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I personally shop online for almost anything I can for a couple of reasons. First is the incredible ability to research and check prices. I can read or watch video reviews for any products I am considering before making a final decision. Secondly, I hate going to the mall or just about any other shopping center type of place with a passion – I would just about rather take a kick to the head than go to the mall during Christmas, but even the rest of the year shopping online is just my preferred option. I was looking around for more prepper and survival gear the other day and often readers ask for gear recommendations so I wanted to give you this list of the best-selling prepper items but with a twist. I want to also give you my opinions on why this list is wrong when taken from the standpoint of what people should be focusing on. I will show the best sellers and give alternate items you should have if you don’t already.

LifeStraw Personal Water Filter

The LifeStraw is a great idea and Water is the highest priority, all things being equal, you should focus on when preparing for any kind of unforeseen emergency. But I think the LifeStraw itself has some limitations and drawbacks that would make me choose another option for water filtration.

For starters, the LifeStraw is really meant for only one person. If you have a couple of people to provide clean water for, this isn’t ideal. Next, you must stick your face down in the water for this to work. Not only does this require you to get up close and personal with your water source but it also prevents you from being able to fully stay aware of your surroundings. Yes, you can fill a container up with water and stick the LifeStraw in that, but why? Additionally, can’t take any water with you for later because the LifeStraw only works when you have a water source to stick the straw into. Lastly, the LifeStraw only filters up to 1000 liters before it is no longer safe.

For me, there are a couple of other options. For just about the same price, size/weight footprint, the Sawyer Mini Water Filtration System is far superior. It filters 100, 000 gallons, comes with it’s own bag that you can fill to quench your thirst, then refill for the road and still has all the microorganism filtering benefits. To me, these are the most minimal and basic water filters you can get, but it’s probably better to expand to a slightly larger capacity system.

The best solution in my opinion is a gravity fed water filtration system. Why? Unlike manual pump filters like the Katadyn Hiker or the MSR Miniworks (which I own and like), gravity fed filtration systems have no moving parts to break. Also, you can just let the water filter do its job while you move on to other issues like setting up camp or observing your surroundings. I am a HUGE fan of the GravityWorks by Platypus, but they are much more expensive. They taste far better than any type of Iodine water filter system like the Polar Pure, last far longer too, can easily support multiple people and I don’t have to worry about those little glass bottles breaking on me.

Mountain House Freeze Dried Food

The next 3 items on the list of best-selling prepper gear are food so I will combine them. Mountain House is listed as the best seller and I certainly have recommended their products as a great camping or backpacking option that also work great as a preparedness option. They only require hot water and you have a meal. Now, is this the best prepper food you should get if you are trying to stock up food for emergencies?

Maybe.

Mountain House or any one of the many other manufacturers of quality freeze-dried food out there fill a need and as part of a larger food self-sufficiency strategy I think they fill a great role. If you have nothing else but Mountain House, you will still be able to feed your family with decent tasting food that requires nothing more than a fire or stove to heat the water. You can even eat out of the bag. However, I recommend a little more diversity.

Your pantry should be filled with a larger portion of foods you already eat and let the Freeze-Dried food supplement that should you need to. You probably wouldn’t want to break out some Mountain House Lasagna with Meat Sauce if your friends were coming over for dinner, but after a snow storm knocks your power out for a week, this stuff is awesome. Your own family’s needs and preferences will dictate what you store but for tips on how to get started, check out my article on 30 days of food storage for ideas on how to get a jump-start.

Emergency Disposable Rain Ponchos

No offense to the good-looking group pictured here, but preppers shouldn’t be buying these cheap bags expecting protection.

Number three on the list of the best-selling prepper gear is Emergency Rain Ponchos? Seriously? Granted, this is from Amazon.com but these are glorified trash bags meant to give you some protection if you are out at a theme park let’s say and an unexpected downpour threatens to ruin the fun. No self-respecting prepper should have to resort to this because if you can’t find out what the weather is going to be and plan accordingly, you have bigger things to worry about most likely.

Instead of a disposable trash bag, if you are looking for some prepper gear that isn’t a rain jacket, consider a legitimate poncho instead. These are more expensive, but the construction is vastly better and you can use these to provide shelter if you combine them with a little paracord. Usually they come in camouflage colors but you do have options if you are trying not to look tactical. You can even combine them with a poncho liner to have a great cold weather system that can keep you dry and warm.

Gerber Bear Grylls Fire Starter

Number 4 is a means to start a fire and magnesium fire starters are a great grid-down item to have. There are many other brands out there and while I haven’t personally tested the Gerber line, I have been very happy with the craftsmanship and quality of other items like their multi-tools that I own. The Bear Grylls Fire Starter is just branded merchandise but it should do the job admirably.

Now I own several fire starters like this but you know what I own more of? Disposable lighters. They are cheap (you can get a pack of 10 for the price of one fire starter) and easier to use. Yes, they won’t last anywhere near as long as a fire starter, but if I needed to get a fire going quickly, I would much rather start my tinder off with a quick flick of my Bic and then move on.

Survival Shack Emergency Survival Shelter Tent

Keep the rain off you? Maybe? Sun? Yep. Will it keep you warm in cold climates?

Number 5 on Amazon’s list of best-selling prepper gear is essentially a big piece of Mylar with some rope. It is cheap, lightweight and compact, but when it comes to staying warm, I don’t see how this big open tent is going to help you.

In the right environment, creating a survival shelter is a free option but that assumes a lot of things. First that you have materials you can make a shelter with. Debris shelters are all the rage on YouTube for preppers and survivalists, but what if you don’t have any trees, limbs lying around or millions of leaves to cover it with?

A better option may be a survival bivvy. Advanced Medical Kits sells an Emergency Bivvy that will keep two people warm. First, it’s enclosed so you don’t have air blowing through it and wiping away any heat convection your body was making – think survival sleeping bag. It doesn’t require trees to string a rope and you get the added benefit of body heat from your buddy – assuming you are with someone. It is a little more expensive and does take up a little more room, but seems like it would be more effective at keeping you protected from the elements.

Is Best Selling Gear really the Best for You?

There are many other items on the list of best sellers and I just scratched the surface. I think in some cases; the things people buy are often out of convenience and cost savings but those two factors alone could leave you just as unprepared as if you didn’t purchase any prepper gear. Before making any prepper gear purchases, use the internet and conduct research. Take a look at what your survival priorities for the place you are or where you are going. Read articles – there are thousands out there on just about any subject related to prepping you can think of. Watch videos on YouTube and make your own mind up on what makes sense. But don’t stop there.

Actually try out the gear you just purchased. Use it to collect water and drink from it. Take that freeze-dried food out with you and make a meal. Try spending a night in that shelter or working in the rain in that poncho – start a fire. You will learn more from your own experience than anything you can read on a prepper blog and it will give you the knowledge you need to make your own, better, decisions on survival gear that works best for you.

I personally shop online for almost anything I can for a couple of reasons. First is the incredible ability to research and check prices. I can read or watch video

Would your family know what to do in the event of a disaster or SHTF event? Would the prepping supplies you have carefully purchased and stored away help your family survive or would they be unused because nobody knew about them?

Not that your family is inept without you, but do they know all of the plans and preparations you have made? Would they know immediately what you had planned to do in specific disasters? Would they know your rationale for making decisions you did or would they make the same mistakes you had already learned through? Would they know the dangers you had anticipated and prepare correctly for them or would they have to figure things out along the way?

The article has a cryptic title but the thought of writing down instructions for what to do in the case that you weren’t home during the apocalypse occurred to me the other day. I envisioned how best to leave information for my wife or any family members if TEOTWAWKI happened and I wasn’t there to help. The image of a grainy video tape playing of me sitting in my favorite chair, possibly holding my AR15 for effect came to mind from far too many cheesy movies. My family would be watching me as I said the words uttered by many a B-Movie actor: “If you are watching this, I must be dead” or something like that. I wouldn’t leave video behind but I could see printing a manual out and in a nod to those cheesy movies, my opening line might be: “If you are reading this, I may be dead”.

You may be in fact dead or you could just be seriously delayed in getting back to your home. We talk about people who travel for business on Final Prepper and making a journey of hundreds of miles on foot possibly with the right circumstances. If you are on a business trip and something like an EMP wiped the grid out while you were hundreds of miles away your family might not even hear from you for weeks. They might not know you are alive and trying to get back to them. The unknown in that situation would be pretty daunting to most people. The last thing they knew you were hundreds of miles away and now the bottom just dropped out. Without knowing if you would ever even make it back home, instructions you leave behind could be your plan laid out into words that they could look to for guidance and direction. While it may not make the thought of you being lost forever any easier to take, it could help them survive.

Before you begin your prepper plan

I think it’s only fair to say that your family shouldn’t be clueless about your prepping plans for survival even if you are traveling. I personally share most of my plans with my family but I don’t go into great specifics on many issues. I do understand that on some issues they hear me, but don’t care very much. Would they recall what I said two years ago during a disaster now when they could possibly very scared and near panic? Maybe, but I am sure they would need some additional details to make things go smoother if my plan is meant as the ideal for our survival.

Some people though don’t have family members that care about their preparations. Some preppers have spouses that are actually opposed to taking any steps to survive if something happens. That’s what the government is for, right? If you have a situation where you are prepping on the sly or are in some ways doing this all by yourself because of an unwilling spouse, you probably want to leave them with information they can use if you aren’t there.

As much as possible, I think you should try to get your spouse on board with your prepping plans. If you do, things will be so much better in the long run. If your spouse is with you, the rest of the family comes next. Make sure to talk about bad things happening in life and what you would do if faced with those situations. You can make these conversation topics age appropriate obviously, but share your prepping plans with your family as much as possible and then they will already know where your mind was at even if you aren’t there.

Make sure the location of this document is known. The last thing you need to do is hide the instructions from them, but don’t put this out in the open for anyone to read.

What should you document?

I have seen detailed plans for very specific things like how to thaw the well pump with schematics. If this is something that you need to pass along and have the time to do that, I say more power to you. Most of us wouldn’t need that level of detail, but each of us must take our own situation into account when you are writing down the important information that the people you leave behind might need to know.

I have broken a hypothetical set of instructions down into what I think are logical sections. Your plans might be completely different from this sample, but you can use this to create your own prepping instructions list.

