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Electric net fencing

I don’t keep my chickens in a traditional hen house but in 4×8 chicken tractors made of wood and wire. They work great for giving the chickens fresh air and fresh ground, but I decided that my flock didn’t have enough room. I don’t have a lot of room to work with, and I never know when I’ll have to make room for something, so I wasn’t keen on a permanent fence. I wanted something mobile.

I opted for the PoultryNet Plus starter kit from Premier 1. It includes 100 feet of electric net fencing, four extra support posts, a solar fence charger, and a fence tester.

The included manual is written in broken English, which is irritating given the high cost. Thankfully, Premier 1’s YouTube channel is helpful. I followed their videos to set up the charger, which I then plugged in for a while to give it an initial charge-up.

The fencing is easy to set up in theory, but it takes some practice. You have to carefully unroll it and lay it on the ground in the rough shape you want. The trick is not twisting up the fence and arranging it so the end meets the beginning. Easier said than done. My first setup took a couple of hours and the second took an hour. They say you can set it up in 15-30 minutes and maybe I’ll get there.

I was worried that the included posts with double spikes wouldn’t work in my hard ground, but they do okay. Better in some spots than others. If one spot is too rocky, I just move it over an inch or two until I can find one that’s softer. It’s also tricky angling the fence to keep tension on the net. It doesn’t have to be super tight, since it’s electric, but you don’t want it saggy.

Getting in and out is pretty easy. I turn off the energizer, and simply spread the beginning and ending posts apart (they’re super flexible) to step in. At night or when I leave, I tie the posts together with one of the included strings.

At first, I wasn’t sure the fence worked. Chickens would brush up against it, seemingly unbothered. Then two of my birds tested the fence and started flapping and clucking. It was one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen. They quickly learned to not test the fence, and none have tried to fly over it.

There are two things I don’t like about this fencing. One is that the grass has to be super short or otherwise the fence grounds out on it. This happened with my first setup, but it didn’t produce any ill effects other than popping sounds and visible sparks at night. When I moved the fence, I mowed the fence area super short, leaving tall grass in the middle for the chickens to eat. If you left it in one spot, you’d have to move a section once a week, mow, and then move it back.

Another is that the solar charger runs off a battery, and that battery only lasts about five years at most. Unfortunately, I don’t know any way around that limitation, other than using a plug-in energizer or stocking up on batteries and hope they last on the shelf.


Effective Mobile Works off-grid Works well on uneven ground, like hills and dips


Expensive Grass must stay short Set up has a learning curve Easy to tangle Battery must be replaced every few years Read More

Making cycling a part of your prepping

The average walking speed for an adult is about 3 to 4 miles per hour, or 1 mile in 15 to 20 minutes. Add on a 25 lb. backpack and chances are you’ll be moving even slower. Unless you’ve been training, in less than an hour, only 3 miles toward your destination, your shoulders and feet are going to be aching. Trust me, I know. Last summer I put on a 25 lb back pack and walked 3 miles several times a week. The first time was brutal. The second and third times weren’t much better. After a few weeks I was able to walk father, faster eventually hitting 12 miles in about 4 1/2 hours…but it still sucked. It REALLY sucked! My hands swelled, my shoulders ached and my feet were killing me! At that same fitness level, I was able to ride a very casual, easy 22 miles in less than 4 hours, and carry a much lighter bag but more gear. And this was on a $125 big box store bike.

Cycling is a great, low-impact workout to improve cardio, endurance, build leg strength, balance and coordination. With the right gear, you can carry far more than you could on your back. It’s environmentally friendly, quiet, requires no fuel and minimal maintenance and is a great way to meet people, hang out with friends and enjoy the outdoors. And honestly, it’s just fun. As more cities become bike friendly and gear more available, bikes and e-bikes as a part of prepping becomes a no-brainer.

But where do I start?
What kind of bike do I need for prepping?
How do I maintain and repair it?
What tools and accessories do I need?

These are all really good questions, and I’ll try to answer them as best as I can in this thread. But I also have a YouTube channel where I cover this topic and a lot more. Check out I add videos every week and have a playlist dedicated to essential bike skills for preppers.

But where do I start?

If you have a bike, just start riding. It’s the fastest way to build your stamina and skill. You’ll also start figuring out what you like, need and want. Metroparks often have great trails to ride, but riding through the neighborhood or riding to run errands is a lot of fun and great exercise too. We often even bring the dog and people always stop and watch as she jogs alongside the boy on his bike. It’s adorable!

While riding, be on the lookout for shortcuts and paths you may need or want to take while bugging out. Make note of potential obstacles and areas or roads you may want to avoid. Build up your endurance until you can bike to your bugout location, then work on your time. get there faster. Find alternate routes. Learn how to efficiently go up and down curbs, bunny hop over obstacles and most importantly, safely navigate through traffic.

Look up the bike laws for your state and city. I found a pamphlet for my state called What Every Michigan Bicyclist Must Know. There is probably something like that for your state as well. Find it.

Make friends with your local bike shop. Or even better, find a bike co-op. They often offer classes on bike repair, sell used bikes and gear and may even fix your bike for free. You may also meet cool people and learn about events, trails and other bike related stuff. I learned almost everything I know about fixing bikes from the cool guys and gals at the local bike co-op. Time well spent.

If you don’t have a bike, start shopping around. There are so many options, you should take your time and test ride several before making a purchase. Go to bike shops and see what’s available, read reviews online and consult friends who have been cycling for a while.

What kind of bike do I need for prepping?

TL;DR: A mid-range gravel, trail, or hybrid bike.

The best bike is the one you already have. Especially this year. New bikes are hard to come by thanks to Covid-19. But, you can probably find some nice used bikes. But, for simplicity’s sake, let’s say you can find some new bikes. What kind should you get? You have a lot of choices, but lets break it down into a few categories: road bikes, mountain bikes, commuter bikes, e-bikes, cruiser bikes, and lets group the others into specialty bikes.

