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Thoughts on Maximizing Your Prepping Efforts

power-upOne of my more favorite prepping “solutions” is to utilize an inverter connected to a car battery to power the refrigerator/freezer. So long as you have gasoline to run your vehicle this idea can work for a long time. After all, a vehicle’s engine is a rather efficient generator. (note: I didn’t think of this on my own but, rather, heard it from Steven Harris of Solar1234.com.) And since the only investment is in a power inverter (an 800-watt inverter should do nicely) which can be had for about $50, an extension cord (here’s a decent 50′ 12/3 cord) for about $30, and gasoline in gas cans which you should be doing for a variety of reasons anyway, you can have a makeshift generator setup ready to go for significantly less than purchasing an actual generator. Of course, there are some very good reasons to invest in a generator eventually, but for most people I’d suggest starting with the aforementioned strategy. In so doing you have both a strategy to rely upon faster as well as a ... continue reading...

Easy DIY Aquaponics: Let the Fish Grow Your Organic Food!

ediyabox1 Note that this is a review: if you’re looking for Easy DIY Aquaponics website then please lick here. Why am I writing this? Well, when I was thinking about buying Easy DIY Aquaponics, there weren’t many real reviews around so I thought I’d write one quickly to help any of you who are in the same position I was. But be warned, I’ll be going into both the good and the bad points, so if that’s something you might not want to hear, then you may as well leave now… I do want to point out that a few weeks back I took a look at a course titled Aquaponics 4 You: Step-by-Step How to Build Your Own Aquapoics System which initially got me excited about aquaponics. Actually, I was interested and excited BEFORE I found the course… hopefully you are too. And, while I’m still glad I reviewed it, one of my biggest complaints about the course was that I “felt like I jumped right into the middle of a story that I wouldn’t have honestly understood had ... continue reading...

How Effective are Security Windows and Doors? Your Choice Could Save a Life!

[Image provided by author] Home security is a major concern for homeowners, and the type of windows and doors you use can help to make you safer. Keeping intruders out of your home becomes increasingly important in an urban survival/disaster scenario, and every second that an intruder is delayed by a security feature is another second that you can use to react to the threat. Many companies sell specialty doors and windows to keep intruders out, but some of these products are more effective than others. When choosing any type of security for your home, you should do your research and find out just how effective the item really is. Let’s look at some popular solutions and how much security they truly offer. Security Windows and Window Films Windows are one of the most common ways that burglars and other intruders enter a home. In many cases, windows are easier to enter than doors. While almost everybody locks their doors, people often leave windows open, especially in warmer weather. Even ... continue reading...

Two Battery Storage Myths Debunked

SourceStoring batteries isn’t rocket science. Far from it. But sometimes it seems like batteries are a “mystical” part of preps and that they should be treated with “kid gloves” lest they fail you when most needed. Nope. Not at all. In fact, the good news about batteries is that they can–and should–be treated very similarly to your food storage. Simply keep them in a cool, dry place and you’re good to go. Really. Myth #1: Keep batteries in the fridge or freezer to increase longevity While true that storing batteries in a colder environment is better than a hot one, there seems to be no benefit to storing batteries in the fridge or freezer. Personally, I used to do this because I thought it was the right thing to do but now I just keep them on a shelf with some other preps. I should point out that excessive moisture levels can be a problem for batteries so you’ll want to store them in ... continue reading...

I’m Thinking About Buying a Beekeeper Suit, Maybe You Should too

wasp-nestNow, I’m not saying I have the answer here but I’ve been thinking about buying a beekeeper’s suit lately, and it’s not because I plan on keeping bees anytime soon… someday I might like to try it. Instead, I’m thinking about SHTF situations where I may have to deal with a hive of bees or, more likely, a nest of yellow-jackets or paper wasps. Granted, I’ve never bothered with a bee suit thus far but, then again, I’ve never had to REALLY deal with them on my own, at least, nothing more than a healthy wasps nest here and there. The problem for me is this: what if something goes wrong and I get a few too many stings and wind up having a bad reaction? A reaction bad enough where I would need hospitalization? During SHTF the expectation is that proper medical care won’t be available and so it’s “every man for himself!” With this in mind, and understanding that prevention is worth a pound of cure, I figured that I should have something at my disposal that could help ... continue reading...

If I Had the Chance to Start Prepping All Over Again, Here’s What I Would Have Done…

SourceThere’s no doubt that prepping is a journey, a life-long one, in fact… at least for anyone who takes it seriously. And, even though I’ve been at this seriously for a few years now and “interested” for several years, I often feel like I wasted too much time and money and could have been far better prepared if I only knew then what I know now. Of course, I shouldn’t be kicking myself. That’s just the way we learn. And sometimes it’s our mistakes that teach us the best. In this case, however, I’m not discussing my mistakes but, rather, a few regrets. Hopefully, you’ll take some of the following to heart if you’re still relatively new to the prepping lifestyle. Note: the following are roughly in my order of importance… I WISH I Had Understood the Critical Importance of WATER to Life I  wish I had understood early on how truly important water is to survival. Sure, it’s a no-brainer now and I’ve got stuff to deal with it but if I had a do-over I would have jumped ... continue reading...

Are You Missing This Useful, Back-Saving Gardening Tool?

