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One item that can take up a lot of space and potentially the most weight in your bug out bag is a tent. That is unless of course you are spending a lot of money to get an ultra-light tent that folds up into the size of an Altoids tin and expands to sleep 20 people comfortably. Actually, when my family and I went camping in the great outdoors a while back, I had two tents in my pack because my children were too young at the time to handle the extra weight. Each tent was a two man tent and weighed 5.11 pounds. We did not spring for the more expensive tents for a couple of reasons. First, because we didn’t know how the kids would enjoy camping and didn’t want to make that investment if it wasn’t going to pan out. Second, I didn’t want to spend the money.

You don’t have to wait for a crisis to use this book. Use it in your everyday lives to treat any medical problems that might occur. Details and how to get it here.

Now, you might be saying to yourself 11 pounds isn’t that much weight. Well, I beg to differ. It is a lot of weight and space when you consider that I could have carried a tarp system which weighs less than one pound. If I had 8 less pounds in my pack that would have made a huge difference in weight, but the sheer volume those tents occupied meant that I had to offload some of the food on my wife.

Tarps are a great idea if you are looking to shed pounds from your bug out bag and they give you most of the protection from the elements of a tent. True, they don’t enclose you completely, but they can keep the rain off just as well and the size and weight savings is nothing to sneeze at. The guys at ITS Tactical have a set of videos that show a tarp rigging system that will allow you to add this gear to your pack, save weight and eventually set up time. One great thing about this system is that breaking camp is a cinch.

There are a lot of varieties of camping tents out there and some are of course more expensive than others, but you will appreciate the time and weight savings.

Other self-sufficiency and preparedness solutions recommended for you:

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

Survival MD (Knowledge to survive any medical crisis situation)

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

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

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

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

There are a lot of varieties of camping tents out there and some are of course more expensive than others, but you will appreciate the time and weight savings.

I can’t even begin to describe the way I feel about ponchos – yes, those things you carry around in your B.O.B like all the time without actually having a chance to use it. I know that my “opening” statement could’ve come out sounding a bit off, but it’s the truth. One the one hand, they’re very useful for a lot of stuff besides rain.

However, I am sometimes annoyed by the fact that a good poncho is heavy as shit and that you never get around to use it. This is the very reason why I’ve made the journey to the all-knowing, and all-seeing Oracle called the Internet, in hopes of finding other uses for that over-sized raincoat.

Have to admit that I was a little bit surprised by the fact that most people who wrote about ponchos tend to emphasize the non-rain-use part, which I think it’s great. Anyway, because most of you are probably thinking about the same thing right now, here are X ingenious ways to use a poncho during an SHTF situation. Enjoy!

  1. Water collector

When SHTF, water becomes top priority (remember, remember, the rules of threes). Obtaining it might be a bit problematic, but don’t lose hope. While scouting for a water source, lay your poncho in a clearing. You may want to check the weather beforehand to see if there are any chances of rain. If you have Mom Nature on your side, that poncho of yours will soon become a veritable water tower.

  1. Taking shelter

Besides food and water, you will also need to find shelter. The simplest way to take cover from the elements is to take out your poncho and to turn it into a makeshift tent – just stick a long pole under the hood and get yourself some sack time. You’re going to need it.

  1. Crafting a mattress

Nothing’s worse than having to sleep on the bare ground. Sure, it’s no delight waiting for the Sandman to come when you’re lying on a thin sheet with rocks prodding you in the back, but it doesn’t have to be that way. You can make your own mattress by stuffing your heavy poncho with leaves, grass, fresh moss or pine needles. Snap it shut, place in on the ground, and sleep like a boss.

  1. Creating a hammock

Since we’re still talking about sleeping, nothing beats the comfort of a hammock. Ever! Well, a hammock’s kind of heavy to carry around, not to mention the fact that it’s a nightmare to make that thing fit inside a backpack. If you’re looking to relax after a long day of hiking, take out your heavy poncho, and use whatever cordage you have on hand to tie it between two trees.

  1. Shower curtain

Even a seasoned survivalist needs a good shower every now and then. Well, the idea of getting naked even there’s no around for miles can be a bit unnerving, but you can wish that anxiety away by making a shower curtain from your heavy rain poncho. Hang from the nearest tree, get inside, scrub until you drop, and come out a new man or woman.

  1. No more dripping

As a person who spent most of the summer looking for holes in the roof, I can wholeheartedly say that my heavy poncho spared me a lot of trouble. Sure, the roof still needed patching, but at least I managed to get myself a breather by plugging some of the larger holes with the poncho. Looks like a nasty piece of work, but who’s complaining?

  1. Red Riding Hood Cosplay

Yes, I know it sounds kinky, but I was, more or less, referring to how you can use your poncho as a basket. There are a lot of goodies lying around the forest and simply not enough hands to collect all of them. So, get into your apple-picking gear and enjoy your foraging.

  1. Controlling hemorrhages

Although it’s not advisable to use a tourniquet to control the bleeding, sometimes it may be the only way to prevent a person from going into hypovolemic shock (that’s what happens when someone loses more than 20 percent of his blood supply).

If you don’t have anything on had to use as a tourniquet, cut a long strip of poncho material, apply it above the wound, and start twisting with a stick.

  1. Carrying sick or injured party members

If someone from your hiking groups becomes injured or experiencing life-threatening symptoms, use the heavy poncho as a stretcher to carry him down to base. Don’t forget to get in touch with the local emergency serves and to stay on the line until the operator says that you can hang up.

  1. Protection against toxic fumes

If you’re about to cross an area which is filled with toxic fumes (a thing that happens very often during a wildfire), get the heavy poncho out of your bug out bag, put it on, cover your face and nose, and pull strings to keep it shut.

  1. Improv pillow

Being lost in the wild without any hopes of seeing your loved ones doesn’t mean that should give up the comfort of your home. What most non-preppers don’t realize is that we really don’t drink our own piss or eat half-digested berries from bear’s dung in order to survive. Nope, we use our noggins to increase our comfort and increase our chances of getting out alive.

You already know how to fashion yourself a mattress using a heavy one. If you also remembered to pack a light rain poncho, then you have everything you need to create a bedroom fit for a king.

Go around the woods and scavenge soft stuff like pine needles, leaves, moss, grass, soft earth. Put everything inside you light poncho, pull on the strings, put on the mattress and sleep as if you have not a care in the world.

Hope you enjoyed my article on ways to repurpose a poncho. Any thoughts? Hit the comment 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)

I can’t even begin to describe the way I feel about ponchos – yes, those things you carry around in your B.O.B like all the time without actually having a

With the interest in the preparedness lifestyle growing at an explosive rate, one important skill is often brushed aside: reloading ammunition. Often, persons embarking on their own personal prepping journey will procrastinate on learning to reload their own ammunition. The reasons to put off learning to reload are understandable. Often, many people would rather just buy more firearms and more ammunition than put the time and money into learning reloading. People usually are put off by the expense of reloading equipment, feel that they do not have the time to learn reloading, or they do not have a person available to teach them.

Learning about all the reloading equipment and techniques can seem daunting at first but the skill is worth the effort. The initial investment in equipment and supplies for reloading can cost as little as about $300 or as much as one is willing to spend. However, there are many benefits to making the investment.

  • First, a person can save a lot of money reloading, quickly recouping the startup costs.
  • Second, by reloading ammunition a person can get much improved accuracy over using only factory ammunition.
  • Third, for many rifle and pistol calibers a hand-loader will have many more choices available than solely relying on factory offerings, the combinations of components are near infinite.
  • Fourth, reloading will allow a person to have ample supply of hard to find ammunition for a favorite pet caliber, unusual and rare cartridge, or old hunting rifle.
  • Finally, when the next ammo shortage happens the reloader will be able to maintain his / her stockpile.

As can be seen, there are many good reasons for preppers to take up reloading and each one will be looked in more detail.

Obtaining greater accuracy is another good reason to learn reloading. Many people who start reloading just to save money quickly discover this benefit. The quest for peak accuracy is what gets many people really fired up about reloading. Once a person experiences how easy it is to increase accuracy for a given load, they are well on the way to a life time of reloading.

Firearms are expensive. Many times, people have been very disappointed with a new firearms shot groups, assuming there is a problem with the expensive new weapon. After hand-loading some ammunition, they have discovered there is nothing wrong with the weapon and that factory available ammunition is causing this sub-par performance.

For example: this is very typical for 45 Colt revolvers.

Historically, there has been some variation in bore diameters of production revolvers in this caliber. For safety reasons, the major ammunition manufacturers will produce loaded ammo with bullets in the smallest produced bore diameter. In some guns, these too small bullets will not engage the rifling’s and just rattle down the barrel, flying erratically out the muzzle. Accuracy is unbelievably poor when this happens.

An easy fix for a reloader is to determine the bore diameter and reload using bullets of the appropriate diameter. This method has been proven to turn poorly grouping guns into tack drivers.

Sometimes, the problem with a firearms accuracy is not in the gun but in the ammunition. Loading one’s own ammunition can help correct that.

Without a doubt, one of the most popular reasons that persons learn to reload ammunition is to save money. Ammunition is expensive and it is not getting any cheaper! However, anywhere from 65% to 80% of the cost of ammunition is in the cartridge case. Therefore, a person should always pick up their spent cartridge cases. That reusable brass case ties up a bunch of money, too much money to just leave laying on the ground like garbage.

For example: if a box of rifle ammunition cost around $20 then about $15 of that is likely tied up in just the cartridge cases. No one would walk by $15 laying on the ground and not pick it up but people will leave perfectly good cartridge cases laying all over the range. A person could reload that box of ammo for $5 or less. That savings adds up fast and recoups the initial investment in equipment.

The amount of money saved can be used to buy more ammo, more guns, optics, range time, training, prepping supplies, and on and on. If shooting those big safari rifles is appealing, the savings to the reloader are truly amazing.

Some big game rifles cost the shooter anywhere from $5 to over $25 every time the trigger is pulled. This cost can prevent any frequent or meaningful target practice, often even impairing properly sighting in the weapon or zeroing a scope. Reloading can make shooting these big guns affordable and fun.

As mentioned earlier, cost savings is a major motivator for reloaders. As a person living the preparedness lifestyle, allocating money and resources properly to maintain a regular life while preparing for the worst events is an ongoing process.

  • Reloading is a good way to help preppers cut cost and spare resources.
  • Reloading greatly improves consistency and uniformity in the loaded cartridges.

Hand-loading can definitely help with increasing accuracy over the modest distances of handgun ranges but the most dramatic improvements can be gained over the longer ranges usually shot with rifles. Some factory ammunition is very good. However, hand-loads will give the best and most accurate results over factory loaded ammunition. Much of the accuracy potential in a batch of hand-loads comes from consistency gained through precise attention to detail. With factory ammunition, there can easily be a 5% to 10% variation in muzzle velocity from shot to shot. A careful hand-loader can greatly reduce that variation in muzzle velocity, which will give a more consistent point of impact.

Reloaders can also adjust the overall length of the loaded cartridge by adjusting bullet seating depth to better match the specific weapon they are using. This will improve accuracy by reducing bullet jump (distance a bullet travels before engaging the rifling) and more closely aligning the bullet center with the bore axis when the rifling is engaged, resulting in a better spin and truer flight.

