7 Common Trees Ranked for Survival Purposes

Image Credit: https://pixabay.com/photos/tree-dawn-nature-bucovina-romania-338211/

The following article is an interesting (and unexpected) comparison of several common trees and attempts to rank them in order of best to worst for survival purposes focusing on several key areas, including nutritional benefits, medicinal value, firewood quality, and more.

The article compares oak trees, apple and maple trees, white pines, and a few others. Which one do YOU think will be the winner? The answer may surprise you…

Many trees provide nutritional value, medicinal qualities, and a good source of firewood. But which tree is the best?

It’s a tough question. Many trees provide value on many levels, and the importance of those qualities can be subjective. For example, a tree might bear a fruit you enjoy, but is it a fruit with lots of calories to help sustain you in a survival scenario?

Here are some questions to consider.
-Are you knowledgeable enough to maximize the nutritional value of a tree?
-Do you have the skills to distill the medicinal qualities of a tree?
-Do you depend on firewood to heat your home?

Let’s assume you want all three of those things–nutrition, medicine, and heat–and assign grades to various trees to see if one emerges above the others. We’ll then explore in detail the value of that “one” tree.

Continue reading article here

48 FREE Survival PDF Downloads

The Urban Prepper really went overboard on this one because he’s compiled all of the survival PDF files he’s created over the years and is giving them away for free!

He’s included files covering a wide range of topics, including several versions of an Altoid’s tin survival kit, bug out bag kits, EDC, vehicle preparedness, the survival cheat sheet I linked to a few weeks back, and plenty more. It’s really a wonderful resource he’s offering us today.

In order to get it for yourself, you need to go directly to the YouTube video and click on the link in the description that says: “ALL PDF’s, 1 ZIP…” which is followed by the actual ZIP file link. (FYI, I would link directly to the ZIP file, but it’s not mine to directly give away.)

After the file downloads you’re going to need to extract the contents (here’s how if you need guidance) or you can use something like 7-Zip which is free and a program I’ve used in the past, though, there are certainly other options and it’s probably not necessary if you have a relatively recent version of Windows or Mac.

Note: This extraction process is best done on your computer and not on a tablet or smartphone. Regardless, the extraction process really isn’t that complicated, but it can be frustrating if you’re not very familiar with computers.

Anyway, here’s the video about the PDF downloads below; just be sure to go directly to the video description to get the PDF link, enjoy…

Bug Out Survival “Cheat Sheet” PDF Download

Looking for an all-in-one “cheat sheet” that you could laminate and include in your bug out bag? Well, the Urban Prepper recently put together a handy guide that he’s giving away to anyone! Topics covered include food, water, shelter, first aid, fire, comms / navigation, and more. I would encourage you to go directly to the video description to download the PDF guide. You’ll need to print the cheat sheet on legal paper, though, to get it all to fit front and back…

Beware: 5 Dangers You May Encounter in the Woods (and what to do about it)

Image Credit

Who doesn’t love a good trip into the wild? Whether you’re hiking, kayaking down a river, camping for the night, or doing some other manner of outdoor activity, it can be therapeutic to unwind in the great outdoors. Many of us crave that escape from society to spend time out in the quiet, desolate expanse of the world. There are no loud noises and bad smells… well, for the most part. There’s no dealing with light pollution, so you can get a great look at the stars. The air is clean and fresh.

Of course, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s safe. Although the human race has collectively spent millennia outdoors, it’s no secret that many have lost their lives due to poor planning and mistakes. Problems like running out of food or water, or dealing with extreme temperature changes — read hypothermia — can lead to severe bodily harm if not death.

If you’re not careful, the wilderness is not a forgiving place, and it’s relatively easy to make a mistake that can put you in danger. Make a wrong turn during a hike, and you could end up lost for days or running low on supplies. Forget to pack the supplies for a fire, and you could be forced to endure a long, cold night. It’s even worse dealing with a cold night if you’ve slipped and fallen in some water. Forget to dispose of your food scraps properly, and a bear could wander into your camp.