But which is best for prepping? And what’s the difference?

REI does a great job at providing an overview of the different types of bikes you can read here:

I don’t think I can pick one for everyone. It definitely depends on your needs, skills, terrain and fitness level and budget. But here are some things you should look for:

The most important thing to look for, is to make sure it fits you. Buying from someplace like Wal-Mart, you don’t typically get much choice in sizing. But if you go to a bike shop, or surprisingly Dick’s, you can get a bike that is actually the correct size for you. This is based on the actual frame of the bike. Tire size can also make a big difference. I wanted a bike with 29″ wheels for myself because bigger wheels offer a smoother, more efficient ride. But I’m too short, to safely and comfortably ride 29″wheels. So I had to get 27.5″. Best way to know that is to go to a bike shop and try it out. Look for name brand components, especially with the drivetrain. Look at the shifters, Shimano or Sram are your two choices here. Some people prefer one over the other due to feel, but they are equals in quality and reliability. Shimano seems a bit more common especially on entry/midrange models. There are other brands, but chances are they are not going to very good quality. Which doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t buy the bike, but be aware of what you’re getting. My last bike had off-brand components and I rode it for a season without issue. But, had I needed to replace parts, they may have been difficult to find. And it was only $125. Don’t pay more than that for off-brand components. Make sure you test ride it. Ask lots of questions about the features and how things works. Make sure it’s comfortable and that it fits you. Make sure all the parts are tight and well lubricated and there’s no weird noises or clunkiness. Change the gears, slam the breaks. Hop up and down a curb or two. If anything feels off, find out what it is. It could be a really simple fix or sign of future problems (especially if buying used). Color! You wanna look good don’t you?

Things you should NOT worry about: grips, pedal, seat and seatpost. These are all relatively cheap and easy to replace. They are also very personal items. These are your contact points with the bike, so I would argue that you should replace them to get what is most comfortable to you regardless of which bike you get. If the seat is too high or low, the seatpost can be cut or replaced for around $20. Pedals can get really pricey, but you can get some really nice ones in the $50 range. Keep in mind, mid-level and higher bikes typically don’t come with pedals. Seats vary in price quite a bit and it is probably a better investment to buy padded biking shorts than spend too much on a seat, but that’s up to you. And locking grips can also be had for around $25, which will be much nicer than what come on most entry level bikes.

So what did I get for myself?

I bought my son a $200 Nishiki Pueblo trail bike (type of mountain bike) from Dick’s Sporting Goods in spring of 2019. We had 3 several color options, and even more sizes to choose from. It was easy to find one that fit my son perfectly. It had Shimano drive train, 26″ knobby tires, his favorite color and it’s very easy to work on. The sales person also did repairs in the store and gave the bike a checkup before we left with it. We’ve easily put hundreds of miles on it, gone on mountain biking trails, bike camping, and a lot of falls and crashes. With a few minor upgrades and regular maintenance/repairs, it’s held up remarkably well. The only issue we have is sometimes the handlebars loosen or chain slips, especially after a crash. But it’s an easy fix and is to be expected for the price of the bike. I definitely recommend it for people on a budget, who aren’t afraid to work on their bike.

We immediately bought him a kickstand (many bikes don’t come with them), upgraded his shifters from the twisting style grip shifters to smoother and more accurate trigger shifters. Here is where getting name brand components is a benefit, upgrades like this are easily and inexpensively done without having to worry about compatibility. Then I got him some nice lock on grips, far superior to the slide on grips that can scrunch and slide when wet or dirty. This year I added some reflective stripes as we’ve been doing more road biking and head and tail lights. If he were pickier, I would get him some nicer pedals, but he doesn’t seem to care, so I’ve left them as is. With about $100 worth of upgrades, this bike went from being decent to pretty nice. I rode it recently and was really impressed with the feel and control.

You can find it here:

For myself I found a clearanced Haro Subvert HT5 from 2017, brand new. I fell in love with it immediately. It had all the features I’d been looking for in a bike for a fraction of the price: plus sized tires for sand and snow, hydraulic disc brakes for effortless stopping, thru-axles, quality name brand components and my favorite color. I haven’t had it long enough to speak on the durability or what upgrades I may make. But so far, I am happy with my purchase, though I don’t think I would recommend it for prepping purposes. The bike is fun to ride, and definitely looks cool. But it is inefficient on flat pavement. This bike was built for the mountains, but I live in Michigan. Most of our biking is on flat pavement, or slight inclines. That means I’m working harder to go the same distance and speed as others. This became painfully obvious when I went on a ride with a friend on a road bike. She effortless floated over the pavement with her thin, smooth tires while I pedaled twice as hard to keep up worth her. The tables turned however when we went onto a gravel road. My fat knobby tires and suspension allowed me to ride on loose gravel as easily and with as much control as I had on concrete. My friend, however became slow, shaky and eventually got off and walked her bike until we got back on pavement.

Check it out here:

My son’s bike, an inexpensive almost mountain bike performs really well on smooth roads. But he can also follow me just fine on dirt paths, gravel and even winding mountain bike trails over roots and rocks, pump tracks and little jumps. His suspension can’t handle anything too crazy, but it’s enough to give him a nice ride on bumpy roads. And I’ve loaded him up with gear when we went bikepacking. The little trail bike is an all around winner. If you want something similar, check out gravel bikes, hybrid bikes and trail bikes between $200 – $750. There’s really no need to spend more than that unless you just want to. The benefits to the casual rider are minimal.

How do I maintain and repair it?

