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

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

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

Building fires for warmth

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

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

Cooking food

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

Protection against wild animals

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


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

Water purification

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

Mini survival kit

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Figure Out Your Plan


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

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

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

Stockpile Gasoline


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

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

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

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

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

Protect the Generator from EMP

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

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

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

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

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

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

Buy Extension Cords

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

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

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

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

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

Install a Generator Interlock


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

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

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

Replace the Muffler

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Create a Secure Generator Area

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Food Preservation

Increase longevity of foods

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

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

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

Test egg freshness

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

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

Extend the shelf life of dairy products

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

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

Cleaning

Season cast iron

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

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

Remove odors from wood cutting boards

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

Eradicate stains and freshen up

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

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

 

Get rid of rust

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

Deodorize your clothes

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

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

Wash lettuce

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

Safety and First Aid

Stop a grease fire

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

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

Treat Wounds

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

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

Calm inflammation from insect bites and stings

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

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

Melt hazardous icy spots

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

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

Medicine

Nasal rinse

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

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

Sore throat

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

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

Gum infections

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

Skincare

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

Aches

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

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

Digestion

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

Home Improvement/DIY

Make soap

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

Fight weeds

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

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

Prevent ants and other pests

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

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

Scale fish

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

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

Pluck chickens

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

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

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

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

What Are Your Bug Out Triggers?

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

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

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

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

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

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

RunningFromFire

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

(1) Can you defend your home?

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

    Does your disaster preparation plan include security measures?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

EmptyHighway

(13) Has home delivery ceased?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What Foods to Buy?

Rice is a cheap and easy emergency food supply

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What Next?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Boost the efficiency of your compost

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

Get rid of dirt and stains from the toilet

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

Remove gum stuck to your hair.

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

Set a trap for pesky bugs

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

Get rid of congestion fast

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

Hack away windshield ice

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

Make a diversionary device

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

No more nausea

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

Hack away the powdery corrosion on car battery’s terminals

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

Make a grown bolt budge

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

No more scorch marks on pots and pans

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

No more ouchie from jellyfish stings

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

Kill slugs and snails

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

Remove blood from clothes

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

Coca-Cola for hiccups

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. Foldable pruning saw

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

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

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

2. Quadruple-O Steel Wool

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

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

3. Guitar strings

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

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

4. Pencil sharpener

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

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

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

5. Machete

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

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

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

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