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In almost every post we talk of preparing for disasters or emergencies and the simple steps you can take ahead of time to become prepared. Being prepared for specific or even general instances is a worthy goal, but once you get beyond the basics of survival what else is needed? The basics of survival are food, water, shelter and security and we lay out a lot of ideas and recommendations for how to cover those four bases in our how to start prepping article. But does that advice make sense for you in your situation when someone asks you the question what are you prepping for? In some cases, are the basics really basic? What constitutes a disaster to you and is there only one path to becoming “prepared” for anyone and everyone?

What are you prepping for?

There are some really great prepping checklists out there and the general idea is that you can print out these lists of items to purchase or gather together and when you have completely checked off everything on the checklist, you will be all set. It’s so simple when you look at it this way, but the problem or at least something to consider with any checklist is how it pertains to you and your situation. Does this checklist make sense and more importantly, will it help you get prepared for what you think is coming down the road?

I think the answer could be no in certain situations and that is what I wanted to discuss today. Just because you have a list of survival items, it doesn’t mean that you will survive. Having gear doesn’t guarantee you will make it through anything better than anyone else, but they can be useful tools that could assist you in a survival scenario. I could have all the mountain climbing gear that the professionals own and still not possess the skills to make it up or down a mountain if I had to rely on the gear I didn’t know how to use. Could I use the rope somehow to help me down a sheer face? Possibly, but is getting that type of gear going to help me in my home in suburbia?

I think before you start compiling lists of items and wearing out your credit card on Amazon.com or the local camping store it is important to frame your efforts by getting a general picture of your end destination prior to jumping in and going in directions that might not help you get there in the fastest way. Before you start gathering a ton of gear for your bug out bag, ask yourself the question, what am I prepping for? Doomsday preppers does this every week and they let the preppers state what they are preparing for. You will hear in their own words everything from super tornadoes to massive earthquakes, tsunamis, nuclear war, economic collapse, government tyranny, global pandemic and dozens of others. These preppers have all put a figurative face on what it is they are preparing for and they can state what that is.

It’s important to have something you can visualize I believe because every decision after that can be viewed from the standpoint of is this going to help me prepare for X. Is this box of MRE’s going to help me prepare for an EMP attack from North Korea? Will this shotgun protect me from a super volcano? Will these heirloom seeds protect me from an earthquake? You aren’t limited to one thing either and for a lot of us, we see a few different scenarios that could happen and we prepare accordingly for both. Knowing what you are preparing for will help you identify what you need to do and putting these into a priority order will assist you when you ask yourself the next question of what to do first. The priority is up to you based upon what you know.

What will you need to be able to survive that threat?

After you know what it is you are prepping for, the next step is to make those lists that will help you cope with whatever disaster you are envisioning. If you could lay out everything you think you need on the floor to deal with that disaster you identified above, what would that list of items be? I will say that the four basics of Food, Water, Shelter and Security would be at the top of any list for the simple reason that you have to have all of those to live. You must have food or you will die in three weeks. You must have clean water or you will die in three days and you must have shelter from the elements or you could die in three hours. Those are pretty universal and should be at the top of anyone’s prepper list of supplies if you plan on any disaster that will prevent you from easily accessing these items for some duration.


I include security in my 4 basics because history shows again and again that in bad times, bad people will do bad things. Even some good people will do bad things out of desperation. I don’t want to have to defend my home with a can of green beans so I have firearms to protect my family.

But what else? The other items on your list begin after you have taken care of the basics. What does your disaster scenario tell you about your preps? What are the gaps between what you have and what you believe you need to survive a disaster?

Inventory what you currently have

When people ask me how to start prepping, there are a lot of things you could potentially need to take care of but in most cases, you already have some supplies.

One of the misconceptions about being a prepper is that the first thing you need to do is run out and get some camouflage pants and buy a gas mask, hop on your 4-wheeler and go tearing through the woods. Leave that to the people who are on Doomsday Preppers. The average family doesn’t do anything like that but again it goes back to what you are prepping for and if those camo pants or that gas mask could help you with your envisioned disaster. Let’s say you are prepping for something that happens every year in every state and that is a temporary loss of electrical power due to storms. What items would you need to deal with a blackout? What items on your lists do you already have and what do you need to consider acquiring?


For starters you should consider light. Most people already have flashlights, some may have lanterns and almost everyone can scrounge up a candle from somewhere. Do you have any way to prepare the food you have stored? Can you cook if the power has gone out? What about backup power? Do you have a generator or solar panels and batteries? Do you have a car? If so, an easy way to provide power in a blackout is to run an inverter off your car into your home. This will give you enough juice to power small electronics and charge things like cell phones and laptops. The only thing you would need really is the inverter and plenty of fuel that has been stored properly to run your car. For my lists, I write down everything I have as well as everything I need so that all items can be considered as part of my plan. This way I can identify where I have some redundancy built in.

Who are you prepping for?

Many of you are prepping for families and most of the items you would need to consider for any type of disaster could benefit everyone in your home, but there are some items you will need to be specific about. Do you have small children who are still in diapers or are drinking formula? Do you have pets that will need to be fed if the disaster prevents you from making it out to the store? What about taking your pets with you during a disaster? Do you have elderly relatives that may need to stay with you? Does anyone have medications that need to be kept cool? Do you have enough of these medications to last the duration of the disaster?


One thing I have tried to balance is my family’s needs versus their fashion sense. In my family, I am the only guy so it isn’t easy getting the women in my life to buy rugged 5.11 tactical pants. I can’t convince them that their trendy footwear is all but worthless and they should buy more substantial shoes that could actually last if we had to walk a hundred miles. I already know that any thoughts of us bugging out into the woods would not go as smoothly as I hope, even if I thought that was a good idea. The amount of gear they can handle, the intensity of work they might be asked to do and their general morale needs have to be considered in a disaster or else you could have meltdowns when you are already stressed to the breaking point. If you are planning to survive, you have to plan for everyone’s needs and their limitations as well. This will further help you know what you need to focus on and what should get priority.

What skills do you have to survive?

Thinking about your disaster that you are planning for, visualize what life will be like in the immediate aftermath. What situations can you see happening to your family that you would be relied upon to deal with since you are the one who was ‘into prepping’ in the first place. Could you offer basic first aid? Do you know how to properly use the firearms you want to purchase? Do you already have a garden for those heirloom seeds? Do you know how to address sanitation issues and keep your family healthy so that an easily preventable bug doesn’t kill them?

In our society that has everything functioning, we stopped worrying about all the things we used to worry about. Clean (relatively) water comes out of the tap and washes our waste away never to be seen again. We have washers and driers to get our clothes clean and dishwashers to clean our dishes. Warm showers keep us clean and if we get injured we have ambulances and hospitals. What if you take all of that away?


Skills in living without the conveniences of life might trump knowing how to start a fire with a fire plough if you have plenty of lighters. You might need to figure out how to take care of everyone’s bathroom needs sooner than you think so don’t assume you need to be a ninja medic and that’s it. Survival isn’t always Rambo running through the woods of Washington state making booby traps. Survival is the small but important things too and knowing how to deal with number 2 might be more practical to know than how to make a booby trap.

How long?

Lastly, once I have all the supplies listed that I think I need, start adding time to the duration. Are you planning for a power outage that lasts 3 days? What if it lasted 3 weeks? We have had that before with winter storms so it is certainly possible. That global pandemic? What if you had to stay in your home for 6 months? How would that affect your supplies?

You can start off small and cover the basics and build as you go. As you build out your supplies, you should be able to weather longer durations of the disaster. How long do you plan for? That is really up to you and your resources. FEMA recommends being able to live in your home for 3 days. I think a wiser goal that should account for 98% of all events would be more like 6 months. Do your supplies allow you to do this?

Hopefully this helps any of you who are trying to formulate a disaster plan. If you have any questions or suggestions please let me know in the comment below and good luck!


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In almost every post we talk of preparing for disasters or emergencies and the simple steps you can take ahead of time to become prepared. Being prepared for specific or

What if the SHTF when you are away from your home? What if you are on the big family vacation down at the Grand Canyon and the global economy finally tanks like a drunken toddler going down the stairs on roller-skates? You could be hundreds, maybe thousands of miles away from your home, your supplies and everything you have been preparing for. All of your careful planning, saving and prioritizing would be wasted if you couldn’t get back home to the comparative safety of your home or retreat.

This is something I think about whenever I have to travel out-of-town so I have developed a couple of processes to help me if my main priority is getting back home. The steps I take are different and my plans need to be adjusted depending on how I am traveling and who I am traveling with. Naturally, the distance and duration of my travel has an impact on my plans as well.

Distance

If I have to travel less than 500 miles away from home, I try to drive. Why drive 500 miles when you can simply hop on a plane you ask? For several reasons, I dislike flying. No, let me say I hate flying with a blind passion.

Read more: What will you do when there’s no doctor or medicine around?

