Category Archives: Food & Water

Lost in the Woods: Your Guide to Getting Out Alive

If you’ve ever wandered off the beaten path while on a nature hike, you may be familiar with that ball of dread that appears in your belly when you can’t immediately find your way back to the trail. When you look around and see only a wall of indistinguishable trees on all sides, it doesn’t take long for terror to set in. You also probably know that feeling of relief that washes over you when you finally get back on course.

But what if you didn’t? What if you never found your way back to the path? What then?

If you ever find yourself lost in the woods, here are some steps you can take to survive until you find your way back to safety.

Contact Anyone You Can

First things first. If you get lost in the woods, chances are you weren’t dropped there by helicopter. You strayed from your group. You walked too far away from the trail. What’s important, then, is that you act fast. Don’t let your pride keep you from yelling for help, making an embarrassed call to your friends, or even dialing 911. If you act fast, you can stop a crisis before it begins.

Keep an Eye on the Sky

Assuming that you are truly lost and there is no hope of getting out of this predicament immediately, let the time of day determine your next steps. If it’s early and cool, you have time to hike and look for a way out of the woods. Short of having a compass, you can use the position of the sun to tell you which direction you’re moving in. If it’s hot or getting near dark, start looking for a place to camp instead. You don’t want to wander aimlessly through the woods without light.

Water is Your Top Priority

In the early hours, when you’re still trying to convince yourself that everything is going to be resolved quickly, you won’t want to confront long-term plans. That could prove to be a fatal delusion. You don’t want to wait until the cramps start before you start looking for water. Carefully ration out any water you have with you and begin looking intently for fresh sources. Boil any water you come across to avoid dangerous bacterial infections.

As with anything, your best tool in the face of adversity is preparation. Learn the difference between wild foods you can eat and those you cannot. Keep a survival kit with you whenever you go on even the shortest, safest nature hikes. Make a plan with your family or group about how to respond when someone gets lost. If nothing else, you’ll have peace of mind.

Make These Survival Products Your Next 4 Purchases

It’s all well and good to learn how to make it in an America that bears more resemblance to the days of the Indians than the days of the New York City Stock Exchange, but don’t get so caught up in survival purity that you ignore some of the best tools on the market. The best thing about prepping as a popular trend is that it has led to some extraordinary products. If you want to give yourself the best possible shot at survival, make these four products a priority.

A Personal Water Filter

Whether you’re surviving in the woods or roughing it without running water in your home, the time may come when you’re forced to drink from an unsanitary source. The problem isn’t impurities or dirt; the problem is deadly bacteria. Personal water filters like the one sold by Lifestraw can sterilize questionable water, making it one of the most important survival products out there. Buy one.

A Good Hunting Rifle

Not everyone is comfortable building an arsenal, but even committed pacifists should consider buying a good hunting rifle. If you live in an area without much wildlife to speak of, don’t let that discourage you from getting a gun. It may be that you will want to relocate when disaster strikes, and it may not be easy to buy firearms when that day comes. And obviously, the rifle can double as a weapon of self-defense if necessary.

A Multi-Tool

If you think the old Swiss army knife is still the epitome of the multi-tool, you haven’t seen some of the amazing products they’ve come out with in recent years. These extraordinary tools look like something Q would show James Bond in the 1960s. Some of them have as many as 40 separate functions, suitable for thousands of possible scenarios. A good multi-tool is especially essential for anyone planning to survive in an urban landscape.

A Tent/Tarp

If you think there’s a chance you may have to survive in a wooded landscape, then make sure you have a tent or a tarp in your survival room. Building a shelter on the fly is a good skill set to have, but you’ll be better off if you don’t have to rely on leaves for your only protection from the elements. Tents are better than tarps, but anything is better than nothing.

The Five Skills Every American Should Develop

Preppers tend to think of themselves as being part of a counter-culture movement, and many blogs and video channels are written with that club in mind. There’s very little attempt to reach the average American who thinks that all of this prepper stuff is the product of mass delusion.

That probably needs to change. This sense of “Well, I’ll be ready, so I’m not going to worry about everyone else” is foolish. The truth is that our communities and our country will be a better place after a catastrophe if more people are prepared for the worst. In a chaotic, desperate environment, a manageable crisis can soon become an unstoppable collapse. Even if you could survive in that world…would you want to?

With that in mind, we’re proposing these five skills for every American to learn, no matter how seriously they take the prospect of a major societal disaster. These skills are fun to learn, adaptable to the modern world, and…they just might come in handy one day.

