HomePosts Tagged "Bug Out Bag"

Rock beats scissors and paper thrashes rock, but nothing beats paperclips. If I were to erect a statue for one of the many household objects that saved my sorry can more than I can count, I would definitely do it for the paperclip.

Yup, the same goggle-eyed Microsoft Word assistant that obstinately wanted to help you is the best possible tool a prepper could hope to have should he find himself corned and SHTF.

Forget about lockpicking – sure, paperclips can serve that purpose as well, but there are many other ways these bendable delights can help you. Seeing that you people are always on the lookout for multipurpose B.O.B items, in today’s article, I’m going to show you the many uses of an office paperclip. So, without further ado, here’s my roundup of paperclip survival uses.

  1. Crafting a compass

In the darkest night or brightest day, the compass will always point the way. But what happens when the compass goes missing or, worse, damaged by a fall or something? Well, it may be possible to get back on the road again using a makeshift compass. Even better, you can do this anywhere using only your B.O.B. Here’s how to make your own compass. Bend the paperclip until you get a long segment. Use your multitool or sharp rock to cut it.

Then, take out your survival knife and magnetize the paperclip segment (most survival knives are made from steel which is known for its kick-ass magnetic properties). You can also use the cap of a Philips screwdriver or any piece of magnetized metal.

After adding some kick to the paperclip segment, grab a bowl or any kind of water container and fill it with water. Take a small leaf, put the metallic filament on it, and place it in the bowl. The small fragment will point out the north-south direction.

  1. Signal-boosting

As you know, the worst thing that could happen to you in any SHTF situation is not being able to get in touch with the emergency services or your family.

This can happen for any number of reasons – land features (yup, some land formations won’t allow phone or short-wave signals to get through, acting like some sort of cage), carrier not having enough coverage or signal amplifier in that area might have been damaged, electromagnetic interferences, and the list goes on. You can’t do much about the smartphone since with the emergent 5G technology you will need more than a paperclip for a signal boost.

However, if you have a walkie-talkie or one of those hand-cranked portable AM\FM radios, it may be possible to amplify the signal long enough for you to get in touch with, well, anyone.

Take a paperclip out of your B.O.B and bend it until you get an L-shape. Attach your make-shift booster to the nob on the upper part of the device’s antenna and give it another try. Also works wonders for portable radios, especially when you need to tune in to NOAA’s weather radio or, perhaps, one of your local emergency broadcast stations.

  1. Reset gadgets to factory settings

I don’t know about you, but I always had this mortal dread of gadgets dying on me during an emergency. And it happens more often than you realize. With all these new updates and drivers clogging up the memory of our smartphones, there’s no wonder that the damned thing stops working. And the last thing you’ll want in an SHTF situation is to debug your gadget.

Now, if you haven’t already switched to one of those survival phones (more battery, almost indestructible case, and fewer apps and updates), there might be a way to jump-start your phone in the field, provided that your battery still has some juice left in it. Take a small paperclip and bend it until you get a small segment.

Pop open the phone’s back cover and remove the battery. Look around for a small hole. It should have a little “reset” label on top of it. Use the tip of your bent paper clip to push the button. Keep it pressed for at least five seconds. The phone will reboot and return to factory settings – make sure you have enough battery, as this procedure will siphon at least 10 percent. You can also do the same for other devices like laptops or tablets.

  1. Making small field repairs

Since paperclips are made from malleable steel, it doesn’t take too much imagination to realize that they can be used for just about any kind of odd job. For instance, if you’re the proud owner of a pair of prescription glasses, you may be able to replace a missing frame screw with a small piece of a paperclip.

Thorn clothes can also be fixed by securing the holes with a long piece of paperclip bent into the desired shape with a multitool. Don’t have a smartphone stand? No problem. Grab one of those heavy-duty paperclips and start bending it until you get a little seesaw-style stand.

In case you lost your fishing tools, you can always improvise some hooks using paperclips. Just secure them to the other end of a dental floss thread, and you’ll be enjoying a fish dinner in no time.

  1. Hunting small game

They call it “survival of the fittest.” I’d rather go with the wittiest. In any SHTF situation, securing another food source become a priority, and hunting’s the way to go. Don’t go for the big game, because you won’t do shit without a hunting rifle and those things are far too heavy to carry around – the chances are that you won’t have enough time to grab your pea-shooter before scooting.

Anyway, for hunting small game like rabbits, birds, ferrets, and badgers, a blow-dart gun will provide you with all the firepower you’ll ever need. As for ammo, take out a couple of paperclips, straighten them out using your multitool, and sharpen them.

For the weapon itself, you can use a small plastic tube or a hollowed-out piece of reed (bamboo stems are also good for crafting blowguns). Place you darts inside, bait your game, aim for the head, and fire. Won’t look pretty but at least food’s back on the menu.

  1. Small bone-splinting jobs

Nothing’s worse than stubbing your toes in a piece of furniture (those of you who have the midnight munchies will certainly know the struggle). However, there are far nastier things that could happen in the field, especially during one of those charming SHTF situation. Now, in case you someone manage to stub your toe or break a finger, you can whip out a field splint using two straight pieces of paperclips.

Put one below, one above, and use a clean cloth to secure the splints to the damaged finger or toe. Don’t forget about rubbing a bit of baking soda or washing the area with a saline solution to cut down on the swelling. Yes, I know it looks like exactly the same thing you would get after visiting a sleazy back-alley clinic, but at least you get to keep your kidneys and fingers.

  1. Cleaning fingernail dirt

Yeah, I know that the last thing on your mind during a survival situation is a manicure, but hygiene’s very important, no matter how shitty things get. And, in this case, it’s more about preventing some nasty medical conditions than adhering to some outdated beauty rituals.

Fact one: your hands will get into contact with lots of stuff. Fact two: no matter what you do, you’ll always end up with dirt under your fingernails. Which brings us to fact number three – if you don’t remove the dirt fast enough, you can end with pleasant things like tetanus. Want more? How about panaritium? Never heard of it?

Well, it’s an infection caused by a bacterium that seeps in the tissue beneath your fingernail. The result – inflammation and, in most cases, abscess pockets forming underneath. Do you know how panaritium is treated? Surgical removal of the nail, which in your case must be done with whatever you have on hand and without any kind of anesthetic. So, If I were you, I would take out a piece of a paperclip and start removing that dirt as soon as possible. You’re welcome!

