How to Build a Mini-Survival Kit

Technology is great … until it isn’t. Can it be used to show you how to build a mini-survival kit? My first instinct is to answer no, but I’m probably wrong. Maybe there is a deep seeded resentment or prejudice on my part towards technology because I’m old and not able to understand it. Do I feel a flush of ignorance when I watch my grandchildren do things with computers, smart phones or whatever, that I can’t even grasp the theory behind the function much alone the implementation… Yes.

But then I stop and consider … I’m a Baby Boomer, one of millions who are still around and kicking. No doubt many baby boomers not only understand, but excel at operating technologically advanced instruments. However, there are millions of us that worked in the coal mines, auto factories, and other blue collar jobs where we never had to learn computer code or any other technical jargon. We played poker & solitaire on our computers, surfed the web, still don’t know what the dark web is, and used our flip cell phones.

Without the aid of technology we are going to learn how to build a mini-survival kit the old fashioned way … through planning, analyzing, imagination and creativity.

If I had my choice I’d learn to drive an 18 wheeler and stock it with every survival tool and implement I could find and tootle off to my bug-out place. Instead I’m stuck with a regular back pack in which to stockpile everything that I will utilize in order to stay alive for an undetermined amount of time. I had best choose … wisely.

The first stage is to identify dire needs that need to be addressed and how to resolve the problem. A little tip here … I have found that using small tins, like an Altoids tin or a cookie or candy metal container is great for compartmentalizing survival gear and helping prevent moisture damage. They are light, easily stacked and can be used for various tasks like boiling water.

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Fire Starting: Without fire man would still be living in caves, therefore it’s pretty important we have a way of starting a fire and I’m not talking rubbing 2 sticks together, which will work, but not by me. Repetition is a good word in survival training. It means having a backup method if the first method fails.

  1. Take a pack of paper matches and dip the match heads into nail polish being careful not to saturate the heads or get polish on the match strike strip. Tape the matches to the underside of the lid.

  2. Buy a good quality flint striker, some are good for thousands of strikes.

  3. Pack 2 types of tinder, cotton based and wax fiber based in the event dry tinder is not available. It does tend to rain in the wilderness, or snow.

Illumination: Because we normally sleep throughout the night it’s easy to overlook the fact that half your time will be spent in darkness. Sure (hopefully) you’ll have a campfire raging for warmth, protection and light, but besides being very limited in scope, what about looking for something inside the shelter, or venturing out to relieve yourself, or searching the dark perimeter to locate what animal is making that weird sound.

  1. Pack a compact button operated LED flashlight. Solar powered or battery

  2. Pack a solar powered LED lantern. They are small and very powerful.

  3. Small candles are also an option

Water Purification: You can’t survive without water, just that simple. Unfortunately in today’s modern world locating natural potable water is nearly impossible. I’d venture to say 98% of any water you find in nature is contaminated with some sort of animal feces, pesticides or agricultural or industrial waste of some sort, or is just plain old stagnant nasty water. The problem is our systems are not tolerate of any such contaminants and will result in us becoming violently ill. We must purify our water.

  1. Use the tins to boil the water. Boiling kills enough parasites and bacteria to make the water safe enough to drink.

  2. Pack Iodine tablets. 2 tablets will purify 1 liter of water.

  3. My suggestion is to use a life straw. They are very effective, lightweight and are not expensive. If you boil the water, then use the life straw to drink it, it’s probably safer than your tap water and the life straw will last a long time because it’s not filtering out large contaminants.

Signaling Devise: It’s important you be able to attract the attention of a would be rescuer over a great distance, such as a helicopter searching overhead or a boat trolling the lake.

  1. A mirror is the best method for reflecting sun lightweight however … Mirrors break and take up space

  2. Polish the inside lid of one of the tin containers and use it to reflect the sun. you can use chocolate or toothpaste to polish the lid to a high sheen.

  3. Small whistle.

Medical Supplies: Remembering we are learning How to Build a Mini-Survival Kit and available space is at a premium, prescription medication takes priority over any other medical supplies. Next, concentrate on dual purpose items.

1. Alcohol pads can be used for cleaning a wound and disinfecting needles or knives for removing foreign objects.

  1. Buy a large bottle of pain relievers, empty it and place a tube of antibiotic cream in it, then refill with with pain killers.

  2. Surgical tape can be used in place of a band-aid and be used to secure a larger bandage.

  3. A bottle of Iodine can be used for an antiseptic and for sanitizing water.

Compass: Without a lengthy explanation … you need a simple compass. I suggest buying a small pocket sized Carabiner key chain with attached compass. You can hang the thing on your belt loop and use the carabiner in constructing your shelter if need be. By the way, it cost a huge $.89 plus tax.

Another option is a para-cord bracelet with a compass attached. The para-cord can double as cordage for building a shelter, traps & snares or re-enforcing the strength of an object.

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Needle, Thread & Safety Pins:

  1. Thread … make it nylon thread as it can be used for repair thread, fishing line, snares or cordage.

  2. Safety pins can used for clothing repairs and doubles as a fishing hook.

Duct Tape: I actually saw an episode of Naked & Afraid where a contestant choice a roll of duct tape as an aid. He made clothes, a shelter, a container. You’d be amazed at what you can fashion duct tape into.

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Cutting Tool: This will require thought. Again, we are concentrating on lack of space on how to build a mini-survival kit, which is why the difficult decision making. Ideally an ax, hatchet, machete, and a survival knife would be a part of our arsenal, but we must whittle that down.

1. I suggest a solid tang knife. A solid tang provides a durable and extremely strong knife blade. This knife is capable of withstanding the force of being hammered, which makes it capable of making firewood. In addition to this knife:

2. A multiplicity use knife, such as the famous Swiss Army Knife will enable a skilled person to complete a multitude of tasks.

Stuff the Christmas Stocking: Here are a few suggestions to stuff into those vacant nooks and crannies of the backpack.

  1. Waterproof Paper & pencil. You buy this at Army surplus stores. You may need to write down directions or leave a note for someone.
  2. Salt Packs, the type you get from the restaurant table, taken with water it can help combat dehydration.
  3. Sugar packs or a couple of Tootsie rolls for quick energy

This is a basic blueprint of How to Build a Mini-Survival Kit. Identify your basic needs, address those needs, then expand outside the box using your creative imagination.

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Survival Gear

Survival gear. Wow, That’s a really broad subject and quite ambiguous. Survive what? A weekend at the beach under a blistering sun, or a monumental trek across an Antarctic ice shelf. It does make a difference. When I think of survival gear I get visions of heavy parkas to insulate against blizzard conditions, or rappelling gear for trans versing rugged jungle environments. You know … real He-man stuff. But in reality how many of us will ever encounter such conditions? Very few if any.

Alright Einstein,” I said to myself, how do you inform people about survival gear when you’re not even sure what it is? Not to be outsmarted I quickly refer to the Webster dictionary for an educated definition. Do you know there is no definition for survival gear? Really!

Survival kit … a compact package of emergency equipment including food and other items that vary with climatic factors in the operational area for use by aircrew members who have descended in isolated or primitive territory is the closest I could come to.

Trying again with a different dictionary. No definition for survival gear. Survival Kit …

A pack of emergency equipment, including food, medical supplies, and tools, especially as carried by members of the armed forces. A collection of items to help someone in a particular situation.

I must admit I’m relieved I’m not as dumb as I feared, but not as slick as I thought either. What we’re going to do is build examples of survival gear that would be required for certain situations. Obviously there will be redundancy so the normal (food, water, etc.) may be skipped after a while.

Day Hike survival gear example

  1. Knife (Swiss Army Knife)

  2. Energy bars – food

  3. Cell phone – ability to call for help or be tracked

  4. Bic lighter – Starting a fire

  5. 9×12 plastic tarp (0.35 thickness) – over from the elements

  6. Mylar survival blanket – Will save your life in cold weather climates

  7. Mini LED flashlight – Dangerous to walk in the darkness

  8. Survival whistle – Method of alerting rescuers

  9. Water container (metal) – Can be used to boil water and/or food

  10. Water purification tablets – back up

  11. Duct tape – Amazing what can done with duct tape

Home survival gear example

We traditionally consider our homes as a safe haven, but in reality it’s just a building of some sort designed to protect you from the elements. It’s just as vulnerable as anything else to the fury of nature, such as a tornado, hurricane, snow blizzard. The survivalist rule of three (1) shelter (2) water (3) food still applies. The shelter part may be fulfilled, but there are other needs to be addressed. Consider special or unique needs such as pet foods or senior citizen’s special needs.

After an emergency, snow blizzard which takes out the electrical grid, the authorities will be overtaxed and unable to provide quick relief, leaving you on your own. You must be prepared to last at least 72 hours totally on your own and quite probably longer. Let’s build a basic survival gear kit for home.

  1. Water – at least one gallon per person, per day, for 3 days minimum, for drinking and sanitation. 4 people x 4 gallons x 4 days = 16 gallons of water. Adds up in a hurry.

  2. Food – Minimum 3 day supply of non-perishable food. Canned goods the best.

  3. Battery-powered radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert

  4. Flashlight and extra batteries. No electricity means no lights

  5. First aid kit

  6. Whistle – in order to signal for help if trapped

  7. Dust masks – in the event there is rubble dust due to the emergency

  8. Moist towelettes, garbage bags with plastic ties for personal sanitation

  9. Wrench – turn off utilities. You don’t need a natural gas explosion

  10. A manual can opener. No electricity .. no auto-can opener

  11. Cell phone with chargers, car chargers, and / or extra fully charged batteries.

Additional Supplies to Consider:

Since you have no way of knowing how long or how severe the emergency situation may last you’ll want to consider additional survival gear.

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  1. Prescription medicines – You don’t want a catastrophe occurring

  2. Non-prescription such as pain relievers, antacids, laxatives or anti-diarrhea medication. You’ll most likely acquire a stress headache

  3. Glasses, contact lenses and solution – You must be able to read fine print instructions

  4. Infant formula, diapers, diaper rash cream – baby miserable … you will be too

  5. Pet food – human food is OK for a bit, but not long term

  6. Cash or travelers checks. You may need to buy supplies and the credit card and/or debit card won’t work without electricity.

  7. Important family documents such as insurance policies, bank statements, ID don’t count on someone saving your important documentation.

  8. Sleep bag for each person. Just because you’re inside your house doesn’t mean it won’t be cold.

  9. A complete change of clothing including shoes. Nothing worse than getting wet and not able to get dry. Hypothermia becomes an enemy.

  10. Household chlorine bleach and eye dropper for disinfecting water

  11. Fire extinguisher – The house survived the initial disaster let’s not accidentally burn it down

  12. Matches – starting fire for warmth or cooking

  13. Mess kits, paper plates / plastic utensils

  14. Feminine supplies

  15. Pencil & paper for making lists

  16. Games for bored children

Maintaining readiness:

  1. Store canned food in a cool dry place

  2. Stored boxed food in air tight containers

  3. Rotate and replace your stock on a routine basis

  4. Re-think your needs yearly. You may be on medication you weren’t on last year.

  5. Maintain the exact same emergency gear in your car in the event you are stranded

Those are your two basic survival situations you’ll most likely endure. From here forward I’m going to basically list survival gear to insure you are aware of their availability and can custom create your survival gear kit to suit your particular needs.

