Bug Out Bag Tarp or Tent

Bug Out Bag Debate: Tarp or Tent for Emergency Shelter

Bug Out Bag Debate: Tarp or Tent for Emergency Shelter

A Bug-Out-Bag Is Designed For Emergencies, So Some Inconvenience Is To Be Expected

When on a family outing, you can carry a six or eight person cabin tent in the back of your vehicle. Weight is not a large factor when you can pack your supplies in the cargo space of an SUV or pickup.

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Not Being Prepared Means You May Not Come Back

Day Hike Unprepared

French Couple Dead after Hike in New Mexico: Child Rescued

David 42, and his wife, Ornella 51, died during a hike in the hellish heat at White Sands National Monument in New Mexico. As they hiked in the heat, their water supply quickly dwindled. They knew they were in trouble, because they gave their son two sips of water for each one they took, likely saving his life according to the authorities.

The family carried two, 20-ounce water bottles as they set out at 1pm on the hike along the national monument’s Alkali Flat trail. This is less than one gallon of water rationed between two adults and one child.

There is absolutely no vegetation or shade of any kind and the temperature that day reaced101° F. The National Park Service warns summertime visitors to hike only in the cool hours and to carry at least a gallon of water per person. Warnings signs are posted in conspicuous places in various languages, including French (FoxNews.com, 2015).

This is a tragedy, another day hike that quickly turned into a nightmare.

Would You and Could You

It is one thing to find yourself in a survival situation not necessarily of your own making. You could be a passenger on a small aircraft that goes down in an unforgiving area, or your vehicle breaks down while crossing arid land, anything could happen to anyone at any time. It is another thing however, to set out unprepared, where your own decisions up to a point have put you and others in desperate straits. You had better be prepared.

1.) Know the Terrain

Study the area you expect to be using topographical maps. Are there hills to climb, bodies of water to cross and so on. Is there shade in hot weather?

2.) Know the Possible Dangers

The couple that died had come over from France, presumably on vacation, so there may have been certain barriers such as language and even temperature readings in Fahrenheit that may have prevented them from understanding certain things. However, hot is hot regardless of language and lack of water plus high heat is a deadly combination that everyone should be aware of.

July is the hottest month in Paris averaging 20°C or 68°F. The coldest month is January at 5°C or 41°F. Daily sunshine hours average around 10 in July. Average high temperatures in the summer months in other parts of France rarely exceed 90° F (Current Results.com, n.d.).

Why is this important, it is important because the couple may have never experienced extreme heat, and thus may not have been aware of the actual dangers?

The hottest recorded temperature in Paris reached 40.4°C (104.7°F) on 28 July 1948. The deadly heat wave in August 2003 produced nine (9) consecutive days of temperatures exceeding 35°C (95°F). These temperatures are quite exceptional, however.

The high 90’s are rather common in many parts of the United States in the summer months. In France it is not common, and so people are not prepared necessarily. In their minds they see no need essentially, well no need until you are no longer in France.

This applies to you as well, because where you live now may be vastly different from where you may find yourself in a survival situation.

3.) Planning is Crucial

Before setting out on any adventure, whether it’s in a vehicle, boat or aircraft know the final destination, and know what you can reasonably expect to find there. This way you can prepare. You cannot judge what the situation may be somewhere else based on where you live now. You may not be able to survive using the habits that you have adapted for survival in your current location.

Some people may find that discussing this tragedy may not be appropriate, but it must be discussed unfortunately. The mistakes made by those that came before us must be brought to light so others can avoid those same mistakes.

You have to know whether you have the right equipment/materials or supplies, and are equipped mentally and physically before setting out. If there is any doubt, then you should forgo any hikes, hunting expeditions and other outdoor adventures until you are ready. If you do not know if you are ready or not, then assume you are not.