When you fly anywhere now, unless you are going from one major city to another major city you will most likely be on multiple flights. The airlines do this so they can combine travelers on bigger jets but it makes a simple trip for the average person a pain in the rump. If you have one of these multiple hop nightmares, you could face delays on one leg that make you late for your connecting flight. There are few things more infuriating than running with your luggage across a crowded airport only to arrive at your next gate and watch the plane you were supposed to be on slowly pulling away. No, they won’t come back for you either. Add to this security delays, which mean you need to get to the airport earlier, parking, shuttles, luggage hassles, not to mention the ultimate insult as they grope you and your family.

I do still fly, but with certain considerations and it isn’t my first choice. If you are flying, you have much less you can do in the way of taking major preparations with you. Less than 500 miles I like to drive because my trip starts the minute I leave my driveway. I can also take firearms, extra food and water and other items I may need if I have to get back home. You can still carry firearms on a plane, but in a car, there is almost zero hassle.

Alone or With Companions

If I am traveling alone, I definitely carry fewer items in my survival kit. Actually, I don’t take a true survival kit that you would recognize. I always have my EDC which consists of knife, multi-tool, handkerchief, water etc. I also carry concealed if the state I am traveling to honors my permit. I don’t worry about carrying too much extra food, because I am not as concerned with feeding myself as I would be if I had a hungry wife and kids with me.

Read more: Knowledge to survive any medical crisis situation

If I am traveling with my family, I bring much more because I have more people to consider. Hunger, at a minimum, can seriously harm morale and is one of the easiest concerns to prepare for.

Food

Traveling with a family, our family anyways, involves food. There is something about a car trip that makes everyone hungry so snacks are necessary just to get us to the next food stop. I think there is some chemical aroma that our car puts off that makes you hungry if you are in it more than 20 minutes. It may be years worth of fries under the seats. We make sure we have more than enough snacks for our trip for everyone in the car. These don’t seem like much, but the caloric count of the snacks we have in the cooler would more than make up for a days’ worth of eating.

Water

Depending on the time of year we adjust the amount of water we carry in our car. Regardless of the outside temperature, everyone has a full Nalgene bottle before we leave the house. We also have enough bottled water to last us each 2 days. This isn’t enough to take showers or cook with, but we wouldn’t die of dehydration.

Read more: Build yourself the only unlimited water source you’ll ever need

Now, if we are driving through the desert, we pack more. I have also packed my backpacking water filters on occasion and always carry water purification tables in my Get Home Bag.

First Aid

I found an excellent combat medic bag at a gun show last year for $80 and this is always in the car with us on long trips. This has more supplies than I would ever use on a standard trip, hopefully ever, but I have this for a couple of reasons. First, if we are in a serious car accident, or witness a serious car accident I would be able to immediately assist with first aid (provided I wasn’t the one injured) and possibly save a life. The second reason is that if we had a grid-down scenario I would like to have my first- aid bag on steroids with me and not at my house. In this bag I have all of the normal items and some major blood stoppers.

Eventually, my plan is to add an IV. This bag is really to treat and stabilize major trauma; immobilize injuries and stop blood loss. I don’t think there is one Band-Aid in the whole bag. I also have a simpler first-aid kit that we bring with us on day trips. This is augmented with survival blankets,but the Combat Lifesaver is left in the car most of the time.

Weather

You should have a pretty decent idea of the weather you are going to encounter along your trip and at your destination. With the prevalence of weather websites and smart phone apps there is no reason except for laziness to not know how to pack. Is there a snow storm planned for where you are taking a vacation? Hurricanes in the summer can wreck all of your vacation plans, but these are the big-ticket items that receive a lot of notice on the news. What if there is no hurricane or blizzard, but you don’t pack a jacket and the temperatures are lower than you expect? You have to plan clothing that could keep you alive.

Read more: The vital self-sufficiency lessons our great grand-fathers left us

At a minimum I try to pack like I am not coming home. I bring too many clothes, but I am usually prepared for any weather. I have a rain blocker and a fleece if I am going anywhere where the forecast is rain or cooler temperatures. Even at the beach, nights can be cool. Could I live without the fleece if I only have to go back inside? Sure, but what if I am stuck outside and that fleece is the only thing keeping me warm overnight? My little trick is to have and wear clothes that would keep me alive if I didn’t have a car or a warm house to go to. This usually involves headgear and gloves which never get used, but it’s nice to have them as backup.

Fuel

Having all of the items you need to survive a collapse is great, but if you don’t have enough fuel to get you where you are going, it could be a much less pleasant trip. If you are driving, never let your tank get below half-full. This way your vehicle can get you closer to home regardless of what happens during your trip. Having the vehicle you are in maintained is a no-brainer also.

Firearms

Every trip I can, the firearms go with me. Why? What if the SHTF and you are hundreds of miles away from your AR? Just like clothing, I imagine what it would be like if I had to shoot my way back home. It may sound paranoid, but I have several firearms with multiple magazines each and at least one rifle. In some cases I have more than that. Again, all state and federal laws should be obeyed, but I don’t like being away from home without some serious firepower. Murphy’s Law states that would be when I would need it.

All of this is fine if you are driving, but what if you have to fly or you are traveling internationally? You can still travel with a lot of the items I mention above but every situation is different. You may need to adjust your plans to your travel requirements. It may help you in the use as I described though and if nothing else; it may help you prioritize when you are packing next time. Is there a case to be made for minimalism and making do with less or using items differently, of course. The main point is to be prepared and if that means another suitcase, so be it.

If you have travel ideas or tips, please share them with everyone in the comments below  and “safe travels”!


Other self-sufficiency and preparedness solutions recommended for you:

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

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

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What if the SHTF when you are away from your home?

No, this isn’t a trick question and I do think there are very big differences between someone who calls themselves a survivalist and someone who prefers to use the term Prepper. Regardless of what I think though these two terms are interchangeably used to describe a wide swath of people. These people all have different motivations and philosophies on what they are doing and why. Survivalists and Prepper are just labels. Labels like this though can pigeon-hole people into thinking they need to act a certain way or it can cause assumptions from others based upon their own perceptions of what these words mean.

How are Survivalists and Preppers alike?

Let’s start with the easy stuff first. What do people who call themselves Survivalists have in common with a Prepper? I think at their core, Survivalists, and Preppers both have a deep desire to live. This is not a fear of dying but rather a strong yearning to live life on their own terms. You will find tenacity in both Preppers and Survivalists to try to see the options they have before them. If you give up easily or become defeated too quickly you probably don’t deserve to call yourself a member of either team just yet.

Both Survivalists and Preppers like to prepare for unforeseen events, but I do believe Survivalists have a slightly more cavalier attitude about their chances for survival. Survivalists may give more weight to learning how to forage in the woods and eat grubs while their Prepper cousins might be more comfortable storing food to last as long as possible or creating a garden with heirloom seeds. The grub worms and fiddle-head fern salads can wait as long as possible, thank you.

Along with the desire to live I think Preppers and Survivalists both have a positive mental attitude towards overcoming obstacles when it comes to survival. They both hold a belief that with the right training, mental outlook and circumstances, no situation is ever more than they can bear. I have spoken to a lot of people who seem to want to shut down in the face of adversity or impending doom. Their response to my questions about prepping are usually something like “well we are all gonna die anyway, so what’s the point?” and this is 180 degrees from how I think we as humans should be.

What if the early settlers of our country just said, “I quit.”? They faced starvation, disease, death on a daily basis and still managed to carve a country out of the wilderness with zero government assistance, WIC vouchers, National Healthcare, MRE’s, GPS, Bug Out vehicles or smartphones. Do you think they had a desire to live and a positive mental attitude? We come from those same people who braved the elements, sailed across seas for months and landed in a foreign land with not much more than the clothes on their backs. They were the original Survivalists and Preppers and their blood runs through our veins.

How are they different?

As I said above, I think these terms get used interchangeably all of the time and in certain context, the meaning may be blurred. For instance, there are a lot of websites that have Survival in the name that I look up to and respect greatly. They offer a ton of useful information on Survival, and I have linked to several of them on our resources page. I am not referring to the word Survival here because I think we all want to survive something.

When I speak of “Survivalists” with a capital S I am referring to people who will label themselves as such. I think Survivalists lean more toward the ideal that Bear Grylls and Les Stroud have promoted with their respective TV shows showing how they both can survive in the wilderness on all manner of strange tricks and skills that the normal person would never be in a place to use. I think some Survivalists see themselves as being deserted in a jungle somewhere with only a rusty coke can and a bandana to survive. Now, if this happens to you, would all of those Bear Grylls skills come in handy? Absolutely, but to base your entire understanding of the possibilities of what this life can throw at you on a couple of reality shows seems to miss the point to me.

To quote our current President, “Now, let me be clear” I love watching Bear Grylls and Les Stroud and other shows I can’t remember. Those shows do pass along knowledge that you can use and this applies just as much to the suburban prepper as it does to the Survivalist. I just prefer to take that knowledge and try to apply it to a different potential reality.

Preppers, on the other hand, do not seem to have most of the same scenarios in mind when they are preparing for an uncertain future. Preppers typically have one or more situations they view as inevitable and they make plans to mitigate the bad effects you could be faced with in that situation. For example, if a Prepper lived in Tornado alley, they would rightfully be concerned and their preps would almost certainly start with safety should a Tornado strike. They could go one past that and plan for survival after the tornado with food, water and shelter options that could help them and their neighbors in the days and weeks after any type of natural disaster like that.

