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22 Survival Uses For 2-Liter Bottles


Of all the things preppers shouldn’t throw away, probably the most useful is the 2-liter bottle. Some people discard these almost everyday, which is a shame considering all the things you can do with them.

If you’ve been drinking canned soda, it’s time to switch to 2-liters (it’s cheaper, anyway). And if you don’t drink soda, you probably have friends or relatives who do. Offer to take those empty bottles off their hands (just ignore the looks they give you).

Maybe you think I’m exaggerating the usefulness of 2-liters. Well, see for yourself. Here’s a list of survival uses for 2-liter bottles.

1. Store Water – A 2-liter bottle makes a convenient water storage container that easily fits on pantry shelves or under beds. Fill it with warm soapy water, shake it up, then rinse it thoroughly. Next, fill it with drinking water and add about 4 drops of unscented bleach. Wait thirty minutes then smell the water. If there isn’t at least a hint of chlorine, repeat the process. Also remember that plastic breathes so don’t store these bottles next to gasoline, household cleaners, or any other liquid you wouldn’t want in your water. Finally, put the date on the side with a marker or label and replace them 6 months to a year later.

2. Filter Water – In addition to a 2-liter bottle, you’ll also need sand, charcoal, grass, and rocks (small, medium, and large) to make a water filter.

3. Purify Water – Fill your 2-liters with water, then place them on a hard surface in direct sunlight for an entire day (two days if it’s cloudy). The UV rays will kill any microorganisms in the water, making it safe to drink. However, the bottles must be made of clear plastic, the water must be fairly clear, and you need to be no more than 35 degrees above or below the equator. So if you live in the United States, this only works in the south.

4. Gather Food – A 2-liter bottle could be a convenient way to gather wild edibles such as herbs and berries. When you have enough, you can put the cap back on and ensure the edibles stay dry on your way back to camp.

5. Make a Funnel – To do this, simply cut off the top of the bottle where the curved part begins and you have yourself a funnel. This could be useful for filling other bottles with food or water.

6. Make a Scoop – Instead of cutting the bottle straight across, cut it at an angle just below the curved part. Leave the cap on, and you’ll have a scoop you can use for food, water, dirt, or whatever else you need to scoop.

7. Store Food – First you’ll need to wash them out thoroughly and make sure they’re 100% dry. Setting them upright with the cap off in direct sunlight for a while should do it. When they’re ready, use your funnel to pour food into the bottle. When it’s almost full, top it off with a 300cc oxygen absorber and screw the cap on really tight. And as with storing water, make sure you don’t store your food next to anything toxic.

8. Keep Food Cold – If your freezer isn’t completely full, you should fill some plastic bottles with water and use them to fill in the empty spaces. Just leave a few inches at the top of the bottle so the water has room to expand as it freezes. By doing this, you’ll make your freezer food take a lot longer to thaw if the power goes out. You could also grab a few of these ice bottles and use them in a cooler. And when the ice melts, you can open the bottle and drink it (if you plan on doing this, make sure the bottle is clean before you fill it).

9. Make a Bowl – For this, just cut off the bottom of the bottle. Where exactly you cut it depends on how deep you want the bowl to be. Since the plastic is thin, I wouldn’t recommend using it for hot soup.

10. Make a Spoon – Now that you have a bowl, you probably need a spoon. 2-liter bottles have five bumps on the bottom. What you can do is get a bottle and cut out the shape of a spoon, using one of those bumps as the bowl of the spoon.

11. Make a Capsule – Cut the tops off of two bottles, use a file to smooth down the saw marks, and super glue them together with the caps facing outward. Now you have a tiny capsule that can hold pills, seeds, jewels, and other small valuables.

12. Start Seeds – 2 liter bottles are perfect for getting seeds started. Cut the bottle in half, poke some drainage holes in the bottom, add some potting soil and water, then plant your seeds. To help the seeds germinate, you can place the top half over the bottom to create a greenhouse effect.

13. Grow Plants – There are several ways you can use 2-liter bottles for plants, but one of the most interesting is the self-watering pot. You cut the bottle in half, put some water in the bottom, turn the top upside down and fill it with soil, and place it in the bottom part. Then, several pieces of strings going through the cap act as wicks, drawing water from the basin into the soil.

14. Water Plants – You can also use 2-liter bottles to make a drip irrigation system. Cut off the bottom of the bottle and discard it, poke some holes in the cap, then turn the top of the bottle upside down and half-bury it next to your plants. Fill it with water and refill as needed.

15. Make a Hanging Planter – Here’s an idea that’s great for plants like tomatoes and peppers. You cut the bottle in half, turn it upside down, fill it with soil, and hang it up. The plant grows out the bottom where the cap was. Of course, it’s a little more complicated than that.

16. Catch Bugs – There are several ways to do this as well. If you just want to catch those annoying flies, all you need to do is fill your bottle halfway with water, drop a piece of raw meat in there, and poke a few holes near the top. The flies will crawl in after the meat and get trapped. Eventually they will drown in the water. For other mosquitoes, you’ll need a different kind of bait and a slightly more complicated trap. Try jam dissolved in water for wasps, and orange juice for fruit flies.

17. Catch Fish – Cut off the top of a 2 liter bottle, turn it over and place it in the bottom, then poke some holes and tie them together with some string. Place the trap in a stream, and minnows will swim inside and not be able to find their way back out.

18. Stay Afloat – If you need to cross a river or something don’t think you can swim that far, put a bunch of sealed bottles into a bag or tie them all together and use it as a flotation device. If you have plenty of bottles and you’re feeling ambitious, you could even build a small raft.

19. Make Sandals – You’ll probably never have to do this, but if you’re stuck outdoors with no shoes you can make a pair of sandals using two bottles, some cordage, and duct tape.

20. Make a Broom – Having a clean floor isn’t really a matter of survival, but this is too creative not to mention. Basically, you cut the bottom half of the bottle to shreds and attach it to a long stick. There’s a little more to it , though. I haven’t tried this one myself, but it looks like it would work well enough.

