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Because prepping and community go hand in hand

Canning lids and rings in Nm

I once was a “seller” have several hundred of these. Because I’m in NM and shipping is too costly I’d be willing to trade for other gear but close to Santa Fe, Abq but when I make my every couple month trips. 

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What is the best camp stove for an emergency power outage or camping?

I would like to get a small portable camp stove that I can use if the power is out or if I want to go camping. It’s not going to be an every day user, so keeping the cost of the stove and fuel as low as possible will allow me to buy it sooner.

I could go as cheaply as $20 and get a butane stove that runs off little butane canisters.

But for $13 more, I can get a similar one that will work on those same butane canisters or the small propane tanks. I like this idea because I believe it would be cheaper in the long run to use propane, but if I wanted to just go camping I could use butane and take the smaller and lighter tank.

And for $17, I can get an adapter hose that will allow me to use one of those large BBQ propane tanks that should be even cheaper. I wouldn’t bring this camping but if the power is out for days, it would be comforting to have a ton of fuel available. 

For $48, there is the classic Coleman propane camp stove that will give me two burners, has a wind guard, but only runs on propane and is larger and heavier if I were to take it camping.

Or I can go all out and buy this camp oven and stove combo for $330

Do you all have any other recommendations or experience with any of these? 

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Screenshot from 2022-05-31 15-01-25

What three firearms would you have for prepping?

If you could only have three firearms and cared about preparedness, what would you have? Don’t want to start a “the one true caliber” debate (let’s not open that can of worms just yet!), so this is more about platforms/types that work together well if things really get bad in the world.

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Recap from the 2024 SHOT Show

This is a casual overview of what I noticed/liked a few weeks ago at SHOT Show. If you’re not familiar, SHOT is the biggest annual trade show (2,500 exhibitors, 1M square feet) for the firearm industry, with secondary focuses on military/LE, survival, hunting, camping, etc.

Summary:

There aren’t big or important things to point out, and I didn’t see anything I think is a must-buy. The industry has been in a cycle the last few years where it’s less about big (r)evolutions and more about iterations. Some other experts/influencers complained it was a weak show year. The few trends I did notice and like are the attention on thermal optics, finally moving to USB-C as standard for electronics, better threat labeling on body armor, lots of drones, and a focus on respirators. For example, the makers of my personal BOB headlamp, Armytek, are finally moving to USB-C charging (instead of their proprietary magnetic cable) later this year. The marketing pitches for most new products were centered around customization/personalization, comfort, using different materials and manufacturing methods (eg. 3D printing and self-healing waterproof zippers), and filling in the niche use-cap gaps with lots of permutations. Retro/throwback gun designs, lever actions, old M4-style carry handles, and ‘modular’ platforms meant for swapping to different calibers were the main trends. None of which I like or think are appropriate for preppers. I got to shoot the new 8.6 Blackout caliber via the new Q Boombox. The 8.6 round is a spiritual successor/compliment to the 300 Blackout round, and the Boombox is the successor to the Honey Badger. I really liked both and will probably lean into them as a core part of my firearm mix — but broad adoption of the 8.6 might take a few years. The industry still has a problem with focusing on proprietary parts and manufacturer lock-in. And the industry still sucks at communicating with and selling to the general public. 

Empty “New Product Center” shelves, showing how there wasn’t a lot of distinctly-new stuff.

Geopolitics are noticeable. Putting this up front since it’s of broad “what’s going on in the world” interest. I couldn’t help but notice an increase in attendees from NATO and similar countries that have a renewed interest in national defense — countries like Poland, Finland, Lithuania, Taiwan, and Vietnam that have good reason to fear Winnie the Pooh and his pink-faced sidekick Piglet. Turkey had a lot (dozens?) of manufacturers present, trying to sell cheaper but still Western-acceptable knockoffs. The Chinese manufacturers are still there promoting their IP-theft knockoffs, but it was less than previous years.

Thermal optics (and ways to stay hidden from thermal optics) are getting the attention they deserve. One of the big lessons from the Russian invasion of Ukraine, for example, is just how much thermal makes a difference in the field. Which also matters to you in a home defense or hunting situation. The tech has always been prohibitively expensive in the past (eg. I got to play with a $85,000 military unit) but we’re hitting the “J curve” in the tech and prices are starting to become reasonable for civilians without sacrificing usefulness. We’ll probably soon be at the point where traditional “night vision” is no longer worth it. Very excited to watch this space over the next years. Holosun and Pulsar are examples of brands to watch here. 

For example, I got to use a ~$3,000 Thales prototype (first two pictures below) that mostly functions like a typical EOTech-style rifle optic while it real-time overlays a silhouette around warm targets. So you can easily spot a person hiding in your woods, or a predator you’re trying to keep away from your livestock, etc. 

Note the faint yellow box in the middle 50% of the view, outlining warm targets inside, while the guys around the periphery aren’t highlighted. 

Example of a typical military thermal, placed in front of a normal rifle scope.

