Wilderness Survival Rules of 3

Wilderness Survival: Some of You Will Probably Die

The rule of three is pretty well known and yet many have decided they can rearrange the rules, because they think they know better. Some of course do know better, but for anyone lost, not just away from camp or home for a few hours, but actually lost or stranded needs to follow the rule of three or they may not make it back alive.

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Aluminum Foil Fishing Tip

How to Attract More Fish with Aluminum Foil

Everyone has those days where the fish just aren’t biting, each cast into the water not finding purchase. As with most things in life, the solution to a problem can be very simple.

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Is a Survival Garden Really Worth It?

Survival Garden

Preppers: You May be Wondering If Survival Gardening Is Going to Be worth It

First, ask yourself what you have to compare it to other than what you are doing now as far as gardening. You may believe that from an economic standpoint and how much labor you invest in gardening it may not be worth it, but that is now, you do not likely need a garden to survive.

Gardening is hard work, raising your own food is not the same as running to the local grocery store as some have found out. Today if the tomato plant wilts and the blossoms fall off you run to the store for your tomatoes. The corn did not come in, oh well better luck next year, in a survival scenario there may not be a next year if the crop fails.

Gardening requires you put in the time, effort and have the skill. In today’s world, you have work, social obligations and social networks to keep up with and then maybe you have time to putter in the garden. Gardening for most people today is a hobby. In a survival situation, gardening is surviving.

People try to put a dollar amount on gardening, if “I raise so many potatoes how much money will I save at the store” for example. This may be the wrong way to approach it, it is not about dollars saved today but about how much you are investing in you and your family’s future survival. Building a skill set today, gathering knowledge now, is why you should be gardening today, because once things go boom is not the time to be rummaging around for trowels and seeds.

Is Gardening Practical or Even Safe In A SHTF Scenario

Should you wait to find out or should you develop the skills now. Isn’t it better to have the skills and not need them versus finding out you need them and you do not have a clue as to where to begin.

The cons some preach about on the Internet include “becoming a target because you have a garden hidden away”. This is an actual quote from a blog. First off, if the garden is hidden then how is it you are a target because of it, this is why you have to carefully review information on the Internet. Obviously, people are only stating what they think will happen, because no one has lived through a doomsday scenario, so firsthand knowledge is non-existent.

Your neighbors will hound you because you have a garden is another quote. Your neighbors may be dead, and in a SHTF situation, people will not be living harmoniously next to each other. Most people will assume the grass is greener on the other side and head off somewhere and never return. If you live in suburbia, the only ones likely to stay are those prepared to stay. The so-called sheeple will wander off looking for a handout from the government.

Some Perspective

A survival expert was asked. “What happens if you are stranded for 10 days and only have three days worth of food”. The answer was “well I get to eat for three days at least”. Some people are focused on the 100 percent instead of asking themselves is it better to eat for three days or not eat at all for seven days, if you do not know the answer to this give up now. If you can only raise one tomato that is one tomato more than you had yesterday, that is survival.

You have to get it straight that you will not live as well in a survival situation as you do right now. You may spend hundreds if not thousands of dollars trying to ensure your quality of living does not suffer when the lights go out. It may be a fool’s errand, because survival is hard work and is measured in minute’s, hours and by the day, and not having that tomato plant, or those pumpkin seeds may mean the difference between surviving and not.

The answer of course is yes survival gardening is worth it, you have to try and then try again and always have something else working. Never put all of your eggs in one basket. Once the garden is in, set traps, go hunting and start looking for wild edibles, and do all of this before your stockpile gets any lower.

Roving Bands Will Strip Your Garden

They may and then they may not but are you really going to say to yourself “well if I put in a garden someone will just come along and steal it all, so I had better not”. You will likely have more produce eaten by insects, deer, and rabbits and the neighbors wandering goat, they left behind then by roving bands of thugs ( tie up the goat by the way, you will need it).

People will search for gardens because that is what some survival experts preach. However, respectable survival experts talk about finding abandoned gardens, where the homeowner fled the area and it is obvious the home is abandoned, that is just common sense.

The pros far outweigh the cons when it comes to gardening no matter where you live. Having a garden means you have a chance, not having a garden dramatically reduces your chances, so what will you choose.

