Starting a Fire in the Snow

You are freezing and the thought of a fire isn’t just a good idea, it is an absolute necessity. You need a fire to get warm, dry out wet clothing and purify water. A fire is one of the top priorities in any survival situation. When you think about starting a fire, you probably envision a nice dry spot on the ground, with dry tinder and dry wood. If you are in the wilderness and there is snow all around, those things are going to be very hard to come by. You need to know how to start a fire in the snow.

Clear an area for your fire with a branch. Ideally, you will want to place the fire under some cover if possible. A tree canopy is perfect if you don’t have a tarp or blanket. Pick dry tinder that hasn’t been lying on the ground. Look under trees, close to the trunk where pine needles and grass will have the best chance at being dry.

If you can, put your fire on top of some twigs to help keep it off the wet ground. The twigs will burn eventually, but any extra help you can give your fire is a good thing. If your tinder is nice and dry, you won’t have a problem getting the spark to land and start a flame. If the tinder is wet or damp, it is going to take a lot more effort.

Use small twigs or kindling to coax the new fire along if your wood is damp. Smaller pieces of wood are much easier to ignite. Keep building the fire until it is nice and hot before you add a medium-sized piece of wood. Watch the fire closely. You may need to add more kindling to help dry out the damp wood and allow the fire to take off.

It is possible to get a fire going, even if there is snow on the ground. If you can’t clear a place in the snow, you can build your fire on top of ice or lay down some larger logs to act as a platform. Do yourself a favor and carry dry tinder in your bug out bag to make life a little easier.

4 Tips to Choosing the Right Pack for Your Bug Out Bag

We all have a bug out bag. If you don’t, you need to get one. Not all backpacks are created equal and not all backpacks will make good bug out bags. Buying the cheapest backpack at Wal-Mart is not a good use of your money. You can certainly buy used, but you need a quality pack that is going to hold up. Quality counts.

There are some key traits your bug out bag should have.

*Durable. You don’t want flimsy material that will shred with the first snag of a tree limb. While many backpacks are made with some kind of nylon material. Check reviews online to see what others have said about the pack—believe them and not the sales copy.

*Affordable—more expensive does not always mean better. Decide what you can afford and then start looking for packs that fit into your price range. You can buy a used pack for half the price and it will still have plenty of life left.

*Size matters. Decide what you will be carrying. Are you going to be carrying enough gear for the whole family or just yourself? Are you planning on using the bag to live out of for a day or a week? If you need to pack a lot of gear, consider getting an internal frame pack.

*Comfort—if possible, try the packs on before buying. You want it to sit comfortably on your hips and not rest in the small of your back. Spring for the hip belts and extra padding in the shoulders. A breathable material on the back side is another perk that can make warm weather bug outs a little more comfortable.

No matter what you decide, make sure the pack suits you and your needs. Everyone has their own idea about what they need to carry. If you are someone who wants lots of pockets, make sure that is a quality you keep in mind when shopping around. The pack is for you and it is all about what you like and what you don’t.

Winter Weather Tips by Those that Know

There are plenty of areas that are getting hit with snowstorms that are breaking records. Anytime you have records being broken when it comes to the weather, people are going to have a tough time adjusting. Sometimes, you can’t just ride it out. You have to be prepared to be stuck at home for days on end, with the kids stuck home from school.

Areas that are not used to or prepared for snow are going to suffer the worst. Learn from the folks who live in areas that get plenty of snow. Those are the people who know how to ride out a storm in relative comfort without any major damage to their home.

Here are some tips from those that have been there, done that.

Roof Rakes

If your home is in an area that isn’t accustom to heavy snowfall, you are going to need this. Snow is heavy. You need to pull it off the roof before it causes major structural damage or collapses altogether. If you missed the boat and didn’t get one before they all sold out (which they will) a metal leaf rake will work. Scrape the snow as soon as you can.

Snow Shovel

Again, these are going to go fast. Shovels that are metal are going to be a little more durable. If you are dealing with heavy, wet snow, a metal shovel is best. Keep your walkways clear—stay on top of this. Once things start to melt, the slush hits and then it freezes and then you have a big, dangerous mess.

Supplies

Keep supplies like flashlights, candles and portable cell phone chargers on hand. Heavy snow can knock down powerlines or cause tree limbs to fall, taking down a line. You will also need to keep some non-perishable food on hand. Don’t break into the non-perishables first. Eat the leftovers out of the fridge first.

Heat

If you don’t have a second source of heat, you need to get one. A space heater can keep one room warm should your furnace break down. You are not going to be the only one having furnace trouble. You could end up on a waiting list for days. During that time, you need to be able to stay warm. If you are dealing with a power outage, a space heater isn’t going to help. A woodstove is ideal, but if it isn’t possible, know how to keep warm without power.

Time

Give yourself plenty of time if you have to drive in the snow. You can’t expect to jump on the freeway and do the posted speed limit. Take it easy. Have supplies in your vehicle, just in case you get stranded or find yourself stuck in traffic because of an accident. Take along things like kitty litter and a snow shovel. If you do slide off the road, kitty litter thrown under the tires can give you some traction. If you have went into a snowbank, you will need the shovel.

