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Because prepping and community go hand in hand

BOB plus Get Home Bag?

First, I would like to say what an impressive site this is. I have never joined any forums; but wanted to, in part, to thank you for the very clear, factual and thorough information!

My question is about the Get Home Bag. Is it best to create a duplicate of your main BOB? I am taking an inventory of my BOB, and with the help of this site, working on upgrading it. Should I create two bags exactly the same–one for home and one for away? Or, is the Get Home Bag typically a smaller kit?

Thank you for any advice!

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Thoughts on Quick Dam flood bags?

Does anyone have experience with the Quick Dam products? Specifically the flood bags?

I’m in the southwest and we’ve had a couple of nasty flash floods this past spring / summer where the water was just about to flood our garage. I’ve had sand bags in the past but the sun just eats the fabric up in a season or two – looking for something a bit more user friendly / portable. 


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Annual, periodic, seasonal maintenance checklists?

I searched for this topic & didn’t see it addressed yet. Being the start of a new year, it occurred to me that I don’t really have a workable (read: simple) timeframe checklist for some basic preps. For example, I change out the water in our extra storage tank annually (when I think of it.) So I thought I’d ask you organized people to share yours!

Odd things like: how often should you charge rarely used rechargeable battery powered electronics that you have in your preps so they last a long time? Rechargeable batteries? How often do you rotate the really long term foodstuffs? Beans will last many years but become resistant to cooking/softening after a while. Start up that generator how often?….Please share!

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Should I start with a bug out bag or preparing my home first? – New and need advice

Hi all,  I am very very new to the prepping community. I am a young mom with a son, Husband, and a dog. We live in Canada, my biggest concern is winter, and I am unsure of where to begin.

I have lots of questions, but I will start with the basics. Do I begin with a bug out bag or prepping my home first? This is tricky because we are currently renting till March 2022 and have a limited space for storage. My budget is also minimal as my husband doesn’t totally see the value of prepping at this moment in time. I’m also unsure of what should be my first buys for our climate. Thanks! 

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My portable generator setup

Thought I might show how I use my portable generator during outages… which can be rather common here in rural America.  My generator is about as big as I can handle by myself and provides enough electric to power two electric refrigerator freezers, well pump, about half our lights and around half the receptacles.  AC is out of the question using such a generator but since we have natural gas, it will power the blowers on our heaters.

You first will need an electrician to move the electric circuits you wish the generator to power into their own electric panel.  You then have to ensure your generator electric can’t feed back into your electric feed coming from the electric company.  In my case, there is a bar that connects the breaker with the power company feed to the breaker for the generator feed.  With this setup, that electric panel can receive power from either… but not both.   So power from the generator can never run back into my main electric panels.

I had an electrician put an outdoor receptacle out on the back of the garage.  I have a 30 foot extension which connects from the generator to this receptacle.  So when needed you simply start the generator, throw the breaker panel switch… and those circuits now run off the generator.  When the electric feed comes back on, you just throw the breaker in the opposite direction… killing the generator feed and turning on the feed from the power company.

My generator is a dual fuel model, meaning it can run off of bottled LP gas or gasoline.  My intent is to use just LP gas as it runs cleaner & won’t foul up the ignition system like gasoline can.  However, if running for extended time, I have the option of running off of gasoline too.

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generator panels

FYI – Notice of Non-Conforming NIOSH Approved N95 Masks from ALG Health

Hello!  I was on the ALG Health website earlier today to purchase more foldable surgical N95 masks, and I saw a notice posted on the ALG Health website that several lots of their 100,000 PT-N95F-01S respirators were produced using materials and processes that were not conforming to the NIOSH approval issued. The following finished good lots affected are as follows: Manufacture dates were: Last week of Feb 2021 – March 2021Lot# PT-N95F-01S-204-2021Lot# PT-N95F-01S-301-2021Lot# PT-N95F-01S-302-2021Lot# PT-N95F-01S-303-2021Lot# PT-N95F-01S-304-2021 

I have three boxes of these masks on hand – I checked the lots and found one of the boxes was affected by this notice.  I threw the bad box of masks away and will be reaching out for a refund.  

I received no proactive notice from the website where I purchased these masks, therefore I could have been using defective N95 masks without knowing it!  In the event anybody here happens to have any of these masks from the affected lots / production dates, I wanted to let everybody know.

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European Natural Gas supplies

All records for the price of natural gas (NG) have just been smashed, Its just passed $2000 per 1000 unit suply. The normal price in in the low hundreds of dollars.  It is causing energy companies across europe to go bust in growing numbers and the price of NG to retail customers is going up very vast.   its caused by a mixture of geopolitics, logistics, greed and high demand and its damaging many economies and financial markets.

It has a knock on effect as those who have coal or log burning stoves are buying much more than normal and this is also driving up prices  of coal based products and kiln dried fire wood.

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I thought I knew how to perform CPR until I needed to.

Being prepared for any unexpected emergency was what I took pride in. I worked in a hospital and was BLS/CPR certified every year during 2000 and knew my stuff but all of my training went out the door when my 2-year-old son experienced a near-death choking incident. 

This happened while my husband, myself, and our children were in the car going for a drive. My husband managed to pull over to the side of the street and we both jump out of the car and released our baby from his car seat. My husband, who is also an Army Veteran, gave our son to me to help dislodge the candy that was stuck in his throat. My son at this time became unresponsive and required CPR. Instead of performing chest compressions(pressure from chest compression can push objects back up the airway), I froze, and I couldn’t recall ANYTHING I was taught! My husband noticed me panicking, took our son, and saved his life. 

This messed with my head for several years because my flight or fight response was the exact opposite of what I thought I would do. I knew I had to do something so I invented an improved CPR mask(CPRWrap) that not only protected the responder from fluid contamination during rescue breathing but had the entire steps of CPR with hand placements embossed on the template. 

I want to be part of the solution of making sure every man, woman, and child is prepared and able to step up and execute safety measures when they are needed. It’s not a matter of if it will happen but when.  I would love to send out some samples to get your thoughts and feedback on CPRWrap. Just reach out to me at [email protected]. CPRWrap video

Stay safe and Happy New Year.

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Fireproof safes

I’ve been thinking about a simple prep that strikes me as essential: Fireproof safes or lockboxes to save documents, cash/jewelry and hard drives even when everything else is lost.

