HomePosts Tagged "Prepping" (Page 18)

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

Yesterday evening I had a couple of friends over for a kick-ass movie night. Of course, you know how these things usually turned out – after the second movie, we’ve decided to take the party outside (yes, I know it’s still kind of nippy, but after a couple of cold ones, who cares?) Anyway, one of the movies we’ve watched was what you might call a prepping cult-classic: Kevin Reynolds’ Water World, starring Kevin Costner and Dennis Hopper. You can’t get more old-school than this.

Now, halfway through the movie, there was this brief scene depicting some shady and raggedy characters huddling around a fire made in this rusty fuel barrel. Not the most breath-taking scene from the movie but actually the only one that somehow got stuck in my head. So, after replaying this scene a couple of times in mind, something clicked in there – what would happen if we all had to find fuel barrels in order to keep warm?

Yes, I know it’s one hell of depression though, but anything can happen when shift hits the fan. Think you’ll still be able to use the water heater or your fancy, voice-activated smart AC? Obviously that everything goes down the brown swing when disaster hits. And you don’t need a nuke or EMP of the coming of the second Black Plague to witness first-hand what it means to get on your knees and beg for a heating source.

Anywho, you know what I’m talking about, so I won’t go into many details. So, after the movie night, I put on my mad scientist lab coat and decided to do a little home experiment. My goal was to come up with a heat source that was powerful enough to heat up a small room and, at the same time, help me prepare something very basic, like hot water.

Easier said than done. The first challenge was finding some fuel, but not gasoline or petroleum or gas. Those are the first things that disappear during an SHTF situation. So, I needed something that was easy enough to obtain, cheap, and, if possible, lying around the house. Although it took me a couple of hours to figure it out, even though the answer was staring me in the face, I ended up using cooking oil as food. Neat, but “how the Hell am I going to burn this?”, I asked myself.

So, after some deliberation, I hopped into my van and went into town for a couple of supplies. For this project, I bought two 4-ounce ball jars – you can find them in every thrift store – two wicks, and four bricks. Yes, I know it’s a weird shopping list, but then again, most of the stuff we preppers do can pass as peculiar to most people.

Now, for the first step of my project, I’ve tried to make emergency candles from cooking oil. It’s super easy, and they really put out quite a flame if you’re careful enough to screw the lid nice and tight. Here’s what you will need to do in order to complete the first phase of your alternative heating source project.

Making Quick Cooking Oil Candles

First thing’s first – choosing your poison. For my part, I stuck with sunflower oil since I have a near-endless supply in my pantry and I could always go and get more if I want. However, you’re free to use any kind of oil you like; heard that palm oil is a great alternative to sunflower and not just in matters of crafting heating devices. It’s ludicrously cheap and has, more or less, the same taste like the one made from sunflower seed. You can also reuse the oil from your deep fry machine or cast-iron pans.

So, after getting all the stuff together, here’s what you will need to do in order to make those candles\burners.

Step 1. Take an awl or anything pointy and puncture the lid. You don’t need a large hole. Should be enough for your wick to pass through.

Step 2. Get one end of the wick through the hole. If you can’t find any wicks, you can also use cotton shreds or any piece of cloth. Just don’t use textile that has been treated with fire retardant textile substances (winter jackets, pieces of carpet, and upholstery, in general).

Step 3. Put the other end of the wick inside the bell jar. Make sure that you have enough of the stuff, as the fire will eat through that stuff. If you’re thinking about upscaling your project, you may be able to make a sort of lamp out of a canning jar and a longer wick.

If I were you, I would pick one of those jars that come in with a handle – just be careful not to burn your paw while holding the thing. Moreover, about the moving part – it’s not a good idea to move the thing into another room. The chances of a house fire are very real and very scary.

Step 4. It’s now time to add the fuel. Carefully pour the cooking oil inside the jar. Don’t spill any on end sticking out of the lid. Otherwise you’ll have trouble setting fire to the wick.

Step 5. Secure the lid, and that’s it. Now, for the best results, I would advise you to leave you burners be for at least 24 hours. By that time, the wicks would have drawn enough fuel to allow you to light them up fast. If you’re using regular cotton or ripped fabric instead of wicks, you should allow them to soak a little longer. Moreover, I wouldn’t advise dipping the other end in oil to make the candlelight faster because you’ll end up with more smoke and less flame.

Already done with your emergency candles? Great! If everything’s hunky-dory, then you’re ready for phase two of your heating project. For this, you’ll go to need some bricks or two concrete slabs, a thin tray (I “borrowed” a cookie tray from my wife) and a pan. Here’s what you will need to do in order to create an awesome room-heating device.

Piecing together the heater

Step 1. Place the concrete slabs or brick on the ground, preferably in the center of your room with all the doors and windows closed. You may want to grab a thermometer for your experiment in order to take a reading before and after the heating device has been switched on.

Step 2. Lay the tray on your slabs or bricks.

Step 3. Place two homemade emergency candles\burners right beneath the center of your tray.

Step 4. Light up your candles. It will take a while for them to generate heat. I know I told you to keep the doors and windows closed to see just how much heat your thingamajig can generate, but you may want to keep the front door ajar, especially until the heaters go into stasis.

The thought never crossed my mind while performing the experiment, so I ended up fumigating the entire living room. Yes, I know that it will probably take me days to get rid of that smell, but hey, at least I managed to whip up a device capable of heating up a small room in case of an emergency.

Step 5. After half an hour or so, the flames are going to stabilize. Of course, your tray will take quite a bit, but you know the saying – it’s for the good of science. So, after you get a steady flame, you may try to see if the tray resting on top of the concrete slabs can boil water.

As far as the heating part is concerted, I managed to get a 10-degree rise with just two burners. It may be possible to convert the whole thing into an efficient house heating device, but that would require more makeshift heaters and, of course, a metal surface capable of deflecting heat far better than a tin tray. I was thinking about using four burners and thing steel sheet for my next experiment.

Remember that show Jackass which used to air on MTV? They had this message at the beginning of the show: “all the stunts have been performed by professionals. Don’t try this at home.” Well, that’s exactly the sort of advice that I want to give you – don’t try this indoors.

No matter how fire-proofed your test area is, there’s always a chance of something bad happening. If this is your first time, you would be better off doing it in an area without flammable substance. If you have a fire extinguisher at home, keep it close just in case – I really wouldn’t try to put out that kind of fire with water.

Anyway, keep a close watch on the top of the try. Once it turns black, it means that you’re all set to begin the third and final phase of the experiment – bringing water to a boil. I know that for the layman this may be a bit silly, but do keep in mind that in any SHTF situation, the whole idea is to get more while spending the minimum amount of energy and available resources.

So, after the thin tray starts to black, fill a pan with tap water. Place it in the middle of the tray and keep a close watch. Now, this is the point where the results differ. From what I understood after doing a bit of research, someone who attempted the experiment said that he managed to boil a gallon of water in 15 minutes.

Was a bit suspicious about that but, hey, that’s what experimenting’s for. Turned out that I was right all along. After waiting around for about 45 minutes, nothing was happening – no bubbles, no mist, no nothing. It was as though I’d placed the pan on the floor or any other cool spot.  So, after the frustration kicked in, I took the pot off the tray and placed on the stove.

I got to a boil really fast, and then I transferred the pot back to the improvised heater. Again, nothing happened. In fact, even though both burners were working, they weren’t strong enough to maintain a steady temperature.

As for the results of this little experiment, here’s what I managed to jot down in my notebook. In case you’re looking for a heater or AC alternative, this Bunsen burner wannabee is quite efficient. Even with two sunflower oil-based candles, you’ll still be able to get a 10-degrees ambient temp increase.

However, as for the part of using this device to boil water or to cook food, I wouldn’t bet my last dime on it. Of course, the design itself may be faulty, since most of the heat’s lost through the gaps created by the tray and concrete slabs, but then again, the whole purpose of this experiment was to create a quick and efficient heating device with fuel that can literally be found anywhere.

Anyway, instead of my usual wrap-up, I’m gonna end this article with a question for you: Do you think this device is able to fully substitute a water heater, AC or your run-of-the-mill oil barrel bonfire? Would love to read your answers in the comment section. Meanwhile, I’ll try my best to get rid of this awful smell before she gets home.

