Posted on Leave a comment

10 Tips for Preppers to Prepare for SHTF Situations

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

Here are 10 ideas that can help get you started:

1. Threat Assessment

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

2. Planning for the most likely SHTF Scenarios.

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

3. SWOT Analysis

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

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

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

5. Get in Shape NOW

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

6. Train with Repetition

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

7. Train Your Mind

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

8. Survival Intelligence – Power of Information

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

9. Be Prepared to Bug Out

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

10. Bugging out with Kids

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

 

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

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

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

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

IDENTIFY The Threats

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

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

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

ASSESS The Threats

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

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

MANAGE The Threats

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

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

 

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

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

Preparing for a Job Loss

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

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

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

Preparing for Floods & Fires

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

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

Preparing for Natural Disasters

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

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

Preparing for an Economic Collapse

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

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

Preparing for The Dangers in your Neighborhood

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

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

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

 

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

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

SWOT: STRENGTHS

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

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

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

SWOT: WEAKNESSES

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

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

SWOT: OPPORTUNITIES

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

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

SWOT: THREATS

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

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

THE NEXT STEP…

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

5 Ideas for Living Debt Free:

Establish a Budget

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

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

Use the Envelope Budgeting System:

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

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

The Debt Snowball:

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

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

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

Stop going in debt by maintaining a high credit score.

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

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

Make More Money

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

Inconstancy, laziness and a lack of motivation.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

Want to ensure your survival?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Survival Intelligence – Gathering Intel During a Disaster

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

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

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

Preparedness Intel: Survival Information Resources

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Are you actually prepared to Bug Out?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

What Items should go into a kids bug out bag:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted on Leave a comment

Back to Basics: 5 Ways To Make Toothpaste At Home

maxresdefault

You grow your own food, you use coconut oil for moisturizer, and you clean your house with vinegar and maybe lemon oil. Why? You probably do it for a number of reasons. You want to be self-sufficient, you don’t want to eat or clean with toxic chemicals, and you want to save some money and preserve the environment.

Then why on Earth are you still brushing your teeth with a product that’s packed with so many questionable ingredients? Why not make your own toothpaste at home?

As preppers, another valuable reason to know how to make your own toothpaste is that it’s going to be a valuable trading commodity if SHTF and causes a major disruption in commerce for an extended period of time. Most people don’t have more than one backup tube of toothpaste, and it’s one of those items that most folks won’t think to include in a bug-out bag, so the demand will be there.

I personally have learned how to make several different hygiene products including soap and perfume, but toothpaste is by far one of the easiest. It doesn’t require any cooking and the ingredients are common and easy to come by; chances are good that you have the basics in your house right now.

In addition to self-sufficiency, making your own toothpaste is a good idea because commercial toothpaste has several ingredients that may not be so good for you.

4 Reasons to Avoid Commercial Toothpaste

Fluoride

Nearly all commercial toothpastes contain fluoride, a mineral that the government started putting in our water in the 60’s. Fluoride is purported to be good for the enamel on your teeth and is currently a topic of hot debate in the medical community because of links to cancer. Though there are studies that support both sides, I choose to avoid it.

Glycerin

Again, this is an ingredient that is purported to be benign but there is data to support that it may leave a film on your teeth that can prevent your teeth from absorbing the minerals they need to  stay healthy. Since removing that type of film is kind of the point of brushing your teeth, I’ll pass.

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate

This is a surfactant, which basically means that it’s a soap that’s added to toothpaste to clean your teeth and make the toothpaste foam. Though it’s been deemed safe by the FDA, it has been shown to aggravate existing canker sores and may actually cause them, though the research about that is unclear. Either way, it’s something that I just don’t want in my toothpaste, and you won’t find it in any of these recipes.

Artificial Colors and Flavors

In its natural state, toothpaste isn’t gleaming white or sparkly blue and it doesn’t taste sweet. Commercial toothpastes add artificial colors and flavors to their product to get these results. Since many artificial colors and sweeteners have been linked to cancer, many people have cut them out of their diets.

Sure, you don’t eat toothpaste, but you typically swallow at least a bit of it, and small kids swallow even more. None of these recipes have artificial colors or flavors. You can add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to add flavor, along with a few drops of liquid stevia to add sweetness if you’d like.

What You Need for Making Toothpaste

Finally, if SHTF, commercial toothpaste may not be an option and you’ll certainly want to be self-sufficient enough to be able to maintain dental hygiene. The most basic of these recipes requires household ingredients that you’ll likely have around anyway, as you’ll be using them for purposes other than just brushing your teeth.

As preppers, we all love multi-purpose items, and these fall distinctly into that category.

Baking Soda

Most of these recipes contain baking soda because that’s the traditional base for toothpastes. It’s long been known for its ability to destroy odors (thus why we use it in the refrigerator and in laundry) and it’s abrasive enough to scrub the plaque and stains off of your teeth.

It’s also alkaline so it neutralizes acids in your mouth that can cause bad breath, tooth decay, and gum disease. Many worry that this abrasive quality may also wear down the enamel on your teeth. The abrasive rating of baking soda on the Relative Dentin Abrasively scale is less than that of commercial toothpaste.

Sea Salt

Many people add sea salt to their toothpaste because it has trace minerals and it’s also an abrasive that will help scrub stains off of your teeth. Salt may also have some antibacterial properties that will help eliminate the bacteria that cause bad breath.

Bentonite Clay

This natural clay acts as a natural mild abrasive and also delivers trace minerals that can help re-mineralize your teeth. When using bentonite clay, don’t use metal containers or utensils because, when moistened, the clay builds an electrical charge and opens up like a sponge to absorb toxins. Metal disrupts this process.

There is some concern that bentonite contains trace amounts of lead, which is true, but according to the research that I found, the lead is already strongly bonded to the other minerals in the clay, and thus won’t stay in your body. Instead, it will be swept out of your body along with other toxins and waste.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is being used more and more as a base for homemade toothpaste because of its antibacterial qualities. It comes either refined or unrefined. The unrefined tastes like coconut and the refined is flavorless.

Natural Sweeteners

We’re programmed to think that toothpaste is supposed to be sweet so many of us, especially kids, like to add some sweetener to the homemade versions. There are two good options and both come in liquid forms.

  • Stevia is derived from a plant and has been shown in some studies to inhibit the growth of bacteria that cause tooth decay and gum disease.
  • Xylitol is a sugar alcohol that helps prevent tooth decays and also helps re-mineralize enamel.

Since bacteria don’t feed on xylitol, it doesn’t cause tooth decay. If you’re going to use this, be sure to keep it away from pets because it can be toxic to them.

Essential oils

There are many different essential oils that you can use in your toothpaste to kill germs that can cause cavities and bad breath. Some of them taste great and some of them, not so much. However, some of the ones that taste the worst (tea tree oil, neem oil, eucalyptus oil) are some of the most powerful. It’s a tradeoff: taste for effectiveness. Still, there are good-tasting oils that are also extremely effective for day-to-day purposes.

Clove oil, in particular, has been used for centuries as a cure for toothaches by the old timers and is actually approved by the Dental Association for that purpose. Here are some essential oils and the benefits that push them to the top of the list. Remember that essential oils are extremely concentrated and too much of a good thing isn’t always a better thing. Oils often need to be diluted before use so educate yourself on the oil before you use it.

This list is just a guide to get you started; how much of each oil to use is outside the scope of this article. Most of the recipes below recommend adding a few drops of the essential oil to the toothpaste but some of them, such as clove oil, can be applied straight to a sore tooth. Others can be irritating if used at full strength.

  • Tea Tree, Neem, Eucalyptus, Ginger, Myrrh, Lemon, Orange, Clove, Cinnamon, Lemon, Rosemary, Oregano Oils – antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, analgesic
  • Peppermint – antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, analgesic and great tasting.

5 Ways to Make Toothpaste

You can use these in combination if you’d like in order to find a taste that you like. Peppermint and cinnamon are, of course, two favorites because those are standard flavors for commercial toothpaste. To use these toothpastes, just dip or apply a pea-sized amount to your toothbrush.

Recipe 1 – Basic Baking Soda Toothpaste

  • 1/4 cup baking soda
  • 1/8 cup sea salt (optional)
  • 10 drops peppermint or cinnamon oil (optional)
  • 1/4 cup filtered water

Combine baking soda and sea salt. Add essential oil then add enough water to reach a paste consistency. Store in an airtight container.

Recipe 2 – Coconut Oil/Bentonite Clay Toothpaste

This homemade toothpaste looks a bit funky but it has great ingredients that offer a diverse array of benefits for your mouth and teeth.

  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup bentonite clay
  • 3 tbsp. filtered water
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 10-20 drops peppermint oil or oil of your choice
  • 4 or 5 drops stevia or xylitol (optional)

Combine coconut oil, clay and salt. Add water until it reaches a paste consistency then stir in the oil and sweetener. Store in an airtight, non-metal container away from light.

Recipe 3 – Coconut Oil/Baking Soda Toothpaste

This version of homemade toothpaste is a bit less gritty than standard baking soda toothpaste. The coconut oil may take a bit of getting used to texturally but in the long run, it’s a good option.

  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup baking soda
  • 10-20 drops essential oils
  • 5 drops stevia or xylitol (optional)

Stir baking soda into coconut oil, then add essential oil and sweetener.

Recipe 4 – Whitening and Re-mineralizing Toothpaste

One of the reasons why your teeth decay is because the minerals in your enamel are depleted. Dentists don’t typically think that replacing these minerals was possible but there is research that suggests that it is. A big part of the process is diet but toothpaste may play a role, too.

  • 1/4 cup bentonite clay
  • 2 tbsp. calcium powder
  • 3 tbsp. coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 10-20 drops essential oil
  • 5 drops of sweetener, or to taste
  • 1/2 cup filtered water

Stir together all of the dry ingredients. Add the coconut oil, the essential oil and the sweetener, then stir in just enough water to make the concoction a paste. Store in an airtight container. Opaque is best, or store it in a dark place to preserve the essential oil. If you’re worried about it being too salty, add the salt a bit at a time.

Recipe 5 – Squeezable Toothpaste

This is a cool combination because most of us think of toothpaste as coming in a tube. In addition, dipping into your toothpaste may be a bit messy, especially if you have kids. It can also be tough to travel with. This recipe makes a paste that goes right into BPA-free squeezable bottles and has the perfect consistency for squeezing out.

  • 3 tbsp. bentonite clay
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tbsp. coconut oil
  • 20 drops essential oil
  • 5 drops sweetener, or to taste
  • 3 tbsp. filtered water

Combine dry ingredients then add coconut oil, essential oil and sweetener. Stir in water 1 tbsp. at a time – it should be exactly enough to make it into a squeezable paste but if it gets to that consistency before you use all the water, stop adding.

There you have it – some great recipes for DIY homemade toothpaste that are free of chemicals and are easy to make. If your coconut oil is particularly hard, you may want to melt it a bit before you mix your paste. Since the melting point of coconut oil is 76 degrees F, mine tends to have a texture similar to room-temperature butter but I know that some are much more solid than that.

For containers, just do a search for BPA-free squeeze tubes.

Now that you have some recipes to start with, go crazy, try them, and tell us about it in the comments section below! And click on the banner below to discover more ancient ways of living!

Posted on Leave a comment

Learn How To Wash Clothes During An Emergency

wash-during-emergency

Are you ready to learn how to wash clothes during an emergency? Remember the month of September is National Emergency Preparedness month. Today I am going to show you my new and improved portable emergency washing machine. Well, it’s actually two buckets that fit inside of each other with one new change to my original style. Yesterday I shared my laundry detergent recipe.

