Raising Livestock in SHTF Situation: What You Should Raise and Why

In the case of a SHTF event, we could live without internet, cars and gadgets. We could survive without electricity, air conditioning, heating systems and hot water. But we couldn’t make it without enough food supplies. Canned tuna, frozen beans and boiled potatoes can only last so far. All these supplies are bound to end sooner or later, leaving us exposed to starvation. So how can preppers improve on this aspect and ensure their food supply doesn’t run out after three days? The answer is raising livestock. Our ancestors didn’t have supermarkets, had never heard about take-away, fast-food, processed food or preservatives.

Their survival depended on livestock, fruits, vegetables, plants and seeds. Nowadays you can learn about all of these by getting an agriculture degree. But back then, knowledge was passed down from generation to generation and people had to learn from trial and error rather than from a YouTube tutorial. If you want to make sure you are truly ready for anything read all about the livestock you should raise and why. It’s never too late to start researching livestock and becoming an expert in the field.

Chickens

If we would have to advise you what livestock you should raise and why, based on rate of growth criteria, chicken would win by far. They manage to double their number with every year and they don’t require a complicated set up or high maintenance. They are great because they yield plentiful supplies of meat and eggs in relation to how much food they require. For example, a hen could supply you with 10 to 12 eggs for each five pounds of food. Another great benefit of raising chicken is that the birds are not picky about what they eat. They will happily peck on anything that they can find, from insects and weeds to leftovers from your dinner. The only drawback with this is that they can easily damage your garden, so you might want to fence them in to keep that from happening. Another pro for raising chicken is that they don’t need a lot of space or sturdy fences. However, you should keep in mind that these fowls will learn how to fly, so you might want to build a six-foot fence or add a top to their pen. You should also watch out for predators: foxes, owls, rats and opossums will all try to take a swing at your chicken if they’re not protected enough.

Pigs

Also dubbed the best garbage disposers, pigs will munch anything you put in front of them: kitchen leftovers, greens, roots and grains, just to name a few. In exchange for these, in return, they will give you bacon, ham and plenty of meat. Not only unpretentious eaters, pigs don’t need too much room either, despite their great size. The best time to buy a piglet is in the spring in order to give it time to grow and develop to more than 220 pounds over the summer. All the maintenance pigs require is feeding and watering two times a day as well as cleaning their pens every few days. Butchering a hog that weighs over 200 pounds is no easy task. But you’ll only be reaping the benefits. Almost every part of the pig is edible and ready to be turned into steaks, broths, aspic, bacon, ribs, sausages, pork loins and trotters. Even the skin is edible, although most people are reticent to eat it because pigs are not among the cleanest animals. Bear in mind that they might test your olfactory tolerance before you manage to fatten them up and transform them into pork chops.

Rabbits

Not only pretty faces, rabbits are clean, quiet and prolific. Ideal for small spaces, rabbits will thrive in modest sized cages and as long as their manure is cleaned out regularly, they will remain odor-free. These furry animals are extremely rewarding for the amount of care and food they require. Rabbits feed on hay, which should be cut in three-inch lengths and stacked into the hay-racks that must be kept full at all times. They will also eat dried bread or crusts and, as it may be expected, they enjoy nibbling on carrots and roots. A buck and two does will yield as much as 50 rabbits per year, which translates into roughly 170 pounds of meat. Not too shabby for the effort you have to put in every day. Rabbits can be consumed as soon as they are seven or eight months old, but you can wait and make a more consistent stew from a three-year old buck. While they can withstand harsh cold weather, they are not big fans of wet or hot conditions. Keep in mind that they will need a cool place in the summer that has plenty of ventilation and fresh water supplies.

Goats

Most people would prefer to have cows’ milk rather than goats’ milk. However, there are many reasons that goats make a better survival animal. They are much less expensive to purchase, they eat a lot less and will happily eat brush instead of pasture, and they take up a lot less space than a cow. A good doe will give birth to 2 or 3 kids and will go on to produce milk for up to two years. A dairy cow will give milk for up to a year and normally has one calf. Plus, keeping a bull around is not a fun prospect. A buck is much easier to handle. When your goat wears out, it will provide you with a more manageable amount of meat, whereas a butchered cow will take a lot of work to can or dehydrate. In addition, goats produce milk that can be used to feed orphaned foals, pigs, rabbits, dogs, cats, and baby humans. Cow’s milk is not as easy to digest for these youngsters.

Keeping livestock is not a decision to be taken lightly. These animals will depend on you for their food, water, and shelter. During drought conditions it will be difficult, if not impossible, to care for your animals. In that case you will need to butcher or trade them. Do you have what it takes to chop off a chicken’s head, or slit the throat of a pig? You may be surprised what you can do when put to the test.

If you can handle the responsibility of caring for animals, they will make your life much easier when there’s an economic collapse or worldwide disaster. Any animals that you do not need for food can be used to barter for other supplies. There will be a huge demand for eggs, milk, and meat after the stores close. So consider keeping a few easy care animals now, for survival in the future.

Camouflage and Concealment: The Art of Staying Hidden

Urban Camouflage and Concealment

It makes me laugh when I see a lot of SWAT Teams and PSD guys wearing Tactical Black and other colors that look cool but do nothing but make them stand out. In reality black is one of the worst colors to wear. Ask yourself, what is black in nature? Look around you and what in your surrounding’s are black? I expect very little… In urban areas most walls are white, gray or cream… Light colors! The colors you wear should blend in with your background whether its day or night.

At night dark colors stand out, especially when moving past light backgrounds and in urban areas most backgrounds are light colors. Even in rural dry areas when moving through low bush and fields the silhouettes of people in dark colors are easy to see at a distance.

You do not have to have expensive patterns to give you good camouflage and concealment, a gray dress shirt and a pair of light khaki pants is way more effective than tactical Tim dressed in SWAT black!

Movement and Rural Camouflage

Modern humans are positively disadvantaged when surviving in and moving on foot in rural and wilderness areas. Most people these days have never spent a night outside without any cover, let alone in bad weather. When you’re in the woods or bush you need to get comfortable in the environment. I remember one of my military instructors telling me that to be able to fight in an environment, you must first be able to live comfortably in that environment, and this is true. If you’re having difficulty living day-to-day how can you operate?


You should always consider camouflage and wear clothes that blend in with your environment, in urban areas wear light blues and grays in rural areas browns and greens. As I have said before there is no need for military camouflage clothing as this will just draw attention to yourself.You need to start using all your senses as the animals do, learn to identify sounds, smells, movements and what they mean. You need to especially be able to identify things associated with people, like foot prints, cigarette stumps, broken twigs or foliage, fences, straight lines, domestic animals, aircraft, vehicles, talking etc. Think about human smells like fires, food, fuel, human waste and tobacco; if your senses are sharp in bush or wooded areas you should be able to smell or hear people before you see them.  When moving you must do so quietly and regularly stop to look, listen and smell for any indication of people. If you identify people in your proximity are you going to take cover, evade or ambush?

Basic field craft, things are seen because of these reasons: Shape, Shadow, Silhouette, Shine, Spacing & Movement.

  • Shape: Disguise your shape; use foliage or rags to break up your outline.
  • Shadow: Keep in the shadows and always be aware that you are not casting a shadow that could be seen by your opposition.
  • Silhouette: Don’t stand out against skylines, lights, white walls, etc.
  • Shine: No chrome, shiny watches, mirrored glasses, sparkly jewelry and the like.
  • Spacing: If moving with others, remain spread out, but not too regularly and do not bunch together.
  • Movement: Move carefully, as sudden movement draws attention and is the main reason camouflaged personnel and animals are seen.

The basic guidelines for camouflage are

  • Learn to blend in with your surroundings.
  • If you are using foliage to conceal yourself or your position don’t use too much or too little.
  • If you are in a long-term hide remember to keep your camouflage fresh, dead foliage will alert people to your position.
  • When moving avoid skylines.
  • Don’t use isolated or obvious cover; it’s the first place others will look. Consider hiding in thorny bushes or nettles as most people will not expect anyone to hide there.
  • Camouflage your face, neck and any areas of the exposed flesh with mud, ash or charcoal from fires. Or use a balaclava or scarf to cover your face and wear gloves.
  • Take all noisy objects from your pockets, such as keys and coins and make sure nothing on your person rattles.
  • Make sure there are no shiny surfaces on your person, equipment or clothing.

Guidelines for Movement

You should always move quietly and cautiously and avoid stepping on dry twigs or breaking through foliage and undergrowth as this will make noise and leave an easy trail to follow. If you know you’re going to a rural area or possibly going to be in an escape and evasion situation avoid smelly foods, strong soaps and after shaves, as these will be easy to smell by those used to being in the bush. Always be careful not to leave signs you were in an area such as foot prints, broken foliage, human waste or trash.  Trash and human waste should be carried out of a hostile area and disposed of when safe to do so.

You should always move in “bounds” from one piece of cover to another. Your bounds should never be more than, say 50 yards, especially at night. When you stop at the end of each bound you should use your senses to try to detect any human presents then plan your next bound. Moving in short bounds is the safest way to move through populated areas or places there are unfriendly forces. Remember, always be prepared to take evasive action or defend yourself.

There are no set time periods for halts but you should try to take ten minutes in every hour on long journeys. Tracks, paths and roads make for fast, easy travel and can aid navigation but can also be very dangerous as your opponents will watch them closely. To be cautious walk a few meters off to the side of any roads or tracks.  Places to expect sentries are at the entrances to urban areas, on bridges, cross roads and on high prominent terrain.The speed at which you travel will depend on whether it’s day or night, the type of terrain you’re in, people or police patrols in the area. Never push yourself to your limit, you always need to have energy in reserve so you can run in an emergency; tired people are also rarely mentally alert. If you must run from your opposition try to do so only for a maximum of a few hundred yards, then slow down and move quietly, cautiously and cover your any signs of your direction of travel. Do not use obvious routes, which tend to be the easiest routes to use; head up hills and into thorny areas etc.

Avoid being silhouetted when crossing skylines and hills, go around them rather than over them where possible. If you need to cross an obstacle or skyline then keep low and crawl, if it’s a fence, crawl through it or under it. If you have to cut through a fence, cut through the lower strands and then disguise the hole with undergrowth or tie the wire strands back together, never cut through the top strands as this will be easily noticed.

Moving at night

You need to learn to treat the night and darkness as your friend, darkness affords you cover. Many people are afraid of being in the dark especially in rural areas or derelict buildings; you should use this to your advantage. If you are moving you should always try to stay in the shadows, if you get caught in a beam of light or car headlights you should freeze, the chances are that you will remain unnoticed. You must have your immediate reaction drills for encountering a person, being caught in light or hostile fire at the forefront of your mind. Being caught off guard will get you captured or killed.

There are both natural and man-made noises that are useful to you because they can cover up or disguise the sounds that you make when moving. The best time for moving covertly is during bad weather; rain will cover the noise of your movement and any ground sign you leave. Bad weather also keeps people under cover, lowers the moral of those standing guard, learn to love bad weather.

General guidelines for rural movement

  • Wear clothing that blends in with local people and the terrain.
  • Do everything possible to disguise evidence of your passage; cover foot prints, never break twigs or undergrowth and repair broken foliage.
  • Avoid contact with all people unless absolutely necessary.
  • Litter, food and human waste must be buried or carried with you.
  • Learn about tracking, then you’ll be aware of what anyone following you will be looking for.
  • If moving with others spread out and when crossing obstacles such as a rivers or roads etc. take up positions to be able to give warnings of any threats that might be approaching. Also stay low move fast and cross one by one.
  • Always be ready to take cover from gunfire or people you may encounter by surprise.
  • Remember certain smells indicate human activity; odors float downhill in cool air and rise on warm air.
  • Watch for stones, leaves or logs that have been moved, the undersides of these will be darker in color and damp environments, this can be an indicator of human activity or the location of hides.
  • Always look for straight lines as they are rare in nature and are usually man-made.
  • Learn to identify unnatural vegetation, such as green leaves among dead branches or areas of too much foliage as this could indicate human activity such as hides or ambushes.

These are some basic guidelines to get you thinking, these skills can’t be learn sat in a comfy chair, you need to get out and learn and practice them. Everything I have written about here is simple and the main thing required is situational awareness and common sense!

6 Questions you Should Ask About Prepping

Every once in a while, it is important to take a back seat to the process of prepping and do a little planning.  I say this because things change and life evolves, requiring a re-examination of the who, what, and why of prepping.  Let’s face it. You probably remember why you started to set food, water, and supplies aside, and why you began to bone up on off-grid skills.  But in the flurry of preparedness activities, have you ever taken a look at your original plan and made circumstantial changes?

If you are saying “what plan”,  join the crowd!

An Introduction to the Who, What, and Why of Prepping

We all know about the successful reporter’s rule of thumb:  determine the who what where and how for every story.  Let us take the “where” out of the equation and begin with the who, what and why of prepping.

1.  Who Should Prep?

There is only one right answer:  Everyone!

The differentiator is the extent of one person’s preps over those of another person.  Person A may define being prepared as having a three day plan to soldier through a winter storm when the power is out.  (Of course I will try to encourage that person to prep for a week or two at a minimum, but ultimately, three days is considered a decent starting point.)

On the other hand, Person B may not consider himself adequately prepped until he has the supplies, tools, and skills to manage for a year or more on his own.

It all gets down to a matter of perspective.  Like a broken record I will say it again; there is no right and no wrong when it comes to preparedness.  If you prepare enough to ally your fear of a disruptive event, you will have done enough.

Six Questions Every Prepper Needs to Ask and Answer | Backdoor Survival

2.  What is Prepping?

Let us get this one out of the way quickly as well.  Prepping is being able to survive a disruptive event if not in comfort, then at least with a minimum amount of stress.

3.  Who Are You Prepping For?

Now we start to get into the nitty-gritty of your plan.  It is important to understand who you are prepping for.  Is it just yourself and your partner (if you have one), or an extended family?  Are there infants or toddlers involved?  What about physically challenged, or elderly members of your family.  Don’t forget about the family dog or cat, and your farm animals.

As you prepare a strategy to meet your prepping goals, things can get out of hand quickly.  It takes money to prep so even though you may want to take care of everyone, doing so can put a huge strain on the family budget. If you are lucky enough to have family members who are on board with prepping, you can ask them to participate, even if all that means is they clean and repurpose soda bottles so they can be filled with tap water and stored for an emergency.

At the end of the day, though, you must be realistic and remember that having the time and resources to live your life in the here and now is important too.  Go slowly as you expand your preps to include others.  Do not cannibalize your own life for the sake of something that may or may not happen.

