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This article only takes into account the effects of a nuclear EMP and not a solar flare. A solar flare will impact just about grid-connected electronics.

1. Will a microwave work as a Faraday cage?

No. If an EMP strikes, you will notice that all the electronic devices that you stored in a microwave oven will be rendered useless. The microwave is not a Faraday cage.

2. Will a refrigerator work as a Faraday cage?

No, most refrigerators do not work as a Faraday cage. I tested mine, and it’s definitely not a Faraday cage.

3. If I keep a backup mobile phone in my Faraday cage, will it work when I need it?

Yes, your phone will work perfectly. However, it will be rendered almost useless because the network will not be functional. The only form of communication after an EMP will be the radio.

4. Do I need to store batteries in a Faraday cage?

No. They will continue to work regardless and will just take up space in your Faraday cage.

5. Do Faraday cages need grounding?

No.

6. Do I need to keep my solar panels in a Faraday cage?

No. Your solar panel inverter is the only component of the device you need to think about. Do not think about your solar panels; they are going to be okay. Buying an extra inverter is best, and holding it in your Faraday cage so you can remove the useless one after the EMP.

7. If I wrap electronic devices in heavy-duty aluminum foil, will that work?

No. But if you wrap the cardboard box in which you bought them in heavy-duty aluminum foil, this would be an effective Faraday cage.

8. Will flashlights continue to function after an EMP Strike?

Some flashlights will continue to function, and some will burn out. It all depends on the power and distance from the blast.

9. Is a shipping container a Faraday cage?

Yes, but just remember that you can’t just put the electronic devices directly in contact with the metal. Some people board the interior of the container with wooden panels.

10. Can I use this shipping container as a “Faraday garage” for my car?

Yes, you can definitely do that. Most cars fit in a standard shipping container, but just to make sure, go ahead and take the measurements before buying a shipping container.

11. If you turn off your devices, will they be EMP-proof?

No.

12. Are airplanes Faraday cages?

No. Planes operate on the basic principles of lift and thrust, so they will become more or less gliders. They will be very difficult to control and most of them will fall from the sky and crash.

13. How do I test an object to see if it will work as a Faraday cage?

You can test any device that you think might work as a Faraday cage with a radio. Simply turn the radio on and place it inside your device. When a signal is still being transmitted by the radio, then it is not a Faraday cage. You can use a mobile phone if you don’t have a radio, but the tests won’t be 100% accurate in the sense that if your mobile phone still rings, it’s certainly not a Faraday cage, but if it doesn’t, you can’t be sure. To be 100% sure you have a Faraday cage, you need to test it with a radio.

14. Can you EMP-proof a car?

emp car

You could build a Faraday cage, but that would mean either you’ll never use your car or you’ll need to purchase a new one. I’ve seen some pictures online of people wrapping them in aluminum, but as I said earlier, it makes no sense.

Instead of making your car EMP-proof, I think you’d better buy an old, cheap car that has a much less vulnerable electric system. Here are the top 6 EMP-proof vehicles.

15. Will a galvanized steel trash can make a good Faraday cage?

Yes, but they can have to close perfectly, and you will have to line the walls with cardboard.

This article only takes into account the effects of a nuclear EMP and not a solar flare. A solar flare will impact just about grid-connected electronics. 1. Will a microwave work

A lot of preppers are worried that, in the event, we’re ever attacked with EMP weapons, most of our vehicles will instantly turn to junk. This isn’t a far-out belief, either; it’s based on testing by the EMP Commission.

It’s true that those tests didn’t cause any permanent damage to the vehicles, but the Commission freely admits that they stopped testing at the level of EMP where the vehicles stopped running – and that was far below the levels that would be emitted by an actual attack.

It’s difficult to predict what damage an EMP attack would do to vehicles because so many variables are involved. We can make some educated guesses, though. We do know that EMP can destroy solid-state electronics, and late-model vehicles depend on those for almost everything. Without its engine management computer, a modern car won’t even start.

If your new truck is caught by an EMP the chances are it’s going to take a lot of work to get it running again. You’re almost certainly going to have to replace all the computers if you can find undamaged spares, and EMP can do funny things to wiring as well.

As the wiring harness is one of the first things installed in cars, replacing it is a huge job. Is it going to be feasible in a country devastated by the attack? I’m not betting on it.

There is another option, though – find yourself a vehicle that doesn’t rely on electronics. Computer-controlled car engines didn’t really exist until the mid-1970s and there were plenty of new cars without them at the end of the decade, so most vehicles that age or older will be much more resistant to EMP. Carbureted engines with simpler wiring looms don’t give the pulse much to get their teeth into.

 

 

The bad news is that we’re talking about some pretty old, and often hard-used, vehicles here. The good news is that in many cases you should be able to get a running one for a reasonable amount of money. Here are six EMP-proof vehicles you can pick up for less than $2,000.

Volkswagen Beetle

Good Vehicles to Have for EMP

You can easily pay over $100,000 for a classic Bug in immaculate condition – but you can also get a runner for under $2,000. In fact, while I was writing this I saw one for $500 that just needs some work on the hubs to put it back on the road. The post-1971 “Super Beetle” is usually cheaper than the classic flat windshield model.

The Beetle is built on really old technology. It has a flat-four air-cooled engine without any hint of electronics.

It’s also a rugged and reliable car that’s good enough off-road that the German army put an open-topped body on it and used it as a jeep. It won’t even notice an EMP.

Dune Buggies

Good Vehicles to Have for EMP

VW Bugs are classic cars now, but from the 60s through the early 80s they were just cheap imports – and a lot of people used their simple mechanicals as the basis for a dune buggy. Usually, this involved shortening the Beetle chassis by about a foot and fitting it with a simple, lightweight fiberglass body.

 

Dune buggies have decent fuel economy and off-road performance, and they don’t rust. They’re also very easy to modify into survival vehicles, and they don’t need a lot of maintenance. You can find a running one for about $800 upwards.

CUCV (Commercial Utility Cargo Vehicle)

Good Vehicles to Have for EMP

In the mid-1970s the US military was running out of utility vehicles. The HMMWV program hadn’t produced anything yet and the old M151 jeeps were wearing out. As a stopgap, thousands of commercial wagons and trucks were purchased, in slightly militarized versions.

There are a few different models of CUCV, but the most common is the M1109 – a 1984-model Chevrolet K5 Blazer. This is a simple vehicle with plenty of load space, 4wd, and a powerful 6.2-liter diesel engine, and it’s ideal as a post-SHTF vehicle. Thousands have been disposed of at auctions and you can easily find a usable one for under $2,000. Try eBay.

International Harvester Scout

Good Vehicles to Have for EMP

The Scout was probably the first mass-produced SUV, even if it was never the most exciting or popular. It’s a simple, sturdy, and reliable vehicle, though, and it has great off-road performance.

The original Scout is starting to get expensive, so look for a Scout II. Manufactured from 1971 to 1980, this is a lot cheaper and just as reliable. You can find rough but repairable ones for under $1,000; $2,000 will get you a good runner.

Chevrolet Cheyenne

Chevrolet produced this full-size truck from 1959 through to the turn of the century, but what you’re looking for is a pre-1980 third-generation model. With a computer-free engine and easily maintained mechanicals, it’s a tough and practical utility vehicle.

A lot of these are still hanging on in rural areas, and you can pick up a running example for under $1,500 if you hunt around. Can’t find a Cheyenne? No problem; most other pre-1980 trucks will do just as well.

Yugo

7 Emp-proof Cars That You Can Buy For Less Than $2000

No, don’t laugh. This cheap and nasty car was imported into the USA from 1985 to 1991 – but mechanically it’s a 1970s Fiat 127, so its 900cc engine is EMP-proof. Incredibly, good examples now sell for up to $15,000 – but you can get an average one for under $1,000 because nobody wants them.

The thing is, this is a cheap communist-built car with a tacky finish and unreliable accessories, but the engine is simple and reliable. It might be an embarrassing car to drive, but it’s a lot less embarrassing than one that won’t start because its electronics are fried.

 

 

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A lot of preppers are worried that, in the event, we’re ever attacked with EMP weapons, most of our vehicles will instantly turn to junk. This isn’t a far-out belief,

Building a survival stockpile is a challenge on many levels. Trying to afford it, is one challenge. Trying to ensure that it will provide your family with the necessary nutrition, is another challenge altogether; one which can contradict the first one. Making sure that the food and other supplies you have purchased will still be good when you need them is another issue altogether. Forgetting any of these many issues can leave you without the stockpile you need.

The result of all this is that we all make errors in building stockpiles, especially in the beginning. Of these errors, the most critical ones are those where we buy things that don’t last. The real danger here is that we have food that we think is good, but it turns out we don’t. Unless you check your food on a regular basis, this could end up being very dangerous, as the food is unavailable during a crisis, when we need to use it.

It’s imperative that we all check our stockpiles on a regular basis, at least once a year. This is part of my personal new year’s activities; something I try to accomplish sometime during January of every year. Even the best-preserved foods can go bad if something goes wrong in the preservation process. Checking them in January allows me to fit the replacement of those items into my plan for the year.

Some items just aren’t going to last, no matter what you do. Then there are those items you might have in your stockpile, which really aren’t going to do your family much good anyway, due to their lack of nutrition. Getting these items out of your stockpile and replacing them will help your family to be better prepared when the time comes.

