HomePosts Tagged "Prepping" (Page 19)

You know ‘em, you buy them by the dozen, and they usually end up in the washing machine along with the rest of the clothes. Yup, you’ve guessed it – the chapstick, the only thing that shouldn’t be missing from your pocket, especially during the cold weather, regardless of sex. Sure, it’s funny to see a 7-foot-something mountain of a man using a chapstick because of cracked lips, but still, the thing has its uses.

A couple of days ago, I was at home watching this guy on TV who kept on repeating that all everyday items can be used in an SHTF situation. This guy did say that ALL EVERYDAY ITEMS, including the ones found in pockets and purses, can be used for survival. He managed to cover everything from lipstick, hand sanitizer, credit cards, and pens, but he missed out on one item that can do that all of that stuff put together.

And, after doing a bit of snooping around on the Internet, I’ve discovered some of the most ingenious uses for these objects which, as I earlier said, ends up on the clothesline after a good wash. So, without further ado, here are 9 awesome ways to use chapsticks in and SHTF situation.

  1. Blister buster

If you’re the kind of person who gets blister each time he wears a new pair of shoes, then chapstick is the answer you were seeking. Since the stick contains a small amount of antibacterial substance, applying a little bit on the area predisposed to chaffing and blistering will go a very long way. Give it a go and see how it works.

  1. Fixing small cuts

In case you find yourself without disinfectant or bandage, you can apply a thin layer of chapstick on the cut. Bear in mind though that this only works for small cuts (wouldn’t try using it on larger wounds). If you really want to speed up healing, you can use a combo of chapstick and clean cloth on the cut.

  1. Cleaning glasses

As the very proud owner of prescription glasses since the age of 12, I can tell you that nothing cleans lens better than chapstick. First, wipe both lenses with a clean cloth and then apply a very thin layer of chapstick. You can use the same cloth to wipe off the chapstick, or you can rinse the glasses with plain tap water (don’t do this too often, as water can erode the lens). Sure, this may not qualify as a run-of-the-mill SHTF situation, but do bear in mind that many car accidents have occurred because the drivers simply forgot to wipe off their glasses before getting behind the wheel.

  1. Hiding money

If you live in a rough neighborhood, then your kind of forced to improvise when it comes to money. Sure, keeping them on credit cards or a virtual account like PayPal usually works, but with cash being king you simply cannot step out of the house with a couple of greens on you.

A very clever way to conceal money is by using an empty chapstick tube. Pocket the thing and in case trouble find you the only thing your wannabee robber will see is a regular chapstick tube. You can also use the same method to save some cash for stuff – that’s how my wife bought me an amazing B.O.B for my birthday.

  1. Crafting emergency candles

For when the lights go out, that’s when all the hidden treasures of the world reveal themselves. The nigh may be dark and filled with dangers, but nothing a little light can’t solve. If you’re all out of 24-hour candles or flashlight died out on you, it’s possible to make an emergency candle out of a chapstick. Get a Q-tip and pop the top of your chapstick. Fluff the cotton on one end and dip it into the chapstick. After that, simply stick the other end in the stick, use your favorite fire-starting method on the fluffed end, and, voila, let there be light!

  1. Blocking sun glare

Summer’s great – except for that f-ing glare which makes you feel like somebody used your eyes for Voodoo practice. Of course, nothing beats sunglasses, but in case you lose or break them you can block some of the glare by using a combination of soot and chapstick. On a clean surface, put the contents of a chapstick. Grab a handful of soot and use a stick or something to mix them. Smear this under your eyelids, and you’re good to go.

  1. Setting up snares

If you’re trapped in the wild with no food, you can use chapsticks to bait small animals. Rabbits, for instance, are suckers for anything that’s sweet (no, you can’t use your engagement photo to lure the critter into your trap). Set up a trap and instead of food, place an opened chapstick (would be great if you have one with fruit-flavored one).

  1. Leather care

There is plenty of stuff on the market for leather care. However, I found out that nothing makes a leathery surface shine better than a chapstick. It’s very similar to using the cream for your shoes or boots: wipe off the dirt and dust with a clean cloth and then apply a thin layer of chapstick. For a great shine, use a fine brush after the chapstick has dried.

  1. Lubricant

First of all, wipe that smirk off your face. I was talking about things that need a little extra something to get moving like screws or a machinery’s moving part. If something’s stuck and won’t budge, you can always replace the famous WD40 squirt with chapstick. It works wonder on rusty things as well.

Hope you’ve enjoyed my piece. As always, if you have any questions, wanna say ‘hi’ or add something to the list, hit the comment section.

After doing a bit of snooping around on the Internet, I’ve discovered some of the most ingenious uses for these objects which, as I earlier said, ends up on the

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

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

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

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

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

  1. Adze

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


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

  1. Apple slicing implement

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

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

  1. French press

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

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

  1. Cameras

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

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

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

  1. Electric bum warmer

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

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

  1. Keyhole saw

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

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

  1. Goosewing axes

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

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

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

  1. Stanley’s Zig-Zag Rule

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

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

  1. Plumb bob

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

  1. Vise clamps

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

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

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

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

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

You’re looking at a man who is 50 bucks richer than yesterday. Why? Because I just won myself a bet, that’s why. See, a while back, I got into an argument with a prepper friend of mine – great guy, but a bit of a shrewd when it comes to buying survival equipment. His theory is nothing can beat first-hand, mint, hot-off-the-press items (yup, he’s that kind of dude who believes in the power of new, I’m not talking about religion here).

Anyway, we were out talking about the finer points of pre-EMP prepping (meaning that we cracked open a couple of cold ones and watching the game), when he got around to telling us how he spent this $1,000 monthly bonus on gear.

Can’t say that I was too impressed about the sum, and neither were the other guys. Now, a couple of minutes later, I wagered him that I could probably get the same items he got for $20 if not less. Of course, no wager’s complete without something to sweeten the pot – our bet was 50 bucks. Kind of have to admit that it was like taking candy for a tyke because I knew that the yard sale season was coming (sorry, dude, but you kind of asked for it).

And so, at the crack of dawn, I got up, put on my awesome lumberjack jacket and went around the neighborhood to see what’s cooking.

Living in the suburbs does have its perks – neighbors are annoyingly friendly and, with a bit of luck and, of course, a wide smile painted on your face, you can probably end up buying everything you need from the house without having to spend more dough than necessary.

And wouldn’t you know it, I managed to spend no more and no less than 20 bucks. Needless to say, my wife gave me the death stare when I got home with all that stuff because I knew too well that we have a major storage issue. But, a bet’s a bet.

So, after my glory dance and in-your-face-loser moment, I thought I should let you guys on the spoils. Now, I know that most of you are not quite taken aback by the perspective of buying survival stuff from an old man’s garage, but if you know what you’re looking for and know how to haggle a bit, you can even walk out with stuff you usually find in antique stores (a friend of mine bought a fully functional pair of WW2 field binoculars from a guy with a “$5 everything” sign on his table).

Now, without further ado, here’s what 20 bucks got me from yard sales.

  1. Radio

I was planning on buying myself a CB radio for the family van, but never really got around to it. Luckily, while doing a bit of snooping at the yard sale, I managed to find a fully functional one.

The owner, who was a cab driver in NY before retirement said he bought the thing back in the ’70s for his pickup but never used it. After a bit of haggling, I’ve managed to convince him to sell me the thing for five bucks.

Apparently, he was so grateful for getting rid of that thing, that he even gave me the matching antenna and car dongle. Neat!

2. Hiking pack and frame

One does not have to be a mountain junkie to get a hiking pack. Those things are great for most any job that requires some serious lifting.

