(Natural News)
What if your entire world fell apart in an instant, the closest people in your life ripped away, without a chance to say goodbye?

Most in the prepping community are armed to the teeth and have a stockpile of food, water and medical supplies. The prepping community wants to be fully equipped and materially prepared for any disaster that may lie ahead. What many are not prepared for is dealing with the emotional, physical and psychological pain that can come from great loss and catastrophe.

As Americans turn to prescription opioids and antidepressants for various forms of pain relief, there are better ways to manage pain that do not require a prescription and do not impart side effects and physiological addiction.

Is CBD oil a must-have preparedness item?

Should you rely on natural cannabidiol (CBD) oil for pain relief when disaster strikes? Advertisements for CBD oil are popping up all over the place, and many people are now clinging to this plant-based extract for pain relief.

The endocannabinoid system of the human body regulates appetite, pain, immune response and sleep cycles along the cannabinoid receptors on cells. CBD oil communicates along these receptors, regulating these important bodily functions. CBD can be therapeutic because it acts as an antioxidant in the body. A little bit goes a long way, so it is easy to stockpile for emergencies.

During stressful times, CBD can help because it reduces the quantity and severity of inflammatory compounds in the body. Even at low doses, CBD can be used to improve the body’s response to stress. As a neuro-protectant, CBD can quell feelings of anxiety and bring about a sense of calm. It can even induce more restful sleep, helping the body recover from a stressful and/or emotional day.

Sponsored: NEW Biostructured Silver First Aid Gel created by the Health Ranger combines three types of silver (ionic silver, colloidal silver, biostructured silver) with seven potent botanicals (rosemary, oregano, cinnamon and more) to create a breakthrough first aid silver gel. Over 50 ppm silver, verified via ICP-MS lab analysis. Made from 100% Texas rain water and 70% solar power. Zero chemical preservatives, fragrances or emulsifiers. See full details here.

Having CBD oil during a calamity will keep you from relying on doctors and drug dealers for pain relief. While it is not as powerful as prescription opioids, CBD is also not physiologically addictive. During a disaster, your family will need to look up to you as a reliable leader who can think clearly during times of severe stress.

CBD oil, although a natural solution for many ailments, can become a material excuse to perpetuate anxiety. If you cannot deal with reality and constantly feel the need to have CBD, you can form a psychological attachment to the substance and your condition. For some, CBD could become habit-forming substance that allows you to wallow in pain and seek sympathy. If used responsibly, CBD oil can be a therapeutic way to cope with grief and high stress – in the short term. Be mindful of psychological attachment to any substance as this can cause self sabotage in the end.

Here are some things to consider when selecting CBD oil for your bug out bag or home preparedness kit: Choose an extract that is packaged in a dark, amber glass bottle. This will protect the phytochemicals in the formula from light damage. Also choose an extract that is organic and not genetically modified. It is best that the extract has been quantified – its potency validated by a laboratory.

CBD oil is structurally different from hemp oil. The two oils should not be confused. Hemp oil is a nutritious extract obtained from the seed of the plant. It is a great cooking oil that contains vitamin E and healthy fats. Moreover, CBD oil will not get you high, for it only contains trace amounts of THC. It is available over-the-counter in all 50 states.

For more on CBD, check out CBDs.news.

This content was originally published here.

We are a reader supported blog and this page may contain affiliate links. When you buy something through our links we may earn a small commission.

During a long emergency, anything that is sweet is going to be a welcome sign of normality. At the moment we take it for granted that we can get something as basic as sugar no matter where we are at.

The United States pays very high prices for real sugar.

In other countries, high fructose corn syrup is not what is used to sweeten everything. Sugar that is imported is subject to high tariffs so the cost is higher for us than other places around the world. Combine this with the fact that we have a lot of corn grown by big agriculture and their arsenal of toxic chemicals, and that the corn crop is highly subsidized, and it is pretty clear why the cost of sugar is triple what it is in some countries.

Our main sources of sweeteners may not always be as readily available and they may get quite expensive.

High fructose corn syrup is a cheap and heavily subsidized filler that satisfies the urge for sweets. Big agriculture is going to have a hard time providing that to us if SHTF or there is a long emergency.Natural disasters that cause corn crop failures or inability to plant fields are not out of the question.

Although we have corn reserves that can help insulate us from supply issues for a season, a few years of low yields or crop failure is not out of the question. The ability to process and deliver a product are other factors at play.

Sugar in the past

In the past, sugar was highly prized and people did not get sweet goods as often. When they did get anything sweet, it was usually fruit based. Soda and sugary drinks might have been consumed weekly not daily and some people didn’t even get that.

I remember that even when I was a kid and the tiny store in my town was still recovering from a huge flood, the first items on the shelf were boxes of candy bars and sugary drinks. Nowadays, it is cheaper to buy soda than it is sparkling water.

Back in the old days, when my great-great-great-grandfather had a general store in the mountains of North Carolina, that white sugar was special and had to come a long way in a wagon. There was a reason why the sugar bowl was hidden in a lot of houses or kids were punished for raiding it. There was only so much to go around and it cost money.

At the moment white sugar is plentiful and easy to afford. This could easily change if times get tough. As a nation, we are pretty addicted to sugar.

During the holidays it is easy to find a good deal on sugar. Bags used to be in 5,10, and 20 lbs increments but now what was a 5 lb bag is a 4 lb bag. Sales can be a little weird so there may be times when it is better to buy a lot of small bags and not the larger bags. Do the math and take advantage of what sales you can. As long as sugar stays dry and free of bugs and rodents it will stay good forever.

Honey

In the South, we grow quite a bit of sorghum. It is tasty stuff and can be cooked down into a nice syrup. You can grow a lot of it in a small space too. We grew enough to winter a cow over one year. Livestock really love it. You can get seeds from it for feed and use the stalks for making syrup.

Boiling down maple syrup used to be more common. Some people assume that you have to tap a specific type of maple tree in order to get the sap you need for syrup. The truth is that any maple tree can be tapped but Sugar Maple will yield more syrup so it is what people plant that want to produce a lot of syrup in as small an area as possible.

The higher the sugar content of the syrup, the less time it requires to be cooked down into usable syrup. One must be careful and not tap trees too much or you can weaken the tree.

My Dad uses Stevia at times. You can get it in liquid form or mixed with maltodextrin in a powdery crystal format that is made to replace standard granulated sugar in baked goods. I have only baked with it once and while it did sweeten, there seemed to be a bit of a flavor in the granulated form that I did not care for. It also changes the texture a bit. I would say that baking with it yielded cupcakes that were not as light and fluffy as when standard sugar is used.

This is basically white sugar that has molasses added to it. It is great for baking and has a distinct flavor. It is usually sold in bags of no more than 2 lbs at the regular grocery store. It has more of a tendency to clump up than white sugar so you may have to bust it apart or just dissolve it as is.

Fruit For Sweetening

Of course some of the most basic and plentiful sweeteners out there come from fruit. This is a good way to satisfy your sweet tooth while getting some additional nutritional benefits such as vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

Apples are the most wide-ranging and plentiful source of fruit sugar in the United States. They are found wild and there are so many varieties that are adapted to various climates, making them an important fruit to look towards when typical sweets and sweeteners are not available. Apples are sweet enough that even without adding sugar, the juice will make an apple cider with 5% alcohol too.