4.  What Are You Preparing For?

Are periodic power outages your concern, or is it the the big earthquake that is past due along the Cascadia Fault?  Is it a hurricane or is it global economic collapse?  If you are a prepper newbie, I tend to recommend that you initially focus on disruptive events that are geographically specific to where you live.

If you are new to an area and even if you are not, your county will have an emergency services department with plenty of information describing the types of disasters and freaks of mother nature that can occur in your community.  Take advantage of this information.

5.  Where Do I Start?

Getting started when you are at prepping ground zero can be overwhelming.  I get that. That being said, the fact you are reading this article is a good start.

Beyond that, get your water, food and first aid supplies in order, as well as a stash of cash for those times when the ATM is not working.

6.  How Long Do You Want Your Preps to Last?

This is another reality check.  Although it would be nice to say “forever”, unless you have a self-sufficient farm and everything that goes along with it, a forever goal is not realistic.

Why not start with a week, then expand to a month?  After you have met that goal,, decide whether you would prefer to prep for more people, or perhaps to extend the period to three months or a year.  Have a discussion with yourself and decide what is right for you, your temperament, and your feelings about the likelihood of a major disruptive event. occurring in the near future.

The Final Word

It is easy to say “plan first, prepare second”, but even planning can be overwhelming.  I know that when I first started to prep, I armed myself with a 20 page checklist to use to begin the planning process.  After an hour, I set it aside and chartered my own course.  Thus was the beginning of Backdoor Survival and my own common sense approach to preparedness.

As a call to action, it is time to revisit the basics.  The moment is now.

ANTI-HISTAMINE MEDICATION: A MUST MUST MUST-HAVE ITEM

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Not having at least one box of anti-histamines in the house at all times is a huge mistake. Not having a large supply in store for emergency use is a massively huge mistake.

First the science:

Histamine is present in most cells, it’s biologically active and is released in response to a foreign pathogen that irritates the body causing it to be released. It isn’t just released by irritants. Infection, physical damage and allergies all cause the substance to move from our cells and course around our body. A great deal goes on within the body before the hives that we associate with an allergy appear, and more still goes on before tissues start to swell and distort, a sign that an alleged is severely affecting the victim. You can find a full description of the sequence of events here.

Anti-histamines can relieve many of the symptoms associated with allergies. They can’t cure them but they can and do make life more comfortable for millions of people everyday.

Sensitivities to drugs, stings and foods are rarely life-threatening in the first instance unless the reaction is overwhelming tor the person is extremely sensitive to the substance in question. A good example is multiple bee or wasp stings that cause such a massive reaction that tissues swell and anaphylaxis occurs.

Usually anaphylaxis occurs after one or more previous exposures to the allergen, each reaction is worse than the previous one until the point is reached where exposure to the allergen causes a massive histamine release and anaphylaxis occurs within minutes of the exposure.

Antihistamines can slow down a reaction to an allergen, it buys you a little time in cases of severe allergies, time to call an ambulance or get to a hospital where airway and respiratory management is available.

An Epipen containing adrenalin should be high on your priority list if you can get one…here in the UK that’s impossible to do unless you are already known to be likely to suffer from, or have previously suffered from anaphylaxis.

So what happens though in times when help isn’t coming? In any kind of societal collapse hospitals may not be functioning in any normal sense of the word, what would you do then?

Airway management requires specialist equipment that is usually only available to those in the medical profession who are allowed to procure things such as endotracheal tubes and nano-pharyngeal tubes, then there’s the laryngoscope that you would need to visualise the larynx in order to site the tube. On top of this you need to have enough knowledge of anatomy to site the tube correctly so that oxygen actually ends up in the lung not the stomach. In a case of anaphylaxis shock where tissues are swelling and distorting it’s highly unlikely someone who doesn’t place tubes on a very regular basis would be able to do it. It’s at least a weekly occurrence to have a patient with a difficult airway that tries the patience of the most experienced airway management technician and even qualified anaesthetists that conduct laryngoscopy on a multi-times daily basis get the odd case they will struggle with.

In a collapse situation it’s safe to say that intubation isn’t an option for 99.99% of the population outside of the hospital environment.

This is why you need a huge stock of antihistamine medication.

If someone presents with anaphalaxis and their airways are swelling and closing they are in dire straights. Other internal changes are taking place and the situation will worsen very quickly, in short, unless something is done they will most likely die. ANYTHING you can do to possibly save them is on the table and giving them a large dose (two-three tablets) of antihistamine medication whilst they can still swallow is possibly the only hope they have.

Antihistamines can cause problems taken in large doses or if taken long-term as a preventative measure. The incidence of problems however is low and a life-threatening emergency has to be the priority.

At the FIRST sign of severe allergy get those drugs in, crush them up in a small amount of water and get it into them, they will get into the victims system faster if they don’t have to dissolve first so crushing them into powder makes them more easily soluble.

Ignore the one a day rule: Any numbness of the nose and mouth, swelling of the nose, lips and eyelids says it’s severe and if you know you cannot get to medical help within minutes give at least two crushed antihistamine tablets immediately.

In the short term you are not causing any damage to your patient. Enough of the drug needs to be given to start to counteract the effects of the allergen…and we have no idea how much that is because we can’t see what’s going on inside the patient.

Yes, if you have medical knowledge and the outside of a ball-point pen you can do a tracheostomy on the kitchen table but most people would be unable to cut a hole in their loved ones throat!

If you decide to take that option please make sure they have taken their last breath first – that way you won’y bear the unbearable responsibility of feeling you have killed them if it doesn’t work.

The human brain can go a full minute without oxygen before the effects start to become apparent.

Symptoms of a severe allergic reaction include:

  • generalised flushing of the skin
  • nettle rash (hives) anywhere on the body
  • sense of impending doom
  • swelling of throat and mouth
  • difficulty in swallowing or speaking
  • alterations in heart rate
  • severe asthma
  • abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting
  • sudden feeling of weakness (drop in blood pressure)
  • collapse and unconsciousness

Note that not all of these things will be present in every person suffering from a severe allergy.

On a less dramatic note having a large supply of antihistamines available can make life more bearable generally by easing itching and congestion in a variety of conditions from hay fever to mosquito bites.

Try and have some of the “may cause drowsiness” for the little ones, an itchy miserable child won’t sleep well and this has a knock on effect for the entire family. Getting them to drift off is no easy task when they are fractious. Most antihistamine medications are safe for youngsters and sleep provides relief for them primarily but also respite for everyone else.

Linked from: http://undergroundmedic.com/2016/11/anti-histamine-medication-a-must-must-must-have-item/

How to Make a Trailer into a Suitable Camper

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How many times have you seen a travel trailer zooming by on the interstate and thought, “Boy, I wish I could travel in one of those?” It may not be as unreachable a dream as you think. Even though most of the ‘silver palaces’ of the 1940s–1960s are gone, and modern RVs are prohibitively expensive, there is another option.

Cargo trailers, like the Endura Cargo Trailer by Hillsboro Industries, can be easily converted and customized into a comfortable tiny home on wheels.

Advantages of Cargo Trailer Conversion

    • Fully-customizable – Classic travel trailers were designed to serve a different lifestyle, and may not be suitable for modern living. Many feel like dark, claustrophobic spaces. Cargo trailers are an empty, open space, just waiting to be built to your specific needs. Straight-hitch trailers can run from fourteen to twenty-eight feet in length. Fifth-wheel models vary between fourteen and thirty-four feet. Cargo trailers come in a variety of widths and heights, unlike pre-built travel trailers, and include many options for the numbers and types of doors and windows.

 

    • Less expensive – Starting costs for a customized cargo trailer are considerably less than an RV.

 

    • New – With a brand-new cargo trailer, there are no concerns over the condition of the frame, exterior, or electrical systems. When you buy a used travel trailer, you’re never sure of the condition it’s in.

 

    • Lighter – Aluminum, double-wall construction is light, stronger and more durable than steel. You can control how much weight you want to add to your mobile home-away-from-home.

 

    • Unobtrusive – Many people prefer using a cargo trailer because it attracts less attention. Traditional RVs may be subject to restrictions on where they can be parked, but those restrictions do not apply to cargo trailers.

 

Things to Consider First

] The first decision that must be made is, how will the trailer be used? Do you want to live in it full-time year round, or only as an alternative to a tent when camping in the great outdoors? How much do you want to spend? How much time and effort do you want to invest in the project? What climate zones do you plan to visit in your customized RV? What functional areas are most important to have in your trailer? What conveniences do you require?

External Functionality

Most cargo trailers include a standard side door and double rear doors. However, if you want the option of an outdoor room, or you want to use your RV as a toy hauler, consider buying a trailer with a rear ramp door. If you arrange supports to lower your ramp door so that it is level with the floor of the trailer, you can create an instant outdoor deck. Some people prefer to live in a trailer with no windows, or small windows set high up along the walls. This design is optimal if being unobtrusive is an important feature. In this case, you might want to consider installing small skylights.

Insulation Is Key to Comfort

One-inch aluminum studs are readily available and would support both rigid and soft foam insulation in walls and ceiling. However, insulation in the floor will be the most important factor in keeping the heat in during the winter, and out during the summer, especially if you plan on living in the RV full-time. Installing studs and internal walls are also necessary if you wish to install plumbing, additional electrical features (like outlets and specific lighting), and propane lines for furnaces and ovens.

Many Design Options Available for Wall Panels and Flooring

Many people choose aluminum panels or 3/8” wood panels for walls, but pre-fabricated wall panels are available in hardboard, MDF, fiberglass and vinyl with almost any decorating style including brick, tile, bead board, wood planks, and 3-D textures. Subfloor panels should be at least 3/4” thick, or the floor will feel spongy when you walk on it. Once that is installed, almost any type of flooring would work well, including vinyl flooring, wood parquet tiles, or small ceramic tiles. Another quick, easy and attractive option is to paint the subfloor with a few coats of marine varnish and leave it bare.

Utilities Needed

If you plan on living in your camper full-time, you will probably want both a furnace and an air-conditioner. Choose appliances that are designed for use in an RV. Used appliances can often be found in good condition if you are on a budget. Plumbing will be crucial if the trailer is your main residence. Most campgrounds offer public showers, so you may not require one of those in your trailer, but at least one sink and a toilet are important. PVC works great in RVs, and supplies can be found at almost any hardware store.

The principles of gravity are simple and almost anyone can install their own plumbing lines. Tanks for fresh, gray and black water add weight and take up space. If you design the drainage lines at the correct angle of descent, you can avoid installing tanks altogether. Most campgrounds provide sewer and water hook-ups. Since you’ll never know the quality of the water before you arrive at a campsite, installing a small water filter is a good idea. Also, look for a water heater that is designed for RV use. If you do want a shower, you might want to search for a used one from an old RV. Installing gas lines to the propane tanks is a job best left to professionals, though, so keep that in mind.

Appliances

Most campgrounds provide 120V and 240V electrical hook-ups, so once you’ve installed basic electrical wiring and outlets, you can fill your customized cargo trailer with whatever standard appliances you prefer. Small or medium-sized refrigerators, microwave and convection/toaster ovens make the most sense. Propane RV oven-stoves are also popular.

Off-Grid Living

If you don’t plan on berthing your new converted RV in a campground, there are a number of options like solar panels, chemical toilets, tent showers and other features you could install to save money and energy.

Interior Design

Once the basics are installed in your converted trailer, the real fun begins. Many people install customized shelving and platform or bunk beds. One unique idea is to use a pop-up trundle bed in conjunction with a daybed. During the day the daybed acts as a sofa. At night it converts into a king-sized bed. Not many RVs, even the really expensive ones, can support any bed larger than a queen-sized mattress. Multipurpose and convertible furniture ideas will also help make your new residence more livable.

No Limits

With the emergence of the tiny home movement and a robust RV industry, once you’ve decided to embark on the cargo trailer conversion adventure, there really are no limits as to the RV you can create. Visit a trailer dealer to see what brand-new, customizable cargo trailers are available and begin the journey.

Linked from: http://www.doomsdaymoose.com/2016/09/how-to-make-trailer-into-suitable-camper.html#.WBI7YvkrLIU

NIGHTTIME SURVIVAL: HOW TO STAY SAFE AFTER THE SUN GOES DOWN

Most preppers spend a lot of time learning new skills to help them survive the perils of the wild. Many of us probably know a dozen different ways to purify water, or how to build rudimentary shelters out of forest debris, and set traps for small game etc.That’s all fine and good, but in terms of life threatening scenarios, there’s only one thing that’s more dangerous than the wilderness, and that’s other people. I can’t help but feel that nighttime survival is a bit neglected in the prepper community.

Nighttime SurvivalThere are a lot of useful and handy tips and tricks all around about various means of surviving in hostile environments and situation, but somehow, many of these seem to be neglecting nighttime survival. Focusing on daytime activities is a good thing, sure, as people are more active and efficient during the day time. But what happens after the sun goes down, when our main sense of detection (the vision) gets reduced dramatically? We don’t necessarily need to be active (as in gathering resources or looking for shelter); but, depending on the situation, we might very well be forced to. Not to mention that in the wild, many predators are night hunters, meaning they do all the work during the night; what chances do we have against felines, wolves or jackals who are inarguably advantaged over us? Well, just because we’re not naturally adapted, doesn’t mean we can fight against the odds and still come out on top. It’s only a matter of knowledge and the right equipment. If you happen to find yourself wondering through the wilderness during nighttime, just keep the basics in mind: shelter, vigilance and equipment. If you have enough knowledge in the area and a well formulated plan (and of course a well-equipped survival kit to go along with them) you will be fine.

First thing’s first: organize yourself

The first thing to do in order to be as prepared as possible for making it through the night in a hostile and wild setting is to start planning ahead, during daytime. You’ll need to decide (and fast) what and where your sleeping spot is going to be. Make sure it’s a secluded spot, as hard to detect or to reach as possible. You have a vast array of choices, from sleeping under big trees, on high tree branches, in caves or small holes in the ground. Under no circumstances should you sleep in open field, unless there’s no other option available. Getting a good night sleep is very important, especially in such a stressful scenario. If you’re part of a group, you should take turns sleeping, so somebody is always awake and on the lookout for incoming danger. If you’re alone, you’ll have to resort to the proverbial “sleeping with one eye open”. Your sleeping area shouldn’t be in the vicinity of your supply “storage space”; that way, if a wild animal is attracted to the scent of whatever it is you set aside, it won’t find you.