I also wonder how useful it would be to bolt such a safe to my car’s trunk and store my GHB/precious car supplies to avoid losing them to theft or fires. Cars being randomly burnt isn’t too uncommon an occurence in my country’s suburban areas…

Do you have any experience with fireproof safes, or even products you’d recommend ?

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Test your preps!

I know you’ve all heard this before, but I thought I would share a few recent events that brought ‘testing your preps’ to the front of my thoughts.

I have a 4AA battery headlamp that I use often.  I had some issues with past ones and was really impressed with the company’s customer service, so I bought a couple more which i’ve never used.  I decided to break them open and try them out.  The modes are high, low, and strobe.  While I was using one of them, suddenly the strobe mode came on without me touching the switch.  I tried to change the mode but the switch didn’t work.  I touched the front of the light and it was hot.  I touched the battery pack and it was really hot.  I hurriedly took out the batteries (which were also hot) and noticed that they were starting to melt.  These were lithium batteries, so you can imagine what could have happened.

I decided to test out the other one as well.  After 10 minutes, both the front light and battery pack were hot and again the 4 batteries were starting to melt.  I double-checked the polarity and they were correct.  The headlamp that I use often has 4AA lithium batteries.  The newer ones are slightly different as they have a different color battery cover, so I suspect there was a design change.  I’m down 8 lithium batteries but at least I wasn’t injured and it didn’t happen during a crisis.  The company has been out of business for several years, so no possibility of a return.

In another situation, I generally drain the batteries of my rechargeable radios and then fully recharge them twice a year.  I’m having a problem charging one of my radios.  The rechargeable battery was just replaced last year and I did some ‘conditioning’ to ensure a longer life.  What is really strange is it seems to hold a charge using the crank but not using either of my two AC chargers.  I’m still trying to figure it out but the radio can be operated with AAA batteries and I have a spare rechargeable battery pack. 

I’d like to hear from others about issues they have encountered because of not checking preps.  

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If our public servants focused on enlightening the unpreppared, what would they say?

I’m running for president (LP) not with any hope of winning even the nomination, but to try to change the discussion. Eventually- I can’t broach this ‘radical’ notion ’til I get name recognition- I aim to focus on our declining air, water & food quality, extreme weather, dwindling resources, diminishing sperm counts and testosterone levels; basically all the things that went into the 1972 MIT study that says societal collapse around 2040, and everything we’ve learned since then. Any ideas on what to say and how to say it would help. My basic message of now is, “You can’t count on the gov’t, learn some stuff, and build a community.”
BTW, my handle is short for, International Thrival Society: a coalition of like-minded groups who accept things change, and the best way to meet those challenges is through fortitude & community endeavor. And, the more prepared there are, the less hysteria there will be.

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We Should All Be Preppers – an interesting article in the Atlantic

Preppers all over the world have been hunkered down safely at home or in their bunkers during the COVID-19 pandemic. For them, long-term food storage is a baseline, so making it through a season or two without venturing out is primarily a psychological challenge. I’ve spent the past three years interviewing people preparing for an ambiguous future disaster, and some of them emailed me in the early days of the pandemic from their redoubts, expressing wry frustration as they watched shoppers on TV frantically stacking supplies—hand sanitizer, bottled water, and, yes, toilet paper—in their shopping carts. One wrote me, “These people are fixing a leaky roof in a rainstorm.”

Chances are you have a neighbor who was ready for this pandemic. And if you knew they were stockpiling before the disaster, you likely thought they were weirdos. I know I did, even as I traveled the world writing a book about them. Not anymore. Although preppers have long been the subject of ridicule, I imagine many of us will take on some of their habits, or at the very least make space in our closets and garages for nonperishables.

Scooping up scarce necessities gives people a sense of control during times of uncertainty, so the great toilet-paper dash-and-grab of 2020 was a self-fulfilling prophecy. The rarer something is, the more people seek it. Six weeks after the initial pandemic hoarding spree, many key commodities are still in short supply. President Donald Trump recently signed an executive order to prevent meat shortages. With about 15 percent of the population now unemployed, Americans are looking for assistance from food banks, in lines stretching for miles in some places. These spectacles of desperation are both a censure of our society and a revelation about our collective lack of personal preparedness.

The crisis has also highlighted how woefully inadequate many of our living arrangements are for social distancing. I have friends in London, New York, Los Angeles, and Sydney who have little ability to cook, let alone store food. That level of base-needs dependency on society is anathema to preppers, who are quick to point out that only a few hundred years ago not having enough food and fuel stored to make it through winter was effectively suicide.

A couple of years back, I flew to Chiang Mai, Thailand, to interview a wealthy Canadian offshore oil-rig worker and doomsday prepper who asked me to refer to him as “Auggie.” I was baffled by Auggie’s desire for a pseudonym, because he was in the middle of building the most conspicuous house I’d ever seen. Operating on the extreme end of disaster preparedness, he was constructing an “eco-fortress” composed of four villas that he would stock with enough supplies for a multi-month siege. He designed three of these villas for future buyers. Auggie’s own stronghold was a three-story concrete block with bulletproof windows and an open-air central atrium. He planned to scaffold the interior walls with lattice for passion-fruit vines that would drape down over a swimming pool. He assured me that the off-the-grid building, which sat in the middle of an abandoned orchard at the far edge of a secluded village, would have remote surveillance systems, mantraps, a panic room, and a nuclear-fallout shelter that doubled as a day spa.

 He called his customized hideaway “Sanctum,” which in Latin means “a holy place,” but in English denotes a private retreat. For Auggie, the doomstead served both purposes, being a place for safety, study, and self-improvement during the crisis he was sure was just around the corner. And here we are.

Even before the outbreak of COVID-19, preparing for emergencies, in the casual sense, could no longer be considered a niche activity in the United States. A 2017 survey by the financial-tech company Finder suggested that roughly 20 percent of Americans spent money on survival materials that year, and a further 35 percent said they already had what they needed for an emergency. But my guess is that many of these same people are now finding that their preparations were inadequate. Someone might keep a flashlight and a first-aid kit hanging from a garage hook or tucked under the bed, or may have even purchased a three-day tactical assault “bug-out bag” available on Amazon for $49.99, but only staunch cynics have stockpiled food, water, medicine, fuel, tools, weapons, and equipment for months of isolation.