Can’t say I needed a pack, but seeing that this dude was selling and an army-style pack with a metallic frame – those things are so old-school, that even pops said he hadn’t seen one of those since his days in the Army. The pack was in a pretty good condition, considering the price (paid $4 for it).

Still, I had to sew back one of the straps which probably came lose some time ago and reinforce the metal frame with some pieces of sheet iron. Other than that, I think I got a pretty good deal if I say so myself.

3. Propane tank

Propane tanks aren’t that pricey, but hauling them can give anyone nightmares. I personally abhor to go and refill the propane canisters for our generator, that’s why I always avoid using it till the very last moment.

In searching the yard sale, I came upon a nice lady who said that she no longer has a use for a BBQ propane tank since the thing broke down years ago. Scored one full propane tank for a couple of bucks. Great! Now I got to figure out what to use it on.

4. Suturing kits and medical instruments

One of the biggest frustrations is not being able to get into pre-med. Don’t quite recall exactly what happened, but it doesn’t really matter. Anyway, I’m sort of a freak when it comes to med stuff (even got my own CPR dummy in the garage), which means I’m always on the lookout for a way to make my super-duper first-aid kit even more awesome.

In searching for stuff, I came upon this elderly gent who used to be a gynecologist back in the day. We chatted for a while about the med, disease, pills, aches, and things like that. Didn’t leave empty-handed, though – got a couple of sealed 3.0 silk suturing kit, forceps, and a pair of pickups for $6 (of course I’ll sterilize them before use!). He was nice enough to throw in a scalpel, as a bonus (love you, gramps!).

5. Gold and silver coins

You don’t know a thing about swindling if you’ve never been to a yard sale. One of the guys living next to my house was offering for sale a small chest which he claimed to contain golden and silver coins from Napoleon’s time. Was a bit skeptical at first, but I soon came to realize that the man was right.

What follows is a “don’t try this at home, kids” moment – took a bit off one and told the man that all of them were tin replicas of Napoleonic coins. Yes, I know I should be ashamed, but that’s how it went down. I bought the chest and lot for $8. The things you find at yard sales nowadays!

6. Hand-cranked lantern

Remember those oil-powered lanterns you see in any Victorian movie? I managed to get myself a pretty decent electrically-powered replica of one for $3. Still, I think it needs a little bit of work – the bulb flickers from time to time, and the reflector dish is smudged.

The crank could also use a bit of oiling. Other than that, the lantern’s pretty good, and I can’t wait to try it out the next time I go camping with my wife.

7. Shit-ton of books

You can never have enough books. Yes, I admit to being a true-blooded book hoarder, and f-ing proud of it. Now, I’m painfully aware of the fact that electronic gadgets such as Kindles are great for the environment and all that, but I wouldn’t trade the smell of old books for anything. Not even at gunpoint.

Anyway, this time I managed to restock my poetry shelves with some classics – Tennyson, Whitman, Coleridge, and a little bit of Edgar Allan Poe. Some of them are in a deplorable state; the complete poetical works of Tennyson is covered in childish doodles, and even Poe’s not in very good shape. Still, two bucks are two bucks.

8. Canning jars

Whether it’s for pickling meat, stock, bouillon or storing MREs, canning jar are always a sight for sore eyes. Yeah, I know you can buy them by the dozen from any supermarket, but why bother when your neighbor is selling them at ludicrously low prices? I picked three jumbo pickling jars for 20 cents, each. Wife won’t be thrilled to find out that I’ll soon pickle more stuff, but, hey, can’t a man have fun around the kitchen?

9. Weathering stones

If you’re just as obsessed about keeping your knives razor-sharp, you know that weathering stones are a must around the house. Each time I go out shopping, I never forget to bag at least two or three. My yard sale tour was quite fruitful in this regard – managed to buy several sharpening stones of various smoothness for 10 cents each.

10. Intact tarps

Tarps are the Tom Mix pocket knife of B.O.B prepping, meaning that you can do just about anything with them – collect rainwater, use them for cover, make them into rain ponchos.

They’re also quite useful for keeping firewood dry and covering swimming pools during fall. The trouble with buying tarps from yard sales is that most of them are either warped or have small holes in them.

Yes, I know that you can fix those in the jiffy, but what’s the point of paying for a tarp if you have to patch it afterward? I got lucky on this one – my next-door neighbor sold me a couple of military-grade tarps for 2 bucks each. Quite a bargain and after getting them home, I realized that they were in pristine state.

11. Sleeping bag

It’s not what you might call hygienical, but who cares about germs and all that when you’re in an SHTF situation – probably the man with an infected wound.

Anyway, I really didn’t need another sleeping bag. Still, who can resist those granny eyes telling you that you’re as sweet as her grandson? A couple of minutes later and minus five bucks, I had a brand-new old sleeping bag.

12. Vacuum cleaner

You know what irks me the most about today’s electronics? They’re so fragile. Two years ago, I had an argument with my wife about what kind of vacuum cleaner we should buy. I may be stingy, but compared to her, I’m a spendthrift. So, we got this cheap-ass vacuum from the electronics store. Fast-forward in time, just before the bet, the wife called me to say that the motor burned out.

Great! More money on electronics, I told myself. But that yard sale really managed to sort this one out. There was this man who was selling a brand-new, no-sack, water filtration Samsung vacuum. The thing was in perfect condition – he didn’t even open the box. After haggling for a bit, I managed to convince him to sell it to me for $25 (yes, I know that I didn’t play fair, but the vacuum wasn’t even on the list).

13. WWI gas mask (I shit you not!)

On the topic of curious picked up from flea markets, sometimes, I have to admit, that these things are veritable treasure troves. During one of my raids (yeah, that’s what I like to call them) I actually managed to get my grimy paws on an authentic WWI gas mask.

Sure, it had no filter, and the bag was a little warped, but other than that the mask was in pretty good condition. I spend around $7 or $8 (can’t remember) for this piece of war memorabilia.

Dunno for sure what I’m going to do with it, though. It’s obvious that it can’t be used in this state, and spare WW1 gas masks filters are pretty expensive. Anyway, if you know someone who refurbished infantry equipment, do give me a holler. Beer will be on me!

14. Portable ashtray

Yes, I know I should give smoking for Lent – easier said than done. Meanwhile, I have had some issues over what to do with those butts while hiking.  Lucky for my local yard sale, because I managed to pick up some sets of three portable ashtrays (they even come with a lanyard hole in case you want to attach it to your backpack). The set was 2 bucks a piece. I bought three of them!

15. Spare ammo

Well, if you’re missing a couple of ammo boxes, you can always call upon your neighbors’ stocks. Haven’t picked up ammo from yard sales, but I’ve seen a guy who sold shotgun shells and AR ammo for $5 apiece. So, whenever in doubt, check your local flea market.

I know that most of you are not into buying survival stuff from a yard sale, but if you know what you’re looking for you can even walk out with

As a seasoned driver, I have to admit that there were times when someone would search the dictionary for the word “stupid,” he would have found my picture right underneath. This one time, I was driving through a blizzard and, all of a sudden, the engine stalled. Instead of using a flashlight to check under the hood as right-in-the-mind prepper would do, I got out my lighter because, hey, why would I need a flashlight in my car in the first place? In our cozy prepping world, if you don’t step up your game, you’ll probably end up dead or worse.

Anyway, after realizing just how stupid can stupid get, I told myself that if I ever got out this alive, I would make it my point to tell other fellow drivers and preppers about how far-reaching is a fully stocked and killer vehicle emergency kit.

I would like to start by pointing out that one should never hit the road without the essentials. Of course, it all depends on your state’s regulation, but mostly it all boils down to:

  • Jumper cables.
  • Toolkit for small patch-up jobs and repairs.
  • Spare tire (make sure the pressure is between 30 and 35 PSI).
  • First-aid kit.
  • Fire extinguisher (for those moments when everything goes up in flames, including your hopes and dreams).
  • Reflective or battery-powered emergency beacon.
  • Reflective Vest.
  • Jack.
  • Lug wrench.

