Knowledge it’s Just the Beginning


Preppers Even Though You Have the Knowledge: It is Just the Beginning

Knowledge Is Merely Potential: Only Once You Have Applied Your Knowledge Effectively Do You Have the Power

You can research on the Internet, and find information on virtually anything. You can find information on medical procedures, how to build a bridge, a satellite dish, an airplane and the list goes on. You can memorize and take notes, but this does not make you a medical professional or an engineer.

You have some knowledge but no practical experience. It takes years of training to become a doctor or to become a successful engineer. You need field experience, books and lectures and Internet videos can only take you so far.

Previous articles have talked about the importance of knowledge and have cautioned about gear and gadget dependency. As stated earlier knowledge is only a potential however, waiting for implementation. You have to be able to apply what you know. Research on the Internet allows you to gain or gather knowledge, but this does not mean you are skilled.

Many experts and nonprofessionals alike believe the will to survive is coded in human DNA. The belief is that humans can and will perform Herculean tasks to survive. The will to survive, because it is instinct, according to some, means you instinctively know certain things and know how to react. Then there are those that believe that instinct is not coded in human DNA but is a learned trait, learned through trial and error and passed along through generations. There is an argument to be made for both sides.

Knowing what you need to survive, does not mean, you have the ability to provide what you need to survive. You know you need water to survive whether this is an instinct or not, it is a fact, and yet unless you have real life experience in finding water in extreme environments you will die, regardless of your will to survive.

Tens of thousands of years ago, early humans took to the trees as a way of protecting themselves from predators. Humans could not run, or walk very well and trees were plentiful, so why run when you can climb a tree. Naturally, it seemed, humans took to the trees once they realized many of the four-legged carnivores could not easily reach them.

However, the climate changed and the trees started dying off, humans now had to face the predators on the ground. High grasses replaced the trees, and this made it hard to see predators stalking through the high grasses.

Humans leaned to run or had developed the ability to run, and soon learned how to make crude weapons. The tables began to turn, but humans had to apply the information that their now bigger brains were providing. They had to study the situation and then develop a plan and gather information to keep them alive. Then humans had to put into practice what they knew, and once they did, they had more power. Humans were becoming apex predators instead of just prey. Humans had the power to control their environment, and each day they learned how to control it just a little bit more.

Unless you climb down out of your tree and put your knowledge to use, you will never know. Unlike early humans, you get a do-over in your training and application phase in most cases. Training in a controlled environment allows you to learn from your mistakes. It is important that you train where your mistakes are not life threatening.

Training Phase

Get out into the woods for a weekend. Not only will you start to learn what it takes to survive in the wilderness you can apply those same skills right at home. Any natural disaster can turn your suburban community into a wilderness wasteland in a matter of minutes.

You will need the skills to create a fire in any situation and that includes right in your own backyard. You need to know how to find water in any situation, filter it and then purify it. Shelter building, no matter where you are, you need protection from the elements, other people, animals, insects and for psychological reason, you need the comfort. You may have to create a shelter on your own property in some situations.

Learn the basics and practice until your hands know what to do before your mind does. This is called muscle memory and it takes doing it repeatedly to achieve it. Practice until you get to the point that you look for fire tinder, and shelter material regardless of where you are.

People that get lost stumble around for hours in a panic when they should have been building a shelter and getting a fire going. If they had the skills, they would be in their shelter working on their next move, such as finding water, food and signaling for rescue instead of shivering miserably through the cold dark night.

Nothing is natural it takes practice. Anyone can start a fire with a lighter or dry match and dry combustibles, but can you start one if your pack fell overboard, and you are left with just forest debris in the rain. You can if you have the training and have practiced until your eyes glaze over.

One of the problems with the Internet and instant access to information is that it makes people believe they are smarter than they really are, it allows anyone to call themselves an expert. It convinces people they do not need to be in the woods over the weekend because they have got the procedure “down pat”.

Some may have watched videos or looked at step-by-step pictures while consuming a bag of pizza bites. Trained you are not, knowledgeable maybe, but do you also know you are staking your life on it?

You Can Call Yourself an Expert When

You can start a fire in the blowing snow or rain, when not starting a fire means someone is going to die. When you can find water and make it safe to drink, when lives hang in the balance. Call yourself an expert when you can make a shelter to protect you and others against the cold and rain when not having a shelter means dying from exposure.

Remember the above is not one or the other you must be highly skilled at it all. You cannot become skilled at anything sitting at home watching someone else.

