Sure wish I could afford something like this, lol…
Would you believe I’m now releasing my third survival book on Amazon? And I’m happy to say this one is a good one, covering a topic many preppers struggle over.
But, don’t worry, I’ve got you covered with my latest Kindle book, 53 Essential Bug Out Bag Supplies, and it’s currently FREE on Amazon Kindle today through Friday.
All I ever ask of folks who take advantage of my free giveaways is that they give it a quick rating or review on Amazon when they’re finished.
Built upon four tiers of gear and supplies, this book will show you precisely how to build a survival pack you can rely upon.
Realize, however, that this book tackles the topic a bit differently than most bug out bag books. In fact, if you live anywhere near a city or town and have no expectation of actually evacuating into the wilderness, then it’s time get your bug out bag right with these 53 essentials you won’t want to be without.
We’ll also discuss:
- The Problem with Creating an “Ultimate” Bug Out Bag List
- Choosing a Bag: Which Comes First, The Bag or The Gear?
- 13 Unnecessary Items Most Lists Include but You Won’t Need
Grab yourself a copy while you can and discover precisely how to build a “go bag” you can rely upon…
Nice makeshift cooking stand made from a sapling in only a few minutes, plus it’s really sturdy too…
About a month ago I’d mentioned that I was beginning to write Amazon Kindle books and that I was looking for review team members (you’re still welcome to join if you like).
Not only have I had some wonderful responses from folks, I’ve now written my second Kindle book, 27 Crucial Smartphone Apps for Survival, and it’s currently FREE as an Amazon Kindle book today into Friday!
The ONLY thing I ask in return is that you give it a quick rating/review when you’re done. In fact, when you get to the last page of Kindle books I’ve noticed they’ll ask you to rate it right there inside the book… it couldn’t be easier.
Here’s what’s covered inside:
- 4 Apps Probably Already Installed on Your Phone
- 4 Alert Apps to Keep You Well Informed
- 2 Navigational Apps to Stay on Track
- 5 Vital Emergency First Aid Apps to Keep You Safe
- 5 Information Apps to Keep You in The Know
- 7 More Apps Not to Ignore
- 5 Honorable Mentions (That Could Prove Useful), and
- 7 Seemingly Useful Apps I Can’t Recommend
I know I sure had fun writing the book… I learned quite a bit too… and I suspect that you will as well.
Go ahead and grab yourself the BEST Cyber Monday gift of them all while you still can, and discover how to unleash your most important survival tool…
Any serious gun fanatic might tell you that all rifles are awesome, but not all rifles are awesome for every type of shooting and hunting.
When it comes to elk hunting, you want a rifle that is durable but light enough to carry up the mountain with ease. But you also want it to be able to hold large caliber rounds with minimal recoil and handle well when firing off-hand shots in the event of a surprise game sighting.
To put it another way, you want a versatile weapon that packs a punch and can offer long range accuracy without being a burden.
Most of us want an affordable rifle that is damn near indestructible and can fell an eight-hundred pound beast at four-hundred yards or more. We also want an attractive firearm that looks as good as it shoots. Choosing the right rifle for the job is one of the joys of hunting.
If you think this sounds like a dream gun that can’t possibly exist, you’d be pretty wrong. The rifles on this list come fairly close to meeting all of the aforementioned requirements.
- Browning A-Bolt Composite Stalker
- Browning BLR Lightweight ’81
- Kimber Model 84M Classic
- Marlin Model 338 MXLR
- Marlin Model 1895G Guide Gun
- Remington Model 673 Guide Rifle
- Ruger No. 1S Medium Sporter
- Weatherby Mark V Deluxe
- Weatherby Vanguard Deluxe
- Winchester M70 Super Grade
Browning A-Bolt Composite Stalker
This bolt-action model comes in a number of long and short action calibers, but when it comes to elk hunting you can’t go wrong with the .338 Winchester mag. It’s a great option for hunters who are on the move and performs like a boss at 100 yards, making it a monster for bagging does.
