HomePosts Tagged "Bug Out Bag" (Page 3)

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…
How to survive any medical crisis situation with ease
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

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

You’ve probably heard this one before – brush and floss before hitting the sack. I can wholeheartedly say that dental floss is the best thing to happen for yapper health right after ceramic implants. Have you ever stopped to wonder if the same stuff we use to floss our teeth can be used for other purposes?

Of course you did, and I have to admit that most of you can become very inventive when it comes to, let’s say, repurposing floss (you really should that news piece about that guy who ended up in his hospital after his SO tied him to the bed with dental floss for a wild sex game).

Anywho, floss is very handy to have around, especially when the shit hits the fan. It doesn’t take too much imagination that dental floss can be successfully employed as cordage when the need arises.

From crafting weapons to drying your clothes above the firepit, dental floss is a powerful ally, one that can help you get stuff done without too much effort. So, what are the survival uses of dental floss? Well, keep reading, and you will find out. Maybe I’ll even manage to surprise you.

Weapon-making

Though I can’t say that I’m very comfortable around weapons, bladed or otherwise, in case of an SHTF situation, you can craft yourself a sturdy weapon which can be used for hunting, self-defense, and both. Easy enough to do it – take a long pole and tie your survival knife to one of the ends using as much dental floss as necessary. You can also use floss as a bowstring if you can find a piece of wood with the right curvature.

Fishing

No fishing lines? No problem. Just cut a long piece of dental floss and tie the hook to the other end. If you don’t have anything on hand to act as a floater, you can always inflate a condom and attach it to the dental floss line. You can create your custom fishing box – just like a tinder box, but with fishing implements – using a small oval container (I fashioned mine from an old coconut shell coated with resin), a few hooks, dental floss, a floater, and some piece to act as a weight.

Tying your shoes

There’s nothing worse than a ripped hiking boot shoelace. But wait! It gets even better – no reason to cry over ripped shoes when you’ve got a spare, but that usually never happens. So, if you’re out and find yourself with nothing to tie your shoes, just grab a long piece of dental floss, cut it to size (use the other shoelace as a reference point) and carry on.

Drying your clothes

Anything can happen when you’re in a survival-type situation. I personally abhor anything that ends in me having to sit for any number of hours with soaking-wet clothes. Of course, you can always use the extras in your B.O.B, but that still leaves you with wet apparel.

The best and quickest way to dry them would be over a fire. Take two long sticks and insert them into the ground just about the firepit. Use your survival knife or another sharp implement to create grooves at each end of the stick. Cut a long piece of dental floss and connect the two sticks. Now that you have a clothesline, the only thing left would be to start your fire and hang your clothes out to dry.

Making a simple alarm

Whether you’re alone in the woods or have a small mountain refuge, you’ll need some sort of alarm system. Of course, when you’re still in contact with the rest of the world, you can always hit the local hardware store to purchase an alarm. However, when you’re out there, things take to change a little, in the sense that you will need to improvise.

To make a simple alarm for your overnight camp, plant a couple of sturdy sticks around your location and connect them using dental floss. Attach a couple of cans or empty container, and that’s about it. You may not be able to see what comes your way, but you’ll certainly be able to hear it long before it can set foot inside your tent.

Mend ripped clothing

I know that sewing is not on your top 10 favorite activities list, but any prepper should know how to repair his clothes, especially when there’s no one around to do it for him.

Sewing kits should be a part of your B.O.B. However, in case you’ve forgotten to throw in some needle and thread, you can always use a fishing hook and some dental floss to patch up your clothes. If your first-aid includes a suturing kit, you can also break open a pack and use the sterile thread to seal holes in your clothes.

Stitching up wounds

And because I already broached the subject of suturing, if you’re unfortunate enough to wind up with a big bleeder, you can always use dental floss to make stitches. As for the needle, grab a fishing hook from the kit, and throw it in the fire. You will also need something to hold the hook during the procedure – if your first-aid kit doesn’t come with a pair of straight scissors, you can always use your multitool’s plier.

After cleaning the wound with whatever you have on hand (I would recommend clean water and mouthwash), grab the needle by its midsection, run it through the first incision line, cross the gap, and piece the other edge of skin from beneath.

Pull the thread, grab the longer end, loop the thread four times around the pliers, open it a bit, grab the smaller end, and pull. Repeat the procedure until you close the wound. Congrats! You now know how to make simple interrupted sutures.

That’s it for my 7 cookie ways of using dental floss in an SHTF situation. Have something more to add to the list? Hit the comments section and let me know.

Before you go, you may also like:

This is more than just about your guns…
How to survive any medical crisis situation with ease
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

From crafting weapons to drying your clothes above the firepit, dental floss is a powerful ally, one that can help you get stuff done without too much effort.

I have so much coffee in my system that each time I go to the doctor for tests, the nurse asks me if I have any blood left to give. Indeed, I could write novels about my lifelong relationship with coffee, but today I’m going stick to a topic which is more on the lines of prepping and SHTF – how to use coffee filters in a survival-type situation. Let me just grab a quick cup of Joe before I tell you about the most ingenious ways to repurpose those lovely paper filters. Yes, I know I shouldn’t drink that much coffee, but I can’t help myself. So, what were we talking about? Oh, yes – coffee filters.

Without further ado, here are 15 creative ways to make use of plain filters during a shit hits the fan situation.

To wipe your bum

You need to go number two but have no TP left in that fancy bug out bag of yours? No problem! Grab a handful of coffee filters and let nature take its course.

To dine like a hopeless ‘romantic.’

Each time I go hiking, I always forget to bring my portable eating set. Well, there’s nothing wrong in eating with your hands, but what about plates? Grab a coffee filter, cut it along the edge with a pair of scissors or survival knife, and voila, you have a disposable plate.

Keeping your glasses clean

There’s nothing worse than fogged or dirty glasses. Yes, I know that you know where all the things are and that you don’t need to clean those specs, but, hey, we live in a world of conventions. If you lost your cleaning rag or have nothing else on hand, just use a coffee filter to give them glasses a good wipe.

Making an ice-pack

If you need to apply ice to something, grab some from the freezer, place in a couple of coffee filters and tie around the neck using your cordage of choice.

Improv Band-Aid

No more Band-Aids in your first-aid kit? Grab a coffee filter from the kitchen or backpack and place it on the wound. Keep that pressure steady to stop the bleeding.

Improv funnel

If you have to transfer liquids from one bottle to another, take a coffee filter, and snip the tip. Place over the opening and pour the liquid.

Water filtration

Water filtration tables may be cheap, but those things are worth their weight in gold during a shit hits the fan situation. If you ever run out of purification tablets, stack a couple of coffee filters, and use them to sort of strain the water.

Remove persistent stain from clothes

A quick and headache-free way of removing nasty stain from clothes would be to apply some baking soda or hydrogen peroxide and to scrub clean with a small piece of the coffee filter.

Use them as food wrappers

In the wilderness, there is no corner store to buy food wrappers such as plastic or aluminum foil. If you haven’t got any of those in your bug out bag, put your food inside coffee filters and tie them using a piece of dental floss.

Improv feeding bowl for pet

The trouble with food bowls is that you have to search far and wide to find high-quality items. In my experience, ceramic bowls are the best – resilient, cheap, and the pet’s food won’t have a metallic taste to it as in the case of aluminum. In the meantime, you can use coffee filters to feed your pets. Just stack a couple of them, fill them with wet or dry food and keep hitting those pet shop for better feeding bowls.

No more poison ivy itching

If you tiptoe through the wrong vegetation, you may end up with some nasty poison ivy rashes. There’s no need to hit the drug store for this one. Run a hot bath. Meanwhile, get some coffee filters and stack them. Fill them with dry oatmeal and tie with string or dental floss. Toss this satchel in the bathtub and get in. After a couple of minutes, you won’t feel any kind of itches. You’re welcome!

Freshen up your linen closet

If there’s too much stink in the linen closet or wardrobe, you can make an air freshener using a couple of stacked coffee filters and some dried-up lavender flowers. Place the flowers inside, make a knot, and toss inside the closet\wardrobe. You can also make a similar satchel for your car or living room. If you cannot stand the smell of lavender, grab one of those potpourri mixes from the supermarket and replace.

