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Everyday footwear

When I think of my own personal safety and vulnerability, and the absolute “must-haves” in any kind of emergency situation, a good pair of shoes or boots is very high on my list.  I know what I’d want to be wearing if and when the SHTF (in my case a good pair of waterproof, lightweight hiking boots) but I am very aware that wearing such footwear all the time simply doesn’t make sense.  Some professional and social situations demand for more formal attire, and sometimes you simply want to relax and “put your feet up.”  But let’s face it, much formal attire is ridiculous and makes us very vulnerable.  I cringe at the idea of ever wearing something that would hinder me from running, walking long distances, climbing a fence, etc.

I know footwear choices are very subjective, and highly affected by one’s gender, style, career, and environment.  That said, I’m interested in how others have approached the conundrum of needing to meet formal expectations while not wanting to put themselves in a vulnerable state.  

Personally, I am a big fan of Keen’s PTC Oxford series. They may not be the most stylish shoes around, but they get me through most professional and formal situations.  I believe they were designed for service-industry workers who need comfortable shoes with good traction, and I find they give me comparable support to a pair of lightweight day-hiking shoes.  

Does anyone have any awesome everyday footwear advice?  How are you approaching this challenge?  I’d particularly like to hear how women are approaching this, as I understand the choices are likely fewer and the societal expectations are (unfairly) more demanding.  My wife has really struggled to find an everyday shoe that fits all her needs.

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What are your thoughts on pull-tab lids on cans?

I am starting to see more and more cans get these pull-to-open type lids. What are your thoughts on these from a prepping standpoint? 

I can see them being nice to get into food quickly without a can opener. But I see the traditional style where you do need a can opener being sturdier and less likely to failure.

I’ve heard that you should avoid the pull-tab lids for long term food storage, because they give way over time and can expose and spoil your food. 

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Lockdowns, part 2

Welp, a new round of lockdowns in several states across the US, and less than a day after the Governor announced specifics here in Washington state, there are already wide reports of empty shelves and mayhem at the grocery stores.  Canned food and toilet paper, once again, have been wiped out (sorry for the bad pun).

My household was already stocked up and steered clear of the stores this weekend, but I can’t help but to shake my head at the inability of the broader public to assess situations and plan ahead – how anyone could be surprised by these new lockdowns is beyond me. It’s really disappointing, and reminds me that we are actually prepping for two things at once: the disaster that strikes, and the disaster of the masses who seem unable to recognize, and plan for, the potential threats around them.  

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Growing rice

I really don’t know why, but I’ve never grown rice before. It is usually an integral component of most prepper’s long term food stores… it sure is for me. I like to grow items that could help me become self sufficient during a SHTF crisis, and I don’t see why rice shouldn’t be near the top of the list. I especially like items that store easily and rice surely does that. So I’ve ordered some seed and will try it next year.

I think the main reason I never grew it was because of images in my mind of rice grown in Asia and actually over in Arkansas, with these large perfectly flat fields that need to be flooded. I was considering doing that but as I researched rice, I found out there are two main types. Lowland rice is what I was thinking of, where the rice grows in flooded fields. But I found out there is a type called upland rice, which grows like any normal crop. It does not need flooding but does need an inch of water a week… similar to corn.  This rice can be grown all over the US, including the far north, such as Maine. There are a bunch of varieties available. I’ve ordered Loto, which is a risotto type of rice.

Been doing a bit of research. Seems upland rice produces about half the yield of the flooded lowland rice. I’m reading where the lowland rice average yield is around 7000-8000 lbs per acre. So obviously half of that would be say 3500 lbs per acre. Now being realistic, growing during a crisis with limited resources, I’d count on maybe 1000-2000 lbs per acre for upland rice, to be on the safe side. One pound of uncooked rice has around 1600 calories. So just looking at rice, which I understand is not a balanced diet, someone would need around 1 1/2 pounds of rice per day. Multiply that by 365, you get around 550 lbs per year. That tells me an acre of rice could feed two people for a year… and probably more. That is rather impressive.