Gasoline

Remove This From Your Stockpile Immediately

Gasoline could end up being one of the most important things you can stockpile. The problem is, it doesn’t store well. Untreated gasoline can only be stored for about six months.

Even treated gasoline doesn’t do all that well, as you can only expect it to still be good for about a year. After that, many of the most combustible elements will have evaporated out, even in a sealed gas can.

Still, you need to have gasoline in your stockpile. The way to do that is to constantly rotate your stock so that none is over six months old. I have a 55-gallon steel barrel, laying on a stand on its side, which I use as a gas tank. Every month I take a tank’s worth of gas out of the drum and put it in my car, replacing that with fresh gas. In this way, I always have a good supply of fresh gas and I burn off the old gasoline.

Please note that my 55-gallon steel drum is a much better storage container for long-term storage of gas than plastic gas cans are. Gas cans are much more likely to leak, as well as absorb the gasoline, changing the chemical structure of the can itself.

Kerosene

Kerosene can also go bad when stored for a prolonged period of time. Condensation is the number one culprit, but not the only one. It will also develop a sludge, created by bacteria and mold that live in the kerosene, feeding off of it.

The solution for keeping kerosene for a prolonged period of time is to rotate your stock, just like I was talking about with gasoline. Always use an opaque plastic container, specifically marked for kerosene.

Breakfast Cereal

Breakfast cereals are a staple in most American households. Sadly though, most breakfast cereals hold very little nutrition for their volume. This makes them very poor food to be stockpiling. You would be better off storing whole grains and granola, which can be mixed together and eaten like cereal.

The other problem with breakfast cereal is that it goes stale very easily, even in a sealed container. Packing breakfast cereals in five-gallon buckets with oxygen absorbers don’t solve this problem, as that doesn’t do a thing about any moisture that might be contained in the bucket or the food itself, as I found the hard way. Adding silica desiccant packages can help, but as I already mentioned, there are other options that are better.

Ground Wheat Flour

Ground wheat flour is difficult to store for prolonged periods of time, due to the propensity to have insects or insect eggs in it. This is actually where the idea of sifting flour first came from. In many countries, you have to sift flour, because of insects getting into it while it is stored.

Storing wheat flour in vacuum-sealed bags, inside of five-gallon buckets, with oxygen absorbers helps. But even then, the flour has a limited shelf life. The difference is that it is about eight years, instead of eight months. But if you store whole grain that way, it will last for 20 years. The natural husk of the grain provides excellent protection from insects, and once you grind it, will provide you with healthier baked goods.

Snack Foods

To put it simply, there is no such thing as a snack food that is worthwhile as survival food. Granted, if that’s all you’ve got, it will provide you with carbohydrates and probably fats. But it will also provide you with a lot of chemicals to go with it. Those foods just aren’t designed to sustain life. The space you’re storing them in can be better used for other things.

Summer Sausage

Sadly, summer sausage just doesn’t store well for a prolonged period of time. I originally thought it would, especially since it normally comes vacuum-packed. But that isn’t enough to keep it from going bad.

What happens to summer sausage is that the curing process that is used to make it doesn’t stop. The nitrates and nitrites added into curing salt help to dehydrate the meat, but also work to break it down, turning what would normally be very tough meat into tender cured meat. But that process doesn’t really stop. The breakdown continues, turning that nice summer sausage into something much mushier.

As best I know that mushy summer sausage isn’t dangerous to eat. I’ve actually eaten it. But the texture and flavor of that sausage aren’t going to be the same. To me, it was really weird to eat.

Chocolate

As a confirmed chocoholic from a family of chocoholics, this one is even sadder than sad. Nevertheless, you can’t keep chocolate for a prolonged period of time, unless you can keep it cold. The problem is that heat causes the natural oils to seep out of the chocolate, messing up the texture and flavor. Eventually, you end up with something that looks more like white powder. It’s not dangerous to eat, but it’s not the chocolate you started out with.

Applesauce in Jars

Remove This From Your Stockpile Immediately

Canned goods are generally good virtually forever. But there are some exceptions. One of these is applesauce canned in plastic jars.

Glass jars probably wouldn’t cause the same problem, but commercially canned applesauce is generally put into plastic jars. This allows the applesauce to discolor and the flavor to change. After about a year, it’s just not the same.

I have eaten canned applesauce that is more than a year old, without any negative side effects. But since we’re talking about stockpiling here, I don’t want to see what will happen to that applesauce in five or ten years.

Powdered Milk in “Cans”

Most canned powdered milk (and a few other things) comes in cardboard “cans” rather than metal ones. While this is fine for short-term storage, it’s not what you need for storing that milk for 10 or 20 years. The cardboard can become water-damaged, insects can eat their way through it and the milk can spoil.

Fortunately, the milk isn’t the problem; just the packaging. If you vacuum seal the powdered milk in Mylar bags and store it in sealed five-gallon buckets, it will last as long as you want.

Damaged Canned Goods

I’m a firm believer that canned goods can last forever; long past the supposed “expiration date”. At the same time, I recognize that it doesn’t always do that. I know this because I’ve had canned goods go bad; not many, but some.

This problem generally happens with acidic food and can only happen when there is an error in the canning process. The cans for these foods are lined with an acid-resistant film, protecting the metal can from the acid. But if the film doesn’t cover the entire inside of the can or if the film becomes nicked in processing, then the can is no longer protected from the acid in the food. That acid will eventually eat through the can, allowing air and bacteria into the can, where it spoils the food.

Of course, if you are checking your stock on a regular basis, you’ll see any cans with puffy lids, that are leaking, or which have mold on the outside of the cans. When these are found, they must be removed and any cans nearby checked, especially those stored below. At times, the damage will allow acids that spill out, which will attack the unprotected outer side of the cans it spills on.


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Building a survival stockpile is a challenge on many levels. Trying to afford it, is one challenge. Trying to ensure that it will provide your family with the necessary nutrition,

One of the best ways to ensure your family is prepared for no matter what is to have a useful, and plentiful supply of stored food. I love MREs and freeze-dried meals, specifically, because they are so easy to prepare and work so great if we have to bug out. However, to supplement your supply, there is nothing like storing some basic food staples to make sure your family never goes hungry.

Most of these items, perfect for long-term storage are extremely basic and generally cheap to obtain, but they pack a major nutritional punch and can be cooked and baked into hundreds of different meals to keep your family, fed and satisfied. In addition, most of these items will have excellent barter potential too.

1. Rice

All kinds of white rice are acceptable for long-term storage. When stored properly, rice can stay good for 30 years or more making it a perfect long-term storage food item. To Properly Store Rice: Pack it in an airtight container, or food-grade bucket, to keep oxygen and pests out. Keep it in a cool, dry area.

2. Flour

Flour, wheat, or white, can stay good on the shelf for 5 to 10 years. If you have space; freezing your flour can extend its life exponentially. To Properly Store Flour: You can store it in the traditional paper sack they come in if you can keep it refrigerated, but it is better to pack your flour in an airtight bag or storage bucket and keep it in a dry, cold place – the colder the better.

3. Honey

Honey is a great item to have on hand, not only is it a great sweetener, but it has medicinal properties and is enjoyed by kids and adults alike. The best part is, that it will not go bad. Honey may change its color or even crystallize a bit, but none of that changes the fact that it is still good to it. You can actually buy granulated honey, which is all ready for long-term storage and can be used like sugar or reconstituted the gooey stuff itself. To Properly Store Honey: keep it in an airtight jar and keep it in a cool dry place away from sunlight if possible. If the honey crystallizes, you can run warm water over the jar, or add small amounts of water and stir, to reconstitute it.

4. Salt

Salt may be one of the most important items you can stockpile. Not only is it important in everyday cooking, but its ability to preserve food will make it a popular item to not only have, but to barter with as well. To Properly Store Salt: Salt is easy to store, just keep it in a cool, dry area away from sunlight.

5. Sugar

Sugar, much like salt, will likely be a popular bartering item and it makes sense why. Having sugar on hand will go a long way to provide our family with some home comforts when times are uncertain and hard. Like honey, sugar can crystallize, but it simply does not support any sort of bacterial growth, so no matter what it will be good. To Properly Store Sugar: To prevent crystallization, store in an airtight container, but no matter what store it in a cool dry place.

6. Popcorn

Aapkidukan Pop Corn Kernels(Dried Corn) 2 KG: Amazon.in: Grocery & Gourmet Foods

Popcorn or dried corn can stay safe indefinitely, which is why it is such an important resource to the indigenous people of this country… it could be used fresh, and then dried to be used throughout the winter. Dried corn can be ground and used as cornmeal or in any recipe that calls for fresh corn too. To Properly Store Popcorn: Once dried, keep it in a cool, dry place. Store in an airtight container or bag to keep out pests and keep away from light and heat.

7. Cornstarch

Cornstarch is a great tool in cooking, especially if you are trying to stretch your food supply with gravies and sauces. You don’t need much, and it doesn’t take much to store either, so it’s really no wonder so many preppers keep this on hand. To Properly Store Cornstarch: Keep it in a dark, cool, and dry place. Pack tightly to minimize air and contaminants getting in.