  1. Introduction – If you’re reading this I may be dead. You can use whatever words you want to in this section obviously but the introduction should be an explanation of what the instructions are for and what to do in your absence.
  2. Evaluate The Crisis – This part is important because some people freak out unnecessarily. Is this a regional event? Are communications affected? Is the TV still working? Are people dead outside? The urgency of their actions could vary greatly with the crisis. Using guidelines based upon your own prepping priorities there should be logical decisions you can make based upon what you are seeing.
    1. Short or Long Duration – Assuming there isn’t wide-spread catastrophe is this disaster short-term as in a natural event like hurricane, tornado, flood excreta or is this something more protracted and longer with no end in sight?
    2. What is affected? – What infrastructure is impacted? There are triggers that you can analyze to see if you need to act immediately or can try to wait out the crisis in your current location.
    3. Last Minute Preps – In some situations, there is a chance to run out and obtain last minute supplies. What are the risks of this? Do you have cash stored if credit cards and ATMs are down? What stores and supplies should be at the top of the priority list?
  3. Do you need to Bug Out? – This is a complicated subject but going back to the list of triggers, what decisions does the person reading this need to consider? How long can they expect to last with the supplies you have on hand? Do they have a place to go? Could they get there? Is it worth the risk traveling at this time?
  4. Security – Hopefully the person reading this knows about any firearms you have, where your ammo is stored and combinations to the safe. Do you have weapons hidden? Do you have platform considerations they need to know about? For example all of your pistols are .45 Glocks and our tactical carbines are all AK47. This information could be a detail they need to consider when looking for additional ammo or bartering with others for bullets. What provisions do you have for home security and defense? Do they have an appreciation for how desperate people could become and standard safety procedures to prevent unwanted contact with hostile people?
  5. Shelter – Heat and Cold – assuming there is no power, what can be done to heat the home? Do you have heaters stored somewhere? Where is the fuel? How do you light that Kerosene heater and keep the house vented? Where are the tents? Do they know how to set them up?
  6. Food and WaterHow much food and water is stored? How many people will this feed? For how long? Do you have any food hidden in caches somewhere? How will they cook the food without power? Do you have stoves or gear to cook over a fire? Water filtration is a big one. Do they know how and why they should filter the water, optional sources for collection like rain barrels and how to disinfect with calcium hypochlorite if necessary?
  7. Sanitation – What do you have planned for sanitation if the toilets stop running? Do they know where your portable toilet and stash of toilet paper, hand sanitizer and lime is?
  8. Power – What are your backup power options? Do you have a generator and do they know how to start it? Do they know how many electric devices this machine will power so they don’t expect every appliance in the house to run off a 3000KW generator? What about solar chargers, inverters to be run off a car battery or other options you have?
  9. Communications – It’s great that you have all of the Ham radio gear you need, but do they know how to use it? What repeaters are programmed into your handsets? How should they monitor their communications? Is there anyone they can trust and what frequency and call sign do they use? Additionally, you might not be able to communicate with them to tell them you are OK and headed back on Route 80. They should know how to communicate their intentions if they have to leave before you get back for a hopeful reunion.
  10. Homesteading Skills – Gardens, livestock and anything that needs to be considered for long-term disasters. Do they know how often the chickens need to be fed? Do you have survival seeds stored somewhere? Do you have plans for harvesting game locally?
  11. Money/Finances – Where is the money stored that you kept hidden? What guidelines should they follow for using each after a crisis?

This list could be 10 times as long, but these are just some ideas I came up with off the top of my head. Your instructions should fit your plans and resources.

Where should you keep this prepper master plan?

As corny as it sounds I would stick this information in a binder with a big label on the outside that says something like “In Case of Emergency”. Make sure your wife, kids and any relatives who you trust know where this is. The information you put in here could save their life.

Now, I don’t expect everyone will write down as much detail as is needed on every single subject. Each could be its own book and there are great preparedness books out there. I recommend everyone have several resource books on-hand to fill in the holes and answer questions you might have forgotten.

The job of making sure your family is taken care of doesn’t end when you leave the house. It’s your responsibility to ensure they know as much as possible in order to survive. Sharing information with them if you are delayed in coming home could save them.

Would your family know what to do in the event of a disaster or SHTF event? Would the prepping supplies you have carefully purchased and stored away help your family

For many people, the idea of prepping for disaster conjures up visions of families in hazmat suits and gas masks readying themselves for the global virus outbreak. For others, it is the camouflaged survival group with their loaded 4 wheel drive bug out vehicles shooting their way through some random checkpoint on their route to a hidden survival retreat in the mountains. It really depends on your view of what the prepping lifestyle is as to whether or not these images are extremely distasteful or something you actively aspire to emulate.

I think by this time, the idea of prepping has come a long way and almost everyone can see the benefit on the surface at least, of taking small steps to prepare for disasters small or large that might impact your life. Like the example above, some delve more deeply into the lifestyle part than others, but I think there is a portion of the world out there who wants to take even smaller steps. They want to do something, but they aren’t ready to jump in completely and buy a years’ worth of freeze dried food, or trade in their Prius for a Toyota Tundra. They want to prepare in a way that is sensible to them, but not overboard. They are looking for Prepping Lite.

In my efforts to get everyone prepping, I wanted to illustrate a few of the key principles of prepping and compare them with how your stereotypical Prepper might view what is necessary and contrast them with what a prepping lite person can do that will still give them some benefit should a disaster visit their lives. The understanding of course is that the Prepping Lite solutions presented here will not be as robust or thorough, but should be better than nothing. If that is what it takes to get you to start prepping, then so be it.

Food

Prepper Recommendations – Food is critical to survival and I shouldn’t have to defend this one at all. Stock up as much food as possible that your family will eat. Other factors like cooking come into play, but long-term food storage is an important aspect of food preps. Plan on raising livestock such as chickens or rabbits and hunting for wild game as possible supplements to your pantry.

Prepper Lite Recommendations – Start with 3 days’ worth of food that doesn’t need refrigeration. Simple ideas are canned soups, tuna, canned chicken, rice or beans. Have some good vitamins to help with immune strength and don’t forget the manual can opener. If you do, or you just get bored, you can use this simple trick.

4 Liters of Water Filtration capacity doesn’t get much simpler than this.

Water

Prepper Recommendations – One gallon per day per person. For a family of 4 plus pets, assume 150 gallons of water per month of survival. Living on a lake or having a well is a plus, but having backup disinfection methods and a way to gather water from other sources (rain barrels) is a priority. You can almost always find water if needed, but you have to make it safe to drink to avoid illness.

Prepper Lite Recommendations – Store 15 gallons of water in your house or apartment and purchase simple water filters like the Sawyer mini or better yet, the 4 liter Sawyer filtration system for more capacity and plan on raiding the local park, home water heater if needed or your neighbor’s Coy pond. A Water BOB is another good backup if you have the warning. Simply fill up the tub and have 100 gallons for the disaster. Prices have come back down now, but during the height of the Ebola scare, these were selling for $98. No, I am not kidding.

Heat

Prepper Recommendations – Wood burning stove is usually recommended, but Kerosene heaters work very well in a pinch too. Make sure you have plenty of stored fuel.

Prepper Lite Recommendations – Sealing off rooms will trap body heat and a good oil lantern will give you light as well as warmth. Sleeping bags and plenty of warm layers combined with keeping the cold out will keep you alive.

Health

Prepper Recommendations – Pretty decent physical condition is what we strive for because survival will be a lot more work than sitting on your butt behind a computer (yes I am looking at myself here). A good baseline is to be able to move your own body weight. Push-ups, Sit-ups and 2 mile run/jog 3 times a week will make you healthy enough to shoulder that bug out bag into the wilderness or work in your survival garden all day.

Prepper Lite Recommendations – Get out and walk daily. If nothing else, the fresh air will be good for you and walking is a great form of exercise. If you need to lose weight, start by just trying to lose a few pounds.

Shelter

If the heat goes out, set up your own survival shelter. A tent indoors will trap your body heat and keep you warmer.

Prepper Recommendations – An underground bunker or a remote cabin in the woods is the prepper dream, but out of reach for many of us. A well-stocked home location with provisions for security and a mind toward self-reliance should the grid go down, is a respectable second.

Prepper Lite Recommendations – If you live in a large city, identify structures that could be safer. These could include friends who live within a short drive (less than 2 hours) away and who would be willing to take you in should a disaster force you from your home.

Firearms

Prepper Recommendations – Firearms are a personal choice, but I would say most preppers recommend some form of legal firearm protection. We recommend our top 5 firearms if you are so inclined, but at a minimum you should have a means of protecting your family. Firearms make the most sense for a lot of people.

Prepper Lite Recommendations – If you can only get one firearm, or begrudgingly accept that you need to have some protection, but refuse to buy into the whole prepper battery of arms idea, I would suggest a shotgun. Shotguns have their limitations, but if you can only have one weapon for survival and don’t want to spend a ton of money, my vote is a simple 12 gauge shotgun. Buy a few boxes of buck shot and get practice. If that isn’t your cup of tea, try the closest Krav Maga classes near you.

Do you have any prepper lite recommendations?

For many people, the idea of prepping for disaster conjures up visions of families in hazmat suits and gas masks readying themselves for the global virus outbreak. For others, it

With so many people growing vegetable gardens for the first time, I thought it apropos to write a post concerning the one culprit that has caused my husband and I to want to throw up our hands in surrender.  I am not speaking of rodents, varmints, or hungry neighbors.  This enemy is fierce.  This foe is the common weed.  An opponent like no other, one that will take over and suffocate your tomatoes while you go on vacation, one that grows faster than you can pull it from the ground.  If you dig up uncultivated ground in hopes of being self-sufficient, be prepared or this rival will defeat you before you can say “cucumber sandwich”.  Our family has fought the good fight for many years and learned from our mistakes and I want share what we have learned the hard way in hopes of saving fellow Preppers of an empty wallet and an aching back.

Before you begin…

First of all, if you do not mind spraying your food with weed killer like the guy down the road from us, you will have a weed free garden with very little effort outside of filling your sprayer up and possibly receiving a pulled wrist muscle.  He sprays religiously and his garden is beautiful.  However, he also has a putrid complexion, thin hair, and all of his pets have extra legs.  Our family chooses to go the chemical-free route and I am sure he laughs at us when he sees us bent over in our garden getting dirt under our fingernails.

Secondly, if you are willing to invest the money required to create a square-foot gardening and a weed-free wonderland, go for it.  The downsides are not only cost, but lack of air circulation, need for more watering, and if wood is used to make the raised beds it will eventually rot and have to be replaced.

Also, do not assume that you can simply go outside, lay down something to kill your grass in a lovely rectangular pattern, and commence growing delicious fruits and veggies.  We had a friend come over with a back hoe and dig up a large square where our veggies would sprout and grow and feed our family.  We were optimistic and naive and discovered that when you dig up a plot of grass that has a variety of weeds thriving in it, you will have many years of weeding ahead of you.

Here is a brief list and description of the top ten weeds you will encounter in your veggie patch and ideas on eradication.  If you are looking for a quick and easy solution other than chemical annihilation, STOP reading at this point because it will take a determination and a will to succeed that cause most people to either cover their gardens with grass seed or put in that in-ground pool they thought they always needed.

Most Unwanted Weed List

Crab Grass

1. Crab Grass

This weed is fast growing and sprouts seed heads quickly in warm weather.  So quickly in fact, that if you happen to miss it you will be fighting all of its numerous offspring the following year.  Even worse is that when you think you have caught it and are in full annihilation mode and pull it from the ground, you have probably left its rooted nodes behind that are thriving a couple of feet away.  Your best defense is to pull it the second you see and not let it sprout a seed head,  mulching helps as well.