Now of course I grow more food and one needs more balance, but still, in my book that is great news. My main go to survival crop is amaranth, and just those two would provide a lot of nutrition. Mix in the three sisters (corn, beans & winter squash), which I store lots of seed, and you have a very healthy diet.  Then of course other things can be made from rice… such as wine (sake) and flour.

I will test this next year & report back.  Anyone here grown upland rice?

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Learning from the past – Otzi the Iceman

In 1991 hikers found the glacial well preserved remains of a mummy from the Copper age (around 3300 BCE) who came to be known as Otzi the Iceman.

I want to just share a bit about him what scientists have been able to figure out about his life. This man was a true primitive survivalist, as that is what he had to do to live.

Research has revealed educated guesses into Otzi’s background and they believe that he was a high-altitude shepherd. In his stomach they found partly digested remains of ibex, goat, chamois, and red deer meat, einkorn wheat grains, herb bread, roots, sloes (plum-like fruit), and various seeds and berries growing in the wild. So pretty much a diet of meat, fruit, and grains.

They found that he had an intestinal parasite, from his fingernails they show that he was sick three times in the six months before he died, cavities from his high carbohydrate diet, and that he was lactose intolerant. Otzi had 61 tattoos on his body made from pigment manufactured out of ash or soot. He had wear on his spine, knees, and ankle joints and may have used the tattoos as a form of acupuncture to treat pain from those issues. Life probably was not easy for people during this time period. Incredibly limited medical knowledge meant that people probably relied on their own immune system for healing.

Otzi wore a cloak made from woven grass, coat, belt, leggings, loincloth, and shoes made of leather. He had a bearskin cap, and waterproof shoes designed for snow walking that were made up of bearskin, deer hide, and tree bark. He had soft grass inside his shoes that acted like socks. Sinew was used as thread to hold everything together. He had a small pouch on his belt with a scraper, drill, flint flake, bone awl, and dried fungus (probably used as tinder).

His tools consisted of a copper axe made with a yew handle, a knife with a stone blade and wood handle, and 14 arrows.

I just think this all is so fascinating. We can learn so much about survival just from how people lived day to day in the past. I imagine myself back in that day without my Lifestraw water filter, BIC lighter, weather proof coat, and more. What would I do? How would I survive?

I’m not going to go into the cause of Otzi’s death, as I don’t want to spoil it for anyone, but I recommend you look into it if you are curious. Stuff You Should Know did a great podcast on him. 

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Getting started into canning

Hi Everyone,

I have been leveraging this site for a while now and it has been very helpful with my journey into being more prepared. As I lay here in my food coma from Thanksgiving dinner, I have been thinking about getting into canning. Searching on Amazon for supplies is overwhelming. Any advice for a beginner and which supplies/Brand you prefer that balances cost with quality?  Finally, any good websites or articles that you found helpful to get started?

I searched this site and forum for canning information and couldn’t find anything. If I missed something that already exists, please reply with a link. If not, hopefully this thread will help others as well 🙂

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Situational awareness (digital, near real time?)

This is equal parts suggestion, question, and brainstorming – I’m looking for ideas for gathering [near real time] situational awareness.

As I’ve read this site and others I get the impression that different parts of the country are experiencing things in very different ways.  I see people sharing images of empty shelves in a store on the other side of the country but down the street things seem “normal.”  I realize a lot of online content is more anecdote and less data but I also figure that with a lot of anecdotes you might be able to tease out some data/trends.

One idea (not my favorite) is twitter, there are some interesting advanced searches.  

