged glass under a microscope.  Even small amounts can do damage to your lungs if inhaled.  Think about a nation blanketed with it.

Large amounts of volcanic ash covering the nation’s power grid will likely cause it to collapse.

There are other known super volcanoes spread out around the world, plus there are likely many that scientists have not discovered yet.  As a global collective, the odds of a super volcanic eruption happening somewhere on the planet is greater than those of just considering Yellowstone.

IS THERE A ‘SAFE’ DISTANCE FROM A SUPER VOLCANO?

How far of a distance is a ‘safe’ distance from a super volcano?  First off, it must be noted that a super volcanic eruption will likely be disastrous on a global scale.  There will be no escaping the effects of crop failures, food shortages, grid failures and climatic changes etc.  Mankind would have to ride out those effects in the aftermath.

As for a ‘safe’ distance from a super volcanic eruption itself, it really depends on the size of the eruption.  There are just too many unknown variables to name a ‘safe’ distance.  The regional devastation of surrounding states would likely be cataclysmic.  I’m no geologist or volcanologist, but I personally wouldn’t want to be within 1200 miles of a super volcanic eruption.  That distance is just my personal opinion.  The farther away, the better in my view.

Here is a USGS model of possible ash fall after a month long super volcanic eruption at Yellowstone:

yellowstone9

Pertaining to the model graphic above, the USGS does state that “Results vary depending on wind and eruption conditions”.  The USGS also states that the model above was constructed using historical winds from January 2001.

Some of the things scientists look for as potential warning signs:

Ground deformation (ground sinking or rising) outside historical norms

Frequency and magnitude of earthquakes in the vicinity

Changes in streams

Changes in gas emissions

The signs above are no guarantee of an eruption, but they could indicate magma is on the move beneath Yellowstone.  Scientists are typically looking for changes in the aforementioned that are outside the historical norms.

There has never been a super volcanic eruption in recorded history, so all we can do is speculate based on the field data and modeling data that is available.  The largest known eruption in recorded history was a VEI 7 (Mt. Tambora in 1815).  Mt. Tambora is the only known eruption in recorded history with a VEI of greater than 6.  The 1815 Mt Tambora eruption was thought to be responsible for the “Year Without A Summer” the following year in 1816. I’m not sure why Mt. Tambora is not listed in the first USGS graphic above, but it would be a light orange circle much larger than Novarupta 1912, but smaller than the Yellowstone Mesa Falls eruption.

Linked from: http://allpreparedness.com/yellowstone-supervolcano-some-things-to-consider/

11 biomaterials that can heal the human body. Including, yes, biting ants.

As technology and science have advanced, so too have the sophistication of such biomaterials and the ways that they are used. As you’ll hear in the TED Talk, “A new way to grow bone,” scientists can use saline to create a small pocket in a person’s leg so that stem cells there grow into new bone to heal an injurt. Another recent biomaterial advance: a lab-grown miniature brain.

The field of biomaterials didn’t get its name until the 1960s, but the concept of using materials strategically in the body has been around for a long time. We spoke to Buddy Ratner, who directs the Research Center for Biomaterials at the University of Washington and who co-edited the textbook, Biomaterials Science, to get a (non-exhaustive) tour of extraordinary material advances of the past millennia.

biting ants

(9,500BC to 1000BC) Some of the first surgical sutures? Biting ants. Sutures, stitches used to hold human tissue together, date back a very long time — to the Neolithic period, according to Biomaterials Science. Ancient Egyptians created sutures from linen, while Europeans used the fiber from animal intestines. Around the same time, in South Africa and India, biting ants were used to mend wounds. Says Buddy Ratner, “If you hold the two sides of the wound together, and put the little pincers of these guys on there, they bite down hard. It’ll hold the wound closed.” Here, a biting ant photographed in Western Australia, May 2012.

bluetooth mayans

(600 AD) The Mayans get the first bluetooth. No, not the wireless technology. As bioengineer Molly Stevens explains in “A new way to grow bone,” the Mayans had a clever way of fixing a lost or damaged tooth — by replacing it with a piece of blue nacre shell. “It’s hard, it’s durable. When they put it into the jawbone, it could integrate into the jaw,” says Stevens. “This material has a beautiful chemistry, a beautiful architecture.” (Also fascinating: both the Romans and Incas used gold for dentistry.)

metal in body

(1829) A developing idea: metal in the body. In 1829, Alabama doctor Henry Levert began experimenting to see if metals could be used safely as medical implants. According to The History of Surgery in the United States, he tested different metallic sutures in 21 experiments on dogs, and found that, in general, platinum ones were better tolerated than those made of gold, silver or lead. Over the next few decades, surgeons became interested in using metal screws and plates to fix bones instead of relying on splints and braces. According to medical tech company Zimmer, German surgeon H. Hansmann became the first doctor to do such a fix successfully, in 1886.

heart

(1881) The quest for an artificial heart. By now, scientists had a pretty good idea that the heart worked like a pump — thanks to the theories of earlier philosophers and physicians. Buddy Ratner explains: “People said, ‘Well, we know pumps. We pump water all the time.’” And so began a flurry of experimentation as they began to start copying that functionality. In 1881, French scientist Etienne-Jules Marcy (pictured) published a design for an artificial heart — though it would be 100 years before anything similar would be implanted in a human.

stainless steel

(1926) A breakthrough: stainless steel. Although metal was being used in the body, not a lot was known about what was actually safe at this point. In 1924, Dr. Arthur Zierold of Minneapolis took up where Levert’s dog research left off, and found that iron and steel corroded too rapidly in the body to be useful; that copper, aluminum and zinc caused tissue discoloration and that gold, silver and aluminum weren’t great for bodily fixes either. By 1926, experiments with a specific type of stainless steel, dubbed “18-8,” proved promising. “The discovery of stainless steel technology allowed metals to be used in the body routinely and at reasonable cost,” says Buddy Ratner. (Things would get even better in a couple of decades, with the introduction of titanium.)

surgeons

(The late 1940s) “Hero surgeons” + plastic = big advances. The years following World War II saw a huge increase of new biomaterials and techniques for using them. Buddy Ratner attributes this to two factors. Firstly, that surgeons on the battlefield were given carte blanche to try new things to save their patients, and many of these so-called “hero surgeons” got creative. Secondly, plastics became widely available. “It was a seminal moment,” says Ratner. “During the war, many of the plastics we take for granted were considered war necessities … Once the war was over and these were released, physicians saw a couple of very obvious reasons why plastics would be good. They’re a lot easier to fabricate into shapes than metal. Plastics are light, and they have this wonderful quality of inertness.” Shown here, an American Army doctor operates on a US soldier wounded by a Japanese sniper in an underground surgery room, behind the front lines on Bougainville island, December, 1943.

blindness

(1949) A lens to prevent blindness. As Molly Stevens describes, opthalmologist Sir Harold Ridley found that many fighter pilots had shards of plastic in their eyes after WWII. It turned out to be material from their planes — yet it had caused no inflammation or irritation. Ridley eventually used the same plastic to create intraocular lenses for the treatment of cataracts (shown). The first implant into a human eye was done in 1949. “We’ve revolutionized this necessity to go blind via this remarkable lens,” says Buddy Ratner. (Side note: Leonardo da Vinci sketched the concept of a contact lens for the surface of the eye in 1508; the first mass market version was also developed in 1949.)

