Category Archives: Preparedness

8 Pioneer Tools You Should Have as a Prepper

8 Pioneer Tools You Should Have as a Prepper

Can you imagine setting out to head across the country carrying only what you could fit in your wagon? I sure can’t! I recently drove over 2,000 miles and I had all the modern amenities I could ask for.

Pioneer Tools

On my long drive I thought about the pioneers and the settlers and the challenges they faced. It boggles my mind that Lewis & Clark and many others were able to travel that distance (and more), set up homesteads, and do it all with a fraction of what we have today.

Let’s look at some of the tools that pioneers used and why we still use them today.

Fire Starter

Fire can be used to cook, keep you warm, and keep predators away. Fire can also keep some insects away, which may not be a life or death matter, but morale can be maintained if you don’t have insects buzzing around and biting you.

Sure, you should keep matches and lighters. As preppers, we think ahead and prep for the worst, so go ahead and bring along some char cloth. Char cloth is very flammable and it only needs a spark to get burning. It is cloth that has been heated in an oxygen deprived environment and it’s easy to make.

Learn how to make char cloth and you will be ready to start a fire when you need it. As a fail safe, keep a magnesium rod, steel, and flint around. You can use the steel and flint to start the char cloth.

Cast Iron Dutch Oven

The traditional cooking vessel of the frontier and early homesteaders. I think dutch ovens are the earliest form of the Crockpot, too.

You can get brand new dutch ovens from Lodge out of Tennessee, or you can find vintage cast iron pieces that are 100 years old from companies like Wagner Ware. The dutch oven works really well for 3 main reasons:

  • It is cast iron so dutch ovens are built like tanks. Even if they are abused, they can be restored to like new condition.
  • The tight fitting lids have rims which allow hot coals from the fire to be placed on top. Food can cook faster when it is heated from both the top and bottom.
  • You can cook a lot of food without a lot of effort. Typically, a dutch oven can be used to make enough food for a large crew of people. Stews are the classic dutch oven dish due to ease of preparation and delicious flavor. Everything can be put in one dutch oven and the protein will braise until it is very tender.

Rifle

A rifle is the best tool for hunting most of the time. When deer or elk season starts, you can see plenty of people that take advantage of the opportunity to hunt wild game. Pioneers needed to have rifles for hunting and for protection.

Be sure you understand the safe and proper handling of a rifle and the laws in your state for hunting.

One drawback about rifles in a survival situation is that you may run out of ammunition.

Bow or Crossbow

A bow or crossbow can be a great addition to your hunting tools since you can reuse arrows. That is a huge advantage when ammo is in short supply.

You can bow hunt a lot of game, including deer, elk, turkeys, and more. If you haven’t bow hunted before, take your time and learn the right way.

I suggest taking a course with an outfit in your area to get hands on training. You will get the opportunity to ask questions face to face about bows, crossbows, and the right way to bow hunt.

Butcher and Skinning Knives

You can use these knives for some of your normal cooking tasks. I bet that is what the pioneers did since they didn’t make it a habit of carrying around extra gear. However, the main tasks for these knives is field dressing wild game that you have hunted.

Be sure to keep all your cutlery very clean, especially after field dressing activities. In addition, you need to keep your knives very sharp since a sharp knife is a safer knife than a dull one.

Hatchet and Axe

Having a hatchet or axe will allow you to do a number of tasks like chop down a tree, split wood, and drive stakes into the ground. The survival expert, Les Stroud, aka Survivorman, often carries a hatchet or small axe since they are so versatile. Having an axe makes it a whole lot easier to complete vital survival tasks like building a shelter or for gathering firewood.

Rope

Rope was used for countless things that are still practical today. Here are a few:

  • Tying down gear and objects
  • Running a clothes line
  • Raising food to keep bears from getting into shelters and tents
  • Building shelters
  • Pulling objects

Nowadays, paracord is a great substitute for the natural fiber ropes that pioneers used. Paracord is very strong – the standard 550 cord can handle 550 pounds. It is very impressive considering the small size of the cord.

