Does it seem like everyone in your house gets sick in the fall? The kids catch a cold at school, they bring it home, and before you know it—everyone is coughing, sniffling, and feeling gross.

Great news! Here are the best natural ways to stay healthy this fall—even when everyone around you is sick.

There are five main pieces to the natural wellness puzzle: social support, diet, disinfection, activity, and stress relief.

Stay Healthy: Social Support

Are you surprised to see this listed first? It’s no accident. Social relationships have been scientifically proven to support good health. In fact, “people with stronger social relationships had a 50% increased likelihood of survival than those with weaker social relationships.”

Interaction with others (in real life, not online) makes a huge difference in our health. If you’re retired or work from home like me, you have to make time to connect.

Call a friend, or meet up for tea. Check out one of the free events at your local library. Volunteer at the hospital or animal shelter. Try a Meetup group—there’s one for just about every interest.

Stay Healthy: Nutritious Diet

A nutritious diet is a huge part of keeping yourself healthy. Try to stay away from boxed mixes and packaged foods, because they contain lots of additives and chemicals you don’t need.

Here are the best natural ways to stay healthy this fall—even when everyone around you is sick. There are five main pieces to the natural wellness puzzle: social support, diet, disinfection, activity, and stress relief.

Add in fermented foods like sauerkraut, kombucha, and yogurt whenever you can. The probiotics in fermented foods improve digestion and strengthen your immune system. A bowl of yogurt topped with blueberries is a healthy, nutritious snack that gives you probiotics and antioxidants.

Stay Healthy: Disinfection

You already know to wash your hands often—but chances are, your kids are not washing them enough. As soon as they come home from school, give them a bath or run them through the shower to stay one step ahead of the germs.

Here are the best natural ways to stay healthy this fall—even when everyone around you is sick. There are five main pieces to the natural wellness puzzle: social support, diet, disinfection, activity, and stress relief.

You can disinfect surfaces and kill germs naturally without using bleach. This combo is great for counters, phones, light switches, and door knobs.

Stay Healthy: Activity

Make sure to move your body as much as you can. You don’t have to work yourself to exhaustion. Every little bit of activity helps! At work, take the stairs or go for a walk on your break. At home, have a dance party with the kids, work in the garden, or do squats while you brush your teeth.

Here are the best natural ways to stay healthy this fall—even when everyone around you is sick. There are five main pieces to the natural wellness puzzle: social support, diet, disinfection, activity, and stress relief.

Stay Healthy: Stress Relief

Besides making you feel bad, stress can directly affect your physical health. You can’t make stress go away completely, but the tips shared in Blue Shield of California’s member resource center, such as this, will help!

Daily exercise, nutritious food, and time with friends are stress-reducers.

Getting enough sleep also helps keep stress levels down. Here are natural ways to fall asleep without taking pills.

A cup of herbal tea with chamomile or lemon balm is soothing and calming. A drop of lavender essential oil on your wrists or behind your ears can help relieve stress too.

Does it seem like everyone in your house gets sick in the fall? The kids catch a cold at school, they bring it home, and before you know it—everyone is

Hey there internet. We need to have a talk on the subject of what’s yours and what’s mine.

The state of network security is that it is in shambles, even if you have a lot of resources and IT teams at your disposal.

It’s absolutely insane how open information networks are, especially those that are used at homes and small businesses. There is a lot to think about in terms of what level of privacy is realistic and how far you can take security without just stepping on your own feet and making it harder to use your networks.

I think it is worth it to go over some of the major examples of hacking incidents over the last 10 years and then let’s dive in to what this means for you and the security of the private information you value in your personal and work life. When reading remember that in modern times

There is no true privacy on the World Wide Web.


An estimated 143 million people in the US had their names, addresses, social security numbers, drivers license numbers and more stolen. Some say this is the worst personal info security breach in American history to date.

The bummer is that they had a security protocol for two months before this happened and simply failed to install this update so hackers had ample time to glean info.

Predator Drones

In 2011, it was revealed that the US military’s drone fleet was infected with a virus known as a key logger. So far they claim that there has been no case of them losing control of a drone but they have said recently that the virus keeps coming back. After 6 years, they suspect it is benign but they don’t know.

These are sophisticated machines and weapons that contain valuable information. Them there is the fact that a hacked drone could be used for some pretty bad things. If any agency should be worried about how vulnerable their security is, it should be those that have the safety and security of others on line.

Other incidents of predator drone hacking have been reported as well. Take the case back in 2009 where Defense officials are quoted by The Associated Press as saying that there was evidence of at least one incident of insurgents in Afghanistan monitoring drone video feeds.

In 2011 the Iranian military reported to the Christian Science Monitor that they were responsible for hacking and taking down a CIA surveillance drone worth millions. Not only that, they did it using very basic computer navigational know how that allowed them to even bring it to a soft landing. An engineer on the inside is quoted as saying “By putting noise [jamming] on the communications, you force the bird into autopilot. This is where the bird loses its brain.”

Bay Area Transit System

The Bay Area Transit System ticketing system was hacked and files encrypted. The Transit System lost a lot of money because they let everyone ride for free on the day of the hack. The hackers demanded 100 Bitcoins which at the time totaled around $74,000. They did not pay the ransom but their IT team managed to get things in order.

You have to wonder how much information was actually stolen at the time. It could have been worse. Look at the example of the 14 year old that hacked his hometown of Lodz, Poland’s tram system and derailed 4 cars. Luckily no one was killed but who can say what the future holds in such an insecure world?


In 2015 the IRS was hacked and 700,000 accounts had their information put into jeopardy. Since you are required to give the IRS information there is really nothing you can do to protect your IRS account. They are supposed to do it for you but get this, in 2017 they awarded Equifax, yep the same company that lost a record breaking amount of records to hackers, to take care of the fraud protection for their site.

We should not be surprised when it happens again. In fact it gets better, Equifax also designed the software for logins that resulted in a hack in 2015. So they were awarded another contract after making the biggest identity hack mistake in the USA to date. Is it just me or does that make no sense at all?


It was recently revealed that Uber was hacked and customer info was held for ransom. Uber took the approach of paying the ransom and then covering it up until it was leaked and they were forced to publicly acknowledged what happened.

In 2016 a bank employees computer was hacked and used to make payments using the SWIFT system. Although $81 million was actually stolen when it was done, they are making an effort to steal an amazing $1 billion.

This is supported by the fact that they used fake emails to indicate to the New York Federal Reserve that they wished to transfer this money. The $81 million that did get stolen was sent to casinos and agents for casinos. A lot of this money is still missing.

Office of Personnel Management and the Department of Defense

In 2015 the OPM and the Department of Defense admitted that two major data breaches had resulted in   the personal information of 21.5 million people being made available to hackers. The records included the personal information of government employees with major security clearances as well as info about their friends and family and those that were put on applications as references for very sensitive government jobs.

It is estimated that 1.1 million sets of fingerprints were stolen. These hacks mean that intelligence operatives may be exposed to other governments thus jeopardising any future missions they may take part in as well as putting their safety at risk both in and out of the workplace.

If top agencies are incapable of protecting the most sensitive personal info of secret agents, then that truly shows the deplorable state of digital security in the United States today.

In Iran in January 2010, at the Natanz Uranium Enrichment Plant in Iran, something was clearly wrong. For some reason centrifuges used to enrich the uranium gas were failing when they shouldn’t. Five months later a security firm was working on an unrelated call and discovered Stuxnet.

This virus is not like others because it is made to actually cause mechanical damage to equipment. In the Belarus case it was causing computers to crash and reboot constantly.

It was then discovered that Stuxnet was causing the pressure within centrifuges to not be regulated at safe levels. The Natanz plant had an air gapped system so there was no way to get Stuxnet into the plant without an external source.

How did they do it? A simple USB drive with Stuxnet on it was used at 5 companies with known links to the plant.

Thus there was some info coming in on USB drives from the outside. While it was not from the internet this goes to show that any sharing of information from “the outside” is a breach and eventually that is probably going to mean your air gapped system has something sinister on it that could lead to a disaster of unprecedented scale when you are talking about nuclear power.

The editor of The Wired, Kim Zetter wrote a full length book called Countdown to Zero Day covering the whole story of Stuxnet for those that are interested in further details about this case and what it means as we think about the security of networks throughout the world.

The Electric Kettle and Iron Incident

Back in 2013, CBS News reported on an incident where electric tea kettles manufactured in China were found to have hidden wireless transmitters in them. Sure this was reported originally by Russia and regardless of how you feel about them, there is evidence that they are right.

A wireless transmitter is small enough to fit into virtually any device that plugs in and it costs little to do it. The transmitters in the kettles and irons reportedly could connect to any hidden Wifi network with no password protection within 656 feet.

In a densely populated area that could be dozens of networks and a lot of stolen information! This is a technique known as “phishing”. If you send out a few thousands of these then one could hope that a few will find their way into a board room or maybe even somewhere better than that. Since transmitters are so cheap, it can definitely be worth it to send out a lot even if only a few every send back anything of true value.

When you live in a world where even the tea kettle might have a bug then privacy is a thing of the past.

Facebook and Social Media

I find myself looking at Facebook too much because more people use it to communicate than ever. I am amazed what people reveal on there. All your posts are indexed! Sometimes if I lose a photo I just go on Facebook and use a search term.

They never lose anything but that doesn’t mean others cannot download your entire Facebook record. Social media encourages the sharing of outlandish behavior and your posts can definitely be used as evidence.

Many a trial has been sped up because of social media evidence. There is little surprise that when you follow the money, one sees that CIA money was involved in the start up of Facebook. Mark Zuckerberg may seem like a major success story to entrepreneurs but he had a lot of help along the way.

Facebook is a way to get the general populace to share information and pictures that they otherwise might have kept private. It is not a bad deal for the CIA , FBI, etc. to let citizens do a portion of their job for them. Facebook was an amazing investment for them that has payed off big.

Twitter and other social media outlets are also used to gather info but it is hard to compare them to the wealth of info that Facebook has archived and is gathering daily.

Smart Devices = Spying

There is no way I will ever have Smart Appliances in my home or locks that are controlled with Smart technology that allows remote access and control. Nor do I relish the idea of a hacker being able to turn the heat up or down in my home or have appliances spying on my private conversations.

I also really don’t think anyone really needs a fridge that has access to Pandora music and Facebook. Are we really that distracted to think we need these things? Also they add a lot of expense to an appliance. My $500 fridge has served us fine over the years.

You might remember the fuss made when it was revealed that Samsung Smart televisions were capable of spying. The experts at The Wired have some tips on “How To Stop Your Smart TV From Spying On You.”

If you choose to use Smart Devices then you need to consider if they are worth losing some privacy over in your communications and the daily grind at your home and work.

So why are major network security breaches and hacking incidents more common than ever?

Windows operating systems are the most common and also very insecure no matter what you do.

Windows is one of the most insecure operating systems out there. The National Security Administration has a major back door built into it and hackers know it inside and out. Without a good antivirus program it seems to barely be functional.

The days of Linux and Mac offering a high level of security are over.

Linux based systems are not as secure as they once were. There was a time where it was not as hackable and viruses barely every reared their heads. I am still a big fan of Linux based operating systems and there are some out there that are supposed to be more secure than others but they are not necessarily as compatible and easy to use for the average user.

The main reason that Linux is no longer secure is thanks to the CIA/NSA demanding that a backdoor be built in. They have a lot of clout and you no longer even have the option of having any privacy from government agencies both domestic and foreign as well as any sophisticated non state actor.

Although the video below tries to be humorous, you are smart enough to see behind the lines. Who is going to stick their neck out too far?

It is clear that designers of all major computer operating systems were approached by intelligence agencies and given a choice where there is really only one answer if you want to stay in business. The old phrase “take the silver or the lead” comes to mind.