8. Vinegar

White vinegar lasts indefinitely on the shelf, and having it on hand is a must for the smart prepper. It is good for cooking and canning, but it is also a powerful natural cleaning agent and will be no doubt a popular barter item as well. To Properly Store Vinegar: Keep in a bottle with a tight lid or cap, and store in a dark, dry place.

 

9. Pasta

Even packaged the way it comes from the store, the pasta will keep for a few years. It is a great item to store, and a crowd pleaser and comfort food especially in survival situations. To Properly Store Pasta: You can buy pasta that is packaged for the long term, or you can store it in mylar bags with oxygen absorbers. Store in a bucket, or in another cool, dry place.

10. Pinto Beans

Beans are so cheap, easy to store, and pack serious nutritional value that they are a no-brainer for any prepper to consider in their stockpile. Dried pinto beans can last for many years. To Properly Store Pinto Beans: For the longest shelf life store them in mylar bags with oxygen absorbers. While they won’t go bad, they may get drier and harder over time. Even if they do get dry you can still grind them up and use them in most of your cooking, they will still be edible and nutritious.

11. Dried Peas

Dried split peas have an indefinite shelf life and can be used in soups, stews, or just as good ole peas themselves. To Properly Store Dried Peas: Much like beans and other legumes, the best method is to pack them in a mylar bag with oxygen absorbers, once packed they will last for many years. You can also stock up and buy a bucket, which is already packaged to last up to 30 years.

12. Baking Soda

Baking soda has a variety of uses, for cleaning, baking, and medicinal purposes. If stored properly, it will last for years; though it can lose potency over time. To Properly Store Baking Soda: Keep in an airtight container and store in a cool dry place. Remember that baking soda absorbs odors, so you will want to keep it airtight and away from any of your other storage items. To test if your baking soda has lost its potency, add a little vinegar to a small amount of the baking soda… if it bubbles, it’s still good.

Food-grade buckets and mylar bags should be used whenever possible, and if oxygen is an enemy, oxygen absorbers. I also like to upgrade my buckets with gamma lids, that allow you to screw the lids on and off easily so you can access foods in your stockpile without fumbling around with difficult bucket lids. They stack nicely too. Food Bricks are also great for stacking and accessing your foods so you might consider them too.

 

 

 

 


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One of the best ways to ensure your family is prepared for no matter what is to have a useful, and plentiful supply of stored food. I love MREs and

There are so many projects that you can do on your homestead. Have you considered DIY projects with PVC pipes? There are a number of things that you can do from animal care to garden hacks. The projects can be very simple to more complicated depending on what you are going for. You can be very colorful or plain when you are building your projects.

PVC pipes are lightweight and easy to use. They are bendable and easy to use. Working with PVC can be done on your own or very easily a team project. The pipes are durable enough to withstand the wind. The pipes won’t change shape or expand with contact from water. PVC pipes are also non-toxic so they are safe for use for animals and human contact.

Let’s look at some fun and creative ideas to make out of PVC pipes. I will list them in part of how you would use the project on your homestead. Garden jobs and hacks, animal care, and even clothing help for chores. There are so many other projects that can be done by using PVC pipes but these are aimed more at homesteading.

Garden Uses

Being that the PVC pipes do not react to chemicals they are perfectly safe to start seeds in. They are also safe for your food and soil to be in contact with the pipes.

Tomato Cages

These are a handy and reusable cages for holding up your tomatoes. You can make the cages according to the type of tomatoes that you grow.

Also, the cages can be made small for individual plants or for several plants such as in a row.

Cucumber Trellis

Cucumbers can be grown on the ground but they do better growing up a trellis.

The trellis can be shaped however you desire.

The PVC pipes will keep the trellis sturdy and give you space to run lines for the cucumbers to climb.

Cold Frames

When you work with PVC it can be shaped how you like.

A cold frame is a small tunnel-shaped ground cover.

These PVC frames are great for fall and winter gardening.

Deep Irrigation

This is a great way to really water the roots of some of your plants.

With this irrigation system, you simply take a pipe and drill a few holes and then insert it into the ground next to the plants and dump water down the pipe for a good deep watering.

Handheld Seeders

This handmade contraption is a back saver when it comes to planting your seeds.

The seeds can also be made to your height for added ease and comfort.

Take the seed and drop it through the pipe at the bottom is making a hole in the ground for the seed.

Ground Irrigation

This form of irrigation can be more complex. You can make as many lines and cover as much of your area as needed. This requires more work to build but saves a lot of work and watering once it is finished.

Garden Tool Holders

This PVC holder is very handy for organizing your tool shed.

Be sure to always put your shovels, rakes, and hoes away when you are finished and you will always know where they are and this helps to keep the tools out of the weather.

Garden Hose Holder

When making this hose holder you can add wheels for toting it around with you.

This can hold your hose wrapped up on it and allow a place to hang your spray nozzle also.

Aquaponics Growing

A PVC pipe is great for holding water so it makes a great aquaponic garden.

Cap the ends and drill holes to the desired size for the plants.

Window Gardens

The PVC can be cut to heights and lengths needed for either horizontal or vertical growing in your window sills.

In the PVC window gardens, you can grow whatever you want inside.

Container Gardens

With the various sizes of PVC pipes, the options are endless for making containers for a container garden.

The containers will do great in the garden, on the patio, or raised beds.

Small Greenhouse Frames

There are many types of greenhouses that can be made out of PVC pipes.

The pipes can frame a hoop greenhouse, a small square one, or even one that is built onto a wall for half a greenhouse.

Tomato Stakes and Waterer

This is an awesome idea for helping grow your tomatoes.

We all know how crazy the tomato patch can get.

With this, you can tie your plants up the height of the pipe and also our water down the pipe for good root watering.

PVC Berry and Fruit Picker

This is a great way to reach the fruit in those tall trees.

A little tweaking on the tip and a piece of pipe round enough so that the fruit can be picked and travel down the pipe to your basket.

Easy Peasy fruit collection.

Animal Care

The safety of PVC makes them great for use in animal care. There are so many options for animal care from feeding to comfort.

Chicken Feeders

My chickens eat a lot of feed and like to get in my way when I am trying to feed as they are ready.

Making a PVC chicken feeder is genius as it holds lots of feed, eliminates waste, and keeps them from flocking around your feet.

Hog Waterers

Now this hog waterer can be huge or small depending on the pen size and the number of hogs you are watering.

For fair, we made small round but tall pipes.

Purchase a nipple and thread into the pipe, cap, and waterproof then you have a waterer.

Milking Stand

A milking stand can even be used as a shearing stand.

This project will be a lot more difficult to complete but if you have milk goats or sheep then your back will appreciate the extra effort.

You will need to make sure that the stand is sturdy for being able to hold the weight of your livestock.

Chicken Tractor

A mobile chicken coop is nice.

A lightweight mobile coop is even better.

The Chicken tractor can be made to fit the size needed for your flock.

Chicken Waterer

A PVC waterer takes some work to not leak.

This waterer is somewhat of an automatic waterer as it can hold several gallons.

Bird Feeder

Hanging bird feeders are appreciated by the wild birds, especially in the winter months.

The bird feeder can be made very simple or even can be built to deter squirrels from getting into it.

Birdhouses

The wild birds will also appreciate a birdhouse.

The PVC birdhouses can be decorated in very nice colors and can be spacious enough to be able to comfortably make a home for a bird or even a nest of them.

Dog Cot

Not all of our pets are allowed on our furniture. Some may not even like a big fluffy bed or pillow to sleep on so make them a cot.

For the smaller dog, you can build the cot low to the ground or vice versa. You can also use some really cute materials to make the cot with.

Frozen Tubes for Keeping Cool

This project is nice to have around. It serves the same purpose as a frozen two-liter bottle but will hold ice longer.

The frozen pipes can be put in pens to keep animals cool by laying against or they can be put into water bowls to help keep the water cool.

Dog Food and Water Stand

This PVC pipe project is very appreciated by your taller dogs.

My mastiff is very tall and it is a stretch to eat from a bowl on the floor, he usually just lays down to eat.

The legs of the stand can be made to height and adjust them to the size of your food and water bowls.

Small Animal Pen

With some PVC pipes and elbows, you can build a nice little pen for your pet to play outside in.

I used to have guinea pigs and they liked to be outside but couldn’t be loose or tied up so a small pen was perfect.

This pen can even be taken apart for easy storage.

Homesteading Chores

When working around your homestead it is always helpful to have a “life hack” to make your chores easier or more fun. These projects can be very helpful to be able to finish your chores,

Gutter Cleaners

The PVC gutter cleaner is a whole lot safer than climbing a ladder.

The pipe hooks to a hose and then reaches up to the gutters for spraying and cleaning out.

Camp Chairs

You can never go wrong with chairs.

These PVC chairs are lightweight and easy to move around.

Build your chair and then take it around with you for when you need a break from your chores.

Tapestry Loom

Not every homesteader needs a tapestry loom but if you do or would like to give it a try this is a cheap way of making a loom.

Wagon

Every homestead needs a wagon. This PVC wagon is lightweight and mobile.

Frame the walls of the wagon and place it on some wheels and you have the means to move around a lot of items on your homestead. You can also pull the kiddos around on it for fun.

Clothes Rack

This clothes rack is meant to be smaller than a regular clothesline.

You also have a mobile drying rack to take with you on trips or camping or when swimming to dry your wet towels.

Target Stands

On my homestead, we like to shoot.

