Can You Have Too Many Guns?

Well of course not! Guns and Preppers go together like peanut butter and chocolate, or maybe beans and rice would be more appropriate, but I digress. Guns, yes, lots of guns; and I include myself in this fold as I have accumulated quite a few over the last couple of years and each with their own purpose. The problem we run into is which caliber or calibers of ammunition do you stockpile? Note: I recently purchased a little Ruger LCP2 .380 to carry on the trails when hiking, great little gun that fits the need, but certainly not the caliber I would choose to stockpile. No, unless you have an endless supply of money to spend on ammo, you must somehow narrow your focus down to just a couple of calibers. Now, if you want to create a firestorm of opinions, just ask what gun or guns would be best for a SHTF scenario – you will likely get 100 different opinions none of which might be appropriate for you. I have recently been faced with this dilemma and I wanted to take a few moments to share how we came to our decision and why (and yes yours will probably be different). Continue reading “Can You Have Too Many Guns?”

Advertisements

What is the Weakest Link in Your Prep?

First of all, preparedness in not a race or a competition, nor is it the simple act of hoarding food, ammo or equipment. I participate in several online forums on the subject and all too often I see members bashing other members for their choices of supplies, lack of knowledge or where they are in their journey. Everyone has their own pace and their own priorities and that’s OK! Balance and steady progress are really the keys to truly being prepared. If you have 3 days worth of supplies in your home you’re better off than 95% of the country! Continue reading “What is the Weakest Link in Your Prep?”

Gear Review: Rolling Fox Tarp Shelter

The keys to survival remain fairly constant: food, water, shelter, security. If you carry a bug-out-bag or EDC bag you might want to consider adding this to your carry. This little shelter weights less than 2 lbs. and packs down into a very small package.

rolling fox

It’s called a tarp shelter because it’s basically a very light-weight tarp, yet unlike the traditional 8’x10’ tarp with 4 little O-rings on the corners this kit comes with a total of 16 tie down points, 4 metal stakes, and 4 9 foot pieces of paracord and a carry bag to keep it all together.  Continue reading “Gear Review: Rolling Fox Tarp Shelter”

Lessons From the TN Wildfires – Be Ready to Run

Bug in vs. bug out as long been the debate amongst preppers and your answer typically was based primarily on where you lived. If you were city you bugged out, country you bugged in with those in the suburbs kind of in the middle. We have always planned to bug in and ride out any disaster that might befall us, however, watching the carnage of the Tennessee wildfires of 2016 has given us a new perspective. You can read about them here.

The wild fires swept through the area at an amazing rate catching many off guard and forcing them to flee with little more than the clothes on their back. Churches and schools soon became makeshift shelters, but those arriving had absolutely nothing – they were completely unprepared for what had happened. Some hadn’t even heard the news reports and fled only when the fires became apparent – scary thought.

Here in my part of Tennessee a local gun range began organizing a relief effort (along with many others across the State), but what were the needs? Aside from food and water which the Red Cross had delivered, they needed the basics:

  • Deodorant
  • Tooth paste, tooth brushes
  • Diapers and baby wipes
  • Underwear, socks
  • Soap, shampoo

Personal care items that no one had time or forethought to gather before leaving, which brings me to my point. Aside from survival gear (here’s a link to an entire site dedicated to building a bug out bag), you should have a basic travel bag ready (mine stays in the car) in case you have to flee. Think if you were going away for a long weekend, what would you pack, and keep it light as you might actually have to carry it long distances. Being prepared is more than having a great stash of food and water or being able to function in a grid down situation; it’s being prepared for anything. How is your prepper journey progressing?

Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.

Happy prepping!

Finding balance in your Prep

Assessing your level of preparation isn’t exactly the most exciting or headline grabbing topic to discuss, but one that is necessary if you are to be truly prepared for anything. Start out by asking yourself, if something happened right now, how long could you last without the need to venture outside your safe haven?

Look at the basics; food, water, light, security – how well are you prepared on each of the 4 basic needs. I have recently been piling up the canned goods at an almost frantic pace so I starting to feel pretty good on that side. However, we have to ask ourselves, am I storing the right foods, foods we will use over time before they expire? Are we storing foods that we eat on a regular or at least semi-regular basis? Is it organized and rotated properly? Is it balanced with my other preps.

Water is our most critical need for survival as we can goes days without food, but without water we will perish rather quickly. Have you also stored enough water for washing or flushing the toilet? Have you secured an alternative source of water such as a stream, well or rain barrels? Can you filter it to make it safe to drink?

Light, though not absolutely necessary for survival, is difficult to live without. Most preppers obsess on this one; generators, fuel, candles, flashlights, LED lanterns, batteries, etc, whatever choices you make in this area be sure to have more than one option. If you plan to use a generator as your primary backup be sure to have plenty of fuel and fuel stabilizer. Look at different scenarios, could you start and run it in a heavy storm? If you are using battery operated devices try to stick to a couple of battery choices to limit the variety you have to store. We have chosen to focus on C and AA operated units for simplicity, cost and availability. Solar powered chargers can also be a good option for longer term events.

