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I continue to see articles that offer good advice about prepping, but survival is education, training, and skill. Barricading yourself in the home for defense or Bugging out! Yes, Fine. The more you have and can do works, but you and I have different meanings of the word. My transportation breaks down 40 miles from somewhere in snow/ice 20 degrees, and 30+ winds…. is a nice, but inconvenient adventure. I wish to tell a story, and make a “comedy media” about it. Not funny when you hear/see people die, but fantastic if you can learn for when you need it.

There are stories in Oregon, of instant storms, rain and wind for eons, beautiful country and hypothermia. Meaning rapid condition changes. Easy to prepare for if you know what to expect, but, lets talk about what you really mean by prepping. It’s too late for many who live in those countries where the violence and breakdowns are occurring now or that have destroyed once wealthy nations. Earthquakes, the Tidal Wave, economic collapse, War, and societal breakdown. For the purge, or martial law, I’m armed ready, trained… and not going to be sitting here. Now for the coming zombie apocalypse, there is always the better ground. They call mine, the cascade mountain range, from Alaska to Mexico. what do you call yours? If I’m away from Portland, and in a 100 mile move, I can choose Mountain, Desert, Coastal, or the greatest ditch to ocean drainage system in which to live, prosper and hide in that ever existed – with perfect climate.

In my opinion. personally I hope most people go to the outskirts for their protection and care. They will not make it in cities, but the government will be there to Sign U UP, have a sandwich, sorry NO gear allowed, dress warmly. I don’t want to live in a city, now, or then. Being a Oregon country Man, I’m a little rough around the edges, had a couple bad habits, you probably know a similar story, Ex-USAF, pain pills, drinking. I seemed to have finally turned out OK. And no, I have no one to volunteer witness for me. But I digress.

So Its cold, snowy, I’m at a friends cabin, on Mt Hood, Anyone knowing Trillium Lake and Still Creek Campground should know what I am saying here. As usual, HWY 26 is right there, you can’t see it, but you can hear it. Chains, trucks until the winds shut down the highway. My friends cabin is less than 2 miles from a liquor store, beer store, food? Although there are 3 foot drifts on top of 2 foot snow pack.

Noticing we didn’t bring enough supplies to and it is already 7pm. The sun sets at 5. I decide to walk a trail cut through to the campground which will be easier. This time of year, the gates are closed and locked, you can not drive to government camp from here… kinda.. 5 miles back down the snowed in road, cut over, hit 26, and back up the mountain, sanded and police.. where you belong.

The Winter Survival Handbook: 157 Winter Tips and Tricks

I smoke to improve my health, most know what I mean by now. This night I have a partial pint in my pocket, a beer in my bare hand. I dress in open cell polyurethane foam, with a field jacket, stocking hat, and boots. I’m good for -10 and 50 mph winds except hiking through the snow will make you sweat.  So I open my chest to the air. Feels great. It’s actually somewhere around 25 degrees Fahrenheit with 20-30 mph winds. And snowing. The year was 2009-2010 if you wish to look at the storms. 3500 feet above sea level. Portland is 50 miles at 85 feet sea level. I used to live 30 miles down there. 600 feet above seal level at the time.

So imagine my surprise to hear a commotion, some movement, and a light. Not many bears or lions and definitely not this Lyon, ever use flashlights at night, except sparingly. We all do use light properly, bears are just too smart to consider a “flash” light. The noise was caused by a group of people stranded.

So add to the confusion, these people are stuck. Their vehicle is still warm inside with motor off and radio and lights on. In these conditions,  the car may stay warm for a couple of hours or so? As long as it starts. If it doesn’t, these people are in for some serious trouble. I think the driver said he had just under quarter tank. v-8 Ford car, nice. Should have left it in Portland and brought a truck.

I also came up here in a car and plan to leave the following afternoon. Now consider this from the side of the people in the car. You are semi lost with your car stuck, although not that bad. There are 2 men, 2 women, and you are angry, blaming, and maybe scared? I don’t know, and am not judging. You look out the front windshield, and a Bigfoot sized man, wearing a field jacket, open at the chest, drinking a beer walks up to you. He pulls out a pint, takes a slug, indicates sharing.

The guy inside rolls down the window and says, “what are you doing out here?” I reply, “Well, I was hoping to make the liquor store before they close”. The window goes up, and I feel, I should probably get moving. I’m out here in this environment because its my favorite thing. Had they acted sooner, those poor people would have suffered, at best getting their four Arses out and unsticking the car. But we know potheads, don’t matter, no need to listen to this guy. Be your own man. You aren’t going to listen? are You?

So a guy gets out the passenger door. That’s the right side front door, for you common law, private property folks that know, you don’t have a passenger vehicle. Title 18. When the liquor store is already closed, it’s illegal to take retail drink off premise, or outside in the winter. I could talk about title 31, legal tender and silver coins and walking back with a bottle but there is not much having to do with survival in that subject. I no longer drink alcohol much, but when a drunk is smarter than you, prepping may not come to mind.

So I tell him how far, and what they should be doing, to get out, if they stay where they are they will die, etc. He gets back in already freezing, while I actually have been semi stationary and ready to now button back up since having cooled down a bit. I am probably running a 100 degree body core. So to make the short story long, and the long story short. Against my advice the women want to go with me. Uh, no. A man wants to go with me to the store. If he is borrowing gear, he should be OK. My thoughts are with the 5 of us, lets dig, support, and push this vehicle out, and you all drive down this tree lined road, right here back home. Driver thinks he should go down the ridge. But with the Lake gate closed I ask how he is gonna climb back up in this snow? Once the car is free, point it the way home.

What did I do next?

What are you going to do, and how will you know? When you are a prepper you help people, in a survival situation those people you are trying to save might injure or kill you. Getting cold and hurt helping is always a bad idea. Sometimes you know not to. I hope we can all learn that safely? Not being seen, heard, tracked, is and will be necessary, while traveling, hiding, holed up, or even when it is time to attack. Warrior? He’s the teacher, dump him out naked in Alaska, in a week he’ll be sitting in Florida with a drink in his hand in your back yard. Observe and learn from this man, do not engage. (paraphrased from the sarge in Seagal’s on deadly ground) Green Beret Tactics.

Seriously now, I step back and short hop behind the tree,over a snow berm. erasing my tracks with a branch. (snow, wind, remember) and I walk to the village known as Government camp Oregon, 97028. Some time goes by, and I am in the bar, purchasing my goal and enjoying a nice drink, when in come the group from the stranded car. They look all brave and proud of their escape and are, like me having a drink, and talking about heading back home. As I depart, I understand that in front of me is a 2 mile walk in the storm. I am happy to go. In coming prepper days, there will be no time for fun and games. It wont be humorous anymore. But little will change for me the way I see it. I will have powerful trained friends, or I will be alone.

The other story was in Oregon, around the same time, I’m pretty sure. Of the Kims whom made some random mistakes. in the much safer coast range. Yet, with no drunk hillbilly to advise them what to do. The family survived without the Father, being rescued we are told. they were missing. The people in the Mt. Hood forest were not. yet. and they might have been OK. Maybe I should mind my own business?

Maybe I should not write a stupid article containing, alcohol use or smoking the evil marijuana? Fine. Maybe you all will learn, be the teacher, prepare for timing, retreat and advance. Learn martial arts, gather friends, recognize enemies. Plan to move. Prepare, train, practice till it’s a reflex. Relax, never panic, always respond. Conserve energy. Create energy. Everyone has my excessive survival tool for all occasions, a magnifier, or a Fresnel lens. Nothing excessive about my knife.

So that’s enough rambling on, you can thumb me up, or subscribe to the newsletter, or respond to me in the comments at the bottom. Luck favors the prepared mind. Your worst enemy, other than bankers, government, and media; will be shock, at loss, injury, family. War sux and will mess you up. I’m already messed up, so they cant win. I have nothing to lose. except some family and friends. If I don’t lose them, its like carrying my magnum, so I don’t have to argue or fight. If I do, well, a hazard may be upon them.

Prep well, folks. Remember what the greatest teacher said. “and I will be with you Always, even to the end of YOUR DAYS.” I’m gonna win this challenge, so are some of you. Survive!!

I continue to see articles that offer good advice about prepping, but survival is education, training, and skill. Barricading yourself in the home for defense or Bugging out! Yes, Fine.

As a prepper you’ve thought about the necessities for survival, but have you thought about your comfort? Imagine a long-term situation where you have food and water, but survival is a constant struggle. Will lack of sleep and uncomfortable surroundings take a toll on you over time? You might be sleep-deprived because of a need to stand guard against those who would do you harm, or simply because you’re not able to maintain a comfortable living environment. The inability to keep food from spoiling might result in a constant need to find food, robbing you of opportunities to rest. And, in harsh conditions, can you keep yourself clean and healthy? You may have considered bugging out, but you know that your home has most of what you need to survive, even if you’re not a serious prepper.

To get straight to the point; a reliable, sustainable, and ample alternative supply of electricity can solve the problems mentioned above and allow you the potential of living comfortably when the SHTF. A security system may include cameras, motion sensors, and trip wires to set off alarms. A surveillance system can keep an eye on your garden and animals in addition to your home, and alert you to an intrusion. Devices and systems relieve you of the need to stand guard.

An alternative source of electricity adds to your comfort by allowing you to cook meals indoors, and boil water, making it safe for drinking. You can use propane, wood, or charcoal for cooking if you have an ample supply of those, or you could use a solar oven, but nothing is as convenient as using electricity for indoor cooking.

The ability to preserve food means that you won’t have to hunt, harvest, and process food daily, providing opportunities for rest. With ample rest you’ll feel and perform better. A reliable supply of electricity allows you to use a refrigerator and freezer for food preservation. You may also need refrigeration to keep medicine from spoiling.