A PVC target stand makes for different levels and paces for shooting. The stand can be made to hold different items for target practice.

Trash Bag Dispenser

This is a very simple project. Make a wide cut into the side of the pipe and you can even mount it onto the wall or cabinet.

Slide the roll of trash bags through an end and pull them individually out the slit in the side.

Outside Shower

An outside shower is not a requirement but it sure is nice to have.

Having an outside shower will make it easier to rinse off from the real hot sweaty days from the hayfield.

Or when you have been out cleaning the hog barn and stink from high heaven and don’t want that trailed into your house.

Pipe Spool Holders

This project is more for organizing.

The pipes make nice organizers for hanging things such as ribbon, tape, and even wire from.

Recycling Bag Holders

This holder is an easy project to accomplish.

Build a frame that will stand and put a large trash bag in it.

Now for parties or yard work you have a light open container to discard trash or recycle items into.

Waterproof Cache

Make a waterproof cache out of PVC. You can store anything of importance to you in this cache. You can make the cache as long or as big around as you like with the pipe of your choosing. Cap and waterproof the ends to be sure that your stuff is protected. Food, money, or even medicine are great items to put into your cache and store.

Take your packed belongings and then you can dig a hole in a secret location for security and not have to worry about it until it is needed.

Working with PVC doesn’t require many tools. Most of the needed tools are simple hand tools that can be used by a single person making these projects very doable. The projects can be cut, shaped, and fitted together easily for fun and handy projects. Paint even sticks well to the plastic to make for the projects to be decorative along with useful. With some measuring and a little work, you will have homesteading projects to make your life easier.

There are so many projects that you can do on your homestead. Have you considered DIY projects with PVC pipes? There are a number of things that you can do

Sure, shoveling 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 for 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 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 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 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 to minimize 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 in 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, and 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. The salty, smokey, flavor 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 into 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 make 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 stored 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. A 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 design issue – heat seeped through one of the holes in the wall. After the bottles cooled down, we placed them inside and forgot 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 at 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 to 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 cornstarch 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 cornstarch 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 shoveling 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

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Sure, shoveling 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

“It’s never lupus,” as the iconic Dr. House put it. Don’t know too much about that, but I have a saying of my own – “it’s never just a pill bottle.” Yup, you’ve guessed it. Today I’m going to show you a couple of nifty ways to reuse your old med bottles.

Some are them are no-brainers, while others are quite ingenious. Heck, when it comes to human ingenuity, even something as insignificant as a match can be turned into a unique item. So, because talk’s cheap, here are 11 ways to use your old pill bottles around the house.

Big life lesson – when you reach the point where two paychecks aren’t enough; you have to make some sort of change. I won’t deny the fact that with all my prepping training I still end up spending a couple of thousand dollars each year buying all sorts of crap.

Well, ever since my lovely wife realized that money kept flying out of my wallet, she used a clever trick to put something aside for rainy days – stuffing dollar bills in old pill bottles. Yup, took me a while to figure it out.

Long story short, the cash pill bottle trick worked, and we managed to put aside enough to buy our son a new smartphone. So, if you’re just like me when it comes to burning dough, use an old pill bottle as a piggybank.

Make a small emergency candle

You can make a 4-hour emergency candle by filling an old pill bottle with wax, lamp oil, tallow, or fat obtained from melted bacon. Stick a wick inside, allow it to soak the fuel, and set it ablaze.

Fishing kit

If you don’t have the resolve to make a paracord grenade, you can at least try to make e small fishing kit using a pill bottle, some cordage, hooks, and a couple of feet of fishing line.

Here’s how to do it. Wrap the paracord tightly around the pill bottle, place your fishing implements inside, and put the cap back on. You can attach a small carabiner to the cordage if you want to hang the fishing kit to your bug-out bag or belt.

Travel-size shampoo and conditioner

You really don’t need to throw a whole bottle of shampoo, conditioner, or shower gel in your luggage or bug-out bag. Pour as much as you need inside pill bottles, put some plastic wrap on top, and screw the cap in place.

Store key to ammo locker or safe

You know how the saying goes: if you want to hide something, put it in plain sight. If you’re worried about your children finding the key to dangerous storage lockers like the ammo cabinet, propane tank locker, or fire-proof safe, use old pill bottles to hide the key. You should also fill them with small pebbles or kitty litter to give off the impression that they’re really pill bottles.

Create a waterproof money container

Since I’ve mentioned something about saving money, you can create your own waterproof cash container by repurposing a bottle. Remember that cash will always be king, and that’s why it would be wise to have a small amount on you. To make a money container, you’ll need a small drill, epoxy glue, paracord, and, of course, some money.

Start by drilling a hole in the pill bottle’s cap. Draw the paracord through it and apply some glue. Put your cash inside, screw the cap back on, and that’s it. You can also make a square knot at the base of the pill bottle to ensure that the thing doesn’t fall off your bug-out bag or belt.

Make a small med kit

Although nothing can replace your B.O.B’s first-aid kit, it is possible to make a smaller and more portable version using a pill bottle. You can also use the steps for crafting a waterproof money container for your mini-med kit.

As for the contents, I added a couple of aspirins, some Ibuprofen, Alka-Seltzer, one Iodine prep pad, and one alcohol-soaked prep pad. Of course, you’re free to add or remove items.

Make a perimeter alarm

I don’t know about you, but I always like to install some sort of perimeter alarm when I want to camp for the night (I usually end up using the beer cans I brought along for the ride).

If you’re not much of a beer lover, you can make your own perimeter alarm using a couple of pill bottles filled with kitty litter or pebbles. Put a couple of stakes in the ground, connect them with some dental floss or string, and tie the filled pill bottles.

Store seeds for later use

If you want to protect seeds from the sun or extra moisture, store them inside clean and dry pill bottles. Don’t forget to label them.

Make a field sewing kit

There’s no way of telling what could happen in the field. And, during a shit hits the fan situation, your clothes will get torn to shreds. Sure, you can always patch them with some zip ties or dental floss, but you can also take the high road by using your sewing kit.

You can quickly make one from an old pill bottle. Place a needle, some thread, and a couple of patches. Put the cap back on and store it inside your B.O.B.

Make a deodorizer

If you want to ward off those nasty smells from your clothes, place some dried-up lavender flowers inside a pill bottle. Use a needle or a small knife to poke a couple of holes in the lid.

Finally, place it inside the wardrobe and, voila, no more rancid smells. You can also make one for the fridge. However, for that one, I would advise replacing the lavender leaves with apple cider vinegar, baking soda, or diatomaceous earth.

That’s about it for my take on repurposing an empty pill bottle. Would you like to add anything to the list? Hit the comments section and scribble away.

“It’s never lupus,” as the iconic Dr. House put it. Don’t know too much about that, but I have a saying of my own – “it’s never just a pill

One of the disasters that preppers fear the most is an EMP (electromagnetic pulse). Why? Because it would literally throw us back a couple of hundred years by knocking out the power and rendering all electronics useless. That means no more cars, lighting, hospitals, internet, cell service, hot water… the list goes on and on.

It’s been estimated that 90% of people would die after a year without power. To avoid being one of those people, you need to stockpile things that are EMP-proof.

 

As you will soon see, there are many items that are fully invincible to an EMP

Are you preparing for an EMP disaster? It’s about more than just the Faraday cage. How many threats and voices will our nation shun before the lights go out and America starts to eat itself?

Here are 10 items to hoard before an EMP attack:

LIGHTERS

A successful EMP attack is the end of modern heating and cooling systems. We will be thrust back hundreds of years and outside of our ingenuity, wood will be how the average man stays warm. Fire will be a massive part of your life. You will use it to purify water, cook food, heat your home, and preserve food.

Forget the bow drill or the fire plane and just hoard tons of lighters so that starting a fire is something you never have to worry about. Lighters are one piece of modern tech we can take into a post EMP setting.

CASH

Americans are just terrible when it comes to saving money. The good news is there is no better time to start. Don’t throw all your money in the bank. When the EMP runs through your neighborhood it will shut off those ATMs permanently. How will you get your money?

Keep a healthy store of cash either in your home, in a safe, or hidden somewhere that is easily accessible without electronics.

Ideally, a month’s worth of cash makes for a great disaster fund. Your EMP goal should start there.

BULLETS

Whether you plan to barter or besiege your way through the post EMP landscape you will need ammo. Ammo makes every list of best bartering items and for good reason. Here is a great method to get cheap and reliable ammo for SHTF to start your stockpile today.

Store ammo for your weapons and popular rounds for weapons you may not own.

.22, .22LR, 9mm, .45apc, and 5.56 are all great options to store and buy in bulk.

TOOLS

Right now, tools are cheap. Dirt cheap. High-quality tools are being produced on a massive scale and waiting to be gobbled up. What’s the harm in storing multiple sets of wrenches, hammers, axes, and sockets?

Beyond just the tools themselves, now is the time to stock up on things like mineral oil to protect our metal blades and tools from rusting. Also, hoard some linseed oil for treating those wooden handles. Tool maintenance will be a huge part of surviving an EMP.

Also, stock up on sharpeners. If you are out of electronics you will at least want the sharpest axes knives and saw blades to make the demanding work a little less taxing.