Your most common and likely repairs are going to be fixing flats, oiling/changing chains and changing brake and shifting cables. These are all pretty easy and there are a ton of YouTube videos that explain how to do this, including my channel. If there’s interest, I’ll follow up this post with step by step instructions on how to perform some of these tasks.

What tools and accessories do I need?

Helmet Bike lock Chain oil Tire levers Spare inner tubes Tube patches or tire plugs if tubeless Tire pump Lights Multi-tool Water

** UPDATE **

Here’s the kit I usually take with me. I own all but 1 of these products (KMC 3 in 1 Tool , but I’m ordering one) and have tested them out either at home or on the side of the road/trail.  So far, I’ve been happy with them all.

That’s it for now. Get out there and ride!

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Urban / Suburban EXTRA prepping tools , What have YOU got

Ok so we all know the general EDC/ GHB/BOB contents and its assorted permutations, but what EXTRA items have you got to help you survive OUTDOORS in an Urban or Suburban area.

What extra tools, devices or EXTRA equippment have you decided to carry with you when you venture out during a crisis that is OUTSIDE of the normal list of prepping kit?

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This non-powered passive dish focuses cell phone signals to the nearest tower

Was researching ways to communicate when cells don’t work. (Lots of prepping uses, but I was particularly thinking about the recent unrest where gov shuts down signal to protestors.)

Found this and thought it was cool. You put your phone inside of the cradle and that turns it into a hotspot in the middle of nowhere. The tool itself uses no power. So I’m guessing it’s just a signal amplifier. Anyone knowledgeable know how valid this is? Is it or something like it a possible communications prep?

Here’s where I found it

Cell phone hotspot in Australia. Set your phone on the post, dish focuses the signal to the nearest tower. 100% passive, tool itself uses no power. from ThatsInsane

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What do you carry with you every day? and how?

Something I’ve always struggled with is every-day carry of preps.  Sure I have a few key items that live in my pockets, and a few more that live in my computer bag/briefcase, but beyond that I struggle to bring myself to carry more.  This is largely because I just don’t like the burden of an off-body carry bag or pack, and sometimes when I do carry a pack I forget it places.

I’d love to know what people carry with them every day, and how they carry it.  My list includes:

On body (in pockets): Full size multi-tool.  Micro multi-tool and micro flashlight attached to key ring. Cash, cards, and ID in wallet.  Leatherman Croc in wallet.  Burta Beeswax (never without!). And of course my phone. In laptop bag (which is always with me while I’m work): Water bottle. Basic might-need meds (ibuprofen, cold meds, etc). Mini flashlight. Phone charger. Protein bar. Hand Sanitizer.  KN-95 mask.  Folding knife.  A few assorted band-aids.  (This is all in addition to my computer and work-related items that need to be in there).

I see lots of room for improvement, so I’d love to hear others’ thoughts and ideas.  And perhaps more importantly, how you are carrying every day!

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The Get Home Bag Guide (GHB, Car Kit)

Here’s a link to what is currently in my EDC & GHB/CarKit (one tab for each). There’s also a Behaviors tab, and a To-Do tab with finds from the links Gideon shared.

Relevant threads, thanks Gideon!

Car supplies What’s the best get home bag to keep in your car? Winter survival kits, extreme cold weather gear, and winterizing your home and car What preparedness items do you keep in your vehicle? Get home bag for harsh winter conditions BOB plus Get Home Bag?

Original title: “Where’s the Get Home Bag / Car Kit article?”

Original post body:

Is there a main article or forum post for this?

I’ve seen bits and pieces mentioned in other articles, but not centralized place for this.

For example, I’ve got a NOCO Boost so that I can jump start my car without another car nearby, and I’ve got resqme window breaker / seat belt cutters zip-tied to each of the four “grab handles”. (The *sheath* is zip tied, so you just pull the tool out of the sheath without having to cut the tie.)

Other stuff: “roadside emergency kit“, bivy, “emergency radio“, poncho, wool socks, liner socks, headlamp, tire inflator, snow scraper

What all do you carry?

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Learn about scissors and why they are important prepping tools

Scissors are an important cutting tool, yet they do not have the appeal that their glamourous cousin, the knife has for people who practice preparedness. 

Preppers want the knife or the cutting multi-tool that may have a pair of scissors included somewhere in it as an afterthought.

There are many different kinds of scissors and shears which could be very helpful in an emergency or disaster.

Most people have a pair of household scissors or child friendly blunt nose scissors for crafts. There are many different types of scissors, and each are designed for different tasks. So, let’s take a look at them and why they are important for prepping purposes.

First, dressmaking shears that are made to cut cloth. They usually have a blade between seven and ten inches long. They are a heavier construction, with one end blunted or rounded to avoid snagging the cloth. They are designed to glide flush across the table as you cut the fabric.

If you were in a prolonged crisis, the ability to repair and patch your clothing is going to become very important. You will also need to be able to conserve precious patching materials. They are not a frou-frou item.

Try cutting a precision patch with a knife. Not only will you waste material, but you also run the risk of cutting yourself with a knife that was not designed for the task. 

What if the crisis was so prolonged that you actually had to alter, make or remake clothing? This was a real part of survival years ago in hard times.

Fabric shears should only be used for cutting cloth or you will dull the blade and damage the tool. 

There are pinking shears that cut a zig zag edge to help prevent cloth from fraying. It is an optional item and might be useful if one were conserving thread. It would be better to learn how to hand sew various stitches including a simple overcast stitch to prevent fraying of the fabric.

If you want to cut paper, then craft scissors will do the task.

Household shears may have a built in bottle opener, fish scaler or other functions that are designed to be used for kitchen tasks.

These are not to be confused with poultry shears which are used for trimming poultry.

Want to cut hair in a crisis? Then you want hair cutting shears to trim hair. There are also moustache scissors, nail scissors, hair clippers and thinning shears designed to tame thick hair. 

