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Garlic and honey are two wonderful ingredients from nature. Both of these have strong anti-inflammatory properties and are great as a home remedy for fighting both colds and the flu.

Besides having strong anti-inflammatory properties, honey and garlic are also good for your immune system. So, at the first sign of flu, grab this garlic-infused honey, or even garlic clove, and suppress those viruses that are trying to make you ill. Garlic is filled with allicin, a compound known to have anti-microbial and even anti-cancer properties.

Homemade Fermented Honey GarlicThe antibiotic quantities of garlic appear to be a direct result of allicin. The allicin is very sensitive, however, and cooking or heat treatment may destroy its benefits. The best way to get that allicin is by consuming the raw garlic, but many people cannot stand the smell or taste of it.

Although it has been shown through clinical studies that garlic can reduce the number of colds by 63% and reduce the length of cold symptoms by 70%, the overpowering flavor of garlic is just a deal breaker for some.

Luckily, honey is something almost everyone enjoys. As stated above, honey has strong anti-inflammatory properties but is also anti-viral and anti-fungal. Of course, as we all know, honey has a great flavor, and this natural delicacy can make even garlic taste better.

 

The combo of honey and garlic makes the garlic more palatable and easier for us to use. Besides, when infused with honey, the garlic properties become even more potent while at the same time improving the benefits of the honey.

The recipe for this remedy is very simple, and over time, the mixture will taste better. The garlic is ready to eat after a few days, but as time passes, it will develop complex flavors. In no time, you will not only love this flavor but also enjoy it as an addition to your pasta or pizza or smeared over warm toast.

Fermented Honey Garlic Recipe

Preparation time: 15 minutes + inactive time

Serving size: 2 ½ cups

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup garlic cloves, peeled;
  • 1 ½ cups honey (I used acacia.).

Instructions:

#1. Gather your ingredients.Homemade Fermented Honey Garlic

#2. Peel the garlic and place it into a clean jar.

Homemade Fermented Honey Garlic

 

#3. Drizzle the honey over the garlic. You can pour the honey directly over the garlic or drizzle in by using the wooden honey spoon. Do not use a metal spoon as the honey has an acidic pH and reacts with metallic surfaces. This reaction may damage the honey.*

Homemade Fermented Honey Garlic

#4. Once the garlic is covered with the honey, place a lid on the jar.

Homemade Fermented Honey Garlic

#5. Make sure the cloves are covered in honey. You can flip the closed jar upside down and place it in a dark place.

 

Homemade Fermented Honey Garlic

#6. Within a few days, the fermentation will begin. Bubbles will appear.** This is the first sign your garlic is ready to consume. (Of course, you can wait a few days more or even weeks, until the honey is thinned down and garlic drops to the bottom of the jar).

Homemade Fermented Honey Garlic

#7. At this point, you can store your fermented garlic in a dark place (not the fridge) and let it age.

Homemade Fermented Honey Garlic

NOTE:

*Although you are only touching the honey with a metal spoon for a short time, you still do not want to risk any honey spoilage or destroying its natural healing properties.

**If your fermentation does not begin, you may have too much honey. In that case, add a splash of water (about a tablespoon) and close the lid again.


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

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Liberal’s hidden agenda: more than just your guns

Build yourself the only unlimited water source you’ll ever need

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Secure your privacy in just 10 simple steps

Garlic and honey are two wonderful ingredients from nature. Both of these have strong anti-inflammatory properties and are great as a home remedy for fighting both colds and the flu. Besides

I haven’t been able to understand why the expression “to live like an Amish” has a pejorative meaning. Not until I started to love like a prepper. They are simple folk, trying to live a very simple life; some may call them minimalists, but I can’t see why they’re mock just because they chose to live without electronic gadgets, electricity, and as far away as possible from the hustle and bustle of the city. I would be lying If I were to say that I’m envious about their life choices.

Yes, I am a prepper and, even more than that, a person who’s ready to sacrifice comfort for safety, if the situation demands it, but not willingly. Sure, I can make do without a tablet, the latest Samsung Galaxy with four motion-triggered cameras or going to the cinema every weekend to see a movie, but there are some things I just can’t part with (well, not right away).

Anyway, the other day, as I was taking my daughter back from school, I stopped at a light downtown. Even though it was well after two o’clock, the traffic was downright infernal – you know what that means; lots and lots of patience. So, while standing there, waiting for the green light, I noticed that the driver on my right side kept sliding his hand out of the window in an attempt to snap a picture.  Nothing curious about that considering that, sometimes, becoming stuck in a traffic jam brings out the artist inside all of us.