  1. Crafting mini skewers

In the hopes that I didn’t frighten you too much with the above statements, here’s another crafty way of using skewers for those rare and relished moments spent with friends and family – cooking over a firepit.

If you’re a camper, then you know that as much as you try convincing yourself and others to bring all the stuff needed for the great outdoor cookout, there’s always something left behind or overlooked. It’s easy to forget skewers after packing everything but the kitchen’s sink.

For those great moments spent around the campfire, you can improvise tiny skewers from paper clips – just bend one of those heavy-duty office paperclips until you get a long and straight piece. Goes along great with marshmallows, but call also be used to cook meat – my wife enjoys making mini chicken and pork skewers.

  1. Keeping your keys together

If you find yourself with no space on the keychain left for another key or token, you can always make more room by making a paperclip loop and attaching it to the chain. Keep in mind that this is a temporary solution. I would advise you against putting heavier stuff on this improv loop and to keep then entire chain inside your pocket.

You can always turn it into a more permanent solution, by looping two or more paperclips and welding them together (makes for a nice DIY keychain).

  1. Zipper tab replacement

If I were to make a list of the most annoying things that could happen in the field, a broken zipper tab would take second place right after ripped shoelaces. Fact is that most of us remember to pack at least one extra pair of shoelaces before going camping or whatever, but never to pack replacement zipper tabs. Sure, if it’s an interior pocket, then it’s no reason for concern.

However, if the zipper tab of your parka or backpack break or go missing, that’s when shit really hits the fan. Still, if you have a pack of paperclips inside your B.O.B, a broken tab shouldn’t be a problem – just remove the broken part, make a loop out of a paperclip, attach it to the zipper, and you’re good to good.

You can do the same for your parka, side pockets, and other things that come with a zipper.

That’s it for my kick-ass list of mind-boggling ways to repurpose a dull pack of office paperclips. If you have other uses in mind, don’t be a stranger and hit the comments section.

Before you go, you may also like:

This is more than just about your guns…
10 Easy Steps to Secure your privacy
Secret Military Solution For Power Independence

DIY Unlimited water source
Why a food reserve is way better than the Federal Reserve
Lost Skills of our Ancestors that still work today

Rock beats scissors and paper thrashes rock, but nothing beats paperclips. If I were to erect a statue for one of the many household objects that saved my sorry can

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

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

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

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

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

Ingredients and Utensils

For this recipe, you will need the following:

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

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

Preparing mouthwatering beef jerky

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Another Way to Prepare Beef Jerky

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wrap-up

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

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

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

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

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

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

Beef jerky…the stories I could tell you about this stuff

Life in plastic is, without a doubt, fantastic, especially when you find yourself in a shit hits the fan situation. Can’t say that I’m a big fan of plastic. Anyway, one has to agree that plastic’s not that good for the environment, and yes, we should do our best to recycle as often as possible. As for today’s topic, a plastic bottle, no matter, if it’s Coca-Cola, sprite or the common milk jug, can serve a lot of purposes, apart from storing liquids. So, without further ado, here are 8 ingenious ways you can use a plastic bottle in a shit hits the fan situation.

Improv trash can

When you’re hiking or camping, you won’t always have the luxury of having a trash can around, especially if you decide to go off the beaten path. Now, if the trash starts piling up, you can always use an empty plastic bottle as a trash can. Normally, a carry a small bottle with me filled with a little bit of sand and water to use as an ashtray.

Watering can for flowers and veggies

Don’t have the time to go and look for a new watering can? No problem. Grab the largest plastic bottle you can find, poke some holes in the lid, and use it to water your daisies or veggies.

Emergency mask

If you need to traverse an area filled with toxic fumes, it may be possible to improvise a mask using a plastic bottle, some charcoal, an empty tin can, and duct tape. Here’s what you will need to do. Use a pair of scissors to cut the bottom of a plastic bottle. Next, remove one of the bottle’s sides so that you can create a space for your face. Place some duct on the jagged edge to protect your forehead.

Now take an empty tin can and poke a couple of holes in the bottom. Use the scissors to cut the bottom of the can. Place a clean gauze on the bottom of the tin can and sprinkle some charcoal. Remove the bottle’s cap, position the tin can with charcoal, and use some duct tape to secure it in place. Congrats! You’ve just made your first dust mask.

Solar still

Since I already covered water purification using charcoal, sand, pebbles, and a plastic bottle, I’m now going to show you another way to make water safe to drink. In the field, it’s possible to construct a small solar using a plastic bottle and an empty beer can. Here’s how to do it. Take a 2-liter plastic bottle and snip the bottom. Using your fingers, fold the edges inwards, as to create a small pocket.

Now take an empty beer can and completely remove the top (leave the rim) using a survival knife. Pour some water in the beer can, put the water bottle on top, and place in the sun. After a couple of hours, you will see some condensation on the walls of your bottle. Lift your bottle, unscrew the cap, and pour the water trapped in the pocket in a clean glass.

Craft a raft

A large body of water to cross but can’t find anything that floats? No problem, as long as you have some plastic bottles at your disposal. Grab a couple of beams or large pieces of wood and arrange them in a rectangular shape.  Secure your beams using hammer or nails or tie the joints with your cordage of choice. After creating the frame, create compartments using boards or anything you have on hand.

Fill these compartments with as many plastic bottles as you can. Don’t forget to secure them to your boat. When you’re done, find yourself a pole or a very long piece of wood to use as a paddle. Cast that makeshift raft of your in the water and enjoy the trip up shit’s creek but with a paddle.

Waterproof tinder box

No place left to store your fire-starting gear? Well, if your tinder box is out of commission, you can always keep your stuff in a plastic bottle, to make sure everything stays dry.

Fire-starter

On the topic of fire-starters, you can use a clean plastic bottle in order to concentrate the sun rays on some kindling or tinder. Rip the label, fill the bottle with clear water, and rotate it in order to focus the beam. It will take a while, but it beats sitting there and praying for fire.

Fish and small animal trap

If you don’t know how to make a simple body-gripping trap, you can always turn a plastic bottle into one. To do that, use a pair of scissors or your survival knife to cut the top of the bottle. Remove the cap, reverse the top, and place it inside the trap. Use some duct tape to secure the top part of the bottle. For small fish, you need to place that thing inside a stream or something. If the water’s clean, that thing will be invisible. For a small game like field mice, place something sweet inside the bottle.