The biggest challenges, that is to say devices that use the most electricity, are air conditioning and heating equipment. The system described here is not large enough to handle whole-house heating and cooling systems. If you have a fireplace, you probably consider that as your source of alternative heat. If not, you may consider a wood- or pellet-burning stove. Each option has its advantages and disadvantages. If you rely on fuel such as propane or kerosene, do you have enough for a long-term situation? How much can you store safely, and how long will it last? Will you be able to replenish your supply when it runs low? Weigh your decision carefully, implement it, and then stock up on wood, pellets, or fuel. I chose to install a pellet stove. It can run up to 12 hours unattended and maintains a relatively constant output. I can safely store enough pellets to get me through the winter, and left-overs can be used the following winter. Most importantly, I’ll get a good night’s sleep, and I won’t be inhaling dangerous fumes.

Kill A Watt Electricity Usage Monitor

You’ll also need electricity for communication devices, computers and tablets, TV, and Radio. Be sure to keep energy-efficiency in mind when shopping for any of these items. Energy-Star tags are helpful, but I’d rather measure energy use myself using a Kill-A-Watt meter. A Kill-A-Watt meter is a low-cost device that measures energy use over time (kilowatt-hours). You can find it at Wal-Mart or on Ebay.

Emergencies can occur at any time, in the middle of the night for example, and may include broken glass and structural damage to your home. The importance of good lighting cannot be overemphasized. You certainly don’t want to complicate an emergency situation with an injury.

Right-Sizing the Solar Electric System and Trade-Offs

If you want the same level of comfort as you had with grid-supplied electricity, you’ll pay a high price. To avoid the high cost, I’ll describe a system that will result in comfortable living, but there will be trade-offs. The system I’m outlining here can best be described as a mid-sized off-grid solar electric system. It’s not connected to your house wiring, so you’ll need extension cords, power strips, and light fixtures. I keep all of these items in a plastic container, so I won’t be fumbling around for them when grid power fails. I think you’ll agree that this modest system offers good trade-offs where comfort and cost are concerned. Don’t be fooled by pre-packaged systems that won’t actually meet your needs.

Home Heating

I’ve already listed alternatives to your existing whole-house system. In exceptionally cold weather you may want to use an electric blanket, and limit heating to one or two rooms. Table top and window fans are the most energy-efficient way to move heated or cool air.

Heating Water

As a substitute for your water heater, heating water over a fireplace or on a wood stove are good options. Since you won’t be using a fireplace or a wood stove when the weather is warm, you can heat water with one or more of your kitchen appliances, but the best option for heating water involves using the sun.

Harnessing the heat of the sun for water.

I’ve installed a PVC tubing grid in the attic portion of my storage shed for heating water. Mine is not the most efficient system, but I wanted a solution that would be out of sight and maintenance free. I use a hose to force water through the system when city water is available, but I can also use an electric pump. A fifty-gallon plastic barrel and a couple of hoses round out the system. Either way I can have a warm shower just about any afternoon or evening, using little or no electricity.

Other Decisions and Trade-Offs

I’ll begin by establishing some basic needs that will apply to many people, and then I’ll provide design details for a system large enough to meet those needs. Finally, I’ll discuss the cost, and some design options. I’ll assume that you’ve already ruled out a generator. You know that choosing a generator means that you’ll have to purchase, transport, and store a lot of fuel. What happens when the fuel runs out? Will noise from the generator attract unwanted attention, or mask the sound of approaching intruders? Instead, this is about a quiet and sustainable solution. You may only need to darken your windows to hide the fact that you’re living comfortably.

Honda EU2000I 2000 Watt Super Quiet Inverter Generator

Prerequisites

To keep the size, and therefore the cost, of a solar electric system down, there are a few things you can do. Often, adding insulation to an existing home can reduce the need for heating and cooling. Lights to be used with the system should be energy-efficient CFL or LED types. If your washing machine and other appliances are old, replace them with energy-efficient ones. Use a hotplate or microwave oven, instead of your gas or electric stove.

Identifying Your Needs

Once you’ve listed the devices you want to use, and estimated how long each device will run each day, you can calculate the total energy you’ll need by simple math. For example; a fan rated at 35 watts, running for 3 hours each day, will need 3 times 35, or 105 watt-hours each day. Likewise, a 10 watt lamp, running for 6 hours each day, would need 10 times 6, or 60 watt-hours each day. Adding the daily requirements of both equals a total need of 165 watt-hours per day. The following chart is an example of total daily energy use, where energy availability is limited. It assumes cold-weather conditions, where circulating warm air, or powering a pellet-stove in my case, is the largest single energy requirement.

4 10 watt LED bulbs 4 hrs each 160 wh per day
1 40 watt Laptop Computer 2 hrs 80 wh per day
1 120 watt Blower Motor (stove) 12 hrs 1440 wh per day
1 105 watt (intermittent) Chest Freezer 6 hrs 630 wh per day
1 80 watt Television 2 hrs 160 wh per day
1 30 watt Modem 2 hrs 60 wh per day
1 6 watt Clock Radio 24 hrs 144 wh per day
1 26 watt Cell Phone Charger 1 hr 26 wh per day
1 1000 watt Hot Plate 0.75 hr 750 wh per day
1 900 watt Toaster 0.10 hours 90 wh per day
1 1000 watt Microwave Oven 0.15 hours 150 wh per day

During periods of warm weather, when the stove is not used, my daily average load is greatly reduced. When the stove is used less, I can use devices not listed here, such as a vacuum cleaner and washing machine, and still not exceed the capacity of the system.

Determining the daily energy use of the Chest Freezer is a little tricky because its compressor runs intermittently. This is where a Kill-A-Watt meter comes in handy. Simply connect the Kill-A-Watt meter to the chest freezer and take note of how much energy it uses (in kilowatt-hours) over a 24 hour period. You can do the same for other devices that use electricity intermittently. (One kilowatt-hour equals one thousand watt-hours).

Tip: In a situation where keeping energy use to a minimum is important, move your chest freezer or refrigerator to the coolest part of your home. The compressor will run less, cutting energy use.

Renogy 400 Watt 12 Volt Monocrystalline Solar Starter Kit

Tip: When you have a choice, use energy during the day and limit night-time use. During the day, when the sun is shining, energy travels from the solar panels to the load. Nighttime energy comes from the batteries, and therefore is subject to charging and discharging losses and battery inefficiencies. Cooking, pumping water, and washing clothes are examples of tasks that can be relegated to daytime hours. Do this, and you’ll help to offset the negative effect of cloudy days and system losses.

Selecting the System Components

In the example above, the total energy used each day (the sum of the energy used by each device), is 3690 watt-hours. To determine how many solar panels you need, divide the need by the total hours of peak sunlight, in this case it’s 3690 by 4 ½, or 820 watts of solar panel capacity. Solar panels come in different sizes. Seven 120 watt solar panels will provide a little more power than you need, (840 watt-hours per day), while five 160 watt solar panels will provide a little less (800 watt-hours per day).

GM Deep Cycle 12v 125ah SLA rechargeable Battery for Use with Pv Solar Panels

Next, calculate the size of the battery bank you’ll need. Since batteries are rated in amp-hours, convert amp-hours to watt-hours. As an example: For a 12 volt deep discharge battery rated at 100 amp hours, calculate watt-hours by multiplying volts times amps. In this example, that single battery can theoretically supply 1200 watt hours. However, to avoid damage and maintain high life expectancy of the battery, you should not discharge the battery below 50%. This leaves you with 600 usable watt-hours for a fully charged battery. Because of battery inefficiencies, plan on the actual usable energy to be at least 10% less, or 540 usable watt-hours. Since you need a total capacity of 3690 watt-hours, you’ll need 7 batteries (7 times 540 ), to provide 3780 watt-hours of storage.

In the event that the cost of a system large enough to meet your needs is prohibitive, you may opt to cut back a bit on energy usage. There are many ways to do that. Preparing meals in a microwave oven, instead of on a hot plate, is one way:

Using a 1000 watt microwave oven for 15 minutes results in an energy use of 250 watt-hours.

Using a 1000 watt hot plate for 45 minutes results in an energy use of 750 watt-hours.

Read More: Cooking when the Grid goes Down

A slow-cooker (crock-pot) might seem like an energy-efficient choice, but remember, using a small amount of electricity over a long period of time is the energy-equivalent of using a large amount of electricity over a short period of time. A slow cooker might be a good option when something needs to be simmered for an hour or two.

The chart lists a small chest freezer, and no upright refrigerator/freezer. Upright refrigerator/freezers are inefficient because the cold literally “falls out” each time the door is opened. A chest freezer is much more efficient, and a 6 cubic foot chest freezer uses much less electricity than a 12 cubic foot chest freezer. A chest freezer not only keeps frozen food frozen, it makes ice for use in an ice chest for items that need to be kept cold, but not frozen.

How Much Will it Cost?

I’ll assume that you’re doing all of the work yourself, and will not include labor costs.

Once you’ve calculated your needs, you may choose to build larger or smaller than the system described here. Adding solar panels helps to improve system performance by increasing charging power, and adding batteries helps to improve performance by increasing the storage capacity. If you want to maintain a system output in excess of 3690 watt-hours each day, consider adding at least one more solar panel and two more batteries. Anticipate extended periods of cloud cover.

The per-watt cost for solar panels is currently between one and two dollars. Therefore, 820 watts of solar panel capacity will cost between $820 and $1,640. Shop around for the best price. Sometimes you’ll find sales or special deals.

