Planning Your Bug Out

camping foodIf worse comes to worse and you truly have to bug out, you need a plan. Ideally, you will want to try and stay in your home if possible. This is where you have all of your creature comforts as well as a roof over your head and hopefully food and water storage. But, there is always the possibility you are going to have get out of dodge in a hurry. You don’t want to grab your bug out bag and just run like the wind without having a plan. Preppers know a plan and then a backup plan is always a must.

When you think about your bug out plan, you need to consider a few important elements.

*Do you or will you have little kids with you? Trekking up hill for several miles with little ones isn’t easy. You certainly can’t expect to carry them and your bug out gear and actually get anywhere in a hurry.Children need reassurance after a disaster

*Will the path be passable year round? If you live in an area where there is heavy snowfall, your first option may not be possible if there is several feet of snow on the ground. If you have to cross a bridge, there is a chance it could be destroyed or unsafe to pass by.

*Do you have a destination in mind? Your bug out plan should include a destination. Somewhere that is out of sight, whether that is a second home, a relative’s home or a secluded area in the forest.

*Can you get to the location on foot? You need to have contingency plan should your bug out vehicle be incapacitated. Roads may be completely blocked.

It is important you pay some attention to this planning. It could very well mean your life. Think about your kids, your pets and your own endurance. Consider the weather as well. You must be prepared to bug out any time of the year. Sit down with your family and do your best to come up with a bug out plan that works for everyone.

Preparing for an El Nino Winter

hurricane-67581_640After a long, hot and very dry summer for most of the country, it is time to prepare for a rough winter according to the Farmer’s Almanac. Of course, there is no real way to accurately predict what the future will hold, but many people place a lot of stock in the almanac. As a prepper, it is a good idea to pay attention to predictions and prepare to deal with a rough winter. A long, cold, snowy winter means you will likely be relying on your emergency preps from time to time.

There is also the uncertain economic future to consider. With a disastrous winter supposedly headed our way and equally unstable economy, things could get very dicey over the next several months. The time to plump up those food storages and prepare to live with minimal or no electricity is now. Don’t keep putting it off.

snow WVThe following list includes some of the things you should start doing today to prepare for winter.

  • Stock up on wood to burn in your wood stove—if you don’t have one, consider making the investment
  • Stock up on water, set up rain barrels to catch the fall rains
  • Stock up on canned foods i.e. veggies, meats, fruits, soups
  • Add to your personal hygiene supplies i.e. toilet paper, feminine hygiene, soap
  • If you have a baby or are expecting load up on diapers, formula, wipes and etc…
  • Consider growing your own window garden, things like cucumbers, herbs and tomatoes are all excellent window plants
  • Load up on winter gear, have back up boots, coats and gloves so you are never stuck outside in wet gear
  • Have snow shovels on hand before the snow flies
  • Have rolls of plastic and duct tape so you can cover the windows if the temps are freezing and you don’t have heat
  • Flashlights and candles are a must

You never know if or when the power will go out in a winter storm. You must be prepared to shelter in place should the weather become inclement and traveling to the store to grab necessities is not worth the risk. Keep food, water and basic supplies on hand so you never have to go without or risk your life.

Buying Prepping Supplies in Bulk

healthy freeze dried foodPreppers are the type who like to be prepared for anything for the long term. They don’t just look at the short term goal of surviving on their own for a couple of days while the government and emergency services mobilize to send help. Anybody who is doing that may be waiting for a long while. When you are thinking long term, you will need a lot of supplies, not a single box of matches or a single bottle of water purification tablets. You need a lot, which is why buying in bulk makes so much sense.

Buying in bulk is typically more cost effective. You can buy prepping supplies by the case load and get a significant discount. Things like hand warmers, emergency blankets and water purification supplies are just some of the things you will need a lot of. Buying individually can get expensive in the long run. You will pay anywhere from one to three dollars for a single blanket. However, when you buy in bulk, you can often get that price to under a dollar.sk1ee_lar_survival_kit

While many preppers will say they can’t afford to spend $50 on a case of hand warmers, when you break down the price for each pack, you are going to spend nearly twice as much if you buy a pack here and there. It makes good sense to save up and make those bulk purchases. It will ultimately save you money and you will have more supplies to put on your shelves. You can always use the extra you have to trade for other things you do need.