The flashlight and the campfire – the double-edged swords of nighttime survival
Unfortunately, one of the most pressing needs you’ll have is building a fire, which is also a dead giveaway for anyone who is looking for you. The light and smoke from a fire can reveal your position over long distances, even during the day. Many people will have a hard time keeping warm at night in the wilderness, especially during cold seasons. In most wild areas, the right survival gear (clothes) that keep you warm during the day might not just be enough during the night, where temperatures will drop considerably. Forget about purifying water or cooking food, in many climates you won’t survive a single night without a fire. So you’ll have to figure out how to stay warm without letting anyone know where you are. The first thing that comes in mind is to gather enough wood and start a camp fire. The camp fire is a great heating source and also gives you the option to cook a warm meal, be it dehydrated food packs or game animals. But it also has a great downside as well: it gives out your position and it makes you visible to predators. The light and smoke will catch the attention of night predators that will start tracking you down. Most animals might be afraid of an open fire and not approach. But hostile military forces or guerilla troops won’t have that problem and will attack as fast as they can… And that’s where the smokeless fire comes in. While it sounds absurd to some, in reality it’s very simple. Making a fire that doesn’t produce smoke is just a matter of making the combustion more efficient.

Today we’ll be covering how to create a Dakota Smokeless Fire Pit. These smokeless fire pits are great for hiding your fire from enemies. They tend to keep a hotter fire, and a great at being virtually smoke free. This is the perfect way to create a concealed fire.

Steps to creating a Dakota Smokeless Fire:

Step 1) Dig two fence post holes side by side (approximately 6-8 inches apart)

Step 2) Connect the two holes at the bottom to allow air to flow through

Step 3) Put your wood in one of the holes. We recommend putting your heaviest wood at the bottom, then middle density wood, then tinder/light wood on top

Step 4) Light the fire and maintain it

Essentially what this does is to allow the empty hole to act as an air intake for your fire hole. You can also place small stones at the bottom of your fire hole, this can also help enhance the air flow a bit making your fire hotter. Here’s a video tutorial to understand better the concept:

A flashlight would be a great advantage during the night, as it will greatly improve your vision over the environment, making it easier for you to move around, gather capture2provisions and even communicate by signaling your position. If you’re planning on signaling with a flashlight, you should turn it on and off repeatedly, giving out
intermittent flashes. Keeping it on all the time might give out the wrong vibe, as a light flashlight can be easily mistaken from a far with a reflection of moonlight on a watery surface; you risk getting ignored by the rescue party. Despite these advantages, just like in the case of the camp fire, the flashlight can work against you as well. The light sources can also be picked up by night hunters or hostile troops.

If we should sum up nighttime survival in a single word, that’d have to be indefectibility. Your best chance of survival in a hostile environment during night time is to keep a low profile; not being seen means you won’t attract danger on yourself. Be calm, vigilant and stay out of harm’s way, and you‘ll make it out alive.

Our forefathers lived more simply than most people today are willing to live and that is why they survived with no grocery store, no cheap oil, no cars, no electricity, and no running water. Just like our forefathers used to do, The Lost Ways Book teaches you how you can survive in the worst-case scenario with the minimum resources available. It comes as a step-by-step guide accompanied by pictures and teaches you how to use basic survival skills to stay alive in any situation. Watch the video below:

tlwvid

Linked from: http://www.bioprepper.com/2016/09/17/nighttime-survival-stay-safe-sun-goes/

How To Use Solar To Boost Your Survival

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Today it’s all about how to use solar to boost your survival. Yes, use solar for survival. You don’t need electricity to charge the flashlight I’m highlighting in this post.  All you need is the sun shining outside to collect the power.  Goal Zero asked me to do a review on the Goal Zero Torch 250 USB Power Hub and Flashlight below. Here again, these opinions on that particular item are my own. I purchase Goal Zero items all the time because they are the best solar items I can find available, literally for camping, hiking and for survival situations. It’s all about solar, friends. No fuel or batteries needed. I have given some of the original Goal Zero flashlights to family and friends for Christmas. This new Torch 250 has more features and awesome ways we can use it for survival. It’s all about light for survival, at least for me.

Here’s the deal, if we lose all power are we prepared with at least some flashlights, at the very least? Oh, and don’t forget the batteries if your flashlights need them. Well, some flashlights do not require batteries at all. Here are some suggestions for flashlights and some other items that can be powered with solar, yay for solar. I do not like the dark, I have so many flashlights.  I would love to ask you how many flashlights do you own? Do they all work and do they need batteries? If you have a power outage for an extended time do you have some GOOD flashlights that will work?

These Use Solar:

use solar

Can you see how large this solar panel is? It’s twice the size of the old style (which I still love and use all the time). You can use this one as a flashlight, floodlight, or red emergency light! It has a built-in charging cable, solar panel, and hand crank. You can recharge it anywhere, anytime! You will have power for emergencies and activities. This would be a great emergency flashlight in your car, at the office or at your bedside.

use solar

It has an integrated USB port that will charge phones and boost tablets to stay connected. It has a long lasting lithium battery. It now has a metal feature to hang it on a hook, tree or whatever. It has a flood light, red light, and spotlight. I highly recommend getting several of these. You can’t go wrong with Goal Zero products. I promise. Goal Zero Torch 250 Flashlight with Integrated Solar Panel

use solar

Okay, now onto this Goal Zero Solo Flashlight. I purchased two of these. I never buy just one of anything. I wanted one for the living room window and the window by the back door. Goal Zero 90109 Solo V2 Solar Flashlight I took the Solo flashlight out of the box and placed the solar panel towards the sunshine. I am ready for any power outage or a trip outside at night with my very own flashlight ready to go with me, no batteries needed. The solar charge lasts for 2-3 hours. SOLD!!!

It’s a dependable, bright flashlight that has builtin solar panel and long-lasting internal battery. Never have a dead flashlight again. Use solar, it rocks!

Linked from: http://www.foodstoragemoms.com/2016/09/use-solar-boost-survival/

Build Stealth Antennas

Building stealth antennas to keep prying eyes from detecting your communications resources takes some skill and a lot of ingenuity. The skill part comes into play when it comes down to building antennas that will be sturdy and will perform optimally for the frequency/band desired. The ingenuity part of a stealth antenna comes about when it comes to hiding the antenna from nosy people with nothing better to do than to concern themselves with YOUR antenna. A lot of survivalists and others who want to hide their communications antennas think that mostly wire antennas are the type of antennas used the most and for the most part that’s fairly true. But that doesn’t mean that your HF/VHF/UHF beams and vertical antennas can’t be also hidden. In this picture to the right, you can see how easily a multi-element VHF beam was hidden in the average looking attic of this home. Admittedly it may not work as on receive or transmit as well as it would if it was mounted higher up on the outside Stealth Antenna 01of the home but it is thoroughly hidden away in the attic. Since this antenna is directional it has the characteristics of other beam antenna in that the transmit signal is higher in strength along with it having the ability to better receive signals that might otherwise be too weak to hear.

What Other Ways Can Be Used?

There are many but here are a a couple ideas to get your “idea factory” working on your own stealth antenna ideas.

This type of stealth antenna has been discussed elsewhere on this web site but it was decided that it should be included on this page. Can’t see the antenna yet? Just take a look at Old Glory wafting in the breeze andStealth antenna 02you will see the antenna. Give up? It’s the flagpole! These flagpole vertical antennas are popping up all all over the place, especially where outside antennas are restricted or forbidden altogether. If you wish to erect any sort of flagpole antenna such as this one then you might want to be sure there aren’t restrictions on flagpoles in the area where you wish to erect it. Some homeowner associations have an even more restrictive policy towards communications by stating that no radio emissions are allowed. Of course this would not apply to shortwave listening but it is best to check first. The flagpole antennas are permanent as they require a concrete base under them and this might keep them from being used in some survivalist situations.

Stealth antenna 03

The owner of this home has built a loop antenna that literally circles his house and no one is the wiser. Take note of the coax exiting the attic vent and running over to the balun1 which is connected to the wire running around the eaves of the house. Wire loop antennas like this one are quite effect and stealthy as well. Along with this is the fact that loop antennas tend to be broadbanded and can readily used on more than one band.

Well, about the time you think you have seen it all there comes around something like the Stealth antenna 04antenna to the right of your screen. It is manufactured by Rohn Products and should hide any antennas systems contained within fairly well. Of course it will also tend to make people stop and point thereby drawing more attention to it than one might desire. Nevertheless, it shows what can be done to hide your antenna.

1 Balun: Derived from the terms “balanced” & “unbalanced”. It is an adapter that converts an unbalanced signal, eg 93 ohm coax to 100 ohm.
Linked from: http://radiosurvivalist.com/radio-articles/build-stealth-antennas/

Hiking and Navigating at Night

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What should the hiker consider regarding hiking and navigating at night?

First, let us decide  that  this is not in a “lost hiker” scenario.  If lost, the best thing to do is to

just stay in place.  This makes the job much easier for the searchers.

At night the term used to describe our ability to see is “night vision.”   Good night vision is important.  Therefore, avoid bright lighting.   Flashes of bright white light will ruin night vision.  Recovery can take about 30-45 minutes.  Low level white light and low intensity red light are better.
Care should be taken with the use of a GPS.  The normal white backlight function of the GPS receiver will impair night vision. The good news is that the backlight can be adjusted.
Here are a few recommendations about hiking and navigating at night:
  • Stay on the trail and thoughtfully use flashlights and head lamps. A head lamp may be of more use than a handheld flashlight.  Two free hands are better than one.  Have extra batteries.
  • Examine the topographic map of your planned route.  Study the contours to evaluate the terrain. Your visual cues will be gone so you will need to establish new ones, larger objects. Lanes of extraction might present themselves on the map such as a power grid line, a road, a lake or an old jeep track.
  • Discuss your plan with all involved so that you are all on the same page.
  • Follow your trace on a map. Plot your position frequently.  Agree in advance how often you will do that.  Take your time with your navigation.
  • For night time travel a consideration may be to have one person designated to read maps (with dim lighting) while others in the party preserve their night vision and lead the way.
  • Move forward deliberately and cautiously.  Move more like you are stalking.
  • Others might be moving too.  Be alert for bears, coyotes, cougars and in some areas perhaps wolves.
  • Trekking poles or a walking staff provide support.
  • Sound travels well at night.  Be alert for audible clues to roads and running water.
  •  If you don’t have a GPS and are navigating with just a map and compass it is very important that you start from a known position.  Navigating without getting position fixes from a GPS or by visual sighting is called dead reckoning.  Such navigation requires you to plot your compass heading and distance traveled.  Distance is accounted by pacing (counting your steps) as you move

Night time navigation is not something to be taken lightly.  From reviewing my books, US Army field manuals and conversations with experienced backcountry travelers it should be carefully considered and practiced before an actual outing.  Practise your navigation at a local park with map and compass.  Consider geocaching to improve your GPS skills.

It just gets down to being careful when hiking and navigating at night.

Linked from: http://outdoorquest.blogspot.com/2016/09/hiking-and-navigating-at-night.html

4 Ways To Preserve Food In A Solar Oven

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There are many ways to preserve food, but how many of those methods transfer to your solar cooker? I decided to check things out and see whether or not you can even use it for food preservation; after all, the temperatures can be a bit erratic and heat is dependent on the sun.

It turns out that you can use your solar oven for more than just one way to preserve your food. It’s possible to can your food and dehydrate it using your solar oven. If you don’t have one, we can take care of it, just read this article to the end to find an offer you can’t miss!

Before we get into that, I’m going to quickly explain how a solar oven works. There are a variety of different ways to trap the heat, but the general idea is that you trap the heat of the sun in order to heat up your “oven” enough to cook foods.

Most solar ovens only reach 325 degrees F, maximum, on a sunny day so you do have some limitations. Also, since it’s tough to maintain a consistently high temperature, you can’t really pressure can in your solar oven.

You can cook in it, you can roast in it, you can dehydrate in it, you can even can high-acid foods in your solar oven, but it’s not safe to can low-acid foods in it. There’s no way to guarantee that the temperature will stay high enough long enough to kill the botulinum toxin that causes botulism.

Canning High-Acid Foods in a Solar Oven

Now that we’ve established that you can’t pressure can, that narrows down the list of foods that you can preserve in your solar oven. High-acid foods such as most fruits and tomatoes are safe to can in your solar oven, but you can’t can most vegetables or any meats. Unless of course you’re willing to die for it! Trust me, botulism is no fun.

If you’re canning tomatoes, it’s still a good idea to add a bit of vinegar or lemon juice just to boost the acid content. Fruits that are low-acid include:

  • Figs
  • Pears
  • Melons
  • Bananas
  • Dates
  • Papaya
  • Ripe pineapple (I know – this one surprised me, too!)
  • Persimmons

These fruits shouldn’t be canned in your solar cooker because there’s not enough acid in them to kill the bad bacteria.

acid-foods

To use your solar oven to can, it’s important that you start in the morning on a clear day so that you have plenty of time to get it warmed up and give your cans plenty of time to process.

Start by sterilizing your jars and equipment so that you reduce the risk of contaminating your canned goods with bacteria. Prepare your fruit just as you would for regular canning.

Just as you do when canning in a water bath, fill your jars with fruit, sugar (if you want) and water or juice. Slide your spatula down the sides to get as much air as possible out. Leave the head room at the top of the jar as recommended by the instructions for your particular fruit. You may want to leave a quarter of an inch or so more than recommended.

Place your jars in your solar oven and close the lid. Once the proper temperature has been reached, the fruits will begin to boil in the jars. Process according to the recommended time for what you’re canning, starting at the time that it boils.

Remove your jars carefully as they will be hot. Not only are you in danger of burning yourself, but the jars are also more fragile because they’re hot and pressurized. Set them somewhere where there won’t be a draft, cover them with a towel, and let them cool naturally.

To test if they sealed after the jars are cool, gently press down on the center of the seal. If it pops back up, your jars didn’t seal. You need to re-can them, or eat that jar within the next few days. I hate re-canning fruit because it gets soggy, so unless I’m making jam or jelly, I usually just eat it or give it to family or friends.

Personally, I would recommend starting with a small batch so that if things go wrong, you don’t lose a whole batch of fruit. I do this any time I try something new with canning because, even if I grow my own, it’s still labor-intensive and I don’t want to waste all my hard work. In this case, the heat source isn’t costing you anything, so what do you have to lose.

Note: I’ve seen some instructions on the internet that say it’s OK to allow your food to boil out of the jars, but as a long-time canner, that goes against what I’ve always been taught. Follow that advice at your own discretion, but I wouldn’t do it.

Dry Canning

I haven’t seen anything yet about dry canning in a solar oven, but it seems to me as if it would work, if you’re a person that dry cans in the oven.

