Off Grid Internet Full TutorialDoesn’t look like much, but this little TP-Link 4G Router saved the day when everything else failed! Full story below.
Photo / graphic © off-grid.info

Off Grid Internet: 5+ Ways To Get Online When Normal Internet Is Not Available (Including SHTF Options)

Introduction

Internet access is pretty much a life-essential for the majority of people now – and in many cases it can be a make-or-break factor for whether a given location will be a viable option or not.

I sure did find this out the hard way, when I moved to my place deep in the countryside… and learned that not only did I have barely any phone signal (0 to 2 bars, constantly going in and out), but that the “land line” internet was totally shot. 1Mb download speeds at best, with dropouts every few minutes. Downloading a large file was almost impossible. Not a word on any of this from the $500+ home appraisal surveyor, of course. The telecom companies literally would not fix it, either. I lost count of how many times I called their support, they “ran their tests”, told me it was dropping out over 100 times per day (yes I know), then a couple of days later they told me they had fixed it. All lies. They had not fixed anything! This went on for months until, exasperated, I explored all the other options I could think of… until finally finding a solution 18+ months later!

I tried several options, plus I have run an internet based business while bouncing between different countries for several years – so all in all I think I’ve learned a fair amount about this topic and have some useful tips to share…

Ironically the recent “pandemic times” have probably been the first time in history where a large number of people had both the necessity to work remotely and the technology to be able to do so.

This combination of circumstances, together with the increased appeal of being “away from it all”, has opened more people’s minds to various off grid possibilities than ever before. Why would you be in a city under lockdown when you could be out of town and still earn your money?

An internet based income is one of the key factors in this equation. It frees you from one of the predominant chains forcing you to be one place: The need to make money – which until very recent times required in pretty much all cases that you showed up at a certain location at a certain time, rain or shine.

While some jobs of course still necessitate this, more people than ever are working remotely. There are also innumerable internet based business opportunities nowadays.

For just one example, there are a number of folks, call them “road warriors” or “van lifers”, who run a Youtube channel documenting their adventures. If this is done well, the advertising revenue from Youtube can be a lifeline and a means to fund their life on the road.

But in order to do this – you gotta be able to get online! Solve that and the world is your oyster!

Ok so here are all the options I’ve explored. Let me know if you think of any others.

1. Starlink

Starlink – Elon’s mega satellite internet plan – has brought connectivity to various folks in remote parts of the world, which is of course a great thing. You could be in a forest, or even on an island, miles from anywhere – and still be able to get a fast connection. Gotta love that.
Pros:
• Super fast. Blazing speeds (well over 100Mb download) reported by numerous users. Competitive with or even better than fiber connections.
• True remote location possibilities – can work in wilderness areas with no other services available.
• Low Latency. Because the satellites are in low orbits, the “ping time” (the time it takes the signal to reach the dish) is much lower than with conventional satellite comms. 20ms claimed by Starlink, which is amazing.
Cons:
• Expensive. Setup is I think $499, with a price of around $100 per month after that.
• Fixed location. Starlink’s own materials state that you can’t just pack the dish in the back of the truck and head out of town. You need to be static. This would be a real bummer for – say – ocean going yachts, or other on-the-move applications. However I’ve heard individuals claim that they took their Starlink dish on their adventure in the Black Rock Desert and got online! This might however have been an exceptional case; I am fairly sure that a number of Elon’s team go out to the desert for that lil’ thing called Burning Man and they might have rigged something so that they could get online. So make of it what you will.
• Not available in all areas – yet. They are still rolling it out and if it’s not in your area, well, you just have to wait. I signed up on the waiting list in early 2021 and waited nearly a whole year. Nada. Finally, exasperated, I cancelled (and got my deposit back without any fuss).

2. “Regular” Satellite Internet

I tried this one too! Honestly, I hated it. It was slow, kept cutting out and was fairly pricey. My life got ridiculous – at one point I had satellite that didn’t work, regular DSL that didn’t work and a cell phone that was out of range…. try dealing with that and managing an outsource team + 20 websites! Nightmare.

Satellite internet does work in general – and for those that rely on it, it’s a lot better than nothing. But for me it fell a long way short of desirable.

Pros:
• Can get you connected when there are no other options. If you are in a “remote part of a well populated country” then you will probably be able to get online. A remote island in the middle of the South Pacific, however? Maybe not – because it depends on whether their satellite, which will be in geostationary orbit will cover you. YMMV
Cons:
• Data tariffs. There’s no unlimited data with satellite plans, as far as I know. Once you chomp through your bandwidth, which is all too easy, you are booted onto the slow bus and get low speed until the beginning of the next month. It’s all done to get you to buy a bigger data plan…
• Not that fast, even with the “gold” package I was often getting only around 6MB/s on Speedtest.net
• Slow ping time. Mine was around 740ms as far as I can remember. Uploading a batch of web pages to a big website took hours.
• Hulking great dish, which needs to stay fixed and be pointed exactly at the satellite with no trees or anything in the way.
• Seemed to fail whenever it rained!
• Used a lot of power! The power pack for the dish was rated at 80W.
• The dish belongs to them. Which means you can’t even take your rage out on it when you finally lose your marbles and want to hit it with a 2×4. You don’t get that deposit back unless you ship it to them in one piece. The dish is huge. Just finding a sturdy box big enough for all of it was a real hassle and I still haven’t received my deposit back. So. Much. Hassle. Such. Crap. Support.

