This blog is to help you in preparing for an emergency. It also contains other information that you might find spiritually up-lifting. This is not an official website of "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints". This site is maintained by Barry McCann (barry@mail.com)

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Stocking Your First-Aid Kit

The importance of a well-stocked first aid kit is a point that cannot be stressed enough. Aside from the fact that, ideally, one should always have such a kit on hand for common ailments like minor cuts, burns, bruises and abrasions, your first aid kit becomes a matter of critical importance in the event of any serious emergency or natural disaster.
In emergency situations, a properly prepared first aid kit can literally mean the difference between life and death for you or your loved ones, but the sad fact is that most people don’t even have a first aid kit in their home anymore.
In an era of widespread hospital and clinical care facilities, most families keep a box or two of bandaids on hand and a tube of Neosporin, but not much else.
But when real emergencies happen or natural disasters strike, those care facilities are quickly overwhelmed and unable to deal with everyone who needs care.
Luckily, you can protect yourself, your family and your loved ones from going without basic medical necessities in times of crises by simply investing a bit of time and money in a high quality, well-stocked first aid kit.
A good first aid kit can be assembled one piece at a time, and generally at a pretty reasonable cost. Building your own first aid kit, as opposed to purchasing one of the ready-made kits that are widely available, has some additional advantages, too.
Not only will you save money, but you’ll also know precisely what you packed since you’ll have picked out each item. Packing your own kit also means you can include any specific medications that you or your family may require in an emergency, an important consideration that no ready-made kit can ever provide for.
What To Pack
All first aid kits can be personalized to contain specific things you or your family might need in an emergency, but here’s a list of some of the most common and fundamental items that your first aid kit should contain:

  • Medical sutures; these are used for applying stitches and can usually be obtained at a pharmacy or online for a fairly reasonable price. You can also get sutures from most vets.
  • Antiseptic; this might be something as simple as Neosporin or Tea Tree Oil, but liquid iodine serves phenomenally as a topical antiseptic; it can also be used to purify water.
  • Bandages, including bandaids of a variety of sizes, non-stick gauze bandages of various sizes and elastic Ace-style bandages for treating or securing sprains.
  • Arm splints; even if you just include a few sturdy, light-weight lengths of wood ( 8 – 12 inches will do) including some form of splinting material is a good idea. Broken arms, wrists and fingers can happen rather easily, and a splint goes a long way toward stabilizing, relieving pain and fostering healing of such wounds.
  • Scissors, a good, sturdy pair of scissors and possibly also a finer, ultra-sharp pair of surgical scissors, for use cutting bandages down or for other emergencies.
  • Pain medication, generally an over-the-counter medication such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or aspirin; note that aspirin has marked blood-thinning effects, however, so acetaminophen may be a preferable medication to use in emergencies.
  • Prescription medication for yourself or any family members. At least a one week supply of necessary medication should be stored in your first aid kit at all times. Most prescription medication has a long shelf-life, but be sure to change the medication out periodically to keep it fresh; most doctors have no problem with you filling an extra prescription specifically for the purpose of saving it in case of an emergency.
  • Emergency tourniquet; this is used to stop bleeding by cutting off the blood flow, generally for use on an arm or leg when there is substantial blood loss from a wound. A tourniquet can be made from a cord or even a torn piece of cloth, but emergency tourniquets are available that resemble a traditional blood pressure cuff.
  • Medical (adhesive) tape, this goes with the bandages mentioned above, particularly in the case of gauze bandages when you will need something to adhere them over a wound.
  • Burn salve or aloe vera for the treatment of burns is an excellent, necessary item for any first aid kit; you may also include special dressings for burns, and colloidal or ionic silver has been used in hospital burn wards for decades.
  • Ammonia inhalants, commonly known as smelling salts, are a useful addition to a first aid kit but should be used with caution. Smelling salts are used to help wake someone up who has passed out, fainted or become unconscious for some reason; when the reason for unconsciousness is unknown, it may be advisable to wait before using smelling salts. Note: ammonia inhalants can be particularly aggravating to the lungs and respiratory system, so individuals with known respiratory illnesses should avoid their use.
  • A thermometer; a traditional thermometer will seldom lead you wrong, but if you use an electronic one instead just be sure to pack extra batteries in your kit for it. Don’t underestimate the value of a thermometer in an emergency; running a fever or becoming chilled can be deadly in a survival situation.
  • Tweezers are immensely useful, especially if you have to clean out a wound.
  • Eye drops or other neutral fluid intended for flushing and rinsing the eyes; a 4 oz. bottle is generally sufficient.
  • Instant ice / instant heat packs can provide the heating or the cooling necessary to reduce swelling, alleviate pain or warm you up accordingly; they are light weight and very affordable, available in outdoors stores as well as online.
  • Rubbing alcohol for use in sterilizing needles, sutures, medical tools and wounds.
There are many other items that you might choose to pack in your first aid kit, such as antihistamines if you or your family members are known to suffer from allergies. Whether you buy a preassembled kit or create your own, be sure to familiarize yourself with all the contents of your first aid kit and specialize it to the known medical needs of your family ahead of time.

