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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Roof Racks for Your Bug Out Vehicle

Original Article

In the first chapter of Bug Out Vehicles and Shelters, I included some modifications and optional equipment to consider in preparing ordinary motor vehicles for bug-out duty.  One of these modifications that is universally useful on every type of vehicle from the smallest compact cars to the most gargantuan trucks and SUVs is the addition of cargo or utility racks, particularly of the roof-top variety.

Such racks can be the general purpose type such as those that are standard equipment on many SUVs and some crossovers, or the more specialized removable systems with purpose-designed components to hold and lock-down sports equipment such as skies, bicycles or kayaks.  The removable systems such as those offered by manufacturers like Thule and Yakima can be purchased for practically any model or style of vehicle, but they can get pricy if you add all the specialized equipment carriers available for them.  Factory-standard or optional racks can also work, but some of these are not rated to carry the loads you may want to carry, while the best of the removable systems are much stronger.

When fitted on smaller vehicles, roof racks free up passenger space inside by allowing you to securely strap your gear and supplies overhead, where it's out of the way.  As a means of carrying back-up vehicles, like bikes, canoes or kayaks, or shelter building materials like poles or lumber, roof racks are invaluable, because even with a large pickup some of these items are awkward to carry securely. A good rack system can often eliminate the need to pull a trailer, which adds its own set of complications when bugging out of a SHTF scenario.

So what kind of rack is best for your vehicle?  One of the most versatile systems I've ever used is this basic set of Thule cross bars that I've owned since 1988.  I have been able to make these work on several vehicles I've owned over the years, from sedans to sports cars and pickup.  These make carrying canoes or 17-foot sea kayaks such as this one easy - even with the smallest compact cars:

I've never bothered with the specialized cradles for kayaks and attachments for other gear, preferring to simply tie down my load directly to the bars, using padding if necessary to protect delicate items - which my kayaks are not - as I build them to use, not look at.

These simple crossbar racks are rated to carry 165lbs.  That's more than most people will need to strap on top of a vehicle, but I've certainly pushed them over the limit hauling lumber, causing them to flex but with no failures so far.  They are available in lengths from 50 to 96 inches, making them adaptable to a wide range of vehicles.  The mounting systems are sold according to your vehicle, and range from old-style vehicles with rain gutters to the sleekest, aerodynamic roof profiles of today. The bars can also be fitted with adapters to make them work with the fore and aft roof rails that many vehicles come with, but without crossbars  except as an expensive manufacturer's option.  More information about the fitment of these racks can be found on the Thule website.  Amazon stocks the load bars as well and most of the fitment options you might need. 

Simple Survival Tips - The Extra BOB

Original Article


Even though you may have a well designed plan in place to handle a crisis or disaster, there will be times when you will need  excess capacity to cover your needs and those of your family. Having excess capacity can help you avoid serious shortages during a crisis. This will also allow you to cover all your needs without creating additional problems during the early stages of a crisis.

It is unfortunate that we can’t always predict when an emergency situation will happen. In fact, a crisis will usually occur with very little notice or chance for you to prepare. It may also come at a time when you have additional family members present or you suddenly find yourself with a need for additional items. This is where having a little extra capacity factored into your survival planning will help the most. One of the simplest ways to achieve this goal is with an extra BOB (bug-out-bag).

An extra BOB will give you excess capacity that can be accessed quickly and will be available if needed in a crisis. If you suddenly find yourself with extra family members present or needing additional items for you or your family, this excess capacity will come in handy to help prevent shortages. This extra BOB could contain additional backups for items of gear that may get lost or broken, extra clothing and additional food or items that may be relevant to your particular needs or situation.

Got extra BOB?                                                    

Staying above the water line!


Definition of Survival Preparedness

Original Article

Survival Preparedness is a process or a condition of being prepared to survive.
To Survive. The phrase could be taken literally – that is, to stay alive. The words, ‘to survive’, could also be interpreted less literally – more like staying healthy or healthier than otherwise.
In the context of survival preparedness, some will describe this notion to its very basic core – like the ability to survive in the wilderness without any modern help whatsoever, you are on your own, life and death circumstances, black and white. Others will describe survival preparedness more-or-less in the context of living within today’s modern society parameters, and utilizing the modern tools available today in order to prepare or be prepared for various problems that may occur tomorrow.
What I’m trying to convey is that there are some ‘survival preparedness’ folks that are more hard-core than others and I’ve noticed that the movement has been coined with two labels in an apparent attempt to delineate their core values. I’m not so sure that I agree with labels and definitions, knowing that there are all sorts of ‘shades of gray’, but having said that, the two labels are Survivalists and Preppers.
Survivalists are the hard core while the Preppers are the soft core. Again, I do not agree with the labeling here, but the fact is that it exists.

