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When SHTF, or if life just throws you a curve-ball and you find yourself in a survival situation without being prepared, one of the first things on your survival to-do list is to find water.

Once you’ve found a water source, though, there are two important factors to consider. First, is it clean/drinkable/safe/purified? And second, how are you going to be able to store it or take it with you?

A few ways to purify your water include boiling, water purification tablets, using a commercial water filter, mixing small amounts of bleach into your water, or crafting a DIY filter out of soil and sand. But once you have clean water, how can you store it for later use or carry it with you?

Unless you’re planning to sit back and wait for rescue, you’ll probably need to leave the source of your water (especially if you’re being chased by zombies). Even if you plan to stick close to your water source, you may not want to drink all of your purified water at once, and it can make life much easier if you have containers in which to store your clean water.

Fortunately, nature has given us lots of provisions when it comes to the things we need, including water containers. It definitely helps to have a good survival knife on hand to make some of these containers, but where there’s a will, there’s a way!

3 DIY Natural Water Containers:

Wood

To create a container out of wood, you’ll need to:

    1. Locate a dry log or thick branch. To ensure that it’s large enough to build a container, look for (or cut) a log that is about two feet long. If you can split it in half, even better–a flat surface makes things easier. Hardwoods are better for making water containers simply because they are better at holding liquid without it seeping through the wood. Also, avoid rotten or cracking wood.
    2. Once you’ve located your wood, you’ll need to build a fire until you have red hot coals. If you were able to split your log in half, lay it on its side with the freshly split side facing up, and place a few coals on the flat surface. If you couldn’t split it, place a few coals on the flattest possible surface. Use a piece of straw or reed to blow air onto the coals. This not only makes them burn into the wood faster but also helps you shape the container by blowing the coals in the direction you want them to burn.
    3. Once the coals cool off, remove them and scrape out the charred wood with your survival knife or a piece of sharp rock.
    4. Place another red-hot coal into the depression and repeat the previous steps.
    5. Once you’ve created a large enough cavity, use a rounded rock to sand down the container and remove any remaining charcoal.
    6. Having a visual reference always helps, so here’s a video walking you through the process:

Birch bark

One of the best materials for creating containers is birch bark because it is quite pliable, especially when heated. To begin, you’ll need to:

  1. Find a birch tree (preferably one that has fallen but is still in good condition).
  2. Use a hammer and chisel, a survival knife, or a sharp rock to cut into the tree and peel off the bark. A rectangular piece of bark will work well to create a container.
  3. Once you have the bark in hand, heat it up a bit until it’s very flexible. – This next part gets a little tricky to explain, but stick with me (or just skip to the video below).
  4. Imagine you’re a child in elementary school (it’ll help) and your teacher hands you a rectangular piece of paper. You need to turn it into a triangle-ish shape. We’ll call the shorter top and bottom edges “A” and the longer right and left edges “B.” So, to change the rectangle into a triangle (ish), you take an “A” edge and fold it to meet a “B” edge and make a crease. This is practically the whole first fold of your birch container, except that you won’t crease all the way down. The distance from where the “A” and “B” edges are pressed together and the crease kind of creates a third edge to a triangle. That distance gives you the depth of your container. Stop creasing when the “third edge” of your “triangle” gets to whatever depth you want for your container.
  5. Crease that “third edge” of your mini “triangle” and fold the triangle it towards the “A” edge (the shorter edge) of your original rectangle.
  6. If you were able to grasp that great verbal description, give yourself a well-deserved pat on the back and repeat that step with the rest of the corners of the birch bark making sure that the folds overlap at least a little bit. This will create a box or bowl (depending on the depth and creases). You can hold the overlapping folded edges by creating a really rough clothespin out of a partially split branch.

If that was way too many words without any pictures, there’s a great walk-through in the video below showing exactly how to make these folds and create your birch bark container.

Bamboo

With bamboo, you can create either a bowl or a cup. Bamboo stalks have sealed joints, so when cutting a piece of bamboo stalk, simply make sure that one end of it includes a sealed joint. An extra bonus of bamboo is that it also contains water inside its hollow stems.

Animal Parts

The skin, bladder, and intestines of animals can also be used as water containers. (This is a survival situation, so no time to get queasy here).

  1. To make a water bottle from the stomach of a large animal, make sure to thoroughly clean it with water. If you have considerable time, you can boil some water, take it off the heat, and place the stomach in it for 2 hours. Continue to repeat this process until you see the water remaining clear even after soaking the stomach.
  2. Then, turn the stomach inside out and scrape off the lining carefully using the back of your knife so you won’t puncture it. Do this while the stomach is still in the warm water to make it easier.
  3. Once you’re done, boil another batch of water, take it off the heat, and soak the stomach for half an hour. Then, tie off the bottom end while the top end is left open. You can fasten it closed with some cordage to keep the water from spilling out.

Other Containers

There are also some ready-made containers that you can use to store water such as coconut shells, hollowed out acorns, seashells, and even turtle shells (after being thoroughly boiled of course) if you happen to stumble on any. For coconut shells, make sure to scrape out all the fruit inside and sand down the wood to smooth the bowl’s surface.

Naturally, in an ideal situation, you would have a water container with you. It makes life much easier, but should you be unfortunate enough to find yourself without one, one or a few of these DIY containers should do the trick.


Here’s some other self-sufficiency and preparedness solutions recommended for you:

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

Survival MD (Knowledge to survive any medical crisis situation)

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

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

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

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

When SHTF, or if life just throws you a curve-ball and you find yourself in a survival situation without being prepared, one of the first things on your survival to-do

Probably every Hollywoodian adventure flick out there has at least one scene where the protagonist or, better yet, the bad guy, finds himself trapped in quicksand. Film producers gave their very best to depict as gruesomely as possible what it means to become entangled in that sandy pit of death.

I have to admit that, for a very long time, I was convinced that there was no difference between stepping in quicksand and doing the mamba in a minefield. Although most of the things you see in movies are BS, not all are fictitious.

For instance, I remember seeing a screen adaption of The Hound of Baskerville, my favorite story from the Sherlock Holmes universe, in which one the main characters explain to doctor Watson how people may ‘unstuck’ themselves from quicksand by getting on their backs and swim. True to some degree, as you will find out later in this chapter, but not nearly enough to get out of quicksand.

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When it comes to movie depictions of shifting sands, the thing that irks me the most is this feeling of utter doom given off by those scenes. It’s something like “Crap! I stepped in quicksand. Well, nothing more to do than letting the sands swallow. Oh, to make things even more dramatic, I will roar like a raging lunatic and flutter my arms. That’s it! Lights out! Buh-bye! End of the line for me.”

It’s not exactly like that in real life. Sure, if you move around like crazy, that thing will eventually choke on sand or mud. That’s another thing – quicksand pits are not always made of sand, and it’s not just desert you’ve got to look out for.

Technically, any hole containing a fair amount of sand, dirt, silt or clay can become a quicksand pit it’s drenched by water and agitated by movement. I won’t bore you to death with the science behind quicksand, but I will say this – these treacherous pits can be found anywhere around the world, especially in areas that have been hit by natural disasters such as earthquakes, landslides, and flooding.

So, my advice to you is to watch your step and stay away from puddles or suspicious pits. Carrying a walking stick always helps, especially when you have to traverse unknown terrain. As you’re walking, the ground in front of you with your stick a couple of times. If it appears to be solid, it means it’s safe to walk.

Still, if the end gets caught and you have trouble getting it out, you should definitely avoid the area. That’s basically it for the prepping and prevention part. Let’s now see what we should do in case we end up in a quicksand pit.

Step 1. Stop and discard.

Once you step in a quicksand pit, you’ll immediately notice that your body will slowly begin to plunge in the pit. Stop! Take a deep breath! You’re not going to die here. Now, the first thing you’ll need to concern yourself with is your weights – the heavier you are, the faster you’ll sink.

So, grab your backpack and throw it as far away from the quicksand pit as possible. If you have a toolbelt or anything similar, you should throw that away as well. Your boots make one Hell of a difference when it comes to getting out fast of quicksand. For instance, rubber boots, like those used by people fishing in shallow waters, are very useful for this kind of situation since they can be removed easier compared to their laced peers.