Makeshift kettle

Because boiling is the most efficient way to sterilize water, it may be possible to do that in the field with a bottle. To make an improv kettle, start by removing the top part of the bottle using your survival knife or a very sharp rock. Place the dirty water inside. Now, start a fire using your method of choice and pile as much fuel as you can find. When the fire picks up in the head, place a couple of small stones inside the flame and wait.

When they begin to change color, using some tongs or anything else, retrieve the stones and drop them in the water bottle. Wait for the water to boil, allow it to cool down, and serve.

That’s it for my article on ingenious ways to repurpose plastic bottles. Anything missing from the list? Head to the comments section and let me know.

Life in plastic is, without a doubt, fantastic, especially when you find yourself in a shit hits the fan situation. Can’t say that I’m a big fan of plastic. Anyway,

Today we are going to talk about vaseline, aka petroleum jelly, aka the best thing to come out of an oil refinery apart from car fuel, of course, has many uses both in shit hits the fan situations and around the house. So, because talk’s cheap, here’s are 12 ways to use petroleum jelly for survival.

Fire-starter

If you ever run out of tinder or anything useful for making a fire, put some petroleum jelly on a tin tray or something and set it ablaze. This stuff’s powerful enough to burn through anything.

Crafting emergency candles

All out of tac light batteries, matches, lamp oil or emergency candles? Then use some petroleum jelly to whip out a batch of 6-hour candles. To do that, grab a couple of bell or mason jars and place a small wick inside. To prevent the top part of the wick from getting inside the jelly, you can drive it through a small piece of cork. Let the wick soak as much as of that stuff as possible and let it rip.

Improving char cloth

Want to add more item to that fancy tinder box of yours? Try this trick – grab a couple of cotton balls and let them soak overnight in petroleum jelly. Place them in small zip-lock bags and toss them in the tinder box.

Make a zipper budge

Nothing’s more frustrating than dealing with a stubborn zipper. If you have some petroleum jelly on hand, rub some on the zipper’s teeth, and that’s it.

First-aid

Since this stuff hit the market in the late 19th century, it has been successfully employed to treat small wounds and nicks. Apart from the fact that it creates a waterproof barrier, petroleum jelly will also make the wound heal faster. You can also use it on your soles to prevent chaffing, especially during long hikes.

Petroleum jelly is also great for itches, minor burns, and dried skin. Moreover, if you ever run out of cream, you can also replace it with a tube or box of petroleum jelly. By the way, most moisturizing creams on the market pack Vaseline – definitely a win-win!

Keep away insect from wooden and metal surfaces

Getting a gazebo was probably the best decision I ever made, apart from marrying my wife, of course. The only thing that nags at me is the fact that no matter what I do or use, those small flying insects will still land on the carpentry and on the table my wife placed in the middle. Well, I have a sure-fire remedy for that – using petroleum jelly to keep insect away.

Just apply a thin layer of this stuff whenever you’re not using it and, voila, no more flying critters. In addition, petroleum jelly also extends the life of wooden furniture, prevents sun damage, and makes the surface shinier.

Leather care

Hiking boots are great for any kind of shit hits the fan situation, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t need some looking after. To waterproof and restore warped leather, rub some petroleum jelly on those fancy boots of yours. You can also use the same trick on leather jackets and pants.

Emergency shave

I don’t mind rocking the sauvage look, but in a couple of days, that thing will itch worse than a hand-combat with poison ivy. If you don’t have any shaving cream left, rub some petroleum jelly on your face, let that stuff sink into your skin, and use a razor or whatever to debeardify yourself.  

Remove a stubborn ring

A ring stuck to the finger is no laughing matter. That’s how my wife wound up in the ER a couple of years ago because she was too pigheaded to purchase a ring that your fit those hotdogs of hers. Anyway, if you’re dealing with the same issue, rub some petroleum jelly on that ring finger of yours. The ring will off much easier.

Offers relief in case of a hangnail

There’s nothing worse than having to hike or to walk with a hangnail. Considering that you don’t have the luxury to stay on you can and perform cosmetic surgery, use some petroleum jelly to relieve the pain. When you get around to it, rub a little bit over the site. The nail bit can be snipped a lot easier.

Lubricant for moving parts

Again, not those types of moving parts, so wipe that smirk off your face. If you have machinery at home whose, moving parts simply refuse to budge, apply a little bit of petroleum jelly and try again. Hell, this thing is better than WD 40. In case you need to drive a screw through solid plywood, rub a little Vaseline on the screw’s tip. It will sink in that board like it was butter or something.

Remove candle wax from holders

Being in the dark is not a great feeling. But, at times, we just have to brave out the darkness with whatever we have on hand. Candles are a great alternative to tac light, although not one that I would recommend around the house. Still, if you’re forced to rely on candles, better to use a holder – that way you can prevent scorch marks on a wooden surface.

Here’s the tricky part – trying to yank out the old candle from the holder in order to place a new one. Yes, I know it’s annoying as shit, but if you use a little bit of petroleum jelly at the base of the candle, it will pop out in an instant. You can also use the same stuff to make emergency candles last longer – just dip the wick in Vaseline before placing them inside the mason jar.

That’s about it for my article on ways to repurpose petroleum jelly. Overlooked anything? Drop a line and let me know.

The best thing to come out of an oil refinery apart from car fuel, of course, has many uses both in shit hits the fan situations and around the house.

If you are like me you don’t have the resources to afford a bug out retreat. My prepper ideal of a remote fortress located on hundreds of wooded acres, miles away from civilization and fully stocked with 20 years of supplies, flowing water and established orchards for me and the rest of my extended family is sadly just a dream. I hope to one day have a location that I can fall back to if I need to leave my house, but the way things are going right now at least, my isolated retreat is just my simple suburban home.

A true remote location that will provide shelter and safety isn’t something that most people can swing. It is one thing to live in a remote area but it is another to live closer to larger metropolitan areas for the convenience of work, schools and commerce while also maintaining a separate property to be used if the grid goes down. Having two homes is not something the average prepper can afford, or at least I haven’t figured out how to yet. I know that there are some that will say you have to make sacrifices now, to sell everything and move while there is still time but for a whole host of reasons my family plans to stay put and try to ride out any crisis that would head our way.

Does that mean that I don’t believe we will ever be forced to leave? No. I can see a lot of potential reasons to bug out even if we don’t have anywhere to go, but it would be the absolute last resort. I know enough to know that the best plans can change and I can already foresee situations where what I thought would happen might turn out differently. There are no absolutes in life so I will adjust if needed.

