Home2021March (Page 2)

There’s more to zip than meets the tie. No? Let me try another one on you. Tie me a river? Zipper me timbers? I give up. Anyway, in case you haven’t figured it out by now, today’s top is zip ties – very common and handy household item, especially when things get way too intense in the bedroom.

Joke aside, I believe that everyone should have at least one bag of heavy-duty zip ties around the house since they’re very useful for all manner of odd jobs – I personally use them to prevent my PC cables from getting tangled. Sometimes I even use them to organize my paracords.  Now, as you’ve guessed it, zip ties can be a great help in a shit hits the fan situation. So, without further ado, here are 25 survival uses for them zippy ties.

Splinting and securing bandages

Not every SHTF ends with you being rescued the minute you hit the “dial” button on your phone. Sometimes, you will need to fend for yourself before the cavalry comes to pick you up. Scrapes, bruises, wounds, and fractures are possible, especially when you’re forced to cross a hostile terrain.

Normally, you would use cordage (string, rope, shoelaces or dental floss) in case you need to splint a limb, toe or finger. If you don’t have anything else on hand, use one or two zip ties to secure the splint. Don’t forget to snip off the excess. The same method can be employed to ensure that the bandages stay where they’re supposed to stay and that would be the wound.

In a major medical emergency (e.g., profuse bleeding, protruding wounds), a heavy-duty zip tie can double up like a tourniquet. Only use this as a last resort or if you don’t have anything else on hand to control the bleeding like plastic tubing, surgical glove, condom or cordage. Indeed, a zip tie can be used to “clamp off” a bleeder but, in the long run, it ends up doing more damage than the wound itself.

Repair damaged gear

Missing stuff from your bug out bag like a sewing kit for instance? No problem as long as you have a bag of zip ties. They can be successfully employed to mend any kind of gear – parka with a missing button, zipper with no tab, holes in the backpack or heavy rain poncho; snip off the ends and you’re good to go.

Keeping B.O.B items within reach

Many survival items come with lanyard holes, but not all of them. That shouldn’t be much of an issue if you remembered to pack some zip ties in your bug out bag. Just run that plastic tie through anything resembling a hole and attach the item to your belt or to a mini carabiner (that’s how I keep my survival lighter).

Restrain someone

If you get caught up in the fight, use a heavy-duty zip tie to restrain the bad guy until the authorities arrive. Well, you can also use them for other restraint purposes, but I ain’t going to touch this one.

Keeping boots where they belong

One of the worst things that could happen to you during hacking is shoelaces going sour on you. Don’t have extras in your backpack? Grab a zip tie, run it through the holes, and you’re all set.

Prevent pants from falling off you

Lost your belt or had to use it for other purposes? Yup, grab a heavy-duty zip or more, run it through your pants’ belt loops, and tie it. Won’t win you a fashion contest, but at least you won’t have to go around butt-naked.

Craft a shelter

You can use zip ties to secure the beams to each other when you’re building a shelter. They’re also useful in anchoring your makeshift shelter to a nearby tree or to the ground.

Mark trails

If you have a pack of brightly colored zip ties, you can secure them to low tree branches or rocks in order to mark off a trail. They also serve the purpose of signaling, letting your rescuers know that they’re going the right way.

Make a net

It’s possible to weave a net using small zip ties – very useful for all kinds of purposes such as berry-picking or storing game before reaching the campsite.

Make a trap

You can whip up a simple trap using a zip tie, a bent sapling, and some bait. Moreover, heavy-duty zip ties can be used to hang large or medium game from a branch – makes skinning and butchering easier. If you plan on curing meat, draw a heavy-duty through the flesh, and hang the cuts on a branch or an improvised line.

Repair a broken bag

If the zipper or purse lock refuses to work, grab a zip tie and secure the ends. Yes, I know it looks awful, but hey, at least your stuff will stay inside the purse\backpack\bag\tote.

Hang clothes

Don’t have any cloth hangers around the house? You really don’t need to hit the store to buy some more; just use a couple of zip ties to hang them in the wardrobe.

Patch holes in your fence

As the proud owner of a dog which has way too much energy, I spend at least a couple of hours every week mending the chain link fence. As replacing the entire grid would cost me a pretty penny, I usually use heavy-duty zip ties to patch the holes; thanks, Nero. You’re the best!

Keep your B.O.B organized

Use small zip ties to secure paracord and to keep your cables organized. Remember that it’s an emergency survival kit, not your sock drawer!

Extra traction in cold weather

Although I wouldn’t advise you to drive around town with zip ties attached to your wheels, in an emergency, you can use two or three to gain extra traction on icy roads. Works best in conjunction with kitty litter and sand.

Quick-draw mod for pocket knives

A pocket knife is not only great for carving wood or cutting meat, but also a great ally in hand-to-hand combat. As a self-defense teacher once said, the first ten seconds of any armed encounter will determine the outcome of the fight. A pocket knife is an excellent close-quarter weapon, but getting the blade out takes a couple of seconds.

To gain an edge in combat, you can add a quick-draw mode to your pocket knife. Here’s what to do: take a piece of the zip tie and secure it to the finger hole. Snip away the excess. Yes, I know it looks dumb, but that little piece of plastic will get the blade out as soon as the knife leaves your pocket. Try it and see if there’s any difference.

Keep your travel bags safe

If you plan on going abroad this year, forget about using a padlock to secure your suitcase. Use a heavy-duty zip tie instead. Travel locks can be easily removed. The same thing cannot be said about a fastened zip tie which will take more than a pair of a bolt cutter to unfasten.

To be extra safe, use at least four of that stuff. You should use zip ties that match the color of your suitcase for concealment purposes. Don’t forget to tighten them before reaching the airport and to snip off the excess.

Leg protection

Mother Nature’s is very good at hiding stuff in plain sight. This includes poisonous plants like ivy or nettle. Now, if you’re about to cross an area with tall grass or plenty of puddles, use a heavy-duty zip tie to lash the pants to your ankles. That tie will make sure nothing gets inside your pants.

Make more room in your bug out bag

If your bug out bag comes with a bedroll, mylar blanker or sleeping bag, use a couple of heavy-duty zip ties to secure the bundle and to compress it. You can do the same for your rain poncho.

Makeshift bandana

Hair getting in your eyes? Use a bandana. You don’t have it anymore? Not a problem. Use a piece of zip tie to prevent those curly locks of your from getting into your eyes. If you have longer hair, it’s possible to use a pencil and then zip tie to make a bun.

Keeping your tomato vines in line

As a gardener, I can truly say that zip ties are what one might call a God-sent gift. Without those little plastic loops, my tomato vines would grow all over the place. That doesn’t sound so bad, I know, but I do have this obsession with keeping my garden organized; the same thing cannot be said for my clothes or socks.

Make a headlamp from any tac light

Although your tac light should come with a head attachment, in some cases the manufacturers forget to include that thingamajig. Anyway, if you find yourself unable to hold your electric torch, use some heavy-duty zip ties to secure the tac light to your head. Furthermore, you can use the same trick to tie a regular flashlight to your bike’s handle if the one you have can’t handle the darkness.

Hang a solar still

In one of my previous articles, I showed you how to make a simple solar still using a plastic bottle and a tin can. When it’s ready, use a piece of zip tie to secure your still to a nearby low-lying branch.

Patching your tent

Because I’ve been hiking ever since I could remember, I have at least one fully functional tent around the house. Now, the thing I realized about these mid-range tents is that the rivets closing the hatch tend to break after a couple of uses.

No problem if you’re still in town, but kinda shitty when you want to hit the hay and can’t close the hatch – bears are not a problem if you keep the fire running, but the mosquitoes won’t spare you.

Now, if you have issues with your hatch, use a couple of zip ties to close it. Yes, you may need a survival knife or a pair of scissors to get out of the tent, but at least those damned mosquitoes stay outside, where they belong.

Use around the house

Zip ties are great for keeping cables anchored to the wall or other kinds of odd jobs. For instance, I like to use them to dry the meat my wife will use to prepare beef jerky. If you have a little smokehouse, you can replace metallic hooks with zip ties to hang the meat.

They’re also double up as padlocks – if you have a gun cabinet, you can use one or two heavy-duty zip ties in conjunction with a lock to keep the guns out of children’s reach.

That’s it for my article on ways to use zip ties in a shit hits the fan situation. Anything missing from the list? Head to the comments section and let me know.

Not every SHTF ends with you being rescued the minute you hit the “dial” button on your phone. Sometimes, you will need to fend for yourself before the cavalry comes

Sure, shovelling a couple of tin cans and ready-to-eat packs inside a pantry or emergency household kit may be a no-brainer, but what happens when a real emergency blows your way and you’ll need to eat those stuff to stay alive? More than that, are you really sure that everything stays fresh until the time of unboxing comes? There are a lot of things to consider when creating a long-term food stockpile: shelf life, type of food, the very environment where you choose to store the food, and, the containers themselves.

As you know, emergency food should be stored in a cool and dark environment to keep them from getting rotten. Still, that leaves you to deal with other unforeseen dangers such as rodents clawing your way into your food stash, insects, and, of course, indirect environmental factors that can make long-term storage food stored in metal cans to go bad. Last, but not least, moisture can severely affect your food, even if it’s neatly wrapped in packages.

What I like to do in this case is to take the original pack and to place it inside individual zip-lock bags before placing them inside airtight plastic containers.

You can even throw in a couple of desiccant silica gel packs to remove any moisture remaining inside. For a while, I thought long and hard about finding a more permanent solution to the excess moisture issue inside the pantry I use to store my food and I eventually ended up buying a dehumidifier. It works very well, and mine takes triple-A batteries (you can switch them with rechargeable power cells).

Now, regarding today’s topic, some foods are more endearing than others. For instance, lentils can be stored for at least 5 years. On the other hand, rice, if deposited in a proper environment, can last for 30 years if not more. This is why I’ve always pushed for smart stockpiling, aka buying only those stuff with a very long shelf life that could, theoretically, last forever.