The Prepper is thought of as someone who is fully functioning within the system of modern society, preparing for minor disruptions that may come their way, while the Survivalist is considered to be on the edge, perhaps already hunkered down in their bunker or survival retreat – ready for Armageddon.
As in all walks of life, there are truly the extremes, and lots of in-between. When it comes to survival preparedness, I believe that the spectrum is all pretty much OK, so long as it’s within the law of the land.
Since there are so very many different types of people, personalities, skills, and interests, there will likewise be a multitude of variety when it comes to how one prepares, and what they are preparing for. People will interpret risks differently from one another and people will be in varying vicinities of the risk themselves. Some face much higher risk than others based on their geographical location, their occupation, their own current financial and preparedness situation, etc.
Personally, I think that it’s great how more and more ordinary folks are waking up and realizing that things are not all Rosy out there and that there are very real risks facing us all as the world’s economic systems are teetering on the brink of failure while the rumor of wars fill the air.
There will always be ‘newbies’ to survival preparedness and there will always be veterans of the same. There’s room for everyone.
Just remember this… by failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.
Interpret it as you will. Be prepared…

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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The 3rd Wave, Evacuation From A Disaster Location

Original Article

determine evacuation clearance times 800x800 The 3rd Wave, Evacuation From A Disaster LocationLet me preface this article by acknowledging the source for the idea of this article comes from another peppers’ video. Unfortunately, it’s been a long time I’ve mulled over this topic and I don’t recall who exactly it was.
With that out of the way, let’s get started.
The subject of evacuation from a disaster location, or evacuation in advance of a potential disaster (such as a storm), has been written about here and on other sites ad nauseum. But the timing of an evacuation isn’t usually discussed in detail. That is the topic of this article.
In general, during an SHTF event there is likely going to be 3 waves of evacuations.
1st Wave
These are mostly going to be the people who already live their lives on a hair-pin trigger just waiting for any small sign that a disaster is brewing. “Neurotic” is certainly an accurate if not flattering description. It also includes a small number of people, either by gifted insight or blind luck, connect the dots early and come to the conclusion that a major SHTF event is approaching.
The number of people evacuating probably will be very low. Most people will either refuse to believe anything bad is going to happen (“normalcy bias”) or fail to see the early warning signs and connect the dots.
Supplies like food, water, fuel etc will be at normal levels of availability and you should make every effort to top-off with fresh supplies before leaving. Similarly, currency will still be readily available and accepted. Retailers should have little problem resupplying at normal schedules (if you choose to risk waiting a bit longer for additional supplies).
Traffic will be light to normal with little or no additional law enforcement/government control issues. People in surrounding communities will likely not even notice you as you pass through, perhaps pausing for more supplies, refueling etc.
2nd Wave
By this stage the danger (or at least the signs of the danger) is becoming far more apparent and harder to ignore, though many more will still refuse to accept what events seem to be leading up to (footnote: Some argue we are already in this stage). This wave will be characterized by a much wider swath of people taking their leave of the affected area(s). Not just preppers but “average” (non-preppers) too will be getting nervous and start leaving. Early signs of panic may be setting in too.
Supplies, especially of food, water, and fuel will start becoming noticeably harder to find (and likely more expensive) with less products on the shelves, even some empty shelves, and longer lines. Resupply to retailers will be slower. ATMs will start running out of cash. Bank branches themselves will run low or out of cash as branches only keep a small amount of actual currency on hand every day (for security and liquidity reasons).
Services too may become harder to obtain as “the [pick a color] flu” mysteriously falls upon employees in all manner of government and private business (i.e. people choose not to come into work to either stay home with their families or evacuate – a topic for another article soon).
A much larger number of people will be on the roads and other transportation methods. Traffic will be much greater and nerves tenser (more road rage). Also, the availability of other means of transport (train tickets, bus tickets etc) will be in greater demand and less available. There may be an increased law enforcement presence on the roads especially at bridges and tunnels, probably more for traffic control.
Surrounding communities and even further out from the affected area will see a rapidly growing influx of out of area people. Initially there may be some welcome as they bring a fast economic boost to the community, buying supplies etc. But that will likely switch over to resentment and possibly forceful rejection as smaller community supplies dwindle and people just keep coming and demanding more.
3rd Wave
In this wave all your neighbors, preppers or not, have reached the same conclusion: Time to get out of Dodge!
At this point the danger is upon you. The SHTF event has happened or is on the cusp of happening. It is acknowledged (perhaps begrudgingly but still acknowledged) by all but the most intransigent people who still refuse to accept the reality of the situation and cling to hopeless ideas everything will be fine and/or someone (i.e. government) will do something to make it all better. At this point these people are likely never going to be convinced and, cruel as it may sound, don’t waste any more time trying to. They may already be beyond helping.
Supplies will be very hard if not impossible to get. Store shelves will be wiped clean. Fuel may be unavailable as retailers have drained their tanks and resupply unlikely. There may even be fuel rationing as whatever local supplies are ordered saved for “official use only”. Bank branches will likely be closed and ATMs long since emptied of cash.
The roads will likely be packed and tempers will be high. Fear and panic will set otherwise calm people off at any little provocation. Some level of civil unrest may ensue especially if it is perceived there is an official policy to slow or prevent people from leaving (such as some kind of check point or vehicle searches).
The masses of evacuees will spread throughout the surrounding geography and likely overrun smaller surrounding communities thereby overwhelming their own stocks of retail supplies and services. Tempers will be high, violence likely. Don’t be surprised if small communities even try to block the main roads into their areas.
By the time the 3rd wave of evacuees comes if you still haven’t left most likely it’s too late to even try. For all the reasons above and more it will be impossible, or at the very least highly risky, to even attempt to leave. You are probably better off digging in and trying to wait out the event (depending what the event is).
I believe the key to success in this is to determine your “trigger event”. Determine clearly and precisely what actions or events prior to an SHTF event will prompt you to implement your evacuation plan. You have to be reasonable and specific. Life is full of daily unexpected events and you can’t be “bugging out” every time there’s a news flash.
Above all, I believe it comes down to trusting your gut instincts. Don’t be ruled by what others are doing, or more likely not doing. Don’t be afraid to make the decision to leave. You may get ribbed for it later if nothing bad happens. But I assure you deep down a lot of those people jabbing you wish they had thought to leave too and had the strength of character to actually do it themselves.

