A Simple Hatchet can Save your Life

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The hatchet is a small axe that is one heck of a survival tool, and it lends itself to numerous applications that help you not die. Let’s go over some of the way it can be helpful in a survival situation.

Fire Starter

You should have at least two to three different ways to start a fire, like waterproof matches, magnesium fire starter, and a lighter.  A hatchet is another very helpful item to have when needing to start a fire. It not only makes it much easier to cut large pieces of wood, but also functions as a striking tool to create sparks. Use as a striker only in an emergency situation to avoid premature dulling.

Defense

Finding yourself face to face with a large predator in the wild such as a cougar or bear is never ideal, and there’s no running away, as it sends a clear message that you’re food rather than a potential threat. Granted, you’d probably rather have a gun or an airbow to keep the predators at longer distances, but if things become too close, you can count on your hatchet. The hatchet works best when used in a hacking motion to maintain your defense.

Ice Cutter

Cutting ice and hard snow for water is much easier when you have a hatchet, as is digging out a snow shelter.  Ice cutting will come in handy if you need to dig a hole to protect a small fire from the wind.

Splint Assistance

Should you need to create a splint, a hatchet again comes in super handy. It makes it easy to cut and fashion a splint, whether for you or an injured party member.

Light Reflector

The metal section of a hatchet works as a light reflector, which sure is helpful if you’re alone in the wilderness and need to be rescued!

Hammer

The hatchet’s back end works as a very nice hammer.

Some would argue that you only need a fixed blade knife in your pack, while others would argue that the hatchet is the more important of the two. The reality is that you should have both. If you don’t have a hatchet in your survival bag, consider purchasing one. Chances are that you’ll be very glad you have it down the road.

NEW PREPPERS GUIDE TO WINTER VEHICLE PREPAREDNESS

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Many people new to prepping, or even those just setting out on their own for the first time find the thought of preparing for major winter storms overwhelming. I get this entirely. The key is to break it down into manageable chunks and deal with one chunk before you move onto the next. Today we lookout your vehicle and what you need to think about when travelling around in winter.

We cannot guarantee that a storm will come late Friday when we are all safely at home so any vehicle in use should have an emergency ‘extreme weather kit’ in the trunk and a few extra supplies inside the car so lets take a look at that first.

You need to make sure that should your car become your home for a couple of days that it’s up for the job. Your vehicle should be well maintained and have appropriate tires. You also need to be mentally prepared for spending time in the vehicle, not knowing when rescue will come?the traffic will start moving again.

A serious accident can see tail-backs miles and miles long and in heavy falling snow this can turn into a life threatening situation very quickly for those stuck in the traffic without out adequate fuel, clothing and food.  Knowing that you have the equipment and supplies to survive such a situation will make you calmer should disaster strike. You won’t be worrying about eating or freezing to death which means you can concentrate on the task in hand: Getting yourself out of the situation or sitting it out with relative ease.

So, what do you need to have with you? Some items are obvious, some not so obvious:

  • A shovel preferably a strong but lightweight folding one.
  • Windshield scraper and small broom
  • Flashlight with extra batteries or dynamo/wind up flashlight
  • Battery powered radio or dynamo/battery radio
  • Tow chains and/ropes
  • Tire chains if allowed in your area
  • Booster cables
  • Emergency reflective triangle or sign
  • Flares if your route uses back roads,/remote areas
  • Full first aid kit
  • Rock salt/grit/cat litter for putting under wheels to aid traction.
  • Distress flag/ bright bandana to attract attention.
  • Whistle to attract attention
  • A largish card with your name and cell number written on it. If you leave the vehicle add your direction of travel, the date and the time you left the vehicle. Leave this in the car
  • Matches, lighter and small tea light candles packed into a small wide necked jar. The candle can be put into the bottom of the jar and stood on the dashboard to give a gentle light that can be seen from a considerable distance. Have your window open just a crack to make sure no fumes build up. This also applies if you run the engine for even just a few minutes.
  • Keep the gas tank topped up.
  • Any daily required prescription medications.
  • Phone comparable power pack capable of at least 3 full charges of your phone.
  • Baby wipes for personal hygiene.
  • Half a dozen good quality heavy gauge plastic bags big enough to ‘go’ in if the call of nature can’t be stalled any longer.
  • A  dozen bright strips of fabric with your name and cell number written on them in permanent marker: If you are in a remote area and have to leave your vehicle there are decent markers and can be tied to tree branches alerting rescuers to the fact that you are there and your direction of travel.
  • A couple of thick fleece blankets and/or a sleeping bag.
  • Sweat top and pants big enough to go over your regular clothes.
  • Wool socks, boot type big enough to go on easily.
  • Hat preferably with ear flaps, mittens and scarf
  • Thick tread knee high rubber boots in case for any reason you end up having to walk out.
  • Water and pouch fruit juice drinks
  • Bag of your chosen trail mix
  • High energy snack bars
  • Couple of packs of cookies
  • Hard candy
  • Few individual bags of dried fruit and/or nuts
  • Couple of high calorie chocolate bars, Snickers, Mars bars or similar

The exhaust/tail pipe has to be kept free of snow otherwise fumes will back up into the vehicle every time you run the engine. A sure way to get carbon monoxide poisoning

Bonus tip: Pee contains urea and peeing or tipping your makeshift pee bag out under the exhaust/tailpipe of the vehicle after you’ve cleared it will not only melt the remaining snow but prevent more snow building in that area keeping the pipe snow free for a considerable time.

Packing most of the kit into a hiking style back pack is the best option because if for any reason you have to walk out of the situation you can take it with you. On your journey try to have it inside the vehicle, it can go in the trunk whilst you’re at work and get slipped back into the vehicle for the trip home.

The folding shovel should be able to attach to the pack via velcro or a lanyard in case you have to leave the vehicle. Should you have to leave your vehicle put on the spare clothes you have with you, you can always take them off if you are too hot and better that than get hypothermia and/or frostbite. The rubber boots will protect your feet and lower legs from the worst of the weather.

Mittens are better than gloves as your hands retain more heat. The scarf should be wrapped around your mouth and nose to reduce the cold air entering your body and to protect your nose from frostbite. Make sure your ears are covered as they are also susceptible to frost bite.

As soon as you become stuck you need to let someone know where you are. In remote areas, in cases of accident or of a breakdown this should be 911 (999 UK) first and then a family member. Tell them where you are and what the issue is and when you hang up turn off the phone to save the battery. Now is not the time to see if there is a Pokemon near the vehicle.

The standard advice is to stay with your vehicle, it gives you some protection from the weather but on occasions that’s just not possible. Remember if you leave the vehicle be sure to:

  • Leave the card with the date and time as well as direction of travel.
  • Wear as many of the clothes as you can without impeding your ability to move comfortably.
  • Take the food and drink with you.
  • Do not eat snow it will lower your core temperature and can speed up the onset of hypothermia.
  • Mark the route you take with the cloth strips.
  • In wooded areas walk in the centre of the road there will be less hazards than there are near the tree line. Think animals, hidden tree roots and uneven ground.

I hope you found this useful.

Linked from: http://undergroundmedic.com/2016/10/new-preppers-guide-to-winter-vehicle-preparedness/

WINTER’S ON THE WAY: THINGS TO DO BEFORE IT ARRIVES

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We all know it’s coming. It arrives every year and with it comes a huge variety of weather. Snow, high winds, ice storms, fog you name it and winter throws it at us. Then there’s the added complication of power outages and all the disruption that brings with it. In short, winter can be a total ball-ache.

Now I HATE winter with a passion that is only equalled by my hatred of politicians and paedophiles so for me, getting everything in order before winter arrives is critical, because if it’s not done before hand it sure as hell won’t be done during the cold weather. I watch news reports of people in snow and enjoying it – how I have no idea but they do. Me, no thanks, give me heat and sunshine any day of the week.

So, how does a winter-phobe like me deal with the cold season? In short, I don’t, I prepare for it well in advance so I have as few issues as it’s humanly possible to have during the colder weather. So, without further ado here’s the Lizzie check list for winter preparation.

Garden and driveway

  • Make sure all general garden maintenance is up to date. Loose and/or old branches cut down, perennial weeds burnt etc.
  • Check slabs and pathways for cracks that may let water in and then freeze causing more damage and trip hazards – repair as required.
  • Put a couple of bags of rock salt and grit mix out the back to keep the patio safe to walk on ( need to get to wood store and ‘spare’ pantry in the garage.
  • Put a couple of bags of rock salt and grit behind the side gate to keep the drive ice-free.
  • Stow all the garden furniture away for the winter. It’s VERY windy in my location and tables regularly become low flying objects!
  • Bag up footballs,  super-soaker guns and other kiddie crap and hang in the garage.
  • Rinse and air dry the wetsuits and store in rodent proof box.
  • Make sure wood supply is adequate and coal bunker is full.