This is not something new under the sun. In fact, if you remember your history lessons when Carter and Lord Carnarvon popped open Tut’s tomb, they found perfectly edible food stored inside wax-sealed angoras. And it’s not the only example – the Chinese did and even the Mayans. So, what are these wonder-foods that can be kept for decades at an end in the pantry before going rotten? Stick around to find out.

  1. Carrots

Packs with flavonoids and tons of other nutrients, carrots are excellent for stews, broths, and even by themselves. What most people don’t know is that those bright-orange wonders can be stored for decades. Dehydrated carrots have a shelf life of 25 years or even more. The trick is to place them in air-tight containers right after removing all the water as to minimize the contact with the air. I recently found out that it’s way easier to remove the water if you chop them into small pieces.

To whip up a quick batch of dried carrots:

  • Peel them off.
  • Wash and rinse.
  • Blanch them in a pot.
  • Put them on a tray.
  • Preheat the over to 125.
  • Place the carrots inside and allow them to dry. It takes about 4 to 5 hours depending on your oven.

Don’t forget to still every hour. Take them out of the oven and allow them to dry before tossing them inside a zip-lock bag.

2. Pasta

Mamma mia! Who doesn’t adore a plateful of pasta with meatballs? I, for one, am very much in love with pasta. It’s the type of food that can be cooked in every way imaginable. Even better, pasta, especially the deep-frozen variety, has a very long shelf life (at least 20 years).

Still, if you store them in a moist-free environment, you can take them out and whip up a quick pasta dinner even after 40 or 50 years. I read somewhere that pasta products can even last for a century and even more if placed special storage containers like aluminum-lined mylar bags.

3. Salt

No meal’s complete with a sprinkle and tinkle of salt. This awesome condiment, which has been around since the dawn of time, does not ever go rotten if stored in the proper conditions. You need not worry about bacteria getting inside, because salt has a way of dealing with them.

Still, the only thing you should concern yourself with is moisture. If the container isn’t properly sealed (been there, done that), then it’s bye-bye salt and hello mush. I usually keep my salt in a heavy-duty plastic container in which I throw a pack or two of desiccant silica gel wrapped in plastic just to be sure.

4. Baking soda

There’s nothing baking soda can’t do or fix – you can use it to bake delicious cookies, cakes, clean stuff around the house. Before I went to the doctor to get my molar fixed, I used to gargle baking soda in the morning before brushing my teeth (great for morning breath as well).

If you’re a computer buff, just like myself, you can use a light baking soda mixture to remove persistent stains from plastic computer cases (also works wonders on those yellow spots!). As you’ve guessed it, baking soda has no expiration date, provided that you store it in proper conditions – no moisture and sunlight.

5. Soy Sauce

Care for some Chinese? Well, if you’re a fan of Asian cuisine then you must know that no dish must be without soy sauce. Salty, smokey, flavory, it gives that sea-foody taste to each meal. Are you ready for the good news? Soy sauce never goes bad. Ever!

Since it’s packed with sodium, that stuff will never spoil due to bacteria. Watch out for moisture and exposure to sunlight though. To protect that black gold, pour the contents of a bottle in a sealable and air-tight glass jar. You can line up the jar’s mouth with aluminum foil and plastic wrap for extra protection.

6. Powdered milk

I know that nothing beats the taste of real cow’s milk, but the bacteria inside it makes it impossible to store it over long periods. On the other hand, powdered milk is not pretentious and very handy to have around the house for dishes and drinks. If stored in a moisture-free environment, powdered milk can last forever. I usually store powdered milk in a large plastic container with a couple of moisture-absorbent packs inside.

7. Instant drinks (coffee, cocoa powder, and tea)

No emergency stockpile should go without easy and quick to prepare drinks. I cannot and will not imagine a world without coffee or tea. Since they’re dehydrated, all instant drinks can last up to 10 years if you remember to store them in a moisture-free room.

 

8. Honey

Yes, dear? No, I was talking about bee honey, the one you use to make cookies or sweeten your drinks. The high sugar contents inhibit bacteria from developing. And, if store properly (lid screwed on tight, no sunlight and moisture), a jar of honey can last for 100 years or even more!

 

9. Stock and bouillon

These are great during those cold winter days when you want to whip up a bowl of soup or your favorite comfort food. Everything boiled and set to cool down before being placed in bottles or something can last for ten years or more. Funny thing happened to me the first time my wife and I prepare bouillon for our stockpile.

So, the pantry which I used to store my food had a slight designing issue – heat seeped through one of the holes in the wall. After the bottles cooled down, we placed them inside and forget about them for a couple of weeks. One night, I heard this long bang coming from the pantry. Half-asleep and almost naked, I ran up to see what the Hell was happening.

When I opened the door to peek inside it was like stumbling upon a crime scene – two of the bottles exploded and there was tomato sauce everywhere. After a while, I realized that the heat made the bouillon bottles blow up. So, make sure your pantry is insulated. Otherwise, someone might think you’ve killed someone and hid his body inside the room.

10. Sugar

Spice and everything nice – these are the ingredients to create the perfect prepper. Very much like baking soda and honey, sugar can be stored indefinitely. The only problem is that it tends to harden over time. No problem. Just place it inside a large container and use a spatula or a spoon to break down those big chunks.

 

11. Beans

Delicious, nutritious, and easy to prepare, beans are the very top of the food pyramid. Although you’ll probably end up passing more gas than usual after a bean-based dish, it’s nevertheless a versatile food. More than that, if you’re careful enough to store them in proper condition, a single bag of beans can last up to 30 years. There’s one catch about beans – you will need to reseal the bag from time to time. This is why I switched aluminum-lined mylar bags instead of plastic, airtight containers.

 

12. White vinegar

What happens when the wine goes bad? You get up from the table and argue with the waiter, of course. Kidding – wine has this outstanding quality of transforming into vinegar, which is one of the most useful items found in your pantry, apart from salt and baking soda.

Vinegar can be used in salad dressings and other dishes, but it’s also a great helper around the house (my wife uses it to remove cat hair from the carpet and I use it in very small amounts to remove pigeon droppings from the car’s hood). White vinegar never goes rotten, so you can store as much as you want without a problem.

 

13. Maple Syrup

Fancy some pancakes with maple syrup for breakfast? My kids go absolutely bonkers over this dish. Can’t say that it’s really good for their teeth but, hey, try arguing with a hungry and screaming toddler. Just like honey, maple syrup has high sugar contents, which means that it can be stored for long periods of time (50 to 80 years, by some accounts).

However, you should know that there’s a huge difference between maple syrup stored in plastic and the one stored in glass bottles. The first, even unopened, has a shelf life of 5 to 18 months, while the later can last as much as half a century.

 

14. Ghee

I don’t know if most of you are familiar with this ingredient. Ghee is a type of base which is prepared from boiled butter. Basically, you get ghee by removing all the water from the butter. Great for Indian dishes and preparing low-calorie foods. If you store it in an airtight container, ghee will never go bad on you.

 

15. Corn starch

Momma always used to say that if the food looks too watery, add some corn starch to make the spoon stand up on its own. Corn starch is very useful around the house – you can cook with it, clean up stuff, and even use it in combination with water to soothe sunburns. Stock up on corn starch now because this stuff will never go bad.

Okay! To wrap this up in a neat and elegant manner, check out this small list of all the foods and their shelf-lives. Hope you’ve learned by now that smart stockpiling is all about knowing your food and not shovelling them in a pantry and throwing away the key.

Food Shelf Life (years)
Carrots (dehydrated) 25+
Pasta 20+
Salt Forever
Baking Soda Forever
Soy Sauce Forever
Powdered milk Forever
Instant drinks 10+
Honey 100+
Stock & Bouillon 10+
Sugar Forever
Beans 30+
White Vinegar Forever
Maple Syrup 50~80
Ghee Forever
Corn Starch Forever

 

There are a lot of things to consider when stockpiling. So, what are these wonder-foods that can be kept for decades at an end in the pantry before going rotten?

Sometimes, you have to think outside of the freeze-dried food paradigm. You may find yourself in the woods forced to run from your home or camp because of marauders with nothing to eat. Fortunately, there are many edible plants that can save your life if you know what they are, how to identify them and are comfortable with preparing them.

I don’t personally think that I will love eating a bunch of weeds to survive, but I will if needed. In a long-term disaster, I would certainly consider them vital to preserving life and the right edible plants could augment your gardens and food stores. I wanted to write up this list of 20 edible plants that are found mostly in the temperate region. There are certainly others you could find growing near you, but this is a good start. If I am able to master 20 edible plants in the area where I live, I would consider that a huge benefit to my prepping needs.

There are a lot of very recognizable plants you can eat like strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and so on, but I didn’t want to add those to the list.

Plants to avoid

Before you grab a good book on edible plants and run out into the woods with a bowl and a fork, you should practice some caution with this process. Not all plants are edible and knowing what not to eat is just as important as knowing what to eat. Before you forage, here are some simple rules to follow when you are trying to identify a plant.

Do not eat any plants that have the following traits

  • Milky or discolored sap
  • Grain heads with purple/pink or black spurs
  • Beans, bulbs or seeds inside pods
  • Yellow, white or red berries
  • Soapy or bitter taste
  • Never eat plants with thorns.
  • Steer clear of plants with shiny leaves.
  • Don’t eat mushrooms. Many are safe to eat, but many are highly toxic and even deadly, so it’s not worth the risk.
  • Umbrella-shaped flowers are a bad sign. Stay away from these plants.
  • Avoid anything that smells like almonds.
  • Same as poison ivy, stay away from plants with leaves in groups of three.

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

In addition to avoiding all of those traits, you want to forage for wild edible plants in areas that are less likely to have toxins. Plants growing near homes could have been sprayed many times with chemicals. Plants in water that is contaminated will likely hold that same contamination. Plants by the road will have picked up many harmful chemicals and pollution.

Before eating, use the Universal Edibility Test

Before taking the test, you need to fast for 8 hours. If you are desperate enough to need to find edible plants, this might be already the case.

