Posted on Leave a comment

Yellowstone Supervolcano: Some Things To Consider


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

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

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

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

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

Three of the primary characteristics measured are:

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

Ground deformation (ground sinking or rising) outside historical norms

Frequency and magnitude of earthquakes in the vicinity

Changes in streams

Changes in gas emissions

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

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

Linked from:

Posted on Leave a comment

How To Build a Off Grid Solar Hot Water Heater


This is a Solar hot water Batch Type pre-heater that pre-heats the water for my hot water tank inside the house. Cost $45.00 to build. I made it out of garage sale and Goodwill items and scrap wood I had laying around. It has been heating water up to 140 degrees and circulates thru the tank by natural flow no pump needed as it is lower than the main tank.




This is what it looked like when I finished. I added extra insulation and foamed all the cracks.

Step 2: Parts and pieces

This is a fresh water tank from an old camper trailer that was given to me. This project can be scaled up or down to suit your needs.

Step 3:


A piece of old peg board, A sheet of masonite would have worked better but this is what I had.

Step 4:

Cut frames and sides from scrap plywood. This is not the true curve but it is what I had for material.


Step 5:

3 pieces of .50 cent glass. Foil backed styrofoam board ends scrap from a garage remodel.

Step 6:

Tank painted .96 cent Wall Mart black. 99 cent space blanket glued to the peg board.

Step 7:

Box with glass added. Not attached yet, time to start plumbing.

Step 8:

I ran the hoses inside some old PVC, wrapped in strips of old foam bed pads for insulation. I put 2 valves in case I have to drain the outside system if it gets too cold this winter.

Step 9:

Built a box around the fittings, with an access hole to reach shut-offs. I’m making a small garden box under pipes.

Step 10:

Added another 1/2 inch of foil backed insulation and painted to match skirting. Sealed all the cracks with silacone sealant.

Step 11:

Cover for back of tank. I plumbed in a temp. meter from a car that tells me the temp. of the water in the top of the tank. I can see it and an outside temp. from in the house.

Step 12:

110 degrees at 9:30 AM. Not bad for a junk yard heater!

Step 13:

This is a new system I have been working on, It heats a 40 gallon tank under the bathroom floor that radiates heat thru the floor all night. So far it has been working great, it has warmed the tank to 120 degrees on a nice day. I will post a new instructable on this one later, when I have a few stats on it. I will be draining the system and filling with R.V. antifreeze soon.

Step 14:

Here is a rough drawing of how I plumbed it but most applications are different depending on the tank etc. always use pressure hose and have a pressure relief valve. Sorry about the drawing I’ll try it again later.

Step 15: winter testing

Snowy morning in Washington. Made it to 110 before noon. Outside temperature got up to 55. It reached 130 in the hottest part of the day. I think the reflection off the snow helped raise the temp. today. The last picture is all my experiments. In front is a small solar panel I made out of 20 broken garden lights. I will start an instructable on it next week to enter that contest for the laser cutter. Next is a solar water panel that heats a 50 gal tank under the bathroom floor and radiates heat out all night. Behind that is this instructable, behind that is my solar oven.
Linked from:


Posted on Leave a comment

The Best Week for Deer Hunting


If you’re anything like me, time seems to always be in short supply. With a full-time job, a family and everything in-between, finding time to spend in the whitetail woods each fall can be a challenge. But when that week finally arrives — a whole seven days — our intention is to make the most of every second, and ultimately come home with many whitetail encounters, backstraps for the freezer and some bone for the wall.

However, in our zest to take in every ounce of the hunt, oftentimes we are too aggressive and have an all or nothing mindset to our week of whitetail wonder. Although this approach sometimes has its rewards, oftentimes the deer figure out pretty quickly they are not the only ones in the woods and become almost invisible. Our once highly prized week that we’ve had X’d-out on our calendar for months now falls short of our expectations.

If you want to get the most out of your week when you head to the woods this fall, step back and take the whole week into perspective. If you look at every aspect of the hunt and plan each step, you might just have the week of whitetail hunting nirvana you’ve been dying for.

The Perfect Week

Picking the perfect week is a must when you’re looking to increase your odds at punching your tag, and it goes without saying the first or second weeks of November are prime. It’s then that lust-crazed bucks are on their feet most of the day and throw caution into the wind and make mistakes in their search for love.

However, if you work with other hunters, getting a chunk of time off could be difficult. If I had to choose a backup week, it would definitely be during the early season, which can be as early as August or September in some states. That time of year can also yield opportunities at giant bucks. Although you won’t find bucks dogging does then, they are usually easy to pattern, travel in bachelor groups and haven’t felt the pressure of other hunters yet. If you take the time to find where the bucks are feeding and can figure out their travel route, sticking one of them with a well-placed arrow is almost a sure thing.

Before You Get There

Scouting is a huge key to your week in the woods, especially if this is your first time hunting a particular piece of ground. And with gas prices at all-time highs, and our old trucks barely getting 15 miles a gallon, pre-season scouting can be tough. So in order for us to have a good idea of what the patch of ground we’re hunting has to offer, a little bit of research is a must.

For instance, I drew a tag for southern Iowa this fall, and I have decided to hunt a patch of public ground. After talking with the local conservation officer and hunters who have hunted there in the past, getting my hands on some maps, and checking the area out with online aerial photos, I have some good starting points. This by no means should take away from old fashion boots on the ground scouting, and I will definitely have to do some looking around once I get there in November, but I already have a few stand locations in mind. All I’ll have to do when I get there is fine tune the information and I’ll be off and running.

Fools Rush In

Well, the week has finally arrived and you’re ready to get into your stand. Before you jump into what you think will be your best setup, you might want to plan each day of the hunt. Consider hunting an outside-in approach before you rush in. This is especially true if you’re in a new area, but this principle is also usable if it’s a property you’ve hunted several times in the past. Things can change in and around a property from year to year when you consider crop rotations, logging and in some cases urban sprawl, all of which can change deer movement. So starting on the fringe of your hunting area can be a good approach. Hang that first stand in a low impact area that will give you the ability to watch and learn, but also the opportunity to kill a buck.

I have hunted a small piece of property in Kansas for years, and one that I know very well. One of the first stands I sit is usually an isolated row of trees that is between a crop and a CRP field. It is by no means the best spot on the place, but it lets me come and go without being detected, and allows me to see a good chunk of the property. In fact, a couple of seasons ago I watched a buck enter at a corner of one of the fields, and a couple days later I hung a stand there and ended up sending an arrow through him.

Once you have a good idea of what the deer are up to, it’s time to go deeper into the cover and start looking for funnels that lead from bedding-to-bedding and bedding-to-feeding areas. Bucks will be filtering through these areas as the rut begins to kick in. At this point however, it’s still early in the hunt so don’t set up too close to the best bedding areas unless you can come and go undetected. Spooking deer now can really be a damper on your hunt. Some good setups for this would be creeks, ridges, inside corners, saddles and pinch-points of timber.

Another area to consider for evening hunts is a staging area. These areas are typically close to food sources, so find the best food the area has to offer. Mature bucks will hang in these areas waiting on the sun to sink before going out to feed, especially in high pressure areas. Oftentimes these areas will be littered with rubs and scrapes.

Once you hit the latter part of the week, it’s time to put conservatism aside and get in the thick of things. Although spooking deer should always be a consideration, start hunting the edges of the best bedding areas. During the rut, bucks will visit these areas throughout the day. However, your stand must be on the downwind side. And if you have not hung your stand yet, you might have to do it at night when the deer are gone or on a windy day. Once you decide to hunt bedding areas, you need to be there all day. Trying to sneak in and out while they are there can ruin the area the rest of the week.

