Even a small amount of rain
will generally fill a rain barrel to the point of overflowing and do so in a
very short period of time. The potential for collecting additional rain can be
lost if you have limited capacity for rainwater storage. If you have a minimum of additional space
next to your rain barrel, simply connect an extra barrel by means of an
overflow tube near the top of your current rain barrel. This will allow you to collect
additional amounts of rainfall from the same rain gutter.
By adding additional rain
barrels to your gutter drains in this manner, you can harvest extra rain water with very little effort.
One of the
most useful knots in an outdoor environment is the tautline hitch. These knots
are extremely handy in securing tarps or tents being used for shelter in an outdoor environment. Like
most hitches, it is easily tied and untied (once the load is removed) but
allows you to keep your tarp or tent secure, especially in windy conditions. Learning to tie and
use a tautline hitch will help to keep your tent or tarp from becoming just
another kite in the sky.
tautline hitch makes it easy to adjust the tension on lines being used to
secure your shelter. It slides easily for adjustment and will then hold firm
once a load has been placed on it.
tautline hitch works just as easily when taking down your shelter. Once the
load has been removed, it can be moved easily to give you slack in the line
which allows it to be untied easily.
Here is a
link to a tutorial on how to tie a tautline hitch:
Hitches are basically a
means of attaching rope or cordage to an object. The simple cow hitch is better known as
the lanyard hitch. It is generally used to secure cordage or a rope to a post,
an item of gear or some other object. This knot is similar to the clove hitch but instead of tying the two half-hitches in the same direction, they are
tied in opposite directions. It is a very simple and basic knot.
There is a variant of the
cow hitch that is easily tied and can create a more secure knot. This variant
is known as the bull hitch. It is simple and easy to learn to tie and will give
you a more secure knot.
By simply twisting the top
loop of your cow hitch and feeding the end of your lanyard back through the
loop you create a bull hitch. When tightened properly, it gives you a very
secure lanyard connection to your gear. It's important to remember that keeping your gear properly secured in any situation is critical.
My personal preference is to
use a bull hitch for attachment of the leg tie-down on the scabbard of my Mora.
This insures a good snug fit for the scabbard of my knife when tied off.
A great resource for
learning how to tie a variety of knots properly can be found at http://www.netknots.com/. They offer different
sets of knot cards at a very reasonable price. The knot cards can be easily
carried and used for reference purposes to insure your knots are being tied
A clove hitch is considered
one of the four primary maritime knots and being able to tie one should be included
in your survival skills. The clove hitch
is essentially two successive half-hitches around an object. It is simple to
tie and can be used to secure the end of a rope to an object and is most
effective when tied to a round (tree, post, etc.) or cylindrical-shaped object
(pipe, barrel, etc.).
It can also be easily tied
in the middle of a rope in order to secure a line to a carabiner.
The clove hitch has another distinct
advantage. With a little practice, it can be tied quite easily using only one
hand. This is important should you suffer an injury that leaves you in the
position of only having the use of one hand. When you can tie a clove hitch to the index finger of the hand you are using (right or left), you have mastered the ability to tie a clove hitch one-handed.
A great resource for
learning how to tie a variety of knots properly can be found at http://www.netknots.com/. They offer different
sets of knot cards at a very reasonable price. The knot cards can be easily
carried and used for reference purposes to insure your knots are being tied
Being caught in the dark
when the power goes out can be a very unsettling feeling. This is when you need
some form of emergency lighting. A flashlight can go a long way towards solving
this problem but sometimes you need a little extra versatility in your preps. You
may need the use of your hands and this can be complicated if you are trying to
hold onto a flashlight. One item that can serve a number of purposes for use as
emergency lighting is a portable solar-powered LED light.
There are a number of
versions of these solar-powered lights available. If you want it to help with
security, you can get one with a motion detector. They also come in various sizes
depending upon your lighting needs and may have as few as 5 LED lights or up to
sixty. Most of the solar lights
available with 5 or 10 LED lights are available in a very affordable price
range ($20 to $25).