A careful reloader can more precisely align the bullet into the case, keeping the center of the bullet more closely on the axis of the weapon’s bore. The reloader is in control of every variable of the cartridge. The case lengths can be trimmed to exact specifications. Case mouths and crimping can be uniformed. Any possible variable can be minimized or eliminated to produce the most consistent ammunition, which all leads to better shot groups. Competitive shooters have long known that hand-loading is the way to get out the most accuracy from their weapons.

If a person is not shooting one of the more popular calibers, they may be disappointed with choices in factory available ammunition. Some of the lesser known, newly introduced, or very old calibers will not have enough choices of bullet styles and weights available in factory production ammunition. Some very capable cartridges are no longer offered in newly manufactured ammunition.

A reloader will still have the ability to produce ammunition for these discontinued calibers. Dies and cartridge cases can still be purchased for calibers that have been discontinued long ago. Handloading or reloading ammunition is a way to get around these limitations.

The combinations of components are limitless. Bullet weights and shapes can be chosen specifically for maximum efficiency for any given purpose. Different bullet tip shapes, ogives, and base configurations can be chosen to fit a rifle or load for greater accuracy, consistency, or function.

A person can load expanding bullets into cartridges for old surplus rifles that are generally only available in full metal jacket configuration, turning that old surplus rifle into a viable hunting weapon. Different propellants will burn with different rates and characteristics. This will affect muzzle velocity, consistency, and accuracy.

With so many possible combinations of bullets, propellants, primers, and cases, a person can tailor a specific load for any purpose. If the goal is to get maximum efficiency, maximum utility, maximum accuracy, or effectiveness over a wide range of shooting distances, reloaders can tailor ammunition to any purpose. The sky’s the limit on possible loadings.

One very important thing to anyone living the preparedness lifestyle is securing and maintaining an ammunition supply.

In recent years in the United States, we have experienced several ammunition shortages of varying degrees and durations. Everyone knows that is not a question of whether or not there will be another ammunition supply interruption but when the next big one is coming.

The author remembers a time when he would give no consideration to leaving the house with a firearm without any ammo thinking “I’ll just pick up some on the way to the shooting range.” It is getting better but not quite back to those days yet.

Certainly, anyone reading this article has not so distant memories of going to wally-world and seeing the ammo shelves empty. During the last ammo shortage, reloading components were still available for a time after all the ammo was off the shelves, allowing reloaders to stock up on components before the supply temporarily dried up.

Reloading components are easy to stock up on.

For example: at the time of writing this article Unique and Power Pistol powders were about $20 a pound. A person could load up around 1,150 rounds of 9mm ammo with one pound of these powders! Store a few pounds of powder and a person is set up to last through the ammo drought.

Another way for a reloader to cut cost and extend his or her ammo supply is to cast lead bullets. After the initial cost of equipment, money saved by casting bullets will quickly recover the startup costs. Additionally, lead could be gathered from alternative sources instead of buying it. This will allow the resourceful prepper to make lead bullets at no cost.

With some components in storage, the resourceful prepper can spend a little time in the evening reloading and replenishing his or her ammo supply when everyone else is scrounging for ammo or getting gouged by online price hikes.

So, it’s easy to see how reloading is another valuable tool in well-rounded preppers kit. Many people tend to feel rushed and overwhelmed when coming into the preparedness lifestyle. Along with marksmanship, martial arts, archery, fishing, hunting, farming, canning, tanning, mechanics, carpentry, communications, first aid, sewing, sanitation, and land navigation (just to get started) reloading seems like a ton to learn. However, persons reading this already have a great asset: motivation.

Everyone is different and learns differently. For some people, it will be very difficult to pick up a reloading manual and start off reloading without any issues. For most people, the easiest and fastest way to learn is to have a someone actually show them step by step how to do it. Unfortunately, unless someone already knows a friend or family member who reloads it can be difficult to connect with someone willing to teach. No one wants to deal with that grumpy old condescending jerk at the local gun shop or put up with the know it all attitude from gun show arm chair rangers.

This is why I’ve taken it upon myself to bring reloading to the preparedness community. I had no one to help me when I was learning reloading. It was frustrating. There is a whole new crowd of people who are either first time gun owners or have a general interest in firearms but feel isolated because they don’t have good resource people in their social circle. Often these persons are turned off to guns or discouraged because someone at a gun shop or gun show discouraged them or talked to them like they were stupid.

If a person is willing and motivated to learn, there is a wealth of resources available.

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 the interest in the preparedness lifestyle growing at an explosive rate, one important skill is often brushed aside: reloading ammunition. Often, persons embarking on their own personal prepping journey

When it comes to prepping, there is a lot of talk about what material needs we should have on hand. A bug-out bag, freeze-dried food, water, transportation, first-aid kit, weapons for protection and a place to bug-out to. The idea is to have the basic needs of food, water and shelter readily available. The problem is; when the SHTF not everyone gets to just go merrily about their way, to easily head out and get gone. In fact, it is quite likely that many of us will sustain significant injuries that need to be tended to. Whether it is ourselves, our loved ones, or the friends who will be with us, we will need to know how to take care of each others injuries and illnesses.

It’s official. This is now the prepper’s “go to book” saving them time and money on costly doctor visits. Details and how to get your copy here.

I am an Emergency Medicine Physician Assistant with more than 20 years of Emergency Room experience, the majority of it in Level I Trauma centers (where the most severe cases…crashes, gunshots, severe work injuries, falls from heights, etc. go). Prior to becoming a PA, I was an EMT. I have a great deal of experience dealing with trauma victims and worked in an ER where we saw multiple gunshots daily. I have lectured at several colleges in the Chicago area as well as being responsible for teaching EMT, Physician Assistant, Medical and Podiatry students. I have also been an instructor for the American Red Cross teaching First Aid, CPR and Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) classes.

There is a lot of information out there about what makes up a good medical kit for your bug-out bag. Everything you need can be either assembled by you or purchased as anyone of a variety of pre-stocked kits. While the kit you have with you when you bug out is obviously important, it is also completely useless if you have not taken the time to learn how to use it. The truth is you can stop most bleeding with direct pressure. Sometimes you need a torn shirt, some duct tape and a pair of trauma scissors. You don’t have to be MacGyver to do it. You do need proper training.

Pamela Rauseo, 37, performs CPR on her nephew, 5-month-old Sebastian de la Cruz, after pulling her SUV to the side of the road. The baby was rushed to Jackson Memorial Hospital, where he is reportedly doing OK.

That said; EVERYONE who expects to deal with the aftermath of when the SHTF needs to know basic CPR and at least basic Trauma First Aid. That means taking classes and practicing what you learn. I can tell you stories about people attempting to administer first aid who had no training, but I won’t. Suffice it to say the outcomes were less than desirable.

The Doomsday Book Of Medicine – What To Do When There’s No Doctor Or Medicine Around

Let’s think about some injuries you can expect in the woods, hiking or running to find cover. Or for that matter, just being in a place where help is not going to come anytime soon. Falls are very common and can result in anything from a scrape to sprains to more serious injuries like fractures and head injuries. So ask yourself; do I really know how to treat a sprain? What about a fracture? Do I know how to stop bleeding and properly clean a wound? Have I ever done those things? Would I be able to actually do the job the right way should I need to? What if it was something life threatening? Could I save a person’s life?

If the answer to any of the above is NO, then you can have all the gear in the world at the ready, but YOU are not ready to bug-out!

I’m going to give an example of injury event that can be a tragedy if you are not properly trained to treat it. Remember, this is about knowing: both what TO do and what NOT TO do.

You and your companion are moving quickly through a heavily wooded area and your companion falls. When you reach them, you see a branch has impaled their arm. They are essentially stuck to a tree because of a branch sticking all the way through their arm. Your companion is in shock and not even aware of the extent of the injury. They are confused. There is blood coming from their arm and also from a gash on the right side of their head which is bleeding profusely. You think you see bone exposed through the head laceration and it seems that one of their legs has something wrong. Closer examination shows you that the ankle is sitting at a strange angle. What do you do now?

If you are like most people, you freak out, try to compose yourself so you don’t freak out your companion, get really pale and nearly pass out and then reach for your cellphone to call 911. Oops, no connectivity, so no help coming. So what now? The first aid kit! You have a first aid kit with a manual in it to walk you through caring for these injuries. You dig out the kit, open and it and check the book only to find it’s great for small cuts and bruises and simple things, but it has nothing remotely close to what you’re dealing with now.

Suddenly, you realize that maybe it wasn’t such a good idea to cancel that first aid class you had signed up for but decided you were too busy/tired to take. Besides, someone else will know what to do or I’ll call 911 anyway, I’ll never need to use it.

WOW! Talk about contrary to prepper philosophy. Or is it? It would seem that Emergency Medical preparedness training is a no-brainer, but in reality, most prepper sites and stores that cater to preppers are focused on the medical equipment you need rather than the training required to use it.

So anyway, I can’t teach you the how to do it in this article. I can give you a good idea of what good, accurate care and treatment of this fall will require. And yes, you can look all these things up on the internet. However, unless you learn from a real, live person who can guide you and correct mistakes you will surely make as you learn, you are never going to be able to really address the problems this very real scenario depicts.


The very first thing required in any trauma/accident situation is an evaluation of the site of the accident. Stop, take a breath and look at where you are about to go. Is it a safe place to enter? In the urban world this is akin to a Paramedic called to the scene of a gunshot victim. In that situation, the Paramedic cannot help the victim until the Police have arrived and determined that the Paramedic is safe from the danger of being shot herself when she goes to help. At that point the scene is declared “safe” and the Paramedics can get to work.

In the wilderness or woods, the dangers are different but still just as potentially deadly. Is the ground stable? Are there dangerous branches or rocks that could fall onto you as you make your way to your companion? Will you slip and fall as well if you attempt to help? Do you need to take time to tie off before going to the person? What about wildlife? Are you in danger of animal or insect attack when you go to help? Can you find a way to make the scene safe?

Only after you treat the area as if it were a busy street corner will you be safe. You have to STOP, LOOK, and LISTEN.

Once the scene is determined safe, or made safe the next thing is to get to the injured person and take stock of the situation by doing an initial survey of them. This is done by looking and speaking to them without touching them. Encouragement to stay still is recommended at this point. Usually saying “Hold on, try not to move, I’ll be right there,” is a good start.

Look carefully at the person and where they are lying. Do you see any blood? Where is it coming from? What about limb deformities? If so, which ones. Are there any objects that will cause difficulty in treating the injuries? Can they be cleared or do you need to find a way to work around them.

Now it’s time to your ABCDE’s: Airway/Head and Neck, Breathing, Circulation, Disability/Deformity, and Exposure assessment.

Airway: If the person is conscious and talking, then they have a clear airway, but they might have a neck injury which will require stabilization. In the case of any significant fall, or one with an accompanying head injury, be sure that the cervical (neck) spine is stabilized. If the person is unconscious or can’t talk, be sure that the airway is clear of obstruction before going further. Gently lowering the jaw while holding the forehead steady will allow you to see if anything is causing an obstruction. Look for broken teeth, blood, dirt or some foreign body causing an obstruction. Remove any obstruction you can see. Do not blindly probe their mouth. You could push an unseen object backward and cause an obstruction where none had previously existed.