 Auggie’s eco-fortress in Chiang Mai, Thailand. (Courtesy of Bradley Garrett)In 2013, at least 3.7 million Americans self-identified as survivalists, according to 24/7 Wall Street, a financial-news source. Many of these citizens, who suspected that the government lacked the resources to protect them after decades of cuts to the public sector, have hoarded with the gusto of frontier settlers. Prepping is a multibillion-dollar-a-year industry in the U.S. In a 2017 interview with Bloomberg, Aaron Jackson, then the CEO of Wise Co., a Salt Lake City–based producer of freeze-dried fare with a 25-year shelf life, declared that his food was a staple “that every American household in this age of uncertainty should have.” Jackson estimates that survival food sales alone total about $400 million annually. The company delivers certainty in a pallet of black plastic buckets for $9,499.99. Supposedly, this mail-order pantry can provide three meals a day for one year for a family of four. Long-term food buckets for your “deep larder” can now be bought at Kmart and Bed Bath & Beyond. Costco recently had a page dedicated to “Emergency Food by the Pallet,” advertising “one year of food storage” for $4,999. These pallets sold out two months ago, as did many of the televangelist Jim Bakker’s “survival food buckets.”

If you are a prepper, you probably haven’t told anyone. My brother, who knew for years that I was writing a book about prepping, let me in on a secret only a few weeks ago: He had a storage unit filled with two years’ worth of food, a handful of N95 masks, long-range two-way radios, and a small arsenal. The crisis having finally arrived, he’d activated the cache. That he never dared mention it to me previously was both vexing and unsurprising.

The reason for secrecy, according to a paper published last year by Kezia Barker at Birkbeck, University of London, is because “hoarding” has been deemed pathological. We’re meant to trust business, trade networks, and markets to provide what we need, to not question the resiliency of globalization. But as these systems shudder under the weight of a worldwide catastrophe, the curtain has been pulled back on the dangers of free-market faith. Prepping is, at its heart, a kind of activism, a bulwark against the false promises of capitalism, of the idea of endless growth and the perpetual availability of resources.

As Barker suggests, stockpiling exposes the magical thinking behind the assurances of universal state security. This is why this kind of preparation folds so well into conservative narratives distrustful of big government, experts, and elites. The right-wing commentators Sean Hannity and Alex Jones advocate doomsday prepping to their audiences, and market products to meet those needs. For people eager to dismantle state infrastructure, the failure of that infrastructure in an emergency is vindication of foresight. President Trump has consistently relegated responsibility for management of the pandemic to state governments and the private sector, all while claiming unprecedented executive authority and proffering erroneous information to the public on a daily basis. It’s the perfect cocktail for compounding the crisis, proving the conservative thesis that big government is bad government.

The political left also has its doom prophets, of course. The cultural theorist Paul Virilio once said that, due to our economic reliance on connection and speed, it was realistic to think that “there is an accident brewing that would occur everywhere at the same time,” words that reverberate dramatically under present circumstances.

I’m now holed up in a bunker of sorts in south Los Angeles—in my 78-year-old mom’s well-stocked and isolated house in a gated community. Like my brother, we’ve acquired radios and a deep larder, planted a garden, and have no need to panic shop. However, we’ve had to leave the house every three days or so to pick up my mom’s prescriptions and take her to doctors’ appointments. I imagine more committed preppers like Auggie in Chiang Mai shaking their heads at this.

I sent him a message recently to ask whether it’s realistic to think that we can prepare for every eventuality. He wrote back immediately: “I created an Ebola hazmat kit a few years ago when I thought the outbreak would take off.” His friends at the time thought that this was a superfluous line of defense. Now he’s unpacking the bunny suit and powered air-purifying respirator. I thought about him laying out that kit in his fortress and recalled some of the skeptical questions I’d fired at him during my visit. I felt my cheeks redden. Then the next message arrived.

“Preppers don’t seem so crazy when there’s a pandemic, correct?” Auggie has now sold two of the three other villa plots at Sanctum.

Over the past three or four years, I’ve hung out in luxury condos inside missile silos, in bunker complexes on the Great Plains, with groups growing food in secret forests, with people building heavily armored vehicles, and with religious communities that have collected supplies that they’re ready to hand over to strangers. Most of the people I’ve met aren’t getting ready for an extinction-level event, and sneer at the suggestion. Rather, prepping for them is about building up hopeful confidence that they’ve planned ahead for the inevitable catastrophes of existence. This pandemic, which they consider mid-level, is rightfully causing us to reckon with the failures of our social, political, and economic systems, and we should all collectively push to make them more resilient to contingencies. But in the meantime, a bit of practical prepping can take some strain off these systems while we wait for the next cosmic surprise.

Bradley Garrett is the author of the forthcoming book Bunker: Building for the End Times.

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What are your grid-down reference resources?

I’ve recently recognized that a fair number of my preparedness resources require electricity to access, whether they’re out on the internet or just saved to my computer. While there are plenty of disaster scenarios where I might still have power, I also recognize that’s not a given—that’s a weak point in my preparation!

Naturally, the ideal situation would be to have every skill I’d possibly need practiced to familiarity, and every iota of relevant knowledge committed to memory. Let’s just say I’m not there yet. 😅

What are your reference resources that you could turn to if you didn’t have electricity? Are there certain books (or zines) you like? Have you printed hard copies of particular guides? Neighbors or community members you know you could count on? Or maybe you’ve compiled your own hand-written reference materials?

I figure building these resources out for myself could be a useful stopgap, at least until I reach the Platonic ideal of ingrained preparedness. 😜

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How many of you have moved town / city / state PRIMARILY for prepping reasons?

As per the header, I wonder how many of this particular community actually bit the bullet and decided to relocate with PREPAREDNESS the the primary motivating factor.

Its 20 years since it dawned on myself and my wife that the urban location (pop 270.000) we were living in may have been ideal for affordability and commuting, but its drawbacks outweighed any benefits ( highly urbanised, highly industrialised, high population density, high crime levels and above average pollution levels.

No we could not afford the idylic homestead,not even close, but we could afford to get way out of town to a much smaller very rural village ( pop around 3000)

The benefits were myriad and immediate, cleaner air, freshly grown local foods, smaller schools, very low crime, much more of a community spirit, more room to manouvre etc.