COOKING OIL

The process of creating commercial cooking oil will take a huge hit following an EMP. The large harvesting machinery and the manufacturing machinery that produces the oil will all be offline following an EMP. Cooking oil is one of those items that most preppers forget about. Right now, you can buy basic cooking oil for less than $3 a bottle.

BOOKS

While we all have access to the oracle through our phones or computers it won’t be there after an EMP. Some experts think that the effects of an EMP will not be completely felt by all electronics, I can promise you that our intricate network of information will fall apart after an EMP, even if they are right.

Suddenly you will be left with only the hard copy information that exists on your bookshelves.

First Aid
Gardening
Repairs
Home Maintenance
Self Defense
Philosophy
Prepping (of course)
Homesteading
These are all great options for the average person to have on their shelves.

WATER IN MANY WAYS

After an EMP water will become a gamble. While taps may work for a limited time, there is no assurance that we will have clean and safe water coming out of them. In order to prepare for this, you must start hoarding water today.

Do not depend on one source for your post EMP water. Instead, take a tiered approach to water storage and maximize your methods for water procurement.

You should have access to plenty of the water that comes from the sky. Rainwater collection is a crucial method for hoarding water. While the 55-gallon barrels work well, you may just want to make the investment in a massive 1200-gallon cistern.

Retail water can be purchased and stored as well, or you can use tap water to fill things like waterbricks for the future. If you do store retail water just be sure it gets cycled through because the cheap plastics will no doubt leech toxins into your water over time.

MEDICINES

Medicines are tricky. You gotta have them and you should most definitely hoard them but you should also be careful when it comes to cycling them out. Unlike food, you can’t just pull an older bottle of Tylenol out of the cabinet and have it for dinner. That is unless you don’t want to worry about the EMP anymore.

After a medicine expires its effectiveness will begin to decrease and this will make it harder to dose properly.

When it comes to hoarding meds, I think you have to take a loss on some items. It’s a bet. When meds get close to expiration start asking around. Someone will need them. Buy a fresh stock and start the process again.

Spend a little extra and buy things like children’s medications even if you don’t have kids. These will be gold in a collapse.

 

FIRST AID

Filth. That is what comes to mind when I think of a post-EMP world.

Filth, pests, and the diseases they harbor. Remember, waste will sit around, and trash will sit around. You will be working and moving more than usual to survive. You are going to get cut and you are going to get sick.

Along with basic first aid, you should also hoard the materials needed to set up a simple quarantine. Our scientists will not be working around the clock to create vaccines for illnesses anymore. It will be up to good hygiene, immunity, and the ability to quarantine the sick.

Rolls of plastic
N95 Masks
Rubber Gloves
Plenty of Soap
Feet Covers
Coveralls

TRASH BAGS
Trash trucks are broken down, and the water system is compromised but all your trash and excrement must go somewhere. Do you have a plan for that? Trash bags will give you options when it comes to how you handle your waste.

This will affect your general health exponentially. It will keep pests away from your home and you will limit your exposure to harmful bacteria both in pests and in waste. Sickness will be one of the biggest killers in a post EMP world.

Starting a Stockpile

I subscribe to three hard and fast methods of stockpiling or hoarding items for a collapse. These methods will give you options based on where you are financially as well as where you are on the rungs of preparedness.

 

SUPERMARKET HOARD

Supermarket hoard is a slow and plodding process that involves buying a handful of small extra items each trip to the supermarket. This is how you build a strong first aid haul or how you slowly gather your lighters and trash bags.

Think about it this way. You hit the supermarket about 52 times a year. If you grab an extra box of trash bags half the time imagine what you could have by the end of one year!

BULK PURCHASE

If you are in a hurry and have the means you can also bulk purchase items. This will work best if you can get neighbors or other preppers to join in on the purchase. When it comes to things like ammo this is your only option.

The bulk purchase will consistently get you more for your money, but you must have a chunk of money to make the purchase. Do not make bulk purchases on credit unless you are paying them off quickly.

DISCOUNT EXPLORER

If you have the time and the inclination you can also hunt for hoarding deals. Mastering the world of coupons and discounts will allow you to build your stockpile fast and at a great price. The world of discounts can offer you incredible benefits.

Of course, the only problem with discounts is they are inconsistent.

Use a combination of all three methods to ensure you are hoarding all the items you need to survive an EMP.


 


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)

One of the disasters that preppers fear the most is an EMP (electromagnetic pulse). Why? Because it would literally throw us back a couple of hundred years by knocking out

Get a few preppers together, and you can pretty much guarantee that at some point bug out bags and bartering will come up. My personal take is that it’s a little bit foolish to stock something solely to barter – especially stuff that relates to addictions because people with addictions can be a little bit crazy about their vices. Stocking things that can get used by the household means there’s little regret about expenditures in 2-10 years, whether a disaster occurs or not.

There have been other bartering articles on FP, and they’re totally worth looking at. I have zero arguments with the gear, meds, candles, batteries, foods, and feel-goods that show up on those lists and are so very common when it comes up on forums. Still, there are some things that are very, very useful, readily affordable, readily portable in a bag or loaded into a game cart to take to Bartertown, and that I see very few people talk about – period, but almost never in the “barter” conversations and posts.

So those are where I’m focusing today.

In many cases, they’re not going to be the first things to run off shelves. Know your area and know what disappears – and when seasonally it tends to disappear even without a disaster. I tend to focus my own efforts on those things I don’t expect to find 3-9 months after a major crisis. I’m also cognizant that some things are never in much bulk – or enough bulk – and that even beyond looters and municipal groups that stand up to try to save their communities and go salvaging, there’s the risk of fires spreading and taking out stores.

With that in mind, here’s my list of 8 barter items that end up ignored as barter items and that aren’t without merit as backups for our own stockpiles.

Canning Jars – Especially Lids

canning-jar-lids-tattler-header

Tattler Reusable Canning Lids & Rubber Rings

It’s pretty rare to find stores with nothing but canning jars on the aisles these days. In most cases, a store at its max display capacity has fewer jars than a single family would need to can only a veggie supplement for 6-9 months, and sometimes even fewer spare lids.

That makes lids and jars pretty much number one on my stock-up list, both for home use and to trade with neighbors and locals.

You’re not going to stick more than a box or two of spare lids in a bag, so this is one of the cases where if you’re on foot, you might want to go ahead and stick with some of those things like batteries, candles, an airgun and pellets, meds, and other lightweight items that will go pretty quick and that people 5 days, 50 days, 5 months and maybe even 50 months into a disaster will still be interested in taking off your hands.

Sevin Dust

sevin-dust-mixed

If you’re big on health, go with dish soap, vinegar, and water as a spray, and just skip on down to the next one. I’m pretty much required to turn in my greenie card for promoting Sevin Dust.

But, see, Sevin is pretty darn handy. Back in the ‘80s and ‘90s, my father used to coat pretty much anything alive in the stuff – ducks, horses, goats, veggies, trees, wasp houses. He used it as flea and tick control as well as on garden pests.

We now have health concerns and concerns about wiping out beneficial bugs and microbes, but if your garden’s getting eaten by eight different things, if you absolutely have to have it to have anything but beans and wheat – or if your beans are being eaten by three different things – you’re going to be willing to think seriously about pretty much anything on the table to get your hands on easy-to-apply dust that will kill almost any of them, something you can spot-treat by hand or hook up to a backpack blower.

 

I specify the dust because it’s more compact, stores easily, and comes in both big bulk bags and small-container three packs that make it a viable option to cart to the church or community potluck, market, or specific neighbors. It also has some of the shortest interval-to-harvest periods of a commercial pesticide.

Liquid Sevin doesn’t store as long, but it does kill extra things and it’s easier to get on the underside of leaves than powder.

Diatomaceous Earth

de_group

First, an apology to our Canadians. I have gathered the impression that this stuff can be tough for you guys to get ahold of, especially in bulk, and it’s not especially cheap there. Here we can just swing by on a whim and get it in packaging from the size of a deck of cards, by the gallon, or even by the 55-gal barrel.

There aren’t as many uses for Diatomaceous Earth as there are for baking soda and Epsom salt, but, man, it’s pretty handy.

It’s the active ingredient in SMITE for poultry, it clears up everything from bed bugs to livestock and pet ear mites, ants to roaches. It can form protective barriers around plants or be spread over them as a powdered insecticide. It’s natural, physical as opposed to chemical, has a nearly endless shelf life because it’s really just ancient plankton shells, can help protect stored foods – especially those we’re harvesting and our next-year seeds – and it has at least a dozen health and beauty uses.

The more uses something has, the less variety we have to store and the better the chances that when somebody has a problem, we have a valuable solution. DE checks those boxes in a big way.

Baking Soda & Baking Powder

baking-soda-baking-powder
It’s hard to bake without the leavening of some sort, and baking soda has about a million uses outside baking – and about a million more totally outside the kitchen. Both have long expirations and easily extend beyond their best-by dates even at room temperature and with fluctuations from 60 to 80 degrees. They’re sensitive to moisture in their smallest packaging forms, but it’s easy to get several or a whole handful in a gallon bag to keep in buckets and pull out as needed.

I don’t expect them to simply run off the shelves as soon as a disaster is announced, but they’re inexpensive, cheaper yet to buy in bulk bags, and it’s worth having some baking soda stocked because it’s one of those that when you want it, there’s not a lot of substitution.

