Category: Off Grid

The Best Types Of Camouflage Gear For Survival Situations

The Best Types Of Camouflage Gear For Survival Situations

If you ever find yourself either 1) on the brink of existence, struggling for your very life (in your own home or in hostile territory), or 2) simply hunting for your dinner… one of the greatest assets you can bring to the table is the element of surprise. Not being detected depends a lot on you moving silently and cautiously, but you’ll need to make your presence as hard to detect as possible. Wearing the right type of camouflage gear for survival in the right settings can make you virtually impossible to spot, provided you don’t attract any unwanted attention to yourself.

Camouflage has come a long way since the old days. To my surprise, I’ve noticed that many preppers don’t know much about the various types of camouflage patterns that are now available, and a lack of knowledge here could be very detrimental in a survival situation. If you’re hunting, you risk getting seen by the prey; it flees, and you remain hungry. But in the case of a combat / war / invasion scenario, wearing the wrong type of camo could get you captured, tortured and ultimately killed.  There are plenty of manufacturers that produce a lot of patterns, so there’s plenty of variety to be had when choosing your gear; and this is some of the best gear the market has to offer.

Multicam

The MultiCam pattern is probably the least specialized camouflage pattern you’ll find. As most patterns tend to work specifically well in particular surrounding, the multicam is based on the “one size fits all” idea, meaning that it was designed to keep you out of sight in most (if not all) situations and environments. The design is similar to classic camouflage models, but it will do well in many settings and scenarios; it’s hard to detect even in nightvision mode. Check out some multicam gear here.

Realtree XTRA

Realtree XTRA is one of the most versatile camouflage patterns ever produced. The pattern itself combines the images of various natural elements (tree trunks, tree branches, vines, leaves etc.) in order to create a very complex final result; the 3D effect the Realtree XTRA creates is amazing and it works in a lot of natural surroundings and it can fool all the eyes that are out scouting for you, be it man or animal. Get it here.

Realtree MAX-5

This type of camo gear is excellent for those that find themselves for some reason or another (whether hunting water fowls or escaping some sort of search party) mash-like zone, mud flats, prairies or agricultural fields. The camo pattern itself is very efficient in these types of surroundings, creating a great deal of depth that breaks the outline and makes you virtually part of the scenario. If you want to find out more about it or if you want to buy your very own MAX-5, try here.

Vertigo Grey

The Vertigo Grey camo pattern is undoubtedly the way to go for those of you that hunt or seek sanctuary in elevated blinds. Your whole silhouette will fade in the natural surroundings, as the pattern that consists of colors that mimic the sky, branches and leaves can render virtually invisible to any animal that man that happens to pass by. Stand perfectly still and quiet, and whoever is out to get you won’t even notice you’re there. If it’s the right stuff for you, take a look here.

Concealment Open Country (by OptiFade)

The Concealment Open Country camouflage pattern is done by OptiFade but it was the brainchild of W. L. Gore, who had a lot of money on developing a camo pattern based on scientific studies of the animal vision (especially deer). Even if the animal detects movement and sees you, it won’t recognize you as a direct threat for a while, so it gives you a lot of time to react. It’s one of the most efficient lines of clothing for hunters, especially for those that hunt in mountainous areas. If you wish to purchase this type of gear, simply click here.

Seclusion 3D

This is one of the most intriguing, complex and efficient patterns ever to be created. Cabela’s Seclusion 3D consistsof a multitude of shapes, sizes and various degrees of contrast and focus. Thanks to its complexity, it doesn’t project a two-dimensional scene, but rather a very realistic illusion of depth that will make you very invisible even to the keenest eyes. If you won’t settle for anything but the best, go here.

Seclusion 3D Winter

This particular camo pattern is very unconventional for snow / winter camo gear, and its strength lies in its uniqueness. It has nothing to do with the ordinary winter camo style (all white or white combined with various shades of grey), but the image it produces is of rather high photographic quality. The design itself consists in mimicking trees and branches; the design is so effective, that in winter conditions it can break the outline and it renders you immediately invisible. Get your very own realistic snow camo here.

The first thing you should keep in mind when buying camo gear is that most camo patterns are specialized for certain surroundings. Plan ahead and decide on what’s the right type of camo gear for you, based on your activities and surroundings. And never think that camo gear is the only thing you’ll need to become totally invisible. It depends a lot on the way you act as well. Be vigilant, cautious and stealthy in a hunting or SHTF situation and don’t move more than you absolutely have to.

5 Seemingly Harmless Animals You Should Avoid In The Wild

5 Seemingly Harmless Animals You Should Avoid in The Wild

Nature is very diverse. And we all know (roughly) the dangers that lurk in the wild, especially when it comes to wild animals. We all have the common knowledge and common sense to stay away from big fangs, sharp claws or insects with stingers. It’s as clear as day that an encounter with a creature that posses such tools will result in a harmful or even fatal outcome.

Other animals may simply be disease carriers or territorial in nature, and if you’re not aware of their behavioral patterns, you’re in for a nasty and painful experience. Let’s have a look at some of the animals that are apparently harmless, but actually dangerous.

The swan (Cygnus sp.)

The swan is a swwmingly graceful creature that not many of us would consider dangerous under any circumstances. But they’d be dead wrong. Most nesting birds, like the swan, have a very acute parental instinct, meaning that if they feel that they’re nesting ground is danger they’ll fight off the attacker. Most nesting birds will fight only up to a point; if they fill they’re losing the fight or that the attacker is simply too strong to take on, they’ll flee and leave the nest and eggs to chance. But things differ in the swan’s case. The swan is relentless in defending its nest and territory and will keep going until either the attacker or the swan itself is dead. It will attack viciously: it can scratch, bite and poke and an angry swan may even try and drown its opponent if they find themselves near water. The bird itself can even grow as heavy as 30lbs, so taking on a defensive mother swan it’s not a thing you’ll want to do.

