The Best of This and That When It Comes To Survival Gear

Survival Gear

You have read the claims and watched the videos where someone claims that theirs’ is the best method, or the best tool and so forth. The saying, the best tool is the one that you have with you still holds true. However when you have a choice, choose wisely.

The best method is the one you know how to implement when in a survival situation, and not some theory that you discovered by watching a YouTube video, a video that may have taken 12 days of filming to get it just right. You do not want to go into the woods with theories. You want uncomplicated methods and tools that work under any condition.

When your fingers are stiff from the cold, and your pulse is racing you want tools that do not need a lot of manipulation for them to work and you want uncomplicated methods that can literally be performed by anyone in any situation.

They need to work when you are not on top of your game. Anyone can do anything in their garages or backyard if given enough time and resources, but out in the wilds there are no editing of videos, no second takes, and no coffee breaks to discuss theories.

You can literally go broke trying to keep up with the “Jones’s” when it comes to survival gear. Survival gear envy is what we will call it going forward.

If you do not know what you need and why you need it, someone will come along and enlighten you and then likely lighten your wallet or purse at the same time. Educate yourself so you only purchase what you need, and not what someone else tells you, that you need.

The point is, if you have to watch a video on how to properly use a survival knife, or to start a fire with a magnesium stick, for example, then you do not have enough hands on experience, and there is only one way to gain practical experience.

Technology and bush craft do not mix well in most cases. When in the wilds it is what skills and knowledge you bring with you that will keep you alive, and not what you can learn by surfing the Internet, because once away from the tentacles of technology, you have nowhere to surf, but inside your own mind to find the answers. If you go to the woods uneducated you may not leave.

How Do You Decide What You Need

To decide what you need, you must know what you need to do in the wilds to survive. Match the gear to the task, and to your own skill level and knowledge. If you have never used a handheld GPS system, for example, and assume you can learn once you get lost, then you should leave it home, or better yet sell it and buy a map and a compass.

1.) Can you start a fire with wet matches and wet tinder? No of course not, so you need fire starting materials that are impervious to moisture. Therefore, you should know by now that you need a magnesium stick, a Ferro rod, and tinder protected from moisture. Simple, cheap, and easy to pack, it really is that simple. If you complicate it, then it will be complicated.

2.) Can you build a shelter from forest debris? Maybe you can, and maybe not depending on the area and it depends on how honest you are when evaluating your own skills. Do not assume you can, know you can, and again there is only one way of knowing, and that is by doing. Carry a shelter, so you are always assured of having a shelter, again very simple. 

3.) Can you carry enough water with you to survive for three days, five days a week? Probably not, because of the weight, so what do you need to have with you. You need the means to collect, filter and purify water. Purification tablets, coffee filters, cheesecloth, charcoal and/or a pot in which to boil water, simple and easy to pack and by no means complicated.

4.) Do you know what plants and trees can be used to treat wounds, stomach problems, tooth aches and so on. If not then of course, you need a quality first aid kit. Take your time and spend a little money to make sure your medical supplies are high quality and of sufficient quantity.

Two low dosage pain reliever pills will not cut it, so add on to any kit you buy off the shelf. Research what you need, or ask your doctor. Some of the items are just fillers, so know what you need and what you do not need as a practical matter.

5.) Can you navigate without a compass and map, can you walk in a straight line without a compass. Not many can, so you need a compass and a map of the area, and if you are not willing to take the time to get topographical maps of the area you expect to be in then stay home.

6.) Most people cannot find food just lying around the forest. It takes years of experience and that means hands on experience out in the woods to discover what is safe to eat and what is not, as far as wild edibles are concerned.

Most people know that anything with fur and feathers is edible, but animals will not offer themselves up on a platter for your dining pleasure. Fishing however, is a reliable means of gathering food with little skill needed, so carry a small fishing kit.

Pack as many protein bars, bags of trail mix and beef jerky as you can. You can sustain yourself for days on this type of food as long as you have clean drinking water.

