Losing power at anytime can create serious disruptions in your everyday life, however, when it is cold out it not only creates disruptions it can become deadly. Ideally, you are prepared for disruptions in cold weather, and have paid particular attention to keeping everyone warm during a power outage.
Things You Can Do before the Power Goes Out
If the local forecast calls for weather that could disrupt your power such as ice and heavy snows, you can take steps before the power goes that will be beneficial to you during the outage.
Turn up your refrigerators and freezers to the highest setting. You want the foods inside as cold as possible for when the power does go out. Considering combing contents into one refrigerator or freezer because the more food items inside of a freezer or refrigerator the longer the foods will maintain a safe temperature. Remember to turn down the settings when the power is restored.
Once the power goes out avoid opening the doors. Refrigerators if full can maintain a safe temperature in some cases up to 6 hours, while a full freezer can maintain safe temperatures up to 48 hours and one that is half full up to 24 hours.
Any perishable foods that have been stored above 40° F for more than two hours will need to be discarded.
Make sure all cell phones and other devices are fully charged before the power goes out, and check all flashlights and other battery operated devices.
Fill your bathtubs with water to use for toilet flushing and other sanitation needs. You can use the water for drinking only after proper purification unless you use a waterBOB .
If you rely on electricity for your heat then you will need to essentially close off portions of the home to conserve what heat is in the home. If you have a wood burning fireplace, or have a gas burning one then of course, this would be the room to gather in, otherwise pick a room that everyone can stay in and likely sleep in as well.
Your emergency supplies should have Mylar emergency blankets , wool blankets, sleeping bags , and consider bubble wrap as well. Bubble wrap can be used as an insulator between you and the floor. The material of course is made of air filled chambers. The air chambers will provide insulation and cushioning for sleeping.
The wrap can also be placed over windows to reduce heat conduction. Cut the wrap to fit and then wet the glass slightly and then place the wrap over the glass, it will cling to the glass.
People that are chilled or you suspect may be in the early stages of hypothermia can be wrapped in the material to help control the core body temperature in an emergency.
Hang Mylar or other blankets in doorways to reflect heat back into the room you are staying in and they can be placed over windows and outside doors as well.
Water pipes may freeze so make sure they are well insulated , and if you still believe they may freeze during an outage you can shut off the main water supply and open all faucets to drain the lines. Make sure you shut off the power to the hot water tank before shutting off the main water supply. The water in the tank will stay warm for hours, so it can be used for bathing and other needs or used as an emergency drinking water source after it has been filtered and purified. Attach a hose to the drain spigot to get water from the tank once you have shut off the main water supply. 
Snow banks can be used as emergency refrigerators during a power outage. Try to find areas that receive the least amount of sunshine. Radiant heat from sunlight will warm up surfaces beyond what the air temperature is. This is why you will see snow melting on surfaces even when the air temperature is below freezing. The food items will need to be under as much snow as possible and in waterproof containers.
Snow can be melted for drinking water but it must be warmed before drinking so you do not lower your core body temperature. If there are no obvious contaminates melted snow can generally be consumed without purification. However, if you suspect contamination then purify the water. If the snow has been contaminated with any chemicals then it cannot be used for any purposes. Do not consume water from melted icicles that hang from the roofline without purifying first.
Small propane heaters that are rated for indoor use will typically have a low oxygen shutoff valve. The valve will not allow a flame when there is not enough fresh oxygen in the room. Always use any heating device with caution and kerosene heaters, charcoal Hibachis and other fossil fuel devices should never be used in any confined space.
Consider a Generator
A transfer switch can be added so the generator is essentially wired to the home’s electrical system but this must be done by a professional. If you do it yourself and it is not done properly electricity generated can flow back through the lines hurting anyone working on the lines. This is important.
Fuel Supply for Heat and Cooking
If you have a wood fireplace then you will need an ample supply of wood that is accessible. Before the storm bring some wood close to the house so you do have to carry it through the snow or try to navigate icy surfaces with an armload of wood.    
One pound propane bottles are the only containers rated for indoor use and they can be used with camp stoves and small heaters as well as lanterns. 
Avoid outside as much as possible, because ice and snow or broken limbs may have brought power lines down. Ice sliding off of roofs can be a hazard as well, not to mention falling trees and limbs because of heavy layers of ice buildup.
To protect your electronic devices you should connect your devices to surge protectors of good quality. Unplugging the devices can prevent damage from power surges once power is restored.

This content was originally published here.

The saying, “If you cannot protect what is yours then you do not own it”, is often cited when discussing home security. However, for most people it is merely an academic discussion because it has never happened to them, nor is it likely to ever happen. It sounds simple enough when being discussed over coffee or a beer, but the reality is of course much different.

It will be assumed that law enforcement is not available, neighbors are of no help, and that the intruders are armed. Society is in turmoil, and some police and others in authority have already abandoned their post to take care of their own homes and families. You are on your own for the time being.

