101 Uses for Paracord [infographic]

There’s a good reason why you don’t bring a lot of things with you when you go on an outdoor adventure. You may need a pillow for a more comfortable rest at night inside your tent, or a rope ladder to climb some treacherous terrains. But you don’t bring all of what you think you might need when camping or trekking or whatever you do in an adventure. If you did, you would be carrying your whole house with you.

 

This is where a modest piece of equipment comes in. A paracord looks like it won’t be much, but it can actually do so much. A paracord, which means a parachute cord, is basically a lifesaver. You need a shoelace? Use a paracord. Your leather watch strap ripped? A paracord will hold it together. You suddenly need to rappel? Paracord can be your lifeline. Aside from the obvious uses—such as tying an object to something or using it as a rope—there are a lot more that you can do with a paracord. You don’t have to be trekking in the countryside or camping in the wild to have a use for it. You can find that even in an urban setting, a paracord can be crucial to you.

 

Learn how to use a paracord in so many different ways in the infographic below.

 

infographic 101 Uses for Paracord

Airbed vs Sleeping Bag – Which is Better for Outdoor Survival?

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.

How to Sleep Outdoors and Be Comfortable

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?

Air Bed vs. Sleeping Bag

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.

Sounds Fishy: An Often Overlooked Bug-Out Bag Item

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.

Freshly caught trout cooking in a skillet over an open flame

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.

add-lures-to-bugout-bag

Here’s a list of just a few lures to save you some time…..

Fresh water:

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!

Salt Water:

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!

How to Live Off the Grid: a Guide to Freedom

We live such hectic lives, filled with absolute non-sense that we forget what it is we’re actually living for. Most of us have 60 hours’ work weeks so we can pay rent, taxes and buy food. We don’t even have time for our loved ones, and we seem too busy or too tired even when we take a day off. That’s when leaving it all behind and starting a new life in the middle of nowhere starts to sound like an awesome idea.

Give it all up

The first thing is renouncing your old life and habits. That sounds pretty terrifying, but it’s liberating at the same time. Ask yourself this: if a tornado were to take you to Oz, what would you miss the most about your life now?

Giving up your life starts by prioritizing the essential things and relationships. After that, you’ll find there are plenty of things you would gladly let go of, if, in exchange, you could have peace, tranquility, and love.

Find a place

Cabin-in-the-woods

After deciding you really need to take off, you can’t simply do it without a plan. That’s why you should find somewhere to stay first. Maybe you have a cabin in the woods or a property in an isolated territory, and that could be your starting point.

But if you have to find your own place, things can get complicated. For instance, you can either buy or rent a piece of land. You should make sure the place is isolated enough so you won’t have any nosy Nellies around, but still, have some neighbors at convenient distances. You should also check that a nearby town doesn’t have future plans to extend closer to your property if you want to live a more solitary life.

After that, you can set up a camp, maybe even move in your trailer and start building your own home. If you have some money saved, you can commission the work to a professional, but you also have the option of turning this into your first DIY project.

Learn survival skills

You can’t move off in the wilderness without learning some survival skills first. The first one would be how to find water if there are limited water sources near your property. If you have very hot summer days when springs peter out, you might need to use other techniques like placing plastic bags on tree branches or digging for water.

making-fire

You should also learn how to build a fire, but that’s the easy part. After all, you can leave home equipped with 20 pounds of waterproof matches. The hardest part is to learn which trees you can cut down, how to chop them and how to store the wood properly. If you cut green trees and the wood gets too wet, you’ll have fewer chances of building a lasting fire.

Grow your own food

This can mean different things depending on where your property is. If you’ve moved off to a deep, damp forest in the mountains, your only options might be hunting, fishing and eating wild fruits. Of course, learning some hunting and fishing skills, along with buying proper equipment is useful no matter where you might end up. And you need to recognize which plants are edible, and which aren’t.