Dandelion

2. Dandelion

Yes, some people eat this in salads or brew tea with it, but truth be told, if you don’t control its population, you will be fighting a vigorous invader.  The best measure is to pull it out completely, being sure to remove the root as well.  Mulch is not very effective, however, but some gardeners swear by the dandelion puller.

Bermuda grass

 

3. Bermuda Grass

This weed is especially irritating because of its extensive root system.  We have pulled this out thinking we got the root and all, set in a pile beside the garden, let it winter over and lo and behold it was still alive and thriving the following season.  This grass sprouts from rhizomes that break off when you try to dig it out.  I had a gardener tell me that the roots can be as deep as 15 feet underground.  The only way you can keep it from slithering into your home and stealing your children is to mulch HEAVILY.  And forget putting down black landscape fabric because it will grow through it.  Solarizing helps as well, if you are dealing with a large patch that is winning.  This involves spreading clear plastic down in your hottest months and let the sun bake it.  Digging a moat around the garden is also recommended to keep it from creeping so quickly into garden beds.

Bindweed

4. Bindweed

Similar and a cousin to sweet potatoes this is called the “zombie plant” because it just keeps coming at you no matter what you do.  Do not let this hateful weed go to seed because its roots can go as deep as 30 feet underground.  Also, the seeds can stay viable for 50 years.  Unfortunately the best way to eradicate it is to pull it.  Do not till it or you will till the seeds into your soil, but use a fork after it rains to avoid leaving any fragments behind.

Chickweed

5. Chickweed

Some people eat chickweed in a tasty salad and use it for its medicinal properties.  I personally want to kill it.  It is a winter weed and it grows quickly.  If it is pulled at the wrong time the seeds will sprout new little chick-weeds everywhere.  You must pull it in the early spring. One positive aspect of chickweed is that you can feed it to your ducks and chickens, they will love it.

Ground Ivy

6. Ground Ivy

Pull it, it comes back.  Pull it, it comes back.  Pull it, it comes back.  Get the point?  This is best pulled out if you water the ground first before pulling by hand.  You must remove all the underground runners as well.  If you till it, it will sprout from root fragments and you might as well put in an in-ground pool over your garden.

Canada Thistle

Eek, this is a prickly perennial that requires wearing heavy-duty leather gloves to remove.  Some gardeners recommend cutting this down to the ground and pouring a mixture of vinegar and salt on the stem area.  You can also remove with a fork being sure to get the whole root system.  If all else fails and the weed takes over, you can use the fibers from the stems to make rope.  You will be very skinny due to lack of food, but you will have some good strong rope.

Burdock

8. Burdock

Vinegar works well on hot days with this nasty biennial invader.  You can also take the time to dig this out of the ground, but it is much like the dandelion and it is imperative to remove the whole root system.  Mulch is useless.

Quack Grass

9. Quack Grass

This perennial weed grows mainly by creeping underground rhizomes that release chemicals that poison other plants and keeps them from growing.  The runner roots must be removed, but be aware that the roots are very thin and it doesn’t take much for them to break off causing you to miss fragments that will become new “quackers”.  Again, do not till this weed, because you will spawn many more of its devil children.  Cover crops can help, such as field peas, buckwheat or crimson clover which will overcome the quack grass.  Many gardeners have reported that it is very common for it to crop up when buying composted manure or mulch so be sure you are not getting product full of quack grass.

Johnson Grass

 

10. Johnson Grass

This noxious weed needs to be dug out in its entirety.  It is suggested that Johnson grass needs to be allowed to sit out of your garden for several months before tossing into the compost pile.  Cover crops can be helpful in suppression.

 

 

 

The following is from Mother Earth News:


Organic Weed Control: What Works, What Doesn’t

In our comprehensive Worst Garden Weeds Survey, gardeners rated several mulch types and organic herbicides based on their effectiveness in controlling weeds. Out of those who’d tried each type, here’s how the methods ranked, including the percentage of respondents who found each effective.

Top-Rated Mulch Types

1. Paper or newspaper (80 percent)
2. Black plastic (76 percent)
3. Straw or hay (69 percent)
4. Shredded wood or bark (65 percent)
5. Grass clippings (63 percent)
6. Living mulch (45 percent)
7. Clear plastic (21 percent)

Top-Rated Organic Herbicides

1. Vinegar (72 percent)
2. Herbicidal soap (68 percent)
3. Neem oil (57 percent)
4. BurnOut Weed & Grass Killer (42 percent)
5. Weed Prevention Plus (29 percent)
6. Weed Pharm Organic Weed Killer (23 percent)
7. Cinnamon bark crab grass killer (17 percent)

Seize the Sun. More gardeners reported success with mulches than with herbicides. As you evaluate your mulch options, keep in mind that clear plastic — the lowest-ranking mulch type — will only work to kill weeds if it’s used in summer and pulled tightly over soil, creating a hot environment weeds can’t tolerate. This method of capturing radiant heat from the sun under clear plastic is often called solarization. To solarize a bed, water areas of bare soil, and then cover the areas with clear plastic. Dig a trench and bury the edges of the tightly pulled plastic in the trench so the heat will build up, and keep the plastic cover on the garden bed for three to six weeks.

Mulches Are Strong Medicine. Several gardeners said the most successful mulch strategy was to use newspapers and/or cardboard under a thick layer of organic mulch, such as grass clippings, shredded leaves, straw, hay or a combination of these (wet your newspapers so they don’t fly around as you try to lay them down).

The tips most often cited were to do a couple of good hand weeding sessions early in the growing season before laying down mulch, and to keep reapplying organic mulches as they decompose throughout the season. Grass clippings will block weed growth better than the same thickness of hay or straw, but will usually not last as long. Grass also releases more beneficial nitrogen than hay, straw or leaves. Start your mulching regimen early, before weeds get a foothold, and don’t be shy about applying a lot — if you can, mulch 6 to 8 inches deep with hay, straw or leaves, or 2 to 3 inches deep with grass clippings. Organic mulches are a quadruple win because they suppress weeds, build fertility, retain moisture and are often free. Simply gather grass clippings and leaves from your property, or get them from friends or neighbors who don’t use lawn herbicides.

Many respondents commented that black plastic mulch is effective because it blocks light from weeds, but it can leave a mess of fragments in your garden when it eventually deteriorates. Others noted the usefulness of landscape fabric laid beneath a layer of straw for keeping weeds out of paths.

Organic Herbicides. Almost all of the gardeners who commented on organic herbicides said the ones that work only offer a temporary fix. Many said store-bought options aren’t worth the money. Many gardeners considered vinegar an effective herbicide option if applied directly to weeds on a sunny day. If you’re cautious about protecting the soil food web in your garden, note that vinegar can do minor harm to soil microorganisms.

In conclusion, weeds are not our friends.  They will invade every inch of your garden if you allow it.  New gardeners should plan on spending the summer months at home working in the garden upon digging their new garden.  Make it a family affair.  We have given our children sections of the garden that they have to keep weed free.  Neglecting your renewable source of food is not wise.  The reward for all your hard work is that your family will be growing food for the table and pantry and eventually, after years of waging war on weeds, you will win.  If you can practice eradicating diligently and removing weeds upon sight, you will eventually have fewer weeds invading your garden and more food in your belly.

With so many people growing vegetable gardens for the first time, I thought it apropos to write a post concerning the one culprit that has caused my husband and I

You have probably heard of seed saving, where you save a plant’s seeds or tubers at the end of a growing season to serve as the seed source for the following year. This is great because choosing the proper plants and practicing proper seed-saving methods gives you to a free, self-perpetuating garden year after year. Saving seed also means you can share seeds with friends and neighbors, so everyone can start growing their own.

Heirloom, open-pollinated plant varieties are your only bet for a successful personal seed bank.

Many people, however, are not as familiar with the concept of a personal seed bank. A personal seed bank is like seed saving on steroids. You save seed for the coming season’s planting, but you also bank seed for longer storage, just in case.

What that “just in case” might be varies. Some people have created a personal seed bank as insurance against crop failures. Others believe a personal seed bank is necessary in the event of a partial (or total) societal collapse. Many people just like the idea of being sustainable and self sufficient. And, of course, seed saving can be a fun hobby.

PLANNING YOUR SEEDBANK

The most important thing to remember when planning your personal seed bank is that you can only save and store open-pollinated, non-hybridized, non-GMO seeds. Why? Because genetically modified and hybridized seeds have been dinked with by large corporations such as Monsanto, which doesn’t want you to be able to save your own seeds. Why? Because they want you to have to buy seeds from them year after year. Hybridized or GMO seeds frequently have sterile first generation offspring (F1 is a designation you might have seen). This means that while you’ll get viable plants from the seeds you buy, the seeds you save from those plants will likely be sterile. If they’re not sterile, they’ll produce offspring that are so unlike the parents with such a wide variety of characteristics that they will be a disappointment and not useful. Only buy heirloom, open-pollinated seeds from trusted sources.

The second thing to decide when planning a seed bank is what kinds of seed you want to save. The best seeds to save are from fruits and vegetables you enjoy eating the most, but experience comes into play, too. If you’re a beginning seed saver, to start it’s best to bank seeds that require the lowest skill set. This way you can focus your first growing season on learning seed saving techniques and still have viable, usable seed banked in preparation for the following growing season, at which time you’ll expand your skill. The easiest seeds to save and bank are self-pollinated seeds (see below for more info on this).

The third thing to decide when planning a seed bank is what seeds would be best to save. This can vary greatly depending upon the reason why you are choosing to create a personal seed bank. If you’re banking seed as insurance against a crop failure in your garden or to be more self-sufficient, then banking what you like is the best option. If you’re banking seed as insurance against a societal collapse, then you’ll need to bank a wider variety of seeds and include many types that you may not have ever grown before, including grains like wheat or barley. Be advised, though, that in these cases it is a good idea to get some experience growing these seeds before a collapse occurs; your seed bank will be useless if you don’t know how to grow the seeds you have.

Ready-to-order seedbanks are great options until you have a chance to store your own varieties

SEED SOURCES

If you’ve never saved seed before, you’ll have to buy your first seeds from a commercial grower or be lucky enough to have seed-saving friends who are willing to help you with your first crop. Excellent commercial sources for heirloom, open-pollinated seeds include Seed Savers Exchange, Native Seed Search, Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, Sustainable Seed Company, Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, and Abundant Life Seeds, among others.

Another alternative is to buy a pre-made seed bank that is already packaged and set for storage. This is a great idea for those who want a head start on their seed bank and have some insurance on-hand until a self-made seed bank has been created (which can take several years). A good source for a seed bank such as this is sold by Camping Survival. They sell a 6-can set that is organized by use type. For instance, the “Culinary Herb” can includes a variety of common herbs from basil to thyme, and the “Ancient Grains” can includes barley, flax, amaranth, and others. The ‘Medicinal Herbs” can is especially beneficial to have and is often overlooked in seed banks.

