EDC Kit: Back To Basics (Guest Post)

EDC Kit, Image Credit

When becoming involved in survival and prepping, there are many different ways to get started. For instance, some people start by learning about specific survival skills, while others start by buying supplies. Some people buy a few survival tools and learn how to use them, while others just spend time becoming more self-sufficient.

There is no right or wrong way to get started. Just making an effort puts you miles ahead of the average person. However, there are some misconceptions about putting together packs and gear…

3 Types of Kits

Which one of these is right for you depends on your goals and your situation, read on…

Bug Out Bag (BOB)

One of the first types of kits that you will encounter is the Bug Out Bag (BOB). It seems like every survivalist has either put together a BOB, has purchased a pre-made one, or at least knows what it is.

This bag is designed to give you the supplies needed to survive if you packed up and left your home in a hurry, often being gone for days to weeks. However, the likelihood of needing to pack up and leave your home is relatively small. [Editor’s note: It totally depends on where you live and the situation you’re in… please be prepared to bug out if need be.]

Do not misunderstand me. Having a bug out bag is important and an excellent idea. It is just that the list of scenarios in which you must abandon your home is just small.

Get Home Bag (GHB)

The get home bag is designed to be kept at work or in your car with just enough supplies to get you home. Even if you end up on foot, most people would only be traveling for a couple of hours or a day or two at most. This makes a get home bag typically smaller.

It also makes the items more focused on urban survival. Most people spend their time walking the city streets, not trudging through the woods and is a more likely scenario as most people spend their days at work several miles from home. [Editor’s note: Yes! Most of us need to think about being able to get around city streets, not the woods.]

With the majority of your supplies at home, the end goal should typically be to make your way back home. Unfortunately, you could find yourself unable to get to a bag in your car or desk which brings us to…

The Everyday Carry (EDC) Kit

By far the most important and most undervalued kit you can put together is an Everyday Carry kit (EDC) which is an assembly of tools that you can carry with you at all times. That does not mean leaving it in the car or storing it in a locker at work. You have to keep these items with you.

This is the survival kit you are most likely to use, the least expensive to assemble, and has the most valuable tools. However, most new survivalists end up focusing on extreme bug-out scenarios instead of an emphasis on the everyday scenarios that are most common.

Most people work in an environment where they want to hide their survival background. Keep in mind that when SHTF, human nature is to take what is needed from the people who have it. That is, co-workers may be inclined to take your kit if they know it is on you.

As such, for the items in your EDC kit to be effective they either need to be hidden or be able to hide in plain view.

Bag or No Bag?

One of the easiest ways to conceal your EDC kit is in a small bag of some kind. Of course, this poses some problems as it must be a bag that you can take with you everywhere — to the bathroom, to meetings, to lunch, literally everywhere.

Aside from maybe a purse or laptop bag, this can be difficult. Another problem with keeping your whole kit in a bag means that someone can steal it or you can lose it and now you are completely vulnerable. Besides, keeping your whole kit inside a bag makes it more difficult to access the items you need quickly.

For example, you can keep a tactical pen in the bag for self-defense. But do you prefer to dig through the bag looking for it or just pull it out of a pocket? For most people, I feel that doing without the bag is a better option but the decision is up to you.

Main Items to Consider

To some degree, the items that you choose for your EDC should reflect where you spend most of your time. If you work in a large city, they should reflect urban survival. If you work in the country, they should reflect wilderness survival.

Regardless, you should always first consider the four pillars of survival: food, water, fire, and shelter. Then consider self-defense, first aid, navigation, and signaling for help.

You can carry as many items as you like as long as you are comfortable with their weight, size, and appearance.

Knife

For any survival scenario, many people consider this to be the most valuable tool to have because it is incredibly difficult to replicate its capability with natural materials.

Sure, you can sharpen a stone or hone a piece of glass but it can never be as strong or as capable as a steel blade. A good knife helps with self-defense, cleaning food, cutting cordage, building a shelter, starting a fire, hunting and dozens of other tasks.

Full Tang or Not?

The tang of a knife is how long the blade extends to the handle.

In a full tang knife, the blade extends all the way to the end of the handle, this makes it incredibly strong. However, the average full tang knife is quite long since it cannot be folded.

There are three primary ways to carry a full tang knife for your EDC kit. If you can carry a knife on your belt, that is my suggestion. It allows you to take a larger blade that is better for chopping and self-defense.

If that is not an option, you can carry a boot knife or a neck knife. A boot knife is hidden in a sheath inside the ankle of a boot, while a neck knife is carried on a chain around your neck. Both can stay completely hidden under your clothing.

Folding Knives

A folding knife is commonly known as a pocket knife because that is where it is intended to stay. While the hinge makes the knife a bit weaker, you can still find quality options.

