7 Best Survival Gadgets for All Your Outdoor Needs.

This is a guest article by Anthony Maldonado

There are plenty of outdoor activities. Some want to practice outdoor sports, some enjoy just running in nature, some want to go for hunting and some would enjoy just a picnic in nature or camping under the stars. It is very healthy to spend some time in nature. That way we clear our mind from the negative thoughts and release all the negativity. Our muscles relax and our lungs fill with fresh air. With the everyday use of the technology and working all week-long, we try to reconnect with our roots and spend some time in nature in order to recharge our batteries and have plenty of energy for the tasks we have to do. Most of the people want to use the free time they have to spend some time in nature with their friends and family and have a good time. They decide for some outdoor activity and enjoy the benefits they get from spending some time in nature.

Before deciding on any outdoor you  need to prepare and take the equipment needed in order to avoid some impediments that will ruin your time in nature. In this article, we offer 7 best survival gadgets for your outdoor needs.

  • Gadget number one – Personal water filter – There is no life without water, so you need to take plenty of water with you when you spend some time outdoors. Sometimes it happens that you run out of water, so the personal water filter is a must have  gadget with you when spending some time outdoors. Our bodies need to be hydrated so that they can work properly. This tool can be found online or in many shops. It is not very expensive. With the personal water filter you can drink any water you find near you. The filter filters the water and after that the water is safe or drinking. So, when you consider some outdoor activity make sure you do not run out of water or just take the personal water filter.
  • Gadget number two – A flashlight and a battery charger – During  darkness, you will need a flashlight with you. When spending  time camping or maybe doing some other outdoor activity you should have a flashlight and some batteries for it. Rechargeable batteries  will need a battery charger in case the ones you have do not work. A solar battery charger will be perfect for charging your batteries for your outdoor needs.
  • Gadget number three – A lighter – Whether you smoke or not you definitely should have a lighter with you. It is very useful  not only for lighting your cigarettes but also for starting a fire. You may need to get warm or you can use the fire as a source of light.
  • Gadget number four – A hand warmer – When your hands are cold you are unable to perform the activities you need to do. When our hands are warm we are able to do important tasks. Hand warming devices are easy to use; they are re-usable and can be used 12 hours straight. They make your hands warm faster than using gloves.
  • Gadget number five – Sun oven – This might be a more expensive gadget, but it will definitely serve you if you want to spend some time outdoors and prepare the food in nature by yourself. This oven uses the sun lights as energy and heats up to 200 degrees Celsius. You can prepare some food using this oven and enjoy your time outdoors.
  • Gadget number six – A gun – This may not be something that will come to your mind when you want to spend some time relaxing in nature, but it is something you must have with you. There are many animals in nature, especially in the woods. Animals see people as a threat and they just want to protect themselves so you need to have a gun with you in order to defend yourself from the possible danger.
  • Gadget number seven – First aid kit – When spending some time outdoors, you must have a first aid kit with you in case of accidents, or maybe if bitten by an insect, if you cut yourself accidentally and so on. Also have some disinfectant swith you and bandages in case you got wounded. You never know what may happen. It is better to be prepared.

Author-Bio

Anthony MaldonadoAnthony Maldonado has over Thirty (30) years of experience in the field of hunting, sports and self-defense related fields. Now he keeps on doing it through teaching others about how to prepare and DIY. He is an expert in the area of DIY. He is presently working at his tenbesttipz.com

 

 

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Guide to Picking the Best Mattress & Sleeping Pad for Survival

This is a guest article by Will Bermudez 

“Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst!” This already famous truism is the perfect advice for all humanity: the smartest thing to do to ensure our survival is to have a strategy for the times when such planning will be required. One may hope those times will never come, but being ready for any circumstances is a moral duty. One essential detail you need to think about when developing a survival strategy – whether if it is for living in the wild or for surviving a natural disaster – is sleeping arrangements. Depending on your needs, you’ll be inclined to choose between a mattress and a sleeping pad. I tried both options, and I can’t decisively swing over one or another. They both have numerous pros. But in the end, the choice is based on individual preferences. That’s why I put together a short guide to help you consider vital factors when making your purchase of either a mattress or a pad – or both.

Think comfort

Whether you want a thin sleeping pad or a thick air mattress, seek the most comfortable option according to your needs. If you have health issues, allergies or back pains or you just have to sleep in a specific position, choose the product that addresses your problem. Read the descriptions of the products carefully; ask the retailer for more details and, most importantly, read the buyers’ reviews. Test the pad or the mattress, if you have the possibility, for at least 15 minutes, in your favorite sleeping position.

Think storage and transportation

sleeping padModern pads and mattresses are designed to pack small, especially the outdoors models. Some pads pack to the size of a soda can. Deflated mattresses take little space in backpacks as well. But remember that you should focus on quality: the ultra-light ones may not offer the same sleep experience as the full body length ones. Sometimes too thin can mean a hard bed; too large, and the pad or mattress is difficult to carry. Considering you’ll probably sleep on the ground or the floor of a shelter, you should go for a thicker product, but still easy to transport.

Think materials and durability

The sleeping pad & mattress industry has evolved a lot over the past decades in all aspects – materials, weight, versatility, features. Pads are usually made of dense foam filled with tiny closed air cells. Most airbeds are made of PVC and other leading-edge materials meant to increase their durability. A thicker PVC layer (0.6 mm, for instance) offers better insulation, but can also bring extra weight. Good news is that lately, manufacturers went for fumes-free materials for airbeds, which reduces the safety concerns regarding the chemicals in these products.

Think power source

Consider the fact that you may not have an electric power source or that the one you have might get cut off. Thus, if you want to choose an air mattress, look for a self-sufficient product that can be inflated manually, or that can work on batteries as well.

Think quality and price

Try to find the best brands on the market, the ones that have been around for a long while and have developed a wide range of models, making them better and more affordable. Research thoroughly what others have to say about a particular product or brand; TryMattress recommends checking the website of the manufacturer and even the social media accounts since many people choose to give reviews on these networks. Last but not least, consider the fact that a good and reliable product will not be cheap, but it will be a long-term investment in your safety and comfort.

mattress

Publisher’s note: Amazon carries a good selection of sleeping pads and air mattresses.

Survival Water Filter by Survival Hax

Drinkable water is going to be on the top of the survival priority list in any situation. Whether you are stranded on the road for three days, evading a natural disaster for three weeks, or dealing with TEOTWAWKI for the next three decades, without having enough clean drinking water to stay alive, all of your other preps will not matter. There are a number of ways to treat water to make it drinkable. Having a personal water filter is one of those ways, and has a number of tactical advantages. They are light weight, and inexpensive so each person in your group can have and carry at least two. I see these as reserve items. You should have as much stored water as possible at your main location, as well as larger family sized filters. But these are useful especially if you are on the go and bugging out on foot. Water weighs a lot, and you won’t be able to carry a lot with you. Boiling takes time, requires you stay in one place long enough to do it, and requires fuel. The advantage to portable personal water filters is that you can drink on the go, as you find water.

Survival Hax is a company that imports a line of inexpensive but well made survival items. I have written about their survival shovel,  as well as their EDC keychain

According to the manufacturer, this water filter has the following characteristics:

  • Filter up to 400 gallons (1,500 liters) of drinkable water with one straw. (30% more efficient than standard portable filters.)
  • Advanced filter purifies at .1 microns and removes 99.9% of waterborne protozoan parasites.
  • Chemical Free technology for healthy water intake.
  • Lightweight and easy to store (3oz, 7.5in long, 1in diameter). Perfect for Bug Out Bags.