There are nose hair trimming scissors, but please be careful with them. If you nick that area, you can get a bad infection in the dreaded T-Zone where infections can kill really quickly. There are battery operated nose trimmers also.

I use a good pair of hair cutting shears to cut my husband’s hair and to trim my long hair. You cannot get a good cut or trim without them. I use thinning shears on my bangs, although I wouldn’t call thinning shears a prepping necessity. They are a nice to have item and I won’t look like I have a horse’s forelock in a disaster.

There are also different kinds of medical scissors. Because realistically none of us will be doing ophthalmic or other kinds of surgery, we can skip over those types of medical scissors and focus on what is going to be more realistic for us as lay people.

Trauma shears are designed to cut off clothing rapidly and without snagging the underlying skin of the person in a similar way as fabric shears are constructed. This is a necessary item for medical first aid.

Bandage scissors are used to cut bandages. You can’t use fabric or household shears for this task without losing time and patience in the process, plus the damage to the fabric shears.

Let’s step outside the home and look at the humble scissor and how it is used there.

There are loppers which are a type of shear used to cut large branches. Pruning shears can handle the smaller branches.

Loppers be hand held or be a pole lopper for dealing with heights. This type of shear could become very important to a prepper during a clean up after a storm. They can also be used to trim branches back away from the roof to keep squirrels and other critters out of the attic. Think of the problems that could occur if animals get into your attic during a crisis or disaster.

Hedge trimmers might be very important for the prepper who wants to maintain security during a crisis.

What about metal snips and the importance of them to a prepper?

Metal snips can cut sheet metal and tin snips can cut soft metals like copper and aluminum. The blades can be straight or curved for cutting curves and circles.

Think of the usefulness of metal snips for emergency repairs to a gutter or metal roofing during a crisis.

There are also pipe and duct snips or compound action snips used to cut metal.

There are other types of scissors, but those listed above would be the most likely to be used by most preppers.

Consider what kinds of materials and uses you might have for various types of scissors and shears.

For certain kinds of repairs and maintenance, a knife just won’t cut it.

For photos and more info:


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Why personal locator beacon not listed in an EDC prep on this site?

hi! do y’all know why a personal locator beacon (like this one) isn’t listed on some “EDC prep” on this site?

I recognize that at $300 this is cost prohibitive, but it seems crucial for any situation where I’d need medics but don’t have cell service.

The most “common” example I can think of is that I get into a car accident and need a medic but have no cell service because I’m on some swath of highway without it.

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Here comes the sun – When a massive solar flare, grid loss and overheated nuclear reactors change the world. [Edited to include what the prepper in the story did wrong.]

Solution for what the prepper did wrong at the end of the post.

This morning, you watch as the sun shoves the sky aside and plants itself in your line of vision. Sunrise. No one cares much for sunrise these days.

Thirteen months have passed since your world went silent and dark.

The massive solar storm stopped the world dead in its tracks. It destroyed the vulnerable electric power grid transformers. There had been a committee back in 2011 that had examined the risks and warned action was needed. It was too late now.

You listen. Nothing. At one time the sound of traffic and horns honking was an annoyance. Now, you would give today’s ration of food to hear a car or sip a warm beverage, or linger with a good book while sitting on a gleaming white porcelain toilet that actually flushed. When the grid was destroyed, it took sewage, sanitation and potable water along with it. 

At first, they said restoration would happen in months, then months became “foreseeable future.” There was some irony for you in that phrase. No one was seeing much of anything these nights. It was pitch black at night now.

You try to remember the smell of coffee in the morning. You haven’t made coffee for three months since your supply of fuel ran out. You should have stocked more fuel or searched for better alternatives while you had the chance to do so.

Has it only been 13 months? It feels like an eternity has passed since the sun threw a massive solar tantrum larger than the Carrington Event of 1859. 

The event was the solar flare equivalent of the big earthquake on the San Andreas fault predicted by seismologists. 

Some reports said a solar storm wouldn’t have the deleterious effects upon communications and electronics that everyone feared. 

The misinformation about solar flares and the electro magnetic pulses were fed partly by the entertainment industry. 

People mocked those who doggedly prepared for a solar storm event because they didn’t understand how a solar storm would affect the power grid.

Severe solar storms only produce an E3 element that takes out the power grid transformers, and initiates DC like currents in extremely long electrical conductors.

Solar storms don’t produce the rapid E1 element that damages electronics. It was the loss of power that rendered electronics useless.

No one considered the threat that would result from long term power loss and it’s effect upon nuclear power plants. When those effects became apparent, everyone suddenly remembered Chernobyl and Fukashima.

The early days of blackout conditions and the subsequent looting and rioting was nothing compared to the long term effects of grid loss and the reactions of the nuclear power plants.

Then the psychological illness started, people who hadn’t prepared couldn’t cope with the utter devastation of their electronic world. They were overwhelmed by the disruption to all the modern conveniences integrated into their lives. You could see it in their eyes. They were not just hungry and dirty. They were lost also. Some of them became fatalistic and murderous in their insanity and very dangerous.

You need to forage. Maybe someone missed something in the mosaic of abandoned cars that litter the roadways and streets. But, you need to go further away from home to do so. It’s a big risk taking the bicycle out. Bicycles are like gold now and people have been killed for them.

You lace your boots up and whisper “thank you” to a prepper on The Prepared who taught you about FLC: feet, leather, covered. 

You made sure to have the best boots you could afford. After testing them, you bought two extra pairs of those boots plus repair materials and learned how to repair them to extend their life.  It wasn’t just a prep for a long duration event. You knew that sometimes really good quality items stopped being made or began to be made with inferior materials or workmanship.

