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
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!
The total of human population at the beginning of 2016 is roughly around 7.6 billion. And if it’s one thing that’s characteristic for us, is the speed in which we’re depleting our resources; not only are we fast, but we’re constant as well. There’s plenty of us already, and in the near future, there are many things we’ll need to learn to do without. The world reserve of petrol won’t last more than 20, maybe 30 years before its completely depleted. But even more important, it’s finding an alternative for when the food runs out. You can live without petrol and other commodities, but you can’t live without food. The best solution at hand is to throw aside culinary “traditions”, toughen up and accept the fact that the insects solving world hunger. They are the best source of food for dark days! Whether you’re the survivor for a massive World War, scouting the remains of a destroyed society or you’ve been stranded in a hostile environment, you’ll still be surrounded by insects. Most insects are good for eating, just don’t go for the poisonous and venomous ones. It’s their high concentration of protein (can go even up to 75% protein), but also saturated fats (the good kind of fats), minerals and fibers that put them at the top of the list; about 70% of the world’s population is living of insects already, so how long until the rest of us join in? Even the UN launched and official recommendation which encourages insect consumption. Not only is insect consumption healthy, but insect farms would be far less costly and pretentious than any other type of animal. If I’ve got your attention, let’s see some of the best insects across North America that you can get your hands on if SHTF, or if you simply want to experiment.
ANTS (the Formicidae family)
There are plenty of ants to choose from. They’re widely spread and within reach all the time. Just take a bit of patience to scout around the place and you’ll find some sooner or later. Most of the ants you’ll come across are harmless. But if you come across red ants, means you stumbled across some fire ants. They’re bite is really painful, so be as cautious as possible. If we’re talking about an extreme survival case, you can simply reach in the anthill and grab the ants or even better, use a container. I’m sure that if you’ve been starving for a while, you won’t mind their vinegary taste or the fact that you ingurgitate some soil. But if you have the time, boiling is the way to go.
TERMINTES (the Termitoidae family)
Termites are colonial insects, just like ants, they can often be found in large number at ones and their diet consists mainly in eating wood (xylofagous diet). In many places around the world, they live in regular fortresses; termite mounds that are run by all sorts insects devised in social ranks: workers, soldiers, scouts and the queen. However, the mound type structures are no longer found in North America; only fossils are left. Finding termites is really easy, just look for any signs of decaying wood, tree stumps and most of all, damp dead wood.
The caterpillar is not a genus of insect, but rather a transitional form for all sorts of butterflies and moths. Before reaching adult state, moths and butterflies are found in caterpillar form. They don’t have wings, are rather slow by nature (which means they’re easy to catch) and are full of all sorts of nutrients and beneficial substances: vitamin B, calcium, sodium, potassium, phosphorous, magnesium, zinc, copper and iron. Whether they’re hairy or not, they’re still a fully nutritious food source. Some reports I have come across suggest that some of the caterpillars you might come across are potentially toxic, but I have found nothing conclusive in this regard. But just to play it safe, I strongly advise you to stay away from the brightly colored ones. In nature, bright colors mean imminent danger.
CRICKETS / GRASSHOPPERS / LOCUSTS (the Orthoptera order)
The insects in this order are some of the most popular amongst people. And with good reason too. They’re everywhere, easy to catch and sometimes swarm in large numbers; they can be devastating to crops, so if you add humans to they’re natural predatory lists, means less damage they’ll be able to produce. Start eating them, before they’ll eat what you worked so hard for. Besides, they are very nutritious; they have a good overall taste, which is similar to peanuts. Frying them accentuates the flavor, and because they’re packed with protein, you can also dry them up and grind them into a fine powder, which you can store in a cool and dry environment.
Be warned, procuring insects is not as easy as it seems. You really need to know what you’ll be going against. If it’s small and it’s crawling, it’s good to eat. BUT if you see bright colors, stay away. Bright colors mean that the insect is probably poisonous or venomous, so move on and keep looking. You also must be aware of you “hunting ground”. You should gathering insects from urban areas or large crop fields, as these are very likely to have been sprayed with all sorts of insecticides, which can be very toxic.
Oral hygiene is of upmost importance, and we’re familiarized with the toothbrush and toothpaste from an early age. Keeping your teeth clean on a daily basis is vital for preserving oral hygiene. But despite the rigors and norms of the modern consumerist society we live in, there are many other ways of keeping your teeth clan and healthy. And they work best in a TEOTWAWKI scenario, when the products we’re used to won’t just be available anymore. You’ll need to improvise, but luckily there are many substitutes for the traditional methods and products. And despite what many people believe, teeth aren’t made of glass. Cleaning them with something else other than toothpaste won’t damage them in any way. There are plenty of raw foods that known to have a cleaning effect on the teeth (apples, pears, carrots); provided they are hard enough (soft and ripe won’t do), they’ll do wonders for your teeth and gums, preventing even gingivitis and canker sores. Here are some of the best replacements for modern teeth cleaning methods.