blood vessels

(1952) The first blood vessel replacement. You know what there was a lot of after World War II? Parachute material. Surgeon Arthur Voorhees had the idea to use it to create the first synthetic blood vessel. Today, the material most often used for arterial replacement is Gore-Tex, first used to insulate wires — until creator Bill Gore was playing with a piece of it on a ski lift in Colorado. “The guy next to him was a vascular surgeon,” says Ratner. “He looked at this and said, ‘Wow, this would be great for fixing blood vessels.’”

hip replacements

(1961) Hip replacements get hip. Replacing the hip was another idea that took a long time to make the leap from idea to reality. According to Biomaterials Science, the first attempt at this surgery in 1891 was not successful, nor were the many attempts made from the 1920s through 1950s. John Charnley, a surgeon working in a former tuberculosis sanitarium in England, perfected the materials and procedure in 1961. Where his contemporaries used fluid to try to lessen friction in the joint, Charnley searched for a slippery solid to do the same.

biomaterials

(1960s to 1980s) The field of biomaterials takes off. When Buddy Ratner was doing his PhD work at the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn, biomaterials were a new concept. “It wasn’t even a field then,” he explains. “It was just a bunch of scientists from multiple disciplines — mechanical engineers, electrical engineers, chemical engineers, chemists, biologists — all thinking about how we can apply some new things to medicine. That coalesced into a field.” During this period, many advances were made: pacemakers, knee replacements, kidney dialysis, breast implants, stents (shown), heart valve replacements… At the same time, new materials such as silicone, Teflon, hydrogels and bioglass were explored for how they might be used in medicine.

implanted

(1982) The first artificial heart is permanently implanted in a human. In 1957, Dr. Willem Kolff (who previously created the first artificial kidney out of sausage casings and orange juice cans), implanted an artificial heart in a dog. It only lived for 90 minutes after the surgery. Twelve years later, surgeons Domingo Liotta and Denton Cooley implanted an artificial heart in a man as a temporary measure until a donor heart became available. He lived for 64 hours. Meanwhile, Kolff and his team kept working to improve the design of their device — a project that would take decades. According to The New York Times, one of Kolff’s graduate students, Robert Jarvik, designed the “Jarvik-7” model of the heart, shown here. In 1982, this became the first artificial heart permanently implanted in a human being (a dentist with congestive heart failure from Seattle. He lived for 112 days).

tissue

(1997) Tissue engineering becomes real. The next logical step for biomaterials: creating actual biological materials that could be used for repairs and improvements in the body. While scientists experimented with the idea of growing cartilage and skin in the 1970s and 1980s, according to the textbook Fundamentals of Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine [PDF], the field came to the fore in 1997, when anesthesiologist Charles Vacanti created a mouse with cartilage in the shape of a human ear on its back. (Cloned sheep Dolly rose to fame that same year — the stuffed version shown here.) Research into growing different types of tissues rapidly accelerated.

first lab organ

(2006) The first lab-grown organ is implanted in a human. Surgeon Anthony Atala made headlines in 2006 when he and his team at the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine announced that they had grown bladders from the cells of patients and successfully implanted these lab-nurtured organs. They did this by taking a small piece of tissue and then growing new cells outside the body along a scaffold — a process that took six to eight weeks. “This is one small step in our ability to go forward in replacing damaged tissues and organs,” Atala said at the time.

lab brain

(2013) A lab-grown brain? The practice of tissue engineering and growing organs is still very new — and experimentation continues at a rapid clip. (Above, check out heart tissue grown at Genspace by Nina Tandon.) Just this year, scientists at Japan’s Yokohama City University conducted a promising experiment in which they transplanted lab-grown human liver cells into mice. Surgeons at Duke University successfully implanted a bioengineered blood vessel into a patient. And at the Austrian Academy of Science, a team made a splash by growing a miniature human brain in the laboratory. At 20 to 30 days of growth, this brain developed distinct regions, including a cerebral cortex.

So what next?

It’s always difficult to predict where a field might head next, but Buddy Ratner has some ideas. He sees the brain as a space where we may start to see biomaterial applications, ditto cancer treatments. But most promising to him is this craft of regenerative medicine. “We can regrow or rebuild parts that have been damaged, lost or diseased. That covers everything from regenerating toes to regenerating hair — from the bottom of your body to the top of your head — and everything in between,” he says. “We’re seeing a lot of evidence that the whole way medicine is done will change because, as you start aging, parts are wearing out, breaking down, becoming diseased, and needing replacement. Replacements are the critical thing.”

Feeding Babies In Times Of Trouble

Feeding-Babies-times-of-trouble

To paraphrase Terry Prachett, the author of the popular Discworld series, taking care of a baby is the easiest part. There’s none of those crazy child-rearing garbage to put up with – just put milk in one end, and keep the other end as clean as possible. Works for me!

On an ordinary day, the first part – putting milk in one end of the baby – is something we take for granted in developed countries. Even if you are not a breastfeeding mom, the ease with which can can obtain formula would make our ancestors weep with envy. Before formula became widely available, women who were unable to breastfeed because of medical issues would be forced to find alternate means of feeding her infant. Many of these milk substitutes were incredibly unhealthy, and were ultimately a leading cause of infant mortality. One of the few ways a woman could keep her child alive if she couldn’t feed it herself was to make some kind of agreement with another woman who could nurse the baby for her.

All of this begs the question – what if, Heaven forbid, something were to happen that would send us back in time to this situation, whether it be permanently or on a temporary basis? Even if you have stash of formula in your long-term food supply, what if your water source is contaminated? It’s not difficult to imagine a worst-case scenario that involves a hungry baby, but no way to feed him or her. Aside from stocking up on formula (which is a perfectly legitimate option for feeding infants) what can be done?

Preparedness and Breastfeeding

If you are a breastfeeding mom, you’ll need to add the following to your emergency preparedness plans:

  1. Extra water. The rule of thumb for non-pregnant adults is one gallon per person per day. A breastfeeding woman should store half again as much, or more.
  2. Extra food. A lactating woman needs extra calories. One medical professional explained to me that a breastfeeding mom should be eating the equivalent of an additional peanut butter and jelly sandwich every day. That’s not much, but if you already have very little extra food on hand, storing high protein and high calorie foods, such as nut butters and fruit jam, would be a good idea.
  3. A good hand pump. I have a Medela Harmony in addition to my electric one, and I like it a lot. You might need to pump for any number of reasons. If you don’t have electricity, having a manual back-up is essential. This particular model is also extremely portable, so it can fit easily in your 72-hour kit.
  4. Some formula, as a last resort. Stress and anxiety can cause your supply to drop. There is wisdom in having an alternative on hand. The danger in using formula in this situation, if you have your heart set on breastfeeding exclusively, is that you could cause your supply to drop even further. Milk supply is tied to demand, and use of formula decreases demand. That said, you gotta do what you gotta do.

Milk Donation for Feeding Babies

For every woman who has trouble with her supply, there’s one who self-identifies as a jersey cow. Overabundance of milk is a problem that I’m sure many people would like to have. I don’t have to describe what that’s like – if you are one of these people, you already know. If you know that you have more milk than your baby needs, you can use it as a valuable resource that will benefit your whole community. Essentially what donation does is to connect women with low supply and women with high supply, so everyone is happy, especially the babies.

In healthy babies, it doesn’t matter a ton in the long run whether they are fed formula or breastmilk. For sickly babies, however, the difference is much greater. Hospitals often refer to human colostrum and breastmilk as “white gold,” because they see the difference it can make in the health of preemies. Medical centers regularly request donations on behalf of infants in the NICU. There are usually some health and quantity requirements. Milk banks put the milk through tests to make sure it is safe to distribute. To make it worth their while, they won’t take less than 100 ounces at one time.

For more information, you can go to the websites of La Leche League, National Milk Bank, and the Human Milk Banking Association of North America. Information about the proper care and storage of breastmilk.

Of course, donating privately is as easy as handing off a bottle of expressed milk to a friend. It’s not uncommon in my town for a woman with a baby in the NICU to ask friends and family for donated breastmilk. Another option, should the situation arise, is to use breastmilk as a commodity for bartering.

Cross-nursing (occasional nursing another woman’s child while also nursing her own) and wet-nursing (complete nursing of another woman’s child, often for pay) are generally frowned upon in most modern circles. The La Leche League actively discourages these practices for multiple reasons. However, it can be done. I have cross nursed two babies in my day – the first was my niece, and it didn’t feel weird at all (it was an emergency). The second instance, though, was the daughter of an acquaintance and that was so weird I will probably never do it again.

For Formula-Fed Babies

Not everyone is willing or able to breastfeed, and there’s no shame in that. Most women I know would really like to, but have been hampered by some health issue or other. The answer here is twofold:

1) stockpile formula like there is no tomorrow (babies always seem to need more of everything than you expect)

2) in case there really isn’t a tomorrow make friends with a lady in your neighborhood who might be able to spot you the odd bottle of milk should the need arise.

Be sure that you are also storing an adequate amount of clean water with which to mix the formula. Most infant deaths related to formula feeding in the third world are caused by a contaminated water supply, or adding inappropriate amounts of water. If you can, develop a system for sterilizing bottles and other feeding equipment that does not require electricity. A solar oven, such as the Solavore or Sun Oven, can cook food at temperatures in the 300-350 degree range, which is plenty hot for sterilizing baby bottles.

There is much more that could be written, of course, about “putting milk in one end” of a baby. For more information about keeping the other end as clean as possible in an emergency, try this article about cloth diapers.

Linked from: http://thesurvivalmom.com/feeding-babies-times-trouble/

Parasites And Foodborne Illness

Parasites-and-Foodborne-Illness

Safe food handling is an essential aspect of good health.

And improper food handling can lead to a variety of sicknesses, even deaths. This is illustrated in the news frequently as restaurants and manufacturers sell unsafe food.

And as preppers, we need to be concerned.

During emergency situations, one of the first things to go is proper sanitary conditions. And that increases the risk of contracting a foodborne illness.

Today we will look at foodborne illness caused by parasite contamination.

Lets start with some definitions.

What is a parasite?

A parasite is an organism that derives its nourishment and protection from other living organisms known as hosts. Parasites may be transmitted from animals to humans, from humans to humans, or from humans to animals.

How are they transmitted?

Parasites may be transmitted from host to host through consumption of contaminated food and water, or by putting anything into your mouth that has touched the stool (feces) of an infected person or animal.

How do they vary?

Parasites are of different types and range in size from tiny, single-celled, microscopic organisms ( protozoa) to larger, multi-cellular worms ( helminths) that may be seen without a microscope. The size ranges from 1 to 2 µm (micrometers) to 2 meters long.

What parasites are discussed in this article?

  • Giardia duodenalis
  • Cryptosporidium parvum
  • Cyclospora cayetanensis
  • Toxoplasma gondii
  • Trichinella spiralis
  • Taenia saginata (beef tapeworm)
  • Taenia solium (pork tapeworm)

Giardia duodenalis or intestinalis (formerly called G. lamblia)

Giardia duodenalis, cause of giardiasis (GEE-are-DYE-uh-sis), is a one-celled, microscopic parasite that can live in the intestines of animals and people. It is found in every region throughout the world and has become recognized as one of the most common causes of waterborne (and occasionally foodborne) illness in the United States.

How do people get giardiasis?

People get giardiasis the following ways:

  • Giardiasis is frequently associated with drinking contaminated water, but some people might get infected by consuming uncooked meat also contaminated with G. duodenalis cysts (the infective stage of the organism).
  • By putting anything into your mouth that has touched contaminated surfaces or the stool of a person or animal with giardiasis.

Symptoms of giardiasis

Diarrhea, abdominal cramps, gas, and nausea are the most common symptoms. Chronic infection might lead to dehydration and severe weight loss. Some cases may be without symptoms.

When will symptoms appear? What is the duration?

Symptoms will usually appear 1 to 2 weeks after ingestion of a G. duodenalis cyst. They may last 2 to 6 weeks in otherwise healthy persons, but there are cases of chronic illnesses lasting months or even years.

Who is at risk for contracting giardiasis?

Those at risk include:

  • Day care providers and children attending daycare centers;
  • International travelers (traveler’s diarrhea);
  • Hikers, campers, or any other persons who may drink from untreated or contaminated water supplies, including while swimming in lakes or rivers; and
  • Young children, pregnant women, older adults, and persons with weakened immune systems, including those with HIV/AIDS infection, cancer, diabetes, kidney disease, and transplant patients, or those individuals undergoing chemotherapy.

How to prevent giardiasis

  • Wash hands with warm water and soap before handling foods and eating, and after going to the bathroom, changing diapers, and handling animals.
  • Make sure infected individuals wash their hands frequently to reduce the spread of infection.
  • Drink water only from treated municipal water supplies.
  • When hiking, camping, or traveling to countries where the water supply may be unsafe to drink, either avoid drinking the water or boil it for 1 minute to kill the parasite. Drinking bottled beverages can be a safe alternative.
  • Do not swallow water while swimming.
  • Do not swim in community pools if you or your child has giardiasis.
  • Always cook your food to a safe internal temperature.
  • Drink only pasteurized milk, juices, or cider.
  • Wash, peel, or cook raw fruits and vegetables before eating.
  • Do not use untreated manure to fertilize fruits and vegetables. Watering untreated manure can spread the organism.

Cryptosporidium parvum

Cryptosporidium parvum, cause of the disease cryptosporidiosis (KRIP-toe-spo-RID-e-O-sis) also called “Crypto”, is a one-celled, microscopic shelled parasite and a significant cause of waterborne and foodborne illness worldwide. It is found in the intestines of many herd animals including cows, sheep, goats, deer, and elk. The illness could be intestinal, tracheal, or pulmonary.

How do people get cryptosporidiosis?

This parasite can be found in soil, food, water or surfaces that have been contaminated with feces from infected humans or animals.

People get cryptosporidiosis the following ways:

  • By consuming food or water contaminated with C. parvum oocysts (infective stage of the parasite). The oocysts are the environmentally resistant stage of the organism and are shed in the feces of a host (human or animal).
  • By putting anything into your mouth that has touched the stool of a person or animal with cryptosporidiosis.

Symptoms of intestinal cryptosporidiosis

Symptoms include watery diarrhea, stomach cramps, upset stomach, and slight fever. Some cases may be without symptoms.

When will symptoms appear? What is the duration?

Symptoms appear 2 to 10 days after ingestion of C. parvum oocysts. The illness usually goes away without medical intervention in 3 to 4 days. For healthy people, symptoms may last up to 2 weeks. For individuals with weakened immune systems, cryptosporidiosis can be serious, long-lasting, and sometimes fatal.

Who is at risk for contracting cryptosporidiosis?

Those at risk include:

  • Day care providers and children attending daycare centers;
  • Young children, pregnant women, older adults, and persons with weakened immune systems, including those with HIV/AIDS infection, cancer, diabetes, kidney disease, and transplant patients, or those individuals undergoing chemotherapy.
  • International travelers (traveler’s diarrhea); and
  • Hikers, campers, or any other persons who may drink from untreated water supplies.

How to prevent cryptosporidiosis

  • Wash hands with warm water and soap before handling foods and eating, and after going to the bathroom, changing diapers, and handling animals.
  • Drink water only from treated municipal water supplies.
  • When hiking, camping, or traveling to countries where the water supply may be unsafe to drink, either avoid drinking the water or boil it for 1 minute to kill the parasite. Drinking bottled beverages can be a safe alternative.
  • Do not swallow water while swimming.
  • Do not swim in community swimming pools if you or your child has cryptosporidiosis.
  • Drink only pasteurized milk, juices, or cider.
  • Wash, peel, or cook raw fruits and vegetables before eating.
  • Do not use untreated manure to fertilize fruits and vegetables. Watering untreated manure can spread the organism.

Cyclospora cayetanensis

Cyclospora cayetanensis (SIGH-clo-SPOR-uh KYE-uh-tuh-NEN-sis), cause of cyclosporiasis, is a one-celled, microscopic parasite. Currently little is known about this organism, although cases of cyclosporiasis are being reported from various countries with increasing frequency.

How do people get cyclosporiasis?

People get cyclosporiasis the following ways:

  • By consuming food or water contaminated with C. cayetanensis oocysts (the infective stage of the organism).
  • By putting anything into your mouth that has touched the stool of a person or animal with cyclosporiasis.

Symptoms of cyclosporiasis

Symptoms include watery diarrhea (sometimes explosive), loss of appetite, bloating, stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, muscle aches, low-grade fever, and fatigue. Some cases are without symptoms. Symptoms are more severe in persons with weakened immune systems.

When will symptoms appear? What is the duration?

Symptoms typically appear about 1 week after ingestion of C. cayetanensis oocysts. If untreated, the symptoms may last a week to more than a month. Symptoms may return.

Who is at risk for contracting cyclosporiasis?

Persons of all ages are at risk for infection.

Young children, pregnant women, older adults, and persons with weakened immune systems including those with HIV/AIDS infection, cancer, diabetes, kidney disease, and transplant patients, or those individuals undergoing chemotherapy may be at greater risk for infection.

How to prevent cyclosporiasis

  • Wash hands with warm water and soap before handling foods and eating, and after going to the bathroom, changing diapers, and handling animals.
  • Make sure infected individuals wash their hands frequently to reduce the spread of infection.
  • Drink water only from treated municipal water supplies.
  • When hiking, camping, or traveling to countries where the water supply may be unsafe to drink, either avoid drinking the water or boil the water for 1 minute to kill the parasite. Drinking bottled beverages can be a safe alternative.
  • Do not swim in community swimming pools if you or your child has cyclosporiasis.
  • Wash, peel, or cook raw fruits and vegetables before eating.

Toxoplasma gondii

Toxoplasma gondii, cause of the disease toxoplasmosis (TOX-o-plaz-MO-sis), is a single-celled, microscopic parasite found throughout the world. It is the third leading cause of death from foodborne disease. It is interesting to note that these organisms can only carry out their reproductive cycle within members of the cat family. In this parasite-host relationship, the cat is the definitive host. The infective stage (oocyst) develops in the gut of the cat. The oocysts are then shed into the environment with cat feces.

How do people get toxoplasmosis?

People get toxoplasmosis the following ways:

  • By consuming foods (such as raw or undercooked meats, especially pork, lamb, or wild game) or drinking untreated water (from rivers or ponds) that may contain the parasite.
  • Fecal-oral: Touching your hands to your mouth after gardening, handling cats, cleaning a cat’s litter box, or anything that has come into contact with cat feces.
  • Mother-to-fetus (if mother is pregnant when first infected with T. gondii).
  • Through organ transplants or blood transfusions, although these modes are rare.

Symptoms of toxoplasmosis and severe toxoplasmosis

Toxoplasmosis is relatively harmless to most people, although some may develop “flu-like” symptoms such as swollen lymph glands and/or muscle aches and pains. In otherwise healthy individuals, the disease is usually mild and goes away without medical treatment. However, dormant non-infective parasites can remain in the infected individual for life. An unborn child may contract the parasite congenitally resulting in severe outcomes including miscarriage or stillbirth.

However, persons with weakened immune systems such as those with HIV/AIDS infection, organ transplant recipients, individuals undergoing chemotherapy, and infants may develop severe toxoplasmosis. Severe toxoplasmosis may result in damage to the eyes or brain. Infants becoming infected before birth can be born retarded or with other mental or physical problems.

When will symptoms appear? What is the duration?

The time that symptoms appear varies, but generally symptoms will appear 1 week to 1 month after consuming the parasite.

Infants infected while still in the womb may show no symptoms at birth, but develop symptoms later in life.

The duration of the illness depends on the health and immune status of the host. Persons with weakened immune systems may experience illnesses of long duration, possibly resulting in death.

Who is at risk for contracting severe toxoplasmosis?

Those at risk include:

  • Persons with weakened immune systems including those with HIV/AIDS infection, organ transplant recipients, or those individuals undergoing chemotherapy.
  • Infants born to mothers who become infected with T. gondii shortly before becoming pregnant or during pregnancy. Those mothers exposed to T. gondii longer than 6 months before becoming pregnant rarely transmit toxoplasmosis to their infants.

How to prevent toxoplasmosis

  • If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, or if you have a weakened immune system, you should discuss your risk of contracting toxoplasmosis with your health care provider.
  • Wear clean latex gloves when handling raw meats, or have someone who is healthy, and not pregnant, handle the meats for you.
  • Cook all raw beef, pork, lamb and veal steaks, chops, and roasts to a minimum internal temperature of 145 °F as measured with a food thermometer before removing meat from the heat source. For safety and quality, allow meat to rest for at least three minutes before carving or consuming. For reasons of personal preference, consumers may choose to cook meat to higher temperatures.
  • Cook all raw ground beef, pork, lamb, and veal to an internal temperature of 160 °F as measured with a food thermometer.
  • Cook all poultry to a safe minimum internal temperature of 165 °F as measured with a food thermometer.
  • Wash hands, cutting boards, and other utensils thoroughly with hot, soapy water after handling raw meats.
  • Clean cat litter boxes daily because cat feces more than a day old can contain mature parasites.
  • Wash hands thoroughly with warm water and soap after handling cats, cleaning cat litter boxes, especially before you handle or eat food.
  • Wear gloves when you handle garden soil or sandboxes. Cats may use gardens or sandboxes as litter boxes. (Cover sandboxes to prevent cats from using them as litter boxes.)
  • Help prevent cats from becoming infected with T. gondii by discouraging them from hunting and scavenging.
  • Feed cats commercially made cat foods or cook their food.

Trichinella spiralis

Trichinella spiralis, cause of trichinellosis (also known as trichinosis) (TRICK-a-NO-sis) is an intestinal roundworm whose larvae may migrate from the digestive tract and form cysts in various muscles of the body. Infections occur worldwide, but are most prevalent in regions where pork or wild game is consumed raw or undercooked. The incidence of trichinosis has declined in the United States due to changes in hog feeding practices. Presently, most cases in this country are caused by consumption of raw or undercooked wild game.

How do people get trichinellosis?

People get trichinellosis (trichinosis) by consuming raw or undercooked meats such as pork, wild boar, bear, bobcat, cougar, fox, wolf, dog, horse, seal, or walrus infected with Trichinella larvae.

The illness is not spread directly from person to person.

Symptoms of trichinellosis

The first symptoms are nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, fever, fatigue, and abdominal pain, followed by headaches, eye swelling, aching joints and muscles, weakness, and itchy skin. In severe infections, persons may experience difficulty with coordination and have heart and breathing problems. Death may occur in severe cases.

When will symptoms appear? What is the duration?

Abdominal symptoms may appear within 1 to 2 days after eating contaminated meat. Further symptoms (eye swelling and aching muscles and joints) may begin 2 to 8 weeks after infection. Mild cases may assumed to be flu. Symptoms may last for months.

Who is at risk for contracting trichinellosis?

Persons consuming raw or under cooked pork or wild game.

Persons with weakened immune systems including those with HIV/AIDS infection, organ transplant recipients, or those individuals undergoing chemotherapy may be at a greater risk for infection.

How to prevent trichinellosis

  • Wash your hands with warm water and soap after handling raw meat.
  • Cook all raw pork steaks, chops, and roasts to a minimum internal temperature of 145 °F as measured with a food thermometer before removing meat from the heat source. For safety and quality, allow meat to rest for at least three minutes before carving or consuming. For reasons of personal preference, consumers may choose to cook meat to higher temperatures.
  • Clean meat grinders thoroughly each time you grind meat at home.

Taenia saginata/Taenia solium (Tapeworms)

Taenia saginata (beef tapeworm) and Taenia solium (pork tapeworm) are parasitic worms (helminths). Taeniasis is the name of the intestinal infection caused by adult-stage tapeworms (beef or pork tapeworms). Cysticercosis is the name of the tissue (other than intestinal) infection caused by the larval-stage of the pork tapeworm only.

It is interesting to note that humans are the definitive hosts of both organisms. This means that the reproductive cycle, and thus egg production by the organisms, occurs only within humans. Eggs are passed in human feces and they may be shed into the environment for as long as the worms remain in the intestines (for as long as 30 years). In addition, the eggs may remain viable in the environment for many months.

These diseases are more prevalent in underdeveloped countries where sanitation practices may be substandard and in areas where pork and beef are consumed raw or undercooked. They are relatively uncommon in the U.S., although travelers and immigrants are occasionally infected.

How do people get Taeniasis?

People get Taeniasis by consuming raw or undercooked infected beef or pork.

Symptoms of Taeniasis

Most cases of infection with adult worms are without symptoms. Some persons may experience abdominal pain, weight loss, digestive disturbances, and possible intestinal obstruction.

Irritation of the peri-anal area can occur, caused by worms or worm segments exiting the anus.

When will symptoms appear? What is the duration?

T. saginata (beef tapeworm) infections appear within 10 to 14 weeks. T. solium (pork tapeworm) infections appear within 8 to 12 weeks.

Taeniasis may last many years without medical treatment.

Who is at risk for contracting Taeniasis?

Anyone consuming infected beef or pork (raw or undercooked).

Persons with weakened immune systems including those with HIV/AIDS infection, organ transplant recipients, or those individuals undergoing chemotherapy may be at a greater risk for infection.

How to prevent Taeniasis

Cook all raw beef and pork steaks, chops, and roasts to a minimum internal temperature of 145 °F as measured with a food thermometer before removing meat from the heat source. For safety and quality, allow meat to rest for at least three minutes before carving or consuming. For reasons of personal preference, consumers may choose to cook meat to higher temperatures.

How do people get cysticercosis?

People get cysticercosis the following ways:

  • By consuming food or water contaminated with the eggs of T. solium (pork tapeworm). Worm eggs hatch and the larvae then migrate to various parts of the body and form cysts called cysticerci. This can be a serious or fatal disease if it involves organs such as the central nervous system, heart, or eyes.
    By putting anything into your mouth that has touched the stool of a person infected with T. solium.
  • Some persons with intestinal tapeworms may infect themselves with eggs from their own feces as a result of poor personal hygiene.

Symptoms of cysticercosis

Symptoms may vary depending on the organ or organ system involved. For example, in muscles, lumps under the skin may result. Cysticercosis can cause blurred vision in the eyes. An individual with cysticercosis involving the central nervous system (neurocysticercosis) may exhibit neurological symptoms such as psychiatric problems or epileptic seizures. Death is common.

When will symptoms appear? What is the duration?

Symptoms usually appear from several weeks to several years after becoming infected with the eggs of the pork tapeworm ( T. solium). Symptoms may last for many years if medical treatment is not received.

Who is at risk for contracting cysticercosis?

Persons traveling to countries where sanitation may be substandard and the water supply may be unsafe.

Young children, pregnant women, older adults, and persons with weakened immune systems including those with HIV/AIDS infection, cancer, diabetes, kidney disease, and transplant patients, or those individuals undergoing chemotherapy may be at greater risk for infection.

How to prevent cysticercosis

  • Drink water only from treated municipal water supplies.
  • Do not eat undercooked pork or meat.
  • When traveling to countries where the water supply may be unsafe, either avoid the water or boil it for 1 minute to kill parasite eggs. Avoid ice in those same areas. Drinking bottled beverages or hot coffee and tea are safe alternatives.
  • Do not swallow water while swimming.
  • Do not swim in community swimming pools if you or your child are infected with tapeworms.
  • Wash, peel, or cook raw fruits and vegetables before eating.
  • Make sure that infected individuals wash their hands frequently to reduce the spread of infection

Linked from: http://theweekendprepper.com/food-storage/parasites-foodborne-illness/

GOT CHARCOAL?

I think every prepper with a bug out bag should have at least 1 bottle of Activated Charcoal capsules, or powder for making tonic drinks.  For those who already have their homestead or Bug Out location, I advise MAKING charcoal and having as much as possible on hand (ground up) ready to use.

In the times ahead, I see lots of people eating lots of things that under “normal” circumstances they would not, or indulging in food a little too old.  You may even have to trade for food you are not 100% certain of quality or origin.  After the first sign of food poisoning or any poisoning/bowel distress, get the charcoal in you as fast as you can! It draws toxins like flies to honey saving you from hours or DAYS of serious distress, maybe even possibly save your life.

Uses for charcoal

Uses and benefits: upset stomach, colic, nausea, vomiting, acid indigestion, gas, and more.  Another great use for your quality homemade charcoal is as BIO CHAR. You would want to smash it into a chunky powder leaving no piece bigger than a golf ball.  Mix your charcoal with your compost and manure and let if sit.  Just as it absorbs poisons, it also provides the perfect home for beneficial bacteria for your garden.  Once the charcoal is infused with all the good stuff, TILL it into your soil with the compost and manure normally. The cool thing about  your little bio-char / bacteria  houses that you’ve mix up, is that they can release the beneficial nutrients for 100 years.  Thus turning poor soil into prime farm land and makes prime farmland even better. Try it!  You’ll thank me.

There are a lot of other uses for your charcoal such as homemade water filters that you can use to purify rainwater or whatever water source you want.  Some of you may also recall that episode of  ‘preppers’ where that guy was using charcoal between two filter masks.  He covered the inner layer with charcoal and then duct taped the two face masks together.  The charcoal will act as the filter in this method.  I have not tried it myself but the idea seems sound to me.

I also just learned that high-end speakers use activated charcoal to filter sound.  I know it does something as far as frequency in the soil, beneficially, but I just learned of this myself and don’t know enough to speak on it.  I’m including it here in hopes that someone out there smarter than me might comment as to what it’s all about or for those that want to research this on your own.

How to Prep For Feminine Hygiene Needs

We have grown so reliant on throwaway products for perfectly natural events that sometimes people wonder how on earth they would deal with it if suddenly those products were unavailable.  Of course, for many centuries we handled things like menstruation without access to the local Wal-Mart, and with just a little bit of preparation we could do so again.

This issue of feminine hygiene is an important one not only from the perspective of personal, feminine comfort, but for overall health and prevention of bacterial infections and other nasties.

Guys, if you are not comfortable with the topic of feminine hygiene, feel free to skip over this one or send it off to one of your lady friends who most assuredly will thank you.  On the other hand, it is important to have an understanding of others and the challenges they face following a disruptive event, so, for that reason, I hope you stick around.

History of Feminine Hygiene

With most topics relating to preparedness, the answers we seek come from the past, and the subject of feminine hygiene is no different.

Throughout history, women have used two means of absorbing menstrual fluids: external protection, like a pad, and internal protection, like a tampon.

Women have fashioned absorbent pads from materials like animal skins, oil silk, wadding, paper, wood fibers, linen, and wool. The pads were held in place by belts or string.

What many people don’t know is that from as early as ancient Egypt (1850 BCE) women were fashioning tampons for internal protection. They have used sea sponges, bits of fabric like cotton or wool, rolled up and tied with string, papyrus, and even moss or grass to absorb their flows.

In the early 1800s, many documents indicate that women simply wore dark undergarments and clothing and did not use anything additional to absorb the fluids. It wasn’t until about the mid-1800s that a rubber menstrual cup was patented. Most women, however, made their own products to deal with their periods during that time.

The Tampax company began producing the first disposable, mass-produced tampons in the early 1930s. The first modern menstrual cup was patented in 1937 but was unable to compete with the convenience of the disposable tampons. The first disposable pads that came out had to be pinned to the underwear until the 1950s, when sanitary belts began to become popular. In the 1960s, pads with adhesive strips revolutionized feminine hygiene.

The Feminine Hygiene Preps You Should Make

While it is interesting to see what was used throughout history, I doubt that any of us wish to use moss to deal with that time of the month. If you are a woman of childbearing age, or if you have daughters, even ones too young to be menstruating, you will want to make preparations to deal with menstruation in the event a time comes that you can’t make a quick, monthly trip to Wal-Mart or the drugstore.

Feminine preparedness is something that is often overlooked by those of us that write about prepping. After receiving a number of questions from readers, I felt it was high time that I became educated to some of the alternatives to traditional, disposable methods for dealing with the monthly menses.

It is my wish that the following suggestions will help you to get some feminine hygiene preps in order.

Stockpile Sanitary Napkins and Tampons

When times are stressful, it can be helpful to avoid as many changes as possible. If you stockpile several months’ supply of sanitary napkins and tampons, you may be able to ride out the event that has kept you from being able to purchase them at the store.  Purchase additional packages of disposable products each month and stash them away for a time in which you need them.

As well, if the event causes water to be in short supply, having some disposable products on hand will keep you from using your valuable supply to soak soiled cloths.

The best way to dispose of soiled menstrual products is to burn them.

Why You Should Consider Reusable Products

In a long-term scenario,  you will need solutions that can be reused and don’t require disposal. Not many people could stock up on enough disposable supplies to last forever. Don’t forget that reusable pads can also be used for minor incontinence and post-birth bleeding, making them handy for many different stages in a woman’s life.

Some women are turning to reusable solutions voluntarily.  This has several benefits. First, they are able to avoid the potentially unhealthy chemicals used in the manufacture of pads and tampons. Second, they are being kind to the planet by reducing waste. Thirdly, they save a lot of money by not having to make a purchase each month.

And finally, and perhaps most importantly, if the SHTF, they are already accustomed to dealing with these methods of feminine hygiene.

Buy Cloth Pads

Most of the ready-made cloth pads that you can buy these days are really comfortable and convenient. Popular materials are cotton, flannel, and bamboo. Gone are the days of pins and belts. Today, most of these pads are made with little wings. Where disposable pads would have adhesive to keep them in place, on the wings of the reusable pads are Velcro or snaps that wrap around and fasten the pad to your underwear.

You should plan on a variety of pads to meet the different needs of your cycle. You will want to purchase half a dozen pantyliners and overnight/heavy flow pads and about 12 daytime pads. You can save money buy purchasing an entire kit. While this looks expensive, keep in mind that this is a one-time purchase that will last 5 years or longer if you take care of it properly.

DIY Some Cloth Pads

If you are into saving money and DIY, it is a fairly simple project to make your own pads.

This two-part video tutorial will walk you through the steps of making your own pads.

Caring for Cloth Pads

Another question that often arises when discussing cloth pads is, “What do you do with them when you are out or are away from home?”.

You can treat them basically like cloth diapers. When you remove the soiled pad, use the snaps to fold the soiled area inward. Then, place it in a sturdy Ziploc freezer bag or one of these “wet bags” designed for feminine hygiene products.

If you are at home, of course, it is exponentially easier. Rinse the pad in cold running water. Then, put it in a container under the bathroom sink that contains a white vinegar and water solution. This will keep any stains from setting in until you have a chance to wash it thoroughly. Generally, pads are machine washable and can be dried on low. If you want to be discreet about washing them, use a mesh lingerie bag to keep them together in the laundry.

Avoid using bleach, as it will break down the fibers of your pads and reduce the lifespan. Avoid using fabric softener, too, because it can cause the pad to be less absorbent.

This video goes into more detail about washing your pads.

Internal Protection

Some women truly dislike using pads because they find them uncomfortable. There are a couple of safe methods of internal protection, too.

The Menstrual Cup

One of the most popular reusable solutions is the menstrual cup. Generally made of flexible silicone, these cups are inserted vaginally and collect the menstrual flow. They are removed, dumped, rinsed, and reinserted.

The most popular menstrual cup on the market is the Diva Cup. It comes in two sizes, pre-childbirth and post childbirth. A newcomer to the market, the Blossom Cup, is about half the price and has fantastic reviews.

Sponges

A product used for centuries, natural sponges are absorbent, safe, and reliable methods for internal protection.

To use the sponge, simply dampen it, squeeze it out, and insert it. You can tie a string around it for easier removal. Rinse well, squeeze out, and reinsert. You can use the same sponge for numerous cycles, until it begins to break down and become less absorbent.  When your cycle is over, soak the sponge in hydrogen peroxide, then air dry it thoroughly before storing it away.

You can purchase sponges that are sold as sponge tampons if you want to pay 6 times the price, but any sea sponge will work. You can cut them to size if the sponge piece is too large for comfortable insertion.

The Final Word

Feminine hygiene preps are often overlooked as we pay attention to things like food, shelter, fire, and water. Although I am well past the age of needing this type of prep for myself, I do believe that this is something many preppers need and thus is deserving of our attention.

If you are a woman or if you live with women (or girls), prepare for your monthly needs in the same way that you would for any other regular occurrence. Build a stockpile to meet immediate needs, and prepare a back-up in the event that the crisis lasts for a longer period of time.

As far as comfort in a disaster is concerned, having some solutions in place could greatly relieve anxiety and inconvenience in a stressful scenario.

How to Bug Proof Your Hammock by Serac Hammocks

With the sun shining once again, it’s about time to dust off that hammock. Oh, you don’t have one? Didn’t you hear? Hammock camping is the new thing. It’s lighter, cozier, and way cooler than any other sleeping method around. Snark aside, hammocks are on the rise, and this has furthered a new crop of hammock-related questions.

One of the most common: What about bugs?

We got in touch with Jeff Zhang of Serac Hammocks, who wrote a guest post for us on how to bug proof your hammock. Serac Hammocks sells just one type of hammock — the Classic, which is lightweight, knot-free, and a screaming deal. The company is dead set on increasing awareness about hammock camping, and recently released a free e-book that describes everything about the process. We covered that here.

How to Bug Proof Your Hammock

As the weather gets warmer and the temperature rises, mosquitoes come out to play. Mosquitoes are completely inactive in the winter, hibernating through the cold months. But once the temperature warms, the mosquitoes begin to come out in force. I hate mosquitoes, but they sure as heck love me. To keep my undesired suitors at bay, I always make sure I’m properly equipped to bug proof my hammocks. Here are a couple ways to make your next trip sucker free.

Get a Jungle Hammock

A jungle hammock is a style of hammock that features a built in mosquito net. These hammocks provide full protection even in the buggiest conditions. They are often sold as complete shelters and can run several hundred dollars.

A cheaper alternative to a jungle hammock are parachute hammocks with a built in mosquito net. These hammocks are essentially the same as the popular parachute nylon camping hammocks, but with an attached bug net. These hammocks can also be used as a normal hammock by flipping it over, making it a versatile choice. This way, you can just hang out without being constricted within the net.

But watch out for low quality netting. A net that feels soft and lightweight might be comfortable to to the touch, but they will tear easily. A single hole in your netting can make it all but useless. Instead opt for a bug net that has strong individual fibers with a more textured feel.

Use a Mosquito Net Designed for Hammocks

If you aren’t looking to buy a new hammock just to fight some mosquitoes, you can still find great protection for your hammock. Many types of netting exist that are designed specifically for your hammock. The concept for all of them is essentially the same. The hammock is strung through the mosquito net through two openings on each end. The mosquito net is suspended with a ridgeline above the hammock. You can get in and out of the mosquito net through a zipper on one side.

A separate mosquito net provides 360 degrees of protection for your hammock. Unlike a built in mosquito net, a separate mosquito net will prevent insects from landing on the outer layer of the hammock itself. This reduces the chance of persistent critters biting through the fabric. This ridgeline style setup is also very easy to master.

Treat your Hammock and Gear with Permethrin

Sometimes we just want to sleep under the stars without a net obstructing our view. If you don’t want to fumble with a bug net, you can treat your equipment with permethrin. Permethrin is a synthetic molecule that is similar to pyrethrum, a natural compound found in chrysanthemum flowers. Permethrin not only repels insects, but it will kill ticks, mosquitoes and all sorts of other buggers on contact. It is the active ingredient in many insect repelling fabrics. It kills insects that come in contact with it by overloading their nervous system. But for us, don’t worry, it’s nontoxic and completely safe for topical use on anyone over the age of 2 months.

You can buy spray bottles of permethrin to apply to your own gear. Once properly applied, it is odorless and leaves no residue. A hammock treated with permethrin combined with insect repellent makes a powerful mosquito shield. This is great for people that are weight conscious about their gear or simply don’t want a mosquito net. Keep in mind that permethrin has “spatial repellency” to insects. This means that mosquitoes may swarm around you, but they will not land on a hammock that has been treated.

Use Natural Mosquito Repellents and Camp Away from Water

The easiest way to avoid mosquitoes is to set up camp far away from where they are likely to be. Mosquitoes tend to swarm around water sources where the females lays her eggs. Campsites that are far away from rivers and lakes will have a much lower concentration of mosquitoes. Having a hammock gives you plenty of options for campsites. However, this will only reduce the overall number of mosquitoes. It’s very hard to completely be rid of them.

Natural insect repellents exist also exist, but are less effective than netting or chemicals. Natural oils like citronella are effective mosquito repellents. You can apply these to your skin before camping in your hammock. Drinking a few teaspoons of apple cider vinegar can also reduce the amount of mosquito bites you’ll encounter.

Don’t Let the Mosquitoes Stop You!

All of this is our best advice, but keep in mind that when we’re outdoors, mosquitoes are often a fact of life. But just because they’re buzzing around, it doesn’t mean that you can’t still enjoy a trip into the wild! Whether you get a mosquito proof hammock or simply modify your existing one, hammock without fear the next time you’re out.

More than 100,000 People Can’t Drink the Contaminated Tap Water in Alabama…Until September!

It really seems as though issues with municipal water supplies are occurring more frequently. More than 100,000 residents have been told that they can’t drink or cook with the contaminated tap water in Alabama by the West Morgan-East Lawrence Water Authority…but this isn’t just a week-long clean-up.  The restriction is expected to last until September.

The issue is synthetic chemicals that have the potential to cause cancer, birth defects, and developmental delays in children.  Traces of PFOS (Perfluorooctane sulfonate) and PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid) were found in the blood of nearly every single person tested, according to the EPA.

This is a contaminant I covered in my book, The Prepper’s Water Survival Guide when I wrote about the fact that some suspected toxins in municipal water supplies are not actually regulated.

The EPA has drinking water regulations for more than 90 contaminants. Currently, the agency is monitoring 30 contaminants that presently are not regulated, 28 of which are chemicals and two of which are viruses.

In late 2013, researchers from the US Geological Survey and the Environmental Protection Agency analyzed single samples of untreated and treated water from 25 US utilities that voluntarily participated in the project. They found traces of 18 unregulated chemicals, including 11 perfluorinated compounds, an herbicide, two solvents, caffeine, an antibacterial compound, a metal, and an antidepressant. The researchers said the concentrations were generally low, but for many of the contaminants, little is known about potential health risks. But one of the perfluorinated compounds, known as PFOA, has been linked to a variety of health problems, including cancer among people in communities where water is contaminated by a chemical plant in West Virginia.

PFOA has been detected in the blood of nearly all people in the US. Even more disturbing? A panel of scientists has concluded that there is a “probable link” between PFOA in drinking water and high cholesterol, ulcerative colitis, thyroid disease, testicular cancer, kidney cancer, and pregnancy-induced hypertension. The findings were based on people in Mid-Ohio Valley communities whose water was polluted with PFOA from a DuPont plant.[1]

[1] http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/unregulated-chemicals-foundin-drinking-water

The water authority blames 3M for the contaminated tap water in Alabama.

Let the finger-pointing and buck-passing begin. Last year, the water authority filed a suit against “3M and other companies” over the contamination in the river. If I’m understanding that correctly (and I’m pretty sure I am) that means they were aware of this issue long before the advisory was issued on May 19. So, much like the Flint scandal, those in the know were aware that customers (who pay for water) were drinking cancer-water.

3M, however, says not to worry. You’ll be fine.

“Attorney William Brewer, who represents 3M in the matter, said via email that the company has followed the law and disputed the claims that the substances are harmful.

“3M’s activities in connection with these materials were not only fully permitted but entirely appropriate,” Brewer said. “In any event, we believe the claims against 3M – and recent actions taken by the water authority – are based upon the mistaken belief that the mere presence of these chemicals equals harm.”

3M stopped manufacturing both chemicals more than a decade ago, yet the substances remain in the water at elevated levels. Environmental group Tennessee Riverkeeper filed a notice of intent to sue 3M last year over contamination of the river.

Dr. Carol Ley, 3M vice president and corporate medical director, said the company has not found evidence of negative health impacts among its own workers, who were exposed to the chemicals for long periods of time.