Clean Underwear

Here’s the deal, I could go a few days and not wash my shirt or pants. Its the underwear. Yep, lets just say it how it is. We all want to wear clean underwear. Its no secret. I remember growing up and my grandmother would always shout “be sure and wear clean underwear” if we were getting ready to go somewhere. Heaven forbid the you’re in a car accident and you end up in the hospital wearing dirty underwear. Enough said, this little washer bucket set can wash clothes very well. Oh, we could only wash clothes a little at a time but that beats bending over the bathtub.

No Laundromats To Wash Clothes

If we had an unforeseen emergency the local laundromats will more than likely not be working, unless the power outage is confined to a very small area of our city or county. Another reason we need to keep up on our laundry, it’s hard when life gets hectic and we are running kids to ball games or lessons. I did learn something from one of my daughters about our washing machines. She tried washing her clothes in the short cycle. Its like 26 minutes. Hmmmm. Why didn’t I think of that? I would use less water and my clothes would be done in half the time. Keep in mind we do not have anyone in our family at the moment that has a large amount of grease coming from work. Therefore the 26 minutes works great.

Two Six Gallon Buckets

You will need two six gallon buckets, the five gallon buckets are just not big enough. I use Gamma Lids for the top because it holds the plunger in place. Yes, I am colored coded with my Gamma Lids. The color green is for the laundry. I had a friend drill the two inch holes in the Gamma Lids a few months ago.

wash-during-emergency2

Drill Four Holes

Here, my husband is drilling the four holes in the top bucket. This is my new technique to give the emergency washing machine a little more friction with the water going up and down with the plunger. There is about a three-inch area to give the water to swish around a little more when wewash clothes. Plus, this added feature will be great when we need to rinse clothes as well. I have two set of these, one for washing and one for rinsing. The four holes drilled inside the inner bucket will let the soapy water drain from the clothes after washing them. You will then put the soapy clothes into the second set of my washing machine design and “plunge” the soapy clothes in the fresh water to “plunge” and rinse the soapy water out of the clothes. Now the clothes are ready to hang on a clothesline, clothes rack or a fence.

wash-during-emergency3

The Blue Washer Plunger To Wash Clothes

Here is the washer plunger. It is totally different than the usual toilet plunger. It has four parts as shown and can really move the water around in the buckets.

wash-during-emergency-4

Easy To Store & Ready To Use

Here I am assembling the washing machine for storage until needed. I place paper towels between the buckets because they are so hard to get apart when they have been sitting in the heat in my garage for an extended amount of time.

wash-during-emergency-5

If you have this ready to use you will be ready for the unexpected emergency or disaster. All you need is water, about 1/4 teaspoon of my homemade laundry detergent to wash and rinse clothes. I hope I never have to use this, but I am at peace knowing I have this ready to go. Just add water, detergent and clothes. Woohoo!

There is one more item I want to mention. Do you have a clothesline or a way to hang up your clothes after washing and rinsing them? I found a clothesline about a year ago from Earth Easy.  I had been looking for one just like this one. I can fold it up and put it away, or leave it out all the time. It has a bag to store it in as well. Are you ready to wash clothes during an emergency?

Posted on Leave a comment

Making Your Bug Out Vehicle Bug Out Worthy

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

Best Bug Out Vehicle Lighting Upgrades

bug-out-vehicle-bag

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

Make Your Bug Out Vehicle Tough

bug-out-vehicle-bag-2

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

Making Your Bug Out Vehicle Do The Work

bug-out-vehicle-bag-3

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

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

Posted on Leave a comment

What is a Comprehensive Wilderness Survival Kit and Why Should You Have One?

We all carry survival kits whether we realize it or not. The contents of a man’s pockets or those of a woman’s purse are nothing more than survival kits for a populated technological society. You have all the things you’ll likely need to fill your needs throughout your day. Keys, cash, identification, credit cards, membership cards and other items all serve to fill your needs as they arise. Luckily for us, most of our human needs are filled by technology and the remainder can be filled as you go with cash or credit.

So how does a ‘wilderness survival kit’ differ from the items we carry every day? In a wilderness setting, we don’t have quick access to emergency medical care. We don’t have a roof over our head or a climate controlled environment. We don’t have sinks and water fountains bubbling with potable water or edible food everywhere we look. Therefore, we’ll need to carry most or all of these things with us. The ‘best’ wilderness survival kit is probably a backpack full of quality camping gear. However, most of us aren’t willing to carry that load when day hiking, mountain biking, snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, riding ATV’s, hunting, horseback riding or any of the myriad other activities that carry us away from civilization.

The goal of a practical wilderness survival kit is therefore to address as many of our needs as possible and to do it in a format that we don’t mind carrying on our person while conducting outdoor activities. For some, this might be a small tin carried in a pocket, but these micro-kits don’t really address a lot of the most critical needs. For me, a belt pouch based kit is unobtrusive enough that I’m likely to carry it during outdoor activities. It is also big enough to really address human needs in the wild. I have several types of kits that I carry. Some are rudimentary, while some are very comprehensive. It really depends on where I’m headed. All of them are simple belt pouch based kits.

compresive-wilderness

At this point, let’s define what your critical needs really are and why. The easiest way to do this (and to prioritize the order in which you should address them) is by using a simple maxim known as the “rule of threes”.

The rule of threes says:

  •    It takes as little as 3 minutes to die of severe injury.
  •    It takes as little as 3 hours to die of exposure.
  •    It takes as little as 3 days to die of thirst.
  •    It takes at least 3 weeks to die of hunger.

Your very first priority in a survival situation is to address immediate first aid needs. If you or a companion cannot breathe, or are bleeding profusely, death can come in as little as three minutes. You aren’t likely to carry a comprehensive medical kit everywhere you go, but a wilderness survival kit should have at least the basics of first aid such as bandages and the ability to make a tourniquet. If you travel far and wide on a regular basis, it’s a very good idea to learn the basics of first aid (establishing an airway, dealing with profuse bleeding, CPR, etc).

Next, we have to deal with the number one killer in wilderness survival situations: exposure. When people become lost, stuck or injured in wilderness settings, they might have been well dressed for a leisurely day in the woods, but when night falls or unexpected weather blows in, they find themselves in a very dangerous situation.

Television shows about survival like to show people building rudimentary brush shelters and other forms of shelter using materials at hand. However, building a weatherproof shelter from scratch is incredibly time consuming. It takes 18-24 inches of brush overhead to effectively shed rain. This means it might take many hours (and a lot of energy) to build a decent shelter. If you’re lost, night is fast approaching and a freezing rain starts to fall, you don’t have that many hours!

This is why my survival kits include a tarp made of very thin plastic. This can be draped over a line strung between trees to form a small tent or simply draped over a bush in a pinch. That means that you can erect a waterproof, windproof shelter in minutes, not hours!  As mentioned, it’s incredibly thin plastic, so I can fold a 9′ by 6′ tarp into a packet about half the size of a deck of cards.

Beyond simple shelter, you’ll likely need a fire. Those same survival shows often portray various methods of primitive fire starting (bow drills, hand drills, ploughs, etc). However, if the weather has come in hard and things are becoming ‘wet ‘n’ wild’, you’re NOT going to get a fire going using primitive methods. These may be fun skills to practice as an educational exercise in your back yard, but relying on these methods to make fire in an actual emergency is stupid and it’s a great way to wind up dead.

A good survival kit should have multiple means to quickly build a fire. There should be a lighter, not matches. There should be easily-lit tinder that burns for a long time. In essence, if you can’t use a kit’s fire starting materials when it’s cold, wet and windy, it’s a useless kit!

Once you’re settled into a shelter and have a sustainable fire going, you’re going to eventually need water. In a desert environment, death from dehydration can come in a few days. In most environments, it takes nearly a week. Again, you don’t want to rely on a single source or method here. A good kit should have multiple means of gathering water, and multiple means of purifying it for drinking. My kits are packed in metal cook pots which can be used for boiling water. They also contain a water purification kit that can treat many gallons of water even if you can’t boil it. Finally, they have re-sealable water bags to transport water should you need to bring it with you.

We will come to food procurement, but there’s something else that falls outside the rule of threes. It’s not really a survival ‘need’, and doesn’t fit neatly into the rule, but it is at least as important. This is signaling. If you’ve been a responsible adult when it comes to your outdoor activities, you’ve informed responsible people of exactly where you were headed, and exactly when you should return. This means there will be people looking for you!

Signaling means making your profile in the woods into something bigger, louder, brighter, and the more obnoxious the better! A good survival kit contains whistles, flashlights, strobe markers, bright and/or reflective items, mirrors, etc. If you were smart and told people where you were going, your survival situation will likely last a matter of hours, or maybe an uncomfortable overnight stay before you are found.

Forget about the survival shows on television where they portray wilderness survival as some kind of bug-eating contest. As I’ve pointed out, food is really your last priority. You’d have had to really screw up to be in any real danger of starvation. For most of us, skipping a few meals might not be a bad thing when all is said and done! I make this the last priority when constructing a wilderness kit. I have some fish hooks and line, some snare wire and some slingshot bands that can be used to quickly construct a variety of small game hunting tools (you can make a slingshot, a propelled fishing spear, or use as the ‘spring’ for a trap/snare). Some kits even contain a spearhead that can be quickly and securely mounted on a shaft and used for fishing and/or small to mid sized game.

compresive-wilderness-2

In conclusion, I hope I’ve imparted some common sense into this subject. That means informing folks of your intentions. It means having at least a basic fundamental understanding of wilderness survival and how to prioritize and fulfill your needs should you find yourself in trouble. Finally, it means maintaining at least a basic level of preparedness when heading into untamed regions. When buying or building your own kit, make sure it fills your needs and that it’s something you’ll actually carry. As with other essential day to day ‘carry’ items… it’s better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it!

Posted on Leave a comment

30 Uses For Trash Bags In Your Bug Out Bag

Deciding how to spend available funds in the preparedness budget is not any easy task. Multi-use items are always a favorite of wallet-conscious preppers. Trash bags, even the brand-name sturdy ones definitely fall within the “reasonably priced” category, but when we look past the obvious uses for the plastic bags, they become an even more advantageous contribution to our preps.

