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Preppers and Survivalists are always looking for some good ideas on how to use or re-purpose our preps that we have acquired. One of the more ubiquitous prepping supplies is the lowly five gallon bucket. I found a local salvage company who had a basement full of these for a dollar a bucket and picked up a dozen. The buckets themselves used to have icing in them from the local bakery but since they were in perfect shape and food grade, I grabbed them up thinking I would surely find a good use for them.

We usually talk about storing food in five gallon buckets but there is a whole other world of possibilities out there if you are looking for other uses for this prepper staple. Food grade buckets are a natural fit for food storage because they are tough and you can easily stack them, but if you are looking for other five gallon bucket ideas, I pulled five here to share with you. When food is taken care of these five gallon bucket ideas could help you out if the grid goes down, or you just have some spare time and are looking for a crafty way to re-purpose some buckets you have.

Five Gallon Bucket Toilet

Yes, it isn’t the most glamorous way to reuse your five gallon bucket, but it is simple and takes one element out of your Sanitation and Hygiene list and makes grid down visits to the throne room much better, cleaner and even safer than squatting in the back yard.

Using a five gallon bucket for a toilet requires just a couple of items and can provide you with alternate sanitation capacity that even the wife and kids shouldn’t complain about too much. Personally, I would much rather use a five gallon bucket inside on a cold winter’s day that walk out and squat over a hole in the snow.

5gallonbuckettoilet

Eliminate the worry of having to go #2 with this simple makeshift toilet.

Don’t want to build your own, you can buy this handy item all ready for your bum.

This toilet idea is super easy and only requires the following:

  • Five Gallon Bucket
  • Trash Bag – These don’t have to be heavy-duty yard size because you are only going to want so many poops in here before you clean it out. Also, too much poop could rip the bag and that is a mess I don’t want to clean up. Ever.
  • Toilet Paper for obvious reasons, but an old phone book works in a pinch (no pun intended).
  • Pool Noodle – Brilliant use of something that probably won’t get much use in a grid down scenario. Pipe insulation could work in the same capacity.
  • Quick Lime or even cat litter to keep the smell and flies away.

If you aren’t feeling crafty, you can purchase a pre-made Luggable Loo that is set up and ready to go. This is one survival supply you can fill with some toilet paper and maybe some Double Doodie bags and be all set for the next plumbing disaster.

Five Gallon Bucket Air Conditioner

There are two ways I have seen to use a five gallon bucket to cool you off and both require electricity but use different methods of chilling the air. There are evaporative coolers that rely on the evaporation of water to cool. These are also called swamp coolers and the video below shows how you can make one of these yourself with just a few simple supplies in the comfort of your very own living room.

The other method I have seen requires ice, but allows you to blow the cold air from the ice into your space to cool you down and an insulated cooler keeps the ice colder longer and what do you know but the same guy who made the video above shows this alternate method for a five gallon air conditioner.

Five Gallon Bucket Water Filter

Having clean water is crucial for health at any time but contaminated water is a larger problem during disasters or when there is no clean source available. Now we simply turn on our taps to get fairly clean drinking water but what if the pipes burst or you are unable to drink the tap water? Having a backup water filter that you can use to make local sources of water safe to drink is vital to your prepping plans.

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View of the Berkey filter elements installed in the bottom of the upper bucket.

Some people (myself included) purchase larger systems to filter water for many people. I have the Big Berkey Light which is an amazing water filter. It can handle 2.75 gallons of water at a time and there isn’t any work for you to do besides pour your water that needs to be treated into the top chamber and let gravity do the rest. But if you have a little time on your hands and some five gallon buckets, you can build a DIY Berkey filter and save yourself some money.

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The top bucket sits on the lid of the bottom bucket and the filtered water drains down via gravity.

The Berkey Water Filter relies on two filtration elements that you can purchase separately for about $100. The complete Berkey Light Water Filter set up is $231 so you can save yourself a good bit of money with this five gallon bucket idea. You simply drill holes for the filter elements in the bottom of one five gallon bucket. Then drill two holes to allow water to drip into the lower bucket. You drill these holes in the lid so the upper bucket has a place to sit. The only other thing you need is the plastic spigot to pour your fresh clean water out of the bottom chamber.

Five Gallon Bucket Mouse Trap

Rats and mice carry disease even during the good times. For a great mouse trap, you can check out this tutorial below for a simple five gallon bucket mouse trap idea that will quickly and easily catch all the mice you need. With the mice eliminated, you won’t have to worry so much about them spreading disease to your family.

In a worst case scenario, you have dinner.

Five Gallon Bucket Chicken Waterer

When we got chickens ourselves, one of my daily chores was to go out there and fill their water up. It had to be done daily because we had 8 chickens and they are thirsty girls. As well as needing their water refilled, it was nasty because they would scratch dirt into their water.

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This automatic chicken waterer keeps the water clean and the chickens happy.

Needless to say this got old fast and was really the most labor intensive daily chore as far as the chickens went. Outside of making sure they have food and water, chickens are a breeze. I set out to find a way to keep them in fresh clean water for a few days minimum and reduce the number of trips I had to make with the hose. That is when I came across this great five gallon bucket chicken waterer idea that I made myself. The bucket is really just the reservoir that feeds a tube with nipples that the chickens peck at until water comes out. It keeps their water clean and gives me several days before I need to refill any water.

The nipples are really inexpensive on Amazon and I have the instructions as well as the complete parts list on our post titled: How to Build an Automatic Watering Tube for Your Chickens.

Hopefully that gives you some ideas for your five gallon buckets but there are tons more, like emergency kits, planters, aquaponic systems and so many more. You can find a lot of other great five gallon bucket ideas at fivegallonideas.com. What other uses have you found?

Preppers and Survivalists are always looking for some good ideas on how to use or re-purpose our preps that we have acquired. One of the more ubiquitous prepping supplies is

Everyone likes to think they are unique and many people even go to great lengths to show the world just how special and creative they are. You have seen these types of people, maybe you are one yourself. Those who have tattoos all up one side and down the other (no judgement), who have multiple piercings and giant gauges in their ever expanding earlobes. They wear all manner of fashion that seems to be designed purely for shock value and their hair is carefully combed into their eyes.

Now before I get anyone upset, I am not advocating anyone dress any differently. I am a firm believer in the philosophy of if you want to let your freak flag fly, go right ahead. You aren’t bothering me at all. Except maybe the hair thing on guys today… I just want to cut that mop out of your eyes because it would drive me insane…And stop with the hair products maybe…

Seriously, I love variety and if you feel that you are expressing yourself, go right ahead. More power to you! However, in a survival situation there are times when being the only round peg in a room full of squares could be a disadvantage so today I want to talk about conforming.

The importance of the group standard to preppers

Now when I mention conforming, I am not talking about conforming to my version of society, your morals or style of dress or personal hygiene habits. I am talking about the decisions you will make regarding the survival gear and equipment that your larger mutual assistance group is going to use. It is important to formalize a group standard on several major pieces of gear if you want to function cohesively as a unit.

If each person is unique, their own purple flower with magenta ombre highlights, and does their own thing – you aren’t a group at all. You are just a bunch of individuals hanging around together and believe it or not, that could be a drawback. Let’s imagine a SHTF scenario for example. It’s bad, really bad and you are huddled together with your survival group, trying to get by and taking each challenge as it comes.

Choosing standard firearms

One of our posts that has had the most discussion back and forth has been The AK-47 vs AR-15: Which Rifle is Better? I wrote this back in March of 2014 but debates about the best firearm in a SHTF scenario have probably been raging since men were carrying around flintlock pistols. We are unlikely to find consensus as a whole prepper or survivalist movement, but your own survival group needs to come up with one choice and stick with it.

Why can’t I have my AR15 and Bob have his FN SCAR? Why can’t Julie carry her KRISS Vector while Mary rocks the tried and true AK-47?

I can give you a lot of reasons:

AR15

Standard firearms behave the same way. One you learn the mechanics of your AR15, every other AR15 behaves the same way

Magazines: Each of your battle rifles should use the same magazines so that if needed, you can grab a spare one from your buddy, lock and load and keep going. You never want to find out that you are under attack and nobody around you has the same magazine, or that two people do, but they aren’t with you at the moment. Try telling your buddy to just hold them off-while you reload a few more magazines.

Spare Parts and Accessories: Let’s say someone has a rifle that has a part malfunction that renders that rifle inoperative. You could either let that sit on the shelf or you can use the spare parts to fix other rifles that may need it. Yes, you should always have spares but it’s far less trouble to buy three of one thing as opposed to one different part three times. You won’t have to learn how to pull apart three different weapons either although knowing how would be a good skill.

You can also look at accessories the same way. I have at least 3 different sets of scope rings I got for 3 different scopes. If I were to have the same scope as my buddy and mine went bad, if needed, I could simply swap his out with mine. The alternative of strapping that nice Vortex Strike Eagle down with duct tape isn’t a good option.

Operation and features: Standard firearms behave the same way. One you learn the mechanics of your AR15, every other AR15 behaves the same way. Learn how to disassemble one, you know how to disassemble all of them. Have a misfire? You know how to quickly clear one AR…I think you get the point.

Reliability: I will also add this minor factor in there. Assuming you buy comparable quality firearms, the make of your rifle and the reliability will be comparable to the other rifles so your lifespans should work out close to the same period of time assuming proper care and maintenance. I know I had an M-16 from the 70’s when I was in the Army and it worked just fine. I did get some new hand-grips though.

Choosing standard calibers

This one should be in the same category but I wanted to break it out because we could be talking about Shotguns, Rifles and Pistols above with your standard firearms. Your ammo should be the same for all firearms as well. So if you have standardized on Glock for example for your pistol, everyone should have the same caliber. This can be .45 or .40 or .357 or .9mm but everyone should carry the same ammo. Same point as above for magazines. When you run out, someone else’s magazine and the ammo naturally will slide right back into your pistol. Which pistol caliber is the best? That is a different argument and a completely different post.

Choosing standard camouflage

REALTREE_CAMOUFLAGE_SUIT

Uh, yep! I think camouflage is very necessary in a survival situation.

Is camouflage necessary? It really depends on what you envision as being possible in your survival group. Do you see this as the end of the world as we know it? Do you imagine hostile refugees coming down your street to demand food or the use of your women? Do you expect to be fighting traitorous UN forces who are marching across town? Do you think you will need to hide? Do you think you will need to hunt?