SourceI’ve never claimed to anything but a hobby gardener at best and even that’s to be debated at times. Sadly, as a hobby gardener I’ve purchased my fair share of dumb tools that promised to make my life easier. Time and again I’ve realized that there are only a few worthwhile gardening tools that I bother to use. One of these tools is the trusty garden fork (also known as a spading fork) and not to be confused with a pitch fork, another tool I’m slightly fond of but not the subject of this post. FYI, according to Wikipedia a garden fork and pitch fork differ as such: “Garden forks are slightly different from pitchforks, which are used for moving loose materials such as piled hay, compost, or manure. Garden forks have comparatively a fairly short, usually wooden handle, with a “D” or “T” end. Their tines are usually shorter, flatter, thicker, and more closely spaced.” Basically, a garden fork is shorter and sturdier than a pitch fork, but there’s a bit more to it than that… In particular, ... continue reading...

I’ve Been Scoping Out My Neighbors Lately and Found Some Good Stuff…

SourceYeah, I’m not ashamed of it: I’ve been scoping my neighbors stuff lately. Not to steal it, mind you, but to get an idea of who might be useful post-SHTF, who might have stuff to barter with if I absolutely had to, and otherwise just to be a bit of a nosy neighbor. Obviously, I can’t see everything but when we walk I have a bit of time to glance here and there and I’ve seen some potentially useful things, including: Several homes nearby that have some good stacks of firewood–one thing I’m missing is a wood stove–but cut and seasoned wood is always useful. A few homes have year-round greenhouses which could indicate they’re more prepared than most or, at least, have something I might want. A few homes with RV’s and boats. While I’m not sure if either would be very useful without gasoline but, hey, why not mention it. A family that raises chickens. I always love farm-fresh eggs, don’t you? The same family has horses which can be used to do some serious work in the right ... continue reading...

Create Energy Independence With Your Own DIY Solar Power, Wind Power!

earth4box1Note that this is a review: if you’re looking for the Earth 4 Energy website then please click here. Why am I writing this? Well, when I was thinking about buying Earth 4 Energy, there weren’t many real reviews around so I thought I’d write one quickly to help any of you who are in the same position I was. But be warned, I’ll be going into both the good and the bad points, so if that’s something you might not want to hear, then you may as well leave now… First know that this is something that I’d purchased a LONG time ago now… years, in fact. Honestly, I’m amazed it’s still for sale which must indicate it’s still a wonderful source of knowledge! As I’m sure you’re well aware, there aren’t too many options when it comes to DIY off-grid energy independence. Sure, there’s hydro power which is awesome if you have a nearby rushing river to harness but I surely do not and chances are you don’t either. Similarly, you might believe that a human-powered gizmo is ... continue reading...

So You’ve Got Your EDC Covered, But What About Your Spouse?

keychain-edc-explainedIf your house is anything like mine then chances are that you’re the prepper and your spouse just goes along with things. It seems I’ve been at this long enough that she usually just sighs and says “whatever, dear!” Recently, however, I got to really thinking about the saying “you’re only as prepared as what you have on you” and, though I’ve done my best to adhere to it personally, I think I’ve been woefully neglecting my wife’s EDC! I’ve always figured that so long as I had gear with me as well as supplies in the car for her then that was good enough. After all, what are the chances she would ever be that far from me, our home, or the car? The odds are probably small but then again she might be on her own and unable to return to the car, so, there’s *that* potential problem. Of course, I carry various gear on me from a simple pocket knife to multi-tool, firesteel, and more but there’s no way I could get her to carry half ... continue reading...

There are Only Two Types of People Post-SHTF: Assets and Liabilities. Which Are You?

helping-handsPeople can be classified in all sorts of ways if you like: tall or short, pretty or ugly, predator or victim. In a post-SHTF world I like to look at people as either assets or liabilities. This means EVERYBODY, including people you expect to be in your survival group, people that show up on your doorstep TEOTWAWKI + 1, your significant other, your children, and even YOU. Yup, you too. Dependents I do firstly want to point out that it’s not always bad to be classified as a liability. For example, I wouldn’t necessary consider my children as part of the “assets” group because, let’s face it, they’re still young and I don’t expect a whole lot from them. I want them to be kids while they can be. That’s not to say they won’t get put to work or have much greater expectations placed upon them in a SHTF situation. They certainly will. In that case they will likely turn into assets because they are healthy, smart, and capable. Right now, however, they’re more likely liabilities that I ... continue reading...

I Gave My Kids a Handgun Safe, Told Them to Break Into It…

bulldog-safeI decided to try an experiment after watching this video… Something is amiss here. It can’t be that easy, can it? Let me first say that the kid in the video did have a little help here and there and it seemed that he knew the code to one of the safes (don’t see how that’s showing a defective safe) but a few of the safe break-ins were disturbing to say the least. So, I figured I would do my own test of one handgun safe, the Bulldog Digital Pistol Vault, which is what I own and use: One of these days I’m going to upgrade to a biometric safe for ease of access but this Bulldog safe is what I could afford at the time. Anyway, the experiment was this: put something my kids would want inside the safe (not a handgun, mind you) and tell them they had twenty minutes to break into the safe by “any means necessary” so long as they didn’t destroy my safe. FYI, my boys are 8 and 11. To start with they ... continue reading...

What do You Think, Should I Sell Out or Not? Survival Blogs Worth Money!!

moneyThe folks over at SurvivalReader.com recently sent me this post on The Best Prep Nobody Talks About: Make a Survival Blog? and I realized that I recognized both sites. In fact, I had some correspondence with the previous owner of PrepHappy.com quite a while back trying to help her get her blog going. Anyway, I have no idea why she bailed on the site but I can understand if she got frustrated or wasn’t making enough money. I can honestly attest that running a blog is much more work than most people realize (other blog owners back me up here!) and most of us certainly don’t do it for the money. If I remember right, it was a good year or two of running this site before I could even consider it as more than just a hobby. Now, yes, it is more of a business these days but one I absolutely enjoy! Well, *most* of the time. Anyway, I got to thinking that if they could get thousands of dollars at auction for their sites, maybe I could ... continue reading...

