P.S. Are you still on the fence? Don’t worry, the guys over at Infostack have incredible integrity and offer a 60-day refund guarantee. So, you’ll have plenty of time to go through all the info and decide later whether it’s ultimately wonderful or not (in my opinion, the deal most certainly is)…
But if you don’t grab it now, the deal is gone for good.
No one wants to consider the thought of getting lost at sea. You might think that it couldn’t happen to you, but the truth is, it can happen to anyone. Even sailing experts have been caught in a big storm and left without supplies.
It’s not easy to survive when lost at sea — but it’s possible. Consider Salvador Alvarenga living proof, a man who drifted across the ocean for 438 days. In 2012, Alvarenga left the coast of Mexico in a 25-foot boat, along with a young crewmate named Córdoba. Out at sea, they got caught in a storm. Water flooded the vessel and, soon after, the engine died. The GPS stopped functioning, along with the radio.
In the beginning, Alvarenga would catch fish with his bare hands, digging his nails into their gills. After two months, he caught birds and turtles to eat. Córdoba, unfortunately, was on the decline and died soon after. Alvarenga eventually drifted to an island beach, where he was rescued — 6,700 miles from his initial location.
Thankfully, being forewarned is forearmed. Here’s what you need to know to survive at sea.
How to Survive: Before You Go
The best way to ensure survival when lost at sea is to prepare before you go. Follow the steps below before your next trip.
1. Inspect Small Details
Clean the hull, deck and topsides of your boat before an inspection so you can get an unhindered look. Search for blisters and distortions. Check the propellers for cracks and dings. Damaged propellers can cause unwanted vibrations and issues with your drivetrain. Ensure the propeller is secured in place and replace bearings regularly.
Look at all belts to ensure they fit snugly. One sign of an old belt is black residue nearby. Check cables and hoses, which can crack or get brittle when in storage. You should also search for swelling and cracks on the outer jacket of the throttle, which can be a sign of internal corrosion and imminent failure.
2. Survey the Fluids
Pay special attention to your fuel system, including connections, hoses and tank surfaces. A damaged hose may be soft, brittle or cracked. If you notice worn down or broken components, it’s crucial to replace them before your next outing. Make sure all the ventilation systems, along with the engine and exhaust, are working correctly.
Check the fluid levels on your boat, including coolant, engine oil, power steering fluid and power trim reservoirs. If you take your boat out of storage, change the oil and filter, as well as the drive lubricants.
3. Assess the Deck
Take a look at all the gear you have on deck and consider if anything needs replaced or upgraded.
Review items like:
Rig jacklines between the stern and bow pulpits. Some sailors like shrouded wire jacklines while others prefer flat webbing. No matter what you choose, your line should be taut and easy to adjust. Tape lifeline entry shackles shut to keep them from accidentally opening while at sea.
4. Look Down Below
Down below deck, hidden from the crashing waves, you might feel safe. Expert sailors, however, say it’s nearly as dangerous as up top. Before you head out to sea, install handholds that are easy to grab from any spot. All supplies should be stowed securely. Check that floorboards are still in good condition.
You should have easy access to all the boat’s through-hull fittings. Secure these fittings to prevent water from entering the hull in case of failure. Make a laminated chart of all the access points and tape it to a spot where everyone can see it.
5. Consider Your Electronics
When drifting at sea, electronics are what tether you back to land. Your boat should have a GPS, which uses signals from satellites to track your location. You should also have a chart plotter and a VHF radio with a tall antenna. Invest in a single-sideband radio you can use for offshore communication, including weather forecasts and emergency calls. Satellite phones, equipped with internet access, are becoming an increasingly popular way to get information and make calls.
Invest in an EPIRB — electronic position indicator beacon — which uses a satellite signal to connect to a rescue center. Some boats come equipped with a small computer designed for navigation and communication while at sea. Be sure to bring along a spare mouse and keyboard. Electronics should be easy to access, yet protected from the water.
6. Think About Safety
Prepare your boat for an emergency. One must is a life raft, not just a small dingy. The vessel should be big enough to fit all the crew members on board. Have a dedicated storage area specifically for the raft, near the foot of the companionway. Lash it down to keep it from sliding around.
Set up a grab bag in case of evacuation. Include flares, food rations, a first-aid kit, flashlights and an EPIRB. You should also add a handheld VHF radio. Near the grab bag, stow a couple of jugs of fresh water you can grab in a pinch.
7. Pack the Right Gear
Before your next adventure, pack the essentials. Buy gear that can keep you warm in cold weather. Look for clothing with wicking, which keeps moisture away from your body and dries quickly. Invest in a heavy-duty raincoat and waterproof socks. Look for durable gloves ideal for handling rope. Plus, add a warm pair of gloves for freezing temperatures.
Get a hat with a brim that will protect your face and eyes from the sun, and a warm beanie or winter hat. Look for a pair of durable boots you can wear if you find land. Pack essential equipment like a pocket knife, whistle, headlamp and tether. Plus, you should pack a lot of sunscreen.
How to Survive: After You Go
Once you’re out at sea, there’s nothing you can do to change how much you’ve prepared or what you brought along. Instead, you have to rely on what you have, including your instincts.
1. Set Multiple Anchors
There are several types of anchors, including helix, mushroom and deadweight. The best are helix, as they screw into the seabed. You can improve the stability of your boat during poor weather with multiple anchors, if necessary. One method is to set two anchors, chained together, in a line to anticipate the direction of the wind. Another approach is to place three anchors in a formation of 120°, all of which lead to a single swivel and line at the boat’s bow. Both techniques give the boat little room to swing.
2. Reduce Windage
You want your boat to sway around as little as possible. To accomplish this, take down all canvas, including dodgers and biminis. Remove mainsail covers, mainsails and furling genoas. Attach halyards to a small line and run them to the top of the mast. Even a storm that doesn’t damage your boat has the wind power to destroy canvas, especially if debris is kicked into the air.
3. Grab Your Gear
If your ship starts sinking, you need to act fast. Gather as many supplies as you can. If you’ve prepared your go bag, grab that and the fresh jugs of water. You should also try to take additional items like a mirror, sunscreen and batteries. Head to the raft and get it into the water. Be aware that even expensive life rafts aren’t always leakproof. However, modern vessels come equipped with pumps and a repair kit in case of emergency.
4. Try to Drift
Most life rafts have sea anchors to help keep the small vessel stabilized. However, your goal is to find land, so you want to reduce drag and drift. Pull the anchor up during calm weather to move as quickly as possible. When the wind picks up, you can drop it back down. At a rate of 2 knots — 2.3 miles per hour — you can travel 50 miles per day.
5. Assess Your Ailments
If you make it to land, it’s time to make an assessment. What supplies were you able to grab and bring along? How long will your food and water supply last? Did you suffer from any injuries during the evacuation? Heatstroke is one major cause for concern, with symptoms like a rapid heartbeat, shallow breathing, headache, nausea and a confused mental state. Try to find shade during the day, even if it’s your raft’s cover.
6. Look for Shelter
If you reach land, one of the first things you should do is find or build a shelter. Almost all vegetation, including sticks, vines and palm fronds, can be used. If your life raft survived the trip, prop it up against a tree or branch to fashion a lean-to. Cover the ground with palm fronds to keep yourself insulated and dry. You can also search for a natural shelter, like a cave formation or rock overhang.
