RZ Mask: Airborne Contamination Protection In Your Bug Out Bag (video)

Like he says, airborne contamination is probably an overlooked area of preparedness in most bug out bags. In this video, he points out an interesting tool that I hadn’t heard of before today, the RZ Mask which is obviously intended to help protect you from harmful airborne contaminants.

The interesting thing is that this mask actually includes an active carbon filter which is intended to help filter out dust particles up to 99.9%. This is an interesting prep to include and likely better than the common dust mask while also offering more protection for your face.

Of course, the RZ mask isn’t a super cheap option, as such, a simple bandanna is better than nothing, has many uses, and is almost nothing when packed. Beyond that, a N-95 mask or N-100 mask (with one-way valve) are good to include too but for the price and overall protection offered this RZ mask may be a good addition (note: some Amazon reviews pointed out that this mask has a strong chemical / plastic smell so be aware of that)…

DIY Paracord Pill Bottle Dispenser

When I watched this video on making a DIY paracord dispenser I immediately went out to the workshop and tried my hand at it. Unfortunately, I had a bit of trouble transferring the idea to a pill bottle on my first attempt because I tried to put the bolt through the sides of the bottle which made it very difficult to attach the paracord to.

So, I tried a minor modification of my own and wound up with something that works just as good, if not better. Here’s what I did…

Find an old pill bottle you don’t want and a threaded bolt that’s a bit longer than the bottle is tall. I’d say this bolt is about 1/2″ longer than the bottle is tall:

diy-cord-1 Drills holes through the bottom of the bottle and lid big enough for the bolt to pass through (you can see I’d already done that in the photo above) as well as in the side of the bottle for the paracord and then insert the bolt and paracord as such:

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Attach a roughly two-inch piece of electrical tape to the end of the paracord as shown:

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Now take the flat end of the tape and wrap it around the bolt. Be sure to wrap the tape low enough so that it doesn’t interfere with the threads that stick out of the lid. Also, and this is important, wrap the tape so that the paracord will want to wrap around the bolt in a counterclockwise fashion (I’ll explain later):

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You should have something like this:

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Now, thread a lock nut onto the end of the bolt but leave a little wiggle room for the bolt to turn freely (note: you could probably use two nuts tightened onto themselves if you don’t have a locking nut):

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I didn’t have a wingnut large enough for the bolt I used so I used the end of a drywall anchor–which is similar enough to a wingnut–and allowed me to have something to grasp onto when I need to reel the paracord back in:

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Because it takes too long by hand use a drill to reel in the paracord (remember to reel it counterclockwise to make your life easier later):

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So that the paracord doesn’t accidentally suck into the pill bottle, tie a knot in the end:

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That’s it. You’re done. I think I got about 20-25 feet of paracord into this small bottle.

I should caution you that it’s possible to reel in too much cord thereby making it very difficult to pull out later. 🙂

Because the cord is taped to the bolt you can always pull it completely out and use the entire length but, obviously, you’ll need to put it back when done which means you’ll need to be able to unscrew the wingnut and bolt so you’ll need tools for that. And, just in case you were thinking about it, don’t glue any of this stuff together or you’ll never get it undone. Yes, it DID cross my mind briefly.

Last, though you can reel the paracord in with a clockwise motion, doing so makes it difficult to then reel in by hand later because the wingnut will want to unscrew off of the bolt. I learned that the hard way.

Anyway, it works out well and got tossed into my camping gear… perhaps I’ll make a bigger one for later.

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MSR Stainless Steel Stowaway Pot (video)

This video isn’t so much about the [easyazon_link identifier=”B000FBSZGU” locale=”US” tag=”rethinksurviv-20″]MSR stowaway pot[/easyazon_link] but more about all the goodies he’s included with it for cooking. He certainly included the important stuff like a spoon, soap, and condiments; I might have tried to toss in a small rag too but I like to shove, shove, shove. 🙂 You can skip to about the 1:45 mark to get to the heart of the video…

How to Get More Vitamin C Than From Oranges (Video)

Good to know for those who live among pine tree forests, like me. Here’s a bit from the video description for clarification…

“The fresh, light green tips of these evergreen trees can be eaten raw, right off the tree in spring. The lighter the color, the milder in flavor and softer to chew. As they age and get darker, the flavor gets a bit more bitter. But the needles of these trees remain edible all year long.

You can steep the needles in hot water and drink the tea to get the high vitamin C content and nutrients.

The needles of these trees are good for boosting the immune system and for fighting colds and flu.