Aquaponics 4 You: Step-by-Step How to Build Your Own Aquapoics System

aquaponics-4-youNote that this is a review: if you’re looking for the Aquaponics 4 You website then please lick here. Aquapoincs, I’m sure you’ve heard of it, but do you know what it is? Put simply, aquaponics is a symbiotic marriage of hydroponics and aquaculture (fish raising). More importantly, do you know why you should pay attention? Well, I’ll answer that in a moment, but I can say that I wasn’t really paying attention to aquaponics until recently… and now I’m getting excited! Why? Because I finally feel like I have something within my grasp that can truly make me more “food independent” so-to-speak. Sure, I’ve got some food storage, my pantry and fridge are relatively full, and I hobby garden, but most of these are finite (sort of) and not always the best use of my limited space, time, and resources… you know, money. With this in mind, a month or so ago I started searching the Net for information on Aquaponics (via a healthy Google search), watched a handful of YouTube videos on the topics, and even briefly ... continue reading...

Need Your Advice! Anybody Know About Vegetable Gardening Over Septic Drain Field?

septic-fieldLong story short, we have a large area next to our home where we intended on planting a vegetable garden this season. As it turns out that area appears to be the septic system drain field. Here’s a photo (note: the rest of our property is basically all trees except for a small front yard)… Since we’ve never been much more than hobby gardeners (we just recently purchased about $50 worth of seeds from TerritoralSeed.com) I wasn’t planning on using the entire area whatsoever for our garden but I’m afraid that the entire open spot is the drain field, but honestly don’t know. As I’ve never had a septic system to deal with I had no idea if it was safe to plant a vegetable garden atop the drain field and so I began to research and it seems that vegetable gardening isn’t such a great idea (source): “It is generally considered a good idea to plant your septic field, but it isn’t the ideal place for a vegetable garden. According to the Virginia Cooperative Extension (VCE) shallow-rooting ... continue reading...

If Prepping Was a Club, My Family Would Have Got Me Kicked Out Years Ago!

Image SourceI got to thinking about my college fraternity recently–most likely because they keep sending emails wanting me to update my contact info–and for some reason I started contemplating that “if prepping were a club, like my college fraternity, I’m positive my family would have got me kicked out years ago!” Why? It’s really all about “the rules of prepping” that MUST be adhered to… Certainly, I love my family; however, they also DRIVE ME NUTS at times! I’m sure you can empathize. I don’t know how your family works but around here… I’m the “prepper.” Yup, it’s my responsibility almost 100%. And, for the most part I’m ok with that setup… until I feel like my efforts and requests get ignored and taken too lightly. If things were truly up to me everything would probably be labeled (including the light switches), cataloged with multiple off-site backups, and triple-checked for freshness three times a week. Yes, I can be a bit overbearing about prepping at times. In fact, it seems the older I get the more obsessive-compulsive ... continue reading...

Want a *Real* Workout? Buy a Grain Grinder…

Image SourceSince we’ve moved I’ve got back into grinding wheat so we can make our own bread again. For some reason–laziness probably–I got out of the habit and just bought bread from the store. And, since we’re also trying to eat healthier too, you can’t go wrong making your own bread as a great place to start. The only problem is… GRINDING WHEAT IS A LOT OF WORK! Actually, grinding anything is a lot of work if done by hand. There’s a reason why electric grain mills were invented. But, unless you’ve got a serious off-grid solar setup going, they’re a bit hard to work if the power is out and, no doubt, won’t do you much good post-SHTF. The only answer I’m aware of is to purchase a manual grain mill. And, while you can purchase anything from an inexpensive hand grain mill such as this one (I’ve bought something similar in the past) to the granddaddy of the them all, the Country Living Hand Grain Mill, you’re either going to be sorely disappointed in the former ... continue reading...

Why You Should Have a CO Alarm, Even if None of Your Appliances Produce Carbon Monoxide

carbon-monoxide-stoveI can’t stress enough how important it is for you remain vigilant about your family’s safety. After all, it only takes a few seconds for a house fire to rage out of control or just a split-second for an innocent “mistake” to change a life. Similarly, carbon monoxide poisoning is one of those things you can’t take back… get too much and you’re dead. Your family is dead. There are no do-overs here. Yes, stuff happens, but you can put the odds back in your favor… As you might suspect it starts with knowledge. Here’s a few good article to read about carbon monoxide poisoning that discuss the most likely sources of CO, signs and symptoms to watch for, how to prevent it, and more: How to Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning After an Emergency (sources, symptoms, treatment) Carbon Monoxide Poisoning (prevention, symptoms, treatment) Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Can be a Major Cause of Death After TEOTWAWKI (sources, symptoms, prevention) How to Recognize and Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning (what happens to your body, signs of poisoning, prevention) Hopefully, you choose to read those articles. Yes, some of the information is ... continue reading...

A Candle That WON’T Burn Your House Down!? Ok, I Had to Try It…

kevins-kandlesA few weeks back I was contacted by Kevin’s Kandles as something I may want to share you fine folks. They’re touted as “A Safer, Cost-Effective, and Environmentally Friendly Emergency Candle” and more specifically one that won’t burn your house down, well, they didn’t put it *exactly* like this but that’s the idea, after all. And, since I’m well aware that candle fires are a HUGE source of house fires to begin with–and one of the biggest causes of fires after a power outage if not THE biggest reason–I had to try them! So I jumped over to their website, ordered a pack of the candles for less than $10 and waited. To be honest, I had no idea what I was actually purchasing. (I really spent all of about 30 seconds at the time buying them.) I figured it was $10 so whatever it was, the purchase wasn’t going to sorely disappoint me. That said, when the package arrived I was a bit taken aback because I actually expected to see a few candles arrive on my doorstep ... continue reading...

