Wait! Before closing this article, hear me out. Yes, I know it sounds utterly disgusting, but you would be surprised to discover than dandelions are, at the same time, yummy and quite healthy.

In fact, according to some researchers who have nothing better to do than to test out just how edible wild plants are, dandelions are packed with zinc, potassium, iron, and calcium. If that wasn’t enough to convince you, then get this – dandelions are the second-best source of natural beta-carotene after carrots.

Even more, research indicates that tinctures and teas made from the stems and flowers can reduce blood pressure and help patients with diabetes better manage their blood sugar.

Anyway, because I’m always on the lookout for ‘exotic’ emergency food recipe, I’ve stumbled upon this little jewel while doing a bit of research on healing plants. It’s true that dandelion tea is great for the digestive system, but when mixed with a bit of flour and baked until golden-brown and crispy, it becomes a treat worthy of a king’s feast.

Interestingly enough, although tea made from dandelion flowers is a bit on the bitter side, bread is very sweet. Don’t know if it’s because of the extra honey or the taste of baked dandelions. Anyway, here’s how to prepare a loaf of delicious dandelion bread (has quite a ring to it, don’t you think?).

Gathering the ingredients

To make dandelion bread, you will need the following:

  • One cup of freshly-picked dandelions.
  • Half a cup of honey.
  • Three tablespoons of veggie oil.
  • One egg.
  • Half a teaspoon of salt.
  • One and quarter cup of cow’s milk.
  • Two cups of regular flour.
  • Two teaspoons of baking powder.

Are you ready with the ingredients? Well, time’s a-wasting. Let’s get cooking!

How to make dandelion bread

Step 1. Go out the back and pick up some dandelions (just enough to fill a cup). Discard the roots because you’ll only need the flowers and the stems. Head to the kitchen, toss them in a strainer, and give them a good wash. Make sure that there’s no dirt left on them.

Step 2. Place your dandelions in a bowl and grab a cutting board and a sharp knife.

Step 3. Use your knife to separate the flowers from the stem. You can toss the stems into the garbage or add them to the compost pile. Your choice.

Step 4. Mince the dandelion petals. Don’t worry about getting a couple of stems in the mix.

Step 5. Pre-heat your oven. Aim for 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Step 6. Grab a large bowl from your pantry. Add the flour and your minced dandelion flowers. Give it a good stir and add a pinch of salt. Last, add the baking soda and continue mixing.

Step 7. Get a deep plate. Add your milk, honey, oil, and egg. Use a whisk or a fork to combine the ingredients. You can add a little more honey if you like your bread sweet.

Step 8. Pour the milk, egg, honey and oil mixture over the dandelions and flour. Use a fork or your hand to incorporate all of the ingredients. If the mix feels too gooey, add a quarter cup of flour and keep mixing.

Step 9. Grab a bread pan from your pantry and put some baking parchment inside. To prevent the parchment from sticking to the pan, brush the inner part with sunflower oil before arranging the paper.

Step 10. Transfer the mix to the baking pan and use a spoon or spatula to spread the mix.

Step 11. If you like all-cereal bread, you grab a handful of sunflower seeds or your favorite mix and sprinkle some on top of the bread.

Step 12. Stick the pan inside the oven and set your timer to 15 minutes. Bear in mind that, in some cases, it may take a while longer. The bread loaf should have a golden-brown color.

Step 13. After the surface begins to change color, lower the oven’s temp to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Close the hatch and leave it in for another 20 minutes. There’s a quick and easy way to find out if your dandelion loaf’s done. Works for any kind of pastry, by the way.

Grab a toothpick or a clean piece of wood and stick it in the thickest part of the dough. Take out the stick and look at it. If there’s dough on it, leave the loaf for another 10 to 15 minutes in the oven. Don’t forget to lower the temperature to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. If the toothpick comes out clean, it means that it’s ready.

Step 14. Take the loaf out of the oven and allow it to cool for a bit before cutting it.

Congrats! You’ve just made your first dandelion bread loaf. What I like about this recipe is how easy it is to make it. With regular bread, you would need to use yeast in order to make the dough grow. More than that, it takes a bit longer to prepare, since you need to allow the yeast to act before placing it in the oven.

Word of caution before preparing this recipe – take care when choosing your dandelions. Unripe dandelions aka those that kids pick up and blow on it to make the flowers fly are very toxic.

Only use mature flower – you can easily recognize them by their yellow tint. Giving them flowers a quick wash will get rid of most dirt and earth. However, I would recommend submerging them in cold water and leaving them to soak overnight. Give them a rinse before adding them to the flour and baking soda mix.

Dandelion bread’s very tasty and pairs off nicely with smoked salmon and Velveeta cheese. It makes for an excellent breakfast with a thin layer of butter or margarine, of course.

As for storage, I placed a couple of leftovers in a vacuum-sealed bag (be sure to check out my piece on vacuum sealers) and tossed them in the pantry. Two weeks later, the bread’s still crunchy and highly edible.

Like my kick-ass dandelion bread recipe? Hit the comments section and let me know what you think.

Dandelions are packed with zinc, potassium, iron, and calcium. If that wasn’t enough to convince you, then get this – dandelions are the second-best source of natural beta-carotene after carrots.

Homesteading’s the fine art of getting your land legs while learning how to do most of the stuff on your own. It’s great to have your own slice of heaven by the sea or in the middle of a dark and twisted forest – I for one can vouch that, most of the time, it’s rather amusing to figure out how our ancestors did things like tending to the garden, raising farm animals, settling in for the winter, picking up fresh herbs from the garden or building simple stuff out back.

Still, as pleasure-laden, as homesteading may be or become, it’s rather a turnoff when you need to do all of the things or more when you’re sick. Even a simple cold or the flu can turn a grown man into a noodle, but imagine what happens when you become bound to your sickbed with no one around to take care of you and your house.

Yes, that may strike as being a little depressive, but, unfortunately, it can happen even to the best of us. I being struck down a couple of months ago by the stomach flu somehow wound up all alone at my hunting cabin. Wife couldn’t come up on account of the kids being sick too and no driver’s license, so I was kind of force to get ingenious about my homesteading.

Anyway, after careful considerations and some chicken soup, I came with this wonderful piece which details my journey from sickly couch-potato to a regular Paul Bunyan wannabee. Without further ado, here’s are my golden rules to successful homesteading while you’re sick.

  1. Stay in bed

Of course, my first golden rule had to be a no-brainer because of reasons. Just kidding – most people tend to underestimate the severity of their medical condition and decide to just brush it off. Don’t do that. If you’re feeling that your legs are turning into the noodle, get to bed, medicate, and sleep on it. Remember that you’re all alone out there, and if you happen to collapse while working the field or chopping wood, there’s no one around to pick you up or drive you to the hospital.

  1. Get in touch with emergency services

No matter if you’re a big city dweller or the king of your own hill or mountain, you’ve still got to figure out how to get in touch with the emergency services in case shit hits the fan. A while after I bought my hunting cabin, figuring out that I kind of get down with the flu when spring comes, I went to my local drug store and bought me a one-push emergency bracelet.

Surprisingly, the device has great coverage, even in places where there’s no phone signal. Don’t kid around with your health, especially if you decide to drop off the grid. If you can’t find an emergency bracelet, use an emergency service smartphone application like Emergency+ if you have adequate coverage. A portable distress beacon is always a great alternative, but it will need some tinkering before you can use it to alert the local emergency services.

  1. Keep an ample supply of chopped wood or fire-starting material

Golden rule number three – when you’re game, chop as much wood as you can because you won’t be able to do so when you’re sick. It would also be a good idea to keep a small wood stack as close to the home as possible to minimize exposure to the elements.

Yes, I know that’s a big no-no in the big book of prepping, but some rules are meant to be bent if in doing so increases your survival likelihood. If your stove is running on another kind of fuel, be sure to keeps some close by, but not too close to the heating device.

  1. Soup broth all around!

I know it’s kind of a cliché but hot chicken soup really help you’re sick or feeling down. Making some in your home is no big deal. Still, I would skip the cooking part and go buy some canned soup. Sure, nothing beats a home-cooked meal, but do keep in mind that you can’t prepare the broth that much in advance.  So, make sure you have enough in your pantry for whatever the case may be.