The Indo-Pacific Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops aduncus)

Experts consider dolphins to be the second most intelligent creatures on the face of the Earth, after humans. And rightly so: an adult dolphin has the intelligence of an average 4 year old human. Not only that, but their societies are some of the most evolved on the planet. They are fast learners, work together for common goals, communicate efficiently and even have a sense of humor, as studies have shown that dolphins will regularly play jokes on each other or even on people. But they’re intelligence comes with a price, as they tend to have a larger-than-normal tendency toward violence. They’ll hurt or maim for no apparent reason; cases have been recorded when dolphins kill just so that they get to play with the carcass of they’re victim. They have a higher than average sexual drive and will attack human males for territorial reasons.
Although friendly most of the time, dolphins have been known to be unpredictable and should be avoided unless you’re in the presence of trained professionals.

The Slow Loris (Nycticebus sp.)

The slow loris is a tiny, fury mammal, with big eyes and it’s extremely shy by nature. It makes a great pet because its cuteness is undisputable. But despite being one of the cuddliest animals in the world, it’s also one of the most poisonous. They have an active gland inside the elbows that produces a very powerful toxin. They use this toxin mostly to smear their young, which makes them less likely to be attacked and eaten by predators. The toxin itself, if ingurgitated, produces terrible stomach aches and even death. If attacked, they’ll suck the contents of the gland into their mouth and bite the attackers. This way, the toxin gets injected into the attacker’s bloodstream. If there’s an allergic reaction involved, the bite victim can die in a matter of hours if the left untreated. So think twice before making a move towards a slow loris; it might be the last thing you do.

The Hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibious)

This big and gentle herbivore is known as one of the biggest mud lovers on the face of the Earth. Because they live in arid places, where temperatures rise intensely, they’re beast means of cooling themselves is to roll around in the mud or muddy waters. Although they’re not violent in nature, they tend to get very territorial and will stop at nothing in protecting they’re mud ponds or females and young. Don’t let they’re funny looks throw you off. Despite their heavy structure, they can run to speeds of up to 20 mph and have a bit of 6,000 lbs of pressure, which is more than enough to snap a human in half. If you find yourself in their presence, thread carefully. You do not want to find yourself in the crosshairs of an angry hippo.

The Chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes)

The common chimpanzee has been proven to be the closest relative modern man still has in the animal kingdom. There are many similarities between us and our not-so-distant cousins, like opposable thumbs, facial expressions, cerebral activity and many more. They mostly live in small societies or groups (rarely solitary) and they tend to often manifest violent behavior for one reason or another. They’ll attack each other for dominance, territorial feuds or simply if they don’t like someone or something. Their violent nature can’t be completely overridden by training, as there have been many documented cases in which trained chimps have viciously attacked and maimed humans.

It’s plain to see that nature is not meant to be cute. Nature is primarily meant to be persistent. No matter how cute an animal might seem to you, don’t throw yourself directly at it, unless you know the species you’re engaging and you’re absolutely sure that nothing bad can happen. If you’re planning a trip of some sort in a wild location, educate yourself on the animals in the region so to have an idea of what you’ll have to face along the way.

MFSP

Survival Footwear : Choosing The Right Shoes For The Right Situation

Survival Footwear: Choosing The Right Shoes For The Right Situation

Those of you out there who have done hiking before or any sort of expedition, be it on moderate or rough climates and settings, will no doubt understand why having the right shoes in a TEOTWAWKI situation could mean the very difference between life and death. If you’ll find yourself obligated to travel a lot and carry heavy stuff with you, you’ll need to have the right provisions and gear for the job; and the right pair of shoes or boots is no exception. When it comes to survival footwear, wearing the right pair of shoes or boots will spare you a lot of trouble. There is no universality in this case, there is no one pair of shoes or boots for all scenarios and settings, but rather specialized products that will suit the wearer’s needs based on terrain, weather and distance.

When choosing yours, looks will be the last thing to consider. You’ll have to take into consideration insulation, durability, shoe size (make sure you get the right size or walking in the wrong size shoes will take itstoll very soon), the type of socks you’ll be wearing (normal or hiking socks), the terrain and weather conditions you’ll need the shoes or boots for and ultimately the fact the sturdy footwear will need to be broken in. They might not feel comfortable at first, but in time, you’ll get used to them. Price is also an important issue, especially for tight budget preppers like me, who never feel like spending more than they absolutely have to. There many products available on the market and the prices vary a lot. But know that “expensive” is not necessarily equivalent with “best” when it comes to survival footwear, so you won’t have to sell your soul just to afford a pair of trail shoes or boots.

Hiking boots

Hiking boots are the right shoes bring along for planed trips, especially if you’re planning on staying a bit longer outdoors; they work extremely well and will be very comfortable if you’re dealing with moderately rough terrain. They should be well built, fairly insulated and if you’ll be carrying some weight, they’ll be the best option you have. The sturdier the boot is, the more resistant it will be in the field. The taller boots are usually more durable and will offer better ankle protection. The best ones are partially waterproof and will be as comfortable as possible even after long walks on rough terrain. The Durand Mid WP is what I’ve been using lately and it’s probably the best pair I’ve had so far: it’s waterproof, breathable and it has an integrated heel cushion and midsole for better comfort.

Heavy duty hiking boots

This particular type of hiking boots takes the hiking game to a whole new level. They’re the best option for those who spend more time on the go then they do in their homes. They’re generally used for cross-country backpacking, be it on normal or very rough terrains. They might not be as light as regular hiking boots, but they’re the better option, as they’re tougher and better for people that are carrying heavy loads throughout rough terrains and settings. Choosing a pair of heavy duty hiking boots will require a great deal of attention from your part. These types of boots don’t necessarily feel comfortable at first, you’ll need to break them in first. So try them on carefully before purchasing and analyze whether they’re worth the money or not. The most serious stores have small areas that will simulate the boots performance on various terrains. The Asolo backpacking boots, with Gore-Tex inserts and Vibram outsoles are some of the best heavy duty hiking boots on the market; they’re pretty light too, as they weigh less than 2lbs.

