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Preparing for an uncertain future means many things to many different people.

To some it’s about storing bottled water and other essential items, while to others it’s about learning how to make a shelter and fire. Some people believe it’s mostly about securing their finances against market fluctuations, while others feel it’s about defending themselves and their property.

Regardless of what first comes to mind when you consider this important issue, we’re all going to have to eat after a disaster strikes. None of us will be able to survive the coming crisis without the vitamins and minerals that come from food. And that food must be packaged and stored properly if it’s going to remain nutritious for many years.

Of course, there are other factors involved in stockpiling survival food for the future. We’ll eat anything if we have to, but good-tasting food will make the situation much better, as will a significant amount of variety. The food also needs to be nourishing because a crisis will produce stress and we’ll need all the nutrients we can get to deal with that. With the electrical grid likely to be knocked out for a while following a disaster, the food we store should also be simple to prepare.

And despite how good our food tastes, how much variety we incorporate into our stockpile, how nutritious it is and how easy it is to prepare, it needs to be packaged and stored in a manner that will ensure its longevity. None of us knows how long it will be until a major emergency occurs, and none of us has any idea how long that emergency will last.

Let’s take a look at several long-term food storage components, starting with the most common mistakes people make when they begin their stockpiling process.

10 FOOD STORAGE ERRORS TO AVOID

Do you know who the biggest believers in the importance of storing food and water for emergencies are? It’s probably the victims of disasters that have occurred in this country over the past 15 years or so, including Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy, tornadoes in Oklahoma, Alabama and elsewhere, and snowstorms in the Great Lakes regions.

gettyimages-452124739-1Few people would disagree that it’s a good idea to store emergency food and water, but the folks who are most convinced are the ones who wish they had been prepared for the tragedies they experienced. Many of them are now ready to face the next crisis because they realize from first-hand experience how crucial it is to be prepared.

What some people are not quite as sure about, however, are the best types of food to stockpile, as well as the strategies for storing it in a manner that will maximize its usage once it comes time to access it. There are many mistakes made in this area, and the downside is significant. A lot of hard work can go to waste because just when emergency food is needed most, people can discover that their stored food has gone bad.

There are a number of examples regarding how this can happen. Someone could have huge amounts of grains stored, for instance, but quickly learn that too much of a good thing is not really that good. Balance and variety are essential, and not merely for your digestive system. They are also a psychological help to you and your family, especially if the emergency situation lasts for days, weeks or months.

Another very important factor is the type of containers in which you store food. If there is exposure to air and moisture, it can ruin your food storage tactics. In addition, where you keep those containers is crucial because high temperatures and light can negatively influence vitamins, proteins and fats.

Other factors include your food’s nutritional quality and how frequently you rotate it. You also want to make certain that the majority of food you store does not require refrigeration because a power outage would spoil those foods quickly. Finally, keeping some food at multiple locations is important, because your home could be destroyed in a disaster, or you might not be able to get back to it right away.

Here are 10 common food storage mistakes:

1. Ignoring the importance of nutrition in stored food. This happens more frequently than one might think. Sometimes we’re so concerned about the volume of food we store that we forget about vitamin and mineral content.

2. Using sacks or other containers that are not airtight. This is wrong for a variety of reasons. Air and moisture will greatly decrease the shelf life of stored food. In addition, containers that are not airtight increase the chances that insects or critters might get into your food.

3. Failing to keep food containers in a dry, cool place. Moisture and heat are two of the worst enemies of stored food. The storage temperature for most food should be between 40 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

4. Failing to keep food containers out of the light. You definitely want to head to the
dark side when it comes to storing food. Light can deplete the vitamin content of food.

5. Storing too many items that need refrigeration. As mentioned, it’s very likely a crisis will include the loss of power, which means your refrigerated items will spoil quickly without a generator.

6. Failing to include enough variety. After a couple of days of eating the exact same thing, you and your family are going to want something different.

7. Failing to include at least a small percentage of “comfort” foods. In addition to satisfying your sweet tooth, comfort foods will give you and your family a big psychological lift in a crisis.

8. Failing to check expiration dates and rotate stored foods. In each container, organize food by expiration date. When an item’s expiration date is approaching, eat that food – or donate it to a shelter – and replace it with newer food.

9. Failing to keep your stockpile discreet. Advertising to others that you have a stash of survival food could make you vulnerable when a crisis hits. Keep your preparations on the down low.

10. Storing all the food in one location. This is the classic case of putting all your eggs in one basket. If your home is destroyed in a disaster, you’ll be glad you kept food and water at a secondary location.

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Some folks believe that freeze-drying is the way to go with long-term food storage. While it’s effective, it’s also very expensive and strips the food of some of its vital nutrients.

Another common technique in the food storage industry is the cheaper “rapid dehydration” method that sucks all the water out quickly. But it can also pull out flavor and nutrients. Low-heat dehydration is a proven technique that keeps flavor and nutrition locked in, and that food will last just as long as freeze-drying without costing an arm and a leg.

Two main advantages to dehydrating food are that it can stay fresher longer and can be stored and transported more easily. Water in food can carry bacteria, which will make that food go bad sooner, and it also weighs down that food.

If you are a do-it-yourselfer, dehydrating food would be a great way to prepare it for your stockpile. It will be more compact and easier to store as you keep it at home, and it will be lighter and more easily packed if you need to bug out. And anytime you want a quick and nutritious meal prior to a crisis situation, all you have to do is rehydrate it and eat it without having to bother looking for an expiration date.

Figure on dehydrated meat lasting only about two months, but many dehydrated fruits and vegetables will be good for a year or so. If you dehydrate herbs, they can probably last for several years.

In order to dehydrate some of your food, you can either use an oven set at a low temperature or invest in a modern, electronic dehydrator. That way, you can make food with an expiration of one month last about 12 months. You don’t want to go much beyond a year in most cases because at that point, even though the water has been removed, it’s likely the nutrients will start breaking down.

Regardless, storage is the key. Once you’ve dehydrated various foods, place them in airtight, plastic containers such as Mylar bags. You may think you’ve squeezed all of the oxygen out of a bag, but there is probably a small amount left, so use an oxygen absorber.

As far as rehydrating that food is concerned, all you have to do in most cases is place it in boiling water and stir, providing a little time for it to thicken.

THE IMPORTANCE OF TASTE

Yes, we will eat anything if we’re starving, but consuming foods that don’t taste good to us is a real challenge. Just when we need that food the most, tasteless food could be tough to swallow – literally and figuratively.

Make sure that the food you put into long-term storage includes top-quality ingredients. Think of the recipes that have proven to be your family’s favorites through the years, and focus on them.

 

THE IMPORTANCE OF NUTRITION

Everybody knows it’s important to eat food that’s good for you. Well, that’s going to become even more important after the stuff hits the fan. Being able to perform at peak capacity under pressure will be essential when we’re dealing with a crisis, and eating healthy food will go a long toward accomplishing that goal.

Be certain that your survival food is jam-packed with nutritional value, preferably food that takes 100 percent non-GMO fruits and vegetables as
its starting point and ideally food that is grown, harvested and made from scratch here in America.
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THE IMPORTANCE OF VARIETY

Have you ever noticed that many foods taste great if you haven’t had them for a while, but not quite as good if you ate them recently and definitely not as good if you ate them yesterday? Our taste buds – not to mention our minds – react differently to foods based on how long it’s been since we’ve eaten them.

Variety in survival food is extremely important… for taste, for nutritional value and for the psychological effect. Make sure you stockpile a nice variety of food for breakfast, lunch and dinner, not to mention snacks and desserts. These foods might include oatmeal, powdered milk, soups, stews, rice, pastas, potatoes, and plenty of fruits and vegetables.

THE IMPORTANCE OF PACKAGING

Another key factor to consider with long-term food storage is packaging. There’s not much point in stockpiling survival food if your food isn’t going to survive. It needs to stay good for a long time.

It’s vital to keep air and moisture out and to have a durable package that can take a few bumps over the years without bursting. The best way to ensure that result is to use space-age Mylar packaging that gets placed inside airtight containers, so look for sealed Mylar pouches with less than 2 percent oxygen content.

Mylar is what NASA uses in spacesuits to protect astronauts from solar-thermal radiation. So, you know your food will be protected against all the elements Mother Nature could throw at it. This barrier against air, moisture and light – the three things that will destroy food over time – is possible even with re-sealable pouches.

THE IMPORTANCE OF SIMPLICITY

Now, none of that time-consuming packaging process makes any sense if it doesn’t contain great-tasting, nutritious food capable of lasting a long time and that is simple for you to prepare. A majority of your stockpiled survival food should require only boiling water, simmering and serving.

WHAT ABOUT CANNED FOOD?

Some survival websites will tell you that canned food is very good for long-term storage, while others will tell you it’s not. Although it can have some drawbacks – weight and portability, for example – canned food is probably better than many people think… especially if you’re hunkered down and don’t have to lug it around.

While you would not want to live exclusively on canned foods, they have their place, especially when one is on a tight budget. Many folks are living paycheck to paycheck during these rough economic times. They barely have enough money to feed themselves and their families, let alone stock up on foods that can sometimes be expensive.

As a more economical option for part of your emergency food supply, put together a stockpile of canned foods. Many of the same foods that people eat on a regular basis are available in canned form, including vegetables, soups, meats, fish, stews, beans, pasta and many more. Canned foods can be nutritious and rich in protein, which people will need for keeping up their strength when they’re dealing with a crisis.

Of course, there is the issue of shelf life when it comes to canned food. Cans also take up a lot of space, and they are heavy. If you have to grab your emergency food supply quickly and head out the door, cans are not your ideal choice. In addition, epoxy resins containing Bisphenol A (BPA) are frequently used as coatings on the insides of cans, which has raised some health concerns. And while it’s extremely rare, some people have contracted botulism from canned food.

But below are seven reasons why you might want to consider having at least some canned food in your survival stash:

1. Price. When you purchase items in bulk, you can save up to 75 percent by acquiring most canned foods rather than freeze-dried or dehydrated foods. Even if you’re not able to buy in bulk, you will still save money with canned foods.

2. Long Lasting. Many canned foods have a shelf life of between one and several years. You should still rotate your supply occasionally and eat the food if the expiration date is getting close, but there’s peace of mind knowing that most canned foods last a long time.

3. Variety. People will eat the same thing over and over again if they’re hungry enough, but everyone appreciates having choices. You can acquire a wide variety of canned foods that should keep pretty much everybody in the family happy for a while.

4. Calories. The last thing you should be worrying about in a survival situation is weight watching. So what if some canned foods are high in calories? Focus on what will be important in that situation, not on how you’re thinking right now. You’re going to need those extra calories when you’re in survival mode.

5. Water. There’s very little water in freeze-dried and dehydrated foods (although there is usually a small amount), but most canned foods contain the water that will make preparation easier. Yes, that also makes them heavier, but that shouldn’t matter if you’re able to stay put to ride out a crisis situation.

6. Familiarity. Most families normally eat foods such as chicken, beef, ham, fish, vegetables, stews, beans and pasta, all of which are available in canned form, plus many more. In a time of crisis, familiarity will go a long way to “normalizing” what you and your fellow family members are going through.

