Preppers who are just starting to learn about survival in the outdoors tend to compare the experience with camping, but besides the fact that you’ll have to live and sleep under the clear sky, the resemblance ends here.
Unlike camping, where you eat the food you brought from home, in a survival scenario you’ll be forced to hunt your own dinner. This is why, when you prepare the BOB, you must consider the type of hunting equipment to include.
You’ll also have to rationalize food supplies, learn how to use the environment in your favor, and last but not least, manage to be comfortable enough to catch some Zzz’s. When I describe the process this way, most new preppers get a bit anxious. And, while they’re quite OK with most of the processes, I get a lot of questions about sleeping outdoors and the equipment one should pack.
When you don’t have a car to serve as a temporary home, or even a tent to keep you warm during the night, how do you get by?
Well, first I want everyone to know that sleep is crucial in an SHTF scenario. If you’re sleep deprived, your mind will get fuzzy affect fast decision making, your hands may tremble while you’re trying to hunt, and you may lose focus during a life and death situation.
Now that everyone is up to speed, I must highlight the fact that the quality of sleep is just as important. This is why you should always try to improvise a bed that provides some cushioning and protects your body from humidity and low temperatures.
For this, the best equipment to have in your BOB is a sleeping bag and an insulating layer. For the insulating layer, you can use either an air bed or a self-inflating sleeping pad, but in my opinion, air beds are a bit more advantageous – learn more about it here.
But, if you’re forced to choose between the two, which one is more important?
When you decide which elements go in your BOB, it’s important to understand their use on the long-term. So, I am not just going to tell you that the sleeping bag is more necessary; I am going to show it to you by comparing the two.
The sleeping bag is designed to cover your entire body and fit around you like a protective cover. I recommend getting a mummy type, so you’ll have protection around the head as well. Sleeping bags come with various levels of insulation but for an SHTF scenario, I recommend one that can be adjusted for all seasons. This type of bag has some inner lining that can be removed when it’s too hot outside, so you won’t sweat.
The main purpose of a sleeping bag is to keep you warm, but it won’t provide insulation from the ground or cushion the feel of a hard surface.
On the other hand, an air bed will do just that: provide insulation from the cold ground and cradle your body while supporting the spine. However, it doesn’t wrap around you, so it won’t provide protection from the cold night air or the humidity.
As you can see, if you have the possibility, it’s ideal to combine the two. But, when you can only take one, the sleeping bag wins. It’s lighter, more compact, and can be used in all sorts of situations. After all, you can always create a bed of leaves or tree branches – it won’t be as comfortable as an air bed, but it will provide insulation.
I’m always intrigued by what people argue about when trying to decide what to put in their bug out bag or survival kit. You know…. fire starters, water filters, food rations, I need not say more. We all picture survival scenarios that we try to be prepared for. Maybe one of those is being stranded in the woods or lost near a stream or lake.
So here is a question…..Do you have any actual fishing lures and line in your kit? I’m not talking about a bit of string, a few hooks and a sinker. I’m talking about maybe a small 150 yd spool of super high tech fishing line. Maybe you have paracord in your kit but think you have nothing but time to strip one of the 8 strands out of it and use it for lashing or fishing line. Why waste your time and precious resources? The latest technology can give you the diameter of old 4 lb test with the strength of 40 lb test using super braids made out of exotic fabric like trademarked “Spectra” lines. Snares, bed and shelter lashing, trip lines, temporary sutures, and yes fishing, the possibilities are endless and ready to use.
So you have some compact line, what kind of lures could you carry for let’s say a salt, fresh or fly fishing situation? Opinions are close but vary on the top 10 lures in the world for these types of fishing. Most would agree on our sample of a short list of some of the best lures ever invented because all and many more are time tested and proven fish catchers. Do your own research if you wish but consider the possibility of including one or two lures from each category to your well thought out survival kit.
Here’s a list of just a few lures to save you some time…..
Heddon Torpedo, Red Devil or Daredevil Spoon, Rapala Floating Minnow, Panther Martin, Hula Popper, Mepps Aglia Spinner, and of course the famous versions of the rubber worm!
Diamond Jig, Gold spoon, artificial shrimp or DOA shrimp, Mirrolure twitch baits, Bucktail jigs and Johnsons Silver Minnow
Fly fishing manufactured lures:
Hares Ear Nymph, Adams Dry Fly- which some consider the most effective, Woolly Bugger, and one of the new modern favorites…The green “mop fly” (That’s’ right, a fantastic lure made from the tiny microfiber fingers in a floor mop. Talk about survival…make your own! It resembles the parachute inch worm which fall from trees and the trout and other fish go nuts.)
