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Governments starting to ban/control/curtail exports…

No link to sources, you can search and find numerous articles.  Many countries are taking steps to curtail (not always outright ban) exports of certain raw materials including food products.  A few observations based on my extremely limited knowlegdge of all these things, but coupled with some other bits of things read/heard over the past few months…

1. the items included in the export bans range from basic resources (e.g. grain) to other more perishable good (e.g. eggs, butter, vegetable oil, onions).  So… this doesn’t seem to be just a freeze on basic commodities but on value added products as well.

2. the export bans seem to be from smaller countries (e.g. Syria, Bulgaria, Romania); I don’t know if they are net importers of basic necessities but it would seem logical for such places to secure their food security.

3. News from Dec 2021 — the supply chain problems were predicted to remain until late 2022, and that was only when things were anticipated to START getting better.  That was obviously before Ru/Uk conflict so…

4. Other commodities (timber, bauxite, palm oil) appear in searches on export adjustments… these could be related to normal trade fluctuations, supply chain issues, Ru/Uk conflict, or just the advancement of the country’s economy such that they want to reserve those things for their own industries.  However, have seen multiple reports on timber exports from Ru being impacted now.  point being, all of these things can lead to higher prices for lots of things…on top of what was already occuring due to COVID/supply chain issues.

5. Uk is a top 10 world producer of a lot of things — mostly raw materials (e.g. wheat, titanium).  

Walking through the grocery at the start of COVID, I was sort of surprised to see empty shelves.  Even as I understood why it was so, it simply had never happened in my lifetime here — the only thing stores ran out of were toys during the holiday rush (e.g. Cabbage Patch dolls?).   I don’t think anyone will starve, but I’m preparing for some shortages now too. 

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Prepping with special needs kids

Hi all,

I’m new to prepping and decided to get sorted after recent covid/ridiculous storm/potential war.

We have 3 aspergers boys who only eat certain foods and certain brands only.

Please note they can detect between tap and bottled water so swapping food item brands is not an option. Neither is ‘when they are hungry they will eat’.. once the three of them refused to eat for 3 days on holidays, to the point we were worried.

This leaves us dependent on the freezer (to store preferred foods). Do I just buy generator? If so, any suggestions (UK)?


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Anyone know of any good card multi-tools?

For a few years I’ve had one of those light weight credit card size multi-tools in the velcro pocket in the top of my hat (tilley wanderer), that way I always have it with me and it’s surprising how often I use it

I’ve tried a few of them now and they all seem cheap and tacky, does anyone here know of any decent quality ones? or of any other UK legal EDC multi-tool that would be slim/light enough to keep in my hat pocket? budget around £50 ish

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Anti-nuclear normal apartment in eastern europe – is it a good option?

All cities in eastern europe, even small ones, have been built in the idea of surviving a nuclear attack. Many, probably 30% of flatblocks, also have an underground anti-nuclear room where the family can retreat into in case of a nuclear attack. Even small, 100k enhabitants cities that would not be a nuclear target have them.

What do you think about this kind of apartments? Their location is generally not good because if things go south, that’s where the frontline will probably be. But some ex-soviet countries like Slovenia or Kazahstan are far away enough from the action.

Would such a standard, anti-nuclear soviet apartment be a good option? What would be the best location? I suppose in a city in the mountains, below 300k enhabitants so that it’s not even a target unless all the nukes get fired. Should it be in a NATO country or in central asia? What would be the prons and cons of such an option?

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Bug Out: All you need to know

For who have paying attention to news, all of you certainly know about the war between Russia and Ukaraine, yesterday I saw some of the refuge fleeing from their home in news, some are carrying duffel bag, while some using travel case with wheel, I can only shake my head for this one, despite living in a country that has high chance for war to happen, they are not prepared for the Bug Out, so I guess I will share my knowledge here for those who need.

This article is not intended to replace this post: Emergency kit / bug out bag list , but as a supplement to it. Bug Out means to leave your home and go to some place for better survival rate.

1. To Bug In(Stay at your shelter) or Bug Out:

Now first and most important, know if you should bug out. For example:

When hurricane heading your home = bug out

When war started and you are in the city = bug out

When your house is on fire = bug out

Civil unrest = depending on your country, and where you live

Food price rising = bug in

Power outage = mostly bug in if you have supply in home, otherwise bug out

As you can see, bug out is the last resort to take, that means its either you have no supply at home or staying at home would make your life in danger, otherwise you should always bug in.

2. Vehicle

One of the most ignored and most important, when bug out, you will want to leave as fast as you could. Most people, despite prepared or not, will bug out when noticing danger is coming (hurricane, bombing, etc), and most will bug out in four wheeled vehicle, which make the traffic jam happen. So the best choice is to bug out with motorcycle or bicycle, or just with your foot.