Preppers also do not seem to make plans with only themselves involved. Preppers like to form groups and communities and try to get others involved, engaged and on-board when it is prudent to do so. I know there are survivalist groups as well, but they still seem to be more likely to want to be away from people before there is any actual need to.

Survivalists that I have run across definitely have a different way they present themselves when the subject of hypothetical grid-down scenarios are presented. I do get the sense that in some cases, they seem to have a “let them go to hell” mentality and I don’t think that is what Preppers would agree with on the surface. Now, I will freely admit that I haven’t met everyone, don’t know what is in anyone’s heart but mine and I could be very guilt of gross stereotyping here. If that is the case I apologize and I would love to hear your side in the comments below. I am not trying to pick a fight, just comparing and contrasting some people/themes based upon my observations.

Lastly, Preppers seem to be looking for a lifestyle change on top of their preparations. Eating more Organic food, living healthier lives, becoming more self-sufficient are common themes and this transcends any natural disaster. It shows a desire to have a better life and that is something I think we could all use.

Which one is best?

I don’t think it is as black and white as I have made it out to be in the paragraphs above. I certainly think that if the SHTF we would all be in for a huge reality check and there is no telling how we each might act. Who knows what type of situations we may be faced with and what will be necessary in order to live and keep our families safe. We might all end up being in the same boat, bashing each other over the head with the last broken oar. I hope not.

I like to identify with Preppers, but I do know that if faced with certain triggers, I might fall squarely into the Survivalist camp that I was painting with a broad brush a little earlier. I guess we are just two sides of the same coin, but we are both made of the same mettle. I don’t think there is anything wrong with that at all.

No, this isn’t a trick question and I do think there are very big differences between someone who calls themselves a survivalist and someone who prefers to use the term

When SHTF, you better be in shape and your fitness level now is probably not as great as you will wish it was in a survival situation. In emergencies, our bodies are going to be called into action that a lot of us aren’t used to, there will be more stress, less rest and more muscle strength required. Even if you are physically active now, the routine chores that you could find yourself doing will tax your muscles and stamina in a way that in the best case scenario will take some getting used to.

When finding food isn’t achieved by walking to the fridge or pulling around to the drive-thru and cleaning up involves a lot more than jumping in the shower, your body will need to adjust. That doesn’t even get into the possibilities of running for your life or defending yourself from violence. Now is the time to make sure that your survival fitness levels are as good as they can be.

Here is what every single survivalist should know about getting fit and staying strong before the apocalypse strikes.

Strength

You don’t need a fancy weight room or home gym to get stronger. You can improve your strength with nothing more than the items that you already have at home. Filling socks with grains or rice can make for weights. Cans of soup work just as well, too. Chopping wood also builds up your strength.

 

Even your bug out bag, which should have supplies like clothing, food, water and other necessary items like sunglasses and replaceable lenses, weapons and electronics, can come in handy for a home workout to improve your strength. Strap it on — don’t take anything out — and do your workout. This way you’re even more prepared for TEOTWAWKI since you’re training with your full pack.

Home workouts are just fine. But if you’re searching for something more intense, other workouts, like CrossFit, can challenge all of your muscle groups. In addition to challenging you physically, the group fitness program also challenges you mentally. Find a CrossFit box to join in your community and get fit with a like-minded community of fitness fanatics.

Stamina

You’re going to be counting on your endurance in any survival situation, and that goes for surviving the end of the world, too. Stamina gives you the necessary power to boost you through any physical activity at your peak. Stamina depends on a healthy, lean diet, regular fitness and an overall healthy lifestyle.

Aerobic activities that work all of your muscles and get your heart pumping, like running or riding a bike, can help boost your endurance and should be done regularly. The American College of Sports Medicine reports that weight training also benefits stamina. Sleep is also crucial to building up your endurance.

Flexibility

Yoga isn’t just for green-juice-drinking hippies. It can make you stronger and more flexible. And believe it or not, these things can help you survive the world’s end. Yoga can help you develop a strong core, which gives you more power and control over your body, and it also improves your balance. If your body is flexible, you are going to be less likely to suffer from a pulled muscle when you’re out in the field. Yoga can even make you more agile.

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You don’t even have to leave your house to learn yoga, you just need an Internet connection. Man Flow Yoga has online classes that are structured just for men.

Speed

You’ve got to be able to outrun the enemy. And newsflash, you’re not going to be able to do that if you’re sitting idle on the couch. You need to start running. Do something that works for you. If you’re comfortable running for 30 minutes at a consistent pace, it’s time to do something that makes you faster. Add more mileage to your runs, but remember that you still need to take days off from your training.


Other self-sufficiency and preparedness solutions recommended for you:

Healthy Soil + Healthy Plants = Healthy You

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

Knowledge to survive any medical crisis situation

Liberal’s hidden agenda: more than just your guns

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

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

Secure your privacy in just 10 simple steps

When SHTF, you better be in shape and your fitness level now is probably not as great as you will wish it was in a survival situation. In emergencies, our

Last week on National Geographic’s American Blackout we got to see a lot of common problems presented as the result of a power grid collapse that lasted 10 days. One problem that everyone faced, but didn’t receive a lot of air time was the lack of drinking water.

National Geographic did not demonstrate any methods for obtaining water other than going to the store, or as in the case of the people trapped in the elevator and eventually the roof of a building, collecting some from a bucket that had been left in the rain. Since water is one of the most important elements for our survival I wanted to go over some methods of storing water and treating water that could help you in a disaster situation. You must have water if the grid goes down and you expect to live.

Read more: Knowledge to survive any medical crisis situation

If you find yourself without power as they did in American Blackout, food and water were their priorities. Safety and security weren’t big issues until people started living without food and water. The nice veneer of society will vanish in a few days max even if we are only living through a power outage. Can you imagine if there was sickness or a disease pandemic? Can you envision how chaotic a hurricane knocking your town into the ocean would be? The situation presented in American Blackout gave us a lot to learn I think, but as far as disaster goes, a power grid failure would not be anywhere near as severe as a lot of other possibilities.

Now, I am not try to trivialize the scenario at all. A national power grid failure would be catastrophic but only because people aren’t prepared. I think it’s very telling when you consider how many lives might be altered forever just by not having some electricity. I think it is sad that our world is so dependent upon electricity that millions potentially would starve, riot and die because they were forced to live like our not too distant relatives did. Can you imagine the pioneers if you presented this situation to them? OK, just imagine how horrible it would be if there was no electricity… No what?

Where to find water

Water is everywhere normally unless you live in the desert. That is one reason why not too many people I know recommend living in Phoenix if the grid goes down. For the rest of us that live in closer proximity to lakes, rivers, ponds and streams we have a lot of options for finding water if we are faced with the task of collecting enough to drink. In American Blackout, the people who lived in the city had no water in the pipes because the electricity needed to pump water up into tall buildings was nonexistent. That doesn’t mean there isn’t any water in the city though.

Read more: Build yourself the only unlimited water source you’ll ever need

I was surprised they did not have someone manning a hydrant letting people fill up jugs of water. The sheer volume of water contained in the fire hydrant systems of large cities if used properly could have probably lasted a week. Could you have taken showers and washed your car? No, but it is a source of water that could have been tapped into if you pardon the pun.

 

Water Hydrants are a source of water in an emergency

I could go into making a solar still or collecting the condensation off the leaves of plants with a bag or getting water from a tree even, but that is for another post. I want to talk to the majority of us that have water all around us and we simply need to get it and make it safe for drinking. In that I’ll start with the obvious and that is you should have water for everyone in your family on hand at all times. Water is cheap (relatively) and it is easy to find. You drink it every day now and there is no reason to be without a minimum of one week worth of water no matter who you are or where you live.

I talked about ways to store water in our Power Blackout checklist post last week and you should have a similar plan right now for your family. Don’t wait until the power goes out to run to the store and try to find a gallon or two.

Water in a suburban setting is most easily collected from rain. Once you have rain barrels set up you don’t have to do anything. When it rains, your barrels will fill up and all you would have to do is make sure it is filtered or disinfected. Water can be used from any stream or creek or lake. What about the golf course down the street? You can drain your water heater in a pinch just by opening the drain valve at the bottom. The trick is to look around you for locations that have water in your neighborhood that you might need to access in a grid down scenario, but don’t neglect stocking up on your own. The stream down the road might be dry.

How to carry water

A cart like this with some modification is an excellent option for carrying heavy water with easy

A cart like this with some modification is an excellent option for carrying heavy water with ease.

Humans on average need a gallon of water per day to stay hydrated and provide cooking and hygiene. I think that amount is slightly off because it can’t be the same amount for small children, but who cares. We will use it for a guideline and obviously that guideline has to be adjusted for the scenario you find yourself in. If it’s the middle of summer, temperatures are soaring and you are doing a lot of manual work that amount could easily double. What if you are sick and are throwing up? It’s best to always have more than the average amount of water on hand and you need to have a plan for getting water and bringing it back to your location.

Let’s say you live near a body of water (lake, stream, well, fish pond) and the power is out. How are you going to get water to drink? You could just walk down there and fill up your Nalgene bottle and walk back, but that is going to take a lot of time and energy for something that won’t last long. You need a way to carry a considerable amount of water at one time to reduce your trips and cut down on your risk of being caught out.