It is important for it to be a locking blade knife as this prevents the blade from folding in on your hand. You can buy folding knives with several other tools included.

My suggestion is that you stick with a single or double blade knife and save the other instruments for a multi-tool if needed.

Fire

Many people think that you only need to start a fire in wilderness survival situations. This is simply not the case. There are plenty of scenarios in which the heat could be cut off from an urban building or you could be forced to venture out into the cold winter streets.

You should always have one or two reliable ways to build a fire in your EDC kit as you can die from exposure in just a few hours.

[Editor’s Note: I prefer to keep a mini Bic lighter on my keychain for this very purpose.]

Lighters

Normally, you are going to use your EDC kit for short term survival. This means that lighters are ideal for starting a fire. A Zippo lighter is reliable, durable, windproof, and can even be refilled with any flammable liquid. If you do not want to spend the money on a Zippo lighter, a couple of Bic lighters are a good alternative. They are still reliable and cost nearly nothing.

Ferro Rods

A ferro rod is small, windproof, waterproof, and requires no fuel. I like to keep a ferro rod with me along with a fire assistance product such as Wetfire cubes. In many cases, I can build a better fire with this combination of tools than I can with a lighter. [Editor’s note: lighters are pretty darn easy to use so I would encourage you to have one on your person if possible.]

You need a striker which can be any piece of high carbon steel including your knife. By striking the steel on the ferro rod, you create super-hot sparks that ignite many types of tinder.

Water Purification

Again, assuming that you can find clean water because you are in the city is not smart. Many buildings are supplied with water through pumps that can shut down without power. You should always have at least one method to purify water.

Filter Bottle

This is the method I prefer for my EDC kit. It is a commonplace to see people carrying a bottle of water with them everywhere they go.

The difference is that my bottle has a filter built into the lid that removes 99.999% of harmful contaminants. It even makes “safe” tap water taste better. Nobody knows the difference.

Straw Filter

This filter accomplishes the same thing but is small enough to keep in your pocket. If you do not want to carry a bottle everywhere, this is a good option. The only downside is that you must get down on the ground to sip from the straw in most cases.

Iodine Tablets

I also carry these little lifesavers everywhere I go. The vial is about the size of my car key and holds dozens of tablets. Each one can purify a bottle of water. I had situations where my filter clogs beyond repair and these tablets saved my life. The only downside is that they must dissolve for 30 minutes before you can drink the water.

Cordage

This is another one of those items that are difficult to replicate with natural materials. Cordage is vital for anything from climbing to building a shelter. It can be used for cooking, self-defense, trapping, or fishing if you do not have a regular fishing rod. The key is finding an easy way to carry it with you.

Paracord is by far the most functional type of cordage. It is thin but has seven internal strands that can be pulled out and used separately. The most common option is 550 paracord which can hold a 550-pound load.

The easiest ways to carry a paracord are as boot laces, bracelets or lanyards. I always replace my shoe and boot laces with appropriately colored paracord. This way, I have about 50 feet of cordage available at all times.

I can also remove the inner strands and reuse the outer sheath for laces. You can weave paracord into lanyards and bracelets for additional options. I typically keep one of each on me at all times.

Recently, certain companies have started making survival style paracord that has additional functions, such as a flammable cord with a Ferro rod and striker for the tips of the laces.

Another has the typical seven interior strands along with a strand of copper wire, a strand of fishing line, and a strand of flammable material. These can add even more function to an already needed item.

Other Items to Consider

You can go on and on listing out potential items for your EDC kit. Here are some of the most popular we have not yet mentioned.

Weapons – I have seen survivalists carry handguns, tactical pens, ball bearings on a cord, or even brass knuckles. A tactical pen is ideal for an office setting because it just looks like a nice pen.

Before you choose a weapon, know what your local regulations are. These are especially important in urban areas.

Emergency blankets – These are small enough to fit in your pocket and reflect 90% of your body heat back to you. They are suitable for wrapping up or for building a shelter.

Multi-tools – You can often see people carry these handy tools on their belt in a leather pouch. I even have one small enough to fit on my keychain. They have dozens of functions and are perfect for projects in which you are away from your tool box.

Wallet tools – In my wallet, I carry a folding knife, a multi tool, a survival card, and a lock pick set. There are all kinds of gadgets that are designed to be shaped like a credit card.

Small fishing kit – This includes line, hooks, sinkers, floats, and sometimes lures. You can make these small enough to fit in a mint tin.

LED light – These bright flashlights are small enough to fit in your pocket, on your keychain, or in your wallet.