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How to Make a Better Strawberry Pallet Planter

Pallet Strawberry Planter

Planter Photos Credit:

Here is a excellent DIY pallet project, a single pallet Strawberry planter. Re-purposing pallets seems like a no brainer, but did you know that some pallets can actually be dangerous due to being chemically treated with pesticides? In this article at they not only show you how to build the planter in the video below, but they also detail in the article how to identify the proper pallets to use.

How to Make a Better Strawberry Pallet Planter


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Skill and Knowledge is the Best Backup Plan

Skill and Knowledge

Preppers: A Backup Plan Is Not Always About Having Two of Something

Some of you may adhere to the philosophy that if you have two of something then in reality you will always have one of that something. If you only have one, and that one is lost or damaged then you have none. In some cases, it is simply a matter of gathering enough to ensure you always have enough, but it is not always practical to do it this way.

You can imagine how easy it would be to become caught up in buying extras to make sure you always have one. This can get expensive and being able to store or carry it all can be a problem as well.

How many times have you said to yourself “I need this, because what happens if, I lose one or it breaks”? Raise your hand if you have even rationalized buying something this way. It can get expensive, and what has it really done to improve your chances of survival. You can of course come up with hundreds of ways it may improve your chances, and you can play that game forever, but at some point, you have to stop and do an honest assessment of your situation.

Of course, you need gear but you must know the difference between what you really need versus what you really want.

You cannot realistically bug-out carrying two of everything, so you have to know what to do if your gear fails. Do you carry two firearms everyday in case one malfunctions, do you carry two knives in your pocket for fear of losing one. At some point, it becomes less about having a backup and more about you. It can in some cases, become an obsession.

Plans for example, you want a backup plan, because what if plan “A” goes south then you turn to plan “B”. There are no guarantees however, and you simply cannot plan for everything. You have to come to the realization that you may find yourself in a situation without a plan, or with the wrong plan. You are suddenly without any backup other than your knowledge and skills, and this is not the time to realize you do not have any.

If you obsess over having the right gear and the right amount of gear, you may be overlooking the importance of knowledge and skills. The only way to obtain certain skills sets though, is through experience and hands on training.

One of the ways to learn something new is by actually or pretending to teach it to someone else, so instead of watching videos on the Internet you can make a few of your own even if you never show them to anyone.

Get into an instructor mode and work your way through certain tasks as if you are teaching someone else the task. You will recognize your shortcomings and mistakes immediately and can correct them through more practice and research. You know what end results you expect, but getting there is the problem so break it down and practice as if explaining it to someone else.

People that convince themselves that they have every angle covered, and have every piece of gear needed to survive may have a dependency problem. You convince yourself you can survive, because your Everyday Carry (EDC) is 10 pounds of gear, you feel confident, because you have what you need with you. What happens though, if you find yourself without your EDC, do you now think you cannot survive?

Maybe you are relying too heavily on gear and gadgets, and not enough on skill sets. You have to be able to think your way through problems, because you may find yourself in a situation without a plan “B”.

Some people have stated that if the power grid goes down the country will be thrown back 200 years or some such. What is more likely though, is that the country will be thrown back to the stone ages.

People 200 years ago did not have a reliance on electricity, motor vehicles, hospitals, medical advances and medicines only to have it snatched away. They did not have a dependency on anything. They were used to surviving and thriving without electricity. Many people in this country today have no idea what life is like, or would be like, without electricity, and furthermore may not have any idea how to survive without it.

People 200 years ago had knowledge passed down from generation to generation and if they did not know something, someone else in the settlement did. If a settler/farmer failed to learn, they failed to survive.

Of course, you need planning and the more knowledge and skills you have means you can plan more realistically. For example, if you had no knowledge or experience when it comes to finding water in a desert environment then your planning would require you to carry enough water to meet any situation. This means you would have to carry enough water for an indefinite period, because what happens if you get lost. More skill means better planning, and less carrying. Your skills and knowledge is your backup plan when all else fails.

If you have wilderness survival skills, you can start a fire and make shelter even if your gear is lost, because your canoe overturned on the river. If you know how to survival fish you can eat, if you know how to forage for wild edibles you can eat. You cannot possibly carry everything you may need in every situation but you can carry the knowledge around in your head. It weighs nothing and you can never cram too much inside.

People today are relying on things that someone else provides for them, some to the point that they think that they cannot get through the day without certain items. If you learned only to type words on a computer keyboard, or cell phone could you write a letter in cursive?

Today, skills such as sewing, weaving, gardening, candle making and many other skills are no longer taught, or passed down from generations past. The reason why is, because there is no need, but what happens when there is a need, where will that leave you, possibly naked and in the dark and unable to write a goodbye letter.

