Prepper: 5 Things That Make The Difference About Water Purification
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The market is flooded with so many options that choosing the right path for purifying water for drinking turns into a challenge. There are water bottles that purify water as well as straws that allow you to drink straight from the stream. There are pills, and also filters in different sizes.
How could you say which one is best? Before making any choice, make sure that you know the tricks and traps of water purification so you won’t put your life at risk.
There are at least five things that make the difference when comes for water survival. We gathered them for you below, to help your prepping.
The Difference between Water Filtration and Water Purification
You need to understand the difference here because it’s critical to your decision. There are three types of disease-causing pathogens in water, not counting minerals and pharmaceuticals:
- Bacteria: Some examples that you’ve probably heard of are E. coli and salmonella. There are many more and, so that you know what filter to look for, they can be as small as 0.1 microns, though a 1-micron filter will capture 99.9% of bacteria.
- Protozoan Cysts: these are hardy little “eggs” that have an extremely hard shell. The only way to kill them is by boiling them but they can be filtered out. Examples include Giardia and Cryptosporidium. They range in size from 1-300 microns.
- Viruses: Right now, these are rarely found in American or Canadian waters but that could change quickly if SHTF. Viruses include hepatitis A and rotavirus and range in size from 0.005-1 micron. Only purification by some means can remove these from the water; filters won’t work because the viruses are so small.
The debate about the health benefits of purified versus distilled water is a hot one. There are those who claim that they feel tons better since switching to distilled water and there are those that claim that distilled water is the devil.
Water already has minerals in it, but not after it’s been distilled or purified using reverse osmosis. Both of those processes remove most of the impurities – up to 99.5% of them – from the water, but also the “good” minerals along with the bad stuff.
Proponents of re-mineralizing water advocate the process for a few different reasons.
- You need the minerals, especially if you’re not eating properly or you’ve been out in the heat sweating. The primary minerals that your body needs to replenish are calcium, magnesium, potassium and salt, though there are many others, too.
- Re-mineralized water quenches thirst better and is absorbed by your body faster. This is a point of contention but the argument for faster hydration states that adding minerals back into the water boosts the pH and brings it back to an alkaline state. The water becomes ionized, which makes the water molecules cluster into smaller groups, which makes it easier for your body to absorb.
- Re-mineralized water tastes better. Though this is subjective, it’s true that the human palate is used to the flavor of water with minerals in it. It gives it a fuller flavor (that is to say, it gives it SOME flavor) that many people find preferable to distilled water.
Reverse Osmosis and Distillation, by Themselves, Do Not Remove All Harmful Agents
Reverse osmosis filters out the clean water and pours the excess water, or brine, down the drain. Most systems lose about 3 gallons of brine to get one gallon of fresh water. Many people adjust for this by re-routing the brine to a bucket that they use for watering plants or other uses that don’t require purified water.
Distillation mimics the hydrologic cycle of evaporation (boiling to steam), precipitation (precipitation in an apparatus), normally a condensing coil), and condensation leading to rain (water cooled usually by a fan and and drips into a sterile container). Some chemicals evaporate and re-condense, just like the water, and pass through with the “pure” water.
Be careful when choosing your water filter, and remember that all reputable RO and distiller units are always coupled with good carbon filtration, preferably carbon block, to ensure removal of these contaminants.
Drinking Salt Water Kills You Faster Than Thirst
Though our planet is covered in water, only one half of 1 percent is drinkable! For example, people who live in coastal regions are surrounded by water but it does them no good because one of the quickest ways to die of dehydration is to drink salt water.
There are ways to make that water potable, though, and science is finding even more ways. In order to turn salt water into drinking water, you need to desalinate it first. That just means that you need to remove the salt. There are many methods for doing this but the most efficient and realistic way to do it at home in a survival situation is by using the distillation by evaporation method.
One of the easiest ways to convert salt water to drinking water is by using heat. You simply heat the water until it turns to steam, then capture the steam.
Basically, the water will evaporate but the salt and other impurities won’t. The problem here is that it requires a ridiculous amount of energy in the form of heat to get the job done. Still, it’s effective and if you combine the process with others, such as cooking or heating, you won’t be wasting nearly so much fuel.
Read this Survivopedia article on how to turn salt water into drinking water to discover a few methods of distillation by evaporation.
Tap Water Is NOT Safe!