Breathing: Is the person breathing on their own? If they can talk, they are breathing. Is there any reason to suspect a possible lung injury? Do they have any evidence of a chest injury that could have broken a rib? A broken rib can puncture a lung and lead to air in the chest collapsing the lung on that side. You can check this several ways. One is to watch the rise and fall of the chest and see if both sides rise equally. Another is to put your ear on one side of the chest, then the other and listen for breath sounds to be equal on both sides. If you notice that the trachea, the tube that runs down the middle of your neck, is pushed to one side; that is a clear sign of a lung injury. The best case scenario is that you have a stethoscope in your kit that will allow you to hear the actual breath sounds easily. If there is a lung injury, this is a true emergency and will need to be treated quickly, but that is a procedure that requires specialized training.

Circulation: Check for obvious bleeding, but also in the case of extremity injury, is there good blood flow to the far portions of the extremity? Is the color of distal (far) limb pink or pale/bluish? Is it warm to the touch or cool/cold? Pink and warm = good. Anything else indicates blocked blood flow which may be due to arterial injury or compression. Arterial injury needs repair soon. Compression can often be correct by adjusting the limb to an appropriate angle.

Disability/Deformity: Is neurologic function intact or are they confused, unable to answer questions or showing other signs of significant head injury? Are there limb deformities, obvious chest or facial depressions indicating broken bones? Depending on what you find, a variety of things may be needed from re-evaluation of the airway, to splinting or bandaging.

Exposure: How long has it been since the injury took place? Are they becoming chilled or hypothermic? Cold =shock. Putting a warm cover over an injured party ASAP is essential even in hot weather.

The important thing to do now is stay calm and determine what needs to be treated first. If there is copious bleeding indicating probable arterial involvement (this can also be characterized by blood that sprays with each pump of the heart) apply direct pressure and if necessary a tourniquet that can be tightened and released easily. If there is no major bleeding issue, then recheck the airway and breathing. If there is chest deformity and/or other evidence of a collapsed lung, that is the next thing to deal with unless there is now evidence of airway obstruction or the person is not breathing on their own. The former requires clearing the airway, the latter requires rescue breathing. The collapsed lung requires specialized training you can’t get from the internet or a book. Any other injuries can wait. Remember; the brain starts to die after 3 minutes without oxygen. Airway is first unless bleeding is so profuse that not stopping it would mean there would not be enough blood to circulate oxygen.

Back to our fall victim; we have bleeding, limb deformity, confusion and a fall. The fall means we have to have high suspicion of a neck injury and the confusion could be shock or it could indicate a more serious injury such as concussion or a brain bleed. We also have a penetrating injury which may have been an insult to a major artery. This person is seriously injured and qualifies as a trauma patient. Ideally, we would get this person stabilized and out of there ASAP, but that is not an option. Instead, we have to stabilize and create a sheltered space as close to where we area as possible so we can begin to treat the various injuries.

Assuming there are no immediate life threats (Excessive bleeding or collapsed lung/blocked airway) we begin by stabilizing the neck. A towel, shirt or thick cloth of some kind can be rolled and taped carefully in place to accomplish this. Next stabilize and splint any limb deformities so that we can move the victim with the least amount of discomfort to them. Continue to talk to them to assess their mental status. At this point, things get tricky…

People’s first instinct when presented with something sticking out of or through a body part is to remove it. STOP! Don’t do it! Not only is it exactly the wrong thing to do, it could quite possibly be the thing that kills the person. I know it is scary looking and seems like the danger comes from it being stuck in the person, but at this point the person is alive and has survived impalement. Leaving the object embedded is not dangerous at this point; it is actually the safest thing to do. As long as the object is left in place, it is acting to tamponade (stop) the bleeding. That is, it is putting pressure on any lacerated vessels and preventing any major bleeding. Yes there will be some oozing around the injury site, but it will be minimal as compared to what happens should the object be removed. NEVER REMOVE AN IMPALED OR IMBEDDED OBJECT FROM A PUNCTURE WOUND unless you have been trained to handle this procedure. This is another procedure that requires specialized training courses.

But what about infection, you ask? Yes, infection risk is high, but it is not a life threatening problem at this time. A neck injury or brain injury will need prior attention as will the bleeding from the head wound. Antibiotics are something you can give, but not at this time because the victim has a decreased mental status and it is not clear if they can swallow a pill without causing an airway obstruction or aspirating it into a lung.

For the time being, the safest and most efficacious thing to do is to cut both ends of the branch so that your companion can be maneuvered to the sheltered spot. Start with the end of the branch still attached to the tree and try to keep the arm as immobile as you can while doing so to minimize pain. You can then trim the protruding opposite side.

Don’t cut the ends short. Leave enough to be able to grasp both ends firmly to assist removal when it is time. Use your gauze or Ace wrap to secure the branch so that it moves as little as possible during transport to avoid causing undo pain.

Continue to monitor the ABC’s and mental status and address what need to be done ASAP. Once you have done as much as you can, find a way to get this person out of there and to an emergency care center as quickly as possible otherwise, they will likely not survive for very long.

This all started out as a fall but resulted in multiple injuries placing your companion in danger of dying. With the proper training, you could swing the odds much more in favor of a good outcome. So before you buy that cool medical kit, or put one together on your own, get out there and get trained. If you know someone who has been trained and can teach you the emergency survival techniques you’ll need, ask them to teach you. Meanwhile there are a multitude of courses in first aid, tactical lifesaving, wilderness emergency medicine, survival medicine and CPR. Don’t forget to look into classes that teach herbal remedies. Know what plants can ease pain or prevent infection, they may be the only medications you’ll have available.

So go out and get prepared. Learn.

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)

When it comes to prepping, there is a lot of talk about what material needs we should have on hand. A bug-out bag, freeze-dried food, water, transportation, first-aid kit, weapons

You can wipe that smile off your face because I ain’t going to teach you how to make a real grenade. Apart from the fact that they’re illegal, which means that I will be up to my eyeballs in SWAT the minute I hit the “publish” button, it’s not the topic of today’s article. Remember that scene from Rambo, when John unscrewed the cap of his knife to take out a piece of cloths? Well, that’s exactly what a paracord grenade is – a very small container that comes will all the items you will need to get out of shit hits the fan situation.

So, why is called a paracord grenade if it doesn’t explode? Well, maybe because it’s shaped like a grenade and because having one tied to your belt makes you a bad MF.

Anywho, in my opinion, every prepper should have at least one of these neat accessories. Yes, I am well aware of the fact that your bug out bag has everything you will never need, but you never know what could happen – maybe you’ll lose it, forget to take it or perhaps you may be compelled to abandon it in order to run faster. So, without further ado, here’s how to make your first paracord grenade.

Materials required

For this project, you will need the following items:

  • Survival items of choice. I packed an emergency blanket, a signal mirror, a magnesium rod, two pieces of paper, a small pencil, six Band-Aids, some fishing line, and a small fishing hook.
  • 550 paracords. For this project, I used black and red 550 paracords.
  • Rubber bands.
  • Scissors
  • Paracord fid (they look like regular knitting needles, but they’re used for paracords).
  • Mini carabiner.
  • Aluminum foil.

All done gathering your supplies? Good! Here’s how to make your paracord grenade.

Step-by-step paracord grenade

Step 1. Place some aluminum foil on your work table. Use a knife or a pair of scissors to cut the excess foil.

Step 2. Place your survival items in the center of the tin foil.

Step 3. Fold edges as to create a grenade-shaped package.

Step 4. Tie the black and red paracords to the small carabiner. To ensure that both paracords will be wrapped tightly around the package, use a Larks Head Knot for both of them. If you don’t know how to make this type of knot, check out the video below.

Step 5. Place the carabiner on top of your package. Right now, the red paracord should go on the left of your package, while the black one should run along the right edge of your package.

Step 6. Secure paracords to package by applying two rubber bands right below the mini carabiner.

Step 7. Tie the red and black paracords ends at the bottom of your package. For this, you will need to use a square knot. If you don’t have any clue on how to do that, check out the video below.

Step 8. It’s now time to make the first knot. Now, take the paracord piece on the left side and make an S shape right below the package.

Step 9. Grab the end of the left paracord and get it through the loop that’s on the left side.

Step 10. Now pull until there’s no more slack. Leave the loop on your right side for the time being.

Step 11. To close the loop on your left side, you will need to grab and pull the upper part of the loop that on your right side.

Step 12. Now you can pull the upper part of your right loop to close the left one.

Step 13. To cover the rest of the package’s surface with black paracord, make several Solomon knots. If you don’t know how to do them, watch the video below.

Step 14. Once the entire surface is covered, start the second pass using your red paracord. Follow the steps above to add another layer of paracord. When you’re done, use a square knot to secure the red paracord to the mini carabiner.

Step 15. Attach the paracord grenade to your belt or bug out bag, and you’re done.

Additional considerations on the paracord grenade

Keep in mind that the paracord grenade can be used only once – just like a regular grenade. If you run into trouble, undo the knots, take out the items inside, and save the paracords for later use. I wouldn’t recommend attempting to make a paracord grenade in the field because it’s a time-consuming process.

Now, if the above-mentioned steps seem too difficult, you can use one type of paracord instead of two. The process is the same: start with a square knot at the base of the mini carabiner, Solomon knots all around, and finish up with another square one.

As far as the contents of the paracord grenade are concerned, you’re free to add or remove items. When I first did this project, I used the same items as John Rambo. One thing I forgot to add was a firestarter. Of course, the magnesium rod is important, but you can also try to add things like a bit of char cloth wrapped around in plastic or even a wad of steel wool. Think of it this way: the paracord grenade mirrors the prepper’s personality. Your bug out bag contains all items needed in the field, but this small container should pack only those items you can do without.

Another thing to keep in mind is to add some sort of protection for sharp or pointy items. For instance, if you want to pack a pocket knife or fishing hooks, wrap them in some tissue paper or cloth before putting them inside the package. If you want to weatherproof your package, place your items inside some plastic wrap first before packing them in aluminum foil. You may also want to add some dental floss in case the paracord is too big.

That’s basically it on how to create a paracord grenade. What’s your take on my little DIY? Hit the comments section and let me know.

You can wipe that smile off your face because I ain’t going to teach you how to make a real grenade. Apart from the fact that they’re illegal, which means

Grow more food next year with these 5 fall gardening tips, yes please. These tips apply if you are doing raised garden beds, container gardening, regular in the ground gardening, or any type of growing your own food, aka, universal no matter where or how you’re growing.

Learn how to analyze this year’s garden for better and improved crops and harvest next year. You ready?

This book teaches you everything from the soil up. Details HERE.

This is an unusual year in that we have not had our first killing frost yet, so we’re still bringing in some things where normally the harvest would be completely done, but for the majority of the garden we are in definite fall mode, moving into winter.

What is a killing frost?

A killing frost is when you get a really good, deep frost that kills off all of your warm weather plants. I mean, everything is obliterated by this frost, so all of your summer squash, tomatoes and such.

***Note with tomatoes: If you are planning on canning your tomatoes, and you know a killing frost is coming, you need to harvest those tomatoes before they go through a killing frost. If tomatoes are left on the vine and they are killed, it lowers their acidity level to that of unsafe for canning.