You need to plan now for containers that will hold several gallons of water at a minimum, but carrying these will be difficult without a wagon, cart or improvised method of weight distribution. One of my readers commented that they were planning on using a deer cart to tote their bug out gear and I think that makes a great option for carrying water too. Like the woman in the picture above, running out for a drink of water might not be as simple as it used to be. You have to plan to carry enough back so that you won’t need to go out for another couple of days hopefully.

How to treat water

There are many ways of filtering water and making it safe to drink and I have listed several down below.

 

Berkey Filters are excellent Prepper resources.

Filters – Hands down my favorite method of treating water. Why? Because it is the simplest and takes the least amount of energy for the return on investment. I recommend two types of filters to be part of your preps. For my home, I use a Berkey Light water filter. I simply dump a couple of gallons in the top and clean water comes out the bottom. Obviously, you want to ensure you are filtering as much gunk out of your water before you bring it into your filter so as to keep your filter elements clean for as long as possible.

Read more: The vital self-sufficiency lessons our great grand-fathers left us

For portable alternatives, I have a pair of MSR water filters. These work great and have kept us in plenty of cool clean water on several backpacking trips with our family. You just pump the water through the pump and clean fresh water is delivered to your water bottle.

Boiling Water – Boiling is probably the oldest method of disinfecting water but it works! All you need is a container (preferably not plastic) and heat. Bring your water to a boil and let the water boil for a couple of minutes and that’s it. The boiling will kill any bacteria and you can drink the water. Let it cool off first

Ultra violet light – there are UV pens that they sell for camping that are supposed to kill any bacteria in water. I have never used these so my assumption is that it may kill the bacteria, it won’t help the taste or make the water technically cleaner. Saving your life is what is most important though so if you have to drink some water that has stuff floating in it…as long as you don’t die from a water borne illness you can live to fight another day.

Chlorination – Chlorine Bleach is probably the most common household item that you will have that can be used to disinfect your drinking water but it is a little tricky. Chlorine is affected by the temperature of the water you are treating. Always try to filter any water that may be cloudy with contaminants such as lake water first. You can use paint filters or a bandana if necessary. If the water is room temperature (meaning not cold or hot) you would add two to four drops of chlorine bleach per quart. Shake well and let the container sit for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, smell the water. It should smell like chlorine and this is normal. If it doesn’t smell like chlorine add another drop or two and let it sit for 30 additional minutes. By drops we are talking about an eye-dropper size drop, not a dollop.

Distillation – Distillation is another option but requires more equipment than the average person will be able to acquire much less put together in an emergency. Another option is the SODIS method which uses UV light (sunlight) to treat water stored in clear containers. There is a lot of information about this method online and here.


Other self-sufficiency and preparedness solutions recommended for you:

Healthy Soil + Healthy Plants = Healthy You

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

Knowledge to survive any medical crisis situation

Liberal’s hidden agenda: more than just your guns

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

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

Secure your privacy in just 10 simple steps

Last week on National Geographic’s American Blackout we got to see a lot of common problems presented as the result of a power grid collapse that lasted 10 days. One

To the individual who is either interested in Prepping or already knee-deep into preparing for any number of potential emergencies or disasters, security has to be one of your primary concerns. This is not any truer if you have a family than if you are all alone. The simple fact of life is that when people are scared, hurting or in some other way seriously under duress, the niceness of society disappears quickly. Someone who used to be your best friend will kill you if you are standing between food and their baby is starving.

It should be clear from any number of recent disasters where looting happened within days that you and your family need to plan for security wherever you are. Firearms are most commonly (and for good reason) associated with security. Are there other options? Sure, but I would rather have my trusty shotgun as opposed to a baseball bat and harsh language if there were a bunch of people trying to knock down my door any day. So, with that in mind, below are my list of the top 5 firearms you need to get your hands on now. This of course assumes you don’t have any firearms for personal protection and you aren’t philosophically opposed to defending your family’s life with deadly force if it comes to that.

#1 Shotgun

As I explained in my earlier post, if you only have the time or means to purchase one firearm to defend yourself and your family it should be a shotgun. Shotguns are everywhere and they are relatively inexpensive to purchase. Where is the best place to purchase a shotgun? You can walk into just about any Wal-Mart and pick up a reasonably priced shotgun without too many people even blinking.

Shotguns are pretty simple to use, hold on average 5-6 shots and come with a variety of ammunition options. For home defense or close quarters, a shotgun is very forgiving with respect to nervous aiming. By that I mean you don’t have to be very accurate with a shotgun to do some damage. Even the sound of racking the slide up and down can be an effective deterrent. The two most common calibers are .12 and .20 gauge. The .20 gauge is usually recommended for women and smaller kids because the recoil is less.

In addition to home defense, a shotgun is perfectly suited for hunting both small game and larger animals with the right type of ammunition. Another plus is that shotguns are plentiful and the ammunition isn’t 4 times as high now with the recent talk of gun confiscation by the federal government. You can still pick up plenty of ammo and a nice new shotgun fairly easily. For the tactical minded prepper, you can even augment your shotgun with lots of accessories similar to your pistol or AR-15.

#2 AR-15

Boston’s excellent gun bible. If you want to know the best survival weapons, this book is worth a read.

Speaking of AR-15’s… This would be my second choice if you have a shotgun already. There are several reasons for making an AR-15 next on your purchase list. The first is that this is the weapon you want to use in a variety of other solutions and its strengths lie outside of the shotgun’s sweet spot. The AR-15 chambered in .556 (will also shoot .223) gives you a highly flexible weapon platform. The AR-15 holds a higher capacity of ammunition so you will need to reload less often. When would you possibly need 30 rounds of ammunition? What if your home was being overrun by 50 people who had wandered off the highway from the town 20 miles away and they were deadly intent on taking your home and your possessions away from you? Or on the other end of the spectrum, what if a whole bus load of zombies was walking across the parking lot towards you. Wouldn’t you rather be able to take out 30 of the closest ones before you had to reload? The AR-15, unlike a shotgun is a medium distance hero. Where the shotgun is good for close quarters, you wouldn’t expect to hit anything with any real power above 30-40 yards. The AR-15, in a competent shooter’s hand is excellent up to 300 meters on any day. I would rather take care of the bad guys when they are very far away from me and my family.

On top of its usefulness at taking out bad guys, it uses the same ammunition that your local police department, National Guard, military and now Homeland security use and are buying more of every day. The chance that you will be able to acquire some ammunition that is compatible with your AR-15 is very high in certain conditions. Now, the rub is that because of the recent antics by some in our Congress, AR-15’s and the ammunition that go in them is harder to come by. It isn’t impossible though and you can still get an AR-15 for your very own personal use in most locations if you are willing to look around and wait a while. Where can you purchase an AR-15? You can still find quite a few at gun shows everywhere and even at places like Gander Mountain and Cabella’s. Dicks Sporting goods is not stocking them anymore I believe.

Read more: Liberal’s hidden agenda: more than just your guns

Pawn shops and gun stores also have them in stock, but you will be paying a premium now unfortunately. I don’t believe this will change any time soon. If you are waiting for the price to go back to what it was last summer I think you will be out of luck. There are also places online you can purchase them and have them shipped to your local FFL dealer. The dealer will usually charge you a small fee ($25 is normal) for the transaction and long wait times are still going to be a factor. Ammunition is tougher to get and more expensive but it is still out there. Shop around online and go to your gun shows. My research shows that the prices are just about the same, once you add in shipping. Know what the price of 500 and 1000 rounds are before you go to the gun show so you can be a savvy shopper.

#3 Full-size Semi-automatic Pistol – .45 or .40

Pistols are usually the first firearm people choose for a few reasons. They are easier to handle, easier to hide and less wieldy in general. They are the weapon most of the good guys use in the movies so the natural inclination is to get a pistol and you will be all set like Bruce Willis in Die Hard. Pistols definitely have their place, but they would come after an AR-15 and a shotgun in my opinion. Why is that? A wise man once said that “a pistol is what you use to get back to your rifle”. Pistols are for close quarters and you want that to be a last resort. You don’t want to be that close to any bad guys. However, it happens and pistols are an important aspect of your survival battery of arms. Run out of ammunition in your shotgun or AR-15 and then you grab the pistol. Bad guy kicks in the door while you are asleep then you reach for the pistol close to the bed.

Why am I recommending .45 or .40 and not a .9mm? It comes down to stopping power really and I know I may get some blow-back on this topic. I have all three calibers, but if I could only buy one and I was buying this for home defense it would be a .40 caliber. Why not a .45? Well, for the simple fact that you can hold more rounds in the magazine of most .40 calibers because the rounds are a little smaller. That is also why I recommend a full-size and not a sub-compact if you only have one. My 1911 .45 holds 8 rounds and my .40 holds 14. It’s just that I like options and having a few more rounds gives you more options. What about the .9mm you ask? It can hold up to 17 rounds. Yes, and like I said, I have .9mm also, but if you put a big freaked out psychopath in front of me with a machete and told me to pick one gun to use to take him down I would pick up the .45 or .40 before the .9mm.