First Aid

You don’t have to be a prepper to recognize the value of a thorough education in first aid. Accidents happen, and they don’t always happen with a paramedic standing by. Supplement a basic understanding of first aid with a good course in CPR, and you’ll know what to do when calling 911 isn’t enough.

Hunting, Fishing, and Gathering

Evolutionarily speaking, we simply weren’t meant to live this way. The more our society moves away from nature, the more we see depression and despair across the nation. Our primal selves are crying out for something real in an artificial world. Learning to hunt, fish, and gather nutrition from the land can do wonders for your well-being, even if you never have to rely on the skills themselves.

Building a Fire

Even with the help of matches, building and tending a fire can be a frustrating experience for beginners. And that doesn’t even get into the thorny problem of building a fire without said matches. But the ability to build a fire can come in handy if you ever find yourself in a prolonged, no-electricity situation. Plus, if you ever want to go on Survivor…

Self-Defense

As much as you might like to believe otherwise, you could be physically attacked by a hostile assailant before the day is through. Are you confident in your ability to fend off such an attack? Self-defense capabilities will be a necessity in a catastrophic scenario, but their importance shouldn’t be dismissed even in a nice “safe” society like ours. Even a few basic skills could mean the difference between survival and tragedy.

Navigation

As a whole, our society is becoming way too dependent on technological crutches. One can easily imagine a nation of drivers utterly unable to find their destinations without GPS services. If you need your phone to guide you to the mailbox, make it a point to learn your city, learn how to read a paper map, and improve your ability to find your way around without Siri’s help.

5 Mistakes You’re Making With Your Food Storage

Any prep is better than no prep at all, and there’s not a person on the planet who isn’t constantly making mistakes, so don’t expect to get everything right when preparing for a civilization-altering scenario. If such a scenario comes to pass, your neighbors will be wishing they’d made your mistakes.

That said, it’s best to correct errors along the way. And some of the most common errors preppers make are in the realm of food storage. Since this aspect of prepping can quickly become expensive and space-consuming, it’s worth staying on top of the process. You don’t want bad decisions and inefficiency to hold back your progress.

Here are five mistakes to watch out for.

Storing Unfamiliar Foods

All the wheat in the world won’t help you if you don’t have the slightest idea what to do with it. Your beans will be of little use if you aren’t sure how to cook them without a working stove. Make a habit of not just packing your pantry full of food, but also learning how to use that food in an emergency situation. Print out recipes, yes, but remember to practice as well. What’s difficult to make in a convenient kitchen will be nearly impossible under adverse conditions.

Poor Storage Facility

You don’t need a walk-in freezer to start prepping, but you do need to make sure that your storage facility is appropriate for the food you’re packing away. Few products will last long if the environment has wild temperature swings or excess humidity. Many preppers insist that food be kept in an air conditioned room to avoid moisture and heat. Additionally, make sure your containers are tightly sealed.

Storing Too Many Carbs

A diet consisting of little more than refined flour and rice will have you feeling drained and lethargic within days. Better than nothing, yes, but not nearly good enough. If you’re in the habit of stockpiling carbs, carbs, and more carbs, diversify your storage with some protein and fats. Canned meats and vegetables, dried dairy products and fruit, beans, and more can round out your survival nutrition needs.

Letting Food Expire

There are survival food products that can last several years, but you don’t want to get into the habit of testing their limits. Long before many of these foods go “bad,” they will lose much of their original flavor and even some of their nutritional potency. For that reason, a better approach is to habitually cook from your food storage pantry and replace what you use to keep the stock fresh.

Overlooking the Details

Just because you’re dining in a post-apocalyptic nightmare world doesn’t mean you have to put up with bland pasta. Spice up your storage pantry with extras and luxuries like condiments, salt, utensils, candy, and spices so your survival meals aren’t such a chore to eat. Keep some supplies like cooking oil and matches handy as well.

 

Maximize Your Food Storage: 5 Organizational Tips

For a lot of people, there couldn’t be two things more incompatible than prepping and organization. You start buying all of this long-lasting food, and it quickly gets out of control. And that’s why it makes so much sense to adopt a system. If it’s gotten to the point where you can’t even bear to look in your garage because it causes you to break out in an anxious sweat, it’s time to put some organizational techniques to work.