Monday, April 27, 2020

Can You Stay Alive? Assessing Outdoor Risks

Can you stay alive outdoors by assessing risks? The summer outdoor season sees an increase in reports about disappearances and accidents. A recent report from California discusses the disappearance of an experienced hiker at a campsite in the Bristlecone Pine Forest. She was later found alive after four days. The report reveals that she had to flee her location due to a threatening person. Another story relates the discovery of the body of a missing person on the Snake River in Wyoming. He was working at a KOA campsite. Outdoor activities can be great experiences. However, outdoor activities also have inherent risks. You should develop a risk assessment and reduction plan before you go on a wilderness adventure. The following principles can help you build your risk mitigation plan.

1. Assess the level of wilderness experience and field skills of yourself and others

It is terrific to have a desire to spend time outdoors. There is an increasing number of people heading to the wilderness to hunt, hike, camp, or fish. The growing popularity of survival-related reality television programs and the rising interest in survival and preparedness are motivating people to get outdoors. However, the reality of being in the wilderness is different from how it is portrayed in the mass media. There is a danger of overconfidence in one’s abilities.
It is prudent to be realistic in assessing the level of wilderness experience and field skills of yourself and those in your group. The less wilderness experience and skills that one has should be an indicator that they are a high risk to themselves and others. Therefore, it is imperative to take a partner with you into the outdoors. Your partner should be more experienced and have more field skills than you to compliment your weaknesses. As a matter of safety, you should never go into the wilderness by yourself regardless of how skilled and experienced you are with the outdoors.

2. Know the level of health and physical fitness of yourself and others.

It is vital to know your level of health and physical fitness. Health and physical fitness play an important role in determining the kinds of activity and locations that one visits. For example, people with high blood pressure might have limitations as to the types of trails that they can trek on a backpacking adventure.

3. Understand the natural or man-made dangers of the area of activity

One of the common characteristics of negative experiences in the outdoors is a lack of awareness of the risks. More specifically, there seems to be a lack of knowledge of the natural and man-made dangers in the area of activity. One type of natural hazard involves predatory animals, such as mountain lions or bears. Other inherent threats are those relating to the terrain such as cliffs, bodies of water, areas of deadfall, or unstable ground. Man-made dangers are those pertaining to human activity. These can comprise logging areas, areas of construction, or even previous criminal activity.

4. Analyze the local weather and weather anomalies of the area of activity

Weather is a contributor to outdoor risks. There are reports of sudden fog, rain, or dropping of temperatures even in the summer months in some locations. It must be remembered that some local weather patterns cannot be found in a national or local forecast. The people who live near the area of your outdoor activity can provide useful information on local weather activity such as afternoon thundershowers. Analyzing the local weather traits will help make decisions about what to put in your backpack, such as rain gear or a light fleece jacket.