The most economical of Browning models, the Stalker retails for $820, but you can usually find a lightly used one on sale for around $700.
With black synthetic straight stock, a fiberglass graphite composite grip and black rubber butt pad, the Stalker is a real beaut. Personally, I like to load it with Black Hills Gold hunting ammo when I take mine out for a bit of proper stalking.
Browning BLR Lightweight ’81
No list would be complete without at least two Browning models. They’re a leader in the field and their rifles are always a lot of fun for a reasonable price. The BLR ’81 is a compact and user-friendly rack-and-pinion lever-action rifle that is carbine-length and cranks out quite the shot.
They can chamber a range of hard-hitting ammo from the 270 WSM to the 358 Win. It features an aluminum alloy stock, a detachable four-round box magazine with a fast release and a rotary bolt locking system.
It’s ideal for mountaineers and woodsman by virtue of the fact that it’s a mere 7 ¾ lbs and 40” long with mount and scope. The fast-loading mag makes for quick follow-up shots. At a retail price of $900, it’s slightly more expensive than the Stalker, but it’s every bit as exceptional. Well worth the price for the durability and versatility it provides.
Kimber Model 84M Classic
Another bolt-action hunting rifle, the 84M weigh just 5.5 lbs and sport handsome steel or stainless steel barrels. Kimber’s 22” barrel makes them unique among most Model 84Ms.
They commonly feature trigger crowns, match grade barrels and a bolt with a Mauser claw extractor. The adjustable trigger and Pachmayr Decelerator recoil pad are just two of the things that makes it an unbeatable option when it comes to elk hunting rifles.
The average retail price is around $1,225 which places it firmly within the mid-range of affordable hunting rifles.
Marlin Model 338 MXLR
Ideal for timber and brush alike, this lever-action rifle offers a flat trajectory and pinpoint accuracy. With a 24” stainless steel barrel, Ballard rifling, hammer block safety and a fluted bolt, the MXLR is a top of the line machine that holds a 5-round magazine that makes it a viable choice when it comes to game hunting.
It’s got semi-buckhorn iron sights, a trigger guard plate and a laminated hardwood stock with deluxe recoil pad. I’ve tested this one out myself and have found it to be a boss when it comes to long-range precision.
The $930 retail price places it securely in mid-range and is available for layaway gun financing.
Marlin Model 1895G Guide Gun
This big bore lever-action rifle is considered my many to be the strongest lever-action in history. It can be stored virtually anywhere thanks to its compact design.
The Ballard-style rifling carves six deep and wide grooves that aid in improving accuracy. The stubby 18 ½” barrel makes it one of the shortest and lightest hunting rifles on the market.
Paired with Garrett Cartridges’ fire-breathing custom loads, the 1895G is a veritable force to be reckoned with. And while it works rather well with iron sights, the level of accuracy it provides is perfectly suited to a low-powered scope.
Cabela’s currently has offers on this model starting at $629.99.
Remington Model 673 Guide Rifle
The 673 is yet another bolt-action hunting rifle that packs a wallop. My personal favorite is the one that’s chambered for the .350 Remington mag because it offers superior shootability to others.
With a Leopold quick release base and rings, and a 22” barrel, it’s a lot of gun compared to most of the rifles on my list. In fact, it kicks pretty hard compared to the others which may be off-putting to some. But it’s definitely a well-made firearm with a rather unconventional look.
At 7 ¾ lbs, it’s not the lightest hunting rifle around, but it’s not overly heavy or cumbersome in any way either. All in all, it’s a worthy option, especially since Remington stopped making them in 2004 so there are plenty of gun owners selling their used Model 673s online.
Ruger No. 1S Medium Sporter
A single-shot model, Ruger’s No. 1S Medium Sporter is not the right gun for continuous shooting, but it’s tailored to the disciplined, methodical hunter who’s a skilled Marksman.
The front sling swivel is sited forward on the barrel, causing the rifle to ride low on your shoulder. But the receiver is so short that it’s almost identical to the Marlin, making it a compact and easily transportable in a rifle bag.