If you’re moving to a friendlier environment, you can always build a greenhouse with basic equipment. So you might need nothing more than some sturdy cellophane and a few pallets, along with plenty of water and the right seeds.

Apart from that, you can farm certain animals, depending on how large your property is. Chicken is the easiest when you take into account all the logistics, like space and food, plus they give you nutritious meat and eggs. Otherwise, you can consider raising cows for their milk, maybe buy a couple of horses if you own a bigger farmstead.

Arrange your amenities

You also need some degree of comfort, especially for keeping a clean environment. So you’ll want a toilet and some sort of washing facilities, and you have plenty of options here too. The easiest would be to buy a camp toilet and a camp shower, which can easily be transported and used no matter where you are.

Or, you can build your own bath, and improvise if you don’t have any running water. For instance, your toilet can be an outhouse, but you have to place it at some distance from your house and greenhouse.

Your shower can be a barrel of warm water with a valve attached to it and a hose with a showerhead for the warmer summer days. Or you can get a bathtub for indoor use, and that would help you relax after a long day’s work.

Earn the money you need

You might still need some money even if you’re living in a remote location for paying the rent or for buying the things you can’t produce on your own, but that doesn’t mean you should get a day job in the city.

One idea is to sell or trade the things you produce in surplus. So if you have lots of eggs or meat, you can sell that to your neighbors, or trade with them for clothes or different tools.

Another idea is to focus on a skill you already have, and sell the results of your work on the Internet. For instance, you might be into crafting and learn how to make interesting sculptures. Or decorate axes. Or make origami. The world is your oyster.

Learn to enjoy solitude

prepare-to-be-alone

This might prove to be difficult enough, especially if you’re all alone. We’re so accustomed to noise (even white noise) that eating a meal by ourselves without constantly checking our social media accounts seems impossible. But if you’ve chosen to live off the grid, you can find pleasure in loneliness.

So after all that, what seems like the most difficult to do? What plan do you have? Tell us all about that in the comments.

 

About the author: Mike is a passionate hunter and his favorite grounds are Alaska and British Columbia. He’s also an expert in hunting gear and he is one of the most reliable resources when it comes to choosing the right tools for the job. He also writes for OpitcGearLab.com

Make Your Own Survival Bread

Have you ever looked at your food storage and thought “I hope I don’t ever have to eat any of this”!  I do all the time!  The fact is, survival food doesn’t always look good or taste great!  Often it’s dehydrated, canned or preserved in some way.  What if you could have normal food, like fresh baked bread even when the SHTF?  Well if you’ve ever thought like that, then here is something that will fit the bill!  It’s an age old recipe that has withstood the test of time, filling bellies and putting smiles on faces for centuries, if not longer.

 

Indian-Fry-Bread-recipe

In an emergency fresh eggs/milk may be hard to come by and you certainly won’t be able to drop by your local market to pick up a loaf of sliced bread! So what do you do? Tuck this away, practice it and use it when/if needed. We have had a lot of requests for recipes like this so I will dig out my Grandmothers old recipe book and see what I can find. If you have any you would like to share, please send them to me via message and I will post them for everyone.

Indian Fry Bread/Navajo Fry Bread

4 cups flour

2 tsp. sugar

1 ½ cups warm water

2 tsp. salt

4 tsp. yeast (some use baking powder instead of yeast)

Vegetable Oil for frying (you can use a small amount or larger amount to deep fry)

1) Mix water, sugar, salt and yeast together – let stand 5 minutes.

2) Add flour and knead until the mixture is smooth.

3) Heat the oil in a fry pan.

4) Form dough into small balls, then flatten into a tortilla shape about ½ inch thick.

5) Fry bread on both sides until golden brown.

Tip – if dough is sticky, use a small amount of flour to coat your hands while handling the dough.

Real Indian fry bread is deep fried in a fair amount of cooking oil, but this is not necessary. You should use the dough immediately without allowing it to rise first. This is not like the traditional bread recipe that is baked into a loaf and rises beforehand.