Prunes are really sweet and a good source of fiber. A single plum tree can yield a lot of fruit that can be easily dehydrated and consumed throughout the year.

Sweeteners For Short to Moderate Food Storage

I don’t think it is good to always think that everything in prepper food stashes should always have a 10 year or longer shelf life. That is just missing out on good eating and deals. Sure you should have some items that are for long term emergencies but there is nothing wrong with having items that keep for 2-5 years. You just have to remember to use items and replace with fresher shelf life. The vast majority of situations that you and your family might have to deal with are going to be much shorter term than a real SHTF scenario.

Canned or Bottled Pineapple Juice

This is some of the least expensive juice in the grocery store. The canned and bottled varieties that we recently bought are good for 2 years. I think if you get it very close to the manufacture date you can get 3 years out of it. We keep some of this on hand all the time to make sauces and glazes. Pineapple juice is super sweet to just drink but it makes a great addition to fizzy water or blended with other juices.

Concentrated Canned Juice Mixes

The 12 oz cans of grape juice or apple juice concentrates made by Welch’s store well and undiluted, they are quite sweet. These can be used to add fruit flavor and sweetness to a lot of things you cook or if you want to flavor fizzy water or add just a little flavor and sweetness to regular water during a long emergency.

Other Sweeteners

Depending on where you live, there may be other sweeteners that are available to you. I know that there are plenty of fancy sweeteners at the grocery store now but I also know that chances are I am not going to be able to get agave syrup during SHTF and it is a lot more expensive than other sweeteners that I can stash back.

Learning To Make Do With Less Sweeteners

There are some major advantages to reducing your overall sugar intake. Obesity is one of the leading causes for health issues in the United States. Tooth decay can be expensive to fix at the dentist, painful, and even deadly if let go. During SHTF you are going to want to be in the best physical condition possible considering your age and any pre existing conditions and considerations.

I can tell you from experience that if you start to reduce your intake of sweeteners and salty foods, you will get to the point where if you have to eat something that has the typical amount that most people consume, it will taste overwhelming.

Matt and I gave up high fructose corn syrup years ago as well as highly processed salty foods. I will not say we don’t eat any salty mass-produced foods, but it is rare. Even frozen pizzas are way too salty for us no matter what brand we buy.

Your taste buds get used to certain things so in the beginning, you may miss sweeteners a lot but it will get a lot better the longer you stick to your plan.

This content was originally published here.

We are a reader supported blog and this page may contain affiliate links. When you buy something through our links we may earn a small commission.

One thing that has been instilled in me since I was a very small kid is the importance of socks and dry ones at that. You never had to tell me twice about that because my Dad was obsessed with keeping extra socks on hand.

My Dad got jungle rot and had a lot of foot issues from Vietnam. He was out in the wet jungle so much there was just no way to keep his feet dry and in good socks. He used to soak his feet a lot when I was a kid and he just couldn’t ever get his feet right again.

For those that do not know, you can permanently damage your feet if you don’t dry your feet out regularly and wear clean socks.

Athlete’s foot is one thing, the fungal and skin issues that can occur with real jungle rot is something else.

Cracks in the soles of your feet make you more prone to infections and parasites. During an SHTF situation, this can be incredibly serious. Consider that during an SHTF situation, some bodies of water, floodwaters, etc are going to have more bacteria in them.

Warmer climates are going to be the worst. Jungle Rot/Immersion Foot can lead to dead and literally rotting tissue on your feet if not treated in the beginning stages.

Avoiding Jungle Rot/Immersion Foot

Now on to the socks…

At the moment there are a lot of socks that you can buy and put back for a long emergency or SHTF. Cotton socks are good for hot climates and times when you are sure you are not going to be caught out in really wet conditions. Synthetic socks or natural animal fiber socks are what you want for situations where things could get wet or wet and cold.

There is something to be said for buying winter boots ½ size larger than needed to accommodate thicker socks that you may need to wear during the cold months of SHTF.

During a long emergency you will probably be using your feet a lot more and under a variety of conditions so it is very important to take foot care and socks seriously.

Choose socks based on your climate but remember that people can get hypothermia even when outside temps are fairly warm if they get wet and cannot get dry.

If you live in Southern California you are probably not going to want to buy the thickest socks an outfitter has to offer. Regardless of climate, it seems that having a variety of choices available or some socks that can be layered with other socks, is a good idea. Buying socks that are larger and hat can be put over others is something to consider. I have tried to do this with socks that were the same size and it always seemed difficult so I can see having a few pairs of socks that are a size larger.

Sock Choices

With so many to choose from, I have just selected a few that are worth considering. I encourage you to look for others too.

Sock Sales

I advise shopping out of season for some types of socks. Spring or summer is a great time to buy wool socks from outfitters both online and in-store. During the holiday season is also a good time.

I bought these at Old Grouch’s Military Surplus and I have been very happy with them. ( If you have a military surplus store, be sure to check them out for sock deals, if not then follow the link to Amazon.)

For starters, the silver blend helps make them more antimicrobial. They also come up to the knee which is nice for a little extra warmth on chilly days. They seem to wash well.

These are great for general use and as a trade item during short and long emergencies. The fact that they are made to fit a variety of foot sizes makes a great choice for stashing back for SHTF. The Hanes or Fruit of the Loom Mens Socks Size 6-11 is what I would recommend if you are unsure what cheap cottons socks to put back. Sometimes you can actually get better quality and a good price by purchasing packs of 2-3 pairs of socks at the grocery store. Our local Ingles Market sells really good cotton socks and it is convenient to just throw a few pairs in the cart when doing a grocery run.

I really love Smart Wool. I used to have a nice sweater made of it that Matt bought me back in 2004. Well, his parent’s wonderful cat decided it liked it too so I wound up with a lot of holes in it after years of reliable service. Smart Wool is unique because it is just so darn soft and easy to care for. People that don’t like the itchiness of wool but like the positive aspects of a natural fiber sock will find that Smart Wool is the answer. You can buy just about any piece of outdoor clothing made from Smart Wool now and the price has come down some from when it first came out on the market.

Height of Socks

Crew length is the most popular length. Some people may like ankle socks but for putting back for SHTF or a long emergency, they are not something I would go out of my way to store up. Chances are you are going to be wearing more footwear that goes above your ankle so that you have good support for hiking and doing manual labor tasks. If you find a good deal, maybe get some quarter socks, but when in doubt go for crew length.

A Note on Expensive Socks

I don’t blame folks for buying a few pairs of socks that are a bit more costly or of very high quality. What I would recommend though is that you buy a single pair or two and wear them on some long walks or a few trips and see how you feel about them before buying a lot of one type. Not all socks are great for all people.

Also, be sure to look at the care instructions. Most clothing is pretty easy to care for nowadays but you still need to follow the recommendations.

Black absorbs heat. I like black socks for wearing with some clothing but for general wear, go with light-colored socks. The lighter colors are probably going to be more cost-effective and easier to find anyway. The one thing I dislike about light-colored socks is how easily they get stained but during SHTF that is going to be the least of my worries.

Men’s Socks Vs Women’s Socks

Women can sometimes get a much better deal by purchasing men’s socks unless they have very small feet. If I was a woman with really small feet I would check out the boy’s socks to get a better deal.