For instance if I want to see tweets within 50 miles of Washington DC, this search term seems to work:

near:”38.901862736383556,-77.0102291245727″ within:50.07mi

https://twitter.com/search?q=near%3A%2238.901862736383556%2C-77.0102291245727%22%20within%3A50.07mi&src=typed_query

likewise if I want to search for recent tweets about “groceries” or “grocery store” this seems to work (and would perhaps work through the end of the year?) this search string appears to work:

(groceries OR grocery store) until:2020-12-31 since:2020-11-15 -filter:replies

https://twitter.com/search?q=(groceries%20OR%20grocery%20store)%20until%3A2020-12-31%20since%3A2020-11-15%20-filter%3Areplies&src=typed_query

It seems I can combine these manually, too:

(groceries OR grocery store) until:2020-12-31 since:2020-11-15 -filter:replies near:”38.901862736383556,-77.0102291245727″ within:50.07mi

https://twitter.com/search?q=(groceries%20OR%20grocery%20store)%20until%3A2020-12-31%20since%3A2020-11-15%20-filter%3Areplies%20near%3A%2238.901862736383556%2C-77.0102291245727%22%20within%3A50.07mi&src=typed_query

I feel like with a few saved search strings you could search your area for recent activity at various distances.  You still have to sift through random people on twitter but maybe there are more filters/tips I’m not aware of that others could share.

My only other thoughts on “real time awareness” are things like crime maps, however these often lack context (trends over time, comparisons, etc) so its hard to know what a “normal” amount of crime looks like.  These also tend to be specific to certain areas and each area may have different reporting parameters making it hard to gauge changes between jurisdictions.

https://www.crimemapping.com

Not sure how many tech/code savvy people are on here, but this was inspired by a surge in ‘bots’ to scrape retail websites for available stock of PC video cards.  I thought it would be neat to scrape data from retailers by store for stock of things like toilet paper or other “in demand” items to get a sense of where demand was spiking, but thats probably a bit niche and beyond my coding skills.

Any other ideas, either different resources or tips for refining twitter searches?

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 Black Friday – Cyber Monday deals 2020

This forum thread is going to be updated throughout the next week with various Black Friday and other holiday deals related to prepping. Keep checking it out often and share it with others to get the best deals on your preps.

ThePrepared.com’s Water Essentials Course – 50% off if you preorder.

Olight – Free i1R 2 EOS flashlight, Free $5 credit, and ability to earn more free store credit. Up to 45% off all but one flashlight on their website. 

HUGE deals on Berkey Water Filters – Here and Here (our review on best home water filter)

Legacy Food Storage – Starts now. Use code BLACKFRIDAY to get 20% off your order. (our review of best food buckets)

Valley Food Storage – 15% off. (our review of best food buckets)

Emergency Essentials – Up to 50% off site wide. (our review of best food buckets)

Thrive Food Storage – Up to 40% off. (our review of best food buckets)

Harvestright – Save up to $400 and free shipping on home freeze dryers.

myfoodstorage.com – 20% off

Battlbox subscription box – Free tent with every new subscription on Cyber Monday with coupon code: cybertent

Survival Frog – Up to 75% off. If you spend +$150, you get a free electric hand warmer.

Solostove.com – Over 30% off fire pits

Darn Tough Socks – 25% off through November 30, 2020

Mymedic.com – 30% off sitewide. No code necessary. Orders over $49 will get a free neck gaiter and cold & flue medpack.

Rapid Medical – 30% off sitewide

Traeger Smokers and Grills – various discounts

32 Degrees clothing – 70-75% off site wide

Lowe’s Giftcard – $100 gift card for $90

Apple Products – Various apple gift cards with purchase

Rush 72 packs -dropped in price from $180 to $100

SanDisk Extreme PRO Portable SSD V2 – $100 off

Amazon:

Sawyer Mini Water Filter – Price dropped 28% from $25 to $18. (our review of best portable water filters)

Lifestraw Water Filter – Price dropped 35% from $20 to $13. (our review of best portable water filters)

Ka-Bar Tactical Spork and Knife – Price dropped 25% from $9 to $7. (our review of best spork)

FoodSaver V4840 2-in-1 Vacuum Sealer Machine – Price dropped 35% from $200 to $130.