3. Wifi Leeching

This is not so much of a serious option, but I have to put it in for the sake of completion. Most people, these days, have their Wifi password-protected, and the good ole’ days of being able to leech Wifi from your blissfully-unaware neighbors are mostly long gone. Not that any of you good folks would do such a thing, of course. 🙂 It’s not very cool, all things considered. You can still of course go to Wifi hotspots and connect there – for example, most cafes – however that means you have to go into town to get a connection, which gets old really fast. It can be useful in a pinch – and there are still plenty of road warriors who drive into town for the purpose of finding an internet cafe so that they can get caught up on their admin.
Pros:
• Typically Free. No power requirements, no contracts, no black boxes.
Cons:
• Inconvenience. You have to go where the Wifi is and stay there until you have done everything you needed to do.

4. Mobile Phone Hotspot

The speeds of 4G (and even 3G) networks are actually not all that terrible. Many times when my satellite internet was failing I would get in the car with my laptop and phone, drive to the top of the hill and park up in a spot where I knew I could get 4 bars. It was faster than satellite and faster than my unbelievably crap DSL! There are lots of people in the world who rely on mobile hotspot to stay in touch with the world.

5. 4G Router + SMA Aerials + Unlimited Data SIM (Worked Best For Me!)

Now if someone had clued me in on this in 2019, they could have saved me almost 2 years of tearing my hair out in sheer frustration.

One of the main criteria with cellular reception is height – as in, the higher up you are (above your immediate surroundings and giving you a more direct line to the tower) the better the signal. For example I found that there was one spot in my attic, near the ridge line, where I could get 2 to 3 bars on my phone with 3G. So for months I literally had the phone on a tripod in the attic. It wasn’t all that great, but it was better than the satellite. Then (without thinking) I insulated my attic with “isotherm” panels, which are foil-backed… and then that was the end of that.

Researching online, I discovered a 4G router on Amazon and it was a real game changer. I got EPIC results and completely solved my internet problems. So I am going to go into much detail on this one, because it could be a winner for a lot of folks.

The 4G router I found (link below) is a beauty. It literally has all the options I want:
1) Very small and portable.
2) You can disconnect the little stubby aerials and connect signal-boosting 4G antennae with SMA extension cables. This was the game changer – because you can get those aerials outside the building, which increases the signal strength. This is mission critical if you are on the edge of service!
3) Runs from a 12vDC adaptor, which means it can connect to vehicle electrics and off grid power packs – oh yes!!
4) You can disable Wifi completely with a switch on the back of the unit and run in ethernet only mode (this is a game changer for anyone Wifi sensitive!)
5) Pop in a SIM with a monthly unlimited data plan and you are off to the races. Mine literally worked out of the box. Depending on the physical size of the SIM you have, you might need one of those tiny SIM trays to get it to work with the 4G box, but this is an easy fix.
6) Some people are saying that they are getting this to work internationally. Reading reviews on Amazon, there are people who are using these in USA, Middle East and other places. I haven’t tried it but for international travelers it could be a win.

Here is the setup I purchased. I’ve given links to both UK and USA Amazon. Full disclosure, I earn (peanuts) commissions on purchases made via these links.

1) Unlimited data SIM.
I got a Vodaphone SIM and it worked right out of the box with the router, using an ethernet cable to connect to the computer. Rates always vary and you’ll likely be on a contract, but you should be able to get one for significantly less than the price of any of the other options! Alternatively you could use pay-as-you-go but after you’ve watched a couple of movies and burned through your data, you’ll want to get on unlimited I am sure.

2) 4G Router.
UK: TP-LINK AC1200 4G+ Cat6 Wireless Dual Band Gigabit Router, 4G/3G Network SIM Slot Unlocked. https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B083KDK9JC/ (£149.99)
USA: (similar, looks like 9v not 12v): https://amzn.to/32QjNwl – currently sold out.
Here’s a couple more for options to check out for the USA and other regions (not tested)
https://amzn.to/3G1Uw0m Cudy AC1200 Dual Band Unlocked 4G (“not for Verizon”)
https://amzn.to/338AUsQ Alcatel Link Hub 4G LTE Unlocked Worldwide HH41NH 150 Mbps

3) 4G LTE Antenna SMA Aerial (2-pack)
UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B086JBRQC1/ £13.99
USA: https://amzn.to/3EYD0sN $11.99
(note that there is a legal disclaimer on the Amazon USA page that seems important. There seems to be some kind of legal restriction on the use of these signal boosters and a requirement of permission, although it lists major providers that have given “blanket consent to all boosters meeting the new certification standards.” (which from their wording one presumes this device does, although I don’t see that explicitly stated).

