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We have covered many topics in the past such as fluid-based balance, electrolyte balance, and dehydration, along with several articles pertaining to first aid from heat-related emergencies.  We’re going to refresh (as it is the season) the importance of hydration and several things you can do in an emergency situation.  What constitutes an emergency?  Anything that threatens either life or limb, or threatens to incapacitate you in a permanent manner is an emergency that needs to be dealt with.

How Dehydration Occurs

Your body is about 75 to 80% water, which in itself is an oversimplification.  The reason for this being there is intracellular fluid (fluid within the cells), intercellular fluid (the fluid between the cells), and other factors affecting fluid dynamics.  This last term refers to the amount of fluid going in and out of the cells, and directly relating to both input (what you drink and take in with your meals) and output (in the form of urination and diaphoresis, also known as sweating).  An additional form of output is termed extra-sensory perspiration, and this is what is exuded from your body in the form of vapor from the lungs breathed out, as well as fluid loss from the eyes (yes, both the tear ducts and the eyeballs themselves).

When you couple these losses with strenuous or stressful activity, it amounts to fluid loss that can impair your health.  As mentioned in other articles, keep this rule in mind: thirst is a late sign of dehydration.  In order to be hydrated properly during the course of a day, you should consume at least half a gallon to a gallon of water daily.  This amount is in the normal daytime routine.  Heavy physical work or exercise adds to this amount needed.

Have Oral Rehydration Solutions Available

Let’s walk, now.  In addition to taking in water, you can also replenish your electrolytes with ready-made drinks or powders.  Gatorade and Powerade are beverages with a lot of sugar, yes, but they also contain electrolytes such as sodium or potassium that your body needs.  In the service, we had packets called ORS (Oral Rehydration Solutions) that had measured amounts of sodium and potassium to take with the water in your canteen for those strenuous happy moments that called for it.  You can save money and do the deed at your own convenience by buying up the powdered Gatorade and (as I’ve told you to save up the 32-ounce Gatorade and Powerade bottles) make up your own: not to guzzle every moment, but to maybe have one per day in order to maintain your electrolytes.

Make Your Own ORS:

In a one-quart bottle, mix 1-2 Tbsp.’s of sugar and ½ to 1 tsp. of salt in water and drink.

This will do in a pinch if you’re really hurting: the sodium will help you retain some of the fluids and also restore what you’re perspiring.  I did mention in one of my articles that for about $7 to $8, you can pick up a box of about 50 packets of powder that have complete supplies of electrolytes, minerals, and vitamin C to mix in a glass of water and down in an instant.  These are worth their weight in gold in an emergency and when the SHTF.

Natural Ways to Maintain a Healthy Balance of Electrolytes

A good, well-balanced meal will also help to maintain those electrolytes.  Magnesium is found in spinach and many of your raw seeds such as sunflower seeds.  Sodium you’ll take in with the normal course of much of your diet.  Potassium can be found in bananas and prunes.  Regarding the latter, take care and do not eat too many: the laxative effects can outweigh what you gain with the potassium.  Calcium (necessary for good heart function) can be taken in with milk, cheese, and dairy products.

What If You Are Unable to Drink Water?

Lastly, what to do when you are unable to drink for some reason or another?  This one will take a family member, spouse, or friend to aid you on.  Reasons for this may include but are not limited to a shot away/broken jaw, partially crushed or injured throat, or a gunshot/impaled object to the abdomen.  We mentioned IV’s in the first-aid articles last year.  Have you acted on the information?  In the aforementioned situations, you can hurt yourself further by drinking fluids (and potentially die if you have a perforated stomach or intestines with the last example), but you still need fluid.

The IV bypasses the digestive tract and sends the fluid right into the bloodstream.  Another method that is close: you can administer 200-300 cc (equivalent to ml) by inserting that IV tube directly into the patient’s rectum (assuming no trauma there).  It is a parenteral route: that is, a route other than ingestion.  The “regular”/well-known routes of the IV are the veins: radial (the wrists), antecubital (the bend in the elbow), femoral (in the thigh), and [you better really know what you’re doing] the jugular (in the neck).

Supplies being paramount, you must obtain IV’s solutions, with Ringer’s Lactate (or Lactated Ringer’s solution) being the preferred 1000 ml bag.  You’ll also need sterile tubing and a catheter, preferably large-bore.  And what if you don’t happen to have it?  Then you better improvise and improvise well.  Here’s your tip:

            Composition of Lactated Ringer’s Solution:   (per 1 liter/1000 ml bag)

Distilled water

            8.6 grams (g) of Sodium Chloride (NaCl)

            0.3 g Potassium Chloride (KCl)

            0.33 g Calcium Chloride (CaCl)

There you have it!  In an emergency, “you” may be the only “pharmacist” in town.  Your son or daughter’s life depends on it.  Now how far are you willing to go?  Time to get into that abandoned Home Depot and grab yourself some tubing and duct tape, then pick up either a turkey injector needle at Wal-Mart or a needle for inflating footballs and sharpen it up.  Sterilize all of it.  Get your ingredients together, sterilize a glass bottle by boiling, make up the solution, and hang the bag.  Improvise, adapt, overcome.

Those who will take the steps and are ready to employ the knowledge and “take a chance,” as ABBA sang it…these will be the ones to make it.  You must win with the weapons you have.  Crawl by keeping aware and hydrating regularly during the day to prevent dehydration.  Walk by obtaining ORS and other powdered supplements to help you maintain your electrolytes.  Run by taking classes in IV therapy, stocking up on supplies, and improvising your own when the SHTF.

We have covered many topics in the past such as fluid-based balance, electrolyte balance, and dehydration, along with several articles pertaining to first aid from heat-related emergencies.  We’re going to

A Prepper Must-Have – Baking Soda

I have it on good authority that some people actually bake with baking soda. That’s not why it’s stocked like a mighty brick in my house. Baking soda is one of those items that has about a hundred and one uses, only some of them limited to the kitchen. It’s nice and cheap, and while I don’t think it’s one of the things that runs off the shelves in any crisis – snow storm, hurricane, or larger – it’s hugely beneficial to have plenty of it on hand.

To me, the price and the usefulness put it way up on any must-have list for preppers (or pretty much any adult).

First we want to be sure of what we’re talking about. On store shelves, baking soda is most usually going to be a box, although it can be found in big bags for those of us who use it a lot. It’s the one with sodium bicarbonate listed as the active ingredient, not cornstarch and 4-6 other things in a little round carton. That other one is what you use for bannock bread and microwaved mug brownies – baking powder.

Shoe satchels


Stomping out smells in your shoes is one of baking sodas great claims to fame.

Those of us who have ever had a fridge or dishwasher that’s been turned off for a while have probably heard of sticking an opened box of baking soda in there. Arm & Hammer even creates packages with a mesh-lined side flap for just that purpose. That same deodorizing capability combines with a low-level desiccant, and can be used to dry out and kill the sweat or swamp funk in our boots and shoes. This is the stuff that gets added to kitty litter boxes, after all. Stomping out smells is one of its great claims to fame.

The satchels can be made out of cloth, old socks whose mates have gone missing, coffee filters, or used dryer sheets. The imagination is really the only limiting factor here. As long as it allows easy airflow between the footwear and the baking soda inside, it’ll work. Add at least a tablespoon and a half of baking soda, tie up, and drop inside.


If you want to jazz up the shoe satchels further you can add all kinds of things from dried flowers and herbs (lavender, rose, rosemary, mints, eucalyptus) to bath crystals or salts.

This one works not only on shoes, but also on things like old gym bags, the lunch bag from two years ago, a small cooler, a tool bucket or box that has a case of the funk, or a softball bag that’s being repurposed.

Foot Soak


If the smell from shoes is originating because of the feet in them, you can combine baking soda with any number of things to create a foot soak.

