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Perhaps the single most useful tool for someone to have in a survival situation is a lighter. While some might argue that a lighter is a little bit of a cheat and that a real survivalist would start fires from scratch, this argument doesn’t really hold water when your life is actually on the line. Starting a fire the Neanderthal way might be more pure, but it actually requires considerable skill and even a bit of engineering savvy before you’ll see the first glimmer of smoke, and eventually some life-saving flame.

A survival lighter is very compact, is universally available, and provides a priceless function to someone suddenly thrust into a life-or-death situation. For someone intentionally seeking out the wild places of the world, a reliable lighter is solid gold. But for a lighter to be as useful as possible, it must be relatively immune from the effects of wind and the elements and offer a steady flame that will not be blown out by a mere breeze. Storm-proof lighters offer just that kind of service and are well-known to survivalists around the world, many of whom carry two or more in the wild.

Here are some of the ways that a good survival lighter can make the difference between life and death in a real survival situation.

Building fires for warmth

Ultimate Survival Technologies Delta Shock and Storm Proof Lighter – Blaze Orange

In a cold climate especially, warmth will be essential for a person caught in the wilderness. Some kind of shelter is essential as protection from weather conditions, but it will also be necessary to keep warm, and in places where the thermometer dips low at night, a fire can stave off frostbite or even worse harm.

Cooking food

Humans are capable of lasting up to three weeks without food, but that doesn’t mean you can count on surviving that long between meals. In actuality, the body begins to grow weaker far sooner than the three week period, and that means muscle coordination and even brain functions are degraded far sooner. Raw food might be palatable in a pinch, but cooking food also kills germs and bacteria that might be present and will allow for a healthier intake of foods that are not normal components of the human diet.

Protection against wild animals

In an area where there might be predators, fire can be essential protection for the survivalist. Wild animals have a natural aversion to fire, many of them having witnessed the damage that wildfires are capable of, and they will not enter a campsite where a strong fire is burning. Of course, this means that the fire has to be maintained whenever there is a suspected presence of such predators and that a steady supply of fuel must be gathered, but here too, fire can help. Carrying a burning piece of wood along as you seek wood supplies will cause most animals to keep their distance.


Boiling water works just fine to kill off anything nasty in your water supply.

Water purification

There are, of course, better purification methods than boiling water, for instance, handheld purifiers and water bottles with purification systems, but if you happen to be caught without any of these, then boiling water works just fine to kill off anything nasty in your water supply. And it almost goes without saying that you must locate a water source, because humans cannot live longer than three days without it. Like with food though, that three-day guideline is an extreme case, and body functions will begin to degrade much sooner than that without essential water being taken in.

Mini survival kit

A survival lighter can be made to have much greater value than its single, intended function of lighting fires for all those benefits described above. Someone who has time to plan for a stay in the wild can dress up a lighter to be much more useful than as a mere starter of fires.

Carry a lighter on your keychain. This small peanut lighter could save your day.

Wrapping your lighter with duct tape can pay handsome dividends in a survival situation because there are hundreds of ways that duct tape can come in handy. After taping the lighter, add several fish hooks to one side of the lighter, and some sewing needles on the other side, to give yourself a tiny toolkit of items that can help with other aspects of survival.

Finally, wrap a long strand of heavy fishing line, perhaps 20-lb. test line, around the whole lighter to provide a means for fishing or makeshift trapping, and also to repair gear. By including these extra aids to survival all on one simple tool, the survival lighter is made even more valuable as a means of keeping you alive in a hostile situation.

Perhaps the single most useful tool for someone to have in a survival situation is a lighter. While some might argue that a lighter is a little bit of a

When we talk about off-grid power or emergency electrical power, most preppers are talking about solar panels or possibly a wind generator. We tend to scoff at gas-powered generators, as if they are something that only “amateurs” would use.

Yet even while we do that, disaster management professionals buy generators to power stores, police stations and their emergency operations centers.

Much of the negative attitude about fuel-powered generators in the prepping and survival community comes from the root problem with these generators, in that they need fuel to burn; fuel that won’t be available in a long-term survival situation. But what about short-term survival; wouldn’t it be useful then?

Let’s be honest with ourselves; few of us have enough solar panels to power more than our cell phones, let alone keeping the fridge running. But wouldn’t it be nice to be able to keep our refrigerator working, rather than having all that expensive meat spoil?

Unless you’ve got a lot of solar panels up on the roof, that probably means buying a generator. Fortunately, they’re not all that expensive; so they’re probably a good addition to your prepping stockpile.

But is that it? Do we just need to buy a generator? Actually… not. If you’re going to have a generator, there are a few things you should do, making sure that your generator will be ready for use, the next time a storm causes the lights to go out.

Figure Out Your Plan


Before even buying a generator, you should figure out a plan for how you’ll use it.

In other words, what are the critical electric devices that you have to have power for? Once you’ve decided that, then you need to know how much power do those critical electric devices draw.

Finally, you can figure out where to place the generator for maximum benefit and how you’re going to get the power from the generator to the various devices that need it.

Stockpile Gasoline


No portable generator is going to be useful without a goodly stock of gasoline to fuel it. That can be problematic though, as gasoline doesn’t keep well over a prolonged period of time. Six months is about the maximum without additives and those additives will only add about another six months to the shelf life.

The obvious solution to that problem is to rotate your gas stocks, following a first-in, first-out (FIFO) schedule. As the gasoline starts getting old, pour it into one of your cars to burn. Then fill that container again, maintaining your stockpile.

If you’re going to do that, I’d recommend that you not use plastic gas cans to store your stock. All gas cans expand and contract as the temperature cause the gas to expand and contract. This can cause leaks in those plastic cans.

Better to use metal ones, which can still end up being damaged by expansion and contraction, but will not start leaking. Better yet, buy a used 55-gallon steel drum and put it on a stand, so that it’s laying on its side.

Add a non-sparking spigot in the small bung hole, which should be located at the bottom. The drum can then be filled through the large bung hole. Using some of that gas every month and adding fresh gas to replace it will keep the gasoline usable.

Protect the Generator from EMP

One of the reasons we’re concerned about being able to generate our only electricity is because of the risk of an EMP. With that being the case, it’s important to shield the generator from EMP. That way, it will still operate, even after an EMP attack, somewhere down the line.

There are a couple of ways of doing this, both variants of the idea of the Faraday Cage. The first is to store the generator in a metal shed. That shed is essentially a Faraday Cage anyway, so it will protect the generator from EMP damage.

Just make sure that the generator doesn’t touch the metal of the shed and that there’s a layer of non-conductive insulation between them.

If you don’t have a metal shed, then you still need some form of Faraday Cage for storing your generator.

You could go through the trouble of building something that will work in that way or you could just buy some EMP proof cloth.

This relatively new material is what they’re making those EMP proof pouches for cell phones and other electronic devices. But you can buy the fabric by the yard, allowing you to use it to wrap up your generator.

Buy Extension Cords

Having a generator isn’t going to do you any good, if the electricity can’t get where you need it.

Yet most of us don’t have enough heavy-duty extension cords and splitters to do this.

We’re either going to have to move the devices from where they are, to wherever the generator will be or we’re going to have to put the generator in the wrong place, just so we can use it.

Good extension cords are expensive, I get it; and good extension cords are the only way to go. Buying cheap ones and joining them together to cover a long distance is a sure way of starting an electrical fire.

Better to invest the money in some good, heavy-gauge cords, than to take that risk.

Install a Generator Interlock


An even better way of getting that electricity from your generator to the appliances which need it is to install a generator interlock at your breaker box. This special circuit breaker and interlock allows you to connect the generator directly into the house’s wiring, allowing the existing wiring to do the distribution for you.

At the same time, the interlock will disconnect the home’s wiring from the grid, making it so that the electricity your generator is producing isn’t just lost in the grid.

The generator interlock is a much less costly solution than the alternative, that of installing a whole house switch. Still, it would be a good idea to have an electrician install this for you, unless you’re comfortable working inside your breaker box.

Replace the Muffler

When the time comes to use the generator, you’re going to be faced with other challenges than just the possibility of running out of gas.

As soon as you fire that thing up, all your neighbors are going to know that it’s there. You can’t really prevent that, but you can reduce how many neighbors hear it.

The mufflers on generators really don’t do all that much to reduce the amount of noise they produce. They do something; but not all that much.

You can improve on that by adding on a small muffler of the type that would be found on a compact car.

Weld an elbow to the output of the existing muffler, allowing it to act as the mounting adapter for you. Then either attach the new muffler right to that elbow or attach it through a short piece of tailpipe.

This isn’t going to make the generator totally quiet, but it will help. Your neighbors will probably still hear it; but the guy living a block away probably won’t. So it will make a difference.

A Further difference can be made by erecting a fenced-in area in your backyard for the generator to sit in, when in use. The fence will further absorb the sound that the generator makes and what it doesn’t absorb, it will help reflect upwards.

Between that and the muffler, you will hopefully reduce the generator’s acoustic signature to the point where only your closest neighbors will know it is there.

Create a Secure Generator Area

While you’re building that fenced-in area, you might as well make it secure. That could mean just putting a locking gate on the area, so that people can’t get in there without having to break the lock.

But I think I’d go a step further than that and make a concrete pillar, buried into the ground.

At the top end, install a large U-bolt, while the concrete is still wet. That will provide a great anchor to chain the generator to, making it much harder to steal.

When we talk about off-grid power or emergency electrical power, most preppers are talking about solar panels or possibly a wind generator. We tend to scoff at gas-powered generators, as

When it comes to sprucing up a bland dinner or adding flavor to homemade pickles, there are few ingredients that can compare with good ol’ fashioned salt. Salt allows food molecules to be released into the air and gives the food a distinct aroma and flavor. It highlights and suppresses the taste of foods, and is a necessary staple for any homesteading chef.

However, did you know that there are multiple uses for salt outside of the kitchen? There are several different types of salt; all of which can serve distinctive purposes.

Table salt is the most common type of salt and is finely ground, containing no trace minerals or impurities. It does not clump and has added iodine, which is necessary to prevent conditions such as hypothyroidism. Sea salt, on the other hand, contains higher quantities of minerals such as zinc, potassium, and iron, making it excellent for cooking and food preservation.

Other types of salt include kosher, Himalayan pink, Celtic sea, flake, and pickling salt. Although there is a vast variety of salts and their uses vary, it’s important to remember that all salt can be given second-life in these multi-purposing tips.

Food Preservation

Increase longevity of foods

Salt acts as a preservative through the process of osmosis. When two chemicals are brought into contact with each other, they reach a situation of equalization. As a result, it can be said that salt helps to dehydrate foods by absorbing or “equalizing” the water contained within the food. This dehydration prevents the food from decomposing.

To preserve your fruits, vegetables, and meat, you must completely cover your food with water and then gradually add salt (until there are salt deposits on the bottom of your container). Store this container—ideally with an airtight seal– in the refrigerator for several days. After this time has elapsed, exchange the old brine for fresh. If you’re dehydrating meat; bake it in the oven at an extremely low temperature.

For short-term preservation, cut fruits and vegetables can also be placed in a saltwater solution. The salt helps prevent the pieces from turning brown and losing flavor. This is a great solution if you’re cutting up large quantities of potatoes, apples, or other ingredients for cooking, and need to temporarily prevent them from browning.