4) SMA WiFi Antenna Extension Cable 5M (2-pack)
UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B073TXBS7V/ (£23.08 for 2)
USA: https://amzn.to/3qRqKVT ($19.98 for 2)

Installation: The 4G antennae are fantastic. Super low cost + they are small and light, about 12″ tall and weigh almost nothing. They have strong magnetic bases: I cut some 1″ wide strips of 1/16″ steel and bent them to a thin L-shape – so that I could slide them under the top-but-one roof tile and they would hook on. This worked beautifully and gave me a metal plate sticking out from the tile I could stick the antenna on to. I have a “proper” roof ladder so I went up there with my mobile phone and looked for a spot with the strongest signal. It was easy to get a very solid 3 to 4 bars.

I attached the 2 aerials about 8 feet apart from each other, close to the ridge line. Several months later and they have not budged! I then drilled a small hole in the wooden frame of my skylight window and ran the SMA cables through to the router, removed the SIM from my “attic phone” and popped it into the 4G router, ran an ethernet cable to my computer and… bingo. Download speeds around 10-15Mb/S during the day and around 20-25 at night.

Connecting the antennae and putting them on the roof of the house gave a massive signal boost. Huge. I was amazed. The first thing to note is that walls, roofs, metal boxes and other materials have a big damping effect on mobile phone signals. The second factor is height. When it comes to mobile phone networks, height is critical. My house here is in a “hollow” in between hills and also has a forest in between me and the nearest mobile phone tower, which is a couple of miles away. It’s a beautiful location and I am blessed – but useless for phone signal.

So if you can get your aerials outside those four walls and somewhere up high, you should be in good shape. I’d say I tripled or quadrupled the speed I was getting with just the mobile phone in the attic! If you want to experiment further, you could try some using kind of tripod or pole to get additional height. Just make sure that whatever you rig up is not going to become a danger if it gets windy. And these were of course cheapie antennae. I’m sure there are bigger and better if you are in the market for that.

Had this running now for about 3 months (in the UK) and there has been barely a drop-out. It has succeeded where all else failed.

Pros: (the advantages of this setup are numerous).
• Low cost. I got a Vodaphone unlimited data plan and it’s cheaper than DSL, cheaper than satellite, cheaper than all the other options I have found.
• Fairly fast. Running Youtube videos at 1080HD is now not a problem. No problems at all.
• Mobile. Wherever you have phone signal, you can exist. Plus with the aerials, you have much better capability than just mobile hotspot alone. I would imagine that for truckers, road warriors etc this setup would be peachy. And the fact that the 4G box I got was 12 volt was just the icing on the cake.
• Location tracking seems less than accurate. Google is guessing my location and they seem to be getting it wrong by about 150 miles. Oh, how this pleases me!
Cons:
• For best results you will want to get the little antennae outside and up high somewhere, which may involve drilling holes in things and climbing ladders. So be safe (and get some assistance if needed).

6. Post-Apocalypse Connectivity

This is of course all speculative and much of it depends on which grids go down – although there are some options that may enable you to connect peer-to-peer without any grids at all. The key here is redundancy. In other words, for greater resilience you need more than one means of comms…

Let’s think first about power – because without power you are out of the game, and power blackouts are a real possibility, wherever you are. Get your “self-reliant comms power” handled first.

The good news is, this is relatively easy: Whereas a “whole house off grid” power setup requires a bank of solar panels, big batteries and a high ticket installation; your comms equip probably consists of low-powered devices. So small-medium solar panel + lithium battery pack should be able keep your devices powered at all times – so long as you are using laptop / mobile tech and not desktop / mainframe computers.

Now let’s think about networks….

Mobile phone networks: Fairly resilient but have been known to go into blackout in the case of states of emergency. Cell phone towers, as far as I know, have backup power generators so that they can continue to function in case of power grid down. Still, to be prepared for a true SHTF scenario, you need a means to connect without them.

Satellite: “Ordinary satellite” internet relies on one satellite. This creates a single point of failure. If the satellite goes off line (or gets taken out), there goes the connection. Starlink on the other hand seems like it will be more reliable, though it’s too early to say, yet. This is because with a swarm of satellites, you’ll likely have more than one available to connect to. So if one or even a few go pop, the network stays up. I’ve no idea how the signal routing on these works, though. Does it go from one dish to the satellite and then directly to another dish, in a peer-to-peer fashion? Or are all signals routed through a base station of some kind in Elon’s back yard? Something to research!