Having explored various battery types and compared costs, I’ve determined that the best value when considering cost vs storage capacity to be GC-2 deep-discharge batteries. GC-2 batteries are rated at six volts, so you’ll need a series-parallel wiring arrangement. It’s easy to do. For the system described here, you’ll need at least 6 of the GC-2 batteries for a total watt-hour storage capacity of just over 3700. GC stands for “Golf Cart”. These are available under several different brand names and at many stores, including SAMs Club. You’ll pay about $100 per battery, for a total cost of $600.

Consider 8 batteries if your budget will allow it. Although you can get by with 6 batteries, making your battery bank larger than your calculated need offers three advantages. 1. A larger battery bank helps to compensate for extended periods of cloud cover. 2. The load on the battery bank will be distributed over more batteries, resulting in an efficiency boost. 3. Distributing the load across more batteries will extend the life of the battery bank.

The next component is a charge controller. A charge controller uses power from the solar panels to safely and efficiently charge the batteries, and prevents overcharging. A charge controller helps to extend the life of the batteries.

Top of the line charge controllers have advanced features which can, in some cases, dramatically improve system performance. However, these features come at a high price, and not all advanced features are beneficial to a system such as the one described here. For now we’ll consider a reasonably priced, but good, charge controller.

Renogy Tracer 4210 40 Amp MPPT Charge Controller, 12/24V 100VDC Input

The charge controller you’ll need will be one that can handle the maximum current that your solar panel array can produce. For the system we’re describing here, a 60 amp charge controller will do the job, and leave room for expansion. While it’s not your only option, a Morningstar Tri-Star 60 will do nicely. I highly recommend the remote meter option, and the battery temperature option. The cost for the controller, with options, is about $350.

So far, I’ve listed all of the major components for a 12 volt DC system, but you’ll probably want to add an inverter. An inverter converts 12 volts DC (your battery bank voltage), to 120 volts AC. In making your decision, you should understand the pros and cons of two basic types, MSW, (Modified Sine Wave), and PSW (Pure Sine Wave). PSW inverters can safely power sensitive devices, but are much more costly than MSW inverters. A TV or Radio can be powered with a MSW Inverter, but you’ll probably hear an annoying buzz in the sound, and the picture may have streaks. Motors may run at the wrong speed, or overheat when using a MSW inverter. Inverters are rated by how much AC power they can provide. If you opt for a 600 watt inverter, you won’t be able to use a toaster, microwave oven, or any other device that requires more than 600 watts. If you want to watch TV, use some lights, and power a chest freezer at the same time, the total power (the sum of the individual power requirements), cannot exceed the capacity of the inverter.

My preference is an inverter that doesn’t harm sensitive devices, has enough power to handle most high-power devices, and can power most of my devices simultaneously. An Exeltech 1100 watt PSW Inverter can handle just about any load I’ll connect to it, but not all at the same time. For example; if I decide to use my 1000 watt microwave oven, I can’t use my 900 watt toaster at the same time. The total would be 1900 watts, exceeding the capacity of the inverter by 800 watts. My choice was to accept that inconvenience, rather than to pay an additional $1100 for a more powerful inverter. The cost of the Exeltech inverter is about $575, which is about $1100 cheaper than a good quality 2000 watt PSW Inverter. I’m aware of lower-cost PSW inverters, but I’m not sure if they match the quality, performance, and reliability of Exeltech products.

Tip: Some electric motors have a high starting current requirement. If the inverter you purchase can’t provide that initial starting surge, the device will not run.

Mounting the Solar Panels, Wiring, and other Considerations

Solar panel mounting can be as simple as bolting them to a south-facing roof for less than $50, or more complicated if you intend to build a mounting framework. Your creativity can help to keep the cost low.

Wire, wiring hardware, fuses, and a lightning protection device round out the requirements for a complete system. Because of the high current flow, battery wiring is the heaviest (thickest), wire. The wire you’ll use between the solar panels and the charge controller should be able to handle the maximum output current from your solar panels, and should be rated for outdoor use. Your local hardware store should have what you need. Since it’s a 12 volt system as far as the panels and batteries are concerned, I opted for low-cost automotive fuses and in-line fuse holders. I used heavy-duty terminal blocks, the kind you find in circuit breaker boxes, to tie the wiring together. You’ll need battery terminals or lugs, tie-wraps, tape, and other hardware. The cost of the wiring depends upon how far the solar panels are from the controller, but you may get everything you need for less than $300.

The total cost of your system, not including labor, should be in the neighborhood of $3000. You may choose to build with fewer panels and fewer batteries and add to the system at a later time. If you start small, buy a charge controller large enough to handle a bigger system so you don’t have to replace it when you expand. For less than $1000 you could build a system that can provide power for lights, TV, radio, fan, computer, and other small devices, but with limited use of course. For a little bit more than that you could power a small chest-freezer or refrigerator, in addition to those other devices.

The total cost may seem expensive compared to the cost of a generator, but don’t forget it’s sustainable and there are no operational costs. Assuming no physical damage or vandalism, solar panels will last 25 years. The batteries, with good care, can last in excess of 5 years. A properly constructed system will be almost maintenance-free.

Become an expert (or at least knowledgeable)

If you think a system like this is right for you, start by learning all you can, especially about batteries. Batteries are the most expensive component when you consider that they’ll need to be replaced more than once for the life of your system. Most importantly, know when to shut down your system to prevent over-discharge. Learn about battery types, paying special attention to those that last longer, but at a higher cost. Compare inverters and read reviews on them. Purchase reliable components, because you can’t afford a failure when the SHTF.

When you’ve built your system, test the heck out of it. This is where the Charge Controller’s remote meter comes in handy. Simulate grid power failures and see how long your system can power the loads. Upgrade if you’re not satisfied with the run-time.

Tip: As a capacity test I’ve connected two light bulbs, one 60-watt and one 100-watt bulb. A load of 160 watts over a 24 hour period equals a daily load of 3840 watt-hours. I’ve connected a Kill-A-Watt meter to the inverter’s output to keep track of the power that the system delivers. In bright sunlight the solar panels provide enough power to charge the batteries and power the load simultaneously. However, batteries charge more quickly if no additional loads are present. I record test results each time, which helps me determine when my batteries need to be replaced.

Failure Considerations

Perhaps the biggest threats to your system are lightning, and EMP events. You will, no doubt, use a lightning protection device, but it may not save your system in the event of a direct hit. An EMP event would have to be close and strong, to do any damage. In either case, it’s not likely that the solar panels and batteries would be damaged. The most vulnerable component is the charge controller. Here’s the good news: In the event that a replacement charge controller is not readily available, you can connect the solar panels directly to the battery bank. You’ll have to monitor the battery voltage, disconnecting the solar panels (charging source), when the batteries are fully charged. It’s inconvenient, but at least you won’t be without electricity. You shouldn’t have to worry about disconnecting the loads when the battery SOC falls below 50%, because most inverters will automatically disconnect at that point. You might also consider a low-cost MSW inverter as a back-up for your primary inverter.

Bartering

Assuming that you have an ample supply of electricity, you might consider charging batteries for your neighbors. I’m assuming a SHTF situation where those around you are also trying to live comfortably. A fully-charged automotive or deep-discharge battery might be used for lighting, to power a TV or radio, a fan, tablet computer, etc.

Taking it to the next level

If you build the system described here and then wait for a SHTF situation, you’re wasting a great resource. Why not use the system every day, and cut your electric bill? I’ve added two components to the system described here and accomplished just that.

I use an IOTA Automatic Transfer Switch to select either grid-supplied power or inverter-supplied power to run my refrigerator. When my batteries are above 50% SOC (state of charge), the refrigerator gets power from the batteries, via the inverter. When the battery SOC drops below 50%, the refrigerator is powered by the grid. I use a Morningstar Relay Driver to monitor battery voltage, and switch the inverter on or off. I can fine-tune the upper and lower thresholds as I see fit. When the transfer switch senses the loss of power (because the inverter is switched off), it automatically switches to grid power for the refrigerator. The Relay Driver is programmed to not turn on the inverter again until the batteries are once again fully charged. This happens automatically. It’s a wondrous thing to observe.

Should you decide to build the system I’ve described, or something like it, you’ll probably have many questions. The Wholesale Solar website has a wealth of information for solar do-it-yourselfer.

Summary

How much does electricity contribute to your survival? Try switching it off for a week and see how well you cope. With electricity you’ll live comfortably, not just survive, while the world around you crumbles. A good night’s sleep, vital to your long-term survival, is made possible because of sensors, appliances, and automatic systems. If you wait until things get bad you’ll be forced to use the resources you have, not the system you planned to install someday. Surviving a crisis doesn’t need to be unbearable, or even uncomfortable. It won’t be if you prepare in advance.

Perhaps some will say “I’m looking for ways to survive, while you’re talking about watching TV, wrapped in an electric blanket, after a hot meal and a warm shower.” I get it, but I want to live for a few more decades, and I plan do it in comfort.

 

As a prepper you’ve thought about the necessities for survival, but have you thought about your comfort? Imagine a long-term situation where you have food and water, but survival is

There are dog people and there are the other people. Either you like dogs or you don’t and I think that it is perfectly fine to hold either opinion. Just like kids, there are some people who really want children and others who would rather not have a child in their lives at any time. There is nothing wrong with either option really and different types of people are better suited to different types of situations in their lives. This is what makes us different, human and interesting. I myself am a dog person though and probably always will be. We have other pets in my family, but none are as important to me as the family dog.

