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.

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

Legacy Food Storage 72 Hour Food Kit: Enchilada Beans And Rice Review

This week we’re taking a look at another Legacy Foods 72-Hour Kit option which I introduced last week here, specifically the Enchilada Beans and Rice meal:

And the backside of the package:

I should point out that last week I said that I wasn’t sure if any of the meals in the 72-hour kit were gluten free, well, it turns out that four of them are, including this one. The Classic Chili, Cheese & Broccoli Bake, and Cheese and Broccoli Soup are as well. Here’s their gluten-free selection if that’s of interest to you (and their verification letter if you’re the paranoid type, lol).

Just like with the previous meal, you need to bring about six cups of water to a boil, add contents of the freeze-dried pouch (remembering to remove the oxygen absorber which I forgot to do) and then cook over medium heat for 12-15 minutes… and remembering to stir it on occasion which I tend to forget as well. 😉

Once finished you end up with a nice beans and rice meal:

This particular meal made at least three large bowls of food, enough for me, my wife, and both of my kids to have their fill. In fact, my kids honestly thought there would be an enchilada inside because of the title and so, when the found out there wasn’t, they added the beans and rice to a flour tortilla and topped that with cheese like so:

It seems my oldest liked it well enough to have seconds. And, overall, everyone liked the taste and seasonings and so didn’t bother to add anything to it.

Personally, I felt it was seasoned quite well and I was also pleased with the quantity. It was enough for all of us to eat and have full tummies plus it’s easy to cook and lasts a long time in storage. That works for me.

Until next week. Enjoy.

Is Your Nightstand Ready For Survival? (link)

Your Nightstand Could Save Your Life, Image Credit

Well all love our bug out bags, firearms safes, and hidden caches, but is your nightstand ready to help you survive an emergency in the middle of the night? If not, you’d better think twice because there are plenty of items you can and should include at your bedside so you can grab them at a moments notice.

Items like a quality flashlight and self-defense items come to mind, but there are plenty of others. In fact, I wrote an article on this quite a while back which includes some similar items to the below-referenced article and a few differences too.

Remember, of course, that disasters strike at all times of the day and night and certainly when you’re least ready for them… in the middle of the night is when most of us are least ready for them, lol. Here’s some good thoughts on getting your nightstand ready for YOUR survival:

“Some folks keep their nightstand minimalist, with just a lamp and a clock. Others clutter it with pretty decorative items, sentimental pictures, and the latest book they’re reading.

Then there’s the prepper’s nightstand, which is equipped for a wide variety of middle-of-the-night emergencies.

Imagine this: You awaken in the middle of the night and something just isn’t right. Maybe you hear someone fumbling at your front door. Maybe the dog is barking his normally lazy head off at the back of the house and you know something is awry. Maybe you awaken to the sound of the smoke alarms and the smell of smoke…”

Read the full article here

Forget An Inverter, Use These For Most Efficient DC Power Conversion (video)

These buck and boost converters he’s talking about might be a great investment considering they’re relatively inexpensive, especially if you’re needing to power low-voltage DC powered devices. And considering that you’d be running your DC equipment as efficiently as possible (because you wouldn’t be using an inverter to convert battery power to AC and then back to DC) this makes some sense. Last, like he says there are many options available, just do a search but here’s one he recommends

No More Bicycle Flats (video)

This idea has been around for some time, it seems, but if you’re looking to NOT have to deal with bicycle flat tires consider a Bell Solid Tube Inner Tube (for 26″ tires).

They’re certainly more expensive than a traditional inner tube and obviously you’ll need to purchase the correct size for your bicycle but knowing that you won’t be stranded on the side of the road with a flat makes for a winner in my book. Plus, they’ll be like gold during SHTF situations. 🙂