I Was Walking Through Walmart the Other Day, Saw This, and *Almost* Had Tears of Joy…

walmart-freeze-dried-foodsI, perhaps like you, have a love/hate relationship with Walmart. It’s darn hard to stay out of the place because everything is so darn cheap… I meant, inexpensive. At the same time I usually try to avoid shopping there for a variety of reasons but since we’ve recently moved and I can easily find my local Walmart, it’s become an easy place to shop again… ugh. Regardless, I was walking through Walmart the other day and saw this shelf of freeze-dried foods: Not quite what you were expecting? Well, I can say that I’ve been in my fair share of Walmart stores and have never see anything that *almost* brought tears to my eyes… in a good way, that is They had all sorts of freeze-dried foods there, including things that are often hard to get without purchasing them online, such as butter, eggs, various fruits (apples, bananas, berries), assorted veggies, and more! Certainly, Walmart is merely “jumping on the bandwagon” as it were but it is nice to see the “big guys” offering something ... continue reading...

Do You Have a Potential Fireball Attached to the Side of Your House?

Image SourceToday I was searching for Mythbusters clips online (because I was a bit bored) and happened upon this Mythbusters clip where they test a James Bond myth of him shooting a propane tank to cause an explosion so he could get away, or something like that. Spoiler alert: the Mythbusters crew couldn’t get the propane tank to explode in a fireball so it appears there’s nothing to worry about. Maybe. Here’s the video clip… But then I was curious and Googled “shoot propane tank explode” and saw the following video. Spoiler alert: they had a small fire going next to the propane tank before shooting it but don’t seem to make that fact well known… There are other videos that make it more obvious that a fire is going, such as this one… Regardless, I figure that even if a propane tank couldn’t explode and cause a giant fireball if shot on it’s own, I can envision how the bad guys might take advantage of a massive release of propane to accelerate, say, a Molotov ... continue reading...

Dryer Heat Keeper: Pump the Heat Back into Your House, Save Money on Bills!

dryer-heat-keeper-1EDIT: People keep telling me I may wind up with some significant mold issues in the near future doing this, so, I’ll warn you that “your mileage may vary” and I’ll have to keep tweaking when I flip the vent open (probably need to wait much longer than 10 minutes for sure) so that I minimize moisture output as I have had times where it was ridiculous. Also, I’ve seen some mention that this could cause a fire hazard, though, I don’t see how it’s any worse than any other dryer duct so long as you keep the lint down. Last, one commenter said NEVER to do this on a gas dryer as this could be dangerous due to CO2 fumes. I don’t have a gas dryer and have never owned one so I am ignorant of the subject. PLEASE do your research before attempting this install on your dryer! A week or so ago I posted a video titled Save Money On Your Heating Bill for Less Than $15! which featured a simple device that you ... continue reading...

Safeguard Armor GHOST Body Armor: Almost What I Wanted, Not Quite What I Expected

black-ghost-vestLast year I had the opportunity to Review the SafeGuard Stealth Concealable Brand Vest Body Armor and I can say I was quite pleased with the vest. It fit well, seemed to be unnoticed by others, wasn’t horribly heavy or otherwise uncomfortable, and so on. I have, in fact, worn it a few times since then–just for grins–and probably wouldn’t mind wearing the vest daily if I had to. So, when Safeguard Armor contacted me a few months ago I was happy to do another review, this time of the GHOST body armor. And, I should apologize to you, the readers, as well as to Safeguard because I had every intention of doing this review BEFORE we moved but just didn’t and, well, I’m finally getting to it… So, about the GHOST vest. According to their website, the GHOST: NIJ Level 2 or 3A Ballistic Protection Edged Blade And Spike Protection Carrier Made from 100% Coolmax® Cooling Material Light-Weight Extra Small Carrier Adjustable Velcro Shoulder & Waist Straps Built to be Worn for Long Periods of Time Weighs Less than 2.5kg The vest I received was ... continue reading...

All the Things I STILL Have to Update and Accomplish Because of Our Move…

To-Do-ListMoving is both a blessing and a curse. As I pointed out in a previous post, moving was a great time to get re-organized and even caused me to do a major overhaul of my preps which was long overdue. The problem, however, is that I have to literally re-do many things that had already been done. Obviously, there’s tasks like getting new driver’s licenses, plates for the car, library cards, bank accounts, and so on. But these tasks are not necessarily prepping-related. Instead I’m thinking about the many things I do as a prepper that now need to be redone or recreated. Here’s a list of things I still need to accomplish over the next few weeks (most of them, anyway) because we’ve moved. List is in no particular order: Get more water barrels and fill – I like to have one 55-gallon water barrel for each person in the family. I still need a few more and would prefer to find an IBC tote but have to do some more digging on Craigslist and elsewhere. Devise rooftop ... continue reading...

Prepping Supplies I Left Behind Due to Our Long Distance Move

Image SourceWhen we first planned to move ourselves from Kansas City to Seattle (about 2000 miles) we intended to rent a large U-haul van because that’s what we’ve always done when we moved. The thing is that we’ve never moved cross-country, not as an adult anyway, and the more we thought about it, driving a large vehicle that far during the winter didn’t sound like any fun let alone very safe. So, we changed our plans and decided to rent a moving POD instead from 1800PackRat.com. Though there were other moving pod choices, 1800PackRat seemed to be the least expensive option. For the most part, the decision turned out to be cheaper and far easier on us since they not only dropped off the pod for us to load in Kansas City but also picked it up when we finished and even did the same in Seattle. Overall, we were quite happy with the service. The problem, however, was that we were not only limited in storage space but apparently there’s a weight limit on the pods too, ... continue reading...