Security seems to be one of the most written about topics within the prepper community so I won’t go into great detail here; simply assess your risk factor vs. your ability to respond to those threats. An AR-15 hanging on your bedroom wall won’t help you a bit if you’re stranded at work. Similarly, a compact .380 Auto in your pocket or purse isn’t exactly the ideal choice if several assailants are kicking in your back door. Again, assess your prep. A firearm is useless if you can’t access it when you need it, and just as useless without ammunition. I tend to lump First Aide supplies in this category and is one area that is often overlooked. Can you self treat most common injuries or ailments without access to a doctor? Is your supply balanced?

Self assessment is something we’ve been trying to do on at least a monthly basis and if you really take a hard look at yours odds are you will find some areas lacking. Look at what you stop to buy regularly, what forces you to make unplanned stops? At our house it was always dog food, cat food, and Diet Coke. I’ve addressed the pet food issue and currently have about a 40 days supply, so what about those 2 liters of Diet Coke? According to Eatbydate.com Coke will last 6-9 months unopened. So instead of stopping at the convenience store twice a week (and paying twice as much) we’ve started storing some with our preps. How much time a week could you save just by eliminating those extra stops at the store? So now assess your own preps; where am I good, where am I lacking? Balance in life is truly a key to happiness, and balance in your prep can contribute to your sense of well being and confidence in the future. Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.

Happy prepping!

Gear Review: FoodSaver V3240 Automatic Vacuum Sealing System

I know, I know; you would probably prefer to read about some cool new survival gadget, multi-tool, etc., however, anyone serious about food preservation should definitely consider purchasing a vacuum sealer.

A vacuum sealer is not going to replace Mylar Bags for ultra long term storage, but they are great for your short to midterm storage particularly if you a freezing fruits, vegetables and meat. Removing all the air, unlike using regular freezer bags, prevents the dreaded freezer burn that lowers the quality of your frozen food supply.

The unit is super easy to operate, just use the built-in cutter to create the size bag you want, use the ‘Seal’ function to seal the bottom of the bag, fill with whatever you wish, then use the ‘Vacuum Seal’ function to remove the air and seal the bag. For a proper seal be sure to always leave at least 3 inches of room at the top of the bag. The ‘Vacuum Seal’ function has options for Normal or Gentle and Dry or Moist depending on what it is you’re preserving. The unit also has 2 rubber feet and 2 little suction cups that keeps it from sliding around your counter.

vaccum-sealer-open

We have used the unit to preserve peaches, apples, blackberries, blueberries, pineapple, corn, green beans, pasta noodles, dried beans and even dry cat and dog food. Yes, dry dog food. Dry dog food doesn’t have a very good shelf life, about a year, but the quality deteriorates quickly once opened. To save money we buy the large bags, put some in regular large freezer bags for daily feedings and vacuum seal the rest for longer term storage. This routine allows us to save money by buying in bulk (and reducing trip to the store) while still preserving quality.

cat-food-sealed

cat-food

I often find good deals on steak (and I LOVE steak) sold in ‘Family Packs,’ but being married to a vegetarian used to prevent me from taking advantage of those deals, not any more. As advertised, vacuum sealing the meat prevents freezer damage and according to their website lengthens safe storage to 2 years vs. 6 months with regular freezer bags.

t-bones-unfrozen

t-bone-frozen

The FoodSaver brand replacement bags that are sold by the manufacturer are rather pricey, but we found a great deal on replacement bags on Amazon. These bags don’t fit in the top of the unit like the originals, but are much more affordable and get the job done.

This unit has excellent performance, is priced under $100 on Amazon and qualifies for Prime shipping. Buy yours here!

Gear Review: American Red Cross FRX3 Hand Crank NOAA AM/FM Weather Alert Radio with Smartphone Charger

Communication and an understanding of what’s actually taking place during a crisis are key to your proper response and ultimately surviving it. In times such as these it’s imperative to stay informed so you need some way to connect to the outside world even when hunkering down in a crisis. We’ve chosen this American Red Cross Hand Crank radio as part of our preparedness plan.

radio-4

It can be charged with a wall charger, USB, solar, hand crank or will run on 3 AAA batteries. Note: the AAA batteries will drain if you keep them inside the radio. If the unit is charged, it will charge your cell phone like a battery pack without the need to crank. The small solar panels do a great job of keeping it charged if you simply leave it in the window as we do. We hope to never have to use the crank feature to actually power the radio, but in our experience approximately 2 minutes of cranking will net you 3-5 minutes of radio use.

radio-5

The radio has AM/FM and 7 weather bands. The reception was fairly strong with the extendable antenna even though I live in a mountainous area. Note: the reception seemed better when the radio was plugged into the wall charger.

radio-2

The unit also includes a 3 LED light; 2 that can be used as a flashlight and one as a flashing distress signal.

Note: the rechargeable battery pack (seen at the bottom left of the photo) that comes with the unit is NOT plugged in  when it comes out of the box.

radio-3

Overall the unit performs as advertised. There are higher quality radios available and cheaper radios available, but for under $50 we think this is a solid performer for the money. The unit has a 4 star rating on Amazon and qualifies for Prime shipping.

Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.

Happy prepping!