Saw a growing number of these products that attach to an NVG monocular, projecting thermal/other info over top (the little nub protruding from the bottom unit over the big glass of the monocular). Seems very impractical and heavy, though.

Respiratory protection is a logical market focus in the post-Covid years. Especially among the military and law enforcement brands, there were many new products and marketing pitches about making respirators easier to use — such as focusing on reducing weight and neck fatigue, making it easier to get a cheek weld on a rifle while wearing a mask, more powered (PAPR) units that move the filter canisters to your body (connected to mask via hose), etc. 

Got to spend time with our friends at MIRA Safety, who were promoting their new CM-8M full face respirator and smaller options for kids and dogs, along with an optional powered PAPR unit that mounts to your pack/plate carrier. The 8M looked good enough (especially for the $325 price) that I plan on buying one, including the PAPR (another $400), and could see it becoming the main full-face respirator in our personal kits.

3M promoted their new one-finger Secure Click feature on half- and full-face respirators, which makes it easier and more sanitary to verify you have an airtight seal against your face. Traditionally, to conduct a seal check you have to use both hands to block the canisters/cartridges that bring air in. 

Body armor is maturing nicely, with better threat labeling and a recent focus on ballistic helmets and even ballistic eye protection. One of the things I really harped on when writing the web’s first ‘consumer friendly’ guides on body armor was the lack of marketing transparency about what specific ammo would be defeated — partly because the government standards (eg. Level 3, Level 4) are very outdated and didn’t match the reality of the technology progress. Things are getting better in this regard, and I noticed many more manufacturers printing the specific calibers on the back side of the plate. So you can quickly know if a piece of armor could stop the common “armor penetrating” rounds like M855A1, for example. But the government needs to update their standards so that commercial marketing wankers stop using cutesy meaningless labels like “Level Super 3+X” or “Level 3+++ STR”. 

The market for helmets (whether ‘armored’ or just bump helmets / mounting platforms) is maturing, with lots of needed advancements in accessories, comfort, ability to run power cables in a way that’s secure but easy to undo, etc. 3M promoted a new design that makes it much easier/quicker to change your ear headset/comms between helmet mounted and strap mounted — a no-brainer design that should’ve existed years ago. 

I’ve never recommended armored “ballistic” helmets (typically Level 3A) in the past because they were too heavy, costly, niche, etc. to be worthwhile for civilians. But as materials sciences and manufacturing improve, it seems like we’re starting to cross the line into worthwhile as I noticed more companies prototyping in this space. Example from Team Wendy:

Modularity continues to be a trend, and I continue to dislike it. It sounds great in theory: you buy “one gun” (the serialized part regulated by the government) and swap out different parts so that one gun can fire 9mm, 5.56, 7.62, 300 BLK, and so on. There’s a lot to like about that idea from a prepping perspective. But I’ve yet to see it done well enough that it’s worth it in almost any product category (not just guns) — you end up with something that’s sorta fine at lots of things but not better than a standalone product for a specific thing. And they tend to break more often, have proprietary parts, etc. It’s the same reason why we dislike other survival tools that try to do too much, like a “32-in-1” axe that also has a compass, knife, bottle opener, allen wrench, toothpick, etc.

A good example at this year’s show is from Primary Weapons Systems — a company I’ve liked for a long time, and I own multiple of their piston rifles for >10 years. Their big launch this year is the modular UXR rifle. But I got to shoot it… and it did not change my mind on this issue. 

The new 8.6 Blackout round is promising, and I’ll probably buy the new Q Boombox + Porq Chop suppressor in 8.6. I’m generally a Q fan and already have their predecessor to the Boombox, the Honey Badger in 300 BLK + Trash Panda can. You can read more about the 8.6 round, but it’s a bigger/heavier bullet than the 300 with more effective range — sub-MOA at 300 meters, even when subsonic. 

The round is still very new and expensive at >$3 a round! But it’s the early days, and I suspect the merits of the round’s performance + that it fills a use-case gap in the market + the tie-in with sexy hardware like the Boombox will make it a viable option for primary use in the future (rather than just a toy for gun nerds). 

We got to fire the Boombox + Porq Chop in 8.6 and everyone in our group was honestly surprised by how much we liked it. One of the design changes from the Honey Badger is easier disassembly/reassembly — a much, much needed change, since the HB bolt can be tough to get back in place. The extra power compared to a 300 BLK is noticeable, but while still being a very light setup that doesn’t recoil much. The Boombox is not yet on market, but should be in a few months. 

Review from TFB: 

There’s finally a “turn a pistol into a PCC” chassis that I want to buy: the Flux Raider for Sig 365. This was broadly considered one of the more exciting new products at SHOT (eg. James Reeves picked it as the #1 PCC). With the stock folded, you can carry it in a waistband-concealable holster. And when you draw it from the holster, the stock auto opens for your shoulder / third point of contact. The mag release also releases the spare second mag (which acts as a vertical foregrip until needed) at the same time. 