Augason Farms Variety 4-Gallon Pail – Price dropped 29% from $85 to $60 (our review of best food buckets)

12X Magnification Binoculars – Price dropped 58% from $60 to $25.50

Craftsman 20V Cordless drill driver – Price dropped 32% from $87 to $60

64 Drawer Plastic Parts Storage Cabinet –  Price dropped 34% from $42 to $28

Ring Video Doorbell 3 + Echo Show 5 – Price dropped from $290 to $150 – (our review of best Home Security Cameras)

Ring Video Doorbell Pro – Price dropped from $250 to $170 (our review of best Home Security Cameras)

SimpliSafe 9 Piece Wireless Home Security System – Price dropped from $300 to $210 (our review of best Home Security Cameras)

Blink Outdoor wireless weather resistant HD security camera – Price dropped from $250 to $150 (our review of best Home Security Cameras)

Amazon Fire HD 10 Tablet 32GB – Price dropped from $150 to $80 (forum post about E-Readers for use in a survival situation) 

Amazon Kindle w/ Front Light – Price dropped from $90 to $60 (forum post about E-Readers for use in a survival situation) 

Samsung Cube Smart Air Purifier – Price dropped from $700 to $600.

Molekule Air Purifiers – up to 20% off

Instant Pot Ultras – up to 33% off – (our blog post about using an instant pot to cook dried beans)

Masterbuilt Electric Smoker – up to 17% off 

Samsung EVO microSD cards for your trail camera, security camera, phone, and more – various discounts

Coleman Outdoor Gear – Up to 40% off

LifeStraw Go Water Filter Bottles – Up to 30% off

Walker’s Ear Muffs – Up to 50% off

9-Hour Emergency Candles – Price dropped from $30 to $20 – 33% discount 

Enbrighten LED camping lantern – Up to 20% off

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Prepping for civil unrest

Anyone here anticipating/prepping for civil unrest? 

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Toilet paper vs. a bidet

With toilet paper in short supply, many people are switching over to bidets that you can attach to the side of your toilet. I know bidets are very popular and common place in countries other than the US, but it is something I’m not too familiar with. 

Do any of you have one? What was installation like? What are the steps to using one? Do you recommend it to others?

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Shout-out for arugula!

My wife and I experimented with some cool-weather crops this fall, our first time doing so since recently relocating to northeastern Washington state (zone 6).  We planted spinach, kale, and arugula from seed in late September, but then winter came early and we had 2 hard freezes (when the temperature drops below 27 degrees f), 10+ frosts, and 3 snowfalls totaling about seven inches, all before the middle of November.  I all but gave up on the crops, but as the snow melted off we were pleasantly surprised that things were still alive, and the arugula was nearly ready to harvest.  Granted, the growth was rather stunted, but after spending a week covered in snow I was amazed we had anything.  The spinach and kale produced enough to garnish a salad, but the arugula stole the show.

Note the frost in this picture!

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Non ham radio choices

Which non Ham radios format do you recommend, FRS, GMRS or MURS? And second to that which hand radio do you recommend that would also allow for listening to NOAA, emergency radio, FM, AM, etc?

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Mini flashlight recommendations?

Hello!  Has anyone found a mini flashlight that they love?  By “mini flashlight” I mean a flashlight about the size of your index finger.  A single AA battery type, or rechargeable, but something that could easily fit in a pocket. 

Thanks!

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Silica gel packets – keeping your preps safe from moisture

The disaster is here! But you aren’t worried, because you are prepared. You have food, tools, ammo, and more. Only to open up your preps to find that moisture has destroyed them! Tools have rusted closed, food has spoiled, and you don’t dare shoot that ammo for fear of exploding in your face. If only there was something you could have done… There is my friends! 

Enter the Silica Gel Packets! Remember those little bean bags that you got with your new TV that says “DO NOT EAT”? That’s them.

