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As preppers we are always trying to figure out the perfect combination of living simply, while taking advantage of today’s technology. There is quite a bit we can learn from how people lived a century ago. If an EMP, CME or something else took down the power grid, we could easily find ourselves in that type of situation.
In the early 1900’s, unless you lived in the big city, or had big money, you probably didn’t have refrigeration (1930’s), electricity, running water, automobiles, or grocery stores. While we try to become more self-reliant just in case, back then it wasn’t a choice…it was a necessity.
Life was simpler in the early 1900’s. The population was smaller, there was less technology, and nearly half the population were farmers. The typical family size (or household) was bigger out of necessity, their diets were different, and transportation was walking, horses and a few cars.
Because of all this, most people were a lot less dependent on others for their survival. In today’s society, people have become dependent on technology, and others for their survival. This is why if the power grid went down, 90% of the population would not exist.
Preparing For the Future By Learning From the Past
In order to give ourselves the best chance possible to live through a larger grid down event, or even just get through a smaller power outage, we need to learn how they did it 100 years ago. We don’t necessarily need to live like they did 100 years ago, or go back to the old west, but we need to learn how they did.
Lessons We Can Learn
Preparedness is about marrying the new with the old. We have the technology to harness solar power and communicate (ham radio) so why not use it. What we don’t want to do is be dependent on water coming from the faucet, food being at the grocery store, and the light coming on at the flip of a switch.
The basics of preparedness are pretty simple. The gadgets and trinkets are great, but won’t save your life. When it comes to any sort of disaster or SHTF scenario, life will be different, like it or not. We all try to do things today that will make life easier then, but we need to learn to live differently, and learning from the past is a good way to do that.
The 6 areas of preparedness
The 6 areas of preparedness, and how we can prepare in each of those categories. By taking the knowledge and supplies we have today, and coupling them with how they lived in the past, we can make life much easier when and if something goes down.
Were are a few topics we covered in the show…
Liberty Gardens: Most people in the early 1900’s gardened to one extent or the other. During WW1 people began to plant Liberty Gardens. This was to help feed the soldiers, and also because most of the farmers were sent off to war.
Cooking From Scratch: Cooking from scratch was a necessity. There was no pancake mix, hamburger helper or Campbell’s soup. If people wanted beef stew, they had to make it from scratch.
Ranching: Just like gardening, a lot of people owned livestock in the 1900’s. This may not been a full fledged “Ranch”, but quite a few people had cows, chickens and goats.
Hunting/Trapping: Hunting was a little easier back then because there were more animals, but just about everyone who didn’t live in the big city knew how to hunt at an early age.
Food Preservation: Because you had to grow your own crops, and hunt your own meat, preserving your food was also important. canning, smoking, dehydrating and root cellars were widely used.
Water Safety: Cholera and Typhoid are nearly non existent in the United States today, but that wasn’t the case 100 years ago. Today we have much more knowledge about clean drinking water, and this is one of the most important parts of preparedness.
Wells: If you lived in the city you might have indoor plumbing, but in the outskirts you were on your own. This meant people needed to dig wells, live close to a water source, and bring it into the house manually.
No Indoor Plumbing: If you lived in an Urban area, you might have had indoor plumbing. If you didn’t, you would have used used chamber pots or outhouses. This would be a huge culture shock to most people if the indoor plumbing didn’t work.
No Handymen: While everything back then was a lot simpler (easier to fix), DIY projects weren’t projects…they were necessity. There was no “Angie’s List” back then, and if you wanted something done, you did it yourself.
Clothing: We think of shelter as a roof over our head, but clothing is also shelter. Most people back then didn’t have a closet full of clothes like we do. A lot of people has Sunday Clothes, and Work Cloths. There were no clothing stores like we think of them, so if you wanted something new, you made it, or waited for it.
Houses: If you drive through an older town you will notice that the houses are much smaller, even the “Mansions” back then are smaller than some suburban homes these days. Smaller homes are easier to heat, easier to build, and the average household occupancy was larger back then.
Police: They didn’t have the police force that we have today, and the police couldn’t communicate like they do today. This meant that is something were to happen, you were probably on your own.
Culture: People had a different mentality back then. People we more self reliant, and didn’t like to depend on someone else for their livelihood or survival. These days it’s almost the exact opposite, most people expect (and feel entitled to) help from others.
Crime: The population was about a third of what it is today, and less population meant less crime. Because the society and culture were so different than it is today, you didn’t see some of the things we see today. Everyone pretty much knew everyone in smaller town, and sometimes criminals didn’t “get their day in court” if you know what I mean.
Supplies: Back then people didn’t have vacuums (or even carpet), air filters, or Swiffer Sweepers. The mops and brooms they used were very basic, and sometimes homemade.
Cleaning: Today it seems like we have never ending choices about what cleaning supplies we can buy, back than that was not the case. Cleaning supplies are a sometimes overlooked prepping supply, but are very important in preventing sickness and infection.
Indoor Plumbing: As I mentioned earlier, a lot of people did not have indoor plumbing, and this is what lead to many of the common diseases back then. It’s important that we learn about how they did things back then, and not make the same mistakes.
Trash Removal: People back then didn’t generate the amount of trash that we do today, but trash can also lead to health issues. In a SHTF scenario I doubt that the trash man will be coming around, so we need to figure out a solution.
First Aid (Medical)
Technology: The advancements we have made in science and technology would seem like magic to people in the 1900’s. If you’ve ever seen some of the equipment they used back then, you know what I mean. Medical professionals not only have better equipment, but better knowledge as well.
Medicine: Advancements is medicine have also come a long way in the last 100 years. With the advent of antibiotics, diseases and infections that would be fatal then, can be treated today. We have written a few articles about antibiotics for preppers.
Medical Help: Back then there weren’t hospitals like we think of then today, no flight for life, and no ambulances. Most towns had a town doctor with his doctor bag, and which probably had some Opium, snake oil and Heroin in it.
Incorporating Today’s Tools With Yesterday’s Skills
If we learn how people lived 100 years ago we can better prepare for any sort of grid down event, or SHTF event. We have much more knowledge and technology today than they had back then, but some of that technology may not be available.
By looking at all the topics covered above, and trying to figure out a solution for each, we can give ourselves a little better chance for survival, or at the very least, a little normalcy in a tough situation.
What Will Be Valuable in an Economic Collapse
The value or price of something is always determined by the supply vs. demand. In an economic collapse, the supply of many items will be greatly reduced which in turn will increase the price. So in this post, we are going to discuss what will be valuable in an economic collapse.
An economic collapse will slow down the flow of commerce and trade. We will see importing and exporting from and to countries will drop rapidly. The busy highways of semi-trucks hauling goods will come to a screeching halt.
So the demand for those items will increase as they become harder to get during a collapse. Along with that, the demand for other goods which was relatively low before the collapse will then skyrocket. For an example, gardening tools will be highly demanded in an economic collapse because many will turn to growing their own food during this time.As a prepper, we not only want to survive during an economic collapse but more importantly thrive. To thrive means to flourish or prosper. I don’t know about you but I don’t want to be barely getting by day to day after an economic collapse. This is will already be a stressful situation. In order to prevent that then we need to start preparing now. This is why it is important to get an understanding of what will be valuable in an economic collapse.
What will be valuable in an economic collapse?
Water and purification systems
Oil will no longer be the liquid gold during an economic collapse. Instead, the demand for oil will probably decrease as many are laid off or lose jobs. People will stop traveling for leisure or business.
Instead, water, especially drinking water, will be highly sought after. Many grocery and convenience stores will go out of business during an economic collapse. The stores that remain open will become bare of goods.
American’s specifically, have become mostly urbanized in the last hundred years. We are no longer taught to be self-sufficient with our own sources of water. Instead, we mostly rely on city water. This isn’t always safe to drink and tastes horrible.
In a collapse, I believe that many water systems across the country will shut down. As a result, many city slickers will be searching and scavenging looking for water. Along with that, the need for purification systems will increase. Collecting city water has a lot of health risks with it. This risk is much higher than rural water collection.
Therefore, many will be turning to natural sources of water and seeking to become self-sufficient. As a prepper, it is important to have our own sources of water in order to multiply our survivability.
As I mention in the book, if you don’t currently have your own source of water then there needs to be a strategic plan to one day attain it. In meantime, if you are in a collapse without your own source of water then you will be forced to collect from other sources. So having a collapsible water bag can be super helpful. It is lightweight and easy to carry.