So, these would be your basics. Ready to head into the advanced class? Best to warn you that a complete car emergency kit can and will make a dent in your budget. Here’s what I had in mind in terms of the ultimate vehicle emergency kit.

Mr. Fix-it-Al’ Has the Answer to All Your Issues

The first thing you should consider long before hitting the store for more supplies is where the road might take you. Snowy mountain peaks? Heavy rain? Muddy country roads? War zones? This is, without a doubt, the easiest way to figure out what supplies you’re missing. I, for one, ended up spending 400 bucks at Costco since the flashlight story painfully reminded me that I am in dire need for other stuff. Remember that your car’s emergency kit is intended for more scenarios, some of them going far beyond a flat or burnt bulb.

For instance, if you get caught in a blizzard, your emergency kit should have enough supplies for sheltering-in-place. Remember the news bulleting about the Swedish man who survived two months in extreme cold because he SO kicked him out of the house? How do you think he survived? Not wishful thinking, to be certain. He made it out alive because he had a shit-load of supplies inside the car.

So, to build a survival kit capable of catering your every need, take a quick look at my awesomely-drawn list.

  • Cat litter

No, you’re not going to adopt a cat, just yet. Kitty litter is very useful for a lot of stuff. Some drivers use it for defogging. I personally use it for traction – if your car gets snowbound, put some kitty litter underneath them wheels, and you’ll be out there in no time.

  • CB Radio

Obsolete technology, for sure, but still comes in handy when your phone loses signal. Tried it once on a country road. The phone had no signal, but I could still pick up chatter from police and passing truck drivers.

  • Foldable shovel

Great for a lot of stuff like de-snowing tires or burying the bodies of your slain enemies. The choice is yours.

  • Toilet paper

No comment!

  • Flashlight

Yes, genius, at least you got this one right. Don’t forget extra batteries. You should consider buying a tactical flashlight instead of a regular one – more battery, more fun!

  • Extra food and water
  • Mylar blanket

If you have a family car, you should buy one for each family member.

  • Tow Strap

Not that kind of strap, but I like the way you think. Was referring to that cord used to pull another car. While you’re at it, you should consider buying a hand winch – great for getting out if you get stuck in the mud.

  • Tire patch and repair kit.
  • Coolant hose repair kit.

Fantastic for getting out of Dodge when the radiator’s coolant hose has snapped. Saved me a lot of money and another trip to the auto shop.

  • Weather-dependent gear

Stock up on warm, winter clothes if you intend to brave the elements during cold weather. During the summer, you should have one extra cap, T-shirt, pants, some insect repellant, and sunscreen.

  • Insurance-claiming tools

This includes a disposable camera, which you can use to take pics of the damages or at least some awesome selfies, pen, paper, and a copy of your car’s insurance card.

  • Battery Rejuvenator

This baby can start up a car in no time even if the battery’s more dead that Burton’s corpse bride. Seen one a while back – it’s as light as a tablet but powerful enough to juice up a car. In addition, these gadgets can also recharge devices such as smartphones, laptops, and GPSs.

  • Extra phone

Get one of those older models with a button. You may want to buy one with extra battery life. I would recommend CAT’s unbreakable series. Make sure that the extra phone is fully charged at all times.

  • Rescue tool

This little thingamajig has so much spunk in it. Normally, it can be used to break the car’s windshield if you take a dive in the river or any other body of water. However, it can also double up as a weapon, in case there are bad guys nearby.

  • Multi-tool.
  • Spare parts and supplies.

Be sure to have at least one extra box of fuses, bulbs, some braking, and windshield wiper fluids.

Bottom Line

Ours not to question why, but to prep and not die – that’s my motto in life. So, fellow prepper, if you want that comfy and fuzzy safety feeling while on the road, considering revamping your car’s emergency supply kit. Got more stuff I can add to the list? Hit the comment section and let me know.

Remember the news bulleting about the Swedish man who survived two months in extreme cold because he SO kicked him out of the house? How do you think he survived?

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

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

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

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

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

Vital EMP Items for Your B.O.B

  1. Fire starting gear

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

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

2. Maps

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

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

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

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

3. Portable Stove

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

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

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

4. Survival knife

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

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

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

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

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

Before you go, you may also like:

This is more than just about your guns…
How to survive any medical crisis situation with ease
10 Easy Steps to Secure your privacy
Secret Military Solution For Power Independence

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My Top-Notch SHTF Shopping List

  1. Skivvies

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

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

2. Zippo lighter

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

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

3. Zip-lock bags

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

4. Char cloth

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

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

5. Emergency blanket

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

6. Water purification tablets

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

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

7. Fishing tackle

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

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

8. Candles

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

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

9. Batteries

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

10. Hand-cranked radio

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

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

11. Duct tape

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

12. Baby wipes

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

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

13. Books

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

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

14. Floss

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

15. Heavy-duty garbage bags

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

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

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

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

A couple of days ago, my nephew, who’s 8 years old, asked me what do I do for a living. Of course, my answer to him was that I’m a prepper and that I write about it. Cute, I know, but try explaining to a toddler what the Hell is that supposed to mean. Tried to give him the prepping talk with Smokey the Bear and Ivan the gas mask-wearing city denizen.

Dunno if I managed to get through to him – barely convinced my teen daughter and son to help me move some stuff to the family’s mountain cabin, but here’s the thing – in talking to the tyke I got around to realizing how much BS’s floating around our prepping world.

Hell, even the word itself sounds like a cheap millennial knockoff when in fact it’s something as old as time itself. Our grandparents used to call it “common-sense” or just survival. I sometimes wonder – could it be that in prepping for disaster, we actually welcome it in our lives?

Today’s topic will somewhat different. Perhaps you have friends or close acquaintances who wish to become preppers themselves. That’s great, but we really mustn’t lose track of the fact that, in most cases, prepping is far more than buying a nifty gadget or stockpiling food and water in case shit hits the proverbial fan.

The truth of the matter is, not all of us are NBPs (natural-born preppers). Sure, there is such a thing as survival instinct or, as my dad likes to call it, knowing how to guard your royal keister, but that is, more or less, case-dependent. Prepping is not. You do it around the clock, and, most importantly, you never stop.

Sure, for some, it’s a way of life, but for most of us, it’s one of those nagging thoughts nesting at the backs of our heads, keeping us awake at night: “But what if Katrina strikes again? What will happen to me or my family if North Korea declares war on the United States?” Okay, I’m going to stop right here with my end of the world train of thought.

Now, in wanting to show my fellow preppers that this lifestyle choice is no bed of roses, I’ve thought long and hard and finally managed to jot down a small list of reasons why prepping’s more challenging in reality than it is on paper. Call it my way of letting the skeletons out of the cupboard.

Yard Sales or Thrift Shops Are Not the Answer to Everything

I can give you a ton of reasons why you should check out garage sales and thrift shops more often (be sure to check out my article on SHTF items you can find at yard sales for 20 bucks or less). Most items can be repaired and reused. For instance, a while back I found this great garden solar lamp at a Montana flea market.

The owner wanted only 10 cents for it because it was broken and he couldn’t be bothered with the repairs. One new bulb later, the thing was up and running in my garden, giving off the most enchanting glow you’ll ever see. That’s my tiny slice of Heaven or hygge, as the Danish like to call it.

So, if you ever find yourself at a garage sale, spare a couple of moments and look around. You’ll never know what you’re going to find.