Having the same outfit can prevent someone from easily sneaking into your perimeter unnoticed. Granted, they could be wearing the same old Woodland Camo fatigues I wore in service and if that is what I chose for my group I would be in trouble. There is a case to be made for selecting something a little more novel like German, Australian or British camo. I prefer the easy options available at any hunting store in the US made by RealTree. They match your local foliage and if you are caught in them, you can easily say you were hunting. No need to look like a paramilitary type and gain unwanted attention if you don’t have to.

Choosing standard communication equipment

Baofeng

Baofeng makes a great, affordable radio for preppers.

I am referring to shortwave radios here. Radio frequencies are the same no matter what equipment you have so why do we have to purchase the same radios? I will give you two reasons. The first is batteries and the second is operation. I have yet to see two HAM radios that were programmed the same way. I know there is software that can make this easier, but to my mind if everyone has the same radio, everyone will know how to use it the same way. Less problems, fewer mistakes. You can choose from a lot of manufacturers and spend a little or a lot of money, but radios should also be the same for your group. My personal choice is Baofeng’s BF F8HP model.

Conclusion

There you have a few of my reasons and rationale for setting a group standard and in these instances at least, not trying to be a purple unicorn with sparkles. I am sure there are those out there who have different opinions so let’s hear them!

Everyone likes to think they are unique and many people even go to great lengths to show the world just how special and creative they are. You have seen these

Why does everyone talk about storing wheat?

I recognize that there is a significant number of people in the world that do not tolerate wheat well, or at all. My father-in-law has celiac disease, and one of my sons cannot have any whole grains. However, even these individuals should consider storing wheat in some measure, and I’ll be discussing the reasons why at the end of this article. Of course, those that will benefit most from this article are those who can eat wheat.

Wheat is the staple grain of the North American diet. It’s what we grow here all across the Great Plains. It’s what we’re accustomed to eating. We have the recipes for breads and other baked goods. (You do have recipes, right? Hard copies, right?) Amaranth, quinoa, spelt and such are great, but most people don’t store or use them. They don’t know how to work with them. TEOTWAWKI won’t be the time to learn. And exotic grains are expensive. At least for now, wheat is very cheap.

Because wheat is what we grow here, it’s what will be available post-TEOTWAWKI, if anything is. Even if you can’t eat wheat, consider storing it for those who can, especially those in your family or those who may be coming to you. That way you have cheaper food for them and you can keep your costlier non-wheat preps for yourself.

Nothing smells better, or tastes better, than freshly baked bread. Really good food improves morale in a crisis. And unfortunately, bread is one of those items that cannot be stored. It has to be made fresh every week. Furthermore, most people can’t make bread. It is definitely one of those skills that takes practice and should be mastered while we can still feed the loaves that flop to the chickens without feeling wasteful.

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Non-GMO Hard Red Spring Wheat

Wheat is nutritious.

Wheat combined with milk (in the same meal) will provide all the essential amino acids for building protein. Wheat is a primary source of B vitamins. Because B vitamins are water-soluble, they can’t be stored by the body. We need a constant supply of vitamin B to maintain good health. In addition, sprouted wheat berries (more on that later) are an excellent source of vitamin C and also provide some vitamins A and D.

While being able to bake bread is probably the main reason for most of us to store wheat, there is still plenty that can be done with wheat berries until you are able to obtain a grain grinder and while you learn to bake your bread. The whole grain can be boiled for cereal. Any leftover boiled berries can be mixed in with ground beef to extend it (meat loaf, meat balls, hamburger patties, etc.) without too much notice by the rest of the family. The whole berries can be used to make blender pancakes or blender waffles (full recipes and tutorials at storethisnotthat.com). The berries can be popped and eaten like popcorn.

But wait, there’s more!

WheatBerry_Salad

Wheat Berry Salad with fresh tomatoes from the garden.

Wheat can be sprouted for even greater nutritional benefits. In a nutshell, wheat berries are soaked in cool water for about twelve hours. Drain the berries and rinse and drain again. Rinse the wheat well three to four times per day. (For the specific how-to’s of sprouting wheat, click here.) The two to three-day old sprouts can be added to soups or salads. At this point they are already much higher in calcium and vitamin C and several other minerals. Or let the sprouts continue to grow and green up a little for adding to sandwiches, like alfalfa sprouts. Or dehydrate the sprouted berries and grind them into flour for sourdough baking. Or toss them into soil for growing wheat grass for juicing.

Furthermore, wheat berries can also be used to grow fodder for our animals. Basically, the wheat berries are soaked and sprouted as described above, but instead of sprouting in a jar they are spread in a plastic tray with drainage holes. The rinsing is the same—three to four times per day, and the wheat berries are allowed to grow into wheat grass. The roots develop into a thick mat, and the grass and mat are fed as fodder to livestock about ten days from the initial soaking. So even people who can’t eat wheat benefit from storing it as the fodder is fed to chickens, rabbits, goats, and sheep who turn the fodder into eggs, meat, milk, and sometimes even fiber.

While it does take a little time and effort—but just a little—to grow fodder, bear in mind all the benefits. One pound of wheat berries becomes seven pounds of highly nutritious natural fodder. Wheat has a much, much longer shelf life than commercial feeds, it is much cheaper, and takes much less space. Fodder is a great way to provide greens in winter when grasses and weeds aren’t growing.

WheatSprouts

Wheat can be sprouted for even greater nutritional benefits. In a nutshell, wheat berries are soaked in cool water for about twelve hours. Drain the berries and rinse and drain again.

What is the best type of wheat to stock up on?

As you start researching the possibilities of adding wheat to your storage program, you find that there are actually a lot of different kinds of wheat. So now what? What kind to purchase? After all, you don’t want to make any mistakes here.

Durum wheat is what is used to make pasta, and soft white wheat is used for baked goods that do not use yeast—biscuits, cookies, cakes, etc. Soft white wheat also has less protein (gluten) than hard white. Most people do not store these two grains, at least not in significant quantities.

Hard white spring wheat sprouts best, but some research shows that it doesn’t store quite as well as the hard red and hard white winter wheat’s.

Hard red wheat has very slightly more protein than hard white. However, because hard white lacks the bitterness of hard red, less sweetener is needed in baked goods. For all of its advantages—milder taste, superior baking qualities, and ease of sprouting, hard white winter wheat is what we store.

And just how does wheat need to be stored? Regardless of the variety you choose, if stored properly wheat can remain viable and edible for hundreds of years. There are a variety of storage options, each with their pros and cons. Mylar bags are easy and very portable, but rats and mice can chew through them. Grain stored in #10 cans is pest-proof, but the cans are subject to rust, especially in humid areas. And storing enough wheat in cans gets a little pricey, at least for us. Some choose to store their wheat in large plastic or metal barrels. I just don’t like them because they aren’t very portable. Our family has moved (with our food storage!) eight times in the past 25 years. I can’t imagine what a nightmare moving large barrels would have been.

StoringFoodLongTerm

You can find free food-grade buckets at local stores around town.

Storing Wheat in your home or retreat

We choose to store our grains in plastic buckets that we get free from bakeries and donut shops. They’re free, they’re food grade, they’re portable. Yes, mice or rats could eventually chew through the buckets. Admittedly, we have had some seasons with an overabundance of mice and rats (isn’t even a single critter an overabundance?), but we’ve never had any critter chew on the buckets. The cons are that the five-gallon buckets can be difficult for some people to carry. And those lids can be nearly impossible to remove. Make sure you have a few bucket wrenches for them. They’re a lifesaver.

Store your wheat in a cool, dry place—50-60 degrees is ideal. Wheat that has been stored at higher temperatures for even a short time will not sprout as well or at all and will not make good yeast breads. It will also have lost some nutritional value.

Exactly how much wheat should you store? Well, that’s going to vary from one person to the next. The LDS Church advises 400 pounds of grains per person per year as part of their food storage recommendations for a 2200 calorie per day diet. That’s what I use for my family, with about 300 pounds of wheat per person. However, in addition to that we also store 50 pounds per chicken or rabbit to grow into fodder. When it comes to wheat, I think the day will come when it will be worth its weight in gold. With all its uses, the ease of storing it, and its low-cost, you just can’t ever have too much.

Why does everyone talk about storing wheat? I recognize that there is a significant number of people in the world that do not tolerate wheat well, or at all. My father-in-law

During the great depression when the dollar collapsed, basic items became currency. Any trip to the market would be better accompanied with items such as tobacco, or alcohol to be used as barter and trade items, rather than a pocket full of dollars purely because of the fact that they were worth so much more.

Bring the clock forward 80 years and we’re still seeing the same high value placed in everyday items over physical cash in countries that have suffered economic breakdowns, or have been crippled by war. Venezuela, currently the world’s worst economic collapse of this time, has seen an extraordinary surge in the value daily items due to its crippling inflation. A pack of popular brand condoms is more than USD$70 in Venezuela’s capital, Caracas. That value, in comparison to Venezuela’s current USD$4 per month minimum wage, gives brand name condoms an almost-golden value.

But they are not the only items that have become valuable for trade and barter in economic collapse environments. In this post we take a trip through time to find what items have been used as trade items instead of hyperinflated currencies, and what, at best, we can predict will be future household items that you should consider stocking, should times start to get tough again.

Why do items become more valuable than money in tough times?

Currency resembles a nation’s economic health. In an economic collapse such as the Great Depression, or Venezuela’s economic collapse, the value of currency is damaged. Things become more expensive over time as import, trade and manufacturing sectors weaken. As time goes on, the price of things rise and daily household items become more expensive. When the price of things rise, and the dollar falls, we get inflation.

Inflation is happening to us right now, and for many economically healthy countries, there is still an inflation index. For instance, the 2018 inflation rate for the US is 2.38%. In a year a pack of chewing gum that costs $1 this year, will cost $1.02 next year. According to reports, Venezuela’s inflation rate is more than 4,000%. That means our $1 pack of chewing gum will be $41.

If you couple this, with a supply and trade industry that is ruined by economic collapse, dead markets, and widespread job loss, things start to have a lot of value. This is also interlinked with banks closing down, creditors taking their money out of businesses, and the supply of cash seemingly halting as there is no way to draw money out of that great savings account some people have. As the value of currency declines, but the demand for items that aren’t available as much as they used to be rises, trade and barter in those items starts to occur. For instance, that packet of condoms could buy your groceries for the week. Or a bottle of alcohol could represent a valued trade for a month’s supply of toilet paper.

What do you have with you right now?

For most preppers, looking at what they currently have is important. It is the basis of what we have and what we know right now, that prepares us for anything that might happen tomorrow, next week or next year. For most of us, if an economic collapse happened right now, we’d be in big trouble. A lot of us do the regular shopping every week for household supplies and food to eat, and most of our money, whether it be daily transactions or savings money, is in the bank.