  1. No one should be without a checklist

Checklists are a marvelous way of keeping everything nice and tidy, especially if you’re the kind of person that has no love for neatness. If you find yourself alone and sick on your property, get yourself together and try to jot down a small to-do list for the next couple of days. That way, you will have ensured that you haven’t missed anything.

  1. Let someone know you’re there

You may be king of the mountain, but every king sometimes requires the aid of a royal advisor. In this case, you should let someone know where you are and, most importantly, how long you’re planning on staying. If you plan on moving there, get to know your neighbors and, if possible, ask someone to check up on you every couple of days to make sure that you’re safe and sound.

  1. Keeping your meds close

You don’t need to be sick in order to figure out that it’s really important for the meds to be within reach. I personally emptied an old wooden wardrobe and sort of turned it into a big med cabinet. Of course, you can do as you like when it comes to med storage. Don’t forget about the golden rule of med hoarding: painkillers first, anti-histamines second, and vitamin supplements last.

These are my golden rules of homesteading while I’m sick. As I’ve mentioned, all of this stuff are the results of my me-time at the hunting cabin. Sure, it may be possible that some steps might be a bit off, but, as I’ve said, this was a personal experience. Think something’s missing from the list? Then go ahead and hit the comments section and let me know what you think.

Even a simple cold or the flu can turn a grown man into a noodle, but imagine what happens when you become bound to your sickbed with no one around

A best friend in need (BFIN) is a great friend indeed – especially if it can suck the air out of every bag, helping you organize the shit out of your B.O.B.

I was, of course, referring to the vacuum sealer (although that could have easily described every guy’s first-gold-digger-mistaken-for-true-love relationship), a great piece of technology that makes packing a piece of cake. Sure, many of you would come off telling me that this nifty gadget’s been around for quite a while and that I should get out more, but better late than never, as our grandparents used to say.

Indeed, I have to admit that the vacuum sealer’s been somewhat of a late-coming revelation, but that’s mostly because I had the impression that there’s nothing more than I could’ve learned about neat packing.

I was dead wrong. Anyway, I stumbled upon this gadget during one of my trips to the downtown thrift shop – paid around 15 bucks for the sealing machine and two dozen packs of sealing bags. I guess you can also order it online or find it at a hardware store or something, but if you come across one in a thrift, don’t miss out on the opportunity.

So, after packing everything that can be packed, I decided to write this piece to share with you people just how helpful such a doodad can be, especially if you have trouble organizing your stuff. And because nobody likes very long and tedious foreplay (unless there’s booze involved), here are a couple of cookie ways of how to use a vacuum sealer around the house.

  1. Creating weatherproof containers for your meds

Why waste a truckload of bucks on the weatherproof first-aid kit when you can create one using vacuum sealer bags? Thank you, Internet, for telling me this after spending 150 bucks on a heavy-duty kit from my local drug store.

Anyway, if you really want to make a medkit that can withstand anything from heavy rains to snow storms or any Kingdom Come events, grab everything you need and place them in one of these nifty bags. Be careful when sealing your items, especially when it comes to stuff that doesn’t take kindly to moisture. A great workaround would be to seal your medical supplies with a small desiccant silica gel pack.

That should get rid of any remaining moisture. Now, if you really want something hospital-grade, you can try out this nifty trick – get yourself one of those cosmetics bags (you can usually find them in any supermarket, especially around Father’s Day) or a padded Pepsi cooler. Next, take everything out of your regular first-aid kit and separate them. Put your pickup scissors in one sealable bag, sterile gauze in another, painkiller meds in the other, and so on.

Make sure that every object is sterile before placing them in the sealable bags. Vacuum the air out of each bag, place packs in your cooler or cosmetics bag and, voila, you now have a hospital-grade first-aid kit. What I like to do is leave a small gap in the upper part of the bag, in cases I need to break open the pack really fast (you should do this for stuff like gloves, gauze, and pickups). You can seal off the rest completely.

  1. Storing important documents and copies

As you know, one of the most crucial aspects of preparing a bug out bag is ensuring that you have at least one folder or something that contains copies after important items such as house deed, medical insurance, driver’s license, and whatnots. Sure, you can go ahead and buy a folder or something for your documents, but watch out for drizzles or snow.

One clever way of making sure that your docs remain intact no matter what would be to put them in a vacuum sealer bag. I did this for all my docs and copies, Yes, you can seal even the originals. Now, if you have very old documents, it would be a good idea to laminate them instead of placing them in vacuuming bags.

Apart from the fact that they look really neat and ready to be framed, the lamination foil also protects them from stuff like oil, moisture, dirt, dust or anything that may hasten the paper’s weathering rate. I found out that vacuum sealing is a great way to safeguard old docs, books, sketchbooks, and notebooks from those blasted paper moths which literally eat everything in their path (that’s how I lost my Don Quixote princeps edition).

  1. Keeping valuables away from prying eyes

If you have valuable objects like jewellery, gold & silver bullion, Tim Hortons discount tickets, you should consider vacuum sealing them before stashing them in your hiding place of choice. In this form, they’re way easier to retrieve and, believe it or not, vacuum protects valuable objects from things like moisture, dirt, dust, mold, mildew, and, of course, people who ask far too many questions.

If you have gadgets that are no longer of use to you, don’t throw them away if you can salvage the component. Put them in a sealable bag and stash them in your garage or something. Remember that in an SHTF situation, an older but functional phone battery can become more valuable than a bar of gold – priorities! It’s always a question of priorities.

  1. Crafting tailored MREs

Nothing beats that feeling of having a well-organized B.O.B, especially when it comes to the food part. MREs come in all shapes and sizes, meaning that sometimes it’s pretty challenging to keep everything nice and tidy. A great workaround would be to make tailored, vacuum-sealed MREs.

Here’s the deal: no two preppers have the same tastes in food. I, for one, like homemade meals ready to eat and would gladly get rid of stuff like crackers, biscuits, beef jerky, trail mix or potato chips. Whatever your SHTF culinary preferences are, sealing the food in vacuum bags will help you save a lot of space, which you can use for other gadgets and trinkets. Just be sure to toss a pack of desiccant silica gel in each food bag before using the vacuum to suck the air out.

  1. Weatherproofing hiking and camping supplies

Yes, I know you can use cheap garbage bags to weatherproof your clothes and undies, but do bear in mind that a thin plastic sheeting won’t keep your stuff dry for long, especially if there’s extra moisture in the air. One way of making sure that your clothes retain that out-of-the-wardrobe freshness would be to vacuum seal each piece of apparel before tossing them back into your B.O.B or hiking pack.

  1. Creating cheap storage containers for oil, vinegar, salt, and sugar

Among other emergency food, oil, vinegar, salt, and sugar are known to last almost indefinitely, provided that they’re stored in the proper conditions. With a vacuum sealer, you can create ultra-safe containers for your foods.

Sugar and salt are easy to pack, but you may want to pay extra attention when vacuum sealing oil and vinegar (you should consider looking for bags that come with bottlenecks and stoppers). Moreover, you can also make B.O.B versions by using smaller sealable bags.

  1.  Making awesome marinades

As you know, some types of meats like wild game, need to sit in a marinade for at least a couple of days before it can be cooked. Sure, you can put everything in a zip-lock bag before sticking it in a freezer, but there’s always that small chance of air getting inside.

Another reason why it’s better to use vacuum sealer bags has very much to do with refrigeration. Zip-locked marinade needs to stay cool. Meat and marinade that have been vacuum sealed can be kept basically anywhere because there’s no air left to oxidize the meat. Go ahead and have fun with your vacuum-sealed marinade. Just be sure to cook it soon.

  1. Easy icepacks

Don’t have anything on hand to put the ice in? No problem! Take the ice out of the freezer and toss in a small vacuum bag. Seal, make sure there are no leaks and use immediately. You can also stockpile icepacks for later use.

  1. Making spice and condiment packs

Remember the last time you were out camping, and you had to carry all these spice and condiments packs because you didn’t know for sure which one would pair best with the meat?

Well, if you have one of these awesome gadgets, you can make your own condiment packs and spice mixes. Even better is the fact that you can make person-tailored portions. For instance, if you’re more partial to mustard than to ketchup, you can put a little extra for yourself.

