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.

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.

Are You Ready for Hunting?

sniper-1194303_1280Tis the season hunters all across the country are gearing up and heading off into the forest or wilderness to do a little hunting. Hunting for ducks, elk, deer and so on is a family tradition for many. It is a way to bond with friends and family as you skulk through the woods, looking for an animal to take. In today’s world, you need a license and a tag to take your catch home. You spend a lot of money gearing up for your hunting expedition. You only have a small window and it is important you take advantage of the fancy gear and equipment to make sure you don’t go home empty handed.

Hunting in today’s world is cushy compared to what it will be like when hunting is how you put food on the table. When there are no grocery stores to pick up the slack, you have to be prepared to take an animal every time. You will be hunting more than once a year and while it may still be a sport, it is going to be very serious business.

You need to have supplies tucked away for hunting. Sure, you can rough it and you can hunt without a lot of the little luxuries that are available today, but why should you have to if you don’t need to? Plus, if you have never hunted the old-fashioned way, you are going to struggle without your gadgets.hunter-67002_1280

Some things you can add to your stockpile that will make hunting a little easier and possibly successful (depending on who you ask).

*Camouflage—waterproof is best

*Hunting knife

*Bone saw for processing what you harvest

*Dragging gear—makes it a lot easier to get large animals back to camp

*Hunting pack

*Gun with plenty of ammunitionrifles tend to be the weapon of choice

*Bow and arrows

*Calls—duck, deer or whatever you are hunting

You may be a hunter that really depends on the scents used to lure in animals or the descenting products that are meant to mask your smell. If you use these things and have had success, it would be a good idea to add some to your stockpile. Hunting is a lot like cooking. Everyone has their own style and personal preferences. It doesn’t matter what you do or don’t do. All that matters is that you are successful. Don’t worry about other hunters shaming you for using various tools. If they work, that is what counts and your family will be fed.

An Emergency Blanket is More than Just a Blanket

wilderness survival kitEvery bug out checklist you find or stockpile checklist you come across will have a survival blanket or what are sometimes referred to as emergency blankets or Mylar blankets on the list. If you have ever gotten your hands on one of these and opened up the tiny, wallet-size packages, you may be wondering what all the fuss is. Like, how is that thin, fragile piece of shiny material going to save your life.

It really can. Despite it’s relatively fragile condition, it is extremely useful and effective at keeping you warm. Keep in mind; not all emergency blankets are created equal. There are some that are incredibly thin and they will shred with just the slightest tug. Because these are such a vital part of your bug out bag and survival, it is worth it to spend a couple extra bucks and buy the good ones rather than to go cheap. Have at least one quality blanket in your bag and a few of the lesser-quality ones to use for purposes other than covering your body.

What other purposes? Well, there are many, many ways you can use those blankets in a survival situation.bug out bag

1. Place a blanket behind a fire so the heat reflects back on you or into your shelter.
2. Use a blanket to signal for help.
3. Use the blanket to make a lean-to.
4. Use a blanket to put over the top of your A-frame shelter.
5. As a poncho to help keep you dry.
6. Make a sling for an injured arm.
7. Cover a window with a blanket to stop drafts.
8. Use a blanket as a barrier between you and the cold ground.
9. Braid strips of a blanket together to form cordage.
10. Tear shreds of a blanket to mark trails if you have to go out hunting or foraging.

There are plenty of more uses for the blankets. You may not even know you can use it for something until you are in the moment. Buy the blankets in bulk. Once you have opened them, you are never going to get them back down to the size of a credit card. They are flimsy and they will tear. Have several in your pack just to be on the safe side.

Skills Matter—Knowledge is Only Half the Survival Battle

startup-594127__340There are two kinds of preppers. The kind that read and study and are endless resources of information and then there are those who do. The doers are learning by trial and error through actual experience. While neither way is technically the right way, it is pretty safe to say the doers are probably going to fare better in a true post SHTF situation.

Knowledge is power, but reading about starting a fire with a spark from a magnesium stick and actually knowing exactly how to hold the stick and how close to the tinder bundle it needs to be are two different things. Armchair preppers need to get out from behind the computer and get out into the wild from time to time. These knowledgeable armchair preppers do have their place in a post-apocalypse world. They will be a fountain of information and they can certainly direct others on what they should do, but if this kind of prepper is all alone, talking to the air isn’t going to help.scouts

There are a ton of skills that go along with survival; prepping, homesteading, growing food, raising animals and so on. Reading how to make cheese and actually making cheese are very different. Reading about butchering livestock and getting your hands bloody doing it will definitely be a shock to the system. Survival is messy business and if you aren’t used to or expecting the ick, you are going to have a tough time coping.