This isn’t to say you shouldn’t take advantage of clearance prices and sales on the individual packs. Always be on the lookout and do your best to catch sales. Adding a little at a time to your emergency storage is okay, but if you find an opportunity to buy in bulk—go for it!

The Reluctant Prepper

bug out bagAre you interested in prepping and excited to share the information with your family only to be ignored or laughed at? Maybe your spouse scoffs at your attempts to store food and water and brush up on survival skills. They may feel it is silly because nothing bad will ever happen and if it does, the government would step in and save everybody. If you are a prepper, you know that scenario is pretty unlikely should there ever be a real catastrophe and it will come down to every man for himself. You keep prepping, because you know it is smart, but you are doing it alone.

Unfortunately, prepping for an entire family without the family’s involvement can be just as dangerous. You cannot do it all alone. You cannot be as successful in your prepping journey if your partner is going against what you are doing. It will cause strife and before you know it, you will be sneaking around to do your prepping.

Here are a few ways you can hopefully ease your spouse into prepping. Don’t expect a complete change of heart, but hopefully they will at least warm up to the idea.

*Casually mention stories you see on the news or read on the internet. Things like, “Did you hear about that family stranded in their car for a week?” or “Did you see the damage that hurricane did and all those people were left without food and water for days?”family-591579_640

*Don’t get carried away and start prepping for alien landings. You know your spouse and know just how much they will buy. Keep your disaster prep as real as possible. If you live in tornado alley, prep for tornadoes. If you live in the mountains, prep for major snowstorms.

*Try to get your spouse to go camping for the weekend. Make it a fun, family event that gives you the chance to casually teach them how to start a fire or how to put up a tent. Anytime you can get them into the outdoors where you can brush up on survival skills is a good thing.

Lastly, don’t push too hard. Take baby steps. Try to find out why your spouse is so adamant against prepping. Explain that this is something you think will help the family even if a major disaster never strikes. You will be prepared if a family member gets ill, you lose your job or you have a bunch of unexpected company. No matter what, you need to do what you can to gently sway your reluctant spouse to the prepping movement.

5 Emergency Light Solutions You Didn’t Know About

flashlightYou have prepped and planned and added flashlights to your emergency stash. You probably even have a lantern in there too. Unfortunately, life never goes as planned and disasters can certainly throw you for twists and turns no matter how prepared you are. Here are some backup light systems you can use should you find yourself without your trusty flashlight or lantern. Now, some of these are really only viable if you are in a power outage or are still in your home and have these items on hand. If you were in a survival situation that puts you out in the boonies, these solutions are not going to apply.

For most of these to work, you will need wicks. You can buy wicks in bulk and keep on hand. If you don’t have wicks, a strand from a cotton mophead will also do the trick.

1-A can of Crisco or vegetable shortening will burn for days. Stick a wick down the center, light it and you have an emergency candle.

2-A cube of butter can be used the same was as a can of vegetable shortening. Put a wick in the center and allow it to burn.KODAK Digital Still Camera

3-Poke a hole in a can of tuna or other canned meat in oil and you have yet another quick candle.

4-Gather up 3 or 4 crayons and tape them or use a rubberband to hold them together. Peel back a piece of the paper and light it with a match. The wax from the crayons will provide fuel and the paper will act as the wick.

5-For a lantern, you can use a headlamp wrapped around a jug of water to illuminate a larger space. This is great for setting on the table so you can play a hand of cards or set on the counter so you can prepare a meal.

These are quick and easy ways you can create candles with things you probably already have in your pantry. Be ready and store extra batteries and several flashlights, but be prepared to come up with some unique ways to light up your space.

What’s Your Bug Out Bag Missing?

travel-641635_640You have probably packed and repacked your bug out bag several times since you first put it together. The more research you do and the more you practice with your bug out bag, the more knowledge you will gain about what you really need in there. Following a list off the internet is great and most bug out bag lists look the same. However, there are some things you can add to your bug out bag that will make your life much easier and you won’t typically find the items on the standard list of things to pack.

