The Ins and Outs of Prepper Home Security

Prepper Home Security

There is a difference between home security and home defense. Security involves preventative actions you would take to reduce or to deter action by others and of course defense is reacting once a threat presents itself.

The title “ins and outs” is named thus, because you have to think about keeping others from coming in and if confronted by a threat how you might get out if you need to.

However, keep in mind unless your home is targeted for a specific reason, it will simply be one of many homes in the area. Attacks or attempted intrusions would likely be random events, unless once again, you are targeted for a specific reason.

Why Would Your Home Be Targeted (Security)

Something is inside your home that others want, but how do they know there is something inside they want. Usually people know because you tell them. People brag about firearms, they brag about being prepared, and often times try to bring others into the prepping fold, and soon everyone knows you are a Prepper with a large or it is assumed it is a large supply of firearms and other gear and materials just sitting there at your house.

Already some are saying let them come “I want them to know I am ready, so I am going to brag to anyone I see about how well armed I am because then they will stay away.” Good luck with that, because that does not work, and in reality only makes you a bigger and yes easier target.

Once someone knows something about you and about your security and defense then they can devise a plan to counter your security measures and defensive actions.

It is the uncertainty that is planted in a persons’ mind that may stop them from targeting your home. People with information will execute their plans based on information about you and usually given by you, by your actions and words. When are you home, what is your work schedule, and so on, is all information that can be used against you.

If a group knows you are armed then they may come with a larger, better armed group because now they know who and what you are. The point is if they know who, what, when and where then they can plan better to invade your home. Do not give anyone information that can be used against you.

If you brag about firearms that do not exist then you are in even worse shape, because someone may show up at your door wanting that so-called expensive rifle that you do not have to use for your own defense. Do not brag or bluff period, because someone somewhere will call your hand.

The guy at the pawn shop or at the gunsmith’s all talk to others, and while not being malicious they are still telling others about what you have and who you are. A pawn shop employee may comment on so-and-so buying a specific firearm or a number of firearms, harmless chatter usually, but some people remember harmless chatter.

Social media websites are hunting grounds for some people and they explore the sites sucking up clues and identifying future targets. You may think only your so-called friends are seeing all that you post, but do you really know, and there may be more to your friends than you imagine.

Security is often times about flying below the radar. If no one knows your home is there then he or she cannot target it. Of course there are people who know your home is there, but in most cases, they have no interest in your home, but those who troll websites and drive by your property are making assessments, deciding on whether your home should be a target, a target for them, so why make it easy.

Keep things to yourself and keep things offline, there is no reason that the whole world needs to know you just modified your AR-15 and have 1200 rounds stored for said weapon. No reason at all. Enough people already know.

Defense

You do not want people inside your home with firearms that plan you harm. Close quarter combat with firearms is like a knife fight, all parties come away bloodied. You want to avoid it and you want to avoid prolonged sieges where you are sniping at them and they are sniping at you.

You need an early defense system to let you know someone has breached your perimeter. Surveillance cameras, motion activated lights and motion activated alarms are some options, as well as, noise makers strung along trip wires. Once you have information early enough, you can plan to defend your property or escape if needed.

Professionals of course would expect defensive measures and will determine what the measures are and then develop a plan to counter the measures. It is not likely you would be attacked by professionals however. You could be surrounded by governmental agencies as well, and frankly you will lose the battle in either of the cases presented.

Your home will be isolated, power disrupted, water shut off and electronic signals would be jammed. This is an extreme case, but some of these measures could be used against you by anyone.

You have all seen the movies where the criminals cut the phone line, and possibly disrupt the power supply. This could happen, and once it does, you are under siege and you need a plan to get out. Keep them from getting in if you can and if not, know how to get out when you need to.

There is more to home defense than just shooting at intruders. Many people’s understanding of what would likely happen comes from television and of course the Internet is full of experts that gladly explain in detail what would happen. People can only express however, what they think they would do if they have never experienced it before, so keep this in mind.

Your objective is to be better trained than your opponent is, and when it comes to home defense your opponent is a criminal who wants inside to grab what valuables they can. You simply cannot stand and fight if attacked by governmental agencies that have gone rouge once the SHTF, or against a well equipped and well trained unit military or otherwise. Those that imagine themselves holding off a well armed group will end up dead, captured or otherwise put out of commission.

You have to know when to cut your losses and escape, so you always need an exit strategy and you are the only one right now that can determine the best one, because unless an expert has walked your property and evaluated avenues of approach and escape they really do not know either.