Epsom Salts

epsom

First, sorry, Australian readers (and maybe Brits). I know this stuff is expensive and controlled to a ridiculous degree for you guys. It’s cheap and plentiful in the U.S.

Epsom Salts is what I consider an absolute, 100%, no-arguments prepper must-have. If there’s not already a reminder of how awesome Epsom salt is on an annual basis, there should be. Epsom salt is another one like baking soda, with fifty million uses for human health and hygiene, cleaning, livestock, and gardens. There are so many uses, it truly deserves its own article just as a primer on how useful Epsom salt is.

I’ll take just a moment here to point out that Epsom salt is far, far different from table salts. Epsom is magnesium sulfate, not sodium chloride.

When you want to burn it down and salt the earth so nothing grows (or clean a cutting board and preserve food), use table salt, kosher salt, and sea salt.

When you want to encourage flowers, reduce soil deficiencies so plants can uptake their macronutrients properly and produce healthy, bountiful yields, fix an ear infection, reduce swelling, pamper your feet and skin, create barriers for certain types of pests in the home and garden, clean a wound, clear up skin conditions in humans, poultry and hoofstock, that’s what Epsom salt does.

And more.

As with everything else mentioned here, it can be purchased in bulk, or it’s available in small, moisture-resistant containers that make it very viable for trade when somebody’s struggling with any of a multitude of issues.

Rat Traps

rattrap

Rat traps have a ton of uses, but number one is their actual pest-control job. Eventually, I think the rat population will level out one way or another, but between death and waste-removal shutdowns, I think they’ll boom for a while first. There have also been some historic accounts from Rome, London, and other sites of major fires, where rats flee the cities and end up a plague on outlying areas in waves – and I anticipate fires since they happen daily even now.

Rat traps also have applications as squirrel and songbird traps for feeding families and pets, protecting gardens from small raiders, and combining with fishing line and various magnetic strip alarms or things like chem lights to create visual and audio alerts for home and property alarms. They can also be rigged with bells on a line to alert a barrier run of pigs that something has tripped the wire, and with some training, the pigs will rush in to remove threats to chickens and gardens.

They’re small, light, and typically pretty cheap.

For smaller rodent controls, there are several ways (at least) to turn cans and buckets or rubber bands and 2L bottles into pretty effective rodent traps, and some additional ways to use PVC for squirrels and rats. They’re reusable and potentially can be made out of scavenged refuse or scrap, so it’s worth looking up those, too.

After all, sometimes know-how is as valuable a barter object as a physical item.

Water Catchment Faucets, Spigots, & Overflow Fittings

catchment-bucket-spigot

We’re almost guaranteed to see increased attempts to catch and store rain if a disaster ever occurs. Drought and periodic no-boil orders already make water a valuable – and expensive – resource right here in North America.

Having extra fittings for turning our emptied and scavenged buckets, totes, barrels, and tubs into more effective catchment systems has the potential to make not only our lives easier but convince somebody to share a tool or pasture they’d rather not, or sweeten a deal over somebody else’s offer.

I doubt hardware stores will empty of plumbing fittings super early, but there’s always a chance since few areas have enough in to truly impact catchment for every farmer and rooftop in the area. There’s also the risk of fire.

The washers and faucets for making the simplest conversions are lightweight, and at most should cost a few bucks. They have the potential of appeal to a much larger community than just smokers, drinkers and tokers, and will appeal to those as well. That makes them a pretty easy item to keep in even an INCH bag and definitely worth throwing in a cargo pocket when we patrol or go to a neighbor – you never know when the opportunity for new boots, tampons, or better bullets will appear.

Various silicone tubes and thread tape have value even outside the rain barrel creations. Some of our local stores and contractors are pretty happy to let us have odds and ends of PVC from jobs for free. The faucets or spigots valves and washers are the more pocketable pieces, but some short runs of PVC and small tubes of aquarium repair silicone can sweeten a deal, even more, when suggesting or building a system for somebody.

Portable Solar Chargers

solarcharger

Small, portable battery and device solar chargers abound on the market today, from $5-50. The battery chargers are useless without fresh batteries to charge, but having access to downloaded music, movies, games, and pictures may mean a great deal to some folks.

They’re small enough even for folks who aren’t ready for $100-3,000 systems to keep phones, iPods, walkies, and headlamps going, and their value will go up further in protracted crises or a situation with regular brownouts. They’re already something you see folks gouge prices on and hit the streets with during “normal” natural disasters.

I wouldn’t fill up buckets with this one, but having a few for us, a few as backups, and a few I’m willing to part with for the little pocket versions and maybe a couple of the larger laptop-tablet or C-9V or combo chargers and rechargeable batteries for them is worth it to me. I also keep Nokeros and some of the little flat flashlights in my windows, though (and use them nearly daily instead of a bedside lamp or regular flashlight).

 

Backups and Bartering Alternatives

As I said, I tend to think folks should focus on things they’ll use in a disaster or daily life over something they never have and plan to never want. I also really like the items that can sit on a shelf for years even before best-by dates expire, especially the ones that don’t need additional packaging.

I have no problem with the lists of the common items like meds, batteries, and knife sharpeners. There are always going to be others, from things like clip-on books and cap lights to the ammo that leads to so much back-and-forth and conditional settings. This is just a list of options that I rarely see discussed as storage items, and almost never see on the bartering lists – even though they can be had compactly and they offer so much in so many ways, for the most part, that really don’t have replacements or are rare to find on shelves even now.

 


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Get a few preppers together, and you can pretty much guarantee that at some point bug out bags and bartering will come up. My personal take is that it’s a

The number one thing I prepare for is a POWER OUTAGE when SHTF. Every SHTF series of events includes the inevitable power outage. In fact, whenever the power goes out, even temporarily, I wonder if SHTF has arrived. I lived through several hurricanes in Houston, Texas where the power went out for a week. I’ve also traveled to Beirut, Lebanon several times where I learned how they deal with daily rolling power outages. I find it interesting that Beirut has blackouts each day and people manage to persist with their normal daily lives. One day, in Beirut, I was having my hair cut when the power went out, but the hairdresser simply pulled out a flashlight and continued my hair in the semi-dark. I’m not going to discuss basic prepping in this article. Instead, I am going to present a list of things to consider that relate directly to short-term, long-term, and permanent power outages. In fact, as you develop your preps and preparation plans it is essential to consider every aspect of your preparations with regard to short-term, long-term, and permanent SHTF situations. I would not have considered all these things if I didn’t have the experiences without power. I hope these ideas help others in their preparations.

Plan ahead for living through a power outage

1. Getting stuck in an Elevator. One of the number one concerns of residents in Beirut is not getting stuck in the elevator each day during their power outage. They often live in buildings with many floors of stairs but most people opt to take the stairs rather than risk the elevator. I witnessed someone nearly every day trapped in the elevator. Unfortunately, some of the elderly cannot climb stairs. I learned never to take the elevator after this experience because you really never know when you could get trapped. People die or become seriously injured sometimes because they try to get out and fall into the elevator shaft. Consider the number of people in elevators each day at any given moment! One day, unknown to anyone, the power could go out and strand all those people inside the elevator. I justify taking the stairs as not only a safe option but an opportunity to get a little exercise.

stairs

Make sure you take the stairs if you don’t want to be stuck in the elevator.

2. Rig your house to have backup lights. In Beirut, many people have cleverly put strings of lights all around the house attached to a car battery. There are two light switches so when the power goes out they simply flip the other switch. I’ve thought of a series of variations for this same idea. In addition to LED string lights, I also have solar string lights. In addition to a car battery, I also have a solar generator and solar power sources. I found solar lights are generally listed as gardening decor. After experiencing Beirut’s daily power outage, I realized no matter how many candles and matches you store, these will run out one day. Keeping your solar items in Faraday cages is most likely the only long-term lighting solution for a variety of SHTF events.

3. Keep keys with you to your home/business/buildings instead of relying on electric card keys. Not everyone needs to worry about card keys but If you do rely on a card key to enter your apartment or buildings this could be a grave problem. You certainly don’t want to get locked out during an emergency so it is wise to keep regular keys with you even if most of the time you rely on card keys.

4. Make sure you own some manual Tools. You need a variety of manual tools and backup tools in case they break. During a hurricane, I couldn’t find my manual can opener and panicked searching around for it for over an hour one day. Now I have six can openers. I try to find very sturdy, all-metal manual tools. The cheap ones are not reliable or worth the risk. I want to purchase a wringer washer like my grandma used to use. It is a shame that we lost contact with manual tools and how to use them. During hurricanes, I’m amazed how fast dirty clothes accumulate, especially if the weather is hot and you have difficulties getting clean. I can only imagine how smelly people will become in SHTF.

5. Prepare your refrigerator and freezer. Learn which foods spoil first so you know what order in which to eat the food during the power outage. Eggs can last longer outside the fridge if you coat them in olive oil. During the hurricanes, I had about 30 jars of pickles in my fridge. Pickles can last outside the fridge so long as every day you skim the top of the jar. I have a butter saver which is the old-fashioned way to preserve butter. The butter saver is a ceramic cup that you fill with butter and place inside another cup with cold water; you have to change the water each day to keep it fresh. If you keep water bottles in the freezer you can prolong the time your freezer will keep the food cold and then switch some of the refrigerator food into the freezer. You don’t want to open the fridge or freezer too much when the power is out so you have to know what is inside, plan carefully, and close the door quickly.   Also, you don’t want to throw away your food. During a hurricane people often get together and grill the contents of their freezer with their neighbors. In Beirut I was surprised to see how people cook and save leftovers without relying constantly on power. I didn’t know many things really don’t need refrigeration if you eat it by the next day, like rice or cheese. People with gas stoves fare better than those with electric stoves during hurricanes.

poweroutageukraine-1

Power outages are too common for you not to be prepared for them.