21. Make a Faucet – If water is in short supply but you need to rinse off your hands or something else, you can use a 2-liter full of water as a faucet. Just hang the bottle upside down over a sink or bowl, then slowly unscrew the cap until a thin stream of water pours out. Tighten the cap again when you’re done. Bonus tip: Paint the bottle black and hang it in direct sunlight so you can have warm water.

22. Make a Light – Fill a bottle with water and a few drops of bleach (to prevent algae growth) and stick it in a hole in the roof of your shelter. Sunlight will hit the top of the bottle, and the water will disperse the light throughout your shelter. It works surprisingly well (as good as a 40 watt bulb). In fact, there’s a movement  aimed at bringing this idea to communities without electricity.

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Sanitize to Survive: Fighting Post-Disaster Disease


These steps will make it easier to fight off bacteria, parasites and disease when disaster strikes!

While keeping clean may not be glamorous, no amount of firepower, clothing, doomsday shelters or military tactics can overcome the problems poor sanitation causes. Be clean, stay clean and keep clean should be staples in your day-to-day habits while you’re in survival mode.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), cleaning up, disinfecting and practicing good hygiene will go a long way in avoiding illnesses from bacteria, viruses, mold and mildew. When you’re in survival mode, you need every edge you can get, and being sick, whether it’s from a cold, contaminated water or spoiled food, can spell the difference between being alive and being a statistic.

Hygiene Essentials
The CDC says one of the most important things you can and should do is to wash your hands, especially during the end of the world. What you touch, whether it’s a person, beast or structure, will most likely be compromised with something bad. Particularly dangerous examples include E. coli bacteria and the West Nile Virus. Washing your dishes and keeping your tools and shelter clean all matter when it comes to staying healthy.

As with any survival situation, circumstances dictate just how tough things might be. Warm water and soap are lifesavers when you can safely use them. Moist baby wipes in your bug-out bag, camper’s soap, hand sanitizer and foot powder are all things you should check (and double check) in your essential gear.

An often-overlooked aspect of personal hygiene is dental care. Bad breath is not the worst thing that can happen to you after a few days of not brushing your teeth. The bacteria from inflammation of the gums and periodontal disease can enter your bloodstream and travel to the arteries in the heart and cause atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). Atherosclerosis causes plaque to develop on the inner walls of arteries, which thicken. This subsequently decreases or blocks blood flow through the body, causing an increased risk of heart attack or stroke.

The Journal of Periodontology warns that gum disease could cause you to get infections in your lungs, including pneumonia. While the connection might not be completely obvious at first, think of what might happen from breathing in bacteria from infected teeth and gums over a long period of time.

Inflammation of the gum tissue and periodontal disease can also make it harder to control your blood sugar, making your diabetes symptoms worse. Diabetes sufferers are also more susceptible to periodontal disease, making proper dental care even more important for those with this disease.

You need to stay clean both on your body and with the clothes you live in day-in and day-out.

Food & Water

Another problem here is making sure your water is clean. Several aftermarket water filtration systems like the Platypus GravityWorks water filter system are available. This 4-liter system physically removes particles, protozoa and bacteria down to 0.2 microns in size, and more.

Keeping your food stores clean goes a long way toward keeping you clean and ultimately alive. First things first: Make sure you wash your hands, your tools and your food religiously, before and after you use them. Hot soapy water works on most things and bleach can be used on clean surfaces and cutting boards. When you have raw foods like chicken or wild game, be sure you don’t cross contaminate other ready-to-eat foods.

The CDC recommends using a food thermometer. Make sure food reaches its safe minimum cooking temperature. For example, internal temperatures should be 145 degrees Fahrenheit for whole meats, 160 degrees for ground meats and 165 degrees for all poultry. Eggs should be cooked until the yolk is firm. During meal times, while food is being served and eaten, try to keep it hot—preferably at 140 degrees or above.

Waste Disposal

Trash is no treasure for anyone in a survival situation. Disease, odor, rodents, rats, fleas and other vermin feast on our trash. For the most part, the best thing to do in a survival situation is to bury your waste, but in a manner that doesn’t contaminate your water supply or lead to a weakened tactical position. When conventional bathroom facilities aren’t readily available or safe to use, a “cat hole,” which should be about a foot wide and a foot deep, can be created for human waste disposal. The key is to bury the waste completely.  When tactical situations allow for it, burning waste can be useful as well, however, great care should be used because of the lingering odor, and the sure give-away of your location with the smoke from the fire.

Deadly Parasites

There are all kinds of critters in the world ready to feast on your bad day. Ticks, mosquitos, ants, fleas and other pests are ready, willing and able to add misery to your survival efforts with irritating bites, disease and compromising situations.

The U.S. Army suggests that the best strategy for defense against insects and other disease-bearing arthropods is use of the DOD Insect Repellent System, which is the application of extended-duration 33-percent DEET repellent to exposed skin, the application of permethrin to the field uniform and a properly worn uniform. So, use DEET, treat your clothes with permethrin and cover your body with long-sleeve shirts, socks, long pants, hats, gloves and other suitable clothing to minimize your exposure to bugs and other parasites.

The bottom line in field sanitation, whether it’s you alone or a survival party, is to be clean, keep clean and stay clean. Plan accordingly in this endeavor to strength your survival strategy.


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The Most Common SHTF Injuries and How to Treat Them!


No one wants to think about having an injury in a situation where you can’t get to a hospital or a doctor, but it happens more than you might guess. When you are making your preps for a SHTF scenario, one of the most crucial items for you to stock (and stock well) will be your emergency medical kit. This kit could be the very piece of equipment that saves your life.

You should also consider taking a first aid and lifesaving course as part of your preparations, too. Knowledge combined with the right tools (or knowing how to use (or make!) an alternative is a powerful tool! It’s also a good idea to purchase a medical handbook to keep in your emergency kit as a reference guide. You should know how to recognize and treat all kinds of injuries from insect bites to burns, since you never know what might come your way.