Trash bags are one of the most economical prepper “to do” list finds and literally dozens of potential disaster uses. In addition to being easy on the budget, trash bags are lightweight yet durable and take up very little space in bugout bags, INCH bags, and get home bags.

uses-for-trash-bags

Top 30 Uses For Trash Bags

  1. Put in bug out or get home bag to use as a poncho. Simply cut or carefully tear a hold for the head and even the arms, and one poncho is coming right up.
  2. Packing a tent or tarp for an emergency shelter is of course optimal — but such items take up a lot of space and are heavier as well. Even a one-person tent will not fit in a child’s backpack, but a trash bag and some duct tape surely will.
  3. Trash bags are also useful in keeping your shoes and feet dry. Open a trash bag, step inside and tie or secure with duct tape and keep rain and snow at bay. Storing several trash bags for emergency booties and a poncho inside a get home bag or bugout bag takes up very little space and adds virtually no weight to the pack.
  4. Keep your spare socks, change of clothes, and blankets dry with trash bags. The bags used to store these items can be turned into a poncho, bootie, or emergency shelter in mere minutes.
  5. During either a short or long-term disaster, trash bags can be used to safely store waste when commodes are not working. The bags work equally well for sharps and bloody cloth or bandages used to treat wounded. Preventing the spread of disease becomes even more important during a teotwawki scenario.
  6. Keep the rain off or your head with a makeshift trash bag hat.
  7. Make a fly screen for the front of your shelter with a trash bag — or two. Cut the trash bag into a sheet type form and then cut slits within a few inches of the top of the bag and you have a protective screen to keep the bugs away.
  8. Trash bags also make great ground cover. If you are using a tarp, or another trash bag for a shelter, placing another plastic bag onto the ground will prevent dampness from impacting your clothing. The trash bag also offers another layer between you at bugs which will come out of the ground seeking a food during the evening and early-morning hours.
  9. Although not exactly soft, trash bags can be used like thermal underwear under your clothing. Tape or tie piece of the bag around your legs, arms, and stomach beneath your clothing to prevent body heat from escaping quite so easily.
  10. Sure, they will be a bit flimsy and perhaps messy, but trash bags can be used to mix food or drink ingredients.
  11. Trash bags have also been successfully used as part of a solar water still.
  12. Although this is not US Coast Guard approved, some folks have reported success with trash bag life jackets — it is at least worth a shot during an emergency. Tie the ends of the trash bag together and blow air into it to inflate, then secure the open ends together as well. Tape or tie the back into a life jacket shape and use it to help keep your, your pets, or your get home bag afloat.
  13. Trash bags can also be used to store and transport food.
  14. Give your head a somewhat soft place to rest during an overnight hike home by inflating a trash bag and using it as a pillow.
  15. Trash bags can also be used as an emergency water container. The bags will hold a decent amount of weight, but will need to be carried carefully so the plastic does not tear and the water spill out onto the ground.
  16. Keep your sleeping bag and yourself dry and a little warmer by using a trash bag as a cover. To stay extra dry, slip into a sleeping bag like you would a potato sack for a race before getting into the sleeping bag as well.
  17. Mylar emergency blankets are inexpensive, lightweight, and take up little space, but trash bags can be used as a good substitute if more injured than expected need to be protected from the elements or shock.
  18. Trash bags can be hooked onto branches, or taped into place, to make a temporary sun shade. After taking the hiking break, carefully fold the trash bag into a small square so it can be used again during the next break period.
  19. Trash bags can also be used as a pressure bandage or a triangle bandage. The bags can also simply be used to cover a traditional bandage to help protect the wound from exposure to dirt or the bandage from exposure to the rain.
  20. Tie a splint with a trash bag, double the bag or tape two together to make a sturdier splint.
  21. In addition to being used as a makeshift water carrier, trash bags can also be used as a catch basin for water. Tie the bag to something mildly sturdy in an area exposed to the sky, or line a bucket or similar item with the bag, and capture enough water to keep yourself hydrated.
  22. Trash bags can also be used as patching for leads in other food and water containers. The plastic bags can be taped to cover worn spots or tears in bug out or get home bags too.
  23. Use trash bags to signal help. Tie or secure a white trash bag to a rock in a visible spot to let others know where you are. It is always a good idea to carry a permanent marker and spray paint to write messages.
  24. Trash bags can be used as plates. Find the most smooth and flat rock in the near vicinity and place a piece of the trash bag onto the rock for a clean eating surface.
  25. Use trash bags to tie onto trees for trail markers.
  26. Make a windsock with a trash bag.
  27. If an injured person, pet, or heavy gear needs to be moved, make a liter and line it with several trash bags.
  28. Make a banner with the trash bag to leave warning notes for others or to mark unsafe buildings. Tape, string, and marking materials will also be required.
  29. Fill a trash bag up with water, sit it in the sun for a while and then hang it from a sturdy branch to use for a shower. Heated water is also useful for cleaning wounds.
  30. Make a temporary backpack with a trash bag so the non-prepared person you come across during your trek home can help you carry the load. Be warned, the person could run off with your stuff, but if they are scared and unaware and you appear full of knowledge, the person will likely stick to you like glue.

uses-for-trash-bags2

When packing the kiddos off to school, do not forget to include a few trash bags and other essential emergency items in their little backpacks as well. If your child or grandchild ever needs to spend the night at school or hoof it home or to a designated meeting spot, a few age-appropriate preps could be a life-saver.

Posted on Leave a comment

Mommy, I Have to Go Potty! Make Your Own Emergency Toilet

emergency-toilet

We have talked about what we’ll do when the paper eventually runs out, but what about when the toilet doesn’t work anymore?

Consider this: You’ve had a major local disaster where the water has gone out. There is no water available to your house because water mains have been broken, the city water supply has been tainted and shut down, or one of the various other reasons that cause city-wide services to be shut down. What happens when Little Susie says she has to go to the bathroom?

Do you let her? Sure! In the beginning, it won’t be so hard. If you’ve got plenty of water stored up, you can use some of the non-potable water to pour it quickly into the bowl to help create a vacuum to flush your toilet. It’s kind of messy, and splashes a lot, which means you’ll have to clean up each time you do it. The real problem comes when the sewer lines become full and your poo isn’t going anywhere. Once that backup happens, it will be a stinky situation, in more ways than one.  (This would be a good time to think about filling your bathtub with water that can be used for non-potable things like watering plants and force flushing your toilet – you can also use a WaterBob to contain it if you don’t want to keep an open tub full of water.)

But it doesn’t take too long for the sewers to get backed up and you can’t flush any longer. THEN you’re in big trouble. Susie REALLY needs to go, but without a working sewer system, that potty water has no where to go. What on earth do you do now?

The problem you are faced with now is how to be able to go to the bathroom and not get your family sick and still not feel like your house smells like a sewer. You’ll always have to worry about cross-contamination of your water supply or communal area with human waste, so you’ll need a way to dispose of it safely and effectively.

emergency-toilet-3

How to Make a Quick Emergency Toilet

Supplies:

  • 5 gallon bucket
  • Bag of scoopable kitty litter (regular works, too, but the scoopable helps alleviate urine better)
  • Heavy-duty garbage bags (you don’t want the cheap ones that easily rip
  • Toilet seat – these toilet seats are available at most camping stores and online. They fit most standard 5 gallon buckets you can get for a few bucks at your local DIY stores.
  • Toilet paper – unless of course you’ve come up with a few ideas of things to use when the toilet paper runs out!

Directions:

  1. Remove the metal handle from your 5 gallon bucket and thread the toilet paper roll on. Return the handle. This is an easy way to keep toilet paper handy without it getting dirty on the ground. Another great option is inside one of the plastic coffee cans  that can serve as a protective home for it.
  2. Fit a 13-gallon trash bag into your bucket and cinch it tight around the top.
  3. Place your toilet seat on top and secure into place.
  4. Keep kitty litter nearby in another waterproof canister

How to use the Emergency Toilet

  1. Pee or poo as you normally would.
  2. Take a scoop of cat litter and cover your ‘stuff’ up
  3. As bag becomes full for you, remove and cinch the top. You can then bury it in a safe location, well away from a water source

There’s an indoor option to this. You can turn off your water supply running into your toilet, empty out the water with one more flush, scoopy out any remaining water and drain it dry, and use a similar set up as the emergency toilet above. It will give everyone a little comfort of something familiar, even if the procedure is somewhat unfamiliar. You’ll want to be sure to plug up the hole to make sure no sewer gas smells seep out over time (just as if you were replacing the toilet and had to plug up the sewer hole). This is a great solution when you know this hack will only be needed for a short time.

For our family, though, this wasn’t going to be the best option for more than a few days. For one, it is hot more often than not. Our house is also not set up with a great ventilation system of cross breezes, etc., so the inside of the house can stay hot for a long time. Having a bucket of poo sitting in the house all the time isn’t the best option for us. So we’ve scoped out a place in our garage where we can make a potty station. If worse comes to worse, we also have a great nook on the outside of the house where we can set up a similar station if needed, including a bolt in the fence to stick the toilet paper on when we’re out there. That’s why we love this plan.

Storage

You can keep a small bag of scoopable litter, the trash bags, scoop, toilet paper and some cleaning wipes stored inside of your bucket with the seat nearby in the event of an emergency.

Things to consider

Someone taught me was using 2 buckets. One with the liner for your solid waste and one without the liner for your liquid waste. The liquid waste can be used in the yard or garden safely (as long as you don’t have someone who is carrying a major disease). Then you only really have to deal with the solid waste in your first bucket.

Consider a 2nd set up for your sick-room preps. You don’t necessarily want to be using the same ‘potty’ as someone who has a gastrointestinal issue. You need to cordone off an area as a sick room and make sure cleaning procedures are followed closely, including NOT disposing of the waste anywhere near your water source or where you are growing food.

You may want to find a way to stabilize your camp toilet. Besides using the pre-made versions that give you a little stability, you can use a milk crate + legs to give yourself less chance of tipping over.

The Pool Noodle Emergency Toilet

You’ve no doubt seen the Pinterest and Facebook phenomenon of the Pool Noodle Emergency Toilet. We made one up in about 3 minutes to show you how easy it is to set up.

emergency-toilet-4

emergency-toilet-5

emergency-toilet-6

My son actually thought it was pretty comfy. But, it wouldn’t take long for that comfie to wear off as the noddle will eventually split from use, from weather, etc. Also, the minute you get that noodle dirty, it is forever contaminated. With all of the holes in the make up of the foam, you could never be certain you’ve completely sterilized OR sanitized it when cleaning. There is no lid so the waste is open all the time.

Ready Made Emergency Toilets

Campers everywhere have already come up with some awesome ideas for ready-made toilets that will be easy to store and use. There are also bags specially made for this set up  if you want to stock them specifically. But you can also think of things like bedside toilets that you would use for folks in a hospital that are on metal frames. They may not store as easy, and might need to be maintained a little differently by pouring the contents into a bucket set up each time, but would be easier for folks who need a little extra help up and down. You might also want to consider, if you’re having to use this for more than a few days in an open area,an enclosure to give yourself a little privacy.

Now don’t completely freak out over this stinky situation  This is one of those situations where it is easy to prepare yourself for a short term problem that probably won’t last more than a week or two. If, in the event of a major issue, you’ll want to look at some more permanent solutions like an outhouse. But for now, be ready for the most likely scenario!

Posted on Leave a comment

11 Survival TV Shows Worth Watching

survival-tv-shows-worth-watching

Plague, nuclear holocaust, and alien invasions! Whatever end-of-the-world / post-apocalyptic theme you can think of is on TV right now. But in the fray of TV shows for preppers, a lot of good shows have come and gone. If you feel like all of the best shows are canceled prematurely, no one shares your pain like we do. In this list, we want to focus on 11 survival TV shows (past and present) that we think are worth checking out.

1. Jericho (2006)

survival-tv-shows-worth-watching2

This apocalyptic drama which aired back in 2006, was based on the story of a group of people in a little town in Kansas calledJericho as they struggle to survive the affects of nuclear fallout in several major cities around the U.S. The interesting twist to this show is that there is an underlying tone suggesting the government might have actually been complicit in the explosions. The town’s citizens come together to try to restore resources such as power and water and war with neighboring towns over debatable local resources. The writers did a great job with the story line and keep you hooked with the strength and vulnerability of each character. They also manage to sprinkle in some humor for good measure – not to mention the amazing soundtrack.

Jericho was suddenly canceled after the first season and was met with a barrage of complaints to CBS from the shows loyal fans. After launching a grassroots internet mega-campaign to revive the show CBS agreed to bring it back for one more season and at least wrap up some of the unanswered questions.

2. Falling Skies (2011)

In a world where civilization has been incapacitated by alien attack, we follow the story of a group of rag-tag survivors in the Boston area. In this post-apocalyptic world, there are no more electronics, military’s or major cities left, leaving only a handful of the world’s previous population to fight off the ongoing invasion. The odds are steep and survival is difficult when every day is is spent protecting and caring for the people, while also waging an insurgency campaign against an occupying alien force.