The light comes with magnets
for attaching it to a metal surface as well as regular screw mounts for
attaching it to a wall or ceiling. While designed primarily for tool sheds and
other small buildings (chicken coop?). The magnets make it easy to attach to
surfaces in a number of ways that increases the usability of the light.
When attached to the front
of the refrigerator with the built-in magnets, it provides more than enough
light to move around safely and perform simple chores. If attached to a metal
surface on your vehicle it can provide sufficient light to change a tire or do
minor repairs. The unit provides a fair amount of light that will allow you to
maneuver about in a 10 foot X 10 foot room with a fair amount of safely. The light will only
last for a few hours before needing a recharge but that time frame should be
enough to get most of your important tasks done.
The solar panel is weather
resistant but not water-proof. You could probably add a bead of silicone caulk
around the front edge of the panel to make it more weather-resistant if you
need to mount it in a more exposed area. The power cord is about eight foot
long which is sufficient to mount the light and solar panel but would be better
if it was just a little longer.
The important thing about
preps is that they should be portable, serve a variety of uses and not cost a
fortune to operate and require only minimal amounts of maintenance.
On May 22nd, I will be doing a special review of a new survival guide that is being released. Two lucky readers will have a chance to win a copy of the new survival guide along with an additional survival gear package.
“The simple fact is that we,
as a populace, need to become the solution to the problem.”
John Forsythe gives common
sense advice on the actions that we can take as individuals to survive a mass
shooting. He gives relevant and meaningful advice of how and when you should
take cover, flee or take the fight to your attacker. Whether you are seeking to
avoid being a victim, determining the proper actions to take as a guardian or
quite possibly be an unintended hero, John gives simple, common sense advice
that can be an invaluable part of helping you to become a part of the solution
to the problem. You will also have a significantly better chance of being a
No matter your level of
expertise, good advice is always useful. This book provides the good advice
necessary to increase your chances of surviving a mass shooting. If you find
yourself with the time to read only one book, it should be this one.
While having an emergency
fund is essential, it’s even better if you can create a diversified one that
will also provide a hedge against inflation. While the purchase of gold coins
or bullion is probably beyond the reach of the average prepper, silver coins
offer a unique and affordable alternative to add to your emergency fund.
Silver coins can sometimes
be found in everyday change or rolls of coins obtained from a bank. All it takes is a watchful eye to spot coins
with a high silver content. Silver coins also make an affordable and excellent
investment to guard against inflation and can be purchased in amounts that are
affordable without destroying the family budget. Silver coins offer a very
reasonable option for increasing your emergency funds in an efficient manner.
A little research on the
internet can also let you know which silver coins can be easily found and added
to your emergency fund. You can also use a resource like BuySilverCoins.com which specializes in affordable
options for purchasing silver with a major focus on silver coins.
It's important to remember that you may not see many of nature's creatures because they are hidden in plain sight. They will see you long before you notice them if you aren't paying close attention. Can you spot the hidden dragon? Ever have the feeling you're being watched? Staying above the water line! Riverwalker
What would you do to survive
in a world with dwindling resources and desperate people? In Traveler by John Wilson, this is the ultimate question you will be asking yourself. The book is
a thought-provoking look at the harsh realities of survival and the things that
you may be required to do in order to survive.
Would you pretend to be
something you’re not? Or take your chances with the truth, only to be
disappointed by the harsh realities of a changing world. A changing world in
which the only difference between friend and foe may be your only chance for
another meal or a warm place to sleep.
In his book, John Wilson
examines the moral dilemma of what’s right or wrong. True reality becomes
blurry at best and it becomes extremely difficult to see who the real threat to
your survival is and the difficulty of choosing the path you must take for
Here are a couple of brief
excerpts from the book:
“Rob’s smile was suddenly
gone. “Okay, kid, I won’t destroy your delusions. But it’s obvious to anyone
paying attention that we’re on the down side of the slope. Resources are
getting scarcer every year...people are getting more desperate... more vicious.
It doesn’t take a fortune teller to see which way this world is going.”
The girl honestly asked ”So
you don’t think the old world will ever come back?”