The last thing you want to be left with is an empty kitchen cupboard.

So think about this: if a rapid economic collapse was to occur tomorrow, and banks and food stores were to close, would you have enough supplies to live? What daily things do you use that would you desperately should they run out?

For a lot of preppers, thinking about this circumstance warrants having enough prepper supplies to be well off in a circumstance like this. Most of you who are reading this would have already attempted some form of prepping, whether it be just enough to get you buy for a few weeks, or a whole year’s worth of survival supplies for you and your family.

No matter what size your prepper supply is, the duration of an economic collapse will determine whether you have to start considering trading and bartering for goods and essentials. That is the problem with a financial collapse, we can’t really predict how long they will last or determine their severity. All we can do is make sure that we are best prepared for the issues that they bring.

A lot of what prepping is about is being self-sufficient, so that should something happen where supplies are cut off, you can still eat, drink, wash, cook, drive and live life. It differs from survival in that survival would be the things you do during an event itself. However as preppers, we act before something happens, so that we are ready for it, should it happen.

A lot of what prepping is, and the concept of barter and trade, is done between homesteaders, both in the past and this day and age. Homesteaders live in the country and are the prime example of people able to survive in a downturn as they are able to produce their own food, have their own water solutions, and have a trade system already developed between them and their neighbors.

As a homesteader, trade can be in the shape of helping out a neighbor with certain skills you might possess (carpentry and woodworking for instance), or it could be to trade fresh eggs from your chicken pen in exchange for fresh milk from someone’s cow. In an economic downturn, having skills and assets like this not only give you the ability to diversify your income, but also as a way to offer something to trade should you be short of supplies.

How to successfully barter and trade


Let’s say you have something someone needs. There is a big risk that comes with this in a post-collapse as there are people who no doubt feel they don’t have to abide by the rules that create a formal civilization (otherwise known as a world Without Rule Of Law, or WROL).

For the most part, I feel like bartering in a SHTF situation will only be amongst friends, neighbors and people in your circle. Unless there is a formal marketing in a popular street set up where you can run a stall, or barter for foods with your own goods, I don’t think there will be many barter or trade situations with strangers.

That’s good because if word got around that you have stockpiles of supplies lying around, you could be in a real risk of being the target of hungry, desperate scavengers, or just plain old greedy gangs or groups of people. This is the problem with being a prepper, it can be dangerous if you are the one with all of the food in a city or town of starving residents.

While this could be a likely risk in a worst-case collapse, the more realistic risks are those of getting ripped off by someone that is ultimately better at bartering than you are or coming across thieves. How can you avoid the risks of bartering in a post-collapse world? I think there are a couple of things, which might seem obvious to most, that you should ensure you do in any transaction where trade isn’t done with money and where sales are governed by laws of misrepresentation and fraud.

To avoid the risks associated with bartering, one of the most important things you can do is make sure it is in a public environment, or have others with you. Any thieves or just basic intimidators are likely to only try their tactics if there is no-one else around. Having that backup would just reinforce the fact that you are there to trade by a fair set of rules.

Know how much you need, and how much you are willing to give before you even think about bartering.

Second, know the value of the things you are trading for. If there is something you don’t know the value of, or to see if it is quality or not, take a specialist with you that knows about it. For instance, if you know nothing about motorbikes, you wouldn’t just buy a motorbike on your own without conducting a load of research or taking someone that knows what is right and what is not. The same applies to bartering, ensure you know the value of the things you are trading for. This is an important factor if you are considering trade as a way to survive in a SHTF situation, as the price of things will inevitably change, and you need to be up-to-date with those prices, otherwise, someone is going to buy things from you, and sell it elsewhere for twice the price.

When you are negotiating a trade, make sure you have an idea of what you are willing to pay and accept for yours and their items. Make sure you are clear on what it is you need by looking at your current supplies and making a list of what is necessary. No doubt any good trader will try to barter useless items they might say you need or will find useful, scrap them. You are trading for what you need, not what you enjoy.

If you are trading a service, or even just basic items, be clear on the terms of the trade, what you are trading for and the quantity of each item. Having a very clear set of terms is easy when trading items, but when you are doing a service or skill, such as fixing someone’s car, there are a lot of variables that can go wrong, such as if the car stops working a few days after you fix it, if new parts are needed who will pay for them, if it works, but not to your customer’s satisfaction what happens?

When it comes to agreements about services, there is an entire field of contractual disputes and laws. For the most part, having your own set of terms and being clear about them is the best way to be sure of an easy agreement, if it is available, one of the best things you can do is write down the terms, so that should any dispute occur once the agreement has commenced, you can refer to your contract in writing.

The difference between investment items and trade items

A lot of prepper blogs recommend investing in precious metals such as silver and gold. This is primarily because prepping is about investing. You invest time, invest research and invest in a supply that you hope will pay off for you and your family should a natural disaster, economic collapse or any other SHTF situation ever occur.

For precious metals, I don’t think there will be much worth for them during one of these situations. As a trade item, it bears no useable feature, unlike bullets, diapers, condoms, food and water, which are items that are traded as valued items in collapsed economies. But don’t get me wrong, gold is an important item for preppers. Why? Because while gold and silver is not very useful during a SHTF situation, it becomes very useful as society starts to rebuild itself. Seeing gold as an investment to sell is a much stronger and practical preparedness strategy that seeing it as a barter item during the event.

The reason why I use gold as an investment item rather than silver, is that out of the past eight significant biggest economic declines, six of them had significant increases in the value of gold, whereas the value of silver fell. The price of gold correlates with the value of currency. Gold benefits when there is an economic downturn. When stock markets fall, investors buy gold, in turn, driving the price up.

Trade items, however, are different to investment strategies such as gold, as they are survival items used during an event, as a means of exchange, and are a method of investment to ensure that you are able to trade efficiently, should an economic system crumble. There are, however, different investments you can make, rather than just in a stock of supplies.

As a way of bartering, you might be able to trade a service or skill you have, which might be in plumbing, electrical work, woodwork, or some other specific skill you have. Not only can this be done for food and supplies, but you can also trade that skill for cash-in-hand work, which gives the skill the benefit of being able to be used if you were to lose your job in an economic downturn.

So while you are preparing for rough days ahead and checking up on your prepper supply of non-perishables, water, and supplies, it might be worth stocking up on something can actually be free, which is to learn a new skill. There are a lot of valuable skills out there, from gardening, material work, animal husbandry skills, nursing skills, repairs or even defense. Whatever your hobbies might be at the moment could also become a formidable skill, should society change to the point where that skill comes in demand.

What are good bartering items to be used in a SHTF situation?

Cigarettes are a must-have trade item in a post-collapse. They were also a much-needed during the Great Depression and in Sarajevo during the Bosnian War.

I have a lot of things in my prepper supply that would be very valuable should everyday supplies start to run out. But the issue is, do I want to part with them? Probably not, especially if they are something I need.

So it puts me in a hard place where I would have to balance need over the value of trade. But we can prepare for that circumstance by preparing a seperate section in our supplies for trade. This might be a small collection of things you use every day, which can be added upon as time goes on and you find new goods to add to the list.

There are a lot of preppers that keep an excess amount of everything, adequate to what they need, rather than stockpiling a separate pile of tradeable items. However, separating those supplies ensures that you don’t dip into your trade items should the SHTF, and that you can identify how much value you might have in your trader’s wallet, for the lack of a better term.

If you are just starting out in your collection of trade items, or you are looking to add to that supply, I have compiled a list below of 30 items that I have found have found will become valuable commodity items in economic collapse and SHTF environments, and why they would be useful. Many of these items have been used as trade and barter in historical post-collapse events for instance, during the Great Depression, in Venezuela’s economic collapse, or in Sarajevo during the Bosnian War.

30 Best Valuable Items For Trade

In an economic collapse or SHTF scenario

Medicine: This covers things such as antibiotics, pain-killers, and allergy medications.Venezuela’s financial collapse has seen the value of medicine soar, with hospitals having to purchase medication from black market importers just to treat patients. Foods Even in a disaster, food is one of the first things to run off the shelves as most people won’t have a pre-stocked food supply. Things such as non-perishable foods will be the most valuable.

Alcohol: During the Great Depression, alcohol was in prime demand with people distilling rum and gin  themselves. As a commodity, alcohol can also have medicinal and hygienic purposes.

Fuel:  As fuel supply lines shut down and stations close, fuel comes in limited supply in SHTF situations. It is important for those using generators and vehicles.

Propane Gas: Many homes rely on gas for hot water and cooking. One small bottle can last for a month with a gas cooker system to boil (purify) water and cook foods.

Batteries: Rechargeable and normal batteries are useful for a number of things, but as the power starts to go out there will be a reliance on flashlights increasing the need for batteries.

Condoms and Contraceptives: As mentioned in the beginning of this post, condoms in Venezuela are going for USD$70 a pack. People are still active when the SHTF

Baby Supplies: Baby food, diapers, baby asprin and ointments. All baby supplies are a commodity that is used every day and needs a constant use supply. While reusable diapers exist, things such as nappy rash ointments and baby aspirin is a much-needed item.

Chickens: Chickens are egg producers and live off scraps. If you can manage to feed and water them, the eggs they produce will be worth their weight in gold. In 2016, a dozen eggs cost USD$150. If you have a rooster you can produce excess chickens to sell to others.

Feminine Hygiene Products: These are must-have items for personal hygiene that are needed every day in stores. Tampons in Venezuela are the cost of three months minimum wage.

Toilet Paper: Life’s luxury in fine white sheets. Toilet paper is hard to replicate with magazines, newspaper or tissues and is something that most people will run out of very quickly.

Vitamins: The change in diet as people start to eat less, or a void of fresh foods will leave many without access to the right nutrients and vitamins in a healthy diet

First-Aid Supplies: Bandages are not so important in this as any piece of clothing can be used. First-aid supplies needed will be things such as antiseptic wipes, band-aids, antibacterial creams, suture kits and specialist first-aid treatment equipment.

Tobacco: For some, this is obviously going to be a much more necessary item. I am a non-smoker, however I can see how, if in limited supply, tobacco would be a great item to have for those in need.

Soap and Shampoo: Personal hygiene is another commodity that we use every day, and as supply routes slow or stop, stuff that we use to clean our hands and bodies every day will quickly run out.

Seeds Seeds: are a trade-able item that work well for those that now how to cultivate good gardens in order to grow their own foods. Give the right person seeds and they can grow a farm and tap a sustainable food supply.

Can Openers: When the SHTF the last thing that’s left after fresh foods run off the shelves or expire are canned foods. For those that don’t have them, cans are a key to food.