Footwear was an important prep and the limping, poorly shod people roaming about were grim reminders. Some people with bad footwear were getting infected feet. Gangrene was nothing to fool with.

Save the bicycle for when it’s time to bug out. On The Prepared, you learned about The Monowalker from a UK prepper. It was carefully stored and ready to be used for bug out. Another “thank you.” 

You wondered if the people from The Prepared were alive, if they and their families were okay. You hoped that however they prepared, that it was enough. You hoped that an experimental gardener with the dogs and gardens was picking ju-jubes and that there was a pound cake on their table.

It had become tougher to forage as more and more desperate people scavenged, while predator survivors waited in the shadows to take what they found. 

Gun fights were common and avoiding stray bullets was a new pastime. When bullets hit your home, you moved your bed away from the outer walls and slept in a room lined with bookcases for protection.

Today, you could assemble a travois to carry larger or heavier items as close as possible, then “cache and carry” under cover of darkness. You needed to assemble more barter items to get the supplies you lacked for the long bug out journey ahead.

It was almost “bug-out o’clock.” Your personal doomsday clock was ticking louder. Bug out was your last resort, but survival is and always will be your first resort.

The bug out option became more complicated after the reactors overheated. It was a part of prepping that many preppers hadn’t factored. 

There were now fewer options unless you wanted to glow in the dark. You had heard the radiation wasn’t as bad at the West Coast. “Heard!” How could you have forgotten to print the map for predicted reactor drift? You printed all your other important prep info! 

The chorus of regret began to rise and flow toward your amygdala where it would soon become panic. NO!

Focus. Stay focused and aware. Get through today. Do it thirty seconds at a time if necessary, but get through today alive. You can do this. You can make it.

Internal pep talk concluded, you sling your dummy pack over one shoulder and do a final pat down and run a mental check list from head to feet of everything stashed on your person. The dummy pack was just some crumpled paper, empty tin cans, and a couple of rocks in a bag, but it was a way to blend in, foil robbers and useful as an improvised weapon.

What’s left of your guns and ammo is reserved for the long road ahead.

You think of The Prepared and everyone there who became an online community of preppers. You whisper the words into the air, “wherever you are, I hope you survived and if I make it, it will be because of all of you.”

Go time. You step out into the sun and begin to walk.

How could you become better prepared for a severe solar storm, long term loss of the power grid and the potential impact upon the nuclear power plants? travois

Here’s what the prepper in the story did wrong.

This scenario was meant to illustrate the power grid loss and reactor issues, but there was another message left in clues throughout the story.

The story is set thirteen months after the event in an urban area based on the number of people roaming about.

The person in the story is alone without any community established either before or after the event occurred. We’ll call this person the prepper.

The prepper claims to have not made coffee for three months which would place their last coffee ten months after the event happened. Making coffee with its distinct aroma was a mistake from the beginning.

The coffee should have been saved to drink cold if in need of caffeine to stay alert. This prepper was low on fuel, yet they still wasted fuel on a cup of coffee. That fuel might have been needed to boil water and sterilized equipment for first aid purposes.

Next, the prepper admits not prepping enough fuel or alternates which are part of needs, not wants in prepping. Water, food, shelter, defense, clothing, warmth, and first aid are needs, not “nice to haves.”

The prepper clearly describes the psychological condition of the population, yet is still sheltering in place without adequate community or resources.

The prepper describes needing to forage and having to go further away because vehicles in close proximity have been picked clean. This is now done on foot and without the bicycle. How does he plan to get that bicycle and Monowalker out of there without being noticed at this late stage?

Bicycles may be considered gold in the scenario, but so are boots according to the story with people needing them. He should have been “public” in an old pair that he could afford to lose.

The pepper refers to The Prepared and people that he learned from, yet has failed to see that the need for bug out happened long ago. Would this have happened with other people/family around? Is the isolation affecting this person’s judgement? Is there a lesson for all of us regarding isolation?

The prepper refers to “predator survivors” stealing from other survivors. No one should remain in that environment, nor in an environment with “gun fights” that are “common.” “Avoiding stray bullets” should not be a preppers “pastime.”

The prepper in the story wants to scavenge and possibly “cache and carry” items with which to barter to get supplies he “lacks” for the long bug out journey ahead. If he was prepared, why is he lacking important items?

Whom does he plan to barter with? It doesn’t sound like people around him are doing very well and barely surviving. If they did have what he needed, he could have bartered the boots he was wearing and worn his brand new back up pair without risking a foraging trip.

There are survivor predators and he thinks that he can just breeze past them with his foraged items? They would be out a night also and he will have trouble seeing them until it is too late.

The prepper is wasting more time and energy and running more risk in this fruitless exercise that he is mistaking for survival.

It no longer matters that bug out was a “last resort.” Now it should be his first resort if he wants to survive.

The prepper doesn’t have any maps.

The reference at the end to “what’s left of your guns and ammo” is troubling. How much shooting was this prepper doing? If you are alone and have to shoot that much, you shouldn’t be there. Why waste ammo when the solution is to exit a no win situation.

We assemble items, information, plan and prepare, but in an actual disaster we need to be careful of our judgement. 

Hanging onto preconceived ideas that are clearly no longer working for us in a disaster, is a dangerous strategy, especially if we are alone and there is no one else to challenge our thinking.

Sometimes, our judgement can be faulty. We may, like the person in the story, remain far too long SIP, when we should have been long gone.

We may also place priority on having items that are not necessary or wasting resources in order to have “the comforts of home.”

Bugging out is not a camping trip. It is becoming a refugee to save your life, so take with you what will actually help you to survive.

One final note on the cars, the prepper in the story did not check the mass of vehicles for one made in an era (80’s) which from my newly formed understanding, would not have sustained damage during the solar flare. A bit of siphoning, stash bug out items, and if no keys, hot wire and go.

