Duct Tape Arrow Fletching

Duct Tape: Its Survival Uses Are Nearly Endless

Duct tape is cloth or scrim-backed pressure-sensitive tape usually coated with polyethylene. Powdered aluminum pigment gives traditional duct tape its silvery gray color. Duct tape, as most know it, is traditionally gray or black, but today it comes in multiple colors.

How It Got Its Start

During World War II, Revolite, at the time a division of Johnson & Johnson, developed an adhesive tape made from a rubber-based adhesive that was applied to a durable “duck cloth” backing. The tape was water resistant.

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How to Make Hardtack: An Inexpensive and Long-Lasting Survival Food

Hardtack the History

Hardtack, or “hard tack” is a simple biscuit or cracker made from flour and water, and when salt was available to the makers it was added as well in years past. The recipe has been used for thousands of years. The Romans made hardtack as well as the Egyptians, and usually the flour and water cracker was issued to soldiers. 

The biscuit, or cracker if you prefer, was and still is, used today for sustenance in the absence of perishable foods. The name hardtack is derived, according to historians, from British sailor’s slang for food, which is “tack”, and of course, because it is very hard it is referred to as hardtack.

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Whitlox Wood-Fired Forge

Full-Sized Whitlox Wood-Fired Blacksmithing Forge

Yes, it says wood-fired, making this blacksmithing forge ideal for Preppers and for anyone that currently has the skills, and for those also wanting to learn Blacksmithing skills. Now you can make and shape using just wood as a heat source with the Full-Sized Whitlox Wood-Fired Forge.

Blacksmithing skills will be invaluable during a grid down situation, and being able to forge on, if you will, using just wood as a fuel source is the best case scenario. Propane will be in short supply during a crisis as well as, coal/coke for any forge. The Whitlox Forge uses wood efficiently, and best of all, you do not need to make charcoal first, because it burns seasoned chunks right from the wood pile.

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Hammock for SHTF

Is a Hammock a Viable Option: Should You Carry One?

If you carry a hammock, should you carry a tent as well? Remember, you have to carry all the options you have given yourself in your pack, and weight is always a major consideration, so plan carefully if you have a choice as to what to carry.

In a survival situation a hammock is ideal, particularly if the ground is wet, rocky, or uneven. You wouldn’t have to spend a lot of time hunting for the ideal “flat spot” for a tent. A hammock can be made from a sturdy tarp and stout cordage if you find yourself in a survival situation and an additional tarp can be used to protect you in your hammock from the rain and dew.

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Smartphone GPS Apps

GPS Apps for Your Smartphone: Do You Need One?

It’s all about technology and when it fails, it can leave you stranded. Do you have a backup plan? Some experts claim that standalone handheld GPS systems are a thing of the past, because of advances in Smart Phone technology. There is an app for everything it seems, but do you need a GPS app.

When you purchase a handheld GPS device you buy it for one purpose only, and you expect it to work virtually anywhere, because GPS is after all, an acronym for Global Positioning System.

The typical GPS system relies on a network of satellites, up to 24 in some cases, placed into orbit by the U.S. Department of Defense. The technology was originally intended for military applications but in the 1980’s the government made the technology available for civilian applications. A GPS system is designed to work in any weather conditions, anywhere in the world, 24 hours a day. There are no subscription fees or setup charges to use a GPS.

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Prepper Group Movement

Moving As A Group When the SHTF

Previous articles have talked about Prepper groups, and whether you should be a part of one or not, and how to establish one, and who and what to look for when choosing members. This article, however, will assume you will end up traveling with a group of people, whether that was your original intent or not.

We as humans tend to seek out other humans, particularly during a crisis. Your objective during a calamity would be to separate the sheep from the shepherd however, if you end up traveling with a group.

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The Importance of Having a Carbon Monoxide Detector in Your Home

Carbon Monoxide CO Detector

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a deadly, colorless, odorless, and poisonous gas. The gas is produced by the incomplete burning of various fuels, which include coal, wood, charcoal, oil, kerosene, propane, and natural gas.

Products and equipment powered by internal combustion engines such as portable generators, cars, lawn mowers, and power washers also produce CO (Consumer Product Safety Commission, 2015).

On average 170 people die each year in the United States from Carbon Monoxide gas poisoning produced from non-automotive devices. In 2005 alone, 94 deaths were attributed to gas powered generator use. The generators were placed in a confined space that allowed for the buildup of deadly CO. CO detectors were not in use or simply did not work.

carbon monoxide detector or CO detector is a device that detects the presence of the gas before it reaches dangerous levels.

Simply put Carbon Monoxide will kill you in your sleep.

An audible alarm will sound, giving you time to evacuate, or to ventilate the area. Time is of the essence, and so not responding to the alarm can be deadly for you and your family.

Do You Need One?

You do if you burn wood, coal, kerosene, or wood pellets for heat or cooking and if the heating or cooking devices are in a confined space. You need one if you use propane or natural gas for cooking or heating and if you burn any carbon based materials of any sort in any confined space.

You need one if you use a backup generator, and even though it is situated outside the home fumes can enter through windows, doorways, cracks in the walls, and even through a dryer vent, or through heating/air conditioning duct work. You need one if you are unsure.

You need one if your hot water tank or dryer uses propane or natural gas, and you need one if you live in a building that uses a boiler that burns a fossil fuel to heat the building or the building’s hot water supply. Bio fuels will emit CO gas as well.

Yes you need one if you live in an apartment building that is heated by any type of fossil fuel, so know how your apartment building is heated. CO can collect in some areas of the building such as the basement, laundry room or storage areas, so inquire with the building’s management about detectors in common areas, and have one inside of your apartment as well.

Cold weather is upon some parts of the country right now, so people are burning wood in wood stoves and fireplaces, and in some cases starting for the first time this season their heating appliances.