Here are three of the most common injuries that you might see when the SHTF and how to handle them:


Burns can come from fire, from chemicals, or even from too much sun. Each type can vary in severity depending on how long you were exposed. With any type of burn, the first and most important thing you can do is cool it down. Apply cool water constantly (sometimes it might take an hour or so) to lower the temperature of the burned area. You can give over the counter pain medication, and apply aloe vera gel to the area, but you need to keep the burned area dry to help avoid it getting infected.

You could use sections of a clean t-shirt, a dry cotton washcloth, or a bandana as a covering to keep dirt out, but it also needs time to air as well, so that moisture doesn’t set in. If you don’t have any supplies with you, locate some clean water, and tear up strips of your own shirt to use as dressings if you have to. Keeping infection at bay is crucial.


This is another common survival injury, and like burns, the best thing to do is keep them clean and dry. For a scrapes and minor cuts, simply rinse the area well, and clear any visible debris from the wound. Then if you have some antibacterial spray or ointment, apply to the area, and cover with a dry bandage.

If you have a deep cut or laceration, you need to clean the area, apply pressure to stop the bleeding, and possibly use a suture kit or some wound glue to close it. Then it needs to also have antibacterial/antibiotic cream applied, and a clean bandage applied several times a day. If you don’t have your kit with you, keeping it cleaned well with water and pressure applied is going to be your best course of action.

Broken Bones or Sprains

Treating a broken bone or a sprain yourself doesn’t have to be hard. Using ACE bandages, padding, and a splint, you can stabilize a broken bone fairly easily. The main goals are to keep swelling down and keep the injured area from moving around very much. You can ice the area, too, using cold packs, snow, or ice, and then bandage/splint it.

You can get some splints in varying sizes for your emergency kit at most drug stores or medical supply stores. If you don’t have access to any of these items, you could use sticks as a splint, and cut up t-shirts as bandages, but also use something to pad the injured area, too. Sprains will usually heal up on their own with some time and limiting movement. Bone breaks are a little trickier, but you can get them stabilized enough to buy you some time until you can get to a doctor.

You don’t have to be scared to treat injuries without a doctor. In fact, it should be one of the most important skills you learn as you prep for a disaster.

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94 Wilderness Survival Tricks


Part of the advice in these two videos is clearly questionable, but there are also some good points. Technically, in 25 minutes you can learn a lot of stuff just by watching the videos. Enjoy!

  1. How to start a fire with your lighter when it runs out of gas (0:00)
  2. Use an aluminum foil as a dry platform to start the fire in wet weather (0:10)
  3. How to lower the light of your flashlight to operate in stealth mode (0:24)
  4. How to find north and south using your watch and the sun (0:32)
  5. How to easily find The North Star (0:52)
  6. Having a guitar case as a B.O.B. (1:20)
  7. Homemade ballistic protection – stops a 22 long rifle bullet (I wouldn’t count on this though) (1:36)
  8. Purify water with bleach (ratio in the video) (1:57)
  9. Use toothpaste to treat insect bites or stings; (2:03)
  10. If you put tent pegs laid across 2 logs you have a shift grill; (2:13)
  11. Make your own fishing kit using a can, a thorn and some string; (2:16)
  12. In wet conditions you can easily acquire tinder by shaving off strips of the inner bark of twigs and logs; (2:20)
  13. Placing large rocks around a camp fire will keep your warmer because they will absorb heat even though the fire dies; (2:27)
  14. Add charcoal to the water while boiling in order to remove the unpleasant smell; (2:39)
  15. The inner strands of a paracord helps you tie your equipment or make a shelter without using the whole paracord. (2:52)
  16. Duct tape a thermal blanket to the inside of your shelter to stay warm; (3:00)
  17. Put a glowstick in your B.O.B. in case you’ll want to attract attention. (3:10)
  18. If you carry a rain coat you can use it as a make shift shelter, you can also create a solar still to gather and purify sea water or you can use it to collect rain water; (3:23)
  19. Put some water purification tablets in your pack; (3:47)
  20. Use barbwire to make a fishing hook with paracord. (3:56)
  21. Don’t throw away animal entrails; use them as bait for fishing, traps and snares; (4:20)
  22. How to remove the stinging sensation after you accidentally touch a stinging nettle; (4:36)
  23. Don’t waste time on chopping logs, a swift kick is perfect; (4:50)
  24. Don’t forget your first aid kit and copies of important documents (birth certificate, medical records etc.); (5:02)
  25. Pack a small amount of money; (5:19)
  26. Make yourself a platform out of leaves and weeds to create yourself a soft raised bed (5:27)
  27. When you pack your bag, put the light equipment at the bottom and the heavy things on top; (5:57)
  28. Avoid sweating in cold weather; (6:10)
  29. Carry a pack of cigarettes even though you are not a smoker; (6:33)
  30. Keep insects away with smoke; (6:42)
  31. Don’t forget to pack some pairs of socks; (6:59)
  32. If you get a blister, take a duct tape and place it directly over the area; (7:10)
  33. Carry chewing gum with you, it has a mild laxative effect; (7:41)
  34. Don’t drink too much water on an empty stomach; (7:51)
  35. Know how to signal S.O.S; (8:18)
  36. Don’t set up camp near water; (8:43)
  37. The internationally recognized distress signal: raise both arms up into Y position and back down erratically; (9:00)
  38. 4 reasons to stop smoking during a survival situation; (9:49)
  39. Don’t drink water just because you see an animal doing it (10:18)
  40. If you come across coconuts, drink the milk only from green coconuts (10:28)
  41. Another reason to carry aluminum foil in your B.O.B.; (10:43)