2 Way Radio / Walkie Talkie: Now as far as I know, these won’t work for internet, however for survivalists they are a fantastic option because they are peer-to-peer. In other words, if you and your buddy both have charge in the batteries, you can communicate without any other intermediary. So if every single grid goes down – power, mobile phone, satellite, cable modem… your 2-way radio will still reach other 2-way radios on the same band. Now, whether or not anyone has figured out a way to send internet data via 2-way radio, I do not know (and whether there is some legal restriction on this in some areas, I’ve absolutely no idea as I have never looked into this). But there’s an intriguing avenue of research here for the survival minded…

Ham Radio: Of course this enables communication and with correct licensing (if required in your region), you can communicate verbally. But what about internet? Well, it turns out that you can do this. Found a Youtube video of someone demonstrating how to surf the web using an Icom ID-1 D-Star ham radio:

This is an old video so things have probably progressed since then. I don’t know much about it and judging by the comments, it’s slow – but the potential here could be huge if all else fails. Absolutely no idea on legal restrictions so pls do your homework. But the possibility of being able to connect peer-to-peer via radio, with no ISP & no cell phone data plan required… that’s definitely interesting!

7. How To Run Your Business From A Mountaintop / Treehouse / Etc

Civilization? Is it ok to admit that I am losing interest? So my next mission here is to create a fully mobile setup based on the 4G router. I’d like to see a) how portable I can make it and b) how much extended range / distance away from mobile phone towers the aerials will give c) ways to increase this. The great thing about these 4G boxes is that they don’t use much power. With a 13″ laptop, one of these tiny 4G boxes, a portable 12v lithium battery pack such as this one that only weighs 3.6 lbs, small solar panel and perhaps a light tripod for the aerials, I really might be able to put it all in a backpack and run my business from “wherever”… or how about a bug-out vehicle with full wired internet. I’ll post my results! In the meantime, it’s still a big, wide, beautiful world – so let’s get out and explore! 🙂

8. Internet On A Boat

I don’t know too much about this but just found a great tutorial that would be a perfect entry to the topic. https://citimarinestore.com/citiguide/how-to-get-internet-on-your-boat-your-best-options/
Turns out that with some of the marine signal boosters you can pick up cell phone towers up to around 8-10 miles offshore. Similar scenario for marina wifi services. I’d imagine that these devices work somewhere near as well on land – and that certainly gives you some range. They have the fancy hardware on that page, including routers that connect both wifi and cell signals, pulling from whichever is strongest. However, once you get past around 10 miles offshore, it’s down to satellite. Now this is where things get expensive. Of course, you are a yacht owner so spending another $1,400 to $30,000 on satellite hardware is no biggie. But now you can really be a Bond villain.

Final Thoughts

So there it is. In a few years, they will probably have figured all of this out. Not only Starlink but Amazon are in the process of deploying swarms of satellites, which no doubt will mean that in just a few years from now, you can be kept under observation anywhere on the planet, I mean, you will be able to get internet anywhere on the planet. Yay! “Connectivity everywhere” is a double-edged sword if ever there was one. And let’s hope nature doesn’t suffer as a result. Hmmm. Faraday cage bunkers? Deep tunnels? It’s all starting to sound good to me!

The post Off Grid Internet: 5+ Ways To Get Online When “Normal Internet” Is Not Available (Including SHTF Options) appeared first on Off-Grid.

This content was originally published here.

Scavenging: It’s Not Just When the SHTF. It’s Already a Way of Life for Many.

If you’re new here, you may want to subscribe to my RSS feed. Thanks for visiting!

(Psst: The FTC wants me to remind you that this website contains affiliate links. That means if you make a purchase from a link you click on, I might receive a small commission. This does not increase the price you’ll pay for that item nor does it decrease the awesomeness of the item. ~ Daisy)

by Fabian Ommar

Here’s a fun fact. Approximately one percent of the urban population in developing countries makes their living from scavenging. And more than 15 million people get their income from waste picking worldwide. Scavenging is a multi-billion dollar industry and a way of living for many, even in wealthy nations.

It’s also one of the oldest economic activities known because living is consuming. Therefore we produce waste simply by existing. The type and amount of waste generated are constantly changing. The more wealthy and urbanized a society becomes, the more waste it will produce. A lot of folks think of scavenging as an activity that only happens after the SHTF, but it’s a way of life for many on the planet.

Waste management is crucial. Most people are just content to have their trash magically disappearing from the front of their houses every day and give this no second thought. I suspect society, in general, would be a lot more discerning and restrained (and respectful) about consumption habits if a more significant number of people became more aware of this process and its implications, but I digress.

What’s happening out there

Judging from what I have seen, the numbers above have grown rapidly since 2020. The social agents I speak with corroborate. The news is bad but still doesn’t show an accurate picture.

Tents are everywhere.

I’ve been meeting a lot more families that lost jobs, income, and homes. They are now in the streets and are scavenging their way to survive. Most people I spoke with admit they never thought they’d come to this, but insist that thinking like that is a mistake. It can and does happen anywhere, to anyone. Also relevant, it affects everyone, not only those who get evicted. This situation has developments that will impact the entire society.