Garage (not used for the car shall we say)

  • Grease saws and garden tools to keep them in good condition.
  • Clean and grease lawnmower blades and wipe the machine down ready for spring.
  • Replace all tools in their rightful home at the far end of the garage.
  • Check roof for gaps and holes – close the door during daylight and look up, any splits and gaps will show. Seal/repair as required.
  • Wipe down outsides of all electrical items: tumble drier, spare fridge and spare freezers. Check all plugs and sockets for damage, repair as required.
  • Clean out cupboards checking food dates and looking for blown/rusting cans.
  • Check pipe lagging under the sink.
  • Empty out and check contents of two ’emergency boxes’: candles 12,  matches 2 boxes, lighters 2, firelighters 2 boxes, hurricane lamp, lamp oil 2 bottles,  flashlight with 2 spare bulbs,  new batteries x 3 packs, pack of fuses, 3, 5 and 13 amp. Small toolkit in a box : straight and cross head screwdrivers small, medium and large of each, small hammer, pliers, small wrench, insulation tape, electrical screwdriver for checking currents, selection of screws, duct tape, super-glue.
  • Vacuum through.

House (exterior)

  • Check for flaking paint/varnish on wooden doors and sills, repaint /varnish if required to prevent water penetration and rot.
  • Check weatherboards and fascias are in good repair and tightly fixed in place.
  • Seal any gaps in window frames/door frames
  • Clean UPVC frames and windows.
  • Check lagging on the outdoor taps. Re-lag if needed.

House (interior)

  • Check the roof. Go into the loft during daylight, close the hatch and look for dislodged tiles or slates. Repair as required.
  • Check pipes on exterior walls are lagged.
  • Put one emergency box right outside the back door on back porch ready for use.
  • Test central heating and bleed radiators if needed.
  • Get boiler serviced.
  • Get chimneys swept.
  • Fill log baskets and put next to each fire, ditto coal scuttles.

Car

  • Get it serviced.
  • Check tires for tread and uneven wear.
  • Check wiper blades are not split and work well.
  • Top up antifreeze.
  • Check first aid kit and restock if required.
  • In the boot (trunk): Small bag of rock salt, shovel, warning triangle, small vehicle tool kit, wellies (gum boots), bag with ‘shit kit’ items such as emergency food, water, mylar blankets, lightweight fleece blanket, blow up pillow, flashlight and new batteries, pair of fleece pants, fleece top, spare socks. Spare can of fuel.

Glove Compartment/ door storage/inside the car

  • Boiled sweets (hard candy)
  • Cereal bars
  • Energy drinks/bottled water or both
  • Flashlight and spare batteries
  • Two charge power pack with correct phone connector
  • Cash in notes and change
  • Fleece blanket
  • A book you’ve been meaning to read, a crossword book, anything to fill the time if you happen to get stuck because of accidents, traffic or weather.

It looks like an awful lot of things to do but actually it isn’t. If your home and car are well maintained throughout the year most of it is just a matter of checking to make sure all is in order and working. It takes me no longer than two days to complete the list around all my regular household tasks and going about my usual business outside the home.

Have a think, make a list of things that applicable to you based on the winter weather in your area, then act on it. Far better to get the loose roof tile fixed now than not be able to tackle it in a howling snow storm in a couple of months time.

Linked from: http://undergroundmedic.com/2016/10/winters-on-the-way-things-to-do-before-it-arrives/

41 Insanely Clever Products You Need For Your Next Camping Trip

1. An inflatable solar light that will help you see through anything.

Lightweight, rechargeable, waterproof, and eco-friendly

2. A squeezable water filtration system.

Fill the pouches with water from any outdoor water source, screw the filter onto the pouch, and filter the water into your water bottles.

3. A CamelBak purification water bottle.

The cap uses UV technology to clean any tap or clear natural water into drinking water in 60 seconds. Bonus: A fully charged battery gives you 80 uses!

4. A headlamp that adjusts its brightness automatically to the environment.

5. This tool kit that has everything you could ever need.

Includes a can opener, tweezers, alarm, timer, barometer, thermometer, flashlight, screwdriver, magnifying lens, sharpening stone, compass, and more.

6. A smokeless stove that generates electricity to charge your personal devices.

7. “Earl,” a smart, solar-powered GPS that gives you real-time map data, weather, and an emergency radio.

8. This compact stove that’s perfect for a solo trip.

All-in-one stove, with suggested fuel amounts above.

9. A USB and solar-powered device that charges headlamps, cameras, and electronics.

Also waterproof.

10. This high-tech blade with a handle that doesn’t absorb water.

Perfect for cutting wood or preparing food.

11. A no-pump water filter that cleans your water for you.

So you can spend more time exploring.

12. A waterproof lighter with a gas lock.

There is nothing worse than not being able to light your stove and eat a hot meal after a rainy day of hiking. NOTHING.

13. This neon blue hammock for two.

Talk about romantic. 

14. A portable sink that’s perfect for keeping dishes and clothes sanitary.

Especially useful for washing underwear, which can help prevent UTIs and other infections.

15. A tent-pole seat that holds up to 250 pounds and weighs only 1.3 pounds.

It folds into a little tube.

16. A compact spork-and-knife utensil set.

The solution to all our spork woes. 

17. A bandana that is also a map of Yosemite National Park.

18. An ultra-light drip coffeemaker.

Early-morning boost to your sunrise hike.

19. Reflective badges that will keep your group together during night hikes.

20. A star target that teaches you secrets of the galaxy.

It locates constellations, bright stars, nebulas, star clusters, and more.

21. A survival tool kit that’s smaller than a credit card and will save you in emergency situations.

Includes saw blade, two-position wrench, key-chain hole, bottle opener, direction indication, can opener, screwdriver, ruler, four-position wrench, and a butterfly screw wrench. Is there anything it can’t do?

22. A compact scraper that will clean out any last food chunks.

Also doubles up as a spatula and a utensils replacement. Finally, you don’t have to eat yesterday’s leftover chili with today’s oatmeal.

23. This all-purpose bowl that is 100% recyclable, light, odor-free, and stain-resistant.

It’s made of polyproylene, which is much lighter than regular plastics. It even stays buoyant when filled with water!

24. Or this collapsible bowl that includes measuring marks on the inside.

No more dry oatmeal clumps because you didn’t guestimate the right amount of water.

25. A “Hoodlum” that will never leave your face cold ever again.

Wear this to sleep.

26. The lightest, most insulated socks you will ever find.

27. An all-in-one geoshield stove that allows for both upright and inverted fuel positions.

No more fumbling in the dark. No more being unable to pack your aluminum foil and spare parts into a tiny container.

28. Collapsible cooking pots that are lightweight and durable.

29. A tarp poncho that will keep you waterproof indefinitely.

30. A dry trash sack that prevents any leakage.

LEAVE NO TRACE!!! 

31. An insulated hammock.

Fall asleep to the stars. 

32. This lightweight slackline that’s perfect for adventurous trips.

Slacklining on the top of a mountain may be the most hardcore activity you could possibly do.

33. A pocket shower for when you go on month-long backpacking trips.

Cleanliness for purely health reasons

34. A roll-up flask because why not.

Backpacking doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy some booze for at least a couple days. 

35. This FireSteel that easily helps you start a fire.

Seriously, never eat a cold dinner again! Functions in rain and snow.

36. This two-person tent that comes with built-in LED lighting.

No makeshift headlamp-tent-light hassle.

37. This gear line that will organize all your essentials at night.

Also will create space to fit in that extra person for maximum warmth. 

38. These odorless bags that will keep bears at bay.

Perfect for holding trash and any used tampons.

39. An solar-powered inflatable, waterproof light that doubles as a pillow.

40. A toothbrush sanitizer that will eliminate all that nasty dirt.

This way brushing your teeth is actually hygienic.

41. A compact and light cookware set.

One pot, one pan, all you need.

Build a Jig to Slice Plastic Bottles into Rope Project

This step by step tutorial of how to build a jig to slice plastic bottles into rope project in a way to re-purpose a soda pop container into a useful item. The project is extremely to follow and in no time at all you will be making all the rope you could need for your crafting. The completed jig is equally simple to use and with just a few bottles you will soon have a huge pile of crafting material.

When it comes to making crafts you can use a wide variety of materials in order to create your unique beautiful artist items. Whether you choose to use supplies you find in a craft store or prefer to use materials that come from recycled stuff, it is totally up to you.

One of those materials that are often used for crafting is called plastic rope. This can be used to make a number of unique items and it is really easy to acquire. Clear, green, blue and brown are just a few of the colors choices of plastic bottles on the market. The plastic strips can be cut in different widths, customized to your need.

