Stealth Survival

The latest posts from Stealth Survival

Texas Bluebonnets

Hope everyone has a nice Easter Holiday and gets a chance to spend some time with friends and relatives this weekend. It's time to take a break from taxes and spring cleaning and concentrate on spending some quality time with family.

God bless you and keep you safe!

Staying above the water line!


Posted: April 17, 2014, 7:40 am
One of the basic tenets of living the survival life is to always be prepared. After all, you never know when a simple hike in the woods can turn into a life-threatening situation or when a natural disaster will turn your comfortable home into a bunker. Being prepared means always having basic survival gear with you at home or on the road, no matter where you're headed or how brief the trip.

A basic emergency supply kit for survivalists should include the following:

Basic Emergency Supply Kit for Survivalists

1. Water. Although people can survive without food for quite a while, water is essential to basic day-to-day survival. Because of this, it is recommended to have one gallon per person per day available (enough for two days at home and enough for three days away from home.) A pocket water purifier is also a good idea, so you can replenish your water supply.

2. Food. Non-perishable, easy-to-prepare food items are also part of a complete survival kit. Again, enough for two days at home and enough for three days away from home.

3. Flashlight and extra batteries. You can't count on electricity in a crisis or emergency situation. Having a flashlight and a good supply of batteries stored in a plastic bag is essential.

4. Hand-crank radio. Having a radio can keep you apprised of an emergency situation a lot more reliably than a cell phone or mobile device that is dependent on reception issues and having the batteries fully charged.

5. First aid kit. Sprains, cuts and other emergency health situations can happen anywhere. Being prepared includes having a basic first aid kit on hand. It is advised to include bandages, antibiotic ointment, sterile gloves, scissors, aspirin, a blanket, tweezers and a non-glass thermometer.

6. Extra cash. In an emergency, such as a hurricane or other natural disaster, you likely won't be able to use credit cards or get to an ATM machine. Our "cash-less" society shuts down when there isn't any electricity.

7. Medications. In an emergency, you may not be able to get to your supply at home or to re-fill your prescriptions at the pharmacy. It is recommended to have a seven-day supply on hand at all times and make sure to rotate that supply regularly so you don't have expired medications in your emergency supply kit.

8. Family and emergency contact information. If you're separated from your family members in an emergency situation, you'll want to be able to call them to let them know you're okay. Equally, you may need police, fire or emergency medical personnel. It's wise to keep those numbers at hand, also.

Putting it together in an emergency supply kit helps you have the materials you need in the event of an emergency situation. It's all part of living the survival life, and such a kit will help you have peace of mind that you can handle whatever life has in store.

About the Author

At Survival Life our mission is to provide a vast array of knowledge, tactics, and skills in the survival and preparedness fields, to any and all who wish to become more prepared for whatever may come. We will take a logical and no nonsense approach to survival without bias in hopes of dispelling the myth that anyone who prepares themselves is crazy or paranoid. Click
here to visit our site and learn more.

Staying above the water line!

Posted: March 20, 2014, 12:54 pm

If you make changes to a piece of equipment that is still under warranty, you risk voiding the warranty even though the changes you made weren't the cause. Unfortunately, all the “bells and whistles” aren’t included on most equipment and there are times when the simple addition to a piece of equipment will insure it functions properly.

Many generators don’t come with an hour meter. Hour meters are great for keeping track of run times on equipment and to help you keep track of service intervals for your equipment. This will help you get the maximum life out of your equipment. Adding an hour meter in the wrong way by altering the equipment (like drilling holes for a gauge) can effectively negate your warranty. Companies don’t like you altering their equipment, even if it serves a worthwhile cause.

Most generators include a 12 volt outlet on their control panel. Using a 12 volt plug-in adapter and a fairly strong magnet, you can easily hook-up an hour meter to your generator without making any modifications to your generator. This works on other types of equipment also. You can also use double sided self-adhesive tape or plastic zip ties. Use whatever is handy and avoid making any permanent modifications to your generator to avoid loss of your warranty.