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Life-straw Water Filter:

Drinkable water is always a basic requirement for survival and being forced into a decision of drinking filthy sewage filled water or dying of dehydration is not a choice you want to be forced to make. This is when a Life-straw water filter is more precious than gold. These filter devises are designed to trap microscopic particles and dangerous bacteria before you consume them. You can drink suspect water with confidence although you may want to close your eyes. It’s amazing what the senses can do to our minds and stomach.

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Water Bottle:

In order to survive you very well have to be on the move and that will require you to have a container to carry water with you. After finding a water source and purifying it you’ll need to store it and there’s nothing much better than a metal water bottle.

A metal bottle offers you the ability to boil water in order to purify it in the event you have no other means to clean it. Buy a single wall lined bottle, Not a double walled one. A double walled lining has a tendency to exploded when exposed to high temperatures for an extended amount of time, exactly what is required to sanitize water.

Shelters

Cold Weather Tent:

A cold weather tent is a must requirement if you are in a cold weather climate. Although not the lightest piece of equipment to carry, at @ 10 pounds, it will definitely save your life in the harshest of conditions. These are the quality tents high altitude climbers use to protect them from the elements of mountain climbing.

Survival Tarp:

Tarps are an excellent method of creating a shelter. They are flexible enough so it can be customized to allow you the option of creating several different types of shelters to protect you from rain, snow, sleet and wind. Caution, do not buy a cheap tarp which the wind will shred or the rain filters through like a sift. Buy a high quality tarp with an ample amount of anchor points.

Survival Hammock:

You probably think of a hammock being strung between two palm trees on the beach, but not all are entirely for snoozing. Some are for survival. Many can be rolled up into a compact ball and are very light. They can allow you to sleep off the ground avoiding those thousands of crawling critters that call the ground their domain, as well as sleeping high into a tree for avoiding larger beast.

Tact Bivvy:

This piece of gear is literally a life saver. This 5 ounce emergency sleeping bag traps your body heat keeping you warm even under the most frigid conditions. Used in conjunction with one of the above shelters your chance of surviving a blizzard are excellent.

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Survival Gear – Fire Starting Gear

Starting a fire with dry tinder, crumpled newspaper and lighter fluid is easy. But to start a fire in blizzard conditions or during a downpour of rain is quite another matter. You’ll need specialized equipment for that task.

Lighters:

Lighters come in all types and varieties from the cheap, but effective Bic lighter, to high tech lighters like a Tesla. Zippo lighters are excellent for operating in windy conditions, always carry extra flints inside the Zippo lighter packing.

Fire Striker:

The advantage of using a fire striker over a lighter is it doesn’t require fuel. All types of lighters require a fuel source in order to work and that can run out. The fire strike is good for 12,000 strikes, making it nearly inexhaustible, however you will have to practice with it a bit to get to know how to use it.

Storm-Proof Matches:

normal ordinary matches should not be a survivalist vocabulary. Once wet they are totally worthless. Storm-Proof matches are designed to get wet and still work. This is what you should think of when thinking matches.

Fire-Laces:

This is a unique piece of gear which conjures up visions of James Bond 007. The shoelaces are made with mini Ferro rods for the tip ends, which can be used to create a spark and start a fire.

Tinder Box:

Sometimes finding dry wood for making a fire is next to impossible, this is where this handy gadget comes in. This piece of survival gear is created with the same intent as a cheese grater, only for wood. Rub a stick up and down the grater and you’ll make a pile of easily ignitable tinder.

Survival Gear – Self-defense

Weapons may never cross your mind, or are low on the priority list, but that could be a terrible mistake. In a SHTF situation fear of fellow man must be adhered to, but for those squeamish about acts of violence, how about hunting for food.

Survival Bow:

Bows include a long bow and/or a cross bow, both highly technical, accurate and deadly. They are never intended to be a substitute for a firearm, but if stealth is required a bow is the only option. The thump of a bow string vs the explosion of a firearm … well.

Tactical Pen:

Although rarely considered a weapon, a tactical pen in the hands of a skilled person can do plenty of damage along with its normal usage.

Taser:

Advanced technology has created tasers that are compact and easy to wield. Pop someone with high voltage and no matter how big or strong they are, they will drop like rock and will become totally incapacitated, offering you plenty of time to escape or restrain the attacker.

Pepper Spray/Mace:

The huge advantage of pepper spray over a taser is you can direct a spray and make contact with the intruder from up to 6 feet away. Anytime you can keep the enemy out of the close quarter combat zone … do it. Devil Juice Pepper Spray is an excellent choice and will quickly send an attacker into a fit of pain.

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Survival Gear – Bladed Tools

Survival Shovel:

Some people will argue a shovel is very low on the priority list, but a shovel is capable of doing something no other survival tool can accomplish … Dig holes and move a lot of dirt. When you need to dig a hole or a trench a shovel is your best tool.

Survival Knife:

We’re not talking our familiar pocket knife we carry on a daily basis. We’re talking a stout, solid tang knife capable of enduring a baton strike to split firewood. It’s normally one f the first pieces of survival gear you buy and most people own several to accomplish different tasks.

Survival Hatchet/Ax

Survival hatchets and axes are similar in shapes but not in size, the hatchet being much smaller. You can get away with using one or the other, but each has its own advantages. An ax is much more efficient at cutting down trees because of its size and long handle which allows you to provide more powerful strikes, but they are unyielding when trying to skin or chop smaller objects.

Survival Multi-tool

This survival gear piece is based on the original Swiss Army Knife concept of incorporating many tools into one. An example of its usefulness is providing a long nose pair of pliers which allows you to forcibly grab an object and twist, turn or pull it, something you can not do with your fingers alone.

Blade Sharpener:

It only stands to reason with so many bladed pieces of survival gear you’ll need to keep them sharp. There’s a saying “you’ll never cut yourself with a sharp knife.” Which at first sounds ridiculous, but what it means is, a sharp knife allows you to perform the task as you intend, where a dull knife will require you to use undue force or a whittling motion, a formula for accidental cuttings.

Illumination

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Walking around or attempting to perform tasks in the dark is not only dangerous, it’s sort of stupid. However, trying to survive doesn’t end when the sun goes down so you’ll need to create your own light.

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Tactical Flashlight:

Having a tactical flashlight with you is not an option … its a requirement. This piece of survival equipment can provide a powerful light which you can use to safely walk and/or perform work in the complete darkness of the woods.

Survival Lantern:

At least one survival lantern is required gear for any camp, the more the better. It not only provides illumination, but offers a more normal feeling instead of the dread associated with a survival situation. They come in many sizes and styles, solar are the best, but having another alternative energy sourced lantern would be good in the event you experience numerous cloudy days.

Survival Headlamp:

The huge advantage to this gear is it allows hands-free illumination if you’re in a confined space attempting to work. You may not want to advertise your presence with a glowing lantern or flashlight.

Rescue Gear

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We sometimes concentrate so hard on surviving until we are rescued, we forget about helping rescue personnel to locate us. This type of gear can be very simplistic to complicated and technically advanced.

Survival Whistle:

Noise is a fickle thing. Stranded in the dense woods you may be able to hear someone calling for you from along the perimeter, but they will not be able to hear your voice calling out. That’s where a whistle is invaluable, as it will carry much farther than your voice, alerting rescuer of your presence.

Signal Mirror:

This is a very underrated piece of equipment. You can harness the power of the sun to shine a reflection across a lake, towards a circling helicopter or across a vast span of land. It can also be used to start a fire, although not the easiest method, it beats nothing.

Survival Radio:

People with any military experience knows the value of intelligence in an emergency situation. Without access to critical intelligence, such as approaching weather, dangerous flooding conditions, etc. you could find yourself moving directly towards the danger instead of away, or whether to move at all. Buy a survival radio that operates by a cranking devise, not batteries or electricity. A few cranks and you’ll be able to power up and listen for any critical information.

Walkie-Talkie

In a group environment the ability to communicate with one another from a distance could prove critical. Whether you’re talking perimeter defense, or scouting report a walkie talkie is your best bet, with ranges of up to 24 miles.

Survival Watch:

Today’s technology has moved survival watches into the realm of being a mini-computer, capable of not only telling time, but registering temperature, altitude, GPS, compass directions, and other functions. They are tough enough to endure the rough treatment endured by survivalist.

Finished? Not Yet

We have covered a lot of material and a lot of survival gear, which will keep you alive and well during a normal (if there is such a thing) disaster. But let’s go over board and think outside the box.

Survival Stove:

There are reasons for survival stoves or less they wouldn’t make them, but for all practical purposes you can cook over a regular fire. However, technology is making even the lowly camp stove hi-tech. Some models now produce electricity while burning compost.

Survival Bike:

What if we were hit by an EMP which renders anything electrical inoperative, including your car, or if suddenly there was no gasoline anywhere. How do you move about? Walk is one way, but what about a bike, especially a rugged mountain bike.

Survival Bandana:

Cost very little, takes up no space, easy to stick inside a pocket, yet can be transformed into a bandage, tourniquet, head scarf for sun protection, etc. etc. There’s no reason not to carry one.

Gas Mask:

There may be only a few emergency scenarios where a gas mask would be required, but unfortunately every one of those scenarios are deadly. Not being able to breathe or breathing deadly chemicals will result in death within minutes.

Snares & Traps:

True you can make dead-fall traps and para-cord snares, but it’s usually quite easier to snag a meal with equipment that is specifically designed for the task.

Fishing Pole:

A standard fishing pole is great, but for survival smaller can be better. Check out pocket fishing poles, short rods, or telescoping rods for an alternative.

Fishing Tackle: It’s a great idea to keep a small tackle box with your fishing pole. Stock it with a few crank baits, some plastic worms, stink bait, bobbers and a few hooks.

Compact Binoculars:

Being able to spot game or the enemy from a great distance is extremely advantageous. Miniature high powered binoculars are available.

Spork:

Hopefully you’ll have a survival knife, but most likely not have a fork or spoon. A spork fulfills this need.

Survival Saw:

A lightweight useful tool for sawing through wood, some good sized limbs.

Survival belt:

Most men wear a belt as a normal piece of clothing, like a pair of shoes. Why wear a normal belt when you can wear a survival utility belt which doubles as survival gear.

Battery Boost Charger:

This piece of equipment should be standard issue when traveling off road either with a 4×4 truck, ATV or motorcycle. It contains enough energy to provide a hot shot to bring a dead battery back to life.

Sling Shot:

A person skilled with a sling shot can always bring home a meal of some sort. You don’t have to worry about ammo, ammo is all around you in nature. A good primitive weapon.