Top Tips for Driving in Winter Storms

Original Article

Almost anyone who has ever driven in the snow should be familiar with the queasy feeling you get when you try to stop and begin to skid towards a curb or car.  Driving in snow is something that is best avoided, but often unavoidable at some point during the winter.  As we approach the snow season, we felt that a few tips for safety on the roads would be helpful for all to review and be reminded of.
The best tip we can share is probably the most fun; find an empty, open parking lot after the first big snow of the year and spin some donuts!  While this doesn’t sound like the type of thing you would tell your teenage driver to do, it can be very helpful to learn how your car handles in the snow.  Learning how to spin the car and recover from spins is one of the best ways to be prepared while driving on the road.  Still use caution while you are practicing and be aware of light poles, hidden objects, or curbs.

Now, when driving on icy or snowy roads, remember the following tips and best practices:
  1. Slow Down – Be very cognizant of your speeds on the road and keep three times the normal distance between you and the car in front of you.
  2. Brake Gently – Never slam on the brakes, if you can avoid it.  If your wheels lock up, ease up on the brake
  3. Lights On – Make sure that you have your lights on so that others are aware of you
  4. Low Gears – Use the lower gears, they help to gain and keep traction, especially on hills or steep roads
  5. No Cruise Control – Don’t be lazy, it isn’t worth the risk.
  6. Stay Behind the Plows – Don’t pass in front of plows or sanding trucks.  The drivers of these vehicles have limited visibility and the road in front of them is much worse than behind them.
  7. 4×4 Myth – Just because you have a 4×4 or AWD, you vehicle cannot handle all conditions.  Be extremely careful thinking you can go anywhere or do anything in your big, off-road truck!
If your wheels skid…
  1. Let Off the Gas – Take you foot off of the accelerator.
  2. Turn Into the Slide – If you are sliding left, turn left. As you recover, you may start to slide to the other side, so make sure that you know steer the new directions.  You may go back and forth a couple of times before you can get back under control.
  3. Brake! – If you have standard brakes, gently pump them.  If your car has anti-lock brakes (ABS), don’t pump the brakes.  Apply steady pressure and realize that it is normal to feel the brakes pulse.
If you get stuck…
  1. Don’t Spin the Wheels – This only digs you in deeper and makes is harder to get out. Lightly touch on the gas and ease your way out.
  2. Turn the Wheels – Turn the wheels back and forth to get snow out of the way. Also, consider using a shovel to dig out some of the snow.
  3. Rock the Boat – Sometimes, it can help to rock back and forth to gain a little momentum.
  4. Sand the Ground – A little sand, gravel, salt, even kitty litter, can help your wheels gain some traction.
Winter Emergency Preparedness comes in all forms, and being ready for the winter road conditions counts.  The above information comes from the National Safety Council and, so please listen to it.  We hope that no one has any issues this year on the winter roads.  Please be extra careful and remember so of these basic tips to keep safe. Emergency Preparedness tips need to be shared, so please pass this along to your friends, family, and neighbors so that we all can have a fantastic winter.

3 Tips For Crime Prevention While in Public

Original Article

Here are three survival (security) tips that are free, and won’t cost you anything. There is a caveat though, that is you may need to force a slight change in your behavior and habits.
In today’s world of increasing economic woes, more individuals are turning towards criminal behavior as they become angrier, looking for someone to blame, and may be downright desperate. You, as a ‘normal’ person, may be walking among them from time to time and you don’t even know it or recognize it.
To a large extent, the key to avoid being victimized is to simply be aware. Awareness consciously (and subconsciously) changes your own behavior such that you will be more likely to avoid dangerous situations that could escalate into violence.