SELF-POLLINATED SEEDS

The best and easiest seeds to save (and therefore bank) are self-pollinated seeds, which include tomatoes, beans, lettuce, peas, chicory, and endive. These plants have reliable seed set the same year they are planted, and they are self-pollinating. Self-pollinated seeds fertilize themselves, meaning the pollen from a plant’s flower fertilizes the stigma on that same flower. No muss, no fuss. There are few worries about cross-pollination or accidental hybridization. You get the same variety of tomato or bean year after year, though it is recommended to separate varieties by a row, just in case.

Self pollination is one way seeds of concern to home growers reproduce; the other two modes of reproduction are insects and wind pollination. This is where things can get tricky, because in these cases pollen from a plant up to a mile away can fertilize a plant in your garden. This increases the chance of hybridized plants, whose seeds will not breed true when planted. Because of this, insect and wind-pollinated plants such as corn or onions have to be manipulated by the grower to ensure that pollination is limited to same varieties.

WIND AND INSECT-POLLINATED SEEDS

More experienced seed savers can take on plants that require more intervention to insure that saved seed breeds true.  Crops such as corn, cucumber, radish, spinach, and squashes (among others) produce seed the same year they are planted, but require the grower to intervene to prevent unwanted hybridization. This intervention can come in the form of hand-pollinating the plants to prevent cross-pollination, or making sure there is considerable distance between the variety you are growing and other varieties (this distance can vary between 100 feet and a mile, depending upon the plant).

Biennial vegetable seeds set seed the year after they are planted, and as a result expert seed savers can take on the two-year commitment needed to save these seeds. Biennial vegetables include onions, carrots, cabbages, beets, swiss chard, turnips, celery, leeks, and others. Instead of harvesting at the end of the first growing season, the plants need to be successfully overwintered the same year they are planted (this can vary depending upon if you live in the north or south). The second growing season is when the plants will flower and set seed. These plants also need to be separated from other varieties to avoid cross-pollination.

ORTHODOX SEEDS

 

Seeds like beans, peas, and cucumber can be dried and frozen and remain viable for storage.

No, this has nothing to do with religion. What it does have to do with is how well a seed withstands the freezing and drying conditions that are necessary to maintain a seed bank. Orthodox seeds can be dried and frozen for storage and remain viable for a period of time, but some seeds take to this better than others. Some seeds can be stored up to 10 years or more, others begin to lose viability after one year. For most common vegetable plants, three to five years is about as long as they can be stored, though some plants (like parsnips) really need to be used within a year or two.

Ideally, seeds need to be dried to less than 7% moisture and, for maximum storage length, frozen to no warmer than zero degrees Farenheit (a home freezer may reach this temperature). The lower the temperature, however, the longer seeds will remain viable. Most vegetables known to the home gardener are orthodox seeds, such as peas, corn, and tomatoes. In fact, about 80% of plant species are orthodox seeds.

Recalcitrant seeds can’t be dried for storage and must be planted immediately. Tropical plants such as mangoes, coconuts, and tea are recalcitrant. Intermediate seeds can take some drying for short-term storage, but they are not viable options for a personal seed bank. Examples of intermediate seeds include coffee, papaya, and others.

SEED SAVING SPECIFICS

The best free online resource for learning how to save specific vegetable seeds can be found at the International Seed Saving Institute. They have a complete seed-saving guide that you can find here, which includes how to address the pollination needs of individual plants and harvest the seeds to best advantage. I’ll be writing plant-specific seed-saving Spins this growing season, but for now ISSI is a great resource.

You have probably heard of seed saving, where you save a plant’s seeds or tubers at the end of a growing season to serve as the seed source for the

One of the most diverse prepper considerations from the standpoint of a long-term disaster is health. By health I am not specifically referring to the risks to your health from the disaster itself. If you are living through a hurricane or earthquake, there are natural risks to your health that you need to mitigate in the moment. Prior planning helps you with identifying the risks in this type of scenario and developing a course of action to take. If there are violent mobs approaching your city, that is another risk and those subjects are just one piece of the health equation that preppers need to plan for. Prepping is all about staying alive and alive usually assumes healthy. If your health deteriorates too far, you won’t be alive for very long.

Physical safety from harm has one dimension. Then you have nutritional health and that brings in the considerations of adequate food, sanitation and hygiene and treatment of illness, and the subject of clean water. These things could have a far greater impact on your life after some disaster than the actual disaster itself, assuming you did have a plan and were able to take steps to get yourself out of harm’s way. Yes you could be affected by that natural disaster, but with minor preparations and some action, that is largely avoidable.

During the clean up in the days, months and possibly years after the event, your daily nutritional health will likely play a bigger factor into your survival. Assuming you have the food storage covered and you are stocked with water filtration methods and all the toilet paper you can handle, there are many other considerations our body needs to run as efficiently as possible. And like a lot of other prepping supplies, some are harder to find if the grocery stores aren’t open. After the beans, bullets and Band-Aids, do you have plenty of salt stored away?

Why is salt important to nutrition?

Your body needs salt in order to function. In fact, Salt is essential to life and you simply can’t live without it. Salt isn’t something the food companies made up either and its importance was very evident far back in history. The world Salary comes from the Latin root word for salt, “sal” because Romans were paid in salt. Salt is so important that we need to include that in our daily diet and even more so if we are depleting salt as in the case of heavy perspiration.

What is salt used for in the body? According to Mercola:

  • Salt is a major component of your blood plasma, lymphatic fluid, extracellular fluid and even amniotic fluid.
  • Salt helps your body properly carry nutrients into and out of your cells.
  • Salt helps you maintain and regulate blood pressure
  • Salt increases the glial cells in your brain, which are responsible for creative thinking and long-term planning. Something you are sure to need if the grid goes down for very long.
  • It helps your brain communicate with your muscles via sodium-potassium ion exchange.

When our bodies don’t have enough salt to provide for optimal health you can develop a condition known as hyponatremia. In hyponatremia, your body’s water levels rise, and your cells begin to swell. This swelling can cause many health problems, from mild to life-threatening.

Hyponatremia signs and symptoms may include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Headache
  • Confusion
  • Loss of energy and fatigue
  • Restlessness and irritability
  • Muscle weakness, spasms or cramps
  • Seizures
  • Coma

Living near the oceans provides a limitless source of salt but are you close enough to take advantage of this?

How much salt should you stock up on?

So it’s clear we need to plan for salt as part of our overall health if we want to maintain optimal levels, but how much should we stock up on and is any salt better than another? Most of our diet now provides the salt we need in abundance. Over 80 percent of the salt most of us consume comes from processed foods. The freeze-dried camping meals I love as a bug out bag option give you plenty of salt so you might think you already have everything you need.

When I first started prepping and began my food storage, I went to Sam’s and bought a whole case of Morton Iodized Salt. Each box is 4 pounds and they cost a little over $1 each. I figured I was set for quite a while, but I didn’t learn about the differences in “salt” until much later. Regular table salt has added ingredients (Calcium silicate, dextrose and of course Potassium Iodide) so strictly speaking this isn’t the best all-natural salt you can get. However, I believe that in a disaster or crisis, this will be perfectly fine and it is a cheap way to store a lot of salt. So now, I have at least 48 pounds of salt which I calculate lasting my family three years minimum.

A more pure source of daily salt is Himalayan Salt.

There are healthier sources of salt. Himalayan Salt for instance seems to be the most pure retail source now but it is more expensive as you would expect. Himalayan salt is only 85 percent sodium chloride; the remaining 15 percent contains 84 trace minerals from prehistoric seas. Table salt by example is not pure sodium chloride but is 97.5 percent sodium chloride and anti-caking and flow agents are added to compromise about 2.5 percent. These can be dangerous chemicals like ferrocyanide and aluminosilicate. You should research the health benefits of each and make your own decisions. For my family, we have the Morton salt stored in bulk for what-if and use Himalayan on the dinner table.

How to find sources of salt in the wild

Stocking up on dozens of pounds of salt from your closest big box store is simple enough. Maybe you have a convenient salt mine in your town like the residents of Jericho, but what if you don’t have a home and all of your supplies anymore? What can you do to provide the needed salt for optimal health? Is there a source of salt naturally near you?

Well, you can find active salt mines near you by going to the internet. This site has a simple listing of salt mines by location that you might use to scope out opportunities ahead of time.

Sea Water – Yes, this is a no-brainer I understand, but some people might not have considered that all the salt we could ever need is in the oceans. Just collect seawater and let it evaporate in a container. You might have to wait a while for that to occur, heating over a fire is another option but the evaporated water will leave behind sea salt.

Meats and Seafood – The blood from animals can be harvested for recipes and the meat naturally contains sodium. Salt water Fish are naturally going to have sodium but again, if you are living close to the oceans, you already have a source. Kelp and seaweed are also excellent sources.

Eggs and Dairy – Eggs, large eggs contain 62 milligrams of sodium and while this isn’t all you need, it is a source and provides another reason for raising your own chickens.

Vegetables and roots – Right out in your garden, One cup of cooked spinach contains 184 milligrams of sodium per serving. One cup of raw Swiss chard contains even more, with 313 milligrams of sodium. Other vegetables like artichokes, sweet potatoes, radishes, celery, carrots, broccoli and bell peppers have lower amounts but they are still a source. One cup of raw celery contains 96 milligrams of sodium.

Hickory Tree Roots – Apparently, the roots of a hickory tree can be chopped into small pieces, boiled in water for a long time, but not so long there is not any water left. Remove the hickory root pieces and then boil the rest of the water down and you will be left with a black substance that is supposed to be salt. This one is not one of the better known sources and I can’t find a lot of literature on the subject. That coupled with the higher chance of error seems to rule this out.

What about salt blocks? –This seems like a great idea. Just buy a few blocks of salt, intended for livestock or luring animals like deer into the stand and you are all set. Unfortunately, there are a lot of other chemicals added to those salt blocks to keep them in that nice pretty block so this approach isn’t recommended for salt you can consume later. The salt blocks would be good for their intended purpose though and that is providing a lure for animals. Bring them in close and you can harvest a big deer hopefully. Sure beats licking that block…

What other overlooked prepping supplies have you thought of?

One of the most diverse prepper considerations from the standpoint of a long-term disaster is health. By health I am not specifically referring to the risks to your health from

Have you read the latest article or seen the latest video about why this tool or that item should be included in your bug out bag or have in your home if you decide you are going to stay put and dig in? For many of us, hesitating to make adjustments to our basic items we pack for shelter, fire, food, water, hunting, fishing, tools, first aid and firearms once we are comfortable with our selection-is normal, yet, we still might have doubts.

One adjustment we may consider would be the benefit of using drones as a necessary piece of equipment for preppers in a true TEOTWAWKI scenario.