It’s not on the market yet, but will be within months. It honestly might become the primary weapon in my wife’s BOB, since it’s small and lightweight but still offers improved performance over just a pistol.

Deeper review from TFB:

3D printed suppressors are now a thing, more all-titanium options, and a focus on reducing gas blowback. I shot my first 3D printed suppressor and it was surprisingly nice. The pictured can was manufactured by PTR, and you can see a closeup of the material in the pictured logo below. While not 3D printed, SilencerCo released the titanium Spectre 9 that handles 9mm + 300 BLK in both super and sub — I might pick this up for my personal stash.

Many suppressor companies are talking about “vent through” designs that reduce blowback into the shooter’s face by deflecting gas forward and/or holding the gas in place for longer so it can dissipate — a much needed improvement in this market. No more tears! 

Misc

Magpul released a translucent magazine (TMAG) — a product category that isn’t neccesarily new, but Magpul is known for better quality and testing, which matters in this case because the transparent-type mags are inherently weaker than their opaque versions. I also liked Omega’s magazines and the MagRipper speed loader.

Work Sharp, makers of some of our favorite blade sharpeners, released a new rolling knife sharpener. I didn’t get to use it enough to endorse it, but it’s intriguing and I definitely want to play with it.

I noticed manufacturers are paying more attention to better designs/options in medical packs, where they’re making it easier to see and label different pouches. I liked the pictured kit that had velcro across the grab handles for these clear, swappable labels:

Saw some focus on comfort improvements, whether in clothing, pack/load carrying, etc. Pictured is a pad worn between your chest and body armor plate that adds cushioning and airflow / sweat reduction:

I noticed more firearm manufacturers playing with bullpup designs. Although many of them still seem to have the issue where spent shells/casings are ejected downward onto your exposed inner wrist (which is the #1 reason I sold my Kel-Tec KSG bullpup shotgun).

Not sure why, but there was a noticeable increase in 40mm grenade launchers. 

I did not notice much new in the Pistol Caliber Carbine (PCC) market. Seems like we’re in the maturation phase of this cycle, with higher-end groups like Daniel Defense starting to offer their own models, which are nice but not really revolutionary. 

Variable optics, which you normally have to adjust/rotate by hand (which interrupts your firing, sight, etc.), now have a push-button powered option with the Scopeswitch from Antimatter Industries:

Darn Tough told me they have no plans to remove or reduce their legendary warranty even though they’ve started ramping up the “lifestyle” lines of socks meant for more casual use — which have thinner fabric than the more rugged traditional models and thus are more likely to wear out.

Watertight, self-healing zippers are being adopted by more designers. Yay. I hope the long-term durability tests turn out well and this becomes a new norm.

Small drones are a logical market focus given how effective they’ve been in the Ukrainian war. Nothing special to mention for our context, but I’d expect to see new advancements trickle down into the consumer market in the coming years.

And although not at all relevant for us normal folks, this $500,000 fully armored skid steer + breaching platform that attaches to the skid steer boom arm was really awesome. Imagine the police rolling up to a barricaded house with this bad boy:

Good SHOT recap videos from others, if you want to see more:

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New product center

What is the best place to buy mylar bags?

What’s a good place to get Mylar bags from? Just off Amazon, or do you all have a go to place for these things? Amazon reveals hundreds of possible vendors, most made overseas. If I’m to commit to some bags o’ rice for long term, I’d like to ensure I get decent stuff. Thanks!

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Prepping Holiday Gifts

I aim to get the same gift for everyone on my list which makes my shopping simple (as long as I can come up with it!). This year’s item is headlamps.  We had a power outage for a few hours just last week when I had a house full of family visiting so it will be clear how useful it is.  There are many price points and options for kids as well. 

I also made some Triage strips for myself and a CERT buddy (like these).  

Are you giving anything prep-related for the holidays?  

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Does anyone have any experience with the Snakestaff Systems ETQ (Everyday Carry Tourniquet)?

Does anyone have any experience with the Snakestaff Systems ETQ (Everyday Carry Tourniquet)? I saw a video last night from PrepMedic reviewing it, and was wondering if any of y’all had one. 

Link to website:

https://www.snakestaffsystems.com/buy-now/etq-every-day-tourniquet

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Interesting non-lethal self-defense tool – Self-Defense Whip

I was looking for a non-lethal self defense tool to put in the bug out bags for family members.  Although some are trained in martial arts, they were more about learning the katas than the actual fighting.  I was looking for a self-defense tool that wouldn’t require a lot of training.  I settled on of all things a self-defense whip based on the following criteria:

Simple to use/minimum training required. Doesn’t require physical contact (like a knife or stun gun) Not as easily grabbed (like a baton or stick) Compact  

I know that no weapon checks all the boxes, but this one peaked my interest.  Not sure why there isn’t more discussion on these types of weapons.  I also watched a video of some martial arts experts trying it out on each other (https://youtu.be/zWvEuK9DDtY).  I’ll be packing this along with the pepper spray.

I am not affiliated with any companies who make these products.