This Do It Yourself project offers to help you to create your own way to turn an empty plastic soda bottle into tons of plastic rope.

Materials and Tools:

A Wooden Surface(2×4 works great)

2 Screws(Long enough to go through all of the washers and into the wood)

8 Washers(Holes in the middle must be smaller than top of screw)

Exact-o knife

Cordless Power Drill

A marker

2 liter soda bottles

Benefits of using the Build a Jig to Slice Plastic Bottles into Rope project

● The project includes a complete listing of all the materials, supplies and tools you will need

● It also includes a complete, easy to read and follow step by step instruction guide

● It has several full color photos that help to depict some of the steps

How to Dry Cure Meat at Home

50 g salt  5 g pink salt #2  20 g Hungarian paprika  20 g pepper  10 g fresh garlic, minced  4 g dextrose  3 g white pepper  24 g reduced dry white wine (Hungarian Tokaji)  3 ft of beef middles 1. If using natural casings, soak the casings in cold water for about an hour, making sure to rinse and replace the water at least once halfway through. Open the casings underneath running water to rinse the insides. 2. Grind partially-frozen meat through small die and pork fat through large die. 3. Dissolve the starter culture in de-chlorinated water. Let sit for 20 minutes. While it is rehydrating, chill the beef and pork in the freezer to keep it cold. 4. Combine meat with starter culture, salt, and remaining dry seasonings. Mix for 1-2 minutes, until it becomes tacky. 5. Add chilled Tokaji wine and mix until combined. If you took the optional step to boil off the alcohol and concentrate the wine flavors, be sure to add the same mass of liquid that the recipe calls for (start with a quantity of wine greater than 24 g and boil this down to 24 g). 6. Stuff immediately into casings. Prick all over with a sterile pin to eliminate air pockets. Weigh the mass of your salamis and record this value. 7. Ferment in the Cave chamber at 70ᵒF and 90% relative humidity for 72 hours. 8. Cold smoke for 6-12 hours. 9. Dry in the Cave at 55-60ᵒF and 75% relative humidity until the salami has lost 30% of its weight. Adjust airflow so that it is highest at start of drying, and gradually decreases until the salami is complete. This may take 2-3 months if using beef middles.

One of the old forms of food preservation is fermenting and curing meat. It’s also one  of the tastiest in artisan salamis, pepperoni, aged cheeses, and of course, bacon, just to name a few. Not only does fermenting add preservation to the meat, but it adds flavor, flavor. Need I repeat it again.

If learning how to do things the old-fashioned way, bringing back traditional skills and learning true art forms, or just plain eating delicious foods that you know where they came from and went into them, then you my friend, are in the right place. Let’s raise our cheeses and pepperoni together!

Today we’re talking about the art of using salt and fermentation to preserve your meat.Many people use the freezer or canning to preserve their foods, and while I’m a die hard Mason jar and canning addict, looking back at older forms of food preservation is just as important.

The art of fermenting is using the good bacteria (and salt with meats or dry curing) to give flavor and preservation to the meat, along with drawing out the moisture, which allows it to be a form of preservation. 

Advantages to Fermented and Dry Cured Meat

Cured meat increases in flavor as it ages, as opposed to time in the freezer where over time your meat slowly degrades. Hanging and aging your whole muscles cuts and salami it concentrates the flavors and gives it a more intense flavor process. Plus, there’s the cool factor of being able to have shelf stable meat cured like the pioneers did.

 How to Dry Cure Meat at Home

Purchase a culture specifically for meat SausageMaker.com or ButcherPacker.com  You can keep them in the freezer until you’re ready to do your meat.

The easiest way to preserve your meat is taking a whole muscle cut, make a salt and spice rub and cover it with the rub, and put it in the fridge for a few days. This way you don’t have to use nitrates or any special ingredients.

After a few days, when the salt has had a chance to get in there and draw out some of the moisture, hang it in a controlled environment at 60 degrees Farenheit with 70% humidity and let it dry until it’s lost about 30% of its water weight. That is preserved traditionally and you can eat it raw.

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links. I make a commission if you make a purchase, but it costs you  no more. Thank you so much for helping support this site and podcast.

Resources for Dry Curing Meat at Home

Kitchen Scale– digital kitchen scale weighing up to 18 pounds at a time to make sure you can accurately tell when 30% moisture loss has occurred.

Salt This is a pink Himalayan sea salt with no additives

Curing Salt– for use in ground up cured meats to help prevent the growth of botulism

The Cave – unit that allows you to control the temperature and humidity on any refrigerator or freezer.

Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking and Curing -the book on how to cure meats at home.

Three FREE Recipes on How to Dry Cure Meat at Home- homemade pepperoni, salami, and prosciutto

How long do you let your muscle cut cure?

Prosciutto cuts can take up to a whole year, but smaller cuts don’t take as long. It depends on when it looses the 30% of its water weight. So you need to weigh the cut going in and then after its aged.

You can make Panchetta, which you usually cook, so if you cook it, and don’t eat it raw, then the 30% weight loss isn’t as crucial.

How do you store your cured meat and how long is it good for?

You can continue to store it in The Cave to continue to age it and concentrating the flavors. If you keep curing it will get really hard, otherwise you can store it in your fridge.Lowering the temperature slows down the aging. You can freeze it as well.

Once the meat is completely dry cured, it is shelf stable. You can keep it out on the counter. But to keep it as palatable as possible,  you store it in the fridge or freezer to extend the shelf life and keep it from drying out too much.

Karen says they take they’re salami camping and don’t worry about keeping it in the fridge.

What cuts are a whole muscle cut?

The most popular would be your back leg of a pig, deer, or lamb. You can do something smaller like a loin or neck muscle. Just a whole muscle group, just follow the line and separate that muscle from the rest of the muscle groups. This way you don’t need a grinder.

A grinder is a small investment and you can find both manual and electric
meat grinders here–>stainless steel meat grinder

You can take any piece of meat and do this process of salting and dry curing it.

Back when people naturally cured their own meant, they’d use an basement, cellar, or attic.

You want a slightly warmer temperature so the good bacteria blooms and forces the bad bacteria out, and not being to cold helps with this.

You can use cheese cloth to wrap your meat while its hanging if its in an open environment like a basement or attic. For ease and safety, a contained chamber is best, not only to keep the bugs off, but to help with humidity and temperature levels.

Karen and James created a product, called The Cave, to control your humidity and temperature that attaches onto any refrigerator or freezer. It has a touch screen that allows you to set the humidity and temperature for dry curing meat, cheeses, and even culturing yogurt and sourdough. It has a wireless app so you can easily change the settings if you’re not home.

Right now (thru June 8, 2016) they have a kickstarter campaign going for the Cave including some special kits and e-books.

The fridge or freezer you put it on should be a single unit (no separate freezer) and the heater for warm cultures works best at 10 square feet.

With cheese and meat, if it gets to dry on the outer layer of your meat and cheeses then it creates a hard crust and that hard crust traps the moisture inside and creates a safety issue. This is why the humidity level is so important.

This is also true of your cheeses, if the good mold doesn’t start to form. We had some disasters in the first few years, before The Cave, which is why we ended up creating.

How to Make Bacon at Home

Take your pork belly and throw it in a container with spices, maple syrup or brown sugar is a favorite, and put it in the fridge and flip it once a day for a week. Then throw it in the smoker or in the oven and cook it to a set temperature and you’ve got your bacon.

On the Kickstarter campaign is bacon making kit, both ginger garlic and apple cinnamon bacon.

Salt Safety in Dry Curing

Again, you really need some type of scale. You need 2.5% percent of the weight of the meat to salt ratio, if the meat is 100 grams then you need 2.5 grams of salt to the meat.

If you’re grinding the meat you need to include some type of sodium nitrate or pink salt, and it’s .25% in order to prevent botulism. Nitrates are controversial, but our opinion is we’d much rather not die of botulism if we’re aging salami, the nitrates protect against that.

You don’t need to use nitrates in a whole muscle cut. Unless, you’re rolling up panchetta, in that type some of the meat has been exposed to oxygen, and some hasn’t. Nitrates are needed when the  meat has been exposed to oxygen and is then put into an anaerobic environment. 

Type of Salts for Dry Curing

You want to use salt that doesn’t have any additives to it, like anti-caking methods.

Sea Salt, Kosher Salt, Himalyan Pink Salt.

Is your cured meat okay if its moldy?

Orange and black are bad.

You’re dry aged pepperoni’s are covered in white mold.

You can buy mold powder to add to your meat when you’re hanging them. It’s beneficial to help with the moisture level and to establish the good mold.

We dissolve the mold culture into water and then spray our sausage with it to help bloom that mold onto the surface of our sausage.