Get up, get out and get doing. Put your knowledge to the test and use the information you have gathered through research to really test your skills. Don’t wait until you actually need the skills to give them a trial run.

Are Your Kids Too Young to Be Preppers?

forest-386751_960_720Preppers come from all walks of life and tend to be chameleons. They blend in, doing what they can to keep their prepping practices on the down low. Usually, the whole family is involved in the prepping in some way, shape or form. However, there are some parents who take care of the bulk of the prepping needs and just assume they will be around to guide the kids and tell them what to do. But, what if you are not there? What if you are incapacitated somehow? Wouldn’t you want the kids to be able to take care of themselves or take care of you if needed?

Some people ask, “How old should my kids be before we start teaching them about prepping and survival?” The answer is simple—they are never too young. Prepping is a lifestyle. Your children learn from you from the very moment they enter the world. You have a very pliable little human in your hands, ready for your teaching. Use it wisely.

Kids should be taught basic survival skills early on. How many times have we heard about toddlers wandering off and getting lost in the woods overnight or being gone for days. There are plenty of miracle stories about those babies living through their ordeal. If, by some chance your little one finds himself/herself in a similar position, don’t you want them to be somewhat knowledgeable about what to do?children-770258_640

When you are stocking the shelves, putting together bug out bags or storing water, explain why you are doing such things to your children. Have them help you. Talk about what to do in various scenarios. When you are out and about, have the child keep an eye out for things that would be good to add to the storage shelves. Take them camping often and let them get some real practice.

Make it a family affair. Teach them so they are ready and feel more secure when things do go south. Having more hands on deck is only going to help you and them survive whatever comes your way.

Escaping Violence: 5 Survival Tips

gas-mask-718727_960_720As our world continues to get a little more dangerous, it is now more important than ever to be vigilant. You have to know what is going on around you at all times. You never know when a terrorist will decide to make a statement and open fire at the mall or a restaurant. The terrorist may be home-grown or foreign. You may be sitting at home and find yourself smack dab in the middle of a shoot out or surrounded by angry protesters. The world is not stable and if you want to make it through unscathed and alive, you need to know what to do when violence erupts around you.

These are a few tips to help you protect yourself and stay out of harm’s way.

1-Do not draw attention to yourself whether it is in a mob or active shooter situation. Don’t make any sudden movements, shout at the bad guy or try to make a run for it if the person/s have you in their crosshairs.

2-If you find yourself caught up in a mob without intentionally trying to do so, casually work your way to the outer edge and look for a place to escape and hide. Don’t protest the protesters. Keep your mouth shut and don’t make yourself obvious. Maybe it is turning a corner and using a building for cover or hiding behind a big tree. The key is to be casual and slowly slip away.gun-449783_960_720

3-For an active shooter situation, experts advise you to take cover, play dead if necessary. Wait until the shooter is distracted or looking elsewhere before you try to make your way out of the situation. Fortunately, most mass shootings are over and done in less than 15 minutes. Obviously, this isn’t the case in all situations, but while you are hiding, you need to stay calm and remind yourself it will soon be over.

4-Fighting back an active shooter is an option. In most cases, an active shooter is going to be in a public place, which means there are more of you than him. Gang up and use strength in numbers to take the shooter down. Experts recommend attacking from behind and the sides. Get the gun, then the shooter. Be violent in the attack. It is an all out fight for life or death and no time to worry about the repercussions of violently attacking a murderer.

5-The last tip is more about what to do before a situation happens. Always know what is happening around you. Be aware. When you walk into any building, store, mall or theater, know where the exits are. Identify places that will shield you, just in case. Keep your nose out of your phone and pay attention to the people around you. Humans are born with a natural instinct that can help them identify danger or when something isn’t right. When you get that feeling, don’t ignore it.

Desert Survival Tips to Stay Alive

desert-175465_640The middle of summer poses some extra challenges in a survival situation. If you happen to be traveling through a desert and your car breaks down or you get lost, you could be in trouble. Maybe you have gone hiking and got separated from your group in a remote area. Often times, cell phone service is very spotty in these sparsely populated areas. If you ever find yourself in a desert or near desert survival situation, these tips will help you beat the heat and survive.

1-Sleep and rest during the day. If you have a flashlight, you can travel at night—just make sure you can see where you are going. There is still a risk of tripping over rocks, animals and falling off cliffs. Travel in the early morning hours and dusk hours when the sun is setting but still provides some light.

2-Keep your skin covered as much as possible. Silk material is lightweight and offers you protection from the sun. You don’t want to get a sunburn that will dehydrate you very quickly.

3-Learn how to make a solar still, just in case your water situation becomes desperate. Ideally, you should always carry gear that will include water, but you may need to get resourceful if your survival situation extends several days.

