Category: Survival in Mind

46 Must-Have Items for Your Emergency Vehicle Kit

46 Must Have Items For Your Emergency Vehicle Kit

As much as I like to think I have a handle on things, sometimes projects slip through the cracks. Case in point: Since the big road trip to Arizona in late September, not once have I gone out to the Subaru and reviewed the contents of my car kit.  At the time of my journey I was certain that I had everything I needed in the event of a calamity along the way.  The journey, after all, was close to 1,500 miles.

Since then, life has happened.  We needed room to cart groceries and, in Shelly’s case, to transport 4 set of golf clubs along with 3 of his buddies.  Something had to give, but what?

Today’s challenge is to take inventory of your emergency vehicle kit and supplies.  To get you started, here is a car kit submitted by long term reader, Elaine K.  I think it is a good one and am going back to check my own supplies to make sure that I am as prepared as she is.

Best Practices: 46 Items to Include in your Vehicle Emergency Kit

  1. Tow chains
  2. Jumper cables
  3. Spare tire
  4. Tire jack
  5. Fix-a-flat (I like this brand)
  6. Fire extinguisher
  7. Gasoline funnel
  8. Candles
  9. Flashlight
  10. Cigarette lighters
  11. Matches
  12. Flares
  13. Duct tape
  14. Disposable gloves
  15. Well-stocked first aid kit (here is one I put together myself)
  16. Well-stocked tool kit
  17. Solar blankets
  18. Wool blankets
  19. Warm socks
  20. Rain coat
  21. Cash (bills and coins)
  22. Winter hat
  23. Heavy gloves
  24. Heavy sleeping bag for winter, lighter sleeping bag for summer
  25. Paper
  26. Pen
  27. Whistle
  28. List of important phone numbers
  29. Can opener
  30. Knife
  31. Map
  32. Garbage bags in various sizes
  33. Paracord or rope
  34. Quart of oil
  35. Sewing kit
  36. Baby wipes
  37. Toilet paper
  38. Hand soap
  39. Comb
  40. Hair brush
  41. Tooth brush
  42. Change of clothes
  43. Various towels in Ziploc bags (women can use to urinate in if caught in traffic)
  44. Water
  45. Survivor Filter Pro
  46. Edible nuts stored in raw honey

I don’t know about you, but I got some good ideas from this list.  And shame on me; for all of my foresight I did not have a fire extinguisher in my car.  Thanks, Elaine, for your valuable contribution to Backdoor Survival and to our preps!

Source: backdoorsurvival.com

How To Treat A Burn Victim In A Survival Scenario

How To Treat A Burn Victim In A Survival Scenario

The danger of getting burned is ever-present in our day to day lives. Whether we’re talking about a minor burn caused by carelessness or a severe degree burn caused by an unfortunate event, it’s important to know how to react in such a situation. Most of us have already dealt with burning injuries at least once in their lifetime, so the sensation and the gravity of the matter is known to most people. We’re not lacking in the health department in this day and age; there’s plenty of doctors and clinics out there that are able and equipped to deal with burn victims. Even if they’re not immediately available, medicine is widely available and many people already have their stock set aside for darker days. But what happens in TEOTWAWKI situation, when medical care and supplies won’t simply be available anymore? In this case, it’s important to know how to treat a burn victim and to improvise as best as we can in order to save one’s life.

The first thing we’ll need to asses in a burning accident is how much of the overall body surface has been affected by the burn. People that have less than 20% of their body’s surface affected by 2nd and 3rd  burns are not facing direct life threats (although the danger of infection and complications is still present); 1st degree burns do not pose a life threat, as the skin is not significantly affected. But those who have suffered. This is easily calculated by using the rule of nines, according to whom the surfaces on the human adult body are as follows: head = 9%, chest (front) = 9%, abdomen (front) = 9%, upper/mid/lower back & buttocks = 18%, arms (each) = 9%, palm (each) = 1%, groin = 1%, legs (each) = 18% (front = 9% + back = 9%).  For children, the numbers are as follows: head = 18%, chest (front) = 9%, abdomen (front and back) = 9%, upper/mid/lower back & buttocks = 18%, arms (each) = 9%, palm (each) = 1%, groin = 1%, legs (each) = 14% (front = 7% + back = 7%).