The point of all this of course is that no one really knows, and because you do not know the prudent thing to do is to be prepared to have a survival garden. You have the time now to develop the skills, gather the knowledge, tools and materials. Once disaster does strike, you cannot run down to the local home and garden to load up on seedlings and do-it-yourself books.

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Growing Your Own Food in a SHTF Situation

Growing food shtf

Past articles have talked about what crops to grow, and in some cases how to raise a particular crop and so on. This article however, will attempt to point out a few things that some of you may not have considered about your food and raising your own during an extended crisis.

Some Facts to Chew On

People living in the United States at the beginning of the 21st century are consuming more food and several hundred more calories per- person, per day than did their counterparts in the 1950’s, according to the USDA (USDA, 2000).

“In the late 1950s, the per capita calorie consumption was at its lowest level in the last century. The aggregate food supply in 2000 provided 3,800 calories per person per day. This is 500 calories above the 1970 level and 800 calories above the record low in 1957and 1958” (USDA, 2000).

In 2000, the average person consumed on average 195 pounds of meat yearly, which included red meat, pork and poultry, while only, consuming on average 15 pounds of fish. The meat consumption was up by 57 pounds annually. According to some experts today however, the consumption of meats is down compared to 2000.

The study was conducted in 2000, so in all likelihood the calorie consumption and meat consumption has changed. In the year 2000, 62 percent of adults were considered overweight, but not necessarily considered obese.

“A person is considered obese when they are 30 pounds above their healthy weight”.

What is a healthy weight, that is a question for another day and only you and your health care provider can answer that.

Ok Now That You Have Digested the Facts

The point of the data is to point out that modern farming, food processing and readymade foods along with technology has made food readily available. The availability of foods can logically be considered one of the reasons for the growing problem of obesity in the country.

The study did not point out however, that even though food is readily available for various reasons, it is not free. In a SHTF situation how well you eat will be directly related to how much effort you put into it, along with having the right skills, knowledge and the plants themselves. Being prepared is vital to your survival.

You Don’t Know Until You Know

Backyard gardeners today have fertilizers, pesticides and soils bought in bags that virtually guarantee results. You have a reasonable expectation of yields even though you have just a basic understanding of gardening.

The Internet is full of stories of people claiming they can support a family of four on a ¼ acre of land while others say it takes ½ acre while still others say it takes a full acre. You will not know until you know, because you cannot use the standards of today to predict what the results will be in the future.

Today if your tomatoes look like weaklings, you give them a dose of fertilizer, spray for fungus and pests, and talk soothingly to them. The squirrels, rabbits, deer and other animals know their place so your crops in the backyard are swaddled in comfort and safety.

You go to sleep dreaming of that beefsteak tomato slice on your hamburger at tomorrow’s barbecue. All the other foods for the gathering were bought at your local grocery, so gardening for some if not for many today is not a life or death struggle.

Imagine your food supply is down to six months, it takes that long or even longer in some cases for a crop to mature if it matures at all. You plant the seeds in soil that is dubious at best because you have no idea what contaminates may be in the soil. You have no fertilizer other than the scraps from your last meal and water is always a problem because you cannot count on rainfall.

It seems like that ten minutes after planting the seeds weeds have already sprouted to compete for the nutrients and water. You cannot provide any more fertilizer than what you have. The lonely tomato is now in a life or death struggle, for water, nutrients and even sunlight and how well it does may determine if you will survive or not.

Your research has shown that growing foods organically today means you will have at least a 25 percent reduction in yields, so for every ten plants you put in, 2.5 of them will die or be destroyed by insects, animals, or simply not yield at all. The figures may be conservative because now you have a water problem, a bigger animal and insect problem and your seeds even though they were canned and sealed may not be what you thought.

The Data May Tell the Story

When people stopped producing as much of their own foods shortly after the Second World War, people’s waistlines increased, (look up victory gardens). Was it because the troops came home, and houses were built in record numbers during this period? Farmland was sold off so more houses could be built and thus suburbia was born. Cheek to cheek, the houses sprang up, no room for victory gardens anymore but that was okay because food was plentiful at the local market.