Drone technology has been changing rapidly. They have become an important tool for our military, the government, law enforcement, and commercial businesses and perhaps even for your neighbor down the street. The uses for these UAV vehicles and the government’s dependency on them should –if they haven’t already –raised a red warning sign in front of all of us who are concerned about government interference or being able to bug out or keep a low profile in a SHTF situation. Stop and consider your bug out plan! Is it drone proof? Have you considered ways of detecting, hiding, or if necessary destroying drones that might cross your path as you move towards your bug out location?

Perhaps one thing to consider is using drones for offensive and defensive security.

Using Drones for Offensive Security

Reconnaissance and Surveillance:

The primary reason for adding drones to your list of bug out items is Reconnaissance and Surveillance. In a bug out situation, you will need to reconnoiter your planed escape route or routes. Being able to get a ‘bird’s eye view” via a live feed on your smart phone-even after an EMP attack (if your phone and drone was protected) could provide you with instant intelligence to determine if it is safe for proceed. Currently, to have that same level of information you would had to commit you and perhaps your group into an area that may no longer be safe.

Drones could also be placed in strategic areas along your bug out route as a static observation positions. Its camera could record video

SYMA X5C Explorers 2.4G 4CH 6-Axis Gyro RC Quadcopter With HD Camera

footage to alert you to increased activity or threats which you could access well before you reach the area. These monitoring drones could also use Drone tracker applications to defend or detect drones approaching you or your group early enough to provide you time to hide and remain undetected.

Aerial attack

It is not outside the realm of possibility that drones could be equipped with explosives and then flown into an attacking force to inflict physical harm or even loss of life. They could also be used to deliver tear gas or pepper spray to spearhead an attack on a position or to cover a retreat. As drones become more advanced, the capabilities to carry a heavier payload will provide even a larger threat of attack.

Delivery of supplies:

If your bug out plans or the current tactical situation requires your group to travel in small numbers at various intervals and radios cannot be used, drones can be used to send or deliver messages (encrypted) or supplies.

Electronic Surveillance:

Using Drones as electronic bugs to listen in or collect signal intelligence or even to hack into WIFI and steal data from networks is not limited to movie fiction. Having the training to use or detect this surveillance might make the difference between survival and capture.

Physical/ Defensive security:

The addition of drones as part of your physical and defensive security plan should be pretty clear by now. As stated earlier in a SHTF situation and you are physically unable to bug out, then placing drones in strategic areas in your neighborhood could be used for observation purposes, collecting intelligence of activity near and perhaps far away from your location while being able to keep a low profile.

The camera systems on drones have video and audio capabilities. Some even have the ability of using night vision cameras with infrared detecting systems which could detect threats in low light or night conditions much better than the human eye.

Consideration of drones as part of your security plan can help in protection against gangs, thieves and even other drones that are being used against you I’m sure you can think of the various benefits especially if you’re getting up in years and are not as agile as you may need to be if such a SHTF event happen

Second thoughts – are they worth the risks

Yet, the use of drones during a bug out could be a risk that you might cause you not to consider these tools. Many of them make a lot of noise and could attract the very threats that you are trying to discover and evade. There size and the possibility of being damage during a bug out must be taken into consideration along with costs prior to being purchased. This industry is growing rapidly as the demand for smaller, faster, more rugged systems are flying off the design boards and hitting the market.

One should also consider that the government and law enforcement agencies are also busy designing counter measures to combat the likelihood of them being used for criminal or terrorist activities. So one needs to consider what ECM (electronic counter measures) might be used against them.

Still with proper training and experience, drones could be great surveillance tools. What do you think? Do drones make sense for preppers?

Have you read the latest article or seen the latest video about why this tool or that item should be included in your bug out bag or have in your

Let’s get right down to business. WTSHTF there will be no time to plan things out. There are no apps to give you notice for this event, so those who are prepared will be ready. Can TSHTF?  And when will this happen? Obviously, no one knows and for God’s sake, we all hope that this day never comes. This is not fear-mongering; rather, a calculated risk that even the most conservative consider possible and someday inevitable. This thought was enough to motivate an old-school Primary Care Doc like me to do something!

During my residency training years in New York and Hartford CT, my teachers would use a classic pearl during rounds: “Common things are common, so when you hear hoofbeats, think of horses not zebras”.

Let’s talk about horses. WTSHTF you better have the basics covered – that includes a supply of medications for common medical issues. Next, you better understand how to use them. From infectious diseases to deadly systemic reactions – you will need to be prepared.  Flu to systemic allergic reactions, I will discuss common, yet potentially deadly medical conditions and Top 7 Medicines that can protect you from getting sick WTSHTF.

Starting from the crown. A common cold, AKA- upper respiratory infection can lead to bacterial bronchitis, which can end up as a deadly bacterial pneumonia. The flu can kill rapidly as it can lead to a viral pneumonia and overwhelm the immune system via a “cytokine storm”.  Pneumonia is a common lung illness and rates are greatest in children younger than five and adults older than 75. Anyone with heart or lung disease is at greater risk for pneumonia. The best protection against pneumonia is to get vaccinated if you are at risk and to receive early and appropriate medical treatment. Treating the flu with anti-viral medication within 48 hours in addition to treating a bad cold that has led to a bacterial bronchitis at the appropriate time can be truly live saving events. If in fact you end up with a pneumonia, you BETTER have a broad spectrum respiratory antibiotic at your fingertips!

WTSHTF and you or your honey are bumbling around the basement trying to secure the necessities to hunker down and suddenly discover that in all the chaos, you have a significant laceration on your lower leg. This simple cut can lead to a bacterial skin infection called cellulitis and over only a few days can lead to serious trouble. This type of infection is seen every day in walk-in clinics throughout the United States and in most circumstances, does not pose any threat because of early and appropriate antibiotic treatment. First-line treatment for cellulitis is usually a beta-lactam antibiotic called a cephalosporin. Having the right type of anti-biotic is crucial and can definitely make the difference between life and death. Having a medication on hand based on a personal history with an expert Internist who understands and has experience with treating common medical conditions that can hurt you is key. From true drug allergies to a thorough history of your medical conditions and even details regarding, if and how long you were hospitalized in the past are very important factors in deciding exactly what antibiotic you will need to treat this and other specific medical conditions WTSHTF.  Remember, we are still talking horses. These are very common medical conditions that can lead to death if not treated appropriately and EARLY.

If TSHTF and you find yourself in a region that has infectious agents that can cause diarrhea, you better have anti-diarrheal and anti-biotic medications on-hand and understand when and how to use them. Educating people on this is quite simple- when talking to an experience Internist. Doctors at Travel Clinic’s around the world have been giving “travelers” prophylactic anti-biotics for potentially dangerous diarrhea for years. Why wouldn’t you have these live saving medicines in your armamentarium for WTSHTF? Again, having spent time reviewing your medical history, medications and drug allergies with an expert physician and having a personal supply of PERSONALIZED medications on hand, PRIOR to interfacing with any serious illness, is going to be your best chance of surviving WTSHTF.

A simple cut can lead to a bacterial skin infection called cellulitis and over only a few days can lead to serious trouble.

Are you or someone you love prone to urinary tract infections-UTIs? A simple UTI can be very uncomfortable and is easy to treat with a course of an appropriate anti-biotic. If not treated properly simple UTIs can lead to a bacterial infection of the kidney called Pyelonephritis. If this is not treated aggressively in the early stages, it may have to be treated in a hospital setting with intravenous broad spectrum anti-biotics. When these bacterial infections of the kidney or even an aggressive UTI are not treated appropriately and early they can lead to Uro-Sepsis. An overwhelming bacterial infection in the blood that can be deadly in many cases. Again, treating a simple UTI early with a specific anti-biotic regimen, based on your past medical and allergy history will be crucial to saving your live WTSHTF.

Injuries and illness will be prevalent in a SHTF scenario.

Anyone who has asthma or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease-COPD knows that even a simple cold can be a nightmare. Treatment regimens for these conditions will require being prepared with anti-biotics in addition to rescue inhalers and in many instances a course of corticosteroids- Prednisone will be required. I regularly provide my patients with enough of these medications, so that if they are unable to get to the pharmacy or to see another doctor, they have enough of these lifesaving medications to get through for at least a week.

In the end, there are many medical issues that can arise when you are off the grid and WTSHTF. From a severe case of poison ivy to a skin rash of unknown cause or any systemic reaction to an allergen, having a medication called Prednisone on hand can make the difference between having a better quality of life to saving your life.

Medical conditions that you will need a Rx:

  • Upper respiratory infections– bacterial bronchitis and pneumonia that can lead to sepsis and will require an anti-biotic.
  • Flu– can be deadly and can lead to life-threatening pneumonia. Early treatment with an ant-viral will be required.
  • Skin infections from cuts, animal/snake bites or any break of the skin that is worsening – cellulitis will require an anti-biotic.
  • Severe skin reactions like poison ivy that need a local or systemic corticosteroid (Prednisone)
  • Severe diarrhea that requires an antibiotic – traveler’s diarrhea and bacterial food poisoning.
  • Urinary tract infections– can lead to kidney infection and uro-sepsis will require an anti-biotic.
  • Respiratory emergencies, e.g., asthma attacks and COPD that require a rescue inhaler and possible systemic corticosteroids
  • Systemic Allergic reactions of any type that will require a corticosteroid (Prednisone)

Lifesaving Rx:

  • Respiratory infection –personal antibiotic, rescue inhaler and systemic corticosteroid
  • Flu – Tamiflu Rx
  • Skin infection –personal antibiotic
  • Skin rashes, contact dermatitis –Potent topical corticosteroid Rx and Prednisone
  • Prednisone –multipurpose lifesaving medication for many emergency medical situations
  • Traveler’s diarrhea antibiotic – personal antibiotic
  • Urinary Tract Infection –personal antibiotic
  • Systemic Allergic reaction –prednisone and Epi-pen

The 7 medications for WTSHTF are based on a personal review with an expert physician and will cover:

  1. Anti-biotic for a common bacterial bronchitis or community acquired pneumonia. Azithromycin would be a good example for someone without an allergy to this medication . A full medical history and list of medications, including allergies to medications is mandatory.
  2. Medicine for Flu. Typically, Tamiflu (Oseltamivir) is used. Again, a full medical history and list of medications, including allergies to medications is mandatory.
  3. Medicine for a Broad Spectrum anti-biotic for severe pneumonia, urinary tract infection, skin infection or gastrointestinal bacterial infection. Levaquin (Levofloxacin) is a great lifesaving anti-biotic for these medical situations. Again, a full medical history and list of medications, including allergies to medications is mandatory.
  4. Medicine for a simple urinary tract infection or simple skin infection-cellulitis. Keflex (Cephalexin) and Bactrim (Sulfamethoxazole/trimethoprim) are 2 classic anti-biotics used regally for these medical conditions. Again, a full medical history and list of medications, including allergies to medications is mandatory.
  5. Rescue inhaler – a bronchodilator called Albuterol comes in a hand-held inhaler ready to use on the spot. Again, a full medical history and list of medications, including allergies to medications is mandatory.
  6. Epinephrine Auto-Injector called EpiPen is a must for any medical allergic emergency. Again, a full medical history and list of medications, including allergies to medications is mandatory.
  7. Taper dose of oral glucocorticoid steroid called Prednisone. This is one the most important and universal lifesaving medication known to man! Again, a full medical history and list of medications, including allergies to medications is mandatory.