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What are your softcore preps?

Even though flashy crises are more fun to talk about, a prepping mindset has a big impact on day to day life. Do you have any creative everyday/non-SHTF prepping that you’re particularly happy about?

For example, I finally got tired of never being able to find new heads for my razor (yay supply chains), and I am not shaving under my arms with my Leatherman, so I started to use a metal razor. It can use any razor blades (which can be resharpened) instead of proprietary ones only, it means I have a pile of spare blades (safely) stored, and I’m not worried about it breaking anytime soon.

I’ve also moved towards wearing more durable and easily repairable materials like leather and using mechanical pencils and refillable pens instead of disposables. This won’t save anyone’s life, but moving away from disposables feels like prepping to me because it increases resilience both materially and financially in the long run. In the short run, they’re just nicer to use.

Even in the more traditional EDC, my bike (hex key) multitool sees more use than my Leatherman or Swiss Army Knife, but that’s probably because I’m still in the Ikea stage of life.

All that said, do y’all have any creative softcore prepping tips?

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DYI Air Purifier for Wildfire Smoke

Facing the worst air quality in recorded history (and my air purifier temporarily inaccessible in storage) I built my own today using Eric’s COVID Air Defense System kit, also known as a Corsi-Rosenthal Cube.  It works for wildfire smoke as well as for Covid.

I followed these instructions to build it: https://encycla.com/Corsi-Rosenthal_Cube

I was able to have the MERV 13 filters delivered the same day by Instacart so I didn’t have to leave my apartment.

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air purifier

How to clean, sanitize, and properly store portable water filters

I recently saw a post on Reddit where a person is turning on the tap and nasty brown water comes out of it. A few people in the comments were talking about if a water filter would be able to make this potable. Further down in the comments, someone who claims to be a water engineer says that it was from unclean pipes that allowed microbes to grow in them. He then makes the following comment

“The same situation happens when people reuse portable water filters when camping. In dry storage it’s perfectly fine to keep a filter around for months. But the instant you get it wet, you put that filter away and then bacteria starts growing on the filter media. The next time you go camping, you get sick and you can’t figure out why because you use the water filter.”

I agree that if you use your filter and then just throw it in your bag and leave it wet for a couple months it will get all nasty, but if you properly backflush and dry it out you should be fine right? I emailed some of the main portable water filter companies out there and they said I was correct. You need to take some steps to properly store your filter after use.

Their replies will probably be pretty long if I copied and pasted them here, so I’ll sum it up in some bullet points

Backflush your filter with clean water after each outing. If you have mineral rich water that you are constantly filtering, soaking the filter in white vinegar for 30 minutes and then backflushing can help restore flow rate. Pump/flush a weak bleach solution through the unit occasionally, any hoses, and on the outside to kill any bacteria living inside. Then thoroughly air dry before storage.

Here’s a good video on filter care by Sawyer.

Hope this friendly reminder is helpful to everyone to #1 make sure you have the tools and experience backflushing your portable filters and #2 make sure you store them correctly and dryly.

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Best solar generator for HOT Arizona desert

Trying to figure out which small portable solar generator would be best for us.  We are in the Phoenix area and get temps up to 120+ F in the summer. Rarely go below 35 F in the winter.

I do have several of the small Novoos and Ruffwear solar fold up panels that were rec’d here on the prepared for charging smaller items.

Would like to get something bigger with plugs so we can run larger fans, etc. Not looking to run major appliances.  And yes, we already have some mid size fans that run off of Li-ion batteries.  Cost is not really an issue. Willing to invest in the best product to suit our needs.

Looking at Goal Zero Yeti 150 (lead-acid battery) and Goal Zero 200x (Lithium) and their appropriate solar panels.Q1:  What type of battery is best for our hot desert environment?

Q2: What about Jackery? Better/ Worse/ Same?  EcoFlow RIVER?

Q3: What would you recommend?Thanks for your help, should you decide to respond. Been having a health issue that has been making me foggy and tired, lately, so researching for me, right now, is draining.

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Solar Water Distiller

https://yaleclimateconnections.org/2022/02/solar-stills-help-people-obtain-clean-water-using-the-power-of-the-sun/?fbclid=IwAR1wkHu59qTQJ2dhLd6SQbhdeRLbNpUgUYGTjhctV59JxnE5Vl3nUQUdfxA                  

http://www.watercone.com/product.html

I post this in hopes someone in the plastic manufacturing field will see the value in a Solar still … no Filters no moving parts 100% pure drinking water easily stacks on top of each other .. Glenn

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Do you include a Communication Board/Cards in your prep?

I’ve been thinking about adding communication board or cards in my Level 3 first aid kit.  Does anyone have any experience with them, and if so, what are you using?

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Grain Mills: What’s your experience and recommendations?

Pretty self-explanatory. My food pantry includes whole grains because they naturally last a long time and with a little extra care, a really long time. But you need to keep them whole as the outer layer is the best packaging. Wheat berries can last 30 years based on studies done by the LDS church, but once you grind them into flour they go downhill fast.