To accomplish this you will need a DC hour meter, a 12 volt male plug-in adapter, a short piece of wire( two strands), a single gauge mounting panel ( 2 inch in this case) and a flat magnet (an old key holder works great!). You will also need a pair of pliers (needle nose pliers work best), a knife to strip the insulation from the wires and some electrical tape. I also used a small drill to make two holes to mount the gauge holder to the magnet case. Hook the connectors (included with the hour meter) to one end of your two strand wire and the 12 volt male plug-in adapter to the other end of your wire. I used a male plug from an old 12 volt air compressor that had died and was sitting in the garage for a couple of years. Knew it would come in handy for something.

If possible, try to find a double wire that has a black with white stripe and a plain black wire. The wire with the white stripe should be used for the positive connections (+). This keeps the polarity correct and in accordance with current 12 volt wiring standards.

You might want to use a double outlet plug-in that will allow you to use your 12 volt connection to power items other than your hour meter. In this case I used the additional outlet to power a two speed 12 volt fan that can be used to provide additional cooling to the engine on hot days or if it is in an enclosed space (generator box).

Prior to installing on my generator, I plugged the finished assembly into the power outlet on my truck until 2.4 hours had been registered to update the meter reading to include the hours run on the generator at this time. After final testing, the meter read 2.6 hours which indicated a total test time of about 15 minutes. Total cost for this non-invasive hour meter installation is about $35 and can be done for less if you scrounge a few old parts.

This completed my final test on the generator and everything worked as expected. The only item left is an oil change since the initial engine break-in period has been completed.

Got hour meter?

Staying above the water line!


Posted: March 13, 2014, 8:12 pm

If the grid goes down for more than a few hours, you could wind up suffering a bigger loss than your lights or TV. That fridge or freezer full of food items can be a total loss if you don’t have a means of auxiliary power to protect your food investment. If the power stays off for an extended period of time, you will probably need a portable generator to prevent a catastrophic loss.

The Predator 4000 generator from Harbor Freight Tools has received a lot of very positive reviews from numerous individuals. This made the Harbor Freight 4000 peak/3200 running watts-6.5 hp (212cc) gas generator #69676 an excellent choice for a survival gear review. 

Here is a list of the Predator 4000 generator main features:

212cc 6.5 HP air-cooled OHV gas engine

10 hours run-time @ 50% capacity

Low oil indicator and low oil shutdown

Heavy duty 1" steel roll cage

UL listed circuit breakers

Recoil start

Four 120 volt, 20 amp grounded receptacles

One 240 volt, 30 amp grounded receptacle

One 12 volt DC cigarette lighter port

First Impressions

1.) The generator unit I received arrived in a very timely fashion in only 7 days. The shipping time was estimated at 7 to 10 days. This was within the time frame specified.

2.) Straight out of the box I was very impressed by the fit and finish of the Predator 4000 Generator. A check for sharp edges, loose bolts or missing parts turned up negative. The paint job was excellent and exhibited no major flaws or defects.

3,) It also came with a small tool kit (Philips head screwdriver, spark plug wrench and an open end wrench), an Instruction Manual and a Quick Start Guide.

Straight out of the box this unit gets a solid 5 star rating.

Operational and Maintenance Features

One of the most important things about a piece of equipment is its ease of operation and the ability to perform routine maintenance in an easy and simple manner. The Predator 4000 Generator comes out very “user friendly” in this regard with only one exception.

1.) The Fuel Tank - The top-mounted fuel tank with a capacity of four gallons makes refueling an easy task. It includes a tank vent, top-mounted fuel gauge, a debris strainer and a large fuel cap with a retention chain. The large opening on the fuel tank made fueling the generator a very quick and simple process. 

2.) The Control Panel - The On/Off switch, the outlet receptacles, circuit breakers and low oil warning light are all located in a panel on the front side of the unit. This keeps everything together and makes it easy to access and check.

3.) The Spark Plug, Air Filter and Carburetor - The spark plug is easy to access and can be cleaned or changed easily with the spark plug wrench supplied in the tool kit that came with the unit. The air filter on this generator (foam) was easy to access without additional tools, very simple to clean (soap and water) and then re-install. The carburetor also included a drain plug to assist with long term storage. This makes the maintenance of these items a simple task without any extra hassle. 

4.) Oil Fill and Drain - This is the exception when it comes to operation and maintenance of this generator. Access to the oil fill plug is somewhat of a hassle. You will need a funnel with a long “flexible” spout or an oil squirt can (my choice) to add oil to the unit. Draining the oil also requires the unit to be tilted. This is something that could be easily corrected with the addition of an oil drain plug to the engine.