Current Results.com. (n.d.). Retrieved 2015, from http://www.currentresults.com/Weather/France/average-annual-temperatures.php

FoxNews.com. (2015, August 10). Retrieved 2015, from http://www.foxnews.com/us/2015/08/10/french-couple-dead-after-hike-in-new-mexico-child-rescued/

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Dehydration: It Can Happen To Anyone at Anytime

Dehydration can sneak up on you and impair your thinking to the point you may not realize you need to take immediate action. Rescuers have at times found lost hikers and others that have succumbed to dehydration with water still in their canteens. People think they should ration their water for when they need it and this can have serious consequences.

Once you begin to experience dehydration your mental acuity is affected. You will not be thinking straight, and you can make decisions detrimental to your survival. Trying to save water for later is a bad decision, but the amazing thing is the decision is usually made when the mind is clear.

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Geigerrig Hydration Engine Bladder

GEIGERRIG Hydration Engine Bladder Review

This Hydration Engine Bladder is much more than just a plastic bag with a drink tube that can only be used for hydration for one person. 

The GEIGERRIG system dramatically expands the uses for you and even others’ access to drinking water. The bladder is BPA FREE and PTHALATE Free.

It has a unique spray system, with an on board pump bulb used to pressurize the system. Use the spray system for an emergency shower, to cool down pets, cool down you, or fill a pet’s water bowl without contaminating the mouth piece.

Use the spray to irrigate wounds on yourself and others and to fill drinking cups or spray directly in the mouth of others from the bladder without anyone or anything touching the mouth piece. The water is under pressure, so no one has to touch the drinking tube to get access to drinking water if you do not want him or her to.

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Steel Wool an Incredible Alternative to Char Cloth

Steel Wool Fire Starter

Steel Wool is inexpensive, lightweight and is a much better alternative to char cloth when used for making fires. Steel wool takes a spark just as easily as char cloth but burns a lot hotter than char cloth and can even be used if it gets wet.

Another plus to steel wool is that you can use batteries to ignite it. So check out this excellent video by The Outdoor Gear Review to see how well it works and throw some in your fire kit because you never know when it might come in handy.


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What Not To Do As a Prepper

What Not To Do As a Prepper

Headlines August 2015:

Feds charge 3 men in Raleigh, North Carolina. They are accused of prepping for martial law as reported by the Associated Press (John Moritz, AP, 2015).

If you did not read any further than the headlines, you would walk away with the wrong impression. Obviously the author wanted people to believe at first blush that the government is arresting people for prepping, and in particular for prepping for martial law and for Jade Helm.

The author also mentioned stockpiling guns, ammo, and tactical gear, and did so in such a way as to make anyone not reading the full story believe the three were arrested for gathering firearms, ammunition, and tactical gear, arrested for prepping in other words.

However, this is not the case. It is how the men were prepping that prompted an investigation, because they, according to the report, conspired to commit criminal acts of violence. The investigation ultimately lead to charges being brought by the FBI. The men also bragged about what they were doing apparently to anyone that would listen. 

They conspired among themselves to commit crimes, and they ultimately talked to someone that tipped off the authorities about their criminal conspiracies.

The article mentions a number of times that the men were stockpiling weapons, ammunition, and tactical gear. None of which is illegal except for the firearms if you cannot legally own a firearm. One of the men however, had past convictions for possession of stolen goods and cocaine, which prevented him from possessing a firearm, according to the report. One of the other men is accused of trying to buy an assault rifle and ammunition for the man who could not legally own a firearm. It is of course illegal to make straw purchases.

The article states the men had planned on making explosive devices using tennis balls, and dummy hand grenades. They are also accused of attempting to make pipe bombs.

It is unclear if the three had actually made any explosive devices, but they may have been gathering the materials with the intentions of doing so. They talked and they had planned with others, and the authorities apparently moved in before any of the three could make or test out their explosives. The three had stated they had planned on testing the devices in the area (John Moritz, AP, 2015).

Did the Men Plan On Using the Explosive Devices as Booby Traps?

It’s not clear if they were planning this or not, but if they were concerned about Jade Helm and Martial law, then they may have been planning to fortify their homes and/or encampments to avoid being carted off to some so-called FEMA camp by special operation teams.