6. Keep lots of fresh fruit in your house if you think a power outage is coming. Fresh fruit really doesn’t need to be kept chilled and this is one of my last second hurricane preps. During hurricane season I constantly have extra fresh fruit around the house just in case. I think this is a great SHTF practice all the time.

7. Utilize the last drops of water. Being without a fresh source of water becomes an issue much more quickly than you imagine. Obviously, you need water for so many daily activities! When I learn a hurricane is on the way the first thing I do is fill every single container I have with water and cover them with plastic wrap. I put containers of water in the bathrooms and by the bed. I have an old-fashioned water and pitcher which is great for hand washing. I save the old water too, and reuse it for some other purpose. I have a Water Bob that I use to store last-minute water in the bathtub. Also, when the water goes off you can still suck a few more cups out of the pipes for flushing the toilet. If you are lucky enough to foresee any kind of power outage, I can’t stress this last-minute collecting enough. When you think you have enough, think again and keep filling those containers.   I have a water barrel for long-term water needs but I plan to rely on that after my short-term water supply is finished. I learned from hurricanes that when the water goes out, you must beware of the first water out of the tap because it is contaminated. I filter my water anyway, but people always get sick drinking contaminated water after the hurricane. Get in the habit of drinking the juice from the can of fruit and cooking with the water from the can of vegetables.

Make cleaning up easier in a Power Outage

8. Baby wipes and Facial Wipes. I stock up on baby wipes before a hurricane because without power it is hard to stay clean. I really appreciate face wipes so I can wash my face without using any water. This prep clearly doesn’t last forever but I figure that the longer you can maintain a ‘normal’ life the better. I plan to prolong ‘normal’ as long as possible, especially for my children.

9. Have Paper plates, napkins, and silverware. These are a staple for the hurricane. Again, this isn’t a long-term prep but it maintains a normal feeling. It takes a lot of water to wash your plates and silverware. Also, it is a good idea to have lots of trash bags because the paper plates end up creating more garbage. The garbage piles up very badly even during a week-long power outage.

10. Flush the Toilet with a bucket of water. If you save the water you use, reuse the water to flush the toilet as long as you can. You’ll eventually need a camping toilet or a bucket. Cat littler is a good idea for the toilet/bucket. Plus, it is essential you bury the contents of the toilet. However, I was pleased that my toilet flushed during outages. The easiest thing to do is scoop water from a nearby pool and flush the toilet. I keep a large glass jug (old wine jug) by the toilet for the hurricane. During hurricanes, there are always reports of people in apartment complexes around Houston who go to the bathroom in the hallways. You have to wonder what is wrong with people who can’t figure out a plan for a week without power when they knew a hurricane was coming in advance and had an opportunity to prepare. The lesson here is that people will do surprisingly disgusting things not long after SHTF.

PAKISTAN-ENERGY-ELECTRICITY

This picture taken on February 24, 2013, shows Pakistani youth crossing a street during a nationwide power blackout in Karachi. Pakistan was hit by a nationwide blackout for more than two hours after the breakdown of a major plant caused power stations to stop working across the country, officials said on February 25. AFP PHOTO/Asif HASSAN

11. Stores will become EMPTY faster than you can imagine. If people notice a need to prepare in advance and that they are not prepared, the food and supplies will disappear within seconds. When we experienced our first hurricane we didn’t understand the need to prepare.

By the time we went to the grocery store, there was NOTHING there but a can of squeezed cheese. The squeeze cheese has become a family joke of what happens if you fail to prepare in time. I’ve been to stores immediately after a hurricane. It is so weird to see stores as they start to restock but the power is still out or unreliable. The credit card machines don’t work and they only accept cash. The gas won’t pump. Some unethical vendors raise the prices even though it is illegal. I’ve been to stores before a hurricane and seen people fighting over cans of food. Right before a hurricane in Houston, it is impossible to find a bottle of water. I read that statistically people have only three days worth of food in their house.

Once, at a Denny’s, a waitress was lamenting to me that a thief came and emptied the contents of her kitchen, which she said was in total: a package of Funyuns, a six-pack of orange Slice and a package of Marlboro Lights. I fear that this woman’s testimony of her kitchen supplies is more typical than I would imagine. In Beruit even the poorest survivors of the recent wars always stock rice and powdered milk.

 

12. Life without 911. It is not a comforting feeling knowing that you are completely on your own regarding medical problems and safety. I put burglar bars at my house just because I needed that extra feeling of security, especially during hurricanes. I can’t imagine a power outage without self-defense. I’ve heard of looting and rioting in other areas immediately when a power outage begins. I’m proud to say that my neighborhood in Houston has signs that say residents are armed. I’ve never once heard of reports of looting during hurricanes here. I’m certain that the reality of armed citizens keeps away looters and others who would take advantage of a power outage. Also, if you know that you can’t go to the hospital, and maybe the hospital generators are about to go out too, you learn to be extra careful. During the power outage you have to be able to put out a fire yourself, so stock up on fire extinguishers. Fireproofing your home is a good idea.

13. People die doing weird things when the power goes out. After a hurricane, there is always a strange series of reports on the news about how people died in dumb ways. Once, a lady cleaned her bathroom with the windows and door closed and the chemical fumes killed her. She was found dead after the hurricane because she lived alone. The lesson here is that when the power goes out, especially if you are alone, take extra precautions for your safety. The elderly always die during hurricanes because they fail to regulate their temperatures or run out of medicine. This means, that if you are at risk you really need to make sure you don’t run out of medicine, have a solar fan, or some way to keep cool/warm. When I believe a power outage is pending, I check up on my elderly neighbors and offer to help them get supplies. After hurricanes, people drive into the water and drown. During the power outage, people play in the water outside and it turns out that the water is filled with fire ants, rats, roaches, dead cats, dead dogs, worms, fleas, snakes, and the occasional alligator. Some people become immediately unhinged when the power goes out and are ready to kill someone over a can of food. bangladesh_blackout_ap_650

14. Beware of mass evacuations. I’ve witnessed multiple mass evacuations out of Houston. First, people become panicked. Second, everyone runs out of gas. Third, the gas stations run out of gas. Fourth, the freeways become parking lots. In one mass evacuation, a bus from a nursing home exploded into flames because it overheated. One of my friends was in an evacuation and he mentioned that he, his wife, his five kids, and two dogs all became overheated and suffered from heat sickness complete with gastrointestinal issues. Basically, avoid mass evacuations by trying to find another route if you must leave. I think more people died in the mass evacuation than in the hurricane itself.

15. Create a ‘last minute’ shopping list. It is possible you might get the opportunity to do some quick last-second preparations before SHTF. Have in mind a list of warning signs which indicate when you will run out of last-minute supplies. Tell your family if they see certain events begin to happen that they should immediately stock up on water. For example, my family knows that if North Korea bombs South Korea or if a nuke goes off anywhere in the world they promise to immediately stop at the store and buy extra water. This is one of my triggers, along with if I know a hurricane is coming or if some huge terrorist attack happens in the USA. Even if the lights don’t go out, it is never stupid to have bought extra water. In Beirut, the people who have survived the recent wars are very paranoid about leaving the house if they suspect any sort of violence is possible. Thus, if they need last-minute supplies they refuse to travel further than about a block from home.

16. Act like everyone else during SHTF. You certainly don’t want everyone around you to become aware that you are not suffering from a lack of preparation like they are. When the government comes after the hurricane to hand out water and bananas I always get mine like everyone else. Even if you only accept a handout in order to trade it later, just act in need like everyone else. I do not have a plan to accept vaccinations if the government insists we take them during SHTF. I feel they could easily taint medicine, food, and water. I also believe that if certain things happen in SHTF the government might offer food if you trade in guns.

17. Beware of FEMA shelters. Luckily I have not been to a shelter during a power outage in Houston but I know multiple people who shared their experiences. They didn’t feel safe sleeping in a giant room with strangers, there is not enough privacy and there are always reports of rapists and thieves at these shelters. They never have enough supplies. After Hillary mentioned ‘fun camps for adults’ I always wonder if they really want to help you with these shelters or if they will use the crisis to create concentration camps or reconditioning camps. In Houston, these FEMA shelters pop up for a variety of reasons; power outages, flooding, chemical spills, and large apartment fires. They round people up onto buses and deliver them to a makeshift FEMA shelter at a school or a giant sports stadium. I’ve seen some schools have watch towers like prisons. Sometimes they relocate students from public schools to a shelter without parental notification until later. Whatever the case is about these FEMA shelters, now or in the future, I do not plan to ever go to one for any reason.

18. Boards for your windows. During hurricanes, everyone puts boards on their windows in order to keep debris from breaking them. I think boards are a great prep for power outages because you’d not want to have a broken window, they deter people from breaking in and they secure privacy. I also like large wooden privacy screens and wooden shutters. Black-out curtains would become essential for a long-term power outage so you don’t draw attention to yourself.