We hope this article gets you thinking of the few extra inches of space you could add to your survival kit and of course many arguments can be made of all the amazing lures we haven’t even begun to mention. That is the real point of the article…just to get you thinking and preparing!
My first act of gorilla gardening was for my friend Joe. He’d worked for many years on building a home whenever he had money available and help from friends. The place was a cluttered construction site for a long time. But as the building was nearly completed, and the construction debris cleared away, there was room in a sunny spot for a small garden. I knew Joe wanted to grow some of his own food and where he intended to put a garden so when he left town for a week, I made my move.
I collected some discarded 4×4’s and some left over fencing and piled them into my station wagon along with some garden starts and headed over to Joe’s. It’s a lovely place at the end of a dirt road. I got to work with my digging fork and turned sod, weeded and formed beds. I dug holes and erected the posts and fencing. Then I planted the seeds and starts, salad greens, squash, peas and beans to climb the fence and a bed for perennials like rhubarb, herbs and raspberries. I watered it all from the rain barrel. When Joe came home and found it he was delighted. Since then his garden has expanded to 5 times the size of the original.
I live on a small lot in town. The previous owner traveled often so his landscaping was concrete and grass. Now after 5 years, there’s a native plant garden on the shady side of the house with vine maple and crabapple trees, salal, Oregon grape, red flowering currant, columbine and wild ginger. In the sunniest part of the yard, right up against the sidewalk, I have my espaliered fruit trees with 10 different kinds of fruit grafted on to 4 trees. There are 2 blueberry bushes and strawberry plants. In the beds there are potatoes, squash, peas, salad greens, broccoli, cauliflower and winter greens. A stately rhubarb fills out one corner and cosmos bloom by the fence. What a delight to grow my own produce. I planted greens last August to winter over so I’m eating chard, collards, kale and beets year round. The chard with their red and yellow stems brighten up the flower beds.
Gardening on a small lot
It took a while for me to figure out what grows best here in the Northwest and in my yard. Then I had to get used to eating what I grow. But now I’m totally addicted. I take some with me when I travel.
This spring my elderly neighbor said she wasn’t going to garden this year. My ears perked up. I asked, and she said to “Garden as if it was your own.” That garden has been under cultivation for decades so mostly what I’m doing is weeding and uncovering the volunteers. There’s lettuce, chard and garlic in abundance. I added a few squash and beans and covered them with a floating row cover to keep the deer and squirrels at bay.
Another friend is moving from Whidbey where he’s lived for thirty years. He has a well-established landscape. I’ve been weeding with him there getting his house ready to sell and hearing about his projects restoring an old house in Port Townsend where he’s planning to move. Last week while in Port Townsend, I put a couple of big pots on his porch, filled them with potting soil and added salad starts and a couple of squash. A friend 2 doors down said she’d keep them watered. My friend was touched to find them the next day. I love guerrilla gardening.
Here’s the recent review on the Survival Hax fire starter flint w/waterproof tinder holder by our guest blogger OmegaMan:
We recently got to try the new survival hacks firestarter flint and waterproof tinder holder kit. It doesn’t yet have a fancy name but that’s what it’s called.
It came in I slim 1″x 1″box that is 6 inches long. Inside it contained a 6 inch long/quarter inch thick spark stick rated for 20,000 strikes!
It comes with a beautiful durable para cord wrist strap. We wish it would’ve said how long the para cord is if you unwind it.
Attached on the wrist strap is a handheld stryker tool with a concave edge to easily slide down the rod without slipping off. Also on the striker tool is a built-in can opener stamped with a small ruler. Because the striker rod comes with a beautiful black coating on it we found it took a few strikes to wear off but finally produced some amazing sparks by holding the concave edge of the striker tool and running it down the side of the rod. We also sometimes achieved better sparks by just using the flat edge of the tool against the striker rod.
We got a kick out of the bright orange whistle, which lets out an ear piercing shrill when we tried it.
A bonus surprise was a little black tinderbox keychain about the size of a pill holder. Inside it was filled with a little supply of tinder. We’re not sure what type of tinder but possibly a waxy substance.
As with most of the products we tried from Survival Hax, once again this is a nice little durable survival tool. We do wish there was maybe a few more instructions that explained everything a little better besides just a few comments on the outside of the box.