Checked Your Fire Extinguishers Lately? I Haven’t And That Was A Mistake…

Fire Extinguisher,

Just the other day I’d decided to check on my smoke alarms and fire extinguishers and while I was at it have my youngest son try to put out a very small (and controlled) fire in our driveway just so he had an opportunity to hold and use a fire extinguisher which I don’t think I’ve ever had him do.

Well, as it turns out the first fire extinguisher I grabbed indicated “red” meaning it needed replaced; I gave it a try anyway… it was dead as a door nail. So I grabbed another one that indicated “green” and with a quick test THAT one didn’t work either!

I thought, “Uh oh… when’s the last time I checked these?” Believe it or not, I used to keep a good list of all the prepping tasks I needed to check on and when but, sadly, I can’t find the list anymore let alone remember the last time I even looked at it.

As it turns out it’s probably been a LONG time since I’ve actually looked at one of my fire extinguishers and, sadly, I found another one that needed replaced too. Surprisingly, the extinguishers I have in our vehicles still worked even though I would have assumed they–if any of them–would be bad since they’ve been exposed to both extreme hot and cold for many years… go figure.

The good news is that this has caused me to create a new prepping tasks list and, of course, to replace my fire extinguishers too.

I did briefly look into trying to refill them but apparently the type I have can’t (or shouldn’t) be refilled because they have plastic heads as opposed to metal ones and are prone to leaks… perhaps that’s why they don’t work any longer.

Anyway, just last night my wife was cooking dinner when the kitchen smoke alarm went off which isn’t unusual and so I didn’t bother to move from the basement couch as my wife was sort of yelling something incoherent which I did my best to ignore. As it turns out one of the burners had something stuck to it and caught fire. It wasn’t a big deal but I’ll take that as a sign I need to replace my fire extinguishers sooner rather than later, lol.

My suggestion: go check on your fire extinguishers and while you’re at it your smoke alarms just to be sure they’re still in working order.

Legacy Food Storage 72 Hour Kit: Cheese And Broccoli Soup Review

It’s been a while since we’ve done a Legacy Food Storage Kit meal, so I figured I’m due for another review. This week we’ll look at the Cheese And Broccoli Soup mix:

And the backside (the cooking directions are identical to all the others) and notice the two cups per serving and four total servings which means plenty of soup for all, in fact, I think we even had a bit leftover:

Now the nutrition label (I swear they’re trying to kill me off with all the fat content, lol):

And finally the soup:

As usual, it made a good four bowls so we all had some and I can say that, while I was looking forward to this one (our family loves broccoli cheddar soups) it needed a good amount of seasoning (especially salt) and broccoli.

While there may have been some tiny bits of broccoli in there I was expecting a bit more than what I got, so let’s just call this cheddar soup with little green pieces floating around. 🙂

Regardless, everyone else ate it without complaint. I think my wife added salt and my boys probably didn’t even notice. So, it wasn’t the best of the bunch but would make a decent lunch meal, for instance.

Note: Amy from Legacy foods (the nice lady who sent me the 72 hour kit for review) just pointed out that “…soups make a great base and a fantastic way to stretch out your other food storage. Adding only a fraction of a package would provide really nice seasoning to a pan of rice and beans for something different.”

That’s a great idea! Why didn’t I think of that?

Best Air Rifles And Pellet Guns For Survival (+ 5 Reasons Why)

If you are seriously into your guns and take your prepping seriously, you may have overlooked the humble air rifle. If you are anything like me, it’s likely you haven’t shot one since you were a kid, and don’t really regard them as a serious weapon, especially in a survival situation.

This is a shame, because I’ve recently realized that no bug-out bag is complete without a decent air rifle (or three). I’ve got plenty of friends, serious preppers themselves, who swear by their air rifles.

I know what you’re thinking. Air rifles are for kids, right? Well, no.

It’s true, of course, that no air rifle is ever going to deliver the power of a “proper” hunting rifle. In a survival situation, you are never going to be able to take down a deer, a moose, or a bear with a .22, and trying to do so is likely to get you killed. But I’d like to point out that in a survival situation you are not going to be shooting at large game very often, or at least you shouldn’t be.

In reality, the majority of the food for you and your family is going to come from much smaller game – squirrels, rabbits, etc. If you manage to hit a small animal with your AK (no mean feat given the recoil) you are not going to have much animal left to eat. Hitting small game with an air rifle is easier, and means you don’t end up with squirrel mush.

Hunting With Air Rifle, Image Credit

Beyond this, there are several other reasons why you should get an air rifle for survival situations. Today, I’ll take you through some of them, outline a few options you have when choosing an air rifle for survival, and then take you through what I would recommend.

Why An Air Rifle?

#1: More Effective

Why should you get an air rifle for a survival situation? Well, let me quickly say again what I said above – that for hunting small game, they are simply more effective. You can hit a squirrel more easily with an air rifle than with a full hunting rifle.

