Is it just me, or are there entirely too many T-shirts in the world?

Perhaps I had a few as a youngster, but the first I can truly recall was a white T-shirt with a rubbery photo of a Studebaker on the front. I wore it with stylish orange hip-huger bell-bottoms embroidered with butterflies. Because I was 14 and bought the shirt with my dish washing earnings, I wore it until the emblem eroded and the fabric turned gray.

Now it seems, T-shirts are everywhere and often free, given out at fundraisers, sporting events and as advertising. Our local thrift stores receive so many donated T-shirts, they simply bag them up as shop rags. Trash bags crammed full sell for $4. Many of the shirts are brand new.

Fortunately, there are a gazillion ways to those brightly colored garments. Jersey fabric of 100-percent cotton is so versatile. It can be stretched, sewn flat, weaved, hooked, crocheted, dyed, tied in knots, and, best of all, the ends don’t unravel.

tomato-mulch

Use an old T-Shirt to mulch your tomato plants

Weed-free veggies

One of my favorite uses for surplus white T-shirts is as garden mulch. Simply cut the side seams and under the arms. Lay the shirt flat with a plant growing up through the neck hole.

Yes, I know, the T-shirt looks funny laying there on the ground for a while. But the fabric quickly fades and does such a wonderful job of controlling weeds that I soon forget it was once a shirt.

Two fun up-cycling uses of T-shirts include weaving strips of jersey fabric into place-mats, table runners or rugs. Another is the pioneer-favorite braided rag rug. Both projects are uncomplicated and use materials at hand. You do not need an expensive loom, sewing machine or other gadgets. I’ll briefly explain weaving here.

placemat

Create place mats with old T-shirts

Loom-less weaving

To weave T-shirts into useful household articles, you’ll need to assemble a loom – basically a wooden frame, like a large picture frame reinforced at the corners. This frame can be four sticks of wood fastened with screws. For large projects, use 2X4’s secured with angle iron.

A good loom size for scatter rugs is about 30 inches by 36 inches. To create larger rugs or table runners, several finished woven pieces can be stitched together (laced, actually).

To begin, tie off the warp (vertical) string to the bottom of the loom. Do not tie it in line with the frame side, but in 4-6 inches to make weaving easier. Wind the string figure-8 fashion to the top and bottom of the frame, pulling tightly and winding about 10 strands per inch. As you run out of one roll of warp string, simply tie on another. The knot will be hidden as you weave. When you have the desired width, tie off the end. For a finished width of 26 inches, that’s 260 loops around the loom.

stitching

Jersey fabric is very versatile.

No-fray fabric

Next cut your shirts into strips. Cut off the shirt bottom below any emblems, embroidery or other embellishments. Cut off the hem. If the shirt has side seams, cut those off. If not, just cut one side so that you end up with a large rectangle.

Depending on the fabric weight, cut strips 3/4 inch to 1 1/2 inches wide. You’ll want your strips to be a fairly even thickness once rolled. So, cut heavier fabric into thinner strips and lighter fabric wider.

Now, this is one of the really neat aspects of jersey – it rolls into a tube when stretched. When you have a nice stash of strips, begin stretching them to create a yarn-like tube.

So you can weave longer between stops, several strips can be stitched together to create longer strips. To create less bulk in your woven article, stitch the strips together diagonally by placing the end of one strip on top of another, right sides together, forming an “L.” Stitch a seam on the bias by hand or machine.

Ball up your T-shirt yarn until ready to use. Your strips can be sorted according to color to create a pattern, or woven at random.

Begin weaving first with the string you used for the warp. Weave over and under 4 strands of warp at a time, working your way back and forth until you have a band of about 1/2 inch. Weaving can be done by using a shuttle, a sort of long wooden spool, although fingers work just fine.

rag-rug[

The finished product

The fun part

Finally, it is time to weave your old T-shirts into something beautiful. Start weaving the first strip a few inches from the end, threading the strip over and under each warp string. When you reach the end of a row, beat down the yarn with your fingers, a wide-toothed comb or fork to keep the rows tight and straight. Then, come back the other direction with your yard, in the same over-and-under pattern.

When you come to the end of a fabric strip, stitch on another one and keep going. Instead of stitching, you can also knot your strips together for a bumpier, more rustic look. End your strips somewhere within the woven article and not on the end.

At the upper end of the woven article, after weaving the last row of fabric strips, weave another 1/2-inch wide band of warp string again.

To remove the article from the loom, cut the warp string from the frame, 8 strands at a time and tie it into overhand knots. Continue cutting and tying across the top and bottom of the woven article. Finally, lay the finished piece on a flat surface and trim the strands evenly to whatever length you prefer.

Braided rugs

To make a braided rag rug, cut strips at least 2 inches wide, again avoiding any thick emblems or embroidered designs. When you have a worthy pile of strips, begin by pinning together three strips and anchoring them to an immobile object, such as a doorknob or piece of furniture. Keep braiding and attaching more strips until you reach the desired rug size.

Here are a few tips about braided rugs made of T-shirt fabric:

  • Large rugs are heavy and difficult to wash, so plan to use the rug in places without heavy foot traffic.
  • Wash your rug by hand in a large tub outdoors and then line dry in the shade to prevent fading. Remember, it’s heavy when wet!
  • Use a strong, thick cord for lacing the braids together, as thin carpet thread or plastic fishing line will eventually cut through the T-shirt fibers.
  • Lining the back with an old sheet takes only another hour or so of effort, but will lengthen your rug’s life considerably.

Now, get busy, have fun and just think of how many Studebaker T-shirts you saved from the landfill.

 

Want more?

Here’s what the HuffPost Parents and HuffPost Women Facebook audiences said about giving T-shirts a new life.

Without further ado, here are 20 ideas for upcycling T-shirts, from the simple and practical to the downright creative.

Reusable bags

“Turn them into a reusable bag. Cut fringe and tie along the bottom, cut off sleeves to turn into handles.” ― Teri Lynn

“A no-sew reusable bag! So easy and I still get to see the cool shirts I’ve collected from races or fundraisers every time I use them.” ― Cari Cowling

“We host Family Service Fairs (where families do good for local nonprofits), and used old T-shirts to create reusable grocery bags to help get plastic bags out of the environment. The organization that inspired the station is called Boomerang Bags.” ― Doing Good Together

Quilts

“I’ve saved all my daughter’s scout, sports and school T-shirts and made her a quilt for college.” ― Della Yurasek Csehoski

“I made a blanket from old band T-shirts when I was pregnant to give to our son when he gets older but I’ll probably never really let him have it, it’s too cool!” ― Ali Walter

SaveThe Polka Dot Chair25 DIY Gifts for Dad on Polka Dot Chair Blog1K+Kathy ZellerT-shirt quilts

Jewelry

“My friend makes baby-friendly jewelry from old T-shirts ― necklaces, bracelets, earrings, and scarfs, etc.” ― Krisztina Oláh

“Turn them into headbands and jewelery, using braiding, knotting and macrame.” ― Danielle McEwan

“Cut them into strips, braid them into necklaces so my kids chew on them instead of their T-shirt collars.” ― Hortencia T. Benavidez

Pillows

“Stuffed the leftovers into a travel pillow for the kids. A tad bit harder than I would have liked it, but they don’t seem to mind. Otherwise, they are used for rags and other DIY projects.” ― Sylvia Salas-Brown

“We cut around the T-shirt design and add other fabrics around it to make pillows.” ― Marie Meidinger

“Pillow covers when kids are sick or I’m sweating at night.” ― AnneMarie Greenfield

Art

“I stretched some of my husband’s race tees over square art canvases. They hang in our family room along with my medal rack.” ― Anna-Marie Ward

“I frame my old concert tees in record album frames and then hang them up in my screened porch.” ― Michele N. Lotman

“Put them over canvases to hang on the wall.” ― Karla Marie

“Put into small embroidery hoop for ornaments or large for display.” ― Neelloc Niffit

Savefeelincrafty.wordpress.comold t-shirts turned into art. I might have to do this for my boy’s Harley room instead of a quilt with the Harley t-shirts I have.983Tegan BennettLovely D.I.Y. Stuffs!!

Towels

“Towels for my curly hair!” ― Sarah Beth

“Use them to towel dry your hair, smoother than actual towels so supposed to be less damaging.” ― Soma Chatterji

Kid clothes

“Turning a T-shirt into a romper for a child.” ― Heidi Else

Pet accessories

“I have a dog who shreds her bedding when she boards so I make dog blankets for her by sewing four T-shirts together. They’re harder for her to destroy and cheaper than dog beds.” ― Melissa Westmoreland

“I have dogs, so anything fabric gets its second life as dog bedding.” ― Melissa Lynserra

“Our Aussie shepherd mix likes to play tug (and rip!) and then sleep with them.” ― Kathleen Wright

“Knot and tie into dog toys!” ― Tara Olivia

“My Key Club uses them to make chew toys for the local animal shelter.” ― Teri Madewell

“Old T-shirts make great surgery recovery shirts for dogs. My dog HATED that stupid cone, but the shirt didn’t bother him one bit!” ― Lauren Olcese-Mercurio

SaveSheKnowsDon’t toss that old T-shirt! Snip it up to make this toy for your furry friend.32Helen DaleFor our pets

Donations

“Donate them to Rethreaded, an organization that helps people ‘sew a new story’ in their lives. They make and sell items, including various items from T-shirts.” ― Anita Davis Sullivan

“Donate them. I’m not crafty enough to make things, and there are always people who need gently used clothing. Pay it forward, y’all.” ― Erin Hablenko

Sleepwear

“I just sleep wearing them and use them in that way until they lose their usability. Best bedroom clothes for me.” ― Natalia Shveykina

“My daughter takes them to wear for pajamas.” ― Wendy Greve

Rugs

“I cut a bunch of shirts into half-inch strips and knitted a small area rug for our kitchen.” ― Elina Singh

“Braided T-shirt rugs with the pieces left over after doing quilts/pillows and rags.” ― Ashley Edinger

“You can cut them into strips to knit or crochet rag rugs.” ― Kelly McDaniel Whitney

Savefromjumblejoy.comLearn How To Make a No-Sew Round Braided Rug With T-Shirts!1K+2MaryEllen HagerlCrafts that interest me

Doll clothes

“My kids cut up old T-shirts and make clothes for the Elf.” ― Claudia Reis

Scarves

“I made T-shirt scarves for my daughters out of their old T-shirts.” ― Kimberly Anderson

“Cut it straight across, right beneath armpits, and create an infinity scarf.” ― Laura Coronado

Lampshades

“I’ve turned one into a macrame lampshade!” ― Danielle McEwan

Makeup Wipes

“Make reusable makeup-removing wipes (soaked in micellar water).” ― Lauren Neiger

Rags

“Mine go from T-shirts, to PJs, to rags after that the trash!” ― Brandy Allen-Burgard

“I use them for polishing silver (inherited a bunch, pain in the butt to maintain).” ― AnneMarie Greenfield

SaveKalyn BrookeEver wondered what to do with tees that were stained, had holes, and generally weren’t good enough to donate? This tutorial teaches you how to turn old t-shirts into dust rags, and includes the secret to getting crisp edges every time!226Nancy IsomCleaning

Hair care

“I wear them when coloring my hair and tear them into strips for hair curls.” ― AnneMarie Greenfield

Reinvented clothes

“Give it new details … i.e., cut off the sleeves and give it a different neck.” ― Mish Buonantuono-Rausch

“Re-design to new shirts, bags, skirts … ” ― Rachelle Carrillo

Gardening aids

“Garden ties for holding up plants like tomatoes.” ― Neelloc Niffit

“Tear them into strips and use those strips to tie up tomato plants in the garden or other plants/trees.” ― AnneMarie Greenfield

Recycling

“Recycle them. School has a bin and it raises money for the school.” ― Stephanie Tapia

 

What do think? Right when you thought there’s nothing much to do today..