Personally, I’ve used the oven method and it worked just fine, so I don’t see why it wouldn’t work in a solar oven. Just keep the temp low – below 250 degrees or so.

Dehydrating Food in a Solar Oven

A solar oven is excellent for dehydrating food – the only trick is to keep the temperature low enough that you don’t cook it instead of dehydrating it. Prepare your meat, fruits, or vegetables just as you would for the dehydrator and place them on a sheet or, even better, on a drying wrack.

Put the pan or drying rack in the solar oven and leave it in there at a low temp of no more than 150 degrees until it reaches the crisp phase. Remember that your meat or produce needs to be sliced thinly before dehydrating. Flip your product from side to side every couple of hours so that it dehydrates evenly. Turn your dehydrator accordingly, too.

After you dehydrate your food, you could also dry can them in order to extend the shelf life.

Fruit Leather

Your solar oven would be a good way to make fruit leather, too. Prepare your fruit by creating a smooth paste. Add sugar to the mix if you’d like, but if you’re using super-ripe fruit, which is the best type to use for fruit leather, you probably won’t need any.

Again, you don’t want to cook the fruit; you want to dehydrate it, so you don’t want to let your solar cooker get too hot. Spread parchment paper on a cookie sheet, or whatever type of pan will fit in your cooker, then spread the fruit puree in a thin layer on the paper. Dry as long as needed to make it like leather. It will still be flexible and slightly sticky, but should stay together in a sheet.

The only downside to making fruit leather in a solar oven is that you can only make a small amount at a time unless you have a way to stack the racks. Since we’re preppers and homesteaders, that shouldn’t be a problem, though!

You can only use your solar oven for a couple of food preservation methods, but even if you only can your jellies in it, you’ll be saving a ton of wood if you’re canning openly in a SHTF situation.

Linked from: http://www.survivopedia.com/how-to-use-a-solar-oven-for-preserving-foods/

7 Mouth-Watering Recipes To Cook In The Sun

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Cooking with a solar oven is a great alternative when you don’t have (or don’t want to use) electricity. Just remember there are some big differences between the different types of solar ovens available on the market.

With just a little practice, cooking on a solar oven is a piece of cake, and these seven recipes are exactly what you’ll need to prepare a good meal.

And if you’re wondering how could I proceed all these mouth-watering recipes without a proper oven, keep reading the article below, because we have a great offer up for grabs!

Follow These 10 Advice for the Best Solar Oven Cooking!

Since there are so many variations of solar ovens, it’s hard to set any hard and fast rules but there are some dos and don’ts that are applicable to pretty much all of them.

Don’t Assume you’re Invisible

One of the reasons that solar ovens are good is because they’re smokeless; they operate solely off the power of the sun. However, most ovens depend on a shiny surface to reflect the sun to cook the food (think 80s-style tanning with the silver tray under your face).

This means that you have a reflective surface that is easily seen from up to miles away depending upon how flat your geography is. Though there won’t be smoke, there will be shiny, so make sure that if you’re using your oven and trying to hide that you are completely surrounded in such a manner that it can’t be seen from a hilltop or anywhere else.

You won’t be able to do much about planes and you can’t (generally) use it in the dark, but you may be able to position it in such a way that you can use it without giving away your location. Just plan carefully.

Don’t be in a Hurry and Start Early

Many solar ovens don’t get super-hot, so you’re going to need to allow plenty of time to warm it up and then more extra time to cook. Food will likely take longer to cook in a solar oven, though that won’t always be the case.

If you’re planning a meal such as beans or stew that takes hours to cook, you need to start the meal early. Remember that you can’t typically use your solar oven after dusk because, well, it’s powered by the sun.

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Don’t Forget to Check the Weather

Remember, you’re counting on the sun. If it’s raining, you better have back-up rations if solar cooking is your only heat source. As a matter of fact, let’s make that a subsection here: Always have a backup cooking method.

If it’s smoggy or hazy, your food won’t cook as quickly and you’ll have to pay closer attention to make sure that your oven is pointed in the right direction.

Don’t Waste Food or Heat

Don’t waste food scraps or that precious heat – if you’re cooking supper tonight and planning a soup for tomorrow, use the leftover veggie and meat scraps to make a stock for tomorrow’s soups.

Put them in a jar or two, add salt or some vinegar or wine to pull the calcium out of the bones and into your stock, season it and toss it on the cooker

Don’t Forget to Level Your Oven

You’ve bought a super fancy oven, and you’re all excited to give it a shot. It’s set up and ready to go and you’re going to try something quick and easy – cookies.

You warm up your oven, you mix up your dough, you place the cookies on the sheet and slide it into the oven. Now all you have to do is wait, and you’re going to have ooey, gooey, deliciously crispy cookies.

You come back 20 minutes later and you have long, oval, thin cookies, which are crispy and delicious, but ugly as a mud fence in a rain storm because you forgot to level your oven. Now, the end result here is just ugly cookies, but if you were cooking cornbread or a pie, you would have had a mess on your hands.

So, the moral of the crooked cookie story is this: Level your solar oven!

Do Turn Your Cooker

Especially if you’re using a box cooker, it’s important that you turn it as you cook in order to increase efficiency. This isn’t as important if you’re cooking something quickly but if you’re cooking for longer periods of times (more than an hour), you definitely want to turn your solar oven in order to get the most out of it.

If you have to be away from your cooker for more than an hour or so and your food is going to take a few hours, point it to where it the sun will be directly on it in an hour and a half or so. As with all things survival and homesteading related, use your head and adapt to how long you’re going to be away.

Do Cook in Black Pans

Because you’re using reflection to direct your heat, it only makes sense that you use a non-reflective, heat-absorbing cooking vessel. A thin, black metal is best because it’s lightweight and dark colored. Cast iron is also good for a couple of reasons. First, it’s black and absorbs heat. Second, the iron holds heat for a long time.

As a matter of fact, even when I’m making cakes or cornbread in my iron skillet in a regular oven, I take it out a few minutes before it’s completely done because it holds so much heat that it keeps cooking for several minutes after the heat source is eliminated. The downside to iron skillets is that they’re heavy.

If you can’t use black cookware, use glass. Using aluminum or stainless steel is counterproductive. Never cover your food with foil.

Add Reflective Panels to Cook While You Bake

If you really want to crank up the temperature to fry foods, add additional reflectors that reflect the sun directly onto the food as well as the ones used to heat the oven. Elevate a shallow pan so that it touches the glass, then attach the three-panel reflector to aim the extra light onto your food. You can even do this while baking other products inside the rest of the oven.

Build Your Oven According to Your Needs

If you’re still experimenting with solar cooking, get the function down before you worry about a solid, permanent form. Also, if you just want to cook for yourself, you won’t need a full-sized cooker.

Do you want it to be portable? Do you want to cook for a large family? What size pans will you be using? Your cooker needs to have at least an inch headspace above your pot, including the lid. Build according to what you need.

Do Build in Security

If you’re building your own solar oven and it’s going to be substantial (not made from a pizza box) build in a way to padlock it to something larger. For example, you could build a place to attach a padlock to the hinges of a box cooker.

Time Your Cooking Accordingly

Just like when you’re cooking inside, don’t add carrots and spinach to a soup at the same time and expect them to cook evenly. Add hard vegetables first, and if you’re cooking more than one dish, start the one that takes longest to cook before you start the faster-cooking one.

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Just use your cooking common sense that you use in the kitchen. If you don’t have any yet, you quickly will, as we help you cook your first meal on a solar oven with these 7 recipes.

And Finally, 7 Survival Recipes to Cook on Your Solar Oven

Though you can convert many of your own personal favorites and use them with your solar oven, these recipes are written specifically for that cooking method. Some of these recipes for solar ovens are basics, and some are for more luxurious dishes, but even in a survival situation, tasty treats can go a long way toward boosting morale.

After all, who doesn’t feel a little better after eating a good brownie?

Remember that times are going to be different depending upon how hot your oven gets. Some can get as hot as 425 degrees while some can barely break 325. Because of that, take the times with a grain of salt and start checking your food 5 minutes of so before the time listed to see if it’s done.

Fresh Baked Bread

This recipe will yield two loaves of bread or about 24 rolls. Remember that, unlike biscuits, the more you knead bread, the better it will be because kneading activates the gluten, which provides the elasticity.

  • oven-bread6 c bread flour
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil or butter
  • 2 1/2 c very warm water (not hot!)
  • 2 packets quick rise yeast
  • 1 tbsp. sugar

Stir the yeast into 1 cup of the warm water and set aside so that it can activate.

Sift together the flour, salt and sugar, than add the butter or oil and the yeasty water. Stir together, then mix in the remaining water 1/2 cup at a time until your bread is kneadable but not sticky. You can do this in a bowl or on a lightly floured surface.

Continue to knead by folding the dough in half on itself and pushing together until your dough is elastic and shapes easily into a loaf. If you need to add a bit more flour or water to reach a good consistency, do so. Count on kneading for at least 5 minutes, and maybe even 10.

Place in a warm place, rub a tsp of oil over the top, and cover with a clean towel. Allow to rise until it doubles in size, then punch in down, knead it just a bit more, then divide your loaves or rolls, place in bread pans, and allow to rise again. Place in your sun oven, which is hopefully around 300 to 325 degrees F, and bake for about 45 minutes.

Tap on your bread and if it sounds hollow, it’s done.

Pot Roast

  • 3 pound rump roast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder or 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 large onion, quartered
  • 4 medium potatoes, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 5 carrots, cut into 2 inch chucks
  • 1 tbsp. Italian seasoning
  • 2 c beef broth (or 2 cups water with 2 bouillon cubes)

Put the roast in a roasting dish and sprinkle with salt, pepper, garlic, and Italian seasoning. Add the veggies around the roast and then pour the bouillon in. Place in your solar oven and bake for 3 hours or until tender.

Meatloaf

  • 1½ pounds ground beef
  • 1/2 c ketchup
  • 2 tbsp. mustard
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup chopped onion
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 1 tbsp. Italian seasoning
  • ¾ c rolled oats or breadcrumbs

Mix all ingredients in a mixing bowl thoroughly then place in a loaf pan. Bake in solar oven at 350 for 1 1/2 – 2 hours or until meat reaches 160 degrees inside.

Barbeque Chicken

Great served with fresh vegetables, corn on the cob and cornbread. You can also serve it with rice to feed more people. However you want to serve it, it’s delicious!

  • 6 chicken quarters or breasts, or a dozen legs
  • 1/2 c vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 1/2 c ketchup
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp liquid smoke (optional)

Combine all ingredients except for chicken. Just FYI, this is a good sauce to make ahead and can! Place chicken on a baking sheet and paint the sauce onto the chicken. You could marinate it in it for an hour if you’d like.

Place the chicken in the solar oven at about 325 degrees and bake for 45 minutes, saucing again about half way through. Chicken should be 165 degrees F in the center, not on the bone. A good tip is that the chicken will pull easily away from the bone.

Solar Brownies

Brownies are one of those comfort foods that will definitely boost morale with very little work, time, or special ingredients. Makes 1 8×8 pan or 4 pint jars.

  • 2 c sugarbrownies
  • 2 c white all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 c dark cocoa
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 c shortening
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 c chopped nuts, optional

Cream sugar, shortening and vanilla together in a bowl, then beat in the eggs.

Add dry ingredients and mix until batter is smooth – about 2 minutes.

Fold in nuts if you’re using them. Feel free to toss in mini marshmallows, chocolate chips, or whatever else you like in your brownies. Batter will be thick.

Pour into a greased and floured 8×8 pan and bake in solar oven at 350 for 35-45 minutes or until brownies pull away from the sides of the pan.

Note: If you’d like to make these ahead in pint jars, simply combine dry ingredients well and add to jars. Write complete recipe on an index card and attach to the jar. To extend shelf-life, dry-can.

Apple Crisp

Apple trees grow naturally and prolifically in every state in America, so this is a dessert that will barely touch your food supplies in the fall. It’s also extremely easy to make and, except for the peeling process, it’s not difficult to make enough to feed many people. You can also rehydrate dried apples to make it.

Filling:

  • 6 c apples, peeled, cored and sliced into 1/3 in slices
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 3 c water
  • 2 tbsp. cornstarch
  • 3/4 c sugar
  • 1/3 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg

I always keep apple pie seasoning on hand and use this in replace of the cinnamon and nutmeg.

Topping:

  • 1 c rolled oats (not instant)
  • 1 c brown sugar
  • 1 c all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/3 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 c cold butter

Place apples in a large bowl and sprinkle in the lemon juice. Toss to coat. Add remaining ingredients and stir well to coat the apples. Pour into an 8×12 pan and cover with a lid. Bake in solar oven at 350 degrees F for about an hour, or until apples are almost tender.

Combine topping ingredients by cutting together into pea-sized pieces with a fork or pastry cutter. Remove the lid from the apples and sprinkle the topping evenly over them. Put it back in the solar oven and cook for another 30 minutes or until the topping is brown and crispy and the apples are tender. Warm, homey, nutritious (for a dessert) and comforting.

To make peach crisp, simply substitute the same amount of peaches for the apples.

You can also make this by using your canned apple pie filling and skipping the first stage of cooking.

Cornbread

This is a dish that every survivalist and homesteader should know. It can be used as a bread or as a dessert – serve it with butter as a savory side for meals, or slather it with jam as a delicious dessert.

  • 1 c cornmeal
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 6 tbsp. butter, melted
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 c milk or buttermilk

Combine dry ingredients thoroughly then add butter, eggs, and milk. Combine ingredients thoroughly and pour into a greased 8×8 pan. Bake in solar oven at the highest temperature for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. If your oven doesn’t get that hot, just extend cooking time until it’s done. The top should be a good indicator of when it’s done as it will brown fairly evenly as it cooks.

Buttermilk adds tenderness and lightness to batter because the acids chemically interact with the baking powder or baking soda. If you want the tang of buttermilk but only have 2 percent or whole milk, add a tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice to it and let it set for a few minutes before adding to the mix. It won’t have the thick creaminess of buttermilk, but will function the same.

Remember that for all of these recipes, you can use dry milk, canned or dried meat, fruit, or vegetables, and powdered butter and eggs. Just reconstitute according to directions and you’re good to go!

For the most part, cooking with a solar oven is extremely similar to cooking with a regular oven, except you may have to cook things longer. Nearly all of your favorite recipes, especially crock pot recipes, will translate right over.