You and your spouse/partner are the only ones that can get your home back. You both had left to gather information, and when you came back you found your home occupied by an unknown number of people.

Even the most heavily guarded installations can be overrun, and then those forced out, are left looking in. Once this happens can you retake your home, or any structure for that matter that has been overrun and is now in the hands of others.

It is also assumed the intruders are not there to grab a few supplies and then hot foot it out of the home. They want the home for shelter as well as the all of the supplies. They want all the comforts of your home, and asking nicely will not get them to leave.

If You Have Not Planned and Prepared For It Then It Is Unlikely You Would Prevail

The first decision you have to make is it worth it. Is it worth a fight, where others including yourself may be injured or killed, to get your home and supplies back. If the answer is yes, you will do what it takes to reclaim what is yours then start planning now for the possibility.

First, bury survival caches close by, with an emphasis on firearms and ammunition, then food, water, medical supplies and any other supplies you will need to sustain yourself as the drama unfolds. You may need temporary shelter as well, because the standoff may last for several days.

Other items you can cache that could be used to help you retake your home would include smoke bombs, tear gas and/or pepper spray, non-lethal rounds such as rubber slugs and beanbag rounds. Have respirators cached for your own protection.

You may also need insulated heavy duty wire cutters, bolt cutters, rope, and some type of portable/collapsible ladder, shovel, and a fire ax. Include heavy duty gloves and a bee suit or some other form of protection against bee stings. Have an ample supply of zip ties that can be used for wrist and ankle restraints.

Cache some materials that can be used to stop up chimneys and stove pipes and this could include rags and heavy duty plastic sheeting or garbage bags as long as the stove pipe or opening is not so hot it melts or ignites the material.

You need a hiding place close by, as well, where you can shelter, and so you are out of sight of the home as well. If those that have taken over your home assume you have run off scared they may reduce their defensive posture a few notches, so do not hover where they can see you unless you are ready to start the festivities.

Simply engaging those inside in a firefight would not be practical. You will use up ammunition, damage the home and you might very well get injured or killed. They are inside shooting out at you and you are hiding behind bushes trying to keep from getting shot.

Your objective is to get them outside so they can be engaged on equal ground, so they can be shot, disabled, and/or captured. You want them confused and maybe even mad and scared if possible so they make bad decisions. Use non-lethal rounds if you do not want to kill or seriously injure anyone.

1.) Can you disrupt the power source, steal the gasoline for the generator, and/or sabotage the generator. Can you cut the cables using the insulated cutters to solar panels, can you shut down any wind or hydro power source by cutting cables or disabling any components.

2.) Smoke bombs can be placed so it appears the structure is on fire forcing them outside.

3.) A Hornets nest can be tossed inside the home by smashing a window. Angry hornets will run anyone out of the home. This is why you would need protective clothing.

4.) Can you disrupt the water source by cutting or otherwise disrupting any water lines? Can you empty water storage tanks? Look for ways to disrupt them inside, to force them outside.

5.) Tear gas and pepper spray can be used to force them out unless you have a supply of respirators or gas masks laying around for them to use.

6.) Rope, or wire cables can be strung to trip anyone running from the home, or place the rope/cables along avenues of escape. Make sure you can avoid the traps while those running after you cannot.

7.) If the home has a wood burning stove or fireplace and it is in use, you can plug up the chimney/stovepipe to force smoke back in the home. This is providing you can get on to, and off the roof safely and without being detected. This is where planning comes into play. Rope ladders can be secured in nearby trees, out buildings or hidden elsewhere that could help you get down from the roof. Rope ladders would not be much help getting you on the roof, so you have to plan for this, but they can help you get down if they can be somehow secured.

8.) Some extreme measures could be recordings of large barking dogs or other animal sounds that could instill fear in anyone inside the home. Recordings of people shouting and dogs barking may give the impression there is a much larger force than there really is outside ready to attack. This takes prior planning and materials, but it can be done if you are serious about taking back your home.

There are measures, other than listed that can be taken of course and some are more extreme than others are. This is simply an academic exercise to get you to think about certain scenarios. There are no guarantees that the above listed measures would work, and by no means are any of them recommended except in the most extreme situations, and no one should consider them unless they have certain training and demonstrated skill sets.

The above listed scenario is not likely to ever happen, but if you are serious about planning for a SHTF situation, then you have to plan for all possibilities.

This content was originally published here.

First, a question, do you scrape your magnesium bar to get fine particles or do you shave it to get curls.

High quality magnesium shavings will burn at approximately 5600° F/3093° C. The magnesium content in the bars available at camping stores and other retail outlets can vary. The percentage of magnesium would not be 100 percent. Other metal alloys are mixed in, and the more alloys contained in the stick the lower the burning temperature.

While magnesium sticks or bars are ideal for fire starting there are some things to consider before heading out to the backcountry with one.

Magnesium is impervious to water and temperature and when in mass form it is very stable, but when in particle form it is highly flammable and can be ignited from a single spark.