Same goes for the other members of your family or hiking group. As for the spice pack, the vacuum sealer eliminates the need to carry all these small packs of salt, pepper, paprika or whatever. Save yourself the trouble of having to carry those around by creating your very own spice mix. Here’s my all-time favorite:

  • Dried minced onion (around three tablespoons).
  • Dried thyme (one tablespoon).
  • Allspice (one or two tablespoons).
  • Black pepper (one tablespoon).
  • Cinnamon (one teaspoon).
  • Cayenne pepper (one or two teaspoons).
  • Sea salt (one teaspoon).
  • Garlic powder (one teaspoon).

Crush everything into a fine powder, add to your sealable bag, give it a shake or two, and enjoy.

  1. Storing bed sheeting and linen

I used to have an entire wardrobe filled with bed sheets and linen. Yes, I know everyone has trouble organizing it, which is exactly the reason why I went ahead and tried to vacuum-seal everything inside.

It’s best to do this after ironing them (allow them to cool down before bagging and tagging to ensure that there’s no moisture inside the pack). You can throw a pack or two of desiccant silica gel if you like. Anyway, I very much prefer vacuum-sealing my bed stuff because you can store them virtually anywhere, leaving you with extra space for new clothes or whatever.

It’s best to take this one step at a time. First vacuum-seal your winter linen, while keeping the spring\summer stuff within reach. When the time comes to use them again, pop open the bags, and seal the rest. You can do the same with jackets, parkas, hunting socks, scarves, gloves or anything wintery.

That’s it for my list on how to take full advantage of your vacuum sealer. As I’ve mentioned, the machine itself is very cheap (you can probably find one in a thrift store as I did). Still, you may have some trouble finding suitable bags – try Amazon or inquire at the store. You can always buy plastic rolls, cut them to shape, seal one end with a laminator or something if you’re looking to upscale or downscale project. Missed anything? Hit the comment section and let me know your thoughts.

A best friend in need (BFIN) is a great friend indeed – especially if it can suck the air out of every bag, helping you organize the shit out of

I admit that I’m somewhat of a hoarder when it comes to food. No shame in this, only the fact that I’m on round-the-clock freezer and fridge cleaning duty. Yeah, I know it’s kind of a bummer to take a garbage bag and throw away that awfully good food just because you consider your family’s needs nor the fridge’s capacity (true story).

Anyway, after cleaning the fridge this morning, a thought stroke me: what if there’s some magical way of telling if the food’s safe to eat or not? Well, that would spare the trouble of having to clean the damned thing each week, not to mention the fact that I would probably save a lot of money.

As a prepper, you probably know by now that food past its prime is unsafe to eat, no matter how SHTF-ish the situation gets. This is the reason I’ve spent the rest of my day searching for a way to tell apart rotten from safe to eat food. Yes, I needed to ask Google for directions because I’m really bad at colors and, because of this damned cold, my sense of smell is close to nonexistence.

So, before you grab your garbage back to summer-clean your fridge, freezer or both, you may want to take a closer look at my kick-ass list on how to figure out if your food’s still good or packing a six-shooter.

  1. Soggy edges

Could never tell for sure how off my veggies were. I always assumed that as long as they don’t give off a funky smell, they’re good for eating. Dead wrong! Apparently, soggy edges, especially in green-leafed veggies like lettuce, kale, spinach, watercress or cabbage is, in fact, the first sign of spoilage.

Yes, I know that it’s a no-brainer, but as I discovered, people usually disregard this part, telling themselves that the veggie’s safe to eat if you cut around the soggy part. So, if you see any sogginess, brown patches or if the vegetable sort of deflates, it means that it has gone bad and, therefore must be thrown in the trash can.

  1. Discoloration

Of course, nothing spells “spoilage” better than an unnatural color. However, in some cases (red bell pepper) it’s hard to tell if that’s part of the vegetable’s life cycle or a tell-tale sign of spoilage. The best way to see how fresh your veggie is would be to make a small nick on the green part. Pull it aside. If it’s green on the inside, it means it’s safe to safe. On the other hand, if it has a brownish tint to it, do yourself a favor and throw it in the trash.

  1. Molding

While you’re cleaning your fridge and freeze, you may want to take a closer look at the bread and any other pastry you may be hoarding. See, no matter how well you keep your bread, there’s always that chance of mold growing on it. If you see any, throw it away as fast as you.

Heard a doozie some time ago that moldy bread may be safe to eat, at least for a couple of days, if you remove the moldy part and stick the loaf in the oven for 10 minutes. That’s a big no-no, and I would advise you to throw away the bread as well as the other stuff it came in contact with.

  1. Limpness

Veggies such as green beans have a limp-type of aspect after being kept in the fridge for too long. If you see any of that, it means that the legume is way past its prime, meaning that it has lost all nutritional value and could severely compromise your health if consumed. Yes, I know that most of you are in the habit of quick-freezing green beans and other stalky veggies.

Still, the freezer’s not always the best option for long-term food storage. Sure, it can extend the shelf-life by a couple of weeks or even months but, eventually, all of it will go bad. In case of veggies look for paleness and a thick layer of ice. As for meat, ice plus a violet tint equals garbage bag.

  1. Foul smell

The nose always knows! If you pick off any strange odor coming from your food, then it’s more than safe to assume that it really has gone bad. Meat will give off a rotten smell, while veggies will smell just like forest fungi. The same smell can emanate from eggs and eggplants. Keep in mind that eating rotten stuff can result in food poisoning or worse.

  1. To float or not to float?

In some cases, it’s quite difficult to figure out if they’re spoiled or not. Take eggs for instance. If there’s no expiration label on them, it’s nearly impossible to tell the difference between a fresh and an old one. Luckily there’s a test you can use to figure out if the eggs are safe to eat or not. Fill a bowl with cold water and place all your eggs inside. If they went under and lay flat on their sides, it means that they’re fresh. If not, then you should consider going to the store to buy a new carton.

  1. Discoloration in meat

There’s a bit of an argument on this one. While some say that meat discoloration is solely the result of poor packaging and exposure to air and, therefore safe to it, others argue that meat turned grey or brown should be tossed in the trash. Can’t say for sure which side is right, but my humble opinion, it’s not a good idea to begin experimenting on food. Best to throw away anything that has an unusual color.

That’s it for my short and sweet guide on how to tell if the food’s still edible or not. As always, if you feel that’s, I’ve missed something crucial, do hit the comments section and speak your mind.

Before you grab your garbage back to summer-clean your fridge, freezer, or both, you may want to take a closer look at my kick-ass list on how to figure out

Have you ever tried to find more info about someone online? Running a name through Google may give you a few vague details, but it’s nothing compared to the power of an advanced background check. Every search is totally private. The person that you’re looking up won’t be notified that you’ve pulled their report.Traffic offences, arrest records, and forgotten social media profiles don’t always come up on a Google search — especially if you are searching a common name. But one website can tap into the deep web and reveal shocking personal details in one easy-to-read report. It’s a people search engine called TruthFinder.

All you have to do is type in a name. TruthFinder’s advanced technology sifts through millions of public records in minutes. Because TruthFinder search results can reveal a location, age, and known associates, you can immediately narrow down your search to the relevant person — even if they have a very common name.

Even if you don’t know any details about this person, you can play detective until you find what you’re looking for with unlimited searches.

TruthFinder warns members that reports could contain graphic and shocking information. I was pretty curious, so I decided to try it out for myself.

This is an example of some of the related links and situations that you may find in a TruthFinder report

First, I searched for myself. I was totally humiliated to realize that a blog I had created NINE years ago showed up in a report — with embarrassing photos for the whole world to see! I’ve been trying to remove my teenage years from the internet ever since I was old enough to regret them. But TruthFinder found what I tried to hide!

Although it was pretty embarrassing, it was also really handy. Now I can find that blog and delete it! The craziest thing? I tried searching for both my name and my forgotten blog’s name in Google to see if they came up. Google didn’t find anything, but TruthFinder did!

Intrigued, I decided to see what else TruthFinder could dig up. So I searched some of my friends that I always suspected had a “colorful” history. I can’t say I was surprised that one of them had three arrests, but I was pretty shocked that this information was available to anyone with a TruthFinder membership!

It didn’t take long for things to get sinister. Everyone knows that one person who feels a bit “off” — you can’t explain why they give you a bad feeling, but your gut instinct says that they’re trouble. When you get that feeling, you should definitely use TruthFinder.

I searched a friend-of-a-friend who always gave me the heebie-jeebies.