Step 2. Watch your movements

 

The whole idea of dealing with quicksand is knowing exactly when to move and when to stand still. What most people don’t know is that there’s a 5 to the 10-second interval which allows a quick escape. So, if you step in one of these quicksand pits, go through step one, which is discarding your backpack and any other stuff that might weigh you down, and try to take a couple of steps forward and backward.

Small, baby steps – don’t try to rush things. If you move slowly, you’ll soon feel that less grip. Continue doing this until you manage to break free of the quicksand pit.

Step 3. Drop and swim to safety

If you miss this interval, again, stop what you are doing, stand still, and take a deep breath. Remember that every twitch or sudden movement can stir the stuff inside the pit. This will tighten the grip and make you sink even further.

Once you’ve calmed down, slowly lay on your back, just as you would do at a hospital when a nice lady doctor offers you a consultation. Keep your arms parallel to your body. You should ensure that your head and torso remain above the ground. Take a short breather, and roll on one side. Now, arch your back and swim forward. Remember the backstrokes you’ve learned in swimming class? That’s exactly what you must need to do.

The only difference between swimming in water and quicksand is the amount of friction. Obviously, it’s more challenging to swim in mud or sand compared to water, but if you put your back into it, you’ll eventually reach solid ground.

Again, everything must be done in slow motion. Don’t rush it! If you feel that the effort’s too much, rest for a couple of minutes. Yes, I know it’s frustrating to have the same speed as a garden snail, but rushing it would only make you sink even further into the quicksand.

Once you feel that the ground below you is solid, flop back, firmly plant your hands on the ground, and push as hard as you can to yank yourself loose.

Don’t worry about losing your boots or smartphone in the quicksand pit. Those can be replaced; your life cannot. Above all, don’t try sticking your hand inside the hole in a desperate attempt to recover your position. Your priority right now would be to recover your B.O.B and\or toolbelt.

Do a quick inventory to see if anything went missing. If you have an emergency phone in your backpack, use it to call the authorities. You can also switch on your personal emergency beacon if you have one.

The next step would be to check all body areas that have been in contact with the quicksand pit. Remember that the extra friction may cause some nasty bruises and even wounds.  If this is the case, get the first-kit out of your bug out bag and treat all resulting wounds before infection sets in.

Additional considerations on surviving quicksand pits

In 99.9 percent of cases, you can survive a quicksand encounter. Still, there are a couple of more things you should know about these things.

Quicksand pits are not specific to only one part of the world.

In fact, research has pointed out that these formations can appear anywhere in the world, especially in proximity to bodies of water such as lakes, underground springs, riverbanks, beaches, and marshes.

Quicksand pits are featureless.

There’s no possible way of telling if the thing in front of you is a quicksand pit or just another mud puddle or hole in the sand. Well, there actually is – by getting stuck in it!

Swimming is the best way to get out of quicksand.

Buoyancy is the only thing that keeps you from meeting an untimely demise. However, there are times when you may not be able to backstroke your way out of a quicksand pit. More specifically, the friction will be too higher for your body. If this happens, arch your back and hips more. This will allow you to equally distribute your body weight, ensuring buoyancy.

Not all quicksand pits are dangerous.

Although movies show that each encounter with a quicksand pit means certain death, in reality, you won’t sink lower than your ankles. Still, you shouldn’t take this for granted, since everything depends on how deep the pit’s in the first place.

Panicking is the leading cause of death in case of deep quicksand pits encounters.

 

Researchers have determined that most people who have choked to death in shifting sands, panicked and tried to latch onto anything they could find.

Remember that sudden and violent movement will only stir the bottom of the pit even more which, as you’ve guessed it, results in sinking. Stay calm, lay flat on your back, flop over, and use the backstroke to get out of the quicksand pit.

Walking sticks makes escapes a lot easier.

Escaping a quicksand pit is a lengthy and strenuous process (sometimes, it takes more than half a day to cover one or two meters). You can reduce the time it takes you to get out by using your walking stick as a flotation device.

Provided that you haven’t lost the stick or threw away with your bug out bag and\or toolbelt, lay flat on your back and place the walking stick underneath your body (it should be right below the lumbar area). In a couple of seconds, you will notice that there’s no more sinking.

Using your legs only, push slowly. After advancing a couple of inches, move the stick to a new position. It will take a while, but by combining the leg-pushing drill with the stick, you’ll soon be able to reach firm ground.

That’s basically it for my take on how to escape a quicksand pit. Again, not all encounters with this sand and water formations area deadly. The odds are you’ll probably never sink below the ankle level.

For smaller quicksand pits, it’s enough to move your legs back and forth to get out. Of course, the best method of escaping quicksand pits is to avoid them in the first place. Granted that shifting sands are featureless, but you can test the terrain in front of you with your walking stick. Avoid marshy and sandy area also helps, but you never know where life takes you.

Other self-sufficiency and preparedness solutions recommended for you:

Healthy Soil + Healthy Plants = Healthy You

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

Knowledge to survive any medical crisis situation

Liberal’s hidden agenda: more than just your guns

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

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

Secure your privacy in just 10 simple steps

Probably every Hollywoodian adventure flick out there has at least one scene where the protagonist or, better yet, the bad guy, finds himself trapped in quicksand. Film producers gave their

Waterproof matches are expensive, but you can make your own for only a fraction of the price.

Today’s featured video is from YouTuber’s JoeandZachSurvival and they share a simple but effective way to waterproof your matches. As preppers we spend a fair amount of time talking about cooking when the grid goes down and there are numerous ways to start a fire out of natural materials, but I think having a lighter or matches is just easier.

I personally have a firesteel for times when I don’t have a lighter but unless I want to practice making a fire, I will go the easy route and just light that Bic or strike a match.

When it comes to packing fire making materials in my Bug Out Bag or even just stocking up my supplies, lighters and matches are something I don’t leave out.

You can purchase a few packs of Bic lighters and throw those in a plastic tub and they will last for a very long time. Matches, may last even longer and if you take steps to protect them from the elements, you can use these in a lot of situations.

In this video, Joe and Zach show you how to make waterproof matches easily that can save you a little money. Hope you enjoy!

What do you think? If you’re curious to find out 4 other ways to waterproof your matches, there’s more.

Listed below are a number of effective and proven ways to make waterproof matches you can use for camping, backpacking, and emergencies.

Note: All the methods below involve some risk. If you are a minor, do not carry out any of these activities without the permission of a competent adult supervisor. The list is ranked from safest to least safe. The best and safest method is to use turpentine. (Turpentine has a higher “flash point” relative to acetone, which is commonly used in nail polish and does not involve the use of flame as is needed in the Wax or Paraffin methods.)

Method One of Four: Use Turpentine

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1. Pour 2 to 3 large tablespoons of turpentine into a small (tumbler sized) glass.
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2. Place the matches, (head down) into the turpentine and allow the matches to soak for 5 minutes. During that time the turpentine will soak into the head as well as the stem. All the water will be driven off by the turpentine.
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3. Remove the matches and spread them out to dry out on a sheet of newspaper.Generally, 20 minutes for excess turpentine to evaporate is recommended. Matches treated in this way remain waterproof for several months or longer.

Method Two of Four: Use Nail Polish

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1. Dip the head end of the match into clear nail polish far enough to cover at least an eighth of an inch (3 millimeters) of the stick below the head.
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2. Hold the match for a few seconds to allow the polish to dry and then place the match on a table or counter so that the head is suspended off the edge of the surface.
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3. Place a sheet of newsprint below to catch anything that may drip off.

Method Three of Four: Use a Candle

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1. Light a candle and let it burn down until you have a good amount of liquid wax (about a half of an inch or 1 centimeter).
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2. Extinguish the candle.
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3. Dip the head end of the match into the wax far enough to cover at least an eighth of an inch (3 millimeters) of the stick below the head.
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4. Hold the match for a few seconds to allow the wax to harden slightly and then place the match on a table or counter so that the head is suspended off the edge of the surface.
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5. When the wax has cooled, but not completely hardened, pinch the end of the wax coating (towards the stick), forming a tight seal.

Method Four of Four: Using Paraffin Wax

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1. Melt enough paraffin wax in a double boiler to be able to coat with wax about a half of an inch (1 centimeter) deep.
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2. Wrap some twine or jute string around several matches from the bottom, to just below the wax quickly. This makes a torch that can burn for 10 or more minutes.

