Survival Skills

Easy Survival Cache Planning and Training

Easy Survival Cache Planning and Training

A key element of most survival plans is to bug out to a different location. Depending on the circumstances surrounding your personal choice to get out of dodge, the very act of bugging out could be treacherous and could cover hundreds of miles in some cases. What if you are delayed along the way and run out of supplies? Have you imagined the possibility that you may not be at home when the time comes to actually bug out to your retreat location? What if you are vacationing and are hundreds of miles away from your supplies when something happens?

Hidden survival caches offer you the option of hiding or pre-positioning supplies that you may need along your route to your final location. The idea behind this is to hide, usually bury additional food stores, weapons or ammo, fuel, clothing etc. in the off chance that you will need this before you get to your final location. Sounds great in theory, right? If you don’t have any practice hiding, or more importantly finding this buried treasure, all of your pre-planning may be in vain. Worst case is this can put you in additional danger when you try to reclaim your supplies.

This is where Geocaching comes in. For those who have never heard of Geocaching, I will give you a brief background. Geocaching is a game played all over the world. The game involves hidden “treasure” and the object of the game is to find as many caches as you can. A cache is a container that depending upon its size may have little plastic toys, a visitors log or coins inside. Each location where this treasure is hidden has been entered into a website (geocaching.com) and members can obtain the coordinates for caches anywhere. The coordinates will get you to the vicinity of the cache but you will normally need to do a little looking to find the actual booty. When you find a cache you can either swap out one of the toys with one of your own, or just leave it as is and sign the visitor log. The sizes of the caches vary from big 5 gallon paint buckets, ammo cans down to film canisters and even containers as small as two watch batteries. Yes, those are hard to find! The harder caches usually give you a hint or their name is somewhat of a clue to point you in the right direction.

Fun Activity with  your family

Geocaching is fun and it is something that can be done with almost any member of your family. The youngest children can participate and most caches are in easy to navigate terrain. I was first drawn to Geocaching as I was researching a good GPS. One of the features of most new handheld GPS units is a Geocaching application. I did a little more digging after I purchased my GPS and went to the Geocaching website to sign up. The membership is free, and allows you to search for any cache anywhere in the world. Pro memberships allow you to actually create and hide your own caches for everyone to find.

Can you see the cache?

Can you see the cache?

The process is simple and you can start out slow. I went onto the site and entered my zip code to find caches near me. I was surprised at how many there were just within walking distance. The website allows you to view the details of each cache such as how many people have found it and how recently. I selected a dozen or so and downloaded them to my Garmin GPS. I did have to download a free plug-in from Garmin first, but once that was installed on my computer sending the coordinates and cache name to my GPS was as simple as one click.

Now that I had my new trusty GPS and a whole bunch of cache locations, I grabbed a couple of members of my family and set out. We spent about 3 hours that first day and found all of the caches except one. With each new find, we were more and more amazed at the creativity of the people who had hidden the caches and the thought that must have gone into choosing the hiding place and camouflaging it so that “muggles” wouldn’t accidentally stumble upon the cache and remove it.

The term “Muggle” comes from Harry Potter and in the Geocaching world refers to people who aren’t playing the game. Some cache descriptions actually say “Beware of muggles around” which you would interpret as the cache is hidden in a very open and public location. In this case, you don’t want to just grab some hidden object out from behind a bush or you may attract unnecessary attention. In fact, this happened to me when one of the caches I was looking for happened to be on a public walking trail. I knew from the coordinates that the cache was somewhere in the bushes right next to the trail, but I was reluctant to dig too far into the bushes for fear that I would scare some woman who may be walking along the trail. If she didn’t know better it would appear that I was hiding in the bushes and that wouldn’t look good at all. I skipped that one and came back later with my children so I wouldn’t look like a creepy deviant.

Another time, we were actually in Paris and believe it or not, the Palace at Versailles has geocaches hidden there also. My wife and I were looking in this park and wouldn’t you know it but about 25 young French students who looked to be in their equivalent of the cub scouts were playing all around the location of the cache. We had to wait on them to leave also. It’s one thing to look odd in your own country, I didn’t want to get caught sneaking around the bushes with a bunch of poor French students, so my wife and I sat there, took photos and laughed.  That cache was pretty interesting and I took a souvenir and left something I had picked up in the states.

Learn land navigation

Excellent tool for finding or hiding caches

Excellent tool for finding or hiding caches

Getting back to how this “game” can help you with Survival, the website is where you find the caches gives you coordinates. For any caches that aren’t in a parking lot or park within easy reach, it is wise to do a little research before you go exploring. There are some caches that can only be accessed one way and this may not be a direct route. One cache we had to find was in the most inhospitable place I have seen which was in the middle of about 50 acres of forest that had been cleared several years back. The forest had since been taken over by tall and painful briars. I think the name of the cache had the word “hell” in it somewhere and it was hell to get to. We had to choose which path to take to get to the cache as it was in the middle of the land. There were two roads bordering the property and we drove around for a while trying to find the closest (and least conspicuous) place to park and begin our hunt. The GPS has a directional compass built in which will show you the direction of the cache and how far it is away, but that is a straight-line. You may have to go around and backtrack to get to the cache location.

If you are feeling exceptionally adventurous, you could get the coordinates and leave the GPS in the car. Use your topographic map to find the actual spot. In a grid-down scenario we may not have access to GPS or electronics so knowing how to navigate the old fashioned way is a smart skill to have.

Understand human nature

I mentioned above that it was pretty amazing to me to see the cache locations themselves. Some are hidden in fairly easy locations. Others are really tricky. After finding about 50 or so, you start to detect a pattern and I was able to walk to a location and look at the area around me and guess where the cache was hidden. You can use this to your advantage in hiding your own caches. Don’t go with the simple route; be more creative with hiding and you will make your own caches harder to find. Also, hiding your cache in the bushes right off an easily accessible path is a sure fire way to make sure someone finds it and when you go to retrieve your cache, it will be gone. If I am going to hide a bucket with guns, knife, water, ammo and food for a couple of days, it is going to be in the middle of that briar patch deep in the woods. I want this to be a giant pain to find, but one I will easily remember.

Find creative hiding methods/places

The smaller caches are usually the most cleverly hidden and that is due to their size. These smaller containers can be magnetized and hidden on almost any metal surface. That won’t really do us too much good, but familiarizing yourself with their methods can give you ideas. One cache I found was in a container that was sunken in the water. The contents were in a waterproof container, but the lid was attached to a piece of camouflaged paracord that was attached to a strong root on the bank. I only had to find the cord and pull to get the container up off the bottom of the creek. Even if I had been looking, that would have easily been missed unless I knew the exact spot where the cord was attached. Another cache was hidden about 30 feet into a huge storm water tunnel. Again, this might not work for everything but it was creative and gave me a lot of ideas.

The best caches to me are the ones hidden in plain sight. Use your best judgment on these, but let the game of Geocaching give you ideas and experience with hiding and finding your own treasure.

This article was written by The Prepper Journal and can be viewed here:

http://www.theprepperjournal.com/2013/03/09/easy-survival-cache-planning-and-training/

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7 Reasons Why It Is Important To Know How To Build A Fire In The Wilderness

7 Reasons Why It Is Important To Know How To Build A Fire In The Wilderness

Wilderness survival skills are an extremely important asset to have. In the wild, the skill set you have might just save your life. This is why it is important to make sure you have enough information and knowledge before you brave the wild outdoors. The wilderness is essentially land that has been left to exist in its natural state and where the influence of mankind has been kept to a bare minimum. In the wilderness, it is just you and the wildly powerful forces of nature. One of the most important skills to have when you are braving the wilderness is knowing how to build a fire. It is also important to know how to safely build this fire and how to tend to it so that you do not accidentally start a wildfire. Many people do not see this as a necessary skill to have, but when you are faced with a situation that requires that skill, you will understand why it is important. Here are some of the reasons why it is important that you know how to build a fire in the wilderness.

For Warmth

For Warmth

As beautiful and serene as the natural outdoors can be, there are times where the forces of nature are cold and unforgiving. It is important that you know how to build a fire in the wilderness so that you can keep yourself warm at all times. This lowers your risk of catching hypothermia, contracting frostbite, and even contracting an illness. In some cases, you might not need to build a fire for warmth because the temperature is steady and warm, but conditions can change on a dime. There is always the possibility that temperatures might drop or that it could rain, at which point you will most likely be seeking a source of warmth. The skill of knowing how to build a fire will keep you warm and safe, as well as those around you so it is important that you know how to build a fire in the wilderness before you venture out there. Knowing how to build a fire is a crucial part of cold weather survival. Now, it is one thing to know how to build a fire, and another to know how to build a fire in the wilderness.

In order to build a fire in the wilderness, you have to know the right materials to use, and how to use them effectively so that you are not left with a pile of stuff that will not light. To build your fire, you will need to know how to gather and assemble the right material as well as pick out the right location to use as a fireplace. Once you have chosen the location, you will need to get your fire building material, which will consist of fuel, tinder, and kindling.