Where is the best place to purchase a pistol for home defense? Pistols are not as in demand as AR-15’s yet. I was just at Gander Mountain last week and they still had full cases of pistols in all calibers and models. The prices still looked consistent with what I would expect at that store and the only shortage I saw was of Glock. They only had one G27 on display. I personally like purchasing handguns from a gun show but you have to know what you are looking for and the price range you are willing to pay. At a gun show you have a lot more people competing for your business. I recommend finding the gun you are after at every booth, talking to the seller and getting a price. I found $200 worth of difference the last time I went for the same make and caliber of handgun so you should shop around.

Read more: The reason why the US Government is so eager to disarm the American people

Ammunition for handguns is ridiculous now and it’s running about 4 times as expensive as what it used to last year this time. My advice is to get two 50 rounds boxes of hollow-points at a minimum and put those away. After that, go to places like ammunition.com and order in bulk to build up your supply. Make sure you have 4 magazines for each gun also.

#4 Long-Range Rife

When it comes to a long-range rifle, I am talking about between 300 and 600 yards now and this is primarily for hunting. They can also be used to take over where your AR-15 begins to fall short. If you start going too far past 300 yards, your AR-15 will need a little help. Can you still hit targets at that range? Sure but I would rather have a caliber that isn’t slowing down already. My personal recommendation for a long-range rifle is a .30-06.

For one reason, the .30-06 is capable of taking down any big game in North America. You won’t run into an animal that can’t be hunted successfully with a .30-06. Are there other calibers that can do the job? Of course, but in addition to being a great all around hunting weapon, the .30-06 is also a common sniper caliber for police forces.

Where can you purchase a good hunting rifle? They are everywhere from Wal-Mart, Dicks, Cabella’s, Gander Mountain and the local neighborhood pawn shop. You don’t generally need a license to purchase a long rifle and they have lots of use. The ammunition is going to be more expensive, but if you are hunting with this rifle, you will need less; unless you are a horrible shot.

#5 .22 (Pistol and Rifle)

The .22 is great for two things in my mind. In a rifle, the .22 is perfect for small game or varmints. A pistol is great for practice or for use by smaller children. A .22 is a great addition because you can use this to practice your accuracy and not spend a fortune on ammunition. While it is still way more expensive than it used to be you can buy hundreds of .22 ammunition for a fraction of the more common calibers. Additionally, if they ever do try to take away guns, they might leave you with a .22 and something is better than nothing.

Honorable Mentions – Also known as if you have money left over… try these on for size.

Mosin Nagant

The Mosin is a Russian rifle used primarily during WWII and routinely runs around $100 each. For the life of me, I could never find too many of them but if you have no other option, a Mosin is a great rifle to have and could pull dual duty as a hunting rifle or a backup battle rifle. Of course, there are many limitations with the latter approach.

Concealed Carry (.380)

Yes, I do believe every legal firearm owner should carry concealed. In my recent post on the subject I explained all of the reasons I think this is wise and good for society, but it would be one of the last firearms I chose. The reason is that for most people, carrying concealed isn’t really an option unless you have a much smaller weapon. The .380 is perfect and can easily fit in a pocket or purse, but the capacity and stopping power are much lower.

To those of you, who actually finished this post, thank you for reading! I am eager to hear any comments from you on my opinions and what ideas you have for your own personal top 5.


Other self-sufficiency and preparedness solutions recommended for you:

Healthy Soil + Healthy Plants = Healthy You

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

Knowledge to survive any medical crisis situation

Liberal’s hidden agenda: more than just your guns

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

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

Secure your privacy in just 10 simple steps

Plus the reason why the US Government is so eager to disarm the American people.

Oatmeal – Jazzing Up the Ubiquitous Prepper Cereal

Being inexpensive, rolled oats can help us save money now, and it’s a good one to stock up on for the same reasons – cheap, filling and full of endurance-granting slow-release energy. I’m not a big fan of “just” oatmeal as a hot cereal. It’s just … well, boring. Too, I anticipate plenty enough spoon-and-bowl meals from beans and rice, boiled wheat or barley, or soups in a crisis, whether it’s a personal crisis or a widespread disaster. I’d rather avoid more as much as possible. The humble rolled oats tub actually helps me there in a big way.

Using mostly things that are also already in my storage or that are easy and inexpensive to obtain, I can churn out desserts, snacks, sides, dinners and breakfasts that are interesting and varied, and don’t really taste like oatmeal. Oatmeal also has a lot of soothing and absorption properties that gives it some handy topical uses.

Using Oatmeal to Extend Meats & Meals

Mix in flakes of oatmeal and-or lentils and ground beans to extend things like meatloaf, meatballs and the hamburger in stews. Oats also make a fabulous replacement for breadcrumbs that would be used as binding or for coating meats.

Add it into Stovetop or homemade bread dressing or stuffing to increase the healthy fibers and calories, and the feelings of satiety from meals.

 

Grind coarsely or finely and add to flours for bannock, breads, muffins, and biscuits. Zucchini bread, carrot cake and other sweets can take as much as a quarter of the flour in oats without a significant change in texture or flavor. Pancakes, pie crusts, dumplings, cookies and cobblers can all have part of the flour replaced, especially with oats processed to a fine powder.

Fifty-fifty mixes or greater will be far more noticeable and may require additional liquids, but it also increases the heartiness of foods, helps us feel fuller and keep that satisfaction longer over stripped bleached flours especially, gives us healthier, natural arcs of energy, and lowers the glycemic index of foods while helping stomachs process.

Ground oatmeal can also be used to thicken soups, stews and gravy, just like ground beans or lentils that are too old to soak up water efficiently.

Easy Non-Cereal Recipes

Oatmeal has a lot of applications for cooking, without resorting to a bowl of hot cereal. Most of them can be done with a Dutch oven, campfire, rocket stove, or a solar oven or Wonderbag cooker if we don’t have access to our stoves and ovens.

Ash cakes can be made out of pretty much any flour. Using some salt, milk, egg or fats will improve flavor, but the bare-bones way of doing it is to mix just a little water at a time with flour or meal – or in this case, oats – until we can form a patty, then flopping it onto a cooler section of ash. Rolled oats will do best if they’re ground to a flour or if they’re allowed to soak a bit first. As a plain, just-salted version, they make a bread we can have with soups or meats. A little sugar or fruits, and we’re getting closer to a cookie. Alternatively, we can top them with honey or jams, fruits, sweetened cream, or something like a chili or bean medley.

Baked Oatmeal Muffins – A basic recipe with add-in’s for interest and variety is here https://brendid.com/healthy-oatmeal-muffins-no-flour-no-sugar-no-oil/ along with additional links. You can also find dozens of recipes as simple or complicated as you like, with and without other flours and oils, with just about any search. They turn oats into a fast, easy finger food that’s readily portable.

No-Bake Cookies are a staple in some lives. With just a few ingredients and few utensils dirtied, we can use up our oats to satisfy cravings for a fork or finger food as well as a sweet treat. Given the speed with which they disappear as either drop clusters or sliced squares at BSA and adult gatherings these days, during a disaster they’ll be a for-sure hit.

Oatmeal bars can be found as Amish Baked Oatmeal or other standard baked oatmeal, such as this one http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/baked-oatmeal. Oatmeal can also be turned into homemade granola bars. They’re out there in the internet world as soft chewy bars or crunchy options. All of them are adaptable to the fruits, nuts and seeds we have on hand or prefer. There are also homemade granola bars that make use of cereals that store well such as Rice Krispies, Cheerios, or Chex, which can increase the variety even more.

Crunchy granola clusters like this one that has healthier ingredients and a few extra steps and this one that uses lower-cost and easy-to-source ingredients with fewer steps in the process have a lot of versatility. There’s a lot to be said for the ability to turn out a nice snacking portion while using up inexpensive oats, today and later. And, if you’re giddy for it, making mini clusters to throw in as a homemade cold cereal can help provide a different breakfast meal even with a spoon.

Fruit crisps – A basic oatmeal crisp recipe such as this one has a lot of versatility, both now and during a personal crisis or a widespread disaster. We can use it with any pie filling we have, or regular canned fruits we strain or thicken the syrups. We can also use it to make stuffed apples, pears or peaches. It can go over cubed, mashed or pureed pumpkin or sweet potatoes as well, or can be used as a topper for a baked sweet potato. Oatmeal crisp is pretty versatile and forgiving, so we can add a quarter to a half extra oats to our recipe if we want a somewhat heartier and healthier version, or just to help us use up a few more of our rolled oats.

 

Cookies, Pizzas & Pie Crusts – Cookies are pretty cool as they are. Made thick and gooey, they can be a pretty hearty dessert by topping with dried or canned fruit or pie filling, with or without heavy or whipped cream. We can spread them out in a pie pan to make a quickie crust, use a crisp recipe for a pie crust, or we can bake them as a big, wide cookie to then slice up as a dessert pizza topped with cream cheese, frosting or glaze and then whatever fruit, nuts or morsels floats our boat.