The information presented here is not a plan but a reminder. Stay rooted in reality. Many home defense articles today are based on when the SHTF. When society has collapsed and it is the Wild West 2.0. This is not a likely scenario, and even if it is, there will continue to be break-ins and home invasions that have nothing to do SHTF situations. These are right now the most likely situations in which you would find yourself.

You are not going to be slaying zombies or fighting the mad rush of refuges from large cities or marauding bands of militia. You will be countering burglars and looters that are for the most part opportunist. They will rattle door knobs until they find one unlocked. This is what you would be dealing with. This is not to say that you should ever underestimate their abilities however.

Their advantage is your fear, and so they push hard and fast to create fear and confusion. You simply have to be better trained, and equipped, and have a better plan, which all means you have confidence that quells the fear and then you can react appropriately.

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Is Your Every Day Carry (EDC) Relevant To What You Do Everyday

EDC Every Day Carry Items

Is Your Every Day Carry (EDC) Relevant To What You Do Everyday

If you do a search on the Internet for Everyday Carry (EDC) you will get over 5 million results. Overwhelming to say the least, and with so many choices it may be hard to choose, or so you think.

Start thinking about what you do every day and tailor your EDC to your lifestyle, occupation, and even tailor it to how you commute back and forth to work and commute to after work activities.

Should you carry everything on your person, in a briefcase, satchel, or purse or in your vehicle? Once you have analyzed your situation you will be better able to determine what to carry and where to carry it.

First, there are some common items that virtually anyone would need at some point. Maybe not need every day, but when you need something you want it available.

1.) Penlight Small Flashlight

This item is handy for searching in your vehicle trunk, glove box, or center console even during the day. You can even use it to check the room temperature on your home thermostat that may be in a dark hallway or corner. If you start carrying a small flashlight, you will use it, and then you will realize how much you really do need one.

2.) Pen Knife, Jackknife, or Small Folding Knife

If for nothing else use one to trim or clean your fingernails instead of biting them when anxiously waiting on an email or phone call. Open packages that arrive, or use as a letter opener. The uses for a sharp blade during the normal course of a day are endless. However, in some states or local jurisdictions there may be restrictions on blade length and type of knife so do some research first. Typically a small pen knife or small jack knives are not prohibited.

3.) Spare Glasses and/or Contacts and Include Sunglasses

Anyone that wears eye glasses has probably broken a pair and then realized they do not have an extra pair. Even a pair that may be a few years old and not as strong is much better than not having a pair at all. The same with contacts, you can be out somewhere and develop a problem with the pair or just one of the contacts you have in and you simply have to take action. The lens may be torn or simply dirty, so what do you do if you do not have a spare set. Sunglasses can double as emergency safety glasses and of course can be used as intended.

4.) Multi-Tool

Who has grabbed a desk drawer handle and realized the handle is loose or it falls off in your hand. The only way to fix the problem is with a screwdriver, which you do not have. Any number of small problems like this can crop up during the day, so instead of hunting around for tools at the office or even at home carry a multi-tool to handle the small things that aggravate us all during the day.

Typically a multi-tool will come with a set of small pliers with wire cutters, knife blade, awl, file, possibly scissors, saw blade, bottle and can opener, and a flat head as well as a Phillips head screw driver tool.

Certain tools are dedicated to specific tasks so pick one that suits your needs. Some tools have sight adjustment tools for firearms, for example, and some have tools for those that may need to work on their bicycle and so on. For general purposes the prices are relatively inexpensive and some are small enough so they can be carried on a keychain.

5.) Spare Communication Device

In today’s world a communication device is usually a cell phone or even a tablet. Normally people never leave home without one, but what happens if it is lost, stolen or otherwise fails to work, do you have a backup. You can purchase a pay-as-you-go phone that usually comes with minutes or you can load 300 minutes or so for emergencies. Keep in mind with some phones you may lose the minutes after a certain period, so keep track so you know you always have so-called emergency minutes available.

Specific Items In addition To What Has Been Listed Above

If you ride the subway, bus or take a taxi to work you probably do not need fire starting materials in your EDC, so what would you need.