We took a large economic hit with me having to give up my main job and focus only on occasional contracts, but my wife retained her nursing role, but again the overall quality of life / peace of mind outweighed the loss of income.

So have any of you good people made the leap, if so whats your story?

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Life on Redneck’s homestead

I figured I’d create a new discussion topic, where I can post pics of what goes on around the homestead, as opposed to posting a lot of individual topics as I’ve done in the past.  I have 20 rural acres in northern Mississippi with most in yards & pastures.  I have a smallish garden in the back yard and an orchard in my upper pasture.  In my bottom pasture I have around a 1 acre pond with grain fed catfish.  As a prepper, my intent is to become self sufficient during a severe crisis.  With my small garden, it provides my wife & me with all the fresh veggies we can eat thru the year.  I test different varieties to find the best ones for my area, and then store large quantities of that seed.  Fruit & nut trees take too long to reach bearing age, so you can’t wait for a crisis to start them.  Thus I have much more fruit that I can currently use, however when I retire in a couple of years, I probably will sell it a farmers markets.

So today my main chores, after grooming horses, are to turn on the drip irrigation in the blueberry patch & in the muscadine grapes, spray the apples & peaches in the orchard & to drag the horse paddock with the chain harrow.  Here I’m filling my 50 gallon sprayer at my upper barn, which is in my front yard.  That is a crabapple finishing blooming out front.  Today I’m spraying myclobutanil fungicide (concentrated version of Immunox available at hardware stores) plus a bactericide to fight fire blight.

I have other fruit & nut trees in my front yard, such as Asian persimmons, pecans, apples & pears.  Here is a pear in the side yard.  Can’t really see here but it is loaded with baby pears.  The pears that come off this tree are absolutely amazing.  I also have climbing roses in multiple locations out front that also get sprayed.

Now headed down to the orchard.  The house & front yard are up on top of a hill.  I’m entering what I call my upper pasture.  The orchard, paddock & horse barn are to the left.  In the bottom is my lower pasture, with the catfish pond to the right.  The little group of trees behind the pond is actually a large berm.  My metal targets are in front of that berm & that is my shooting range.  The blueberries & muscadines are at the very bottom of the orchard, next to the paddock.  I enter both thru gates in the paddock.

Turned on the drip irrigation to the blueberries & muscadines and verified there are no leaks or busted joints from the winter cold.  Here are the blueberries.  They are so danged easy to grow & put out a tremendous amount of food.   Note the bird netting, which also covers my muscadines.

Not much to see here, but this is the muscadine area.  There are three trellises using high tension wire.  The muscadines are just starting to leaf out.

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Making a free cardboard hatchet sheath

Years ago I bought a cheap 1.25 pound hatchet for $8. For how often I chop wood (which is never), it wasn’t too bad of a deal and I am a little more prepared in case I ever needed to. But the one draw back with this hatchet is that it didn’t have a sheath. And with how often I actually use this, I thought a cardboard sheath would at least keep me from accidentally cutting my fingers when I’m reaching for it in my work closet. Definitely not a long term solution for a hatchet in a bug out bag, but it will work for my needs.

Take any old cardboard box and measure an area slightly larger than the front of the head of the hatchet. Then cut three more, these will be the end pieces

Next, cut out some U shaped pieces that will be the inner spacers. The amount will depend on the thickness of your hatchet/axe head.

Glue two end pieces together, then layer the U shaped pieces and glue them together. I just used Elmers glue. This will form the little cavity where your hatchet head will sit.

Finally glue on your last two end pieces. I used the weight of the hatchet head or rubber bands to hold things together and have pressure between steps so it could dry.

What you are left with is a little box that fits the hatchet head perfectly.

I wrapped the outside with packing tape to hold it all together, add durability, and a slight amount of water resistance. Really junky looking… I know, but it works and was free.

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What are you asking Santa for this year?

Christmas is coming up, and family is starting to ask me for gifts I would like. So far I am going to be asking for some Darn Tough Socks, and a Bayite Ferro Rod.

What are you hoping to get for Christmas this year that is prepping/survival/outdoors related?

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Emergency food prep in urban, apartment living?

So, let’s say there’s a big power outage and we have to dig into our emergency food stash. Most of us still rely on heat and boiling water to prep that food. How do you cook in a survival situation if you live in an apartment without easy access to the outside? If you have a gas stove you can use that, if the gas stays on. But what if the gas is turned off? Or what if you have an electric stove? If you have access to the outside, you can use a propane stove, assuming the authorities aren’t asking you to avoid making any sparks outside, as they do here in Northern California during elevated fire danger days. But what if it IS one of those day? Or what if you live in an apartment with no private outside space? What are the best preps for making sure you can cook your food?

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Best survival knife: Complete Guide

In this post, I will write about survival knife, or simply knife for those who don’t do outdoor activity.

This post will be a little bit longer, but it will cover almost everything, including steel, size, and etc.

Disclaimer: I do not have connection with any affiliate, I simply share my own knowledge.

If you are picking up a knife for prepping purpose, you will want durability as first, so I can only recommend fixed blade in this purpose, no matter how strong a folding knife, it is still not one piece, no matter how the advertisement say, you will want a fixed blade.

You will also want a full tang and not rat tail tang, this is not always the case, but if you can, always look for full tang, skeleton tang is also as durable (maybe slightly different) as full tang.

First most important: Steel

A steel is the most important point for knife (of course), I simply list steel in three type, followed by different grade.

Type 1: Carbon steel: as it name suggested, a steel with some carbon added (actually ANY steel need to add carbon or boron to be able to harden well), and forged into a knife. It is my favorite steel, carbon steel knife will rust badly if left in moisture for a long time, especially salt water, so most carbon steel knife come coated, but you will still need to take care of the exposed edge. However aside from rust, carbon steel can be sharpen easily to wicked sharp, hold an edge quite long, while still very tough and can handle lots of abuse.

Type 2: Stainless steel: The name speak for it self, a steel thats stainless and resist corrosion well. They are rust resistant but not rust proof, they will still rust (With the exception of H1), but only if you done intentionally (throwing it outside for a year). Stainless steel will not rust because it contain at lease 11% chromium, the more chromium, the more it resist corrosion well, but at the same time it also decrease the toughness. This is the reason why functional long machete or sword are made of carbon steel, if you see one in stainless, they are wall hanger for sure.