There are a number of portable water filters on the market, and honestly, all about equally as good.  The particular filter has a number of add ons, including a small compass, small mirror,  and the end cap is a whistle.  Cute, but to me, probably not that all useful. A well-built carabiner allows it to be attached easily on the outside of your gear if you want. But it DOES have a couple features that I consider very useful. If you look at the picture above of the woman drinking, notice how close down to the water she has to get. This filter comes with a length of surgical tubing which will fit on the end to allow you more stand-off from the water.  This allows you to keep your head up higher and to be able to look around while drinking, enhancing your security. The tubing could also be used as an emergency tourniquet.

But the one feature that really stands out for me on this particular filter, is that the end cap is threaded so that you can screw on a standard 28mm plastic water bottle. This has a number of advantages. Water locations can be dangerous places in a serious situation, attracting all kinds of two and four-legged critters. With a couple spare empty bottles, you can fill them up quickly and move on to drink the water away from the water source. I see this as a definite advantage.  You can get one from Survival Hax or from Amazon Prime

Survival Hax 10 in 1 EDC Keychain

EDC (Every Day Carry) are those items you want on you (or within immediate reach) at all times. Each person’s EDC kit will be different and will be based to a large degree on personal preference, and to some degree on your usual location.

When SurvivalHax.com sent me their 10 in 1 EDC keychain for review, I was pretty interested.  This is basically a mini-fishing kit with fire starter stored in a waterproof aluminum case attached to 4 feet of braided Para cord with a whistle attached to a small carabiner.

 The aluminum container holds :

3 Fishing lines 2 x Hooks 2 x Weights 2 x Floaters 2 x Sinkers 2 x Swivels 1 Knife 1 Tinder cotton 1 Ferrocerium rod 2 Safety Pins and  1 cable saw
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The first thing I tested was the whistle. Although not police quality, it got the immediate attention of both the wife and the cat, each vying to give me the meanest scowl. It is certainly loud enough for signaling purposes. The carabiner is of lightweight metal but seems to be of good quality. Although I did not unbraid the paracord, it also looks to be well made.

The small finger knife has a sharp edge and a saw edge. The sharp edge wasn’t that sharp, but a few swipes on a sharpener solved that, and it will now cut the fishing line if needed, and I am confident I could gut a fish with it. The main use of the knife is as a striker for the Ferrocerium rod. Holding it by the ring end and striking it like a match down the rod produces a goodly ammount of sparks, certainly enough to start a fire with proper tinder. I didn’t try the small cotton tinder roll, as I am soaking it in Vaseline and placing it in a small plastic pill bag.

Living in the Sonoran Desert I am not real close to a handy stream to try the fishing gear, but it is certainly adequately made. The hooks, floats and weight seem to be of good quality.The small wire saw is sufficient to cut a small pole for a fishing rod, but I doubt it would hold up to hard continuous use. But then again, it wasn’t designed to. This is an EDC kit to get you home to your main gear.

The aluminum case is indeed waterproof with a thin rubber gasket between the two parts.  I tend to adapt my gear. I recently did an article on the SurvivalHax.com nifty little Survival Shovel Both handels are hollow, and I filled one with cotton balls wrapped in a plastic bag to use with the fire starter. I am going to take the fishing components on the 10 in 1, wrap them in a plastic bag, and place them in the second hollow handle. The shovel is attached to my get home bag I keep in the back of my Jeep.  As I require certain medication, I am going to fill the waterproof metal case with one weeks worth of medication and attach it also to the get home bag.

Conclusion

All in all, this is a pretty nifty little set up for the price. The items are well made. You can use it as intended as an EDC keychain, or divvy up the components as I did. Available from SurvivalHax.com  or on Amazon.

 

Why Should You Learn Bow Hunting for Survival?

(This is a guest article by Brandon Cox)

Learning survival skills isn’t everyone’s plans as most people rarely plan to become survivals one day. What if the worst happens and you have to hunt for food to survive? Chances are you’re not one of those many people if you’re reading this post. As a modern-day prepper, the idea of bow hunting might not sound ideal but remembers bullets eventually do disappear. You need to learn stealth to survive.

These are the times when you realize a bow is your best option. Tracking your target with the focus on stealth hunting is one of the best skills any prepper can learn. Learning how to use a bow and arrow for hunting is an art of the highest kind that might one day be the only option you’ve got.

When stuck in the wilderness, nothing beats what a bow and arrow can do for you. There is always a reason to learn bow hunting for survival especially if you’re a fan of primitive hunting skills.

For those that think bow hunting has no place in the modern world, here are six why you should learn bow hunting for survival.

Highly Portable

Ordinary take down bows weigh just a few pounds making them extremely portable. The last thing you would wish for when in a survival situation is a weapon that weighs you down. Bows consist of only three pieces; the two limbs and a mid-grip section. You just need to twist a few lug screws, and you’re ready to aim. The portability of the bow along with the arrow arrangement means you can easily pack the bow and some arrows in your bug out bag with ease.

Bows and strings are multi-purpose

The bow is a multi-purpose weapon that can be used to achieve several other functions. You can all agree with me that it feels great to have a weapon that can be used to serve several other purposes. Pieces of the takedown bow arrow kit can be used different functions.

One of the parts you can use for example is the string. The string is usually 4-6 feet and sturdy. It can be used as a trot-line for fishing and a cordage for building shelter. The string can also be used in traps, making a snare and even starting fire via a bow drill. Go ahead and improvise anything that helps you from the string as a long as you don’t damage it.

Also, the arrows can be used as a spear for hunting small game and fish. There is just a lot you can do with your bow and arrows apart from hunting.

Observe a low sonic profile

This is probably one of the compelling reasons to start learning bow hunting for survival. A bow and an arrow make up a silent weapon. Who knows, there will come a day when you will need a deadly but silent weapon. Consider a situation where you have to maintain a low sonic profile and to bug out isn’t an option. Archery will turn out to be your only survival option.

A bow and arrow are wise ideas, especially when hunting in an area with a lot of competition. Bow hunting for survival guarantees you stealth takedown. You also get to return to your camp safely without drawing any unnecessary attention.

Bow hunting as a plan B

Any prepper can agree with me that the key long-term survival and emergency preparedness is having a plan B. While guns have taken center stage over the past few years, they can run out of ammunition. In such scenarios, your only plan B is a bow. This is further supported by the fact that a bow is quite light and can be packed together with the arrows in your bug out bag with easy. There even places around the globe where you can’t use a gun freely. Such places require you to have a bow and some arrows with you.

Regulations and legal laws regarding the use of bows and arrows are also more lenient compared to guns. There is no cumbersome paperwork required for people to own bows and arrows as with pellets and guns.

Precision long-range damage

There is no better weapon as a bow and an arrow when in a long-range situation. This simply means you don’t need to get too close to your target to kill it. With good practice, you can shoot targets from as far as 50-100 yards and hit them accurately. This is not something that you can do with spears.

Bow hunting is a fun DIY project

This is another great idea to learn bow hunting.  Most preppers will tell you they just need a few materials to make a good bow and arrows. This cannot be said of other weapons in a real survival situation. A few straight sticks can make an arrow while a hardwood can make the bow itself. Use stone chips to make the broadheads. It is fun making the bow and arrows. If you have a glass bottle with you, then you can break it and make broadheads. The string is the only challenging thing to find, but plants like vines can give you strong strings. You can even use threads from your clothes.