Several prepaid Visa or MasterCard’s for emergencies. Keep the amounts low, just enough to pay for a taxi ride home, for example, from various areas of the city or for emergency funds if your wallet or purse is lost or stolen

Obviously carry emergency funds in other than your purse or wallet

Map of the entire city so you know how to get home from any area. The boss may send you on an errand or you simply end up in an unfamiliar section. Know the routes back home or back to your work, so you do not get the tourist tour from a taxi driver or you know what bus or train to get on. Of course you can access maps and train or subway schedules on your phone, but what happens if you cannot

Pepper spray or stun gun but know the laws as to what can be legally carried in your area

If you commute to work every day by vehicle then having a few items in the car makes sense. Even if you commute through built up urban areas you should still have certain items you carry everyday

  • Carry enough water for 24 hours
  • Mylar blankets
  • Work Gloves
  • Snacks
  • Tools for changing tires, battery cables, jump box
  • Spare phone battery and charger
  • Pepper spray and/or stun gun
  • Prepaid cards for emergency funds if you have to leave your vehicle and take a taxi or even a bus home

For those that have long rural commutes you have the worry of not getting home at night if something were to happen. Weather events and mechanical problems can leave you stranded. Of course, if you have a working cell phone you can call for help, but dead spots are common in some parts of the country, and thus you may not have cell service where you are at the time. You need a plan and some supplies.

  • Food for 24 hours such as  MRE’s, canned foods, beef jerky, crackers and peanut butter and so on
  • Water for 24 to 48 hours
  • Multi-tool and if for nothing else use to open up canned foods
  • Tools for minor car repairs and keep in mind unless you have extensive training and the tools there is not much you can do in some cases, but you can repair a blown radiator hose or vacuum hose and perform a few other repairs that can get you home.
  • Battery cables, jump box or even a spare battery and the tools to change the battery if needed
  • Antifreeze/coolant, extra motor oil
  • Serviceable spare tire and tools for changing
  • Mylar blankets for every season and during the winter months carry sleeping bags and/or blankets for the cold
  • Spare cell phone and batteries, having an extra phone means you have a greater chance of making contact with someone
  • Small shovel and in snowy weather traction material such as tire chains, sand or kitty litter
  • Seasonal clothing in particular for cold weather, hat, gloves and coat for example
  • Work gloves
  • Fire starting materials
  • Signal flags or flares so your vehicle can be seen in snow or rain and have light sticks for at night
  • Flashlights and batteries
  • Walking shoes/boots and possibly a change of clothes better suited for walking and for rough terrain or brush
  • Backpack to carry items if you have to leave the vehicle, and at this point certain supplies would be get home supplies

Typically, when you research EDC you will find that there is a firearm or some other sort of self defense item included. This is a personal choice and in some cases, certain laws may dictate what you can carry. If you have a carry permit then there is no reason not to carry a firearm, but keep in mind some establishments and governmental buildings prohibit the carrying of a firearm inside.

If you are on foot and have to enter a building that prohibits a firearm what are your plans for securing your firearm. Certain buildings will have metal detectors so simply keeping your firearm hidden may not be an option.

What it boils down to is what do you want to carry, and what do you need to carry to accomplish certain tasks throughout the day, and do you have the means to carry all that you want and need.

Typically, what is needed can be carried on your person or in a briefcase or purse. You want to make sure the items are accessible at all times so if you have to lock up your purse or briefcase at work consider other options for carrying certain items. Tool carries can be fitted on your belt, so you may be able to carry multiple items in one place. Give it some thought, and come up with ideas. Do not make your EDC so cumbersome however, that it becomes a burden, because, then you will tend to leave it behind occasionally, and then not carry it at all.

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Day Hiking Checklist

12 Steps to Prepare For a Day Hike

Daydreaming About a Day Hike That Could Turn Into a Nightmare

You simply cannot stand it anymore. Your cabin fever has literally reached a fever pitch, time to get outside and breathe some fresh air again. Wild edibles are popping up, birds are flocking and the rivers, and streams are running strong with snow melt.

It is a wonderful time and yet it can be a treacherous time for the unprepared. The ground is still soft from snow melt in many parts of the country, and the streams you could cross with just a few steps last fall are now yards wider making the crossings dangerous. Predators are out prowling for prey and the bears are hungry after a long and difficult winter.

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Seeds Seedlings

Seeds, Seedlings or Both When Starting Your Garden

For most people it would be a combination of sowing seeds directly in the ground or in pots and transplanting into the ground using seedlings. The seedlings can be ones that you started yourself indoors six to eight weeks before the last frost, or you can purchase seedlings from your local home and garden store.

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Survival Kit in a Tin, Is This Possible?