Mouthwash, herbal teas, various oils like lavender or eucalyptus or rosemary, lemon slices or juice, Epsom salts (excellent addition), apple cider vinegar, and dried herbs like rosemary, mints, or plantain all get added. A simple soak of 1-2 cups in a gallon or two of warm water for 15-30 minutes can soften and rejuvenate feet, and help control various fungus that want to live in warm, sweaty environments.

Surface Cleaner


We know that baking soda is one of the things we can stock to use as a toothpaste alternate, or to concoct our own toothpaste. It cleans more than mouths, though.

Just sprinkling it on carpets and wooden decks or porches, letting it sit, and then sweeping or vacuuming it up works wonders for some odors and fungi. We can also clean our cutting boards by rubbing with baking soda and-or salt and a lemon, or just scrubbing with a brush and the dry ingredients and then letting it sit for a bit. The powders create a habitat that discourages many microbes, like the kind that live in tiny scratched crevices and outlive even dish soap and the dishwasher.


We can use that trick on dog bowls, sinks and counters, as well, using fresh lemons or limes or bottled lemon juice, or just scrubbing and allowing it to sit, then sweeping it and wiping it up.

Pipe & Drain Cleaner

Getting rid of shower and tub mildew and *that* smell in any pipe uses basically the same ingredients as above: baking soda, salt in some cases, and lemon. Vinegar of pretty much any kind can be substituted for lemon juice if somebody likes that price enough for a different smell, or wants to go with apple cider vinegar.

I like the method where you boil 2-8 cups of water to pour down the drain, then throw a cup of baking soda in and let that sit for 5-60 minutes, and follow it up with 1 cup of vinegar or lemon juice mixed with a cup of water.


There are a few variations, so poke around a bit. Some say to cover it to direct the reaction downward (not so sure about that), and some to limit the fumes in the air (just don’t use white vinegar). Some say to give it 6-8 hours, and some say to just wait until the bubbles stop. Some suggest just rinsing with tap water, and some suggest boiling more water to flush the remnants away. Up to you.

It doesn’t always work, especially in the bathroom where *somebody* sheds 2’ hair with every shower. Sometimes a repeat or upgrade to/of vinegar to the stronger cousins works. Every once in a while, you have to go to a snake or “real” drain cleaner, but a lot of the time, whether it’s a slow drain, a for-real clog, or a smell, the baking soda does the trick.

There are apparently schools of thought where this is bad and degrades things, so research that too.

Fungicide (Outdoor)


We can add one tablespoon of baking soda to one quart of water (4 tablespoons/1 quarter-cup per gallon) and use it to treat black spots in the yard, roses, and berry brambles suffering from the various black fungus illnesses.

One of the things that helps baking soda kill smells is that the sodium bicarbonate is an antacid, a highly reactive one. A lot of growing things prefer an acidic environment. Fungi – from mold to mildew – is one of those things. The beauty is that baking soda is a stabilizing antacid. It’ll react with anything in an extreme, and go through a severe reaction initially (which can also kill bad stuff) but then it’ll self-regulate and return its surroundings to a near-neutral state.

No wonder this stuff is called miracle powder, right?



That miracle powder can help us in a big way with some common crop and garden pests – mildews.

We can add one tablespoon of baking soda to one quart of water (4 tablespoons/1 quarter-cup per gallon) and use it to treat black spots in the yard, roses, and berry brambles suffering from the various black fungus illnesses.

Powdery mildew on any plants can be prevented and treated with the same, however, the addition of a teaspoon of dish detergent and a teaspoon of vegetable oil per half gallon will help it stick better. Once powdery mildew gets started, it’s a constant battle, so having the spray last longer on the plants can save us a lot of time and heartache.

Creepy-Crawly Pests


Fungus gnats aren’t usually harmful, but they are annoying, and there are times there are so many that the soil-dwelling larvae stage start stunting plant growth because they’re consuming the tiny root hairs of plants. A teaspoon of baking soda with a teaspoon of dish detergent in a full gallon of water can also help remove or reduce the populations, without changing soil pH so much that acid-loving veggie plants and perennials can’t handle it and die, too. As with mildews, all soils in the area need treated and the treatment will have to be repeated to break the infestation completely since there are multiple stages and locations in the gnats’ life cycles.

Mixing baking soda 1:1 with powdered sugar and surrounding an ant hill with a 1”x1” wall of the stuff can help reduce those garden pests, too. I’ve had it decrease the visible numbers, but they seem to pop back up. Still, it’s nicer working in beds and playing fetch or weed-eating with a few less ants getting aggravated with you. A ring of baking soda will also help deter slugs. (Grits and cornmeal help with ants and slugs, too.)

Pest Sting & Itch Relief


Baking soda recently got crowned the Most Prized Possession in my house. I was attacked by some sort of not-bee striped flyer, and ended up with welts roughly the sizes of eggs, from dainty little quail all the way up to jumbos, with 3-6” red raised areas around the big welts. Yay! A poultice of just baking soda and water reduced the swelling and pain.

That poultice is best applied with large Band-Aids already open and waiting, especially if you’re trying to doctor your own elbow and thigh.

If the poultice is allowed to dry, it will come off in big flakes or shingles, and can actually help extract a broken-off stinger, fang or tick head.


Like the satchels, the poultice can be improved on. Chamomile tea is awesome, but any kind of tea contains fabulous stuff that helps reduce swelling and pain more and faster. Let it cool and add it to the poultice, open a bag to mix in before the water, or open a used bag to add to the paste. Aloe can be stripped and chopped and added, as can commercially available gel. So can witch hazel, chamomile flowers, lavender oil or flowers, fresh or dried plantain, Echinacea (purple cone flower), chickweed or jewelweed, and lemon balm.

Some people also apparently make their poultice with milk. Not my thing. Likewise, I’m not adding to the mess or pains by using honey or honey crystals in there, but there are proponents of honey as well.

Go as crazy as you like with that one.

Maybe the sting or bite isn’t making you crazy enough to coat your wounds with paste and Band-Aids. Sometimes we’re just hot and itchy and can’t really identify a single place to treat, and a shower or bath isn’t really cutting it.

Baking soda in a tub with or without soothing additives like oatmeal can help.

You can also make a satchel similar to the first use listed, although you’ll want it to be bigger. Again, alone or with things like chipped aloe, oatmeal, chamomile flowers or oil, or tea leaves from a regular grocery-store brewing bag (Camellia sinensis species) can be added. You use the satchel to dab yourself while you’re in the shower.

Baking Soda

There are just so many uses for baking soda, with these the very tip of the iceberg. Run any google search for uses, and you’ll find dozens more, from killing weeds to repelling rabbits and silverfish. It goes in laundry and it gets used for facial masks. Use it to deodorize dogs, make Play Dough, or get gum/caulk out of your hair. The stuff is so cheap, so easy to find, and does so much, it’s worth filling a box or drawer and keeping handy, especially if we live well outside shopping areas.

It’s not one that I expect there to ever be massive runs on, not like generators, snow shovels, tarps and plywood, peanut butter, and toilet paper. However, in a long-term disaster, we could potentially run out. For me, it doesn’t replace a fire alarm and fire extinguisher, some extra batteries that fit that alarm, or having spare oil and coolant in the truck, but it’s right up there with the food and water supplies as a must-have item.

Hopefully you’ll explore its uses a little more, print out some of the many 11, 30, and 50+ uses lists, and stock up at least a little.

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A Prepper Must-Have – Baking Soda I have it on good authority that some people actually bake with baking soda. That’s not why it’s stocked like a mighty brick in

Have you ever run out of gas? Imagine running out of gas when gas stations are no longer pumping fuel or you are on route to your bug out location after some really bad stuff has gone down. You aren’t able to call AAA anymore and your buddy probably can’t come to pick you up. You thought ahead to carry some extra fuel, but long lines in traffic and multiple detours have depleted even your additional supplies.

If the situation called for it and you were desperate, would you know how to siphon gas from a car?