Prior to the killing frost, we’re still bringing in tomatoes from the greenhouse, and we still have a few straggler zucchinis coming on in. We’re waiting for that first killing frost before harvesting our grapes and Brussel sprouts, because that brings out the best flavor in both of these crops.

Prepare your garden for winter

1.  Fall Garden clean up and winter soil amendments

One of the first things we do when it comes to our fall garden prep is to make sure that we do a really good cleanup.

  • Get rid of the old stuff that’s dying out and isn’t going to be producing anymore.  You don’t want to leave any diseased plants behind over winter to further infect your soil, or to breed disease.
  • Do soil amending after you’ve cleaned up and where you don’t have any winter crops going in.

2.  Make notes of your harvest

Take notes if you need to increase, decrease, stay the same.  This is where I look at the crops that we’ve grown based upon what we’re eating now, because with over 19 plus years of growing my own garden for our family, it has definitely changed over time.

We use a lot more of some things now than we ever did before, and vice versa. It’s always important for us to look at what we’re doing and using now, and then plan out next year’s garden and crops based on that.

For example, I didn’t used to use as much green bell pepper in my cooking, but lately, I’ve been just tossing them into some of our soups and stews, and we really like the flavor. I need to increase our bell pepper plants. We did not have enough this year for me to preserve very many.  The plants that I did have produced quite prolifically, I just needed more volume.

On the flip side, I planted quite a few jalapenos. I use jalapenos sometimes when I make enchiladas, and when making home-canned salsa.  My husband loves hot and spicy, so he will do candied jalapenos, but he’s the only one that eats those.  We didn’t use near the amount of jalapenos, so I over planted.

I can decrease my jalapeno crops and increase the bell peppers, I’m making note of that for next year.


When it comes to seed starting time, and planting the garden, I use those notes and then base calculations off of that.  My goal is to not just have fresh eating, but to take that produce and preserve it to last us the entire year, until the next growing season.

Now is a really good time of year when you’re coming fresh off the harvest and it’s all right there in your mind, make these notes, and then use them when it comes closer to seed starting, and further in the year. Having these notes handy now expedites the process faster for you moving forward.

3.  Notes on how the harvest went down

Make any notes on if any plants did not do good, or you had specific pests, or diseases, in order to get those researched and fixed for next year if possible.

If you had any crops that were suffering from disease, if you had a lot of blossom-end rot, fungal disease, or blight, then you’re going to want to look at amending your soil and seeing what it could be deficient in. Make notes of certain crops right now, because like I said, it’s fresh.

If you had crops that really didn’t produce how you wanted to, or disease or pests wiped them out, make some notes. Quick notes on what happened, and then you have at least a few months this time of year to work on that.  Do more research and see what you need to do and when in order to fix those problems.

Look back on the harvest and determine if maybe you could have done some more succession planting, or if you should have. What do I mean by that?

With our extended growing season, which I said is a little bit unusual for us to be this far into the year without that killing frost, if I had planted some additional zucchini and cucumber plants about two to three weeks after the first plants that I put in, then I would still be having a lot larger harvest on those second planting plants, because our growing season was extended.

If you find that you planted all of your plants at one time, and that they were spent before the growing season was over, you might want to look and see if maybe you should have planned a little bit more succession planting so that you had smaller harvests at one time, but longer into the year. This can be beneficial so that you don’t have this huge glut of everything all at once, and then you can take your time preserving, and harvesting it, longer and in smaller amounts.

4.  Evaluate the climate and growing season

Take notes on your climate.  If there’s been any extension or patterns over a long period of time, that may adjust your planting schedule. It may be you get to plant earlier, which means a longer growing season. Hallelujah, but it could be the opposite.

It may mean you need to plan on not putting in your garden quite so early because you keep getting wiped out with cold weather, or it struggles because it’s not quite warm enough.

Sometimes you can just have an off year. For example, this year as I’ve said, we are having an extremely long growing season which is not normal. This is the first year that we’ve had this, but if over the next three or four years our first frost is pushed back into October, and we don’t get it in September, then with that being repetitive, it starts to feel like it’s kind of the new norm.

I would not make changes based off a weather pattern for just one year. I’m talking multiple, multiple, multiple years in a row, but if it looks like it has changed and it’s going to stick around, then I would evaluate.

We’re going with our fifth really dry summer, and it’s pretty much a holding pattern now.  So knowing that, I am not keeping peppers, and my heat loving things like basil, in the greenhouse anymore, with the exception of my tomatoes to avoid blight.

I do still look at the weather, and I’m cautious with putting out my stuff too early, but that’s been the pattern five years in a row.  I still keep an eye on the forecasts. On what is predicted and go by that each year. But you may notice a change in your area and should adjust your planting accordingly.

5. Take note where everything was planted this year

Then lastly, take note of where everything was in order to practice crop rotation for next year’s planting.  If it’s still visible, take a picture with your phone. You’ve got it on there, so then when you go to plant this coming spring, you know where you need to practice your crop rotation. If you already did it in the springtime, then you don’t need to worry about it now, but for those of you who forgot, or you just didn’t know, now is a good time to do that if you didn’t do it earlier.

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)

Grow more food next year with these 5 fall gardening tips, yes please. These tips apply if you are doing raised garden beds, container gardening, regular in the ground gardening,

For some minutes after this fancy possessed me, I remained without motion. And why? I could not summon the courage to move. I dared not make the effort which was to satisfy me of my fate — and yet there was something at my heart which whispered me it was sure. Despair — such as no other species of wretchedness ever calls into being — despair alone urged me, after long irresolution, to uplift the heavy lids of my eyes. I uplifted them. It was dark — all dark. I knew that the fit was over. I knew that the crisis of my disorder had long passed. I knew that I had now fully recovered the use of my visual faculties — and yet it was dark — all dark — the intense and utter raylessness of the Night that endureth for evermore.    The Premature Burial, Edgar Allan Poe

Welcome, weary traveler! The journey’s been a long one and you rest. Sleep! Sleep! And awaken to find yourself trapped in a pine box. Deep silence apart from the thumping sound made by your heart – like a Mad Hatter racing past everyone to get front-row tickets to see the Rapture. Charming perspective, isn’t it?

Well, for us, it’s just a tall tale, a decrepit fable meant only to scare children or to make chicks jump into your arms when campfire ghost stories become too ghosty. However, for people living in the Victorian Age, it was a very distinct and frightening glimpse into the afterlife. Rumors of medical conditions that so perfectly mimicked the symptoms of death fueled the common folk’s fear, leading to all kinds of peculiar funeral practices.

Have you seen the Autopsy of Jane Doe? Great horror movie, by the way. You should definitely watch it if you like old-school horror flicks with lots of jumpscares. Anyway, there was this scene in the movie where a mortician explains to his apprentice the significance of attaching a small bell to the cadaver’s toe.

Won’t spoil the movie for you by quoting the doc, but I’m going to say this – that’s a very old and very common 19th-century medical practice to ensure that the deceased wasn’t interred while being alive. As I’ve mentioned, some conditions such as catalepsy mimic the symptoms of death.

With Medicine lacking the needs to detect faint life signs, some patients were declared dead even though they were very much alive. The bell attached to the toe was to make everyone aware that the soon-to-be-buried person still had life in him.  Historical records that toe bell was not the only peculiarity when it came to the mortal dread of being buried alive.

Affluent families commissioned intricate coffin which featured let’s say, emergency release switches. These levers or buttons were installed inside the coffin, probably in proximity to the deceased’s limbs.

As death spares neither the rich nor the poor, even the working class sought to outfit their loved ones’ final resting places with similar signaling devices. The most common was the bell mounted on the tombstone, which could be triggered by the deceased via a thin metal wire running through the ground.

Anyway, welcome again to the first part of my extreme survival series; a project which I have postponed for far too long. As you’ve probably guessed by now, the first article will be about how to escape being buried alive.

I know that with nowadays medical gadgets it’s next to impossible to second-guess the symptomatology associated with death, but it can happen (check out the story about the Spanish man who woke up during the autopsy). Now, without further ado, here’s what needs to be done in order to escape a coffin if you’ve been buried by mistake (or intentionally!).

Step 1. Assess the situation

Fear is only natural and waking up in utter darkness, surrounded by four wooden boards can make even a man with nerve made of steel to go nuts. Don’t do that! I know it’s hard to think about anything else in those moments, but screaming, kicking, crying, and obsessively scratching the inside of the lid will only force your lungs to consume more oxygen, not to mention the fact that you will more than likely end up hurting yourself.

Take a minute or two to compose yourself and assess the situation. Knock on the lid and listen – if you hear a hollow sound, it means that the coffin has yet to be placed underground; in which case, all you’ll need to do would be to kick open the lid. Doesn’t matter if haven’t had the chance of break open a door – with that much adrenaline coursing through your veins, you can probably kill a bull.

Now, in the event that you don’t hear a hollow sound, you should assume that the casket has been buried. There’s no reason to panic. Calmly, reach into your pockets and try to figure out what you have in them. I know that this sounds really sad, but people nowadays tend to bury their loved ones with some of their possessions – this could mean, well, anything: a small switchblade, a lighter, a smartphone, a tablet, heck, even a laptop.

Don’t even bother trying to call someone if you find a phone in your pockets – the signal won’t get through that far underground. However, you can use flash to check out the inside of the casket. Don’t forget about your breathing – even if all the odds are against you, panicking will only make you act irrationally.

Most caskets are made from flimsy materials, meaning that breaking open the lid would not be much of an issue. It’s the earth on top that must concern you at this point.

Step 2. Provide some sort of head protection

It’s obvious that you won’t have access to the tools you keep inside your B.O.B, but that doesn’t mean you can’t improvise. Bear in mind that breaking the coffin’s lid is the easy part. Having to deal with the earth will be quite challenging, but not impossible.

To spare yourself a chocking death once the earth starts pouring into the coffin, pull your T-shirt, shirt or park over your head (hands should not be in the sleeves). After doing that, use the sleeves to make a knot just above the head. Yes, I know it sounds awful and rather ineffective, but this simple trick will protect your head while preventing you from chugging dirt.

Step 3. Look for weak spots in the coffin.

If the unfortunate event happened very quickly and away from your family, you’re very likely to have been buried in a rectangular box. Those require little force to break since the lid’s held in place by a couple of nails. Still, if some funeral arrangements were observed, you could end up in one of those double-doored caskets. It doesn’t really matter, because all of them have weak spots – in the latter case it’s the gap where the two doors meet. That’s where you will need to strike.

However, before making any attempts, take a few moments to compose yourself; you’re alive, you’re still breathing, and you will get out of this no matter what. Free your mind of any menacing thoughts and focus only on the task at hand.

Step 4. Break the lid and start shovelling

When you’re ready, ensure that the shirt’s sleeves are secured, and, using all the force you can muster, kick the coffin’s lid. Hit it until earth begins to fall inside the coffin. Don’t panic when that happens. Push the falling earth on the sides.

Always keep your head and torso above the earth. Keep pushing and piling the dirt to the sides. You can guess how far you will need to pile by using your nose – if the air’s still stale and, well, earthy; it means you’ve still got a few feet to go. Again, keep breathing at a steady pace and don’t attempt to remove the ‘bag’ over your head no matter how uncomfortable you feel. As the earth piles inside the coffin, you’ll notice or rather feel less of the stuff falling on you.