Altoids Survival Kits

A typical off the shelf survival in a tin kit can contain a pack of sugar, book of matches, one razor blade, stick of gum, one tea bag, one beef bouillon cube, safety pin, whistle, one fishhook, stub of pencil with no eraser, button compass, piece of paper and a Tootsie roll.

The kits do vary of course, so in other tin survival kits you may find in addition to what has been listed an alcohol wipe, ointment for burns or abrasions, fishing line and hooks, and a small mirror, or the inside of the lid can be used as a signaling device in some cases. You can also purchases specific kits such as a survival fishing kits.

The size is small, typically the size of an Altoids Tin. Space is limited, and in the absence of other gear or materials certain kits could mean the difference between surviving and not. The tins are small enough to put in your pocket, but you should not consider the tins the end all to survival, consider them instead a backup or the go to material in a desperate situation when nothing else is available.

Should you plan a day hike, hunting, or camping trip and only consider carrying a survival tin. No you should not. The tins should be in addition to your typical load out for camping, hiking, hunting or when just enjoying nature.

As stated earlier in the absence of anything else the material can be used, but unless you have built your own survival tin and have tested the products under field conditions you have no idea of the quality of the off the shelf products. If you have the right materials in your survival tin they could be used to survive until rescued.

What Is Needed

If nothing else buy the tins for the container, or purchase some Altoids, enjoy until empty and repurpose the container.

Some of what is included in the off the shelf tins are comfort items. A tea bag, pack of sugar, or salt, beef bouillon, and gum while nice to have are not needed for your immediate survival.

Instead of a book of matches or a small cylinder of so-called waterproof matches replace with a magnesium stick and/or a quality Ferro rod. You probably do not need a pencil stub for your immediate survival. You are not likely to be in a Robinson Caruso situation so leaving notes in a bottle is not needed. Your goal is to survive and to help rescuers find you.

Fire is needed for warmth and for signaling, so quality materials for fire is a must for any survival tin. Add some fire tinder and make sure it is protected from moisture and/or add some wet fire.

Fishhooks are essential in some situations but without quality line they are not much use in the short-term. The few feet of line included in some tins is not adequate and the line takes up space, so instead add a Bic lighter as backup or add a small multi-tool instead.

You need a compass and quality Ziploc bags for water collection and to carry water if needed. A quality whistle is needed for signaling and you can add some folded up aluminum foil which has multiple uses, and signaling for help is among the uses.

Anti-bacterial wipes can be used to prevent infections, so have at least one packet along with several alcohol wipes, for hand sanitation or fire starting, and include several bandages.

A good razor blade can be used for various tasks and when used with the pliers on a multi tool you have a skinning blade. Grip the blade with the pliers to perform tasks to reduce the chances of slicing your hands or fingers. They do not take up much space so add several and make sure they are the ones that have the grip strip, in other words they are not blades that are typically used in utility knives. Any blade you have is a good blade in a survival situation however.

Cordage is important but how much can you stuff in a tin, is it enough to be of any practical use. Any cordage is good cordage, but it does take up space so consider other ways of carrying cordage during the normal course of a day. Consider boot laces, Paracord bracelets, or belts made from Cordage instead, and save the space for other items. You can get creative and wrap the entire tin in Paracord but at some point you will have defeated the purpose of the tin which is a small unobtrusive tin that can be easily carried.

The tin should be there when all else has failed, but you should not consider it the first line of defense. Pack one every time or carry one everyday as part of your EDC. Properly preparing to become lost is your best defense however when planning a hiking, hunting or camping trip. Anyone can get lost but not everyone can survive the ordeal.

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5 Skills That Will be in Demand When The SHTF

SHTF Skills

As Preppers There Are Some Things You Cannot Have Too Much Of

It’s unfortunate, but most of us have limited finances, space and time when it comes to getting prepared. The few minutes daydreaming about an arsenal in the basement, with tens of thousands of rounds of ammunition can be a brief reprise from the humdrum of the day, but it is only a daydream.

It is nice to fantasize about opening the door to an underground bunker to find rows of shelving weighted down with food, blankets, medical supplies, protective suits and masks and full water barrels by the hundreds lining the walls. In your mind and the mind of most people you cannot have too much when it comes to prepping, but again space is limited, and money is always in short supply and time, there is never enough time.

What Can Be Done

In reality if you do not have it, cannot make it, or trade for it during a crisis then you will have to survive without it, if you can. This means you not only need a supply on hand, you need the ability to produce life essentials or be able to barter for them.