Thinking about what I would do if I was forced to bug out led me to the concept behind this post. What if me and my family couldn’t stay in our home for any one of a dozen reasons? Where would we go? Would we be left only to bug out to the woods and try to hide there? Are there other options? What would give us the best chance of survival?

If you have to leave now

If I had the resources to be able to move to an ideal retreat location, what would I be looking for? Could I use these traits of the perfect survival retreat property to help me find a place after the SHTF that could keep my family safe? I started thinking about how I could apply these same search criteria on a much smaller scale perhaps even locally to my home to find someplace where my family would be safer. I know there are some who will say for one reason or another that you will never be safe in any location permanently. I guess they assume you would wander the wilderness forever eating moss and shrubs or else you die.

Retreat1
Everything depends on the disaster  you are going through and it is with articles like this that I usually have people saying how one or more of my points won’t work because of X. This will probably be no different, but to frame the discussion let’s just say that a global pandemic has hit the US very hard. The virus was so deadly that 45% of the population was killed in one year.

Naturally, with a disaster on this scale, panic and rioting are common as services had ceased due to problems with supply and personnel. Cities are burned to the ground and no order existed in the town you live in. Over the last few months you have heard reports on your Ham radio of gangs roaming further out of the city and they are on track to be in your neck of the woods in a few weeks. You know that you can’t defend your home against overwhelming numbers and your neighbors were almost all decimated by the virus or have left long ago. Being prepared you were able to shelter in place and reduce your exposure but without a large group to defend your property the prospects of survival look bleak.

With the news of approaching gangs who have slowly fanned out looking for food and creating a path of destruction in their wake you have decided it is time to go. You pack up the supplies most critical to your family’s survival and head out away from the city looking for a new place to call home that will give you all of the traits of that perfect retreat location that you couldn’t afford before the SHTF.

What are the traits of good retreat?

As you set out on the road you will be looking for a new place to stay. Depending on the location you are in you would probably want to get as far away from the city as possible. Finding a new place to hunker down will be difficult and you will most likely need to find a location that is an abandoned home or building. What would you look for?

Retreat2

Running water – A location next to or very near a source of water will be crucial assuming the utilities no longer work. This is where location matters as cities routinely do not have a source of running water. If your city is not located on a river, you could improvise rain catchment systems but you would need to work out a system for storing the water. This isn’t impossible, but I think cities have their downsides. Even if half of the population was gone due to the virus, you will still be in the middle of a large area of others all competing for resources to live. Do you leave town or do you try to claim the top two floors of an abandoned building?

In the country, running water is easier to find but you are still going to treat it for disease. There is no way of knowing what is upstream but you can boil water for a minute to kill all of the active bacteria and make it safe to drink.

Away from population/ Lines of drift – The further away from people the better is what we look for in a retreat, but that assumes we have some support in the form of a larger group. You may find that you will want to stay closer to others for safety, but again each situation will be different. My preference would be to hide away but you can be attacked in the woods just as easily as in the city.

In a disaster we frequently mention the Golden Horde and you would assume if 45% of the people are dead already there would be a lot less people you would need to worry about but I would still stay as far away from interstates and secondary roads as possible. I would be looking for a place I could hide in that would be very likely overlooked by anyone out wandering around. Of course, if it is a location you found that means someone else could find it too.

Good ground for growing food – This is regional as well but if you live in an area with a short growing season it would make sense to move to a new home where you could grow food for longer each year. That may mean migrating south or east or west depending on where you live. Can you grow food in a city? Of course, it you can find good dirt and assuming the climate is more agreeable to long growing seasons. You can still garden just about anywhere in the US though but what you grow and how well you are able to garden will be factors.

Retreat3

Defensible – High ground with clear lines of sight – Does your new bug out retreat give you the ability to defend it if need to? If you are going through all the trouble to move somewhere else, you would want it to be an upgrade hopefully, right? Any location you select should ideally give you good visibility to your surroundings so that you can see who is approaching. In a city this could mean the roof of a building but I still think that is a less ideal place. Having a cabin halfway up a mountain with some cleared land would be better. What about an abandoned bank or service station? You could have security on three sides but the store front windows would be a downside.

I would be looking for a building that had no windows if those were my options; or at least windows too high for the average person to crawl in. Something like a warehouse would give you a lot of choices if it was in the right location.

This is all hypothetical but I think it is conceivable that in order to survive you could have to roam outside of your city in a worst case scenario. The same advantages of the retreats that we look for can be had in other locations too if you know what you are looking for. Will it be as nice as that dreamy prepper retreat? Probably not, but it could still give you a location that could keep you and your family alive.

A true remote location that will provide shelter and safety isn’t something that most people can swing. It is one thing to live in a remote area but it is

Bug Out Bags come with their own set of problems just as complex in some cases as the myriad of reasons why you could be forced to rely on a Bug Out Bag in the first place. There is the type of bag to purchase, the specific gear to load in there and a million voices telling you what is best and what isn’t needed. Not to be left out of the discussion, Final Prepper has had its fair share of comments about the subject both from the perspective of how much weight to pack in your bug out bag and our very own Bug Out Bag checklist for those of you just starting out.

Regardless of where you get opinions or advice, everyone who is discussing a Bug Out Bag usually recommends you storing food in there. We casually throw out the obligatory, FEMA recommended 3 days or 72 hours’ worth of food advice but have you ever wondered what food to pack in your bug out bag? Does it matter anyway?

I like to make the connection between planning for your bug out bag and planning for a hiking trip into the woods because I think almost all of the same considerations should be taken for each situation. The motivation for strapping the pack to your back is different in each scenario, but the realities of packing everything you would need to survive for three days hiking the Appalachian Trail or running from mutant zombies from mars are very similar.

When you are looking for food ideas for your bug out bag there are four things I think you should take into consideration. The first is caloric value, the second is weight and the third is spoilage and lastly, you have preparation effort. For these food ideas, you need to seriously consider if the food you have planned for your bug out bag is going to be the most beneficial to you.

Caloric Value – A normal person hiking all day burns a heck of a lot of calories. I don’t have to tell you that hiking even on flat ground with a 30-50 pound pack on your back is going to make you work harder than that desk job you have. How many calories you will burn and conversely have to consume will depend on the shape you are in and what you are doing. For a very generic example, I used a calculator on HealthStatus.com to see that if I hiked for 10 hours I would burn close to 6000 calories. You may weigh less or hike fewer hours so you will have to see what your caloric needs would be, but the food you are packing should be able to give you back those calories each day or else your body will start eating itself and you don’t want to be anything less than 100% healthy if you are bugging out.