However, the man kept on doing this, whilst talking to someone on the driver’s seat. When I looked in the direction of his camera I saw the embodiment of ‘screw you, I do what I want with my life.’ Standing in the dicky of four-wheeled coach, there were two men – father and son, I gathered. Both of them were dressed in black from head to toe, had these thick, bushy beards, glasses, and clergymen hats.

What amazed me was the fact that although most of the drivers were snapping pictures and mocking them, they went on about their business as if nothing was wrong. I can’t imagine being that calm when someone is calling me names. But, then again, I can very well assume that this isn’t the first, nor the last time that they had to deal with people staring at them as if they were zoo animals.

Well, long story short, once I got home, I started to read a bit about the Amish community.  And, as you’ve probably guessed it by now, the article you see before you is the result of, shall I call it, an exploration into America’s most conservative community. So, without further ado, here are 6 life and survival lesson I’ve learned from the Amish. Enjoy!

Family and togetherness mean a lot more than all the treasures of this world

Last time I paid my folks a visit, I sort of got one of those Hollywoodian flashbacks. More than 20 years ago, I was in the living room with my mom, dad, and grandma. ‘Twas around the time of the prom. I wanted to tell my parents that right after the party, I was going to hit it off with my girlfriend and two classmates.

As you would imagine, my parents were not too thrilled about this. Dad was adamant about me getting back home. Guess he would have rather seen me hitting the books for my college entry exam then reenacting Adam’s intro of Summer of ‘69. Long story short, we argued, a lot, and everything ended with me saying some very nasty things about my family.

This is one of the things I kinda envy the Amish – no matter how shitty things are; they stay together. Everything they do, they do for the family. More than that, they do not believe in stuff like “hey, I have this thing, but you can’t have it, because you will have to work for it just like I did.” Nope. If one family makes more than it needs, it will wholeheartedly share with the rest of the community, especially with the more unfortunate ones.

I can’t say that my family is perfect. No, we don’t argue all the time, scream at each other, say things like “I’m going to leave you and take the kids with me,” but tempers do flare from time to time. In those moments I come to realize that we have everything we need and we should try to play nice with each other. I mean, the Amish communities are like stepping into a time machine and ending up in pre-colonial America- no electricity, no Internet, no gadgets. And yet, they still have more tightly-knitted families than 90 percent of the people I know or grew up with.

You really don’t need to become a member of the Amish community to figure out the meaning of “family.” Just talk or read some books about them. Trust me – after doing this, you won’t be that eager to raise your voice at your wife, punish your kids for stuff they didn’t do or laugh in your neighbor’s face when he asks for help. Remember the saying: “give an inch and take a mile.”

The Amish rehashed “self-reliance.”

There’s no such thing as being too self-reliant, whether it refers to cooking your own meals, washing your stuff or learning to make things rather than buying them from the store. Emerson’s Walden may have been a good read for a lot of preppers, but for the Amish, that book’s almost sacred. Imagine living in a very small community with no money, no debit or credit cards, and no stores. Sounds interesting, does it not? Well, in traditional Amish communities, a family’s only way to obtain certain goods they need around the house, say lamp oil, is trading. And yes, everything being trading within the boundaries of this community is produced or manufactured there.

And let me tell you, those people really know their business – I’ve seen Amish canned goods, oil lamps, furniture, tobacco, bread, coffee, and even toys for the little ones.

There’s a lesson in this, folks – when you do decide that it’s time to drop off the grid, you must ensure that you know how to make stuff. Otherwise, it’s just what I like to call prepping with benefits.

Treating your livestock as if it’s part of the family

Can’t really say that I like livestock that much – sure, baby goats and horses are gorgeous, but not as cute as kitten or puppies. What struck me the most when watching YouTube videos about the Amish community is the bond they share with their livestock. When I was a kid, my grandma used to tell me these stories about her parents keeping animals like baby horses, goats, sheep or chicklings inside the house during the winter.

Sure, it’s a heartwarming story, but I didn’t take it for granted. However, after seeing these people care for their livestock, I kind of began to believe in them. If there’s one worthy takeaway, it’s learning how to see if your livestock is healthy or there’s an illness running amok.