Purifying Water

Purifying Water

Out in the wilderness, you will not be greeted with the same type of comfort you are used to at home. This means that you will not have reverse osmosis water filters nor will you be able to buy a 24 pack of purified spring water. If you think you can avoid drinking water in the wild by stocking up before your trip, I applaud you for your forethought, but in extreme circumstances you will still end up needing to use water from the wilderness. This is one of the times where knowing how to build a fire will help keep you safe and healthy. One of the best ways to purify water is to boil it, and you cannot boil water without having a fire.

Drying Clothes and Equipment

Drying Clothes and Equipment

As most of you know, nature is amazing, but it can be harsh. If one is battling with the elements, there is always a possibility that they might get soaking wet or extremely dirty. It doesn’t really matter whether you get rained on, or if you wash your clothes in a river, but one of the best ways to get your clothes and equipment dry again is by building a fire. If you need to dry your belongings during the day, then there will be no need to build a fire, but this is not always the case. If you do not properly dry your clothes and equipment, you might put yourself at risk of getting sick or put your equipment at risk of getting damaged.

Safety signals

Safety signals

Fires also come in handy if you need to signal for safety and emergency purposes. Out in the wilderness, there is always the possibility that something could go wrong and you might need to evacuate or have some emergency services locate you. Emergency signal fires come in handy if you are stranded and lost, if someone in your party is injured and requires emergency services or an everyday situation escalates into something else. The brightness of your fire will help draw attention to your location, but the smoke (which rises much higher) will be much more beneficial to help signal your location.

Ward off Animals and Insects

Ward off Animals and Insects

Building a fire in the wilderness is also an effective way to help keep wild animals and insects away from you and your party. There are many elements of the wild that people go up against when they decide to spend time in the wilderness. It is important to realize that these animals and insects have the upper hand on that environment, no matter how much intense training you put yourself through. They were made to thrive in those locations so they will adjust far better than you. This is why it is important to make sure that you stay well away from bears, coyotes, wolves etc. and one of the best ways to ward off these animals is to build a fire. Not only does it help illuminate your surroundings, but it also helps keep these animals from coming closer than they should. Think of your fire as some high-security locks that were installed by a professional locksmith to keep burglars away!

Cooking Food

Cooking Food

Sustenance is one of the main ingredients to help people survive in the wilderness. You will be hard pressed to find someone wandering around exploring if they have not had food to eat. In order to keep your energy up, you have to make sure that you are eating right and that you are eating food that provides you with enough nutrients and energy to go about your day. Of course, you can get by with only eating a selection of premade food, but learning how to build a fire in the wilderness will help you survive for the long haul. This skill will give you the ability to cook, clean and eat a much wider variety of food than you would be able to if you did not have the ability to build a fire.

Sterilize Equipment

Sterilize Equipment

Knowing how to build a fire also comes in handy when you need to sterilize some equipment or treat a wound. It is a very common occurrence for people to get injured in the wild, but it is even more common that people’s injuries become infected because of unsterilized equipment. In emergency situations, you can start a fire and use this to help sterilize any tools that you might use to treat cuts or bruises. This can be done by submerging the part of the tool you will use in boiling water, or by holding that same part over an open flame. This allows the heat to kill off any dormant bacteria that is not visible to the naked eye and it also reduces the chance of the wound becoming further infected.

Conclusion

There are may skills that come into play when you are trying to survive in the wilderness and many of them are similar to life saving prepper skills. However, most of them pale in comparison to the importance of knowing how to build a fire the proper way. This skill is extremely beneficial and it will help you through some really rough spots. I hope that this post has helped enlighten some people on exactly why it is important to be able to know how to build a fire in the wilderness.

7 Reasons Why It Is Important To Know How To Build A Fire In The Wilderness was written by Ralph Goodman from United Locksmith. View more of Ralph’s article’s on his Lock Blog.

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Paracord Knots: The ULTIMATE Resource On Flawless Paracord Creations

Have you gotten started in paracord weaving projects and need more paracord knots to make your creations a bit more elegant, or maybe you’re just bored? Well either way we have compiled the most popular paracord creations to help you make some outstanding pieces!

Paracord weaving is something that continues to grow in popularity. Ever since Bear Grylls burst onto the scene with his paracord bracelet, people have made paracord designs the same way they used to make duct tape wallets and purses.

And we’ve put this article together for you so that you don’t have to scour the web for the most epic paracord knots to add to your bracelets, necklaces, or dog collars (I’m sure someone’s done it).

Why Paracord And Not Duct Tape

Well first of all it would be a lot more difficult to make outstanding multicolored 3D shapes with flat pieces of tape. Paracord lends itself to making different shapes much easier and with the added bonus of being a useful accessory.

Unlike duct tape, you can use these paracord creations in life threatening conditions. Like if you’re unfortunate enough to get stranded in the wild without many resources, having this handy cordage can make a huge difference.

Whether it’s using the cord to put a shelter together or make a trap to get some food you’ll not be sorry you decided to use paracord to make some nifty projects instead of sticky tape!

And if you’ve been an active reader of our site for any amount of time you know that we’re all about giving our readers as many ways to be prepared for anything as possible. And with awesome paracord projects like belts, bracelets, and necklaces, adding these extra knots to them is simple and will give you a little more cordage to work with if you need it.

It’s always better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it, right?

Benefits Of Paracord Weaving

Saves Money

First of all this stuff is incredibly cheap, and can be used to make house hold items for a fraction of what they would cost in stores. If you buy a leather belt from a retail shop all you have is a piece of “leather” and a buckle. Whereas if you made this belt yourself you’re looking at a total cost of around $2 for all the materials. But the choice is up to you.

Keeps Your Mind Sharp

With all of the amazing knots out there for different paracord masterpieces it’s hard to imagine learning them all, but the process of learning and practicing new skills will help improve problem solving and keep your mind sharp. If you’re someone who’s later on in life and looking for a new hobby that will help to keep them mentally engaged, then this is the skill to practice!

Improved Motor Skills

We’re not talking about fixing up a Bronco motor skills, but the skills required to handle small objects with precision and accuracy. Weaving paracord and making specialty knots is a practice that will improve this area of your life, and you’ll see immediate returns within a few weeks.

What You’ll Need To Handle These Knots

You can use a paracord jig if you want to, we’ve done articles that include how to make one yourself in a short afternoon, or you can purchase a ready made one here. We’re not going to be making bracelets with this jig like in the other article, however, you’ll want something to hold the cord steady as you work with it.

Paracord

And while it does work to just drive a nail into the wall or floor to hold the cord, I doubt that it would be very visually appealing to have random nails stuck in the walls and floors. Or maybe that’s just me…

Tips To Make Weaving Easier

Our buddies over at Survival Mastery have a post that addresses the topic of what not to do when you’re starting on your paracord journey. But since you’re not starting on this journey, this is merely a refresher course, you can just breeze through these.

And if some of them happen to help you then you’re welcome 😉

Don’t Buy Paracord In Small Batches

The goal of this hobby is to keep the budget as minimal as possible, and the one way to destroy that is to only buy the amount of paracord you need. If you know that this is a hobby you’re going to really dive into then go ahead and get a decent amount of paracord.

Improper Fusion Of Paracord

Nothing will spoil your awesome paracord design like a weird looking bulge from shady paracord fusion. When you fuse two cords together it’s a fantastic opportunity to add an extra pop of color, so don’t mess it up with shoty paracord fusing.

Take the time to improve your basic skills so that you’ll be able to move through these knots and  projects with the greatest ease!

Paracord

Melting The Ends, Less Is More

You know that cheap yellow nylon rope you can buy at Walmart right, and how the melted ends of this rope look like a thick flat club? Well that’s not at all what your paracord needs to look like after you’ve cut it and melted it!

You’ll quickly learn that less is more when it comes to melting the ends of the paracord.

And you do need to melt the ends to make sure that it doesn’t come unraveled after you’ve cut it, because it most certainly will.

Most Amazing Paracord Knots

This extensive list of knots and braids are a compilation of amazing resources from around the web like fusion knots, paracord guild, and survival life. It’s a bit difficult to go back and forth between sites to find the one knot you’re looking for, so we’ve taken that step out and put them on this page just for you!

Please enjoy!

Ashley’s Flower Knot

Cliford W. Ashley, author and illustrator of the Ashley Book Of Knots (ABOK), created many original knots alongside the multitude of historical knots he presented. One of those original knots is shown on page 391 and referenced as #2445 in the Ashley Book Of Knots.

A magnificent design, ABOK #2445 is effectively a simple modification of the flower knot. Still many refrain from tying it, on account of Ashley’s illustration shows all except how to hold and tie the knot in hand. As a nod to Ashley and the knot he created, this video shows how to tie the knot while in hand.

Ashoka Chakra Knot

The Ashoka Chakra Knot is a fusion knot based upon the “Wheel of Law” edict depicted on the pillars of King Ashoka (an ancient emperor from India).

The Basket Weave Knot

The basket weave knot is deceivingly similar to the prosperity knot, with two major exceptions, it’s easier to tie and adjust. Our hope is that you’ll find the knot an elegant addition to a necklace, bracelet, or any other item where a decorative flat knot might be appropriate.

Celtic Heart Knot

The Big Celtic Heart Knot is a video instruction in response to calls for a larger Celtic Heart Knot. Just as attractive as the original design (only bigger), the knot makes an excellent centerpiece to a necklace given to someone you love. Video production by J.D. Lenzen of Tying It All Together.