You will also need ways to purify your water with water filters and purification tablets. At the time of this writing, you find some for a reasonable price. After a collapse, the price will skyrocket. I would recommend purchasing some of these items to barter or sell during the collapse. You can make a decent profit and thrive during such an event.
Food is another important item of survival. You can only survive 3 weeks without food. However, during a collapse, I wouldn’t recommend bartering or selling your emergency food storage.
Our society is so used to having food quickly. There are fast food restaurants on almost every corner. Then we have microwaves to provide us with a dinner in only a few minutes.
During a collapse, this convenience will hardly exist. This is along with many grocery and convenience stores shutting down. Food will become scarce.
Since you are not able to plant and reap a garden overnight there will be a lot of looting for survival items such as food. So you will need to have your emergency food stored securely.
In order to really thrive, I recommend growing and raising your own food now. Now, this can be used to barter or sell during a collapse. Not only that but it will increase your survivability by becoming more self-sufficient.
Piggybacking off of the previous point is that you will need land in order to grow a garden. Trying to find private land for a reasonable price during an economic collapse will be challenging. This is especially true if you are jobless and can’t afford it.
This is why it is important to find private land now. It is easier said than done, I know. Most preppers are on a very low budget. However, it’s not impossible. There are many websites like Landwatch where you can find owner financed land. So if you can’t afford to get a loan through a bank then this can be a reasonable option for you.
Having a fortified shelter on the land that you own will increase your survivability a ton. Having a shelter helps you to survive rough weather conditions. It also protects you from other outside threats like looters.
If you don’t own a home during an economic collapse then there is a high chance that you can be forced out. Many property owners will fall behind on mortgage payments. This could force them to sell the property to pay off the loan. The other option is that they can jack your rent sky high forcing you to become homeless.
This is why it is important for preppers to get out of debt and purchase their own land and property. In order to do so, we must prepare on a strict budget. We must also put together a strategic plan now so that you are not forced to bug out. Again, I talk about how to put together a bugout proof plan on a budget in The Strategic Prepper eBook.
Another option to have are tents or shelter systems. A low-cost way of having a shelter is to learn how to bushcraft a shelter. Such survival skills are one of the many prepper skills that will be imperative to have during a collapse.
Not only are they important for you to have but they will be valuable bartering items during a collapse. So you could stock up on shelters or you could produce your own to barter. You can typically find tarps for about $10 that can be used for shelter.
Yes, a shelter does provide protection from weather elements. However, you can’t be cooped up in your shelter all the time. You will need to go out to gather, hunt or work your garden.
So if you live up north then you will be facing extreme weather conditions. Therefore you will need to have 3 specific layers to stay warm. Those three layers include the base layer, insulation layer, and shell layer.
The base layer is designed to wick moisture from your sweating body to prevent hypothermia. The insulation layer is designed to trap your body heat to keep you warm. The shell layer is designed to block the outside cold from penetrating your body.
Hand tools at this moment are already a wise investment to have. So in an economic collapse, they will be so much more valuable. This is because you most likely won’t be able to call on maintenance to come fix things at your location. Instead, you will be forced to become self-sufficient and fix items yourself.
Ammunition and firearms
In order to keep your shelter fortified you will need some security systems in place. One of the few security layers that you should have include ammunition and firearms. This will be more important than ever to have since violent crime will skyrocket. People will be willing to kill others just for some canned food.
On top of that, there will probably be government takeovers or foreign invasions. Either way, they could do some serious harm with the amount of firepower that they have. Now, I’m not saying that you should stock up on AR 15s to fight off the government.
Because they have tanks and drones that can demolish you. You don’t stand a chance. So you will need to choose your battles wisely.
With that being said, many other people will be looking to defend themselves during this time. People will be willing to pay high prices in order to protect themselves. The price for ammunition will at least quadruple during a collapse.
Emergency items and medication
With so much violence going on during an economic collapse it will be important to have emergency items like first aid kits. Along with that antibiotics will be in high demand to fight off infections. Most likely hospitals will run through or be taken over. Therefore it is important to have your own medical emergency supply. You could also stock up on these items to barter or sell.
In an economic collapse, it will be a hard struggle for those that are addicted to things like alcohol, caffeine, and tobacco. It will be especially hard for those that are addicted to illegal drugs. Many will go to great lengths and pay higher prices to attain those items.
I don’t know about you but I need my coffee. Without my morning coffee, you wouldn’t want to speak with me.
During a collapse, I know that it is going to be especially challenging. There are many people just like me that will need or want their caffeine fix.
Now I’m not saying that you should stockpile on illegal items. Instead, focus on those that won’t land you behind bars. You can find cheap alcohol, coffee, and cigarettes. These will be highly valued during a collapse.
During past economic collapses and financial crisis, we have seen inflation skyrocket. This means the value of the paper dollar will become worthless. Stores and other traders will begin rejecting the dollar.
Coincidentally the value of precious metals stays consistent with the rise of inflation. Precious metals hold tangible value compared to the fiat currency. There are many uses of silver that keeps the demand for silver so high. This is one of the many reasons preppers should have silver.
On top of that, silver has always been recognized as a symbol of currency across thousands of years. When the dollar collapses then many will return to using silver as currency.
Now those that are struggling for survival during a collapse would probably care less about purchasing precious metals. They will be focused mainly on survival items such as food and water. However, in order to purchase those items at the store, you will need to provide something of value.
Junk silver will most likely be the most recognized form of currency during a collapse. Most stores and those that deal with money on a daily basis understand the real value of junk coins. These coins contain 90% silver. Therefore it represents value.
There are a few ways to collect junk silver. First, you should look through your change drawer to find quarters and dimes that were produced before 1965. You could also exchange dollars at a local change machine to see if you can find some. If those options don’t work then I would recommend checking out SD Bullion where I get most of my silver.
The great thing about SD Bullion is that they don’t require a $100 minimum order. Most bullion companies require a $100 minimum order. Instead, I take about $20 to $30 of each paycheck to buy silver bullion. You don’t have to go broke trying to prepare for such a situation.
Altogether these would be my suggestions on what will be valuable in an economic collapse. If you have suggestions or feedback then please leave it in the comment section below. Your feedback helps the community prepare the smart way now so that we can thrive later.
There’s an old proverb that says not to put all your eggs in one basket. When it comes to storing survival supplies, this proverb rings true. By keeping all of your supplies inside your home (or at any one location) you are setting yourself up for disaster.
This is where survival caches come in. Coming from the French word for “hide”, a cache is a setup that allows you to hide some supplies in a separate location. There’s a lot of strategy that goes into choosing where to put a survival cache and what to put in it. On the one hand, you want your survival cache to be difficult to find so it’s not discovered and stolen. On the other hand, your survival cache needs to be easily accessible, especially if you plan on accessing it during a bug out scenario.
Since most people can’t afford to fully stock multiple locations with duplicate supplies (although you should if you can afford to), the question of what goes into a survival cache becomes relevant as well. To help you decide what to put in it, what container to use, and where to hide it, consider some of the following ideas.
What to Put in Your Survival Cache
Before you decide what container to use, decide what items you’re going to put in it so you’ll know what size you need. So what survival items should you put in it? Basically, the same things you’d put any survival kit. While the contents of your survival cache will vary depending on your location and specific needs, here are a selection of items to consider:
- Guns & Ammo – In a situation that requires you to uncover your survival cache, chances are protection is going to be a priority. Also, since firearm confiscation is a concern, having a few guns and a supply of ammo tucked away that no one knows about is a good idea. As for which types of firearms you should store, AR-15 style rifles are ideal since they can be easily disassembled for storage and quickly reassembled if the need arises. In addition to this, the AR-15 is arguably the most effective combat weapon that is (as of now) legal for civilians to own. If you prefer a more discrete option, handguns are an ideal choice.
- Food – A generous supply of food is an obvious choice for a survival cache. In the unfortunate event that your main food supply is stolen or inaccessible, you will want to have enough food put away in your survival cache to get by until you can secure another food source.
- Water and/or a Water Filter Bottle – Even more important than food is water. If you live near a water supply such as a stream or lake, a water filter bottle is a very space-friendly solution. Otherwise, you’ll want to pack away some bottled water.
- First Aid Kit – Purchase or build a first-aid kit that, at the minimum, includes bandages, a suture kit, wound-closure strips, a disinfectant, and a pain-killer.