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The Lost Ways (The vital self-sufficiency lessons our great grand-fathers left us)
Survival MD (Knowledge to survive any medical crisis situation)
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Alive After the Fall (Build yourself the only unlimited water source you’ll ever need)
The Lost ways II (4 Important Forgotten Skills used by our Ancestors that can help you in any crisis)
The Patriot Privacy Kit (Secure your privacy in just 10 simple steps)

A T-shirt can be stretched, sewn flat, weaved, hooked, crocheted, dyed, tied in knots, and, best of all, the ends don’t unravel.

Waterproof matches are expensive, but you can make your own for only a fraction of the price.

Today’s featured video is from YouTuber’s JoeandZachSurvival and they share a simple but effective way to waterproof your matches. As preppers we spend a fair amount of time talking about cooking when the grid goes down and there are numerous ways to start a fire out of natural materials, but I think having a lighter or matches is just easier.

I personally have a firesteel for times when I don’t have a lighter but unless I want to practice making a fire, I will go the easy route and just light that Bic or strike a match.

When it comes to packing fire making materials in my Bug Out Bag or even just stocking up my supplies, lighters and matches are something I don’t leave out.

You can purchase a few packs of Bic lighters and throw those in a plastic tub and they will last for a very long time. Matches, may last even longer and if you take steps to protect them from the elements, you can use these in a lot of situations.

In this video, Joe and Zach show you how to make waterproof matches easily that can save you a little money. Hope you enjoy!

What do you think? If you’re curious to find out 4 other ways to waterproof your matches, there’s more.

Listed below are a number of effective and proven ways to make waterproof matches you can use for camping, backpacking, and emergencies.

Note: All the methods below involve some risk. If you are a minor, do not carry out any of these activities without the permission of a competent adult supervisor. The list is ranked from safest to least safe. The best and safest method is to use turpentine. (Turpentine has a higher “flash point” relative to acetone, which is commonly used in nail polish and does not involve the use of flame as is needed in the Wax or Paraffin methods.)

Method One of Four: Use Turpentine

Image titled Make Waterproof Matches Step 1
1. Pour 2 to 3 large tablespoons of turpentine into a small (tumbler sized) glass.
Image titled Make Waterproof Matches Step 2
2. Place the matches, (head down) into the turpentine and allow the matches to soak for 5 minutes. During that time the turpentine will soak into the head as well as the stem. All the water will be driven off by the turpentine.
Image titled Make Waterproof Matches Step 3
3. Remove the matches and spread them out to dry out on a sheet of newspaper.Generally, 20 minutes for excess turpentine to evaporate is recommended. Matches treated in this way remain waterproof for several months or longer.

Method Two of Four: Use Nail Polish

Image titled Make Waterproof Matches Step 4
1. Dip the head end of the match into clear nail polish far enough to cover at least an eighth of an inch (3 millimeters) of the stick below the head.
Image titled Make Waterproof Matches Step 5
2. Hold the match for a few seconds to allow the polish to dry and then place the match on a table or counter so that the head is suspended off the edge of the surface.
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3. Place a sheet of newsprint below to catch anything that may drip off.

Method Three of Four: Use a Candle

Image titled Make Waterproof Matches Step 7
1. Light a candle and let it burn down until you have a good amount of liquid wax (about a half of an inch or 1 centimeter).
Image titled Make Waterproof Matches Step 8
2. Extinguish the candle.
Image titled Make Waterproof Matches Step 9
3. Dip the head end of the match into the wax far enough to cover at least an eighth of an inch (3 millimeters) of the stick below the head.
Image titled Make Waterproof Matches Step 10
4. Hold the match for a few seconds to allow the wax to harden slightly and then place the match on a table or counter so that the head is suspended off the edge of the surface.
Image titled Make Waterproof Matches Step 11
5. When the wax has cooled, but not completely hardened, pinch the end of the wax coating (towards the stick), forming a tight seal.

Method Four of Four: Using Paraffin Wax

Image titled Make Waterproof Matches Step 12
1. Melt enough paraffin wax in a double boiler to be able to coat with wax about a half of an inch (1 centimeter) deep.
Image titled Make Waterproof Matches Step 13
2. Wrap some twine or jute string around several matches from the bottom, to just below the wax quickly. This makes a torch that can burn for 10 or more minutes.

On a different note, here’s some other self-sufficiency and preparedness solutions recommended for you:

The Lost Ways (The vital self-sufficiency lessons our great grand-fathers left us)
Survival MD (Knowledge to survive any medical crisis situation)
Backyard Liberty (Liberal’s hidden agenda: more than just your guns…)
Alive After the Fall (Build yourself the only unlimited water source you’ll ever need)
The Lost ways II (4 Important Forgotten Skills used by our Ancestors that can help you in any crisis)
The Patriot Privacy Kit (Secure your privacy in just 10 simple steps)

Waterproof matches are expensive, but you can make your own for only a fraction of the price. Today’s featured video is from YouTuber’s JoeandZachSurvival and they share a simple but effective

Looking at the state of the world today, with all its threats to our society and way of life, it’s easy to think anyone would see the benefits of preparedness. Personally I think most people do realize that being prepared is a good idea, but still, preppers make up a small minority of Americans.

There are several reasons for that. Some people are optimists that believe any crisis can be avoided. Others believe the government will look after them if help is needed. For most, though, the problem is likely to be money.

Prepping does cost money; there’s no way around that. It isn’t all about major purchases, like bug-out locations or bunkers, though. One of the most basic and important preps is to build up a stockpile of food that will get you through the critical first weeks of a crisis. That’s also a major purchase if you just head for the grocery store and buy three months’ worth of food – major enough to put almost everyone off doing it.

RelatedBest Survival Foods Your Grandparents Used To Make

There’s some good news, though. You don’t need to buy your emergency food stockpile all at once. With some patience, and an extra $5 a week on your regular grocery shopping, you can build up a large, well-balanced food reserve in the space of a year. Most of us can find $5 a week from somewhere; it might be as simple as dropping a couple of luxuries from our shopping list and replacing them with cheaper, but more useful, items for our reserves. You’ll be surprised how much food $5 can get at a store like Walmart or Sam’s Club if you spend it on staples in large, economical packages.

Do it right and you’ll have a useful emergency supply in just a few weeks – and, in a year, you’ll have close to 300 pounds of food stockpiled – all you need to ride out a major crisis. Here’s how to do it by spending between $4 and $6 every week.

Week 1 – 6 Pounds of Rice

Rice is a great emergency food – it’s filling, and contains plenty of carbs for energy. It’s also easy to prepare and very versatile.

Week 2 – 8 Pounds of Pinto Beans

Dried beans are another staple prepper food. They store well, and once rehydrated can be used as a side dish or added to soups and stews. Combine them with rice and you also get a complete protein that contains all the amino acids your body needs.

Week 3 – 12 Cans of Vienna Sausages

Add some meat to your survival diet with convenient cans of Vienna sausages. These can be grilled, chopped and added to stews, or eaten straight out the can.

Week 4 – 10 Cans of Tomato Sauce

Rice and pasta are nutritious, but they can also get pretty boring. Adding tomato sauce to your stockpile lets you create tastier recipes – and that’s good for morale.

Week 5 – 10 Pounds of Sugar

Sugar is packed with energy that your body can access in a hurry. It also lets you make sweet drinks and improves a load of other recipes.

Week 6 – 8 Pounds of Flour

Flour has a lot of uses around the kitchen. As well as baking bread and cakes, it can be used to thicken sauces and soups. It’s a good source of carbohydrates and, if you get all-purpose flour, it’s enriched with other nutrients too.

Week 7 – 1 Gallon of Canola Oil

You need fat for a balanced diet, and oil is a great source of it. Canola oil is good for cooking, too.

Week 8 – 6 Pounds of Rice

You’re starting to get some variety, so go back and increase your supply of this staple.

Week 9 – 6 Pounds of Navy Beans

Add more beans as well, but there’s no need to get the same kind – variety is good.

Week 10 – 8 Cans of Fruit

Fruit is nutritious, energy-rich and tasty. You can get more by buying a multipack, or you might prioritize variety here.

Week 11 – 1 Can of Powdered Milk

You’ll want this for your coffee, and it can also be reconstituted and used to replace fresh milk in many recipes.

Week 12 – 6.5 Pounds of Salt

We keep getting warned about salt, but it’s an essential part of our diet – especially if we’re working hard. Pick up a four-pack of iodized salt; the iodine is valuable if there’s any kind of nuclear hazard.

Week 13 – 12 Cans of Tuna

Tuna is rich in protein and essential fatty acids. It’s also tasty and can be used in all sorts of recipes. You can pick up a 12-pack of small cans for just over $5.

Week 14 – 6 Pounds of Pasta

Another carb-loaded staple, pasta is the base for a range of tasty meals. Smaller pasta shapes cook faster than larger ones, using less energy.

Week 15 – 8 Cans of Vegetables

Canned vegetables are as nutritious as fresh ones, and easy to cook – you just need to heat them through.

Week 16 – 6 Pounds of Rice

Yep, more rice.

Week 17 – 6 Pounds of Black Beans

More beans, and more variety.

Week 18 – 12 Cans of Vienna Sausages

The ratio of carbs to protein is starting to get out of balance, so add more sausages.

Week 19 – 4 Pounds of Peanut Butter

Peanut butter makes for a quick and tasty sandwich, it can be adapted into a great sauce for chicken, and it’s loaded with energy, fat and protein. You can get a 4lb jar of it for $6.33 at Walmart.

Week 20 – 4 Cans of Chicken

Just for a change from Vienna sausages, pick up a four-pack of canned chicken breast chunks. These can be used in a huge list of recipes.

 

 

Week 21 – 3 Pounds of Shortening

You can bake a lot more if you have shortening. Get a three-pound can of Crisco.

Week 22 – 10 Pounds of Sugar

Increase your sugar supply this week.

Week 23 – 8 Cans of Vegetables

More vegetables are always good. Get something different this time to keep your diet interesting.

Week 24 – 6 Pounds of Rice

You saw this coming, didn’t you?

Week 25 – 8 Pounds of Pinto Beans

And this.

Week 26 – 10 Cans of Tomato Sauce

You’ll need sauces for all the rice and beans you have.

Week 27 – 6 Pounds of Pasta

You’ll need sauces for this, too.

Week 28 – 6 Jars of Assorted Spices

Add more variety to your sauces and other cooking by picking up six jars of herbs and spices. Get the basics – onion and garlic powder – then branch out. Try paprika, chilli flakes and oregano.

Week 29 – 8 Cans of Fruit

Vegetables are probably more important, but some extra fruit is good too.

Week 30 – 1 Gallon of Canola Oil

Make sure you have enough oil to cook your growing stockpile.

 

 

Week 31 – 1 Can of Powdered Milk

Milk is something you’ll really miss when you run out.

Week 32 – 6 Pounds of Rice

Yes, you already have a lot of rice. Get some more.

Week 33 – 12 Cans of Tuna

More protein that isn’t Vienna sausages.