We walk to the kitchen, turn on the tap and pour ourselves a big glass of that elixir of life: water. We assume because it has gone through the city water purification plant that it’s safe to drink. Wrong! According to some sources, water contamination makes 2 million Americans sick every year and that number will increase exponentially if SHTF.
Regardless of the water source, there’s always a chance that the water that you’re drinking is contaminated. There are many different ways that this can happen; in your home, it can be from outdated plumbing or antiquated water purification methods or equipment that don’t filter out modern-day contaminants such as pharmaceuticals and chemicals.
If you have a well then draught, flooding, mining activity or hydraulic fracking in the area can disrupt the water tables and contaminate your water.
Streams and other unpurified water sources can be polluted by chemicals, pesticides, antibiotics and fertilizers caused by runoff from nearby industrial plants or farms. They are also vulnerable to leaky sewage systems as well as animal defecation. Even acid rain and smog can pollute water.
Hexavalent Chromium (aka Chromium 6), lead, arsenic and fluoride are only a few top pollutants and contaminants found in water so that you know what to test for. There is more to add to this list if you read this Survivopedia article on the topic.
15 Desert Survival Tricks That Will Save Your Life
The desert is one of the most deadly places to survive. Increase your chances with these tips and tricks that will give you an edge in any hot environment.
The desert leaves hundreds of people in life threatening situations every year. Sadly, it succeeds in claiming the life of some.
With burning hot days, freezing cold nights, hardly no shelter or fire materials, deadly snakes and scorpions everywhere, and no water or food for miles around there’s no wonder the desert is quite possibly the most dangerous place to get lost in.
Perhaps if these individuals were prepared for what they were against, they may have made it home. In any survival situation, being prepared is a priority that gives you a huge advantage.
To make sure you’re prepared, we’ll review 15 desert survival tips that could save your life.
TIP #1: REMAIN CALM
Panicking is the most dangerous thing you can do in any survival situation. You can bet It will be difficult, but you should remain calm because in a panicky state you are more likely to make poor choices and decrease your chance of survival significantly.
This is important specifically in the hot and dry desert to keep from using more water by overexerting yourself or by making mistakes and wasting resources.
TIP #2: DO NOT REMOVE YOUR CLOTHES
You would assume it’s a good idea to remove your clothes with the heat beating down on you, right? This is one of the bigger mistakes you can make in the desert.
As you remove clothes, you risk being severely sunburned after only 30 minutes, which can lead to sun poisoning or contribute to heat stroke. Keeping your clothes on also preserves your body’s sweat which slows dehydration (and you should try not to sweat as much as possible to save even more water).
TIP #3: WEAR PROPER ATTIRE
This ties in with our second tip. What you wear in any survival situation can impact your chance of making it out alive.
Specifically in the desert, you want to fully cover your skin. This means a hat, gloves, a long sleeve and thin undershirt, a long sleeve loose fitting button down shirt, and pants that zip off at the knees to turn into shorts gives you many options through layering. Bring a bandanna or two and extra socks and underwear, they get soaked in sweat.
Stick with 100% cotton materials in any hot, low humidity environments.
The newest “cool temp” or “dri-cool” and other specialized moisture wicking fabrics are not as good in a desert. They are designed to quickly pull the sweat up away from your skin, to the outer layers of the fabric where the moisture will be held until it evaporates. This makes your skin feel dry, but it robs you of the cooling effect of the sweat evaporating against your hot skin.
Pro Tip: Cotton will absorb sweat and release it effectively in a dry environment like a desert, but not in a high humidity swampy area.As you sweat, it will soak into the cotton fibers and the garment will cling to your skin (hence the reason wet t-shirt contests are possible). This way the moisture stays in contact with your skin and can cool you via evaporation.
Polyester fabric will be either moisture trapping or moisture wicking, neither of which are ideal for cooling. A moisture trapping fabric will hold your sweat against your skin, but will not let the evaporating moisture escape easily. The result is a warm clammy garment that holds in your body heat, the exact opposite of what you want in the desert. Polyester also holds on to odors much more than cotton.
TIP #4: WEAR SUNGLASSES
Sunglasses protect your eyes, but they also enable you to see further ahead since it cuts out the glare. You also won’t be squinting the whole time, which can contribute to headaches. Even a pair from the dollar store is much better than nothing at all.