Many of us have tried this before with mixed results. I can remember shoving a length of garden hose in the tank of an old Ford truck I had and drawing the gas out with my mouth. In case you were wondering, a mouth full of gas is not a pleasant experience and it takes a whole lot of brushing to get that taste out.

This manual method is only slightly better with clear plastic tubing but you still run the risk of getting some amount of gas in your mouth.

Would this be acceptable in a grid down situation? Of course, if there was no other option. However, with a little planning and practice now, you can have a solution to your fuel needs in an emergency.

How to get gas out of a car

It would stand to reason that in even the most dire, apocalyptic scenarios you can imagine, there will be gas somewhere. We have gas in cars obviously, stashed in lawnmowers and in spare cans in sheds. Businesses have diesel stored in forklifts and heavy equipment. Gas at fuel stations can even be tapped into with a little know-how even if the electricity isn’t working. Gas is a vitally important resource and even if we have some global EMP, this fuel will still be valuable to the people who can obtain it but not everyone has experience with getting gas out of their car short of driving it around all day.

Cars that have been abandoned would seem to be some of the best and easiest places to acquire extra fuel to keep you going. I am not advocating stealing but should you determine that your situation requires it, siphoning gas can be a pretty simple way to get an extra few gallons in an emergency. Even 3 extra gallons could potentially get you dozens of miles away from danger or just closer to your destination.

Another good reason to keep an empty fuel tank in your car. Carol is always prepared…

Older cars didn’t have some of the anti-theft measures that more modern vehicles have now that make getting gas from a car more of a challenge. Depending on your situation, even with anti-theft devices, you can still get fuel. The process is basically the same regardless of the vehicle but the methods might need to change. You simply need to draw or drain the fuel in one tank to a container. The easiest way to do this requires gravity and a little help from a siphon. The siphon you choose can be the suction you create with your mouth (not ideal) or from a pump. There are manual hand pumps and electric pumps that I’ll discuss in a minute but it might make sense to procure one of these methods now before you find yourself needing gas and have no way to get it.

Siphon gas from an older car

A manual fuel pump could help you easily siphon gas from many cars

There are two methods I think that are brilliantly simple to siphon gas from older cars. When I say older, that is a general term because no two cars are exactly the same. In newer cars, probably from the 90’s forward, there are flaps installed on virtually all gas tanks now that would make it harder for you to remove the hose, but in older vehicles, it was pretty much a straight opening into the tank. You also have round balls in the tank hose that prevent hoses from being easily stuck down into the tank so older cars are easier to get fuel out of. If possible, an older model car would make the best targets for siphoning gas.

There are dozens of manual fuel pumps on the market like the 3 in 1 Hand Pump on Amazon. You can use this not only for siphoning gas from a car, but you could also use it to get other fuels into or out of containers. Maybe you have a 50-gallon drum of kerosene and you need to fill your lanterns and heater. This manual pump would be handy.

You can also use a modified method of manual siphoning with your mouth that I haven’t seen before but I wish I knew about a long time ago. You would insert the hose into the gas tank as you would on any siphoning method, but instead of sucking fuel up the line, another hose creates the pressure needed to push fuel into your hose. You can see a great video of the concept below.

How to siphon gas without a pump

The manual pump method works great on older cars, but what about newer vehicles? If you are desperate enough you can puncture the fuel tank with a hammer and screwdriver but this destroys the tank first of all and is riskier from the standpoint of creating a spark around fumes. Along with that, you would make more noise and have to get under the car so that might prevent you from observing the area as closely as you need to.

The Gastapper is a system that runs with an electric pump and it is supposed to get around the anti-theft devices on modern cars. The video below shows the process which is a little more involved than the manual pump method but could be a great alternative if you do have electricity. This could also be a good device for obtaining fuel from underground fuel storage tanks at a gas station.

How to siphon gas from a newer vehicle

So there are a few methods of obtaining fuel in an emergency. I think I am going to get a manual fuel pump and stash that in my vehicle EDC kit for emergencies. What is your method of choice to siphon gas from a car?

Have you ever run out of gas? Imagine running out of gas when gas stations are no longer pumping fuel or you are on route to your bug out location

Ever since I bought my very first computer back in the odd ‘90s, I sort of became a hoarder of everything related to tech – I kid you not when I say that the back of my garage is filled to the proverbial brim with outdated components like CPUs, motherboards, video cards, monitors, and boxes of CDs, DVDs, and floppy disks.

Sometimes I feel the urge to pop open my PC’s optical drive just to see what’s on them. Unfortunately for the computer geek in me, half of that stuff has stopped working long ago. As for the CDs and DVDs, not even wishful thinking can restore them to their former glory. Still, that doesn’t mean I should throw them away.

Even the thought of parting with a single CD would break my hear. So, as usual, I paid a visit to my old pal Google to see what other people have done with their optical disk collection. I was stunned to see just ingenious people get when it comes to repurposing stuff.

And yes, even though all the threads began with “do, I really need to throw them in the garbage?”, they usually ended in a lighter note – great homesteading projects and some of them carried out by guys who haven’t even head the word “prepping.”

So, if you are the proud owner of a huge CD or DVD collection, here are X clever ways to use them around the house.

  1. Building a gigantic solar cooker

I simply love outdoor cooking, no matter if it’s barbequing or watching others prepare food. Anyway, this one thread was speaking about creating a solar cooker from CDs or DVDs. Yes, I know it sounds crazy. That was my first impression as well. However, the math seemed to be right, and since the weather’s nice, I tried to see if it works.

Now, keep in mind that you will need around 100 or 200 CDs and DVDs for this project and old parabolic antenna (the biggest you can find). If you don’t want to invest too much cash, you can always pay a visit to your junkyard to scavenge for parts (that’s where I found the antenna). Here’s what you will need to do in order to create your solar cooker.

Place the antenna in the yard’s hottest spot (that would be around the back). Using a nail gun or zip tie, attach the CDs to the antenna. Make sure that you don’t leave any gaps. When you’re done, take a small grill and attach it just below the receiver (I used a couple of metal pieces which I secured to the receiver using screws).

Wait for the grill to get hot, then BBQ your meat of choice. If the weather’s holding out, you should be able to get at least 700 degrees Fahrenheit. Now, if the temp’s too high for you, simply remove a couple of CDs to lower it.

  1. Creating a retro-futuristic night lamp for your off-grid cabin

Everything can be solved with a little illumination. If you’re a big fan of DIYs and repurposing, you should definitely try out this simple and neat project. The result is a cool, retro-futuristic night lamp that’s brighter than anything you have around the house. Even neat is the fact that it won’t cost you a dime.

Here’s what you’ll need to do – salvage a bulb socket from an old lamp. Search around the house for an LED bulb (there’s bound to be one somewhere, especially if you’re committed to stockpiling survival items).

Take a closer look at the wires coming out of the socket. If they’re too far gone, replace them with new ones. Now grab a handful of CDs (I used about 50 for my project) and some epoxy. Stack and glue them together. Place the socket inside the stack, screw in the bulb, draw the wires, attach a plug, and have fun with it.

  1. Keeping pests away from your veggie garden

I like birds and bees and flies as much as the next man, but not while they’re tearing apart my veggie garden and my corn. Still, I can’t find it within me to take out my hunting rifle and shoot those birds down. And no, I won’t even consider using chemical pesticides. While reading about CDs and DVDs, I came across a thread which suggested that old optical supports can be used to keep pests away.

Didn’t believe it for a second, but I hung up a couple of ones at the edge of my garden just to see what happens. Don’t know how or why, but those crows seemed to be scared shitless of the light reflected by those old CDs. What can I say? Win-win.

  1. A hiding place for docs and jewelry

Not enough dough for a strongbox or a safe? No problem. You can use a stack of old CDs or DVDs to create a hiding place for your valuables. Here’s what you will need to do. Get ahold of one of those mini-CDs (you’re going to use this as a reference point). Place it over a bunch of old CDs (at least 50) and draw the mini disk’s outline using a marker.