Many of the CO detectors sold today operate off batteries, so like smoke alarm batteries they need to be replaced every year regardless of usage. Batteries deteriorate over time, so they do need to be replaced on schedule.

Certain CO detectors can be hardwired into your home’s electrical system, and often times CO, smoke and heat detectors are combined in one unit and hardwired in. However, it is important that any unit installed have a battery backup system in the event of a power failure.

Some CO detectors plug into a household receptacle making them portable in a sense. They can be carried to a work area in the garage and plugged in if you use any fuel fired heating device to warm the work area for a short period. Ideally, you would have CO detector in all areas of the home, because at some point you will forget to move it, and one time of forgetfulness can be deadly.

Symptoms of low to moderate CO poisoning is similar to the flu, but without the fever, and they can include:

  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness

High level CO poisoning results in progressively more severe symptoms, including:

  • Mental confusion
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of muscular coordination
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Ultimately death

Consumer Product Safety Commission. (2015). Retrieved 2015, from http://www.cpsc.gov/en/Safety-Education/Safety-Education-Centers/Carbon-Monoxide-Information-Center/Carbon-Monoxide-Questions-and-Answers-/

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What to Do If You Lose Power and Heat

Ice Storm Power Outage

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.

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DIY Survival Shoelace Fire Kit

Firecord Shoelace Fire Kit

Having a spare fire kit on you is always a good idea, so why not carry it on something that you have with you everyday, like your shoes. Not only is this a great way to keep a spare fire kit on you without adding any extra noticeable weight but if you replace your laces with 550 Firecord you will also have useable paracord and a very hot and long burning fire tinder.

So grab your favorite pair of hiking boots, a mini ferro rod and some Firecord and check out this great video below by David from ultimate survival tips to see how you can make a pair of these laces for yourself.


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The Best Way to Store Seeds for When The SHTF

Seed Storage SHTF

First, decide what seeds you want to store based on your personal preference, in other words, what do you and your family like to eat. Secondly, consider seeds that can be stored and used for bartering. Even though you may not care for beets and carrots, for example, others would, and thus, you have currency for trade during a crisis. Lastly, look at nutritional value, the biggest nutritional bang for your buck in other words.

Seed Sources

The Internet is full of retailers and others that will get you started on your seed bank, at a cost of course, or you can simply buy seed packets at your local retailer You can even purchase a “seed bank” that can be stored for years as insurance against a calamity.

You can begin harvesting your own seeds, as well, from heirloom plants right now. However, the variety is limited to just what you have grown, so you may have to purchase seeds to expand your variety, and again think about bartering and nutritional value.

Heirloom, open pollinated seeds are ideal because once mature, the seeds can be harvested, dried and stored for future seasons. You cannot harvest seeds from hybrid plants, because generally the first generation of seeds from a hybrid plant is sterile. You need a renewable food source and so need plants that can provide you with seeds for years to come.

Storing Seeds

Moisture, sunlight, artificial light, temperature swings, and oxygen are the enemy of seeds. Glass containers are ideal for storage containers if kept in a relatively temperature controlled area in a dark place, because there is no chance of permeation through the glass. Seeds you harvest yourself must be processed properly before storing.

How long you can store seeds depends on the moisture content when stored, the temperature, the amount of light, and the seeds themselves. If you purchase seeds from a retailer, you really have no way of knowing whether the seeds were stored properly, and for how long, so before buying do some research on the company and ask questions.

You may not know how long the retailer has stored them so look for expiration dates on the packets, and some packets will not have expiration dates, but instead may have harvest or package dates.

The following is an estimate only on the viability of seeds, and remember much depends on how they are stored.

  • Beans up to  3 Years
  • Beets up to 2 Years
  • Carrots  3 Years
  • Corn Is 2 Years
  • Cucumbers up to 5 Years
  • Lettuce Is 3 Years
  • Peas – 3 Years
  • Peppers  up to 2 Years
  • Pumpkins  4 Years
  • Radishes  up to 5 Years
  • Spinach – 5 Years
  • Tomato up to 4 Years
  • Watermelon  4 Years

Refrigerated between 40 and 50° F is a good place to start. You can freeze seeds, but if they have high moisture content this can kill the seeds. Seeds with 50 percent moisture content, for example, would die if frozen, while seeds at 10 percent can be frozen for years. Seeds need a certain amount of moisture content to stay viable, however. Too dry is just as deadly.

Store in glass jars, Mylar bags, metal cans, or vacuum seal your seeds and place in a rodent and insect proof container if stored out of refrigeration. Add an oxygen absorber to each glass container. Store in a dark place where you do not expect temperature swings, hot in the summer and cold in the winter. The containers must be such that insect infestations are not possible, so cloth sacks, cardboard, paper, and even some plastic containers will not prevent infestation.

Metal cans, for example, provide an absolute barrier against rodents, insects, light, and if properly sealed against oxygen, gas, and moisture as well. Glass and vacuumed sealed bags will not provide a barrier against light, so consider storage areas before deciding on containers. Mylar will provide a barrier against gases, oxygen, and moisture in the short-term, but over time the material will allow a certain amount of moisture and gases to permeate through the material.

Test Your Seeds for Germination

Not every seed will germinate so if you want, or need 10 tomato plants, for example, you would have to plant more than 10 seeds. To determine the germination rate randomly choose 10 seeds, and then wrap in a very damp piece of paper towel and place in a baggie leaving a portion open for air.

Place in a warm place and wait for germination. If eight out of the ten have germinated then your rate is 80 percent. From this non-scientific method, you would have a better idea of what your harvest volume would be. If you consistently find your rate of germination is low, consider the source of the seeds, soil temperature, watering practices, storage, and the process to harvest and dry the seeds.

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