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.

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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.

Documentation To Take If Bugging Out

1912_Birth_Certificate_Ken_BakerOften times when we think of bugging out we consider a number of tangible things: Vehicle to use, equipment, food, water, and defensive weaponry to have readily available for a quick move out are just some of the things to consider.The bug out bag itself is the center piece of much of the conversation in regards to prepping and survival. When planning on bugging out, there are a wide range of scenarios you need to consider. Is this a short-term trip to avoid a oncoming natural hazard, and you plan to return home eventually? Or is it a total societal breakdown? Or any of the hundreds of possible scenarios in between?

Many people who prepare to evacuate their home in any number of scenarios often fail to seriously consider one of the undeniable truths about bugging out depending on the severity of the crisis. You may not ever be able to go back to your home. And if you are able to eventually return, it is probable that all of your possessions will be gone, the home possibly destroyed, or even someone else now living there. So the next issue to consider is the distinct possibility of having to start your life completely over either at your old home or elsewhere. This is going to require important documents on your part.  Lets take a look at the two ways to carry documentation, paper and digital, and the types of documents you may want to consider. Remember, you are prepping for any number of situations, not just TEOTWAWKI. You should carry copies of important documents with you even when you go on vacation. You should also have a set in a bank safe deposit box. Remember redundancy? What happens if your house burns down when you are gone?

BF-AB155_02docJ_E_20110701215220Paper

Paper documents have the primary advantage of being readily accessible should you need them. Unless you are carrying a computer and printer in your bug out kit, you should have paper copies of your most important documents. And you need to keep them in a waterproof container of some sort. Keep in mind that paper can get heavy. You should limit your paper documents to just the bare essentials. But here are some recommendations of what you will probably need hard copy of:

  • Us-passportTwo forms of I.D. for each adult in the family. Preferably picture I.D.
  • Passport will work as one of the above. If you do not have one, get one. Even if you do not plan to travel.
  • Social Security cards.
  • Birth certificates (certified) for each family member.
  • Copies of all insurance policies( auto, life, guns, etc.)
  • Marriage Certificates( certified)
  • All property deeds.
  • Immunization records, if not complete medical records for each member of the family.
  • Vehicle registration documents, and title if they are clear.
  • Any unique documents that effect your identity: DD-214, adoption papers etc.
  • Bank records with all account numbers.
  • Prescriptions, both medical and eye glass.

Digital

As well as the hard copies above, you should have digital copies of them and any other documentation you may want to re construct ( family fotos, business records., etc.). You can place them on an encryption disk. Granted, you won’t be able to use them until you have access to a computer, but they are small, light, can hold much more information than you want to carry hard copy, and be safely encrypted. You can getSandisk Cruiser_ this ScanDisk Cruiser Fit  with built-in software very inexpensively.

Kindle Paperwhite_Another digital answer is a small tablet such as the Kindle Paperwhite. The advantage of this system is that not only can you store readable versions of your documents, but you can also store a large number of digital reference books such as survival books, weapons manuals, etc.

Every individual and family has a different situation and different needs. But to determine what documentation you should take with you in an emergency evacuation, short or long-term, ask yourself this question:

“If all I have is the rucksack on my back, what documentation would I need to reconstruct my life?”

 

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.

 

 

 

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.

Ground Insulation When Sleeping Outdoors

Therma rest z lite_I recently did an article on selecting sleeping systems for SHTF. Having a quality sleeping bag is a necessity in most climates, but it is only part of the story. Insulating yourself from frozen ground, ground moisture and wind are also critically important.

Without trying to get into the science of thermodynamics, suffice to say that if you lay your warm body on the cold ground, the ground will win the contest. It is a mass that you will never reach equilibrium with, so it will pull heat energy from your body until you are the same temperature as it is. So you need insulation between you and the ground. Since the insulation in your sleeping bag will be compressed underneath you reducing it’s effectiveness, the sleeping pad is an essential piece of gear in your sleep system.

The R Value

Insulation is measured according to its capacity to resist heat flow. That is called an R value. The R-values are provided by the manufacturers and range from 1.0 (minimally insulated) to 9.5 (well insulated). Thicker pads generally offer higher R-values but are heavier.

Types of Sleeping Pads

Inflatable Air Mattress: Although they provide a lot of comfort compared to sleepingair mattress_ on the hard ground, I feel they have some drawbacks for SHTF survival. For one thing, with hard usage they will leak. I don’t care how well made they are. I used them in the Army (fondly refered to as the Rubber Lady), and without air, they are useless for insulation. If you are bugging out by vehicle, they may have some merit as you can easily inflate them from your vehicle accessory plug using an electric pump. But you really need to have a pad that you can carry with your sleeping bag in your bug out bag for bugging out on foot.