#2: Relatively Powerful

And don’t think that just because you used one when you were a kid, that air rifles are not powerful. Nowadays, the best air rifles deliver huge power. Though they usually shoot a .177 or a .22 pellet, modern air rifles achieve fairly high muzzle velocities and can kill most small game stone dead.

#3: Size and Weight

Air rifles have a number of other big advantages in survival situations. First and foremost, they are much lighter than a full-sized rifle. This is true not just for the rifle itself, but also in terms of the ammunition you need to carry. Going out hunting with even a dozen rounds of full-sized rifle ammunition makes you slow, and limits the number of shots you are going to get. In comparison, a coffee tin full of .22 pellets is lightweight, easy to carry, costs less than $50, and will last for years as long as you are careful with it.

#4: Usable by Anyone

Lastly, one factor that is often overlooked when thinking about guns for survival is that your kids (and perhaps your wife) are not going to be able to handle a full-sized hunting rifle. I would recommend getting your son or daughter an air rifle in any case because I had so much fun with mine when I was a kid, and this is a great way of getting them into firearms young.

#5: Teaches Shooting Skills (and adds another hunter)

Teaching your kids how to shoot an air rifle is not only a great bonding activity, but will also have huge advantages when the SHTF. Think about it as adding another hunter to your group – with a bit of practice, your son or daughter will easily be able to go out an bag a few rabbits and this could make all the difference.

Types Of Air Rifles

If you haven’t used one since you were a kid, it’s worth reminding yourself that air rifles come in a variety of different designs.

Caliber

The first factor to consider is the caliber. Air rifles generally come in two calibers – .177 and the larger .22 pellets. In my opinion, if you are buying an air rifle for a survival situation, only the larger caliber is a real option. .177 pellets can be used for killing small game, and are great for teaching your kids the basics of shooting, but in truth they are a little under-powered for survival situations. The .22 pellets deliver their energy to your target much more effectively, and will improve your hunting performance.

That said, caliber is not the only factor that affects the power of an air rifle. As you will see below, one of my choices for today is actually a .177, but one that has a huge muzzle velocity. The most powerful, and unfortunately most expensive, .177s produce a good deal of stopping power, but I think that for most people the .22 is best.

Design

Then we come to the design of air rifles. A lot of the most popular air rifles available today are CO2 -powered guns, a relatively recent invention. I think these are the most popular because they essentially take out all the work from using an air rifle – using a compressed gas for power, you simply load the rifle and pull the trigger. That’s great right now, but this type of rifle will have a huge disadvantage in a survival situation: getting those CO2 canisters. They are likely to run out pretty quick when the SHTF. In addition, carrying around a load of bulky canisters essentially eliminates one of the other advantages of air rifles in a survival situation – their light weight.

For this reason, my advice would be to stay old-school when getting an air rifle or pellet rifle for a survival situation. The best air rifles, in my opinion, are the ones that use a ‘pump-action’ design. The simplest form of this–and the air rifles you are likely familiar with from your youth–are those that use a spring mechanism. By pumping the stock on these rifles, the spring inside is compressed, and when you pull the trigger the spring is released, shooting the pellet. As the simplest design of air rifle, this type is easily maintained in the field, and is really reliable.

That said, one disadvantage of spring-based air rifles is that the spring has a tendency to wear out after a while. It will being to lose power and may eventually fail. There are two solutions to this. One is to make sure you have a few spare springs and make sure you know how to fix your rifle. The second is to take advantage of an advance in the design of these rifles, and get a ‘gas-ram’ gun.

This type of rifle works on the same pump-action principle but instead of compressing a spring it uses a canister of gas, most often nitrogen. Unlike CO2 powered air rifles, because the gas stays inside the canister, it does not get consumed, so the only consumable is still your pellets.

Our Choices

There are a huge number of great air rifles available, but the most important features in an air rifle for survival is reliability, specifically a rifle that has built up a great reputation in the field.

For a truly old-school air rifle that has built up a great reputation for both accuracy and reliability, look no further than the Diana RWS 34. This is one of the simplest designs of air rifle you can get, and in a survival situation the ability to maintain your weapon easily is going to make all the difference.

If you’re looking for an air rifle that almost anyone can use, take a look at the Gamo Varmint Air Rifle. This is a .177, and whilst I said above that this caliber is not powerful enough for most survival situations, the muzzle velocity produced by this rifle more than makes up for the smaller pellets. It will produce 1250 fps, and because it uses a smaller pellet the recoil is lighter on this rifle than some others.