3. Survivors (2009)

Survivors is a British post-apocalyptic fiction drama that follows a similar premise as a lot of the other survival shows; the pandemic wipes out most of the population, society breaks down, people try to figure it all out. But what I really liked about this one is that they kind of make hero’s out of normal, everyday people who didn’t really even know they had it in them until it really came down to it. They were just normal people until things got crazy and forced them to rise to the occasion, which is what I think we’re going to see a lot of in the E.O.T.W.

4. The Colony (2009)

The Colony is a reality show on the Discovery Channel that originally aired in 2010. The show is basically a controlled experiment where a group individuals are placed in an isolated urban setting, where a hypothetical global catastrophe has occurred and the group has to try to rebuild with whatever they can find. They have basically an entire city to themselves and they can take over any property or resources they wish, but there are hired actors who act as thugs and looters to threaten and terrorize the members of the group to test their boundaries.

5. Out of the Wild: The Alaska Experiment

This is another Discovery Channel reality show where they pluck a group of city dwelling, urban professionals right out of their comfort zone and drop them by helicopter into the Alaskan outback smack-dab in the middle of winter. There are given limited supplies, a carry pack and a map to help them find their way to shelters along their route. If, at any time they sissy out and want to go home, all the have to do is hit their emergency GPS signal and a rescue helicopter will come get them out of there. I have to admit this show has taught me some really uniquesurvival skills that you might not see anywhere else like how to hunt for and prepare some rather unusual game like squirrels and porcupines. The show has just premiered for a third season which will take place in Venezeula. It should be interesting to see how the cast members fare in their new environment this time around.

6. Extreme Survival

While it only lasted 3 seasons, Extreme Survival with Ray Mears was an excellent wilderness survival show. Ray traveled to a diverse set countries all around the world, immersing himself in the culture and native survival techniques. Ray travels through the US, Canada, Italy, Brazil, India, Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, Russia, Australia and New Zealand. In addition to focusing on the native techniques, Ray also shares inspiring and sometimes horrifying survival stories that occurred in each area. There are dozens of shows and movies that Ray took part in, but this one should not be missed.

7. Man vs Wild

What makes Bear Grylls show so unique is the fact that he is willing to demonstrate some of the more strenuous or difficult survival techniques that most others would shy away from. He isn’t afraid to get down to the more nitty gritty aspects of survival that most of us would rather not have to think about like drinking your own urine to prevent dehydration or crossing a freezing cold river in the middle of winter. While it may seem a little over the top at times, I can’t help but think that there might be some point in our lives when we have to make a choice to do something disgusting or even painful in order to stay alive. You can’t help but respect the man for that.

8. Les Stroud “Survivor Man”

Les Stroud brings a humble quality to the realm of survival TV shows in Survivorman. Without any support staff or even a camera crew, he shows what it really takes to survive in the wilderness by yourself and with less than ideal supplies. From desert and swamp to the arctic mountains, Les has to survive for seven days, all on his own. But the difficult terrain doesn’t bring spirits down, Les keeps a positive and comedic attitude throughout each situation, making it feel more like a camping trip than a survival experience. You’ll come away from every episode with ancient survival techniques passed down from the natives of each area.

9. Surviving Disaster (2009)

What will you do when disaster strikes? Spike TV’s new original series Surviving Disaster, led by Navy SEAL Cade Courtley, vividly takes viewers through catastrophic scenarios and arms them with the knowledge needed to survive the unthinkable. Courtley tackles worst-case scenarios and equips viewers with the practical information needed to save their own lives and the lives of their loved ones. Whether the threat is natural or man-made or on a national or personal level, Courtley speaks directly to the viewers and guides them through a comprehensive, step-by-step process to not only survive the big picture disaster, but endure the many dangerous obstacles that may occur within each catastrophic event. While leading viewers out of danger, Courtley not only provides helpful tips and hands-on instruction, but swiftly points out common misconceptions and fatal mistakes. Unlike any other series, Surviving Disaster may actually save lives by providing actions that anyone can perform.

10. Jeremiah (2002)

This show is set in a post-apocalyptic future where all of the adult population was wiped out by a pandemic, leaving only kids to rule the world. We follow the main character “Jeremiah” played by Luke Perry as he tries to find out the real goal behind the pandemic and who is at fault. He partners up with a couple more hard core survivalists as they commandeer resources, discover hidden government bunkers and try to rebuild a broken nation.

The series ran from 2002 to 2004 on Showtime, but production stopped in 2003 when creative differences among the production companies couldn’t be resolved. The show wrapped up it’s second and final season in 2004 after a long hiatus off the air and resolved most of the plot threads from the first season.

11. Dual Survival (2010)

Wilderness survival takes on a new twist in Dual Survival when naturalist Cody Lundin and military-trained Dave Canterbury tackle tough terrain as a team. Each expert has experience in different types of survival situations, which exposes that classic question; how would a survival expert who’s never attempted this fair? It’s almost like seeing how you might respond in that extreme situation, which brings humanity to the show. You will also get to see how polar opposites might approach the same problem and be able to overcome it in completely different, yet successful, ways.

There are other TV shows like Naked and Afraid, Survivors, The Walking Dead, Storm Chasers, Combat Zone, and many, many more.  These are also all worth watching!

Posted on Leave a comment

How To Make Pemmican: A Survival Superfood That Can Last 50 Years

Packed with calories and nutrition and able to be packed and stored for long periods, pemmican is often called the ultimate survival food.

Created by Native Americans and adopted by European explorers of the New World, pemmican is a concentrated blend of fat and protein from lean, dried meat. The word “pemmican” is derived from the Cree root word “pimi” for “fat” or “grease.” Traditionally, the meats used in pemmican included bison, moose, deer and elk.  Beef can be used as well.

The secret to pemmican’s long shelf life is in properly rendering the fat from the meat. The pemmican can be stored in airtight containers without refrigeration in a cool, dark and dry place. If made and stored property, it can last for years or even decades. There are reports of some pemmican lasting 50 or more years.

Let’s look at the steps to making pemmican.

1. Dry the meat. Cut off all the fat, and then slice the meat as thinly as possible before placing it on a drying rack in full sunlight. Another option is to place the meat directly on your oven rack with the oven temperature at its lowest setting. The meat needs to be dry enough that it cracks when you try to bend it. Adding salt will extend the shelf life. The more salt you add, the longer it will last.

2. Grind the meat. Now you need to grind the meat until it is powder form. If you do not have a food processor, mince the meat and then grind it in the blender. If you are in a survival situation, chop the meat into small bits and then crush it into a powder.

3. Render the fat. Now heat the fat in a crockpot, in the oven or on the stove. Use a low setting for several hours, and be sure to stir the fat occasionally until it has stopped bubbling. Then pour it through a mesh strainer to filter out any pieces.

4. Mix the meat with any dry extras. If you are using any nuts or dried fruit, such as raisins, dried cherries or cranberries, mix it with the dried meat in a large bowl (leaving room for the fat). Note: These extras reduce the shelf life.

5. Add the fat. Next, add one part of fat per every two parts of the dried meat mixture (add more fat if needed). Slowly pour the hot liquefied fat into the meat mixture and stir well.

6. Add any wet extras. If you are adding wet ingredients such as honey, maple syrup or peanut butter, mix them in now. If the mixture seems too wet, you can add a little almond meal to get it to your desired consistency. You also may add salt to taste if you like. Note: These extras will reduce the shelf life.

7. Form the pemmican. A popular method is to spread the mixture into a casserole dish. Let it get firm before cutting it into squares or bar sizes. If you prefer, you can form the mixture into balls.

8. Store the pemmican. Once cut, place it into airtight containers and store them in a cool, dark and dry place. You also store your pemmican in zippered bags in your freezer.

There are many varieties of pemmican, but they all use the basic instructions. Many other recipes begin with a 1:1:1 ratio of basic ingredients such as:

1 cup of dried meat

1 cup of dried fruit or berries

1 cup of melted animal fat

Pemmican is surprisingly filling and can supply energy for hours.

You can experiment to find the recipe that works well for you. Label the pemmican you make with the ingredients and proportions you used, so you will know what combinations work well and how you might want to tweak a certain recipe a little in the future.

Posted on Leave a comment

5 Easy Tips On How To Make A PVC Blow Gun

Real quick before we get started, if you don’t know how to make a PVC blow gun (or even if you do), you need to watch this video first.

Not only is this a Do-It-Yourself project, but it’s also an incredibly cheap, effective, sturdy, and FUN gun to shoot (and, best part is you can practice shooting darts at home before you get yourself into a real survival situation).

Now you might be wondering, “Well that’s great and all, but how is that really going to help me in a survival situation?” Little do you know blowguns have been used to hunt game for thousands of years. In fact, it’s one of the most primitive weapons the world has used.

You might not be able to take down a bear with one of these bad boys, mind you, but you can certainly go after small game with your own homemade blowgun and darts.

Aside from hunting game, these PVC blow guns are great for protecting your home and your garden as well. The darts are astonishingly quiet, leaving you the ability to sneak up to your window (or the perpetrator) unannounced and get their attention real quick. If you’re in a dangerous situation, this could help give you the advantage and allow you to take matters into your own hands.

I like to make things simple for you. And while written instructions for making a blowgun are useful a video with instructions is even easier to follow.

Check out how to make a pvc blowgun.

1.) Take Your Time:

The PVC blow gun fires its darts silently, so your game won’t know what’s coming until it’s too late. Plus, you can quickly fire one dart after another, so take your time and make sure to aim correctly.

2.) Get An Upgrade:

Once you’ve mastered the basics with a PVC pipe, you can move on to a steel or aluminum pipe instead. These materials are tougher than PVC, and are sturdy enough to not bend quite as easily when you’re handling it.

3.) Utilize Your Spare Time For Target Practice:

Now that you’ve made your very own weapon, you’re going to want to be sure how to use it and use it well (luckily these guys are fun to use, so you’ll want to practice). Grab an old dart board to do some target practice on your off-time; it’ll prepare you well for the long-term.

4.) Change Up Your Darts:

Nail darts are effective, but they’re not the only solution. Bamboo skewers (like for kabobs) can be used, as well as black locust wood, which is traditionally used in the southeast due to its weight and strength.

5.) Keep It SAFE:

Blow guns are fun, but they’re NOT toys. They should be treated with respect, just like any other weapon. When misfired, projectiles shot at close range can cause bleeding and infection – not to mention loss of private/public property if you hit a window (or the neighbor’s cat) by mistake. Use caution and common sense when operating this blow gun.

Now we recognize that sometimes, well, life happens. And when life happens, either the arrow doesn’t quite hit the target, the target moved, or someone was just being outright dumb.

When you think about it, and all the randomness and curveballs life throws at you, you really can’t afford tonot have one of these first-aid kits around.

Posted on Leave a comment

Budget Friendly Ground Beef Jerky Recipe

Homemade ground beef jerky is easy and economical. You can use lean beef or venison – whichever you have available – and common pantry ingredients (except the liquid smoke, which I did buy just for jerky making). My jerky gun came with seasoning and cure packets, but these were full of all the ingredients I’m trying to avoid in commercial jerkies (MSG, hydrolyzed soy protein, nitrates, etc.).  (Those little packets are expensive, too, if you purchase them separately.)

Do you need a jerky gun to make jerky with ground beef?  Nope – but it’s rather handy and somewhat entertaining.

Why Use Ground Beef for Homemade Jerky Instead of Beef Strips?