Enjoy, you now have a recipe for bread, it can be used for sandwiches, eating with meals, with honey, cinnamon, tacos (my favorite – called Navajo Tacos)!

via Survival Bread – So good you’ll want it anytime! 

The Benefits of Cattails as a Survival Food Source

This is a great article from Eat The Weeds, on the benefits of Cattails as a survival food source. It is a readily abundant wild edible in North America.

cattails as sorce of food

 

No green plant produces more edible starch per acre than the Cat O’ Nine Tails; not potatoes, rice, taros or yams. Plans were underway to feed American soldiers with that starch when WWII stopped. Lichen, not a green plant, might produce more carbs per acre. One acre of cattails can produce 6,475 pounds of flour per year on average (Harrington 1972).

It is said that if a lost person has found cattails, they have four of the five things they need to survive: Water, food, shelter and a source of fuel for heat—the dry old stalks. The one item missing is companionship.  Of course, the other thing to point out is that no matter where the water flows, down stream is civilization in North, Central and South America. 

Cattails are the supermarket of the wilds. The young cob-like tips of the plant are edible as is the white bottom of the stalk, spurs off the main roots and spaghetti like rootlets off the main roots. They have vitamins A, B,and C, potassium and phosphorus. The pollen can be used like flour.  I like their convenience as a trail nibble, or canoe nibble as it were. Just pull on one and where it pulls from the stalk there’s usually a tasty bite or two.

Cattails are the champion of starch production. The way you get the starch is to clean the exterior of the roots and then crush them in clean water and let them sit. The starch settles to the bottom then one pours off the water.  It may take several drain and settle sessions get rid of the fiber. I sampled the starch raw once and got a bit of a stomach ache.  Once you have just the starch it is excellent for cooking as you would any flour. Getting starch that way is quite labor intensive. Here are three other ways to get to the root starch:

Dry the peeled roots (peel roots while they are wet–they are difficult to peel when dry). Chop roots into small pieces, and then pound them wtih a little water. When the long fibers are removed, the resultant goup powder can be dried and used as flour.   The roots also can be boiled like potatoes then the starch chewed out (spitting away the fibers) or you can also roast the root in a fire until the outer spongy core is completely black. Then chew the starch off of the fiber.  Don’t eat the fiber. It will give you a stomach ache. I know from personal experience. The advantage of the latter method is no pots or pans are needed. If you have fire and a pond you have a nutritious meal.  You can also put the roots on the barbecue.

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Poisonous Animals You Can’t Eat

Survival manuals often mention that the livers of polar bears are toxic due to their high concentrations of vitamin A. For this reason, we mention the chance of death after eating this organ. Another toxic meat is the flesh of the hawksbill turtle. You recognize them by their down-turned bill and yellow polka dots on their neck and front flippers. They weigh more than 275 kilograms and are unlikely to be captured. 

POISONOUS ANIMALS YOU CAN'T EAT

Many fish living in reefs near shore or in lagoons and estuaries are poisonous to eat, though some are only seasonally dangerous. The majority are tropical fish; however, be wary of eating any unidentifiable fish wherever you are. Some predatory fish, such as barracuda and snapper, may become toxic if the fish they feed on in shallow waters are poisonous. The most poisonous types appear to have parrot-like beaks and hard, shell-like skins with spines and often can inflate their bodies like balloons. However, at certain times of the year, indigenous populations consider the puffer a delicacy. 

Blowfish

Blowfish or puffer (Tetraodontidae species) are more tolerant of cold water. You find them along tropical and temperate coasts worldwide, even in some of the rivers of Southeast Asia and Africa. Stout-bodied and round, many of these fish have short spines and can inflate themselves into a ball when alarmed or agitated. Their blood, liver and gonads are so toxic that as little as 28 milligrams (1 ounce) can be fatal. These fish vary in color and size, growing up to 75 centimeters in length. 