  1. Test only one part of a potential food plant at a time.
  2. Separate the plant into its basic components – leaves, stems, roots, buds and flowers
  3. Smell the food for strong or acid odors. Remember, smell alone does not indicate if a plant is edible or not.
  4. During the 8 hours you are fasting, test for contact poisoning by placing a piece of the plant part you are testing on the inside of your elbow or wrist. Usually 15 minutes is enough time to get a reaction if there is going to be one.
  5. During the test period, take nothing by mouth except purified water and that plant part you are testing.
  6. Select a small portion of a single part and prepare it the way you plan to eat it.
  7. Before placing the prepared plant part in your mouth, touch a small portion (a pinch) to the outer surface of your lip to test for burning or itching.
  8. If after 3 minutes there is no reaction on your lip, place the plant part on your tongue and hold it there for 15 minutes. DO NOT SWALLOW.
  9. If there is no burning, itching, numbing, stinging , or any other irritation, swallow the plant part.
  10. Wait 8 hours. If any ill effects occur during this period, induce vomiting and drink a lot of water.
  11. If no ill effects occur, each ¼ cup of the same plant part prepared the same way. Wait another 8 hours. If everything is still good after all of these steps, the plant is considered edible.

Note: Just because the part you tested is edible, that doesn’t mean the entire plant is edible. Test all parts the same way before eating them.

 

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

List of Edible Plants

Amaranth (Amaranthus retroflexus and other species)


Amaranth is an edible weed found almost everywhere. You can eat all parts of the plant but some leaves contain spines. Boil the leaves to remove the oxalic acid and nitrates.

Asparagus (Asparagus officinalis)


Wild Asparagus grows in most of Europe and North America. This looks different than the fatter stalks you normally eat but can be eaten raw or boiled. Add a little butter and salt.

Burdock (Arctium lappa)


Young plant roots and stems can be cooked by boiling for about 20 minutes, then season to taste. Before cooking however, the stems should be peeled, and roots scrubbed in order to remove the bitter rind.

Related – Even SWAT Teams are helpless against THIS

Cattail (Typha species)


The lower parts of the leaves can be used in a salad; the young stems can be eaten raw or boiled; the young flowers (cattails) can be roasted.

Clover (Trifolium)


I have never been able to find a four-leaf clover but you can’t walk out in my back yard without stepping on this plant. You can eat the leaves raw or boil them.

Chicory (Cichorium intybus)


Leaves and root. Although the flower is edible, it is very bitter.

Chickweed (Stekkarua media)


Chickweed is a very nutritious herb, containing Vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, C, E along with Calcium, Copper, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Phosphorous, Potassium, Selenium, Silicon, Sodium, Sulfur and Zinc plus essential fatty acids. It can be eaten as a salad vegetable or cooked and eaten like cabbage.

 

Related – Knowledge to survive any medical crisis situation

Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)


Dandelion leaves can be added to a salad or cooked. They can also be dried and stored for the winter or blanched and frozen.

Persimmon (Diospyros virginiana)


Persimmons are rich in vitamins A and B, and are a good source of fiber. To get the most nutritional value from persimmons, it’s best to eat them raw.

Plantain (Plantago species)


The leaves can be eaten raw or steamed for a spinach substitute, and are awesome raw in salads and blended into green smoothies, especially the younger ones as the mature leaves may taste slightly bitter.

Pokeweed (Phytolacca americana)


Pokeweed can be poisonous if not prepared carefully. You have to ensure you don’t get the roots and the shoots aren’t too long.  Make sure you learn more about the proper cultivation and preparation of this plant before eating it.

Prickly pear cactus (Opuntia species)


Both the pads and the fruit of the prickly pear cactus are edible.

Purslane (Portulaca oleracea)


The moisture-rich leaves are cucumber-crisp, and have a tart, almost lemony tang with a peppery kick.

Sassafras (Sassafras albidum)


The leaves of Sassafras texture and can be used raw or cooked in salads or eaten right off the plant, unlike the berries, the leaves have a mild pleasant taste.

Sheep sorrel (Rumex acetosella)


You can use the leaves in salad, or make into soup.

Thistle (Cirsium species)


Flower head shown: Just strip the green off the leaf leaving the very edible midrib. Rub the “wool” off and enjoy, raw or cooked.

Water lily and lotus (Nuphar, Nelumbo, and other species)


Leaves gathered anytime during the growing season (although, again, early spring growth is best of all) make good greens. Chop the pads into noodle-like strips and boil them in one change of water. The addition of a little bacon doesn’t hurt a thing.

Wild onion and garlic (Allium species)


All parts of this particular Wild Onion are edible, the underground bulbs, the long and thin leaves.

Wild rose (Rosa species)


Petals can be added to salads , desserts, beverages, used to make jelly or jam and be candied

Wood sorrel (Oxalis species)


The leaves, flowers, green seed pods, and roots are all edible, raw or cooked. It can be eaten straight out of the ground, added to soups, made into a sauce, or used as a seasoning. As a seasoning, it provides a lemony/vinegary taste to whatever it’s added to.

Now that you have some more information about the edible plants near you, why don’t you try eating some of these varieties the next time you go for a hike in the woods. Any wild edible plants that you eat that didn’t make the list?

 


Other Self-sufficiency and Preparedness solutions recommended for you:

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

 

Remember, before eating these plants, use the Universal Edibility Test. Details inside.

Imagine women giving birth centuries ago or imagine you suffer from some critical injury or serious ailment. Centuries ago, there was not the concept of technology and there certainly weren’t the advances in medical science we have today. Your best option would be to call the tribal medicine doctor or shaman. Someone who knew how to use a leaf as a bandage and how to break and pull a tooth out with a stone. Could you survive? Could you stay healthy? Could you even live long enough to see the next sunrise? Thinking of those types of situations now, it hardly seems possible, but we humans are tenacious and if it was impossible,  then how did mankind make it this far? If modern medicines and advances in science are the only reason we are combating serious diseases now, then how did we make it this far?

The answer to this question is simple – Mother Nature has her own secrets.  There are many who fear that humans won’t be able to survive without the conveniences of modern medicine. Granted, we won’t be able to save life on the scale that we can now, but there are natural options.  Humans made it pretty far along the span of history without any complicated and advanced sciences. For sure there is something much greater reserved in nature. Today we will discuss 10 must-have natural remedies that will offer comfort and healing when the possibility of modern medicine is gone.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Everything from stomach related disorders, to boosting vitality, to counteracting diseases. Taken before supper, it even assists with weight reduction! Likewise, the vinegar is one of those ‘100 uses’ wonder items. The benefits of apple cider vinegar come from its powerful healing compounds, which include acetic acid, potassium, magnesium, probiotics, and enzymes.

Honey

Yes, the gift of God, the food of heaven, honey is one of those natural remedies that you need to have around in your house. The food of God, honey is both good for medicinal purpose and equally serves as a dessert. It includes vitamins, trace enzymes, amino acids, and minerals like calcium, iron, sodium chloride, magnesium, phosphate, and potassium.

Garlic

Consuming garlic on a daily basis (in food or raw) helps to lower cholesterol levels because of the anti-oxidant properties of Allicin. It is also immensely beneficial to regulate blood pressure and blood sugar levels

Coconut Oil

Coconut milk and coconut oil on wooden table

To date, there are over 1,500 studies proving coconut oil to be one of the healthiest foods on the planet. Coconut oil benefits and uses go beyond what most people realize. Research has finally uncovered the secrets to this amazing fruit; namely healthy fats called medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs), these unique fats include: Caprylic acid, Lauric acid, and Capric acid

Hydrogen Peroxide

A slightly different solution, hydrogen peroxide is good for skincare and nurturing. We’re talking about 35% FOOD grade, which is NOT the same as what you normally purchase. The 35% grade can actually burn your skin if you put too much in one spot. But you can dilute a drop or so depending upon the requirement in a glass of water and you have a prophylaxis or potential cure.

Flax

Chia seeds are viewed as the ideal natural nourishment since they contain an excessive number of advantages to list here. More to it, who might trust that what gives off an impression of being simply one more “weed” with entirely blue blooms would be a characteristic of well-being.

Steam Water – Distilled Water

The most important health benefit distilled water offers is the elimination of waterborne contaminants that may potentially be found in water. Drinking contaminated water is one of the fastest ways to spread disease, toxic metals, and industrial pollutants.

Red Chili

Red chili pepper

Looking for immediate skincare of for some nerve pain relief, the red chili is your spicy go-to product. Beware heavy eating can bring about some serious trouble. Proceed with caution.

Bergamot

Bergamot is also a good source of vitamins and is said to have super anti-oxidant and other unique properties that enhance well-being and promote anti-aging. Exemplified by all the dancing and bike riding you see 100-year-old Italians doing.

Aloe Vera

This is viewed as an attempted and demonstrated must have mending plant that as a rule is related to skin medicines, particularly consumes, yet it is much more flexible than simply that. Make ointments and medicine from a mix of coconut oil, aloe, and nectar for astounding skin revival properties.


In her work entitled The Forgotten Power of Plants, Dr. Nicole Apelian describes in more than 300-pages the most powerful medicinal plants and step-by-step instructions on how to turn them into powerful remedies.

Check out the off-grid recipe section that will give you the best natural alternatives to every pill in your medicine cabinet.

Imagine women giving birth centuries ago or imagine you suffer from some critical injury or serious ailment. Centuries ago, there was not the concept of technology and there certainly weren’t

After any SHTF scenario or major natural disaster, food is going to be one of the most vital things to have available. You won’t be able to rely on what’s in stores – panic buying or looting will probably have cleaned them all out unless police or the military have secured them first. Either way, the goods in them won’t be available to you. Unless you already have a working smallholding it’s going to take time before you can grow your own, as well. If you want to get through the initial months after the event you’re going to need to have substantial food stocks to hand– ideally enough for at least a year, but even two or three months’ worth will buy you time to become self-sufficient.

The food you store needs to be nutritious enough to keep you healthy, and have enough caloric value that you’ll be able to work hard for long days without feeling fatigued – surviving isn’t an easy task. It also needs to have enough variety not to become monotonous, and stocking up on a few favorites will help keep your morale up in stressful circumstances.

Unfortunately, you can’t just store anything you like. If you don’t have your own generator power will be unreliable, so you can’t depend on anything that needs to be kept frozen or refrigerated. That rules out most modern ready meals. Tinned food is a better bet – much of it can be safely stored at room temperature for years – but some tinned goods will also deteriorate. That’s also an expensive way to build up a reserve, so for most people the realistic option will be to stockpile some staples – mostly carbohydrates – and use foraged or grown items to supplement them.