Step 5. Get up on your feet, soldier!

Once the inside of the coffin starts feeling up, arch one of your feet, and plant the foot firmly on the coffin’s bottom. You’re nearly out! One more push and you’re free! Using that foot as support, muster all the strength you have left and stand up.

You’re one step away from freedom. It may be very hard at first, but once you’ve managed to raise your head and torso above lid level, standing up will be very easy. At this point, all you’ll need to do would be to push away the remaining earth and to crawl out of your grave. Congratulations! You’ve just survived one of the worst fates anyone can imagine.

Final Thoughts

I should emphasize the fact that even with our astounding progress in life signs detection, errors can sometimes occur. Nobody’s to blame for this. It’s just the fact that your body has decided to slow all body functions to the point where detection becomes impossible. Still, one cannot ignore the fact that someone could have done that to you on purpose. Yes, I know that it’s a rather disconcerting thought, but, then again, the world is a crazy place.

Once you’ve got out of the grave, head immediately to the nearest hospital for a full checkup. You should also find a way to notify the authorities. The chances of you being the target of an assault may be slim, but at this point anything is possible. One more thing before I go – emotional support. This kind of things stirs some serious shit inside your noggins.

Don’t even dare to assume that it’s over. Ever heard about PTSD? Yes, that awful conditions which afflict so many battle-hardened soldiers. Post-traumatic stress disorder doesn’t occur solely during an intense battle. Nope! According to the docs, you have more chances of experiencing PTSD-like symptoms after a car accident or going through a breakup, than on the battlefield.

So, after the good doc gives you a clean bill of health, do yourself a favor and go talk to the therapist about this experience.

What are your thoughts of being buried alive? 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)

For some minutes after this fancy possessed me, I remained without motion. And why? I could not summon the courage to move. I dared not make the effort which was

In a SHTF situation where you can’t stay in your own home, and moving in with a friend or relative is not an option, what will you do? If bugging out to the wilderness suddenly becomes your only option, will you survive? Probably not for very long, if you believe the experts. Nevertheless, if your survival plan doesn’t include a bug out to the forest option, it should, but coming up with a good plan might be more difficult that you think.

For starters, do you have a reliable bug out vehicle? If your bug out plan has you escaping the city or suburbs in a modern vehicle, you may be in for an unpleasant surprise. Most modern vehicles won’t survive a strong EMP event. You may find yourself traveling on foot, away from a major metropolitan area, in search of food and water. But at least you won’t be alone. When food and water run out, millions of others will be traveling, mostly on foot, away from large centers of population. Even if you have a working vehicle, it may be useless, due to the gridlock created by people and disabled vehicles, all on the same escape routes. You may avoid some of that if you get away quickly, but will you? How much time will pass before you’re packed, and ready to go? Will the roads already be jammed by the time you depart? As time passes, the situation will get worse. Can you imagine what starving, desperate, people are capable of doing? I’m thinking “zombie apocalypse”.

My Bug-out Plan

Understanding the predicament, I don’t have to look any farther than my garage for a solution. My bug out plan doesn’t depend on a full-size vehicle, but I won’t be bugging out on foot either. I suspect that I wouldn’t last very long, with just the items I can carry on my back. Instead, I’ve decided to use my garden tractor (riding lawn mower), pulling a small trailer. Don’t laugh, it’s more practical than it may seem.

  • It would probably survive an EMP event.
  • It can travel off-road, avoiding traffic jams and bypassing bottlenecks.
  • It can pull a small trailer, loaded with essential supplies.
  • I can avoid people who may want to harm me, or take what I have.
  • I’ll have a 360 degree view, helpful for situational awareness, and if I have to use a firearm.
  • I’ll be able to travel to places inaccessible by car, which in theory will make me more secure.
  • My getaway will be at a whopping 6 miles per hour, maximum, but it beats walking.

There are drawbacks, of course. I’ll have no shelter from the elements, as I would in a car or truck. My traveling companion will have to ride in the trailer, or walk along side. Perhaps the biggest drawback is that I won’t be able to outrun anyone. For that reason, it’s important to pack and leave quickly, before things get out of hand.

The bug out location I’ve selected is far from the densely populated area where I now live, and is an area that provides opportunities for hunting, fishing, growing crops, and is near a fresh water source. I know what some of you are thinking… A city boy, living in the wilderness, wouldn’t last long. You might be right, but what choice do I have? Since I don’t own a wilderness cabin, or even a camper, how can I best prepare for a situation that forces me to abandon my home? For starters, I’ve compiled a virtual library of information that will be helpful in such a situation. I’ve also purchased some basic survival equipment and supplies. I practice the skills I’ve learned, and I’m a pretty good gardener.

While living in the wild will be a challenge, I first have to arrive there safely. Traveling with a fully loaded trailer screams “Hey look at me! I have food, water, and survival gear!” How do I get to my destination without being robbed or killed? I see two main problems:

  1. Starving, thirsty, desperate people won’t hesitate to attack me and take what I have.
  2. Those already settled in, near my bug out location, won’t appreciate the competition for limited resources.

To make matters worse, the noise of the tractor will announce my presence. In either case, one bullet could ruin my day.

Bugging out is risky, but I’m thinking of a scenario where I have no choice. I’ll improve my odds somewhat by getting away quickly, before anarchy is commonplace. To do that, all of my things need to be organized, and ready to toss into the trailer. This includes items that are protected from EMP’s. The list that I’ve already prepared helps to make sure that I don’t forget anything.

As I travel, I expect to cross paths with others who are also bugging out. The majority of the people I encounter will be just like me, trying to survive. Many of them will be traveling on-foot, with very limited supplies. My survival odds will improve if I join a like-minded group of travelers, or convince others to travel with me. I’ll bring extra food to share. Travelling with a well-fed and motivated group should help to keep the criminal element away. I’m not trying to be a group leader, or a macho tough-guy, but just one of the many people fleeing an area that has become unsafe. Being armed, and avoiding likely trouble spots, will also help.

With luck, I’ll make it to my bug out spot, probably with a number of other people who’ll soon become my neighbors. As I settle in, I’ll begin to implement a plan that might be described as “Living in the Wilderness, but Not Wilderness Living”. After food and water, my top priority will be the construction of a substantial shelter. As Pat Henry put it “your tent offers zero protection from a sharp stick, much less bullets.” I’ll use modern tools and technology to deal with challenges that come with living in the wild. I’ll have lights when and where I need them, and I’ll use sensors to alert me to intruders, and garden pests. Some of the pests that would otherwise be a threat to my garden, will become food, if I can kill or capture them. My garden tractor-trailer combination will continue to be an asset, as long as gasoline is available. I’ll be able to haul whatever useful items I can find, including building materials, firewood, and water. It’s likely that some of my traveling companions will become the nucleus of a survival group, and the benefits of belonging to a group are many. One could be hunting or fishing, while another guards the supplies and equipment. One could be on the lookout for intruders, while another prepares food, or tends to a garden. One could sleep, while another stands guard. Portable two-way radio equipment, as well as low-tech devices, such as whistles, may be used to alert group members to emerging threats.

My trailer is approximately 48” by 30”. If stacked 30” high, I’ll have about 25 square feet of cargo space. My supplies will be covered with a tarp, protected from rain and wind.

I’m using 3 plastic containers. One is for food, another for shelter, and the third for cooking, cleaning, hygiene, health, and miscellaneous supplies. Those containers account for about 15 square feet, and mine will be similar, leaving me with at least 10 additional square feet. Because I’m thinking long-term survival, I’ll pack clothes and bedding for all weather conditions. I’ll use the additional space for items that will help me survive in the long-run. Included will be the components of a small solar electric system that can be easily reassembled at my destination. I’ll have lights, and a variety of electrical devices that can be powered by the solar electric system. Sensitive electrical items are pre-packed, wrapped in aluminum foil and insulated from each other, which is the equivalent of a Faraday Cage. The ability to use power tools will make construction of a shelter much easier.

Because of the trailer’s small size, I look for ways to conserve precious space. I won’t bring bulky items, like table lamps. Instead, I’ve assembled small and simple light fixtures. I won’t bring a pedestal fan, or even a tabletop fan. Instead, I’ll use small muffin fans, similar to those you find in computers. I’ll mount them on frames, made from pvc tubing, that can be disassembled, saving space when packing. I’ll make good use of paracord, rope, and plastic sheeting. I need not carry books, and volumes of survival literature, because all of those things have been scanned, and stored on a KindleFire. Likewise, carrying a large quantity of water is not practical. I don’t have space for large containers. Instead, I’ll pack several collapsible water containers. I won’t bring a propane stove, or even a charcoal grill, but I will bring a grill top. I’ll assemble a fire pit with stones that I’ll find at my bug out location, and finish it off with the grill top. I’ll pack my cast iron Dutch oven, overlooking my concern for weight, just this one time. Once settled in, my tractor-trailer’s ability to haul things contributes to my bartering opportunities.

The bug out location I’ve selected will be a 7 to 8 hour trip by garden tractor. I have to make sure I have enough gasoline, but my preliminary estimates indicate that I can make it with just the capacity of a full tank, and a full 2 ½ gallon container. I’ll also carry a tube for siphoning, in the event I’ll need to do that. I’ll be carrying a shovel and an axe, helpful if I get stuck or need to clear a path, and very useful when I’ve settled in at my bug out location.

I’ll have the ability to collect and store rainwater. I’ll be prepared to filter water, and boil it, making it safe for drinking. My bug out supplies will include heirloom and hybrid seeds for food crops. Traveling light is an important consideration, and for that reason I’ve created a separate list of items to acquire, once I’m settled in at my bug out location. For the most part, those additional items will make life more comfortable, but are not essential for survival.

Once I’ve settled in at my bug out destination, my first priority will be a sustainable source of food. I’ll start a garden of course, but I’ll need to have other food while I’m waiting for my crops to mature. My bug out supplies include a live trap for small animals, but it is safe to assume that others will quickly decimate local population of rabbits, squirrels, and other edible creatures. My bug out location is near a large lake, and I suspect that I’ll be able to catch fish.

In an effort to avoid bland meals, I’ll pack items such as olive oil, spices, sauces, flour, and corn meal. My list for shelter is similar to Pat’s, but I’ve added an air mattress for additional comfort. I’ll have construction tools, and plan to make tent-living a very temporary arrangement. My list for cooking, cleaning, and hygiene is different from Pat’s list, because I put more emphasis on long-term survival. While I will pack items such as soap and dish detergent, I’ll place a high priority on reusable items, such as wash cloths and towels. Instead of a propane stove, I’ll pack a rocket-stove, and reusable cooking supplies. I’ll have a solar-heated camp shower, wash basins, and collapsible containers for water. I’ll have a good first-aid kit, a variety of medicine, alcohol, bug spray, toilet paper, and other items for health and hygiene. One container, perhaps a backpack, will be for items that need to be easily and quickly accessible. Items in this container will include a flashlight, weapons, maps, a compass, binoculars, cash, a lighter, a KindleFire, snacks, a pocket knife, basic tools, and a rain parka.