4-Eating critters like lizards and snakes will give you some calories and the blood will help keep you hydrated. The tiny animals do not offer a lot of nutrition or hydration, but every little bit helps. Eating raw animals is not exactly a thrilling thought, but it will do in a pinch.sun-293615_640

5-Don’t overdo it. Don’t walk fast or run. You want to keep moving, but at a pace that doesn’t raise your heart rate and get you sweating. The more you sweat, the more water you lose. Just go easy. Make sure to leave your mark along the way so people can find you.

Ideally, if you find yourself lost in the desert, you should always stick with your vehicle. It provides you with shelter and is much easier to spot than your little old self. Always be prepared and have plenty of food, water and other basic supplies anytime you set out, just in case.

What Will You Wear for the Apocalypse?

birch-569341_960_720It may seem like a silly question, but what do you plan on wearing for the apocalypse? Your clothing will be your first line of defense against the weather. Heading out in a snowstorm wearing sweats and flip flops would be a serious mistake. Your bug out bag is important, but you also need to put together the outfit that will protect you and aid you in your goal to survive whatever has come your way. There are some key components to look for when you are putting together your survival outfit.

Waterproof

Getting wet could kill you in a cold weather situation. You want to stay as dry as possible. Even though it may seem like a good idea to get wet in a hot weather situation, you would be very uncomfortable and your skin would chafe. Duck canvas pants are a good option. Gortex is nice, but it will tear with just the slightest brush of a branch or rubbing against a jagged rock.

Durablewalker-1208261_960_720

Again, the duck canvas is a nice choice for pants at least. It is very durable and isn’t going to shred while you walk and climb over rough terrain. It is actually fairly comfortable as well and will get more comfy once you break in the gear.

Warm

Even in warm weather, nights can be very chilly. A jacket is going to be a nice addition. The jacket should have a wool or fleece lining to keep you warm. An outer shell made with a breathable material will keep you from sweating. Many of the hiking jackets you will find have several layers that you can remove or add as needed.

Pockets

Pockets are awesome. Cargo pants are worn by the military for a reason. They can pack around a great deal of gear on their person. It is much easier to get to something in a pocket than it is in a backpack. Tactical vests, pants and jackets should definitely be included in your survival wear.

Base Layer

This is the layer of clothing that you would wear under your shirt or pants. There are a lot of choices in this area. The weather you are preparing to bug out in will play a huge role in deciding what to pack. Make sure you update your outfit with the season. Merino wool tends to be a favorite for cold weather situations. Silk is incredibly soft and adds a nice layer of protection for the skin in cold or warm weather situations.

Is Your Dog a Prepper?

german-shepherd-525804_640Many preppers have dogs. They have dogs for many different reasons. It may simply be because the kids wanted one or maybe you were looking for a companion. Homesteaders like to have dogs to help keep an eye on things and serve as an early warning system. Others like to have dogs trained as guardians of their people, willing to attack anybody who tries to harm their owners. No matter what the reason for owning a dog is, you have to ask yourself; is your dog a prepper?

No, your dog isn’t going to have a stockpile of food hidden under the porch or buried somewhere. But, is your dog ready to survive an apocalypse of some sort? If you don’t know, then you need to bring old Fido up to speed on things. Your dog needs to be prepared to help you out after a major event. A dog that isn’t prepared is going to be a hindrance and may even get you killed.

Can Your Dog Deal with Loud Noises?

If your dog is the kind that runs or hides when there is a thunderstorm or a door slams, you need to work with him. In a disaster and immediately after, it will probably be pretty loud. You don’t want your friend running off at the first loud bang. Help the dog be okay with loud booms, like gun shots, by either hiring a trainer or exposing the animal to noises and providing the reassurance that is is okay.labrador-805838_960_720

Does Your Dog Come when Called?

This is a frustrating scenario for every dog owner. They often have a mind of their own and will completely ignore commands to heel or return to where you are. Again, hire a trainer or train your dog from a young age that returning when called is important. This is to protect your dog from being injured as well as keep you from having to go out on a search and rescue mission and potentially putting yourself in harm’s way.

Does Your Dog Bark Incessantly?

A dog that barks constantly will not only drive you crazy, it will alert others to your presence. In a post-collapse world, that is probably not going to be a good thing, unless you want to be found. Train the dog to only bark when an alert needs to be sounded.

These three traits are crucial to your dog’s ability to help you after a disaster. Fortunately, these are all traits that can be trained with a little work. There are going to be a few dogs that are timid and will not do well in a chaotic situation. Do your best to help the dog overcome fears by keeping calm yourself. Your furry friends will usually take their cues from you. If you are panicking, they will feed off that energy and panic themselves. Enroll your dog in a training class or do some serious research and learn how to train your dog without a trainer.