What’s the molds purpose?

It helps the flavor profile and when you make a sausage like salami, the casing helps it not dry out too quickly, and the mold does the exact same thing. It helps regulate the moisture loss, so you don’t dry out the outside too quickly and then moisture gets trapped inside instead of releasing.

Three Dry Meat Recipes:

Home Curing Recipes Pepperoni: Homemade pepperoni is worlds above what you can buy in the store. It is also a great “beginner” fermented sausage, since it is aged in a smaller casing and is ready to eat much sooner than other sausages.

1400 g pork  600 g lean beef (or venison)  10 g Bactoferm F-RM-52  50 g de-chlorinated water  50 g salt 5 g Pink salt #2 (not Himalayan salt—pink salt is a mix of sodium nitrite/sodium nitrate)  30 g dextrose  56 g nonfat milk powder  13 g paprika  6 g sugar  6 g black pepper  6 g cayenne pepper  5 g anise seeds, crushed  1 g fennel  24 g reduced dry red wine (optional: boil wine for 15 minutes then chill)  3 meters hog casings, or 6 meters sheep casings

If using natural casings, soak the casings in cold water for about an hour, making sure to rinse and replace the water at least once halfway through. Open the casings underneath running water to rinse the insides. 2. Grind chilled beef and pork through the small die of your grinder. 3. Dissolve the starter culture (F-RM-52) in de-chlorinated water. Let sit for 20 minutes. While it is re-hydrating, chill the beef and pork in the freezer to keep it cold. 4. Combine meat with starter culture, salt, and remaining dry seasonings. Mix for 1-2 minutes, until it becomes tacky. 5. Add chilled dry red wine and mix until combined. If you took the optional step to boil off the alcohol and concentrate the wine flavors, be sure to add the same mass of liquid that the recipe calls for (start with a quantity of wine greater than 24 g and boil this down to 24 g). 6. Stuff immediately into casings. Prick all over with a sterile pin to eliminate air pockets. Weigh the mass of your sausages and record this value. 7. Ferment using the Cave fermentation controller at 85ᵒF and 90% relative humidity for 12 hours. 8. Optional: cold smoke for 6 hours. 9. Dry using the Cave fermentation controller at 55-60ᵒF and 75% relative humidity until the pepperoni has lost 30% of its weight. Adjust airflow so that it is highest at start of drying, and gradually decreases until the pepperoni is complete. This should take approximately 2-3 weeks, if using hog casings (less time if using sheep casings)

Goat Prosciutto: Lamb or goat prosciutto is easy to make, requiring only a few minutes of hands-on time before hanging in the Cave. It is intensely flavorful and has an amazing mouth-feel when sliced thin. This is a traditional recipe made with juniper berries, garlic, and fresh rosemary. You could also substitute other game animals for this

de-boned and butterflied goat leg (or leg roast)  3.8% sea salt  0.25% cure #2 (optional)  3.0% sugar  2.0% minced garlic  1.0% fresh rosemary (or 0.6% dried rosemary)  1.4% pepper  0.4% crushed juniper berries 1. Start by de-boning and butterflying the goat leg. Trim off any silverskin. 2. Mix the salt, cure, and seasonings Cure in the refrigerator: place it all in a zip-loc bag (or a covered non-reactive container) and put in the refrigerator. Cure for about 5 days, being sure to redistribute the cure every day or so. 4. Rinse in water or wine and pat dry. Weigh the meat and record this number. 5. Tie with butcher’s twine and hang in the Cave. Age at 55ᵒF and 75% relative humidity. The goat prosciutto is done when it has lost 30% of its weight and is firm to the touch. 6. Slice thin and enjoy!

Hungarian Salami Hungarian salami is a slow-fermented sausage with traditional flavors of Hungarian paprika, pepper, and garlic.

1200 g pork  400 g lean beef (or venison)  400 g pork fat  0.9 g T-SPX dissolved in 30 g de-chlorinated water 50 g salt  5 g pink salt #2  20 g Hungarian paprika  20 g pepper  10 g fresh garlic, minced  4 g dextrose  3 g white pepper  24 g reduced dry white wine (Hungarian Tokaji)  3 ft of beef middles 1. If using natural casings, soak the casings in cold water for about an hour, making sure to rinse and replace the water at least once halfway through. Open the casings underneath running water to rinse the insides. 2. Grind partially-frozen meat through small die and pork fat through large die. 3. Dissolve the starter culture in de-chlorinated water. Let sit for 20 minutes. While it is rehydrating, chill the beef and pork in the freezer to keep it cold. 4. Combine meat with starter culture, salt, and remaining dry seasonings. Mix for 1-2 minutes, until it becomes tacky. 5. Add chilled Tokaji wine and mix until combined. If you took the optional step to boil off the alcohol and concentrate the wine flavors, be sure to add the same mass of liquid that the recipe calls for (start with a quantity of wine greater than 24 g and boil this down to 24 g). 6. Stuff immediately into casings. Prick all over with a sterile pin to eliminate air pockets. Weigh the mass of your salamis and record this value. 7. Ferment in the Cave chamber at 70ᵒF and 90% relative humidity for 72 hours. 8. Cold smoke for 6-12 hours. 9. Dry in the Cave at 55-60ᵒF and 75% relative humidity until the salami has lost 30% of its weight. Adjust airflow so that it is highest at start of drying, and gradually decreases until the salami is complete. This may take 2-3 months if using beef middles.

6 Ways to Hack Outdoor Solar Lights for Survival

It’s that startling moment when the lights go out in the middle of the night.

You haven’t had time to mount your flashlights next to your bed. And you can’t find your candles in the complete dark. As you stumble about, you notice a white glow coming from your vegetable garden.

It’s the solar lighting you put out there earlier this year.

Solar Lights for Emergencies

It’s that startling moment when the lights go out in the middle of the night.

You haven’t had time to mount your flashlights next to your bed. And you can’t find your candles in the complete dark. As you stumble about, you notice a white glow coming from your vegetable garden.

It’s the solar lighting you put out there earlier this year.

Often overlooked as a preparedness tool, solar lighting is something we should all consider. You can use them in many other ways than just looking pretty: from increasing egg production, to charging batteries, to preparing your unprepared loved ones.

Here are six hacks to maximize the usefulness of this green gadget:

1. First, replace the batteries

Yep, manufacturers lower their costs in building solar lights by using low-quality batteries. It’s often why solar lighting gets mixed reviews – it’s not the light, but the battery that failed. Replacing the low-quality ones with higher quality batteries is the secret to both longevity and efficiency of using solar outdoor lights indoors.

There’s a lot of debate out there on whether to use NiCD or NiMH batteries (such as the amazingly awesome Eneloop, of which I find myself collecting). If you live in a climate with moderate temperatures and a good amount of sunlight, a NiMH battery is your best choice. If not, opt for quality NiCD batteries, as they will tolerate a broader range of conditions than a NiMH will.

2. Turn it into a battery charger

Solar lighting can be used as a battery charger. You can use solar lights to charge batteries during the day, and then remove the batteries and use in other devices. Solar outdoor lights then serve double-duty and give you extra flexibility.

When looking for outdoor solar lighting that might be used indoors or as a battery charger, be sure it has an on-off switch. You’ll save energy for other uses and you may not want your house lit all night. Plus, a switch will allow you to convert it into a dedicated solar battery charger.

Most lights house a single battery, but if you get solar lights with at least two batteries, the light output is quite a bit more, and your charging capacity has doubled.

3. Remove the shades

Because the decorative shades impede the light, removing them will expose more light and the difference can be drastic.

4. Duct Tape over the light sensor

Most outdoor solar lights have a small sensor that works to turn off the lights at dawn. When using them indoors,you may also have other light sources that would trigger the sensor, so use some of your massive stock of camo duct tape to tape over it, effectively disabling it temporarily and keeping the light on.

5. Light up your coop and increase egg production

Increase egg production by putting a solar lamp in a chicken coop in winter and get more “daylight” for egg production. The solar lights can be hacked to extend the solar chip outside of the coop, while keeping the light itself inside the coop.

6. Prepare the unprepared

As I’ve said before, one of the best ways to prepare the unprepared is by giving practical gifts that can be used in an emergency. And this is a sly one.

You can’t very well show up with a hostess/birthday/Christmas gift of a H20 1.0 Personal Waterstraw (well you can, but you’ll probably compromise your OPSEC in the process), but you can show up with a wonderful treat for their lovely garden or eating area. And the bonus is you won’t have to explain yourself to a chorus of“are you like one of those doomsday preppers on TV?”

Pair the lights with a pack of good rechargeable batteries, and baby, you’ve just set them up with a solar battery charging solution that also runs double-duty as emergency lighting – cleverly disguised as a gift.