TIP #5: WATER IS A MUST
When it comes to water it’s better to bring extra and not use it than to not bring enough and die. Those are your options, bring water or die. Sorry, but your chances of finding water in the desert is essentially zero, forget the tv shows. And no, you can’t drink a cactus either, that’s a myth.
In general, at least 3L of water per day is recommended…. if you’re in the shade sitting down! You have to stay hydrated when you’re walking around with the sun tearing away at you in the desert, so the amount increases to a minimal 2 gallons per day. Someone who is already dehydrated (80% of the population) will need even more.
If the wind is blowing 12mph, 120F super-dried air at you all day this number can shoot to 4 gallons of water a day!
CLICK HERE to find out how to build your proven-to-work portable device which provides clean fresh water 24/7.
TIP #6: WATCH AND LISTEN FOR ROADS
You aren’t likely to find an interstate or large roadway if you’re deep in the desert, but there may be remote roadways not far from you. Should you stumble upon some dirt trail or a bonafide dirt road, it is best to remain on the road. They’re like rivers in jungles, follow them to rescue.
All roads lead somewhere, and you may even be lucky to find a vehicle or even civilization down the path. Wandering away from any roadway is not something you should do, but bear in mind some desert roads are a hundred miles long with no civilization to be seen anywhere, or they may simply lead to an abandoned hut.
Many times you’ll have to make a judgement call, for example, if you know a mountain rage is 5 miles away but you find a road going the opposite direction. I would go for the mountains.
TIP #7: DUST STORMS ARE POSSIBLE
You’re not likely to get caught in a dust storm, it’s not like the movies or on Mars, but it is something to be aware of. Dust storms are extremely fast, so don’t attempt to outrun one.
If a dust storm is heading in your direction, seek shelter behind a large rock if one is nearby. If you’re in the open, cover your skin and face immediately to keep dust out of your lungs and eyes. If you get dust in your lungs, you risk getting infected and possibly dying, and blowing sand on your skin feels about like a sand blaster.
TIP #8: FLOODS CAN HAPPEN
You don’t think of floods as a possibility in the desert, but they do happen in areas known as arroyos, or “dry creeks”. The fill up quickly, within minutes, during a storm so it is ideal to avoid these areas, but watch out as they can be hard to notice.
Here in this video you can see how quickly a creek bed floods, and they do get much faster and bigger than this one. This video records a flash flood from rains over 40 miles away…
The best way to be ready is to keep an eye out for cloud formations in the distance, always listen for running water, and note if you’re in a valley or depression. Even a rain storm on a mountain 50 miles away can bring a rush of flood waters to a creek bed in a matter of hours.
TIP #9: LET OTHERS KNOW YOUR PLANS
This is the easiest prep of all. When you travel anywhere, always let a relative or friend know where you are going, the duration of your trip, and when you expect to return. Tell them that you’ll let them know as soon as you’re back.
It’s best to tell everyone you can because people get busy and forget or really really want to assume everything is always fine (it’s human nature). Many people have only been rescued after that one friend out of five or six was worried enough to call for help. If they had only told their other friends, they would have been dead.
If you mapped out your route, share all the information such as coordinates and the planned path. Also let them know how to contact you if necessary. Going on a blind trip or not letting others know can be extremely dangerous.
TIP #10: LEAVE THE ALCOHOL
Your body becomes dehydrated faster when you consume alcohol, so don’t drink it in any survival situation. Period. Mixing your dehydrating body with the heat of the desert sun is almost asking for your time to end. Remember, there aren’t medics on standby in the middle of the desert.
As a preventive measure, substitute your drunken desert party drinks with water too. I know you won’t listen to that, but it may save your life. People die every year by getting drunk in the desert and wandering off to use the bathroom, so at least have a designated sober friend watching over things.
Avoid the alcohol, wait until you return from your adventure.
TIP #11: STAY NEAR YOUR VEHICLE
The most common way people end up in bad situations in the desert is car trouble. AAA doesn’t come if you’re driving through the desert and your vehicle breaks down.
Your instincts are to roam around to search for help or to head down the road you came from, but this is not the way to go. For starters, it’s easier for those searching for you to spot your car rather than you. Your vehicle is also a repository for essential survival tools such as batteries, mirrors, gas, and other items.
Also, make sure you leave your hood open; it’s the universal sign of that you need assistance.