5. Identify the level of access to emergency help in the area of activity

Sometimes people, who go outdoors, do not take into account the availability of emergency help. It is essential to have a good understanding of what kind of emergency help is available. Additionally, it is crucial to know how to access emergency help in your planned area of activity. The importance of knowing how to contact emergency help is a critical part of your outdoor planning.
For example, one of the areas near me does not have a large number of park rangers. They tell you when you come into the park that most emergency help will be by airlift. They do not have the personnel or transportation available to come to your aid if you call for help. Thus, an expensive life flight to a local hospital awaits, should you dial for help. That kind of information influences your activity and what you have in your gear.  Some wilderness areas have no cell phone access. How will you get help in an emergency?
It is recommended that you develop a first-responder contact card. This card should have contact information for park rangers, first responders, and area hospitals. You should include emergency radio channels on the card if you are carrying a handheld ham radio two-way transceiver with you.

Final Thoughts

Risk reduction is an important skill to develop and exercise for those who love the outdoors. Your risk reduction plan has its limitations. However, without one, you may find your activity being less than enjoyable. Once you have identified the risks for your planned wilderness adventure, then develop and implement measures to reduce that risk. One of the best techniques to consider for risk reduction measures is the PACE plan. Additionally, your risk reduction plan should take into account the kind of activity (Mission), local and area dangers (Enemy), time of day, month or day (Time), the people involved (Troops), location (Terrain), and accesses to emergency help (Civilian Considerations). Once you have your risk mitigation plan complete, give a copy to whomever, you will be making your communication checks while you are outdoors.

Friday, April 10, 2020

Bread shortage? Navajo Flatbread

Bread shortage?
This is the easiest kind of bread you can make. Costs pennies and can get you through these strange times, my family lived off these when the pickings were slim. 

Navajo Flatbread:
Makes 6
2 cups flour
1 - 1 1/4cup of lukewarm water
1 table spoon baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt
1 table spoon oil/butter/shortening
Mix dry ingredients together and add most water, mix and add water until it has the consistency of tacky pizza dough.
Knead for a few minutes.
Let rest in greased bowl for 30- 60 minutes.
Divide into 6 pieces and roll out on floured surface thin. (Tortilla thickness)
Hear griddle to 350F.
Cook until golden brown spots and flip, cooking until done.
They can be made ahead and kept under a flour towel or frozen for later use.
Hope this helps.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Tips for conserving water...

Tips for conserving water

Here are a few suggestions for reducing the amount of water you use on a daily basis. The list is by no means comprehensive, and not all of these solutions will work for everyone’s situation.
First, take notes from those who live without running water. Just think: If you had to physically acquire every drop of water used in your home, whether by pumping it by hand from a well or lugging it from a water source, you’d already be taking many of these lower-tech steps.
  • Reuse cooking water – if you have boiled pasta or vegetables, use this water for making soup. You will have retained some of the nutrients and flavor from the first thing you cooked in the water.
  • Landscape with plants that grow naturally in your area.  They should require little in the way of additional watering. Your county extension office can often help with this. You can also take a hike and find many lovely plants that thrive whatever your climate happens to be.
  • Grow organic. Chemical fertilizers can increase a plant’s need for water. (This book has some amazing tips for organic drought gardening.)
  • Wash some clothing by hand – it will use far less water than your washing machine. Be sure and save the water for other uses.
  • When shaving, rinse your razor in a cup instead of under running water.
  • Skip the dishwasher and do the dishes by hand.
  • Instead of running water over each dish to rinse, fill one side of the sink or a basin with rinse water containing a splash of white vinegar. Running water uses up to 4 gallons per minute. If you use a basin, you can use your rinse water for other purposes.
  • Use a glass of water to brush your teeth instead of running the tap the entire time.
  • Use an organic mulch in your garden to help retain moisture.
  • Wash produce in a basin of water instead of under running water.
  • When you clean out your fish tank, reserve the water for your garden. Your veggies will love the nutrient boost!
  • Harvest rainwater for your garden. (In some places, where the government believes they own the water falling from the sky, subtlety may be in order.) This one looks like an attractive planter that can be discreetly placed at the downspouts of your house.
These next options assume that running water is not an issue, but that you still wish to conserve.
  • Add an inexpensive displacement bag to fill space in the back of the toilet tank. This reduces the amount of water used in each flush. You can also use a brick, but I like that the bags are more flexible.
  • Speaking of flushing, you may have heard the rhyme, “If it’s yellow, let it mellow. If it’s brown, flush it down.”
  • Devise a gray water catchment system for your shower, your washing machine, and your kitchen. This water can be used for flushing, watering plants, and for cleaning. Do keep in mind that some counties do not allow gray water to be reused, even in the midst of an epic drought. Do what you will with this information.
  • Take shorter showers – try to reduce them to 5 minutes – this can save up to 1000 gallons per month! If you can’t handle a 5-minute shower, every 2 minutes you shorten your shower time by can save approximately 150-200 gallons per month.
  • Install a water-saving shower head.
  • When you have a shower, plug the tub. Use the water you collect for handwashing laundry or for watering plants. If you aren’t absolutely filthy when you get in the shower, this shouldn’t be a problem.
  • If you do use a dishwasher, run it only when it’s completely full – this can save you 1000 gallons per month.
  • If you drop a tray of ice cubes, pop them into a pet dish or into your potted plants.
  • When washing your hands, dip them in a basin of water, lather up, then rinse under running water. Running water uses up to 4 gallons per minute.
  • Upgrade your faucets with inexpensive (and very simple to install) aerators with flow restrictors.
  • Use a nozzle on your hose so that you are only putting water where you want it, not spraying it uselessly as you walk to the garden.
  • Repair leaks. At the rate of one drip per second, that adds up to 5 gallons per day…literally down the drain.
  • If you are buying new items for your home, opt for those which use water more efficiently, like front-loading washing machines and low flush toilets.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020