I did just that the second to last day of a recent Wyoming deer hunt. Although I had been covered up with deer all week, no shooter bucks ever presented a shot. So with time running out, I set up a stand that was within a stone’s throw of a bedding area and was in a staging area. Later that evening I had a mature buck wonder under my stand that proudly wore my tag when I headed home the following morning.

On the last day or two of your hunt a “no holds bar” mindset is necessary. Hunt the best areas you have found and plan on hunting all day. These are spots you have been avoiding early in the week because you know you will bump deer trying to get into them. However, if you keep the wind right while you’re hunting, bumping a few deer as you come and go at this point will not take you out of the game.

Making the Most of It

To get the most out of your week and come home with some head bone for the record books, the key to success is avoiding mistakes. The mistake hunters make most often is deer knowing they are being hunted early in the week. Having good scent management before you leave your truck is a given, but it doesn’t matter how “scent free” you think you are, never hunt a stand with a marginal wind. I don’t know how many times I’ve had a wise ol’ doe give that all too familiar warning blow and not had a deer come close to me the rest of the day. Also, a good entrance and exit strategy to your stands is a must, and be sure to have multiple stands up and ready to go. Burning a productive spot out early can make for a long week.

Furthermore, hunt all day if you’re hunting in November; this is the week you have been waiting for. Although you are burning vacation time to be there, and hunting all day at times is no vacation, it will definitely increase your odds of taking that happy-hunter picture by the end of the week.

Finding quality bucks in only a week can be hard enough, but having equipment failure along the way can turn that week of vacation into a disaster. Shoot a good quality bow or gun, use good optics, top notch treestands and ground blinds, and dawn on your best set of Realtree camo. Sometimes there is nothing you can do about equipment failure, but using quality gear minimizes the chance of a mishap.

Finally, make the shot. You don’t want to spend hours and hours in the stand and finally have that toad you’ve been after under you and miss. Prepare for that shot both physically and mentally, and practice. Be in good physical condition. If you can’t walk a couple of hundred yards in hilly country without keeling over, your chances of killing a mature buck are slim. Also, know your weapon intimately. Start a shooting regiment now. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard of hunters — me included — missing deer at 10 yards. They are solid at 20, 30 and even 40 yards, but overlooked those close opportunities that sometimes presented themselves, so be sure and hit the 10-ring.

When it’s all said and done, it’s your week in the woods, and making the most of it is what will ultimately lead you to success this fall. So start slow and finish strong and see if that puts a smile on your face at the end of the week.

Linked from:

Posted on Leave a comment

How to Blood Trail a Deer


Blood-trailing game is a blend of art and simple technique. As in most bowhunting endeavors, it’s often a sequence of things that eventually leads you to success. With that in mind, here are the secrets I’ve discovered through two-plus decades of bowhunting and blood-trailing dozens and dozens of critters.

Taking a Visual Log

Immediately after the shot, there are three things you should do. First, don’t move an inch from where you shot. Then, note exactly where the animal was standing upon the arrow striking, and exactly how the animal fled the scene. These three factors will prove most vital to recovering your trophy. To help with this, pick out certain bushes, rocks or trees next to the hit spot or the route the animal used to escape. This will make it easier as things always look different from up close and as you begin the trailing process.

Analyzing the Hit

Next, visualize in your mind the animal’s position and where the arrow hit. If you suspect a perfect double-lung hit, then you probably won’t have any trouble finding your deer. These hits usually result in lots of blood on the ground and a relatively short, easy-to-follow blood trail.

However, this is not always the case. Sometimes animals bleed internally, even lung-shot ones, and when this happens, you’ll have to look for other clues, mainly fresh tracks and perhaps tiny droplets of blood; these will hopefully lead you down the path of recovery. Sometimes a general “zigzag” walk of the area, if you’re hunting in open country, will allow you to spot your animal.

If you find your arrow at the hit site, analyze it for clues as well. The blood on it tells a lot. Bright-pinkish, frothy blood is a positive indication of a solid lung hit. Darker blood without the telltale froth-like “bubbles” in it usually means a hit to the liver or heart. Greenish matter smeared on the shaft, usually with white fatty tissue, means a paunch hit. Beyond a solid strike to both lungs or the heart, blood trailing doubles in difficulty. Here are several scenarios to consider that involve less-than-perfect hits.

Single-Lung Hits

Shots that are taken quartering-to or at extreme angles often result in single-lung hits. Just so you know, it’s well documented that animals can actually live with just one lung. This is especially true of larger game such as elk.

On quartering-to shots, if deep broadhead penetration is achieved, then sometimes the liver and paunch can also be cut in the process, which is good. The liver is a vital organ and damage to it will eventually cause the animal to expire, usually within a couple hours. However, an animal can travel on a punctured liver, which means, if pushed, it can run into the next canyon, or well off your hunting property.

For this reason, you must wait a good amount of time before following up. It’s best to wait four to six hours on such hits. Sometimes the animal will expire within this timeframe or be sick enough that you can sneak up and shoot it again.

Severe angled shots, such as when shooting from a treestand, can result in the arrow hitting high. When this is the case, the arrow angles downward, only striking the top of one of the lungs. This usually results in good initial blood, but depending on the damage, the trail can go dry after a couple hundred yards. If not found within this distance, the animal is likely to survive.

Liver Hits

Shots that hit slightly behind the lungs (opposite the shoulder area) will likely strike the liver. This is a vital organ (served by large arteries) that filters the blood supply to the body.

If the broadhead laces the liver, the animal will die. However, liver-hit animals can live for a while, complicating animal recovery. With suspected liver-hit game, I suggest waiting two to four hours before following up. A common trait of a liver hit is dark, somewhat brownish-colored blood.

Paunch Hits

Unfortunately, this hit is quite common, and I would suspect it results in more lost game than all other hit types. Extreme patience is required for these shots. The worst thing you can do is “push” a gut-shot animal, as infection takes time to impair the animal’s ability to travel. Combine this with adrenaline flowing in the body from being chased, and the animal can travel for miles. Once that happens, your chances of recovery are virtually zero. This is even more so because arrows bisecting intestines or paunch rarely leave much blood.

I recommend waiting eight hours or longer before following up. Left un-pushed, gut-shot deer usually bed down within 100 to 200 yards from where the shot occurred and simply expire.

There is one exception to all of this. When hunting open-country, follow-up shots are sometimes advisable when the animal is clearly approachable and hunched up and/or sick looking. In this case, you should sneak in and shoot the animal again. In doing so, it’s crucial that you don’t let the animal see you, which could cause it to run frantically. Dense, noisy terrain could foil any attempts at closing the gap, and waiting is a better plan.

Shoulder Hits

Theoretically, shoulder hits occur just as often as paunch hits do, since this area is “far back” the other way. Sometimes a shoulder-hit animal will bleed for a while (the broadhead cuts the outer tissue repeatedly), giving the impression the animal is hurt worse than it is. But the animal will show little sign of slowing down, usually continuing on with regular behavior and eating habits within a few hours.

Ham Hits

A shot to the butt is fatal, believe it or not, since the heaviest part of the leg is ultra-rich in blood vessels. The femoral artery runs along the lower, inner side of each leg. If your broadhead clips it, blood will squirt out like water flowing from a faucet.

Of course, you should never deliberately aim at the animal’s butt. There’s simply too much margin for error and waiting for a solid lung shot is the way to go. However, if you happen to hit the area by accident, just know that it’s quite lethal, and as long as you’re using a scalpel-sharp broadhead that’s capable of severing every blood vessel in its path, you can expect to find your trophy in short order. Most solid butt hits down the animal within 10 minutes, if not sooner.