One thing I have noticed with women’s and men’s socks is that in some styles and brands, the women’s seem to be thinner and wear out faster. I don’t think this is a much a problem with some of the mid to higher-priced brands but it is something to consider when shopping for nice socks.

Washing and Sanitizing Socks

Keeping some soap around is something everyone should do. Water can be boiled and allowed to cool a bit before socks are added with some soap if you are dealing with very dirty socks that can be washed with warm or hot water. For basic washing or socks with special care instructions you can get away with colder water and soap but something, I want to recommend no matter what is allowing socks to be in the sun to help sanitize them further. UV rays are excellent at killing nasty things that may be lurking in socks.

I have a small drum style hand-washer called The Wonder Wash I use for handwashing delicates or single items of clothing at times. I tested it out and you can wash a week’s worth of dirty socks for 2 people in just a few minutes of cranking. Letting them soak in strong soap in the drum is helpful for getting them the cleanest.

I will turn the crank for a minute with a lot of soap and then let them soak for 30 minutes and then turn for another minute, rinse, and then wring out to dry. I have a spin dryer that wrings out clothes with very little power.

Here is the link to my article “Laundry Kit For SHTF” for those that are interested in low-cost alternative laundry options.

Other Foot Care

Socks are great but you should have a few other things for your feet.

Spray or cream for athlete’s foot

These can help prevent blisters and abrasion in shoes that don’t fit perfectly and they can help avoid other foot pain from lack of support. Even the best shoes will lose some support over time. Insoles can help give them a tune-up so that they offer you better support and comfort.

Moleskin for blisters

Salicylic Acid for removing bunions and growths

For more info, you can check out my article “Foot and Shoe Care Kit For SHTF”

Socks are useful for more things than just wearing on your feet. Here are a few ways to use socks beyond the norm.

Combine with rocks or other heavy objects to make a weapon.

People use to make jokes about a roll of quarters in a sock. The truth is that it would be truly awful to get hit by something like that. You can also use some rocks. A sock will only take so much so you may only get a few good hits depending on what you are wailing on.

Filtering sediment out of dirty water.

I have talked about the value of pre-filtering in many of my water-related articles. A regular cotton sock can be used as a pre-filter.

Old socks or very dirty gross socks can be used to make fires.

Cotton fibers are great for fire starting. Don’t throw away socks that have a few holes in them even if they are the cheapest cotton socks out there.

Clean socks with holes in them can still be used as toilet paper or for cleaning things.

Some people say that they use socks for gun cleaning rags. For some tasks, I guess this would be okay. The small fibers I find annoying though and so I avoid socks for gun cleaning rags. Some may be better than others. I do use clean but worn out socks for scrubbing things and then I just toss them. It is better than just throwing them away.

Use a sock as a dust mask

Anything is better than nothing if you have dust and debris saturating the air. Put a sock over your mouth to help filter out air until you can get to clearer air.

Makeshift potholder

I am definitely guilty of grabbing a few clean socks and using them as extra pot holders when Matt and I were living under tougher conditions while building our house. They are not ideal but if you double them up and then use then they can work. The thicker the sock the better of course. Never try this with synthetic fiber socks.

Carrying things

Socks can hold a lot of small items that you don’t mind being mixed up together. You can even stuff a tube sock with a bunch of other socks so you can keep them all together if you want.

Socks that are white or brightly colored can be used for signaling or marking things. You could even tie one to a long stick and use it to wigwam or do other signals. For more info on signaling, be sure to check out my article on “Signaling”.

Socks can be used to cushion various things and protect them. Backpack straps or slings could be made more comfortable with a sock. You could even cut out the toes and slip it over a strap or sling so you could adjust where it sits for comfort.

What socks do you stash back? How many pairs do you think is a good guideline per person in your family? Do you have extra pairs in your bug out bag?

This content was originally published here.

We all get blindsided by personal end of the world as we know it situations. Loss of a job or the death of a loved one can turn your plans to a pile of rusting rubble. Some events are worse than others. There’s no way to prepare for all of life’s storms. Losing a job sends desperation and panic through a single mother’s bones. How will she feed, clothe, and shelter her babies?

Life is not fair

I’ve repeated this line to our own children and the students I teach more times than I can recall. The pain of this statement is like sliding down a dull razor into a wading pool of alcohol. It does more than just ‘sting’.

Our world as we knew it stopped this past January. Dirt Road Girl (DRG) was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer that had metastasized to her brain. After melting down in tears and working through the initial wave of emotions, we were empty. All we wanted were answers and healing, maybe a miracle. TEOTWAWKI happened. Personally.

SHTF happens

Whether it’s a sudden change or gradual loss of quality of life, SHTF happens on a personal level all the time. Ours happened suddenly and has progressed gradually. Fighting the cancer has left us drained physically, mentally, emotionally, financially, and every other ‘ly’ imaginable except spiritually. We aren’t the first to get strapped into this crazy cancer roller coaster ride. It just seems that way. We had no answers. Just questions. Hanging on for dear life.

Why am I sharing our personal SHTF struggle? There are lessons in it for all of us.

1.) Physically: I heard more than one doctor say that due to her “being young and fit” we can be aggressive in our treatment. After months of her body being assaulted by chemo and radiation, she’s glad she put effort into her physical conditioning. Just going through the treatments has added years to her. She’ll recover and rejuvenate when they stop pouring poison in her.

What kind of shape are you in for your personal SHTF or worse, a universal TEOTWAWKI? You could be in the best physical shape. It doesn’t matter if you’re deprived of sleep. I just spent the last three nights on a plastic hospital cot next to DRG. I may have gotten 12 hours in three days. I wondered how sleep deprivation would affect me in a long-term collapse situation. The number of pullups, pushups, and squats I can hump won’t matter if my brain shuts down from no sleep. Without REM sleep for more than 3 days, we lose our ability to think and act coherently. This highlighted a glaring weakness in our hunker down strategy. We must have enough bodies for watch duty in a long-term collapse.

2.) Mentally and Emotionally: I lumped these two together because I’m to mentally drained to separate them. Everyone who has survived cancer told us that attitude determines survival chances. Never quit. This past week DRG got an infection and spent three days in the hospital with hoses pumping fluids and drugs into her body. I’ve never seen her more sick. Being raised by mid western parents that survived the Great Depression taught her mental toughness. You can’t get that from popping a pill. Being tough mentally was passed down from her parents. She’s gone through a lot of fire in her own life that has forged her attitude. Something that all preparedness minded parents need to instill in their kids. Don’t lie to them and cave to PC pressure by telling them that everyone is a winner and gets a trophy. You’ll only hamstring them for life.

Get them off the video game baby sitter. Take a walk…together. Breathe the air. Smell the wind. Listen. Just sit somewhere and listen. No talking. Look inside for just five minutes. As the adult, fight the urge to think outside of yourself. Focus on you and your child. And don’t forget to turn off the cell phone. You’ll come away refreshed…mentally and emotionally. Take advantage of these peaceful times while we can.

Get rid of the crutches. Millions of Americans are on all kinds of mind and mood altering drugs to mentally make it through a regular work day. An increasing number of students have to be drugged to get through 8 hours of forced schooling. According to this report, “since 2007, the number of prescriptions for A.D.H.D. medications dispensed to people ages 10 to 19 has risen by 26%, to almost 21 million yearly, or about two million individuals.” What’s going to happen when there aren’t pills to help them cope? Mood swings from hell and dangerous levels of freaking out will follow.