Powdered Gravy: Freeze-dried food, non-perishable food and basic grown foods can taste very bland, but gravy adds a much better taste to things that wouldn’t generally taste great.

Lighters and Matches: Sure, there are a number of ways to light a fire, but in the home, lighting a gas cooker is a lot easier with lighters than two sticks.

Candles: An easy way to provide light at night when the power grid crumbles and a considerable item for SHTF environments.

Powdered Milk: Powdered milk is so scarce in Venezuela that it is sold by black market vendors at 100 times its normal shelf price.

Pasta Pasta: in packets can be kept for quite some time and in Venezuela’s economy, is sold by black market vendors at 200 times the original price.

Shoes: I wouldn’t say it is a good idea to start stocking every pair of shoes, but if you have old ones, it might be worth keeping them. The cost of shoes in Venezuela ranges from 300% to 900% higher than the same brand in The US.

Water Filters: If the grid goes bust and you are caught without a water filter you might be in trouble. There are going to be a lot of people out there without a clean water supply and no way purify water (without cooking it), so a few cheap water filters will no doubt be worth some money.

Coffee Coffee: is a world trade commodity already. Just like smokers will pay for cigarettes and tobacco, coffee is equally an item that can be used to trade and will be rarely available given the lack of country imports in an economic collapse.

Flashlights: At the moment, high-quality flashlights are cheap to pick up (less than $10). But when the grid goes down, everyone is going to be needing them, and it is highly likely not everyone will have one.

Duct Tape: Duct tape is one of those items that is well-known throughout the survival world for its endless amount of uses. Whether it be patching up clothes, fixing leaks, or taping wounds, duct tape is a good bartering item.

Generators (solar and fuel): If you have recently bought a back-up generator, keep the old one for now. When the SHTF everyone is going to want secondary power methods and will be willing to pay a lot for it.

Construction and Repair Tools: As an economic downturn sets in people are going to start doing more of their own projects to increase the self-sufficiency, fix the home, or for car repairs and other odd jobs. You might have the tools they need. But you might want to use these as a way to provide a service.

Solar Lights: Solar lights are a great commodity to stock because they are cheap (at the moment) they are sustainable (no power needed) and they provide what we need at night in a sustainable manner.

I have made this list based on research on what items have become valuable in past economic collapse and SHTF situations where supply lines shut off and resources become limited. I am sure that a lot of advanced preppers out there that have a good stockpile of food, water, and supplies will no doubt have many of these items in their stockpiles already. I also have many of these items not only in my own stockpile, but in a separate section designed to be a backup, to be used either as trade, or to help out others should they need it. I feel as though a ‘help others’ stockpile is a good way to make a community and build a team of people you can work with to regain existence as a self-sufficient community.

While these items have been seen as valued items in the past, or they are currently highly valued items in SHTF places in the world (such as Venezuela), I would not call this list definitive by any means. There are a lot of other items that have had, and will have equal value to these in a SHTF scenario. If you do know of any other items for trade and barter that you have identified, or you believe will become useful in a SHTF situation, please leave a comment below to inform the community.

There are a lot of preppers that keep an excess amount of everything, adequate to what they need, rather than stockpiling a separate pile of tradeable items. However, separating those

When I first got into prepping I listened to a lot of sources. I read a lot of literature, perused websites galore and read books on everything from Survival skills and tactic to prepper fiction. I think the first actual website I came across was Captain Dave’s Survival Center. His blog doesn’t appear to have been updated since January 2010 but at the time I started digging into this topic it was probably late 2008. This time period in my life oddly enough coincided with the stock market crisis in September when my meager 401K lost over half of its value in days. I think everyone started paying a little more attention at that point.

Up to that year I had been a pretty traditional Republican kind of guy. I was and still am fiercely patriotic, but my understandings of world events, politics, history and propaganda have changed my political philosophy and my loyalties. I am and will always be loyal to the values our country was founded on but I am not blindly loyal to any political party or person anymore. I don’t instinctively tow the party line anymore for the republicans and like to think I have grown more analytical; perhaps skeptical when I hear events in the news.

All of that is to say that my thinking when it comes to being a prepper has evolved over time and with it so have my actions with respect to what I feel needs to be done. I think I will continue to refine what I believe is right for me and my family as I learn more information and that I feel is what any rational person should do.

Right from the beginning of my prepping journey, it was obvious that in order to be as self-sufficient as possible I would need to cross a few major things off my list of To Do items.

  • Get out of debt
  • Acquire equipment (food/gear/tools) as force multipliers
  • Acquire training in Survival tactics, homesteading skills
  • Convert behaviors to self-sufficient lifestyle traits

Like so many other people I started with these broad topics and from there developed a simple list of everything I thought I needed to have or do before I could consider myself “prepared” for anything. My list started with a ton of supplies; food to last for 6 months, purchasing firearms for self-defense, having backup water storage and a means to collect and filter more. Then it turned to actions like getting a garden going, purchasing precious metals and getting training on HAM radio and first-aid. It never seems to end.

But, unless you have won the lottery or are independently wealthy most of us out here have to balance this mountain of wish list items with your daily budget. That is when prepping can cause friction for families especially when one spouse doesn’t see things the way you do. If prepping for a disaster is complete nonsense in their eyes, it will be a battle to purchase everything you need. At the very minimum it will take a long time and this is a luxury you may not have.

Further complicating this whole endeavor is the need to get out of debt. If you are truly focused on reducing the amount of debt you have, you really should not have a lot of discretionary income. Herein lies the problem and it is one that I have personally dealt with and still ponder from time to time to this very day. The question is should you get completely out of debt first, or should you continue prepping? I say or because depending on whom you listen to, these are mutually exclusive.

The case for getting out of debt

Debt is truly a horrible burden that we willingly place on ourselves and our families for no good reason other than we aren’t willing to wait until we have the money to purchase something. I know this just as well as anyone else out there and I won’t try to get on my high horse because I have my own fair share of debt as well. However, my desire is to be completely debt free and that I think is the best scenario any of us can be in from one standpoint. If no person or company has anything they can hold over your head, there should be nothing they can take away from you. The flip side is that if you are only living on what you bring in, if that were to be disrupted, the impacts to your life should be greatly reduced.If you have ever heard of Dave Ramsey, his entire reason for being it seems is to get people out of debt as quickly as possible and maintaining a healthy view of money going forward. His methods revolve around throwing every single resource you have at the debt problem and living on “rice and beans” in order to save every cent to put it towards debt retirement. He has seminars and you can usually take part in a Dave Ramsey program at church if you have the time and money to devote to it. The basic principles are a great method to getting out of debt in my unprofessional opinion.

If you are going hog-wild into debt reduction though, this can be a process that takes several years. The average American credit card debt is over $15,000 and that isn’t taking into consideration cars, student loans, mortgage etc. When you get into a certain level of debt and if you are following a plan like Dave Ramsey’s you don’t have money for anything else. The Rice and Beans you want to stock up for your prepping needs are what you are actually living off of each day.

The case for Prepping

There are so many reasons to begin prepping for your family’s safety isn’t there? If you weren’t interested in how you could be more prepared for whatever happens you probably wouldn’t be reading this blog, but as I mentioned above, prepping is not without some cost. That list of items you probably have on your desk or computer somewhere contains a lot of things that cost money. I know that everything that can save your life or the life of a loved one doesn’t necessarily need to cost anything, but that usually comes down to knowledge or equipment and supplies you already have. The average person will need training or books at a minimum to learn that knowledge. Books and training cost money. If you are talking about security and you don’t have firearms, they cost money. Extra food, medical supplies, backup power, even getting a garden started cost money in almost every case.

But, is it worth it? That is a great question and one of the same ones I ask myself from time to time. The answer is always the same for me, but you have to ask yourself if what you are trying to prepare for is worth the investment you are making. To me this is a simple question because I believe that most people who are prepping are doing so because they know that bad things can happen and they want to protect themselves or their family from those bad things as much as possible. Is it worth it to sacrifice a little now to survive later? For me it is, but for each person this question has to be asked.

Can these two coexist?

Can you pay off all of your debt and still build up your supplies at the same time? If you can, then you don’t have any problems. I wish we were all like you. For the rest of us, we have a choice or more accurately choices to make based upon our own individual circumstances and priorities. I don’t believe it should be one or the other. To either get out of debt first or buy everything on the prepper’s Nirvana list. There should be a balance I think and they can both be done at the same time if you feel that is necessary for your overall preparedness.

Dave Ramsey has a great plan for people who want to get out of debt, but I think his plan assumes that the world is still going to be spinning next month; that whatever happens, you should keep paying down that Macy’s card because above all else you have to get out of debt. What if something happens before you get that trip to Disney in 2010 paid off? What if you are halfway through your plan and the bottom drops out of the stock market, we have a global pandemic or there is an EMP attack from a rogue terrorist organization? Will you be happy your car is paid off, but you don’t have any food stocked up? Maybe you will be able to sell your car and buy food? Maybe that car you have is now worth nothing but a bag of rice is worth a fortune.

What am I saying? For starters I am not saying that you should stop paying your bills. I am not saying you shouldn’t worry about debt. I am also not saying that you shouldn’t try to reduce your debt as quickly as possible. I am definitely not saying that you should buy a bunch of stuff on credit.

What I am saying is that as the leader of your family you have a lot of decisions to make. Each of these decisions should be made with goals in mind. If you have a goal of reducing debt and another goal of being prepared, you can accomplish both. Will it take longer to pay off your debt if you are making purchases for your family’s survival also? Yes it will so you have to figure out what is more important and your plan can flow along with your resources and needs. For instance, if you find yourself at a point where you have the basic necessities covered, maybe you should take a break from prepping and pay off a credit card or two. By that same token, if you find a great deal on a course in advanced first aid training, and you just so happen to have some vacation you haven’t taken, it may be a good idea to take the course.

In summation, the only thing I am trying to say is that if you try to go one route or the other completely you could wind up short if things go the wrong way. Run up too much debt and you could end up in a debtor’s prison should those come back to a town near you. Get out of debt, but not have the tools you need to keep your family alive and risk a worse fate if you ask me. Food for thought.

Run up too much debt and you could end up in a debtor’s prison should those come back to a town near you. Get out of debt, but not have

If you’ve been intending to become a gardener but aren’t quite sure yet how to get started, this how-to guide is for you.

It chronicles the steps that I successfully followed to put in my own garden this year, in my spare time, all while working hard as well as traveling frequently for work. From start to finish, it was a 1-manpower project – showing that if I could get this done on my own given my crazy work schedule, most anyone can do this, too.