Magnesium shavings are light, so if you are trying to scrape enough together when it is breezy out you can find it very difficult to get the shavings and tinder paired up. You can shave the stick with a knife blade to create curls, which can be handled for better placement in a tinder bundle.

Tip: Cut a hacksaw blade down to sizes that can be paired up with your magnesium sticks. Attach to the sticks using “Ranger Bands“, so you always have a piece of metal available. Use the blade pieces for shaving the sticks and for creating a spark with the Ferro rod that is usually imbedded in the stick.

To get curls in the field you would likely have to use a knife blade. Handle the blade carefully. Use just a small section of blade near the Quillon for better control of the blade, and so you do not dull more of the cutting edge than necessary.

Prepare Ahead Of Time

Magnesium sticks can be drilled at home to create curls of magnesium that are easy to handle and store. Store them in an old pill bottle along with cotton balls or other dry tinder. Go slow and let the bit slowly create curls as it works its way through the stick. The curl size will depend on the drill bit size.

Another method that can be done ahead of time involves duct tape and cotton balls. Optional items would be dryer lint and paraffin to create fireballs that can burn for several minutes, up to ten minutes in some cases, which would allow you to start fires in damp/wet conditions.

Lay out a six inch strip of duct tape adhesive side up and then shave your magnesium bar over the tape. Make sure the shavings are adhered well and sprinkled along the entire strip of tape. Next, shave the magnesium bar over some cotton balls making sure the shavings become imbedded in the cotton fibers. You can now simply roll the cotton balls up in the tape. Tape off one end, and then either tape off the other end, or drip some melted wax in the end to create a plug to keep any loose magnesium shavings inside the fireball.

Make as many fireballs as you think you might need and store so they remain dry. Old pill bottles are ideal storage containers.

The wax plug can melt under some conditions, or it may simply fall out. You have to decide what would work best for you. When ready to use, remove the tape/plug and fluff some of the cotton ball that is visible and ignite the fireball with a spark.

Variations of this would include dipping the cotton balls in petroleum jelly, or dip them in wax and then roll up in the tape. If dipping in wax keep in mind wax cannot be ignited by a spark, it would require a flame.

You can experiment with wax and magnesium shavings, but again, you would probably still need a flame to ignite. A fireball created from wax and magnesium however, would likely burn long enough to ignite larger pieces of combustibles.

You do not want to make fire starting complicated. It is easy enough to experiment in your backyard, but you do not want to experiment out in the field. You want methods that are known to work under virtually any conditions.

Dryer lint can be used instead of cotton balls. However, unless you only dry cotton material or other organic materials in your dryer, the synthetic fibers contained in much of the clothing today are not as flammable, and certain clothing/bedding especially for children is treated with a fire retardant.

Do not pull the lint out of the lint tray, especially right after drying a load of clothes, and pack away, it must dry thoroughly first. Spread it out and let dry before packing in pill bottles or wrapping in duct tape.

You can also use char cloth to create an ember in the fireball. The objective is to create a fire that can be sustained long enough to ignite larger pieces of combustibles in a field environment under wet and windy conditions.

This content was originally published here.

Every prepper plans and trains for disasters but an often overlooked aspect of prepping is training for children. When disaster strikes your kids need to be able to snap into action. Survival skills take time to develop, so you should start teaching your children as soon as possible. If they don’t have a basic understanding …

This content was originally published here.

You may want to consider the possibility if there is a major crisis that befalls this country. Regardless of the situation, you will need a shelter, and some people and families are choosing to live in a van right now. It is a way of life for some, no crisis needed. However, a van may make an ideal bug-out-vehicle (BOV), or it could be your shelter on your very own property if there is damage to your home.

Check out what some have done to convert from their homes to vans by visiting Instagram.

One of the vans pictured has a small pot-bellied stove inside. Of course, with a wood burning stove, you can cook and heat the van using wood or even biofuels in some cases. The stove is small obviously and with the right design, it could be extremely efficient.

A conversion van can have bench seats that convert to beds or you can remove the seats and place a bed in their place. When you stop, portable solar panels can be used to charge devices or as some do, they carry a small generator with them. If the panels are mounted on the roof, you, can, of course, charge devices while driving down the highway.

Being able to cook is important and depending on where you set up camp for a night or for a few weeks may determine your method of cooking. You may not be able to start a campfire in some areas, so a small propane stove would be needed for those times. Carry enough fuel for several meals in the event wood or propane is not available at your next stopping place.

Some vans can even be outfitted with a small bathroom and shower. The roof design on some allows a person to stand upright inside the van. Overhead storage bins can keep supplies secured or you can use roof racks for some gear as well.

Any temporary shelter that provides you protection from the wind, rain, snow and cold is a positive thing, but as a bug-out-vehicle or possibly as a permanent or semi-permanent home you need some comforts, not to mention supplies and certain gear.

Stoves, sinks, porta-potties and many other things are possible with a little time and creativity to make a van a viable vehicle for a crisis or even a home on wheels for those wandering souls that want to view a sunset from a different location every night.