Personal SHTF events, while they suck going through, with the right mental attitude, will prepare you for the big one. Get your mind right.

3.) Financially: We are down to one paycheck. That’s it. Not complaining here. We’ve had to make major adjustments. We’ve always been frugal in our preparedness purchases – always looking to save money. It’s pretty simple. We either have to spend less or take in more. At this point, we are going with the former. What use to be extra time for me is now used as a caregiver to DRG. Side jobs that produce extra income take time that I can’t spare. So we cut our spending. Here are a few ideas that you may want to try. They may not sound like much, but they do add up.

I’m sure you folks have more great ideas. I’d be glad to hear them.

4.) Spiritually: I was a part of organized religion for most of my life. Over the last ten years or so I’ve grown closer to God by not being involve in institutional church. Your mileage may vary. Since DRG’s diagnosis, we both have grown more in tune with what we think God is trying to show us. Mercy, love, peace, and forgiveness. There was someone I held a lot of unforgiveness towards for a couple of years. “Life is short” really sinks in now. I didn’t have to forgive this guy, but I did. How can I withhold forgiveness when I need so much myself. That’s freedom. Letting go. Embracing my humanness. I can’t change this dude. I can only change me.

Our personal SHTF experience was a dark-night-of-the-the-soul for our family. We’ve overcome the initial shock. I’m still scared of the unknown. The way we prepare is to be prayed up and laid back. Find out what God is doing in your world and join Him. Be thankful for each day. Have fun and enjoy life like there’s no tomorrow. There’s a purpose in all of our personal SHTF events. It’s our job to figure it out, learn from it, and move forward.

Ideas are always welcome!

Keep Doing the Stuff of Self-Reliance,

P.P.S – If you find value in our blog, Dirt Road Girl and I would appreciate your vote on Top Prepper Sites! You can vote daily by clicking here or on the image below. Check out all the other value-adding sites while you’re there… 

Thanks for Sharing the Stuff!

Copyright: Content on this site (unless the work of a third-party) may be shared freely in digital form, in part or whole, for non-commercial use with a link back to this site crediting the author. All links in articles must remain intact as originally posted in order to be republished. If you are interested a third-party article, please contact the author directly for republishing information.

Share the Stuff:

This content was originally published here.

by Todd Walker

I’ve read lots about the little that is written about functional fitness when the SHTF. The image of svelte bodies in wet t-shirt contests on spring break clouds the mind. Snap out of it. TEOTWAWKI is here! The only wet t-shirts you’ll see after a collapse scenario will be sweat-soaked. I personally am not looking forward to the site or smells emanating from Uncle Joe’s overalls while splitting firewood. The bonus of overalls is it saves us the disgusting site of his plumber’s crack.

I’ve written before about my fitness philosophy. Looking good naked may be a fine goal now, but will it help you survive? Life after TSHTF will be, shall we say, challenging. I know a man down the street in his early 80’s that can work circles around me in the garden. Yes, there’s a bit of shame in that for me. This got me to thinking about my functional fitness plan. First question: Is it functional? Duh! Will my weekly pull-ups, push ups, squats, and sprints really make me useful to my family when it really counts?

For instance, I’ve dabbled in blacksmithing. I’m not good at it. The first time my farrier friend taught me to make a simple wall hook, the simple motion of swinging the hammer made my forearm swell to painful Popeye proportions. I swing a carpenters hammer on side jobs all the time. The hammer-on-anvil swing is different, but transferable. So, will your present level of fitness be transferable in post-SHTF? If you’ve got a nagging in your gut that you’ll be toast, you may want to try these functional workouts.

Legal disclaimer stuff: If you’re starting any exercise program, consult your physician first. There’s the legal advise. This is not intended to be professional advice. It’s simply exercises that I do. Your mileage may vary. If you do stupid stuff, bad things will happen.

Build your own SHTF gym!

A.) Taken to the Woodshed

Obviously, the best way to build strength and functional fitness is doing SHTF stuff. Here’s your first workout. Grab an axe, splitting wedge, and sledgehammer and destroy that pile of round wood stacked behind your house. Don’t have any wood? Someone in your neighborhood probably does and would love to have it split and stacked. You’ll be rendering random acts of kindness while earning a reputation at the rotary club as that crazed-wood-splitter.

Don’t want that label in the community? Simulate it in the privacy of your own backyard with one tool, a sledgehammer. Check it out here. I use a ten pound hammer. DRG uses a six-pounder. After a month of swinging the hammer, you’ll be in lumberjack shape.

B.) Haul Water

Water: It’s not just for drinking

Nerd Alert: What is the density of water in pounds per gallon? 8.328676 lb/gal. Being the frugal prepper (cheap is more like it) that I am, I bought these two 7 gallon water jugs at a yard sale for two bucks. Reeking with redundancy, I do walking lunges with these puppies in my back yard. That’s 58.31 pounds in each hand if I measured correctly. Don’t try this at home kids!

Here’s how to haul water like your great grand parents… with proper form of course. If you’ve never done lunges, start out with your body weight only and work up to weighted lunges. Too heavy and your asking for injury.

Starting position: Arms hanging by your sides, feet shoulder width apart, back straight, chest out, core (abs) tight.

Next: Step forward a few feet. As your foot lands, bend your extended leg so that your front heel is below your knee. DO NOT allow your knee to pass beyond your toes during lunges. Your back knee should be about an inch or so off the ground with the heel of the back foot pointed to the sky if performed correctly. From this bottom position, lift your body up to standing position and repeat with the other leg. Your entire lower body will beg for mercy after a set of these.

While you won’t be doing lunges to tote water from the creek or pond, this functional movement will certainly make daily life after a crisis much easier. Whatever your goal, lunges will help build a balanced and stable foundation.

Recommended lunge link:

There are so many prepping uses for the sandbag. From flood control to hardening areas of your retreat for ballistic protection. Even if you’re not worried about either of these potential emergencies, repeatedly lifting dead weight bags (livestock feed, rice, beans, etc.) takes functional strength. Could you fireman carry a loved one out of a burning house? For the hunter/gatherer types, can you sling your field dressed carcass over your shoulders and hump it back to camp? Remember, your mechanical advantage disappears WTSHTF. Your four-wheeler is yard art by now.

Here’s how the humble sandbag can help.

Start: If you don’t have sandbags, I’ve seen them at home improvement centers cheap. If your cheap like me, use any bag that is durable enough to hold sand. Use sand or small pea gravel to fill the bags. Get creative.

Once you have several filled, you’ll need a larger bag to hold the smaller sand bags. I’ve seen army duffel bags and sports bags modified for the workout. Again, start out with a weight that you can comfortably handle with good form. You can always add more bags as your strength progresses. Do a search on the internet for ideas on sandbag workouts. I’ve posted a link of a short 3 minute video below.

Don’t want to go through the trouble of sandbagging? Clear some land. You live in the city? So! You’ve got parks right? I’ve got a section of fallen tree in the local park that I shoulder for doing squats. I’m guessing it weighs about 100 pounds. If you’ve done squats with barbells and squat racks in the gym, the form is the same. However, balancing a piece of wood on your shoulders enlists muscles for balance that you don’t use in a controlled gym setting. I like to alternate the log to each shoulder between sets of squats. Then drag the log up a hill and carry it back down. You’ll be the land clearing queen/king at your retreat.