Baking soda is probably the most famous alternative when it comes to cleaning the teeth. The baking soda’s natural properties lets it neutralize acids that are harmful for the enamel, kills off bacteria that is responsible for plaque build-up and as far as aesthetics go, it’s an excellent stain remover. It’s used dates as far back as antiquity, as even Hippocrates himself had a mouthwash recipe based on baking soda, vinegar and alum. Alongside baking soda, there are many oils you can throw into the mix for added beneficial effects: cinnamon oil (has antibacterial and antimicrobial properties), peppermint oil (has antibacterial effect, it freshens the breath and it clears up the sinuses), clove oil (fights off bacteria and has painkilling properties) etc. These oils work in more ways than one. If you have swollen gums, you can dip a piece of clean cloth of gauze in any of these and a place over the affected area; for best results, let the gum-pack sit overnight.
Salt is the ingredient that no serious prepper should go without. And believe it or not, it even serves a purpose in the field of oral hygiene. Salt brushing can be used even today, in moderation of course; salt can whiten and brighten one’s teeth. It has mild cleaning properties and it can be used daily; you can also make a salt based mouthwash that you can use for disinfection purposes, against bad breath, tartar, plaque and even boost the healing process. Salt can be used raw or mixed with baking soda (30% salt, 70% baking soda); you can even add sage to the mix, if you happen to have some at your disposal. Mouth wash is even easier to make; just add salt to potable water and there you have it.
OXYGENTATED WATER (HYDROGEN PEROXIDE 3%)
The product has been proven to be very effective against gingivitis, canker sores and harmful bacteria. It should be diluted with water before usage, because it’s a bit to abrasive on the teeth. Just mix equal parts of water and hydrogen peroxide 3% and you get a very affective mouth wash. However, you should never swallow the mixture. Before brushing your teeth, swish it around in your mouth and spit it out, but don’t keep it in for longer than 20 seconds. After you’re done, you can wash the toothbrush with the oxygenated water-based concoction, to destroy residual bacteria.
PRIMITIVE TOOTHBRUSHES (aka. CHEW STICKS)
Chewing on sticks and branches is a primitive teeth-cleaning method, that’s still used today among tribal societies. It might seem a bit rough, but it works. The method consists in chewing down on little twigs and branches and splitting them into several small brands. When you’re done chewing and the twig gets spread enough, you can used it to clean your teeth similar to a toothbrush. Some plants are more efficient than others, thanks to their healing properties. Some of the best and most spread DIY toothbrushes can be made out of oak, juniper, eucalyptus and the neem tree. Their rich in tannins that are extremely helpful in cleansing and curing gum-related afflictions and oils that stimulate blood flow.
There you have it, some of the best methods to help you keep your oral hygiene even in the toughest conditions imaginable. When your toothpaste and mouthwash reserves run low, you’ll need to consider replacing them and fast. No matter how bad things get, overlooking oral hygiene is not an option.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
Toothpaste comes regularly in paste or gel form, is based mostly on fluoride and it’s used in maintaining thehealth and aesthetics of teeth by fighting various tooth and gum conditions. But apart from cleaning your teeth, toothpaste can serve a multitude of other household related purposes. Its chemical makeup renders it an all-purpose tool when you might be lacking in many things around the house; but still have toothpaste.
Not only is it cheap and easy to find, but most of us actually keep more than one tube around the house. In what’s to come, we’ll take a look at some uses for toothpaste, non-teeth related purposes that a simple tube of toothpaste can serve.
Remove clothing stains
It works great in removing oily, tough stains from fabrics. Apply toothpaste on the stained area and with a little water, and gently rub the spot. After a minute or so of rubbing, just throw the fabric in the washer. If the stain is old, you’ll most likely need to the toothpaste bit a couple of more times for results to show. It doesn’t work on all fabrics or stains, but it does wonders for ink spots. P.S. don’t use a whitening toothpaste (with bleaching effects) on colored fabrics; a regular toothpaste will do.
Remove carpet stains
It works just as good on carpet fabric as it does on clothing. Just add toothpaste to the affected area and clean the spot with a toothbrush, in a circular motion; much like cleaning your teeth. After scrubbing, rinse and repeat until the spot is gone. The process will get out almost everything and make you carpet brand new. But some stains are resistant to toothpaste, especially if the stain is caused by an acid-based substance. In such a case toothpaste becomes useless.