To summarize this article: There are a limited number of common medical issues that can lead to varying degrees of illness and death, if not treated early. Understanding these conditions and having these medications ON HAND BEFORE WTSHTF can definitely save your life!  No one would argue this, so see an expert physician before WTSHTF.

 

 

Let’s get right down to business. WTSHTF there will be no time to plan things out. There are no apps to give you notice for this event, so those who

One of the most stressful situations you are likely to encounter in a SHTF event will be the struggle to get to a place of safety. This could be the not-so-simple matter of getting home, or the even more challenging matter of bugging out to a distant place of refuge. If you think about it, it doesn’t really matter whether your destination is 5 miles away or fifty. If you don’t have a clear understanding of how to reach your objective – that is, the routes and terrain (urban, rural or natural) that you will confront – then you are trusting to hope and luck; neither of which qualify as a strategy for survival.

There are several critical aspects to developing a get-home or bug out route, but the first two are planning and confirming. In other words, you have to identify and analyze routes, and then you have to gain a level of certainty that they will serve you reliably under conditions that will very likely be beyond your control.

If you were confronted with a traffic blockage during your daily commute, your first inclination might be to access a mapping tool on your smart phone to help you find a secondary route. But, if the grid is down your handy mapping tool will be useless. SHTF conditions, such as civil disorder, congested roadways, road closures, blockades, lack of fuel or weather conditions, could force you to abandon your preferred route. Without planning, you may have no idea about suitable alternatives – unless you have already researched and confirmed the alternate routes.

You can define, in advance, a primary route and a series of alternate routes that will give you the best chance to reach your destination if you have the right tools and learn how to use them. I am specifically referring to the use of Google Earth, which uses satellite imagery from Landsat. The value of this imagery is that you can examine surface features in great detail, locate roads and trails that do not appear on regular maps, identify sources of water that are not dependent on electric pumps, to name only a few benefits.

Let’s take a high level look at a hypothetical bug out route between an arbitrary point of origin “A” and a destination “B”.

In this example, the tan line on the left is a highway route that spans 65 miles between the origin and destination. This would be the obvious choice for travel, enabling you to reach the destination in about one and a half hours through mountainous country. But what if the highway has been barricaded at a critical choke-point and nothing is getting through?

The green lines show a secondary route that follows 2-track roads to the same destination. Taking the left leg of this route will span a distance of 54 miles, while the right leg will take 55 miles.

The blue line shows a 12 mile stretch of perennial stream flow that could be used if a bug out group was on foot. Several other route options are available, but are omitted for simplicity.

A thorough analysis of the river route with Google Earth will reveal that the gain in elevation is a steady 54 feet per mile over this distance. That is important to know if you are on foot. The green routes will show elevations that range from 2,200 feet to nearly 8,000 feet, with significant (+/-) changes in elevation over very short distances of travel. In other words, this is mountainous terrain and there is a lot of steep ground between A and B.

Let’s take a closer look a small portion of the 2-track trail:

This image identifies just three of many sources of water along the route. It is important to note that only one of these sources appear on USGS Topo maps and two of them are not obvious, even with satellite imagery. So, why are they shown in the photo? They were identified by a detailed inspection of the route. Each source of water is tied to a specific GPS location. In fact, any location on Google Earth can be referenced using standard coordinate formats. The point is that you have to know where these important resources are located beforehand so that you can incorporate them into your route.

Sources of Game

Here is a closer view of the “river route,” which reveals useful information at a moderate viewing altitude

This 2,000 foot segment of surface flow identifies just a few of many game trails, as shown by the yellow lines. Deer and other wildlife can be found here (and at numerous other locations along this stream) throughout the year. Trails are easily identifiable by zooming down to a lower level of “eye altitude.” Analysis of the imagery revealed the game trails, but knowledge of the type and abundance of could only be established by on site verification.

Route Hazards

The warning symbol shown in the above image shows a (very real) area that needs to be either bypassed or approached with caution. Once again, you cannot determine that kind of knowledge by simply looking at a map.

An even lower level view of this segment also reveals that you could be hiking in waist-deep water if your route is confined to the stream. I have hiked this area numerous times and know that spring–fall seasons produce a deep canopy of tree cover along this stream. I also know that water flow can be fatally high during heavy monsoon and winter storms. In other words, a photo image is worthless if you cannot apply direct knowledge to the route.

The next image continues with a portion of the green 2-track route, but includes anecdotal information about ways to identify potential navigational hazards that can lead to wasted time and fuel.

Beginning on the left, I have placed a warning symbol that shows a dead-end 2-track road. The center hazard symbol indicates a trail that needs to be avoided because it leads in a direction that adds distance (and time) to the route. I could have added a dozen or more hazard symbols along this portion of the trail to identify 2-track roads that need to be avoided. Why go to the trouble? You may want to share your Bug Out album with other members of your group, and they may be hours or days behind you. Importantly, they may not know the route as intimately as you do.

There is another vitally important reason for sharing your bug out route: It says “This is where I will be. If I get pushed off this route, I will always strive to get back to it. Look for me there!”

The next image shows a hiking trail that can reduce travel distance by several miles if you are on foot, rather than in a vehicle. As you can see, it is rendered with a 3D perspective that provides a better understanding of the terrain.

I have annotated the starting elevation of the trail (lower left) and the elevation at the crest of the mountain. There is an overall gain of 1,120 feet to the crest, followed by a drop of 806 feet where the trail joins up with the 2-track road on the right. Route distance is 2.65 miles versus six miles on the 2-track road.

The last image, below, shows the level of detail that you can obtain. In this instance, the “eye altitude” above a frozen water catchment is 370 feet. A portion of the bug out trail is shown along the bottom of the image.

From a practical standpoint it is possible to maintain excellent image quality on Google Earth to as low as 300 feet above the deck. Images begin to degrade below that level, although you can do some very good analysis at lower levels once you gain experience with the tool. Remember however, that at very low viewing levels, the field of view will be limited. For example, at an eye altitude of 300 feet, you will be viewing an area that is approximately 350 feet on the east-west axis by 250 feet on the north-south axis. If you intend to build a photo library using such a low-level, the 55 mile route would require more than 1,100 images! That is entirely unnecessary. All you really have to do is work at an eye altitude that provides the level of detail that you are comfortable with. There will certainly be instances where you want to zoom in on an important location or feature, but that shouldn’t be necessary in most cases.

It is important to understand that satellite images are not depicted in real-time. Google Earth updates individual image panes periodically and could be anywhere from a few weeks to two years old. Is that important? Not really. Highways, county roads, forest trails and buildings don’t move and they certainly don’t disappear between image updates.

As you do the research to build your own Bug Out library, don’t worry about the image date that will be displayed at low levels. Google will update it when they have some economic reason to do so. And when they do, I guarantee that nothing of importance will have changed.

Getting Started

There are only four things that you need in order to develop a bug out library of images:

  • A home computer with Internet access
  • A downloaded copy of Google Earth (it’s free)
  • A method of transferring images
  • A smart phone

Pre-load your routes of travel for various bug out routes into your GPS.


Beyond these basics, all that you need is the motivation to learn how to navigate Google Earth. There really is no limit to your ability to annotate important information. Any location or feature that is important to your safety and survival can be identified and documented on the image.

Leveraging Value

Once you have built your library, I would urge that you incorporate a fifth item to your survival tool bag, and that is a handheld GPS device. The value of this unit is that you can pre-load important coordinates from the bug out routes that you have developed from satellite imagery. The images on your smart phone will be static; that is, you can view them, but you cannot interact with them.

As I’ve said in previous postings, there are many ways that you can get pushed from a desired route. Regardless of the distance, a GPS unit can tell you precisely where you are, where you want to be, as well as the distance and direction of travel required to get back to the preferred route on your smart phone library.

It is well beyond the scope of this article to teach anyone how to use Google Earth. That is something that you must do for yourself. My objective is to illustrate what you can achieve with this remarkable tool once you have learned the basic navigation skills. The bottom line: There is no reason to be lost or uncertain about your position relative to a desired route.

One of the most stressful situations you are likely to encounter in a SHTF event will be the struggle to get to a place of safety. This could be the

In this post I want to go into what I think are three tactics you could use to even or improve your odds at defending your neighborhood. These should be relatively simple actions you can take that would give your team an advantage over anyone trying to do you harm and make the job of taking what is yours possibly too much trouble to try. Again, the assumption for this series is that there has been a national disaster that has rendered our nation in a crisis where there is no local rule of law.

Within that context, you would be responsible for maintaining the safety of your home at a minimum, but it would be smarter to join together with neighbors to provide security for a larger area, pool resources and provide a harder target to take advantage of by people who might try to do you harm. I don’t think many people will argue that it is wiser to be a lone wolf than it is to form a larger group for safety and security. Some of you may have already planned this out with a larger group. You may have plans to bug out to your remote retreat, but if you find yourself at home without the benefit of a squad of ex-Navy Seal buddies, what can you do?

Keep everyone on the same page – Effective Communications

Midland GXT1050VP4 Two-Way Radio

Simple radio communication is a huge force multiplier in a grid down scenario. Assuming electronics work, just having a few radios on hand will enable you and the rest of the team to stay in constant contact and be aware of anything that is happening around the area you are trying to secure. Most of you probably have radios that you use for camping or hiking or if you have children, even for play. I purchased a few Motorola FMS radios to be used just for cases like this when I need to stay in contact with my home and I am not traveling too far away. Another use was hunting so I could stay in contact with my hunting buddy out in the woods where cell coverage was non-existent. Midland seems to be the other big player in radios like this and they have a lot of models that are geared towards hunters.

We have used these radios for all sorts of activities and they work great. One thing to note is that almost all the radios I have seen will say something along the lines of that they have a 20 or 50 mile range and there is no way you will ever get that much distance from one of these radios. You will be very lucky to get 2 or 3 miles assuming you don’t have a lot of terrain interference. For more range you would want to move to Ham radio, but that is out of the scope of this article. For the purposes I am talking about here, neighborhood security; these FRS radios are a perfect option in most cases. A nice addition is to add an earpiece and microphone attachment like the Surveillance Headset with PTT (Push to talk) microphone. This will allow you to hear the radio communications in private which would be another huge benefit for roving patrols, guard posts or simply maintaining some form of stealth.

Newer models have upwards of 50 channels so you can take simple steps to talk relatively securely. These radios are on a public band so if you are on the same channel as someone within range, they will be able to hear you, just like any radio. It is possible to scan for communications on all channels, but this is probably not something you have to be too concerned with. Keeping radio discipline, changing your frequencies often and having different channels will make it harder for people to hear what you are saying. This isn’t foolproof I know so before you send me emails about how easy it is to hear someone talking, I know… It is just that you can still communicate effectively within the scenario I described above and it will give you an advantage over people without radios. Keep conversations to the minimum, use code words. If you have an enemy group scanning radios and taking that many deliberate steps to monitor and spy on you then you are in for a big fight anyway and military tactics will likely be your only saving grace.