- Firestarter – The ability to start a fire may prove essential if you are required to spend the day (or multiple days) on the run away from your home.
Of course, this is just the bare minimum. The rest is up to you.
What to Use as a Survival Cache
You can use any container you want, as long as it’s water proof (nothing made of wood, which will rot) and very durable (nothing made of cheap plastic, which will crack). It needs to withstand high heat, freezing temperatures, insects, and rodents.
- 5 Gallon Buckets – A high-quality bucket is both waterproof and airproof and should hold up for a long time.
- Ammo Cans – Yes, a metal ammo can will rust, but it should still take years before it has any holes in it.
- Pelican Cases – These are designed to be weather proof and very durable, but they’re a bit pricey.
- Dry Box – This is a buch cheaper option, which makes me a little wary. All the reviews say it is sturdy and waterproof, but I don’t know how well it would last after being outdoor for months or years.
- PVC Tube – PVC is designed to be durable and waterproof so it’s an excellent option. Just make sure you use a very good sealant.
Of course, there are many other options. Whatever you decided to use, consider sealing it inside one or more contractor bags just for good measure. One advantage of doing this is you make it look like nothing more than a bag of garbage to anyone who discovers it. Add lots of crumpled up newspapers to the bag so it looks even more like garbage.
Where to Hide a Survival Cache
Once you’ve put together a survival cache, the next step is deciding where to put it. As I already mentioned, you’ll want to find a place that is both accessible and hard for unwanted snoops to find. Of course, the hiding spots you have available will depend largely on where you live, but here are a few ideas:
- Underground – Hiding your survival cache under a few feet of dirt is probably the most common means of keeping it safe. Of course, burial isn’t an option for everyone. Those who live in a city will find that most of the ground nearby is covered in concrete while the areas that aren’t (such as in a public park) aren’t a really good spot to grab a shovel and start digging. Still, if burying your survival cache is an option then it is one of the best ways to keep it hidden.
- Along Your Bug Out Route – Hiding your survival cache somewhere along your bug out route is an obvious choice since the scenario where you are most likely to need your survival cache is a bug out situation. The options you have available will depend on the route itself, but so long as you can find a functional hiding spot at some point in the route, storing away a survival cache there is a good idea.
- Abandoned Buildings – For urban preppers, abandoned buildings make for a great spot to hide a survival cache. Most abandoned buildings don’t see a lot of traffic outside of a few unruly teenagers, so you don’t have to worry too much about your cache being discovered as long as you hide it well. Abandoned buildings also come with the advantage that, if there is a lot of scrap metal lying around, you won’t have to worry about someone with a metal detector being able to find your survival cache. Just make sure you keep an eye on the building. The last thing you would want is to find that the building has been leveled and replaced by a Starbucks.
- Disguised in Plain Sight – Locations for hiding a survival cache don’t necessarily have to be off the beaten path so long as they are well disguised. For example, you could hide your survival cache at the bottom of a garbage can that you never empty. Another excellent option for urban preppers is to hide their survival cache in a storage unit. Since you will have keys to the lock, you won’t be reliant on anyone else to help you access it. Just make sure you grab it quickly when SHTF before thieves get around to cutting the locks off. If storage units and garbage cans aren’t ideal to you, there are still plenty of other places that you can disguise a survival cache in plain sight, and locations such as this are typically great for keeping your survival cache relatively close by.
The ability to preserve your own food without refrigeration is an important preparedness skill, it’s also something that’s fun to do and can help cut down on your grocery bills.
Sun Drying Foods
Sun drying is one of mankind’s oldest and most reliable ways to preserve food. Archeological sites in ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia show this method of food preservation has been used since 4,000 B.C.
Sun drying is actually pretty simple; it relies on the sun and airflow – that’s pretty much it. While newer methods like electronic dehydrators speed up the process, sun drying is a slow gentle process that can really bring out the flavor of your food. It’s also a reliable method of preserving food during an emergency.
What can you Sun Dry?
You can actually sun dry just about any type of food; that being said, fruits are the safest thing to start with and are preferable because of their high sugar and acid content – something that helps prevent spoilage during the drying process. During an emergency you could use this method to dry meats and vegetables, but during normal conditions I would advise using indoor methods unless you really know what you’re doing.
Things to keep in mind:
- Hot, dry, breezy days are best. A humidity level below 60 percent is best.
- A minimum temperature of 85ºF is required, but the higher the temperature goes the easier it will be to dry the food.
- It takes several days to dry foods out-of-doors, so before undertaking this method make sure you keep an eye on weather reports.
- At night, fruits must be covered or brought inside to prevent moisture from seeping back into the food.
How to Preserve Fruit by Sun Drying
The first things you’re going to need are some good drying racks.
Small wood slats, bamboo, grill grates, and stainless steel screen mesh are all good material to use for the racks. You can also use cake racks or build small wooden frames covered with cheesecloth. Just remember that your racks cannot be solid, as you need air to circulate around the drying food.
Avoid any grates coated with cadmium or zinc. These metals can oxidize, leaving dangerous residues on the food.
Pretreating Fruit: Most fruits need some type of preparation before the drying process can begin.
- Fruits with pits should be halved and pitted
- Light-colored fruit like apples, pears and apricots should be soaked in lemon juice or an ascorbic acid wash to prevent browning. Soak the fruit in the solution for 3-5 minutes
- Cutting your fruit into uniform pieces will help them dry more evenly, and at the same speed.
It’s time to start drying some food.
Place the pretreated fruit in a single layer on the drying racks. Then place your racks in an area that receives direct sunlight, and a good breeze. Try to pick an area away from animals, traffic exhaust, insects and dust. Once the food is placed on the racks in direct sunlight, place cheesecloth or netting around the racks to keep off dust and keep out insects.
- At night, make sure you bring your food indoors or cover it to prevent moisture from seeping back into the food.
- Turn food once a day, or flip the racks if you have dual layer racks.
- If possible, place a small fan near the drying tray to promote air circulation.
Fruits and vegetables take anywhere from 3 to 7 days to dry in the sun, depending on your local conditions. When the food is just about two-thirds dry, move it into a semi-shady but airy area to prevent the food from getting scorched by the sun.
Pasteurization & Conditioning
Before storing Sun dried foods, you should condition and pasteurize the food.
Conditioning Dried Fruits
To improve storage times and to ensure the safety of your food dried fruits should be conditioned before storage. Conditioning evenly distributes moisture present in the dried fruit to prevent mold growth.
- Cool the foods on the trays.
- Place cooled dried fruit in a plastic or glass container two-thirds full; seal and store for 7 days to 10 days.
- Shake the containers daily to distribute moisture. If condensation occurs, place the fruit in the oven for more drying and then repeat the conditioning process.
- Check for any signs of spoilage.
Pasteurizing Sun-Dried Fruits
Pasteurization is especially important because it will destroy any insects and their eggs. It can be done using either a freezer, or an oven.
- To pasteurize using an oven, place the food in a single layer on a tray and then place in an oven preheated to 160°F for 30 minutes.
- Maybe consider a solar oven to dry and to pasteurize product for long term storage. It would be off the grid sustainable and adjustable for low heat and ventilation to dry.
- To pasteurize using a freezer, simply seal the dried food in freezer plastic bags and place them in a freezer set at 0°F for 48 hours.
If you live in an apartment in the city you’ll have limited supplies and resources will be scarce in the event of a natural disaster or civil unrest. You can do your best efforts in prepping but if you live in an apartment you’ve only got so much space that you can use. In the event that you run out of resources or things just get too dangerous in the city, you’ll most likely want to bug out. Most of you will have a bug out location and chances are that you will be getting to that bug out location, at least part of the way, on foot. If that’s the case, you’ll need some basic wilderness navigation skills because even if you’ve trekked to your bug out location many times, in the heat of the moment when you’re stressed and fatigued or it’s a bit dark or the weather is bad or for whatever reason you have to take a different route, it’s very easy to get lost so I’ve put together these basic guidelines which you can master very quickly.
It’s important to note that in the woods, anybody can get lost, even the most experienced survivalist. In such situations where you can’t be helped by anybody, you will have to find your own way. I know many stories of people doing something like picking berries and getting lost because they see a patch of berries just a bit further that they want to pick, and then there’s another batch just a little further and then all of a sudden they’re turned around and lost. Then panic can set in which can even make people with good navigation skills make silly navigational errors.