Type 3: Semi-Stainless: this one is a little bit special, its carbon steel with little amount of chromium (around 7-8% but no guarantee), these steel have a balance between the two steel above, with toughness from carbon steel, and fairly well corrosion resistant. Some tool steel fall into this category.

Second important: Heat treat

If steel is the body of knife, heat treat is the soul. depending on different heat treat, same steel and be brittle, tough, springy, and much more. Most manufacture will heat treat their steel base on the intention use of the knife, and if the manufacture is a well known brand, their heat treat should not have issue. you won’t be needed to worry about their heat treat much. However, do pay attention to what the designer hope the knife to do, so you won’t be buying a combat knife for wood working.

Third important: Grind

Grind means the blade edge shape, there many much grind available, I will only mention some here:

1. Scandi grind: This is the grind that the popular morakniv companion use, best for wood working and bushcraft, is it easily to sharpen as you could lay the bevel on stone, best for beginner)

2. Convex grind: This is the edge without bevel (some have micro bevel), it can be done thick to offer good and strong edge, or go thinner side to be better at bushcraft, the popular Falkniven F1 use this grind, you can also see this grind in Condor machete and some other large tool in a thicker version, notable mention, katana also use this grind, the only downside is it is harden to sharpen without proper skill.

3. Full flat grind: Full flat grind is one of the most versatile grinds, it can be thick and heavy, or it can be extremely thin and sharp, or it can be a balance between the two. This grind work on most (if not any) knife, it is also easy to sharpening if you have basic sharpening skill, and this is the one I prefer.

Fourth Important: Handle

Many would go straight for the steel and forgot about this one, but having good handle is just as important as the steel itself, bad handle could make your handle blister in long work (which is very bad in a disaster), or the handle itself could crack, sometimes the bad handle material would give your hand lots of shock in big chopping knife.

Luckily its easy when choosing handle, most people prefer G10 or Micarta, they are near indestructible and will last longer than the steel itself. G10 is made from glass reinforced plastic, it have a plastic feel and resist water very well, while micarta is made of natural canvas, paper, or other material, micarta will absorb water a bit, and will be grippy under wet condition. Notable mention: G10 is slightly durable than micarta. Micarta will develop patina after some use and have a special character, when you look at like and a same knife, you could tell the difference like: yes thats my knife.

Fifth important: Sheath

Lets keep it simple:

Kydex: Good durability, waterproof, most custom sheath maker use kydex. Some kydex will scratch blade, some bad sheath will in contact with edge and dull the blade.

Glass reinforced plastic: Indestructible, but if you like to pull out knife with edge rubbing the sheath, then you would be better just wrapping knife in paper. Glass have high hardness that dull blade, cold steel old sheath have bad design that will dull the blade, but they have remodified the design.

Leather: The old and classic, good looking, some expert will instantly pick this one. Leather need care, and you need to avoid water unless treated with bees wax. Not a good sheath for humid and wet environment. You can also find some very good custom leather sheath maker.

Now we have basic understanding (above seems much, but its only basic), we will talk about how to pick a knife for what you intended to use.

You can skip to conclusion below if you don’t want to read this long article.

Best carbon steel: There are lots of best carbon steel, S7 for legendary toughness and shock absorb, 9260 and 5160 for the durability of long blade, but for short-mid size knife, you will want 1095, or even better, Sharon Steel 50110B (1095 cro-van or Carbon V). Carbon steel work best for those who don’t like a long sharpening time, tough as nails when heat treated properly, but will rust very quickly in salt water or left wet. You might not care about rust if you use the knife daily, since most carbon steel knife is coated, the rusted edge will be sharpen and removed by the end of day.

Best stainless steel: I am the one that hate stainless steel, despite years of outdoor experience, I still can’t bring myself to like stainless steel(with the exception of m390/20cv/204p), the only reason to choose stainless is for working in a wet environment. Personally I think m390/20cv/204p is currently the best steel in the market (For the jack of all kind): It has superior edge retention: While not as good as those super hard s125v, you will only need to sharpen after weeks of works. Good corrosion resistant: top tier with H1 in lead (H1 is the only steel that will not rust no matter what you do with it). Ease of sharpening: Super steel is hard to sharpen, but m390 is fairly easy if you not trying to reprofile, ceramic and leather strop work well for normal touch up. Toughness: when properly heat treated, can be as tough as s35vn. If you want slightly tougher than m390, elmax will be the go, with little drawback of slightly less edge retention.

Best semi-stainless steel: Now come to the interesting one: I personally thing the best steel for toughness is cpm-3v, tougher than even 1095 carbon steel, while still offer some corrosion resistant when compared to tougher S7, better edge retention than most carbon steel. Crucible also have some other great steel that could compare to 3v: cpm-4v(or Bohler vanadis 4e) that have lower toughness than 3v but higher edge retention, cpm-m4 is also a notable popular option. Sleipner used in Lionsteel knife is also a good semi-stainless if you can’t get American steel knife for whatever reason.

Conclusion: 1095cro-van or 1095 for carbon steel, m390/20cv/204p or elmax for stainless steel, cpm-3v or cpm-4v for semi-stainless steel. The only reason to chose 1095 over 3v is that not much 3v knife on the market to choose, and not every maker could bring out the steel potential, or one of the most important things: price, which bring us to the next topic.

Th best knife would be: cpm-3v steel, with maker heat treated it for hard use, come with g10 or micarta handle, in kydex sheath. Currently Lionsteel M5 with cpm3-v is the only knife that match all these expectation (except sheath), if you don’t like the design, you can only go custom, which again, cost a lot of price. Notable mention: if you work with corrosive chemical daily, you will need a H1 knife rather than normal stainless.

Now goes the price:

You can find the good durable knife under $100, with the better handle and sheath going up to $150 (either after market accessory or including with knife), the premium one are around $200-$250. If you want to go custom, be expected to pay for $300-$500, or even more, depending on how you want it.

And the knife length: 4″ blade length is the sweet spot for most people in small knife, 7″is the best for those who like those do it all blade, 9″ and above is a little big, you will be better with a better tools in this case, but I myself carry two knife (4″ and 9″) for different purpose in almost every outdoor activity.