Mountaineering boots

They’re the epitome of survival footwear, and  the first clear sign you get is in the price, as even the cheapest pair of mountaineering boots will cost no less than a couple of hundred bucks. As the name clearly shows, they’re suited for hiking in extreme and rough alpine terrain, at high attitudes and low temperatures.

They’re built to be heavy and rigid, but with good reason. Even the standard models have very stiff soles and shanks (in order to provide maximum protection to your feet and ankles), a multi-layered build comprised of rigid shanks for stability and protection, an insulating inner lining and a waterproof lining. The soles are very thick and rigid, built for maximum grip even on slippery surfaces. The Nepal Evo, by La Sportiva, is everything I just mentioned and more, with durable leather and metal lace loops and with an impressive overall built that will make it suitable for even the roughest conditions.

If what we’ve been looking at so far is a bit much for you, worry not. If you’re nothing more than an amateur hiker that goes on light hikes only, you can always buy a simple pair of regular hiking shoes. These are nothing more than improved sport shoes that will do well on regular strolls in the wild.

Unless you’re facing rough terrain on bad weather, you’ll have nothing to worry about. But whether you’re considering buying the simplest pair of hiking shoes or a state-of-the-art mountaineering boots, always try them on before buying. Unlike regular pairs of shoes, hiking footwear will require some wearing arround the house before you’ll get completely used to them.

Survival Tents: DIY Shelters For Critical Situations

Survival Tents - DIY Shelters For Critical Situations

Whether you’re simply having a camping a trip or you’ve found yourself fighting for your life in a post-apocalyptic scenario, you’ll need to have a good quality tent with you in order to make your situation just a bit more bearable. If it’s a trip in the local surroundings or you’re exploring uncharted territory due to some sort of unfortunate event that forced you to leave everything behind, it doesn’t matter that much. As long as you’ve packed the right tent before setting off, you’ll have a proper shelter that will offer your insulation and protection. Those of you that aren’t that knowledgeable in the area, let me tell you that there is a great variety of products to choose from. There is basically a tent for every hostile situation that you can think of: tents for low temperatures, tents for flood situations, above ground tents (that will keep you safe from ground predators, etc.), simple hiking tents and more.

Upon purchasing your very own tent, there are many things to consider apart from the price. You should consider first of all the type of situation you are trying to counter (cold climates, high temperatures, wild animals, excessive precipitations etc.), and once you have this figured out, you can start looking into the size of the tent, the material it’s made up of, the price etc. 

I’ll show you some of the most affordable and versatile tents on the market.

The Trango 3.1


The Trango 3.1 by Mountain Hardwear is a semi-professional product from Mountain Hard Wear, built especially for those who take wilderness adventures really seriously. It costs about $559. It’s pretty sturdy as a tent and it packed form it weighs about 11lbs 4oz. It’s roomy enough for 3 people and it was built to withstand much of what nature can throw at him: it has welded guy clip anchors, welded corners and it’s waterproof and watertight. The DAC Featherlight NSL poles used by these tents are extremely resistant despite they’re light weight, and make for a great foundation. The structure itself is more intricate than what you’d expect; it has a vestibule in which you can change you wet dirty and wet clothes before entering the main, warmer chamber of the tent. It does way a bit much and it may become strenuous to carry it over long distances, but it makes up for it in quality and toughness. Be it cold, windy, rainy or hot, this tent won’t let you down. Check out the Trango 3 on Amazon

The Tentsile Stingray 3-Person Hanging Tent

Well, the product name says it all: this is less of a tent and more of a tree house, all for the price of $675. The idea is that you
can suspend this tent from trees and have a hammock-type, covered structure, large and strong enough to shelter 3 people. The ratchet buckles and straps are about 19.5ft long and the manufacturer assures us that they can withstand about 2.5 tons of weight. So unless you’re planning to park your car inside, you have nothing to worry about. The floor of the tent is made up of a certain 240D composite that is wide enough for 3 people to sleep comfortably. The whole surface of the tent is coated in 190T PU polyester rain fly, which not only makes it completely waterproof, but also resistant to all sort if insect stings or bites. The rain fly can be extended down to ground level, making a rainproof vestibule for your gear. Once the tent is set up, you can gain access through 2 doors. A side door is available, but if you’re too high from the ground, you can also use the center floor hatch. This tent is perfect for survival scenarios which involve predatory ground animals. Not only will you be safe, but the experience of camping in such a tent is unique.

The Sundome 2-Person Tent

This is a fairly simple tent released by Coleman, which weighs in at about 8lbs. It costs under $50 in some places and it’s the optimum choice for serious campers. If camping is your lifestyle, look no further than the the Sundome 2-Person Tent. It’s a one door tent and it can easily accommodate 2 people. The tent is pretty stable even in tougher weather conditions thanks to its 2-pole system; it also is very easy to set up, as an untrained camper can put it together in no more than 20 minutes.  The outer coating, the material on the outside of the tent wall (aka. the outer fly) is waterproof, so precipitations won’t bother you much. But keep in mind, although it’s a perfect camping tent, it’s not all that great when it comes to expeditions to remote and extreme areas; using it as a survival tent will not be a good idea. It’s not well ventilated, and this may cause dampness on the inside as a result of moisture buildup. I’ve been using this tent myself for a while now, and as an occasional camper myself, I think this is the best camping tent when it comes to quality / price ratio. Check out the Coleman Sundome 2-Person Tent on Amazon

Camping for fun or survival requires some education in the matter and should be done properly. Whether you’re just a casual camper, an avid one or you find yourself in need of shelter in order to survive the harshness of the wild, you should always be prepared and leave nothing to chance. Do serious research in the matter and you’ll find one or several tents to suit your needs.