To hunt successfully, you would need hunting tools and materials. Snares and traps are fine if you have the skill, otherwise it usually is an effort in futility, and may even result in a few bruised or worse, fingers or toes, if you do not know how to set a deadfall properly.

Stick with what you know works unless you are properly geared up for hunting and take that literally about geared up. You would need a firearm, or a long bow, a crossbow, or a hunting slingshot to stay well fed.

You have seen the survival reality show stars go for days without any substantial amount of food, and you can too, but you want to bring food with you not only for energy but for psychological reasons as well.

People panic over food when there is none to be had, and so some people will eat things they should not thinking they are edible, just to satisfy their food anxiety. People do not starve to death three days into being lost, but they do panic, so know this, and prepare for it.

Your Priorities Are:

  • Rendering First Aid To Yourself If Required
  • Constructing A Shelter
  • Making Fire
  • Having Water With You and The Means to Filter And Purifying a Water Source
  • Know How To Self Rescue Or Aid Your Rescuers by Having Signaling Materials
  • Knowing How To Navigate
  • Having a Food Supply or Know How To Obtain Food In The Wild

Some may disagree with the priorities themselves, or what you should do first, but that is ok because, what you do and when, is largely dependent upon what bush craft training and skills you have and your mindset.

Knowing what the priorities are allow you to gather the gear, materials and gain the skills needed to ensure you can meet the requirements of survival. Your objective is to survive until rescued.

To Accomplish Certain Tasks There Are Items You Need That Have Not Been Mentioned

  • Fixed Bladed Knife
  • Cordage and Paracord is Recommended
  • Multi-Tool
  • Snare Wire
  • Machete, ax or folding saw

 

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Camper Bug Out Shelter

Using a Camper as a Bug out Shelter

A previous article talked about travel trailers/campers, and motor homes as bug-out-vehicles, but this article will discuss campers as bug-out shelters. What this would mean however, is placing a camper at your bug-out location before the crisis struck. A camper would likely be less expensive than building a cabin/house and a camper would offer more protection than a canvas or nylon tent.

Trying to pull a camper as you evacuate during a crisis may be problematic. You may not even be able to bug-out in a vehicle let alone with a camper attached, but if you can get out on foot, and make it to your bug-out shelter/camper then you have increased your chances of survival dramatically.

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Dealing with Boredom in a Wilderness Survival Situation

Boredom Wilderness Survival

Some it seems simply cannot stand the prosperity of the moment, because it is boring to survive the moment”.

The above is an excerpt from a previous article about boredom. This article however, will focus more closely on boredom in a wilderness survival situation, because boredom can become your enemy, and it has to be dealt with.

Your psychological state is incredibly important, and when your mind wanders from survival tasks, you essentially have become bored with what is going on. Your own mind may very well become your worst enemy if you let it get the best of you.

Boredom can cause you to eat more food or drink more water. In a survival situation you will look forward to meal times, you need to look forward to meals times to gain a sense of normalcy. You have to establish routines like establishing certain times to eat to prevent boredom. Eating all of your food at one time, because you need entertainment is not developing a sense of normalcy and routine.

Boredom can cause you to do things to try and correct the problem, if you will, and action on your part is not always warranted in a survival situation. Staying put and being patience is often times the best course of action, or lack of action as it were, makes more sense in some cases.

Some of you are already thinking it is impossible to become bored in a wilderness survival situation, because you will be doing things 22 hours a day to survive. First, if you do not get the proper rest you will not survive long, so there has to be plenty of down time, and this is when the mind wanders. Once the shelter is built and a fire is going and it is raining hard, you would likely have to be under cover. Wandering in the rain because you are bored or impatience is not a good idea.

Being Prepared Cannot Be Stressed Enough

If you have to spend all of your time working on survival then you did not prepare properly. Food gathering, cooking, and shelter repair will take a considerable amount of your time, but you still need time for resting. There will be eight to 12 hours of downtime in most cases, and you will not be sleeping the entire time.

If you suddenly find yourself lost or stranded then boredom is the last thing you would have to worry about in the first 24 hours, but if you hunker down in place to wait for rescue then boredom can become a problem after the first 24 hours.