I bought a package of 50 reusable food safe silica gel packets on Amazon back in 2018 . These had the included feature of having a clear window on the little packet and color changing beads inside so you could visually tell when they had absorbed their limit and needed recharged. The packets that I got are a bright orange color when they are dry and unused, but will change to a green color when they are saturated with moisture.

I used these silica gel packets in with my electronics, photo albums, tool boxes, ammo, gun storage, and anything I could think of that I didn’t want moisture buildup. And when I got into that item again and saw that it had changed to a dark green color, I replaced it with a new bright orange pack. Now that I have used up all my packets, it is time to test reactivating, and see if paying extra for this reuseability really was worth it.

There are two ways you can reactivate. Putting it in the microwave for 7-12 minutes on Defrost, or baking it in the oven for 30 minutes – 2 hours. 

I started out trying the microwave method. I placed them on a piece of cardboard because I didn’t know exactly what would happen. I didn’t want to have melted plastic all over my wife’s nice dishes.

BEFORE:

After one minute in on the defrost setting, I noticed that the packets were expanding like they were about to explode! 

All the moisture in the silica gel was escaping from the beads and was trapped inside of the packet and was visible on the clear plastic window.

There are little perforation holes in the packets though, and this is how they are designed to be recharged, so I decided to keep them going, but watched them a bit more closely. I didn’t need exploded plastic all over my microwave.

After the recommend minimum time of seven minutes, they still had moisture buildup on the inside of the packet so I kept them going in the microwave at two minute increments until the maximum recommended time of 12 minutes. At 12 minutes, they no longer had any visible moisture on the inside of the packet and were no longer a dark green color but now were a dark orange. Still not the bright vibrant orange color like a brand new packet though.

Maybe the oven would fair better. Again, I didn’t want my wife to kill me when I melted plastic on her nice cookie sheets, so I lined it with aluminum foil.

After 30 minutes at 200 degrees, the packets looked a brighter orange than the 12 minute defrost from the microwave and I did not see any moisture on the inside. 

But some of the packets still were not that original bright orange color.

I contacted the manufacturer and asked what I could do to get the silica gel packets back to the bright orange color that they originally were at. Their recommendation was to bake them in the oven at 250 degrees for 2 hours, and that should get the silica gel packets back to almost bright orange. The manufacturer also said that they wanted to send me out a package of their newest silica gel packet for free. My email wasn’t complaining or anything, but they just wanted to do something nice for me. A+ customer service.

In hopes to get the packets back to a bright orange color, I put all of them from the oven and microwave test onto the cookie sheet and threw it back in the oven. In my impatience, I turned on the convection setting on my oven, which just blew warm air around the oven during the normal bake setting, thinking this would dry them out faster.

This was a mistake… 

In summary, I highly recommend silica gel packets as part of everyone’s preps. Keeping your gear dry and protected is important to increasing it’s life and function when you need it most. If you get the reusable kind, follow the instructions and use the oven over the microwave.

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New vs Used labelled

Any options for cooking indoors when the power is down?

I’m helping a friend with some prepping stuff. She lives in a townhouse in an area which has often been affected by bad air from wildfires and where our local power company has also been shutting down the electricity for days at a time, in an attempt to prevent said wildfires (which they haven’t prevented anyway). One problem the friend has is cooking or heating food because she has an electric stove. I would recommend a small propane stove, but her area is really dry and last year the fire department pleaded with people to not create any sparks outside. I realize that these small butane stoves don’t produce much in the way of sparks, but she just really felt like she didn’t want to risk it.

So, I’m wondering what her options are for cooking or heating at least minimally, if she has to cook inside and rely on power from a backup solar generator or other rechargeable source of some sort. Regular hot plates and toaster ovens are massively expensive in terms of electrical use. What else can she do?

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Garden experiments with hard soil

I had a pretty good garden last spring, but my hard, rocky clay required a lot of mechanical intervention to be workable. I decided to take the fall to experiment with making fixed beds with handtools like my broadfork and pointed hoe.