We could drone on for days about how many potential dangers you face out there in the wide open expanse of the wild. However, it makes more sense to discuss the most common dangers — things you may very well come face to face if you spent enough time out in the woods.

1. Snakes, Bears and Wolves — Oh My!

Although it certainly feels like it when there are few humans around, you’re never alone in the woods. There’s always a chance you might come across an animal. There are plenty of small ones like porcupines, skunks and possums out there, but there are some big ones that can be dangerous too.

Bears are incredibly dangerous. If you don’t bury your trash, leave half-consumed foods laying out and do not follow proper hygiene you might have one stumble into your camp. The same is true of wolves and coyotes, especially at dusk and late at night.

If you come across a large animal, don’t panic. Do your best to keep your distance, try not to attract their attention, and always keep them in sight.

Depending on where you’re hiking or visiting, snakes may also be a concern. Some, including rattlesnakes, copperheads, cottonmouths and water moccasins, are poisonous. Always check your sleeping bag before climbing in, even if it’s inside a tent or sealed area.

If you are bitten, stung or attacked and you think the creature might be poisonous — usually, you’ll see some discoloration at the wound — it’s important to get to a hospital as soon as possible. While waiting for help to arrive, follow proper poison protocols. Clean and cover the wound, but don’t flush it with water. Remove all tight clothing and jewelry before you begin to swell, and keep the wound at or below where your heart is if possible. Don’t cut the wound, try to suck out the venom, apply a tourniquet or apply ice to the area. Don’t drink alcohol or caffeine, as they can speed up your body’s absorption of the venom.

2. Plants, Berries and Mushrooms

Berries often look downright delicious at first glance, adorned in vivid red and purple hues. But some are incredibly dangerous if eaten. The same is true of mushrooms and a variety of other plants you might come across.

Unless you’re expressly trained in spotting these types of foods, you should avoid them altogether. Foraging can be dangerous if you are inexperienced.

It’s entirely possible something you eat won’t hurt you in the short term, but mess with the wrong poison, psychotropic or chemical, and you could find yourself debilitated in the middle of nowhere with no help and no motor skills to seek it.

Oh, and let’s not talk about how foraged foods can sometimes contain parasites. That’s nightmare fuel for sure.

3. Insects Can Be More Than a Nuisance

Bugs can be annoying, but there’s a lot more out in the wilderness than just bugs that are a nuisance. Even some common insects can pose a risk. Mosquitoes, for instance, can carry deadly diseases like malaria, West Nile Virus and Zika.

Other potentially danger insects include spiders — some of which are poisonous — ants, fleas, ticks, hornets, bees and wasps. If you’re allergic to any of these insects, which you may not be aware of before you come into contact with them, those dangers increase tenfold.

It’s hard to believe but bugs can be and are one of the most dangerous things you’ll experience in the great outdoors, and they also happen to be incredibly common. That’s why it’s vital you take the necessary precautions regardless of where you’re traveling or visiting.

Insect repellent containing DEET or picaridin can help considerably, but you must remember to reapply it regularly throughout your trip. You can also apply creams, essential oils and several forms of mint to deter insects more naturally. Before climbing into your sleeping bag check it and your body for insects — ticks are easy to miss. If you do find a tick burrowed in your skin, remove it immediately. If you get insect bites, clean and protect them as soon as possible. If a poisonous insect bites you, you need to get to a hospital as quickly as possible.

Smoke also helps deter insects. Some outdoors enthusiasts will light a cigar or use smoke-creating plants and materials to scare off the bugs. These are sometimes useful strategies, but they also come with significant risks. Both of these methods have the potential for creating a wildfire and causing severe damage to the surrounding forest. It’s probably best to stick with the tried and true methods for deterring insects — liquid or cream based repellents.