Many bulk foods, like pasta, beans or dry white rice, can be stored almost indefinitely. Others can’t; over time they will go stale or rancid, and they can also attract pests. Here is an introduction tothe main goods that you either CAN’T store or should do so with a lot of caution.

#10 Baked Goods


Baked goods can’t be stored for more than a few days without freezing, so it’s tempting to stock up on enough flour to let you bake your own for a few years. Unfortunately, this isn’t a great idea. Flour can be stored for a while, but it isn’t viable as a long-term option. Wheat flour will only last around eight months before deteriorating badly. Refined flour does a bit better, but even then it can only really be kept for around two years.

The major problem with flour is infestation by psocids, or booklice, which are tiny black or brown insects. Once the flour has been opened it will quickly attract these pests, and once they get in they’ll multiply quickly. To deter them always store flour in sealed airtight containers, and make sure it’s absolutely dry. Flour usually comes in paper packages, and psocids are well known for their ability to get through paper. If you want to store a few months’ supply of flour then seal the bags inside plastic ones – if you can vacuum-pack them that’s even better – then store those in a plastic bin with a tight-fitting lid. Keep the area around the store clean and sweep up any spilled flour immediately (don’t mop it) to avoid attracting psocids. Never mix old and new flour.

If the SHTF you can’t rely on having more than two years’ supply of flour, but why not store grain instead?This is protected by its natural husks, so it’s much more resistant to insects. Mice and rats can be a problem, though, so again pack wheat or barley in plastic bags and store them in a bin. Rats can chew through plastic – consider a thoroughly cleaned steel trash can.
Another option is to buy flour and bake it into a hard tack. You will find plenty of recipes for this traditional military and seafaring food. It’s extremely simple to make – just flour, water and a pinch of salt – and if you keep it dry it will last for years.

#9 Canned Bread


There’s a popular recent trend for baking home-canned bread and cakes. These are simple to make; usually, you pour batter into Mason jars, bake them in the oven, then seal the jar and cool it. That creates a partial vacuum inside the jar, which will preserve the contents for a while. Canned baked goods, especially cakes, are often given as Christmas or birthday gifts, and that’s usually not a problem. However, a lot of people also say that they can be stored for up to a year; some claim they can be stored indefinitely.

It might sound tempting, but this is a really bad idea. The problem is a bacterium, Clostridium botulinum. This organism grows from tough spores that are found almost everywhere but will only grow in certain conditions. It thrives in moist, nutrient-rich environments with little or no oxygen – and unfortunately the baking and canning process creates an environment that’s just about perfect for it. As the bacteria grow they produce a toxin, commonly known as botox, that can be lethal when it contaminates food.

There is no guaranteed way to make Botulinus-free canned bread at home. The spores are heat-resistant enough that baking won’t kill them, and although some scientists have developed bread recipes that are designed to prevent the bacteria from growing it’s just too easy to get it wrong. Canned bread is fine as a gift or treat that will be eaten within a few days, but it should never be stored long-term. It is definitely not safe, and the consequences can be deadly. In a survival situation, botox poisoning is untreatable. Don’t risk it.

#8 Canned Tomatoes

Most canned foods can be stored for a long time – often pretty much indefinitely. Tomatoes are one of the exceptions. The problem is the juice, which over time will attack the can. When you hear people complain about issues storing canned foods, a lot of the time it’s going to be a tomato product. Possible problems include bulged or leaking cans and even split seams.

Even if the can looks fine and there are no visible leaks it could have tiny perforations that mean it’s no longer airtight – and so it’s no longer safe. If you open any can of a tomato product and it’s discolored or has an unusual smell, don’t risk it – throw it out. Few preppers can resist keeping some canned tomatoes because they’re so versatile, but don’t keep more than about six months’ worth and make sure you rotate your stock regularly.

#7 Canned Fat Meat (some)

There are risks storing any kind of meat because it can host so many bacteria and parasites; canned varieties are among the safer ones but there are still limits. Meat contains fat, and fat is made up of acids; the contents can be acidic enough to damage the can. The quality will also go downhill after a while, so even if it’s still safe it won’t be very appetizing.

Canned tuna will also deteriorate – it tends to become mushy after long storage. Other canned foods are usually safe to keep for several years at least; texture and flavor may deteriorate, but they should stay edible. For best results keep cans in a dark, dry place with a constant cool temperature. Avoid uninsulated attics or garages, as these often have dramatic temperature changes. Basements are ideal as long as they don’t have a dampness problem. Damp conditions will eventually corrode cans, and this can let air in long before there are any visible leaks.

#6 Homemade Jerky

Compact dehydrators are becoming popular and a lot of preppers now have them. They’re a great way to make tasty and healthy fruit snacks, and of course, they’re a Godsend to any jerky fans. Commercial jerky is expensive, but you can make your own from cheap cuts of beef and it tastes just as good. Unfortunately, it isn’t as safe to store. Commercially made jerky is processed in industrial dehydrators that let the moisture content be very precisely controlled. Home models aren’t as predictable – even the humidity in your kitchen can affect the moisture content of the finished product. Homemade jerky is pretty safe for normal consumption, but if you store it for months or years there’s a risk from any bacteria that survived the drying process.

If you’re determined to store homemade jerky, vacuum pack it and include a silica gel sachet with each batch to soak up any excess moisture.

#5 Graham Crackers

These seem like a simple, trouble-free item to store, but they’re not – they develop a rancid taste over time. Don’t rely on them staying tasty for more than a year. You can extend that another year or two by repackaging them in vacuum-sealed packages, or in an airtight container with oxygen absorbers.

Long-term, a better idea is to have the ingredients tomake your own graham crackers. It isn’t hard and you can find plenty of recipes online.

Many other crackers are also bad choices for long-term storage. Unless you take a lot of care to seal them in an airtight package they tend to go soft and lose their texture. Many also pick up a stale, unpleasant taste. It’s fine to have a few boxes of crackers in your SHTF stash but make sure you rotate through them regularly. Saltines are an example – these won’t stay fresh for more than about six months.

#4 Eggs

Eggs keep a lot better than most people realize; even if you don’t refrigerate them they still last for a week or more, and in the fridge you can keep them for three weeks or so. Few people would seriously consider adding them to a long term food store, though. Then again, there are some who believe it’s possible. Spend a lot of time around other preppers and somebody’s most likely going to tell you that, properly prepared, eggs can be kept good for months, or even years. Usually, two methods are suggested:

  1. Dipping the eggs in petroleum jelly
  2. Dunking them briefly in boiling water


The idea behind both of them is that they will seal the inside of the egg from any bacteria that could get in. This is not the case, and neither of these methods will extend the storage life of an egg. If you want to add eggs to your emergency food stash go for the powdered kind. They’re less flexible, and a bit less appetizing, but unlike fresh eggs they can be stored safely for longer than a couple of weeks.

#3 Breakfast Cereals

The packaging on these isn’t sturdy or airtight enough for long term storage. After a year or so they’ll soften and start to taste stale. If you’re looking for a breakfast carb option, consider oatmeal instead. It will last for years and it’s also a lot more nutritious. If you do decide to keep a supply of cereals don’t buy it in huge bulk boxes – once it’s opened the slow deterioration will speed up dramatically. Opt for standard-size packs that you can eat in a week or two.

#2 Butter

Butter will last a lot longer than most dairy products except hard cheeses, but it’s still not a good choice for long term storage. Wrapped or home-canned butter should be completely avoided; commercially canned can be kept for a while, but be sure to rotate it regularly to avoid old cans turning rancid at the back of your shelf.

#1 Nut Oils

A lot of people think these are healthy alternatives to vegetable oil. They definitely produce tasty meals, but they don’t keep well. Avoid nut oils if you can.

Other cooking oils are generally safe for long-term storage, but some care is needed. Don’t buy large containers; once they’ve been opened the oil will begin to oxidize, which isn’t just bad for the flavor – it can produce dangerous chemicals when the affected oil is heated. Don’t try to save money by buying in bulk then decanting to smaller bottles – you’ll also mix air in, and that will just oxidize it even faster. Instead, buy oils in standard bottles. That way it should be used by the time it starts to deteriorate too badly.

Some of the items on this list make planning your food storage awkward – flour is probably the worst because it’s so widely used. You can keep your carbohydrate intake up with other choices, though, with pasta and rice being favorites. If you have the skills and equipment to grind your own flour it’s possible to store large quantities of wheat, and this will stay edible for years (or more likely decades) as long as you protect it well from vermin.

Any food will last longer if it’s properly looked after; equally, they will all deteriorate more quickly if the storage conditions aren’t right. If there’s something you’re not sure about ask local preppers – they might be able to tell you (although some have their own ideas, so always get a couple more opinions before splashing out a few hundred dollars on foods you can’t store. Finally, us airtight outer packaging when you can to deter pests, and keep your food in the right conditions. Consider investing in vacuum-packing gear. Good luck!

After any SHTF scenario or major natural disaster, food is going to be one of the most vital things to have available. You won’t be able to rely on what’s

We buy a lot of things to prepare for the unexpected…or expected, that SHTF will be at our doorstep one day. For some, this is further in time, for others comes every day with floods, hurricanes, bad weather conditions and much more.

You may have in mind items for when the SHTF like duct tape, canned food, survival knives, but there is one item you might consider including in your prepper list: the trash can.

Why Trash Cans?

You already use trash cans. They are everywhere (inside and outside) which make them easy to access in an emergency. Trash cans are a heavy-duty item; they stand up to frequent use and they’re durable as hell. Even indoor cans, like those you’d use in an office, have potential uses you probably haven’t considered.

Here are just a few ways you can use trash cans when the grid goes down.

1: Collect Rain Water in Trash Cans

In an emergency, a trash can may be your best bet if you are running out of stored water. You can turn your trash bin, perhaps used to store other prepping supplies up to that point, into a rain barrel. This project requires two holes cut at the top and bottom for the downspout and faucet, PVC piping to construct a downspout, gasket fittings, and tubing for the faucet. Fittings may be secured with washers and sealed with silicone caulking.