Spine and Superficial Wounds

On a broadside or quartering-away shot, a high hit will place the arrow directly in line with the spine or just below it. If you hit the spine, the animal will drop instantly, becoming paralyzed. Always shoot the animal again for a prompt kill if necessary.

If the arrow misses the spine but is still not low enough to catch lung tissue, then it ends up in the area commonly referred to as the muscle band. This area contains no vital tissue. It results in the animal bleeding quite profusely at first, but eventually surviving.

An extreme low hit, on the other hand, puts it below the lung tissue and at the brisket area. This usually results in good, bright blood, but again, it’s not fatal. A common trait of superficial flesh wounds is a plentiful initial blood trail which progresses down to tiny specks that eventually peter out, usually after 200 to 300 yards.

Neck shots usually fall under the superficial wound category as well. The only exception is if you happen to strike the carotid artery or jugular vein, both which are quite small. However, if you do, the animal will die quickly.

When Bad Weather Strikes

What do you do when it begins to rain or snow? My take on it is simple: follow the blood trail immediately, but only if you suspect a solid double-lung hit. Otherwise, always wait. Pushing marginally wounded game is a mistake, no matter the circumstance. I’d rather have the animal bed down and expire within 100 yards, where I can find it later in the day by grid-searching, than to have it run a half-mile because I pushed it.

Successful blood trailing is all about being smart. In nearly all cases, being foolish and/or anxious will end up costing you a trophy because you decided to force the situation. Analyze each shot closely, wait the correct amount of time based on the clues, and follow up, searching for blood and other details like a trained detective on a crime scene. Shots at big game are simply too precious to do it any other way.


Linked from:

Posted on Leave a comment

How to Survive a Bee, Hornet, or Wasp Attack

Those buzzing insects in your backyard are more than a nuisance at your barbecue. In numbers, they’re a formidable threat. And if you’re one of the many people allergic to bees, hornets, and wasps, even a few can be dangerous. Here’s how you can avoid getting swarmed, and what to do if you get stung.

This is part of Lifehacker’s Animal Attacks Series. As capable as we humans think we are, bears, snakes, wolves, sharks, and even bees can turn a fun day outside into a harsh, potentially life-threatening reality check. Here’s what to do when you find yourself face to face with some of the deadliest beasts in the great outdoors.

According to Dr. Joseph Forrester, a surgeon at Stanford University, and co-author of a 2012 review of nationwide animal fatalities, bees, hornets, and wasps are some of the deadliest wild animals you’ll ever run into:

“…when you’re looking at attacks from wild animals only, the most common cause of death are due to venomous animals, like wasps or bees. I think people have in their mind that the most dangerous animals are cougars, bears or alligators, but a bee is more dangerous if a person is predisposed to a reaction.”

In fact, for adults 20 and older, hornets, wasps, and bees account for around 33% of all animal-related deaths in the U.S. And many are due to allergies. You can usually avoid attacks in the wild simply by staying away from hives and nests. If you leave them alone, they’ll leave you alone. So try not to disturb their homes.

Honey bee hive inside of a tree.

But if you know you’re allergic to bee, hornet, and wasp stings there are a few extra precautions you should take since just one or two stings could mean game over. Make sure you always wear shoes outdoors, avoid wearing brightly colored clothing, avoid sweet-smelling lotions, perfumes, and shampoos, and wear pants and long-sleeved shirts if possible. And, most importantly, carry an epinephrine injection pen that you can use in emergencies.

While avoiding nests in the wild is pretty straightforward, it’s a different story when they try to make your home their home. These flying arthropods of the Hymenoptera order often like to build their nests in or around structures, like under the eaves of your house, in trees and bushes, and even on children’s playsets.

Hornet nest.

You can usually tell the difference between a bee hive, hornet nest, or wasp colony based on its appearance. An umbrella-shaped nest with hexagonal cells is the home of paper wasps, a smooth, football-shaped nest belongs to hornets, wasps flying in and out of a hole in the ground or in building are likely yellowjackets, and if the nest is made of a waxy substance, you’re almost certainly looking at a bee hive. But bee hives can also be inside walls, hollow trees, sheds, or abandoned rodent dens in the ground.

If you come across any of these nests around your home, consider calling a professional to remove them. There are a lot of sprays and traps on the market, but removing nests yourself can be dangerous, and you may not get them all without the proper tools.

If you’re being pestered by bees, don’t swat at any that them. And if you do get stung, leave the area immediately. Some bees, hornets, and wasps release an “alarm pheromone” when they sting that could attract more bees to you. However, if you’re being surrounded by hornets or wasps, you have to be a little more careful. They’re more sensitive to movement, so as pest professional Simon Berenyi explains at Quora, flailing, yelling, or running can make you look like more of a threat. Unless you’ve done destroyed their nest or something else extreme enough to cause a full-on swarm, you’re better off staying calm and moving away slowly with your head down, eyes closed, and face covered if possible.

Wasp nest in an abandoned mailbox.

If you’ve destroyed a hornet or wasp nest, are being swarmed, or you’re being attacked by more aggressive flying insects, like so-called “killer bees,” the U.S. Department of Agriculture has a few tips for escaping:

  • Run away as fast as you can. Don’t stop to help others unless theyabsolutely need it (like children or the elderly). Do not stop until you reach shelter, like a vehicle or building.
  • Don’t jump into water because the bees will wait for you to come up for air.
  • Pull your shirt over your head as you run to protect your face, mouth, and eyes.
  • Don’t swat at the bees as you run. Movement attracts them and dead bees emit a smell that attracts more to you.
  • Call 911 to report a stinging attack once you’re safe.

Even if you escape a swarm, you’ll likely be stung a few times. Honey bee stingers continue to pump venom into the wound as along as it stays in you, so it’s important to remove them as soon as possible. But do not try to pull them out with tweezers or your fingers since that will just squeeze more venom into the wound.

Use your fingernails, a dull knife blade, or the edge of a credit card to scrape the stinger out of your skin sideways (as shown in the video above). Theoretically, the average person can handle about 10 honey bee stings per pound of body weight, meaning an adult can withstand more than 1,100 stings. But that’s definitely not something you should test out—even a little bit. Even a few stings can be incredibly painful, not to mention deadly if you have allergies. Still, if you’ve been stung more than 15 times, are beginning to feel ill, or have even the slightest inkling that you may be allergic, seek medical attention immediately.


Posted on Leave a comment

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dogbane family (Apocynaceae)
Fiber for tinder and cordage

Goosefoot family (Chenopodiaceae)
Weed stalks for hand drills

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

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

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

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

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

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

Snapdragon family (Scrophulariaceae)
Mullein—stalks for hand drill

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

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

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

Linked from:

Posted on Leave a comment

Surviving Riots: 6 Crucial Steps For Your Safety

When riots begin, law and order can disappear within a matter of minutes. While individuals may not go into a crowd intending to start a riot, group think and the frenzy of the moment bring out the worst of human nature. Violence will be the rule of the day in which you will either kill or be killed if you don’t know these 6 ways to stay safe during a riot.

1. Be Ready Beforehand

Even though riots are not organized at the start, you will need to be prepared well ahead of time in case one occurs.