4. Dangerous Weather and Temperatures

One of the most common mistakes that people make when visiting the wild is that they do not properly prepare for the local temperatures and weather. In certain places, for instance, the temperature can drop dangerously low after dark, despite being comfortable enough to wear shorts and a t-shirt during the day.

It’s always essential that you pack the appropriate clothing and protective gear, even if you’re not expecting inclement weather. Hypothermia can set on quickly, even after something like a cold rain. It doesn’t have to be the winter, and there doesn’t have to be any snow present. Having your body exposed to the wet and cold can have serious repercussions.

The opposite is true, as well. In areas where extreme heat is present, or where there’s constant exposure to the sun, it’s important you stay hydrated and properly rested. Take a few moments here and there to sit down in the shade, and be sure to continue drinking water — not sugary drinks, alcohol or other beverages. Drink at least one liter of water an hour, more if you’re sweating profusely. You should also cover your head and face and wear sunscreen if you’re going to be in the direct sunlight for an extended period. These practices will go a long way toward keeping your body cool and comfortable in the hot climates.

Furthermore, be mindful about your surroundings at all times. For instance, when setting up camp try to avoid placing your tent in low-lying areas or near water. It’s possible during a storm that the water will rise, and if you’re sleeping inside, that could prove deadly. Try to find camp areas that are on relatively high ground and ensure you have ample space to build a fire and remain dry.

If you do fall in the water or get wet, be sure to dry off as soon as possible. You should change your clothes and then sit around a fire or get into a sleeping bag or under a blanket. Worst case scenario, you can huddle next to someone in your party to share body warmth.

5. Watch Out for Fire Hazards

In a thick forest, fire can be absolutely devastating. When a fire spreads, it can happen fast — so fast that you have little time to react. We’ve seen this happen in some of the recent major fires like the one in Tennessee that consumed 100 acres or the ones raging in California right now.

You might not be the source of the fire, so keep that in mind. Also, it’s entirely possible to plan a trip, and visit a location without ever knowing there’s a potential threat. You could set up your camp or hike through an area only to find yourself trapped by a wildfire.

Of course, it’s also important that you follow proper safety measures when building campfires. You don’t want to cause a wildfire, which happens more than you might think.

Always build your fire at a safe distance from flammable objects like your tent or underbrush. If you can find an existing campfire ring or location, it’s best to use that space instead of creating a new one. If none are available. Surround your fire with stones or dig a small pit to keep it contained. Never use accelerants or fuel in the fire, and try to keep papers, liquids and other debris away.

You should also inspect the area thoroughly, checking for overhanging branches, trees and dry foliage. Store any extra wood and other materials you plan to use at a distance from the fire.

As for what you use to light the fire, paper is out. Never use paper as a fuel source. If you do light the fire with a match, be absolutely sure the match is out before disposing of it. Never throw a spent match into the underbrush or nearby foliage. If you have extra water handy then spread it around the edges of the fire to keep the nearby ground moist. This helps contain the flames. You should also use water to douse the fire when you’re all finished.

Never leave a campfire unattended, as a breeze or wind could easily blow embers and debris into the surrounding area and spark a larger flame.

After dousing a fire with water, use a stick or pole to stir the embers and ashes. This helps ensure that any stray coals are not still lit.

Ultimately, if you have a small camping stove or cooking station available, it might be better to use that instead of a conventional fire. But it’s not always possible to have these tools handy, so just be sure to stay safe and attentive.

Have Fun, But Don’t Be Reckless

By now, you’ve surely noticed that many of the dangers discussed are fairly common and would be easy to avoid or prevent so long as you are vigilant and careful. While having fun and enjoying the great outdoors should always be the focus of any trip, that doesn’t mean you should be reckless. Often, the people that are careless when spending time outdoors are the ones that either find themselves hurt and in danger or lose their lives altogether.