TIP #12: LEAVE A NOTE
This primarily applies for those who are familiar with the route they’re on. Maybe you’ve traveled the route before, and you’re familiar with it. If this is the case, and to contradict the previous tip, abandoning your vehicle may not be the worst idea if you are 1001% sure you know where to go and it is close enough to walk in a day.
Before you go, leave a note so passersby know which direction you went. You don’t necessarily expect people to come, but it is important to leave a trace on your whereabouts.
If you don’t have any paper or pen, make an arrow out of rocks, sticks, car parts, foam, debris….anything…that points in the direction you’re going.
TIP #13: DON’T SIT ON THE GROUND IN DIRECT SUNLIGHT
This is one tip that you would probably never think of because, naturally, if you’re tired, you want to sit and take a break. This is a bad idea as the desert sand could be 30F hotter than the air around you, if not more. The rocks aren’t going to be much cooler, so avoid putting your bare hands on them.
Pro Tip: The shade is your best friend in the desert and can save your life.
Not only that but by sitting on the ground you’re more likely to be stung by a scorpion, bitten by a snake, or attacked by another poisonous insect. Make sure there are no insects lurking around before relaxing, and remember that many hide under the sand during the day.
Interested in how to improve you medical survival skills? CLICK HERE to find out!
TIP #14: INVEST IN A PLB (PERSONAL LOCATOR BEACON)
Personal Locator Beacons, or PLB’s, transmit GPS and text signals when you are in an emergency situation. Any rescue services near you receive the signal, your message, and exact location and will make their way to you immediately.
These devices let you summon a whole rescue crew at the press of a button, so these are becoming a common, go-to method to seek help in life-threatening situations. The best ones not only send a GPS signal but also allow you to send text messages to any number or cell phone in the world.
On average, these cost a couple hundred dollars, but they last a lifetime and they are worth every penny and are still much cheaper than a funeral!
TIP #15: BRING A SATELLITE PHONE
Your every day cell phone isn’t going to have any reception in the desert, so it is advised to purchase a satellite phone in its place. If you don’t have the funds to buy one, some places offer rental services for a few dollars a day.
Remember that true survival isn’t a fantasy or a tv show starring you. Above all it’s always about being rescued, not how well you can bushcraft a bowl out of an armadillo.
Every one of these tips will help and they will give you an edge, but ultimately a satellite phone or a PLB is the difference of life or death for many adventurers every year, so make them a priority if you plan to go into any wilderness.
The cost of these devices may be high, but they’re still cheaper than a funeral.
Preppers List: 5 Things to Do Immediately!Looking at the state of the world, being prepared is more important than ever. Terrorism is on the rise around the globe. Rogue states like North Korea become more dangerous as their stability fails – and North Korea has nuclear weapons. The USA’s neglected power grid is vulnerable to a solar flare that could wipe out electricity across most of the country for a decade. The climate’s changing – calm down, Al Gore, it’s been changing constantly for 4.5 billion years – and that could lead to major storms or even larger scale disasters. Imagine the chaos if a freak wet spring devastated the US wheat crop. That’s a real risk; it’s happening in France right now – but France can replace its crop with imports. We can’t.
Danger and instability surround us, and not being prepared for the worst seems frankly weird. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of flimsy prep advice floating around on the internet. It’s enthusiastic, but shallow.
Here are some more in-depth suggestions on how to start preparing.
#5 Sort the basics firstMost to-do lists seem to start with “Go to WalMart and buy a truckload of rice.” It’s not very obvious why. What are you going to do with it when you get it home? The first thing you need to do is prepare to be prepared. Identify a food storage area – somewhere that’s secure, sheltered, dry and cool. Some people like to keep food in a basement or dugout, which is good for hiding it but makes storage more challenging. Make sure your store is protected against rodents. Set up a storage system in there – strong shelves are ideal. Keeping your food store organized is vital: You’ll need to rotate supplies, using up older items and replacing them. The more organized you keep things the less waste you’ll have and the more prepared you’ll be.
Related: 10 Foods Not to Store
#4 Go to Walmart and buy a truckload of rice
Now that you’ve sorted out a proper food store you can start stocking it. When it comes to storage life and bulk, dry goods are supreme. You can store a few weeks’ worth of canned or packet foods, but with dry goods you can easily be self-sufficient for months or even years. Start your food reserve with 20 pounds of rice (white lasts longer in storage) and 20 pounds of dried beans. Between them those two will give you a solid reserve of carbohydrates and protein, and you can use them as a base for a whole range of recipes supplemented with seasonings, canned or dried ingredients, and food you’ve harvested from nature.