Survival Cup:

A collapsible metal cup which allows you to drink water from a cup instead of from your hands, and offers a container to boil water or soup in. They are great for pets as dogs can not drink from a bottle, but can from this cup.

As you can see survival gear covers a huge swatch of information. There is no perfect survival gear kit because there are far too many variables involved, but if you know what’s absolutely necessary, what’s nice to have, and/or what’s available, it makes putting together a survival kit a lot easier.

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How to Survive in the Wilderness

Ever wonder how the first French or English trappers to come to America knew how to survive in the wilderness? I mean did they pick up a paper back book, How to Survive in the Wilderness, on the boat over here? America was like no land they’d ever visited before, untamed, uncharted and uncivilized. What do you suppose they did?

Ironically they weren’t pampered by technology, they knew how to start a fire from scratch, build a survival shelter and the water wasn’t polluted so finding drinkable water wasn’t mission impossible. So they had a slight head start compared to us, but that wasn’t enough knowledge to keep them alive through winter storms, floods, droughts and just plain hard living. I have a feeling they learned how to survive in the wilderness through trial and error and sharing experiences with other trappers.

Some of what you’ll learn in this article of “how to survive in the wilderness” will appear to be redundant, and that’s because it is. Survivalist love redundancy, we don’t see it as watching a repeat of a television program, we see it as if we experience an equipment failure, we have a back up to take its place. Let’s explore a list of time tested skills to show you how to survive in the wilderness.

Mental Toughness:

Ever hear the saying,” if you can imagine it … you can accomplish it.” Everything in life begins with the state of mind we maintain. The will to survive is the foremost factor in how to survive in the wilderness. The skills we acquire, the adaptations we utilize all originate in a strong will to live. Humans are a resilient species of mammals that have managed to adapt and thrive against all all odds, crawling our way from caves to skyscrapers and the one common denominator displayed is the will to survive.

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Boy Scout Motto: Be Prepared

It’s actually that simple, although simple is not always simple. Heading into the Mojave Desert for an exploration excursion. Have plenty of gasoline for your ATV and twice as much water for you. Going skiing in the back country. Have layers of clothes, an avalanche beacon and a tin cup for melting snow into drinking water. Be prepared could possibly be substituted with use common sense. It’s literally impossible to be prepared for any and all potential dangers, to say otherwise is plain silly. Therefore, the best avenue to take is be as best prepared as possible.

Stranded in your car:

You’ve slid off the icy trail and are now stuck in a ditch with no possibility of getting the car out. Hopefully you have an emergency kit in your trunk which will enable you to survive for several days somewhat comfortably, if not take inventory of what you do have in the car. Half a can of Coke, box of birthday candles under the seat, package of stale gum. I’d suggest dumping the Coke because the syrup extract will add to thirst. Don’t throw the can away as you can use it to melt ice into drinking water. That box of candles you lost and couldn’t figure out where, will help you melt ice for water and help keep the interior of the car warmer. The stale gum contains calories, which could prove very beneficial.

You’ll want to conserve gasoline, even if you have a full tank, as you don’t know how long you’ll be stranded. Operate the engine a few minutes each hour, shut the motor off as soon as you begin to feel warm. If you are entrenched in heavy snow, be sure to clear the car’s tailpipe from any obstruction. Do this prior to starting the engine every time as it may have been clear, but the hot exhaust may have melted snow that refroze blocking the exhaust pipe. Never leave the car, it’s your ready made shelter, but if you need to never lose your line of sight.

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Stay Calm:

You’re probably sick of hearing that advise, but it’s essential to think with a logical mind, not an emotional one. Pacing, wringing your hands and hyperventilating only wastes valuable energy. Weigh each decision carefully. For instance, if you feel you could spot a landmark if you could reach higher ground do it, but consider the risks. Climbing up hill is stressful and consumes energy, do you really think you’ll see a familiar landmark, or are you just hoping. Reaching the high ground, unless you spot a solid familiar object, a road, house or town, stay put. Do not continue to wander around.

If you believe you think you can find your way back to civilization by all means go for it. However, to hedge your bet mark your trail as you go with small stacks of stones or piles of sticks in order to re-track to your original position if need be. Additionally, stacks of three is an international code for emergency, therefore if rescue searchers spot these landmarks they will follow them straight to you. One last item… If you have a companion(s) never separate.

Shelter – Priority One

Exposure to the elements, specifically hypothermia is the number one reason people who are lost and don’t know how to survive in the wilderness meet an untimely death. Locating or building a survival shelter is priority one, which is why you never abandon your car, a ready made shelter, plus it’s a red flag for anyone searching for you. Search for a rocky overhang you can shelter under, a downed tree you can build a lean-to composed of branches you can crawl under. Layer the branches with leaves, pine branches, whatever material that will help keep the wind and rain off you. Make it small in order to retain body heat.

Different environments and weather conditions will dictate the type of shelter you will want to build. A scorching hot desert environment requires making shade to get out of the scorching sun the priority. An arctic climate may require digging a snow cave to insulate you from blustery winds and frigid temperatures. Tropic rains will dictate building a shelter that sheds water.

Building a Fire:

Building a fire next the shelter is the next priority. You notice I said next to not in the shelter, and there are reasons for that. If you are snuggled in under a rock ledge it could become your tomb if your fire is too close. The heat from the fire could loosen the rock overhead, either thawing ice or simply causing the rock to expand, which could cause it to collapse. It’s better to build the fire outside the overhang and direct the heat towards you by stacking rocks around one side of the fire, which will reflect the heat towards you.

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Gather enough wood to burn the entire night. How much is that? When you think you have enough … triple it at least. Be sure to clear the area of any flammable materials, leaves, pine needles, moss. Build a rock ring around it if possible. This lesson is on how to survive in the wilderness … not how to survive a forest fire. Tip: If you need to leave the campsite and are concerned the fire will go out before you return, cover the fire with green boughs which will keep the coals hot for a longer period of time. Sometimes starting a fire is not the easiest thing in the world to do … why let one self extinguish if you don’t have to.

Finding Water:

Considering the human body is mainly made up of water, it should come as no surprise that living longer than 3 days without water intake will result in death. Search for any stream, the faster moving the better for purity reasons, but take whatever is available. Ideally boiling the water is your best method of destroying disease causing parasites and microorganisms, making the water safe to drink.

Fire not an option? Build a filtration system composed of gravel, sand and wood charcoal (coconut fibers work too). Then allow the filtered water to set in the sunlight which will further eliminate unwanted substances. This will not make the water 100% pure, but it should be pure enough to consume without the risk of getting violently ill.

Capture dew overnight in broad leaves or plastic sheeting of some sort. Drinking your own urine is a last resort, but will work once. After that the urine will be too contaminated with body impurities to consume.

Dealing with frigid water:

When dealing with the discussion of how to survive in the wilderness we tend to stress locating and sanitizing water, but some wilderness contains ample amounts of water and that too can create problems. We watch the “polar bear group” and other people from around the world that purposely brave freezing waters in order to demonstrate their toughness, for medicinal purposes or lack of intelligence, as to purposely jump into frigid waters is not my idea of smart. However, there may be times entering frigid waters is the only option available. Needing to cross a river, swim a lake or simply accidentally fall in are all possibilities. Let’s exam the dangers of frigid waters and how to combat them.

People think the sudden shock the body experiences by immersing in frigid waters will create a heart attack, but those chances are actually quite small. The real danger is water aspiration, which is the involuntary inhalation of water into the lungs. The body’s immediate reaction to frigid water is to take a deep breath and hyperventilate. There is nothing you can do to stop this reaction and should you be underwater or have waves crashing over you, drowning is a distinct possibility.

There is only one method for dealing with this natural involuntary response, you ain’t gonna like it, and that is to teach the body and mind to adapt to the frigid temperatures. In order to do that you must enter the icy waters, several times, to condition your reflexes to react the way you want.

  1. Warm up by performing exercises, not sitting by a fire;

  2. Slowly enter the water, be sure of the depth, holding your breath.

  3. Emerge to chest high and stay in the water until you can control your breathing, stopping the hyperventilation.

  4. Get out of the water and begin to properly warm yourself. It’s important to warm slowly, not rushing the process. Your body has constricted the blood vessels in the skin and peripheries to deal with the temperatures. This turns the skin and sub- cutaneous fat into a thermal layer similar in nature to a wet suit. Allow the body time to return to normal.

  5. Dry yourself and don layers of warm clothing, drink warm liquids and walk in order to re-heat.

Learning how to survive in the wilderness could fill volumes of books, each dedicated to a specific region, climate and/or individual potential dangers. But if you adhere to the basic rules of logic and survival techniques you increase your chances of surviving until rescued by a hundred fold. Take note of the links in the article which will take you to more in-depth information of how to survive in the wilderness.

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How to Make Activated Charcoal

The question of how to make activated charcoal might be preceded by “Why would you want to know how to make activated charcoal?” Perhaps, surprisingly to some people, activated charcoal is extremely useful as a filtration devise, and that’s only one of its uses. Anytime a survivalist can find multiple uses for a natural material they need to learn all they can about it. Before learning how to make activated charcoal let’s exam exactly how it works, because unless you know the mechanics of how something works, your ability to adapt it to various uses is restricted.

Activated charcoal becomes “activated” when it’s surface area is altered by a physical and chemical process, which allows the surface area to become larger and porous. Imagine it this way:

You have a billiard cue ball you want to paint pink. Taking a brush you paint the ball until its completely pink using X amount of paint. Now take another cue ball to paint pink, but before painting you drill 100s of little holes in it. After painting it pink you find you’ve used a lot more paint in order to paint the second cue ball pink. Why? By drilling the holes in the cue ball you have increased its surface size, requiring the sides of the holes to need painted.

Through a process called adsorption, activated charcoal traps and binds (unwanted) substances to its’ surface, but once the surface is covered, it can’t bind anymore, but by increasing the surface area you allow the charcoal to trap more substances and quicker.

Water filtration and acute poisoning treatment are two major uses of activated charcoal, so it stands to reason you want to trap the most poisons or other unwanted materials for removal as possible.

The Reality of How to Make Activated Charcoal

The truth be known, you can’t make activated charcoal. What? It requires a specialized manufacturing process which involves injecting oxygen into the charcoal while in an environmentally controlled oven at 1000 degrees F (538C) or introducing very dangerous chemicals in a 600 degree F (316C) environment. Obviously these special requirements precludes doing this in your backyard.

So what do you do? Buying it is the simple choice. It’s not expensive. But that’s not the reason you came here. You want to know how to make a filtration system. We can do that … and will do that … it just won’t be as effective as activated charcoal.

Warning ! !

Do not use the charcoal you use to barbecue. I know some of my readers think they are smarter than the average bear and will just grind up some Kings-ford charcoal and use that for filtration. Barbecue charcoal is injected with loads of toxins and dangerous chemicals which are intended for ignition and longer lasting fires. You don’t want to ingest these pollutants as they can cause grave illnesses.