Skills will be in demand during a crisis so do an assessment of what skills you have that can be used in trade. Everyone has skills, and it is never too late to learn some more.

1.) Learn how to make gunpowder it is not that difficult, but getting the raw materials gathered up and stored can be a problem. The ingredients are common knowledge, sulfur, charcoal, and potassium nitrate (saltpeter). The concept is simple you have two fuels (sulfur, charcoal) and an oxidizer (potassium nitrate). The rest will be left up to you however. Black powder is stable and it has a high flash point over 800° F, so it can be stored and transported safely if certain relatively simple precautions are taken.

If you know how to make it and can find the ingredients you have a marketable skill. Someone else may have a bench loader, spent brass, primers and so on so, but he or she cannot make black powder for their propellant, and so they may need your skill and materials and would be willing to barter.

2.) Learn how to distill grains and fruits to make alcohol. Alcohol will be in demand especially certain kinds of alcohol for first aid/medical applications. Again the process is not difficult to understand but it does require skill and materials. Copper tubing, yeasts, grains, fruits and so on but if you have the skill and certain materials you can come together with others that have a piece of this or a bushel of that. You cannot do it all on your own but collectively anything is possible during a crisis.

3.) Learn basic firearms repair (gunsmith) and start gathering parts for firearms that could be used. Parts for firearms will be a barter item, so do not discard anything, because someone may need the parts and would be willing to trade.

4.) Sewing skills will be in demand at some point and while it may not be a lucrative endeavor you may be able to use those skills to barter for small items. If you can make clothes then that is a more advanced skill that would be more marketable during a crisis.

5.) Knowing how to raise livestock and foods of course, will be needed if the crisis is an extended one. This takes knowledge and hands on experience. Simply gathering up the supplies is not enough. To be successful you would need practical experience behind you.

Other Considerations

Hand tools will be in great demand such as saws, hammers and axes just to name a few. You will need tools for your own and some that could be used for barter. You can gather up ax and hammer heads, and learn how to sharpen saw blades and ax heads while you are at it as well.

As you have already figured out you cannot store enough food for an indefinite period, so you need seeds, rifles for hunting, traps, fishing gear and the tools for butchering and the skills to preserve meats and vegetables.

Hunting, fishing, and trapping may be productive in the short-term but as time passes more and more people with little experience will be out tramping through the woods, and polluting creeks and ponds, so for long-term survival you would need a sustainable and renewable source.

You can raise your own fish and vegetables through aquaponics, which is a system that combines raising produce with raising marine life to create a self-sustaining and renewable system. Of course you need the room to do this, and it should be done so that not everyone knows about it. It can be done in an enclosure with artificial lighting or in a green house. The space used would be relative to the yields, so the bigger the space the bigger the harvest.

Before bartering would become common the crisis would have to have been ongoing for some time. Everyone will need the basics such as food, water, and medical supplies and as time goes on they will want other items as well, such as tobacco, alcohol, baby items, toys, reading materials, lighters, and seasonal clothing.

There are literally hundreds of items that may be in demand during a crisis, do not limit yourself, virtually anything would have some value.

A cup of sugar, a pound of flour, a packet of yeast, and some baking soda/powder will be more valuable than a wallet or purse stuffed with dollar bills.

Salt, sugar, pepper, honey, and cooking oils for example, will be the new dollar bills and pocket change. You would need to gather things like these now, just as you put all of your spare pocket change in a jar until you get enough to cash in.

The biggest problem is that supplies run out, and if you do not have a system in place well before supplies run out you are in trouble. You have to begin thinking long-term. Six months worth of food supplies is not much when you consider it would take longer than six months for any garden to produce if it is not already established. You cannot just sow seeds in the ground and expect an abundant harvest before your food stockpile is depleted.

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6 Survival Food Storage Considerations

Survival Food Storage

Three days, three weeks, three months, if you did not go shopping today could you feed yourself and your family for any, or all of the time frames listed. If not then it is time to get started, but rushing out without some careful planning is not a good idea either. This is when you overspend and make poor choices.

You know how it works. You read an article on a survival blog or see an advertisement on television such as “if you’re not a Prepper now you will be”. A call to action that is supposed to get you motivated to buy a product. You get a sense of urgency and you want to run out and start stocking up. Advertisements do work, especially when it comes to food and a crisis, but you need to consider certain things first.