The first thing you need to know is which direction you have to go in. Sounds simple but it’s not as simple as it sounds when you’re in a forest and there’s no land marks that you can see. That’s why you have to know your bearings. Secondly, you have to ensure that you remain on the right path.
GETTING YOUR BEARINGS
Knowing your bearings (North, South, East, and West) is absolutely vital to wilderness navigation. Using a compass, you can determine your bearings easily however what if you lose your compass or you accidentally break it? In most cases when in the wilderness, you will have some clues about your current location, e.g. you might know the position of the creek or coast which might either be to the east or west. Therefore, once you determine the location of the creek or coast you can get back home. Ultimately, knowing the direction of north, east, south and west is important to survival in a situation like this.
So how do you get your bearings if you don’t have a compass?
Stick in the Ground: Get a straight stick thick enough to cast a visible shadow. Drive it into the ground and note where the shadow ends on the ground. Then, after about 15-20 minutes, mark another sport at exactly where the shadow finishes. With two points on the ground, connect them by drawing a line between them. The first point represents the west direction and the second point indicates east.
Branches of a tree: You can get your way around in the woods by reading trees. A tree with its branches thicker on one side simply shows that they got more sunlight. The other side of the tree with thinner and more vertical branches is because it is not facing the sun, so they have to grow tall to get enough sun light. Don’t just jump to conclusions, make sure you use several trees for confirmation.
Moss: Moss generally grows on tree sides not facing the sun or on rocks not facing the sun so you know that the sun is in the south if you live in the northern hemisphere so that way you can get some basic bearings. To reduce error and increase accuracy, you don’t rely on just one tree or rock, take an average of several.
Stars: Knowing how to find the North Star is one of the basic skills for survival.
Use a watch: On an analog watch, point the hour hand towards the sun. Note this as your first reference point. The 12 hour point on the watch is your second reference. From the middle of the two reference points, draw a straight line across the watch face, the line drawn represents your north-south line.
HOW TO STAY ON COURSE
It might sound easy, but staying on course is a big problem. Many people who get lost go round and round in circles. It sounds ridiculous that someone will continue to go around in a big circle for days but it does happen and the reason it’s so easy to get off course is because there can be obstructions in your way or the woods might just be too dense to get around. If you’re in an open, flat field it’s hard to get lost if you have a compass but if you’re in thick forest and come across an impassable cliff and have to go around it’s very easy to get lost.
Use a big stick: It’s not the most sophisticated method on the planet but it actually works very well. You can apply any of the methods above to get your bearings. Next, with a very long stick, place it in the right direction in the dense area you can’t physically pass. Locate the end of the big stick by walking around the dense area, then follow the direction the stick is pointing. The Scandinavians have been using this technique since the Viking age.
Boxing: When obstructed by an obstacle e.g. a mountain or a dense forest etc. and you are in possession of a compass, you can get around it using the boxing method.
Below are steps to follow.
Step 1: With your compass, turn 90 degrees to the right, then in that direction walk a suitable distance so that you get around the obstruction. Note the number of steps you are taking.
Step 2: Still with the compass in your hand after going far enough around the obstacle, turn left 90 degrees. Then walk far enough to clear the obstacle.
Step 3: Again holding your compass, turn 90 degree left and then walk in that direction a the same amount of distance you took in step one.
Step 4: finally you are at the exact location you intend to be, turn 90 degrees right and walk in that direction. That’s the right direction you needed to go and you’ve safely got around the obstruction.
Aiming off: Are you trying to get to a location that is on a creek or a road? Don’t set off going directly to the location, aim off in one direction. It’s a good idea to aim off because there is a possibility that you won’t exactly get to your intended location and once you reach the road or creek, then the question will be, which way should I go, left or right up the creek or road. If you aim off to the left of your desired location which is on the road or creek, once you reach the road or creek, you know that you have to go right to reach your desired location. Using this method, you might add a bit more distance to your journey, but you will definitely reach your destination.
Gravity Feed Rocket Stoves and Emergency Tent Heaters
Bullet Proof Rocket Stoves introduces their newest gravity feed rocket stove and tent heater. With this unique design you can cook on this stove using very small quantity of wood and virtually smoke free when burning. The stove can also be used as an emergency tent heater by simply removing the burner grate and attaching 3 inch vent pipe. With proper venting, a tent jack, and a spark arrestor you can heat a pretty large tent when needed. The removable ash tray and air damper allows for a long burn time with very little maintenance. We also built this stove to operate our off-grid distiller/gravity filter combination, Gravi-Stil. If you have any questions either contact us through our web chat system, contact us, or just give us a call M-F 612-888-7483.
As the weather begins to warm up, it is time to think about outdoor activities we can pursue not only for pleasure but to hone and practice our outdoor survival skills. Speaking for myself, camping is high on my list of summer activities, including a first-time adventure using a tent.
Most of us plan to hunker down and shelter in place in the event of a disruptive event. That said, if our homes are no longer safe, either due to location or to physical destruction, we must have a plan to evacuate. In some cases, the answer will be short term camping.
Dr. Joe Alton is here to today to weigh in on what we need to know about the medical aspect of camping plus some other tips to make the overall experience both pleasurable and educational.
Safe Camping Tips for Preppers
School will be out soon and a great way to teach your family survival basics is by taking them camping. The skills needed for successful camping are akin to those required for the activities of daily survival. Once learned, these lessons last a lifetime. There’s no greater gift that you can give young people than the ability to be self-reliant.
Camping trips create bonds and memories that will last a lifetime. A poorly planned campout, however, can become memorable in a way you don’t want, especially if someone gets injured. Luckily, a few preparations and an evaluation of your party’s limitations will help you enjoy a terrific outing with the people you care about, and maybe impart some skills that would serve them well in dark times.
If you haven’t been camping much, don’t start by attempting to hike the Donner Trail. Begin by taking day trips to National Parks or a nearby lake. Set up your tent and campfire, and see how it goes when you don’t have to stay in the woods overnight. Once you have that under your belt, start planning your overnight outings.
Whatever type of camping you do, always assess the capabilities and general health of the people in your party. Children and elderly family members will determine the limits of your activities. The more ambitious you are, the more likely the kids and oldsters won’t be able to handle it. Disappointment and injuries are the end result.
An important first step to a safe camping trip is knowledge about the weather and terrain you’ll be encountering. Talk with park rangers, consult guidebooks, and check out online sources. Some specific issues you’ll want to know about:
· Temperature Ranges
· Rain or Snowfall
· Trails and Campsite Facilities
· Plant, Insect, or Animal Issues
· Availability of Clean Water
· How to Get Help in an Emergency
Medical Aspects of Camping
A very common error campers (and survivalists) make is not bringing the right clothing and equipment for the weather and terrain. If you haven’t planned for the environment you’ll be camping in, you have made it your enemy, and believe me, it’s a formidable one.
Although Spring and Fall have the most uncertainty with regards to temperatures and weather, you could encounter storms in any season. Always take enough clothing to allow layering to deal with the unpredictability of the season.
Conditions in high elevations lead to wind chill factors that could cause hypothermia. If the temperature is 50 degrees, but the windchill factor is 30 degrees, you lose heat from your body as if it were below freezing. Be aware that temperatures at night may be surprisingly cold.
In cold weather, you’ll want your family clothed in tightly woven, water-repellent material for protection against the wind. Wool holds body heat better than cotton does. Some synthetic materials work well, also, such as Gore-Tex. Add or remove layers as needed.
If you’re at the seashore or lakefront in summer, your main problem will be heat exhaustion and burns. Have your family members wear sunscreen, as well as hats and light cotton fabrics. Plan your strenuous activities for mornings, when it’s cooler. In any type of weather, keep everyone well-hydrated. Dehydration causes more rapid deterioration in physical condition in any type of stressful circumstance. Allow a pint of fluids an hour for strenuous activities.
The most important item of clothing is, perhaps, your shoes. If you’ve got the wrong shoes for the outing, you will most likely regret it. If you’re in the woods, high tops that you can fit your pant legs into are most appropriate. If you go with a lighter shoe in hot weather, Vibram soles are your best bet.
Special Tips: Choosing the right clothing isn’t just for weather protection. If you have the kids wear bright colors, you’ll have an easier time keeping track of their whereabouts. Long sleeves and pants offer added protection against insect bites that can transmit disease, such as Lyme disease caused by ticks.
Location, Location, Location
A real estate agent’s motto is “location, location, location” and it’s also true when it comes to camping. Scout prospective campsites by looking for broken glass and other garbage that can pose a hazard. Sadly, you can’t depend on other campers to pick up after themselves.