Filtration

A little research discovered regular charcoal, long before activated charcoal existed, had been used to filter water. Therefore, charcoal made from wood will serve the purpose, you’ll just need to modify certain elements of the process to compensate for the inefficiency. We must remember if we’re in a situation that requires us to filter our water it means there is no potable water available. No running down to the store to buy flavored or exotic spring water. We’re in dire straits in danger of dehydrating and dying. Now that we are in the right frame of mind, let’s find some dirty water and drink it.

Step One: We are lost in a reasonably arid wilderness where water is scarce, but we have stumbled upon a stagnant mud pool large enough to provide plenty of life saving drinking water, except … it’s not drinkable. There’s no debating if the water will make us sick … it’s a guarantee it will. What to do?

Step Two: We need build a water filtration system and charcoal is the key ingredient in order to build a successful water filtration system. Build a large fire and continue to feed it until there is a large ash and charcoal pit created from the consumed wood.

Step Three: We’re going small, but the same procedure is used for a larger quantities of water. Take two empty 2 liter soda bottles. Cut the bottom off one bottle creating a funnel. Take a piece of cloth and stuff it into the neck of the bottle to create a porous dam, trapping filtration material, but allowing water to seep through.

Step Four: Allowing the fire to go out, sift through the ash/charcoal pit and extract charcoal pieces. Crush these pieces into a powder and fill the funnel 1/3 of the way full with it.( If you had activated charcoal you could use less, but you don’t. ) Locate sand, the finer the grain the better, and pour this onto the charcoal ash, another 1/3 of the way. Finish filling the bottle with gravel, again as small as possible.

The gravel filters the big stuff, like leaves, twigs, insects.

The sand filters the remaining particulate matter, items too small for the gravel to catch and hold.

The charcoal filters out microorganisms too small for the other two to retain.

Step Five: Take the other empty soda bottle and cut the neck off the bottle, in order to create a hole for the neck of the filtration bottle to be inserted into, making it easier to maintain contact between the filtration bottle and the clean water retention bottle.

Step Six: Slowly pour the dirty water into the filtration bottle and allow it to seep through the gravel. sand and charcoal. The filtered water will drip into the retention bottle. Should you still remain cautious of the water quality, re-filter the water using new filtration material. Allow the clean water to set in the hot sun for a few hours with assist in eliminating additional pathogens. If you have a metal container, you can pour the filtered water into it and boil the water.

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How to Make Activated Charcoal substitutes and its uses

As discussed charcoal created by burning wood is a substitute for activated charcoal, look at it as a poor quality activated charcoal. The generic brand of soda instead of the name brand, which tastes something like cola, but not just as good. However, it can be used for the same tasks.

  1. Charcoal can be used to clean your teeth. It works to whiten teeth, helps prevent cavities and changes a pH balance in the mouth which helps reduce gum disease.

  2. Relieves gas and bloating by binding the gas causing byproducts in the foods that create the discomfort. Simply consume 500 ml of charcoal dust an hour before a gas producing meal, chased by a glass of water to disperse the charcoal through your system.

  3. The charcoal does not adsorb the alcohol itself, but it removes other toxins from the alcohol mixers that cause alcohol poisoning.

  4. Most people, me included, never think about mold living inside their body. However, toxic mold causes depression, kidney and liver failure, decreased brain function, headaches and a list of other ill effects. The source of this mold is your environment and can be thoroughly cleaned with a charcoal/water mixture.

  5. Emergency Toxin Removal. This technique is only to be used in an emergency situation and is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Most organic compounds, pesticides, fertilizer and/or bleach will bind will charcoal thus lessening the body’s ability to absorb the toxin. You can combat an accidental overdose of opium, cocaine, morphine and acetaminophen with charcoal, by binding their toxins.

  6. Again, this is a last resort emergency and temporary treatment. In order to treat bites from snakes, Brown Recluse and Black Widow spiders, you’ll want to treat an area much larger than the bite area in order to mitigate the bacteria and viruses which will travel through the body. Create a mixture of charcoal (and coconut oil if available) /water and soak a cloth. Cover the wounded area with the bandage, wrapped twice around the arm. Replace every two hours. Seek medical help immediately.

This article of How to Make Activated Charcoal was not intended to be deceitful, but rather to set the record straight to the best of my ability. In my opinion there is nothing worse than misinformation or misunderstood information. A person in good faith uses a method or technique which they believe is accurate only to do more harm than good is not acceptable. Activated charcoal is a great asset, but can not be produced by a DIY method. Wood charcoal, can be produced by DIY methods and can be used for the exact things activated charcoal is used for, just at a much lower level of efficiency.

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Best Survival Watch

What’s the best survival watch … and who cares? The best survival watch is a matter of opinion and like everyone’s famous orifice, everybody has one. I’m not here to give a sales pitch … only to present the facts as I know them … and to offer my opinion. (no pun intended) As far as who cares … You better. Whether a “professional” survivalist, hiker, camper, hunter, fisherman or a regular Joe who stumbles into a wilderness situation never expected, a survival watch can help save your life.

It can happen to anybody. You’ve wounded a deer and are determined to track it down, not only for the meat, but for humanitarian reasons. After an hour of searching and fruitlessly combing the area trying to re-pickup the vanished blood signs, you disgustingly give up and head back to camp. Suddenly you realize you have been so intent scouring the area in front and to sides, you have no idea what the return trail should look like. You are lost. Would you like to have the best survival watch available on your wrist?

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Not a hunter? How about a hiker on a day of off trail adventure, or a gatherer hunting berries or mushrooms. Safe enough activities. However, spotting one group of mushrooms, then another, then another, you are too excited to notice where these different groups led you and it’s not until you’ve picked your limit that you notice you have no idea where you are. Best survival watch time? Meanwhile, the hiker has come across a bear in the distance and has quickly zigzagged his way away from potential danger. Now he hasn’t a clue which way home is and worse yet … which direction the bear is. Best survival watch time?

Point is … anyone can get lost at anytime. It’s nothing to be ashamed of, but something that needs to be rectified … quickly.

Basic Forms: A survival watch will normally come in one of two basic intended forms.

  1. The watch will be intended to act like a mini survival tin attached to your wrist. These types of survival watches will include the ability to tell time, contain a fire-starter, compass, whistle and para-cord for a wristband.

  2. The watch will be intended to act as a mini survival computer. Features will include, telling time, compass, GPS, barometer, altimeter, thermometer and sunrise/sunset times.

Here’s my first opinion. Don’t waste your money on a survival watch that’s intended to act as a survival tin. There may be, but I haven’t found a good quality watch of this type. The fire-starter is small and rather easy to break, the compass is unreliable or at least not real accurate, a whistle and para-cord can be bought separately and worn on the other wrist.

Can a Best Survival Watch be totally dependent on technology?

I’m old school and as such have an inherent fear or concern about relying on new fang dangled technology to protect me. I scream about the more technical things become, the more the chances of something breaking down. Meanwhile, we have progressed to self driving cars, rockets that come back from space and lightly touch down ready to go again. In reality old timers are afraid of modern technology because we have a hard time understanding how to implement it.

However, fear (ignorance) is not all bad as it can temper the extreme. For example, if I want to cut a large tree down give me a chainsaw, the bigger the better. It’s easier, faster and in reality safer. However, I didn’t throw my ax away. For all the Pros associated with the chainsaw, chains break, they run out of gas and can become cranky and just not start. I still have my primitive ax to fall back upon to cut that tree down if I must.

Point is … technology is the way to go, but we can’t forget or ignore our basic survival training. Carry an old fashion compass and map in case your GPS goes down. Know how to locate the North Star and navigate by it. Know the signs and how to read the clouds in order to predict coming weather. Choose technology, but don’t become totally dependent on it. It may not be there.

Features of a Best Survival Watch

Naturally a survival watch must keep impeccable time, track the date and either have an excellent battery source or better yet, be solar powered. It must be waterproof and tougher than woodpecker lips, being nearly indestructible. From those basics you venture into what I call the Military Zone where capabilities become fascinating.

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Global Positioning System (GPS) – In a SHTF scenario the body enters the “fight or flight” emotional state. No matter how prepared you think you are the sudden impact of the situation is a shock to the mind and body. Your pulse will race, breathing will become labored, you may become disoriented without realizing it. Similar terrain can be mistaken for familiar terrain. Camp’s just over the hill … then its not. Panic is quick to set in and that only compounds the problems. However, if you have a GPS on your watch and know your camp’s coordinates, returning home is no problem.

Barometer- A barometer can address two of the more dangerous and immediate needs of trying to survive in the wilderness. Exposure to inclement weather can quickly lead to hypothermia, and being caught off guard in a rain storm, becoming soaking wet, is a sure fire way to a quick death. Knowing how to read a barometer will give you advance warning of approaching rain allowing you time to find shelter. Additionally, it will allow you time to prepare a method to capture potable rainwater.

SHTF Help

Altimeter – allows you to know your exact altitude, which is extremely important in a mountainous environment. An altimeter coupled with a topographical map can allow you to pinpoint your specific location.

Compass This is one of the most critical and important survival tools available. There’s a tendency to lean towards bush-craft methods to find direction. For instance natural bush-craft includes an understanding that thicker branches on trees often face towards the sun, indicating a Southern direction. However, there is nothing better than a high quality compass for avoiding navigational errors.

Sunrise and Sunset Times: There’s no debate about it, navigating or attempting to work, like carrying or cutting firewood for camp, in the dark is extremely dangerous. Anytime you are away from camp and must return, it’s imperative you return during daylight. In order to gauge that you must know how much time you have to transverse the distance before sunset arrives.

Thermometer – Needing to know the temperature may seem irrelevant, similar to Goldilocks, it’s too hot, too cold or just right. However, if you are working hard you will most likely be sweating and not paying any attention to the temperature, but when you stop working is when the danger presents itself. If it becomes evident it is much colder than you thought and you have no access to a heat source, by being wet you can quickly incur hypothermia and that can become deadly.

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A similar danger can occur if the temperature is too hot. In a survival situation there is always just one more task to complete before quitting, and if you ignore the warning signs of excessive heat, you risk heat stroke. Periodically checking the temperature allows you time to re-hydrate and rest.

Samples of a Best Survival Watch

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Casio G-shock Rangeman Triple Sensor Watch

Weight: 9.6 ounces

Dimensions: 4 x 2 x 2 inches

Power Type: battery and solar

Price: about $350

Special Features barometer, thermometer, altimeter, and a compass. Indicates exact sunrise and sunset times, tide indication, alarm, world time, and has a timer.

Description: All Casio survival watches are among the truly reliable ones.

It alerts you if there are pressure changes in the atmosphere. The thermometer’s temperature range detects a minimum of -10° to up to 60° C (14° to 140° F).

It automatically detects light and the lighting option changes according to your hand tilt, meaning, that if there is enough sunlight, the lighting won’t be turned on, and won’t use up the energy. The glass on the dial is made of inorganic material, which is great because it’s a poor heat conductor and extremely strong.