7. Fish for Food
Near the ocean, fish are a plentiful resource, one that can keep you fed. There are several ways you can catch fish without equipment. Try to fashion a random item into a hook, such as a paperclip, soda tab or sharp twig. Then, attach the hook to a makeshift line, something like a vine, shoelace or thread from your clothing. You will need to add bait to the hook as well. Look for colorful plastic, leaves, dead insects or shiny jewelry. Now, all you need is a bite.
8. Look for Insects
If you’re not having luck with the fishes, you can always head inland to try your hand at foraging. The wild is full of edible treats that can keep you alive. Most insects — which have a crunchy exoskeleton, six legs and a pair of antennas — are safe to eat. Crickets, ants and termites are all up for grabs. However, you should spiders, centipedes and bees.
9. Drink Lots of Water
You can only survive a few days without water. While many believe it’s possible to drink urine in the event of an emergency, it’s a myth. In fact, urine will exacerbate dehydration. You should also never drink seawater. Try to use objects on hand — like a backpack or piece of clothing — to collect rainwater. If you have the right materials, like a container, straw and plastic, you can build a solar still. Condensation will build on the plastic, which is safe to drink.
10. Use Your Smartphone
Keep your eyes and ears peeled for signs of airplanes and ships that can rescue you. If you have a smartphone, use the screen to reflect the light from the sun. You can also use a mirror. The signal, which can reach up to 10 miles, may alert someone nearby to your presence.
11. Stay Relaxed
It can be easy to panic when lost at sea. However, it’s crucial to stay calm — that’s how you stay alive. Being lost isn’t something you can control. Instead, you have to remain rational, assess the situation and make calculated decisions. You can’t predict how long you will be lost and what might happen during that time. Take advantage of every moment of daylight.
Surviving at Sea: What to Do When Lost
If you should ever get lost at sea, try not to panic. In the 21st century, it’s hard to stay lost for long, though it does happen.
Just recently, a crew of eight fishermen was found who had been lost for 10 days. The 60-foot vessel, which originated from Indonesia, was located by the U.S. Coast Guard 170 miles off the coast of Palau. During this time, the boat’s crew had no electricity, food or water.
If the worst should happen, be prepared. Ensure your boat is in tip-top shape and pack the essential supplies. In the event of an evacuation, let your life raft drift and search for land. When you set foot on land, the first three steps are to find shelter, food and water. You need all of these things to survive.
Don’t forget to stay on the lookout for possible rescuers. When you get home, you’ll have quite a story to tell.
The prepper lifestyle is all about being ready for any situation. It can be hard to choose a wardrobe that meets all your needs. You want to have something to wear when it’s cold, when it’s hot and when it’s raining. At the same time, you want to minimize your wardrobe as much as possible to avoid reliance on material goods.
If you’re ready to invest in your survival, consider these eight must-have clothing items below. With this attire in your arsenal, you’ll be prepared for anything that comes your way.
Good socks are a must for the serious survival prepper. When the body gets extremely cold, it reacts in two ways. The first is shivering. The second is the constriction of blood vessels in arms and legs, reducing blood flow to fingers and toes. Socks are a necessary line of defense against frostbite and cold temperatures.
There are tons of sock types to choose from, including:
Each type has different benefits. Crew socks, for example, pair perfectly with hiking boots. Not only do they prevent cuts from plants and twigs, but they also limit chafing from the shoe’s leather. No-show and low-cut socks, which hit below the ankle bone, are ideal for sneakers and loafers. These socks are often a lightweight material, meant to breathe and prevent sweating.
Invest in long options like knee and mid-thigh socks, which can protect your legs from bug bites and greenery. In colder temperatures, long socks can also fit under pant legs for an added layer of insulation.
Beyond the style of the sock, you should also consider material. Dense fabric like wool is meant to trap in heat, keeping your toes toasty on a cold winter morning. Cotton and polyester have a reputation for their breathable material, great for warm weather. You should also consider water-resistant materials like acrylic, olefin and polypropylene, ideal for a rainy day.
[Editor’s note: They actually make waterproof socks that may be of interest to you for bug out and wilderness survival.]
When it comes to practical survival footwear, boots are a must-have. There are a variety of gender-neutral styles to choose from.
The Chelsea boot, a classic ankle-length style, comes in several colors and materials. These boots are more relaxed than a hiking boot, better for a trip into town rather than a romp through the woods. If you do plan to spend a lot of time outdoors, hiking boots are eminently practical — they can also double as snow boots. Look for a pair that are durable, waterproof and comfortable. Avoid chunky, impractical options that will make it hard to maneuver around brush.
In areas where precipitation is likely, rain boots can be convenient. Look for ankle or knee-length shoes made from a water-resistant material, like rubber. Transparent PVC boots are highly water-resistant and ideal for adverse weather. If your shoes are not rainproof, look for water-resistant covers you can slip on top.
There are five common types of boot materials:
If your goal is lightweight breathability, look for boots made of nylon. Rubber and leather are more durable and can provide foot support when traversing rocky terrain. Duralon, on the other hand, is PVC, meaning it is exceptionally sturdy and maintains its shape for years.
You’ll want to look for shirts that offer both comfort and protection. A long-sleeved shirt is a prepper requirement, as long as it still provides a full range of motion. Sleeves protect you from the elements, including harmful UV (ultraviolet) rays. You can’t see UV rays, but they can cause damage to skin cells and play a significant role in skin cancer. Even a sunburn, which is annoying at best, is possible to avoid with the proper attire.
If the temperatures get hot, you’ll also want a short-sleeved shirt. Look for clothing made with wicking, which dries quickly and keeps moisture off the skin. Wicking will keep you cool during a long hike or jog around the neighborhood. Some cotton blends also repel insects and prevent odor buildup.
Some of the most common types of shirt fabrics include:
Cotton, linen and rayon are lightweight and breathable, making them cool to wear. Look for combed cotton, where clothes manufacturers use fine brushes to eliminate short strands and make a sturdier fabric. Rayon is a humanmade fabric that, while breathable, wrinkles easily. Polyester, on the other hand, maintains its shape and is resistant to shrinking and wrinkles. However, it traps heat and is not suitable for hot weather.
No one wants to talk about the specifics of underwear, but it’s something we all need. There are a variety of underwear types, but not all are suitable for the survival prepper lifestyle. The goal is to find something practical and easy to clean.
Women will want to avoid lace and other itchy materials that can cause skin irritations and chafing. Simple is best, without design attachments like bows and ruffles. Some women prefer boy-short-style underwear, though others say they ride up during physical activity and can cause irritation and discomfort.
Men, on the other hand, can choose between briefs, boxers and boxer-briefs. Each style has its pros and cons. Boxers and boxer-briefs are ideal for a survivalist lifestyle because they can double as pajama shorts or a swimsuit in a pinch.
Underwear comes in a variety of fabrics, including:
The material you choose will depend on what is most comfortable.
You should also add a pair of long underwear to your collection. This gender-neutral undergarment is like a long pair of cotton or knit pants, though it stays under your clothing. Many use the garment as an alternative to pajamas in winter, as long underwear is ideal for keeping warm in chilly temperatures.