3. Location

If you are bugging out, certainly you will want to go to a safer place. In most natural disaster, the bug out location is hotel, or your parent’s/grandparent’s home, but there are also chance where these place are not accessible and you need to settle in abandoned building woods (there will be more about this later)

4. Bug Out Bag Content

Now after all the important parts, its time about the things you want to carry when you are bugging out:

Water: Water is one of the most important things for our survival (beside air of course), you will only need three things, a stainless water bottle, water filter, and collapsible water bottle.

Stainless water bottle is important since you could boil water in it, which kill the virus and bacteria. (You can also do this in mineral water bottle in emergency, it might be bad for your health, but its better than dying in thirst)

Water filter could make dirty water able to drink without boiling (which is important if you can’t light a fire due to some reason), I always choose water filter that could filter out bacteria, chemical (heavy metal), and virus. If you stay in a city you might not be able to find water from stream to purify it, but if you happen to find a small water puddle, you can still use the filter to purify it, so don’t ditch the water filter even if you planned to stay in the city.

Collapsible water filter are used to collect dirty water so the filter could purify it, however most filter could work with normal soft drink bottle.

Tools/Entrance Tools: One of the most important things in the backpack, which include a knife, multitool, tungsten glass breaker, small axe/tomahawk/machete(big knife), folding saw.

Knife is important for a lot of things, a survival knife in your pack should be around 3-4inch, full tang and made with durable material.

Multitool is essential for a bug out bag, simply because it have so much function. One of it function is bolt cutter, which might be useful if you need to break enter an abandoned building.

Tungsten glass breaker, usually located on a tactical pen or as addon to a multitool, can be used to break glass, which might be useful if you need to break enter an abandoned building.

Small axe/tomahawk/machete(big knife), depending on your location, is important if you are bugging out into the woods/rain forest. In some country like US which could become very cold during winter, axe or tomahawk is very useful to produce firewood even if you are not bugging out into the woods. Machete(Big knife) is important for tropical environment since there are thick under bush in the rainforest.

Folding saw is very useful if you want to cut furniture into firewood, or simply want to cut hardwood, using saw for hardwood save much energy compare to axe or machete.

Shelter: Depending on where you want to stay, you will need different things. If you are bugging out to hotel or friend’s/parent’s house, you could skip this. If you have no choice, you could either stay in abandoned building, or just bugging out into the woods. Please keep in mind that you will not live happily forever in the woods like some preppers imagined, you only stay in abandoned building/woods until the disaster/war is over in your area. If you are staying in the woods, you will need a tarp to keep rain off your head. But tarping is not easily mastered without practice, especially if you are alone, so remember to try setting up tarp when going outdoor, or just at your backyard.

Food: While human can survive longer without food compared to water, food is also essential to provide energy for every day work. I only recommend ration block, while they are not that tasty, they last long, provide multiple day of energy, while being small and not so heavy.

Example: Datrex ration, which could last 3-7days, weight is between 700-800 grams

Clothing: There are 2 type in this category, normal clothing and extra clothing.

Normal clothing: What you currently wear and are comfortable to you, pack a pair of extra into the bug out bag.

Extra clothing:

Gloves: Important to prevent blister in heavy work suck as splitting wood, or just keep your hand warm.

Shoes: Assuming you have your shoes nearby, you won’t have to pack extra in the bug out bag. 

Rain gear: Being wet could cause cold which is deadly in disaster, you will need a rain gear to keep your self dry, Most people use Gore-Tex jacket these day, but I keep a tarp poncho in my bag which work to keep me dry while also work as shelter, just choose whatever work for you.

Winter/Cold Jacket: If your region is very cold during winter, remember to wear one if you are bugging out during winter, otherwise keep one in your backpack.

Medical: Medical supply is also important, but don’t just buy a medical kit, they are lots of useful article which tell you how to build an IFAK, while they are true, the most used item in a medical kit is normal pills for common illness, or some plaster and bandage, be sure to NOT overlook these simple content while building your IFAK.


Lighter: Your average BIC Lighter should do, just bring 2-3 of these.

Paracord: Any rope are just as useful as your knowledge, paracord is also useful for setting up tarp, just bring 50-100ft of this.

Light: Headlamp is better than torch since you don’t need to hold it in your hand, if your headlamp is aa/aaa battery powered, remember to bring extra battery.

Toilet paper: Mostly you will use water, but just incase if you couldn’t find water.

Sharpening stone: Keep your tools and knife sharp, I personally use Fallkniven DC4.

Toothbrush: Even without tooth paste, could brush off leftover from your teeth, wont make your mouth smell fresh but at lease you wont have cavity.

Spork: Utensil is important since you won’t have much water to wash your hand.

Nail clipper and ear spoon: Stay outdoor for 2 weeks and you will know how important these things are.

Duct Tape: Very useful when you need to fix or make something.

Pen and paper: Useful to write down your plan or leave note for others.