In June of last year, we lost our family dog that we had for 13 years. While it was a sad period of time, there was never any doubt about getting a new dog eventually. Dogs offer so much in the form of companionship and peace of mind to me and my family that we knew we would need to fill that void at some point. We decided to wait until the spring and researched breeds to find the best match. Our last dog was a mutt from the pound, but she was better than any pure bred we have ever seen. She truly was a wonderful dog but we wanted some additional qualities that she didn’t have naturally. Seeing as how I run this blog and my focus is on prepping for events that are unpleasant or unplanned, we wanted to get a dog that would be not only a loyal companion, but great for protection. Essentially, we started looking for the best dog for SHTF.

The day we brought her home – 8 Weeks old

Let me pause right here and state that I am not going to tell you what the best dog is for anyone. There are too many factors that define what the best dog is and you have to evaluate your life and what you are looking to invest (time, energy, emotion) into a dog. I think it is rather dishonest to say there is only one dog that is the best for any situation because regardless of the dog, the owner has to train and control their dog appropriate to their talents or else you just have an out of control animal. You can put the best dog in the world with someone who can’t control or doesn’t take care of it and you will have a mess. Conversely, a mutt from the pound can make an awesome pet that will love and take care of you for years with the right owner.

Back to my story, my wife had heard an interview with the man who wrote a book about the dogs that the Navy Seals use and began to get interested in the Belgian Malinois. Malinois are in the same family as German Shepherds but are a little smaller. They are extremely intelligent, ridiculously energetic and thrive on working hard. We thought that this breed sounded like a great place to look at for our dog of choice for someone to protect our family during SHTF.

Researching the right dog should be first

We read more about the breed and understood the work commitment that would be required for a dog like this to have a happy and fulfilled life with us and started waiting patiently until spring. That didn’t last long.

Sometimes our family can get a spontaneous Jones and we were all sitting around the dinner table one night talking about when we would get our dog. This lead to some internet searches and we quickly discovered that like most pure bred dogs, there was a higher price. For the Malinois and I imagine any dog that could be used as a personal protection dog, the price was much higher. This was a little discouraging because while I liked the attributes of the breed and day dreamed of having our own little Navy Seal dog in the house, I was not shucking out over $1200 for one. We started questioning our choice on price alone and then dug more into the requirements for an animal like this.

Malinois like I said above are high energy. By high energy, I mean they need about 2 hours a day of intense exercise or they will not be happy.  You do not want a hyper, bored puppy. Malinois are working dogs and if they don’t have a job to do, they will find one. This will usually be at the expense of something you do not want destroyed. A nice little walk around your neighborhood isn’t going to cut it either, but I told myself that this would be a great time to start running again and between me, my wife and kids we should be able to exercise the dog sufficiently.

Out in the park

My wife then came across an ad for 8 week old Malinois puppies for only $150! That was something I could live with. I also understood from that price that this would not be a pure bred, but I wasn’t hung up on papers anyway. I wanted a great dog for our family, not something to show or breed for profit. We called the person on the ad and set up a time to go out. In my excitement, I purchased a new crate and the food the trainer used just in case. Our other dog had been crate trained but that was years ago and I had since sold the other one we had. We arrived at the home of the person selling the puppies and spent a little time talking to the owner who happened to train Malinois for police and military use trying to pick his brain for any information we could get.

We found out while talking to the trainer that the puppies were 1/8thPresa Canario. We actually met both her parents and her grandfather (the Presa) while we were there. This was not a puppy mill operation by any stretch and he only had the dogs we saw.

The puppy he had left was a female which is what we wanted. She was small and skinny – I expect she was the runt of the litter, but we didn’t care. We had even chosen a name for her of Samantha but we would call her Sam from the Will Smith movie, I am Legend. (Side note: the movie is nothing like the book at all). The kids loved her at first sight obviously and I paid the owner and went home. This was the beginning of our Journey with Sam.

Make sure you have the right expectations

We have had her in our home for three weeks now and in that time we have learned a lot about both her and ourselves. Not wanting to do anything wrong we immediately started watching back episodes of the Dog Whisperer. My wife downloaded a book called “How To Be Your Dog’s Best Friend” by these monks who are famous for training working dogs like Shepherds and Malinois. We poured over the internet and read as much as we could about the breed and training and raising puppies. I also bought a DVD by Caesar Millan about raising puppies. None of that made any difference in the world.

It seemed like all the training and advice we read didn’t work and we could tell that our new pet wasn’t happy with us. I placed several calls to trainers and contacted the guy we purchased her from. We had concerns about that 1/8 Presa in her and her energy level which to me bordered on bursts of insanity at times even after plenty of exercise. We had a lot of heart to heart talks about whether or not we had made a mistake because her behavior was very bad and nothing the experts had told us to do was working. Each of us had hands that looked like we had been pruning roses the hard way and my youngest daughter was becoming afraid of our new dog. The joyful puppy playing we expected was really more like wrestling with a land piranha and we were frustrated.

Looking back now, I think it was a strange combination of time, the right amounts of food, new toys and prayer that turned the tables. One day Sam acted completely differently, so sudden we were shocked. Literally the change was like night and day. Now our new family member seems to have settled into a routine and acts much happier than she did the first few weeks. She shows affection and even listens when you tell her no – most of the time. She truly is a joy to have in our home now but we know there is a ton of work left to do.

Will she be the best dog for SHTF? Who knows? I guess we will have to see if that ever happens. I know that if we are consistent and train her to the level she is capable of, she could do anything. Right now we are focused on making her part of our family and giving her what she needs to be happy. She will be enrolled in obedience classes and will have lots of play time at the dog park when her shots are up to date. I’ll write more as we continue with Sam and if the S ever HTF, I’ll let you know how she does.

Like I said above, there is no one perfect dog for everyone. If there were, you wouldn’t have all the breeds and varieties you have now. I don’t know if our dog will ever rise to the level of the Navy Seal dogs. I know I am not going to jump out of a plane with her into hostile territory, but I do know she can be the perfect dog for us. That’s all we really need anyway.

There are dog people and there are the other people. Either you like dogs or you don’t and I think that it is perfectly fine to hold either opinion. Just

When the subject of Survival comes up in conversation, what do you think of? I am sure context plays a big part in the answer to that question, but for me personally it used to always conjure up the shipwrecked on a deserted island idea of survival. It was that or the lone hiker scenario where you are lost in the wilderness, miles away from civilization. I used to love watching Bear Grylls’ Man vs. Wild many years back on his first TV show where he would present just those types of scenarios and show tips on how to survive and get back to civilization.

The word ‘survival’ has a very different connotation to a lot of people but I think that many people out there limit their view of surviving to the way I used to. When I started getting into the concepts behind prepping, part of my thought process was that I would only need my true survival skills if I was shipwrecked or lost. I almost neglected the more likely scenario that I would need survival skills where I lived and worked every day. While I see the benefit of wilderness survival skills, I would be much more likely to need urban survival skills on any given day. There are some skills that overlap, but there are many differences between trying to survive in the woods and trying to survive in the urban jungle.

For this post I wanted to list several urban survival skills that while they may share some characteristics of their wilderness cousins, could still help you more in an urban environment if you are faced with some type of urban SHTF scenario.

Urban Survival Skills

Finding and disinfecting water – Enough with the water you say! I know, at times I feel myself like I am beating a dead horse, but water has to be a priority for survival regardless of where you are. Scratch that, clean water needs to be a priority especially in an urban survival scenario where larger concentrations of people and unhygienic conditions breed disease very quickly. When the water is contaminated with Cholera you won’t be engaged much in the old survival mode of defending your homestead, you will be defending the bed from getting made and the bathroom (if you make it there) from smelling fresh. Knowing how to find sources of water in urban environments is a very important skill.

Bartering/Negotiating – I lumped these two skills in here because I think they are similar enough that it makes sense. In my urban survival nightmare I picture chaos in the short-term followed by a long period of trying to work together for most and trying to get over on people for some. Bartering for goods is a topic we talk about all of the time, but along with bartering (trading a good or service for another good or service) you will have to have the soft skills of negotiating. When you are trading someone eggs for a few extra rounds of 9mm, the negotiating is more soft-skills based. In a time like this emotional intelligence will go a long way. The other side of this coin is that you might find yourself negotiating with people who have an animosity toward you. You might have to negotiate an end to violence or the release of one of your party who has been captured. Don’t laugh; we are talking about the end of the world as we know it here.

Medical Skills – Just like in the wilderness, people get injured in the urban environments too and like almost any SHTF scenario we discuss you can plan for the local Primecare to be out of business when you really need it. The hospital emergency room, if you can get there might be overflowing with other people and it’s possible you would want to avoid sickness as much as humanly possible anyway. Knowing how to treat injuries, wounds, burns and illnesses could keep both your group healthy and could even be used as a source of barter in the worst of cases. Resources like survival medical books, books on medicinal herbs and even old-fashioned remedies might be a good addition to your growing survival library.

Can you make a hobo stove?

Adaptability/Creativity/ Flexibility – These aren’t technically what you might consider as skills but the ability to modify your behavior in beneficial ways based upon what you are currently faced with is a huge advantage. The shower doesn’t run anymore so you set a camp shower in the sun for a few hours, screw a plant hook into the wall in the shower and Voila! You now have maybe the only working shower even in austere environments. Bonus points if you don’t even have a camp shower but you were able to reuse some old plumbing parts and an empty 5 gallon bucket that used to have dry wall compound in it. Showers might seem like a pretty simple problem to solve but it is that type of thinking that will serve you well when you aren’t going to be able to do things the normal way. You have to be able to think outside the box and as cliché as that sounds it is going to help you. For instance, could you make a hobo stove out of nothing but your survival knife and a big empty can?

Gunsmithing would be a highly specialized and sought after post SHTF skill.