Check out the list below and see if you should be adding a few more things to your bug out bag.

*Chapstick—When you are out in the wind and sun for hours, your lips become very dry. You will want to drink more water to help ease the discomfort. If water is in short supply, that could be a problem. Keep some chapstick in your bag to make you a little more comfortable.

*Duct tape—Some folks are avid duct tape users, while others haven’t experienced the joy of the durable tape. Pack a roll and be prepared to be amazed.

*Kitchen trash bags—These can be used for a number of different things and are extremely lightweight and take up no space in your bag. Toss in a few for water carrying, water proofing and even making a shelter.

floss-668215_640*Ziploc bags—Quart and gallon size bags can be used to keep your stuff organized and dry. Use the bags to carry water or put over your shoes to keep them dry.

*Dental floss—While good oral hygiene is important and dental floss will be handy for those needs, it can also be used for so many other things like fishing line, snares, shoestrings and so on. Pack a box or two in your bug out bag.

These five things may seem rather small and inconsequential, but they can be extremely useful. When you are thinking about your bug out bag and the gear you put in it, you want items that serve many purposes and are not limited to just one function. Think out of the box a bit and see what you can come up with.

Prepping for Wildfire Season

fireMany preppers are getting a jumpstart on preparing for a collapse by doing what they can to homestead now. Homesteading is typically done in rural areas either on a prairie where there is lots of land to farm and raise animals or high up in the mountains away from society. While this is great for some nice quiet living and plenty of hands-on practice, there is one risk many don’t consider—wildfires.

Fire can wipe out everything you have worked for within a matter of minutes. It can also threaten your life. Fire is one of those things you cannot predict or even fight without the right tools. Calling the fire department may help, but you also need to be prepared to take care of yourself should a wildfire come knocking on your door.

As with anything, prevention is your best treatment.

*Defensible space is a term you will hear firefighters use quite a bit. Basically, you need to protect your home (with you in it) by creating a space between the trees and prairie grass and your home. While it is great to live and be surrounded by trees, when those trees are up against your house, it is like living in a box of matches.
*Keep things wet. While water is a coveted resource, you can’t be too stingy with it. You want to keep the area around your house green.
*If you don’t want to deal with a lot of plant life or you don’t have enough water to keep a big, green lawn, make it dirt. Dirt doesn’t burn. Get the tiller out and till the ground regularly. Don’t let the weeds grow out of control. firefighters

*Be vigilant and take regular trips around your property. If you see a small bit of smoke, investigate immediately. Don’t wait and see if it is anything, that will be too late. Pay attention to your nose. If you smell smoke or fire, act quickly.

*Avoid running your chainsaw, smoking or having campfires when things are really dry. A single spark or ember could destroy everything you have worked for.

If a fire does threaten your home, be smart and weigh the risks. Staying and fighting is often our first instinct, but waiting until it is too big could end up costing you your life. Always have one foot out the door during fire season. Keep a tote filled with personal paper, precious family artifacts and anything else you can’t live without at the ready.

Be prepared, be vigilant and be ready to bug out should it become apparent that is your only option.

Prepping for Summer Vacation Season

family-591579_640With summer weather, families everywhere are hopping in the car and heading out for a nice family vacation. Preppers are leaving behind the bulk of their supplies and enjoying everything life has to offer today. That is a good idea. There is no point in dwelling on all the what if possibilities and disaster scenarios. You need to get out there and enjoy everything we have available to us today. Before you head for the car, you do need to have a bug out bag in the car, just in case disaster strikes while you are on the road.

You can store these items in a back pack stowed in the trunk of the car or in the back of an SUV.

Emergency blanket—1 for each person
A portable camp shovel
Energy/protein bars
Waterproof matches and flint rod or magnesium stick
Orange cones for signaling and/or repairs
Cell phone charger for the car
First aid kit
Basic tools i.e. screwdrivers, wrenches, pliers
Duct tape
Canteen or bucket for carrying water
Spare tire and the equipment to change it
Extra bottle of car fluids; antifreeze, oil, brake fluidstreet-238458_640

These few items can mean the difference between surviving being stranded on the road for hours after an accident or breakdown and not making it. If a major disaster strikes while you are on the road, you need gear to get back home or to somewhere safe. Keep enough supplies in the car to hold your entire family over for at least a day. You never know when disaster will strike. Prepping isn’t just for home.