7. Safe Storage. Bugs and rodents can sometimes infiltrate boxes and bags, but seldom do they break through a can.

MULTIPLE LOCATIONS

Regardless what kind of food you stockpile and how you store it, do whatever you can to keep survival food (and other essentials) in more than one location. Those who have gathered large amounts of bottled water, canned food, toiletries and a host of can openers, flashlights, batteries, radios, blankets, clothing, first-aid kits and weapons need to keep a portion of those items in multiple locations.

A home is a great place to stockpile food, and that’s where many people keep their largest supplies because that’s where they and their families are most likely to be when the stuff hits the fan. And even if they’re not home at that exact moment, they will probably be in a position to return there shortly.

Homes are not only where most people keep the majority of their emergency supplies, but also where they’ve spent time and money to secure their belongings. If a breakdown in society occurs following a disaster, they want to be as prepared as possible to protect their families and possessions.

But what if their homes are destroyed or severely damaged by whatever crisis occurs? If that’s the only place where we have our emergency goods including food stockpiled – and we either can’t get to them or they’ve been destroyed by the disaster – we will have wasted a huge amount of time and money preparing for the exact scenario in which we find ourselves.

It is absolutely essential that you keep supplies in multiple locations. If you have a year’s supply of goods at home, keep six months’ worth in at least one other place. If you have six months’ worth of goods at home, store at least three months’ worth at a secondary location.

Now the question becomes, exactly where should your second and perhaps third locations be? There are several important factors to consider. For one, these other locations need to be close enough to get to, yet far enough away that they’re unlikely to be affected by the same disaster that just did a number on your home.

Just as important, these locations have to offer the same features that your home does – a cool, dry place where food and water won’t be negatively affected by sunlight, moisture and extreme temperatures.

Of course, it’s up to you to decide where those second and possibly third locations will be, but among the possibilities are a storage unit that you can rent, a root cellar or storage bunker on your property but away from your house, inside a separate building that you own in town, within a building that a trusted friend owns, or buried in a remote area where only you would think to look.

Finally, as all good preppers know, don’t advertise the fact that you have stockpiled food and water in your home and at other locations. People
will remember that, and you could have some unwelcome visitors following a disaster.

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INCLUDE COMFORT FOODS IN YOUR SUPPLY

The word “comfort” sure is comforting, isn’t it? When you think of that word, you might imagine lying in a hammock on a warm summer day, or relaxing on a porch with a beverage on a pleasant evening, or sitting by the fireplace with a cup of coffee when it’s cold outside.

Yes, it’s important to keep your body healthy by eating nutritious food that will provide you with the energy you need. That will be especially true during a crisis when you might be on the move and when your stress level will be higher.

But giving your family members and yourself an emotional lift once in a while with some foods you and they love will do wonders for everyone’s state of mind. And you can’t underestimate the value of keeping attitudes upbeat at a time when depression could easily set in.

So, what is meant by comfort foods? Anything that goes down easy, tastes great, is easy to prepare and reminds you of a time when things were better. Are most of them “healthy” and “natural?” Probably not, although some are. Some are probably high in calories and carbohydrates, and some include a little too much sugar.

But if a vast majority of the foods you are consuming are nutritious, you can afford to eat a snack once in a while that may be better for your attitude than it is for your cholesterol level.

If you asked 15 different people to list their top 15 comfort foods, you’d probably get 15 different lists. But there would certainly be some overlap. Here’s one list that comes to mind.

Hard candies. Some people’s favorites are caramel and butterscotch, but you might prefer cherry, root beer, butter rum or other flavors.

Chocolate pudding. This might be the universal kid-favorite comfort food, but adults love it, too.

Popcorn. You don’t have to be watching a movie to enjoy it, but it’s difficult to watch a movie without it.

Pizza. Are you kidding? Few people don’t like pizza, despite the great debate about which is better – thin crust or deep dish.

Mac and cheese. Another item that few kids will turn down. Many children love it when mom adds hot dog slices to their mac and cheese plate.

Candy bars. Yes, there’s too much sugar. But you don’t have to live off of them. But once in a while, a Three Musketeers, Snickers or Milky Way really hits the spot.

Peanut butter. Most people use this as a spread, but have you ever put a spoonful in your mouth and just savored it?

Hot chocolate. There should be a federal law requiring parents to serve this when their kids come in from playing in the snow.

Honey-coated banana chips. Those who’ve never tried them before rave about them after finally tasting them.

Freeze-dried yogurt bites. Ditto.

Granola bars. These are almost too healthy to count as comfort foods, but they’re included because they taste great and are so easy to open and pop in your mouth.

Trail mix. Dried fruits and nuts are tasty, and many enjoy the kind of trail mix that cheats by including M&Ms and chocolate chips.

Coffee or tea. For some folks, coffee is not a comfort food; it’s an absolute necessity. For others, it could be a pleasant reminder of more normal times.

Hostess Twinkies and Cupcakes. A nutritionist just rolled over in her grave, but as long as you don’t fill an entire bug-out bag with them, you’re probably OK.

WHAT ABOUT PET FOOD STORAGE?

Regardless of whether a disaster causes us and our families to hunker down or bug out, our pets are going to stay with us and receive as much care as we are capable of providing them. These furry creatures are part of the family and are treated that way.

Now, you might keep much of your family’s emergency food supply in space-age Mylar bags, which is a great idea because you may want that food to last a very long time. But most of your animals are probably not going to live another 25 years, crisis or no.

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THE BAGS ARE LOADED

There’s good news for you. The bags in which your pets’ dry food are sold are perfectly capable of keeping that food fresh for a couple of years. The only thing to be concerned about here is making sure there are no rips or tears in the bags before you purchase them.

But just because you don’t need to remove your pets’ food from those bags and place it in Mylar bags doesn’t mean you can just toss the bags into the crawlspace and forget about them.

Give a mouse or another rodent access to a bag made of paper and he won’t need long to scratch his way in. Unless your goal is to keep mice happy and healthy following a crisis, this is not the way to go.

USE AIRTIGHT CONTAINERS

You need to pack your pets’ dry food bags in airtight plastic containers then place those containers in a cool, dark place, away from sunlight. And once you open a bag, the oxidation process will start, so make sure to use all of its contents within six months at the most.

Also, you need to rotate this pet food periodically. If the expiration dates on the bags are difficult to read, write the date that you placed it in storage on the bag with a black Sharpie. Then use the oldest food each time, assuming it has not expired.

One note to consider here. If you feed your pets “natural” dry food, you may be giving them something that is healthier for them than “regular” pet food. But due to its lack of preservatives, natural pet food will not last as long.

CONSIDER CANS

Many people prefer dry pet food to canned food, but canned food does have the advantage of lasting longer… sometimes up to five years. The storage principle is the same here. Keep it in a cool, dry place. Although cans are much more difficult to infiltrate than bags, you should still keep them in an airtight container.

FREEZE-DRIED OPTION

Another option is freeze-dried pet food. Assuming nearly all of the moisture has been removed, it should stay good for a number of years. But the plastic packages it normally comes in are not meant for long-term storage, so transfer the food to Mylar bags and then store them in airtight containers. Toss an oxygen absorber into the container while you’re at it.

HOMEMADE NEEDS HOMEWORK

For you DIYers who make your own pet food, you’re probably doing your pets a favor by feeding them a diet that does not contain additives and preservatives. But as with store-bought “natural” dog food, you really need to do your homework before canning that food in order to figure out how long it will stay good.

CONCLUSION

Whether you build your own food stockpile or purchase a ready-made solution, the bottom line is you actually have to do it, not just talk about it. And when you do, make sure it’s stored in a manner that will ensure its value and longevity. Then and only then can you rest easy, knowing you’ve done what you could to prepare for whatever comes your way.

Preparing for an uncertain future means many things to many different people. To some it’s about storing bottled water and other essential items, while to others it’s about learning how to

Yesterday I began a new series called, Back to Basics. People every day can simply look at events happening anywhere in the world and understand how taking some simple steps to ensure you can handle minor emergencies, isn’t crazy. Prepping to a certain level makes sense for everyone, regardless of where you live.

This series was designed to go back to the basics of prepping, obviously. Today I wanted to share tips for how to stockpile food for emergencies that anyone can use. I will focus on preppers who are just starting out, but I think some ideas in the topics below could be useful to anyone looking to ensure their family has food and does not go hungry. This article will also have dozens of links to other content on the subject for additional reading.

 

I believe there are 5 main components to survival that everyone needs to consider. They are simply Water, Food, Shelter, Security and Hygiene. Yesterday we talked about the need for water and how you can easily store water for emergencies that render your traditional methods of obtaining water impossible. Water is more important to life than food or at least you can live longer without food than you can water, but they are both important.

Why do you need to stockpile food for emergencies?

If you are new to prepping, you may have something that triggered your awareness of the subject. Preppers have many reasons for doing what they do and no two preppers are alike. Some are preparing for the end of the world, but most see situations in our daily lives that give a perfect reason to stock up supplies. You have only to look at the recent winter storm that affected large swaths of the Eastern Seaboard to have a perfect example of why you don’t want to be left without a means to feed your family.

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Greeks are finding food, medicine and fuel in short supply.

It seems almost cliché at this point, but invariably it always happens when a winter storm is forecast. Everyone rushes out to the store and certain food supplies are wiped out. Images of empty shelves are shown on practically every newscast and eventually prepper websites. Food shortages during simple storms are common if not expected. We don’t really even blink anymore because we are so used to this practice of waiting until the last-minute and then hitting the local grocery store on the way home from work to grab some basic necessities or comfort food.

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

If you can’t live for more than 3 days without going to the store, it’s time to reevaluate your family’s readiness. The statistic we hear most of the time is that the average home has only 3 days’ worth of food in it. If this is true, where would you be on day three if you had not been able to make it to the grocery store before the storm? What if instead of a snow storm, a virus outbreak had occurred and everyone was told to stay indoors to prevent infection? Each of us should have more food on hand that our families and friends will eat than is absolutely necessary to prevent surprises from leaving you hungry.

How much food do you need to store?

In the example above I used a virus outbreak as the condition that would prevent you from getting to the store. There are others though and weather could certainly be one of them. Some storms where I live have left roads impassable for upwards of a week. Could we walk to the store? Sure, but what if the stores having already been cleared of just about all of the food were closed? What if power outages prevented them from conducting any transactions? These are things you should consider.

Prepping is not something I ever consider you can accomplish. By that I mean, you are never going to be fully prepared. You may be much better prepared than some or all of the people around you, but you will never be 100% self-sufficient. Prepping should be done incrementally even if you have more money than you know what to do with because as you start to stock up food you learn lessons.

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

A good rule of thumb for me is to start small when you are beginning to stockpile food for emergencies. You don’t need a year of freeze-dried foods to start with. Try just having a week or two of extra groceries that your family already eats. This is accomplished without any exotic storage needs usually or 5 gallon buckets of grains you have to figure out how to prepare.

Premium Fresh MREs Meal with Heaters

My wife purchases the groceries and I started out by giving her extra money to simply buy more food. I did this in the beginning because she is a much better shopper than I am and will always save more money than me. This worked great because she was easily able to fill our pantry and had plenty of meals planned to last us well over 30 days. Sure, at the end of that 30 days of food we would be getting into more exotic cans of mushrooms and soups that are better left as part of a recipe as opposed to your entire meal, but we wouldn’t starve.

What are the best types of food to stockpile?