Apple Crusher and Cider Press

This may not seem like a very practical item, but let’s look deeper. You can preserve your apple or other fruit harvest in a unique and valuable way:

Hard Cider and Alcohol

All fruits have some natural yeast on them so when you press the fruit, it will start to ferment naturally. If you have some alcohol in the hard cider, spoilage will be inhibited. In addition, you can distill the cider with heat (in a still) or by freezing it (apple jack). Be sure you understand your local laws about distilling.

Conclusion

The settlers and pioneers were a resourceful and tough set of people. Gritty, courageous, and fearless.

They had some help in the form of simple and effective tools. If you’re seeking to become more self sufficient and more prepared, then you should be familiar with the tools of the pioneer.

Use these tools in your normal life so you can become an expert in their use. Don’t wait until you have to use them – make their use a standard way of life.

Building A Pet Survival Kit

Building A Pet Survival Kit

Taking a look at the preparedness efforts of the average American prepper, most of the basics are well taken care of. Even some of the more advanced areas like alternative energy or aquaponics are covered by some. With that said, not every area is always well covered by everyone. Acknowledging that all pets should be cared for, good times or not, what seems to sometimes slip by is a plan to care for our pets.

If you are not already planning how you will care for your pet in the event of a disaster, you are behind the power curve. We would all like to think that if we have a pet, we have done this already but sometimes among the beans, bullets, and band-aids this is an area that is forgotten.

Pet Survival Kit

Buckle Up! Statistics ahead.

  • According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), the estimate of dogs who are owned as pets in the United States is 70-80 million and pet cats come in at 74-96 million. Approximately 37-47% of households have a pet dog and 30-37% of households have a pet cat.
  • Taking the median value of the percentages of households containing dog and cat owners and averaging them together, approximately 37.75% of households in America have a dog or cat for a pet.
  • Doing the same with the number of dogs and cats that are pets in America, there are approximately 80,000,000 pet dogs and cats. This number doesn’t even account for the birds, fish, reptiles, rodents, etc. It is only my personal opinion but I think that depending on what the disaster is, some of these less popular pets may just have to be left behind. I cannot imagine trying to get out of dodge with a fish aquarium.
  • Assuming that the estimate of 3% of the American population are “preppers” is correct, there are approximately 3,644,385 prepper households that should include pet preparedness as part of their overall preparedness strategy.

While a pet can be comforting to any person or family, a pet can be especially comforting to a child during a traumatic time. Additionally, a pet is not only a comfort to you and the family, your pet could be an asset during a collapse. The advantage that comes to the front of my mind is the help a pet can be with your personal security and defense. There is something about the presence of a dog especially that can alter a person’s behavior if they wish to do you harm.

Obviously there is an established need for a preparedness plan for your pet, so where should we begin?

I actually intend to cover pet survival kits from two perspectives, staying in place and bugging out. As a result, This will actually end up being two separate kits. It may be presumptuous but I am going to assume that most people will be dealing with a dog, cat, or both. If you have other pets, you may have to make some adjustments to what you put in your pet survival kit.

Here are some of the areas that you should consider when planning for your pets survival alongside your own:

Pet Survival Kit (Staying In Place)