If you live in a situation where it is plausible, GO BUY SEEDS AND PLANT THEM. They are still at the stores, but they will disappear soon enough. Garden vegetables will not provide sufficient calories quickly enough to prevent you from losing weight. But they can provide sufficient nutrition to keep you from being malnourished, which is a big problem especially if you have young children. Here is all you need, all of which are still available at lowe's / home depot: A shovel, a pick axe (if you have particularly hard soil). If you have deer, you will also need >= 6 ft fencing (if you have deer) + t-posts + something to drive them with (5lb hammer is sufficient, sledge is better, post driver is even better). Recommended plants: 1) Kale (can be planted as soon as the soil is thawed enough to dig in, grows easily, pick leaves from bottom, very nutritious, very compact @ 2' x 2', lacinato and black magic taste the best, but all varieties will work, can throw some leaves into a bean soup or steam or make a salad), 2) zucchini (productive, quick, compact @ 3' x 3', can eat steamed, fried, baked, or in bread), 3) peas (can be planted as soon as the soil is thawed, provides lots of carbs, can be used in soup or steamed, can be dried for indefinite storage, will produce all season if picked, needs a trellis/fence). I wouldn't waste time with single-harvest / lower nutrition plants such as carrots, onions, lettuce, etc. If you want to hedge for a longer time period, you could consider winter squash (I recommend butternut and blue hubbard) and/or planting dried beans you might have in your food storage. Those will take the rest of the season before you can harvest them, can't be planted until after the last frost (but can be started inside 3 weeks before then) and won't grow if you live in a particularly northern climate, but will keep (dried beans keep indefinitely, winter squash will store for ~6 months in a cool dry place).

Sunday, March 1, 2020

Tips on how to prevent catching, spreading coronavirus

Tips on how to prevent catching, spreading coronavirus

Posted: 4:00 PM, Feb 25, 2020

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Tuesday that it is likely that the spread of coronavirus will reach pandemic levels, as scientists still are trying to solve how to stop the spread of the deadly virus. 

In the meantime, the CDC has offered some tips it believes will help prevent the spread of the disease.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask.
    • CDC does not recommend that people who are well, wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
    • Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
    • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
And if you get develop mild symptoms, the World Health Organization recommends staying home.

"Stay at home, if you begin to feel unwell, even with mild symptoms such as headache and slight runny nose, until you recover," the WHO said. "Why? Avoiding contact with others and visits to medical facilities will allow these facilities to operate more effectively and help protect you and others from possible COVID-19 and other viruses."

One problem with the coronavirus compared to similar diseases is that not every person carrying the disease will show significant symptoms. This could mean someone could spread the disease to someone else without them knowing it. 

"Now it's not so much a question of if this will happen anymore, but rather more a question of exactly when this will happen, and how many people in this country will become infected, and how many of those will develop severe or more complicated disease," CDC Principal Deputy Director Dr. Anne Schuchat said.