Overcomplicated farming is not a recipe for success

We are literally surrounded by supermarkets, farmer market’s, and hypermarkets, yet all the food we eat tastes like cardboard. Granted, we have the means to feed millions of people thanks to the advancement in farming technology, but all this stuff doesn’t mean anything if the final product lacks the very stuff our bodies so desperately need. I wholeheartedly recommend viewing a video on Amish farming methods. To say that it’s fascinating, would be a major understatement. They have no need for trucks, tractors, cultivators, subsoiler, rollers or spike harrow – they toil from dusk till dawn to sow the ground with horse-pulled plows. That’s it! Yes, I know that it’s very hard work, but, my God, their veggies are astounding. I’ve seen cantaloupes the size of a basketball and beets as big as my beer belly. Their secret – plenty of hard work, dedication, and using all-natural solutions.

Hand sewing is not just something you see in the movies

Nowadays, nobody pays too much attention to sewing – if your parka needs stitching, you just take it to tailor’s shop, and that’s basically it. If I were to ask someone about hand sewing, he would probably look at me as if I’m from another planet or something. The only thing close to actual hand sewing was this old lady who had a stand at an exposition hosted by our local history museum. She could make anything from tunics, socks, underpants to carpets and upholstery. However, for the Amish, hand sewing is a vital skill. Although the women do the heavy lifting, the men also know how to sew back a ripped button or patch a hole in their shirts.

I am well aware of the fact that hand sewing clothes and other things is not a skill that can be learned overnight. Heck, some members of the Amish communities spend half a century honing their skills and perfecting their techniques. So, the next time you see an Amish couple in your hometown, don’t mock their sense of fashion – just remember that everything they wear is made by the head. The same thing cannot be said about us town folk, who buy every piece of garment from Mall stores.

That hard work is a virtue, not just a 9-to-5 undertaking

The next time you complain that your cushy 9-to-5 is exhausting, think about the fact that the regular Amish workday begins at five in the morning and ends well after sunset. And it doesn’t matter if the weather’s nice or really bad or if that person woke up with a major headache because he drank too much last night – for the Amish community, work is sacred. And, dare I say, the results speak for themselves. I’ve never seen an Amish home in disarray or a family that has nothing to eat or to wear.

If that’s not enough for you, get a load of this – Amish don’t work just for themselves. They work for the entire community. Sure, your land and livestock are important, but so is the rest. For instance, if a new couple moved into ‘town,’ the entire community helps them settle in. Yup that means even giving them a hand to raise a house or a barn.

By the way, if you need new furniture, you may want to try out your local Amish store or get in touch with a member of the community. Why? Because their furniture’s all-wood, not that cheap crap manufacturers use to whip up low-quality beds or couches. It’s a win-win.

That about wraps it up for life and survival lessons learned from the Amish. What do you think about this topic? Hit the comments section and let me know.

I haven’t been able to understand why the expression “to live like an Amish” has a pejorative meaning. Not until I started to live like a prepper.

Honey! I think I shrunk the…toilet paper stockpile. Don’t like it? Try this one for size: an empty toilet paper roll by any other name would smell as sweet. Welcome, weary traveler, to yet another kick-ass presentation on how common household items can save your life, “can” is the leitmotif of this here article.

Yup, you’ve guessed it – today I’m going to talk to you about the afterlife of TP rolls. You know those carton cylinders we used to stole as kids from the trash to make “spyglasses”? Well, believe it or not, even though they’re the ghost of TP past, they can still be of some use to us. Luckily, most of those purposes revolve around our favorite topic which is survival.

So, without further ado or a-pun, here are 7 clever ways to use empty TP rolls in SHTF situations.

  1. Keeping your important docs safe, sound, and dry

In any shit hits the fan situation, there’ll be a lot of running, climbing, digging, and falling. Clothes and footwear can be washed and hung up to dry; even most electronics have some sort of waterproofing. Unfortunately, the same thing cannot be said about important documents such as driver’s license, photo ID, house deed or other things you may be carrying in your B.O.B. One easy way to make sure your precious docs don’t get totaled by water is to place them inside an empty TP roll.

Use some plastic food wrap or tin foil to seal both ends, and you’ve got yourself a weatherproof doc pouch. Well, it’s more of a roll rather than a pouch, but you get it. You can use the same trick to keep other things dry like headphones, lighters, matches or whatever.