Repairing things – If the grid goes down you likely won’t be able to call the dishwasher repairman, or the plumber or the electrician or a lot of people. Of course if the power is out, then you have other problems. Mechanics, engineers and people who like to tinker with things to see how they work; crack them open and fix on them will be a good addition to your survival team. If you have the ability to repair broken items you will be not only valuable to yourself, but you might even be able to open your own post-apocalyptic store and charge for your services. Gunsmithing comes to mind as a possibly appropriate skill to know along with all of the tools you would need to work on weapons.

Gardening – Yes this is a skill. If you have never gardened then you should take the time now to learn because it isn’t as simple as Jack and the Beanstalk made it look. Sure you have grown a couple of tomato plants on your porch, but what about growing enough food for your family to live off of all year long? That is a lot of work and isn’t something you can take lightly. Even if you have that awesome can of survival seeds, you better not wait until SHTF to start digging in the dirt.

Maintaining a secure shelter – I wrote in another article about the subject of defending yourself from the perspective of being able and willing to keep someone from taking your stuff. Stuff in this case could be practically anything but having first the determination (not fear) to do what is required to keep yourself and your family secure in times of chaos is perhaps less a skill but it is no less necessary. It is one thing to find a dry space under a cardboard box in the back of an alley but can you defend yourself if needed? Do you have a mindset that is going to position you to see who is approaching and the means to deal with them, possibly violently if the threat calls for it? It is going to be much harder to hide in urban environments. A true SHTF even will make the riots in Baltimore look like a Sunday picnic. Are you ready for that urban survival scenario?

What skills do you think could help someone in an urban setting stay alive if it all went south?

When the subject of Survival comes up in conversation, what do you think of? I am sure context plays a big part in the answer to that question, but for

One of the first things that people tackle when beginning to prepare for emergencies is food storage, and rightfully so. But there’s a lot more to it than stacking buckets of wheat in the garage or stockpiling bottled water.

If you’re going to take the time and money to prepare for the unexpected, get informed about the do’s and don’ts of proper food storage. Here are 5 mistakes that preppers often make when starting to build their emergency food supply, and how to fix them.

Storing food you don’t like, or don’t know how to prepare

Many people will buy a bucket of wheat, throw it in the closet, and call it a day. But they don’t know how to turn that wheat into bread, or if they’ll even like it if they do. Make sure you store food that you eat on a regular basis. Try making a loaf of bread from some wheat one day (you’ll feel like a superhero, promise), and use those dry beans and rice in your everyday meals. That way, when the day comes and you need to survive off your food storage, it doesn’t flip your world upside down. In an emergency, eating food that you’re already used to is beneficial to your mental health. Don’t add to the stress of such a situation by suddenly having to prepare and eat food that is completely new to you.

rice-and-beans

Rice and beans are a prepper staple and a great option for emergency food storage, but make sure you have variety or family might balk.

And if you choose to buy pre-packaged emergency kits, many companies sell samples of the meals that are included, so you can give them a taste before you stock up. Use the same rule of thumb here too, and rotate a packaged dinner into your meal planning every couple of weeks, so you’re used to preparing and eating your food storage. Using these pantry staples will also cut down on your grocery bill, too, which is a great added bonus.

Storing food improperly

Are you stockpiling cans in the attic or out in shed? Almost any food that you plan on storing for longer than 6 months should be kept at stable temperatures and humidity levels, which makes both of those places poor options. A cool, dark place like a basement can work great, but be careful if your basement is damp or prone to flooding. The best location for your food storage is on the main level of your home, where the temperature and moisture levels are controlled. Also, try not to keep all your eggs in one basket – have several different locations where you can store food, in case one area becomes compromised.

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Food would ideally be stored in a cool, dark place like a basement

Also make sure that your food storage is packaged in a way that deters pests and moisture. Buckets and #10 cans are great ways to store long-lasting food supplies. Food packaged in their original boxes or bags can work fine as long as they are rotated and used regularly – just keep an eye on those expiration dates and make sure your storage area isn’t accessible to mice or other pests.

Not having enough variety in your storage

lunch

Both for the sake of flavor as well as nutrition, make sure that you store a wide variety of food in your supply. Many novices stock up on carbohydrates like wheat and rice but forget to include other essentials. Make sure you’re covering all the necessary food groups – there are a lot of great ways to store protein, dairy, fruits, and vegetables as part of your storage staples. You can easily purchase freeze-dried fruits, vegetables, and even meat in #10 cans or buckets, and dry milk is a great way to make sure your dairy needs are met. Pre-packaged meals also offer an easy way to incorporate variety into your food storage.

Forgetting “the little things”

Things like salt, spices, oil, and condiments make food storage more enjoyable to eat, and baking ingredients such as baking powder, yeast, and eggs are essential to cooking even the most basic recipes from your supplies. Some of these things can be purchased in long-lasting forms, but a great way to make sure you have them on hand is to simply buy a little extra each time you shop. Next time you need a bottle of vegetable oil, just buy an extra and put it with your food storage. Little by little, you can build up a stockpile of these “little things”, and with proper rotation for freshness, you’ll always have a little extra of everything on hand.

Remember to store things like desserts and candy bars, too. When an emergency situation hits, sweet treats are a great way to keep life feeling as normal as possible, especially if you have children. You can buy a #10 can of something like brownie mix, or simply use the method above to always keep a few boxes of treats rotating through your regular storage.

Not rotating food or letting it go bad

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If you use everyday foods in your storage, make sure to rotate them properly and use them before the expiration date.

Buying an extra can of soup and sticking on the shelf for a decade is not a wise food storage solution. If you use everyday foods in your storage, make sure to rotate them properly and use them before the expiration date. Rotating food storage simply means using the oldest item first, and putting the more recently purchased item at the back of the line. For longer term “store it and forget it” options, you can purchase meal packs contained in buckets that store for 20 years or more. We recommend using a combination of both practices for a well-rounded supply that will be both easy and safe to use in an emergency situation.

Food storage can seem intimidating at first, but if you’ve got a handle on each of these areas, you’re well on your way to having a great emergency food supply that will last and serve you well, regardless of what life throws at you. Having a supply of familiar and delicious food on hand will give you an immense feeling of relief and safety. You can start small, and begin today!

One of the first things that people tackle when beginning to prepare for emergencies is food storage, and rightfully so. But there’s a lot more to it than stacking buckets

Soot. Cinders. Slag. The ghost of wood past. Yes, I was indeed referring to wooden ash – we know it, we get it, but we do sure hate cleaning it after the magic of sitting by the firepit’s gone. If you’re the proud owner of a fireplace or anything that runs on split logs and fire, then you know just how frustrating it is to remove the ash from the grate.

Let me role-play for a while (gonna be Morpheus from The Matrix). *ahem* What if told you that there’s a way to turn ash into your ally? More than that, what if I told you that wood ash is the very best thing that could happen to a household after baking powder and diatomaceous earth? I know it sounds rather far-fetched. Perhaps even a bit crazy, but, as a matter of fact, the survival potential of wood ash is known since the dawn of time.

For instance, ancient Egyptians would use a mix of water and ash to deal with pests. The same mixture would also act as a deodorizer, wishing away foul smells (and they kind of needed it, especially those who insisted on wearing those ridiculous-looking wigs).

Anyway, because I’m what my wife calls a slug bug, I sort of did some research of ways to deal with wooden ashes (I simply cannot stand the thought of wasting a couple of hours cleaning every stove and pit and then digging holes around the yard to bury the ash).

And so, after snooping around for a while, I discovered that wood ashes are not only great for getting rid of pests or making deodorants but also for many other jobs, much of them having to do with everyone’s favorite topic – SHTF.

So, without further ado, here’s how wooden ash can help you in any shit hits the fan situation.

1. Water filtration

If you’re out of water filtration pills or have no other source nearby, it may be possible to whip up a water filtration system using an old plastic bottle, fresh ashes, pebbles, sand, and two pieces of cloth. The trick is to arrange them in layers: pebbles, sand, cloth, ash, pebbles, sand, ash, cloth, sand, and pebbles again. Use this to sort of strain your dirty water a couple of times. Proust!

2. Getting rid of ice quick and fast

Many don’t know this, but wooden ash is packed with potassium chloride, aka salt. So, using a handful of wood ash on your driveway or front porch has the same effect as using salt. Knock yourself out!

3. Making the fridge stink go away

There’s nothing more repulsive than having to open the fridge only to nail it shut afterward on account of the rancid smell. You don’t need to get everything out and wash the inside with water and dish detergent. Grab a small plate from the pantry and fill it with ash. Stick it inside the fridge, and the smell will disappear in a couple of hours.

4. Keeping your food fresh

No power? No problem. Dig a hole in the ground, fill the bottom with rocks and straw, and put your veggies and fruits inside. Cover with as much ash as you can find and you’ve got yourself a tiny root cellar. Long before the fridge was invented, homesteaders would place veggies, fruits, and even meat in big clay pots, fill them with ashes and sealed with wax.

5. Making a strong decontamination agent

Although it’s highly unlikely for you to get anywhere near radiations, you should know that it’s possible to create a strong decontamination agent using boiled ash. In a big pot, put some water, wait for it to boil, and had a handful of soot. Stir until the ash is dissolved.

Use a coffee filter to strain the stuff. The resulting liquid, also called lye water, can be used to scrub clean your body if get into contact with harmful radiation. By the way, lye water can also be used to clean and sanitize marble, plates, silverware, clothes, floors, and even wooden floors.

6. Remove humidity from emergency food pantries and root cellars

If you discover that your root cellar or pantry where you’ve stashed the emergency supplies are far too humid, you need not spend hundreds of bucks on a dehumidifier. Grab yourself a metal bucket and put some ash inside. The soot will instantly remove all extra humidity from the air.