I prefer ground beef jerky for three main reasons:

  1. It’s cheaper. I can get ground beef or venison much cheaper than a roast.
  2. It’s easier to make. Working the jerky gun or rolling the meat out thinly is much easier than wrestling to cut strips out of a piece of meat with bone and connective tissue intact.
  3. It’s easier to chew. Eating a piece of regular beef jerky can sometimes be like chewing on an old shoe, especially when there’s a lot of connective tissue. Ground beef jerky has the meaty, salty jerky taste we love without the bits that get stuck in your teeth.

This recipe has been adapted from Mary Bell’s Complete Dehydrator Cookbook – “All American Marinated Beef Jerky”.  Mary makes hers with beef strips, but it worked well as a ground beef jerky recipe, too.  For the soy sauce, I prefer grain free organic tamari. Most soy in the US that is not organically grown is genetically modified, and non-organic wheat may be sprayed with glyphosate prior to harvest.

Homemade Ground Beef Jerky Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder or 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 pound lean ground beef or venison

Directions

In a glass bowl, combine all ingredients and let sit (refrigerated) for at least two hours.  I mixed this up at bedtime and let it sit until after lunch the next day, and it wasn’t too strong.

Load the mixture in the jerky gun and use the gun to load your dehydrator trays.  I do recommend using the mesh inserts or fruit leather trays for your dehydrator. This mixture is fairly soft because of the added liquid, which makes it easier to fire through the gun.

If you don’t have a jerky gun, roll the mixture out very thinly (1/8 inch thick) and score lines where you would like the pieces to break apart.

Dry at 145° – 165° F (63° – 74° C) for 4 to 12 hours, until jerky is hard but still flexible and contains no pockets of moisture. For extra safety, heat finished jerky in a 275° F (135° C) oven for 10 minutes.

Jerky will last in an airtight container at room temperature for 1 – 2 months. For longer storage, place in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer. Vacuum sealing will extend shelf life.

How Much Homemade Jerky Do You Get from One Pound of Raw Meat?

The weight of the jerky will decrease by about two-thirds during the drying time, so for every pound of raw meat you use, you’ll get around one-third pound of finished homemade jerky.

How Can I Be Sure My Jerky is Safe to Eat?

The University of Wisconsin suggests the following two options for safe jerky making at home:

  1. Dry meat at 145° – 155°F for at least 4 hours followed by heating in a preheated 275°F oven for 10 minutes. Drying meat at a temperature below 145°F will produce a product that looks done before it is heated enough to destroy pathogens, and before it has lost enough moisture to be shelf-stable.Only a few dehydrators currently on the market will maintain the necessary temperature of 145° – 155°F: the Gardenmaster by Nesco/American Harvest and the Excalibur are two such units. Each of these units has a large heating element, strong air flow, and adjustable temperature setting. Dry for at least 4 hours (6 hours is preferable) and remove jerky from the dehydrator. Place dried strips on a baking sheet, close together but not touching or overlapping. Heat in a pre-heated 275°F oven for 10 minutes to an internal temperature of 160°F – strips thicker than ¼” (when raw) may require longer to reach 160°F. In our research, strips removed from the oven were sizzling hot. Remove oven-heated samples from the oven, cool to room temperature, and package. Always include the post‐drying oven‐heating treatment as a safety precaution.
  2. Steam or roast meat strips in marinade to an internal temperature of 160°F before drying; heat poultry to 165°F (internal temperature) before drying. The USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline currently recommends this method for making safe jerky. The pre‐heating step assures that any bacteria present will be destroyed before drying and a lower dehydrator temperature (130° to 140°F) can be used. After boiling, dehydrate meat for 4 to 6 hours. No post-dehydration oven-heating is necessary. Since it can be impossible to accurately measure the internal temperature of a thin strip of meat, consumers can boil meat in marinade (or water) for 5 minutes before drying. Unfortunately, this USDA‐recommended method produces a dried, crumbly product that would be judged inferior by Wisconsin standards for chewy, flexible jerky.

Do I Need a Dehydrator to Make Jerky?

No, it is possible to dry jerky in the oven.

Process homemade jerky in a 250° F (120° C) oven with the door slightly open for 2.5 hours. Rotate baking sheet and bake for three hours more.

You may be able to reduce drying time slightly by flipping the jerky over at the 2.5 hour mark so the underside of the jerky is exposed.

With the Excalibur dehydrator, a batch of jerky is done in about 4-6 hours, depending on the humidity level. Drying overnight gets the jerky a little too dry for my taste. It’s still good, but a little too crumbly.

The last time we made jerky, my eldest mixed up the jerky marinade and meat one day and my youngest loaded up the Excalibur the next morning. The jerky gun makes nice, thin strips about an inch wide when you use the “double barrel” attachment.  The gun also has option of a single wide strip or a tube shape.

We made some of the wide strips (he wanted to try the different barrels) and perforated them with a thin bladed spatula so they broke apart easily when dry. (You can use this same scoring technique for jerky that’s rolled out instead of made with a jerky gun.)

Scoring the jerky Scoring the jerky After drying, the jerky breaks easily apart.   After drying, the jerky breaks easily apart.

This has become one of my favorite snack foods since we’ve been working to reduce our carbohydrate and grain intake.  It’s relatively quick and easy to make, and the gun was pretty inexpensive.

Do you have a favorite jerky recipe?  Have you tried making jerky with ground beef?  Has anyone tried making jerky out of organ meats?  I’d love to hear from you.

Ground Beef Jerky

Easy and economical jerky recipe that’s great for lean beef or venison.

Ingredients

  1. 1/2 cup soy sauce
  2. 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
  3. 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  4. 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder or 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  5. 1 teaspoon sea salt
  6. 1 pound lean ground beef or venison

Instructions

  1. In a glass bowl, combine all ingredients and let sit (refrigerated) for at least two hours. I mixed this up at bedtime and let it sit until after lunch the next day, and it wasn’t too strong.
  2. Load the mixture in the jerky gun and use the gun to load your dehydrator trays. I do recommend using the mesh inserts or fruit leather trays for your dehydrator. This mixture is fairly soft because of the added liquid, which makes it easier to fire through the gun.
  3. If you don’t have a jerky gun, roll the mixture out very thinly (1/8 inch thick) and score lines where you would like the pieces to break apart.
  4. Dry at 145° – 165° F (63° – 74° C) for 4 to 12 hours, until jerky is hard but still flexible and contains no pockets of moisture. For extra safety, heat finished jerky in a 275° F (135° C) oven for 10 minutes.

Notes

  1. Jerky will last in an airtight container at room temperature for 1 – 2 months. For longer storage, place in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer. Vacuum sealing will extend shelf life.
  2. Ingredients
  3. 1/2 cup soy sauce
  4. 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
  5. 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  6. 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder or 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  7. 1 teaspoon sea salt
  8. 1 pound lean ground beef or venison
  9. Instructions
  10. In a glass bowl, combine all ingredients and let sit (refrigerated) for at least two hours. I mixed this up at bedtime and let it sit until after lunch the next day, and it wasn’t too strong.
  11. Load the mixture in the jerky gun and use the gun to load your dehydrator trays. I do recommend using the mesh inserts or fruit leather trays for your dehydrator. This mixture is fairly soft because of the added liquid, which makes it easier to fire through the gun.
  12. If you don’t have a jerky gun, roll the mixture out very thinly (1/8 inch thick) and score lines where you would like the pieces to break apart.
  13. Dry at 145° – 165° F (63° – 74° C) for 4 to 12 hours, until jerky is hard but still flexible and contains no pockets of moisture. For extra safety, heat finished jerky in a 275° F (135° C) oven for 10 minutes.
  14. Notes
  15. Jerky will last in an airtight container at room temperature for 1 – 2 months. For longer storage, place in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer. Vacuum sealing will extend shelf life.
Posted on Leave a comment

Survivalism Goes Mainstream

The day starts just like any other.  You wake up, get dressed and make your way into work, fighting the stress of the morning commute just like everyone elsetrapped in their cars on the gridlocked highway.  You finally arrive at work and settle in to start your day.  All of a sudden you hear a loud rumbling sound. At first you think it might just be a large truck driving by or something else shaking the ground.  But then the sound gets louder and the rumbling becomes more violent.  The lights go out, the shaking continues for a minute and then everything goes silent.  The next thing you know people are running outside in a panic, the shaking has started again but this time it’s a lot worse and you can’t keep your footing.  Books start flying off the shelves in your office as you try to make your way for the door.  “Could it be an earthquake?” you think to yourself.

This is the scenario that has happened in numerous towns across America and people are starting to wake up to the possibility that it actually might just happen to them.  The trend towards emergency preparedness or “survivalism” has really started to take hold in recent years due to a number of natural disasters, mass shootings and other public safety threats that have come to the forefront.  This idea has been perpetuated by television shows such as AMC’s Walking Dead and TLC’s Doomsday Bunkers.  While some think that people with the preparedness or “Prepper” mentality are just paranoid tin-hat wearing fools, others have really latched on to the idea and started to incorporate emergency preparedness tactics into their everyday lives.  Is the recent infatuation with survivalism and emergency preparedness a valid, relevant movement that deserves a further look?  Or does it simply promote a fear mentality for people in an already insecure world.  Is there a need to prepare for the unexpected in today’s world or is the whole idea being oversold?  If history repeats itself as they say it always does, then we can look at examples of disasters throughout recent years to determine if preparing is a wise and necessary venture.  Otherwise this trend would be nothing less than a marketing tactic to push products that will likely never be needed.

What is “Survivalism”?

Wikipedia defines emergency preparedness or “survivalism” as “a movement of individuals or groups (called survivalists or preppers) who are actively preparing for emergencies, including possible disruptions in social or political order, on scales from local to international. Survivalists often acquire emergency medical and self-defense training, stockpile food and water, prepare to become self-sufficient, and build structures (e.g., a survival retreat or an underground shelter) that may help them survive a catastrophe.”

The possibilities for calamity are seemingly endless in today’s world.  From nuclear threats to economic disaster, it seems as though there is always something to be worried about.  In such an uncertain environment, it would seem to be a wise choice to insure the safety of your family by stocking up on a few extra items that could possibly save your life one day.  We purchase health insurance to protect against a major injury and life insurance to protect our families in the event of an unexpected death so why not buy insurance to protect against the effects of a major disaster?  This move towards individual responsibility for your own well being is long overdue and will likely continue to expand over the next several years.

How Real is the Threat?

During Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, many families were left stranded without adequate food or water supplies.  Some were lucky enough to evacuate to higher ground before the flooding hit but others weren’t so lucky.  Circumstances in the local emergency shelters were less than adequate and sometimes even dangerous.  Only those who had taken responsibility for their own personal safety were able to weather the storm unscathed.  Just a few simple preparations such as extra food, clean water and medical supplies made all the difference when it came down to a real emergency.

Several studies have been conducted by Citizen Corps regarding emergency preparedness trends among governments, businesses and households in America. These surveys found that individuals and households are aware of the seriousness of a natural disaster, and say that they are willing to prepare for one, but relatively few households have acted to mitigate losses and reduce injury. With so much evidence pointing out the importance in being prepared in today’s society, it’s hard to understand why anyone would choose not act to protect themselves and their families in the event of a disaster.

Many people argue against preparedness citing paranoia and unrealistic expectations. This is especially true when you talk about preparing for societal collapse or doomsday. But preparedness extends far beyond zombies and bunkers. Preparedness could be as simple as knowing how to fix your car or having adequate food and lighting for your family if the power went out for days or weeks.

