Share your knowledge & learn from experts

Because prepping and community go hand in hand

Winter storms and safety

https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/winter/duringstorm/indoorsafety.html

Most appropriately timed; saw this article at CDC’s site.

Material actually from a speciality agency of National Center For Environmental Health.

One point in link I ask you to review. At “Conserve heat” … “Stuff towels or rags in crack under doors” … Consider modifying this by adding, for example, some fluorescent para cord  attached to the stuffed towel/rag and draping the cord over the door handle. In case of power failure or tree branch drops into this portion of dwelling, no need to do bending to remove towel/rags that also can become a door wedge. 

Always consider you might have to vacate premises ASAP or even faster.  Safety must govern.

Had thought hair dryers were for the frozen truck doors………

 

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Upcoming food shortages?

Wanted to get thoughts and insight on the likelihood of food shortages as a result of this massive “third wave” of COVID-19 in the United States – I mean above and beyond panic buying but impacts to food manufacturing plants and transportation.  It seemed like earlier this year food shortages (empty grocery store shelves) were mostly the result of panic buying, however the meat industry was hit hard by the virus which resulted in decreased manufacturing output and plants being shut down for periods of time.  I am very concerned what this country wide surge in COVID-19 cases will do to the food industry as a whole (plants closing down due to a large number of infected employees on a wide-spread scale, etc).  

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Just wishing everyone a merry Christmas.

I believe life is short, and  I think celebrating it as much as we can is a good thing.  Reguardless of your religion, political beliefs or ideologies I hope everyone here has a chance to be with the ones they care about and can enjoy a good meal together this holiday.

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Article mentioned theprepared.com in article: Doomsday preppers stock up on luxury survival kits, emergency food supplies and million-dollar bunkers

This site was mentioned in the article ‘Doomsday preppers stock up on luxury survival kits, emergency food supplies and million-dollar bunkers’.  The link is https://www.cnbc.com/2020/12/19/what-doomsday-preppers-stock-up-on.html.

I’d like to get any opinions from the forum, especially the moderators.  Some of the companies mentioned are either Johnny-come-lately with little or no track record and maybe a celebrity endorsement, offering products of questionable quality (25 year shelf life for food pouches, caloric content), or pre-made kits which we know are often filled with inferior quality products.  I find it hard to believe that the customers of these product are really part of the true prepper community.

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What’s the best starter radio for a person who doesn’t have a lot of time to devote to ham?

I’m aware of the pages here that talk about HAM radios. I’m actually interested in learning about them and getting into them eventually, but I don’t have the bandwidth for for any complex or expensive radio project right now. I’m just trying to rustle up a basic emergency preparedness radio that doesn’t have a big learning curve. Is there a simple (simplest) version of HAM radios or should I just stick with NOAA type radios?

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Clue me in about portable solar panels, please

In recent months I’ve acquired two “solar generators”  — the MAXOAK Bluetti 150 and the massive Goal Zero Yeti 3000X.  (Hot tip: if you are in Northern California and are a PG&E medical baseline customer, meaning you use some sort of medical equipment and get a special electricity rate for that, you can actually apply to receive a free Yeti 3000X, which normally runs over $3000.)

Now I’m trying to acquire solar panels to charge these batteries. But I know almost nothing about electricity and about solar panels specifically. I have some specs from the manufacturer and some customers on Amazon (listed at bottom), but what else do I need to keep in mind?

I notice different panels are listed as being made of different materials? Does it matter?

Some panels are flexible, which wouldn’t work for setting them outside when I need to charge my generator, but is there a way to attach these to a rigid surface, like a board?

Some of them come with controllers. I don’t know what these are for? I know that the generators come with their own hardware that’s their interface for the panels.

Anything else I should keep in mind? Because otherwise I would literally go out and buy the cheapest panels I can find that meet the specs. Which are:

Bluetti 150
*≈10 Hours (Using 200W Solar Panels simultaneously with full sun)

The recommended solar input for the Bluetti EB150 is 400 watts at 12 Volts. This will fully recharge your unit in around 3.5-4 hours of ideal sunlight.