Weight – This should be pretty simple. The more your food weighs, the heavier your bag will be. A high calorie to weight ratio is smart and with the choices below I think there is a good balance. Some people think you should just pack 3 MRE’s in your BOB, but MRE’s aren’t weight conscious at all. On our last backpacking trip, I saw about 6 cans of food laying off to the side of a trail. I can only imagine the person who was carrying that weight and what they were thinking.

Spoilage – Where are you storing your Bug Out Bag? Is your food sitting in the hot sun of your car trunk every day for 3 months? You need to take care to only pack foods that won’t spoil, or plan for storing your bag in a location that won’t cause your food to spoil more quickly.

Preparation Effort – I know that when you are backpacking, you are outside in the fresh air with nothing but nature around. It’s a nice little creature comfort to make meals that taste great and have some fresh ingredients. Your Bug Out Bag food shouldn’t be gourmet. As much as possible, the preparation of these meals should be easy and kept to a minimum.

Before I get into the food ideas for your bug out bag, let me state that these choices aren’t always going to be what the normal healthy person consumes on your average day. The Bug Out Bag is what you grab when there is a need to get out of harms way very quickly. This isn’t camping or taking a leisurely stroll in the woods. Some of the food choices could be improved, but we are going for quick and simple calories mostly in a format that doesn’t spoil too quickly, doesn’t take a lot of preparation and doesn’t weigh a ton. So, with all that said, here are some ideas we came up with for your bug out bag food supplies.

G.O.R.P – 130 Calories per ounce

G.O.R.P – If you don’t know stands for Good old raisins and Peanuts and has been a hiking staple for years. G.O.R.P is calorie-rich and is simple to make. Unless you have chocolate in there, it shouldn’t melt in the trunk of a hot car either. The thing you want to avoid is what we did and that is to buy a giant bag of G.O.R.P thinking everyone would be eating off the big bag. After two days of hiking (we had also brought other snacks) the bag wasn’t getting any lighter and I think we still brought half of it home with us. Pack individual zip-lock bags for each person. One cup of GORP (depending on the ingredients you have in there) can provide as many as 700 calories.

Mountain House Freeze Dried Meals

I have taken Mountain House meals with me and my family on every camping trip. They are the best at filling us up and for the taste, they aren’t too shabby either. For breakfast, my favorite is the Breakfast skillet and dinner is a toss-up between Chilli-Mac or Lasagna with Meat sauce. To get these down to the smallest footprint, you can poke a hole in the bag with a pin, press out any air and cover the hole with a piece of tape. For optimum freshness, I would only do this right before you were leaving. An added bonus with these meals is that you don’t need anything but a long spoon. Simply heat some water and pour it right into the bags, seal for the recommended time and then eat up! You can cut the bag down to size with a knife to make it a little easier to eat out of without getting chili-mac on your hands.

Peanut Butter – 170 calories per ounce

Peanut butter is a great food item for your pack because of its high calorie to weight ratio. 1 tablespoon of peanut butter packs a whopping 190 calories and if you bring some crackers, this food will keep you going. This is one MRE food item to consider because all MRE’s have a pack of either peanut butter or cheese. You can also buy MRE items individually so I know someone will sell you a bunch of Peanut butter packets if you are looking for them.

Mainstay Emergency Food Rations – 3600 calories in a pack

Mainstay Emergency Food Rations are standard in my Get Home Bag as well as my Winter Survival Car kit and would make perfect sense in a Bug Out Bag as well. These are exactly what they say they are and that is survival rations. They are even less gourmet than the other options on this list, but they have some advantages. They are already packaged in waterproof containers, they can withstand extreme temperatures without spoiling and they take zero preparation. Just break open the pack and break off two bars (800 calories).

Mac & Cheese – 105 calories per ounce (with oil and summer sausage)

Mac and Cheese is probably the cheapest camping food you can get and you really only need to boil water to cook this. If you have some extra olive oil or meat to add to the pot, like summer sausage you can really amp up the taste of this meal. One box of macaroni and cheese, prepared with 1 ounce of olive oil and 2 ounces of summer sausage provides a whopping 1,100 calories and weighs just 10.5 ounces. I know that olive oil and summer sausage aren’t really spoilage friendly foods so I didn’t add them to the list, but if you have any preparation time, they might make good additions.

Snickers Bar – 140 calories per ounce

Now we get to the part where I said not every choice would be the healthiest you can imagine but a snickers bar does pack a lot of calories in a small size and could be a morale booster as well.  You could easily substitute bars that were made specifically for hiking like Cliff Bars or Power Bar. A single King Size Snickers weighs less than 4 ounces and packs 510 calories.

Lipton’s Pasta/Rice Sides – 110 calories per ounce

Another great add hot water option that makes for easy preparation. Lipton’s Pasta sides make a filling meal and are cheap like Macaroni and Cheese.

Instant Mashed Potatoes – 115 calories per ounce

Instant mashed potatoes are right in the same family as Macaroni and Cheese or the Pasta Sides. Just add water to a pot and let these rehydrate.

Drink Mixes – Gatorade, Coffee, Tea

I know it sounds like a comfort item but drink mixes are great for kids who may not want to drink as much water as they need plus they can add back vital minerals and electrolytes lost from sweating. If you don’t think carrying a big pack around the hillside isn’t going to make you sweat even in relatively cool weather, you really need to try it. For those of us with a caffeine habit, Starbucks Via packets are an excellent choice for your bug out bag. Tea bags offer the same level of comfort and when you can its nice to sit down or wake up to a nice hot cup of coffee.

Pop Tarts

Pop-Tarts are a good breakfast option for kids as well as adults. They need no cooking or preparation, just open the bag and eat up.

Your Turn! What ideas or suggestions do you have for your bug out bag food items?