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Health Officials Warn Americans To Plan For The Spread Of Coronavirus In U.S.

February 25, 20202:24 PM ET

Mark Lennihan/AP Updated at 8:25 p.m. ET

Federal health officials issued a blunt message Tuesday: Americans need to start preparing now for the possibility that more aggressive, disruptive measures might be needed to stop the spread of the new coronavirus in the U.S. 

The strongly-worded warning came in response to outbreaks of the virus outside China, including in Iran, Japan, South Korea, and Italy, which officials say have raised the likelihood of outbreaks occurring stateside.

"It's not so much a question of if this will happen anymore, but more really a question of when it will happen — and how many people in this country will have a severe illness," Dr. Nancy Messonnier of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told reporters during a briefing.

 While aggressive measures such as travel restrictions and the first federal quarantine in a half-century have probably slowed the arrival of the coronavirus in the U.S., Messonnier said even more intrusive steps will likely be needed.

"We are asking the American public to work with us to prepare with the expectation that this could be bad," Messonnier said. "I had a conversation with my family over breakfast this morning. And I told my children that while I didn't think that they were at risk right now, we, as a family, need to be preparing for significant disruption of our lives," she said.

Those measures could include school closings, workplace shutdowns and canceling large gatherings and public events, she warned.

"I understand this whole situation may seem overwhelming and that disruption to everyday life may be severe, but these are things that people need to start thinking about now," Messonnier said.

So Americans need to do things like start making plans to care for their children should school and daycare centers close, she said. They should talk to their employers about how they could work from home. And they should find out whether there might be a way to get medical care remotely, such as through telemedicine, Messonnier said.

She stressed that the current risk remains low. Almost all the cases that have occurred in the United States have been among travelers who have been infected overseas. In addition, there's always the chance that the coronavirus could begin to subside as spring and summer arrive. Infectious disease experts say that 80% of infections are mild, no more severe than the common cold.

So far, there have been 14 confirmed cases of the coronavirus illness COVID-19 in the U.S. and 40 other cases among people from the Diamond Princess cruise who were repatriated to the U.S., according to the CDC. There also are three cases among people who were repatriated from Hubei province in China, where the respiratory virus emerged months ago. 

Hand-washing with soap and water continues to be a top recommendation to protect against the virus since the abrasiveness of soap helps remove infectious particles from the hands. Experts say that commonly worn surgical masks aren't very effective protection. A heavy-duty mask called an N95 respirator is considerably better protection, but it is uncomfortable to wear and can make breathing more difficult.

The CDC has advised against nonessential travel to China and South Korea, countries that have seen the highest numbers of cases. But because there are so many unknowns, state and local officials and average Americans need to be prepared, Messonnier said.

"I continue to hope that in the end, we'll look back and feel like we were overprepared. But that is a better place to be in than being underprepared," she said.

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said in a media briefing Tuesday that the immediate risk to the general American public remains low, but that could change quickly. He pointed to the recent community transmission of the disease in countries outside Asia, which he called "deeply concerning."

On Monday, the White House requested $1.25 billion in new funding from Congress and authorization to move other money to get an expected $2.5 billion for emergency preparedness and response. Azar said the money will go toward virus surveillance, state and local preparedness, the development of therapeutic treatments and vaccines, and the building of a stockpile of personal protective equipment such as masks.

CDC Principal Deputy Director Dr. Anne Schuchat said that the precautions in the U.S. have been working, as evidenced by the low number of cases in the country so far. This is the time to prepare for the event of community transmission in the U.S., she said. For most patients who develop COVID-19, Schuchat explained, appropriate care would mean home isolation, using health care facilities only as needed for the elderly and for those with severe cases or other medical conditions.

"Current global circumstances suggest it's likely that this virus will cause a pandemic," she said, in which case specific local strategies would be implemented to slow the spread. Schuchat said authorities have long been preparing for such threats. She pointed to strategies such as hand-washing, social distancing and staying home when you're sick – the same recommendations from bad flu seasons or the H1N1 pandemic in 2009.