Test egg freshness

If you are a homesteader and tend to stockpile large quantities of chicken eggs, this is the tip for you. If you’re not sure how long that carton of eggs has been in your fridge, never fear. Simply place the questionable egg in a cup of water with two teaspoons of salt. If the egg sinks, it’s fresh. If not; it will float (and should definitely be tossed).

For the eggs you plan to keep, there is another use for salt. You can prevent eggshells from breaking during the hard-boiling process by adding a few teaspoons of salt to the boiling water. This will save you time and energy—and also prevent a nasty, stinky mess!

Extend the shelf life of dairy products

As a prepper, it’s important that you maximize the shelf life of all of your supplies—especially hard-to-store dairy products. To preserve cheese, soak a napkin or cloth in saltwater and tightly wrap it around your cheese. This will prolong its shelf life and prevent mold.

You can also add a pinch of salt to a carton of milk. Doing so will allow the milk to stay fresh a week or sometimes more past its expiration date.

Cleaning

Season cast iron

Cast iron pans are fabulous cooking tools for homesteaders because they add an immense amount of flavor to your food and provide trace quantities of iron. However, since they have the ability to rust when exposed to water, they are difficult to wash.

Salt can save the day! If you have a grungy cast iron pan with stubborn remnants of food, simply pour one cup of coarse kosher salt into the warm pan. Scour using a rag (be careful not to burn yourself). Then dump the salt and briefly rinse with hot water. Dry or heat the pan immediately to evaporate the moisture.

Remove odors from wood cutting boards

Been cutting up some stinky salmon on your beautiful wood cutting board? Odors tend to linger for longer periods of time in wood because it can be tougher to sanitize. However, salt can help. Pour an ample amount of salt on your cutting board, then rub with a damp cloth before washing in warm water or with bleach. No more stink!

Eradicate stains and freshen up

Salt is great at removing stains because it is a natural exfoliant. As a result, it can be used to clean hard water stains, dishes, coffee rings, the oven, and even stains from red wine or blood. A salt-water paste applied to a surface is effective at getting out the toughest stains.

You can also clean your cleaning supplies with salt. Sponges tend to get gross with multiples uses. Rather than throwing it out and buying more (not a good option for most preppers), soak it in saltwater overnight. When you wring it out the next morning, you’ll think it was a brand new sponge.

 

Get rid of rust

If your outdoor furniture or fixtures have seen better days, salt can help. Make a paste with six tablespoons of salt and two tablespoons of lemon juice. Ironically, although salt often causes rusting (which you’ll know all about if you live in a northern climate and own a vehicle), this combination can help remove rust stains from most surfaces. Just be sure to rinse thoroughly and dry so that the mixture doesn’t set in and amplify the problem.

Deodorize your clothes

If you live an active lifestyle, as most preppers and homesteaders do, you’ll find that your clothes begin to tell a smelly tale after a period of time. To freshen up your shoes, spray the inside with a saltwater solution. This will help eliminate and prevent future odors.

You can also add a few tablespoons of salt to your laundry detergent. Salt is eco-friendlier than most store-bought additives such as OxiClean and will help keep your clothes fresh and bright while removing any lingering odors.

Wash lettuce

You want your salad to have a crunch—but that crunch shouldn’t be from all the leftover dirt. Lettuce and other leafy greens, such as kale or collards, can be difficult to wash because the irregular shape of their leaves allow dirt to become trapped. If you soak your salad mixture in a water bath with a bit of salt, the salt will help to force away the rest of the dirt.

Safety and First Aid

Stop a grease fire

Grease fires are hard to put out but are frighteningly common. In fact, cooking fires are the most common cause of house fires in the United States. Don’t rely on a fire extinguisher for small fires—instead, turn to salt.

Salt helps to smother fire as it deprives the flames of oxygen. It won’t make a mess of your grill, barbeque, bonfire, or stovetop, either. It also won’t cause excessive smoke.

Treat Wounds

The main chemical that exists in salt, sodium chloride, acts as a cell dehydrator in most situations. This means that simple cuts and injuries can be treated by applying a saline solution. Because salt forces the liquid in cells to move out of the body, it helps eliminate unwanted bacteria from entering your bloodstream. In essence, this helps to prevent infection and speed up the healing process. Next time you find yourself with a small cut, apply a small amount of saltwater (yes, it will hurt!) until the wound is healed.

Disclaimer: The author is not a doctor. Neither the author nor old.dailypreppernews.com shall be held responsible for the usage of the information in this article.

Calm inflammation from insect bites and stings

Let’s face it. Insect bites are probably the number one most unpleasant thing about summer months. They itch, make you feel uncomfortable and frankly, make you hate going outside in the first place. Fortunately, salt can help to alleviate some of the discomfort caused by bites or stings from honey bees, wasps, mosquitoes, and other flying critters.

Soak a cloth in saltwater and use it as a compress. This will help to cool your skin and relive the itch. This remedy can also be used for rashes caused by poison ivy, oak, and sumac.

Melt hazardous icy spots

One of the most common—and most old-fashioned—uses for salt is as a de-icer. Salt naturally lowers the freezing point of water and prevents ice from forming on windshields, driveways, and other surfaces. Simply scatter salt wherever you need a surface to be slip-free. Ideally, this should be done before any precipitation, as salting works better as a preventative measure than as a treatment.

You can also de-ice your windshield using salt. To do this, simply soak a sponge in saltwater and rub all of your windows down. Let them dry. When your windows get wet during the storm, this will prevent them from freezing.

Medicine

Nasal rinse

If you’re feeling congested or simply want to help prevent a cold, try using a salt nasal rinse. This helps restore moisture and calm down testy mucous membranes inside your sinuses. This is a great home remedy for individuals who suffer from frequent colds or sinus infections.

To make a saline nasal rinse, fill a squeeze bottle with a mixture of salt and water. Tip the bottle into your nose and allow the mixture to drain out of your mouth or through the other side of your nose. This strategy is much cheaper (in essence, free!) and more natural than any medication sold in pharmacies.

Sore throat

Salt doesn’t necessarily prevent or treat the underlying infections or allergies that cause a sore throat, but it does help to draw out mucus. It can help loosen up congestion and limit those nasty sick-time secretions.

Mix a ¼ teaspoon of salt with a cup of water, and then gargle. This will help relieve some of the scratchiness in your throat; as well as pressure and pain.

Gum infections

Salt can also help prevent mucus and inflammation in the mouth that cause oral problems. Gum infections can be treated with a toothpaste made of salt, baking soda, and water. You can also gargle with saltwater to help relieve canker sores and to freshen up your breath after a garlicky meal.

Skincare

As you already know, salt is a great exfoliant. Sea salt scrubs are commonly sold in stores to help remove dead skin cells and refresh tired skin. Salt helps remove odors, rough patches, and calluses from the skin. To use, simply mix with water and a few drops of essential oils to create a relaxing, fresh-smelling mix. Salt treatments can help to dry out acne and improve your overall complexion and skin health.

Aches

If your muscles are screaming in agony from all the work you’ve been doing around the homestead, salt can help you take a load off. Fill a bathtub with Epsom salts and hot water, and soak for several minutes a few times a week.

If you don’t have time to lounge in the tub, you can also make a paste of salt and any kind of gel (such as aloe) and apply it directly to your skin for instant relief.

Digestion

Feeling a bit backed up? Before you reach for store-bought cleansers, try sea salt instead. A mixture of salt dissolved in water helps your system effectively push waste through the body. It will release toxins and improve your overall digestion. Pepto who?

Home Improvement/DIY

Make soap

Next time you make homemade soap, consider adding salt. Not only does salt help to slough off dead skin cells and rejuvenate your complexion, but it also helps add hardness to a bar of soap. If you find that your homemade soap is finding its way to a goopy mess on the floor than it is to your skin, adding salt could be the way to go.

Fight weeds

If your garden is succumbing to weeds this season, that’s not good news for your wintertime food stores. Attack those cumbersome weeds before they can take control by pouring boiling saltwater on them. The hot water will kill the weeds and the salt will prevent their regrowth.

This isn’t a permanent fix and you must take care not to hit your precious plants, but it is a safe and natural alternative to chemical herbicides. This tip also works well in hard-to-weed areas such as the spaces between patio bricks or blocks. Salt can be dispersed among the bricks to help prevent weeds from popping up and ruining your landscaping.

Prevent ants and other pests

Many species of bugs hate salt. It kills slugs as it dehydrates them and prevents them from completing the necessary respiratory processes. Ants, on the other hand, are deterred by salt as they dislike walking on the fine grains.

Sprinkle a line of salt to prevent slugs or ants from entering a specific area, or spray a saltwater mix in general vicinity. Salt is not toxic to humans or animals, so it’s a safe alternative to Raid and other insecticides on the market.

Scale fish

There’s nothing worse after a productive day on the boat than coming home to a pile full of fish that need to be cleaned. Though this is a necessary byproduct of an enjoyable and sustainable hobby, salt provides a way to speed up the process.

If you soak fish in saltwater before you attempt to descale them, you’ll find that the task is much easier. You won’t have to work as hard to peel the scales. Instead, they will fall right off as soon as you touch them.

Pluck chickens

Even if you are lucky enough to own a mechanized chicken plucker machine; pinfeathers remain an unfortunate component of the butchering process. Pinfeathers are the tiny black feather shafts that form on a chicken’s body as the result of new feather growth. They often remain even after the chicken has been plucked and, though not harmful to ingest, give the meat an unsavory appearance.

To remove them quickly, rub the chicken down with salt. The salt dries out the skin and makes it easier to pull out the stubborn pieces.

This list is a mere sample of the countless ways to use salt as a cleaner, preservative, and tool around the house. Start stockpiling salt now! Every time you head to the grocery store, make sure you grab an extra carton. It will never spoil and will be a valued commodity to you as a prepper or homesteader.

When it comes to sprucing up a bland dinner or adding flavor to homemade pickles, there are few ingredients that can compare with good ol’ fashioned salt. Salt allows food

What Are Your Bug Out Triggers?

What conditions would have to exist for you to decide that you had to abandon your home; that remaining there had become more dangerous than bugging out into a world that has gone sideways (at least in the corner of it that you can observe)? Some natural events are pretty easy to visualize, such as hurricanes, tsunamis and out of control wildfires. But these are actually localized evacuations and not ‘bug-outs.’ In these events, you can reasonably expect that first responder will flow into your area quickly. They will be followed by state and federal agencies with varying degrees of timeliness and effectiveness. Disaster relief funding will be appropriated, insurance companies will write you a check to repair or rebuild and, eventually, you will be able to move back into your property.   In other words, the massive infrastructures of local, state and federal governments will have continued to function throughout the disaster. All’s well that ends well, right?

But, what if there weren’t going to be any first responders? What if state and federal governments were overwhelmed by the scale of the disaster, or if they effectively ceased to exist at the very moment of the event? In some SHTF scenarios, those conditions might prevail and you simply haven’t learned of it yet. So, here you are in your dark home, with no water. You’ve burned the last chair from your dining room set to keep warm and you haven’t seen any neighbors for more than two weeks. Maybe it’s time to go, but you aren’t really sure.

If you find it difficult to articulate the conditions under which you would be willing to bug out, you aren’t alone. That difficulty is compounded by generally vague SHTF/TEOTWAWKI scenarios and a lack of meaningful decision trigger points. What are the differences between an inconvenient, undesirable situation and one that has become intolerable and possibly life-threatening? Can you make such a decision with the full knowledge that no “mulligan” will be issued if you get it wrong, that once you step outside the door of your home, it may be for the last time?