  1. CONTAINER – It can be beneficial to have a dedicated container for your home based pet survival kit. While there are many options available, a storage trunk (we called them “tough boxes” in the military because they held up to everything as we moved them around the world) is one of the best options out there. Having everything consolidated into one container is very beneficial for organization but also convenient if you have to load up and go somewhere.
  2. FOOD – Feeding your pet when the supply system is interrupted is not as simple as just providing your leftover scraps to your pet. All animals have nutritional needs that are unique from those of humans, and each other. Think about how you have planned to store food for yourself. Start with a week of pet food and move up from there, trying to match your own food storage. Keep in mind that cheap dry food has a tendency to go bad faster than high quality dry food and canned food will last the longest. If you store canned food for your pet, ensure that you keep an extra hand can opener around.
  3. WATER – This does not have to be separate from the water your are already storing, just remember to store extra for your pet. I don’t know that there is a clear guideline for how much water is right for Fido or Whiskers so use your best judgement.
  4. BOWLS – You may want to include a couple of extra bowls in the event that you need to load up and go. Something lightweight that does not take up too much space is ideal.
  5. MEDICATIONS – This can be prescription medications but should also include medicines that many pets need like dewormers as well as monthly flea and tick treatments. For the monthly treatments, it is common to be able to obtain a six month supply at one time which should be a good baseline for medication to keep on hand at home.
  6. SUPPLEMENTS – These should match up with the amount of food you have set aside for your pet. While not necessarily a requirement, supplements can help keep your pet in the best shape possible in all circumstances.
  7. POOPY PROBLEMS – Animals have bodily functions that must be dealt with. Don’t forget to stock up on litter, an extra litter box (consider the idea of a plastic box with a lid to contain things), litter scoop, garbage bags, dog poop bags (I use my old plastic shopping bags), stain or odor removers, etc.
  8. COLLAR & LEASH – It’s probably a good idea to have an extra collar and leash on hand. Don’t forget to get an extra identification tag (should at a minimum include the animal’s name and your contact number) for the collar.
  9. TREATS – Some pet treats can be something to help your pet do something that you want it to but it can also be useful
  10. RECORDS – The most important records that you can have for your pet on hand are an up to date record of vaccinations and a copy of the animal’s microchip number (your pet should have one, even if it is only in the event that they run away). If you are able to, and have room, also include a copy of any of your pet’s pertinent medical records. A good practice to mitigate the chances of these records being ruined is to keep them in a waterproof storage bag. Don’t forget to include a picture of each of your pets in the event they are lost or so that you can claim them from a shelter.
  11. UPKEEP – If things go south, you will likely be on your own to provide your pet with the basic grooming services that you may currently outsource. Some items to consider include a deciding brush, nail trimmers, hair clippers, ear and eye cleaners, shampoo, dental care treatments, etc.
  12. PROTECTIVE GARMENTS – Most animals have all the protection they need from their natural coats but if you live in (or plan on going to) an extreme environment, it could be advantageous to include protective clothing or foot covers for your pet.
  13. LIFE JACKET – It may seem like an unlikely need but if you live in an area where you may have to evacuate because of flooding you may want to include a specialty life jacket for your animal companion.

Pet Survival Kit (Bugging Out)