My recycling bin is going into action immediately as a rain barrel if the grid goes down. After a thorough cleaning of course.

Keep all needed items with a compass saw for cutting the holes without a power drill and rain barrel-making instructions in a Ziploc bag near your trash can. Rainwater should always be treated before consumption, so figure out ahead of time if you are going to use chlorine, filters, or boiling methods to purify your drinking water.

2: Make a Super-Sized Rocket Stove

Converting a large metal trash can into a rocket stove is fairly straightforward. Cut a hole at the bottom of the trash can to accommodate a stovepipe made of 6” elbow piping; the stovepipe will need to be constructed as a double-walled chimney with a trim ring and an extra section of piping. The stovepipe will fit into the hole cut toward the bottom with its top trimmed below the top of the garbage can. The pipe should be secured with dowels and nuts arranged in a wagon wheel pattern to stabilize it. The pipe is then insulated with vermiculite poured between it and the sides of the trash can.

You will need to lay a grate across the top for a cooking surface. Load the bottom of the stovepipe with wood and light. Now you’re ready to boil water and cook food on a stove so efficient it requires very little wood to produce the necessary amount of heat.

3: Dispose of Human Waste

A smaller trashcan can work as a makeshift toilet. This is a simple solution in situations where human waste needs to be carried away for disposal. Line your trashcan with a double layer of garbage bags. Place a couple of 2x4s over the rim to create a seat. Waste can then be carried away and the trash bags replaced as needed.

 

4: Grow Food

Trash cans can be great tools for growing plants. A favorite trick of home gardeners everywhere: using a trash can to grow potatoes. Potatoes require large amounts of earth heaped on top of growing plants, and a large trash can (think 20 to 32 gallons) is a great way to keep soil in place as the potato plants grow upward. Either drill holes in the bottom for drainage or just cut the entire bottom off of a plastic trash can.

Potatoes don’t have to grow in the ground. You can use an old trash can to create a potato growing container

Start the potatoes in about 10 inches of soil and add more for every 10 inches or so of growth. The best part is the trash can is easily cleaned and used for a new crop as soon as the first is harvested.

5: Shovel Snow

That small trashcan in your bathroom or office can become a snow shovel. Shoveling with a small can certainly won’t be easy on your back, but a trash can may also work to move soil and sand. Just make sure the can is sturdy enough to hold up under the weight of snow before you start using it to dig yourself out.

6: Faraday Cage

A Faraday Cage is essential for keeping your small electronics safe from an EMP (electromagnetic pulse), and you can make one using a steel trash can. Wrap each item in cloth, then wrap in three layers of foil. Place the item in a box and wrap the box in two layers of foil. Store off the ground once wrapped.

Trash cans can be used for simple Faraday cages.

Completely line your trash can with cardboard and seal with its tight-fitting lid. For this protective system to work there needs to be a clear separation between both the layers of foil and between the foil and the trash can metal. Steel trash cans are sold in a variety of sizes, so you can select the one that works best with the number of electronics you are trying to keep safe.

7: Hold Emergency Supplies

Trash cans make useful storage containers for prepping supplies. They come in a variety of sizes with all kinds of lids and handles. You can even select cans in different colors to better organize your supplies. Larger trash cans may be used to store emergency supplies for a whole family– just throw it into the bed of your truck for hauling supplies the moment you need to. Then you can repurpose the trash can for any of the above ideas.

Think Creatively, Be Prepared

A trash can is useful for much more than holding garbage – it can be an integral part of how you collect water, cook food, dispose of waste, grow food, or protect your electronics. Of course, these are just a few of the ways your common trash can fits into survival plans:

We buy a lot of things to prepare for the unexpected…or expected, that SHTF will be at our doorstep one day. For some, this is further in time, for others

A critical prep that you have to plan for including in your bug out bag is water. When I first got into prepping, I had people saying that they would carry all of the water they needed in their bug out bags. If you figure 3 gallons (1 gallon per person per day), that would simply not be wise or possible for most people for very long. Then I started seeing people say they would pack 3 liters of water. That’s better, but 3 big plastic bottles is almost 7 pounds, not to mention you must have space for them. Not the end of the world, but not insignificant either.

One of the ideas I try to promote is to watch the weight on your bug out bags and not overload them. I recommend this for a lot of really simple reasons. If your Bug Out Bag is too heavy, it will hurt eventually. It might not hurt when you first take off walking, but it will eventually. In addition to rubbing you raw and potentially causing injury, you will be more off-balance and less able to quickly move. If you can’t move out of danger quickly enough, that bug out bag could get you killed. The better idea is to pack your bug out bag in a way that is as light as possible while still maintaining the essentials you need to survive for up to 72 hours. Don’t go minimalistic for the sake of making the scales proud, but you should look carefully at the overall weight.

Water, Food and ammo, possibly a tent are all great places to shed pounds from your bug out bag and today we are focusing on water. I have personally tried a few different water filtration methods and wanted to highlight the pluses and minuses for you today on Final Prepper as I see them. Hopefully this information you will make sure the bug out bag water filtration options you choose will work well for you if you ever need to use them.

In addition to being less heavy than simply carrying your water on you at all times, these bug out bag water filtration options will give you increased range and capabilities. Instead of being limited to only the water you are able to carry, it is easy to filter an extra liter or more from sources along your route. All the while, ensuring that the water you are drinking isn’t going to make you sick.

MSR MiniWorks EX Water Filter

This first filter I tested is one I have owned for years and up until recently used on my backpacking trips. The MSR MiniWorks EX is a great water filter that is activated by a manual pump. You simply connect the hose, stick that into the water and screw your Nalgene bottle or dromedary bag onto the bottom of the filter and start pumping. In just a few minutes the water from your  source will be pressed through the filtration system and with a little time, you will have a full bottle of clean water to drink. Filtering a standard Nalgene bottle like below probably took 3-4 minutes.

msrminiworksfilter

The MSR MiniWorks EX was my first backpacking water filtration. We loved it when we had to depend on it in the woods.

I would take these down to the river and fill up everyone’s water bottle as well as two 48 ounce bladders we had when we stopped. The bladders were to refill bottles and went toward coffee and reconstituting our freeze-dried food.

So, good and bad about this filter. First off, I like the fact that this is pretty simple to use and you don’t have to get down into the water to collect anything. The water tastes great and the pump has stood the test of time for the most part. I did have one pump stop working on my wife when we were on a backpacking trip. Fortunately, I had two filters so we had some redundancy built-in. Pumping does take you a little while and the pump isn’t the lightest or cheapest option. Once you return from your trip you need to clean the filter element, usually with a scrubbing pad to get the gunk off of it and let everything dry completely for a few days before you put it away.

MSR MiniWorks Features

  • Ceramic/carbon Marathon™ EX element effectively removes bacteria and protozoa including giardia and cryptosporidia
  • Also removes unpleasant tastes and odors caused by organic compounds, such as iodine, chlorine and pesticides
  • Filter can be cleaned over and over for maximum field life with no tools required
  • Bottom screws onto an MSR Dromedary® Bag or Nalgene® water bottle for easy operation (both sold separately)
  • Easy dis-assembly lets you troubleshoot and maintain the MSR MiniWorks EX filter in the field

Weight: 14.6 ounces

Cost: $84 on Amazon.com

I also found this excellent review of the MSR MiniWorks EX from Black Owl Outdoors for those who like to watch videos.

Sawyer Mini

When I first tried out the Sawyer Mini I thought this was the best invention in the world at least from the standpoint of water filtration options for preppers. The filter was extremely lightweight, compact and could filter hundreds of thousands of gallons. The Sawyer Mini could be used as a straw to drink from a water bottle like the life straw or from the included squeeze bag that comes with it.

The cost, low-weight and ability to filter so much water is an incredible advantage, but using either the squeeze bag or a standard water bottle has some drawbacks in my opinion. You are still only filtering on demand unless you squeeze the water into another container and that isn’t always the most practical. One of the reasons I don’t think the LifeStraw is the best option for me in all cases.

sawyerwaterfilter

You can use the included squeeze bag to collect water and the Sawyer will make it safe to drink.

Sawyer Mini Features

  • Hollow-fiber membrane offers a high flow rate; sip on the Mini like a straw and it filters the water while it’s on the way to your mouth
  • Filter will also fit the threads on the included Sawyer 16 fl. oz. reusable pouch that you can fill at a lake or stream and then use to squeeze water through the filter
  • 0.1-micron filter physically removes 99.99999% of all bacteria, such as salmonella, cholera and E.coli; removes 99.9999% of all protozoa, such as giardia and cryptosporidium
  • Filter will also fit the threads on most bottles of water that you buy at a grocery store; can also be used as an inline filter (adapters and hoses not included)

Weight: 2 ounces

Cost: $20 on Amazon.com

I also found this review for perspective from Preparedmind 101

Polar Pure – Crystal Iodine Water Treatment

The third option I tried is Polar Pure. Polar Pure is a Crystal Iodine water treatment, not a filter. The bottle holds actual iodine crystals you might be able to see in the photo below. The process is for you to fill the bottle with water and let this sit for 1 hour. At the end of an hour you have something like concentrated iodine brine that you can use make almost any water safe to drink. There are simple to follow instructions on the bottle and even a hand-dandy gauge to tell you how many capfuls of the solution your water will need to be safe. The number depends upon the temperature of the water.

polarpure

Polar Pure uses iodine crystals to disinfect water.

You pour the recommended capfuls into your 1 liter water bottle and let it stand for 20 minutes before drinking. When you are done, just fill the bottle up with water again and it will be ready for your next treatment in another hour. This relatively small bottle will last for up to 2,000 liters of water, although I don’t know who would count them. When the iodine crystals are gone, so is your ability to use this to make your water safe.

Iodine, unlike the micron water filters above can kill viruses. Giardia, mentioned above is caught by the water filters, but if you have something like hepatitis or polio in the water, the simple filtration method above won’t work. Now, the question becomes, do you have to worry about viruses in the water you are drinking or just organisms that can make you violently ill?