For the more frugal gun owner, this might not be the best choice on my list as it retails for around $1,199.99 and doesn’t exactly hold up to other rifles in that price bracket, but it remains a worthy option if you have money to burn and you want a solid single-shot rifle with dead-on accuracy. Keep an eye out for deals in any major online gun store and you could find great seasonal discounts.
Weatherby Mark V Deluxe
With a .300 Weatherby mag and a beautiful claro walnut design, the Mark V Deluxe is something to behold. Not only is it a top of the line weapon, but it’s the perfect display piece for proud collectors with a bit more bank than others.
At $1,399.99, it’s a luxury rifle but one that won’t let you down when you’re out in the thick of it. Simply a choice rifle all around.
Weatherby Vanguard Deluxe
Like the Mark V Deluxe, this Weatherby rifle is unmatched for the sheer beauty of its wood design. It’s got a classy black finish and exceptional bolt action, chambering .270 Win rounds and offering no less than three safety positions.
Like Remington’s Model 673, it’s a bit heavier than some of the others on the list, but it’s still a fairly lightweight and compact rifle for hunting, and it’s got an adjustable trigger which is attractive to most game hunters.
Cabela’s has Weatherby VGDs with modular chassis for $1,199.99.
Winchester M70 Super Grade
This finely checkered, deeply-blued steel rifle has a maple finish that makes it another worthy display piece. In terms of hunting, it lives up to its name by offering above-grade accuracy.
Chambered with .308 Win rounds, it’s another stylish and superb choice for those looking to bag some deer or ward off a grizzly.
There you have it, my full list of the five best hunting rifles for hunting elk. Good luck making your selection. I know you’ll be in good hands with any one of them. Happy hunting.
Unless you plan on every handgun you buy being a safe queen, you’ll want to find a quality holster that allows you to use it in comfort and safety. Handgun holsters come in a wide array of styles and can be made from several different materials. With so many options available, it can be hard to choose the best one for you. By better understanding the available holster styles, you can be more confident you’re choosing the right one. Read on here for a basic guide to buying your first holster.
Most holsters are made of leather, Kydex, or nylon. Some holsters, called hybrid holsters, combine two or more of these materials. The style of holster you decide on can have a bearing on what kind of material is used as each has its own benefits and limitations. Conversely, if you prefer a certain material over others, that could limit the styles available. Let’s take a close look at each material:
Leather is the most traditional holster material. It has proven durable and effective over the centuries for holding weapons securely. Leather holsters can be extremely comfortable, but if not cared for properly, can lose their shape or become scuffed and damaged.
Ballistic nylon is lightweight, fairly stiff, and offers good protection mixed with breathability. This material is used often in popular budget holsters, but don’t let that fool you. Nylon is a good, versatile choice for many carry situations.
Kydex is a thermos plastic made by Sekisui SPI. It’s extremely lightweight, durable, and easily molded by manufacturers to fit a specific firearm. In many ways, this material revolutionized holster production. The downside is that the plastics are not breathable, and some cheaper holsters can cause increased wear to your gun’s finish at rub points, usually around the trigger guard and muzzle.
Technically, hybrid holsters can use of a combination of any of the above materials. The most popular, however, are made with leather and Kydex. This allows you to have the molded security and lighter weight of Kydex, backed with leather for greater carrying comfort.
Choosing The Right Style
When selecting the best style of handgun holster, it’s important to consider how you intend to carry your weapon. That will guide you toward a set of styles you can further narrow down based on your body shape, personal preference, or ease of use. If possible, try on the holster prior to purchase or, borrow a similar holster from a friend to see just how well it fits you in real life.
While there is sure to be an article of clothing that can cover any holster, some are designed for use primarily as open carry rigs.
The drop leg holster is a familiar style to tactical shooting enthusiasts. This holster is suspended from your belt and secured to your thigh by straps, and is sometimes referred to as a thigh holster. This positions your weapon for a more natural draw from a relaxed position, but makes the holster more difficult, if not impossible, to conceal.