"There is literally a playbook for the use of these tools – one that the states and local public health have exercised," she said. Both Azar and Schuchat used the phrase "radical transparency" to describe their approach to the outbreak and promised frequent media briefings. "We have said from day one we can't hermetically seal off the United States. We've always said we expect to see more cases," Azar said.

"People shouldn't panic when they see new cases. They should know their government predicted we would have them, and we have plans in place," he added.

In a statement late Tuesday, the White House said it had met with health officials from more than 30 states and territories to thank them for their leadership in responding to coronavirus.

"The discussion focused on the importance of the public health partnership at various levels of government and underscored the importance [of] community preparedness," White House spokesman Hogan Gidley said.

Thursday, January 2, 2020

The Hammock Experience

Building up my ability to hammock camp I found some great parts that make up the whole.

Slept out in my hammock last night, learning temperature limits & how well a newly purchased rain tarp sheds rain. Yes, it rained throughout the night & early this morning. Even with the downpour, everything under the tarp, (including me) stayed dry.
I had a very comfortable nights sleep, despite using an underquilt rated to only 40 degrees. By wearing a sweatshirt, socks & sweatpants, plus a toboggan cap, I was exceptionally comfortable all night long. Only where the Mummy bag, used as a top quilt, wasn’t fully around my sides did I notice cold. I pulled the Mummy bag’s hood over my face & head too.
But it was right when the temperature bottomed out early in the morning (36.5 F), did I wake up feeling cold on my backside & shoulders (a.k.a.CBS… cold butt syndrome) I had reached the limit of comfort the underquilt could offer. I got to admit though, I’m totally impressed.
Getting in & out of a hammock may seem tricky, but once settled in I found this to be the most comfortable sleep I’ve ever had camping outside in the elements.
You may never have the need to stay overnight outside, or even have a care too. But consider owning a hammock, a rain tarp, a good sleeping bag, and an underquilt. You never know when they may come in VERY handy. One thing is certain, once you experience the comfort a hammock provides you’ll think twice about sleeping on the ground.

Here’s the Amazon Grocery list of Hammock Gear I’ve come up with that has got me off the ground (pardon the pun), & into Hammock Camping.

First Up, my Hammock…
This is what got me started, there was a promotion for them and I took the plunge. I was surprised how well made it is. 10’5 x 6’5 400lb capacity double parachute that comes with padded tree straps. All at a price half of what’s out there that compares.

Next… The Rain Tarp

Gold Armour 12’ XL TARP Hammock Waterproof RAIN Fly Tent TARP 185″ Centerline – Lightweight Ripstop Fabric – Stakes Included 

The most versatile piece of gear to get, and on a cold rainy night, the most  needed. A good tarp has to do only one thing… keep you & your gear dry. This one by Golden Armor is plenty big enough & plenty rugged enough to get the job done. What I liked most about it is the price. It offers the most bang for your buck!
Then a Bug Net…

Guardian Bug Net, Hammock Bug Netting

Not always needed but ALWAYS necessary when it is, understand? Unless you like getting chewed on in the night you NEED a bugnet. There are cheaper ones out there, but this ENO has kept me bug free here in a South Carolina SWAMP!
For creature comforts! Top & Bottom Quilts or Sleeping Bags…

HONEST OUTFITTERS Sleeping Bag with Compression Sack, Portable and Lightweight for 3-4 Season

It goes without saying, how a sleeping bag is necessary. I wish I could afford Goosedown, but synthetic fills offer as much insulation at far less cost. Here’s a good sleeping that fills the bill for all but extreme cold.NOTE: The Mummy Bag I’m using isn’t available on Amazon. It’s an Adventureridge brand purchased  from a Aldi’s Supermarket of all places. It was a good deal. So I picked this particular sleeping bag from Honest Outfitters because it approximates the same temperature rating as mine, and is similar in price. Personally, if I had to pick between the two, I’d pick this one since it’s a normal style Sleeping Bag. The Mummy style I have is a bit clunky to use in a hammock. It does fine used as a quilt, but this style would be better.

Here’s my choice of Underquilt…

Outdoor Vitals OV-Roost 40°F UnderQuilt/Sleeping Bag, Use As Ultralight UnderQuilt, Sleeping Bag, or Double Bag

It’s important to understand what “CBS” (Cold Butt Syndrome) is, & how this relates to Hammocks, and most importantly, how this Underquilt came to be my choice.
Since you’re butt is literally “Hanging” in a hammock, air is passing around it, & cooling it in the night. To keep from freezing your butt off, it’s necessary to insulate it from below, hence the need for a “Under Quilt”, which hangs under a hammock, keeping you warm. This one… the “Roost” by Outdoor Vitals is a fantastically affordable one that meets the need for me, & I bet for you too!

There are other bits & pieces you can add to this list that make hammock camping enjoyable, but for the basics, these all fill the bill nicely & affordably. There is a wide variety of styles of every one of these items, but these are what’s getting the job done for me. Every one is making me able to “Hang Out” in a moments notice.

Friday, November 22, 2019

Surviving Winter Storms with a Little Help from Technology

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It appears winter has reared its mighty head across a wide swath of North America this past week and The Prepper Journal has some ideas as to some tech that can help weather the onslaught, and its aftermath.
Cabin fever is a real thing and it can quickly set in, and as preppers it is something to be understood because it doesn’t need a winter storm to rear its ugly head, just isolation in a confined space with others, like in a bug-in scenario in a disaster, a hunker down situation where exposure will bring unwanted company, or even just alone in those same situations, or, snowed in because the snow plows are busy elsewhere.
Preppers Already Have a Leg Up
As preppers we have a leg up as preparing for such circumstances is something in our normal planning, something we have perhaps practiced or faced before, and there are some things where tech can help.
For all that weather predictions still get wrong, they have improved over the past decade and are getting better. And being preppers who have done our homework we know the “usual suspects” when it comes to road closures, choke points, and traffic. Everyone knows where they will encounter traffic, knows that big box stores will get increased traffic as people stock up early, knows that one street with the steep hill in town that will ice up early, that one road that is shaded from the north side that will take the longest to clear.
I for one lived in Northern Texas once (for reasons I can’t even explain) because I had lived in Southwestern Oklahoma once before that to work on a government contract and I knew the area, prone to the trailing edge of snow storms that cross the mid west, the zone that gets the freezing rain while just to the north they get the winter wonderland. I will take a foot of snow over an inch of ice any day.
Weathering a storm out during winter has several challenges which can begin before the storm gets you. From road closures to icy rain to knowing the amount of snow to expect and how long it will last, there are various factors to consider. The best thing to do is to monitor the weather. You can receive the automated alerts when a blizzard or winter storm is sent approaching from NOAA, your state emergency services or even local media outlets, but that may not enough. You need to have a dedicated app which will enable you to have a better idea of what will happen. And there are some good ones now, here are two of my favorites:
And then there are some that have some drawbacks, like having to install them within your browser before you can get past the home page, Weather Forecast Tracker being a good example of these apps, as is the newer Weatherwiz which also has a Weatherwizkids app.
These come with some unwanted features, like adware and phishing apps to track other data on your device for advertisers. Yes, they have to pay the bills, but know before you click through.
Remain Charged
Any storm can knock out your power easily and if there is ice on the roads, it can take a long to get it back, especially in areas not accustomed to winter storms. In states in the south it is simply not prudent economics to invest in a fleet of heavy and very expensive equipment for a weather condition that may come only a couple of times in a decade.
As preppers we are already into alternative power sources for our critical devices as well as our gotta have home utilities – heating, and keeping perishable foods safe. (We have all heard the joke that the function of a refrigerator in Minnesota in the winter is sometimes to keep your food from freezing.)  First step of course is to make sure your alternative power sources are always at the ready, fully charged. This is also the area where those slick devices that not only provide a function like cooking but also have the ability to recharge other devices while they do that, really shine, as long as you don’t put your recharging phone too close to the burning stove.
A Little Discipline Please
Though the temptation will be not only great, but constant during the period you are hunkered in, lay off social media and phone and device games as a source of escape as much as possible. Conserve power – manage your time and your families time on devices to make sure they are there when you need them. While an hour off of social media may be the equivalent of a life sentence to some family members, a little discipline is in order here.
Set aside some rules and make sure to enforce them as fairly as possible. Just think of the hours that will pass while you try and explain to your teenagers that keeping up on the changing weather and conditions in a situation is actually more important than who was seen holding whoever’s hand during lunch at school last Saturday. Embrace the motto’s of the military intelligence services.
If the sun does shine then the solar recharging packs can be recharged, top off any devices energy anytime you use one of the devices that performs this function while doing its primary job.
Stock up
More than just food supplies make sure to stock up on those things that will make the cabin fever more tolerable, like bathroom tissue paper, cleaning products and plastic storage bags for foods and trash that will mitigate any lingering and worsening aromas. And note you can NEVER have too many disposable diapers if you have a young child, never.
Spend a day, better a weekend noting everything you and the family use or consume, I mean everything. This is a great starting point to see what you can’t live without and then stock using it as guide.
Remember Books and Board Games
Finally, some of life’s best devices for weathering a storm are things that were invented before electricity, or don’t need electricity other than perhaps a light at night. Great for expanding our minds, bonding with family members and keeping us mentally fit.