Hopefully, this guide will give you the direction, inspiration, and confidence that you, too, can be tending your own well-constructed garden beds soon.

Plan Your Work

Site Selection

To thrive, garden plants need sun, water, and good soil. Taking the (short) time to identify a site that offers the best combination of all three will dramatically increase your odds of successfully growing food.

During the prime growing months (May-Sept in the Northern Hemisphere), inspect your property for sites that offer the most sun exposure throughout the day. From those options, look then at the sites with the best drainage.

Worry less about the soil conditions at first, because you can control that easier than the prior two variables by using raised garden beds. But by all means, if you have sites of equal sun/drainage rating but different soil quality, pick the one with the better soil (most vegetables like a sandy loam consistency).

If you have more than 0.25 acre of land on your property, then another factor to consider is proximity. You’ll be making a lot of trips to your garden over time, so picking a convenient spot relative to your house (your kitchen and tool storage area, in particular) will result in reduced schlepping, which your future self will be awfully appreciative of.

In my case, I selected a spot tucked into the corner of my yard nearest the kitchen door and tool shed. It’s not the sunniest section of the property, but it still gets about 80% of the day’s sunlight while being easy to access. Months later, I remain very happy that I made this trade-off.

Here’s a picture of what the plot looked like before I started working on it:

garden-plot-before

Make Your Measurements

Measure twice, cut once, the wise carpenter advises. This applies just as well to gardeners.

Once you’ve determined where your garden is going to go, then it’s time to start visualizing the specifics about what it’s going to look like.

If you’re going to be taking this on as a one-manpower job, as I did, it’s better to start small. You can always expand upon your initial plot in future years.

In my case, the spot I selected provided enough space for a 22′ x 17′ garden footprint. In my opinion, that’s plenty of room for a first-time gardener to handle.

With your footprint perimeter in mind, start brainstorming how to best use that space. How many beds can it accommodate? Do you want a few large beds or many small ones? What do you want to grow? Where in the garden do you want to grow them?

Get some paper. Or use a whiteboard. Diagram it out.

Once you have something visualized, show it to other gardeners. Bring it down to your local nursery. Ask experienced folks for their opinion. You’re sure to get some good feedback that will improve your plans.

Here’s the rough sketch I made for my garden:

garden-sketch

With your visual plans now in hand, head out to your plot with measuring tape, a ball of twine, and a handful of stakes. Begin by marking the perimeter of your garden, then progress inwards to mark exactly where the raised beds (and any other physical components) will be.

Below is a photo of where I decided two of my 6’x4′ beds would go:

twine-bed-outlines

When you’ve outlined your garden, take a walk around it. Is there enough clearance? Squat down between the beds. Do you have enough room to maneuver comfortably?  Will you be able to reach across them from all angles? If not, move the stakes around until you’re content with the results. This is by far the best time to make design changes. (It’s a heck of a lot easier to move twine around than a box filled with 30 cubic feet of dirt!)

If you’re going to be putting in an irrigation system, now is the time to give thought to where the hoses will run. Map out how the main hose will bring water from your main spigot to the garden, as well as where the daughter hoses will run to each raised bed.

For a garden this size, you don’t need an irrigation system you’ll be able to water by hand with a standard garden hose if that’s your choice. But I highly recommend laying the piping for one, if you can, when you initially build out your garden. It’s a lot easier to activate an installed system than it is to dig through a mature garden later to put one in.

Work Your Plan

Constructing Raised Beds

Now that you know where your raised beds will go, it’s time to build them. Fortunately, this requires only the most basic of skills. So you carpentry novices (like me) can handle this just fine.

Get yourself enough 2″x4″ boards to build the beds you’ll need. Cut the wood to the length you’ll need for each side of your bed frames, depending on how big you want your beds to be. I went with 4’x6′ dimensions; most people prefer 4’x8′.

I highly recommend building double-height sides. That essentially means building two box frames and placing one on top of the other. In my first gardening foray a few years back, I only used single-height sides and found myself constantly weeding. With double-height sides this year, I’ve barely had to weed at all.

Use 1″x”1″ stakes in the corners to add stability to your double-sided frames.

1x1

After your frames are built, you should cover the bottom with mesh wire to prevent burrowing rodents from attacking your plants from below. Out where I live, this is an absolute must; the gophers here are so bad that they drove away the initial Russian settlers back in the 1800s (and those Russians had a pretty high tolerance for hardship!).

I recommend using finer wire mesh (i.e., smaller holes) than standard chicken wire. The smaller the holes, the smaller the odds are that a critter can squeeze through them. Simply use a staple gun to attach the mesh to the frame and voila! Your raised bed is ready for installation.

finished-mesh-bed

Installing Your Raised Beds

Carry your raised beds over to your garden site. (While I was able to do this myself, you’ll find an extra pair of arms is very welcome for this quick task).

Before you lay the beds within the twine outlines you measured out earlier, remove the ground vegetation within the footprint first. A hoe or the flat end of a pick works well for this (I used the latter):

bed-cleared-footprint

With the vegetation gone, work with your shovel, etc., to make the ground within the footprint is as flat and level as possible on both the length and width axes. Use a carpenters level (the ruler with the little air bubble within it) to help you with this, if you have one. If your garden is on a slope, one wall of the rectangular clearing you’re making will likely be higher than the other. That’s okay.

Now that you’ve stripped the ground vegetation and leveled the base, place your bed into the footprint you’ve created (again, a few minutes’ assistance from a friend would really help here). Make sure it fits snugly within the footprint in the alignment you want, and use your pick or hoe to trim the side banks if need be to make the fit perfect. Confirm (with your carpenters level, if you have it) that the sides of the bed frame are indeed level. You may need to lift the frame up to add or remove dirt from underneath it to correct the pitch.

A successfully installed bed should look something like this:

completed-bed

Setting Up Drip Irrigation

As mentioned earlier, if you can lay in an irrigation system now, you’ll save yourself a lot of time and heartache compared to installing one in the future.

I must admit, I was a little daunted before tackling this task, as I’d never worked much before with water systems. The basics are so simple, though, that in almost no time I felt like an expert.

The key things to figure out at this time are:

  • How water will get from your spigot to the garden
  • How water will get from the garden entry point to each of the beds (and anywhere else you may want it to go)
  • How water will flow within each of your beds

Here’s a shot of how I laid things out for my garden:

garden-supply-hose

irrigation-system

They’re not the best photos, but you’ll see how I was laying down the hoses that would bring water to the beds, as well as a main hose for each bed, from which smaller drip lines will eventually extend (pictures of the finished system are further down in this article).

You’ll find that working with the components of a drip irrigation system is sort of like working with Tinker Toys. You build it, decide you want to make some changes, quickly disassemble parts of it, and rebuild the way you want. Really, anyone can do it.

Filling Your Beds

Okay, now we get to start talking about dirt.

A principal benefit of raised beds is that they allow you to optimize your soil conditions. What makes great soil is a topic that requires a full What Should I Do? article all on its own. But the easy guidance I can provide here is just to head off to your local nursery, tell them what plants you want to grow, and let them guide you to the best soil options.

In my case, it was an artisan mix produced by a local soil and mulch producer.

Be warned: Raised beds require a surprising amount of soil! My four 4’x6′ beds needed 2 cubic yards of dirt. That may not sound like much, but it is.

I was able to save a TON on the cost of the soil by bagging it myself. It’s a good thing for my wallet that I made that decision before realizing how much work it would be. On my first trip for soil, I was astounded by how much dirt I was going to have to bag when the front-end loader dumped its full bucket-load at my feet. But that astonishment quickly turned to disbelief when it returned to dump a second load.

For perspective, here’s what the back of my Toyota Highlander looked like when I arrived home (and yes, the middle section and passenger seat were piled to the ceiling as well):

car-bags

And that was just for 1 cubic yard…

Anyways, once you’ve got your soil home, start filling up your raised beds with it. One important thing to know is that your soil will settle over time, so add more than it looks like you need. Mound the excess dirt in the center of the beds.

Before planting anything, you’ll want to wait 2 weeks for the soil level within the bed to lower as it settles. You can then spread the mound out evenly across the bed to raise the dirt line back up.

bed-mound

Congratulations, your raised beds are ready to go!

Fencing In Your Garden

After all this work, you definitely want to protect your investment.

Putting in a fence is highly recommended if you live in a location where deer, rabbits, chickens, dogs, or other garden menaces are a factor.

Again, if that sounds a little daunting, don’t worry. The mechanics here are extremely simple.

Corner Posts

Your fence needs the greatest stability at its four corners, so this is where your effort will be most concentrated.

First, obtain your corner posts. For my garden, I went with four 8-foot redwood 4″x4″s, which I bought at the hardware store.

The twine you previously laid down for your garden borders should make it easy to see where the corners are. At each corner, dig a hole at least 12″ deep; enough to hold the 4″x4″ vertically upright with stability. If you have one, a post hole digger makes this job much easier and more efficient. You can usually pick up a used one for $10 or less at a good flea market or garage sale. (I did).

If your garden is on a slant, dig the holes on the higher end deeper so that the tops of all of your corner posts are at the same elevation. Once they are, you’re ready for the concrete.

You can buy quick-setting fence post concrete for a few dollars a sack at your local hardware store. It usually is a just-add-water mix and is simple to prepare — just be ready to use it quickly, as it begins hardening fast.

But there’s one last thing you should do before mixing your concrete: Near the top of each fence post, on two adjacent sides, hammer a nail halfway in on each side. From each nail, hang several feet of string with a weight tied to the end (like a large washer). These weighted strings will be your plumb lines, which you will use to ensure that the post is in perfect vertical alignment. If the plumb lines are touching the post or are angled away, gently move the top of the post until they both hang parallel to the post.

Okay, back to the concrete. Add your water and stir to prepare. Starting at one corner, remove the post, pour some concrete into the bottom of the hole, put the post back in, and then fill up the remaining space around the pole with concrete. Use your plumb lines to ensure that the pole is perfectly vertical. Stand there for several minutes while the concrete sets you can leave once the pole doesn’t shift at all when you let go of it.

standing-pole

Repeat for the other 3 corners.

The next step is to put up your fence wire between the poles. Before doing so, though, it’s wise to create a trench several inches deep along the line where the wire will run, so your fence wire will ultimately extended into the ground to discourage hungry critters from digging under it. A miners pick, again, proves useful here.

fence-trench

With the trench completed, attach one end of your fence wire to a post with U-nails, which hammer into the wood pretty easily (this should be done at least one day after pouring the concrete, to make sure that the post is solidly fixed in place). Run the fence wire along the trench over to the next pole. Pull the wire as taut as possible (a friend’s assistance comes in handy here) and affix to the new pole with U-nails, as before.