My “electronics” box will include all of the components for a small solar electric system, except the solar panels and batteries. It will include test equipment, extension cords, power strips, lights and light fixtures, fans, portable alarms, an AM/FM radio, and a GPS device.

Items that will be packed separately include tools, solar panels (mounted on a hinged aluminum framework), batteries (for the solar electric system), weapons and ammo, live trap, gasoline container, tackle box with fishing supplies, shovel, ax, rake, grill top, and a jump starter (includes tire pump and light). I’ll have the tools and supplies needed to make repairs to the tractor and trailer tires.

After I’ve set up camp I’ll be on the lookout for anything that might be useful, such as a propane stove with a full propane tank, table and chairs, buckets, tools, food and water. If I can find them, I’ll increase my stockpile of disposable items, such as paper towels, zip-lock bags, trash bags, aluminum foil, toilet paper, soap, dish detergent, laundry detergent, insect repellent, toothpaste, shaving cream, alcohol, and other items for health and hygiene. I’ll also stock up on firewood and tinder.

Perhaps the most important item I hope to acquire after I’ve settled in, is an energy-efficient chest freezer. In the event that I have success hunting, fishing, trapping, or growing crops, the freezer will provide an easy way to preserve food. Not needing to find and process food everyday will give me opportunities to rest, and attend to other aspects of survival. The smallest of the chest freezers on the market today are very energy-efficient, meaning that they can be powered by a small off-grid solar electric system. According to the energy-guide tag, 600 watt-hours per day is required for a 5 cubic foot chest freezer. I can get that much power with just 2- 100 watt solar panels, and 2 – 100ah batteries. My system will be a little larger than that, to accommodate the other things needing power, and for extended periods of cloud cover.

Cold Weather Considerations:

Where I live, the months of December through February can include some very cold and nasty weather. Extreme weather may force me to deal with the danger, and postpone bugging out. I may instead choose to make my home as secure as possible, and prepare to defend it. Those traveling through my neighborhood would also be susceptible to extreme weather, perhaps giving me a bit of an advantage. If I’ve already bugged out, and set up camp in advance of cold weather, preparing to survive cold conditions will be a high priority. This includes the construction of a substantial shelter, and a way to provide heat.

The Long Run:

In the event that federal and state government no longer exist, law and order will be maintained at a local level, by an assembly of the people of that area. A protective force can be created, and guard duties shared. Efficiency can be realized in areas such as food production and cooking. Those with special skills will be highly revered, and will serve the entire community. Bartering will be commonplace.

I don’t expect my wilderness life to last more than a couple of years. In a serious SHTF situation, many people will die off from lack of food, or simply from the inability to survive without the conveniences we take for granted today. If that happens, there will be plenty of empty homes to move into. I would choose one with a fenced back yard, to help protect my food source. Most of my food will come from my garden, and perhaps some fish, chicken and rabbit.


If I can’t safely stay in my own home, which is at the edge of a big city, or move in with someone else, far from a densely populated area, moving to the forest may be my only option. I need to be ready to bug out quickly and travel safely. I’ll need to bring the appropriate equipment and supplies. And finally, I need to be able to survive wilderness living. I’ll have to depend upon my hunting, trapping, fishing, and gardening skills. My prepping includes the equipment and knowledge to do those things. I don’t expect it to be easy. The competition for limited resources will be fierce, and not everyone will be honest and ethical. Still, I plan for a comfort level far exceeding that of tent camping. I applaud those who can live in the forest with only a knife and the clothes on their back, but I can’t do that.

Perhaps the best things I have are a list, and a plan. I don’t depend upon a modern vehicle, since impassable roads, or an EMP event, could stop me dead in my tracks. My pack-out list helps to ensure that I’ll bring the essentials, while not being overloaded with items I can do without. My extensive database of information will be useful in the event of a medical emergency, or other unexpected circumstances. Moving quickly, with a destination in mind, might prevent me from becoming a victim of the lawlessness that would likely follow a SHTF situation. Getting to my destination quickly means that I’ll also be able to “scavenge” more quickly than some, and acquire useful stuff before it’s all gone. Banding together with trust-worthy, like-minded others may offer the best odds for survival.

We thank John D for his contribution.

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)

For starters, do you have a reliable bug out vehicle? If your bug out plan has you escaping the city or suburbs in a modern vehicle, you may be

NOAA Weather Radio allows for access to important weather information across the country 24 hours a day. The ability to tune in and monitor this information can be vital during emergency situations or outdoor ventures. Learn how to tune NOAA Weather Radio frequencies on your amateur radio and don’t be dependent on a special radio or programmed memory channel.

What Is NOAA Weather Radio?

NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards (NWR) is a nationwide network of radio stations broadcasting continuous weather information directly from the nearest local National Weather Service office.  The stations transmit vital weather information such as local forecasts, watches, and warnings all day, everyday.

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The National Weather Service offices also integrate into the EAS system (Federal Emergency Alert System) and local authorities so other types of information such as Amber Alerts or Civil Emergency messages also get transmitted across the weather radio system.

Most have heard of  the Weather Alert Radios that sound an alarm for a tornado warning or severe weather alert for your area.  This is the network those radios monitor to trigger the audible alert.

Bottom line, when the power is out or cell phones don’t work, NOAA weather radio (just like ham radio) can still get the emergency message through.  Get information on severe weather warnings, tornado warnings, evacuations in your area and more.

Dedicated Radio Not Required

While a dedicated radio can bring you a visual or audible siren alarm in the middle of the night due to a weather alert, that type of radio is not required to monitor the NOAA Weather Radio signal.  In fact, it is only half the value.  The rest of the value in the system is that you can tune in any time during the day and get current weather information within a couple minutes.

It’s like the Weather Channel, but without cable.  And can be accessed on just about any radio that can receive in the 160 MHz spectrum.

Benefits to Tuning In vs Programming a Channel

There are a number of benefits to tuning in the NOAA Weather Radio signal versus programming it into a channel. Here are a few of the main ones that come to mind.

Save Memory Channels

Many chinese radios such as the Baofeng UV-5R or older model amateur radios have a limited number of channels.  Save these channels for programming repeaters or other simplex frequencies with dedicated tones, offsets, or other settings.  No reason to waste a memory on a receive only frequency that doesn’t change.

Don’t Mess with your Scan

Since the NOAA Weather Radio signal is transmitted on at all times and non stop, if programmed in to your memory incorrectly, it can cause your scan function to become inoperable in the field.

Free NOAA Weather Radio Channel Quick Guide

Worried you will forget the NOAA Weather Channels?  Download our free quick reference card.  It is formatted to print on Avery Business Card stock for quick tear out and compact storage (uses Avery Template 8371).  Or simply print on your favorite card stock and cut out with scissors.

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)

NOAA Weather Radio allows for access to important weather information across the country 24 hours a day. The ability to tune in and monitor this information can be vital during

It is currently hurricane season for the Atlantic and Pacific regions of the United States.

As I write this article, Hurricane Dorian is a Category 4 storm with the potential to reach Category 4 status. As of now, the storm has an uncertain path, but East Coast folks – please watch this one closely, as some models suggest it could head right for you.

Hurricanes are unpredictable, as anyone who has experienced one knows. This makes them challenging to prepare for, but fortunately, there are things you can do to increase your odds of survival, should one head for your region.

It is important to understand that a hurricane need not be a Category 5 to be incredibly dangerous and cause serious damage. When Hurricane Isabel hit my Virginia neighborhood in 2003, the storm was barely a Category 1. It was the first (and to date, the only – thankfully) hurricane I’ve experienced personally, and back then I really had no idea how difficult the aftermath would be.

This book teaches you how to both diagnose and treat any medical problems you are going to encounter. Learn more about it here.

I fully expected the “authorities” to take care of everything after Isabel passed. I thought they’d clean up all the debris and have the roads cleared and power on within a day or two.

I was seriously mistaken.

Isabel had an unusually large wind field (an example of a hurricane doing “unpredictable” things). Thousands of trees were uprooted. Power lines and telephone poles were downed all over. Hundreds of houses were damaged…many beyond repair. Hundreds of roads, including major highways, were blocked by fallen trees and other debris. The heavy rainfall caused inland flooding, which closed roads and damaged homes and businesses.

We were without power for over two weeks. Because we – and most of our neighbors – did not think to purchase generators in advance, one neighbor decided to head out to buy them for us. He wasn’t able to find any until he reached Pennsylvania – every store he checked in Virginia and Maryland was either closed due to the storm or had already sold their entire stock of generators. That gives you an idea of how hard it can be to find important supplies in the aftermath of a natural disaster.

Preparing for a Hurricane

In The Prepper’s Blueprint, the importance of understanding how unpredictable hurricanes can be is discussed and emphasized. This type of natural disaster is truly one of the most difficult emergencies to prepare for simply because there are so many variables to account for. These storms can range from mild to severe and can cause wind damage, flooding, and tornadoes. You can be fully stocked with provisions, but what good will that do if your home is flooded in a matter of minutes and all of your supplies are destroyed or inaccessible? Before Hurricane Harvey made landfall last year, it was predicted as merely a tropical storm or Category 1 hurricane. In fact, many living in the area did not think much of it in terms of severity and only stocked up on supplies for a few days. Within those few days, it had developed into a Category 4 with 132 mph winds.

This hurricane primer has essential articles with supply lists that can aid you in preparing for a storm.

Should you stay or should you go?

Often, when a hurricane is approaching, government officials will issue evacuation orders to people in designated evacuation areas. Most governments use one of two terms when issuing evacuation notices. An evacuation order is when officials strongly encourage people in certain areas to move to a safer location. Personal discretion is allowed, but not advised. A mandatory evacuation order means that emergency management officials are ordering all people in the designated area to move to a safer location – personal discretion is NOT an option. People who refuse to comply need to understand that this kind of order means they should not expect to be rescued or given any kind of assistance once the storm has reached the area.

If you can leave the area before the disaster strikes, then do so, and seek shelter elsewhere.

Should you decide to stay put for whatever reason during a hurricane, adequate preparation is crucial to survival. Please check out our guide here – now, so you can prepare far ahead of the storm: Last Minute Preparedness: How To Prep For Sheltering in Place.

What about disaster shelters?

While disaster shelters may be the only option for many, it is important to understand the risks associated with them. In the article, Just How Unhealthy And Unsafe Are Disaster Shelters, Sara Tipton explains the harsh truth about such shelters:


There is another danger associated with spending time in a disaster shelter: sexual assault. Overcrowded and understaffed shelters unintentionally put all those who stay at them at risk. There’s no way a handful of people can monitor hundreds of others at all times.

The elderly are a part of the population that is particularly vulnerable during times of evacuation and emergency. They face many concerns both before a disaster strikes and immediately afterward. Hurricane Katrina is a tragic example of how devastating big storms can be to the elderly: roughly 71 percent of the hurricane’s victims were older than age 60, and 47 percent of those were over the age of 75. Most of these victims died in their homes and communities. At least 68 (some of whom were allegedly abandoned by their caretakers) were found in nursing homes. If you are elderly or have loved ones who are, please plan accordingly. Staying at home and local shelters may not be the best places for those who have special health concerns and are not able to adequately care for themselves.

Also, please don’t forget about your furry and feathered family members: take your pets’ needs into account when you are preparing for an impending hurricane as well.