Week 34 – 4oz of Yeast

Get a jar of dried yeast to make your bread rise.

Week 35 – 8 Pounds of Flour

Bread is something else you’ll really miss, so keep expanding your baking supplies.

Week 36 – 1 Pound of Honey

Honey is an amazing sweetener. It also has natural antibiotic properties and can help wounds heal.

Week 37 – 8 Cans of Vegetables

Again, go for variety here.

Week 38 – 6-Pack of Mac And Cheese

Sometimes you need comfort food in a hurry. Mac and cheese is the perfect choice.

Week 39 – 6 Pounds of Pasta

You can’t have enough of this stuff, really.

Week 40 – 6 Pounds of Rice

You can’t have enough of this either.

Week 41 – 6 Pounds of Navy Beans

You know what I’m going to say here.

Week 42 – 3 Cans of Corned Beef Hash

Get some more variety in your protein intake. Hash can be eaten on its own or used to improve pasta sauces.

Week 43 – 8 Cans of Vegetables

You should have enough vegetables by now to make your rice and bean dishes a lot more interesting.

Week 44 – 10 Pounds of Sugar

There are ways to make sugar yourself, but it’s much easier to buy the stuff and spend your time collecting other foods.

Week 45 – 12 Cans of Vienna Sausages

I really hope you like these.

Week 46 – 10 Cans of Tomato Sauce

By now you have enough ingredients and spices to turn this stuff into some pretty tasty recipes.

Week 47 – 2 Gallons of White Vinegar

Vinegar improves a lot of recipes and has plenty other uses around the home.

Week 48 – 6 Pounds of Rice

Relax; this is the last load of rice.

Week 49 – 8 Pounds of Pinto Beans

And these are the last beans.

Week 50 – 4 Cans of Chicken

A lot of prepper stockpiles are low on meat. Avoid that by adding more chicken.

Week 51 – 4 Pounds of Peanut Butter

Peanut butter is energy-dense and easy to digest, so it’s a good way to get calories into someone who’s unwell.

Week 52 – 8 Cans of Vegetables

Beans and rice are a lot less boring when you mix some vegetables in.

If you follow this shopping plan, after a year you’ll have a massive 295 pound stockpile of food. The core of it is 36 pounds of rice, 40 pounds of beans, 18 pounds of pasta and 16 pounds of flour.

To add protein, other nutrients and of course variety you’ll also have 30 cans of tomato sauce, 40 cans of vegetables, 16 cans of fruit and 67 cans of meat or fish. On top of that you have salt, spices and some other extras that will let you turn your stockpile into tasty meals.

Best of all, it’s done without having to make a single huge purchase; just skip a couple of bottles of soda or bags of snacks each week, and you can spend the money on building up a valuable emergency supply instead.


On a different note, here’s some other self-sufficiency and preparedness solutions recommended for you:

The Lost Ways (The vital self-sufficiency lessons our great grand-fathers left us)
Survival MD (Knowledge to survive any medical crisis situation)
Backyard Liberty (Liberal’s hidden agenda: more than just your guns…)
Alive After the Fall (Build yourself the only unlimited water source you’ll ever need)
The Lost ways II (4 Important Forgotten Skills used by our Ancestors that can help you in any crisis)
The Patriot Privacy Kit (Secure your privacy in just 10 simple steps)

With an extra $5 a week you can build up a large, well-balanced food reserve in the space of a year.

In the summer we have many vegetables that we can eat. At the same time, if you have a garden like me, you’ll need to do something with all those vegetables before they wither in the fridge.

I am not a fan of wasting food because I feel bad for the people that don’t have any but also because I don’t know what will happen in the future and I want to be prepared for anything.

These are my reasons why I pickle besides the fact that I really love them and I could eat them with any food.

What is pickling? Pickling is the process of preserving foods in a high-acid solution, either by adding vinegar or naturally by means of fermentation. Spoilers cannot grow in a high-acid environment. This state of high acidity is achieved in two ways: by means of salt and with vinegar (though when you pickle with vinegar, you add salt as well).

RelatedThe vital self-sufficiency lessons our great grand-fathers left us

Pickling With Salt

PickingCucumbers

Pickling locks in the fresh taste from your garden

Pickling with salt falls into two categories: dry salt and brined. The dry salt method combines dry salt with vegetables in quantities above what you would add for seasoning purposes. Liquid (watery juices) is pulled from the vegetables, and this liquid combines with the salt to create a brine — a salty, watery solution. With the premade brine method, a vegetable is placed in a combination of salt and water. In both cases, the vegetables are covered in brine for a prescribed amount of time. In this submerged, airless state (below the brine line), the vegetables ferment. Fermentation is the process by which the natural bacteria in the foods convert the sugars into lactic acid. Lactic acid is a natural preservative. Depending on its strength, microorganisms will not grow in lactic acid because of its low pH (high acidity). As a result, low-acid foods such as cabbage can be canned safely in a water bath canner and stored on the shelf for up to a year after fermentation is complete. Lactic acid also supplies that yummy sour taste — hence the name sauerkraut.

Pickling With Vinegar

Pickling with vinegar is a much quicker process. In vinegar, the vegetable does not ferment. Usually, the vegetable rests for a short time in a brine (to add crispness and flavor), is drained, often brought to a boil in a vinegar solution, packed into jars, covered in the remaining hot vinegar solution, and water bath canned for long-term preservation. The acetic acid in vinegar brings up the acidity of the vegetable to a point where no microorganisms can thrive. Acetic acid, by the way, is flavorless and colorless. When a recipe calls for vinegar that is 5 percent acid, that means the vinegar is 5 percent acetic acid.

Related4 Important Forgotten Skills used by our Ancestors that can help you in any crisis

When making pickled foods, it is critical that you use very fresh ingredients. If you start out to make sauerkraut with an old, soft cabbage, your end product will be mushy. Basically, crisp into the brining pot means crisp out of the brining pot. (And this is true of all preserving: Don’t put up foods that are on their way out. Preserving is not a way to postpone eating something that has been aging in your refrigerator. Rather, preserving is capturing a food’s optimum freshness in time.)

The only ingredients necessary to pickling are the food you are planning to pickle, either salt or vinegar or a combination, and water. Salt is key, and it matters which kind you use. Use pickling or canning salt or kosher salt. Pickling salt (sometimes called canning and pickling salt) is pure granulated salt. It is free of anticaking agents, which can cause the pickling liquid to turn cloudy. Table salt with iodine (iodized salt) is not a good choice. It won’t hurt you, but it will undermine the appearance of your pickles, as the additives.

Related – SHTF Foods – How to Pickle Navy Style

do not dissolve completely. I often use kosher salt because it just tastes saltier to me. However, kosher salt has large crystals, which do not dissolve as quickly as pickling salt. When making a premade brine, you have to either heat kosher salt and water together to ensure the salt is totally dissolved or combine the salt and water together in a bowl and swish it around until all the crystals are dissolved. Another factor regarding kosher salt is volume. The large crystals of kosher salt take up less space in your measuring spoon than the smaller pickling salt crystals.

Sea salt is produced by the evaporation of saltwater. It comes in fine and coarse -textures and a variety of colors. The problem with pickling with sea salt is consistency. Because it is an unregulated product, you just don’t know what minerals are in there or how they are going to affect your pickling. Disregarding the fact that it is expensive, sea salt is not the best choice for pickling. Rather, on the occasions when I indulge myself with one of those lovely jars of pink sea salt, I use it to garnish foods.

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It is critical that you use fresh ingredients.

Water is also important. During fermentation, hard water (mineral-rich water) and heavily chlorinated water can interfere with the formation of lactic acid. You can tell you have hard water if it stains the toilet and heavily chlorinated water if it smells like a swimming pool. In this case, you have two options: Either buy distilled water, or bring your tap water to a boil for 15 minutes, cover, and then let it sit for 24 hours. You will detect a scum on top and sediment on the bottom. Skim off the scum and pour the water into another container, leaving the sediment behind. However, if your water is good to drink, it is good to pickle with.

 

And finally, vinegar. Again, it’s all about that 5 percent acidity. I use Heinz distilled white vinegar, cider vinegar, and white wine vinegar. Distilled white vinegar is made from grain alcohol. It is clear, pungent and flavorless. Because of its clarity, distilled white vinegar is preferred when appearance matters, especially when pickling pale vegetables. Cider vinegar is distilled from hard cider (fermented apple juice). It has a light golden color and a softly tart taste. It is milder than distilled white vinegar but causes the vegetables to darken somewhat. White wine vinegar is my favorite, probably owing as much to my Italian heritage as anything else. The taste is fruity and strong.

RelatedBuild yourself the only unlimited water source you’ll ever need

Other ingredients you will encounter in pickling are sugar (white and brown), herbs, spices, and garlic. Of these, unrefined sugar is fine to use if you prefer it. Fresh herbs should be just that. Don’t use fresh herbs that are browning or slimy. Spices should be fresh, too. It’s a shame they are so expensive, because the fact is, after a year you should chuck your spices out, as they diminish in flavor. (Just sniff. If you can’t smell anything, the spice or dried herb is finito.) You should use aged, cured garlic. While very fresh garlic is a delight to eat, it will discolor during pickling. Garlic that has cured at room temperature for two to three weeks is best (and that is primarily what you get at the supermarket).

I don’t use firming agents (to crisp up vegetables), but for the record, there are two: lime and alum. Lime is calcium hydroxide. Obviously, it must be the food-grade product and not that used for agriculture, which is not meant for consumption. In Le Marche, where my dad is from, the large green olive called the Uliva d’Ascoli is cured in lime. Highly prized by the ancient Romans, it is an incredibly sweet, mild olive that the locals peel like an orange and stuff with a meatball mixture and then fry.

Alum is potassium aluminum phosphate or ammonium aluminum sulfate. I know of some canners who lay a grape leaf in the bottom of their jars to firm up their fermented pickles, but I am not one for adding anything to a recipe that I don’t have to.

ceramic_pot

Ceramic crock for pickling

What Kind of Equipment Do I Need?

For dry salt fermenting, the most important item is a 1-gallon stoneware, glass or food-grade plastic crock. I bought mine — a ceramic crock — at a gourmet kitchen supply store. It has 1⁄2-inch-thick walls. I think it was being sold more for decorative purposes — and indeed, I store kitchen utensils in it when I am not using it for fermenting. You’ll need a glass, stainless steel or ceramic bowl for brining. Avoid all metal bowls besides stainless steel, as salt and vinegar can react negatively to them. You should also use stainless steel pots for heating vinegar solutions. Do not use aluminum, copper, brass, galvanized steel or iron pots for fermenting or heating pickling liquids.

When brining foods, such as cabbage, you must be sure the food stays submerged in the brine. A simple way to accomplish this is to place a food-grade, resealable bag filled with extra brine (the salt and water solution) directly atop the food. It is heavy enough to keep the vegetables below the liquid, and if you spring a leak, it’s no problem, because only brine will dribble into your crock.

To process jars, you just need a water bath canning setup.

Related – This book will teach you everything from the soil up.

The Basic Steps for Pickling

These are: brining (which draws water and air out of the vegetables), packing in jars, in some recipes covering with a hot vinegar solution, and in many recipes water bath processing.

Store pickled foods as you would other home-canned products: in a cool, dark place. Pickles should age for about 8 weeks to set the flavor.