For purposes of this discussion, I make the following important distinctions between evacuation and bugging out:

  • An evacuation is accompanied with the reasonable expectation that you will be able to return to your residence in the foreseeable future. It means not only that you are leaving a place under imminent threat, but that you are evacuating to a known place of safety where aid can be provided by a still-functioning government or the charity of others. An evacuation means that rule of law and its consequences continue to apply across the entire spectrum of society and that there has been no suspension of Constitutional rights. Your primary concern may be as simple as finding a motel that hasn’t turned on its “No Vacancy” sign.
  • Bugging out means that you have no reasonable expectation of returning. It means that sheltering in place in a post-SHTF environment has failed as a strategy and has become more dangerous to your survival than bugging out. Rule of law may no longer be respected or enforceable. It also means that no one can guarantee a safe route of passage or a safe destination. Finally, it means that you have no guarantee of receiving aid; that acquiring essential food, water, shelter, and security are entirely dependent upon your ability. In other words, you are on your own.

With two exceptions (#22 and #23), all of the questions that follow are independent of any specific type of SHTF event. Instead, they deal with conditions and information that will help determine whether or when you need to bug out. The list is by no means complete; you are welcome to add questions that pertain more directly to your own environment. Rather than treat them with simple yes or no answers, consider the degrees of risk that may develop as time progresses. As you work through the list it will become evident that answers to multiple questions can lead to a more complete understanding of your situation and the world around you. Having many data points is more reliable than basing a decision on a single piece of potentially flawed information.

RunningFromFire

The questions deal with specific aspects of public safety, public or government infrastructure, your own resources, or conditions in your immediate area or region. There are no redundant questions. For reasons that should be obvious, this article assumes that you have already made some level of preparation to bug out.

(1) Can you defend your home?

  • Understanding the defensive limitations of your home and property should be the prime factor in determining whether and when to bug out before it ever becomes necessary to do so. The stark reality is that the vast majority of residences are not designed or constructed for defense. Windows, sliding glass doors and wood or stucco exteriors will not stop a bullet or a determined intruder, and some calibers can penetrate cement block walls. In the typical suburban setting, with small property lots and walled in back yards, the defensive field of view is extremely limited. Without some form of perimeter security, you may face the prospect of repelling armed looters that have already entered your home.
  • Can you maintain a visual awareness of approaching threats around the clock? Can you maintain this level of awareness for days or weeks?
  • Is your concept of defense dependent upon distance? In other words, can you tolerate a potential threat that is 1 mile or only 200 yards away? What if there is an existential threat standing on the other side of your front door?
  • Objectively accessing your ability to stop looters outside your residence is a paramount consideration, regardless of how defensible you think the interior may be. Importantly, ask yourself if you would be able to prevent or defend against simultaneous entries from multiple points in your house. A low probability of success (intrusion prevention) is an obvious red flag. That doesn’t mean it will happen, but if you do not believe that you can prevent entry from multiple points without endangering your family or yourself, then you must conclude that your home is not defensible. If the answer is “no,” the issue now becomes whether you are willing to gamble on the outcome. Simply stated, if your home is not defensible and other factors (below) indicate an increased risk over time, you must at least consider bugging out for your own safety.

    Does your disaster preparation plan include security measures?

  • Another aspect of home defensibility pertains to fire. Are trees or native brush located near the structures on your property? Do you have a defensive (fuel-free) space that would prevent an uncontrolled fire from destroying your home? Could you suppress a fire without the aid of the fire department? Before you answer “yes” to this question, could you do it if there was no water?

(2) How long have you been bunkered in your residence?

  • The longer you remain in place the less likely you are to be factually aware of the situation unfolding around you. This is particularly true if you cannot obtain information from news networks, local radio stations, etc. Events and threats can develop rapidly. The absence of timely eye-witness or other authoritative information can mean that you are in the path of increasing danger and don’t know it.
  • The assurance of continued safety may require that you reconnoiter your area on a regular basis to assess current conditions. Speak with as many people as you can (safely), but you must also evaluate the other questions on this list.
  • If possible, set up a regular time each day to meet with neighbors to share information.
Makeshift barricades are a low-tech way of blocking or slowing access.
Makeshift barricades are a low-tech way of blocking or slowing access.

(3) Has your neighborhood been forced to erect barricades?

  • The erection of barricades across streets leading into your neighborhood may be a preemptory defensive measure to a perceived threat, or it could be in response to an active threat. You will need to determine which situation pertains.
  • If conditions are such that barricades are deemed necessary by local residents, you must at least consider that the risk to personal safety has increased to a level that warrants consideration of bugging out. In other words, if barricades are necessary, but become ineffective, your zone of safety will be greatly diminished,

(4) Are you counting on neighbors for your own security?

  • Is your strategy for sheltering in place dependent upon the cooperation of neighbors to maintain a degree of safety?
  • Do you consider that your neighbors are able (equipped, competent and physically capable) to contribute to your security?
  • Have you exchanged commitments (a mutual defense pact of sorts) regarding area security? Is it based upon a perceived threat level or the passage of time? In other words, does the pact hold as long as the threat is minimal? Have neighbors (or you) committed to remain in place for a limited time, such as one more week, or are you/they hanging in on a day-to-day or hour by hour basis?
  • Are you confident that you can patrol your neighborhood without being shot by a local resident? Think about that for a moment. How do you intend to reconnoiter your neighborhood if you have no means of communicating with each other?

(5) Have your neighbors abandoned their homes? Has your security situation improved or worsened since they left?

  • After the event that caused you to shelter in place, have you seen neighbors generally packing up to leave?
  • Have neighbors (that you were counting on for mutual defense) started leaving their homes?
  • Has your ability to protect your residence been degraded by the departure of others?
  • A sharp decline of residents in any neighborhood effectively isolates those who stay. Remaining residents are surrounded by unoccupied structures and will be unable to prevent looting and arson. In such a case it may be beneficial for remaining residents to relocate into adjacent houses where they can maintain close communication and concentrate their defenses.

(6) Are you willing and prepared to salvage supplies from residences in your area?

  • If you are determined to shelter in place for an extended period of time you will inevitably need something that you do not presently have or that you have run out of. The list of potential items is virtually endless, yet you may be surrounded by homes that were hastily abandoned – possessions whose owner/occupants will never reclaim. You are faced with a choice: You can inventory and salvage useful items, or you can sit back and wait for looters and scavengers to take them. Either way, it is merely a matter of time before your neighborhood will be cleaned out of anything that is useful, that may extend your life or improve your safety.
  • I am not advocating theft or looting. I’m talking about a world that has gone sideways; a world where rule of law has largely collapsed; where the government has ceased to function; where even the declaration of martial law has no effect on the behavior of people.
  • If you are unwilling to salvage abandoned material, you may be hastening the day when bugging out is the only course of action remaining to you. Importantly, you will still be without the items that you needed.
AbandonedCity
When is the last time you saw or spoke with anyone outside your own dwelling?

(7) When is the last time you saw or spoke with anyone outside your own dwelling?

  • Let’s look at an extreme hypothetical situation where you have been bunkered for two months in a typical suburban environment. There was an initial chaotic period where neighbors were fleeing their homes and large numbers of refugees were streaming through your area. Those numbers declined after a week but were replaced by looters and scavengers during the next four weeks. None of your neighbors have returned and no refugees have moved into vacant structures. You have now been in place for two months and you haven’t seen a single soul in the past three weeks.
  • Does this mean that you’ve weathered the worst of the post-SHTF event, that you are safe? Hardly. This scenario brings us squarely to the issues of situational awareness and your sense of timing. Your decision to shelter in place means that you were neither ahead of nor in the middle of the golden hoard. They left you behind a long time ago.
  • Except for what you have been able to salvage or scavenge for yourself, every business and dwelling place may have been picked clean for miles in every direction. There is still no potable water, gasoline, propane, packaged food, seeds, protein on the hoof or medicines that you can find.
  • At some point you have to confront the concept of what it would mean to be totally alone; without the possibility of immediate or future aid. Now what? Do you have an objective reason to think that your original bug out destination is still a viable option?

(8) Have you seen or been forced to repel looters?

  • Many major metropolitan areas provide information about the location of criminal activity via web sites. It is fairly easy to identify high crime zones, as well as the general nature of the activity (burglary, assault, homicide, etc.) by looking at an interactive map.
  • What distance is your home from these chronic hot spots? Are there convenient routes that would enable riots and looting to spread toward your residence if law enforcement was unable to control or contain it? How much time would it take for looters to reach your neighborhood?
  • In the absence of public communication, you may have no knowledge of the proximity of looters to your residence. Realistically, whatever that time frame is, you have far less time to decide whether to bunker down or bug out.
  • Once looters enter your neighborhood your margin of safety could shrink to near zero.
When is the last time you had access to water?
When is the last time you had access to water?

(9) How long has it been since the electrical grid went down?

  • Local weather events and even accidents can cause power outages lasting from a few minutes to a few days, but people still go to work and shop in areas where power is available. Utility crews show up with chain saws, electrical cable, poles, and transformers. Long duration outages (greater than three days) could indicate a problem that is far more widespread than your immediate locality.
  • From almost any high point you should be able to spot the sky glow from city lights reflecting off cloud cover at night. I can see the night glow from cities 70 miles south and 50 miles north of my location. If you are unable to see city lights in any direction, the event that caused your outage may be at least regional in scale.
  • The key to this issue is not the outage itself, but whether the resources (manpower and replacement gear) exist to recover from it in a time-frame that enables you to remain in your residence. Without electricity, the infrastructures that provide gasoline, natural gas, public communications, and water will be inoperable. At some point, you will begin to use and deplete irreplaceable emergency supplies that you have stored in your home.

(10) How long have you been without a source of water?

  • The delivery of urban water depends upon electric pumps, purification plants, and large capacity storage tanks to maintain pressure. Without electricity, water will cease to flow.
  • Here is a straightforward equation: SC=R. If you started this event with a five-day supply of water (S) and it has been five days since water stopped flowing from your tap, then you have consumed (C) all that you had stored at the end of the 5th You now have zero days of water remaining (R). Conservation of your dwindling supply is irrelevant if there are no prospects that water will begin to flow from the tap. Without the ability to replenish potable water stocks, continued occupation of your residence will become untenable. If you have no source of water, neither will anyone else in your immediate area.

(11) Are you running low on your bug out supplies of food and water?

  • When the taps went dry, how much potable water did you have on hand (measured in days of supply) for the number of people in your residence, including water needed for food preparation and toilets?
  • Including cooked or uncooked foods that were refrigerated or frozen before the power grid went down, how many meals do you have available for the number of people in your residence?
  • Assuming that you have a bug out plan, how much of that food and water will be needed to reach your destination once you abandon your residence? Once you begin depleting your bug out resources, you will effectively be reducing your range of travel; possibly without the ability to replenish supplies along the way.

(12) Are grocery stores, gas stations, pharmacies and banks in your area open for business?