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Casio Protrek (Pathfinder) Prw2500-1a

Weight:12 ounces

Dimensions: 6 x 6 x 7 inches

Power Type: solar

Price: about $190

Special Features: barometer and altimeter; atomic clock; shows temperature and has a timer, stopwatch, and world time.

Description: Casio is definitely a leader manufacturer in making watches for decades.

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This Casio Protrek Pathfinder 2500-1a also has all the features and functions you may need in case you’re in an emergency situation or simply out in the wilderness. You will have access to information like moon phases, sunrise and sunset, including the necessary tidal phase.

There have been concerns with the altimeter that it doesn’t accurately display the data. It may show one altitude number, but the map may show another, which creates confusion as to which is right. In order to solve the issue, supposedly if you reset the altimeter during the night you will actually make it more accurate, since the pressure changes during the night and may upset the altimeter calculations.

As a whole, it’s an ideal watch and all its important features work nearly perfect. If you calibrate them properly, they will be extremely accurate.

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This watch is ideal for any type of extreme survivalist, trekker, hiker or camper, and even for professional environmentalists who may spend weeks and months in remote areas, or may be completely isolated.

Casio Gw7900b-1 G-shock Black Solar Sport Watch

Weight: 8.8 ounces

Dimensions: 6 x 6 x 7 inches

Power Type: Japanese quartz movement with solar rechargeable batteries

Price: $100 – $150

Special Features: shock and water resistant; atomic clock

Best Use: can be used for professional marine activity and serious surface water sports but it is not recommended for scuba diving

Description: The Casio Gw7900b-1 G-shock Black Solar Sport Watch is as rugged as you may expect from a Casio survival watch and the batteries are powered by the sun and are rechargeable. The atomic clock is synced using radio waves.

It updates the sunrise and sunset, including tidal changes. The watch is black because it’s mostly suitable for military personnel, so that you don’t stand out in the dark or if you’re hiding. The display is also dark and the numbers and letters are color-lit to help you distinguish the time and data on the display, if you’re in the dark.

When it comes to the solar charging, you may be glad to know that if you fully charge the battery it can last for almost 9 months, until it’s fully discharged. If you expose the watch now and then to sunlight, the solar panels will pick up light and will top-off the watch every now and then. There can be no risk for a critically low battery, unless you stay in the dark for more than nine months.
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Citizen Nighthawk Eco-drive Watch Bj7000-52e

Weight: 6.4 ounces

Dimensions: 5.9 x 5.9 x 5.9 inches

Power Type: Japanese quartz based movement

Price: $300 – $400

Best Use: military and other professions requiring accurate machines and survival situations

Description: Citizen’s wonderful high-quality watches are something anyone may want to use one day. Citizen Nighthawk Eco-drive Watch Bj7000-52e employs Japanese Quartz movement and has a traditional analog display.

The dial window is made of crystal mineral glass display to make it virtually unbreakable and also non-reflective (to stay low-profile in the wild). It’s ideal for diving because it remains water-resistant to 200 meters depth.

Not only that but the construction of this watch also makes it suitable for pilots or aviators, because it has a slide-rule bezel ring and a crown situated at the eight o’clock position. With the slide rule you have the options to calculate and track the fuel consumption (or any land or airborne vehicle). You can perform complex calculations or convert different measurements from one unit to another.

For those users who need to make even more complicated calculations (either nautical or involving aircraft) the slide rule can prove invaluable. However, the slide rule lacks back lighting in case you need to see the readings during the night or in the dark, and there is no stopwatch.
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In the 1950s Timex advertised their watches as “They can take a licking … and keep on ticking.”

Timex T49612 Expedition Trail Series

Weight: 6.4 ounces

Dimensions: 4.7 x 3.5 x 2.9 inches

Power Type: quartz

Price: $50 – $100

Special Features: water- and shock-resistant; Indiglo lighting technique

Best Use: Military and emergency situations

Description: Although we’re not talking about the Casio high-quality watches, this

Timex T 49612 Expedition Trail Series can still be a worthy competitor to Casio’s.

Many military personnel went through training with Timex, and they still use it years later. This means that it’s still a durable and sturdy watch nonetheless.

The watch can withstand rough handling, relies on Quartz for the movement and has a reliable compass. The casing and the hand band are made of resin. The watch is suitable for use to a depth of maximum 200 meters (660 feet).

What may be considered unique for this watch is that the company uses a lighting technique called Indiglo, created entirely by Indiglo Corporation, which is owned by Timex. The back light employs different elector-luminescent lamps in order to provide different levels of lighting.

Only the numbers on the dial will be lit, although the screen is entirely LCD. While you may expect that the entire screen should be lit, the lighting effect on the numbers is achieved by a special film, which creates an inverted lighting on the LCD display.

Most of these customers are in the military and undergo heavy training, so you should expect that the Timex watch goes through some harsh conditions and handling. Overall, very few people find problems with Timex and one of the most common is that for some people the light is a bit dim. And yet, as a whole, this watch is among the best and most durable of all.

Summary:

The above mentioned best survival watch reviews are solely for comparisons and in no way is an endorsement. The watches are excellent in quality and customer reviews, but there are dozens of equally good brands and types of watches that could easily be inserted into the best survival watch category. Perform your due diligence, try them on to experience the weight and feel of a particular watch, a picture is nice, but nothing like experiencing the real item. The bottom line is … if you venture into the outdoors .. you need one of the best survival watches strapped to your wrist. It could save your life.

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How to Feed Man’s Best Friend When SHTF

Anyone who does not own a dog can never understand how they can be considered part of the family. I know … I was once one of those poor souls. I never thought I’d cry as hard when one of our dogs died as when a human family member passed away, nor did I expect to lose sleep when we left one of our dogs overnight while she was neutered. Perhaps its the unconditional love they show you, or their complete dependence on you to see after their welfare that bonds us so closely to them. Why try to rationalize love? The question of how to feed man’s best friend when SHTF is every bit as important as how we plan to eat ourselves.

This presents many issues. A 50 pound bag of dog food is not exactly easy to transport around, it takes up a lot of room and it only lasts a certain amount of time. We have a plan B (at least we better have) for filling our bellies, we need a plan B for our dog’s nourishment as well.

Survival Asset

The first thing to keep in mind is that dogs are exactly like us, they are omnivorous, they eat anything, it doesn’t have to only be meat, although also like us, they prefer a good steak over green beans. Being like us also means that any home-made food we prepare for them, we can eat as well. I might mention that also includes dog food. In a starvation situation dry dog food will keep you alive with no ill effects, except maybe a slight stomach ache until your system adjusts, or pieces of grit caught between your teeth. A small price to pay in exchange for survival.

Ask yourself, “What would grandpa do?” There were no Walmart, Target or Pet stores around when he had dogs. The thought of having 40 different types of dog food for different types of dogs, fat dogs, skinny dogs, hyper dogs, lazy dogs, etc etc were unheard of. A dog was big or little and got the same food. A full scoop for big dog, a half of scoop for little dog. Where’s the rocket science? So let’s look at some options.

Dry dog food is most common and if that’s the avenue you choose to take, buy the food in bulk. Places like Costco and Feed Stores (MFA) sell dog food in bulk, which is not only cheaper, but you’ll have a larger quantity. If dry dog food is properly stored in air tight containers, to avoid moisture, it can remain eatable for up to 10 years. If things are still bad in 10 years I don’t know if I’d be worried about much of anything.

Decide against store bought dog food or run out of it? Let’s look at how to keep Fido healthy with other foods. The ideal mixture for nourishment is 1/3 protein, 1/3 fiber and 1/3 carbohydrates. You may want to monitor the 1/3 protein-rich meat products as it can make some dogs hyper and possibly aggressive. Should that occur simply cut back on the meat protein, no big deal.

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Rice, white or brown, although brown is healthier, is a main staple for homemade dog food, and it too can be bought in bulk, getting the most bang for the buck. Wondering about the use of rice? Bear in mind nearly 20% of the world’s population survives on rice and a few vegetables. A combination of rice and dried beans makes an excellent high protein meal.

Using meat or meat by-products, as long as they are available, is the way to go. That along with rice and assorted vegetables makes an delicious and healthy meal which can be stored for years by canning jars of it. Should domestic meat supplies become scarce, you can revert to can meat, which is perfectly fine. Wild game can be substituted as well as it’s even leaner and higher in protein than store bought meats. If all else fails eggs can also be substituted.

Let’s get down to business: Avoid giving dogs too much food high in fat or sodium as it can cause vomiting, diarrhea or constipation.

How to Feed Man’s Best Friend When SHTF

Dog Food Basics Meat & Meat By-products

Poultry: cooked, skinless and boneless. Chicken and turkey bones are too soft and splinters which cause choking or intestinal problems. There is nothing wrong with feeding dogs raw chicken, but if not used it they could become ill.

Beef: any cut of meat, steak, hamburger, etc. preferably lean and cooked.

Pork: Sodium is a concern when talking pork, but never rule it out.

Tuna: packed in water is better, thoroughly drain and rinse if in oil.

Lamb: no problem.

Canned Meat: Rinse to wash away excessive salt.

Dog Food Basic for Additional Foods

Canned Vegetables such as corn, beans, peas and carrots. Rinsed and drained.

Plain Pasta cooked

Plain cooked rice, white or brown

Plain cooked oatmeal, not the sugar filled children type

Canned chicken and fish packed in water, rinsed well.

High-fiber healthy cereals, avoid cereals containing raisins and other artificial ingredients.

Cooked farina

Low sodium vegetables, beef or chicken broth.

Low-sodium plain tomato sauce.

Honey, a little bit to sweeten

Cheeses mild American or Colby.

Apples & pears

Bananas, peeled

Blueberries and strawberries

Cooked potatoes, any kind

Cooked or raw carrots, beans, peas, broccoli and corn

Foods to Avoid

Avoid these foods:

Breaded, fried, greasy, high fat processed foods

Onions

Garlic

Bacon and cold cuts to excess due to high sodium content

Foods that are spicy or in spicy sauces

Milk

Here are some sample Recipes:

Chicken & Rice Bowl

65 grams of cooked white meat chicken

1 large cooked egg

2 cups white rice

1 cup high fiber cereal

2 – 3 teaspoons canola oil which provides omega-3 and 6 fatty acids

Servicing size: @ 6 cups (48 oz)

Sausage Breakfast Recipe for Dogs

  • 7 ounces sausage – not spicy – sweet sausage
  • 2 large cooked eggs
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • 4 slices bread (white, wheat, grain, etc.)
  • 2 cups of chopped cooked potatoes

Serving size: Approx 6 cups (or 56 oz)

Peanut Butter Breakfast Scramble Recipe for Dogs

  • ¾ large egg cooked
  • 4 cooked egg whites
  • 2.5 ounces peanut butter
  • 6 slices bread
  • 3 cups vegetables

Serving size: Approx 6 cups (or 56 oz)

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Beef and Rice Bowl

Mix ground beef

2 – 2.5 cups cooked rice

½ cup of high fiber cereal

2 – 3 teaspoons canola oil for omega 3 and 6 fatty acids

These are foods are good for your dog

  • Peanut butter. This is a great source of added protein and fiber for your pup and a tablespoon on their dry food is a surefire way to get them to eat it! …
  • Yogurt. …

  • Lean proteins (like chicken, turkey and beef). …

  • Salmon. …

  • Pumpkin and sweet potatoes. …

  • Rice and pasta. …

  • Apples. …

    How to Feed Man’s Best Friend When SHTF experts will tell you to return your dog to normal dog food as soon as possible for their own health. I agree with that, but if we weren’t in a crisis survival situation the dog wouldn’t be off their regular diet to begin with. One expert claimed if you deviate from their normal diet for more than a week you’ll do irreparable damage to the dog, therefore I guess if the crisis last longer than a week go ahead and let the dog starve. Some experts are so damn dumb. Anyway, take their pearls of wisdom with a grain of salt as common sense will dictate crisis over … back to Purina dog chow.