Now here comes the fun part: using a hacksaw, cut on the ‘dotted line.’ When you’re done, glue all of them together to create a miniature tower. It’s now time to put everything together. Place one CD on the bottom of the plastic holder.

Glue the stack to the base. Now put a holder inside your mini safe (I used an old muffin mold). Place another CD on top, screw the plastic lid in place and, voila, your project’s completion.

That’s it for my four neat ways of repurposing old CDs and DVDs. Now, I know there are tons of other ways to make use of disks, and I would really like to know your thoughts on this. So, hit the comment section and let me know.

Other self-sufficiency and preparedness solutions recommended for you:

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

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Ever since I bought my very first computer back in the odd ‘90s, I sort of became a hoarder of everything related to tech – I kid you not when

potted meat food product is a food preserved by canning and consisting of various seasoned cooked meats, often puréed, minced, or ground, which is heat processed and sealed into small cans. This is different from potted meat, an older noncommercial method of preserving meat.

When you think of potted meat you probably think of Armor. Ritz cracks and that weird gelatin on top might come to mind, too. If you are like me, you think of great memories on the couch with dad. We would eat this stuff together and watch TV.

You might also think of your own pantry. You know, these canned meats have a tremendous shelf life and make for a great protein solution. Did you know that canned meats can last up to 5 years beyond the best by date printed on the can?

The Plant You Can Use as a Diuretic But Also To Make a Great Wine! Good news? It grows all over the place. Details here

While you might think that potted meat came to be during the age of metal canning and the industrial revolution, you would be mistaken. Just because it’s in a tin can today does not mean it started that way. The potting of meat or preserving meat by covering it in its own fat is hundreds of years old.

It was a process so popular, in fact, it was published in more than one volume on cooking in the 1700s. We are going to be using a recipe from the 1778 book A Lady’s Assistant By Charlotte Mason. The recipe is called Potting Beef.

I like this recipe best because it’s very easy, it doesn’t require any added nitrites and it can be executed with everything the average person has on hand. We are going use a modern-day twist on the “POTS” used but other than that it will be pretty much the same method used in the 1700s.

The Power of the Fat Cap

Before we get to the process of potting meat I would like to talk about the preserving power of fat. When it hardens fat creates a barrier from moisture and oxygen.

Most bacteria need moisture and oxygen to survive. Without those two things, bacteria will not be able to proliferate. That fat cap on potted meat is what preserves it. That barrier is vital. It’s very similar to the process of the French confit which preserved duck legs under duck fat.

The ideal place to store your potted meat will be in a cold place where the fat cap can harden. That is assuming the power is out. Of course, a fridge will be the best option. The French even buried their duck confit in earthenware to assure that fat cap did not get compromised.

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


The “pots” that would have been used were little more than earthenware or ceramic cups. Before the tin can this was how meat was potted. Our modern twist on this recipe is the resourceful use of coffee cups as the pots. I figure we all have a few too many coffee cups.

  • A Few Coffee Cups
  • A Large Bowl
  • A Sauce Pot
  • A Muddler or Another Tool to Pulverize the Beef

Ingredients for Potted Meat

  • A Few Pounds of Beef
  • Good Whole Butter
  • Clarified Butter

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

The Process of Making Potted Meat

Potting beef is very simple. Let’s start with that. We are simply going to mash up the meat and beat in some more fat. Then we are going to cover the entire thing with even more fat.

#1. Slow cook your beef, however, you are comfortable until it is falling apart. You can use a Dutch oven for this if you don’t know what you’re doing.


Once the meat is tender you are going to want to shred it a bit and chill it.

#2. After 8 or so hours your meat should be completely chilled, and you can start the process. Place all the meat into the bowl and begin to mash it with your muddler or something else hard that will really macerate the meat.


I guess you could use a food processor for this step but if you are making this recipe from the 18th century it seems kinda weird.

#3. Now you are going to add an extra third the amount of butter to your meat and continue mixing this. You really want to incorporate the butter.

How To Make Potted Meat

Understanding the idea behind an extra third is very important because it gives you the ability to reproduce this recipe no matter how much beef you have.

Mix the butter

For 2lbs of cooked beef, we will simply use another pound of butter. If you were doing 20lbs of beef you would apply a third of the fat and that would be 10lbs. This ratio makes this process very simple to scale.

#4. Now you are going to press your butter meat mixture into your “pots” and leave about 2 inches from the top. This will assure you have room to pour your butter.

How To Make Potted Meat

#5. Place your pots on a sheet pan and warm them around 200 degrees just until they are warmed through. This will take about a half-hour.

How To Make Potted Meat

#6. In your saucepot melt the clarified butter. When you pull the pots from the oven you can start ladling some warm clarified butter into the open space in your pots. Fill them up good. This seal does all the preserving.

Pour the melted butter

I used about ½ cup of melted clarified butter.

#7. Now chill the pots completely and you have potted your first bit of beef.

How To Make Potted Meat

If you can keep the clarified butter intact you will be able to store these pots for months at a time. This requires storage in a cold, undisturbed environment. There may be no better way to preserve your meat in the winter. These pots can be stored covered outside in an off-grid situation. You might even be able to get away with storing them in a root cellar.

Potted meat has come a long way since the 1700s. When you make this potted beef, you will see just how different and how delicious home potted meat can be. It’s much more than a cheap amalgamation of pork parts and chicken parts that are canned under pressure.

You might also add herbs to this potted meat recipe. Things like oregano and thyme are not only going to flavor your meat but they are also going to add some medicinal properties to your recipe.

There is no denying it, cooking from scratch is true salvation and one of the most important survival skills.

Other self-sufficiency and preparedness solutions recommended for you:

Healthy Soil + Healthy Plants = Healthy You

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

Knowledge to survive any medical crisis situation

Liberal’s hidden agenda: more than just your guns

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

4 Important Forgotten Skills used by our Ancestors that can help you in any crisis

Secure your privacy in just 10 simple steps

A potted meat food product is a food preserved by canning and consisting of various seasoned cooked meats, often puréed, minced, or ground, which is heat processed and sealed into small cans.

When we got our chickens back in March I was looking forward to so many things about having them in our yard. From the eggs we would be eating to the benefits of having them scrounge through our garden to the simple things like hearing them cluck as they scratched around their pen. Having Chickens brings a whole wealth of advantages to just about anyone and they are for the most part ridiculously easy to care for.

As we were building the pen and purchasing the additional supplies needed, the subject of water came into focus. Chickens are very simple to care for and for my part only require that they be let out and put up each day (to keep predators from killing them while they sleep), food and water. I thought that if I could just figure out a way to automatically feed them, let them out and water them, they would be almost zero maintenance!

Now, I am not saying I want to sit in my house all day and not have to worry about the animals, but having a system would make simple weekend trips away from home much easier. As it stands now, we have to get someone to watch them while we are gone.

Each morning I wake up and let my chickens out of their coop, give them fresh food and water. The food part is simple as I have a closed container with their pellets right out by the coop so I just give them a scoop of fresh pellets in their feeder. Water requires taking their water container and walking back to the house to rinse and refill.

You have to do this every day because chickens need fresh, clean water to prevent them from getting sick. Left to their own devices though, chickens will not keep their water fresh and clean. They will scratch dirt into there; poop and pretty much do everything they can to make that water nasty.

Now, walking back to my house isn’t a chore, but it does seem like a waste of time and energy. I usually throw a lot of good water away just refilling and cleaning the container so I have been looking for an alternative and recently found what I think is an amazingly simple automatic watering tube for watering my chickens that keeps the water clean and cuts down on my trips in and out of their coop.

I didn’t have to look too long though because this is an issue that apparently every single other person who raises chickens has already complained about. There are tons of videos on YouTube and you can even buy pre-built kits, but this is a easy DIY project that anyone can do in a couple hours tops.