Secure Your Surroundings and Valuables

  • Always be careful who you let into your home, or any other area where wealth might be displayed.
  • A home that has tall walls, bars on the windows, CCTV cameras and other surveillance equipment is advertising to the world that owners with fancy clothes or jewelry have money and other expensive personal belongings. The best way to not be noticed by potential rioters is to have a home, habits, and clothing that either blend in the neighborhood, or look poor enough to not be worth bothering with.
  • Do not keep all of your food, water, and other emergency supplies in one central location. Build multiple hide-a-ways in the walls and in the floors to store valuables. Build bury containers to hide under the house, in sheds or other outside structures to prevent looting as much as possible.

Secure Entry Ways

  • Doors and windows should be reinforced from the inside so they do not draw attention. Have multiple working deadbolts and jam bars on all outer doors even if you currently live in a “good neighborhood”.
  • Use regular window locks with screw in bolt locks, and have swing down bars that can be shifted into place if needed.
  • Try to create hallways or dead ends where you have a shooting advantage if one or more people enters your home.
  • Know all ways and paths to get out of the house in secret; and arrange a meet-up point with other family members.
  • Keep a chimney damper made from very heavy metal that can withstand at least 300 pounds standing on it without being forced open. You should also have a metal support rod to lock under the damper in case rioters try to get in through the chimney.

2. Crisis Training and Management

  • Each person should know their position and the locations of all other family members in time of crisis. Practice these positions on a regular basis.
  • Everyone, including those that cannot handle a gun, should be trained with a weapon can handle with confidence. For a low budget option, use a squirt gun filled with 75% ammonia and aim it at the face and eyes of the intruders.


  • Know when to talk or make noise and when to be completely silent.
  • Be prepared to use all necessary force, including lethal to defend yourself and your family.
  • Keep your bug out bag ready and stocked at all times.

3. Preparing Your Evacuation

If you suspect a riot is in its infancy, do not wait around to see what happens. Implement your evacuation plans as soon as possible.  Until then take these precautions:

  • Keep family and pets in the house, make sure everyone that can handle a weapon is armed and ready.
  • Lock, bolt, and barricade all windows and doors.
  • Set up your defensive fields of fire, but do not engage until you know the intentions of the rioters. Some may simply break some windows, hurl rocks, or beat on your doors and then leave. This is not a good reason to panic, scream, or open fire and give yourself away.
  • Rioters are extremely unpredictable. There is no way to tell if they are looking for material goods or for human plunder (example to rape, murder, or brutalize.) In order to reduce the risk of falling victim to the latter, everybody must stay away from the windows, turn off lights, and be as quite as possible.
  • Make your property look and feel like there is nobody home. If the rioters are intent on stealing material items, at least you will have the advantage of surprise when they enter what seems like an empty house, and wind up with bullets flying in their direction.
  • If someone knocks on the door do not answer. No matter who they claim to be, or who you think they are, that person could be a hostage or decoy being used to gain entrance to your home.
  • Once rioters enter, and are neutralized, make quick repairs to the damaged doors and windows.

4. Protecting the Small and Weak When Chaos Breaks Out

Keep children, elderly, disabled, and others out of direct fighting and weapons fire. A well reinforce closet or pantry with a secret lockable hiding place will keep them safe.

If you have a baby or young child, try to make the safe room soundproof so that unintended sounds do not get heard elsewhere in the building.

5. Things to Avoid

Never join the riot, yell, scream, or incite rioters. In this case safety is not in numbers or solidarity with them. Panic will run rampant, and you can easily be stampeded, beaten, or killed.  If you must go outdoors, stay in shadows, and out of sight.

Rioting masses draw the interest of police and other anti-riot troops. Their job is to stop the riot and reestablish the public safety and peace. If you are caught in the riot masses you can be arrested and charged for any crimes that were committed. You can be killed by security forces if the situation gets bad enough.

6. How to Escape a Riot Area Safely

Depending on how bad the riot is, escape may take a little longer than you first thought. If you choose to leave by car, be sure to carry enough firearms, ammo, your bug out kit, food, water, and other necessary supplies to last at least two weeks. Do not forget to lock all the doors and windows before leaving since rioters may look for easier pickings.

Before leaving, make sure you know your escape route and alternatives without GPS or other assistance devices. Turn off GPS, cell phones, and any other device that may electronically report your position. If you have a newer car, find out how to turn off On-Star and similar devices. Most of the time, civil unrest slows down just before dawn due to fatigue and hunger. Leave at that time, and travel by secondary roads until you reach your destination. Stay there until it is safe to return home.

Knowing the 6 ways to protect you and your family in a time of civil unrest could be the difference between life and death. Planning and testing each part of the emergency escape plan will give you practice and a chance to change things that do not work. The more you practice the better the plan will work when you need it.

Posted on Leave a comment

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

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

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

First determine your needs. What do you really need?

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

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


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

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

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

So, you ask yourself what you really truly need.

NEEDS: The “Holy Trinity” of survival.

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

    The Internet:

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

    Hi-Tech Off Grid Living

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

    Start a Home Based Business

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    You can do it.

Posted on Leave a comment

The Only 4 Things You Need to Survive in the Wild


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

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

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

You Only Need 4 Things to Survive in the Wild

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

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

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

1. Find Water

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

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

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

2. Make a Shelter

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

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


3. Stay Warm

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

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

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

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

4. Find Food

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

  • Wild animals
  • Wild plants
  • Insects and bugs

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

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

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

Check out our products that may help you with survival.

Posted on Leave a comment

Staying Safe in the Great Outdoors: Camping Safety


With 38 million Americans going camping in 2012 and travelling up to 200 miles away, on average, to their campsites*, having a plan and being prepared for a camping trip is a must.


So in honor of June being National Camping Month, we want to make sure every camping trip this summer goes as smoothly and safely as possible. Nate Williams, who studied outdoor leadership at Malone University in Canton, OH, has safety and preparedness tips for every stage of your camping trip.


Before you leave:


-check the weather conditions of where you’re going so you can pack the proper clothing


-have the right food and equipment packed


-make sure the medicine in your first aid kit isn’t expired


-be sure to address any concerns or medical conditions with the group you’re camping with, including food or insect allergies and pre-existing medical conditions


-create a risk management plan that includes a list of everybody going on the trip, their emergency contact information, emergency services you’ll need (ranger station, nearest hospital, etc.), the time you’re arriving at the campsite and where you’ll be in case people need to find you


Setting up your campsite:


-make sure there’s nothing hanging over your tent, like dead tree limbs, etc.


-be aware of where the potential water drainage is going so you don’t get washed out of your site


-store food either in a bear canister downwind from the campsite so the smell of it doesn’t go through your site and attract animals or in a bear bag that’s hanging at least 15 feet off the ground

Safety practices during your trip:


-constantly be aware of your surroundings, whether it’s trees, weather or other people


-make sure you have adequate footwear to protect yourself from foot and ankle injuries


-drink lots of water so you don’t become dehydrated

Equipment to always have:


-extra food


-rain gear and an extra layer of clothing in case the weather shifts


-a first aid kit to address any injuries


-a water filter so you always have water

Mr. Beams camping safety lighting:


-keep an UltraBright Lantern at your campsite and on hiking trips so if you’re out longer than expected or get lost at night, you won’t be wandering around in the dark



Posted on Leave a comment

Drinking sea water to survive?


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rain water


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

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

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

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

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


Saline and foul water

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Posted on Leave a comment

4 Reasons To Add a Pellet Air Gun To Your Survival Gun Arsenal

You read the heading correct – I said Pellet Gun. Yes, the kind powered by air – just 1 step above a BB gun. I own many guns of many calibers and styles for many different purposes. Among these is a good quality Pellet Air Gun and it’s not just because I still have it from when I was a kid. I INTENTIONALLY have added this gun to my survival rifle options for very specific reasons…which I have detailed below.  If you’ve never considered a Pellet Gun as a survival rifle option, you might change your mind after reading this post.