What would you do if a major agency approached you and offered you money or a lot of trouble? Why you take the money so you can stay in business.

Privacy Considerations To Remember

All cell phones have GPS in them even if they don’t have any internet access on them. Telecommunications are constantly providing all cell phone meta data making it so phones are being tracked all the time. Law enforcement and other agencies can access this info with ease.

All modern cars have anti-theft devices that house a GPS transmitter so your vehicle can be tracked all the time. This means tow truck drivers can track down where you are parked if they are coming to repossesses a vehicle someone has stopped making payments on.

Cars can be hacked using the Wifi system. Many modern vehicles have Wifi which allows an easy door in. 

  • OnStar in your car is always on
  • Amazon Alexa is always on
  • Google is always on and sending location data even if you have disabled location services. Android phones are always transmitting your location data so don’t think just Windows phones and similar are doing this. 

Police have Stingray Technology To Track You

Stingrays are also known as cell site simulators or “IMSI catchers” are devices designed to track you via your cell phone signal. Stingrays send out signals that convince cell phones in the area to send them your location and identifying info. When this technology is used it can also get the info of a lot of people who are using cell phones in the given area.

Put a piece of tape over your camera

The former director of the FBI James Comey himself told The Hill that he puts tape over his webcam and had this to say about security at the FBI offices.

“You go into any government office and we all have the little camera things that sit on top of the screen,” he added. “They all have a little lid that closes down on them. You do that so that people who don’t have authority don’t look at you. I think that’s a good thing.”

Computers have build in microphones and cameras in them that can be utilized by hackers. If you value your privacy then you should at the least disable your microphone by going into your computer’s hardware settings or if you want to make it inoperable you can put glue in the microphone hole. Add a piece of tape or use a black permanent marker to cover your camera lens. 

It is more secure to use a USB camera and microphone that you plug in and use as needed and then unplug when not being used. If you notice in Comey’s statement he says that the FBI uses this protocol.

You can secure your network from other citizens that lack major hacking skills but that is about as good as it gets.

Encypting your computer and network is possible. This can prevent others from leaching off your wifi or use your network for nefarious purposes. Be aware though that WEP2 encryption protocol is compromised so that means any network can be compromised even if encrypted.

Don’t open unknown emails and watch out what sites you visit and allow access to your info

Phishing emails and using some types of websites can result in viruses and spyware that can capture your information and slow your computer down.

Don’t give up on your network password but realize how little security it can offer if someone really wants to get into your network.

Make sure you have a complicated secure network password. This means no using the most common names in your life. While you can change passwords often if you want, this doesn’t offer as much protection as you might think. Networks transmit passwords and keyloggers and spyware can pick them up quite easily.

No matter what you do, if the places you are required by law to give info to are hacked then your info and files are out there.

Charges that are unauthorised and file breaches happen all the time and you never know it because companies catch it and correct it before it causes you issues. Sometimes they will let you know if it is bad enough that they need to change your card but you probably don’t know about the vast majority of them. It is good that they catch them and it doesn’t cause common folks trouble but it would be very disturbing to know exact figures.

Turn down your range

I know that in the past I have written about relaying your internet signal but at the same time if security is your concern you need to turn down your signal so that it does not broadcast past where you actually need it. The more you are broadcasting a Wifi signal the easier it is for someone to notice your network and start poking around.

Pay for a reputable anti virus and spyware remover and keep it up to date

There are many different anti virus programs out there to choose from. All of those listed are $20-$40.

Consider an alternative Linux based operating system.

Linux based systems are more secure and there is definitely less Malware and Viruses designed with it in mind but over time that might change even more than it already has. Ubuntu is the most common Linux system but there are some that are designed to be more secure.

Here are some links to Linux based systems available for download that are supposed to be among the more secure to use:

  • Qubes OS
  • Tails :The Amnesic Incognito Live System
  • Black Arch Linux
  • Kali

Pen names and aliases

As a writer, I have always considered using a fake name for secuiry and privacy but I don’t because it realy doesn’t matter so much. I guess if I wanted to I could hide from the average person a bit more but if someone wants to find you it is pretty hard to prevent that.

The Air Gapped Network

So let’s be honest about the internet. It really was invented to share information and then it exploded into what we have today.

Have you ever considered that as a business or even at your home, that you could benefit from two separate networks. The first network would allow just computers on your local network to connect and share with one another. The other network could be for browsing.

An air gapped system is usually only used in instances where computers are being used to control hardware. A home camera security system is one example.


Virtual Private Networks can help with basic security but anyone that really wants in is not going to be stopped by one. I wish it was as simple as getting a VPN.

VPNs will give you some extra security but the bottom line is this:

Since government security agencies have demanded a way in to any system, everything is compromised. Sophisticated hackers will not have much problem getting in even with a VPN.

Evasive services like VPN’s and other tactics attract the attention of security services so you can actually raise a flag by using them. This means they may actually put more effort into accessing your information.

You should also consider that even VPN servers are vulnerable to hacks. Just because your info is being protected via the VPN, your info is still in their system so if the VPN provider gets hacked then your info may be accessible to the hackers.

The Chip Card Issue

A lot of us have been using smart chip debit and credit cards for awhile now. They are an invasion of privacy, slower at the checkout, easily damaged, and they transmit way too much information.

I don’t like going shopping and then coming home to find that when I am online the ads are mysteriously targeted to what I already bought or very similar even if have not looked at any of those items online. For starters I am not likely to buy the same version of what I just bought in town.

Second of all, this is down right creepy. I wanted to believe it was a coincidence but it has happened far too many times for that. I also don’t fancy something that they recommend carrying in a shielded wallet to prevent thieves from stealing financial info.

Methods Of More Secure Communications

There is a trend towards using older methods of communication for secure communications. Here are some ways that offer more security for times when you want the most privacy.

Typewriters and word processors are back

Even government agencies and foreign powers like Russia are using the written word rather than the electronic written word. This has led to a demand for used typewriters, A vintage IBM electric is $500.

There are other options too, I am writing this on an AlphaSmart Neo Word processor that stopped being manufactured in 2007. I love it because it is just for writing. No distractions. If I want to transfer a file it must be done via USB. IT was $18 shipped on Ebay and barely used. The keyboard is mechanical so it will last practically forever.

The Alphasmart Neo. A handy solution for distraction free and more secure writing when necessary. Not bad for $18-$30 on Ebay.

Letters & Paper Notes

When was the last time you wrote a letter by hand? It is has probably been awhile and some younger people may never have. It is actually one of the more secure ways to communicate in the age of virtual snooping and sabotage.

Writing by hand sometimes helps you think about what you are saying more because there is not as many distractions.

SD Cards

Use Micro SD cards and send in mail or store info on them but realize viruses and spyware can still be hidden in the directory.

Secure Second Hand Lap Top For World Wide Web Browsing

One possibility for a more secure computer is outlined below:

  1. Buy a used lap top and wipe the system clean.
  2. Install one of the more secure versions of Linux listed previously in this article. Do the installation using a disk or USB drive. Preferably do this at an internet cafe or other shared network. This will prevent anyone from knowing your exact home location.
  3. Never use the computer on your home network

This is not a perfect recipe for security but it does take some extra steps that can prevent some hacks, viruses, etc from finding their way onto your network at home.

The bottom line: The keys are lost and gone for good

One thing is for sure, if you don’t want others to know it or see it then don’t put it out there on the web.

They lost the keys to the backdoor that was built into operating systems. Those with the keys can hold info for ransom and guess what? Major places pay the ransom so that encourages the behavior to continue.

There is no getting the keys back. Try to be safe out there.

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)

Hey there internet. We need to have a talk on the subject of what's yours and what's mine. The state of network security is that it is in shambles, even if

In a previous article, I might have mentioned something about cowboys and bandanas. Apart from the fact that they looked awfully cool and would help them conceal their faces during a bank robbery, those wild rags, as they were called, had more uses beyond fashion or crime. And since bandanas will never go out of fashion, I’ve decided to do this little follow-up to show you how this painted rag can save your can in a shit hits the fan situation. So, without further ado, here are 17 survival uses of a bandana.

Water collection

Water’s essential in field survival. Still, if you get lost or anything, you won’t be able to rely on your emergency water supply. If there are no streams or rivers nearby, it’s possible to use your bandana to soak up water. Tie to your ankles and walk through tall grass during the wee hours of the morning to collect dew. Tree holes usually harbor a small amount of water. Get that bandana in there and soak as much water as possible. It may sound disgusting, but you can also squeeze some water from that rag after a long day’s walk (yup, drinking your own perspiration).

Crafting a simple pouch

Don’t have any pockets left to carry out your gear? No problem! You can whip up a simple pouch which can be attached to your belt or backpack. Just place your items in the center of the pouch, bring all folds into the middle, and tie it with a piece of dental floss or whatever cordage you have available.

Head protection

It’s obvious that a bandana cannot replace a safety help, but you can also use these thingies to keep your head dry when it’s raining, or the sun’s up in the sky.

Makeshift bandage

In case you’ve lost your med kit or had to use that gauze as tinder, you can use your bandana to bandage a wound.  If you have to deal with a large arterial bleeder, you may also use that wild rag as a tourniquet.

Setting up the table

Sorry if there are no roses nor lit candles – all I can offer you is a bandana used as a tablecloth.

Getting your keister clean

Well, you know that they say – when shit hits the fan, there’s nothing more to do than wipe your behind and move on. In case you run out of TP or paper tissue, take out your bandana and improvise. Just be sure to wash it before using it as a headcover or tablecloth.

Marking a trail

If you feel like you’re walking in circles, get the bandana out of your bug out bag and place on the ground right where the trail starts. Keep going. If you still see the bandana, it means you have to change your approach.

Repair broken backpacks

One of the most frustrating things that can happen in the field is a broken backpack strap. If you don’t have a sewing kit in your B.O.B, just use your bandana to replace that strap.

Starting a fire

No need to tear your clothes for tinder if you have nothing left in your box. Just place the bandana on the ground and set it on fire using your method of choice.

Using it as a mask

If you need to cross an area filled with dust or debris of any kind, you can always wrap the bandana around your head. Don’t forget to soak it in water to increase its filtration efficiency.

More grip on tools

Knees are weak? Hands are sweaty and cannot get a decent grip on the tools you’re using? Wrap the bandana around your hand and give it another go.

Instant sleeping bag warmer

What’s the purpose of including an electric blanket in your bug out bag if there’s no electricity around for miles? Still, you’ve got to do something about getting some warmth inside your sleeping bag. Making an indoor fire is the obvious approach, but not the only one. Before making a fire, wall your pit with whatever rock you find. When it’s sack time, take a couple of hot rocks, place them inside the bandana, tie the pouch with some rope or string, and place under the sleeping bag.

Making ice packs

Bruises? Fever? Headaches? Use an icepack. Get your bandana out of your B.O.B, put a couple of ice shards inside, wrap, and profit.

Gas Cap

In case something happens to your gas cap, don’t run around the city with that intake exposed. Until you reach the next auto shop, you can stuff a bandana inside to protect the gas pipes. You can do the same for gas canisters if you’ve lost the metal cap.


As a father of two, I’ve always had to make supply runs to the store for diapers. You know you’re in deep shit when two boxes per day are not enough. In case the local store runs out of diapers, or there’s no one else around the house to take care of your kid while you’re away, use your bandana as a diaper.

Naptime cover

Do you know what I hate most about having to nap during the day? The sunlight is getting in my eyes. Ever since my kids came along, I was forced to rethink my napping habit. Well, long story short, if you’re in the situation, you can sleep like a boss even during the day by using that bandana as an eye cover. Try it yourself! It works like a charm.