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Berkey-like water filter that works with water softener?

I just read the great water filter review, but I had one question that wasn’t addressed there. One thing that has kept me from pulling the trigger on a Berkey purchase is reading that you can’t put water that’s been through a water softener in it. Can anyone suggest something similar that will work for us hard water folks?

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And when that ammo runs out?

I notice that new laws are coming in from some….. and more regulations on the books for restricting or proposed eliminating the 2nd amendment…… which would restrict supplies.

Currently I see that primers are in very short supply in some places and slowly and surely some are going to make it as difficult as possible in the future to obtain crucial items.

So what would you do as the ammo runs out? Reloading is an option….. but where will you get that Sulfur,, Shot, KNO3…. etc…..or is your bolt hole full enough to last an extended period?

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Do you have any winter clothing recommendations?

Colorado got dumped on this weekend. The above picture is what we got over night and are expecting about 7-8 more inches today. 

I spent an hour out there and came in soaked! I learned that my leather hiking boots need another layer of Otter Wax to waterproof them further, my Carhartt jacket just soaks in all the snow and is not water resistant at all, and my cheap-o ski gloves must have lost all of their factory DWR coating. 

This could be VERY dangerous if I had to bug out and relied on these clothes, so I’m grateful that I could learn this lesson now when times are good.

What winter clothing recommendations do you have? Boots, coat, gloves (especially gloves), pants, hat, etc…

Other things I learned:

I had learned somewhere that applying car wax to your shovel will make it slick and prevent snow and ice buildup in the scoop. This is something I’ll be doing as soon as things melt down, because I had to keep chipping away built up snow inside the shovel scoop and it was very inefficient. I’m also going to buy 1-2 more shovels as a backup. If my shovel were to break right now, I would be out of luck and it would be very difficult to dig out my car without one. Put your wiper blades up to prevent them from icing to the windshield Put gallon zipper bags on the side view mirrors. You just slip them off, don’t have any ice buildup and don’t have to scrape them risking damaging the little motor behind the glass. I have a large push broom that I use to brush off my car. I wrap it in a microfiber towel to prevent the plastic bristles from scratching the paint. I can clean a car in like 3 swipes compared to the little handheld brush that I keep in my car which would take forever.

-Be Prepared-

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Under-counter water filters

Hi All,

I’ve been researching under-counter water filters after seeing an ad for Hydroviv. I found several articles on other prepping sites that recommend Epic Smart Shield over the Hydroviv. I’m curious if any folks here have experience with either of these filters and could provide some insight? I’m also open to other filter brands if you have recommendations. 

Background: I live in the Southeast and am on city water. 


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Hydra Lights

Good morning! I was wondering if anyone had any thoughts/experience using hydra lights? Wondering if they work well and if there is one out there that is better than another. Thank you!!

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What’s the best get home bag to keep in your car?

I haven’t given much attention to get home bags yet. I am still working on outfitting my BOB and getting my basics together for sheltering in place. I do have a few odds and ends in my trunk, and that’s it. But I’ve been wondering what kind of backpack or bag is best to use for the get home bag. Mine would live in the trunk of my car. For my BOB I have a Kelty Redwing 50 and it’s pretty bulky! If I get a similar backpack for my car and fill it with similar stuff, it won’t leave so much room in the trunk of my hatchback. Plus, if anyone ever breaks into my trunk it will be expensive to replace. I’d love to hear what other people who keep their in the car do.

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My water maker

In the event of a SHTF event I keep this for my water supply……… and distillation needs.

All it is … a 3/4″ pipe running to a 12v submersible pump that goes in a bucket and back to bucket and sealed at ends…. Inside that pipe is a 1/4 inch  going from a pressure cooker to drinkable water.

Produces far more water than a couple of people would ever drink each day…………………It has many uses….. distillation for alcohol……… and distilled water for battery top ups too.

This uses LPG for the burner but could just as easily use wood or charcoal, or even wood-gas….. But trying to stay away from filters. Because with this volume of water they would need replacing often.

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How to prevent injury, illness or death while cleaning up after a disaster

On the thread “The second survival – How to go on after the crisis is over“, hikermor made a significant comment regarding the fatalities and serious accidents that can occur after the disaster during the clean up and recovery process.

What hikermor introduced on that thread warrants it’s own topic and thanks to Gideon who suggested the new topic title above, we now have a new topic started.

This is the quote from hikermor: ”Perhaps it is worth mentioning that fatalities and serious accidents resulting from clean up efforts following a hurricane, etc. typically are equal to the total rug up during the storm.”

The second survival thread deals with the emotional/psychological aspects of recovery after crisis.

This thread is so we can examine safety issues of recovery after the crisis.

What kind of safety issues could we potentially face?

How do you safely deal with matters of downed power lines or other electrical hazards? How do you prevent a fall from a roof when attempting to repair it?

What kind of tools or gear can help keep us safe?

What should we do with wet damaged debris? What about mould? How do we prevent infections or waterborne disease because of contaminated surfaces or sewage infested water?

This could be an excellent way to share first hand information on how we coped safely in the aftermath of a disaster, or what lessons we learned when we didn’t cope safely.

The following is my post from the second survival thread which deals with how to stay safe around electrical hazards.

Begin Quote:

hikermor and Bob – Excellent points. 

One should also know how to deal safely with electrical hazards such as downed power lines. Or, if trapped in vehicle and a fire starts, how to safely exit a vehicle where there is risk of electrical hazard. 

Electrical Safety

Also, keep contaminated footwear and gloves out of the house. End Quote

Bob also made several excellent comments on safety issues on the second survival thread.

I was going to wait longer for hikermor to start this thread, but wasn’t sure how long that would be, so with credit to hikermor for introducing the topic, Bob for his comments on the other thread and to Gideon for the title, I’d like to offer it now.