Solar/AC Recharge: 1)This Power Generator Can be Recharged from the Sun with Solar Panel (Open Circuit Voltage must be 16V~60V(Max),Max 500W,Solar Panel not Included). 

This is the solar panel set they sell, which looks nifty but is way overpriced: https://www.bluetti.com/products/120w-solar-panel

Yeti 3000x

100W (Boulder/Nomad 100 (BC) ): 36-72 Hours
200W (Boulder (BC) ): 18-36 Hours
400W (Boulder 200 X 2): 9-18 Hours
600W (Boulder 200 X 3): 6-12 Hours
800W (Boulder 200 X 4): 6-9 Hours
1200W (Boulder 200 X 6): 6 Hours

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What are the implications of the recent SolarWinds hack, should I change my preps?

Hello!  Looking to get everybody’s thoughts on the potential implications of the recently discovered hacks?  Unsure how serious these are and if I should consider adding to / adjusting my current preparedness strategy.

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Prep for fume event?

Hi all,

This is my first post to the TP forum, though I’ve been diving into all the great resources since I discovered the site earlier this year. 

Stephanie Arnold brought up in her update for December 17 the notion of “fume events” in which faulty seals result in toxic fumes entering into the main cabin. The article to which she referenced described pilots passing out and passengers/crew complaining of long-lasting side effects. I had no idea 1) that air was drawn from engine exhaust into the cabin after being scrubbed for toxins or that 2) this air could turn toxic with equipment malfunction. According to the article she references, 2019 saw 362 “fume events” although there are likely more that go unreported.

My question is as follows: would you all consider it a reasonable prep to invest in face masks with the potential to filter out carbon monoxide and other potential toxins? Would bringing such an item as a carry-on even be allowed? More practically, with 3 young children traveling in tow, has anyone looked into functioning masks (or hoods) for kids that would provide a sufficient seal to keep them from breathing all that nasty stuff in?

Thanks all!

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How I built a trellis for grape vines

IMO, grapes are a great choice for home gardeners and especially for preppers. In the warm areas of the country, such as where I live in North Mississippi, the grape of choice is the muscadine. Below is how I built my trellis a few years ago.  First I set my treated posts, where I use 6×6 posts on the ends and 4×4 posts down the line.  To attach and tension the 12.5 gauge high tensile wire, I use the Gripple product, which in this case includes the wirevise, the wire joiners, ground anchors and the tensioning tool. With this product, you feed the wire into a slot & the wire can only keep going forward. It can’t be pulled back out, like Chinese finger traps. Makes tensioning the wire exceptionally easy… especially with their tool. You can purchase the product from Amazon but I get my orchard supplies from Orchard Valley Supply. https://www.orchardvalleysupply.com/…ons/trellising

I drilled a hole thru the 6×6 end posts, slid in a wirevise on the outside of the post & fed the 12.5 gauge high tensile wire thru the wirevise, then tensioned from one end & then attached stainless guides on top of the 4×4 line posts.  I’m holding a wirevise so you can see how it looks.

Even though all posts are set 2 1/2 – 3 feet deep with concrete, you want to brace the end posts to keep them from leaning under the tension of the wire… especially when the wire is loaded with fruit and vines. On this end, I’m using Gripple earth anchors. They are driven, in this case, 3 feet into the ground, until the loop just barely sticks out. You then pull the drive rod out, slide it thru the loop and then pull up. This causes the anchor to pivot underground and then lock in place. When done the loop is now about 6 inches above ground.

Ready to pound the anchor deep underground.

This is where you pull up the rod, slide it thru the wire loop & pull upward until the end rotates & locks in place.

I then use the end post kit, which includes the Gripple wire joiner & the galvanized wire with a loop on one side, to tension the end post to the ground anchor.

One trellis now fully tensioned and braced.

Three trellises wired, tensioned & braced by myself in about 1 1/2 hours. You can’t get any easier & anytime it needs to be tightened, you simply attach the tool to the end of the wire.