Here’s some other self-sufficiency and preparedness solutions recommended for you:

The Lost Ways (The vital self-sufficiency lessons our great grand-fathers left us)
Survival MD (Knowledge to survive any medical crisis situation)
Backyard Liberty (Liberal’s hidden agenda: more than just your guns…)
Alive After the Fall (Build yourself the only unlimited water source you’ll ever need)
The Lost ways II (4 Important Forgotten Skills used by our Ancestors that can help you in any crisis)
The Patriot Privacy Kit (Secure your privacy in just 10 simple steps)

In the summer we have many vegetables that we can eat. At the same time, if you have a garden like me, you’ll need to do something with all those

There are things we can’t control. What we can control is what we put in your body in the first place. Fresh and healthy whole foods bring the nutritional benefits that can have a true impact on our body and overall health. Choosing quality ingredients over pre-packaged convenience foods is one of the first steps.

Highly-processed foods typically lack fiber and are loaded with added sugar and sodium. Processed foods typically lack any ingredients that create satiety, and typically leave us craving more – which can cause us to overeat. It may seem daunting to prepare every snack fresh, but here are some great options that can easily fit into a busy, modern lifestyle.

In a society that is geared towards instant gratification, the problem with non-processed food is that it isn’t “quick”.  One of the major reasons that people give for eating processed foods over whole foods is that “I needed something quick.”  Don’t let your need for speed sidetrack your healthy eating habits.

RelatedThe vital self-sufficiency lessons our great grand-fathers left us

If you are a prepper, it’s especially important in a disaster situation to have food that you can turn to for quick nutrition.  In a grid-down situation, foods that don’t require cooking can be especially vital.  Some people make the mistake of relying on long-term storage foods that require lengthy cooking times, forgetting that cooking fuel might need to be rationed in order to last throughout the event.  Alternatively, relying on highly processed foods will not provide you with the extra energy you need for the demands that may be placed on you physically in such a situation.

One strategy that you can employ for some instant food gratification is to make a habit of a weekly food-prep session. Spend some time each weekend washing, cutting, and cooking food for the week ahead.  This will give you cut-up veggies, prepared protein sources and washed fruit that you can eat right from the refrigerator.  This session can also include some home-baked goodies for lunch boxes and some complete meals that just need to be reheated at serving time.

Related4 Important Forgotten Skills used by our Ancestors that can help you in any crisis

Next, be sure to have some foods on hand that can be prepared quickly.  Some of the suggestions below are just snacks but when combined with another selection can take the place of a meal:

  1. Nuts
  2. Trail mix:  Mix dried fruit, nuts, seeds, and a handful of real dark chocolate chips
  3. Fresh fruit:  Whatever deliciousness is in season – our selection this week is apples, oranges, and strawberries
  4. Dried Fruit:  Raisins, dried berries, dried apple slices
  5. Salad:  If your veggies are pre-washed you can put this together very quickly.  As well, salad can be pre-assembled.  Simply add protein and dressing at serving time.
  6. Veggies:  carrots, radishes, sugar snap peas, celery, peppers, cucumbers, and cherry tomatoes
  7. Steamed veggies:  Top them with cheese or chopped hard-boiled eggs
  8. Eggs: Nature’s fastest protein – boil, scramble, poach or fry – eggs make a great topper for other “fast foods”
  9. Yogurt Parfait: Top your homemade yogurt with fruit and granola
  10. Leftovers
  11. Cheese: Opt for a healthy version without additives and artificial colors
  12. Smoothies:  Throw fruits, veggies, yogurt and your milk of choice into the blender.  Add a little pure vanilla and some honey.  We like to freeze fruit for this purpose to make a rich thick shake.
  13. Homemade granola cookies:
  14. No-bake haystack cookies:
  15. Hummus:  Serve the dip with veggie sticks, homemade crackers, or tortillas
  16. Applesauce:  Try topping it with homemade granola and vanilla yogurt for a  quick no-cook “apple crisp”
  17. Chocolate Milk:
  18. Apples with natural peanut butter
  19. Frozen Yogurt Berries:  Toss well-washed berries in homemade vanilla yogurt.  Place them on a baking sheet in the freezer for at least 2 hours for a cold, healthy treat
  20. Popcorn
  21. Edamame
  22. Pancakes or Waffles:  Top with fruit for a nutrition boost
  23. Couscous:  This speedy grain only requires the addition of boiling water or broth.  Let it sit for 5 minutes, covered, and you have an instant hearty side dish.  Add some steamed veggies and lean protein to turn it into a one dish meal
  24. Cottage cheese:  Top homemade cottage cheese with fresh fruit
  25. Home-canned food:  Meals like chili, soup, and spaghetti sauce can be pressure canned at home for a delicious healthy “fast food meal”
  26. Fruit Salad: Top it with nuts and a honey-sweetened yogurt for a protein boost
  27. Dill Pickles:  Home-canned, of course
  28. Ants-on-a-log:  Celery sticks stuffed with natural peanut butter then topped with raisins
  29. Quick Greek Salad: Chopped cucumber, peppers and cherry tomatoes with feta cheese and vinaigrette
  30. Homemade Fruitsicles:  Puree fruit that is overripe, then freeze it in Popsicle forms – strawberry-banana is a favorite combo here
  31. Guacamole
  32. Savory snack mix:  Popcorn and nuts sprinkled with Parmesan cheese and spices
  33. Tzatziki:  This yummy Greek garlic and yogurt dip is a satisfying snack with homemade crackers or veggies
  34. Medjool dates and almonds
  35. Frozen grapes
  36. Homemade gazpacho:  Puree tomatoes, peppers, onions, jalapenos, and other seasonal veggies.  Keep in the fridge and serve cold.
  37. Quick Banana Nut Cookies:  Mash 2 overripe bananas well.  Stir in 1 cup of steel-cut oats and 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts or pecans.  Bake at 350 for 15 minutes.
  38. Latte:  Make a delicious latte with a homemade creamer
  39. Mexican Black Bean Salad:  (you can use a can of rinsed organic black beans or beans that you cooked yourself previously)  1 cup of black beans, 1/2 cup of diced tomatoes, 1/2 cup of chopped bell peppers, some fresh cilantro, and lemon juice
  40. Green Apple Salad:  Chopped green apple, red grapes, and walnuts sprinkled with a dressing made from honey, lemon juice and cinnamon

Note: Once upon a time, tuna was on my healthy snacks list.  Post-Fukushima, we don’t eat it anymore.  Pacific tuna caught off the coast of California is tainted with radiation from the disaster.  So-called experts say that the small amount of radiation is safe, but this is a theory that I’m not willing to test on my own family

 

Your healthy snacks are only as good as their ingredients.  Food that you produce yourself is always the best option, because then you can be absolutely assured of both the seeds and the farming process.  Supplement with items from local farms or the organic section of your grocery store.  When you eat in-season, it is far easier to choose the most nutritious foods and save money.  Carefully wash your produce to get rid of any airborne residue that might remain on the food.

Build your pantry stockpile with long-term storage foods.  Select healthy basics such as nuts, honey, whole grains, and dried fruits.

When you always have quick options available it is far easier to make choices that fuel your body.  What quick and healthy snacks do you feed your family?


Here’s some other self-sufficiency and preparedness solutions recommended for you:

The Lost Ways (The vital self-sufficiency lessons our great grand-fathers left us)
Survival MD (Knowledge to survive any medical crisis situation)
Backyard Liberty (Liberal’s hidden agenda: more than just your guns…)
Alive After the Fall (Build yourself the only unlimited water source you’ll ever need)
The Lost ways II (4 Important Forgotten Skills used by our Ancestors that can help you in any crisis)
The Patriot Privacy Kit (Secure your privacy in just 10 simple steps)

There are things we can't control. What we can control is what we put in your body in the first place.

Large earthquakes continue to wreak havoc across the United States and abroad, and the U.S. Geological Survey has increased the likelihood that the “Big One” will hit California within the next few decades.

In addition to earthquakes, the CDC warns of other deadly disasters, like tsunamis, wildfires, extreme winter weather and infectious diseases. Meantime, the State Department seems to constantly be issuing new warnings about terrorist threats to Americans.

Catastrophe can strike at any moment. Are you prepared? Are your kids? You need to evaluate your current survival plan and update your emergency preparedness kit. You don’t want to be caught without some of these must have items to survive disaster.

It’s also a great time to educate your kids on survival preparedness and practice your family disaster plan. Involve your kids in putting together and packing their personal bug out bag. Here is everything you should include in your kids’ emergency pack.

Backpack Essentials

Begin with an ordinary school backpack that is not obnoxiously huge and doesn’t stand out. It should be comfortable and not too heavy for your child, because they may have to travel long distances on foot. Let your child choose the bag to help them take ownership of it. Update the pack every six months to ensure all contents are fresh.

Hydration:
(Water is an absolute must for your bag, in addition to these essentials:)

  • Water Purification tablets
  • Canteen
  • Water pouches
  • Water filter
  • Pedialyte powder

Food:
(Enough to last three days, including the following:)

  • Protein/energy bars
  • Dehydrated meals
  • Snacks (gum, hard candy)

lost-child

It’s also a great time to educate your kids on survival preparedness and practice your family disaster plan. Involve your kids in putting together and packing their personal bug out bag.

Clothing/Hygiene Products:
(Depends on location and climate. Have the following:)

  • Climate-friendly clothing (gloves, hat, coat if necessary)
  • Change of clothing and underwear
  • Poncho
  • Socks
  • Spare glasses/sunglasses
  • Hygiene kit that includes wipes, toothbrush and paste, hand wash
  • Pocket tissue packs
  • Chapstick
  • Extra medication as needed

Survival Items:
(Parents can carry the majority of survival items, but kids should have a few in case of separation, including:)

  • Small flashlight or headlamp
  • Survival whistle
  • Small first aid kit (you can carry the big one)
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Swiss Army knife for older kids
  • Emergency glow sticks
  • N95 Respirator Dust Mask
  • Emergency blanket
  • Pepper spray
  • Cash

Entertainment/ Comfort Items:

  • Stuffed bear or toy
  • Playing cards
  • Brain games and activities
  • Football
  • Coloring book and crayons

Information and Communication

Laminate emergency contact information, including parents’ names, phone numbers and a home address. Also include information for a few close relatives or friends, while including a photo of your child and his or her family members and friends to serve as identification.

Map out directions to different chosen bug-out locations in case your child gets separated from you, and put copies in their packs.

Pack a prepaid mobile phone or satellite phone to ensure they will be in communication with someone at all times.

Related – Outrageous Ways to Charge Your Phone During a Blackout

Practice

Stocking up on supplies is easy. But when the time comes to grab the packs and go, it’s best if the family has run through certain scenarios to know exactly where to go and how to get there.

Practice test runs to the mapped out locations you’ve chosen to retreat to when a disaster strikes and be sure the kids could make it there on their own.

The threat of natural and man-made disasters is real, but having supplies and a survival plan will put you ahead of the pack when running for the hills. Get your kids involved so everyone makes it out alive.

On a different note, here’s some other self-sufficiency and preparedness solutions recommended for you:

The Lost Ways (The vital self-sufficiency lessons our great grand-fathers left us)
Survival MD (Knowledge to survive any medical crisis situation)
Backyard Liberty (Liberal’s hidden agenda: more than just your guns…)
Alive After the Fall (Build yourself the only unlimited water source you’ll ever need)
The Lost ways II (4 Important Forgotten Skills used by our Ancestors that can help you in any crisis)
The Patriot Privacy Kit (Secure your privacy in just 10 simple steps)

Catastrophe can strike at any moment. Are you prepared? Are your kids? You need to evaluate your current survival plan.