“Nope...” A few years from
now they’ll all be extinct, they’ll be as dead as the dodo, but people like me
will still be here.”
If you want to read a book
that examines the concept of “survival of the fittest” and what it truly takes to survive, perhaps it’s time
for you to read “Traveler” by John Wilson.
In most survival situations, you will need to conserve as
many of your resources as possible. While barter remains one of the best ways
to trade what you have for what you need, you can conserve many of your
resources which may be limited by using renewable resources for barter.
There are many items that can be used for barter that will
not deplete your resources to the point of no return. You can also use your
barter skills to trade for items that are renewable. Non-hybrid seeds are one
such item that can offer you a renewable resource that makes an excellent
An example of a great item that serves as a renewable
resource for barter is eggs. You don’t trade your chickens but you can trade
their eggs without putting a strain on your resources. This will enable you to
replenish your resources without using finite or limited resources. Many times
using renewable resources for barter can also help you to establish routine
trading patterns to keep additional resources available on a regular basis.
One of the advantages of
having chickens is the availability of fresh yard eggs. Since they are a lot
fresher, they have a better flavor but can cause you some difficulty if you
happen to like hard-boiled eggs. Here’s a simple solution to that problem which
should help you.
Fresh yards eggs that have
been hard-boiled can be extremely difficult to peel. You can literally destroy
your egg when trying to get their shell off. Quite often you find yourself digging
the egg out with a spoon. Thankfully, there are two simple things you can do to
simplify the egg peeling process.
First you need to add two or
three tablespoons of salt to the water in which you will boil the eggs. This
doesn’t make your eggs salty. It just makes them easier to peel. The next thing
you need to do is peel the eggs while they are still warm. This should make it
easier for you to peel your hard-boiled yard eggs with less difficulty.
Ranger beads were originally
developed by military personnel as a means of gauging distances when traveling
by foot. Also known as “pace beads”, they are easy to make and can assist you
in determining distances that you have traveled. When combined with a good
compass, they make an excellent tool to assist hikers or
the well-dressed survivalist.
Ranger beads are merely a
lanyard (usually made from paracord) that has two sets of beads separated by a
knot. The bottom part has nine beads and the top part has five beads. Moving
the beads helps you to keep track and calculate the distances you have
traveled based on your pace count.
Your “pace count” is
determined by how many steps it takes for you to walk 100 meters. For every 100
meters you travel, you simply move one of the nine lower beads up the lanyard. When
you have traveled 1000 meters, move one of the five top beads up and pull all
of the lower beads back down. This will reset your beads and indicate that you
have traveled one kilometer (or “click”). You can measure distances up to five
kilometers with a set of ranger beads configured in this manner (see above
You can also visit a friend of mine. Army Ranger Rick at Survival Outdoor Skillshas even more survival tips and tricks for you to check out.
The vast majority of minor
medical emergencies can be handled with a simple First Aid Kit. Minor medical problems if left ignored can
lead to even more serious problems and quite often can be avoided if you have a
minimum of first aid supplies on hand.
First Aid Kits come in all
sizes and shapes and most are quite affordable in price. Practical first aid
kits can be found with an average price of less than $20. If you have the time
and the inclination, you can even assemble a quality First Aid Kit for even
less money that will give you the needed supplies to handle a wide variety of
minor medical problems. Many times all you may need is a band-aid and some
anti-biotic cream to handle a minor emergency.
The affordability of most
first aid kits makes them an essential item for your preparedness supplies.
Pocket first aid kits that cost about a $1 or small first aid kits for under
$10 can be added to your backpack, BOB or carried in the console or glove compartment
of your vehicle. This allows you a wide range of options to keep first aid
supplies available for when the need arises. A larger and more extensive first
aid kit can be kept in your home or at your bug out location that will give you
even better and more extensive coverage for those minor medical emergencies
that always seem to happen at the most inconvenient time.
Don’t get caught short when
a minor medical emergency comes up. Keep first aid supplies handy and avoid
more serious problems that could arise if minor injuries are left untreated. For
less than $20, you can generally keep a decent amount of first aid supplies on
hand without ruining your budget.