  1. Cramp balls can be very useful when you need to start a fire; (0:00)
  2. How to make an easy signal torch; (0:45)
  3. Start a fire using bark; (0:59)
  4. Start a fire using a pencil sharper; (1:24)
  5. Start a fire using dandelion; (1:33)
  6. Start a fire using feathers; (1:43)
  7. Start a fire using pine resin; (1:50)
  8. If you melt some pine resin, you will get a glue which can be used in different situations; (1:56)
  9. How to make a signal fire; (2:35)
  10. Don’t just insulate your shelter, insulate yourself; (2:46)
  11. Use your plastic sandwich bag and a water purification tablet to purify water;  (2:54)
  12. Gather water from moss; (3:05)
  13. Gather dew water using your clothes; (3:18)
  14. Waterproofing your gear; (3:29)
  15. Make a water filter using charcoal, sand and grass; (3:44)
  16. You can use your aluminum foil to make a bowl to boil the water; (4:12)
  17. Used shotgun shells can be melted down and reshaped in order to build different tools; (4:26)
  18. Start a fire using pine cones; (4:43)
  19. Place an aluminum foil next to the fire to use as much of the heat as possible; (4:56)
  20. Reflecting the heat of the fire with natural materials; (5:12)
  21. Make a giant mirror using aluminum foil; (5:25)
  22. Put in your BOB a simple signal device; (5:38)
  23. Don’t rely on signal mirrors because they depend on the sunlight and can’t reflect sunlight in a northern direction, you will need two mirrors to do that; (5:54)
  24. If you are in the northern hemisphere, and the sun is in the highest point of the sky, then that’s south; (6:15)
  25. Use raw apples to heal a wound or ulceration; (6:27)
  26. The pine resin can also be used as an antiseptic liquid; (6:38)
  27. Use acorns, oak bark or blackberry as a remedy for diarrhea; (7:12)
  28. Use rose hips or dandelion for constipation problems; (7:45)
  29. Avoid being snow blinded using charcoal or bark; (8:03)
  30. Melt the snow before drinking it; (8:51)
  31. How to use dock leaves as a natural antihistamine; (9:01)
  32. Use willow tree inner-bark as aspirin; (9:19)
  33. Use cattails to start a fire; (9:41)
  34. Make a toothpaste using charcoal; (9:55)
  35. If the food is almost over, then the best thing you can do is to wait until night to eat because your body will burn a lot of calories during the night to keep you warm; (10:06)
  36. Use alcohol as an antiseptic; (10:17)
  37. If you are dehydrated, drinking your own urine is not the answer, it will dehydrate you even more; (10:30)
  38. Use paracord to make a glue; (10:47)
  39. Tampons can be used to stop bleeding or to start a fire; (11:01)
  40. How to harden your wooden tools; (11:15)
  41. Placing duct tape on the edge of a hot water container will prevent burning your lips; (11:24)
  42. Use aluminum foil to boil water faster; (11:32)
  43. Make a pillow using trash bags and leaves; (11:52)
  44. A scarf can help you do a lot of things; (12:12)
  45. A duct tape is very useful; (12:23)
  46. A reflecting emergency blanket can be used to cool down or to heat yourself; (12:34)
  47. Insulate your shelter with natural materials, such as pine branches; (12:51)
  48. Bark from a dead tree will help you build up your waterproof roof; (13:00)
  49. Use strings (guitar strings here) to catch animals; (13:29)
  50. Rat traps can be very useful; (13:32)
  51. A red sky can be a sign that a storm is close; (13:43)
  52. Pack up some toilet paper; (13:57)

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The Dangers of Symbolic Events or Holidays in the United States


Any gathering of people can be a potential target for someone or some group. This is nothing new however. Attacks at gatherings have happened for centuries, and they will continue to happen.

Mass casualties are the intention, so when people are grouped together it takes less effort and little training to inflict injury and to cause fatalities. Shooting into a crowd of people requires no training to kill a number of people in the crowd. It only requires the mindset needed to pull the trigger.

The definition of terrorism is to use violence and threats to intimidate or to coerce others, particularly for political purposes.

Staying home huddled in fear is not an option. If you are forced to change, because of a threat or a perceived threat then you have been coerced, and you now have lost a certain amount of freedom, but then again survival is the objective.

The so-called lone wolf attack is the hardest one to guard against, because a person can have intentions that are not disclosed or obvious to anyone, and if they are, it is usually to sympathizers that only encourage the behavior and not deter it. In some cases, there is no trail to pick up, so to speak. This person can show up at any event with a firearm concealed on their person and open fire. They can use a vehicle as a weapon or use explosives.

Situational Awareness

You have all heard the term, but how many of you practice it. Early humans literally had to guard against predators lurking at the entrances of their shelters. A foraging expedition or a trip to the river for water was fraught with dangers from other humans and four legged predators. Humans for centuries were conditioned to scan the trees, the darkened woods and to check the shadows for danger. A weapon was always at hand, and no one became so engrossed in his or her tasks that they did not look up continually to check their surroundings. They knew which way to bolt if the chance presented itself and if not they stood and met the threat head on. They had a plan.

If you hear gunshots do you run toward them or away from them? If you do not have a weapon and are not trained to counter an attack then you run from the sound of gunfire, otherwise you may lose your life. You literally herd your friends and family away from the sounds. You need to know where the exits are, what objects can offer cover (protection from rounds), and you need to know what can conceal you from an attackers’ view. Cover and conceal. You need to always look for avenues of escape no matter where you are.

Do you know what a gunshot sounds like, or will you confuse it with fireworks, it would be easy to pass off explosions and loud bangs as fireworks. Stay out of the middle of the crowd and if you hear what may be gunshots look for people running, and if the crowd begins to move or panic then you have to move quickly, more quickly than the crowd.

You should never let yourself get caught in the middle of any crowd. Once an attack starts those around you will panic and impeded your movements, and in some cases, if you fall you could be trampled to death. People trapped in a burning building will pile up at blocked exits and can suffocate or trample people around them. Crowds are dangerous for this very reason. They impeded your escape and they can kill you.

Alcohol makes you an easy target and when celebrating in public when there is a large gathering you need your wits for any number of reasons. Becoming drunk in public makes you a target for literally anyone, because you may think you can deter someone but you cannot.

Soft targets are typically those not guarded well or at all, and so they make easy targets. Attackers do not want to be fired upon. They do not want anything to slow or to stop their carnage, so they will choose targets that they suspect or know will not be guarded well, such as malls, outdoor markets, parades, parties, and any gathering in a public place.

If you have to leave in a hurry do you know which way to go and if the first avenue is blocked do you have an alternative route mapped in your head. This is the world we all live in today, and we all have to pay attention to what is happening in our immediate area, and around the world so we can do threat assessments.