Once we had a month worth of food and water stored up, I started looking at other options. I think each person should have a layered approach to food storage. This gives you flexibility and more importantly variety that as you go out to 6 months or 1 year or 2 will be important. My own personal goal is 2 years’ worth of food stockpiled for my family but that isn’t made up of only food from our grocery store. That can certainly be done though with a very good rotation plan.

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

Food storage should ideally cover the following:

Short Term Food Storage – The best and simplest foods are like I said above, what your family eats every day. One thing to consider is that the bulk of this food should be non-perishable in case you lose power. Canned foods are great as well as pastas, drink mixes and staples. These usually last at least a year.

Medium Term Food Storage – For the 5 – 10 year range MRE’s are a great option although they are heavier and their convenience comes at a higher price. I have several boxes of these and I like MRE’s because they are self-contained and don’t really need any water. Freeze dried camping foods like Mountain House are another great option to just add hot water to. Rice and beans make great additions to this category because you don’t really have to do anything crazy to store them as long as they are kept cool and dry.

Long Term Food Storage – When you start to look at foods that will keep for many years you get into stored grains like Hard Red Winter Wheat that you store in sealed 5 gallon buckets. Freeze dried food from any one of many suppliers out there keep for 20 years usually and are individually wrapped Mylar packets. They require water to re-hydrate but the taste can be surprisingly good. Make sure you have seasonings though….

Renewable Food Storage – This is when you have to get your inner farmer working. Renewable foods are an intensive garden, small livestock like chickens or rabbits and the occasional wild game caught either through hunting or snares. In the worst disasters, your food will run out so having a plan for that ahead of time will help you prepare.

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For a well-rounded plan, growing your own food will give you the most flexibility.

How do you plan for your food eventually running out?

I have a mix of the food storage options above. We eat on our grocery store items every day, but I also have MRE’s and a pretty large amount of freeze-dried foods stored. We also have the grains I mentioned and the all-important grain mill to grind them into flour. Several hundred pounds of rice and beans round out the equation.

Stockpiling food is only the start. We have a garden and small flock of chickens. The stored food is just to get us through the worst of the disaster. Hopefully before our food runs out whatever disaster has happened will be mitigated and life will have returned to some sense of normality. If not, we have a huge leg up that will allow us to further harvest our garden to put away food like the pioneers had to do. It is an approach that gives us some sense of security and prepares us to come out on the other side still alive.

What is your plan to stockpile food for emergencies?


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

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

If you can’t live for more than 3 days without going to the store, it’s time to reevaluate your family’s readiness. The statistic we hear most of the time is

The other week I stopped and stared at my pantry. Looking in on all of the cans of food, bags of rice, beans and jugs of water gives me a sense of accomplishment and a certain satisfaction in all of our prepping efforts to date. For some reason I got it into my head to arrange things because the pantry had gotten a little disorganized over time. I started by pulling every item out of the pantry and staging them in the kitchen. There were bottles all over the place of dressing –  cans of beans and tomatoes took over the kitchen table and pasta galore spilled onto the kitchen counters.

The first sign of trouble was when I grabbed some condiments from the top shelf and noticed I had mayonnaise that was 2 years past its expiration. I started going further and this was the same case with pickles and some soups, even canned fruit. Now I was worried because it was obvious my brilliant solution to all of my family’s food problems had failed miserably. The next order of business was to grab one of my kids and have them check every label on every product. This scored me a lot of points I have to say…

Hard to believe isn’t it?

Next I went back into the pantry to grab some of the larger items. We have large 50 pound bags of rice that I got from Costco for a ridiculously cheap price. I grabbed one of the bags off the top shelf to lift it up and noticed the bottom was a funny color. Actually, it looked like mold and the bag was stiff. When I pulled it down I discovered that yes, the bag was moldy. Someone, maybe I placed a one gallon jug of water on the top shelf and at some point it had leaked. The jug of water was empty and 50 pounds of rice was ruined. I don’t know how this happened, but it was a little depressing.

The first step is to admit you have a problem

Here I was, mid-way through a Saturday afternoon, my house was in chaos due to all of my food storage being distributed around the rooms and I was finding more and more food that was out of date or inedible in some fashion. Initially I was ticked off that I had let this happen. I started thinking about what all could have gone wrong with food and how foolish I would have felt if we had some crisis and I went to grab the food that was supposed to feed my family and it was all rotten. Visions of my family staring at me with angry expressions on their sunken faces started to appear. Not good.

So after I had all of the food out and verified what was really expired I realized that it wasn’t too bad. It was a good idea to do this though because I wouldn’t have found that rice probably until it was too late. What really stunk is that my super awesome system for rotating groceries was not working and again, that was my fault for assuming this was being used.

Why weren’t we rotating our food the right way? Well, it comes down to a few main reasons. The first reason is that our pantry shelves didn’t really have any rhyme or reason to how food was stored. We have a decent amount of pantry space but cans of beans were mixed in with cans of fruit and for some reason we had jars and jars of jelly that nobody was eating. When groceries got put away, there was no predetermined place or order for them to go in so they went where ever was easiest. This usually meant they all got loaded onto and taken off of one shelf. Another aspect of this is that we weren’t using the time tested FIFO system (First In First Out) so food wasn’t getting rotated like it should. Fortunately for us, this didn’t get too far out of control, but we did have to throw away some jars of food.

There were two other contributing factors to our food use and one was the way my wife shopped. She is excellent at clipping coupons and always has her coupon book out when she goes shopping. The problem was that she would buy whatever she had coupons for and didn’t take into account whether or not we needed it. For example, we had a ton of jelly like I said because they were buy one get one free so she stocked up. All of that jelly kept sitting in the pantry and items we do use, but didn’t get the same coupon attention were lacking.

Also, we eat most of our meals from fresh ingredients and my wife cooks from scratch a lot. This in combination with my daughter’s gluten intolerance caused the biggest stockpile of food we had (pasta and canned tomato sauces) to be virtually ignored for many months. What used to be a staple was forgotten and was at risk for going bad.

Starting at the beginning

It makes sense to watch the expiration dates.

Now that I had all of my food out of the pantry, I was able to sort it into groups. This is just as fun as it sounds. I put the food back into the pantry in a specific order. The item order itself doesn’t matter so much as the fact it is in order. I started clockwise in our pantry and put canned meat, then beans, soups, fruit, coffee, tomatoes, sauces, mixes and then baking items like flour, sugar and other sundries. Pasta went into the kitchen and placed in one spot and the hard to reach containers of condiments were placed back down on eye level so they could be used. Freeze dried food went in storage containers under the bed. Water was stored on the floor to prevent anything bad from happening to the rice again. I know that I would have been fine if I just stored all of the rice in 5 gallon buckets, but I haven’t gotten around to that yet and we do eat off of our rice weekly.

So I had the semblance of a system now and I started filling it in with the cans according to expiration date. The cans that were the closest to expiration went at the front of one row and it wrapped around to two or three rows if needed. The newest cans were on the left and the oldest were on the right. I didn’t throw everything out that had expired because I know you can go past the dates on most things. I wasn’t going to give Mayo a chance though… Now not only do we have a simple way of pulling the oldest food item, but we can easily place new cans in a spot that will ensure rotation.

When we go grocery shopping now, my wife can easily see what we have left and fill that up. We are also trying to cook more according to what we have and purchase what we ate, as opposed to what we want, to eat to keep the pantry stocked.

This exercise taught me a few other lessons that weekend; actually it was a weird weekend because I spent both days doing similar things. It was almost like I was a nesting bird and it was a weird compulsion that came over me. I don’t normally spend my weekends reorganizing anything but it was good that I did. This also manifested itself into a good ammo inventory but I’ll write about that on another day. Now we have a better system for storing and rotating food and a different strategy for filling our pantry. That type of understanding is extremely beneficial and ensures that you aren’t just buying a ton of supplies and shoving them in a dark corner. You instead are building a stocked larder that will be ready for you when you need it.

When we go grocery shopping now, my wife can easily see what we have left and fill that up. We are also trying to cook more according to what we

When it comes down to it, the reason that science fiction endures is that it is, at its core, an optimistic genre. What it says at the end of the day is that there is a tomorrow, we do go on, we don’t extinguish ourselves and leave the planet to the cockroaches.

But for some of us, living in the present, it really looks like the roaches took over. 

When you see roaches in your house, your first thought might be to grab a bottle of insecticide or to call an exterminator. But not only would you be exposing your family to toxic chemicals, they might not do much good.

A study by published in the journal Scientific Reports finds that German cockroaches — the most common roach species found around the world — are becoming harder to eliminate. These disease-carrying insects are developing resistance to many different insecticides, making them nearly impossible to kill with chemicals alone.

Because cockroaches are becoming so close to invincibility, researchers suggest combining chemical treatments with other methods — like traps and better sanitation — when fighting a roach problem. Or you can forego chemicals and try just natural methods.

Getting rid of roaches naturally can be a slow process. But getting rid of them naturally can also prevent the problem from reoccurring. So how do you do it? Take a shot at these ways to rid your home of roaches without using harsh chemicals!

Ways to Rid Your Home of Roaches the Safe Way

How to Get Rid of Roaches Without an Exterminator

Applying these natural ways to get rid of cockroaches is a longer process than when using hazardous pesticides. But for the sake and safety of your family and pets, taking it one step at a time is all worth it.

Besides, a roach exterminator cost will take a huge dent on your budget. In this article, we will share with you the natural ways to rid your home of roaches slowly but safely, and without a costly exterminator.

1. Boric Acid

Savefrom home-pest-control.us1Pest control ideasInsect exterminator

Boric acid is basically safe for use around the household and in fact used as an insecticidal substance. But take caution though, because it can be irritating to the skin so make sure to keep it away from children.

To make an effective boric acid cockroach killer, mix a part of powdered sugar to three parts of boric acid. The sugar will lure the roaches to the mixture and will terminate the cockroaches.

Sprinkle or spread the mixture in areas frequented by roaches.

What Is Boric Acid? It is a chemical substance which appears as colorless crystals or white powder which dissolves in water. It has many uses including insecticidal.

2. Wet Coffee Grounds (Water Tar Trap)

After brewing, if your grounds look wet & soggy, try this! Make the grounds coarser & increase the quantity of coffee.

What you’ll need:

  • 2-3 large glass jars
  • Wet coffee grounds
  • Water
  • 2-3 small cups

Instructions:

  • Fill the large glass jars about halfway with water.
  • Place the coffee grounds in the small cups.
  • Place one small cup inside one large glass jar. Make 2-3 similar setups with a small cup inside every glass jar.
  • Place these jars where you see roaches the most.
  • Roaches will be attracted by the aroma of the coffee and try to enter into the jar.
  • Once the roaches fall into the water jar, it is nearly impossible for them to escape.
  • Check the jars daily and discard any dead roaches.
  • Make new traps daily.
  • Repeat this process until you discover no sign of roaches within the traps for a couple of days.

3. Liquid Fabric Softener

Roaches breathe through their lower body. When you spray fabric softener on roaches, it will produce difficulty in their breathing and roaches will die due to suffocation.

What you’ll need:

  • Spray bottle
  • Water
  • Fabric softener

Instructions:

  • Make a spray by mixing 3 parts of liquid fabric softener with 2 parts water.
  • Fill a spray bottle with this mixture.
  • Spray this solution on the roaches; making sure the solution hits the lower mid-region and head of the roach.
  • In addition, spray this mixture wherever you see evidence of roaches.