Bloody Knuckle Knot

The Bloody Knuckle Knot is what happens when you fuse a row of half hitches with the Blood Knot. The hitches make knuckles and the Blood Knot (or Barrel Knot) pulls the tie together, resulting in an unusual but attractive design.

The blood knot was so named on account of the fact that it was historically tied in to the cat of nine tails floggers.

The Bumblebee Knot

The Bumblebee Knot (ABOK) is listed on page 373 of The Ashley Book of Knots. But, regretfully, only a line drawing is provided for instruction, with no over-under instructions included. The following video provides over- under instructions, with the knot tied in hand. Video production by JD of Tying It All Together.

Celtic Tree Of Life Knot

The Celtic tree of life symbolizes strength, longevity, and wisdom. It further marks the connection between earth, the spirit and the universe. Often portrayed in illustration, it’s rarely if ever shown represented in rope…until now.

Although the Celts are known as people who predominantly populated the British Isles. Their customs, beliefs, and religions were shared by people throughout the 1st millennium BC Europe.

Chinese Clover Leaf Knot

Effectively a miniature version of the Pan Chang Knot, it’s cloverleaf pattern is as much a symbol of good luck in China, as it is in the west.

Cloud Knot

The Cloud Knot branches off the Double Coin Knot in an innovative and seldom realized way. In short, the knot is created via a weaving technique that can be applied to a variety of knots, making them appear more elaborate and decorative.

Cross Knot

The two knots you’re about to see are the Cross Knot and the Ladder Wrap. For most, these two knots couldn’t be more different. Still, in truth they’re more similar than they may at first appear. The only difference in the two knots is the number of vertical wraps that traverse the horizontal bight.

Diamond Ring Knot

The Diamond Ring Knot is the fusion of an Overhand Knot and a tying technique called circling. Surveyed separately these two (knot) components might not inspire much interest. But together they inspire so much more, as the following video hopefully shows.

Double Celtic Medallion Knot

The Double Celtic Knot Medallion can be made as a gift for a loved one or for a dear friend. Now on this day, Valentine’s Day (here in the U.S.), tying it together share how to make that gift…with you. Best to you all, and keep tying!

Paracord Knots: The ULTIMATE Resource On Flawless Paracord Creations was written by SurviveTheWild.net and can be viewed here:

http://www.survivethewild.net/paracord-knots-ultimate-resource-flawless-paracord-creations/

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Survival Gear: Setting Your Group Standard

Survival Gear: Setting Your Group Standard

Everyone likes to think they are unique and many people even go to great lengths to show the world just how special and creative they are. You have seen these types of people, maybe you are one yourself. Those who have tattoos all up one side and down the other (no judgement), who have multiple piercings and giant gauges in their ever expanding earlobes. They wear all manner of fashion that seems to be designed purely for shock value and their hair is carefully combed into their eyes.

Now before I get anyone upset, I am not advocating anyone dress any differently. I am a firm believer in the philosophy of if you want to let your freak flag fly, go right ahead. You aren’t bothering me at all. Except maybe the hair thing on guys today… I just want to cut that mop out of your eyes because it would drive me insane…And stop with the hair products maybe…

Seriously, I love variety and if you feel that you are expressing yourself, go right ahead. More power to you! However, in a survival situation there are times when being the only round peg in a room full of squares could be a disadvantage so today I want to talk about conforming.

The importance of the group standard to preppers

Now when I mention conforming, I am not talking about conforming to my version of society, your morals or style of dress or personal hygiene habits. I am talking about the decisions you will make regarding the survival gear and equipment that your larger mutual assistance group is going to use. It is important to formalize a group standard on several major pieces of gear if you want to function cohesively as a unit.

If each person is unique, their own purple flower with magenta ombre highlights, and does their own thing – you aren’t a group at all. You are just a bunch of individuals hanging around together and believe it or not, that could be a drawback. Let’s imagine a SHTF scenario for example. It’s bad, really bad and you are huddled together with your survival group, trying to get by and taking each challenge as it comes.

Choosing standard firearms

One of our posts that has had the most discussion back and forth has been The AK-47 vs AR-15: Which Rifle is Better? I wrote this back in March of 2014 but debates about the best firearm in a SHTF scenario have probably been raging since men were carrying around flintlock pistols. We are unlikely to find consensus as a whole prepper or survivalist movement, but your own survival group needs to come up with one choice and stick with it.

Why can’t I have my AR15 and Bob have his FN SCAR? Why can’t Julie carry her KRISS Vectorwhile Mary rocks the tried and true AK-47?

I can give you a lot of reasons:

Standard firearms behave the same way. One you learn the mechanics of your AR15, every other AR15 behaves the same way

Standard firearms behave the same way. Once you learn the mechanics of your AR15, every other AR15 behaves the same way

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Magazines: Each of your battle rifles should use the same magazines so that if needed, you can grab a spare one from your buddy, lock and load and keep going. You never want to find out that you are under attack and nobody around you has the same magazine, or that two people do, but they aren’t with you at the moment. Try telling your buddy to just hold them off-while you reload a few more magazines.

Spare Parts and Accessories: Let’s say someone has a rifle that has a part malfunction that renders that rifle inoperative. You could either let that sit on the shelf or you can use the spare parts to fix other rifles that may need it. Yes, you should always have spares but it’s far less trouble to buy three of one thing as opposed to one different part three times. You won’t have to learn how to pull apart three different weapons either although knowing how would be a good skill.

You can also look at accessories the same way. I have at least 3 different sets of scope rings I got for 3 different scopes. If I were to have the same scope as my buddy and mine went bad, if needed, I could simply swap his out with mine. The alternative of strapping that nice Vortex Strike Eagle down with duct tape isn’t a good option.

Operation and features: Standard firearms behave the same way. One you learn the mechanics of your AR15, every other AR15 behaves the same way. Learn how to disassemble one, you know how to disassemble all of them. Have a misfire? You know how to quickly clear one AR…I think you get the point.

Reliability: I will also add this minor factor in there. Assuming you buy comparable quality firearms, the make of your rifle and the reliability will be comparable to the other rifles so your lifespans should work out close to the same period of time assuming proper care and maintenance. I know I had an M-16 from the 70’s when I was in the Army and it worked just fine. I did get some new hand-grips though.

Choosing standard calibers

This one should be in the same category but I wanted to break it out because we could be talking about Shotguns, Rifles and Pistols above with your standard firearms. Your ammo should be the same for all firearms as well. So if you have standardized on Glock for example for your pistol, everyone should have the same caliber. This can be .45 or .40 or .357 or .9mm but everyone should carry the same ammo. Same point as above for magazines. When you run out, someone else’s magazine and the ammo naturally will slide right back into your pistol. Which pistol caliber is the best? That is a different argument and a completely different post.

Choosing standard camouflage

Uh, yep! I think camouflage is very necessary in a survival situation.

Uh, yep! I think camouflage is very necessary in a survival situation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Is camouflage necessary? It really depends on what you envision as being possible in your survival group. Do you see this as the end of the world as we know it? Do you imagine hostile refugees coming down your street to demand food or the use of your women? Do you expect to be fighting traitorous UN forces who are marching across town? Do you think you will need to hide? Do you think you will need to hunt?

Having the same outfit can prevent someone from easily sneaking into your perimeter unnoticed. Granted, they could be wearing the same old Woodland Camo fatigues I wore in service and if that is what I chose for my group I would be in trouble. There is a case to be made for selecting something a little more novel like German, Australian or British camo. I prefer the easy options available at any hunting store in the US made by RealTree. They match your local foliage and if you are caught in them, you can easily say you were hunting. No need to look like a paramilitary type and gain unwanted attention if you don’t have to.

Choosing standard communication equipment

Baofeng makes a great, affordable radio for preppers.

Baofeng makes a great, affordable radio for preppers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am referring to shortwave radios here. Radio frequencies are the same no matter what equipment you have so why do we have to purchase the same radios? I will give you two reasons. The first is batteries and the second is operation. I have yet to see two HAM radios that were programmed the same way. I know there is software that can make this easier, but to my mind if everyone has the same radio, everyone will know how to use it the same way. Less problems, fewer mistakes. You can choose from a lot of manufacturers and spend a little or a lot of money, but radios should also be the same for your group. My personal choice is Baofeng’s BF F8HP model.

Conclusion

There you have a few of my reasons and rationale for setting a group standard and in these instances at least, not trying to be a purple unicorn with sparkles. I am sure there are those out there who have different opinions so let’s hear them!

Survival Gear: Setting Your Group Standard was written by Pat Henry with Prepper Journal and can be viewed here:

http://www.theprepperjournal.com/2016/06/02/travel-like-prepper/

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17 Tips for Taking Charge After A Disruptive Event

17 Tips for Taking Charge After A Disruptive Event

“Oh no! Now what?  A disruptive event has just occurred in my area and what do I do?  I know that I have prepared an emergency kit and can survive for a week or two but what do I do now?  I am confused and can’t think. Help me!”

Although this is a fictional scenario, those might likely be the thoughts that run through your mind following an earthquake, hurricane, flood, wildfire or other natural disaster. Those thoughts and worse will jump to the forefront if the disruptive event is a pandemic, nuclear event, or civil unrest where your life may be in danger.