The Best Survival Flashlights That Money Can Buy

A very important piece in the serious prepper’s survival kit is the flashlight. No one should go without one. If SHTF at some point or another, any old flashlight will do if a survival flashlight is not in reach… but nothing can compete with a professional, state of the art lighting gadget that’s been designed specifically for such occasions.

These survival flashlights, also known as tactical flashlights are superior to a normal flashlight in both battery life and durability. Most of them come with new and improved LED lighting systems and extremely powerful batteries (rechargeable batteries) that will outlast regular flashlights; there’s is hardly any competition there.

Because they’re meant for usage in extreme situations, they are built to be extremely tough and robust: they’ll withstand shocks, they’re waterproof (most of them are) and will deteriorate slowly (if at all) even in extreme climates.

And the term “survival” applies in more ways than you can imagine; because they’re so sturdy and tough, made up from strong alloys, they can be used as a self defense clubs in case you’ll be forced to protect yourself.

One hit over the head and, ironically, it’s lights out! There’s great variety on the market in the survival flashlight department; products vary in shape, sizes, type of battery (primary or rechargeable), lightning filters and sequences etc. I’m about to show you some of those that I actually got to use and could be an asset to anybody in distress.

Olight M22 Warrior

Olight M22 Warrior

This particular flashlight is still, in my opinion, the best option out there for those who are on a tight budget. It’s the best if you consider the price / quality ratio, considering you can buy it for about $50. It’s 5.7 inches long (1.6 in diameter) and it weighs 5.15oz. The M22 Warrior‘s body is made up from a very durable aluminum which is also used in aircraft manufacture. It used the latest and greatest in LED technology (Cree XM-L2 LED), which can put out about 950 lumens; this is more than enough to give you visibility coverage of about 1000 feet. It has a adjustable brightness level that works on 3 settings and a strobe mode for signaling your position or disorienting attackers. The mode selection and strobe can be turned on / off through a selector unit built into the head of the flashlight. There’s another switch located at the opposite side which controls brightness, but also the auto strobe mode, for quick access. The power source is optional:  you can use 2x CR123A batteries units or 1x 18650 battery. At the lowest setting (20 lumens) you get 30 hours of battery time and 1 hour at its highest setting (950 lumens).

SureFire E2D Defender

SureFire E2D Defender

The SureFire E2D Defender is probably the best self-defense oriented flashlight that I got my hands on. If it’s a white weapon you want that can also light the way from time to time, look no further. It has a crenellated front bezel and tail, all to make it more menacing at to give more angles and edges that can be used in a combat situation. It’s probably the toughest survival flashlight on the market and will take quite a bit of striking force to actually break it; you most probably won’t. If you hit hard and precisely enough, it will stop any attacker in its tracks, be it man or animal. We got the self-defense part covered and we can all agree the SureFire E2D Defender is force to be reckoned with. If you expect it to be less efficient as a flashlight than it is as a weapon, you’d be wrong because it’s actually pretty good. It has a 2 settings mode: the full power mode will have it working at 200 lumens and will deplete the battery in about 2 hours. The ultra power-saving mode will get it down to 5 lumens, but it will keep battery life for up to 76 hours. It measure 5.4 inches in length and it weighs about 3.7oz.

Fenix HL22

Fenix HL22

This is a very good choice for those who are looking for a large yet lightweight flashlight, that’s easy to use and carry around. It’s 2.5 inches long, 1.6 inches in diameter and despite its size, it weighs about 1.6oz without battery. It has 3 adjustable brightness settings and it also has an SOS lightning mode, which is perfect for signaling for help. At its highest setting of 120 lumens it will deplete the battery in about an hour and a half. But if you let it run on power saving mode, its setting of 3 lumens will keep the battery lasting for about 55 hours. And all this can be achieved with a simple AA battery. The power saving mode of 3 lumens is not bright enough for visibility over long distances; you’ll only be able to walk without tripping over anything in the dark.

Klarus XT12 Rechargeable Tactical Flashlight

Klarus XT12

I love this one. This thing is built like a tank, super bright (up to 930 lumens), waterproof to 2 meters, has a strobe mode to disorient an enemy in darkness, and comes with a magnetic connector that enables it to be charged via USB – using the cable supplied. Note that this is a non-standard cable so don’t lose it (or get a spare) otherwise you won’t be able to charge the flashlight.

Summary: Choosing your personal flashlight is no easy thing and you should do it by the book. Consider the possibilities, scout the market thoroughly and make the right decision. Of course you can have more than one, just to play it safe. When comes to survival flashlights, the prices may vary from $15 to even $400. However if you are truly on a budget there is currently an amazing option currently out there – a Hybeam Tactical Flashlight for just FREE + shipping (pretty amazing deal!)

5 Of The Best Radios To Stay Connected In A Survival Situation

5 Of The Best Radios To Stay Connected In A Survival Situation

A serious prepper should not be without one of the best radios in his personal survival kit. And this is because when modern society fails and crumbles (and our means of communications will be amongst the first to go) or if you simply find yourself stranded, you’ll need to keep in touch with the latest news. Information will be vital for your very existence in such a scenario, and your very own survival radio device will get the job done.

So whether hostile armed forces are marching in towards your location or whether a natural disaster is heading your way, you’ll hear it all and have enough time to take whatever precautions are necessary. Choosing a radio for a SHTF situation won’t be as easy as choosing one for everyday life.

These tiny gadgets can be very complex, but their complexity is a plus if anything. You can have radios that are set to pick up certain wavelengths that transmit the status of natural disasters. Some support multiple power sources, some can charge your small appliances (phones, etc.) and others have a crank system that will allow them to work when there is no electricity. Here are some of the best choices that are available on the market.