Look for evidence of animals/insects nearby, such as large droppings or wasp nests/bee hives. Advise the children to stay away from any animals, even the cute little fuzzy ones. If there are berry bushes nearby, you can bet it’s on the menu for bears. Despite this, things that birds and animals can eat aren’t always safe for humans.
Learn to identify the plants in your environment that should be avoided. This especially includes poison ivy, oak, and sumac. Show your kids pictures of the plants so that they can steer clear of them. The old adage is “leaves of three, let it be”. Fels-Naptha soap is especially effective in removing toxic resin from skin and clothes if you suspect exposure.
Build your fire in established fire pits and away from dry brush. In drought conditions, consider using a portable stove instead. Children are fascinated by fires, so watch them closely or you’ll be dealing with burn injuries. Food (especially cooked food) should be hung in trees in such a way that animals can’t access it. Animals are drawn to food odors, so use resealable plastic containers.
If you camp near a water source, realize that even the clearest mountain stream may harbor parasites that cause diarrheal disease and dehydration. Water sterilization is basic to any outdoor outing. There are iodine tablets that serve this purpose, and portable filters like the “Lifestraw™” which are light and effective. Although time-consuming, boiling local water is a good idea to avoid trouble.
Get Your Bearings
Few people can look back to their childhood and not remember a time when they lost their bearings. Your kids should always be aware of landmarks near the camp or on trails. A great skill to teach the youngsters is how to use a compass; make sure they have one on them at all times.
A great item to give each child (and adult) is a loud whistle that they can blow if you get separated. Three blasts are the universal signal for “help!” If lost, kids should stay put in a secure spot. Of course, if you have cell phone service where you are, consider that option as well.
Even kids in protective clothing can still wind up with insect bites. Important supplies to carry are antihistamines like Benadryl, sting relief pads, and calamine lotion to deal with allergic reactions. Asking your doctor for a prescription “Epi-Pen” is a good idea, as they’re meant to be used by the average person. They’re effective for severe reactions to toxins from insect bites or poison ivy.
Citronella-based products are helpful to repel insects; put it on clothing instead of skin (absorbs too easily) whenever possible. Repellents containing DEET also can be used, but not on children less than 2 years old.
Don’t forget to inspect daily for ticks or the bulls-eye pattern rash you might see in Lyme disease. I mean it when I say daily: If you remove the tick in the first 24 hours, you will rarely contract the disease.
Of course, you’ll need a medical kit as part of your supplies. Consider some of the items in our compact, lightweight personal IFAK kit, specifically meant to deal with mishaps on the trail. You might have your own favorite items to bring with you; if so, feel free to post them in the comments section below.
The Final Word
Now that I live adjacent to the forest, I want to get a tent. The plan is to get something easy to set up because, after all, I am not a young as I used to be and want to save my energy for things like hiking and doing a bit of wood chopping. Then, as Joe suggests, I plan to camp in my own one-acre backyard before venturing further.
One thing is certain, it is a lot more fun to practice survival skills when you couple the experience with a family adventure!
by Ken Jorgustin
Solar energy is power from the sun. But what about power during the night?
Here’s how it’s done:
Batteries! Solar energy is radiant energy collected from the sun. Not only can it be harnessed and converted immediately to household electricity, but it can also be harnessed and stored in special batteries to be used later (when the sun goes down).
While the technicalities of a solar energy power system may be somewhat complicated and require a certain level of “know-how” in the field of electromechanical & electronics, these systems can be professionally installed or you might even consider a specially designed portable system.
The key to a 24-hour (around the clock) solar energy system is battery storage.
Even during the day you might encounter a period of sufficient cloudiness which will reduce the energy output from the solar panels. Energy output (the converted electrical power) will be reduced or greatly reduced, even to the extent that your connected devices might switch off. The batteries however will make up the difference when solar output is reduced.
The design of a battery storage system requires its own unique technical expertise while considering the specific battery type, size, charge/discharge parameters, load expectations, configuration and interconnection, and much more.
My own personal system at home currently consists of 24 AGM deep-cycle batteries which provide enough stored energy to run the house without issue overnight and beyond, until such time that the solar panels kick-in and start charging the batteries once again when the sun is shining.
Portable Solar Energy System
For those who may be interested in procuring a portable solar energy system with sufficient power to run your essential systems (or more), or to bring along camping, the cabin, or for emergency, etc.., there is a company who offers several portable solar energy systems which may be of interest.
Their portable solar generator kits include foldable solar panels, a “Humless power system” and the connecting cables.
The system is simple. Direct the solar panels towards the sun, the system will start charging and will continue until the batteries are full. The solar panels will also power your electronics while charging the batteries.
Speaking with the owner, their batteries are uniquely designed lithium to withstand the rigors of reliable charge/discharge with built-in safety mechanisms for protection against over-charging or excessive discharge.
Because of the lithium design the overall system weight is far less than others and therefore opens the door for other uses – which make it truly portable.
Currently they offer three systems:
.64 kWh solar kit
1.3 kWh solar kit
2.0 kWh solar kit
You might be asking, “What’s a kWh”? A kWh is a kilowatt hour. Think of it as as powering something that consumes 1,000 watts for one hour.
For example: If using 800 lumen LED bulbs (equivalent to the old 60-watt incandescent bulbs), the energy consumption of a kWh would be equivalent to powering about 125 of these LED bulbs for one hour! Or, about 12 for ten hours!
Note: A 800 lumen LED bulb consumes just 8 watts compared to it’s 60-watt incandescent counterpart of old…
LED Light Bulb Cost Savings Over Incandescent
Another example: My most recent chest freezer consumes 450 watts in a 24 hour period. That’s just 19 watts per hour on average. So, this chest freezer consumes 0.19 kW in one hour, or 0.19 kWh.
When determining the capacity requirements of a solar energy system, one thing that you might do is add up the power requirements of the things that you might be connecting.
Alternative energy sources are a great way to further your self-sufficiency and decrease your dependency on other external systems. I plan to write more articles about this in the future ?
New IN-CASE® Solar Water Purifier with UV Sterilization
National Geographic has built an easy to use web interface that allows anyone to quickly find any 7.5 minute topo in the continental U.S.A. for downloading and printing. Each topo has been pre-processed to print on a standard home, letter size printer. These are the same topos that were printed by USGS for decades on giant bus-sized presses but are now available in multi-page PDFs that can be printed just about anywhere. They are pre-packaged using the standard 7.5 minute, 1:24,000 base but with some twists:
- Page 1 is an overview map showing the topo in context
- Pages 2 through 5 are the standard USGS topo cut in quarters to fit on standard printers
- Hillshading has been added to each page of the PDF to help visualize the topo
Booby traps are devices set up with the intent to surprise, harm, or even kill a unknowing victim. They are triggered by the presence or unwitting actions of another.
Booby traps have been used since ancient times. Cave drawings indicate even prehistoric humans used them as a means of capturing prey, such as in “pit falls” where a large hole is dug and spikes placed inside. The hole is then covered.
Historically speaking, booby traps do not win wars. They are, however, considered a key element in psychological warfare. Also known as PSYWAR, psychological warfare is by definition, something that is done to either deceive, manipulate or otherwise influence an opponent and to incite hopelessness, fear, despair and loss of morale. Used extensively in WWII and Vietnam, booby trap effects have caused many surviving soldiers long-term pain and trauma.They can also be an effective early warning system. However, they can also cause civilian casualties, be inadvertently set off by friendlies or neutral people within the vicinity, and sometimes even by animals or natural events. They are also dangerous to set up if using any explosive materials. Caution should be used. One way to hopefully limit unnecessary injury would be to secure the perimeter with non lethal alert devices. Hopefully once someone has realized they are approaching traps, they will turn around. If they continue, then chances are they are either hostile or being driven that direction by hostile forces.
Booby traps come in two main categories: anti tank, and anti personnel. We will start with the former.
Automatic road blocks work much in the same way as a regular trip wire except that they designed in ways that impede traffic and damage vehicles. The end of a strong wire is attached to a secure point on one side of the road. Perhaps looped around a large tree. On the other side it is attached to something to be pulled into the road. A common option is to attach an anchor to another tree and chop it almost to the point of falling. The cord must be taut and high enough that a vehicle will pull it in the correct direction and not run over it. The cut tree is pulled down into the road, damaging the vehicle and effectively creating a road block. This method was employed by the Japanese when fighting the Allied Forces in the Philippines. It can be effective as a standalone device to slow the opposition, or as onset of an ambush.