Keep your toolbox neat and tidy

It usually takes me at least a couple of hours to fix stuff around the house. Well, most of this time is spent searching for the right screws or nails, which end up at the bottom of my toolbox. To keep that bag of tools organized, place smaller items like nails, screws, pins or bolts inside coffee filters. You can either use a small piece of dental floss to tie each satchel or some duct tape.

Keeping those nasty insects away from your food

Yes, I know this is the third time I’m complaining about insects on my food, but I just can’t help myself. If you’re having trouble keeping those nasty buggers away from your yum-yums, take a coffee filter, cut it along the edge, and use it to cover your food. By the way, in case you lose the wine cork, you can stick a couple of coffee filters inside the bottle.

Drying your hair and body

Towels are a must-have for every B.O.B, but sometimes they’re more useful for other stuff than drying your body. If you want to take a quick shower but have nothing to dry yourself with, use a couple of coffee filters.

That’s it for my article on ways to use coffee filters in an SHTF situation. What’s your take on this? Hit the comments section and let me know.

Before you go, you may also like:

This is more than just about your guns…
How to survive any medical crisis situation with ease
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

So, what were we talking about? Oh, yes – coffee filters.Without further ado, here are 15 creative ways to make use of plain filters during a shit hits the fan

The pen may be mightier than the sword, but nothing beats the common pencil when it comes to shit hits the fan situations. Have you ever stopped to think for a second what would life be without that curious thing? Yes, I know that most of you have little need for pencils since there are computers and laptops and printers.

But what happens if there are no more PCs around? Do we stop writing? Nope. Anyway, I’m not here to wax philosophy. Today, I want to talk about some clever, dare I say witty ways to use pencils in a survival-type ballgame. So, without further ado, here’s what that the common pencil can do for you when your ass is on the line. Enjoy!

Fire-starter

This one’s a doozy – since pencils are made out of wood or, at least stuff that has the same properties as wood, it’s obvious that they can be used to start a fire in case of an emergency. I would advise salvaging the lead and use the pencil’s body. You can use that stuff to create a portable water filtration system. You can also add a couple of pencil splints to your tinder box – mine contains a piece of char cloth, a wad of steel wool, pencil splints, and a dash of sawdust.

Reveal hidden messages

Can’t really make out the writing on a surface? Use a pencil. Put a piece of paper on top and use the flat edge of your pencil to make a rubbing. FYI, that’s how I figured out that my son was doodling in school instead of taking actual notes.

Make those cloth moths skedaddle

Finding too many moths in your wardrobe? No problem. There’s a quick and cheap way to get rid of them. Use a pencil sharpener on at least three pencils. Grab a small satchel and place the shavings inside. Since most of them are made out of cedar wood, moths will not even dare to get close.

Getting a zipper unstuck

If you have zipper issues, use the gum on the other end of the pencil to get it, well unstuck. Just rub a bit of that stuff over the zipper’s teeth and give it a few tries. Works like a charm every time.

Magically open any lock or padlock

In a survival-type situation, there’s not much time for playing nice with a key that simply refuses to go inside the lock. You have two options: either use your 6-in-1 survival tool to break that lock or use a pencil. Here’s what you will need to do. Using your survival knife, shave a tiny amount of graphite over the keyhole. Now get that key inside and give it a twist.

Plugging holes

There’s nothing worse than spending minutes at an end trying to get a screw to fit inside a hole that’s just too big. A quick workaround would be to plug it using graphite shavings. You can also rip out a small piece of the gum and use in on the hole.

Replace cutlery

If you forgot to pack a fork, you could always replace it with two pencils. Yup, it’s just like eating Chinese food with chopsticks.

First-aid

If you need to improvise a small splint for a toe or a finger, use a small pencil or cut one to shape. I’ve heard that there’s a guy up in Nebraska that uses graphite on minor wounds. Don’t know if pencil leads have this kind of properties, but you’re welcome to try if you’ve got nothing else on hand.

Water filtration

Since I’ve already said something about using pencil lead to create a rudimentary water-filtration system, it’s only fair that I show you how to do it. Grab a plastic water bottle, sand, pebbles, two pieces of cloth, and as many pencils as you can find. Using your survival knife, get the graphite out of each pencil and ground it into a fine powder.

Now, cut the bottom part of the plastic bottle and add a thin layer of pebbles. Next, add some sand, followed by the graphite shaving, and a piece of cloth. To finish off your water filtration system, add one more layer of pebbles, sand, graphite shavings, a piece of cloth, and some pebbles. Make a small hole in the cap and hang the bottle from a branch. Get a canteen underneath and pour the dirty water in the upper part. That’s it!

Extend the life of rechargeable batteries

After a quick trip to the hardware store, I found it useful to add another gadget to my bug out bag: a portable battery charging station and a couple of rechargeable batteries. They’re very useful, especially if you have gadgets that eat through batteries like there’s no tomorrow. Anyway, if you want to extend the life of your rechargeable cells, rub the terminals with some pencil gum.

Get a pair of muddy boots squeaky clean

It doesn’t matter how thing shitty gets – clean clothes and boots are one of those small things that keep us going. If you’ve been traipsing through the mud, you can easily remove the dried-out mud from your boots using the tip of a pencil.

Keeping your fishing supplies and sewing kit organized

If you find it hard to keep your fishing hooks, safety pins, and needles organized, try using a pencil’s gum. You literally have to stick them in the gum, and that’s the end of the story. If you have a paracord grenade or other mini version of the B.O.B, you can use pencils to keep your cordage neat and organized.

Tweak your landline

In 9 out of 10 cases, the reception’s bad because there’s too much gunk on the phone cradle. To clean those metallic bits and improve reception, use the pencil’s gum. Are all done with the cleaning? Call someone to see if there’s any improvement.

That’s about it on creative ways to use a pencil in SHTF. Anything missing from the list? Let me know in the comments section.

The pen may be mightier than the sword, but nothing beats the common pencil when it comes to shit hits the fan situations.

As the saying goes, there are more ways to skin a <please insert name of an animal other than a cat, because Mr. Jynx is giving me the death stare while I’m writing this> and even more ways to use a pleasure rubber when the shit hits the fan. Yes, you’ve nailed it – today’s article will be about that one item that flushes out first-daters, being the embodiment of unbridled passion, lost nights, and broken hearts  – the condom.

With a history that spans at least one millennium, this STD prevention is, in some parts of the globe, standard equipment for infantry and other military branches. Did you know that during the Juno beach landing of 1944 US soldiers used natural rubber condoms to prevent sand and enter seeping into their weapons? Yes, it’s quite an ingenious trick which kind of proves to us that even an object wildly associated with bouncy-bouncy can have many uses, some of them even outside the bedroom.

Anyway, ever since writing that piece on survival uses of chapstick, I’ve been messing around the Internet searching for even more ‘odd’ objects that have a great SHTF potential. Of course, I could’ve gone with anything like bobby pins, household bleach, zip ties or whatever, but yours faithfully seemed to be more drawn to the wondrous world of bedroom games and ear-ripping onomatopoeia rather than shed-ware.

So, without further ado, here are 17 great ways of using pleasure rubbers in a shit hits the fan situation.

  1. Water carrier

Remember when we were kids, and we used to buy rubbers by the dozen only to use them as water balloons? Well, wouldn’t you know it, condoms can double up as water carriers in case of an emergency. And if you’re now wondering just how much water a condom can hold, let me clear that up for you – most of the ‘regular’ fit types can carry up to a gallon of water or even more.

If you’re looking to enhance your B.O.B with additional water-carrying items, you should consider throwing in a pack of ginormous condoms. Word of warning though – don’t rely too much on condoms when it comes to storing water. Making do with one on an emergency is okay, but in the long run, you may get off with a very bad taste in your mouth after drinking water (that would be the lubricant or the anesthetic, depending on the brand).

  1. Open wound management

Bandages may be hard to come by during an emergency (happens all that time). That’s why you need to be ready to improvise. Though odd, carrying a condom or two in the first-kit may be more beneficial than you realize.

If you run out of sterile gauze or pads, you can tape a condom over the cleaned and debrided wound. This acts as a water sealant and as a barrier for bugs, dirt, or anything in between. In case of light luxation, you may be able to use a condom as an icepack (just fill the thing with ice or ice-cold water and apply on the affected area).