The American Red Cross FRX3 With Built In Smartphone Charger is a radio made to work indefinitely, despite the fact that there might be no electrical power running through the plugs anymore. Of course, it does have the capability to stay plugged in, but when the plugs fail to deliver, you can use the crank shaft to power up its internal NiMH battery. And if your hand gets tired, you can just point it towards a strong enough light source and the solar panel will do the rest. It’s not just a radio, it’s an intricate device that gets AM / FM bands, all the NOAA (National Weather Service) bands, has a flashlight attached and a USB port to charge up other devices. If you’re the type of person that often losses things, you’ll be happy to know that the Red Cross FRX3 is very hard to misplace, as it has a glow-in-the-dark locator and a flashing red beacon.

American Red Cross FRX3

The Kaito Electronics Inc. KA500BLK Voyager is a radio that is very light, well built and comes with many gadgets that can prove very useful in all sorts of situations. It has many choices when it comes to power sources (AC, Battery, computer, hand crank and solar), ensuring its autonomy in all sorts of environments. The solar panel is situated at the top of the device and it’s adjustable at a 180° angle. This feature is very convenient, as you won’t have to turn the whole device towards light sources. But its strongest feature by far is the array of lightning options you get with this radio device: a flashlight, a red strobe and if these weren’t enough, it also has 5 LEDs for reading light. It gets all sorts of wavelengths (even shortwave broadcasts). And for those of you for whom esthetics matter just as much as anything else, the radio comes in black, red, blue, green or yellow.

Kaito Electronics Inc. KA500BLK Voyager

The Grundig S450DLX is an excellent digital radio device, very strong and reliable. It’s very good especially when it comes to shortwave signals. It has a preset channel function that will allow you to preset you favorite radio channels and to access them with the push of the button; you get 50 slots for preset channels (10 per each band). The large LCD display is clear and easy to read and the knobs work perfectly (both the normal tuning and fine-tuning). It receives a high quality signal, with very little background noise, mainly thanks to its excellent anti-interference. And if somehow you’re still having trouble getting a clear signal, you can attach an external antenna. Aa a power source, it uses DC IN (9V) or 6 D batteries.

Grundig S450DLX

The Epica Emergency Solar Hand Crank Digital Radio is a radio similar to the model used by the Red Cross, except theirs is smaller. Personally, I’m having doubts whether this is a radio or a flashlight first, as the 3 LED lights fitted on this device are very powerful. As power sources, the internal batteries can be charged by USB, hand crank or through the solar panel. The display is easy to read and the radio picks both AM / FM bands, as well as all 7 NOAA weather bands. Most of the device is incased in a rubber-like housing, which acts as a shock absorbent and also waterproofs the circuits.

Epica Emergency Solar Hand Crank Digital Radio

Staying in touch with the world is a must for all of us. But a simple radio just won’t do. As you can see, there are plenty of choices out there for preppers when it comes to survival radios. And there are plenty more models to check out in order to find the “perfect fit” for you. But get your very own radio, and fast. You’ll never know what’s going to happen next.

Hay Bale Gardening: How To Grow Your Own Veggies Without Fertilizer And Weed-Free

Hay Bale Gardening: How To Grow Your Own Veggies Without Fertilizer And Weed-Free

I’ve been really into gardening lately, trying to find the best techniques and methods for growing fruit or veggies with as little effort or resources as possible. One method that really caught my attention was the straw bale method, a method that is based on planting into straw bales rather than in the ground. You prepare the bales thoroughly and that’s pretty much it. It’s cheap, requires very little care as the method is not pretentious at all and another bonus is that the plants are raised above ground level, which puts them out of the reach of various critters that could take a liking in whatever it is you planted. And not only that, picking the plants will from the straw bales, will be a lot easier than picking them from the ground.  The seemed perfect, but only until I stumbled across the alternative: the HAY bale gardening method, which made the straw bale method seem less appealing all of a sudden.

Hay bale gardening vs. straw bale gardening

For those of you who have very little to do with gardening, there is a major difference between the two. Straw bales are usually comprised from cereal crops stalks (corn, wheat, oat, rye, barley etc.). It’s mostly used for bedding livestock, and apart from carbon, it has no real nutritional value. It’s not inefficient as a surface for growing plants, but it will require regular watering and fertilizers to get the job done. Hay on the other hand, it’s nothing but rich grasses that are mainly a source of rich and
nutritious food for cattle during cold periods (winter time), when the fields are empty. They are filled with nutrients and minerals like nitrogen, potassium, phosphates etc. that vegetables require to grow. It’s exactly this natural cocktail of minerals and nutrients that require no additional fertilizing methods when it comes to hay bale gardening. Hay also holds water more efficiently than straw due to its density and chemical structure. So a hay bale garden requires watering once a day, whereas a straw bale garden will require watering 3 times a day.

Getting started

The first thing you’ll need to start your very own hay bale garden is getting your hands on hay bales. If you have nobody to turn to in your vicinity that could sell or give you the hay bales, you can always go on the internet and find farmers that have hay bales for sale. Once they’re delivered to you, pick a spot to your liking (preferably in your garden) and set them as you see fit. Next you’ll need to prepare the hay bales for the planting process. What’ll you’ll need is some 42-0-0 or even better, some nitrogen. You’ll treat the bales with nitrogen for 5 days; the nitrogen will break down bacteria, fungi and insects into nutritious compost that will serve as “fuel” for your growing plants. If you’re not that keen on spending money on nitrogen or fertilizers, you can just pee on the hay bales for the 5-day period; pee is rich in nitrogen and it’ll get the job done just as efficiently. However, the daily dose of pee a person produces will not be enough for this endeavor, so I suggest you start saving your pee in bottles or containers.

The preparation of the bales will be done over a period of 10 days total before planting. In the uneven days, the bales will be treated with half-a-cup of nitrogen and sprayed with water. During the even days of the 10 day period, the bales will be watered only.