Overall, I would rate the operation and maintenance of this generator 4 out of 5 stars. While the majority of operation and maintenance is a simple task, the process of filling and changing the oil is simply not as “user friendly” as it could be for what will most likely be a fairly frequent task.

The Load Test

After filling the generator with the required amount of oil (approximately 3/4 quart or .6 liter) and adding approximately 2 1/2 gallons (half a tank by the fuel gauge) of treated fuel with a stabilizer additive, it was time to pull the handle and crank this new generator up. 

1.) Light Load - The unit cranked on the third pull and the engine smoothed out very quickly in less than a minute. It was allowed to operate about 15 minutes without a load. It was then shut down and re-started. It cranked on the first pull and was allowed to run about 5 minutes before a light load was applied.

A small lamp was hooked up to the init and worked well with no noticeable increase in the load on the generator. All power outlets on the unit were then checked and found to be functioning properly. The generator was run with this light load for approximately 45 minutes.

An LP14-30 cord was then connected and a light load used to check the four prong outlet on the generator. This was also found to be operating correctly.

2.) Heavy Load - A heavy load was not placed on the unit because the unit requires a break-in time of about 3 hours and was only operated about 2 hours during this initial use. 

Here is an update with the results of a heavy load test and the installation of a wheel kit: 

Final Impressions

1.) The Predator 4000 Generator is a very “user friendly” piece of equipment and all features worked properly.

2.) Its cost is relatively inexpensive and can be found on sale frequently which makes it an even better buy. The fit and finish of this generator was also excellent straight out of the box.

3.) Most of the operation and maintenance chores on this generator are easy to accomplish. The only exception is the oil fill and drain issues noted previously.

4.) The generator unit is heavy (128 pounds). Unless you are planning a more permanent installation, you will probably need to order the wheel kit that is available for this generator. This will make moving it to various locations an easier task.

5.) You also need to add a torpedo level to the tool kit. This will allow you to check the level of the unit. Units that are not level can cause problems with the low oil shutdown feature or affect how efficiently fuel feeds from the gas tank.

6.) Make sure to read the Owner's Manual and Instructions prior to operating this unit.

The Predator 4000 Generator makes an excellent and very affordable addition to your preparedness gear.

Got generator?

Staying above the water line!


Posted: March 5, 2014, 9:31 am

In my prior review of the Harbor Freight Predator 4000 Generator, there was only a light load test conducted during the initial break-in period. I’ve since installed a wheel kit and conducted a heavy load test. 

The wheel kit from Harbor Freight is amazingly easy to install and only a quick reference to the included instructions were necessary during the installation of the wheel kit. Note: You will need a set of metric wrenches for the installation.

Blocking It Up

To facilitate the wheel kit installation, I simply blocked the generator up with a short length of a 4X4 wood block. This provided adequate clearance to install the axles and the wheels. Once the wheels were installed, the other end of the generator was raised in a similar fashion. This allowed the front levelers to be attached easily and quickly.

The handle was easily attached with four bolts. You don’t need nuts on the bolts as stated in the instructions. Just make sure to orient the handle bracket properly to allow adjustment of the handle. It includes a pin with a lanyard to lock in the adjustment desired on the handle position.

Total wheel kit installation time was less than 15 minutes and in no time it was ready to go. A wheel kit will make moving your generator a very simple and easy process.

I also conducted a heavy load test on the generator afterwards. I used a couple of halogen lamps that draw a steady 10 amps when plugged in. The generator gave a slight burp when the lamps were hooked up but smoothed out quickly. It was run for an hour with this load without any problems. All that’s left to do is a break-in oil change of the unit.

Got wheels?

Staying above the water line!



Posted: March 5, 2014, 9:26 am

A former US Army Cavalry Scout, Patrick Shrier seeks to put the essential “need to know” items in a simple and easy to follow format. He places a lot of emphasis on survival planning (short and long term) and having the necessary items in your preparedness kits to facilitate your survival planning. He includes the steps of the decision making process to help you in planning for your survival.


In addition to information on planning and preparedness kits, Patrick includes a strong emphasis on first aid, map reading and navigation, and outdoor survival skills (acquiring food and water, making fire, and building shelter). He also includes a section on a variety of knots that can be very useful in a survival situation. He also includes an appendix on foodborne illnesses which could come in quite handy.