Enjoy life, enjoy celebrations, but always have an eye to the trees, to the shadows and always have an escape route mapped out in your head. Consider the “what ifs” at all times.

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What to Tell Cashiers When They Ask You About Your Preps


OK, so you’re a little annoyed whenever you buy new preps because some cashiers have clever remarks as to the quantity of food you’re getting and… you find yourself in need of some clever answers.

Not to worry, I’ve got plenty of comebacks for you and I’m sure you’ll love them. Of course, which ones you use depends on what you’re buying and what they are asking so you don’t want to fixate on one or two that you like best. You should know all of them and, even better, you should come up with your own clever lines to say to them,

Before we begin, just remember cashiers are people like you and me and they’re just making small talk, nothing more. So don’t act or be paranoid, you’ve got other people interested in your preps besides them.

#1. Don’t say anything.

Or you can just say “yeah” and leave it at that. if you’re not gonna say anything, they might think you’re prepping but who cares? At least it won’t bother you that much because you ended everything before it began.

#2. “I’m going camping…”

…with my whole family. Which you probably should, anyway. No one can deny that a lot of the stuff you’d buy for stockpiling purposes would be useful when camping. It’s a good excuse and most people will buy it.

#3. “I have a big family event coming up.”

That could mean up to 20 or even 30 people! Of course, this won’t work if you’re getting canned food, MREs or freeze dried. It does work when you’re stocking up on beans, rice, water, pasta, salmon, cooking oil, spices, baking soda, vinegar, tea and coffee.

#4. “I’m prepping for Doomsday.” (sarcastically)

You want to say it sarcastically because then you’re sure they won’t believe you. On the other hand, if you truly don’t care of what others say and think, you probably don’t need to read this article at all.

Of course, you don’t NEED to say this word by word. It doesn’t matter how you phrase it as long as you come across congruent.

#5. Just say “Yes” or “No”

When you give one word answers, the other person just… gives up.

#6. Say something funny.

So they might think you’re a little crazy but at least they won’t know what you’re up to. You can have any number of sarcastic comebacks such as:

  • “I’m aiming for high blood pressure.”
  • “I’m going back to the dating game and I plan to have a lot of dinner dates right at home.”
  • “Just getting ready to watch the Superbowl.”
  • “I’ll be placed under house arrest starting midnight for the next month or so.”
  • “I’m doing food experiments at home.”
  • “I’m giving all of this away to food banks.”
  • “Yeah, this is for my pet rhino.”
  • “This is exactly the reason they say you should never shop when you’re hungry.”
  • “I’m really hungry tonight.”

Just be careful with these. Don’t use the ones that are too cocky unless the cashier is open and friendly, otherwise they’ll end up remembering you, the thing you were trying to avoid all along!

The whole idea about buying preps is to become gray and one of the ways you do that is by not standing out too much (or at all). And humor is a good way to do that, by the way.

#7. “I hate shopping and don’t do it very often.”

Well, it is believable, I guess. Cashiers aren’t supposed to be smart-asses so they’re not gonna say anything back. In fact, there’s nothing wrong with shopping every 3-4 weeks. You don’t have to say you hate it, you can just say it salves time.

#8. “I’m just building up a pantry.”

You can go on and say that it’s always smart to have a well-stocked pantry since food prices are rising and packages are getting smaller. Plus, you can let them know that these foods have a very high shelf life, just to subtly assure them everything’s normal.

#9. “I’m stockpiling for my hunting/fishing cabin.”

Another good comeback which works better when you’re not lying. If you really do have a hunting or a fishing cabin, you should definitely use this comeback. And you should lodge it stocked up, too, you might end up bugging out there.

#10. “I’m just helping out my church.”

Who can argue with that?

#11. “I have a large family.”

Are they gonna come home with you to find out? Nope.

#12. Turn the tables on them

A fantastic way to avoid answering too many questions is to start asking questions yourself. This way, the cashier will end up talk more than you and forget all about how much you’re buying.

What you need is a good hook but it can’t be something unrelated to their comment. For example, if they’re asking why you’re buying so much rice, you can change the subject but you can use “rice” as a hook:

Yeah, I’m not sure which one is better, though, white or brown? White is tastier and has longer shelf life but brown is healthier.

And you take it from there.

#13. “I’m shopping for the restaurant where I work.”

Well, it can happen that a restaurant runs out of food and needs a few quick supplies, right? Another way of looking at it is that SHTF in that restaurant but you probably don’t want to mention this to the cashier.

#14. Flirt

It just works, particularly if the cashier is cute. And if she’s not, she probably doesn’t get a lot of attention…

Do You Really Need to Do This?

Not really but I found that the less arguments, the more peaceful I feel. Even when you don’t want to admit it, other people’s words, can get to you so the less you hear the better.

Last but not least, don’t forget that a cashier’s job is also to be friendly and make small talk. In the vast majority of cases, they won’t even remember what you told them after two minutes. They make small talk just to be polite and someone buying too much of one thing is always a good excuse.

How can you completely avoid these remarks?

If you’re not comfortable having to explain complete strangers why you’re buying so much of one thing, you can just avoid everything by:

  • buying less stuff more frequently;
  • noticing when there are different cashiers so they don’t remember you;
  • buying in different places;
  • sending your wife or kids for you;
  • buying online;
  • buying directly from farmers.
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Bug Out Bag Gear Must-Haves: Microfiber Towel

Bug Out Bag Gear Must-Haves: Microfiber Towel

Packing a bug out bag is tough, as if you plan to travel long distances, you’ll want to keep your bag as light as possible (consider adding pannier  to your bike for additional food and water storage).

But what is one must-have that has several uses, and even provides a little bit of creature comfort?

The Microfiber Towel.

I use a microfiber towel when camping or backpacking abroad, and it’s been a life-saver. Packing a towel sounds cumbersome, but hear me out — these towels are a fraction of the weight of your standard bath towels, and they have several uses in a survival scenario.