My goal was to come up with a heat source that was powerful enough to heat up a small room and, at the same time, help me prepare something very

‘Couple of days ago I was at home watching this movie about Cowboys and Indians. Great flick (Dances with wolves, it’s called), great actors – all in all, two hours well spent.

Why cowboys, Indians, and frontiersmen, you ask? Well, without getting into many details, the image of the tobacco-spitting, gun-slinging, man-of-fortune, which Hollywood was kind enough to sear into our retinae, it’s not quite what you would call representative.

In fact, life in the Wild West was not that wild – the village fool wasn’t made Marshall and trains weren’t robbed on a daily basis. Still, papa Hollywood did get one thing straight; life was pretty rough, meaning that the man had to do what a man had to do in order to pull through and to make a name for himself.

And then it struck me – cowboys weren’t those guys in goofy hats and chaffing pants, but the first preppers. The same thing could also be said about all those great and brave men who wore the shoes or rather the hat of David Crockett. Yes, those gun-toting maniacs were, indeed very knowledgeable when it came to surviving; you had no choice back then. One mistake, and it was curtains for you.

Anyway, in doing a bit of research on cowboys and frontiersmen, I stumbled upon something very curious – those guys were packing, and I’m not talking about guns here. Imagine that those goofy outfits had a reason for being that way; more pockets and satchels means more space to store things.

And, let me tell you – those guys really knew a thing or two about what I like to call carrying smart. So, history lesson aside, let me show you what I learned about packing from cowboys and frontiersmen. Without further ado, here are 7 objects 19th-century preppers carried in their pockets to survive.

  1. Knife

You thought I was going to start my list with the old six-iron, didn’t you?. So, about the knife – everybody was carrying one, regardless if he was Marshall, bank robber, saloon keeper or the town’s drunkard. Why? Because it was very useful for a lot of stuff like skinning game, splitting wood, cutting leather, and, of course, self-defense. Most 19th-century cowboy knives had a six-inch blade and were made from steel, not the stainless variety though.

Still, they were quite sturdy, mostly because all of them were made in a smithy and from cast steel. I even read somewhere that the WW1 bayonet design (the one with the groove running along the blade’s length) was mostly inspired by the bush knives carried by cowboys and frontiersmen alike.

One of the things I liked about these types of knives is the sheath – made from tanned skin and looks awfully cool. Tried making one for one of my SOG knives. I’ll tell you all about in another article.

2. Bedroll

Now, this is an interesting piece of history. For most people, bedrolls are just pieces of cloth filled with hay or something. But they’re actually more than that. In doing a bit of research into Wild West survival items, I found out that bedrolls were, in fact, multi-layered.

So, you had two outer layers, which were made from rubberized tarpaulin. These were the ones that prevented direct contact with the ground. And, when rolled up, they also prevented the inside layers from getting wet. But wait, there’s more. Apart from the exterior tarpaulin layers, the bedroll had three or four inner layers made from the quilt.  They were also called sougans. As I came to understand, all four inner layers added padding and extra insulation, especially during those cold, windy nights.

Yes, you can say that the bedroll, which was, by the way, carried on the back of the saddle or tied up to a rucksack, is, in fact, the ancestor of the sleeping bag. Possibly not as comfortable or easy to carry as nowadays bags, but hey, at least they didn’t have to sleep on the bare ground.

If you go thinking that this went out of fashion along with cowboys, you would be mistaken. Seeing that there are so many people out there ready to pay a fortune to live like a true 19th-century outdoorsman, some companies have actually rebooted the bedroll (check out Smith & Edwards Co. if you’re interested in going retro).

3. Canteen

Times may change, but canteens stay the same. There’s no denying in the fact that a canteen is one of the most important pieces of survival gear, regardless if your Crockett’s disciple or someone with an acquired taste for off-grid living.

I remember the stories my grandma used to tell me about how the French soldiers used canteens for virtually anything during WWI. There’s this one that always makes me chuckle. Apparently, during the battle of Somme, considered to one of the bloodiest in the history of modern warfare, one of those clunky Mark V tanks froze shut one night. Neither the engineers nor the crew could get the thing open.

And so, to prevent the guys inside from dying of thirst, some soldiers came up with the idea of getting water and wine through the tank’s main gun barrel. Long story short, they’ve raised the barrel high enough for them to pour water through it.

The soldiers at the other end just had to hold their canteens in front of the loading hole until they filled up. According to grandma, they kept doing this thing for a couple of days straight, until someone came up with the genius idea of blasting open the hatch with a hand grenade.

Anyway, long before WW1, canteens were in very high, mostly because they doubled up as booze holders. Interestingly enough, back then, the canteens were much bigger compared to the ones used today and made from tough materials such as steel or cast iron.

Apparently, most of them were able to hold a gallon of water or liquid. Ingenious and resourceful as they were, they even came up with a way of cooling down the water even in the scorching sun. Before blazing the trail, the Cowboys would soak a cloth, which they would wrap around the canteen. The evaporation process would prevent the water’s temp from going up. Neat, right?

4. Tinder Box

There’s something that will give just about any prepper a run for his money. Let’s get one thing straight, though – there were matches back then, but were so expensive that most outdoorsmen would often save them for trading.

However, they did have a nifty way to start a fire – the so-called tinder box. Basically, it was a weather-proof box which contained several dry pieces of wood or thin steel wool and a flint. To start a fire back then, you would have had to use your knife on the flint for sparks. Yes, I know – simple, stupid, yet very effective.

You can create a cowboy-style tinder box using char cloth and a little piece of flint. I made one at home using an old tin matchbox found in grandma’s chest of wonders. And, because I’m kind of a nutcase when it comes to B.O. Bs, I placed this one in my heavy-duty bug out bag, along with a magnesium rod, weather-proof matches, and a Zippo lighter.

5. Slickers

Yes, I know they look cool as shit, but that’s hardly the point. Back then, there were no water-repellant ponchos or raincoats. So, cowboys had to rely on the so-called slickers, which were basically, a long coat made from rubberized or tarred canvas.

Some models even came with hoods, but they were not that sought out since our outdoorsmen relied on them hats most of the time. Slickers were great at keeping the water as far away from the skin as possible, but they also doubled-up as winter clothing. And, of course, it was far easier to pack a lever-action under a slicker that on your back.

6. Bandannas

Also called wild rags or mascadas, the long pieces of cloth were useful for a lot of things, not just to conceal one’s face during a brazen heist. During the cold months of the winter, outdoorsmen would use their bandannas as scarves.

If the firefight got out of control, the brave desperado could use the bandana to spot the bleeding. Also, quite handy when it came to manual labor. For instance, farmhands would wrap their wild rags around the hands to prevent sores or even bleeding when working with the plow or pulling on ropes.

Since water filtration gadgets came long after the Wild West era, our frontiersmen had to improvise. The bandana, albeit ineffective, was sometimes used to remove chunks of dirt or rocks from puddles or other water sources. And because smelling like the insides of a dead horse would have gotten you thrown out even from the most decrepit watering hole, these bandanas would have been used as sponges or washcloths.

7. Coffee Pot

Of course, I can’t help myself from saying a thing or two about coffee and caffeine. Back in the days of the Old West, a cowboy’s most treasured possession besides his shooting iron was the coffee pot. You may laugh now, but back then a coffee pot was somewhat of a luxury. Being made from steel or cast iron meant that it was quite hard to carry in a backpack or something.

Chuckwagon drivers would usually carry one or two pots for trade or personal use. As for the lone ranger, a good morning wouldn’t have been complete with beans, bacon, cornbread, and a mug of coffee. Of course, carrying a coffee pot would be for naught if you’re missing the key ingredient which is, coffee.

Life in the Wild West was very basic, even by 19th century standards. People wanted to make a living and, at times, that was more dangerous and life-threatening than one could imagine – if the outlaws or warring Indian tribes didn’t get you, the disease would.

We do tend to have this romanticised idea of the dare devilish stranger who participates in high-noon gun duels, with a crooked smile on his face, and his teeth brighter than peals. It was never like that, and those of you who took the time to do a little bit of research about the Wild West came to realize that life, indeed, was pretty quiet.