Battery: Depending on the situation, a 10000-20000 mAh power bank should do for your headlamp and phone, if your headlamp use aa/aaa battery, don’t forget to bring extra.

Mood booster: During hard times, its important to stay sane so you could make right decision, some people bring card or board game, some bring photo of their loved one, whatever you choose, keep it light and simple.

5. Weapons

In disaster, you will need a way to defend yourself, just remember you will need to practice with what you choose.

Guns: Pistol, shotgun, riffle, whatever you choose, make sure you know how and are prepared to use it.

Spear: Always choose gun if it is legal in your country, otherwise simple spear is the best as long as you have the space to wield it.

What not to choose:

Sword: Require so much practice only to be defeated by spear.

Knife: I stab you, you stab me, then we are both dead. While knife is a useful tool, it should not be used to fight unless you have no better option.

6. The bag itself:

The bag should be the last item you buy, so you could know how much space you need. Your bag should be very durable, so it would not fall apart when you need it the most. Keep it mind that your bug out bag should be able to keep on your back COMFORTABLY, that means no duffel or any wheeled case. Also don’t choose camo color as it would make you look like a military unit if you are in a war region.

My Golden standard: Cordura 500D (or Nylon 1000D) and above, YKK Zipper, good carrying system, good hip belt.

I personally use Tasmanian Tiger backpack because its simple and works, other brands like 5.11 and Mystery Ranch also meet my standard. Just choose what you like and are comfortable to you. Even you want something lighter (my backpack weight 2.1 Kilograms without anything), anything 400d nylon with YKK Zipper, good carrying system and good hip belt should do, but keep in mind you are sacrificing durability for weight. Don’t worry about the greyman tactics unless you choose camo color, you wont be much different than the bugging out crowd.

My backpack which carrying everything I need.

Feel free to give some suggestion and if you have any questions, just ask below.

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Is there a more updated survival manual than the 8 year old SAS Survival Manual?

I see you are still recommending the “SAS Survival Manual” for the best reference. It’s 8 years old. There are a lot of changes in that time. From advances in technology to assessments of risks because of changes in civilized (or UNCIVILIZED) world. I would be surprised if there isn’t a more recent source.

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Poison ivy, oak, and sumac – how to identify, treat, and a fun little game

When hiking, bugging out, or working in your backyard, you may come in contact with a poison plant. There are many poisonous plants but I am going to focus on the three that everyone knows but may not know how to identify. Poison ivy, oak, and sumac.

Why am I writing this?

Because I was wanted to learn about these plants myself and the best way to get information to stick is to teach it to someone else.

Where do these plants grow and how do I identify them?

POISON IVY grows throughout all of the US states except California, Alaska, and Hawaii. It likes to grow near disturbed ground like along hiking trials. They grow as ground cover, shrub, or a climbing vine. Leaves are in clusters of three (“leaves of three let them be”), they are green in the summer, red in the fall, and have grayish-white berries.

POISON OAK isn’t as common as ivy, but is still prevalent in the US sticking to the west coast and the south eastern states. The leaves look like poison ivy but with more rounded edges, look like little oak leaves, and also grow in groups of three. It too likes growing along disturbed ground, grows as a shrub in sunlight, or climbs up trees as a vine in search of more sunlight. Leaves will be bronze, bright green, yellow-green, or red in the fall. The berries of poison oak are a greenish-white or tan.

POISON SUMAC is found in the eastern US and grows as a shrub that looks like a tree as tall as 20 feet. Luckily these plants like to stay to swamps or peat bogs so you may never run into these. These don’t grow in groups of three and instead have 5-13 leaves per stem. Stems are red in the spring, and brown in the fall and winter. They have oval-shaped berries that are white-gray in color.

In summary:


Let’s play a game. I will show various pictures of poisonous plants and you have to guess what they are. Comment below with your guesses and I will respond in a week with the answers. 













How to avoid exposure?

The sap of these plants contain a toxin called urushiol oil. The good thing is that this sap is on the inside of the plant and touching the leaves doesn’t necessarily mean you are going to start itching. However, undamaged plants are rare and most have had the sap leak on leaves at some point be it from an animal brushing against it or if you are clearing some land and break the stem open. This oil can transfer to your shoes, clothes, pets, or tools, like if you were hiking and stepped on a plant, you then later touch your shoes to take them off and the oil transfers to your hands. 

When out hiking, wear long pants, boots, and gloves. If you know there are poisonous plants in the area, wear disposable gloves when removing this clothing. Wash these clothes separately than your other clothes with soap and hot water to displace the urushiol oil.

What happens if I come in contact? Will I die!?

In extreme circumstance you may have an entire body reaction where your eyes swell shut and your body swells up. If this happens go to the ER immediately, but for most people it will just be uncomfortable and irritating.