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The Best State to Live as a Prepper

Best Prepper State to Live In

It is a question that resides in every prepper’s mind, “Which State is the best State to live in as a prepper?”. Lots of things must be considered when choosing the State in which you will make your last stand. What is the current political climate? What resource will be available to you if SHTF? What natural disasters may you face? To answer the question, the Tin Hat Ranch is letting you decide, so head on over and take his poll.

The Best State to Live as a Prepper

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How To Make a Penny Battery

Penny Battery

There isn’t much you can do with three cents nowadays, you can’t even buy “penny” candy. It is said that it costs the government almost two cents to make the coin. One thing is for sure, there will be plenty of these little worthless coins laying around in SHTF, so why not put them to good use? Did you know that with them you could make batteries to power small electronics? To learn how check out this excellent video below by The King of Random.

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5 Great Uses For Old Socks

Uses for old socks

We have all been there, one sock has a hole in it or one has mysteriously disappeared leaving you with a stockpile of mismatched socks. Well now you can re-purpose those old socks and turn them into some great free gear for backpacking or camping. So, if your ready to finally get rid of that old sock pile check out this excellent video below by Intense Angler to see how to put your old socks to great use.

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Preppers: Keeping it Real

Keeping it real

Preppers a Look Back: Keeping Things in Perspective

May 1962 Nikita Khrushchev decided it would be a good idea to place Soviet nuclear missiles in Cuba. The missiles in Cuba were in response to the United States placing missiles in Turkey and Italy. The missiles were aimed at Moscow. Mutually assured destruction was openly discussed as part of the international arms agreement (Library of Congress, 2010).

Paraphrasing John F. Kennedy’s speech to the American people in October of 1962

“Unmistakable evidence shows a series of offensive missile sites has been established on the Island of Cuba”. The purpose can be none other than to provide a nuclear strike against the Western Hemisphere” (John F. Kennedy Library).

An attack by the Russians was real and the fear was real. The public at large was glued to their radios, televisions and newspapers were read at every dinner table across the country.

Experts had predicted 150 million American citizens would have been killed immediately and the country would be thrust into a nuclear winter. Millions more would die as a result in days, months and even years after, talk about doomsday.

All this before some of you were even born. Doomsday threats are nothing new. The world since its creation has been headed toward destruction, just as the minute you are born you are pointed toward death.

Schoolchildren learned drills in school, and parents feverishly stockpiled foods and radiation suits. Bomb shelters were built and some no more than damp holes underground. Candles, water, clothes, first aid supplies, food and military gear were hoarded by everyone. Food was grown everywhere there was space, sounds a lot like prepping today.

It did not matter if the Cuban missile crisis was averted (this time). It could happen again, there was always the thought of next time, so people prepared. This “almost a calamity” caught the American people off guard, never again many vowed. No one conjured up conspiracies, people dealt with the reality and the reality at the time was nuclear war.

What Is Your Reality

Some might say there are too many to count. The country of Iraq, for example, is now essentially a terrorist state with all of the infrastructure and military installations at their disposal. A country now that no one can doubt will be bent on the destruction of anything western in particular the United States.

Right now, it may be easier to determine who does not have a nuclear weapon. When an organization is willing to die for their cause then “mutually assured destruction” is not applicable. You cannot tell a country you will destroy them up if they launch a missile if that is what that country wants you to do, because becoming a martyr is their goal.

The likelihood of a nuclear war, in the traditional sense of the word war, is low, not impossible but low. What is more likely however, is a nuclear detonation in some city under western influence. It could be in the United States or in a European country. The possibility is there, while again its probability is low.

What Can You Do

What you can do is prepare as you would for any crisis. You cannot prepare for a single crisis because other disasters will catch you off guard, some you may not be prepared for. Another thing you can do is stop listening to all of the conspiracy theories out there. There are real catastrophes to worry about so for you to worry about the ones someone dreamed up in their parent’s basement is only distracting you from reality.

There are some out there of course that will use any crisis, any pending doom as an excuse to go off the rails, there are always some in any crowd. This gives some an excuse to shrug off responsibility, using the excuse the world is crashing down upon us, so go out with a bang. Those that do this awake in the morning realizing the sky did not fall, and now it is time to pay up for their foolish actions.

You prepare, you go to work, take care of your family and you stay informed. Do not convince yourself that civilization is ending so you have an excuse to stop being civilized. This only creates more problems for you and when a crisis does strike, you will not be prepared.