My goal was to make the nice borderless raised beds you see in books by Steve Solomon and John Jeavons. That just doesn’t seem to be possible with this soil. I’m experimenting with heavily amended narrow strips, which are easier to dig out. I’ve made a video showing some of what I’ve tried.

David the Good has posted a video from a friend of his with a similar soil profile to mine, who tried the lasagna gardening method. She piled on straw and woodchips and let it rot for a couple of years. In theory, this builds a new soil layer and softens the soil underneath. While she got that nice upper layer, the soil underneath is still hard as bricks and limits the size of her vegetables. She’s now trying to break that layer up with a broadfork.

I’d be curious to hear if anyone has had success gardening with hard soil. If my strip plan doesn’t work, it looks like I either need to buy a tractor or construct raised beds.

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What is the best eReaders for field use ?

Hello,

I ordered an eReader recently, as a convenient way to read technical books and pdfs without having to bother cluttering my bookshelf with the physical items (my phone is quite harsh on my eyes). It made me wonder how useful an eReader would be in a survival situation, to store survival information and entertainment in a compact, light format that can be recharged with solar panels and a power bank.

Is it a good idea at all, and is there an eReader that could be sturdy enough for lengthy field use, both in terms of physical resilience (and waterproofing, etc.), battery life, the ability to access and replace said battery as well as a guarantee this device will not be bricked if the company’s servers ever go under ?

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What to say to kids instead of “be careful!”

Thought this was worth sharing with any parents. I like the spirit behind this idea – get their brains configured the right way early on! You can see how small differences in wording make the difference between being average and having an aware/prepper mindset.

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Ham radio recommendations?

I recently earned both my Technician and General Class licenses, and I’m pondering about radios to buy. Of course, I have a number of BaoFengs, but they don’t get great reception where I am. A lot of hams recommend the Icom 7300, sort of the gold standard of HF radios, but it’s expensive and very large. I’ve considered the mobile Icom 7100, because it’d be a bit easier to work in my space and it also does VHF/UHF, though it’s not as “fancy” as the 7300. Then you have the Elecraft K3, which is small and can run off batteries, but is very expensive and has low transmit power.

For the hams in the forum: what radios do you like? I’m also open to suggestions about antennas, power supplies, and all the other necessary accouterments.

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Packing a first aid kit, IFAK discussion

After reading the First Aid Kit Article, my first thought was, “How the heck does that all fit in there?”

IFAK first aid kit list

There are a few comments beneath the article asking the same question. Rather than wait on a guide, I figured I’d throw a kit together to see how it turned out. Most of this kit was purchased and assembled in September and October of 2019. The pictures I took last week. The kit is not finished, I’m still missing a few things, and I’m likely to make more changes as time goes on.

Full Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional. There are people here with a lifetime more experience than me. Comments and criticism on the components and layout are welcome.

The bag itself was purchased from Amazon, it is an Orca Tactical MOLLE Rip-Away pouch. Nominal bag dimensions are 8″x6″x3.5″. Different bags will pack differently, but I wanted something roughly this size as my own proof of concept for a level 3ish kit.

I may have screwed up the embedded images below, but it’s late, I’m tired, and all the links should be there regardless.

Full post: https://imgur.com/a/oP3vZkv

Full kit laid out: https://imgur.com/7vpFMH4

IFAK packed, open: https://imgur.com/MRyyxRU

Left side, packed: https://imgur.com/r19DIcr

Left side, large items: Shears, Tourniquet, Elastic Compression Wrap, Rolled Gauze: https://imgur.com/NCtnz3Y

Packed flat in the large pocket in the back of the bag. From top to bottom: Emergency blanket, Moleskin, Abdominal Pad (x2), Gauze Sponge (x2), Chest Seal, Steri-strips: https://imgur.com/rlQgiuR