Don’t forget the rocks. I also throw basketball sized rocks in the same park. The great thing about rocks is that they stay where you leave them. I’ve had to replace my log several times. With rocks, I just keep a stack at the base of a pole with a bird feeder on top. It looks like they belong there.

Start: Grab a rock and lift it with your legs, not your back. Hold the rock chest high with both hands and press away from your body like a basketball pass. It’s not going very far. Run get it and repeat. After a few tosses at chest level, raise it over head, slightly bend your knees and press it up and out away from your body. Do I need to warn you about physics here? What goes up must come down. So, be sure to press the rock up and away from your body, not directly overhead. Throw it over the railing and into an imaginary horse-drawn wagon. Your clearing land post-SHTF. Try throwing for accuracy. Imagine crushing the head of predator ten feet away – caveman style. You’ll be ahead of the curve when all your guns are confiscated. Geez, I just had to get off topic.

Recommended link:

MovNat in a city park

MovNat in the woods

Post-SHTF will require functional fitness. Get started now. You’ll be ahead of the herd!

Keep Doing the Stuff of Self-Reliance,

P.P.S – If you find value in our blog, Dirt Road Girl and I would appreciate your vote on Top Prepper Sites! You can vote daily by clicking here or on the image below. Check out all the other value-adding sites while you’re there… 

Thanks for Sharing the Stuff!

Copyright: Content on this site (unless the work of a third-party) may be shared freely in digital form, in part or whole, for non-commercial use with a link back to this site crediting the author. All links in articles must remain intact as originally posted in order to be republished. If you are interested a third-party article, please contact the author directly for republishing information.

Share the Stuff:

This content was originally published here.

After the Reset, what’s your plan to keep deer from munching on all your food?

It only takes one cute Bambi to destroy what you had planned to feed your family in the winter.

Dirt Road Girl and I returned from a two-day getaway to find mostly stubs in our raised bed garden. What used to be peppers and okra looked like oversized match sticks pressed into the soil. We aren’t dependent on our garden to get us through to the next growing season – yet. We can ‘always’ run to the store to replace what the deer feasted on.

Our matchstick okra plant.

We still have other food options now.

After an event (collapse), running to the local supermarket won’t be an option to replace what was growing on those match sticks. YOYO – Your Own Your Own.

Let’s forget about having to deal with hungry zombie hoards for now. Zombies don’t eat from gardens, do they? Learning to repel destructive deer is purpose of this article.

An old-timer down the street told me to put up an electric fence with a single strand of wire 27 inches high (solar-powered fences are available). Our electric fence worked last year for our front yard garden. I got lax and didn’t put it back up this year. Now I’m raising match sticks that won’t light a fire! The fence is up now to salvage what’s left.

I know deer can jump higher than 27 inches. Heck, I can jump that high! For some reason, deer don’t, or didn’t last year, breach the fence. Maybe one or two got zapped in the chest and passed the word to go to lower hanging fruit – like my neighbor’s hosta beds. But word spread that the Walker’s have a free smorgasbord this year.

Tough lesson. But not devastating – in these ‘good’ times.

Another tip from guy at our local farmer’s market was to put up a baling twine fence. The orange twine used to bail pine straw worked for him. He strung three or four strands on electrical conduit poles with the top strand about 7 feet high.

The key to success of his deer fence is the top stand. He bent the conduit at the 5 foot mark to angle slightly away from the interior  of his garden. It resembles a chain link fence with barbed wire on top at a 30 degree angle. He’s been using this set up on his 1/4 acre garden for years and said it keeps the deer out. Not very expensive, either.

We don’t have larger big game animals like moose and elk to deal with in Georgia. And the above described fence won’t keep smaller critters out. But it may be an inexpensive way to keep the deer from feasting on your plants.

Keep in mind, any determined deer that’s left after a collapse will find a way to eat easy pickings in your garden.

Here are a few other deer deterrents you might want to consider in your plan. There are different categories: scents and plants, gadgets, dogs, and physical barriers. Unless you can afford an 8 foot deer fence, you may want to employ a combination of these strategies described below.

Scents and Plants

Many commercial scents are available. Then there are recipes for homemade scents that supposedly deter deer. I wouldn’t count on scents to deter determined deer. Now is the time to test them. Anyone ever tried rotten egg spray? Here’s a link to the recipe which I found and included below:

Commercial scents can be purchased that contain urine from predators that eat deer (coyote and wolf). Even scenting your garden perimeter with your own pee is an option. Gotta use stealth for exposed front yard gardens like mine. *kidding*

Seriously, collect your pee in private and apply. The drawback for our neighborhood, and possibly yours, is that the members of our deer herd are like neighborhood pets and some folks actually feed them for entertainment purposes – encouraging them to keep coming back for more.

There may come a time when you’ll want to feed (bait) deer to get a close, easy shot. But while rule of law exists, don’t feed the critters!

Other offensive, smelly stuff include: garlic, cat feces, bags of human hair, sewage sludge, and fermented blood. This stuff will even keep zombies and vampires away, so I’m told.

Plants: Raising plants that deer don’t like is another strategy. Again, I’ve seen hungry deer eat stuff that was not on their typical diet. Just like human animals, we’ll eat most anything when we’re hungry enough.

Plants should not be your only line of deer defense. They may help, but are not foolproof. If you go the plant route, cultivate plants with strong smells. Mint, sage, chives, lemon balm, purple cone flower, and bee balm are a few to consider.

My neighbor uses a motion activated sprinkler to keep his flowers and plants intact. They cost about 50 bucks and seem to work. He’s protecting hostas and flowers while the high-pressure water and electricity is still on.

For a grid-down situation, and just for the fun of it, here’s a rat trap rigged with fishing line that, when tripped, strike a percussion cap and alerts you of four-legged intruders. The warning shot could also alert unwanted two-legged animals.

Noise-makers with flashing lights can be purchased or made. Or you can build DiY gadgets. In urban/suburban settings, loud bangs and noises will only get you noticed by angry neighbors at 2:33 in the morning. Some people like to sleep.

Aluminum pie tins attached to string on the perimeter of your garden is another option. This strategy is best employed in rural setting. Here’s a thought. Build a solar-powered, mechanical scarecrow robot with motion detectors 😀 – Yea, that’ll work.

Working dogs like the Great Pyrenees are great guardians of the garden, home, and homestead. A dog inside a fenced area will help deter deer and other pesky varmints. Dogs don’t have to be huge and ferocious to be effective on a homestead. Small yappers get the job done for alerting you to garden intruders.

Abby has super hero powers. Her cheerleading shirt is to keep her from licking stitches in her shoulder. She usually wears a Wonder Dog cape.  

Combining any of these ploys to protect your survival garden will increase your chances of not becoming a matchstick farmer.

If I had to pick my best option for pre and post-SHTF deer deterrent, I’d choose…

A fence and a dog.

What has worked for you? Drop your ideas in the comment section to help us out!

Keep doing the stuff,

Be a SmartPrepper and follow us here on our blog, Twitter, Pinterest, and ‘like’, comment, and share our Facebook page.

P.P.S.

Any information on this site may be shared freely, in part or whole, with a link back to this site crediting the author. Thanks for sharing the stuff!