John F. Kennedy Library. (n.d.). Retrieved 2014, from
Library of Congress. (2010). Retrieved 2014, from

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10 Reasons to Add Plantain to Your Medicine Chest


Many of you might not even know what it is, but Plantain is something you want to be able to identify. This plant, which is commonly found across North America, has many medicinal purposes. Most consider it a pesky weed, but in SHTF it might be one of your most valuable allies. Identifying the plant and knowing how to use it will help with inflammation, pain, and many other health issues. Check out:

10 Reasons to Add Plantain to Your Medicine Chest

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Bugging Out: Possible Misconceptions

Bugging out misconceptions

Much, if not most of what a number of people know about bugging out, is gained from watching reality television shows and from research on the Internet. Everyone has an opinion, a way of doing things, and everyone is an expert (just ask them) according to what you read on the Internet.

You as an individual will have your own ideas and thoughts on the subject of course, and when you find information that seems to validate what you already believe then perception becomes fact. However, if you have never had to bug-out and the ones writing the articles and giving advice have never bugged-out, where does that leave you.

People Tend To Misjudge Their Own Abilities

Bugging-out from a tactical standpoint is essentially a forced march. The fact that you had to bug-out means danger is all around you. The reality is that you have to move quickly, but you can only move as fast as the slowest person can in your group. The three miles an hour, you average on a flat sidewalk and the cinder path around the lake is not going to be the reality in a crisis.

During practice, you decided that a 50-pound pack is “doable”. A few times around the small lake down at the park, was literally a walk in the park, so you think you are ready now. It may be doable for you but what about your partner/spouse and children, elderly family members and even friends. You will now be carrying a backpack stuffed with last minute items as well. The 50 pound pack you started out with is now 60 pounds plus.

The reality is that most families will not be able to bug-out on foot. The only way to bug-out and survive the crisis and to be able to survive the trek itself is by vehicle. This leaves some in a predicament because any number of disasters can leave the roads and highways impassable.

The conclusion is fleeing on foot for a certain number families will not be a possibility, but you are the only one that can make this determination.

Living off the Land Is a Fallacy

If you are alone and have experience, bush craft skills, can endure long periods without proper nutrition and sleep, and can move around quickly you may have a chance. Blog after blog and article upon article says you can, and again you can if there are certain conditions that can be met. One condition that must be met is having a bug-out location that is remote, and has natural resources that you can take advantage of for a number of weeks and possibly months. Another condition is being able to get there.

You cannot grab your family, just flee for the hills, and begin living. It is not possible unless you have set up the area in advance, and even if you did what is to say someone else has not decided it looks like a good place to settle into before you get there.

Too many people tend to assume they are the only ones with the best ideas. If you can come up with the idea or read about it online then literally, millions of others can and have as well. The only advantage you may have is that while the other 1.9 million other people are following the advice on some blog, you are actually using your head, reasoning through the problem, and ultimately surviving.

There are situations that will force you from your home, chemical attacks, bombings from terrorists and so on. However, unless it is nationwide and the attacks take out the nation as a whole then there will be resources and areas to flee to close by that are set up for short periods. If a city or even several cities come under attack and forces, the citizens to flee you will flee to a neighboring city in all likelihood, not to the great outdoors.

You have to remember that SHTF scenarios will essentially be localized, unless the nation collapses at once, which means you do not have to worry about fleeing or living anywhere. If the financial market collapses or energy becomes scarce, then bugging-out is not needed in the short-term unless riots or demonstrations get out of hand and even then, you can plan, or prepare to shelter in place.

For most families walking between five and seven miles a day is probably the best you can do. This means you may not even be clear of the city in the first day and that is providing you started early enough to give you the daylight for traveling. It may take two days just to get clear of the city. In those two days you will have used up most if not all of your supplies and at this point you are looking back wondering if maybe you should head back home.

Much depends on what you truly believe will happen. Once you have decided what is more likely to happen then you can realistically begin planning for the crisis.

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Simple Solar Still

Survival Water Collection: Simple Solar Water Still

Some Points to Ponder

Virtually all survival manuals have various methods of water collection, to include solar water distillers. The concept of this type of distiller is simple in its design. It uses the sun’s rays for evaporation of water/moisture so it condenses and can be collected on a cooler surface typically clear plastic. The water or moisture in most cases is supplied by soil and/or green vegetation.

Once constructed an in ground solar distiller is a passive collection method, but the construction of one is not. It requires effort and in some cases, the effort needed may exceed the reward. If you have a water supply on hand then you may consume it all constructing an in ground solar distiller.

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