Are You Prepared to Hunker Down at Home?

riotingIf you were given an order by the military to stay in your home or neighborhood right this very minute, could you survive? Do you have enough supplies to keep your family alive and well for at least three days? What if the lockdown persists and you are essentially forced to be under house arrest for days or weeks. Very few people have what they need to live through such an ordeal.

You may be thinking that would never happen, but it could happen. You never know if or when our own military may enforce martial law or if we are invaded by a foreign army. While the probability is somewhat slim, it is out there. A terrorist attack or a riot that erupts in your neighborhood will drive you indoors in an attempt to find safety. Events can quickly spin out of control within a matter of hours and you could very well find yourself in this particular scenario.

The following list are some of the very basic essentials you should always have on hand just in case you are forced to shelter in place with no real warning.

*Canned food. You need to have a variety of canned foods, not just a bunch of veggies or a few cans of fruit cocktail. You need soups, fruits, veggies and canned meat if you like it.

*Freeze-dried foods are great, but you will need to store extra water to make the food into edible pantry-1

*Water is one of the most important things you will store. Some scenarios will allow you to still get water from the tap. Other scenarios will mean you don’t have water from the tap or the water available is contaminated.

*Soap for washing hands and dishes will be necessary. You can’t afford to get sick by using dirty hands.

*Personal hygiene items. Toilet paper, feminine hygiene and toothpaste are all easy to store. They will be very appreciated should you find yourself stuck in your house for days on end.

*Light sources, like a flashlight, candles or a lantern. Sitting in the dark when you know there is chaos outside is intense. You can help dispel some of the fear by having some light.

*Safety and security. It is really personal choice if you want to have a gun in the home, but it is a good idea to have some way to defend yourself and your supplies whether that be a taser, knife, gun or whatever.

*Blankets and winter gear are important to have on hand. If you are forced to hunker down in cold temperatures, there is a chance the power will be out. You need to be able to stay warm. If you have a woodstove or fireplace, make sure you have a supply of dry wood ready to burn.

*First aid kit and any necessary medicines. If you require certain medicines, it is important you keep extra on hand at all times, just in case.

These basic supplies will help you ride out any disaster scenario or even something like a severe storm that keeps you homebound. If you find yourself extremely ill or are stuck at home taking care of a family member who is ill, you can rest assured you don’t have to worry about making it to the store. You have the supplies necessary to survive for a few days or weeks without leaving your house.

Droughts Increase Risk of Wildfires–Are You Prepared?

fireWith the very real possibility of drought in areas all across the country, it is important you prepare to deal with a wildfire that has spun out of control. With a lack of snow and rain, the open country is going to be akin to a giant tinder bundle. A spark from a passing car or a strike of lightning could set off a devastating wildfire that threatens homes and lives. Fire is incredibly unpredictable and can change directions at anytime. You need to be prepared and ready to flee should a wildfire threaten your home.

When you hear about or see a fire in your area, you need to pay attention. Listen to the radio and check in with the news every hour or so to check the progress of the fight. Firefighters will give containment numbers. This means they have the fire a certain percent contained. Fires that are burning out of control and have a 0 percent containment are the most dangerous.

If an evacuation advisory is issued, it would be best to listen and get out before it becomes a mandatory evacuation. If there is not an order to leave the area, you still may want to consider doing so anyways, especially if you have anybody in the home that has any kind of respiratory problems. Wild fires contain toxins in the smoke that can make it difficult to breathe and may cause adverse reactions. It is best to get away from the area and let the firefighters do their thing while you watch from a safe distance.firefighters

Keep a bug out bag ready to go at all times. It is a good idea to keep family keepsakes in a single bin that can be grabbed and tossed into the car on a moment’s notice. You don’t want to waste time trying to hunt down grandma’s wedding ring. Have a credit card available to use to rent a room in a nearby town. Make sure you have at least half a tank of gas in the car to get you far enough away from the fire as well.

Don’t assume a wildfire will never happen in your area. They can happen anywhere at anytime. Be prepared to deal with one.