There are numerous articles about booby traps, what the best ones are, how to make them, and where to set them and so forth on the Internet and the articles seem to be directed at Preppers. Booby Traps are designed to maim, kill, and to slow the advancement of enemy forces, and they are used as simple harassment device in some cases as well.

If you set out deadly traps around your home, what are the chances an innocent civilian or yourself or even a member of your own family will be maimed or killed before a special operations team coming to haul you off to a converted Wal-Mart store trips the traps. The chances are very high, so booby traps are not a good idea, unless you are in a combat situation against a defined enemy force. Early alarms systems however, are a good idea, but people tend to get the two confused for some reason.

Obviously None of Us Know the Full Story Yet but There Is a Lesson Here

Regardless of what your preparations are, you need to keep them to yourself. It is perplexing why people insist on telling others all of their plans. People post online all the time what their plans are, whom they want to hurt, what house they have robbed or plan to rob and so on. However, they are criminals and you really do not expect much from them.

However, Preppers that simply want to be prepared, and not break the law are getting a bad name, because of the three idiots in the report. Being a braggart means you lack self-confidence and need validation, so there is no need to brag, or to tell anyone, unless there is a well defined reason someone needs to know.

It is legal and well within your rights to gather supplies and stockpile weapons and ammunition if you can legally own a firearm. You can buy all of the canned goods, flashlights, beans bullets, and blankets you want, who is stopping you, unless you for some reason cannot own a firearm, but that does not mean, you cannot gather everything else up. Gather up as much as you want.

Idiots who build or attempt to build explosive devices are breaking the law plain and simple. They are a menace to everyone one of us. They are not Preppers. They are idiots that read too many headlines without reading the full story. They fall for every conspiracy theory put forth on the Internet. They do not do their own research, because they want to believe, and do not want to listen to anyone that may make sense and that might upset their world views. They only talk to those that believe what they believe, so it is no wonder they are now behind bars.

John Moritz, AP. (2015, August). Retrieved 2015, from https://news.yahoo.com/feds-charge-3-men-accused-prepping-martial-law-203411849.html

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How Light and Other Factors Affect Your Stored Water

UV Light Stored Water

Bottled water and tap water if exposed to prolonged periods of direct sunlight and/or heat sources may develop algae, or mold (IBWA, 2015).

BPA and Sunlight/Heat

Bisphenol-A (BPA) is a chemical building block that is used primarily to make polycarbonate plastic and epoxy resins. Polycarbonate plastic has for 50 years been the choice for food and beverage product containers. It is lightweight, shatter-resistant, and transparent, making it ideal for food and beverage storage.

FDA’s current assessment is that BPA is safe at the very low levels that occur in some foods. Studies suggest however, that heat and light have an effect on how quickly and how much BPA will leach from the plastics in water bottles and other food packaging.

Cool and dark are the recommended environments for storing bottled water. While the FDA has stated that commercially bottled water has an indefinite shelf-life the packaging does not, and how your water is stored will have an effect on how long the packaging remains intact.

If you were to fill plastic water bottles that had been previously used, and you did not properly sanitize the container, and then you left the clear plastic bottles where direct or even indirect sunlight will reach them, you may very well see mold and algae developing inside the sealed containers.

Any water you draw from your tap should only be placed in approved water containers, (food grade containers), and only after proper cleaning of the containers. UV light will encourage algae growth so it is important that water be stored in the dark or stored in non-transparent containers.

Temperature swings will also have an impact. Bottled water stored in a hot car over the summer months will not last nearly as long as bottled water stored in a cool environment away from light and high heat and/or temperature swings.

Water stored for long periods will go stale, because of the lack of dissolved oxygen. Fish aquariums, for example, use bubble stones and other methods to aerate the water so there is always a certain level of dissolved oxygen in the water. 

The bubbles created by the aeration rise to the top and collect dissolved oxygen from the air and then disperse it throughout the water. Obviously you cannot put aerators in your bottles and uncapping them to shake to create bubbles may cause some contaminates to enter the water.

Proper rotation is the key to fresh water. Water in and of itself has an indefinite shelf life, but how it is stored, what it is stored in, and where it is stored will have an effect.