  1. Food storage

Yikes! Condoms used as plastic bags for food storage! What has the world come to? Actually, it’s a far better idea to store food in such a container, since condoms do a great job at keeping moisture away.

More than that, because most respectable condom manufacturers add a trace amount of disinfectant inside the rubber, those bad boys can also whack germs away apart from keeping moisture away. Remember when we were kids and used to think that milk-filled rubber gloves are udders? Use your imagination on this one.

  1. Sterile gloves

Any wound management protocol dictates that any nick, cut or open wound should never be touched without sterile gloves. Sure, that’s true in a world with ample medical supplies, but may become something of luxury during an SHTF situation. If you run of gloves or, worse, you sterilize medical supplies have gone bad; you can pull a condom over your hand and use them as rubber gloves. Of course, it’s trickier to worth with stuff that has no fingers, but then again, who cares?

  1. Corking bottles

I’m the kind of person that always loses bottle caps. Yes, I know it’s frustrating, and in most cases, those darn caps disappear as if wished away by a trickster or something. Don’t panic! If you have a condom within reach, you can use it to cover the opening of a container.

I wouldn’t use on fizzy drink, because the surface is not good enough to prevent the gas from getting out. In case you were wondering, yes, I did, in fact, used an open condom to cover a milk bottle, which I later placed in the fridge. I imagine my wife was not too pleased to discover a pleasure rubber stuck in the bottle when she made breakfast.

  1. Fire-starter

There are always plenty of ways to start a fire, but it all depends on what kind of tinder or fuel you’re using. If you don’t have char cloth or whatever, you can always rip open a condom pack and use it as a fire-starter. Be careful about lighting it though – it’s going to get up in flames really fast so keep a safe distance to prevent breathing in those toxic fumes.

 

  1. Water-proofing gadgets

The rain in Spain may, indeed, stay mainly on the planes, but out here it tends to knock out everything that’s electronic in nature. I had to pay a whopping $1,000 for two new phones because of the rain- yes, I don’t always carry an umbrella or raincoat.

Anyway, if you’re caught in the rain and don’t have anything on hand to protect your smartphone or tablet, you can use a condom to create a water-repellent barrier around the device. Just make sure you tighten the other end of the condom. Might be a good idea to keep the case on, as many smartphones have jagged edges which can punch holes in the condom.

  1. Slingshot

If you’re out hunting for small game or just target practice, you may be able to use a condom to fashion a slingshot. All you have to do is to find a y-shaped piece of wood. Tie both ends of the condom, put some padding in the middle, and that’s basically it. Good huntin’!

 

  1. Tourniquet

Although the tourniquet should not be used outside the hospital or by people who have minimal medical training, some cases call for drastic measures. If you’re dealing with an arterial bleeder, you will need more than one pressure point to control the bleeding. Condoms are great for this job – since the outer surface is dry, you can be sure that the thing won’t slip when you’re tying it around a wound.

 

  1. Weather-proofing matches

Saw a movie once about two Canadian soldiers fighting in the mud-filled trenches of Passchendaele who were having a chat on crucial field-survival techniques. While the first one argued that keeping you gun dry or having a full canteen are the most important things to consider in a survival situation, the other said that keeping your matches dry is much more essential (having something to light a cig and soothe your nerves before the big push).

War aside, the weather-proofed match can take quite a beating, but in some situations (dropping the box in a river or stream), not even goodwill can make those matches come back to life. This is where the condom comes in – before setting out, place your matchbox inside a condom to add an extra water-proof layer. Of course, you can do the same for other fire-starting gadgets the tinderbox, lighter, and emergency candles.

  1. Flotation device

If you ever find yourself floating on the ocean or any body of water for that matter, you can always blow up a condom and use it as life preserver or vest. Keep in mind that condoms can usually hold one or two gallons of water, which means that they tend to displace the same volume of liquid.

  1. Trash bag

 

Whenever in doubt, use a condom. In case you don’t have anything on hand to dispose of trash, pop open a condom and use it as a garbage bag. Sure, it won’t look pretty, but at least it gets the job done.

  1. Opening jars

Have you ever heard about the expression “mom-sealed jars”? Those aren’t your regular sealed jars, but the doing of someone whose aim was for the jar to stay that way forever. Yes, my mom always had a fiendish delight in seeing me getting read in the face when I tried to open one of her canning jars. Fortunately, there’s a way to breaking the seal without using torch blowers, saws or hammers – wrapping a condom around the lid. That will give you more grip than usual.

  1. Footcare

I could never wear a new pair of shoes without ending up with tons of blisters on the soles. And, apparently, I’m not the only having this problem. Now, if you’re just like me when it comes to new shoes, I would advise placing a condom on each foot before trying them on. This will minimize friction, thus allowing your foot to get used to the new shoes. Try this one for size!

 

 

 

 

  1. Hand care during woodworking

Doing a little bit of carpentry in your spare time is great. Except for those damned splinters that somehow end up in your fingers. Fortunately, there’s a great workaround for that and, yes, it does not involve wearing padded gloves – wrapping condoms over the fingers holding the wood. I know it looks silly, but don’t judge it before you try it.

  1. Keeping away peeping Toms and animals

I shit you not when I say that those things can really leave a mark if you know how to throw them. Having a hunting cabin means I’m accustomed to dealing with the regular scavenger bear and other two-legged beasts. In case of bears, I like to fill a condom with water and to throw it as close to the critter as possible (don’t hit it though, because this will surely prompt an attack). You can always do the same for people hanging around your property or for pulling a prank on a family member.

  1. Defensive weapon

There’s nothing more manly than that feeling you get when holding or making a weapon. If you find yourself in a close encounter situation, you can always defend yourself using a condom filled with sand, dirt, rubble, small rock or anything you found nearby. Sure, it would awfully silly to smack someone over the yapper with pink condom stuffed with sand, but a man’s got to do what a man’s got to do to protect himself.

That’s it for my killer list of how to use a condom in a survival-type situation. Thought of any other uses for a condom in SHTF case? Let me know in the comments section.

Remember when we were kids, and we used to buy rubbers by the dozen only to use them as water balloons? Well, wouldn’t you know it, condoms can double up

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

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

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

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

  1. Foldable pruning saw

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

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

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

2. Quadruple-O Steel Wool

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

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

3. Guitar strings

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

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

4. Pencil sharpener

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

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

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

5. Machete

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

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

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

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

I know this is not the first time I’ve written about flea markets and garage sales. Probably won’t be the last time either. Do you want to know the secret behind a successful flea market shopping spree? – never expecting to find anything of use. It really works, and I’ve tested it a couple of times.

See, when you go with a shopping list in hand, chances are you find zilch or end up buying crap you really didn’t need. That’s the beauty of browsing without purchasing I guess – expecting nothing, but, boy, when you do finally find that one item you were looking for, it’s as if the skies themselves opened up to you (with trumpeting angels and everything).

Anyway, as I’ve said it countless times, the flea market is treasure troves, especially to us preppers who are always on the lookout for more stuff to enhance our survival kits or B.O.Bs. And since “old is the new, well, new,” in today’s article I’m going to talk about some neat vintage items I picked off from my last trip to the flea market.

Why vintage? Because they’re cool and, of course, most of them have no need for electricity or whatever to work, which makes them invaluable in just about SHTF situation. If you’re interested in visiting this flea market, I was talking about, come to Bozeman, Montana, and check at the corner of S. Wilson and W. Main Street. If the weather holds out, the chances are that those wonderful guys will probably stay for a couple of days more.

Now, before I bore you to death, here’s my list of retro\vintage things I bought from the flea market.

  1. Adze

No, it’s some kind of STD or ad on someone of those websites with a lot of onomatopoeia, it’s actually a very useful wood-working tool. See, if you’re into carpentry and would like, say, to make the surface of a log smoother, you need this bad boy to scoop out the excess wood.

 

It kinda resembles a pickaxe or a garden hoe, except for the top part which is shaped like a cone or scoop instead of being pointy. I guess you can buy one from any hardware store but, in my experience, special tools like the adze are very hard to come by – a friend of mine had one custom-made ‘cause he was unable to find one for sale. Picked up mine for $10. ‘Twas a little out of shape; the scoop needed to be straightened, but there’s nothing a little hammering can’t solve.