The Polar Pure bottle is one that I would carry with me as an extreme back up for highly questionable water. The science is good on making your water safe. Iodine has been used for a very long time, but the bottle is glass. You could be in trouble if this is all you have and it is broken. Additionally, iodine will make your water safe, but it won’t filter it out so if you pour yourself a big cup of slightly brown pond water and treat it with iodine, it will be perfectly safe for drinking – brown pond water. Filtering your water first through a handkerchief or something like coffee filters at a minimum would be better. Some people use Polar Pure plus another filter for the ultimate in safe water.

Weight: 5 ounces

Cost: $20 on Amazon.com

For those who want to see the polar pure in action, there is a good video from Provident-Living-Today.com

Platypus 2L GravityWorks Filter

The last item I tried out for my bug out bag water filtration decision process was a relatively new purchase. I had heard about the Platypus GravityWorks Filter system from one of the readers on Final Prepper when I was initially looking at the Sawyer answer to the same functionality. The Platypus was almost half the price so I decided to give this a try because it looked like the perfect solution to me.

platypusdirty

Keeping the bags separated is easy with clear labels.

The Platypus 2L GravityWorks Filter is a two bag system. You have one bag for water collection and it is very simply labeled “Dirty”. Your dirty water goes in here and it has a wide opening at the top which works very similar to a zip loc bag. This wide opening allowed me to collect 2 liters of water from the creek very quickly and easily. You can see my test water isn’t a crystal clear glacier spring so the bag’s label was very appropriate.

platypusbaghang

The Platypus Bag system has a simple attachment system to hang your bag of water to be treated up on a tree, bumper or anything higher than the clean bag. Gravity does all the hard work.

Another nice feature were the connectors. The Platypus GravityWorks has a quick connect so you can collect your dirty water and either pack it out for filtration later or carry it back to camp. The filter element snaps in and you are ready to filter.

platypusquickconnect

The Platypus filter element snaps into the reservoir quick connect and you are all set to filter water.

platypusgravityworks

This system is fast. I only filled up about 1 liter but it was filtered in less than 2 minutes.

Once the filter is snapped in, the water will flow almost immediately. The tube running from the filter has a stopper that you can use to quickly pinch off the flow while you hook up the clean bag. As long as the bag of dirty water is higher than the clean bag, the appropriately named GravityWorks filter will take care of all your heavy lifting while beautiful clean water flows into your empty bladder.

This system will hold 2 liters of water which I think gives you a lot of water for the average person. You can also just filter two liters, then collect two more liters of dirty water for later. You will be carrying four liters of water with you at all times. Two filtered and two that needs to be filtered.

Cleaning this system is as simple as lifting the clean water bag up over the dirty water bag and squeezing your clean water bag. You will see the dirty sediment flow back into the dirty bag and you know your filter is clean when that stops.

Platypus GravityWorks Filter Specs

  • Easy, Pump-free filtering
  • Fast! 1.5-liters per minute
  • Weighs as little as 7.2 oz. (203 g)
  • Ultra-Compact
  • Meets all EPA & NSF guidelines for the removal of Bacteria and Protozoa, including Giardia, Cryptosporidium, E. coli, Salmonella and Cholera

Weight: 7 ounces

Cost: $79 on Amazon.com

And I found this review from Outdoor Gear Lab that shows the larger 4 Liter system.

So What is the best bug out water filtration system?

This question isn’t something I can answer with a definitive statement that will stand for all time or in all situations, but I will share some of my thoughts. My idea of bugging out involves living possibly for some time in forested terrain. I plan to be on the move and I don’t want to slow down more than I have to for rest. Water is crucial for life so I don’t want to have to go to more trouble than is prudent to acquire it. Additionally, if I am strapping a pack on my back and walking out the door, I have to plan for being on my own so to speak for potentially much longer than 72 hours.

I have considered both caplets like the Portable Aqua Water Filter tablets and I even own some of them, but they last for a finite amount of time. The standard bottles will give you I think 25 quarts of water. With a hike for three days in the summer, enough for food and your bottle will quickly be cleaned out. It will go faster if you are sharing.

platypuswaterfiltration

I had all of this clean, fresh tasting water in a little less than two minutes.

The LifeStraw product is one I just don’t think is practical. It is a great idea, don’t get me wrong, but I for one don’t want to be forced to stick my head in a puddle just to get a drink. I want to take giant gulps of water if I am thirsty and I want to be able to take water along with me. Sure you can fill up empty bottles and drink out of them with a LifeStraw, but I think there is a better option.

The MSR Filter pump has usually been a great filter, but because it is mechanical, I have had one give me troubles. I was able to repair it eventually, but that wasn’t a good sign. I should have back-ups anyway I know, but I would rather go with a more stable platform and the MSR is heavier than all of the other options I have tested.

What about boiling water? Sure you could do that, but you have to build a fire first and then boil your water, then let it cool down. Do you want to do all of that in the heat of summer? Even in winter, that fire might be nice, but to go through all that effort for drinking water seems like a fall back plan, not the first option.

Iodine crystals like Polar Pure seem to be the best option for killing viruses, but like I said, their bottle is glass. One slip out of your hands onto a rock will end your water filtration options for that bug out trip. Even if you don’t drop it, I prefer to drink water as soon as possible and wouldn’t want to remember to keep my iodine warm for effectiveness.  I think Polar Pure makes sense as a back up, but not the sole method of water filtration in a bug out scenario. For Backpacking trips Polar pure is a great idea. If you have the time to leisurely prepare your water, I think this is a good option.

The Sawyer as it is would probably be my second choice because of the weight and size. I would have to fill a large reservoir, something like the 48 ounce Naglene Bladders and rig up some way to squeeze filter a larger amount of water into my bottles. Not the best, but it is incredibly light and could get the job done.

What about items like the SteriPEN that use UV light to make water safe to drink? What about EMP? What if it breaks? What if you run out of batteries?

I think that for me the GravityWorks system from Platypus is the easiest and fastest way to collect water that will be clean and fresh tasting. With it’s fast flow rate, I can grab a 2 liter bag of water, hook up the filter and throw them both in my bag if needed and keep on going to a safe location. This seems to offer the most capacity with the fastest filtration time and easiest system to learn and remember. I can teach my kids how to use this in about 2 minutes which is about the same amount of time it takes to produce 2 liters of clean water.

That is my take on the best bug out water filtration options. What do you use?

A critical prep that you have to plan for including in your bug out bag is water. When I first got into prepping, I had people saying that they would

In the face of disaster, preppers know we need to move quickly. We should be prepared to act in a minute’s notice when we realize our family is in jeopardy. We each have our Bug Out Bags ready to go or they should be but it is a different matter altogether if the family bug out mobile is involved. How many times have you watched a Prepper show where the family simulated loading all of their gear to escape town? Often it took them much longer than they anticipated and in at least one case, they couldn’t even take their main prep with them.

We have talked about conducting a trial load of your bug out vehicle before and that makes perfect sense, but what if you had a simple way to plan and stage your bug out vehicle equipment, food and gear that would only take you 10 to 20 minutes to load, was ready to go when you needed it and would give you just about everything you would need to live on your own for at least 30 days? What if this simple bug out vehicle load plan could get your and your family on the road faster? Do you think it would be worth it to spend a little time now as opposed to wasting life-saving hours later?

What do you need to pack if you are running away from disaster?

The idea for the bug out vehicle load plan comes from a couple of places. First, like so many of you, I have tried to figure out and plan for all my supplies if the situation dictated that I needed to throw everyone in the car and leave. I have written about my plan to shelter in place because I think everything being equal, it is much easier to weather some disasters from the comfort of your own home. However, I do realize that I don’t always get a vote. Perhaps a chemical spill 5 miles away was causing illness and evacuations. I would need to go and quickly.

I have many prepping supplies that I think are vital to living and surviving away from my home, but I don’t have them all packed and ready to go. I have some items in closets, some in sheds, some under beds, in spare closets and others strewn in numerous drawers. If I have plenty of time, I think What I have collected so far can cover a lot of bases, but in this scenario, we want to get out quickly. It could be that you want to beat the rush that could quickly cause the highways to be parking lots. It may also be that if you don’t get to safer ground, you will die.

lesak

Roof racks greatly extend your cargo carrying capacity.

The list I have put together draws a lot of inspiration from camping trips. I do still maintain that in many aspects, living off the grid is very similar to camping. Yes, there are many ‘but what about’ to that analogy, but if you have the basics to live in the woods for a week without starving, you are in pretty good shape. Will that last years? Will that keep you safe from hordes of Mongolians on horses? No, but we are working towards a goal here. Not everyone is able to have a bug out retreat.

What do you need to survive?

The consistent part of prepping is that everyone needs the same core things to survive. You need water, food, shelter and security. Technically you don’t need security if you are on an island and no creatures or humans are trying to separate you from your head, but you get the idea. In this world, you will likely need to defend yourself from others, in some situations, at some point.

71rudzc9ewl-_sl1500

Plano 1919 Sportsman’s Trunk

So our packing list is broken down into storage cases that represent some of these crucial elements. My plan is to have weather proof cases packed with all of these supplies ready to go at all times. If I need to go, it is a pretty simple matter to load them on my vehicle, secure them and roll out of the neighborhood.

The cases I use are from Plano. They are called the Sportsman Trunk 1919. The case dimensions are 37.75″ X 18.25″ X 14″ and I have room for three of these on the top of my vehicle plus more actually. I have more room inside the vehicle too, but I will get to that later.

Case 1 – Food

I think what goes in your food case will vary greatly. What I am comfortable eating would make some of you wince with pain. You have to consider the weight, storage space and caloric benefit of what you do pack though. For example, if you fill your food case up with nothing but bags of rice and cans of beans, that will last a while, but will quickly become boring. How sad is it when nobody wants to eat your food to survive? ‘They’ll eat when they get hungry enough!’ I know, I have said that too, but we should be able to agree a little variety is better.

Hopefully, we all know that nothing refrigerated should be going in this case and I would even argue against a cooler too. You should be packing food that you can forget about and only bring out when you need to leave. Coolers are big wastes of space.