Some have already come and gone, because the season comes earlier and earlier every year, but for a lot of the country, tax-free shopping for school related supplies is right around the corner. There are also sales associated with back-to-school, the beginning of the hunting season cycle, and the changing of seasons that we can take advantage of, and some states and retailers will also be sticking some merchandise on sale for National Preparedness Month in September.

Along with those sales, retailers tend to throw a sale or two up ahead of the holiday rush in October and November to make room for new stock, and there are sometimes additional sales or tax holidays in August and September for preparedness and energy-saving appliances.

Check here The Ultimate Preppers List of Supplies

In some cases, taking advantage of tax holidays and sales is just about saving a little money that we can then apply to other budgets. In other cases, a sale or the absence of tax is what drops something inside our budget ranges.

Sometimes though, even when it’s not a preparedness-related sale, there are things we can stock up on that applies directly to preparing for the worst. Today we talk about how you can save on prepping supplies.

1. Savings For Stockpiles & To Apply Elsewhere

Clothes and hunting gear are an entire cookie for preppers, especially those with kids. Hand-me-downs and thrift stores are great, and I’ve made some great finds at the beginning of various weather and sportsman seasons at Salvation Army and Goodwill. Still, some things are nice to have fresh. If you’re trying to maintain an every-other-size stockpile for somebody who’s still growing, combining store sales with tax-free holidays can be a way to basically earn enough to pay for another garment or two.

Similarly, if we budget ahead of time, we can sometimes score electronics and appliances for gifts and our households without paying tax and sometimes with additional total-purchase or single-item discounts and store markdowns.

I don’t typically shell out enough to qualify for some of the energy-saving appliances or generators, but we’re all at different levels and not all of us head to Howard’s Appliance Center of Augusta or the Habitat Restore in Louisville. If there’s a big item on the docket for the next year or two, planning the purchase around a tax-free holiday is kind of a no brainer.

Saving 3 to 9% on a six-dollar pair of shoes doesn’t put that much change back in the jar. Saving 6% on a $1,200 generator or whole-house fan system, now … $72 will buy a fair bit of wheat, oatmeal, gauze pads, tampons, or mulch, and it’ll make a big dent in a battery-operated electric tool or weed-eater or a good pair of boots.

*Some stores will just offer a discount on total purchases during that weekend or the days and weeks leading up to school, and those can be great ways to save on pretty much anything.

2. Back-To-School Supplies for Preppers

Saving money is nice, but sometimes we don’t always see the potential in back-to-school tax-free and sale season for anything but clothes and potential savings that make the crumb snatchers a little more affordable. There are all kinds of things that qualify (by state – look up your rules and restrictions) that we will be buying another time or maybe haven’t even thought of.

There’s no way to cover all of them. We have some darn clever folks on this site who can undoubtedly think of another dozen examples each that back-to-school sales and tax-free holidays can make more affordable. Here’s my top twelve:

3. Maps

Some places will count their road atlases or county/state books as educational, and some states don’t care at all. That can lead to serious savings on our pre-printed atlases and maps.

grease-pencil[1]

4. Printer Paper & Toner

I’m constantly printing local area maps, pre-made missing posters, directions to natural resources and resource locations like pallet dumps and bamboo stands, DIY instructions for builds and even common repairs for things I would currently watch of YouTube, and recipes. I’m also routinely printing user manuals for tools and appliances that I pick up second hand.

Paper and toner can help with entertainment and education as well.

I can create my own search-a-word and crossword puzzles with some free sites to have on hand for holidays and birthdays even for adults, and I can print preexisting targets, puzzles, games and coloring sheets to help break monotony. Homeschooling site downloads can ensure any children will continue to be at least somewhat educated even if that great big disaster occurs.

We can print out all kinds of things, and if we’re going to go that road, we might as well budget and get as much of it on sale and tax free as possible.

5. Scissors

Some states and stores will restrict the types of scissors you get, but if they’re anywhere on the list, most will include anything but kitchen and garden shears. Scissors are one of those things that makes our life easier, so if you need some good ones for trimming hair, cutting herbs, and getting into packaging, now’s a good time to get them.

sewing-scissors[1]

6. Colored Pencils, #2 Pencils

They’re not just for kids. When I come do a site assessment, I routinely have a pencil. The colored pencils don’t erase real well, but they also don’t smear even as much as lead/graphite, and they sure don’t run or bleed in 40-70% humidity or rain like ink will. Sure, I could buy special notebooks and paper, but why spend more?

7. Notebooks, Binders

This can be a chance to get good notebooks with binder-insert holes and heavy-duty paper instead of the cheap-o’s. A variety of sizes is great to have on hand for daily life, but especially if we want to stick a couple of mini’s or steno-sized or half-sized notebooks in plastic baggies and then a backpack or pocket to carry around.

contact-paper-sheets[1]

Clear contact paper or similar plastic craft sheets have a multitude of uses in daily life and preparedness.

8. Contact Paper/Plastic Sheeting

This stuff can not only make our carry-around maps a little more durable, they’re great for covering maps to pin to walls. Leave a border of the plastic around them and use a map pen or grease pencil over top of the contact sheet, and we never punch any holes or totally booger up what can be a precious resource even today.

We can also basically double-over contact paper to make a durable but easy-folding and easy-rolling overlay sheet – or twenty – that can keep information like resource locations, cache locations, and points of defensive or evasive interest separate.

In the same vein, if we attach our doubled-up sheet to a dowel or two, we now have a portable board that we can carry around with us to neighbors, to educate a handful of kids at once, to explain to the existing residents why it’s in everyone’s interest to pitch in on a fire break, and to facilitate trade between households.

We can also slap this stuff against a lot of walls, and instantly have a dry erase board for tracking chores, harvest, canning, a monthly calendar, or working out build designs or homework problems.

(A lot of those can also be accomplished by hanging a sheet on the other side of a window, but a couple rolls of contact paper is cheaper and lighter to move around, and won’t kill or injure anybody if it falls off the wall.)

chalkboard-spray-paint-1[1]

Chalkboard spray paint lets us turn a wall or a spare board into a reusable writing surface for daily life or emergencies.

9. Chalkboards, Chalkboard spray paint, dry erase boards

All of these offer a reusable alternative to paper without resorting to charcoal on walls, today and in an emergency. It could be keeping score in a game, it could be teaching a kid order of precedence for mathematical equations, it could be a whiteboard class, or it could be mapping plans for the homestead’s planting or defense. A variety of sizes are out there, from lap boards to wall-fillers.

10. Alcohol Pens, Dry Erase Markers, Map Pens

Some will be on sale or tax free by state, some won’t. They’re handy to have for all the same reasons listed in contact paper above.

dry-erase-ultra-fine[1]

Images: Ultra fine dry erase and permanent map pens are commonly counted as school supplies during tax-free weekends and store promotions.

 

11. Super Glue, Wood Glue

Super glue and wood glue will routinely slide into the arts and crafts headings of back-to-school sales and tax-free weekends. Humanity got along without them for millennia, but they sure do make some fixes nice and easy. Elmer now sells a glue-all that’s pretty good and that slides right through with other school supplies if a store is being resistant.

12. Duct tape

Sometimes you have to get the crafty colored versions of this to qualify during the back-to-school season, and there’s not always enough savings to justify the cost. However, if there’s a sale, this is one to jump on, because from little holes in screens to hanging curtains over windows for light discipline, duct tape does so much for us even outside of the tool box and range bag.

13. Hygiene

Some states are now recognizing the endless lists students are supposed to report with, and including things like tissue paper of both types, hand sanitizer, liquid hand soap, paper towels and bleach/Lysol wipes in their tax exemptions. Some will do it for preparedness weekends, too, but back-to-school is where I see them most often.

14. Hats, brimmed

It’s not clothing or accessories. It’s gear. Honest.

With my father and man-of-the-house, and my own slight addictions, I can’t imagine not already having a ton of hats on hand. They’re also not something I expect to be totally un-findable in a world-ending event. However, I grew up in the Deep South, spend a lot of time on boats and near shorelines, and lived in Arizona for years. A hat with a brim really is life and death in some places, not only for its shading and prevention of open sunburn blisters on ears and necks, but also by saving the eyes in snow as well as woods and fields and especially urban environments. Brimmed hats can also keep rain out from under the back of your collar and from streaming down your ears.

Ball caps and knit ski caps totally have their place, but if a state is allowing for hats, it might not be a bad idea to pick up one with a brim. Boonie styles can be wedged in nearly as small a space as a ball cap, there is a reason cowboy and ranch styles are still worn while working, and there are a whole array of sports types with a full-circumference brims to fit both hot and cold seasons.

15. Do Your Homework

We can save a lot of money and be better prepared for storms, personal reversals, and crises of major proportions by taking advantage of tax holidays and seasonal sales. There are numerous sites that list tax holiday weekends. I happen to like this one.

It breaks tax-free weekends down by state and then the untaxed items, and it provides quick links to the specific pages for each state’s rules and requirements. Definitely read the rules and requirements, because states like to include and exclude some oddball stuff. Regularly.

It would not be crazy talk to print out and carry the applicable untaxed or sale items list and carry it to the store(s) with you. This is the only way a buddy of mine got the entire staff of a hardware store in Virginia to actually abide by the state tax holiday, because they were totally unaware. It’s also nice just to keep it handy instead of relying on memory or the shopping list.

The link above undoubtedly misses things, and there are a number of states that usually run a weekend somewhere between August-November to push either appliances or generators and other preparedness items that aren’t listed yet. That happens with all of them. For example, this is the only one that lists Texas’s new preparedness category for the August 5-7 weekend that I’ve found. If I hadn’t already known about it, I could have missed it.

Prevent those regrets by searching your state, any surrounding states if you’re on a border or the savings would be worth a couple tanks of gas, and “tax free” or “tax holiday”.


Here’s some other self-sufficiency and preparedness solutions recommended for you:

The Lost Ways (The vital self-sufficiency lessons our great grand-fathers left us)
Survival MD (Knowledge to survive any medical crisis situation)
Backyard Liberty (Liberal’s hidden agenda: more than just your guns…)
Alive After the Fall (Build yourself the only unlimited water source you’ll ever need)
The Lost ways II (4 Important Forgotten Skills used by our Ancestors that can help you in any crisis)
The Patriot Privacy Kit (Secure your privacy in just 10 simple steps)

Sometimes though, even when it’s not a preparedness-related sale, there are things we can stock up on that applies directly to preparing for the worst.

By now, we all know that one of the best ways to receive the benefits of herbs as well as alleviate dry skin is through the creation of a healing salve. Our skin is one of the largest gateways on the body to receive actions of the plants. Calendula, or Calendula officinalis, known commonly for its skin healing magic is a great herb to start with in salve making. It is used to heal wounds, rashes, and other skin irritations.

Not to mention that this time of year, dryness, and irritation can be prevalent due to the weather’s icy bite and moisture-sapping indoor heat. As the warm weather lures us away from the hearth and onto bicycles and hiking trails, our skin is bound to endure some cuts, burns and rashes on the way. Prepare your medicine cabinet to treat such ails with an herbal salve.

Related – Knowledge to survive any medical crisis situation

If you would like to play with your own mixture, it is highly recommended to research the actions and energetics of herbs. For the recipes provided today, here is some brief information on the herbal actions indicated.

  • Meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria) has anti-inflammatory actions. Meadowsweet, combined with calendula, which is healing for the skin, can soothe sore feet, hands, and shoulders as well as rough cracked skin that go along with hard work.
  • For a dry skin salve, you can use a calendula base, then add lavender (Lavandula), which is soothing and anti-inflammatory. The addition of coconut oil is very moisturizing as well as a nice compliment to the lavender smell.

Herbal Salve Recipe

Skin-Soothing Calendula Salve

Salves are thickened ointments that are used to soothe various skin problems, depending on the plant that the salve was made from. They can treat chapped hands, wounds, mild burns, bites, stings, rashes, boils, acne and inflammation. To make a basic salve, all you need is an infused oil, beeswax and some essential oil.

Making Salves: The Key Ingredients

Infused oils are carrier oils that have been “infused” with one or more herbs. They are used to make any oil-based apothecary items, such as lip balms, creams, massage oils and salves. Although you can buy prepared infused oils, I like to make my own using the folk technique called the “solar infusion method.”

To make an infused oil at home, find a jar with a tight-fitting lid, such as a Mason jar, and fill it halfway full with a dried herb of your choice. Fill the jar with oil until it completely covers the herb (about three-quarters full). Any quality vegetable oil will work, but if you’re using this infused oil to make a salve, use one that can tolerate heat and is good for the skin, like olive or almond oil. Put the lid back on your jar and store it in a sunny location like a windowsill for three to six weeks. Shake the jar every day for the first week and once every week after that. When it’s fully infused, strain the oil through cheesecloth and store it in a closed jar for future use.

Related – The Dirty Secret to Good Health 

Beeswax thickens the salve and makes it easy to apply to the skin—it also provides slight anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits, according to North Carolina State University. Laying a protective barrier between the wound and the air, it calms the skin and helps it retain moisture. You can find one-ounce bars of beeswax at your local health-food store.

Embrace the wonders of aromatherapy with essential oils, or highly concentrated plant extracts. They provide a multitude of body benefits. I like to add a few drops of lavender essential oil to my herbal salve recipe, not only for its pleasing scent but for its ability to treat small cuts, scrapes and insect bites, as lavender is a natural antibiotic and antiseptic. You can also strengthen your salve’s medicinal benefits with tea tree or rose, two essential oils with antiseptic and antifungal properties.

How to Calm Irritated Skin: 7 Herbs for Natural Skin Remedies

first-aid-ointment

Comfrey Salve

Calendula (Calendula officinalis), or pot marigold, is a familiar sight in many cottage gardens. This antiseptic was used during the Civil War to staunch bleeding and heal wounds; recent studies show that calendula noticeably stimulates physiological regeneration and skin healing. Use a calendula salve on skin rashes, minor cuts and burns, bruises, eczema, psoriasis, sunburns and chapped lips.

Comfrey (Symphytum officinale) is said to have been brought to England from the Middle East by crusaders using it to heal war wounds. For centuries, it was taken internally, but new research indicates that it should not be ingested, as it contains harmful alkaloids. Use it as an herbal salve to stimulate cell growth and repair wounds, burns, sore joints, dry skin and swelling.

German chamomile (Matricaria recu-tita) and Roman chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile) are recognizable by their delicate white petals and pleasing, apple-like odor. Today, this cosmetic favorite is admired for its softening, deodorizing and disinfecting effects on the skin.

Related – The Plant You Can Use as a Diuretic But Also To Make a Great Wine!

Plantain (Plantago major) is a wild perennial that can be found all over the world, often along roadsides. Used by the Greek medic Dioscorides to cure inflammation and burns, it has stood the test of time. Today it is also used to treat insect bites, stings, poison ivy and sunburns. In fact, a range of biological activities has been found in its extracts, from wound healing to anti-inflammatory action.

Aloe (Aloe vera) is one of the giants among herbs and herbal medicine. It is said to have healed a badly infected wound Alexander the Great earned during the siege of Gaza. Today, people commonly keep this easy-to-grow plant potted in their home for the instant and effective treatment of burns. All it requires is a weekly watering. It also treats cuts, eczema and sunburn.

Arnica (Arnica montana) is an ingredient in more than 100 herbal preparations in Germany, where plant-based medications are regulated by the Commission E. This daisy-like herb relieves sore muscles and reduces inflammation. Athletes commonly rely on it to reduce the pain, swelling and bruising that accompany sprains and strains.

For more on essential oils, how to make them and their benefits, check out Dr. La Guardia’s Book of Medicine. It teaches you everything from the soil up.

And here’s some other self-sufficiency and preparedness solutions recommended for you:

The Lost Ways (The vital self-sufficiency lessons our great grand-fathers left us)
Survival MD (Knowledge to survive any medical crisis situation)
Backyard Liberty (Liberal’s hidden agenda: more than just your guns…)
Alive After the Fall (Build yourself the only unlimited water source you’ll ever need)
The Lost ways II (4 Important Forgotten Skills used by our Ancestors that can help you in any crisis)
The Patriot Privacy Kit (Secure your privacy in just 10 simple steps)

Today you will learn how to prepare your medicine cabinet to treat such ails with an herbal salve.

Just like responsibilities, laundry goes unattended to until absolutely necessary. Doing laundry comes from way back. We are not doing it just because the clothes are dirty and look bad, but also because we want to prevent infections from spreading around or other diseases.

In the 3rd world countries, because of the poor conditions of having proper hygiene, the people deal with ebola, cholera or some other viruses. Washing clothes is a sign of civilization.

There are many ways people can do laundry some of them are just below:

Powered Options

There are a number of options that use power, but use a little less or have a lower draw that most generators can provide (to include fuel-burning and mechanical like wind or hydro, or solar backup banks). There are also the small-space and high-capacity machines that have a pretty big draw, but they’ll use it efficiently. Those let us still do whole loads in 15-20 minutes or so, and walk away from loads that are washing ou clothes so we can go do something else.

Some of those options include:

  • Maytag Wringer Washers –  (the Amish favorite) and similar rebuilt antiques
  • Small RV, camper and tiny-living washers
  • Wonderwash – Non-electric Portable Compact Mini Washing Machine
  • Mini Mr. Heater RV-camper washer

Some of the electric options do require water hookups, or for you to be there to drain and refill when they’re ready. It’s something to be aware of while gathering information. Also, be aware of the power draw. As mentioned, some of the mini’s are only more efficient or smaller than standard washers and can have high power draws.

Some of the RV and camper or dormitory mini’s are all-in-one units that either convert to a dryer or have two chambers. You can also get separate low-power, highly efficient, or space-saving dryers like the EasyGo Wardrobe Dryer that works like an oversized dehydrator but for clothes (without the shrinkage) or dedicated spin dryers like the XtremepowerUS Stainless Steel Tumble Dryer.

Lehman’s Own hand

Lehman’s Own hand-washing and crank wringer laundry system

Commercial, non-powered laundry cleaning options

There are options for just picking up a hand-crank or foot-pedal washer as well, for those who aren’t DIYers. Most are going to be in the general build of a lettuce spinner or a tumbling “egg” washer. Some require hoses (or hassle) to drain, too. Some are a little easier on that aspect, but they all have to be rinsed somehow. Sometimes the little guys will wash the clothes, but then it’s up to us to better rinse the soap out and wring them dry.

Some of the commercially available hand-crank or manual-pump washers are:

  • Easy-Go Washing Machine  (and similar like the Eco-egg and many others)
  • Drumi – The Foot Powered Washing Machine
  • Scrubba laundry bag
  • Old-school, historic crank washers like those at Lehman’s and similar retailers

*Most of these are going to be pretty small and only do 1-2 pairs of jeans or a few shirts at a time.

DIY project to power a spinning-basket drum washer using a bike

DIY project to power a spinning-basket drum washer using a bike

Manual Clothes Washers

There are truly lots of options to go DIY or old-old school. You can buy some of the options for manual washing, but there are really easy DIYs for some of them that can save move or just keep you from spending it because by the time you need them, the power’s off and you can just salvage them.

Plunger + bucket = DIY Clothes Washer for your Laundry

Plunger + bucket = DIY Clothes Washer for your Laundry

Instead of buying the large head, consider just drilling some holes in a clean plunger so that it doesn’t stick to anything. You can use a 3-5 bucket system or a bathtub, storage tote, trough or small stock tank. No reason not to use an aquarium or planter or filing cabinet drawer if they’re available (for this one or any other).

Related – The vital self-sufficiency lessons our great grand-fathers left us

I like buckets and storage totes with lids I can drill a hole for the handle for because it’s less messy. Five or six waiting buckets makes the process fast for me. It only takes a couple of minutes per load. They go in the first with a few drops of dish detergent or a penny-sized pool of pine cleaner, get pumped 8-20 times, then they go in the first clean water bucket. It usually takes 3-4 buckets for me to be confident they’re well rinsed. Unless stuff is just black, I can use the soapy bucket 2-3 times without adding detergent. By then, the first rinse bucket or two is getting pretty soapy, I add a little more, and somebody takes the dirty wash bucket to dump. That bucket gets refilled and goes to the end of the line.

You can go even more advanced with it like these guys:

Simple DIY Washer

Mechanized bucket washer

*If you use Dawn or an eco-friendly detergent, that bucket can get dumped for well-established trees and shrubs, or into less-sensitive annuals beds. Dawn is still not great for compost, and it’ll shut down the microbe processing for red wiggler bins.

Washboards

You can spend money on a washboard. Or you can just plan to take the large A/C or heater intake vent cover off the wall and use that alone or along with the current bathtub brush(es). I don’t find any real difference in clothes results, but I’m not doing lacy finery or sweaters on them. You do need to pad the bottom edge with a dowel, bamboo, or section of hose before you stick it in your bathtub, though.

The nice thing about a board and a brush is that you can really work specific spot stains, and you can use bar soap and laundry powder as well as dish soap and liquid detergents like pine cleaner, which can be had in super condensed forms really inexpensively. I also don’t worry about soaps degrading my buckets or toilet plunger (or the $20 blue thing I bought before I knew better) or my potato/bathroom brush and grate. Some people are a little crazy sensitive about the types of soaps they’ll use on their “real” washboards.

Related – 4 Important Forgotten Skills used by our Ancestors that can help you in any crisis

The downside is that you’re going to be doing one piece of laundry at a time, two tops, and it takes me a lot longer than dunking a pair of jeans in the buckets and plunging, even if they’re oily and it takes me 2-3 sessions of 15 plunges to get them clean. It takes me way longer to do the weekly hand towels and wash cloths with a washboard.

Boiling your laundry

Finnish Immigrant Boiling Clothes for Wash, Near Bayou Cumbest, Mississippi. Around 1900

Finnish Immigrant Boiling Clothes for Wash, Near Bayou Cumbest, Mississippi. Around 1900

This method will lift some things, but anybody with two Xs and a learning curve for adulthood or wine on a shirt can attest that cold water is our friend when it comes to stains and appearance. Boiling clothing is really more about just killing germs. You can do as many clothes as you have a container to fit with room to stir them a bit – stock pot, maple syrup boiling cauldrons, big Dutch ovens. You want to boil in excess of 30 minutes and you want a hard, rolling boil. This is a good method if you’ve already got a fire going for something else and appearance doesn’t matter, but be aware that boiling alone will not kill all germs. Many bacteria will form resistant spores that “hatch” again as conditions return to tolerable. The addition of a soak in cool water and bleach for whites or pine cleaner for colors can help with both stains and germ reduction.