Moving is a Great Time to Organize Your Preps and Get Your Act Together Again!

Image SourceWe’re fairly efficient movers as it seems we move every few years. One of these days I would like to NOT move and actually find a place we can truly call home… perhaps someday soon. The thing with moving is that it’s a great time to not only de-clutter and purge your household possession but also your prepping supplies and gear as well. In fact, I took this opportunity to do a major overhaul and literally go through EVERYTHING I owned! Yes, it turned out to be a multi-day ordeal but I’m glad I did it. You see, as organized as I like to be (and claim to be) things just get out of hand as the years pass. Stuff gets shoved wherever there’s space, sometimes gear doesn’t get put back where it belongs, ideas that sounded good at the time don’t work as time passes by, and so on. It’s was time for a major overhaul. Because the place we’re renting has a rather large workshop, I essentially laid out everything I had on counters and the floor ... continue reading...

Hearing Gunshots Off in the Distance Makes Me Smile…

Image SourceOne of the things we have to get used to now that we’re living in a whole new part of the country (near Seattle) are new sights and sounds. Granted, there are many things to learn, including local plant life, wildlife–I’m told there are black bears and coyotes though I haven’t seen any yet–local culture, and more. Anyway, the other day I was outside piddling around and noticed a new sound, something akin to firecrackers but not quite, and then I realized it was gunfire off in the distance! I thought: Perhaps there was a police standoff? Maybe the local militia was rising up? Perhaps the economy has collapse and nobody told me and now the jack-booted thugs were heading this way? Yikes! Ok, I’m just kidding. I knew what it was, it was a gun range… er, sportsman club. And, so, that made me smile. The good news is that it’s far enough away that I can’t hear the shots from inside the house as that might get a bit annoying. Regardless, the sounds do “call to me” and maybe even ... continue reading...

So My Neighbor Fell Off a Ladder a Few Weeks Back and Broke His Wrist…

fallen ladderMy neighbor, when we still lived in Missouri, fell off his ladder and broke his wrist trying to put up Christmas lights. I don’t know how he’s doing now but I assume his wrist is still healing, though, it’s been nearly a month now. I bring this up because broken bones are one of those things that I just don’t understand when it comes to first aid and I firmly believe will be a much bigger problem than most of us have considered in a post-shtf world. These days if we get a broken bone we rush to the emergency room (or the family doctor), he or she x-rays it, chastises you for having been on the ladder in the first place, and then proceeds to put a really annoying plaster cast on you and tells you to use a pen it scratch it when thing itch. Ok, that’s great, but doctors may be hard to come by in a lengthy emergency, x-ray machines will be even more non-existent, and plaster casts just need to disappear anyway. ... continue reading...

6000 Gallons and 2 Solid Years of Clean Worry-Free Water for Only $250: Why Didn’t I do This Sooner!?

water Since our move to Washington state I decided that–as much as I enjoyed using it–I didn’t want to move and install our undersink reverse osmosis water filter yet again. After several years of faithful use… it was time for a retirement party. And, so, I quickly convinced my wife we should part ways (err… with our filter, not each other) and purchase a complete Berkey Gravity Water Filter instead. Strangely, she agreed. Now, even though I already had Berkey filters and even created a makeshift “Berkey Clone” with 5-gallon buckets for emergency use, I figured I should finally make the investment and purchase the actual stainless steel unit so my wife will let me put it in our kitchen. Thus far I’m glad we’ve made the investment and I think she is too. Why? Because it fits our needs really well and will provide consistently clean water for years to come. In fact, I did a little math and if each of us were to consume two gallons per day we could use this set ... continue reading...

SunRocket Solar Kettle: Boil Water With Ease! Great for Camping, Hiking, Bug Out…

SunRocket Solar KettleI believe I’ve linked to the Solar Kettle in the past but it’s probably been so long I can’t much remember anymore. And, though I don’t own one myself, I can see how useful this SunRocket Solar Kettle (Amazon.com link) might be for a wide variety of circumstances, including while camping, hiking, and certainly for bug out. Not only is this solar kettle meant to boil water using nothing but sunlight (just like a solar oven harnesses the power of the sun) to heat water for coffee, tea, or whatever, but since you’re boiling water then it should also make the water safe to consume with regards to water borne pathogens. That said, you should always have alternative methods of water purification (e.g., tablets, filters, etc) in case the sun’s not out that day. Here’s a bit about the SunRocket form their website, SunKettle.com: “The Sunrocket solar kettle is easy to use. Simply fill with water, open the panels and recline in the sun. At intervals, check if the water is at the desired temperature. ... continue reading...

Beginner’s Guide to Precious Metals

Image Sourceby Gainesville Coins Whether you’re prepping for a minor power outage and SHTF, or just to collect coins for whatever reason, there are a ton of benefits to investing in precious metals. So what exactly are precious metals? According to Investopedia.com, precious metals are, “A classification of metals that are considered to be rare and/or have a high economic value.” They are highly liquid assets, meaning they can be bought and sold with ease. The most well known precious metals are gold and silver; however, a few other well known metals are palladium and platinum.  Copper, though valuable, is sometimes mistakingly considered a precious metal due to its use in coins and investment value, but it is still considered a base metal due to being plentiful and easily oxidized. Differences between gold and silver The main differences between gold and silver from an investment standpoint is that silver is by far the least expensive of all the precious metals, trading at a rate comparable to base metals. Silver, however, also see’s a lower premium (the charge that allows dealers to make ... continue reading...

Extending Food Storage by Purposely Limiting Meals – Useful Idea or Not?