  1. Apple slicing implement

How about them apples? Everybody loves ‘em (except for docs, of course, who tend to cower in the corner like Nosferatu or something) and for darn good reasons. Still, the most annoying thing about them is having to peel and remove the core. Well, for me, that’s kind of a thing of the past, since I’ve managed to get one of those apple slicing and coring gadget. Nothing too fancy about it: just a squid-like metal ring with several tiny jagged strings in the middle.

Handy to have around the house, especially if you like (or are forced) to prepare stuff like baby purees, salads or are plain lazy. I got mine for two bucks, and I can wholeheartedly say that it was money well spent. Dunno why it’s considered a vintage item though. Sure, compared to a food processor, nearly every kitchen tool can be considered obsolete. However, sometimes, simple is better. Doctor, it’s safe to come out now! Finished talking about apples.

  1. French press

Of course, brother Eddie is going to write about another nifty coffee gadget he bought from the yard sale. This time, it’s an awesome and, why not, a peculiar contraption called the French press. No, it’s not used to print newspapers or counterfeit money, but for making coffee. I really can’t figure out why people stick to coffeemakers instead of using one of these bad boys. Anyways, the French press is basically a glass jar with a little flat piece in the middle that can be moved with a lever.

All you have to do in order to make a great cup of coffee is to add water, coffee, and wait a couple of minutes. Then you simply press the lever all the way down – coffee ground remains on the bottom, and you’re free to serve. The one I got from the flea market is made out of the tin, which means I can also use it to boil water. If I’m not mistaken, there’s even a tea version of the French press – works the same, but the strainer is thinner.

  1. Cameras

Time and time again, I’ve been trying to convince myself to go digital. Sure, nothing beats the 35mm for a mirrorless or 8mm for one of those vintage cam records, but the thing is, they’re very hard to come by these days. In fact, the last 8mm dozen I bought came from an online auction on eBay.

If you really don’t want to spend hundreds of bucks on something you may or may not use (if you’re not into photography, selfies or whatever, you should at least have a digital with you for insurance purposes), you should definitely take a closer look around the flea market.

My wife managed to get ahead of me this time, and, oh boy, the stunt she pulled! We managed to get ourselves a brand-new Canon EOS (thing was literally inside its original packaging). For this jewel, we forked over 25 bucks. Now that’s what I call a great bargain!

  1. Electric bum warmer

Before there were self-heating chairs and portable heaters, there were the so-called electric bum warmer. Basically, it’s a blanket with heating elements placed on some kind of support. These things sold like hot cakes during the early 50s and were very much appreciated by the ladies, especially during those not-so-pleasant-days of the months.

If you happen to come across one of these babies during one of your trips, do yourself a world of good and buy one. I purchased two of them for my hunting cabin – beats cranking up the heat and it comes really handy when it’s cold outside, and I have to do some tinkering in the garage.

  1. Keyhole saw

Also called the jab or alligator saw, this nifty little tool is great for jobs that call for precision cutting. Yes, I know that you can probably find one in every hardware store, but do keep in mind that the manufacturing tech has changed quite a bit.

In other words, you might end up doing more stuff with the one you found in your grandpa’s toolbox than a brand-new one. You should also know that the first batch of alligators ever produced had their blades made from stainless steel, and the handles from sterling oak – not that’s what I call solid, all-American craftsmanship!

  1. Goosewing axes

And because we like to enjoy the little things in life like splitting a fire log evenly, here’s on an item that shouldn’t be missing from your tool shed – the goosewing ax. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the terms, goosewings resemble those broad axes Vikings used during their raiding parties.

The ‘civilian’ version, if we can call it that, has a smaller head, shorter handle, but preserves the same curvature. As for the answer to our Friday night trivia: “what the Hell can I do with the midget version of the executioner’s blade?” (dramatic pause). Busting knots. Plain and simple. No matter how much strength you put in that swing, the blasted thing will not keel.

That’s where the goosewing comes into play – the blade chops and, at the same time, splits the wood. Careful though, because this ax version is heavier than most. And yes, you can find goosewings at any flea market. Just give it a good sharpening after you bring it home (handle might need some polishing too).

  1. Stanley’s Zig-Zag Rule

No, it’s nothing like Occam’s blade or Murphy’s rules which should, by the way, be taught in prepping school, if there ever will be such a thing. Stanley’ Zig-zag is a foldable measuring device that can fit inside any pocket. Shorter than a tape measure, but far sturdier, it’s the kind of tool carried around by engineers and constructors ever since the late 19th century.

The most common Stanleys had 15 folding points and a total length of 35 inches. Now, this is the kind of tool you would want in your shed, especially if you’re into carpeting or metalworking. I found one at a flea market in Toronto last year. Think I must have paid 2 bucks or something. Ka-Ching!

  1. Plumb bob

Sometimes it’s hard to guess whether the thing you’re working on is straight or will turn out crooked. This is why it’s always a great idea to have a plumb bob nearby – a nifty and very basic tool that lets you determine the true vertical faster than you can say “preparedness.” Of course, if have the right materials, you can build one at home. Still, if you come across a flea marketeer selling one of these thingies, you should definitely go in for the kill.

  1. Vise clamps

I very much like wood-working, but I always had trouble gluing pieces together, especially when I have to use fast-setting epoxy. Vise clamps are great for this kind of job and, if you’re lucky, you can probably walk off with a whole bunch of them.

That about wraps it for my list of 10 retro items bought from flea markets. Before going away, I should give you a bit of a heads up – don’t expect everything you buy to be in tip-top shape. Sure, there’s always a chance you can end up with a mint-edition item, but those are very rare instances.

In fact, in most cases, the items have some kind of defect – missing screws, paint scratched, faulty wiring, extensive warping, and the list goes on. My advice to you is this: don’t blow a gasket and don’t throw the object in the trash. Yes, I know it’s very frustrating to end up buying a big nothing, but do keep in mind that with a bit of love, care, tenderness, and the right Philips screwdriver, everything can be fixed.

So, what are your thoughts on this list? Think something’s missing from it? Then hit the comment section and let me know. I would very much also like to hear some of you more “unusual” experiences from trips to the flea market. Who knows? Maybe some of you managed to find a missing Rembrandt or perhaps other treasures from the past.

Do you want to know the secret behind a successful flea market shopping spree? – never expecting to find anything of use. It really works, and I’ve tested it a

If one thing’s for sure is that bug out bags are, at times, even more, important that one would care to realize. And I’m not just saying this because I have a bunker tucked away in my basement where I prepare for the coming of the Apocalypse (or do I?) – it’s one thing you don’t wanna lose, regardless how shitty things get.

Remember the first time you went up the mountain, and someone told you that you should have a rucksack with some basic things like food, water, and clothes? Well, since I learned all about B.O. Bs, I sort of grew out of regular hiking packs.

Who can blame me for that? My wife, for one, who says I look kind of silly going to work with a rucksack filled with prepper goodies like windproof matches, magnesium rod, and tactical flashlight.

Anyhow, B.O.Bs are fiendishly cool and, if you know what to pack, you can survive anything from an EMP to coming home empty-handed on your wedding anniversary (seriously, that’s way worse than trying to outrun a tornado).

Since most of you are taken aback by this whole powerless living thingy, I’ve decided to share with you my list of 4 most useful objects to have in your B.O.B during an EMP.

Vital EMP Items for Your B.O.B

  1. Fire starting gear

Whether it’s for a night out in the woods or for BBQing some juicy ribs, fire starting gear is a must for every self-respecting prepper. You have a lot of choices here: weather-proof matches, Zippo or any army-grade lighter, or magnesium rod. The best thing about this stuff is that they require an electrical jolt like regular lighters do, meaning that you will be able to use them even if half the world’s out of electricity due to an EMP.

Now, if you’re as ‘dedicated’ (rather obsessed) as I am with keeping a fully-stocked B.O.B, you may want to get all of them. And another thing – if you’re that kind of person who would rather do anything else with money rather than investing it in survival gear, you should definitely check out any local thrift stores and yard sales.