When finished your waterer will look similar to this.

The concept is brilliantly simple.

  • First you need a bucket to store your water in. This will be your reservoir and I am going to use a five gallon bucket.
  • When filled, the bucket will weigh about 40 pounds so you need to carefully plan on how you are going to mount your bucket.
  • Right now, I am going to mount my bucket with a sturdy bracket screwed right into the frame on our chicken coop on the outside of the building. This way, I can refill the bucket easily without having to go into the pen.
  • The bucket holds the water which is fed via a hose to a PVC tube in the chicken’s pen.
  • The tube has small nipples that you can buy from Amazon that allow the chickens to drink whenever they need to, but they aren’t able to pollute the water. Genius.

Why did it take me so long to figure this out? I don’t know but I am glad I did. You can build your own set up using the parts list below and you will get something that looks very similar to the image on the right.

There is also a video below that shows the principles of the design, but not exactly the same execution. The parts list allows for a tube running from the reservoir to the tube as opposed to having the tube directly connected to the reservoir.

Pipe Waterer Supply List

  • Length of ¾ inch PVC pipe
  • One ¾ inch slip-fit by ½ inch FPT (female pipe thread) PVC Elbow
  • One ¾ inch slip fit PVC cap
  • Two ½ inch MIP (Male Iron Pipe) by 3/8-inch barb connectors
  • One package 3/8-inch inside diameter tubing (use black to prevent algae growth)
  • One ½ inch FPT Bulkhead union (typically sold for rain barrel systems)
  • PVC Primer and PVC cement
  • Bucket or other water reservoir
  • Drill bits in appropriate sizes (11/32 for predrilled nipple holes and 1 and ¼ inch bit for the bulkhead union hole)
  • Teflon tape
  • Silicone sealant

On a different note, here’s some other self-sufficiency and preparedness solutions recommended for you:

The Lost Ways (The vital self-sufficiency lessons our great grand-fathers left us)
Survival MD (Knowledge to survive any medical crisis situation)
Backyard Liberty (Liberal’s hidden agenda: more than just your guns…)
Alive After the Fall (Build yourself the only unlimited water source you’ll ever need)
The Lost ways II (4 Important Forgotten Skills used by our Ancestors that can help you in any crisis)
The Patriot Privacy Kit (Secure your privacy in just 10 simple steps)

When we got our chickens back in March I was looking forward to so many things about having them in our yard. From the eggs we would be eating to

If you believe that you are Rambo and plan to survive whatever the world throws at you with nothing more than a big survival knife and some weapons you pull off unsuspecting sheriff deputies who were foolish enough to follow you when you bug out into the woods… this post might not be for you. For a lot of the rest of us out here, there is an understood advantage to forming a larger prepping group. You can see the value in a team of people who share the common goal of survival and you realize the wisdom in pooling your resources with a group of individuals who are able to mutually benefit each other in a time of crisis.

The only problem is how to find other preppers near you without possibly ruining any OPSEC you have tried to maintain or by looking desperate.

A reader name Mike sent the following question:

“I am from Truckee CA. and am trying to find other preppers in the Truckee area. The Truckee community seems like they are all using social networks ??? I do not use social networks (too easy to be tracked by the government) any suggestions how I can meet other preppers ???”

Mike mentions that he realizes that people in the prepping community are using social networks but he, like a lot of others doesn’t feel comfortable using them himself. I certainly don’t blame him but I think there are some ways that our modern communication options and yes social media too can be leveraged that would limit your exposure. I am fully aware that the NSA is spying on every single digital piece of our lives so if you aren’t comfortable using social media you should stay off.

Why would you want to meet others?

There is strength in numbers so a larger survival group is going to be able to do more. With more people you have more ideas, more resources, more skills, more intuition, perspective and wisdom. Of course all of those things could be negatives too if personalities clash or if you and your MAG (Mutual Assistance Group) disagrees and you are on the losing side of a particular issue. If there were a true disaster you could wind up in worse shape if your group turns on you so this is one aspect of prepping that deserves a lot of careful research and contemplation.

There are whole books devoted to forming the perfect survival group and how to conduct things like decision-making (who gets to make them) and the creation of rules, a governing body, types of social order and that is beyond the scope of this post. Any group can have good points and bad points, but I think the generally accepted belief is that you would be better off in a group of your choosing now before any crisis than on your own after a crisis. The trick is to choose wisely.

So where would you start in the process of looking for a place to find other preppers? There are some obvious ones and not so obvious ones but I would probably think that finding a responsible mature survival group would not be as simple as searching on a website.



There are websites out there that seem devoted to matching you up with a prepper group. Sites like prepperlink.com and ITS Tactical have forums devoted to helping you find a prepping buddy where you can usually search by location. The idea is that you go into your state, announce yourself as looking for a group and then everyone will talk to you about their group, but I see a few problems with this approach. First, the ideal survival group would have to be on that forum you are looking through, want to talk to you, and on top of that, currently accepting other people. It is really hit or miss.

Never kiss on the first date

There are other websites out there like MeetUp.com which I think are a little more promising. I have used Meetup.com to find a prepping group near me and attended meetings. This group was not what I would call a MAG, but they might grow into that over time. They have regular meetings and are a good place to meet like-minded people. Every time they met there were topics around prepping, survival or self-sufficiency covered. In a setting like this you aren’t really there to specifically join a survival group, but you are interested in what they are saying. I am sure that some of the people were actually involved together but the meetings were much more informal, anyone could join and was probably a way for them to vet members before they approached them. Actually, the Meet Up I attended could have had multiple separate groups and I wouldn’t have known.

For me personally in looking for a survival group I am not so much looking for a group, but looking for people. Each person in the group is going to be someone you trust with your life. If there is no trust, then why join anyone? This may be something that you need to build over time by talking to the most logical choices out there; your friends and family. If you don’t have some friends who share the same beliefs as you, why are you hanging around them?

In all my time as a prepper I don’t know that I have ever been completely transparent with anyone about my motivations, fears and plans for prepping besides my wife. Actually, you the audience of the Prepper Journal are probably more privy to my thoughts than even my wife so in some ways you are my Mutual Assistance Group. You wouldn’t be at my home if the grid went down, but I have learned so much from our readers and from the other blogs in the prepping community. This type of transparency that I discuss about myself and my plans is not what you want to bring to the table on your first meeting with others. I think most of you play your prepping close to the vest too which as it turns out could work in your favor. I know that in specific instances as the case allowed I was able to share information about me that could be common to prepping but it could also fall into other categories. I don’t wear my I’m a Prepper t-shirt into work or anything like that but I have talked to co-workers on occasion as current events brought various topics to the front of conversation.

If you have friends or acquaintances you don’t have to bring up the subject of prepping at all to get a feel generally for how they perceive the world. You could discuss the recent Ebola news to gauge the level of preparedness in some people. You could talk to others about the stock market. Still others you could simply talk about hunting or shooting sports, even gardening or canning. I think the easiest group to join is the one you are already in but maybe those around you don’t have any concept of a Survival Group. Maybe they are looking too?

Do you have friends who share hobbies with you? Do you have family members that you talk to about news and your plans in certain scenarios? This is where I would start because you have a built-in level of comfort with them even on the most basic level. It is certainly better than walking into a room full of strangers or telling everyone on a forum (that anyone can see) what your plans are and where you are living. If you do want to go down that road I would make the following suggestions.