While some may think that the likelihood of such a disaster landing on your doorstep is low, it could happen. That is why you prepare, right?

Given that a disruptive event might occur without warning, what will do you do?  Here are some tips and possible solutions to the “OH NO! What do I do now?” dilemma.

Take Stock of the Situation

Tip #1:  Are you and your family safe? Can you keep yourselves warm, fed, and out of harm’s way?  Remember, being prepared for a disaster is part of your basic responsibility. If you have been caught unprepared, this will be more of a challenge than if you’re able to be completely self-sufficient.

Tip #2: If it appears that you are safe inside your home, determine what the conditions are outdoors.  Is it even safe to go outside or should you stay put and shelter in place?

Tip #3:  Do you have a way to let family and loved ones outside of your home know that you are safe?  What communication systems are functional (telephone, cell phone, texting, internet, shortwave radio)?

Tip #4:  Are you facing a true emergency or do you need help immediately?  If you are okay and the event is a major disaster, place a sign in your window or on your door that say’s “OK”.  If you need medical assistance of other help, put up a sign that says “HELP” or “INJURED”.

Prepare Your “In the Moment” Mindset

Tip #5:  Assume that you are going to be on your own for a while. Local services will be overwhelmed and you should only look to them for help in true life or death emergencies. Don’t call 911 to ask for information, report power outages, or to pass on information that is not life or death in nature.

Tip #6:  Plan to subsist on stored food, water, and supplies.  If the situation is dire, transportation systems and power systems will be only marginally functional if they are functional at all.  The shelves of the stores, if they are even open, will be empty within hours.

Tip #7:  Disasters bring out the best and the worst in people. Be patient with those who do not respond well, and work hard to ensure that your own response is positive and constructive.

Tip #8:  After a disaster or disruptive event, there is a natural tendency to blame someone for the event. Remember, disasters are usually no one’s fault, and are an unavoidable part of simply living in our world. Focus on the things you can control such as helping your community heal, staying positive, and moving forward.

Tip #9: Roll with the punches and make the best of a bad situation.  Stay secure in the knowledge that things can only get better.

This article was written by Gaye Levy and the complete article can be viewed here:

http://www.backdoorsurvival.com/tips-for-taking-charge-after-a-disruptive-event/

Gaye Levy started Backdoor Survival so that she could share her angst and concern about our deteriorating economy and its impact on ordinary, middle-class folks. She also wanted to become a prepper of the highest order and to share her knowledge as she learned it along the way. On Backdoor Survival you will find survival and preparedness tools and tips for creating a self-reliant lifestyle through thoughtful prepping and optimism.

To read more from Gaye, visit her website, Backdoor Survival. You can also follow Gaye on FacebookTwitterGoogle+ and Pinterest or purchase her eBook, The Prepper’s Guide to Food Storage on Amazon.com.

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What Is Your Emergency Response Plan?

To be truly prepared for any type of disaster requires a good bit more effort than simply reading blogs, watching videos and accumulating supplies although I don’t discount at all those methods or preparation. The background investigation you do doesn’t all have to correlate specifically to your plan and in my experience so much of what I have researched, while not something I proactively work on, I feel it gives me perspective and as such contributes in some way to my overall prepping efforts. But at some point it helps to put your emergency response plan down on paper. When you start looking at the different aspects that could affect your life, it helps to give this process a little more structure and that is what I want to discuss today.

Many people come to the Prepper Journal after a crisis has hit the news. Some have been prompted by an inner urging that motivates them to research preparedness as a way to mitigate tragedy. The reasons for wanting to prepare are different for each person, but there are a lot of common situations we can find ourselves in that require action. Action is better with training and training is born out of a plan for success. What could an emergency response plan for your family look like and where would you start prepping?

Emergency Response Plan First Step

CONDUCT A RISK ASSESSMENT

If you don’t know where to start, I would suggest you sit down and write down the risks you feel could impact your family in some way. Many of the next steps will fall in line after you know what you are prepping for.

  • Hazard Identification – Do you live in a high-rise in a major metropolitan city or at the edge of a natural forest? Each of us has hazards that perhaps other people don’t need to worry about. What specific hazards could impact you directly where you live? Some common hazards you could be concerned about could be Fire, Hazardous spills from railroad or chemical plants nearby, Terrorism, pandemic, utility outages, cyber-attack. Write down any situation you feel you should be prepared for.
  • Vulnerability Assessment – Understanding the risks above, who or what could be at risk if one or more of those hazards actually happened to you. There are people usually, maybe your own property, the larger hazards will/could impact infrastructure and supply chains. Some hazards can pollute the environment to the point wheremoving either temporarily or permanently may be necessary.
  • Impact Analysis – Looking at the vulnerabilities above in light of the hazards, you start drilling into what prepping needs you should focus on. There could be injuries, property damage, loss of business income or other financial loss, environmental contamination or worse.

I find that it helps some people to write down specific lists for each of the items above because that should start directing your efforts. You can almost look at the impacts and work backwards. I know that injuries are very possible in almost any hazard I identified above so medical preparation is a given. I also know that some of the risks above highlight other security needs so I can begin planning for what we need to take care of before any emergency.

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Having your risk assessment done should help you build your own preparedness plan. In my case this illuminated needs for many areas:

The list above is large categories and each can be split into multiple sub-categories beneath those levels but it is a start. In many cases I was able to inventory the prepping supplies identified above that already existed in some capacity and use that to determine what was left to take care of/acquire/learn.

So that gets you to a point where you are thinking about a broad spectrum of things that could need addressing by you and what your plan of action may be. It is a start.

But then an actual emergency does happen.

PUTTING YOUR EMERGENCY RESPONSE PLAN INTO ACTION

This could be after you have been prepping for years or before you have bought the first bag of beans or case of bottled water. Once the emergency has occurred, you have to put your emergency response plan into action. Hopefully you have considered the following areas below before you are forced to act.

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The minutes directly before or after a disaster will afford you with a few choices and the time you have to decide can vary greatly. For the immediate safety of your group, you are going to need to figure out quickly which path to safety you need to follow.

  • EvacuationGetting the heck out of dodge may be the best thing you can do but that is easier said than done because there are so many variables. What methods do you have for evacuation? Are you able to use vehicles or are you forced to walk? Which direction are you heading and do you have a destination that you have already planned? How long will the evacuation take and do you have the rest of the city to contend with? Many of us plan to bug out but that isn’t always the best or most appropriate thing to do in all situations.
  • Sheltering – Violent storms like tornadoes or hurricanes could force you to community shelters. Do you know where these are located in your city? Do you have go bags prepared and are ready to go in a moment’s notice to make it to the shelter? Do you have family members that may be on another side of town and will need to meet you at the shelter?
  • Shelter-In-Place – In a widespread pandemic, it may be necessary to shelter in place and avoid contact with contagious individuals until the virus has run it’s course. Do you have the supplies to lock your home down and prevent contamination? Do you have the tools needed to make your own quarantine room if someone comes down with the infection? Do you have enough food and water to last the duration of the quarantine assuming that many utilities could go down as they are run by humans too who get sick or refuse to leave their homes.
  • Lockdown – Temporarily you may need to barricade yourself as in the case of an active shooter. I usually don’t recommend this approach unless you have the means to really secure the room you are in, but if you can prevent entry and need to wait out a violent situation, that may be called for. If you have no locks or no really good way to prevent someone intent on doing harm from entering, I prefer either Fight or Flight approaches as opposed to sitting and waiting to be shot, but each person must identify their own risk tolerance with the situation.

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WHAT TO DO AFTER THE EMERGENCY HAS PASSED

In most disaster situations, there is a period when the disaster or crisis has passed. Storm waters recede, the wind stops blowing, the earth calms and the shooting stops. This is when your emergency response plan actually focuses on a different aspect of survival, but the entire process could repeat over and over again if circumstances change or the emergency event is protracted. Later, rinse, repeat.

  • Check on people and assess damage – Do you have everyone accounted for and are there any injuries? Triage the most critical injuries:
    • Those who are likely to live, regardless of what care they receive;
    • Those who are likely to die, regardless of what care they receive;
    • Those for whom immediate care might make a positive difference in outcome.
  • Ensure safety – Assuming no one requires medical care, analyze your present location and situation. Do you need to move to another location for safety, either from the elements or bad people.
  • Gather Intelligence – Do you know what has happened and what the situation is with other people in your group? Is communication still possible by phone or radio? Do you have communication alternatives like anemergency weather radio or Ham radios?

Determine next steps based upon understanding of your people’s current state and needs for security. It may be that you just roll out the barbecue, fire it up and start cooking those steaks you had that will go bad without power. It could be that you need to evacuate to another city or prepare to defend your home. Any emergency response plan is just a framework for helping you critically analyze, plan for and prevent threats, but it isn’t a solution. Your emergency response plan should enable you to act, but you will be on your own at some point. All the planning in the world can only prepare you. Reality gets a vote and you may find the situation completely different from what you planned for.

The exercise is still valid I think and perhaps this will help those who don’t know where to start prepping with a little direction. There is much to think about but doing so now will help you later if you are forced to live through your own emergency.