Picnic protection

Too many insects around the campsite? Well, if you don’t have any repellant on hand, cover the food basket with your bandana to prevent those pesky termites from making away with your food.

This about covers it for my funky ways of using a bandana in a shit hits the fan situation. What’s your take on this? Hit the comments section and let me know.

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 a previous article, I might have mentioned something about cowboys and bandanas. Apart from the fact that they looked awfully cool and would help them conceal their faces during

Have you ever considered purchasing a bulletproof vest or body armor? Do you think that something like this is only reserved for our military forces or police? If you think that, you may be saying to yourself, why would I ever need body armor? Maybe you have considered purchasing this for your family, but you wondered where it falls on the list of items you have considered purchasing for your safety.

If you are like my wife, you asked, what if I get shot in the head? It is true that body armor only works if you get shot in the area that the armor is protecting, but not getting any armor could be a mistake or at least something you regret if society starts to crumble around the edges as it has done in other places, most recently in the Ukraine where massive protest have allegedly devolved into instances where the government forces designed to protect the country are now shooting at the demonstrators. Can you imagine if that happened here at a protest? That same body armor that your tax dollars paid to purchase for our soldiers could be something that could save your life too.

I think there are two camps when it comes to body armor. There are those who buy the more substantial metal plates like the kind sold by one of our advertisers Infidel Body Armor. These metal plates are designed to take high powered rifle cartridges multiple times. This armor is designed to protect people that are going to war or at the very least expect to be shot at by something more than a .22. Armor like this requires plate carriers which conveniently carry other gear that could be used in a conflict. You can even see some of the protestors in the Ukraine wearing equipment like this. If government forces are shooting at them, it would make perfect sense to me to have that level of protection.

The other side of this is soft body armor and this is more concealable and lighter. This has a similar purpose of protecting you from bullet or stab wounds, but the application isn’t as hard core. Soft body armor like the kind from Safeguard Clothing is designed to be worn under clothing or a light jacket and protects you from other threats that the average person could face. I asked Safeguard for some ideas on reasons a civilian should consider buying body armor and this is the list they provided.

You need to protect yourself at all times, but there are ten major reasons to consider buying body armor. If you take the time to protect yourself before anything major happens in your life. The following list will provide you with the information you need to make an informed decision about how protected you could be.

1 – Dangerous Neighborhood

If you live in a dangerous neighborhood, you could be putting your life at risk every time you step out of your house. Someone may attempt to rob you while you are going to and from your car. It can be a great way to protect yourself and not have to worry about anyone knowing that you are wearing the body armor at all.

2 – Taking Money to the Bank

If you have a job that requires you to deposit money in the bank for a business, you want to be sure that you are safe and protected. The vests are lightweight so that you can easily move around while wearing it, but ensure that even if someone were to try to take the money from you that your chances of survival after a shot will be high.

3 – Receiving Threats from an Ex

When an ex feels as though they have been hurt, they may act out in a crazy way. The body armor will protect you, if he or she attempts to shoot you out of anger.

4 – Intruders Enter Your Home

If an intruder breaks into your home, the body armor will protect you, if they attempt to shoot you. It will also help you to have the confidence that you need to be able to get to your phone and call the police.

5 – Work at a School

If you work as an officer or even as a teacher at a school, body armor may be an investment you want to make. In the past, there have been many teachers that have been killed while on the job by individuals attacking the school. No students will be able to tell that you are wearing the vest during your workday.

6 – Work at a Bank

Working at a bank can be dangerous. The body armor is not illegal for you to wear to work and will not be detectable by a potential bank robber.

7 – Work Late at a Restaurant or Business

The body armor can be essential when you are working late at night as that is when most robberies occur. The vest will better your chances of being able to make it through the ordeal.

8 – Delivery Driver

If you work as a delivery driver, body armor can help protect you, while you are making your deliveries. There are people who get desperate and may try to take the items that you are trying to deliver.

9 – Courthouse Worker

If you work at a courthouse, you may have to deal with people that are not happy with the sentences that they received. If someone decides to attack the courthouse, you will be glad that you invested in body armor.

10 – Work at the Post Office

The post office can be very stressful and there are times when someone may snap. When this happens, it can cause them to go on a rampage and wearing the body armor will increase your chances of walking out of the post office alive after a rampage occurs.

Do all or any of these hypotheticals apply to you? Maybe, or maybe not. Should you purchase body armor if you live out in the middle of the forest and nobody comes around? Do you have the other bases covered first like food, water, shelter and personal defense? Buying body armor makes perfect sense to me as long as you have all of the other bases covered. Do I believe a situation like the Ukraine is possible here? Absolutely I do, but I don’t know if I would be joining the rioters in that enclosed square. That doesn’t mean I don’t see the value in having body armor in case you need it. Something to think about, you know the people in the Ukraine are.

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 ever considered purchasing a bulletproof vest or body armor? Do you think that something like this is only reserved for our military forces or police? If you think

Ready for the unthinkable?

This recipe is gluten-free, or easily adapted, and of course there are no artificial colors lurking inside.



A thick and creamy plant-based smoothie filled with fresh mint and chocolate. A healthy breakfast, snack or dessert that tastes similar to a mint chip milkshake.

 Course Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
 Prep Time 5 minutes
 Total Time 5 minutes
 Servings 1
 Calories 438 kcal

What good is all your prepping if you get sick or injured and have no way to treat yourself? You will need a practical guide such as this.


  • 1 small frozen banana
  • 1 1/2 cups milk I use unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1 cup fresh spinach
  • 1/4 small/medium sized avocado
  • 20-30 fresh mint leaves see note
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder or collagen peptides see note
  • 1/2 cup crushed ice or more, if you’d like it thicker
  • 1 tablespoon cacao nibs or chocolate chips see note
  • whipped cream or whipped coconut cream for garnish, optional


  1. Place banana, milk, spinach, avocado, mint, protein powder, and ice in a blender. Process until smooth. Add cacao nibs and stir or briefly pulse (don’t completely puree the chocolate otherwise the color of the smoothie will turn brown). Serve immediately, garnished with whipped cream and additional cacao nibs, if desired.


If you’re new to cacao nibs you might want use a smaller amount. I have found them to be an acquired taste.

My mint leaves were small so I used close to 30 of them. If your mint leaves are larger, or you prefer a milder mint flavor, use fewer leaves.

Photo Credit:

Healthy Mint Chocolate Chip Smoothie

Healthy Mint Chocolate Chip Smoothie

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)

Ready for the unthinkable? This recipe is gluten-free, or easily adapted, and of course there are no artificial colors lurking inside. Enjoy! HEALTHY MINT CHOCOLATE CHIP SMOOTHIE A thick and creamy plant-based smoothie filled

With plenty of clean drinking water and shelter to sleep, the average adult can survive for several weeks or longer without food. This means that in a short-term survival situation, any kind of food, even unhealthy food or “junk food’ will be comforting.

This is fine for a short-term situation where the goal is to satisfy your rumbling stomach and hang on until help arrives that you know is on the way. But in a long-term survival situation where “help” is likely not coming, proper nutrition becomes critical to survival from day one.

Proper nutrition is important from day one in a survival situation because without the right vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients your body needs, your body begins to be negatively affected in multiple ways. Lack of proper nutrition over time of course can negatively impact anyone. But lack of proper nutrition in a long-term survival or SHTF situation means your physical strength and mental clarity can diminish rapidly. This is detrimental to your long-term survival because chances are, you will be expending a lot more energy on a daily basis than in your normal routine which means your body begins to fall apart much faster.

​Want to learn about essential health practices, the right way to take vitamins, and why they currently aren’t working for you? Find out more HERE.

Most people know that staying well hydrated is of the utmost priority but make sure you’ve planned for multiple ways to have access to fresh drinking water. Stockpile sports drinks that are low in sugar but packed with electrolytes to replace those that are lost while hiking to your BOL, hauling water, chopping wood for a fire, or foraging for wild edibles.

Following a SHTF situation, you will have innumerous tasks you must accomplish just to survive. Even for those people whose normal days are active and can barely find time to sit down, the strenuous tasks needed for basic survival will be challenging. In a survival situation, a lapse in mental focus for just a few moments can cost you your life or the life of a family member. You must be on alert nearly constantly for dangers that could be lurking. Adrenaline may get you through the first couple days, but only a well-balanced diet can combat the mental and physical fatigue that will set in quickly following a SHTF event. A lack of physical strength and stamina can seriously hamper your ability to rejuvenate for the next day’s tasks, heal quickly from injuries, and ward off illness and diseases.

Some of the effects of inadequate nutrition that can be detrimental in a survival situation include:

  • Poor mental focus and clarity
  • Physical weakness
  • Fatigue or Lack of Energy
  • Drowsiness
  • Depression

All of these issues can really have a negative impact on how well you can get strenuous tasks completed and make you more likely to be injured or get sick. In addition to some of the effects above, a SHTF or other survival situation comes with additional stress, inadequate sleep and relaxation time, and increased threats from outside sources. In a SHTF situation, professional medical help and pharmaceutical medicines will be in short supply if they are available at all. It’s critical that you work proactively to prevent any illness, injury, or diseases if you’re going to survive.

Want to learn about ​essential tools for treating most diseases you are likely to encounter? Details HERE.

Survival Food Needs


These are starches, sugars, and fiber that is contained in foods. They can be complex or simple. Natural sugars like those found in vegetables, fruits, milk, and some added sugars are simple. Whole-grain breads, starchy vegetables, cereals, and legumes are good sources for complex carbohydrates. You need a balance of simple and complex carbohydrates in your diet. Carbohydrates assist in providing the body with energy and help guard protein stored in the body.

Without sufficient carbohydrates in your daily diet, metabolism of fatty acid suffers and the body becomes weaker. Carbohydrates should make up approximately half of your caloric intake for a normal day, no less than 60 grams minimum. So, for the average adult during a SHTF situation, you’ll want to be much higher and get as close to half your caloric intake as possible.

Carbohydrates come from:

  • edible plants are easily accessible if you know how to identify them properly
  • white rice
  • grains like wheat and oats
  • root and tuber vegetables
  • cereals
  • honey
  • fruits
  • sugars

This book teaches you what to do when your doctor is not around. Follow this link for details.

Protein & Healthy Fats

Protein is found in foods such as eggs, meats, and beans. Proteins are important because your body breaks these down into amino acids which are distributed through your body. It’s also important for a wide variety of essential things including provision of nitrogen you can’t get from lipids or carbs. They also help balance pH and are vital for the immune system. Recommended daily protein intake is 20 to 25% normally and more during strenuous activity.

Healthy fats are critical because they are an energy source but also because they help the body to properly absorb vitamins. Omega 3s are healthy fats found in fatty fish and in plant oils such as corn oil, olive oil, and sunflower oil. Healthy fats are vital for creating fatty acids and glycerol. Fatty acids help to regulate inflammation in the body and glycerol is a naturally occurring carbohydrate that serves as a source of fuel for the body. Recommended amount of healthy fats is around 10 to 30% of total calories per “normal” day so for a SHTF situation you’ll want to be closer to 30% most days.

Protein comes from:

  • many different insects if the situation is dire
  • fresh meat such as rabbits, chickens or other poultry (start raising them now)
  • peanut butter, legumes, and nuts
  • eggs
  • canned fish and meat
  • grains like quinoa and wheat
  • Oatmeal
  • MREs

Healthy Fats come from:

  • Avocado or Avocado Oil
  • Whole eggs
  • Cheese
  • Fatty fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel, trout, and herring
  • Chia Seeds
  • Dark chocolate
  • Fatty cuts of lamb, pork, beef, and lard

Critical Vitamins

Vitamins are classified as water soluble or fat soluble. Vitamin C (helps with iron absorption) and all the B vitamins are considered water soluble vitamins and each has a different function within the body. Water soluble vitamins are not easily stored within the body and extra is flushed during urination which means these vitamins need to be replenished frequently. Keep this in mind when planning your survival meals and snacks. These vitamins are critical to helping your body use the energy in the food you eat.