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Best considerations for an evacuation or bug-out vehicle

With recent discussion of evacuation events, I realized we could be evacuated despite our plans to SIP. In that scenario we would need shelter and accomodations which may not be available or affordable if prices go up. We would also need to consider a range of time frames.

I can see the wisdom of modifying my existing Chev Astro van into a BOV that can handle all season events. It still must function for normal use. The van sits on a truck chassis so it sits higher and can handle certain terrain that a lower vehicle might not fare so well upon.

Seasonal studded tires alread in place.  I need to add a set of cable tire chains to carry in the vehicle to handle a winter event. We always have a full tank of fuel plus extra jerry cans.

The known gas mileage can be used to calculate the radius that we can travel. It is possible then to pinpoint areas that could be safe to stay until it is safe to return home. I want to calculate a radius as the evacuation event could come from any direction.

Currently the van has front bucket seats and two removable bench seats plus floor space behind the last bench seat. I want to set up items in a way that won’t draw attention as a target for a break in. Under the bench seats would work for some of the items.

I want to equip a rudimentary sleep area (rolled up foam or sleeping bags). Pail (already in van) and toilet seat ready to use. Kelly kettle and camp gear. Food items/MRE’s in sturdy bags ready to grab and go with BOB. Fishing gear in case it goes longer.

Currently the van is white, but if I am not mistaken are there not tarps or nets that can be thrown over a parked vehicle to disguise it? Anything shiny needs to be covered as well. I am looking to keep costs down.

I want to be very low key if on the move.

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What is your favorite prepping tool?

Not my picture. Just too lazy to go get my camera and take a picture of my berkey.

My favorite prepping item/tool is my Big Berkey water filter. It is a gravity fed water filter where you put dirty/questionable water in the top, and gravity will pull it through these large black filters and delicious clean water pours out the spout. It’s just so handy, we use it every day in our normal lives to improve the taste of our water, and I know I have thousands of gallons of pure drinking water in an emergency.

What are some of your favorite prepping items/tools? Your garden shovel, ferro rod, flashlight, car, wheat grinder, dehydrator…

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Practice, simulations and drills

When we actually practice with our preps, or run drills and simulations, we take the visualization component out of prepping. There is a lot of mental work in prepping. This creates a shift into real time, hands on practice. For simulations and drills, there is still some imagination required, but you are still in engaged in doing rather than planning or acquiring.

Practice with our preps can build confidence and take some of the stress out of preparing.

Familiarity with our gear and preps becomes a new skill acquired, and more than just putting items into storage or onto a shelf.

Running a drill or simulation is also a way to know that you can handle certain items comfortably and with skill. Is the knife you bought right for you after repeated use? Or, do you need a different one that you can handle better? Do your boots cause discomfort? Do you remember how to purify water safely? Can you bake a loaf of bread?

What about various scenarios as drills? How about a no tech weekend challenge in your home or apartment? Survive with manual or non powered items only. Candles. Navigate with a map. Cook as if there is no power. Try to do everything as if you are off grid.

Take it outdoors, whether you live in the city or a rural area, and practice your covert skills. Challenge yourself to find the most undetectable ways to navigate to certain areas or places that you might need to get to.

Drill down on survival. Earthquake. Now. Go. Get to a designated point. How long did it take you? Did you discover any challenges on the way? 

You can make that challenge more difficult by throwing yourself a curved ball in the form of a route closure or other obstacle necessitating the need to navigate differently. Some preppers have items that were purchased long ago. Are those items still relevant? Or, are there better items now available?

Try running a health impaired simulation. Eye injury and vision impaired. Someone was careless and broke a leg. First aid required. Now you have to manoeuver on crutches or you are one person down. 

Or, someone is ill with the flu complete with all the symptoms. You have to care safely for them. You need to set up a clean room to prevent the rest of the household contracting the flu. You have your duct tape, plastic and zip strips to create a door in the plastic ready, right?

I knew people who practised that scenario for a weekend. It was an eye opener for the caregiver and for the person in the role of patient. We are lay people. Nurses are trained to care for the many needs of patients. It’s not as easy as they make it look because of their training.

Ease of use is not just the realm of the aged. People of any age can develop tendon, joint or muscle conditions or injury like carpal tunnel or arthritis. 

I developed osteoarthritis young, as did some other family members. All of us had to learn how to adapt to living with it. What if you suddenly developed arthritis in your hands? How are you going to get that pail of rice open? Carry water? Imagine severe pain in your hands and wrist, now how are you going to accomplish your goal?

Even strained, sore muscles, from activities from chopping wood or other physical labour can affect how well you can use other items in your preps. The right tools can help you during those times.

There are longer types of practice such as grow a small raised bed garden in your back yard. Or, if you are in an apartment, challenge yourself to grow some food items. 

I grew tomatoes on my balcony in BC. I wanted to see how much I could grow and if it would be successful with the light conditions. It worked great, except for the neighbours calling the police because they thought my tomato plants were something else.

Do you have your local edible plant book yet? Scenario: long term disaster. You now have to forage for food. Where do you go? How do know what to pick? Twinkies at 7-11 don’t count for this one.

Then journal or make notes about your experiences. What did you learn from it? Are there red flags about your preps or skill sets that need to be addressed? How did you fare in non physical ways? Do you need items or training to manage issues like stress or anxiety?

I enjoy doing drills and practice because I learn something valuable each time. How about you? Do you do regular drills and practice or run simulations? What has your experience(s) been like? What did you learn?

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An introduction to threat modeling


This isn’t an ‘ultimate guide’ -not by any stretch of the imagination. It is a work in progress and, as I see it, the concept of threat modeling underpins all we discuss here on The Prepared’s forums. I welcome any and all comments and constructive criticisms. Okay, here we go. Here’s my conversation starter about threat modeling.