[Editor’s note: Long underwear is a great to have for cold winter excursions. I highly recommend you have a good pair.]
Everybody needs a pair of pants. The fabric protects your legs from rain, snow and wind. It also helps keep you warm. Denim is a versatile fabric, and you can wear jeans for almost any occasion. Whether you’re heading to the farmers’ market to pick up fresh fruit or venturing into the woods for a walk, jeans will provide all the comfort and protection you need.
For warm weather, you’ll want to look for lightweight pants that don’t trap heat. Consider breathable fabrics like cotton and linen. For colder months, consider dense materials meant to retain body heat, like wool. Look for a comfortable pants design that’s snug around the waist without being restricting. You’ll want to be comfortable when outdoors hunting, fishing or hiking.
Whether you want to stay warm or prep a meal, you’ll be spending a lot of time making fires. It’s essential to invest in a high-quality pair of flame-resistant pants. These pants are specifically designed to protect from intermittent flames and thermal exposure. If they catch fire, they naturally extinguish themselves, reducing the risk of a burn injury.
Cargo pants are a great middle-ground solution for preppers. They consist of durable material and offer plenty of pocket space, ideal for holding a Swiss army knife, keys, a granola bar and more. Some can even zip off at the knees, offering a two-in-one shorts combo.
[Editor’s note: I don’t think could survival daily life WITHOUT cargo pants, lol.]
6. A Jacket
You should have at least one jacket in your wardrobe arsenal. If you live in a cold climate, look for a durable leather jacket lined with fleece, or other materials equipped with hypothermia protection. Choose a relaxed fit that is comfortable and not restricting. Look for a zip-up design, as opposed to button snaps, which can withstand weather like intense winds and snow.
A trenchcoat can be an excellent way to keep warm during the fall months when the wind is blowing, yet there’s no chill in the air yet. Choose a length that’s best suited for your needs, whether it’s a sleek design ideal for treks in the woods or an ankle-length style to bundle up against the wind.
In warmer weather, look for a lightweight performance jacket made with a moisture-wicking material. These jackets are typically a combination of polyester and mesh, designed to allow airflow and keep you cool. Plus, if it rains, the material dries within a couple of hours.
You can find a jacket in almost any material, though your choice will depend entirely on your needs. If you want a versatile option for a range of temperatures, leather and denim work best. If your goal is to stay warm, look for a quilted option with built-in insulation, like down or wool.
Gloves come in all shapes, sizes, colors and designs. Cotton gloves are great for yard work, concrete applications, painting and more. You can protect your hands from blisters and chemicals while still allowing your skin to breathe. Some cotton gloves also implement rubber grips, giving you more traction and durability.
Leather gloves are more durable than cotton and often work in conjunction with an insulated liner. These types of gloves offer protection against cuts and punctures, great for heavy-duty tasks like yard work, landscaping, construction and woodworking. Leather-palmed gloves, on the other hand, are more flexible than traditional gloves, able to protect against abrasions without restricting movements.
Gloves are a practical way to keep your hands safe. However, you can also use them to stay warm and protect extremities from the elements. A good pair of thermal gloves, made with multiple layers of material, can keep your hands warm and dry in below-zero temperatures. Look for a pair with an outer layer of waterproof fleece, designed to wick away moisture and offer thermal retention. Other materials, like suede and leather, keep your hands warm in cold weather while providing a solid grip.
If you favor practicality over design, look for multi-use gloves with removable fingers. With this type of design, your hands can stay warm while your fingers are busy getting stuff done. Always try on a pair of gloves before you purchase them. The right size will offer just enough room without feeling tight or snug.
8. A Hat
A hat is a must to keep your head protected from the sun’s harmful rays, which can burn skin even on cloudy days. A baseball cap, an American classic, is casual and easy to wear. Look for a hat with an adjustable width so the whole family can use it. Most ball caps have a short- to medium-sized bill that is either curved or straight. When you’re outside, this bill is perfect for shielding the sun from your eyes.
A trucker cap is very similar to a baseball cap. The difference, however, is that only the front is a solid panel. The rest of the hat is a breathable mesh fabric that’s ideal for hot temperatures.
These style hats are typically snapback, meaning they come with two plastic pieces that snap together. This snap allows you to adjust the size of the cap. Others are fitted, designed to fit an exact size. If you live in a wet climate, search for a hat equipped with insect-repelling technology to prevent bug bites.
For the colder months, you may want to invest in a beanie or stocking cap-style hat. This style is close-fitting, meant to pull down over the head and fit snugly against the ears. The fabric, typically wool or cotton, can trap heat and keep your head warm. A stocking cap is similar to a beanie. The only difference is that a stocking cap has a longer crown, meant to hang off to the side.
Do you really want to live the prepper lifestyle?
If so, you need the right wardrobe. Get rid of the suit jackets, flip-flops and high heels. Instead, invest in versatile clothing that can keep you protected from nature’s harshest elements. You’ll want to add several pieces of clothing — from waterproof boots to flame-resistant pants. And don’t forget to ensure your significant other (and children) are prepared too! This will take time and some money to acquire, but the effort will be worth it when hard times come.
None of us truly know how a SHTF scenario will play out. No one really knows what we will need and what will be worthless. One thing is fairly sure, no matter the scenario, a good rifle will likely be a key component and that rifle will need to be accurate and efficient to conserve ammo. That means an optic is a good choice but which one?
Optics can be broken down into a few categories based on function and broken out further based on intended use and strengths. All optics have a place in the modern arsenal but not all will have the traits needed to make it an appropriate choice for SHTF. That said, this article comes from a one-rifle perspective to determine the single best optic. If you have multiple rifles with decent ammo stockpiles, you may choose several types of optics to meet different needs.
So, if we pick a single optic, what traits does it need? On what criteria do we choose what is the best overall? There are many considerations but a few are paramount when it comes to a true SHTF scenario.
The first and overarching need that any SHTF gear will need is versatility. We don’t know the situation and what we will have available to us when things turn south. We may need to pack up and bug out. We may not be able to take our stockpiles. This should be a part of our weeding out process with all gear and optics are no exception.
This single rifle may need to serve as a hunting tool as well as a weapon for personal defense. Many times, optics can be specifically intended for one of these uses. Though it may be adapted to other uses, it can be hard to break out of specialization. This is especially true of scopes made for hunting which can be overspecialized for our SHTF needs.
The primary culprit of overspecialization is magnification. High magnification scopes are great for long-range shots but have little to no versatility.
All our SHTF gear may have to perform long term without the possibility of replacement. Repair can be problematic and may require specialized machinery that may not be available to us. All gear, rifle and optics included, needs to be selected based on how long it can withstand hard use in harsh conditions. For optics, this can be a challenge.
The key to durability is to pick products made by solid manufacturers with impeccable standards. They should have a reputation for toughness and durability. Any company that manufactures military-level equipment is a good bet but not the only bet. There is the old adage “buy once, cry once” but in SHTF that one chance to get the right product may be all you get. Make sure you make a good choice.
Considerations for durability are the overall construction and the finer points. At a minimum you want a metallic body that is sealed against moisture and dust. The overall form should be one that lends its self to abuse without breaking. And for your sake, make sure it can handle the stresses of the repeated firing of your chosen caliber.