Two years later, here is a variety called Supreme.

And here is Magnolia.

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wirevise

Gifting preps: What are your top picks for unprepared loved ones?

Hi Prepared Friends,

I’m trying to decide what I should gift to my dad and stepmother this Christmas to enhance their preparedness. My dad likes camping and backpacking, so they have that sort of gear, but just for one. They also have one of those pre-packed 72-hour kits that is largely full of garbage (which I bought them a couple of Christmases back in the interest of getting the bases covered quickly and within my budget). They live five miles from the San Andreas Fault in a household that also includes three medium-sized dogs, and they commuted to work in their own cars pre-pandemic. I can spend about $120.

I was going to focus on water, get two Reliance Rhino-pak aquatainers, and then figure out what to do with the rest of my budget, but those now seem to be hard to find, and the 7-gallon aquatainers are far less portable, so now I’m not sure if I should keep the focus on water or start somewhere else.

If you were me, what would you prioritize? What have you prioritized in gifting preps to family members?

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My BOB is heavy and not even fully stocked

Hey everyone-

I have been prepping in my head for years, but it was usually #badprepper ideas like I’ll just loot things I need as soon as SHTF. I started really getting worried leading up to the election and was googling and found this site. I went on a crazy spending spree and now I feel like I have a mostly complete Level 3 BOB. 

The problem- it weighs in at over 30 lbs and I still feel like it needs some moderately heavy items to get it all the way there (sleeping bag, tent, etc.). I’m interested in feedback on what the most cost-efficient way to upgrade some gear to make it lighter or what things I can ditch/ replace. 

Really love this site and am excited to continue to learn and improve!

Here is the link to my kit:

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Feedback and feature updates for this forum

In this thread we’ll share updates we’re making to the forum (in comments below) + it’s a good place for you to share any feedback about how we can make things better.

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Had “The Preparedness Talk”

We had a long time friend come up to visit us recently.  None of our friends are aware of our preparedness.  The conversation went in a direction where I thought it would be a good time to start talking to our friend about preparedness.  The conversation went well I think – I did my best to explain the importance of being prepared and self reliant.  Hopefully at the very least the discussion got him thinking – and perhaps he will continue to take steps in the preparedness journey.  He could also just think I’m crazy!  I did send him the link to this website 🙂  curious to hear if anybody else has had similar conversations with family or friends and how they went?  What approaches worked well and which ones didn’t? 

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Why did you start prepping?

Wanting to hear feedback from this community as to why each of you decided to start prepping?  Was it a particular situation you experienced?  A book you read?  Discussions with a family member, friend or neighbor?

For me, I had toyed with idea of prepping for multiple years and I even had a good stash of freeze dried food and a biomass stove.  Lots of camping gear.  But COVID-19 was ultimately what did it for me – seeing how quickly and easily things could truly fall apart.  It was eye opening.

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My two rural retreats in Australia

Hello, and thankyou for accepting me into your online community.

This post is just to introduce myself and give some background about myself and my prepping journey. I’m mid 50’s, married with two adult children and one grandchild. I followed my elder brother into prepping in the early 1980’s, buying my first rural retreat as a 21y/o, then lost some interest as I started a family.  Later on in life I returned to prepping, and now own two rural retreats, one close to the coast, and one in the mountains. They are about 50 miles apart in a direct line, but further via road. I live in my house in a coastal city several hours drive from my retreats.

My primary focus has always been on financial security, even when I wasn’t actively prepping. I earn an average income, but live a frugal lifestyle and have been lucky enough to have always made sound financial decisions. I’m a self made man, determined and very mission focused. And I’m a good networker, which has saved me many thousands of dollars over the years. I consider my 3 main preps to be: debt free, a solid network of useful friends, and a big bank of paid leave from my employer, which I can take to alleviate extended periods of sickness or unemployment.