Sure, there were bar fights and shootings at the OK Corral but those were what I like to call history’s little whims.

Hope you’ve enjoyed my article on cowboy survival gear. Don’t forget to hit the comment section and let me know what your thoughts are.

The image of the tobacco-spitting, gun-slinging, man-of-fortune, which Hollywood was kind enough to sear into our retinae, it’s not quite what you would call representative. This is.

Welcome back. I hope you’ve enjoyed my first piece on wildfires safety and prevention. Without a doubt, it’s a force of nature you don’t want to reckon with; not that you can for that matter. One of the things I’ve been trying to say over these odd years was that preppers are neither gods nor immortals. Realizing that you’re knee-deep in trouble is the first step of your journey.

Try to deny it, and you’re dead as a doorknob. So, what’s the point of prepping and buying stuff if the end-point’s the same? Well, I’m not here to wax poetics or discuss philosophy, but I am going to say this – you need to keep it together, stay focused, and get into the game before the game becomes the death of you. Surviving’s not enough; you need to thrive and continue to live like a boss even though you’ve seen and experienced some nasty stuff. Some wildfire survivors cannot even look at an open flame, let alone use it for warmth or cooking. It’s essential you put everything away so that you can go on with your life.

Anyway, to broach today’s topic which deals in how to live through a wildfire and learn to tell the tale, I want to turn towards a twisty story I’ve heard several years after moving into my newly-furbished hunting cabin. So, there I was – new house, new emergency kit, lots of open space, a little garden; we even had a small white picket fence just like in the movies.

I was very well acquainted with the ranger. And the stories he told me; Geez, talk about human stupidity and carelessness. This one time, the entire regional fire brigade was called not too far away from my cabin because some kids decided to reenact some kind of chapter house initiation ritual. Long story short, several acres of forest went up in flames, leaving those poor idiots trapped inside.

As the ranger’s story went, the EMTs and firefighters couldn’t get to where they were, but they did manage to get them on the cell. As you know, the best way to escape a chocking death is to go low and slow. And that’s what they did. The trouble is, they had to crawl through 2 miles of heavy forest, with the fire on their tails. Miraculously enough, all of them made it through. Why? Because they used their noggins for once and paid close attention to what others had to say. That’s some great piece of advice, no matter the circumstance.

This inspired me to reach out to you guys to let you know that wildfires are out there and they are, as its name suggests, pretty wild. That’s why it’s always a good idea to know what do to if you get caught in the flames. Here’s what I had in mind.

Wildfire routine, as explained by the ranger.

  • Keep calm. Panicking won’t do you any good and, chances are, you will wind up in a ditch with a “smoking-hot” tag on your toes.
  • Forest shelter. If you’re in the forest during the wildfire, your best bet would be to find an area with little to no vegetation. A ditch, a dried-up river bank, an outcrop – anything that doesn’t have leaves, branches, twigs or fuel.
  • Duck and cover. Protect your head and hands by hitting the dirt and using your Go Bag for cover.
  • Wait. Don’t assume for a moment that the danger has passed just because you can’t see the flames. Wait around for a bit. In the meantime, try to get ahold of the authorities with you CB or cell.
  • Move only if necessary. If there’s danger nearby, leg it! Don’t run through as that will force your lungs to inhale more of those poisonous fumes. Steady your pace and keep your head down. If the smoke cloud’s too thick hit the deck and crawl to a safe spot.
  • House fight. If you have a little hunting cabin just like I have, stay indoors with all windows and doors locked and sealed. Before heading inside, don’t forget to turn on all your sprinklers and to aim them at the roof and outer walls. That should keep the masonry from reaching critical temperatures. If you have dust or hazard masks, use them. They’re not Halloween accessories, you know.
  • Cannonball! One nifty trick I’ve learned from the ranger is that you can seek shelter from wildfire by taking a skinny dip. Yup, if you happen to come across a body of water during a wildfire, jump in and stay there until it’s safe. Don’t forget to keep your head out of the water for as long as possible. If the flames extend over the water’s surface, take a quick look around for a safe place to get out, submerge, swim, and get away. Don’t take the skinny dip part too literally. Keep your clothes on.

Feels like I’m reliving a chapter from Emerson’s Self-Reliance. Well, when you’re a prepper, that’s what you basically do – become the character of your own survival book. I can’t say for sure what scares me the worst; the fact that wildfires exist and they cause a lot of damage, or that one of my peers is very likely to start one out of sheer stupidity. I’ll leave that one up to you, for the time being.

But think about this – what are the odds of a wildfire springing up in my neighborhood? Don’t go out there thinking that city folks are more protected from Mom Nature’s wrath just because they hide behind concrete and iron walls.

One more thing – have plenty of cash on hand. Doesn’t matter if it’s a wildfire or another natural disaster. Cash is king at any given time. That’s why I always like to put some money in my glove compartment and my Go Bag. See you around, guys, and stay safe.

Some wildfire survivors cannot even look at an open flame, let alone use it for warmth or cooking. It’s essential you put everything away and start prepping so that you

One thing you learn as a prepper is that any new skill you acquire will come handy one the day, cooking including. Sure, not all of us have the talent of whipping up a terrine or a souffle, but at least we learn to go by without actually having to starve to death or wasting away money on takeaways.

For my part, I actually managed to pick up a thing or two about the art of preparing delish and nutritious meals during one of those long blackouts. Yes, I’m still here, and no, the city council hasn’t gotten around to fixing the problem yet.

Now, for most of us, cooking’s not that big of a deal – get online, pick a recipe, follow the steps, and, Shazam, dinner’s ready! Still, the rules of engagement tend to change a bit if you’re forced to do the same thing during a power outage.

No electricity means that you will not be able to use the mixer, microwave, electric oven, toaster, and whatever cooking appliance running on electricity. Such a situation calls for some serious improv and, in today’s article, I’m going to show you my favorite blackout dishes and how to cook ‘em.

So, without further ado, here are my top 7 choices in no-power food.

  1. Oats

Yes, I know they’re not palatable, but they do wonder for the body. Most importantly, you can prepare anywhere and at any time, power or no power. Just let them soak overnight in a bowl of water. You can serve them for breakfast or dinner with assorted nuts, honey, and dehydrated fruits.


2. Gazpacho

Great Spanish dish and stupidly easy to make. I personally like to have fresh gazpacho year-round, since it’s packed with vitamins and minerals. More than that, this over glorified tomato soup is a wonderful thirst quencher during those hot summer days.

So, grab yourself a couple of diced tomatoes cans and empty them inside a large bowl (don’t forget to drain all of the juice). All that remains is to add one chopped onion, a thinly-sliced cucumber, a dash of cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper. If you’re looking for a bit a hit, you can add one teaspoon of Tabasco. Finish the dish by adding a little bit of olive oil, chopped parsley, and some lemon juice. That’s it!

3. Corn salad

This is what I like to call the lazy man’s easy way out of the kitchen. I usually like to prepare this dish when my wife’s away – kids love it, and it takes me about five minutes to get everything ready. So, it’s a win-win. Take a can of corn, drain the excess liquid, and put the contents inside a large bowl.

Chop any veggies you have left in the fridge (I like to add onions, red and yellow bell peppers, and tomatoes to my salad). For extra flavor, you can add a can of black beans. Toss it around a little, add a sprinkle of olive oil, and serve. If you fancy a bit of dressing, you can quickly make one by combining apple cider vinegar, olive oil, dried basil, pepper, and salt in a bowl.

4. A simple salad with apples and white beans

By far, my wife’s favorite Sunday morning salad. Super easy to make: pour the contents of white beans can in a large bowl and add some apple chunks. To finish the dish, you need only add some olive oil, fresh thyme, a handful of walnuts, salt, pepper, and scallions. Give it a good mix and serve.


5. Good, old grains and beans salad

This is one of the first recipes I learned during the first bout of blackouts. It’s very handy to know since anyone has at least one can of beans and a grain sack around the house. Take out your portable stove from the B.O.B and boil water in a small pan. Add the grains and let them cook for about 10 minutes.