If you had researched survival items to carry on day hikes or camping trips, you may find a pencil and paper on the list of survival items. You may at first assume that the writing tools are so you can leave notes for others to make it easier to find you.

Well heavy dew in the morning, rain, or snow would destroy the notes, not to mention the wind and animals, so why a pencil and paper then. It is good for you the survivor that’s why. Keep a journal and make notes about weather patterns and about animal habits or simply doodle. Draw a map of the area, mark water sources you may have passed by the previous day and yes in some cases, you can leave notes for others that may be out searching for you.

There are any numbers of things that you can do to stay busy, but in a survival situation you want to focus on tasks that enhance your ability to sustain yourself. Weaving fish traps, sharpening spears for fishing, for example, all take time and occupy the mind and these things can be done during your downtime. People get impatient, and then want to go looking for help, when help is out looking for them, and this can put you in an even worse situation.

Dependency on technology has to some extent created impatience. Everyone expects an immediate answer to questions now, because Google and other search engines have spoiled us all. With technology, you have an immediate answer at your fingertips. That is until you are in a survival situation and technology is not available. If you do not have the answers in a survival situation there is no one to ask, no buttons to push and no Internet to surf.

If you become lost or stranded and it was not on purpose, then over time, and in fact, in just a few hours boredom can become a real problem.

You may want to revisit your survival pack to make sure you do have certain items that can help with boredom during a survival situation. Cards, pencils, paper, and even certain games can be easily packed, and they may end up playing a part, a large part, in your survival.

If you are prepared with a shelter, tools, food, and water for a few days and/or the means to collect, filter and purify a source then there is not much to do once you are settled in after the first day. After you have explored the area for hidden dangers, such as predator dens, snake/reptile dens and have located a reliable water source you would want to settle in and wait for rescuers.

You would maintain a signal fire, and put out other signaling devices, but you should not be wandering all over the area, because you would be burning energy that you cannot afford to waste. Wandering without a purpose would also cause you to drink more water and would increase your chances of an injury or an encounter with a wild animal or reptile.

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Water Bottles: Is the Packaging Now To Flimsy for Storage

Plastic Water Bottle

Water bottles, the small ones up to gallon containers and even the three gallon containers, have become so flimsy that you might as well be drinking water from Ziploc bags. They should market them as collapsible, because some of the bottles will almost collapse when you try to open them. Some, if not many of the bottles today, are not ideal for long-term water storage, because of how thin the material is.

The packaging now makes it more difficult to store them long-term, because they are easily punctured and they will crack and begin to leak sitting on the shelf. The material becomes brittle and cracks even when not being handled.

Supposedly the bottles are made this way to cut down on the amount of plastics in landfills. The manufactures have come out ahead however, because of the reduced costs of materials that go into producing the bottles.

According to miwaterstewardship.org it can take up to 450 years for the average plastic beverage bottle to decompose. Therefore, the reasoning is that the less material in a plastic beverage bottle the less time it takes to decompose completely. This of course begs the question, why do they feel so cheap that they may not last the trip home from the grocery store then (Michigan Water, 2015).

Of course, there are water bottles that are rather sturdy, and can be refilled repeatedly for storage of water. You will likely pay more, but you buy less often if you can refill them from your tap or other reliable source.

The point is of course is that in many situations, you would need reliable water storage containers that can be easily transported, and can take a little rough handling in a backpack or vehicle. The cheap bottles you buy at the store may not hold up long enough in the trunk of your car to get a case home.

Alternatives

Gallon or small plastic jugs that vinegar was sold in are ideal, because the plastic is heavy and will hold up well even after repeated fillings.

Only use containers that had contained products for human consumption. Any container that is to be used for water storage should be cleaned and sanitized before adding drinking water.

Most plastic soda bottles are still heavy enough to refill a number of times, but you will need to clean the bottles several times to remove the taste of the soda, and remember to clean/sanitize the caps as well. The liter bottles seem to be less sturdy than the 20 ounce soda bottles or even the smaller ones, but they can be refilled several times with drinking water for storage.