  1. CONTAINER – One of the best ways to ensure that your pet survival kit is ready to go in the event of an evacuation is to put it into it’s own bag, placing an extra leash on the outside for easy access, and placing it with the rest of the family’s bug out bags. While almost any duffel bag, suitcase, or backpack could be used, a bag with a good weight capacity that is easy to carry, or roll on wheels, is a great bonus. If you are a dog owner, one of the ways that your pet can help you out is by carrying part of their own survival kit using their own backpack.
  2. FOOD –  At a minimum, keep three days worth of food for your pet in their bog out kit. If you have the space, and the weight is not too much, try to keep at least a week worth of food. Evaluate your options carefully; dry food may be lighter but will take up more space and canned food may be heavier but it will also be more compact in many cases.
  3. WATER – A couple of bottles of water should be the minimum amount of water that is available to your pet when you are on the move. It may even be worth considering the idea of having an extra water filter or water treatment tablets to provide additional safe drinking water for your animal friend.
  4. BOWLS – You will have to have some sort of container for food and water. There are many options available but perhaps the best option for a pet survival kit is a set of these lightweight, collapsible bowls.
  5. MEDICATIONS – If your pet is on prescription medication you should ensure that you have at least a few days worth of their medicine in this kit. This only applies to medication that is long term. There is probably no need to include meds that are only needed for a short period of time in the kit itself. Don’t forget to rotate any medications to ensure that they are always as effective as they should be.
  6. LEASH – One of the things that I have personally done is get a slip lead for my dog that allows me to get her quickly, even if she got her collar off somehow. Either way, have an extra leash in your pet’s kit, just in case.
  7. VEHICLE SAFETY HARNESS – If you find yourself in a position where you are relocating to get away from a threat, you may be operating under circumstances that increase the risk of injury to your dog or cause undue distraction to the vehicle operator. Consider getting a vehicle safety harness for your dog to minimize the potential risks that your pet is exposed to.
  8. RECORDS – It may be obvious but don’t keep the The records that should be a part of any portable pet survival kit include a copy Vaccination Record, ID Chip Number, and Rabies Tag Number at a minimum. It is also a good idea to have one of the waterproof bags mentioned above.
  9. CARRIER – Dependent upon where you are headed to, it may be beneficial to have a way to contain your pet. The natural selection is a pet carrier/kennel. This can be important for both the safety of others and your pet. I can only imagine that there may be some people who might be quick to take action against an animal that makes them feel uncomfortable.
  10. POOPY PROBLEMS – Just like your home kit, ensure that you account for the fact that your animal friend is going to continue to have bodily functions. This may be an even more important point of consideration for animals bugging out compared to animals staying at home.
  11. COMFORT ITEMS – As funny as it may sound, some pets have a favorite blanket or stuffed animal as an example. It can’t hurt to have an extra of these items to ensure that your pet remains as comfortable as possible during a stressful time. Another way to ensure your dog’s comfort is through the use of a Thundershirt to avoid anxiety.
  12. TOYS – If your pet is used to playing, it is a good idea to have a couple of toys in your kit. Most dogs that like to play fetch would really love to have a tennis ball launcher. They even make mini launchers that would be perfect for a portable pet survival kit. This is also a great way for your pet to expend some energy. If nothing else, it will assist with keeping your pet entertained.
  13. TREATS – Having a few treats might be a good idea. One idea might be to have a couple of bones or chews so that your pet will remain occupied.
  14. PROTECTIVE GARMENTS/LIFE JACKET – Just like I mentioned for the home kit, you should evaluate the are that you are in and determine if there is a need for any protective garments, a life jacket, or both. This may not need to be doubled up if you are going to bug out by loading up your home based kit.

While there are many similarities in these two kit designs, they both are aimed at serving two different purposes. Start by putting together at least one of these kits and as everything else in your preparedness priorities begins to come together, you might even want to build the other kit as well. You could keep your pet’s bug out bag in the car while your home kit sits with your stuff to bug in or load up and go. The bottom line is that something should be done to ensure that your pet is taken care of in the event of a disaster.

What else would you include in your pet survival kit?

Safety Guide: Hold & Fire A Handgun Efficiently

A Safety Guide To Hold And Fire A Handgun Efficiently

The following post is a guest submission from Garry at 911gear.ca.

Summary

It’s so fascinating to watch our favorite film actors holding that classy handgun and firing at the villain. But in reality, it’s not as glamorous as it appears to be. It really takes a great deal of effort to fire a handgun so as to avoid any devastating effect.

The following post includes some safety measures and the right mechanism to hold and fire using the handgun.

Introduction

Firing a handgun is not restricted to holding it and pressing the trigger, it is much more than that. Like every game has its own rules, so does firing a handgun; it involves the right awareness and judgment about the right timing to fire.

Let us first go through few safety fundamentals of firing through a handgun.

#Safety Rules

  • Always Handle ANY Gun as if It is Fully Loaded

This is often an ignored point which turns out to be hazardous in many cases. Even if you are sure that the gun is unloaded, still handle it as if it is fully loaded. Another thing to be taken care of is the direction of the gun which is generally keeping it oriented downrange, assuming there are no chances of physical damage downrange from you. Next is to make sure you don’t place your finger over the trigger.

  • Be Clear About the Target

If you are going to shoot in a professional range, then you don’t need to consider it. Otherwise, you need to be clear about your target, its distance and any damage if it can result into.

Tom adds: For a few examples of how not to do things, see this video:

After you are aware of the basic safety rules, the next step is gripping the handgun.