The three evergreens, fir, spruce and hemlock are among many other evergreen trees that you can eat.

You can use the needles in place of rosemary when cooking. Eat them raw and plain or spice up a salad with them. You can eat them fresh or dried.

In order to get the most nutrients do not boil the needles, but rather steep them in hot water as you would tea…”

eBugout.com – Custom Bug Out Bag Creation

ebugoutThe folks at eBugout.com reached out and asked me to take a look at their website which has the sole purpose of allowing you, the user, to quickly create a bug out bag.

Overall, the site is fairly easy to use and certainly intuitive.

Just go to their home page and click the orange “create now” button to get started.

Once on the building screen the choices cover the necessary topics, including water, fire, tools, food, medical, shelter, backpacks, and more.

Each category then has sub-categories to choose from. For example, water has three sub categories: bottles, purification, and filters.

Clicking on any of the sub categories then presents you with additional options. Click on the “purification” category and you’re presented with the choice of “drops” or “tablets.” Clicking on the tablets thumbnail then provides me with a handful of specific solutions to choose from.

Each other category / sub category is done the same way… like I said it’s all really easy to navigate and a pretty slick interface for sure.

Once you’ve made a selection you can quickly add it to your cart (all items are purchased via Amazon) or look at something else if you prefer.

A few things I noticed that I liked were the fact that each item has a quick description shown, the price, and most important is the fact that each and every item has a review from their staff members which, they say, are avid outdoors-men and women.

Their reviews, in my opinion, are always positive (in that I never noticed a bad or poor review) which is fine but I do like to see that they’re willing to point out flaws… maybe I just missed them.

Beyond that, there are some very obvious product omissions that you may wish were there. For instance, they don’t have what is perhaps the best water filter straw out there for the price, the Lifestraw. Similarly, I didn’t see any camp axes or saws which I thought was odd… maybe there’s still a bit more to be added.

All that said, if you’re in a hurry they do offer an “auto fill your cart” option but I wouldn’t suggest it. I should point out that as you add items to your cart they will tally the price and even calculate overall weight too which is a neat idea.

If you’re looking for a new way to build your bug out bag with a slick interface, eBugout.com seems to be a great way to cover your bases.

Now THIS is a Bug Out Bike!

It must have been quite a while since I’ve looked into mountain bikes but this is first I’ve seen such as neat looking bike. This bike, if you’re unaware, is the Mongoose Dolomite.

Of course, the very FIRST thing that popped into my head was “Now THIS is a Bug Out Bike!”

Obviously, it’s all about the tires at over four full inches…

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Yeah, the tires alone make it pretty neat and I’d imagine does quite well on bad terrain which is important if you’re both in a hurry and possibly carrying a bug out bag or who knows what.

Beyond that, it’s a 7-speed and has disc brakes which is a plus. I’ve read that people feel it works great in snow, ice, sand, and more. The product description states:

“The Mongoose Dolomite 26″ beach cruiser is designed to be ridden easily on a wide variety of terrain thanks to oversized tires for stability & traction. Cruiser frame geometry adds a comfortable but athletic riding position. The Dolomite is equipped with a supersized beach frame with plenty of clearance to conquer any terrain with the 4 1/4″ knobby tires. Alloy 4″ wide wheel set with disc brakes for easy stopping, low rise handlebars for comfort and stability and 3 piece cranks, the 7 speed gearing with Shimano rear derailleur make this the perfect bike to go conquer anything.”

As cool as this is, there are some potential cons. For instance, the very wide tires may keep it from fitting in some bike racks. Worse, the thing weights over pounds… yikes! That could spell trouble if you had to pick it up over a stream, up a hill, or something like that. Apparently, there isn’t a women’s model but since the frame angles downwards at the seat I don’t see how that’s much of a problem.

Regardless, while this might not be my first choice in bug out bikes because of the weight and price, it sure is neat to look at. 🙂 That said, check it out anyway.

This Threat from Above Could Stop Your Bug Out Plan Before it Even Gets Started!

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I’m still getting used to where we live in the Pacific Northwest… things are just a bit different than where I moved from in the Midwest. There are so many tall trees and the layout of roads and homes is a bit different. This makes developing a healthy bug out plan a problem.

While there are large expanses of land with sprawling subdivisions and plenty of roads in the Midwest, here they tend to cut out a path for a two lane road and do the same for a few houses off the road and move on to the next set of houses.