Image SourceA while back I was watching the WW2 in HD videos with my kids for our history lesson. Near the end they showed video of the Nazi concentration camps and one of the images that stood out to my kids was how emaciated the prisoners were and, to be honest, it’s always stood out in my mind as well. After explaining how and why that happens to a person’s body I then threw in a brief statement about the reasons why we store food. I’m sure somewhere in there I “lost” my kids attention but I try to incorporate my philosophy on life–and prepping in this case–where I can. One of the things I wanted to point out to them was that you really do NEED a certain amount of food–for calories, vitamins, minerals, etc–to stay fit and healthy and that, over time, a person could end up emaciated (along with a lot of other problems along the way) even though they may be consuming food but just not enough of it or even not enough of ... continue reading...

PULSE Jump Rope: Off-Grid Kinetic Power Generator! Well, Not Quite…

SourceI figured since it’s officially Christmas day we should allow ourselves to dream a bit… I ran across this PULSE Jump Rope idea from a post today titled Owning Off Grid Energy Equipment and since the idea intrigued me I figured I would share the idea briefly here. First, this appears to be a jump rope that you can use to generate electricity by, you guessed it… jumping rope. Regrettably, this PULSE jump rope is only in beta testing so don’t get overly excited yet. That said, it appears you can purchase one for a mere $129. Anyway, DON’T buy one! Second, and more importantly, I’ve never seen a human-powered ANYTHING that actually produces enough power to be truly useful, let alone charge the plethora of deep-cycle batteries that you probably own. Third, even if it *could* generate enough electricity to power anything useful, when’s the last time you’ve actually jumped rope? Kindergarten? Probably. Besides, jumping rope takes some serious effort and even five or ten minutes will be a good workout for most of us. That’s not nearly ... continue reading...

How to Plan a 2000 Mile Cross-Country Bug Out Trip – It Could Literally Save Your Life!

trip1Seeing as though we have our upcoming and ridiculously long drive from Kansas City to Seattle in a few days, I figured I would share how I went about planning the drive. Simply put, I treated it as a REALLY long bug out trip. In fact, I intend on keeping the information I compiled for this trip if I ever needed to reverse the trip to make it back to Kansas City someday. Let’s hope not… A few Things to Note I chose to break up the drive into at least four days of several hours of driving a day. Although you could conceivable make the drive straight through (it’s about 30 hours or so) if you have enough drivers, which might be a better plan if you needed to G.O.O.D. quickly, you would still want plenty of places to stop if you had to. And, just in case, I have shorter stops planned as well in case of inclement weather. I placed emphasis on larger cities to allow for several choices for hotels, especially those with Wi-Fi ... continue reading...

DIY Ceiling Fan Wind Turbine Tutorial! by PrimedPreppers.com

wind-turbinesRecently I was contacted by the folks at PrimedPreppers.com about their site–I wasn’t aware of it’s existence until then–and thus far I’m glad they reached out because they’ve got some good info to share, including a rather lengthy video series on converting an ordinary ceiling fan into a wind turbine that generates power… who knew you could do that? WARNING: Some of this stuff looks a little scary… proceed with caution!! Plus it’s rather long so grab a sandwich, and a beer. Here’s the seven part video series for the nerdy electricians among us… continue reading...

Living Ready Pocket Manual – First Aid: Fundamentals for Survival… The First Real Look!

SourceOne of the few benefits of running a survival blog is that occasionally people will ask me to review their stuff, be it a piece of body armor, flashlight, or perhaps the most important piece… some very useful knowledge. In this case, I was asked by Dr. Hubbard of TheSurvivalDoctor.com to review his upcoming paperback book titled Living Ready Pocket Manual – First Aid: Fundamentals for Survival which can be pre-purchased on Amazon.com before the release date of December 31, 2013. I should note that I have had the opportunity to review other works by Dr. Hubbard, including a Review of The Survival Doctor’s Guide to Burns and The Survival Doctor’s Guide to Wounds which were both excellent reads and for the price of only a few dollars you can’t beat the advice, though, they are only available in the Kindle format. …back to the book at-hand as I was eager to dive into Dr. Hubbard’s newest book to see what I could learn from somebody who not only knows what he’s doing–he’s a doctor, after all–but also from somebody ... continue reading...

The Best Way to Stay Safe While Holiday Shopping: It’s as Easy as Click-Click-Click!

Image SourceI keep reading tips and suggestions from other sites that aim to help you stay safe while holiday shopping this year and much of it is very good advice, stuff I would tell you to do myself. The thing is that most of the advice is really geared towards your situational awareness, you know… your “danger radar” which can be easily distracted even more so during the busy holidays. The thing is that whenever your’re out and about you put yourself at risk to predators. What’s my solution? It’s easy… ALWAYS SHOP ONLINE! You might think that’s an easy answer but I see very little reason to fight with the crowds when it’s sooooooo easy to purchase nearly anything you want online. It is, IMO, the best way to stay safe while holiday shopping. In fact, besides groceries I can’t tell you the last consumer product that I actually purchased at a brick and mortar store. For me it’s Amazon.com or bust, though, there are others. Here’s why I much prefer to shop online… Finding what you really want ... continue reading...

Supercharge Your Bicycle With the Hill Topper Electric Bike Kit!

SourceWhere we live there are some significant hills that are simply no fun to ride a bicycle up. Downhill? That’s a breeze… but wherever there’s a downhill slope, there’s an uphill one too. As such–and more likely because I’m just getting older–I don’t get my bicycle out much any more. Ignoring the lack of exercise in this post, it also means that if I had to bug out and I were not able to take my vehicles then I would have to do so by foot which obviously means I’m not getting far very fast! Bugging out on foot isn’t all bad since it means I’m not necessarily limited to paved roads but there’s an obvious reason why we humans have paved everything and it makes sense to utilize such roads if you can. Certainly, there’s a solution if I can’t use my vehicles and don’t want to hoof-it on foot: a bicycle. But, again, there are those darn hills… and that’s where this Hill Topper Electric Bike Kit comes into play… yet another cool device my ... continue reading...