Glass is an option, but it is transparent and it is heavy. It can be easily sterilized and the containers can be used repeatedly however, as long as the cap remains intact. Glass is hard to transport, because of the weight and the fact it has to be packed a certain way to prevent shattering.

Stainless Steel is an option as well, but again it is heavy, but it is not transparent so sunlight/artificial light has little effect, but water provided by a municipality would contain sodium hypochlorite (bleach), which will corrode stainless steel over time.

If you were to store water in Stainless Steel drums that were properly sterilized and the water was treated correctly you could safely store the water for years if sealed tightly. Once you open a container then you should use the entire contents.

Plastic has been for decades the choice for food storage because of the weight, durability, and ease of manufacturing. BPA is a concern, but as of now there is no medical evidence to show the amounts you be ingesting would have an effect on you. Of course it is a personal choice whether you use plastics that contain BPA, but if you do not choose plastic you will need reliable storage container options.

IBWA. (2015). Retrieved August 2015, from http://www.bottledwater.org/education/bottled-water-storage

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Bottling Storing Your Own Water

Bottling and Storing Your Own Water

According to the CDC any water that is not commercially bottled should be discarded after six months (CDC, 2014).

“Commercially Bottled Water”, according to the FDA, “is considered to have an indefinite safety shelf life if it is produced in accordance with CGMP and quality standard regulations and is stored in an unopened, properly sealed container”.


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Shelter Building: The Basics

Shelter Building Basics

A previous article talked about the importance of shelter placement, so we will not discuss shelter locations in great detail other than to say it may be one of the more important aspects when it comes to your safety. Today’s article will discuss other aspects of shelters such as size, and materials and why you need one regardless of temperature and weather.


In cold weather you want it just big enough for your body, and whatever gear you have. The smaller the shelter the easier it is to heat and to retain your body heat. You also do not want to expend a lot of energy and materials building your shelter.


If you start out unprepared to shelter overnight or even shelter for a few hours then you will have to construct a debris hut or find a natural shelter. Something as simple as breaking a frigid wind or blocking the hot rays of the sun can save your life.

In cold weather however, you will need to insulate your body from the cold ground, so you will need materials such as leaves, pine boughs, pine needles, and dried grasses for ground insulation. A simple waterproof ground cloth would not provide enough ground insulation in cold weather.

Mylar blankets can be used for emergency shelters if you have cordage and other means of securing the material, otherwise a slight breeze can carry the blanket away. Use the blankets along with forest debris. Once you have a debris hut built line the inside with a Mylar blanket to reflect heat in cold weather and use on the outside in the summer to reflect the hot rays of the sun away from the shelter.

Once you have the poles in place any forest debris can be used to help repel rain and snow and to block cold winds and even the sun. Your shelter can be as simple as placing some stout saplings against a fallen log or you can build a tepee style shelter by creating a tripod and filling in the sides with saplings and forest debris.

You can scoop out the soil under a fallen log to create a body sized depression. Pile some debris on one side to create an ad hoc lean to shelter. Build your fire so it reflects into the depression, but of course be careful not to set fire to your new home.

Soil and snow make great insulators for the sides of your hut, but it will require some work to make your hut as warm as possible. It is important to set out on your day hike or other outdoor adventure prepared to shelter overnight. Tarps and Mylar blankets and even the heavier Mylar blankets are lightweight and can be carried in any pack or even folded/rolled and lashed to your body.

For those that think they do not need a shelter at night in the woods in the summer months probably should never get caught in the woods after dark. Once the sun goes down you can get ground fog which can soak your clothing and settle on your skin, and then once the temperature drops you may very well feel cold. Hypothermia can develop at temperatures around 50° F. Cool air combined with high humidity/moisture could spell problems.

You cannot simply drop to the ground and go to sleep. You need some protection from insects, four legged predators, and even reptiles to some extent. Shelter is important and it must be planned for, and be adequate any time you spend a night in the woods.