Survival Kit for Not Quite the End of the World was written by Pat Henry with Prepper Journal and can be viewed here:

http://www.theprepperjournal.com/2016/04/30/emergency-response-plan/

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Navigating Without a Compass

Navigating Without a Compass

In a discussion the other day concerning the GPS, I opened my big mouth and mentioned “the proper way to do that would be…”.  An additional comment got me to thinking about how reliant we have become on modern technology and the pretty much lost or dying art of navigating using celestial bodies, including the sun, moon, and stars.  Our ancestors used the sky to guide them day or night, across oceans and deserts.  Sure, our ancestors got lost from time to time or maybe they did not hit the exact point they were aiming for with pinpoint, GPS accuracy, but they did manage to get where they were going.  Like any other survival skill, navigating takes some practice and it is best practiced when you have other items (like a compass or GPS) to rely on in case you fail the first couple of times you attempt it.

If you happen to be navigating with a map but without a compass and you do not find yourself lost in the flat desert or on open water, you should be able to orienteer yourself out of trouble.  This is probably the quickest and easiest form of navigation to master when you have a map and visible terrain features or landmarks that are also marked on your map.  Where most people go wrong with orienteering is they do not take the time to determine where they are on the map.  They get in a hurry, guess, and days later find out the hill they thought that they were standing on top of was actually 10 kilometers north of where they were actually standing.  Finding your location without a compass will require you to place yourself on top of or next to a landmark that you are certain is the correct landmark from which to start navigating.  Finding that landmark may require some extra walking on your part but that extra walking will probably save you thousands of “lost steps” later.

Once you have determined where you are on the map, you will need to orient the map to the North.  This is where using the sun will come into play.  The quickest and easiest method to determine North, anywhere in the world, using the sun is the stick and shadow method.  You will need to find a reasonably straight stick approximately three feet long, a reasonably level, open spot on the ground, and a method for marking two locations on the ground.  Place the stick upright in the ground and mark the first shadow point.  Wait ten to fifteen minutes and mark the second shadow point. Now, stand with the first mark on your left and the other mark on your right and you will be facing North.  The first mark you made will always be West and the second mark you made will be East, creating an East/West line.  Naturally, behind you will be South.  Most maps are printed with a North Arrow in the legend, so orient the map the direction you are facing.

Navigating Without a Compass

The Stick and Shadow Method

Once you have oriented your map to North, determine which direction on the map you need to head to find safety, and the approximate distance to that location.  In most cases, you will not be able to see where you ultimately want to end up from the point you are standing on the ground, so study the map and identify natural or man-made terrain features that are visible from your location AND between where you are and where you are trying to navigate to.  Determine the distance to the terrain features (orienteering points) and  keep an accurate pace count as you walk.  From that point you simply navigate from terrain feature to terrain feature, orienting your map to North as required to keep yourself on a reasonable course.  If you stop to camp for the night, I would recommend stopping early enough to get your East/West line established before the sun goes down and making a permanent mark on a tree or lining up rocks pointing North and the direction of travel you need to head at first light.  Orienteering works best in the daylight when you can see things and even the most experienced navigators/orienteering experts tend to walk in circles in the dark.  If you do not have clear visibility of the night sky and the knowledge to navigate using the stars, I would always opt for stopping for the night.
If you do have a clear view of the night sky, you can use the stars and moon to guide you.  It is important to note, that the stars and moon can and will be obscured by clouds and canopy, so if you are attempting to navigate at night and lose sight of them, it is always best to find adequate shelter until they are visible again.  Many people have been fooled by the thought that they can continue to walk the necessary course with no visible navigational aids and find themselves right where they started at first light.  Doing this will only waste precious energy and mean the difference between life and death in a survival situation.the night, I would recommend stopping early enough to get your East/West line established before the sun goes down and making a permanent mark on a tree or lining up rocks pointing North and the direction of travel you need to head at first light.  Orienteering works best in the daylight when you can see things and even the most experienced navigators/orienteering experts tend to walk in circles in the dark.  If you do not have clear visibility of the night sky and the knowledge to navigate using the stars, I would always opt for stopping for the night.

Personally, I find determining North at night easier than determining North using the stick and shadow method during daylight hours.  If you are in the Northern Hemisphere, finding North is as simple as finding the “Big Dipper” (Ursa Major), determining the pointing stars (the two stars that make the side of the Dipper opposite of the handle), and estimating five times the distance between the two stars in the direction they point.  There you will find the North Star (Polaris) and visualizing an imaginary line from the North Star straight down to the horizon will give you North.  The North Star does not move in the night sky, so once you locate it, you will always be able to reference it.  The “Big Dipper” does rotate around the North Star throughout the year, but the pointing stars always point to the North Star.  As an additional reference in the night sky to locate the North Star, you can find Cassiopeia, which is directly opposite of the “Big Dipper”, and is a five star constellation which forms a “W”.  The center star of Cassiopeia, or the middle peak of the “W” points to the North Star.

Facing the North Star, West will be on your left and East will be on your right, with South at the rear.  As a reference on East/West, locate the constellation Orion.  Orion’s Belt, the three bright stars that form a straight line across the middle of the constellation (the only three bright stars that form a straight line in all of the night sky)  rise in the East and set in the West no matter where you find yourself in the world.  Since Orion moves through the night sky, you will need to establish a good visual on where it rose and where it will set, by observing it as you navigate.

Once you have determined North, East, and West, stand facing the North Star and visualize yourself standing on the dial of a compass.  The North Star will represent “0 degrees” on the compass, if Orion’s Belt is rising it will represent “90 degrees”, and if it is setting it will represent “270 degrees”.  With an idea of which course you need to take from your current location, rotate away from the North Star until you are facing that general direction and reference your viewpoint of the North Star and Orion’s Belt from where you are standing.  If you can make out an identifiable terrain feature or other recognizable feature as a reference point mark it and start walking toward it.  If you find yourself without terrain features and can maintain sight of the North Star and Orion’s Belt, you can keep yourself on course by referencing them as you walk.  It is important to keep in mind that stars, including Orion’s Belt, move through the night sky.  The North Star is really the only constant here, so unless you are plotting a course due North, I would not recommend picking a star on the horizon as an orienteering point.

Now, unless you keep a sextant in your pocket and know how to use it, orienteering or navigating using celestial bodies will never get you within plus or minus 50 meters of an eight digit grid coordinate.  It should not be looked upon as an exact science and before you even attempt it, you need to go ahead and prepare yourself for some frustration.  However, it could, with some practice now, save your life one day when you do find yourself without modern technology.

As with any other survival technique, there are plenty of other ways to determine North and navigate without a compass, map, or GPS.  I only discussed a few here, but there are modifications to the stick and shadow method that take more time and are more accurate or you can use an analog clock/watch to determine North with the sun.  There is a whole host of other means of determining direction using stars or the moon.  I selected the methods that are easiest for most people to grasp, understand, and implement for this article.  If you are interested in discovering other methods, there are entire books dedicated to this very subject.

Navigating Without a Compass was written by Pat Henry with Prepper Journal and can be viewed here:

http://www.theprepperjournal.com/2013/05/08/navigating-without-a-compass/

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Self-Storage Survival: Cache Option for Preppers?

Self-Storage Survival: Cache Option for Preppers?

Many of you have thought about where you should store your prepping supplies. As you accumulate more food, gear and tools, you may find yourself getting creative with the space you have in your home. In the beginning, my main focus was food and the logical place was to simply put more food on the shelves. That was fine to a point, but if you have enough food for a year, the shelves in your kitchen won’t likely hold that many groceries. At some point you may want to consider alternate storage options.

There are a lot of articles on prepping blogs dealing with where to store your supplies and once our shelves were full, I modified a room in our house to make a pantry. Now, the pantry is full so we have gone to storing some items in closets and now under beds. It is pretty sad when you starting thinking about where you are going to hide your next purchase before you click that “order” button on the website, but it is a fact of life for many of us. I covet a basement like nobody’s business and dream of rack after rack of shelved, stored supplies and food. That isn’t going to happen any time soon, but I have considered renting a self-storage unit. Could a great survival cache option that doesn’t require you digging a hole in the middle of the night, be as easy as renting a box down the road? Is Self-Storage Survival a good option for some preppers?

What are the advantages of storing your prepping supplies in a self-storage unit?

A self-storage unit would seem to be the perfect idea for people who need a little extra space and who aren’t opposed to spending some extra money each month. Self-storage units could easily allow you to store extra items that could come in handy during a SHTF event. This can help you in two ways.

First, even a small 5’ x 5’ self-storage unit could store an amazing amount of supplies and they run around $25 a month. Stacked floor to ceiling you could have enough food to feed an army for a month with that much space, if you used it effectively. This could allow you to move a large portion of your preps off-site freeing up room at home. You could use the newly empty space in your home for other preps, or simply enjoy not being so crowded anymore.

The other major advantage of keeping some of your prepping supplies in a self-storage unit is you don’t have to worry about having your eggs all in one basket. As it stands right now, if our home burned down, all of our prepping supplies would go up in smoke. Having an alternate location would allow you to salvage some of your supplies in a worst case scenario. What if your home was overrun during a collapse and you were forced out? You could use the storage unit cache as your backup and if you kept supplies in this alternate location, you could have the benefit of that fall back plan to keep you alive as opposed to being homeless with no resources.