Final Verdict

Now you know why you need to learn bow hunting right away. With a bow and some arrows, you can not only hunt down a prey but also defend yourself. When we talk about bow hunting for survival, it is not just how you can use the bow to kill a prey; it is how you can employ a bow and an arrow in a survival situation.

Author Bio:

Brandon Cox is the founder of StayHunting, who is passionate about all things of hunting and fitness. Through his hunting website, he would like to share tips & tricks, finest tech that will excite all of the intricacies of hunting whether you be an amateur or a professional.

 

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

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

How To Prepare Your Homestead or Property To Protect You During SHTF Situations

mummonmokkiSurvival is a job that modern civilization makes very easy. Do you have plans to keep on doing it when the support structure you rely on falls away? Survivalists call this the “Sh#t Hits The Fan” or SHTF scenario. It means making your household safe and self-supporting for an indefinite amount of time. Here are some important general strategies for getting your property or homestead ready for such a situation.

Always Have A Bug-Out Plan

To start with, you need to consider a fundamental question of survival strategy: Hunker down or bug out? Do you stand firm on your existing property and make it self-sufficient and secure, or do you flee to a less dangerous place? There is plenty of helpful advice for pursuing both strategies and a healthy SHTF plan may well combine the two – bugging out of your day-to-day home to settle on a prepared rural property, for example.

Bugging out Regardless of what you plan for, put emergency plans and supplies in place to make retreating an option at any time. Bug-out bags aren’t just for escaping a city that’s become too dangerous to live in. You should have one prepared at all times so that you can get mobile without placing yourself in any more danger than is absolutely necessary. Plan redundant lines of retreat. The further down the list you get, the less preparation and research you’re going to be able to do, but that’s alright. Even a plan as simple as, “grab this backpack and head north” is preferable to being stuck in a dangerous place without options.

Balance Convenience Against Visibility

 Most survivalists who are seriously considering SHTF scenarios aren’t thinking about short-term interruptions of emergency services and the rule of law. They’re planning for an indefinite time frame where every instance of human contact is likely to be a risk. This is why you need to consider how visible your occupation of your survival property is going to be. Taking steps to conceal your presence can save you a lot of trouble.

In rural survival scenarios, for instance, being close to a reliable source of water is a huge convenience. It makes gardening, cooking and cleaning much easier for you. It also makes your property much more??????????????????????????????? attractive and tempting to outsiders. Strike a balance between concealment and convenience when you pick out your property and start making survival plans.

 Practice Vital Skills In Advance

 Keeping yourself and your loved ones safe in an SHTF scenario requires good timing and fast, efficient work. These qualities are tough to achieve if all of your survival skills are based on something your read months or years ago and then forgot. Organize your day-to-day activities so that your ordinary mode of life gives you opportunities to practice survival skills.

Start a garden in your backyard or join a community garden if you live in an urban area to keep your 110701_BURKARD_50075thumbs green. Get out into the wilderness regularly to camp and be sure to camp a little rougher thanbill_stagg_turning_up_his_beans_pie_town_new_mexico__he_will_next_pile_them_for_curing_loc pulling your RV up to a campground with plumbing and wi-fi. If your SHTF plans include defending yourself with lethal force and they probably should, make sure you put in plenty of practice hours at your local gun range. All the plans in the world won’t Front Sight 5help you if you don’t have the skills to execute them.

 Detailed planning for an SHTF scenario is going to depend heavily on the type of property you have to work with, the skills your household brings to the table, and even the general climate conditions in your region. Regardless of the details, you should not lose sight of these basic principles. They will serve you in good stead in virtually any survival situation.

About the author

William Sheridan is a successful businessman and operates the site, Best Home Security which provides answers and solutions for all your home security needs. Visit today to discover on-topic and useful information that can help keep your family safe.

The Zika Virus. What It Means To You

Anopheles_stephensiMosquito borne diseases have been the bane of mankind from the beginning.  Malaria, for example, is an ancient disease that probably originated in Africa. It has been described by the Chinese as far back as 2700BC and the Sumerians from 1700 BC

Mosquitos can carry, and transmit to humans, diseases such as : malaria, dengue, filariasis, West Nile virus, chikungunya, yellow fever, Japanese encephalitis, Saint Louis encephalitis, Western equine encephalitis, Eastern equine encephalitis, Venezuelan equine encephalitis, La Crosse encephalitis[.     

Zika

Zika is a relatively new mosquito borne virus that we really don’t know a lot about. What we do know isn’t good. Zika virus is carried by the Aedes mosquito, It seems to have started in equatorial Africa and is now running rampant in South America. There are also now cases reported in the United States. It is especially harmful to pregnant women, and can cause serious birth defects in the unborn called microcephaly. The child can be born with an abnormally small head diminishing mental capacity, and in some cases it can be fatal. For adults, the resulting illness only lasts a few days. The symptoms, including a rash, joint pains, inflammation of the eyes and fever, Basically, serious flu like symptoms. However, it is important to note that evidently a large percentage of infected people seem to show no signs of having the virus. It has been reported that Zika can possibly  be sexually transmitted. It can rapidly spread when a mosquito bites an infected person, and then transmits it to another, uninfected, person.

Prevention and Treatment_Are_you_a_mosquito_breeder__-_NARA_-_513877

There is no vaccine to prevent or cure Zika. However, prevention techniques are the same as for any other mosquito borne disease. Avoid traveling to those areas where a large number of infections have been reported. The Center for Disease Control has a list of travel warnings on their website. If you have to travel to these areas, try to avoid areas with a lot of mosquitos, wear Sawyer 51sMNFe6SiLlong pants and long sleeved shirts, and use EPA-registered insect repellents containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE), or IR3535.. Consider using mosquito nets when sleeping, and even wearing insect repellent clothing.91ureNoVsPL__SL1500_

Right now there is serious ongoing investigation into the Zika virus. It is important to stay up to date on the findings. There is a lot that we do not know about this virus yet.

 

Oral Hygiene When SHTF

Toothbrush-20060209Sometimes when prepping, it is the little things we forget to prepare for. And often, it is things we do daily, like brushing our teeth. Not as glamorous a subject as the fastest way to reload an AK, how to build a fire in the rain, or how to find water in the desert. But it is a subject, that if ignored, can put you down seriously. And possibly permanently.

Death from tooth abscess was a fairly common occurrence up until the 20th century, even though  methods of tooth cleaning were practiced for thousands of years.  Just like you need to prep for all forms of hygiene, you need to seriously consider oral hygiene preps. And in SHTF, you need to clean your teeth as often as possible.

Tooth Brushes

Toothbrush_x3_20050716_001Store a good quantity of spare tooth brushes. You should change your brush when the bristles start flaring out. Don’t throw them away though, they make good additions to your weapons cleaning kit.  There are some natural alternative to factory tooth brushes. For centuries people have used “chew sticks” to clean their teeth. This is simply a small twig flared on the end to simulate a tooth-brush. Find a twig about the thickness of a pencil and chew on the end until the fibers separate. Not all woods are suitable. Some that work well are Willow, Ash, Chestnut, Peach, Hazel, Apple,  and Birch.