Drain the grains and allow them to cool down. In a large bowl, combine one can of beans (works great with both black and grain beans) and the pre-cooked grains. Add salt, pepper, and a sprinkle of olive oil. If you wanna add consistency to your dish, throw in a couple of diced veggies, and chickpeas.

6. Chickpea or white beans spread

If you ever get tired of PB & J sandwiches, you might want to give this recipe a try. Empty the contents of a chickpea or white beans jar inside a bowl. Use a fork or potato masher to make them into a coarse paste.

Add some olive oil, parleys, a little bit of mint, half a tablespoon of garlic powder, and some oregano. You can serve this spread with white bread, toast, and even crackers. I personally like to serve it with oven-baked white bread – if you want to get all fancy, take a clove of garlic and smear each slice of bread before adding the spread.


7. Tuna salad with canned corn and green lettuce

Personally, I prefer this recipe over all those BS, new age stuff with salmon or whatever. Grab yourself green lettuce and wash it thoroughly with cold water. Using your hands, rip it into big chunks. Add a can of tuna over the salad (don’t drain the oil inside) and a can of sweet corn.

To finish this dish, pour half a tablespoon of olive or sunflower seed oil, salt, and lemon juice. Toss it around and serve. This is what I like to call the ultimate detox dish – very healthy and tuna being packed with omega-3 fatty acids and all that, it’s a breath of fresh air after eating spare ribs and burgers.

Hope you’ve enjoyed my list of blackout dishes. Think I’ve missed something? Hit the comment section and let me know.

No electricity means that you will not be able to use the mixer, microwave, electric oven, toaster, and whatever cooking appliance running on electricity. Such a situation calls for some

Power’s out; car won’t start, pantry’s empty – anything can happen. You either need to learn how to make do without or to take the high road which, in this case, means making it yourself. I’ve spent many sleepless nights thinking about how to be even more self-sufficient. Sure, learning how to whip up a quick dinner or to repair stuff around the house helps, but something was missing.

Then it hit me: what if took a breather from shopping and instead tried to make my own things at home? “How hard can it be?”, I told myself. Well, everything’s hard if don’t know what you’re doing. Luckily, I have this magic lamp called Google which revealed a couple of very handy instructions on how to make day-to-day items.

So, for my first no-shop month, I started with one of the most common things found around the house: soap. Yes, I stopped stockpiling it for a while and instead I tried a quick and easy recipe I got off the Internet. Have to say that I’m quite impressed with how it turned out, considering that I had no clue as to how soap-making works.

Pity that my great-grandmother passed away. Mom always used to talk about how she spent hours toiling in the shed, making soap and all kind of cosmetic stuff. Apparently, the bars my great-granny made were so good, that you could hardly make any difference between her home-stuff and supermarket soap.

Anyway, because I know that most of you people would rather make than buy, I’ve decided to share with you the recipe I’ve uncovered. As I’ve told you, it’s super easy to make, and with a couple of other ingredients, you won’t even know the difference. So, enough chit-chat! Let’s get cooking.

Materials needed

  • An old newspaper (to cover your work area)
  • Canning jar (I used a quart jar for this project).
  • Gloves and goggles.
  • Spoon.
  • Thermometer.

As for ingredients, you will need:

  • Coconut oil (about 2/3 of a cup).
  • Olive oil (2/3 of a cup).
  • Liquid oil of choice (you can use sunflower, almond or grapeseed oil; aim for 2/3 of a cup).
  • Lye (around ¼ of a cup).
  • Distilled water (2/3 of a cup).

How to make

Step 1. Cover the table with the newspaper and put on your protective gear.

Step 2. Put the canning jar on your work area.

Step 3. Pour the water into the canning jar.

Step 4. Slowly pour the lye over the water, while stirring with your spoon. Don’t get too close, as the fumes resulting from the reaction are toxic.

Step 5. Wait for the mixture to settle. You can proceed with the next step when the water clears up.

Step 6. In a pan or bowl, mix your coconut oil, olive oil, and the third oil of your choice (I used sunflower for this recipe).

Step 7. Stick the pan of mixed oils in a microwave for about one or two minutes. When it’s done, stick the thermometer in and check the temperature. It should be between 95 and 105 degrees. This is the sweet spot of soap-making – it the temp’s lower, you’ll end up with mush.

Step 8. After the oil mixture reached the right temp, pour it in the canning jar over the lye and water. You may want to add an extra ¼ cup of lye to ensure consistency. Slowly add the lye while stirring with your spoon.

Step 9. Stir the mixture for about five minutes. It should have a nice, vanilla-like color. You know it’s done when it starts to thicken.

Step 10. Add herbs or oil of your choice. Stir until they’re incorporated.

Step 11. Place the mixture into molds (I used an old baking tray for this experiment).

Step 12. Cover with plastic wrap and store in a dry and dark place.

Step 13. Check the mold every 24 hours.

I should warn you though that home-made soap is not something that magically appears overnight. In fact, the curing process takes about two to four weeks depending on environmental factors such as moisture and heat. So, if I were you, I wouldn’t hold my breath. Another thing you should know is that your kitchen or garage will end up smelling like a funeral home after doing this, mostly because of the lye.

Last, but not least, always remember to measure your stuff before adding them to the canning jar. If you pour too much or too little, you’ll end up with a mushy thing that won’t cure. As for the aesthetic part, you’re free to choose the shape of your soap.

Sure, the rectangular part would be the most obvious choice since it’s easier to handle, but you can opt for any shape that comes to mind. Just be sure to make hand-size bars. What I did after the soap has cured was to drill a hole near one of the edges and draw a string through it. That way, I don’t have to worry about dropping the soap while bathing (no, it’s not what you think).

As for the storage bit, once you’ve cut them into shape, you can store them in an airtight container. Make sure that the place you’ll be keeping your bars of home-made soap is dry.

Now, if you want to add a bar of soap into your B.O.B or household survival kit, wrap it in food foil before tossing it inside. It may be a good idea to throw in a desiccant pack or two to prevent the soap from drawing too much moisture from the air.

See how easy it is to make your own hygiene products? Well, this turned out rather well, if I can say so myself. In fact, this project gave me enough confidence to try out some other stuff. I have this buddy of mine who uses natural glycerin and herbs to make ointments and beauty cream. Maybe I’ll try a recipe or two and let you know how it turned up.

Power’s out; car won’t start, pantry’s empty – anything can happen. You either need to learn how to make do without or to take the high road which, in this

Many people have asked me about what’s the hardest thing I had to deal with since I’ve started writing about prepping and survival. Of course, most of you would say that hitting the books or reviewing survival gear are the trickiest parts, but no – it’s convincing others why prepping is essential. Sure, it’s easy to speak in front of a group of people who either do this for a living or are interested in the topic. Here’s one for you – how likely are you to convince your mom, dad, grandparents or in-laws to create a household emergency kit or to take a first-aid class? Let me answer this one on your behalf: too hard and, at times, downright impossible.

A while back, I was sitting on the patio with mom, dad, and my in-laws. We were chatting about humdrum stuff like the weather, dad’s diabetes, father-in-law’s arthritis, mom’s cooking. At one point, my mother-in-law turned towards me, looked me straight in the eye with that steely gaze of hers and said: “And what exactly did you say you’re doing, Eddie? Hiking? Backpacking?”.

Have to confess that her tone irked me a bit, but I kept calm and explained again about my prepping editorship. Slowly, but surely, I magically managed to turn around the entire conversation. So instead of chatting about nonsensical stuff, I got to explain a bit to everyone what prepping is and why is so important.

Of course, I couldn’t avoid questions like: “do I need a tinfoil hat or something to join this religion of yours?” I didn’t mind. It’s only natural to be suspicious about this sort of thing, especially when bias comes into play. Fast-forwarding a bit in time, I am now proud to share with you guys that mom, dad, and in-laws have joined our prepping community. More than that, they are very active members on our website, and I would often catch them reading STHF articles.

Can you really have the talk with your folks?

Anyway, to broach today’s topic, there are a lot of very good reasons why you should openly discuss prepping with your parents, their health and wellbeing counting among them. Far too many times, I’ve seen active individuals turn into couch potatoes after retirement. Take my dad, for instance. He would hit the gym at least three times a week after work and cycle every other Sunday.