Define ‘awareness’ in the context of your self-security:

  • Know what is happening or has happened in your field of travel
  • Look around you (and behind you) while moving (walking, driving, etc) outside your home
  • Make eye contact while scanning in crowded public places

Know what is happening or has happened in your field of travel

Whether by paying attention to the news or ‘hearsay’, understand the history of the area you are about to travel in. Most people over time will come to understand where the ‘bad’ areas are in their local region – areas especially vulnerable to crime.
If you are new to the area, or if traveling outside your own area, make an effort to discover where these ‘bad’ areas are. A great tool to look for crime reports is on, which shows maps dotted with crime reports in Canada, the U.S., and the UK.

(No, they’re not an advertiser… it’s just a really useful tool)

Look around you (and behind you) while traveling

This simple behavior is more effective than you may imagine. Reason being, is that so many people do not do this, are ignorant to their surroundings, and are the first to become victims. Predators look for the weaker prey. Someone who is looking down, or who appears to be in their own little world, are prime targets for criminals.
Instead, scan around you from time to time, with your head up straight, as you walk with purpose – shoulders back, and confident. Not only might you avoid an unruly-looking gang of troublemakers, but they might avoid targeting YOU.

Make eye contact while scanning in crowded public places

Making purposeful, but quick eye contact is another very effective deterrent to a criminal. Here’s the reason… Most people purposely avoid eye contact in public places. They want to remain in their own little world, and by looking down or avoiding eye contact, they are convinced that they will remain in that cocoon. The reality is that they are entirely wrong.
Sure, that type of behavior may avoid unwanted conversation that otherwise might initiate from a stranger, but that’s about it… By occasionally scanning and making quick eye contact with others, tells any potential criminal that you are not afraid. ‘Quick’ eye contact simply means don’t stare. Staring will provoke a stranger.


Is this type of behavior simply a bunch of paranoia? Do you have to walk around being paranoid to avoid being in the wrong place at the wrong time? No, of course not. Granted, for some people, learning to do these simple things will feel uncomfortable at first – and they may feel as though they are being paranoid. However, after awhile, this will become part of you, just like being able to carry on a conversation with someone while driving a car. It’s no big deal…
Bolster some confidence while you’re out and about. It may unknowingly ward off a pick-pocket, purse-snatcher, or worse criminal, without you even knowing it happened!

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Monday, November 28, 2011

Audio Podcast: Episode-787- Paul Wheaton on Cast Iron Cooking, CFLs and Rocket Mass Heating

podcast_subscribeImage by derrickkwa via Flickr

Original Article

So Paul Wheaton is back for another interview that basically means when the two of us get together you might as well strap in for about 90 minutes of information, entertainment and insanity.  No guarantee on the ratios by the … Continue reading →

How To Get Through 1 Year of Tough Times

Original Article

The scenario: You want to get a few ideas of how you would handle ‘tough times’ for a year, if it were upon you. What should you do now, while things are relatively good, to prepare for tough times? First, let’s make a few assumptions…
Assumptions: You already have the basic needs and supplies that you need for day-to-day living, based on where you already live. In this case, our definition of ‘tough times’ will be mostly economic, e.g. someone has lost their job and money is tight (tighter), or perhaps you still have a job, but prices have been going out of control and there is turmoil (social and financial) in the streets.


The primary mode of operation during tough times is that of FRUGALITY. Actually, the time leading up to tough times should also be lived in frugality so as to enable acquiring more supplies.
Being frugal is a way of life. It is a thought process that occurs naturally whenever you are thinking about product purchases, or uses for existing or new supplies. Many people that are currently financially ‘wealthy’ are frugal themselves, and you might never know that they are ‘well off’. This is how they got there… IT WORKS. It all adds up.
Before a purchase… think… do you need it? Really? Are there alternatives? Are there multiple uses for the product? How long will it last? How long do you need it? Could you borrow it instead? Do you need to spend more for quality? (sometimes this is wise, while other times it is not) Is it practical? Lots of questions should precede any purchase.


Cash on hand (enough for x-months of bills, rent, etc.). This is tough one. It is difficult for most people in their present budget, to save extra cash for the future. It is however very important. Obviously, the more cash you have saved, the longer you will ride the storm during tough times (provided that the situation isn’t a total meltdown of life as we know it).
Having 3 months of cash for bills and rent is a reasonable goal. 6 months is even better. Manage your debt. Do not add to your debt. If you are able, pay more than your minimum payments. If your finances are insufficient, I would pay rent-mortgage first (for a roof over your head), then your food (frugally), then utility bills, and lastly your credit cards.


The more you have stored, the easier for tough times. Period. Remember, you’ve likely heard it before… buy what you eat and eat what you store. Buy on Sale, with coupons, generic brands.
Eat cheaper foods, no restaurants. Change your diet if you have to. You will be amazed at how cheaply you can eat, if you try. The problem is, we are programmed to buy the expensive foods (processed, small quantities). Buying bulk foods and preparing and cooking yourself will save big bucks. Make a goal to store 3 months of food supplies. It’s pretty easy. It really isn’t terribly difficult to build yourself a one-year supply either. Just keep working at it each week. Buy on Sale!