Reasons to Add a Microfiber Towel to Your Bug Out Bag

  • Drying off after bathing
  • Serve as an extra blanket on cold nights
  • Head covering in direct sunlight / cold compress if soaked in cold water
  • Wrap around clothes for a makeshift pillow
  • Sun covering if have to build a makeshift shelter
  • Could serve as an absorbent rainwater catch in drastic scenarios (ring it out afterwards and purify the water)
  • Packs down 5x smaller than a regular towel
  • Air dries SUPER quickly (can even air dry by draping over your backpack while hiding)
  • Fraction of the weight of a regular bath towel
  • It’s a little piece of comfort of home life before SHTF, which may help your morale.

There are several different options for microfiber towels available at various camping stores, but as always, Amazon seems to come out on top with the best pricing — a quality microfiber towel on Amazon costs around $20-$30.

How many microfiber towels do you need? These are questions you’ll best know the answer to: How many people are in your family? Will you be bugging out in a warm climate? You may be able to get away with 2-3. If you’ll be bugging out anywhere that experiences cold weather and freeze warnings, one towel per person can help as an additional light layer.

Is a microfiber towel on your bug out bag packing list?

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How To Get Your Spouse On Board with Prepping.

Getting your spouse onboard with prepping can be a huge challenge for the best of us.  I know that when I first told my wife that we needed to start prepping, she looked at me like she thought I had been in the sun too long.  It was more of a look of pity than anything and I kept expecting her to say “Bless your heart!” (That is southern for you poor fool!).  I knew right then that I had my work cut out for me.

I started off by asking a series of questions like when was the last time she watched the world news and did she know what Agenda 21 was?  She admitted that she doesn’t like to watch the new because it is to depressing (I knew that but just wanted her to admit it).  She said that Agenda 21 is a conspiracy theory I think.  At his point, I told her if she could prove that it was, then I would drop the subject and not bother her with it again.  I then suggested that she might want to start with the UN website. (That was just too easy!)

A couple of days later she informed me that it was a real Agenda and that she would look further into other things that I talk about.  All I needed to do was peak her curiosity a little to get her started looking.  She still wasn’t ready to give in just yet however.  Over the next couple of months I brought several other items to her attention that she at first thought was just the ramblings of a mad Prepper.  In each case I had her research them (She is good at that!) and lo and behold, they were real.  She had a hard time believing that our Government would stand by and let things like that happen. Let alone condone it.  By this time, she was off and running, I had created a Monster!   She was reading everything she could get her hands on ….when she wasn’t playing games on the computer that is.

I guess that the reason that I am telling you this is so you can see that most people who don’t believe in prepping are not stupid, they just haven’t opened their eyes to the truth.  It is just easier for people to believe that everything is well and right in the world than to face the truth and know that dark and scary world that we live in.  It’s like looking at the Sun, it hurts!  Sometimes it may take several fact check items to get them to open their eyes.  You just have to be willing to be patient and let them convince their own selves that what you are saying is true.  Whatever you do, never say I told you so!  IF you do then you will probably lose them and they will not admit you are right no matter what you say.  No one likes to be proven wrong, so use that to get them to start looking into things that they normally wouldn’t look into.

You may want to point to the first Amendment and how Washington is creating “Areas” of free speech and how they are now also creating areas where it is not allowed.  Then point to the second Amendment and how they are working to make laws to take away our right to keep and bear arms, even though that right is guaranteed to us by the Bill of Rights.  Then start asking why she thinks they are working so hard to take them away from us?  If she says that guns kill people, then show her the facts and that they are actually one of the least deadly weapons used to commit murders.  Get the facts and show them to her or him whichever the case may be.

This may work for you and then again it may not.  It all depends on how much they are determined to keep their eyes closed.  I know that it has worked for me and many others that have faced the same challenges.  If you can ever get them to open their eyes and see what is actually out there then you have a chance.  Facing a horrible truth is a scary thing and you must be patient when dealing with them.   Do it gently and slowly and soon you will be prepping together.  Good luck and remember that prepping is not a destination but  a journey and one that should be shared with your spouse.

A word of WARNING:  Pick the subject that you want them to look into carefully and be sure that they are true before you have them follow-up on them.

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Building Your Energy Stockpile: Make The Sun Work For You


Solar chargers collect and store the sun’s energy so it can be used later on to charge small electronics that are often tremendously useful aids to survival.

As we have already demonstrated, you can recharge many small devices using solar energy for as little as $30. Unfortunately, the smaller models also have significant limitations that preppers need to be aware of.

For example, most chargers use small solar panel(s) that cannot fully charge the unit’s battery in a single day of sunshine. This makes them fine for topping of the charger’s battery or using them to recharge your phone while you are away from AC power for the day, but a poor choice for constant use such as charging multiple pieces of equipment simultaneously in an emergency.

Second, most small solar chargers do not have variable power output. There are a few models that do, but they are considerably more expensive. Maximum output varies by model and is pretty low. So while they may be able to charge a headlamp or a cell phone, they cannot charge large banks of small batteries or larger electronics such as most notebook computers and radio gear.

Portable Solar Solution

A good portable solar setup can do things that a pocket-sized device cannot, such as charging a car battery, running powerful portable ham radio equipment, drive fans, drive pumps, power electric hand warmers, charge banks of small batteries or charge several smaller devices all at once.

It can be a single “black box” that has the necessary components integrated into one product or you can buy the individual components separately. They are most often something in between, so you can mix and match solar arrays and batteries according to your needs and maintain a degree of modularity to prolong the life of the equipment in light of the fact that technology will change.

Whichever you choose, a portable power solution provides an enormous amount of flexibility over smaller integrated USB solar devices.

Whether manufactured or built from components, most are modular in design so you can use larger or smaller solar panels or batteries in order to meet your needs.

Portable solar systems have the same principal components:

  • Battery (Stores electricity)
  • Power Output (USB Port, Auto Cigarette Lighter Receptacle, PowerPole Connector)
  • Charge Controller (Interrupts flow of power from the solar panel to the battery when full or too hot to avoid damaging the battery)
  • Solar Panel (Turns solar energy into electricity)

By choosing larger and smaller components, we can generate more power or store more power. The battery or battery bank stores the energy generated by the solar panels or array of them. The solar charge controller ensures that we do not damage the battery as the solar panels charge it.