If you plan to use a van as BOV, you would need a destination in mind, supplies, fuel, and the mindset to get you there. A van with supplies strapped to the roof can be a traveling billboard for those seeking food and water during a crisis, so there are downfalls. However, by keeping up on the threat levels and having a destination in mind you can get out before the panic. The exodus of people fleeing civil unrest or an attack on your city or town may create a situation you cannot overcome.

Fuel would be a major concern, as would the condition of the roads and highways. Alternate routes must be mapped. Your van can be equipped with televisions along with CB and Ham radios and any antennas needed. The antennas can be dismounted or strapped down for travel if they are high enough to snag overhead obstructions, like power lines.

Solar panels and generators are not out of the question, but again fuel for the generators would be a problem if the grid failed or you are in an extremely rural area. Consider caches at your destination for resupplying.

Some van owners have safes installed that are set up with biometrics for opening the safe. This would be a secure place for certain firearms, Ammo, cash, jewelry, important documents, and precious metals for bartering if needed.

The weight of your supplies and gear, of course, is a problem and water weighs a considerable amount. Carry what you need for 72-hours and use a map to determine where the next water source is. Carry the means to filter and purify a surface water source and always top off your water containers regardless of your current supply whenever you get the opportunity.

This content was originally published here.

We all know which vegetables and fruits are safe to eat, but what about other wild plants? Knowing how to forage for wild edibles could save your life in a survival situation. You should never eat any wild plants unless you are 100% sure you can identify them. It’s better off to be hungry than to …

This content was originally published here.

Image: Foot care: An often forgotten practice when SHTF

(Natural News) Survival gear and supplies are crucial when prepping, but you mustn’t forget about foot care. If you get blisters after wearing a new pair of shoes to work, can you imagine how inconvenient that’s going to be after SHTF?

Make sure your feet are in good shape even during a survival scenario. After all, how can you escape from all sorts of danger if your feet hurt? (h/t to TheSurvivalMom.com)

Choosing proper socks and shoes

Some socks are thicker than others while liner socks are thin (like dress socks). Liner socks are worn under thicker socks to help prevent blisters.

Modern athletic socks have wicking fibers that can draw moisture away from the body. They may also have areas that can provide more (or less) support and breathability, among other features.

Socks can also be made from cotton (not suitable for hiking), nylon, and wool while others are made of hybrid and high tech fibers. When choosing socks, go with a pair that is higher than the top edge of your shoes so your feet don’t chafe and rub.

If you’re buying new hiking shoes, try them on while wearing socks to see how they will fit you. Get high-quality hiking boots so you can stay comfortable even if you have to hike all day. Never get a pair of shoes that don’t fit well so you don’t waste your hard-earned money.

Break in your shoes before you use them outdoors. This will help form creases where your body bends, like the balls of your feet and your ankles while other areas will stretch to fit your feet. (Related: Give Your Feet Natural Care.)

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If you’re not sure what kind of shoes to buy, you can wear hiking boots as long as they provide ankle support. Ankle support is necessary for beginners and for people with weak ankles. Shoes with ankle support are also suitable for hiking longer trails and carrying heavier packs.

Basic foot care

When SHTF, you might have to hike long distances or carry a heavy backpack for a long time. Keep your feet safe with these basic foot care tips:

  1. Keep your feet dry, supported, and warm.
  2. Wear shoes and socks that fit properly.
  3. Prepare your feet before taking part in strenuous activities.
  4. Always keep your toenails clipped to avoid an ingrown toenail.

Keep a small foot first aid kit in a waterproof container in your pack. Make sure it includes:

  • Alcohol pads
  • Benzoin swabs
  • Corn pads
  • Gauze pads and tape
  • Lubricant or powder
  • Moleskin and tiny scissors or duct tape wrapped around a stick/pencil
  • Safety pins

When you’re outdoors, keep your feet dry. You can keep your feet clean by bringing an extra pair of socks to change into while you let your wet socks dry.

Instead of “trail shoes,” wear “camp shoes” when you’re resting so your feet, shoes, and socks can dry. You can also use camp shoes if you need to cross creeks or other water hazards. Take the time to remove debris like rocks or sand from your shoes so your feet don’t hurt.

Pay attention to your feet, especially when SHTF. A comfortable and sturdy pair of shoes can help you outrun any danger that might head your way, as long as you’re wearing the right pair of socks.

Sources include:

This content was originally published here.

Survival Uses for Pine Resin

Pine resin or pitch is the secretion from pine trees caused by cuts in the tree trunk or from broken limbs. The trees secrete the resin to seal up any cuts or damage to the tree. If you find yourself lost or stranded in a wilderness environment one of the best-case scenarios is that there are pine trees in the area. Pine resin exposed to the air will harden/crystallize but it can be softened for use by heating. Native Americans used the pine resin for medicinal purposes. Typically, the resin was chewed on, but it can be made into a beverage by mixing with water and is thought to help with stomach ulcers and more particularly with rheumatoid arthritis.