You probably will not be able to remove 100% of the slack in your fence wire line no matter how hard you tried. Not to worry. You’ll shore up any slack with T-Posts.

Most hardware stores carry these, but you can usually find older ones on Craigslist that will fill the bill just fine. Place them at regular intervals (I used 2 per side in my 22’x17′ garden), hammering them in to the ground by 12″ or so. A post driver is perfect for driving them deep, if you have access to one.

Then tie the fence wire to the T-posts at several points using baling wire. Once done, your fence wall should be pretty straight and well-supported.

Here are some pictures of the fencing going up around my garden. Note that the further the fence extended, the more the chickens wanted to be inside the area I was enclosing to keep them out of!

fencincg-with-chickens

fencing-with-chickens

At this point, your garden beds should be “boxed in” by your fence. Just be sure you’re on the outside!

Determine where you want the main door to your garden to be, and cut a temporary (or not) access entrance there in your fence wire. This worked so well for me that it’s still the entrance I use now that my garden is finished: I just went on to create a “door” from additional fence wire, using carabiners as “hinges.” Simple, yet very utilitarian.

Congratulations your garden is now securely fenced! At this point, you’re pretty much ready to start growing food.

I know, it seems like a lot of work to have done before a single seed has been planted. That’s because farming, even backyard gardening, requires real effort! But it’s some of the most rewarding effort you’ll ever put in. When your first harvest arrives, the vegetables will taste incredibly wonderful, in no small part because you’ll appreciate what it took to grow them.

Also, remember that this sweat work you’re doing is an up-front investment. You’ll be able to use these beds for years and years. Your future self will be very grateful for the effort your current self is putting in now.

Finishing Touches

If you planned for them, now is the time to put in any special features you want in your garden. For example, in mine, I installed:

  • a potato tower
  • a rain gutter for growing above-ground strawberries
  • a skinny 1’x15′ raised bed for sunflowers and corn
  • 5 Concord grapevines

You may want to try some of these, too, or you may have other ideas to explore. Be creative and inventive. My only advice is to keep it manageable. Remember that your main time and attention will be spent on the raised beds, so don’t add too many distractions.

One other finishing touch I definitely recommend is to remove the rest of the ground vegetation between the beds in your garden. You don’t want weeds and unwanted seeds finding their way into your beautiful beds.

Here’s how my garden looked at this stage. Note the 4 drip lines extending down each bed.

completed-garden

completed-garden

Last, you should strongly consider laying mulch between your beds now that you’ve removed the ground cover. If you don’t, you’ll find that the weeds and grass grow back in faster than your vegetables. A good 3″ layer of mulch made of weed-suppressing woods (your nursery can help you pick out the best options) will save you a lot of weeding, plus it makes the garden look substantially better, aesthetically. I was able to purchase all the mulch I needed for under $17 an investment I’m so glad to have made.

The Payoff

With your garden beds in place, you’re now able to grow a multitude of vegetables, herbs, and flowers throughout the year. Plus, you can help nurture local pollinators, make your property more visually pleasing, and provide yourself with healthy outdoor activity (exercise, emotionally-centering contemplative time, Vitamin D the list is long…)

In my garden alone this year, I’m growing:

  • strawberries (2 varieties)
  • potatoes (5 varieties)
  • tomatoes (3 varieties)
  • onions (2 varieties)
  • peppers (4 varieties)
  • carrots (2 varieties)
  • cucumbers
  • bush beans
  • butternut squash
  • rainbow chard
  • watermelon
  • broccoli
  • kale
  • basil
  • cantaloupe melon
  • arugula
  • lettuce (5 varieties)
  • corn (3 varieties)
  • pumpkin
  • sunflowers
  • Concord grapes

And I’m certain a more creative gardener could squeeze even more diversity into this space.

Now in full bloom, the garden is looking great:

todays-garden

And I must admit, I experience no small satisfaction every time I look at it, knowing that this abundance came from my vision and sweat (though I also feel very humbled, too, knowing that this is a pretty small garden compared to those managed by many of Peak Prosperity’s more seasoned gardeners!)

Hopefully, this article has provided you with the clarity, confidence, and inspiration to do the same. If you decide to undertake putting in a garden, you won’t regret it. But watch out you might become more addicted than you intended!

If you’ve been intending to become a gardener but aren’t quite sure yet how to get started, this how-to guide is for you.

 

Let’s face it, food can be heavy and bulky, even if it’s MREs or dehydrated. Other things may take precedence, like equipment and medicine for someone with special needs, or maybe you are just not able to carry much when you bug out. Carrying some fishing line and a few hooks is much easier than carrying cans of fish! While you may not feel confident that you can catch enough fish to survive, adding plants and occasional meat will keep you alive and even thriving.

A lack of food doesn’t have to mean your starvation. Nature provides food in abundance if we know where to look, how to get it and what to do with it once we’ve got it.

Different foods are available in different seasons and every area has its own wild food so you will have study up on what grows where you are, both plant and animal. Now is the time to find out what all those plants and animals are and how you can use them. The more sources you have for food, the better your chances of survival, not to mention you’ll be happier with a bigger variety of food.

Here are some basic guidelines to get you started, but don’t stop here. Go looking for information that’s specific to your area. Be sure you can identify plants. Most plants are not poisonous, but it only takes one to cause real trouble. Don’t rely on just one guide, but compare several. Look in books and on the internet, and, if you’re lucky enough, get someone who knows to show you.

Winter:

The Forager’s Harvest: A Guide to Identifying, Harvesting, and Preparing Edible Wild Plants

Summertime is the most abundant, but don’t think that just because it’s winter you’ll never find anything to eat. Roots of certain plants are still available in many areas. Even if the ground is frozen, you may be able to dig roots from under the tree canopy because the ground is covered with leaves and needles, creating a protecting mulch. What plants? Look for dandelions, daylilies. You may find cattails standing in partially frozen or thawed water. It will be cold work to get them, but cattail roots can be eaten if you boil and remove the fibers. Dandelions are the hardiest of small plants, with long taproots which can be boiled and eaten or roasted and ground into “coffee.” Daylilies have tubers that taste something like potatoes. There are no doubt other plants in your area with edible and otherwise useful roots or tubers.

You can fish and hunt in the winter if you are prepared, which means that you will need fishing line and hooks and a method of killing game, whether it’s a gun, bow and arrow, spear or a good slingshot. What’s in your area? Whether it’s squirrel, deer, pheasant or robin, find out the best way to hunt and prepare it.

Spring:

If there is dock growing in your area, it’s the first “green” out. Learn to recognize it and you’ll have a tasty dish before anything else appears. Spring is the time to stop digging dandelion roots and let the leaves grow. Use them raw or cooked, plain or fancy. Dandelion blossoms are edible, too. Lambsquarter is young and tender, wild lettuce and mustards are waking up. Learn what they look like and try them out this spring.

crispus-87928_640

In late spring, watch for maple “helicopters,” those whirly seed bearing things. They are not only edible, but delicious when young and tender. Look for more edible trees in your area.
Chicken eggs are not the only edible eggs. If you observe birds nesting and can get to the nest the first or at least the second day, the eggs will be perfectly edible. Scramble, boil, fry or use them to leaven bread. Also look for duck and goose eggs in the spring. Larger eggs will go farther, of course, but may be harder to find.

Summer:

This is nature in all its glory. You may see purslane, mallow and more to go along with the rest. Dandelion leaves will be bitter now, so best leave them alone until fall, when you can dig roots again. Check out your local flora because there is a lot growing, from wild fruits to greens. Avoid digging roots of any kind in the summer so plants can produce above ground. Almost every area has wild fruit of some kind.

blackberry-577057_640

Wild Blackberry grow abundantly in some areas.

Hunting is not usually done in the dead of summer for a couple of reasons. First, animals are raising their young then and if you kill the mother, the babies will die, too. Secondly, disease is more common in the summer and eating a diseased animal can be deadly. If you stick to fish and eggs when you can find them, you’ll be much safer.

Fall:

Fall is harvest time in wild nature as well as in your backyard garden. Everything that didn’t mature during the summer is maturing now. Here’s the flour for the bread mentioned above. Lambs-quarter seed will ripen slowly. Dock will have already seeded out. Other wild grains will be there if you look for them. Now is the time to do your homework so you’ll know what they look like. Gather them in abundance if you can, then winnow and grind them (with two stones if you must). Using birds eggs for leavening and adding some hulled wild sunflower seed can make bread that is so satisfying you may not need anything else.

You can start digging dandelion and other roots now, too. Fall is a time of real abundance in a way that summer can’t be. It can provide boiled roots, baked bread, and still enough fresh food for a salad or pot of greens. If you are out there in the fall, prepare like our ancestors did and gather a lot more than you think you will need. If you’re there through the winter, you’ll be glad for the variety.

Sure, you won’t be the only one out there looking for food, but if you’re smart, you will know more than most about which wild plants are edible and how and when to use them, and you’ll have enough experience in fishing and hunting so the thought doesn’t scare you.

Food is critical to survival; carrying it on your back is not.

Food is critical to survival; carrying it on your back is not.

Prepping by definition means taking proactive steps to get ready. We prepare for situations to happen. We prepare to have food for our family if the grocery stores are closed or sold out due to shortages or looting. We prepare to provide water for our family if the tap water is undrinkable due to pollution. We prepare for economic collapse by having precious metals and cash stored in places we can access even if the banks close. We prepare so we have what we need when we need it.

But some disasters catch you off guard. There are some cases where we don’t have our Bug Out bags with us at the moment. There are times when we don’t have our EDC gear because as much as we hate to admit it, sometimes we walk out the door unprepared. This could be for all manner of reasons and I want to stress that we should limit this type of oversight as much as possible, but it still happens. Survival isn’t only guaranteed to those who have the latest prepper gear. Your mindset will take you further than the coolest survival knife in the world and today we are going to talk about how to survive with only the real everyday items you have with you. When you roll out the door and go out for a walk, the stuff you’re wearing can still assist you. It could be the difference between life or death in a survival situation. Here’s how to make the most of what you’ve got when SHTF.

Watch

It’s important to stay connected and maintain access to valuable information. A smart watch like the Samsung Gear 2 can do just that. It can also guide you in the right direction when disaster strikes because it can give you access to GPS navigation.

Watch

Even if you don’t have a smartwatch, your regular watch can help you in the wild just as well. You can use your wristwatch as an orienteering device to find your way. Hold your watch horizontally and point its hour hand at the sun. Bisect the angle between its hour hand and the 12 o’clock mark to get the north to south line. If you are doubtfully determining which end of the line is actually north, remember, the sun rises in the east, sets in the west and is south at noon.