This guy had dozens of criminal records. I actually couldn’t count how many arrests were on his rap sheet. This was no standard high school arrest or unpaid parking ticket.

This is an example of potential criminal records that you may find in a TruthFinder report

From assault to child abuse, this guy was seriously bad news. I had no idea before I used TruthFinder. I was shocked to discover what he was capable of. Aside from those explosive revelations, the sheer volume of data on TruthFinder was impressive. It can access known addresses, including my new apartment, which I only moved into six months ago!

When I clicked on my location details, I was blown away to find a list of all of my possible neighbors — addresses included. And yes, curiosity got the better of me. I looked them up, too! Hey, you can never be too careful, right?

I found census data, age demographics, income demographics, population demographics, and even the demographics for top interests in my zipcode! How is this even possible?

As I read through my own background report, I began to realize how amazing this service is. The most popular places in your neighborhood come back on a report. Think about it this way: have you finally scored a hot date with your crush, but you don’t know where to take them? Look them up on TruthFinder. Aside from making sure that they’re not criminally insane, you can use location data to wow them by taking them to the hottest restaurant in their area!

And while you’re on that date, you can casually mention that band they follow on Twitter, too.

Yep, all those social media profiles are included on a TruthFinder report. If you’re currently dating, get searching. That hottie you met in the bar who said they were soooo single? A TruthFinder search might say something different…

This is an example of some of the social media data and situations that you may find in a TruthFinder report

The possibilities are endless. And with UNLIMITED searches, you can literally spend an entire evening on this website. I’ll admit — it’s pretty addictive once you start searching!

It also showed me the mugshots and location of all the sex offenders in my area — along with details of their charges. Now I know which faces to avoid at all costs.

I would definitely recommend TruthFinder to my friends and family. Even though I was dismayed to discover some uncomfortable truths, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Anyone can use TruthFinder to reveal the secrets about those around them. If you want to give it a try, click here.

Have you ever tried to find more info about someone online? Running a name through Google may give you a few vague details, but it's nothing compared to the power

In a mood for a sing-along? I got just the tune for you – the blackout golden oldie. Yes, it’s a catchy song, and goes along with great with the other great things in life like running of food, water, and brooding in the dark. The piece I did on the makeshift stove using cooking oil inspired me to do a little snooping around for quick and easy-to-do light sources.

Of course, nothing beats a flashlight or an emergency candle in case the power goes out, but what are you going to do when there’s no more juice in that lantern and the last piece of flick died out like the ambitions and desires of a crestfallen lover? Make some more, of course, because that’s we preppers are good at.

In today’s article, I’m going to show you a fast way to create 24-hour emergency candles by harnessing the raw power of your favorite dish – bacon. Yup, you’ve read that right. Bacon’s not only great for breakfast, but can also be used to make portable and highly efficient light sources. So, enough chit chat! Let’s take a look at how bacon candles are made.

Gathering your materials

To pull this off, you will need:

  • A pack of bacon (go for a family pack).
  • A bell glass jar.
  • A wick or a piece of string.
  • A pencil.
  • A cooking pan.
  • A funnel.
  • A strainer.

Ready with the ingredients? Great job! Here’s what you’ll need to do next. Tr

Making Bacon Emergency Candles

Step 1. Put half a tablespoon of cooking oil into your pan. Don’t put too much though because the bacon will leave enough grease.

Step 2. Fire up your stove and start cooking the bacon. Your goal is to melt each and every bacon piece. Don’t trouble yourself too much if a piece is too stubborn because you’re later going to strain the “brew.”

Step 3. When the last bacon piece has melted, kill the fire, and allow the mixture to cool down. Careful while handling that pan because you can get some nasty burns from hot grease.

Step 4. While waiting for the mix to cool down, prepare your candle. Now, depending on how much bacon you’ve used, it may take more than one jar. No problem there – the more, the merrier.

Step 5. Untighten the lid and store it for future use.

Step 6. Tie a knot around the pencil and rest it on the jar’s rim.

Step 7. Make sure that there’s enough of the string inside your jar. Be sure to place the wick right in the center. For reference, leave at least one inch from the rim of your jar.

Step 8. Check up on your grease. Don’t leave it to cool down completely because you won’t be able to pour it into the jar.

Step 9. Grab a container from the pantry and place the strainer on top.

Step 10. When you’re done, use the funnel to fill up the glass jar with the grease. Ensure that the pencil holding the wick remains in the middle.

Step 11.  After you pour the last drop of fat inside the jar, allow the container to put down completely. Stick it in the fridge and wait for the fat to harden.

Step 12. When the grease has hardened, take a pair of scissors and cut just below the know you made. Congratulations! You’ve successfully made your first bacon-powered emergency candle.

More on grease candles

The best thing about this candle-making recipe is that you can pull it off with just about any kind of grease. I prefer bacon because it’s ludicrously cheap and I usually have enough to go around the house. It’s possible to make these beauties using other fat from other animals. Duck meat, for instance, is a great source of fat. Didn’t try it myself but I don’t see any reason why you can’t use other types of fat.

As I’ve mentioned, during the cooking part, it may be possible to get stuck with undissolved bacon chunks. I wouldn’t advise you to continue cooking the mix as you will probably end up setting fire to the kitchen. Use the strainer to pick up the rogue chunks or a pair of thongs to remove the pieces directly from the pan.

Ideally, you should use special wicks. They’re not that expensive, and they do a far better job compared to other textiles. However, should you find yourself short on wicks, you can always replace them with thin pieces of strings or shoelaces (just be sure to snip off both ends before using them).

Word of caution of using shoelaces as wicks – some of them have a rugged coating on them. Great for weather-proofing, prevents warping, but not so great for burning. Stick with regular cotton shoelaces. Of course, you can always a piece of paracord or another kind of cordage.

Yes, I know that the idea of staying on a bacon-candlelit porch may be enticing, but I would advise you not to take them outdoors as there’s a fair chance of being overrun by bugs, especially mosquitos.

The pencil part is not mandatory. You can use anything to keep the wick aligned, like a toothpick or a small twig.

Yes, it is possible to make candles that last longer, but you will need more bacon and a bigger jar. Still, I don’t see the point of making bigger ones as the entire idea is to make something light enough for your B.O.B or backpack.

Be extra careful when handling the bacon pan. That stuff burns like Hell. You should also keep the fire on low or medium-high to prevent the hot grease from jumping off the pan. In case you get a grease burn, stick your hand in running cold water and keep it there for at least 15 minutes. You may need to apply a sterile bandage afterward.

That’s about it on homemade candles! Be sure to hit the comment section and let me know how your project went.

Of course, nothing beats a flashlight or an emergency candle in case the power goes out, but what are you going to do when there’s no more juice in that

You know that S really HTF and broke it when you have no other choice than to drink water out of muddy puddle you found on the side of the road. Perhaps a call-to-action to some but, to most of us is what makes survival gritty. Fortunately for us, there’s plenty of ways to make that unpalatable water safer to drink, and not all of them rely on water purification tablets or sterilization bottles.

In an SHTF situation, it’s possible to filter water by using charcoal and nothing else. Yes, I know that the charcoal and water really don’t mix, but truth be told, this is the second-best water purification method after boiling. What I like about this little experiment is that it really brings out that cavemanish side of us which we desperately try to suppress and hide.

So, if you’re stuck out there in the wild, with no water-filtration sippy cup, no purification tablets, and not sources of water other than puddles and stinky ponds, here’s what you will need to do in order to whip up a charcoal-based sterilization system.

Word of warning before we start – through the time-honored method is great at getting rid of most bacteria and dirt, I would advise you to start looking for another water source. Works like a charm for a day or two, but wouldn’t bet my kidneys on it for anything longer than that.

Little Black Book

Materials needed

  • Empty plastic bottled (I’ve tried it on an old Coca-Cola bottle).
  • Canteen.
  • Survival knife.
  • A handful of pebbles.
  • A handful of sand.
  • Charcoal
  • Water carrier (cup, mug or anything to store the purified water).
  • A clean piece of cloth or a bandage.

Making a charcoal-based water purification filter

Step 1. Gather all your materials. You can use a piece of charcoal from your campfire. Still, seeing that some necks of the woods are filled with tourist, there’s a slight chance of stumbling upon an extinguished fire pit, thus sparing you the trouble of starting a fire.