The oil will cause redness, swelling, itching, and blisters within 12-48 hours. (it may not appear for 7-10 days for people who have never been exposed to it before) Avoid touching and itching the area because you may just spread the oil to other parts of your body, hard to do though when it takes so long for it to show up. 

Urushoil oil is absorbed by different parts of your body at different rates so it may appear that it is spreading.

Do not burn these plants to get rid of them because that oil will get in the air and can get in your lungs and affect you from the inside.

How do I treat if I touch it? 

Rinse the area off with rubbing alcohol to displace the oil. Then rinse off with water to try and get off as much as possible. And lastly after that wear disposable gloves and use soap and warm water. The soap and water step is last to avoid spreading the oil to other parts of your body during the lathering stage. 

The rash, blisters, and itch will disappear in about two weeks without any treatment. Applying a cool compress, topical or oral antihistamines, topical hydrocortisone cream, or topical anesthetics can help relieve the pain. If you have oozing blisters (that’s a nice thought isn’t it), applying baking soda, or calamine can help dry out the blisters.

In conclusion:

To be honest, I’ve never looked for any of these plants when out hiking. Most of them look just like any other random plant that I might walk by and never notice, so it will take some effort to slow down and be observant.

Have any of you ever come in contact with any of these plants? Share your story.

Also, remember to share your guesses to the identification quiz down below. I’ll share the answers in a week. 

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Weather and pain tolerance

Good morning,

Link explores whether “weather has a causal, non-linear, dynamic effect on pain tolerance”.

Seriously, it’s worth glancing at this short article.

My concern is field care. It’s easier for me to treat an injury in “comfortable” weather than the non-comfortable.

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Volunteer fire departments

I was surprised to read that 92% of the 812 fire departments in my state are all volunteer or mostly volunteer. The number of volunteers is shrinking. This factors into where I want to live. I want to live where there are some paid professional fire fighters.

I think I’m turning into a proponent of living in a town big enough for some paid professional first responders (and hopefully a small hospital) yet a town small enough to avoid traffic congestion and sprawl. As I noted in a different thread, there are options besides big city and rural country in terms of places to live. At a minimum, know the robustness of your fire fighter pool.

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Time to break out the prepping crystal ball. What’s next?

I know it’s impossible to know the next disaster to come but I think we as preppers keep a look out for the signs and can make good guesses of what might come. 

What do you think the next disaster or situation will be that we need to prepare for?

Gas prices are rising, is that just because Covid is diminishing and people are driving more?

Do you think we will enter WW3 from the tension going on with the Ukraine and Russia?

Will there be a third spike in Covid, or are we on the downhill journey with that?

Will food prices going up lead to other issues?

What issues did Covid bring that we have yet to see the impact of?

Will the huge financial toll of Covid and government bailouts impact the economy and lead to a recession or depression?

What else should we be looking out for and prepping for over the next few weeks to months? No wrong answers here, just guesses and predictions.

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Heads up, Russia invades Ukraine

Yup over night Putins forces have crossed into Ukraine in multiple locations, Re-assess your preps and supplies.

Many of us over here (including me) think Putin wont stop with the Ukraine.

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Is Hydroblu still a viable company with good products? Amazon reviews are terrible

I looked up the Hydroblu Pressurized Jerry Can Water Filter online and the most recent reviews on amazon were terrible.  Has this been sold to another firm?   Are the smaller products still recommended?   Thx

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The story of surviving a cold and stormy night off of a candle

It is a cold and stormy night when your car goes off the side of the road and into a tree. “Guess you should have spent the extra money on some snow tires” you tell yourself after cursing a little for your stupidity. You look down at your cell and there is no service, great! The forecast had mentioned it getting into the negatives tonight so your car just won’t do as a shelter until morning. As you sit there pondering the real pickle you are in, you recall a small shack you passed about 1/4 mile back the way you came. You bundle up with all the clothing you have and face the blistering storm as you hike through the darkness.

Upon coming to the house, can it even be called that? It looks to be barely held together and like it was deserted for some time. As a big gust of snowy wind pushes you back you are quite through with being out here and push your way into the building. With the remaining 14% of your cell phone battery, you illuminate the small area looking for any signs of life, food, or communications devices. There is a broken chair, a busted window, empty cupboards, some empty soup cans, a matchbook, and a single candle. Your luck hasn’t changed much, but at least it is warmer than out in your car. 

As your phone’s battery drains to 12% you decide that you will light the candle to be your source of light through the night, and maybe offer a little bit of heat. Time passes and you notice how thirsty you are, but heck if you are about to eat some snow and cool yourself down even further! You notice one of the empty soup cans and wonder if you could melt the snow over the candle’s flickering flame. Working fast you run outside, scoop a can of snow, and run back in before you cool down even further out there. Making a quick contraption you improvise a little stove top and place your can of snow on top. 