  1. Hunting and trapping very small game

I know the perspective of gutting a small and innocent critter sounds horrific, but in an SHTF situation, you won’t have much of choice. If you’re hunting and trapping skills aren’t good enough as to allow you to create deadfall pits or body-gripping snares, you may be able to craft a small and very efficient one using an empty TP roll, some glue or double-sided tape, and something sweet.

Apply some double-sided tape to one of the openings and place the bait on the open end. Works great for small critters such as field mice. When Jerry sees the morsel, he’ll charge the tube to grab it. Once he enters the tube and takes the bait; he’ll try to get out the other end. As the double-sided tape is transparent, he won’t suspect a thing.  As for the killing and gutting part, I’ll leave that one up to you.

  1. Making a fishing box

Remember the part where I’ve told you that every heavy-duty B.O.B should contain some sort of fishing kit? Well, if you don’t plan on spending too much money on portable fishing kits, here’s how to make your own using an empty roll of TP. First of all, you will need to waterproof your container. For this, you will need some resin. Use a brush and coat the entire roll.  You will need to apply at least three layers of resin. Allow it to dry before proceeding to the next step.

Now, secure one end of the roll using a plastic or metal cap (go see your local thrift store for those). Apply some epoxy before putting on the cap. Now add a similar cap on the other end.

Don’t use epoxy because this will be the opening. Assemble your fishing kit: hooks, line, weights, small blade, flotation device, and place them inside the toilet roll. If you want to make the fishing kit look even more awesome, you can wrap it in paracord and add a small karabiner to the screwable cap (stop laughing). Enjoy!

  1. Voicing your concerns

In an SHTF situation, you may not be able to use your gadgets to make the rescuers aware of your presence. Although your B.O.B should contain at least one type of signaling device, like a whistle, signaling gun, flares or all three of them, it may possible to use an empty toilet paper tube to amply your screams for help. Yes, I know it’s sounds something a child may do, but every little bit helps. Remember that there are times when salvation comes not from intricate life-saving gadgets, but from a simple and silly thing like a TP roll.

  1. Gimme fuel, gimme fire

As you know, nothing’s more soothing than watching those dancing flames in the night. No matter how shitty things get, you can always rely on a campfire to make you regain your composure. In case you’ve lost your tinder box or have nothing else on hand to start a fire with, you can always use a TP roll as tinder.

  1. Prescription glass protection case

As a person who needs to wear glasses around the clock, I haven’t had much use for protective cases. Still, in a situation that call for protection, you can always place your prescription glasses or sunglasses inside an empty TP roll.

  1. Keeping your cords together

There’s nothing more frustrating than opening your bug out bag and seeing all those cords tangles. Even worse is the fact that you’ll have to spend hours on end to untangle them. Sure, that’s not a problem when you’re at home, but you won’t have the luxury of time during a potentially life-threatening situation.

A simple way of keeping your cords together and prevent tangling is to make a small crease on the side of a TP roll and to tuck the cord inside. Draw one end of the cord through this crease, and that’s it. You’ll never have to untangle another paracord again. You can also do the same with power cables and strings. Remember the golden rule: if it looks stupid, but it works, then it’s not stupid!

That’s it for my ways to repurpose TP rolls. Feel that something’s missing from the list. Hit the comments section and let me know.


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)

Honey! I think I shrunk the…toilet paper stockpile. Don’t like it? Try this one for size: an empty toilet paper roll by any other name would smell as sweet. Welcome,

Ever stopped to think just how useful a bar of soap can be? No, you can’t shave it and turn it into plastic explosive as Frank Burns from M*A*S*H said, but there are lots of other stuff you can do with it beyond washy-washy. No matter if you’re using the old rectangular bar, the liquid variety or dishwasher detergent, each and every one of them could save your skin one day.

Most seasoned survivalists and bushcraft experts carry at least one bar of soap with them and, as you might expect, it’s not only for washing soiled jammies or getting the dirt off your hands.

Since soap is another one of those household items that should get its own statue in the survival hall of fame, I’ve decided to do write this short and sweet piece on how soap may serve your bushcraft purposes.

So, because talk’s cheap, here are 5 ways you can use soap to get out of a potentially life-threatening situation.

  1. Shampoo

I know that most of you don’t really see the purpose of washing your hair during an SHTF situation, especially because, I don’t know, priorities tend to shift. Still, hygiene’s very important, and you really wouldn’t want to end up with lice in your hair and worse.