Food grade plastic water containers manufactured specifically for water storage are probably the best alternative. You can purchase up to five gallon containers for water storage in most camping sections of Wal-Mart’s or other retailers. Some of the containers even have wheels and handles for easier transport. These are ideal for long term storage because they can be transported in most vehicles.

The bigger containers 10 gallons and up, are primarily for storage at home or at a bug-out retreat. Ten gallons of water weighs over 80 pounds making the containers difficult to move, and store in some cases, if you live on an upper floor or have sub-floors. Weight is a factor when it comes to water storage. Water weighs roughly 8.3 pounds per gallon and then you would need to add the weight of the container.

One 50 gallon barrel of water would weigh over 400 pounds, so make sure you have the capability to store water in large amounts. Remember you have to fill the larger containers, such as 50 gallon barrels, in place unless you have the means to move this much weight after they are filled.

The average person uses between 80 and 100 gallons per day and showers, baths, laundry, toilet flushing, dishwashing, oral care, hand washing, drinking and cooking account for the usage. You cannot store 100 gallons per person per day to use when the SHTF, but you have to store enough to give you time to seek other sources (USGS, n.d.).

Private Wells are a good option, but beyond that your options are limited, because public sources will run out fast. Even lakes, ponds, rivers, and streams on private land may not be reliable sources in the long-term. The local authorities in some cases, along with desperate people can overtake the sources with or without your consent during an extended crisis.

You will need between three and five gallons per person per day during a crisis. This allows for drinking water, cooking, bathing, oral care, and medical treatment. Water usage has to be calculated carefully. Your needs may differ from others, so put pencil to paper and come up with an amount and then add 15 percent more.

Michigan Water. (2015). Retrieved 2015, from http://www.miwaterstewardship.org/youthstewards/factsaboutwater/testyourknowledge/householdwastethatsgarbage

USGS. (n.d.). Retrieved 2015, from http://water.usgs.gov/edu/qa-home-percapita.html

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Bullet Primers

DIY Ammo Primers for Handloading

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

The Second Amendment represents our Founding Father’s attempt to acknowledge our natural right to keep and bear arms. Try as it might, the current administration will attempt any method possible to curtail our ability to exercise that right. Many methods on the table are taxing ammunition, stripping the right from the “mentally unstable” (whatever that means), and environmental regulations.

Because we traditionalists are defending an immovable position from an onslaught that never runs out of gas, at some point they will win, lest they become eliminated themselves. If they do win, we will be forced to arm ourselves in the shadows with homemade components.

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Water Bath Canning VS Pressure Canning

Water Bath Canning Versus Pressure Canning: There is a Deadly Difference

The botulinum bacteria if left to grow will produce spores and create a deadly toxin that can result in food borne botulism. The bacterium, “C. botulinum” is present in soil and in marine sediment. The spores can be found on many fruits and vegetables, but the spores are harmless at this stage, because to grow and to create toxins, they need a low oxygen, low acid environment.

The perfect low oxygen low acid environment would be in low acidic foods canned without sufficient heat to destroy the bacteria/spores. Hot water bath canning at 212° F removes the oxygen from the jars for example, but the heat is not adequate to destroy the bacteria thus, creating the perfect environment.

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History Channel’s Alone: What Survival Items Were On the List?

History Channels Alone

What Would You Choose?

The contestants on the History Channel’s new survival show Alone were allowed to choose 10 items from a supposed secret list of 40 items. What isn’t a secret however, were the banned items such as matches, lighters, along with water filtration and purification systems.

Firearms were not allowed of course, and the metal pot size could not exceed Two Quarts. The maximum amount of Paracord/cordage was 20 meters (66 feet), and they were only allowed five pounds of emergency rations if they chose to carry rations. The contestants could also carry a “Gillnet” but the size was restricted to 6 meters (19 feet).

What Gear Made It to the Woods?

First, call it coincidence, fate, a mistake, or call it what you will, but the one contestant who did not choose a survival knife rang the bell during the first episode. What is troubling is that all of the contestants were chosen because of their so-called survival skills, and yet one decided a knife was not essential for survival.