After the affected surface area has been determined, it’s imperative to understand what degree of burn you’re dealing with. As an international convention, burns are split into three distinctive categories:

1st degree burns or mild burns are what happens in the best case scenario. The injury is superficial and the skin is not completely affected. A good example of a 1st degree burn is a nasty case of sunburn. It requires a lesser form of treatment and it’s not life-threatening

2nd degree burns are much more serious and pose a greater threat to general health. They are far more painful as the affliction penetrates far deeper into the skin. If this is the case, it’s recommended you seek medical help, if available.

3rd degree burns are the most severe types imaginable. Because the injury goes so deep into the skin, the pain receptors can be completely destroyed, so they victim might not feel pain at all. If the affected area gets swollen, turns leathery or black, you’re dealing with a 3rd degree burn; as a mentioned before, pain is no longer an indicator. This is an emergency, and you should seek professional help if it’s available, if not, turn to your medical kit.

Before you start applying a treatment, you’ll need to determine the nature of the burn. Various types of burns require different treatments. These are some of the most common causes when it comes to burn injuries and how you should deal with them:

If the victim has been subjected to a flame source, the first step is to take the person away from the fire source and to extinguish his clothes if they’re on fire. Water is the best choice, as this will not only put out the fire, but it will also wash away any remaining pieces of charred clothing. Cold water will cool the burned areas and sooth the pain. Next, remove the clothes, gently tap with a dry and clean piece of cloth and apply any treatment available.

Treating electrical burn victims requires a different approach. In this case, the insides are just as damaged (if not more) than the outside. Electrical current takes a toll mostly on the heart, so before treating burns, check the patient’s vital signs first. You might need to perform CPR before anything else. Once the victim is stabilized, you can proceed to treating the burns.

Chemical burns are also a hazard to take into consideration. Treating skin that’s been exposed to corrosive substances requires a lot of patience. The burned area should be washed with water for about 30 minutes before proceeding to apply any type of ointment. If the area is not cleaned perfectly, the remaining substances will continue to destroy skin cells. After the area has been cleaned, you should double check that the ointment you’re about to apply won’t react with the chemical residue found in the burn.

If medical help is not available and if your personal survival medical kit is depleted, worry not. Luckily you can still improvise burn treatments out of everyday household items. Here are some of the things found around the house that can do wonders in case you’re dealing with burns:

  1. Honey is a fantastic first aid solution when it comes to treating burns. It can also work as a permanent solution, provided you’re in a survival scenario and you happen to have some honey lying around. You should cover the affected surface in honey completely. Next cover the area in a plastic warp. Honey will prevent bacteria from reaching the wound and keep the risk of infection to a minimum. Check the wound daily and apply as much honey as you can spare.
  2. Vinegar can also be used for cleaning the burned area, as it can be used as an antiseptic. Because it’s an acid, the vinegar will sting and add to the burning sensation, but in the process it will clean and sanitize the burned area, killing of any unwanted pathogens that might lead to severe infection. Diluted vinegar is the way to go.
  3. Baking soda works perfectly for treating a burned area. Just add water, turn it into a paste and apply it gently over the burned area. The baking soda will help reduce the swelling and the pain sensation. You can add it to any type of burns EXCEPT chemical burns. It may give an unwanted reaction with the chemical that caused the burn, so avoid using it in this case.

Aiding a burn victim in no easy task, and you should take it seriously. Educate yourself in the field before taking on such a task, as the wrong move might have unwanted consequences. There are many popular treatments that do not give great result, quite the opposite. Burns should be cleaned with cold water, but never ice water. You might have been told at some point to press something cold next to a burn, but you strongly advise you not to. The surface you might be pressing into the burned area might be carrying pathogens that will cause infection. Also egg whites and oil do not work either, so don’t bother. If your hands and fingers have been burned, remove rings and jewelry asap, because burned areas tend to get swollen. Nasty burns will most likely result in enormous blisters; do not pop them! They’re helping the healing process. Popping them may result in infection, pain and permanent trauma.

NOte – this is an informational article and not to be seen as medical advice nor substitute for consultation with a medical professional, nor a recommendation to self-diagnose or self-treat.

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

Keep Breathing: Some Of The Best Gas Masks You Can Afford

Keep Breathing: Some Of The Best Gas Masks You Can Afford

We’re all aware of what a gas mask is; at least we have some idea about them. Gas masks (aka. respirators) are heavily used in society. The Police force has them, the Special Forces have them, the firefighters have them, spray painters have them etc. The basic use of a gas mask is to serve as filter for the air you’re breathing in and to stop possible irritants and noxious substances from getting into your respiratory system and affecting you general state your health.