Outside Waist Band (OWB)
Outside the waistband holsters are exactly what they sound like: holsters that clip outside the waistband of your trousers or have a loop your belt runs through. They come in a wide range of styles and materials. While these can be used for concealed carry under a bulky outer layer, they tend to hold the gun looser against your side, making other holster options far superior for the purpose.
These holsters are a variant of the OWB holster that relies on a large paddle shaped piece of the holster rather than a clip or belt loop. Popular due to the speed with which it can be donned and removed, the paddle slips inside your pants, leaving the bulk of the holster and your weapon comfortably on your hip. It otherwise functions the same as other OWB holsters.
Concealed carry holsters are designed to help hide the fact you carry a handgun. They may be mandated by law for carry in your location, but even in open carry states, some people choose to obtain the documentation necessary to carry concealed. Make sure you understand your jurisdiction’s laws before you start your holster search.
When selecting a holster for concealed carry, consider your body style and the clothing you typically plan to wear. The majority of concealed carry holsters are hidden easily under a coat, jacket, or long sweatshirt, while others require far less. Make sure you choose a holster that will allow you to carry 2½ pounds of metal under your clothing comfortably year round.
The pancake holster is one of the best looking concealed carry choices. While it is technically an OWB holster that is worn on the belt, its design keeps your weapon close to your body where it rides high on your hip, so it’s concealed easier.
Inside Waistband (IWB)
IWB holsters clip to your waistband, but ride inside your pants. An IWB concealed leather holster is great for concealed carry, although you will have to wear pants that both fit around the waist snugly and provide room below the waistband to help conceal the weapon’s silhouette.
The combo holster is a variation of the IWB holster that allows you to change the clip’s position, so it can function as an OWB holster as well. This can be a good option if you wear a variety of different clothing styles that may suit one method over another — or in states that allow both concealed and open carry.
Popular with movie secret agents everywhere, the shoulder holster hides your gun in your off-side arm pit. It allows for you to draw across your body. If you get your clothes tailored, request additional room through the back and shoulders of your jacket and it will work well under a suit.
Ankle carry is popular among law enforcement as a carry position for a backup weapon. The ankle is fairly accessible, and few people watch your feet, so the likelihood of it being noticed is low. This is also a great carry style for to and from the gym, as it is well-hidden by sweatpants.
Other Holster Options
There are a few other features of holsters you need to be aware of that aren’t directly tied to their manufacture material or style of carry. Keep an eye out for these options:
Magazine or Speedloader Pouches
Some holsters will have a pouch for an additional magazine for your pistol or a speedloader for your revolver. If your favorite holster doesn’t offer this option, they are also available as standalone carriers in a similar style to most carry rigs.
Some holsters will have a feature meant to secure your weapon in the holster to prevent accidental drops and make it harder for your weapon to be taken away from you. While some use a tightly molded form to grip the weapon, especially the trigger guard, others will use a strap or a thumb break to keep you weapon secure.
Breaking In Your New Holster
When you buy a new holster, it’s not uncommon for it to be extremely rigid. While some choose chemicals (or in the case of Kydex, heat) to condition their holster, the easiest way to loosen it slightly and start the breaking in process is to place your handgun in a shopping bag, such as the plastic ones used by larger national retailers, and holster the firearm overnight.
To continue the process, you should to train with it. Under stressful situations, you will react the way you train. That means using the same rig at the range as what you plan to carry. Drawing and holstering your weapon repeatedly will not only help the holster give you a smooth, consistent draw, it will help you develop one too. It also helps your form muscle memory that will serve you well in case you need to use your weapon.
Informed Choices Are Smart Choices
By understanding the design intent and materials that go into holster production, you are better able to choose the best holster for your carrying needs. Make sure to evaluate yourself openly and honestly, and you will be able to find the right fit for your range rig or everyday carry.
