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What are the best rubber bands?

Recently I’ve discovered the existence of ranger bands — super tough survival oriented rubber bands. But the ones available on Amazon come in variety packs that include a lot of really tiny rubber bands that might go well over a pen, but not much else. Not sure what these might before but they’re wasted on me. I did see one offer of larger ranger bands on sale, but they’re crazy expensive — something like $12 for 8 bands. I would like to get my hands on larger rubber bands that are robust but somewhat reasonably priced and reasonably sized. Any suggestions?

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New (UK) Member saying Hi

Just wanted to say hello. Stumbled across this site somewhat accidentally but it’s already been life changing for me. 

I’m based in the UK down near the Surrey/Kent borders. Live in a modest house with a great family and a decent job.

TL/DR – First forum post of a new guy in his 40’s from UK, been inspired to consider home safety, bugging in & general first aid. Done a handful of bits and feeling good about starting the prepper style. 

Why the sudden interest and thought in this stuff. Well I have been watching some dystopian series and films and one of them had a first aid incident and it made me question how prepared I/we were even a simple moment to occur. The answer was both prepared and unprepared which sounds odd to say I guess. We had tons of first aid supplies BUT crucially none of them quickly accessible. This set me on a path of ‘readiness’ and has opened my mind. 

I began looking into FAK’s and was quickly swallowed into a whole of stuff that I was not ready for or on my scope to be honest. I read through many articles and quickly started thinking about Bug Out Bags and caches etc and realised I was making the biggest mistake of would-be preppers. Bugging IN is the more likely scenario first so I ditched all thinking (well not quite all) of bugging out and concentrated on home, work and commuting. 

I’m proud to say that in just a few short weeks I feel I’ve done a lot. A kitchen FAK on a wall mounted bracket was purchased (contents then improved), with a larger FAK slightly less accessible but re-organised, re-packed and contents improved upon. As a family man this gave me a great sense of relief and safety. We have 2 cars and whilst there was some FAK present they weren’t great nor were their contents. I upgraded them and doubled them – 1 FAK accessible in the front (door pocket) and 1 in the boot with the thinking that we’re far better covered regardless if it’s a front or rear collision and that potentially if we saw an accident both my wife and I could grab separate FAKs and help others quickly. 

We also had them but a seat belt cutter with diamond tip for smashing windows is in each car too. 

I carried out some home security updates – such as removing the shorter screws in our front and back doors and replacing them with much longer ones. Made some adjustments to our security lighting too. I added a keysafe which whilst I’m not crazy about the idea of them it is hidden and wouldn’t include our mortice lock key. There’s an added benefit that my wife and I are often out running individually so there’s no longer a need to run with a key. Health is also important for the prepper lifestyle! 

All this got me thinking that home is safer and we’re better equipped on journeys too BUT what about work. I asked at work about the FAK and ensured we had a good coverage and supplies. I then invested in a cheapish but well reviewed multitool that’s now part of my work everyday bag. I’ve used this countless times already and whilst it won’t be the best tool out there it’s already paid for itself. 

I’ve started introducing the idea of stocking up/bulk buying on certain foods and home items. Nothing fancy just a pack of extra toilet roll here, some double the canned goods order there – that sort of thing. Next thing is to create a storage area for this stuff.

Changing my outlook has crept into other areas too. Luggage is tough on family holidays and including the dog gets even harder. Whilst we recently bought a new car I was then offered a free large roof top box on the proviso that they key was lost. Replacement key sourced, roof bars sourced and I just need the specific roof bar fittings which I’ll purchase over the next weeks/month. Whilst this isn’t ‘prepping’ for my POV it IS being more prepared for all eventualities. I also play in a rock covers band so naturally there’s some logistics benefit to it there too. 

So anyway I wanted to share with you where I’d got in less than a month and to offer thanks as I’d read a lot of guides and forum entries which really set me on my way.

So, I’ll leave you with ‘What’s Next?’
Some (legal) anti climb spikes on the gates by the side of my house. The roof box fittings. 
I’ve found out that in the next 18mths our water supplier will be mandating water meters on all properties they supply. My plan is to pick up a few water butts.
Long term plan is to get some planters and grow some veg in it. We already have 4 chickens so adding any thing home grown combined with our bulk buying puts in a far better position than we were in just a short time ago. Problem is I have zero knowledge on that so no doubt I’ll create a forum post when the time is right. 