Shoelaces

The laces on your shoes can be used when you need rope or string. They also can be used to create a fire, a lifesaving essential in the wild. Using nothing but your shoelaces, sticks and some wood, you can start a fire with the bow-and-drill method. Use your lace to create the part of the bow that’s used to be tied around the drill. It will help keep everything in place while you’re sawing to create a hot fire.

Flashlight

Having a good tactical flashlight on your person can save you if you get lost in the woods, and it sure makes for a great signaling device. When SHTF you probably won’t be using your flashlight to signal for help, but you can use it in other ways.

Animals are typically scared away with a flash in the eyes from a flashlight. And in a disaster situation like a fire or earthquake, you can find your way out of a dark building. Choose a LED flashlight to add to your everyday carry. They are much better than the cheap incandescent ones and the battery life is much longer.

Belt

Your belt can come in handy when you’re braving the wilderness in more ways than one. Use your belt to bundle firewood, making it easier to carry from point A to point B. If you get injured, use it as a tourniquet. The small metal prong or buckle can be put to good use if you need a weapon or hook because it can be sharpened and molded.

Shirt

You need water to survive, but safe, drinkable water may be in short supply when the apocalypse hits. It’s not likely that your water purification system is part of your everyday carry, but your shirt can make a good substitute. Filtering water through fabric is actually more common around the world than you might think. Use your shirt or other piece of clothing (woven fabrics work the best) to remove the color and particles out of water. However, this will not eliminate viruses or illness, so always boil your water after filtering it.

So while I think we all can agree that nobody should be going for a hike into the wilderness without the proper preparation, sometimes you have to use what you have. I try to have my EDC with me every single place I go, but sometimes, my outfit choice doesn’t allow it. If I am in athletic attire, I don’t have my concealed firearm on my hip, my multi-tool and large flashlight. I don’t have a bandanna either just to name a few. I do have a source of fire and a light on my key-chain and my car, which is always near has a full selection of gear including my Get Home Bag.

Stepping out the door without the tools you count on is taking a risk, but we weigh those with the situation. Even if you have nothing but the clothes on your back, you can survive. As long as you keep your head.

Prepping by definition means taking proactive steps to get ready. We prepare for situations to happen. We prepare to have food for our family if the grocery stores are closed

When most people think of long term food storage, pantries filled with canned goods is what often comes to mind. However, we have to be very careful with what we store and buy. Things are not always what they seem when it comes to food storage many products claim to be made with the famed 25 year shelf life, but start to read the label and you will find ingredients that will not last more than 2-3 years. This article will teach you what to look for.

When looking at long term food storage, you must first look at the ingredients. Can you pronounce every ingredient? Do you see words like hydrogenated, hydrolyzed, or Mono-sodium Glutamate (MSG)? These words, along with many others indicate artificial flavorings, colorings, and preservatives that can be very harmful to your body, not to mention unstable.

Read the label

If you have bought food go grab it and lets look at the label. If you see things like cake flour it only has a shelf life of 8 months to a year. Keep looking, do you see soy bean oil, canola oil, hydrogenated oils or hydrolyzed syrup? Those all have a shelf life of only a year or two, yet they are being sold as 25 year food storage! Don’t forget to also look for things like whole eggs or dairy as well. These ingredients simply can not last as long as these food storage companies claim and you need to be aware.

To be shelf stable, there also has to be the minimum of water content in the food. The FDA suggests that dehydrated food, using any form of dehydration, must have a water content less than 7%. The problem most companies find with following this mandate is simply cost. Making sure the food actually gets under 7% of water content requires extra time, effort and power, creating a path for shortcuts to be taken which most companies do.

When shortcuts are taken, added preservatives have to be used. By putting in the hydrogenated oils, food storage manufacturers can extend the shelf life of lower quality oils such as vegetable, soy, and safflower oils.  These oils have a natural shelf life of 18 months under preferable conditions. When chemicals and artificial preservatives are introduced, they can store for several years, but they have been altered to an unhealthy form to accomplish it.

When purchasing your food, make sure you do your homework and read the label. It may literally save your life.

Finding a manufacturer that believes in using natural, shelf stable ingredients means that they don’t have to use the artificial chemicals to preserve their long term food storage. The food is just as flavorful, healthy, and nutritious as when it was originally sourced. When you are looking for good ingredients, look for real food products that have been freeze dried and prepared to last. For example things like tomato or onion powder chopped or grated vegetables. Also look for whole foods like whole beans in the food, products that contain these types of ingredients will be sure to provide you the nutrition your body will need, when you need it.

Is your food protected?

Another thing to look for is packaging, this isn’t always the easiest thing to see because many products now come in the large white buckets. While the buckets look good they are not what actually is protecting the food from the elements. When you open up the bucket you will notice that the food is individually packaged in plastic or Mylar type bags. This is crucial to long term food storage because if your packaging fails your food will spoil long before its shelf date. A few things I like to look for is the quality of the bag itself. Is it flimsy and folds easily? That’s a bad sign, look for solid, quality bags at least 5.4 mm think so it will stand the test of time. I also really like the resealable option so you can one use a little at a time and still seal off your food.

The next thing to look for when it comes to packaging is how the provider is eliminating oxygen from the food. This will again provide the product a long shelf life as well as keep it fresh. If the company only provides an oxygen eliminating pack in its product, that’s really not enough to keep the food fresh. Look for a producer that fully nitrogen flushes its food to eliminate all oxygen in each bag.

Getting your food storage doesn’t have to be difficult. Don’t make the mistake of buying from the first food storage company you see and getting food that won’t be edible in an emergency.

When most people think of long term food storage, pantries filled with canned goods is what often comes to mind. However, we have to be very careful with what we

I will never understand how restaurants can get away with charging a hundred bucks for a piece of old beef steak. Sure, it’s delicious, melts in your mouth, but, c’mon, does a man have to sign an arm-and-leg lease to enjoy a good steak? Anyway, should’ve started by saying that I’m a big fan of aged food; cheese, fish, meats.

You name it! The bad news is that these are not the types of foods one can make at home. Or so I thought after stumbling upon this recipe. The funny part is that I was actually looking for a way to clean the freezer without using anything, well, toxic, when this little jewel sprung right into my eyes.

So, why should you try aged meat? Well, because it’s easy to make. On top of that, get this: the oldest beef cut in the world is 13 years old! Imagine having ready-to-eat meat at home without having to brine, refrigerate, go shopping, or hunt. Well, it’s possible, and I’m going to show you how to do it.

So, without further ado, here’s how to make your own aged beef.

Gathering the ingredients

As I’ve said, this recipe doesn’t require any special ingredients like salt, vinegar, or whatever else people use to preserve meat (not touching that topic with a ten-foot pole). Still, the cut of choice will ultimately determine the taste. The recipe I mentioned about involved large cuts of meat – the bigger, the better. Would be a good idea to go to a butcher’s instead of hitting the supermarket. Anywho, avoid small cuts, and choose meats that pack some fat – whole ribs, porterhouse cuts, rib steak, or New York strips.

That’s basically it as far as the ingredients are concerned. For aging, I would advise using a zip-lock bag instead of food wrap – does a better job at keeping the air out; meat should age on its own. The last thing you’ll need is more air.

Arguably, refrigeration’s the best way to go about aged beef, but considering that our grand used to prepare meat long before fridges were invented, I would venture to guess that the root cellar is also a good choice.

As for quantity, a two pounder’s more than enough in my opinion – if you’ve never eater aged meat in your life, better make a smaller batch. Otherwise, you’ll get stuck with something with an extra chunk of meat.

All done gathering your stuff? Great! Let’s get to the ‘cooking’ part.

How to Prepare Aged Beef

Step 1. Prepare the fridge or designate a shelf in the root cellar.

Make sure that fridge’s clean. Stinky food, molding, and, grime will affect the aging process. So, if something smells bad in there, better toss it in the trash. One more thing: remove cheese, garlic, onion, or fish from the shelf assigned to the aged meat. Garlic and onions are fine, but not during the aging process (gives the meat a funny taste).

Step 2.  Set temp and check humidity

The funny thing about meat: if it’s kept in above 40 degrees Fahrenheit temps, it will go rotten. On the other hand, if you stick it in a below 32 degrees Fahrenheit enclosure, it will freeze. So, in this case, the sweet spot would be 36 degrees Fahrenheit. Set the fridge’s thermostat accordingly and don’t forget to check the humidity inside (should be around 60%, give or take).

Most modern setups can display values such as temp and humidity. Still, if you have an older model, I would strongly recommend buying a hygrometer (a device that measures indoor humidity). It’s quite affordable and can be used around the house as well.

Step 3. Preparing the meat.

If you decide on paying a visit to your local butcher, ask him to leave the meat as it is; most tend to trim the excess, which is a definite no-no in this case. Wash the meat a couple of times, dry with paper towels or something, and place in a zip-lock bag.

Advice: if you want to hasten the aging process, try wrapping your meat in cheesecloth. Keep in mind that the cloth must be changed each day to prevent sudden dehydration.

Step 4. Store the meat in your fridge or root cellar.

Grab a small oven tray from the pantry, put the meat inside, and stick in the freezer. That’s it! All you need to do now is wait for the meat to age.

Additional considerations on aged meat

Color’s very important in figuring out how long should the meat age. For instance, if your cut has a darker color to it, the aging process takes anyway from a couple of days to one week (don’t forget to check up it each day). On the other hand, if the beef cut has a lighter color, it needs at least 7 days to age. Still, I wouldn’t advise you to keep it longer than 30 days. Always remember that there’s a fine line between edible aged meat and a spoiled chunk of something.

Another thing to keep in mind is that the fridge’s thermostat might not be able to keep up with the process. When you’re done checking the meat, recheck the temp and humidity.

The whole idea is to allow the meat to dehydrate on its own – that’s why it’s a good idea to turn on the fridge’s fan and to set it on low. In some cases, the in-build fan may not be enough. Not to worry – just grab a laptop or desk fan and place it inside the fridge on the same shelf as your aged meat.

When the aging’s complete, remove the cloth from the meat and set it on a plate. I should warn you though that the meat might give off an unpleasant smell even after removing everything from the fridge. Don’t worry about that – use a knife to cut the outer layer. Leave a little bit of fat.

Now, given the proper conditions, meat can be preserved longer than 30 days. However, if you plan on taking it out of the cloth and ziplock bag, you should eat it within one or two days.

That’s it for how to make aged beef steak. What’s your take on this? Hit the comments sections and let me know.