Step 2. Use your survival knife to cut the bottom of your plastic bottle. Don’t discard the keep.

Step 3. With the cap still on, put a couple of pebbles inside the bottle.

Step 4. Use the pommel of your knife to stuff the peddles.

Step 5. Add a layer of sand. Again, use the back end of your knife to make sure everything’s neat and tidy.

Step 6. Add the piece of cloth or bandage and arrange it.

Step 7. Toss in your charcoal. You may have to smash it in order to fit inside the bottle.

Step 8. Add another piece of cloth or bandage.

Step 9. Add more sand.

Step 10. Put some pebbles on top, and you’re all set to go.

More on the makeshift water filtration system

See how simple that was? Congrats on your first charcoal-based water filtration system. However, there’s one more thing you’ll need to do – test it. Do bear in mind that although the system’s great at removing most of the dirt, slime, and bacteria from the water, it won’t get rid of everything. So, in order to test your charcoal filter, fill your canteen with water from a puddle or other water source. Be careful to avoid picking up too much dirt or other things floating in the water.

 

Little Black book 2

Put an empty water carrier underneath your water purification system and begin pouring water from the canteen. Don’t fret or pout if the water inside the carrier is still dirty. It takes about three or four attempts to get clear water. Just keep trying. The results will certainly speak for themselves – not like you got any other choice.

Design-wise, it’s very important not to forget about the cloth pieces. Apart from charcoal, they also play a key role in the whole water purification system. What happens if you add a single layer or forget about them? You end up with charcoal-black water, and that’s a major turn off.

Careful when choosing the pebbles and sand. If possible, remove as much of the dirt and dust from them before sticking them inside your bottle. As far as the sand part is concerned, if you cannot find any, you can also replace the sand layers with more cloth and pebbles.

For the best possible results, I would 2-liter plastic bottles. You should also consider attaching some sort of handle near the open end to make the filtration device easier to hold. If you want to add an extra layer of filtration, cut a small hole in the plastic cap and fill the inside with a thin piece of bandage or cloth. You may have to wait a while longer for all the water to drain in the carrier, but at least it’s a bit cleaner.

Again, this water filtration method is designed for short-term use, not for the long-run. If you’re still lost, try to look around for other water sources. For instance, some tree holes contain a fair amount of water, but you’ll need to whip up some sort of siphoning system (that’s why I included a small tube in my B.O.B). You can always crush the stems of fleshy plants for extra water.

One more thing – choosing the right pieces of charcoal. Sure, all charcoal is the same, but for this to work, you will need to scavenge two intact pieces. You will end up with zilch and a lot of dirty water if you use crushed charcoal. Ideally, you should at least keep one or two pieces of charcoal inside your tinder box, but you can also make some by starting a fire.

That’s about it on how to make an efficient charcoal-based water filtration system. It’s a very basic rig, but it gets the job in a shit hits the fan situation. Do you think my design needs some improvement? If you feel like something’s missing, don’t be a stranger and hit the comment section. Would also like to hear your thoughts on other ways to purify water in the field.

See also the video below that shows you how the charcoal works in purifying the water:

Fortunately for us, there’s plenty of ways to make that unpalatable water safer to drink, and not all of them rely on water purification tablets or sterilisation bottles.

As the saying goes, there are more ways to skin a <please insert name of an animal other than a cat, because Mr. Jynx is giving me the death stare while I’m writing this> and even more ways to use a pleasure rubber when the shit hits the fan. Yes, you’ve nailed it – today’s article will be about that one item that flushes out first-daters, being the embodiment of unbridled passion, lost nights, and broken hearts  – the condom.

With a history that spans at least one millennium, this STD prevention is, in some parts of the globe, standard equipment for infantry and other military branches. Did you know that during the Juno beach landing of 1944 US soldiers used natural rubber condoms to prevent sand and enter seeping into their weapons? Yes, it’s quite an ingenious trick which kind of proves to us that even an object wildly associated with bouncy-bouncy can have many uses, some of them even outside the bedroom.

Anyway, ever since writing that piece on survival uses of chapstick, I’ve been messing around the Internet searching for even more ‘odd’ objects that have a great SHTF potential. Of course, I could’ve gone with anything like bobby pins, household bleach, zip ties or whatever, but yours faithfully seemed to be more drawn to the wondrous world of bedroom games and ear-ripping onomatopoeia rather than shed-ware.

So, without further ado, here are 17 great ways of using pleasure rubbers in a shit hits the fan situation.

  1. Water carrier

Remember when we were kids, and we used to buy rubbers by the dozen only to use them as water balloons? Well, wouldn’t you know it, condoms can double up as water carriers in case of an emergency. And if you’re now wondering just how much water a condom can hold, let me clear that up for you – most of the ‘regular’ fit types can carry up to a gallon of water or even more.

If you’re looking to enhance your B.O.B with additional water-carrying items, you should consider throwing in a pack of ginormous condoms. Word of warning though – don’t rely too much on condoms when it comes to storing water. Making do with one on an emergency is okay, but in the long run, you may get off with a very bad taste in your mouth after drinking water (that would be the lubricant or the anesthetic, depending on the brand).

  1. Open wound management

Bandages may be hard to come by during an emergency (happens all that time). That’s why you need to be ready to improvise. Though odd, carrying a condom or two in the first-kit may be more beneficial than you realize.

If you run out of sterile gauze or pads, you can tape a condom over the cleaned and debrided wound. This acts as a water sealant and as a barrier for bugs, dirt, or anything in between. In case of light luxation, you may be able to use a condom as an icepack (just fill the thing with ice or ice-cold water and apply on the affected area).

  1. Food storage

Yikes! Condoms used as plastic bags for food storage! What has the world come to? Actually, it’s a far better idea to store food in such a container, since condoms do a great job at keeping moisture away.

More than that, because most respectable condom manufacturers add a trace amount of disinfectant inside the rubber, those bad boys can also whack germs away apart from keeping moisture away. Remember when we were kids and used to think that milk-filled rubber gloves are udders? Use your imagination on this one.

  1. Sterile gloves

Any wound management protocol dictates that any nick, cut or open wound should never be touched without sterile gloves. Sure, that’s true in a world with ample medical supplies, but may become something of luxury during an SHTF situation. If you run of gloves or, worse, you sterilize medical supplies have gone bad; you can pull a condom over your hand and use them as rubber gloves. Of course, it’s trickier to worth with stuff that has no fingers, but then again, who cares?

  1. Corking bottles

I’m the kind of person that always loses bottle caps. Yes, I know it’s frustrating, and in most cases, those darn caps disappear as if wished away by a trickster or something. Don’t panic! If you have a condom within reach, you can use it to cover the opening of a container.

I wouldn’t use on fizzy drink, because the surface is not good enough to prevent the gas from getting out. In case you were wondering, yes, I did, in fact, used an open condom to cover a milk bottle, which I later placed in the fridge. I imagine my wife was not too pleased to discover a pleasure rubber stuck in the bottle when she made breakfast.

  1. Fire-starter

There are always plenty of ways to start a fire, but it all depends on what kind of tinder or fuel you’re using. If you don’t have char cloth or whatever, you can always rip open a condom pack and use it as a fire-starter. Be careful about lighting it though – it’s going to get up in flames really fast so keep a safe distance to prevent breathing in those toxic fumes.

 

  1. Water-proofing gadgets

The rain in Spain may, indeed, stay mainly on the planes, but out here it tends to knock out everything that’s electronic in nature. I had to pay a whopping $1,000 for two new phones because of the rain- yes, I don’t always carry an umbrella or raincoat.

Anyway, if you’re caught in the rain and don’t have anything on hand to protect your smartphone or tablet, you can use a condom to create a water-repellent barrier around the device. Just make sure you tighten the other end of the condom. Might be a good idea to keep the case on, as many smartphones have jagged edges which can punch holes in the condom.

  1. Slingshot

If you’re out hunting for small game or just target practice, you may be able to use a condom to fashion a slingshot. All you have to do is to find a y-shaped piece of wood. Tie both ends of the condom, put some padding in the middle, and that’s basically it. Good huntin’!

 

  1. Tourniquet

Although the tourniquet should not be used outside the hospital or by people who have minimal medical training, some cases call for drastic measures. If you’re dealing with an arterial bleeder, you will need more than one pressure point to control the bleeding. Condoms are great for this job – since the outer surface is dry, you can be sure that the thing won’t slip when you’re tying it around a wound.