About the knife I recommended:

In case you missed the words above, I would type it again: I do not have connection with any affiliate, so this is only my person opinion, and I only recommend what I use.

Short knife:

Ultimate Pick:


This is recommended by my friend, who have more experienced than me in survival knife. Semi custom knife, Multiple length to choose from, CPM-3v steel or other steel you prefer, heat treating expertly with cryo treating, G10 or Micarta scale, Kydex sheath, which match every terms listed above. Around 200-250$, it is expensive, but you get what you pay for and its worth every penny.

Carbon Steel:

KA-BAR BK16 Short Becker Drop Point Fixed 4.375″ Carbon Steel Blade, Zytel Handles, Cordura Sheath (You could also get BK2 if you want a longer edge)

ESEE Knives ESEE-4P-MB Plain Edge, Coyote Brown Sheath, MOLLE Back and Clip Plate

Both are very durable and could take a lot of beating. Kabar use slightly better 1095 cro-van, while esee use plain 1095, esee has better handle and sheath, if you buy kabar, trust me you will want to buy the aftermarket micarta handle, kabar sheath is usable. kabar heat treat their steel around 56-58 HRC, esee is around 55-57 HRC, while not much big different in numbers, I notice kabar have a slightly better edge retention, vanadium added in the 1095 cro-van might slightly affect it too some also report it is better rust resistant than plain 1095. Lower HRC on esee give it almost bomb proof, I once see someone use a metal hammer to baton with esee knife on youtube (destruction test), the knife bend and did not break, still remain usable afterwards, while I am sure kabar would break in the same circumstances. Personally I pick kabar over esee, since both is durable, I would take the edge retention and better steel, since I would not do stupid things with my knife.

Stainless Steel:

Fallkniven F1 Swedish Pilot Survival Knife 3.8″ VG10 Satin Blade, Black Thermorun Handle and Leather Sheath – F1L

Fallkniven R2 Scout Fixed Blade Knife 3.15″ Elmax Satin Blade, Black Thermorun Handle, Zytel Sheath – R2z

Stainless steel is not better than Carbon steel or semi-stainless if you want a indestructible knife, but if corrosion is important for you, you can also choose to go stainless. Fallkniven F1 one of the most popular bushcraft knife, laminated VG-10, which is VG-10 as the edge, and 420J2 as outer soft layer, VG-10, while not being any special, is still a time proven knife in the field and good stainless steel that hold an edge. The Fallkniven R2 scout is cyro treated Elmax steel, which is a steel with closed performance to m390, but tougher, cyro treated Elmax let it stay at 61-62 HRC which is very hard, I through it would be a little bit brittle, but Fallkniven make the knife super thick at a crazy 4.8mm, which make up for the hardness. It has a shorter edge at 3.25″, also shorter handle which is suitable for medium to small hand, so its not for everyone. Having 62 HRC also make it incredibly hard and stay sharp for a long time, its also mean you will certainly need diamond stone to resharpen easily, ceramic and leather strop as usual will be fine for the touch up.

Semi-Stainless Steel:

Benchmade 200 Puukko Fixed Blade Knife 3.75″ CPM-3V Satin, OD Green Santoprene Handle, Black Leather Sheath

Cold Steel 36CB Master Hunter Fixed 4.5″ CPM-3V Stonewashed Blade, Kray-Ex Handle, Secure-Ex Sheath

I have a chance to handle the Benchmade puuko from a friend that collect knifes, comfortable and good to use. I truly wanted to buy this one, but since its humid where I live, I choose a stainless and carbon combo. I am currently resisting the urge to buy this one, but might give up somewhere. I don’t have experience with Cold Steel master hunter, but having tried their 3v knife, I could say their quality is good. One note mention is the master hunter has a more durable sheath than puuko.

Mora Pick:

Morakniv Garberg Utility Knife Fixed 4.3″ Black Carbon Steel Blade, Black Polyamide Handle, Multi-Mount Sheath – M-13147

Strongest mora available, for those who swear by their knife and skandi grind, also available in stainless steel. Its an upgrade over the morakniv companion, full tang compare to the cheaper model. However if you want scandi grind in the best steel (3v), there are choice available by other brand, but the size might not meet your need.

Mid size:

Carbon steel:

KA-BAR BK7 Becker Fixed Combat Utility Knife 7″ 1095 Carbon Steel Blade, Zytel Handles, Nylon Sheath

The modern upgrade over classic Kabar USMC, do it all type knife, but same as the bk16, you will want a better aftermarket micarta handle. I once used only this knife and was happy, but eventually I switch to the two knife combo since I need higher chopping power.

Big Size:

Carbon steel:

KA-BAR BK9 Becker Fixed Combat Bowie Knife 9″ Carbon Steel Blade, Zytel Handles, Nylon Sheath

ESEE Knives Junglas-II-E Machete 8.375″ 1095 Black Blade, ESEE Logo, Micarta Handles, Kydex Sheath

Big knife is for the experienced user only, you will wanted to replace bk9 handle with aftermarket micarta to reduce shock of chopping. One of the most important is, you are NOT rambo and you will not be fighting with a big knife, the big knife listed is suitable for wood working and utility task, you will want a lighter knife for combat purpose. Most people won’t need a big knife, but if you know you have reason to, there’s no problem with it. Why I need big blade: I personally live in humid tropical environment, I will want to bring a machete anyway, and bk9 done the machete and heavy duty wood work perfectly, that’s the reason I choose it.

You will notice that I use lots of becker knife, mainly because of the handle is so comfortable, and thee finger choil on BK7 and BK9 make the work of small task like carving work so well like a small knife. The only dream knife I want is BK9 in cpm-3v, but its not going to happen without custom.

The current knife combo I carry is Lionsteel m4 + Kabar Becker BK9. I don’t list weapon style knife here because I don’t think they would suit here, might post them soon if I have the time, feel free to share your opinion too.


EDC knife and the folding category

Thanks for the comment, I agree that a best survival knife is the one that at your hand when you need it, I once think about that when I am cutting thick manila rope with plain edge knife, while leaving the serrated at home.

Other than outdoor use, we end up using our EDC knife more. While the Lionsteel m4 above work great for normal use, some might want a folding knife to get rid of the sheath. When buying folding knife, most of them are stainless since they assume you won’t be hard use on it, when it come to folding knife, lock matter more than steel, by the lock, I mean the mechanism that secure the blade so it wont break flip around when you are using it, which is dangerous.