If you’ve got a but more cash to spend, consider having a look at gas-piston air rifles. Though they cost a little more, they are more reliable. A good choice here would be the Gamo Whisper Silent Cat, which offers huge power in a compact design. The skeleton stock on this rifle make it even more portable than your average pellet gun, and when out hunting it feels like a full-sized rifle. In addition, the incorporated scope makes it an even more accurate hunting weapon for small game. Another good option is the Crosman CFRNP17SX Nitro, which develops a serious amount of power and is a great choice for hunting small game.

Lastly, I want to mention the Black Ops Tactical Sniper air rifle. This is one of the most powerful air rifles around at the moment, and has been designed to replicate military-style sniper rifles. While the heavy pump-action and larger frame means it takes some getting used to, if you’re looking for an air rifle with huge stopping power, this is the one.

Author Bio

“Sam Bocetta is a retired engineer and writer at Gun News Daily. He’s is an avid hunter with over 30 years experience.”

Image Credit

Inflatable, Reusable Sandbag?

Inflatable Sandbag, Image Credit

Ok, inflatable might be the wrong word to describe this sandbag as inflation implies air is involved, but it is certainly different than the traditional “fill your own” sandbags we’ve all come to despise, lol.

Anyway, I just recently ran into this SoSaveBag.com which perked my interest as it’s apparently a sandbag that actually swells when contacted with water:

“SOSAVE sandbag is an innovative instant sandbag sandbag. It is a jute bag with another inner bag as a special double layer structure bag. When it is dipped in the water, the functional material contained in the bag swells and increases its starting weight up to 50 times.In this way its volume becomes a flood defense barrier in case of water overflow.”

Interesting. I do wonder what the inner water absorbing material is… I can’t seem to find that out.

Regardless, it’s apparently reusable, biodegradable, lightweight, easily packed, etc., etc.

Unfortunately, I can’t seem to find a price for these either as ordering is via email which I didn’t have the patience for, plus I tried downloading some catalog but that failed too.

Hmmm…

Seems there’s some work to be done on the website so I haven’t a clue how “above board” these folks are, especially since it’s all in China. Hopefully, these “sandless” sandbags are the real deal and something people can start to make use of.

Let me know if you have any experience with them or a similar product. Thanks.

17 Apps Every Survivalist Needs

17 Survival Apps, Background Image Credit

These days, most of us have smartphones, and this gives us the ability to download apps for just about any purpose. But have you considered what apps might be useful when SHTF? In a truly large-scale disaster, cell phone service might not be available, but many apps can store information and be accessed even without cellular data.

Since most of us have our phones with us at all times, having a library of survival apps ready to go on your phone is one more weapon you need for your prepping arsenal.

Here are the 17 apps every survivalist needs to have downloaded and ready to go.

Kindle

The Kindle app is a great way to build your library of survival books without taking up a lot of physical space. Plus, ebooks are often much cheaper than hard copy books, and you can store thousands of them on your phone or tablet. The Kindle app allows you to save pdf files in the app so that you can store all of your emergency preparedness information and survival guides in one place. You can also choose to store documents and ebooks directly on your device—instead of in the cloud—so that they can be accessed whether or not you have cell service or internet access. The app is available for free for iOS and Android devices.

First Aid by American Red Cross

During an emergency, knowing how to perform first aid accurately can save lives. The First Aid app by the American Red Cross has step-by-step instructions to guide you through different first aid situations, and the content is preloaded, so you don’t need cell service or a wireless connection to use it. If you do have cell service and the situation turns out to require more than simple first aid, the app is also fully integrated with emergency services so that you can call for help at any time, directly from the app. The app is available for free for iOS and Android devices.

Pet First Aid by American Red Cross

Your human family members aren’t the only ones who might require medical attention in an emergency situation. But administering first aid to a dog or cat is very different than helping an injured person. So, the American Red Cross has created a Pet First Aid app to help with that. The app includes content on both dogs and cats and offers information about how to respond to more than 25 of the most common emergencies involving our four-legged friends.

PepperPlate

The PepperPlate app is perfect for storing all of those recipes you’ve been accumulating for your dutch oven or solar cooker. The app also allows you to create and edit your own recipes and organize everything in whatever categories you choose. PepperPlate is another app that allows you to store your information directly on your device, so you can access it even if you don’t have cell service or internet. The app is available for iOS, Android, Windows, Nook and Amazon devices for free.

Google Drive

Google Drive offers users 15 GB of free storage space, which makes it a great option for backing up your important documents, such as identity papers, passports, insurance policies, financial information and medical information. It will give you the benefit of being able to prove your identity and access your resources in the event of an emergency away from home, or if your hard copies are lost or destroyed in a disaster. Google Drive gives you the option to store files in the cloud, or locally on your device. The Google Drive app is free for iOS and Android devices.