 

  1. Weather-proofing matches

Saw a movie once about two Canadian soldiers fighting in the mud-filled trenches of Passchendaele who were having a chat on crucial field-survival techniques. While the first one argued that keeping you gun dry or having a full canteen are the most important things to consider in a survival situation, the other said that keeping your matches dry is much more essential (having something to light a cig and soothe your nerves before the big push).

War aside, the weather-proofed match can take quite a beating, but in some situations (dropping the box in a river or stream), not even goodwill can make those matches come back to life. This is where the condom comes in – before setting out, place your matchbox inside a condom to add an extra water-proof layer. Of course, you can do the same for other fire-starting gadgets the tinderbox, lighter, and emergency candles.

  1. Flotation device

If you ever find yourself floating on the ocean or any body of water for that matter, you can always blow up a condom and use it as life preserver or vest. Keep in mind that condoms can usually hold one or two gallons of water, which means that they tend to displace the same volume of liquid.

  1. Trash bag

 

Whenever in doubt, use a condom. In case you don’t have anything on hand to dispose of trash, pop open a condom and use it as a garbage bag. Sure, it won’t look pretty, but at least it gets the job done.

  1. Opening jars

Have you ever heard about the expression “mom-sealed jars”? Those aren’t your regular sealed jars, but the doing of someone whose aim was for the jar to stay that way forever. Yes, my mom always had a fiendish delight in seeing me getting read in the face when I tried to open one of her canning jars. Fortunately, there’s a way to breaking the seal without using torch blowers, saws or hammers – wrapping a condom around the lid. That will give you more grip than usual.

  1. Footcare

I could never wear a new pair of shoes without ending up with tons of blisters on the soles. And, apparently, I’m not the only having this problem. Now, if you’re just like me when it comes to new shoes, I would advise placing a condom on each foot before trying them on. This will minimize friction, thus allowing your foot to get used to the new shoes. Try this one for size!

 

 

 

 

  1. Hand care during woodworking

Doing a little bit of carpentry in your spare time is great. Except for those damned splinters that somehow end up in your fingers. Fortunately, there’s a great workaround for that and, yes, it does not involve wearing padded gloves – wrapping condoms over the fingers holding the wood. I know it looks silly, but don’t judge it before you try it.

  1. Keeping away peeping Toms and animals

I shit you not when I say that those things can really leave a mark if you know how to throw them. Having a hunting cabin means I’m accustomed to dealing with the regular scavenger bear and other two-legged beasts. In case of bears, I like to fill a condom with water and to throw it as close to the critter as possible (don’t hit it though, because this will surely prompt an attack). You can always do the same for people hanging around your property or for pulling a prank on a family member.

  1. Defensive weapon

There’s nothing more manly than that feeling you get when holding or making a weapon. If you find yourself in a close encounter situation, you can always defend yourself using a condom filled with sand, dirt, rubble, small rock or anything you found nearby. Sure, it would awfully silly to smack someone over the yapper with pink condom stuffed with sand, but a man’s got to do what a man’s got to do to protect himself.

That’s it for my killer list of how to use a condom in a survival-type situation. Thought of any other uses for a condom in SHTF case? Let me know in the comments section.

Remember when we were kids, and we used to buy rubbers by the dozen only to use them as water balloons? Well, wouldn’t you know it, condoms can double up

There’s nothing more American than bacon, and don’t even try to deny that. We love it, cherish it, and with good reason since breakfast isn’t the same without those mouth-watering, fat-laden pork strips. I know that for the most part bacon’s a big dietary no-no, but what would life be if we couldn’t indulge on simple things like bacon?

Yup, you’ve guessed it – since he’s a big fan of bacon and, to that end, he has searched high and low for all kinds of wacky ways to make those juicy strips last longer. That’s the trouble with bacon I guess – you’ve got to cook it as fast as possible. Otherwise, you will end up with some bad to the bone meat (insert guitar riff here), along with a lot of crushed breakfast dreams and hopes.

Anyway, since yours truly hasn’t better things to do around the house than looking for ways to preserve food, in one of my scavenger hunts, I’ve stumbled upon a kick-ass bacon storage method. Of course, I couldn’t resist the urge of writing about it and sharing it with you wonderful people. What stroke me the most was the method’s simplicity.

Come to think of it; it’s almost elegant. What’s even better is that, according to the guy who recommended it, by following a couple of simple steps you can potentially increase the bacon’s shelf life by at least 15 years if not more.

As far as the ingredients are concerned, I’ve only tried it on a single batch of common supermarket bacon. Still, if you’re the kind of person that fancies pancetta or prosciutto over bacon, you could try canning those as well (as someone who a lot of cooks, I can tell you that there’s virtually no difference between the three types of meats, except for the fancy names).

Well, time’s a-wasting, and you’ve grown tired of hearing me talk about my buds and exploits. So, without further ado, here’s the well-kept, military-grade secret of storing bacon.

Ingredients and materials:

  • Bacon (as much as you can find).
  • Pressure canner (I use a traditional one).
  • Canning jar (be sure they’re sterilized).
  • Parchment paper (use the unbleached kind. I don’t have some nearby, use masking paper instead).

How to prepare

Step 1. Get your pressure cooker ready. If you opted for the no-power version, it would be a good idea to bring it to a boil before placing the canned bacon inside. As for the electric version, plug it in, pour water inside, and set the pressure between 10 and 15 PSI.

Step 2. Take the parchment roll and use a pair of scissors or sharp knife to cut a long piece (it should be at least 18 inches in length).

Step 3. Get your bacon out of the fridge and separate the slices.

Step 4. Arrange the bacon slices on the parchment. Don’t leave any gaps between them. You’ll see in a moment why this is essential.

Step 5. After arranging the bacon on the parchment, fold over both paper and bacon in half. By the way, someone suggested that you can make the bacon last longer in the fridge or even in a space without refrigeration by coating each piece with a very thin layer of maple syrup.

‘Twould be better to do this after placing the bacon on the parchment paper. Otherwise, the pieces will be a sticker and, therefore, harder to arrange on paper.

Step 6. Upon folding the paper into half, grab the other hand and start rolling it. Just like you do with the newspaper when the dog goes number two on your grandma’s Persian rug. Tuck in the excess paper at both ends to ensure that the parchments don’t unravel inside the jar.

Step 7. Put the Bacon Parchment of Absolute Truth and Might inside a CLEAN and STERILIZED canning jar. Regarding the latter part, there are various ways to do it. If you’re just as lazy as I am, fill a tub with hot water, pour liquid detergent, and dump your canning jars inside. Let them soak for about half a day.

Afterward, take them out and rinse out the excess detergent. Still, if you want to take the high road, you can always boil the living Hell out of those jars before using them for canning. The choice is entirely up to you.

Step 8. Put the lid on each jar and tighten them gently. You won’t need to apply too much force as your pressure canner will do all the heavy lifting.

Step 9. If the water inside your pressure canner has reached the boiling point, carefully place the cans inside. Put the lid on, set the pressure to 10 PSI, and let them simmer for approximately 90 minutes.

Step 10. When it’s over, kill the fire, pop the lid off the pressure cooker, and carefully remove each jar. Place them on a wooden support or something and allow them to cool down. Word of caution – don’t try to force-cool the jars. Heard my mother-in-law say that ‘cooked’ jars are liable to blow up in your face if you run them under cool water or submerge them in ice.

Your best choice would be to leave them be for the time being. Another thing I should mention is that the canned bacon will leave quite a lot of fat on the bottom of the jar. Don’t concern yourself with that part, ‘cause it’s normal.

That’s it! You now know how to can bacon, prepper-style. As I’ve mentioned, this method extends the bacon’s shelf life by at least 15 years. Perhaps even more. To store, either place the canning jars inside the fridge or stick them in the pantry you usually keep your emergency supplies.

Works both ways. To eat, pop the lid, unroll the bacon, cook, and enjoy. I personally like to eat plain canned bacon – it’s less smoky compared to the fresh variety, but has a gentle aroma that reminds me of meatloaf.

What’s your take on this awesome canning method? Let me know what you think in the comment section.