So long as there are utilities, you should be OK with your water source. It is good to store some extra though, for emergency, 2 gallons per person per day rule-of-thumb. You should certainly do this if you have well water that relies on the power grid.


First Aid supplies! Bandages, STERILE gauze pads of various sizes. Don’t just have a few… keep a-lot! Treating a wound will consume lots of these and you will run out fast. I know this from experience. Don’t scrimp on this. You can find these supplies in bulk, which will save you lots of money compared to buying single pieces at CVS, etc.
For over-the-counter pain relievers, buy the large quantity bottle for BIG savings (this is significant when you compare cost per unit). Buy generic for BIG savings – it’s the same ingredient!


Modern civility will decay very rapidly without the power grid. Consider what your needs are if you are to survive somewhat comfortably for a week (or two) without power.
A heat source in winter is essential. Consider purchasing a portable heater that runs without electricity. Obviously flashlights, lanterns, and candles. You must have a portable cook stove of some type. Food will spoil in fridge and freezer without a generator, so be ready to lose your cold storage… Keep a regular ‘Cooler’ (ice chest) on hand – you can throw snow in it during winter and keep indoors without it freezing, but still cold to keep some leftovers fresh.


Kitchen tools without power. Things like a manual can opener, hand mill for flour (if you don’t know how to do this, it’s a great thing to learn – milling your own flour and making your own bread). Keep a coffee percolator – your electric drip coffee maker won’t work without power!


Buy bulk quantities of TP, paper towels, etc., while on Sale. Don’t be afraid to accumulate 6 months or more of this stuff. Prices always go up in our ‘FIAT’ system, so you can’t lose on this philosophy.


Be sure to have at least have basic hand tools such as screwdrivers, hammer, pliers, cutting tools-saws, and hardware like nails, screws, etc. Obviously, if you know how to use them, the better. Keep spare parts for critical systems, or keep two of some things (two can openers for example).


If you own a vehicle, be sure to keep it in decent shape. The last thing you need during ‘tough times’ is an expensive auto repair. Doing regular maintenance and staying ahead with replacements like tires, exhaust system, oil changes, filters, and belts during ‘good times’ will help to eliminate any unpleasant surprises later on.


During tough times, we all could use some positive attitude or fun distractions from time to time. Think about the games that you may have enjoyed in the past, and go get a few… things like playing-cards, board games, puzzles, or the good old fashioned ‘books’ instead of the current electronic variety (no power?).

Avoid spending your hard-earned money on extravagant entertainment, which can be very tempting when everyone is depressed. Instead, resort to the things we used to do when we were younger. Take a walk. Ride a bike. Explore… See the world outside.


OK, if all else fails during tough times, and you are about to lose your home or apartment due to lack of funds, where will you turn? Do your research ahead of time so you will have an idea where you will go or what you will do.
It may sound a bit unreal, but the fact is that most folks live nearly from paycheck to paycheck, or may only be able to struggle through a few months without a job before being overwhelmed with bill collectors and landlords. Make plans now, just in case. Maybe you have a close friend who you could partner with for a while. Or maybe you could approach a close family member.


There are a zillion different ways to jot down ideas of how to prepare for tough times. Each time that I do it, it comes out a little different. I could literally go on for chapters regarding more specific details, but I’m already up to 1,300 words, so I will stop for now!

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Sunday, November 27, 2011

Why a Handkerchief Should Be In Your Survival Kit

Original Article

Boy Scouting in the 20th CenturySir Baden-Powell founded the original Boy Scouts in England following his defense of the town of Mafeking in the Second Boer War in South Africa. The original uniform for the Boy Scouts included a Handkerchief folded in half and worn conveniently around the neck. His decision to include this accessory was not merely one of fashion. The handkerchief offers someone in the wild many varied uses.

Uses in First Aid

A handkerchief can be of great value when it comes to wilderness first aid. Few items are so flexible as a handkerchief. It can be used to put a sling around an injured arm, split a sprained ankle, and bandage an exposed wound. Handkerchiefs can be used to clean a cut with soap and water or cool someone who is suffering from heat exhaustion. Yes, when it comes to applying emergency aid to a victim in the wild, handkerchiefs come in handy.

Uses with Food and Water

Handkerchiefs offer a number of uses around the impromptu kitchen when effecting survival. You can place a handkerchief over the mouth of a container to strain muddy water from a pond or puddle. The water must still be purified but at least the handkerchief will prevent some of the larger items from making it into your drinking water.
As you purify your drinking water, the handkerchief can be used as a potholder to prevent you from burning yourself when removing a container from the fire. You can place handkerchiefs over your food to protect it from flies while tending to other survival activities. And you can use a handkerchief to aid in washing and cleaning your cooking utensils.
When water is in short supply, you can tie a handkerchief around your leg as you walk through a field of high grass and use it to collect water from the morning dew. Periodically take the handkerchief off, hold it above your head, and squeeze the refreshing liquid into your mouth.