One of our readers is a truck driver who frequently travels hundreds of miles from home (hey Larry!) and in a conversation on another post it was suggested that he could store supplies in some town along his route. If SHTF and he was half-way home, a stored motorcycle with gear or even a mountain bike with supplies could make his long journey home more successful. There are as many options as there are preppers out there with needs.

It makes sense to not only consider what you are putting in self-storage, but how you will need to access it later. In a SHTF event, you may only have minutes to get your gear and go.

It makes sense to not only consider what you are putting in self-storage, but how you will need to access it later. In a SHTF event, you may only have minutes to get your gear and go.

What should you consider before leasing a self-storage unit?

A self-storage unit isn’t for everyone though and even if you think this might be a good idea for you, there are some things I would look at before I threw my money down and started stacking boxes of ammo in there.

  • Bugs and varmints – What are you storing in your self-storage unit and how are you storing it? Any unit that allows a lot of bugs, like cockroaches or small varmints into where you are keeping your survival supplies is a waste of time. Planning on storing a lot of freeze-dried food? It might make sense to use roach and rat traps liberally in your storage units and check them every month or so.
  • Flooding potential – Is your self-storage unit in a potential flood plain? Before renting, it might be worth a few minutes of your time to check that out. You can quickly search for your storage unit property’s address on FEMA’s Flood Map Service Center. It wouldn’t make any sense to stick a lot of gear in an area prone to flooding.
  • Structural integrity of the storage unit – Before renting a unit, go out and inspect the unit to see how well they look. Does the door rattle around? Are the doors rusting at the bottom? Are their gaps in between the floors and walls where rodents could enter or critters from another storage unit? Granted, you can only do so much, but very old storage units might have problems that newer units do not.
  • Temperature Extremes – The most common storage units allow access from outside. There are many newer units now that are climate controlled, but you may have a harder time accessing these in a grid-down scenario. If your unit is simply a metal box in a parking lot, you will have to assume that whatever you store inside is going to be exposed to temperature extremes of heat and cold.

What are some important access considerations of self-storage?

Having your prepping supplies in a self-storage unit is great, but if you can’t get to what you stored there or your gear is stolen you have wasted a lot of effort.

  • Distance – If you are considering using a self-storage unit to augment your home supplies, I would recommend choosing a unit as close to your home as possible. Having your cache within walking distance would be preferable, although your location might make that more difficult. I have a storage unit about one mile away from my house as the crow flies. If something were to happen, I could be there in minutes even if I had to walk.
  • Gates/Fences – Almost all storage units have a gate that you can’t get through without some form of access like a keypad. Other storage units only have hours they are open and if the grid goes down, you might not be able to get into the gate. I would plan on the possibility of having to scale the fence in a true grid-down scenario. Actually, I would cut a hole for access into the fence with my trusty bolt-cutters if it got that bad.
  • Location of unit to exterior fence – Speaking of having to cut the fence, it may be that in a SHTF event, there is already looting going on and your self-storage unit is a target. It may also be that the owners are locking the doors and not letting anyone in. Choosing a unit that is somewhat hidden from the main office could buy you some time if you had to get in and get your stuff unannounced. You would ideally pick a unit in the middle of the complex, but not too far from a fence location you could access in extreme situations. The layout of the complex and rental unit availability would greatly influence what you could do here. I wouldn’t have a unit on the front or the back. The front is visible to the office most likely and the back is where looters would break in first I think.
  • Loading Order – What you load into your self-storage unit will dictate in some respects how quickly you can access your gear. If you have 10 boxes of gear all stacked neatly, you should ensure that your most valuable gear is where you can get to it first. Some recommend stacking boxes labeled “Baby Clothes” or “Tax Receipts” in the front of the unit to deter robbers. I guess I can see how this would work, but if you plan to have a mountain of crap to get through before you get your important gear, that could slow you down. I think if you are trying to deter robbers, that might slow someone down, but not stop them.

What prepping supplies should you store in a storage unit?

Could a bike stored in a storage unit give you Get Back Home Capabilities if you were frequently away from home?

Could a bike stored in a storage unit give you Get Back Home Capabilities if you were frequently away from home?

So what supplies are good candidates for storing in a self-storage unit? Depending on where you live and the unit, the possibilities are almost limitless. I wouldn’t store any fuel there and that is likely illegal, but would I store a shotgun? I can see storing a shotgun and a couple hundred rounds in a self-storage unit.

Anything that is not perishable would make good candidates. Do you have 10,000 rolls of toilet paper? How about the spare parts for your Bug Out Vehicles? Freeze dried food in plastic containers will last a while, but with extremes in heat, their life will be significantly shortened. What about extra ammo? How about your prepping books?

I think one good item would be back up Bug Out Bags for the whole family. Granted you would need to leave the food out, but many supplies could stay in your self-storage unit staged for a time when you needed to break away. Camping items like tents, sleeping bags and first aid kits for your group or family could store nicely and free up your room in the hall closet. You could store water in a storage unit, but where I live it is pretty easily obtained and I wouldn’t have to worry about it freezing and busting the container in the winter. This just happened to mystainless steel SIGG water bottle that I had stored in my truck as part of my Get Home Bag. It froze and cracked down the entire length, which required me to clean my GHB, but that is another post.

Does a self-storage unit make sense for your prepping supplies? What do you think?

Self-Storage Survival: Cache Option for Preppers? was written by Pat Henry with Prepper Journal and can be viewed here:

http://www.theprepperjournal.com/2015/03/21/self-storage-survival-cache-option-for-preppers/

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Putting Together Your EDC Bag

Putting Together Your EDC Bag

Hopefully by now you have gone out and bought yourself an EDC bag.  If not, you should backtrack to my previous post, “What is an EDC bag and why should I have one” before continuing on.  At this point it is time to start getting all of your gear together and organizing it.  Yes this sounds like it can be a daunting task especially when trying to figure out which items you really need and which ones should be grouped together.  This article isn’t about keeping a few items that can fit into your pocket such as a knife, a few band aids and a cell phone – it’s about having all of the “essentials” on hand so that you are fully prepared for any situation that might arise.  If you really think a pocket sized kit is all you will need then I hope the only thing that happens is you fall off your bike because you were looking back at a hot chick and scraped your knee.

When you look at the list of items below I know you will probably think to yourself, “how am I supposed to put all this in my EDC bag ?”.  The amount of stuff you can carry will depend on the bag that you purchased, however, the main idea here is to still keep everything as compact as possible.  Many of these items are small and hardly take any room.  There may be some things that you will find you may not need while other items may be available in smaller sizes or formats that can do the same job just as effectively.

To help simplify things we will start by breaking everything down into categories.  Remember that we’re only trying to stock the bare necessities here, not create a complete survival bag.  The items I’ve listed below are just general suggestions.  You will need to determine exactly what you think will be needed to accommodate your bag.

Clothing and Apparel:Hiking Boots

You should keep a complete spare change of clothing in your bag as keeping yourself dry is very important.  Modify the type of items listed here to suit your location and and environment.

  • Pair of underwear and socks (add long-johns if you live in a colder climate)
  • Pair of jeans or pants made of high strength material
  • Pair of gloves and hat or bandana
  • T-shirt and sweater
  • Rain poncho
  • Dust mask
  • Add anything else that you would need for your location and climate but remember to keep everything as compact as possible.


Food and Water:Water

Having clean drinkable water should be your top priority with food following right behind.  If possible, get yourself a water bottle that has a filter built into it so in the case that you need to collect water from a nearby river or stream it will filter out most of the harmful bacteria.  Remember though, it’s always your safest bet to boil the water before you drink it regardless of where you found it.

  • Water bottle, canteen or survival straw with built in water filter (always keep it pre-filled with fresh clean water)
  • Water purification tablets
  • A few MRE’s (ready to eat meals)
  • A few packages of oatmeal, granola bars or high energy protein bars
  • Mixed dried fruit and nuts
  • Hard candies
  • P-38 can opener (in case you come across some cans of food along the way)


First Aid & Medical:First Aid Kit

A first aid kit is another critical component to your EDC bag.  While a pocket sized kit could do the trick you should keep in mind that it’s always better to put together your own kit rather than buying one that’s pre-made because not one kit that you purchase will be tailored to your exact medical needs.  If you choose to build your own kit you should know that many of these items can be found at the dollar store for a fraction of the cost.  Below are some standard items that you should include in your kit if you decide to put it together yourself.  Remove or add items to suit your needs.

  • Band aids – different sizes
  • Butterfly band aids
  • Gauze pads
  • Arm wrap (in case of a sprain or fracture)
  • Medical tape
  • Rubbing alcohol (to sterilize)
  • Peroxide (to disinfect the wound)
  • Polysporin (to help heal wounds and infections)
  • Puffers, Epee Pen, etc..
  • Suture kit
  • Any prescription and non-prescription medication you may require
  • Quick Clot or cayenne pepper (cayenne pepper will thicken the blood and help slow or stop the bleeding)
  • Tweezers
  • First aid manual


Navigation, Signaling and Lighting:Compass and Map

Regardless of where you live you should add a map of your local area into your pack in case you need to take a different unfamiliar route in order to get home or to a safer place.