Linked from: http://www.survivopedia.com/the-dos-and-donts-of-solar-oven-cooking-plus-7-recipes/

How To Survive Eating Wild Winter Edibles

how-to-survive-eating-wild-winter-edibles

Recently, we’ve been asked a question about what types of foods are good sources of carbohydrates in the winter.

The reader was specifically worried about his son, who is going on a military survival retreat in Maine and can’t afford to lose the 20 pounds that the program has warned him that he will likely lose. His question was about sources of carbohydrates.

My son will be sent to Maine in the winter for a 3 week military survival course. Others who have experienced this say that the participants will lose an average of 20 pounds during that time. He can ill afford to lose 20 pounds, so I was wondering if you knew a good source for carbs that can be found in abundance in the winter? I think he is fairly good at locating small game for protein. Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated!
Best regards,

Everett

Though there are many great wild sources of carbohydrates to eat in Maine, I’ve had a problem finding exact nutritional values of wild plants. Go figure. Since the main goal is preventing weight loss, we’re looking for plants that can be found in a great enough quantity to thrive, versus simply survive.

Therefore, we need plants that are both high in calories and found in enough quantity to make a substantial meal. The first part was easy, the second part, not so much. So, I’ll share what I’ve found.

Cattails

It turns out that these plants are considered a pest by many because they grow so prolifically in marshy areas and around ponds.

Fortunately for somebody foraging, cattails are a great source of carbohydrates and nutrients year-round. In the winter time, the best parts of the plant to eat are the rhizomes, or roots, and the corms, the little shoots that are the beginnings of next year’s plants.

You probably won’t be able to just rip the cattail out of the mud; you’re likely going to have to dig for it a bit. Just run your hand down the stalk of the cattail and into the mud. Feel for the roots, then follow them down a bit and PULL!

Don’t stop with just one plant; grab several at a time because they’re not that heavy and you can carry them or store them in camp. No need to get wet more than once if you don’t have to.

Now, you’re going to notice little shoots around the base of the plant, which are older corms and are the beginnings of next year’s plant.

You’ll also find little pod-like pieces on the rhizomes and around the bottom of the stalks. These are less mature corms and are also edible. You can eat both types of corms raw. Just peel off the outer fibrous part and eat the delicate interior.

The rhizomes are going to look sort of hairy. Wash them as well as you can, then peel them just like you would a potato. Your goal is to extract the starch from the rhizome and there are a couple of ways to do this.

You can break up the rhizome and then put it in a small bowl of water and squeeze the rhizome pieces in the water until the starch is remove. The water turns a milky white. Let the water settle for a couple of hours and the heavy, starchy flour will settle to the bottom. Pour off the water and spread the flour out to dry.

The second way is to use your knife to squeeze the starch out onto a rock. Just lay the rhizome flat and slide your knife down the rhizome, sort of like you’re squeezing toothpaste from a tube. The starchy paste will collect on the rock.

Either way, you can let the paste dry and smash it with a mortar and pestle into a flour, or you can toss it in the pan and toast it as-is, toss it into a soup along with the corms, or you can eat it raw.

Of course, you can always make a bread with it by mixing it with other ingredients, but in a survival situation, you’re probably not going to have access to yeast and all that good stuff.

rose-hips

Rose Hips

These pretty berry-like plants not only add a pop of color to the winter landscape, they’re also a good source of nutrition and can be found in enough quantity to be worth the effort. Rose hips are the fruits of the rose plant and are usually red or orange but can also be dark-colored. Just open them up, pop out the seed, and eat the flesh.

One cup of rosehips has 206 calories, 49g of carbs, and 31g of fiber. It also provides 110% of your RDV of vitamin A, 901% of your RDV of vitamin C, and more than 20% of your RDV of calcium and magnesium. Eat more rose hips!

Pine

They’re not just for Christmas anymore! Pine trees provide a couple of different sources of food. If you’ve ever eaten pesto, you’ve eaten pine nuts, which are found in pinecones. There is some work involved for the amount of food that you get, but there’s also a tremendous amount of calories and nutrition in them.

Just one cup of pine nuts has 909 calories, 92 grams of fat, 23% of your RDV of potassium and 84% of your RDA of magnesium. They’re also a good source of fiber, so that you have a slower digestion process. You’ll feel full longer.

All pine trees have edible nuts tucked into the pine cones, but only about 20 species produce seeds that are large enough to warrant the effort. Still, in a survival situation, something is better than nothing. Fortunately, there are often many different types of pine trees in the same area, so if you don’t get decent-sized nuts from one, try another.

Wild Berries and Fruits

Even if there’s snow, it’s still possible to dig through the snow to get to fruits, and if you’re lucky, you may even find some grapes or berries, especially cranberries in Maine, above the snow.

One of the advantages of having thumbs is that you can dig through the snow a bit if you find a bush to see if there are berries buried. Apples are another great resource that you can find under the snow.

Yes, they’ll be frozen, but they’re delicious, nutritious, and packed with carbs. They also drop late, so it’s probable that they were frozen before they rotted. Other fruits to keep an eye out for include peaches and pears.

Grass and Grains

Believe it or not, most (99%) of all grasses in the US are edible. They’re often tough for your body to digest, but they’re better than nothing. This includes wheat, oats, and wild meadow varieties. The best part to eat in the winter is the starchy base and the seed heads.

1% of the seeds are toxic and need to be cooked before being eaten, and if seeds are blackish or purple, avoid them because that’s a sign of poisonous fungus. Eat them if they’re green or brown.

I often consult a man very close to me when I have questions such as these, because he’s actually been there, done that as part of his army survivalist training. He made it all the way through the training and has described in great detail (and to my dismay) exactly what a bug feels like when you eat it. He says the trick is this – crunch (chew), crunch, crunch, crunch, swallow!

Aside from his advice about how to eat a bug with minimal “biting back”, he also says that the most crucial step to survival is knowing the plants, animals, and insects of your area. Know what’s edible and what’s not, and most importantly,know what will kill you if you eat it.

If you have a problem with being too thin, it’s important to realize that your body uses more than just carbohydrates for energy – it can also use protein and fat. The bottom line is that your weight isn’t dependent upon eating carbs. It’s a matter of calories in versus calories out. It doesn’t matter if those calories are in the form of carbs, fat, or protein.

There will likely be some energy dips while you’re transitioning from carbs to protein, so if you’re planning to use protein as your main source of energy during a retreat, you may want to do that before you leave. In real life, of course, you won’t have that luxury, but until then, do what you can to survive the survival training.

Linked from: http://www.survivopedia.com/how-to-survive-eating-wild-winter-edibles/#

17 NATURAL ANTIBIOTICS OUR GRANDPARENTS USED INSTEAD OF PILLS

17-natural-antibiotics-our-grandparents-used-instead-of-pills

For hundreds of years, maybe even longer, our grannies and grandfathers relied on simple household items to heal. For that purpose, they picked different natural antibiotics, which they mostly found in home, gardens or meadows and woods nearby.

Much of this came out of necessity. Rather than using an antibacterial facial scrub, our Nanas massaged honey deep into their pores. By using proven old home remedies, we can treat and cure various health problems and do a lot for our health avoiding unpleasant medications side effects, too.

Some of these remedies even date back thousands of years, as far back as the tribes of Central and South America. Now, perhaps with the advent of slow-living, these products are slipping back into style. Many appreciate the remedies for their simplicity, price, or their low-impact on the earth. Rather than spend $8 on sea salt spray, you can simple mix some salt with water and spritz it into your hair. You save money as well as a package.

In honor of our ancestors, we’ve gathered some of our favorite time-honored traditions. These timeless products have earned a permanent place in our pantries.

Garlic

Raw garlic when crushed or chewed contains a compound called allicin – which has similar properties to penicillin.

This superfood member of the onion family is antibiotic, anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, anti-parasitic, anti-fungal, and antioxidant (mopping up free radicals that have been proven to cause cancer).

For more than seven millennia, it has been used internally and externally to treat mild illness to serious diseases.

Everything from inflammation to colds to serious infections is minimized and/or obliterated with the addition of garlic and for those who don’t enjoy the taste, there are supplements as well. Check into “aged” garlic supplements for the best results.

Garlic is not only potent, it contains a host of vitamins, nutrients, and minerals that are beneficial to total body wellness. Not to mention the cost is pennies in comparison to doctor visits and prescriptions!

Unlike chemical antibiotics that kill millions of friendly bacteria your body needs, its only goal is bacteria and microorganisms. Garlic also encourages and increases the level of healthy bacteria. It is a powerful antifungal agent and destroys any antigen, pathogen, and harmful disease-causing microorganisms.

  • Garlic packs a punch with phytochemicals and healing sulfur components. These sulfur compounds even chelate toxic heavy metals (like lead & cadmium), binding with them for excretion out of the body.
  • It has antibacterial, anti-fungal, and even antiviral qualities.
  • It promotes the growth of healthy intestinal microflora by acting as a prebiotic (food for probiotics).
  • Garlic helps keep fats from oxidizing.
  • Garlic acts as a strong antioxidant and guards against DNA damage.
  • It protects against radiation & sunlight damage.
  • Garlic fights worms and parasites.
  • It benefits digestion, which is good for the whole body.
  • It contains many nutrients such as vitamins (C, B1, B2, B3), minerals (calcium, folate, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, zinc, and phytochemicals (Allicin, beta-carotene, beta-sitosterol, caffeic acid, chlorogenic acid, diallyl-disulfide, ferulic acid, geraniol, kaempferol, linalool, oleanolic acid, p-coumaric acid, phloroglucinol, phytic acid, quercetin, rutin, s-allyl-cysteine, saponin, sinapic acid, & stigmasterol).

Honey

Herbalists consider honey as one of the best natural antibiotics. It also contains antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties. A 2014 study presented at a meeting of the American Chemical Society found that honey has the ability to fight infection on multiple levels, making it more difficult for bacteria to develop resistance to it.

Ancient Romans used honey on the battlefield to treat wounds and prevent infection.

Civilizations all over the world continue to consider honey one of the best natural antibiotics, antimicrobials, anti-inflammatories, and antiseptics known to man after thousands of years.

Its unique combination of hydrogen peroxide, acidity, osmotic effect, high sugar concentration and polyphenols help kill bacterial cells. To get the antibiotic benefit of honey, always use raw, organic honey.

Olive leaf extract

This substance has been used for a number of centuries to battle bacterial infections and is now currently being used as well to fight MRSA infections in some European hospitals. It provides immune system support while fighting antibiotic-resistant infections. Olive leaf extract also has anti-inflammatory properties. Additionally, it exhibits free-radical scavenging abilities.

  • You can make olive leaf extract for external use at home. Put a handful of finely chopped fresh olive leaves into a glass jar with a lid. Pour vodka over the leaves until they are completely covered. Close the lid and keep the jar in a dark place for 4 to 5 weeks. Using a cheesecloth, strain the liquid into another glass jar and your homemade olive leaf extract is ready to use.
  • Another option is to take olive leaf extract in supplement form. 250 to 500 mg capsules twice daily is the standard dosage. However, consult a doctor before taking the supplement.

Turmeric

This herb has been used in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine for many thousands of years to treat a wide range of infections. The antibacterial and anti-inflammatory qualities have been known to be highly effective in the treatment of bacterial infections. The antimicrobial activity of curcumin against helicobacter pylori showed positive results. Curcumin is the active ingredient in turmeric.

  • Mix 1 tablespoon of turmeric powder and 5 to 6 tablespoons of honey. Store it in an airtight jar. Have ½ teaspoon of this mixture twice daily.
  • You can also take turmeric supplements of 400 to 600 mg, twice daily. However, consult your doctor first.

Echinacea

With similar effects to garlic, it was traditionally used to treat open wounds, as well as blood poisoning, diphtheria and other bacteria-related illnesses. Echinacea is well tolerated and able to stimulate the immune system by naturally boosting infection fighters in your blood stream. Native to North America, Echinacea has been used for centuries in tribal medicine to treat pain and sickness.

Unlike garlic, this antibacterial, anti-fungal, anti-viral solution is generally used at the first signs of illness and should not be taken for more than ten days. It is available in liquid and capsule form.

Echinacea is also used against many other infections including the urinary tract infections, vaginal yeast infections, genital herpes, bloodstream infections (septicemia), gum disease, tonsillitis, streptococcus infections, syphilis, typhoid, malaria, and diphtheria.

Cayenne peppers

Cayenne peppers are the most powerful circulation stimulators. They just send their antibiotic properties to fight the disease where it is mostly needed.

Onion

Onion is garlic’s closest relative and it has a similar but milder action. Together they create a strong fighting duo.

Raw apple cider vinegar

The far-reaching benefits of daily doses of apple cider vinegar (ACV) include antibiotic and antiseptic properties, naturally alkalizing your system, and can aid you in everything from managing your weight to lowering cholesterol and your risk of cancer.

A chemical-free astringent, ACV can be used topically to disinfect and sterilize.

Oregano oil

Oil of oregano is considered anti-microbial, antibacterial, anti-parasitic, anti-viral, and anti-fungal.

It can be used internally and externally in the treatment of wounds, respiratory problems, digestive upset, and even the common cold.

  • For treating foot or nail infections, add a few teaspoons of oregano oil to a tub filled with warm water. Soak your feet in it for a few minutes daily for a week.
  • For sinus and other upper respiratory infections, put a few drops of the oil of oregano in a pot of boiling water and inhale the steam. Do this once daily until you get rid of the infection.

Colloidal Silver

While colloidal silver is highly antibiotic in nature, I suggest only using it for external uses such as gargling, ear infections like swimmers’ ear and skin.  The reason is that ingestion of colloidal silver does damage the delicate gut microbiome by killing beneficial bacteria though not as extensively as drug based antibiotics. If you need the assistance of natural antibiotics to consume internally, choose another one on this list, not colloidal silver.

Grapefriut seed extract(GSE)

Grapefruit seed extract (GSE) effective against more than 800 forms of viruses and bacteria, more than a hundred strains of fungus, and many parasites.

High in many antioxidants, GSE boosts immunity, alkalizes the body naturally, and aids in digestion by improving your beneficial gut flora.

Ginger

Ginger’s natural antibiotic property helps prevent and treat many health problems caused by bacteria. Fresh ginger has an antibiotic effect against food-borne pathogens like salmonella. It also has an antibacterial effect on respiratory and periodontal infections.

So, if you are going to eat something that has the potential for food borne illness such as sushi or raw oysters, always best to eat some fresh ginger (raw and pickled is most potent) too in order to make use of its natural antibiotic properties.