Uses in Survival

By attaching a brightly colored handkerchief to the end of a long stick, a makeshift signal flag can be created to help alert distant rescuers of your presence.
In hotter climates, a handkerchief can be soaked in water and worn around the neck or over the head to help cool your blood and thus lower your overall body temperature. In cold weather, a handkerchief can offer additional insulation under your hat to help keep body heat from escaping through your head.
Handkerchiefs are lightweight, easily carried, and incredibly useful. Boy Scout uniforms are still adorned with the standard neckerchief for many of the same reasons listed here. Shouldn’t one or more be in your survival kit?
What other uses have you found for handkerchiefs?

Related Posts

Do Preppers Have a Propensity To Be Gloomy?

Original Article

Preppers make preparations for a reason – they see a need to prepare. They see potential threats to their survival. They recognize the fragility of the social structure that we depend on. But there are threats everywhere all the time. Why do preppers become fixated on these threats to their livelihoods while the majority of others seem content to either ignore them or accept them as a fact of life. Do preppers have a propensity to be gloomy?
When you go out with friends are you a Debbie Downer? The one that kills fun conversations with scary news bits about disease, famine and pending asteroid strikes? If so, you might be a prepper.
The daylight savings time change happened. Now many people are leaving work in the dark, missing the bulk of the day’s rejuvenation sunshine. If you’re a prepping Debbie Downer, it may be time for a seasonal affective disorder (SAD) lamp. Ask for one for Christmas, because your propensity toward gloom and doom may get reduced during the winter months further.

Or is this assessment even accurate? I’d like to see a professionally conducted survey on prepper’s and their mindset, then dig down into the findings. When two people read the same news, see the same realities, what makes one decide to take preparations while the other chooses to carry on as though it doesn’t matter?
Perhaps preppers are not gloomy, but hopeful. Perhaps they see hope through preparations ….. ?
I don’t have the answer to these questions, but it does make me curious. The longer I take part in and engage with the prepper community, the more I wonder what makes them (us) tick. Why ARE we different? What is causing us to do certain things that we think others should as well, others that are getting exposed to the same information we are.
I’m not inclined to think I’m a Debbie Downer. I see beauty in fall’s colors and winter’s snow. I don’t fixate on only the bad news. I joke, I laugh. But why am I pessimistic enough about society’s ability to weather a serious “event” while others could care less? Does it just mean I’m being proactive? Or do I have Debbie Downer tendencies I don’t want to admit? I don’t think I do, but I know that fixating only on the negative, as I believe some preppers do, can be dangerous to your health.
How do you think preppers are in terms Debbie Downerness? Are we more fixated on the negative than the general population?
- Ranger Man

Best Tire Air Compressor Pump

 I've got a very similar model by the same maker. Highly recommended.




Original Article

best-tire-pump-Q-Industries-MV50-Air Compressor
Several years ago I purchased what I believed to be the best 12-volt tire air compressor pump for-the-money on the market. Today, I still believe it to be true. It is the Q Industries MV50 SuperFlow Hi-Volume Air Compressor.
Yesterday I had the opportunity to use it once again, and I realized that this handy ‘tool’ is another one of those ‘good-to-have’ survival preparedness prep items in one’s arsenal.
Tires leak air. Period. Over time, all tires will require more air. Keeping tires properly inflated is more important than many people realize, particularly when it has to do with trailer tires.
If you own, rent, or borrow a cargo trailer or travel trailer, you better pay attention to the tire pressure – particularly if you are loading it above 50 percent capacity. All tires are rated as to how much weight they can safely carry, and these ratings are based on their maximum tire pressure. Anything less will drastically reduce their carrying capacity and will become dangerous if they are overloaded.

So, back to the 12-volt air compressor…
First, the fact that the compressor runs on 12-volts means that its power will come from your vehicle’s battery. Ordinary battery ‘alligator’ clamps at the end of the power cable makes it easy to clip on to your battery terminals. The pump draws 30 amps at full power, and is powerful.
Second, the fact that this compressor is ‘high-volume’ means that it is strong enough to pump higher pressures than are required for a typical car tire. A ST (Special Trailer) tire of load-range D (2,540 pounds carrying capacity) will require 65 psi of air pressure. Load-range E trailer tires (2,910 pounds carrying capacity) will require 80 psi of air. Your run-of-the-mill cheap air compressor will not come close to reaching these capacities on such a tire.
Third, this compressor is compact, stores easily, and has a long 16-foot detachable air hose to reach the tires.

Here’s a scenario you may not have thought about… If you ever get a flat tire, will you be in trouble when you realize that your spare tire is very low on air? If you have a portable 12-volt air compressor – you will be all set.
I’ve used this compressor for years while topping off my vehicle’s tires, my boat trailer tires, and my cargo trailer tires. In my opinion, it is a ‘must have’, to be kept in your tow vehicle or passenger car at all times.
Be prepared.

Accutire MS-4355B Programmable Tire Gauge
I also keep a product similar to this one in the trunk, for emergencies…

Slime 10011 Tubeless Automotive Tire Sealant – 16 oz.