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)

Waterproof matches are expensive, but you can make your own for only a fraction of the price. Today’s featured video is from YouTuber’s JoeandZachSurvival and they share a simple but effective

Who knows what could happen tomorrow? This is the philosophy that most preppers live by. No matter the situation, when danger suddenly appears, a prepper’s heightened organization and awareness will greatly increase their chances of survival. There are roughly 3.7 million preppers in the United States, and each one most likely understands that being a prepper takes a lot of time and money. So how do you make sure that you’re being efficient? Apart from the necessities of food, clothing, and shelter, what are the other tools and tricks you need to survive? Check out this list of five tools and five skills to have under your belt in case of an emergency.

5 Handy Skills

Navigation and compass skills

Being able to navigate yourself in an unknown area is a skill that will get you far. Literally. In times of danger, who knows where you could end up? You may have to escape your house on foot, escape your town or state and in extreme cases, the country. In its most basic form, practicing a good sense of direction can be great, but also mastering the use of your compass can be better to avoid getting lost in an unknown area like a forest or even an unfamiliar city.

First aid

Performing first aid is essential to ensuring that you and those around you are out of any immediate danger that could lead to serious injury or fatality. This could be especially helpful in natural disasters in which people are prone to drowning, suffocating or choking. But there are many dangerous situations where people may need assistance through mouth-to-mouth resuscitation or other first aid techniques.

Finding and producing water

More so than food, enough water is an absolute necessity to survive. And with such an abundant supply of water all over the earth, it’s just a matter of knowing where to find it. Even if you feel like Tom Hanks in “Castaway,” you may be able to find your very own coconut to feast on. Apart from collecting rainwater, there are other ways to be creative. When in snow or ice, boiling it can be a great way to make water safe from bacteria, however, this requires fire or another heating source. If you find yourself in a mountain, make your way down it, as water always runs to the lowest point. In a desert, finding water can be a bit trickier, but try digging a few feet below creek beds or building a solar still.

Fire making

This skill is one that will help you with a number of things — cooking food, boiling water to make it potable and staying warm. While it doesn’t take many materials to start a fire, it does take some practice. In order to prepare for this, try out different fire starters and see which works best for you. After that, it’s a matter of practicing how to collect the right wood and branches and correctly arranging them for a fire.

Knowledge of flora and fauna

In extreme circumstances, you may find yourself out of food, water, and shelter and may be forced to use the natural resources around you. However, with so many different species of plants and animals, a sound knowledge of flora and fauna can go a long way. This is a way of making the environment work for you and knowing what can be used as food or as survival materials, as well as what can be potentially harmful.

5 Handy Tools For A Prepper

Multi-function survival tool

It’s always important to make sure you have as many tools on you as possible without taking up too much space because you never know what you might need. A multi-tool can be used as a knife, screwdriver, can opener, ruler, bottle cap opener, 4 position wrench, saw blade, butterfly screw, wrench, direction ancillary wrench, 2 position wrench and other configurations based upon what you select.

Hunting knife

Keeping the need for food in mind, a hunting knife is a useful tool to carry in case you’re stuck in a situation where you have to hunt for your food. Matched with educating yourself about hunting, this tool can be the difference in feeding you and your family or not.

Fire starter

As mentioned, the use of a fire is multifaceted, so it’s important to make it a major focus. Experiment with different types and brands of fire starters to see what you like best. They often come in different styles and can have other things attached to them such as torches or whistles.

Water tools

Water is essential and should be included in any prepper’s schedule. As a base, preparing hydration packs is a great way to ensure that everyone stays hydrated, especially in a circumstance when you’re leaving on foot and will be prone to exhaustion and dehydration. Once your water supply ends, another great water tool to carry is filtration tablets. When added to dirty or bacteria-infested water, these tablets kill the germs and make the water drinkable.

Flashlight

One of the worst parts of natural disasters or other dangerous situations is that you’re often left without electricity or a source of light. Having a readily available flashlight can mean that you’re able to not only find food and water at all times but can also remain aware of your surroundings and therefore avoid any further danger.

As a prepper, remaining organized for any situation is vital. And there’s usually a fear that you’re forgetting something, which could end up putting you and your family in even more danger. Make use of these five tools and five skills to ensure you’re always prepared to keep you and your loved ones safe in a variety of scenarios.

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)

Who knows what could happen tomorrow? This is the philosophy that most preppers live by. No matter the situation, when danger suddenly appears, a prepper’s heightened organization and awareness will

In modern war, you would die like a dog, for no good reason.

Hemingway said it. And he was not far from today’s reality.

We are already at war. We are at constant war. If not with another nation, then we are at war with something else. Since we’re fighting in 7 different countries in this very moment, would you be surprised to find out that the number of fanatics hating us grows exponentially?  

So then it is logic that we will be hit when we least expect it. And where we least expect it. For we are too busy planting our seeds of democracy someplace else, while our own country turns into a demo-crazy.  

Fighting terrorism with real weapons begins to sound a little outdated right? It’s like we discovered solar power but we continue to dig for coal. We could maybe end terrorism online if we really paid attention to how things evolve outside the US. Instead of financing useless wars trying to change people that maybe don’t want to change, maybe we should invest in new technologies. Cyber terrorism is the real threat.

When we used the military, they used some planes. When we used drones, they used busses and trucks. When we close the borders they use the internet.

This is not about Putin. Or the dictator in Syria. This is about the rage of the common radicals. And you should fear people who have nothing else to lose.

We fight them abroad. But they are already here. Remember where the 9/11 hijackers trained? On US soil. Remember what airplanes they used? American. Who’s grid is going down if they succeed? Ours. We are not the only ones taking advantage of technology..

And with the help of our own technology, what they’re planning now is going to destroy our infrastructure, our power supply, and the quality of our water. Imagine how easy would be to kill an entire city if you get access to the grid. And it’s all online now.. So everything that is connected won’t start anymore. Because a blackout interrupts more than the grid.

[See: What to do when there are no doctors around.]

Hard to imagine? You better. For time is running out for all of us.

War is something people used to engage in back in the days, when they didn’t know better. When they were still burning people for not believing in God. Did anything change? How come we ask for maturity and understanding and empathy when we have none?

Do you at least care for yourself and your family?

The time has come! This is not a drill.

Want to stay alive? You need to make an effort.

[ See: How to survive a blackout on your own.]

Truth is, a blackout could happen anyways.

Our grid is older than all of us. Remember the March Venezuelan blackouts? It was like living in the Apocalypse.  And it all started because of the Guri hydroelectric plant, which serves 70% of the country. So you do the math. Three major blackouts in one month. Venezuela was crumbling.

For days and nights, unruly crowds sacked 523 stores in Maracaibo as residents stood on their porches wielding weapons to guard against looters. Dozens died in hospitals. Bodies decomposed in the morgue. And what little food remained in refrigerators rotted away as the nation went hungry.

Should we even dare to imagine what if it was us? Are you ready for such a scenario?

Prepping is not about running to the store in the day disaster starts. On the contrary. Prepping is making sure we have a Plan B, C, etc.

Learn here how to become the household healer when a simple blackout disrupts your life.

There are always solutions for the ones who chose life. 

What are you going to do about it? How prepared are you? Let me know in the comments. We can only do this thing together.

Prepping is not about running to the store in the day disaster starts. On the contrary. Prepping is making sure we have a Plan B, C, etc.

This is not a debate on whether we like war or not. This is about the human condition during such terrible times. Isn’t weird that people are capable of equally amazing things and despicable acts of terror when pushed to the limits? And not to go too deep in the whole (tug of) war thing, let’s only talk about the food problems that come with it..

If you ask a soldier or veteran about their field rations and you’re probably going to hear a lot of complaints. Part of that is because soldiers just complain a lot (that’s no criticism – you would too, if you had their life) but most of it’s totally justified; field rations just aren’t that good. They’re nutritious and packed with energy, but they’re never going to win any awards for taste.

All this meant the hungry troops had to adapt, be imaginative and use whatever was available. Here are some of the survival foods that sustained soldiers through the battles after D-Day.