Lots of lock and the explaination:

Knifeinfomer: Lock Types

After buying some folder from different company, and have them take apart for cleaning after some use, I could say that the Cold Steel tri-ad lock is the most durable, but someone on Youtube do baton with a ZT folder which is Framelock without any problem: Video

So in the end, assuming you are not trying to do hardcore things with folding knife, buy whatever you like about the look of the knife from a company with good reputation. I will still list some folder with durability in mind.

Cold Steel 27BT Recon 1 Tanto Folding Knife 4″ S35VN Black DLC Plain Blade, Black G10 Handles

If you ask me about the most durable folding knife, this come in mind. Bombproof G10 scale, s35vn which I consider a premium steel (But not super steel), American tanto point which stronger than clip or spear point, which is also available as choice for the Recon 1. While their marketing video cutting meat seems a little bit weird, I love the abuse part of their video, which proof they could withstand the extreme condition.

Cold Steel 58B American Lawman Folding Knife 3.5″ S35VN Black DLC Blade, Black G10 Handles

Short pick if you want a shorter blade or not so aggressive lock for legal problem.

Self defense:

Now this is an interest topic, many people will overdo this, but if you can use gun in this purpose, gun is better, if gun is illegal in your country, only then you consider knife. I only cover knife here so I will not include other things such as pepper spray. The following scenario assume that you see the treat coming and not realize the treat after being shot or stabbed, which is useless even if you have anything, so be aware of surrounding is the most important.

Disclaimer: I did not encourage violence and it is not the best way to solve problem. There are better way than knife for self defense, only consider this after you see other option for self defense. The best way to solve conflict is to get away before the fight start, while you might think it is a coward act, but the coward get home safely while the brave one lying at the hospital.

Facts above knife for self defense:

1. Run away wins the fight, assume you are not surrounded (of course) and you have confidence you could out run the attacker.

2. If the attacker also have a knife, you will have bigger chance to get wounded in the knife fight if the fight is longer, so don’t thinking about knife fighting like the movie, aim for a cut and run.

3. If pull out the knife enough to intimidate the attacker, then you don’t need to use the knife, but don’t put back the knife until you sure you are safe.

I will recommend some choice, no dagger here since its for the aggressive use.

Spyderco Matriarch2 Lightweight Folder 3.57″ Black VG10 Serrated Blade with Wave, Black FRN Handles – C12SBBK2W

Emerson wave to open the knife once out of pocket, Spyderco classic serrated edge that slice very well, black coating that reduce light reflection, one swipe to the hand or face will certainly cause a real pain and giving you chance to run away. Having cut my accidently before, I am sure self serrated wound are generally more painful than plain edge.

Spyderco Civilian Folding Knife 4-1/8″ VG10 Serrated Blade, G10 Handles – C12GS

Same as the matriarch, the civilian has a bigger and more intimidating look, the only downside is it doesn’t have the emerson wave, you could use zip tie as make shift wave, but it will certainly not as good as the emerson.

The most important part is, no matter which knife you get for self defense, be sure to practice with it, for example you will need to familiar with how the wave feature work. Don’t always assume the attacker will go easy on you, even if the serrated wound in painful, if the attack is very piss off or drugged, he/she might not care at all. If the attacker have a more dangerous weapon: dagger, pure fighting dagger, big machete, it is best to run, if you cannot, fight like your life is on the line, because it is.

Fighting Knife: The ultimate pick

Cold Steel 13QMBII Magnum Tanto II Fixed 7-1/2″ 3V Blade, Kray-Ex Handle, Secure-Ex Sheath

While I owned some fighting knife, including the SOG and the famous Kabar USMC, neither is “PURE” for fighting and have some utility consideration built into them, which make them not the best for this task. The magnum tanto come with cpm-3v steel, DLC coated to prevent light reflection, powerful pommel that could do lots of damage and break bone or glass, and most important the American tanto point point which can make snap cut and pierce very goodly, tanto point with cpm-3v combo make it also suitable for light prying. 7.5″ blade also make it could reach vital organ easily and cause fatal damage. I am also surprise to found out it is the only knife I have that is truly balanced, if you put it on table table it could stand by the guard, which means it has 0″ point of balance.

Keep in mind if you are buying knife for self defense this is NOT the one. This is knife mean for aggressive use and hard use, it is better suited for those who have trained in knife fight, or someone who is on mission and want a fighting knife as backup, but do remember if you are in the US gun is still better than knife.

Dagger will not be listed here as I don’t view them as “knife”.

Prying, Break and Enter

KA-BAR BK3 Becker Tac Tool 7″ Carbon Steel Blade Rescue and Tactical Knife, Zytel Handles, Plastic Sheath

The knife that also seen used for rescue team, 527.3011 Kg in weight, if you try to chopping something, you will feel like rather that cutting, its like hitting something with a steel bar. This is the knife that specially built for prying, breaching and entering, perfect for rescue team purpose, or someone who’s lock outside by their wife because drinking with friends whole night (Just a joke). Its a chunk of monstrous steel and not suitable for any other wood working, having tried this first hand, don’t even thinking about using it for wood work or fined task, unless you reprofile the edge first, but that defeat the purpose of this knife.

My Choice: Short and Long combo, the Fallkniven R2 (More suitable for Humid rainforest and for my medium sized hand), the Becker BK9 (Big chopper is a must for rainforest), if I am bugging out in SHTF, I might also bring the Magnum Tanto 2, a blade that wont break, work for utility task, better suited for urban environment (strong tip for stabbing and prying, blunt force pommel), while also suitable to ty to a stick as spear with the lanyard hole at the pommel. 

Final conclusion: As you see what I choose above is mostly based on the environment. First know what suit your environment, then know what suit you, and finally know what you want to do and what you are able to do. Try go camping with your knife, even just in your backyard, that help you better understanding with your knife and gear. I tried to cover as many thing as possible, if you like nothing above thats fine, after reading you should know what you want, go for what suits you and your environment.

FINAL UPDATE: Changed some choice on the stainless and ultimate pick, after discussion with a friend which is more expert than me. Added mora pick, fighting knife, and prying knife. I might as well not update this in the future, but will still reply to comment, if you need anything please let me know. Also fixed some typo.