I’ve owned a variety of mills, all but one of the antique variety. They were all small clamp-on type that eventually failed—or had failed before had even bought them LOL. I was scanning Craigslist etc every so often the last however many years looking for a better unit without any luck. Then came the pandemic and even the beer-brewer hobbyists machines and kitchen decoration items disappeared.

I want a $1,000 of course and had placed a pre-paid order for the new Green Power Mill from Lehmans that looks pretty cool. But it turns out that Lehmans has been sold and whether that, the JIT supply catastrophe or whatever, I had my money returned 6 months later when the mill still wasn’t in production. That was recently and prompted me to bite the bullet so I finally broke down and bought a modern version of the clamp on style, the Wonder Mill Junior.

It comes with both steel burrs and stone wheels and a second auger for nuts —and importantly— masa! But what is best are the drive options, it has available a power drill adapter, a large motor pulley, even a geared reduction pulley with drive gear. I opted for the bicycle sprocket attachment. I ordered one of those bicycle stands made to let you use your regular bike as an exercise cycle. I’ll get a chain locally. If I were ever needing to use this machine… and there was power of some type available, I’m confident I could rig up a motor. Most likely, in the event it is needed, the only power available will be me.

You can see in the listing that it has a square plate base rather than an integral clamp. The clamp device is mounted using machine screws. I expect to mount the mill, sans clamp, along with the bike stand on a piece of ply, probably using a hunk of 6-8″ steel plate as reinforcement under the mill. Several of my “clamp on” mills have failed at the neck due to metal fatigue, there is quite a bit of torque involved. And of course there is no way to mount a clamp style mill on most modern counters, let alone use with the bike rig I’m contemplating. Grinding more than a cup’s worth to rough flour consistently turns into work.

I’ve been dragging my feet on this purchase for a while, $400 all in for an item I’ll hopefully never use beyond simple experimenting is pretty high for my budget. The rational is, I probably have that much in stored grain and without a decent mill I’m limited to mush and sprouts.

So anyway, talk about your mills.

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Fish Antibiotics for human use

Short version: Fish Antibiotics are currently on sale at fishmoxfishflex.com at 25% off with the code: DRBONES25 until 7/31.

Background: 
I’m a big, longtime fan of Doctor Bones and Nurse Amy (Joe Alton MD, and Amy NP). They wrote the book ‘The Survival Medicine Handbook’ (the essential guide for when help is NOT on the way) and the book ‘Antibiotics and Infections Diseases’.

Dr. Alton has long preached and advocated that preppers stock, and know how to use, fish antibiotics. They are the exact same medication as the human versions, literally produced in the same facilities. He’s wrote extensively about this and made many YouTube videos (in addition to his running podcast and blogs). 

I’m a former military medic and civilian paramedic and I find both of his books essential parts of our prepper medical library. We have many fish antibiotics already and we’re going to buy more. 

(I’m happy to provide links, I just didn’t want this to come across like some kid of add for them – lol.)

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Best home or neighborhood security system 2023

What are the best options to detect, deter, and prevent breakins in your home or neighborhood? My neighborhood had a nighttime burglary recently (involving a car, not the house) which has raised the issue of security in my neighborhood. I’m interested in recommendations for my own home’s security, especially detection/alerting, as well as neighborhood-wide options that I could present to the HOA.

Here are some relevant previous security articles and discussions, but I suspect some of the technology has advanced in the years since these were written.

https://theprepared.com/homestead/guides/home-hardening-basics/

https://theprepared.com/gear/reviews/alarm-systems/

Please share both ideas and experiences about how to setup home or neighborhood security systems.

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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

Recommendations on .308 Bolt Gun

I haven’t gotten into long range precision shooting yet, but that’s something I’m interested in now (I already have all of the ordinary bases covered: ARs, pistols, 22’s etc). What I’d like is to make this an enjoyable project which I can upgrade and improve over time, gaining knowledge and competency of long range shooting in general.

The main models I’ve been looking at are the Ruger American Predator, Savage 110, and Remington 700 SPS Tactical. What I’d plan to upgrade on these are the stock, trigger, bolt etc. I definitely need something with a threaded barrel since I plan on using a suppressor which I recently picked up.

Thanks for any feedback you guys can provide.

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SCOTTeVEST: opinions?

Hello folks! Was reminded of an interesting clothing brand the other day and would like to ask for your opinions from a prepping standpoint.

That clothing line is SCOTTeVEST and their unique selling point is very simple: pockets, and lots of them. Back pockets, side pockets, front pockets, stash pockets, secret pockets. DeepPockets (TM), TopDrop (TM) pockets, Pocket in Pockets (TM). Pen pockets, document pockets, RFID blocking pockets. Dresses with pockets, t-shirts with pockets, hats with pockets, masks with pockets, gosh darn underwear with pockets.

It all seems very fun. But to what extent do you think this is useful? And can anyone speak from experience?

Looking forward to hearing your responses 🙂

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How often do you run your portable generator?