Nettle Soup

Stinging nettles are a common weed that grows just about everywhere in Europe. Soldiers hate it, because nettle rash is just another inevitable discomfort of life in the field – but they also used it as a food source. The truth is that although it’s a weed, the nettle is also a very nutritious plant. It contains lots of Vitamins A and C, iron, potassium, manganese and calcium, and it has a very high protein content of around 25% dry weight – more than most vegetables.

Nettles can be boiled or steamed, then served as a green vegetable – they taste quite like spinach – but soldiers caught up in the vicious Normandy battles didn’t have time to make elaborate meals.

They just wanted greens to break the monotony of their rations, and some extra bulk and energy to keep their bellies full. That meant simple dishes like nettle soup. They would collect the leaves from nettles, chop them or pound them to pulp, then boil them in a mess tin or steel helmet.

Bully Beef Rissoles

When British troops had access to a field kitchen they ate hot meals made from 14-man ration packs; the rest of the time, their diet was monotonous in the extreme. They got tinned corned beef and hardtack biscuits, and that was pretty much it.

The beef contained plenty protein and the hardtack was a solid slab of carbohydrates, so it was effective enough at keeping soldiers going for a few days, but it was nauseatingly dull. Dull food isn’t just boring; soldiers will get so fed up of it they’ll eat as little as possible, and that affects their fitness.

To make the rations more edible, soldiers got creative. They would crush and soak the biscuits, mash in the beef and add any vegetables they could find – chopped onions were popular, but chopped field greens would do as well. The mixture was formed into patties the size of a large burger, then fried in fat saved from the beef.

Porridge

Proper porridge is made from oats and eaten by Scotsmen, but the basic idea has been used throughout history – crushed or chopped grains, cooked in milk or water. Soldiers on all sides ate it during the Normandy campaign, because it was an easy way to supplement their rations.

Sometimes, especially later in the campaign, soldiers would find a field of ripe wheat or barley that could be plundered for grain. Other times they resorted to collecting grass seeds.

These are a lot smaller than wheat grains, but if you can collect enough (and even in a campaign as brutal as Normandy, soldiers spent a lot of time sitting around waiting for something to happen) you can make a nutritious porridge out of them. Wherever possible soldiers would flavor the porridge with items from their rations – jelly, sugar, milk powder or even just salt.

Field Greens

Although Normandy was an agricultural region, few crops were ready to harvest when the hardest battles were fought. That didn’t mean there was nothing to harvest, though. Soldiers scavenged any edible plants they could find, from dandelion leaves to birch bark, and added them to improvised stews made from tinned ration meat. Often these stews were thickened with crushed hardtack or ration crackers.

Unlike the truly horrific battles on the Eastern Front, like Stalingrad or Leningrad, soldiers in the Normandy campaign were never really in danger of starving to death. Even the Germans managed to deliver enough rations to keep their men fighting.

Those rations could be pretty thin at times though, and soldiers did supplement them any way they could. The methods they used are just as useful for supplementing your own emergency food reserves in an emergency.

We all hope war is just something we hear on the news. But it never hurts to be prepared. To thank you for your attention and interest, check out this FREE Guide of Medicine. It’s filled with examples of powerful medicinal plants you can use as natural remedies. It would’ve been real handy for our soldiers.

If you understand how useful this knowledge is and will be in the near future, you will definitely feel way more prepared next time a man-made or a natural disaster disrupts our lives, no matter for how long.

 

 

This is not a debate on whether we like war or not. This is about the human condition during such terrible times. Isn't weird that people are capable of equally

If you have as one of your concerns a total collapse in society regardless of the reason, there are people out there who will tell you that you need to have knowledge or skills you can sell. Why is this? Let’s take the example scenario of an economic collapse? If there are no jobs as a customer service representative or a social media consultant; what will you do to make money? What will the people who traded stock do? What about people who sell cars? If we are in a true economic collapse, the only people who can be logically expected to survive are people who possess goods or services someone is willing to buy or barter for or those who have survival skills.

What do I mean by survival skills? Do I mean someone who can navigate by the stars? No. Do I mean someone who can make a fire with a bow saw? No, although that is a really great skill to have. I am talking about skills for a certain limited set of trades and more importantly the skills we have all long forgotten to a major degree. In this post I want to talk about my ideas for the best, most pertinent survival skills you need to consider if you are prepping your family for any event where we as a country or even our world can’t dig us out of with a tractor. When the real end of the world as we know it arrives, what will you need to give you the best chance of making it through?

What Skills do you need to have?

That is a good question if you ask me because I have seen a lot of advice from people who on the surface seem to have a great idea or 20. The usual suspects are what might be considered our pioneering skills and I won’t discount those completely, but I will give you my thoughts and welcome all of the feedback you have in the comments below.

From the perspective of a total economic collapse, war, biological outbreak, EMP attack we will be looking at such a seismic shift in our lives that even the very concept of commerce could be set back years maybe decades. Having goods or services people want is a nice idea, but what if nobody can afford it? What if nobody knows you have these goods or services? You won’t be able to advertise in the Yellow pages anymore and your Etsy store might not be online anymore. Classifieds in the newspapers? Maybe your town will have a bulletin board where you can post an ad you make that highlights your services to the community. We simply don’t live in small towns with a main street and not much else anymore. You can’t hang your shingle out on the front porch and expect a lot of drive through traffic so how will the word get out so that people come to your “store” to conduct business?

Our society has developed to a point where the old models of commerce have changed. Imagine a world with no cars or few of them. If we have an economic collapse that renders fuel out of reach of the hands of most people, you won’t be able to drive to the next town to get some work done. Everything is going to change.

Are you trying to make a living at this, or live because of this?

I think the perspective of most of these lists on Survival blogs is from the standpoint of what can you do to earn money if we go through an economic collapse. What will you do for a living if the company you are working for now suddenly closes? If we have another stock market crash and hundreds or thousands of companies close because they can no longer purchase the raw materials they need to create products, or the products they do create aren’t sold anymore; what will you do for a living? How will you feed your family if you can’t afford the food in the grocery stores? What if there is no EBT system because our Government is broke? What if the computers are down?

The problem of an economy that is almost completely based on Services is that if people don’t have money for these services, you could be out of a job. Think of just two small examples of lawn services and maid services. These two industries exist primarily because people make enough money that their time is worth more to them than the cost of hiring someone else to do these two jobs. When you start seeing companies close and people are out of work, the two industries like lawn services and maids will disappear.

The skills I am considering aren’t necessarily going to earn you a living, but they could. From the standpoint of a total societal collapse, I am thinking about not what I can make a living from, but what skills are going to keep me living?

1 – Growing your own food

This is the number one skill I believe you can have. For starters, if there are no jobs, there most likely won’t be any grocery stores. Having a garden on land that you are living on is the surest way you can take the responsibility for feeding your family into your own hands. Start a garden now because this isn’t a skill you can easily ramp up on after a collapse. It is one thing to add additional crops, but it is another thing entirely to face an empty patch of lawn with a bucket of seeds in December. Knowing how to save seeds is also important because if the collapse is bad enough, the local Wal-mart might not be open anymore.

2 – Obtaining and filtering a steady source of water

Water is more important in terms of living than food is, but growing food is harder for most people than finding water. After your garden is growing, start a project of collecting rain in rain barrels or digging a well. Just having a 50 gallon barrel in your basement isn’t going to be enough in a true collapse scenario. Once you have water, you will need to treat it unless it comes from a clean source underground.

3 – Securing your home and possessions

One of the major problems of any collapse is the other people you have to worry about. As we saw in Doomsday Preppers , there are opportunistic scavengers out there who have no remorse when it comes to separating you from your supplies. You have to have the skills to defend your home and family from people like this. Good training from someone who has actually lived through a war can be found at the SHTF School. The other side of this could be caring for your instruments that will assist you in securing your home. Basic tools and parts to maintain weapons are essential. If your expensive rifle with all of the sexy hardware on it breaks a firing pin, it becomes a club.

4 – Providing intermediate level medical care

Food and water will keep you alive, but at some point everyone gets hurt. The hope is that injuries are minor, but they could require additional first aid and possibly antibiotics to treat infection. At a minimum, a well stocked family sized first aid kit is essential. I have several just in case. Next up you need to know how to treat wounds like burns and cuts. Having a supply of fish antibiotics can be the one thing that keeps you alive when an otherwise minor cut could kill others in a post collapse world.