Make them work for it – Restrict access

Trip Flare, Non-Pyrotechnic

I said yesterday that we don’t live in walled compounds. Each neighborhood in America has its own challenges with preventing access but there are steps you can take to slow people down or halt vehicle traffic entirely. You may not be able to stop them from walking through the woods, but you can prevent them from driving up with a U-Haul or speeding their way in past any security you have planned.

I walk through my neighborhood frequently and each time I go on my Neighborhood Recon I am among other things looking for the best places to set up roadblocks. In order to take advantage of the terrain you would want to set roadblocks up to stop vehicles that would prevent them from going around or over the obstacle. Where I live, we have lots of large trees that could easily cover the entire road and then some. The only thing we would have to do is chop down the tree. That limits us when it comes to getting out though and would be more of a worst case scenario precaution I think.

A different strategy in areas with trees like this would be to use 2 or more, preferably 3 trees to create a mini-maze that any approaching car would need to slow down to a crawl to make it through. You would arrange the trees so that each only takes up half of the road but the vehicle would have to weave in and around the obstacles to get through. This would allow you to still exit using a vehicle (assuming they still were running) as well as let people back in if they left in a vehicle. At the same time, it would slow someone down who was trying to get in sufficiently that they could be engaged with small arms fire if the threat was intent on getting in and your Rules of Engagement stated that deadly force was required in this instance. You could pretty easily block several roads in short order with this strategy. You could do a similar thing within the city and you would have the benefit of buildings to block anyone from going around the outside. You can also use cars that are probably simpler to move into and out of place but they can also be pushed out of the way by a big enough vehicle. Trees aren’t so easy, even for an MRAP.

What about people walking in through the woods? This is when roving patrols and multiple observation posts will be a good idea, but not always possible. It really comes down to how many people can watch these locations. If you don’t have enough, you will have to contract your perimeter to something you can manage with the available personnel. Another option would be simple trip flares. These would work at night to alert you that someone has entered your perimeter. These are great ideas, but they have their drawbacks too like only warning you if you can see them. You can purchase chemlight versions which are relatively quiet and trip warning devices that are audible using compressed air.

Cover all the angles – Defensive Positions

Once you have the roads blocked, you still have to manage any traffic coming to your roadblocks. Ideally, this would be an area where people posted on guard could maintain control of traffic while still keeping them safe potentially from incoming rounds at the same time. In a grid-down scenario like this the best thing to stop bullets is mass, but not many of us will have the ability to build or construct concrete pill boxes. I think for the prepper who wants to have a plan, but doesn’t necessarily need to build a bunker a simple foxhole makes a great idea. The design is straight forward and only requires a shovel. As an added bonus, you could add sandbags to the top and sides, but a well-built foxhole should protect you from any rounds that you could expect. What about those big trees you dropped on the road? Sure, those could work too, but only give protection from the front and could even be used as cover by the other side.

How many positions do you need? Again, it comes down to what you can supply with resources, but I think a minimum of one position at each entry way. This can be manned by one, ideally two people with a radio. If you have remote patrols outside of your perimeter or a spotter high up, they could alert the team that someone is approaching. I have considered the roofs of houses or hunting climbing stands as options to get a birds eye view of the approaching area.

If the scenario really descended into anarchy, you could also construct pits to trap men who made it through the outer perimeter. These would be lined with sharp sticks or bamboo and probably wouldn’t kill anyone but it would give them an injury that could incapacitate them.

If all else fails…

Have a plan B. You could be overrun by superior numbers or they could get the upper hand in some way. Have a fallback location and a rally point somewhere away from your location. This is another great use of the radios because everyone in your group can know what is going on with contact and the plan if you all have to bug out quickly to the woods.

In this post I want to go into what I think are three tactics you could use to even or improve your odds at defending your neighborhood. These should be

As preppers, we are always looking for solutions to problems. The solutions we find can come in many forms; from a different mindset or viewpoint, to skills training and in many cases, simply acquiring gear and supplies needed for survival. In some respects, prepping could be reduced down to the most basic aspect of problem solving to stay alive. One of the main problems preppers seem to be drawn to solve is the very realistic potential of having to drop everything and bug out of your home in a moment’s notice. There is a wide array of considerations on this topic, but today I want to focus on one potential answer to the bugging out problem, the bug out bike.

The bug out bike is not something we have dealt with much on Final Prepper before, but I did mention it as a possibility to consider in an older post on the topic of the Ultimate Get Out of Dodge Vehicle. I recently got interested in this subject again when I purchased a mountain bike for myself. I will admit that part of my decision to do so was from the standpoint that this could be a viable method of transportation if cars/fuel were no longer available due to shortage or EMP effects. It also helped that my wife was on-board with this idea too.

In looking further at my mountain bike, I started to consider the potential for using this as a tool to help us bug out. Since my family all had bikes now, could we use these relatively simple machines to our benefit? There are some advantages certainly, but I wanted to explore whether this bike would be a good idea or could end up being a large mistake. As with most things in prepping, there aren’t many absolutes. You take the situation you are given and deal with it, but there is nothing to say that the situation you planned for will work out the exact way you want it to. Prepping is equal measures preparation and creativity. You prepare for one thing to happen, but you need to be flexible if all that goes sideways on you.

What is a bug out bike?

For the purposes of this article, I am not talking about a motorcycle. A bug out bike in this context is similar to what most of us are intimately familiar with already. As a child growing up, owning a bike was pretty much a given. Your bike is what conveyed you all around the neighborhood to see friends and test the bounds of your relatively small borders. All of my friends had bikes and we rode them daily in virtually any weather until we grew old enough to get our drivers license.

The bikes of my youth were great for zipping down the road or jumping homemade ramps out of scrap pieces of wood but a bug out bike is a little more serious in design. A bug out bike is meant to give you a way out of a danger zone when traditional methods of transportation are no longer available. Ideally, a true bug out bike would be designed to carry the additional weight of supplies or your survival gear and be rugged enough to make a journey over less than ideal terrain.

There are two main types of bikes I see repeatedly that are proposed as the best bug out solution. Touring bikes are routinely used by millions each day to get back and forth to work. They can be outfitted with panniers to carry additional supplies like your lunch, laptop and change of clothes. They are geared to help you climb hills more easily and offer plenty of features for the modern commuter who doesn’t or can’t rely on a car or other mass transportation.

Mountain bikes are the other side of the coin and they too can be outfitted with additional storage capacity just like touring bikes, but they are meant to be treated a little more severely and might give up some of the comforts a touring bike could give you.

Either one of these two options could be a great benefit to your personal well-being even if nothing ever happens. Owning a bike is an excellent way to get exercise and interact with your surroundings in a different way. Just like everything else in life, the amount of money you can invest in this potential survival tool can vary greatly what you end up with. You can find used bikes on Craigslist or you can spend well over $5000 on the lightest bikes with the best equipment. Cost aside, I do believe that any bike would be good to have for both the health benefits and potential bug out options. You don’t necessarily have to have anything fancy as long as the wheels roll and you are in the proper shape to use it. But when we are considering solving the problem of bugging out, we need to look more closely and see if that bug out bike is the best option for your situation.

Does a bug out bike have any uses after SHTF?

When we go back to planning to bug out with the idea that we can ride to safety, let’s look at a few assumptions. First off, bugging out implies that you are leaving home or wherever you are currently located and traveling to someplace else. This could be to a remote bug out retreat, a friend’s house or out of the immediate vicinity of danger. Any bug out situation would ideally see you with the ready capacity to grab your bug out bag and go but travel by bike has just as many risks as bugging out by car of by foot.

Traveling by bike has numerous advantages:

No need to stop at the pump – You don’t require any fuel other than your own pedal power, but knowing this you have to also consider how much more physically intensive your day may be so food is an important factor. If you plan to cover 50 miles a day on a bike, you will burn though calories (unless you are going downhill) like crazy.

Flat tires should be less of a problem – Yes, bikes do carry a risk of flat tires just like cars, but it is far simpler to carry both spare tubes and patch kits for that eventuality. With a hand pump and a spare tube, you can be back on the road in minutes. Cars carry spares of course, but you would be hard pressed to carry multiple spares without losing valuable space. I can fit two spare tubes in a small pack under my seat.

Bikes can go where cars can’t go – Bikes do have a greater ability to squeeze into small spaces making any traffic jam easily navigated. Additionally, you can cut across wilderness using trails if you have that route mapped out.

Bug Out Bikes allow you to carry more gear – Or at least easily distribute the weight off your back. The properly outfitted bike can carry 40 -50 pounds of gear in bags and pouches. This weight isn’t free as you will still need to be responsible for pedaling it uphill but it’s hard to beat. Bug Out Bags themselves can cause injury to joints if you aren’t used to carrying that weight. When all your gear is loaded properly on a bike, even if you are talking about the same weight in gear, it will be easier to manage.

Bikes are quieter and easier to hide – You can easily sneak through areas in stealth mode on a bike assuming that you need to do that. Even the quietest car is far noisier and if you need to hide your bike, that is far easier done than with a car. You can lay it down in a small depression and cover it with branches or debris gathered from nearby.

But the bug out bike is not without its drawbacks

Some of the same reasons I used above for advantages can also be the bug out bike’s most obvious weaknesses in a bug out scenario.

Your bike offers zero shelter – I don’t mean that you can’t pack a tent on the back but you are essentially exposed to all of the elements on a bike. Weather is one thing, but there is some comfort that the mass of a vehicle can provide. You can be easily knocked off your bike by someone who is panicked and sees your ride with all those supplies as a way out. The traffic jam you are breezing through could easily be the place where someone jumps out from behind a truck and smashes you in the face with a bat. You are out for hours while someone makes off with your way out of dodge.

You can’t outrun everyone – Bikes can go very fast downhill but loaded down with 50 pounds of gear, going uphill is a recipe for again getting trapped by unscrupulous people. You won’t be crashing through any barricades with a bike either.

Two wheels aren’t as stable as 4 – slippery surfaces or the potential of trying to bug out in winter could send you flying into a ditch. Bikes are best in optimal conditions and balance must to taken into consideration.

Only one person can drive a bike – You are responsible for pedaling yourself and it isn’t like you can get tired and give someone else the wheel while you catch some sleep. I know this is the same problem a lone traveler by car would have but it is a factor. People riding bikes in the worst types of collapse could consider using night vision and only riding at night for somewhat safer travel.

Should you give up on your bug out bike dreams?

I think bikes offer so many possibilities that they should be considered as options. While I don’t necessarily plan to bug out on bikes, they are in my arsenal as a last resort. We can ride them to our hearts content now and get in better physical shape should we need to rely on them later and I am planning for a 21 mile ride myself this afternoon to further that goal.