This tool speaks for itself and could definitely save a life out in the wilderness.
Here’s a link to check it out with a nice discount code if you’d like to further enhance your survival kit:
use discount code SH50FIRE at checkout
Family survival planning is a very engaging and beneficial undertaking. Not only is it important that everyone is on the same page, should disaster strike, it can be a great bonding experience to bring you all closer. In the long run, this gives you the necessary tools to become a cohesive unit of togetherness that can combat any situation, should the worst happen.
There’s such a wealth of activities you can engage in that your kids will love as well, so it doesn’t have to be a monotonous task, but rather real life lessons exploring the outdoors for example. If you have young children, then you can start these valuable lessons from as early as five years old to really bed in some of the key lessons that can then be expanded upon, right up to their teenage years. Broadly speaking, there are a few main considerations to address as a starting point.
Shelter, food and spotting early warning signs are great kick off points for any discussion or activity and can be a recurring theme throughout your lessons. After that point, your judgment and intimate knowledge of your kids will dictate how you move forward.
With that in mind, check out the below infographic provided by MIkes Gear Reviews to get a better understanding and ideas of how to prepare your kids for anything life throws their way.
Written by Alison Hudson
No matter what the seasons is, a trip in the backcountry requires a few essential items: food, shelter, and duct tape. For some people, the list could be whittled down to simply duct tape. Its adhesive capabilities and waterproof exterior make it one of the most dextrous tools you can carry; in a pinch, it can be used to build a shelter and create snares to catch food. Try turning a freeze-dried meal into a tent or vice versa! If you aren’t sold on the wonders of duct tape, here are fifteen reasons to bring a roll on your next wilderness expedition (and a few tips for how to keep your stash of tape organized and safe from the elements).
How to Pack It
On a backcountry trip, you won’t be happy carting around an entire roll of duct tape, replete with the inner cardboard roll: it’s heavy, it’s bulky, the cardboard will disintegrate when it gets wet, and the roll takes up an inordinate amount of space. Here are a few techniques for efficiently packing duct tape to bring on your next trip.
A little time consuming, but with a nice, compact final product. Simply start unrolling a little of the tape. When you have about 4 inches unspooled, fold the tape back on itself so you have two sides that are not sticky. Keep folding the tape on top of itself until you have the amount you need for your trip. Pack the duct tape in a ziplock bag to keep it from sticking to other things in your pack.
This is a common trick used by people who hike with trekking poles. Start by holding the trekking pole sideways so that it’s easier to work with the tape. Then wrap the duct tape around the trekking pole until you have the desired amount. If you don’t like a thick roll of tape, consider wrapping half on one pole and half on the other.
For little fixes, it’s nice to have a thin strip of duct tape, rather than the bulky width of the tape on the roll. To create a half spool, find something round, like a tent pole splint or a pencil. Using a sharp blade, slice the duct tape on the roll so that you have either two or three equal widths of tape; if you score all the way around the roll, it’s a lot easier to pull off. Start rolling one strip around the pencil until you have enough.
Mix it Up
Duct tape now comes in a variety of colors and patterns, all of which have the same strength and stickiness of the original silver tape. If you’re hunting, pick up some camo-colored tape (or hunter orange for making yourself visible). If you’re wrapping tape around trekking poles, having two different colors of tape can help differentiate the two poles. If you anticipate using the tape to mend clothing, tents, or other wearable items, black, blue, or dark green make more discreet patches than the bright silver. Neon shades work especially well for marking trails because they show up so much better than silver or dark colors.
The original purpose of duct tape was to make repairs. This is one of its best applications in the wilderness, where supplies are limited and multi-purpose items are priceless.
Fix Your Gear
A broken ski can be a huge hindrance, especially if you’re far from your car. Duct tape can be used for an easy fix, whether it’s a nordic or downhill set up. Using a thin tree branch as a splint, tightly wrap duct tape around the stick and both pieces of broken ski.
Repair a Tent (pole)
A broken tent pole can be detrimental to an extended camping trip. Even if your tent came with a splint for a broken pole, duct tape is a lot easier to use. Place the broken ends side by side, so they overlap, and wrap them tightly with tape.
Nothing is quite as pernicious as a leaky inflatable mattress. In a pinch, a circular duct tape patch will keep the air from escaping while you sleep through the night. Be sure to clean the area around the patch before placing the tape to make a better seal.