5 – Operating alternative power

One of my long term goals is to be completely self-sufficient from the electrical power grid. I do appreciate the irony in that statement seeing as how I run a blog, but the power we need to live off of in our daily routines could come primarily from the sun. An entire home solar system isn’t cheap at all, but you can start small. A couple of 100W photovoltaic panels, an inverter and several batteries or even a simple solar system could give you an advantage in a survival situation. Having the skills to help set these up for people could make you doubly valuable.

6 – Raising livestock for food/Hunting

A garden is a great way to stay alive and some of my vegetarian friends would say that’s all you need. However, meat is something our bodies naturally need and you can get this several ways. Preppers usually go for chickens, rabbits, sheep and pigs in terms of livestock because they are all relatively easy to raise and produce good meat. Hunting is another option and gives you a great survival skill set you can use in other situations. Knowing how to butcher and eat what you catch is very important also. Aquaponics is another method that not only gives you a great source of fish, but can also fertilize the garden as well. This is one of those skills that will take a little know how and preparation prior to the grid going down unless you live near a big PVC factory and a tilapia farm.

7 – Communications

Being able to know what is going on in your city, state, region or even country is important. A lot of people have shortwave capable radios that can receive broadcasts from stations overseas, but if you want the best of all prepper communication options, you need to get into Ham radio. The basic equipment to start with Ham is relatively cheap but is possibly your best bet in anything other than an EMP scenario of staying in contact with others and relaying information to your group. Of course, you can build Faraday cages to shield your electronics like this for extra protection.

8 – Jack of All trades

The jack of all trades lumps a lot of other skills together because I think you will be using these more for yourselves than selling this service to other people. Things like basic carpentry skills; welding, plumbing; electrical work and even animal husbandry come to mind. I don’t know that I can envision anyone starting their own plumbing company for a while after the grid goes down but it is possible. What I can see though is a pipe busting in your house and you not having any money to call a plumber. Other skills fall into this like making soap, sewing, leather-working or knitting and cooking. None of the realities of life go away in a collapse, how we deal with them changes.

9 – Forager

This I put lower on the list because I do agree it is a valid way to survive, but of all the items above, I would want to rely on this least. Knowing the local varieties of plants, fruits, leaves, roots and nuts are edible can certainly augment your diet and keep you from starving. I know that there are several books out there that go into this subject to a high level, but I personally would rather pick something out of my garden that I know what it is than rely on a picture or description of something that may kill me.

10 – Weatherman

No, you won’t have a job standing in front of a green screen holding a remote control showing the weather fronts moving across the plains, but knowing how to forecast the weather is definitely a skill that could save your life in a few ways. For instance, the tornadoes that struck many states would have been more deadly if people hadn’t been warned by the news. What if there were no news crews watching super Doppler radar? You will need to know how to forecast weather the old fashioned way to protect your crops and animals if it is going to snow or freeze.

These are just the ones off the top of my head, but I am sure you all will have more. I’d love to hear your ideas for the best survival skills in the comments below.

If you have as one of your concerns a total collapse in society regardless of the reason, there are people out there who will tell you that you need to

Evaluating survival readiness takes more than just 13 questions. However these thirteen skills to learn in the areas of food, water, shelter, protection and communication will form a solid foundation of preparation and readiness.

1. Finding Food: The ability to locate wild game is essential for survival. This includes understanding habitats, wind direction and animal behaviour.

2. Preparing Food: There’s no need to cook a grasshopper but for other sources of protein, proper field dressing and cooking is needed to prevent disease and sickness.

3. Agriculture: Hunting won’t always be a viable option so you’ll need to know which crops you can grow, preferably without or with little irrigation, such as corn.

4. Food Storage: As the graphic displays, 53 percent of surveyed adults don’t have a minimum three-day supply of nonperishable food and water. Those without food storage will quickly find themselves in a dire situation.

Water is simple to store and transport with the right containers.


5. Finding Water: Water collecting contraptions can not only save you in the wilderness but will also work to replenish your water supply.

6. Purifying Water: There are plenty of ways to purify water, a common method (displayed) is a water filter made from pebbles, sand, cloth and charcoal.

7. Water Storage: The most important thing to remember about water collecting, purifying and storage is that you’ll only last 100 hours in average temperatures without water. An obvious survival priority.

8. Bug Out Ready: The effectiveness of bugging out is debated. However, it’s important to have a shelter that can withstand collapse.

9. Shelter Building: From round lodges to tarp shelters, shelter construction will protect you from the elements, preserving your energy and mental awareness.

10. Marksmanship: Accurately firing a weapon will help you take down food and can help you defend yourself and family. Being skilled with crossbows, compound bows and other weapons is a plus.

11. Weapon Maintenance: Cleaning the firearm thoroughly and frequently is important. And weapons like AR-15 rifles can be customized with different parts and accessories for hunting and protection purposes in survival situations.

12. Communication Methods: Cellphones could quickly become void in a survival situation. Understand technology and certain radios that will work under any condition.

13. Group Cohesion: The jerk test. Coexisting with others is the only way to survive for an extended duration.

Take a look through this infographic and let us know what you would add.

Evaluating survival readiness takes more than just 13 questions. However these thirteen skills to learn in the areas of food, water, shelter, protection and communication will form a solid foundation

If you do find yourself in the wilderness and need food, there are a lot of ways to fill the plate for dinner. Now, I will be the first to say that using primitive traps and the methods below are not the easiest thing in the world. People who rely solely on trapping food routinely have multiple traps, they aren’t the heaviest people in the world generally and often can go without food for a few days if they are unlucky to find nothing in their traps.

Actually, if you plan to Bug Out into the closest national forest with nothing more than your Bug Out Bag, your family and your trusty .22 rifle, I would not count on using these methods below as your sole source of food for a wide variety of reasons. To tell the truth, I wouldn’t recommend Bugging Out for any real reason unless you have zero other options or the risks of staying put are too great.

That being said, the methods below do work and have worked for a very long time. If you have the time, patience and are lucky enough to have an animal wander through your path, the traps below can be used to catch game and it is wise to have knowledge like this in your back pocket just in case.

Snares

Small-game snares can be made from the interior strands of parachute cord, braided strands of sinew, or fishing line. Snares stout enough to secure game as large as deer need to be made of rawhide or parachute cord. Of course if you have time to plan ahead, you can purchase snare traps now and put them in your bag.

Ground Snare

1. Ground Snare

Position the snare at head height and tie off the end to a tree, a stake in the ground, or a log that the animal can only drag a short distance as the noose tightens. Make snares from cord, fishing line, or wire if available. Very thin wire is probably the best for this type of snare I think because when tightened the wire doesn’t easily work itself loose. Paracord internal strands are much smoother and can slide off more easily.

A good place to position this snare (and a lot of them actually) is on a game trail. You have probably walked over hundreds of them if you have spent any time at all in the woods. The trick is to watch the ground floor and you can see trails. Set this snare up in a curve on the trail and cover the snare as much as possible with leaves to camouflage it.

2. Spring Snare
This snare functions by setting a trigger that snatches game into the air as it strains against the noose. It’s good for rabbits and game as large as deer. There are two main gotchas to remember with this trap. The first is that you want to choose a tree that will be both springy enough that it will spring back quickly enough to set the snare. This may be hard to do because the location of the snare will need to depend on what tree branches or trees are near.
The second thing to consider is if the branch is strong enough to hold whatever you are hunting for. Lets just say you are trying to catch a deer. You better choose a pretty beefy branch and make sure that your cordage will hold the full weight of an animal who will be trying very hard to get away if the impact from the branch swinging up hasn’t taken care of them pretty quickly. Also ensure that your rope is tied to the branch in such a way that it can’t easily be stripped off. If you don’t hoist the animal off their feet, they can pull against the cord. If the cord isn’t tight and wrapped around something that won’t allow it to slide off, you may have just given a bunny a new necktie. This will probably kill them later but you might not be there to enjoy the benefits and you might be out of your only snare materials.

Printed resource materials are always recommended in case the internet goes bye bye.

Deadfall Traps

Deadfalls that use logs or rocks to squash prey are typically baited, but they also work along trails or outside burrows when a passing animal or bird brushes against the trigger.