The next things to add are powdered milk, rolled oats and cooking oil. Add some bulk herbs and spices – in an emergency you can use what’s already in the kitchen, but it’s good to have a proper reserve too. Don’t forget the most important seasoning – salt. Get at least five pounds of that. As you move forward you can add pasta, dried vegetables (this is a great excuse to get a dehydrator and vacuum sealer) and of course more rice and beans.
Related: Survival Food – 59 Long-Term Survival Foods and Supplies at the Grocery Store
#3 Don’t forget the waterIf law and order break down you can forget about relying on the water from your faucets. It might keep flowing for a while, but are you going to trust it for drinking and cooking? You have no idea if it’s still being properly treated, and terrorists or lunatics could even deliberately contaminate it. Aim to be as self-sufficient as possible.
The bare minimum is to keep a supply of drinkable water in containers. For survival situations the recommendation is a gallon per person per day, and once you allow for food and washing that’s not a generous amount. Get some five gallon containers – at least four – and keep them filled. Empty and refill them regularly.
Next, look at ways to become more self-sufficient in water. If you already have a well you’re sorted. Otherwise consider a rainwater catchment system. If you have a stream or river nearby you could build a large water filter and run a pipe to it from the stream, giving you a constant filtered supply. Be adaptable, but find something – without water, your refuge is unsustainable.
Related: Storing Water for When Disaster Happens
#2 Sort out your toolkitMost of us have some sort of toolkit around the house, but if you want to be prepared you need to make sure it’s ready for anything. At a minimum you’ll need a good carpenter’s hammer, a heavier ball peen hammer, wood saw and hacksaw. Other essentials include a monkey wrench, measuring tape, square and level. Cordless drills are great, but a hand drill is also good to have – what if your generator goes and you need to fabricate a replacement part? A set of good screwdrivers is also vital – don’t rely on an electric one. Make sure you have wrenches to fit all bolts on your vehicles and equipment, too.
As well as tools, stock up on basic supplies. Some plumbing fittings are good to have – pipes, joints and similar items. A couple of spools of electrical cable can be used for repairs or projects, and you can also strip and separate the cores if you need fine wire. Simple light fittings, switches and other components help too. Stock up on timber; 4×2 and plywood have a multitude of uses.
This might seem obvious, but a lot of preppers neglect their tools. They aren’t as exciting as guns, but the chances are in a long-term disaster scenario you’ll use them a lot more often.
Related: Tools The Early Pioneers Used on A Daily Basis
#1 Think defense
Guns are important too, though. You’ll need to be able to hunt, perhaps control predators, and in the worst-case scenario defend your property, stores and lives against looters or desperate refugees. That means having weapons you can count on, and the supplies to keep them running.
There’s no real point in having lots of guns – and if they’re in different calibers they become an actual liability. Get the guns you need, then if you’re tempted to buy another, spend the money on ammunition or reloading components instead. A gun can be maintained and repaired; once ammunition’s been fired, it’s gone. Reloading is a great idea and can stretch your supplies but even then your reserves or propellant, bullets and primers won’t last forever. You need to start with a lot of ammo.
If you can only afford one gun, get a 12-gauge pump action. The Remington 870 is always a popular choice – militaries around the world value its reliability. A shotgun is the most versatile gun you can own, because it can take a wide variety of game as well as being an awesome home defense weapon. For preparedness it’s far superior to a small-caliber rifle like an AR15.
Your second gun should be a good hunting rifle. Bolt or semiauto is fine, and the ideal caliber is .308. Ammo is cheap and widely available because you can use 7.62mm NATO as well. It also has enough punch to take down just about any game. A handgun is a lower priority, but handy to have. Go for a high-capacity 9mm semi, if you’re buying one. Again the ammo is NATO standard and easy to find.
Related: Best Gun for Home Defense
Magazines are a weak point in any gun that uses them. They can get lost or damaged, and springs eventually weaken. This is one advantage of pump shotguns and bolt action rifles – they’re not as dependent on magazines as semiautos. Get as many good quality magazines as you can for any guns that need them, and take good care of them. Then get some weapon spares. Firing pins, springs and backup sights are all good things to have. A chipped firing pin will turn any weapon into junk – you need to have the parts, tools and skills to replace it.