Solar Lighting options

So where to get good solar lights? It’s tough: If you buy online, you’ll encounter a lot of mixed reviews. If you pick some up at a dollar store, there’s no reviews at all to rely upon. And buying a cheap light just because it’s cheap won’t get you anywhere, worse yet, it will give you a false sense of security.

I’m a firm believer in doing your research – and online shopping. When I shop online at a site like Amazon, I can review the reviews and do price-comparisons to make sure I’m getting the best option out there. I’ve reviewed about a dozen options and these are my top three picks for outdoor solar lighting for the purposes as discussed:

1. Inexpensive Power-Houses

At less than $2 a piece, these solar lights are an inexpensive solution. I don’t plan on using these lights as a replacement for regular bulbs; and at this price, as one reviewer pointed out, you couldn’t buy the solar cell, battery and LEDs. This is an ideal set to gift to an unprepared loved one as well – the price is low enough to pair with some smashing batteries without busting the budget — and you’ll be preparing a loved one with a sneaky solar battery charger as well.

2. A Spot-On Spotlight

A spotlight is also an excellent choice – they tend to have larger solar panels and charge faster. This one, while it has a few mixed reviews (mainly due to damage in shipment) is the one for me. I just bought a tiny house and plan to use it to light my flag at night until someone I love needs some batteries charged.

3. Hanging tree lights

What can I say? I’m a total girl when it comes to the “pretty” factor. These solar lights for trees have pretty good reviews and well, they’re just so flippin’ pretty. Plus, you can just flip them upside down for indoor use. Perfect for my sister-in-law and her lovely (and useless, non-fruit-producing) trees. She won’t even know that I just set her up with a solar battery charger like a total “prepper”.

So there you have it, 3 options for solar lighting and 6 hacks you can do to them to make them moresurvival-y. Are you using solar outdoor lighting in a novel way in your preparedness plans? Do tell!

Happy prepping!

Mom, Could You Please Pass the Potassium Iodide?

ReadyNutrition guys and gals, by now, hopefully you’re well on your way to finishing up making a batch of JJ’s Ginger Ale; and what could go better with it than a nice serving of Potassium Iodide!  Only kidding.  Potassium Iodide is what you need to stock up on to protect your thyroid from radiation.  I’m sure my Ginger Ale will help it go down a little more smoothly.  We’re going to cover Potassium Iodide in this piece…what it is, and why you should have some in your supplies to prep for when the SHTF.

ReadyNutrition guys and gals, by now, hopefully you’re well on your way to finishing up making a batch of JJ’s Ginger Ale; and what could go better with it than a nice serving of Potassium Iodide!  Only kidding.  Potassium Iodide is what you need to stock up on to protect your thyroid from radiation.  I’m sure my Ginger Ale will help it go down a little more smoothly.  We’re going to cover Potassium Iodide in this piece…what it is, and why you should have some in your supplies to prep for when the SHTF.

Why Should Every Family Have Potassium Iodide in Their Supplies

First, let’s cover the why.  Fukushima is still glowing hot, and according to news sources, the control rods have now completely melted into a radioactive “blob” weighing many tons…and gone right through their protective casing into the earth.  The radiation levels are on the rise.  We already know (no thanks to the MSM and their obfuscations mislabeled “reporting”) that radioactive particles are reaching the West Coast and the Pacific is beginning to show signs of contamination.

In addition to the Japanese problem, there are many reactors in the U.S. that are either leaking or beginning to have structural problems.  I just recently did a piece on EMPs and that article came with a map showing the location of the nuclear power plants in the U.S.  Skipping on, we find that Kim Jong-Un of North Korea is threatening the U.S. with a nuclear strike on an almost daily basis, and he has the capability to do it.  Russia and China have not become any friendlier, and Iran is waiting in the wings to develop its own nuclear capabilities with the assistance of all three of the other nations just mentioned.

How Does Potassium Iodide Protect Me?

So, let’s talk about Potassium Iodide.  It is a compound with the chemical formula of KI.  It can be found on the World Health Organization’s List of Essential Medicines, and it is commercially produced in quantity in the U.S.  It is specifically used in medicine to block excess intake of radiation by the thyroid, hence its value in a nuclear disaster/situation.  In emergency purposes, potassium iodide tablets are given out by emergency respondents to prevent radio iodine uptake.  This is a deadly form of radiation poisoning caused primarily with the uptake by the human body of iodine-131, produced with a fission reaction found in a nuclear explosion or a leakage.

Symptoms of Radiation Sickness Include:

  • Bleeding from the nose, mouth, gums, and rectum
  • Bloody stool
  • Bruising
  • Confusion
  • Dehydration
  • Diarrhea
  • Fainting
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Hair loss
  • Inflammation of exposed areas (redness, tenderness, swelling, bleeding)
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Open sores on the skin
  • Skin burns (redness, blistering)
  • Sloughing of skin
  • Ulcers in the esophagus, stomach or intestines
  • Vomiting blood
  • Weakness

You may find it interesting to know that potassium iodide is produced naturally within Kelp, and the iodide content can range from 89 µg/g to 8165 µg/g.  Potassium iodide, incidentally, is what is added to table salt to prevent iodine deficiencies.

The thyroid gland has a natural affinity for iodine.  Iodine deficiency can lead to goiters, which presents with an enlarged, thickened throat/neck area.  Potassium iodide was approved in 1982 by the FDA for use in protecting the thyroid gland from fallout or fission in a nuclear emergency/accident, or in the event of a war.  By saturating the thyroid gland with the potassium iodide, the harmful nuclear fission-produced iodide particles are unable to be absorbed/taken up by the thyroid.  This has to be taken prior to exposure.  The dosage lasts for 24 hours.  Here is the WHO recommendations for dosages of KI:

WHO Recommended Dosage for Radio-logical Emergencies involving radioactive iodine:

AgeKI in mg per day

Over 12 years old130

3 – 12 years old65

1 – 36 months old32

Under 1 month old16

The pills were given out in 1986 with Chernobyl’s nuclear reactor accident, and the U.S. Navy has been giving KI to its personnel who have operated within the area of Fukushima’s contamination.  As with all things medical, consult with your physician prior to acting upon any of this information, as there are some complications that may arise from overdosing, and also with those who have heart conditions, due to the potassium intake. In this case, there are natural foods you should have on hand that are high in iodine.

You can obtain it (for now) in some of your health food stores, for about $10 a bottle, ranging from 50 to 100 pills.  I picked up some made by NOW foods, 30 mg per tablet, 60 per bottle…originally $9.99, for $1.00 per bottle at a yard sale.  You just have to shop around; you can find a deal on it.  Bottom line: it’s a good line of defense in your arsenal.  I’ll bet every government employee and their families have a supply for themselves, paid for by our dime, no less.  Stock up on it and set it aside, and let’s hope we’ll never have to use it.  In the meantime, drink a glass of Ginger Ale and keep fighting that good fight!

Survival Bread

Many years ago, at a Preparedness Fair, I picked up this recipe for Survival Bread. The recipe says that after it’s made, it “will keep indefinitely”. Hmmm… Made me think of Lembas bread – something the elves would make (for you Lord of the Rings fans). “One small bite will fill the belly of a grown man.” Since I can’t stand to waste, it didn’t sound like anything I wanted to HAVE to consume on an otherwise perfectly good day, with soft yeast bread and an abundance of other good foods in the fridge. But this recipe keeps popping up in front of me, so I decided to throw caution to the wind and bake up a brick of Survival Bread today. 

Many years ago, at a Preparedness Fair, I picked up this recipe for Survival Bread. The recipe says that after it’s made, it “will keep indefinitely”. Hmmm… Made me think of Lembas bread – something the elves would make (for you Lord of the Rings fans). “One small bite will fill the belly of a grown man.” Since I can’t stand to waste, it didn’t sound like anything I wanted to HAVE to consume on an otherwise perfectly good day, with soft yeast bread and an abundance of other good foods in the fridge. But this recipe keeps popping up in front of me, so I decided to throw caution to the wind and bake up a brick of Survival Bread today.

Here’s the original recipe, just as I received it:

Survival Bread

2 cups oats

2 1/2 cups powdered milk

1 cup sugar

3 Tbl honey

3 Tbl water

1 pkg. lemon or orange Jell-O (3oz)

Combine oats, powdered milk and sugar. In a medium pan, mix water, Jell-O and honey. Bring to a boil. Add dry ingredients. Mix well. (If the dough is too dry, add a small amount of water a teaspoon at a time.) Shape dough into a loaf. (About the size of a brick.) Place on cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Cool. Wrap in aluminum foil to store. This bread will keep indefinitely and each loaf is the daily nutrients for one adult. 