Just for giggles you time how long it takes with your trusty Casio watch and are quite surprised that the snow is completely melted in 6 minutes and 40 seconds. And just over 15 minutes the water has come to a roaring boil! Not too bad. Letting it cool down slightly you drink the warm beverage and your soul is warmed along with your stomach.

More time passes and your candle is still holding strong, but your stomach starts to grumble. At that moment you hear a rustle near the top corner of the shack. Using some of your precious battery again you flip on the light to illuminate a small pigeon’s nest. Oh that would be some mighty fine eatin! As you creep up on the little fluff, it flutters away! But it happened to kick over it’s nest onto the floor, might as well burn that for some warmth right? Upon closer inspection of the nest you notice some eggs inside, hope is not lost!

Taking another can, you craft a hot plate and crack an egg over top.

Surprisingly it starts to sizzle instantly and you know the beast in your stomach will be calmed shortly. It’s not much but you form the egg into a little omelette and it isn’t too bad. With your stomach full, you drift off to sleep.

The night turns to day and are awoken to the sound of traffic going past the shack, guess it’s time to get up and be rescued. You blow out the candle that made this horrible night just a little bit more bearable. It provided you with warmth, light, clean water, and a warm meal. Before you step out into the day you look back at the shack and the memory you had there. “When I get home, I am going to work on being more prepared.” you say out loud before the door shuts.

The end…

Hope the story was a more interesting way to share my little experiment of cooking over a candle. Have a nice weekend everyone.

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How can I seal the ring-pull can end?

Hi, everyone here. I came all the way here looking for helpful information.

I have a question.

I’m going to buy canned food as an emergency food.

One of the most famous survivalists in Korea says Ring-Pull Can End is vulnerable to corrosion.

So he says that the laser carved part must be additionally sealed in advance to store it for a long time.

He recommended manicure to seal fine gaps.

(like this)

But I believe there will be a better idea.

Is there anything to replace manicure?

Or is there any other way you can use to store Ring-Pull Can End products for a long time?

(I used a translator, and there may be some awkwardness. I’m sorry 🙂

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Cap 2022-02-22 09-24-11-949

Massive far side sun explosion Tuesday

interesting article and more encouragement for digital preparedness and a backup communication plan.  a local article and interviews a scientist from the Oregon Museum of Science Industry. This sunspot activity is from the same area that took out the satellites last week.

OMSI: Massive far side sun explosion could have been catastrophic

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UK media saying war by Wednesday

Many UK media sources believe its going to kick off this week between Ukraine, Russia and Nato, the Daily Mail is saying WAR on wednesday.   They report the costs of grain, animal feeds,natural gas, petrolium and diesel will go through the roof.

Internet may get jammed by military level hacking


GPS systems may be disrupted.

I would also redirect you to the thread about products made from oil and gas to see the likely impact on most of our daily essentials.

I’m filling all my fuel containers and treating it with Sta-bil,  increased food stocks to the tune of £300 worth, stocked up on firewood, medical supplies and stored water.

I’m an old dude so I can opinion on this but this reminds me of the darkest days of the Cold War.

If it goes off who knows how it could spiral.

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Another earthquake issue – Water

Water.  Water supply could be an issue after a quake.  Water lines, typically buried, could be broken or cracked, leading to H2O absence or contamination.  

We  have received boil water recommendations following the Northridge quake, which was some distance away.  Along with food and other essentials, I keep about thirty gallons dispersed around the property, along with means of water purification.

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NYT article on PNW tsunami threat

Hi all,

Just wanted to share this article from yesterday’s New York Times re: the tsunami aspect of the seismic hazard in the PNW and how communities are trying to prepare:

The article actually does a good job of explaining why a tsunami triggered by a Cascadia Subduction Zone (CSZ) earthquake would be so destructive, touching not only on the oft-mentioned aspects of the hazard (e.g., the height of the wave; the arrival time) but also the fact that 12-20 minutes of lead time for evacuation does not get you as far (literally) on buckled, undriveable roads, and the fact that the coasts of Northern California, Oregon, and Washington have a lot of huge bays fronted by multi-mile-long, extremely low-lying sand spits that have been heavily developed and will literally be overtopped by the wave. (The article has tons of maps that illustrate this effectively.)

We’ll have to wait and see what happens after the votes on the various evacuation-tower-financing bond measures are cast, but it seems like there are some real signs that people in the affected communities are taking the threat seriously. It’s one thing when geologists at DOGAMI and the major research universities in the region offer journalists quotes about the number of thousands of people who will die; it’s another thing when a school superintendent says, “The fact of the matter is that if a tsunami occurs tomorrow, we are going to lose all of our children.” At least we’re (maybe) past the point where nobody in these communities is willing to confront the reality that they will not be able to evacuate.