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Saturday, November 26, 2011

5 Emergency Funds

P3097029Image by ArghMonkey via Flickr

Original Article

Here's the five emergency funds you need:

  1. The family emergency fund. Kept in the bank or other very safe location, comprised of enough cash for six month's of expenses, accessible by both spouses.
  2. Your emergency fund.  Kept in a safe location, comprised of $1000 to $2000, inaccessible by your spouse (however your spouse should be able to access the funds in the event of your death).
  3. Your spouse's emergency fund.  Kept in a safe location, comprised of $1000 to $2000, inaccessible by you (although you should be able to access the funds in the event of your spouse's death).
  4. A small emergency fund for each child.  Kept in a safe yet accessible location, comprised of around $500, accessible by you and your child (the challenge is to make the money accessible by your child in the event that they have a major crisis--ie: your death or incapacitation--yet kept in such a way they can't get to it for video games or the like).
  5. And random small piles of cash in a variety of locations (I keep about $500 in each of the following location: my vehicle, my BOB, my office, and my home...a bit more in my home).
The reason for all of these separate emergency funds is because in the event of a crisis, you need a pretty good-sized emergency fund to cover expenses should you be laid off or laid up for a period of time.  Each spouse should also have their own personal emergency fund in the off--but not unheard of--chance that one spouse goes to the bank one day and cleans out the family emergency fund (yes, it may not happen to you but I've seen it happen to enough people to know that it isn't in the realm of impossibility for anyone).  Now, too, I am a believer that each child should be able to access some emergency cash as well after talking to a teen aged boy who found out on the evening news that his dad had been killed in a car accident--at the time, he didn't even have enough money to put gas in his car to get to the hospital where his dad had been taken and he had no friends or relatives in the area to provide him any cash as they were new in the area and his father was the only parent he had.  Finally, the random piles of cash can come in handy for a variety of reasons (ie: you only have a second to grab your BOB so that's the only cash you will have, your house is leveled in an explosion--along with your emergency fund--and the only cash you have is what was hidden in your car or office, etc).

Preparedness Quick Tip: Dehydrating Frozen Vegetables

Original Article

photo by stevendepolo
Did you know you can dehydrate frozen vegetables right out of the bag?  Frozen veggies are one of the easiest things to dehydrate as the blanching prep work has already been done for you before they were frozen.  Just open the bag of frozen vegetables and empty it onto your dehydrator trays.  If the veggies are bulky like broccoli or cauliflower, you may want to partially thaw them and cut them into smaller pieces before drying to make the drying go faster and give you a more “ready to eat” size finished product.  Dry the frozen veggies until they are crispy dry.  The drying time will vary depending on the thickness of the vegetables you start with, but 6-8 hours is usually sufficient.

Dehydrating your frozen vegetables will give them a longer shelf life so you don’t end up with a mass of frost and veggies in the back of the freezer and it will also free up some space in your freezer for other foods.  You can frequently pick up frozen vegetables on sale or with coupons to make them pretty inexpensive.  Dehydrate them and you’ve got some cheap dehydrated vegetables that are perfect for adding to soups or re-hydrating for use in other meals.

This weeks assignment: Radio

Original Article

Got radio?

I hope so. Though many disasters knock out normal communication methods such as cell phones, TV, and Internet – radio often continues on as a reliable source of information.
If you do not have a battery powered radio with extra batteries – get one. Stores like Big Lots often carry radios for as little as $5 – $10.

Amazon also carries a large variety of radios – here are a few examples:
Sony ICF-S10MK2 Pocket AM/FM Radio – $9.99
Midland ER102 Emergency Radio – $44.55 [I own this radio and use it often]
ETON FR600B Solar Link Self-Powered AM/FM/SW/NOAA S.A.M.E. Weather Radio with Flashlight, Siren. Solar Power, and Cell Phone Charger – $67.65  [This thing looks cool]
There are many more but the above list spans the price range and feature availability a bit.

Remember – one is none and two is one.
© 2011, All rights reserved.

Friday, November 25, 2011


Original Article

Hiding In Plain Sight

A couple days ago, I saw a guy driving a Jeep Cherokee, towing a small utility trailer with 10 5-gallon gas cans in the back.  I commented on the Facebook page that he was probably either a prepper or an arsonist.  Some reader comments got me to thinking about OPSEC (operational security) with your preps and keeping things discreet.

For this guy with the trailer and gas cans, a simple plywood and tarp structure would have kept his trailer contents completely hidden.  A reader, Steelheart, sent in this photo:

He took a regular old utility trailer and built up two foot walls with plywood and then added a tarp.  It's low enough, it doesn't affect drivability, yet provides discreet moving of anything you don't want everyone to see.  It also provides secure moving of trash, brush, or other things that would be hard to do in an open trailer.  Big thanks to Steelheart for sharing this.