What’s even better is that, according to the guy who recommended it, by following a couple of simple steps you can potentially increase the bacon’s shelf life by at least

Yesterday evening I had a couple of friends over for a kick-ass movie night. Of course, you know how these things usually turned out – after the second movie, we’ve decided to take the party outside (yes, I know it’s still kind of nippy, but after a couple of cold ones, who cares?) Anyway, one of the movies we’ve watched was what you might call a prepping cult-classic: Kevin Reynolds’ Water World, starring Kevin Costner and Dennis Hopper. You can’t get more old-school than this.

Now, halfway through the movie, there was this brief scene depicting some shady and raggedy characters huddling around a fire made in this rusty fuel barrel. Not the most breath-taking scene from the movie but actually the only one that somehow got stuck in my head. So, after replaying this scene a couple of times in mind, something clicked in there – what would happen if we all had to find fuel barrels in order to keep warm?

Yes, I know it’s one hell of depression though, but anything can happen when shift hits the fan. Think you’ll still be able to use the water heater or your fancy, voice-activated smart AC? Obviously that everything goes down the brown swing when disaster hits. And you don’t need a nuke or EMP of the coming of the second Black Plague to witness first-hand what it means to get on your knees and beg for a heating source.

Anywho, you know what I’m talking about, so I won’t go into many details. So, after the movie night, I put on my mad scientist lab coat and decided to do a little home experiment. My goal was to come up with a heat source that was powerful enough to heat up a small room and, at the same time, help me prepare something very basic, like hot water.

Easier said than done. The first challenge was finding some fuel, but not gasoline or petroleum or gas. Those are the first things that disappear during an SHTF situation. So, I needed something that was easy enough to obtain, cheap, and, if possible, lying around the house. Although it took me a couple of hours to figure it out, even though the answer was staring me in the face, I ended up using cooking oil as food. Neat, but “how the Hell am I going to burn this?”, I asked myself.

So, after some deliberation, I hopped into my van and went into town for a couple of supplies. For this project, I bought two 4-ounce ball jars – you can find them in every thrift store – two wicks, and four bricks. Yes, I know it’s a weird shopping list, but then again, most of the stuff we preppers do can pass as peculiar to most people.

Now, for the first step of my project, I’ve tried to make emergency candles from cooking oil. It’s super easy, and they really put out quite a flame if you’re careful enough to screw the lid nice and tight. Here’s what you will need to do in order to complete the first phase of your alternative heating source project.

Making Quick Cooking Oil Candles

First thing’s first – choosing your poison. For my part, I stuck with sunflower oil since I have a near-endless supply in my pantry and I could always go and get more if I want. However, you’re free to use any kind of oil you like; heard that palm oil is a great alternative to sunflower and not just in matters of crafting heating devices. It’s ludicrously cheap and has, more or less, the same taste like the one made from sunflower seed. You can also reuse the oil from your deep fry machine or cast-iron pans.

So, after getting all the stuff together, here’s what you will need to do in order to make those candles\burners.

Step 1. Take an awl or anything pointy and puncture the lid. You don’t need a large hole. Should be enough for your wick to pass through.

Step 2. Get one end of the wick through the hole. If you can’t find any wicks, you can also use cotton shreds or any piece of cloth. Just don’t use textile that has been treated with fire retardant textile substances (winter jackets, pieces of carpet, and upholstery, in general).

Step 3. Put the other end of the wick inside the bell jar. Make sure that you have enough of the stuff, as the fire will eat through that stuff. If you’re thinking about upscaling your project, you may be able to make a sort of lamp out of a canning jar and a longer wick.

If I were you, I would pick one of those jars that come in with a handle – just be careful not to burn your paw while holding the thing. Moreover, about the moving part – it’s not a good idea to move the thing into another room. The chances of a house fire are very real and very scary.

Step 4. It’s now time to add the fuel. Carefully pour the cooking oil inside the jar. Don’t spill any on end sticking out of the lid. Otherwise you’ll have trouble setting fire to the wick.

Step 5. Secure the lid, and that’s it. Now, for the best results, I would advise you to leave you burners be for at least 24 hours. By that time, the wicks would have drawn enough fuel to allow you to light them up fast. If you’re using regular cotton or ripped fabric instead of wicks, you should allow them to soak a little longer. Moreover, I wouldn’t advise dipping the other end in oil to make the candlelight faster because you’ll end up with more smoke and less flame.

Already done with your emergency candles? Great! If everything’s hunky-dory, then you’re ready for phase two of your heating project. For this, you’ll go to need some bricks or two concrete slabs, a thin tray (I “borrowed” a cookie tray from my wife) and a pan. Here’s what you will need to do in order to create an awesome room-heating device.

Piecing together the heater

Step 1. Place the concrete slabs or brick on the ground, preferably in the center of your room with all the doors and windows closed. You may want to grab a thermometer for your experiment in order to take a reading before and after the heating device has been switched on.

Step 2. Lay the tray on your slabs or bricks.

Step 3. Place two homemade emergency candles\burners right beneath the center of your tray.

Step 4. Light up your candles. It will take a while for them to generate heat. I know I told you to keep the doors and windows closed to see just how much heat your thingamajig can generate, but you may want to keep the front door ajar, especially until the heaters go into stasis.

The thought never crossed my mind while performing the experiment, so I ended up fumigating the entire living room. Yes, I know that it will probably take me days to get rid of that smell, but hey, at least I managed to whip up a device capable of heating up a small room in case of an emergency.

Step 5. After half an hour or so, the flames are going to stabilize. Of course, your tray will take quite a bit, but you know the saying – it’s for the good of science. So, after you get a steady flame, you may try to see if the tray resting on top of the concrete slabs can boil water.

As far as the heating part is concerted, I managed to get a 10-degree rise with just two burners. It may be possible to convert the whole thing into an efficient house heating device, but that would require more makeshift heaters and, of course, a metal surface capable of deflecting heat far better than a tin tray. I was thinking about using four burners and thing steel sheet for my next experiment.

Remember that show Jackass which used to air on MTV? They had this message at the beginning of the show: “all the stunts have been performed by professionals. Don’t try this at home.” Well, that’s exactly the sort of advice that I want to give you – don’t try this indoors.

No matter how fire-proofed your test area is, there’s always a chance of something bad happening. If this is your first time, you would be better off doing it in an area without flammable substance. If you have a fire extinguisher at home, keep it close just in case – I really wouldn’t try to put out that kind of fire with water.

Anyway, keep a close watch on the top of the try. Once it turns black, it means that you’re all set to begin the third and final phase of the experiment – bringing water to a boil. I know that for the layman this may be a bit silly, but do keep in mind that in any SHTF situation, the whole idea is to get more while spending the minimum amount of energy and available resources.

So, after the thin tray starts to black, fill a pan with tap water. Place it in the middle of the tray and keep a close watch. Now, this is the point where the results differ. From what I understood after doing a bit of research, someone who attempted the experiment said that he managed to boil a gallon of water in 15 minutes.

Was a bit suspicious about that but, hey, that’s what experimenting’s for. Turned out that I was right all along. After waiting around for about 45 minutes, nothing was happening – no bubbles, no mist, no nothing. It was as though I’d placed the pan on the floor or any other cool spot.  So, after the frustration kicked in, I took the pot off the tray and placed on the stove.

I got to a boil really fast, and then I transferred the pot back to the improvised heater. Again, nothing happened. In fact, even though both burners were working, they weren’t strong enough to maintain a steady temperature.

As for the results of this little experiment, here’s what I managed to jot down in my notebook. In case you’re looking for a heater or AC alternative, this Bunsen burner wannabee is quite efficient. Even with two sunflower oil-based candles, you’ll still be able to get a 10-degrees ambient temp increase.

However, as for the part of using this device to boil water or to cook food, I wouldn’t bet my last dime on it. Of course, the design itself may be faulty, since most of the heat’s lost through the gaps created by the tray and concrete slabs, but then again, the whole purpose of this experiment was to create a quick and efficient heating device with fuel that can literally be found anywhere.

Anyway, instead of my usual wrap-up, I’m gonna end this article with a question for you: Do you think this device is able to fully substitute a water heater, AC or your run-of-the-mill oil barrel bonfire? Would love to read your answers in the comment section. Meanwhile, I’ll try my best to get rid of this awful smell before she gets home.

My goal was to come up with a heat source that was powerful enough to heat up a small room and, at the same time, help me prepare something very

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‘Couple of days ago I was at home watching this movie about Cowboys and Indians. Great flick (Dances with wolves, it’s called), great actors – all in all, two hours well spent.