  • If you are using the internet know that what you type could potentially be seen so I would be as anonymous as possible.
  • If you want to check out forums to see if there is anyone in your area that looks promising, sign up with a fake account. Make sure this fake account uses completely fictional information about yourself to include your name, birthday and location. Write it down so you don’t forget what your fake birthday is if they ask for that. Most just want an email and password.
  • Get a new email address that does not have your name in it. Sure, Google or anyone else could find out who you are but if your email is [email protected] it is better than [email protected] This will give you some anonymity from the people you are contacting, not the NSA.
  • Don’t offer up too much information. I would start generally asking questions, but non-invasive questions. You could say you are looking for a group and maybe what your skills are and the general location you live in. See how the conversation progresses. If nobody responds you don’t have your details out there for anyone to read.
  • If you do make contact it might make sense to take anything further offline as much as possible. You can trade emails and take your conversations off the forum. They are still electronic but not out there for everyone to see.
  • I would never use Facebook to look for a survival group. Just forget that.
  • Try MeetUp.com and search for prepper groups or survival or self-reliant living. Go to some meetings and get to know people for a while to see if you have any affinity with anyone there. You might be surprised.
  • Take your time and look at this like dating, sorta. You want a great relationship to blossom here, not a one night stand that you regret. Good things take time and this is no exception. A survival group conveys a huge commitment and an even larger level of trust so make sure you know why you are making the decisions and that the people you are making them with are sound.
  • Try looking for friends first who share your same beliefs and values as opposed to a whole group. One die-hard buddy is worth more than a dozen people you don’t know.

Anyone else have any experience with a survival group they want to share?

On a different note, here’s some other self-sufficiency and preparedness solutions recommended for you:

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

Survival MD (Knowledge to survive any medical crisis situation)

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

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

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

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

If you believe that you are Rambo and plan to survive whatever the world throws at you with nothing more than a big survival knife and some weapons you pull

During the last couple of days I came to realize that I’m kind of hooked on technology – if I want to search for anything like a recipe or the answer to any kind of question, I usually end up using my smartphone or laptop.

Sure, there’s nothing wrong about taking full advantage of modern tech. I mean, without my PC and Internet I wouldn’t be able to share my thoughts with you people. Still, the idea of being surrounded by too much tech should be a reason for concern considering that it takes one blackout to witness firsthand what life B.E. (before electricity) felt like.

In one of my articles (can’t remember exactly which one), I talked about how awesome it is to have powerless tools around the house. Of course, you can always use a manual food processor when the power’s out or a manual drill over an electric one, but some things just cannot be replaced. However upsetting this though may be, we kind of need out smartphones for a lot of things, not just taking pictures or playing Candy Crush while riding the subway.

Okay, so we established that mobile tech is one of those things that we can’t do without. The question at hand here is what in the Hell are we going to do when there are a power outage and our phone’s close to dying? In a previous article, I’ve shown you a clever way of charging your phone using a 9V battery and a car charger. That is, indeed, a neat trick, but hardly the only way to juice up your phone without using the outlet.

Well, after doing a bit of research, I’ve stumbled upon more flaky ways to recharge that smartphone of yours. Think the 9V battery hack was weird? Get of a load of these.

Harnessing the power of…cranks!

A hand-cranked flashlight is, without a doubt, one of the most useful items to be had in case shit hits the fan. Still, a flashlight is not enough. In general, those gadgets come with all sort of wicked options: AM\FM radio, music player, photovoltaic cells, USB ports, all of them sucking up that precious juice generated by the owner who has nothing better to do than to spin that lever.

Yes, I know that this might come off as a no-brainer, but many who own a hand-cranked gizmo overlook this option for some reason.

So, is the power out? Not a problem if you’re phone on the brink of death. Just plug your USB cable into your hand-cranked gizmo and start, well, cranking. It’s possible to use such a device to fully charge your phone’s battery, but I don’t see how you’ll be able to reach 50 percent without your arms going numb.

There’s another trick you can trick to boost the efficiency of your hand-cranked device. As many of these gizmos pack solar cells and capacitors, it would be wise to leave it in the sun before attempting to use the crank. Sure, it won’t fully charge your phone, but at least it will spare you a couple of hours of cranking.

Hack your landlines!

If prepping was a patient with OCD, I would say that he had a thing for landlines. Don’t get me wrong; landlines are a great way of staying in contact with the outside in case of a natural or man-made disaster. In case of a power outage, landlines will still have some juice inside. Why not take advantage of this?

Here’s a clever trick of how to get some of those amps inside your dying phone. Keep in mind that this project requires a bit of tinkering. However, when you’re done, that phone box of yours will double up as an emergency phone charger. Now, for this project you will need:

  • Phone cord.
  • USB cable.
  • 5V voltage regulator. There are usually 52V inside that phone box, so you will need this regulator in order to make the outlet compatible with your smartphone’s battery. Otherwise, you’ll end up frying your phone. Voltage regulator looks, more or less, like TV or computer chips, only a lot bigger. They have three prongs for input, output, and grounding. You can probably find them at your local hardware store, in the electronics section (the one you need is labeled ‘7805’).
  • Knife.
  • Soldering iron.
  • Electrical tape (optional).


Here’s what to do in order to hack your phone box

Step 1. Start by exposing the cables of your phone cord. Leave a plug on the other end, because that one will go in the phone box. There should be two wires: red one (this will be your input) and a green one (grounding).

Step 2. Next, expose the wires of your USB cable using the knife. You’ll see four cables: red, blue, green, and black.

Step 3. Put the voltage regulator on your work table. To ensure that you solder the wires to the correct prongs, flip the chip (the ‘7805’ should be facing you).

Step 4.  Solder the phone cord’s red wire to the first prong (that’s the left one).

Step 5. Solder the phone cord’s green wire to the regulator’s grounding prong (that’s the middle one). You’re doing great! Halfway there.

Step 6. Solder the USB cable’s black wire to the regulator’s middle prong. Yes, you can solder it on top of the phone cord’s green wire.

Step 7. Solder the USB cable’s red wire to the regulator’s output prong (that would be the one on your right).

(Optional) Use some electrical tape to cover the soldering points on the regular.

Step 8. Plug the phone cord into the box and the USB cable in your smartphone. Congrats! You now have an emergency phone charger outlet.

When life gives you lemons, make electricity.

Lemonade is not the only thing that you can make out of lemons. In case of a major emergency – say you want to send out of short message or call the authorities, it may be possible to reboot your phone using fruit-generated electricity.

Yes, I know exactly how it sounds, but it works. Don’t expect to get a full charge on a single lemon (you’ll need at least 1,000 of them to get your phone’s power cell to 100 percent). Anyway, here’s how to boot up your phone by harnessing the power of electrochemical reaction. Start by gathering your materials. For this project you will need:

  • Zinc or galvanized nails.
  • Copper nails (you can replace them with coin or paper clips).
  • Copper wires.
  • Mini-USB cable.
  • Six lemons.

Here’s how to piece together your lemony phone charger

Step 1. Expose the USB cable’s wires using a knife. Leave the mini-USB plug on the other end. You should see a red and a black wire with orange strips.

Step 2. Arrange your lemons in a circle.

Step 3. Insert zinc nail on the left side of the lemon.

Step 4. Insert a copper nail\paper clip\coin on the right side of the lemon.

Step 5. Connect or solder the USB cable’s red wire to the zinc nail inserted in the lemon on the left side.

Step 6. Connect or solder the USB cable’s black wire with orange strips to the zinc nail inserted in the lemon on the right side.

Step 7. Connect or solder the copper wire of the left lemon with zinc nail inserted in the lemon behind it. Repeat this operation to close the circuit.

Step 8. Plug the mini-USB into your phone and wait for the magic to happen.

(Advice) If you don’t have lemons around the house, you can try with oranges or other acidic fruits.

Onions make me cry, but at least I have a full battery

Because I’m madly in love with these strange science projects, I found another way to charge my phone using stuff found in the fridge. In this case, the one giving away its life so your phone might live to tell the tale is the onion. Don’t cry for me, Duracell. As in the case of the lemon charger, the onion one relies on electrochemistry. Here’s what you’ll need to whip up an onion-based electricity generator:

  • One onion (the bigger, the better).
  • Any kind of beverage containing electrolytes (I used a bottle of Gatorade for this project, but you can use anything you like or have around the house).
  • One large bowl.
  • One phone charger.