The One who called it quits The First Episode Carried:

  • A 12×12 ground sheet
  • 550 Paracord – 20m
  • A Saw
  • An Ax
  • A Sleeping bag
  • A Bivi bag (gortex sleeping bag cover)
  • A 2-quart pot
  • A Ferro rod
  • 300 yards of single filament line with 25 assorted hooks
  • Bow and 6 arrows

List Courtesy Of (History Channel, 2015)

It Was Determined:

  • All 10 of the participants choose an axe
  • All 10 choose a sleeping bag
  • All carried a 2 Qt pot
  • Everyone carried a Ferro rod
  • All choose a 25 piece fishing kit
  • Nine of the contestants choose a survival knife
  • Six carried a 12×12 tarp
  • Six choose to carry a Saw
  • Surprisingly only five choose to carry Paracord
  • Four carried a Long Bow with arrows
  • Four chose to carry the Gillnet
  • Three choose to carry 5lbs of emergency rations
  • Three carried a canteen or water bottle
  • Two carried a multi-tool (Leatherman)
  • Two carried a Bivy Bag
  • A Slingshot was chosen by two contestants
  • Two packed a Sharpening Stone
  • Only one participant chose to carry wire
  • One chose to carry an extra tarp

The participants were also allowed clothing, and to what extent cannot be determined. Items not counted as part of the 10 allowed items included bear spray, a pack, and an emergency flare (s) (History Channel, 2015).

When you get to choose what to carry, but are limited on the number of items you can carry, you have to pick wisely. Shelter, fire, water, and food are your priorities. When you can carry a shelter with you, you probably should, because it can save time and energy, both of which are always in short supply in the wilds. You can add forest debris to harden the shelter, but having a tarp on hand means you have a quick shelter for that first night that can be improved upon with your time.

Fire starting materials are important, as well as a metal pot to boil water in and in which to prepare food. A sleeping bag for cold weather, while heavy to carry, would be considered an essential item in cold weather, if you had the choice.

Only three carried a canteen/water bottle. Not carrying a canteen would only make sense if you know you would be near a water source and did not plan on ever leaving that source. If you had to explore the area or break camp for whatever reason, you would not have any means of transporting water other than the two quart pot. A canteen probably should have been chosen by all participants.

A Bivy bag may not be essential because the contestants could have chosen a ground cloth, or extra tarp that could act as a cover and the tarp/ground cloth would have multiple uses.

A sharpening stone is a good idea, and it takes up little space and no appreciable weight is added.

The wire supposedly for snares, shelter building, and gear repair could be essential if you have the experience and time to set snares and planned on sheltering in one location, otherwise Paracord is an ideal choice if you had to choose between the two.

All participants were near water so a fishing kit would be a must have, and all contestants chose the 25 piece kit. The kit included 25 assorted hooks, and fishing line, which has more than one use in a survival situation.

A slingshot was carried by two, and if experienced with one it is a valuable tool for hunting small game and birds.

Only two carried a multi tool, which is surprising, and let’s hope the one that carried the wire chose the Leatherman. A multi-tool would be an essential tool in a survival situation.

An ax is a wise choice, but it does not replace a quality survival knife. All of them carried an ax and nine carried a survival knife, so when you have a choice carry both, and when you do not, then a survival knife may be the better of the two choices.

Four carried a bow with arrows and this is a logical choice if you have the experience, because if game is available and you have the skill you will not go hungry.

A saw is essential but if you have an ax and knife a saw may be extra baggage, and in this case, not choosing it allowed contestants to pick something else. A saw is one of those items that would be nice to have, but you can overcome not having one if you have other tools.

A saw makes clean cuts, and a quality one will make some cutting jobs easier. Hacking through a limb with an ax or machete is hard work, but a cheap saw would make the job just as hard, and a wood saw really only has one job in the woods.

The Gillnet is a good idea if you happen to be by a large body of water. The contestants had some idea of the terrain, so they could to some extent, decide what to bring based on geography and weather.

Spear fishing is a way to catch fish that requires very little skill and materials, and practically anyone can bait a hook and drop a line in the water. A Gillnet however, is a very effective way of catching fish and it was a wise choice given the location.