As such, there aren’t many cross streets and/or alternate routes to effect a proper bug out plan. Toss in the fact that we’re nearly surrounded by water and that’s whole other problem. 😉

These factors alone make bugging out difficult to say the least but there’s another problem that I only recently “discovered” while driving down the road.

What is it, you ask?

Power lines. Yes, power lines.

You see, I’m accustomed to power lines either being run underground or, if they’re overhead, they typically run along the road most of the time and very occasionally are strung across the road

That’s not the case at all around here. In fact, the main road that we’d drive along to enact our bug out plan has power lines that cross directly over the road dozens upon dozens of times!

And that’s the norm around here. Overhead power lines are EVERYWHERE and they seem to be strong across the road regularly. Granted, I’m sure they’re not all for transferring power but I wouldn’t know the difference regardless.

Why are power lines a problem for your bug out plan, you ask?

They’re a problem because (again, where we live now) earthquakes are a big threat which could easily cause power lines to get knocked down, though, there are other reasons for power lines to come down. If they get knocked down and are therefore blocking our path you’re not supposed to cross over any downed power lines for fear that they’re still energized.

Going around the power lines may be an option in some places but, like I said, most roads around here are two lanes cut through a bunch of trees with little room to spare on the shoulders.

Granted, it’s likely that not all power lines would come crashing down along our designated bug out routes but even if a handful of them along our routes come down that could pose an interesting problem as odds are that one or two of them would be completely blocking the road.

Of course, power lines don’t need to be crisscrossing the roads overhead to be trouble if they fell… lines running along the road could topple over and block roads too.

The question I have is…

Do you take the chance and drive over them because, after all, things are somehow bad enough that we HAD to evacuate or do we heed the advice and not take the chance?

Personally, I’d rather not take the chance but, as I eluded to above, there aren’t too many alternative routes around here and “hoofin’ it” isn’t the best option unless we literally had no other choice. Maybe this is one of those “no other choice” scenarios?

At the very least…

Seems to me that, at the very least, you should be paying attention to this potential problem when deciding on your bug out plan routes. Consider driving them when you can and see if this threat even exists and while you’re at it keep your eyes peeled for other potential problem such as bridges that may wash out in high water times, steep roads that may make them impassable in inclement weather, and so on.

Remember, there’s always SOMETHING to plan for. 🙂

4×4 Off-Road Vehicles Make Little Difference in a Bug Out

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Recently I linked to an article on bug out route planning that reminded me why it’s so important to have good alternate routes picked in advance of any significant disaster scenario.

There’s no doubt in my mind that ANY and ALL major roadways–be they highways or city streets–will become an impassable parking lot in no time flat. You really do need to have a better plan.

Of course, there are those very rare circumstances where the ability to go off-road is a benefit but, IMO, I’d say they’re far and few between. As such, the oft-touted advice that you should include a 4×4 for preparedness is overrated.

Don’t get me wrong, I’d rather have one than not, and I do, but I’d say that anyone who lives in a city or suburb shouldn’t make it a priority purchase. Focus on everything else first.

Why?

It’s simple really: most cities and suburbs that I’ve been through aren’t setup to allow for off-road driving whatsoever! Considering that they’re littered with an assortment of barriers, guard rails, drop-offs (or embankments), an assortment of annoying buildings, as well as the occasional tree or shrub… most people wouldn’t get very far. 😉 In fact, I’d say most people would get farther walking.

Think about it. Better yet, glance around as you drive along your normal routes on your way to and from work or wherever. Think: “What would I do if I came to a huge traffic jam right here, in this very spot?” Never mind that the nearest exit is within sight a quarter mile down the road… you’re stuck NOW! Could you get around it… even with four wheel drive? Could you backtrack to get around it? Now do this several times over and don’t just pick the spots where you have open space to maneuver… that’s cheating.

I should note that there’s obviously a huge difference in what each geographic region is like. In my former stomping grounds in the Midwest it wasn’t unheard of to see open spaces where off-roading would be possible but, of course, these same places probably wouldn’t be packed like a parking lot either. The roadways where traffic is often a mess in normal times are also the same places where it would be most difficult to get off-road.

On the other hand, where I now live in the Pacific Northwest, there’s often nothing but a path cut through the trees and many two-lane roads… good luck to anyone off-roading through that. 😉

In conclusion, I’m not saying a 4×4 will make no difference during a bug out; I’m just saying that it’s far less likely to be useful than most of use think. Obviously, as with more preps, the old adage still applies even to this: “I’d rather have one and not need it than to need one and not have it.”