What about Now

You have a SHTF seed survival can or packet or even a seed vault. Great to have, but all you get are seeds in the can. Knowledge and skills cannot be bought in a can and what about seed harvesting for future crops. Will bees even survive (you will need bees more so then ever) or will the population be reduced after a catastrophe, questions that cannot be answered right now.

The overuse of pesticides in today’s gardens has reduced the number of bees, so much to learn so little time.

It is not this articles’ intent to scare anyone, or to prove it can or cannot be done, but to simply point out there is more to growing your own food in crisis than just having a trowel and a packet of seeds.

You will need a way of tilling up the soil. Today you rent or you may already own a tiller. Pull the cord and the machine does much of the work. How will you work the soil, an acre or more, without machinery? Irrigation is something you must consider as well, unless you want to carry water in clay pots and dribble a little on each plant, and where will the water source come from. All things you must consider. Rainfall is generally never enough to sustain a healthy garden.

These are things to plan for now. Make sure your seeds will still germinate a month, year or two years from now by knowing the shelf life. The only way to be sure however, is to harvest your own seeds and store them properly. Who are you going to call when that survival pack of seeds is nothing more than a container of duds when the SHTF. Most importantly, you need the skills and the knowledge. Guesswork will hasten your demise when the situation becomes real.

Some of you living in a rural environment may already have an established garden. How many of you have considered how much food you buy from a grocery store. You may buy less, because of the garden and livestock, but how much less. If the grocery stores closed today, could you feed your family?

Food storage will be a problem. Seeds will be sought after not only by humans but also by rodents. Rats and mice depend on humans for their survival. Rodents will continue to rely on humans as long as there are humans on the planet. You will need a rodent and insect proof plan for food storage. Keep in mind what you use today may not be relevant during a crisis, so you have to adapt as the situation changes.

Get your pencil sharpened and begin now planning for when you do have to survive on your wits and skills alone.

USDA. (2000). Retrieved from http://www.usda.gov/factbook/chapter2.pdf

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The ABC’s of Water Purification

Water purificationIf the grid were to ever fail one thing is for certain, millions of people would be looking for clean drinking water. Many will succumb to disease from dirty or poisoned water. The question is, if you don’t know your water source, what will you need to purify it? This comprehensive guide from the Tin Hat Ranch will teach you what filtering methods to use for what environments and how they work.

The ABC’s of Water Purification

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Preppers: The Less You Know the More You Need

Packed Mule

Skills You Need To Lighten the Load

Fear caused by lack of knowledge will cause some people to rush out and literally grab up things they likely do not need, or know how to use. If you were to gather everything that you thought you might need, or were told you needed in a survival situation, you would need two mules and a wagon to haul it all.

You have probably seen some of the advertisements for survival, or bug-out-bags and emergency kits and may have wondered how you would carry all of the items. Well most people would not be able to. Some may think they can, but carrying 50-70 pounds around the house or up and down, the sidewalk is different than carrying it for 10-12 hours a day over uneven terrain.

Some kits have tents, sleeping bags, portable stoves and the list goes on. Do you necessarily need a tent, no but you need shelter, do you need a sleeping bag, no but you need protection in cold weather. Of course, you need water but you can only realistically carry 2-3 days supply at a time in a backpack.

There is no question about what you need to survive, but the question is, has fear and lack of skills driven you to carry it all on your back. Facing your fears means gaining the knowledge and skills needed to survive, so you can lighten the load.

Practically anyone can survive if they have an endless supply of food and water and if it is always within reach. Anyone can stay warm with propane heaters to warm the tent, as you crawl into your sub-zero rated sleeping bag, but can you carry it all and if you cannot how do you survive.

You know or should know that you cannot always pack a tent, heaters, sleeping mats and sleeping bags along with food and water to sustain you for indefinite period, so you need skills to replace or find what you cannot carry.

Humans sailed around the world hundreds if not thousands of years ago. Their ships landed and they begin life in a new world with nothing more than tools, knowledge and certain skill sets. They likely had enough provisions to get them started but when the salted fish and dried apples ran out they had to have certain skill sets and knowledge to survive long-term.

Water weighs roughly 8.5lbs/3.8kg per gallon. The average person during the normal course of a day will use approximately 80 to 100 gallons of water (United States Geological Society, 2014).