During this process, the temperature inside the hay bales will rise dramatically, most likely to 120°F – 140°F. Although is very unlikely that the bales will simply catch fire, the risk still exists. So water the bales regularly I order to avoid any unwanted incidents. When the “ordeal” is over, the temperature will subside, from how to warm. Once this happens, you can start planting your vegetables. Just add regular seeds, water the hay garden once a day and you’ll be able to pick the fruits of your labor in no time.

Accurate temperature readings using a professional thermometer

Professional tips

  1. The bales should be tightly bound if you want them to hold. Synthetic twine works great and hold the hay bales together just fine during the growing season.
  2. A single bale of hay will hold about two tomato plants, two pumpkin hill, 3 cauliflower plants or 3 broccoli plants; plants cover the same amount of space in the bales as they do in the ground.

  1. Growing tall plants (sunflower, corn etc.) is not advised, as hay bales do not offer such plants the support they need. If you won’t provide these types of plants with a stacking system, they’ll most probably fall over.
  2. You shouldn’t water the bales more than two times a day. There is no danger of drowning the plants, because the water will evaporate quickly; the hay bales will not get drenched like soil would.

This method is very interesting and it seems to give great results even for the rookies. You don’t need much to get started. Just a minimum investment and the will power to get things done. If you’re looking for a cheap and fast alternative to gardening, look no further: hay bale gardening is the way.

By My Family Survival Plan

Your Survival Garden Worst Enemies: Pests You Should Watch Out For

Aphidimage – wikipedia (PLoS Biology) lic. under CC 2.5

Planning and setting up your own survival garden is no easy task. It requires knowledge, precision and a bit of practice to get it done. But once you got the project going, doesn’t mean you can just let nature take care of everything while you relax and await to pick the fruit of your labor. Mother Nature works both ways and that which creates, can also destroy.

Leaving things to chance is not an option, so you have to take your role as a farmer seriously and watch out for those pesky insects, that if left to their devices, can destroy everything you worked so hard for. It takes a bit of studying the phenomenon in order to understand it, so you can identify the type of pest you’re dealing with and what’s the best method to apply according to the amount of damage that has already been inflicted. If the infestation is light, picking the insects by hand should suffice, but if we’re talking heavy infestation, you’ll probably have to resort to insecticides. Next I’m going to walk you through a list comprised of some of the most common garden pests and how to read the signs they leave behind.

Aphids

They are probably THE worst garden pest imaginable, as they have no preferences when it comes to garden vegetables; they simply go for everything that’s green. The easiest signs to read are visual: you know you’ve been attacked by aphids if you happen to find clusters of small, soft-bodied on buds and growth tips. Sticky secretions can also be found from place to place and leaves tend to get curly. Aphids never invade in small numbers and it’s very unlikely hand-picking will do you any good. The best way to deal with them is to spray insecticidal soap or neem oil. There are also specialized poisons that can be sprayed directly on the vegetables, but I strongly advise you to consult a specialist before purchasing or using such products.

Root maggots

They’re food of choice is usually cabbage, carrots, turnips, squashes, spinach and radishes. Their presence is clear if you happen to find wilted plants or yellowish quarter-of-an-inch insects on the root of the plants. The first thing you need to do is to actually stop the flies from laying their eggs near the seedlings: simply put plastic or paper shields about 4 inches in diameter near the plants. If the situation gets out of control, you’ll have no other option but to drench the soil in root maggot insecticide, but do so under the supervision of a professional.

White flies

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These tiny flying insects have a real craving for tomatoes, peppers, egg plants and sweet potatoes. They’re easy to spot as they’ll easily fly around from plant to plant if disturbed. If in large numbers, they can cause serious damage to plants, because they’ll feed on the nutriments of the underside of the leaves. Light infestations can be easily dealt with by simply spraying neem oil or water.

Slugs and snails

They’re not the fastest insects out there (possibly the slowest), but don’t get fooled: they can inflict serious damage to your tomato, carrot, lettuce and turnip crops. They are voracious eaters and if you happen to find irregular patterns of holes in the plant’s leaves or stems, doubled by slime trails leading from plants to plant, you’re dealing with slugs or snails (or both). During the day they rest under all sorts of debris, so removing them out of the way and keeping the garden as tidy as possible will keep you out of harm’s way. But if you’re dealing with infestation, you’ll need more than just a tidied up area. You can simply attract and drown them in shallow pans of beer or special baits that are available on the market.

Borers

They prefer melons, pumpkins, squashes and cucumbers. If you stumble across wilted plants or just wilted growth tips, then you might suspect you have a borer problem. And if you happen to spot small holes drilled in the plants (usually where wilting begins), than you know for sure you have a borer problem. Plants can still be salvaged from borer infestations by simply cutting out the borer, but if they get to infest the base of the plant, it’s compromised and needs to be torn out. In order to avoid such an obnoxious parasite, spray the base of the plants with the right kinds of insecticide during late spring / early summer, but only under the supervision of a professional.

Beetles

There are many varieties of beetles out there and they can affect all sorts of crops imaginable. Beetles don’t need special methods when it comes to detection: they’re easy to spot as many are brightly colored and shiny, and they’re feeding methods leave irregular holes in the foliage. As they’re not that hard to catch, picking them by hand would be a cost-effective method if you’re dealing with light infestation. In the case of heavy infestation, just spray the area with the appropriate insecticide, recommended by a qualified professional.

Gophers

Gophers don’t have very specific cravings, and go for everything they can get their tiny paws on. They’ll voraciously eat any sort of root they’ll stumble across in their underground tunnels. But they also eat the above-ground plant if not disturbed; the mostly prefer carrots, sweet potatoes and peas. If left unattended they can ruin a whole garden in a matter of days.