Another fuel OPSEC issue is storing it.  There is a house near here that backs up to the interstate.  Every time I drive by, I'm amazed at how much propane they have stored behind their shed, in full view of thousands of drivers each day.  They've got a 100 lb tank and 6 or 7 20 pounders back there.  These folks also have a large garden, so my prepper radar goes off.  They've got a 4 foot chain link fence around the back.  It'd be simple to put those plastic strips in the fencing to obscure the view of their yard.

I moved a lot from the time I got out of high school until I got married at 35.  I lived in 11 different places during that time.  If you have to move preps, that's another place to be concerned about what folks see.  All those #10 cans of food?  The gun safe and cases of ammo?  What about the two generators and 10 gas cans?  How to move that into your new home if it is in view of the neighbors.  I sure don't want Gladys Kravitts hollering, "Abner, Abner, you should see what the new people are moving in!"  If you have an attached garage, that can be ideal.  Just back the truck in and unload there to move into the house.  Guns can be wrapped in blankets or carried in duffel bags rather than gun cases.  For the safe, check with an appliance store and see if you can get a refrigerator box, and cover it with that.  For the food, get some big boxes from the U-Haul store and put the manufacturer's boxes in those.  The generators and gas cans might be the hardest.  Sometimes you might have to unload in the wee dark hours of the night.  A friend has a his generators in a small shed with that pink Styrofoam type insulation in it.  The generators plug into a junction box in the shed that is wired to the house power system.  He's adding some low level vents for cross ventilation of the exhaust, and will be able to run them inside the shed, with a minimal sound signature.

You want to keep your preps low key and out of the public view as much as possible.  Sometimes, it takes some creativity to keep them that way.

50 Things to Do Between Now and the End of the Year

Original Article

There's a lot to do before the end of the year.  Here's a list:

  1. Pay off a debt.
  2. Go to a gun show (I happen to like gun shows so thought I would throw that in).
  3. Go for a hike in nature.
  4. Review your annual credit report and correct any mistakes.
  5. Fund your IRA or other retirement plan for the year.
  6. Make any tax deductible donations before the end of the year.
  7. Update your vaccinations.
  8. Take any "use or lose" leave from you job.
  9. Use up any "use or lose" health spending account funds.
  10. Dump out your BOB and revamp it for winter.
  11. Clean out and organize all of your files (both computer files and hard copy files in your file box).
  12. Make sure your vehicle is in tip top shape for winter.
  13. Gather all of your tax receipts to get ready for filing your taxes.
  14. Make appointments for your annual: physical/vision/hearing/dental check ups.
  15. Back up all of your computer files.
  16. Get a new calendar for 2012 and get organized.
  17. Check all of your important documents (passport, CCL, driver's license, etc) to see if any are expiring in the upcoming year and need to be renewed.
  18. Plan your annual vacation for next year.
  19. Set your 2012 goals.
  20. Clean out your house and minimize your possessions.
  21. Clean all of your firearms.
  22. Stock up on ammo.
  23. Get out to the shooting range and practice (a nice change from sunny, summer shooting).
  24. Is it still hunting season in your area? Go out for a winter hunt.
  25. Try backpacking or camping for a weekend during the winter.
  26. Winter is a great time to stay in and bake. Try your hand at baking bread, cookies, even pizza.
  27. Stock up. After Thanksgiving and Christmas a variety of holiday-related food is on sale. Now is a good time to stock your freezer with turkeys and your pantry with canned goods.
  28. Make sure your emergency fund is fully funded by the end of the year.
  29. Review the monthly bills you have paid over the past year; how can you reduce or eliminate these?
  30. Set your goals for next year (consider ways to increase your income, decrease your debt, train in a variety of preparedness/survival skills, etc).
  31. Get some exercise, eat better, lose some weight.
  32. Connect with friends and family (kind of what the holidays are for).
  33. Spend time with your kids (kind of what all of the school holidays this time of year are for).
  34. During the next big snowfall, practice: driving in snow, building a snow shelter
  35. Check your house now for problems you can fix in the spring (how is the roof, are there any drafts, how is the water run off near your place, etc).
  36. Order your 2012 seed catalogs.
  37. Experiment with winter gardening.
  38. Eat through your food stockpile and restock.
  39. Teach yourself (or your kids) some winter survival skills.
  40. Update your Will, Power of Attorney, insurance coverages, etc.
  41. Volunteer (at a school, thrift store, homeless center, etc).
  42. Become an expert on something next year; use this time to figure out what and how.
  43. Enjoy some winter sports: skiing, skating, etc.
  44. Join a club (hiking club, shooting club, chess you can learn some useful prep skills).
  45. Celebrate the holidays and maybe start a new tradition.
  46. Learn a new skill (you are spending more time indoors at this time of year, so it's a good time to learn how to knit, sew, do some woodworking, etc).
  47. Help your kids get ready to be successful (SAT tests are coming up, scholarship applications will be due soon, they may want to consider joining the military after graduation, etc).
  48. Fix a persistent problem.  Start the new year off lighter by fixing a problem that has been bugging you.
  49. Have a fire drill.  Yes in the middle of the night.  Yes in the middle of winter.
  50. Consider what you are thankful for this year.