Water Soluble Vitamins come from:

  • Citrus fruits
  • Dark green leafy veggies like kale and spinach or broccoli
  • Meat, poultry, dairy products, shellfish, fish, and eggs
  • Tropical fruits and oranges
  • Peanuts and peanut butter
  • Nuts, peas, soybeans
  • Bananas

Your body needs these essential vitamins to continue to function by producing energy, building cells, and making collagen for wound healing (Vitamin E), healthy teeth, and bones (Vitamin D).

Fat soluble vitamins, like Vitamins K, E, A, and D are stored in the fatty tissues and liver and distributed as needed by the body. Fat soluble vitamins are critical for building bones, healthy vision, and to help store other essential vitamins. Getting and maintaining sufficient levels of vitamins also helps to prevent diseases that can occur when certain vitamins are deficient or in short supply such as:

  • Blindness (Vitamin A deficiency)
  • Rickets (lack of Vitamin D)
  • Scurvy (Vitamin C deficiency)

Fat Soluble vitamins come from:

  • Veggies like carrots, spinach, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, asparagus, cabbage
  • Eggs, milk, yogurt
  • Nuts like almonds and sunflower seeds
  • Fruits such as cantaloupe and apricots
  • Fatty fish like sardines and salmon, shrimp, and trout
  • Olive oil, coconut oil

Vital Minerals

The minerals your body needs work similarly to the critical vitamins in that some of them circulate more like water soluble vitamins and should be replenished frequently and others are more like fat soluble vitamins because they need to be absorbed and transported through the body by a carrier. The reason it’s important to know how these minerals work is so that you can plan your survival meal plan in a way that replenishes those that don’t get stored and to not overindulge on those that are naturally stored in the body.

  • Calcium
  • Sodium
  • Phosphorus
  • Potassium
  • Magnesium
  • Trace Minerals

Healthy Survival Food Options

Okay, so now that we know what kinds of nutritional ingredients will be critical to keeping our energy, strength, and mental clarity intact during and in the aftermath of a SHTF event. But what kinds of foods are good options?

Ten Super Nutritious Survival Foods:

  1. Dark Chocolate (Antioxidants, fiber, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, improves brain function, protects skin from sun damage)
  2. Brown rice or Brown rice hot cereal (high calorie, protein packed, and good source of minerals such as iron. Store airtight container for 3-6 months.
  3. Whole Eggs (nutrient dense contains a bit of every single nutrient we need plus antioxidants)
  4. Cheese (calcium, B12, selenium, protein, Vitamin B12, fatty acids)
  5. Dried Beans especially split peas. (high calorie, good protein source, some vitamins and minerals) Long shelf-life
  6. Chia Seeds (high fat-9 grams in 1 ounce of seeds, fiber, Omega-3, loaded with minerals, can lower blood pressure and are anti-inflammatory.
  7. Avocado or Avocado Oil (contains oleic acid, high in potassium, high fat)
  8. Nuts and Peanut Butter (good source of protein, high in healthy fats, Vitamin E, and magnesium) Store airtight, lightweight for easy carry during bug out.
  9. Extra Virgin Olive Oil (good source of healthy fats, stores open 3-6 months, unopened up to 2 years or until it begins to smell “sweet”.)
  10. Powdered Sea vegetables or greens (vitamin and nutrient dense, can boost immunity, antifungal and anti-bacterial properties, can make up for lack of fresh produce)


We’ve all heard about MREs for survival food. One of the benefits of MREs (Meals Ready to Eat) is that they are just that, ready to eat. For most of these, you can simply open them and eat them cold. They are lightweight and provide an average of 1,200 to 1,500 calories. MREs have a long shelf life, and are easy to carry in a bug out bag or get home bag if needed. For the average adult, two MREs daily will give you the recommended calories needed to keep you alive. Many of them come with beverages, snacks, and even utensils in the package. One thing to be careful of with MREs is that although they often are a good source of carbohydrates, protein, and other essential nutrients, they can be high in salt or sugar.

Freeze Dried Foods

The advantage to some of these packaged “freeze dried” meals, from companies like Wise and Mountain House, are that they are lightweight and pre-calculated for you to help ensure balanced nutrition. And in most cases when bought in bulk they have enough variety to combat “food fatigue”.

They are typically more difficult to use on the go because you need to at least have the ability and time to boil water to rehydrate them and some can take up to 30 minutes to fully cook. Another issue some have found with these meals is that they aren’t as tasty as one would hope and can be expensive to purchase. But in a pinch, they can be handy to have as part of your survival food stockpile.


  • can be cooked multiple ways
  • freshly laid eggs (unwashed) can have a long shelf life if properly stored
  • fragile in a bug out situation but most bird eggs are safe to eat in the wild as a last resort

Canned Chicken

  • Comes canned, in foil pouches, or mini pull tab cans
  • packed with protein
  • can be heated quickly or eaten cold if needed
  • Long shelf life

Tuna Fish (Albacore)

  • comes canned or in foil pouches
  • can be eaten cold right out of can or pouch if necessary
  • foil pouches are lightweight
  • long shelf life
  • water in canned tuna helps with hydration if needed

Canned Alaskan Wild Salmon

Inuit people (native to Alaska and Northern Canada) have low stroke and heart attack rates. This low rate is attributed to a long-term diet of fish.

  • high in protein
  • good source of healthy fats
  • minimal contaminants
  • can be eaten if necessary right out of the can

Trail Mix

  • simple sugars for quick mood boost
  • protein from seeds and nuts
  • Decent shelf life if stored properly

Beef Jerky or Pemmican

  • go with natural when possible to limit harmful preservatives
  • high in protein
  • long shelf life
  • lightweight and non-bulky


  • Made from flour, salt, and water
  • Stored in airtight containers
  • Long shelf life
  • Easy to carry
  • Must be soaked first to soften enough to eat

Basic Cooking Grains

If your long-term survival plan for food includes being able to make your own breads and other tasty meals, you’ll want to include flours and pastas in your survival food stockpile. When frozen first and then stored in airtight containers, white flour, cornmeal, whole wheat flour, pasta, and cornmeal will last five years or more. These are all great to have in your stockpile for making things tortillas, cornbread, biscuits, muffins, etc. that you can combine with sauces and gravies to make delicious and hearty meals.

Properly sealed and kept away from heat, the following grains can last nearly a decade:

  • Quinoa
  • Buckwheat
  • Barley
  • Rye
  • Millet
  • Spelt
  • Kamut
  • Hard Red Wheat
  • Soft White Wheat

Freeze Dried or Instant Coffee

  • mood booster
  • warm beverage in colder weather
  • Decent shelf life
  • extend shelf life by storing frozen as long as possible

Emergency Food for Diabetics

If you have diabetes stick to food low in potassium and limit your portion sizes. Below are some good foods to have on hand:

  • Raw honey and cinnamon can help with blood sugar management
  • Instant glucose tablets
  • Low potassium juices (grape, apple, or berry)
  • Dried cranberries not raisins
  • Dried or Fresh Plums, pineapple, or peaches not mango or papaya
  • Dry cereal (unsweetened and unsalted)
  • Vanilla wafers or Graham crackers
  • Sugar free drinks such as ginger ale or sugar free drink mix
  • Distilled water
  • Unsalted peanut butter
  • Low sodium canned salmon, chicken, tuna, turkey
  • Corn syrup
  • Evaporated milk
  • Unsalted Crackers

Gluten Free Emergency Food

  • Jerky (beef, salmon, pork, turkey)
  • Rice
  • Quinoa
  • Organic dried fruit (no sulfites)
  • Bone broth (cooked and frozen)
  • Dehydrated vegetables (snap peas, etc.)
  • Great Lakes Unflavored Gelatin
  • Homemade Canned Foods
  • Gluten-Free Granola
  • Dried beans
  • Gluten-free crackers

Additional Survival Foods That Won’t Spoil

There are several foods that you can add to your survival stockpile to not only help prevent “food fatigue” by adding flavor but to also boost nutritional value. Some of these foods are considered basic staples which will are great to have on hand to create meals or enhance flavor. Store these ingredients in airtight containers and add desiccants to dry ingredients to combat moisture and humidity.


  • Pepper
  • Salt
  • Sugar
  • Cinnamon Sticks (antimicrobial, antioxidants, anti-diabetic, anti-inflammatory, boosts immune system to protect against diseases like cancer and heart disease)


  • Contains B6, niacin, thiamin, pantothenic acid, riboflavin, and amino acids
  • High in minerals like iron, manganese, copper, calcium, sodium, potassium, zinc,
  • and phosphorous.
  • Local wildflower honey can help prevent allergy symptoms
  • Great source of natural energy
  • Packed with antioxidants to boost immune system by increasing polyphenols in the blood that fight disease.
  • Can be used for wound healing and burn treatment
  • Natural cough remedy
  • Indefinite shelf life


  • Contains essential minerals and vitamins like calcium, potassium, iron, vitamin B6, selenium and magnesium.
  • Use as a sweetener in coffee, oatmeal, etc.
  • Can help alleviate PMS symptoms
  • Can relieve constipation, stress, headaches
  • Improves immune system
  • Good source of energy
  • Store in cool place. Shelf life up to 6 months opened or 1 year or more unopened

Instant Jello

  • Easily digestible form of collagen
  • Contains all but 1 of the 20 amino acids needed
  • Inexpensive
  • Shelf life 3 years to life of packaging
  • Just add boiling water and let gel or drink as a liquid
  • One packet can serve up to 4 people
  • Can be used to make homemade Pedialyte

Maple Syrup

  • Stores unopened in glass containers for decades
  • if mold grows once opened, boil and skim the surface and store in clean container

Regular Corn Syrup

  • Can mold once opened if not stored properly
  • Karo Syrup has fewer calories and no high fructose corn syrup

Jaw Breakers

This one doesn’t add much nutritional value except perhaps a quick sugar boost but it can do wonders for your morale, especially for children who might be hungrier than they are used to during normal times.

Providing an older child with a jaw breaker during a long walk or during periods of turmoil can take their mind off what’s going on. It can also help them to stay quiet during times when stealth is critical.

Prevent Food Fatigue

During and following a SHTF event, stress can be overwhelming. Mental and physical fatigue can have a huge effect on your motivation to keep going day after day. Believe it or not, food can become a source of comfort and a huge morale booster during times of crisis. When the day has been long and stressful, the ability to quickly prepare a tasty meal that has all the essential vitamins and minerals your body needs to maintain itself will be critical.

Imagine the difference in your mental state between knowing you’re stuck eating the same dried beef jerky and coffee or knowing that you have what you need to prepare a warm chilli or tasty stew later that night. This is what “food fatigue” is about. Plan your survival food stockpile so that you can prepare healthy meals with enough variety to keep “food fatigue” from being detrimental to your mood and morale. One important way to prevent “food fatigue” is to stockpile “treat” foods as well even if they don’t have much nutritional value. This includes foods such as hard candy, chocolate, and even some soda or other tasty beverages.

Enhance Meals with Pure Flavor Extracts

When it comes to long-term survival after a SHTF event, you’re going to eventually want to return to a menu that is as close to normal as possible. Baking and cooking meals may difficult for months or even years after the chaos has receded. Manufacturing and shipping will affect supply and availability or traditional baking and cooking ingredients. Having pure flavor extracts included in your survival food stockpile can help you create healthy and tasty meals and desserts.