4. Ammonia-Water Solution

What you’ll need:

  • 2 cups of ammonia
  • 1 bucket of water

Instructions:

  • Add 2 cups of ammonia to the bucket of water.
  • Wash the hard surfaces of your kitchen and bathroom daily with this solution.

Ammonia works effectively as a repellent for roaches due to its sharp smell. Roaches will leave your home in no time using this method.

5. Catnip

While cats love the smell of catnip and it’s non-toxic to humans and animal, the same cannot be said for roaches. It will send the cockroaches flying to wherever they came from.

While the effect is not permanent, you can always reinforce it with any of the roach killers here. You can make a catnip tea where you can spray in areas where cockroaches might be hiding.

Note: This natural repellent should only be used in homes without cats!

6. Listerine Spray

Does Listerine kill roaches? The essential oils present in the mouthwash is what actually kills the roaches, so any brand of mouthwash with essential oils will do.

What you’ll need:

  • Water
  • Listerine
  • Dishwashing liquid
  • Spray bottle

Instructions:

  • Mix equal parts of water and Listerine to make a solution and add two drops of dishwashing fluid to it.
  • Add this mixture to a spray bottle and spray areas where you have seen evidence of roaches; also can be sprayed directly on the roaches.

7. Soapy Water – To Kill Roaches on Contact

As I mentioned before, roaches breathe through their body and spraying them with soapy water will suffocate them.

What you’ll need:

  • 3 Tbsp of dishwashing liquid (preferably regular blue Dawn dishwashing liquid)
  • Water
  • Spray bottle

Instructions: Add 3 Tbsp of Dawn dishwashing liquid to 4-6 oz of water. Using a spray bottle, spray this mixture directly on roaches to kill them on contact.

8. Essential Oils – Citronella, Peppermint, or Lemongrass

It’s amazing how the scent we love, cockroaches hate. You will love this essential oil trick which will make your home smelling heavenly and cockroach-free.

Soak some cotton balls in the essential oil of your choice. From lemongrass, citronella, cypress, tea tree oil, and peppermint, they can all be effective.

Place the essential oil-soaked balls in areas around the home where the cockroaches are hiding. Or, you can also make this essential oil spray cockroach repellent.

  • Make a spray solution by putting half a cup of water in a spray bottle.
  • Add 10 drops of peppermint essential oil.
  • Add 5 drops of cypress essential oil.
  • Mix and spray in areas desired frequented by cockroaches.

9. Bay Leaves

Unlike us, who sniffs at bay leaves before throwing them to a dish cooking, cockroaches hate the scent of bay leaves. For this, bay leaves are a fantastic way to get rid of cockroaches naturally.

You simply need to crush a handful of bay leaves, then spread them in areas where cockroaches may be hiding.

10. Edible Baking Soda

The amazing baking soda simply has no bounds to the wonderful things it can do for our home. With the many benefits of baking soda around the home, it’s incredible they are effective roach killers, too.

Apparently, when baking soda comes to contact with water, it just expands.

To make a simple and safe cockroach repellent, mix edible baking soda and sugar in equal parts and sprinkle them in crevices and areas they frequent. The cockroaches will consume them and you know what will happen next.

11. Cedar

SaveFirst Editions Plants1Patricia PinskyJapanese Maples

Cedar also ranks one of the plants which a few insects find disgusting, and it includes cockroaches. Thujone–an essential oil present in cedar is the culprit.

While we find the aroma pleasant, insects are averse to it. Leave pieces of cedar in the kitchen areas where they could be frequenting to stop these intruders in their tracks.

Learn how to get rid of cockroaches in 4 easy steps in this video from Solutions Pest & Lawn:

We may never know how to get rid of cockroaches forever since they’ve been here before us. But we do know we can get rid of these critters in our territory.

With these natural ways to rid your home of roaches, you have several options to choose from. Apply all these natural ways to rid your home of roaches and we’ll be seeing none of these critters for good!

Which of these natural ways to rid your home of roaches have you tried or wish to try? Tell us about your thoughts in the comments section below!


We thank our guest contributor Stacy Bravo for this article. 


Other Self-sufficiency and Preparedness solutions recommended for you:

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

Getting rid of roaches naturally can be a slow process. But getting rid of them naturally can also prevent the problem from reoccurring.

Growing your own food and medicine will vastly improve your chances of surviving a long-term disaster. Cultivating fruit trees is just one small way to enhance the food sources at your prepper retreat or bug in location.

There are a multitude of trees that are chock full of nutrients like Vitamin C and ingredients for natural remedies that can treat illnesses and major wounds. First, we’ll look at the top 20 edible and medicinal trees every prepper should be familiar with, then we’ll talk about how to make poultices, salves, and mixtures.

1. Alder

The bark and leaves from this tree are used to create a wound wash and can be consumed as a tea to treat fever, hemorrhoids, and tonsillitis.

2. Apple

Sure, you can eat the tasty apples, but this classic American fruit tree has a lot more to offer than pie-making ingredients. The bark from apple trees can be consumed to treat diarrhea and fever.

Stewed apples can be used as a laxative to treat constipation. The produce from the tree can be used to make apple cider vinegar, which has a plethora of natural remedy and cleaning uses. Baked apples can be used to make a warm poultice that when placed upon the throat or head can help reduce a sore throat or headache pain.

3. Ash

The leaves and tips of twigs from this tree can be consumed to help treat gout, rheumatism, and jaundice.

4. Beech

A tea created from the bark of this tree has long been used to treat tuberculosis and may also serve as a successful blood cleanser. Poultices made from the leaves of the birch tree may be used to soothe minor to moderate burns and to treat frostbite. Neither type of tea is recommended for consumption by pregnant women.

The tree produces small yet edible nuts. They are not very tasty, but they are safe to eat and contain nutrients the body needs to remain healthy. The spring leaves from the beech tree can be eaten raw or cooked. The interior bark can be consumed after drying and finely chopping the material so it can be used as a flour.

5. Birch

A birch tree can be tapped for syrup. It does not produce as much syrup as a maple tree, but the fluid has a delicious butterscotch taste. The leaves of the tree are rich in Vitamin C and can be consumed after being picked or used in natural medicine recipes.

The leaves from birch trees have often been a singular or primary component in natural medicines created to treat urethra, bladder, and kidney infections and can also be used as a diuretic. The interior bark of the birch tree is edible after being dried and ground so it can be used as a flour. The bark may also be cut into fine strips after being dried and added to stew or soup to act like noodles.

6. Cedar

A tea brewed from the bark of this tree can help alleviate the symptoms of the common cold, fever, the flu, and rheumatism.

7. Elder

The tea created from the bark of the elder tree may help treat congestion, break a fever by increasing perspiration, and soothe headache pain.

8. Elm

Both salve and poultices created from elm bark can be used to treat childbirth pain and gunshot wounds. If a poultice is placed on the victim’s abdomen, it may draw out their fever. The bark boasts a high calcium content and may facilitate bone healing, decrease diarrhea, and treat both bowel and urinary problems.

9. Hawthorn

A tea commonly referred to as a “cardiac tonic” is brewed from Hawthorn tree leaves. It is believed to provoke a decrease in blood pressure and therefore helps promote good cardiac health. It is not recommended to consume bark tea for more than two weeks before skipping a week and then resuming the treatment again if necessary.

10. Hazel

Nuts from this tree can be consumed and may aid in the treatment of kidney problems. Interior bark is used to make poultices to treat stomach ulcers. When mixed with animal grease, hazelnuts can be used as an insect repellent.

11. Linden

This tree, which is also commonly referred to as a basswood, has edible leaves and flowers. The spring leaves can be eaten raw or cooked. Flower blossoms from the tree can be brewed into a rather delicious tea that can be consumed either hot or cold.

12. Maple

A leaf wound wash or poultice is used to relieve sore eyes and soreness of the breasts for nursing mothers and pregnant women. Bark tea is used to treat kidney infections, the common cold, and bronchitis. Maple seeds can be boiled or cooked and consumed. Smaller seeds are sweet but larger seeds often boast a bitter flavor.Remove the outer skin of the seed and then boil until they become soft, approximately 15 minutes. Add spices to taste, preferably salt and butter, and then bake at around 350 degrees for about 10 minutes.

13. Mountain Holly

Spring buds and twigs from the mountain holly tree were once used by Native Americans to treat fever, diarrhea, stomach ulcers, and jaundice. Leaves can be brewed into a tea to treat cold and flu symptoms.

14. Mulberry

The spring twigs from this tree are fairly sweet and may be eaten either raw or boiled.

15.Oak

Acorns from the oak tree can be ground into a fine mash to be used in place of flour or cornmeal.

16. Pine

The interior bark of pine trees and the sap contain high percentages of both vitamins A and C. The sap and inner bark can be eaten either raw or cooked and may help thwart the onset of scurvy. As with other types of bark, you can cut the interior bark into thin strips and use them like noodles.

It can also be dried and ground into a flour. Pine needles can be chewed on for several minutes to ingest the juice before being discarded and not swallowed. The needles can be steeped in boiling water during the winter months after they have aged and used to make a nutrient-rich tea.

17. Poplar

The interior bark can be eaten either raw or cooked and has a sweet yet starch-like taste. The interior bark can be ground up as a carbohydrate-rich flour or cut into strips and eaten. The catkins from the poplar tree are also edible.

18. Sassafras

The young roots can be brewed into a delicious tea. The spring twigs can be chewed on to clean teeth and promote gum health. Leaves and buds in the early spring are also quite tasty and make great salad and soup ingredients.

19. Slippery Elm

The interior bark from the slippery elm tree is sticky yet boasts a pleasant taste. The inner bark can be eaten either boiled or raw. When the sticky bark is mixed with a fairly equal amount of water it forms a thin paste that soothes wounds and rashes and was even once used by soldiers as a battlefield treatment for gunshot wounds to help stem bleeding and ease the pain.

It has also been consumed to soothe sore throats, urinary tract infections, and as an anti-inflammatory agent. Powdered bark mixed with water can be used as an SHTF baby formula and also be consumed by folks who have difficulty drinking or consuming food made with cow’s milk.

20. Willow

The interior bark can be cut into strips and used like pasta once cooked or eaten raw. The leaves of the willow tree are really bitter, but they may be safely eaten in an emergency situation.

Making Natural Remedies From Medicinal Trees

Bark

  • Bark can be dried and powdered after being harvested and preserved for future use.
  • Dry the bark in a shaded area to avoid over-drying which can harm the cambium layer and reduce its nutrient content.
  • To make a bark tea, simmer approximately 3 teaspoons of the ground or chopped bark in a pot (preferably cast iron) with 1 cup of water for 15 to 20 minutes.
  • One-quarter of a cup of bark tea is typically considered a single dose of medicine in most natural home remedy regimens.
  • Most bark teas are safe for adults weighing around 150 pounds to drink up to three or four times per day. Cut the dosage in half for smaller adults and children age 12 and up. For younger children, decrease the dosage by half again. It is generally a good idea to not drink bark tea on an empty stomach.
  • Once made, bark tea can typically be stored in a jar with a tight-fitting lid for about seven days.
  • Adding a little bit of honey to a bark tea not only enhances the taste but increases its healing power.