Triggerfish

The triggerfish (Balistidae species) occur in great variety, mostly in tropical seas. They are deep-bodied and compressed, resembling a seagoing pancake up to 60 centimeters in length, with large, sharp dorsal spines. Avoid them all, as many have poisonous flesh. 

Barracuda

Although most people avoid them because of their ferocity, they occasionally eat barracuda (Sphyraena barracuda). These predators of mostly tropical seas can reach almost 1.5 meters in length and have attacked humans without provocation. They occasionally carry the poison ciguatera in their flesh, making them deadly if consumed. 

Other Dangerous Sea Creatures

The blue-ringed octopus, jellyfish, and the cone and auger shells are other dangerous sea creatures.

Blue-Ringed Octopus

Most octopi are excellent when properly prepared. However, the blue-ringed octopus (Hapalochlaena lunulata) can inflict a deadly bite from its parrotlike beak. Fortunately, it is restricted to the Great Barrier Reef of Australia and is very small. It is easily recognized by its grayish white overall color and iridescent blue rings. Authorities warn that all tropical octopus species should be treated with caution, since many have poisonous bites, although the flesh is edible. 

Jellyfish

Jellyfish-related deaths are rare, but the sting they inflict is extremely painful. The Portuguese man-of-war resembles a large pink or purple balloon floating on the sea. It has poisonous tentacles hanging up to 12 meters below its body. The huge tentacles are actually colonies of stinging cells. Most known deaths from jellyfish are attributed to the man-of-war. Other jellyfish can inflict very painful stings as well. Avoid the long tentacles of any jellyfish, even those washed up on the beach and apparently dead. 

Cone Shell

The subtropical and tropical cone shells (Conidae species) have a venomous harpoonlike barb. All are cone-shaped and have a fine netlike pattern on the shell. A membrane may possibly obscure this coloration. There are some very poisonous cone shells, even some lethal ones in the Indian and Pacific oceans. Avoid any shell shaped like an ice cream cone. 

Auger Shell

The auger shell or terebra (Terebridae species) are much longer and thinner than the cone shells but can be nearly as deadly as the cone shells. They are found in temperate and tropical seas. Those in the Indian and Pacific oceans have a more toxic venom in their stinging barb. Do not eat these snails, as their flesh may be poisonous.

 

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Save And Share This Infographic: What Is The Shelf Life Of Your Food?

Wasted food

According to a survey by the Food Marketing Institute, such confusion leads nine out of 10 Americans to needlessly throw away food. The survey found 90 percent of Americans “at least occasionally throw food away prematurely because they mistakenly interpret the date label to mean their food is unsafe” — and 25 percent say they always discard food on or before that date.

Related: Long Term Food Storage

The researchers blame “a lack of binding federal standards, and the resultant state and local variability in date labeling rules” for the inconsistency in date-labeling practices.”

In 2012, one national study estimated that 40 percent of the country’s food supply goes uneaten. The cost of that wasted food is about $165 billion, including $900 million in “expired” food.

A family of four, the study found, spends an average of $455 a year on food it doesn’t eat. The researchers recommend making “sell by” dates invisible to the consumer, and have the food industry establish a standard, uniform labeling system.

Types of FOOD dating

There are three types of dates on a food that is purchased. If the package says “Sell By,” be sure to purchase the food before the date listed. The “sell by” date tells the grocer how long to display the food. The food should remain good for a period of time once you get it home.

The “Best if Used By” is not a purchase or safety date. The date stamped after that term is the date the food should be used by for best flavor or quality. A “Use-By” date is the last date recommended for peak quality of the product.

All three terms are guides to help a purchaser determine the quality of the food. The food can be safe and of good quality after any of the three above open-dating terms are used.

This Infographic below explains a bit more:

FoodShelfLife-InfoGraphic3

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