Next to my 12 Gauge Mossberg and my Ruger 10-22 sits a very cool and collected Benjamin Sheridan 392 .22 caliber Multi-Pump Pellet Gun and I treat it with the same respect as it is a very specialized soldier in my arsenal.

As a student and instructor of survival living, I take my gun choices very seriously and only add one to my cabinet if it deserves to be there.  Below are 4 reasons (in no particular order) why a Pellet Gun deserves to be including in your Survival Rifle selection:

Survival Reason # 1: Excellent Small Game Hunter

A pellet gun, especially .22 caliber, is an excellent weapon to take down small game.  While people have taken larger game such as wild boars with air guns, they are best suited for small game.  Hunting small game is perfect for any survivalist.  Rabbit, squirrel, dove, quail, duck and the like are excellent food sources and are readily available in most of the country.  With practice, hunting small game with a pellet gun is absolutely no problem.

small game

I have taken many small game animals with my .22 cal pellet gun.  It requires better stalking skills, but that is a good skill to learn anyway.  It requires better shooting skills, but that is also a good skill to hone in on.  Hunting with a pellet gun will force you to be a BETTER hunter and it will also put dinner on the table.

Survival Reason # 2: The AMMO

The Pellet Gun’s AMMO is one of the more convincing reasons to have one on hand.  Pellets, no matter the caliber, are very cheap.

You can buy 100s of pellets for just a few bucks.  Spend $50 and you’ve got enough to last a lifetime of small game hunting.  If all hell breaks loose, traditional ammunition will become increasingly difficult to get your hands on.  Not to mention that it will be ridiculously expensive.  If the world we live in ever gets this way, why waste your traditional ammo on hunting squirrel or other small game?  That would be wasteful and careless if there was a smarter way.  There is – PELLETS.


Not only are pellets DIRT CHEAP, they are very small.  You can carry 1000s and not even know they are there.  You can store 10s of 1000s in just 1 shoe box.  To top it off, pellets have a shelf life of pretty much FOREVER!  Traditional ammunition can go bad over time.  Especially with the talks of giving ammunition an expiration date, stocking a few 1000 pellets isn’t a bad idea.

Worse case scenario you could use all these extra pellets to reload your shot-gun shells.

Survival Reason # 3: Silent Shooter

Forget the earplugs.  These guns are silent.  In many survival scenarios, a silent weapon is a good thing.  Not only can you hunt without drawing attention to yourself or your family, but shooting a silent weapon often means you can get off more than 1 shot if there are multiple targets.  Both of these are positive.  People pay 1000s of $$$ to make their guns silent.  No extra charge for the pellet gun.

Survival Reason # 4: Powered By Air

You don’t have to buy air.  And, it’s never going to be out of stock.  For this reason, I prefer either a MULTI-PUMP or BREAK-BARREL Pellet Air Gun.  I have opted NOT to purchase a CO2 or pneumatic powered air gun.  Needing to refill canisters or tanks doesn’t make any sense in a survival situation.  You want to keep it as old fashioned as possible.  It’s hand pump all the way for this survivalist.

survival rifle

There are tons of options when it comes to Hand Pump or Break Barrel guns.  They both come in .177 and .22 calibers.  The fps varies depending on the gun.  My Multi-Pump Sheridan shoots 850 fps but there are models out there that shoot upwards of 1250 fps which rivals some rim-fire cartridges.  Like anything, the details are personal choices.  However, I definitely suggest a PUMP or BREAK-BARREL so that you can manually charge your air chamber rather than being dependent on other air supply products.

So there you have it, 4 solid reasons why I keep a Pellet Gun in my survival arsenal. Check out some of the air guns and ammo we have.

Posted on Leave a comment


Think fast: You’re stranded in the woods with darkness falling and no help in sight. Can you to get safety before the elements (or wild animals) get to you?


Survival Skill #1
Locating a Suitable Campsite
“You want to stay high and dry,” Stewart says. Avoid valleys and paths where water may flow toward you (flash floods get their name for a reason—they can deluge a low-lying area in minutes). Choose a campsite free from natural dangers like insect nests and widow-makers—dead branches that may crash down in the middle of the night—as well as falling rocks. Ideally, you want to be close to resources like running water, dry wood (from which you can assemble your shelter and build a fire) and rocky walls or formations that can shield you from the elements.



Survival Skill #2
Building a Shelter
Not surprisingly, hypothermia is the number one outdoor killer in cold weather. That means a well-insulated shelter should be your top priority in a prolonged survival situation. To make a simple lean-to, find a downed tree resting at an angle, or set a large branch securely against a standing tree, and stack smaller branches close together on one side. Layer debris, like leaves and moss, across the angled wall. Lastly, insulate yourself from the cold ground–which will draw heat from your warm body–by layering four to six inches of debris to lie on.

Survival Skill #3
Starting a Fire With a Battery
Any battery will do, says Stewart. “It’s about short-circuiting the battery.” Connect the negative and positive terminals with a wire, foil (like a gum wrapper), or steel wool to create a spark to drive onto your tinder bundle. Have your firewood ready.
Survival Skill #4
Building Your Fire
Stewart views fire building in terms of four key ingredients: tinder bundle of dry, fibrous material (cotton balls covered in Vaseline or lip balm are an excellent choice, if you’ve got them) and wood in three sizes—toothpick, Q-tip, and pencil. Use a forearm-sized log as a base and windscreen for your tinder. When the tinder is lit, stack the smaller kindling against the larger log, like a lean-to, to allow oxygen to pass through and feed the flames. Add larger kindling as the flame grows, until the fire is hot enough for bigger logs. Check out some of our fire starters.


Survival Skill #5
Finding clean water
“You’ll come across two kinds of water in the wild,” Stewart says. “Potable water that’s already purified, and water that can kill you.” When it comes to questionable water—essentially anything that’s been on the ground long-term, like puddles and streams—your best option is boiling water, which is 100 percent effective in killing pathogens. But sometimes boiling isn’t an option.

Rain, snow, and dew are reliable sources of clean water you can collect with surprising ease, and they don’t need to be purified. With a couple of bandannas, Stewart has collected two gallons of water in an hour by soaking up dew and ringing out the bandannas. You can also squeeze water from vines, thistles, and certain cacti. Are there any maple trees around? Cut a hole in the bark and let the watery syrup flow—nature’s energy drink.

Survival Skill #6
Collecting Water With a Transpiration Bag
Like humans, plants “sweat” throughout the day—it’s a process called transpiration. To take advantage of this clean, pure source of water, put a clear plastic bag over a leafy branch and tie it tightly closed. When you return later in the day, water will have condensed on the inside of the bag, ready to drink. Check out some of our products for collecting water.

Survival Skill #7
Identifying Edible Plants
There’s no need to go after big game in a survival situation, and chances are you’ll waste energy in a fruitless attempt to bring them down. “Make your living on the smalls,” Stewart says. That means eating edible plants (as well as small critters like fish, frogs, and lizards).Separating the plants you can eat from those that will kill you is a matter of study and memorization. Buy a book to familiarize yourself with plants in different environments. And don’t take any chances if you’re uncertain (remember how Chris McCandles died in the end of Into the Wild). A few common edible plants include cattail, lambsquarter (also called wild spinach), and dandelions. Find these and eat up.