It would seem that if someone had survival skills as the contestants claimed to have, and you were able to choose your survival gear then surviving for an extended period would be feasible. Being mentally prepared is important, and you never know how well prepared you are until you are in a situation, as some of the contestants have already figured out.

History Channel. (2015). Retrieved 2015, from http://www.history.com/shows/alone/cast/josh-chavez

History Channel. (2015). Retrieved 2015, from http://www.history.com/shows/alone/cast

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Have We Learned Anything from the Greek Tragedy

Greeec Tragedy

You are wondering, what Greece has to do with Preppers. It’s complicated to say the least, but Greece and its citizens are experiencing a crisis, a crisis in which not many of the citizens were prepared for. There is plenty of blame to go around however.

The Greek government, the citizens, and the European Union in general all played a role. The disaster did not strike out of the blue. It was like a steam roller that is 100 miles away creeping along inches per day, no hurry, nothing to instill panic yet, because the speed of the rolling crisis can be managed. No one pays it any mind because, “we have time to correct our course”.

Occam’s Razor while it can appear to be a complicated problem solving formula can be boiled down to one simple statement and that is “the simplest answer is usually the right answer”. Take away all of the assumptions, the theories, and all of the back and forth about what ifs and you end up with the most obvious, which turns out to be the right or simply the best answer.

The most obvious answer is the hardest, so this is why many problems within governments, communities and even within families do not get resolved. The right answer is too hard to contemplate. People dance around it, convinced there has to be another way. The answer is too simple, and yet much too hard to sell to the citizens, who by the way played a role in the crisis. Citizens simply cannot understand the complexities’ they need to be nurtured and guided.

The citizens played along because they were told they would get guaranteed work weeks, vacation days, sick days, and could retire with a full pension, and access to socialized medical care, and oh by the way, access to ATMs day and night, well that is until now. To earn a full pension in Greece a person only has to work 35 years while in comparison it is 45 years if a person lives and works in Germany.

You see everyone knew or should have known the policies were not sustainable, because no one asked the most obvious questions, who pays for all of this. However, when it’s your pension, and your life, your health care, you keep quiet, well that is until it goes away, but now you do not have a voice because you kept quiet and played along.

Here in America

Whether you are a Prepper or not, you can see that disasters come in many forms, and some can be predicted. What difference does it make if you can see a disaster coming if you refuse the obvious answer, and then fail to prepare however.

Anyone that is honest with his or her self realizes that it would be extremely difficult, if not impossible to survive without a government. Some may think they can and some might be able to, but have you really sat down and studied what role the government plays in your life. Granted, right now it is intrusive in many cases, but food inspections, law enforcement, fire departments, child safety rules and other regulations and services do save lives, but again there is a limit to how much we want the government in our lives.

Greece should be a wakeup call. We as citizens need to evaluate what role the government plays in our lives, and how would a Greek like tragedy here affect us as individuals, and can we, as individuals and families prepare for such a crisis.

For governments, and this includes our very own here in the United States, it is easier to give out benefits than it is to institute policies that reward hard work versus rewarding not working. Millions of citizens legitimately need help for various reasons, but not everyone needs help. Some find it easy to simply ask for help instead of taking the initiative to find or create work. People in this country can often get government assistance just by asking. It becomes a game for some, but the game is almost played out according to some, and what happens then.

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The Fitbit Charge HR

Fitbit Charge HR

If a disaster struck today, would you be ready. Do you have an emergency stockpile of food, medicines, water, and other essentials? If you are a Prepper of course you do, a rather silly question really. The next question is, are you ready physically to meet the demands of a crisis, and this one is not a silly question, and how many people can or will answer it honestly.

You may have to travel on foot carrying supplies, travel by shank’s mare as the saying goes. Tasks will have to be performed, and you may not have the benefit of electricity, which means no power tools, no pumping fuel for chainsaws and other equipment that makes chores easier. You will need to meet the physical demands, and no one needs to tell you what happens if you cannot meet those demands.