I also read (too many of) the comments. It was interesting to see what wasn’t getting across/what people were confused about. For example, a lot of folks seemed to have a “these towers will never work!” reaction, but the Japanese have been building them for a while and there are engineering design guidelines for this type of structure. I’d really prefer a managed retreat strategy for a place like Ocean Shores than a bunch of expensive, ugly evacuation towers (especially since sea level rise will come for that town even if the tsunami holds off for a couple more centuries), but the former is so legally fraught and so much more costly that I just don’t see Washington, let alone Oregon, getting to it in a timely fashion. I suspect they’re going to let California figure it out first (with respect to climate change, i.e., not tsunamis), since California has money. That’s moving really slowly, though, so I feel like Oregon and Washington should maybe just invest in some towers in the meantime, you know?

Also, a lot of people were getting in “people shouldn’t live there!” arguments, and many of the people on Team People Shouldn’t Live There seemed to have the impression “there” consists of super wealthy communities where people with options have chosen to live because they “want an ocean view.” But a lot of the PNW coast is pretty economically depressed, and it’s less that people have chosen to live there than that they’re from there and it would be super challenging for them to relocate. Also, scientists didn’t really understand that these tsunami-generating mega-quakes could happen here until the 1990s, so of course people settled and built in dangerous places— they didn’t know they were dangerous!

The other interesting thing in the comments is just seeing the range of reactions. Some people were like, “So much for visiting Oregon and Washington ever in my life!” While some PNW commenters’ reactions were more along the lines of, “I’m figuring I’ll probably just die when it hits and I’m okay with that.” Personally, I visit the coast all the time, but don’t like being out on those spits. My husband has wanted to explore a couple of them (at Tillamook Bay and the mouth of the Columbia) and I was totally jittery the whole time. I also haven’t spent a night in the tsunami inundation zone since 1996 and have no intention of ever doing so again. 

So, I’m curious: Any PNWers out there have thoughts on any of this? (Or people from BC or Japan?) For those who aren’t PNWers, do you think we’re nuts to live here? 😀

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Joolca HOTTAP – a very impressive off-grid hot shower solution

I never click on Facebook ads, but today was an exception when I saw this hot shower system that works off propane. 

The product is pretty impressive, 30 day trial, free returns, only $270. Watching the above video, it looks like a quality company who has thought of everything and isn’t just putting out an inferior product to make a quick buck.

I’d like to get one of these as a backup shower system in case my hot water heater goes out or any number of natural disasters that could interrupt my shower time. It isn’t a NEED, but certainly would be a very welcome luxury.

I am not associated with this company and just wanted to share a cool product I saw and thought this community might enjoy.

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Testing $1 fire starters from Walmart. Insta-Fire and Firestart

While browsing the camping section at Walmart I saw two fire starters that were under a dollar. As you know, I am a bit of a pyro and wanted to test these out and see if they were the next big survival fire starter that I need to add to my supplies.

The first product is the “As Seen on Shark Tank” product called Insta-fire. I’ll call this the Dippin’ Dots fire starter. It claims to be:

Eco-friendly Smokeless Does not contain harmful chemicals Good for camping, emergency, fireplace, or campfire “Military Grade”! — Oooo… Fancy… Lights wet wood because it burns at 1000 degrees Burns on snow and floats on water Nonvolatile with no unexpected flare-ups Burns in winds up to 30 mph Has a 5 year shelf life, and more…

The second product is an indoor/outdoor fire log by Duraflame called Firestart. It more or less resembles the inside goo of a Fig Newton with bits of wood chips in it. It is sticky and I ended up tearing the wrapping while trying to get it out of the packaging.

Taking both products outside, I tried lighting a US quarter sized piece of each. The ferro rod was not able to ignite either one so I switched to my trusty Zippo lighter and held the flame to each product for over 10 seconds. The Firestart did not light and the Insta-Fire lit for a few seconds before going out. It wasn’t even a particularly windy day and I was blocking the flame with my hand and huddled in a corner. The Insta-Fire claims to burn in winds up to 30 mph, but the trick is first lighting the darn thing.

Having no success outside I wanted to give them the best shot possible and took them into the garage. This time I took a book of matches and figured if I couldn’t light them by the time the match burned out then I wasn’t interested in it. The Firestart took a light but burned such a small flame that didn’t spread to the rest of the piece. The Insta-Fire caught flame and burned decently for a few seconds before self extinguishing itself again and leaving many unburnt pieces behind.

Okay… So far this is very disappointing. Lets try Insta-Fires’s bold claim of being able to float and light on water. This time I wasn’t messing around and poured in 1/4 of the bag into a cup of water. And the Dippin’ Dots fire starter did float! It also lit into a good sized flame. I lit the Firestart and placed that in the water to see if it would float and it just instantly sunk and went out.

Overall I would give the Firestart a 0/10 for survival and prepping purposes. As a fire log in a fireplace it might have some potential, but I will not trust this to start an emergency fire. It just doesn’t hold a flame well enough or burn hot and large enough to do much good.