Survival Skill #8
Using a Split-tip Gig to Catch Critters
Gigging (hunting with a multi-pronged spear) is the simplest way to catch anything from snakes to fish. Cut down a sapling of about an inch in diameter, and then split the fat end with a knife (or sharp rock) into four equal sections ten inches down. Push a stick between the tines to spread them apart, then sharpen the points. You’ve got an easy-to-use four-pronged spear. Much easier for catching critters than a single sharp point.

Survival Skill #9
Navigating By Day
If you ever find yourself without a GPS tool (or a simple map and compass) you can still use the sky to find your way. The most obvious method to get a general bearing by day is to look at the sun, which rises approximately in the east and sets approximately in the west anywhere in the world. But you can also use an analog watch to find the north-south line. Just hold the watch horizontally and point the hour hand at the sun. Imagine a line running exactly midway between the hour hand and 12 o’clock. This is the north-south line. On daylight savings? Draw the line between the hour hand and one o’clock.

Survival Skill #10
Navigating By Night
Find Polaris, or the North Star, which is the end of the Little Dipper’s handle. If you can find the Big Dipper, draw a line between the two stars at the outer edge of the constellation’s dipper portion. Extend this line toward the Little Dipper, and it will line up with Polaris. Face Polaris, and you’re facing true north. If there is a crescent moon in the sky, connect the horns of the crescent with an imaginary line. Extend this line to the horizon to indicate a southerly bearing. Once you determine your direction, pick a landmark nearby or in the distance to follow by daylight.


Survival Skill #11
Tying a Bowline
Knots come in handy for a slew of survival scenarios—tying snares, securing shelters, lowering equipment or yourself down a cliff face. Ideally, you should have an arsenal of knots, from hitches to bends to loops, in your repertoire. But if you learn only one, learn the bowline.

“It’s your number one, go-to rescue knot,” Stewart, who uses a mnemonic for every knot, says. It’s foolproof for fastening rope to an object via a loop, particularly when the rope will be loaded with weight: the harder you pull, the tighter the knot gets. Stewart’s mnemonic for tying the bowline from any angle is “the rabbit comes out of the hole, around the tree, and back in the hole.” Use this mnemonic, says Stewart, and “it doesn’t matter if you tie it spinning on your head. It’s going to come out right.”

Survival Skill #12
Sending Up a Survival Signal
At times—like when you have a debilitating injury—your only hope for getting saved is to maximize your visibility so rescuers can find you. Two methods, if used properly, will guarantee that, if someone’s looking, they’ll see you.The first is a signal fire—and the first rule is to put it out in the open for visibility. That means hilltops or clearings in a forest where nothing, like a cliff face or trees, will disperse the smoke. Create a platform to raise the base of the fire off the ground so moisture doesn’t saturate the wood. Save your absolute best combustible material for your signal fire to guarantee a quick light. Once the fire is lit, pile on green branches, like pine boughs in winter, to produce thick smoke. “It’s not about warmth, it’s about 15 seconds of smoke,” Stewart notes. “That’s about all you’ve got when you hear a plane before it’s out of sight.”

The second is a mirror signal. A flash from signal mirror—even at night, by moonlight—can be seen for miles, much farther than any flashlight. You don’t need a store-bought signal mirror to be effective. Improvise with any reflective surface you’ve got, from rearview mirrors or headlights to a cell phone screen. Aiming the reflection is the key, and it’s simple. Hold out a peace sign and place your target–be it plane or boat–between your fingers. Then flash the reflection back and forth across your fingers.

Posted on Leave a comment

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

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

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

biting ants

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

bluetooth mayans

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

metal in body

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


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

stainless steel

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


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


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

blood vessels

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

hip replacements

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


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


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


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

first lab organ

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

lab brain

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

So what next?

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

Posted on Leave a comment

Natural First Aid For Kids That Preppers Should Know


Do you have an alternative medicine cabinet ready for your kids? Would you be able to fix up their wounds and heal their common sicknesses if you couldn’t make it to the doctor?

If you have kids, this is an essential area for emergency preparedness. The day may come when you can’t just head to the store and pick up another bottle of acetaminophen.

You’ll have to have a plan in place, because kids get hurt frequently. They’re also prone to sickness. To help them feel better, there are plenty of natural remedies to use.

But first, let’s take care of some precautionary information:

A Child’s Dosage

Unlike those bottles at the pharmacy, natural remedies don’t always feature a dosage chart for children. Overdosing on any medication, even a natural one, can be dangerous. Don’t give your child an adult-sized dose.

Instead, you’ll need to calculate the percentage of the adult dose to give to your child. It’s based on age. Here’s a simple way to do the calculations using long division and multiplication:

  1. How old will your child be at his next birthday?
  2. Divide that number by 24.
  3. Round to the first decimal place
  4. Multiply that number by the adult dose.

Here’s an example:

  1. 7
  2. 7/24=.291
  3. .291 rounded to the first decimal place is .3
  4. That means a 7 year old would get 30% of an adult dose. If the adult dose was 5ml (1 tsp) this child would need 1.5ml.

The older your child is, the closer to an adult dose he’ll need. If you’re treating a baby and you’re breastfeeding, you can take the remedy yourself and pass it through your milk.

Storage of Natural Remedies

Light and heat should be kept away from your remedy supply. A dark glass bottle, stored in a cool part of the home is a great storage solution.

You’ll also want to make sure your remedies are inaccessible to children. If you don’t have a high shelf ready, consider using a lock-box. That way curious little hands can’t accidentally overdose.

Honey & Babies

Some of these remedies use honey. Honey isn’t appropriate to give to a child younger than a year old, so avoid these treatments with babies.


Natural First Aid for Children: Wound Care

Since they’re bodies are constantly growing and changing, children tend to be a bit clumsy. They bang into things and fall frequently. Bruises, cuts, and scrapes are common wounds you’ll have to tend.

With open wounds, infection is a primary concern. Keep the wound clean and dry. Bandages or strips of cloth help. Rather than using store-bought antibiotic ointment, try these natural alternatives before you cover the wound.

Witch Hazel

Take time to stock up on witch hazel. It’s typically found by the hydrogen peroxide and rubbing alcohol at the store. Store-bought witch hazel contains isoproply alcohol, helping it to clean wounds completely.

It also forms a protective barrier, which promotes healing. It will sting though, so you might want to warn your little one before you squirt it on.

Sage Honey

Raw honey has antibacterial properties. It’s beneficial all on its own, but when combined with sage and left to age, you’ll have an even stronger antibacterial ointment. This treatment is also simple to prepare, especially if you grow your own sage. It’ll also last in your cupboard for a long time.

To prepare the sage honey:

  • Take a small glass canning jar, and loosely add chopped sage leaves. You want to fill the jar, but not pack the leaves down.
  • Next, pour raw honey over the top. It’ll cover the leaves and fill up the jar completely.
  • Then, put a lid on the jar and leave it to rest. You’ll want it to sit at room temperature for at least 24 hours before you use it. Over time, it’ll become even stronger.

If desired, you can remove the leaves in 4 weeks. It’ll make it a bit easier to rub onto wounds, and a bit more child friendly.

Sage honey is easy to use, and safe for children. You just apply a small amount to the top of the wound.

Lavender Oil Rub

Lavender oil helps reduce pain and prevent infection, making it the perfect go-to flower for small cuts. If you already have essential oil, you’ll want to dilute it with a carrier oil. Olive oil and coconut oil both work well.

A ratio of 10 drops of essential oil to 1 ounce of carrier oil is appropriate. For children, it’s important to ensure essential oils are properly diluted before use. Never apply them full-strength.