Obviously, during a survival situation you will not use near the estimated daily usage per person, but you will likely use more than you had estimated. You cannot carry enough water for any extended period.

If you try to stockpile it at home, weight may become a factor unless you have adequate storage space. At 8.5 pounds per gallon 50 gallons of water weighs 425 pounds. How long will 50 gallons last you? If you live in an apartment, can you store several thousand pounds if you live on an upper floor? If your home is built with sub-floors how much weight, will the floor hold?

If you have the ideal situation, you can store unlimited amounts but rarely is any situation ideal. You need to be able to find a source, wherever you may be, and make it safe to drink. You need this skill to survive.

Skills you need are not specialized, in a rural environment you need to know how to dig a well or find natural sources that will not be compromised by others. In an urban environment, you will need to know where public sources such as reservoirs and public swimming pools or fountains are as well as private pools and hot tubs. Once collected you will need to know how to filter and purify.

In an urban area keep in mind, you will be competing with others for water sources, so moving quickly to gather water is essential and any source will be limited depending on the number of people collecting it. You may have to search outside the city for a water source.

Hunting, trapping and fishing skills will allow you to eat, as well as knowing how to forage for edible plants, nuts and berries.

Basic construction skills along with tools will be needed for you to make a shelter in any environment. In many cases, you will not be able to pack a tent around with you but you can certainly carry the tools and materials needed as long as you have the basic skills to use those tools.

The only way to gain the skills you need is to practice. Work into it slow in a controlled environment. Set goals, and start filling a knowledge pack instead of trying to fill a backpack with material things.

United States Geological Society. (2014, March 17). Retrieved 2014, from http://ga.water.usgs.gov/edu/qa-home-percapita.html

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Bugging Out: Can You Will You and Should You?

Bugging out

Bug-out, to withdraw rapidly from a position that is about to be overrun by hostile forces to another more defensible position. In most cases, hostile forces could mean any catastrophe. One major point is that to bug-out, you must know that you need to bug-out, this means you will have some type of warning, so paying attention is crucial. To consider bugging-out you have to be expecting something to happen. Those caught unaware will not be able to bug-out.

The tornado sirens are going off. You look out the window, and see a funnel cloud. Do you grab your bug-out-bag and head for the front door? No, you do not unless you live in a mobile home. If you had been paying attention, you would have known hours in advance, a storm was coming and that the conditions were right for a tornado outbreak. If it caught you by surprise then bugging-out is not an option.

If things like storms, catch you by surprise, it is not likely that you prepared for a disaster anyway. You should have headed for the local storm shelter hours ago or be nestled snuggly in your own tornado shelter underground, or be prepared to shelter in an interior room of your home.

What disaster would happen so fast that you could not prepare, by packing your car and evacuating ahead of the crisis. Hurricanes are predicted with a great deal of accuracy days in advance, giving you ample warning to prepare for staying or for evacuation. Setting out on foot during a hurricane carrying a 50-pound pack on your back is not an option.

You know when there is a wildfire headed your way, you have time to weigh your options. Leaving well ahead of time in your vehicle is the only sensible course. You cannot bug-out when the flames are licking at the back door. Knowing what the crisis is you are facing will help you decide.

Do you think that you will wake up one morning to see thousands of people out in the streets overturning cars because the financial market collapsed, will civil unrest catch you off guard. It may if you have not been paying attention.

It takes time to get people worked up to the point where they take to the streets. You would be aware, if you are paying attention, of the catalyst days or weeks in advance, that would create civil unrest. You would see it in larger cities first and could reasonably expect it to happen in your community at some point. You have time to get ready. The well informed would have been gone long before the crowds got to the point they started tearing the city apart.

Do you grab your bug-out bag and try to push your way through the angry demonstrators. No, at this point, you would be safer sheltering in place, getting in the middle of a mob with supplies on your back is asking for problems.

Pandemics can happen and one is likely to happen in your lifetime according to some experts. What do you do, when should you leave, and where would you go. Diseases can be in Europe in the morning and in the United States in the afternoon.

Medical experts can predict a pandemic or give some warning of a rapidly spreading virus or some other type of disease. You would have some warning; an example is the MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome). It is now in the United States, in Indiana to be more precise. It is here and will be here from this point forward, because someone else will come down with the disease and spread it to someone else headed for Atlanta or Miami and points yet unknown.