Share the Stuff:

This content was originally published here.

by Todd Walker

SHTF Shave Kit matches my 1950’s bathroom tile

This isn’t on the top of any apocalyptic list-of-lists. And in the midst of Novembeard, why would I spend money on shaving equipment like my granddaddy used? Two reasons:

A.) Cool factor: Mention your close straight razor shave at the water cooler and get instant man-cred from the disposable razor co-workers. Be sure to remove all the bloody tissue dotting your face before bragging.

B.) Straight razors shave close and can be used to defend against sudden zombie attacks. Think redundancy my friend. Electric and plastic disposable razors have no proven stopping power on the non-dead.

Back up zombie slayer

C.) Sustainable. Well, three reasons then.

DRG and I were at a local antique shop yesterday and I spotted this shaving cup slammed with old-fashioned grooming utensils. With our budget tight, I almost passed. Impulse purchases have gotten me into trouble before. So I showed my treasure to DRG.

“Why don’t you get it?” she asked.

Hiding my childish excitement, I showed her the price. The tag read $25.00 for the whole kit.

“You should get it. You’ve looking for a straight razor for a while. That’s the whole set up!”

They fit nicely into my medicine cabinet above my sink. They look cool, too.

In exchange of 25 fiat dollars, I brought home my first grandpa shaving kit. Now I’m looking for a strop. Wet shaving with a safety razor or straight razor is a lost art. The internet is full of forums and sites solely dedicated to reviving this classic technique. I’m about to jump into one of the rabbit holes and try to figure it out. How hard can it be, right?

Unpacked. Notice the old pack of razors for the safety razor.

I’ll be posting an after-report once try this – if I don’t bled out.

American made shave brushes

Keep Doing the Stuff of Self-Reliance,

P.P.S – If you find value in our blog, Dirt Road Girl and I would appreciate your vote on Top Prepper Sites! You can vote daily by clicking here or on the image below. Check out all the other value-adding sites while you’re there… 

Thanks for Sharing the Stuff!

Copyright: Content on this site (unless the work of a third-party) may be shared freely in digital form, in part or whole, for non-commercial use with a link back to this site crediting the author. All links in articles must remain intact as originally posted in order to be republished. If you are interested a third-party article, please contact the author directly for republishing information.

Share the Stuff:

This content was originally published here.

by Todd Walker

It’s trendy to forecast and prognosticate TEOTWAWKI and other SHTF events.

We need to know what’s coming so we can make a plan to survive the event.

Here’s the hitch: they’re rarely right. And even if they are right, will our plan save us?

Every time I hear of a doomsday event coming, Y2K, and more recently, the Mayan calendar expiring, I chuckle and keep doing the stuff.

Prognosticators sit in ivory towers predicting major events and fail to highlight the predictable. Entranced by their babble, we stumble over all the random, overlooked (non-glamorous), predictable bumps on our preparedness journey.

Why?

We’re all scared of the big event.

The Crunchy Mama recently commented here that she used to be guided by fear. She wrote…

I LOVE that you are a positive prepper. I lived in fear for many unhappy years. I finally made my way out of the fear with the help of God and some people who were God-sent. I figured out that I could be a prepper and be happy and positive. I put my energy into doing things that I really love but I no longer do them out of fear.

Don’t confuse her positive prepping with a Pollyanna view full of whirled peas, rainbows, and flying unicorns. She’s aware of the fragility of the systems we live under and is taking steps to escape the insanity. And she’s enjoying her journey.

Fearing the collapse of said system was the catalyst for many of us to start our journey to self-sufficiency.

However, the problem begins when fear chokes out rational thought and strangles our vision for the future. At that moment, a fear-based preparedness plan becomes as fragile as the system in collapse mode.

No matter what the pundits tell you, the big events aren’t accurately predictable. Even though you see the waves and hear the ship moaning, you still don’t know when it will splinter and sink.

Don’t count on the captain to save a life raft for you. Build options into your plan. And this is not referencing Capt. William E. Simpson of The Nautical Prepper. I actually think he may have a great SHTF plan.

Back to us land locked folk. Here’s something to think about: What’s Mother Nature going to do next to make your life miserable?

Nature is a brutal school master. Just when you have your plan set in stone, that flood, or hurricane, or drought shreds your paper plan. If you’re not room temperature afterwards, they say it makes you stronger.

And we’re not even considering man-made brutality yet.

I have no idea if our grandiose SHTF plan will succeed or fail. I’m just not that smart. Plus, I’ve never experienced a collapse of everything. I don’t know anyone that has personally experienced TEOTWAWKI in the hyped Hollywood version we all dread.

We make our plans anyway. We want to insure against the big one – the collapse of society/government/the world/TEOTWAWKI, and hope the smaller events take care of themselves.

But they don’t. We may have it bass ackwards.

Maybe, just maybe, we should focus on the smaller, obvious things.

Prisoner of the Plan

So, you put together a plan with an end in mind. Then, those 11 little words of Robert Burns begin to haunt you, inconveniently.

“The best laid plans of mice and men often go astray”

The illusion of knowing where you’re going and how to get there is dangerous. Especially when you believe others know how to get you there and they haven’t been there themselves.

In the story laid out in Patriots, plans don’t always work out. Mr. Rawles made it crystal clear in this novel the importance of redundancy in our plan. Mother Nature and tyrants don’t care about your plan. Unknowns make us fly by the seat of our pants.

It’s the unknown unknowns that compel invention. We find better/improved ways to do the stuff. We find freedom by doing, tweaking, and tinkering.

Being a prisoner to your plan is like paying for a tour guide to show you a historic city. You’re locked into the agenda, predetermined destinations, and sights she thinks are important for you.

Your options to self-explore are severely limited or nonexistent.

Optional Tips on Options

These are some off-the-cuff ways to add options to your SHTF plan.

A.) Procrastinate. Easily the most vilified word in the prepper community. It’s akin to laziness, sloth, and sheeple.

I’m being serious. Procrastination can be useful in some instances. I certainly don’t recommend it for an immediate life and death situation. If some thug breaks my door down, he gets immediate attention. No lollygagging.

On the other hand.

You’re ready to pull the trigger on that piece of remote retreat/farm land. It’s seems perfect. But you drag your feet. Someone swoops in and buys it while your thinking it over. You wife is fuming. Your sleeping on the sofa.

A month later, while licking your wounds in your new sleeping arrangement, she humbly shares information about the property that proves it wasn’t right. Sometimes we benefit by putting off ’til tomorrow what we absolutely think we have to do today.

Beware of the tyranny of the urgent.

B.) Random Acts of Prepping. Randomness teaches us how to be flexible and resilient. It’s the random events that test our ability. Are we able to cope? Do we rebound and stay the same? Or do we get better?

Your options multiply when we embrace randomness. Accidentally, it seems, you stumble upon situations and people who are a better fit than your original master plan.

So, go to that meet up and mingle with random people. You never know…

C.) Your SHTF plan and reality aren’t the same thing. Unless you’ve gone through all out SH’ingTF, how do you know the plan will work? Now is the time for controlled stress-testing to see if the plan (and you) can hold up.

In theory, bugging out on foot to the hills seems like a good idea – if you had to. Humping a 72 hour go back (in practice) is different and more difficult than the preparedness books lead us to believe. Have you tried it?