Sure, it’s delicious, melts in your mouth, but, c’mon, does a man have to sign an arm-and-leg lease to enjoy a good steak?

The threat of electromagnetic pulse (EMP) hasn’t gone away, just because President Trump managed to get North Korea to the bargaining table. I haven’t seen any news stories saying that the North Koreans have done away with their stock of nuclear arms or their missiles. All they’ve really done is to stop all the testing they were doing the last couple of years. There have been exactly zero concessions across the bargaining table.

Some notable sources have stated that North Korea is still planning an EMP strike against the USA, expressing concern that North Korean satellites currently in orbit could be carrying nuclear warheads for that very purpose. As those satellites travel in a south to north orbit over our country, we have no defenses arrayed against such an attack.

But North Korea isn’t the only potential enemy out there. Iran is still working on their nuclear program and supposedly has a missile capable of ballistic flight. And you are aware of the news on Iran today..

Then there’s Russia. While everyone ignores the Russian bear, Putin himself made a point of reminding our government that they still have a lot of nukes. That wasn’t accidental and it’s not something that can be ignored. Should Russia’s leadership decide that meeting their goals requires eliminating the competition, otherwise known as the United States of America, they are well prepared to do so.

Related – Knowledge to survive any medical crisis situation

There are two basic ways that electronics will be damaged by an EMP. Protecting them from an EMP means protecting them from both of these potential sources of damage.

  • Direct EMP radiation from E1 & E2 – The first two pulses of the EMP will send massive amounts of electrical energy into the atmosphere, where it will be attracted to anything metal, like wires. This will enter electronics, burning out circuitry. But the key here is the wires, which act as an antenna, capturing that electric energy. Devices which don’t have wires attached to them are less likely to be damaged.
  • Voltage surge from E3 – The third pulse will affect the Earth’s electromagnetic field, which will end up causing a massive voltage surge in power lines. Any electronic device which is plugged into your home’s electrical current will receive this surge, blowing through any surge protectors you might have and overloading the device’s electronics.

With all those EMP risks in mind, it only makes sense to be prepared for the potential risk of an EMP attack. While it may never come, that’s not a chance we can afford to take. So here are some new ideas of how you can protect yourself from an EMP.

Related – Claim your 35% discount on the EMP Protocol

EMP Protective Phone Case

A number of companies are now manufacturing EMP protective phone cases. These cases are essentially a portable Faraday Cage, just the right size for your phone. The case has the necessary metal shielding hidden away inside the cover, making it portable protection that’s not particularly obvious or obtrusive to your day-to-day life.

The one problem with these cases is that they will cut down your signal somewhat, due to the shielding. You may find yourself missing some calls, especially if you are at the edge of a cell’s coverage area and you don’t have a strong signal. To mitigate against this, be sure to use one that fits your phone well. If it is too big, it is more likely to cover too much of your antenna.

EMP Computer Cases

Most people use laptop computers today, rather than desktop computers. This is advantageous, as you can buy EMP protective covers for laptop computers. These cases won’t protect your laptop if the case is open and you are using it, nor can they protect it from the voltage surge; but when the laptop is closed up and not in use, as well as not plugged in, it will be protected.

Bluetooth

Bluetooth devices are naturally protected from EMP, because they don’t have electrical connections attached to them, bringing in the E1 & E2 pulses. Nor are they going to receive the voltage surge caused by the E3. Even if they are plugged in to recharge, the E3 pulse will probably destroy the charger, which will prevent it from reaching the Bluetooth device.

The advantage here is that buying Bluetooth devices, especially small ones, provides you with a level of protection that you wouldn’t otherwise have. Even if those devices are in operation during the EMP, they are likely to continue working. The trick then will be charging them.

Related Secure your privacy in just 10 simple steps 

Solar Panels

Most people don’t know it, but solar panels are naturally resistant to EMP. While the EMP will cause minor damage to them, it will only reduce their output by about five percent. Considering that solar panel systems are already designed with a buffer to account for inefficiencies and cloudy days, you should be able to use your solar panels more or less like normal.

The problem will be in using the power coming from the solar panels. This normally flows through a solar charge controller, then on to charge a battery backup system. The power can then be drawn out of the batteries directly or run through a voltage inverter to turn it into house current for use.

The solar charge controller would definitely be destroyed by the EMP and the voltage inverter probably would as well. But the batteries should be able to ride out the EMP without damage. So, having a spare solar charge controller and voltage inverter would allow you to have your own power generation capability back up and running, within an hour after the EMP shuts off the electricity.

That replacement solar charge controller and voltage inverter should be stored in a place where they will be protected from the EMP, like a Faraday Cage. If you don’t have a Faraday Cage, they can be kept in any metal enclosure, such as a galvanized metal trash can, a steel filing cabinet, a metal toolbox, a metal cabinet or even the trunk of your car. As long as it is in its packaging, so that the device doesn’t touch the metal skin of where it is stored, it will be protected.

Related – Claim your 35% discount on the EMP Protocol


Other Self-sufficiency and Preparedness solutions recommended for you:

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

The threat of electromagnetic pulse (EMP) hasn’t gone away, just because President Trump managed to get North Korea to the bargaining table.

DRINKING WATER – BACKGROUND:

How to sterilize water? Simple: You don’t need to ‘sterilize’ water. Sterilization is the destruction of all microorganisms in, on and around an object. What is needed for safe drinking water, is disinfection (killing of pathogenic (disease-causing) organisms). Disinfection can be done many ways, including filtration, heat, ozonation, and chemical disinfection.

Despite many stories to the contrary, simply boiling water will disinfect it. At any elevation you’re likely be at the boiling point of water is high enough to kill (or denature) anything in the water. You don’t need to boil it for any particular length of time, just get it boiling at a good rolling boil.

Pasteurization removes (Kill) disease-causing organisms in water by exposure to heating to 65°C (149°F) for a short period of time. This will free the water from microbes, including E. coli, Rotaviruses, Giardia and the Hepatitis A virus.

A Water Pasteurization Indicator (WAPI) contains a heat specific soy wax that helps users determine when water has reached pasteurization temperatures. The WAPI has the added benefit of a tough stainless steel cable and brass end caps. Both are designed to withstand high heat which means they won’t melt when used over an open flame. This feature makes the WAPI especially valuable when used over an open fire, like camping or in situations where solar cooking is not an option.

Filtration is a good method, you should use a filter that has an absolute rating of 0.2 micron diameter or less (0.1 micron). Personally, I use iodine crystals (Polar Pure™ first, then filter the water. Chemical disinfection is the use of various chemicals (usually a halide like chlorine or iodine) in the water. It’s usually a quick, economical and effective method.

Purifying water with bleach

Letter Re: Purifying Water with Bleach

Regular liquid bleach is not stable, it breaks down gradually and eventually becomes just salt water over a period of 2 years. It’s still usable at 1 year but you must use twice as much.

Purifying water with Calcium Hypochlorite (pool shock)

Calcium hypochlorite will store in dry form nearly indefinitely (10 years), whereas liquid chlorine bleach loses half of its potency after a year (use twice as much for the same effect) and is next to worthless after two years.

Using calcium hypochlorite you can mix your own liquid bleach on an as-needed basis and have it fresh and fully active. (It’s very much like the difference in storage life between whole kernel wheat versus ground flour.)

Calcium Hypochlorite (Pool shock) can be purchased at any Pool supply center and most hardware stores.

Calcium Hypochlorite – purity

A granular (dry powder) “pool shock” product that lists only Calcium Hypochlorite as the active ingredient should be safe to use for water purification. The problem with other varieties is that they include other algaecide or fungicide chemicals that are probably not safe for human consumption. Ditto for using liquid bleach for the same purpose. Do NOT buy bleach with fabric softeners, scents, et cetera. Keep in mind that bleach solutions break down and weaken with time (anticipate a 24 month shelf life), but that dry granular bleach stores indefinitely.

Berkey BK4X2-BB Big Berkey Drinking Water Filtration System with 4 Filters – 2 Black Filters and 2 Fluoride Filters

Calcium Hypochlorite – Mixing

In an EXTREMELY well ventilated area, (Hint: OUTSIDE!) add and dissolve one heaping teaspoon of high-test granular calcium hypochlorite (approximately 1/4 ounce) for each two gallons of water. Five pounds of dry pool bleach costs about $10-15, which will make about 92 gallons of bleach, which will sterilize 706,560 gallons of clear water, or 353,280 gallons of cloudy water.”

“Granular Calcium Hypochlorite. Add and dissolve one heaping teaspoon of high-test granular calcium hypochlorite (approximately 1/4 ounce) for each two gallons of water. The mixture will produce a stock chlorine solution of approximately 500 mg/L, since the calcium hypochlorite has an available chlorine equal to 70 percent of its weight. To disinfect water, add the chlorine solution in the ratio of one part of chlorine solution to each 100 parts of water to be treated. This is roughly equal to adding 1 pint (16 oz.) of stock chlorine to each 12.5 gallons of water to be disinfected. To remove any objectionable chlorine odor, aerate the water as described below.

The treated water should be mixed thoroughly and allowed to stand, preferably covered, for 30 minutes. The water should have a slight chlorine odor; if not, repeat the dosage and allow the water to stand for an additional 15 minutes. If the treated water has too strong a chlorine taste, it can be made more pleasing by allowing the water to stand exposed to the air for a few hours or by pouring it from one clean container to another several times”

Okay, a lot of people don’t have a 12.5 gallon container lying around, so let’s break it down. To make two gallons of the bleach, one heaping teaspoon of the calcium hypochlorite goes into 2 gallons of water. To make drinkable water, 1/8 (about 8 drops) tablespoons of the bleach goes into 1 gallon of water. Let stand covered 30 minutes, aerate to taste.

Safe Drinking Water treatment process – General

As mentioned previously, water from open sources must always be treated before use. Typical chlorine concentrations will kill bacteria but not all viruses. So I recommend a three-step approach to treating water from open sources:

  1. Pre-filtering. This remove particulate matter. Pouring water though a couple of thickness of t-shirts or tightly woven bath towels works fine. The water that comes through will still look like tea, but at least you will have removed the crud and larger particles. By pre-filtering, you will also extend the life of your water filter. (You avoid clogging the microscopic pores in the filter media.)
  2. Chlorinating. This can be accomplished following directions above.
  3. Filtering. I recommend the large Katadyn or British Berkefeld filters. Some filter elements available for Katadyn or British Berkefeld filters can even remove chlorine.

DRINKING WATER – BACKGROUND: How to sterilize water? Simple: You don’t need to ‘sterilize’ water. Sterilization is the destruction of all microorganisms in, on and around an object. What is needed