Break It Down

First, you have to calculate how much food you need for a specific period, and one way to determine this is to carefully note what you actually consume. Then determine what you waste, and what ends up sitting on a shelf that no one eats.

Once you have an accurate figure on consumption add 10 to 15 percent more, to account for waste, spoilage, charity and just from simply eating more because of the crisis. Next decide if you want enough food stockpiled for three days, three weeks, or three months and beyond. It will make a difference on what you buy and how you store it.

Long-term food storage is not as easy as piling food on a shelf. Typically, your cupboards would not hold enough non-perishable foods for 90 days, and it would require some effort to keep track of the shelf life of the food, because it would be assumed that food for daily use would be mingled in with your long term food if you used your cupboards and pantry shelves for storage. Therefore, you might need a specific storage area for emergency foods.

Storage Area Considerations

Remember you are stockpiling food now that would need to be edible through the crisis and beyond, so how food is stored before disaster strikes is critical. You could start stockpiling today and you may not experience a crisis for several years or longer, so you want to ensure your food would be edible whenever disaster strikes.

You cannot just store the food and forget it’s there. You need to check dates, inspect for insect infestations, deterioration for damage from rodents and humans. Have every family member sample the foods to ensure everyone knows what they taste like and that you know how to prepare the foods and know how to portion the product out if it comes in number 10 cans for example.

Variety is important along with nutritional value. You can get along for a few days on just snack foods, but when it comes to weeks and months the food must be nutritious and taste good.

1.) Temperature control is important and high temperatures will reduce the shelf-life of most food products. Garages make poor storage areas unless it is temperature controlled. Hot in the summer and possibly below freezing in the winter. Shelf life will be based on the warmest temperature swings the area experiences. If it is warm one day and cool the next the damage has already been done by the heat, and food will lose some color and taste when it experiences temperature variations and in many cases, the shelf life can be reduced by half or more when exposed to higher temperatures.

2.) Food not sealed properly will spoil because oxygen is hard at work encouraging oxidation and bacteria growth, which will cause food to go rancid and can cause sickness. Vacuum sealers, proper hot bath canning methods along with oxygen absorbers can all be used to seal off foods from damaging oxygen.

3.) Pests are always looking for a free meal so foods must be stored to prevent infestations. Rodents and insects can destroy your food supply very quickly. Grains in particular are susceptible to weevils so they must be stored in containers to keep the insects from burrowing in and laying their larvae, which will hatch and start consuming the grain.

The cardboard packaging and cloth sacking that certain pastas and rice come in are not barriers against weevils. In some cases, the weevil larvae can already be in the grain if the hulls are intact, or if you process your own grains. You can destroy the larvae by placing the grains in the freezer for a few days then sealing in glass or food grade plastic containers.

4.) Humidity will reduce shelf life, and it will over time ruin canned foods by rusting the metal containers. Moisture will break down packaging materials as well. Cardboard packaging will deteriorate quickly when exposed to humidity in your garage, basement, storage shed, and root cellar and so on.

Storage containers to reduce the effects of humidity include Mylar bag, glass jars, and food grade plastic buckets or other food grade plastic containers that have airtight seals. The lower the humidity the better, so while root cellars are ideal places for vegetables they are not ideal for storing packaged foods and underground bunkers unless carefully designed and crafted will expose foods to high humidity as well.

5.) Time has an effect on everything and regardless of how the food is packaged time will degrade the product.

6.) Light will degrade food products and packaging material so it is important that none of your packaged foods are exposed to light, in particular natural light.

Certain freeze dried or dehydrated foods claim to have a shelf life of 20 years or more. The shelf life is based on ideal storage conditions however. Once the packaging is opened the shelf life is reduced considerably.

Certain products now such as coffee are packaged in essentially cardboard containers coated with food grade materials. The containers are susceptible to moisture damage. Purchase coffee in plastic or metal cans.

Make sure you know the type of packaging material dehydrated foods are packaged in before buying online, otherwise you may have to repackage, which of course will reduce the shelf life.

Other Considerations

You will need food supplies when sheltering in place, but what happens if you have to evacuate. Do you have food supplies that can be transported in your vehicle or in a backpack? If you do your own canning the glass jars cannot be easily transported in a vehicle or backpack. Retail canned goods are not ideal for backpacks but can be transported in vehicles without damaging the product. Give some thought to the type of foods and packaging needed for backpacks and vehicles in the event you have to leave.

A mixture of foods and different types of packaging are ideal, so you always have a supply regardless of the situation. Keep in mind dehydrated and freeze dried foods will require water for reconstitution, suitable containers for preparing the foods and a means of heating water.