3. Spring Deadfall
One of the easiest traps to make and set, the spring deadfall depends upon the game going after the bait, so it’s best used for carnivorous animals and rodents such as pack rats. The only materials you need for this trap are a big heavy rock or a big log. Something big enough to crush the skull of the animal you are trying to trap. This has to be big enough to kill them pretty quickly.
If you have some bait, that will attract animals more quickly. You can set this up on an animal path, but waiting for someone to wander along might take a long time so bait is ideal. If you return and find the trap has been tripped, be careful removing the object that you used. It is possible the rock is just holding down the animal who could scurry off quickly after you raise the weight.

Tension Traps

Employing fire-hardened spear points under tension, these can be deadly to predator and prey alike. Always set and approach an impaling trap cautiously from behind and use only in an emergency in remote areas, where another human or domestic animals are not going to blunder past.

4. Spring Spear Trap
This trip-wire set is effective for wild pigs, deer, or other game that regularly sticks to defined game trails. Make certain the horizontal thrust of the spear is at a level that will impale the body of the game sought. This is an extremely dangerous trap; use it with caution.
The last thing you need to do if you are in the woods and are depending on spearing an animal for dinner is to jab a spear into your upper thigh or worse (gulp). Again, the choice of wood here is going to be important because the trap has to impale the animal with enough force to kill it while not letting it escape. If the trap is sprung you want the animal to still be there when you return.

Bird Traps

Birds can be much easier to trap than mammals and should be among your first targets for a meal.

Ojibwa Bird Pole

5. Ojibwa Bird Pole
Set this trap in a large clearing where birds will naturally seek it out as a landing place.

  • Step One Sharpen both ends of a 6-foot pole and drill a small hole near one end. Drive the other end into the ground until it is secure.
  • Step Two Cut a 6-inch-long stick that will loosely fit into the hole. Tie a rock to a thin cord and pass the cord through the hole in the pole, then make a slip noose that drapes over the perch.
  • Step Three Tie an overhand knot in the cord in back of the slip noose and place the stick against the hole. Tension should hold it in position. When a bird flies down and perches, it will displace the stick, the rock will fall, and its feet will be caught as the loop quickly slides through the hole.

Fish Traps

Fish swim next to banks at night or move from deep holes into shallow water to feed. They can often be directed into traps from which they are unlikely to escape.

Funnel Trap

6. Funnel Trap
Make the walls of the funnel trap with piled-up stones or tightly spaced sticks driven solidly into the river or lakebed. Close the entrance to the trap, roil the water, then either spear the fish or net them with a seine made by tying a shirt or other cloth between two stout poles.

This is one of the easiest traps to be successful with I think. I haven’t ever used it, but the logic seems to give you a much better chance of success provided you are near a water source and there are fish in there obviously. This is also one method used in the book “The Hatchet” which my kids really like. I think I liked it more than them, but regardless if fish are near, this is far easier than fishing. Seed the trap with whatever you can find for bait and the fish should file in for you. This is also great because if you are in the woods for a long time, a trap like this can keep bringing you fish and keep them alive until you are ready to eat them.

If you do find yourself in the wilderness and need food, there are a lot of ways to fill the plate for dinner. Now, I will be the first to

In lieu of the several disasters that strike the world every day, many individuals feel the need to prepare for the impending doom.

It takes a lot of efforts to adopt the survivor traits of a prepper. bravery, determination and independence are among the popular survival traits you may envision an excellent prepper should have. However, beyond all these traits, a person must have the survival skills and endurance to be classified as a fit prepper.

Sometimes, you can instantly spot the characteristics of a prepper. On the other hand, in certain times, the characteristics for survival are not explicitly obvious. So, how do you know if you can refer to yourself as a prepper?

1. Possesses Strong Family Values

Preppers strongly believe in values of a close family unit. You’ll find that as a prepper, your commitment to honesty and respect within your family is something you cherish the most.

When calamity strikes, you know you’ll be a better prepper simply by just having your family’s support for better or worse. Knowing you have unconditional support makes you feel more confident that you can withstand different challenges disasters may bring.

2. Welcomes Mobilization

An ideal prepper is someone who welcomes mobilization at its best. You know you’ve got what it takes to be a prepper if you value physical fitness for survival. A prepper does not easily give up on running in order to find a way how to plan food stocks wisely in the soonest time possible, when disasters are about to strike.

3. Embraces Diverse Personalities

Having the ability to mingle with people of different personalities makes preppers stand out in the crowd. You know you need to be flexible if you’re determined to pursue prepping. A wide support network is inevitably necessary if you wish to overcome the greatest challenges life has to offer.

4. Listens to What Others Say

An excellent prepper listens in on the stuff people around them say. Having this trait is essential if you want to perfect your prepping skills in the shortest time possible. Perking up when people seem to sense you’re prepping avoids preys on survival food kits you might have in storage, in no time.

Taking action before something untoward happens enhances a prepper’s chances for success in trying to achieve his basic endeavors.

5. Perseveres in Looking for Additional Source of Income

Having additional cash enables a prepper to have more resources to combat the disastrous consequences catastrophes bring. Give in to your prepping survival desire by looking for additional sources of income to ensure you’ll be able to finance survival food and other basic necessities you need in life in preparation for the impending doom.

A prepper is not afraid to get into jobs they may be uncomfortable of having. They will resort to all means in order to boost their income potentials, even if they have never done something like this before. Preppers are not afraid to improve their skills in favor of an available job that will help them to pull in the right income that they need.

6. Knows How to Budget

Looking way ahead into the future is part of prepping. You may prepare for the worst case scenarios ahead of time by learning to budget your finances, and saving monetarily for rainy days. A detailed daily plan will guide you on how to effectively budget your money, as early as possible.

A prepper strictly makes overspending off-limits in his life. A prepper does not procrastinate when calculating his finances on a regular basis. Doing this helps him avoid short and long-term overspending.

7. Does Not Hesitate to Change for the Better

You’ll maximize your chances of survival if you change for the better, as needed. You may want to be more outgoing to develop stronger relationships with others. Doing so will increase your chances of having the appropriate support system to augment your survival potentials. You never have to worry about running out of disaster food supply without a back-up support, if you develop close positive relationship with others.

8. Considers Rural Area A Safe Haven

A low population works things out alongside with preparedness for disasters. A rural area is the perfect place where preppers may take refuge. Of course, it’s easier to overcome catastrophes if the area you live in is not heavily populated.

9. Gets Into the Habit of Gardening

You know you’re turning yourself to become more self-reliant to survive if you grow your own food. Growing your own food by doing regular gardening symbolizes your desire to be independent from food or grocery stores.

Survival relates to refusal to settle for anything that’s easily accessible. Preppers survive by making efforts to make all helpful resources closer within their reach.

10. Takes Risks Fearlessly

A prepper knows that any disaster poses imminent dangers.

You know you’re a prepper if you’re someone who knows the step by step guide for disaster preparedness. Taking risks when utilizing this guide is an integral part of being a prepper. If you’re prepping yourself in combating upcoming earthquakes, of course, you’ll need to risk allotting time to prepare for the disaster comprehensively. You may need to sacrifice leaving behind your favorite hobbies, as you get busy prepping for doomsday.

Make the characteristics of a survivalist and prepper in you; stand out by continually improving your preparedness skills. The little efforts you make in enhancing your ability to prep may pose benefits you never thought would be possible. Subsequently, you’ll find it natural to become better equipped to survive even the deadliest disasters that may come your way.

Sometimes, you can instantly spot the characteristics of a prepper. On the other hand, in certain times, the characteristics for survival are

Have you ever stolen anything? Chances are that most of us have at least one time in our lives. This could range from the completely innocent act of taking something you thought was yours by mistake, like your buddy’s Metallica CD, to something more heinous like the outright theft of a wad of cash laying on the table. Most of us, I would assume, haven’t done anything like the latter and even if we did, could probably chalk a good bit of this up to youthful indiscretions that you may or may not have already paid retribution for. I would imagine that few if any of us have even thought of smashing a window in or kicking down a door, entering someone’s home and taking anything. I would expect that even fewer of us have busted a store window down, barged inside and reemerged with a flat screen TV or handfuls of new clothes ripped from the rack. They are arguably the same thing though and that is stealing. Whether it’s your friend’s money or the TV from the store in town, if you take something that isn’t yours it is theft, right?