The best gas masks (or respirators) are based on the same principle: the air is pulled into the canister that has a filtering system (on 3 layers: aerosol filter, charcoal filter and dust filter) and then is released towards the interior of the mask; the filtered air is safe to breathe.

The air is sucked into the canister as the wearer breathes. There are also battery operated gas masks, equipped with a fan, that will syphon air inside, but become useless when the batteries die out. There are also some that work just like a scuba breathing system: they don’t have a filtering canister, but a pressurized air canister, that is completely sealed.

A gas mask is a real asset for any serious prepper. It’s an absolute must-have in case of a chemical or biological attack. Works just as well in a combat zone, as it’ll filter out heavy smoke and even dust clouds. There two main types of masks: half masks and full mask. I half mask will cover your mouth and nose only; they’re used in spray painting and are recommended only if you know what contaminant you’re dealing with. In case of an extremely dangerous contaminant or if you simply don’t know what you’re facing, a full gas mask is the way to go. Not only will it cover your respiratory system, but I’ll also protect your eyes and face from dangerous agents, like Anthrax etc.

Israeli Civilian Gas Mask

This gas mask was issued by the Israeli government, is NATO approved and it’s perfect if you consider the quality / price ratio (it costs about $80). Because of the relatively low price and good features, it’s regarded to be as the standard gas mask for civilian protection. It’s best used in an evacuation scenario from a contaminated area. The mask itself is made out of a soft but durable rubber that covers the whole face (full mask); it offers great protection not only for the respiratory system, but also for the entire face. It has extremely efficient filters (NBC filters) that will keep you safe from almost everything, from nuclear and biological agents (like Anthrax) to chemical agents. This particular gas mask comes in both adult and child versions.

M61 Finnish Gas Mask

The MA61 model was developed in Finland and it’s meant to be used as a heavy-duty gas mask. It’s a side-mounted mask, which means the filter is screwed into the side of the mask, rather than in the font. The rubber it’s made from is extremely durable, but rather soft flexible at the same time. Its flexibility means that the mask will incase the face of the wearer perfectly, making it airtight, so that noxious fumes or chemical agents won’t find their way inside. It uses a twin goggle system rather than a single visor. The exhalation system has a plastic valve with an integrated speech diaphragm, for better communication.

ADVANTAGE 1000 CBA-RCA Gas Mask

The 1000 CBA-RCA mask is 100% American and it was developed based on a US Military design that was used by the USAF during the Operation Desert Storm. It has a Hycar face piece which is about 40% lighter than most full gas masks and also a customizable fit. There’s also a standard nose cup to eliminate visor fogging and a mechanical speaking diaphragm. The visor is a one piece that’s extremely tough and offers great field of vision. The canister can be mounted on both the left and the right side and it’s effective against all sorts of biological and chemical agents, like Mustard, Lewisite, GA, GB, GD etc. The head harness is adjustable and stable. There’s also an ID tag attached and it includes a CBA-RCA canister. The whole package comes at about $300.

There are plenty of models that are available on the market, it’s only a matter of personal choice. The price of a certain gas mask does not necessarily reflect its quality, so you don’t have to spend a lot of money for a good product that will filter well and fit great. But you’ll need to educate yourself in the matter a bit so you won’t throw your money out the window. Luckily there’s many manufacturer’s and sellers and price ranges vary from one to the other. So keep hunting for bargains, you’ll most likely find them.

By My Family Survival Plan

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!)

Survival Navigation Tools: A Compass Will Save Your Life

Survival Navigation Tools: A Compass Will Save Your Life

Let’s assume for a moment that you’re out hiking or exploring. Or even a worst case scenario: you’ve been stranded due to an unfortunate accident or event into an unknown place, far from civilization. Even if you’re a bit familiar to the wilderness or have a clue where you are, it’s still bad; not knowing is even worse. The first reasonable thing to do is to try and locate where you are and start moving towards a safe zone. Many of you will consider the modern approach to navigation, based on a GPS system. But what if your electronic device (phone, tablet, GPSdevice) gets damaged or it simply runs out of battery?