Buy or Build?

If you prefer to purchase a solution there are many to choose from. You can buy a production model or even have a small business build to meet your needs. Buying is more convenient, but also usually costs more. It is OK to be a driver and not a mechanic, but most self-reliant people like to be able to maintain and repair critical equipment.

Greater than cost savings, for many, is the fact that doing often teaches us things that we cannot learn in any other way. Survival reigns supreme amongst DIY pursuits, and the process of building is educational.

Even if you value convenience over thrift, you should still understand your alternative energy system well enough to maintain it. You will not likely be able to send equipment back to the factory for repair if the grid goes down. If your concern is convenience, building your own alternative energy solution does not actually involve building anything. In many cases, all you need to do is read a little and plug in a few wires.

Whether you buy or build, you will still need to evaluate features. So I will go over the most critical points for each component. I will address solar charge controller and power outputs under battery as they are sometimes integrated.


Key Components

1. Battery

The battery capacity must exceed the draw your equipment demands from it. Select a battery with at least 50-100% greater capacity than you think you will need. You solar power generator will not be 100% efficient and the sun will not always cooperate with you. So keep in mind these about the battery:

  • Battery technology & portability: For this application, you will want a Li-ion battery. They are lighter, smaller, and typically last more charge cycles when deeply discharged. If weight does not matter, you can use larger, heavier, less expensive battery technologies.
    If you discharge a typical li-ion smartphone battery completely (100%) each time before you charge it, after doing this about 250 times, the battery will last about 75% as long as it did when it was brand new. Manufacturers very conservatively consider this the end of the battery’s useful life. It will still work, but it will not last as long. How do you make it last longer? Don’t discharge it completely or buy much larger battery bank than you will need so you do not have to discharge it deeply.
    If you only discharge a Li-ion battery to 50% of capacity instead of 100% (complete discharge), it will last 1200-1500 charge cycles. Discharge it only 25% and it will last 2000-2500 cycles. Recharge it after 10% and it will last 3750-4700 and you could use it every day for 10-12 years and it will last 75% as long as when brand new. Heat also shortens battery life so keep batteries cool and trickle charge them as opposed to rapid charging them.
  • Battery size: Calculate how much current your equipment will draw. This is not difficult and much has already been written on the subject, so I will not repeat it here.
  • Solar charge controller: This is needed to protect the battery against overcharging. Some batteries have one built in and some do not. Either is fine, but you need to be aware of whether or not the battery has one built in since you do not want more than one. If a charge controller is not integrated into the battery you buy, you will need to get one that matches the output of your solar panel since they come in different sizes. They are installed between the solar panel’s output and the battery’s input. If the adapters do not match, you can crimp on adapters that do.


  • Charge state indicator: This is essentially a “fuel gauge” for the battery. It can be an LCD, series of LEDs, single LED or gauge that tells how capacity is remaining in the battery.
  • Variable power inputs: As supplied by the factory, many battery packs can be charged from a wall outlet, cigarette adapter or USB port in addition to a solar panel. These are power inputs. Consider how you plan to charge and maintain the battery before an emergency. It is convenient to be able to charge the battery from your home and vehicle without having to use the solar panel when you maintain it in between usage. Even if multiple inputs are not built in, you can still use a converter or adapter, but they add a little bulk.
  • Power outputs: This refers to the type of plug and how much current your devices will need and is typically expressed in voltage milliamp hours. They are often built into batteries along with a charge controller. Consider how power is input to the devices you use. Then consider other capabilities you might need in an extended emergency. If all your gear has 5v USB inputs, it’s best to get a battery with 5v outputs. Otherwise you will have carry an adapter to make the output usable for each device and it will decrease efficiency.

Some Li-Ion battery packs come with variable output which enables you to vary the output voltage and amperage. This is a great feature because it eliminates having to carry a different power adapter for every piece of equipment. You may still need adapters.

I swap my 12v DC equipment over to the same type of genderless connector called the Anderson PowerPole connector. This simple modification is performed by stripping and crimping power cables. If you can do that, you can drastically reduce the number of cables and connectors needed to run your gear off the same type of connectors.

  • Consumer Ratings: Even if you buy locally, it is still worth the trouble to checkout product ratings online before you buy. 

2. Solar Array

Years and years ago, (well over a decade) I shelled out around $375 for a Brunton Solaris 26 portable solar array that I still use today.

Unfortunately, inflation has practically kept pace the price drop in flexible (thin film) solar arrays so they aren’t a whole lot cheaper now than they were a decade ago and you can probably find the exact same product still available for sale for about $300. They are very durable and don’t have moving parts so they are pretty rugged.

The Solaris 26 folds up to the about the size of a notebook computer and unfolds to about 2 feet x 4 feet and has grommets in the corners to hang it from a pack, tree, tent or vehicle. I chose this model because it outputs 26 watts at 12v DC and I wanted it to be able to charge car batteries, gel cells or the considerable more expensive, larger and heavier Li-Ion battery packs of the day in order to run amateur radio equipment, small electronics, cell phones and notebook computers at that time.


Today, lighter Li-Ion battery packs with variable output are available. This is a boon to anyone planning to pack in this type of gear on foot, bicycle pack animals or using carts or other small transport.

What to look for in a solar array:

  • Technology and Portability, 1st Gen vs 2nd Gen: What are your size and weight constraints? If it needs to fit in a pack, you will probably want Gen 2 Solar panels. If it will be mounted to a vehicle, Gen 1 would be better. Gen 1 panels are the heavier glass ones, Gen II are the light, flexible thin-film ones. Gen 1 is a little more efficient in bright sun at lower latitudes and with optimal orientation, especially on a mount that tracks the sun, and are cheaper, and they are heavy. Gen II is more efficient in Northern latitudes, on cloudy days, with imperfect orientation and are more portable.
  • Output Current: For solar panels, this is normally expressed in voltage and wattage. To determine how much output you need you need for a particular application, you will need to calculate your electrical load and how long you will run it, but in practical terms, for a portable solution, you may have to start with what you are willing to tote around and work back to how much you can use your gear from there because how often you use your equipment is negotiable, how much weight you can carry before you start making soft compromises is less so.
    A 100W, 19v array is the largest you would want to pack, 50 watts or 25 watts at 12v still gives you plenty of power for what most people would normally carry in a pack. If you just bring a cell phone and maybe a headlamp, you can get by with an integrated device that produces a few watts and can fit in your pocket like the ones discussed in Part 1 of this series.