  • Ginger tea is a great preventive measure against bacterial infections. To make the tea, grate 1 inch of fresh ginger and boil it in about 1½ cups of water for 10 minutes. Strain, add honey and lemon juice for taste and drink it.
  • Also, include dry or fresh ginger in your cooking. You can also take ginger capsules, after consulting your doctor.

Manuca Honey

What would this list of natural antibiotics be without raw honey which has been used as an infection fighter since ancient times?  Of all the raw honey on the planet, Manuka honey from New Zealand is the best when it comes to resolving infections. An enzyme found in honey releases hydrogen peroxide. This process helps your body fight infection and prevents the growth of bacteria. Soothing to the digestive system, honey removes toxins from the blood and helps your liver operate more efficiently.

A great boost to the immune system, consider combining honey with cinnamon to strengthen your white blood cells! Raw, organic honey is the best option since most pasteurization methods kills the antioxidant effects.

Cabbage

What many people don’t realize is how much vitamin C is found in cabbage. One cup provides 75% of what you need every day.

Naturally antibacterial, eating shredded raw cabbage in your salad, as a side dish in the form of slaw, or drinking fresh cabbage juice (with honey added to sweeten) is an excellent way to improve digestion, prevent disease, and even manage your weight!

Extra virgin coconut oil

There is not enough that can be said for the benefits of coconut oil. It has naturally occurring anti-fungal and anti-microbial properties and is packed with antioxidants you can’t find anywhere else in nature.

Use it to boost your immune system, balance thyroid, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels, and even improve brain function. Safe to use internally and externally, coconut oil is one of the most versatile and unique gifts from Mother Nature.

Goldenseal

Goldenseal’s natural antibiotic property works well for both topical and internal bacterial infections. Goldenseal contains a compound called berberine that helps kill many types of bacteria that cause many health problems.

Berberine also activates white blood cells, making them better at fighting infection and strengthening the immune system.

  • For internal use, prepare a cup of herbal tea by steeping 1 teaspoon of goldenseal powder in 1 cup of hot water. Strain and drink it while it is still warm. Drink this tea once daily.
  • For external use, prepare a mixture with 1 teaspoon of goldenseal powder and the oil of a few vitamin E capsules. Apply it to the affected area 3 times a day.

Note: Do not take this herb internally for more than a few weeks at a time.

Indian lilac or neem

Neem, also known as Indian lilac, is another natural antibiotic. In addition, due to its antibacterial nature, neem keeps different types of oral problems like cavities, plaque, gingivitis and other gum diseases at bay.

  • To prevent skin infections, use cosmetics and skin care products that have neem as one of the main ingredients.
  • Take neem tablets to help remove accumulated toxins in the body and any parasitic organisms. Consult your doctor for the correct dosage.

Linked from:http://www.backdoorprepper.com/2016/10/23/17-natural-antibiotics-grandparents-used-instead-pills/

Survival Basics – Controling your Core Temperature

A core concept of survival in just about any situation is the rule of threes. If you don’t know this rule it is that you can generally live:

  • Three minutes without air
  • Three hours without shelter
  • Three days without water
  • Three weeks without food.

 

For this post we are going to be looking at shelter or more specifically how your body reacts when we don’t have sufficient shelter to help us regulate our body temperature. Along with making sure you have plenty of food stored for your family and a sufficient source of water, you need to ensure that lack of shelter is not going to be a killer for your group.

The optimal environment for a human to maintain their core body temperature is between 79° and 86°F. The science of keeping your body in “the zone” of this ideal temperature is Thermoregulation. Thermoregulation can be the difference between living and dying and is the practice of controlling your core temperature. Every year people die from power outages during heat waves or winter weather.   Simple variations in environmental temperatures between 30° and 50° have wreaked havoc worldwide and many die from hypothermia or hyperthermia.

Minimal fluctuations to core temperatures can stress the human body and throw its vital systems into chaos.  In the event of stress, things can get pretty ugly and actually break down at the cellular level.  If your temperature suddenly plummets, the proteins in your cells clump together leaving behind areas of water that can potentially freeze and shred the delicate cell membranes.  If your body overheats, the cells can become too warm and essentially melt.  Any stress at the cellular level will cause immense damage to all the body’s organs and systems needed for survival.

Hypothermia is the condition when your core temperature plummets below approximately 96° F. There are variables in the exact temperature, of course, when considering age, sex, percentage of body fat, or even time of day.  Suffering from even mild hypothermia can cause your body to burn through a ton of calories trying to keep your body and the vital organs heated, and this in turn will cut into your body’s food stores. Your body will also limit the amount of blood flowing to your extremities making them more susceptible to damage and impairment.  Shivering is another way for your body to create heat to keep you warm.  While shivering, your body is creating tiny muscle contractions, thereby using energy and heating up the body.  Unfortunately, shivering also burns through food stores in the process.

Hyperthermia is when your core temperature soars above approximately 100°F.  Again, this can vary, but this gives you a good guideline for sustaining a healthy condition when exposed to less than ideal temperatures.  Generally, in the case of hyperthermia, your body will succumb to dehydration.  Your body’s first line of defense is to circulate more than four quarts of blood per minute, dilate the blood vessels, and open the skin up to let the excess heat out.  That is why being dehydrated is so deadly.  Dehydration thickens your blood making it more difficult to circulate and do its job.  Your body also perspires, leaving your skin wet and cooling the outer core.

Thankfully, your body has a built-in alarm system to alert you or someone close to you that your body is stressed by either hypothermia or hyperthermia.

Stages of Hypothermia:

First signs and symptoms – Core temperature 95-96° F

  • Shivering
  • Decreased alertness
  • Unable to think clearly
  • Minor loss of function in fingers and toes
  • Stinging pain in extremities
  • Confusion

Simply put, you have to maintain your core temperature. People with mild hypothermia can warm themselves with additional dry layers or by stomping their feet. Simple physical exertion is a wonderful cure when you are cold. The old saying with a wood fire is that it warms you twice. Once, when the fire is burning and another time while you are chopping and hauling the wood.

Advances signs and symptoms – Core temperature 93-94 ° F

  • Uncontrollable shivering
  • Lack of stability
  • Increased lack of clarity

 

Get the affected person in doors if possible and rub cold areas. You can use the buddy system and have the warmth from one person help another person. In the Army they say that if your buddy has cold feet he should take off his socks and stick them on your belly or in your arm pits.

Serious signs and symptoms – Core temperature critical – 91-92° F

  • Gray skin
  • Hallucinations
  • Increased lack of stability
  • Speech affected
  • Spasmodic shivering

For more serious signs of Hypothermia, internal heating methods should be tried. Along with external warmth, warm (not hot) fluids should be consumed also.

Mortal signs and symptoms – Core temperature 87-90 ° F

  • Inability to walk
  • Incoherent speech
  • Shivering decreased

 

As with hyperthermia, if the body temperature gets this low medical help is almost always needed.

Stages of Hyperthermia

Early signs and symptoms – Core temperature between 99-100 ° F

  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Thirst
  • Lack of appetite
  • Muscle spasms
  • Feeling weak
  • Profuse sweatingTo treat mild cases of hyperthermia, we need to first remove the underlying source of the heat. If the symptoms are caused by exertion on a hot day we can treat the person with increased water consumption and rest in a cool space.

    Advance signs of hyperthermia – Core temperature 101-102 ° F

    • Dizziness
    • Headache
    • Profuse sweating
    • Thirst
    • Disorientation
    • Cramps
    • Pale moist skin
    • Possible unconsciousness
    • Weak
    • Rapid pulse and/or breathing
    • Lack of appetite
    • Nausea and/or vomiting

To treat advanced hyperthermia, we can additionally use rest in a cool, shady area. Removing some articles of clothing and sponging down the head, neck and trunk area will reduce body temperature. Additional water consumption is mandatory. Immersion in a cool bath or body of water can help also.

Mortal signs and symptoms – Core temperature 103-106 ° F

  • Disorientation
  • Delirium
  • Unresponsive
  • Skin hot to the touch and can be dry
  • Shallow breathing
  • Dilated pupils
  • Seizures
  • Stroke
  • Coma

 

When the body temperature is this elevated medical assistance is almost always needed, but in a survival situation this may not be possible. The body must be cooled as quickly as possible and methods such as iced IV solutions aren’t uncommon. It’s crucial we don’t get to this point so maintain close watch over your group in heat situations.

Clothing Options

Wearing the proper clothing is vital so as not to inhibit, but to aid the body’s natural defenses against hypothermia and hyperthermia.  Wearing the proper clothing will help you adapt to any weather situation

Simple three layer system:

  1. A Base layer should be wicking to keep you dry and non-restrictive when keeping you warm to allow blood to flow freely.
  2. An Insulation layer should be next and can be removed or added as temperatures rise or fall
  3. The last layer is the environmental layer which should be loose fitting, water-resistant and breathable to allow moisture to flow through the fabric so it is not trapped.  To test whether a fabric is water-resistant and breathable, you should put your hand on the inside and breathe onto it from the outside.  If you feel the warmth of your breath, then it is water-resistant.

Remember that the layering system should be used in a hot climate as well.  Some people feel that a tank top and shorts are the best clothing system, but unprotected skin only exposes your skin to the radiation of the sun.  Save the skimpy clothes for the beach when you are on vacation and not in a survival situation.

Hats are another important part of clothing and give the body added protection.  It is good to have a wide-brimmed, water resistant hat that will block out the sun’s rays in a warmer climate and a snug warm hat made of fleece or wool for colder temperatures to keep the heat in your head.

Fabric Choices

There are a myriad of fabrics to choose from for all the essential pieces listed.  There are advantages and disadvantages to each.

Cotton and linen are best suited for hot climates.  As you sweat the fabric absorbs the moisture and lays on your skin like a wet washcloth which is exactly what you want in scorching sunny conditions because it acts as an air conditioner for your skin.

Polypropylene is as unnatural as they come, but has incredible whicking capabilities and it lightweight.  The downside is that if a spark from your campfire will cause the fabric to melt.  It also holds the stench of sweat so well that you will never get the odor out.  Not a good base layer to wear if you are trying to repopulate the world; the ladies won’t be impressed.

Wool is a natural fabric that has the ability to absorb water (up to 50% of its weight) and distribute it throughout the fabric without feeling wet. It even has the ability to keep you toasty warm even when wet, making it a natural choice in the winter where weight isn’t a factor. There are differing qualities of wool so be thoughtful in your purchase.  My mom bought a wool sweater for me as a child and I hated it because it was “itchy”.  I found out later that better quality wools do not feel scratchy.  The downside to wool is that it is bulky and takes longer to dry.

Polyester is completely man-made but offers the widest range of clothing choices.  It can absorb a good deal of water, is somewhat water resistant, versatile.

Nylon is a super tough synthetic fabric.  Most of the waterproof fabrics are made from nylon with a special coating.  Try to avoid completely waterproof fabrics though, unless you are a sailor because it lacks breath-ability.  Nylon dries almost instantaneously.

Down is lightweight and very warm, however it is much like cotton and will weigh you down and freeze you to death if it gets wet.  It is very slow to dry.

With proper clothing layers it is possible to beat the elements and stay warm enough or cool enough to survive any situation.  If you are prepping for a family, be sure to have the basic layers for every member of your family.  Study the warning signs of hypothermia and hyperthermia because rarely does the individual suffering have the ability to recognize when they are in trouble.  These lifesaving tips should keep your body from stressing until you can build or find adequate shelter.

Three Minutes Without Air: Why A Gas Mask Should Be Part of Your Preps

You know the survival maxim about how you can live 3 minutes without air, right? I always looked at this as just basic life type of scenarios. If you couldn’t breathe for three minutes you would die. I would envision someone who had been knocked out and people had stopped to stare at the person lying on the ground slowly turning blue. Other times I would imagine someone suffocating in a horrible paracord accident or other nonsense. It struck me the other day that I had been looking at this all wrong.

Three minutes without air could just as easily mean three minutes without clean, breathable air. What if the air you were breathing would kill you, not the act of not breathing at all? What if with each breath you were bringing some organism into your lungs that would poison you or make you sick to the point that you died or became incapacitated. Three minutes without clean, clear, safe air would be an eternity for some. How long can you hold your breath?

Threats

There are many valid reasons for having a gas mask as part of your preps that have nothing to do with a global pandemic or outbreak of some deadly virus, but they all revolve around protecting the air that you and your family are breathing. Remember the riots in Egypt and Syria where police fired tear gas into the crowds as they protested against their government? Have you personally ever been exposed to tear gas? I have, and it isn’t fun at all. In the Army each soldier has to go through the “gas chamber” for a couple of reasons. The first is to test your NBC mask and make you feel comfortable with how it will protect you. For this little trick, we all lined up, put on our masks and walked into a very smoky room. All of the other young guys with me were standing around the edge of a big room. You could see the smoke in the air but it wasn’t so intense that you couldn’t see everyone around you. We did some jumping jacks as I recall to get our heart rate up and our breathing faster. Then our drill sergeant told us to take our masks off.

Everyone held their breath for as long as they could, but your eyes started burning first. I happened to the unlucky guy who was at the front of the line and everyone started pushing me from behind to get out the door. Some guys started coughing and several were stamping their feet. My drill sergeant who must have loved me (and who still had his mask on) yelled at me to “stand still or I’ll make you all do this again!” About now, our eyes and noses were running like crazy and we had to take a breath in. This burned like fire and the coughing fits came next. Eyes watering, snot running down our face and coughing like mad, we were finally given the go ahead to walk out the door.

That was tear gas, and after a few minutes in the clean air, we were fine. Imagine if that had been nerve agent or some deadly virus. A few minutes outside of the building could very well kill you.

Options

In searching for a gas mask or respirator for my family I came across several options depending on what your personal threat assessment is. You can start with your basic N95 particulate masks but these have limited use and some say they are useless at protecting you from airborne viruses. I prefer a solution that can give you protection from multiple threats and that requires you spend a little more money unfortunately.

Mil surplus – Again if you stick with military surplus, you aren’t going to find too much more out there that was specifically designed to counter threats from NBC (Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical) than your average soldier could face. Willson Premier Plus Respirator and Survivair Cartridges are military soldiers. You may have to dig a little more to find a good mask with hood and case that is in great condition, but the prices would be very reasonable.  The good thing about new military surplus is they have the bells and whistles that other masks may not have at the base model.  Of course you will still sound a little like Darth Vader but that is a bonus.