People may be able to argue about the various reasons to prepare, however one thing is clear; preparedness is smart, practical and useful.  Whether you are preparing for something as extreme as the apocalypse or something as simple as a power outage, being prepared mitigates trouble, saves money and could mean the difference between life and death in an emergency situation.

Someone once asked the founder of the Boy Scouts,  Robert Baden-Powell about the motto of the scouts “Be prepared”.  “Be prepared for what?” they asked. Baden-Powell responded “Why, for any old thing”. Being prepared for life and the chaotic challenges it throws at you and allows you to life happy, stress free and without regret.  If buying a few extra supplies means a happy, stress free life you can count me in!

Posted on Leave a comment

Herbal Wound Care Options

Wound care should be an important part of your first aid preparedness training. After all, what may be a harmless paper cut by today’s standards could set the stage for infection in a less sanitary environment. Furthermore, if access to higher medical care were interrupted, there would be no ambulance or life flight, and maybe even no emergency room, to provide care for more serious wounds and injuries.

First aid for wounds covers many different aspects. Especially in a SHTF scenario, you would need to know how to safely control bleeding, assess the injury to gauge extent of the damage, and be able to clean the wound and prevent infection. Wilderness first aid or first responder training can be invaluable because there is so much to learn on this topic. Being able to learn from an instructor in these courses is also extremely helpful- they will correct any errors you might make and often have a great deal of  personal experience to make the material more relatable.

In long term scenarios with no higher medical care, the prevention of infection becomes a crucial step in the healing process. By using herbs to encourage healthy wound healing and support the immune system, you have a back-up plan in case medical supplies run short.

There are five basic types of herbs to keep in mind for herbal wound support: Hemostatics that curb excessive bleeding; anti-inflammatory herbs for healthy inflammation response; proliferative herbs that help with scabbing and the formation of new skin; anti-pathogenics that help minimize contamination of the wounds, and lymphatic herbs that support a healthy immune response. We will also briefly cover helpful pain relieving herbs.

Let’s take a look at the five main groups of herbs for wound care:

Herbal Hemostatics

Most herbs that have hemostatic properties are classified as astringents in traditional herbalism. These are herbs with a reputation for drawing up and tightening tissues, and drying up excessive fluids of all types. Traditional wound herbs utilized for their hemostatic properties include the leaves and flowers of shepherd’s purse, oak bark, wild geranium root, yarrow leaf and/or flower, raspberry or blackberry leaf or blackberry root, and chaparral leaf.

White oak and English oak are the two “official” oak species used in herbal medicine, but all oaks exhibit a high level of tannins and can be used interchangeable for their astringency. These herbs may be prepared as an infusion or decoction and applied as a wash, or if an extract is available it can be diluted in water and applied equally well. These herbs are also beneficial for oozing or weepy wounds or sores.

Herbal Anti-Inflammatories

These herbs may be applied topically alone or as part of a formula to encourage excessive inflammation to return to normal. Inflammation is a natural part of the healing process, but if the wound is large these herbs can help with comfort during the healing process, and help the tissue recover from pain and swelling. Several of them can also be found under the antipathogenic category, and under pain relievers. Examples of herbal anti-inflammatories include willow, meadowsweet, chaparral, lobelia, self heal, comfrey, plantain, birch, alder, aspen, poplar, and turmeric.

Proliferatives

Herbs that encourage the growth of healthy tissue during the growth process are also important. Chaparral, comfrey, horsetail, plantain, calendula, and aloe are great examples of this type of herb. It’s important to use proliferatives judiciously over deep wounds, as they can promote healing of the top layers of the epidermis before the wound has healed completely underneath. This could set the stage for infection. Be sure that the wound is clean and has started to heal well internally and that there is no chance of infection before using them.

Comfrey and calendula can promote healthy tissue growth when there is a concern that scar tissue could be damaging. These herbs have a traditional reputation for helping a wound to heal with minimal scarring. Elecampane root can be beneficial when there is “proud flesh,” meaning the wound is having difficulty forming a healthy scab (7). Stinging nettle can be taken internally as a tea, or eaten as a steamed green, during the healing process as this herb supplies micro-nutrients and protein that support the healing process (2,4).

Anti-Pathogenics

Antipathogenics are herbs that help keep the wound clean from bacterial contamination. Note that these are not going to behave in the same manner as an internal, systemic antibiotic. They need to be applied topically. Chaparral, plantain, acacia, aloe, echinacea, goldenseal, and sida are examples here. Even though goldenseal is listed, it’s important to understand that the berberine content in goldenseal does its best work topically. It’s not well absorbed into the bloodstream from the gut.

Learn More: If you would like to read more about the few herbs that do seem to have a systemic anti-pathogenic effect, you can visit my blog to read this article on Herbal Antibiotics: What You Really Need To Know. But you also need to learn about herbal lymphatics.

Herbal Lymphatics

Because there are very few herbs that have a systemic action approaching modern antibiotics, we turn to another staple in the prepared herbalist’s medicinals kit: Herbal lymphatics. These herbs work with our bodies to support the effectiveness of our immunity through our lymphatic system. If you’ve ever experienced swollen lymph glands during a fever or infection, you know first hand how hard these glands work during an immune system challenge.

Herbal lymphatics promote the movement of lymph and the ability of the body to drain off and process the byproducts of infection. Poke root, blue flag, echinacea, red root, boneset, and cleavers are herbs in this class. Alteratives, or blood purifiers, such as burdock and red clover, can support lymphatic herbs. Lymphatics can be applied as compresses over swollen lymph glands, but it is usually more practical to take them internally. Poke and blue flag are generally used in small amounts, even only a few drops at a time, due to their potency and potential toxicity. Cleavers is a very safe lymphatic that may also be eaten as a steamed green.

Herbal Support for Pain

The last topic we need to cover for herbal wound care is the problem of pain. Everyone has a different pain tolerance, but the topic of pain should be taken seriously during wound care in a SHTF scenario. Pain places more stress on an already stressed system, and can interfere with sleep and appetite. Adequate rest and nutrition are important for healing in any scenario, but especially in an emergency situation where no higher care is available. The same can be said for managing stress in what is most likely a very stressful environment to begin with. Herbs that have a tradition of use for pain include Jamaica dogwood (1), meadowsweet, willow, and black cohosh (5).

Applying Herbs in a Wound Care Scenario

In addition to knowing first aid skills and what herbs to use, you also need to know how to use the herbs. Now that you have a basic understanding of the types of herbs that could be used for wound care, you may still be curious about how the herbs would be applied.

As a general rule, the two most practical herbal preparations in any SHTF scenario are going to be extracts (sometimes called tinctures); and infusions or decoctions. Extracts are made by soaking herbal material in alcohol (if made at home, it’s common to use Everclear mixed with water or vodka), which preserves the herbs and pulls the beneficial components into the liquid. Teas made with herbs are known as infusions (for fresh or dried leaves and flowers) and decoctions (for fresh or dried roots, barks, and seeds). Both types of preparations have the flexibility of either external or internal use (depending on the herb). Extracts are most commonly used internally, but may be diluted in a small amount of water to create a wash or applied without dilution if needed.

Some of the herbs listed above, like Jamaican dogwood, poke root, and chaparral, are at one end of the herbal safety spectrum and are called for in only small amounts at a time. Herbs like burdock and cleavers fall on the opposite end of the spectrum and are safe enough to be foraged as food. Most fall somewhere in the middle, but it’s important that you become familiar with each herb you plan to use during emergency situations so that you understand the plant’s unique profile as well as how much to use.

Posted on Leave a comment

Survival Supply Caches

If you need to stash some gear or supplies then you need to consider Survival Supply Caches, the Prepper’s Safe Deposit Box!

There are many choices and schools of thought when it comes to survival caches. If you want to bury things, you can choose a pre-made solution like the Mono Vault tube,  designed for this very purpose, or leverage buckets with water-tight lids, rain barrels or PVC pipe solutions.

PVC Burial Cache

PVC Burial Cache The quick and easy method would be to run down to your local hardware store and get some properly size PVC pipe and the fittings needed to create your own burial tube.

Make sure to use some form of thread compound or Teflon tape to ensure that water doesn’t work its way into your container. Be sure to use some zip lock bag, dry bags or vaccum pack all the items you want to keep safe.

Options for Hiding Cache:

First you need a plan. Where are you going to put your cache?

Hide It:

Wrap it with camouflage tape or wrap and tie it to a high tree limb or stick it in a hollow tree.

Bury It:

Dig a hole, someplace far from prying eyes.

Caching OpSec Considerations:

 

Make sure you find and retrieve your cache. Landmarks can change, so make sure you know exactly where it is, and that you will be able to find it again, when you need it!

Bury the tube in a remote location, where you can’t be observed, including aerial observation, and cell phone tracking. Leave the cell phone at home, or at a minimum remove the battery, or boot the phone into DFU mode (Device Firmware Update), which shouldn’t have any drivers loaded, except for the USB input and internal storage access. 3G, 4G and GPS, should be inactivated…but this might change in the future.

A water proof container will likely be buoyant. Make sure to bury it in a place where ground water or rain, won’t force it back to the surface, exposing your dry box or tube. Avoid soils heavy in clay, as water doesn’t drain quickly and may exacerbate “floating”!

If you are burying metallic items or using a dry box or tube that is metal, make sure yo bury your vault deeper, then salt the vicinity with metal scrap such as old engine parts, nails, nuts, bolts, food tins, soda cans or other debris that might encounter in the area, or bury it in an area where metal is expected to be encountered. These ideas apply to your own property. We do not condone any activity, like littering on public property. Please verify any applicable federal, state, or local laws.

Types of Caches

 

There are 4 main types of caches, there might be more, but these are the ones we consider most likely to be needed.

1.       Waypoint Caches

2.       Exile Caches

3.       Fugitive Caches

4.       Weapons Caches

Waypoint Cache

 

Waypoint Caches are hidden supplies at intervals along your route, allowing you to restock on an extended journey. This would likely be food, water or water purification essentials and other reloads for consumable goods.

When we are discussing a Waypoint Cache to resupply a motor vehicle, we need to consider the nature of this kit and its size. You won’t be able to bury it all, so maybe use a storage unit for the larger items, unless you know of another good spot or two along your way.

If you intend to drive to your location, this cache would also likely include tools for your vehicle, tire repair kits, fuel and essential automotive fluids.

Waypoint Cache:

 

·         Cordage (paracord)

·         Duct Tape

·         MRE’s, FlexGrub, or Dehydrated camping meals

·         More fuel pellets (if you have a stove that requires these)

·         H2O 1.0 personal water straw

·         Shoe goo or other shoe repair materials

·         Clean socks and undergarments (a couple pairs can make a big difference)

·         Fishing Gear

·         Slingshot or repair kit for a slingshot (bands)

·         Survival Knife ( a SOG Seal Pup and Morakniv would be perfect, or use any spare rugged knife)

·         Sharpening stone, whet stone, and honing oil (for knife maintenance)

·         Multi-tool (Gerber)

·         More batteries for your handheld ham radio

·         Replacement headlamp and batteries

·         Replacement flashlight and batteries

·         Additional First Aid kit supplies

·         Grooming and Hygiene kit refills (razors, soaps, toothpaste, floss, feminine hygiene, etc)

·         Insect Repellent

·         Sun Screen

·         Replacement compass

·         Ranger beads

·         Maps of area or region

·         Backpack repair kit

·         Pre-paid cell phone and additional battery

·         More cash

 

 

Automobile Waypoint Cache:

·         Tire pump

·         Tire patch or repair kit

·         Spare tire(s)

·         Spare jack and universal tire iron

·         Extra fuel with stabilizer added

·         Extra oil

·         Transmission fluid

·         Jumper cables

·         Replacement belts

·         Replacement headlamps and bulbs

·         Battery?