Don’t know for sure if the rest of you people have even considered the thought of adding one bottle of shampoo to your B.O.B or at least an all-purpose shower gel (great for hair, body, carpets, upholstery and anything in between), but I really don’t see the point of getting one if I have one or more soap bars.

Sure, you won’t get curls or fluffy hair, but at least your head’s clean and lice-free. By the way, if you find yourself without shampoo\shower gel, you can also use liquid soap or dishwashing detergent to wash your hair. Just be careful not to use that dishwasher stuff on more sensible body areas because you’ll end up with sores (true story).

  1. Removing ice from the driveway nice and fast

No rock salt or kitty litter? No problem. You can create your own ice-busting concoction using regular liquid dish soap, water, and a bit of alcohol (don’t get your hopes up because you’ll want to rub alcohol for this concoction). Here’s what you’ll need to do: take a bucket and fill it halfway with hot water. Add one tablespoon of rubbing alcohol and one tablespoon of undiluted dishwashing liquid soap. Mix and use this concoction to remove ice from your driveway.

  1. A sure-fire remedy for poison ivy poisoning

Do you know what’s worse than having a bear on your ass? Having to resist the urge to scratch after getting into contact with poison ivy. What’s even worse about this type of poisoning is that the blisters can spread if you pop those oil-filled pustules.

How to solve this? Using dishwashing liquid soap, of course. Since the stuff’s designed to deal with oil stains, it will eliminate the excess oils from the area, thus stopping the blisters from spreading. Moreover, using liquid soap on poison ivy blisters increases the healing rate of your skin.

  1. Keeping them nasty bugs away from your food

Now that spring’s finally arrived, we turn our attention to things more romantic like picnics, BBQs, and campfire sing-alongs with your intoxicated buddies. The only thing that annoys me the most, apart from having to clean that bathroom (sorry, hun) is insects crawling over my food.

Yes, I should know by know that a picnic’s not exactly, well, a picnic, but I do hate to share meals with overly insistent ants, and God knows what.

After doing a bit of snooping on the Internet, I found out that you can actually protect your food from pests using diluted dishwashing soap. It sounds crazy, but believe me, it works. And no, the food will not have a soapy taste to it. To prepare your own pest repellant from soap, get yourself one of those spray bottles and fill it with others. Add two teaspoons of dish soap, shake, and spray the table area.

Yes, you can even spray the food – in its watered-down form the stuff’s safe to eat. Only don’t use too much of it because your food will certainly end up tasting funny.

  1. Getting rid of sticky things in your hair

Well, what can I say? Shit can happen even at home. Doesn’t matter how hard you try to maintain hygiene, because there’s always that moment when you forget that you just dunked your hands in Vaseline, but that itchy spot on the top of your hand just refuses to go away. For moments like this, be thankful for the fact that dish soap exists.

This stuff’s powerful enough to remove anything from the flue, Vaseline, nail polish, gum, and, yes, even peanut butter.

However, do keep in mind that dish soap was made for washing dishes and not to be used as a shower gel. Here’s what you will need to do in order to get rid of that nasty stuff from your hair. First of all, stop scratching because you’ll only spread around the stuff, and rip some hair locks in the process.

Now, pour a tablespoon of your favorite dish soap into your palm and apply it over the sticky area. Rub the area for 5 to 10 minutes. After that, wait a while for the soap to sit and do its job. After that, get into the bathroom, rinse your hair with plenty of water.

You can also use a little bit of shower gel or shampoo to ensure that there’s no more dish soap in your hair. I know it sounds nasty, but then again you really had to scratch that itch.

That’s it for my short and sweet list of how survivalists use soap, regardless if its liquid, solid or the kind used for washing dishes. Do you believe my list lacks certain applications? Hit the comments section and let me know.


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)

Ever stopped to think just how useful a bar of soap can be? No, you can’t shave it and turn it into plastic explosive as Frank Burns from M*A*S*H said,

You know that S really HTF and broke it when you have no other choice than to drink water out of muddy puddle you found on the side of the road. Perhaps a call-to-action to some but, to most of us is what makes survival gritty. Fortunately for us, there’s plenty of ways to make that unpalatable water safer to drink, and not all of them rely on water purification tablets or sterilization bottles.

In an SHTF situation, it’s possible to filter water by using charcoal and nothing else. Yes, I know that the charcoal and water really don’t mix, but truth be told, this is the second-best water purification method after boiling. What I like about this little experiment is that it really brings out that cavemanish side of us which we desperately try to suppress and hide.