2. Maps

No matter where you go or what you plan on doing, maps are vital. Yes, I know that most of you tend to rely way too much on GPS or smartphones, but to keep in mind that those things eventually run off battery or, worse, can be knocked out by an EMP. Leaving the Doomsday scenario aside, I personally find them unreliable even with Google’s vans mapping every square inch of the globe.

True story: last year, I went on a sort of honeymoon trip with my wife to Vienna. Enchanting city and full of history. The thing is that there are tons of sites and building to visit, but you really need to pick up the pace and have a map or a guide to see all of them (we stayed for a whole week). Anyway, there we were in Freud’s city and wanted to visit the Natural History Museum.

Fired up Google Maps and entered our destination. After half an hour of walking, we realized that we were going the wrong way. Of course, we ended up ordering an Uber, but that’s not the point – even though we were going in the right direction, the blasted thing keeps telling us that the route was completely wrong.

Never again will I rely on Google when I’m abroad. If you like these kinds of trips, I would recommend getting a map of the city or area – in some countries, like Sweden for example, they’re free of charge, and you can pick them out from any train, bus or tram station.

3. Portable Stove

Cooking is to survival as air is to the lungs. There’s no denying to that. Sure, there are plenty of ways to cook without relying on microwaves or any electrical cooking machine. Still, my first choice in SHTF food-prepping gear is the portable stove.

Sure, most of you would argue that the thing will only add to the B.O. B’s overall weight. Not quite true in fact. A while back, I bought this nice little trinket from an army surplus store – it has a propane canister and metallic support for pans or pots. Nothing too fancy.

To my surprise, the whole thing’s incredibly light. Made me so happy, that I decided to buy one for each bug out bag in my house. If you want a high-quality portable stove, get one that comes with a lever to control the gas flow.

4. Survival knife

There’s nothing short of brain surgery this bad boy can do. Probably only the most important piece of survival gears you’ll be glad to have in an SHTF situation. It’s something about simple tools like a knife, for instance, that really brings out the SURVIVOR in you.

Now, I would advise you to do your homework well when shopping for this type of instruments. Why? Because of rip-offs, that’s why. If you see a company advertising military-grade survival knife for under 50 bucks, do yourself a favor and steer clear. A buddy of mine bought it this one time. Since he was a big fan of the Rambo franchise, he searched high and low for a survival knife just as Stallone’s character.

He eventually found something similar on a discount website for 30 bucks. Told him it was a bad idea, but do they listen? Anyway, he ordered the thing which came home in a week or so. In wanting to try it out, he wanted to chop up some stakes for his veggie garden. Two stakes late, the thing broke down. Of course, you would say something like “maybe your buddy doesn’t know his strength.” Far from it – the blade was glued to the pommel.

So, if there’s a lesson to be learned here it’s this one: always aim for quality and buy full-tang knives.

Missed anything in my list? Do let me know in the comments.

Before you go, you may also like:

This is more than just about your guns…
How to survive any medical crisis situation with ease
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

Remember the first time you went up the mountain, and someone told you that you should have a rucksack with some basic things like food, water, and clothes? That was

In my experience, any SHTF situation begins like: “shit I forgot to pack <insert cheap and common item here>! What am I supposed to do now?” Rings any bells? We’ve all been there – buying all sort of cool, survival gadgets, but at the same time, losing sight of what’s really important during SHTF. For those of you who’re in love in hiking, you probably know what it’s like to hear that growling in your stomach only to realize that you forgot to bring along a roll of TP.

The bottom line is that during an emergency situation, priorities and values tend to change. I wouldn’t be surprised if people would pay lots of money for a TP roll or a box of matches if either of those things should become hard to find.

About that, the other day I heard a cute little story about Canadians using trading cards for barter during the late 19th century, because, guess what, nobody gave a flying BS about paper money. No surprise there considering that even the Ancient Romans had no love for currency and would often use salt as bargaining chips. As you can see, some items are even more valuable during trying times. That’s why it’s essential to know what to stockpile and, of course, when to do that (reading the signs).

In writing this article, I’ve discovered, much to my own sadistic amusement, that nearly all of the items that become almost invaluable during an SHTF situation are ridiculously cheap. If you’re lucky like I was, you can probably find most of them in thrift stores or even yard sales; got me a nice BB gun from one of my neighbors. He only wanted five bucks for the thing, and he even threw in jumbo pellet boxes.

Now, about today’s topic. In thinking about my little incident with the missing TP roll, I’ve done my homework and figured that most people, even seasoned preppers, tend to stockpile the wrong items. So, if you’re still wondering about what’s missing from your household emergency kit or B.O.B, here’s my killer low-priced SHTF items that will become invaluable during a crisis.

My Top-Notch SHTF Shopping List

  1. Skivvies

Yup, you read that right! Underwear is at the top of any list. Why? Because if soiling your pants after seeing a tsunami won’t convince that buying extra skivvies isn’t the right thing, I don’t know what. Apart from that, underwear’s great for keeping you nice and clean and smelling like a daisy.

More than that, it prevents sweat-loss during long hikes, meaning that your body will have less trouble keeping itself cool. Always aim for 100% cotton, if you don’t have a cotton allergy that is. It would be a great idea to get boxers instead of briefs, thongs or whatever because those don’t limit your movement.

2. Zippo lighter

Song and poems should be written about this little gizmo, which saved my life more times than I care to remember. It’s the kind of thing that sticks around for a lifetime and even more (I got mine from gramps, who was a Ranger in WWII).

If lighters were cars, then Zippo would be a Volkswagen Beetle – as old as time itself, cheap, reliant, and can be tuned at will. A Zippo lighter does require a bit of maintenance compared to other lighters, but other than that, you can light up that MOFO even after dropping it in a river. As always, go for thrift stores, discount shops, yard sales or online auctions to get a Zippo.

3. Zip-lock bags

Bag and tag ‘em, boys! These transparent wonders are useful for almost every SHTF situation – storing food, keeping your electronics dry, organizing your toolbox, cooking, making ice, and the list goes merrily on. Go stockpile as much as you can ‘cause these things have of the habit of disappearing faster than TP after eating Chipotle.

4. Char cloth

Char cloth is a great firestarter and comes in handy when you’re too beat to whip up a fire using traditional means. It’s often recommended to use char cloth when the wind picks up in speed. Funny enough, char cloth’s very easy to make at home. Still, many preppers prefer to buy their online or from military shops.

A buddy of mine sells them by the truck and, sometimes, he can’t deal with the number of incoming orders. The choice is up to you – buy your char cloth online or learn how to do it yourself. FIY: it involves linen, a tin box with holes, and a fire. I’m sure you’ll figure out the rest on your own.

5. Emergency blanket

Whether it’s for pitching up a makeshift tent or snuggling with your SO by the fire, an emergency blanket should not be missing from any of your emergency kits or B.O.Bs. For taking shelter, a mylar blankie aka the one lined with aluminum is very efficient at deflecting heat. It also comes in handy when you don’t have anything to collect rainwater in. Stock up on them while you can.

6. Water purification tablets

Water may be the source of life but can also make your insides turn to mush if the source’s contaminated. One of my buds bought it that way – we were our hiking in Montana when he had this genius idea of emptying his bottle to refill it from one of the springs we encountered. “Bad idea, dude,” I told him since natural water sources are teeming with bacteria and all sorts of nasties.

Fast-forward, he ended up in the hospital with a bad case of dysentery (guess they took him there to outfit his bum with a tap or something). Anyhow, water purification tablets are must-have in any SHTF scenarios – even the water coming from your tap can sometimes become contaminated. Why take any chances when you can use these bad boys to get instant mostly-purified water?

7. Fishing tackle

Smeagol caught juicy fish! Yup, there’s nothing grilling a freshly-caught trout, that’s for sure. But for that, you need a couple of tools. No, not a fishing rod because those are too heavy to carry – I was thinking more about some line, a couple of hooks, and a good reel.

Those things can even fit in the pockets of your cargo pants if you try hard enough. Why buy it? Because in any SHTF situation, ponds and rivers become treasure troves for all those hungry, hungry preppers. So, be sure to have one in your bug out bag in case things really begin to smell rotten in Denmark.

8. Candles

Got around to saying “goodbye” to Norma Jean? Well, in any case, emergency candles, although little gauche for today’s world, come in very handy during a blackout or finding your way in the dark when your flashlight dies out on you.