Unfortunately, this is where the fun part ends. With a couple of minor exceptions, prepping for every contingency is very expensive. Even if you’re not yet fully ready to drop off the grid, making your house safe, even a small one at that, can run into hundreds of bucks if not more.

Of course, smoke alarms are not that expensive but consider the rest – surveillance system, safety room, sprinkler system, which is a must for any respectable yard owner, garage, keeping your bug out vehicle up to speed, tools, keeping those food and water stocks up to speed, medical checkups, and the list goes on and on.

Prepping’s not the kind of thing you want to rush into or to do it, as the Brits like to say, half-heartedly. You either do it, or you don’t.

Many years ago, before settling down, I lived in a cramped apartment on the 12th floor of this new and shiny glass building. Rent was awfully expensive, but hey, at least I have my own place now.

So, instead of doing what’s right – setting some money aside, making an emergency food and water supply, I went ahead and bought every pack of instant noodle soup I could find. Long story short, city power grid failed one day, and I had to go without electricity for two weeks. Guess what I had to eat all this time? Noodle soup! All day, every day for two whole weeks because I was stupid enough to burn all my money on stupid things like beer and movies and computer games and another crud.

Of course, it’s way cheaper to have a pantry stocked with ready-to-eat noodle soup, but it’s not exactly healthy nor nutritious.

Another harsh reality of prepping is the need vs. afford dilemma. Any like-minded prepper will tell you that in an SHTF situation, dropping off the grid and starting anew is the best option. Regrettably with today’s real-estate market, you can’t even afford to buy a parking spot, let alone a parcel of land.

You may get lucky and find someone willing to part with such a property, but I wouldn’t bet my bottom dollar on that if I were you. Moreover, buying a piece of land means nothing if you can’t build a shack or something on it. I don’t want to sound like the lovechild of Richie-Rich or something, but I could’ve bought two new hybrid vans and refurbish my city house two times over with the money I’ve spent on my off-grid location.

More than Money

As William Ernest Henley so eloquently put it: “beyond this place of wrath and tears, looms but the Horror of the shade.” You know what Henley’s shade is? Loneliness. Sheer, mind-wrecking, solitude. A prepper’s life can be a lonely one, especially if he’s surrounded by ‘pals’ who gift him tinfoil hats for his birthday.

I had a rough time convincing my wife to join me on my prepping merry-go-round. Although she’s as much into prepping as most of you are, I still can’t shake the feeling that she sometimes gives me the stink eye. Can’t say I blame her considering that I spend most of my off days working on our hunting cabin garden.

Anyway, the loneliness part becomes even more apparent when you decide to drop off the grid. And it’s not just about being in a relationship or hanging out with your buds on a Saturday night. I’m talking here about the absolute lack of human contact.

Sure, every wide-eyed lad toiling for a big-shot corporation dreams of living everything behind and going to live in seclusion. It’s not like in the movies – you don’t get to discover the true meaning or purpose of life, and you don’t get to be a sultry, ax-wielding Paul Bunyan ersatz. It’s wild, hauntingly quiet, and, most importantly, not the kind of gig you would want to get yourself into unless the shit really hits the fan.

Solitude aside, piecing together such a project takes a lot of work, dedication, and energy. Of course, I’m talking about good, old manual labor. Yup, off-grid living mostly means that you will need to get off your couch and put that shoulder to the wheel if you want to build something that’s abiding.

Most of the challenges you’ll face will be mostly due to your mindset. Growing veggies may be a quaint and probably soothing endeavor for someone who never held a hoe in his hands, but it’s really not that amusing. I threw my back a couple of times before I was able to plant all of my wife’s herbs and veggies.

Sure, it’s nice to snuggle next to a cozy little fireplace, but it becomes a nightmare when you have to clean out the damn thing. One of the most nerve-wracking parts of setting up an off-grid place is how you choose to deal with things like electricity, water, heat, and, of course, the Internet.

Certainly, you need to have electricity for a couple of appliances, but you also need to think about a backup – a gas-powered generator or something (thinking on doing a piece of how I managed to whip up a water-powered generator for my hunting cabin). Everything has to be thought thoroughly. Otherwise you wind up with another house that’s just as vulnerable during an SHTF situation like any city location.

And probably, the most daunting aspect of prepping is knowing that everything you do is a gamble. There’s no guarantee for anything – nobody can tell you for certain if your crops will yield something or if the home you’ve to build won’t fall on your head in case of a disaster.

Yes, I consider myself to be a gambler of the sort, but the only difference, in this case, is that I know when to cash out. That’s probably the most important aspect – trying to do a lot of stuff at the same time can end in disaster.

A couple of years after I bought the hunting cabin, I was faced with a big dilemma. The mortgage on our city house went up big time. I was the only one who was bringing enough money into the house.

So, there I was, all alone with my thoughts, and forced into making a choice: either keep the hunting cabin and live pay-check to pay-check until I can find a better-paying job or sell the blasted thing. Naturally, I went with option A.

It’s not hard to imagine how this kind of thing ends – arguments after arguments, she threatening to give everything out for Lent and move away. Fortunately, this story had a happy end.

See, when you’re a prepper, natural disasters are only a small part of the equation. You still need to find a way to deal with your fellow man. And let me tell you, convincing someone about dropping off the grid is just as difficult as starting a fire with an ice lens.

Bottom Line

I can’t help to think that, in some regards, preppers are superheroes. Sure, we don’t have capes or X-Ray vision, but we do have this knack to counter every possible problem long before it comes into being.

In rereading T.S. Eliot’s Wasteland, I realized that A Game of Chess, the title of the poem’s second canto, is the best prepping description anyone could come up it. Most of the times, it’s exactly like that – you make a move Mother Nature, and I’ll play my gambit. Crown me not for getting to the edge of the board, but for finding the resolution to survive.

A couple of days ago, my nephew, who’s 8 years old, asked me what do I do for a living. Of course, my answer to him was that I’m a

There’s a reason why each shopping cart contains at least a bottle of bleach – this stuff’s good for a lot of odd jobs around the house, and some of them don’t have anything to do with cleaning. I being a computer geek have always kept an ample supply of bleach because it works wonders on yellow computer cases.

Anyway, ever since it became commercially available, bleach has been held in high regards, especially by those who had a rough time cleaning nearly-impossible to remove stains and for keeping germs away. In it’s watered down form, bleach can also be used as a room freshener and for giving shine to grandmamma’s white porcelain collection.

Beyond the mere household, bleach can also be successfully employed in survival-type situations. Hence today’s piece which will deal in the many uses and faces of survival bleach, this Jack-of-all-trades of the pantry.

Because I had time to look up more stuff while doing research on my pleasure rubber in SHTF article, I’ve somehow managed to stumble upon a treasure trove of info about the over glorified Clorox bleach. So, fellow preppers, prepare yourselves and feast your eye on the wonders of bleach in just about any SHTF situation.

  1. General sterilization

Of course, one would be very inconsiderate if not stating, well, the obvious – bleach is the ultimate germ buster, being successfully employed in virtually every cleaning job. Grime? No problem! Scale? Who cares? Smears? I have 99 problems, but Clorox makes all of them go away. The stuff is very handy for disinfecting tools used in minor surgery (a pair of pickup scissors or needle with surgical thread) when you don’t have other means of removing the germs. If you water it down a little, you can also remove stain and bacteria from small objects.

For instance, a solution containing one-part Clorox and three parts water may be used to clean and sterilize LED displays (always water down the bleach before using it). My grandma had the habit of spraying all the rugs and upholstery with a diluted bleach solution.

Apparently, this is the best way to remove bacteria, revive colors, and prevent warping. If you’re a fan of second-hand shopping, the above-mentioned bleach mix will help you get rid of lingering germs, while removing that old, musty smell that tends to follow every object bought from these sorts of establishments.