To prepare the lavender oil rub:

  • Measure your carrier oil into a dark container.
  • Add your essential oil.
  • Mix thoroughly.

You can either rub a small amount of the lavender oil rub directly onto the wound, or you can soak a cloth in the prepared oil. You can then use the soaked cloth as a compress, wrapping it around the sore.

Plantain is common in many parts of the world. It’s also an astringent, which helps slow and stop bleeding. If you’re out in the woods and need an immediate remedy, chew on a few plantain leaves. Then, use those chewed leaves to cover the wound.

It’ll help the bleeding stop while you get back to the rest of your medical supplies. Teach your children to recognize this important plant, and how to chew it. If they’re on their own and injured, it’s a safe first-aid remedy they can use on their own.


Arnica helps reduce swelling. It’s a helpful herb for bruises and bumps. If you’re able to stock up on homeopathic arnica pellets, you’ll help get your natural first-aid kit ready. You can also create your own cream to use topically.

This is how to make an arnica cream:

  • After harvesting arnica, you’ll want to dry the plant completely.  Then, it’s time to turn it into an infused oil.
  • You’ll need a carrier oil to use for your base. Coconut oil, olive oil, and almond oil are common base oils.
  • Fill a clean jar loosely with chopped, dried arnica. Then, cover the arnica with carrier oil, and put a lid on the jar.
  • You’ll want this oil to sit in a warm, sunny spot for two weeks. After the time passes, strain out the arnica using cheese cloth. Throw out the used herbs.
  • Your oil isn’t yet ready to turn into cream. It needs another batch of dried arnica added. Just add it directly to the oil in the jar. Leave this covered for another two weeks, and then strain out the herbs for a second time.
  • Once you’ve finished the oil, you can measure it into a sauce pan. For every cup of oil, you’ll want to add ¼ cup of grated beeswax.
  • Heat this mixture over low heat until the beeswax completely melts. Take it off the heat, and transfer it to a small jar for storage.

Rub a small amount on bumps and bruises to promote healing.


Natural Remedies for Coughs & Colds & Earaches

In addition to bumps and bruises, children are prone to colds and upper respiratory infections. Ear infections are also common. There are natural remedies for all of these ailments.

Peppermint Tea

A cup of hot tea helps loosen congestion. The peppermint also contains menthol, which helps decongest the sinuses. If your child is too young for tea, simply smelling the steam from a cup of your tea will provide some relief.

Warm Honey Lemonade

Honey and lemon both help soothe the throat. This is an excellent treatment for a child with a cough.

This is how to prepare the honey lemonade:

  • Place ½ cup of honey and ½ cup of lemon juice in a saucepan, and gently stir as you warm over low heat.
  • Once the honey and lemon have completely combined, add ½ gallon of warm water.
  • Continue stirring until the lemonade is as warm as you’d like it to be. Then, remove from heat.

Encourage your child to drink a mug of the hot lemonade every few hours. Not only will this help with a cough, it’ll also keep your little one hydrated.


Garlic is a powerful medicinal herb with many health benefits. If your child is getting a cough or a cold, chop up a clove of garlic finely. Your child can either eat this plain, add it to a glass of water, or you can mix it with butter and spread it on toast. My kids prefer that method, as the butter and bread help cut some of the garlicy taste.


You can also make garlic oil that helps with earaches. Garlic oil doesn’t last long without refrigeration, which means you might not want to mix up large quantities all at once. The good news is it’s simple to prepare, so you can make a fresh batch each day you need it.

Here is how to make garlic oil.

  • Crush a clove of fresh garlic and add it to a saucepan with a couple tablespoons of olive oil.
  • Slowly heat the oil over low heat for twenty minutes.
  • Strain out the garlic.

Add 2-3 drops of oil to the hurting ear. You can repeat this treatment every few hours to provide maximum pain relief.

However, if your child has a perforated ear drum, this is not an appropriate treatment. If you aren’t sure if the ear drum has ruptured, use a garlic compress instead.

To make a garlic compress, soak a small piece of cloth in your garlic oil. Squeeze out the excess liquid before use. Have your child hold the garlic compress to her ear. This will provide relief, though not as quickly as the garlic oil.

In addition to earaches, you can also use a garlic compress on top of a wound to help prevent infection.

Do you heal your child naturally?

There are many other natural treatments for common ailments. Share your favorite natural remedies for kids with the rest of our readers in the comments below, and click on the banner for more knowledge about surviving where is no doctor around!


Posted on Leave a comment

DIY Survival Flare Grenade


Most survival kits do not include this item, but I personally think that it is important to have at least one of these. The reason being that if you hear a helicopter hovering above searching for you, you can then immediately light up one of these diy survival flare grenades to help them locate you.

It will only cost you about $2 to make one of these, and most of the materials can be found in any dollar store. You may want to try make a few of these varying the amounts of sparkles inside until you find the perfect quantities for your full impact grenade. You can also use these to light fires.

Here’s What You’ll Need:

  • sparkles
  • match box
  • plastic tube
  • electrical tape
  • striking matchbox surface
  • zip tie
  • steel wire
  • utility knife

Step By Step Instructions:

Step 1

Cut two holes opposite each other in the
top of the plastic tube using your knife.

Step 2

Lay a strip of electrical tape on a bench
place 5 match sticks with on it and a sparkle
on one end. Roll them together so that the
sparkle is in the middle of the match sticks.

Step 3.

Make a ring from the steel wire and then tape
the striking surface with the surface facing
inside onto the ring using the electric tape.

Step 4.

Tie the wrapped sparkler inside the striking
surface with a zip tie, make sure its below the
match heads before tightening it.

Step 5

Crush your sparkles and then pour them about
halfway into the plastic tube.

Step 6

Insert the igniter you made in Step 4 into the
sparkles in the tube and hold it in place with
two match sticks, through the holes in the top.

Step 7.

Take some paper and stuff it around the igniter
to increase the pressure in the grenade.

Step 8

Wrap the whole tube and the top, in more electric
tape so that it is completely covered with tape.

Your flare grenade is ready for action. To use it just pull the ring, that should light up the matches and ignite the sparkles causing a flare. Make sure you move a safe distance away from the grenade after you pull on the ring.

You can watch the video below on how to make a survival flare grenade…

Linked from:

Posted on Leave a comment

How to Survive a Riot: What to do if you find yourself in the Middle of a Riot

From the riots and looting in Baltimore and Ferguson, to the widespread chaos that’s sweeping throughout Europe and the Middle East, the world seems to have reached a boiling point where one little spark can cause things to go bad rather quickly.

Because this is one of the top threats we face, you need to have a plan in place to protect yourself and your loved ones from these types of events. As we’ve witnessed recently, these types of violent events can break out just about anywhere in the world, even in your once peaceful neighborhood.

Social Unrest is a real Threat

Civil disturbances are pretty common in areas of the world with histories of political instability, but up until recently, it wasn’t something that most Americans thought of. Unfortunately, we have reached a point in this country where the slightest perceived outrage can quickly devolve into a full blown riot.


Tensions throughout this country have been high for some time now; between local police forces that look like mini-military units, and groups of violent criminals looking to spread their chaos through fake street demonstrations, these types of events are becoming far too common.

Some things to consider:

  • These events can happen anywhere; you must be prepared.
  • Situational Awareness and staying informed are both extremely important to avoiding problems.
  • While some riots are unpredictable, most can be seen coming and will offer signs of impending danger. Street demonstrations, high-profile political rallies, and pending legal decisions on controversial cases are things you should keep an eye on.

So what should you do if you find yourself in the middle of a full-blown riot?