Bikes don’t necessarily have to only be bug out options. Bikes could have extreme usefulness in a disaster even if you are staying put. Let’s say gas does run out or somehow the electric grid does collapse, you can still use your bike to get around. You could look at those as potential barter items for people who severely need an option to travel. They can make manning guard locations in an all-out collapse easier than walking. They make a lot of sense for many reasons.

Back to prepping as a way of solving problems. I view bikes as another way you can solve a few problems you might be faced with. They aren’t perfect, but I don’t think many other bug out plans are bulletproof. You try something and if that doesn’t work you have a back-up. Maybe your bikes are strapped to your bug out vehicle and you pull them out if you are unable to go any further with that truck. Options.

Are bikes a good survival option for you? They may be, or they could just be a great way to have fun, get outside and get in shape. Either way, it’s a win for preppers.

As preppers, we are always looking for solutions to problems. The solutions we find can come in many forms; from a different mindset or viewpoint, to skills training and in

Do you have a prepper on your shopping list? The occasion doesn’t matter really. It could be Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Christmas or Hanukkah, birthdays or just because. But sometimes finding the perfect gift for the prepper who has everything can be tough. Why is that? Well, most preppers already have some of the gear (toys) they deem valuable and it may never have even crossed your mind that a gas mask would be something they wanted. Who knew how excited they would get over a hand crank radio with a built-in solar charger?

Well if you are looking for the best prepper gifts for that special person on your list, you have come to the right place. There are other lists of survival items on the internet and the usually pop up close to those big shopping holidays. Some of the best prepper gear lists are broken down by dollar amount, but I wanted to do a little something different and recommend items based upon the type of disaster your prepper is planning on. If you know what gets their survival juices flowing, we have some ideas below that might make your present, the best prepper gift they have ever received. Hey, they might even share it with you too.

Disaster Scenario #1 – Weekend Vacation Chaos

This could also be the rush evacuation from oncoming flood waters, approaching wildfires, car wreck in a blizzard or rioting on the next block over. What are some of the best prepper gifts for the survivalist who wants to be ready to go in a moment’s notice? What could they possibly carry with them wherever they may roam that could offer an advantage if they encountered trouble?

WaterSawyer Mini – When it comes to survival water filtration, there aren’t any other options I can think of that are as durable, lightweight and compact as the Sawyer Mini. I have these as backup filtration in my Bug Out Bags and when we go backpacking. This little 2 ounce wonder of a water filter will give your prepper the ability to make up thousands of gallons of fresh drinking water from even the nastiest of sources.

The Sawyer Mini, compact water filtration for bad times

Food – Emergency Rations – In a survival situation, an empty stomach can be a demoralizer but putting a sandwich in your carry on isn’t usually recommended either. Emergency rations add a little weight to your gear, but the right ones like Mainstay are virtually impervious to extremes in temperature and one pack gives your favorite survivalist 3600 calories of living saving goodness. Well, it is 3600 calories and that brick can save their life if food options are scarce. Yes, you can certainly live for longer than a weekend without any food, but who wants to do that?

Pack it in your bag and when you need it, you will have 3600 calories that could be enough to last you through the disaster.

Pack it in your bag and when you need it, you will have 3600 calories that could be enough to last you through the disaster.

A different prepper gift option could also be used backpacking and would probably taste better. For grid-down meals that are pretty tasty, a couple of Mountain House entrees fit the bill nicely. I got something like this for my Dad, who is not a prepper and didn’t see the humor to boot for last Father’s Day. Any freeze-dried foot you get will need to have water, usually hot water added to it so it can reconstitute. A Jet Boil is a great system for backpacking meals that works just as well if you have had some type of disaster as long as you have the right fuel.

Shelter – Fire Starter/Wet Fire – Sure you can buy waterproof matches, but a fire starter that can never be put out commission in water is supreme and it looks so much cooler when the sparks start to fly. Add to that some wetfire cubes which can even be lit when they are sitting in water and you have the perfect fire making combination. You can also throw all of this in a dry bag for your prepper to add other fire making materials and to keep them organized.

Two great tastes, that taste great together.

SecurityTactical Folding Knife – I am not sure you can even call yourself a prepper unless you have at least two knives. A good survival knife can help you in so many ways, but you don’t always have to have the most expensive knife in the world. A good quality folding knife can help you cut a lot of things but not break the bank. If they already have a good folding knife, a multi-tool extends their abilities in roughly the same size factor.

Cold Steel Recon 1

X-Factor – Seatbelt cutter – For the Prepper who has almost everything except a seat belt cutter and a glass punch in their favorite bug out vehicle, the resqme (get it?) Keychain car escape tool combines both in a small footprint that is affordable and its compact size makes it easy to add to your preppers EDC kit.

Resqume Seat Belt cutting tool with glass breaker.

Disaster Scenario #2 – Month Long Viral Outbreak Quarantine

For those preppers on your gift list who are planning for a little longer-term event, they need gear designed to work a little harder or to last a little longer. The following prepper gifts will ensure that your friend will be able to last at least a month before the all clear is given.

WaterPlatypus Gravity Works filter – I fairly recently came across this filter at the suggestion of one of the readers of Final Prepper and I couldn’t be happier. The Gravityworks filters 2 liters of dirty creek water in under 2 minutes. That way I can collect water, stow it my pack, and get back to safety. Unlike chemical treatments like bleach or iodine, there is no bad taste and I don’t have to boil the water and wait for it to cool.

Filter a whole lot of water quickly with the Platypus Gravityworks.

Food Chef’s Banquet All-purpose Readiness Kit 1 Month Food Storage Supply (330 Servings) – Food storage is on the mind of preppers everywhere, but sometimes you want a simple buy it and forget it option. The benefit of this option is that it comes sealed in its own 5 gallon bucket so all the prepper needs to do is store it in a cool dry place until it is needed. If you purchase more buckets, they will easily stack and reduce your storage footprint.

Month worth of meals in a handy-dandy 5 gallon bucket. When the food is gone, you can use the bucket for a makeshift toilet.

Month worth of meals in a handy-dandy 5 gallon bucket. When the food is gone, you can use the bucket for a makeshift toilet.

Shelter – 2 Man Tent – It may be that your survival depends on getting out of the city while a virus runs its course. Before you head for the hills, make sure you have a good tent. The Big Agnes Scout UL 2 is a two-man tent that is very lightweight (only 2 pounds!) and compact. Your bug out bag and your back will thank you for switching to this option. Instead of the poles common to most tents, the Big Agnes Scout uses your trekking poles and sheds the weight. You can also just use sticks to prop up the tent or tie one end off to a tree.

Accommodations for two at just 2 pounds.

Security – Fixed Blade – Tactical folding knives are great, but if you plan on living in the woods for a month, you will want a bigger, stronger blade. I have the Gerber LMFII but there is a newer Gerber, the Strong Arm 30-001058 that takes some ques from its cousin. This knife will allow you to make firewood by batoning and hold up to a lot of abuse. It even comes with its own sheath that straps to your belt and the Coyote finish should blend in with your surroundings.

The Gerber StrongArm for when you need a little bit more from your survival knife.

X-FactorNight Vision Monocular – The threats your survivalist is preparing for don’t end when the sun goes down. In order to have an advantage at night, they could use a Night Vision Monocular. This will help them see what is lurking in the dark and give them an upper hand in the fight. This monocular boasts a 1000 ft. viewing distance to help you see what is coming or that big game walking up to your stand from a distance.

Night Vision is a huge advantage when the lights are out.

Disaster Scenario #3 Total Collapse due to EMP or Zombie Apocalypse

When it has all gone to Sh*t, your prepper gear will be put to the test. Knowledge and training and I would argue, luck are all more important than the price tag of the shiny piece of metal you are carrying in your Get Home Bag. However, longer duration use requires more durable equipment. That tactical folder may be perfect for a weekend, but what would you do if it became damaged? What if your water filter was rendered inoperable due to the high use? Below are some additional prepper gift ideas for the prepper who is planning to ride out the end of the world as we know it.

Water Big Berkey Water Filter – The water filtration methods I mentioned above are great if you are mobile or only really need to filter water for yourself, maybe another person. If the disaster lasts a long time or you need to filter water for the whole family, day after day, you will need something a little more substantial. The Big Berkey can filter 2.5 gallons at a time and only requires you to pour the unclean water in the top. Gravity does the rest and it even has a handy spout to fill your Nalgene bottles up again with clean filtered water.

Filter Gallons of water easily with gravity fed Big Berkey.

Food Survival Seeds – Yes, the grocery stores are all long plundered of anything you can eat and the burden falls to the prepper to produce food for their family, going forward. A box of Survival Seeds will give them the necessary seeds to start that survival crop; hopefully their garden is already started well before now, but the seeds in this container can be opened in an emergency and provide the ability to grow a big crop of food for the compound. This can also be useful as barter in a pinch.

Do you have the seeds you need for a bountiful survival garden?

Shelter Hammock – Tents aren’t meant to last forever but with proper use you can get several seasons out of them. Sleeping on the hard ground is tough though and your prepper might want the comfort of a hammock if they are going to spend the rest of their lives in the woods. A Hennessy Expedition comes with rain fly and a mosquito net to keep the bugs off you and packs down small and light (under 3 pounds) as well making it a great alternative if you are trying to lighten your bug out bag.

Hammocks make a great solution for sleeping outdoors and they can really lighten your bug out bag.

Security – Crossbow – Maybe it is the premiere of the new season of the Walking Dead that has me thinking of this item, but a crossbow has a lot of appeal in a grid down/apocalypse scenario. For starters you can hunt very quietly and there is no point in alerting everyone else that you just brought down that big buck. Add to that, when the ammo is all gone, you can still make arrows, if you have the right skill and that could be limitless ammo for your new weapon. Or you could just do what Darryl does and pull each arrow out of the skull of your victim and move on. The Barnett Penetrator Crossbow would do just that with 116 foot pounds of energy, penetrate and could make an excellent weapon in a total collapse. Don’t forget the extra arrows.

With a crossbow, they won’t hear you coming until it’s too late.

SecurityMachete/Parang – When all else fails you may need something that can cut a little deeper. From chopping wood to clearing brush or solving problems, permanently, the Parang is a nifty little weapon. Gerber has a nice Parang Machete from Bear Grylls’ line that could help your prepper defend themselves and their family, maybe you from the bad guys. Or zombies.

Bigger than a knife and easier to conceal than a sword.

X-Factor – Gas masks – If the world really has gone to hell, you might need to protect the air you breathe. There could be NBC (nuclear, biological, chemical) agents, viruses, tear gas or who knows what. This Military and Police Tactical mask with the right filters will protect your prepper from inhaling any particles that could bring them down. You can also throw in some Potassium Iodide tablets for a companion gift.

If this comes out, you know it has gotten bad.

So there you have it, my list of over 20 of the best prepper gifts for survival. What’s on your list?

Do you have a prepper on your shopping list? The occasion doesn’t matter really. It could be Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Christmas or Hanukkah, birthdays or just because. But sometimes