Know Your Expirations
We’ve all experienced that moment where we look at something in the pantry and we have no idea how long it’s been in there. The inevitable consequence? These foods get thrown away. It’s one thing to take this approach to your everyday food supply, but you can’t afford this kind of disorganization when it comes to your prepping supplies. Whenever you put something on the shelf, write down when you bought it and when you expect it to go bad.

Rotate Your Stock
Grocery store workers always pull the oldest items to the front before they put new items on the shelves behind them. Otherwise, you wind up selling the newest foods first while the old ones just sit back there and grow moldy. Take the rotation approach to your storage pantry if you often work your longterm food into your regular meals.

Use Labels
You’ll have enough to worry about in an emergency situation without trying to figure out which foods are in which containers. Save yourself the struggle and get in the habit of labeling everything you put away. Don’t trust your memory.

Keep an Inventory
This is an essential part of a good organizational strategy. One word of caution: don’t make your inventory list on the computer. We’re preparing for a world where there may be no power! Use a good old fashioned ledger and make sure you update it every time you add or subtract from your storeroom.

Use Unusual Spaces
Don’t get locked into using just one storage space. So what if you’ve run out of room in that one closet? If you’re really serious about surviving the apocalypse, you’re going to have to make a few sacrifices. And once you do, you may find that those sacrifices aren’t as arduous as you thought. Most of us have quite a bit of unused space in our homes. You can keep plastic boxes filled with food underneath furniture, in seldom-used rooms, out on the porch…just open your eyes and you’ll be surprised at the possibilities.

By staying organized, you’ll see that prepping doesn’t have to be this crazy thing that quickly spirals out of control. You can stay on top of it. Prepping is much easier when you know what you have, you know where it’s going to go, and you know how much space you still have available.

And hey, it may help convince your spouse that this lifestyle isn’t going to turn their world upside down. If you’re getting resistance over storing any more bags of rice, good organization can go a long way to easing your family’s concerns.

Take Action: 5 Small Steps Toward Preparedness

There are a lot of obstacles when it comes to prepping. You have to convince yourself that dangers really might be coming around the corner. If you manage to do that, you then have to persuade your family into believing the same thing. You might have budgetary restrictions or space restrictions. There are a thousand reasons to never take action.

One of the biggest obstacles, though, is simply a paralysis of choice. There are so many prepper websites out there. So many books. So many tips. Where do you start? Some people have erected enormous bunkers that will keep them safe even if a nuclear bomb is dropped on their property. Are you really doing anything if you stock up on a few essential supplies?

The answer is yes. Absolutely. The thing that separates a prepper from a non-prepper is action. You can give lip service to the idea of preparing all you want, but if you’re not getting started, you’re no better off than your naïve neighbors. Start small. Put yourself in motion. That’s how you build momentum. Here are five things you can buy today that will help you get the ball rolling.

Rice and Beans
The best place to start prepping is with food. You never know when drought will strike and famine will descend. Go to your local discount grocery store and pick yourself up a few pounds of beans and rice. These will keep for a long time, as long as they are properly stored. They also lend themselves to easy preparation, a bonus only outweighed by their affordability.

Canned Fruits and Veggies
You may not be ready to start your own garden, but you can at least pick up some canned fruits and vegetables. Start with a small amount. Maybe 20 cans of each. These will keep for years, and you can always rotate them into your diet so that your supply stays somewhat fresh. Vitamins and nutrients will be much more difficult to come by after the SHTF, so balance out your survival pantry just as you do your everyday diet.

Canned Meats
Protein could be scarce if society crumbles. If you’re an excellent hunter, great. But even so, you’ll want a backup plan. Begin by stocking up on canned meats like tuna and chicken. These will stay good for a long time, and, like your canned fruits, you can always sub them in to your regular diet. Spam is a big hit in the prepper community, so you might consider adding a few cans of that to your cart as well.

Water
We take water for granted because it’s so easy to come by. But what happens when the water is so polluted that it’s unsafe to drink? You don’t have to be a committed prepper to understand the benefits of keeping plenty of clean water around. If you live in an area prone to hurricanes, you definitely want to have at least 20 gallons of clean water in your storeroom.

Flashlights
A world without power will be a world without light. Buy yourself several good flashlights and plenty of batteries to go around. These will come in handy whenever the power goes out, even if that outage isn’t accompanied by a large scale power grid failure.