Poultices and Wound Washes

  • Wash the leaves if possible or at least remove as much debris as possible if water is not available.
  • Chop or tear the leaves into fine pieces and mix with enough water to cover them so they can be either steeped or simmered to make a mash.
  • The mixture should resemble pancake mix to a thin dough after being simmered if making a poultice.
  • Spread the simmered leaf mixture onto bandage wrap or a clean piece of natural fabric and apply it to the injured area. Remove the poultice at least once a day and replace it with a fresh poultice if additional treatment is necessary.

Salves

To make a salve, put finely-chopped bark or leaves into a non-metallic pot and cover it with a carrier oil – olive and coconut oil both work well. Simmer the mixture for about 20 minutes and then melt beeswax into the mixture and simmer again for another 20 minutes. Use about 3 tablespoons of beeswax for every single cup of carrier oil used. Pour the mixture into a container with a firm-fitting lid and store until ready to use.

Tinctures

Tinctures are typically made out of spring buds, roots, or barks. The foraged material must be chopped finely and then covered with alcohol that is 80 proof or higher – vodka works best. Cover the mixture with a firm-fitting lid, preferably a glass container.

The mixture should be allowed to settle for about 10 days and must be shaken at least once daily. At the end of the 10 days, pour in 1 cup of water and a teaspoon of vegetable glycerin. Strain the mixture to remove the foraged material and store in a cool, dry, and dark place until ready to use.

If making a tincture using leaves, permit the mixture to settle until the foraged material shows signs of wilting. This will likely take longer than 10 days. Follow the same tincture steps notes above but shake the natural medicine up to three times per day.

Growing your own food and medicine will vastly improve your chances of surviving a long-term disaster. Cultivating fruit trees is just one small way to enhance the food sources at

Is there any one of us who doesn’t drool a little whenever you see an exotic sports car tooling down the road? I don’t mean a Mustang GT either; I am talking about Ferrari, Lamborghini, McLauren – something in that range. I love these cars and if someone gave me one I would gladly take it. Of course, after I took it out for a good spin I would sell it as quickly as I could. Why? Because I can think of so many other things I need to spend money on besides the most expensive sports car I can find.

One problem I have with a lot of the Best bug out vehicle lists is that they are full of really exotic (expensive) vehicles that the average prepper simply couldn’t afford. If we could, then I guess we would all have that Knight XV Fully Armored SUV that goes for around $800,000 if my source is right. I started thinking about this subject a little more as I was shopping for my own personal Bug Out Vehicle. After much saving, searching and research I finally found what I think is a great option for me, but I wanted to talk about bug out vehicles and create a different kind of list. This list will be the best bug out vehicles you can actually afford. So if you are in the market for a vehicle that may help you get out of or survive the next disaster, zombie apocalypse or the common summer or winter storm, read on.

What is a Bug Out Vehicle?

A bug out vehicle by definition is what you would hop in if you needed to get out of dodge. If you were going to pack your family and all your survival supplies in a vehicle and race out-of-town to avoid danger that was coming for you, the bug out vehicle would be the best option for you do accomplish this task. All bug out scenarios aren’t created equally though and each person has their own needs and preferences. Fortunately for us, there are almost as many bug out vehicle options as there are situations. The list below should account for most of what I can foresee the average person needing in a vehicle.

What should the bug out vehicle allow you to do?

Could you bug out in that 2 seat sports car? Absolutely. You someone bug out on a survival bicycle? Of course and before it’s all over that might be what you are forced to finally resort to, but in my mind a bug out vehicle has to be able to accomplish a few tasks to even make the running. Ideally we have a vehicle that you can use daily that can also hold its own if forced to be put into action to get you out of a hairy situation.

 

It must hold 4 people – But I am a single girl you say, why would I need something to hold 4 people? I believe it is short-sighted to plan on a bug out vehicle that only carries one or two people. That might be what you are forced to live with if something happened right now, but it shouldn’t be the goal. If this is a real bug out scenario you want to be with some friends or family because there is strength and support in numbers. The best bug out vehicles won’t leave the possibility of taking a few more people with you out of the equation.

It must be able to carry your supplies – Back to the 2 seat vehicle and even a lot of mid-sized cars these days. Most have so little cargo room that you would be lucky to get your bug out bag and a pillow in the trunk but you could forget about all of your prepping supplies, ammo and food and water you have stored. I am not saying that your bug out vehicle should be able to carry everything in your house or else it is worthless, but you do want the ability to pack a good portion of your supplies or gear.

It must be able to navigate rough terrain/rough weather – The first thing that comes to mind when I am considering a vehicle that I could actually use to bug out is 4 wheel drive. I have read other forums where some will complain about the fuel you would need and how a larger vehicle could actually be worse. Some have even recommended a hybrid as a better solution to save gas and I simply disagree. In almost every horrible scenario I can imagine, even something as mundane as a hurricane evacuation, the ability to go off-road is an important advantage. Try taking that Prius across the median of a clogged highway that is soaked with rain. Can you imagine that Chevy Volt in a snow storm with downed trees? Motorcycles don’t pass the test for me on this point although if outfitted correctly, they can go through a lot of rugged terrain. The downside is cargo capacity and exposure to the elements.

It must be fairly nimble and able to negotiate obstacles quickly – Back to motorcycles again. They are perhaps the most nimble but they have their drawbacks. Also, a trailer on the back of your vehicle would give you the ability to carry a lot of gear but seriously reduce your mobility. Try backing up a trailer and turning around to avoid an ambush quickly. Most people have problems backing up a trailer when they aren’t panicked, getting shot at or worse. You could wait for Ford’s Pro Trailer Backup Assist coming in their 2016 line, but is it worth it?

What are the best bug out vehicles?

So taking all of those criteria into consideration and this assumes the market is the US, what are the best bug out vehicles that meet that criteria and won’t break the bank? Most all of these are vehicles that unlike the Knight XV are driven by millions every day and can get you to safety, all things being equal. You can also buy late-model versions of each of these for less than $20,000. Not free obviously, but not $800,000 either.

Jeep – There are several models of Jeep that boast both 4 wheel drive and have a decent amount of cargo capacity to get you where you need to go. For serious off-road enthusiasts there is a huge market of parts and accessories to make this vehicle highly customizable.

JeepBugOut

Jeep’s are tried and tested off road vehicles that could make excellent bug out vehicles.

Humvee – The average prepper knows all about these vehicles and new ones are out of the realm of possibility, but you can get surplus military Humvee right now for less than $10,000 on the GOV Planet website. If you have always dreamed of outfitting your own mini-fiefdom after the world ends, now is your chance. Of course if you just want a great vehicle that can get you and your family to your secluded retreat, this makes a compelling option at this price.

HummerBugOut

A surplus Hummer could be an incredible savings and give you a battle tested winner.

4 Wheel drive Truck with crew cab – There are too many four-wheel drive trucks to list here, but a crew cab make this a natural fit for a Bug out vehicle. You can improve the suspension, add a cargo top and have a great vehicle that you can drive every day or when the grid goes down.

BugOutFord

Trucks are one of the most common bug out vehicles for their capacity and off-road ability.

4 Wheel or all wheel drive SUV – Just like with trucks, SUV’s are everywhere but they aren’t all created equally. Some have 4 wheel drive, but all 4 wheel capability isn’t created equally. For SUV’s I would stick with Toyota 4Runner, Nissan or the Jeeps mentioned above. Obviously, the old Ford Expeditions and Chevy Tahoe can work in this capacity too and there will always be easy access to parts for each.

SUVBugOut

The family SUV can also get you out of a jam with the right upgrades.

Best Bug out vehicle upgrades

These vehicles listed above will make great, affordable bug out vehicle options for most people but if you want to extend their capabilities, you can add some fairly simple aftermarket additions to make them even better.

  • Roof top cargo racks – This will extend the amount of gear you can carry by a considerable bit. Two well-known manufacturers are Gobi and Baha.
  • Improved front and rear bumpers – This is not an upgrade for everyone because they aren’t cheap but if you want some more protection (a lot more) for your bug out vehicle, there are several manufacturers. ARB, Shrockworks and CBI make insanely tough bumpers that you can add to your own vehicle.
  • Winch kits – Sometimes you get stuck and if the end of the world as we know it happens and you are riding into the wilderness in your bug out vehicle, you won’t be able to call AAA. Having a sturdy winch could pull you out of a jam.
  • Enhanced lighting – Regular headlights are only meant to show the road immediately ahead of you at a normal distance that won’t blind traffic coming towards you. If you are out in the wilderness or a power outage or storm has rendered your world as black as night, additional lights can help you see or be seen. The current LED technology has really increased the amount of available light you can have for your BOV. Some of these lights are capable of putting out over 24,000 lumens! For comparison, your regular Cree mini flashlight has about 200 lumens. Rigid Industries is probably the best known (and most expensive) but there are cheaper options out there if you look around. For instance, Amazon has a 24 inch LED light bar for under $60. That will save you about $800.
  • Communication optionsCB Radio and Ham Radio make excellent upgrades to your bug out vehicle. Either will allow you to communicate with the rest of your group or rescue sources nearby.
  • Additional fuel storage tanks – Increase the range of your bug out vehicle by adding a larger or secondary fuel tank. Of course, there are cheaper options where you can just purchase additional fuel cans and mount them on your roof rack or bumper.

Hopefully, this gives you some ideas if you are looking for a bug out vehicle that you can afford. What are you driving?

A bug out vehicle by definition is what you would hop in if you needed to get out of dodge. If you were going to pack your family and all

Squirrels may ravage my garden, but I do appreciate their ability to store for winter. My ancestors did too–storing their harvest in self-dug root cellars. Here in Massachusetts, our winters are too chilly to keep crops in the soil, covered with straw, as they did in England. So the American colonists watched the squirrels put their acorns in holes and promptly did the same.

Root cellars make use of the consistent temperature and humidity present just a few feet beneath the soil.  Most cold-weather vegetables thrive in these conditions, thus allowing them not only to be stored throughout the winter but remain alive, with all of their nutrients intact.  Why buy plastic-tasting vegetables that have been shipped thousands of miles when you can have your own fresh, living ones just a few feet from your front door?

Root cellaring is essential for eating seasonally.  It is one of the cheapest methods of food storage and is arguably even more effective than a refrigerator.  Root cellars are also adaptable to any terrain or budget.  They can be as large as an underground room, complete with ventilation shafts and shelving, or they can be as simple as a hole dug into the ground with a bin put inside.  The latter is the route that I took for my own project.

Materials

  • Large Bin or Barrel
  • Rocks (preferably flat)
  • Hay or Pine Needles
  • An Old Door
  • Something to Store (like potatoes)

Tools

  • Tape Measure
  • Shovel
  • Pick
  • Wheelbarrow

Method
First, choose a location that won’t flood and that you won’t mind trudging to in the middle of the winter. I chose a clearing in the woods just fifty feet from my front door. Remember, if your root cellar isn’t convenient, you’ll never use it.

Next, start digging.  The size of your hole will depend upon the size of the box or barrel you plan on burying.  Dig a hole larger than the box on all sides, and make the depth at least five or six feet from the surface.  You’ll go through a few different layers of soil, but hopefully, you won’t hit any heavy ledge.

Don’t dig too deep or you’ll find yourself with a well rather than a root cellar. And take care not to leave your hole unoccupied or uncovered.  You don’t want anyone getting hurt.

