Valley Food Storage Dehydrated Peanut Powder.

For those wishing to stockpile foods for long-term storage, there are a number of options. There are many companies that specialize in dehydrated foods, and the best advice you can get is to decide what you are going to need, and sample a variety from different companies. And there are a large choice of food types and menus.

Valley Food Storage is one of the major players in the industry. I tested their white bean and lime chili and found it really good. So when I was given another choice of item to test, I decided on the peanut powder. My main interest is in lightweight and easily stored items that would be functional and nutritional either bugging in or out. Peanut butter is a popular staple with survivalists for a number of reasons which I described here where I wrote about the real deal.

Peanut powder is made by compressing peanuts to remove the oil and fats, and then grinding them into powder. This provides a lightweight substitute for the much heavier actual peanut butter. So how does it stack up against the real thing on the two issues I see as most important: Nutrition and taste.

Nutrition

The table below is the label off the Valley Food Storage package. One serving consists of two tablespoons. One serving will contain 7g of protein, 70 calories, and 4g of total fat.

This is the label off of a regular jar of Jif creamy peanut butter. It also has 7 g of protein, but has 180 calories, and 16 grams of total fat

The peanut powder has and equal amount of protein, but a lot fewer calories, fat and sodium. But you are also talking a lot less weight for the amount of protein.

Taste Test

Easy to mix, it is 1 for 1 water and powder. I mixed two tablespoons of powder with two tablespoons of water. It mixed easily and rapidly. It wasn’t as thick as regular peanut butter. It tasted good, but needs a bit of sugar for my taste. Easily done in the field with small sugar packets.  It is advertised as good to mix in things like yogurt or cereal, or juice. OK in a bug in situation, but maybe not so practical on the move.  It would make a lightweight protein additive for such things as crackers, etc. It would also lighten up the blandness of survival food.

Conclusion

Lightweight and tasty protein supplement for a survival situation, but it has the same water dependent drawback that all dehydrated food stuffs have. I have placed one bag in my food stash and will let the wife enjoy the other in her breakfast yogurt.

Available from Valley Food Storage

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Survival Hax Survival Shovel

survival_shovel_1_1024x1024One of the fun things about doing a survival blog is that manufacturers and dealers will often send you one of their items to test. I have some definite policies on this. I do not accept money for the review. I get to keep the item. And I will only write an honest evaluation. When Sara of SurvivalHax offered to send me one of their survival shovels I was glad to test it.

Before I discuss the shovel, let’s define what a survival shovel is. For my purposes, it should be lightweight and small enough to fit in a bug out bag. It should be sturdy enough to perform some basic functions. These would include digging a cat hole, digging a fire pit, digging a water run off trench around your shelter, driving tent stakes, and shoveling snow or sand from around a stuck vehicle tires. If you are planning on doing more heavy-duty digging, then you will need a larger tool. The SurvivalHax survival shovel will perform it’s intended functions very well.

This little shovel is basic military style with a folding spade and pick. This design was initiated by the Germans in WW2 and quickly copied by the United States and many other countries. The shovel has a two piece hollow handle which screws together and the end survival_shovel_6_1024x1024cap unscrews and has a ferro rod fire starter. Both handles are hollow. It also comes with a carrying case, as well as a lifetime warranty. When the shovel is unfolded it is 24 inches (2 feet) long. Its collapsible size is 8.6 x 8.2 inches. The head of the shovel is made out of manganese steel with a rigidity rating of 42-46. The handle is made out of steel as well, while the orange adjustment nut is aluminum alloy. It weighs in at about 2 pounds.

The blade is serrated on one side like many other shovels of this size. And like most of it’s counterparts, the serrated edges as well as the blade edge need to be sharpened with a file. This is not a criticism.   A few minutes with a file and the serrations and flat edge are nice and sharp. Again, most shovels of this type need to be sharpened. The three rivets that hold the blade to the mount seem solid. At 2 lbs. weight, it is solid enough to pound tent stakes in soft to moderately hard soil. I took the shovel out back and used both the pick and the blade to dig  around a bit. The soil here is gravely on top, sandy under. Both the pick and blade worked well and the locking nut stayed tight. There were no dings or bends to the blade.

survival-hax-shovel-dissassembledThe handle is a two piece hollow affair that screws together. The threads for both the handle and the end cap are cut clean and screw together with no problems. I recommend lubricating the threads lightly.   The black finish is smooth, actually slick. I solved this problem by wrapping the handle in paracord.

This not only adds no real weight, but gives a more solid grip on the handle as well as providing additional paracord for my kit. As the end cap is a ferro rod fire starter, I decided to use the hollow space to enhance  fire making capability. I took 5 Vaseline impregnated cotton balls and wrapped them in a plastic bag. I attached a piece of paracord to one end and a military p-38 can opener to the other. It works like a pull through with the p-38 being the weight that allows the sack to be pulled into or out of the tube. In addition, I have found a p-38 to be an excellent striker to use on a rod. I tested it on the rod that came with the shovel and got good sparks. I haven’t decided what to use the space in the upper handle for yet. Perhaps kindling.

The carrying case is adequate to store the two pieces nicely in a rucksack, but only has one belt loop and would probably not be too durable for long-term wear on a belt. If you wish to carry it that way, a very inexpensive military surplus e-tool holder can easily be found.survival_shovel_7_1024x1024

Summary

The SurvivalHax Survival Shovel is a well made, lightweight shovel of a proven design that is small enough to fit in a bug out bag, or under a vehicle seat and comes with a lifetime warranty. The hollow handles give you the option of storing additional items of your choice, which most other shovels of this type do not have. Mine is now in my get home bag in my jeep. Available on Amazon or SurvivalHax

SnugPak Softie 3 Merlin Sleeping Bag

Merlin 2Every one should have a bug out bag packed and prepared to go with at least three days necessities. Since sleeping is definitely a necessity in a stressful situation, it requires careful planning in the selection of gear. Weight in a bug out bag is a serious consideration. Sleeping gear can become a large portion of that weight. The SnugPak Softie 3 Merlin is a potential answer to the problem.

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