For those who have portable generators, how often do you run them?  

I have 2 generators that I run for 30 minutes once a month that coincides with the monthly siren test on the first Saturday of the month.  I also run one of the generators to power the whole house for 30 minutes twice a year.  I have an interlock setup versus a transfer switch so I can select which circuits I want to power.

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Refrigerator / freezer alarm recommendations

I want to get a fridge/freezer alarm for the two units I have and to get some kind of warning if the power were to be out and temperatures were heating up. That way I could have a little notice to do something about it like hook it up to a generator or pack it in ice to save the food I have in there.

While browsing through Amazon for such a product, I quickly noticed that many have all these fangled settings, displays, functions, and phone apps. I want a simple alarm to go off if the temperature rises above a certain amount, not some 12″X12″ display on my wall that tells the weather and a daily joke.

This one was promising and simple but but reading the reviews it says that the alarm is not very loud and only chirps for a few seconds before turning off. This is a deal breaker for me because I want a constant loud alarm to get my attention as soon as I come home from work and not risk missing it.

Does anyone have an alarm that they recommend?

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Sling bag for basic lightweight prepping equipment

Hi guys,

First things first, I am new to prepping and do find this website very useful and by far the most elaborated and well-structured on the topic. Thank you for making prepping easier for people like me. Having said that, I have travelled the world for 6 months with a single bag pack (I will come back on that) and I used to travel a lot for my work; a bit less nowadays. All this to say that I am use to travels and backpacking.

Now comes the interesting bit. The way I see things, my wife and I will keep our least compact and heaviest prepping hardware ready to take off, at home (most of the time) in our backpacks. I have a Kajka 65 – Fjallraven and she takes the Abisko Friluft 45 (both are Fjallraven – have a look at these, they are more mountain types backpack but worth considering for prepping). I had the 65 L Kajka for my 6 months travel and it never disappointed me nor let me down.

For our lightest gear, I would like to invest in one or two sling bags. This is not in line with The Prepared recommendations but we would not use these sling bags for long walks and travel. The idea is to have our lightest gear with us most of the time, to get used to it and try it when possible. We do a lot of offroad driving short walks to discover areas, look for mushrooms, etc. and a sling bag would be perfect to be able to quickly access knife, multitool, the equipment to make fire, water, etc. not shelter and night orientated but really day basic equipment and the gear we want to try to get to know how to use it when we really do not have other choice but to use them.

In terms of sling bag there is a variety of choice and, from what I could see, there is no real good article on the net comparing them against each other’s. I liked the idea of the messenger bag or the satchel near the hip but I think that will not work in the long term. Hence, the sling bag on the back with a secondary strap to maintain it in place (I think this is important). In terms of volume, I do not want nor need much. Again the idea is day trip with light and compact equipment. at the moment I am looking into the following bags and would appreciate any thoughts or guidance:

– Plan B from Hazard 4; it looks good; maybe a bit too big (visual at least).

– Paladin / SOTech Go Sling Bag; I liked this one a lot initially but got to understand that the main compartment is really not what I am looking for.

– Crosshatch Sling Pack from First Tactical; I like this one a lot but understood that the people were disappointed when receiving it, expecting higher grade/quality/finish.

– Sitka Maxpedition; this is also one of my favorite.

– Vanquest Javelin Sling, 2nd Gen; probably my favorite one at the moment.

As I said, I am new to prepping, gearing up gradually and following all the good advice I can get. I like spending time outside, best in the nature. So from all angles, prepping makes sense to me and I want to keep it fun and enjoyable.

Thank you all for reading me and looking forward to your feedbacks.

Cheers, Mathieu

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Old hand saw restoration guide

In preparation to restore some old hand saws, I assemble a guide drawing on multiple sources. I was motivated to do this as sources that I read disagreed with each other at times or left out useful tips mentioned in other guides. Thought it might be something y’all would be interested in. At the end of the day, hand tools are a necessary backup to power tools, and they just don’t make hand tools like they used to. At least, not without them costing an arm and a leg. 

Here is the following information in PDF form: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1DgQ4nlBfFcQm8T27keedkXwqPXeqdfZJ/view?usp=sharing

Apologies that the formatting is not the most pretty here, it is better in the PDF. Also in the PDF, all the sources have hyperlinks to the website for easier access. 

Also, does anyone have any experience with restoring saws or other old hand tools? I’m particularly interested in saws, axes, chisels, and hand planes.  

Old Hand Saw Restoration Guide – Noah Holkeboer – March 2023

Goal

To take old, rusty, dull hand saws and restore them aesthetically and functionally. Also aiming to preserve any etchings on the blade and/or carvings on the handle.