Toothpaste can easily remove leather scuffs. Put some toothpaste on a soft cloth and gently rub the leather surface. After you’re done, rinse the area with a damp cloth. It works on everything that’s made out of leather. The same principle applies to linoleum.
Whiten piano keys
The ivory white keys can be easily cleaned with a cotton swab that’s been previously dampened in a little water and then in a pinch of toothpaste. Take your time and do it right. It will take some time, but when you’re done, wipe the keys dry and then buff them with a soft, clean cloth and you’ll have brand new piano keys again.
Whitening peroxide toothpastes will have no problem in polishing and brightening finger and toe nails alike. Whether your nails have been darkened in time due to excessive usage of nail polish or they’re naturally yellowish, there’s still hope. Add toothpaste, brush them carefully with a toothbrush and when you’re all done, add the finishing touch and soak them in lemon juice for a couple of minutes.
Shine chrome surfaces
The chromed pieces around the house (especially faucets) will get water stains in time. Because if it’s abrasive nature, toothpaste will act in the same way professional cleaning products for chromed surfaces will. Just add toothpaste to the stains, scrub and rinse with water. You’ll have the chrome pieces shiny and brand new again in no time.
Remove crayon marks from walls
If your kids have been running amok around the house and you’re stuck with crayon marks all over the walls, don’t panic. There’s hope yet, as long as you have toothpaste (non-gel) around the house. Apart from a toothpaste, you’ll also need a clean rag or a scrub brush. Spread the toothpaste on the wall and scrub it good (preferably in circular motions). The abrasive agents in the toothpaste will remove the colors from the walls eventually.
Remove watermarks from furniture
Even though you might have a ton of coasters around the house, you’re bound to get water marks at some point; they’re unavoidable and just the worst. If you want to clean those right up, simply add some non-gel toothpaste, let it sit for a couple of seconds and rub it off with a soft fabric. Once you’re done scrubbing wipe it off with a dry cloth. Before adding furniture polish make sure the surface is perfectly dry.
Deodorize your hands
Just as toothpaste deodorizes the inside of your mouth, so it can deodorize your hands. If you’ve dealt with anything smelly throughout the day that’s left your hands smelling worse than French cheese, just wash them thoroughly with cold water and toothpaste. The chemicals in the paste will destroy the bacteria that causes the bad smell and will leave your hands smelling great.
Deodorize baby bottles
Toothpaste works just as well in removing the sour milk smell from baby bottles. You’ll need to scrub both the inside and the outside of the baby bottle with a mixture of water and toothpaste. One you’re done scrubbing, rinse with water and then thrown the bottle in the dishwasher and wash regularly.
Toothpaste can polish everything made out of silver, be it jewelry, silverware picture frames etc. What you’ll need is a regular toothpaste (gel-based aren’t as efficient), a soft, clean cloth or better yet, a toothbrush. Just add some paste on your soft cloth or toothbrush and start scrubbing the silvery surface like there’s no tomorrow. You start to notice the difference in no time, as the tarnish will come off little by little. When you think you’re done, simply rinse and dry off with a dry cloth.
If you want to give a precious gemstone that old sparkle back, you just need a regular tube of toothpaste and a soft toothbrush. Just add a little pate on the toothbrush and start brushing gently until you see the shine returning. When you’re done brushing rinse with water and rub gently with a soft cloth.
Fill holes in the wall
If you’ve have perforated walls which have bothered you for a long time, just know you don’t need Spackle to get the job done. A pinch of toothpaste will work pretty much in the same way when it comes to filling up holes left by nails screws, pins etc. The toothpaste hardens and makes for a great temporary solution. Just beware of how much you’re adding, as too much can make the situation even worse if at some point you decide to deal with the problem properly.
The adding of toothpaste to an acne affected area is a well-known treatment that has been around for decades. However, adding toothpaste alone won’t solve much, except dehydration of the affected area. For the best result, you should mix toothpaste with crushed aspirin. The toothpaste will dehydrate as usual and the salicylic acids in the aspirin will fight off infection and decrease the inflammation.
Remove cell phone / watch scratches
Your cell phone or watch display will undoubtedly get damaged and scratched with the passing of time, unless of course you have the right protection. If not, tiny marks will start to appear. These are easily removed with toothpaste. Just dip your finger gently in tooth paste and rub the screen. One you’re done rinse with a damp cloth and ultimately dry the surface with a soft cloth.
As you’ve seen by now, having some toothpaste around the house can really pay off. Especially if you find yourself out of certain cleaning products. Cleaning stuff around the house it’s fine, but remember that toothpaste is first of all for cleaning your teeth. Don’t overlook oral hygiene, as teeth health is really important.