The nice thing about just boiling is that once it’s cool, the water can be dumped into any garden plot, creek, or pond without anything that wasn’t already in the dirt touching it.

Stones, brushes and boards at creeks

Stones, brushes and boards at creeks

*Please use Dawn detergent or a no-kill camping soap or detergent so we limit our impact on the microbes that are the base of the food systems in creeks and ponds.

This isn’t that different from a brush and washboard. It’s how I did a lot of laundry in my time as a through-packer and kayaker. You apply some sort of soap (or just water if you pre-boil clothes to kill germs) and then scrub with whatever’s handy – even if that’s just the friction of clothes against each other.

Mop wringers and presses

There are mechanical clothes wringers that can be purchased. Or you can pick up a mop wringer or press for a whole lot less most of the time. There’s also a crazy-expensive 5-gallon salad spinner on the market for restaurants that can replicate the washer’s spin cycle.

Quickfire considerations

Consider the expandable or rotary racks for indoor drying as well as lines inside and outside

  • Laundry matters for hygiene reasons, not just appearance.
  • Many of us are already going to be working pretty hard, so investing in a fast or low-labor option may appeal.
  • Small battery-powered fans and generator-run box fans can help drying immensely in campers, tents, and humidity or cold-rainy houses with limited airflow and high moisture (when dehydrating food, too).
  • Bleach is only a sanitizer in cool water. Boiling and hot-hot water break down that aspect and it becomes only a whitener.
  • With most hand-washing systems, bleach is going to be best used out on a tarp in the yard or in a bathroom (and in grubby clothes or birthday suits).
  • Laundry is a high-water-use process a lot of the times, so a good catchment system or backup system is important. They sell some powders and gels for water-free shampoos, body wash, laundry, and pet shampoos, but they tend to be pricey.
  • Consider the expandable or rotary racks for indoor drying as well as lines inside and outside. Getting clothes dried especially on cool, damp days can be a trial and there’s only so much space near a stove.
  • Nobody ever said a now-defunct extension cord, cargo straps, or dog tie-out line can’t be used as a clothesline or that you can’t string your line between your shed and a vehicle. Don’t spend money you don’t have to until you’re totally set to take care of yourself for at least 6 or 12 months.
  • We can take cues from our ancestors (and parents) who had/have “school” clothes and “play” clothes and through-packers who change undies and base layers, let those air dry, and re-wear outerwear. Work clothes get re-worn multiple times. (Ask service members how often they washed BDUs/ACUs/Cammies/Diggies).
  • Wearing farm boots or gaiters can protect clothing from picking up debris and muck.
  • Use two sets of sheets and pillowcases on beds and inside bags. Sheets function as the base layers for packers. They’re thinner to wash and faster to dry than blankets and quilts.
  • If pets get on furniture or beds, consider throwing another set of sheets over the comforter or quilt so that can get washed instead of the thicker covers.
  • The more hankies, towels, and sheets we have available, the longer we can go without needing to wash them, which can become an issue if the whole household gets a stomach flu or head colds when it’s cool and wet outside. We’re not overly inclined to be doing laundry even now, and without the ability to just press buttons, it’s going to be even harder to keep up with sickness, wet animals, and poorly trained humans. A pass-through pine sol or bleach can absolve Salvation Army rejects of all previous germs, and freebie rejects can be a great way to increase our storage of those items without paying a dime.

Laundry

Laundry sometimes doesn’t get its due, even from people who’ve had the joy of showering in their clothes first or going weeks with just a couple of pairs of base layers and a set of outerwear. We can pre-plan a lot of ways to reduce the amount of laundry we have to do and take advantage of a number of DIY projects and household items to create low-cost alternatives to our stand washers. Super-condensed, powerful cleaners like commercial Pine Sol concentrate and liquid dish soap can be used just a few drops at a time and stored for upwards of 10 years without loss of potency, or we can research lye and germ-killing plant teas for our laundry purposes. For those who already have power systems in place, there are some low-power-draw options that can maintain some ease with the process.

For most of us, water is going to be a consideration – and it will be a consideration even before we run out of clothes in a lot of cases, unfortunately. Some methods are more and less water-friendly, and some of them allow more reuse of laundry water than others. That might influence us one way or another as we cruise through our options.


Here’s some other self-sufficiency and preparedness solutions recommended for you:

The Lost Ways (The vital self-sufficiency lessons our great grand-fathers left us)

Survival MD (Knowledge to survive any medical crisis situation)

Backyard Liberty (Liberal’s hidden agenda: more than just your guns…)

Alive After the Fall (Build yourself the only unlimited water source you’ll ever need)

The Lost ways II (4 Important Forgotten Skills used by our Ancestors that can help you in any crisis)

The Patriot Privacy Kit (Secure your privacy in just 10 simple steps)

Some methods are more and less water friendly, and some of them allow more reuse of laundry water than others.

Why do people prep? No matter how you spin it, it’s probably going to boil down to taking care of themselves and those they love. Where the real variable comes into play is how people prep. Some stockpile and fortify, some may pack light and bug out, or others may have their own unique plans.

Ultimately there is no universal answer as to the “right way” to properly prepare for a massive disaster scenario due to the varying nature of personalities in individuals. There is, however, is a key aspect of how people prep that should be implemented to any prepper’s plan if they plan to survive: physical fitness.

Now before thinking this article is about having the best looking six-pack when things go south (trust me, it’s not), consider this question, “Am I in a condition where I feel confident to take care of loved ones and myself physically if disaster strikes?”. Apply this question to your scenario of choice, hell, apply it to your everyday life when things are going good. More than likely the answer to this question is “no”, and there is nothing wrong with that.

In all honesty, even if you are active, working out regularly, and eating healthy, there is room for improvement – it’s the nature of self-betterment and making your body best survival tool in a disaster.

How Prepper Fitness could help you in a Doomsday Scenario?

SHTF (who knows how). It’s code red and your rushing around too initiating your own variation on surviving this disaster. You’re sweating, adrenaline is pumping through you, and the only thing on your mind is getting to your checkpoint. As you’re running around, your blood pressure becomes dangerously high and you have a heart attack. Congrats, you just lost at doomsday.

Of course this scenario is a hypothetical and has no scientific analysis to back it up. But for a lot of people, a doomsday scenario could be as simple as the consequences of poor maintenance to their body in terms of diet and exercise. Physical fitness should be one of the essential building blocks of preparing, yet it seems that this foundation work on many prepper guides/plans is overlooked or simply glazed over.

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As you’re running around, your blood pressure becomes dangerously high and you have a heart attack. Congrats, you just lost at doomsday.

Prepper fitness doesn’t have to be something crazy like running a marathon through the desert without water or joining a gym. Fitness can be as simple as just getting out of your comfort zone for one hour of your day. Much like prepper plans, fitness plans can vary from person-to-person depending on goals, but ultimately doing fitness based activity that pushes the limits of your body consistently will make you a stronger and a physically more efficient survivalist.

So where should someone begin if they are not as fit as they would like to be? Much like learning a new skill or plan for prepping, go to the Internet for information and ideas. Honestly, you don’t even need a gym membership for a great cardio workout – or even weights to build muscle for that matter. Focusing on body weight exercises, light jogging/power walking, and functional lifts at first can make you healthier and stronger, but can also be fun to a degree.

A general introduction to Prepper Fitness

Depending on how serious you want to take this, I would suggest investing in a few things (although not necessary, can serve to be helpful): a heart monitor, pedometer, some of your prepping supplies, and a semi-truck/tractor tire.

Cardio – This does NOT mean running per se, cardio is simply training that gets your heart rate up. Ideally for fat loss/cardio training, you want your heart rate to be “in the zone” (Target Heart Rates by American Heart Association). Cardio training can be monitored with a heart rate monitor, which can also serve as a safety precaution while training, and can be accomplished in a number of ways such as: swimming, hiking, power walking, biking, jogging, or even HIIT workouts. The key to cardio training is consistency and always improving. It’s smart to keep a log of your workouts to monitor progress. Don’t get discouraged though, sometimes progress can come in the form of walking a mile faster than you ever have or sometimes progress can come in the form of showing up to exercise when your brain wants to make a million excuses not to.

push-ups-888024_640

Some of the best exercises you can do, can be done using only your body weight.

“Weight” Training – as mentioned earlier, you really don’t need iron based weights to lift. Some of the best exercises you can do, can be done using only your body weight. One preface that must be mentioned in this portion is always consider your form first whenever lifting something or exercising – improper form can lead to potential injury in the short and long-term. Here is a quick list of some great body weight exercises that can be easily added to your workout circuit:

  • Air Squats – excellent for your quads, glutes, and hamstrings
  • Lunges – builds stamina and quads as well as works the calves, glutes, and hamstrings
  • Pushups – works your chest as well as your shoulders and triceps with many variations available
  • Pullups – great for your lats, back, and biceps.
  • Side Leg Raises – works your hips/adductors
  • Dips – adaptable workout for your triceps that also works your chest and shoulders

 

 

Functional Training – of course we are preppers, so a lot of the training done should be survival themed right? Try adding these exercises to your workout that can easily add purpose to your workout:

  • Sledgehammer swings on a tire – think you might need to split a lot of wood?
  • Tire Flips – for anytime you think you might have to lift something heavy off the ground…
  • Bucket Carries – water is necessary, not light, and probably inconveniently located
  • Rope Climbs – wonder if you may need to get somewhere when you don’t have a ladder?
  • Log Carries – Get good at carrying awkward things… do you honestly think everything you need will fit conveniently in your rucksack?
  • Running – this may come in handy at some point in life!

WRAP-UP

Although this is not designed to be a complete guide to prepper fitness, it is meant to get preppers thinking and give basic considerations on where to begin their journey into becoming the best survival instrument in their tool box. The best advice one can take away from this is to try to make fitness a fun and enjoyable part of your day/life, it will not only help make it a consistent part of your routine, but you may even have fun doing something that is physically great for your body!

Two final notes: 1. Remember to stretch before and after exercising, there are too many benefits to stretching and flexibility to list here. 2. Material in this article is provided for educational purposes only, and is not to be used for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Not all exercises may be applicable to readers; always consult a physician before trying a new diet or exercise program. I am not responsible or liable for any injuries, damages, loss, or accidents.


On a different note, here’s some other self-sufficiency and preparedness solutions recommended for you:

The Lost Ways (The vital self-sufficiency lessons our great grand-fathers left us)
Survival MD (Knowledge to survive any medical crisis situation)
Backyard Liberty (Liberal’s hidden agenda: more than just your guns…)
Alive After the Fall (Build yourself the only unlimited water source you’ll ever need)
The Lost ways II (4 Important Forgotten Skills used by our Ancestors that can help you in any crisis)
The Patriot Privacy Kit (Secure your privacy in just 10 simple steps)

Are you in a condition where you feel confident to take care of loved ones and yourself physically if disaster strikes?

Have you heard of the Grey Man concept?

The Grey Man concept simply means blending in and not sticking out. You want to dress, move and act in a way that is completely forgettable. This is done so that you do not draw unnecessary attention to yourself as you go about life and I think the initial focus was on people who were carrying concealed firearms. There are lots of examples of how this larger concept could work in your favor to keep you safe and many survival and prepper blogs bring this concept up as a way to live or a strategy for how to avoid becoming a target of people intend to do you harm.