Tooth Paste and Substitutes71Z69w3M5bL__SL1500_

Factory tooth paste is good to stock up on. Estimate a tube a month per person. There are a number of alternatives that are just as good though. Brushing with even plain 81P54GuNR1L__SL1500_water can help. 81qUyZl7G4L__SL1500_Baking soda and salt are also good substitutes. If you are planning on bugging in for extended periods, you will want to stock up on these two items anyway. You can make an effective tooth paste by combining the two.  Mix one part salt to two parts baking soda after pulverizing the salt into powder. It will remove plaque and help keep your gums healthy.

Flossing

Flossing is actually more important than tooth paste. Your tooth-brush can only reach about 2/3 of the teeth surfaces. If you run out of floss, thread from your sewing kit can be used. Flossing is an essential part of oral hygiene, especially in the field.

Rinses

31MDnnk+8xLEven just rinsing your mouth with water by forcing it between the teeth will help. An excellent mouth rinses is 3% Hydrogen Peroxide, mixed with an equal amount of water. Rinse your mouth with while forcing it through the spaces of the teeth for about 15-30 seconds before brushing. This will kill a lot of the bacteria that causes oral health issues.

 

Dental First Aid

Many preppers will go to considerable lengths to stock first aid supplies, manuals, and take first aid training courses to be prepared for SHTF scenarios. But even under ideal conditions, with a dentist available, many people will have dental issues. In a SHTF situation, without the availability of a trained dentist, this situation becomes serious.61emvBmNwYL__SX337_BO1,204,203,200_ An abcessed tooth can end up killing you as dead as a looter’s bullet. Learning to apply dental first aid is a critical skill all preppers should consider. Where There Is No Dentist is an excellent book that covers a broad spectrum on oral health, and dealing with many of the oral health problems you would find in a SHTF situation, and how to handle dental first aid in a primitive setting.  It is a first aid manual for your teeth. It should be in every prepper’s library.

 

 

My Top 10 Favorite Prepper Blogs For 2015

Picture1There are a LOT of prepper oriented blogs on the internet. A LOT! You could spend a whole day (or more) trying to do just a brief visit of many of them. As a prepper blogger myself, I spend a bit of time reviewing other blogs for some essential reasons. Partly for my own education and entertainment, and partly to see what trends preppers seem to be interested in. I then try to fill gaps with my own articles. Some sites, like my own, publish original content with the occasional guest article. Other sites re post good article and serve as sort of a “Readers Digest” for the prepper community.

The following 10 sites are simply my favorites currently. They may or may not be listed on anyone’s “Best” prepper lists, but they are the ones that I enjoyed the most this last year, and had the most influence on both my writing and personal prepping direction. Check them out. They are listed in no special order.

Thoughtfuly Prepping

This is a U.K. based site that has some really interesting content. The owner is former Brit military, and has some very interesting points of view that are often not in line with “mainstream” preppers. Much of his content revolves around U.K. politics, but he also has a large archive of practical prepping articles. “Thoughtfully” will often cause you to stop and re-evaluate pre conceived ideas you may have. Many Americans forget that there are other defenders of Western Civilization that see the issues through different eyes. Worth reading and  worth subscribing to.

Graywolf Survival

When I came home from six years of security contracting overseas and settled in Arizona, I began re doing my preps based on the desert location I was in. This was the first blog I began actively reading because the content is written by a combat vet with much of the same experience I have, and he also resides in Arizona. His articles tend to be longer than the average “puff” prepper reads and he focuses on practical, useful information. And he does it in detail. His articles are well researched and well written and you actually get knowledge from what you read. Worth subscribing to.

Handy Granny in da Woods

Granny is a relatively new site and has a lot of good articles from the homesteading natural living point of view. She will tell you a lot of things your granny would have told you were she still around and she links to a lot of very readable articles on other sites. She wrote a good book on surviving Grid Down.

Backyard Preppers US

This site has a large amount of archived material that runs the entire gamut of prepping. Like Graywolf, their articles tend to be a bit longer and more informative that your average prepper “Puff” posts. Great for research on subjects that interest you.

The Defensive Training Group

These folks post a large amount of tactical oriented material. Their articles are well written and illustrated. Large amounts of tactical training tips and equipment reviews. I use them often for research and general knowledge. They also provide online training courses, but since I have not taken any, cannot comment of them.

Backdoor Survival

This blog has been around for some time and is currently number 2 on the Prepper Website Top Prepper List. ( I think I am somewhere around 37). Great archive of articles and I use it some for research.

US Crow

This is a seriously patriotic blog that tends towards a lot of tactical information. They have an extensive archive of articles of use to preppers. They also advertise an “elite” membership but I havn’t indulged. Their free content is very useful.

Doom and Bloom Survival Medicine

Dr. Bones and Nurse Amy are a husband/wife doctor/nurse team that has one outstanding blog that deals primarily with medical issue related to survival. They have a TREMENDOUS archive of survival medicine oriented article and I highly recommend you spend some of your prepping studies on their site!

SHTF Prepper

This is a relatively newer site that posts not only his own written material but re posts really good articles from other sites.  (He has re posted a number of mine).

Prepper Website

And finally, the grandaddy of them all. Prepper Website is a daily reader’s digest of current prepper articles. He reviews articles on a daily basis and posts links to those he thinks the prepper community will benefit some. If your article makes it to his daily page, your hits explode! This is a great place to start and he also has a tremendous archive by subject. A great place to prepper research. He also hosts the Prepper Website Top Prepper Sites list where the prepper community can vote for their favorite prepper blog once daily. I am now #37 out of 167 listed sites.

So, those were the top 10 sites I spent my time on in 2015. I am sure the list will change a bit in this coming year, but I can highly recommend all ten of the above.

 

 

 

Protective Masks For Preppers

M50_gas_maskDepending on what you perceive to be the major threats you wish to prepare for, there is a tremendous amount of equipment and supplies to choose from. Should a protective mask be a part of your preps? How do you go about making that decision? And what kind of mask would you want?

Like most issues involving equipment selection, this one needs to be looked at with sober thought before you run out and buy. So first, lets take a look at some possible reasons you might need a protective mask.

Logo_iso_radiationNuclear, Biological, Chemical Agent (NBC): If you are concerned about nuclear attack, live near a nuclear plant and worry about leaks and  meltdowns, or are concerned about a terrorist chemical or biological attack, you might have use for a mask.

1918FluVictimsStLouisDisease Pandemic: Concerned that you may have to travel through an areas where a pandemic is taking its toll on the local population?

Exploded_tear_gas_can_on_the_flyRiot Control Agents: If you get caught up in a civil unrest situation where the authorities are using crowd dispersal agents, a mask could be useful.

Traveling Through an Area With A Lot Of Decomposing Bodies. Human or animal.  Not a pleasant thought, and unfortunately a subject that seems to be avoided in most prepper circles.

surviver nuclear book_O.K. So any of the above scenarios might indicate that having a proper protective mask might be useful. But there are some limitations to masks you have to understand. A protective mask is designed to protect your lungs. To prevent you from inhaling harmful substances into them. It will not protect your body from radiation, nor will it protect you from absorbing harmful agents through your skin. To get the full benefit of a mask, you have to also know how to protect the rest of your body from a variety of harmful agents. Masks are uncomfortable and many restrict your vision. Depending on design, they can be difficult to operate a shoulder weapon when worn. And when you need it, you need it NOW! That means you need to get used to having it pretty much on you constantly, or at least in danger areas, and you need to practice, practice, practice putting it on quickly and correctly. Just like the military. Still interested?