When you are looking for food ideas for your bug out bag there are four things I think you should take into consideration. The first is caloric value, the second

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. Carrots

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

To whip up a quick batch of dried carrots:

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

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

2. Pasta

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

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

3. Salt

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

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

4. Baking soda

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

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

5. Soy Sauce

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

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

6. Powdered milk

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

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

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

 

8. Honey

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

 

9. Stock and bouillon

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

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

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

10. Sugar

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

 

11. Beans

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

 

12. White vinegar

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

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

 

13. Maple Syrup

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

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

 

14. Ghee

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

 

15. Corn starch

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

Splinting and securing bandages

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

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

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

Repair damaged gear

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

Keeping B.O.B items within reach

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

Restrain someone

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

Keeping boots where they belong

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

Prevent pants from falling off you

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

Craft a shelter

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

Mark trails

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

Make a net

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

Make a trap

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

Repair a broken bag

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

Hang clothes

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

Patch holes in your fence

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

Keep your B.O.B organized

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

Extra traction in cold weather

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

Quick-draw mod for pocket knives

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

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

Keep your travel bags safe

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

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

Leg protection

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

Make more room in your bug out bag

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

Makeshift bandana

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

Keeping your tomato vines in line

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

Make a headlamp from any tac light

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

Hang a solar still

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

Patching your tent

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

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

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

Use around the house

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. Shampoo

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

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

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

  1. Removing ice from the driveway nice and fast

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

  1. A sure-fire remedy for poison ivy poisoning

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

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

  1. Keeping them nasty bugs away from your food

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

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

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

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

  1. Getting rid of sticky things in your hair

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

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

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

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

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

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


Other self-sufficiency and preparedness solutions recommended for you:

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

Survival MD (Knowledge to survive any medical crisis situation)

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

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

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

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

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

In a disaster our first instinct is to move as quickly as possible to safety or to the closest approximation we have to our ideal of safe. For me, if anything happens my goal is to get back to my home as quickly as possible. I have supplies at home specifically designed to help me and my family handle the aftermath of almost any emergency and logically this is our first/main rally point in any crisis. No matter where I am if something happens I will be working immediately to make it back to reunite with the rest of my family. My get home plan is my first priority if I am away unless there is something that prevents me from reaching home. This is less of an issue if I am with my family and we are together, but I like most of you spend a good part of my day away from home.

We like to speak of the ideal of heavily stocked survival retreats located on hundreds of acres of land in the boonies only accessible via a dirt road and after crossing several water hazards. That is the ideal maybe, but almost none of us, when you start looking at the numbers live anything near that type of lifestyle. Are there people who live in remote areas? Of course, but for most of us, our survival retreat is our home in the suburbs or semi-rural areas still easily accessible by plenty of roads with a Walmart within a short drive. Even more live in the cities where our neighbors are practically on top of us. Most of us who call ourselves preppers do not live year round at a retreat taking care of livestock, building barns and furniture from trees we felled and wood shaped with hand tools. Most of us work a job for someone else in an area that is anything but remote and that is almost always away from home. I personally want the retreat, but unless my life changes drastically that isn’t going to happen anytime soon. For me right now, I am where I am so I plan to make the best of it. If something happens I will be heading to my home.

There are multiple strategies for travel needed with the unexpected emergency but the variables start adding up when you consider all the permutations of what the emergency could be and where you are at the time. Today I want to talk about how you can begin to prepare for a situation where you are at work and your goal is to get back home to your family, your supplies and your castle. In a lot of cases you have to plan for situations that are out of the norm. The first plan of course would be to simply hop in our cars and drive home, but what if the roads were blocked? What if you couldn’t even reach your car? You should make a plan now for getting back home in alternate ways and plan for travel that isn’t ideal.

My Get Home Bag of choice right now.

How will you get home?

Before we can really start discussing how to get home, you have to take into consideration how far away home is. For the purposes of this article, I will use the example of a typical work day. For most of us that means we leave home in the morning, go to work and return home the same day. I have written articles on getting home from much further distances, but for this article we’ll assume you aren’t on the other end of the country, you are at your regular day job.

One of the first things I recommend thinking about is a Get Home Bag for anyone who works more than a few miles from home. I personally use the Maxpedition Jumbo Versipack right now pictured on the right. A get home bag has been called by a lot of other names, but it is simply a bag with basic supplies that you might need in order to walk back to your home. This is not the same as a bug out bag, but the concepts are related. All of these bags are simply containers for some essentials you might need in an emergency situation. My Get Home Bag is stored in the trunk of my car and has very basic items because on an average day I am not more than 15 miles away from home. I have spare water, some food in the form of a Mainstay bar, work gloves, lighter, paracord, ammo, multi-tool, headlamp and dust mask along with some blood stopper bandages. Could I pack more in there? Of course but I try to lean toward the minimal side on these bags and focus more on what I really could need versus what would be nice to have. For example, I don’t have a compass because I know my town and where my home is. I don’t have hand sanitizer because that is the last thing I am going to worry about. I don’t have a radio because I should be home in a few hours tops but I do have a ham radio in my car that is mobile. Your get home bag should have what you would expect to need on your trek home.

But what if my car is blocked or I can’t get to my car? What if the parking deck that my car sits in all day is shaken to the ground by an earthquake or an explosion? That is when the absolutely prepared person would grab their back up bag from their desk. I don’t have a bag in my desk and really I don’t live far enough from work that I don’t think I could make it back even without a bag. Couldn’t I leave my Get Home Bag in my desk at work and eliminate that problem? Sure but what if my office is closed or blown up or for some other reason I can’t get back to my desk? For me, the trunk of my car is the safest bet that will be with more more often than my desk drawer and if that doesn’t work out I will adapt. One thing you don’t want to have to adapt to are the elements though. I carry rain gear on days when there is a chance of rain even if I don’t plan on going outside. Cold weather is the same thing. Its easy to leave home and think that you will just be in the car, but what if you are forced to walk? Dress for the weather outside, not the weather inside.

Another aspect of making it back home is to have footwear up to the challenge. I have written before about how so many people wear flip-flops everywhere they go now and I shudder to think about what it would be like in a real disaster to have virtually no protection on my feet. As well as my Get Home Bag I have a pair of sturdy work boots in my car. I never wear flip-flops but if for some bizarre reason I have a John McClain moment and am caught with my shoes off I will have a backup.

Carry your Every Day Carry – EDC

Another aspect of my preps is my EDC or Every Day Carry items that I have on my person at all times when I am away from home. For me, my EDC consists of a concealed handgun, handkerchief, multi-tool, flashlight, knife and water. My water bottle is in my backpack with my computer, but I always have that with me. These items augment what I have in my Get Home Bag and I try to religiously make sure they are on me. If I am walking out the door to work I have an almost perfect track record of taking all of my EDC gear, but it is the odd times where my outfit choices are different when this falls down. Going to the pool for example, I have been known to change things up due to necessity and some of my gear stays in the car as opposed to poolside.