I am choosing this term to represent use and wear on an optic where durability was prevention of damage. The longevity is simply how long it can stand up to use and what other needs it has such as batteries that keep it functioning. It is simply the truth that technology is ingrained in our lives to a level that even our weapons may need to depend on it. SHTF may last a few weeks or years. There is a place in our considerations for the higher-tech options.
Battery life is our number one contender for longevity. We need to make sure we have plenty of spares but technology that uses less power overall and has the greatest battery life are optimal if we have to have batteries. Don’t rule these options out for this reason alone. We will get to that later.
Other issues of longevity are the brass gears in most quality optics. Plastic isn’t going to cut it long term and even brass will wear. Over time this can damage your optic making options that require little adjustment a better bet. This is a minor point but one that should be in your mind when you make a purchase.
With our criteria out of the way, optics can be mainly broken down into red-dot style sights and traditional optics. They can be further broken down from these main categories into more specialized products. Each subsection has their own strengths and weaknesses.
Red Dot Sights
Red dot sights is a generic term often used to describe reflex sights, holo-sights, and prism scopes. Though all function in a similar faction, the way they function and the traits of each can vary significantly. Though most of these use electronics and require batteries, their effectiveness and versatility warrant consideration.
The reflex sight is the most common model of red dot and the one that most of us think when the term red dot is used. These come in two varieties but each functions the same. The difference is in construction and it can be a big difference. Some use a tube style body much like a shorter, standard scope where others are a simple frame style like those often used on pistols.
The benefits of a reflex sight vary between the two and for our purposes, the frame style design is not suitable due to its fragile nature. The tube style sights benefit from better durability, a more simplified function, robust electronics, and exceptional battery life. The latter of these is the primary concern of most people but optics like the Aimpoint have battery life measured in years while others use tritium for lighting that will last for a decade or longer.
The main downfall of these scopes is the lack of magnification in most cases. Some may have a very small amount but not enough for any longer shots. You don’t want much magnification or you lose versatility but the option of a 3x or 4x can be very helpful.
Holographic sights like my beloved EOTech are great choices in general but perhaps not optimal for SHTF. The battery life is lower and the technology more complex. Though I have had the same EOTech for almost 20 years without a hitch, it has been treated well. I would worry if it were to be in a situation where it was banged around much or left in the elements for too long.
Holo-sights are very fast and the battery life isn’t terrible unless compared to a reflex sight. They are a midrange of durability. One of the better traits is the reticle which can be more complex than a standard reflex sight. These are strengths but not ones that would elevate these scopes to the status of ‘best’.
Their downfall is their shape which is more prone to breakage. Couple this with a more complicated set of electronics and you could have some issues. They also lack magnification which is a minor downfall.
Prism sights are not a common option either but they are available and have many of the strengths of both the above sights but are often far more expensive. Like a reflex sight, they can have very long battery life or use tritium to remove the need for batteries at all. They can have more complex reticles than a standard reflex sight. And they are inherently durable in the better-made models.
Unlike the above sights, they also have the option of magnification. Essentially, they remove all of the above negatives but have a couple of their own. The primary negative is the slowness of use of a prism sight. They have eye-relief like a standard scope though it is often longer by a small margin. Some even see the magnification as a negative as they are often not adjustable to no magnification which hinders close-quarters effectiveness.
The overarching negative for these sights is the use of batteries. The need for power is a big consideration. This means you will need to stockpile replacements and carry them with you. Many advances in technology have extended battery life but, with a few exceptions, batteries are needed or the scope does not work.
Though all traditional scopes function by the same principles, they can be broken down by variable power and fixed power models. Each has their strengths. But before we do that, there are some considerations that are universal to both types to meet our criteria above.
The first of these is that power should be limited. Shooting through a 20x scope is a blast but when it comes to versatility a scope that power has almost none. Anything less than 100 yards, which is likely to be your most common need, will be impossible or very difficult at best. Those scopes make locating targets and following them as they move at moderate ranges very, very iffy.
The second is durability overall. A scope that is shockproof, waterproof, and at least fog-resistant is best. It should be made of a 1-piece tube that is sealed to prevent dust and moisture intrusion. The reticle needs to be etched on the glass its self. The internals should use brass or bronze mechanisms for wear resistance. This usually equates to an expensive scope to get one with all of these features. And even with that, alignment is vital in these optics so even a small shift can ruin them.
With those two main points covered, let’s take a closer look at the benefits of a fixed power optic. These have become a rare option but one that can still be found.
The main benefit of a fixed power optic is the simplified function. The alignment of the lenses is set in a more durable way than a variable power optic. It’s simply a more durable setup and the lack of a magnification adjustment means that the focus is more simplified and there are fewer parts that can break.
The downside is that with a set magnification, you lose some versatility. You either pick a low or moderate magnification and that is all you get. In this case less is likely better. Something in the 4x or less range allows you to use the scope close in but extends range an acceptable level. It may not be optimal for some situations but it will give you some benefit for a variety of situations.
For variable power scopes, you have the exact opposite. They are more complex, more prone to alignment issues, and have more parts to wear out. Conversely, they are far more versatile. You can get an optic that has a 1x magnification at the bottom end and goes up to 7x at the top. This would greatly extend range while preserving the majority of close combat needs. If you can get past the durability issue, this could be a good option.
The ‘Best’ Option
While I know my region, weapon system, and expectations, I do not know yours. The information above is presented to show the strengths and weaknesses of various options to help you assess your personal needs and make a decision. Deciding for you is not something that can be easily done and depends greatly on your skills, location, and a variety of other factors. But I am not going to cop out on this!
For my purposes, the reflex sight is the best option. It has the versatility to hunt and defend myself in my location. Magnification is not that important to me as the woodlands where I live doesn’t permit many shots greater than 100 yards and often far less. The batteries are lightweight and easy to stockpile and with my chosen optic, they last for years. For about $50.00, I can purchase enough batteries to last for 20 years. That is far longer than most ammo stockpiles are likely to last.
But one this is certain, with my option and any other above you want a good set of backup iron sights. Things go wrong and even the most durable optics break. Two is one and one is none. My number two option is always a set of good quality metal iron sights. For those interested, my number one is the Aimpoint PRO.
About Eric Patton
Eric has been an avid hunter and outdoorsman since his childhood in Appalachia. Having spent the majority of his time in various outdoor activities in many regions of the U.S. he has gained an appreciation and insight for the challenges of hunting different environments and game animals. He is an avid archer, fisherman, hunter, and gun enthusiast. Currently he devotes most of his time to education for young hunters and teaching outdoor skills for local scout troops and Search and Rescue orginizations. You can find more article from Eric on https://www.outdoorsbest.com/
I came across this in my news feed yesterday and it caught my attention and, so, I thought I would share an excerpt of the article here with a link to the full article below:
“Filtering the salt from seawater can take a lot of energy or specialised engineering. A thin membrane made of porous wood may be able to fix that.
In membrane distillation, salty water is pumped through a film, usually made of some sort of polymer with very narrow pores that filter out the salt and allow only water molecules through. Jason Ren at Princeton University in New Jersey and his colleagues developed a new kind of membrane made of natural wood instead of plastic…”
Interesting take on why the items you already have in your bug out bag may not be the only ones you want to have ready to go. That is, it’s the many other important items you may not want to leave behind, particularly stuff for your pets, gold and silver or cash, passports, heirlooms, one of a kind photos… and the list goes on, that you may want to include as well.