  • Have you ever experienced panic buying situations where shoppers strip food aisles in the face of an oncoming winter storm? There is no reason to think that a SHTF situation would not produce the same or worse behaviors, but of a greater magnitude.
  • If the situation is accompanied by large-scale power outages of long duration, modern commerce will effectively cease.   To the extent that any purchases are possible, they will be strictly cash and carry; but the conventional sources of cash (banks) will be closed. It will not matter how much you have in your checking or savings account; you will not be able to access it or convert it to a usable form.
  • For anyone that is sheltering in place under such conditions, the cash and supplies that you have on hand are all that you are likely to have for the foreseeable future. Given those circumstances, you must determine when bugging out will become necessary. The key question is whether you intend to be in front of or behind the Golden Horde.

EmptyHighway

(13) Has home delivery ceased?

  • At minimum, there are three organizations that make regular deliveries to your home or neighborhood and they are ubiquitous throughout the country: USPS mail carriers, FedEx and UPS vans. And, unless you haul your own trash, the local sanitation department will make weekly or semi-weekly stops to empty the dumpsters that you place on the curb.
  • If all of these services have ceased it could be that your area is no longer considered safe for employees to enter. This could be a localized or temporary issue, in which case there will be other indicators to help with your assessment of risk.
  • The absence of mail and package delivery may also be caused by other factors, such as the collapse of regional or national logistics systems that rely on air and ground transportation, massive sorting centers and, of course, data processing and communications.
  • A build-up of trash at your residence (while other houses have none) will indicate that it is still occupied, that you are sheltering in place, and that you have some level of resources, such as food and water. Can you conceal or bury trash while sheltering place?

(14) Have you seen any long-haul freight carriers operating on highways?

  • Freight transporters cannot function without fuel, communications, and logistics. If tractor-trailer rigs aren’t moving in and out of depots, are piling up at truck stops or are sitting on the side of the road, there has been a major breakdown in the transport/supply system.
  • Many businesses rely on “just in time” delivery for merchandise, including food, by using real-time inventory control systems and automatic low order restocking points. If the order cannot be fulfilled, if the distribution center cannot load freight onto a truck, or if the truck cannot roll, the supply line will back up – but not at your merchant’s back door. The material will be stuck in distribution centers, at the producer’s plant, or may be rotting in a farm field. Consequently, supply chains will quickly fail.
  • Looting and other forms of civil disorder are likely to occur within hours and could quickly become widespread. Initial looting targets are almost always retail stores. The next likely targets would be distribution centers and other types of supply warehouses. Common sense suggests that freight haulers will not enter areas where civil disturbances are uncontrolled.

In Part 2, we will examine the remaining questions that you should evaluate when before making a decision to bug out.

What Are Your Bug Out Triggers? What conditions would have to exist for you to decide that you had to abandon your home; that remaining there had become more dangerous than

One of the biggest hurdles to actually doing something that can save your life is getting started. I know many people who research topics, watch movies, create lists and pages and pages of bookmarked websites that they can pull up at a moment’s notice. For every idea they have a source. For every plan, they have written information, sourced in binders with color coded tabs. This could be the same for you and your food supplies that are all written neatly in a binder or on a downloadable excel spreadsheet or parked on a DVD you bought online from a survival expert.

My question is what if the world as you know it ends tomorrow? What if the proverbial poop hits the fan and all your lists are just that; worthless words on pieces of paper. What if your highly organized blueprint for survival is nothing more than electrical impulses burned to a hard-drive that will never run again? What if in your efforts to be thorough, you didn’t actually do anything and now you family is looking to you for guidance? Since you have been talking about Prepping for 3 years, you have something prepared for this day, right?

I know that this isn’t the majority of people who read Final Prepper, but there are those out there that become overwhelmed by information and keep thinking over the details in their mind of what they want or need to do until it’s too late. We call this analysis paralysis and in the world of survival, this can get you killed. If you haven’t begun storing food for your family because you haven’t finished watching a DVD or your excel spreadsheet isn’t completely accurate with the quantities and current prices for all 1000 food items you need, you should try something else. What I want to give you is a simple food supply plan that can feed a family of 4 for a month, can be purchased in about one trip out and will cost you a few hundred dollars. Use this plan if you haven’t started anything yet or simply need a jump start on your emergency food supply list for your home. Trust me, your family will appreciate this if something terrible happens and you will be able to look them in the eye again.

What Foods to Buy?

Rice is a cheap and easy emergency food supply

Rice – Rice is one of my favorite storable foods because it is relatively easy to buy even in big quantities and I don’t know if I have ever met anyone who wouldn’t eat rice. Rice stores easily as long as you keep it cool and dry just in the bag. For longer storage you can seal your rice in Mylar bags, throw them in buckets and you are looking at years of shelf life. For your emergency needs though I would go to Sam’s or Costco and by a 50 lb. bag of rice or two. A 50 pound bag contains 504 servings of rice and will lay flat on your shelf for years. We use our rice though so it is always in rotation. Cost – Approximately $20

Beans – Beans, beans the magical fruit. Beans are another food that has a long storage life and is relatively cheap. Beans are the first part of Beans, Bullets and Band-Aids for a good reason. Beans don’t need too much care and like rice store easily for years. You can use them for a good source of fiber, but you should make plans to deal with excess gas if everyone is going to start eating beans once a day… A 10 lb. bag of beans costs around $7 and makes 126 servings. Buy several bags for your pantry and don’t forget the chili and soup mix.

Canned Meat – The best way to cheaply store meat is in cans and for a little variety and additional flavor for your meals, we stock up on canned tuna and chicken. Depending on the size you will need about 35 cans to cover your family for 30 days but these stack nicely and you can always work them into your weekly meals. Canned chicken will easily store for longer than a year so rotation shouldn’t be a problem.

Canned Veggies – 40 cans of your family’s favorite vegetables will give you the nutrition they need and something they will eat. Make sure you aren’t buying mushrooms or olives (unless your family loves them) if you don’t want to see turned up noses when the power has been out for a week and you are trying to get creative with dinner. 40 cans of vegetables will cost roughly $40 and like the meat will store for years.

Canned Fruit – Some people purchase other items for dessert, but canned fruit has a long shelf life and I have to recommend this for your sweet tooth over most other things outside of fresh fruit. I purchased 5 big #10 cans of pears, peaches, and mixed fruit. Each has about 25 servings and will be a nice addition to the rice, bean and chicken stew… 5 cans will cost around $25.

Oatmeal – Breakfast is served, unless that is you are raising chickens and already have fresh eggs everyday which I also highly recommend if you have the ability to do so. Oatmeal is great for breakfast cereal, its cheap and will store a pretty long time. Oatmeal needs a little more care than your rice or beans, but if you have this stored in Mylar you would have breakfast for years. The old cardboard tubes of Oatmeal has 30 servings, costs about $2 each. Buy 4 and you only need water to make this edible. Unless you have the next item.

Honey – Honey as you probably know has been called the perfect survival food. This is because it has an infinite shelf life. That isn’t something we usually have to worry about though because it gets used as a sweetener to replace sugar in tea, over that oatmeal above and you can even use honey to treat wounds. The normal 5 lb. jar of honey is about $15 right now and has 108 servings. Buy two of these.

Salt/Seasoning – Salt is another good storage item because if you keep it dry it will also last forever. Salt is needed by your body and in my opinion; it makes almost everything taste better. You can buy a case of salt in 4 lb. boxes for about $12. Buy a case and you will have enough for a year of seasoning. You can also purchase pepper and other spices you normally use to make that soup or chili above taste better.

Vitamins – The experts say vitamins don’t help you but I tend to believe that some nutrients even in vitamin form are better than nothing. If you aren’t able to maintain perfect nutrition, a simple multivitamin could keep you healthier than not. If you have kids get them some chewable gummy vitamins to keep their health up too. A bottle for each of you would cost about $8.

Water – I know this list was about emergency food supplies, but I will throw water in here too because if you are going to the trouble of taking care of food, you should knock out water at the same time. Each person needs about 1 gallon per day (assuming you aren’t working in the heat all day) for normal hydration and hygiene. A family of 4 would need 120 gallons of water to live for 30 days so you can either buy a whole bunch of bottled water or get 5 gallon plastic water storage containers. If you have the space, a fifty gallon water barrel would be easier, but you won’t be able to move that once it is in place.

What Next?

If you purchase all of the food supplies above it will set you back around $500 buy will cover your family as far as food and water for 30 days. Is this enough to weather any disaster? No, but it is that start you were looking for and you can really knock out all of these items in one day. One day of shopping and storing water would give you the peace of mind you need to ensure your family is taken care of. Can you go out and buy a 30 day supply of freeze-dried food just as easily? Maybe but the key is to do something now. Act before you need this food and take care of your family.

Next steps would be to work on medical supplies, and security. Once you have those, there is also other lists of prepper supplies you should consider. If you want to read a more comprehensive plan, you can also check out our Prepping 101 – Step by Step plan for How to get started Prepping.

One of the biggest hurdles to actually doing something that can save your life is getting started. I know many people who research topics, watch movies, create lists and pages

Everybody loves it, and everybody hates it – that’s what I like to call the Coca-Cola paradox. Even though the doctors scream at the top of their lungs that Coke’s as poisonous as arsenic, we cannot conceive a cozy family meal or a game night without at least one uncorked bottle of coke.

As far as I’m concerned, I can’t say I have any love for fizzy drinks, no matter their backgrounds. Of course, I would prefer a glass of freshly-squeezed lemon juice any time, but that doesn’t mean that I want to see the Coke factory burnt to the ground.

There’s no denial in the fact that people who drink too much Coca-Cola expose themselves to all manner of nasty diseases such as leukemia, thyroid cancer, morbid obesity, tooth decay, COPD, asthma, heart disease, and the list goes on and on. Still, it doesn’t mean that this type of beverage doesn’t have its uses. No, you’re not going to die if you drink a bottle of Coke every now and then, but don’t make it into a habit.

Anyway, since my dad’s a big fan of Coke since the early ‘50s, I spend a lot of time doing research on this drink’s side-effects in an attempt to convince him to tone it down a notch. Can’t say that I had too much success, but I did uncover something really interesting. Coke can be used in SHTF situations. Yup, you read that right. How? Stick around to find out.

Boost the efficiency of your compost

If your compost’s not good enough for the plants with munchies, add a bottle of Coca-Cola. It will increase the acidity of the compost and, at the same time, it will give those tiny organisms all the sugar they’ll need.

Get rid of dirt and stains from the toilet

If you don’t have anything else on hand to clean the toilet bowl, try using Coca-Cola. Pour half a liter in the toilet, wait 15 minutes, then flush the toilet a couple of times. There you have it! No more stain or smudges and, best of all, you didn’t even have to scrub it.

Remove gum stuck to your hair.

You really don’t have to cut away those precious locks if get gum stuck in them. Instead, soak them in a bowl with Coca-Cola for a couple of minutes. You can now remove the gum by hand.

Set a trap for pesky bugs

There’s nothing worse than having to dodge stinging insects like wasps or bees when you’re at the picnic. Want to take your revenge on them? Try this trick. Fill a small bowl with Coke and place it as far away as possible from your picnic area. Attracted by the sweet smell, the suckers will go for the Coke and leave you alone.

Get rid of congestion fast

Yes, I know that drinking too much Coke can lead to all kinds of intestinal mishaps, but, apparently, this stuff can be used to relieve congestion. Take a pan and add one can of coke and some water. Bring to a boil, wait a couple of minutes for that stuff to cool down a notch, and serve.