If you have a kid on the way, you may use spraying bleach to disinfect every item the kid may come in contact with – cradle, toys, clothes.

In the field, it may be possible to use trace amounts of chlorine bleach to purify water. Sure, it won’t have the same taste, but at least you won’t come down with dysentery, enterocolitis or any other tummy diseases.

Pet owners can use spray-based chlorine to remove animal smells from the furniture. I being the proud owner of two cats (a boy and a girl), I found relief in the fact that bleach’s able to remove that nasty odor tomcats tend to leave behind when establishing boundaries.

  1. Crafting an anchor

Though the idea of becoming adrift is akin to pure dread, there’s no reason why you can’t anchor down your raft if you have a bottle of bleach nearby. If the situation calls for immediate action, use the remaining bleach to sterilize your gear and water supplies, and salvage the bottle.

Wrap paracords or any dental floss around the bottle’s neck and fill it with anything heavy (concrete, sand, tiny rocks). Congrats! You’ve just made yourself an anchor worthy of any ship on its maiden voyage.

  1. Cleaning your veggies and fruits

Water’s the best way to clean fruits and veggies, isn’t that right? In most cases, yes, but there are some cases when using just purified water just won’t cut. Enters bleach, a marvelous disinfectant that can be used in case of an emergency to clean your veggies and fruits. Just be sure to use a watered-down mix. Otherwise, you will end up with bleach-soaked food, a thing which does not agree with your esophagus and stomach.

By the way – be very careful around the stuff, because the thing can burn through your skin like acid. In case you accidentally spilled some on your hands, or other parts of the body (I don’t judge) go and wash the area with plenty of soap and lukewarm water. As for the drinking part, don’t try to induce vomiting. Instead, dial CDC’s accidental poisoning hotline and await further instructions. In the meantime, drink water or a glass of milk. You should stop in case you’re experiencing convulsions or other changes.

  1. Weed-whacking

Without a doubt, every prepper’s turned gardener waking nightmare is seeing his crops wilting or, worse, eaten away by pests or overtaken by weed. Sure, you can try out all kind of artificial weed-whackers and whatnots, but you’ll probably end up poisoning the soil and making bad veggies.

A great and safe way of getting rid of pests and weeds is to spray your plants with a mixture of water and chlorine bleach. Like always, the recipe calls for one-part chlorine bleach and three parts water. Cover your garden using a hose with a fine mist. For the best results, you should do this at least once a week. Be careful about weed-whacking the wrong kind of weeds (see my article on healing herbs and weeds that grow around the house).

  1. Anti-rad countermeasure

Although it’s highly unlikely that we would have to deal with a nuclear detonation any time soon, it’s good to know that household bleach can be used for decontamination. Hypothetically speaking, if you find yourself stranded in an area with high radiation, take off your clothes and soak them in a tub filled with water and chlorine bleach.

As for body decon, wash all body parts with water and soap first, then used a watered-down bleach solution to rinse your body. Be careful when preparing the mix – for body decon, it should be one unit of bleach to 100 units of purified water.

  1. Self-defense

Pray it won’t come it, but when the spam hits the ham, a bottle of chlorine makes a great weapon of self-defense and distractionary device. If your opponent gains ground, uncork a Clorox bottle and toss it in his face. The results won’t be pretty, I guarantee that, but saving your can is sometimes more important than thinking about the interaction between skin and bleach.

  1. Outliving a contagion

Hold on to your britches there, because I wasn’t referring to the next Black Plague or Ebola. Even the flu season is considered an outbreak, and it should not be taken lightly. One way to purify the air is by bleach and water.

Hygiene is very important but becomes crucial when dealing with a contagion. To minimize exposure to the virus, make a 50-50 bleach and water mix. Pour it inside an empty and clean spray. Use a fine mist on things like clothes, upholstery, pet beds, bathroom tiles or any place that may hoard bacteria and deadly viruses.

  1. Getting rid of mold and mildew

Probably the most annoying part of being a homeowner is finding ways of removing mold and mildew from various objects. Since my son has a slight allergy to mold, I and my wife always try our best to removing as much as the stuff as possible.

One of its nesting places are the gaps between bathroom tiles (yeah, I real back-buster when it comes to spring cleaning). It is possible to hack away any mold and mildew from your home by mixing bleach and water in a bucket. Take a clean rag, soak it in the mix, and wipe. Not only will the mold come off on its own but it takes less scrubbing compared to using special cleaning supplies.

  1. Removing grime and dirt from trashcans

As you know, in case of an emergency, trashcans, especially the big ones, can be converted into portable water carriers. Still, that they are somewhat challenging considering the amount of grime, dirt, and sludge festering at the bottom. A quick way of removing that filth in a sinch is by using bleach in addition to detergent. Prepare a 50-50 bleach mixture and add some detergent. Don’t forget to wear protective gloves while cleaning the trashcan. Word of warning – while preparing the mix, fumes might emerge from inside the container.

Don’t breathe in those fumes as they are highly toxic. If you do, immediately stop what you’re doing, wash your face with plenty of water, and wipe with a clean cloth. You can try to flush out any lingering bleach from your nostrils with blood serum (you can find those bottles in any drug store or pharmacy, and they’re perfectly over-the-counter).

Fill up a small syringe with blood serum, tilt your head a bit, and slowly inject the stuff into your nostrils. Don’t breathe in the stuff!  Blow your nose in the sink and rinse with plenty of water.

  1. Field-sanitization of food plates and eating utensils

Just because one finds himself in the middle of shit hits the fan situation, it doesn’t mean that one should disregard basic hygiene rules and eat from whatever plate, no matter how dirty it is. If you were planning on adding one or more items to your B.O.B, my advice to you is to toss in a small bottle of Clorox. Combined with purified water, bleach can be used to clean and sterilize everything from plastic plates to cutlery.

I myself like to use the stuff in order to clean and remove any grime from my portable stove. The mix also works wonders on other objects used for cooking like cast-iron pots, stoves, ovens, and knives. Careful about using too much bleach on your chopping implements as the substance is known to reduce the life of stainless steel blades.

That about wraps it on ingenious ways to use bleach in an SHTF situation. Instead of a conclusion, I will leave you with a question: to bleach or not to bleach? As always, if you figure out another great way of using this stuff in a survival-type situation, don’t be shy and hit the comment section.

There’s a reason why each shopping cart contains at least a bottle of bleach – this stuff’s good for a lot of odd jobs around the house, and some of

As a full-blooded prepper, I’ve always been looking for ways to make my food last longer. Sure, buying stuff like honey, white vinegar, and baking soda, get you a well-stocked pantry with food that never goes bad. Still, one cannot live on those alone.

So, after doing a bit of research, I stumbled upon this nifty passage from a prepping book which talked about brining and pickled meat. The recipe was so awesome and simple to make that I just had to share it with you guys.

See, long before fridges were invented, humans looked towards other ways of preserving food. Curing or smoking meat is one way of doing it, but hardly the only one. Around the 19th century, brining, as in the process of using salt to preserve food, became very popular, especially among sailors who had to spend months if not years on the sea.

Back then, frosty treats like ice-cream were very rare and quite expensive, year-round. In fact, most of the ice used for various purposes had to hauled from the North Pole. Still, people needed to eat meat, no matter the time of the year. Thus, brining came to be.

Apparently, this method was discovered completely by accident by some British sailors messing around with salty water and meat. Brining became so widespread that long after fridges became commercially available, people would still turn to it. You know the saying: if something’s not broken, why replace it?

The recipe I’m about to show involves pork. For my test-drive, I went ahead and bought a 2-pound shoulder from the butcher’s shop. Don’t worry too much about following this recipe to the letter. It works just as well with other cuts and meats – a friend of used it last week to pickle some salmon. Still waiting to see how it turned up. So, grab your recipe notebook and start writing.