Middle section, on top: Gloves (x2), Coban, Medical Tape, Silk Tape, Z-Fold Gauze. Bottom: Pressure Dressing: https://imgur.com/a4H97ne

Middle section, packed below: Hydrocortisone cream, Petroleum Jelly, Cravat: https://imgur.com/ikPqEct

Right pouch: Tweezers, Syringe w/ 18ga tip, Band-aids (x10), Butterfly Bandages, Alcohol Prep Pads, Non-Stick Pad, Nasopharyngeal airway: https://imgur.com/jOzjDCz

Inner mesh bag: Immodium, Pepto-Bismol, Advil, Benadryl, Tylenol: https://imgur.com/UUe7WuJ

I was surprised that everything so far ended up fitting. The bag is still closing easily. I’m unsure of the long term quality of the bag, but I haven’t noticed any splitting, or stitching coming undone around the zipper. The current weight is about 2.4lbs. (I have a terrible scale, and I’m not sure how accurate that number is.) Everything has stayed strapped in place, but I haven’t tried punting the bag down the stairs yet to test just how secure things are.

IFAK Measurements: https://i.imgur.com/xwaYs34

Here’s the breakdown of items from the level 1, 2 and 3 first aid kits in the IFAK guide, along with what I’m missing.

Level 1

Tourniquet Pressure Dressing Z-Fold Gauze Coban Roll Trauma Shears Acetomihophen Ibuprofen Benadryl Imodium Band-Aids Chest Seals

Level 2

Tweezers Irrigation Syringe Petroleum Jelly Needle and Thread in Alcohol – MISSING Silk Medical Tape Moleskin Rolled Gauze Gauze Pads Plastic Cling Wrap – MISSING Cravat Butterfly Bandages Safety Pins – MISSING Elastic Wrap / ACE Aluminum Splint – MISSING

Level 3

Emergency Blanket Gloves Saline Eye Drops – MISSING Abdominal Pad Nasopharyngeal Airway Aspirin – MISSING Pepto-Bismol Caffeine – MISSING Hydrocortisone Miconazole – MISSING Doxycycline – MISSING

 

With regards to the missing items

Needle and Thread in Alcohol: I haven’t found a small bottle I like that I also don’t need to order two dozen of that I also trust to seal tightly. I realize this is a pretty dumb reason not to have this item sorted out, since I do have needle, thread and alcohol on hand. Plastic Cling Wrap – I don’t have a lot of first aid training, so I’m not sure when it would be appropriate to MacGyver something out of cling wrap. This is easy enough to add, it’s in my kitchen now. Safety Pins – Dumb oversight I’m realizing now. Aluminum Splint – I threw this in my car bag rather than the FAK. I might try bending it differently to get it to fit, especially if I move the tourniquet and shears to the outside of the bag. Saline Eye Drops – I was looking at some sterile single use ampoules. Otherwise the smallest bottle I found was 4oz. I also don’t recognize all of the brands for this stuff, which makes me a bit hesitant to squirt it in my eyes. I also have concerns on these freezing if left in my car during the winter. Aspirin – I need to buy some pill pouches for these since I don’t have any of the single dose packets. Caffeine – I bought some NoDoz recently that I could throw in a pill pouch, but I don’t think I’ll ever use them. I’ve only tried a caffeine pill once, years ago, and I hated it. I can drink a litre of coffee without issue, but one pill got me all kinds of jacked up. Miconazole – Still need to buy this. Not a high priority for me, though it does have other uses. Doxycycline – I still need to talk with my doctor about this. I’ve done some travelling in South America in the past, and got prescribed Cipro as a “just-in-case” antibiotic. I want a better understanding of side effects and stuff before adding this or really any broad spectrum antibiotic.