The medicinal benefits of pine resin have not be verified by modern medical experts

Used To Waterproof Shoes and Other Material

Pine resin is essentially impervious to water so it can be used to treat objects to make them resistant to the damages caused by moisture. It can be used to seal seams, repair breaks/holes in boats, shoes and structures to prevent water leaks. In a survival situation, you may have to repair holes in boots, shoes and shelters. You can also use the resin to waterproof the lower half of your hiking shoes or boots.

The resin must be heated to liquid form so it can be applied to the material. Avoid heating the resin in a shallow container over an open flame because the flames from the fire can easily ignite the resin, which is highly flammable. Let the fire burn down to coals before heating the pitch. Find a short green stick and repeatedly strike one end to create bristles in the wood, (paintbrush) or chew on the end to break the fibers apart so they can be used to apply the pitch. Use the resin to repair holes in canvas and heavy nylon. Lay the material flat where the rip or seam is exposed. Once the resin is heated to liquid form, apply using the fibrous end of the stick.

Pine Resin Glue

Warm the resin to liquid form and while the resin is heating, crumble some charcoal from the fire as fine as possible. Once the resin is ready, remove it from the heat and stir in the powdered charcoal. The amount of charcoal added should be about one-third as compared to the volume of pitch. Find a solid stick with a blunt end and dip repeatedly in the mixture to form a ball of pitch on the end. You may need two sticks. This is how the glue is stored until needed. The glue will harden and to use heat until pliable.

Use the glue to form fishhooks, repair the soles of shoes and use to repair holes in water containers. Use the glue to apply feathers to homemade arrows or allow hardening on the ends of fishing/hunting spears to prevent splintering. Glue in a survival situation has unlimited uses.

Treat Wounds

Some claim that pine resin has healing/antibacterial properties. This may be so but the fact is that the resin once applied to a cut or scrape will inhibit the growth of bacteria because it denies the bacteria the moisture it needs to survive. Because of its very sticky nature, resin can be applied directly to a bleeding cut to help stem the flow of blood and close the wound up similar to stitching. Some survival experts use pine pitch in place of super glue to seal up cuts. Leave the resin in place, and reapply as needed. There have been reported cases where serious bleeding wounds have been stemmed using pine resin. Use the resin to treat burns, abscesses and blisters.

Fire Starting

Pine resin is flammable and can be used to help start a fire in damp conditions. You may find yourself in a situation where all of the available wood is damp but this does not mean you have to go without a fire.

Find some hardened pine resin and some pine sticks/branches. Split the sticks and look for streaks of resin in the wood. Use magnesium shavings and a flint bar or you can use a Ferro rod to ignite the pitch. Lay some dried pine needles near the pitch and ignite the pitch. It will burn like a candle long enough to dry the needles out and you can begin adding small pieces of the pine which even if somewhat damp in the middle will burn because of the resin. Once you have, a sizable flame established you could then begin drying out other wood.

Illumination and Heat

You can use pine resin to create a lamp. Find a stone with a depression or use a clamshell or any type of shell that can be filled with resin or use a cupped shaped piece of bark. You will also need material for a wick. Use some twisted cloth or even dried moss. Fill the depression with the pitch and lay the wick material on top. You ignite the wick first, which will in turn ignite the resin. The resin will burn like a candle and you can feed it more resin to maintain the flame once ignited.

To use as a heat source place a metal container that has plenty of air holes in it over the ignited pitch. The metal container will absorb the heat and conduct to the surrounding area. This method will not heat a large area but will warm hands and feet in an emergency.

In most cases, you will find damaged pine trees/broken limbs that have secreted resin. It is recommended that you first look for damaged and fallen limbs before you purposely cut into a pine tree to harvest the resin. If you have to damage the tree do it in a small area on one side of the tree only. Only take as much as you need, you must allow some resin to remain on the tree so it can protect the cut to prevent boring insect from destroying the tree.

This content was originally published here.

The concept of private barter and alternative economies has been so far removed from our daily existence here in America that the very idea of participating in commerce without the use of dollars seems almost outlandish to many people. People sometimes forget that the smallest and most convenient storage space is in their own heads. If you find yourself in the midst of a disaster and you need to either build or fix something, having the necessary knowledge and skills in your mind instead of in a book will hugely benefit your ability to survive.

There’s no way of telling quite how different life after a major disaster or serious collapse of society could be, but humans are remarkably resilient, so life would certainly go on.

One thing is certain, though: in the aftermath of a widespread disaster or the collapse of civil society as we know it, you’ll want to have useful skills and items that you can barter or trade with. Once society collapses, bartering will become a business, a black market business if you will, likely run by criminal elements. Individuals will have items they can barter with, but in most cases, a person would not be able to afford to part with the items they do have. Anyone not prepared will have nothing to barter with, so looters will be active as well as desperate.