2

After your hole is clean and square, fill the bottom of it up with about six inches of large rocks or crushed stone.  This will give excess water somewhere to go so that you do not make vegetable soup prematurely.  The stones will also draw cool air up from the soil and further insulate your crop.

3

At this point, you need to begin preparing the vegetables you intend on storing.  Since your root cellar can be accessed at any time, you can always add to it.  However, some vegetables must be stored differently than others, so this must be a consideration when you are planning what to put in your bin.  Information on how certain vegetables should be stored can be found in many different books.

In my own cellar, I stored my potato crop. Unless you’re storing massive quantities of potatoes, you can keep them in bins without any special treatment. After digging, allow them a day or so of curing outside.  Use up any potatoes that you accidentally nicked or bruised rather than storing them because they’ll rot.  Beware squirrels, along with excess sunlight, which can turn them green and poisonous.  Once the skin of your potatoes has thickened up, you can carefully add them to the bin.

4 5

When you’re confident with your hole and veggies, gently place your bin or barrel onto the rocks.  It’s not a bad idea to fill in around the barrel with more crushed stone, but since I didn’t have much on hand, I decided to forgo it.

6

Now cover your bin with straw or hay. Since I had neither of the two, I used pine boughs, which worked the same and were actually easier to remove when I needed to get in the bin.

7

Finally, you will need to cover the hole with something solid.  I happened to have an old barn door lying around, but you can use anything from an old car door to a big sheet of plywood.  Just make sure that it covers the hole completely to prevent water seepage and critters from venturing down there.  If you’re really crafty, you could even put a whole door with the frame on top so that you can just open it rather than having to flip the door over. Either way works.

Also, you may want to leave a tiny crack for air flow, but cover this loosely with some pine boughs or hay.  And when the cold weather really rolls in, throw a couple of hay bales on top of the door to fully insulate the cellar.  Remember, we are trying to preserve that steady cool that exists naturally beneath the earth.  Any hot or frigid air from above might disrupt the environment, spoiling or freezing your veggies.

8

Check on your root cellar every once and a while, and remove any spoiled produce.  One bad apple truly does ruin the lot.


Other self-sufficiency and preparedness solutions recommended for you:

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

Knowledge to survive any medical crisis situation

Liberal’s hidden agenda: more than just your guns

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

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

Secure your privacy in just 10 simple steps

Root cellars make use of the consistent temperature and humidity present just a few feet beneath the soil.  Most cold-weather vegetables thrive in these conditions, thus allowing them not only

Homesteading’s the fine art of getting your land legs while learning how to do most of the stuff on your own. It’s great to have your own slice of heaven by the sea or in the middle of a dark and twisted forest – I for one can vouch that, most of the time, it’s rather amusing to figure out how our ancestors did things like tending to the garden, raising farm animals, settling in for the winter, picking up fresh herbs from the garden or building simple stuff out back.

Still, as pleasure-laden, as homesteading may be or become, it’s rather a turnoff when you need to do all of the things or more when you’re sick. Even a simple cold or the flu can turn a grown man into a noodle, but imagine what happens when you become bound to your sickbed with no one around to take care of you and your house.

Yes, that may strike as being a little depressive, but, unfortunately, it can happen even to the best of us. I being struck down a couple of months ago by the stomach flu somehow wound up all alone at my hunting cabin. Wife couldn’t come up on account of the kids being sick too and no driver’s license, so I was kind of force to get ingenious about my homesteading.

Anyway, after careful considerations and some chicken soup, I came with this wonderful piece which details my journey from sickly couch-potato to a regular Paul Bunyan wannabee. Without further ado, here’s are my golden rules to successful homesteading while you’re sick.

  1. Stay in bed

Of course, my first golden rule had to be a no-brainer because of reasons. Just kidding – most people tend to underestimate the severity of their medical condition and decide to just brush it off. Don’t do that. If you’re feeling that your legs are turning into the noodle, get to bed, medicate, and sleep on it. Remember that you’re all alone out there, and if you happen to collapse while working the field or chopping wood, there’s no one around to pick you up or drive you to the hospital.

  1. Get in touch with emergency services

No matter if you’re a big city dweller or the king of your own hill or mountain, you’ve still got to figure out how to get in touch with the emergency services in case shit hits the fan. A while after I bought my hunting cabin, figuring out that I kind of get down with the flu when spring comes, I went to my local drug store and bought me a one-push emergency bracelet.

Surprisingly, the device has great coverage, even in places where there’s no phone signal. Don’t kid around with your health, especially if you decide to drop off the grid. If you can’t find an emergency bracelet, use an emergency service smartphone application like Emergency+ if you have adequate coverage. A portable distress beacon is always a great alternative, but it will need some tinkering before you can use it to alert the local emergency services.

  1. Keep an ample supply of chopped wood or fire-starting material

Golden rule number three – when you’re game, chop as much wood as you can because you won’t be able to do so when you’re sick. It would also be a good idea to keep a small wood stack as close to the home as possible to minimize exposure to the elements.

Yes, I know that’s a big no-no in the big book of prepping, but some rules are meant to be bent if in doing so increases your survival likelihood. If your stove is running on another kind of fuel, be sure to keeps some close by, but not too close to the heating device.

  1. Soup broth all around!

I know it’s kind of a cliché but hot chicken soup really help you’re sick or feeling down. Making some in your home is no big deal. Still, I would skip the cooking part and go buy some canned soup. Sure, nothing beats a home-cooked meal, but do keep in mind that you can’t prepare the broth that much in advance.  So, make sure you have enough in your pantry for whatever the case may be.

  1. No one should be without a checklist

Checklists are a marvelous way of keeping everything nice and tidy, especially if you’re the kind of person that has no love for neatness. If you find yourself alone and sick on your property, get yourself together and try to jot down a small to-do list for the next couple of days. That way, you will have ensured that you haven’t missed anything.

  1. Let someone know you’re there

You may be king of the mountain, but every king sometimes requires the aid of a royal advisor. In this case, you should let someone know where you are and, most importantly, how long you’re planning on staying. If you plan on moving there, get to know your neighbors and, if possible, ask someone to check up on you every couple of days to make sure that you’re safe and sound.

  1. Keeping your meds close

You don’t need to be sick in order to figure out that it’s really important for the meds to be within reach. I personally emptied an old wooden wardrobe and sort of turned it into a big med cabinet. Of course, you can do as you like when it comes to med storage. Don’t forget about the golden rule of med hoarding: painkillers first, anti-histamines second, and vitamin supplements last.

These are my golden rules of homesteading while I’m sick. As I’ve mentioned, all of this stuff are the results of my me-time at the hunting cabin. Sure, it may be possible that some steps might be a bit off, but, as I’ve said, this was a personal experience. Think something’s missing from the list? Then go ahead and hit the comments section and let me know what you think.

Homesteading’s the fine art of getting your land legs while learning how to do most of the stuff on your own. It’s great to have your own slice of heaven

Did you know that before the Winchester repeating rifle was invented, Walter Hunt patented the “combined piston breech and firing cock repeating gun”?

Not only that, according to the Smithsonian, he also invented the fountain pen, the sewing machine, and that little thing most of us call the safety pin. While they certainly don’t pack the power of a repeating gun, there are a number of survival uses for safety pins if you include them in your EDC kit.

When it comes to survival , the ideal thing is to have a good EDC kit and some first aid supplies or a bug out bag. But what happens if you get caught out away from home without your bug out bag and first aid kit?

We’ve listed suggested uses for keeping safety pins in your EDC kit below. Please keep in mind using safety pins for some of these things are recommended as a last resort, meaning when you have no other option.  We are NOT recommending that you rely primarily on safety pins for tasks critical to survival.

Also keep in mind this article is NOT medical advice, and anything you do is at your own risk, and neither the author nor www.SurvivalSullivan.comcan shall be held liable for any injuries or negative effects as a result of putting the advice of this article into practice.

#1. Remove Foreign Objects Under the Skin

Just about everyone has probably experienced getting a splinter or some other small sharp object stuck under their skin. Use an open safety pin similar to tweezers to remove splinters, thorns, insect stingers, ticks or even the dreaded botfly. With insects, make doubly sure you know what the risks are and seek medical advice first if available.

#2. Flush Out a Wound

Once you’ve removed a splinter or other foreign object, it’s probably a good idea to flush out the wound to ensure it’s as clean as possible. You can use a safety pin to poke a hole in a water bottle or plastic bag filled with water so that you can have a precise stream and conserve water for later.

#3. Stitch a Wound

It’s not the recommended way to stitch up that cut on your arm but in a pinch, if you don’t have a needle, you can make a safety pin work. Be extremely gentle and take care not to break it off as you pull.

#4. Secure Bait

If you find yourself in a survival situation where you need to use a trap to catch food, the last thing you want to do is risk the prey snagging the bait without setting off the trigger. You can use a safety pin to secure your bait to the trigger so there’s less chance of your prey getting away with a snack and leaving you with an empty belly.

 #5. Replace a Button

Although probably not a true survival situation, you can use a safety pin to replace a missing button on your shirt or pants.

#6. Sewing Awl

In a pinch, you can use larger safety pins as an awl for sewing heavier material such as leather, burlap, or canvas.

Straighten out the pin and use the sharp end to pierce the material, twisting it around a bit to make the hole large enough for your cordage. Push the cordage through the holes using the tip of the pin or your finger depending on which is easier.

#7. Hang Clothes to Dry

When we camp, there are times that it rains or that we need to hang wet clothes or other items overnight. If you drop your wallet in the stream or your jacket falls from your backpack into the mud. You can use clothespins to secure lightweight items to dry overnight from the inside of your tent using some cordage or even a bungee cord stretched between the poles.

#8. Fishing Hook

It’s not ideal but you can use a safety pin as a makeshift fishing hook by tying it to your fishing line and then opening the pin and bending it into the shape of a hook. Add your bait and drop the line in the water. It will only work with smaller fish obviously but it’s better than nothing in a survival situation.

#9. Secure DIY Bandage

If you are injured unexpectedly and need to bandage the wound but don’t have traditional bandages, a safety pin might be a lifesaver. Tear or cut a strip of clothing or other available clean material, wrap it around the wound and secure temporarily with safety pins.

#10. Escape Handcuffs or Locked Room

When SHTF, it’s entirely possible for you to be taken captive by someone who wants your supplies, property, or worse. In the absence of a good lock picking kit, you can use a safety pin to help you pick a lock and escape.

#11. Make a DIY Sling or Splint

If someone falls during a bug out or other type of survival situation and you need to immobilize their arm or shoulder, you can use a safety pin to attach their sleeve to another part of their clothing or put a stick on each side of a damaged finger and wrap with cloth and secure with a safety pin.

#12. Close or Attach a Makeshift Shelter

Again, in a survival situation, I really hope you’ll have better shelter building materials on hand but in a pinch, you can use safety pins to attach clothing or any other type of available cloth together to create a makeshift albeit very temporary shelter.

 #13. Reinforce Zippers

Replace a broken zipper pull on your bug out bag with a closed safety pin or use a safety pin to fasten two zippers together to keep them from working open during your bug out.

#14. Repair a Rip or Tear

Depending on the situation you are in, the landscape, and how quickly you need to move, you may not have time to properly fix a tear in your bug out bag, a loose pant leg hem, or that rip in the sleeve of your jacket from catching it on a branch. Safety pins come in really handy for temporarily keeping things together.