The Insta-Fire gets a 2/10. One point for being cool and burning on water, and one point for at least lighting into a semi-usable flame if you put 1/4 of the package together. But again, not trusting this for an emergency situation. It’s problem is that you do need to use a large cup of it to actually do anything with and all the pieces don’t burn before it extinguishes itself. One of it’s main claims is to be nonvolatile and not flare up, but I want it to! I want it to catch fire easily, spread to all the pieces and burn completely. 

I’ll just stick to my cotton balls and vaseline for now. They catch easily, burn very long, produce a large and hot flame, and are DIRT cheap! 

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Earthquake specific food store question

Hi there,

Brit in WA state. Aware of this earthquake situation, and although I am trying to cover all emergency my bases, earthquake seems like a good one to be ready for.

I have a couple of questions about food storage that I would really appreciate people who have more experience than I do to chime in on.

I would like to keep my longer term food stores in the garage (concrete slab), but we have an apartment above it so the whole thing really could come down. Thing is, everytime I put anything even slightly edible in a sealed plastic bucket in the garage mice start chewing thier way through.

1. Is it just a ‘find a rodent impenetrable chest’ that is about the right size’ situation? In which case any recommendations?

2. Where do I keep it in the garage obviously near a door / window, and the furthest up any slopes, but what is the best way to not get stuff buried in an earth quake.

Forgive me if this question has already been asked, I did my best to search around in old comments for something similar, I’m sure I just missed it, so any links to old conversations I’d also be grateful for.

Thank you kindly,


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Booze recommendations for barter during SHTF

Happy new year all!
Every once and awhile, I like to add on to our little larder, so I’m looking for recommendations for sales/value/brands of alcohol that you might like to trade when SHTF? I used to drink tequila and scotch, but know next to nothing about other types of alcohol.

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What’s in my everyday backpack?

Although I only got actively interested in preparedness quite recently, I’ve long been in the habit of carrying a well-stocked everyday backpack, though the contents have been assembled haphazardly, never with any particular comprehensive review. This started when I was at university and carried a backpack like most university students, and I just never quit carrying a backpack. Well over a decade ago, when I was in grad school, I recall telling a friend how I keep all sorts of stuff in my backpack because I never know when I’ll need it, and my friend lightly teased that “so basically you carry your junk drawer everywhere you go”.

I just got myself a new backpack and am about to transfer the contents over, and I figure it might be interesting to do an inventory of what’s in my backpack (and I’m sure I’ll make a few adjustments to the contents as I do this, as well). The new backpack is an Eddie Bauer 29L cargo pack – the same as my old backpack, except I got my old backpack second-hand and a previous owner had cut off the waist strap and sternum strap, and I was getting annoyed by the lack.

Asterisks mark items that I’m not transferring over to the new backpack.


A knit wool hat A cotton sun hat A flimsy disposable poncho (I’d have preferred a sturdier plastic poncho more designed for reuse, but I saw this one in the shop cheap and I figured it would tide me over until I come across a better one) A clean handkerchief A reflective emergency blanket A “raincoat for my backpack” – a garbage bag with slits cut in it to let the shoulders straps through A pair of socks (likely dirty, got separated from my laundry, oops)* There’s usually some combination of sweater / down vest / windbreaker in there as well, but they migrate in and out depending on weather, laundry, usage around the house, etc., and happen to all be out at the moment. There are also usually some gloves or mittens at least during the winter but they also happen to be out at the moment.


An insulated water bottle/thermos 5 bags of green tea (genmaicha) and two small packets of salt contained in a zip bag 3 sugar packets; I’m moving those to the zip bag with the green tea and salt 5+ bags of a black tea that I find works well made in a single cup Some beef jerky Some expired coupons for my favourite fast-food restaurant* 5-ish bags of one of my standard black teas* (I find this tea works well made in a teapot but not made in a cup, so it’s less suitable for backpack stock)


2 Can99 respirators (FFP3 NR certification) – when this gets down to 1, I add another 5 from my home stash. Some surgical-style non-certified masks (these are mostly for giving away) A pack of wet wipes A bottle of hand sanitizer The end of a roll of toilet paper. (Two instances. Reducing to one.) 13 bandaids A dozen or so cotton balls A small container of petroleum jelly Some sanitary napkins A medieval-style bone comb Some extra strength Advil/ibuprofen Some Diphenhydramine Hydrochloride antihistamine tablets [generic Benadryl equivalent] An up-to-date EpiPen An expired EpiPen* Some expired Cetirizine Hydrochloride antihistamine tablets*


A portable power bank


A Rite in the Rain notebook A mechanical pencil A pamphlet-sized prayer book Another pamphlet-sized prayer book* (so well tucked away I didn’t even know it was there…) A small leatherbound notebook with handmade paper; two pins through a page near the back* (Notebook superseded by the Rite in the Rain notebook which I acquired more recently. Pins are not essential enough to keep in there.) A book that I’m reading with a friend* (This goes in and out because it only needs to be in the bag one day a week) Miscellaneous papers acquired in daily life and not yet filed* 


9 grocery bags (this is way too many, they tend to accumulate; reducing to 3) A clean small zip-seal bag inside a larger zip-seal bag (I’m replenishing this depleted supply by adding 3 more clean small zip-seal bags and 1 clean large one) A BIC lighter A travel-sized diptych icon

One key item I’m adding to my new backpack right now: a LifeStraw that I recently acquired.