My prepping plan is to enjoy the good life in my home on the coast, but have two fully stocked rural retreats to withdraw to if required. My primary retreat is mostly complete, it has a 3 bedroom cabin, and two 20ft shipping containers that serve as a bunkhouse, workshop, storeroom and bathroom. Water is provided by direct river frontage (clean water from the mountains with no farms using chemical fertilizers upstream) and 4 water tanks collecting rainwater. Power is from 600w of solar panel (enough for our modest needs) and an 80w panel serving the shipping containers. Cooking is lpg camp stove, gas bbq or open fire. This retreat has rice, pasta, tinned  food to last my group of 8 for a month, and non perishable items to last 12 months. The bulk of my 12 month food store I keep at home. The retreat is private, at the end of a secluded track, surrounded by much larger properties raising beef and lamb. My cabin is situated in a position that would allow us to escape into the surrounding hills if required.

My secondary retreat is 3 acres, a couple of miles from the coast, in a rural area approx 15 minutes drive from town. It has underground grid power, but off grid for water and septic. I am still developing this retreat, having only built a 55m2 metal shed and installed a 15,000l water tank. This shed will become a workshop/toolshed when I build the main house in 4 years. I will use a combination of grid and solar lower here, and the plan is to grow a lot of my own fruit and vegetables, and perhaps eggs and chicken as well.

My main prepping focus currently is to finish the fitout of the cabin on this retreat, plant an orchard, and to develop some medical skills.

Looking forward to learning from all the experience on this forum.

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The importance of knowing your way around

Sorry this is such a long post.  The idea was inspired by a recent thread about roads vs interstates, and then again in a thread about cost-free preps.  It got so long and specific it felt like it should be its own topic…

One incredibly important aspect of prepping, in my opinion, is becoming keenly familiar with the road and highway system in one’s town and region. Too often people rely on their phones and navigation devices to get them from point A to B, and it seems to me a real, yet avoidable, vulnerability. While such devices can be great for avoiding traffic jams and road closures, it’s a real fool’s errand to rely on them completely. Networks can fail or get overloaded, devices/batteries can die, and it wastes time to type in/search for your destination – all things you want to avoid during an emergency.

An important (and free!) prep is getting to know your way around your immediate area and region. Knowing how to get yourself to nearby hospitals, your bug-out location, or simply out of town – without having to reference a map or a device – is a crucial prepping skill. Once you have those routes memorized, then work on a secondary route, and perhaps a third, recognizing that roads/passes/bridges could become un-passable and require you to take an alternative route.

From there, getting to know your area’s transportation system is vital. Highway systems are called “systems” for a reason, and while they might not always make obvious sense, upon studying them they reveal themselves. Additionally, there are all sorts of embedded codes one can learn to aid this process (for instance, with the US Interstate System, odd numbered highways always go north/south, while even numbers go east/west (this is a pretty well-known example, but these sorts of codes go much, much deeper). The road and highway numbering system in the US can be extremely useful once you understand it. The same can be said for most urban grids as well, though those vary town to town and are much harder to memorize beyond your immediate region. There are several websites and resources that shed light on these systems, but here’s a good place to start: https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/programadmin/interstate.cfm

Another important thing to understand is the natural geography and barriers that inhibit our road system.  Rivers, bodies of water, mountains, etc, play a significant role in how we get around, making bridges and mountain passes natural chokepoints that can bottleneck traffic.  Recognizing these chokepoints is vital when making decisions, especially when evacuating an area.  For instance, if you are trying to get from Oregon into the state of Washington, or vice versa, you will have to go over one of nine bridges over the Columbia River spread out over 300 hundred miles.  Knowing where all nine of those bridges are, and the distance between them is vital if one hopes to make good decisions in case the preferred route becomes inaccessible due to structural failure or impossible gridlock.

I highly encourage anyone who imagines needing to flee a disaster to spend some good time studying maps and trying to memorize the road system of their area.  Accompany this with going for day trips to test your knowledge (and do some exploring, which is fun!).  While out, try not to look at maps too much, or if you do only use paper maps and a compass (no devices!).  Familiarize yourself with landmarks, and try to keep tabs of your internal compass (ask yourself periodically “which way is N/S/E/W?” and try to keep tabs on that).  If you get lost try to figure it out, it can be fun with the right attitude, and you just might find your new favorite place.