An Introduction to Threat Modeling

Although it has its roots in IT security, threat modeling is, at its core, the foundation for the mindset that you and I call prepping.

The purpose of a threat model is to examine your preparedness by identifying assets, threats, defenses, and vulnerabilities. In short, the process answers the questions, “What am I preparing for?”, “What do I have?”, “How can I protect it? “, “What could go wrong?”, and “What am I missing, overlooking, or not seeing?”.

As we identify the various aspects of threat modeling -this way of thinking and prepping- use this opportunity to re-examine your planned scenario and responses. Take this opportunity to correct any potential issues, shortcomings, or vulnerabilities.

Identifying Assets

Assets are people, places, property, equipment, skills, and other resources you have access to or at your disposal. An asset might the med kit you have in your GO bag; it could be the pistol you keep at your side; an asset can be a person with a specialized set of skills (eg., medical training, combat experience -who can be a member of your team or can train you); an asset could also be place such as a bug-out location, a series of fallback positions; egress routes and transportation; or assets can be your significant stockpile of rations, water, weapons, ammunition, skills; or, items for trade and barter.

Identifying Threats

Threats are people, places, events, or conditions that have the very real potential to impact, disrupt, obstruct, impede, undermine, injure, maim, damage, or destroy assets and objectives. Below are some sample categories and their corresponding threats, which I’ve drawn from a few of my personal models. By specifically identifying threats, we can better bolster our defenses while help us to prepare smarter, not harder.

Natural: earthquakes, tsunamis, tornadoes, fire, flooding, landslide, blizzard, stellar flare, etc. Biological: injury, illness, disease, outbreak, pandemic, abuse, rape, murder Environmental: polluted resources, water scarcity, breathable air Infrastructure: electricity, water, gas, cellular communications, gps Chemical: pollution from manufacturing, plant accident/failure Socio-Economic: financial collapse, civil unrest, theft Radiological: fallout, power plant accident/failure Political: discrimination, inequity, inequality, polarization, radicalized ideologies Wartime/Insurrection: biological, chemical, & nuclear weapons, munitions, artillery, unexploded ordinance, terrorism, dirty bombs


Thinking about threats can be especially easy if you have a low threshold for what you might consider a threat. It can also be downright daunting -almost to the point of paralysis- if you’re not careful. Threats can be found everywhere, if you look hard enough. The trick, as it were, is to abide by the sane prepper mantra and be sane and rational. Prioritizing is additional way to mitigate a runaway list of threats.

Prioritizing Threats

Probably the simplest way to keep yourself sane and from being overwhelmed by all these threats is to put them into one of two basic categories: low-risk or high-risk. Some of you may decide to go with risk levels that resemble something like our current Terror Threat Levels. How you prioritize is ultimately up to you, just do it. Doing so will force you to closely examine situational reality versus possibility and probability.

For example, those living on the west coast of the US (or along the ring of fire) are right to consider earthquakes, tsunami, or volcanic activity (along with the threats to life, safety, and infrastructure that come with those events) high risk threats. Although it’s not out of the realm of possibility, someone living in the middle of the US (for example) might not consider these high-risk threats. Instead, they’d likely list tornadoes.

By prioritizing threats you can prioritize your preparedness and, when that threat appears, you can prioritize your response(s).

What does a threat model look like?

A threat model can be as simple as simple as a Word document, as complex as spreadsheet, or as visual as an illustration. In creating an actual model, not only do you get it out of your head, but you can share this information with members of your household, trusted team, or community.

Below are a few examples of threat models to help familiarize you with the concept of threat modeling:

[See? Even Batman has a threat model. Classic IT security threat modeling. A sample of my consolidated threat modeling spreadsheet (a perpetual work-in-progress).]

That’s All I’ve Got

The time you invest in developing, understanding, and evaluating your threat model(s) is time you’re investing in your own preparedness and, ultimately, your success.

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Leather care

My wife has a conceal carry purse by a company called Gun Tote’n Mamas. While the design is great, the build quality is not the best. She got the purse two years ago and the leather faded extremely quickly and didn’t even look a nice worn look, but just looks ugly. The zipper is also a weak point on the bag and the zip keeps coming apart. All this within a year. We called them up and they sent us a new one.

The new bag had the same issues of poor zipper quality and leather fading quickly after just a year. This time we have contacted them multiple times and they won’t get back to us. So we are trying to make due the best that we can with what we have. 

I used some pliers and crimped the zipper and it now zips shut properly, so that problem is solved, but we still have some really ugly faded leather.

What do you do for your leather gear? Gun holsters, knife sheaths, purses, belts, etc… How do you keep it hydrated, prevent cracking, and keeping it look nice?

-Be Prepared-

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Can you make a better BOB than those cheap pre-made ones on Amazon?

My sister sent me a link to a 72 hour kit on Amazon by Ready America, asking me if that is a good emergency bug out bag for her and her husband.

My first reaction was NO! Those cheap pre-made emergency kits are made with subpar materials, are easily marked up more than double, and you can easily make a cheaper bag with higher quality items on your own. Right?

Well, I tried to piece together a cheaper bug out bag for them, and it was actually pretty hard. Click on the “View Full Kit” button below to read more about what I learned while trying to copy this 72 hour bag.

My challenge for you guys is: Can you make a cheaper bug out bag with similar items? 

Also, what other cheap items would you add to this? Sure you can easily put in a solar panel, stove, and many other expensive items. But try and keep it cheap and very very beginner to prepper or not a prepper at all friendly.

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Creating a suture kit

Im creating a suture kit. I have noticed that the absorbable sutures are very expensive, but the PGA absorbable dental ones are very affordable.  So I’m wondering if the dental sutures will absorb/dissolve for outside skin?

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