After he retired, dad’s best friend became the remote control, and the only kind of activity that would even come close to exercising was opening the fridge’s door to get another beer. Yes, I know it’s sad, but you can’t actually argue with them.

Tried that and each time I would hit the same brick wall: “Son, I earned the rest. You’ll understand this when you’ll be my age.” You’re probably familiar with this kind of phrasing. All of us are. And, it’s very difficult to try to convince someone who’s twice your age or more than you know what you’re talking about – yes, the generation gap exists, and that old man stubbornness is the worst enemy a caring person could face.

Which brings us to the first argument on our list – waving your magic want to turn your parents into active people once more. As most of you know, most adults after the age of 50 find themselves in the positions of dealing with all manner of chronic illnesses: heart disease, arthritis, diabetes, bladder issues, kidney afflictions, enlarged prostate in men, osteoporosis. And the list goes on. Help your parents live a better and healthier senior life by showing them a couple of simple activities that involves prepping. Here are a couple of ideas to get you started.

  • Teach them how to build home emergency kits and go with them to the store for supplies. Keep their minds busy by asking them to draw up shopping lists. Don’t give in to their pleas: “Son, I’m not feeling like prepping today. Would you mind going out for some shopping?” There will be none of that from now on.
  • Practice emergency drills with them. Take your pick: drop-roll-and-hold, drop-and-hold, home evacuation via pre-established emergency routes, hunkering down in the basement or the safety room. Don’t overdo it, though, and do not try to up the pace. Keep in mind that your parents are not as spry as they once had been. You should also take their health into account – some of them might have illnesses that could put too much strain on the body.
  • Convince them to learn new skills. For instance, my folks had no clue how stuff around the housework. If something broke down, they would either call in a pro or buy a new one. Making them take some repair lesson is good for the brain. In fact, each medical article you would read on dementia and Alzheimer’s states the positive effects of learning new skills all the time.
  • Ask them to tag along during one of your Go Bag training sessions. A great exercise for cardiovascular disease prevention is jogging. Us preppers usually build endurance and back strength by talking long walks with our Go Bags. You can skip the backpack part if their doctor says otherwise. Keep a steady pace and don’t let them fall behind. You can even show them how far they’ve progressed by sharing results from your Fitbit watch or smartphone application.

Mom, Dad! Are you in on this?

The second reason why prepping’s good for your folks has very much to do with their way of thinking. Most of our parents and grandparents, were down-to-earth, hardworking people, which means that value common sense above anything else.

And since prepping is deep-rooted in it, learning to get ready for anything is only a natural extension. Keep in mind that you will no doubt encounter this sort of suspicion regarding prepping. This can easily be countered by offering a couple of simple examples based on everyday scenarios.

For instance, my dad always had to use his lighter or anything he had on hand to inspect the underside of the family van. This would mostly happen during trips across rocky terrain. One way of explaining prepping to a person like my dad would be to point out that a fully charged flashlight tucked inside the glove box would have helped him more in case of such emergencies than fumbling around with lighters, matches or other light sources. See? It’s that easy.

Let me point out a couple of more scenarios which you can use to describe prepping to your folks:

  • Emergency generators.Tell your folks that the most logical approach to living in a blackout-prone zone (check out the news on the Venezuelan power grid failure) would be to buy a gas-powered generator. That way, you won’t have to worry about food spoiling in the fridge or breaking into the water supplies became the electric pump in the basement went out with the light.
  • Losing the bus. Imagine that you have to take the bus each time you need to get into town. If you miss that bus, the next would be to call someone at home and say that you’re going to be late. I know it’s a stupid example, but it’s how prepping works – by calling that person you let him, or she knows your location, the reason of your delay, and what to tell the authorities in case you fail to show up at home.
  • Emergency evacuation. In case you are told to leave the house, the first thing you should take is your Go Bag. Apart from knowing the escape routes, your folks should also know how to prepare an emergency backpack. Ask them to draw up a list of things they cannot do without hearing aids, canes, whistles, BP monitor, prescription glasses. Be sure to point out that the Go Bag has limited space, which means that they need to carefully consider the items. More than that, do not forget to remind them of the golden rule: everything you take, you’ll have to carry.


My giveaway to you is this: don’t try to impose your lifestyle and choices upon your parents or loved ones. You should point out to your folks that prepping is more of a mind-conditioning kind of thing, rather than a set of actions based on hindsight or SHTF way of thinking.

Baby-step it, explain everything as many times as necessary, and always keep in mind that they’re your parents, not some bored students who dropped by your class for extra credits. It’s much difficult to change one’s mindset, but everything can be accomplished with the right attitude and, of course, as much prepping as possible.

Here’s one question for you – how likely are you to convince your mom, dad, grandparents or in-laws to create a household emergency kit or to take a first-aid class?

“She lit wildfires inside my soul and fanned them with hurricanes.”
― Morris R. Gates

“The whole world was on fire.” These are the exact words of Brian R., a Magalia resident, who only minutes before his statement has experienced first-hand the horrors of Camp Fire, one of the deadliest and most extensive wildfires in Californian history. I can’t say for certain if it was Brian’s statement or the news reports that prompted me to write this article. Don’t even care, come to think of it.

Every prepper out there should know just how wild wildfire can get. And believe me, you haven’t seen anything yet. If you’re faint of heart, then you should quit while you still can. I have to warn you though that the article you see here before your very eyes will be pretty graphic and explicit. Be warned and welcome on board!

I can literally stay here an entire day and talk about the reasons behind wildfires. Some say that they are undeniable proof of climate change (nope, I ain’t going to touch that, not even with a ten-foot pole), while some cling to a more sordid theory – that each and every one of them is the work of guy or girl with too much time on his\her hands and too many matches. Can’t say for sure which one of them is more far-fetched. I’m going to go along with saying that wildfires are real and very deadly, at that. FIY, according to the guys over at the Insurance Information Institute, a staggering 90 percent of all wildfire are made by humans.

Pretty neat, isn’t it? What’s that got to say about forest fire prevention – in your face, Smokey! BTW, your hat is stupid. Anyway, wildfires tend to envelop entire acres of vegetation, which means that putting out the flames is a very difficult and time-consuming task. More than that, those toxic fumes are usually carried by strong winds, turning the entire area into a lung-killing trap. Wildfires closer to major cities like the 2018 Camp Fire can be far more dangerous compared to those limited to unsettled areas since most of injuries and deaths are not fire-related! Yes, you read that right.

Wildfires and natural disasters, in general, can make everyone lose their noggins. Think that this is something out of an Orwellian novel? Nope, it’s a fact. If the fire or smoke don’t kill you then maybe a crowd of scared-to-shit people will. And that’s another thing I want to address in this article. But more on that later. Remember – all good things come to those who wait!

It’s a wild world out there!

Back in ’16, Fort MacMurray in Canada had experienced the most devastating wildfires of the last two decades. I was back home that day, watching TV with my wife. There was this special bulletin on CNN saying that thousands of people were trying to get out of the city – some on foot, others by car, and there was even this young lady who got out of Dodge on horseback.

Anyway, the anchorman said that there was so much confusion going around that day, that entire family got separated just because they didn’t have any actionable means of staying in touch. As I later understood, the officials planned two separate evacuation routes – one was in the north of the city and the other one in the south.

The only thing was that the northern evac route was not designed to sustain that much outgoing traffic and people simply abandoned their cars and proceeded on foot. There was this one family who ended up in separate parts of the city because one member went to fetch the kids and took the northern route, while the other one returned home, and had taken the southern route, convinced that the other one made the same choice. Crazy, am I right?

The truth of the matter is that crazy doesn’t even begin to cover it when it comes to panic induced by natural disasters, not to mention the sheer stupidity which caused some of them in the first place. Ever heard about the catch-phrase “Like my fire”? If your first thoughts were “attention-seeker” and “social media”, then you’re right. Back in 2013, a teen by the name of Sadie Renee Johnson set a whole forest on fire just because she wanted to put to work two of her friends who happened to be firefighters.