  • A quality map compass
  • Map of local area and state/province
  • Whistle
  • Signal mirror
  • Glow sticks
  • LED flashlight or headlamp and extra batteries (store batteries separately)
  • Cell phone (preferably a smartphone)


Fire and Heat:Fire and Heat

Aside from having clean drinkable water at the top of your list, keeping yourself warm and dry is also extremely important and being able to make a fire is extremely important.  Hypothermia can set in faster than you think so keep this in consideration when adding any of these items to your bag.  You will want to be able to make a fire in any type of weather so I personally would go with a magnesium fire starter.

  • Waterproof strike anywhere matches, Windproof lighter, Magnesium fire starter or flint and steel
  • Hand and foot warmers (if you live in a colder area)
  • Emergency candles
  • Space blanket (can also be used to create a shelter)

 

Shelter:Shelter

You may come across a time or place where you will need to have the cover of shelter perhaps to ride out the night or to protect yourself from the elements.  Carrying an actual tent or other shelter with you wouldn’t make sense as they would be too bulky and wouldn’t fit in your EDC bag anyway.  Instead, you will probably have to improvise and make one out of available materials.  Here are a few items that can help you to make one:

  • Small tarp (can be used as a wall or roof for your shelter)
  • Large black garbage bags
  • Rain poncho
  • Paracord (to tie and hold together your shelter)


Protection:Fixed Blade Buck Knife

People do crazy things when under pressure and stress, especially during the after affects of a severe natural disaster or when society has broken down.  Besides yourself, everyone else will be in full survival mode and being able to protect yourself will be crucial.  Here are a few items that you should consider putting in your EDC bag:

  • Pepper or bear spray
  • Pocket knife (preferably a quality knife with a fixed blade)
  • Hand gun with spare bullets
  • Taser gun


Tools and other misc items:Gerber Suspension

Aside from some of the items above, here are a few more which you will want to have on hand and will find to be very useful in many scenarios.

  • 50 feet of 550lb paracord
  • Pen and pad of paper
  • Adjustable wrench (to turn off gas valves, tons of other uses)
  • Multi-tool
  • Cable ties
  • Small mini screw driver with bits (to fix eye glasses or other small items)
  • Small hose (you might have to siphon gas) – has many other uses
  • Roll of quarters (for pay phones) and at least $100 – $200 in small bills (you never know when you’ll need to make an emergency purchase or have to buy your way out of trouble

Lastly, you will need to make sure that all of your supplies stay dry.  I previously wrote an article on different ways to “waterproof your backpack” and it’s contents.  Although I used backpacks as an example you can still use the same ideas for your EDC bag.  Click here to read it.

Best of luck with building your EDC bag and let us know what you put in yours in the comments below!

This article was written by INCH Survival and can be viewed here:

http://inchsurvival.com/blog/putting-together-your-edc-bag/

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The Easy Way to Start a Wood Fire

The Easy Way to Start a Wood Fire

Fire, and all it represents, is one of the building blocks of survival along with food, water, and shelter.  Fire will cook the food, purify the water, and heat the shelter.  For that reason, it should come as no surprise that fire starting tools and paraphernalia are one of the first things newbie preppers acquire when they are first getting started.

Acquiring tools is all well and good and not to be discounted.  The real test, however, lies in the ability to actually start a wood fire. To that end, there are as many ways to start a wood fire as there are preppers.  Everyone has their favorite method, even if it is inefficient and poorly executed.  Most likely, they simply do not know of a better way.

Help is on its way. Ron Brown, friend of Backdoor Survival and author of the Non-Electric Lighting Series of books and eBooks, knows how to light fires.  He has been doing it for over 50 years, and he is here today to teach us how.

Ron Brown’s Easy Way to Start a Wood Fire

Intro

I’ve probably started upwards of 10,000 wood fires in my life. My parents heated with wood when I was a child and I, myself, have heated with wood most of my adult life.

Still, 10,000 sounds like a lot.

I keep a box of strike-anywhere wooden matches beside the stove. I use about one box a year. The boxes hold 250 matches (though some hold 300). At that rate it would take 30-40 years to light 10,000 fires. Then again, I’m 75 years old.

The purpose of this article is to share with you what I’ve learned; to share with you the easiest way I know of to light a fire.

Objective

At the onset, we need to recognize that your objectives and my objectives might not be the same. My objectives are simple: (1) to start a fire, (2) as easily as possible, (3) with as high a success rate as possible, and (4) as safely as possible.

I feel no obligation whatsoever to start a fire the way grandpa did. Or how the American Indians did. Or how the aborigines in the Australian outback still do it today.

I have a camping buddy who feels that if it takes more than one match to light the campfire then it is not a proper fire. It’s his Boy Scout religion. I’m sure he constantly fights the urge to dump a bucket of water on my campfire and force me to start over and do it right this time.

In his heart of hearts he knows that my fire is inferior to his. It’s like new math. Okay, so I got the right answer. But I didn’t use sanctioned methodology so, in his eyes, my answer doesn’t qualify as an answer even though the result is correct.

How about you? Do you want a fire? Or do you want to play primitive? Only you can answer that. For my part, my aspiration is to keep my fanny warm and cook supper. I just wanna get the fire going. How can I say this politely? Screw primitive.

So Here’s How You Do the Doin’

In general terms, we’re going to:

(1) assemble a stack of firewood ready for burning
(2) insert, into the stack, a patch of cloth soaked in kerosene
(3) light the patch with a match

Done. The fire is started.

For “insertion into the stack” I, personally, use some long-nose needle-nose pliers from the Dollar Store. Cheapies. They work great.

The Easy Way to Start a Wood Fire

Basically, that’s all there is to it. Lesson over. (Although the devil, as they say, is in the details.)

Firewood. The firewood needs to be seasoned, dry. Not green. Not wet. It should be split so that it has sharp edges, something for the flame to bite into. Split wood is easier to start than round wood (i.e. round like wooden pencils).

The Stack. You can skip the so-called bird’s nest, the tinder, and the kindling. If the wood is both dry and split, you can start out with wood the size of your wrist. Starting out with “real” firewood saves mega time compared to starting out with newspaper and wood shavings and building the fire up with successively larger pieces.

The pieces in the stack can be parallel to each other (just like you would carry them in an armload of firewood). The stack does not need to have successive layers crisscrossed. Nor must it be set up teepee-fashion.

The Cloth Patches. Cotton works better than synthetic fabrics. Synthetics will not absorb and hold as much kerosene as cotton. Discarded blue jeans, T-shirts, sweat shirts, and athletic socks will all fill the bill.

A patch of cloth 4″ x 4″ is a good size but please realize that a 4″ x 4″ piece from a handkerchief will not soak up as much kerosene as a 4″ x 4″ piece from a Turkish bath towel. Of course, when you get to the actual fire building, you can always use two pieces.

  • Safety. Here I need to add a word about spontaneous combustion. I started out as an industrial arts teacher. I learned that all of the high school industrial arts shops in New York State have a red-painted metal can with a spring-loaded cover labeled “oily rags.” Why? Because oily rags are subject to spontaneous combustion.

It’s a fact known to everyone of my grandfather’s generation but to no-one of my children’s generation. I invite non-believers to Google for “spontaneous combustion oily rags” and do their homework before scoffing.

Consider this from back in the day:  “Spontaneous combustion [is] . . . the ignition of bodies by the internal development of heat without the application of an external flame. It not infrequently takes place among heaps of rags . . . lubricated with oil . . .” – Encyclopedia Americana, 1919

Storing Patches. When I tear up my rags into 4″ x 4″ pieces, I start with the used (and oily) shop clothes in my workshop. I do this in the fall and spend a couple of hours cutting up enough rags to last for the whole upcoming year.

Starting with the shop cloths means that many of the pieces I’m cutting up will be oily right from the get-go. So, after tearing or cutting my rags into pieces, I store them (before use) in empty metal paint cans (one-gallon size). I can tap down the lid with a rubber mallet and make an air-tight seal. When needed, I can pry open the lid, just like opening a gallon of paint, with a screwdriver.

Four or five one-gallon cans of cloth patches, tightly packed, are enough for the whole upcoming year.

Marinating the Patches in Kerosene. Gallon sizes are fine for on-the-shelf storage but are not convenient for day-to-day handling so I buy pint-size cans of wood stain from the Dollar Store. “Stain cans” are much easier to clean out than paint cans.

These pint-size cans are metal so there’s no danger of breakage. They’re air tight so they don’t leak on other gear. They’re easily pried open with a screwdriver and easily resealed with finger pressure.

I pack a pint-size can with dry patches (taken from a gallon can) then pour kerosene into the pint-size can, letting it saturate the cloth all the way to the bottom. I prepare a couple of pint-size cans at a time. In use, when the first pint-size can is empty, I start using the second. In the days that follow, before the second can is empty, I refill the first.

Matches. The source of ignition can be matches or a cigarette lighter or sparks from a magnesium/flint striker or steel wool touching both terminals of a 9-volt battery. Your choice. The easiest technique (and “easy” is the theme of this article) is to use a strike-anywhere wooden kitchen match.