Why cowboys, Indians, and frontiersmen, you ask? Well, without getting into many details, the image of the tobacco-spitting, gun-slinging, man-of-fortune, which Hollywood was kind enough to sear into our retinae, it’s not quite what you would call representative.

In fact, life in the Wild West was not that wild – the village fool wasn’t made Marshall and trains weren’t robbed on a daily basis. Still, papa Hollywood did get one thing straight; life was pretty rough, meaning that the man had to do what a man had to do in order to pull through and to make a name for himself.

And then it struck me – cowboys weren’t those guys in goofy hats and chaffing pants, but the first preppers. The same thing could also be said about all those great and brave men who wore the shoes or rather the hat of David Crockett. Yes, those gun-toting maniacs were, indeed very knowledgeable when it came to surviving; you had no choice back then. One mistake, and it was curtains for you.

Anyway, in doing a bit of research on cowboys and frontiersmen, I stumbled upon something very curious – those guys were packing, and I’m not talking about guns here. Imagine that those goofy outfits had a reason for being that way; more pockets and satchels means more space to store things.

And, let me tell you – those guys really knew a thing or two about what I like to call carrying smart. So, history lesson aside, let me show you what I learned about packing from cowboys and frontiersmen. Without further ado, here are 7 objects 19th-century preppers carried in their pockets to survive.

  1. Knife

You thought I was going to start my list with the old six-iron, didn’t you?. So, about the knife – everybody was carrying one, regardless if he was Marshall, bank robber, saloon keeper or the town’s drunkard. Why? Because it was very useful for a lot of stuff like skinning game, splitting wood, cutting leather, and, of course, self-defense. Most 19th-century cowboy knives had a six-inch blade and were made from steel, not the stainless variety though.

Still, they were quite sturdy, mostly because all of them were made in a smithy and from cast steel. I even read somewhere that the WW1 bayonet design (the one with the groove running along the blade’s length) was mostly inspired by the bush knives carried by cowboys and frontiersmen alike.

One of the things I liked about these types of knives is the sheath – made from tanned skin and looks awfully cool. Tried making one for one of my SOG knives. I’ll tell you all about in another article.

2. Bedroll

Now, this is an interesting piece of history. For most people, bedrolls are just pieces of cloth filled with hay or something. But they’re actually more than that. In doing a bit of research into Wild West survival items, I found out that bedrolls were, in fact, multi-layered.

So, you had two outer layers, which were made from rubberized tarpaulin. These were the ones that prevented direct contact with the ground. And, when rolled up, they also prevented the inside layers from getting wet. But wait, there’s more. Apart from the exterior tarpaulin layers, the bedroll had three or four inner layers made from the quilt.  They were also called sougans. As I came to understand, all four inner layers added padding and extra insulation, especially during those cold, windy nights.

Yes, you can say that the bedroll, which was, by the way, carried on the back of the saddle or tied up to a rucksack, is, in fact, the ancestor of the sleeping bag. Possibly not as comfortable or easy to carry as nowadays bags, but hey, at least they didn’t have to sleep on the bare ground.

If you go thinking that this went out of fashion along with cowboys, you would be mistaken. Seeing that there are so many people out there ready to pay a fortune to live like a true 19th-century outdoorsman, some companies have actually rebooted the bedroll (check out Smith & Edwards Co. if you’re interested in going retro).

3. Canteen

Times may change, but canteens stay the same. There’s no denying in the fact that a canteen is one of the most important pieces of survival gear, regardless if your Crockett’s disciple or someone with an acquired taste for off-grid living.

I remember the stories my grandma used to tell me about how the French soldiers used canteens for virtually anything during WWI. There’s this one that always makes me chuckle. Apparently, during the battle of Somme, considered to one of the bloodiest in the history of modern warfare, one of those clunky Mark V tanks froze shut one night. Neither the engineers nor the crew could get the thing open.

And so, to prevent the guys inside from dying of thirst, some soldiers came up with the idea of getting water and wine through the tank’s main gun barrel. Long story short, they’ve raised the barrel high enough for them to pour water through it.

The soldiers at the other end just had to hold their canteens in front of the loading hole until they filled up. According to grandma, they kept doing this thing for a couple of days straight, until someone came up with the genius idea of blasting open the hatch with a hand grenade.

Anyway, long before WW1, canteens were in very high, mostly because they doubled up as booze holders. Interestingly enough, back then, the canteens were much bigger compared to the ones used today and made from tough materials such as steel or cast iron.

Apparently, most of them were able to hold a gallon of water or liquid. Ingenious and resourceful as they were, they even came up with a way of cooling down the water even in the scorching sun. Before blazing the trail, the Cowboys would soak a cloth, which they would wrap around the canteen. The evaporation process would prevent the water’s temp from going up. Neat, right?

4. Tinder Box

There’s something that will give just about any prepper a run for his money. Let’s get one thing straight, though – there were matches back then, but were so expensive that most outdoorsmen would often save them for trading.

However, they did have a nifty way to start a fire – the so-called tinder box. Basically, it was a weather-proof box which contained several dry pieces of wood or thin steel wool and a flint. To start a fire back then, you would have had to use your knife on the flint for sparks. Yes, I know – simple, stupid, yet very effective.

You can create a cowboy-style tinder box using char cloth and a little piece of flint. I made one at home using an old tin matchbox found in grandma’s chest of wonders. And, because I’m kind of a nutcase when it comes to B.O. Bs, I placed this one in my heavy-duty bug out bag, along with a magnesium rod, weather-proof matches, and a Zippo lighter.

5. Slickers

Yes, I know they look cool as shit, but that’s hardly the point. Back then, there were no water-repellant ponchos or raincoats. So, cowboys had to rely on the so-called slickers, which were basically, a long coat made from rubberized or tarred canvas.

Some models even came with hoods, but they were not that sought out since our outdoorsmen relied on them hats most of the time. Slickers were great at keeping the water as far away from the skin as possible, but they also doubled-up as winter clothing. And, of course, it was far easier to pack a lever-action under a slicker that on your back.

6. Bandannas

Also called wild rags or mascadas, the long pieces of cloth were useful for a lot of things, not just to conceal one’s face during a brazen heist. During the cold months of the winter, outdoorsmen would use their bandannas as scarves.

If the firefight got out of control, the brave desperado could use the bandana to spot the bleeding. Also, quite handy when it came to manual labor. For instance, farmhands would wrap their wild rags around the hands to prevent sores or even bleeding when working with the plow or pulling on ropes.

Since water filtration gadgets came long after the Wild West era, our frontiersmen had to improvise. The bandana, albeit ineffective, was sometimes used to remove chunks of dirt or rocks from puddles or other water sources. And because smelling like the insides of a dead horse would have gotten you thrown out even from the most decrepit watering hole, these bandanas would have been used as sponges or washcloths.

7. Coffee Pot

Of course, I can’t help myself from saying a thing or two about coffee and caffeine. Back in the days of the Old West, a cowboy’s most treasured possession besides his shooting iron was the coffee pot. You may laugh now, but back then a coffee pot was somewhat of a luxury. Being made from steel or cast iron meant that it was quite hard to carry in a backpack or something.

Chuckwagon drivers would usually carry one or two pots for trade or personal use. As for the lone ranger, a good morning wouldn’t have been complete with beans, bacon, cornbread, and a mug of coffee. Of course, carrying a coffee pot would be for naught if you’re missing the key ingredient which is, coffee.

Life in the Wild West was very basic, even by 19th century standards. People wanted to make a living and, at times, that was more dangerous and life-threatening than one could imagine – if the outlaws or warring Indian tribes didn’t get you, the disease would.

We do tend to have this romanticised idea of the dare devilish stranger who participates in high-noon gun duels, with a crooked smile on his face, and his teeth brighter than peals. It was never like that, and those of you who took the time to do a little bit of research about the Wild West came to realize that life, indeed, was pretty quiet.

Sure, there were bar fights and shootings at the OK Corral but those were what I like to call history’s little whims.

Hope you’ve enjoyed my article on cowboy survival gear. Don’t forget to hit the comment section and let me know what your thoughts are.

The image of the tobacco-spitting, gun-slinging, man-of-fortune, which Hollywood was kind enough to sear into our retinae, it’s not quite what you would call representative. This is.