What to expect in the aftermath of a hurricane

Many Americans believe that FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) will come to their rescue after a natural disaster. Unfortunately, the agency has many challenges (to put it lightly). Even if you are one of the few who manages to successfully navigate FEMA’s confusing red tape and complicated bureaucratic system to get aid, help from the agency often becomes something many describe as an “inescapable hell.”

Prepare for the worst and make sure you can survive on your own. We cannot emphasize this enough.

While the bad weather hurricanes bring usually sticks around for 12 to 24 hours, there are other dangers that often linger for much longer. As I mentioned earlier, after Hurricane Isabel struck my city, my neighborhood was without power for over two weeks. Some areas in the Hampton Roads region were without electricity for even longer. Some roads were closed for more than a week.

There are five possible life-threatening scenarios that hurricane victims must understand and prepare for.

1. Contaminated water

Water contamination is common after a hurricane. The facilities that remove contaminants from drinking water are typically unusable if they’re inundated with floodwaters, or if they do not have the power needed to run their pumps or the ability to get fuel for their generators. The water supply could be tainted with anything from unpleasant but relatively harmless gastrointestinal invaders like Norovirus to more serious bacteria like Vibrio, a potentially deadly microorganism.

Ideally, you’ll have enough water stored for you and your family. Water is a top preparedness priority. Aim for a supply of 3 gallons of water per person/day, minimum, stored in food-grade containers. If you have pets, you’ll need to make sure you have enough water for them too. Remember, while water is crucial for proper hydration, you’ll also need to use it to prepare food and for sanitation purposes. I don’t think there’s such a thing as having TOO much water stored.

For more on water storage, please see Emergency Water Storage Ideas for Every Type of Disaster and 5 Short-Term Methods to Store Water.

Even if you believe you have adequate water stored, be sure to learn about water purification methods and devices as well…just in case. Always ensure the safety of your water by properly filtering or boiling it before use.

There are portable water filtration systems you can keep on hand in case of emergency. The Sawyer Mini Water Filtration System is one of them. It’s a compact, portable, three-part system that can be put together and placed over a drinking vessel like a water bottle. This system comes with a straw that you can use to drink directly through the filter itself. It can also be hooked up to a Camelbak water pouch.

2. Flooding

The risk of contracting an infectious disease is heightened after a hurricane, in large part due to flooding. Flood water is a perfect vehicle for pathogens: it can harbor bacteria, different viruses, and fungi – and often is contaminated with sewage and hazardous chemicals.

There are numerous reasons to avoid flood water entirely. Wading through it – even if it is shallow – can cause drowning because moving water can sweep you off your feet, and can rapidly transport you to deeper bodies of water. Snakes and other dangerous creatures (depending on where you live) can lurk in flood waters. Debris could be floating in it, and could cause serious harm. And, of course, electrocution is a deadly risk – fallen power lines may have exposed the water to electricity.

To protect your home from flood damage, learn how to properly create a sandbag barrier or consider investing in a system called AquaDam.

If you live in a flood zone, special preparations are in order. The following articles can help you better prepare.

  • Are You Ready? How to Survive a Flood
  • Disaster Supplies for Flood Preparedness
  • A Step-By-Step Guide to Preparing for Disasters

3. Blackouts

A major risk after any hurricane, blackouts can be devastating for those without a plan.

From refrigerators to cell phones, people have almost become completely reliant on electronic devices for their survival, and for this reason, a blackout can have disastrous implications for the ill-prepared.

In late October 2012, Hurricane Sandy devastated the East Coast and left widespread, long-term power outages in her wake. On October 31, over 6 million customers were still without power in 15 states and the District of Columbia. On November 7, 2012, 600,000 people were still without power. After Hurricane Ike hit in September 2008, our very own Tess Pennington and her family experienced a power outage that lasted more than three weeks!

In an article about her experience, Tess wrote, “In retrospect, I was naive in my preparedness planning. I was planning for the best-case scenario rather than the latter, as well, there were many aspects of preparedness that I hadn’t considered and paid the price for it.”

The grid in New York City is still vulnerable, nearly 6 years later. But NYC is not the only part of the US that has an aging and weak grid that is susceptible to damage – much of the US power grid is vulnerable.

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to prepare your family for power outages.

  • Be ready to prepare food off the grid.
  • Stock your pantry and bug-out bags with nutrient-dense food that does not need to be refrigerated or cooked to eat, like nut butter, nuts, seeds, granola bars, protein bars, and dried fruit.
  • Fill up your vehicle’s tank while you still can – gas stations rely on electricity to power their pumps.
  • Be aware that most medication that requires refrigeration can be kept in a closed refrigerator for several hours without a problem. If unsure, check with your physician or pharmacist. Have a backup plan in case your power is out longer than a few hours.
  • Know where the manual release lever of your electric garage door opener is located and how to operate it. Garage doors can be heavy, so know that you may need help to lift it.
  • Keep a key to your house with you if you regularly use the garage as the primary means of entering your home, in case the garage door will not open.
  • Have cash on hand in case ATMs are down and stores are not able to process credit cards.
  • Learn how to protect your food supply when the power is out. To be proactive, begin using perishable foods in the freezer and refrigerator to minimize food spoilage. Also, to keep items as cool as possible during a power outage, limit the number of times the refrigerator or freezer door is opened. If you are concerned that your meat may spoil, preserve it beforehand, by either the canning method or the dehydration method.
  • Freeze soda bottles filled with water and place them in the refrigerator during outages – they will help to maintain the optimum temperature.
  • Stay indoors and try and keep your body temperature as normal as possible.
  • Close window blinds and curtains to keep your home cool.
  • Turn off or disconnect appliances, equipment (like air conditioners) or electronics in use when the power went out. Power may return with momentary “surges” or “spikes” that can damage computers as well as motors in appliances like the air conditioner, refrigerator, washer or furnace.
  • Consider purchasing at least one gas-powered generator. They require about a quarter gallon of gasoline for each hour of use. This means you will need to keep plenty of extra fuel on hand. For a blackout period lasting 3 days, it would be wise to keep at least 15 gallons stored in your house for use in your generator (or car).
  • Do not connect a generator to a home’s electrical system. If you use a generator, connect the equipment you want to run directly to the outlets on the generator. Do not run a generator inside a home or garage. For more on safe generator use, please read This is One of the Unspoken Dangers That (Silently and Quickly) Kills During Emergencies.
  • Leave on one light so that you’ll know when your power returns.
  • Use the phone for emergencies only. Listen to a portable radio for the latest information.
  • Access to fire will be critical in a blackout. Be sure to have at least three different ways to make fire, such as a magnesium and steel fire-starter, matches, and butane lighters.
  • Lanterns will be effective alternative light sources as long as you keep kerosene in storage. Speaking of fuel, you may also want to use propane for use in a barbecue grill or for other propane-powered appliances.
  • Having extra flashlights will make a fundamental difference during a power outage. Keep extra sets of batteries for each flashlight.
  • If you don’t already have a first-aid kit now is the time to get one. Sanitizing gel is also a smart item to have in your supplies.
  • A radio with a crank generator will enable you to hear emergency alerts without having to ubackup-up power.
  • Have at least 3 days of clean clothes ready for each family member.

4. Supply shortages 

If you live in an area where people shift into panic mode at the mere mention of snow flurries, you know that grocery stores can become a chaotic scene in the days prior to the expected weather. We rarely get snow in this part of Virginia, so when it pops up in the forecast, stores quickly run out of bread, milk, and water.

As you can imagine, everyone and their second cousin will be scrambling to stock up on supplies in the days before an impending hurricane. The closer it gets to landfall, the worse the situation gets. This is why getting ahead of the crowd is crucial – to your stockpile and your sanity.

Obviously, food, water, and gasoline are items that can quickly become scarce in the event of an emergency. But, there are other items that some might not think to purchase in advance of a big weather event. These include bleach and other chemical disinfectants, cleaning supplies, disposable gloves, trash bags, toilet paper, and home repair supplies.

Regarding toilet paper – hurricane survivors tend to grossly (pun intended) underestimate how much they are going to need. Toilet paper is used every day and when it runs out, things can get very, very unpleasant. Why add to your misery? This is an item that is very much worth stocking up on. On average, consumers use 8.6 sheets per trip – a total of 57 sheets per day. Multiply that by a week-long storm and a family of 5 and you are going to run out quickly if you don’t buy enough.

5. Tornadoes

As if dealing with a hurricane isn’t enough, it can bring along a particularly dangerous partner in crime: tornadoes.

Hurricanes and tropical storms are collectively known as tropical cyclones. Tropical cyclones and tornadoes are both atmospheric vortices.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, “Tropical cyclones may spawn tornadoes from a day or two prior to landfall to up to three days after landfall. Statistics show that most of the tornadoes occur on the day of landfall, or the next day. The most likely time for TC tornadoes is during daylight hours, although they can occur during the night, too. Although statistically, the largest number of tropical cyclone tornadoes occurs on the day of landfall, some of the biggest and most damaging outbreaks have taken place 1 or 2 days after landfall.”

“A tropical storm has all the ingredients necessary to form a tornado: They have multiple supercell thunderstorms, they contain the necessary instability between warm and cold air, and they create wind shear, an abrupt change in wind speed and direction which can create swirling vortices of air,” explains 6abc.

Most hurricanes that make landfall do create at least one tornado. “The majority of those tornadoes are short-lived and of the weaker EF0 or EF1 variety, but some can reach EF2 or EF3 intensity,” according to The Weather Channel:


Brian McNoldy, a researcher at the University of Miami, explained the phenomenon to Live Science:


Most tornadoes occur in a tropical cyclone’s outer rain bands, about 50 to 200 miles from the center, but some have been spawned near the inner core. “In a hurricane’s outer bands, tornadoes represent a burst of concentrated destruction in an area that otherwise might not see the devastating levels of wind produced by the hurricane’s core,” according to a CNN report.

Hurricane-produced tornadoes are difficult to predict – they tend to appear quickly and with little to no warning. For this reason, it is very important to pay attention to the weather and to be prepared for a tornado (or several tornadoes!) to strike.

Are YOU ready for a hurricane?

Earlier this year, AccuWeather Atlantic Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski predicted the United States will see 12-15 tropical storms in 2019 – of which, 6 to 8 are likely to become hurricanes, and 3 to 5 are likely to become major hurricanes.


Stay safe!

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)

It is currently hurricane season for the Atlantic and Pacific regions of the United States. As I write this article, Hurricane Dorian is a Category 4 storm with the potential to

Like many of you, I got into this EDC obsessed lifestyle as a kid. I have always had an affinity for tools that serve a singular purpose, but have almost perverse levels of technology thrown into them. A knife is just a sharpened piece of steel, but you can take a relatively simple formula and distill it into a very complex, purpose designed tool like the Benchmade Osborne 940.

This obsession with performance has led me to accumulate a simply monolithic amount of sharp toys, and in many ways I would say that in the past I crossed the line from tool user to tool collector.

That said, after so many years in this world and after over 7 years of marriage, experiencing mortgage payments and shifts in lifestyle, I have begun to think far more about the purpose behind the tools I wield and what I want my collection to represent.