I confess that despite forecasting a more severe slump since 2008, I always hoped we’d never come to this point and for so many. But now it seems that it won’t stop there and get worse before it turns again, unfortunately.

Why and how scavenging connects to prepping and survival?

When resources become scarce, people look everywhere for stuff. We naturally go from the easiest to the hardest when it comes to getting what we want or need. In other words, we start shopping at the nearest grocery store and end up scavenging as the situation worsens.

People scavenge for food to eat, for clothing to wear, and for appliances to use. Many make their living from collecting and selling scrap and recyclables. Scavenging takes place everywhere and at all times but grows exponentially during a crisis or some other SHTF. So, yes, it’s genuinely a survival activity.

“One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”

A lot of still-in-good-condition and usable stuff gets discarded all the time. Some of the stuff thrown away would be viewed as pure gold by the have-nots. Scavenging is a productive way for urban preppers to acquire items that can be used, recycled, repurposed, or sold.

Most people don’t even want to think about it

Understandably so: scavenging deals around trash and waste, and no one likes that. We instinctively know it’s unhealthy. But mostly, it’s seen as unpleasant and somehow detached and far from their reality. And yet, it’s so close at the same time.

So, there are serious mental and social barriers right there. I advocate thinking in different terms. Scavenging is a last resort, yet a legitimate and dignified activity, in my opinion – especially when compared to the option taken by many (crime, in case it isn’t clear). It’s hard and brings some risks, but it can come useful during difficult times.

“I’ve done so much with so little that now I can do anything with nothing.”

We hear that quite a lot when we’re in the streets, especially among the have-nots. Those who are (or have) hit rock bottom and reside on the fringes of society know all too well. For years, I followed and interacted with scavengers (or “catadores,” as we call them here). Still do on occasion. I’ve rummaged trash for food, “stuff,” and even tried a hand at collecting and selling recyclables. I faked trash-picking a couple of times to get out of trouble (I will go into this below).

Most scavengers are thick-skinned fellows hardened by years of street struggle

Some scavengers steal mostly metal parts from public lighting fixtures, manhole covers, handrails, electrical wires, even parts of statues and plaques from civic patrimony to sell as scrap or to vendors in second-hand or black markets. Cast iron, steel, or brass parts, especially copper, weigh quite a bit and are of high value.

But that’s a crime in most places and can be punished by law or by “popular justice.” It’s not uncommon for someone to get shot or badly beaten when caught stealing from private property or public appliances and utilities. It’s also risky: thugs do get hurt and even electrocuted when trying to steal electrical wiring, for instance.

For the most part, scavengers have no time nor inclination to follow safety rules and roam town searching for stuff to make a living. It’s very physically demanding to say the least. Coming back empty-handed means no food on the plate.

There aren’t many rules, but the few ones that exist must be respected, or there might be retaliation. Care must be taken with authorities and other street folks too. After all, it’s the dog-eat-dog life of the big city. Scavengers can and do get assaulted, robbed, scammed, just like everyone else.

Scavenging has four main practical aspects to it: what, how, where, and when

What is the type of stuff to scavenge. Mostly, food, recyclables (cardboard, plastic, glass, metals, old tires, etc.), construction materials, wearables, furniture and appliances, books, old records, discarded tools, toys, etc.

How is related to the safest and most productive ways to scavenge, using protection (gloves, perhaps a dust mask and goggles), the right tools (a crowbar, a poking pole, etc.), and the means of transport for the stuff collected.

Where is in respect to the most favorable places to look for each type of material. For instance, a person can find food around markets, food courts, and commercial spaces. You can usually find recyclables and materials around construction sites. Appliances, furniture, wearables, etc., are more commonly found in residential areas.

When relates to the best time, week, month, and year more appropriate to find the desired stuff. For example, when is the best time to discard/collect different materials in different moments and places? It takes time to get that right, but once you do, productivity increases considerably.

The social, physical, mental, and psychological barriers

Another important aspect of scavenging is the stigma. If you’re a “creature of the streets,” you’re almost nothing and invisible to a significant part of society. At the same time, you’re a potential target to another. I won’t go much into this. If you’re a prepper, you know your objectives and limits, so I’ll focus on the practical aspects of scavenging.

As expected, it’s both mentally and physically hard. At first, it may seem like a challenge or a break from the routine. But the toil is real. It’s psychologically taxing, too: even people born or living in landfills and abject misery don’t appreciate being around trash. It’s something we become accustomed to by necessity and contact only.

Physically it’s always demanding. Depending on some aspects, risky and even dangerous (there’s a fierce competition just like in every other activity). Even the smells are way different than what most people experience. It’s not rocket science, but it sure isn’t something for the sensitive.

That’s why I propose in my book that we try it now when things are “normal,” and we can find support if necessary (for example, in case of an accident). To have an idea, a feeling of what it takes, how to do it, and how we handle it.