Well, Now I REALLY Feel Like I Have Nothing…

SourceA few weeks back I complained about travelling by airplane in this post titled I Always Feel Naked When I Travel by Airplane, How About You? because I despise all the restrictions they impose, but now I REALLY feel like I have nothing. Why, you ask? Because I literally have all of my worldly possessions and, most importantly, all of my beloved preps shoved into a storage pod that’s now on it’s way to Washington state! Although we packed last weekend in single digit temperatures no less, it didn’t hit me until recently that all of my stuff is gone… and now I’m feeling super vulnerable. But, alas, not all is lost. I do have my car kit preps which amounts to a bug out bag, sleeping bag, and several things meant for a car (e.g., a car jack, engine oil, fix a flat, etc) but it still feels weird not having my stuff around, including my water barrels, firearms, and more. But my predicament isn’t nearly as bad as some preppers. A month back I mentioned ... continue reading...

So My Wife Was Approached By a Guy at the Gas Station The Other Day…

It was about 1:30 in the afternoon and my wife called, “Guess what just happened?” in a partly excited voice but not obviously happy, at least not initially. I figured she got rear-ended, my kids broke her phone, she ran out of gas… who knows. It’s the pessimist in me. She then proceeded to tell me how a guy just walked right up to her (from behind), handed her a $100 bill, said “Merry Christmas,” and walked away. She was partly stunned and actually tried to give it back–she’s a bit of a dork at times–and then realized what just happened. I thought that was pretty cool as we’ve only ever heard about this on the news. Apparently Santa does exist. Anyway, she then proceeded to tell me how she wasn’t going to keep the money and, instead, “pay it forward” which is just like her. I tried to convince her that if she gave ME the money that was essentially the same thing especially since I was probably going to hit her up for money when ... continue reading...

Solar Suitcase: Self-Contained Portable Solar Power Station

Portable Solar Panels: Solar SuitcaseI’m a huge fan of solar power systems, in particular, those you can build yourself. But, I understand if you want something that’s already done for you. Enter the portable solar power station in the form of the Solar Suitcase. This is a complete portable solar power kit where you can use both an DC and AC plug and get power out. They have kits that range anywhere from 10 watts output up to 500 watts output. This is important to understand because it’s NOT the same thing as a 10 or 500 watt solar panel. Be sure to read the product descriptions to understand exactly what you’re getting with each particular solar suitcase before buying. For example, it seems the smallest 10-watt unit (PSK10) only outputs DC but also has a USB plug and even a radio whereas all other units output both DC and AC. They also have a 20-watt suitcase that boasts a lithium battery; it costs significantly more but lithiums are quite durable and hold a charge very well. In addition, pay particular attention to ... continue reading...

OPSEC Brilliance: Night Cache with Reflective Trail Markers Called FireTracks!

SourceHere’s yet another very cool item that Doug has sent my way–this time something called FireTracks which are reflective trail markers found at FireTracks.com–which was developed for hunting and early morning/night caching (or geocaching) among other uses. Doug says: “The FireTacks are reflective, you need only a very small flashlight. You can place them on any tree or any wood (2×4) trail edge. There is a “stealth” option in them that is not highly visible in the day, as opposed to the bright colored ones that would be fairly easy to spot in the day. The use I am thinking of is to locate caches of food, or to orient yourself in the dark somewhere, in an off grid or blackout situation. They come in 2D (flat), 3D (triangle), 4D (square). They can be easily removed and reused elsewhere hundreds of times.” And according to CacheAt Night.com (note: you can also purchase these trail markers here as well): “FireTacks are the backbone of traditional night caches. Originally designed to mark trails for early morning and early evening use FireTacks are ... continue reading...

Another Covert X-Mas Gift: The Original Glow in the Dark Nite GlowRings

SourceHere’s another very cool “covert” gift idea that my buddy Doug pointed out the other day. They’re called Nite GlowRings and according to their website: “Nite GlowRings and Firefly MiniGlows provide a safe, reliable and cost-effective visual tool for finding assets and locations in the dark. Generating continuous light output over a service life of many years and irrespective of weather conditions, temperature, altitude and humidity, a trigalight® will operate normally, helping the user locate equipment, paths and positions in the dark. Nine colour options enable markers to be assigned differing functions.” They actually have three styles of glowrings to choose from, the Traditional Tinted Glowring as shown above, a Mini Glowring which is much shorter, and a Crystal Clear Glowring if you don’t like the tinted sort. Apparently, they never need recharging, have no battery, and last for over 10 years… which makes me wonder what they’re made of. Actually, you can read about Trigalight Technology here (and their FAQ here) about what they’re made of and plenty more but, suffice it to say, they’re tritium glowrings ... continue reading...

Need a Covert Christmas Gift? Buy a Set of Survival Playing Cards – Surprisingly Useful Info

Image SourceI received one of my Christmas gifts early this year over our Thanksgiving holiday, a set of survival playing cards, specifically a set about Survival Tips & Tricks. Without looking at them I figured they would be a bunch of completely “safe” or generic suggestions but I was surprised by-and-large by the tips I’ve read thus far, including: adding important documents in your go-bag (gives a descent list) a dozen uses for paracord SODIS water purification using your car as a power generator why tarps are useful (I couldn’t agree more!) rooftop rainwater collection a few uses for feminine products for survival covert evacuation routes OPSEC considerations (including caches) emergency sources of water around the house There are more… 54 covered areas, in fact, when two Joker cards are included in the mix. Obviously, these topics aren’t covered in depth but they certainly are a good overview, especially for somebody who has no knowledge of preparedness. And this is the best reason to get them: as a covert prepping gift for anyone you like. In fact, I had several people stop and read them while I ... continue reading...