Sounds delightful, doesn’t it? Here’s how to make your first onion charger.

Step 1. Using a Philips screwdriver or an awl, poke two holes on either side of the onion.

Step 2. Fill your bowl with Gatorade or your favorite electrolytic beverage.

Step 3. Place the onion in the bowl and allow it to soak for at least 15 minutes. The holes you’ve just poked will allow the Gatorade to get inside that onion fast.

Step 4. Once the time has passed, take the onion out of the bowl and place it on a clean towel.

Step 5. Use the towel to dry your onion.

Step 6. Stick the USB end of your charging cable into the onion. Doesn’t matter where you insert it.

Step 7. Connect the mini-USB end to your phone and let the magic happen. If you’re still not convinced, drain your battery completely and connect to the Gatorade-soaked onion to see what happens.

Wrap Up

I feel compelled to stress out once more that these should not be, under any circumstances, considered permanent solutions. The only thing that comes close to an outlet is one of those portable batteries.  If you don’t have one, you should consider making a small investment. Check out your local auto stores for those jumper packs – great for starting your car when the battery’s dead, but can also help you charge other devices such as laptops, smartphones, radios or tablets.

I strongly advise you to exercise extra caution when crafting those onion or lemon-based generators. Technically speaking, they should work. However, don’t be surprised if your phone suddenly goes up in flames. If you don’t have other means of charging your smartphone, better get a meter in there to see if the voltage is fine.

Another thing to keep in mind is that phone box chargers are very tricky. Well, you don’t need a Ph.D. in astrophysics to solder a couple of wires, but it is rather difficult to get ahold of that voltage regulator.

Sure, there are plenty of websites that sell them by the dozen, yet in case of a blackout, this is not really a viable option. If you can’t find any at your local store, it may be possible to salvage one or two working ones from an old VCR or a tape recorder. I wouldn’t go tinkering around TVs because they use entirely different regulators. You can also try your luck with an electrical-powered short-wave radio.

That’s about it on alternative ways to juice up your smartphones during a blackout. What’s your take on this? Hit the comments section and let me know.

On a different note, here’s some other self-sufficiency and preparedness solutions recommended for you:

The Lost Ways (The vital self-sufficiency lessons our great grand-fathers left us)
Survival MD (Knowledge to survive any medical crisis situation)
Backyard Liberty (Liberal’s hidden agenda: more than just your guns…)
Alive After the Fall (Build yourself the only unlimited water source you’ll ever need)
The Lost ways II (4 Important Forgotten Skills used by our Ancestors that can help you in any crisis)
The Patriot Privacy Kit (Secure your privacy in just 10 simple steps)

Being surrounded by too much tech should be a reason for concern considering that it takes one blackout to witness firsthand what life B.E. (before electricity) felt like.

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

Improv trash can

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

Watering can for flowers and veggies

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

Emergency mask

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

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

Solar still

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

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

Craft a raft

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

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

Waterproof tinder box

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


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

Fish and small animal trap

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

Makeshift kettle

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

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

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

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

Yup, you read the headline right – today we’re going to have a nice and cozy chat about how lady supplies can very well save your ass one day. As someone who has bought more tampons than he could ever care to remember, I always wondered if those things can be used for other purposes then, well… you know.

Anyway, after digging around for a while, a stumbled upon this nice prepping forum where the topic was tampons. Although everything could have gone to shit, the people there were surprisingly very open about sharing their opinions on how to use feminine supplies in a shit hits the fan situation.

So, without further ado, here are 15 ways to use tampons for survival.

Bandage Replacement

Since most tampons are made from pure cotton, obviously they can be used as bandages in case of a medical emergency. I would venture to say that they’re more efficient in stopping bleeding compared to regular gauze since they’re manufactured to, well, suck out every drop of blood.

Don’t forget to keep the pressure on that wound and to stack as many tampons as necessary to stop the bleeding.


If you run out of char cloth, you could make some more using a tampon. Unwrap the thing and pour some lighter fluid on it before setting it on fire. Alternatively, you apply a thin layer of petroleum jelly.

Ear mufflers

Neighbors too loud? Mosquitos won’t stop buzzing around? No problem. Take a tampon out of its wrapper, rip it in half, and stuff the pieces in your ears. Now you’re all set for nap time.

Dry-clean yourself

If you forgot to pack a towel, use a couple of tampons to dry yourself. As most of them pack some kind of perfume, you could very well end up smelling like the proverbial rose. They’re also very useful for wiping your forehead of sweat.

Patch up tent holes

A hole in the tent’s tarp is no laughing matter, especially if you plan on camping during mosquito season. If you don’t have anything else, you could use to repair the hole, take a tampon out of its wrapper, strip some cotton, cover the hole, and apply some duct tape.

Craft an emergency candle

If your tac light’s out of juice, it’s possible to make an emergency candle out of a tampon. Get a bell or mason jar, fill with oil, fat, wax or petroleum jelly and stick a tampon in it. Allow it to soak the fuel and set it ablaze. Haven’t tested this out yet, but, apparently, the flame from burning a tampon is powerful enough for cooking. Let me know if it works.


As gory as this may sound, a blood-soaked tampon can be used to bait fish. And no, it doesn’t have to be human blood – you can use some from a freshly-gutted game or a smaller fish.

Self-defense\offensive weapon

Well, when shit really hits the fan, you’ll want to do everything to get your ass to safety, even if that includes torching someone or something with a tampon Molotov cocktail.

To craft one, get yourself an empty glass bottle and fill it with lamp or gas. Take a tampon out of its wrapper and dip it in some petroleum jelly (you can also soak it in lighter fluid). Place the tampon inside the bottle but leave a bit dangling outside. Flip the bottle a couple of times to soak the tampon in oil or gas. Set fire to the part sticking out and let it rip.

A waterproof carrier for tinder and matches

Lost your tinder box? No problem. To avoid getting those matches and tinder soaking-wet, place them in a tampon wrapper and store them in your bug out bag. As many tampons come with a small, metallic case, you may be able to use that in order to craft a new Tinder box.

Extra cordage

Don’t panic if you run out of cordage. If there are tampons left in your backpack, take them out of their wrapper and cut them into smaller stripes using your multi-tool or survival knife. Tie the heads together, and voila, you have an extra piece of rope.

Figuring out the wind direction

If ever in doubt as to the wind direction, use a tampon. Take a small pole, attach a tampon to one of the ends and stick it in the ground. You’re welcome!

Corking a bottle

Should you lose your bottle’s cork or have to use it for any purpose, use a tampon to cork your wine bottle or whatever.

Making an emergency potty

You can make your own portable toilet by using a couple of tampons and a large zip-lock bag. Here’s what to do. First of all, ensure that there are no holes in the bag. Next, unwrap a couple of tampons, and get them inside the zip-lock bag.

That’s it! You now have a pocket-size emergency toilet- great for number one, though I’m too sure about the other one (would be stupid to carry your own crap in a plastic bag, but survival makes us do ‘amazing’ things).

Water filtration

If you run out of water purification tablets or have no other means of sterilizing water, use a tampon and a plastic bottle. Put as many tampons as possible inside the bottle and pour water. The process will take a while, but the water collected at the bottom is safe to drink.

Treat blisters

I don’t think there’s any universe where blisters are embraced. Doesn’t matter if you’re hiking or running for your life, those blisters will slow you down.

Now, if you have one on your foot, it may be possible to reduce the friction between the skin and boot and, at the same time, protect the area by duct taping a tampon over the blister. Yes, it looks awful, but it works.

Well, that’s about it on how to use tampons in a shit hit the fan situation. What’s your take on this? Hit the comments section and let me know.

Yup, you read the headline right – today we’re going to have a nice and cozy chat about how lady supplies can very well save your ass one day.

Now, before you hit that ‘close’ button, hear me out. Yes, I am keenly aware of the fact that most of you don’t use baby wipes for other purposes than, well, wiping your behind. True for the most part, but there’s more to them than just another picture of a baby smiling to his momma.