So, if you’re stuck out there in the wild, with no water-filtration sippy cup, no purification tablets, and not sources of water other than puddles and stinky ponds, here’s what you will need to do in order to whip up a charcoal-based sterilization system.

Word of warning before we start – through the time-honored method is great at getting rid of most bacteria and dirt, I would advise you to start looking for another water source. Works like a charm for a day or two, but wouldn’t bet my kidneys on it for anything longer than that.

Materials needed

  • Empty plastic bottled (I’ve tried it on an old Coca-Cola bottle).
  • Canteen.
  • Survival knife.
  • A handful of pebbles.
  • A handful of sand.
  • Charcoal
  • Water carrier (cup, mug or anything to store the purified water).
  • A clean piece of cloth or a bandage.

Making a charcoal-based water purification filter

Step 1. Gather all your materials. You can use a piece of charcoal from your campfire. Still, seeing that some necks of the woods are filled with tourist, there’s a slight chance of stumbling upon an extinguished fire pit, thus sparing you the trouble of starting a fire.

Step 2. Use your survival knife to cut the bottom of your plastic bottle. Don’t discard the keep.

Step 3. With the cap still on, put a couple of pebbles inside the bottle.

Step 4. Use the pommel of your knife to stuff the peddles.

Step 5. Add a layer of sand. Again, use the back end of your knife to make sure everything’s neat and tidy.

Step 6. Add the piece of cloth or bandage and arrange it.

Step 7. Toss in your charcoal. You may have to smash it in order to fit inside the bottle.

Step 8. Add another piece of cloth or bandage.

Step 9. Add more sand.

Step 10. Put some pebbles on top, and you’re all set to go.

More on the makeshift water filtration system

See how simple that was? Congrats on your first charcoal-based water filtration system. However, there’s one more thing you’ll need to do – test it. Do bear in mind that although the system’s great at removing most of the dirt, slime, and bacteria from the water, it won’t get rid of everything. So, in order to test your charcoal filter, fill your canteen with water from a puddle or other water source. Be careful to avoid picking up too much dirt or other things floating in the water.

 

 

Put an empty water carrier underneath your water purification system and begin pouring water from the canteen. Don’t fret or pout if the water inside the carrier is still dirty. It takes about three or four attempts to get clear water. Just keep trying. The results will certainly speak for themselves – not like you got any other choice.

Design-wise, it’s very important not to forget about the cloth pieces. Apart from charcoal, they also play a key role in the whole water purification system. What happens if you add a single layer or forget about them? You end up with charcoal-black water, and that’s a major turn off.

Careful when choosing the pebbles and sand. If possible, remove as much of the dirt and dust from them before sticking them inside your bottle. As far as the sand part is concerned, if you cannot find any, you can also replace the sand layers with more cloth and pebbles.

For the best possible results, I would 2-liter plastic bottles. You should also consider attaching some sort of handle near the open end to make the filtration device easier to hold. If you want to add an extra layer of filtration, cut a small hole in the plastic cap and fill the inside with a thin piece of bandage or cloth. You may have to wait a while longer for all the water to drain in the carrier, but at least it’s a bit cleaner.

Again, this water filtration method is designed for short-term use, not for the long-run. If you’re still lost, try to look around for other water sources. For instance, some tree holes contain a fair amount of water, but you’ll need to whip up some sort of siphoning system (that’s why I included a small tube in my B.O.B). You can always crush the stems of fleshy plants for extra water.

One more thing – choosing the right pieces of charcoal. Sure, all charcoal is the same, but for this to work, you will need to scavenge two intact pieces. You will end up with zilch and a lot of dirty water if you use crushed charcoal. Ideally, you should at least keep one or two pieces of charcoal inside your tinder box, but you can also make some by starting a fire.

That’s about it on how to make an efficient charcoal-based water filtration system. It’s a very basic rig, but it gets the job in a shit hits the fan situation. Do you think my design needs some improvement? If you feel like something’s missing, don’t be a stranger and hit the comment section. Would also like to hear your thoughts on other ways to purify water in the field.

See also the video below that shows you how the charcoal works in purifying the water:

Fortunately for us, there’s plenty of ways to make that unpalatable water safer to drink, and not all of them rely on water purification tablets or sterilisation bottles.

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.

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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