Some tips for beginning scavengers

As with any trade, it takes years and a lot of hard work to learn and become proficient at something. This is not the idea here – unless you’re planning to start a recycling enterprise or become a full-time scavenger. But if you’re willing to try it for prepping purposes, here are some tips to help you get started and going:

Tools for scavenging

Get a decent, tough plastic bag to carry your stuff. This is fine for beer and soda cans and papers or cardboard in general but won’t be enough for pointy or too heavy items. You will have to carry heavy items in pull carts, but this is another level, so I’ll leave it out.

The crowbar is the “official” scavenger tool. It’s very useful and versatile. But in most places, it’s not seen too well by people and authorities: it’s too “professional” and, of course, can also be used as a weapon. Around here, if a scavenger gets caught using or even carrying a crowbar, it can raise suspicion because it gets used to dilapidate public and private property. Heed this warning; I’d assume it’s the same in most civilized places.

Still, we need something to poke and turn over the trash, both to search for stuff more safely (beware of glass, pointy and metal items, chemicals, etc.) and also to scare away animals and insects. A broomstick is an alternative – which one can easily find discarded in the trash, by the way. Some scavengers here use old crutches. I’ve used a folding blind’s cane. Whatever works.

Being in the streets can be unsafe in many ways, regardless of social status

The poor and the homeless can be victims of urban violence, as they’re more exposed to it. Even though belonging to the lower strips of society means no invisible cloak or safe pass against criminals and other dangers, it turns someone into a less interesting target to profiteers in general. There isn’t much to be made from someone who’s turning trash bins for a living (at least when things are normal).

I’ll go straight to the record and say there was some risk involved in what happened, especially the second time. It really was the opposite of what we preppers and survivalists advocate (“Don’t be where danger is”). But it is what it is, and I’m here to tell, so this works to illustrate some street dynamics, maybe keep in mind if things reach a boiling point one day.

Faking scavenging saved me from trouble – twice

Once a group of thugs came my way on an avenue where people get mugged daily for their smartphones. I could tell they locked on me. So, without showing that I noticed them, I casually turned into a trash bin and started picking some cans while following them with my peripheral vision. I noticed they lost interest and changed their attitude, and moved in another direction. I kept at it until they went their way to the other side of the avenue.

Another situation happened during the protests just before the impeachment of former president Roussef when the squares and avenues near my home were the stages for protests and riots. Even with the turmoil, I was still doing my outings (a risky thing to do, I admit) and somehow got into the thick of it (even riskier, I know). The police clashed with the rioters, and I took protection behind a lamp post with a trash bin. I guess the mob couldn’t care less for someone picking beer cans in the middle of the mess (if they even noticed me). After they passed, I went in the opposite direction and away.

Recyclables market and industry

The recyclables industry is somewhat area-specific, But, to see how it works, I dabbed into it and ended up selling aluminum cans, cardboard, and even metal scraps from construction sites to cooperatives. Basically, you collect stuff and take it to the recycling centers. It gets weighed, and you get paid in cash based on the daily rates for each material.

That’s the simple part. But as always, there’s a lot more to it. I got inquired a few times by other “catadores” trying to intimidate me and shove me away from their turf. Some have regular routes and may have fixed suppliers that we must respect. But other than that, there’s no territory. If a dispute arises, you have to defend yourself (or move away, which can be a more sensible option).

Landfills are dangerous and unhealthy, usually located out of town. Still, a lot of people live and work in such places. Some are off-limits, so workers do their stuff at night, using a headlamp or flashlight. It’s a hard, hard life for entire families. I met some scavengers who only pick stuff that can be recovered, for instance, old discarded furniture. Others take broken computers or toys, ornaments, and art. These may work with repair shops (or even own theirs) to recover and sell this stuff.

What are your thoughts on scavenging? 

This article is an excerpt from my , based on my experiences in the streets. I hope it helps others learn about, think about, and perhaps become more open to the idea if things go bust. We never know.

How do you feel about “dumpster diving”, recycling and scavenging? Do you have experiences with this you want to share with other readers? Let’s talk about it in the comments section.

About Fabian

Fabian Ommar is a 50-year-old middle-class worker living in São Paulo, Brazil. Far from being the super-tactical or highly trained military survivor type, he is the average joe who has practiced self-reliance and outdoor activities since his youth. Fabian also chooses to practice the practical side of balancing life between a big city and rural/wilderness settings. Since the 2008 world economic crisis, he has been training and helping others in his area to become better prepared for the “constant, slow-burning SHTF” of living in a 3rd world country.

Fabian’s ebook, , is a practical training method for common city dwellers based on the lifestyle of the homeless (real-life survivors) to be more psychologically, mentally, and physically prepared to deal with the harsh reality of the streets during normal or difficult times. 

You can follow Fabian on Instagram 

This content was originally published here.

(Natural News)
The quest for clean water does not stop even after SHTF. Therefore, it’s important to know how to purify water when you’re forced to source it from lakes and streams.