Do you grab your bag, because it can develop into a pandemic? No one has stated it is a pandemic, yet, and when it is classified as such is it too late. Where do you go that there are not humans? Any human you meet could potentially be carrying MERS. The only protection, the only chance you have is to get away from heavily populated areas, the more people around the greater chance someone has a communicable disease.

Essentially, however, you cannot outrun a pandemic, so it is back to, do you stay or do you run, and frankly, there is nowhere to run to in the event of pandemic.

A nuclear war or a single occurrence of surface nuclear detonation, the country would have warning of an upcoming strike, unless it was a device smuggled in by individuals and detonated in a city somewhere. If you knew, a large metropolitan area was going to be hit because the missiles have been launched and they (the government) knows the target, do you “bug-out” if it is not your city?

In theory, because it has never been tested, the plan is to bring down the missiles before they can strike, one may get through but a counter attack would have been launched to prevent any more attacks. At this point, is there any need to bug-out, and where do you go?

A smuggled in device could be detonated without warning, but those that would have needed to bug-out, because they were close to ground zero will not be able to. Will you need to, the device would likely be small, may even be a dirty bomb, and it only affects a small radius, you do not know, so what do you do.

In any attack or SHTF scenario, you are going to be killed, injured or simply come through unscathed. In the first too cases you cannot leave and if unharmed do you need to leave.

Bugging-out during a terrorist attack would be dangerous because typically the attacks are two-fold. The first attack kills and maims scores of civilians and gets everyone’s attention and then the second one is launched to kill first responders such as law enforcement, firefighters and paramedics along with those panicked civilians fleeing the area. Staying put may be the safest option.

It is not this articles’ intent to decide one way or another about bugging-out. The information is merely presented to get you thinking and to point out the odds are stacked against you actually bugging out in many instances.

If you have a family with children, it is not as simple as grabbing your bags and hitting the front door. By the time, you decide the situation warrants evacuation then it is possible it is too late. You will always think there is “one more thing I need”. The children will not be ready at a moment’s notice and time will slip away. Most people will not realize that the time to bug-out is before the crisis reaches its peak, in other words you evacuate when you do not think you need to. Otherwise, it may be too late.

Fear is real and it may keep you from heading out on foot with children or elderly family members. The pack will be too heavy, you are not conditioned, and the children certainly are not. Your bug-out-bag is likely to look like a suitcase packed for vacation. Too many clothes, toys for the children, and the list will have grown to the point you may be wavering by the time you are ready to leave.

Be realistic, have a bag ready because it is the prudent thing to do but always stay informed. Make the decision based on relevant information, because you do not want to flee one crisis only to find yourself in a far worse situation.

The whole point is to show that because of the Internet people are convinced they need a bug-out bag for every occasion. You can have one for everyday of the week but the point is there are alternatives.

If you have ample warning, you can pack the car and leave or fortify your shelter, if you do not have any warning and the city collapses you are not going anywhere, whether it is on foot or not. Consider all alternatives, bug-out bags are merely one alternative they are not the end-all to surviving a crisis, so do not use them as a crutch.

Becoming too dependent on the bag sitting by the front door may mean you have overlooked or discarded other alternatives for surviving the situation.

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7 DIY Ways To Make Gardening Easier

DIY Garden Water Reservoir

Growing your own plants, fruits, and vegetables are crucial for any prepper. Having easy access to fresh food can make your daily cooking so much better. Not to mention the benefits of growing plants for medical use.

All of these can be maintained from your own garden, but we all know it can get a little stressful. These tips will make your gardening days run a little smoother. Check out these 7 excellent tips below to make your gardening a bit easier!

Read more at… 7 DIY Ways To Make Gardening Easier

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Bug out bags for beginners

Bug Out Bags for Beginners

You finally decided it was time to get serious about preparedness, so buying a quality backpack was your first step. You have it home and are wondering what now, it appears to have a lot of space, and yet seems small when you consider what you may need to pack in it.

What you think you may need to survive could fill a two-car garage. What you will need to survive can easily fit inside your rucksack. What is needed and what is wanted are two vastly different things when it comes to survival.