·         Wipers and wiper fluid

·         Tool kit for auto repairs

·         First aid kit

·         MRE’s or Dehydrated camping meals

·         Water or water purification tools (H2O 1.0 personal water straw)

*You should already have a base set of car supplies in your Automobile’s EDC kit*

Exile Cache

 

Exile Caches are hidden supplies that allow you to cover all your survival needs, if you are forced to flee with nothing, or return to your home to find it inaccessible or occupied by non-familiar individuals.

This cache would provide what you need if you were at zero. It would have ways to provide for shelter, fire, food, water and protection.

Exile Cache Contents:

·         Cordage (paracord)

·         Duct Tape

·         Nylon Tarp (light and more compact tarp)

·         Tiny camp stove

·         Water container (Stainless steel for boiling)

·         Personal water straw

·         Military rain poncho and poncho liner (woobie)

·         Heavy duty space blanket

·         Slingshot

·         Fishing gear

·         Survival knife (a SOG Seal Pup and a Morakniv would be perfect, or any knife)

·         Multi-tool (Gerber)

·         Handheld ham radio

·         Headlamp and batteries

·         Flashlight and batteries

·         First Aid Kit

·         Grooming and Hygiene kit

·         Insect Repellent

·         Sun Screen

·         Hat

·         Sunglasses or goggles

·         Bandana or Shemagh

·         Gloves

·         Compass

·         Ranger beads

·         Maps of area

·         Small towel

·         Backpack or Dayback, You could forgo the backpack if you tied cord around the burial tube and used it to carry your supplies.

·         Pre-paid cell phone

·         Cash

Fugitive Cache

 

Fugitive Caches are made up of select essentials from the Exile Cache with some extra specific purpose gear, in the event that you are on the run, for whatever reason. Maybe you saw or overheard something sensitive and a mega corporation has deployed assassins to take you down or some government agency has decided that they need to terminate you with extreme prejudice Whatever the reason, you have to stay alive and on the move until you can clear your name.

The Fugitive Cache may not have to be buried, but could be in a self storage locker, if you can find one that lets you rent without an ID…unless you have an alternate ID <wink, wink> or a discreet friend who would let you share some storage space.

Fugitive Cache Contents:

 

·         Cordage (paracord)

·         Duct tape

·         Knife (Combat knife or dagger)

·         Multi-tool (Gerber)

·         Flashlight and batteries

·         First Aid Kit

·         Grooming and Hygiene kit

·         Bandana or Shemagh

·         Gloves

·         Compass

·         Ranger beads

·         Maps of area or objectives

·         Cash

·         Hair coloring

·         Other disguise stuff (fake mustache, beard, colored contacts, etc)

·         Ball cap and sunglasses

·         Burner phone

·         Alternate IDs (passport, driver’s license, etc….You know, like the spies on TV)

·         Lots of Cash (bribes, payoffs, transportation, a place to lay low, etc)

Weapon Caches

 

Weapon Caches are used by those who aren’t so sure that their firearms are safe. Burying some of your firearms in a remote area ensures that they will still be accessible regardless of the current laws or political climate.

Most firearms cost many hundreds of dollars if not thousands, so you should probably go the extra mile and buy a container, like a Mono Vault tube, designed for this very purpose.

The Mono Vault Features:

 

·         Heavy-duty construction tested and designed to be buried, with guns inside!

·         Air-tight seal

·         Two Lids- an inner lid with waterproof gasket and an outer ‘Burial Shield’ lid

Make sure to dip your firearms in some type of grease or cosmoline for long term storage, or invest in some Vapor Corrosion Inhibiting bags (aka VCI bags) to prevent rust and corrosion.

If you are concerned enough to bury some of your essentials firearms, make sure to take extra precautions for every part of this project.

Keep some gear in a location away from your residence for safe keeping. When you are ready to stash this gear or supplies then you need to consider making a Survival Supply Caches, the Prepper’s Safe Deposit Box!

Posted on Leave a comment

Which Bug-Out Region Do You Live In?

The feasibility of any bug out plan depends a lot on your starting point.  Obviously, some regions of the country have more to offer than others in terms of places to go.  But every part of the Lower 48 has its share of potential bug out locations.  The map below shows eight major regions as I’ve divided them for the purposes of my book: Bug Out: The Complete Plan for Escaping a Catastrophic Disaster Before It’s Too Late.

There is some crossover between the regions shown here, but the illustrator has done a pretty good job of placing the demarcation lines approximately the way I have divided the bug out locations described in the book.  Note the page numbers that will correspond to the beginning of each regional chapter.  The first four chapters are on general information and planning, including gear and methods of transportation.

My reasoning for these divisions is that these specific regions offer distinct variations in terrain, climate and plant and animal communities.  Again, there is some crossover in some areas, but anyone familiar with all these areas of the U.S. will see how survival skills and gear can be different from one region to the next.  Natural hazards including everything from weather to dangerous wildlife vary according to these regions, as do resources such as the availability or lack or water, edible plants and game animals.  It is this variation that made working on this book such an interesting project for me over the past several months, not to mention the real time I’ve spent out there backpacking, canoeing and kayaking in all of these regions at various times during the past 25 years.  Writing each chapter made me reminiscence about past trips and long to load up a canoe or backpack and go again. 

My home base is in the Gulf Coast region, and I stay here because of family ties as well as my love of the water – both the rivers and the Gulf itself.  I’m lucky to have a large number of bug out options close by because I live in one of the least populated states east of the Mississippi River.  Those of us living in small towns or rural areas are the least likely to need to bug out to begin with, but each region on the above map has its share of densely populated cities where the residents would do well to have a working knowledge of where to go if the SHTF and they have to get out.  Keep in mind that the vast majority of the populations of those cities are not going to have this knowledge and most will not even try to leave, but will instead wait for outside help that may or may not come.  Out here in the small towns and rural areas of America, most of us would pull together in such a situation and help each other out, as has been proven time and time again when the big Gulf hurricanes have hit the nearby coast.  In the aftermath of Katrina, the media covered the chaos and violence going down in New Orleans, while people along the even harder hit Mississippi Coast quietly rolled up their sleeves and went to work digging out of the rubble and rebuilding. 

So it’s obvious that where you live has a lot to do with how you should formulate your survival plans and can be a big factor in your chances of success or at least the degree of difficulty you would face.  But one thing we are blessed with here in the U.S. is plenty of undeveloped and uninhabited lands.  It may not seem so when you’re driving past mile after mile of strip malls and suburban sprawl, but compared to so many other countries in the world there is a lot of unused land here – both public and private.  Have you explored all the potential bug out locations near you?  What if you travel a lot for your job or for pleasure?  Do you know where the big uninhabited areas are in other regions you frequent?  If not, you should think about it.  I hope that this kind of information detailed in my new book will be of use not only for bug out planning, but to encourage readers to get out and explore the great wild places available their own region and other parts of the country.  

Posted on Leave a comment

Sample Bug Out Bag Checklist

Note: This checklist includes the items I would take in a bug-out situation in which I had to head out into the wilds of the Lower 48 States on foot. Using a vehicle, boat, or other means of carrying gear would allow much more flexibility. This list will need to be adjusted for high elevations or northern winters. 

BUG OUT BAG AND CLOTHING:

Kelty internal frame backpack
Jansport fanny pack (for critical survival items)
Lightweight mesh bag (for wild food gathering, carrying)
Leather and Goretex waterproof hiking boots (will be wearing)
Neoprene river shoes with heavy-duty hiking soles
Moisture-wicking inner socks (2-pair) (will be wearing additional pair)
Wool outer socks (2-pair) (will be wearing additional pair)
Wool watch cap
Boonie hat or Tilley sun hat (will be wearing)
Bandanas (3)
Ripstop BDU pants (2 pair) (will be wearing one pair)
Synthetic long underwear (2 pair)
Goretex rain pants
Heavy-duty belt
T-shirts (2) (will be wearing one under outer shirt)
Long underwear shirt (1)
Polar fleece long-sleeve (1)
Cotton-canvas long-sleeve (2) (will be wearing one)
Goretex parka
Camouflage poncho (doubles as small tarp, and useful to hide unattended gear)

SHELTER AND FIRE

Hennessey camping hammock 
550 paracord (100-feet)
Synthetic sleeping bag rated for the climate and season
Bic disposable butane lighters (6 or more)
Fire Steel Scout (2)
Fire Sticks (12-pack)
Small back of cotton balls soaked in Vaseline (tinder)

FOOD AND WATER

3-day supply of Mainstay or Datrex lifeboat rations, or MREs. 
1 gallon Ziplock bag of high-energy trail mix (dried fruits, nuts and seeds)
Power bars (half dozen)
Beef Jerky (several small packages)
1 gallon Ziplock bag of whole-grain oatmeal
Small quantity of Zatarains or Tony’s Cajun seasoning (renders anything edible)
One quart Nalgene bottles, pre-filled with drinking water (2 minimum)
Polar Pure Water Disinfectant (2 bottles)
Aquamira Frontier filter straw (1)

HUNTING AND FISHING:

Take-down .22 rifle 
.22 ammo (200 rounds minimum)
Ruger GP 100 .357 Magnum revolver (4-inch barrel)
Holster for revolver to carry in accessible location
Speed loaders for revolver
Winchester Trapper .357 Magnum carbine (optional, depending on situation)
.357 Magnum ammo (100 rounds)
Selection of assorted fishhooks for bream up to large catfish
Spool of monofilament line
Spool of trot line for drop hooks
Pre-made wire snares for small game

TOOLS:

Quality 18 to 24-inch machete with sheath
Cold Steel XL Voyager (5-inch folding Bowie)
Leatherman Wave multitool 
Small mill file
Diamond sharpener
Hand-bearing compass
Casio Pathfinder PAW 1500 watch with electronic compass
Topo-map enabled GPS receiver
Stainless steel 4-quart cooking pot (with lid, handle removed)
Stainless steel spoon
Sewing needles

MISCELLANEOUS: 

Map of bug out location and alternatives, laminated or sealed in Ziplock bag
Insect repellant with DEET
Small tube of SPF 50 sunblock
Sunglasses with retainer and case (if traveling by water or open country)
Heavy duty Dacron sailmaker’s thread (for sewing repairs)
Basic First Aid supplies, bandages and antibiotic ointment
Extractor Snakebite Kit
Cortisone cream (for poison ivy, etc.)
Benadryll (for bee and wasp stings)
Epipen (for severe allergic reactions to stings)
Imodium (Anti-diarrhea)
Ibuprofen pain capsules 
Field guide to edible plants (region-specific)
Passport/driver’s license
Cash plus gold or silver coins
Toothbrush
Small bottle of concentrated anti-bacterial soap
Small amount of tightly-packed toilet paper
Comb
L.E.D. version of the Mini Maglight, with extra AA batteries
(Or small L.E.D. headlamp that runs on AA or AAA batteries)
Small quantity of duct tape
Small bottle of gun oil/multipurpose oil

Posted on Leave a comment

Sample Bug Out Bag Checklist

bug-out-checklist

Note: This checklist includes the items I would take in a bug-out situation in which I had to head out into the wilds of the Lower 48 States on foot. Using a vehicle, boat, or other means of carrying gear would allow much more flexibility. This list will need to be adjusted for high elevations or northern winters. 