Another trip wire mechanism that can be adjusted to block a road, is a simple explosive charge set next to a makeshift retaining wall on a hill or cliff. Rocks, stones, branches and debris are piled behind the obstruction. It may be necessary to route the wire through small anchors to adjust for the angle of the hill. Once armed and triggered, a small avalanche plummets onto the road, injuring and blocking enemy forces.
Caltrops have been used since Medieval times, possibly earlier, as a way to impede incoming troops and damage cavalry and have since evolved into an effective way to combat automobiles. A metal worker can create them quite easily out of small hollow pipes that are bent and welded together. This option allows for more rapid air escape and therefore faster deflation and blowout of the tire; theoretically any metal strong enough and sharp enough to withstand the weight of the vehicle can be used as long as it is fashioned in such a way that one blade is always pointing up.
Even vehicles themselves have been used as booby traps. A charge can be detonated by opening the door, or turning on the ignition (which seems to be popular in the movies). Bombs can also be detonated by impact, where the cars themselves were used as roadblocks. If an armored vehicle attempts to simply pummel through and push the vehicles aside, they explode.
Now we get to the category where most preppers are focusing their efforts. Home invasion protection and anti personnel defensive booby traps.
The most common booby trap as far as prepping is concerned is probably the trip wire. Easy to set up with nothing more than a piece of string and a personal panic alarm. It is easily improvised and can detonate explosives, fire weapons, or activate spotlights for early detection.
Pressure plates can be simple DIY projects, or can be purchased prefabricated. Again, these can be improvised to either turn on lights, sound an air-horn, or detonate explosives. I personally would not attach explosives to these as they are usually placed quite close to your residence as a final warning someone has made it to your door. Some can be quite sensitive and can easily be activated by a dog or other fair-sized animal. If you are placing them further away from your home, or do not care about potential house fire, explosives could be used. One additional and interesting use for these is their ability to be an automatic door opener, if you want a secret entrance and hide it well.
Mobility Denial System (MDS) is a deterring slime that can come in handy (if you can get your hands on any) It is a last line of defense as it will create an impassable surface directly around your home for 6-12 hours. It was invented for the Marine Corps and police riot protection. It is not readily available, however if you were to put your mind to it, you could up with something along the same lines. You want to deter any hostile party, by any means necessary, before they ever get that close to you, and preferably either drive them back or keep them at bay until you can retaliate.
Spikes. They can be as simple as large nails in boards turned upwards around your yard in the tall grass. They could be placed over a hole so that when stepped on with any force, the person’s foot snaps the board, goes into the hole and the nails impale their ankles. In times of war they were often coated with toxic material or feces to promote infection. Some people attach them to stones or logs to create pendulum contraptions that are triggered by a trip wire. Personally I find this a foolish waste of time. A well-trained individual can evade such a device. It would probably take less time to dig small trenches, which might at least sprain some ankles, but to each their own. Spikes on boards can also be weighted and submerged into creek beds and ponds.
Razor wire and barbed wire is another option for underwater depending on how long it stays there. It can also be used similarly to trip wire in heavily vegetative areas where it can be concealed. I’d recommend a matte finish, camouflaged to blend in. In can be used along top fencing, around windows etc… Anywhere you would want to deter someone, perhaps diverting them into even more unfavorable habitat where you have a greater advantage.
Bullets can be set inside a small section of bamboo, atop a firing pin, and buried until just the tip is exposed. If stepped on with any amount of force the bullet explodes.
Hand Grenades. If you can acquire them, all you need is a tin can and a piece of string and duct time and you can secure any door. This is dangerous for the person loading them, but were widely used in WWII and Vietnam. Tie a string around the grenade under the handle. Depress the trigger handle and pull the pin. Quickly and carefully slide it into the tin can. Secure the can somewhere with tape or wedge it tightly. Attach the string to a door handle or use as a trip wire. When the door is open or trap is triggered, the grenade dislodges from the can and detonates.
Remember that booby traps are just one element in the line of defense. Their primary purpose is to slow down the enemy, instill fear, reduce moral, and possibly to injure, maim, or kill. The time these traps may buy you can be greatly varied. Use it wisely and remember, offense and defense are opposite sides of the same coin. You need both or you are broke.
Recognizing the extreme injustice of recent liability suits awarding home invaders large sums for getting injured while burglarizing a house, it could be considered foolish to construct booby traps unnecessarily, regardless of intention or the degree of danger. That being said, I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t use them, or wish they had them to use, when put into a potentially deadly situation.
Stay safe, and happy prepping!
An essential item for ANY outdoor outing and certainly in every Survival Kit and Bug Out Bag is a good quality Poncho. If you don’t have one and need one go to the NOT IF BUT WHEN STORE HERE. There is nothing more miserable (and dangerous) than getting soaked by rain. There are 100’s of different ponchos to choose from. I prefer a Military Style Poncho with grommeted corners and snap closure sides. These are typically constructed of a nice quality rip-stop nylon material that not only makes them water proof but very durable.
I like for items in my pack to be multi-use items – meaning they can be used for more than 1 purpose. My Poncho is no exception. Besides protecting me from rain, I can also use my Poncho as a Ground Tarp to act as a moisture barrier. I can also use it as a tarp to protect my gear or to keep a wood pile dry. It can also be used as a make-shift shelter, which is the subject of this post. I’ve slept in a make-shift poncho shelter many times and if set up properly it will keep you as dry and comfortable as any tent on the market.
Below I have detailed 9 Different Military Poncho Set-Ups that can be used for multiple scenarios. I’ve listed when each one works best and when it doesn’t. I’ve listed the supplies needed for each one and also the knots I use to set them up. Hopefully you find this useful. Let me know if you have any questions.
Military Poncho Shelter # 1: Basic Lean-To (HORIZONTAL)
- Supplies Needed: Paracord, 3 Stakes
- Uses: Sleeping, Rain-Shed, Sun-Shed
- Ideal Environment: No to Moderate Wind, No to Moderate Rain
- Fire Friendly: YES
- Knots Used: Double Half Hitch, Siberian Hitch, Quick Release Taught Line Hitch
Military Poncho Shelter # 2: Basic Lean-To (VERTICAL)
- Supplies Needed: Paracord, 2 Stakes
- Uses: Sleeping, Rain-Shed, Sun-Shed
- Ideal Environment: Low Wind, No Rain
- Fire Friendly: YES
- Knots Used: Double Half Hitch, Siberian Hitch, Quick Release Taught Line Hitch
Military Poncho Shelter # 3: Ridge Line Lean-To
- Supplies Needed: Paracord, 5 Stakes
- Uses: Sleeping, Rain-Shed, Sun-Shed
- Ideal Environment: No to Heavy Wind, No to Heavy Rain
- Fire Friendly: YES
- Knots Used: Double Half Hitch, Siberian Hitch, Quick Release Taught Line Hitch
Military Poncho Shelter # 4: Flat Roof Lean-To
- Supplies Needed: Paracord, 3 Stakes, Center Pole (optional)
- Uses: Sleeping, Sun-Shed
- Ideal Environment: No to Moderate Wind, No Rain
- Fire Friendly: YES
- Knots Used: Double Half Hitch, Siberian Hitch, Quick Release Taught Line Hitch
Military Poncho Shelter # 5: Ghost Man
- Supplies Needed: Paracord, 4 Stakes, Center Pole
- Uses: Rain-Shed, Sun-Shed, Hunting Blind
- Ideal Environment: No to Moderate Wind, No to Moderate Rain
- Fire Friendly: YES (small)
- Knots Used: Double Half Hitch, Siberian Hitch, Quick Release Taught Line Hitch
Military Poncho Shelter # 6: Hood Hoist
- Supplies Needed: Paracord, 4 Stakes, 2 Poles (Optional)
- Uses: Rain-Shed, Sun-Shed, Hunting Blind, Sleeping (When set-up low and long)
- Ideal Environment: No to Moderate Wind, No to Moderate Rain, High Wind & High Rain (Low & Long)
- Fire Friendly: YES (small – when set-up high), NO when set up low
- Knots Used: Double Half Hitch, Siberian Hitch, Quick Release Taught Line Hitch
Military Poncho Shelter # 7: Poncho Tent
- Supplies Needed: Paracord, 4 Stakes
- Uses: Rain-Shed, Sun-Shed, Sleeping
- Ideal Environment: No to High Wind, No to High Rain, Works well in COLD temps
- Fire Friendly: YES (small out front)
- Knots Used: Double Half Hitch, Siberian Hitch, Quick Release Taught Line Hitch
Military Poncho Shelter # 8 & 9: Connecting 2 Ponchos By Snapping Them Together – using 1 as a ground tarp
- Supplies Needed: Paracord, Stakes
- Uses: Rain-Shed, Sun-Shed,Sleeping
- Ideal Environment: No to High Wind, No to High Rain
- Fire Friendly: YES
- Knots Used: Double Half Hitch, Siberian Hitch, Quick Release Taught Line Hitch
Below is a Basic Lean-To Set-Up that I use quite often in fair weather. I use a tarp to keep ground moisture at bay and a wool blanket for warmth. The Poncho Shelter acts as an excellent heat shield to deflect heat right on the sleeping area from a fire out front .
Below is a 10th Poncho Shelter Option I call the DIAGONAL. It involved tying off one corner to a tree and staking the opposite corner to the ground. The 2 remaining corners can either be staked or guy-lined out for added room. This is a great shelter set as well.
If you are using any of these shelters and are expecting rain you will want to tie a knot with paracord around the hood to prevent water from leaking inside.
Survival gardening when the SHTF is problematic. Thefts from a backyard garden or small farm will be rampant, and with each theft, you lose food, there’s damage to the garden, and you’ve lost labor and other resources. One alternative is to move your survival gardening indoors.
Of course, indoor gardening cannot be a complete solution. The limited space and the need for light and nutrients makes indoor gardening expensive. And the amount of food you can produce will always be very limited. Even so, it can be a useful adjunct to stored food, outdoor gardening, and bartering for food.
What To Grow
Among the easiest indoor plants to grow are container herbs: thyme, basil, oregano, chives, cilantro, marjoram, mint, rosemary, dill, and parsley. Stevia leaves can be grown and used as a sweetener. Parsley is a
particularly good choice as it can be used in greater amounts than many other herbs. Meals prepared from stored food can be rather monotonous. Herbs and spices help make your meals more palatable.
Micro-greens, as they are called, are simply leafy vegetables, such as lettuces, spinach, radish, mustard, arugula, kale, turnip tops, beet greens, amaranth, and others, which are harvested when young. You can get a crop of micro-greens in only two to four weeks after planting. After cutting the greens down to the stem, you can sometimes get a second or third crop to springs up from the stems.
Micro-greens add flavor, fiber, and some nutrition to stored food. They add variety, color, and taste to otherwise boring meals. Today, you can go into any grocery store and choose from thousands of different foods. When the modern food production and distribution system fails, we will all be eating from a much small set of choices. The variety you can get from your own herbs and greens will make a difference to nutrition and taste.
Can you grow anything more substantial? Yes, you can. Certain varieties of tomato are designed for containers, even for small windowsill sized pots and hanging planters. These can be grown on a patio outdoors, or near a window inside that gets plenty of sun. Now you are not going to produce enough food, in this way, to provide a major amount of protein, fat, or carbohydrates for your diet. But take some stored rice and beans, and add tomatoes, herbs, and greens and then you have a much improved meal.
Peppers can also be grown in containers. The smaller containers can produce enough peppers to flavor many meals. A larger container might produce enough peppers to add to a salad or a stir-fry meal, once in a while. Colorful hot peppers can be grown in abundance. Some smaller sweet bell peppers will add to the bounty.
Where To Grow It
A sunny windowsill is perfect for small pots with different herbs. A bay window facing south is probably best for larger plants, such as greens, tomatoes, and peppers. Hanging pots give a plant more room, so that the stems and leaves can spread out and get more sun. Then, if you are a little more ambitious, you could enclose a porch or patio, to make, in effect, a little greenhouse attached to your home.
Another option is to use artificial lighting. On a small scale, the cost and amount of space and electricity is a modest investment. The most expensive thing is the lighting. LED lights are best, as they produce the most light from the least electricity. But they are pricey. I would suggest a few grow-lights used as an addition to light from a sunny window. Once you go whole hog with indoor growing, using hydroponics and lots of LED lights, the benefit-to-cost ratio falls dramatically.
I’ve heard that some people grow cannabis, surreptitiously, indoors. If the food economy collapses, growing food, even indoors, might need to be done in a similar stealthy manner. But again, costs, space, and resource use would be high. It will always be more economical to store food while it is cheap, than to try to grow it when food becomes scarce.
Living off the grid can be extremely difficult, but also extremely rewarding. Off-grid living isn’t for everyone. But for those willing to make the extreme life change, it will lessen your growing dependency on income and increase your time spent with family. This guide will walk you through the reasons for an off-grid way of life, how to attain it, and the benefits of becoming the ultimate survivalist.
But before you start setting up your modern-day homestead, you’re going to have to think about some big questions:
- Will you be using electricity? If so, how will you be generating it?
- Where will you get water?
- Will you need to process or treat the water to make it potable?
- How much money will you need?
- Where will you get it from?
- How will you access the Internet if you still need it?
- How many people will be members of your community?
- How will labor be divided throughout the community?
- Will you be buying food, or growing and hunting it?
- How will your off-the-grid community be defended without law enforcement officers?
The first question you have to answer if you decide to live off-grid is where you plan to do this. Nearly everywhere in the continental United States has something wrong with it in terms of living off grid. Some places are too dry, and some aren’t good for growing food. Other places are too close to cities, while others are in nuclear fallout zones. Some states have laws making gun ownership and off-grid living prohibitively difficult. And others are just too cold to sustain wildlife.
So what should you look for when it comes to picking the three most important factors in off-grid living: location, location, location?
- Be at least a tank of gas from a highway.
- Research natural disasters that frequently befall areas you’re interested in.
- Look into less-common, but entirely probable, natural disasters.
- Read about nuclear fallout patterns. Nuclear war might not top your list of concerns, but you should at least be informed.
- Consider whether or not you want to be part of an existing community and where you can connect with one.
- If you plan to use solar power, make sure the area gets plenty of sunlight.
- No matter what your plans are, you’re going to need water. That means proximity to a river or stream, a good supply of groundwater or, at the very least, plenty of rain.
- Hunters should research local and state hunting laws.
- Friendly gun laws are an absolute must when it comes to living off-grid, which rules many states out.
- In general, a small-government culture will help keep you from being prosecuted for “stealing” rain water.
- Good soil is a must to grow your own food.
- Shelling out big money for land defeats the purpose, so look for cheap land.
Water is the number one resource you’re going to need. That water needs to be clean, close and plentiful enough that you can access it year round for everything from drinking to watering crops.
Crops are a must when living off grid. And much like water, it’s important to have multiple ways to access food. That means three main sources: growing, gathering and hunting.
Clothing is a topic that most off-the-grid guides ignore. You have a few different options here, such as stocking up and storing clothes for the future. However, a lot of the same skills that are required for feeding yourself can also keep you clothed.
While weapons and ammo are a must, the more immediate threat to yourself and your family is not from armed invaders – it’s from the elements. Off-grid homes come with a special concern: They need to be impenetrable not just to the elements, but to the critters who will be wandering around. From little guys like squirrels to big beasts like bears, your off-grid home should be protected pests of all sizes.
Most of the animals are totally harmless, but the issue is that they’re going to be a nuisance especially when they start eating you out of house and home. And no matter how much you love the nanny goat giving you milk, chances are pretty good that you don’t want her hanging out in your living room.
Protecting your property with non-lethal forms of defense is another important factor, but keep in mind that electricity use needs to be limited when living off the grid. Sentry systems and other security systems are great to have, but are too much of a drain on your power supply. At the very least, having a couple of dogs around to patrol the property is a good idea not to mention a fun one.
Living off the grid is hard especially when you’re getting started. But when you ask yourself if the life you’re living now is easy, you will realize the freedom that comes with being completely self-sufficient. Living off the grid means living for yourself, making you far better prepared for difficult times than you would be living in the city.
Camping is a outdoor recreational activity which involves overnight stay away from home in a shelter such as a tent or a caravan. Camping is a wonderful experience if you’re ready to understand what it feels like to live off the land. Of course, with our modern technologies and conveniences, we don’t have to completely live off of the land.