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Seasons Greetings

To all members, moderators and admins, I wish you all a very Happy Christmas and a healthy and prosperous New Year. Here’s hoping 2022 will be a great year for everyone!

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Had a road trip – felt very unprepared

My wife and I recently returned from a road trip to Door County WI, where we both lost cellular service even though we were supposed to have it according to the “service maps”.

Now, I thought that I was fully prepared for this trip. I had packed my car go-bag, extra tools, batteries, everything. But I truly didn’t think about losing cell service in one of the most popular vacation destinations.

I had also packed my Yaesu HT, but we we were driving north on the peninsula in the dark at 11pm, watching our headlights reflect back the eyeballs on deer just waiting to jump the ditch and smash into our car, I had a very sinking feeling in my stomach. I realized that my HT was mostly prepped for “bugging in” because I had only programmed the repeaters local to my house. I also regretted not having something stronger than a 5W HT available.

Luckily nothing happened and we had a great trip, but I’ll always remember that pit in my stomach and I’ll work towards never having that happen again. It did get my thinking, though, about the best way to prep for trips in the future. Obviously I should plan on programming repeaters that are along my trip’s route. But what else? I thought about either:

1. Buying a linear amp and a car-mount antenna to get ~40W of output with my HT, or, 

2. Buying a dedicated 2M mobile unit for my car, or,

3. Creating a “travel pack” for my ICOM 7100 (all-mode radio) so that when I go on long trips, I just take the larger ICOM with me. Something like building a battery box and just having the ICOM ready to leave the house at any time.

What would you all think?

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Rotation in food storage

I was viewing another forum and came across a topic regarding using OOD stores. the OP was saying about how all the items used in a recent meal were at least 18months out of date. I know I am easily confused, but why on earth would you by choice consistently eat food past it’s best in times of plenty?

I would call that an epic fail! 

I practice rotation. Even my deep stores are rotated out to keep them fresh. It is well known, that the older preserved and packaged food is, the nutritional value becomes compromised. So with just this in mind, why on earth do it?

Now don’t get me wrong, I have eaten OOD food myself when a bag of flour has gone unnoticed or a tin of something has hidden, but it’s not something I want to do on a regular basis.  

Maybe I’m being too precious, but am I the only one who would put themselves in the naughty corner for allowing so much slacking?

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Does anybody have a game plan for rare/refrigerated medication?

Hi everyone. I’m a long time lurker but a first time poster. In January I got diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, and “failed” a couple of the first line treatments, so I have recently started a super-expensive, refrigerated, injectable medication. I’m not new to the chronic pain game; I had an experience similar to the one Ubique has described a few months back. I got mono in college, had a mysterious post-viral syndrome, developed some auto-immune stuff, including pre-clinical RA. Luckily, and nobody has been able to explain this to me, a lot of the symptoms went away after about two years. My experiences with health are part of the reason I got into emergency preparedness. 

Anyway, I’ve known since 2015 that I was going to eventually get full-blown RA, and now it’s here. Last year my shoulders got gradually stiffer, then it quickly moved to my hands, feet, ankles, knees… you name it, it hurt. It was aggressive, and debilitating. Thankfully I was still mostly working from home, so I didn’t have to take too much time off. Now, thanks to a medicine with a $15k/month sticker price (I pay $5 a month due to my income) I am back to normal. It feels good, and once again I feel pretty lucky. 

I used to feel powerful when I was able to keep living despite chronic pain, through a combination of rationing my energy and just keeping going, but RA is another beast. I couldn’t move the fingers on my right hand for all of April. I couldn’t do most daily life tasks without this medicine. I am getting my PhD in biological engineering, and making decentralized, disaster-resilient biopharmaceutical manufacturing tools is something I’m hoping to eventually tackle in my research. But for now… I’m doing a lot of yoga to build more strength and flexibility. I’m learning all I can about the disease and what people did before treatments existed (which mostly sounds like suffering). I have some great people in my life who took care of me during my flares earlier this year and would do it again. I can’t buy myself an emergency stock of this stuff, but I’m looking into stocking up on the other medicines I take (an NSAID and a more traditional RA med that just didn’t do enough). Do you or your loved ones rely on refrigerated medicine? What do your plans look like? 

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Learn about animal behavior and basic tracking this winter

I like to go out early in the morning after a fresh snow and see all the wildlife tracks in the snow. I try and identify what animal it might be, follow the tracks to see where they came from, why did they come to this area, and where they are going.

There are many benefits of studying tracks such as to know what kind of wildlife is in your area, look out for predators that might harm you, your children, or pets, know what you can hunt and trap, look out for pests that might be setting up home in the foundation of your house or up in the warm engine block of your vehicle, and more.And the snow is just to make it a lot easier while you are learning how to track and identify prints.

What animals are in your area? If you see any cool prints, share them here. My area has been lacking snow so far this winter so the above pictures are ones I stole online. I will keep an eye out for tracks when we do get snow and post my pics here.

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Best online first aid course?

I just took an online first aid course from the Red Cross called “Adult, Child and Baby First Aid/CPR/AED Online” for $35 and found it very informative. In addition to the material mentioned in the title, it also covers some of heat stroke, hypothermia, bleeding, diabetic emergency, and other stuff. It’s an interactive course where you work through scenarios and click on the screen to apply pressure, perform CPR, etc.

Have y’all found any other courses you’d recommend?

I also recently took First Aid for Severe Bleeding Online ($30), which was brief and not as interactive but still informative. Next up I’m planning on First Aid for Opioid Overdoses Online ($11) because I regularly interact with IV drug users, and I’m scheduled for REI/NOLS Wilderness First Aid ($245) in June (with 4 fully vaxxed buddies). My final plan is to take REI/NOLS Wilderness First Responder ($765) after WFA.

The Red Cross courses described what is useful in various scenarios, but did not get into how to carry the gear in an EDC so that you have it when you need it. I’ve been doing that part myself, with substantial assistance from this site! I’ve got stuff for bleeding (shears, tourniquet, quikclot, etc.), various pills (aspirin for heart attack, diphenhydramine for anaphylaxis), and other stuff like an emergency blanket in case of shock, all in an EDC that I take whenever I leave my home. See:

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