When you have limited
funds to prep with, the only way to manage is by looking for specials that will
save you money. The first thing you should look for is simple and affordable
water storage. Water is something you can’t live without and is one of the
first things needed if you experience an unexpected event. Unfortunately, the savings are often hidden and you may not realize there is a bargain right in front of you. Here’s a cheap and
inexpensive way to have emergency water storage that is both portable and
The first thing you will
need to get is a manual pump for one of those portable water bottles. These
cost about $10 at your local Walmart.
They give you a hint on the outside of the package about discount
savings without actually telling you. The discount happens to be a $5 coupon off
your next purchase of a bottle of water. Using the coupon, the bottle of water (5
gallon size) which normally costs about $11.50 will now only cost you $6.50.
When you add your total
cost, you will have only spent $16.50 for a manual pump and five gallons of
emergency water storage. The pump also works even if you don’t have power. The
water bottles also have a built in handle for portability. A five gallon bottle
of water will weigh in excess of forty pounds but is still a manageable weight
for most people. The five gallons should be enough water for two people for
almost 72 hours.
To increase your emergency
water storage, just purchase an additional bottle of water later when your
budget permits. This type of setup is ideal for preppers who have limited
Emergency water storage that’s
portable for less than $20...now that’s a bargain.
Things have been pretty busy
this last week. Lots of computer issues that finally got resolved. There was a
problem with my ISP for several days but that’s fixed now that the
server of my ISP is working properly. Mrs. RW also has quite a few
new additions to the flock and is going to need a bigger chicken coop. One more
thing on my to do list.
This is also going to be a
great project for me to show everyone some tips on building a lightweight but
strong coop for your chickens. There was only enough time to build the coop
gate today. We have a big family get-together planned for Easter Sunday and
there are beans to cook and guns to clean. The plan is to do a little plinking
with the twelve gauge. Now it's time to get back to the coop building.
The first tip for building a
strong but lightweight chicken coop is to use what I call the sandwich
technique. Simply put, you just sandwich your wire between your boards (1X2's). This
makes it stronger and there’s less chance of a possum or coon getting in your
coop...which it seems we have more than our share of both. The wire is almost
impossible for them to pull apart when fastened to your framework in this
manner. In this case, I’m using welded wire fabric with the small squares (1/2
inch) to attach to the framework.
I’ll include some later
updates as the coop begins to take shape.
Many times our message is
lost in the way it is expressed. One of the hosts and guest speakers at The
Ready, Set, Prep Summit in Irving, Texas, Mark Hyland of Food
Insurance , brought up this fact when the discussion turned to how we can
make the message of being prepared more effective. Too many times words like disaster
or crisis create a very negative view in people’s minds. If we want more people
to be prepared, we may need to re-examine how to get our message across to
those persons who aren’t prepared.
There is a mindset amongst
many individuals that a disaster or a crisis is something that happens to other
people. It’s something we hear about on the radio, see on TV or read about on
the internet. They take the view that it is something that happens to other
people. They mistakenly think it will never happen to them. This makes it
extremely difficult sometimes to get people on board with the need for being
prepared for the next “unexpected event”.
We all have family members
or friends that may see us as slightly different because of our views about
being prepared. Personally, I prefer being prepared to being a refuge. I would
also like to think that my family members and friends don’t want to wind up a
refuge waiting for help or a handout from some government agency that may be
slow in coming. This is where semantics is important.
It should be a lot easier to
get family and friends involved if we use the right message. I agree with Mark
that it will be a lot easier to get people on board with being prepared if we
use better terminology when discussing the need to be prepared. The use of his
new term “unexpected event” can cover
a lot of areas that other words like disaster or crisis don’t. The “unexpected event” may be a lay-off from
work, a sudden health issue or a major and quite unexpected maintenance issue with
our home or vehicle. The term “unexpected
event” also doesn’t carry the negative connotations of the other terms that
are frequently used when discussing preparedness issues.
If you’re having trouble
getting your family members or friends involved in preparedness, you may need
to talk with them about the unexpected events that could occur in their lives.