With my EDC gear it is always in my pockets or my bag, but how many of you have gone to the bathroom without your cell phone? How many have run down to the corner store without your car keys? What if something prevented you from getting back to your desk or work location and the only way you had to get into your car was several floors up, or under rubble? I try to take my keys and cell phone with me anytime I leave my desk so that I will have this option if needed.

Plan more than one route back home

Where I live, there isn’t a tremendous amount of traffic so I routinely take the same route to and from work. This is the quickest way for me to travel, but in an emergency, roads could be blocked and impassable. If needed, I can take alternate roads, but in some cases that might make my trip longer by taking me further away from home to route back to a good road. Alternately you could cut through the woods or neighborhoods but this isn’t always faster. In some situations, it might be a bad idea to cut through someone’s yard and you could find yourself in an altercation you didn’t need to get in. What if your travel takes you through a rough part of town? You would necessarily want to avoid those areas at this time so that you don’t become the victim of a predator. It helps to know the area you live in well enough and in some cases to perform what I call Neighborhood Recon to scope out alternate routes and identify obstacles ahead of time. Could you make it through the swamp that is in the woods? Maybe, but would you want to?

Have a communication plan with your family

In a disaster, cellular communications might be down and who has land lines anymore? You used to find a phone booth on every corner but now they are nonexistent where I live. My communication plan is really meant to address a lack of communication I can foresee in a disaster. My family knows what my plans are and that is to come home. I might be delayed but I will stick to the plan. In the event that some crisis hits and my family is not in immediate danger from staying put at our home, they are supposed to wait for me to arrive. Depending on the crisis this could be several hours to a day, possibly overnight. Does your family know what your plans are? More importantly, do they know what to do if you never show up?

What are your plans for making it back home in an emergency if your trusty vehicle isn’t available?

In a disaster our first instinct is to move as quickly as possible to safety or to the closest approximation we have to our ideal of safe. For me, if

Food is one of the crucial items for your bug out bag and INCH bags. It seems as if you typically find the same recommendations on every website. You want different options! You should know the difference between a bug out bag and an INCH bag.

An INCH bag stands for I’m never coming home. Essentially, it is a larger survival kit with all of the necessary items you will need to survive the SHTF scenario. The plan is for this plan to sustain you indefinitely or until you can reach a safety point, such as a predetermined location.

On the flip side, a bug out bag (BOB) holds three days of rescue items. They are ideal for civil unrest, hurricanes, fires, snowstorms, and other disasters. You do plan to return home when the coast is clear.

There are hundreds of choices when it comes to what types of food you can put in your bags. There are a few things you want to consider when making your choices.

  • Calorie Ratio to Weight of Item: That can of soup might sound like a good idea, but it weighs a lot. You want food that has a small weight with higher calorie. You want as many calories per ounce as possible.
  • Macronutrients: You want more fats and proteins than carbohydrates. However, don’t forget the carbs because they do give you bursts of energy that you need for your journey ahead. Fats and proteins fill you up faster and add more calories.
  • Shelf Life: Yes, a fresh apple would take amazing, but you can’t store them in your bag waiting for an SHTF You need food that lasts for a long time. It is important that you keep a list of expiration dates, so you know when to rotate the items.
  • Preparation: The food items you select shouldn’t be hard to prepare. It is nice to have some comfort foods, but the food you select should be easily prepared. All you might have access to is a campfire or no form of cooking at all!