Patrick Shrier also includes a section on Combat skills that will probably have a greater appeal to ex-military or law enforcement than the average person but could still be handy in a worse case scenario. His section on map reading and navigation is one of the best I’ve seen in any survival book that is currently available. Of course, you would expect a former Cavalry Scout to be really good when it comes to being able to navigate any terrain in a proficient manner.

If you are looking to add a survival manual to your BOB, you might want to consider The Simple Survival Smart Book by Patrick Shrier.

Staying above the water line!


Posted: February 28, 2014, 3:01 pm

Normally on a day hike, you don’t really think about carrying shelter. The weather in Texas can fool you and it usually means someone is going to get wet. Although temperatures stay fairly warm through most of the year, there is a big chance of getting caught in a rainstorm. You might also want to stay out overnight if your sightseeing kept you from completing the entire hike you had planned.

The UST Bug Tent and Tarp make a great lightweight addition to your day pack. It will work to keep you dry (drier?) until the rain lets up or give you a place to rest without feeding those blood-sucking mosquitoes all night. These work great for use as an emergency shelter when day hiking. 

The tent poles can be easily folded and strapped to the side of your pack. You can also opt to carry the tarp only. I also carry a small nylon tarp to use as a ground cloth (see pic) to protect a lightweight sleeping bag that I also carry. With a little food and a full water reservoir, my day pack weighs slightly less than 15 pounds on average. Regular backpacking or a colder climate would require something more substantial. My regular backpacking bag runs about twice the weight of my day pack (30 to 32 pounds).

It’s a lightweight combination that can be easily carried in your day pack and be there if you need it. Never hurts to have a backup plan in case nature decides to hand you a different set of circumstances on a sunny day.

Got shelter?

Staying above the water line!


Posted: February 25, 2014, 12:19 pm
Last Tuesday I had the opportunity to be a guest on John Wesley Smith’s radio program. It had been a while since I had been on his show. You can find a link to the radio program on his site and a brief overview of the many topics we discussed including “underground preppers” here:

Staying above the water line!


Posted: February 24, 2014, 1:43 pm

“Tribes” is John S. Wilson’s prequel to his other survival novels Joshua and Traveler. In this latest edition, John manages to create some thought-provoking survival scenarios that are about as close to what can happen when the grid goes down and everything goes to hell. With a new set of characters, John has been able to create an entirely different set of circumstances to test his new main character, Tom, and his ability to lead a small group in his community as they struggle to survive.

From the paranoid to the psychotic to downright mean and sadistic characters, you will have a lot better understanding of what may happen should you face a similar survival situation.

Sometimes, survival isn't as easy as you may think.

Riverwalker gives ”Tribes”a thumbs up!

Got “Tribes”?

Staying above the water line!


Posted: February 12, 2014, 2:01 pm

Having food items that can serve a variety of purposes can help increase your level of efficiency of your food storage. A simple can of beans works great for home storage. If you have to bug out, something a little lighter and easier to carry make be more suitable. This is where having dehydrated food can save you time and effort.

RW, Jr. and I are always looking for backpacking food that is convenient and easy to fix. Unfortunately, most dehydrated meal packets contain enough servings to feed a small army because of their larger portions. It also helps if you don’t have to violate the storage integrity of the larger food packet that is normally intended for long term storage. 

Many times there are products that can be found sitting on the shelf at your local supermarket that will solve these problems. For the purposes of this test, we will be using a small package of instant (dehydrated) refried beans straight off the shelf for our survival food test.

The package of dehydrated refried beans we used weighed a total of 7.25 ounces and came packaged in a Mylar pouch that can be resealed. The single serving size was 1/3 cup dry mix (or about 4 heaping teaspoons) combined with 1/3 cup of water (about 3 ounces). This makes a serving (or two) easily prepared in a GSI cup that many backpackers use. The contents do provide a sufficient quantity of product that will make a total of six servings. This would be more than sufficient for a single meal that would provide enough for a family of four. 

With 140 calories per serving that include 2 grams of fat, 21 grams of carbohydrates and 7 grams of protein, this a pretty powerful serving of food that includes vitamin C and iron. This is a pretty well balanced serving as far as simple nutrition is concerned.