Well, the ingredients don’t sound too bad, but that last line bothers me for some reason. Healthy food should deteriorate, shouldn’t it? I have teenage boys and not much goes to waste around here, so I figured it was worth trying out. Even though the recipe doesn’t specify, I used quick oats. As for the liquid, that little bit didn’t even begin to cover it. It was so dry, I was still stirring mostly powder, so I ended up adding another 1/3 cup water plus more – almost 1/2 cup! It was very stiff, and very sticky. I wonder if I should have added less and got my hands in there and just packed it all together when it was still a lot drier. I don’t know, but here’sthe results:

It doesn’t look so bad! AND – it actually tasted pretty good! It has a heavy powdered milk taste, which I’m not a big fan of, but with a little butter, or honey, or butter AND honey(!) I hardly noticed. I’m sure the recipe can be altered. Maybe less powdered milk and more oats? Unless it’s formulated to an exact scientifically nutritional specification! 🙂  But I doubt it.

Has anyone else had any experience with survival bread? Or maybe if you have a different recipe you’d like to share, email it to me and I’ll post it with your name.

How to Build a Fire Bed

Did you know that you can have your fire and sleep on it as well?  Most people are content to sleep as close to a fire as possible in order to stay warm at night.  However, we all know that this doesn’t always work as effectively as we would like.  Parts of our bodies get really hot while others receive little or no heat at all.  Let’s explore a really easy trick that can give you the best of both worlds and provide a long-lasting source of heat that your whole body can enjoy.

Did you know that you can have your fire and sleep on it as well?  Most people are content to sleep as close to a fire as possible in order to stay warm at night.  However, we all know that this doesn’t always work as effectively as we would like.  Parts of our bodies get really hot while others receive little or no heat at all.  Let’s explore a really easy trick that can give you the best of both worlds and provide a long-lasting source of heat that your whole body can enjoy.

Teaching Your Kids Not to Rely on the Digital World

Children between ages 8 and 10 spend around 5.5 hours every day using media , according to a media usage report by the Ganz Cooney Center and the Sesame Workshop. But in reality, they’re exposed to eight hours a day of media because they’re often multitasking–watching cartoons while using a gaming system. Meanwhile the American Academy of Pediatrics warns too much media can lead to attention problems, school difficulties, sleep and eating disorders and obesity.

Children between ages 8 and 10 spend around 5.5 hours every day using media , according to a media usage report by the Ganz Cooney Center and the Sesame Workshop. But in reality, they’re exposed to eight hours a day of media because they’re often multitasking–watching cartoons while using a gaming system. Meanwhile the American Academy of Pediatrics warns too much media can lead to attention problems, school difficulties, sleep and eating disorders and obesity.

Technology can be useful in helping kids master valuable skills relevant in today’s digital workforce. There are also plenty of gadgets, tools and digital resources that can help kids learn. But there are life skills every child needs that go beyond technology. Here are five things kids should know without the help of a laptop or smartphone.

Telling time

With smartphones never being further away than arm’s reach, it is rare to see people looking up for a clock on the wall to tell the time. Being able to read a clock is a skill that is fading among the younger generation. Teach your kids the technique of telling time with an old-fashioned wall clock. Busy Teacher offers time telling worksheets illustrated with pictures and shows how to do simple tasks like writing the time and drawing the hands of the clocks. When they’ve got the hang of telling time, show them how to set a watch or clock to the correct time.

Money skills

Kids today see adults putting charges on credit cards and don’t know how to make change or count it back to ensure it’s correct. Children as young as age 4 can understand the concept of earning and saving money. Give them three clear jars and mark one for spending, one for saving and one for charity. Start a chore chart and let them earn an allowance that must be divided into their jars appropriately. When they save up for a big purchase, show them how to calculate how much they’ve earned and how much they still need. The sooner you teach your kids about money, the sooner they’ll develop the confidence to deal with financial matters themselves.

Reading a map

GPS devices make it easy to get from point A to B and never get lost. But a GPS doesn’t work everywhere, and your kids may find themselves in a situation where they need to read a map. Start by showing them how the map on your GPS works and what the different colored lines mean. Next, get out a paper map and show them how it looks just about the same as a GPS map and how to read it. Give them a challenge like how to get to grandma’s house just by using a map and have them write out the directions.

Entertaining themselves

Believe it or not, entertaining yourself is a skill that should be learned and is quickly becoming a lost art. Technology gives kids plenty of options from video games to online chatting without much room for imagination. Make mandatory nature time and get the kids outdoors in your backyard or at a local state park. Let the kids figure out what to do to have their own fun without suggestions from the adults. See what they come up with and remind them how much fun they had the next time they’re bored and looking for something to do on their computer.

Write a handwritten note

Handwriting and crafting a letter are getting left by the wayside with the rise of technology. But every child should know how to write a handwritten note with a structure including an opening and closing. Show them an example of a letter you wrote and its purpose. Whether it was a thank you note or correspondence with a relative, tell your kids why it’s important to learn how to communicate without emojis and text messaging. Give your kids an assignment like writing a note to their grandparents once a month or after receiving a gift.

Preparing Kids for The Apocalypse

In this article we will discuss one reality almost every man and woman absolutely dread, preparing our kids for the apocalypse, and keeping them alive after the shit hits the fan.  I’ve never sugar coated articles, and this will be no different, so if you’re not ready to read this I’ll completely understand.  I will give you all a hard dose of reality, some preparedness tips, techniques to keep your kids alive after doomsday, and some more brutal honesty.  Now that you’ve all been duly informed, let’s proceed…

In this article we will discuss one reality almost every man and woman absolutely dread, preparing our kids for the apocalypse, and keeping them alive after the shit hits the fan.  I’ve never sugar coated articles, and this will be no different, so if you’re not ready to read this I’ll completely understand.  I will give you all a hard dose of reality, some preparedness tips, techniques to keep your kids alive after doomsday, and some more brutal honesty.  Now that you’ve all been duly informed, let’s proceed…

It’s almost universally accepted we are hardwired to instinctively protect our children, and others’ children too, but it’s actually more than instinctual, it’s biologically instinctual.  In fact, Oxford University did a study showing the reaction time in the orbitofrontal cortex part of our brains when seeing a child and a human in distress isn’t even comparable, it showed we physically respond to children in distress without even thinking about, or letting instinct kick in, while seeing a human in distress triggered compartmentalized action.  Basically, unless you’re a subhuman degenerate, kids will always come first!

Nothing new, right?  To be honest, I didn’t state the above for us parents, it’s for those of you who haven’t been blessed with the beautiful curse of having children.  Why?  Mutual understanding.  If you’re a part of a group that has kids and you try to go against that grain, you will find yourself alone, without supplies, and if the kids get hurt because of your actions…you’ll end up dead.  If you’re not the type of guy who puts women and kids in the lifeboat first, a group with kids might not be the best for you.

Cautionary Preamble for Prepping Kids

Before you go spray painting your kids face with camo, stuffing MREs down their throats, and throwing them under barbwire, while popping smoke and black cats at their feet, let’s think about this for a second.  We’ve talked a few times about turning your kids into preppers without scaring the living shit out of them, and this is no exception.  Being a parent is tough, being a parent that believes in preparedness, self-sustainability, or The Constitution is damn near impossible in this CPS and guardian ad litem Nazi Era.  Hell, even though our beliefs are logical, responsible, and morally sound, we’re the crazy ones in their eyes.  Moral of the story, we have to prepare our kids for the shit to hit the fan discretely.

Luckily, you have your old buddy Administrator Ryan to guide you through the muddy waters of the state’s watchful eyes.  Just so you know I’m not some childless sycophant lecturing you on youth preparedness, I have two daughters who’ve been being prepared for five years.  Luckily, my X-wife and I have always thought alike about many things including preparedness, so getting her on board wasn’t hard.  For those of you who have to deal with Mr. or Mrs. Vindictive you’ll have to be just as equally discrete with them as you are with the state, unless this is that one thing you agree on.  If you’re divorced being aware of your spouse’s feelings is very important.  You don’t want to end up in court with Little Susie telling the Judge “Daddy said I have to know how to kill a man with my thumb when the world ends.”….