What kind of food? I have several boxes of freeze dried food from a few different vendors. With choices like chicken noodle soup, mashed potatoes, powdered milk, chocolate pudding, rice, fruit, mac & cheese, etc. there is bound to be something we can all enjoy. Plus, the freeze dried food takes up so much less space than cans.

car_expanded

There are many creative options for extending the usefulness of your vehicle to keep you comfortable away from home.

What’s in there?

  • Strawberry Fields Cream of Wheat — 64 Servings
  • Maple Grove Oatmeal — 112 Servings
  • Uncle Frank’s Italian Lasagna — 16 Servings
  • Granny’s Homestyle Potato Soup — 48 Servings
  • Traveler’s Stew — 48 Servings
  • Summer’s Best Corn Chowder — 16 Servings
  • Blue Ribbon Creamy Chicken Rice — 48 Servings
  • Liberty Bell Potato Cheddar Soup — 40 Servings
  • Traditional Fettuccine Alfredo — 40 Servings
  • Independence Hall Chicken Noodle Soup — 16 Servings
  • Cheesy Broccoli & Rice Soup — 32 Servings
  • Country Cottage Mac & Cheese — 32 Servings
  • Heartland’s Best Mashed Potatoes — 64 Servings
  • Creamy Stroganoff — 32 Servings
  • Instant White Rice — 40 Servings
  • Chocolate Pudding — 60 Servings
  • Honey Coated Banana Chips — 32 Servings
  • Orange Energy Drink Mix — 32 Servings
  • Settler’s Whey Powdered Milk — 48 Servings
  • Coffee & Filters – Plenty…

This food is stored in a cool dry place in the Plano trunk so it’s ready to go. This should last a family of 4 approximately, 30 days. There are lots of freeze dried vendors out there. I suggest you do some research and then watch for sales. You can save a lot of money sometimes and it is always cheaper to buy in bulk. Your personal case might need to be adjusted for special diets, but this is an example.

Case 2 – Shelter

This case should be pretty simple to explain. It’s just the big gear we will use to keep us out of the elements.

  • Tent – 6-man tent
  • Tent stakes
  • 3 tarps – One for our ground cover. The others can meet various other needs.
  • Coleman Lantern and spare fuel
  • Camping Axe
  • Sleeping bags/pads

Case 3 – Supplies & Extras

Cooking

Cleanup/Hygiene

Health

  • Bug Spray
  • First Aid Kit

Miscellaneous

  • Fire Bag  – Flint, tinder, wetfire, lighter
  • Toilet Paper -Probably not enough to last 4 people 30 days, but enough to get us started.

Is that it?

That is the million-dollar question isn’t it? I know that some people will have items I have missed and I can easily come up with hundreds myself, but you have to ask if those items are necessary. Can this list keep you alive? Can you store this and get it loaded quickly? I think so and in an upcoming post, I will show you how I load everything.

There are other supplies that get packed in here too like weapons, bug out bags and communication items. I also have vehicle preps and clothes so stay tuned for more.

In the face of disaster, preppers know we need to move quickly. We should be prepared to act in a minute’s notice when we realize our family is in jeopardy.

Bread is a truly wonderful food. It tastes good no matter what you do to it — whether you’re toasting it and slathering it with butter, or covering it in eggs and making French toast for breakfast. Heck, it’s even delicious when you’re eating it completely plain. Bread is a super versatile item in the kitchen when cooking or baking, but what you may not have realized is that even when you’re not eating it, bread can be used for so many other things around the house. There are so many weird things you can do with bread that, after reading this, you’ll want to make sure you always have a loaf in your kitchen, just in case. Basically, to quote the great Oprah Winfrey, “I love bread. I love bread.”

It doesn’t matter if you’re using white bread, multigrain bread, whole wheat, sourdough, or rye — any type will work for these life-changing hacks. Bread of all kinds can be a valuable tool when it comes to cleaning your house (seriously!), and it can actually bring certain foods back to life (more on that in a minute). Honestly, I’m not quite sure why bread hasn’t been labeled a superfood yet, because it deserves the title.

Check out these weird things you can do with bread, and prepare to see this item differently for the rest of your life.

Remove Stains

Sometimes, cleaning requires products full of chemicals and bleach that will destroy everything in its path. Other times, though, you’ll be just fine with a natural cleaner — in fact, you may even be better off. According to Country Living, bread is an excellent natural cleaner. White bread or rye bread rolled into a ball is basically an eraser that can lift stains off walls, wallpaper, kitchen cabinets, and more. The site advises dabbing gently at the surface with the rolled-up bread ball, and you’ll notice the smudges and marks disappear.

Soak Up Grease Spills

Bread doesn’t just get rid of smudges or tiny marks. It’s also incredibly helpful in soaking up annoying grease stains, which can be difficult to get rid of. Simply take a piece of bread and lay it over the stain, pressing gently until it goes away.

Treat Calluses

According to Fluster Buster, bread is a lifesaver when it comes to fixing calluses and other various foot ailments. For calluses and corns, you can soak a piece of bread in apple cider vinegar, then place it on the callus. Tape the bread in place, cover it in plastic wrap, and let it sit overnight.

For boils, you can soak a piece of bread in some milk, then apply it to the affected area, tape it in place, and allow it to dry overnight — it will drain out the liquid.

Prevent Vegetables From Smelling Weird

You know how some vegetables get super smelly when you cook them? (I’m looking at you, broccoli and cauliflower.) You can eliminate that odor with bread. Simply place a piece of bread on top of the vegetables in the pot to get rid of the stinky smell.

Revive Stale Marshmallows

Marshmallows are delicious — until they get stale and hard. But if that happens, don’t toss the bag just yet. According to Food and Wine, you can put a squishy piece of bread in a plastic bag with the marshmallows, seal it, and give them a few days to sit. They should become fluffy again, just like magic.

Remove Splinters

Removing splinters with tweezers can be painful. Using bread, you can make a poultice that gets the job done. According to Genius Kitchen, you can fold a handkerchief along the diagonal, place the bread on the handkerchief, pour boiling water over the bread (don’t let it get dripping wet), and then let it cool slightly. Place it over the splinter. Tie the ends of the handkerchief around the part of your body where the splinter is, elevate that body part if possible, and keep the bread on there as long as you can. You can repeat if necessary, until the splinter is close to the surface of your skin and easily removable with tweezers.

According to The Farmer’s Almanac, you can also soak bread in cool milk, press out the milk, and apply the bread to the affected area, then tape it there, and let sit for a few hours or overnight. After, the splinter will have risen close to the surface of your skin, or (if it’s not that deep of a splinter), it may be removed from your skin completely. Easy peasy!

Clean Old Paintings

If you have old paintings in your house, you’ll notice that they might get full of smudges, dust, or dirt. The best way to clean them is actually with bread. According to The Brick House, you can rub the soft spot of white bread all over the painting. Be gentle, and just run the bread over the surface. It kind of works like a sponge to pull off grime and dust.

Make Bread Art

If you really want to get creative, look into bread art. There are basically a million different ways to mold bread into something aesthetically pleasing. You might not want to eat it when you’re done, but you will want to put it on display for everyone to see!

Cut Onions Without Crying

No one enjoys cutting onions because of how much they burn your eyes, leaving you teary. Apparently though, bread can help. If you put a piece of bread in your mouth while cutting, it will absorb the sulfates that cause the tears.

The Farmer’s Almanac also suggests spearing a piece of stale bread with your knife and sliding it up to the end of the blade near the handle to absorb the sulfates.

10 Fix Burnt Rice

Burning rice happens to the best of us. Unfortunately, it’s not very tasty… at all. But bread can make things better! The Healthy Home Economist recommends putting a slice of bread on top of the rice, covering it, and letting it finish cooking. Use a regular slice of bread instead of crust. The bread will absorb any burnt taste that might be there.

11 Pick Up Broken Glass

Picking up tiny pieces of broken glass can be made easier with a piece of bread. Simply press it gently on the area, and it will snatch up all the teensy pieces.

12 Clean A Coffee Grinder

To clean out a coffee grinder, The Farmer’s Almanacrecommends pinching off three or four small pieces of stale bread, grinding them in your grinder, dumping the crumbs, and then wiping the inside of the grinder clean. Voila!

13 Keep Cake Fresh

Once a cake is cut, it can get stale quickly. To keep it fresh, simply put a piece of bread against the cut part and leave it there.

14 Skim The Fat Off Soup

If you notice a lot of fat on the top of your soup, you can easily get rid of it by skimming a piece of bread along the top. It absorbs the oil and grease quickly in a mess-free way.

Honestly, I’m beginning to feel like there’s no problem in life that bread can’t fix.


Other self-sufficiency and preparedness solutions recommended for you:

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

Survival MD (Knowledge to survive any medical crisis situation)

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

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

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

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

Bread is a truly wonderful food. It tastes good no matter what you do to it — whether you’re toasting it and slathering it with butter, or covering it in

Isn’t Wikipedia amazing? I needed and intro for my soap article. And nothing is better than starting with some hard facts. Here we go.

The earliest recorded evidence of the production of soap-like materials dates back to around 2800 BC in ancient Babylon.A formula for soap consisting of water, alkali, and cassia oil was written on a Babylonian clay tablet around 2200 BC.

The Ebers papyrus (Egypt, 550 BC) indicates the ancient Egyptians bathed regularly and combined animal and vegetable oils with alkaline salts to create a soap-like substance. Egyptian documents mention a similar substance was used in the preparation of wool for weaving.

In the reign of Nabonidus (556–539 BC), a recipe for soap consisted of uhulu [ashes], cypress [oil] and sesame [seed oil].

My point is, people understood they needed something to wash away the aftermath of their daily activities, so they got very inventive. Some even scientific. At least the ones who realized there’s more to living than surviving. And inventing soap helped us not only survive and kill germs, but it also helped us thrive.

It’s easy to focus on the major needs when talking about survival. Food, water, fire and a few other things get a lot of airtime, when it comes to discussing what we need. But the reality is, there are a lot of minor things that are necessary as well. Having enough clean water to drink and food to eat won’t matter for much, if you and I end up dying of disease.

That’s why we need soap. Yes, something as simple as soap is actually important to our survival. It’s one of the biggest and best defenses we have against disease. Soap not only helps us to clean dirt and germs off of our hands, but it is a fairly good antibacterial as well.