In addition, there are also many tips that haven’t been discussed here including packing the right amount of food and water, staying aware of your surroundings so you don’t get lost, choosing the appropriate hiking and camping locations, and wearing clearly visible gear to alert any hunters in the vicinity of your presence.

Be smart and careful when you’re out in the woods so that you can enjoy your trip and get home safe.

[Note: This was a guest post.]

What To Do If Your Oven Catches Fire

Last night I was making two pizzas in the oven like I’d done many times before. When they were done I pulled the oven rack toward me as far as it would go so I could slide the pizzas out easier; I got the first one out no problem, but when I returned to get the second pizza, it was missing. I thought to myself, “Where in the world did the second pizza go!?” Turns out, the second pizza was now sitting atop the oven burner catching on fire and making one heck of a smoke signal!

My guess is the second pizza got stuck to the back of the oven wall and stayed attached as I pulled the oven rack out without me realizing it. Eventually, I fished out the second pizza and still need to clean it out, but that got me to thinking that we ought to remind ourselves what to do should the oven or a pot on the burner ever catch fire…

Oven Fire

Here’s what to do if the oven catches fire:

  1. “Leave the oven door closed!
  2. Turn off the oven and allow the fire to burn out on its own.
  3. If it does not go out on its own, leave the house and call 911.
  4. If it does go out, then open your windows.
  5. Carefully open the oven door (it will be smoky!) and remove the hot pan.
  6. Allow the smoke to clear before determining the cause of the fire and possibly resuming cooking.”

Burner Fire

Here’s what to do if a burner ever catches fire:

Never Use The Oven to Heat Your Home

This article explains why you should never use an oven to heat your home: “Do not use a gas or electric oven or surface units for heating. A gas oven may go out or burn inefficiently, leading to carbon monoxide poisoning. An electric oven was not designed for space heating.”

The article also explains important safety considerations regarding keeping warm during the winter in an unheated house… all of which are good reminders for everyone to read.

Toaster Ovens

I also want to quickly point out that toaster ovens are particularly susceptible to fires for a few reasons, so keep a close eye on them. And if you ever choose to makeshift a candle-powered tea light oven because, why not, then REALLY keep an eye on it, lol!

Lock Pick Beginners Box Review

I was sent this Lock Pick Beginners Box from LockPickWorld.com in exchange for an honest review and, honestly, I really had no idea what they were going to send because I basically said “send whatever you like” as I had no experience with picking locks and, thus, no expectations either.

Anyway, the box arrived a few days later and was smaller than I’d anticipated at about 7″ x 5″ and not a whole lot bigger than most cell phones these days, lol:

After opening the box, everything was well-contained and included the lock pick set, a smaller concealed credit-card-sized pick set, and two different see-through training locks:

Here’s what I found after taking it all out of their respective packages, with the 15-piece lock pick set lined up along the top in the photo below, the credit-card pick set at the bottom left, and the two practice locks shown on the bottom and bottom right:

Scratching my head at everything, the first thing I looked for was a set of instructions, yet I found none. Truth be told, I typically ignore instructions, at least, until I get suck, but this time I really had no idea what I was doing.

After heading back to the product page I realized that I should have received an ebook to go along with the pick set, but since this was a review product I guess I didn’t get the appropriate email. No big deal, I got my hands on the book and actually found it rather interesting… and I even read most of it too.

The problem I found was that reading how to pick a lock was far different than actually seeing it done. And, so, I headed to YouTube and found this video which helped me get started:

I watched a few others which I won’t bore you with, but I can attest that picking locks is much harder than I thought it would be!

I tried for a while to use the lock picks like I thought I should on the practice padlock without any success. Then I tried the “raking” method discussed in both the book and shown in the video above using a “triple peak” pick and I quickly picked the training padlock! Uh oh… I might be hooked.

It was neat to get something to actually work, so I tried the double-sided lock using the “raking” method but was stumped again.