Other comments

The bag strikes me as a little “Tacticool” which I’m not a big fan of. I also bought some of those black Talon gloves, and snark aside, they do feel pretty good and I like how they come packaged. The tourniquet could be attached to the outside for easier and faster access, while freeing up room inside. Same goes for the shears. I was unsure of how to do this securely using rubber bands or elastics. I left this kit in my car over most of the winter, so it was below freezing for days or weeks at a time. On returning to room temperature, I couldn’t find any issue with the petroleum jelly or the hydrocortisone cream. They also didn’t burst or leak in the bag, which was nice. Immodium – My general rule while traveling is take double the amount any reasonable person would bring with them, especially if in a group. Someone always forgets it, and someone always needs it. This is morale insurance too. No one has ever been upset they brought too little with them. I think I’m going to add more to my kit. I should have labeled the images with numbers next to each item, corresponding them to the level 1, 2 or 3 lists for reference. I might go back and do this. I’ve thrown in some things that aren’t on the “official” list, but I have some extra and I’ve found them useful in the past. Steri-strips, non-stick pads, woven gauze and alcohol prep pads.

So there it is. I’m still figuring this out. I’m planning on making level 1 and level 2 kits at some point as well, but I’m looking for the right bags or pouches.

Cheers

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Preparing for CLO induced bank failures?

This article makes a compelling case that a 2008-style financial meltdown has already begun:

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2020/07/coronavirus-banks-collapse/612247/

I’m wondering about good ways to prepare for this.  An obvious way is to get liquid assets “out of the system” by moving money into gold, silver, and Bitcoin.  Would it also make sense to move cash out of banks and into local credit unions?  Perhaps they have less exposure to CLOs?  What else can we do?  Perhaps open bank accounts in foreign countries?

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Adapting BOBs for family use

I’ve noticed that most BOB guides (including the very good one here) seem to focus on equipment for one person, with only a bit of lip service paid to larger groups.  How does everyone handle kits for, let’s say, a family of four?  A few considerations:

– Which items scale and which don’t?  Obviously you probably wouldn’t need four Level 3 first aid kits and four radios, but you would need four sleeping bags and four sleeping bag pads.

– Shelter – increase the size of the tarp for level 1?  For level 3, one large tent or two 2/3-person tents?

– What do the kids carry (we’re talking grade school kids here, not teenagers who I would treat like adults), other than let’s say a backpack with a sleeping bag, water, etc.?

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Basswood Tree (American Linden) – great tree for survival

One of my favorite trees is the Basswood, or American Linden.  It is a large stately tree that is loved by bees at it puts out huge quantities of blooms that bees love & does so later in the year when the bees are hunting nectar & pollen.  For that reason it is also called the bee tree.  Basswood honey is considered some of the best in the world.  My son has a few large basswoods at his house & they can be just loaded with bees.  I have planted two on my property.

What many folks don’t realize though is that the leaves and young buds are edible… and quite tasty.  They can be eaten raw in a salad or cooked down.  The native Americans also used the bark.  The Indians soaked the bark for two to four weeks to loosen long fibers. They used the fibers for many of their needs: Bags, baskets, belts, fishnets, house mats, snowshoe netting, ropes, sewing thread and even suturing wounds. 

IMO, this is a tree preppers should need to recognize, as there is a lot of leaves on a mature tree.  It is also a great tree for our bees, which we need to protect & nuture.

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basswood150

Caching a tent and sleeping bag – Should I do it?

I was browsing through Reddit and saw a post titled: “Advice whether to cache tent and sleeping bag?”

At first glance, this seems like a wonderful idea! Tents are heavy, sleeping bags are bulky. I’m just thinking about how compact and light my BOB will be if I don’t have to carry these two items.

I’m not quite sure how I would create a cache though that would be durable and waterproof. 

What are your thoughts? Is this something you can see yourself doing?

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Heating your home (without electricity)

We’re heading into winter. If something goes down and the power gets shut off, staying warm is suuuuuuper important.

I’m a renter, and our home has central air (electrical) and no fireplace. Anyone have experience to share with the rest of us? 

In the beginner’s checklist is a link to a few propane-fueled heaters; I would love to hear about those, in addition to any other ideas.

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