Types Of Masks: There are types of standards you need to be aware of. These standards determine what level the mask will filter. FFP3 Filters at least 99% of airborne particles. (European standard EN 149 ). P3 Filters at least 99.95% of airborne particles.(European standard EN 143 )  P99-P100 Filters at least 99%, 99.97% of airborne particles (NIOSH-Approved U.S. standards). Make sure the mask and filter is rated for chemical blowing and riot control agents, designated by the CBA/RCA rating, and nuclear, biological and chemical agents, carrying the NBC rating.Air_Raid_Precautions_on_the_British_Home_Front-_Anti-gas_Instruction,_c_1941_D3948

Surplus or Commercial: Be very leery of surplus military masks. There is a reason they are surplus. They may be old, worn out, or out dated. Masks are relatively an expensive investment for militaries. However, there are some good ones on the market that have been in storage since manufactured and were simply replaced by newer models. You want to insure that you have a mask that will take the standard NATO 40mm filter. Regardless of the date of your mask, you need to have relatively new filters. And a number of spares! Shelf life of filters will depend on the packaging, but if they are in vacuum sealed packets they should last a lKidsInGasMasksong time before use.

Desirable Features: The first issue is that the mask will have a good seal. I will discuss checking your mask later in the article. Some masks have drinking tubes that you can connect a canteen to and drink water while masked. You mask should be able to use NATO standard 40mm filters (LEARN the markings on the filters. Some filters are for training use only and would be useless in a real scenario. Some filters are good for riot control agents but not other threats. Buy new manufactured filters and avoid surplus filters with old dates). A voice enhancing mechanism would be desirable for communication.

What To Avoid

Old US M17 series masks with cheek filters. These are hard to replace and tedious to change. These filters are now difficult to find. Trust me on this one. I have spent hours on them in the Army. All Russian, East German surplus masks. Poor quality and dubious condition.  M9 gas masks with the 60-mm size cartridge. The filters for these masks are oddly sized and are not compatible with the NATO standard 40mm filters.

Mask availability: This is an area you really need to do your research and shop around. Since the Ebola scare, quality masks are being bought up rapidly.  A good quality mask that you can rely on may either be military or commercial but can cost you some money. Do not let price be a deciding factor. Do your research, learn the subject, shop around. AGM stocks a large number of masks, filters and accessories. They also sell a kit to enable you to test your mask to check the fit of your mask. Another company, The Survival Center, also carries masks and supplies. There are two masks I have extensive experience with. The U.S. M-17 masks I used in the Army, and the GermanM65Natogasmaskwithcasecut Draeger M-65 military mask. I still use the Draeger I bought brand new years ago. It is a good mask. They can be bought very cheaply on E-bay but make sure they are unissued (not surplus) the rubber isn’t brittle or cracked, and TEST THEM FOR PROPER FIT AND BUY NEW FILTERS before you commit to relying on them.

Testing Your Mask

You can buy a kit as mentioned above or you can perform your own test. Remove the filter(s) and cover the intake hole with your hand. Breathe in and the mask should collapse on you face and remain collapsed for at least 10 seconds. If it doesn;t make sure you are closing off the air intake completely or adjust the fit using the adjustable straps. Do the test in reverse. Exhale and the mask should not alow air to escape. Guys, understand that facial hair may and probably will interfere with the proper sealing of the mask.

Training

Like any other item of survival equipment, having a mask doesn’t mean you know how to use it. Military standard is to don, and clear your mask in 9 seconds. Are you willing to train with your mask until you can do that?

Conclusion

Having a protective mask may or may not fit into your prepping plans. But if you decide one is appropriate, do your research, know the subject, and buy the best quality mask you can afford. Then TRAIN with it.

 

 

 

 

10 Items To Stockpile For A Disaster

This is a guest article by Barbara Allen (Nom de plume)

TornadoNature is known for not giving a rat’s about humanity and what we do in relation to politics and war. If you’re someone who isn’t afraid of a future economic collapse (and therefore refuse to buy gold to prepare for it) or afraid of the amount of war going on in the world right now, that is completely fine.

There is something you do have to be very afraid of, and that is a natural disaster. This is the one thing that humanity has no defense against. When nature decides that it has had enough of a particular part of the world, the scale of the disasters that occur is so terrible and huge that it will leave your jaw on the floor.

Indeed, the aftermath of a disaster is almost as bad as the pain that is inflicted during it. For example, when a hurricane hits a city, it can easily be blocked off by stormy weather conditions and debris. This can lead to the hundreds of thousands of people in the city being trapped without food, water, emergency services and a way out.

Be prepared for anything

However, you won’t have to suffer as much if you are stranded after a disaster has happened, as long as you prepare yourself, your home and your family for the eventuality. While mankind can’t defend against the disasters, we do have early warning systems in place to warn people long before the event actually occurs. If you are prepared even before this system warns you, you are immediately going to have the tactical advantage in the field right after the disaster takes place.

For example, if the disaster that is coming in is a storm with a chance of floods, the early warning system would allow you to move all of the items you have stored for a disaster to higher ground. This will prevent your food and water as well as your medicines from being washed away. When a warning does come through, drop what you are doing immediately. If you have an evacuation plan, take it. Leave your material possessions behind – nothing is more important than your life.

10 essentials for survival

If you plan on riding the storm out in your home or a safe location, there are some items that you need to keep in storage for this situation. When it comes to it, you are definitely going to need these in order to get the best chances of survival and possible comfort.

1 – Water

Water brickStore enough water for every person to have a gallon a day. Get a water filter as well. This should be one that is portable so as to take it up to the roof if you need to. It will serve you well if flooding causes the government supply of drinking water to become polluted. If you live near the CDC, it would be best not to touch the flood water unless your need is dire. Just saying.

2 – Non-perishable foodMRE_20071124

Canned food is a good example of this. Any food items that can be kept for years without an expiry date fall into this category too. You need to make sure that you have the right items to help you get through the experience in one piece. Make sure that you also stock a can opener or two in there. The last thing you want is to be surrounded by cans of food without a way to open them up.

These are the two most important things to have. In addition to this, have a supply of:

Mini%20Mag%20Lights3 – Flashlights and extra batteries

4 – Candles, lighters and matches

5 – Clothes and blankets

6 – Cooker (stove)esbit 1_

7 – Source of heat (kerosene heaters are good)

8 – Alcohol and cigarettes

9 – First aid kitIFAK

10 – Basic tools

These are just 10 of the hundreds of items you can have to survive and barter with in a disaster situation.

Body Armor. Should You Include It In Your Preps?

untitledI get this question sometimes from students in my classes, and by e-mail from people who read this blog. So, as an average prepper (if there is such a thing) should you spend the money and effort to get body armor, and if so, what kind? For those who have not been trained in body armor use, there are a lot of misconceptions about this subject.

First of all, there is no such thing as a “bullet proof vest”. Body armor is categorized according to the level of protection that is based on the type of ammunition they will protect against. I read a lot from armchair generals who insist that you must have the highest level of body armor protection available, I.E. will stop 5.56mm and 7.62mm. armor-piercing or why waste the time. Evidently none of these heroes have ever worn this type of armor anywhere other than the dressing room of their local police supply shop. I have. I am not going to go into the large variety of body armor available. I want to discuss concepts so you can understand what you may or may not need/want.