Then focus on building up ammunition supplies. After a major collapse ammo will be more valuable than gold, and it’s generally not something you want to run short of. For the shotgun get a range of shells, from bird shot to rifled slug. In rifle and handgun calibers quantity is the most important factor; cheap military surplus beats premium ammo simply because you can buy more of it. The target effect difference between cheap and fancy ammo is incremental, but an extra round is an extra round.
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5 Commitments You Must Make Before the Next American DepressionI can hear the snickers in the back of the auditorium already. Those of you who would consider it nearly impossible for this great land to tumble back into depression. To that, though, I pose but one question. How much debt was your grandfather or great grandfather carrying at the time the stock market lost 15 billion dollars in one day?
Sidenote: That is 15 billion dollars in their time which would be more like trillions today.
The answer for most would be minimal. There were no student loans and outrageous car loans to deal with. Now consider the follow:
“One in six prime-age guys has no job; it’s kind of worse than it was in the depression in 1940,” – says Nicholas Eberstadt, an economic and demographic researcher at American Enterprise InstituteMichael Snyder from The Economic Collapse Blog reported these five chilling facts on April 20th
- The number of Americans that are living in concentrated areas of high poverty has doubled since the year 2000.
- In 2007, about one out of every eight children in America was on food stamps. Today, that number is one out of every five.
- 46 million Americans use food banks each year, and lines start forming at some U.S. food banks as early as 6:30 in the morning because people want to get something before the food supplies run out.
- The number of homeless children in the U.S. has increased by 60 percent over the past six years.
- According to Poverty USA, 1.6 million American children slept in a homeless shelter or some other form of emergency housing last year.
#5 Limit Your Debt
Let’s talk about carrying debt. Did you know the average American household is carrying around 260,000 dollars in combined debt whether it is mortgage, car loans, and student, what have you? Many Americans are living an ugly reality that is covered up and manipulated by the easy access to more debt and cheap trinkets from China.
Americans are most vulnerable right now based on this debt. It has to be eliminated. In fact a plan should be put in place in your household to focus as much energy on debt as possible. Sit down and look at just how much debt your household is carrying. Now imagine what it would look like if you were out of work for three months. This probably paints a pretty terrifying picture.
#4 SecurityOur homes hold everything sacred. From the irreplaceable personal belongings to wealth to the members that make up the family itself they are all within our four walls. How do you feel about window locks and key locks protection all that? Leaves a lot to be desired right? That doesn’t necessarily mean you need bars on the windows but here are some considerations
Imagine your property had a set of concentric circles dropped onto it. Inside the smallest circle sits you and your family in the living room. The next circle is your home itself and the access to it beyond that is the outside the home and the final circle is where your property meets its end. The application of protections and deterrents at each circle are imperative. These are things you must think about and talk about. Here are some great deterrents for each of these areas.
- Door locks aren’t enough and deadbolts should be an option. Just make sure everyone in the family, even the smallest member knows how to disengage them in case of a fire.
- Dogs are a tremendous deterrent but only make the commitment if you have the time. They are little furry family members.
- Outside think about floodlights, your castle doesn’t have to be the most secure it just has to be less appealing than the others on the block. A spotlight will handle that.
- At the boundary of your property plant some nasty prickly bushes or hang some of those lovely signs that express your love for the 2nd Amendment.
#3 Community WatchYou laugh but trust me it’s just like we talked about in the above mentioned. Make sure that this is an active group that walks every evening and also cycle different people at different times. The community watch can be a very effective tool in stopping crime and recognizing people who may be scoping out the neighborhood.
Include some level of communication with this as well. The watch will be useless without the use of reporting and follow through no issues. It wouldn’t hurt to put a little one page community watch procedure together for those involved so they understand exactly what to do when they find an issue. I think of the now famous Zimmerman case as a great example
Finally make sure you let the local police know what you are doing and give them a lot of detail. You don’t want to get picked for walking around your neighborhood at 3 A.M. with a flashlight especially if you are investigating something in one of your neighbor’s yard!