Approach/Overview

Acquire saw → Disassemble → Clean pins → Remove rust and grime → Enhance etching (optional) → Sand or clean handle → Protect handle → Reassemble → Sharpen → Set teeth → Protect and maintain

Materials

Old saw to restoreBench viceScrewdrivers Wood mallet Punch for pinsSandpaper (80-600 grit)Sanding blockRubbing Alcohol (for etchings)

WD-40™Steel Bluing Agent (for etchings)Boiled linseed oil Wood finish (if desired)Oil or wax for protecting steelSaw filesSaw tooth set toolWood for cut testing

Protocol

1) Examine the saw. Look for a maker’s mark and etchings on the blade by viewing it from different angles in the light. Medallions on handle pins are also worth examining. Note carvings on the handle. These observations could help you determine the age of the saw, and they will also inform how the saw is restored. See the bibliography for references to help with determining the age of antique hand saws (von Sneidern, 2009; Clark & Dima, 2019).

2 Remove the handle from the saw blade. Loosen the saw nuts and medallion. Use a large screwdriver that fits snuggly, so as to avoid stripping or marring the nut, as these are often made of soft brass. Old saws might have “split” saw nuts, and require a special driver or a flathead screwdriver modified by filing a notch in the center. If the nuts are stuck, spray some WD-40™, wait a few minutes, then try again. Then push out the rest of the saw nuts. You can try to just push them out with a pencil, but they might need to be gently tapped out with a hammer and punch. Make sure to record which nut came from which hole, as over years the holes can become uniquely conformed to each nut (Farnsworth, 2022). Carefully slide the handle off of the saw plate (blade). If it does not come off easily, secure the plate in a vice and pull it off or tap it off with a mallet. Consider using WD-40™ to lubricate. If restoring a back saw (tenon saw) that has a rigid steel or brass back, do not remove it, as the blade might bend out of shape after removal (Farnsworth, 2022).

3) Clean the saw nuts. Saw nuts can be cleaned and polished in multiple ways. For grime that is really stuck on, you could consider soaking the brass nuts and medallion in a 1:4 solution of laundry detergent overnight before scrubbing off grime (Foster, 2021). However, the effectiveness is probably dependent on the type and concentration of laundry detergent, which Foster does not specify. Avoid anything that would have negative effects on the metal. After the soak, proceed with cleaning and polishing as described below. In most circumstances, this soak should not be necessary. Use fine steel wool (#0000) and a brass polish such as Brasso™ to clean and polish them (Farnsworth, 2022). Wipe off any excess polish with a rag.

4) Remove rust and clean the saw plate. Some guides suggest removing rust with a solvent or acid, while this can work effectively, it can go too far. In the process of removing rust, the acid can remove an etching, darken the color of the blade, or leave pits in the metal. For the best restoration, these products should be avoided. Manual removal of rust and grime is usually sufficient, though it does take a little more work. However, some do recommend these products for saws with a lot of rust, even those that have etchings (T, 2016).

Large pieces of gunk and rust can be removed with a razor or scraping tool. Filing the corners of a razor blade can prevent it from leaving lines (Foster, 2021). If the saw does not have an etching, rust can be sanded off more aggressively. However, caution should be exercised unless it is obvious that there is no etching, as grime and age can hide a faint etching. To remove rust and clean the blade, use wet dry sandpaper, starting with more coarse grit and moving to more fine grit. 400 grit followed by 600 grit seems to be a common recommendation (Foster, 2021; Farnsworth, 2022), although starting with 120 grit has been practiced when there is no etching (​​Eoin Reardon, 2022). When sanding, using a solvent such as WD-40™, mineral spirits, or Simple Green™ is recommended. Using a sanding block helps to keep the depth of the sanding consistent. After sanding, using a surface cleaner and a cleaning pad can help remove dirt from areas that sanding can reach (such as teeth and pits in the metal).

5) Enhance etching if present on the plate (optional). If there is an etching present on the blade, you can consider attempting to enhance it. The results may not be dramatic, but it is possible to increase the contrast of the etching. To enhance an etching, start with a clean saw plate. Some recommend that the metal is polished before enhancing the etching (Enhancing a saw etch, n.d.). The blade is further cleaned and degreased by wiping it down with a solvent. Mineral spirits or acetone has been recommended (Enhancing a saw etch, n.d.), as isopropyl alcohol (T, 2016). Wipe down the blade and let the solvent dry before proceeding.

Next, apply a bluing agent like Perma Blue™ gun blue paste. It can be applied only to the area with the etching or can be applied to the whole blade. It will darken the color of the steel but can be sanded to your preferences. If only applied to a spot on the blade, it will change its reflectiveness, leaving a “halo” when viewed from certain angles in the light (Enhancing a saw etch, n.d.). After applying the blueing compound, one guide recommends letting it sit for “a minute or so”, then washing it off in cold water (T, 2016). Another guide suggests that the bluing agent should be allowed to dry “thoroughly” and “completely” (Enhancing a saw etch, n.d.). Either way, the bluing agent should not be touched while it is setting, as it could lead to inconsistent bluing. Next, the area of the etching is carefully sanded, only a few strokes at a time. Sanding is stopped when the etching is revealed and the background is an appropriate color. Just a little too much sanding could destroy the etching forever. The area around the etching and the rest of the blade can be lighted with additional sanding. Use a sanding block for this to avoid sanding unevenly. Use 600 grit or finer sandpaper (Enhancing a saw etch, n.d.). It has been suggested that this process could be repeated two or three times to improve the results (T, 2016).