7. Field toothpaste

Oral hygiene should always be on the top of your list no matter if you’re at home or lost in some neck of the woods without water and food. Anyway, if you ever feel like your teeth are about to go on a strike because you forgot to wash or floss, dip your finger in fresh ashes and rub it against your teeth. It has the same scrubbing effect as baking soda or salt. Sure, it’s a bit messier compared to toothpaste, but at least your gums are clean.

8. Gardener’s best friend

If you ever get around to growing your veggie garden, don’t let those pest or animals ruin your dream. You can get rid of most of them by putting a small ash pile at the base of each plant.

10. No more trips to the vet for ticks, lice, and fleas

I sometimes find it difficult to run to the vet each time one of my cats or dogs come home with fleas or ticks (and yes, it happens very often since we keep them inside only during the winter and early spring.

If you want to save some money of those vet bills, it may be possible to create a strong flea\tick\lice repellent using water, fresh white ash, and a little bit of vinegar. Combine all three inside a bowl or something and stir. The result is thick, off-white paste. My cats and dogs hate it and spreading it on their furs is a nightmare. However, this stuff is as effective as anything you get from the pet shop.

Hope you’ve enjoyed my article on survival uses of wooden ash. Think I’ve missed something? Hit the comments section and let me know.

Before you go, you may also like:

How to survive any medical crisis situation with ease
Secret Military Solution For Power Independence

Lost Skills of our Ancestors that still work today

What if I told you that wood ash is the very best thing that could happen to a household after baking powder and diatomaceous earth?

Many times on Final Prepper, we have articles that revolve in some capacity around the subject of firearms. If you can access firearms and aren’t morally or philosophically opposed to them, they are the single greatest defensive tool you can have on you in a bad situation. Naturally, they come second to a good smart brain, but as tools go, firearms are the best self-defense items that preppers can acquire in my opinion.

Now, that being said it is just my opinion and you all know what they say about opinions. To continue down that line, simply having a firearm is no guarantee you will use it or that it can’t be taken from you. Firearms are simple tools designed to kill people but they require training, discipline, wisdom and willpower to be effective in a self-defensive situation. They aren’t a magic wand that you can simply wave at a problem and make it disappear. Often their very use creates more problems for those who carry them.

There are others that will say (rightly so) that without ammo, or if parts malfunction, any firearm is just an expensive club. To that end they will advocate alternative self-defense strategies. Still others live in areas where firearms are illegal so I wanted to write today about some less than lethal self-defense items that can be employed by just about anyone who can’t or does not want to own a firearm. We showed some of the creative weapons made by the protesters in Ukraine but this list will be a little tamer than that.

Less than lethal

Before I get to the list, let me explain what I mean by less than lethal. The items below with just a few exceptions could all be used to kill someone if used too long, too often or too forcefully. You could say the same thing about a rock. I gave them the less than lethal category because unlike a firearm, the self-defense items below won’t likely penetrate skin, almost assuredly won’t go through a wall and kill someone else and can likely be purchased anywhere without the need for a background check or permit.

Additionally, these items may fall into groups that could be expanded upon logically. It is really just a thought-starter for those preppers out there looking for options. Some of these items could be used in an emergency or improvised if needed. The down side of most of these items in my opinion is that you have to be really close to your attacker to deploy them. That proximity brings greater risk of injury but we are talking about saving your life here. I don’t want my wife or children to get any closer than they have to.

Tazer

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VIPERTEK VTS-989 – 88,000,000 V Heavy Duty Stun Gun – Rechargeable with LED Flashlight

The venerable tazer has been around for a while now and you can purchase one for less than $20. These use a small battery and a transformer to multiply the voltage of that battery. When pressed against someone’s skin, it delivers a high charge over stimulates the sensory and motor nerves. This results in strong involuntary muscle contractions and the victim is usually incapacitated for a brief time.

Tazers have been known to kill people but this is rare so I still believe this weapon qualifies as less than lethal. If you are ready with this in your hand, you can subdue an attacker and make your escape.

Pepper Spray/Bear Spray

pepperspray

SABRE Red Pepper Spray – Police Strength – Compact, Case & Quick Release Key Ring (Max Protection – 25 Shots, up to 5x More)

Pepper spray is concentrated chemical compound that irritates the eyes, causing tears, pain and temporary blindness. It is used by police officers in crowd control and against rapists by females all over the world. The effect of pepper spray doesn’t last long but it is serious enough to allow you to escape. Unlike the tazer, you can spray pepper spray usually up to 10 feet. Bear Spray has a longer range of about 30 feet and the containers hold more spray which is why it is a prepper staple.

Kubaton

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FURY Tactical SDK (Self Defense Keychain) with Pressure Tip

A kubaton is a short striking instrument that is designed to be held in your hand and deployed against sensitive or vulnerable areas on your attacker’s body. This requires some training before use, but you can get an idea of the use in the video below.

Many kubaton’s are designed to be a part of your key chain and ready to deploy quickly.

Self-defense cane

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Durable Self Defense Cane – Virtually Indestructible

We’ve all seen the comedy act where the little old lady is whacking the purse snatcher over the head with her cane as he is trying to wrestle her pocketbook from her grasp. They do make canes that are designed from Fiber filled nylon that are meant to be used as a striking weapon. Crack someone over the head with this and you will get their attention. They also make canes with a tazer built in!

Extendable Baton

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Expandable Solid Steel Baton

The expandable baton is a modern revision of the old police baton. Newer models are stored collapsed down and extend with a spring and a pretty good amount of force. Police officers carry these and they are basically a metal rod used to break windows or skulls.

Tire Thumper

tirethumper

RoadPro RPTT-1 Wooden Tire Thumper, 19-Inches,

Tire thumpers were designed by truckers to check the air pressure in tires. It is not a scientific measurement, but by listening to the sound the thumper makes and judging by the recoil felt in your hands you can get a good idea of roughly whether it needs a lot of air. The tire thumper itself is just a simple club and can be used to crack someone’s head under the right circumstances. Of course you could also break hands, arms, legs…

Baseball Bat

Or golf club, hockey stick, cricket bat, broom handle… Anything with some mass you can get your hands on and swing with all your might. Primarily for last ditch home defense, the baseball bat is certainly a formidable weapon but like most of these others will require some stealth. If you can sneak up on someone and disable them with a blow to the head they aren’t getting back up.

Fire Extinguisher

Why would you waste a good fire extinguisher on a bad guy? Because your life depended on it! A fire extinguisher puts out a big cloud of flame retardant that not only could temporarily blind someone but could also be very disorientating. Follow up by swinging the heavy cylinder at their head for the big finish.

Bug/Wasp Spray

We had a guest who wrote a post some time back about a weapon you may not have thought of. Bug Spray or more specifically wasp and hornet spray because it has a more targeted spray and further distance is one of those items that has made the rounds in prepper circles. To be honest, if I am down to wasp spray it is pretty serious, but in a desperate situation, I would give it a try.

So there are 9 less than lethal self defensive items you could use if the situation called for it. What ideas do you have for potential weapons?

Many times on Final Prepper, we have articles that revolve in some capacity around the subject of firearms. If you can access firearms and aren’t morally or philosophically opposed to

Get a few preppers together, and you can pretty much guarantee that at some point bug out bags and bartering will come up. My personal take is that it’s a little bit foolish to stock something solely to barter – especially stuff that relates to addictions, because people with addictions can be a little bit crazy about their vices. Stocking things that can get used by the household means there’s little regret about expenditures in 2-10 years, whether a disaster occurs or not.

There have been other bartering articles on FP, and they’re totally worth looking at. I have zero arguments with the gear, meds, candles, batteries, foods and feel-goods that show up on those lists and are so very common when it comes up on forums. Still, there are some things that are very, very useful, readily affordable, readily portable in a bag or loaded into a game cart to take to Bartertown, and that I see very few people talk about – period, but almost never in the “barter” conversations and posts.

So those are where I’m focusing today.

In many cases, they’re not going to be the first things to run off shelves. Know your area and know what disappears – and when seasonally it tends to disappear even without a disaster. I tend to focus my own efforts on those things I don’t expect to find 3-9 months after a major crisis. I’m also cognizant that some things are never in much bulk – or enough bulk – and that even beyond looters and municipal groups that stand up to try to save their communities and go salvaging, there’s the risk of fires spreading and taking out stores.

With that in mind, here’s my list of 8 barter items that end up ignored as barter items and that aren’t without merit as backups for our own stockpiles.

Canning Jars – Especially Lids

canning-jar-lids-tattler-header

Tattler Reusable Canning Lids & Rubber Rings

It’s pretty rare to find stores with nothing but canning jars on the aisles these days. In most cases, a store at its max display capacity has fewer jars than a single family would need to can only a veggie supplement for 6-9 months, and sometimes even fewer spare lids.

That makes lids and jars pretty much number one on my stock-up list, both for home use and to trade with neighbors and locals.

You’re not going to stick more than a box or two of spare lids in a bag, so this is one of the cases where if you’re on foot, you might want to go ahead and stick with some of those things like batteries, candles, an airgun and pellets, meds, and other lightweight items that will go pretty quick and that people 5 days, 50 days, 5 months and maybe even 50 months into a disaster will still be interested in taking off your hands.

Sevin Dust

sevin-dust-mixed

If you’re big on health, go with dish soap, vinegar and water as a spray, and just skip on down to the next one. I’m pretty much required to turn in my greenie card for promoting Sevin Dust.

But, see, Sevin is pretty darn handy. Back in the ‘80s and ‘90s, my father used to coat pretty much anything alive in the stuff – ducks, horses, goats, veggies, trees, wasp houses. He used it as flea and tick control as well as on garden pests.