It’s official. This is now the prepper’s “go to book” saving them time and money on costly doctor visits. Details and how to get your copy here

The bias I have towards quality and having an established “tool set” has led me to truly appreciate the “buy it once” movement: the idea that we can purchase a single tool to fulfill a singular function over the span of a lifetime. Naturally, I will never be happy with just one knife or one watch, but I have definitely taken some of the lessons this movement has to offer on board.

And with that preamble out of the way, here are some of my lifetime tools that I think some of you may find interesting. Perhaps browsing through them will spark some conversation about our spending habits down in the comments! 😉

My Lifetime EDCs

  • Seiko Men's ' Japanese Automatic Stainless Steel Casual Watch, Color:Silver-Toned (Model: SARB033)

1. My lifetime watch

Seiko SARB 033

Is there a more versatile watch for the everyday man who wants something a bit more special than a Seiko 5, but doesn’t want to drop the big bucks on a Rolex Explorer? I don’t think so. The SARB is a true classic (and sadly, discontinued now so if you want one- get on it pronto) with a fantastic, durable movement and a sense of style and presence on the wrists that puts many luxury watches to shame.

I love horology, but I would be happy(‘ish) with only this timepiece for the rest of time. As a matter of fact, I can’t imagine a single change with this watch that would it make it better, which sums up my impressions on this timeless classic.

  • Spyderco (C36GPDBL) Military Model Folding Knife, CPM S110V, 4 Inch Blade, Dark Blue

2. My lifetime folding knife

Spyderco Military

This was a tough one. I admittedly almost strayed away from Spyderco with my choice (very unlike me, I know) due to my affection for the Benchmade 940, but ultimately, the Spyderco Military is and always will be my first choice for a single folding knife. I love a well made liner lock, the blade shape is 10/10, and the feel in the hand is sublime. I don’t like the price relative to materials, but ultimately, I do think it’s worth it.

A tip of my hat goes to the Buck 110 due to my love for it, but I do think a lot of my appreciation for this folder is down to nostalgia and it being my first introduction to high quality knives.

Availability: Amazon • Blade HQ • eBay

military 1 knife reviewSpyderco Military Folding Knife – Amazon / Blade HQ

  • Fallkniven F1, Thermorun Handle, Plain, Zytel Sheath

3. My lifetime fixed blade

Fallkniven F1

This was a no brainer. Yes, I do love my Moras, and my Tops Litetrekker is a smashing little tyke, but the Fallkniven F1 is enduring in its versatility and popularity. There is something to be said for a tool that stays on the hype train for so many years.

Yes, boring steel (Laminated VG-10) and spartan design with true-blue utilitarian materials used, but at the end of the day, I trust this blade regardless of enviroment or situation. It’s a rock solid, lifetime tool despite being a smidgen on the boring side.

Availability: Amazon • Blade HQ • eBay

  • Dr. Marten's Women's 1460 8-Eye Patent Leather Boots, Cherry Red Rouge Smooth, 8 F(M) UK / 10 B(M) US Women / 9 D(M) US Men

4. My lifetime boots

Doc Martens

I love the comfort of my modern hiking boots, but ultimately, this pervasive habit of gluing the soles to the uppers of the boot rules out 99% of them from my lifetime list. I had to give my nod to my Doc Martens, which have been with me for around 17 years and are still going strong.

If I had the money I may recommend Danner’s light mountain boots, but I don’t own them (yet) so can’t say for certain if they’d live up to the hype. That said, I have a feeling they will.

  • HAZARD 4 Gray Patrol Pack Daypack, Gray
    HAZARD 4 Gray Patrol Pack Daypack, Gray

5. My lifetime bag

Hazard 4 Grayman Patrol

You all know I love my Hazard 4 gear, and whilst some may think that perhaps a Saddleback leather backpack is more suitable as a choice for a lifetime tool, I would argue that in this case, the comfort of modern synthetic materials and know-how outweigh the advantages of leather.

The Grayman Patrol is straight up bombproof and I feel comfortable wearing it everywhere, unlike the uber-tactical camo alternatives. It’s a great option and well worth the investment. Your back will thank you, even if your wallet doesn’t!

hazard-4-grayman-patrol-backpack-buy-it-once-edcHazard 4 Grayman Patrol Backpack

  • Le Creuset Signature Enameled Cast-Iron 2-Quart Round French (Dutch) Oven, Flame

6. My lifetime Cookware

Le Creuset Cookware

We all know Le Creuset. This ironware is built to withstand well, everything.

Rock solid and versatile. Yes, it’s pricey, but you won’t need to replace it. I love my Instant Pot, but I wager that my Le Creuset will outlive me. There is something weirdly nostalgic about having a tool that hasn’t changed in decades, because frankly, there is nothing about it that needs changing.

7. My Lifetime Pipe

Kraig Seder Short Poker Pipe

Owned it for years. Made by the man himself and an example of a piece of art that is perfectly functional. We live in an age where everything is built to be used and thrown away. It’s comforting to own something that is designed with the exact opposite in mind.


The older I get, the more I think about the items I own and use instead of simply rushing to buy the next new thing. I admittedly do partake within the norms of a consumerist society, but I like to think that I have pulled the breaks to a certain degree. I now give far more consideration towards the things that truly matter, and not what the deluge of advertising is telling me to get next.

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)

Like many of you, I got into this EDC obsessed lifestyle as a kid. I have always had an affinity for tools that serve a singular purpose, but have almost

The truth is although you may get some advanced warning of a SHTF situation, no one will predict it with absolute certainty. There are however some predicted behaviors and events that experts can predict may happen leading up to the chaos and afterwards.

These predicted behavior patterns are important to understand for anyone who is trying to protect their family and homestead during and after a SHTF event. If you are aware of the changes that could take place, you can prepare your homestead for SHTF and its aftermath. The more steps you take to prepare, the better off you and your family will be.

You don’t have to wait for a crisis to use this book. Details here.

What Could Happen When SHTF

  • extended power outage
  • widespread panic and looting
  • overwhelmed emergency services personnel
  • stores and businesses are wiped out or closed
  • shipping delays or complete stop
  • pandemic due to poor sanitation or lack of medical care
  • spoiled or stolen food and other supplies
  • injuries, illness and/or mass casualties or death

Plan for Food and Water

One of the big issues following a SHTF event is going to be having access to enough water and food to sustain you and your family through an extended period of chaos and possibly indefinitely. Below are some steps you can begin to take now to help ensure that you and your family have an ample supply of food and water when you need it.

Most people may not be able to do all of these at once but it’s a good idea to make a plan for implementation over a period of time. Do what you can the first year and gradually add to your food and water resources when you can.

  1. Start a food garden to grow vegetables and fruits to sustain your family when grocery stores shut down.
  2. Plant an orchard now so that you’ll be able to harvest fruit for pies and jams to boost morale following a SHTF event.
  3. Grow an herb garden to supplement your food stockpile and for medicine when pharmacies and professional medical services are shut down.
  4. Start a compost pile to use to fertilize soil so your garden will flourish.
  5. Gather/Buy manual kitchen appliances and equipment so you can cook without electricity.
  6. Stockpile food for livestock and pets when shipping is delayed or stopped.
  7. Create a hidden food forest to sustain your family if your garden and stockpile are confiscated or wiped out.
  8. Build a rainwater collection system to use for watering the garden, for livestock, personal hygiene, and if necessary for drinking.
  9. Build or buy a solar oven for cooking without power.
  10. Make a smokehouse for preserving meat if refrigeration fails.
  11. Gather/Buy manual tools for gardening and other homesteading tasks.
  12. Install an aquaponics or hydroponics system to supplement your garden
  13. Plant berry bushes so they can mature and be ready to harvest following a SHTF event.
  14. Stockpile home canned food to create a sustainable food supply without refrigeration.
  15. Build a root cellar for preserving harvested vegetables to extend shelf life through the lean winter months.
  16. Stockpile as much water as possible to prevent dehydration.
  17. Identify nearby fresh water sources to supplement your water stockpile.
  18. Begin raising livestock for food that can enhance the nutrition level of your food stockpile.
  19. Save seeds from garden for future crops in the event shipping is shut down.
  20. Identify wild game and fishing resources on and around your property to supplement your food stockpile.
  21. Identify wild edibles on and around your homestead as a backup food supply.

Plan for Security

Another major issue when it comes to a SHTF event will be shelter. Whether it’s an extreme weather event or something else, steps you take now will mean you can quickly protect your house and livestock shelters against extreme weather or intruders.

  1. Build storm shutters to protect windows and doors to protect against extreme weather. Have these ready and accessible or even installed so they can simply be closed and locked with very little warning.
  2. Reinforce door locks to keep intruders out of your home. This is a step everyone should do anyways to protect against burglary and home invasion.
  3. Build a safe room to use in the event intruders do get into your home or in the event of a tornado or other extreme weather event.
  4. Clear out brush around your home to create a clear line of site to protect against intruders sneaking around your property.
  5. Stockpile firearms and ammunition and other weapons for self-defense.
  6. Consider forming a “survival group” with trusted neighbors or family/friends.
  7. Build a secure fence with locked gate around the perimeter of your homestead to secure against intruders.
  8. Establish early alert systems and other perimeter deterrents to protect against intruders.

Additional Ways to Prepare Your Homestead for SHTF

  1. Prepare for waste disposal (Composting Toilet/Humanure) when sanitation systems shut down.
  2. Install a fireplace for heating your home and for hot water.
  3. Install a solar power system to run critical appliances if the power grid fails.
  4. Stockpile batteries of various sizes to use during a power outage.
  5. Install a wind turbine for supplemental power in case of a grid failure.
  6. Buy/Build a generator to run critical systems during short term power outages.
  7. Bury backup supplies in hidden cache locations on and around your homestead as a backup in the event your supplies are stolen or confiscated.
  8. Stockpile personal medications or identify natural alternatives to treat chronic medical conditions when pharmacies are closed.
  9. Buy/Build a ham radio system for communication with family or group members and to monitor news and events happening in your area.
  10. Make any repairs to house and livestock buildings regularly to safeguard your shelter.
  11. Stockpile replacement parts for vehicles and manual equipment in the event of a mechanical failure.
  12. Create plans and assign duties for possible scenarios (in case of fire, tornado, intruders, etc.) so each family can act quickly in a crisis.
  13. Consider bulletproof options for your vehicle and house to safeguard against an intruder attack.
  14. Establish a method for properly storing gasoline and other fuels for vehicles and for heating your home.
  15. Begin growing your own fodder to feed livestock to sustain them if feed supply stores are wiped out or shut down.
  16. Improve insulation in your home and barn to increase your ability to stay warm in cold weather and cooler in hot weather.
  17. Establish a system for washing clothes without power.
  18. Stockpile firewood to use for heating and cooking in an extended grid down situation.
  19. Pay off as much debt as possible, use excess to enhance your stockpile.
  20. Create ways to make money from your homestead even in a grid down situation.
  21. Stockpile items (honey, cigarettes, sugar, coffee, etc.) that can be used to barter for other items you may need to survive.

Is your homestead prepared for SHTF? What steps have you taken to prepare? Which of the 50 ways to prepare will you consider?

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 truth is although you may get some advanced warning of a SHTF situation, no one will predict it with absolute certainty. There are however some predicted behaviors and events