Is there ever a time when it is ok to steal? Maybe you say, we aren’t stealing we are scavenging and that is perfectly fine. Under the right circumstances and in the right situation I would agree with you. So today I wanted to discuss looting vs scavenging and how the two are related and how in a survival situation you could go about scavenging for items that could save your life.

When is it OK to Loot?

For many of us, just about any recent examples of disasters, protests, sports riots or uprisings in various forms illustrate a certain amount of looting. During Hurricane Katrina, looters floated garbage cans filled with clothing and jewelry down the streets. Even before Hurricane Sandy made landfall, people were tweeting their plans to loot the stores. There are usually people in the media or experts who want to explain away this type of behavior and remove any responsibility from the people perpetuating these crimes and associate guilt to societal breakdown. They insist that these people should be held blameless for their actions because of the disaster and the horrible effects it must be having on their lives. I think that in the overwhelming majority of cases that is crap and people who are looting by and large are simply criminals that should be punished. For me, looting is wrong and I can easily make the distinction between looting and scavenging. It comes down to a few basic questions for me.

What are you taking? – The looters in both Katrina and Sandy that I mentioned above weren’t taking items to keep them alive; they were plundering stores to enrich themselves. A flat screen TV is not something you need and could never be reasonably excused as necessary for your life. Jewelry? Clothing could on some very small-scale be construed as needed for survival in the right circumstances, but not if you already have a house full of clothing.

Why are you taking it? – The looter takes what they can get, not what they need. You may argue that these people were poor and they needed those TV’s, that clothing and that jewelry to make their lives better. Maybe they were going to sell those goods for money (not sure to whom) or that they needed those goods as reparations for some injustice 200 years ago. Even more absurd, you could say they needed the clothing to be able to get a better job. Right…

Who are you taking it from? – If you are taking almost anything from an electronics store, jewelry, liquor, or clothing, you are looting. This is what we routinely see on the news and these aren’t people who are scratching to survive, they are just stealing because there are no police around or worse, the police aren’t doing anything to stop them. Bottom line is these people are thieves and in a true grid down emergency, I wouldn’t be surprised if they didn’t pay for those TV’s with their lives.

In those three examples above, there is no right way to steal. You don’t need anything you are stealing and your life is not in peril if the supplies you are taking aren’t acquired. You are simply looting because you can.

What makes scavenging any better than looting?

Scavenging on the other hand is what you see in almost every dystopic portrayal of a disaster or future where the world has gone to hell in a hand basket and people are eating dog food. If you watch any type of survival/apocalypse movie, the main characters will invariably find some supplies in a department store or abandoned house, maybe in a car somewhere. In the last Walking Dead, two characters found supplies of food in a house they came across. In the movie the Road, they actually found a survival bunker full of food. Food is very definitely something you need to live. I point to movies and TV shows because most of us have never lived through a situation where we had to steal food to live because there simply was no place left to get food anymore. These movies and TV shows are the only example of a future that some of us can imagine in extreme cases. Extreme poverty in third world countries is not what I am talking about here.

Imagining a total collapse of society, not a regional storm; certainly not a soccer game riot, where the supply lines and means of support we have relied on for years are completely ripped out; I can see us all facing a future where scavenging might be required if you expect to live. If we had a zombie apocalypse (I know there is no such thing as zombies…yet), nuclear war, global pandemic or a massively disruptive event that wiped out a lot of people in a relatively short period of time you could find yourself scavenging for items you need to stay alive. I can guarantee if something that horrible happened you wouldn’t be going after the big screen TV’s anymore. You would be looking for food, maybe even a dry place to sleep, anything that could keep you alive or safe. The problem is, so would anyone else who was alive.

Scavenging for food seems very logical under extreme conditions. What if you are wearing boots that are worn or even worse, footwear that isn’t appropriate to walking every day? Would you go looking for new shoes? Would you look for a good pack to carry everything, assuming you didn’t already have a good bug out bag? Scavenging is at its most basic searching for items to keep you alive or that could help you. Scavenging is not looting a brand new TV because you want to watch the game when the power comes back on.

Scavenging is not something I plan to do if people are around or there is the reasonable expectation that whatever event I am going through will be short-lived and that is one of my reasons to prepare. I don’t expect to be effected by short-term emergencies.  I would go into abandoned homes or businesses in extreme conditions if I was fairly certain that the owners were dead or could reasonably assume they would not be coming back. If this was my own area, I would start as far away from my home as possible and work my way backward towards my home. To keep track of the homes I had been in, I would try to have a map. This would prevent me from going into the same houses twice. If I was sheltering in place I would be looking for supplies I didn’t have or ones that could augment the supplies I do have like extra food, medical items, ammunition or items that can be used defensively. How is this different from looting if I already have supplies you ask? In my hypothetical, everyone is gone or dead and I am collecting what would rot to keep me and my group alive. I am not running into a store for a TV because the water rose (temporarily) or the power was out (temporarily).

If you need to scavenge, you have to realize that isn’t act isn’t without risk either. This must be balanced with the risk you face going into these homes, leaving your own and how much the home or neighborhood has already been scavenged by other people. Scavenging for food to save my family’s life is a risk I am willing to take under the right conditions. Getting some new sneakers or a flat screen TV is not.

For many of us, just about any recent examples of disasters, protests, sports riots or uprisings in various forms illustrate a certain amount of looting. During Hurricane Katrina, looters <a

A key but often neglected part of having firearms in your prepping plans is practice. Many people purchase thousands of dollars worth of weapons with the intention of using these in a life and death situation. The truth of the matter is that when you are actually in a life and death situation, your skill is dramatically reduced. The confidence you had with that weapon is gone and fear and stress kick in big time. It is at this most critical time that your skill level and proficiency need to be the highest they can be, but the reality is we are able to muster only a fraction.

Practicing with your pistols before there is an emergency is vital to improving your chances of successfully living to talk about it. If your going into a gunfight, you need to be training for a gunfight. Bruce outlines some steps and exercises you can follow below to become more proficient, to increase muscle memory and hopefully increase your odds of hitting what you are shooting at, before it hits you. Practice these drills as often as you can. They could mean the difference between life and death.

The Crush Grip

The crush grip is one of the elements of Massad Ayoob’s five-point “pre-flight checklist” comprising the fundamentals of solid combat handgun marksmanship (Ayoob, 2012). When a shooter uses a crush grip or hard grasp on the handgun with the thumbs curled down, the curled thumbs promote a stronger and tighter grasp. Thumbs curled down do not shift the windage on one’s muzzle direction. My experience and the results with my students validate that one can shoot with combat accuracy with such a grip.

Furthermore, as demonstrated in Massad Ayoob’s Stressfire combat handgun training program (www.MassadAyoobGroup.com), when a shooter intentionally “gorilla grips” the handgun to the point of tremor, the resulting “wobble zone” results in shot groupings on target at combat distances that are still within a combat accuracy acceptable 3 to 4 inches.

However, there is yet one other essential point. The harder you grasp the handgun, the better you will control the gun. Also, the harder you grasp, the easier it is to isolate your trigger finger. Just perform this little experiment:

Full combat grip on holstered gun.

Make a loose fist with your dominant hand and keep your thumb pointed forward. Now, extend your trigger finger and press your trigger finger to the rear just as if you are working a trigger. If you watch your hand as you do this, you may notice that as you work your trigger finger, your other fingers are also moving. You have not completely isolated the movement of your trigger finger from the rest of your hand. This is called “milking,” and if you do this while you are shooting, it typically results in shots that are low and to the left.

Now make a much tighter fist and curl your thumb down. When you extend your trigger finger and press it to the rear now, as if you’re working the trigger, you will notice that your other tightly clasped fingers do not move in unison. You have isolated your trigger finger. This is one advantage of a crush grip.

The importance of a combat shooting program emphasizes techniques that depend on simple gross motor skills as opposed to complex fine motor skills, since fine motor skills deteriorate under life and death stress.

It is my position that we should practice defensive shooting in ways which are consistent with what happens physically and psychologically if we were fighting for our life. These techniques should feed off of the effects of the body alarm reaction and become more effective under stress. They must be simple gross motor techniques that can withstand the tremors and increased physical strength attendant to the body-alarm-triggered adrenaline dump into the bloodstream. A “crush grip” does this.