Discrete Kid Prepper Training

The goal here is to prepare your kids for the apocalypse without your kids, or spouse knowing they’re being trained for the end of times. Genius, right?  The trick is to keep your beliefs to yourself for the time being.  As long as you don’t accompany these activities with a prepper narrative, no one can label you a lunatic.  Luckily, there are several activities that can prepare a kid for the apocalypse that almost all parents can agree on while avoiding unwanted attention that include, but are not limited to;

  • judo — in my opinion the best martial artis for kids to learn allowing them to use the attacker(s) bodyweight against them
  • camping —  allows the opportunity to teach bushcrafting, firestarting, shelter building, identifying edible plants, while banning all technology
  • fishing —  taking the kids out teaching them how to catch fish, gut, scale, and cook their food is an requisite skill for everyone to have
  • hunting —  again learning the circle of life is very important, and teaching your kids how to field dress big game could save their life down the road
  • running —  running and exercising with your kids is a great way of keep you and your kids endurance high

While there are activities like the ones listed above that aren’t outside the realm of normal behavior, there are activities that are considered abnormal and should be judged on a case by case basis accounting for factors like; spousal approval, state and county political ideologies, and school involvement.  There are groups, and events that no prepper should be a part of lest ye want the watchful eye upon you that includes;

  • Girl Scouts & Boy Scouts —  not only have these organizations been turned into over politicized profiteering child labor camps, but they are breeding grounds for parental interference putting someone between you and your children
  • militia training camps —  if your kid isn’t at least 16 years old he or she has no business at a militia training camp, which is why every email we receive asking to bring their kids are responded to negatively
  • extreme religious organizations —  having you or your kids a part of a church or religious group that is way too extreme like saying ‘Dancing is a sin’ makes it way too easy to label you
  • public school —  surely I know it’s far too difficult for many of us to home school our children, but if you have the opportunity or financial means to do sothen by all means I surely encourage home schooling or private/charter schools

Kid Preppers

Turning your kid into a prepper is one of the most responsible things you can do as a parent, and in my opinion it is a moral obligation.  Far too many children are being raised to be victims and nothing less, an entire generation of slaves.  Your children are the only thing to carry on your genetic code after you die, and it’s your responsibility to ensure they are fully prepared to not only survive on their own, but to thrive.  The greatest decision I’ve ever made was teaching my two daughters survivalism, preparedness, and firearms.  What I learned is that training your children must be done in steps…

Teaching your kids firearms…

The first thing I did with my kids is I took the mystery out of firearms, by removing the magazine, clearing the chamber, and explaining what guns were, what they do, how they work with some serious cautionary tales.  Most kids are enamored with the idea of guns specifically because they are ‘off limits’, not to mention how cool they look to kids when they watch T.V. shows, and movies.  Then after explaining to them what guns were, I took them out back where we have a makeshift range with a backstop and setup some fruit downrange, and shot each, and as the fruit exploded into a million little pieces I could see my kids faces turn from amazement to understanding.  With their faces turned stern I told them ‘If this was another person, they would be dead, which is why you must learn how to use these before you touch them.’, and they both understood.

Then, I gave each of my girls cute pink Daisy B.B. guns that I etched their names into (they tend to get territorial over stuff).  With these BB guns I taught them standard firearm safety rules, loading, sighting, and etc.  Each took a turn and shot at their targets with groupings you’d expect from a couple of kids.  Every weekend we’d all train, focusing on getting better, and when my oldest daughter turned 8, she was the first to try our little Ruger 10/22, and I was exceptionally happy with the utter amount of respect she showed the rifle.  Her little sister was only slightly upset that she couldn’t use it yet, but she knew it was because of her age and size.  It was that year of training leading up to my oldest turning 8 that trained her to have that profound respect for the rifle, and I’ll tell you what, she had some pretty good groupings for her first time with a real rifle.  Moral of the story, teach them young, or pay the price later.

Teaching kids survivalism…

In today’s PopTart culture, it’s hard to get your kids to understand anything outside the realm of a thirty second spasmodic cartoon commercial of a dinosaur skating on a unicorn’s head shooting glitter everywhere, so your task is not an easy one.  That’s why I can’t truly emphasize the need for you the parent not to make survivalism a chore, but a fun activity your children will learn from.  This means don’t be a psychopath telling your kids ‘You better learn this or you’ll end up with a pike through your tiny skull in front of a wasteland raider’s shack town!’, seriously, chill out.  I’ve probably already said this to you guys more than once, but do not rob your children of their childhood!  That being said, teaching survivalism to your kids should be done based on priority; water, fire. shelter, and food.

We all know the rule of three, 3 minutes without air, 3 hours without shelter in harsh environments, 3 days without water, 3 weeks without food, and this is where you should start with teaching your kids survivalism.  The trick with my daughters is bribery.  One day I sat them down eat dinner, which is when we talk about a million things and I said..

‘Girls, do you know the rule of three?’   They both shook their heads and I explained..
‘Did you know you can only survive 3 minutes without air, 3 hours without shelter in harsh environments, 3 days without water, 3 weeks without food?’   They both shook their heads again as they said ‘No’ in their patented brat tones, to which I replied…
‘When people don’t remember that they die.’ I made sure not to personalize it because I had no intentions of scaring them.
‘So here’s the deal’ I said leering at both of them ‘the next time I ask what the rule of 3 is and you can remember it, I will let whoever gets it right the first time pick where we eat’ an idea both of them would love since Sonic is their crack and either way I win.. to which I followed up with..
‘So what’s the rule of 3?’ to which my oldest (who is somewhat of a prodigy)sprang out of her seat and recited every single rule to finish off by saying ‘and 3 seconds if we don’t get to go to Sonic tonight, Daddy!’

As simple as that I created an engine to get them to remember something incredibly important, and created competition to see who’d answer it right the fastest.  Since then, I’ve done this to them with several different survival factoids, and even got them to remember the Mozambique drill.  As a parent you need incentive, competition, and value to teach your children important things, while masking the seriousness of the knowledge.

Teaching Survival While Camping

If the shit were to hit the fan today, do you feel comfortable that your kid(s) would be able to locate potable water that wouldn’t kill them within 3 days?  Hell, I know it’s a very cryptic thing to say but about 99.9% of the children I’ve been in contact with through social and work acquaintances will not survive outside 24 hours.  Kids these days simply aren’t taught how to be self sufficient, with their mothers pandering to their every need, and their fathers either completely checked out or too scared (and prideful) to discipline their children in fear of turning out like their old man.  Tough cookies, the kids aren’t going to be alright and they need to be taught to survive!

Luckily, water is one of the easier things to teach a kid about.  If you’re not camping with your kids at least once a month you’re already failing them, because camping is where you can teach the basics of survival like finding potable water, filtering water, and etc.  Get out of the house and go camping!  And yes, I do know for some people it’s pretty hard to do, especially in mid-western desert areas like Southern Nevada, but you must find time.

The first two or three times I took my girls camping I made sure to show them how to do everything I was doing.  While I taught them I made sure to say ‘One time when we go camping I’m going to let you two do it, and if you can do it without my help we’ll go to Target and get you a new Barbie’ (yes I bribe my children all the time). The very simple things I taught them included;

  • finding a suitable campsite
  • finding potable water
  • setting up the tent
  • digging latrines
  • making a water filter
  • fire starting methods

Like all things with children you have to be patient and understanding.  Be meticulous in your explanation, while not being so insufferably boring you lose their attention.  Kids dig positive enforcement and momentum, so when you explain things you have to sound motivated and excited.  And for the love of god don’t scorn them for not getting it right the first time, they’re kids!

Teaching your Kids Shelter Building

The coolest thing about teaching your kids about building shelter is it’s not too far outside the realm of normal behavior for kids.  When I was a kid we’d go into the Kentucky backwoods (i.e. the backyard) and build forts every weekend.  You don’t have to go camping to teach your kids shelter building if you live in a wooded rural area.  Take your kids out back every weekend and teach them the basics of a good shelter; compact, off the ground, well insulated, waterproof thatching, and how to use local foliage.

Just like everything else, you can make shelter building into a competition with rewards and incentive, whoever gets theirs built first or is the most sturdy wins ‘fill in the blank’.  As long as your kids think it’s a game and not a chore they’ll always want to build a shelter faster and more sturdy then before.  Does this mean you can point at the woods and say ‘Go build’, grunt, and walk away?  Absolutely not!  This activity, like all others in this guide should be done as a family, and not an excuse for you to go drink a six-pack and watch the game by yourself.  Come on guys..

Hunting and Fishing

Fishing has been around since man’s been on two feet.  Try to make camping a regular activity for your family, teaching your kids the many techniques of fishing; netting, lures and bobbers, spearfishing, angling, and etc.  Keep in mind, death is a touchy subject to kids and should be explained in a very black and white way.  Don’t beat around the bush.  Explain to your kids that for us to live we have to eat animals, bla, bla, bla.  They always understand, and when they catch their first fish they’ll understand the great cycle even more when you have them gut it.  No matter how touchy the subject, they have to learn how life works.

By now your kids should know the basic firearm safety, and should be able to get some decent groupings with a little 22 rifle.  If you feel your kid(s) are responsible enough to go hunting then by all means you should start taking them with you to hunt; deer, turkey, small game, and etc.  Teaching your kids how to track game, hunt, field dress, and cook their kill is probably one of the most useful skills you are going to teach them out of everything else.