Related: What You Need in Your SHTF Survival Team
#2 Food Production
I know there are very real limitations on this one. Space is an issue for some. To you I will offer solutions as well. If you do have the means you should be growing/raising some food. Vegetable gardens are the most common of course but chickens are catching on even in suburban areas. The nutritional quality of your own homegrown food is far superior that any supermarket. Start growing now!
If you are challenged when it comes to space then I need you to go to your local farmer’s market and begin to develop relationships with the farmers. Buy from them, visit their farms, and give them cards during the holidays. If the food trucks ever stop running and shelves go bare these are the folks you will want to have a relationship with. They will be selling food.
Related: 33 Essential Foods to Stock Pile
#1 Natural Healing
Are you aware of the fact that the weeping willows bark contains salicylic acid? What is salicylic acid? Its nature’s aspirin and reduces fevers as well as inflammation. There are cures and healing agents all around you. It takes some time to learn them but you can do that too.
Cherry Tree Bark – when simmered in large quantities with some honey or sugar this creates a natural cough syrup that is extremely powerful. It should be reduced to a syrupy consistency similar to what you’re used to and strained through a fine sieve.
Plantain Poultice – This grows in your driveway, literally. It’s found all over North America. It’s basically taking the herb, not the banana which you find at the supermarket, and crushing or mincing it until it is a fine green spread. This will heal wounds, bug bites, blisters and boils
Mint salve – Think vapor rub – You can add other herbs as well but basically you are using essential oils and beeswax to create a rub that will aid in localized muscle pain and even congestion.
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41 Common Preps with a “SHORT” Shelf LifeWhen preppers look for items to stock their survival pantries, they tend to stock them with items that can be stored up to 10 years or more on the shelf. These items are ideal for long term storing and when you’re thinking about prepping and storing up food in your emergency pantry, more than likely you’ve considered items with a long and extended shelf life.Since these items are high on the priority list of most preppers, sometimes items with shorter shelf days get overlooked and you’ll end up having to replace them often. And nothing is worse than having to toss out half of your stock because you didn’t pay attention to the expiration dates.
Items with shorter shelf lives are generally items that you can get from the local grocery store. Many new preppers make the mistake of thinking that just because a package is still closed then it can last many years on the shelf. Certain items will go bad if left on the shelf too long without rotating them out. Let’s take a look at a few common prep items that have short shelf lives, and may not be a good idea to stock large quantities.
Cleaning and Hygiene Items
- Bleach – Bleach does not last indefinitely. The rate of breakdown varies, and depending on how much it is exposed to extremely high or low temperatures, it could lose it effectiveness in as little as 6 months. In order to maximize the shelf life and potency of the bleach, it’s best to store in a dark climate controlled room. 70F is the ideal room temp.
- Laundry Detergent – Laundry detergent can last up to 6 months after you open it, if stored in a cool dry place. Unopened a container of detergent can last up to 9 months on the shelf.
- Hand Dishwashing Soap – Is a great item to stock up on when it’s on sale. But when you’re considering it for your survival pantry, be sure to buy only enough to last 12 months. After this, the cleansing quality of the dishwashing soap decreases.
- Windex, Mr. Clean, and other Multipurpose cleaners – These items are great to store in your emergency supply, and come in handy when disinfecting and cleaning, but keep in mind that these products do expire.
- Ketchup – Ketchup lasts up to 12 months when stored in a cool dry environment.
- Coffee– Coffee surprisingly has a short shelf life. Ground coffee, unopened and on the shelf can last from 3 – 5 months. Whole bean coffee can last up to 6 months unopened on the shelf. Unopened instant coffee is the way to go, if you’re wanting a longer lasting beverage.
- Brown Sugar – Brown sugar has a short shelf life of 4 months. It’s not recommended that it be stocked in mass quantities.
- Salad Dressings – Thousand Island, ranch, blue cheese, vinaigrette have a very short shelf life. 1-year max on the shelf.
- Mayonnaise – Very bad idea to store mayonnaise. It lasts on up to 3 months.
- Crisco Shortening – Unopened, it last 8 months.
- Crackers and Cookies – Packaged and unopened, these can last up to 6 months on the shelf.
- Teas – Loose teas as well as powdered ice tea mixes last 6-12 months on the shelf.
- Hot Chocolate – Hot chocolate powder lasts 6-12 months on the shelf.
- Canned Sodas – One might think stockpiling canned sodas is a great idea for their pantry, but in reality, it’s not. Canned sodas, both carbonated and non, last up to 9 months on the shelf. Diet sodas last a shorter amount of time up to 5 months.