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What to Barter

When people discuss what they’ll do immediately after the apocalypse, I guess they somehow know they’re going to survive, they are normally debating whether to add to their ammo or food stores, both good ideas. However, I’ve yet to hear anyone talk about what they’re going to do in a year, or two or ten, after the SHTF episode. Those stores are not going to last forever … then what? What to barter?

Many people have wisely stashed away some junk silver, some gold, some jewelry in links and whole to prepare for this event. Historically mankind has treasured these precious metals and there’s no reason that will change, so a well stocked safe of silver and gold should buy you anything you need for quite awhile, perhaps years. But since nobody knows how many years it’ll take for civilization to rebuild, if ever, what if nothing gets any better?

This is a highly regarded survival asset

We’ve been hurled back essentially into the stone age with few to no modern conveniences, are we sure new products will ever be available, or will we be forced to continually repair our remaining machinery? Don’t laugh, Cuba has been doing it for their automobiles for 50 years. The point I’m trying to make is eventually it could get to the point that a drink of clean water would be more valuable than a fist full of gold.

My dear late Father once told me “a man with skills will never starve.” As with most things he told me I wasn’t really interested, I already knew everything, so it wasn’t until years later that I actually understood what he meant. Everything has a life span, even an iron stove will eventually rust and become iron ashes, some things just can’t be salvaged forever. However, as long as a person is on this side of the ground, they will always have their skills. Even if they grow too old and feeble to perform the skill, their knowledge for instructing others will remain.

Bartering will definitely be an essential way of living and acquiring goods and services after the SHTF event, and material goods will definitely be a major commodity for commerce, but not everything valuable is material. Is a doctor’s diagnosis and treatment worthless, as it’s only information? Let’s look at some examples of skills you can learn, or may already have, that can be your answer to the question … what to barter.

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Vehicle maintenance and mechanical work is one such skill that will be in demand. Next time you’re driving around notice any car repair shops you pass and see if they’re empty. I can tell you one thing, if its a shop with a good reputation, it’ll be standing room only waiting for service. With society in disarray, and no manufacturing of new vehicles, someone will be needed to keep engines running and brakes stopping.

Electricians will be in high demand. I’m not talking about learning the skills to be a journeyman electrician capable of dealing in high voltage. In fact the power grid will most likely not be operational, which means people will turn to alternative energy sources to supply their electricity. If you know how to adapt a houses’ established electrical system to operate off the alternative energy source, people will be willing to barter for your services.

Plumbers will be in great demand. We all know how unpleasant things become very quickly when the plumbing goes a foul. Again, with the switch to alternative energy sources, which will require plumbing modifications, the skills to adapt these systems will be valuable. Again, you don’t need to be a journeyman plumber/pipe-fitter, just remember s**t rolls downhill.

People with some knowledge of Electronics. Once people establish a source of electricity they will want to use their gadgets. Having the skill to know if a devise can be repaired, and the ability to do it, versus throwing it away, will be valuable.

Another example of what to barter is Medical skills. Modern life is dangerous, imagine dealing with the rubble of destruction, or salvaging items to reuse. Injuries and illness will become more common and with modern medicine hampered and probably overwhelmed, any medical skills will be critically required. Taking an elementary first aid class could offer you the skills to treat minor injuries. Correctly treating minor injuries prevents them from becoming major injuries. 

This is a highly regarded survival asset

Amateur radio skills are needed. Most if not all communication, with the possible exception of military, will be inoperable. We have become so complex with our communication systems without skilled people to maintain the infrastructure, it will quickly fail. The skills, and better yet owning a ham radio, will make you indispensable as a source of news and information.

Seamstress skills. We have become such a lazy society, that if we rip a shirt or break a zipper, we simply throw the item away and buy new. Those days will be over because new clothes will not be readily available. If you can mend and perform alterations you’ll have a skill to barter.

Foraging may become necessary. There’s a lot of natural food out there in forms of wild berries, fruits, fungi and other plants. The problem is you are playing Russian roulette if you’re not sure of what you’re eating. Mistake a death cap for a mushroom and all your worries are for naught, because you’re dead. Being able to teach others how to forage has value, as does bartering part of what you foraged.

Skilled hunters may not realize they have a barter-able skill because they do it for sport, but in actuality very few people have the skills or the equipment to hunt wild game. The same goes for fishing. Being able to supply fresh meat and fish will be a valuable commodity.

Food growing, until not too long ago, was an everyday event for nearly everyone, as people supplemented their food supply with home grown items. Society has abandoned that skill leaving growing food to the conglomerate farming associations and back yard gardeners. The ability to grow, tend and/or teach people how to grow food will be another asset to barter.

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Animal husbandry, the skill to tend to animals’ needs, like cattle, sheep or chickens, will make you valuable. Very few people would have the first idea of how to feed, milk, herd or otherwise tend to a herd of cattle.

Butchery is another part of husbanding livestock, one part which most people would choose to avoid if possible. It might be easy to barter for Fred the pig knowing you’ll have meat to eat when he grows up, but it’s another story to actually hit Fred in the head with a hammer and cut him into small pieces. If you can do that, people will want your services.

Carpentry skills will be required to rebuild, repair peoples homes, build storage sheds and a 100 other things. You may be surprised how many people don’t know how to use a hammer much alone a nail gun.

The need for Canning skills will be reborn as preserving every bit of food possible becomes important. You will no longer have the luxury of throwing food out and running to the grocery store to buy more.

Blacksmiths who are few and far between now, will see their importance increase. People may very well may have to resort to transportation by horse in some cases and those horses all need shoeing. A skilled blacksmith can forge much more than horseshoes, but its not a skill you acquire overnight.

Gunsmiths like blacksmiths are always in short supply. Add the importance of owning a weapon after SHTF, the extra use and abuse these weapons with be subjected to, things are going to break. If you can repair their weapons people will be willing to barter.

Reloading Skills. Speaking of guns, what about ammo? People are eventually going to run out of ammo, especially if they are poor shooters. If you have the skills to reload their brass you’ll be busy.

Let’s get real primitive. Can you Fletch? Many won’t even know what that is. It’s the skill of making arrows. If things go to hell for years and years people may have to resort to using bows and arrows to hunt and for self protection. If it gets that bad … you’ll be able to name your price.

Soap and candle making. That may really sound like a trivial skill, but I’ll ask .. do you know how to make home made soap and candles. There will be a whole lot of people that wouldn’t know where to start. Like me.

Teachers will be needed. Society may have crumbled, but the survivors will know the only hope for the future is to educate their children. You will be held in high esteem within the community.

Can you play a Musical instrument? After enduring an apocalypse, entertainment for a bit of relaxation will be in high demand. What’s that they say about “music soothing the savage beast.”

Spiritual comfort will be needed. Desperation, pain of loss, both material and friends and family, will require a comforting hand, one who can quote from the Scriptures, if only a few lines. People will want a few words said over their loved ones graves.

What to barter is all around and inside you. My intent is to get your creative juices flowing. This list is far from complete. There are probably hundreds of skills which can used to barter with and you may not even realize you possess some of them. If you have done everything you can to stockpile supplies, built a bug-out spot, etc. Take a look at taking a class of some sort. A skill can not ever be taken away.

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How to Use 20 Mule Team Borax

Most people associate, if your old enough, 20 mule team borax with the television show Death Valley Days, a weekly fictional program featuring old west stories. Few realized the iconic 20 mule team wasn’t a stage prop or imaginary happening created to open the program, but an actual historic event, and was in reality the show’s sponsor. The 20 mule team was actually 18 mules and 2 horses that ferried borax out of Death Valley from 1883 to 1898 when they were replaced by the Borate and Dagget railroad. The wagons were among the largest ever pulled by draft animals, carrying 10 short tons, 9 metric tons, of borax at one time. But… to the original question, how to use 20 mule team borax?

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What is Borax?

Borax is a natural combination of sodium, boron and oxygen and is mined directly from the soil. Boric acid is a crystalline material made from the 20 Mule Team Borax and is a unique substance with many wide and varied uses similar to baking soda’s multiple usages. Boric acid is slightly different than the basic Borax, as the oric acid and its sodium salts, each combined with different elements, creates different toxicity levels, which creates the many different applications it can be used for.

Fireproofing paper, cloth and wood

In 1821, a French scientist named Guy-Lussac, discovered if he saturated materials, specifically clothing for the experiment, with boron salts the compound could prevent the clothing from burning. Further experiments found paper and other cellulose-based products to be equally fire resistant. The success of finding a fireproofing chemical that wouldn’t ruin the color of the cloth, or turn it poisonous, was a huge breakthrough.

How does it work?

To totally understand the entire process you must know the different scientific stages of the flammable and combustion process, which there is no need to go into. There are two keys to the flame retardant process, sodium borates, combined with additional elements, release water when exposed to heat which prevents a fire from erupting, boric acid, when combined with additional elements, and exposed to heat, will create a primitive form of glass, which covers and smothers the flame.

How to make clothes fire-retardant

Although we use the term fire-proof, there actually is no such thing, but is rather fire-retardant, making it difficult and slow to catch fire. This allows us the opportunity to put the fire out before it expands or to escape. It must be noted this process only works for natural materials such as cotton, jute, wood or paper and will not work on synthetic materials like polyester or nylon.

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Materials Required:

Borax (sodium borate) laundry booster

A measuring cup

A Tablespoon measuring spoon

An old pan

A storage container

An applicator (paint brush, spray bottle, sponge.)

Step 1: You’ll want to make a solution which will saturate the item thoroughly.

Boil 1 cup of water

Add 2.5 Tablespoons of Borax to the boiling water

Stir the solution until the Borax completely dissolves

Remove the pan from the heat source and allow it to cool to room temperature. Some of the Borax will evaporate as the solution cools, which is normal. The remaining clear liquid is a flame-retardant mixture ready to apply.