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Time to Come Out of Hibernation and Burn off Some Carbs

Physically Prepared

Now that the weather is improving in most parts of the country people can now get outdoors and shake off their cabin fever. After a long hard winter it is difficult for most of us to go from zero to 60 in five seconds, we have to work up to it, get back in shape in other words after long days of sitting idle.

Of course many of us shoveled snow and slogged through deep drifts this last winter, which by all accounts is hard work, but it may not have been enough. How much walking did you do, did you swing an ax to chop firewood, and did you have to haul water from a creek or pond and how often did you sling a pack and take a hike.

The demands physically will increase during a crisis and the less prepared you are the greater the physical demands will be on your body. You may have to carry supplies home on foot from an emergency distribution center set up by the local, state, or federal authorities during a crisis. Can you carry supplies back home from town on foot, today, right now if you had too? You may not always be able to drive your vehicle during a crisis so you have to be prepared to walk and carry.

Past articles have talked about bugging-out, but for the most part the articles have advocated for sheltering in place in all but extreme cases. You may find yourself in a situation where you have to leave your home, but to do so you would have to be ready physically.

Humans are built for walking and running, and yet some if not many of us do very little of it. However, during a crisis having the ability to get from one point to another on foot could save your life.

Note: Do not attempt any strenuous activity unless you have consulted with a medical professional to ensure you can endure the activity. Everyone needs to know the condition of his or her heart, whether you have problems with hypertension, and whether you are diabetic or pre-diabetic before doing any strenuous activity. Without knowing, you could harm yourself with over exertion. Fit the activity to your present physical condition and strengthen your heart and body at a safe pace.

Build Up Slow

You can almost guarantee your bug-out-bag is too heavy to carry for an extended period. Over the winter you likely added items without removing any. That new space age tent you just had to have along with that the new camp stove that will fold up to the size of a deck of cards all went in the bag. Not much weight added but weight added nonetheless.

Now is the time to sling your bag and really get out there and test yourself, however, reduce the weight to about 15 pounds to start with unless you have been hiking all winter with 50 pounds on your back.

You might want to consider adding a front pack that repositions some of the weight. Front packs while they have limited space are ideal for carrying items you would need to put your hands on frequently while hiking such as maps, compass, and weapons and so on.

Having weight up front also helps when walking up inclines because some of the weight is forward. A front pack can help reduce the strain on the shoulders and back as well. Most front packs can be used with a traditional backpack.

Test your hiking boots/shoes. You may have gotten a new pair over the winter, but have yet to put them through their paces. You do not want to find out during an emergency that your footwear is causing you foot problems. Find out now and break in those new boots in a controlled situation.

Once your pack is shouldered can you access a holstered pistol? Many of you with a concealed carry permit will want to carry while hiking and you generally would not want your pistol buried in the pack. With kidney pads and waist belts attached can you still carry so the firearm is easily accessible on the belt or in a shoulder rig if that is the case? Now is the time to find out in particular if you purchased a new backpack or even a new holster/pistol over the winter.

Pack shouldered, boots laced tight and now it is time to walk a mile or even two to start with. Work up a sweat to see if your body is anxious to go with the added weight. You may only be able to walk a half mile before you feel your shoulders aching and your feet killing you, but that’s ok because after a week of this you can bump up to three quarters of a mile without a problem. After a few weeks two miles will literally be a walk in the park.

After 10 days or even two weeks add 10 pounds to the pack and continue to walk and vary the terrain so you are forced to walk on uneven ground, up and down inclines, over rocks, grass and with forest debris underfoot. Continue to add weight until all items are back in the pack and then gauge whether you could reasonably expect to carry it all day every day.

There is more to being prepared than having a stockpile of supplies. You have to be physically able to handle the crisis, and the less you can do physically the more you have to be prepared in other areas. If you simply cannot walk for any distance then you have to ensure you would not have to during a crisis. This means you have everything you need at hand. You will not be able to forage, walk to an emergency distribution center, and you would not be able to hunt wild game. You have to adapt your preparations in some cases, to fit your physical situation.

Some may feel they can handle any situation as it comes up, but if you have never been trained and conditioned to handle certain situations you will not be able to in many cases. Do not assume, because you are in top physical condition that you can do it all. You need to prepare for the worst case scenario, because even a fit person cannot walk far with a broken leg.