Southern Oatmeal Cake – There are numerous versions of oatmeal cakes, although they’re pretty similar. It’s not the prettiest dish in the lineup, but it’s gooey happiness that can satisfy our sweet tooth without enormous expense. For an easier version that’s more storage friendly or to create some variety, we can alternate the topping with tubs of German chocolate cake frosting, reduced sweetened condensed milk, or just honey if coconut isn’t available. It’s also pretty darn nummy just with some heavy cream, whole milk, whipped cream, or clotted cream on top.

Fried Oatmeal is like fried grits. It starts with the cereal we all know, then it gets packed in a glass or a lined bowl, chilled so it sets up, and later, gets turned out and sliced, then fried in grease, butter or oil. The amount or depth of oil in the pan can change the texture some. The size of the slice both in thickness and width-by-height can affect whether it’s a plate meal like pancakes or if it can be picked up like happy French toast fingers for a non-spoon meal. As with pancakes, waffles and French toast, the topping options become endless – fried “dippy” eggs, sweetened syrups or fruits, chocolate or strawberry milk syrup, cinnamon sugar, and sausage bits and honey are favorites in our house. Chopped nuts can be included in the cereal or added on top for a little bit more texture yet.

For additional ideas about using oatmeal, do a search for savory recipes. Even when it’s served as a bowl of hot cereal, inclusions like grated radish, sprouts, fish, and tomatoes and peppers can increase the variety we’re seeing with our rolled oats and help prevent fatigue from them.

Oats Outside the Kitchen

We can really feel our oats sometimes. Probably most of us have already seen or use – possibly regularly – a product that makes use of some of oats’ best qualities. Just as oatmeal is a pretty soothing and mild option for breakfast, it has a lot of uses externally, too.

Oats can be added to bathwater or used as a paste to relieve:

  • Dry, itchy skin (for animals, too)
  • Bug bites
  • Burns & sunburn

It can also be added to soaps for its soothing qualities, or turned into an exfoliating scrub.

Combined with baking soda, we can use ground oatmeal flour as a dry shampoo, scrubbing it in with our fingers, then brushing it out. The two absorb oils and relieve any itching, which can be an excellent low-weight and inexpensive option during sweaty garden seasons should water be in limited supply.

That dry shampoo can also safely be used on cats and dogs, to save money on no-rinse shampoos, to avoid stressing a pet with a shower bath, to treat flea or grass allergies, or to avoid getting them wet in cold weather.

Satchels & Sachets

When we don’t really want to turn a bath into an oatmeal pot to scrub, or don’t have a tub available, we can make little balls of rolled oats, with or without additives like baking soda or herbs and oils to gain relief from skin irritations. We can use them in showers, baths, creeks, or just dampened and dabbed on affected areas.

Those, too, can be used on our pets to treat hot spots, bites, and irritated skin.

Satchels of rolled oats can also be used to:

  • Absorb odors in shoes, closets, bags, coolers
  • Absorb moisture from containers before sealing, or sealed with important items

Heat relieves some of the discomfort from cramps, headaches and muscle pains. Pouches can also be filled with warmed dry oatmeal to create in-the-glove or pocket hand-warmers.

Using Up Oats

Oats are a major part of prepper food storage kits because they’re inexpensive. They store well, last well past supermarket best-by dates, have a lot of health benefits for the gut and cardiovascular system, and the fiber and whole grains of rolled oats help us feel full for longer as well as provide slow-release energy that can keep us moving through long days of work or travel.

Happily, they’re also pretty versatile, and with a little creativity we can use them to stretch our budgets now as well as increase our food storage.

There are probably fifty million more recipes out there for making oats without a steaming bowl and spoon, from breads to desserts. There are probably another dozen helpful ways to use it up outside the kitchen. These are just a few of my favorites, due to the ease or the effectiveness of them. Feel free to tag on your additional favorite non-cereal-bowl recipes and uses outside the kitchen.


Other self-sufficiency and preparedness solutions recommended for you:

Healthy Soil + Healthy Plants = Healthy You

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

Knowledge to survive any medical crisis situation

Liberal’s hidden agenda: more than just your guns

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

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

Secure your privacy in just 10 simple steps

Oatmeal – Jazzing Up the Ubiquitous Prepper Cereal Being inexpensive, rolled oats can help us save money now, and it’s a good one to stock up on for the same reasons

I was inspired to write this post while watching my favorite TV show, the Walking Dead. My wife and I only watch one TV show and this one, while I know it doesn’t appeal to everyone, is great in my opinion. It isn’t that I believe that flesh eating zombies are in our future, but the writing is creative and the scenarios the characters face are exactly the same (minus the walking dead) as any apocalyptic vision you can imagine. Take out the zombies and imagine a world after an economic collapse or pandemic and you would have similar problems as the characters in this show I think.

I got the idea to write about makeshift grills from a recent episode. All cooking that happens in the Walking Dead is usually done over an open flame. If we have TEOTWAWKI we will all need to be more resourceful. Even if the whole world isn’t thrown for a SHTF loop, natural disasters like the 2011 Fukushima Tsunami victims pictured above demonstrate the need to improvise from time to time. Below are a series of photographs that I found illustrating several creative methods for cooking without the benefit of a stove top range or what we all might be faced with at some point and find ourselves cooking when the grid goes down.

One of my favorite ways to see a shopping cart used.

A lot of these images share common traits and those are a source of heat which is usually wood or charcoal, a fire containment device to hold the combustibles and a grilling surface. You can see the resourceful use of the shopping cart in this case.

Simple bricks perform double duty as fire containment and rest for the pan.

If you have a cooking pan like a cast iron grill, you can forgo the shopping cart and simply use bricks to rest your pan on.

Surplus shelving also works in a pinch.

There are lots of options for a grilling surface and you can see what looks like a simple cookie sheet in this photo that is suspended over stainless steel shelving. Another resourceful use of materials and you can see the grill has been placed on sticks. Yet another great use for that survival knife. The cooler of beer is a welcome plus too if you have it and makes those beer brats taste even better.

Who needs bricks when you have rocks?

Need to grill that fresh fish you caught but you don’t have a frying pan or bricks? No worries! This man has grabbed what looks like a grill screen and placed it over some rocks that are surrounding his fire. The spatula is a plus but a knife or even a good stick works in a pinch.

Convert that seldom used fire-pit to Grill master.

Many of us have one of those fire pits that we purchase with the idea of sitting on the back porch with a fire blazing away as we all gather around with marshmallows or our favorite adult beverage. Yes, I have one but I can probably count on one hand the number of times we have actually used this in the last two years. At any rate, if I needed to, this makes a great grilling surface as well. You can use charcoal or I would probably use wood, throw that oven grate over the top and start cooking your hot dogs. Adult beverages optional.

Don’t have a grill? Use aluminum baking pans instead.

You can also use those disposable aluminum baking pans to keep your charcoals in. I don’t know how many uses you could get out of this method and you would want to ensure the bottom is well insulated (nice use of cinder blocks here) but the concept is the same.

50 gallon drum slow cooker.

This person probably had a little more time to set up their grill, but with the right equipment (cutting torch or a lot of time with a hacksaw) you could convert those old 50 gallon barrels you have lying around your yard into a perfect grill. Grab some of that unused fencing from the garden and you are all set to cook up those steaks that will go bad now that the power is out.

Forget a grill, we have a wheel-barrel.

This guy looks like he knows how to party! And he is creative too. Now if you don’t like where your grill is positioned (like maybe too close to the dog house), you can simply move it. What a great use of his wheel-barrel to contain the fire and hold the grill surface too. Bonus is that he can roll the ashes over to the garden when he is finished!

Creative support options.

This guy isn’t going to let one missing leg get in the way of his having some good eating and when he is done, the coffee water will be ready for a nice hot cup! Notice the metal sheeting used to place the coals or wood on as opposed to having them directly on the ground. I believe he is soaking the ground with water first.

So, do you have any creative makeshift grill ideas that you have used before?


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I was inspired to write this post while watching my favorite TV show, the Walking Dead. My wife and I only watch one TV show and this one, while I

From simple sunburns to touching that hot item on the stove, or reaching into the over too quickly most of us have been burned to varying degrees. In their most minor form, burns seldom require much attention, the pain is brief and we go on with our lives.

Everything changes if we have a survival situation or disaster for two main reasons. First is that the likelihood you could receive a more serious burn is increased. If we have a total loss of power, you may be forced to cook over open flames. In most disasters, we have some element of fire that you may need to contend with. In a real grid-down scenario you could easily get scalded when you are trying to boil your water to make sure it is safe for consumption or any one of hundreds of different possibilities. There could be accidents dealing with using fuel such as gas to power your emergency generator.

The second factor is that access to medical attention might be slow or even impossible. When you can’t run to the Emergency Room or the neighborhood clinic, the responsibility for medical care may rest on your shoulders. Knowing how to recognize and treat burns is a medical skill that everyone in your family should have.

Burns and Treatments based on their severity

1st-degree burn

A first-degree burn is the least serious of the type of burns you can receive and it affects only the top layer of the skin, called epidermis. Signs of a first-degree burn include: redness of the skin, slight swelling, pain.

These burns can be treated at home and they heal in a week.