It is never too late, and there is no better time than right now to begin thinking about your fitness level and doing something about it, so when the SHTF you are ready physically.

The Fitbit Charge HR may be just what you are looking for if you can honestly say you need to get into better shape. Let’s take a look at it to see if it is something that can help you. It requires a commitment by you and nothing good ever comes easy, but it can be done.

What Is It

It is a heart rate and activity wristband with Pure Pulse™ Heart Rate, which allows for continuous and automatic heart rate updates right from your wrist.

Sync to your computer, Smartphone or tablet. To sync however, you will need to install an app. Track your daily steps, number of miles walked, calories consumed and then track calories burned. The device can even count the number of stairs you have climbed.

To count calories consumed and burned you would enter what foods you have eaten at each meal and then the device tells you how many of the consumed calories you have burned during a particular activity. Find out just how many calories 30 minutes of bicycling burns, or how many you burn walking two miles or taking the stairs at work instead of the elevator, for example.

Track your exercise routines and review jogging routes using the app. The app tracks your activities for the entire day and you can view/monitor all activities from any compatible device that has been synced at any time day or night.

For those that want to lose weight and get into better shape, this may be the perfect matchup, because frankly, people can deceive themselves on the number of calories they consume, and then convince themselves that a few minutes of exercise here and there offsets the amount consumed.

It takes a considerable workout just to burn 1000 calories, and so compare this to consuming 2500 to 4000 calories a day for example. Where does this leave you? If you can track your intake and burn rate then you are in control, no more guessing and wondering, and no more deceiving yourself.

Set calorie goals, numbers of steps or miles to walk, and so on for the day, and then enter the information. From this point you have up to the minute heart rate, calories consumed, calories burned, and miles or steps walked so you can track your progress throughout the day. Collect the data over a certain period, so you can then tailor a plan that works best for you based on your lifestyle.

Fitbit iPhone AppThe Fitbit also tracks your sleep patterns, so you will know how many hours you slept, and how many times you awoke during the night. You have to identify a problem before you can solve it and the personal motivator called the Fitbit can help you.

You have family and friends, and they too must be ready to meet the challenges, so why not get your family or Prepper group on board, so you can work together to meet yours and everyone else’s goals.

The app allows you to add friends that also have a Fitbit so you can challenge any of your friends in a face-off to see who takes the most steps in a day. Reaching certain goals also unlocks rewards (badges) to help motivate you throughout the day. Turn getting into shape a competitive sport with the Fitbit Charge HR.

One of the reasons people fail at exercise or weight loss programs is because they try to do it alone, and without the proper information. You have to know how many calories you are consuming and how many you are burning, and once you see progress, you will become motivated to do more, to push yourself. Having others involved is also a motivator especially if you are competitive.

However, not having the right information and a way to track your progress, such as with the Fitbit may mean a higher failure rate. Fitbit has several models to chose from so you can chose a model that meets your specific needs. You can purchase the Fitbit Charge HR for around $130 bucks on Amazon.

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The Cutting Edge: Straight Edge, Serrated or Both?

straight edge or serrated edge

As a kid, for some of us of a certain age, jackknives/folding knives were all straight edges. You could trim and clean your fingernails, peel an apple or potato or even slice a tomato right out of the garden. Practically every adult and most kids in years past carried a jackknife, or what was called a pen knife in some cases. Kids even carried them to school and cut up their apples at lunch and played Mumblety-peg at recess.

Certain jobs require certain knife blades and you may have had to carry various knives for specific cutting jobs for your work, but the knife you carried everyday was used to cut your meat, peal your fruit, cut string/rope or you could field dress small game or even clean fish.

Today you have choices. You can buy a full serrated blade, a full straight blade, or a combination of both. Do you need a serrated edge, do you want a serrated edge?

A serrated edge has a place, but the applications are more defined. You can peel an apple with a straight edge, as well as, cut heavy webbing, rope, vines and so on. Albeit, cutting heavy nylon webbing or heavy rope with a straight edge would be more difficult than with a serrated edge. The point is you cannot peel an apple very well or at all with a serrated edge without making a literal mess out of the job, so certain blades have specific jobs at which they are better suited. 