Step 2. There are various methods of application depending on what you are trying to saturate, the size and your personal preference.

For this example we’ll be making a pair of blue jeans fire-retardant:

  1. Emerge the pair of jeans completely into the solution and let set for an adequate time period, I’d suggest at least 10 minutes.

  2. Fill a spray bottle full of the solution. Hang the blue jeans on a clothes line or similar method which allows easy access to every portion of the jeans, and completely saturate the fiber. The solution should literally drip from the jeans indicating it cannot absorb further liquid.

  3. If using a paint/foam brush, use the exact method as #2.

The goal is to completely saturate every fiber of the jeans with the fire-retardant solution. Allow the jeans to dry. Remember, this is a one time procedure. Should the jeans become wet or is rewashed, the fire-retardant solution will be washed out of the fabric, and a repeat process will be required.

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Let’s explore many other methods of How to Use 20 Mule Team Borax:

  1. Clean tubs & showers by sprinkling borax on a damp sponge, exactly like using the more expense Ajax, scrub and thoroughly rinse for a clean bathroom.

  2. Clean hair brushes and combs by filling the sink with warm water, add ¼ cup of borax and a squirt of dish soap, stir and let the items sit in the solution for 30 minutes, then rinse.

  3. Rehabbing an old house or a vacation home toilet filthy and stained. Pour 1 cup of borax into the water, thoroughly stir, then let it set overnight. The next day use a scrub brush to remove stains, resulting in a white sparkling clean toilet.

  4. Unclog a sink drain by pouring ½ cup of borax, using a funnel, down the drain. Add 2 cups of boiling water, let set for 10 minutes, then flush with boiling water. Repeat if necessary.

  5. Clean sinks and counter by using a solution of 1 tablespoon borax and 2 tablespoons of vinegar poured into a plastic squirt bottle. Fill with hot water and a few drops of dish soap, for a great all purpose cleaner.

  6. Clean the outside of the refrigerator with this same solution, but for food stains on frig shelves, use 1 tablespoon borax in a quart of hot water.

  7. In order to clean and sanitize mold and mildew, mix 1 cup of borax with a quart of hot water, poured into a plastic spray bottle. Spray the mold and mildew until it is completely saturated. Let set for several hours, then rinse thoroughly with clean water. It’ll kill the mold & mildew.

  8. You cannot clean cast iron cookware with dish soap, as the porous cast iron will absorb the soap resulting in making your food taste soapy. Mix 1 teaspoon of borax with 1 teaspoon of salt, spread it around the entire interior and scrub with a brush. It’ll clean the surface and not risk any bad tastes lingering.

  9. In order to remove rust from cast iron surfaces, use 1 part borax with 1 part lemon juice, spread the mixture onto the rust and let set for 30 minutes. Wipe the mixture off and thoroughly rinse.

  10. To get rid of that aggravating sticky goo that gets left behind by gum, tar, grease and other adhesives, mix ½ cup of borax with a ½ cup warm water, pour on goo and scrub with brush.

  11. Remove stubborn laundry stains by mixing 1 tablespoon borax with 2 tablespoons of water, spread on stain, let set for 30 minutes, scrub stain away and wash like usual.

  12. In order to remove carpet stains, mix ½ cup of borax with 2 cups of warm water. Using a sponge, dipping it into the solution, saturate the stained area, then scrub vigorously. Let set for 30 minutes, then vacuum.

  13. Deodorize the home. Mix 1 part borax with 1 part baking soda, sprinkle over the entire carpet, let set for 30 minutes and vacuum. This will neutralize any odors trapped in the carpet fibers. Deodorize curtains, couches, stuffed chairs, by making a solution of ½ cup borax and water, spray lightly onto the fabric, not wanting to saturate them, removing odors.

  14. In order to clean and deodorize your mattress, use the same method as for carpets except add a few drops of lavender essential oil for a fragrant smell.

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Insect Killer

Boric acid is an effective weapon to use on your war with unwanted insects. How? When the insects eat the boric acid it disrupts their stomach and nervous system. Borax is also an abrasive and by merely rubbing against it an insect’s exterior protective armor is destroyed. It can also be used as a weed control. The borate salt dries the plant out, and additionally prevents the plant from producing energy from the sunlight, thus killing it.

15. In order to kill ants, mix equal parts of borax with sugar, and sprinkle it anywhere you see unwanted ant trails. The ants which eat it will not only die, but when they transport it back to their nests, those ants will also die. Thus eliminating the entire problem.

16. Borax will repulse insects such as cockroaches, fleas and bedbugs. Sprinkle it in known areas of infestation.

17. Sprinkle it along any known pathways or where signs of mice are spotted, as it will repulse them. Sprinkle it on bait and it won’t only kill the mouse that ate it, but hopefully it will transport it back to the nest.

18. Use it as a weed killer. Sprinkle it on weeds between cracks in sidewalks or along the foundation. You must be careful because the borax will kill anything it comes in contact with, so never spread it on a windy day or if rain is in the forecast.

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Last but not least: Borax can be used to:

Deodorize the trashcan, the litter box, mop the floor, wash patio furniture, wash windows and … put out fires. Baking soda is the normal recommendation for putting out fires, but borax is just as effective.

You can see how to Use 20 Mule Team Borax, an all purpose product would appeal to pioneers. The product has the same uses, probably more today, but we have become spoiled to prep-packaged cleaners and honestly are ignorant of how to use the product. The old adage “Use it or Lose it” comes to mind. We have such a varied choice anymore we don’t stop and think what else could I use that is just as effective and much cheaper to use than what’s available on the grocery shelf. You know of one now.

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Emergency Disaster Preparedness

If you clicked on this site expecting to read another article on emergency disaster preparedness, either to explore the topic for the first time, or to see if this article contained something a little different from the twenty other websites you’ve visited, you might want to reconsider and click off or better yet, click to another article on this blog. Why? Because this article is going to be dedicated to thinking outside the box, addressing real and dangerous potential threats, but of the type we rarely think of, that is, until it’s too late. Let’s take a look at issues that will arise when the SHTF but we rarely consider in making our emergency disaster preparedness plans.

Law Enforcement Matters

Face it, we all hate a cop when we see flashing red lights in our rear view mirror. Doesn’t matter that I know I was going 20 mph over the posted limit, I’m still mad the cop is stopping me. However, when we are exposed to danger or require help? Yep … call a cop. All of a sudden he/she’s our best friend. “Where’s a cop when you need them?” is the famous battle cry of disgruntled spectators of a crime.

Ever consider that when an extreme SHTF scenario happens there will most likely be no law enforcement. I realize we are accustomed to seeing police and first respondents on the job during terrible natural disasters. Hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, doesn’t matter, these brave men and women run into danger to help us. But …. while they are helping us, someone is helping their family stay safe.

However, if a violent resurrection of some type were to occur, do you honestly think they will ignore the danger their families are in and respond to us instead? Would you? I wouldn’t. There is the first issue of emergency disaster plans. You will be on your own. You alone will be responsible for protecting your family. Plan accordingly. Do you have an escape plan? Do you have weapons? Does every family member know how to operate the weapons?

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No Law Enforcement to Fake Law Enforcement

Why do geniuses dedicate their lives to hacking computer systems and creating chaos and identity thief of average people instead of finding a cure for cancer? I don’t know either, but seems anytime there’s a void in security people will take advantage of it for personal gains, and in creative ways. When the SHTF I guarantee some people will begin impersonating law enforcement officials, both civilian and military, and will begin preying on innocent people.

You will be faced with a dilemma nobody in this country has ever incurred. How do you handle a possible Fake Law Official? Think about it. To ignore or openly defy the orders of the police goes against everything we have been taught and take for granted as the proper thing to do. The police are there to protect us … why would we defy them? Because they may not be the police!

There is no one size fits all answer to this situation, but I have a few suggestions. In a SHTF scenario real law enforcement will not interfere with your actions, as long as they are legal. They won’t knock on your door and ask to enter to inspect the house to make sure you are alright. They won’t single you out and ask to inspect your car or belongings. The won’t brandish their weapons or insinuate something bad happening if you don’t obey their directions. Real police, if there are any performing their job, will be overwhelmed with catching bad guys and stopping looting, not harassing law-abiding citizens. Don’t feel comfortable with the situation … resist. Try to avoid people all together if possible.

Disarming You

You have taken the first two issues seriously and have obtained weapons, trained your family on how to use them and are prepared to defend your families lives. But … what do you do when law enforcement tries to confiscate your weapons? We live in the land of the free, that can’t happen! No? It already has. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans police superintendent, Eddie Compass, took it upon himself to order all law enforcement agencies, including the U.S. Marshal’s office and the National Guard to seize all civilian firearms. Not just handguns, which they may claim looters were using against the civilian population, but all firearms including weapons used for hunting.

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Without warrants or just cause, armed National Guard troops and New Orleans law enforcement tracked down owners of legally registered firearms and forcibly confiscated over 1000 of them from law-abiding citizens. The fact this happened and the fact this action was squelched from public awareness is a clear signal of what the government will do when a SHTF scenario happens. They will be coming for your guns.

Again, you are forced to face a unique situation. They have the records you bought the firearm and are intent on taking it away. What do you do? As a disclaimer, I’m not a lawyer and I’m not giving legal advise or encouraging you to commit a crime or circumvent the law. I’m telling what my friends did. They bought their firearms from gun shows, individuals or other methods which did not leave a paper trail. Their intentions were to secure firearms for hunting and personal protection with no illegal intentions.

Personal Safety Concerns

I’d venture to say there is never a day that goes by when a killing, rape or robbery is not committed in every medium to large size city in America, and those daily events are filtering down to smaller cities. Gangs motivated by drug money, power and the overwhelming of law enforcement resources are already wreaking havoc on society, but when the SHTF they will be joined by raiders emboldened by the lack of law enforcement. This is another reason for emergency disaster preparedness,

Very few people are capable of fending and surviving on their own. Once their safety net is destroyed, empty grocery stores, no gasoline, how to cope with adverse weather, etc, they will become desperate and totally unpredictable. Stressful and dire circumstances can transform that mild mannered insurance salesman into a raving and dangerous maniac intent on stealing your supplies and indifferent to killing you in the process. You must quickly come to terms that the world is suddenly upside down and everyone is suspect of representing a danger.

It is my suggestion, you not only obtain firearms, and learn how to use them, but explore other defense mechanisms as well. There’s no guarantee you’ll be armed when confronted by a dangerous situation, therefore learn to fight without a weapon. Martial Arts classes are great, but you’re not trying to earn a black-belt, you’re trying to survive. Take a self-defense class, include your family members, geared to quickly and effectively disabling an attacker. There are classes which teach how to turn normal items, such as car keys, into a lethal weapon. These classes, if they are a good one, will not only prepare your body for self-defense, but your mindset as well.