Yet, there is nothing that can compare to getting back to nature and sleeping under the stars. It’s something everyone should try at least once. While camping does feel quite environmentally friendly already, there are ways to make it even more green.
Camping with friends and family involves lot of fun. Going green with camping is an environmentally friendly way to make your vacation eco-friendly. The idea of making a greener camping is to have a minimal impact on the environment. Whether you are planning to week long backpacking trip or a short trip to snow covered mountains, here are some impressive tips to help you go green while camping.
Trash-Leave it how you found it-Clean
Even if you used mostly biodegradable materials, that doesn’t mean you have to leave your trash behind. It is important to leave your campsite the exact way you found it. What if the campers before you left all of their trash behind? Wouldn’t that be annoying? Instead of getting down to the business of camping, you have to start your trip by cleaning up after someone else. That would put a damper on anyone’s trip. So, be mindful of leaving anything behind. Bring extra cloth bags to store all of your items for the trip back home.
You should tread lightly. You want to minimize your disturbance to the land. So, wear soft-soled shoes. You never know what might be waiting to shoot up beneath you. Remember, the plants and wildlife were there before you. We have our concrete jungles, give nature some space to live too. Also, don’t level the ground underneath your camp. It is that way for a reason. Instead, place cloths under a sloping mat to keep it level.
Clean and Reuse
If you’re camping for more than one night, you’ll have to do some washing. If you have reusable plates, cups and silverware–that is a good start. When washing them, use only biodegradable soaps. Don’t cancel out your green camping trip with toxic dish detergent. Also, do not dump waste water into a stream or river. Empty it on dry ground or vegetation.
It is important to look for sustainable camping gear. Look for camping tents made with 100 percent recycled materials. This should include the tent, fly and floor. Then, determine what types of coatings are used for waterproofing. You want a tent that uses solvent-free polyurethane coating. And, it helps if it is made without toxic dyes.
They are made with naturally untreated, exterior-grade larch wood, while the floor is made from spruce. In addition, they have an integrated ventilation system and electrical outlets. Moreover, it can fit a king-size bed. You can also look for a pre-owned tent at most sporting goods stores. Just look at the materials before your purchase.
Again, look for sleeping bags made of recycled materials. If the weather permits, you might just stick to cloth blankets.
You might want to try a hanging tent. These are like sleeping in a tree. Sometimes, the ground is too cold, soggy and hard to be comfortable. For situations like these, the Tenstile company has created a hanging tent. It is called the Stingray, and it can help you camp anywhere you can suspend it off of the ground.
It is also made to fit three campers comfortably. You won’t have to worry about creepy, crawlies while you sleep. Plus, you’ll have a much better view.
Have you heard of solar tents? This is a new movement in sustainable camping, that also turns it into glamping. A solar tent uses solar fabric that catches the sun’s energy. It also comes with wireless charging pouches to let you charge your devices through magnetic induction.
There are lanterns that double as a mosquito repellent. You can often use them to light up your surroundings for over 10 hours each time. Plus, they can protect you from nighttime predators.
Look for a rinsing system that uses garden hose pressure without the need for batteries or a pump. These types of shower systems compress air in the chamber, which then helps to force water out of the nozzle. This can be used to rinse dirty feet or wash dishes.
Carrying a lamp wherever you go can get bulky. The good news is you can find collapsible and portable solar-powered lamps. You can hang the lamp on a tree branch to soak up the sun’s energy during the day time. At night, the lamp shines brightly so that you don’t have to be stuck in the dark.
Look for containers that have no BPA or phthalates. These chemicals can leak into your food, even in a microwave. You want something convenient, to travel with you without any messes. Look for leak, break and spill-proof containers. Plus, the design should be compact so as not to take up too much space and easily transport food.
Many times people can be seen bringing a pack of water bottles along with them. This creates overhead as most parks require campers to pick their trash along with them. A better way is to bring a large water container or buy a couple of gallons from which you can refill your water bottle during the trip. You probably never imagined that camping could be even more eco-friendly than it already is. The objective is to continue trying to do as much as you can to care for the environment.
So next time you go camping try some of these tips and go a little greener. Try it, you might like it.
In a wilderness survival situation, it is imperative to know your way around trapping and snaring animals and fish to use for food. With a few simple tools, a lot of patience, and a little bit of ingenuity, you can set up traps and snares to capture game animals, fish and birds with relative ease.
Traps and Snares for Game Animals:
To make a ground snare on a game trail, simply tie a “noose” from a line that slips easily, paracord works the best but fishing line also works, either using a slip knot or by feeding the line through a smooth ring. Tie off the end of the line to a tree or other sturdy object, and place twigs in the ground near the “noose” end of the snare. Then, suspend the “noose” from the twigs you placed in the ground, aiming to get it around the head height of the animal you are hoping to ensnare. The goal is to snare the head of the animal as it runs through the “noose,” so that it becomes trapped by its neck, and its attempts to free itself from the line tighten the snare further. Bait can be used to lure the animal to the snare.
If you are in an area where larger game are plentiful and you have some time on your hands, you can also create a pit trap. Pit trapping can be used for deer or even elk, if you can dig deeply enough. Making pit traps is very time consuming and labor intensive, as you are essentially fashioning a grave from which the animal cannot escape. Begin by digging a hole in the ground wide enough to accommodate the body of the animal you wish to trap, and deep enough that the animal will not be able to escape once it falls in. If possible, shore up the “walls” of the pit with stones, creating a sort of makeshift masonry so that the integrity of the structure of the pit will not be compromised. Cover the pit carefully with thatch-work and leaves in order to disguise it, and wait. Note: be very aware of where you have placed the trap, lest you fall in yourself!
A deadfall trap is just what it sounds like: ideally, this trap makes the animal dead when it falls on top of it. In order to create a deadfall, find a large rock with a relatively flat surface on one side and use a tripod of sticks to hold it aloft. Bait should be placed at the center of the stick tripod. Make sure the sticks aren’t too solidly attached to one another, or the trap will not fall when the sticks are disturbed by the animal. Nor do you want them to be too weakly connected, lest the trap fall with a change of the wind!
Traps and Snares for Birds:
If you have a large net in your survival kit and feel like fowl, you may be in luck. By suspending a net between two trees in the flight path of a bird flock, you can ensnare one or more birds by trapping them in the netting. It is important that you leave a fold of netting down at ground level in case the bird should find its way downward—and since this method doesn’t involve any snaring of a specific body part, it is important to check it often if you are utilizing it just in case the bird should escape given time.
Another method that can prove useful for bird-catching is a perch-style snare. Take a small stick and wedge it very loosely into the crotch of a tree branch, baiting the stick if desired. Then, tie a “noose” similar to that used in a ground snare, although very thin line is advised for bird snaring, such as fishing line and secure it to the tree, draping the “noose” end over the loosely-wedged stick. When the bird lights upon the stick, the stick should fall under its weight, thus trapping the bird by the feet.
Deadfall for ground birds
Just as you can use a deadfall trap for small game, you can use a similar trap for flightless birds. Using the same technique outlined for the small game deadfall, create a baited tripod of loosely-connected sticks holding aloft a large rock. When the bird disturbs the sticks in an attempt to reach the bait, the rock will fall and crush the bird or at least trap it in place.
Traps and Snares for Fish:
Trapping fish with a net
If you have a net, you can suspend it deep in the water of a river or creek by tying it off to poles place firmly in the ground, either at shore or further into the water. The net should be baited throughout, weighted at the bottom, and checked frequently to see if you have a catch. This is a simple, passive method for catching fish.
This method of fish-catching is painfully simple, but it does limit the size of fish you can catch. What you do is take a two-liter bottle such as those used for soda pop and clean it out, removing the label and the cap. Cut the bottle just below the neck, leaving a wide-mouthed container and a “funnel” that the neck has created. Cut off the threads of the bottle, leaving about a two-inch hole in the “funnel.” Place the “funnel” end backwards into the large portion of the bottle, so the neck of the funnel is facing inwards. Affix a line to the bottle, and add weights and bait—then sink your trap and wait for the fish to swim on in.
A line of lines
If you like, you can also make a line of multiple fishing lines in order to catch fish while you attend to other tasks. Here’s what you do: take a strong line such as sturdy rope or paracord and string it across a stream, tying it off securely to poles or trees on either bank, leaving it just above or partially submerged in water. Then, tie off weighted, baited hooks on fishing line to the cord and wait. When you return to your lines, you may find that your line of lines has taken all of the work out of your fishing.