Looters and other criminals will steal so they can then use the stolen items, or just to barter with for other goods. Real trading will be based On ‘long term’ items. Seeds, not food. Arrows, not ammo. Tools, not filters. See, once the ‘short duration expendables’ are consumed, you won’t be re-supplying, you’ll be making your own or doing without. From turning your own arrow shafts, to cutting arrowheads from old license plates; from building filtration weirs to filter water, to needing copper tubing to make ‘wood-fired-water-heaters’. Knowledge and durable supplies (axes, hammers, spoke shaves, saw blades, etc.) will be the real money.

He who has stocked dozens of saw blades will be king. He who sits on a case of toilet paper will be sad he didn’t learn how to replace it with what they used 200 years ago, instead (FYI, toilet paper is only about a 100-year old concept – ask yourself, what did they use before that, and get a real clue – because THAT is VERY valuable in the long term!)

So, forget stocking for that 2-week event, it’s not that difficult. The hard part is stocking for the total paradigm shift, that few remember how to do much of. You won’t be making your own saw blades anytime soon. Now, ask yourself, what else will you NOT be making, that you need to learn how to make, or replace with older technology, before you need it (or need to trade it).

Here are the invaluable skills that will likely help you sustain yourself in a hand-made local world:

Organic Gardening and Seed Saving:

Skills involving food production will be the most valuable in a post-collapse society. Learning to grow your own food is a must.  Obviously, it is necessary to feed your family, but you will also be able to trade your abundance for other items. Additionally, learning to save seeds will also provide another excellent means of trade.  Understanding permaculture design for your garden can help reduce water consumption and use the lands natural resources. Aquaponics can provide plants, fish, and store water. Watch this video to understand how aquaponic sistems work.

Food Processing and Preservation:

Learning to process and preserve foods will be another huge skill in a post-collapse world. Taking seasonal abundance and preserving it for future consumption or trade will be vital.  Remember, learning to do this with limited electricity is a must. One necessity for every homestead is having someone who knows how to butcher animals and preserve them for future consumption by smoking, salt curing, or dehydrating. This can also include learning to brew beer, mead, vinegar, or other alcoholic beverages from meager ingredients.

Old fashioned techniques of meat preservation as a step by step guide. Find out more below. Click on the book!

Hunting, Fishing, and Gathering:

Learning to fish and hunt is essential to survival. Having the proper gear and training will be priceless after the collapse of modern civilization.  Having reference guides for edible plants in your region, repairing weapons, trapping wild game, and fishing are great tools to have if you haven’t the time to learn them now. You should also take the time to learn or refine your skills on hunting using quiet weapons like bows, slingshots, knives, and spears.

Animal Husbandry:

Knowledge of animal husbandry can provide endless amounts of sustainable meat, eggs, and milk to you and your tribe.  Your farm animals are the most valuable food source you have since they can reproduce. Knowing which animals to breed and when is an important part of farming and should not be learned through mistakes.

Cooking:

Knowing how to cook without using your time-saving, electricity driven appliances may not be as easy as you think.  Practice cooking with your stored food supplies using no or very little electricity.  You will soon realize how much more time and preparation it takes to do what once was a simple task.  Learn to cook using a dutch oven, a sun oven, an outdoor fire pit, and whatever means you have for cooking.

Foraging:  Someone who knows how to forage for wild edibles and can increase your food supplies, becomes an asset to any group. There will be a high demand for this skill.

Water Purification: Since it’s difficult to pump well water without electricity, unless you have a hand pump, and with surface water likely to be contaminated, clean water will be in very limited supply.  Learning to purify water will allow you thrive during this time. You can also purchase water filters for your go-bag and you can have back-up tablets should you need them.  However, the skill and knowledge to purify water should be the goal as that can never run out.

Collecting and Storing Water:  Do you have enough stored water for you to survive through the first 30 days post disaster?  Most do.  How about for 3 months….or 9 months?  Now, do you have enough for your family members?  If you have a family of five and want to store a one year’s supply of water you would need to have over 1800 gallons, and that’s just for drinking.  Now, how about the extended family members who show up on your doorstep?  Your animals?  Your garden?  Your sanitation, hygiene and cleaning?  Whew! Now you understand how it can be very difficult to store all of the water you would need, so knowing how to collect water to replenish your stored supplies is invaluable.

Ham Radio: Do you have your ham radio license or at the very least own and know how to operate a ham radio?  Having a skilled ham radio expert in your group is a necessary key component to keeping up on communications and knowing what is going on in the world around you.  Remember, tv, cell phone, the internet, will all most likely be down.  Understanding how to make and set up an antennae to improve your radio signal and knowing morse code are other valuable skills to include in your arsenal.

Communications: Not all people know how to truly communicate well with others.  During stressful and hazardous times, people with great communication skills will be valued for their abilities.  Knowing how to handle and calm down people and even groups on the verge of fighting can save lives.

Languages: Knowing a second language is a great skill to have.  If you were to know a second or even third language what would you choose?  Hopefully you would choose the language of your most dangerous threat.  Knowing what others are saying over radio communications can be a very valuable piece of intel.