Brian Claywell is a freelance writer and blogger based in Austin, Texas. With a love for hunting, hiking, and the great outdoors in general, he spends much of his time writing outside. In his free time, he enjoys spending time at the shooting range.
Last week we had some heavy winds roll through the Pacific Northwest where I live and, as a result, we had a tree branch break free and contact a power line. You can probably see the branch on fire but not the power line it’s touching:
Well, we called the fire department and they came out, but only stayed for several minutes before running off to deal with more pressing matters. Apparently this is normal for them when major wind storms hit the area.
Anyway, I wanted to point out that if it ever did cross your mind to grab a garden hose and try to put the fire out that it would be a VERY bad idea!
That’s because water and live power lines simply do NOT mix… you’ll likely be electrocuted trying to put out the fire.
Ultimately, the fire died out on it’s own and eventually the local power company came out and cut down the offending branch so no big deal, but it was alarming to see.
I made it a point to make this a teaching moment for my kids as well because who knows what they may try to do in the moment… and I’m reminding you as well.
Be safe out there.
I was recently sent this Roadside Emergency Kit by Survival Hax for review. It’s all nicely contained within this handy bag:
Most items are further protected inside plastic bags which is nice and all items are easily returned to the bag after removal.
Now, the first thing I went looking for, believe it or not, was an owner’s manual (yes, I’m getting old enough to WANT one even though I don’t need it, lol) but couldn’t find anything. Oh well, no big deal.
Here’s a photo of the kit contents:
And, the contents of the first aid kit bag:
They say it’s a 96-piece roadside kit which I’ll assume is correct, but a bit misleading simply because a majority of the kit contents are small items like bandages, zip ties, and safety pins.
That said, here’s my take on what’s included, starting from the top left and working more or less down and to the right:
- Triangle signal – Although I didn’t put it together, the item above the zip ties folds together to make a reflective triangle which can then be placed on the ground behind your car. While I would have preferred flares of some sort, this signal seems relatively sturdy and would, at least, get a passing driver’s attention when lights hit it.
- Jumper cables – These are about as basic as you can get since they’re not heavy-duty cables. Expect charging to take longer than it should but they will eventually get the job done, I’d assume so, anyway.
- First aid kit – You can see for yourself what’s included, but it’s mostly small bandages, gauze, cleaning pads and so on. There’s also a small mylar blanket included and few other small items which may come in handy, such as tweezers and scissors.
- Gloves – These won’t keep your hands dry for long but they will, at the very least, keep them from getting dirty and maybe provide a bit of warmth… plus they have a gripping side which is nice.
- Assorted smaller items – You’ll also find a variety of smaller items, such as zip ties, a candle, slip wrench, small whistle, and electrical tape. I’m not sure how useful any of this would truly be. The whistle is a good addition but not very loud, in my opinion. The candle, on the other hand, is just a fire hazard.
- Glow sticks and flashlight – Two small glow sticks are included (I didn’t try them) as well as one of those rechargeable hand-squeezed flashlights. They’re not great for long-term use but good enough for this purpose.
- Small utility knife – Includes various knives (which could use a sharpening to be sure), saw blades, corkscrew, etc. None of it is anything to get excited about and I honestly would have preferred a better quality single-blade knife.
- Safety escape hammer / seat belt cutter – This tool might actually be of use but won’t do you much good unless you move it to near the driver’s seat. I would have liked to see it have a strap of some sort so that it could be attached to your seat belt to keep it from flying about the car… guess you’ll have to hope that it stays wherever you stick it.
- Firestarter – At first glace this looks decent, though, I haven’t tried it. Honestly, I would have preferred matches or a lighter to start a fire.
- Tow straps – I have no idea what they’re rated. Regardless, I sure wouldn’t bet my life on them and I’m not sure I would bet my car on them either. Of course, I could be wrong.
- Emergency poncho, safety vest – The poncho is rather thin material but it should keep the rain off. The safety vest is a good addition.
- Bungee cords – A few lightweight bungee cords are included which could prove useful somehow, I know I keep bungee cords in my cars.