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Build Your Own Survival Kit or Buy One Already Packaged?

pre-packaged survival kit

There are plenty of options when it comes to picking up a survival kit, a kit that supposedly has all the latest and greatest survival gear all in one place. “Grab and go” was one advertisement, “buy now and never be caught in a survival situation again” was another marketing slogan. The marketers need a little help in some cases.

You can of course, be caught in a survival situation regardless of whether you have a kit or not, but once in a situation your survival may depend on whether you have a kit and does it have what you need.

Some experts consider a survival kit the “go to as a last resort kit”. It will contain what is needed to survive after you have exhausted the normal supplies you had packed.

The facts are hunters and anglers as a rule become lost or stranded more often than other groups of outdoor enthusiast. Campers and hikers make up the rest, along with people being stranded in a motor vehicle and so on.

The point is it would be extremely rare to find yourself waking up in the middle of a wilderness environment with no clue as to how you got there. Typically, a trip is planned and provisions are packed for the time you expect to be gone. In other words, you had every intention of heading off into the great unknown, and whether you prepared properly may mean the difference between surviving and not.

People do not plan to become lost, so they only pack for a few hours or a few days depending on the time, they expect to be gone. Once your supplies are depleted, your survival kit is there so you have the means to obtain what you need from your environment, when you do become lost.

The key word is environment, building your kit and keeping your kit relevant allows you to adapt to any environment in which you expect to find yourself. You will outfit your kit accordingly. If you were heading into an arid environment, for example, the focus would be on water collection and storage whereas if you know the area has an abundance of surface water then the focus is on, filtration and purification. It is assumed you would have started out with a supply of water regardless of travel destination.

The so-called off the shelf kits are well stocked but just how many button compasses do you really need, and then the quality is always questionable. You need a quality Lensatic compass and maybe one more in the event you lose or damage one. You need a compass regardless of your geographic location.

Retailers will “throw in” a survival knife. A survival knife is a priority and allowing someone else to choose it is akin to letting someone else load your firearm or pack your chute. Some things you just have to take care of yourself. The knives in most kits would be low quality, while any knife is a good knife if it is the only one you have, but why allow yourself to be stranded with a cheap one if you can help it.

Do you really need a wire saw and do they work? You have to decide but keep in mind they are probably only good for sawing through rope or plastic restraints if you happen to have one taped to your body where you can reach it if you do become restrained by some cannibalistic family living in the backwoods.

As for sawing wood, they generally do not get the job done and a good survival knife will do a better job of cutting through the log or limb. Pick up a good folding saw if you feel you need a saw.

Safety pins are ideal for fishhooks and pinning up your pants, if that is all you have. Is there a need for them however, if you have a survival fishing kit you put together yourself, and Paracord makes a great belt?

The retailers of survival kits will provide you with a dozen or so to increase the number of survival items they claim to be providing you, it sounds good in the advertisement.

The retailers will advertise their kit contains 101 items and this makes you think you are getting a bargain along with everything you need. What you are getting is a handful of safety pins, button compasses, 12 band-aids, cheap folding knives, poor quality Ferro rods advertised as magnesium sticks, and other things that you probably do not really need like a pencil stub and writing paper, and a few razor blades along with chewing gum.

Granted there is a psychological advantage to having what you think is a well-stocked survival kit but reality dictates you make sure you have what you need by doing it yourself.

Build your kit based on actual need. Do not be afraid of changing things up depending on your situation. If you are an angler and are looking forward to a few hours on the river or lake then your kit does not necessarily need to be overloaded with fishing tackle. Take the tackle out and add other items relevant to the situation. The ability to create fire and to signal for rescue personnel is important for example.

Hunters may think all they need is their firearm if they get lost and some may tend to think a weapon is all they need to focus on in the wilds. First off, having one does not mean you will not become lost or stranded. Once lost however, they can be used to obtain food, but then what, you still need shelter, fire and a clean source of water and other tools to find your way back or be prepared to shelter in place. “Survival in a tin” kits probably will not get the job done.

The off the shelf kits will have items that you do need but again the quality is a factor and why buy an expensive kit knowing most of the items cannot or will not be used. Put your own kit together, adapt/update it by keeping weather, geographic location and your own skill level and knowledge in mind, and never leave home without it.

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