The List

  1. Raisins and Peanuts: If you’ve spent any time hiking, you know that raisins and peanuts are a standard food item. They are rich in calories and require no preparation efforts. You can pick the kind that has chocolate peanuts – everyone loves chocolate! However, it can melt if you are in the heat. It is best if you get individually locked bags rather than those huge bags. One cup of peanuts and raisins equals close to 700 calories.
  2. Freeze Dried Meals: Many preppers like to keep freeze dried meals in their bags. They will fill you up quickly. All you have to do is pour some hot water into the bags. Then, you seal up the bags for the recommended time. Some meals are enough for more than one person.
  3. Peanut Butter: A tablespoon of peanut butter can have up to 190 calories. That is a lot! Instead of lugging around a jar of peanut butter, look for individually peanut butter packets or cups.
  4. Dried Fruit: There are so many choices for dried fruit, from apricots to apples. They are full of sugar, so it can help to give you a boost of energy when you’re feeling low. Your local store should have a great selection. Pineapples, bananas, mango, and berries won’t weigh too much in your bag.
  5. Protein Bars: When you are walking for a long time, you need energy and protein to keep going. Protein bars are a favorite among hikers. You can eat them on the go. Most of them are pretty delicious. The only downside to protein bars is that they can get messy, especially if they contain chocolate. You can fit a few protein bars into your bar, taking up very little space.
  6. Beef Jerky: Jerky is another food item that doesn’t take up too much space or weight of your bag. You can munch on jerky as you are walking. Beef jerky is sold in dozens of flavors and packaging. It is a great source of protein. However, beef jerky also has a higher level of sodium, which could cause dehydration if you eat too much. Make sure that you limit yourself.
  7. Emergency Meal Bars: These bars are similar to MREs and protein bars, rolled into one. Emergency meal bars can have 2,500 calories in one bar! The flavor isn’t always amazing, but your goal is survival. Taste isn’t most important. They store easily in bags and make a good choice for an INCH bag to save space.
  8. Granola Mixes and Bars: Stores have whole sections devoted to granola bars and mixes. You can find bags with different things in the granola, a great choice for breakfasts and snacks. Granola bars are great food ideas for on the go. Even kids love granola bars! They store easily and come in multiple, delicious flavors. Some have nuts, oats, chocolate or raisins!
  9. Tuna and Salmon Pouches: You want different sources of protein for your bags. Cans of tuna are out of the question; they tend to weigh your bag down. The stores sell pouches of tuna and salmon, not mixed. They are great eaten cold or warmed up. You can put some tuna on a cracker for a snack. The pouches of tuna and salmon are relatively inexpensive, costing around one dollar each. They also come flavored, such as BBQ and lemon pepper.
  10. Dried Soup, Chicken and Beef Bouillon: If you want to make soup on the go, you need some bouillon cubes. They can easily be stored in envelopes and paper bags. All you have to do is add hot water. Just like MREs, you can find packets of dried soup that just requires hot water to reconstitute.
  11. Instant Oatmeal: If you have a tin cup to heat water, you can make yourself instant oatmeal. Instant oatmeal contains mostly carbs, but it is a great kick start to your day. There are multiple flavors available, taking up very little space in your bags. I would suggest keeping them in a plastic, zippered bag. Instant oatmeal pouches are easily torn.
  12. Meal Replacement or Protein Powders: Protein powder tends to be disgusting, but it is a source of protein and nutrients for you. All you have to do is add the powder to water. Add scoops to a plastic baggie and store them in your bag. You can also keep electrolyte powders in your bag that you just add right to the BOB bag. They will keep you hydrated.
  13. Instant Noodles: Who doesn’t like Ramen noodles? Instant noodles are super lightweight, but they make a great meal. Instant noodle packets are high in carbohydrates. The flavor packet has salt. Eating actual meals can feel comforting after a long journey or a hard day.
  14. Sardine Tins: There is some weight to sardine tins, but the tins themselves are quite small. There is a lot of protein, calories, and fats in these little cans. The weight might be worth it if you want an extra source of nutrients.
  15. Salami or Pepperoni: The idea of pulling out a log of pepperoni or salami might seem comical. However, you can find bags of sliced pepperoni. It does contain more salt than other meats, but you want some variety in your BOB and INCH bags.
  16. Tortillas: Bread is too bulky to take with you, so tortillas are a better choice. Tortillas contain plenty of carbohydrates, and you can use them with other food. It is a great addition to tuna or salmon to complete your meal.
  17. Ready to Eat Rice Pouches: Rice pouches are great for quick dinners now, and they are a great addition to your BOB for a real meal. Remember, these pouches have a lot of sodium and carbs. You shouldn’t pick rice pouches for an every meal type of item. However, you can add them with your tuna pouch to make a complete
  18. Instant Mashed Potatoes: When you want to have some comfort food, mashed potatoes fit that bill. Since you can’t bring along potatoes and create homemade potatoes on the trail, it has to be instant mashed potatoes. All you need is hot water. Add some instant mashed potatoes with a can of shredded chicken for a delicious dinner.
  19. Spam Pouches: Here is another idea for a source of protein, even if it is slightly strange. You have to enjoy the taste of Spam to want to include it in your BOB or INCH bag. Spam pouches can be heated in a cup of hot water.
  20. Dehydrated Hummus: Hummus is a favorite treat for many people. It is usually kept refrigerated, so most people don’t think about it as an option for a BOB. You can find packs of dehydrated hummus that requires you to add water.
  21. Crackers: Many of the items on the list are better with crackers. Yes, they are a bit bulky, so you have to consider what type you are bringing and the amount. Crackers make life better! They give you a better way to eat your dehydrated hummus and peanut butter pouches.
  22. Bags of Beans: Pinto beans are a favorite among preppers. They do take the effort to prepare, so that should be a factor. You need a pot that you can put over a fire. A bag of beans will need to cook for at least an hour in water over a fire. However, there is plenty of protein in a single bag of beans.
  23. Cereal and Breakfast Bars: If you need a boost of energy, cereal and breakfast bars are great choices. They typically contain oats and some fruit. They can give a bit of flavor and excitement to your pack!
  24. Sunflower Seeds: When you are on your journey, you want a lightweight and delicious snack that contains healthy fats. Sunflower seeds are a comfort food that can soothe stress and satisfy your hunger until you find somewhere you can set up camp to cook. Other seeds to consider are chia and flax seeds, which are lightweight and contain extra oil.
  25. Dehydrated Vegetables: Did you know that you can dehydrate your vegetables at home? All you need is a dehydrator, Mylar bags, and oxygen packets. Dehydrated veggies are easy to reconstitute with water and make great additions to dinners and lunches.
  26. Chocolate: There isn’t much protein in chocolate, but it contains sugar which gives you a burst of energy. The energy wears off quickly, but it will satisfy your cravings. It is a welcome relief after just eating canned and prepackaged food for multiple days. If you don’t want just to take plain chocolate, Tootsie Rolls are a great choice. Tootsie Rolls are great for hot summer months. Believe it or not, World War II soldiers carried them to eat. You want to make sure that you grab the long ones to conserve space!
  1. Nuts: I mentioned peanuts and raisins, but there are other nuts you can try. Pistachio, almonds, and cashews are almost the top choices. You do have to be careful and look at the sodium content. Salted nuts do help to replace the salt lost because of extra sweating, but it can make you more thirsty. Too much sodium leads to dehydration.
  2. Cereal: Chances are you won’t have access to fresh milk while on the go. Dried cereal still adds carbs to your diet and gives a feeling of comfort. If you have kids along on the journey, Cheerios are a beloved cereal.
  3. Honey Straws: Honey is a delicious, unique source of sugar and energy. You need the energy to survive an SHTF Honey straws or hard sugar candies can give you that little burst that you need.
  4. Coffee Singles: Even if you are on the go, you still want to have some caffeine and coffee on the go. You can purchase instant coffee and Coffee Mate To Go for flavoring and sweetness. Make sure that you have a cup with you that lets you heat your coffee over the fire or however you want to cook your coffee!
  5. Pop Tarts: I know you are thinking that those aren’t healthy at all. You would be right. Pop Tarts are mostly artificial sugar. However, they give you some energy and carbs if you need a pick me up. Plus, kids are pretty quick to eat them.
  6. Peanut Butter Crackers: I mentioned peanut butter and crackers separately, but you can purchase these together to save space. Premade peanut butter cracker sandwiches are found in the store and are relatively cheap.

There are so many choices for foods you can include in your bug out bag and INCH bags. You don’t want to pick all of these items. Find the ones that you think makes the most sense and you find the most enjoyable. Remember, a BOB is enough food to last you 72 hours. Most experts recommend a week or two of food for an INCH bag. After that, you should have supplies to start gathering your food by hunting and fishing.


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)

Food is one of the crucial items for your bug out bag and INCH bags. It seems as if you typically find the same recommendations on every website. You want

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

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

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

  1. Perimeter alarm

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

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

  1. Poor man’s survival kit

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

  1. Camping Stove

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

  1. Lantern

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

  1. Starting a fire

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

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

  1. Makeshift kettle

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

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

  1. Making char cloth

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

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

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