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Israeli – The infamous Israeli Civilian Gas masks are everywhere out there. You can find these at Army Navy stores, Ebay and Amazon as well as camping sites if you can believe that. This is the gas mask supposedly issued to Israeli civilians when threatened with chemical attack by Saddam’s Iraq. It has full NBC protection, and come with one sealed filter. The price on these is around $39 and that is an insane deal if you ask me.  Now, the million dollar question is do they work? That I am not sure of but at this price it is hard to pass up. In the Army we would have to check our masks out every year and our NBC specialist would have us mask up and then they would swipe a pen around the openings of our mask and ask us if we could smell anything. I never could, thankfully but he said I would have smelled banana. You can even buy these kits today to test your masks I would definitely recommend that. At least you will know that if they throw rotten fruit at you it will be alright.

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Considerations

Communication – You want a mask that you will be able to talk in. More specifically you want a mask that your family can hear what you say. Make sure that what you purchase for your family or group is going to allow you to communicate.

Drinking – This would be a major issue if the threat lasted for a long time or you were outdoors in a hot climate for an extended duration. The older military gas masks have straws that plug into your canteen cap. The cap was special and I am sure you can order these from Ebay, but something to consider.

Visibility – Clear visibility in your mask is crucial. More so if you are planning to be able to shoot a weapon accurately. If you haven’t purchased your first defensive firearm, you can read this post. If you are using a shotgun, aiming isn’t such a big issue. The two main things that affect visibility are your filters and your face mask. In the older military style you have two eye holes. The newer masks offer one faceplate. The filter will either be positioned on the side or at your mouth. Practice aiming and shooting your rifle with the gas mask on to see if you have to adjust anything. Make sure you do this before you are in the situation where you need to fire accurately.

Filters – Replacement filters are something you should consider now. Buy enough to last because you won’t be able to run out to Wal-Mart for a resupply. Also, the mounting position of the filters could influence whether or not they will work good for you. The best option is to purchase a mask that allows you to mount filters on the left or right side. This will free up your cheek for a good stock/cheek weld when sighting.

Hopefully this gives you some information you can use when planning for your family’s survival. It’s amazing how good taking a breath will feel when you know that your family is protected.

 

The Best Types of Wood and Tinder for Starting a Friction Fire

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Few survival skills frustrate a person like bow and drill fire starting. After a couple of crushing failures, most people are ready to write off the method as unattainable. Or the other side of the spectrum prevails. People see bow and drill fire starting performed “easily” on television and assume it’s an easy skill to do, so they never even try it. They then walk around with a false sense of confidence, certain that they could do it “if they had to.” Well, I hate to burst your bubble, but it’s not that easy. But neither is it unattainable, once you know the tricks. The most common place where people get stuck in their quest for friction fire is in material selection, and with that in mind, I have prepared a list for you. Use this list of plant families to get you started, then focus on each species for its own subtle merits and flaws. Don’t forget to experiment, either! Just learn how to identify poison ivy, poison oak, poison sumac and any rare, local undesirables (like Florida poison tree) before you accidentally grab them!

Friction Fire Materials: Bows, fire boards, drills, handhold blocks and tinder

Annona family (Annonaceae)
Pawpaw—wood for boards and drills, inner bark for tinder

Aster family (Asteraceae)
Weed stalks for hand drills, seed down for tinder

Basswood family (Tiliaceae)
American Basswood, Linden—wood for boards and drills

Beech family (Fagaceae)
Oak, Beech, Chinkapin, etc.—wood for bows and handhold blocks

Birch family (Betulaceae, Cupuliferae)
Birch and Alder—wood for boards, drills, bows and handhold blocks

Cattail family (Typhaceae)
Stalks for hand drills, seed down for tinder additives

Cypress family (Cupressaceae)
White Cedar, Red Cedar, Juniper—wood for boards and drills, bark for tinder

Dogbane family (Apocynaceae)
Fiber for tinder and cordage

Goosefoot family (Chenopodiaceae)
Weed stalks for hand drills

Laurel family (Lauraceae)
Sassafras, Spicebush—wood for boards and drills

Legume family (Leguminosae)
Black Locust, Redbud—wood for bows and handhold blocks

Magnolia family (Magnoliaceae)
Tulip Poplar, Magnolia, Bay—wood for boards and drills, bark for tinder

Maple family (Aceraceae)
Maple, Boxelder, etc.—wood for boards, drills, bows and handhold blocks

Olive family (Oleaceae)
Ash—wood for boards and drills

Pine family (Pinaceae)
Hemlock, Pine (soft pine with low resin and no knots)—wood for boards and drills

Snapdragon family (Scrophulariaceae)
Mullein—stalks for hand drill

Sumac family (Anacardiaceae)
Wood for boards, drills, bows and handhold blocks

Walnut family (Juglandaceae)
Hickory and Walnut—wood for bows and handhold blocks

Willow family (Salicaceae)
Poplar, Cottonwood, Willow, etc.—wood for boards and drills

Linked from: http://www.outdoorlife.com/blogs/survivalist/best-types-wood-and-tinder-starting-friction-fire

How To Choose The ‘Perfect’ Location For Your Off Grid Homestead or Community

What exactly is “the perfect off the grid location to build your cabin? Well, ideally there are some things to look for in a piece of property that make it a good off the grid location. This is not a comprehensive guide, but only meant to give a good general point of reference to start from

In our quest for the perfect off grid location we’ve literally searched all over the United States from the East to the West. We know what we want, and we know what we need, but finding a good balance between the necessities and comforts and balancing that with budget and location sometimes is difficult. Like most folks, we can’t afford a huge piece of land, nor can we be too picky about the land we buy.

First determine your needs. What do you really need?

Do you need power hungry appliances, central heat and air, and all the luxuries of a tradition suburban home? Not really. So you make a list of things you “need” to survive in the wilderness in order of importance.

Going into this with an open minds is important, but also with a realistic point of view. It’s not going to be easy, it will probably take longer than you think, it will probably be more expensive than you think, but it’s probably going to be a lot better than how you’re living now.

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“The perfect off the grid location” doesn’t exist in a one-size-fits-all package. The point being it’s all about personal preference and what you feel you need, versus what you want balanced by your goals.

Goals are relatively simple; to become 100% self sufficient, spend more quality time together with family, and experience to good things in life without having to worry about the mortgage, bills, and whether you’ll have a job next month.

Like most folks, you probably want to be independent, yet, you may want to keep the social aspect of living in a community of like minded individuals with similar goals.

So, you ask yourself what you really truly need.

NEEDS: The “Holy Trinity” of survival.

  • #1 – Water: No animal on Earth can live without water, and we’re no different; this is why it’s #1 on my list instead of shelter. You’ll need a local water source, river, stream, lake, pond, spring, etc. Or you’ll need a machine to produce water, and a large plastic container for water storage.
  • #2 – Shelter: Technically in a milder climate you don’t even really need shelter, maybe a wind break or lean-to would be sufficient for survival. But in most areas, a shelter is needed for protection from the environment.
  • #3 – Food: We have to eat to live, so look for an area that in an emergency situation wild game and/or local plants can be harvested for food. Also choose an area the lends itself to growing your own food either in the ground, or in a greenhouse. I personally like a hydroponic/aquaponic system myself. It’s efficient and you can grow food almost in any climate with current technology.

That’s really it. The property you choose must have these 3 resources available to produce them from the land without importing them. There are very few place on Earth where this is NOT a possibility. So what does that mean?

With current technology, and the knowledge of traditional building and survival techniques, you can live almost anywhere on the planet except maybe the North and South poles. There are even people in South America (and other parts of the world) who build their homes on the water! Talk about off the grid… WOW!

OK, since you can pretty much build anywhere on Earth, the question is not whether it can be done, but what you personally prefer. Some people love cold weather and the snow, others prefer the desert heat, while still others like milder tropical zones.

Once you figure your “needs”, you then list your “wants”. This of course varies widely.

WANTS:

  • Amenities & Luxury: Electricity, hot and cold running water, major appliances, TV, internet, cable, satellite,  comfortable furniture, etc.

  • Large Land: A nice big parcel of land to expand and build. You don’t “need” a big parcel, but we’d like one large enough to experiment with different building techniques, and grow our ranch.

  • Affordability: Anyone can go crazy and buy an outrageously expensive piece of property, but the point of living off the grid for us means not having a massive mortgage payment each month and being completely self-sufficient. We’d like a piece of property that’s affordable which we can pay off within a couple few years, this way we can concentrate on the important things like FAMILY for example. This limits the land selection somewhat, but, it also opens doors to things that might normally be overlooked for a good off grid location to build on.

    Practicality becomes the determining factor at that point.  Most people will need a job to live and pay for their normal bills, but for us, the goal is 100% self-sufficiency.

    To do that, we must have a home based business, and be able to make our living off the land, literally. Some folks will opt into working a 9-5 until they can become self sufficient.

    It helps that we’re experienced and have owned our own successful company before. It’s imperative that we are able to make a living from home to be completely off grid. This doesn’t mean if you live off grid that you wouldn’t be contributing to society mind you. Creating products and providing services for the local economy is part of the plan.

    The Internet:

    The advent of the internet and high technology is enabling people to rethink the way we live as a society, and is bringing with it major cultural change. It’s now possible to not just survive off grid, but to thrive and live very well. The internet allow one to reach literally hundreds of millions of people all over the world. This expands everyone’s horizons and provides opportunity such that has never been seen before in the history of humankind.

    Hi-Tech Off Grid Living

    Combining high technology with an internet based business, means you can literally live just about anywhere on the planet. Now that people can do this I believe it will contribute greatly to the overall economic stability of the entire populace, including the local and world community, especially if one is contributing to society with their valuable products and services.

    Start a Home Based Business

    Living off the grid, and owning your own business (becoming self sufficient) isn’t just the American Dream, it’s the dream of millions of people. People want their independence, but they also need the social aspect of life. Having the internet provides this social connection, while allowing one to keep their private lives private.

    Our world is much smaller now that technology has made it possible to travel anywhere on the globe, and communicate with anyone, anywhere with the click of a mouse, or dialing a cell phone number.

    We’re quickly becoming a mobile society, and there are those of us who see this as an opportunity unlike anything that’s ever presented itself. to make our living while still providing for and spending valuable time with our families.

    Energy is crucial, and most off-gridders will generate their own power, so pick a place that has good wind and/or solar energy potential. This, is the most important thing next to your water source.

    So, how do you pick that perfect off the grid location?

    For example, northern Arizona has everything a person would need…except easily accessible sources of water. It has tons of Sun, trees, good cheap land, and mild winters.

    • TEMP: 22 – 91 degrees (MILD CLIMATE)
    • SUN: 77%-90% Sun (HIGH POTENTIAL)
    • WIND: 6.5 – 9 mph (HIGH POTENTIAL)
    • RAIN: .5″ – 2″ (LOW)
    • HUMIDITY (LOW to AVERAGE)

    This is just an example. Are there better places for an off grid homestead than this? Sure… But price and affordability is most probably an issue for most folks.

    • Pick an area where the property is very affordable, and not that many people have figured it out yet. If you play your cards right, perhaps you could bring business and more homesteaders and off grid people to the area and that might actually create a land rush and make our land even more valuable; we can dream right?
    • Pick a property where the potential for wind and solar energy production is great.
    • Picking a place where the climate is mild and the winters aren’t that bad, and/or  have low snowfall levels; which means you won’t have to shovel snow all day everyday just to drive around your property or go into town.
    • Pick a location is relatively near multiple popular major national parks, tourist attractions, and has LOTS of outdoor adventure activities which can be a BIG income opportunity year round if you’re creating a community. It will become a draw for people, and a source of income for your off grid community.
    • Pick a location isn’t that populated, but where cities nearby are growing, and the potential for expansion in the area is great.
    • Pick a location is close enough to major shopping destinations to resupply weekly, or if you wanted to cruise into town for dinner and a movie it’s practical.
    • Pick a place where the land is beautiful. Where it’s not too hot in the summer, not too cold in the winter, and there are lots of TREES and GRASS.

    To really do this, you’re going to have to change the way you live. Family is more important than paying the banks for 20 years only lose your job and your home you’ve paid on for decades. Having your property paid for so you can concentrate on enjoying your family life and making good memories is by far the most important thing.

    Going off the grid is how to do it. Living small is how to do it.

    You can do it.

The Only 4 Things You Need to Survive in the Wild

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If you want to know how to survive in the woods or wilderness, then the first thing you need to know is this: always be prepared. You don’t want to be caught without supplies. Never go for even a “short walk” in the woods without bringing a fire starter, knife, water, and rain jacket. Even if you don’t plan on going into the wilderness, you still need to be prepared with survival gear. Keep a car emergency kit in your vehicle in case you break down on remote road. Keep a bug out bag packed in case you need to flee.

But you can’t always be prepared for everything. Take the case of Autumn Veatch, the teenager who survived a plane crash and then days in the wilderness – despite having no supplies and being injured.

It isn’t just plane crashes which could leave you stranded in the wilderness with nothing. You could go for a hike, fall into a river, and have all of your gear wash away. Or you might get abducted by a nutcase and have to escape your abductor through the woods (yes, this has happened many times).   The bottom line is that you need to be prepared for anything by knowing how to survive in the wilderness.

You Only Need 4 Things to Survive in the Wild

Unless you are injured or sick, there are just 4 things that you need in order to survive in the wild. Yes, only 4!

  1. Water
  2. Shelter
  3. Food
  4. Warmth

Hopefully you will have survival supplies to help you get these 4 things  – like having emergency food and water rations, a tent for shelter, and matches so you can make a fire to stay warm. But, if not, don’t despair. You’ve got a lot more resources around you than you realize! If you are ever lost in the wild with nothing, just follow these steps.

1. Find Water

The first thing you need to survive in the wild is water. You can only go 3 days without water before dying, but you’ll be extremely dehydrated long before those 3 days are up. Hopefully you can find a stream or creek to drink out of. If you can’t find a ready supply of water, then you can use these tactics to get water:

  • Collect Dew: Take your shirt off and press it onto the ground to collect dew. You can then wring the dew into your mouth or into your water bottle.
  • Drag a Piece of Cloth Behind You: There is a lot of water in the woods on plants. Drag a piece of cloth behind you (or wrap it around your legs and walk through thick brush). The cloth will collect the moisture and you can wring it out into your mouth.
  • Follow Ants: If you see a train of ants going up a tree, it is probably because there is a cache of water in a groove in the tree.
  • Travel Parallel to a Mountainside: If on a mountain, cross it by staying parallel. Mountains usually have streams going down them so you are likely to come across one eventually.
  • Dig for Water: If you dig, do so at places like dried-up streams and areas with a lot of lush foliage.

And remember that water from lakes, streams, and rivers should always be purified before you drink it, even if it looks clean!