If you take these steps, you will be well on your way to becoming a certified prepper. See, you don’t have to build a special barn, stock an armory that would make the military jealous, or spend your entire bank account on a bug-out zone. Even if you only take a couple of the above steps, you’ll be ahead of the game. One step leads to another, and before you know it, you’ll have a prepper storage closet that can compete with the best of them.

Safe, Smart Cooking in a Survival Scenario

A child with almost no experience at all can figure out how to cook some food if they have a fire and a pan. But when it comes to cooking in tough situations, there is more to consider than just a flame source. Those preppers who have spent a lot of time camping will have no problem mastering the fundamentals. Those who have solely relied on a stocked kitchen to make their meals could run into unforeseen problems. Here are some safe, smart cooking tips that can help you when trouble comes.

Clear the Area
It’s important to be methodical and thorough when clearing room for a fire pit. It’s not enough just to make sure you’ve removed all the leaves and debris from the immediate area. Look also for low-hanging branches, bushes, and other things that could catch fire if a spark gets away from you.

Keep a Lid On It
If you want to make sure your meals are done quickly, keep a lid on your pan when cooking food. This creates a feedback system of heat, ensuring not only that your food stays moist but that it cooks evenly. You can get more cooking done with less heat, a factor especially important if you’re using a limited fuel supply.

Be Prepared
It’s always a good idea to keep some water at hand when cooking over an open fire. Should the flames get out of control, you want to douse them as soon as possible. Don’t wait until you have a full-fledged situation on your hands before you start looking for a pail of water.

Clean Immediately
Without the luxury of running water, cleaning up after a meal gets a little more difficult. Alas, it’s still easily doable. The best trick is to clean up your pans while they are still hot from the fire. Don’t burn yourself, obviously, but attend to the scrubbing as soon as possible. The food will come off much more easily than if you leave it to sit.

Cook Thoroughly
Whether you’re eating wild game or stored meat, food safety takes on a whole new priority in a survival situation. Food-borne illness could mean the difference between success and failure. Storage, a discerning nose, and common sense will serve you well here, but there is no substitute for thoroughly cooking your food. A meat thermometer will cut the guess work in this area.

Safety gets overlooked when it comes to survival preparation, and that makes no sense at all. What’s the point in getting prepared if you’re going to hurt or kill yourself in the process of surviving? Adhere to these tips and avoid a cooking nightmare.

No Electricity? 5 Kitchen Alternatives That Don’t Require Power

If you’re serious about living without electricity, you should already know how to cook food using only fire. That will keep you alive, but why not live a little? Preppers should focus on the high priority items when first building their inventory, but you never know how long your survival scenario will last. You don’t need a lot of convenience to make it a week, but what if you have to live a month without power? Or a year? You’ve never known drudgery until you’ve experienced this kind of pressure.

Once you get beyond the basics, it’s important to remember how essential morale is to making it through tough times. The constant fight to survive can drain your batteries in a hurry. If you have a few “fun” items, it might help you keep the depression at bay. Start in the kitchen, and stock up on these alternative devices that don’t require a healthy power grid to function.

Manual Flour Mill
This is a handy device to have around, not just because it can stave off the worst of the nutritional boredom that will inevitably set in. It’s also a practical tool that can turn beans and wheat into usable flour. Considering the short shelf-life of many flours, a hand mill is a wise purchase.

Food Strainer
You won’t be able to rely on your trusty blender when the electricity goes out, but a good food strainer makes a decent substitute. With this device, you can turn fruit into juice, create sauces, and even whip up some jam.

Wonderbag
What’s better than a crock pot? Set it in the morning, and you have a delicious homecooked meal waiting when you get home. Of course, any such niceties go out the window when the plugs don’t work. The Wonderbag is a novel item that can do the same thing without the electricity. With a pot, a lid, and some water to boil, you can use the Wonderbag to replicate the functionality of a slow cooker.

Hand Mixer
With a manual mixer, you will have to put in the effort that electricity handles on your behalf with modern appliances. Despite that, you’ll find that it works just as well for most applications. If you plan on making any recipes more elaborate than “fry meat in skillet,” you should think about getting your hands on one of these.

Percolator
Can you imagine trying to survive the apocalypse without coffee? Is there even a point to that kind of life? If you’re a java addict, make sure you get a percolator that will allow you to make coffee without a traditional pot. No one should have to go through trying times in a grumpy mood, after all!