I was thinking of this idea in a different context though as it related to life after a SHTF scenario. One of our readers contacted me with some questions after reading a post from Selco on the SHTF School blog. Selco is from the Balkans and lived through the Balkan war from 92 – 95. He has created an excellent online course titled “One Year in Hell” that offers training derived from his own experiences living surrounded in the real SHTF world of a war zone and without power for a year.

Did you ever hear of “survivor’s guilt”?

Feeling of being guilty because you survived but many others you know did not. There is something else that can “help” you to not feel that because it can kill you. It is what I call “survivalist hate” by people around you.

I often read how people want to help other folks when SHTF, and it is really good, but in reality, it works differently.

When SHTF, I mean real SHTF, most of the people will not like you because you are prepared, people will hate you, even if you help them. They will hate you because you are prepared and you have food, water, weapon, and shelter for you and your family, and they do not have anything like that.

I have seen how people robbed man, and his family, torching his house because he had lots of goods (he gave some of that stuff to some folks week before) and by that logic folks said that he knew that S. is going to hit the fan, and he was like guilty for them. People were angry that he prepared but did not tell them.

This is what you can call “survivalist hate”. Think about it, sentences like “he could have warned us” or “he must have stolen this from somewhere, otherwise he would have not that much”. Do not expect normal logical thinking. It does not happen much in normal times and is less in survival scenarios for most common folks.

It was these words that caused our reader to question how much they should volunteer to help their community in an emergency. Mark had been thinking about trying to organize resources in the community now, before any crisis, but reading Selco’s story above had him reconsidering going out on a limb, telegraphing he might have resources or skills and potentially becoming a victim like the man robbed for his supplies.

This is what led me to consider the Grey Man concept as it could be applied to your home and resources if the SHTF. It is one thing to control your appearance and actions in a crowd to avoid detection, but what about your supplies in your home?

Always invisible in plain sight

Depending on the crisis, I have to believe there is a timeline of phases that people go through. The crisis would dictate that timeline to a large degree in that an Earthquake, for example, would destroy everything relatively quickly and then you would be recovering for some time afterwards.

The initial violence would be upfront and then people would start dealing with problems after the shaking stopped. It would be similar to any other natural disasters I assume. Something like a regional war or an economic collapse or even pandemic would cause a different timeline. Regardless of how long it took people to start feeling the effects of any crisis eventually your neighbors could be dealing with illnesses or injury, disruptions in food, safety concerns from looters or approaching military forces.

Unless you were quarantined in your homes, invariably neighbors would be talking at some point, sharing information and learning how others were faring. It is at this time that the prepared individual could fall into that situation described above.

There are many aspects to this and realistically how you act toward your neighbors and the situations you could face after a crisis could be the subject of a dozen articles but I will focus on this one viewpoint in this post. There is something to be said for charity and something else for self-preservation. If we were faced with a situation like above, what could you do to keep your family safe and your supplies that you have been storing up in your hands and not the hands of an angry mob?

Never draws attention to himself

Two things come to mind when trying to think about the Grey Man concept and your home. The first is that before anything happens you want to be practicing OPSEC as much as feasible in your situation. The less people know about the supplies you have stored, what you may be preparing for, your political beliefs, etc. the less likely they are going to think of you if something happens.

  • I have said it before, but unless you live in an area where this is common (and there are lots of areas where it is) I wouldn’t be seen out at the Chili’s in your camouflage pants and army boots. Don’t get me wrong, I have these myself, but I save the camo for hunting season. Whenever I am hunting, there are thousands of other guys who look just like me and I blend in. Not necessarily at Chili’s but you get the point.
  • If you are getting supplies of food shipped in, make sure these are dealt with in a way that doesn’t draw attention. I wouldn’t stack boxes of MRE’s up in front of the shed while your neighbor is mowing their grass.
  • If you are loading guns into the car for a trip to the range, do this discretely. I normally do a quick visual check to make sure no one is outside first and back the car into the garage so I can get them loaded quickly.
  • Have a safe being delivered to the house? Try to do this during the day if most of your neighbors are at work.
  • Large purchases from Sams or Costco could be construed the same way. A bulk pack of toilet paper is one thing, but 5 – fifty-pound bags of rice or several 45 lbs. pails of freeze-dried food are another. Are you practicing open carry to make a statement?

The next part and probably the harder of the two to pull off would be after SHTF. How do you keep your supplies secret? How do you maintain OPSEC whenever everyone else is watching you simply because they have nothing else to do?

Grey man avoids confrontation

It would really depend on the scenario I think. For instance, if everyone was without power, I might not light my house up at night. Knowing that you have a power source, maybe solar panels could give it away that you have resources they don’t have. Of course, the situation will dictate how badly you are hated for having power if your neighbors don’t but I think eventually it could cause problems.

Let’s say there wasn’t an EMP but the grid was taken down by terrorists. Every appliance still works, but the power simply isn’t coming through the wires anymore. Your electricity could at a bare minimum provide conveniences like power for fans, ability to recharge batteries or enable entertainment devices. One of the prepper supplies I made sure I had was a giant roll of heavy black plastic. This has many uses, but one of them could be to blackout my windows. At night, I could run electric and not draw attention.

Food is another resource that will be tough to keep secret, especially if you are cooking outside. The smell of food to a hungry person is not something you can easily keep a lid on. You could heat water outside and use that for your freeze-dried foods as one way to keep the fact that your family is still eating somewhat under wraps. Eventually though people will notice that you aren’t getting slimmer.

What about weapons? This is one that I have considered because I have made preparations that would allow me certain tactical advantages over my unprepped neighbors. What if there was the threat of violence from people walking through and looting? Would I go walking down the street in my tactical holster, bulletproof vest and battle rifle on day one? Probably not, but eventually if things got bad enough that might be my daily outfit. I think if that were the case, my neighbors and I would have other things to worry about than what I had in my house. My hope is that if things ever get that bad, I will be able to help my neighbors and my contributions on that front will give me grace. Maybe that is foolish.

Even if you are completely secretive about your supplies or your neighbors are completely self-sufficient themselves you could face a time when someone is banging on your door demanding you to share what you have. Have you thought about what you would do if that happened?

Like I said, there are many aspects to this concept and the final, possible confrontation is for another post. Practicing the Grey Man concept for your home in a SHTF scenario might put that off for a little while longer though or prevent it entirely and I think that is the whole point.


On a different note, here’s some other self-sufficiency and preparedness solutions recommended for you:

The Lost Ways (The vital self-sufficiency lessons our great grand-fathers left us)
Survival MD (Knowledge to survive any medical crisis situation)
Backyard Liberty (Liberal’s hidden agenda: more than just your guns…)
Alive After the Fall (Build yourself the only unlimited water source you’ll ever need)
The Lost ways II (4 Important Forgotten Skills used by our Ancestors that can help you in any crisis)
The Patriot Privacy Kit (Secure your privacy in just 10 simple steps)

Have you heard of the Grey Man concept? The Grey Man concept simply means blending in and not sticking out. You want to dress, move and act in a way that

Land and water temperatures cause drought. As overall temperatures increase more water evaporates and severe weather conditions increase. … Soil moisture levels also contribute to drought. When soil moisture is depleted there is less evaporation of water to create clouds.

As a result, the climatological community has defined four types of drought:

  1. Meteorological drought
  2. Hydrological drought
  3. Agricultural drought
  4. Socioeconomic drought.

Meteorological drought happens when dry weather patterns dominate an area.

Related – Survival: How To Find Water

So, what is drought?

Drought is a continuous period of dry weather, when an area gets less than its normal amount of rain, over months or even years. Crops and other plants need water to grow, and animals need it to live. … A drought is a natural event, caused by other weather events like El Niño and high-pressure systems.

During our boiling, broiling, blistering summer of 2012, water was a topic of conversation wherever we went. Creeks and ponds dried up (some never recovered) and the water table dropped, forcing a few neighbors to have their well pumps lowered or to even have deeper wells drilled.barrel-281x520Many folks shared memories of rain barrels, cisterns, hand pumps and drawing water with a well bucket as a child, usually on grandpa and grandma’s farm. Some said they’d never want to rely again on those old-time methods of getting water. But, at least they knew how it was done.

Related – How to Purify Water with Charcoal

It seems we have lost much practical knowledge in the last 50 or so years because we thought we’d never need it again. Now we are scrambling to relearn those simple know-hows.

A tattered, 4-inch thick, 1909 book I happily secured for $8 in a thrift store reveals, among umpteen-thousand other every-day skills, how to make homemade water filters. The instructions in “Household Discoveries and Mrs. Curtis’s Cookbook” are quite basic as everyone had a rain barrel back then and presumably knew how to filter rainwater. Now, 104 years later, I am thankful the authors had the foresight to preserve their knowledge for us, and pointed out that rainwater collected in barrels from a roof is a necessity in some locations, but also is best for laundry and “often more wholesome for drinking purposes than hard water.”

The “wholesome” observation applies to plants, too. I noticed during our 6-week dry spell (not a drop of rain) that I was only able to keep my vegetables alive with the garden hose – until our well, too, began sucking air. The pitiful potato, tomato and bean plants actually seemed petrified, like faded plastic decorations. Then, after a 2-hour rain shower, the plants miraculously leapt to life – vibrant, green and THRIVING. I did, too.

100-year-old instructions

For gardening, rainwater is, naturally, best unfiltered. But, for household use, the vintage book says the following instructions yield a cheap and easy way to make a filter just as good as a patent filter costing 10 times as much:

  • Take a new vinegar barrel or an oak tub that has never been used, either a full cask or half size.
  • Stand it on end raised on brick or stone from the ground.
  • Insert a faucet near the bottom.
  • Make a tight false bottom 3 or 4 inches from the bottom of the cask.
  • Perforate this with small gimlet holes, and cover it with a piece of clean white canvas.
  • Place on this false bottom a layer of clean pebbles 3 or 4 inches in thickness;
  • Next, a layer of clean washed sand and gravel
  • Then coarsely granulated charcoal about the size of small peas. Charcoal made from hard maple is the best.
  • After putting in a half bushel or so, pound it down firmly.
  • Then put in more until the tub is filled within 1 foot of the top.
  • Add a 3-inch layer of pebbles; and throw over the top a piece of canvas as a strainer.
  • This canvas strainer can be removed and washed occasionally and the cask can be dumped out, pebbles cleansed and charcoal renewed every spring and fall, or once a year may be sufficient.

Related – How to Build an Automatic Watering Tube for Your Chickens

“This filter may be set in the cellar and used only for drinking water. Or it may be used in time of drought for filtering stagnant water, which would otherwise be unpalatable, for the use of stock. This also makes a good cider filter for the purpose of making vinegar. The cider should first be passed through cheese cloth to remove all coarser particles.

“Or a small cheap filter may be made from a flower pot. A fine sponge may be inserted in the hole and the pot filled about as directed for the above filter. It may be placed in the top of a jar, which will receive the filtered water.”


On a different note, here’s some other self-sufficiency and preparedness solutions recommended for you:

The Lost Ways (The vital self-sufficiency lessons our great grand-fathers left us)
Survival MD (Knowledge to survive any medical crisis situation)
Backyard Liberty (Liberal’s hidden agenda: more than just your guns…)
Alive After the Fall (Build yourself the only unlimited water source you’ll ever need)
The Lost ways II (4 Important Forgotten Skills used by our Ancestors that can help you in any crisis)
The Patriot Privacy Kit (Secure your privacy in just 10 simple steps)

Now, 104 years later, I am thankful the authors had the foresight to preserve their knowledge for us.