Pack for the seasons. In the winter a tarp/poncho may not be sufficient for overnight. They are ideal for blocking cold winds for a few hours, or providing shade in the hot sun, but for overnight in extreme cold you may have to use a tarp or poncho along with forest debris to make a warm shelter. Know the terrain and weather patterns before you set out so you can pack your kit accordingly.

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Did You Reassess Your Preparedness Level after the New Yorker Story?

West Coast Map Earthquake

The New Yorker published a story July 20th, 2015, in which they detailed the destruction a massive earthquake and subsequent tsunami would cause in areas of the Pacific Northwest. The story is called The Really Big One (Schulz, 2015).

The danger zone that the article is referring to lies just north of the San Andreas Fault line. It is known as the Cascadia subduction zone, and it runs for seven hundred miles off the coast of the Pacific Northwest, and ends near Vancouver Island Canada.

There are a lot of technical details in the article and it is easy to get lost in the weeds when reading it, but the take away is that essentially experts predict that a massive quake could happen along the fault line any day now.

According to FEMA everything west of Interstate 5 would be toast if what has been described were to occur. Well if it were to occur there would of course be massive destruction and likely any estimation made before the quake would be a conservative estimation, because no one knows for sure.

The story had a visceral impact and some people panicked. The New Yorker is considered a reputable magazine in many quarters, and not some doom and gloom website that is always predicting the sky will fall tomorrow. When tomorrow comes there is always another tomorrow in which the sky will fall. This article resonated with people and according to some retailers emergency kits are flying off the shelves, because of the news story.

Sales of emergency-preparedness kits have skyrocketed after The New Yorker last week published a story about how an earthquake would destroy the Pacific Northwest (Lacitis, 2015).

American Preparedness CEO Steve O’Donnell was quoted as saying that his company sold an average month’s worth of emergency kits in a single day right after the story was published (Lacitis, 2015).

Another company that retrofits homes for earthquakes stated the waiting list for clients went from 3.5 months to six months after the story came out. People wanted on the waiting list for the services the company provides.

Experts reveal what most of us already know and that is that things go in cycles. People will be hyper vigilant and eager to prepare for a period, and then it wears off. Emergency kits will be hot items for a time and then taper off.

However, according to a survey conducted by the city of Seattle only 25 percent of the citizens are prepared. This is good news to some extent because the national average is only four percent, only four percent of the population is ready for a crisis. That leaves far too many not prepared, and those unprepared may be as big of a problem as the crisis itself in the days after.

Kits prepackaged for you and ready to use right off the shelf are apparently popular, because people will spend money so they do not have to worry about gathering the items here and there themselves.

The kits however could be put together at home, and it might be cheaper to do it yourself, and you can control the quality of the items as well. It is the convenience factor for some, so the kits are popular.

Those that buy the kits, and then stick them in a closet without inventorying the items are only buying the kits based on the emotions at the time. Everyone is buying them so “I better get one too” is how some see things. A few do not even know why they need to prepare, but they get caught up in the rush. The city of Seattle is now recommending that everyone have 10 to 14 days worth of supplies so why not just buy one that is ready to use may be the thinking of some people.

Preparedness Has To Be Taken Seriously

Earthquakes are not a new development, but the story reminded people that live in earthquake prone areas that the big one could come at anytime. If the so-called big one did strike, then ten days or even 14 days worth of supplies would probably not be enough.

You do not prepare because someone else says it is the thing to do. You have to know why you must be prepared, and then know what you need to be prepared. You may very well survive the event, but can you survive the days and weeks after.

It really is unfortunate that it takes a glaring news headline to spurn people into action and yet given all of the alarm generated only 25 percent of the people living in Seattle have prepared for such an event.

Experts have been predicting the big one for years and it could in theory happen any day now, and the fact that no one knows, means you do have to be prepared for it to happen any day now.

Lacitis, E. (2015, July). Retrieved 2015, from http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/ready-or-not-earthquake-kits-flying-off-the-shelves/

Schulz, K. (2015, July). The New Yorker. Retrieved 2015, from http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/07/20/the-really-big-one

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