Storing and accessing all of your personal identification information online does come with some risk. If you are accessing the information from the cloud, you should consider using a secure connection, like a virtual private network, to ensure your information is protected from other parties who might attempt to steal your personal data.

5-0 Radio Police Scanner

In an emergency, many people’s first reaction is to call for help from police, firefighters or other first responders. So, knowing what the first responders know about a situation is the best way to understand what’s happening in a large-scale emergency. An app such as 5-0 Radio Police Scanner gives you access to live police and emergency radio feeds all over the world. You can listen in to radio broadcasts based on your location and listen to feeds no matter where you are. The app is available for free for iOS and Android devices. There is also a paid version called 5-0 Radio PRO that includes 50,000 additional feeds not available on the free version. The paid version is $3.99.

SnipSnap

As a survivalist and a prepper, you probably know storing supplies for emergencies isn’t cheap. While the SnipSnap app won’t be of any use after SHTF, it will come in handy while you’re prepping. This app allows you to store all of those coupons you’ve clipped in your smartphone and redeem them directly from your screen. Even more amazingly, the app even reminds you to use the coupons when you’re in the store, or if they’re about to expire. You can also search the app’s massive database to find other coupons and savings at checkout for major retailers. While prepping is never going to be considered a cheap endeavor, the SnipSnap app will help make it more affordable.

MAPS.ME

MAPS.ME is possibly the most detailed offline map app in the world. It offers directions, points of interest and navigation for everywhere, from the world’s largest cities to tiny hiking trails. Once you download the app, the information is available completely offline, so you never need an internet connection to access map information, which can be critical in an emergency. You can use it to navigate both on the road and through the backcountry. The app is available for Android, iOS, Amazon and Blackberry devices for free.

Bug Out Bag Survival Guide

The Bug Out Bag Survival Guide app is great for those new to prepping who aren’t sure what to pack in their go bags. It’s got a complete checklist with everything you need to have packed and ready to go for an emergency. It does have useful features for more experienced preppers, too. In addition to keeping track of exactly what’s in your go bag, it can also remind you when your items in the bag have expired and need to be replaced. All of the checklists are completely editable, so you can customize it to work for your prep style. The app is free for iOS and Android devices.

Home Remedies+: Natural Cures

In a true SHTF situation, you might not have access to doctors and medication, so it’s possible you’d have to rely on alternative methods of treating illnesses. The Home Remedies+: Natural Cures app gives you natural ways to replace many over-the-counter medications to treat hundreds of common ailments. The remedies in the app are primarily made from herbs, spices, fruits and vegetables, which you are more likely to be able to scavenge in a large-scale disaster. The app is available for free on iOS, Amazon and Android devices.

Wild Plant Survival Guide

In an emergency situation, safe shelter, food and water are top priorities. If you’re in a rural setting, you could very likely be surrounded by edible plants, but knowing which plants are edible and which plants are poisonous is key. The Wild Plant Survival Guide app provides details about more than 100 plants to help you identify what is edible. The app includes color photos and even provides information on the medicinal properties of different plants that can be used for first aid. The app is available on iOS and Android devices for $1.99.

Weatherbug

In a weather-related emergency, it may not always be obvious when the danger has passed. The Weatherbug app offers real-time, up-to-the-minute weather information, including Doppler radar, forecast information, interactive maps and traffic conditions. The app will alert you to any unusual weather-related events in the area. The app is available to download for free on Android and iOS devices.

Storm Shield Severe Weather

Depending on the area where you live, you may have days to prepare for severe weather, such as a hurricane, or only seconds, as in the case of tornadoes. Either way, the Storm Shield Severe Weather app provides severe weather updates for your location for tornado, hurricane, flood, thunderstorm, winter storms and other life-threatening weather events. You can receive alerts via voice or push notification. Best of all, the app alerts you to danger based on your exact location and the weather pattern, not based only on your county, as is the case with most alert systems. The app is available for iOS and Android devices for $2.99.

Army Survival

The Army Survival app is based on the United States Army’s field survival manual and includes information on almost any topic related to survival, including the psychology of survival, basic survival medicine, building shelters, procuring and filtering water, signaling techniques, and more. It includes information on surviving a variety of climates as well, such as desert, tropical, cold weather and coastal. The Army Survival app is one that every survivalist should have for reference, and you should spend time studying it before you actually need it. The app is available for Android and iOS devices for $1.99.

Prepper

The Prepper app helps you manage and track your food stores. You can scan the barcode of your food as you buy it and keep a log of exactly what foods you have, where they’re stored and how much you have of everything. You can track dry stores, canned goods, and refrigerated and frozen foods. The app will even remind you about stores that need to be used before they expire. It will take all the guesswork out of long-term food storage and eliminate any problems you have with food waste. The app is available for free on iOS devices.