The most eco-friendly approach in dealing with your gopher problem would be to encourage the presence of birds of prey in the vicinity, by placing bird baths or keeping the garden as tidy as possible so they’re easily spotted by the winged predators. But if the bird method seems a bit drastic, you could just let your dog or cat to roam freely in the garden. Gophers are easily scared and will behave if constantly pressured. Flooding their tunnels is also effective and easy to do.

Dealing with garden pests is no easy task, but it’s not impossible either. There’s a solution to any sort of problem you might stumble upon and nothing can stop you to achieve your goals in survival gardening. But I strongly advise you to never deal with poisons and insecticides on your own, always consult a specialist in the matter before doing so. You not only risk damaging your garden, but also your health. Pest poisons and insecticides are very dangerous if not handled properly.

By My Family Survival Plan

15 Essential Crops To Have In Your Survival Garden

15 Essential Crops To Have In Your Survival Garden

In a survival scenario the key word is self-reliance. The weekly trips to the local food markets or stores will cease to become an option. And even if available, the prices will most likely sky-rocket so that it just won’t be convenient anymore. What you need to do is consider the possibility to set up your very own garden, which will sustain and provide for you and your entire family. It’s a rather complex task, but it’s nowhere near impossible. And once you’ll get the hang of it, it will become rather relaxing and enjoyable.

It’s something that can ultimately be achieved by the average Joe, with enough practice, resources and dedication. You don’t have to be a professional farmer, you’ll just have to educate yourself a little in the matter. Be aware of the sustenance and nutrients each product has to offer, calculate how much land you’ll need for the endeavor and set your budget. Your best weapon (if you decide to pick up the shovel) is information: educate yourself on season crops, micro-farming, insect repellants, seed collections and storage and on the nutritional value of various crops.

And arm yourself with patience, because this type of activity requires a lot of practice if you’re starting from scratch. But you’ll get better at it with time, and at some point you’ll be become self sufficient, even though if you originally started gardening as a hobby. When it comes to choosing the right seeds, I strongly recommend getting non-GMO or heirloom variety seeds. These seeds will continue to reproduce, unlike the hybrid varieties that stop reproducing after the first season. Let’s have a look at different types of seeds that are suited for your very own survival garden.

Corn – it’s a warm weather crop, very intolerant to low temperatures, so you should plant it only after the last frost. It usually produces two ears per stack and it’s loaded with calcium, iron and protein. It’s easy to pick and to store.

Wheat – possibly the most common crop in the world, because of its large content of nutrients like copper, iron zinc and potassium. Spring what is planted in early spring and it’s the most common variety in the world. Winter wheat can be planted anytime from late September to mid October.

Potatoes – they’re high in protein, vitamin C, vitamin B6 and potassium. It’s best if you plant your potatoes 4 – 6 weeks before the last frost. An average plant will hold somewhere in the lines of 4 -6 potatoes per sprout. When storing them, just know to keep them in a very cool and dark place, away from fruit.

Peas – it’s one of the most (if not THE) easiest plants to grow, because most varieties are not pretentious and grow very fast. Peas are rich in fiber, protein, potassium, vitamin A, Vitamin B6 and more. The best varieties to consider are the snap, the shelling and the sugar and snow pod. They will do just fine even during a harsh winter, as they’re resistant to frost.10 Foods You Can Store For 100 Years

Spinach – considered the original super-food, it’s a great source of nutrients such as vitamin A, vitamin C, folic acid, iron and thiamin. It’s easy to grow, and most species grow best during winter. There are a few though that stray from the rule, so inform yourself before purchase.

Tomatoes – once again, we’re dealing with one of the easiest plants to plant and grow. It’s very nutritious as it’s abundant in vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin E, potassium, thiamine and niacin. To make sure you get plenty of them throughout the year, just plant a first batch in late spring and a second one in late summer.

Beans – they come in many varieties, such as kidney beans, pole beans, bush beans etc. They are rich in fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium and Calcium. Pole beans require steak firmly planted in the ground, on which the plant can grapple and grow. Their grow cycle is shorter than that of the bush beans and the yield production is better as well. It’s easy to grow and staggering the plant will give continuous yields.

Carrots – there are very easy to grow and prefer cooler weather. So the best time for planting would be during fall, winter or early spring. They’re rich in vitamin A and beta carotene, which is excellent anti-oxidant which does wanders for your eyesight, skin or hair.

Garlic and Onions – they’re a very rich source vitamin B6, vitamin C, potassium, dietary fiber and folic acid (folate). They’re best planted in mid or late October, and can be pulled early in case you’re eager to have green onions or garlic.

Cucumbers – they come in all shapes and sizes, with many varieties to choose from. You can pick whatever you like, from large to small ones (which are excellent for pickling). They are very nutritious, as they are loaded with vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K and potassium. They are a crop for warm weather and if you pick them regularly, you’ll get increased production.

Lettuce – not only will it be easy to plant and grow, but is also one of the earliest harvests you’ll get. It’s best if you plant it somewhere at 6 – 8 before the first frost date for optimum results. It grows quickly and you can pick it partially simply by choosing a few leaves at a time. The nutritional content differs in case of variety, but mostly all contain proteins, vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin C, calcium, potassium, folic acid and iron.

Eggplants – it’s one of the most versatile vegetables when it comes to cooking, as it offers a lot of possibilities. It’s a warm weather plant and doesn’t do well during winter. So you should wait after the last frost is over in order to plant it. It’s high in fiber, vitamin B1, vitamin B6 and anti-oxidants.

Broccoli – it’s a plant that grows rather easily. It’s usually planted mid to late summer and by the time fall is upon us, you’ll have your first broccoli harvest. It has however, the tendency to give yields even after the first harvest. It can withstand mild frost, but won’t survive a harsher climate. A far as nutrients go, it’s most commonly packed with vitamin A, vitamin K and protein.

Cauliflower – it’s a cool season vegetable, resistant to low temperatures. It’s quite fast to grow and gives extremely rich yields. It’s very nutritious and can be very versatile when it comes to cooking. It’s packed with vitamin C, vitamin K and dietary fibers.