Rescue tools used by first responders are blades adapted for a specific purpose. Firefighters and paramedics may have to cut someone out of a seatbelt, for example, so a serrated blade works well for cutting heavy materials such as nylon or heavy canvas webbing.

The serrated edge grips the material unlike a straightedge that may slip when starting the cut and it may even require two hands to complete the job. You cannot saw very well using a straight edge, but then again, you cannot whittle or carve wood with a serrated edge very well, so there you have it.

Military knives are adapted for specific purposes as well. Pilots and other aircraft personnel have specific blade requirements if they have to bail from their aircraft. They may need to cut themselves out of their parachute harness if they get hung up for example.

A serrated edge works well, because in many cases, you can do the cutting with one hand, because again the serrated edge grips the material. You do not have to hold the material with one hand while cutting with the other. This is important, because one hand may be injured, or you simply cannot do the cutting with both hands. The knife has to be such that it can be drawn and used one handed, so the edge has to be able to do the job with as little effort as possible as well.

It almost seems like today that you have to go out of your way to purchase a straight edge blade, because they all seem to be a combination. Fifty percent of the blade is straight, while the other 50 percent is serrated, so the best of both worlds right. Well now comes the sharpening, you know how to sharpen a straight edge, but a serrated edge, well it could be tricky, so maybe it is best to just leave it be until you figure it out.

A serrated edge if it is quality steel will hold its edge much longer than a straight edge because for one thing it is not used as much, and two; the scallops are protected by design. Many knife sharpeners on the market today come with a tapered diamond rod that is ideal for touching up the scalloped edges. A fine rat tail file would also do the job, but you would have to be careful not to remove too much of the metal from the blade.

Serrated edges are nothing to be leery of, and they do have a purpose, but does the edge fit with your cutting needs.

Bread knives are typically serrated, because they grip the soft bread and allow for a sawing motion without crushing the bread. You could in theory cut the bread into slices with one hand. You could never do this with a straight edge.

Serrated edged blades can take more of a beating, because the sharp scallops are somewhat protected. When was the last time you sharpened your bread knife that has been tossed around inside of your kitchen drawer. The edge is being banged against all manner of metal objects in some cases, as you rifle through the drawers. Electric knives are typically serrated, and you cut all types of foods with one, and again when did you last sharpen it.

This article is not advocating for or against serrated edges. In fact, past articles have railed against them, because people buy them without understanding the why.

You cannot use brute force to make a dull straight edge do its job, whereas you can use force to make a serrated edge do the job without the blade slipping and cutting yourself as easily. The dangers of using a dull straight edge are obvious. A dull straight edge will slip, and a dull blade can still slice your finger to the bone.

The obvious answer is to carry one of each, or a quality blade that is a combination. A cheap blade will provide sub-standard performance, so if you have a job that requires your knife always be ready then you will have to step up and buy quality.

People usually have a so-called beater knife, stuffed inside a pack, the one you go to pry rocks, dig small holes, and generally abuse, because it was cheap and can be easily replaced. However, that beater knife may not cut you out of a seat belt, or cut heavy cordage or even cut up your food for supper.

You do not have to spend a fortune on your knives however. A quality knife can be bought for well under 100 dollars, but paying 10 dollars for any knife means you will only get 10 dollars worth of use out of it. Shop around and ask around, but also make sure the person you are asking actually uses their knives, and that they know why they have certain edges on their knives.

People buy knives just to have them. They look dangerous, so oftentimes a knife is bought for its looks. Take the so-called Rambo knives made famous by the Rambo movie franchise. The knife is wicked looking, and how neat is it to have a survival kit in the hollow handle. Sew up a wound, start a fire with matches in the handle and cook the fish you caught with the hooks, line and sinkers all stuffed in the hollow handle as well. You may be taken hook, line and sinker if you spend any serious money on this type of knife however.

When hollow knife handles can brew a fresh cup of coffee and produce lunch then maybe you should consider one, but until then, buy for quality and job needs not for looks.

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