How to treat them:

  • First, you need to run the burn under cool water for 10 minutes
  • Then, pat the burn dry with a clean cloth or a paper towel
  • At the end, cover the burn with a sterile (non-sticking) bandage

!!!DO NOT:

  • Place ice on the burn because it reduces the circulation to the area
  • Use fats or food products because this will only trap the heat inside the burn
  • Apply cotton wool as it will stick to the wound and can cause an infection

 

2nd -degree burns

2nd-degree burn

A second-degree burn is more serious than the first as it affects both the top layer (epidermis) but also the second layer of the skin, called the dermis. They can range from mild to severe and can be treated at home or by a medical doctor depending on the severity of it. The 2nd-degree burns have an intense redness, develop blisters and there is a severe pain and swelling.

How to treat them:

  • Apply the steps from the 1st-degree burns
  • If the blister breaks, clean the area with warm water and a mild soap
  • Also, protect the burned area from the sunlight because the burned skin is more sensitive to direct sunlight
  • Take an over-the-counter pain reliever when needed

!!!DO NOT:

  • All the don’t from 1st-degree burns
  • Burst or pop the blister because this increases the risk of infection. (the blister forms as a protective mechanism for the burned skin)

3rd-degree burns

Are the most serious as they can damage both layers of the skin but also the tissue, hair follicles or sweat glands that can be found under the skin. These can appear white, black or brown, charred and there can be no pain as a result of the nerve being damaged. These wounds heal with severe scarring and contracture.

How to treat them:

  • First, stop the burning process
  • Never attempt to self-treat a third-degree burn
  • Call 911
  • While waiting for medical help
    • raise the burnt area above heart level if possible
    • apply a damp, cool, clean cloth to the burnt area
    • lie flat, raise the feet, and keep the rest of the body warm to prevent shock
    • extra fluids are needed to maintain blood pressure and prevent shock

People with third-degree burns need urgent medical attention!!!

!!!DO NOT:

  • try to treat 3rd-degree burns by yourself

4th, 5th, and 6th-degree burns

These are very severe because the damages go deep into the body. They can reach fat, muscles, joints, and bones. People with these higher-level burns need immediate medical attention. An injury of this degree may result in the loss of the burnt body part.

Major Burns

How to treat them:

  • Never attempt to self-treat a third-degree burn. Call 911 and wait for professional help!!!!
  • First, stop the fire
  • Remove the clothes. if they can’t be removed then make sure the victim is not in contact with smoldering material
  • If the victim has stopped breathing or his/her airway is blocked, open the airway and perform rescue breathing and CPR as needed.
  • Cover the burn area with a moist, cool sterile bandage or clean cloth. Be careful not to break burn blisters.
  • Separate the victim’s fingers and toes with dry, sterile, non-adhesive bandages.
  • Until medical help arrives, continue to monitor victims’ pulse, rate of breathing and blood pressure if possible.

!!!DO NOT:

  • try to treat 3rd-degree burns by yourself
  • do not put ice on the burn
  • all the steps from 1st-degree burn also apply here

I hope you will never have to use this, but you never know so please read this more than once.

—————————————————————————————————————————————————

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From simple sunburns to touching that hot item on the stove, or reaching into the over too quickly most of us have been burned to varying degrees. In their most

I wanted to share this bean and rice survival soup recipe, because it’s an inexpensive and easy one to prep, store, and make when you’re ready to use it. Once it’s in the jar and stored, you will only need water and heat to have a hearty bowl of soup loaded with carbohydrates and proteins.

A great perk of this recipe is that it’s highly adaptable. You don’t like rice? Simply omit it. Or, you want it spicy and full of robust flavor? Add your choice of seasonings to the jar, which I will get into greater detail further down in the article.

Another way to adapt this recipe is the batch size. The first instructions I am about to share is for a large batch, which makes it appealing to preppers for survival because it makes about 270 meals for under $300. Based on a 2000-calorie per day recommendation, and assuming it’s the only available edible item in sight, it’s approximately 90 days worth of meals for one person.

Read more: Healthy Soil + Healthy Plants = Healthy You

I’m also going to share a much smaller batch that can be made for around $10-15, give or take a couple dollars. The cost will depend on what you add or omit, as well as the cost of groceries in your area. I will be demonstrating the smaller batch in photos.

Bean and Rice Survival Soup

First, the basic recipe for the large batch:

  • 4 20-pound bags of white rice
  • 22 1-pound bags of red kidney beans
  • 22 1-pound bags of barley
  • 22 1-pound bags of lentils
  • 6 1-pound bags of green split peas
  • 6 1-pound bags of chickpeas (Garbanzo beans)
  • 30 pounds of dry bouillon (chicken, beef, or vegetable)
  • Seasonings of choice (example: garlic, salt, pepper, cumin, oregano, or other dried spices and herbs)

And, the smaller batch recipe:

  • 2/3 cup kidney beans
  • 2 cup barley
  • 1 cup lentils
  • 1/4 cup green split peas
  • 1/4 cup chickpeas
  • 1 1/2 cup rice
  • Bouillon (chicken, beef, or vegetable)
  • *Seasonings of your choice

This all fits in 2 individual quart jars.

*The seasonings I chose (per quart jar) was 2 bouillon cubes, 1 teaspoon of salt, about 1 tablespoon of dried onions, about 1 tablespoon of dried celery flakes, 1 teaspoon tarragon, 1 teaspoon of black pepper, and 2 teaspoons of garlic powder. For the record, this is a relatively bland batch of seasonings. If you like spice and bold flavor, add more according to your own liking.

Now, that you have an idea what goes in it…what is the best way to store it?

Read more: The vital self-sufficiency lessons our great grand-fathers left us

Prepping For Storage

The prep is the same for both size batches, and is as follows:

#1. Mix all the beans in a large container.

Bean and Rice Survival Soup

#2. Fill a mason jar just under half way.

Bean and Rice Survival Soup

#3. Put 1-1.5 cups of rice in a baggie, then add the bag to the jar, leaving enough room to add a baggie of seasoning. The reason to separate the rice and seasoning is because the beans need to cook much longer than the rice, and this will allow you to add the rice later avoiding mushy rice.

Bean and Rice Survival Soup

#4. Place the seasonings and bouillon you choose into a little baggie. Separating the spices also allows you to remove expired seasonings and replace them.

Bean and Rice Survival Soup

Bean and Rice Survival Soup

To make an individual pot of soup from this recipe, you will need the ingredients in the jar, and at least 3 quarts of water. Then follow these easy directions:

#1. Pour the water into your pot and place on a heat source.

Bean and Rice Survival Soup

#2. Add the beans to the water.

Bean and Rice Survival Soup

#3. Empty your seasoning packet, a little at a time if you prefer to taste as you go.

Bean and Rice Survival Soup

#4. Cover and simmer on a low heat, until the beans are soft, about 1 to 1.5 hours.

Bean and Rice Survival Soup

#5. Then add the rice, and simmer for another 20 minutes, or until done.

Bean and Rice Survival Soup

The finished soup is fairly thick. If you prefer a more brothy soup, add an additional quart of water in the beginning. But, I would then also add more seasonings as well.

Bean and Rice Survival Soup

Shelf Life of the Ingredients

Keep in mind the shelf life for all ingredients that you add, such as:

  • Dried beans – 10 years to indefinitely (depending who you believe)
  • White rice – 4-5 years, unless vacuum sealed (then about 10 years)
  • Spices – most ground, dried, or whole spices are good for 2-5 years

Read more: 4 Important Forgotten Skills used by our Ancestors that can help you in any crisis

So, as long as you separating the dried spices from the beans and rice, the above recipes should last a minimum of 2 years, depending on the spice.

However, there is no need to toss the entire batch. After 2-5 years, just change out the seasonings and start over for the expiration date.

If you do not want to store the batches in quart jars, you can also place the batches in quart or gallon size baggies. However, critters can get through bags much easier than glass jars. So, make sure to store the bags of ingredients in an airtight storage bin.

Optional Additions to the Soup

If circumstances allow, you can always add fresh ingredients, such as meat or veggies. Personally, I like a good ham added to bean soup.

But, if you’re in survival mode, that might not be an option. So, having more seasonings in the jar will allow for more flavor to develop, and you might not even miss the meat.

And, even though it will be an abundance of bean and rice soup, altering the seasonings between the batches will give you a bit of variety, which is especially nice if you are truly in a state of survival and don’t have anything else to eat.

However, having batches of this on hand is also great for the temporary survival situations, such as a bad storm knocking your power out for a week or two. One jar, a pot, water, and a source of heat is all you need to eat inexpensively and healthy for a while.


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Secure your privacy in just 10 simple steps

I wanted to share this bean and rice survival soup recipe, because it’s an inexpensive and easy one to prep, store, and make when you’re ready to use it. Once

For many preppers, a firearm is a must-have item for dealing with the aftermath of a potential SHTF or grid-down event. Firearms in the hands of properly trained individuals can prevent as well as cause death, so their use and acquisition isn’t something to be taken lightly. We routinely talk about firearms under the security category when I am mentioning the 4 things you should focus on when you are prepping, but simply having a weapon isn’t the end. You can check the box on having a firearm in your SHTF arsenal, but to be better prepared, you should look at what else needs to be planned for with that firearm to ensure that tool doesn’t become an expensive paperweight shortly after you need it.