Yes, you can even set up a romantic ambient if your SO is a prepper like yourself. I personally used those 24-hour candles on many occasions to keep my meals warm or just to scare the crap out of my friends. Your call. Anyway, their great for just about anything that involves warming up or shedding light.

9. Batteries

Hey, tin man! Ran out of juice yet? Now, an extra pack or two of long-life, triple-A batteries is a must especially if you have more than one gadget running on bats. They’re quite cheap, and you can probably get a very good bargain if you hit a thrift store or something. Just be sure to store them in a dry and dark environment – you wouldn’t want those to spring leaks before you have a chance to use them, do you now?

10. Hand-cranked radio

I have to admit that I’m more partial to hearing stuff over the radio than watching TV or streaming movies online. Call me old-fashioned if you like, but a hand-cranked radio will be of much more useful to you during a blackout or even an EMP attack.

Another reason why you should buy a hand-cranked radio has very much to do with all the cool attachments each model has (mine has a built-in flashlight, a USB slot, and a card reader). And no, you don’t really need to step in the swanky electronic shop to buy one. I bought mine from $2 store, and it works just fine.

11. Duct tape

The tales I could tell you about duct tape! Unfortunately, most of them are not really PG, so I’m just gonna say that duct tape and WD 40 solves most of your problems, mechanical or otherwise. Duct tape can be used to seal outlets, put together shelters, insulate Faraday cages, seal food, and more. If you want good quality duct tape, I would advise going to the hardware store and buying at least a dozen.

12. Baby wipes

As stupid as it would seem, baby wipes are quite useful when there’s no water around for washing your unmentionables. Back in college, I had this friend called Sean, who would use baby wipes instead of taking a shower. You don’t want to know what happened during those hot summer days when all of us were in the same room with.

We even coined the habit – a Sean Shower, which literally stood for I’m too lazy to take a bath, so I’ll just use these baby wipes because they do the same thing. Anyway, Sean Showers are okay if you have to ration the water. They’re also great for cleaning out wounds and even getting some of that dirt off the car’s hood.

13. Books

Let me just say this: books f-ing rule! There’s no denial in that, and even though much of today’s lit is online, I still prefer that new book smell instead of Kindle or a computer screen. More than that, in case you run out of battery, or there’s an EMP strike, there’s no more reading stuff. So that’s one to nothing for books.

You should definitely consider throwing in a book or two in your B.O.B and your household emergency kit. They’re very comforting when you’re all alone out there, with darkness all around. You can also use them as fuel in case you run out of tinder. Anyway, my book philosophy is simple – always buy used. Search for them in flea markets, thrift shops or antique shops. Your call.

14. Floss

Mouth health’s very important and flossing is still considered the most effective way of dealing with food remains. However, in an SHTF situation, dental floss can also be used for other stuff as well. I recall ripping my shoelaces while camping and used some floss to repair tie my boots until I could find replacements at a nearby store. You can also use floss to pitch a shelter, make weapons, seal food bags or creating snares. Search for offers online. You’re bound to find a dozen under $10.

15. Heavy-duty garbage bags

Whether it’s for disposing of hazardous material or burying dead bodies, heavy-duty garbage bags should not miss from your B.O.B. They’re quite cheap, and the things you can do with them are only limited by your own imagination. I like to use heavy-duty bags to protect my wife’s flower beds from insects, snow blizzards, heavy rain, and stuff like that.

If you’re in an SHTF situation, you can always use a garbage bag, a knife, and some floss to make a temporary shelter. It’s even more crucial to have these around if you need to collect rainwater or to hunt (yup, you can create a simple net for bunnies and birds using a stick, some duct tape, and a little bit of floss).

I managed to get quite a bargain on garbage bags – 5 for $4 at Costco. Try them out before buying them. They’re supposed to withstand quite a lot of punishment. If they tend to tear in your hands, then you should seek another brand.

We’ve all been there – buying all sort of cool, survival gadgets, but at the same time, losing sight of what’s really important during SHTF. Some items are even more

There is so much knowledge and information in the preparedness community. I love listening to experts speak from their experiences because I never want to stop learning myself. I enjoy reading novels that cater to the survivalist or prepping community because imagination is a skill everyone should have and could help you when you think there are no other options. I am inspired continually as I get the opportunity to take part in a daily dialog with the readers of the Prepper Journal. Like most of you I would imagine, I started reading other blogs and watching YouTube videos to get my initial motivation and basic information for what was the start of my personal prepping story several years ago. All of these sources of information taught me a lot of invaluable ideas and concepts but they are really just the beginning of learning. They simply served as the catalyst to whet my appetite for a whole new world that until then I had been aware of. These sources of information lit the spark that would turn into a flame.

To truly learn a skill at some point you have to take what you have read and get out there and do it. That is the main reason that almost any author including me tries to admonish anyone who will listen to actually get out there and start doing something. As my friend Todd at Survival Sherpa says, Doing the stuff  is the most important way to start learning and mastering these skills that you have identified as important to your safety or survival. Simply reading about canning isn’t going to teach you as effectively as doing it yourself will. You can read about everything from the proper jars and lids to use, to different canning methods, to old recipes and that is fine for background. It won’t be until you have a kitchen full of tomatoes and counters that are full of jars and a general mess to clean up that it starts to sink in. It won’t be until you ruin a batch of beets by leaving them in the pressure canner overnight because you started too late to wait around and take them out will you learn that valuable lesson. At least I didn’t.

Doing the Stuff as Todd says is critical but sometimes we make this out to be more complicated than it needs to be. Or, maybe another way of looking at it is that we put these things we know we need to do in a box on a shelf that we think we will get to later. For example I would absolutely love to take a wilderness survival course, but I don’t have the time right now to register for the next 4 or 5 that are in my near region. I also don’t have the vacation to take a week off so I put this on the shelf for later. I could use as much tactical training as they have but courses cost money and take time… so that goes on the shelf too. I have often wished I could take long-range rifle training and there is a place in my state that teaches that skill. Yep, on the shelf for later.

I started to look at all of the things I wanted to do that were sitting on my shelf waiting for the right time or opportunity or funds to magically appear and thought that I was wasting so much of what precious time I had. Then I had a thought that there are a lot of things we can do right now that don’t necessarily have to be so formal. They don’t require signing up for a class and can help anyone with vital skills that will be necessary if we do have a grid-down situation in our future. These activities can be done by virtually anyone and if you aren’t careful, they may even be considered fun. Hobbies are another term you can throw at this “training”. Call it what you want but the following 4 activities below can help you learn valuable survival skills. You don’t have to sign up for a week long camp in tactical gear with a 1000 round minimum either. Even though I still really want to do that myself.

Backpacking

backpacking

Backpacking is the perfect way to test out that Bug Out Bag

Backpacking isn’t training? It’s what you do in the summer with your son’s Cub Scout troop or the church’s Men’s ministry, right? Well, like the rest of the items I will list most people look at this as fun, but preppers can learn invaluable lessons that will apply to a wide array of scenarios just by practicing these different activities. When it comes to all of your planning and preparation for Bugging Out we almost universally talk about strapping a big backpack with everything we own on our backs and heading out into the woods to survive. What better way to test this out than to actually do that. Put a pack on your back and go live in the woods for a couple of days. Hike around with all of the gear you have packed that will keep you alive and safe and see if you don’t change your mind on some items at the end of your trip.

Backpacking is nearly identical to what you would be faced with in a true bug out situation from the standpoint of carrying the supplies you need on your back that will keep you alive for a few days. You also have the added benefit of being able to practice virtually everything you would use in a bug out scenario without any emergency. You can experience carrying that pack, living in inclement weather, seeing how your kids hold up, drying out wet gear, blisters, ticks all without any emergency. You can even try starting real fires with that flint and steel you purchased and navigating with a compass and a map.

Backpacking does require some purchases of equipment, but so does any bug out bag. When you have your gear ready for your BOB, strap it on and head out on a well planned trip into the woods for a couple of days. The knowledge you will gain will be priceless AND, you should have a great time to boot. Check out nature on your own terms now and learn how to live in it before you make that your last ditch plan for survival.