Long story short, Sadie drove to one of the largest forest surrounding Portland and set fire to a firecracker. After the entire forest was on fire, the teen took a picture, posted it on social media with the message “Do you like my fire?” Her stunt led one hell of a wildfire, which burned down 51,000 acres and caused damages amounting to $8 million. You go, girl! The saddest part is that Johnson is not the only person to have caused a wildfire.

Getting back to the matter at hand, wildfires can be prevented. How you ask? By using a thing called common sense. Put out those fire pits before leaving the forest. Better yet, use a portable fire device like a Bunsen burner or something to cook your food or to get smoochy with that chick you picked up from Tinder. Also, if you’re a smoker, my advice for you would be to quit. Still, if you’re hiking in a heavily forested area, it would be a good idea to extinguish that butt with water, sand, gravel, dirt or anything. A portable ashtray would also be a major improvement.

Now, after getting these out of the way, let’s have a little chat about some of the things you could do in order to prevent a wildfire. While at it, I will share with you my kick-ass wildfire prevention evil scheme (insert Doctor Evil laughing with pinky in his mouth meme here).

Wildfire prepping and prevention

I’ll just say this once: if you’re in the city, you’re royally screwed. If you’re in the countryside, guess what? You’re also in danger! No matter where you go if the wildfire will eventually catch up to you.

Let’s talk a bit about a little thing called wildfire prevention. I’ve already given you one example. Putting out a fire pit is not only your way of saying “thanks” to the forest but the most efficient way of preventing a wildfire.

On that note, you should always keep a close watch on that fire, especially if you plan on spending the night in the forest or something. It’s always a good idea to keep a bucket of water or dirt or sand near the fire pit in case something goes wrong. You should also wall your fire (placing rocks around the fire pit) to prevent it from expanding. Simple and common-sense stuff.

Of course, I guess it would also help not to set fire to firecrackers by the side of the road so that your friends may have work cut out for them. Anyway, this just about covers the stuff you can do to prevent wildfires while you’re outdoors. Still, if you’re living off-grid, say a small hunting cabin, like yours truly right there, things get a little more complicated. See, when you’re smack in the middle of something that can at any time turn into a searing oven, your prepping must take on a more active role.

The idea of dropping off the grid is neat, and nothing beats that fresh mountain air in the morning. However, as I later came to find out, having such a place puts you a bit in harm’s way, wildfire-wise.

In respect to all you wonderful crazy guys and girls out there, I’ve whipped out a small to-do wildfire prevention and prepping checklist. I haven’t got around to solving all of them since I still have a 9-to-5 and this here editorial gig, but I’ll eventually come around to it. So, here’s what I was thinking about fireproofing an off-grid home.

  • Keep cordwood and fuel as far away from home as possible. One spark and everything goes to shift (damned autocorrect). What I did was to bundle all my firewood and wheelbarrow them to a small outcrop, some hundred feet away from the house.

Would be neat if the place is upwind. If you’re Gung-Ho about fuel storage, you can always build a small shack for them. You can find everything you need for the job at your local hardware store (bought everything I need from Costco). If you have a gas-powered generator, store the canisters inside this shack, and always under lock and key.


  • Trimming. Since I’m smack in the middle of the forest, obviously I need to do a little more pruning than usual. Great for the heart, but not that okay when you have other stuff to tend to. Anyway, take all the time to trim bushes, tall trees with low-lying branches, shrubs, and any kind of vegetation close to your house. See, when the wildfire hits, all of those things turn into fuel.

Spare yourself the trouble of racking and buy a leaf blower. They’re not that expensive. Start with the roof – see if there are branches hanging over it and use a hacksaw or gas chainsaw to cut them off. You may either dispose of this stuff or do I did – dry them up and turn them into fuel for your stoves, fire pits or whatever floats your boat. Having so much vegetation around spared me a lot of firewood money.


  • Sprinkler system. Gotta make sure that sprinkler system is up and running. My advice to you would be to buy the non-automatic version and to outfit it with a mechanical timer – they’re far more reliant and endearing compared to their electronic peers.

Here’s what I did to make sure that my house doesn’t get scorched from a wildfire. I went ahead and installed two separated sprinkling systems – one for the lawn and one for the roof and the front side of the house. That way, if a wildfire sprouts nearby, I can use the system closer to my home to water down the roof and walls.


  • Trash the trash. Get rid of another wildfire danger by burning your trash and burring the ash pile far from your house. I know it’s a thankless and smelly job, but, hey, it certainly beat the alternative. Sure, that doesn’t mean you can’t have some fun while doing it.

See, when I moved in with my wife and kids, I discovered I had this charming guy who claimed that the cabin is his and wants us off his property. After a couple of lovely chats with the local sheriff and idle threats, I managed to prove to him that the cabin was mine and mine alone. Still, he would hang around, waiting for a chance to call the cops on me for whatever reason.

So, this one night, me and a couple of buds, after drinking one too many suds, decided to pull a fast one of the peeping Tom. We grabbed all the garbage we could find around the house, placed inside one of those black, heavy-duty bags, and arrange everything so that it would look like a body bag with a corpse inside. And, while he was watching, we took out the faux body to the yard, lit up this big fire pit, and threw it over the flaming pile. From that day on, I haven’t seen him around.

So, this is the end of part one of my take on wildfires. Stay tuned for more misadventures from the prepping world. Stay frosty guys, and see you in part two of my wildfire series.

Every prepper out there should know just how wild wildfire can get. I have to warn you though that the article you see here before your very eyes will be

You’ve probably heard plenty of horror stories about people being caught under tons of debris from a falling building, the golden triangle, and other pleasant stuff about quakes. Let me tell you something – it ain’t pretty. Far from it! A quake can level entire cities in just a matter of seconds.

Remember that little Japanese garden you always enjoyed on the other side of town? Gone! Your favorite pub? Kaput! I kid you not when I say the earthquakes are, by far, the nastiest thing you can experience in terms of natural disasters. During one of my stays in Europe, I’ve heard this one particular tale told by a guy whom I imagined to be a paramedic or something.

Anyway, this guy said that during the 70s, a massive earthquake took an entire East European country by surprise. I’m talking here about entire neighborhoods razed to the ground, landlines disrupted, the works.

So, this guy tells me that it was not the collapsed buildings, nor the deafening sirens that got to him – it was the smell. Everywhere he went, he was followed by the same pungent aroma that turned his insides into mush: rotting flesh. It was so bad that the smell was still there weeks after firefighters and police officers managed to remove all the corpses. What do you do when you’re staring true horror in the face? Prepare and survive!

So with that in mind, I wanted to pull together this earthquake safety checklist which hopefully will point out any areas in your preps that you might need to work on. You can also find more information from FEMA’s Earthquake Safety Checklist downloadable as a PDF file and all the Earthquake information you can shake a stick at (no pun intended) on the USGS Earthquake hazard site.

How to prepare for an earthquake?

  • Know where you are at all times and how to get out of the building. This is more important if you are in a strange place like a hotel in another city.
  • Select a safe place in your home for everyone to wait out the earthquake if needed
  • Practice earthquake drills with your family
  • Keep flashlights and sturdy shoes available.
  • Bolt gas appliances to walls (water heater, oven, dryers)
  • Know how to shut off the gas in your house and have the proper tools on hand if you need to do this.
  • Keep emergency supplies/bug out bags in a safe location.
  • Have a plan for power outages before you are faced with one.

What should I do during an earthquake?

If you are indoors

  • Move to your safe place as quickly as possible; make sure your head is protected from falling debris.
  • Stay away from windows and glass.
  • Stay indoors until the shaking stops.
  • Use stairs instead of an elevator in case of structural damage or power outage.

If you are outside

  • Find a clear spot away from any buildings, power lines, trees or streetlights.
  • If you are in a vehicle (and notice the shaking in the first place) pull over to a clear spot and stop. Don’t pull under an overpass or anything that could fall and trap you.
  • If any power lines are down stay away even if the power appears off. Especially if there are power lines on vehicles, do not touch the vehicle.
  • If you are in the mountains or near cliffs watch out for rock-slides or unstable features. Landslides and avalanches can be triggered by earthquakes.

What do I do after an earthquake?