Long story short, I went back to using the tension wrench and “short pick” on the double-sided lock and, after fiddling with it and watching the tumblers move I actually got the lock to open, but that took some time and more patience than I tend to have.

Regardless, it was neat to accomplish. I actually went around the house and tried a few door locks using only a tension wrench and short pick, but had no success.

And, if I’m being honest, the rest of the lock pick set looks like Greek to me. I also tried to use the credit-card set on the training locks and eventually got them to work as well.

I briefly considered adding the credit-card set to my wallet, but it’s already filled to the brim with other stuff and, knowing my luck, I would probably get arrested the next time I tried to board a plane with them, lol.

Ultimately, I was pleased with the lock pick beginners box set. It’s an interesting skill that I never tried before and, whether or not it may come in handy during any sort of disaster scenario, the tools are certainly fun to practice with and may just make an entertaining gift for the upcoming holiday season.

7 Overlooked Everyday Items In Your House You Can Use For Survival

Any survival or disaster situation is naturally going to require you to get a little creative.  

This is because resources in any survival situation are going to be rather thin, and you’re going to have to learn how to make the best with what you have.

Fortunately, finding yourself in a survival situation doesn’t just mean that you are limited to survival tools that you may not even have on hand at the time.

This is because you can easily take everyday household items that you probably already have an abundance of and use those items to make surviving significantly easier.  

Here are the top seven overlooked everyday items in your house that you can use for survival, presented in alphabetical order:

1. ALUMINUM FOIL

Aluminum foil already has a great many uses around the house, and it likewise will for if and when you find yourself in a survival situation as well.  

One of the best uses for aluminum foil will be to use it to help cook food in a survival situation.  If all you have available is a fire rather than your stove or oven, you can wrap food in the aluminum foil and then place it next to the fire.

Another valuable use for aluminum foil will be to use it as a signal, since it can reflect the light of the sun.  Additionally, you can also use aluminum foil will be to use pieces of it as a fishing lure, as fish are naturally attracted to bright objects.

2. BAKING SODA

If there’s only one personal hygiene item that you can have on hand in a disaster scenario, it should without question be baking soda.

This is simply because you can use baking soda to make virtually any other kind of personal hygiene item in existence, from soap to shampoo to deodorant to toothpaste to floor cleaner to dishwashing soap to laundry detergent.

All you really need to do is mix the baking soda with water in order to create a paste, and you can create any of those listed above.

3. COFFEE FILTERS

Another highly versatile but overlooked survival item is just an ordinary coffee filter.  Besides the obvious use of using it to help make your morning cup of coffee, you can also use a coffee filter to filter through water, as fire tinder (mix with grease for the best effect), to wrap food, or as emergency toilet paper.

4. DENTAL FLOSS

Obviously dental floss can be used for oral hygiene in a survival situation, but you can use it for a great multitude of other purposes as well.

For example, you can use dental floss as fishing line, as a clothesline, to help build shelter, to make matches burn longer (simple wrap the floss around the matches), to set snares, for sewing, or as a tripwire.

NOTE: attach tin cans filled with a few pebbles to the tripwire, and you’ve created an emergency alert system.  U.S. troops used this strategy to great effect to alert them to nearby Japanese troop movements in the Pacific campaign during World War II.

5. GARBAGE BAGS

It’s surprising that garbage bags don’t show up as often as they should in other lists of the best everyday items to use for survival, because they truly are among the most versatile items that you can possibly use for survival.

One of the best uses for a garbage bag will be to use it as a poncho, since you simply need to cut a few holes through it for your head and arms.  You can also use a garbage bag as a makeshift tarp, as a mattress (simple stuff it full with leaves, grass, and pine needles), or as a wall or ceiling for an emergency shelter.

6. HAND SANITIZER

In addition to using hand sanitizer as a personal hygiene item in a survival situation, you can also use it to sanitize surfaces such as tables or knife blades, to help get fires going (sanitizer is very flammable), for treating mosquito bites (simply apply it directly to the site of the bite), or to remove stains from clothing.