Knots 3D

Knots can be used for everything from climbing and hunting to fishing and boating. In a survival situation, knowing how to tie knots can truly be a lifesaver. The Knots 3D app shows you how to tie more than 120 knots in three-dimensional detail. You can play a video of the knot being tied and vary the speed to help you learn any part you’re struggling with. It’s the best way to learn to tie any knot you might need for any situation. The app is available for Android, Amazon and iOS devices for $1.99.

Disaster Alert

The Disaster Alert app provides real-time monitoring and alerts about potential hazards around the globe. The app is part of the Pacific Disaster Center, which monitors hazards around the globe that have the potential to cause harm to people or property. Monitored events include natural disasters such as hurricanes, floods and volcanoes; weather-related hazards such as droughts and wildfires; human-made problems such as nuclear hazards; and biomedical hazards such as disease outbreaks. You can receive push notifications for specific types of hazards or those that occur within a certain distance. The app is available for free on iOS and Android devices.

Other apps you probably already have on your phone that might come in handy in an emergency include the compass app and a flashlight app. Though some disasters may make technology useless, in other cases, using technology to your advantage might save you valuable time. Being prepared for any and every possible scenario is what prepping is all about. Installing and using these 17 apps is one more way you can be ready to face whatever disaster is eventually headed our way.

Did we miss any must-have emergency or survival prepping apps? What else do you think should be on the list?

About the Author: Sandra is a freelance writer and emergency preparedness expert. She’s passionate about teaching others how to be ready for anything, from a severe weather warning to a major natural disaster. She regularly contributes to The Right Side of Truth and several other sites.

Legacy Food Storage 72 Hour Food Kit: Classic Chili Mix Review

Here’s another yummy meal from the Legacy Food Storage Kit we’ve been looking at in recent weeks, this time the Classic Chili Mix:

I’m not sure why I keep showing you the front of the packages since they’re all the same besides the name… guess I’m just being thorough.

And the backside as usual:

Again, you just boil a specific amount of water and cook for about 15 minutes. It’s really THAT easy. That’s why I just LOVE freeze dried meals!

And here’s the nutrition label:

Notice all the fiber… this meal will keep you “regular” for sure. 😉

And here’s the final product which made three full bowls plus at least one more (my wife wasn’t home to eat any):

If it looks a bit “watery” that’s because it is, in my opinion. Since I like my chili thick I think next time I would choose to use maybe a cup less than what’s recommended (this package suggests 8 cups which is about 2 cups more than the others thus far).

Regardless, I though it was seasoned fairly well, though I would have preferred it be a bit spicier as I’m trending that way as I age, it seems.

My kids seemed to eat every last spoonful so they seemed to like it as well. Overall, this was a winner.

Legacy Food Storage 72 Hour Food Kit: Stroganoff Review

Last night my kids and I decided to make the Stroganoff which is part of the Legacy 72 Hour Kit I started reviewing a few weeks back.

It’s non-GMO, vegetarian, and obviously low in fat. Here’s the front of the package:

And the backside:

Just like with the other meals thus far, it’s super simple to make… just boil some water and cook for about 12-15 minutes, then let stand for a few minutes. And, of course, you could choose to cook half of the package, they give directions for that too.

If interested here’s a closeup of the label:

I did notice quite a bit of sodium in this package but it didn’t taste overly salty and neither did I notice my wife needing to add salt like she normally does, so it must have been salted “well enough” lol.

Anyway, the final product yielded four bowls of Stroganoff plus a bit extra we saved for later:

Overall, I’d say it was tasty enough, though I would have preferred some meat (guess I’m used to Beef Stroganoff) but I didn’t see anybody complaining either. 🙂

Survival Hax Tactical LED Pen with Glass Breaker and Fire Starter Review

I was sent this Survival Hax Tactical LED Pen for review and I can say that I was pleasantly surprised at the quality.

For starters, it came well protected in a foam case:

And here’s the pen outside the package for a better view:

I can say that when I first grabbed the pen it felt a bit heavy and bulky (as compared to a regular pen) but, honestly, it only took a minute or two and I actually preferred the tactical pen. Here it is as compared to a regular Bic pen:

The first thing I tried was the light. It’s a simple twist on / twist off deal, similar to a pen light or maybe a keychain light:

I took it into a dark bathroom and was able to use the light to see around quite well. Granted, it’s no Maglite but definitely as good as my LED keychain light, plus the Survival Hax light doesn’t have a focal point which I like quite well. Overall, the light will work great in confined quarters.

Next, I looked at the “business end” of the tool where the glass breaking tip is:

Granted, I didn’t try it as I didn’t have any glass I wanted broken, lol, but I can say that the tip comes to a nice point and I’m fairly confident that it would crack glass fairly quickly. Besides that, this tactical pen would double as a nice Kubotan for self-defense if needed. In fact, I occasionally carry one (a Kubotan) but I’ll just carry this instead.