To me, it sounds like he’s talking less about a bug out on foot and more about a bug out by vehicle where you might have the time-even 15 minutes or less–to gather these types of items. And, while he does discuss ways to make gathering of these special items happen faster, I would encourage you to make a list of additional important items and then rank them in order of importance, like I discuss in my 27-day course, so that you don’t waste time trying to remember what you wanted to take and where it is.
What you’ll do with these items and how you’ll gather them (or if you’ll even bother) is a good topic to consider if you haven’t done so yet, especially if you have a lot of extra stuff that you may want to take with you. But I will warn you: it can become too much very quickly! I’d say that, in a way, “less is more” during a bug out. Here’s his take on the subject…
If you’ve ever been fishing, you probably know why it’s called “fishing” and not “catching.” The challenge for luring and catching good fish is what makes it a sport, but when your well-being depends on catching fish for food, things become a little more intense.
Fish is a great source of nutritious protein and essential amino acids. If you’re in a wilderness survival situation, it can be an essential part of your diet. But you’ve got to understand how to go about finding, catching, cleaning and preparing fish with minimal tools to be realistic about incorporating wild fish into your meal plan. Let’s unpack the biggest challenges in catching and eating fish in the wilderness.
Where to Find Fish
Before you can enjoy a delicious meal of home-cooked fish, you need to locate some fish to catch. The last thing you want is a wasted day tossing your line out to an area where there aren’t any fish. Where you fish will determine the type of fish you catch as well, so if you’re aiming for a specific species like trout, which prefer fast-moving clear water to the more covered habitat of bass, plan accordingly.
It’s a good idea to read up on the more popular types of fish to catch before heading into the backcountry so that you can consider what you’d like to catch if you’re planning to fish for food. See if you can learn what they like to eat, when they’re most active during the day, what water temperature they prefer and what type of cover they seek out.
When you’re traveling through the wilderness, it’s a fair assumption many of the major lakes, streams and rivers you’ll encounter do hold fish. You just have to find out which parts have the most. To maximize your chances, seek out clear, fast-moving water or cold high-altitude lakes. The lower water temperature helps these locations hold more oxygen, which is attractive to fish. Of course, you might not have the luxury of selecting from multiple locations, and that’s OK.
Basic Fishing Equipment
If you’ve got the opportunity to plan your backcountry fishing expedition, you’re going to want to bring some essentials with you. The first things you’ll need are a fishing rod and reel. A bait rod or spinning rod is the most versatile type of fishing rod, and preferable for most outdoorsmen because of its ease of use. If you’re handy with a fly rod, you can make use of this more advanced technique fishing in those faster-moving backcountry streams we mentioned earlier.
In addition to your rod and reel, you’ll need some basic fishing tackle. Typically, that consists of fishing line rated for the size of fish you plan to catch, weights to help keep your line down, swivels, hooks and lures. Bait is the final, and arguably the most crucial, component. Worms are some of the easiest live bait to transport, while you might need to catch other options such as baitfish in the field. You can also try out soft bait like salmon eggs or Powerbait, which lasts longer than the live worms.
Waterproof wading equipment is a wonderful addition to your kit if you can afford it and know you’ll use it. It will help you access difficult areas where fish like to hide. However, it might be unrealistic to pack this on a backpacking expedition. If you have access to a boat, kayak or canoe, you’ve hit the jackpot. Using a boat will greatly increase your ability to catch fish, but you’ve got to know how to use it right.
Putting a Line in the Water
With all your gear assembled, it’s time to get down to the business of fishing. Select an appropriate location and rig your fishing rod with the bait and tackle you’ve brought.
If you’re in a real survival situation, there are several options to make yourself a simple set of fishing equipment, including hand-lining, fishing with a spear and building a fish trap. Depending on the location, you may also be able to legally fish using a net. However, if you’re unsure of the area’s fishing laws, we recommend making this a last resort. Fines for illegal net fishing can be pricey.
To fish off the banks of a lake or stream, choose the appropriate time of day, and select a spot where you can cast out past visible cover where fish might dwell. It’s best to look for a place where the water is fairly deep right off the bank, which affords fish the colder water they prefer. Using your spinning rod, cast out in front of the target location.
The next stage of the process is what separates master anglers from novice fishermen. There are a variety of techniques to “work” your bait and entice fish to bite. One is to do absolutely nothing, and that often can be the best approach. Fishing requires patience. The type of behavior you want to display with your bait will again depend on what kind of fish you want to catch and the bait itself.
You might find fishing with a worm to be less of a challenge than using a spinning lure. The worm is alive and will wiggle enticingly — or, to a fish, lunch when you put it in the water. That means less work for you. It’s also worth noting you will sometimes be able to gather live bait on location. Insects and baitfish that inhabit the area are typically good eating for the predatory fish there, and you won’t have to worry about carrying bait in that way.
A spinning lure designed to resemble a flitting minnow works based on the resistance created when you pull it through the water. As you reel it in, the lure will rotate and catch the light. The idea is that this will get the attention of a hungry fish and entice them to strike. However, critics of lures will note a piece of metal and plastic doesn’t offer the smell live bait or soft bait does. That makes lures more popular for species of fish that are optical hunters. Lures are also effective in fast-running water, which will keep the lure active without you having to continually reel it in and recast.
Fishing From a Boat
Access to a boat can be a tremendous help when looking to find fish because it allows you to reach areas you couldn’t get to from the shore. Not only can you get into open water on a lake, but you can also travel to distant fishing holes much more directly. A secluded corner that’s heavily wooded and inaccessible from shore, for example, makes a perfect hiding spot for fish.
You may have experienced fishing out of a powerboat in the past. Having an engine, fishfinder, trolling equipment and other amenities can be convenient. However, powerboats can be loud and frighten fish away, and you’re unlikely to have easy access to one in the backcountry unless you’re quite well-connected. A more realistic scenario might be to fish using a kayak or canoe.
A kayak makes an excellent fishing vessel because of its small size and stealth. You can maneuver quietly into the backwoods areas fish like to hide in and wait without making a sound. Make sure you have a good understanding of how to pilot the kayak safely before you go out. Reeling a fish in can be quite the workout when you’re not on solid ground, and it would be terrible to get soaked and lose your dinner in the process.
Landing Your Catch
Since this article is about finding fish for food, there’s no catch-and-release happening here. Know how to recognize a bite and set your hook when a fish is interested in your bait. Bites can be faint through the interface of a rod and line, but will feel like a slight tug. When the moment comes, give your rod a firm pull up to set the hook in the fish’s mouth before it swims away with your bait.
Once you get a fish on, check the drag setting on your reel to ensure it can’t strip the line too quickly. Many fish fight, which might encourage you to muscle them in by reeling back as much line as you can, quickly. This approach can backfire by removing the hook and costing you your catch, so use some finesse. Allow the fish to run a little, then collect your line slowly at first. As the fish tires, you can collect more line until you see it by the side of your boat or fishing spot.