Imagine the morale boosts you can provide several months into a survival situation if you can add a dash of your favorite fruit flavor to oatmeal, add hazelnut to your coffee, or even a dash of lemon flavor to water.

  • Almond
  • Vanilla
  • Maple
  • Strawberry
  • Hazelnut
  • Black Walnut
  • Orange
  • Lemon
  • Chocolate
  • Coconut

You’ll find survival food lists on other sites but our list specifically takes into consideration the requirements of the human body for survival and to thrive. Pick and choose from the above list according to your daily caloric intake and try to balance your survival diet to compensate for your increased activity and stress levels.

Surviving long-term following a SHTF situation will be fraught with dangers and obstacles. It’s up to you to plan ahead to make sure your survival food stockpile includes the healthiest foods to prevent the effects of malnutrition from being one of those obstacles.

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 plenty of clean drinking water and shelter to sleep, the average adult can survive for several weeks or longer without food. This means that in a short-term survival situation,

Welcome to the jungle! We ain’t got any fun, games, plants or even swinging vines. What we do have is concrete, iffy back alleys, and lots of ways for you to lose your wallet and, perhaps, even your very life. Charming perspective, ain’t it?

Well, that’s more or less what it feels like living in the big city; nature may be wrathful, but not even her can hope to emulate our fellow man when devotes his entire energy to darker things. Urban survival has gained a lot of traction over the past couple of year and, I, for one, agree that you don’t need to become in the middle of nowhere in order to exercise those survival skills.

Anything can happen when you’re on the street – and that’s not fear-mongering, that’s a reality. If you don’t believe me, just hop on the Internet and do a quick search on crime in your area. You’ll be surprised to find out that your seemingly-quiet neighborhood becomes a minefield at night.

Anyway, after these cheerful little thoughts, let’s get acquainted with today’s topic – urban survival. Prepping means being ready for anything and at any time.

This also covers things like taking a stroll around the park or visiting another part of the city. Can’t say I got into too much trouble around the city, but then again, I’ve always tried my best to avoid some areas, especially at night.

No, it doesn’t have anything to do with mystical mumbo-jumbo, but anyone can get a little jumpy when having to traverse a poorly-lit area with tons of dark corner and who knows what else.

Ever since I got bit by the prepping love bug, I’ve always done my business to carry around a downscale version of my B.O.B. Well, on the outside it looks like a regular backpack (nothing too fancy about it), but in the inside, I have all the tools I need to get out of just about urban SHTF situation. So, without further ado, here are my choice of X items that shouldn’t be missing from your urban survival kit.

  1. Tactical flashlight

I truly believe that entire books can be written on the topic of tactical flashlights, and for a darn good reason – they have many other uses, some of them going well beyond their original purpose. Now, this is the kind of item you really wouldn’t want to buy from a thrift or yard sale.

A high-quality tac light can cost anywhere from $100 to $1,000, depending on things like construction and add-ons. I found it best to carry around one of the tac lights that come with a built-in taser (the electrodes are built into the flashlight’s butt, so be careful not to fool around with it).

Apart from the fact that most tac lights are LED-powered, meaning that they offer thrice as much battery life and light compared to those using incandescent bulbs, it can also serve other purposes. For instance, if someone wants to mug you, use the back end to zap him.

Or, if you prefer something more hardcore, you can always use that tac light as a club. A high-quality tactical comes with various gadgets which you can use to attach them anywhere – suction cup for walls or glass surfaces, strap, and socket for headwear, and even a lanyard hole. They are very robust but, at the same time, very light (mine weighs a little over 200 grams). So, get yourself a tac light and toss it in your urban survival kit.

  1. First-aid kit

No matter where the winding road takes me, I always carry around a downscaled version of my B.O.B’s medical kit. If you’re going to stroll around the city, you won’t need stuff like straight scissors, suturing kits, syringes, saline solution or whatnots.

For a basic urban first-aid, toss in a couple of Band-Aids, sterile pad, a small bottle of disinfectant, hand gel, and a couple of safety pins or some tape. That’s it! Still, if you live in a rough neighborhood, you should remember to pack extra supplies in case you have to deal with a more severe injury.

Moreover, if you have any allergies, you should always carry an EpiPen and a box of antihistamines in case you experience an allergic reaction. Before I met my wife, I used to hang around another part of the city where – how should I say this? – was not for those faints of heart. Since the opioid crisis’ on the rise, I made sure to carry a Narcan pen with me at all times.

No, it wasn’t for me, if that’s the question on your mind, but on several occasions, I found myself standing in front of various individuals who ODed on God knows what. Why not spend a couple of bucks each month to save a life? Chance are that you will never need to use a Narcan pen or someone, but wouldn’t it be neat to have one close when someone’s life hangs in the balance?

  1. Small pry bar

No, I really don’t fancy myself a burglar, but I always remember to carry a small prybar in my urban survival backpack in case I need to get off the street really fast and need to break down a door or something.

That thing’s really very useful in you to live in old condos where the elevator tends to break down on a daily basis. So, no matter the circumstance, a pry bar is always a valuable asset. Just don’t go waving it around like crazy, unless you want to wind up in the cooler on purpose.

  1. Face mask

Living in a big city means sucking in all kinds of toxic fumes and gases. I am very grateful to all those wonderful people for getting hybrids because I can still feel the smoke coming from the exhaust pipes during a traffic jam. Anyway, you really don’t need to face a chemical attack in order to make use of a face mask – there are some areas of the city where the fumes are thick enough that you can probably cut them with a blunt butter knife.

  1. Emergency potty

There’s nothing worse than having to go number two, only to realize that the toilet’s clogged or the water pump has stopped working. Well, I have to admit that this is a little strange, even for a prepper, but I always carry one of those foldable potties in my backpack.

Yes, yes, I know that most of you are picturing me know to get out my portable potty to “spend a penny” on a crowded subway, but it’s not like that. You may never know when the shit hits the fan, and you wind up having to cross half of the city for a working toilet. No, I will not expose myself on a bus full of people, but I will find a secluded place for when Nature calls in those moments when there’s nothing available nearby.

  1. Multi-tool

I always like to carry around Ol’ Vicky (that’s how I named by Victorinox Swiss Multi-tool). Why? I don’t know for certain, but I usually find a way or two to use my multi-tool before the day’s over. I found very handy for those Saturday afternoon bike trips of mine – I should seriously consider buying a new bike since I tend to spend more time making repairs than actually riding it.

Anyway, the multi-tool’s a very useful asset, no matter where you go and do. Broken zipper? No problem! Key broke in the lock? Just use the multi-tool to get it out. Locks are cheap; doors aren’t!

  1. Work or hiking boots

Wearing heavy-duty work or hiking may not much of a fashion statement, but they can help a bunch during an SHTF situation. Of course, being in the city means that you won’t have to do too much mountain climbing. Still, in certain situations, you’re going to need that extra traction offered by a pair of hiking boots.

For instance, there’s no guarantee that during one of the walks you won’t wind up stuck in an elevator or inside a subway tunnel. Both situations call for hiking, climbing, and maybe running. Sure, you can always wait for the repair team to arrive and fix the thing or you can get out and lend them a hand. Remember that in some cases, like a tunnel collapse or whatever, it may take the emergency response team hours to get to you.

That wouldn’t be much of a problem if you didn’t have a limited oxygen supply or surrounded by injured or scared to death people.  Anyway, weather permitting, you should do yourself a favor and tour the city in hiking boots. Of course, not every social call allows for this type of footwear, but I’ll let you figure that one out yourself.

  1. Solar charger

I find nowadays smartphones very irritating. Yes, I know you can take lots of pretty pictures with them, shoot 4K videos, surf the Internet, buy stuff online or play games, but that battery life though. Had this Samsung Galaxy Whatever-Model smartphone – great gadget.

The only thing wrong with it was the blasted battery – 6 hours on a full charge. That’s how long my battery lasted, no matter the circumstance. Tried changing the battery, tinkering around the apps; nothing worked. So, I’ve decided to carry around one of those portable solar chargers.

They work great, and if there’s enough sun, you can probably get a full charge in 4 hours or less. However, the best thing about these solar chargers is that you don’t have to stop in order to charge your phone or whatever. The solar cell can be taped to your backpack and the cable’s long enough to reach your pocket. Try it out! You won’t regret it.

And so, we come to the end of yet another article in which I glorify the well-made bug out bag. Well, it’s not exactly your run-of-the-mill backpack, but you get the idea. I know that most of you don’t feel comfortable carrying zero hour items while going shopping, strolling in the park or going to propose to your SO, but do bear in mind that shit happens everywhere, regardless if you’re a big city dweller or the king of your own mountain.

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)

Welcome to the jungle! We ain’t got any fun, games, plants or even swinging vines. What we do have is concrete, iffy back alleys, and lots of ways for you

Boosting Our Garden Productivity

Our practices can affect our garden productivity hugely. Sometimes that’s as easy as changing our mindsets, so that the time and labor it takes to garden is lowered, which allows us to do more. Sometimes it’s embracing “Semper Gumby” and accepting the feedback our gardens and yards offer us, and sometimes it’s looking at our home and yard spaces differently. Sometimes it’s letting the Johnson’s be the Johnson’s and contenting ourselves with being us – with our needs and abilities the measuring standard we use. In some cases, the practices we apply might be hugely unconventional.

In other cases, they’re tiny things only in our minds. They can all make a difference when it comes to successful growing. Here are a few ways we can cut down on the labor and time of gardening and increase our yields, whether we’re just getting started with some pots or whether we’re ready to expand our production in times of crisis when food production has stopped.

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Pick the Right Plants

Sometimes if we’re after heirlooms and open-pollinated plants so we can collect seed, it can be tough, but whenever possible, selecting local or regional plants and seeds will boost our success. They’re adapted to if not developed specifically for our climate, so there’s a better chance of them performing for us than something that was produced across the country, even of the same cultivar.

If we can’t find our choices locally, we can do some research. There are some proven winners that work across multiple USDA growing zones for most types of veggies and even most of the field crops we’ll grow.

Most of our county extension, state Ag department, and the Master Gardener’s programs will have stock lists of varieties that perform well regionally within the state and county. Remember that the Big Ag guys are going to most likely be spraying and irrigating, so look for and ask about dryland farming varieties and varieties that are resistant to pests.

We can also improve our gardens by selecting disease-resistant varieties whenever possible. Not dealing with a crop illness at all is far easier on the labor, pocketbook, and productivity of a garden.

We also want to pick the right plants for us, and the right number of plants.

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Ten or twenty tomatoes take a lot of work, and a lot of resources. On the other hand, ten or twenty pea or bean plants is likely to only yield enough for a couple of meals at once. Four-square-feet of corn is nearly nothing – one, maybe two meals for 4-5. Four-square-feet of spinach could be salads and greens for a whole season, depending on family size.

Determinate plants dump the majority of their produce all at once, which can lead to a glut we have to deal with, and then they die. That can be good or bad.

If we want to go with determinates, for some things like squash and tomatoes, maybe we stagger two to four plants at a time for a small family or a beginner. It makes less to deal with at one time, and it lets us re-plant after them at a reasonable pace for busy people as well.

Alternatively, maybe we go with a longer-lived set of indeterminate plants that trickle in produce at a rate we can consume or process easily.

Proximity – Plan garden plots along paths we already take, and near the resources they’ll need.


Location, location, location – we hear it all the time when finding property, but it’s just as important once we have our space to play with. The closer we can put our gardens to our homes, the more attention they’re going to get and the less time we’re going to spend crossing ground to go weed, water, fetch tools, and harvest.

Once we’re hitting about fifty-percent of our veggie consumption, it’s tough to keep the whole garden close at hand, but we can still keep rotations plants that require a lot of water, that get harvested from regularly, and our problem-prone plants near at hand.