6) Clean or remove saw handle coating.In many cases, the restoration will involve sanding the wooden handle of the saw. However, one should consider not sanding the handle, and only cleaning it for two main reasons. First, old saw handles that have seen lots of use can have a desirable patina due to years of exposure to the oil in a worker’s hands, which can be aesthetically pleasing and very comfortable to hold (Farnsworth, 2022). Second, if preserving the saw as a historical object is of interest, irreversible restoration processes, like sanding, should be avoided. Gentle use of #0000 steel wool and mineral spirits can be used to clean a wooden handle without removing the patina (Farnsworth, 2022).

For saw handles that will be sanded, thick layers of varnish may be able to be scraped off first with a razor blade scraper, this can be eased by heating the handle. If varnish must be removed from the small groves of decorative handle carvings, a chemical stripper like CitriStrip™ may be the only option (Foster, 2021). If a chemical stripper is used, clean the handle with mineral spirits and steel wool afterward to remove traces of the chemical before sanding (Foster, 2021). Sanding the handle down to bare wood can start with 60 or 80 grit sandpaper, especially if there is still varshish on the handle. The handle can be made smoother by using progressively fine grit sandpaper, up to 220 grit (Foster, 2021).

Saw handles with minor damage can be repaired (The Write Biz, 2013). However, badly damaged handles might need to be replaced entirely.

7) Protect saw handle.If desired, a staining finish can be added to the handle wood. Alternatively, the handle can be protected with an application of boiled linseed oil for a more natural look. Be careful with used rags, as apparently than can self-combust if not laid out to dry or intentionally burned (Foster, 2021). To apply either, wipe on evenly. Boiled linseed oil may warrant additional applications over time. In any case, refer to the instructions for the product being used.

8) Reassemble saw. Reattach the handle to the saw blade, putting the pins back in the same hole they came from, in the same way they were if possible. Do not over-tighten the nuts.

9) Sharpen saw. Sharpen the saw to your preference. Most saws are set up as either rip-cut or cross-cut saws by changing the shape of their teeth. After teeth are sharpened, they are set if it is necessary. This is done using a tool to slightly bend the teeth outward, alternating between sides. Other guides and videos exist detailing how to sharpen saws in various styles (Paul Sellers, 2013; Eoin Reardon, 2022; Farnsworth, n.d.).

10) Protect and maintain the restored saw. The metal blade of the saw can be polished with metal polish if desired. It can be protected by applying wax or oil. Boiled linseed oil can be reapplied to handles treated with it for continued protection. With use, the saw will need to be resharpened, and eventually, the teeth will need to be set again.

Bibliography

Clark, Joshua., & Dima, Barry. (2019). A buyer’s guide to antique handsaws – finewoodworking.

FineWoodworking. https://www.finewoodworking.com/project-guides/hand-tools/buyers-guide-antique-handsaws

Enhancing a saw etch. (n.d.). Loon Lake Tool Works.

https://loonlaketoolworks.com/pages/enhancing-a-saw-etch

Eoin Reardon. (2022, July 4). Restoring A vintage tenon saw [Video]. YouTube.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=veMpOcKXtVE

Farnsworth, Joshua. (n.d.). How to sharpen hand saws for woodworking | wood and shop.

Wood and Shop.

https://woodandshop.com/how-to-sharpen-hand-saws-for-woodworking/

Farnsworth, Joshua. (2022, February 4). How to restore an antique back saw. Wood and Shop.

https://woodandshop.com/how-to-restore-an-antique-back-saw/#types

Foster, Joe. (2021, February 28). How to restore an old hand saw, A complete guide | growit

buildit. Growit Buildit. https://growitbuildit.com/restoring-saw-remove-rust/

Paul Sellers. (2013, May 6). How to sharpen a woodworking handsaw | paul sellers [Video].

YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UA5DixEaaUo

T, Jay. (2016, January 26). Hand Saw Restorations – How to bring back the detail of an etch.

TimeTestedTools. https://www.timetestedtools.net/2016/01/26/hand-saw-restorations-how-to-bring-back-the-detail-of-an-etch/amp/

The Write Biz. (2013, January 13). Repairing a vintage handsaw handle. Hand Tool Journey-A

woodworking show of hands. https://handtooljourney.wordpress.com/2013/01/13/repairing-a-vintage-handsaw-handle/

von Sneidern, Erik. (2009, January). Online reference of disston saws — the medallions.

Disstonian Institute.com — Online Reference of DisstonSaws. http://www.disstonianinstitute.com/medv2.html

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Hands-on experience with a Scout Rifle?

Does anyone have any actual hands-on experience with any of the current Scout rifles (ex. Ruger GSR, Savage, Mossberg)?  What’s been your experience (good or bad)? 

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