#Gripping the Handgun

Now if you are a beginner, then don’t act over smart, just take a smart step by using both the hands to form a grip.

  • Use your dominant hand to grip the gun high from the back strap which gives you a better control over the weapon. Always place the support hand in a way that it doesn’t get covered by the other hand and can be held firmly against the segment of the grip which is exposed.
  • Wrap your fingers below the trigger guard. The support hand should be held as tightly as the gun hand and the thumb should point in the forward direction approximately at the meeting point of slide and the frame.

# Aiming the Handgun

  • To aim the handgun at your target, you need to use your dominant eye. If you don’t know which your dominant eye is, you can do a simple test. Form a one inch circle at arm’s length with the help of your thumb and index finger. Now make a far away object the center point of your circle and focus on it keeping both your eyes wide-open. Slowly, start moving the circle towards your face; as soon as you do this your hand will start descending towards one of the eyes. That will be your dominant eye.
  • The handgun has two sights – the front sight which looks like a post from behind and the rear sight which is a notch between two posts. While you aim at the target, make sure your front and rear sights should align together in one line.
  • There are 3 things you need to focus on while aiming a gun-front sight, rear sight and the final target. Having the right sight picture, will look something like in the picture below. Your target will be diminished but the front and rear sights will be clear.

# Pulling the Trigger

Okay, finally the most exciting and thrilling part is here. The very first thing that most of us don’t know about firing – you need to push the trigger instead of pulling it.

  • You will have to apply a constant but controlled level of pressure to fire the gun. Make sure you don’t apply pressure at the sides. Continue to apply pressure to the trigger until you will feel some resistance.
  • Don’t wait for the gun to fire rather, apply even, steady pressure until the trigger won’t go any further and the gun has fired. It should come as a bit of a surprise to you when done properly.

So, now you are ready to fire a pistol. Without a doubt, this article doesn’t substitute for training from a professional. Before you finally get your hands on a gun make sure you are well guided by a professional.

Author Bio:

Garry Bowman is a blogger and content writer at 911gear.ca, the finest dealer of tactical equipment in Ontario, Canada. 911gear.ca also provides superior quality of tactical equipment for law enforcement, military, EMS, security professionals, corrections officers, and preppers.

Black River Outpost’s September Sale

Black River Outpost’s September Sale

A couple of good friends of mine, Rob and Don, from Black River Outpost are currently holding their September Sale during the, uh…month of September! Thinking ahead, aside from the obvious need to prepare yourself, the timing of this sale is perfect. Take advantage of these sale prices to take care of some of those Christmas presents. Maybe this will be the year that you actually get things taken care of early.

You can check out the picture of the sale flyer below but I am pretty excited about a few things that are featured.

  1. Atwood Paracord – You can’t have enough paracord! At this price, get plenty of it.
  2. Live Fire Sport – Waterproof, lightweight, long-burning, compact, and suitable for a variety of purposes, these emergency fire starters are super handy and are great to have in your bags, kits, vehicles, camping gear, and just about anywhere.
  3. Ka-Bar Working Hunter Knife – Every preparedness minded person needs a good knife. Ka-Bar has an extraordinary reputation among sportsmen and is the knife of choice for the United States Marine Corps.
  4. Adventure Medical First Aid 2.0 – A first aid kit is another necessity for anyone really, but especially for preppers. I like these kits by Adventure Medical because they are about the same price as the crappy kits you can get at the drug store, but offer a whole lot more.
  5. Sawyer MINI Water Filter – This is the premier personal use water filter on the market today. It does everything the expensive filters do, but for less than $20. They also come in several colors including black, blue, green, orange, and pink so you can be fashionable and prepared at the same time.

In addition to the September Sale, Rob and Don are currently featuring several items, at deeply discounted prices, in their Bug-Out Bargains section. They currently have some great stuff including bags, books, sleeping bags, and even my favorite flashlight!