Hunting

hunting

Hunting teaches valuable skills

We talk a good bit about home security, purchasing the best firearms and safety for our families and friends if the grid goes down. If we are forced into a long term emergency where the Rule of Law is out the window (WROL) firearms are strongly recommended as one facet of a well-balanced security plan. But how can you get realistic training on how to use those firearms?

You can go to the range and I do this myself, but shooting at paper targets only teaches you so much. When you are outside pulling that trigger, knowing that if the shot connects you will kill something, you do have a different sensation than squeezing off rounds at zombies printed on glossy paper. Your reaction times, judgment and experiences are 180 degrees different from a range and this is also valuable training for a few reasons.

What can you learn from hunting? You can learn to hunt first of all and this is important for all of the people who plan on bugging out and living off the land. If this is your plan and you have never shot at anything in your entire life… let’s just say you need some practice. Hunting isn’t as simple as walking out into the woods quietly with some camo on.  There are tactics that you can learn like stalking game, patterns to watch for and besides the benefit of actually putting some food on the table, hunting in my opinion can bring you closer to nature.

Depending on how and where you are hunting, you can also learn to read signs of animals to see where they have been, you can learn habits they have and concealment options yourself. This can help you if you are forced to defend your home or retreat from invaders. You will also learn what it feels like to kill something. Now, I am not equating an animal with a human out to harm you, but this is still valuable I think.

You will learn where to hunt and most likely you will be hunting with someone who you can share experiences and knowledge with. Is this going to take the place of tactical training in fake buildings with your AR? No, but compared to nothing, hunting will give you a lot of exposure and experience in finding food, shooting weapons and getting outside. Bonus points if you are backpacking as well as hunting!

Ham Radio

If the grid goes down, usually so do communications. Cell phone towers and land lines are susceptible to power outages or downed lines. Even construction can take down cell and internet access when lines are cut. What do you do when you need to communicate with your family or your group or people hundreds of miles away? Ham Radio.

hamradio

Its a good idea to learn how to use radios now before you need them.

Ham Radio is virtually the only option I ever hear mentioned in preparedness circles but it is a fantastic option. Ham operators can communicate when traditional forms of communications are down. Due to their range and flexibility, ham operators are usually depended on for communications in emergency situations. Using a simple set up, ham operators can communicate with satellites even or bounce signals off the moon. I have yet to hear of a better grid-down option.

So why do you need to train? Can’t you just grab a radio and start talking? Yes and no and this is where the training part comes in. The Amateur frequencies are pretty vast and learning how to navigate the world of bands, frequencies, repeaters and antennas isn’t something that most people aren’t going to figure out just by picking up a radio. There is a ton of information about ham radio out there but I think it is important to start practicing now well before any emergency.  Knowing the ins and outs of ham radio is just like anything else, you need practice with it and there is no better time than right now. Get your license and some basic equipment and start learning how to communicate.

Getting into Ham Radio can be pretty expensive but you can do this on the cheap also. There are several great options for handheld transceivers (HT) that are under $40, that will get you on two of the bands, 2 meter and 70 cm. Add a simple antenna and you can easily talk to people for a pretty good distance. Connect to a repeater and your range extends to hundreds of miles. Grab several of these radios for group communications and you are in business.

Even if you don’t want to talk to anyone on ham radio, gaining information and intelligence from well outside your city or even region could be vital to your survival if the grid is down or communications have been blacked out.

GeoCaching

Photo_Geocaching

Geocaching is a fun activity for the entire family.

Two things come to mind when you are talking about Bugging Out. The first is usually navigating to a location that is reasonably far enough away to take you out of the danger present where you are.  The second is hiding caches to support you on that trip. Survival Caches can even be hidden if you aren’t bugging out. You may need to hide something that you can take advantage of later and knowing precisely where either of those two locations are and alternate ways to get there is important.

What can Geocaching do? For starters, Geo caching is a fun activity you can do with your family to get them out of the house. This time of year is perfect for geocaching too because it is getting a little cooler and it’s a lot more fun (for me at least) to be outside in the woods. Geocaching if you don’t know is a game where you find hidden caches of various things using clues and GPS coordinates.

Essentially it comes down to knowing how to find supplies you have hidden but maybe more importantly, how to hide items you don’t want anyone to find. If you have played the game of Geocaching long enough you will start to notice common places to hide something. I can go into an area now and look for the most obvious tree, or clump of bushes to find the cache and you can use this to your advantage. The only thing you need is a smart phone because they have apps now to play the game. I recommend having a GPS because knowing how to use one of these is a handy skill too.

Hopefully that gives you some ideas for “training” you can use with your family or friends that is easy and has a low learning curve. You don’t have to save your vacation or money to go to that tactical school in the next state when you can learn some elements of those same comments yourself in ways that people are doing right now.

Do you have other survival training ideas that can be used everyday?

There is so much knowledge and information in the preparedness community. I love listening to experts speak from their experiences because I never want to stop learning myself. I enjoy

Natural and man-made disasters happen often without warning. Hurricanes, blackouts, terrorist attacks — you name it, anything could happen in a blink of an eye. In such situations, a well-prepared bug out bag with at least 72 hours worth of supplies is crucial to survival should events force you to evacuate from your home and expose you out there. And since every luggage space and weight counts, your bug out bag essentials should be lightweight, heavy-duty, and versatile. Add to or personalize this bug out bag checklist depending on your needs, but make sure you have all the bases covered. Read on to learn more about what to pack for survival.

Never Forget Water

Water should be at the top of every emergency survival list as the human body can only go on for three days without hydration. Prepared For Survival says a minimum of one liter a day per person is a must, along with water filters and purification tablets to treat water for additional supply.

Fuel With Food

While a person can survive longer without food than without water, you will need every ounce of energy to get you through any crisis. Opt for food stock items that are high in calories but do not require much space or preparation. Canned goods like beans, meats, and the like can be opened and eaten while on the go. Another option are preparing your own emergency food supply to which you just add water.

Survive With A Knife

And no, not a pocket knife. It may be more convenient to tote around, but you will need something more substantial for serious chopping of food, cutting of ropes, and even defending yourself when the situation calls for it. Bring one with a length between 4” and 6”, according to this Instructables knife guide.

Tools To Start A Fire With

With fire’s many important uses — cooking food, boiling water, providing warmth and comfort, and sending out a rescue signal — you better bring waterproof matches or lighters to ignite sparks. For an excellent homemade fire starter, use cotton with petroleum jelly, which, according to The Prepping Princess, can also be used to prevent wind burns, lubricate tools, and so on.

Heal Quick With A First Aid Kit

You can buy this at drug stores or better yet, create your own. In any case, Red Cross recommends first aid kit essentials such as medications, bandages, gauzes, and the like that should enable you to deal with illnesses, wounds, fractures, and so on while waiting for further medical assistance. Red Cross also advises that you update your stock regularly.

A Dose Of Survival Clothes

Rich Johnson of Getting Out Alive emphasizes the importance of the right gear for staying dry, keeping warm, and protecting your vital body parts such as your head, hands, and feet. For these, he suggests that you ready your clothing made of wool or synthetic material for insulation, head cover, trail shoes or boots and socks, and leather gloves.

 

Makeshift Shelter To Survive Any Weather

Away from the comfort and security of your home, you need to protect yourself from the heat or the cold so you can better go about your activities or simply rest. Decide on a lightweight sleeping bag or camping tent. For more affordable options, Creek Stewart of Willow Haven Outdoor recommends packing a tarp or a poncho. Don’t forget to include a rope or parachute cord and duct tape to secure your shelter.

Bring On The Lights

Aside from flashlights, consider glow sticks and LED lights, headlamps, and key chains, as Prepared For Survival suggests. Secure a supply of high-quality batteries; bringing lighting items will be in vain without those.

Communication Devices

It is crucial to still be able to receive and transmit data even if the usual modes of communication fail. Choose the right phone, radio, or walkie-talkie for you that will suit your desired specifications and budget. As with lighting items, prepare a good supply of batteries.

A Stash of Cash

Lastly, you should have cash on your person. Again, cash, not a credit card. Have it ready in smaller bills. Prepare change as well.

Once you have determined the bug out bag contents that you need, choose a portable backpack that is big enough to hold all of them. Since you would never want your bag to give up on you, invest in a backpack durable enough to withstand extreme conditions, but comfortable enough to carry for extended periods of time. Bags with plenty of compartments provide strategic ways of stuffing your survival essentials into your bug out bag.