Hack away windshield ice

Tired of having to wait around for the engine’s heat to melt away the ice on a windshield? Pour a bottle of Coke over it and wait to see what happens.

Make a diversionary device

If you need to get out of Dodge fast, it’s possible to create a diversionary device using a big bottle of Coke and a couple of Mentos pills. Unscrew the cap, get a couple of Mentos pills inside, put the cap back on, shake for 10 seconds, and throw.

No more nausea

If you feel like your stomach makes a loopty loop, open a can of Coke and let it go flat. Take on a teaspoon of that stuff every hour or so, and you’ll be up and kicking in no time.

Hack away the powdery corrosion on car battery’s terminals

Tired of seeing that white and blue stuff on your battery’s terminals every time you pop open the hood? Use Coca-Cola – pour a small amount over each terminal and wait. Finally, use a clean cloth to remove the smudges.

Make a grown bolt budge

If a rusty bolt’s preventing you from opening something, pour some Coca-Cola over it to unloosen it. By the way, this beverage works wonders on rusty screws and bolts. Don’t replace the rusty ones. Instead, dunk them in a bowl filled with Coke and let them soak overnight.

No more scorch marks on pots and pans

Did I tell you how much I hate scrubbing them pans after cooking? Well, I’m going to say it a thousand times if it’s necessary. Luckily, I have discovered a secret weapon – Coke. If there are too much burn marks on your pots and pans, pour some Coke inside, and let them soak overnight. Drain, wash, rinse, and you’re done.

No more ouchie from jellyfish stings

Remember the last time you went for a swim and ended up getting stung by those jellyfish? Well, if you feel like your skin’s about to melt, pour some coke over the sting site. Coke’s ingredients will neutralize the poison.

Kill slugs and snails

I really don’t have anything against slugs, snail or lummoxes. However, every time I see them munching on my veggies, I go berserk. If you’re having the same problem, use some coke on them. The acid inside America’s favorite fizzy drink will make them curl and die in agony.

Remove blood from clothes

Well, this might sound a little odd, but Coke’s very useful in removing blood stains from just about any type of clothing or fabric. Just so you know.

Coca-Cola for hiccups

Again with the hiccups? If holding your breath doesn’t solve the issue gargle some ice-cold Coca-Cola for a couple of seconds. Works like a charm.

That’s it for my ways of repurposing Coca-Cola. Think anything’s missing from the list? Head to the comments section and let me know.

Everybody loves it, and everybody hates it – that’s what I like to call the Coca-Cola paradox.

A couple of days ago, I had some friends over for a backyard BBQ. Several beers and patty flips later, one of them hits me with the oddest prepping question ever: “say, do you have any of odd stuff in your dark chest of wonders (that’s what I call my household survival kit)?”.

I really didn’t know what to answer. I mean, most of the objects us preppers carry and hoard (and don’t you try to deny that!) can be peculiar to some. Take magnesium rods, for instance. Aside from preppers, ex-military, and maybe some people who really don’t know how to spend their money, no one even considers owning such an object. Why would they?

Anyhow, for the time being, I considered the matter settled. But the question popped into my head again. Naturally, with my wife and kids fast asleep, I tiptoed downstairs and took a quick inventory of my prepping (what else could a man do on a Saturday night?).

Wouldn’t you know it, there are some things in there which may pass as peculiar to some, but handy nonetheless. So, after some careful consideration, I’ve decided to do a short piece about the odd and useful stuff every prepper should have around the house or hunting cabin or whatever. So, without further ado, check out my list of 5 outlandish items worth their weight in gold.

  1. Foldable pruning saw

If you’ve ever got around to do a bit of gardening, then you know how hard it is to get rid of vines or saplings. Yeah, long before I ever knew such a tool existed, I had to use a hacksaw or my survival knife to deal with stubborn outgrowths. Fast-forwarding a bit, during a yard sale, I came across this rather brutish tool.

I kid you not that when I first saw it, my first thought was “torture implement.” However, the guy selling the saw said it’s for pruning and not for chopping off fingers or garrotting someone. I feel a bit silly for thinking that no tool’s going to help me get rid of the backyard vegetation.

Needless to say, I pretty much came to enjoy messing around the garden now that I had the right tool. So, if you need to get rid of branches, saplings, twigs, vines, go for a foldable pruning saw. While you’re at it, you may want to consider adding one to your B.O.B – they’re awfully useful for quite a lot of jobs, and yes, in case of an emergency, they can be used for self-defense.

2. Quadruple-O Steel Wool

Here’s another doozie for you – 0000 steel wool. It’s sort of a byproduct of metalworking and very useful if you want to start a fire very fast. Yup, as you’ve probably guessed it, it’s highly flammable, which means that I wouldn’t store it next to a heat source or something. What I like to do with quadruple-O steel wool is to use in conjunction with char cloth.

For that, I’ve crafted my own version of the tinder, an old-school and ingenious way of whipping up a quick fire when you lack matches or lighters. My tinder box contains a small piece of 0000 steel wool wrapped in char cloth. I’ve bought mine from Amazon, but you can probably find them in every military surplus or sports store (they usually come in a pack that resembles smoking filters for rolling tobacco).

3. Guitar strings

Never quite got around to learning how to play the blasted thing, but I do stock up on strings as often as I can. There’s great for all sorts of things – setting up snares, cutting dairy products like hard cheese, or even hanging heavier pictures or wall decorations.

A while ago, my wife got for her birthday this awesome stone replica of the Dendera Zodiac. The trouble was that the plaque’s heavy as shit, which means that a regular string or wire won’t do. I managed to find a workaround by using a bass string – those are thicker compared to solo guitar strings.

4. Pencil sharpener

Having one pencil sharpener around the house is no big deal. Even though the PC industry has skyrocketed, there are those, including yours truly, which prefer to stick to pen and paper. Hell, some of the articles you see here were laid on paper before getting them live. Now, I know this may sound a bit strange, but I got a whole box of pencil sharpener tucked away in the garage.

No, I don’t have that many pencils to sharpen, but they do have their uses. For instance, if you run out of tinder, you can always use a pencil sharpener to make more. Moreover, the blade can be salvaged and made into a trap.

Of course, if you know your way around weapon crafting, you can always take a bunch of pencil sharpener blades, and fashion yourself a club or something. Of course, the mount is melted down and turned into nail (I melted a box of bladeless sharpers and used the metal to forge me a bushcraft knife).

5. Machete

I really like knives. The bigger, the better. Anyway, a machete’s useful for pretty much any job that requires extra muscle. I personally like to use it for chopping small wood and some last-minute weed-whacking.

Like with any other knife, you should definitely aim for quality. It’s true that this type of blade might be too cumbersome for your B.O.B, but no one’s stopping you from getting one the next time you go for a hike. Just be sure to get one that’s made from carbon steel and not stainless.

Think the list needs some improvement? Let me know what you think in the comments section.

Most of the objects us preppers carry and hoard can be peculiar to some. Take magnesium rods, for instance. Aside from preppers no one even considers owning such an object.

Why zucchini ? One good reason? It is the season.

This food is low in saturated fat and sodium, and very low in cholesterol. It is also a good source of protein, vitamin A, thiamin, niacin, phosphorus and copper, and a very good source of dietary fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, riboflavin, vitamin B6, folate, magnesium, potassium and manganese.

The health benefits of zucchini include improved digestion, slows down aging, lowers blood sugar levels, supports healthy circulation and a healthy heart, improves eye health, boosts energy, benefits for weight loss, improves thyroid and adrenal functions, protects against oxidation and inflammation.

If you are a vegetable gardener, chances are you have experienced such an abundance of zucchini so great that even a ravenous family of squash lovers could never keep up with it. Right now, the garden is simply loaded with the prolific dark green veggies. And if not, you can pick up baskets full of them at a great price at your local market.

Some zucchini trivia

Biologically, zucchinis are closely related to cucumbers and watermelons. Zucchini is technically a fruit and not a vegetable.

They have been consumed in Central and South America, as well as Italy, for thousands of years, but only became popular in North America over the past 50 years, perhaps when gardeners realized what a bounty they could receive in a tiny amount of garden space. Zucchini is part of what is known by the Native Americans as the “Three Sisters” – three plants that grow well together – corn, summer squash, and beans.

Zucchini is packed with nutrients.

Here are some of the nutritional benefits of zucchini.

  • A huge 1 cup serving of zucchini, including the skin, contains 20 calories, 1.5 grams of protein, 4.2 grams of carbohydrates, and 1.4 grams of fiber.
  • Zucchini was proven in studies to be a top food source for antioxidants such as lutein, zeaxanthin, beta-cryptoxanthin, alpha-carotene, and beta carotene.
  • Zucchini is extremely high in natural pectin, which provides protection against diabetes and can help regulate insulin and blood sugar levels.
  • Zucchini contains Vitamins C, B6, B2, A, and K, as well as manganese, potassium, magnesium, folate, and phosphorus.

Growing zucchini is easy!

Zucchini is not just easy to grow – it can actually take over your garden if you’re not careful! Some people plant zucchini away from other parts of the garden for this reason. You should allow plenty of room for the vines to spread. If you are using the square foot gardening method, thin to one plant per square foot.

Here are some ways to use zucchini.

Zucchini is one of those multi-purpose harvests that can be used in a variety of ways. Whether you prefer it sweet or savory, there’s a place for zucchini in your kitchen.

If you end up with one of the baseball bat zucchinis hiding under the leaves in your garden, cut out the center and remove the seeds. Very large zucchini can become woody and flavorless. Try using over-large zucchini in recipes that call for shredded zucchini – this helps to mask the texture.

 

Try using shredded zucchini in place of recipes that call for shredded potatoes. You can also mix shredded zucchini half and half with shredded potatoes to make hash browns or potato patties.

Slice a zucchini in half and fill it with all manner of sweet or savory fillings to make baked zucchini boats.

Uncooked zucchini spears are great for dipping and make a tasty addition to a veggie tray. If the zucchini is a small, tender fruit, you can leave the peel on for an extra hit of fiber. For a bigger zucchini, it’s best to peel it for use raw, because the skin will be tough and unpleasant in texture.

 

With the garden in full zucchini overload, we’ve been scrambling to figure out ways to use it that are just a little different than the usual sauteed or grilled versions.

Here are our top, kid-tested zucchini recipes.

Zucchini Fritters

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of coarsely shredded zucchini
  • 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup of whole wheat flour
  • 2 tsp of garlic powder
  • 2 tsp of onion powder
  • 2 tsp of MSG-free seasoning salt
  • fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/8 cup of cooking oil

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, mix together flour and seasonings.
  2. Stir in zucchini and cheese, using your hands to combine well.
  3. Meanwhile, heat the cooking oil until it sizzles when a drop of water is added.
  4. Form the zucchini mixture into patties and place them in the hot oil, taking care not to splatter yourself.
  5. Fry on each side for about 3-4 minutes or until a dark golden brown.
  6. Drain the fritters on a paper towel.
  7. Serve with sour cream or yogurt garlic dip (see recipe below)

Baked variation:

  1. Form the zucchini fritters as instructed above.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400*F
  3. Lightly oil a cookie sheet.
  4. Place the fritters on the cookie sheet and brush them lightly with oil.
  5. Bake for approximately 10 minutes on each side or until dark golden brown.