A net is convenient for collecting your catch, but not ultimately necessary. You can keep reeling in until the fish comes up out of the water. In most situations, you’ll need to kill the catch immediately if you plan to eat it. You can accomplish this by way of a blow to the head using a heavy object like a rock or club. Now, it’s time to prepare your catch so you can cook it later.
Cleaning Your Catch
You’ll need to clean your catch as soon as possible to be ready to cook and to keep animals away. Use a bucket or clean rock if you have none, and scrape the scales off the fish’s sides. Next, use a sharp fillet knife to make a shallow incision in the fish’s belly from mouth to anus. Avoid going too deep because it can pierce the intestine, which will taint your meat and require significant cleanup.
Use your fingers or a spoon to pull out the fish’s entrails. Everything needs to come out, so be sure you inspect the incision once you think you’re finished. The kidney and organs located particularly close to the sides of the belly can be persistent, but should come out with a little tug. If the fish has an inner membrane, scrape that out.
If you don’t wish to prepare your fish with its head on, remove it by making a cut right behind the gills. However, many people consider the eyes and “cheek” meat to be the tastiest part of the fish. You can also remove any fins with snips if you have them, and then rinse the inside of the fish again before you’re done.
You can saute or grill most fish in foil without a whole lot of work. You’ll want to have a basic selection of spices, but it’s reasonable to think you can make something quite tasty in the backcountry if you catch a good fish.
The process begins with breaking down the carcass, which means fileting or cutting steaks. Fileting is cutting along the fish’s side using the backbone as a guide, while you’ll cut steaks perpendicular to the backbone. Typically, you will only be able to cut larger fish into steaks, so backcountry meals will likely be filets. Once separated from the backbone, lift the rib cage out of the meat to minimize the number of bones in your meal. Bones can hurt you if you don’t realize they’re in place.
You can cook trout, salmon and bass in a saute pan with salt, pepper, butter, lemon and dill to make a tasty and simple backcountry dinner. To make this same dish using a grill, create a foil pack with the filet of fish and fill it with your butter and other seasonings. Place the foil directly on the grill or on a cooking sheet in an oven to bake. Smoking is another excellent way to prepare these fish — one we encourage if you have the time and equipment because it adds tremendous flavor.
Bon appetit! You’ve found, caught, prepped and cooked your first meal of fish in the backcountry. We think you’ll agree it’s a whole lot more fun and tasty than edible plants, so keep practicing, and maybe you’ll have a good fish story for the comments section someday.
Hurricanes are violent. They can bring a handful of serious and dangerous hazards- from storm surge, high winds, heavy rains, and even tornadoes. If you and your family aren’t prepared, you’re risking your safety.
As a guide, here are the following steps you can take to ensure your family’s safety.
Before A Hurricane
Learn your hurricane facts
Knowing your hurricane facts is important in understanding hurricane forecasts and knowing exactly what the news reporters are telling you.
You can start with the following important terms:
Eye- This refers to the clear and well-defined center of the storm. It usually has calmer conditions.
Rain bands- These bands create severe weather conditions, like tornadoes, wind, and heavy rain.
Hurricane watch- These watches are typically issued about 48 hours in advance of the expected onset of the tropical storm.
Hurricane warning- These warnings are usually issued 36 hours in advance.
Create a plan
One of the most important things you need to prepare prior to a hurricane is a plan.
To start, you and your family need to know where to go. If you aren’t sure where your local hurricane evacuation areas are, you can contact your local emergency management agency.
If family members get separated during a hurricane, they need to know where to go. You can assign out-of-state relatives or friends to act as your family’s point of contact. Let everyone know that person’s name, address, and contact number.
In case you have pets at home, be sure that each of them has identification tags. Ask your veterinarian about any other emergency preparation instructions.
For kids, you may want to practice evacuation drills with them. This will help them remember what they should do in case of a disaster.
Complete Your Emergency Supplies
Another thing you shouldn’t miss is your inventory of emergency supplies. Your family should have:
A manual can opener
3-day supply of non-perishable foods (minimum)
A gallon of water per person per day (minimum of 3 days)
Flashlights with extra batteries
A sleeping bag per person
Personal hygiene products
A solar charger for mobile phones
A complete change of clothing per family member
A full tank of gas in your car
Don’t forget to include some bandages and antiseptic products in your emergency supplies. You may also want to add some pain relievers, eyewash, and ammonia inhalants as these are some of the most frequently overlooked first aid kit items
Secure your home
In case you live in an area that’s prone to hurricanes, it’s a good idea to secure your home even before the actual season for tropical storms hit.
Begin by checking the gutters if they are free from debris and clogs. They should also be stable and secure. Next, clear nearby trees and remove any dead or dying limbs.
It can also help if you build a safe room inside your home. There should also be a functioning generator. Every three months, make sure to start it. This is one way to guarantee that it’s working properly.
In case you have a shed, lock its doors tightly. With a hurricane, it will be easy for them to be blown off the hinges and become dangerous projectiles. Remember to bring in any outdoor house ornaments, like wind chimes and wreaths.
Keep your potted plants inside your garage and remember to keep your cars inside it, too. Don’t leave any vehicle under trees.
Keep important documents safe
Your passports, insurance information, deeds, and other important documents should be stored in a stormproof container to keep them safe in case flooding happens. For added security, you may want to keep digital copies. Store them on a portable device which you can take with you everywhere.
During a Hurricane
Remain inside your home during a hurricane
If you live in an area where the storm is expected to create the greatest impact, remember to keep everyone inside at all times. Stay away from windows, glass doors, and skylights.
Stay away from your basement. Although it sounds like an ideal place to hide during a storm, it’s not your safest option, particularly if your area is prone to flooding. You can easily get trapped there.
Your power and water mains should be turned off if instructed by your local authorities. This is one way to avoid a power surge after electricity has been restored. While the power is out, avoid using candles for visibility.
In case you’re outdoors when the storm hits, get out of your car right away. Move to higher ground to avoid getting undertaken and trapped by the water. As much as possible, stay away from low spots, canyons, underpasses, and dips as these areas are prone to flooding.
Don’t use a generator
Well, you can actually use one as long as you have a battery-operated carbon monoxide detector and smoke detector.
Carbon monoxide is tasteless, colorless, and odorless. It’s easy for people to get poisoned with this gas, particularly if they aren’t aware of the risk.
Know when to evacuate
While it might feel safer to just stay at home, follow your local authorities when they tell you to evacuate for your safety. Below are some of the conditions that may require you to leave your home and stay in an evacuation area:
If you are in a high rise building
If you are in a mobile home
If you live near a river, on the coast or on a floodplain
Even though you don’t find yourself in any of those situations, follow your gut. If you sense that you’re in danger, get out of your house and go somewhere safer.
Shelters, however, aren’t always comfortable. With that in mind, try to stay with relatives or friends if possible.
If not, you can take some snacks and food with you. Most of the time, meals aren’t available in shelters for the first 24 hours.
To ensure your comfort, bring your own blankets, pillows, and sleeping bags. The supplies in shelters aren’t always enough.
If you have a baby, don’t forget to take his supplies, too. If you have special needs, bring a caregiver with you if possible. This is because shelters don’t provide hands-on care but they can do medical monitoring.
Take your identification and other valuable papers, too. If you are currently taking medications, bring them in their original containers.