The first thing that you want to do is quickly assess the situation. These types of events can break out quickly, and over the last couple of years violent flash mobs have even started targeting malls, grocery stores, and places where you would never expect a riot to break out.

  • Are you in immediate danger?
  • Where are the quickest routes of escape?
  • Is this beginning of something larger?

After assessing the situation, I advise you take the following steps:

If you have an easy way out, take it now

The last thing you want to do is get caught up in the middle of the storm. If you are near an escape route, get out as fast as possible. Also, keep in mind law enforcement has no idea if you are part of the threat, so be careful when approaching police officers.

Become a Grey Man: Look like part of the crowd

If you were not able to make a quick exit, the first thing you want to do is look like you are part of the crowd — something known as becoming a “grey man”.

Don’t do anything stupid that’s going to get you arrested, but you want to look like you are part of the crowd. Now is not the time to voice your opinion, or prove some political point. If someone tries engaging you in conversation, mirror what they are saying and let them think you are on their side.

By blending into the chaos, and not drawing direct attention to yourself, you’re less likely to become a target. Just remember, you are only doing this until you find a safe route out.

Avoid All Law Enforcement

Although this may seem counter-intuitive, you are going to want to avoid law enforcement. The police have absolutely no way of knowing whether you’re a threat or someone who just got caught up in the chaos.

Once the riot police show up, you need to realize that in their eyes you are probably a threat. Once things go bad, you could be hurt by either side so you need to put space in between yourself and the police line and realize that going towards the police is probably not the best escape plan.

Be aware and ready for an attack

Watch your surroundings and be ready for an attack. Watching the crowd’s body language can help you decide what your next move should be. Scan your surroundings and find the best route of escape. Read our article on defending yourself from multiple attackers.

Don’t get caught up in the chaos

How many times have you been stuck in traffic, only to find out the crash was on the other side? We see it every day, for some reason, people are drawn towards disasters. It’s human nature to want to look at the accident.

Don’t make that mistake during a riot situation. I don’t care how safe or protected you think you are when things start going bad your first priority is to make your way to safety. If you’re that curious about what happened you can watch the action on the evening news.

Go with the flow

Think of the crowd as a large raging river. The best way to get out of a river is to swim with the current and slowly make your way to the edge. The same is true when stuck in the middle of a crowd.

Don’t try to cut through the crowd, as this could cause unwanted attention. Instead, go with the flow of the crowd and work your way to the edge. Then quietly and slowly slip away to safety — avoid running as it will attract unwanted attention from the crowd and the police who could see you as a threat.

A thought on using your firearm or a weapon: I think always being armed is a good thing, but pulling a gun out in the middle of a riot might not be the smartest idea. Unless you’re physically being attacked, it’s better to slip away unnoticed. Don’t try to scare the crowd away you’re your gun. That being said, if you are being physically attacked or threatened with attack all rules are out the window.

Posted on Leave a comment

Survival Gear For The Avid Hiker

So you want to go hiking…what do you do?

Just pack up a bag with some water and food, then you’re good to go?
Completely wrong!

Survival gear is necessary to go on a safe and fun backpacking adventure.

Can you imagine going out on a trail or even off trail, something terrible happening, and you don’t have any survival gear with you?

More than likely you will not have cell phone service, so there won’t be a way to contact anyone for help!

This is where that essential gear comes into play. You want to be prepared in all situations.

The typical hiker pretty much has the same list of items that are important to have on you first and foremost.

Stay with me and I’ll guide you through the most important items to pack up in that backpack!



Always bring along plenty of food with you.

Most experienced hikers recommend bringing at least an extra day’s worth of food.
This can be in the form of dehydrated foods, freeze dried foods, protein bars, canned foods, etc.

Keep in mind that you do have to carry everything that you bring, so be mindful of how heavy the food is.
This is why most backpackers bring the freeze dried and dehydrated foods; it is very light weight.



Bring your water bottles full of water, but not too much!
Water is heavy but essential.

More than likely, you’ll start out with a couple bottles of water and then you’ll have some way to filter water along the way.

This can be in the form of boiling water to drink, using specific tablets to make the water safe, or even purchasing a small pump water filter that way you can filter any water along the way and bring it along with you!



There are a number of ways to create your own shelter while hiking.

The most popular is a small tent.
(Remember, you’ll be carrying this, so don’t go out and get a huge tent. There are small hiking specific tents that are light weight)

Another option is a tarp that you will be able to hang over some cording and just do a makeshift shelter to protect you from any rain.

Lastly, a newly popular option are the camping hammocks that roll up to be small and fit right in your bag.

Most of these camping hammocks come with a rain guard or you can get one, that goes over the top of the hammock to protect you from rain and other elements.


You may not think is very important, but the type of clothing you bring or pack is extremely important.


It is important to wear/bring synthetic clothing. Not only does it breathe and wick away moisture, but it has a quick drying time.

If you’re sweating during the day and your clothes do not have enough time to dry, when nighttime comes and it gets cool outside, it is dangerous for your survival to be cold and wet.

The different types and pieces of clothing that are good for hiking could be a whole write up in itself.

If you’re really serious about hiking, you’ll want to research more on the weather you’ll be dealing with and what clothes should be worn.



There are no streetlights in the mountains, desert, or wherever you’ll be hiking.

Bring flashlights, headlamps or any light source you prefer!

Just be sure to bring extra batteries to power up your source of light!


First Aid:

Bring a thorough first aid kit and don’t skimp on this!

You never know when this may come in handy.

A Way to Navigate:
The best forms of navigation to have and to learn are a compass and a map.

This could also be in the form of a handheld GPS (Don’t rely on your phone)

Heat Source:

Have a way to build a fire!

Bring along matches and/or a lighter. (I’d recommend bringing both, just in case)

For those who are really into survival, you can get a fire starter for those emergency moments.

Not only is fire essential for nighttime, but it can also deter animals, be used to cook your food, boil water, and provide warmth for cooler nights.


The type of tools you bring are really your preference, but I’d recommend a multi tool and definitely a knife of some sort.
Having a repair kit for your gear could be handy too in case something breaks, you get a tear in your tent, etc.

Protection From The Sun:

Can’t stress this one enough! Bring your sunscreen!

Getting completely burnt on the first day of a hike can ruin the whole trip!

You’ll also want to bring your sunglasses or a hat for extra protection.

As you can see, packing up for a big or small hiking trip is not as simple as bringing some food and water.
It is my hope that this list of survival gear sheds some light on what all you should be packing up in that bag.

Maybe you thought of some of these or maybe some of these were a complete shock to you, but we urge you to get all of these before you set foot on the trails.

Keep in mind, there are SO many other different items that are very important to bring along with you on a hike, but we wanted to cover the items that you definitely can’t go without!

Survival gear is not just for crazy natural disaster emergencies…even a fun activity such as hiking requires gear to ensure your safety!

Pack up and hit the trails now that you’ve got your top essentials!
Safe is fun!

Posted on Leave a comment

Favorite Thermal Layer & Shell Combinations For The Woods


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

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

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

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

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

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

I should point out these are favorite combinations of mine.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Clothing Combinations Greater Than The Sum Of The Parts

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

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

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

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

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

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

Protective Combo 1

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

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

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

Protective Combo 2

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

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

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

Protective Combo 3

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

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

Longevity And Value

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

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


Posted on Leave a comment

Feeding Babies In Times Of Trouble


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

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

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

Preparedness and Breastfeeding

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

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

Milk Donation for Feeding Babies

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

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

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

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

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

For Formula-Fed Babies

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

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

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

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

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

Linked from: