Category: Bug Out Bag

Tutorial: Signaling For Help In Distress

Signaling For Help In Distress

When we think of signaling for help in distress, we tend to think of fires and smokes. That’s why most of us are loaded on fire-starting devices – from primitive ones like sticks and stones to modern ones like instafire and waterproof matches, we have them all stocked in our ultimate bug out bag.

Yet when things get tough, fire can turn out to be a heartbreakingly inadequate signal; you could be stocked on sticks and stones for a blazing beacon, and find out the weather’s too wet to get a fire going.

That’s why knowing alternative methods to call for aid is such a valuable skill to have when disaster strikes. The tools you can use to signal for help are various, and your survival kit should include more than one. Here are five tools that can help you signal distress when the most widespread fire-creation techniques fail.

Whistles

Whistles make for one of the best audible distress signals in existence – they’re light, they’re loud, they’re long-lasting, and they hardly take up any space in one’s survival bag. Follow the internationally-recognized rule of threes when using a whistle: three short blasts, spaced five seconds apart for effective reach. You might want to attach your whistles to rings or clips to make sure you don’t lose them. Make sure to choose vibrant whistles that can be spotted easily if accidentally dropped, just in case you still lose them!

Mirrors

A historical staple, the hand-held mirror is a simple but highly effective signaling device. Aimed right, it can create a beacon as long as 10 miles, catching the attention of people and aircrafts. It’s also a good way to scare off creatures that fear the light, especially when you can’t get a fire going. However, using a mirror to create a flare is a skill you need to practice in advance, to make sure you use it right when things get tough.

Pen Flare

Replace your regular pen with a pen flare, and you never know when you’ll be glad you made the small but significant lifestyle change. In terms of signaling distress, the pen flare offers an excellent combination of effective audio and visual signaling – when fired, the pen-shaped device sounds like a pistol, while flashing a fire up to 150 meters high. The pen flare’s lanyard can even double as tinder if you need to start a fire when in a tight spot. That’s thrice the protection, in an item that takes up very little space, and is light enough to even be worn around your neck!

Waterproof Strobe Light

A midsized or pocket strobe light is always a great addition to a well-planned survival kit. Leave it switched on, and this lightweight device will create continuous flashes for hours, even while you rest or sleep. Depending on the model, strobe lights can even last for a couple of days when fully charged. Make sure you purchase a waterproof strobe light, making it an ideal addition to your survival kit for the literally rainy day.

Cellphone With A Power-Pack

This might sound somewhat unconventional, but today’s smartphones can do a lot more than just make and receive calls – they can save your life when you’re in a pinch. If fire fails you, just turn on your phone torch; in 2012, a Maryland man actually used his iPhone’s flashlight app to help police find him in the pitch dark, after the rescuers had spent four hours searching for the missing man to no avail. Your cellular phone can also help you pin down and track your location through GPRS, as well as forward it to others. Of course, your phone won’t be much use if it isn’t charged. So always carry a fully-charged power-pack, to make sure your communication gadget’s life-saving powers can last!

With these five additions to your bug-out bag, you will have a personal protection kit that won’t fail you when you need to signal for help, come hell or high water. Rain, slew, snow, heat, and zombies – together, these five items can fight them all. When the going gets tough, the tough get going; so add these items to your survival kit right now, and ensure you’re prepared to handle the worst of times, well in advance.

By James Smith

Author Bio:

James Smith is a survival expert, who loves to write about survival skills and techniques that can be extremely helpful and can prevent any bad situation in becoming worse. Follow him on twitter @jamessmith1609.

How To Survive In The Woods

How To Survive In The Woods

If you happen to find yourself stranded in the woods, for whatever reason, know that making it out in one piece will require more than patience and dumb luck. Whether you find yourself stranded due to an unfortunate event while you’re out bird watching, whether you’re the survivor of a plane crash or you’ve ventured knowingly into the woods in order to escape an SHTF situation, the outcome is pretty much the same: it’s man vs. nature, and conquering nature is not easy task.

Before finding yourself in such an ingrate spot, do a little research on what wilderness survival actually means. I’ve said it before and I will say it again: information is power and you’re greatest survival asset. If you hit the bottom of a well and you’re still alive, there’s no other way to go but up. Same here, if you’re stranded in the woods, don’t panic; keeping calm and focused is the first step in making it out alive. Once you have that covered, here’s what else you’ll need to do:

Pick Your Spot And Build A Shelter

Your campsite should be the closest thing you have to a sanctuary, so pick your spot wisely because it must be as safe as possible. For example, try not to get too comfortable in a place that’s crawling with insects.

This means stay away from zones that are abundant in plants. Also, the vicinity of large water beds should be avoided at all costs. The waters can be an attraction to all sorts of animals, even dangerous predators. If you must take shelter under trees and rock formations, study your surroundings very carefully. If the trees are dry or the rock formation unstable, there’s always the danger of being crushed overnight, be it by tree branches or rocks.

Ones you have picked the best camp spot available, you’ll need to build yourself a shelter; a well insulated one, that’s bound to keep you out of the cold and prevent hypothermia. The easiest way to go at it is to find a leaning tree (or set a branch securely against a standing tree) and stack smaller branches together on one side. The angled wall should be covered in leaves, moss and all sorts of debris you can get your hands on. Using the same materials (leaves and moss) make yourself a carpet to stand on (about a 6-inch layer of debris), so that you remain insulated from the cold ground.

Starting A Fire

This is a fairly easy task if you have dry wood lying around (tinder), smaller pieces of wood (toothpick, Q-tips, and pencil size) and fibrous material (Vaseline-covered cotton balls or lip balm would be great if you have some on you). Lighting the fire should be done progressively and with care. You can use a log (no bigger than a forearm) as base and windscreen for the tinder. The tinder should be lit first and once this is accomplished, stack the small kindling against the large log so that the oxygen can circulate in order to feed the fire. Once the flame starts building up, add larger and larger pieces of wood. If you don’t happen to have a lighter on you or the necessary means to starts a fire, you could generate a spark with a simple battery. If you short-circuit the battery by connecting the + and – with a wire, foil (like a gum wrapper) or steel wool, you’ll get a spark that’s potent enough to light up the tinder you prepared.


How To Survive The Upcoming Water Crisis

Procuring Clean Water

Thirst can settle in pretty fast and it can become a nuisance. The human body can go for days without food, but nowhere near that close without water. So what you need to do is act fast and make sure you never go without a potable source of water. Drinking directly from puddles or streams is a bad idea, as these waters are infested with all sorts of bacteria and pathogens that can prove fatal in no time. Boiling the water is the safest solution, but not always 100% effective. Precipitation water (the one resulted from rain and snow) is safe to drink and it can be easily harvested. But if nature doesn’t land you a hand in forthcoming rain or snow, don’t worry, as there are other options available. Clean drinking water can also be procured by squeezing vines and certain cacti. During the day, you can find yourself some leafy branches and cover them in plastic bags. The process of perspiration (present in plants as well) will fill the bags by night time with clean potable water, ready for the taking.


Procuring Food

You’ll need to resort to hunting if you plan on having meat on the menu. If you don’t happen to be a skilled hunter, don’t worry. Gigging is a method devised for the unskilled hunters and it’s basically hunting with a multiple-pronged spear; very effective in catching small critters and fish. Making this type of spear is real easy if you happen to have a knife on you: cut down a sapling (about 1 – 2 inches in diameter) and split the stronger end with the knife into four equal parts. Shove some sticks in order to spread the sections apart and simply sharpen the ends. But if hunting seems like too much of a headache, you keen simply feed on all sorts of fruit and plants from your surrounding areas. But only do so if you’ve documented yourself in the field because many of the fruit and plants you stumble upon could be fatal.

Navigating

If you’ve lost all means of communication with the civilized world, it still doesn’t mean you’re completely lost. The best way to survive in the woods is to determine the cardinal points is by observing the suns motion from sunrise to sundown, as it always rises approximately in the East and sets approximately in the West. You can also look for mossy formations on trees and rocks. These always grow facing the north and can give a clear hint as to where you should be heading. Navigating by night is a bit trickier, as you’ll have to find Polaris, the North Start (located in the Little Dipper’s handle).

Necessary Equipment

In order to assure and ease your survival in unfriendly territory, it’s a must you bring the necessary tools along. No matter the reason for being stranded, you should never leave for any sort of expedition without these on you:

• a survival knife
• regular matches or fire steel (metal match)
• first aid kit
• a compass
• a space blanket (thin sheet of reflective Mylar)
• a SPOT Messenger
• some 550 paracord
• a signaling mirror
• water purifying tablets

Before leaving, double check the list and make sure nothing is forgotten. All these items are crucial and at the end of the day, they could simply save your life.

By My Family Survival Plan

10 Reasons Why You Do Not Want To Bug Out

10 Reasons Why You Do Not Want to Bug Out

The plan seems simple, doesn’t it? All you need for the best chance of survival for your family is a well-stocked bug out bag, a keen attention to your surroundings and careful monitoring of what is happening in the news. With these bases covered you will be a very informed prepper and will be able to get the jump on all of the clueless sheeple if something bad happens. You will load your family up with your bags and hike off into the sunset way ahead of the approaching death and destruction. You have a plan to bug out.

It sounds perfect, but in this article, I am going to try and convince you how that might not be the best and first option you should consider. There are many reasons and situations I can think of why you do not want to bug out from your home. You may be asking yourself, how can I even say those words on a prepper blog such as this without getting struck by lightning? It’s true that hunkering down is not the option that gets the most press, but in my opinion, during most (but not all) scenarios, it is the better choice. That is unless you are a combat-trained Navy Seal. If you are like me, just an average guy with a family and a giant subterranean monster unleashed by nuclear experiments are not headed your way, you might want to stay put. Here are a few reasons why:

1. You live where your stuff is.

I’ll be the first to admit that a lot of these reasons are going to seem incredibly simple and obvious, but I think sometimes that is the best way to approach a problem. As a prepper you have probably started collecting some supplies to help you get through short and long-term emergencies. Some of you have stored a TON of supplies because you have been doing this for a long time or else you are independently wealthy and you just blew up the Black Friday sales.

Even if you only have a week’s worth of food and water, that is nothing to sneeze at. Everything you have is stored probably in nicely organized bins for easy retrieval. You don’t have to carry it and the supplies aren’t subject to the elements. Leaving your home will make you potentially have to leave most, or all of your survival supplies at home. You could put them all in your best bug out vehicle, the diesel Ford F-250 with the trailer, right? Sure you could, but are you sure that truck will always be in your possession? It’s just better to stay at your home base because there are tons of advantages like…

2. Even your kitchen floor is more comfortable than sleeping in the woods.

DangersOfHiking

Some parts of Mother Nature are best appreciated when you can leave.

Yes, I know that some people sleep perfectly well in the woods and I can too, once I am exhausted from hiking all day. Honestly, you would have to agree that your old lumpy Serta Posturpedic mattress would be preferable to sleeping in the woods or an abandoned building or even a hammock. Why is that important?

Getting plenty of good sleep has a huge impact on our health. It not only affects your moods but alertness and even immune system. In a disaster, you will be stressed in ways you haven’t even considered. You may be working like a dog and having a comfortable and relatively safe place to rest your head, even if that is the living room floor will be an advantage that the people who think they can just bug out into the woods won’t have.

3. Built-in Community whether you know it or not.

In times of crisis, you can almost guarantee that communities will band together in some ways. You probably don’t consider your small neighborhood or dead-end street a community but let some disaster happen and you will see humans come together for support, safety and to help each other out. Being around even just a few neighbors who know you can give you advantages if you need assistance for things like a neighborhood security plan.

Even neighbors you don’t get along with will probably overcome grudges if the disaster is severe enough. Of course, there is the potential that your neighbors could turn on you for being the lone prepper but I think in most cases, things won’t go Mad Max for a little while. If it does you will have to adjust, but I believe that most people would benefit by banding with their neighbors for support. You could have an opportunity for leadership here or compassion by helping out others who haven’t prepared. It is much better to strive for this kind of relationship with people than head out the door and face the world with only what is on your back.

4. Being Cold Sucks and it can kill you.

I bet that most of you like to keep the thermostat somewhere in the upper 60’s to low 70’s during the winter. There might be some play in that range, but there are no thermostats outside. Whatever the temperature is outdoors is what you are going to be living with. Can you start a fire or wear warm layers to regulate your body temperature? Of course, but the last place I want to be on a cold winter night is huddled up in my sleeping bag under a tarp even if I did have a nice roasting fire beside me.