I know I’ve only scratched the surface with this stuff. But if SOMETHING had happened a month ago compared with today I’d have 2 vastly different outcomes. Thanks all! 

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Inflation everywhere. Any tips?

With limited education into macro-finance, and only news sources for input, how do we as “sane preppers” deal with this issue?  
(Personally I don’t believe precious metals are a solution/plan for many reasons )

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News for the week of 2023-06-26

Make a top-level comment for a new story/topic. Discussions about the topic should be in the replies to the top-level comment. That way things stay organized and every main comment as you scroll down is a different piece of news.

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Washington Post article

Ok Im hoping this link will work for ya’ll. Wash Poo has a good article this morning on expiration dates on food. 

https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-solutions/2023/05/17/food-expiration-dates-best-by/

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News for the week of 2023-06-19

Make a top-level comment for a new story/topic. Discussions about the topic should be in the replies to the top-level comment. That way things stay organized and every main comment as you scroll down is a different piece of news.

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Learning from the past – The 1815 volcano that covered the world

On April 5, 1815, the Indonesian island of Sumbawa (to the north of Australia) was alerted to the sounds of the Tambora mountiain coughing up ash and fire as the volcano awoke. People hundreds of miles away recalled that it sounded like cannon fire. These small eruptions continued for days until April 10th when the whole mountain exploded. Three plumes of fire and rock shot upwards, merging into one massive blast. Lava flowed out of the volcano and engulfed the village below. Midday felt like midnight for weeks as ash continued to fall, piling as high as two feet in some places.

Throughout the world, people stared in awe at vibrant sunsets over the coming months but little did they know that disaster would follow. In the coming year, the weather would turn unpredictable and be devastating to many.

Because of this eruption, in India, temperatures dropped and thousands were killed from cholera (infection in the small intestines which leads to watery diarrhea, vomiting, and muscle cramps). In China, the normally mild climate was disturbed with summer snowstorms and brought flooding rain that destroyed crops. In Europe, food supplies dwindled leading to starvation and panic. In North America, 1816 was called the year without a summer where there was snowfall and frosts that ruined entire crops. Thousands of people throughout the world had to flee and relocate during this period because of effects caused by the volcano.

To the people all over the world at that time without news and social media explaining what was going on, these events must have felt apocalyptic. The Mount Tambora volcano was the most powerful volcanic eruption in recorded human history ejecting 38-51 cubic miles of material into the atmosphere. It is mind boggling to think that a small mountain on the other side of the world could affect the entire world killing 10,000 from the initial explosion and 90,000 from famine and disease in the coming years. Our world is so fragile where a drop in 0.7-1.3°F can cause so much devastation.

Previous episode of Learning from the past: Otzi the Iceman 

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sumbawa

UK Manchester Arena Report

At the moment I am working my way through part two of the Manchester Arena Inquiry report, and to put it mildly, it is uncomfortable reading, especially in profession.  

I am often employed as part of the medical staff in nightclubs and events.  I knew before the Manchester attack that medical help was not minutes away, and it would be self / bystander help that would save the lives.  But like many I got complacent.  

As I have not finished reaping the report (something like another 700 odd pages to go) I am still working on personal changes to both my CPD and additions to my equipment.  But my initial thoughts are plan for a minimum of 3 hours before professional help gets to you.   

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News for the week of 2023-06-12

Make a top-level comment for a new story/topic. Discussions about the topic should be in the replies to the top-level comment. That way things stay organized and every main comment as you scroll down is a different piece of news.

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Turn old bed sheets into durable waterproof tarps

The following video shows how to take old bed sheets and turn them into durable waterproof tarps.

The reason I am sharing this project here is because it looks to be a more durable tarp than the plastic tarpaulins you would buy at the hardware store and isn’t that expensive for what you get. A cheap tube of silicone caulk is about $5 and the gallon of Naphtha is $10. 