Diamond (brand) still makes strike-anywhere matches. They are for sale today in mom-and-pop grocery stores as well as eBay. Interestingly, although strike-anywhere matches can be purchased on eBay and sent through the mail, “strike-on-box” is all you’ll find in the big-box stores like Wal-Mart. And don’t bother searching for Ohio Blue Tip. Diamond bought them out years ago.

Gaye’s Note:  Our local supermarket in Friday Harbor told us that they do not stock the strike-anywhere matches because they self-combust.  Urban legend or CYA?  Who knows.  Amazon sells them.

Incidentally, if the tiny white tip (the “strike anywhere” part) breaks off the head of the match, the match will still light if you rub it against the “sandpaper” panel on the side of the box. But you already knew that, right?

AND, don’t forget that you can carry fire from another source. A twig, a splinter, or a rolled-and-twisted sheet of paper can be used to carry fire from a stove burner, a candle, or a kerosene lamp to the fire you are building.

Still, the EASIEST ignition source is a strike-anywhere wooden kitchen match.

The Easy Way to Start a Wood Fire

Kerosene. Throughout this write-up I’ve said “kerosene” because it’s something everyone is familiar with. Actually, diesel fuel is the better choice.

The odor we associate with both kerosene and diesel fuel comes from the sulfur content.

There are two grades of kerosene, K1 and K2. The K2 grade is intended for use in appliances that are vented to the outside (a home-heating furnace with a chimney, for example). K2 kerosene contains 3000 ppm (parts per million) sulfur.

K1 kerosene is intended for appliances that are not vented to the outside (kerosene lamps, for example). K1 kerosene contains 400 ppm sulfur. You can confirm this with online MSDS sheets. Just Google for “k1 kerosene sulfur.”

In the bad old days, before 1993, diesel fuel contained 5000 ppm sulfur. Between 1993 and 2006, “low-sulfur” diesel fuel with 500 ppm was introduced. Since then, diesel fuel with “ultra-low” sulfur (15 ppm) has been mandated for on-road use.

Sulfur in Diesel

Point is, if you use my fire-starting method but want to avoid a kerosene smell inside the house, then today’s diesel fuel with 15 ppm sulfur is a better choice than K1 kerosene with 400 ppm.

“But what if I don’t have any kerosene or diesel fuel? What if the stuff really does hit the fan? OMG. Armageddon is here. The sky is falling. The sky is falling.”

Easy there, big fella. There are lots of materials you can substitute for kerosene. They might not smell good. They might smoke. They might be flammable (e.g. gasoline) rather than combustible (e.g. kerosene). In which case you must exercise some brain cells to avoid – POOF! – losing your eyebrows. But you can start a fire, no doubt about it.

Here are some alternate fuels with which to saturate your cloth patches:

Coleman fuel
Gasoline
Mineral spirits
Paint thinner
Turpentine
Linseed oil
Vaseline
Vicks VapoRub
Preparation H
Motor oil
Brake fluid
Power steering fluid
Mineral oil (laxative)
Baby oil
Hydraulic oil
70% isopropyl rubbing alcohol
151-proof rum
Everclear (brand) 190-proof grain alcohol
Sierra Silver (brand) 150-proof tequila
Denatured alcohol (used as shellac thinner and as fuel in marine stoves)
Heet or Drygas (methanol)
Charcoal lighter fluid
Cigarette lighter fluid
Automotive starting fluid (ether)
Lacquer thinner
Acetone
WD-40 (penetrating oil)
Cooking oil (olive oil and similar)
Lard
Margarine
Butter
Hoppe’s 9 (gun cleaning solvent)
Oil-based wood stain
Many kinds of cologne, after-shave lotion and perfume

Many aerosol spray cans (for insect repellent, paint, and hair spray) contain a flammable propellant. Here you’ll have to experiment to see what works; you cannot trust what it says on the label. Spray a postage-stamp-size cloth patch and see if it will light with a match. (TIP: When lighting, hold the patch with tweezers or needle nose pliers.)

Candle wax dripped onto a cloth patch works well. You can also rub (firmly) a candle or a bar of soap or a bar of paraffin canning wax into your patch (both sides, please). If you have a choice, avoid the soap. Scorching soap does not smell good.

Have I, personally, tried all these things? Yes.

“But that’s not the way grandpa lit a fire. Or The Waltons. Or Little House on the Prairie. That’s not how the Boy Scouts do it.”

Sorry ’bout that. You want romance? Nostalgia? A merit badge? Or a fire? Come on. The kids are starting to shiver. Wouldn’t you settle for a fire?

Russian Fireplace

My “Russian fireplace” in action.

The photo above is my “Russian Fireplace”.  It’s all ceramic (no metal parts). In use, you close the stove door (thereby hiding the flame). The brick soaks up heat from the fire and then then radiates heat out into the room. You do not feed in one piece of wood at a time. This kind of stove runs at top speed or at zero, nothing in between. It runs flat out until only ashes remain. Then you start again.

That means starting two or three fires per day from scratch. Five months x 2 fires/day = 300 per heating season.

The Final Word

Why is it that humans seek out the challenge of doing something easy in a complicated fashion?  I know that I do.  I don’t know about you, but going forward I want to embrace easy.  I want to embrace simple,  I want to do the least amount of work necessary to get the job done with the fewest number of tools, implements, and gizmos.

I don’t know if it is even possible to back away from technology and incorporate the simplest of pioneer skills into our daily lives.  We can try, though.  Starting a wood fire the easy way will give us a good start.

Once again, I would like to thank Ron for his contribution and support of Backdoor Survival.  If you are interested in learning more about what he has to say, be sure to check out his books in the Non-Electric Lighting Series and also his real claim to fame, The Amazing 2000-Hour Flashlight.

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!
Gaye

Bargain Bin:  Below you will find links to the items related to today’s article.  Of course, in addition to these items, you will want to check out Ron’s Non-Electric Lighting Series of books and eBooks.

Diamond GreenLight Kitchen Matches – 3 Pack (Strike anywhere):  Our local supermarket in Friday Harbor told us that they do not stock the strike-anywhere matches because they self-combust.  Urban legend or CYA?  Who knows.

BIC Disposable Classic Lighter With Child Guard:  This six pack of Bic lighters is reasonably priced but check around since these often go on sale locally.  BICs just work – every time.

Zippo Street Chrome Pocket Lighter:  Zippo has been creating virtually indestructible, windproof refillable lighters for more than 75 years. The Zippo Street Chrome pocket lighter is no exception. This lighter features a classic textured chrome finish and carries the same lifetime guarantee–to either work or be fixed by Zippo free of charge–for life. This lighter uses butane fuel. All wearable parts including flints and wicks are replaceable.  Every prepper should own at least one Zippo!

UCO Stormproof Matches, Waterproof and Windproof with 15 Second Burn Time – 25 Matches:  A ZIPPO or BIC lighter are always good to have but it would not hurt to have some stormproof matches as well.

Fire Cord 550 Paracord, Black:  This is really neat stuff that I am putting through its paces right now.  Basically, it is 7 strand Paracord + 1 strand of Fire Cord added as fire tinder.  Like I said, need stuff.

Live Fire Starter

Live Fire Starter

Live Fire Original Emergency Fire Starter: This emergency fire starter is compact and a cinch to use. Completely waterproof! I know because I tried to drown my tin in salt water.  The Live Fire Sport is the same product, but in an even smaller, 1 inch by 2 inch tin.

Light My Fire Swedish FireSteel:  This “Scout” is the one I own. Using this basic pocket fire-starter, you can get a nice fire going under almost any conditions. This is a small, compact version and is my personal favorite.

The NEW 2000-Hour Flashlight:  The first edition of this book (“The AMAZING 2000-Hour Flashlight”) contained 54 illustrations. This edition (“The NEW 2000-Hour Flashlight”) contains 128 illustrations.  Using off-the shelf supplies costing less than $10, you can modify a lantern-style flashlight to run for 2,000 hours!  Only 99 cents for the eBook version.

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Need something from Amazon (and who doesn’t)? I earn a small commission from purchases made when you begin your Amazon shopping experience here. You still get great Amazon service and the price is the same, no matter what.

Amazon has a feature called Shop Amazon – Most Wished For Items. This is an easy tool for finding products that people are ‘wishing” for and in this way you know what the top products are.  All you need to do is select the category from the left hand side of the screen.

The Amazon Top Most Wished For and Best Selling Outdoor Items
Emergency Preparedness Items from Amazon.com
Shop Amazon Tactical – Great Selection of Optics, Knives, Cases, Equipment
Amazon Gift Cards

Help support Backdoor Survival. Purchases earn a small commission and for that I thank you!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This article was written by Gaye Levy from Backdoor Survival

Gaye Levy started Backdoor Survival so that she could share her angst and concern about our deteriorating economy and its impact on ordinary, middle-class folks. She also wanted to become a prepper of the highest order and to share her knowledge as she learned it along the way. On Backdoor Survival you will find survival and preparedness tools and tips for creating a self-reliant lifestyle through thoughtful prepping and optimism.

To read more from Gaye, visit her website, Backdoor Survival. You can also follow Gaye on FacebookTwitterGoogle+ and Pinterest or purchase her eBook, The Prepper’s Guide to Food Storage on Amazon.com.

This article was written by Gaye Levy and can be viewed here:

http://www.backdoorsurvival.com/easy-way-to-start-a-wood-fire/

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