You should be fine as long as you remembered to pack a survival navigation tools, a map and a compass as a backup. Every serious prepper should have a compass in his private survival kit. There’s a great variety of compasses on the market, to suit the needs of even the keenest explorers. The beginners or light travelers could always get a basic compass, one that’s cheap, works great but it doesn’t have some bonus features, such as a mirror or a declination adjustment etc. For the more serious hikers and preppers, there are more advanced compasses, with many additional features (magnifier, mirror etc.) that make navigation easier and are perfect for those who wonder regularly into unknown territory. It all comes down to choosing the one that works best for you. Let’s have a look at what’s available on the market.

How a compass works

A compass has a tiny plastic bubble filled with liquid, a damping fluid, which is mostly oil based and treated with antifreeze so the compass can work even in low-temperature environments. Its role is not only to protect the pointer needle from outside interference, but also to prevent the needle from excessive jiggling and trembling caused by the magnetic forces of the earth. If you find yourself in a cold environment or at high altitudes, the liquid will contract creating a bubble inside the plastic casing, but this won’t affect accuracy. When you return to normal conditions, the air bubble will disappear.

The magnetized needle encased in the plastic liquid-filled transparent bubble is the one that’s responsible for telling directions. It has 2 pointy sides, one of which is strongly attuned to the earth’s strongest magnetic field, generated by the magnetic North Pole. So at any point, this needle (which is normally red) will point north. However, the magnetic north is different from the geographic north. The magnetic north is situated in a chain of islands in the Canadian Arctic. So you must compensate and calculate the differences when traveling by map and compass.

There are also electronic compasses available on the market, which are easier to read thanks to their displays. But they’re less reliable than traditional ones for the same reasons every other battery operated GPS device is: they’re fragile and are dependent on an external energy source that will run out soon or later.

Compasses to consider

The Suunto A-10 field compass is a very simple and efficient compass that works great.  It’s lightweight, made from a scratch-resistant and shock-absorbing transparent material and it has an ergonomic design which makes it easy to hold and handle or to fit in a small pocket; it also comes equipped with a detachable snap lock. It supports a two-zone reading (covering the entire north hemisphere) for an extra accurate reading, which can be done in both inches and centimeters. The needled is not flooded in liquid, but this doesn’t seem to affect the overall performance of this compass in any way.

The Cammenga Phosphorescent Clam Pack Lensatic Compass is a very established name in the field. It’s a very sturdy field compass that is completely waterproof and it’s has a very tough aluminum frame. You can carry it tied to your wrist, clipped securely to your belt or just have it sit in its own carrying pouch. It weighs about 8 ounces and the dial includes both degrees and miles. It has phosphorescent paint to make for easy readings at night and for those who don’t mind spending twice the money, there is also a tritium version available. This tiny navigation gadget has been approved by the DoD, so that tells us a lot about its quality and efficiency.

The Suunto KB-14 360R Pro Compass it’s absolutely state of the art as far as accuracy goes. It’s a professional compass, which means great investments have been made and excellent materials went in the making of this particular model. It’s extremely accurate, down to a third of a degree or 0.5 degrees when it comes to graduated intervals. The shell is made from a durable anodized light alloy, it has superior damping fluid (which stay consistent even in extreme conditions) and a nylon pouch for protection. This model is highly used by professional cartographers, surveyors and foresters. It’d be the perfect compass if it had the declination correction feature; luckily this feature is available on the improved (and more expensive) KB-14D model.

There are still plenty of models out there for you to check out and chose from. But make no mistake about it: we’re far from that technical breakthrough, when electronics can replace classical gadgets in a survival scenario. I’m not saying that the GPS systems are completely useless, far from it. But when the computer systems fail, you’ll need to revert to a simpler way if you want to survive.

4 Meats That Are Packed With Protein

I know I’ve advocated meat consumption many times before; I’ve talked about the benefits of eating meat (in moderation of course). In many cases I have stated that the human omnivorous diet (comprised of both meats and vegetal matter) requires a balanced intake of nutrients, from which meat shouldn’t not be left out, mainly because it’s the best source of protein we get. But I feel that I’ve never treated this subject with the proper respect it actually deserved, so I’ll fix that right now.

If you’re a body builder or a fitness enthusiast you probably know much about what proteins are and what they’re good for. But for those of you who don’t, allow me to explain. Proteins are essential to living organism and humans make no exception. It helps build and repair muscle mass, it serves as a building block for body chemicals (enzymes, hormones etc.), skin, blood, bones, helps release carbohydrates into the bloodstream and so on. Every single fully functional cell in the human body needs protein in order to function properly. Some tissues (hair and nails) are comprised mostly of protein. So this macronutrient is one of the building blocks of life, it’s a major part of who and what we are and it’s important to have a balanced diet in which to include rich sources of protein. Let’s have a look at these 4 meats that are packed with protein. And there is no better natural source of protein out there that meat.