Turnips – the seeds are best sown in late may, but if you get caught in doing anything else and forget, early summer will do just fine. They’re easy to manage, as they’re very resilient to plant diseases. It’s very versatile too, as you can eat the whole plant, green and root alike. They contain calcium, vitamin B6, vitamin C and iron.

This list is a must for your very own garden, the plants that no survival enthusiast should go without during a crisis. Remember what I said before: take your time and practice, because it’s unlikely you’ll be successful right away. But once you get the hang of it, you and those close to you won’t go hungry a day in case SHTF. So get going, get your hands dirty and you’ll pick the fruit of you labor in no time… literally!

By My Family Survival Plan

How To Survive A Permanent Power Outage

How To Survive A Permanent Power Outage

Even though most of us are familiar to short-term power outages and would easily make it without electricity for one or two days, most people don’t ever consider the possibilities of going their entire lives without the commodity of electrical power. And why would they? Power is plenty and is available everywhere apparently. But the infrastructure on which it was all built is crumbling, in dire need of modernization. Electricity may well be the first commodity to go! Surviving such rapid turns of events will be trickier than you can imagine. What I’m talking about here is pure survival in the absence the most defining power source of our modern society.

It’s not about managing day by day without entertainment (tv, internet, cell phones etc.), it’s more than that: it’s about preserving and cooking food, it’s about communicating over long distances in cases of emergency, it’s about keeping your house lit at night and your family warm during cold seasons. We’ll need to “downgrade” in lifestyle in order to stay alive, but that’s a small price to pay for the opulence and decadence of this past century. Let’s have a look at what can keep us going during the hard times that lie ahead.

How to preserve food and cook without power

If the power dies and your fridge is full, you got about two days until the contents start spoiling. Don’t panic and don’t throw the food away. 48 hours is plenty of time to act and save most of what you have in the freezer. You’ll need to act quickly on preserving foods like meat, eggs, dairy, fruit and veggies. There are plenty of ways of saving your food and keeping it fresh and edible for long periods of times, be it meat, potatoes or easily pickled vegetables. Also be aware of the fact that many of the produce that people tend to keep in the fridge don’t necessarily belong there in the first place. Stuff like ketchup, sauces, mayonnaise (maybe), jams and spices will be just fine outside as long as they’re not directly exposed to high temperatures (room temperature will do).

If you have your mind set on keeping your food in freezing conditions, there are alternatives that are easy to make and will get the job done. The Zeer pot is natural refrigerator (based on evaporation), excellent when it comes to cooling. You just need to pots, one smaller than the other, so that it can fit right in. Place sand in the bigger pot, so that there’s no free space left when you place the smaller pot in. Make sure the big pot is unglazed. After doing so, pour cool water on the sand so that it’s nice and moist. Place the food in the smaller pot, and cover the top with a wet cloth. Once the water begins to evaporate, it will escape through the unglazed pot, producing a cooling effect which will keep your food 3 times fresher then if it was left out. This method is perfect especially for dairy products, but not only.

Cooking on a normal barbecue grill in this scenario might be valid solution, but not for long. As gas and charcoal will become less and less available, your best option is to build yourself a rocket stove. It’s very fuel-efficient, due to the fact that it can generate a high amount of heat for a minimum amount of fuel. It does so by moving large amounts of air through its body, ensuring that the fuel is completely burned. This keeps the flame burning rapidly and maintains the high temperature constant. And it’s very easy and cheap to put together.

How to heat your home

Once the power failures strike, common heating sources (electric radiators, central heating and even gas stoves) will become obsolete. The best option is installing a fire place or a wood burning stove. Special precautions need to be taken first though: ensure that it’s completely sealed and secured (so that noxious CO2 or fire embers can’t escape). CO2 can be fatal if you’re exposed to it for long periods of time (especially if it starts leaking while you’re sleeping) and burning embers might land on flammable surfaces and cause fires. So install your stove correctly! The chimney doesn’t have to be anything fancy; you can simply run it through a window. Simply remove the pane of glass and run the chimney through the empty space created. After you’re done, just cover the exposed area with plywood.

Wood stove

Alternative power sources

I know what you’re thinking: a gas-powered generator is the best solution for this type of scenario. It is, but for how long do you think gas will be available after the power grid gets shut down? As long as you’re good on gas provisions, these types of generators are more than useful. But once the gas is out and getting it will be dam near impossible, you’ll need to find other ways for generating power. Solar panels or wind generators are the best options available and will provide you and you’re family with at least some energy, in order to ease everyday life as much as possible. Upon purchasing such a system, make sure that your investment will fully accommodate your needs. Alternative energy systems are way more efficient if they come with a battery storage unit, in order to stock power that can be used at any time of the day. So if you invest wisely, you can have more than enough energy throughout the whole day in order to power a mini-fridge, a radio, a laptop or even an energy-friendly air conditioner. It basically comes down to how much you’re willing to spend.

Useful items to have

Here are a few basics items that will be very useful if you find yourself in a no-power scenario:

  • Extra candles, matches and a couple of candle lanterns. This can be purchased or improvised
  • Get a couple of flashlights. The LED ones are more power-efficient, but crank flash lights are the better option
  • Get a solar-powered radio or a crank radio, so you can stay informed at all times
  • Manual can openers are easy to use and to procure
  • Always keep your car’s gas tank at least at half capacity and store some gas canisters for emergency situations
  • Keep ice in the freezer; when the power goes, the ice will prolong the coolness for as much as possible

LED flashlight

Just follow these simple rules and you should be ok when the power gets eventually cut off. Based on visible signs, we’re not far away from facing the end of civilization as we know it. Don’t wait for disaster to strike, get ready in advance and hope for the best. As long as you’re prepared, everything should play out just fine.

You should also check out this newly released book: Alive After The Fall.

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