Therma rest z lite_Closed Foam: These are basic pads and are usually lightweight with good insulating qualities. Therma Rest is a company that make an excellent line of sleeping pads. The Therm-a-Rest Z Lite Mattress is a good example. The foam construction is soft on top and dense on bottom. It has an R value of 2.2, weighs 10oz.

Self Inflating: These are foam mattressestrail pro_ that will self inflate to some degree. They offer a combination of additional comfort as well as good insulation: The Therm-a-Rest Trail Pro Mattress is an example. It has an R value of 4.0. It weighs in at 2.7 pounds.

These are just a few examples of the types of sleeping pads you should consider for your survival sleeping system. The idea is to get insulation between you and the ground to retain body warmth in a package that you can travel with.

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

 

 

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.

Why Christmas Matters. ( And Should Matter To Even Non-Christians)

CrusaderDecember 25th is the day that Christians world-wide celebrate the traditional birth of Jesus Christ. The religious meaning to Christians is deeply felt. But Christmas, as well as Christians, are under relentless attack, both in Western Europe, and the United States. It parallels a similar rise in anti-Semitism that is also growing in both places. But Christmas is a symbol of something else, something of vital importance to all people, whether Christian or not. It symbolizes the Judeo-Christian value system that built Western civilization. And the United States in particular. And the concepts of liberty and freedom it was founded on.

Contrary to populist leftist propaganda, the Founding Fathers of the United States were mostly practicing Christians and Jews. The flames of freedom were fanned from pulpits in Churches and Synagogues during the American Revolution. And even though the Founders approached their belief system from differing points of view, theDeclaration_independence underlying principles of the Declaration of Independence and The Constitution of The United States were based on Judeo-Christian values. These two documents established the freedoms enjoyed by all Americans and have been a beacon to freedom movements around the world, even freedom movements of Non-Christians.

The Judeo-Christian value system is predicated on the concept that every human being is a reflection of his or her creator, and has certain inalienable rights. These are rights given by God, not by the government. And as such, the one and only responsibility of government is to protect those rights.

This value system brought Europe out of the Dark Ages. It allowed for the founding of the United States of America, a beacon of freedom to the entire world. It is the value system that allows tiny Israel to be an island of freedom and democracy in a sea of Muslim hatred and violence.

The Battle of Long IslandBut this value system is under relentless attack, both by Muslim extremists on the outside, and the leftist populist atheists and agnostics on the inside. Numerous politicians and judges actively attack any symbol of Christianity. Prayer has been removed from schools, Christian monuments are being removed from public places, nativity scenes are being removed from public parks, athletes and coaches are being harassed and even fired for expressing their religious beliefs in public. All in the name of “Seperation of Church and state”. Nowhere in any of our founding documents is the term “Seperation of Church and state” to be found. Nowhere. This is a concept used by the left to pervert the meaning and intent of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution which simply prohibits the government from establishing an official “government” religion, and at the same time allowing for the free expression of religious beliefs.  As a matter of fact, nowhere in the Constitution does it give the Federal judiciary the right to make laws from the bench, or to even declare laws unconstitutional. It simply isn’t there.

The Judeo-Christian value system was the framework that made it possible for theGerard_van_Honthorst_001 Founding Fathers of the United States to form a bastion of freedoms and liberties for all people. believers and non-believers alike. Freedoms that even allow the leftist one worlders to attempt to destroy the very hand that has fed them.

It is the value system that motivated people from around the world to repel the barbaric invasions of nazis, communists, tyrants in various forms, and  Muslim invasions of Europe. It is the value system that will eventually triumph over the current one.

There are too many people in the Western world who claim to be Christians, when in fact, if they were charged with it, there would not be enough evidence to convict them. Too many ‘Pastors” who are more worried about their IRS status, that speaking the truth.

Christmas matters. Because, in effect, it also celebrates the foundation of a set of principles, the Judeo-Christian value system, that allowed the codification of  liberties and freedoms  unprecedented in the history of mankind. Freedoms and liberties that too many people are willing to destroy, along with Christmas.

So, to anyone reading this, believer or non-believer, I wish you a very Merry Christmas!

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.

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

Situational Awareness=Staying Alive

Radar2Note= As I began writing this, the Muslim terrorist attack in California began. It is time to wake up and stay awake in more ways than one people. There are no more civilians in this religious war that has been fostered on us. There never really were. The world is an increasingly dangerous place. Violent crime, expanding terrorist attacks, and the increasing possibility of economic collapse are all wake up calls to anyone with two brain cells working in tandem.  There are no magic bullets to keep you safe at all times. But there are techniques you can develop to give you the best chance. And that’s what it is all about.