Venison (27g of protein / 3 oz)

Venison is an excellent source for protein, even better than the common beef. Not only does it have a higher amount of protein / per oz., but it also has a lower count of saturated fats. Protein is only one of the nutritious compounds venison has to offer. It’s packed with iron, riboflavin, vitamin BS and other minerals that are beneficial to human health. It’s pretty versatile when it comes to cooking methods. You can make mouth-watering stakes and stews from back straps, tenderloins or top hams. The neck the belly and the lower ribs can be easily grinded into sausages or stew meat. The best roasts result from the lower hams, but you’ll have to cook them long and slow to tender the meat. Venison has a specific taste, and if you’re not very keen on it, you can marinate it and tinker with the flavor as much as possible.

Chicken breast (27g of protein / 4 oz)

The chicken breast is a common household name that’s known and loved by everybody. We are all familiar with its tenderness and deliciousness. We all know how easy to prepare it is, in how many dishes and recipes we can include it in and how easy it is to procure (found in all types of stores and markets, big or small). But I don’t know how many of us are actually aware of the chicken breast’s nutritious properties. Apart from proteins, it also has phosphorus, magnesium, iron, zinc and also a small amount of calcium. The healthiest approach to eating chicken breast is to serve it grilled, with a side of fresh, steamed or grilled vegetables. But for those of you who don’t mind adding calories in the mix, you can just fry it and eat it with pretty much everything your heart desires. When it comes to cooking chicken breast, the sky’s the limit.

Ground beef 95% lean (24g of protein / 3 oz)

This is the best type of beef money can buy. The 95% lean ground beef it’s full of beneficial compounds, such as iron, creatine (that do wonders for your muscles), vitamin B6, vitamin B12, niacin, riboflavin, zinc, calcium and more. The leaner the beef, the better! Ground beef that starts at 90% lean is lower in fatty acids and calories, which makes it perfect as the main pillar of a healthy diet. Cooking it requires some caution and preparation. Because the meat lacks a high amount of fats, it’s advised to use the right amount for cooling oil before frying. If you’re planning a roast, it’s best if you add sauce and cook it slowly, because it’ll need all the moisture it can get. If you already have your heart on switching to this type of meat product, go for grass-fed beef, as it’s tenderer and even richer in protein and nutrients than regular lean beef.

Anchovies (24g of protein / 3 oz)

The anchovies are a small breed of fish that are extremely delicious and beneficial at the same time. Apart for being a rich source of protein, they’re also a rich resource of omega 3 fats (beneficial non-saturated fats), vitamin D, vitamin B12, niacin and other nutrients and minerals that make for tough blood vessels, strong bones and a healthy heart. Their small size also prevents them from accumulating high amounts of toxins, like bigger fish do. Before eating them, soak them in water for about 30 minutes; they retain high amounts of salt and this will remove the excess salt. They’re not meant for cooking (as they tend to dissolve), so just eat them out of the can with greens and cheeses or add them to salad dressings.

For a while I’ve considering pork chops as well. But I ultimately decided to drop them from the list, because of their high amount of fat: 1.2 g of polyunsaturated fat, 3.3 g of saturated fat and 3.9 g of monounsaturated fat.

These are some of my personal favorite meats, but I’m sure there are plenty more out there to take into consideration. I’m sure there are plenty of you that could successfully add to this list, and make it go for pages on end. But that is not my goal; all I wanted to do is to share with you the importance and joy of eating meat. Stay safe and healthy!

Fishing for Survival

Most of us use fishing as a recreational activity. But fishing started out as a necessity for human beings rather than anything else. And what if a time comes when you’ll find yourself obligated to fish for no other purpose than to feed yourself or your family? There are plenty of survival scenarios that could happen and might force you to resort to fishing for survival.

If the SHTF scenario finds you at home and prepared, with all the fishing gear you need at your disposal, good. That means one less thing to worry about. But what if you happen to find yourself stranded or you’re forced to leave your home without having enough time to pack your fishing gear too? There are water sources around and “plenty of fish in the sea” but nothing to catch them with. Well, you’re not doomed to starve, that’s for sure. There are plenty of primitive fishing techniques developed way before modern fishing that could very well be implemented today. Sure, fishing with the latest gear is preferable, but if that’s not an option, at least there are other ways that, although are unorthodox, at least they work.