Monday, October 14, 2019

When you think about survival gear do you plan on using it to deal with natural disaster? Preppers have a strange fantasy that often involves a total collapse where they reach for a loadout of elaborate gear to survive the collapse.
What about regional disasters that happen on a regular basis? What about tornadoes and hurricanes?
These things happen every year and every year people are unprepared. That said, there are pieces of survival gear that might benefit you in the wilderness but will also benefit you when dealing with a natural disaster.
Lets look at a few situation specific situations and the gear to assist you.

Managing Fallen Trees

Most natural disasters bring down trees. It can be blizzards in the cold or hurricanes in the searing summer. Trees come down in disaster. These trees block roads, down powerlines and on occasion they need to be dealt with by homeowners.
In this case you are going to want access and fuel for a chainsaw. However, you might also want a high quality ax, hatchet and maybe even a folding saw to deal with branches.
You might think of these tools as something for building wild shelter but they are great for dealing with down wood and processing them down to be moved or used or another purpose.

Cordage and Tarps

Water is the enemy in a number of natural disasters. You need to have a means of shielding your home from rain if the home takes damage. One of the best ways to do this is using cordage and tarps.
You could use utility tarps for this or you could a rainfly for smaller holes.
Whether you store bank line or paracord, or both, you want to have lots of cordage both to use as survival gear and for natural disasters. This cordage is so vital. Tying down these tarps is the key to having success.

Light Sources

When the lights go out in a natural disaster, they go out for a while. Sometimes you get lucky and your power comes right back. If thats not the situation, then you need to be ablke to see at night.
Headlamps, high lumen flashlights and solar powered lights are great options for this.
You should also invest in some batteries to assure your lights are ready for the darkness.


The shemagh is a piece of survival gear that really assists you after the strom has passed. Wahtever the natural disaster its good to have a means of dealing with the after affects.
The shemagh is large multiuse scarf that can assist you in a number of ways.
  • It can protect you from the sun
  • As a face cover it can keep you from breathing in dust and debris
  • It can be a sling to deal with injury
  • Worn wet it can actively cool you in a hot environment
  • Its a great backup swaddle for kids
  • You could also use it as a blanket for children
  • It can even be a preliminary water filter in the worst of cases
The shemagh is lightweight and highly effective. There is no reason not to have at least one for everyone in your family.

Repellents and Sunscreen

I don’t mean to poke fun but only a beginner would head off into the woods or face down a natural disaster without these two pieces of survival gear.
Granted, they are not a cool ax or a ferro rod but they are certainly going to go a long way in flooded areas when homes have been destroyed.
You might not look at something like sunscreen as a piece of survival gear but its as important as most other things. After hurricanes the sky clears up in a way that is very strange and the sun is absolutely relentless.
Most people just go back in their home but what happens if your home is gone, or the roof was taken? What happens if you are outside working in your neighborhood all day to aid in recovery?


If you think that survival cgear should be resered for that next wilderness adventure or an SHTF situation, youd be right! However, thats not all you want some quality survival gear for.
Do yourself a favor and start considering regional disaster. Regional disaster and natural disasters are as letitmate as anything else.
Every year people lose loved ones to run of the mill natural disasters. Stop shrugging them off and start storing survival gear for these disasters.