From the video it says to find the volume of your bed sheets and use 3/4 of that volume in solvent (naphtha). Then using a ratio of 5:1 (Naphtha:Silicone) combine until the silicone is dissolved into a maple syrup consistency and soak your bed sheet in it. Hang to dry for a day and you have a waterproof fabric tarp.

To be honest I am tired of the UV rays of the sun and wind beating up my cheap plastic tarps and may try this out. This will probably hold up longer durability-wise and I don’t see it losing it’s waterproof ability like some fabrics do because it isn’t just a topical coating that can be rubbed off and silicone is a strong synthetic material that won’t break down as easily or quickly like bees waxed canvas would.

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News for the week of 2023-06-05

Make a top-level comment for a new story/topic. Discussions about the topic should be in the replies to the top-level comment. That way things stay organized and every main comment as you scroll down is a different piece of news.

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What *don’t* we know about online safety?

I’ve always been pretty confident in my online safety skills because I grew up with so much of it and I don’t go to sketchy websites, trust random links, etc., but I almost got my identity stolen and did get malware installed on my phone because I didn’t know that people can fake the number that they’re calling from. I felt like an idiot afterwards because so many other red flags were present (building trust, asking me to do smaller things before larger things, creating a sense of urgency, unexpected call, slightly incorrect descriptions of how I know things actually work), and I’m taking all the steps I can to be safe now (filing reports, freezing/alerting credit scores, changing banking information, new phone), but I’m still a little stunned that I got so close to it. 

(My sister has been laughing at me since because she, apparently, has an app on her phone that lets her trace the IP of scam callers, and she likes to address them by their full real names and ask about other people they live with and listen to them freak out and then use their information to sign them up to get spam themselves, so that’s another way you can go I guess.) 

We’ve had other threads on online safety that cover the basics really well, but what are some strange or specific tips you’ve all had to learn the hard way? It seems like scam strategies have been evolving faster than ever. 

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New for the Week of 2023-05-29

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Stop the Bleed Online Course

The in-person class is better if you can find one near you.  But this is a great way to get started if an in-person class is not available OR to review your skills AFTER taking the in-person course.

https://www.stopthebleed.org/training/online-course/

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Looking for preppers in Arizona and Florida for documentary

Hi everyone! I don’t post often here but some of you know me from the 60 Minutes episode with John last year. I also wrote the book Bunker, which you may have run into. 

I’m currently trying to help a friend with a documentary she’s producing about how Gen-Z have became more aware of prepping due to COVID. She’s going to be travelling to Arizona and Florida, and is looking for preppers under 25, or families with children that began prepping  – or ramped it up! – during the pandemic. 

If anyone is interested, feel free to drop me a line at [email protected] or respond here. And thanks! 

     -Brad

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Update: Costco has Mountain House 15 pouch set for $80 ($5.33/pouch) 4/28-5/25/23

UPDATE:  Thanks to Bill Gabriel!   This assortment now has an additional $20 off coupon.   Now you may purchase the 15 pouch Emergency Meal Assortment for $79.99.   The discount will apply to each kit ordered.  (If you order 3 kits, you will get $60 off the $99 list price.)  

Mountain House Emergency Meal Kit 15-Pouch Assortment

1 pouch = 1 meal (never go by servings for any emergency food, they have trickster marketing in the entire emergency food industry).  15 pouches for $79.99 = $5.33 each pouch.  This is the lowest I’ve see in 4+ years on MH backpacking pouches.    These are perfect to put in Go-Bags.    (I  also put water filters in each family members’ Go-Bag (Sawyer Mini, Seychelle, Lifestraw) so if we are unable to carry last-minute water, we can safely obtain and filter water elsewhere to rehydrate the meals.) 

For bulk food storage, best-bang-for-your-buck, 30 year food if you plan to shelter-in-place, the Latter Day Saints offer superb value.    I wrote this forum post 3 months ago. 

Low Cost Long Term Storage Foods from Latter Day Saints/Morman Food Storage Centers

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Inherited emergency food lot (advice)

Hello! My family recently inherited a large emergency food lot (200+ cases of #10 cans, 100+ buckets). While we will be keeping what we can and have space to store, I was wondering if anyone has advice on selling emergency food as a lot? It is primarily Mountain House, Emergency Essentials, and Provident Pantry. Located in southern California. 