For one large pickle jar, you won’t need more than 2 pounds of meat. Don’t go ahead and buy too much. Make a small batch first and see how it turns out. So, for this recipe, you’ll need the following stuff:

  • Meat.
  • Sharpened chef’s knife.
  • Glass jar.
  • One egg.
  • Salt.
  • 1/3 cup of sugar.
  • Bay leaves (4 are more than enough).
  • Garlic cloves (3 or 4, depending on your taste).
  • Peppercorns (20 will do).

How to prepare pickled meat

Step 1. Grab a clean cutting board and place your meat (I was referring to the pork) on it.

Step 2. Using your chef’s knife, cut the meat into 2-inch cubes.

Step 3. Get a strainer from the cupboard or whatever and wash the meat with plenty of cold water.

Step 4. Wash the jar with water and soap. Rinse! I would advise you to boil the jar before placing the meat inside. That deals with most of the bacteria that could make the meat go bad even with the added salt.

Step 5. Fill the jar with water. Don’t forget to leave plenty of room for the pork cubes and the rest of the condiments.

Step 6. Add salt to the jar. For this recipe, I measured a cup of salt. You may add more if you’re using a bigger jar.

Step 7. Time to test out if you added enough salt to your container. To do that, break the egg in the jar. If it goes down, add more salt. On the other hand, if it floats it means that you have more than enough.

Step 8. Place the pork cubes inside the jar and the rest of your condiments.

Step 9. Fill the remaining space with cool water and screw the lid in place.

More insight on pickling meat

That’s it! You only need to place the jar in a dry and cool place. Some call for keeping the jar in the refrigerator for one or two weeks. But that’s a bit of an overkill, considering that this method was used for food preservation long before fridges landed on the market.

What I like about this recipe is its simplicity and the fact that meat prepared this way can be cooked in many ways. For instance, being a big fan of Asian cuisine, I like to replace regular, freshly-slaughtered pork with the pickled kind. You can also use this meat for soups, broths, and even for preparing baby purees.

This is pure gold, especially during blackouts or any SHTF situation, for that matter. With pickled meat, you can whip yourself a quick dinner even the only heating source is a 12-hour emergency candle. Since it’s already prepared, it doesn’t take long to cook. Just be sure to avoid adding more salt, even if it’s second nature to you.

On that note, careful about eating pickled meat if you have kidney or heart issue. I mean that stuff is literally swimming in salt which does not agree too well with your condition(s).

Don’t worry, you can still enjoy a nice picked meat dish even if the doc says that you should refrain from eating salty food. Take the meat out of the jar, rinse it thoroughly, and submerge it in cold water. Leave it in there for at least an hour. That should clear most of the salt out.

Be careful when choosing your meat cut. Beef and fish are okay, but pork may require attention. If you bought your meat from a farmer or something, you should boil the meat before pickling it. The process kills most harmful bacteria, including trichinosis. Of course, you can always go crazy with the recipe and more stuff to it. I will try to pickle some beef and chicken next time to see how it goes.

Store it in a dark and dry environment and don’t forget about tightening the lid. For the first batch, I placed a cloth on top of the jar and tied it with a piece of string. Don’t know for sure if that helped or not, but the jar did look awfully nice and rustic.

Let me know how your pickling went.

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)

See, long before fridges were invented, humans looked towards other ways of preserving food. Curing or smoking meat is one way of doing it, but hardly the only one.

There are a lot of articles, videos, tips and even special chemicals designed to enable the average Prepper to be able to light a fire in all manner of weather. Most of this I think is a little too thought out and complicated but knowing how to start a fire is definitely vital.

Having a fire enables you to cook, boil water and provide light and safety. In my bug out bag I always have a couple of Bic lighters. These are generally the easiest and cheapest means of starting fire that virtually everyone is comfortable with and are easily accessible.

When we talk about survival though, you don’t always have your lucky bag of tricks with you. You may have taken a day hike, wandered off the trail and become lost or zombies attacked while you were on vacation at the beach. You may not have any survival gear with you and that Bic lighter you have might be back in your car. You have a lot of options like we mentioned above. You could start a fire with a fire plough, or bust your cell phone apart and use the screen as a lens.

I like the idea that Grant shows below and this is another easy way to get a fire out of something you might have on you when you get lost. When all you have on you is a bottle of water, it helps to know how to start a fire with a water bottle. You can impress your kids with this too.

There are a lot of articles, videos, tips and even special chemicals designed to enable the average Prepper to be able to light a fire in all manner of weather.


I have three decades experience in trauma ICU care at a level three trauma center (used to be level one was the worst category. That was flipped a few years ago) and recently saw yet another YouTube video where the Israeli bandage was being waved around like it is the savior for all SHTF issues. Quick clot and compression bandages will certainly save lives if applied and monitored correctly. As ever get training for health care needs before you need them and try to get real life training not just videos and books.

However I got to thinking about what I would do with 32 years nursing experience and most of that in trauma if I had a person laid up in bed and was faced with providing hospital care in SHTF and why. It seemed to me the knowledge is not that widely available or known but please, as ever, correct me in the comments below. As ever Doctors are really smart and any advice I give here is intended only for my own use and you should not use any of the advice given unless you have had a smart Doctor agree with it.

Bed Rest

Back in the dawn of time a lot of my surgical and medical patients used to experience sudden cardiac arrest. I was around for as medical science figured out why and how to treat this reasonably common (in the 1970s) complication of bed rest. Deep Vein Thrombosis leading to Pulmonary Embolism (same thing that kills discount airline passengers. Always fly business class!).

Bed rest is an easy prescription especially if the injury is severe. Bed rest is what I love to do when sick and getting me out of bed is hard. However with eight hours of lying around the venous blood flow through the large veins of the legs and calf slows. Pain, fear and lower levels of consciousness will make this worse. Dehydration also encourages the venous blood to slow and thicken deep within the person’s legs and calves.

However many injuries in SHTF might well need bed rest so what can you do?

Low Molecular Heparin injections are really good but you likely will not have any. T.E.D. ™ anti-embolism stockings are a good thing to have in your trauma kit. Reasonably cheap and come in a variety of sizes. You can also use tight bandages wrapped around the legs but honestly they are more likely to cause venous congestion than minimize it. Here is what you should do if you have appropriate stockings or not. Move the legs and the joints carefully trough a range of motion (depends on the injury of course) every one to two hours throughout the stay in bed. Get them up into a chair and make them walk as soon as practical. In the 1960s you got to lie in bed for a week being hand fed if you had a heart attack to minimize cardiac stress. This caused a lot of deaths from embolism! This is also why new mothers get booted out of hospital in hours as well. Beds are very dangerous places if you lie in them for ages. Give a bit of daily Aspirin but read the next section carefully first.

Start gentle laxatives as early as possible and encourage high protein foods and drinks. Monitor their temperature twice a day at the same time of day and consider gram negative antibiotics if they develop even a slight temperature.


Most people are familiar with aspirin. If the person is a child or a baby do not give ever. Rarely it can kill the child. However if you are taking a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) you should also never take aspirin. Advil, Motrin, Aleve are common pain killers but never, ever take them and aspirin. Take one or the other, never both. If you have asthma try to avoid taking aspirin. The reason is that a severe asthma attack can be triggered by aspirin especially if you have asthma and/or are also taking an NSAID (this is arguable). The aspirin also makes the NSAID ineffective (this is true). Now I know some people are going to be saying “but I have asthma or I took Advil and aspirin and I am fine”. You were lucky and most times you will be lucky but you might not always be lucky. These are rare but fatal complications.