It was easily prepared by just adding hot water, stirring the ingredients and then letting it set for a few minutes to allow the beans to rehydrate. It really doesn’t get much easier than that.

When the size and weight was compared, it would take two 16 ounce cans of refried beans to get the same number of servings that were in a single pouch of instant refried beans. The cost of the instant pouch is about twice the cost of two cans of refried beans. You do need to remember that you can buy these packages individually and don’t have to buy a big bucket all at once. This could work in your favor if you are on a tight budget.

Summary of Test Results

The instant refried beans win in the number of servings (6 in a pouch versus 3 in a can) and also save a lot in the weight department (7 ounces versus 2 lbs.) but are more costly (about twice the cost of the canned version). The instant refried beans have a shelf life similar to the canned product and they actually taste very similar to each other. I personally could not tell a difference between the canned version and the instant refried beans.

As a long term storage food, this product works well. It also works great as a backpacking food and could be easily added to your bug out bag as a simple to prepare meal that is also a nutritious food item. It also doesn't add a lot of weight to your bug out bag.

Got instant food?

Staying above the water line!


Posted: January 28, 2014, 8:28 pm

Water Pic #4

Got water?

Staying above the water line!

Posted: January 20, 2014, 4:34 pm
While the politics and opinions of gun ownership continue to be debated, one aspect that remains constant is the most important factor regarding owning a firearm: safety. The safety of gun ownership is mostly expressed though firearm storage and handling the weapon properly. Learning how to correctly control, aim and fire a gun and maintaining these skills are the difference between responsible gun owners and everyone else. Regardless of the purpose of possession, whether for safety, hunting, survivalist or hobby, regular shooting practice is a must.

In recent years, heading to the range has become increasingly difficult due to a practice ammunition shortage. This has increased the cost of ammunition has made maintaining one’s shooting skills inaccessible for many of the population. The solution for many has been airsoft guns, which use plastic pellets for ammunition for shooting practice.

What target practice used to look like

Cost-Effective and Convenient Option

The difference between training ammunition used for real guns and airsoft versions can be measured in dollars, not pennies, per round. Thousands of quality plastic pellet rounds can be bought for less than ten dollars. Compare this to twenty dollars for only fifty real rounds. These price differences dictate that the price of purchasing a new airsoft gun will be offset within a few practice sessions. Cheaper practice sessions represent more frequent training and increase comfort and safety with a firearm.

Another benefit to the wallet and schedule of utilizing airsoft guns is the ammunition does not require one to travel to a shooting range. These danger free rounds allow gun owners to perform target practice in their garages or backyards. This eliminates range fees and travel making frequent shooting practice and increased safety extremely convenient and affordable.

Realistic Practice

Today’s airsoft guns are far from the kid’s toys they used to have a reputation for and many are now almost exact replicas of almost every available handgun and rifle on the market today. They have the same look, weight and feel of the real versions. In addition, the airsoft adaptation can utilize the same accessories and fit in the same holster as a true firearm.

Depending on the type of airsoft firearm, much of the function of the real version can be maintained as well. Spring action versions are the least expensive but are also the least realistic and have a slow reload speed. Automatic electric guns are more representative of automatic or semi-automatic firearms with their quick reloading but lack the break and recoil feeling of pulling the trigger. The best airsoft guns and rifles are the gas blow back versions that are as close to the real thing that isn't a real firearm. Though they are the most expensive option, they share the same inexpensive ammunition as the other two types.

If it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for anyone

Airsoft firearms have become so realistic they are commonly used by military and police forces for safety demonstration, target practice and even tactical training. The airsoft allows these essential services to mimic any situation they may face at a fraction of the cost and much more safely than using live rounds. The best gun instructors around the country are strongly pushing their students to include airsoft training to supplement live and dry fire training to become comfortable with their weapon.

Safety First

All of these benefits add up to the most important part of gun ownership, safety. A lifelike replica airsoft allows rehearsal of every aspect of handling a firearm. The exact same precautions utilized with the real version can be applied to the airsoft. Splurging for the blow back gas airsoft guns and rifles allows for an authentic shooting experience that directly translates to the true variety.