To pass the hours, you can bring some books, cards or games to the shelter. Remember to take flashlights and battery-operated radios, too.
For pets, only service animals are allowed to stay in public shelters. You may need to make other arrangements for them.
Monitor the weather condition
With a battery-powered NOAA weather radio, keep yourself updated with the latest report on the storm path. Don’t leave your house or evacuation area until you’re sure that it’s safe to do so.
Turn off electricity
For your safety, it’s best if you don’t wait for your home to lose power. Turning off electricity at your main breaker will reduce damage. As much as possible, don’t use any electrical appliances during a hurricane.
Use your phone for emergencies only
Since electricity is cut, you need to conserve your phone’s battery. Make sure to use it only for communication.
Keep your pets safe
You should keep your pets in a designated area in your home. Place enough food and water in that area. If your pet has needs for special care, make sure to provide it. Animals, just like humans, can also feel scared
After A Hurricane
Use caution when entering buildings
Hurricanes can leave a lot of dangers behind. The list includes compromised electrical wiring, structural issues, and even carbon monoxide poisoning. With that, it’s best to avoid buildings with questionable safety.
If you really need to enter one, make sure that its electricity is turned off at the main breaker. Do it without immersing yourself in standing water.
Listen for any unusual noises as they can indicate weakening of the walls or floors. If you notice clear structural damages, get out of the building and stay away from it.
Be careful in inspecting your home
It’s normal to feel concerned about your home. After all, it’s one of your most expensive investments.
If you’ve evacuated your home and you need to inspect it after the hurricane, remember to exercise caution. If possible, try to visit your home during the day. This is to make sure that you’ll have light to check every area and room.
Remember, after a hurricane or any disaster, it may not always be possible to restore electricity right away.
If you happen to find your electricity on during your inspection, be extra careful. Being in standing water and powering up an appliance often ends up badly.
Don’t forget about contaminated water, too. If there’s flooding in your area, expect contaminants in the water. Stay away from floodwaters and remember to clean any open sores or cuts that have been exposed.
Clean up molds properly
With flooding and water, you can expect mold and it’s quite challenging to kill it off. While it’s tempting to just leave it alone, particularly during the first few days after the hurricane, it’s best to tackle the problem on the first day.
You see, mold can bring a lot of health problems to the family, like asthma attacks, skin irritations, and even infections. If you have any of these issues, don’t attempt to fight the mold by yourself. Consider hiring professionals or get someone else to do the job for you.
Check your insurance policy
If you have existing insurance, look at it closely to know who you can contact as well as the extent of your coverage.
As a rule of thumb, the first thing you need to do is document everything. Take pictures of all the things affected by the hurricane.
While you are repairing and cleaning your home, save your receipts as they may be eligible for reimbursement. Take note of all the expenses incurred.
Don’t start any major repairs until your home has been checked and evaluated. Your insurance company will need to conduct an inspection.
Don’t eat anything left in your refrigerator
Don’t eat anything from your refrigerator or drink tap water until you are sure that they are free from contamination. It’s also a good idea to clean your refrigerator first before placing new foods inside.
Check for reptiles and rodents
Be careful in entering every room in your home. Check for snakes and other animals that may have been driven by floodwaters to higher ground. If you happen to find one, don’t deal with it along, particularly if you aren’t trained to do so. Call your local authorities as they are much more skilled in catching wild animals.
Don’t forget to inspect your outdoor property
Just like the interior of your home, your yard may also experience damages. For security, check your fences to see if there are still intact. You may want to check their hinges and locks, too.
Check your roof and see if there are no dangling power lines there. Because of strong winds, it may also be possible for large tree branches to get stuck there.
If you have a pool, avoid swimming in the current water. Because there’s always the risk of contamination, drain the water first and clean the entire pool. You can only take a swim after it has been filled with fresh water.
Hurricanes can’t be prevented but there are ways to minimize the damages they can cause to your property. The key is early preparation and being aware of what. Learning the tips on how to be safe during a hurricane should start even before disaster strikes.
As much as possible, plan ahead of time and make sure that everyone in the family is involved. Orient your kids about what they need to, who they should contact, and where they can go in case the family gets separated from each other. Don’t forget about your pets, too.
The most important thing to prioritize is your safety. If your local authorities tell you to evacuate your home, then leave. Even if it feels like the hurricane has passed, don’t go outdoors. Wait for the official clearance before you step outside or return home.
I tend to agree with most everything on the list, especially batteries and toilet paper, as one can NEVER have enough of either, lol. I was glad to see he included items like tarps and cordage since these items can be more useful than most folks realize during a SHTF emergency.
I do, however, take issue with two items, in particular, that being candles (because they’re a significant fire danger) and I wouldn’t suggest bleach as the best long-term option for water treatment, though, there are plenty of other potential uses for bleach around the house.
Perhaps the only two items that I was surprised to see included were socks (it’s not something I tend to stockpile) and propane (mostly because propane can be used up fast when there are better options) but, honestly, it doesn’t much matter what finite items you choose to include so long as you (1) have a plan to utilize them and (2) have plenty!
If you’re like most of us, your garage is one of two things: It’s either a catch-all for the junk that won’t fit in your house anymore but that you can’t bear to get rid of, or it’s a place to store and work on your car or your hobbies. Either way, it has a very specific use that most people don’t vary from.
With it’s proximity to your house, however, your garage could be something even more useful, that being—a storage space for your survival supplies or even a place to retreat if there’s a natural disaster that damages your home. Here is a comprehensive plan to help you set up your garage to help you survive whatever the world throws at you…
The first thing you need to worry about is storage. You want to make the best possible use of the available space so you can store as many supplies as possible in it. If you’re prepping for survival, you never know how long you’re going to be on your own. If the world ends and the country’s infrastructure collapses, you’re going to have to handle food, water, medicine, electricity and other supplies without being able to turn on a light switch or drive to the grocery store.
Keeping everything organized doesn’t just give you more room to fill your garage with supplies. It also makes it easier to manage your inventory and to rotate things out as they near their expiration dates.
First, decide if you’re going to be parking your car in the garage in the event of an emergency. Doing so will help to protect it but also reduces the amount of available storage space you have. You may need your car for survival, so leaving it in the garage is your best option here. Keep it safe out of the weather, especially the extreme kind that could put you in a survival situation in the first place.
[Editor’s note: keeping a car in the garage could also backfire if, say, your garage collapses. Perhaps it’s best to keep one in the garage and one in the driveway if possible.]
From there, start working on shelving. Solid metal or wooden shelves are ideal, especially if they’re adjustable, as this allows you to adjust them as needed to accommodate new supplies or equipment. Slide-out storage can help you take advantage of small spaces, such as the space between the wall and a fridge or freezer. Fill up the rest of your garage with totes, barrels and other containers to keep small items from ending up all over the place.
[Editor’s note: Be sure to label and track your supplies. Even a few large bins or several small buckets can become a mess to look through if you’re not organized!]
Once you have your storage space set up, it’s time to start collecting your supplies. We’re going to break this down into categories — food, water, first aid, electricity, lighting, shelter, safety, tools and entertainment.