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The closer we can put our gardens to our homes, the more attention they’re going to get

We also want to be mindful of proximity to water. Since rooflines are going to be our most common rain catchment points (using our free salvaged buckets and totes), we can check both those boxes keeping at least some of our beds along our common walkways to and from the house and garage or sheds, or establishing beds near doorways and outdoor water faucets.

With our beds near the house, we’ll then also want to keep some of the maintenance basics like hand tools and maybe a watering can right there handy as well. The most regularly used items are fairly compact, so they should fit right in with our porch broom or a bucket or deck box near the door.

Eliminate Ego

Right up there with making our life easier by picking out plants that are proven winners and producers, is giving ourselves a break. The neighbors might have a bare earth garden without a speck of a weed. Martha Stewart and the Neeleys might have awesome, bountiful beds with expensive chipped mulch or thick mats of straw.

Good for them. They’re not us.

We can take advice from them if we want – and if their advice falls in line with our growing style, and the desire to be more self-sufficient, which means cutting some of the umbilical cords to Lowe’s and Tractor Supply. We can ask what varieties they use, maybe even trade some seeds. We need to not compare ourselves – or our gardens – to them and theirs.

Every person and family is different, and soil changes step by step. The extra time being cultivated, a reliance on outside fertilizers, different wind and sun patterns, and a devotion to watering can all have effects.

We also need to just be nice to ourselves. If the weeds aren’t big enough to bother the plants, they’re not hurting anything; take a few minutes to enjoy family or a book now and then. If we have to pick between having cardboard between rows and beds, or running a tiller or weed-eater or hoe, go with the time and fuel and labor-saving ugly.

All our garden should be about is our yield and our health and our abilities, compared only to our past.

The rest of it, that’s just ego. Hubris is how mere mortals take down the gods and giants in all the good stories. Stick with humble and happy.

Slow, Steady Solutions

This is actually a permaculture principle. What it means is that we add things at a pace where we can handle them, where they will thrive, and where we can accept feedback from them – and adjust accordingly. It goes hand-in-hand with that ego point above. But also, it’s about learning, and not getting overwhelmed.

Whether we’re just starting or expanding, it can be tempting to go for broke. And sometimes, we break. Then we get discouraged, either by a method and we write it off, or by this whole gardening thing in general.

We can also break the bank trying to do it all at once, either getting started or making changes or trying to keep up with others’ results.

Deciding on our pace should include a look at our financials. Sometimes it’s more economical to buy or rent a machine and get lots done in a few hours, but sometimes we’re better served with a shovel and a post-hole auger and working by inches over days and weeks.

We do need to get started with gardening, but make changes and expand at a pace we can maintain. In the end, we’ll have a better situation than if we rushed around and ended up unhappy or worn out later.

Leave Room to Renovate

When we eke out our plots and expansions, we can benefit from leaving ourselves some elbow room through and around them. Especially if we’re new, we might also want to use a more temporary “build” for the first few rounds.

Container gardens, lasagna beds, using established flower and ornamental beds for veggies, expanding at the base of trees or hedges just a foot or two, and inexpensive beds made from things like shelving units can help with that. So can doing an unbounded, free-form bed instead of starting off with brick or timbers.

That way we have a chance to test out our water solutions, placement around our homes and placement of our tools, our composting systems, make sure it’s not too dry or too sodden or in a frost pocket or heavily shaded come June, exposed to winds, or affected by our livestock locations, and then actually apply the feedback that our plants themselves will give us.

Then we can go around and reinforce our beds with timbers and CMU if we’re happy, or reassemble them somewhere else if we’re not, or go whole-hog with our in-ground, tilled-out methods.

Having extra elbow room also allows us to try out new methods as we become aware of them, and have space to maneuver or change focus as we lose mobility due to injury or age, or as our family situation changes.

In the end, our gardens and our time in them will be far more productive if we leave ourselves room to adjust for better efficiency or economy down the line.

Bed Down Beds

Cover vegetable beds with leaves in the winter.

At the end of the season, cover garden soil with something, no matter what it is – tilled plots eked out of the yard, actual built raised beds, unbounded lasagna beds, pots and planters.

Maybe it’s newspaper you soak and then weigh down with loose sticks and rocks and the brick/CMU for a later project, or cardboard that gets screwed into timbers. Maybe it’s a tarp, some old shower curtains, or a patchwork of trash bags and duct tape. Maybe it’s a layer of mown leaves and pine needles. In some cases, you might actually plant a cover crop that will grow for a bit and then get killed off in winter’s cold, forming a mat.

Do whatever it takes, but cover gardens for the non-growing seasons.

It’ll reduce the amount of work necessary to start all over in spring, because it’ll prevent or limit weeds – especially from trees that have long, hard-to-kill roots and the most prolific annuals – and in some cases, it will deprive any that are already in the soil of light come spring.

In most cases, covers of all kinds will also help prevent compaction from winter and early spring rains, so it’ll take less work to loosen soil for planting again.

Even piles of unused mulch can benefit from being covered.

Mulch is there to help us prevent weeds on top of the benefits of reducing compaction and creating a slow-breakdown feed for our beds. If it sits open to the sky, weed seeds can blow in, and some of those weeds will get roots going all the way through the pile, a foot or more deep. We don’t really want to be moving weeds into our garden beds, especially not when there’s a fast, easy way to prevent it.

Garden Management Practices

How we manage our gardens, and even the mentalities we adopt as we plot them out and watch them over the season, has major effects on how much yield they return.

Siting and plant selection in particular is crucial, no more so than for busy people. It’s also crucial that we be realistic with ourselves and with our goals – because every style of gardening requires at least some labor and inputs from us to be successful.

Veggie gardening can be rewarding, but it can also be frustrating. Using practices that make it a little easier to get started now and that leave room for improvements in the future can limit some of the frustrations, and can let us work out the kinks while there are still grocery stores filled with cheap produce to cover our gaps.

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)

Boosting Our Garden Productivity Our practices can affect our garden productivity hugely. Sometimes that’s as easy as changing our mindsets, so that the time and labor it takes to garden is

How do you know if your canned food has gone bad? If only it were as simple as checking the expiration date! Sorry friends, but that expiration date is just a recommendation. In truth, canned food can spoil due to many factors other than time spent on the shelf. For example…

  • Dropping your canned food can create a hole or leak that allows bacteria to grow.
  • Storing your cans at the wrong temperature can cause metals to start seeping into your food.
  • Using the wrong methods or improper hygiene while canning will doom your food from the start!

This isn’t to scare you into thinking that all canned food is out to give you Botulism. Rather, we want to remind you to inspect your food before taking a bite!

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Once we run through the telltale signs that canned food has spoiled, you’ll always know what to look for.

1. Bulging

Press on the lid of your can. Do you sense pressure or swelling? Or does the lid top “pop” or move up and down? These could all be signs of a serious food hazard! When bacteria breed, they release harmful toxins which cause the tin can to bulge.

From these toxins, humans can contract some nasty strains of food poisoning including the most lethal form of food poisoning called Botulism.

2. Loud Hissing

A soft, brief hissing sound when opening a can is fine–this is just the vacuum seal being released. However, a loud hissing sound is another sign of toxic gas caused by bacteria.

If you experience this hissing, stop – do not proceed. If you continue, you risk spreading the bacteria around your kitchen.

3. Spurting Liquid When Opened

When you open a can of green beans or tuna, there is always some liquid that pools at the top and spills out just a little bit. That’s natural. What isn’t natural, however, is spurting liquid that erupts like a geyser. This is a red flag that there has been an abnormal build up of pressure inside the can, likely caused by bacteria.

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4. Corrosion

When metal cans corrode, metallic chemicals like Bisphenol A (BPA) start seeping into your food while also creating holes that allow bacteria to grow. Corrosion can be caused by improper temperature storage or being covered in soot or ash that moistens the cans. To spot corrosion, look for small rusty holes on the can.

5. Dents

When a dent is made on a can, it’s like a mini explosion going off on the inside. The air distribution is suddenly shifted and this can result in the can’s seal becoming compromised. If the seal is loosened, then air can escape and bacteria can enter, affecting both the taste and safety of the food inside.

6. Leaks

Leaks are the easiest way to tell if your can has been compromised! Don’t just look for liquid seeping out, also check for sticky areas which might be a clue that there was once a leak.

If there are holes, cracks, or issues with the seal that are big enough to cause a leak, then your food has been exposed to air, bacteria, and possibly egg-laying bugs that are attracted to the can’s contents.

7. Bad Smell

Smell your food every time you open a can. Obviously, rotten smells will gross you out and stop you from eating the potentially spoiled food. But also, acidic or metallic smells will strike you as unnatural. On an evolutionary level, your body is designed to detect “off” smells. Trust your senses!

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8. Bubbles

One or two small bubbles on the surface of canned food might just be from the agitation of opening the can. But if you find a light to moderate layer of foamy bubbles, then your food has spoiled.

These bubbles are caused by the release of waste or gas from the bacteria that has been partying inside the can. Treat this food like toxic waste and don’t even attempt to taste it.

9. Strange Colors

Your food should be the same color going in the can as it is coming out of the can–that’s the whole point of preserving in a can! Discoloration is a clear sign of contamination whether it be from metals, bacteria, or air. You don’t want to ingest that!

10. Mushy or Moldy Looking

If there is mold in or on your canned food, it means that your food wasn’t canned properly. The wrong tools or the wrong methods were used which resulted in the growth of mold that has begun to turn your food into mush.

In this case, it’s not enough just to scrape the mold off the top because you don’t know what other hygienic or handling issues occurred during canning.

How to Keep your Food from Spoiling

Store your cans in a dry, cool, dark place – Ideally, you want a clean storage shed, pantry or a basement that maintains a temperature between 40-60 degrees F. Most homes are around 70 degrees–which is okay–but in general, the lower the temperature, the longer your food will last.

Store your cans off the ground – Leaving your canned food on the ground exposes them to condensation, floods, and temperature changes. Shelves are your friend.

Physically rotate your food as often as possible – In other words, crack open the older cans first and replace them with newer cans. Don’t let cans of food go forgotten in the back.

If you want to learn more about home canning, check out these 9 things to know before you start.


Whether you’re stockpiling for the apocalypse, canning for winter, or eating from cans on a regular basis, make sure you really ingrain these signs into your brain!

Teach your partner and teach your kids these signs, too. They are survival skills that could save you and your family from enduring a serious illness.

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)

How do you know if your canned food has gone bad? If only it were as simple as checking the expiration date! Sorry friends, but that expiration date is just

Getting yourself noticed should be an important life goal, but there are times when screaming at the top of your lungs could mean the difference between getting back to safety and kicking the bucket. In an SHTF situation, apart from making sure you have food, plenty of water, and some shelter, you’ve got to make sure that the rescuers know where you are.

Sure, that fancy smartphone of yours seems like the most obvious choice, but what happens if you run out of battery or you lose it? Anything can happen out there, that’s why you should think about including other means of signaling for help. In today’s article, I’m going to show some neat trinkets that could save your neck should you ever find yourself in a life-threatening situation.

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So, without further ado here are 10 signaling device you should definitely think about including in your B.O.B.


Remember that irritating whistle your P.E. teacher used to make you run faster? Well, you should consider getting one, but not for the same reason, of course. If you’re stuck in some neck of the woods with nothing to make your rescuers aware of your presence that piece of plastic could indeed save your life. And, c’mon – even in a crowded intersection, you can still hear someone blowing on a whistle.

Roll of surveyor tape

Those flashy rolls road worker or surveyors use to mark off a path will come in handy if you get lost. Just rip a small piece, write something on it like where you are or where you’re head, and tie to a tree or pole. I would recommend getting something in a flashy color like electric blue, flash pink or even jaundice yellow. Even if you’ve never been in the woods before, you would still notice a piece of tape tied to a tree.