We now have health concerns and concerns about wiping out beneficial bugs and microbes, but if your garden’s getting eaten by eight different things, if you absolutely have to have it to have anything but beans and wheat – or if your beans are being eaten by three different things – you’re going to be willing to think seriously about pretty much anything on the table to get your hands on an easy-to-apply dust that will kill almost any of them, something you can spot treat by hand or hook up to a backpack blower.

I specify the dust because it’s more compact, stores easily, and comes in both big bulk bags and small-container three packs that make it a viable option to cart to the church or community potluck, market or specific neighbors. It also has some of the shortest interval-to-harvest periods of a commercial pesticide.

Liquid Sevin doesn’t store as long, but it does kill extra things and it’s easier to get on the underside of leaves than powder.

Diatomaceous Earth

de_group

First, an apology to our Canadians. I have gathered the impression that this stuff can be tough for you guys to get ahold of, especially in bulk, and it’s not especially cheap there. Here we can just swing by on a whim and get it in packaging from the size of a deck of cards, by the gallon, or even by the 55-gal barrel.

There aren’t as many uses for Diatomaceous Earth as there are for baking soda and Epsom salt, but, man, it’s pretty handy.

It’s the active ingredient in SMITE for poultry, it clears up everything from bed bugs to livestock and pet ear mites, ants to roaches. It can form protective barriers around plants or be spread over them as a powdered insecticide. It’s natural, physical as opposed to chemical, has a nearly endless shelf life because it’s really just ancient plankton shells, can help protect stored foods – especially those we’re harvesting and our next-year seeds – and it has at least a dozen health and beauty uses.

The more uses something has, the less variety we have to store and the better the chances that when somebody has a problem, we have a valuable solution. DE checks those boxes in a big way.

Baking Soda & Baking Powder

baking-soda-baking-powder
It’s hard to bake without leavening of some sort, and baking soda has about a million uses outside baking – and about a million more totally outside the kitchen. Both have long expirations and easily extend beyond their best-by dates even at room temperature and with fluctuations from 60 to 80 degrees. They’re sensitive to moisture in their smallest packaging forms, but it’s easy to get several or a whole handful in a gallon bag to keep in buckets and pull out as needed.

I don’t expect them to simply run off the shelves as soon as a disaster is announced, but they’re inexpensive, cheaper yet to buy in bulk bags, and it’s worth having some baking soda stocked because it’s one of those that when you want it, there’s not a lot of substitution.

Epsom Salts

epsom

First, sorry, Australian readers (and maybe Brits). I know this stuff is expensive and controlled to a ridiculous degree for you guys. It’s cheap and plentiful in the U.S.

Epsom Salts is what I consider an absolute, 100%, no-arguments prepper must-have. If there’s not already a reminder of how awesome Epsom salt is on an annual basis, there should be. Epsom salt is another one like baking soda, with fifty million uses for human health and hygiene, cleaning, livestock, and gardens. There are so many uses, it truly deserves its own article just as a primer on how useful Epsom salt is.

I’ll take just a moment here to point out that Epsom salt is far, far different from table salts. Epsom is magnesium sulfate, not sodium chloride.

When you want to burn it down and salt the earth so nothing grows (or clean a cutting board and preserve food), use table salt, kosher salt and sea salt.

When you want to encourage flowers, reduce soil deficiencies so plants can uptake their macronutrients properly and produce healthy, bountiful yields, fix an ear infection, reduce swelling, pamper your feet and skin, create barriers for certain types of pests in the home and garden, clean a wound, clear up skin conditions in humans, poultry and hoof stock, that’s what Epsom salt does.

And more.

As with everything else mentioned here, it can be purchased in bulk, or it’s available in small, moisture-resistant containers that make it very viable for trade when somebody’s struggling with any of a multitude of issues.

Rat Traps

rattrap

Rat traps have a ton of uses, but number one is their actual pest-control job. Eventually I think the rat population will level out one way or another, but between death and waste-removal shutdowns, I think they’ll boom for a while first. There have also been some historic accounts from Rome, London and other sites of major fires, where rats flee the cities and end up a plague on outlying areas in waves – and I anticipate fires since they happen daily even now.

Rat traps also have applications as squirrel and songbird traps for feeding families and pets, protecting gardens from small raiders, and combining with fishing line and various magnetic strip alarms or things like chem lights to create visual and audio alerts for home and property alarms. They can also be rigged with bells on a line to alert a barrier run of pigs that something has tripped the wire, and with some training the pigs will rush in to remove threats to chickens and gardens.

They’re small, light, and typically pretty cheap.

For smaller rodent controls, there are several ways (at least) to turn cans and buckets or rubber bands and 2L bottles into pretty effective rodent traps, and some additional ways to use PVC for squirrels and rats. They’re reusable and potentially can be made out of scavenged refuse or scrap, so it’s worth looking up those, too.

After all, sometimes know-how is as valuable a barter object as a physical item.

Water Catchment Faucets, Spigots, & Overflow Fittings

catchment-bucket-spigot

We’re almost guaranteed to see increased attempts to catch and store rain if a disaster ever occurs. Drought and periodic no-boil orders already make water a valuable – and expensive – resource right here in North America.

Having extra fittings for turning our emptied and scavenged buckets, totes, barrels, and tubs into more effective catchment systems has the potential to make not only our lives easier, but convince somebody to share a tool or pasture they’d rather not, or sweeten a deal over somebody else’s offer.

I doubt hardware stores will empty of plumbing fittings super early, but there’s always a chance, since few areas have enough in to truly impact catchment for every farmer and rooftop in the area. There’s also the risk of fire.

The washers and faucets for making the simplest conversions are lightweight, and at most should cost a few bucks. They have the potential of appeal to a much larger community than just smokers, drinkers and tokers, and will appeal to those as well. That makes them a pretty easy item to keep in even an INCH bag and definitely worth throwing in a cargo pocket when we patrol or go to a neighbor – you never know when the opportunity for new boots, tampons, or better bullets will appear.

Various silicone tubes and thread tape have value even outside the rain barrel creations. Some of our local stores and contractors are pretty happy to let us have odds and ends of PVC from jobs for free. The faucets or spigots valves and washers are the more pocketable pieces, but some short runs of PVC and small tubes of aquarium repair silicone can sweeten a deal even more when suggesting or building a system for somebody.

Portable Solar Chargers

solarcharger

Small, portable battery and device solar chargers abound on the market today, from $5-50. The battery chargers are useless without fresh batteries to charge, but having access to downloaded music, movies, games and pictures may mean a great deal to some folks.

They’re small enough even for folks who aren’t ready for $100-3,000 systems to keep phones, iPods, walkies, and headlamps going, and their value will go up further in protracted crises or a situation with regular brownouts. They’re already something you see folks gouge prices on and hit the streets with during “normal” natural disasters.

I wouldn’t fill up buckets with this one, but having a few for us, a few as backups, and a few I’m willing to part with for the little pocket versions and maybe a couple of the larger laptop-tablet or C-9V or combo chargers and rechargeable batteries for them is worth it to me. I also keep Nokeros and some of the little flat flashlights in my windows, though (and use them nearly daily instead of a bedside lamp or regular flashlight).

Backups and Bartering Alternatives

Like I said, I tend to think folks should focus on things they’ll use in a disaster or daily life over something they never have and plan to never want. I also really like the items that can sit on a shelf for years even before best-by dates expire, especially the ones that don’t need additional packaging.

I have no problem with the lists of the common items like meds, batteries, and knife sharpeners. There are always going to be others, from things like clip-on book and cap lights to the ammo that leads to so much back-and-forth and conditional settings. This is just a list of options that I rarely see discussed as storage items, and almost never see on the bartering lists – even though they can be had compactly and they offer so much in so many ways for the most part, that really don’t have replacements, or are rare to find on shelves even now.

Get a few preppers together, and you can pretty much guarantee that at some point bug out bags and bartering will come up. My personal take is that it’s a

Let me congratulate you first and foremost for taking the time to read this article and the many others the touch upon how to become or continue to prepare to be a “prepper”. What are we preparing for? These are some of the buzz words or often discussed reasons. Total economic breakdown, food crisis, EMP or the countless many other mass disasters that can affect the average everyday citizens in the US. Y2K wasn’t so long ago that we all have forgotten but many young adults were not old enough to see the preparations, church plans and overall fear.

Many young adults have been brought up with a sense of almost instant gratification, entitlement enabled by the ability to communicate without too many issues with the advent of better computers and cell phones. These younger adults are starting to see that the world like those of us that are a little older. Just think this is the first year many students are learning about 911 as a historic event. The world is not as safe as many once thought it was. Many of us have seen the horrors of an economic collapse (currently taking place in Venezuela as I write this). Katrina’s wrath and long-term destruction. Earthquakes that kill thousands.

Some of you reading this have even been a part of disaster or time where you didn’t have power, water, food or ability to travel. How long do you think you can go without being able to shop at a store? How many days’ worth of food, water and protection from the elements do you truly have? For cold environments you need a heat source, for warm environments you need a shade or cooling source. Are you really prepared? Feel free to take a break from this article and look in your pantry?

Now that I have your attention or agreement. We will get to the meat and potatoes of why you should be a prepper. Do not depend on the system. The system as has been seen in action, is not fast or efficient. FEMA and DHS are not here for you. Scary thought – they are ready to help but are only able to handle 3 large-scale disaster at one time. Three Katrina’s, 911’s or Large quakes. After that the stock they have on hand is gone. There is no fall back plan for you the average citizen. Our government officials, Community Stakeholders and employees maybe will fare a little better. You are the only person that is going to truly provide adequate emergency supplies and protection for yourself when a disaster strikes on a large-scale. You are the end all be all that will protect your family and or self if you are a single person with no family.

food_riots

Food “protests” of 1917. Nothing as civil as this would happen if people were hungry today.