2. Make a Shelter

You will need a shelter to protect you from the elements. A shelter can also help protect you from some wild animals as they are more likely to attack you if you are in the open. Making a survival shelter in the woods is actually fairly easy. Remember to have your shelter made before it gets dark!

My favorite shelter for how to survive in the woods is the “fallen debris shelter.” You just need to find a fallen tree. Then pile some large branches against it to act as a shelter wall. Then you fill in the gaps with smaller branches. There are many other ways to make shelters in the wilderness though.

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3. Stay Warm

Temperatures can drop really quickly in the woods, so you better prioritize warmth. Staying warm is actually just as important as food for survival. And, if you are cold, then your body is going to require more food.

A well-built survival shelter will help you stay warm by trapping in your body heat. But you do other things to improve your warmth.

One of my favorite stories about how to survive in the woods is that of Susan O’Brien. She survived a night in the woods by burying herself in dirt to stay warm. Dirt is a great insulator for when you don’t have a blanket. You could also use fallen leaves, pine needles, or other debris.

Another way to stay warm is to make a fire. But, if you are lost in the woods without matches or a lighter, then this is going to be problematic. Unless you are some sort of wilderness MacGyver, don’t even bother trying to rub two sticks together. You’ll just end up with 2 warm sticks. Save your energy and snuggle up in your debris bed instead. Or, if you absolutely must make fire, then try these methods of making fire without matches.

4. Find Food

There is actually lots of food in the wild – so long as you know where and how to look for it. In survival situations, these would be your primary options for food:

  • Wild animals
  • Wild plants
  • Insects and bugs

Sorry to break it to you, but catching a wild animal for food is a lot harder than it seems. Even if you have gear, it is really difficult! The one exception to this is if you are stranded near some sort of lake. Then you should try one of these methods for fishing in the wilderness.

The better option for wilderness survival food is to eat bugs. Yes, I know this probably seems gross to you, but most bugs are edible and actually very nutritious.

As for eating wild plants, never eat a plant unless you are 100% sure it is edible. If you eat an inedible plant, you could end up with diarrhea, and that will kill you a lot faster than hunger! In desperate situations, you can use the  to tell if a plant is safe to eat.

Check out our products that may help you with survival.

Drinking sea water to survive?

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Everybody who has accidentally swallowed a bit of sea water knows that drinking a glass of it isn’t possible. Drinking sea water is dangerous and will result kidney failure. This is what everybody thought until Dr. Bombard proved that people could survive on sea water (we are talking about staying alive, not healthy).

Alain Bombard (October 27, 1924 – July 19, 2005) was a French biologist, physician and politician famous for sailing across the Atlantic Ocean in a small boat.

Alain Bombard was born in Paris. He theorized that a human being could very well survive the trip across the ocean without provisions and decided to test his theory himself in order to save thousands of lives of people lost at sea.
On October 19, 1952 Bombard began his solitary trip, after visiting his newborn daughter in France, across the Atlantic for the West Indies.

Bombard sailed in a Zodiac inflatable boat called l’Hérétique, which was only 4.5 metres (15 ft) long, taking only a sextant and almost no provisions.

Bombard reports he survived by fishing (and using fish as source of both fresh water and food) with a self-made harpoon and hooks and harvesting the surface plankton with a small net. He also drank a limited amount of seawater for a long period on his trip.

The minimum amount of water considered necessary to stay in good shape is 1.3/4 pts (1 litre) per day. It is possible to survive with 2 to 5 oz (55 to 220 centiliters) per day.

Many experts still disagree with Bombard’s theory, but the fact that he has survived 63 days on drifting raft without any other food and water than what the ocean could provide him gives a lot of credit to his research on sea survival. Bombard doesn’t disregard the danger of drinking sea water. During his testing periods he got sick when he tried to drink more than 32 oz of sea water per day for more than five days.

After numerous tests and various castaway experimentation (drifting at sea for weeks), he came to the conclusion that people could safely drink sea water in quantities not exceeding 32 oz per day. Safely here doesn’t imply healthy, it is rather the maximum amount of sea water a man could drink without experiencing major health complication or life threatening conditions. Of course all his tests were limited on himself (although many other people like the crew of La Balsa expedition and the Incas themselves were known to regularly drink sea water). If you must drink sea water, follow Dr. Bombard ‘s advice.

DRINK MAXIMUM 32 oz PER DAY and start as soon as possible (don’t wait to be dehydrated). Of course adding fresh water would improve your physical condition; but how to obtain fresh water in the middle of an ocean?

Rain water

 

Depending on your location, it might rain daily or very sporadically. In the tropics, one short rain storm could dump much water. Often the unprepared castaways have not been able to take advantage of those strong sporadic rain storms (if it rains daily you don’t need to be too concerned). Many have died of dehydration in areas of heavy rains. Don’t wait for the rain to be prepared.

Any large surface of fabrics such as canvas or plastic are great to catch rain water. If you have sails, make a giant bowl with them (make sure you rinse them before). In heavy sea make sure you protect your water collection plant from the waves. You don’t want the ocean to spoil your precious drinking water. If you don’t have any sails or not enough tarps, use anything from rain jackets and pants to garbage bags, wetsuits, life jackets, etc. Cans and bottles make great containers to store water but are not very efficient to collect it. You might also collect water from the gutters of your dinghy. Pockets of rain water might also form in various places (which you can lap if difficult to transfer into a receptacle).

Drink all you need from the rain, but if you have been on a rationed diet, drink very slowly as to not vomit (a normal reaction after forced drinking following dehydration).

Store as much rain water as possible. The first water collected might still contain a bit of salt (save it separately. You can use it to wash wounds and moisten lips and eyes. When you run out of containers, think of anything that can be made into a container (plan this beforehand). To not mention the obvious, fill up your diving BC, and everything that is inflatable. If you are on a raft. You can partially fill up the tubes of your raft. It won’t sink (rafts are extremely buoyant) but it will even stabilize it more in heavy seas (you can then pipe the water out when needed (for example with a snorkel or diving hose). Even condoms (never leave home without them!) can be thoroughly rinsed and after fully inflated, they can contain and preserve much water.

Condensation
In some dry places (little to no rain), nights might bring much condensation (a good example is Baja in Mexico). You can collect the drops of condensation with a canvas or plastic tarp (or sail) set as a bowl (to cover the maximum surface area, make sure the water collected gets funneled the proper way to be stored.

 

Saline and foul water

When the water is first collected it might contain too much salt to be drinkable, but it could still be used to clean wounds, humidify lips and rinse the skin (especially where rashes, dryness and soreness have developed).

Foul water collected on a raft is usually safe to drink but because of the taste it might cause vomiting. To avoid vomiting is can be absorbed rectally by means of a water retention enema!

Another beneficial use of water enema: After a long period of dehydration (and diet)the stomach shrinks and can’t hold much water. During a strong rain storm, if you don’t have much container to store water, you want to fill yourself up. You can absorb up to one pint rectally.

In case of severe dehydration the body will more quickly be hydrated with an enema. It is a method that has saved knowledgeable survivors. But careful not to use salt water (sea water is as dangerous absorbed rectally as it is orally).

Fish
Fish can provide a source of water. You can drink the aqueous liquid found in the eyes and spine bones. Those are almost free of salt and a good source of drinking water (especially if you catch large fish or in large quantities).

To extract the liquid, cut the freshly caught fish in half. Break the vertebra’s apart and suck them (no water in shark spines). Also suck the eyes.

You can also suck on barnacles and similar shellfish which are often found on hulls, ropes (or even whales). Taste first to make sure it isn’t too salty. If it taste too bitter you might want to discard it as well.

The Incas were believed to chew on fish to obtain water. Later, members of La Balsa expedition also survived by twisting pieces of fish in clothing to extract the moisture (after removing all the blood). They also suck on the waters from the eyes and bones. Dr. Bombard even made a machine to press fish and extract the precious fluid they contain.

It is believed that indigenous people were the pioneers in ocean navigation and survival at sea. They too might have drunk sea-water. Two famous expeditions tried to prove that the Incas and Huancavilcas could have migrated on balsa rafts from South America to the south Pacific islands. Their experience also forced them to drink sea-water over extended period of time. The Kon-Tiki raft was an exact replica of the Incas crafts. Lead by Thor Heyerdahl and his crew of four, the Kon-Tiki traveled 4,300 miles from Peru to Ranoia Reef (South Pacific) in 101 days. A later expedition called La Balsa, followed the route of the Kon-Tiki with a similar raft. In 1972, they left from Ecuador and covered 8,600 miles to reach Australia.

If prepared, man can survive at sea, even in a castaway situation! We have distillers that will also help with making sea water drinkable.

 

Favorite Thermal Layer & Shell Combinations For The Woods

Thermal-Layer-and-Shell-Combos_700

Clothing for the woods, call it what you will, I’ve been asked about it a lot. I guess it’s because I spend a lot of time in the woods and have done for many years.

I do shy away from talking about kit unnecessarily because I think there is an overemphasis on accumulating outdoor kit and an under-emphasis on accumulating outdoor skills and experience.

That said, we all need some outdoor clothing and equipment, more so as we move away from the equator. In particular, our clothing forms the first line of defense against hypothermia. In the woodlands of the northern temperate zone and into the forest, where conditions can be cold and wet, we need clothing which is both protective as well as tough.

The question of what I choose to use has come up several times in my shows as well as in other questions which have been submitted to me.

I’ve been repeatedly asked to talk about what I use, what I like and why. I’ve resisted doing this for a some time as I don’t want people to feel pressured to use what I use.

I talk about three sets of multiple thermal layers combined with a shell layer which I find make particularly complimentary combinations.

I should point out these are favorite combinations of mine.

While I would, of course, recommend all of the garments I suggest, this is not me saying you have to have any of these specific items before you go to the woods.

This is not least because some of the garments I use carry a significant price tag compared to some people’s budgets.

I’ve calculated that most professional people who have a number of good quality suits for their office job have spent more on those suits, along with shirts, ties and shoes have spent more than I have on my outdoor clothing.

My clothing also needs to last. I spend a good amount of the year outdoors, through the seasons, teaching outdoor skills, guiding trips and having my own outdoor adventures.

I’m responsible for others when I teach and guide. I shouldn’t be spending time sorting myself out because I’m cold and wet, when I should be looking after my clients, running a course or a trip. I need to rely on my clothing.

People have asked, though, and I’m answering. These are clothing combinations I use year-round in northern temperate forests as well as spring, summer and autumn use in the forest. The various combinations of clothing in this video have served me well in the UK, Scandinavia and in North America.

Much of this is in woodland and it’s tough on clothing.

The shell layers are all resilient and tough, well suited to the higher levels of abrasion encountered in woodland settings.

Just in case there is any doubt, I’m not being paid to talk about any of the garments or brands in the video. All of the items were paid for by me personally.

It’s not just about specific brands or specific garments. There are some general principles at work here. I refer to some of these in the video, particularly with respect to base layers and hats. In the text below the video, I continue the discussion, drawing out some general principles which you can apply to find items of clothing which fit your budget and specific needs.

The final point, before I let you get to the video, is even though this is not a kit review, all of these garments have been used for many, many months in the field. First impressions are one thing but I don’t believe in video “reviews” which give opinions based on how the clothing looks when it comes off the hanger or out of the packet. I’ll use it for a few years and then give you an opinion…

Clothing Combinations Greater Than The Sum Of The Parts

I mention it in the overall value and performance I get from these clothing combinations is greater than the sum of the individual parts.

While I look at particular models from particular manufacturers in the video (because these are what I own), I feel it’s worth drawing out some general recommendations which you can apply using any number of different manufacturers and models.

Clothing Combinations To Keep You Warm – First Get The Basics Right

If you need to be donning warm upper body layers, then think first about what you have next to your skin. Invest in a good merino wool base layer. They make a huge difference to your warmth and comfort level. The performance they add to your overall clothing system far outstrips any additional weight or bulk.

The second basic which you need is a warm beanie hat. Again the added comfort and warmth from such a small item. A woolen head-over or scarf is also worth carrying in the colder months of the year.

Once you have the basics sorted, below are the generalizations of the three main clothing combinations I discuss in the video…

Protective Combo 1

A thin fleece pullover with zip neck, to wear over your base layer. This type of fleece pullover is both ubiquitous and inexpensive. I like simple models that can be tucked into trousers for extra warmth.

A medium to heavy fleece to wear over the thin pullover. In the video I show a medium weight fleece which also tucks in. If possible, I like this layer to have a hood as it adds a lot of extra protection from the elements for little extra weight.

A sturdy breathable smock of Gore-Tex or similar. This should be large enough to fit over the thermal garments above. This type of smock is good for prolonged periods in heavy rain. The longer smocks keep your groin (and trouser pocket contents) dry without having to don waterproof trousers. This is my go-to style of jacket for teaching courses in the northern temperate zone and wilderness canoe trips.

Protective Combo 2

A thin fleece pullover as described above or thin fleece jacket over your base layer.

A Primaloft or similar synthetic-filled duvet jacket, with a decent, full-sized hood. If the outer shell of this jacket can be made of a good windproof material then all the better. Even better still is a material which is also somewhat water resistant – shower proof if you like – which will help stop moisture going into the insulation. Belay jackets designed for climbers are a good place to look for many of these features. They also tend to be quite light for their performance. The one I use is a little over 600g (21 oz.)

A tough breathable shell jacket of Gore-Tex or similar. Triple-layered breathable membrane fabrics provide high performance and resilience. This style of jacket I use for hiking in heavy wooded areas and ski-touring. I look for good ventilation as well as good pockets for maps, compass, gloves.

Protective Combo 3

A synthetic pile-lined top with an integral windproof outer shell. There are a number of similar designs on the market, some designed to be worn close-fitting, some with a little more room. These garments tend to be very protective, even worn on their own. In the mountains, this is often all you need. The synthetic shell outer of this type of garment, however, is prone to damage from sparks in particular, but also thorns and the generally higher abrasion levels of life in the woods. In the woods, then, I recommend combining them with a tough smock over the top (see below).

A Ventile smock over the top of the above type of garment forms a very tough, protective and breathable combination for the woods.

Longevity And Value

Any of the three clothing combinations discussed above should last a long time if the items are selected carefully. None of the clothing I showed in the video is new. In fact much of it I’ve had for many years. For example, the Norrona jacket is at least 10 years old. The Buffalo Special 6 shirt is 15 years old. The Swazi Tahr is 7 or 8 years old. All of the garments have seen a lot of use. In particular the shell layers see months of use each year.

For the amount of use they have had, all of the garments have provided incredible value. And that’s before I think about how many times they’ve protected me from hypothermia.

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