SELF-SUSTAINABILITY

Self-sustainability is one of the most important skills to learn.  You can store food, water, and everything else you may need for survival but when those stored supplies run out, and they will, how will you replenish them?  Knowing how to live off the land, grow a garden, raise animals, store seeds, hunt for food, or make your own clothing can prolong your survivability. A very important skill is knowing how to cure meats and butcher animals. This might take a little while to show its merit, but if you’ve got the guts and know-how to slaughter and butcher a variety of animals for consumption, demand for your skills will gradually return and rise as society starts to regulate again. Even during the hardest of times, if you can find work as a butcher it is usually sufficient to allow you to keep food on the table, as you can at least trade your skills as a butcher for a suitable share of the meat, if nothing else.

Take away all electricity and go back to the old ways of living.  What did your grandparents or great grandparents do?  How did people survive during the great depression or dust bowl? If we don’t understand our history we are doomed to repeat it.  Some skills that will be useful are: fire making, camp cooking, basket weaving, pottery making, animal tracking, tool making, tanning hides, rock climbing, knot tying, etc.

Other useful skills include teaching, knitting, piloting an aircraft, sailing, music, etc.

The only way to understand how we can live without our electricity driven modern conveniences is to live without them.

Test #1  Turn off your electricity for a few hours.  Take notes on how it affected you.  What did you learn?  What did you need that you didn’t have and what wasn’t necessary at all?

Test #2  Turn off your electricity for a weekend.  Take notes again and see how your answers changed or stayed the same.  How did you cook?  How did you get water?  What would you change?

Test #3  Turn off your electricity for a week.  Sounds hard?  Try doing it for a few months or a few years, because that is what can happen after a large scale disaster.  Be uncomfortable now knowing that you can flick the switch back on whenever you want.  Learn from your mistakes now while you can make them.  Appreciate the fact that these are just tests we’re putting ourselves through and not the real thing.  The more you practice the easier it will become and you may come to realize how little you miss the modern life.

Shelter building can really fall under two categories.  One being outdoor wilderness survival and the other would be construction to your current home and property.  In this section we will focus on the later.

Construction:

Construction skills will be very important in a shattered civilization.  These skills, especially without power tools, are not something you learn overnight.  If you have some basic skills it may be worth learning a few techniques for building small structures with crude hand tools.  There are many books teaching anyone how to build basic cabins, sheds, and composting outhouses.

First Aid and TraumaThis is another skill that can take years to develop and learn, but that will be crucial when supply lines of pharmaceuticals are cut off and hospitals are over-run.  You will need an emergency medic who can perform appendectomies, c-sections, and set broken bones. If having a nurse or doctor in your group is not an option, then learning basic procedures for stitching wounds, CPR, and more will be an absolute necessity for every adult and teenager in your family group.

Veterinary Skills:

Your farm animals are vital to your survival.  Horses are a tool for transportation, your goats are your milk supply and your chickens and rabbits are your protein.  Heaven forbid that they have any health issues that require immediate veterinary care.  Learn at least the basics about the animals you are caring for because they are depending on you as much as you are on them.

Dental:

Knowing how to pull a tooth, fix a filling, and manage pain during dental procedures will come in handy.

Knowledge of growing herbal gardens for making medicine at home will prove to be very important.   Being the tribe’s shaman with a natural medicine chest is a prestigious position. Learn how to make the most powerful natural painkiller. Watch video below!

HYGIENE & SANITATION

I know this may not sound important compared to food and water but if you think about it, it is. When a disaster strikes, whether it be natural or man made, the creature comforts that people have grown accustomed to throughout their lives will no longer be there. No more daily showers and washing your hair with apple scented shampoo. No more flushing the toilet 10 times a day. Sanitation services that require power will no longer be functioning. This will quickly lead to diseases being spread rapidly.  Learning how to build a composting toilet, a solar hot water heater, or a sewer drainage system is important.  It is good to know how to make your own toothpaste, deodorant, soap and shampoo and stock up on the supplies necessary.

Home and Property:

Regardless of the threat, an ideal home is one that is secure and can keep you safe from a person or people who mean to do you harm.  Take the time now to learn how to protect your home, land, and everything on it as best you can.  This includes farm animals.  Your animals are a valuable asset and must be protected from hungry predators, including man and beast.

Personal Defense:

Learn how to protect yourself through hand to hand combat.  There may be times when you’re in the garden or tending to the property and are caught off guard by a lone stalker or a group of marauders.  I know this sounds Mad Max but when the SHTF it can happen.  Learn to use your tools as weapons.  Nunchucks were originally used to harvest rice.

Weapons/Combat:

Alternative Energy and Fuels:

Having the knowledge to implement alternative energy systems will make you a wealthy survivor in a “dark” world. You can learn to build your own alternative energy systems through solar, hydro, and wind power. Knowledge of how to create energy would be invaluable when oil is scarce.