The only gun safer than an airsoft

The ammunition is safer as well. Small plastic pellets carry a proportion of the danger and cost of real bullets. Daily practice in the garage or backyard can occur with less concern of tragic consequences to others and the wallet. Frequent, real world training that increases confidence and skill is a benefit of airsoft firearms that make them an essential accessory of any gun owner.

This article was written by an Editor for Airsoft RC. Airsoft RC has a wide selection of airsoft guns for both enthusiasts and beginners.

Staying above the water line!


Posted: January 16, 2014, 8:59 pm

Water Pic # 3

Staying above the water line!

Posted: January 12, 2014, 1:12 pm

Water Pic # 2

Staying above the water line!

Posted: January 11, 2014, 2:11 pm

When the polar express heads into South Central Texas, RW, Jr. and myself found the best way to avoid the wind chill and frozen temperatures is to do a little day hiking in the canyons of Southern Arizona.  So we grabbed some gear and headed to southern Arizona and warmer temps for a few days.

We hiked about half a mile to a switchback , we then hiked about half a mile up on the switchback (with an elevation gain of approximately 400 feet) to get to a trail that ran along the ridge of the canyon wall. Temperature was a comfortable 69 degrees. Total elevation ranged from 3500 to 4000 feet along the trail.

Not exactly the "Throne of the Mountain King" but it was as close as we could find.

There was a great view of the canyon floor which had a stream fed by mountain snow melt and numerous rock formations visible along the entire length of the trail. RW, Jr. was testing some new gear prior to an upcoming trip to Colorado that he has planned. I was also checking out a new Camelbak Rim Runner Hydration Backpack that was a recent addition to my hiking gear. All our gear worked great and the only problem was a zipper that snagged on the lining of a pocket on RW, Jr.’s jacket. He did manage to un-snag it after a good deal of effort on his part.

RW, Jr. also took some great video along the trail while he was doing his “Les Stroud” camera thing. This was a little difficult on the narrow trail. Google had a problem with loading the video but I will try to post it at a later date. Put in another pic instead.

Took a rest break along the trail and enjoyed the view for a while.

The incredible views and warm temperatures made for a very pleasant and enjoyable day hike. We set a very leisurely pace and hiked a little less than five miles along the ridge of the canyon.

Got canyon day hike?

As usual, RW was....

Staying way above the water line!


Posted: January 9, 2014, 10:31 pm

Water Pic #1

Staying above the water line!

Posted: January 2, 2014, 2:10 pm

Got fish?

Staying above the water line!

Posted: December 30, 2013, 2:54 pm
Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Posted: December 23, 2013, 3:28 pm
There will be times when your best efforts and planning will not be able to get you safely through a crisis. This is when you will need to be ready to improvise alternate plans and adapt them to the current situation. This is when experiences and skills will become your most valuable resource.

In a crisis, we all like to believe we’ve covered all our bases but unfortunately this doesn’t always hold true in a survival situation. We sometimes get blown away by any number of little kinks that develop in our plans and we need to be ready to improvise and adapt to the current situation to solve these problems.

Haste Makes Waste

Normally, it won’t be necessary to scrap your plans entirely. Sometimes a simple modification will get you back on track. A good example of this is your bug out plan. Sometimes a minor adjustment is all that is needed before you need to switch to your alternate bug out plan. Don’t abandon a perfectly good plan if it only requires a simple modification. Weigh your options before you change to a totally different plan. This will also cause less disruption and confusion for everyone involved. Remember, a good plan is a terrible thing to waste.

He Who Hesitates Is Lost

Waiting too long to decide if a change is necessary can have severe or even deadly consequences. Sometimes you will have to adapt quickly to a change in your circumstances to avoid a small problem becoming a major catastrophe. This is where the leader of your group must be ready to act decisively to maintain the safety and security of everyone involved.

Being prepared to adapt to changing circumstances should be a crucial part of your plans. When all else fails...find another solution by improvising and adapting to the change.

Staying above the water line!


Posted: December 11, 2013, 4:42 pm

Invariably some food items in your pantry will somehow manage to sit around in the cabinet and avoid your best efforts at proper rotation until their “Best By” date expires. Fortunately, this doesn't mean it’s unfit for consumption but will still be perfectly palatable. There are still a few things you need to check to insure that it is safe for consumption.

For the purposes of this survival food test, we will be using one of the favorite food items of survivalists everywhere...spam. Spam is a very versatile food that is rumored to have an indefinite shelf life when properly stored. It is now going to be put to the test.