To actually use this as a pen you would need to unscrew the glass breaking tip which is a bit annoying but understandable since if there’s anything you’d want quick access to in an emergency situation it would be the tip and not the pen:

Regardless, the pen writes well and as expected. If you further unscrew the pen by gripping the threads above the pen tip you will expose the pen cartridge which can apparently be refilled, though, I don’t know where to find refills (I’ll have to look into that):

After putting it all back together, if you instead unscrew the tactical pen from the middle you will expose the fire starter as shown here:

I did try it (but don’t have a photo) and, though not a Sweedish Firesteel, it worked well enough and certainly better than other fire starters I’ve used in the past.

Ultimately, I’m pleased with the Survival Hax Tactical Pen for the price. It’s fairly well put together, works as expected, and will make a decent addition to your EDC… I know I’m adding it to mine.

Survival Hax Tactical Pen

3 SHTF Problems You May Not Have Thought Of

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Recently, while I was sitting at the orthodontist waiting for my kid’s braces to finally get removed, I began to think about “what if SHTF” and I we didn’t have an orthodontist (or dentist) readily available who know what to do with such things?

After all, I don’t have a clue how all that orthodontics gear works and since my youngest still has many years of orthodontics to go, I should probably get a clue. I know the braces are cemented in there somehow but besides that I’m sure I would do more harm than good if I tried to do any of it off on my own, let alone try to keep their teeth properly aligned either… that won’t happen at all, lol.

SHTF Problem #1: Your Teeth

You’d be surprised but in a truly long-term SHTF situation teeth may be a much bigger problem for many people than they realize.

Besides just having cavities, who knows what types of additional–and sometimes very serious–problems you might encounter, here’s a few I can think of:

  • Abscess teeth. I’d wrote an article a long time ago about how it killed my wife’s uncle. It’s a much bigger problem than most realize and can lead to a variety of serious health problems.
  • Crowns that come out. This would leave the root uncomfortably exposed and probably indicates a much bigger problem. While the usual SHTF remedy for “bad teeth” is to just pull it, that might not be as easy with a crown removed and probably rather painful I’d imagine.
  • Orthodontics, various appliances. Really, anytime you’re in the middle of a process that takes years to complete, I’m guessing you’d also need the knowledge to know if it’s working properly and I’m also guessing that you could quickly do more harm than good. My gut-reaction is to remove the braces (or whatever) but, again, I don’t know how.

I’m sure there are more significant problems to be aware of here and while I have various extraction tools I do wonder how useful they may be with crowns, for instance. And considering that an abscess tooth is such a problem it would be a good idea to have appropriate antibiotics.

SHTF Problem #2: Birth And Babies

This is another big concern that many of us could have but not even consider until that “surprise” hits us. Obviously, this can be minimized by having and using appropriate protection, though, there will still be plenty of instances where people will have babies post-SHTF, wanted or otherwise.

Now, women have been having babies for as long as humanity has been around and doing so relatively successfully, the process isn’t without it’s complications to say the least.

And, of course, while most people choose a hospital with all of the medical benefits… they just won’t be available or accessible in a long-term situation. About the only solution would be to befriend an OBGYN or midwife and hope for the best. Lucky for me I’m married to a midwife. 🙂

Besides concern for the baby, such as being able to resuscitate them, complications with the mother are just as serious, especially hemorrhage. Both of these problems may result in death if you don’t have a knowledgeable resource to take charge and even then the worst may happen simply because they didn’t have appropriate drugs or equipment.

Again, having babies is no joke (and fraught with many serious complications besides what I mentioned above) in good times with all of the support structure we have in place. Afterwards we’re back to hoping and praying of the best.

I won’t get into potential complications with newborns as I don’t know about these types of problems to offer any sound advice.

SHTF Problem #3: Pets

Most of us have little idea what to do when we run out of pet food and, more important, may find ourselves torn between feeding our pets from our dwindling food storage foods or not. Granted, many of us may not be torn at all and simply just feed our pets as if they’re our children. 😉

I do wonder just how well most pets (and I’m thinking of dogs and cats mostly) will do with a significant change of diet from their typical dog or cat food to all human food? I’d suspect they will manage somehow.

What about potential medical issues? Again, if there’s no vet about the best we can do is to care for them as if they’re human and then hope for the best.

For us, we have a dog and then also guinea pigs who, sadly, would be the bigger problem because they eat mostly vegetables, hay, and pellets. As much as I really like them they probably won’t last long post-SHTF.

Anyway, what problems can you think of? What SHTF concerns would you have that you may not have thought about?