The Four Most Common Survival Mistakes

When society crumbles, none of us can say what the ensuing chaos will look like. Because of this uncertainty, you have to take any advice with a grain of salt. What seems like good common sense when the lights are on could turn out to be pure foolishness in a crisis.

That said, we can only prepare using the knowledge we have. You could prepare for the next thousand years and never think of all the contingencies. But there are some common mistakes people make that can be pointed out despite the unknowns. If you or someone you know is guilty of making them, try to correct course before it’s too late.

Style Over Substance
For some survivalists, this is just a hobby. They don’t really expect to be around for the end of the world. They don’t expect to wake up one day and confront a world that has changed dramatically. Prepping for them is just another way to pass the time. That’s absolutely fine.

Unfortunately, there are others who really do want to be prepared for the worst. And they wind up taking advice from the ones who are just whiling away the hours. That can lead to putting style over substance, wasting money on equipment, food, and skills that will not be useful in a real survival situation. If you just want to “play” survivalist, that’s not a problem. If you really want to protect yourself and your family in a desperate scenario, though, be careful about your priorities.

Aimlessness
You’ve got your garage packed with enough food to last you and your family until the sun goes dark. You’ve got every knife ever manufactured. You’ve set up a water retention system that ensures you’ll never go thirsty. But if you don’t have a plan to go along with all of those supplies, you’re making a big mistake. The biggest part of prepping is planning. Run through several different scenarios, make a detailed plan for each one, and don’t leave the brainstorming for the last minute.

Insufficient Healthcare Supply
The little first aid kit in your medicine cabinet is better than nothing, but it in no way constitutes the extent of your healthcare needs. Remember, in a worst-case-scenario, you may have no access to a doctor. No access to a drugstore. And you have no idea how long that situation will last. Make sure your first-aid supplies are extensive. This is one area of preparation where there is no such thing as “too much.”

Abandonment
This is probably the most common mistake preppers make. They get into the hobby for a year or so, build up a respectable survival kit, and then promptly forget about it. You don’t want to have spent all this money and time coming up with a storeroom only to find that decay has set in when you really need it. Check your supplies regularly, rotate out old stock, and take care of your weapons and tools. No matter what form disaster takes, you’ll be glad you did.

5 Basic Foods to Start Your Prepper Pantry

When crisis strikes, it doesn’t take long for the supermarket shelves to empty. If you’ve ever lived through a hurricane, you know how the local grocery store looks in the days leading up to the storm. Once the forecasters sound the alarm, the entire population turns into one big survivalist army. That’s why it’s so important for full-time preppers to stock the shelves before the rest of the public catches up to the danger.

Obviously, you have to be careful when outfitting your pantry. Look for staple foods that are calorically dense, inexpensive, and are able to stay good for a long time. By focusing on these three criteria, you can slowly build a storeroom you can turn to when darkness approaches. Here are the best five foods to start your disaster-proof nutrition nook.

Beans
Beans are power-packed with nutrition, and they can retain their flavor for up to a decade if stored properly. They are among the easiest foods to prepare with limited resources and they are cheap. This conspires to make them one of the top foods for any burgeoning survivalist. Buy them liberally whenever you go to the grocery store, rotating them into your everyday diet on a regular basis.

Rice
What would beans be without rice to go along with them? Rice has a similar shelf life of up to ten years, and it is practically pure carbohydrate. With a steady supply of just rice and beans, you’ll have met your basic nutritional needs. That’s not to say that this represents a balanced diet, but beggars can’t be choosers. If crisis strikes and you only have two foods in your pantry, you could do a lot worse.

Cornmeal
Flour is extremely handy, and it has a long shelf life. Any all-purpose flour will do, but cornmeal comes with oils that help extend its lifespan. What really recommends cornmeal, though, is its versatility. Even without a steady power supply, you can make a variety of meals from cornmeal with little more than a skillet. Other flours may require oil and yeast to make something worth eating. Under optimum storage conditions, your cornmeal should last 1-2 years.

Salt
Survivalists have a tendency to forget about the importance of seasonings when stocking their pantry. And while you can argue that what your food tastes like is a lot less important than how nutritious it is, a long spell of self-sustaining solitude may be easier to cope with if you have a little flavor. Even if you aren’t convinced, salt is a powerful prepper item. Its use as a preservative alone makes it worth the purchase.

Canned Meat
Beans pack a wallop of protein, but there’s no substitute for meat. Look for meats like chicken, ham, and tuna that are stored in the can. They will keep for at least five years, and some of them may be good for up to a decade.