 

 

Yogurt-Garlic Dip

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of plain yogurt, drained until thick
  • 1 tsp of garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp of dried rubbed dill weed

Directions:

  1. With a fork, mix the seasoning into the yogurt.
  2. Place in the refrigerator for at least one hour to allow the flavor to develop.
  3. Serve with fresh veggies or zucchini fritters.

 

Zucchini-Carrot Muffins

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups of shredded zucchini
  • 1/2 cup of shredded carrot
  • 1/4 cup of milk
  • 1 tbsp of white vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups of whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup of white flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp of nutmeg
  • dash of powdered clove
  • 2/3 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup muscovado sugar
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract
  • turbinado sugar to taste

 

Directions:

  1. Grease muffin tin with butter or additional coconut oil.
  2. Preheat oven to 375*F.
  3. In a small bowl, add the vinegar to the milk and allow it to sit for 5 minutes.
  4. In a large bowl, mix together oil, sugar, and vanilla, then stir in the milk mixture, the carrots, and the zucchini.
  5. In another bowl mix together flours, spices, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.
  6. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just combined – you will have a lumpy batter.
  7. Let the batter sit for 10 minutes to allow it to rise.
  8. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin tin, sprinkle lightly with turbinado sugar, and then bake for 20 minutes or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.

 

 

Zucchini Chips

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound of zucchini, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup of Panko bread crumbs
  • salt and pepper to taste

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 450* F.
  2. Line a baking sheet with tinfoil, then lightly spray it with oil.
  3. Place the zucchini on the baking sheet then lightly brush with olive oil.
  4. In a bowl, mix together Parmesan, bread crumbs, salt, and pepper.
  5. Sprinkle the mixture on top of the zucchini slices.
  6. Bake until the zucchini is browned and crisp, about 25 minutes.
  7. Serve immediately.

 

There are several ways to preserve zucchini.

You may have so much you need to save it for later. Here are 3 ways to put it back.

Dehydration

Zucchini can be dehydrated either in thin slices or shredded. Either way, prep your zucchini, then mix well with salt. Place the salted zucchini in a colander over a bowl and put it in the refrigerator for a minimum of two hours. (I usually leave it overnight). This will remove a great deal of the moisture. Put a thin layer of zucchini on the shelves of your dehydrator and dry overnight on low, or until the zucchini is completely dry. When you’re ready to use it, reconstitute it by covering it in boiling water for 15 minutes. Drain and use as you would fresh zucchini.

Freezing

Unlike most vegetables, there is no need to blanch zucchini before freezing it. Simply shred it, drain it (don’t add salt in case you want to use it in sweet dishes like zucchini bread or muffins) and then place it on a cookie sheet in a single layer. Put this in the freezer for two hours, then relocate the frozen shreds into large freezer bags.

Canning

Zucchini really doesn’t take to canning well. However, you can use it in place of cucumbers for your favorite pickle or relish recipes. The large zucchinis that are a little bit tougher actually work better for zucchini pickles because they hold their firmness better.

Ingredients:

  • 3 pounds of zucchini
  • 1/2 cup of onion, thinly sliced
  • 6 cloves of garlic, smashed
  • 6 tsp of pickling salt (or another non-iodized salt)
  • 2 cups of apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups of white vinegar
  • 2 cups of turbinado sugar
  • 1 tsp of mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp of black peppercorns
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 6 dried chili peppers or 2 tsp of crushed chilis
  • 6 sprigs of fresh dill

 

Directions:

  1. Thinly slice your zucchini (about 1/4 inch or less in thickness).
  2. Salt the zucchini, add the onion slices and place it in a colander over a bowl in the refrigerator for 2 hours to remove the liquid.
  3. Meanwhile place into each sanitized jar: 1 tsp of salt, 1 red chili, 1 clove of garlic, and 1 sprig of dill.
  4. In a saucepan on the stove, combine sugar, vinegar, turmeric, mustard seeds, and peppercorns. Bring to a boil.
  5. Making sure the jars are still warm from being sanitized, fill them with drained zucchini and onion mixture, allowing 1 inch of headspace.
  6. Pour the boiling liquid over the contents of the jar. Wipe the rims and cap your jars with snap lids and rings.
  7. Process in a water bath canner for 15 minutes (pints), making adjustments for your altitude.

 

What do you think?

Do you grow zucchini in your yard? What do you like to make with zucchini? Please share your thoughts in the comments.


Special thanks to Daisy Luther for this wonderful article. 

Why zucchini ? One good reason? It is the season. This food is low in saturated fat and sodium, and very low in cholesterol. It is also a good source of protein,

I really have to say that although I’m the kind of guy that would rather stick to a cup of tea when the cold hits, having a couple of pain meds around really helped me pick up the pace when I wasn’t quite feeling like myself.

The need for a painkiller becomes even direr in case of an SHTF situation. Sure, pain meds are great when you need to deal with a pulled muscle or soreness after an intense hike, but they become vital when you have an injury to tend. Because I was foolish enough to carry heavy boxes during my time as an intern, I now have a very sore back and a taste for pain relievers, especially ibuprofen.

Now, the problem with painkillers is knowing how to pick your poison. There are tons of pain meds on the market but, unfortunately, to some, most of them are regulated by Federal Law. That means no Vicodin if you haven’t received a Schedule II or III from your doc.

Every so often, the popping-pills-just-because-they’re-for-pain style has landed more people in the ER compared to those who experienced a nasty med side-effect. Yes, it can happen. If you read the label carefully, you will see that even stuff as basic as aspirin comes with a truck-full of side-effects.

True story: my late aunt was once rushed to the ER because she heard ringing in her ears for three days straight. Turns out that she was in that one percent of patients who have experienced auditory hallucinations after taking aspirin.

So, before you go out buying every over-the-counter painkiller you can find (won’t even consider discussing the heavy stuff like Vicodin) you will need to do a little research about known side-effects. Painkillers aren’t good if they end up causing more pain or killing you! So, before taking pills like Tic-Tacs, be sure to check in with your doc to see what kind of pain meds agree with your body.

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The list may be shorter than you think. One more thing before we tackle today’s topic – never, ever, buy meds online. Don’t get fooled by those flashy ads, giveaways or price cutbacks. The chances are that you will end up with sugar pills or God knows what. Also, if you care about your body, you would do well to stay away from stronger painkillers, even though you can order them online without a prescription.

Now, for those who are interested in stockpiling more pain meds, here’s my list of must-have over-the-counter painkillers and what they’re good for.

  1. Ibuprofen

Commercial name(s): Nurofen, Advil, Motrin.

Recommended daily dose (adult): 800 milligrams per dose or according to the doc’s prescription.

Recommended daily dose (child): 400 milligrams per dose or according to the doc’s prescription

Probably the most common painkiller on the market is the over glorified Ibuprofen. Because it is an NSAID (a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug), Ibuprofen is very effective at decreasing swelling and fever in addition to taking away the ouchie. It’s commonly used to treat stuff like tooth pains, muscle aches, cramps, headaches, and minor back pains. Careful about using Ibuprofen, though.

Some studies have pointed out that this med can cause renal failure if the patient has kidney problems. You should also refrain from using Ibuprofen if you have heart issues, as it is known to produce blood clots in a patient with cardiovascular issues.

Don’t be like yours truly and take it on an empty stomach because you’ll end up with one Hell of a tummy ache. A box of 30 x 800 mg pills costs around 14 bucks and, the best news is that you can buy as much as you want because no one is going to ask you about a prescription.

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2. Aspirin

Commercial name: Aspirin®

Recommended daily dose (adult): one or two tablets every 4 hours or two tablets every 6 hours

Recommended daily dose (child): same as adults. In case of children under 12, check with your doc.

You can’t get any more basic than aspirin when it comes to over-the-counter pain meds. Although it can be used in case of an emergency for reducing fever or swelling, aspirin is mostly used for muscle pains, headaches, toothaches, and cold-induced fever.

Be sure to drink plenty of water when taking the pill.

FYI: if you’re a hiking buff like me, you can reduce some of that soreness by taking aspirin in conjunction with paracetamol. Together, they’re great painkillers and will speed up your recovery. Be sure to take them before the soreness kicks in. Otherwise, you would end up just taking two pills.

3. Acetaminophen

Commercial name(s): Tylenol, Calpol, Panadol, Paracetamol, Bromo Seltzer, Actamin, and Tempra.

Recommended daily dose (adult): 1000 milligrams at one time.

Recommended daily dose (child): 5 doses in 24 hours based on the child’s weight.

Though it’s placed in the same pot as Ibuprofen (considered to be an NSAID), acetaminophen has more in common with aspirin. It’s very effective at relieving paint and breaking the cold- or flu-induced fever. Its effectiveness can be boosted when used with aspirin. Careful about taking too much because it can severely damage your liver.

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4. Naproxen

Commercial name(s): Naprosyn®

Recommended daily dose (adult): 750 milligrams for the first dose, then 250 milligrams every 8 hours.

Recommended daily dose (child): 1 gram per day or 5 milligrams per kilogram twice a day.

Naproxen is an NSAID commonly used to relieve pain and to bring down swelling and fever. Since it’s considered to be more kick-ass compared to Ibuprofen, it’s also used to treat other conditions such as tendonitis, gout, rheumatoid arthritis, and back pain (hooray for me!).

Be careful about taking too many pills, as it can lead to kidney failure. The best thing about using Naproxen over Ibuprofen is that the first starts working in 30 minutes or less, whereas the latter begins to act in 45 to 60 minutes.

Enough meds for you? Well, take it from someone who learned this the hard way: there’s no such thing as too many painkillers around the house. So, what are you waiting for? Go and stock, but remember to check in with your doc first before doing anything stupid.


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One thing before we tackle today’s topic – never, ever, buy meds online. Don’t get fooled by those flashy ads, giveaways or price cutbacks.

The pleasure of wine is doubled when you make it yourself for a few cents a bottle, using your own fruits and without unnecessary additives.

Home winemaking

Home winemaking is an excellent way to preserve any type of excess fruit, from apples to strawberries, and you also can make wine from herbs such as sage and parsley.  I have even heard of tomato wine!

With a little imagination, whatever fruit you have too much of can be made into some kind of wine.

Some fruit wines are easier to make than others. Grapes are the simplest fruit to ferment because grapes give off their juice willingly, tend to ferment quickly, and the waste, called lees, readily separates from the wine.

Dark-colored berries like blackberries and black raspberries make great wine, too, whether you use them alone or combine them with other fruits like apples or pears. In home winemaking, you always have the choice between fermenting fruits by themselves or in combinations chosen to enhance flavor, color, and aroma.

For example, I can make a batch from all apples to yield a light white wine or add a pound of frozen blackberries to the fermenting apples to make a berry pink rosé with a blackberry aroma. Or I can make the two batches separately and blend them later on when the wine is within a few weeks of being ready to bottle.

Fruits and fruit juices for winemaking can be held in the freezer, and freezing and thawing have a tenderizing effect on apples, pears, and other low-juice fruits. Another option is to can fruits or fruit juices in a water bath or steam canner for later use in wine

The importance of sugar

The alcohol content of wine or cider is determined by how much sugar is available for the yeast to convert to alcohol. For the finished wine to be stable in the bottle, it should have an alcohol level between 8 and 12 percent.

Winemakers use a simple instrument called a hydrometer to test the sugar content (as reflected in specific gravity) of a newly composed batch of wine, but that measurement becomes approximate when you top off with water or add additional sugar-laden juice.