But what do you do when there’s no soap to be found? One option is to use the root of the yucca plant.

Yucca grows throughout the Midwest and Southwest, from Texas up to Alberta, Canada, although it is found mostly in warmer climates. This amazing plant is useful for a lot of things, with the roots being edible. The root of the plant is a tuber, like a potato; with the liquid pressed out of it is also usable as soap and shampoo.

Digging Up the Yucca

DIY Wilderness Soap And Shampoo From This Plant
Figure 1 – Flowering Yucca plant

 

Yucca are fairly easy to dig up, as the tuber is the only real root of any size. The rest of the roots are hair size and break easily. But the tuber itself can go quite deep, especially on a large plant like the one shown above. If you’re going to dig up a yucca, I’d recommend using a smaller plant, like the one I’m digging up below.

Before going any farther, I need to mention that it is not legal to dig up yucca in all places. I was able to dig this plant up, because it was on private property and the owner wanted to get rid of it.

The plant shown in this photo was found in the wild and would have been illegal for me to harvest. So before you do this, make sure you’re doing it someplace where it is legal; unless, of course, you’re in a survival situation.

As I’m doing this for survival purposes, I decided to try digging it up with a machete, rather than a shovel, under the assumption that I might not have a full-sized shovel available to me.

I wouldn’t want to try and dig up a yucca with the small folding shovel I have in my bug out bag, because the ends of the leaves are all thorns. Digging it up with that small a shovel would probably see my hands scratched up pretty badly.

DIY Wilderness Soap And Shampoo From This Plant
Figure 2 – Digging up the Root with Machete

As you can see in the photo, I’m holding the leaves aside, while I dig with my machete. What I did was insert my arm under the leaves, and then lift it up, pushing the stiff leaves up with my arm. I was then able to turn my hand around and grasp them, getting them out of my way.

Once the leaves are out of the way, it’s a simple matter to stab the machete into the ground, all around the root. I made a circle about eight inches in diameter, which was enough. Then, grasping the plant’s stalk, near the root, I simply wiggled it back and forth, breaking the root free and was able to lift the plant out of the ground.

DIY Wilderness Soap And Shampoo From This Plant
Figure 3 – The cleaned root

The leaves of the yucca can be used for other things, like making some pretty good sandals; but for now, all we need is the root, so I cut it off at ground level, with one swipe of my machete. Once cleaned, the root looks like this.

Cutting Up the Root

DIY Wilderness Soap And Shampoo From This Plant
Figure 4 – Cutting off the husk

As you can see in the picture above, the root is covered by a thick skin or husk. We’re going to need to cut that off, much like cutting the outside off of a pineapple. It is hard, but not all that difficult to cut. In order to make it easier, I cut the root in half, allowing me to put the flat, cut end on my cutting board. The skin of the root cuts off fairly easy, if you have a good, sharp knife. I had no problem, but I’m using a very high quality knife with a really sharp edge. Notice the red around the edges of the pieces in the foreground. This all needs to be cut off, as well as the dark lines you can see in the piece I’m cutting.

DIY Wilderness Soap And Shampoo From This Plant
Figure 5 – Dicing the root

The peeled root is then sliced and diced. I did about ½” cubes. You can do smaller, but I wouldn’t recommend any larger. The ½” cubes worked well for my needs.These cubes of yucca root then need to be broken down. Even though I’m working in my kitchen at this point, I didn’t use a food processor or blender for this. We’re doing this for survival soap and I doubt that any of us keep a food processor in our bug out bags or survival kits. We need something that’s more on the order of what we’d use in such a situation.

DIY Wilderness Soap And Shampoo From This Plant
Figure 6 – Grinding the root

I used a Mexican molcajete, which is a traditional mortar and pestle. Rather than being made out of ceramic, they are usually made out of lava rock, which is very porous. Mine is made out of granite, which isn’t as porous, making it grind less, but is much easier to clean. Traditionally, the Mexicans use these for making salsa and guacamole.The root is hard enough that I found it necessary to beat it with the pestle, breaking it down, before grinding it. You want to get it as fine as you can, ending up with a fibrous mush. Actually, the finer you grind it, the more usable soap you’ll get out of it.

The molcajete isn’t the only way you can grind up the yucca root for use. The same thing can be done with the type of grinding stone that the Indians used for grinding corn. However, I don’t happen to have one of those and it would have been expensive to buy. In the wild, I would look for a flat stone I could use to grind on, with a rounded rock out of a river or stream as my pestile.

Now the Soap

DIY Wilderness Soap And Shampoo From This Plant
Figure 7 – Extracting liquid soap

With the root thoroughly ground, you’re ready to extract the soap. All that’s needed it to take the ground root in your hands and squeeze it. The liquid that comes out is usable as soap or shampoo.

If you need to really scrub something, such as a greasy pan, you can use the ground up root as soap. In this case, the fiber in the root will act as a scouring pad, helping you to clean the surface.

But you’ll need to use a fair amount of pressure with it, so as to press the soap out of the fiber as you go.

Even after we’ve gotten a lot of liquid out of the ground root, it is still useful for cleaning. We can dry the root in the sun and save it.

Then, when we need more soap, we can reconstitute it with water, which will draw more of the chemicals we need out of the ground up root, giving us more soap.

It is best, when doing this, to not have pressed out all of the liquid from the ground root, as you will get better soap from it the next time around, if there is still some liquid in it when it is dried.

Isn't Wikipedia amazing? I needed and intro for my soap article. And nothing is better than starting with some hard facts. Here we go. The earliest recorded evidence of the

Fact: there’s no limit to what you can with a beer can. Why? Simply because it’s called a beer CAN, not a beer CAN’T. Yes, I know it’s a shitty pun, but there’s truth in what I’ve said – a metallic beer container can serve all kinds of purposes, long after the beer’s gone (sad face). Anyway, a couple of days ago, I had myself a little pow-wow with some of my buddies.

Not all preppers, but we do get along even on stuff that is not exactly related to survival. However, in talking with them, I found out that there are in fact people out there who really know how to get creative when they have to deal with what we come to an SHTF-type of situation. And because no boys’ night should be without beer, we kinda ended up talking about ale till the crack of dawn.

I’m truly sorry for not being able to share a bottle of suds with you people, but at least I can make it up to you by showing you a couple of ingenious ways to use empty beer cans in a shit hits the fan situation So, here’s my top X choices in reusing cans.

  1. Perimeter alarm

Halt! Who goes there? Maybe’s just the wind of a highwayman ready to deprive you of your valuables. Just joking. A perimeter alarm is a must-have if you’re planning on spending a night in the woods. Of course, I don’t think there are any cutthroats nearby, but there may be wild animals prowling the area.

No need to invest tons of money in one of those fancy, laser-triggered alarms when you can make one yourself using a couple of empty beer cans and some cordage. You can always replace regular cordage with dental floss if you plan on using it for other purposes.

  1. Poor man’s survival kit

If you can’t find it within you to spend a couple of bucks on a professional or military-grade survival kit, you can always make one yourself using an old beer can. Just cut a hole on the side and fill it with stuff like weatherproof matches, lighter, dental floss, shoelaces, fishing utensils or whatever.

  1. Camping Stove

As they say, survival can be a beach. If you find yourself in a tight spot with nothing to cook your dinner or warm up the inside of your tent, craft a small camping store using an empty beer can. Flatten the top, cut a hole on the side, and place a small candle on the base. Soup may take forever to cook, but at least you’ve got something to keep you warm during the night.

  1. Lantern

All out of matches? Tac light’s batteries died out on you? No problem. I got you covered. It may be possible to make a meager lantern out of an empty beer can and a small candle. Cut a hole in one side of the beer can. Fit a small candle inside. Attach a stick to the ring, fire up the candle, and, voila, you now have a small lantern. May it be a light for your in dark places, when all other lights go out (and I did not quote from The Lord of the Rings).

  1. Starting a fire

Remember that article about how to start a fire using a water bottle? Well, believe it or not, you can do the same with an empty beer can. Basically, you will need to harness the reflective power of the can’s butt in order to focus sunlight on tinder. Here’s what you will need to do. While the sun’s still high (not that kind of high), grab an empty beer can and place it on the ground. Just below its butt, place a handful of tinder. Rotate the beer can in order to focus the sun rays on the tinder.

If nothing happens after 15 or 20 minutes, it means that the can’s butt is not polished enough to reflect the sunlight. Not a problem – grab a handful of sand or rock salt and start giving that butt a good shine. Allegedly, you can also use chocolate to do the same thing, but I haven’t tested that yet. Place the can again on the ground and rotate it in order to focus the light. When you see smoke coming out, add some more tinder, and blow on it.

  1. Makeshift kettle

Cowboys went through a lot of trouble to make sure that they start each day with a hot cup of coffee. As you know, that meant carrying a heavy cast-iron pot. Well, times have changed, but our need for a hot drink remains the same. Now, if you find yourself stranded in some neck of the woods and nothing to boil water in, you can always pour water in an empty beer can and place it close to the embers. That’s also a great water purification method.

Here’s how it works. First of all, find a way to wash the beer can. Second, pour water into it and place it directly into the fire. Please bear or beer in mind that it will take a while for the water to boil, so sit tight. Once you hear bubbly sound coming from the can, use a stick or a pair of prongs to remove the can from the flame. Wait for it to cool down, pour in your canteen, and enjoy. You know what? This kind of victory calls for another beer. Cheers!

  1. Making char cloth

If you the thought of packing some char cloth has never crossed your mind, don’t worry because you can make some using an empty beer can. Get a fire running. In the meantime, fill a can with cotton, punk wood or bark. Fold both ends and toss in the fire. In a couple of minutes, the beer can will begin to disintegrate. When you see that you’re running out of a can, remove it from the fire, wait for it to cool down, retrieve the char cloth, and celebrate.

That about covers it for my list of great ways to reuse an empty beer can. Feel that something may be missing from the list? Get scribbling and let me know.

Fact: there’s no limit to what you can with a beer can. Why? Simply because it’s called a beer CAN, not a beer CAN’T.