Other than water, food is one of the most important things that you’ll need to stockpile. You can raid abandoned grocery stores for a while, but those resources will eventually run out, and you’ll need to have something to fall back on. Stock up on non-perishable foods like canned goods, pasta, rice, flour and similar items. Anything not in a can or jar will need to be stored in a secondary container to keep rodents and other pests out. Ideally, you’ll want at minimum a month or two worth of food stored.
As things approach their expiration date, purchase new items and rotate the expiring ones into your home’s pantry to be used. Keep up with your inventory and make sure you’re rotating out any expired supplies. A physical inventory —because computers may not work after the world ends, making digital spreadsheets useless — can make this task a little easier. Write down the item, the amount and its expiration date so you don’t have to worry about checking every jar and can to make sure that nothing has expired.
[Editor’s note: Storing food and other supplies, like medicines, in an non-climate-controlled area will cause them to degrade faster, possibly even before their expiration dates. Keep close tabs on whatever you store here.]
You can survive for three weeks without food but only three days without water. Make sure you’ve got a water stockpile. Barrels of at least 55 gallons are ideal for this, both because they store a lot of water and because they protect it from sunlight and other contaminants. Have at least two to three months of water stored for everyone in your household. In most emergency situations, it’s recommended to have 1 gallon of water per person per day — half for drinking and half for hygiene.
[Editor’s note: I typically recommend five gallons of water per person per day.]
You should also have some sort of water purification system with your supplies, whether that’s a solar-powered water filter, purification tablets, or bleach. Even if the water infrastructure is still working, there’s no guarantee that it will be safe to drink.
You can’t go to the doctor when the world ends, so make sure you have everything you might need to deal with injuries and illnesses. That includes basic first aid items like bandages and splints all the way up to suture kits. No one likes to think about having to get sewn up without anesthetic, but in an emergency situation, if it’s down to stitches or death, you’ll suck it up and start sewing.
Electricity is usually the first thing to go out during an emergency. We deal with massive power outages every year during hurricanes, blizzards and other natural disasters, so you’ll need a way to keep things powered if the world ends. Generators are a good option, but make sure that you’ve got enough fuel to keep them running as long as possible until you can find new fuel sources. If you do choose a generator, don’t keep it in your garage while it’s running. You’ll want to move it into a well-ventilated area outside because even a partially-ventilated area (such as a garage with the door partially open) can still build up deadly amounts of carbon monoxide.
Solar power is another great option if you live in an area that gets enough usable sunlight hours and, even then, it may be the only long-term solution you have available.
It gets really dark when the power is out, so you need to think about lighting. Flashlights and batteries, oil or kerosene lamps with extra fuel and torches are all great options to include.
[Editor’s note: Be sure to stockpile plenty of batteries or fuel to keep them running. For safety’s sake, I’d encourage you to stick with battery-powered lanterns in most cases.]
If you’re staying home, shelter isn’t really a problem, though you will want to reinforce your home since most modern homes aren’t designed to be defensible. We’ll talk more about that in a moment.
If you’re bugging out, shelter is essential. You can shelter in your car, stop in an abandoned home or pitch a tent in the woods. Make sure you’ve got plenty of sleeping bags or blankets to stay warm and pack weather-appropriate clothing in your bug-out bag. The elements are your biggest enemy if you’re leaving your home during an emergency, especially during the winter when cold can be fatal.
In an end-of-the-world situation, you will need to be able to protect yourself. This part of your supplies should include everything from a fire extinguisher to gas masks to weapons. Whether you choose a pistol, a rifle or a sword, make sure you practice with your weapon of choice before everything hits the fan. Don’t trust your video game skills to protect you when the world ends. Be comfortable with your weapon and know how to use it, maintain it, reload it and repair it before everything goes to hell.
When life as we know it ends, if your vehicle still functions, you’ll need to be able to maintain it, and that means you’ll need the tools to do it. Make sure that you’ve got everything you need to maintain your vehicle, your generator and any other appliances that you’re using for the duration of the emergency. If you have a source of electricity, a compressor can be a valuable addition to the garage. You should also have a fire extinguisher and first aid kit just for those days when you’re doing mechanical maintenance. Hopefully, you won’t need them, but it’s better to have them just in case.
[Editor’s note: you should have the ability to repair your home as well, and having the right toolbox of tools is a great idea.]
Without television or the internet to keep you entertained, you’re going to get bored. Include some entertainment supplies in with your emergency kit. Focus on things that don’t need power, like board games, decks of cards and books — actual books, not Kindle books which you won’t be able to use without access to electricity or the internet.
You may find yourself too busy to use these things, but if you have a slow day or young children, it can be a great way to keep yourself entertained while you wait for the next mess to happen.
We’ve gotten used to electric appliances that make our lives easier. Washing machines, dryers, dishwashers and refrigerators have taken over many of the jobs that we used to do by hand, but if the electrical grid fails, none of these conveniences will work anymore.
The fridge won’t be a problem since the majority of your food supply will be non-perishable. All you need to do is consume the stuff that’s in the fridge before it spoils and then start using your non-perishable supplies. For other chores like washing and drying clothes, you do have some options like a pedal-operated washing machine, and you can always hang your clothes to dry them.
Look into non-electric appliance alternatives like the washing machine we listed above to add to your garage so you always have everything you need.
While your garage provides a fantastic place to store supplies, it isn’t the strongest part of your house, so it might be a good idea to reinforce it. Look into metal brackets or straps to reinforce the frame of the building — they’re commercially available as a tool to reinforce light wood construction against high winds. Windows and doors should be reinforced with shutters on the exterior and heavy-duty locks inside the building.
Garage doors aren’t generally designed to be durable. If you’re not planning to use it as a point of egress from your home, you can reinforce the door with both vertical and horizontal braces made of lumber. You can remove them if you need to get something in or out of your garage, but they’re not something that you’ll want to move on a regular basis.
[Editor’s note: be careful with add too much in the way of reinforcements that aren’t meant to be there, especially if they may impede your ability to evacuate… always have two ways out of every room or shelter.]
Finally, after you’ve done all the work and collected all the supplies, the last thing you need to do is make sure that everyone in your family is prepared and knows what to do in the event of an emergency. Having all the supplies in the world doesn’t do you a lot of good if you don’t know how to use them.
Take the time to have emergency drills from different locations — work, school, shopping, etc. Make sure that everyone knows where all the supplies are, how to access them and how to use any tools or weapons. Of course, this should be age appropriate — don’t expect too much of young family members. An emergency will make them grow up fast, but while preparation is important, they don’t need to grow up quite yet.
Be Ready For Anything
People like to laugh at preppers because they think we’re preparing for the zombie apocalypse or something else that might never happen, but it’s better to be prepared for anything than to be caught with your pants down if the world really does end. No one wants to think about the end of the world or living without the modern conveniences that we’ve become so accustomed to, but it’s always a possibility, so it pays to be prepared.
We might not have to worry about zombies, but there are still plenty of other threats looming on the horizon, any of which could turn into a reality that will change the world we know. If your garage is full of junk, now is the perfect time to clean it out and turn it into storage for your survival supplies. Start now before you end up needing those supplies and find you don’t have anywhere to store them. It never hurts to be over-prepared! And if you’ve got more supplies than you need, you can trade them for other goods or services that you may not have while you wait for normality to be restored.