THINK BEFORE YOU DONATE!!

Image SourceGot this as an email from my parents (seen it before) but if you’re interested in helping out a truly good cause this holiday season, check out the list below before doing so… SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT BEFORE YOU MAKE CONTRIBUTIONS: As you open your pockets to do a good thing and make yourself feel good, please keep the following facts in mind:  —————————- The American Red Cross President and CEO Marsha J. Evans’ salary for the year was $651,957 plus expenses MARCH OF DIMES It is called the March of Dimes because only a dime for every 1 dollar is given to the needy. The United Way President Brian Gallagher receives a $375,000 base salary along with numerous expense benefits. UNICEF CEO Caryl M. Stern receives $1,200,000 per year (100k permonth) plus all expenses including a ROLLS ROYCE. Less than 5 cents of your donated dollar goes to the cause. GOODWILL  CEO and owner Mark Curran profits $2.3 million a year. Goodwill is a very catchy name for his business. You donate to his business and then he sells the items for PROFIT.  He pays nothing for his products and pays his workers minimum wage! ... continue reading...

Holy Crap! If Paintball is ANYTHING Like a Real Life Gun Fight, I’m Screwed!!

paintballThis past weekend I had the opportunity to play a few hours of paintball with some friends and family at a nearby facility for my son’s recent birthday. None of us had ever been before and I can honestly say it was an eye-opening experience. Apparently, there are some people who take this VERY seriously. And, like the title says, if paintball is anything like what I might see in a real life firefight, I really am in big trouble. As I’ve mentioned in the past, I’ve never served in the military or law enforcement and therefore don’t have any tactical combat training or experience. Of course, I should first mention that I can see how paintball might differ significantly from a real-life scenario but it’s likely the closest any average Joe (like me) is going to get and still live to talk about it. In particular, I was surprised at how quickly the pace of the game could change, at how much difference experienced players made, and how easy it was to get shot! Over the ... continue reading...

Zip Grip Go: The World’s Simplest Snow Traction Device!

SourceMy buddy, Doug, pointed out this really cool alternative to snow chains made by ZipGripGo.com a week or two ago and I thought they were a great idea to share with you. In fact, if I had not already purchased a set of snow chains just a week or two before I was aware these existed, I probably would have went with this idea instead. Rather than explaining it myself, watch this video… If zip ties alone aren’t quite your thing it seems they have a hybrid setup that combines the ease of zip ties with assurance of chains as shown here: Personally, I like the idea of a set of “snow chains” that I can rely upon but don’t take up much, if any, space in my trunk. In my opinion, if you’re looking for something that can be there just in case you ever needed them, consider these snow chain alternatives from ZipGripGo.com. continue reading...

I Always Feel Naked When I Travel by Airplane, How About You?

SourceIt’s amazing how much of a homebody I’ve become the past few years. Granted, I was never one to jump at the chance to see the world so maybe it’s in my nature. Nonetheless, I really despise travelling, particularly by airplane. Not only is it a major annoyance with all the restrictions of things I cannot take on the plane, the now mandatory body sniffer, still needing to removing my shoes (which I forget to do and then freak out the TSA security guard), and so on… you know the deal. Disregarding privacy concerns, let’s talk about prep concerns… You see, I think we preppers–knowingly or not–surround ourselves in layers of preps protection. This can be easily understood when you realize that you probably have an assortment of EDC gear you carry each day (the first layer), a get home bag and/or entire vehicle kit (the second layer) for when you’re out and about, plenty more gear and supplies at home (the third layer), and maybe even caches or an entire bug out location (the fourth ... continue reading...

Short on Space When Bugging Out in Your Vehicle? Add a Roof Carrier or Cargo Bag!

cargo-bagYou know, not everybody has a large SUV, truck, or spacious RV in which to bug out. Some of us (me included) have only a lowly four door sedan with which to rely upon. Originally, our plan–or should I say “my” plan–had always included the use of two vehicles so that we could take our “extra” stuff but a while back we had to sell one car and, hence, were left with just one. So, what to do? Well, there were options, including a trailer and cargo hitch and even trading in our car for a larger vehicle but we elected not to do so knowing that we were going to have to drive across country for our upcoming move (didn’t want to drive two cars) and because we would want multiple vehicles in Seattle… one of which would be our current vehicle. So, we’re making do for a while but didn’t want to be completely without options and, thus, we purchased a rooftop cargo bag that would not only double as additional vehicle bug out ... continue reading...

Employing Les Stroud’s 3 Zones of Assessment in a Disaster Scenario

SourceOf the television survival personalities I’ve grown to like Les the best. He seems to be very genuine and humble. And, most importantly to me, he doesn’t act like he knows it all. As such, I still enjoy watching his Survivorman episodes on occasion. A while back he did a show where he was pretending to be stranded in a car during the winter on some cold and snowy mountaintop and during that episode he outlined his “three zones of assessment” that I thought was a good idea and worthy to share. The “three zones” are nothing more than assessing what you have on your person (the first zone), what’s in your immediate surroundings such as your car (the second zone), and then what might be accessible nearby by short walk (the third zone). Basically, before he made any major survival-related decisions he would employ this three zone assessment to fully understand what he has at his disposal as well as what the next best course of action should be. Only after his assessment was completed would he ... continue reading...