Personal locator beacon

This is one of the personal favorites. It works just like in the movies – you hit a button, and the thingamajig will notify the authorities of your location. Compared to the other stuff you’ll read about in this list, a P.E.B is a bit pricier (between $250 and $400, depending on the manufacturer and options), but a very useful item in case you get lost.

Most P.E. Bs operate over a short-wave frequency (125 – 405 MHz), which means that the signal can be picked up by anyone screwing around with a short-wave radio.  Now, apart from the fact that you must be willing to dig deep into your pockets to purchase one, you will also be required to register your PLB with the local authorities. Otherwise, they won’t recognize your signal and can’t provide aid.

Chisel tip marker

When I was in school, we used these types of markers for our calligraphy class – they’re great for painting gothic letter if you’re interested in that sort of thing. Anyway, in case you have no other means of letting your rescuers know where you are, take one of these babies out and start making drawings on trees. You can write to them on any surface. More than that, neither snow nor rain could wipe them away.

Compact emergency survival mirror

I know that in case of an emergency any kind of reflective surface would do, but it’s rather impractical to carry around a real glass mirror since it might shatter. That’s why I find these compact emergency survival mirror very fast – they have a smooth and clear surface, which means that they can reflect anything from sunlight to a flashlight, and given the fact that they’re made from plastic, the only thing capable of breaking them would be to actually step on them. Some of these mirrors can also be used to focus sunlight onto tinder or char cloth in order to start a fire.

Rescue Lasers

Yup, the same stuff a teacher would use to point out various things on the blackboard can be used in case of an emergency. Rescue lasers are compact, sturdy, and consume less battery than any LED bulb. You can choose whatever color you like, but I would stick to the flashy ones like neon green or bright blue. Bear in mind that this handy tool comes with a price to match – the cheapest one I saw was around 100 bucks.

ELSs (Emergency Light Strobes)

ELSs look just like a P.E.B, except for the fact that they do not transmit your location over short radio. However, the light from one of these thingamajigs is so intense that you would have to be blind or something to ignore it. If you’re into beacons, you might consider and ELS over a PEB, since they’re much cheaper (around 20 bucks).

Compact emergency signal panels

Remember those disposable rain ponchos from the sports store? Well, here’s the signaling version of the poncho – an expandable signal panel that can fit inside your pocket. If you’re lost, lay it in the sun to let the rescuers know that you’re there and still breathing.

Emergency flares

I personally try my best to stay away from those things after my son broke one in the living room and set the carpet on fire. However, except for this rather unsavory experience, flares are great for marking your location. Since most of them are weatherproof, you can use them in various scenarios: daytime, nighttime, heavy rain, snow storms. You can also start a fire with one of those thingies if you don’t have any matches or a lighter.

Light sticks

Need some light? Pop open one of these things and the darkness will literally melt away. Great for cave explorations or getting some light on that path during a storm. You can also use them to signal for help. They’re ludicrously cheap (I purchased a 12-hour light stick with multiple colors for two bucks).

Well, that about covers my 10 most favorite signaling devices. Think something’s missing from the list? Get to the comment section and let me know.

Other self-sufficiency and preparedness solutions recommended for you:

The Doomsday Book Of Medicine (Everything from the soil up and from head to toe)

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)

Getting yourself noticed should be an important life goal, but there are times when screaming at the top of your lungs could mean the difference between getting back to safety

The number of concealed carry permits in America has exploded over the last few years. According to data from the Crime Prevention Research Center, as of May 2017, over 15 million people have their license to carry. Up from 11 million in 2014. The world is volatile, people feel unsafe and more than ever, they are stepping up and taking the responsibilities of protecting themselves and their families.

The world as we know it, may not ever end. I know, I know, but it is a reality. Some call prepping a lifestyle, we like to be prepared for emergency situations, whether it be an event Mother Nature throws at us, like hurricanes or earthquakes. Or something the politicians throw at us like causing an economic disaster.

Are you prepared for something like an active shooter event or terrorist attack? How about an armed robbery? You should be, as it is something I believe is more apt to happen than most of the other SHTF situations. It could be the heroin junkie sitting in the dark part of the parking lot waiting for you because he has no money and has scoped out your nice car believing he now has a source to get the cash for his next fix.

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I applaud everyone that has taken the steps to acquire their carry permits. Right now there are also 13 states that do not require its residents to have a permit to carry concealed. This is referred to as Constitutional carry, and it is catching on. I believe more states will be joining the others adopting Constitutional carry in the near future. Concealed carry IS a lifestyle, much like prepping. It shouldn’t be something taken as lightly “a hobby”. If you are going to carry around a loaded weapon everywhere you go and you have to have the skill to effectively use it and that will require some sacrifice.

Ok, you have your permit or your state adopted Concealed carry before you decide to go out and buy a Desert Eagle .50AE, I highly recommend you get some training under your belt. If you have never owned a handgun, or have owned them, but never carried one concealed, you NEED to get educated. A basic pistol class will educate the novice in perhaps the most important topic in the handling of pistols, safety. It will go into the basics of marksmanship. It will also give the critical information needed to point the first time buyer in the right direction in terms of what to start looking for in a weapon to suit them, given the myriad of choices.

If your class is a more comprehensive one, the instructor may have some different actions and calibers for the students to try so as to give an individual first-hand experience on what a 12-pound double-action trigger feels like on a revolver as opposed to a 5-pound trigger on a striker-fired pistol. The difference in recoil between a .357 mag and a 9mm.

Buying and carrying a weapon you feel comfortable with is a very individual thing. I hate it when I’m in a gun store and a small framed woman walks up to the counter and says she’s looking for a gun for home defense. Something that’s easy to use because she has no experience. And the salesman says,”oh you need this 12 gauge pump action with 00 buck”. There is nothing more moronic and sales people like that should be fired. That’s why it’s important to have an educated idea of what you want before you walk into a gun store. It would be ideal for you to try as many different models of guns as possible as it is a very personal choice.

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Your purchase doesn’t end with the gun.

The next critical piece of equipment is a good holster. This will take into account lots of different things. Your body type. Are you in shape or do you have a spare tire around your waist? How’s your mobility? Can you access your weapon quickly and smoothly where you plan to carry it? How do you dress? If you decide this is the lifestyle you want to have, you will find that your wardrobe choices will have to change. You will have to dress around your gun, not the other way around. Concealed means concealed. You shouldn’t have to worry about moving certain ways for fear of either exposing your weapon or printing your weapon through your clothes. Unfortunately, it is a trial and error thing. Everybody is built different and what works for your buddy may not work for you. Which leads me to the next point.

Where do you plan to carry?

There are numerous places on the body to carry, but as a NRA instructor and over 20 years concealed carry person myself, I recommend two places over others and I do have my preference as to which I think is better. For starters let’s begin with small of the back. Terrible. I don’t recommend this position to carry concealed no matter how many times you see it in the movies. You have almost zero control of your weapon. It’s not conducive to a fast draw. Its retention properties are terrible. You can’t even tell if your shirt pulled up over it and there it is for everyone to see while you’re walking around the department store. If you happen to either slip or get pushed down in a scuffle and land on the ground with a gun in the small of your back, you could suffer serious damage and even take yourself out of the fight.

 Shoulder holster.

Not a huge fan but I can see some small instances where one could be the right choice. Those instances are someone that uses a wheelchair. Or someone who spends lots of time driving. The things I don’t like about them are that you generally cover yourself with the muzzle when you draw from them. Especially with a horizontal shoulder carry. You can only use them with open front garments. Which really limits what you can wear to conceal it. Handgun hunting is another activity where I could see a shoulder holster being used. Usually, the handguns used to hunt with are large and lots of times even wear an optic. Holsters that lay the gun across the chest are the typical variety of shoulder rigs you see here. However, during hunting activities, one is not usually concerned with concealment.

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Ankle carry.

Good for carrying a backup only. Very slow to draw. Somewhat uncomfortable. This is where wardrobe choices are important, the type of pants will come into play. The leg opening will have to be large enough to pull up and over the gun. The type of gun is also limited with carrying in this position in that you won’t be able to carry full sized or even compact sized pistols. Subcompact and micro pistols will be the extent of what could be carried on the ankle.

Strong side hip.

This is one of the two positions I recommend. The majority of holsters made are designed for this position of carry. There is outside the waistband and inside the waistband. That is up to the individual. Although inside the waistband generally conceals the pistol better than outside because it hugs the body tighter.

Advantages to this carry position are that it’s fast. You can also wear closed front garments as well as ones that open from the front. Strong side hip also allows the user to have some retention ability. Meaning if someone tried to take the gun from the holster, the user has a fighting chance to retain it, unlike small of the back. If you carry inside the waistband you may have to buy your pants one size larger depending on the size of the weapon you want to carry.

Appendix inside the waistband.

This is my preferred method of carry. There are lots of detractors on the internet regarding appendix carry. However, I doubt most of those people carry on a regular basis. The popular saying is, you’ll shoot your junk off. Well sure, if you are untrained, it’s a possibility to shoot yourself drawing a gun from any position! I’ve been carrying this way over 20 years.

I have drawn and fired hundreds of thousands of rounds and I have never shot myself. I prefer this method because it is the best way to conceal a larger pistol. It is the fastest draw. Open or closed front garments can be worn. It provides the best in terms of retention abilities. If you happen to wind up on the ground, you can still access your gun. And you can access your weapon with either hand. If you are exploring this option, don’t let what others say to persuade you.

Try it for yourself, give it a fair chance and you will most likely carry this way. It, however, doesn’t work with all body types. If you are somewhat thick in the middle, this method may be uncomfortable for you. There are other methods of concealment like shirts and belly bands etc. I’ve decided to cover the most popular methods because others are more niche type methods and represent only a very small portion of the market. However, I encourage you to research alternate methods of concealing a pistol because you may have a unique situation.

The two most popular types of holster materials are leather and Kydex. Both have advantages and disadvantages. I personally prefer kydex because there is no break-in period, they are virtually maintenance-free, they are impervious to cleaning chemicals, sweat, and moisture. They can have an adjustable retention and remain open for re-holstering with one hand. Some things against kydex are it generally doesn’t feel good against the skin. Depending on where it’s worn they are notorious for hot spots. Some say they are bulky. They can be noisy when drawing or re-holstering.

Leather holsters are comfortable.

They are ninja silent when drawing or re-holstering. After the holster is broke in, it wears on the gun like a glove, usually providing adequate retention. You can get, depending on how much you want to spend, exotic type leathers from stingrays and sharks to ostrich and alligator. Some cons are that they do require a break-in period. During this period the gun will not draw as smoothly. You will have to maintain the leather. Just like a good pair of boots, you will have to apply conditioner and even waterproofing agents to them from time to time so they will last.

You also have to take into consideration what you use for the leather treatment because it could ruin the finish of the firearm. Some leather holsters collapse when the weapon is drawn, requiring your other hand to open it to re-holster.


The ammo you decide to load in your everyday carry weapon should have as much thought put into it as did the weapon and holster. Don’t take the time and spend the money to buy the best equipment and then get cheap and buy a box of Tula ammo to load in your carry gun. Every ammo shoots different in every gun. If you had two of the same pistols and shot the same ammo out of both of them, there still may be variations in the accuracy. So like the guns and holsters, it is a trial and error thing.

Buy premium defensive ammo, which means hollow points, and shoot enough of it to make sure it is reliable in your chosen gun and it is accurate. Hollow points are a type of bullet that when it enters its target, the design of the bullet causes it to expand, slow down, and stop. Thereby leaving all of its energy inside of its target, which increases its effectiveness. This also prevents shooting through your targets, which could be dangerous to innocent bystanders or family.