Ultimately, I wouldn’t pretend to suggest that this emergency roadside kit is the best that you can get. Most of the items included are basic / starter equipment. With that in mind, if you have nothing in your vehicle for a roadside kit then this one could work as a starter kit.
With that in mind, and while you’re welcome to purchase it from SurvivalHax.com, they’re offering readers a full $25 off their purchase from Amazon with the code “OFROAD50”. Enter that where it says “enter a discount or promo code” during checkout.
If you’ll recall, about two weeks ago I mentioned that I was looking for Kindle book review team members because I’m now writing Amazon Kindle books.
That process has been going great and I must say “thank you” again to those who have taken the time to help out.
As a result, my first book, The Complete Pet Safety Action Plan, is available on Amazon… best of all it’s currently free for download on Kindle for a limited time. 🙂
Here’s what you’ll discover inside…
- The Two Most Important Actions You Must Take Now Before Disaster Strikes
- How To Ensure You Get A “Pet-Friendly” Welcome On The Road
- How To Keep Your Pet Safe When You’re Away From Home
- What If You Can’t Take Your Pet With You?
- Getting Your Pet Ready At Home
- Getting Your Pet Ready To Evacuate
- What If You Must Evacuate On Foot?
- Keeping Yourself And Your Pet From Getting Sick During Disaster
- Know Your Rights: The PETS Act
- Advanced Disaster Considerations
- How To Get Supplies For Free (Or Really Cheap)
- General Safety Considerations
Go ahead and grab yourself a copy now while it’s still free on the Kindle platform (offer ends this coming Thursday).
The only thing I ask for in return is that you leave an honest rating on Amazon when you’re done.
Let’s play a game! When I say “prepping,” what is the first thing that comes to your mind? What about “survival?”
My guess is that most of you immediately thought of food, water, or other survival gear. And those are great answers. We can’t live long without food and water. But if you had an abundant storehouse of those supplies yet didn’t have other important items, your life could still be uncomfortable or, worse… in jeopardy.
There are lots of important considerations that need serious attention, but in this article, we’ll be focusing on just one: CLOTHING.
During normal, peaceful times, we use clothing primarily as a covering, a social cue, and a statement. During times of emergency when new clothing isn’t readily available, it’s often a lifesaver.
We can die much faster from exposure to the elements than we can die of starvation or even dehydration. Exposure in certain environments can certainly accelerate dehydration, but because there are threats that come from exposure during different seasons, it’s critically important that we have adequate clothing.
Where Do Clothes Come From?
When young children are asked where eggs or milk come from, they often respond, “The store.” That response would be funny if it weren’t so sad. They aren’t kidding; we’re disconnected from the source of our food. It’s just far more convenient and productive to buy our food than it is to grow it, so people move into the cities and buy what they need.
Similarly, if you asked kids — or even adults! — where clothes come from, we’re likely to respond, “The store.” That’s true for us today, but it wasn’t as true for our grandparents, great grandparents, and earlier generations. They would often buy fabric and then sew clothing as needs arose. In that era, learning to sew was a right of passage. That skill has largely been lost to recent generations.
So what would we do if clothing wasn’t available to buy for a while? Would you panic as your children’s clothes wore out and started to hang like rags from their bodies? Imagine your anxiety as snow sets in to see that your child had outgrown his shoes. What would you do if you couldn’t purchase a larger pair?
It’s hard to imagine not being able to purchase clothing off the rack since it’s so easy to do today. There are stores within minutes of most of our homes that stock all sorts of sizes, colors, and styles. Today’s ease of access to ready-made clothing could quickly change for a number of reasons, including:
- A pandemic could force people to stay home from work and avoid public places.
- Hyperinflation could also impact availability. As the value of currency plummets, people race to spend their money on necessities and tangible goods before the value of their money falls further. All sorts of goods become hard to find.
- An EMP could stop normal methods of production and distribution.