Start Prepping by Tim Young – Book Review

Start Prepping

Start Prepping: Get Prepared – For Life

by Tim Young – Book Review

Naturally, as a blogger within the survival and preparedness niche, I have a keen interest in all things related to it. This often means reading books related to the field and having read quite a few so far, I have seen all kinds (good, bad, and indifferent).

One of the things that I often struggle with when reading preparedness related books is the fact that some seem to be aimed toward the beginner or veteran but to a fault.

What I mean by this is that prepping books aimed at beginning preppers can be so simplified that you don’t get much out of them and vice versa, the book for the prepping veteran can be so advanced that if you don’t have an engineering degree, you won’t be able to accomplish any of the projects discussed.

Having said all of that, the latest book that I read, Start Prepping!: Get Prepared – For Life, the newest of several books from Tim Young of the website, selfsufficientman.com. It is a great book that I feel everyone can get something out of. I can honestly say that I was impressed as soon as I got through the introduction because it created buy-in on the part of the reader right away.

Instead of telling me why I should like the book, the introduction demonstrated to me why the information in the book is important to me and made me believe that prepping was indeed in my best interest.

Tim takes the time to educate his readers. I appreciate the fact that he spends time pointing out that preparedness is not an activity that only on the fringe lunatics participate in, almost everyone is a prepper! Tim outlines that you might be a prepper if you:

  • Carry a spare tire in your car.
  • Have a life insurance policy.
  • Ever practiced an emergency drill (fire, earthquake, etc.).
  • Take a diaper bag with you when you go out with a baby.

That last one really does drive home the fact that being prepared is not only a normal activity, it is one that we should all do. After all, if you have a baby that you are responsible for, you know that not every time you leave the house that the baby is going to need a bottle or pacifier…but you darn well better bring it because you know there is a chance you will need it and you want to be ready if you do. Why? Because it is really painful to navigate life with a crying baby and no way to calm them down.

So it can be said for navigating a natural disaster and not having water, food, a safe place to stay, and so on and so on. Yes, there are people on TV who are “preppers” that do outrageous things but that is for ratings and certainly does not reflect the prudence that people exercise when making sure that they have an option other than relying on the government or certain death when facing a disaster.

The guiding principle throughout Start Prepping! is that of the 10-Step Path to Preparedness which lays out 10 steps that can be combined together that will result in a very solid foundation for any prepper. From water storage to obtaining additional skills, Start Prepping! covers everything that the veteran or novice prepper needs to ensure their plan is complete.

A definite selling point for me is the fact that each chapter stands alone from the others. Because of the 10-Step approach, you can read the chapter on food storage and get a wealth of information on that specific topic that you can use without having to have read the chapter on water.

Another great thing that I liked about Start Prepping! is the fact that Tim does not just write a chapter about a subject and leave it at that. Integrated into each chapter there is a ‘Checkpoint’ or ‘Challenge’ where Tim has a couple of questions to ponder or points to help you take the information and move forward with it.

Start Prepping! is not only relevant, it is well put together. I told you that the introduction alone has me sold on reading the book but it is also so logical in how Tim put it together. I can tell that this is not the first book he has written, that much is true. I enjoyed that, while I can read the book out of order, if reading from the beginning the reader will gain a great understanding of why to prep, the threats that make prepping relevant (there are more than you would imagine), and the steps that every prepper should take to get prepared.

This book is great for new preppers or those who are thinking about getting into prepping. It would be a great gift for a friend or family member who you know is not prepared or needs a plan to help get them on the right track.

I probably need to make the best point of all…isn’t a few dollars spent on this book worth far more if the information in it results in you, your loved ones, and friends being the best prepared they can be for a disaster? It’s a great return on your investment and I am confident that you will not be disappointed with Start Prepping!.

Lastly, the listed resources that Tim has included with his book are so valuable that it is worth the price of admission without including the numerous tips, tricks, and pointers sprinkled throughout the book. Don’t miss the prepper challenges and lists at the end of the book!

There really is no way to outline how much help this book will help actually you in just a blog post, but I know that it will be worth your time and money.

You can view every title by Tim Young on Amazon or his website.