We will be using a can of spam with a “Best by” date of 04/11, which makes it slightly out of date by more than a couple of years. Here is the manner in which it was checked to see if it was still a viable food source.

The first thing checked was proper storage conditions. Having been stored in my pantry for well over three years under proper conditions this was not a concern. If the storage conditions can’t be verified, you will need to exercise additional caution and be a lot more critical of the next steps in determining it’s viability as a food source.

The second thing to check was the overall condition of the can. It appeared in good shape and had no dents, leaks, swelling or bulging areas and had no rust.

The third item checked was the presence of any visible deterioration of the food product in the form of mold or mildew that might be present. The spam was also sliced to make sure there was no interior contamination. None was evident.

The fourth item checked was the smell of the food item. It actually had a very fresh smell and reminded me of spam that I had been eaten on previous occasions. No problems with the spam in the smell department.

The final check was the taste test. After frying up several slices of the spam, it was supplemented with some eggs. It made for a very satisfying meal.

When using canned food items that may have passed their “Best by” date, a few simple precautions can help you avoid problems.

1. If possible, always check that proper storage conditions of the food product were maintained.

2. Examine the container for any visible damage that could affect the food item.

3. Examine the contents for any visible signs of deterioration.

4. Use the smell test...if it smells bad, it probably is.

5. Finally, use the taste test on a small sample before consuming the food item.

There is an old saying that is easy to remember and applies in this type of situation.

When in doubt, throw it out!

Got spam?

Staying above the water line!


Posted: November 26, 2013, 7:05 pm
Trekking is an amazing experience that can change your life, taking you through some of the world’s most amazing landscapes and treacherous terrains. As you venture up steep mountains toward the clouds, miles from the rest of civilisation, you will test your survival skills to the very limit.

Here are some tips to make sure you stay safe during your adventure:

      Adjust to the altitude!

  • Altitude sickness will occur if you climb too quickly, too soon, with symptoms including headache, nausea, dizziness and exhaustion.
  • Make sure you give yourself a few days to adjust to the atmosphere by spending a few days in the locality of the trek.
  • By ascending slowly you can give your body an extra fighting chance - once you are above 10,000 feet, avoid increasing your sleeping altitude by more than 300-500 meters a night.
  • Drink lots of water and avoid alcohol.
  • Training is important too, spend time building your leg muscles prior to your trip; hill walking and gym time will improve your body’s ability to carry oxygen.   
     Wrap up warm!

  • Your head, hands and feet will lose heat the quickest; make sure you wear a woolly hat, warm gloves and thick thermal socks, while protecting naked areas of your body, like the neck, with a fleecy scarf.
  • Make sure you have plenty of layers (synthetic materials are better than cotton).   

           Wear decent boots!

  • Trekking is grueling on your feet; make sure you wear a good set of hiking boots which are worn in to avoid blisters.
  • Insoles will provide extra comfort while helping to maintain body heat.
  • For rocky or icy terrain, grips are a really good idea too.   

           Food and water!

  • Rehydrating yourself is key, so make sure you always have a steady supply of water and take water purification tablets; a urine test will tell you when you need to top up, the darker the urine, the less hydrated you are.
  • Trekking food needs to be high in energy and light to carry; remember, survival is your number one priority here, not culinary enjoyment.
  • Make sure you eat plenty of carbohydrates for energy – pasta, rice and bread.
  • Protein is also important to maintain and develop strength - eggs, tofu, lentils and nuts.
  • Fruit is required to fight off infections and colds but will go off quickly, so take multivitamin and iron tablets also.
  • Sugary foods will give you a quick boost of energy while you walk, so take a few packets of sweets.
  • Specialized food from hiking stores is usually dried or freeze-dried to reduce its weight and surface area, making it easy to pack and carry; this guide will show you how to dry your own.   


  • A good closed tent and sleeping bag are a must, minimizing heat loss at night.
  • Light and functional cooking equipment is also important, but don’t be afraid to cook on an open fire, it really adds to the experience and will keep you warm.
  • A head torch will allow you to navigate in the dark and cook food, keeping your hands free.
  • A light, durable backpack is a must, allowing you access to your most treasured items and distributing weight on your back.
  • Trekking polls are important for hiking steep or rocky terrain, providing extra balance and support.
  • A guide book, compass and first aid kit are imperative and could be the difference between life and death.