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Safe place to live when it goes south

Do you think living within or next to an Amish community is a good idea as most of them are self sufficient and not violent and may be open to trading etc?

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Boil water alert – Washing your hands

Our city is currently under a boil water alert.  I have plenty of water in 55 gallon drums, 1 gallon jugs, and bottled water.  I pulled some gallon jugs and put them near each sink.  However, it is very inconvenient to wash your hands.  What solutions would you recommend to make it easier?  I’ve thought about buying some pump dispensers but not sure how well they will work with water.

https://www.berlinpackaging.com/xp3811-38-400-white-pp-plastic-high-output-dispenser-pumps/

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Screenshot from 2022-08-31 10-59-07

For UK members: April 23rd 3pm (1500 local) Alert Test, What do you think???

I checked in here to see what you all thought of this alert thing? is it useful? does it have the potential to help anyone in a real situation? etc…

because I went to a busy motorway service station near me to see what would be like in a crowd, how people would respond and how easily heard it would be so that I would get the most from the test, and I know that other country use similar systems so I guess it must work

What I experienced:
– there was a loud noise because there was enough people with compatible phones for everyone in the crowd to hear it
– my phone was too old (you need android 11 or later), I did expect to receive a text at the very least but I got nothing
– I think it was about one in ten people with a version of android new enough to receive it
– This 1/10 included a group of Indian tourists (so where your SIM is registered doesn’t matter) you can still receive the alert, but it came through on there phones in English so the children had no idea what it was until there farther translated it for them
– There is no alert through FM or DAB radio, just phones

If I was on my own I would have had no way to receive this, but it is still better than nothing, so should I upgrade my phone?

What are you thoughts on the UK Alert System?

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I am new, advice?

Hey everyone! I just turned 18 and I am learning about the prepper community. I have always been interested, but never really started “prepping” until recently. Does anyone have an advice for me?

I am looking to have a good stock pile, but I am not sure where to buy from (that will be effective and relatively inexpensive). I am not really sure how to use this site either, but I am trying to learn as much as possible. Any advice, recommendations, warnings, etc. would be infinitely appreciated.

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Incredibly beautiful bird !!

I like to feed birds and have many feeders.  I’ve always thought the Rose-breasted Grosbeak is amongst the most beautiful birds alive.  I always count myself blessed when I see one on the feeders.  Today I was sitting in my office and heard a thud on the glass pane on the outside door.  Sure enough a bird had crashed into it and I saw it was a Grosbeak.  I gave it a bit to recover but it still wouldn’t fly off, so I gently picked it up and sat down with it in the shade.  It was always somewhat alert but made no attempt to move.  I hoped it was just stunned so I sat with it for around 15-20 minutes and then it flew over to a nearby shrub.  All seems well.

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Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Homesteading – how much does it cost?

Homesteading and equivalent self-sufficient scenarios where you have a few acres, dedicated water source, and the intention of being able to produce at least some of your own food/fuel seems to be one of the gold standards for practical, attainable prepping.

But I’m curious what the extra/unexpected costs are – now I know its a bit gauche to talk about money in this society, and to be honest if you’re fortunate enough to have millions to invest, some advice on higher cost items may not be practical those who don’t have millions to spare – still interested in your perspective on things to look out for, just might not be able to use all your advice is all!

So what’s actually involved, cost wise, in setting up a viable homestead?  I know costs vary wildly based on location but are there any rules of thumb?  For example when buying a “normal” house I was told “aim for something 2-3 times as expensive as your combined household income” as a reasonable mortgage.  Sure, the bank was willing to approve me for a loan for much more, but I was not interested in living pay-check to pay-check in order to live in a larger house.  I assume this applies to homesteading too, no point in buying the perfect place if the bank takes it from you because you can’t afford it or you can’t afford to buy seed/fertilizer/tools to make it useful.