With a clear understanding of these emergency survival staples, you will be able to customize your bug out bag essentials based on your needs and wants. So what are you waiting for? Put your bug out bag together now so you can confidently face whatever disastrous event that may occur any time in the future.

Natural and man-made disasters happen often without warning. Hurricanes, blackouts, terrorist attacks — you name it, anything could happen in a blink of an eye. In such situations, a well-prepared

There are two recurring themes we have in prepping and survival blogs around preparing for disasters of any type. The first is the need to practice any plans you have well before the actual need should arise. This is similar to practicing a fire drill with your children so they will have experience going through the motions and the event will hopefully be more successfully executed because of this training should a real fire break out in your home. Practicing anything you are planning to do when under stress is going to make you better at that task when you are faced with a real scenario. Examples for prepping are to turn off the power for a weekend and live like the grid has gone down. Another theme we discuss regularly is the process and plans for Bugging Out.

Bugging Out simply means leaving the area you are in to move to an area that is safer. It could be safer from a chemical spill, impending flood waters or violence caused by looting. There are as many reasons why you could conceivably want to or have to leave your home as there are for staying. Bugging Out isn’t limited to your home either because you could be anywhere when a disaster strikes and still need to move quickly to a safer location.

Bug Out bags are designed for us to be able to quickly grab enough supplies for each person in your group to live for a minimum of 72 hours at least according to FEMA and although we would like to think we could drive our survival vehicle out of the ruins and wreckage, staying just a car length ahead of the big cloud of disaster rolling swiftly behind us (cue the summer disaster movie music) reality tells us that in times of major crisis, roads quickly become overwhelmed and traffic makes getting out by car at a certain point impossible. Bugging Out on foot is a better plan that will cover the contingencies if travel by vehicle is out of the question.

So, how can you practice bugging out with all of the gear you would actually need to survive for 72 hours or more with only what you can carry and not look like a weirdo? Backpacking into the woods is the best way I can think of to practice bugging out and I have composed a list of 10 ways your first backpacking trip will better prepare you for bugging out below. By practicing an actual bug out for three days in the wilderness you will learn so much that will better prepare you if you really ever have to Bug Out.

A lot of people plan to simply walk into the woods if the grid goes down. I won’t debate the merits of that approach in this article, but I have written on the subject before. All that is fine and well, but you may actually have to leave your home with a pack. If that is your plan, here is your chance to take what you have assembled and do just that. I can almost guarantee that you will learn lessons if you do that now that will change how you really bug out in a potential disaster. I took my family into the woods a few years ago and we have since been back a few times. Here are some of the things I learned from that experience.

1. – Find out what works and what doesn’t. – This is one of the big advantages in my opinion of practicing your bug out plans in this way. When I started building my bug out bag, I had a big list of items I needed and once I had them all, they were crammed into my military surplus bag. After walking around for a while with about 70 pounds of gear I quickly decided that I needed to drop a lot of weight from my bug out bag and that while the military surplus Alice pack was nice, it wasn’t the most comfortable thing in the world. Also, carrying that bag might make me a target a little more than someone who was just hiking with a regular bag in that someone might think I had a lot of supplies in there (prepper) instead of just some sweaty socks and camping gear. I also learned that in general I just had too much stuff. We packed too much food, that was too heavy and our clothing options were more than we needed. Lastly, I found a lighter water filter and all those things combined shaved a lot of weight off my pack and my shoulders.

2. – Live Simply – Piggybacking on the item above, backpacking should give you a great excuse to live simply and to ignore all the extra clutter in our lives. What do I mean by clutter? I have seen a lot of bug out checklists that have so many extra things included that are ridiculous. Kindles or e-readers, coffee presses and a lot of unnecessary creature comforts. In this exercise, bugging out will be to save your life and your bug out bag should be packed with items that will help you live. It should not be packed with small inflatable boats unless your plan is to escape by water, camp chairs and portable fans. Keeping your bag to the essentials will make carrying it much easier. You will also find that you don’t need or even much use some of the extra stuff you brought. Instead of bringing a whole set of cookware and utensils, a simple pot and spoon might be all you really need.

3. – Learn how to use the bathroom outdoors – This might sound silly, but unless you have gone number 2 in the woods then this is something fun to learn. How hard can it be you ask? It’s just squatting, right? Well, maybe it is, but it wasn’t as simple as sitting on the throne for me. I got it done of course, but in the beginning it was awkward and took a little finagling to get right. Just like anything else, practice makes perfect.

4. -Discover wild water – Probably the single heaviest item you can have in your bug out bag is water and we should all know that we need at least a liter per day for optimum health, more if you are in hot climates or exerting yourself and even more for regular hygiene. Carrying a bag on your bag through the woods will exert you but in order to meet the requirements of 72 hours, you do not want to carry three giant bottles of water with you. Learning how to filter your water and of course finding sources of water is going to be the best long term strategy for bugging out. My kids were amazed when I broke out the water filter and in no time had all of our Nalgene bottles filled with clean fresh water out of the river. I swear it tasted better than anything in a plastic bottle from the store or our tap and they all know how to filter their own water now if they need to.

5. – Discover how everyone in your group reacts – One of my initial concerns with my family was how they would react to the wilderness and carrying their bags for three days so I tried to pay special attention to the weight they had and how they were faring on our hikes to new campsites. To my surprise, they all did amazingly well but that might not be the case with your family. By finding out who hates this whole exercise right now, you could save yourself some headache later when just going back to the car isn’t an option.

6. – Find friends with common interests – Once you start backpacking you will invariably meet friends who are also into this hobby. They may share common ideas about being prepared or at the least common interests and skills that might be helpful to your group should we all need to walk into the woods. If nothing else, you may have another source for gear advice should you need it and experienced friends who also like to backpack can share their observations and lessons learned with you on various locations, routes and strategies that could improve your bug out plans. Even if you meet people along the journey, you can learn from them. We only ran into 2 other people the entire weekend we were out, but they all had hammocks instead of tents and sleeping bags so that was something I started investigating.

Learn what to carry and how to cook outdoors.

7. – Increase your options – Simply being able to live for three days in the woods or a field or anywhere outside of a house or hotel is going to give you options if you are forced to leave your home. The more you experience living outside and traveling over distances with your house on your back, the more you will see options where before there was only dread. Leaving home with a pack won’t be as daunting once you have done it a few times for fun regardless of the scenario. The scenario might be bad, but the thought of sleeping in the woods won’t.

8. – Adapt and reuse – One of the best ways to simplify your backpack or bug out bag and to reduce weight is to use items for more than one purpose or to reuse items for something different. One simple example is to have the water filter so you can refill water along your route or at your site as opposed to hiking it in. Clothing is another area that can be viewed in this way. On our trips, I would have one set of pants, not three but these are convertible so I can make them shorts if needed. One fleece, a hat, gloves spare underwear and thermals. The clothing lists changes with the seasons. You don’t need a change of clothes for every day. If the weather or your climate is relatively warm, a tarp will double as a shelter and weighs a lot less than a tent. It takes up much less room too. Paracord can be used as well as duct tape for a million uses.

9. – Set new goals – After our experience in the woods, I wanted to go on longer hikes to have a greater challenge of both navigating terrain and planning a longer stay in the woods. Successes make you strive for new goals, but even setbacks should give you something to strive for. If you have a miserable time in the woods, analyze what the problems were. If it was your gear, this can motivate you to think more clearly about what you have and how to use it for your next trip.

10. – Build your confidence – Lastly and I think the most important lesson you should take from backpacking is the confidence you will have to live in the woods for a while. This was most noticeable in my wife and kids. I was already fine with camping, but for my family this was all new and before we went, there were lots of questions and doubt. After our three days my family was not only happy with the experience, but were really impressed with how “not horrible” our time was. They had plenty to eat even though we had no kitchen table to sit around. They slept well even though their beds were on the ground and we all had a great time even when there was no traditional entertainment to be found. After our first trip my family was ready to bug out and even if that never happened, we had a great new activity to do for fun. Win Win.

There are two recurring themes we have in prepping and survival blogs around preparing for disasters of any type. The first is the need to practice any plans you have