Situational awareness is a topic that has been studied and written about for years. As a military and security professional, I have seen countless times where people have been killed or seriously injured because they walked right into a situation that they should have seen coming, and didn’t. The practice of situational awareness would have prevented much of this.

situational awarnessSo exactly what is situational awareness? It is paying attention to what is going on around you. But it much more than that. It is also the ability to recognize when things are not normal, draw the proper conclusion about the anomaly, and make the correct decision as to how to respond, and then acting on that decision. Situational awareness can be developed by understanding one concept and employing one basic technique. The technique is staying in Condition Yellow in the Color Codes of Awareness and the concept is Boyd’s OODA Loop.

The Color Codes of Awarenesscooper-color-code-definition

I wrote a more in depth article on this subject titled Defensive Mindset. The Color Codes.  But for our purposes here, it is important to learn to stay in Condition Yellow. This is a state of mind best describes as relaxed alertness. It is not paranoia. It is the state of  mind that a good driver is in. Head up and moving, checking the mirrors for what is behind and to the sides as well as what is at a distance up ahead. You are aware of what is going on around you 360 degrees and you are prepared to react to any immediate situation. This is the mental mindset you need to cultivate and stay in.  It takes practice, and later we will go over some techniques. If you really don’t understand the various mindsets as labeled by color, I urge you to read the article I linked to above. O.K., so you learn to pay attention to what is going on around you. So what more is required?

Boyd’s OODA Loop

Col. John Boyd

Col. John Boyd

For an in-depth discussion of this, I refer you to my article Boyd’s OODA Loop. No It’s Not A Cereal. Col. John Boyd was a fighter pilot who did a serious study of why fighter pilots won or lost a dog fight. The results of his study gave him a logical system that is applicable in any endeavor in life whether a one on one gunfight, a serious financial negotiation, or avoiding being done in by Achmed trying to get his 72 virgins. Lets analyse OODA.

Observe, Orient, Decide, Act.

OBSERVE= What is going on around you. Especially if it is something happening that concerns you,

ORIENT= Yourself to the situation. This may be a physical orientation, or a quick mental change based on factors such as long-term memory, training, past experiences, and your genetic heritage.

DECIDE= On a course of action based on your understanding of the situation.

ACT= On that decision.

situational awareness._You then start over as the situation developes. This mental process is a continuum of beginning at Observe and working your way through the situation, and the idea is to get inside an adversaries (or situations) loop. So how does this work in real life? A quick example= Terrorist points a gun at you (he has Observed you, Oriented on you, Decided to shoot you, and is now Acting on that decision).  He is committed to an action and you need to disrupt and get inside his loop. You do something unexpected like throw your keys at his face while attempting to escape or fight. You just got inside his loop because now he has to process what you are doing that he didn’t expect and go through the OODA process again because the situation has changed for him.. You are now ahead of him. This is a simplistic explanation but it serves to show how the process works.

Developing a Habit of Situational Awareness0e5587a45a951c15f4dcb5a8514b31c4

Learning to live in Condition Yellow . Keep your head up when walking around. Develop the habit of scanning what is going on around you. Learn to pay attention to all of your senses, including hearing and smell. When using your cell phone in public, stop and place your back against a wall and use your peripheral vision while glancing up and around frequently if texting. Look around you constantly if speaking. When approaching your car in a parking lot, is anybody near it and how do they look? Anyone in the back seat or under it? When in a public eatery, try to sit where you can observe the entrance and know where the exits are. Use windows as mirrors to keep track of whats behind you. At the ATM do you look around to see if anyone is coming up on you? Always try to keep yourself in a position of optimum observation. Once you get into the habit of doing things like this, many other techniques will come to mind.

O.K. so you are alert. What are you looking for?

Do your due diligence. Have you ever walked into a place and felt that something just was not right but you were not sure what?  Well, something wasn’t right. It may not have been dangerous. it may have been something as simple as the flowers arranged wrong. But your subconscious was telling you that something was out-of-place. Trust your instincts, but you have to develop them first.

Schizophrenia_PET_scanBefore you can identify that something is wrong, you need to know what “right” is. Start with your home. You should be so familiar with where you live that you can navigate your house in total darkness. How about your route to and from work? Do you really pay attention to what goes on with the houses and business along the way or do you just focus on following the car in front of you? At your workplace, how well do you know your co-workers? Do you know them well enough to detect if they are acting strange? The places where you shop. What is the normal situation there? Start paying attention to the small details. Really look at things around you as you go about your daily business. Make a game of it. What color eyes did the waitress at lunch have? Can you tell me right now what color the houses on either side of yours are? Can you count the number of windows in your own house from memory? Once you have programmed your subconscious to understand how things should look right, it will be easier to suddenly spot when they look wrong. And once you have Observed that something is wrong, you can quickly Orient yourself for possible action, Decide on what that course of action should be, and then Act on it.

Conclusion

Situational awareness is a combination of staying alert in condition yellow, being able to identify when something is out of order, being trained well enough to draw a proper conclusion, and quickly acting on the decision you made. Stay alert and watch six.