If you are bleeding actively (gushing or oozing blood or bruising under the back- check frequently when you turn the person on bed rest who has had a trauma) never give aspirin. It is an excellent blood thinner which is why small doses if safe should be consider if your person on bed rest can safely swallow. I also have aspirin that absorbs via the mouth for those too ill to swallow liquids safely. Pulmonary embolism is a proven killer of people on bed rest who do not have access to regular injections of low molecular heparin. If you have ulcers, gout, kidney, or liver diseases do not take aspirin. It is to be avoided in hypertension but frankly I consider it too valuable to avoid if primary hypertension unrelated to kidney disease.

Read More: Medicine to Stock up on for When There Is No Doctor

Broken bones should also avoid aspirin for at least three days. A bad femur fracture can cause several liters of blood loss into the tissues. A bad pelvic fracture can easily bleed so much internally they die. If you can use transfusion but battle field transfusion without cross and typing has many risks and is unlikely to be available in SHTF. Even if you have the same blood type there can easily be dramatic and deadly effects from a blood transfusion as incompatibility is not just the blood type. For me if you need a blood transfusion to survive in SHTF you are a gonna anyhow so why bother?

In the third trimester of pregnancy do not take aspirin as both the mom and the baby may well bleed to death during the delivery. Do not use it is you are breast feeding (breast is best and possibly the only option in shtf) as the baby will get dosed and it really is not a good thing. If the aspirin bottle smells strongly of vinegar it may no longer be effective but if it is all you have then take it anyway. Consider researching Willow Tree Bark (and the leaves to some degree). Natural analogue for aspirin and an okay pain killer (beats nothing).

Many people use “baby aspirin” to avoid strokes and heart attacks. This low dose aspirin is expensive, Buy normal aspirin and take half a tablet.

Real Trauma Kits

Elite First Aid Fully Stocked GI Issue Medic Kit Bag, Large

You can buy good trauma kits and Israeli bandages and I would encourage everyone who is trained to use one to have one and plenty of extra supplies but then what? Your friend stopped a bullet in her right leg and it seems the bone is broke judging by the screams when she moves and the bits of hard white stuff sticking out. Step one is to control the bleeding and step two to avoid infection. You slap on the Israeli bandage (likely your will need more than one), use the splint to immobilize the leg, and start her on fish antibiotics.

Then what? She’s going to be laid up for weeks and will take a lot to get her back on her feet. Do you have a bedpan (urinal for the males too slow to dodge bullets) to make washroom times less messy? Do you know how to remake a bed with a person lying in it and to wash them? Back in the 1980s as a student nurse we did these things on each other. These days they do not and their skills show it. Have a night where you try this on a loved one after reading up on how to do it. It is honestly a lot of fun. Can you make and use skin traction to get the bones in a better alignment? Again it is not hard and is easy to do but you need to know how to do it right to avoid crippling them. Do you have electrolyte drinks in large quantities and understand that urine needs to be clear or they are dehydrated? Real trauma kits will let you start intravenous infusions, pick out the bone bits, and suture internally and externally. The focus is on the first hour in prepping but rarely do people think about care the next day, the next week, the next month. Pool shock used to make strong bleach is a great thing to wash the bed sheets and to swab the area around the person who is stuck in bed. Can you make a frame and a hand hoist to let them sit upright frequently and relieve pressure on their bum and back? Pressure ulceration is not fun. Again look up basic nursing and at least have a text book available if you have avoided actual practice.

The one of the best things to get is an Emergency RN and keep him or her in your ‘kit’. An medical Doctor is helpful but they rarely have to do the thinking and creating that the RN has to do and RN who has worked in ED for a couple of decades knows much more than more a ED Fellow.

Fish Antibiotic

These are achieving a fair degree of popularity amongst preppers and for good reason but are you treating a Gram negative or gram positive infection? Generally speaking gram negative infections are more harmful than gram positive ones and tend to be more resistant to antibiotic use. Use penicillin and sulfonamide for gram positive and use streptomycin, chloramphenicol, and tetracycline for gram negatives. Use ONE for one week or two weeks (look up treatment regimens). Use another if the person is getting worse or is unimproved at the end of the full course of the initial drug.

Other than using gram staining (yes you can but I’d not bother) you need to assume it is a gram negative bacterial infection. These tend to kill more than the positive ones and are more common. If there is zero improvement then consider using a gram positive antibiotic. Gram negative is your go to antibiotic first off except if the bowels and/or stomach has been opened but frankly the person will likely die of sepsis in this case no matter what you do in SHTF. Try gram positive but give nothing by mouth if the bowels and or the stomach have been hit. Can you use a stethoscope and assess bowel sounds? A basic and a useful skill but can you give intravenous fluids and use a nasogastric tube? It gets complex very fast in trauma and stopping the bleeding is vital but there is more than this to ongoing treatment.

If you are thinking of using antibiotics at least take a look at this and realize many fish antibiotics are really not used much in humans anymore as they can cause issues. Still if nothing else then I’d use them. Prepper Princess mentioned she is worried about cholera in SHTF. This is a reasonable worry in SHTF and is likely if you fail to treat all water and food sources as possibly infectious. A quick search uncovered this so fish antibiotics used wisely would be useful. However I would go with doxycycline as a first use in cholera and the other advice on treatment here is highly appropriate to most infections in SHTF. You can and should do this for all infections you think are likely in SHTF and that you wish to treat. A standard drug book is too detailed and confusing for most people.

Within one month of a specific antibiotic not being used the rates of its efficiency start to rise. Store lots of antibiotics especially the gram negative ones as they will work very well after a year or two. Penicillin will again be great for sexually transmitted diseases which will also dramatically return in SHTF. Of course abstinence is the best practice but what else are you going to have to do in the bunker?


They will come along in SHTF as they have since humans first appeared on the Earth. Do you have contraception and/or methods to avoid unwanted pregnancies? Returning to the 1800s and each fertile woman popping out 10-16 children would happen fast. This Wikipedia article, (I know but it is reasonable) shows that death three to five days after birthing for women will be very common in SHTF. What the article fails to say is death rates were 40-60% for women having their delivery from a Doctor and 5-10% (or lower) from the Midwife in the same maternity ward. The lesson here then and now is wash your hands and forearms in bleach before and after every examination, do not use long sleeves (of note this applies now in health care), have lots of soap and clean water. Scrub clean beds between uses. Basic stuff but easily overlooked.

Babies get sick and die. Always have and always will but most infectious diseases had very little mortality (death rates) prior to antibiotics and vaccines (maternal deaths are the exception here). Chlorinated water, sleeping one person to a bed, quarantine of infectious people, hand washing, and good old fashioned nursing are absolutely critical in SHTF and now to avoid dying for infections. Sure antibiotics have saved millions but we are in the billions.

Hope all of this gives you some food for thought.

  I have three decades experience in trauma ICU care at a level three trauma center (used to be level one was the worst category. That was flipped a few years


Imagine being in the middle of a crowded festival, enjoying your time with your family.  All of a sudden, you find yourself near some drunks who start a fight, and you can’t help but separate from your family, and get pulled into the fray. You’re a prepper, and like most preppers, you’re carrying a small firearm, in this case a small pistol.  Do you use it?

Some would say yes – it’s time to defend the family, and that’s what a weapon is for, right?  Others hold off – bringing deadly force into a relatively small conflict is a certain legal issue and is probably not necessary considering that these people are drunk.  That said, this is clearly a self-defense situation.  Considering that a gunshot in a crowded public space is one of the fastest ways to start a riot, potentially getting you or your family even more harmed, the balance point for many tends to tip towards leaving your weapon holstered.