7. PAPER CLIPS

In a survival situation, an ordinary paper clip will be one of the best alternatives to a normal fishing hook.  Beyond that use, you can also use a paper clip to replace zipper tabs on a jacket, or as a toe or finger splint in the event of an injury.

BONUS: SODA CAN

Throwing a soda can away is the last thing you should do with it in a disaster situation.  You can use the tab as a makeshift fishing hook (much as you could with an ordinary paper clip like we just mentioned), and you can also polish the bottom of the can with chocolate to help it reflect the sunlight for signaling. Alternatively, you can also clean out the inside of the can to use it for storage.

CONCLUSION

If there’s anything that you learn from this article, it’s that you shouldn’t neglect any ordinary items you have laying around the house. Chances are good that you can find at least one or two ways to use that item for survival in a disaster scenario.

Easy DIY Water Filter

With a little ingenuity and a few parts (of about $30 or less) you can build your own SHTF DIY water filter which can be reused over and over again.

You only need an inexpensive hand pump, activated carbon, window screen material (or something similar), a small piece of PVC pipe, as well as some appropriate fittings and tubing to round out the build.

Of course, this water filter should ONLY ever be used as a last resort and you really should attempt to boil any collected water to ensure it’s safe to consume. This filter, therefore, should be considered as a quality pre-filter before final treatment…

Fire Cider – Natural Cold Killer!

Image Credit

Want to get a head start on staying healthy for the cold season? Try this “fire cider” recipe which, to be honest, sounds like it would be a tough drink to stomach, lol.

Regardless, the drink does contain quite a few beneficial ingredients such as apple cider vinegar, garlic, and ginger, each of which are purported to have significant health benefits when your ill…

“If you’re looking for a spicy, tangy, and delicious way to beat the tar out of the common cold, Fire Cider is for you. This wonderful health tonic is made with a variety of herbs and spices that will literally burn the virus right out of your system. Fire cider is chock full of things like apple cider vinegar, hot peppers, and garlic.

Sounds more like a salad dressing or steak marinade than a cold cure.

Don’t be fooled by the tasty ingredients of Fire Cider because this potent concoction is anything but seasoning for your favorite foods. It takes on the common cold like a warrior going into battle…”

Read the full article here (includes recipe video)

Rocket Stove Fuel Alternatives

Image Credit

If you’re “into” survival at all then you’re likely very familiar with rocket stoves… they’re awesome! And they can be fashioned out of all sorts of items, from sheet metal and tin cans to masonry bricks and even earthen materials.

The thing is that I’ve ALWAYS used sticks and twigs to fuel them; however, as the following post explains: “…when a hurricane brushes by my coast and dumps 4-10 inches of rain, there are no dry branches or twigs to gather, light and cook dinner with!”

Clearly, you’ll need an alternative rocket fuel in that case. Here’s a few ideas…

A rocket stove can burn just about anything, including your furniture if need be!

Like any cooking appliance, it needs fuel of some sort. The Rocket Stove is no exception. For me, when a hurricane brushes by my coast and dumps 4-10 inches of rain, there are no dry branches or twigs to gather, light and cook dinner with! I found it difficult to long-term store dry twigs and small branches for its’ fuel, until this week. I found that the Preppers favorite long-term storage container, the 5-gallon bucket, works perfectly!

Wood Fuel for the Rocket Stove:

Here are two buckets, one has split wood in it (about ½ to ¾ inch square by 12-13 inches long) ready to use. The other bucket has scrap 2×4’s and 2×6’s in it, I had this wood on my fireplace wood pile and because of rains, it is too wet to easily split with a hand ax so I’ll get to it in a couple weeks. The nice thing about using 5-gallon bucket for the wood storage is just snap a lid on it and it is neat, dry, bug-free, and clean in your closet or pantry storage…”

Read the full article here