Mark Hyland is the CEO of Food Insurance . Thanks Mark for some
valuable insight on how we can help others be better prepared for an
I tried composting, I built one of
those rotating barrels out of a 55 gal plastic barrel. Spent hours making that
thing. even had an aeration tube down the center and all. Put all the clippings
in it, rotated it regularly.. and after an entire year, I had stinky mushy
clippings... Then I did the metal can in the ground with holes for worms to go in and out..
tossed in the kitchen scraps for a few months and then let it sit for a
year.... ended up with stinky mushy kitchen scraps! Guess composting is not my specialty :(
You must be prepared to take
any and all actions necessary if you find yourself in a survival
situation. You will need to be prepared
to utilize any and all resources in order to insure your survival. Your skills
and your knowledge may be put to the ultimate test. This will be a test that you
can’t afford to fail.
Five Rules for Survival
Rule #1 - There
are no rules. In a survival situation,
your actions shouldn’t be bound by arbitrary rules that may exist and be
essential to maintain order and stability in normal times. Things are not going
to be anywhere close to normal in a survival situation until you’ve managed to
get control of your circumstances.
Rule #2 - There is
no guarantee of survival. Despite your
best efforts, you or a member of your family or group may not survive. You will
need to be prepared for this eventuality if it happens. There will still be
family members or others in your group that may be depending upon you for help
Rule #3 - There is
no second chance. You will need to give
it your best effort the first time if you want to survive. You probably won’t
get a second chance.
Rule #4 - Don’t
depend upon luck to save you. Your luck
has probably run out if you find yourself in a survival situation. Put your
faith in your knowledge and skills to help you survive.
Rule #5 - Never
give up. If you give up, you lose the
battle for survival. It’s really that simple.
You don’t have to wear a
boonie hat loaded with paracord or a paracord bracelet in order to have a
supply of paracord handy. Paracord is still a versatile and very useful item that you
will want to have available for emergencies. One simple alternative is to use a
This allows you to have your paracord handy and you won’t have to make any
fashion decisions while you’re doing it. You can also add a light or a whistle to your keychain to make it a good old survival keychain.
Get one with a carabiner
clip and you can fasten it to your jeans, your BOB, or just about anywhere else you
may decide to hang it. This way you'll be able to keep your keys handy.
From the introduction to the
final page with the Five Golden Rules of Survival, the SAS Guide to Desert Survival by Barry Davies covers the major factors that can affect your survival. This is
a compact guide to surviving not only in a desert environment but a
comprehensive guide that covers all the basic items and more that will be
needed for your survival.
The contents are broken down
into not only the basic requirements for shelter, water, food, and fire but also include helpful tips about the equipment you will need, medical priorities, and
It’s also compact enough to
fit easily in your backpack or bug-out bag but where space may be at a premium.
With over 150 pages of comprehensive information, it is presented in a useful
format that allows anyone to access needed information quickly and
effortlessly. This is one item that should be included in every backpack.
While the book gives many
useful and worthwhile tips for survival in an extreme desert environment (or Texas summers), it also contains a wealth of additional
survival information that is suitable for both the novice and the more
experienced outdoorsman. This is information which could play a critical part
in your survival.
From knots to fire-making
techniques, the SAS Desert Guide to Survival is full of useful tips and plenty
of illustrations to guide you in your quest for survival. It’s also available
at a very affordable price that won’t wreck your budget or break your piggy
While not a technical manual
on composting, Markham manages to provide a basic and simple understanding of what is
required to be successful when composting. He also provides an explanation of
several ways to make a compost bin including a simple plan using a five gallon bucket
to make a small composting bin. This would even be a great project that would allow urban
dwellers with minimum amounts of space to benefit from composting as well. He also
gives very good instructions on how to make compost tea in simple and easy to
understand terms. Just don’t use one of your wife’s good pillowcases or you
could wind up in the doghouse.
Even if you are an
experienced gardener, there are numerous tips and tricks throughout his book
that can help make your gardening efforts more successful through the use of
proper composting techniques. A little compost can go a long way in making your gardening efforts a success.