- Job loss or other financial strain could make buying clothing for your family difficult for a time.
If you have a supply of clothing on hand for future needs, however, it will ease the worry of clothing, which could really help. These scenarios don’t seem real or possible to many because we’ve had it so good for so long. The fact that most people haven’t seen times where clothing isn’t readily available doesn’t mean that it can’t happen!
Prior to the Great Depression things seemed pretty good. Prior to the hyperinflation of the Weimar Republic things were probably going fine. History repeats itself, and those who stick their fingers in their ears, pretending that it can’t happen here, will be least prepared when it someday does.
Shopping in Advance of the Need
Buy and store extra clothing. Try to select quality clothing that will be as durable and functional as possible. The good news is that you can save considerable money when you buy clothing in advance of your need.
Think about it, if you wear through a pair of shoes you’ll need to go get a new pair right now, because you don’t want to go to work tomorrow with your foot hanging out the side of your shoe. 😉
Because you need the shoes now, you head to the mall, visit one or two stores, and purchase the best available combination of product and price. Right now might not be the best time to purchase a pair of shoes at a really good price. The same shoes might cost half as much in a month or two when that store has a big clearance sale. When you buy in advance of your need, you can search out and find quality products at rock-bottom prices, then buy them to set aside UNTIL you need them.
It’s a known fact that you WILL need to buy shoes again at some point, as well as pants, and shirts, and socks, etc. These things wear out over time, so buying them in advance is extremely practical. Buying clothing this way for adults is fairly easy. They typically won’t be growing taller. Hopefully, they won’t be growing much in the other direction either! Kids are a little trickier. Their growth can be pretty explosive at times. When you’re buying season-specific clothing, you have to make an educated guess on the size they’ll need when that season rolls around.
Where to Find Quality Clothing at the Best Prices
You can certainly go to the retail store of your choice and buy several sizes ahead, but a better choice may be to find more highly discounted options. Because you’re buying in ADVANCE of your need, you can take your time, finding high quality items that have minimal cost. We like to frequent yard sales, thrift shops, craigslist (or similar sites), and the really good sales at factory outlet stores. We also buy ahead for the next year when seasonal clothes go on clearance at department stores.
Black Friday is coming up. It’s THE day where Americans often go wild, buying loads of plastic things and shiny objects to give as Christmas gifts. Sometimes people buy things simply because they’re on sale. Rather than limiting your Black Friday shopping to toys and gadgets, look for really attractive clothing offerings that have a special markdown that weekend. You may find deals a specific stores, or you may have your best luck online with sites like fatwallet.com or slickdeals.net. We’ve purchased some items off eBay and Amazon too.
Stop by your local Goodwill or other thrift stores in your community to get familiar with their offerings and pricing. You could also try some of the consignment stores in your area like Plato’s Closet, Kid-to-Kid, or Once Upon a Child for lightly used name-brand clothing at deeply discounted pricing.
Yard sales have been a really great source during the summer months when they are abundant. You can frequent the neighborhoods that tend to have really nice stuff. Oftentimes, they just want to clear their extra stuff out, so you can get items at $1 or less for each piece. That’s not always the case, and there are instances where you’d be thrilled to pay more for certain items, but savings can be significant. When you show up toward the end of a yard sale, the savings get even better. People may say that you can fill a bag for $5, for example, or they may beg you to just take whatever you want (free), so they don’t have to haul it back inside.
Even if the clothing is free, you’ll want to select quality pieces that will serve you well and you’ll actually want to wear. We don’t want to cross a line into senseless hoarding, of course. Buy heavy coats, sweaters, warm socks, and boots during the hot months of the year when they aren’t needed. Many department stores will sell their seasonal inventory at up to 75% off normal prices as seasons change.
If you’re buying in advance, you can find brand-name clothes that you’re excited to wear for FAR less than you would normally spend if you were shopping in-season as needs arise. Organize and set aside items that need to be grown into or that need to wait for another season. Occasionally you may guess wrong about sizing or some other detail and won’t be able to use the clothes, but when you find a great deal, you can afford a few mistakes!