19. Own backup Radios. After the hurricanes, I realized how important crank radios are for news and a connection to the outside world. I know this is a common preparation but I’m stressing the need to have backup crank radios with phone chargers. It will be important to remain updated as much as possible and any information you can gain about what is going on during SHTF will be helpful.

20. Plan family activities and fun when the blackout starts. When everyone is nervous, obsessed over the news and the power outage begins it is easy to just sit there, waiting and fretting. I always feel sick to my stomach with anxiety when the hurricane starts. Having been through multiple power outages, I find that especially for the well-being of my kids, it is a good idea to make an effort to have a family dinner with candles, play some games, and celebrate the time you have together. Plus, when you plan a family night in reaction to a power outage you don’t feel like a victim and you can de-stress a little. Some of my favorite family memories actually happened during power outages.


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The number one thing I prepare for is a POWER OUTAGE when SHTF. Every SHTF series of events includes the inevitable power outage. In fact, whenever the power goes out,

Being prepared means being prepared all the time; at least in my book it does. That can be a bit challenging at times, especially since we don’t really know what life is going to throw our way. That’s why I always carry a complete survival kit as part of my EDC, along with emergency equipment in my car. This includes a variety of food items so that I always have something to eat with me.

Granted, there are few places where you can drive in this great land of ours, where you aren’t going to find food to eat. Even so, I’ve been in a few. I’ve also been stranded in my car a number of times, whether because of mechanical failure or simply being stuck in traffic. At those times, it’s nice to have something to eat, especially something for the kids to eat. They just don’t understand phrases like, “There isn’t a McDonald’s here in the middle of nowhere.”

Keeping food in your car can also help out with a number of other emergency and semi-emergency situations, such as low blood sugar, heat exhaustion, and low energy. So it really makes sense to keep food in the car, even if you’re not thinking of bugging out or getting stranded. Now the only question is, what to keep? Here are the types of things I find useful to keep in mind.

Water

I always start out by putting a couple of gallons of water in the car. I know some people prefer to use bottles, but I find that I can carry more water in less space if I use gallons. If I need to drink that water, I can easily pour it into water bottles; but if I need to use it for the car, gallons are more convenient.

 

The water bottle in this picture is aluminum. I always use metal water bottles, because they can be put in the fire. So, I can use this water bottle to purify water, heat up water for coffee, and heat up water for soup. That’s a whole lot better than using a plastic water bottle and needing to have something extra for heating up water.

Gatorade Powder

I live in a hot part of the country, so it’s not unusual to overheat and become dehydrated from sweating too much. Many people deal with that here by drinking copious amounts of Gatorade. Carrying liquid Gatorade in bottles is one option, but it takes up space. Since I’m carrying water anyway, I tend to carry the powdered Gatorade, rather than the bottles.

 

Of course, the container of powdered Gatorade is pretty large too; about the size of a number 10 can. So for the car, I just dump some of it into a label. This jar held pickles at one time until I cleaned it out and repurposed it for my Gatorade. A plastic container would work too.

You might want some instant coffee, as well as your Gatorade, especially if you do a lot of driving at night. With the metal water bottle and a way to start fires, you’ll be all set to make yourself a cup of coffee, even if you are in the middle of nowhere.

Jerky

My favorite snack food is jerky. Nutritious, low calorie and it is meat; what more could you ask for? The American Indians made jerky as survival food and our early ancestors learned that from them. While there are other places in the world that make something similar, our jerky tradition goes back to those early Indians.

Jerky also provides you with something that you can make a meal out of. Mix it with Ramen noodles and come dried veggies and you’ve got a fairly decent soup; something that can keep you going and warm you up on a cold night.

Just remember that you will need to replace your jerky periodically if you don’t eat it. Heat will draw the oils out of it, drying it even further.

Ramen & Dried Vegetables

Good old Ramen is the college staple. I think every college student goes through a time when they live off of it. It’s a great source of carbohydrates to give you energy to keep you going. Mix it with some cut-up jerky and some dehydrated vegetables and you can have a much heartier soup.

This kind of Ramen comes with dried vegetables already mixed in. I usually dry my own, but I’m out of them until harvest time, so I bought the kind that comes with veggies. While a bit more expensive, it really doesn’t cost all that much. Besides, it comes with a cup to mix it in.

Dry Fruit

Speaking of carbohydrates, fruit is another excellent source for them. If you have someone with low blood sugar, giving them fruit is much safer than giving them a candy bar. The natural fructose sugar is much easier for the body to digest and won’t shock their system like candy will.

Dried fruit also provides you with something that’s easy to take along, if you have to leave your car for any reason; whether due to an emergency, taking a hike, or for work. A bag of dried fruit in your pocket can keep away hunger pains for the whole afternoon.

Canned Fruit

Canned fruit, like dried fruit, is a great source of carbohydrates and sugar. Some people prefer it. I wouldn’t want to carry this around in a backpack, due to the extra weight; but last I checked, that much weight isn’t going to bother anyone’s car.

These mandarin oranges and applesauce are “canned” in plastic cups, with foil lids. That works well for short-term canning; but not for long-term (more than a year). The plastic might release some chemicals into the fruit during hot times, so you want to be careful about that. Even so, canned fruit can be much more refreshing than dried when you need something to eat.

Granola Bars

I’m almost as big a fan of granola bars for emergency food as I am of jerky. It’s worth spending the money to buy the better brands, even though they are considerably more expensive. But the amount of nutrition you get from those better brands makes them worth the money.

Granola bars are great, in that they are an ideal pick-me-up sort of snack, packing a lot of carbohydrates into a small amount of food. Watch out for the ones with chocolate or yogurt, as those ingredients can melt, making a mess for you to deal with.

 

Nuts & Sunflower Seeds

Nuts are a good source of both fats and protein. Of all the nutrients we eat, protein is one of the most important, as the body can’t really synthesize it well, without having consumed proteins to break down into amino acids. Fats digest slower than carbohydrates, providing you with long-term energy to burn. Eating a combination of fats and carbohydrates together will keep you going for hours.

I always keep sunflower seeds on hand, as well. Like nuts, they provide you with protein and fats, but they also do something else; they help keep you awake. If you’re driving long distances, especially at night, eating sunflower seeds while you are driving will keep you active enough that you can probably keep driving all the way through the night.

Hard Candies & Gum

These might be a bit surprising, but I have a good reason for keeping them in my car. First of all, hard candies are great for that quick burst of sugar, when you need some energy. They’re a whole lot safer to eat than energy drinks too. But they also work to help you if you have a sore throat and don’t have any throat lozenges around. Sometimes, I just carry the throat lozenges and use them as hard candy.

Peppermint is also useful for settling an upset stomach or relieving pain. Peppermint essential oil is one of the best ways to relieve headaches there is. So if you’re in pain, have a headache, or have indigestion, mints are nice to have.

The gum isn’t as much for use as candy, as it is for relieving the pressure in your ears when changing altitude quickly. If you’ve spent any time traveling by air or in the mountains, you’re familiar with the need to pop your ears every once in a while. Chewing gum helps with that. It can also help to keep you awake while driving at night, just like the sunflower seeds.

Breakfast Cereal

This is for the kiddies. If you have small children, breakfast cereals, especially sweet breakfast cereals are one of the easiest ways of quieting them down, when they are hungry. Not only do they like the taste, but they like eating the cereal out of these cool little containers. Yeah, you can put it in baggies too; but for the price, these are worth it.

Doritos

Many people have touted Doritos as a fire starter. Actually, what they are is a good tinder for a fire.

The combination of the dried corn and the oils they are cooked in, make the chips burn well. You can even ignite them with a spark, let alone using a flame to get them going.

If you don’t need them for a fire, I suppose you can always eat them. Doritos, like any other chips, are a good source of carbohydrates.

Being made of corn, rather than potato, they probably digest a little slower; so they’ll help you feel full longer than if you were just eating potato chips.

 

Spices

This is another one that you might think is a bit strange, but there is a good reason for it.

Whether you’re in an actual survival situation or you’re just stranded somewhere, there’s a good chance that you’ll end up eating things that you might otherwise not want to eat.

But when you’re hungry, you go for what’s available, right?

But that doesn’t mean that you have to choke it down if you don’t like it. Rather, bring some spices with you, so that you can make it more appealing. It’s amazing what you can do with just a few spices, especially if they are stronger flavors that you like.

Both of the container styles shown below were bought on eBay.

The ones with the red stoppers are small test tubes and the others are just miniature containers. I wrote on them with a Sharpie marker and I’d recommend covering that with tape, so that the marking doesn’t wipe off. Put the closed containers in a small zipper bag, so that nothing can rub against the lids and open them.


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Being prepared means being prepared all the time; at least in my book it does. That can be a bit challenging at times, especially since we don’t really know what

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

What do you have with you right now?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How to successfully barter and trade


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

Related: A Storm Is Coming  (Even the most prepared Americans will be blindsided by what’s about to happen.)

The difference between investment items and trade items

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

Related: A Storm Is Coming  (Even the most prepared Americans will be blindsided by what’s about to happen.)


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During the great depression when the dollar collapsed, basic items became currency. Any trip to the market would be better accompanied with items such as tobacco, or alcohol to be used