BUG OUT BAG AND CLOTHING:

Kelty internal frame backpack
Jansport fanny pack (for critical survival items)
Lightweight mesh bag (for wild food gathering, carrying)
Leather and Goretex waterproof hiking boots (will be wearing)
Neoprene river shoes with heavy-duty hiking soles
Moisture-wicking inner socks (2-pair) (will be wearing additional pair)
Wool outer socks (2-pair) (will be wearing additional pair)
Wool watch cap
Boonie hat or Tilley sun hat (will be wearing)
Bandanas (3)
Ripstop BDU pants (2 pair) (will be wearing one pair)
Synthetic long underwear (2 pair)
Goretex rain pants
Heavy-duty belt
T-shirts (2) (will be wearing one under outer shirt)
Long underwear shirt (1)
Polar fleece long-sleeve (1)
Cotton-canvas long-sleeve (2) (will be wearing one)
Goretex parka
Camouflage poncho (doubles as small tarp, and useful to hide unattended gear)

SHELTER AND FIRE

Hennessey camping hammock 
550 paracord (100-feet)
Synthetic sleeping bag rated for the climate and season
Bic disposable butane lighters (6 or more)
Fire Steel Scout (2)
Fire Sticks (12-pack)
Small back of cotton balls soaked in Vaseline (tinder)

FOOD AND WATER

3-day supply of Mainstay or Datrex lifeboat rations, or MREs. 
1 gallon Ziplock bag of high-energy trail mix (dried fruits, nuts and seeds)
Power bars (half dozen)
Beef Jerky (several small packages)
1 gallon Ziplock bag of whole-grain oatmeal
Small quantity of Zatarains or Tony’s Cajun seasoning (renders anything edible)
One quart Nalgene bottles, pre-filled with drinking water (2 minimum)
Polar Pure Water Disinfectant (2 bottles)
Aquamira Frontier filter straw (1)

HUNTING AND FISHING:

Take-down .22 rifle 
.22 ammo (200 rounds minimum)
Ruger GP 100 .357 Magnum revolver (4-inch barrel)
Holster for revolver to carry in accessible location
Speed loaders for revolver
Winchester Trapper .357 Magnum carbine (optional, depending on situation)
.357 Magnum ammo (100 rounds)
Selection of assorted fishhooks for bream up to large catfish
Spool of monofilament line
Spool of trot line for drop hooks
Pre-made wire snares for small game

TOOLS:

Quality 18 to 24-inch machete with sheath
Cold Steel XL Voyager (5-inch folding Bowie)
Leatherman Wave multitool 
Small mill file
Diamond sharpener
Hand-bearing compass
Casio Pathfinder PAW 1500 watch with electronic compass
Topo-map enabled GPS receiver
Stainless steel 4-quart cooking pot (with lid, handle removed)
Stainless steel spoon
Sewing needles

MISCELLANEOUS: 

Map of bug out location and alternatives, laminated or sealed in Ziplock bag
Insect repellant with DEET
Small tube of SPF 50 sunblock
Sunglasses with retainer and case (if traveling by water or open country)
Heavy duty Dacron sailmaker’s thread (for sewing repairs)
Basic First Aid supplies, bandages and antibiotic ointment
Extractor Snakebite Kit
Cortisone cream (for poison ivy, etc.)
Benadryll (for bee and wasp stings)
Epipen (for severe allergic reactions to stings)
Imodium (Anti-diarrhea)
Ibuprofen pain capsules 
Field guide to edible plants (region-specific)
Passport/driver’s license
Cash plus gold or silver coins
Toothbrush
Small bottle of concentrated anti-bacterial soap
Small amount of tightly-packed toilet paper
Comb
L.E.D. version of the Mini Maglight, with extra AA batteries
(Or small L.E.D. headlamp that runs on AA or AAA batteries)
Small quantity of duct tape
Small bottle of gun oil/multipurpose oil

Posted on Leave a comment

DIY Solar Outdoor Shower

Do you like the idea of outdoor showering? Then you will love this DIY shower.

do-it-yourself-shower

In some places, water heaters are outdoor bathrooms are considered more as luxury than a necessity. But that shouldn’t stop anyone from enjoying a warm shower!

This outdoor shower runs completely on solar energy, providing free hot water and lighting during the night. Reflective insulation and clear roofing are used to collect and store the heat from the sun. To improve hot water reserve, you can add a dual pane thermal glass cover.

This clever project definitely says that warm showers do not necessarily have to mean higher electricity bill! Could you use one in your yard?

Materials:

  • Cedar Wood Panels/Boards
  • Cement Foundation Blocks
  • Plywood
  • Water Tank
  • Fiberglass Batting
  • Bricks
  • Shower Fixtures
  • Solar Lighting
  • Reflective Insulation
  • UV Resistant Poly-type Clear Roofing
  • Deck Screws
  • Door Hinges
  • Hooks
  • Water Piping
  • Steel Support for solar box

Tools:

  • Table Saw
  • Hand Saw
  • Drill
  • Trowel
  • Shovel
  • Hammer

diy-shower

diy-shower2

diy-shower3

diy-shower4

diy-shower5

diy-shower6

diy-shower7

diy-shower8

diy-shower9

diy-shower10

diy-shower11

diy-shower12

diy-shower13

 

diy-shower14

diy-shower15

diy-shower16

diy-shower17

Posted on Leave a comment

Best Bug Out Location

bug-out-location

As the name implies this article is geared for finding the best bug out location. Should the need arise out of nowhere having an area in the back of your mind can really be a substantial benefit to getting out of the trouble quickly. Even if you do not have a location planned I will break down things that will be great indicators you have found a great bug out location.

Bug Out Shelter Plans

bug-out-location2

One of the most paramount needs is shelter. This will give you a place to rest and if built, or found if lucky enough to find a suitable shelter, a place to hide from whoever you do not want to come around your camp. If it comes to building a bug out shelter, especially a long life one, wood is going to be key. Most places across the United States have some degree of tree growth but obviously more would be better for concealment and availability of materials to build and fortify your shelter. A consideration to have is if there is a lack of trees bringing a canvas or tarp to make some type of shelter. Mainly in terms of your shelter getting something to keep elements whether it is sunshine or snow off of you is priority. Lean-to’s are simple and very functional quick shelter to build where wood is plentiful. If you are looking at this location as a long term survival area you can take more time in making the shelter more comfortable and stable and camouflaged.

If you have the foresight and the means to do so making a shelter beforehand and maintaining it will give you a great jump when troubles begin. This is the ideal situation because you can make it a far more functional shelter and up your chance of survival. A well built shelter can be upgraded in a variety of ways to take your from surviving to thriving. The first and major one is a source of electricity. A gasoline generator the newer developed inverter generator which offers the same benefits as a traditional generator but being more portable and much quieter. Solar panels are an even more long term feasible option. Set up correctly and with proper care offer great long lasting renewable energy without the need for fossil fuels and noise levels. Depending on your region will determine the effectiveness of solar panels. If the sun doesn’t cooperate in your region perhaps wind turbine are more practical for your region. With the advances in wind energy they now offer simple do it yourself kits to set up and provide electricity from the wind for reasonable costs.

Bug Out Water Source

bug-out-location3

Once you have an area that is suitable and advantageous for a durable shelter the next priority in the best bug out location is a bug out water source. Water is very important in a bug out and survival situation because as everyone knows you can’t go for very long without dehydration. The best bug out location would have some type of dependable water source nearby or easily accessible. Most water sources are not safe to drink from directly and will require some type of purification to make it drinkable. There are bug out bag take along options, previously described in the survival water purification article, such as purification tablets and boiling the water. These are great options especially if it is a temporary hold-up as any chemicals you bring to treat the water will eventually run out. Boiling is a great option and has been used throughout history. Typical water sources would be rivers, lakes, ponds, springs. All of these would be a great indication of a solid long term area to set up a bug out location.

There are also some great options for water filtration that you could procure if you have the location and shelter planned beforehand. They make some simple systems that do not use any electricity but still filter very efficiently. These systems depending on their size can treat thousands of gallons of water and is a great option for long term survival in one location.

Bug Out Food Supply

bug-out-location4

Finally after you have found your location and it is suitable for shelter and water the last primary consideration you need to look for is your bug out food supply. Most locations that suit the other two needs will lead to the possibility of food options for you as well. All sorts of vegetation is edible and getting an understanding of the plants in your area will give you an advantage if you ever need to delve into nature’s supermarket. Most edible plants do not need cooked and can be a good advantage if you are in a hurry and can allow you to eat as you forage. Some wild game will probably also be available to you in most locations. This could give you another great option for food if you learn how to hunt each type of game effectively. Insects can also be a good source of nutrition due to the amount of protein per ounce they possess. As mentioned before if the other two categories fit there is a better chance of finding food as well in the same area. Ensure you know what is edible and what is not especially in the plant kingdom.

Again if you have the means and foresight to stock up and prepare for a bug out situation  having seeds that you can plant if it is the right climate or season for it can be a great way to have a long term food source option. Another option is emergency food supplies. These MRE’s tend to have great shelf lives and are geared to giving you the nutrition you need while keeping the size of the stockpile to a minimum.

Posted on Leave a comment

DIY Survival: Different Uses for Duct Tape

uses-for-duck-tape

It’s common to hear someone joke about how useful duct tape is. In fact, it’s so common that there was even a DIY comedy TV show about its many (interesting) uses called The Red Green Show. All joking aside, however, it turns out that duct tape is actually quite a useful tool to have around if you don’t have anything else readily available. We’re going to tackle just a few of its uses here today:

Patches for Holes and Insulation

Whether you’re patching an Emergency Blanket or even a tent, you can utilize duct tape in small patching jobs. It can also be used as a sealant for holes in walls or as insulation in desperate times, particularly in the winter or spring. Tape over a small hole in your wall or even wrap duct tape around your shoes to form a barrier from water and provide extra insulation. For buckets, plates, bowls, or cups, you can use duct tape to patch any cracks or holes. Finally, if you use a flotation device or a boat, you can use it to patch holes and make it water tight.

Ropes or Chords

Let’s face it, sometimes Murphy’s Law happens, and when it does, you could be stuck without a rope for your tent or with a broken net. Not to worry, as you can use twisted duct tape to form a rope or a cord in desperate times. You won’t be able to use it for any major jobs like pulling a truck (not that we’ve tried), but you’ll be able to use it for small to medium-sized jobs when a rope or a cord is needed but not available.

Makeshift Belt or a Strap

We’ve all been there: a belt or strap breaks without warning, and in times of disaster, it may not be as simple as running down to the hardware or clothing store for a replacement. Duct tape can be utilized in lieu of a belt or strap in times of need.

Weapons and Tools

Anyone who’s ever done some yard work knows that handles — like those found on shovels — aren’t always skin-friendly when working for long periods. You can use duct tape to patch a pair of gloves, or even wrap it around a shovel handle to decrease the chance that you’ll get blisters or other scratches or cuts. Which brings us to medical uses…

Medical Uses

Yes, duct tape can be used for medical reasons, too. In addition to making makeshift bandages that will pull hairs but will also stop bleeding, you can also use it for padding or as a splint or cast (or part of one) in a situation when you sprain or break a bone. If there are branches or sticks available, you can also wrap the duct tape around these and make yourself a walking stick to assist you with movement. There are a variety of other uses for medical reasons, but these are just a few to start.

Makeshift Shelter

There’s nothing worse than being caught in the rain, but if you have enough duct tape with you, you’re covered (literally). Using some sticks or twigs as a kind of frame and the duct tape to hold it all together and as insulation, you can build yourself a small makeshift shelter that’s just big enough for you to sleep in until the bad weather passes. Hopefully you’ll never be that far away from your tent or other shelter, but if there is such a time, you’ll be able to survive it.