Our GPS navigation devices can be great tools, but don’t allow them to inhibit you from forming a true understanding of your surroundings. Be ready and familiar with paper maps and analog navigation tools, but challenge yourself to committ as much to memory as possible.  If you are fleeing a hurricane, or rushing your kid to the ER, relying on your digital navigation devices could slow you down and do more harm than good.  

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FEMA’s 2021 “Ready” calendar now available

https://www.ready.gov/sites/default/files/2020-12/Ready_2021-messaging-calendar.pdf

The 2021 calendar on readiness/preparedness themes just arrived.

It is well worth the time to glance at and perhaps save.

For visionaries and planners, September’s theme of national preparedness is ideal for TP.com.  It’s like making a guaranteed sales call with immediate contract.

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I’m building a physical prepper business where people can ship us things to store

We just started a website to put together a community of the prepared. The initial idea was to provide a place for people to go who might occasionally need relocating ( hurricane, flood, tornado). This gives them a prepaid long-term place to go without having to purchase or maintain property away from their home. Since then we have added a prepper dedicated storage facility. Its a simple concept. You ship us what you want us to store, we put it in your unit, we mail you a key, then you can either have it shipped anywhere you want when you need it or pick it up in person.

our website is http://www.graywolfpaylake.com/bug-out

The website is new and as you can see needs some work. But I was hoping to get some advice on how to better provide for people that need a bug-out location or storage. Any input is greatly appreciated.

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Do you buy honey locally? How and why?

I have seen plenty of random articles that say honey never expires. But then I heard a few preppers say you should only buy local because some of the cheaper honey you find in stores is fake or has bad chemicals.

Is that true? Do you buy local and if so, how? Is it more expensive?

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Fish antibiotics for humans?

Does anyone stockpile fish antibiotics?  For years I’ve heard they’re the same thing as human antibiotics.  I plan to stock up in the next few weeks. I understand this guy is pushing his book, but the information is very useful.

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Get home bag for harsh winter conditions

Hello!  I am relatively new to prepping and I am starting to put together a “get home” bag and was hoping for some suggestions and advice.  I live in a rural area in the northeast with very cold and harsh winters and I have a 45 minute commute to work each way.  If something happened and I had to make it back home on foot in the winter, or if I had to survive the night in my car due to severe winter weather, what would you recommend I have in my get home bag?  Thanks in advance for your help!

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How do you store your cans?

My house is reasonably sized but has limited storage space. I’ve been accumulating canned food because of the pandemic, which I’m now also using as a backup food prep — I also have a bucket of freeze-dried food. The cans have mostly been stored in various cubbyholes: e.g. in the space under the couch, under the bottom shelf of my walk-in closet, etc. This works fine for a supply of cans I seldom use, but since I’m trying to rotate the canned food and use it regularly it’s becoming a pain in the butt to crouch on the floor of my closet trying to sort out which cans are which and trying to see the dates. I need a better system. What do you use to store your canned food?

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Prepping stocking stuffers

I’m wanting to share the gift of being prepared this Christmas and am having trouble thinking up some $20ish small gifts/stocking stuffers to give to family and friends. What would you recommend?

My social circle is a mix of preppers and non-preppers, so I want something that just about everyone could use.

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Sealing push-pin style airflow vents on water containers

I have a 10L water container with the push-pin style airflow vent. I know this style of container was not recommended, but it was cheap. It definitely leaks when the container isn’t upright.  I plan to store the container upright, but I’m just being extra cautious.

I was thinking of sealing the push-pin plug by wrapping the plug with some Teflon tape. And then some scotch tape over the plug to prevent it from accidentally falling out.

Has anyone dealt with this issue? Any ideas or criticisms of my idea? Would the teflon tape even work? Would it be considered food safe?

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