#15. Fix Unthreaded Drawstring

There’s nothing more important in a bad weather survival situation than staying warm. If you find yourself in extreme weather with a jacket hood or sweatshirt with no drawstring, you’ll be scrambling to keep it up and stay warm. Use a safety pin and any piece of cordage to replace the drawstring so you can keep your head covered and your hands free.

#16. Toothpick

It may not save your life, but it could save you some frustration and agony if you get a seed or something else stuck between your teeth in a survival situation. Take care not to puncture your gum and cause an additional issue.

#17. DIY Lance

If you don’t have a needle and you need to lance a boil, smashed fingernail, etc. you can heat a safety pin to sterilize it and use the tip as a lance.

Have we convinced you yet to include safety pins in your EDC kit? You can carry them just about anywhere very discreetly. Pin them inside the hem of your pant leg or the inside of a hat that is part of your EDC. Slide a couple in your wallet or pin into your shoelaces.

Do you have other survival uses for safety pins that we neglected in our list above? Ever use a safety pin for a really unusual repair before? Let us know in the comments below. We always love to hear good ideas from other preppers and homesteaders.


Other self-sufficiency and preparedness solutions recommended for you:

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

Survival MD (Knowledge to survive any medical crisis situation)

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

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

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

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

Did you know that before the Winchester repeating rifle was invented, Walter Hunt patented the “combined piston breech and firing cock repeating gun”? Not only that, according to the Smithsonian, he

In a grid-down scenario, we may not have the easy access to our kitchen tools that we have relied on in the past. Most kitchen appliances are powered by electricity or gas and if those both go out due to an emergency you could find yourself living “where there is no kitchen”.

Not having access to your microwave shouldn’t cause you any panic though, because people have been living pretty well without these conveniences for a very long time. Even if you have stored 30 days worth of dehydrated food and water, chances are, you will want to eat something warm before it is all over. Even in the military we only ate MRE’s once a day when we were out in the field. MRE’s will keep you alive but eventually, you get tired of that and want something hot and delicious. I know that MRE’s can be heated up too, but the contents of a regular bag of MRE’s can’t hold a candle to a nice venison stew that has been cooking slowly over a fire all day.

With some simple planning and preparation, you can cook just about anything you need to keep you alive and healthy through any disruption. There are a few considerations and lots of options for cooking that we will discuss below.

Cooking Options

We are going to assume that any cooking that you will be doing is outside in this grid-down scenario. No cooking with open flame should be done indoors and that includes using your big stainless steel propane grill. Fumes are toxic and can hurt you so keep it outside for safety.


stassj-cooking-stirring-woodstove

Wood stoves – These are about the closest you can come to the power and convenience of a range or oven inside your house or retreat location. Yes, I know that I just said to cook outside, but your stove is vented outside already. This is a winter solution though because you won’t likely want to fire up the big wood-stove in the living room in the middle of August.  In much older homes, the kitchen was in a different part of the house because the heat would stifle everyone else. During the winter a wood stove is a perfect solution for cooking and you can easily fit a couple of pans on the top and regulate the heat easily. You can cook on a wood-stove with your regular pans without any problem.

Backyard Grill – This is my personal first line of defense if the power goes out. It is simple to use and already set up outside. The main drawback is the need for propane but I keep an extra 50lb. canister of propane at all times so that if my main source runs out I still have a spare. This spare propane would be on my list of basic household items that you need to stock up on also.

Some people use charcoal so an extra bag or two would be wise. It won’t last as long as a can of propane but having the ability to cook for a few days is always a smart idea. Optionally, if your house is heated with propane, you can purchase an adapter to run your grill but you probably are already using your oven in the house. It’s nice to have options.

tripod

A sturdy tripod will hold that cast iron cookware much more easily than you can.

Campfire – Since the dawn of time people have been cooking over an open fire on the ground. This would be my fallback option after the propane was gone or if I had something that was larger and needed to cook for a long time. Campfires don’t need to be fancy but having a pit surrounded with rocks to contain the fire is preferred. To cook on a campfire, you will want to invest in at least one piece of cast iron cookware. Two would be the best giving you the option to fry or cook a big stew. You will also want to have a method to suspend your cookware over the flames. This is where a great tripod like the one on the left here or a grate you can set on the ground over the coals. I prefer the tripod, but the grate is much simpler when you are using a skillet.

Camping stoves – These are a great solution too and use the same type of Coleman propane cylinders your lanterns take. They do have the drawback that the grill does though, and once your fuel is gone, they are worthless. You can use the grill grating itself over a regular campfire so don’t throw that away. We will talk more about that later. Backpacker stoves also come in handy in a pinch, but that would not be ideal for cooking larger meals. It will heat up single portions nicely though, and there are a lot of fuel options for the short-term emergency.

Rocket Stove – Rocket stoves are simple to build using materials you may have lying around or in the shed. These can be fueled with sticks and twigs and make a great surface that produces a lot of heat without a big footprint.

Lanterns – Anything that produces heat can warm your food and some lanterns give you the ability to use the heat escaping from the top to boil water or heat soup. This is yet another good option that may work for some people. Candles can also be used but this would be my last resort. They take forever but you are already using your candle so this is a way to get two uses out of your preparations.

Solar – I saved this one for last but solar cooking shouldn’t be discounted at all. If you have sun and dry weather this is a great way to heat up and cook meals if you have time to wait. You will want to build your own solar oven which is fairly simple or there are several you can buy online. If you just need to warm up a can of soup you can sit that in the sun on the driveway for 30 minutes and voila! Solar ovens can be made in numerous ways with lots of material.

Cooking Necessities

The first place we look is to our cooking containers, or what we are going to hold over our source of heat to contain this wonderful food you are getting ready to cook. Cast iron is my personal favorite but that isn’t practical if you are on the move. You can also cook with #10 cans if needed, just be sure that the plastic coating on the interior melts out first.

Aluminum foil is not only useful for creating a solar oven, but you can form bowls out of this to cook with or boil water in a pinch. Aluminum foil is a second cousin to Duct tape I believe because it has so many uses and should be on your list of supplies for your household. Can and bottle openers are nice. They aren’t necessary because if you are hungry enough, you will get that can open, but they are very convenient and do not cost anything at all. You will also want to have plenty of capacity for making a fire in the first place. Lighters are simple and cheap, but flint and strikers should be in your survival kits also.

Other tools you could use are oven mitt or pot holders to handle the pots on these cooking surfaces. Wooden spoons and spatulas won’t melt like plastic and you can even make these yourself if you have plenty of time on your hands and a sharp knife.

Cleanup

Now that the group has been fed how do you clean up? Sanitation is something that becomes more important with the severity and duration of the emergency. Germs are easily passed so cleaning your food utensils is an important consideration for the health of your survival group.  Assuming you have some water on hand for cooking, we can look back at how the pioneers cleaned their dishes.

The rare 1881 Iowa settlers manual has a tip for washing dishes when you’ve run out of soap. It’s in the cleaning chapter of the book and was written for some of the first people moving into Iowa to homestead in the 1880′s.

To wash dishes without soap, have your dishwater hot and add a very little milk, as this softens the water, gives the dishes a nice gloss and preserves the hands. It removes the grease, even that from beef, and yet no grease is ever found floating on the water as when soap is used.

For the most part, hot water and a sponge with abrasive on one side will do the trick. Boiling dishwater before doing dishes would be the safest way to make sure you’re not scrubbing your pots with Giardia. But as for me, 99% of the time, I’m content with just getting it hot enough to cut the grease. Your call. After scrubbing, strain your dishwater through a fine-mesh strainer (or a bandana) and broadcast the waste-water. In other words, fling it far and wide. You can use the rest of what’s left for compost.


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

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

In a grid-down scenario, we may not have the easy access to our kitchen tools that we have relied on in the past. Most kitchen appliances are powered by electricity

A Prepper Must-Have – Baking Soda

I have it on good authority that some people actually bake with baking soda. That’s not why it’s stocked like a mighty brick in my house. Baking soda is one of those items that has about a hundred and one uses, only some of them limited to the kitchen. It’s nice and cheap, and while I don’t think it’s one of the things that runs off the shelves in any crisis – snow storm, hurricane, or larger – it’s hugely beneficial to have plenty of it on hand.

To me, the price and the usefulness put it way up on any must-have list for preppers (or pretty much any adult).

First we want to be sure of what we’re talking about. On store shelves, baking soda is most usually going to be a box, although it can be found in big bags for those of us who use it a lot. It’s the one with sodium bicarbonate listed as the active ingredient, not cornstarch and 4-6 other things in a little round carton. That other one is what you use for bannock bread and microwaved mug brownies – baking powder.

Shoe satchels

baking-soda-for-shoes

Stomping out smells in your shoes is one of baking sodas great claims to fame.

Those of us who have ever had a fridge or dishwasher that’s been turned off for a while have probably heard of sticking an opened box of baking soda in there. Arm & Hammer even creates packages with a mesh-lined side flap for just that purpose. That same deodorizing capability combines with a low-level desiccant, and can be used to dry out and kill the sweat or swamp funk in our boots and shoes. This is the stuff that gets added to kitty litter boxes, after all. Stomping out smells is one of its great claims to fame.

The satchels can be made out of cloth, old socks whose mates have gone missing, coffee filters, or used dryer sheets. The imagination is really the only limiting factor here. As long as it allows easy airflow between the footwear and the baking soda inside, it’ll work. Add at least a tablespoon and a half of baking soda, tie up, and drop inside.

 

If you want to jazz up the shoe satchels further you can add all kinds of things from dried flowers and herbs (lavender, rose, rosemary, mints, eucalyptus) to bath crystals or salts.

This one works not only on shoes, but also on things like old gym bags, the lunch bag from two years ago, a small cooler, a tool bucket or box that has a case of the funk, or a softball bag that’s being repurposed.

Foot Soak

foot-soak-recipes-600x399

If the smell from shoes is originating because of the feet in them, you can combine baking soda with any number of things to create a foot soak.

Mouthwash, herbal teas, various oils like lavender or eucalyptus or rosemary, lemon slices or juice, Epsom salts (excellent addition), apple cider vinegar, and dried herbs like rosemary, mints, or plantain all get added. A simple soak of 1-2 cups in a gallon or two of warm water for 15-30 minutes can soften and rejuvenate feet, and help control various fungus that want to live in warm, sweaty environments.

Surface Cleaner

cutting-board-plastic

We know that baking soda is one of the things we can stock to use as a toothpaste alternate, or to concoct our own toothpaste. It cleans more than mouths, though.

Just sprinkling it on carpets and wooden decks or porches, letting it sit, and then sweeping or vacuuming it up works wonders for some odors and fungi. We can also clean our cutting boards by rubbing with baking soda and-or salt and a lemon, or just scrubbing with a brush and the dry ingredients and then letting it sit for a bit. The powders create a habitat that discourages many microbes, like the kind that live in tiny scratched crevices and outlive even dish soap and the dishwasher.

 

We can use that trick on dog bowls, sinks and counters, as well, using fresh lemons or limes or bottled lemon juice, or just scrubbing and allowing it to sit, then sweeping it and wiping it up.

Pipe & Drain Cleaner

Getting rid of shower and tub mildew and *that* smell in any pipe uses basically the same ingredients as above: baking soda, salt in some cases, and lemon. Vinegar of pretty much any kind can be substituted for lemon juice if somebody likes that price enough for a different smell, or wants to go with apple cider vinegar.