Sanitation

This problem more than likely never crossed your mind or anyone else unless they’ve been subjected to the issue. In a long term crisis situation, where normal sanitation activities are absent for months, dangers will present themselves that may seem far fetched, but are a dire inevitability. Such a danger is exposure to unsanitary environmental conditions. We’re not talking a dirty car or unkempt lawn, we’re talking about being inundated with garbage. Garbage is a breeding ground for bacteria, virus, and parasitic germs which will kill far more people than all the gangs combined. Don’t believe it? Here’s a small sampling of known diseases caused directly from unsanitary conditions created by garbage.

LEBANON-ENVIRONMENT-WASTE

  • *Food Poisoning
  • *Gastroenteritis
  • *Diarrhea
  • *Hepatitis A
  • *Colds & Flu
  • *Scabies Infections
  • *Hookworm Infections
  • *Roundworm Infections
  • *Murray Valley Encephalitis
  • *Ross River Virus

I could have posted a list compiled and issued by the CDC, but besides the listings numbering in the hundreds, I think you have the general idea. Uncollected garbage attracts unwanted critters, mice, rats, cockroaches and flies, which transmit deadly diseases directly to us.

In order to minimize this threat I suggest the following. Stock up on every sanitary item you can thing of, for example: Toilet Paper, Feminine hygiene products,Tooth Brush, tooth paste and dental floss, Bleach, Lots & lots of trash bags, check out other articles for a more complete list.

There’s not much you can do about your neighbor’s actions or inaction’s, but you can do everything possible to make your home unattractive to the germ bearing varmints. Dispose of all trash as soon as possible. don’t let it collect and pile up because it’ll quickly get out of control. It may be an unpleasant task, but allow pests to start breeding and the sight and stench will make it a nearly impossible task. Bury or burn as much of the trash as possible. If that’s not possible store it as far away from the house as possible. Keep it in large plastic trash bags restricting access to flies and gnats.

Preparing Mentally and Physically

He/She is mentally tough,” How many times have you heard that expression when discussing athletes, critically ill people, anyone who overcame a trying situation? Well, it’s a fact, the mental attitude of a person plays a huge part in whether someone survives a crisis situation. Maintaining a positive mental attitude during a survival situation allows a person to handle stress better, control emotions so they don’t override logical thinking and helps a person resist succumbing to fear. Again, another reason for emergency disaster preparedness. So how do you become mentally tough?

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Being prepared is the best method of achieving mental toughness. No different than storing survival items for anticipated situations, you should mentally be preparing yourself for the possibility of encountering unthinkable situations. What am I going to do if someone attempts to injure me or a family member? Don’t wait until the situation presents itself, then try and decide what to do. Decide now. I will do whatever is necessary to protect myself and family even if it means taking another persons life.

What if I’m starving? I will not let hunger stop me from rational thinking. I will not attempt to go to the grocery store when I know roving gangs will more than likely kill me before I can get there or back.

What if I’m seriously injured? I will not lose the will to survive although the pain is excruciating. I will make it through this.

Repeat these scenarios in your mind over and over. Program your mind like you would a computer, to react instinctively and quickly to a certain situation. While you’re repeating these scenarios in your mind, do it while exercising. A body incapable of performing the instructions the brain sends it totally voids everything. You don’t have to become an Olympic athlete or a muscle bound freak, but be strong enough and flexible enough to perform physical tasks which you may be required to do.

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Communication

In any type of survival situation, much alone a SHTF one, knowing what is going on around you is critical. Accurate information of the situation, has law and order been restored, is an enemy moving my way, is disease spreading, all types of information is critical in order for you to make intelligent decisions of how to proceed. But when the power lines go down, telecommunication towers are destroyed and the media stops broadcasting, what do you do? If there is only one form of communication still functioning it will be Ham Radio. Having a Multi-band Ham Radio will offer you an avenue for collecting information, not only from your immediate location, but world wide. Knowledge is power as the saying goes and in this situation knowledge could save your life.

Emergency Disaster Preparedness comes in all sizes and shapes. I hope I have shed some light on some issues that may not get the attention it may require and provoked you to consider other outside the box situations.

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Learn About Solar Batteries

Whether you are interested in checking out solar power for your main home, cabin in the woods or bug out spot, unless you are independently wealthy and don’t care about cost, there are things to research in order to make an informed decision before buying. I, personally, become overwhelmed when too much new information is thrown at me at one time, therefore, I’m going to research the topic as if it were intended for me. If I can understand it, you won’t have an issue at all. Let’s learn about solar batteries.

The first thing to learn is batteries are not the same and may have totally unequal life and performance expectancy, even when labeled with nearly identical specifications. Choosing the wrong battery for your solar system could lead to frustrating downtime, lower than expected performance and/or expensive repairs or modifications.

Materials and Manufacturing Matter a Lot

Simply put, a battery produces electrical current through a chemical reaction that converts the stored chemicals into electrical energy. That’s enough science. The important part is this whole process begins with the lead itself and the cost of lead has went through the roof since 2006. Since lead comprises 60% – 80% of a battery’s cost there is a push to use less lead and more additive formulation and lead-oxide production in order to keep costs down.

All American battery manufacturers use recycled lead, so there is a common baseline for all batteries, the difference begins with the amount of lead used for the battery and quality of manufacturing.

  • Some manufacturers use expanded metal and stamped grid production because they are quicker, but these methods tend to embed impurities and porosity into grid wires. In contrast grids which are produced by gravity casting contain no impurities and nearly zero porosity, therefore producing plates that provide extended life and improved reliability.

  • Active lead materials are applied to plates in a process known as pasting, and there are dozens of variables involved in paste mixing and application which significantly affects the battery performance. Conventional systems rely on manual hand pasting, which is as good as the operator that day, while others employ a computerized system which eliminates any variables.

  • Once the grids are pasted they are cured in specialized ovens, set at specific temperatures and humidity, in order to bond active lead materials to the grid for better performance and longer life. Be sure your battery was built with plates cured in such ovens.

  • After curing, the battery plates are stacked in groups and are connected by fusing the plates together with a lead strap, which creates a parallel circuit between the plates. Many companies still utilize the strap-assembly process, where workers manually attach lead lugs to a strap and burn them together using a torch and lead stick, or by manually pouring molten lead around a jig, This process, which began in the early twentieth century, produce weaker connection points.

  • In contrast other companies employ a cast-on-strap (COS) assembly system which fuses the battery plates simultaneously at the optimal temperature. This method insures strengthened connections, resist cracking and improves battery life, as well as reduces corrosion, increases current and reduces maintenance.

  • Following assembly, batteries are charged for the first time in a process called formation that converts lead sulfate and insures maximum capacity. Some companies speed up this process by using higher currents, which cuts production time and costs, but doesn’t fully activate all the usable material, which negatively affects performance and life expectancy. In contrast low current formation results in longer battery life.

Why did I run you through a quick tutorial of battery assembling? I wanted to demonstrate a few of the differences which make one battery better than the other although they are rated the same. By being able to recognize quality and compare manufacturing techniques and materials you are better equipped to know what type of battery you actually need and how much to spend to get it.

You’ll need to choose a voltage for your solar system, which can be 12, 24, or 48 volt. The higher the voltage the less energy loss, although most off-grid homes use a 12 or 24 volt battery system. Is it possible to use a car or truck battery? Yes, for short bursts of high energy, but they are not intended for a deep discharge, and more than likely you’ll require a deep-cycle, lead-acid battery which permits partial discharge and deep slow discharge.

Understanding Different Battery Types

Lead-acid batteries are made for specific applications, therefore not all of them are suitable for usage in a renewable energy system. For instance, automotive and commercial batteries deliver short burst of power and stay charged most of the time making them unsuited for long term usage with a solar system. Uninterrptable power supply batteries (UPS) are designed to provide electrical energy for short term emergency situations, but won’t last under continuous discharge and charge cycles.

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Deep-cycle batteries are capable of delivering electricity for a long time, several days, because they are designed for constant charge and discharge cycles. The deep-cycle battery and renewable energy battery are very similar, but the RE battery is fine tuned for specific renewable energy applications required for solar power.

Flooded batteries are the most commonly utilized battery in renewable and grid-backup systems. They are easy to maintain, long-lasting, reliable and most importantly affordable. Valve-regulated lead-acid (VRLA) batteries are maintenance free, but usually more expensive. Again, the quality of materials and quality of construction methods will dictate the reliability of the battery. Ask questions. Do research on the manufacture.

Best Solar Batteries?

Batteries used in solar power systems (renewable energy systems) are made out of one of the three chemical compositions; lead acid, lithium or saltwater. Lithium ion batteries seem to be the most popular choice for solar panel systems, but other battery types can be more affordable at a small loss of ability.

Lead Acid Batteries

Lead acid battery technology has an established track record as they have been used in off-grid energy systems for decades. As with everything there are pros and cons, but this is the least expensive option and like I said, it has a proven track record for reliability and energy storage.

Lithium ion Batteries

The majority of new renewable energy technologies favor some form of lithium ion chemical composition, because they are lighter and more compact than lead acid batteries and tend to have a longer life span. However, they are quite a bit more expensive than the lead acid option.

Saltwater Batteries

Saltwater batteries are a relative new comer, which contain saltwater electrolytes instead of heavy metals. The main advantage is a saltwater battery can be easily recycled while heavy metal batteries require special disposal, which is great for the environment. However, the technology by being relatively new, is untested.

How Long Do Charges Last on a Solar Batteries?

That is a one of those it depends question and answer. There are many variables involved which can effect that calculation. The best way to explain is to use a hypothetical example.

Based on the US Energy Information Administration, the average U.S. Household consumes @30 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of energy per day. The typical solar battery can deliver 10 kWh of capacity per day. Based on those numbers, 3 batteries will power your entire household for 24 hours. However, nothing is that simple.

In reality due to fluctuations in operating draw, batteries will not be able to operate at 100% capacity, but is actually closer to 90%. So your 10 kWh just went to 9 kWh of useful capacity. Ultimately, if you’re pairing your batteries with a solar PV array, one or two batteries can provide sufficient energy during the nighttime hours when the panels are not producing, but may require 3 or 4 batteries to power the household during the daytime activity. It is also essential to have additional batteries in reserve to provide power during extended cloudy weather conditions when your solar panels produce no power. A solar battery or solar installer representative will be able to offer a more definitive answer to your particular situation. However, you will require a bank of batteries, whether it be 3 or 10.

From what we’ve learned about solar batteries is their lifespan is between 5 and 15 years. Currently if you buy a battery today you can anticipate you’ll need to replace the battery at least once, if not twice, to match the 25 – 30 year lifespan your PV system will last. Or you can learn the simple method to recondition batteries and never have to worry about replacing them.

However, everything associated with solar power system technology, cost down, productivity up, improves as the demand for solar energy increases. As we learn about solar batteries it can be reasonably expected battery life span will increase with technological advancements.

On a parting note; batteries for a solar energy system are not cheap, but if you view the expense as an investment which could pay big dividends in energy cost savings, then it takes on a different light.