Imagine again.  This time, you and your family return home, and see the basement window broken.  Alarm bells are going off in your head, and you draw your weapon, instructing the kids to wait in the car.  Upon entering, you are able to see that the dangerous infiltrator is actually a 14-year-old boy who lives down the road.  Is he dangerous, or just a neighborhood nuisance?  You have less than seconds to decide.

Maybe you are one to draw in these circumstances, however, I believe that these are two examples of situations where yes, a gun could be advantageous to you, but it would be better left holstered.

Of all the four major prep areas – food, water, shelter and defense – it is defense that is most often overlooked.  I know preppers who think that all they need is a pistol and some ammunition, while others stock an armory, but the fact remains that for most, defense is simply just about the weapons you choose to keep.  In reality, self-defense is so much more.

Personal Defense                

The fact remains that for most, defense is simply just about the weapons you choose to keep. In reality, self defense is so much more.

The first line of defense to prepare is your last line of defense – your ability to defend your own person.  Guns are fantastic, but are not always the best solution to a conflict.  The best way to start that process is to take a martial arts class regularly.

Martial arts classes are incredibly varied, and depending on where you live, you should find a broad spectrum of different styles.  You could opt for a striking art like TaeKwon Do, Karate or Kung Fu, or you could focus on a martial art that emphasizes grappling such as Judo.  There are many arts that are combinations by nature (any MMA style or Krav Maga), and there are many schools of striking or grappling arts that borrow from outside of the strict boundaries of their chosen style to incorporate a broad range of self-defense elements.

Striking arts are probably what everyone thinks of when they imagine martial arts, as they are based on using your hands and feet to punch, chop and kick your way to safety.  These arts value speed and quickness over size and power, and often incorporate a large variety of cardio exercise practices that will double as your workout for the day.  The major advantage to learning a striking art is clear – these arts are focused on disabling an opponent quickly from a (relative) distance, and allow you at least a small chance of fighting multiple opponents.  A typical class will involve practicing kata or patterns of movements, practice kicks and punches against air, striking heavy bags or padded opponents, and jumping techniques.

Grappling arts are going to be more similar to wrestling than what you’d likely think of as a “martial arts” technique.  Instead of punches and kicks, you’ll learn disabling holds, pressure points, and throws.  A certain amount of size and strength is not necessarily essential, but will definitely help.  Classes for grappling arts tend to emphasize one-on-one, back-and-forth style of practice (I’ll throw you, then you throw me), and may not be as exercise-heavy as a striking art.  The advantages of studying a grappling art are the fact that they focus on defending yourself from abductions and mugging-style grabs and unarmed defense against an armed opponent, which are highly practical scenarios.  In addition, many people who have studied street fights have noted that over 80% of these encounters end up on the ground, where grapplers have a distinct advantage.

Both styles give you opportunities to practice against your classmates in simulated fighting scenarios.  Striking courses usually incorporate sparring practice where you use heavy pads and light contact to simulate a fight and test your reflexes and skills.  This allows you to safely practice your skills so that you’ll know you can function in times when you need to defend yourself. Grappling arts use amateur wrestling, or kneeling wrestling known as rendori as sport-practice.  In rendori, you maneuver your opponent on the mat in an attempt to make them submit from a painful or inescapable hold.

Finding a style is a good choice, but it may be better to find a school first and a style second.  Not all martial arts courses are created equally.  Many are black belt factories, where you pay a certain fee and are guaranteed a black belt after a certain amount of time.  Other schools are going to emphasize tournament performance or flashy-but-not-realistic jumping and leaping attacks.  Good schools are hard to come by, but they’ll offer a variety of different types of skills and performance elements, have a wide variety of people at varying levels of abilities and ages, and have experienced instructors.  Park districts are an excellent place to begin, but there are some valuable strip mall dojos that offer different types of instruction.  Ask for a free trial class, or at least to watch a class before signing up.

Non-Gun Weapons

Some models of tactical flashlights have stun guns or preprogrammed SOS signals that can add to its functionality.

In addition to a basic level of skill in hand-to-hand combat, I think it’s also important to find a hand-to-hand weapon to supplement your firearm and EDC kit.  My personal choice is a tactical flashlight that functions as a striking weapon, a strobe light to distract and disorient my attackers, and a tool that I can use in my everyday life.  Some models of tactical flashlights have stun guns or preprogrammed SOS signals that can add to its functionality, and since it’s a small flashlight it is a very inconspicuous weapon that is never taken away from me at sporting events or theme parks.  If you don’t like that suggestion, consider some of these other hand-to-hand weapons that are easy to carry:

Remember that no matter what weapon you choose to carry that you are well equipped and ready to use it.  A knife may not be the best weapon for every encounter, but if that’s what you choose, that’s what you might be stuck with.  If you pull pepper spray from your pocket or purse, know how to use it, or it will be taken away and used against you.


Best Prepper Dog for SHTF

My final suggestion for personal defense is to get yourself a dog.

Dogs are fantastic companion animals that are also overlooked but highly practical pieces of a prepper’s armory.  They require much more regular upkeep than what you’re storing in your gun cabinet currently, but are also useful for a wide variety of situations.

Dogs are not a fail-safe mechanism for security.  Just check YouTube and you’ll find hundreds of home security videos of dogs peacefully approaching burglars and not making a peep if that burglar thought ahead to bringing some dog treats with them.  That said, training and mentally stimulating your dog will certainly help in developing his senses enough to make him a versatile tool and defense mechanism as well as a companion.

Training your dog to be a more aggressive “guard dog” is certainly an option, but one that I would strongly discourage.  It is important for your dog to be socialized among other animals and be extremely selective about whom he attacks.  An “attack dog” is not a good choice, and will likely do you more harm than good, both in terms of legal trouble and difficulty in raising and training him.

If you don’t want a traditional guard dog, and if your dog is more likely to lick your home invader than attack him or warn you, then why bother?  It’s easy – prepper dogs are a highly effective deterrent for would-be attackers.

There is an old adage that states “When you’re running from a bear, you don’t need to be the fastest, you just need to not be the slowest.”  Choosing a large breed of dog, such as a Rottweiler, or an American or Olde English bulldog will definitely make your home significantly less appealing for any home invaders or burglars. More intelligent breeds, such as German Shepherds can act as an early warning system for people approaching your home, and may be able to be put to work around your home for basic tasks if you keep livestock.  These kinds of dogs are also those that have a reputation of being aggressive (even though they’re not), and their reputation alone can be a deterrent.  Keep in mind that many of our modern breeds, even those poorly designed for defense like bloodhounds or greyhounds, were originally bred to be hunters or highly specialized seekers, and have many practical applications in SHTF or survival situations

Taking dogs with you when you go outside for exercise or a walk is a good way for urban preppers to discourage muggers and attackers.  Even rural and suburban preppers can benefit from having a dog along on walks or runs in case of twisted ankles, or in the event that you are involved in some sort of accident.  My mother-in-law was riding her horse that she’d ridden thousands of times in the past, along a trail that she had ridden hundreds of times before, and when her horse was inexplicably spooked she fell off.  It was her golden lab that ran back to the farm alone to find help while she was knocked out.

All told, the advantages of having an animal companion are significant, specifically in terms of defense.  For those with allergies, there are some hypoallergenic dogs that are available, and depending on the breed you choose, you may find yourself unaffected by short-haired breeds.

A dog is not the highest priority on the list, but can certainly be a helpful addition to a home or personal defense system.  I certainly feel better about leaving my teenage daughter home alone for runs to the store or when I’m out to dinner with my wife when Arthur (my 90-pound monster of an American Bulldog) is home with her, even those he’s secretly a big softie.

  Imagine being in the middle of a crowded festival, enjoying your time with your family.  All of a sudden, you find yourself near some drunks who start a fight, and