“Preparedness is the adult response to the knowledge that sometimes, at some level, things go haywire.” [Lifted from the blog For Tomorrow We…]

A recent post over on For Tomorrow We… (72 Hours in Just Five Minutes) outlines a great way to stress your plan. Simple and safe – yet revealing.

D.) Less is more. This is obvious to those of you doing the stuff. In my field full of ‘intellectuals,’ educators with lots of letters in front and behind their names, we can’t seem to grasp this idea. There’s too much thinking and not enough doing. Don’t over think your plan.

Simplify you plan. Brilliance is simple.

E.) Tinker. The best preparedness plan won’t come to you in your LazyBoy recliner. Might as well tinker and find options that will minimize the downside and boost the upside – without life threatening risks.

F.) Trial and error. In real life, not in a sterilized classroom or book, our best lesson is our last mistake.

Dirt Road Girl and I have emergency plans. We’re not obligated to follow what’s outlined. But we can choose that plan if we need to. Don’t marry your plan! Keep playing the field looking for the best options.

If you’re thinking I’m anti-SHTF-planning, you’ve missed my point. What I tried to communicate is…

The best SHTF plan has to be shaken well before opening.

The last thing you want is to be a prisoner of your plan.

Doing the stuff,

This content was originally published here.

I’ve always been a fan of being self-sufficient and learning skills. Sailing is one of the skills that I always wanted to acquire but until my sister married her husband, I never knew anyone who sailed. I love it so much now that I’m considering selling everything and living on a sailboat. As you’ll see below, learning how to sail will give you the opportunity to learn all sorts of self-sufficiency skills, emergency preparedness skills, and off-grid capabilities. As far as I’m concerned, the skills and knowledge required to sail a boat to a distant shore and live on the boat require almost exactly the same skills that preppers pursue.

Lemme throw some context at you for a sec and then tell you why you might want to consider learning how to leave dry land if you need to. I went out to Kalifornia in September to visit some friends and family and along the way, I spent a week in Monterey, where a good friend is learning Russian at the Defense Language Institute (DLI). Since I didn’t want to sit around his house all day while he was in school, I decided to take this opportunity and take sailing lessons. I’m glad I did.

I spent a week and got my ASA101, Basic Keelboat Sailing and ASA103, Basic Coastal Cruising certifications (those links are to the exact books they gave me for the courses but I’ll list the other books I’ve recently read at the end of this post – click here to jump to my book list). I then stopped in at Oxnard on the way back to Phoenix, and instead of getting a hotel, I decided to just rent a 32-foot sailboat for the day since it was almost the same and I’d have the boat for daytime (they let you sleep on the boat). I ended up staying all week on the boat and had a great time sailing and meeting people – and even sailed in a race that weekend. I still need to take one more class – ASA104, Bareboat Cruising, before I would feel comfortable heading out to an island for the weekend.

Me, sailing wing-on-wing in my first sailboat race

Why sailing is great for emergency preparedness

If you’re really into self-sufficiency as I am, you’ll love sailing. I’m not saying you should sell your stuff, get out of debt, and move onto a sailboat like I’m in the process of doing but just getting out there with friends and learning how to do it is really fun and very eye-opening. When you look at the awesome videos out there from people like La Vagabonde and S/V Delos, you can see that being out on a sailboat can be a great adventure that would be an awesome way to learn survival skills (check out these two videos, for example).

See what I mean? The more I’ve gotten into sailing (and watching hundreds of hours of these videos), the more I’ve seen that sailing provides the perfect opportunity to practice self-sufficiency as well as learning to become truly off-grid. You may have seen the nautical prepper guy on Doomsday Preppers. I tried to find a video of it for you but the only ones I found were pirated (see what I did there), but he did write this book, The Nautical Prepper: How to Equip and Survive on Your Bug Out Boat (Preppers).

If you’ve ever sailed a boat for any length of time, you know that there are constant reminders that shit happens, and if you’re out at sea or anchored at a deserted island, you have no one to rely on except yourself to deal with them. People who’ve logged any length of time on a sailboat are people who know how to deal with what life throws at them and fix things themselves with duct tape and rope. Sailing teaches you to deal with adversity and fix things yourself.

In order to live on a boat, you have to not only learn how to operate a sailboat and navigate, you have to be very particular about what you can take with you. This requires you to take a good look at what you need to survive (as comfortably as possible) and learn medical skills (and have the proper supplies), know how to fix your engine and other systems (and have the right tools), know how to gather food (usually by fishing but not always), have alternative sources of power, know how to process your food so it lasts (not all boats have refrigerators), be able to gather fresh water, know how to communicate through radio and other means, and so on. It takes a lot of prepping to be able to live on a boat.

Considering a bug out boat as part of your plans

So let’s look at this from a prepping/bug-out viewpoint. Obviously, you can see that in absolute worst-case scenarios where society collapses, getting away on a boat could be a great option, but I don’t really like looking at things from a TEOTWAWKI perspective – but let’s play with that thought for a moment. What happens if we get a big blast of sun gunk thrown at us from space that wipes out all our electronics for hundreds or even thousands of miles? (Read these three posts by my friend Frank if you want to know about EMP/CME). The nice thing about sailboats is they don’t need fuel or electricity to work. It is more convenient to use the motor to park the boat in a marina or to get moving when the wind dies (called being becalmed), but it’s not necessary.

Now keep in mind that sailing isn’t a skill you can ‘usually’ just pick up and do. You may be able to after a while but much like using a ham radio, it’s MUCH better if you learn how before you really need to do it.

So what that gives you is the ability to head out into the water when everyone else is scrambling around, not able to use their vehicles because they died or because of the ensuing traffic jams (provided your plans can get you to your boat. With enough training and practice, you could head out to the sea to get away from the mayhem and maybe find an island to stay (or other country) to get away. You can also now more easily fish for food, etc than you can from shore.

“How would I be able to find my way?” – Yeah, I hear ya. You can’t just hop in a boat and head out into the ocean and luck into an island. You’d have to know where you’re at and where you’re going. It is possible, however. You do it the way people did it for hundreds of years before GPS was invented – by sextant. Now, using a sextant isn’t something you can just pick up and start doing. This book can show you how to find your way using the stars, or you can take classes such as ASA107: Celestial Navigation. That’s one of those things you’ll understand once you start actually getting out there.

Now I’m not saying that you should be focusing a lot of your time and effort into bugging out in a sailboat, but if you’ve gotten your plans developed so you’re covered for the 99.99% of things that are much more likely to happen (losing your job, car breaking down, house fire, personal security, etc) then it doesn’t hurt to think bigger. Just don’t get the cart before the horse. Work on things like what to do if your power goes out for a few days or what you should put in a bag in case you have to leave home or get home. What I am saying though is that if you really want to practice what it would be like to have bugged out, with truly no one to rely on and nothing you can use but what you’ve packed in  small area, sailing is a great way to do that – and have a fantastic time doing it.

Heck, you might even be able to get your significant other onboard with being prepared if they’re not already.

Books I’m reading about sailing

I haven’t read this series yet but Scott Williams has a four-book series called The Pulse that relates to sailboats and an EMP causing a SHTF/apocalypse scenario with the main character on a sailboat. It looks really good.