Rips, tears, shredded cuffs, all of these can easily be fixed with some masterfully placed duct tape. For rips, use a round piece of tape because the lack of corners makes it more likely to stay in place. For cuffs, fold a piece over the edge and press it smooth.
Broken ear piece, loose lenses, snapped nose bridge: these are just some of the ways in which sunglasses can break at the more inopportune time. Duct tape can be used to fix all of these problems, whether it means wrapping the nose bridge in a thin strip, wrapping the ear piece with a wide piece, or carefully outlining the lens with tape to keep it from falling out.
It may not have the same padding, but duct tape will keep a wound dry while keeping dirt and other detritus from causing an infection.
Though not as flexible as athletic tape, duct tape will make a useable ankle wrap in a pinch. Wrap the tape with the sticky side out to prevent tearing skin away when the wrap is removed.
Prevent Snow Blindness
Forgot your glacier glasses in Base Camp? Duct tape can be used to make improvised sunglasses that will help prevent snow blindness and other eye injuries from bright sun on snow or water. Simply cut a width of duct tape (or two) that will extend across your face and make two very narrow slits where your eyes line up with the tape.
In deep weeds or grasses where ticks are prevalent, it’s vital to seal all entrances to bare skin. Wrap duct tape around the bottom of your pants and tops of your socks to keep ticks from slipping through while you walk.
Cover Bug Bites
Some bug bites react well to being covered with tape, especially chigger bites. If you’re getting plagued by bug bites, use duct tape to cover the itchy bites and prevent worse damage.
Prevent Things from Breaking
Duct tape is perfect for preemptive use on gear that could get damaged.
Pants Cuff Care
How many pairs of hiking pants or rain pants have you seen with blown out cuffs? It’s easy to ruin a pair of expensive pants by walking on the cuff. To prevent fraying, use a piece of duct tape to reinforce the hem. This is especially useful for rain pants, which are expensive to replace.
Waterproof Map Case
Duct tape is an inexpensive way to waterproof papers and other items that need to be protected from the rain. To make a map case, start by cutting two pieces of cardboard to match the size of your map or other papers. Once you’re created the template, cover the cardboard with stripe of duct tape. Be sure to overlap the edges of each piece to make it extra waterproof.
Dry Bag For Electronics
Using the same process described above, you can easily create a waterproof case for your electronics (everything from a smart phone to a satellite phone).
It’s the last day of your wilderness trip and you’re back at the trail head exploding your back in search of the car key. Next time, use a piece of duct tape to secure your key under the car. That way you don’t have to worry about losing it in the woods or a lake.
Mark a Trail
Bright strips of duct tape can be used to flag a trail through the woods so that you or others can follow the path without getting lost.
A roll of duct tape and some creativity will go a long way toward relieving a stressful situation in the wilderness. Always pack more tape than you think you’ll need and don’t be afraid to experiment with bold ideas; when duct tape first came out on the market it was used on weapons, military vehicles, and boots. There is no situation too sticky for some duct tape.
Buy your duct tape in bulk and save some money with Sams Club discount codes
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Field tested by our guest blogger, OmegaMan quoted: “A great little paracord keychain with a ear piercing whistle attached to a durable aluminum case filled with survival essentials!”
“This is a great addition to any preppers’ everyday carry (EDC) or bugout bag. Here’s what you will be shocked to find inside the survival case: Fire striker bar & tinder, fishing swivels, fishing float & weights, fishing line & hook, 2 safety pins, a wire saw, and a knife!”
It’s a key chain, a survival kit, and a waterproof pill container all in 1.
The 10 in 1 Paracord EDC Keychain is a waterproof aluminum EDC (everyday carry) pill bottle.
A durable carabiner and 550 paracord are used so you can take this mini survival kit anywhere.
If you carry your car keys everywhere, you’ll have a much better chance of surviving the apocalypse.
No need for a bug out bag, this is small enough to fit in your pocket.
There are technically 11 separate pieces inside the canister.
The paracord is over 4 feet long when unraveled and has an emergency whistle attached to it.
Our goal was to make a reusable PSK (Personal Survival Kit) that gives you the ability to catch a fish, gut it, and cook it. Sure there are easier ways to do this, but none that fit on your keychain.
From nothing, you can make a Fishing Pole
No survival kit would be complete without a way to start a fire. And in order to start a fire, you need wood. The finger chainsaw can slice through branches with enough elbow grease. Slide two sticks in the finger holes for extra torque.