Remember the story about my old college roommate, who considered that the shower is just another room and not a place to wash? Well, what can I say? I’m a softie when it comes to my college days, and in recounting those days of yore, I have decided to piece together a short and sweet list about other ways to use baby wipes.

So, without further ado or other stinky stories from the author, here are 18 ways you can use baby wipes in an SHTF situation. Enjoy and try not to cringe.

Hemorrhoid buster

Well, since they are obviously designed to be used in that part where the sun doesn’t shine, let’s go along with that. As the proud father of one, I can state for a fact that there’s no surefire way to relieve pain or make them go away. It’s more of a trial-and-error thing. Anyway, baby wipes are great for treating bursting hemorrhoids, but not on their own.

As Mom Nature never ceases to amaze when it comes to healing stuff, the secret to getting rid of hemorrhoids for good is witch hazel. Nope, doesn’t have anything to do with an actual witch or bubbling cauldrons. It’s a shrub-like plant that grows like crazy in America – bet you have one in your backyard and you didn’t even know (you went around back to check, didn’t you?).

So, to give them hemorrhoids a run for the money, pack some fresh witch hazel in a baby wipe and apply. ‘Twould be best to use witch hazel essence, but that stuff’s hard to come across. Be sure to wash the stems thoroughly before placing it on your tushie.

Great for Making Go-Loos

Got nowhere to go when the tummy mambo begins? No problem there. You can easily piece together a makeshift toilet by using some paper tissues or plain paper or cloth and some baby wipes. Here’s how to do it – look around for a discarded container: tin can, plastic bottle, old bin, a box, anything. I would go with a can, but anything helps in this case.

Just stick as much tissue as you can inside and put some baby wipes on top. And that’s how you get rid of the nasty smell. You can also use this portable loo to discard any used tissues along the way. Just be sure to keep it as far away from your body parts as possible.

Extra TP!

No more TP around the house? There’s no need to run to the store if you have a pack of baby wipes lying around. Get them out of the pack and let them dry out. There you go – you know have a week’s worth supply of TP. Sorry, no double or triple layer this time.

Get rid of that foul pillow smell

If you’re too busy to change pillowcases, you can use baby wipes to improve the smell. I wouldn’t recommend using this trick too often as nasty smells are always accompanied by bacteria.

So, to make the smell go away, grab a baby wipe, and pour a couple of drops of essential oil. Stick in the pillowcase and enjoy a good night’s rest. I usually use this trick when I go out camping; one-day trips are okay, but after the second day, the smell will be off-putting, to say the least. So, keep them baby wipes coming.

Temporary face mask

Though the dust mask shouldn’t be missing from your bug out bag, there are cases where it can be out of reach. If you really must cross an area filled with toxic fumes, grab a baby wipe, and cover your nose and mouth. Works as long as the tissue remains moist. So, this will give you five to ten minutes, at best.

On that note, I would like to state for the fact that it’s always a good idea to carry a small pack of the baby pack. Yes, I know that there aren’t enough pockets to go around, but they’re great for all kind of odd jobs.

Escape from a snowbank

Of course, I have a pack of baby wipes in my glove compartment. Why shouldn’t I? Now, if your car gets trapped in the snow, you can sort of rock your way out of the snowbank by using the baby wipes package. Just stick it under the back wheel, and hit the gas pedal. It works even better than kitty litter and sand! The good part is that you’re out of the snowbank. The bad news is that you’re short of one pack of baby wipes.

Clean gym gear

As someone who NEEDS to hit the gym at least twice a week (that would be my doc calling the shots, not me), I really want to know that all the things I’ll be using are squeaky-clean. So, if you’re a clean freak like me, use a couple of baby wipes to clean things like dumbbell handles, bars, or whatever. Use a paper tissue afterward to dry them before use. Otherwise, you may end up with shitty traction.

Get rid of bird poop from your windshield

I swear to God that those rats with wings can fit a whole fridge in their stomachs. Dunno what to do about them though, but I do have a surefire way to remove the crap from the windshield. Yup, it’s baby wipes. Don’t need to scrub or use extra fluid – scrub the shit stains with one or two wipes, and you’re good to go. Also works magic on the other car parts.


When you feel that the heat’s just too much, just use a couple of them to wipe your eyebrows and forehead. Yes, I know it sounds stupid, but you’ll thank me afterward. While you’re at it, you can use baby wipes on your chest and armpits to reduce sweating rate. On top of that, you literally come out of this one smelling like the proverbial rose.

What’s with the dirty feet, Fido?

As a pet owner, I can easily say that the only downside of owning one, especially a dog, is to try and convince the pooch to hit the bath after going outside. Well, the Hell with quick baths – use a couple of wipes to clean the dirt off their paws. They’re also great for relieving sores.

Get rid of dust and spiderwebs

I can’t even fathom just how much I hate cleaning the ceiling and those corners. And, I don’t really know what to say about this one, but every time I get to this part, I usually end on the floor or with a nasty bump on my head. Anyway, if really must perform this task, forget the ladder or the vacuum cleaner. Just get a broom or a long stick, wrap a baby wipe on one end, and clean. Those spiderwebs will never know what hit them!

Rejuvenate leather upholstery

Fact: leather upholstery’s expensive as Hell. Yes, I know this would qualify as a wrong call in prepper’s terms, but, hey, trying arguing with my wife. Now, I have to admit that they look very nice, yet they’re so hard to maintain. Well, if you’re all out of leather care lotion, you can use a couple of baby wipes. Works great for the cleaning part and also gives the leather a shine.

Remove grease from frying pans

If you’re on kitchen duty, use this cheat: grab a couple of baby wipes if you need to clean greasy frying pans. Works better than dish detergent.


Since they have trace amounts of antibacterial solutions, baby wipes are great for minor medical emergencies: cuts, bruises, sunburns, and windburns. If you ever run out of gauze, you can use a couple of wipes to control the bleeding. Now, I wouldn’t use them for big bleeder, ‘because that would be like using gasoline to put out a fire.

Car emergencies

Since I might have mentioned something about cars and becoming snowbound, here’s another reason why you should keep a box or two of wipes in your car: emergencies. Need to fix something? There’s a fair chance that you’ll end up with slime, dirt, or grease on your hands. Grab a couple of wipes get yourself cleaned up. Don’t forget to toss those wipes in the trash, not on the road like some morons I saw a couple of days ago.

Best travel companion ever

I can say for the fact that I can’t even consider crashing anywhere, no matter if it’s a sleazy motel or a five-star resort, without at least one pack of baby wipes. Granted, it’s a little bit excessive to start cleaning a whole hotel room using baby wipes, but the toilet will need a good scrubbing before you can sit on it. If you’re not a germ freak, do bear in mind that uncleaned toilets are like a breeding pool for disease such as hepatitis.

Wipe phone screens

Did you know that there are at least five types of bacteria on your phone screen? Sure, tell me that I’m a clean freak, but you won’t be so cheerful after the doc says that you got cauliflower ear from your phone’s screen. Yeah, do yourself a favor and clean your smartphone’s screen as frequent as possible to reduce the chances of an infection.

Taking a shower without taking a shower

Of course, I couldn’t conclude this piece without saying a few words about my former college roommate who used baby wipes instead of a shower. Now, if you find yourself in a situation where you either have to hold on to every ounce of water, you can use baby wipes to clean yourself.

Yes, I know that it’s not the same thing as sitting in the shower, pondering about the meaning of life, but what can I say? Shit happens! As someone who tried this a couple of times, I would like to say one thing: don’t use baby wipes on your schlong – it stings and leaves behind one Hell of a sore.

That’s about it on clever ways to use baby wipes in a shit hits the fan situation. Think something’s missing from 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

So, without further ado or other stinky stories from the author, here are 18 ways you can use baby wipes in an SHTF situation. Enjoy and try not to cringe.

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!


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.


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.