Can we and should we train for a gunfight?

My position on the matter is that we can train for when the proverbial balloon goes up and that we should maximize our training time by building skills that we might have to use in a deadly force situation. After all, we carry guns because we just might have to use them in defense of life. Therefore, we had better prepare ourselves by running drills that build skills we might actually use for real.

How to Train for the Gunfight

I have developed a practice drill regimen that runs through some of the core elements of combat shooting. It is doable in a lane in an indoor range. I use this practice drill regimen for my own skills maintenance, and I teach it to my private students. I will outline it here. It requires 100 rounds (two boxes) of ammunition.

Training for a gunfight means building skills you will need if you are in an armed confrontation. First and foremost, you will need good basic marksmanship skills because advanced combat shooting skills involve solid applications, and in some cases, modifications, of the basic skills. Thus, you must master the basics.

These include a solid (power) stance, a solid and stable (crush) grip on the gun, acquisition and maintenance of good sight alignment and sight picture, good trigger control and trigger reset, and good follow-through. Second, you will need good point shooting and retention shooting skills. There will be no time to take your time. You need to be able to fire multiple shots fast and accurately close in, because most gunfights happen within nine feet. And third, you will need to move! The person who stays planted is going nowhere fast, and in fact, may get planted. Conversely, the person who moves rapidly is more likely to emerge from the fight alive.

Drill 4: Elbow Up. Elbow Down.

Drill 1. Basic Marksmanship Drill: Two-Handed Grip (30 rounds)

Every trip to the range for practice should include practicing basic marksmanship to refresh and strengthen the fundamentals. Advanced skills build on the basics. This first drill is a primer. I typically run at least 30 rounds through my primary defensive handgun at five, seven, ten, fifteen, and twenty to twenty-five yards. The handgun is brought on target either from the low ready, combat ready, compressed combat ready positions, or the holster. Typically I begin shooting close-in to build confidence and then increase my target distances.

Basic marksmanship means employing the fundamentals; power stance, hard two-handed grasp on the handgun, good sight alignment and sight picture, good trigger control and follow through (give the bullet time to leave the barrel before the trigger reset and preparing for the follow-up shot). For this drill, I am aiming for precision accuracy. I am essentially running the “one-hole drill” or “focus drill” that I have described in previous articles. This is a take as much time as you need drill to get all shots in one hole using the basics of good marksmanship.

Drill 2. Basic Marksmanship Drill: One-Handed Grip (20 rounds)

This drill is the same as the above drill (incorporating all of the fundamentals) except that now you are shooting one-handed at various distances, alternating between your dominant and non-dominant hands. When you shoot one-handed, it is important to grip your handgun even harder, as you have only one hand on the gun. The harder you grasp, the better you will control the gun. Also, the harder you grasp, as we illustrated above, the easier it is to isolate your trigger finger.

Movement

The above two drills use up a box (50 rounds) of ammunition. The drills to follow require another 50 rounds. The following drills should incorporate movement at least some of the time that you run them, to the extent that the range will allow. Obviously, if you are working in an indoor range in a lane, your movement will be minimal. Basically, when you are not shooting, you should be moving. As noted defensive firearms trainer, John Farnam is fond of repeating, “Don’t just stand there like a potted palm.” If you present a static target in a real fight, you just might get planted. So, movement should be incorporated into your gun presentation (your draw from the holster) and movement should follow each string of shots.

Drill 3. Draw and Shoot Two-Handed from Compressed Ready to Full Extension (20 rounds)

DRILL 5 as you aim through point shooting at the target, you are shooting up the target from your initial point of aim/point of impact, sort of like a zipper.

In a real gunfight, you will be firing multiple shots. Typically the fight will begin close in. To prevail and survive, you need to get hits on your assailant before he hits you. And you need to move away from your assailant as you are doing so. Distance is your friend. This drill is

One-quarter hip retention point shooting position.

run at three, five, and seven yards. You begin from two-handed compressed ready. When you give yourself the go signal, start shooting from the compressed ready and fire two to three additional shots as you push your gun out to full extension.

In a fight, you would be extending the gun as you fire and simultaneously move away from your assailant. Note: Your first shot at compressed ready should be taken with your hands at least six inches in front of your chest so that the rear end of the cycling slide will not hit your chest.

Drill 4. Elbow-Up/Elbow Down One-Handed Point Shooting from the Hip (10 rounds)

In this drill, I practice drawing from the holster (strong side) and shooting from retention (which in this drill is the one-quarter hip retention position), as soon as the gun is pointed at the target. A total of 10 rounds are fired. This drill should be perfected first without movement. Once you are comfortable with the drill, then you can incorporate movement. However, if you are shooting on an indoor range in a lane, it may not be safe to incorporate movement into this drill. This is the flow sequence broken down into steps:

  1. Acquire a combat grip on the holstered handgun.
  2. Your elbow swings up as you draw the gun up vertically and clear the mouth of the holster with the muzzle.
  3. Your elbow swings down as you rock your forearm up toward the target with your arm in the one-quarter hip retention position.
  4. You fire one shot as soon as your muzzle is pointed at your aim point on the target.

It is very important to maintain a crush grip on the gun as you run this drill. By doing so, you will have more control over the gun.

Drill 5. “The Zipper” (20 rounds)

This drill is an extension of Drill 4. In this drill, I draw from the holster (strong side), begin shooting from the one-quarter hip retention position as soon as the gun is pointed at the target, and continue firing as I push the gun out toward the target through the half hip, three-quarter hip, and full extension positions. This drill is called the zipper because as you aim through point shooting at the target, you are shooting up the target from your initial point of aim/point of impact, sort of like a zipper.

DRILL 5 as you aim through point shooting at the target, you are shooting up the target from your initial point of aim/point of impact, sort of like a zipper.

Here again, we are practicing getting multiple shots at speed into our assailant. You should start running this drill slowly, and gradually build up speed over several sessions. It is important to do it smoothly in one continuous flow. Here you should “flow like water.” Remember that initially at least, slow is smooth, and eventually, fast, effective and coordinated is always smooth.

Recognize that in reality, you would only extend your gun as you are firing as far as you safely can in order to maintain good gun retention. If you are too close to your opponent and you extend your gun too far toward your opponent as you are firing, you may end up giving your gun to your assailant or his partner.

This drill should be performed without movement while you are shooting, as with all of the above drills. Give yourself time to become proficient at this drill before you incorporate movement into your draw from the holster. Again, if you are shooting on an indoor range with lanes, it may not be safe to incorporate movement into this drill. Again, it is very important to maintain a crush grip on the gun throughout the shooting sequence. Especially when you are practicing this technique, if you do not gorilla grip your handgun, you will not have as much control over it as you need to have.

This is the flow sequence broken down into steps:

  1. Acquire a combat grip on the holstered handgun.
  2. Your elbow swings up as you draw the gun up vertically and clear the mouth of the holster with the muzzle.
  3. Your elbow swings down as you rock your forearm up toward the target.
  4. You fire your first shot as soon as your muzzle is pointed at your point of aim on the target and when your arm is in the one-quarter hip position. You continue firing as you push the gun out toward the target through the half hip, three-quarter hip, and full extension positions.

Summary

Training for a gunfight means practicing drills that incorporate skills you will need if you are in an armed confrontation. First of all, you need good basic marksmanship skills. Advanced combat shooting skills involve solid applications, and in some cases, modifications of the basic skills. You must master the basics as discussed above. That is why my practice regimen includes a basic marksmanship component.

Second, you need good point shooting and retention shooting skills. Armed confrontations and gunfights typically happen in seconds. There is no time to take your time. You need to be able to shoot multiple shots fast and accurately. Most gunfights happen within nine feet. You will most likely be fighting one or more assailants who are coming toward you, so you will need to hold onto your gun tightly (crush grip, retention position) and fire multiple shots.

Third, you will need to move, so you need to incorporate movement into your drills! The person who stays planted is going nowhere fast, and in fact, may get planted. Conversely, the person who moves rapidly is more likely to emerge from the fight alive. The drills described above incorporate all of these elements.

A key but often neglected part of having firearms in your prepping plans is practice. Many people purchase thousands of dollars worth of weapons with the intention of using these