Before you can train and gain new skills you have to be physically capable. Some of you of course cannot do certain things for various reasons, so your preparedness plan will have to take a different turn to make up for the lack of physical capabilities.

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Survival Supply Caches Revisited

Supply Survival Cache

If you do a search online about survival supply caches hundreds of pages become available for viewing. There are as many opinions on the subject as there are pages, so it can be confusing. Everyone has their own thoughts on the subject, but keep in mind every situation is different, so there is not a one size fits all. Common sense has to play a role however.

Keep in mind some of the blog writers and forum posters may be auditioning to write scripts for the Walking Dead television show, so you do have to sift through the information, and not take what is written at face value.

The concept of a cache is simple. Hide essentials supplies that can be retrieved later. Additionally, you have to protect the supplies from moisture, rodents, insects, and thieves.

After doing some research you may find that one person believes in hiding ammunition in one cache and firearms in another for example. The idea of course, is that if someone finds one or the other he or she does not get it all. However, what happens if you show up at the ammunition cache without your firearm, because it was stolen or lost. You now have a thousand rounds of ammunition and no firearm, so you have to load up the ammo and start the trek to the cache that has spare firearms.

To some this may be acceptable, but common sense should tell you that no matter how many caches you have they should all replicate each other, because if not you will be digging holes all over the country. It may make more sense to have one or two well stocked caches that are self sustaining, so if you show up in nothing but shorts and sandals you have all that is needed for surviving from that point forward. It makes sense to have caches within a reasonable distance of your home as well.

Considerations

Caches are not just for those that have bugged out. Having a cache buried close by could be a life saver if your community is struck by a tornado, hurricane, or earthquake or even if a wildfire strikes the area.

Your home and everything inside may be destroyed, but having a cache close by means you having clothing, medical supplies, food and other essentials in the first few hours and days of the event.

Bugging Out and Supply Caches

You have routes mapped out and you have a plan. You know where you would go once the SHTF and you have caches buried along the route. Sounds good on paper but, and there is always a “but” when it comes to plans and the execution of said plans. Things rarely work out as planned however.

Again common sense should tell you that unless you have a comparable location you can actually get to that has shelter, and a certain level of infrastructure then bugging out is dangerous. Some so-called experts recommend that you have a bug-out location 70 to 100 miles from a metropolitan area, which makes sense until you are faced with getting there on foot.

Your supply caches are located along the route, and you assume you can walk to each one in 24 hours, based on a 3 mph hour walking speed. First, you will not be walking at 3 mph so you may very well be out of certain supplies before you even make it to the first cache. A bug-out-bag is supposedly designed to sustain you for 72-hours, but to reduce weight you are carrying less water and food because you assumed you would make it to your cache to resupply.

It probably makes more sense in most cases, to have supply caches buried so you can retrieve the supplies to bring back to your home to shelter in place. Why not just leave the supplies at home then. If you have all of your supplies in one place they can be all stolen or damaged at one time.

If you cannot get to your safe haven or bug-out location without hunting for buried supplies then you are better off not leaving at all. It does however, make sense to have supplies buried at your destination, so if or when you do get there you can sustain yourself for a certain period. Burying supplies in areas you have no control over means you may lose your supplies. 

Even if you cannot immediately get to your safe haven you know there are supplies there that can be recovered at some point. Having caches here and there along multiple routes because one may be blocked is cost prohibitive and time consuming, and you simply have no control over the locations. You may show up to retrieve your cache one day to find a strip mall built over your supplies.

A survival cache can be buried in your backyard to make sure you have supplies in the event of a robbery, fire or any disaster that destroys your supplies inside the home. Unless someone besides you knows you have supplies buried in the backyard they are likely safe from marauders and looters.

Bury supplies so if you are literally run out of your home you can supply yourself. This may mean hiding certain caches close to the home, but out of sight of the home, so you can recover them without being discovered. This will take careful planning, but it makes more sense than having several caches buried 50 miles apart in various locations.

Having supplies buried 20 miles from your home is doable during a crisis, because even if you had to hike to them you can within a reasonable period. Beyond 20 mile and the situation cannot be controlled. Survival is all about controlling your environment to the greatest extent possible.

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Dutch Bucket Hydroponics

Dutch Bucket Hydroponics: How to Make Your Own Buckets

If you find yourself needing or wanting to provide your own healthy, home grown food but suffer from limited space, you may want to consider hydroponics. Hydroponics can allow for the growing of large volumes of food in a limited space.

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