How do you determine the wattage and voltage your panel should be rated for? You need to be able to charge the battery. So for voltage, if you determined a 5v pack is best because your devices are USB, 5v will be most efficient. If you chose 12v or 13.8v for radio equipment or 19v for a notebook computer, the same thing goes. It is most efficient and less confusing at this stage to choose a panel with output that matches the voltage of the battery.

In determining the wattage, you will need to be able to bring the battery back up to full charge with the usable sun you have per day which averages about 6-7 hours on a sunny day, typically from 9:30am to 3:30 pm, but this differs somewhat by latitude and generation of solar panel.

  • Ruggedness and water resistance: What environment will you be using it in? Best case, equatorial desert and you shelter in when it rains, which is infrequently. Worst case? Torrential rains, high latitudes, 100% humidity, perpetual cloud cover, on a small boat constantly exposed to salt air. You also need to consider if you will constantly moving and how much of that movement will be in a straight line. Best case is you can use it in a secure camp where no one will try to steal it.
  • Consumer Ratings: Don’t forget to see how products performed for others before you buy.



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How to Prepare for a Cyber Attack


There is a lot of debate on whether Wednesday’s computer issues that shut down the New York Stock Exchange, the Wall Street Journal, and United Airlines were just a very strange coincidence (very strange) or a deliberate cyber attack.

This isn’t the first possible cyber attack on the United States this year. Heck, it’s not even the first one this summer. On June 5, Reuters reported a breach occurred that compromised the personal information of millions of federal employees, both current and former. This breach was traced back to a “foreign entity or government.”

Regardless of the origin of the so-called computer “glitches” that shut down Wall Street and a major airline, the events of Wednesday gave us just a tiny glimpse at how serious a cyber attack could be.

What exactly is a cyber attack?

A cyber attack is more than just shutting down the computer systems of a specified entity. It is defined as “deliberate exploitation of computer systems, technology-dependent enterprises and networks. Cyberattacks use malicious code to alter computer code, logic or data, resulting in disruptive consequences that can compromise data and lead to cybercrimes, such as information and identity theft.”

Technopedia lists the following consequences of a cyber attack:

  • Identity theft, fraud, extortion
  • Malware, pharming, phishing, spamming, spoofing, spyware, Trojans and viruses
  • Stolen hardware, such as laptops or mobile devices
  • Denial-of-service and distributed denial-of-service attacks
  • Breach of access
  • Password sniffing
  • System infiltration
  • Website defacement
  • Private and public Web browser exploits
  • Instant messaging abuse
  • Intellectual property (IP) theft or unauthorized access

Cyber attacks happen far more frequently than you might think.

How does a cyber attack affect you?

You may think that if you don’t spend your day working online, that an attack on our computer infrastructure isn’t that big of a deal. You may feel like it wouldn’t affect you at all.

Unfortunately, there are very few people in the country that would remain completely unaffected in the event of a major cyber attack. Our economy, our utility grids, and our transportation systems are all heavily reliant upon computers. This makes us very vulnerable to such an attack.

And by vulnerable, I mean that if it was done on a big enough scale, it could essentially paralyze the entire country.

Here are some of the systems that are reliant on computers.

In the event of a widespread cyber attack, the following could be either completely inoperable or breached. Keep in mind that a domino effect could occur that effects systems beyond the original target.

  • Gas stations (most of the pumps are now digital and connect right to your bank)
  • Banks (all of the records are online) would not be able to process electronic transactions. ATM machines would not function to allow customers access to cash.
  • Utility systems (most power stations are run by computers)
  • Water treatment facilities (these are automated too)
  • Protection of personal information, including data about your finances, medical records, physical location, and academic records – everything a person would need to steal your identity
  • Government operations, including dangerous identifying information about federal employees or members of the military
  • Transportation systems (trains, subways, and planes are heavily reliant upon computers)
  • Traffic management systems like stoplights, crosswalks, etc.
  • Air traffic control
  • Everyday trade – most business have a computerized cash register that communicates directly with banks. Many business are also reliant on scanning bar codes for inventory control and pricing. Point-of-sale systems would be down and people would not be able to pay using credit or debit cards.
  • Telecommunications systems can be affected if cell towers are disabled or if the landline system were directly attacked. As more people rely on VOIP, taking down internet service would serve a dual purpose.
  • SMART systems could be shut down or manipulated. All of those gadgets that automate climate control, use of utilities, or appliances through SMART technology are vulnerable.

Here’s a video from NATO that explains a little bit more about the dangers of cyber attacks.

Prepping to survive a cyber attack

Prepping for a cyber attack is not that different from prepping for other types of disasters that affect the grid. You want to be able to operate independently of  public utilities, stores, or public transportation.

Click each item to learn more details.

  1. Have a supply of water stored in case municipal supplies are tainted or shut down.
  2. Be prepared for an extended power outage.
  3.  Have a food supply on hand, as well as a way to prepare your food without the grid.
  4.  Keep cash in small denominations on hand in the event that credit cars, debit cards, and ATMs are inoperable.
  5. Keep vehicles above half way full of fuel, and store extra gasoline.
  6. Be prepared for off-grid sanitation needs.
  7. Invest in some communications devices like ham radio or other options available.
  8. Be ready to hunker down at home to avoid the chaos that could come in the aftermath of a massive cyber attack. Always be prepared to defend your home if necessary.
  9. Remember that your prepper supplies and skills will see you through this disaster.
    just like any other.
  10. Protect your identity with a service like LifeLock (which will alert you to suspicious activity once things return to normal). Use some of these tips to keep your information locked down.

What do you think?