Up to level IIIA, body armor is generally made of woven Kevlar panels. Higher levels will consist of insertable plates made of steel or ceramic.

First lets look at how body armor is rated according to levels of protection, according to the National Institute of Justice rating scheme.Craig_Ballistic_Plate

Level IIA: Will protect against most handguns (not 44 magnums and larger). It is the thinnest and lightest armor.

Level IIIA will stop all handgun rounds, even if fired out of sub machine guns .Will stop shotguns with buckshot.

Level III is when you start the ability to stop rifle bullets and are traditionally hard body armor. Level III armor will stop military 5.56, 7.62 , and 308 . Basically Level III will stop most rifle rounds that are not armor piercing.

Level IV armor will stop armor-piercing bullets.

For more detailed information, check out the National Institute of Justice website. You can download a pdf document that will tell you more about body armor than you probably want to know.

Keep in mind, when we are talking protection, we are talking penetration. Bullets will not bounce off of your armor like you were Superman. Getting a solid torso hit with a high-caliber round, even when wearing a vest rated to stop it, is going to hurt. A lot. And may cause internal damage.

So, should you consider body armor in your preps? What threats are you expecting? Are you anticipating a sustained shoot out with heavily armed opponents? Does your prep plan include the weight of this type of armor ?

While contracting in Afghanistan , the Department of State issued us level IIIA vestsanother%20day%20at%20the%20office and Level IV plate inserts. Protection up to 7.62mm armor piercing. I wore my own IIIA vest and had a local taylor reinforce the bottom seams of the carrier so I could insert the hard plates. The whole set weighed at least 25lbs. Trust me, with all of the other gear I was also carrying, I was sweating like a harlot at a Baptist convention. This level of armor is heavy. Do you really need that? And are you prepared for the limitations of speed of movement it carries? Have you thought about the amount of attention that this level of body armor would bring you? Body armor is like most things in your kit. If you don’t have it with you when you need it, you wasted your time.

If you are planning on staying in a fixed, fortified bug out location, then heavy armor might be useful if you wanted to spend the money on it. But for most preppers, this level of protection is neither needed nor feasible. A more practical approach might be a IIA or IIIA panel set that you could wear under your clothes to be inconspicuous or outside your clothing if you were not worried about people noticing.

If you decide that body armor should be part of your preps, then do your research and buy wisely.

What Skills Can You Barter in SHTF or TEOTWAWKI?

Preppers often think in terms of extra supplies or equipment to survive an extended SHTF situation or even TEOTWAWKI. But at some point, those supplies will run out. And even if you chose the Lone Wolf prepper mode, at some point you are going to have to interact with other people. Very few preppers have the skills and lifelong experience to totally live off the land.

At some point, groups of people will band together. Some will have prior to the event, some after. For long-term sustainability, you better have some skill(s)  that you are good at to barter with. And I don’t think stock brokerage would be a useful one. Once the initial chaos settles down, those who survive will need to be useful.  So lets look at some of the skills or experience that would be useful to others that you might trade for what you need. I will group these into broad categories.

Operation in Nahr-e SarajThe Protector: If you have serious military, police, or security experience, you might be valuable to people who need to be organized to protect themselves. Leadership experience in any of these would be a plus. Can you organize a bunch of former shopkeepers, Wallmart workers, factory workers, stock brokers,  etc. into an effective defense force? Can you teach these subjects as well as lead? Are you familiar with any martial arts? Can you teach weaponcraft?

The Healer: Doctor, Dentist, Nurse, or EMT. If you have any serious training or skills inThe_Doctor_Luke_Fildes_crop the medical professions, you are going to be extremely valuable. Start working now on learning natural healing herbs and ways to provide medical help without the luxury of a staffed emergency room. Stocking up on meds and equipment would be a good idea. You may want to enhance your skills to include veterinary capability.

lossy-page1-800px-NRCSCT07047_-_Connecticut_(716026)(NRCS_Photo_Gallery)_tifThe Farmer: Do you know how to grow food crops? Evaluate soil? Tend food-producing farm animals such as chickens, goats, pigs or cows? You could be the food producer. Can you keep bees? Know how to dig a well?

The Fixer: Having mechanical training in order to repair usable items will be essential.Kovář_při_práci_(Velikonoční_trhy_na_Václavském_náměstí)_055 Are you a car mechanic, a blacksmith, a gunsmith, a plumber?  Can you repair small appliances and small engines? Electronic repair (yes, some electronics will still work and people will figure out how to harness water power for electricity again).

The Builder: Are you a carpenter, or contractor? Do you have experience in architecture? or construction? Can you pour cement properly? Build a wood building? And have you stocked the non power tools that will still work to do it all?

The Householder: Can you make clothes, repair clothes or make soap? Can you spin wool into yarn to make clothes? Are you familiar with canning, dehydrating, sealing, smoking, and storing food? Can you tan and work leather?

The Scrounger: This is a unique individual. Every military unit tries to have one of these. This individual has a viable imagination combined with intense curiosity. His value? The scrounger can look at a pile of scrap metal and see 14 usable tools where everyone else only sees scrap metal. He has an instinctive feeling for where things may have been hidden or stored.Junk99

The above is just an overview sample of skill sets that would be valuable in an extended SHTF or even TEOTWAWKI situation. I’m sure you can think of a lot more. The point here is that if you survive the initial chaos and live to see people coming together again, you had better have some useful skills to contribute to the group, or to barter with. Because there isn’t going to be any “public assistance”.

Peanut Butter For Prepping

Jiff_It’s the food you slap between two pieces of bread and with a little jelly, and feed a hungry kid. (or a hungry you). It’s the midnight munchie sandwich, along with a glass of milk that allows you to go back and get a good night’s sleep. It’s also a valuable addition to your survival stores. It’s peanut butter.

Peanut butter was known to the Aztecs and Incas. It was patented in 1884 by Canadian Marcelllus Edison. So why is peanut butter a good selection for your prepper stores or bug out bag? Because it packs a lot of nutrition in a small package, and space is at a premium when stocking or carrying food.

Protein: A 2-tablespoon serving of peanut butter contains 7 grams of protein. protein is essential to build and repair muscle tissue. Potassium: 2 tablespoons of peanut butter boosts your potassium intake by 238 milligrams. Potassium counters excess sodium in your system and helps your heart function better. One serving of peanut butter has 3 mg of the powerful antioxidant vitamin E, 49 mg of bone-building magnesium, 208 mg of muscle-friendly potassium, and 0.17 mg of immunity-boosting vitamin B6. Peanut butter is also a good source of dietary fiber. One 40oz jar of peanut butter has over 6,000 calories. Peanut butter has been a staple of military field rations since at least the Second World War.

Shelf life: Various sources cite various time lines, but an unopened jar of peanut butter can be expected to last 6-9 months. Some sources will claim at least one year beyond the “use by” day on the label.

Allergy Issues: It is estimated that between 4 and 6% of the population is allergic to peanuts. Make sure you know if anyone in your family or survival group has the allergy.

Survival Uses For Honey

Runny_hunnyHoney is one of the most amazing foods you can acquire. And it has a large number of uses in a survival situation. Cave paintings in Spain indicated that humans were harvesting honey as long as 8,000 years ago. Honey is made by honey bees from flowers. There are a lot of different varieties and flavors, but it is the survival benefits we care about here.