Trekking will open your eyes to the natural world, just make sure you are fully prepared and go with someone experienced; you want your trip to be memorable for all the right reasons!

This post was written by Helene Cooper of adventure travel company, Imaginative Traveller. Helene is an avid trekker and regularly writes about Peru’s Inca Trail.

Thanks Helene for an informative guest post.

Staying above the water line!


Posted: November 20, 2013, 5:15 pm
When your resources are limited due to a crisis, your ability to improvise will help you survive and find the resources you may be lacking. It will be your ability to “make do” with what is available that will enable you to survive even the worst of circumstances.

The problem with resources is the fact that they may not be readily apparent at first glance.  The more common the use of an item has will be a definite deterrent to the process. This will make it harder for you to envision a different use that can be applied to fit your needs. We all have a tendency to view things in a more normal application of their use during normal times.

In a period of crisis, you will need to switch your thinking to an “outside of the box” mentality. This is where a simpler type of thinking will be of benefit. The best way to approach the problem of limited resources is by viewing everything as a multi-use item.

Many of us are familiar with various multi-use items like a bandanna or duct tape. This can also be applied to a multitude of different items in a crisis. Just don’t limit your thoughts to the specific or more common use of an item and you will find new ways to use things that aren’t readily apparent. Don’t place arbitrary limits on your resources until you’ve given it some thought.

Got a solution for limited resources?

Staying above the water line!


Posted: November 9, 2013, 6:46 pm

There are numerous items that we frequently use in our everyday lives that frequently have multiple uses. Many of these uses aren’t readily apparent but can be a big help in a crisis or an emergency when your resources may be limited. One extremely handy everyday item that most people carry is lip balm . That small little tube can do a lot more than keep your lips moisturized.


Most lip balms are a petroleum-based product that also includes additional beneficial ingredients. It’s also a small enough item to be carried in your pocket, your purse or your first aid kit. Here are a few alternate uses for lip balm.

Top Ten Alternate Uses for Lip Balm

1. Treat minor cuts and scrapes on the skin with a thin coating of lip balm.

2. Use as a lubricant for stubborn zippers on your gear or equipment bags.

3. Rub on a cotton ball or gauze pad to make an expedient firestarter.

4. Insert a make-shift wick to make an expedient candle for emergencies.

5. Rub on other exposed areas like the ears to protect them from the cold.

6. Coat your shoe or boot laces to keep them secure and prevent untying.

7. Use to coat irritated skin areas on your feet before a blister can form.

8. Use to waterproof and seal damaged or exposed seams on tents.

9. Coat your knife blade to protect it from excess moisture in wet conditions.

10. Use a chunk of lip balm to seal a rifle barrel to keep out debris or moisture.

This is by no means all the uses for lip balm that are possible and you shouldn’t limit your resources by thinking in finite terms.

Got an alternate use for lip balm?

Staying above the water line!


Posted: November 9, 2013, 6:41 pm
With the increase in the use of technology, there also come new hazards to our security. Whether you are shopping online or merely checking your email, you may be placing yourself at risk without realizing it. One of the best ways to protect yourself in this technological environment is to use the best passwords possible to safeguard your accounts and activities.

In the modern day world of internet use, it doesn't hurt to be a little paranoid about your passwords. The strength and viability of a password depends on a number of different factors. These usually include the following items:

1) The different types of characters used in the password.

2) The length of the password (total number of characters used).

3) Can the password can be found in a dictionary.

4.) Passwords should contain a minimum of eight (8) or more characters.

5) Passwords should contain a combination of letters, symbols, and numbers.

You can visit this link to check the strength of your passwords and determine if they need to be upgraded to a more secure password:


Don’t inadvertently expose yourself to needless risk. Make sure you use strong passwords to protect yourself when using the internet.

Got strong passwords?

Staying above the water line!


Posted: October 25, 2013, 2:06 pm

Snake in a Bush

Just a quick survival tip for everyone. Most snakes are excellent climbers. The snake in the picture was about six feet up in this bush when I took this picture. He was watching me pretty close.

Got snake?

Staying above the water line!

Posted: October 18, 2013, 2:51 pm

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