  • The initial shock-waves may only be the first of many that could still cause injuries. Expect aftershocks and use the time between instances to get to a safer place. If you are anywhere near the coast Tsunamis could occur so immediately seek higher ground.
  • Check your family or group for injuries and move injured people to a safe location.
  • Make sure you are wearing appropriate clothing, footwear, and protection for your hands if there is a lot of debris.
  • Make sure any fires are extinguished as quickly as possible.
  • Check radios for the extent of the damage and any emergency notifications.
  • You should already have stored water, but if not and the water is still working, it may make sense to fill your bathtubs (providing your house is safe) to use the water for hygiene if the water is cut off.
  • Stay away from power lines and out of damaged buildings as much as possible.
  • Contact your loved ones if possible and let them know you are OK.
  • Go to your prearranged rally point if you are able to do this.

There you have it. Let me know what you think. Or if you any stories to share that we can all learn from.

You’ve probably heard plenty of horror stories about people being caught under tons of debris from a falling building, the golden triangle, and other pleasant stuff about quakes. It ain’t

Back when I was in college, I needed money so bad, that I was forced to take quite a lot of odd jobs. Who wasn’t, right? One of the oddest, if I can call that, was working as a book salesman in my home town. You’re probably asking yourself right what kind of person would complain about selling books. I, for one, of course, and probably most of my former co-workers.

See, recommending a title to someone or arranging them on the shelves were the easy parts – you still had to haul them by hand or cart from the back. So, right before I told my manager that we could take his job, wrap it in barbed wire and shove in the place where the sun doesn’t and won’t shine, we had a really busy week.

Long story short, I had to haul quite a lot of book-filled crates. The next morning, my back felt so sore, that I could hardly get out of bed. From there it got progressively worse: numbness in the feet, cringy back pain, stuff like that. My doc told me that I had something called lumbar discopathy, a very fancy word for your spinal column being broken.

Although I’ve tried my best to take it easy, sometimes, I can still feel pain shooting down my back. Thanks, college-me for this marvelous gift! I hope you get psoriasis or something. Anyway, many years later, I’ve tried almost any type of back treatment, short of surgery, for my raging back pain – physical therapy, diets, more exercising, less straining, you know, the usual. For a while, I was okay-ish, but when the weather went sore, so did my back.

Finally, after reading tons of stuff on this subject, I happened about a quaint little recipe which, according to the author, can relieve any kind of join, back or knee pain. Sure, I always preferred witchdoctors over MDs, but why the Hell not, I said to myself.

I kid you not when I’m saying as this stuff smells nasty, and it tastes even worse. But, by God, it really does what’s it supposed to do – take away the pain (wish it could do the same to memories).

Now, the recipe I’m about to show you involves three types of seeds and raisins. I know that it sounds like a stomach-churning combo, but give it a chance. Apart from being great at dealing with all sorts of pains and pangs, you can use leftovers to create survival energy bars. You can also eat it for breakfast instead of cereals, poached eggs, pancakes or whatever.

So, here’s the wonder-med I’ve been talking about.

“Dead leaves, seaweed, rotten eggs, too, stir them in my witch’s brew.”

As I’ve mentioned, this recipe calls for three types of seeds: pumpkin, flax, and sesame. The first is held in very high regard among docs and dieticians since they’re packed with an omega-3 fatty acid, known for its anti-inflammatory effect, zinc, copper, and other essential minerals. As for pumpkin seed, they do contain a fair among of omega-3 fatty acids, along with vitamin B1, phosphorus, and selenium.

Sesame seeds are highly recommended for people with brittle bones, and it’s very effective against any type of inflammation. Word of warning though – curb your sesame seeds intake during pregnancy, as high levels can induce preeclampsia.

Raisins, on the other hand, can aid digestion, since their packed with vitamins, fibers, and a shit-load of minerals. You should consider eating more raising if you have an iron deficiency.

Anyway, this is the basis for this wonder cure. You’re still going to need a couple of more stuff though like honey and gelatin. Let’s get cooking!


  • Honey (two squirts or 200 grams).
  • Gelatin (no more than three tablespoons).
  • Sesame seeds (4 or 5 tablespoons).
  • Flax seeds (8 tablespoons).
  • Pumpkin seeds (a small pack or 40 grams).

How to prepare

I should warn you that this recipe is very challenging. You’ll have to be at a chef’s aide to pull this one-off. It calls for extreme concentration, precision, finesse, and a knack for balancing the ingredients. Are you for this challenge? Good! Here’s what to do, young padawan.

Step 1. Gather up all your ingredients.

Step 2. Plug in your food processor or blender.

Step 3. Toss everything inside and hit the “pulse” button a couple of times.

Step 4. When the food processor\blender finished chopping the big chunks, switch it to low, and leave the thing alone for a couple of minutes.

Step 5. Switch off the blender, pour the contents inside a bowl, and mix with a spoon or something.

Step 6. Enjoy (or not)!

That’s it! You now know how to prepare the most complicated natural remedy for pains or pangs in the world. About the aspect part – yes, I’m painfully aware of the fact that it looks disgusting, but with the added honey it should taste more or less like semolina pudding. You can eat for breakfast or as an after-dinner dessert; it’s entirely up to you. If there are any leftovers, you can always turn them into survival bars.

It’s super easy: keep your moist ingredients aside and use the dry ones as the basis for your MREs. Add a little bit of milk powder or sugar, mix the batter, add the moist ingredients, and put the batter in the oven. You may want to check my article on how to prepare home-made MREs for additional ingredients and instructions.

So, this simple recipe will help you deal with any kind of pains, back or otherwise. I can’t say for sure how long before it kicks in – can be a couple of days, weeks or even months. In my case, I started feeling a whole lot better after eating this pudding for an entire month.

Anyway, hope you liked my recipe, guys. Hit the comment section to tell me how things turned out for you.

Now, the recipe I’m about to show you is great at dealing with all sorts of pains. It involves 3 types of seeds and raisins. I know that it sounds

A couple of days ago, I took my wife and kids for a ride to our hunting cabin. The weather was holding and, I said, why not? Four hours later, we arrived only to find out that someone nicked the power transformer from one of the nearby electricity poles.

Long story short, our weekend was doomed because the electricity company representative said that a replacement should arrive in a couple of weeks. Back when we furnished the place, we didn’t consider that something like this could happen, and so we went ahead and bought all the electrical appliances we could find at a discount.

Here’s where things get interesting. My grandma gave me this old and battered chest. Told me that inside it I’d find anything a chef needs to whip up a quick dinner, power or not. Because that thing was heavy and smelly, I figured that the best place to store it would be the hunting cabin.

Seeing that the power won’t come any time soon, I took a peek inside the chest to see if there’s anything of use there. I am not exaggerating when I’m saying that I struck gold. Inside, were indeed all the kitchen tools one could need to live a totally electricity-free life. And I would be lying if I didn’t admit that we had some trouble figuring out what goes where or how to use those thingies.

Anyway, seeing that more and more of you guys are asking about powerless appliances, I figured showing you my list of 8 most useful kitchen stuff. Dunno if you have chest inherited from your grandparents or not, but, surprisingly enough, most of this stuff can be bought from just any kitchen appliances store, and, yes, they don’t cost a fortune. So, without further ado, here are my choices in powerless kitchen gadgets.

  1. Hand-operated coffee grinder

Because I’m a coffee junkie I’m going to start by saying just how awesome and handy a cordless coffee grinder is. I mean, nothing compares to that subtle, yet flamboyant, freshly-ground coffee aroma – way better than sex (hope my wife doesn’t read this article).

Anyway, if you get ahold of one of these gadgets, be sure to hit your local gourmet coffee store for some great beans. While you’re at it, learn how to make Turkish-style coffee – beats espresso any time of the week. Be sure to clean your grinder every now and then and oil those parts to prevent blockages.

2. Meat grinder

If we’re talking of couldn’t-do-without kitchen items, the meat grinder’s is out there with the big shots. Nearly every recipe that calls for minced meat, whether it’s lasagna, moussaka or meatballs, will taste even better with freshly-minced meat. For a while, I used to buy minced pork from my local supermarket.