Dress for the Weather

Even if you are just running to the store or dropping the kids off at school, dress like you will be walking through the snow. Wear boots and take along a coat, hat and gloves. If you do happen to get stranded, you don’t want to be walking for help wearing your tennis shoes and without a coat.

Snowy weather can be fun and it will provide plenty of entertainment for the kids. Be ready to hang out and enjoy the time together. It is only temporary.

10 Things Your Doomsday Survival First Aid Kit Doesn’t Have

suture-259662_1280Putting together a first aid kit to use in the middle or aftermath of a disaster may seem fairly straightforward. You add the gauze and band-aids and what not and call it good. But, think about that. How far are a few bandages and a sample pack of ibuprofen going to get you? Exactly. You need to be realistic and accept the likelihood there will be more serious injuries that can’t be fixed with a band-aid.

Along with having the proper supplies, you need to get some training or at the very least, have some manuals on hand. Your first aid set up needs to resemble a mini clinic. You must be prepared to treat serious injuries the best you can with the right equipment. Sometimes, a serious injury only looks bad. It can be fixed with a little knowledge and the right gear.

Considering adding these items to your prepping stockpile and learn how to use them.

1. Suture kits are great to have. Many of them include needles that are already threaded with thread. It is all sterile, cutting down on the risk of infection.
2. Israeli bandages are good to have in your bug out kit. The bandages are designed to apply pressure to a wound while covering it and soaking up any blood. This is ideal if you have to tend to other injuries or if you are alone and need to stop bleeding.
3. Burn sheets. In almost every scenario, the possibility of a burn injury is very high. Bandages that are already treated with a collodial silver application that promotes healing and fights infection.
4. Manual resuscitators. These are the bags you can attach to a tube that has been placed down a patient’s throat and manually inflate to breathe for a patient.
5. Laryngoscope takes some training, but it is used to slide a tube down a person’s airway to allow you to help them breathe.first aid
6. A tactical cric kit isn’t something anyone wants to think about using, but in an emergency when the airway is blocked, a cric (incision through the throat) allows you to get the patient oxygen.
7. Bolin Seal or a penetrating wound chest kit can be a life-saving tool. It is easy to use. A sucking chest wound is life-threatening if not immediately treated.
8. A tactical chest tube kit is another useful tool that military personnel often have to use in the field. The chest tube can drain blood from around the lungs, keeping a person alive.
9. Lateral Canthotomy kits are used to prevent compartment syndrome that may result after a crush injury or a severe burn. These kits provide all the equipment you need to keep the area sterile while you perform the incisions to relieve pressure.
10. QuikClot or a similar hemostatic agent to help stop bleeding in serious injuries.

Each of these items requires some knowledge to use. Most of these kits can be found online and sold under military tactical items. Learn what they are and how to use them. These are the things that can help a person live through an injury that would be fatal without any intervention.

10 Tips to Save Money to Buy Prepping Supplies

baby steps week 2 priceMost preppers are not people with loads of cash in the bank. Preppers tend to be a frugal group of people who are doing what they can to prepare to survive an apocalypse of some sort. These are the people who won’t have the luxury of jetting off to some safe place or building an elaborate bunker system. Preppers are the folks like you and me who live simple lives and are just doing the best we can in this often unstable, crazy world.

If you want to get more serious about prepping, but are not quite sure how you can budget the money to buy what you need, these tips will help you make it work. Stocking up a year’s worth of food, water and other important gear doesn’t happen overnight. It is a process that is done over a period of time. It may take years to get what you need. The idea is to keep adding—never stop.

1. Cut out at least one coffee trip to Starbucks or Dutch Brothers. If you can, skip the coffee shops all week and make your own at home. Invest in a $100 machine so you can make delicious coffee in seconds. You will save time and money.
2. Skip the freezer meals and spend a few hours each week preparing meals from scratch. You can make casseroles and other meals on a Sunday, pop them in the freezer and heat during the week. This will save you money on your grocery bill.
3. Shop at thrift stores or buy second hand things like clothing, shoes and other necessities. You can find name brand, high quality items if you are willing to put in the time and effort to look.
4. Buy in the off season. Be ready to shop the clearance shelves after holidays. You can get winter gear in April for a fraction of the cost and use it the following year.
5. Cut out the cable or other television service. Really, TV is garbage anyways and you could be doing so much more with your time. If you need something, spend $15 a month and buy a Netflix or Hulu subscription.money challenge jar
6. Make a serious effort to cut your utility bills. Turn off lights, shorten showers, air dry your laundry and so on. Every $10 you save on your electric bill can go to prepping.
7. Make an effort to grow a garden. It can be container gardening. This gets you in the practice of growing your own food and can help save money on your grocery bill.
8. Pack your lunches. This is going to save you a small fortune every week. If you must, treat yourself to one lunch out per week.
9. Carpool or consider riding a bike to work or to run errands. Public transportation is another option. No, it isn’t always convenient, but if you can save $25 a week on gas, just think of how much food you could put on your shelves.
10. Use coupons. Most stores are moving to digital coupons, which makes it so much easier to use at checkout. You don’t have to worry about clipping coupons, printing or forgetting them at home. Before you make any purchase, do a quick Google search to see if there are any coupon codes available.

Every penny you save counts. Just remember, the extra money you have at the end of the week should go to your prepping. Don’t splurge and go shopping!