I like the method where you boil 2-8 cups of water to pour down the drain, then throw a cup of baking soda in and let that sit for 5-60 minutes, and follow it up with 1 cup of vinegar or lemon juice mixed with a cup of water.

baking-soda-scrub-sink

There are a few variations, so poke around a bit. Some say to cover it to direct the reaction downward (not so sure about that), and some to limit the fumes in the air (just don’t use white vinegar). Some say to give it 6-8 hours, and some say to just wait until the bubbles stop. Some suggest just rinsing with tap water, and some suggest boiling more water to flush the remnants away. Up to you.

It doesn’t always work, especially in the bathroom where *somebody* sheds 2’ hair with every shower. Sometimes a repeat or upgrade to/of vinegar to the stronger cousins works. Every once in a while, you have to go to a snake or “real” drain cleaner, but a lot of the time, whether it’s a slow drain, a for-real clog, or a smell, the baking soda does the trick.

There are apparently schools of thought where this is bad and degrades things, so research that too.

Fungicide (Outdoor)

spray

We can add one tablespoon of baking soda to one quart of water (4 tablespoons/1 quarter-cup per gallon) and use it to treat black spots in the yard, roses, and berry brambles suffering from the various black fungus illnesses.

One of the things that helps baking soda kill smells is that the sodium bicarbonate is an antacid, a highly reactive one. A lot of growing things prefer an acidic environment. Fungi – from mold to mildew – is one of those things. The beauty is that baking soda is a stabilizing antacid. It’ll react with anything in an extreme, and go through a severe reaction initially (which can also kill bad stuff) but then it’ll self-regulate and return its surroundings to a near-neutral state.

No wonder this stuff is called miracle powder, right?

 

 

That miracle powder can help us in a big way with some common crop and garden pests – mildews.

We can add one tablespoon of baking soda to one quart of water (4 tablespoons/1 quarter-cup per gallon) and use it to treat black spots in the yard, roses, and berry brambles suffering from the various black fungus illnesses.

Powdery mildew on any plants can be prevented and treated with the same, however, the addition of a teaspoon of dish detergent and a teaspoon of vegetable oil per half gallon will help it stick better. Once powdery mildew gets started, it’s a constant battle, so having the spray last longer on the plants can save us a lot of time and heartache.

Creepy-Crawly Pests

destroying-ants

Fungus gnats aren’t usually harmful, but they are annoying, and there are times there are so many that the soil-dwelling larvae stage start stunting plant growth because they’re consuming the tiny root hairs of plants. A teaspoon of baking soda with a teaspoon of dish detergent in a full gallon of water can also help remove or reduce the populations, without changing soil pH so much that acid-loving veggie plants and perennials can’t handle it and die, too. As with mildews, all soils in the area need treated and the treatment will have to be repeated to break the infestation completely since there are multiple stages and locations in the gnats’ life cycles.

Mixing baking soda 1:1 with powdered sugar and surrounding an ant hill with a 1”x1” wall of the stuff can help reduce those garden pests, too. I’ve had it decrease the visible numbers, but they seem to pop back up. Still, it’s nicer working in beds and playing fetch or weed-eating with a few less ants getting aggravated with you. A ring of baking soda will also help deter slugs. (Grits and cornmeal help with ants and slugs, too.)

Pest Sting & Itch Relief

 

Baking soda recently got crowned the Most Prized Possession in my house. I was attacked by some sort of not-bee striped flyer, and ended up with welts roughly the sizes of eggs, from dainty little quail all the way up to jumbos, with 3-6” red raised areas around the big welts. Yay! A poultice of just baking soda and water reduced the swelling and pain.

That poultice is best applied with large Band-Aids already open and waiting, especially if you’re trying to doctor your own elbow and thigh.

If the poultice is allowed to dry, it will come off in big flakes or shingles, and can actually help extract a broken-off stinger, fang or tick head.

 

Like the satchels, the poultice can be improved on. Chamomile tea is awesome, but any kind of tea contains fabulous stuff that helps reduce swelling and pain more and faster. Let it cool and add it to the poultice, open a bag to mix in before the water, or open a used bag to add to the paste. Aloe can be stripped and chopped and added, as can commercially available gel. So can witch hazel, chamomile flowers, lavender oil or flowers, fresh or dried plantain, Echinacea (purple cone flower), chickweed or jewelweed, and lemon balm.

Some people also apparently make their poultice with milk. Not my thing. Likewise, I’m not adding to the mess or pains by using honey or honey crystals in there, but there are proponents of honey as well.

Go as crazy as you like with that one.

Maybe the sting or bite isn’t making you crazy enough to coat your wounds with paste and Band-Aids. Sometimes we’re just hot and itchy and can’t really identify a single place to treat, and a shower or bath isn’t really cutting it.

Baking soda in a tub with or without soothing additives like oatmeal can help.

You can also make a satchel similar to the first use listed, although you’ll want it to be bigger. Again, alone or with things like chipped aloe, oatmeal, chamomile flowers or oil, or tea leaves from a regular grocery-store brewing bag (Camellia sinensis species) can be added. You use the satchel to dab yourself while you’re in the shower.

Baking Soda

There are just so many uses for baking soda, with these the very tip of the iceberg. Run any google search for uses, and you’ll find dozens more, from killing weeds to repelling rabbits and silverfish. It goes in laundry and it gets used for facial masks. Use it to deodorize dogs, make Play Dough, or get gum/caulk out of your hair. The stuff is so cheap, so easy to find, and does so much, it’s worth filling a box or drawer and keeping handy, especially if we live well outside shopping areas.

It’s not one that I expect there to ever be massive runs on, not like generators, snow shovels, tarps and plywood, peanut butter, and toilet paper. However, in a long-term disaster, we could potentially run out. For me, it doesn’t replace a fire alarm and fire extinguisher, some extra batteries that fit that alarm, or having spare oil and coolant in the truck, but it’s right up there with the food and water supplies as a must-have item.

Hopefully you’ll explore its uses a little more, print out some of the many 11, 30, and 50+ uses lists, and stock up at least a little.


Other self-sufficiency and preparedness solutions recommended for you:

 

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

Knowledge to survive any medical crisis situation

Liberal’s hidden agenda: more than just your guns

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

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

Secure your privacy in just 10 simple steps

A Prepper Must-Have – Baking Soda I have it on good authority that some people actually bake with baking soda. That’s not why it’s stocked like a mighty brick in

A lot of preppers are worried that, in the event, we’re ever attacked with EMP weapons, most of our vehicles will instantly turn to junk. This isn’t a far-out belief, either; it’s based on testing by the EMP Commission.

It’s true that those tests didn’t cause any permanent damage to the vehicles, but the Commission freely admits that they stopped testing at the level of EMP where the vehicles stopped running – and that was far below the levels that would be emitted by an actual attack.

It’s difficult to predict what damage an EMP attack would do to vehicles because there are so many variables involved. We can make some educated guesses, though. We do know that EMP can destroy solid-state electronics, and late-model vehicles depend on those for almost everything. Without its engine management computer, a modern car won’t even start.

If your new truck is caught by an EMP the chances are it’s going to take a lot of work to get it running again. You’re almost certainly going to have to replace all the computers if you can find undamaged spares, and EMP can do funny things to wiring as well.

As the wiring harness is one of the first things installed in cars, replacing it is a huge job. Is it going to be feasible in a country devastated by the attack? I’m not betting on it.

There is another option, though – find yourself a vehicle that doesn’t rely on electronics. Computer-controlled car engines didn’t really exist until the mid-1970s and there were plenty new vehicles without them at the end of the decade, so most vehicles that age or older will be much more resistant to EMP. Carbureted engines with simpler wiring looms don’t give the pulse much to get its teeth into.

The bad news is that we’re talking about some pretty old, and often hard-used, vehicles here. The good news is that in many cases you should be able to get a running one for a reasonable amount of money. Here are six EMP-proof vehicles you can pick up for less than $2,000.

Volkswagen Beetle

Good Vehicles to Have for EMP

You can easily pay over $100,000 for a classic Bug in immaculate condition – but you can also get a runner for under $2,000. In fact, while I was writing this I saw one for $500 that just needs some work on the hubs to put it back on the road. The post-1971 “Super Beetle” is usually cheaper than the classic flat windshield model.

The Beetle is built on really old technology. It has a flat-four air-cooled engine without any hint of electronics.

It’s also a rugged and reliable car that’s good enough off road the German army put an open-topped body on it and used it as a jeep. It won’t even notice an EMP.

Dune Buggies

Good Vehicles to Have for EMP

VW Bugs are classic cars now, but from the 60s through the early 80s they were just cheap imports – and a lot of people used their simple mechanicals as the basis for a dune buggy. Usually, this involved shortening the Beetle chassis by about a foot and fitting it with a simple, lightweight fiberglass body.

Dune buggies have decent fuel economy and off-road performance, and they don’t rust. They’re also very easy to modify into survival vehicles, and they don’t need a lot of maintenance. You can find a running one from about $800 upwards.

CUCV (Commercial Utility Cargo Vehicle)

Good Vehicles to Have for EMP

In the mid-1970s the US military was running out of utility vehicles. The HMMWV program hadn’t produced anything yet and the old M151 jeeps were wearing out. As a stopgap, thousands of commercial wagons and trucks were purchased, in slightly militarized versions.

There are a few different models of CUCV, but the most common is the M1109 – a 1984-model Chevrolet K5 Blazer. This is a simple vehicle with plenty of load space, 4wd, and a powerful 6.2-liter diesel engine, and it’s ideal as a post-SHTF vehicle. Thousands have been disposed off at auctions and you can easily find a useable one for under $2,000. Try eBay.

International Harvester Scout

Good Vehicles to Have for EMP

The Scout was probably the first mass-produced SUV, even if it was never the most exciting or popular. It’s a simple, sturdy and reliable vehicle, though, and it has great off-road performance.

The original Scout is starting to get expensive, so look for a Scout II. Manufactured from 1971 to 1980, this is a lot cheaper and just as reliable. You can find rough but repairable ones for under $1,000; $2,000 will get you a good runner.

Chevrolet Cheyenne

Chevrolet produced this full-size truck from 1959 through to the turn of the century, but what you’re looking for is a pre-1980 third-generation model. With a computer-free engine and easily maintained mechanicals, it’s a tough and practical utility vehicle.

A lot of these are still hanging on in rural areas, and you can pick up a running example for under $1,500 if you hunt around. Can’t find a Cheyenne? No problem; most other pre-1980 trucks will do just as well.

Yugo

7 Emp-proof Cars That You Can Buy For Less Than $2000

No, don’t laugh. This cheap and nasty car was imported into the USA from 1985 to 1991 – but mechanically it’s a 1970s Fiat 127, so its 900cc engine is EMP-proof. Incredibly, good examples now sell for up to $15,000 – but you can get an average one for under $1,000 because nobody wants them.

The thing is, this is a cheap communist-built car with a tacky finish and unreliable accessories, but the engine is simple and reliable. It might be an embarrassing car to drive, but it’s a lot less embarrassing than one that won’t start because its electronics are fried.

A lot of preppers are worried that, in the event, we’re ever attacked with EMP weapons, most of our vehicles will instantly turn to junk. This isn’t a far-out belief,