Things I carry in my pockets instead of my backpack: keys, credit card, transit card, health card, Swiss Army Knife, wallet, phone.

I also plan to add to my backpack:

A bit of cash, probably about $60-80 – enough to be useful, little enough that I won’t be too upset if it’s lost or stolen The right charging cord for my phone, and a wall converter (I got a new phone recently, and so far only have one charging cord for it; the cord with my power bank fits my old phone and I haven’t yet updated it)

What do people think would be particularly useful to add to this? (One thing I’m not looking for is weapons.)

Is there anything here you wonder what it’s there for?

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Has anyone found a small, good wall-plug charger with all major USB ports?

Looking for:

At least one port for each of the three most common types used in portable devices: USB-A (the big boxy one), Micro-USB (was common on cell phones until recently), and USB-C (the new standard). Small enough to be appropriate for a go-bag. Durable. For example, maybe the electrical prongs can fold in to make it more compact and less likely to bend/snap.

It makes sense that if you’re in an emergency away from home you’d want the all-in-one ability to use any of the common cables and devices scattered around.

I assumed there would be lots of options, but haven’t found something obviously worthy after some quick searching. This kind of product seems ideal for a go-bag, and if we find a great one, I’ll buy and test it.

Here’s what A, Micro-B, and C look like:

Edit to add: I wasn’t aware of all the multi-headed hydra cables, like this:

So if you’ve used those kinds of cables, share that feedback too! Seems like we can solve the same problem by having a wall-charger with only USB-A and -C, combined then with a cable with a wider range of options.

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Is the food too old? / aka when to can the can

(Recently I saw a forum question, “How to tell when to toss cans that have rust on the outside?” And it got me to thinking more about what was inside the can.)

As preppers we store food. We rotate and use our items regularly. (First in First Out ) But sometimes we don’t, it gets old and unused for whatever reason.

What is too old? First, you have to at least open it up (don’t just throw it away based on what the outside looks like). Assess what’s inside. Do you own little prepper experiment.

IF you HAD to eat it to survive, could you? Modern day food processing is pretty amazing. Look at the color and consistency. Smell it. If it looks okay and smells okay, taste a little (it won’t kill you). Again, could you eat it if you had to?

Here are the timeframes we’ve (very unofficially) determined that we’re generally comfortable with:

– Cans (that require a can opener): 6 years

– Cans with pull rings: 2 years (these are not sealed as well and mold frequently develops in them prematurely)

– Cheese: I’ve left a sealed package out in the garage as an experiment for 10 months, the package swelled, and some oils pooled, but it tasted fine — just much sharper. In the refrigerator: 2+ years

– Sour cream (16oz) / cream cheese (12oz) (refrigerated): 6 months. We buy small containers — once opened use them within about a week.

– Half and Half (64oz) (refrigerated): 3+ months

– Greek Yogurt (32oz) (refrigerated): 6+ months

– Cottage Cheese (16oz): <6 weeks (and it’ll be obviously moldy if it’s bad)

– Beer: room temperature/dark: 3 – 9 months, refrigerated: up to 2 years. It’s important to remember old beer doesn’t become dangerous to drink, it just gets old and can taste skunky or sour — but it’s harmless to the body. Essentially if it tastes fine, drink it.

– Saltines: I recently came across a sealed packages from ‘13, they tasted sour/salty almost like baking soda — but the sheep and chickens loved them.

– Frozen Meat: At the bottom of the (big) deep freezer we came across some butchered pork from ‘17, 5 years old. I was skeptical and gave some to the dogs, but it didn’t look bad. It was wrapped in plastic, then in butcher paper and the meat still looked good and wasn’t freezer burned. Experimentally we cooked some up in the crock pot, letting the pork shoulder cook on low overnight — and it was great. Great flavor and great consistency, we’ll (carefully, inspecting as we go) use the rest of it. (Edit added 2/13)

What to do with TOO OLD? I make pigcycles.  I pour the contents of all the old cans into large bowls, stir them together into a slop, spoon them into quart ziplock bags, then freeze them. Then I’ll give them to our pig, or chickens, or occasionally our dogs on a hot day as a treat. 

[Disclaimer: This is only my opinion and advice, old food should only be eaten in a survival situation.] Read More