Old-time winemakers routinely added additional juice or sugar to raise the alcohol content of their country wines, which were valued more for their headiness than their flavor.

The fruit wine recipe we listed in this article, which uses 2 pounds of sugar per gallon of wine, will generally yield a wine with an alcohol level of around 10 percent.

Very sweet fruits like wine grapes do not need this much sugar, but apples or pears may need a little more. Some winemakers prefer corn sugar for winemaking, but any type of sugar — including honey — can be used to make wine.

Making fruit wine without additives

If you were to buy a wine-making kit, it would come with these or similar additives, which shorten the time you must wait to bottle the wine. Over the years, wine-making kits have changed to include fewer sulfites but more clarifying agents.

A natural winemaker lets time take care of yeasts and clarity, but the choice is yours.

Bentonite is a fine volcanic clay that pulls particles from the wine, helping them accumulate at the bottom of the fermenter. This clarifying agent is used mostly with white wines.

Kieselsol and/or chitosan are gel-like clarifying agents made from sea creatures used to remove haze from wines.

Pectic enzyme may come with a fruit wine kit, and even natural home winemakers use this enzyme, usually in liquid form, to help fruits break down and release their sugars.

Potassium metabisulfite is a sulfite used to sanitize equipment, and in the past, it was used to stabilize the wine. It is sold as a powder or as Campden tablets.

Potassium sorbate is the sulfite used to stabilize wine, which means killing yeasts so they cannot process the remaining sugars. Sweet wines depend on the use of this sulfite, but dry wines can be allowed to become still on their own.

Best fruits for making wine at home

Apples – Make a light white wine, a good base wine for blending; best when aged at least two years.

Blackberries – Make a bold red wine, best when aged two years, or combine blackberries with apples or pears.

Blueberries – Make a light rosé that is ready to drink young at only a year.

Cherries – Delicious jewel-tone cherry wine is great for holidays and special occasions, best when aged two years.

Grapes – Fast, clean fermentation makes grapes the top fruit for winemaking. It can be blended with other fruit wines.

Peaches – Messy to make, but peach wine delivers a great aroma in a full-bodied white wine.

Pears – Pear wine can taste flat on its own but is much improved with the addition of raspberries.

Plums – Plum wine made from chopped fruits has excellent character and color. Plum wine matures young and is ready to drink after one year.

Rhubarb – Rhubarb wine is easy to make, but the wait is long for fully developed wine, up to 4 years.

Strawberry – A sweetheart of a wine, strawberry wine has a long fermentation period, so don’t rush to bottle it. Strawberry wine is best when aged for at least one year.

Raspberries – Use raspberries on their own, or combine them with other fruits to improve the color and aroma of wines.

Step by step guide for making fruit wine

Recipes for making fruit wine, sometimes called country wines, vary only slightly from one to another. That being said, you have tremendous flexibility in the fruits and fruit juices you use.

The following measurements are recommended for a 1-gallon batch.

You will need:

  • 3 quarts water, boiled
  • 6 drops liquid pectic enzyme
  • 4–6 pounds fresh fruit, cut into small pieces
  • 2 pounds sugar
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • 1 packet wine yeast

Optional – 1 can of frozen white grape juice concentrate

How to make fruit wine

1. Start by placing the fruit in a fermentation bag inside a sanitised primary fermenter. Mix the sugar with 2 quarts of hot water and carefully pour it over the fruit. Add the lemon juice, pectic enzyme, grape juice concentrate (if you decide to use it), and additional boiled, cooled water to bring the water level up to 1½ gallons.

When the temperature cools to 72°F, test the specific gravity or taste the liquid. As a general rule, it should taste quite sweet, similar in sweetness to a light syrup.

Add the yeast and cover the primary fermenter and make sure you provide a means for gases to escape (using an airlock is recommended).

2. Every 5 to 6 days, you should stir the fruit in the fermentation bag. Turn it in various ways so that a different side of fruits floats to the top. Do not use your hands and use some sterile utensils. The liquid will become cloudy and slightly effervescent. Use a spoon and taste the liquid, and you should notice a drop in sugar level by the fifth day.

3. After about a week, when the fruit in the fermentation bag has become a gooey mess, lift it from the container and let the juice drip back into the wine. Take your time with this operation and avoid squeezing the bag. Let the wine rest for a few days. Do not throw away the fermented fruit and use it in your compost pile.

4. Without wiggling the container, siphon the clear part of the juice into a clean glass bottle and fit it with an airlock. Make sure to leave about 4 inches of space between the bottom of the airlock and the top of the liquid. In case needed, add boiled, cooled water to bring the liquid to this level. Install the airlock.

5. The bottled wine should be placed in a dark room at a temperature ranging between 60 and 70°F. You can cover the bottle with a towel to protect the wine from light. Light will change the color of your fruit wine, so this step becomes mandatory to preserve the color.

6. After about a month, you can siphon the fruit wine again into a clean bottle. This operation is called racking. Move your fruit wine to a cool place, and check the airlock monthly to make sure it’s clean and functions properly. After three months, you can rack it again.

7. Some people avoid using sulfites to kill any live yeasts remaining in the wine. If you decide to do the same, then you must wait for the wine to consume the sugar (also known as becoming “dry”) before bottling it. The wait time for the fruit wine to become dry takes about six months. In the last month, move the fruit wine bottle to normal room temperature, just in case higher temps stimulate activity by surviving yeast.

8. Your fruit wine is finished, and it can be bottled when no air can be seen escaping through the airlock for several days. Also, no bubbles should be present around the top edge of the wine. If you are doubtful that your fruit wine is ready, just wait some more time. If you bottle the wine before it becomes still, it will pop the cork, and it will make a mess in your pantry or cellar.

9. In general, I recommend you allow the bottled fruit wine to age for at least a year before tasting it. Many folks will taste their fruit wine during the bottling time and feel it too rough to be enjoyable. However, this “rough” wine will mature perfectly if you give it the proper time. We let our fruit wine mature for two years, and we obtain amazing wine from our organically grown fruits.

Concluding

Making fruit wine is not a complicated endeavour as long as you follow a few simple rules and you keep strict hygiene. If you are growing fruits on your homestead, you should definitely give fruit wine a try, and you won’t regret it. This article will provide you with all the basic info and the step-by-step guide to make your fruit wine, so all you need is the will to try it.

The pleasure of wine is doubled when you make it yourself for a few cents a bottle, using your own fruits and without unnecessary additives. Home winemaking Home winemaking is an excellent

Portable backpacking camp stoves can be an invaluable tool for preppers for many obvious reasons.

  • Sometimes you don’t have the ability to build a campfire, and sometimes you don’t have the time.
  • Some stoves use natural fuels more efficiently than a traditional campfire
  • Sometimes it’s just nice to be able to whip out a small stove and make a quick hot drink or heat water for a freeze dried meal.

Whatever your reason, be it camping, long-distance hiking, bugging out, or a grid down emergency, or even something else, a small camping stove should be part of your survival kit. However, there are a great many different ones out there, all using different types of fuel. We are going to look at six, all of which can be easily tossed into a bugout bag, or stashed with your camping gear.

The Top Backpacking Stoves for fast cooking when you need it the most

Etekcity Camping Stove

Etekcity Camping Stove

This lightweight little gem uses common 7/16” thread butane or butane/propane canisters that are widely available in camping and backpacking supply stores. While relying on stored fuel for SHTF is limiting, this fuel is easy to stockpile, and the reality of a camping stove in your emergency gear is more focused on the short term than long term use. In other words, this is the stove you use to heat your food when you are bugging out, or when the power goes out.

Because of the small burner size of this stove, you aren’t going to be whipping out your favorite cast iron skillet and frying up some bacon with it. It will work best with lightweight camping cookware or military mess kits. This further drives home the fact that this is a strictly short term or emergency stove. You are basically going to use it to heat water or reheat canned foods. You can do more complex cooking tasks with it, but you are sorely limited by the kind of cookware you can use on it.

Overall though, if you need a basic stove to toss in your BOB, or in the back of your car for an emergency, and have the kind of fast cooking foods in your cache that work best with this kind of stove, you will be just fine.

Find the Etekcity on Amazon

 Canway Camping Stove

Canway Rocket Stove

So-called “rocket stoves” have long been one of my favorite choices for an emergency stove. Capable of burning almost any dry organic matter (leaves, twigs, pinecones, etc…), they allow a prepper to use fuel that would commonly be ignored, which increases the utility of such stoves.

The Canway stove is an inexpensive and easy to pack away stove. Because fuel can be readily scavenged in most places, you really only need to pack a way to start a fire (although it couldn’t hurt to pack a small amount of wood or such, so you are certain of having fuel).

Like any camping stove, you are somewhat restricted on the weight you can put on it. But again, our goal here is a portable emergency stove. One big disadvantage would be operating in very wet climates or deserts where fuel might be scarce. However, those are fringe situations, so for most folks under most circumstances, this is a great little stove. I’d prefer something with a different fuel source if I were certain of not being able to find fuel.

Find the Canway on Amazon

Coleman Bottle Top Propane Stove

Coleman Stove

A classic camping stove, the Coleman bottle top stove is a bit clunky for a BOB, but it fits in great with other emergency gear if you are already invested in equipment that uses one pound disposable propane bottles.

And therein lies the rub. If you are already using those bottles, great. If not, this is not the stove for you. It is a tad clunky, and while that is a benefit for rough handling, the stove and bottle take up precious room in a BOB that could be used for other things.

Honestly, this is a stove better suited to keep in your vehicle, at home, or in your rural cabin. The bulky nature of the propane canisters alone should be enough to keep it out of any emergency kit that doesn’t include a vehicle to haul it around in. On the other hand, it is a great stove using a common fuel supply. Just use it where it works best, and not where it will be an irritant.

Find the Coleman on Amazon

Lixada Camping Stove

Lixada Camping Stove

This combines two of my favorite stoves – a wood burner, and an alcohol stove. While not as efficient as a proper rocket stove, the wood burning option is just too good to pass up. Plus, it uses the kinds of small sticks and such that often get passed over for campfires.

But what is really
great about the Lixada stove is the alcohol burner unit. Almost identical to the stoves issued by the Swedish Army during the height of the Cold War, these alcohol stoves burn common isopropyl or denatured alcohol, are indoor safe, and are more than suitable for common on the go cooking tasks.

Having used nearly identical stoves, I really enjoy the fact that a small bottle of fuel alcohol can last for a number of days, while still giving me the ability to have plenty of hot drinks and meals.
In fact, I’ve used these kinds of stoves extensively in the sometimes unpleasant climate of the Puget Sound, and keep one for indoor use when the power goes out.

By combining an easy to transport stove that uses wood or alcohol, Lixada gives the prepper a lot of great options for an emergency or camping stove.

Find the Lixada on Amazon

Esbit Folding Stove

Esbit Folding Stove

Esbit and similar solid fuel tablet stoves have been used by military and campers around the world for decades. The ultimate in minimalist stove design, these pocket sized stoves can be tucked away almost anywhere, along with their fuel. This might be the ultimate bugout bag or small survival kit stove, but it of course will have some drawbacks.

The upside to a stove you can stick in your coat pocket is that well, it is a stove you can stick in your coat pocket. You aren’t likely to cook a gourmet meal over this thing, but you can make plenty of hot water, heat up canned foods, and the like, but as with every other stove we’ve looked at, your big limitation is on cookware, rather than the energy output of the stove.