Don’t get me wrong; just the fact that you have a firearm and a box of ammo is an advantage should you be called on to protect or defend your life, but history has shown us in order to be more fully prepared, there are other considerations that you need to account for and these topics are what I wanted to bring up today on the Prepper Journal. What are all of the other things you need to consider for your safety and protection that you may need to maintain that firearm and conversely your ability to protect yourself if the grid goes down?

Why do you need weapons if the grid goes down?

Before we get into the SHTF weapons checklist, I wanted to briefly paint a picture for you. Some disaster has happened and society is in chaos. Let’s take the example of an economic collapse which as I discussed the other day is a real and tangible threat our country faces. When millions (more) are out of work, services are cut and there are shortages on food, gasoline, power and protective services of police, people will get angry. Once they are angry, people will get desperate and once people get desperate, you better watch out.

A firearm is only a tool, but it is a tool designed to inflict mortal damage on your opponent. In the case of a desperate individual breaking into your home, would you rather have a firearm or harsh language? For me personally, I want firearms to be a tool my family has at our disposal in a case just like this. Above all things, I hope I never am forced to use a firearm in defense of my life or the lives of anyone in my care, but the pragmatist in me doesn’t believe for a second that people are always good deep down. I know people can be evil and act in ways that are dangerous. To believe anything else is foolish I believe so I prepare for evil and dangerous people while hoping I will never see that.

What are the best weapons for SHTF?

So if you are still hanging with me by now and don’t already have a firearm, you might be asking what are the best weapons to have on you in a STFT scenario. This question can be answered many different ways and I have actually written on this subject before. If I am looking holistically at an array of weapons you need for many different STHF scenarios, I would make similar recommendations as in our Top 5 Firearms You Need To Get Your Hands On Now, but this is an ideal scenario, not just what is necessary.

I have also recommended a shotgun as the best weapon for home defense under the assumption that if you only had time/money to purchase one weapon, what would that be. For a SHTF scenario, I think I have changed my mind somewhat on the best single weapon to a pistol. I read a post from FerFal who has his own blog. Ferfal lived through the Argentinian economic crisis and he makes a compelling case for the pistol as the best weapon for SHTF and I tend to agree with him. The main reason is that a pistol over any rifle or shotgun is highly concealable. Even if there is an economic collapse, life won’t immediately turn into Mad Max so as FerFal rightly proposes, you will still have to function in society for some time before you can whip out your camo outfit and go running down the streets geared up for battle.

The right pistol can be used for home defense easily and as I mentioned above, you can take it outside with you concealed so you can also have protection away from your home. I do still think that ideally you would have more weapon options, but a pistol would seem to be a priority for living in the immediate aftermath of any SHTF fallout.

What else do you need for SHTF?

OK, so for the rest of this article we are going to assume you have procured a SHTF weapon of some form, likely a pistol but what else would you need? A firearm is just a tool like I said and that tool needs several things to function ideally in bad situations for a long time. When we are talking about SHTF, you aren’t getting much worse than that and we will also assume a trip to Walmart or your local Sporting Goods store is out of the question.

Do you have supplies to keep your firearms clean after SHTF?

Ammo – Any weapon you have is going to need ammo and many people have asked me how much ammo do you need. Each person has to answer this question for themselves. I know some preppers who will say you can never have too much ammo. These people plan to not only never worry about running out, but logically state that ammo will be more valuable than precious metals after a collapse. Selco, who runs SHTFSchool.com and who lived through the Bosnian War where his city was under siege for years wrote that he personally gave all his gold for ammunition. Now, he says he keeps 2000 rounds per weapon. Your mileage may vary but consider how much ammo you need if you can never go to the store again. How much do you think you would need for one week? For one month? For one year? Purchase Hollow-points for damage and ball for practice.

Cleaning supplies – Sometimes we overlook how many weapon cleaning supplies you might need. Imagine the worst scenario. Do you have enough cleaning supplies for your weapons to last? Do you have a portable weapon cleaning kit? Do you have all of the right brushes for your various bore sizes? Do you have spare oil and cleaning solvent?

Magazines – Most new pistols will come with one or two magazines, but what if you lose one? What if during the chaos of a firefight, home invasion or attempted car-jacking you have to change magazines and in the panic, leave one on the ground that you aren’t able to find? Do you have spares to replace what could be lost? What about your AR-15? Do you have enough magazines for a load out and spares to replace those if you have to ditch your gear for some reason?

Holsters – This is one thing I think most people overlook and that is a good holster for your pistol. Sticking this down your pants isn’t the ideal way to carry concealed so a good holster is really important to have if you plan on carrying that firearm around with you. I would opt for a good concealed holster first and then get your go to war holster if you need one after that. Most people will only ever need a good concealable holster.

Spare parts – Things break all the time and you won’t be able to log on to Amazon.com to get 2-day free shipping in order to be resupplied after SHTF. You can now purchase spare parts for your weapons online easily so it may make sense to have spare parts on common items that may need replacing(if any) on your model of firearm . One of the reasons I like sticking to one weapons platform is that parts are interchangeable in many cases. I am partial to Glock so some of my magazines, all component parts and some barrels are interchangeable with different Glock weapons I own.

Training – Training is crucial because even if you have the best firearm in the world, pallets of ammunition and enough spare parts to last a lifetime, you still need to know how to use that weapon. Training at a minimum should enable you to safely use the weapon to hit what you are aiming at. You should be comfortable reloading ammunition, changing magazines, clearing jams or malfunctions and taking the weapon apart and putting it back together for cleanings. There are all forms of advanced tactical training courses out there too, but know the basics first.

I think that if you have a plan to keep a firearm for self-defense and you foresee a situation where you could be putting this weapon to use in a bad scenario, you should consider the checklist above. Do you have these bases covered? Did I miss anything?


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For many preppers, a firearm is a must-have item for dealing with the aftermath of a potential SHTF or grid-down event. Firearms in the hands of properly trained individuals can

The key to survival is preparation, and the consummate prepper is well aware of Sta-Bil, the fuel additive that allows users to store gasoline for a year or more to prevent its highly-refined molecular structure from breaking down and losing octane. The same type of precautions need to be taken to extend the shelf life of food, whether they’re canned or dried.

No matter how much food you stockpile, it will ultimately run out. These three tips will help preserve what you have for as long as possible, and provide renewable sources of food regardless of living conditions.

Low Humidity, Low Temperatures

There are two things that can spoil any food: heat and moisture. Hot, humid environments are ideal for bacteria, yeast, and other microbes to thrive. Autolytic spoilage (i.e. browning of apples, bread mold, etc.) is also hastened by these conditions.

Those living in Midwestern and New England states should store their food stashes in the coolest, driest spot in the house. The basement is ideal, coupled with a dehumidifier. Those who live in states that typically don’t have basements in homes (such as Arizona or Nevada) should pick a room and block out all sunlight. Use roman shades to block out the sun completely, while still allowing the option to open them if needed.

Add oxygen-absorbing packets to dried foods in jars and bags, particularly jerky, cereals, and dehydrated fruits. These packets should also be placed in vitamin and medicine bottles.

A cheap way to keep your storage room cool in low-humidity areas like Denver, Las Vegas, and Albuquerque is to build a makeshift swamp cooler. The entire project will cost less than $20 and the fan to circulate the cool air will run on a 12-volt power source.

VegetableGarden-620x400

Having a garden now will greatly reduce your ramp up time if you find yourself dependent on this plot for food.

Those planning to survive for years post-Apocalypse will need renewable sources of sustenance.

Heirloom Seeds

The best part of heirloom seeds is that once you grow your first batch of fruits and vegetables, they’ll continue to produce more seeds. You’ll be able to make nutrient-rich compost with all the organic waste around the house to improve the quality of just about any soil. Heirloom seeds keep for upwards of 30 years if stored properly. You can even grow them indoors for year-round fresh produce if you have windows that get adequate sunlight.

Heirloom emergency seed kits are available for under $40 and contain seeds for several different vegetables and fruits. It’s best to double or triple up just in case.

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Rabbits are prolific breeders and make a great source of protein.

Indoor Livestock

Many Americans have grown accustomed to having meat as part of their meals. Once supermarkets stop selling or rationing it out, the only way to get meat will be daily hunting or farming your own.

Rabbits are simple animals to raise for meat, particularly for people with no yard space. Not only do they eat just about any plant material, but they can have as many as five litters per year with upwards of 14 kits. They also take up very little space and their manure can be used in compost.

The breed you choose should have thick loins and broad shoulders. New Zealand Whites, American Chinchillas, and the Champagne D’Argent are three common breeds raised for meat. Rex rabbits are good for both meat and fur for those who don’t waste any part of the animal.

There is no such thing as over-preparation when it comes to your food supply. Don’t wait until the last minute to position yourself and your family for long-term survivability.


Other self-sufficiency and preparedness solutions recommended for you:

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

Knowledge to survive any medical crisis situation

Liberal’s hidden agenda: more than just your guns

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

Secure your privacy in just 10 simple steps

The key to survival is preparation, and the consummate prepper is well aware of Sta-Bil, the fuel additive that allows users to store gasoline for a year or more to