In the event of a grid failure, all life as we know it will change. The ability to build or do anything without power will become a life-saving skill in itself – but it will make sure you have a steady supply of either cash or barter goods coming your way. Most other folks – even if they have some of these things – don’t have any skill in using them. Your skills and services will not only be in demand, but may just be the thing that keeps your family or tribe thriving.

Here is a list with the best items you can stock for trading:

See, barter comes down to how desperate (or how much does your life depend on it) you are, as to how critical it really is to have for barter. Can you live without toilet paper, versus that last wool blanket? THIS is how barter REALLY works.

Barter is far scarier than you can even understand, if you are UNABLE to assess ‘critical need’ from ‘whimsy want’ right now. Fire, water, shelter, warmth – yeah, you’re going to pay dearly for what you didn’t see fit to pack now. Think about critical needs, before you think all that ammo is so important. I bet my wool blanket is worth AT LEAST all of your ammo, if you’re cold and we’re both armed. Again, don’t plan on thuggery, stock what you can’t afford to trade for. Have extras to trade yourself, in regards to those critical things we MUST have.

Toilet paper? LOL, Davey Crockett didn’t have toilet paper and he did just fine. HE DID have a weapon, a knife, a fire flint, a good blanket, and good clothes and boots. He traded horses, burros, saddles and whiskey. Take a 3-year, 1,000 mile trip in your mind, and imagine only meeting others on the road like yourself. Each packed differently, not all are nice, not all are passive. Now, prepare for the trip in your mind and take it. What do you see yourself needing, each day, as the seasons change, as the environment changes, and as bad and good people cross your path?

Once again, toilet paper is like a good cigar or stick of chewing gum. It might give you ‘modern comfort’, but there are far more important things you need first.

Did you pack them?

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Don’t let this knowledge get lost.Find all the wisdom of our ancestors in this great book ”The Lost Ways”. 

Table Of Contents:
Making Your Own Beverages: Beer to Stronger Stuff
Ginger Beer: Making Soda the Old Fashioned Way
How North American Indians and Early Pioneers Made PemmicanTLWPH
Spycraft: Military Correspondence During The 1700’s to 1900’s
Wild West Guns for SHTF and a Guide to Rolling Your Own Ammo
How Our Forefathers Built Their Sawmills, Grain Mills,and Stamping Mills

How Our Ancestors Made Herbal Poultice to Heal Their Wounds
What Our Ancestors Were Foraging For? or How to Wildcraft Your Table
How Our Ancestors Navigated Without Using a GPS System
How Our Forefathers Made Knives
How Our Forefathers Made Snow shoes for Survival
How North California Native Americans Built Their Semi-subterranean Roundhouses
Our Ancestors’Guide to Root Cellars
Good Old Fashioned Cooking on an Open Flame
Learning from Our Ancestors How to Preserve Water
Learning from Our Ancestors How to Take Care of Our Hygiene When There Isn’t Anything to Buy
How and Why I Prefer to Make Soap with Modern Ingredients
Temporarily Installing a Wood-Burning Stove during Emergencies
Making Traditional and Survival Bark Bread…….
Trapping in Winter for Beaver and Muskrat Just like Our Forefathers Did

How to Make a Smokehouse and Smoke Fish
Survival Lessons From The Donner Party

Get your paperback copy HERE

This content was originally published here.

While I was Christmas shopping, I came across a new water filter by Sawyer called the Mini. After checking out its specifications and seeing how many different ways it could be used, I had to pick one up. I have been using the Lifestraw for a while now and it goes with me whenever I’m hiking and fishing and I also have one in my bug out bag as well. But after comparing these two filters and seeing all the benefits of the new Sawyer, it looks like I will be replacing the Lifestraw in my bug out bag with the Sawyer.

Now don’t get me wrong the Lifestraw is an excellent filter, but in my opinion the Sawyer is a far better filter and here is why. First the specifications on the Sawyer are a lot better, not only does it filter down to 0.1 microns, but it also filters 100,000 gallons of contaminated water compared to Lifestraws 264 gallons. If that alone isn’t enough to convince you check out the other features of the Sawyer below.

Now here is where the Sawyer really outshines the Lifestraw, not only can it be used like a straw, but it can also be attached to standard disposable water bottles, hydration packs, or the included drinking pouch. That means no more crouching down and sticking your face near the water to get a drink. Now you can just fill up your hydration packs or your disposable water bottles and be on your way, which makes it a lot more versatile than the Lifestraw.

Even though both filters weigh in at 2 ounces and are roughly the same diameter, the sawer is about half the length of the Lifestraw making it more compact. Now for the price, the LifeStraw sells for $19.99 on Amazon and the Sawyer Mini sells for $20.85. So for $.86 cents more you can have a more versatile water filter that can filter roughly 378 times more water. Keep in mind neither of these two filters can remove chemicals, dissolved solids, or viruses. However, viruses are very rarely found in North America or when traveling to foreign cities.

This content was originally published here.