“Although we support the work of the EPA and other regulators, we believe these advisory levels are overly conservative,” Ley said in a news release. “We believe that PFOS and PFOA do not present health risks at levels they are typically found in the environment or in human blood.””

Oh. Well, gee. In that case, folks can just guzzle away. I’m sure 3M will take responsibility if they get cancer from excess levels of PFOS and PFOA, right?

You can’t boil away or filter away this type of contamination.

The thing with chemical contamination is that the water simply can’t be purified.  Boiling it, in many cases, simply intensifies the strength of the toxins.  Filtering it does nothing to remove the chemicals. (Although I have high hopes for this water filter that was the only one I’m aware of that made the water in West Virgina and Toledo safe to drink. They’re currently running tests with these particular chemicals and I’ll let you know the resulst as soon as I know.) That’s the case in this northern Alabama community. According to an RT report, WMEL general manager Don Sims gave a press conference.

“I recommend that all our customers do not drink our water, until we are able to bring the temporary system our engineer is designing online,” Sims said at a news conference.

The warning covers not only fresh water, but even water boiled and filtered at home, since neither method can remove the chemical contaminants.

After building up in people and animals over time, PFOS and PFOA can also cause liver and thyroid damage, as well as immune system problems, with small children and expectant women the two categories most at risk.

The company is hard at work, engineering a temporary system to the tune of $4 million. The system is “a granular activated carbon system that forces water through six box-car sized filters before sending it on to customers.”  The permanent system won’t be ready until 2019 and will cost somewhere between $30 million and $50 million.

Meanwhile, as every prepper knows often happens in a disaster, residents are completely on their own in this far-from-wealthy area. (Hmm….do you think their bills will be adjusted to reflect this?)

The last census pinpointed the per capita income for the city at only $23,615, with 17.5% of the population living below the poverty line. But, while the company is spending millions on expensive filtration systems, those who were unprepared for this type of disaster with stored water will be using bottled. And they’ll be doing so alone, because, according to the website AL.com, “The authority said it does not have the means to provide bottled water for its customers in the interim.”

So not only will people be scrambling to afford to buy bottled water, with this much need for it, they’ll probably have to drive elsewhere to acquire it.  If you’ve ever been on a really tight budget, you know that an unexpected expense like that can be crippling.

Are you testing your own tap water?

It used to be that you only had to worry about drinking the tap water when you visited third world countries and places without public water purification. But more and more, it seems that advisories will be issued to travelers:  “Don’t drink the water in America.”

The thing about this that should send shudders down the spines of everyone who, you know, drinks or cooks with water, is the fact that we have no idea how long the water was contaminated with cancer-causing agents before it was discovered and the warning issued. But there are many contaminants that could be in your water, and if we’ve learned anything from the scandal in Flint, Michigan, it should be this:

YOU WILL BE THE LAST TO KNOW.

Here’s another quick excerpt from The Prepper’s Water Survival Guide about water testing.

Even if you are getting presumably safe “city water” from a municipal supply, you should be provided with an annual report that explains what kind of testing was done on your water and what was found, if anything. Of course, if you aren’t the trusting type, you can still test that water yourself as an added precaution.

If you have a well or are collecting water from a source that is not monitored and regulated, you will need to take responsibility for testing and purifying your water yourself.

Studies have shown that around 50 percent of private water systems fail at least one drinking water standard.

Many common pollutants do not cause water to smell, taste, or look funny, so you can’t rely on your senses to determine safety.

Water is a “universal solvent,” meaning that it has the ability to dissolve almost anything it comes into contact with. This characteristic means that it is very easily contaminated.

Most testing isn’t expensive, and the time and financial investment will provide you with priceless peace of mind. Not only is your family’s health at stake, there are possible legal consequences involved. Think about how litigious our society is: If someone consumes your water and becomes ill, you’ll want to be able to prove that you conducted the proper testing on a regular basis. And, should you suspect your water supply has become contaminated by an outside source, you’ll want to have documentation to support your case.

 Testing Kits

You can test your water yourself or have a professional lab or service do it for you. Drinking water quality test kits are available for purchase online and at most superstores and home improvement stores. Basic kits usually test for bacteria, lead, nitrates/nitrites, pesticides, chlorine, hardness, and pH. They are fast, simple to use, and inexpensive. Your test kit will have instructions specific to that kit. Kits that test for less-common contaminants are also available. Some test for 15 or more contaminants, including the ones in the basic testing kits, plus iron, sulfate, copper, and sulfide.

Even more in-depth testing kits are available, but most of them require you to send your samples to a professional lab. Most of them check your water for around 100 different contaminants, including volatile organic compounds, toxic metals, heavy metals, and bacteria. The pricing for these comprehensive kits is typically in the $100 range, and results can take about a week to receive.

  • The Watersafe Well Water Test Kit was specifically designed to help you test quickly and easily for the 10 most common contaminants found in private wellwater, including: iron, copper, lead, bacteria, pesticides, nitrates, nitrites, chlorine,pH and hardness.
  • The PurTest Home Water Analysis kit is a comprehensive EPA-based test kit that allows you to quickly and easily test your drinking water  for various contaminants and conditions. Tests included: 1 test each for bacteria, lead, & pesticide. Two (2) tests each for iron, alkalinity, pH, hardness, chlorine, copper, nitrate & nitrite.
  • The Essential Indicators test is the most thorough, but you have to send the water to their lab to get the results. The test checks for 170 health-related contaminants including Volatile Organic Compounds, Essential Elements, Heavy Metals and Inorganic Chemicals. You simply fill the bottles with your tap water and return them to our lab using the same box you received with the test kit. Within about 6 business days you will receive an email containing the results of your water test along with recommended treatment suggestions if a problem was found. The one family of contaminants that you will test for yourself are pathogenic bacteria, which, if present, can cause infectious diseases.

From a preparedness perspective, it makes sense to keep a few of these DIY kits on hand in the event you need to test water during a disaster situation. (Obviously, not the one you have to send off to a lab.)

You are ultimately responsible for the health and safety of your family.

Let me repeat: You’re going to be the last one to know. In the current case of contaminated tap water in Alabama, it’s obvious by the legal action taken by the water authority against 3M that they’ve known this was an issue since last year. And yet, somehow, the advisory has long just been issued, halfway through 2016.

In the current case of contaminated tap water in Alabama, it’s obvious by the legal action taken by the water authority against 3M that they’ve known this was an issue since last year. And yet, somehow, the advisory has long just been issued, halfway through 2016. We saw the same thing happen in the Flint, Michigan crisis, where it’s suspected that the EPA, the governor of the state, and assorted other “officials” were aware of the high levels of lead in the municipal water supply.

And you’re also responsible for having the means to keep your family healthy. That means, you absolutely must store water. You must have a way to purify safe sources of water. And, lastly,  you must educate yourself on how and when to do these things.

When I was researching The Prepper’s Water Survival Guide, I was blown away by the things I learned about the contaminants in our water every single day. Before that, I didn’t test my own water. I stored some water, but felt that most things could be filtered out by a high-quality system.

But that’s the natural stuff. You can’t purify water of many of these chemicals, and it’s important to learn the difference.

This is precisely why preppers talk about long-term water emergencies, and it’s such a realistic scenario that I wrote an entire book on the topic. It isn’t a far-fetched apocalyptic fantasy. It’s something that can (and does) happen, right here in America, without any type of warning. It’s a life-changing, even life-threatening, situation, but you can get ahead of it. You can prepare for these emergencies that are becoming more and more frequent.

How are your water preps coming along?