It’s difficult to be all
things at one time. Although many of us have probably done a wide variety of
tasks in our lifetimes, we may still lack necessary skills in many areas. A
lack of skills in different areas can affect our survival. This is where
diversity in numbers comes into play.
When you have numerous
people in your group, the chances of someone having the required skills for
your survival will be much greater. While being a “jack of all trades” is a
plus, sometimes a little more expertise is required to get the job done. The
odds are greatly in your favor of having a wide variety of skill sets in a
group. This effect is magnified if you have a large group.
It is up to the leader of
your group to be aware of the skills each member has in your group. This will
enable you to play to the strengths of your group. You may have someone with
medical knowledge and skills. It may be mechanic or carpentry skills that stand
out among certain members of your group. The chances for your survival will be
increased by the types of skill sets that are in your group. The chances for
everyone’s survival will be enhanced when you have numerous skill sets in your
There will be those times
when an experienced person will be needed to accomplish a task. Knowing the
abilities of the members in your group is just as important as having an
inventory of food and supplies. These members can then be assigned to the more
difficult tasks that may require a higher level of expertise and experience.
These persons can also be used to teach others and further increase the skills
and knowledge of your group. Don’t discount the ability of the members of your
group to learn new skills.
Don’t fail to recognize that
the “jack of all trades” makes an excellent helper for those with more advanced
skills. They usually grasp new concepts easily and will work diligently to
achieve their assigned tasks. They will also usually require less basic
instruction to accomplish the goals of your group.
Always include the younger
members of your group as well. Young people can absorb knowledge like a sponge
collects water. There level of enthusiasm is usually way beyond normal and they
will take pride in being included in the efforts of your group. While they may
not be capable of certain physical tasks, older members can also provide a
wealth of information from their past experience to assist in the efforts of
Utilizing the diversity of
skills in your group will ultimately make the efforts of your group more
successful. The success of your group will ultimately require you to take
advantage of this fact and this will increase the overall chances for your
Everyone prepares to a
certain degree but there are those that sometimes let their prepping activities
go to extremes. Try as you might, it is almost impossible to prepare for every
possible scenario. If you maintain a proper balance in your prepping
activities, you will have a better state of preparedness than you might think. Sometimes the simplest things are overlooked because we don’t
see them as obstacles until it is too late.
You’ve got a bug-out bag, a
bug-out vehicle and a bug-out location but do you have the skills to put your
bug-out plan into action. Can you change a flat tire? It’s a simple process but
it is also one which many people have never done. Can you change a drive belt
on the motor if it breaks? These are simple skills that are easy to practice
and develop but which can leave you stranded and vulnerable at the worst
possible time if you lack these simple skills. Simple skills can go a long way in helping you be better prepared.
A box of survival seeds
won’t do you much good if you lack the gardening skills to make them grow. A
stockpile of canned goods and freeze-dried foods won’t last forever and you
will need gardening skills to properly balance your food storage program. You
will also need to stock your food items accordingly. Excess food storage can
increase your chances of having items that expire or go bad before you can use
them. Simple gardening skills can help you be better
Don’t forget to have a plan
to maintain the safety and security of your family. Don’t sacrifice your
family’s safety or security because simple items were left unattended. Realize that maintaining security should also be a part of
your preparedness plans.
Include plenty of family
activities that can help to strengthen the trust and loyalty among your group
or family members. Make sure to include both younger and older members of your
group in your activities. While their knowledge and skills may vary, they can
only help to strengthen your efforts. Remember that
everyone is capable of making a contribution to your preparedness efforts.
There are numerous aspects
to proper prepping and maintaining a proper balance will be critical. You may
be unknowingly increasing your costs and utilizing resources you may need
elsewhere if you don’t maintain a proper balance in your preps. Know how many
in your family or group you are preparing for and adjust your preparedness
plans accordingly. Know which skills you are lacking and make an effort to learn
them and continue to practice those skills you already have. Balance your
prepping efforts with the actual needs of your family or group.