There are some situations where you wouldn’t be able to start a fire. Maybe if it was raining and you couldn’t find any dry wood or tinder, or there were people that didn’t look so friendly following you. Staying in your home, even without power can give you advantages of shelter that you won’t easily find outdoors. You can seal off rooms and even your body heat will generate a little warmth. You can black out your curtains with heavy gauge plastic sheeting and even the heat from a lantern or a couple of candles can put out an amazing amount of heat.

5. You may put yourself in a worse situation.

The problem with most bug out plans is that you don’t have a destination. Where are you bugging out to? Do you think the National Forest is going to be reserved solely for you and your family? Do you think you will just set up a tent and start hunting for small game? In a large regional disaster, there could be millions of people leaving the cities. The concept is called the Golden Horde and they will be competing with you for natural resources. With even a few dozen hunters in the same area game will be depleted in days if not sooner. Then you will be stuck near a bunch of other hungry people who blame you for catching the last squirrel.

6. Being on the road makes you an easier target.

One of the advantages of staying put at home is the home field or defenders advantage. When you go out, you do not know what you are walking or driving into. The best you can do is recon very deliberately which will only slow you down more. By staying put in your home, you can set up a neighborhood watch with your fellow neighbors and monitor who is coming in. This gives you the opportunity to set up defensive positions and plans that anyone walking in with thoughts of taking advantage of you, won’t be aware of.

7. If nobody knows you, you are a stranger.

WalkingIntoTown

If the people in the town do not know you, they will treat you as suspicious, maybe even hostile.

Have you ever been walking your dog and seen someone strange walking through your neighborhood? This was someone you didn’t know so obviously they fell under suspicion. Had they been one of your neighbor’s kids you would have recognized them, but this new person stuck out. That is what you will be faced with if you leave your home and go wandering through other towns and cities. In your home neighborhood, you will be dealing with known people that you can grow a deeper relationship with. There is a built-in level of trust because they have lived near you for years. If you start walking into a strange town with your bug out bags and AR-15 slung over your bulletproof vest, you may not like the attention you receive.

8. Gear is heavy and a lot of gear is heavier.

Speaking of walking around in your bulletproof vest and gear, how many of you have walked for 3 days with your bug out bag? OK, now add a full complement of bullets and anything else you think you might need to defend yourself. It adds up quickly even when you try to reduce the weight of your bug out bag as much as possible. These weren’t meant to live for a long time out of. Your food will run out, possibly your ammo and that will help you with the weight, but in a disaster where you are walking out the door in full combat gear, do you think Walmart will be open when you run out of something?

9. In a grid down you won’t get to call AAA.

Maybe you are one of the lucky ones that have a place to go up in the mountains. If you don’t get out before everyone else starts leaving, you could be stuck on the road. What if your old bug out vehicle breaks down? All those supplies you stored in the back of that trailer are either going to feed a lot of other people on the highway or you will most likely die to defend them. If you aren’t already living at your retreat before the disaster happens, you will have to be incredibly fast to avoid getting stranded. Let’s say you are ready to go, do you know when you would actually leave? Do you know when the S has actually HTF and it’s time to leave or will you debate leaving with your wife and mother for two days because they think it will all blow over soon?

BackpackingAlone

10. If you get hurt you want to be near a secure shelter not under a tarp.

I have a decent first aid supply kit. I don’t have IV’s and a ton of medicine but I can take care of garden-variety injuries pretty well. Imagine you somehow break your leg after the grid is down. Would you rather drag yourself into the house, or be stuck in the woods for weeks unable to move? Most hospitals don’t stick their patients out in the backyard for a reason so you will convalesce better with a good roof over your head that is hopefully providing some climate protections. If nothing else, it will be a relatively clean and safe place to get better than beats lying under a log.

So what does staying home mean?

I will write a post about reasons why you may have to bug out later, but staying home doesn’t guarantee you will be safe and secure either. I think each situation has to be taken into consideration as to what is the better option for you and your family. Naturally, if there is a fire heading your way staying at home is stupid. It is something to think about that and that may help you begin to form different plans for different scenarios. What are your plans?

By: Pat Henry

www.theprepperjournal.com