It’s also a good idea to hang onto clothing that is still in good shape and can be passed down to your younger children. To make finding the clothes easier when they are needed in the future, group the clothing by size and season if possible. If you can find really good clothing at great prices, then it shouldn’t take long to accumulate clothing several sizes ahead. This isn’t JUST emergency clothing, it’s clothing that will be worn when it fits and as it’s needed. Because you accumulate when you find the right item at the right price, you will rarely find yourself having to pay retail prices for clothing. You’ll end up saving significant money on clothing your family.
It’s Not Just About Ready-Made Clothing
In addition to storing clothes, you can also store buttons, zippers, snaps, bolts of fabric, and thread. The fabric can be used for anything you don’t have on hand that you later find you need. Denim is extremely durable, so it would be a fantastic fabric to keep on hand. Polar fleece is warm, comfortable, and dries quickly. There are many other fabrics used for different purposes. The more simple and plain the pattern, the easier it will be to use the fabric for a wide variety of purposes.
What if you can’t sew? Should you still store fabric? Yes! First of all, the fabric is an insurance policy of sorts. Hopefully your accumulation of pre-made clothing that we just discussed will get you through a crisis just fine until clothing becomes more available. If not, bolts of fabric provide some flexibility. You can certainly take lessons and practice to acquire sewing skill. It’s a valuable thing to know. You could probably learn a great deal, at least as a starting point, on YouTube. Learning to patch and repair shoes and clothing is another useful skill to pick up. If you know a few skills and have the equipment available, you can patch holes, modify hems, and address other needs to prolong the life of your shoes and clothes.
Here are a few extra items that you may want to have on hand for repairs:
- Shoe Goo or Freesole (strong adhesives specifically used for shoe repair)
- Replacement shoe laces
- Leather conditioner
- Patch fabric (which could be taken from the good parts of worn out clothing)
Even if you don’t WANT to learn how to sew, other people DO have that talent and could sew clothes for you in exchange for some fabric, food, or other need. If nothing else, the fabric could be an excellent barter item if ready-made clothing is too expensive or unavailable for a time.
Learning to knit or crochet is another useful still to pick up. Again, you’re likely to be able to learn those stills, at least at a basic level, through YouTube. If you have yarn on hand and know how to use it, you could make a beanie, a sweater, socks, or a blanket, for example.
This is a big project and these are important prepping supplies, but don’t get overwhelmed. It’s an elephant that you’ll just need to eat a bite at a time, so to speak. To get started, follow these steps:
- Take inventory of what your family members already have and what they currently need in terms of shoes, winter boots, clothing, coats, gloves, etc.
- Make a list of the sizes that everyone is your home is currently wearing.
- Determine the amount of money you can afford to set aside for clothing accumulation each month.
- Decide on a strategy for accumulation. Are you going to hit yard sales or a second hand shop, for example?
- Keep track of the clothing you acquire. Keeping a master list on paper or digitally will help you to know where you stand at any given moment. It will help you avoid situations where you have 24 shirts but no pants for a particular child.
- If you have rewards credit cards with stores like Kohls or Cabelas, consider using accumulated points to purchase quality snow boots or other clothing items with.
- Organize and store your collection in a place and grouping that makes them easy to access as needed.
Prepping isn’t easy, but you’re going to feel great after collecting the clothing that your family needs, knowing that you have a clothing buffer. You’ll be fine, even if ready-made clothing is hard to come by for a year or two. In the meantime, you’ll be saving a sizable sum and still wearing really high-quality, name-brand clothing, if so desired. Once you catch the spirit, it’s actually fun and your whole family can get involved in the process of watching for good deals!
Dave Greene is the father of six children, and a long-time Prepper. The desire to protect and provide for his kids provides him with major fuel for this passion. He founded Tools of Survival in 2012, to help families become better prepared. In the years since, Dave has taught classes on survival equipment, mindset, and techniques in a variety of venues.