So why do you want to consider honey in stocking your survival food, or when foraging in the wild?

Honey is both an antibiotic and an antibacterial.  The ancient Egyptians wrote of using it to treat wounds. When applied to a minor wound, it cleans and protects the wound and promotes congealing of blood. When diluted in your body fluids, it releases hydrogen peroxide, a formidable antibiotic.  When applied on an open wound, the glucose, contained by honey, is diluted and gradually releases hydrogen peroxide. It also helps to prevent bandages from sticking to wounds. Honey when mixed with vinegar can help expel parasites from the body.honey

Honey will actually store for almost ever. If it starts to crystallize, place the jar in a pot of hot water and stir it. Archeologists have found sealed jars of honey in Egyptian tombs that were still fit for human consumption.

Some additional benefits of honey in a survival situation. It is high in B vitamins along with vitamin C. honey is also a good source of magnesium, calcium, copper, iron, sulfur and zinc. Honey will boost your energy level., and boost your immune system. It is good to soothe sore throats and is a natural cough medicine.

Having a stock of honey in your stores or a small jar in your bug out bag could be very beneficial.

 

 

Solar Options For Bugging Out Part 1. Man Portable

suntactic 2Everyone should think deeply on their options in a SHTF situation.  Even if your primary plan is to stay put and bug in, you still should have a bug out plan. A place to go, a route to it, bug out bags pre packed, and a concept on how you will operate while on the go. And a way to power small electronic devices you may be taking.

Anyone who reads my articles knows that I seriously urge folks to have basic skills before relying totally on technology. Use a GPS to navigate? Great, so do I. But you had better know how to use a map and compass in case your GPS fails. And a way to navigate without a compass in case it breaks or gets lost. I do. Alternative power options for your home when you are facing a SHTF situation, especially grid down, are numerous. Backup generators and large solar panels are just two.

6b605359-2819-4526-8a33-9828dce87940__CB325028736_But what about if you are on the move? Either by vehicle or foot? Most of the devices you may be using will be battery-powered either by its own internal battery, or by AAA/AA or D cell batteries. These items would include a cell phone, various sizes of flashlights, battery-powered lanterns, a GPS, emergency radio, two-way radios, any item that can be charged with a USB cable, and a head light to name just a few. To keep these going, you have a choice of carrying a large amount of spare batteries (and the ensuing weight) or using rechargeable batteries. But how can you recharge them on the go without access to electrical outlets? Portable solar panels are one option. A hand powered crank generator is another.

Lets break down our solar equipment possibilities into two categories: Those items light enough to be carried in your bug out bag or on you if you are on foot. And those items that could easily be transported by vehicle if you are traveling in your bug out buggy.

Man Portable Solar Equipment

There is one fundamental truth about a bug out bag: If it is too heavy for you to effectively carry in an emergency, it is useless. You either have to lighten the load in a hurry( and run the risk of ditching a vital item) or move so slow as to be easy prey for any number of threats. So you want to plan your bug out bag carefully. The following items are discussed from the point of view of possible aids to your bug out plan, and not to be considered essential or gospel. Lets look at man portable solar charging kits to begin with.

91GuqIDwCwL__SL1500_Goal Zero Guide 10 Plus. This is a man portable solar panel kit which  includes Nomad 7 solar panel and Guide 10 Plus power pack. This kit weighs in at 1.2 pounds, and the dimensions are    6.5 x 9.5 x 1.8 inches. This would easily fit in your bug out bag.  The power pack can charge AA/AAAGoalZero__V385199228_ batteries. With a D cell adapter, your AAA batteries can be used to supply any D cell item such as a flashlight. The power pack  will  charge AA or AAA batteries. Inputs: Mini USB (5V), Solar port (6.5V). USB Power Output: 3.5W. Solar Power Output: 7W. The battery pack has a built-in LED flashlight. Any AA or AAA* NiMH batteries can be used . You can charge directly from the panel, or from the battery pack. Will charge 4 AA batteries at once. This is one of the more popular portable solar kits and has overall great reviews. There are a number of combinations that can be set up with this kit. Manufacturer claims that you can directly charge a smart phone in 1 hour. You can arrange the panels on your rucksack to charge while you are moving.

The SunJack 14W Portable Solar Charger With 8000mAh Fast-Charge Battery. This issunjack_ another popular portable solar charging unit. It charges an attached battery pack that can then charge a variety of devices by USB. It Folds to compact size of 6.75″ x 9.25″ x 1.75″ – similar to an iPad, and weighs about 2 pounds . These can be had in 7, 14, and 20W power outputs. You can buy an additional battery charger that will charge AA/AA batteries using a USB cable that plugs into the battery.

Suntactics sCharger-5 Portable Solar Charger is another man portable charger. Thissuntactic 2 unit by American company Suntactics is waterproof and weighs 8 oz. You can plug your USB cable into it directly. It r up to 6 watts, outputs up to 5 watts continuous, 1.2 amps, 5 volts. You can buy a supplemental storage battery for it also.

The above three kits are examples of portable solar panels light enough to carry when bugging out and capable of charging devices through USB, and charging AA/AAA batteries which, with an adapter, can also be used in D cell devices. You can buy various adaptors to charge most small electronic devices.

There are a number of useful solar-powered items that are portable enough to go inLuci lanternjpg your BOB. The Luci Foldable Solar Lamp is an excellent example. It will fold to the size of a CD disk. It has 3 Light settings – Bright, Super Bright and Emergency Flash. It is very Light (4 oz.) – Packs Small – Inflates in seconds – Hang Handles top and bottom.

Goal Zero makes an excellent line of solar equipment. Their Torch 250 Flashlight withGoal zero flash light_ Integrated Solar Panel is not only an excellent flashlight, but it had a built-in USB cable and a hand crank. It has multiple light options that allow you to use it as a 250 total lumen output flashlight, floodlight or red emergency light. It weighs 14.4 ounces and measures 10 x 1.8 x 3.5 inches.

Conclusion and Considerations

You bug out bag should be a reflection of your overall bug out plan. Once you have carefully considered what electronic items you will carry with you, then you can evaluate whether a portable solar charger is appropriate. Portable solar panels can be useful if they are used within their limitation. To begin with, charging with them is time intensive. On a bright sunny day it can take up to an hour just to charge your cell phone. All three of the solar panel kits mentioned can be placed over your ruck sack and charge as you go along, however solar panels can also be light reflective. Something to keep in mind if you are trying to move in stealth mode. To get maximum use from them, you do indeed need bright sunlight. The less sunlight you have, the slower they are to charge. Even where I live on the edge of the Sonoran Desert, we have long periods of time where the sky is overcast. Consider the climate conditions in your operational area when planning to use solar charging. And as always, do your research to ensure you buy the proper equipment for your needs.

In Part 2 we will consider solar equipment suitable for vehicle transportation when bugging out.

 

Bug Out Bag Cookery

esbit 1_When you find yourself living out of a rucksack,( Bug Out Bag) either camping, or bugging out in SHTF, you carefully watch the size and weight of anything you carry. Having the ability to boil water, make a hot drink, warm up or cook the food you have with you or to cook food you find along the way can be an important consideration.

There are a number of options in selecting lightweight stoves and cooking gear. Stoves generally fall into three categories of fuel types: Those that burn bio mass fuel (sticks, straw etc.) those that burn alcohol or other liquid fuel, and those that burn chemical fuel tabs. In deciding which one, or which combination of cooking stoves and accessories you need to consider weight limitations, how long you plan on having to use it, fuel supply and weight, and the availability of replacement fuel.