Gave it up for Lent after I discovered that I could make it at home, with the cuts of choice. More that than, I simply abhor the fact that even the most expensive minced meat is filled with so much water that you mostly end up boiling your meat instead of searing it. Great little gadget, very low maintenance, but now so great when it comes to cleaning it. Pros and cons, man. Pros and cons.

3. Hand-cranked food processor

I like preparing salad dressing as much as the next person, but doing so without an electrical blender is quite difficult. Wrong! The hand-cranked food processor will chop down your veggies or meats in a matter of seconds just like any over glorified electric blender. Just make sure to give those blades a quick sharpening from time to time and to apply some oil or WD 40 on the moving parts.

4. Kitchen scale

My wife’s madly in love with making all sorts of cakes and cookies and pastry. However, most of the time, she needs a scale to measure the ingredients – sometimes I feel like I’m stepping into a meth lab or something.

My take on the electronic scale is the old and moderately precise mechanical scale – a cup, a platform, and several weights. Might not work that well if you need to measure with Swiss precision, but other than that it’s a very dependable kitchen item.

5. Tea kettle

Not much of a tea drinker myself (usually do that when I’m nursing a cold). But I have to admit that a tea kettle is pretty useful around the house, especially when the power goes out.  More than that, if properly maintained, a kettle can last for decades if not more (mom said granny got her tea kettle from her mom). It’s also a very fast and low-gas consuming way of warming up water for other necessities.

6. Eggbeater

Forget the mixer! If you really want to step up your kitchen game, learn how to tame the egg beater. IT’s a really simple item, but one that helps you prepare far more stuff than omelets (I like to use it to prepare the bather for my MRE survival bars).

7. Can opener

Those electrical gadgets are shinny and new but much too unreliable to be kept around the house. If the power doesn’t go out on you, that thing will break down faster than you can say “preparedness.” I had to fix two of those blasted things and buy three others. So, my solution was simple – out with the bad and in with the good, the good being the mechanical can opener. Solid piece of work, capable of breaking into just about any can out there.

8. Water filter

Water comes, and water goes. No matter where you’re from, you must always ensure that the water you drink is, well, drinkable. That’s why a water filter is a must around any house, hunting cabin or duplex. It may be a little expensive compared to the other items on this list, especially the spare carbon filters, but it’s an investment worth making.

That’s my list. Do you have some other mechanical gadgets on your mind or in your off grid house? Share it here.

Dunno if you have chest inherited from your grandparents or not, but, surprisingly enough, most of this stuff can be bought from just any kitchen appliances store, and, yes, they

Any SHTF story begins like this: “so, there I was, once upon a time (in December), in the wild, no water, no food, and with wolves on my ass.” Well, not exactly like that, but you get the picture. What I meant to say was that in every survival-type situation, water becomes denominator. And for good reasons – you need water for digestion, heat regulation, breathing, living, stuff like that.

Today, I’m going to hit you with my very best FUBAR story – how I converted my heater and toilet into open bars. See, when you’re at home, in the city, you fail to realize just how important water is. Sure, tune on the tap, and, voila, you have water. The nasty part comes soon after there’s no more water coming from the taps and you have no idea what to do next. Keep calm, my friend! Water can be siphoned from any area of the house, and I’m going to show you how I did it. Let’s start with the heater first.

Sucking Water out of the Heater, Dracula Style

“Listen to them (water heaters). They’re the children of the night”, and what music they make when you plug a hose in them to suck out that water. Backtracking a bit, a couple of months ago, there was a power outage in Fresno. A big one at that – must have at least 2 days, if not more. Anyway, I was at home, thinking about going out to buy a couple of stuff for my household emergency kit.

Ironically, we’ve just the last drop of bottled water to prepare formula for the tyke (bundle of joy that little monster is). I need to say that some time ago, at father-in-law’s bequest, I swapped the old electrical water pump for a brand-new, computer-controlled one. Yes, I know it’s the stupidest thing a prepper can do, but, hey, it’s hard to talk your way out of the wishes of a retired Marine.

So, the power goes out. Naturally, I went for the breakers. Nothing! Tried everything I could think of but to no avail. Soon enough, I came to realize that I didn’t have a drop of water left in the house. Okay, so what do I do? And then it hit me – I recalled reading in a book or something about using the water heater’s contents to augment my non-existing water sources.

So, after some careful deliberation, I grabbed my toolbox, a hose, and a bucket and got to work. Here’s what I did. One short disclaimer though: my heater is electric. This means that the things I’m about to show may not apply to you if it’s running on gas or an older model.

  1. Turn off the heater

You can’t just siphon water from the thing while it’s still running. For once, the thing has a lot of fail safeties in place to prevent leakages. And two – the water inside has around 104 degrees Fahrenheit, which means that you’ll wind up with a nasty second-degree burn if you try anything. What I did was to unplug the thing completely (could still have had some juice in the system, so I took no chances) and let it be for the next 12 hours.

Naturally, I had to make do without the water from the heater. I’ll tell you in a sec, what I did in the meantime. While searching online for my water heater model, I’ve discovered, much to my amusement, that the damned thing had a sort of blanket around it to help keep the water hot. If you want the water inside to cool off faster, I would advise removing the heater’s “coat.” This will cut back on the cooking time by at least a couple of hours, if not more.

Now, in case you have a propane water heater, don’t forget to close the gas intake valve before cutting the electrical power. It should be somewhere at the bottom of the heater. Best thing to do would be to read the heater’s manual for more info. Same thing as before – allow the heater to cool down before attempting to siphon the water inside.

2. Figuring out where the drain valve is

Okay, after allowing the heater to cool down, next on the list is to identify the drain valve. In my case, it was way in the back (had to move the water heater to gain access to it; hard to since the support was nailed to the floor). Most heater models have plastic drain valves. However, some of them have metallic taps. Whatever the case may be, rotate the heater, until the valve’s facing you. If your heater is on a rack just like mine is, don’t take it down. The slope will allow the water to drain faster.

3. The old hose-and-bucket switcheroo

Take a hose (I’ve used an old sprinkler hose which I was keeping in the shed) and attach it to the drain valve. Place the other end in an empty and clean bucket. Don’t forget that some of this water will be used for stuff like cooking, washing, and drinking.

So, storing it in a clean container is a must. One thinks to keep in mind – water heaters are not that great at water filtration as other appliances. You may have to sterilize the water before drinking it. There are plenty of ways to do that: boiling, distillation, chlorination, tossing in a couple of water purification tablets. The choice is up to you. I, for one, boiled the living hell out of that water before I poured it into clean bottles.

4. Open the valve and let it rain!

Before attempting anything, open a sink faucet anywhere in the house but the place where your heater is. Once you’ve placed the hose inside the bucket, open the drain valve halfway. When the water’s starting to come out of the hose, you can fully open the valve. Keep an eye out on that bucket because it’s going to fill up pretty fast.

Be sure to change buckets once the hose starts to resurface. You can store the water from the heater in the bathtub, collapsible water carrier or inflatable kiddie pool. On average, there should be at least 50 gallons of water inside the heater at all times. Just don’t let that water go to waste. Once you’ve siphoned every last drop of water from the thingamajig, don’t forget to close the tap.

Finding even more water around the house

Do keep in mind that the heater is not the only emergency water source around the house. Even though the pump may be out of commission, there’s still water in the pipes. The quickest way to get some extra water would be to find a low-lying outlet like the one connecting the toilet tank to the pipes and to remove the part that goes into the tank.

Get a bucket or a plastic bowl and put the disconnected pipe inside. Gravity will do its magic, and the remaining pipe water will slowly appear in you basic. Of course, there are always at least 2 gallons of water inside the water tanks which can be used for stuff like washing dishes or cleaning.

Just remember that neither the water inside the heater nor that drained from the toilet tank or pipes is entirely safe to drink. As always, if it’s intended for long-term use, although I do not recommend it, use one or more water purification methods to remove harmful bacteria.

This concludes my mission with this article. If you have anything to share about it, please feel free to comment or send us an email. Have a good one.

So, the power goes out. No water! Tried everything I could think of but to no avail. Soon enough, I came to realize that I didn’t have a drop of