So with that as the set up I started looking at Redfin listings just to get a wild ball park of what 5-10 acres would actually cost.  I was surprised at what I found as a couple random examples:

A 10 acre river-front luxury-oriented plot for 13 million (hah, well, it helps to set the upper and lower limits for an estimate!) A 9 acre wooded lot for 300K thats still somewhat close to the city a 20 acre plot a few hours away for $80k fairly far away from anything I’m familiar with At what point does land become cheap because its functionally useless? 100 acres in the middle of a desert with no water rights is probably not as useful, even if you can easily afford it?

The knee jerk reaction would be “get the large cheap one” but what realistic factors are involved, even assuming the *only* different was location (don’t focus on these three specific plots, I just had no idea what the price range was for land and wanted to put boundary conditions on the problem).

So what are the major costs?  I can imagine at least the following:

Building an actual home, anything from a tiny home to a mansion so costs could vary wildly – is there a good target range estimate? what if there aren’t local builders near by? What does it cost to add things like septic/well water where utilities may not exist?  How does an electric hookup work if the nearest residential power line isn’t close to your building site? What does it cost to build a road when one doesn’t exist? how expensive are things like site surveying, permitting, soil testing, etc? Transportation: if you buy far away and you don’t already have an off road car, do you need to buy one for unimproved roads with no snow plow service? Land improvement what does it cost to clear an acre or 3 of trees and roots? What does it cost for grading if land needs to be leveled? Agricultural start up costs realizing you can try and start small, learn slowly, what is a realistic range of tools/costs for building a self sufficient mini farm? storage sheds minimum viable tool/equipment set estimates What are the time costs – if you’re working a full time job, lets assume you can do so remotely (and also get high speed internet…) – how much time does it take to homestead?  If you expect to still work full time for a pay check, how does that impact your infrastructure expenses (say a log splitter and chain saw because you can’t spend all day using an axe, even if its cheaper)

To sort of tie this all together, I bet if I had a casual 20 million to spare I could pull something together easily (hah!).  I bet if I had a million I could probably make something work (I don’t, though).  If I got a loan for half a million I probably have options, but perhaps only a smaller/more remote option to really make it work?  If I could only finance 200-300K, am I SOL or at risk of living pay check to pay check?

I can research these individually but it seems like there are a whole lot of variables to factor so curious what I’m missing and if there are any shortcuts?

I’m also really interested in all the extra costs you don’t think of, for instance, a rural trash service, or a PO Box, I’ve even heard of air-ambulance insurance if you need to be flown to a hospital in an emergency from your remote farm (is that just a rich people thing?).

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Strange vehicle spotted

One of my friends spotted this vehicle northbound on I-81, with private Virginia lic plates…no markings. At first I thought it might be a new replacement “Doppler on wheels” for our storm chasing scientists out west….but the dish is wrong, and there’s 2 of them, one fixed, one on a rotational device. I have a couple military types who are suggesting this is a new crowd control sonic weapon. Opinions?  

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Is using natural gas a realistic option in most grid-down scenarios?

Given the number of electrical grid-down scenarios over the past year or so, I’ve been thinking about how to heat my home should that happen in the dead of winter.

My question is this:  Does natural gas ever get disrupted, specifically in locations like the Rocky Mountain West?  Power outages exceeding more than a few hours in my area are rare, perhaps once a year at most.  I don’t recall ever–in my lifetime–having a natural gas outage, period.  Though, obviously, anything is possible given the right bad circumstances.

It occurred to me that in a simple extended power outage (ranging from a few hours to a few days) due to, say, downed power lines in a snowstorm, I could simply plug the fan for my gas fireplace (or, possibly, the fan for the main house heater, which uses forced air) into a Jackery or DIY power station and keep heat circulating through the house.  While I haven’t yet taken a look at the setup in the basement furnace room, my initial thought is that that electric fan on my fireplace would require significantly less electricity and would be sufficient to keep our small two-bedroom ranch style home “warm enough” in an emergency situation.

Obviously, as well all things prepping, I wouldn’t want to put all my eggs in the same prepping basket.  So being prepared to function without natural gas ultimately needs to be part of my plan.  But, it seems, that many if not most grid-down situations would be no electric BUT natural gas still available, allowing me to battery power the fans to circulate the heat.  And, obviously, for an extended outage, natural gas–if available–is in much greater supply than the amount of propane I can realistically (and safely) store onsite.

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