Different ways to purify water

Water purification differs from water filtration. The latter uses a porous substance to filter water and is less effective at removing pollutants. Meanwhile, purification is a chemical process that focuses on removing all kinds of impurities, including biological contaminants, chemicals and debris. It includes the following techniques: (h/t to AlphaSurvivalist.net)

Boiling water is a simple but effective purification method that can eliminate biological contaminants a minute after the water has reached the boiling point. The downside is that it requires a major heat source and evaporates a portion of the water.

Water purification tablets

Using water purification tablets is one of the simplest ways to purify water. These tablets are commonly made of chlorine dioxide and iodine and are very easy to use. Just drop a tablet into a quart of water, wait for the recommended time (usually around four hours) and your water will be safe for drinking.

Water purification tablets are perfect for preppers as they have a long shelf life and are small enough to fit nicely in your bug-out bag and emergency kit. Also, they don’t leave a nasty taste unlike iodine drops (more on these later). The drawback is that they take longer to effectively purify the water and are more expensive than other purification methods.

Iodine drops

Iodine drops are easy to use too – simply add five drops for each quart of water, ten drops if the water is extremely cloudy. The solution only takes around 30 minutes to eliminate harmful substances.

Iodine tinctures work faster and are cheaper and more effective than chlorine tablets. They’re also readily available in small bottles that take little space in your bug-out bag. Unfortunately, they leave a nasty taste that can be off-putting for young children. They’re also unsafe for pregnant women and people with a shellfish allergy.

Chlorine bleach

Chlorine can kill all harmful pathogens found in water. Because common household bleaches contain chlorine in different strengths, the number of drops per quart will vary depending on the chlorine concentration. Add 10 drops per quart of water if the product contains one percent chlorine or less. Add four to five drops if it contains two to three percent chlorine and four to five drops if it contains four to six percent. If the water is cloudy, let it settle and filter it using a clean cloth, paper towel or coffee filter.

Only use unscented, regular chlorine bleach products with a label indicating they’re suitable for water disinfection. Do not use scented and color-safe bleaches or those with added cleaners.

Solar disinfection

Solar disinfection (SODIS) is the simplest and most affordable method of water purification. It works by trapping heat inside a water bottle and letting UV radiation and photo-oxidative destruction inactivate harmful organisms in the water.

Fill up clear plastic bottles with water, shake to oxygenate and expose them to direct sunlight for six hours (if sunny) or two days (if cloudy). Lay the bottles on their side to maximize exposure time.

SODIS has been proven to work and is supported by the World Health Organization. Besides being cost-effective and easy to ease, this method causes minimal changes to the taste of the water and entails only a small risk of recontamination as the water is stored in bottles. The downside is that they take the longest out of all purification methods to work.

These five purification methods each have advantages and disadvantages that make one technique more appropriate over the others depending on the situation. Choose one that works for your current scenario to increase your chance of survival.

This content was originally published here.

I’d like to start this article with saying that I am not a tree hugger. I love meat, eggs, cheese and fish. I’m not trying to convince anyone to quit hunting and fishing. I have been an outdoorsman my entire life. I drive and use 4×4 trucks and ATVs every week. I just want to impart what has profoundly changed my life.

I have given a lot of thought to how we would survive and provide the protein requirements for my family if suddenly we were faced with the prospect of having no supermarket or source of meat and dairy products. I keep fish traps, gill nets, minnow seines, etc. as a silent means of catching fish and crayfish (“freshwater lobster”). I also keep traps for small game.

I recently learned, quite accidentally, that you can not only survive, but actually thrive in the absence of meat, dairy, and fish. I learned that with the exception of vitamin B-12 you can eat just one food and sustain yourself for a lifetime. That food is the sweet potato. You only get B-12 from the bacteria in your food, it is not found in the meat and dairy products, only the bacteria consumed by the animals and winds up in the meat and dairy. Cheese is full of bacteria. To get the vitamin D your body needs is easy. Go stand in the sun with your face and arms exposed 10 or 15 minutes a week. You can get all you need taking a short stroll every day.

As I entered middle age, I became obese and no matter what I tried, I was unable to drop the weight in any meaningful amount. I developed high blood pressure and Type 2 diabetes. My ankles would swell to the size of softballs after a day at my desk. My knees hurt and my activity was severely limited. I was 80 lbs. overweight. I started researching my diabetes and I discovered a video of Dr. John McDougall and watched his video on YouTube titled Stop Eating Poison. I watched in disbelief at what he said and it was directly opposite of what my doctors advised, and everything I have heard and read for the past 30 years.

I have spent years not eating anything that had a carbohydrate in it. I ate huge amounts of chicken, eggs, cheese, green vegetables, etc. I never lost weight. I started intermittent fasting where I consumed nothing other than unsweetened coffee and tea, three days in a row each week. I once went on a 7-day fast and guess what, I was still 80 lbs. overweight. Sure, I would lose 4 or 5 pounds here and there, but nothing substantial.