- Canned Meats and Canned Gravies – Canned meats like chicken and ham are on the list, but canned meats, unlike tuna an essential staple last up to a year on the shelf.
- Spaghetti Sauce – There are different types available. Pay attention to the ingredients label because it makes a difference which ones you choose. Tomato based spaghetti sauces last up to 1 year unopened on the shelf, sauces made from cream only last up to 8 months on the shelf, and oil based sauces last up to 1 year. Dried and packaged sauces last up to 1 year.
- Cornmeal – unless the cornmeal has been prepared to be shelf sustainable, it’ll last 1 year on the shelf.
- Grits – Instant grits lasts up to 8 months on the shelf, while regular grits lasts up to 10 months.
- Boxed Cereals – Boxed cereal lasts up to 1 year on the shelf. You can eat it after but it’s freshness will be diminished. Rotate often.
- Beans – Dried beans of all kinds when stored in a cool and dry pantry, will last up to a year. However, beans stored in bulk and in air sealed storage containers can be stored up to 30 years.
- Cake Flour – Cake flour goes bad after 6 months.
- White Flour – Lasts 10 months on the shelf.
- Whole Wheat Flour – Unlike white flour, whole wheat flour only lasts about 6 months on the shelf.
- Bisquick Biscuit mix – This is a pantry staple, and it’s good to stock for short term use. Bisquick biscuit mix and similar types have a shelf life of 12 months.
- Pancake Mix – Although a tempting option, pancake mixes lasts up to 6 months on the shelf.
- Microwavable Popcorn – Popcorn is cheap. It lasts up to 8 months on the shelf.
- Hard Candies – Bagged hard candies like butterscotch disks, peppermint disks, and lollipops can last from 6 up to 9 months on the shelf.
- Granola and Protein Bars – When stored in a cold and dry place, and kept sealed in their individual wrappers, bars can last up to 8 months and maintain their freshness.
- Instant Pudding Mixes – These are extremely inexpensive and they last up to 8 months on the shelf.
- Mixed Rice – Unlike white or brown rice, rice that is mixed up with other grains like vermicelli and dehydrated vegetables (ex: Rice a Roni), only have a 6-month shelf life. So don’t stock up on these unless you plan on using within the immediate next few months.
- Out of Shell Nuts – Nuts like cashews, peanuts, pistachios, and brazil nuts that have been shelled have a decreased shelf life of 6 months.
- Toaster Pastries (Pop Tarts) – Be mindful when you’re stocking up on these tasty breakfast treats for your pantry. If you stock up on these, rotate them out every 6 months with fresh ones because these will only last 6- 9 months on the shelf.
- Instant Breakfast Drinks – These are a great addition to any pantry, but short term only. Instant breakfast drinks only last up to 6 months on the shelf.
- Rice Milk & Soy Milk – These alternatives to cow milk can be purchased on the shelf at the grocery store and do not need refrigeration until after opening. But rice and soy milks only last 6-9 months on the shelf. These beverages would be need to be consumed within that period of time.
- Bottled Juice – Adults and kids alike like the flavors of bottled juice, but after 9 months, those flavors go flat.
- Boxed Juice – As with bottled juices, boxed juices have an even shorter shelf life of 4-6 months.
- Regular Dried Fruit – Dried fruit in sealed bags and boxes can last up to 6 months but once they’ve been exposed to air, the expectancy is dramatically reduced.
- Canned Fruits – You can get canned fruit for a bargain at most supermarkets, but be mindful when choosing to stock your emergency pantry with these because most canned fruits have a 1-year shelf life.
- Dry Pasta – Pasta is a staple, whether it is macaroni, tortellini, or angel hair. There are many variations but they all have the same 1-year shelf life in common.
- Olive & Vegetable Oils – Oils for cooking and baking are an essential part of any pantry, but vegetable oils only last up to 1 year on the shelf unopened.
- Powerades & Gator Aids – Power and sports drinks may seem like a great idea to stock but they only last up to 9 months on the shelf.
I’ve done it before and it’s no fun at all. Many beginner preppers face these heartaches several times before they get a full understanding of how shelf rotating works. The key to making sure you protect your investment is to make sure to pay attention to expiration dates and research items that you may not be sure of.