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.
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.
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.
Food! We all do it, we all eat. Not only because we have to in order to survive, but also because we like it. Most cultures are unique when it comes to culinary treats, with at least a couple of dishes to set them easily aside from the rest of the world. Cooking may come in different shapes and sizes, but the raw material is (more or less) the same everywhere. We need organic material as fuel. But the organic material we ingurgitate may sometimes be infected by pathogens that will cause us harm. The food of beverages that contain certain bacteria, viruses, parasites or even chemicals will cause great distress and irritation to the gastrointestinal tract. Most of the gastrointestinal afflictions are acute; they manifest themselves rapidly, with fever diarrhea and vomiting and won’t last more than a few days, even without medical treatment. Others, on the other hand, will manifest themselves way more severely, and will cause a rapid death if left untreated.
This tiny bacterium (Salmonella enterica) is one of the most common and wildly spread foodborne pathogens on the face of the Earth. It lives in the intestinal tracts of animals and it’s transmitted to humans through food that hasn’t been properly washed and that previously came in contact with animal waste. What makes it dangerous and so wildly spread is the fact that it’s practically impossible to detect. Diseased animals manifest no exact symptoms; nor will the food products that get tainted. It’s not resistant to high temperatures, so cooking the food properly will destroy the proteins that make up the bacteria. If not, hell will soon follow. Within 12 to 72 hours from infection, the pathogen will make itself “visible” through acute abdominal pain and cramp, fever and diarrhea. The diarrhea is severe in this case, so drinking plenty of fluids is a must, in order to avoid dehydration. In a strong and healthy individual, the disease shouldn’t last more than 5 – 7 days. Medication is necessary only if the infection has already spread to the intestines; also if the infected person has a compromised immune system or is an elderly citizen, that will have problems fighting the disease on his own. It can sometimes lead to a complication known as Reiter’s syndrome or reactive arthritis, which causes painful joints, painful urination, eye soreness and chronic arthritis. The best way to avoid salmonella infection is it to cook your food carefully, especially meat and eggs.
Also known as trichinellosis, is a disease that’s easily contracted by humans that consume meat infected with the larvae of the trichinella worm (Trichinella spiralis), be it from domesticated pigs or other wild animals. The larvae are incased in a cyst in animal meat. After ingestion, it gets in a human host, where the digestive acids found in our stomachs dissolve the cyst and release the worm. They mature in a couple of days in the small intestine. They will mate, lay eggs and from these eggs small worm will result that will make their way to muscle tissue (through the arteries), where they’ll incase themselves in cystic form again. In an attempt to fight the invasive creatures, you’ll body will suffer nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, acute stomachaches in the first 2 – 3 days after eating the tainted meat. After the worms have matured and start reproducing (2 – 8 weeks), you’ll also experience fever, chills, coughing, eye-sealing, headaches, itchy skin, joint pain and irregularities of the digestive system (constipation or diarrhea). It’s a disease that should not be left untreated. The best way to avoid getting trichinosis is to cook meat at about 160°F, temperature that will destroy the cysts. You can also freeze you pork for 20 days in order to kill the worms, however this might not work when it comes to game animals.
Trichinella spiralis cysts in muscle mass
The Escherichia coli is a large group of bacteria, out of which most are harmless. The one that’s able to cause havoc is called the O157:H7, and is part of the STEC group (the E. coli that produce the Shiga toxin). They’re mostly found in the intestines and stomachs of ruminant animals (cattle) but also in sheep, goats, elk, deer etc. When the animal is eviscerated, the intestines might get cut and spill out on the meat, immediately infecting it. The most common method of spreading the bacteria is through ground meat, but it was also found in milk and other dairy products. Vegetables or fruits that come in contact with infected animal waste will also get tainted. Although it doesn’t manifest itself in any way in the animal hosts, in humans it can cause fever, nausea, vomiting, cramps and even bloody diarrhea. The infection spreads rapidly, so that about a third of the people infected will get hospitalized; about 10% of those that get hospitalized will die. It’s most dangerous when it comes to children ages 5 – 10. They risk of developing hemolytic-uremic syndrome as a result of the E. coli infection, which can lead to kidney failure. You can avoid E. coli infection by regularly washing your hands, washing vegetables and cooking your meat at a temperature of at least 160°F.
The O157:H7 E. coli
To avoid getting dangerous foodborne diseases, hygiene is a must. Always wash your hands, your food and avoid eating from unreliable sources. If you manifest any of the symptoms that I’ve listed above, check with your doctor immediately and don’t leave anything to chance. Most of the incipient symptoms are common in most type of food related infections, so it’s hard to tell on your own whether you’ve contracted something that’s life-threatening or not.