D.I.Y. fishing spear

There is more than one way of improvising such a tool. If you’re aim is good enough and your hand is steady you can make a single point spear. Just find a branch or a piece of wood that’s long enough and simply attach to one end either a blade or a piece of bone that’s sharp enough to pierce flesh. A piece of durable plastic will do just as well. Simply carve enough space at one end of the branch (without breaking it) that’s wide enough to jam the point of the spear in. After you’re done, simply tie the end with a piece of rope or even duct tape and you have yourself a fishing spear. If you’re using a knife, know that exposure to water will deteriorate the quality of the metal in time, so you won’t be able to use it for much else. Another way of doing it is to simply carve the spear tip directly in the branch, by sharpening it with a blade or another sharp object at your disposal. But this won’t be a very durable result, especially if you miss a lot. Hitting the wooden tip on hard surfaces (rocks and sediments) will break it eventually.

But what if you’re a bad that can’t even harpoon a shark in a fish tank? No worries, this mean’s the multi-headed fishing spear is the right tool for you. Take a branch that’s durable enough and split one for about 6 inches long, as many times as you can. Sharpen the multi heads of the spear and tie them last 2 – 3 firmly with the rope, to prevent them from splitting further and eventually breaking. Now find a twig that’s strong enough to keep the “teeth” of the spear separated. You’ll not only hit your prey easily pierce it easily, but the shock from the hit will eject the twig, closing the “spear jaws”. That fish won’t know what hit him.

The multi-headed fishing spear

D.I.Y. fishing gear

Those of you who just can’t give up modern fishing or who simply find spear fishing too primitive can improvise their very own lures, lines and fish hooks. Hooks are easiest to make. If you have a soda can in hand, you can cut the tab a pair of pliers or strong scissors into a hook shape. Anything goes if you creative enough, from safety pins, nails or paper clips to thorns and bones. If you have a sharp knife on you and the patience to do it, you can make your very own toggle hook, used by our primitive ancestors. This is a 1 inch hook made from durable material (bone, sea shells or wood) that’s sharpened at both ends and curbed. It’s attached to the fishing line by its mid section and hidden bait. When the prey swallows the bait, the hook jams in its throat.

Bait shouldn’t be much of a problem, as there is plenty of natural bait around, even in urban environments. Fish tend to go for everything wiggling, so you’ll have no problem if you’ll be using grubs, ants, night crawlers, centipedes, millipedes, maggots, earthworms, caterpillars, beetles etc. If one type of bait doesn’t work, keep trying on until you find the right one. Considering you’ll be in survival situation, you might as well be fishing with multiple fishing lines. So trying out different types of bait and making a statistic shouldn’t be a long and lengthy process at all.

Fishing line is probably the biggest challenge you’ll have to face. Although it’s hard to improvise, it’s not impossible. It can be made out of clothing material (ripped or torn), wire, twisted tree bark, dental floss and pretty much everything else that’s thin enough to attach itself to the fishing pole and strong enough to pull a fish out of the water.

Improvised tab hook

D.I.Y. fishing nets

In some cases this method can be more efficient than the tradition line and hook method. You can use clothing material or pretty much any material that’s strong enough for the job. You can attach two pieces at the extremities and simply walk around with the improvised net submersed. This is very practical if you’re using it in a small lake or stream, but not if you find yourself at the ocean. You’ll have to start from the deepest spot and work your way with the net still immersed to the shallowest spot. When you get there, close the net and pick it up quickly.

Hand fishing

It’s probably the most primitive fishing method available. But still, it works. This activity goes by many names (hogging, graveling, noodling, fish tickling etc.) and it varies in technique from region to region. The easiest approach to hand fishing is to catch fish directly from their lairs or hideouts. Cat fish are easiest to catch due to their considerable size (which makes them easy to hold) and their slow response. Just find a fish lair and rich in and grab the fish out. It’s best if you can grab a direct hold of the gills and or on the inside of the mouth. Just make sure that whatever it is you’re grabbing doesn’t have teeth or spikes.

These are some of the easiest methods of fishing in a survival situation. There are more out there for you to discover. Many of them might not be legal in your state, but in a SHTF scenario, everything goes. So do not try them unless you don’t absolutely have to.

By My Family Survival Plan

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