How do I start prepping?

Right now you considering making the choice to not be a “sheep”. You need to understand that telling the world that you are or want to become a prepper is counterproductive. You may not want to share that information with many because of the negative things that are happening the world. You DO NOT want to make yourself a target. Do I believe the government is going to come for your supplies and or weapons? No but I think that other people in your area may look to you for the things they need when SHTF because they have failed to plan themselves.

As a beginning prepper you’re overloaded with information. Trust me I thought I was doing all these great preps. I thought that I have it all figured out. I am prior service, a Firearms Instructor and have connections. Guess what? Connections do not mean anything when the desperation sets in.

So the supplies and cost may seem overwhelming. Your family and friends think that you have been drinking the “tin foil hat” crowd’s cool aid. Some of your loved ones have “known” other preppers and have a horrible connotation to the word prepper. Face it these same folks will come running if the proverbial feces hit’s the fan. You are prepping for you. You are prepping for your family. You want to be ready for an all hazards approach to Disasters.

People have been preppers longer then people have laughed at it. When our pioneers blazed the trail west they were preppers. They couldn’t magically go to the general store. How many people laughed at them? Be careful because the internet is full of “prepper” sites and articles that want to sell you the newest, best and in many cases very expensive ready-made kits. They can be Food buckets, that “cool new shovel that you can crush Zombies skulls” with or say that you need 20 different firearms for all the situations that you may encounter. These examples are a little outlandish but folks trust me, go shopping around on doomsday sites. They are often using fear to entice you to buy. Don’t get me wrong I am not knocking all of it I am just a realist. I have served overseas in harm’s way and can tell you that the biggest things you need are food, water, shelter and the ability to defend yourself.

lootedstore

Stores are quickly cleaned out in Venezuela’s food riots.

Having a basic 30-day food supply, water, defense and a plan is huge start. Don’t think about a year, start with a month. Most disasters that we truly will face are less than 30 days. Get training on how to use your defensive equipment. Stay in shape. The argument that having a firearm will keep you safe and make it so don’t you have to run is garbage. Next use some of the foods that you store know how to prepare them, don’t buy stuff you won’t eat or don’t like for food storage. You want to start small. For example, fruits, veggies and meats all in cans. Add up how many people are in your home and plan for 30 days. 2 meals a day and throw in a snack or treat as well. If you have kids plan for them. If you can keep everyone fed and semi happy, morale will stay high.

Next you need to evaluate your risks, include summer, winter and extreme conditions. Are you in a tornado, earthquake or hurricane zone? Use this information to ready shelters if needed. You must maintain your body heat. Lastly buy a good pistol and rifle for each adult. Do not spend a fortune. Remember that training I was talking about earlier spend more on that than the guns. A Glock 19 and a DPMS AR platform with 500 rounds each per adult would be the minimum suggestion from me.

kievriots

Riots in Kiev protesting government.

Once you are set on those mainstays add medical equipment and training remember it’s all on you. Count on there being no 911 or first responders to save you. Mitigate risks, plan for disasters that are realistic and when you are well set up and ready for a year start working on those less than likely situations.

In closing I want you to feel safe, be fed and have a roof over your head but do not forsake time with family to get this done in a weekend all you will do is stress yourself out. Try and involve the immediate family. Work on small project to build into the large project. It should be a fun journey that keeps you feeling prepared. It is not a project to that should be done out of terror or fear. We are not that close to an apocalypse or are we?

Let me congratulate you first and foremost for taking the time to read this article and the many others the touch upon how to become or continue to prepare to

Say what you will about paper money, but it sure has made the process of buying things convenient. And plastic credit cards… well, perhaps they make purchasing a little TOO convenient. But what will happen when the day comes when paper money is no longer issued or backed by the government? What will happen when our credit and debit cards slide for the last time? Commerce and industry will never disappear, there will always be people buying, trading and selling. The only difference will be how they will be doing it once today’s money loses its value. So, below we’ve put together a list of 10 bartering items that will be worthy of trading for those days ahead, on the other side of that moment we call when the SHTF…

Information/knowledge

If you know how to do something and another person doesn’t, and the other person needs to know how to do that thing, then you have something of value. Some examples of knowledge that would be valuable for those days after the SHTF could be things such as an understanding of gardening and growing foods, basic medical knowledge, an understanding of herbs and medicines, skill in animal husbandry, skill in midwifery, skill in hunting, tracking or defense. Even a skill in storytelling might help you come out ahead at times. I mean, everyone wants someone fun to sit around the fire with!

So, while you’re preparing for those days ahead and storing your food and water, don’t neglect yourself or your brain. With the right decisions and knowledge what you see when you look in the mirror might be the most valuable bartering object you have!

Fabric

knit

Everyone needs fabric to keep themselves and their loved ones protected and warm and if the factories aren’t running eventually there will be a shortage. What fabrics you would want to save depends on where you live and what your lifestyle is. Lighter fabrics might be somewhat valuable in warmer climates, but in the cold and the mountains, thick wool fabric can be a literal lifesaver. Whether it’s mending a ripped coat or stitching a new pair of pants for a growing child, sometimes a thin layer of fabric is the only thing we have between us and a cold death.

Precious Metals

money

We humans have used precious metals like gold and silver for trading for tens of thousands of years. Usually precious metal is traded in coin form. Gold and silver coins are considered valuable due to their scarcity (there is not a lot of it and it’s hard to mine) and their how small and easily transportable they are.

While gold and silver coins will likely always have some degree of value you still can’t eat them or wear them, they won’t keep you warm and they won’t keep you out of the rain. Because of that gold and silver coins won’t likely have much value in the days immediately after the SHTF because people will be more worried about more immediate needs (like food and protection). But, once things start to calm down and an economy begins to reform it’s more than likely that gold and silver coins will once again claim value.

“Shoes”

work-boots

When I say “shoes” I don’t mean only shoes. What I really mean is any type of item that is both necessary and that also wears out with regular and sustained use. Shoes are simply a good example of this sort of item. This doesn’t mean I suggest you clear out the back portion of your garage and stock up on shoes the next time the shoe store has a sale. I’m simply reminding you that people aren’t going to want to have bare feet. And if you have shoes… well then…

Survival Gear

Yes, I know this is a huge category. It’s spans everything from knives to tents, from water purifiers to binoculars. But there is no denying that when things go south objects and items that help people stay alive will be in great demand and any item in great demand has trading value. With this in mind, when you upgrade to new equipment you might not want to throw out the old stuff. That old pair of binocs, while perhaps not something you’ll be using anytime soon, might be worth a week (or a month) worth of food to the right person.

Canned Food

This is an obvious one. We, humans, need food every day, but every day lots of food spoils or goes bad. Canned and bottled food is the answer to this problem. When properly stored some canned and bottled food can last for decades or more. That’s a lot of flexibility in food storage. And, if after a couple of years you’re sick of your bottled green beans then perhaps you can find someone else who’s sick of their bottled beets and boom! You’ve got a trade (and thankful taste buds).

Guns

bestgun

Another obvious one. Guns, guns and more guns. Whether it’s a .22 or a .306, a pistol or a shotgun, few things will be more valuable than guns for when the SHTF. Guns can be used to provide food for yourself and your family, they can be used to protect your loved ones and to defend your own food. Perhaps one of the most valuable thing about guns isn’t shooting them at all, but simply the knowledge that you could shoot if you needed to.

One caveat that comes with bartering guns, make sure you trust who you’re trading the gun(s) to. A gun doesn’t care who’s holding it, it’s a tool, nothing more. And a gun in the wrong hand can do immense degrees of harm to you and the ones you love. So, if you have enough guns and see a value in trading feel free to do so, but don’t hand a gun over to a man or woman who will be likely to simply turn the gun around and use it on you.

Alcohol

whiskey

Even if you don’t drink it, chances are there will be someone nearby you that does, and they might be willing to trade you quite a bit for the chance to taste a bit of alcohol again.

Plus, alcohol can be used for more than just drinking. It can be used as a cleaning liquid, as a solvent, as a fuel and even as a preservative! And as long as the bottles are kept closed alcohol will store for basically forever. If you’ve got shelves full of canned and bottled food then you might want to consider adding a bottle or two, or twenty, of alcohol to your collection. You just never know when it will come in handy, and you never know just how much someone else will be willing to trade for it.

Dried Foods

Dried foods are in the same category as canned and bottled foods. The only difference is that the fact that they are dried means they are lighter and easier to transport. Because of this, dried foods will find their greatest value in a society or world that is moving and transitory. If you live in a cabin in the woods then you might want to invest in bottled foods. If you’re living in a tent and moving around then dried foods will be your best caloric value.

Bullets

bullets

And here we are, item #1, what some might argue could, at the end of the day, be the most valuable trading item for those days on the far side of that moment where the SHTF. Bullets. Bullets? You might ask. Why would bullets be so valuable?

A handful of reasons. First, like precious metals, bullets are both difficult to manufacture and they are small and easily transported. Plus, like food or fabric, bullets have a utility value since they can be used to keep you and your loved ones alive. Like canned or bottled food, bullets have a very long “shelf life”. In addition, guns are mostly worthless without bullets so, if your neighbor is the guy with all the guns, and you are the one with all the bullets then chances are you’ll have a lot to talk about.

 

Many different types of bullets can also be reloaded and used multiple times as well. Due to all these elements, bullets will always have a great value in a post SHTF world.

At the end of the day, intelligence should be used while you prepare for the future and when you are preparing and prepping be sure you make the best purchases, especially with the goal of being able to barter in that strange new world.

Say what you will about paper money, but it sure has made the process of buying things convenient. And plastic credit cards… well, perhaps they make purchasing a little TOO