According to Dr. McDougall, you can obtain all the protein, and more, that you need eating rice, potatoes, corn and legumes (beans). He recommends avoiding all processed oils (olive, corn, peanut, etc.). It turns out that the oil blocks the insulin from doing its job. I thought about what he said and decided to give it a try as I had nothing to lose. I now eat no meat, dairy, eggs, cheese, or processed oils.

I started on March 30, 2021 eating exactly as he suggested. In less than six months, I have lost 60 lbs., no longer need medications of any kind, my ankles no longer swell and my aches and pains from getting older (age 67) are all but gone. I can actually look over my shoulder and check for oncoming traffic and no longer depend on the truck mirrors. When I reach my desired goal of 175 pounds, I plan to add nuts and avocados to stop the weight drop and thus maintain my weight.

I eat all the potatoes, rice, beans, corn, pasta, bread (with limited or no fat), and fruits that I desire. Sure, I sometimes miss the grilled meat and fried fish and I may partake of them from time to time in the future. The meat will only be on occasion (Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc.). The key to this is that you are never hungry.
I live on a tract of land in the middle of the city limits. My city has a huge population of welfare hippos and a thriving drug culture. I realized that it would be impossible for me to keep livestock and chickens in a true Stuff Hits the Fan (SHTF) scenario. Three days after the shelves become empty, my animals would disappear. If I had to evacuate to a safer area, I can carry large quantities of rice, beans, pasta, flour, etc. Carrying and caring for animals would be a different story altogether.

It would also be better to not have roosters crowing in your yard, while people are running around starving.
A good book is The China Study by T. Colin Campbell. It is an excellent read concerning primarily starch-based diets.

If you need additional calories, you can buy lard that keeps and stores well. Lard added to any dish will vastly multiply the calories of the dish. The first question most of you are now thinking is, “I don’t think I could give up meat, dairy, eggs, and cheese”. Just try it for one week. It is easier than you think.

If you are suffering from the effects of the American “Western” diet, this is your opportunity to get well.
There is nothing I like better than meat cooked in my smoker, fried catfish, French fries, etc. But in a SHTF scenario I can live and thrive without it.

Food Storage

Everyone has their way of storing food. Pre-packaged freeze-dried food is an easy but expensive way to store food. I find that using food-grade 5-gallon buckets with sealable screw lids are the best for me. They are air and watertight and easy to seal. You can also easily check the contents to make sure that there is no spoilage. They can be stacked [up to four high, without damaging the lids], and the size and weight are manageable. The large food grade barrels with gasketed lids are a good option, but try moving one that is full of dry corn, wheat, or rice. They are unwieldly even with a hand truck. You would need a tractor with a front bucket to even get them into a truck or trailer.

Now imagine trying to catch and load up your animals. My two dogs are a handful, but at least they will readily hop in the truck. You also have to carry food and water for the animals and have food readily available at your destination.

Planned Barter and Reality

We all romanticize about bartering and growing our gardens and harvesting eggs after the collapse. If you think this is going to happen you are delusional. Pick any major us city (New Orleans, Chicago, Baltimore, St Louis, Memphis, etc.) and visit the local WalMart and hang out for a couple of hours. After the two hours is up, you need to think what your world is going to look like after these people miss their 9th meal. As soon as they realize they can’t eat big-screen televisions, Louis Vuitton handbags, and Nike tennis shoes; they will hear your rooster crowing and smell the smoker cooking.

We also romanticize about taking our bug-out bags and trusty rifle and heading to the woods. Guess what, you aren’t the only one with that idea. It won’t take long for virtually every deer, rabbit, and squirrel to disappear. You can’t carry enough food in a backpack to last more than a week or so.

Who in your immediate family is capable of carrying a loaded backpack more than 100 yards?
For the cost of preserving a pound of meat, you can store 50lbs of rice. Rice is 11% protein. Your body doesn’t care if it the protein is from a cow or a grain of rice. What about calcium? You can get calcium from the same place that the cow gets theirs. It is in the plants we eat. Plants pull it from the soil and store it. When you eat the plants, you get the calcium.

Just like me, I’m certain that you are having a hard time wrapping your head around the fact that you can live quite well in the absence of eating meat, dairy, eggs, and fish. But in a SHTF scenario, you have to think of staying alive and healthy. If you are 60 lbs overweight, do you think you can put up much of a fight? Try crawling under your truck to work on it, try getting up after you’ve been on your knees changing a flat.
I want to stress, I love meat, cheese, eggs, bacon and fish. But I also love recovering my health and vitality. Much of my youth was spent on my grand parent’s farm. We had cows, chickens and a huge garden. I probably still sweat bacon grease. But in a SHTF scenario, I can quietly feed my family and should the need arise, evacuate with enough food to sustain us at our destination.

With beans, rice, and dried potatoes, you can store a huge amount for very little cost. SurvivalBlog has many articles that you access to learn how to store food so I will not go into detail on how to do it. Good luck, and pass the potatoes.

About The Author

Ken Gallender is the author of the Jernigans War novel series.

This content was originally published here.