So, you don’t have to go all out and buy yourself a sailboat but if you know anyone who has one and goes out for at least overnight trips (and better yet, someone who has cruised to distant shores), I’d suggest getting out there and start talking to them about how they plan their trips. I think you’ll be surprised just how ‘prepperish’ they are. As far as I’m concerned, sailors are preppers.

This content was originally published here.

(Guest Post) Learning how to predict the weather without relying on forecasts is an essential skill that a survivalist or prepper should develop. In general, a lot of people depend on a forecast to determine the kind of weather they are going to expect on a certain day. However, note that there are ways for you to predict the weather just by observing and increasing your knowledge about weather patterns.


Knowing how to predict the weather is not only fun and exciting. It is also a useful survival skill, especially if you love outdoor activities, like camping and hiking. It is also a big help for your survival after SHTF or an emergency. All it takes is to learn what to look for to predict the weather naturally without the need for any technological device or forecast.

To help increase your knowledge about weather predictions, here are ten valuable tips that you can add to your weather forecasting knowledge after SHTF:

1. Observe the clouds.

Predicting the weather after SHTF is possible by checking and observing the clouds. Note that the kinds and shapes of clouds present in the sky can give you an idea about the upcoming weather. It is also advisable to check their movement and direction. In most cases, white and high clouds often indicate good weather. Meanwhile, low and dark clouds indicate that there is going to be rain or storm soon.


As for the direction and movement of the clouds, what you need to watch out for is whether they are moving apart or coming together. One sign that there is impending bad weather is if the clouds are lowering and gathering together. If they are spreading out and rising then there is a great chance for the weather to clear out.

The color of the cloud can also tell you what the weather is going to be. Note that clouds appear in various shades, including brown, black, gray, and white. Each color tells you something about the weather. If the clouds come in shades of black then a storm might come without strong winds.

Brown clouds, on the other hand, can tell you that the upcoming storm will be accompanied by strong winds. White clouds signal good weather, although there is still a chance for a storm to come later in the day. Clouds may also have shades of gray, indicating an upcoming light or new storm. The gray shade also means that a storm is affecting a huge area and has the tendency of staying for quite a while.

2. Check the sky.

Find out if the sky is red in the morning. Note that the movement of the weather is naturally from the West to the East. The sun, on the other hand, rises in the East while the sunset is on the West. If the sky is red upon the time you check it in the morning then this signals clear weather in the direction of the sunrise (the East). However, the West might be experiencing extremely bad weather, causing redness in the sky.

This bad weather might move towards you based on the way weather patterns naturally work. The kind of shade that the sky might display in that scenario is bold orange or deep red. If the shades of red appear in the sky during the evening then you can have peace of mind as this indicates that the skies in the West are clear and they will be coming to you. The bad weather will move to the East away from you.

3. Detect air pressure

While air pressure is not as noticeable as the clouds, many survivalists and outdoor adventure enthusiasts consider it as a reliable indicator of the upcoming weather conditions. One thing to take note of is that low-atmospheric pressures can result in the formation of clouds and precipitation. On the other hand, high-pressure systems can be linked to clear dry skies and rising air.

A viable tip when trying to detect the present air pressure is to analyze and observe the smoke coming from a campfire. A smoke that steadily rises in a vertical column can instantly tell you that there is high water pressure. However, if the smoke tends to swirl and sink then it indicates low air pressure, which might lead to precipitation right after.

4. Read the wind

Knowing how to read the wind is also the key to forecasting or predicting the weather after SHTF without the need for actual tools and devices. One thing to remember, in this case, is that the name of the wind is taken from the specific direction it travels from. This means that an Easterly wind indicates that it was blown from the East to the West.

When it comes to reading the wind, note that a prevailing and gentle wind, as well as a variable and light wind, signals clear weather. There is a chance for strong winds to appear in case two fronts having various temperatures meet. In such a case, the strong winds can tell you that there is an upcoming storm.

Being aware of the climate surrounding you is also the key in accurately reading the wind. For example, if there is a desert found at the east of your present location, then the Eastern wind might carry warm and dry desert air. The presence of the mountains also contributes a lot when trying to determine the weather through the wind.

It is because the air that flows over the mountains often release precipitation every time it rises on the side that faces the wind. It then moves down to the opposite direction, bringing dry air.

5. Observe the moon

You can also predict the weather by observing the moon. Find out if there is a visible ring surrounding the moon or sun. If there is then this results from the ice crystals in the cirrus clouds that tend to refract the light coming from the celestial bodies. In general, cirrus clouds signal the coming of foul or bad weather, so if you see the ring, then it may also be the perfect time for you to begin waterproofing. If the moon is bright and clear without any obstructions then you can be sure that you will experience clear weather the coming day.

6. Count and observe the stars

Do you feel like there is an upcoming storm? Then you may want to observe and count the stars to confirm your intuition. If you find over ten stars then your gut feeling that there will be an upcoming storm may come true, although it will only be light. However, if you see fewer than ten stars then it is greatly possible for the storm to be heavy. Lack of stars indicates excessive cloud coverage coming from the approaching weather. It is highly likely for your place to experience clear skies if you can see plenty of stars.

7. Observe the behaviors of birds

Some of the behavioral patterns of animals, like birds, can also give some sort of information about the weather. One of the things you have to look out for about birds is any form of migration. Note that birds have the ability to sense air pressure. With that ability, they will schedule bird migrations during the time when the weather is good. That said, look for flocks of birds that migrate in the sky if you want to search for a sign that the entire day will be good.

Another thing to observe about birds is their eating pattern. During a storm, try to find out if birds eat. A short storm will most likely happen if most birds wait for the rainy days to stop before they start looking for food again. However, if most birds eat during stormy weather, then it is greatly possible for this weather to last longer than expected. The ability of birds to sense the patterns of air pressure is one reason why they can effectively predict the weather.

8. Watch out for snakes

One thing you have to know about snakes is that they tend to get out of their nests before bad weather strikes. They do that even during the middle of winter. One sign of upcoming bad weather is if you see snakes at a time when they should be in their nest or if they become visible in unanticipated places. Snakes are even capable of predicting earthquakes. If there is a snake who tends to behave erratically in its nest then it is highly likely for an earthquake to come.

During sunny weather, you can see snakes out of their nests because they want to warm themselves. However, if snakes tend to move out of their nest even if the weather is not hot then this indicates upcoming bad weather.

9. Observe the behaviors of cows

If there are cows in your vicinity then you can use their behavioral patterns to predict the weather. In most cases, cows lie down once they sense that there will be an upcoming thunderstorm. You will often find these cows grouping themselves together during upcoming bad weather.

10. Use a weather stick

Another method of forecasting the weather the natural way is to utilize a weather stick. This could be in the form of a balsam fir tree, which you can turn into an effective and simple natural barometer. What you have to do is to let a branch dry. Make sure to leave a bit of its trunk close to the base. The next thing to do is to peel the bark. Use a nail to hang this weather stick, ensuring that the branch hangs naturally.

This weather stick tends to work similarly to a campfire’s smoke. It responds to nice weather or high pressure by moving upward sharply. In case of a low air pressure, which could indicate an upcoming rain, the weather stick will most likely move downwards.

Increasing your weather forecasting knowledge is not that hard. During and after SHTF, you can just watch out for the natural elements and patterns in your surroundings to predict the weather and act appropriately.

Check out GeekPrepper.com for more information if you liked this article.

This content was originally published here.