When you buy training ammo, buy decent stuff, I stick with American brass cased ammo. Federal, Winchester, and Remington are all good choices. Other good ones are PMC, Speer, and Hornady. Some of the better-imported training ammo is Privi partisan, IMI, Magtech, Seller Bellot. Stay away from the Russian steel cased crap. It is not accurate, I’ve seen it both under-powered and overpowered. I also recommend staying away from aluminum cased ammo as I’ve had a case rupture and it fire scored the chamber of a $1,200 dollar handgun. I was not a happy camper!

Getting a basic pistol class under your belt is a great start but it will not get you prepared to draw and effectively use your pistol in a deadly encounter. You will have to take the next step after learning how to safely handle and operate firearms, learning a basic understanding of the types of firearms and getting a basic foundation in marksmanship. Then the next step would be a class like a concealed carry 101. You will have to maintain your skills even after taking these classes. Shooting is a perishable skill. If something happened years after you have taken the classes but you haven’t maintained your skills, chances are you won’t be able to perform the way you want. To maintain a level of competency, I recommend 15 minutes of dry fire 3 days a week, and live fire at the range at a minimum once per month.

One more topic I’ll briefly touch on in closing, even if you have the best weapon and ammo and all the skill of a modern gunfighter if you aren’t willing to pull the trigger on another human being, concealed carry or gun ownership, may not be for you. You must get your mind right before a deadly encounter. You must be willing to accept the fact that you might kill someone if they are trying to kill you or your family. That is also the reason why we train. You want to be able to perform your techniques without thinking about them. During a deadly encounter you have tons of other information to process without thinking, am I drawing the pistol correctly? Is my grip right? You will have to make small sacrifices of time to maintain a level of competence. It will be time well spent.

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)

The number of concealed carry permits in America has exploded over the last few years. According to data from the Crime Prevention Research Center, as of May 2017, over 15

In preparing for what may come, big and small, we tend to focus on two things first: food and defense. Some of us do plan out our resupply and restocking – which means growing – but maybe we’re stuck in a rut because of the things we read about seeds, and maybe aren’t really and truly understanding seed types and some of the terms we see. I’d like to dig into some of those terms so we know what we do and don’t want to buy, and why.

Seed Terms

We see a few plant terms pretty commonly in our day-to-day life, especially if we’re of a certain mindset. The biggies we see when we’re researching and buying seeds are: hybrid, heirloom, OP (Open Pollinated), GMO (Genetically Modified Organism), and organic. So let’s look at them a little closer, because they’re pretty significant and tend to be rife with crazy advertising and misconceptions.


This isn’t actually a seed term. It speaks to the culture of plants, the way we treat a plant, how we grow it. States have differing requirements for what it takes to be labeled organic, but the upshot is that it limits the amount of chemicals used. GMO seeds are not considered organic, even when the modification is something that is considered an organic compound, like some of the cold-resistance genes from fish, Bt that is a naturally-occurring microbe, or genes that allow resistance to Roundup (AKA, RR-Roundup Ready). However, seeds do not have to be grown organically to be either heirloom or OP crops. Likewise, hybrid seeds can be grown organically.

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Genetically Modified Organisms

Contain genes from something that did not start off in a particular genetic line. Genes that are implanted could be from another class of plant or algae, from a frog, or from a fish. Sometimes the modification is removing a gene that would normally suppress or create a reaction. It’s a wide field.

GMO plants are mostly capable of successfully breeding, just to clear up that myth. Plants are more resilient in the face of uneven chromosome matching than animals. That uneven number of chromosomes in offspring (seeds) are what make fertile mule mares newsworthy, but the ability to cope with genetic inequality is actually responsible for some varieties and eventually speciation within plants, totally naturally. However, since most GMO plants are hybrids, it’s like rolling a 10-sided die in hopes of a 6, just like breeding two mutt dogs to each other. Because of that – and because of contracts – farmers don’t collect seed from their GMO crops.

Another pervading myth is that you have to work hard to avoid GMO plants. Yes, in U.S. supermarkets. Unless otherwise marked, almost everything in the center aisles, dairy section, and meat department has likely been fed or contains GMO corn or soy.

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However, GMO variants don’t exist for every type of crop, and few are readily available. Wheat, corn, squash, canola, beets, alfalfa, soybeans, and oil cotton are the most common GMO seeds sold by Monsanto, with sweet potatoes and papaya available in Asia. Tomatoes, rice and potatoes have been approved but are not yet available commercially. GMO seeds are actually pretty expensive, too, especially in small scale. It’s unlikely – unless we’re buying big bulk farm-cropping seeds from a supply store – that we will even see GMO products available to us.

So why do we see so many “GMO-free” and “organic” banners on seed packets? Because we’re more inclined to buy them – or pay more for them.

It’s a case of the tail wagging the dog – when we’re interested in something, companies strive to meet that interest. Even good sellers and producers need to eat and thus develop marketing strategies, but it’s something we can be aware of to save our own hard-earned cash. If we’re buying OP or heritage seeds, paying extra for a “GMO-free” label is like paying more for “cow-free” labeling on soy milk. How the seed parents were raised (organic or inorganic) is really only of political or moral interest. We’ll inhale more toxins in a day than that single seed will convey to the adult plant and its fruit. Therefore paying more for “organic” labels is more personal preference.

That’s not to say a certain pack of seeds is not worth more than another. I may be motivated to support independent farm-to-sale seed production, small companies, organic growing methods, landrace projects, or heirlooms. I might be paying for packaging, uniqueness, or to support some organization in conjunction with the supplier or retailer. Just be aware of what you’re really paying for.

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Heirloom seeds

Also sold as heritage crops, have been around for a while, somewhat unchanged. I say “somewhat” because things change. Look up the evolution in AKC standards, especially for things like Airedales and German shepherds.

You can also look at vehicle tag standards. The 1991 F150 and the 1930 Model A are both older Ford pickups that qualify for the same classic or antique plate, but they’re very different vehicles with very different capabilities. Heirloom seeds are kind of like that. Some are fifty years old, some are centuries old. They may follow a basic form, but the 1850’s cultivar will likely demonstrate more changes from the original than the fifty-year-old seeds.

That’s okay. All our crops have changed significantly, usually for the milder and sweeter, sometimes getting bigger and sometimes yielding more fruit per plant. In other cases, plants have gotten smaller, like an heirloom wheat bred by human selection over about 300 years to produce seed at 2-3’ instead of taking half the season just to grow to 5-6’.

All heirloom is going to be open-pollinated, but not all OP seeds are heirloom, and that’s okay, too.


This means that seeds will breed true, beagle + beagle = beagle, pepper to pepper.

Some plants (corn, wheat) use wind to pollinate them from another plant of the same species (two or more plants are necessary for pollination or for fertile seeds). Some plants (squash) need a thin paintbrush or a bug to get coated in pollen from a male flower and then coat the important parts of a female flower, but the flowers can be from a single plant. Peas could use wind or a bug, but will usually bear fruit just fine from the pollen and eggs within a single flower. Tomatoes could bear fruit from just one flower without any assistance, but will be more successful if the flower gets shaken by us or by insects, dropping more pollen onto the petioles.


So long as our spaghetti squash does not begat-begat with acorn squash and our bantam sweet corn does not make time with our strawberry popcorn, all will be well. That’s how OP and breeding true impacts us: We can collect our seeds, plant them again, and make future generations of the same squashes and corns into infinity.

It does not require a particularly long genetic line to produce those results. OP seeds have regularly been refined over years, but they may only be a few years old, relatively, especially fast-growing plants that can produce multiple generations in a year.

OP’s are commonly tailored the same way hybrids are, breeding more and more for cold and heat and drought tolerance, expanding the range that a plant can be successfully grown in, or making it resistant to the introduced and stagnant-soil diseases we fight. We also breed for more produce per plant, either same-size plants or larger plants. Sometimes OP’s go the opposite way and are bred to be smaller and more compact, so they fit in more places, or so they spend less time on foliage and can be harvested earlier and easier.

OP’s can be had both determinate (most production in a narrow window) to aid in efficient harvest and succession or rotation cropping, or indeterminate (production spread out across a longer range) so that we can stagger harvest and processing.

OP is how all heirlooms start. They’re no less reliable than an heirloom or heritage crop seed. They’re just younger, 1991 F150 instead of 1948 F150.


Are what result from promiscuous plants or deliberate cross-pollination. The problem is that they don’t necessarily breed true to a parent hybrid.

Look at Labradoodles (Labrador + Poodle). If I breed Labradors for fifty years, I might get some slight variations but I’m getting Labs. However, if I breed two Labradoodles, I start gambling. I may get some pups that throw back to Labs, some pups that throw back to poodles, and some pups that do present as Labradoodles. There may also be some pups that look like maybe there was a milkman involved, because neither parents nor grandparents have upright, pointy ears or spots.

Genetics are funny that way. “Hybrid vigor” is awesome, I love my mutt livestock and pets, but it’s also a gambling game. When we want to eat, we don’t like to gamble on what’s going to show up with more than a year invested in the seeds.

Hybrids have their purposes, especially since a lot of heirlooms and some OP’s are indeterminate. A lot of hybrids are also faster than their heirloom fore-bearers. Although there are heirlooms and newer OP’s that are resistant to diseases, hybrids can usually be found already tailored for our exact growing conditions. They shouldn’t represent the whole stock for somebody worried about losing their supply line, but there are arguments that can be made for including them in planting and storage.


Bonus: Landrace

We sometimes see the term “landrace” in homesteading circles. That’s its own separate cookie, too. Landrace lines – plant or animal – represent the idea that regionally produced specimens are better than “generic” heirlooms and heritage crops.

They are being developed much the way our crops and livestock started and why we have so many breeds of chickens, pigs, goats and so many cultivars of plants: they stay in pockets. It’s not necessarily bottle-necking and inbreeding, although there is some – purposefully done and carefully controlled. It’s about a belief small, slow solutions, and in local products. It’s making a pig and a dent corn for Arizona that fits Arizona better than it does Alabama or Alaska. Some landrace programs are also working on livestock with native pasture and forage, to decrease the amount of reseeding and grain feeding we have to do.

We already apply some landrace principles when we give advice. I may suggest certain apple trees and chicken breeds for a pasture orchard, but I will also tell you to try to find a local nursery with a local or regional grower, and a local or regional breeder. The chances of you having success with something that’s intended for your area, that has come from healthy parents that are already thriving in your area, are much higher than if you order in a plant or livestock from two USDA growing zones away, even if it’s the same breed or cultivar.

Landrace initiatives are working to make those kinds of local-to-local sources more available, increasing local success.

Selecting Seeds

“One Size Fits All” is largely a myth. There are always exceptions. Needs and goals differ, so one specific seed type isn’t necessarily better or worse across the board.

Somebody might stock some 45-50 day hybrid squashes so that they can see returns if a tornado, rogue truck, fire, animal or torrential downpour takes out their garden 60 days before the average first frost. Somebody may want a hybrid cover that more effectively chokes out weeds for the first couple of years. Alternatively, some may be dedicated to saving towering heritage wheat, or may see good reason to cultivate tepary beans even though they don’t match their current climate.

That’s as it should be. We’re all different with different motivations, so we seek out our best fit.

Additionally, sometimes we can save a little money or increase our options by understanding how important a specific seed term is to us, and how important it is to us to have our heirloom or OP seeds also marked with the words “organic” or “GMO-free”.

The goal is to be aware of what those terms in seed descriptions really mean so that we can make the best purchasing decisions for our situations and expectations.

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 preparing for what may come, big and small, we tend to focus on two things first: food and defense. Some of us do plan out our resupply and restocking