That said, an Esbit also makes a great backup stove. Since a stove and enough fuel to cook with for several days takes up about the space of an AR-15 magazine, you would be well advised to at least pack one as a spare, or stick one in your glovebox. You never know when a stove will come in handy.

Find the Esbit on Amazon

Bushcraft Essentials XL Outdoor Stove Bushbox

Backpack Camp Stove

The Bushcraft Essentials XL stove is by far the most expensive one on the list, but what I like about it is it’s probably the easiest one to fit into a backpack or pocket. The German-made stove is quick and easy set up; you just unfold it and the stainless steel plates drop right into place.

The other great thing about this stove is you can use pretty much any organic matter as fuel so you don’t have to worry about carrying extra fuel. When your done cooking, just fold it up and slide it into your pack.

Find the Bushcraft Stove on Amazon

Choosing An Emergency Camp Stove

If you are looking for a stove for your bugout bag, all the stoves reviewed here, except for the Coleman are perfect for sticking in a bugout bag or small survival kit. Which one you choose is largely up to you.

There is a lot to be said for a stove that  allows burning scraps of wood or other biomass, but that won’t always be an option. For instance, if you are keeping a stove for a grid down emergency, a biomass stove won’t work very well indoors. An alcohol stove on the other hand will.

Stoves using some sort of fuel source have the advantage of a reliable, packaged fuel that can generally be counted on to do the job. Of course, once that fuel is gone,
your stove isn’t of much use, and fuel containers can take up valuable space in an emergency kit.

On the flip side, carrying enough fuel for several days or even a couple weeks generally won’t take up much room, and as it is a consumable, your pack will grow lighter with each use.

Your choice in an emergency stove boils (hehe get it, boils?) down to what kind of space you have set aside for a stove, and what your personal choices are in fuel, and these are only choices you can make.

Ultralight Backing Stoves: Are they part of your Bug Out Survival Gear?

Emergency camping stoves do not have to be expensive, or complicated. Many are made for military or backpacking markets, which lead to lightweight, easy to use and efficient products that do the primary job of heating water or prepared foods very well.

While you are somewhat limited by the small size of these stoves, you’ll find for emergency and grid down situations; they will be the difference between a hot meal
or one that tastes like cold MRE’s and sadness.

The peace of mind a good stove in your emergency kit is invaluable, and just knowing that it is there if you ever need it can be a real relief. The morale boost of a hot meal in an emergency, or the life-saving ability to boil water cannot be measured in dollars, but rather measured in personal satisfaction.

If you don’t already have a stove in your emergency kit or BOB, you should. If you already do, then you are that much ahead of the game!

Portable backpacking camp stoves can be an invaluable tool for preppers for many obvious reasons. Sometimes you don’t have the ability to build a campfire, and sometimes you don’t have

Beef jerky…the stories I could tell you about this stuff. I’m just going to say that I would marry beef jerky if that were possible (thinking about moving to state or country). Anyway, beef jerky’s awesome and, from where I stand, has but one caveat – not enough of it to go around. I mean, c’mon, I know it’s supposed to be emergency food or trail food, but who in God’s name eats just one 20g bag? It’s like saying “hey, it’s game night, and I’m gonna drink just one beer or eat one bag of chips.”

As far as a survival food is concerned, jerky’s the right call since it’s packed with just enough protein and fats to keep that engine of yours running. Sure, they’re salty AF and feels like you’re chewing on a rubber band, but it’s amazingly delicious. Since most of you are busy with your jobs and have neither the time nor the mood to replenish your beef jerky stocks, I thought about sharing with you my mouthwatering homemade beef jerky recipe.

It’s super easy to make and, most importantly, it mostly requires ingredients you probably have in your pantry. Why make beef jerky at home when you can always order some online? Because, let’s face it – as cheap as store jerky is, it’s pretty hard to find one that’s exactly the way you like it. Some are chewy, others salty as Hell and some, well, taste like crap.

First of all, preparing your own beef jerky puts you in full control of the dish, from choosing the beef cuts, all the way to the cooking part. Second, by choosing to cook rather than buy, you can make it as salty or sweet as you like. Last, but not least, beef jerky’s one of those recipes that don’t require an advanced degree in rocket science in order to prepare.

So, without further ado, here’s how to make some delish beef jerky at home.

Ingredients and Utensils

For this recipe, you will need the following:

  • Angus beef sirloin. I use around two pounds of beef for this recipe. Once you get it dried, you end up with one large zip-lock bag of beef jerky.
  • Worcestershire sauce (three-quarters of a cup).
  • Soy sauce (three-quarters of a cup).
  • Smoked paprika (one tablespoon).
  • Honey (one or two tablespoons).
  • Ground black pepper (two teaspoons).
  • Hot chili flakes (one or two tablespoons, depending on preference).
  • Garlic powder (one teaspoon).
  • Onion powder (one teaspoon).

That’s it for the ingredients. As for kitchen utensils, you will need a large bowl to mix your ingredients, an oven tray, baking paper, a pair of scissors, and, of course, a zip-lock bag for the jerky. All done gathering your utensils and all of the ingredients? Take your time. I ain’t going anywhere. When you’re ready, here’s how to put everything together.

Preparing mouthwatering beef jerky

Step 1. Take your beef cut out of the bag and wash it thoroughly. Dry with a couple of paper towels or place in a strainer.

Step 2. In a large bowl add your Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, smoked paprika, honey, ground pepper, hot chili flakes, powdered garlic, and powdered onions. Whisk the ingredients using a fork or, well, a whisk.

Step 3. Cover the bowl with some plastic wrap and place it inside the fridge for half an hour.

Step 4. It’s now time to tend to the meat. Using a very sharp butcher’s knife, cut the meat into thin strips – if it’s easier, make stake-sized bits.

Step 5. Take a big zip-lock bag from the pantry and put the beef inside.

Step 6. Get the bowl out of the fridge and pour over the beef. Seal the bag and place in the refrigerator. Leave the meat to soak up all those juices for at least a couple of hours. Ideally, you should leave it overnight. Remember – the longer you marinate your meat, the tastier it will be. I usually keep it in the fridge for one or two days.

Step 7. When you’re ready to cook the meat, preheat the oven to 176 degrees – yup, you’ll need ultra-low heat. The idea is to dry the beef cuts, not to bake it.

Step 8. Take the marinated beef out of the bag.

Step 9. Place the meat on an oven tray covered with baking paper. Use a paper towel to soak the excess marinade.

Step 10. When the oven reached the desired temperature, stick the tray in the oven and cook for 4 to 5 hours. Every hour or so, flip the beef cuts.

Step 11. When they’re done, take them out of the oven, allow the cuts to cool down, and cut them into thin strips using a pair of scissors or a knife. Bag and tag!

Another Way to Prepare Beef Jerky

Don’t go anywhere, because this was just the warm-up. Okay, so you now know how to prepare beef jerky at home. But can you do the same, say during a shit hits the fan situation? Beef jerky is, more or less, the beauty of the best – thought it looks totally unpalatable, it’s actually delicious, nutritious, and, on top of that, it can be made anywhere and with any type of meat.

Now let’s imagine for a moment that you’re lost in the woods and you run out of food. Obviously, you’ve got to do something about it. Now, if you still have your bug out bag with you, whip out a snare and wait. Keep in mind that beef jerky can be made with any kind of meat.

However, if you want your trail snack to contain all the proteins and fats your body needs to keep on going, you would want to stick with red meat or fish. When you’re done with the gutting and butchering parts, here’s what you will need to do in order to prepare jerky.

Step 1. Find a clean spot to set up your working area.

Step 2. Use your survival knife or a very sharp rock to cut the flesh into very thin strips (half a centimeter). Don’t forget to cut across the grain, not with the grain (those muscle fibers will make meat harder to chew).

Step 3. While the meat’s still wet and tender, season it with your condiments of choice. I like to keep stuff like ginger, cumin, sugar, salt, pepper, and chili in small pill bottles. You can also make your own mix which you can use to season the meat. Put a little bit of sugar if you have some in your bug out bag.

Step 4. It’s now time to create some sort of drying rack. Look around for twigs, long stick or branches. If there’s nothing available, you can always hang the meat cuts by a low-lying branch using heavy duty zip ties. Just be careful to place that meat within eyeshot because it’s bound to attract some unwanted attention (flies, mosquitoes, and, yes, even bears).

(Optional) If you want to a little smokey flavor to your meat, place it over a small campfire. Don’t leave there too long, though. You’ll want to dry your meat, not cook it. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with some BBQed game, but it tends to spoil faster.

Step 5. If you manage to improvise a drying rack, flip the meat every couple of hours. Depending on weather conditions, like wind, humidity, and temperature, it can take up to four days for the meat to lose all moisture.

Yes, I know it’s a painstaking process. More so because you’ll need to be on the lookout for critters. On that note, when it’s time to hit the sack, don’t forget to bring the meat inside your tent or improvised shelter. Obviously, you won’t be able to keep an eye out while you’re asleep.

Step 6. After a couple of days have passed, take a look at the meat. You’ll know it’s ready to eat when the meat has a brittle aspect. If you prepare jerky from red meat, the color you’re looking for is a purple-brown. On the other hand, if you’re using white meat, the jerky will turn pink-grey when it’s done.

Step 7. All that remains to be done is to cut the meat into thinner strips and to store it in a zip-lock bag or an airtight container.

Wrap-up

Taking all these facts into account, I would have to say that jerky is indeed the ultimate survival food. Given the right storage conditions, a batch of jerky can last for at least a couple of months, if not for a whole year.

Now, as far as the oven-drying version is concerned, I would advise ditching the salt. Yes, I know that salt and jerky is a marriage made in Heaven, but the soy sauce adds and smoky taste to the meat, which means that it doesn’t need extra. Of course, if you’re not a big fan of soy, you can always replace with two tablespoons of rock salt.

I don’t know about you, but I like to add some kick to my jerky. If you want your snack to be spicier, you can add half a teaspoon of Tabasco in addition to the chili flakes. Yes, I know it sounds pretty hardcore, but hey, at least your jerky won’t be bland.

One of my friends told me that it’s also possible to prepare beef jerky using a dehydrator. Remember my powdered eggs recipe? Well, the method’s more or less the same. The only advantage of using a dehydrator instead of a regular oven set on ultra-low heat is that it reduces the cooking time by at least one, maybe two hours. If you have one of those gadgets in the kitchen, you should definitely try it out.

One more thing – the meat itself. Though I highly recommend using sirloin for this recipe since the cut will be, well, chewier, you can use whatever meat you prefer. Just be sure it has the same amount of fat as sirloin. Haven’t tried it yet, but from what I heard, jerky prepared from fish like rainbow trout, tuna or salmon is absolutely divine. Trouble is that it’s very hard to get ahold of a good recipe and most of the stuff on the market looks way too nasty.

So, here’s where I take my love. Hope my little winding has managed to convince you that making your own beef jerky is better than having to go through hundreds of Google pages in order to find the right one. As always, don’t think of cooking as something you need to do – have fun around the kitchen. Play some tunes. Work on your air guitar skills; whatever floats your boat. What do you think about my beef jerky recipe? Hit the comments section and let me know.

Beef jerky…the stories I could tell you about this stuff. I’m just going to say that I would marry beef jerky if that were possible (thinking about moving to state