Solid Fuel Tab Stoves

One of the most basic of stoves is the field expedient tin can stove like the one pictured. This is the type of stove I used exclusively in the jungle in Vietnam. Take an C-RatStoveempty can, your P-38 can opener and cut ventilation holes in it. Using solid fuel tabs you can boil water in a canteen cup, or heat up cans of food. ( when out of fuel tabs, we would use a round marble size piece of C-4 explosive. It would bring a canteen cup full of water to a boil quickly. Don’t do this at home kids!).

Another excellent lightweight stove for use with solid fuel tabs is the Esbit. This style of stove has been made by Esbit for many years. It was standard issue to German soldiers in WW2 and has been a mainstay for soldiers and campers for many years, and is stillesbit 2_ manufactured by the same company in Germany. The solid fuel tabs can be stored inside the stove when folded, and are lightweight so you can easily carry sufficient fuel tabs for a 72hr. bug out plan. I have used one for years and it rides comfortably in my bug out bag.

Esbit also makes a variety of esbit cook set_solid fuel stoves including a lightweight esbit titaniumtitanium folding solid fuel stove in addition to their traditional model. Their solid fuel stove cook set is also a popular item. Kit includes 585-milliliter pot, lid, and wind deflector/pot stand, and stores in included mesh bag. Pot includes volume indicators in both liters and ounces, and has two hinged stainless steel grips that fold flat against body of the pot. The whole kit weighs 7 ounces.

Pros of solid fuel stoves= Lightweight, both stove and fuel. Solid fuel is easy to light

Cons of solid fuel stoves= Limited capacity. You won’t cook a three coarse meal on one. At some point, you will run out of fuel tabs.

Alcohol Fuel Stoves

esbit alcohol stove_Again, Esbit makes a really good alcohol burner stove. Great little stove, but youesbit alcohol burner set._ need to have something to place your food or cup on for heating. Or you can buy it as a cook set like the solid fuel stove listed above.The pot stand and burner nest inside the pot for storage. A mesh storage bag is also included. Packed, the entire kit is only 5 Inch tall x 4.75 Inch across. With the pot on the stand, the height is 8 Inch. Weighs only 10.9 ounces (310 g).

Trangia from Sweden make a line of small alcohol stoves, some of which are used by mini trangia_NATO. The Trangia 28-T Mini Trangia is a popular little alcohol stove that weighs in at 0.78 pounds 

Pros of alcohol stoves: They are efficient cookers and will use a variety of alcohol types.

Cons of alcohol cookers= They are fuel dependent and alcohol weighs more than solid fuel tabs.

Bio Mass Fuel Stoves

There are a number of great designed back packable stoves that will burn available wood and other combustibles. Sometime refered to “Rocket stoves”

solo stove 1_The Solo Stove is an extremely popular stove. It incorporates a secondary combustion for a more efficient and cleaner burn. Boiling: 8-10 minutes to boil 34 fl oz of water; Fuel: Burns sticks, pine cones and other biomass; Packed size: Height 3.8 inches, Width 4.25 inches; Assembled size: Height 5.7 inches, Width 4.25 inches; Weight: 9 oz; Materials: Hardened 304 stainless steel, nichrome wire. It is designed to work with twigs and other small combustibles you find out doors. The company makes a number of accessories such as a wind screen and pots. This particular stove has received a lot of testing and reviews and is a popular item in the prepper community.

Kelly kettle_The Kelly Kettle is also a very popular stove for preppers. Also designed to use small twigs and other combustible, it  holds 44 fl. oz. of water (5.5 Cups). Ideal; for hot drinks and heating water for freeze-dried meals. The Kelly Kettle Aluminum Scout is 12.25 inches tall, weighs only 1.8 pounds – Comes in a handy carrying bag.

Pros of bio-mass fuel stoves= You don’t have to carry fuel with you and it uses fuel that is readily available.

Cons of bio-mass fuel stoves= You have to have a source of dry fuel. In extremely wet weather that coud be problematic.

Accessories

canteen cup_Having a good stove to cook food and boil water is essential. There are some useful accessories to go along with your stove you might want to consider. The G.I. canteen cup is probably one of the best items of equipment Uncle Sam ever threw out there. You can cook in it, make your coffee in it, shave in it, wash with it. (I have done all of those). Truly a multi task item. Make sure you get an original G.I. cup. There are a lot of cheap knock offs out there. These cups are not all the same size. Eating with you finger may make you feel macho, but it is also a good way to make yourself sick. A good Titanium spork with a carabiner that can alsospork_ open bottles may come in handy. For those who don’t like sporks,mil tec_ Mil-Tec makes a Knife Fork and Spoon set that is traditional German military.

Conclusion

The above are just a small sample of lightweight and portable cooking solutions for bugging out on foot and living out of your bug out bag. In regards to stoves, my solution is to have a small solid fuel stove such as the Esbit coupled with a bio-mass stove such as the Solo Stove. These should cover your bases regardless of the weather or conditions you are in.

As always, decide what you actually need, do your research, and then buy the best quality you can afford.

 

 

 

 

Stocking Stuffers For Preppers

wfxza4czwe5jxlzzpt5lYes, it is that time of year again! Preppers around the world are gearing up for Christmas! Major purchases on lay away, and wish lists being created. I just love the Christmas tradition of the stocking and all the little goodies to be found inside. So I made a list, checked it twice, for all those preppers who were not naughty, but nice. Inexpensive, but useful stocking stuffers for that special prepper in your life!

And what better way to start than the stocking itself! A tactical stocking with manyTactical stocking OD useful features for use after the holidays. Comes in a variety of colors! The following items will fit in it nicely!

Lifestraw Water Filter

The most popular water filter

Life Straw Personal FilterTitanium Spork

Titanium spork

 

Hip Flask With Attached Collapsable Shot Glass

Every Gentleman Prepper should have one! (aso in pink for the ladies!)

hip flask

Emergency Candle

emergency candle_

Quick   Clot

quick clotjpg

Goal Zero 41022 Guide 10 Plus Solar Recharging Kit

Great for the bug out bag

91GuqIDwCwL__SL1500_    

                                                       Cree Ultra Fire 7W300LM

These are really awsome little flashlights and dirt cheapCree ultra fire_

Luci Solar Powered Lantern

Packs to about the size of a CD case and solar charged.

Luci lanternjpg

 Esbit Cooker

This has been a mainstay of campers and soldiers for many years. Great for the Get Home or Bugout Bag

esbit stove_

Columbia River Knife and Tool’s Eat N Tool

Nifty little tool

Eat n Tool_

moda seya 11 Function Credit Card Size Survival Pocket Tool  

Credit card size and stainless steel

moda tooljpg

 

 

 

 

Smith’s PP1 Pocket Pal Multifunction Sharpener

smiths sharpener_

UCO Stormproof Match Kit with Waterproof Case, 25 Stormproof Matches and 3 Strikers

Matches_

Ultimate Survival Technologies Wetfire Tinder

tinder

 

 

 

 

 

Zippo Emergency Fire Starter, Orange Plastic

 

Coleman fire starter_

Victorinox Swiss Army Classic SD Pocket Knife

swiss army

 

 

 

 

Well, there you go. Some neat suggestions for stuffing your favorite prepper’s stocking!