Kids and Preparedness

Preparedness is often over-complicated by people like us, because we want to be perfect preppers, developing strategies and preparing for any possibility.  We want to have a plan for everything! Hell, I’m sure some of you even have a contingency plan for when Earth is invaded by cannibal aliens from outer space.  Right?  Kids don’t need to know all that shit.  A simple ‘we are preparing for an emergency’ explanation will suffice.  Teaching your kids preparedness will instill values that will help throughout their adult life.

  • Tell your kids about the four pillars of preparedness; water, food, energy, and finances.  Have your kids pick the items they want in their bug out bag, and why those items are good to have and not good to have
  • Teach your kids about money, precious metals, the importance of wealth, and for God’s sake, please teach your kids how to balance a damn checkbook
  • Have your kids store water in food in their closets letting them pick the food they want so they don’t end up with a closet full of Cheerios when they’d prefer Frosted Flakes

In closing…

As parents we have a lot of responsibilities.  We have to wake our offspring up at the crack of dawn, feed them something nutritious, slap pseudo-matching clothes on them, while making sure they are at somewhat presentable to the world, and that’s just the beginning.  We have to make sure they come out decent human beings, lest the world think what savages we must have created.  But out of all the things the world thinks we should teach them, teaching them to be able to survive anything is the greatest gift we can give our children, so when the world goes to shit it is they who will inherit the world, and hopefully make it a better place, getting right what we got wrong…

8 Challenges Every New Prepper Will Face

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

challenges-for-preppers

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

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

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

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

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

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

8 Challenges Every New Prepper Will Face

1. Not knowing where to start

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

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

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

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

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

2. Disapproval from friends and family

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

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

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

3. Finding storage for your preps

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

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

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

4. Getting caught up in prepper fantasies

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

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

5. Too much focus on gear and not survival

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

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

6. Lack of money to purchase gear

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

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

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

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

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

7. Becoming fearful and overwhelmed

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

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

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

8. Meeting other like-minded preppers

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

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

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

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

The Surprising Benefits of Honey

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

surprising-benefit-of-honey

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

Storage

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

My honey is hard and crystallized!

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

Health

Skin

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

Antibacterial

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

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

Wounds

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

Stomach Ache

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

Pink Eye

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

Allergies

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

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

Coughs

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

Burns

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

Colitis

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

Insomnia

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

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

7 Great Inexpensive Places to Buy Prepper Gear

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

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

7 great inexpensive places to buy prepper gear

inexpensive-places-to-buy-prepper-l

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

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

7 great inexpensive places to buy prepper gear

1.  Pawn shops

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

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

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

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

2.  Thrift shops

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

3.  Military Surplus

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

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

4.  Yard Sales

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

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

5.  Facebook groups

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

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

6.  Craigslist

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

7.  Auctions

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

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

The Most Important Preps Of Your Life

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

most-important-preps

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

How Do I Know This?

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

Your Body

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

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

Food and Drink

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

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

Gear Considerations For a Healthy Body

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

Prepping With Children: Getting Them Interested

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

prepping-with-children

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

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

Stay Calm

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

Make it Engaging

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

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

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

Let Them do Some Storage and Cooking

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

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

Let Them Master the Art of Hygiene

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

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

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

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

Food

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

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

Water

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

Pack Emergency Kits

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

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

Why You Need To Garden Now

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

why-you-need-your-garden-now

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

10 Tips for Preppers to Prepare for SHTF Situations

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

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

Here are 10 ideas that can help get you started:

1. Threat Assessment

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

2. Planning for the most likely SHTF Scenarios.

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

3. SWOT Analysis

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

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

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

5. Get in Shape NOW

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

6. Train with Repetition

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

7. Train Your Mind

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

8. Survival Intelligence – Power of Information

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

9. Be Prepared to Bug Out

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

10. Bugging out with Kids

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

 

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

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

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

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

IDENTIFY The Threats

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

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

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

ASSESS The Threats

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

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

MANAGE The Threats

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

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

 

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

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

Preparing for a Job Loss

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

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

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

Preparing for Floods & Fires

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

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

Preparing for Natural Disasters

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

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

Preparing for an Economic Collapse

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

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

Preparing for The Dangers in your Neighborhood

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

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

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

 

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

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

SWOT: STRENGTHS

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

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

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

SWOT: WEAKNESSES

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

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

SWOT: OPPORTUNITIES

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

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

SWOT: THREATS

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

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

THE NEXT STEP…

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

5 Ideas for Living Debt Free:

Establish a Budget

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

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

Use the Envelope Budgeting System:

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

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

The Debt Snowball:

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

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

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

Stop going in debt by maintaining a high credit score.

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

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

Make More Money

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

Inconstancy, laziness and a lack of motivation.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

Want to ensure your survival?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Survival Intelligence – Gathering Intel During a Disaster

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

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

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

Preparedness Intel: Survival Information Resources

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Are you actually prepared to Bug Out?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

What Items should go into a kids bug out bag:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Making Your Bug Out Vehicle Bug Out Worthy

In this article we’re going to be covering what it’ll take to make your bug out vehicle bug out worthy. If you’re looking for what makes the best bug out vehicle check out our article for that. Being preppers we’re always looking for ways of upgrading what we have so that they can serve us better during a bug out scenario. So we are going to go more in depth on the types of upgrades you can add to your bug out vehicle. Making the best bug out vehicle can be one of the most important investments you make as a prepper so lets get to it.

In this article we’re going to be covering what it’ll take to make your bug out vehicle bug out worthy. If you’re looking for what makes the best bug out vehicle check out our article for that. Being preppers we’re always looking for ways of upgrading what we have so that they can serve us better during a bug out scenario. So we are going to go more in depth on the types of upgrades you can add to your bug out vehicle. Making the best bug out vehicle can be one of the most important investments you make as a prepper so lets get to it.

Best Bug Out Vehicle Lighting Upgrades

bug-out-vehicle-bag

Lighting is a great way to make your bug out vehicle stand out (literaly) having lots of lights can attract a lot of attention if you need it and if you don’t you can always shut them off. There are loads of lights to use on your bug out vehicle. I’m going to start off by saying that you should go with LED’s if you’re going to be adding an upgrade you might as well make it last. LED’s are great they consume less power and often have a higher output of light that your regular halogen lights. Another thing I like about them is that if you crack a lens and water gets in you’re not going to immediately pop the bulb. Spot lights are a great for putting on your bug out vehicle you can put them almost anywhere you want. If you have a grill guard you can mount them directly to that or on the top your bug out vehicle mounted to a luggage rack. This gives you the capability of essentially making your bug out vehicle have 360 degrees of lighting. Amazon sells both a spot light and a combo pack with a spot and flood light they are reasonably priced too. The spot light goes for $20 and the combo pack sells for $40 be sure to pick up the wiring harness as well. These would make your bug out vehicle light the way very well.

Make Your Bug Out Vehicle Tough

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If you’re going to spend the money to get a bug out vehicle you’re going to want some way of protecting it. Think of it as a kind of insurance for your rig. Make your bug out vehicle tough by adding different types of guards. There are loads of different types of guards you can get one of the most important ones I think is some type of grille guard. This upgrade is going to make a bug out vehicle more resilient to damage in the front which is where a lot of important components are. In addition to grille guards there are bumper guards and tail light guards, these can also be great additions to your bug out vehicle and further increase the protection of your bug out vehicle. There are a few different styles and choosing which one is best for you can be a little bit tricky check out Auto Anything to learn how to find a guard that works for you. Winches are another accessory that will come in hand during a bug out scenario. These can be easily installed directly to your grille guard and are a great option if you have some extra money to put towards one.

Making Your Bug Out Vehicle Do The Work

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When you’re in a bug out scenario you generally want to carry as much gear as you can. Having a cargo rack allows your bug out vehicle to carry the gear for you. There are lots of different options out there I recommend going with a roof our hitch mounted cargo rack. With the addition of these you’re able to carry all the necessary gear you need to set up shop at your bug out location. The hitch mounted type cargo racks are great for loading up additional fuel and water. While the roof mounted racks can be used more for bug out bags, sleeping bags, food, etc. This will also free up more room inside the vehicle for either more gear or additional passengers. Curt makes some great roof mounted cargo racks that have good reviews on Amazon and Highland makes affordable hitch mounted racks that will stand up to any bug out scenario.

There are loads of options available on the market out there to make your bug out vehicle but out worthy. These are just some of the options that I would recommend you look into getting from the research and experience I’ve had. I hope this helps you in building the best bug out vehicle to get you out of any bug out scenario you might find yourself in. Thanks for reading and check back in for even more posts. If you have any comments or suggestions feel free to leave them in the comment section below.