Archive for January, 2015

Reader Q&A

Posted: January 26, 2015 in Food Storage, Philosophy
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Since starting this blog I have received lots of questions via text, email, and the blog.  I figured if one person has a question other people may as well; so I will share them.  Keep sending questions and I’ll keep compiling them.

Question #1:  Can I use a regular garden hose to fill my water containers?  

No, you need to use food grade hoses for this task.  They are typically white and often found with RV supplies.  They specifically say they are safe for drinking water.  Regular old garden hoses are polyvinyl chloride (PVC) which uses lead as a stabilizer.  The lead can leak out of the hose and into the water.  According to consumer reports the lead concentrations can be 10-100 times higher than safe levels.  Lead is particularly dangerous to children and pregnant women.  California actually requires that the hoses be labeled as potentially causing birth defects and reproductive harm.  By extension this means that you should also avoid drinking from your garden hose while working in the yard.  I shudder to think how much water I have inbibed this way over a lifetime!

Question #2:  I have heard that it is unsafe to use 2L bottles to store water, is this true?

I can’t find any reliable resource that supports this.  To the contray I can find many resources that support my original claim that 2L bottles are great for water storage.  The LDS Church, a world-wide leader in food storage, recommends using PETE or PET plastic bottles (which 2L soda bottles are).  This PETE or PET mark is stamped on the bottle for recycling purposes.  Here are the LDS water guidelines.  They recommend rinsing the bottles with 1 tsp of bleach (unscented) in 1 liter of water first.  My guess is this question stems from putting water in gallon milk jugs.  This practice should be avoided.  Milk jugs have several disadvantages.  One is that they are designed to breakdown in landfills and will breakdown and leak in your storage; making a mess and allowing contamination.  They also don’t seal very well with the normal lids they come with.  They are also a more porous plastic and you can never get the milk particles out of the plastic which is a contamination hazard.  Bacteria like milk and may grow in your water.  You cannot clean/sterilzed them effectively like 2L soda bottles.

Question #3: What kind of sleeping bag would you recommend for a bug out bag?

Sleeping bags are a huge topic, but here are some basic recommendations.  Better sleeping bags are warmer for less weight.  Spend what you can afford.  A good sleeping bag can run you $300 easy.  $150 would be fairly “cheap”.  For women the Kelty Cosmic 20 runs about $150 for reference.  A good sleeping bag may be important in keeping you alive.  It will at least be important in keeping you warm and comfortable.  They basically come in down and synthetic fills.  Down is warmer for its weight.  Down is almost useless if wet.  Synthetic is better if wet but still limited.  I like down, but it is pricey.  For most people a good synthtic fill bag will work fine and “may” be more versatile.  Get a mummy bag because it is much more efficient in the warmth/weight ratio.  Mummy bags also have a hood that allows you to get your head inside and cinch a drawsting around your face = better heat retention.  Get a bag rated 10 degrees colder than your anticipated coldest temperatures.  A 20 degree bag is a good bet for most of North America.  If you live in a tropical climate that is warm most of the time you can go warmer, maybe 40 degrees.  The ratings tend to overrate the bags effectiveness.  You will most likely not be warm or comfortable at 20 degrees in a 20 degree bag but you will survive.  Make sure to buy the right size bag.  Women should get women’s bags because they are shorter (starting at 5’6” usually) and this saves weight.  You also have to consider some sort of sleeping pad.  A sleeping bag on the ground will not be very warm, the temp ratings factor in a sleeping pad.  Marmot, Mountain Hardware, Northface, Kelty, Sierra Designs, Feathered Friends, are just a few examples of good companies.

Question #4: Where do you buy your MREs?

I have purchased many different kinds from many different places.  I have purchased them from amazon.  They tended to be a bit pricey on amazon.  My last order was with MRE Star.  They have a good reputation and are made in America.  I was very happy with the price and quality. With the heaters they are $7.33 if you buy a box of 12.

Question #5: This stuff is very pricey, I can’t afford this!

I guess this is a statement and not a question.  I would argue that you cannot afford not to get prepared!  Some of this stuff is pricey.  I am a big value guy.  I don’t mind spending money for quality.  I try to find the sweet spot where you get the most bang for you buck.  That being said, a lot of this stuff is expensive.  Quality tends to be expensive.  I have learned from experience (sometimes painful) that it is cheaper to buy the right thing the first time.  Spend a bit more to buy once instead of buying cheap and then having to replace it or buy the right thing later.  That being said, I would encourage you to make your money stretch as far as possible so you can get more preps.  Be frugal, shop around, buy used, repurpose, etc.  The prepper community is full of people doing this on tight budgets, look around!  Be smart about how you prep.  Things like flour, salt, water, rice, beans, etc are very cheap.  Things like fancy knives and guns are expensive.  Are you spending money in the right places?  We all tend to get distracted by gadgets, gizmos, whiz-bangs, and shiney things.  Don’t get too distracted.

Question #6: I am new to guns, how do I get started?  How do I introduce my significant other to shooting?

If you are new to guns and shooting I would first find a mentor.  Safety first!  Learn about gun safety and safe shooting.  I realize this is not exactly what people mean by the above question, but I need to make that plug anyways.  The 22 long rifle cartrige is a great place to start.  It is very easy shooting and has almost no recoil.  This removes a lot of the “scariness” out of shooting a gun.  I was out drilling with my AR-15 the other day and pulled out my Ruger 10/22 for fun.  It brought a huge smile to my face to shoot this gun.  I felt like a kid again.  I had forgotten how much fun a 22 is to shoot.

I would consider myself fairly experienced shooter and I still have mentors that I look to for help.  I would highly recommend getting professional training.  Take a basic handgun or rifle course to build your skills.  Most of all… go shooting!  A lot of people recommend trying to get out once a month or so to brush of the rust.

Question #7: What is your current EDC?

Great question!  This changes a bit depending on what exactly I am doing but 90% of the time it is as follows.


  • Ruger LCP in modified Uncle Mikes size pocket holster.  I modified it to allow me to insert an extra magazine.
  • Spyderco Delica
  • Foursevens Preon 1
  • Swiss Army Cadet
  • Keys on carabiner, clipped to D-ring on pants
  • 5.11 tac lite pro pants see above
  • Wallet – cash, credit cards, ID, concealed carry permit, etc
  • Chapstick
  • Cell phone – charged!
  • Alternatively, I carry a Keltec PF9 in a N82 Tactical IWB Professional holster.  Fantastic holster BTW.  Extra mag in another pocket.
  • For both guns I currently carry Hornady Critical Defense ammo

I love Glocks, love, love, love them!  But they are bricks!  They just are not well suited for concealed carry.  I anxiously await the day they come out with a single stack 9mm (like the Keltec PF9 above).  I will carry that Glock.  I really feel the Ruger LCP in .380 auto is underpowered, but it is better than nothing.  This gun is so easy to carry that I almost always have it.  It is a compromise… life is compromises.

Keep sending me your questions!



The Prepper Library

Posted: January 10, 2015 in Books
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Having a prepper library with all kinds of reference material is a great idea.  As always, learn as much as you can because it weighs nothing and is always with you.  BUT, you can’t know everything.  We also forget things over time.  Check out the books page for some ideas.

Below are some great reference books for starting your prepper library:

The Encyclopedia of Country Living – Chalk full of goodness that your grandparents or great-grandparents probably knew.  How to churn butter, make soap, pluck a chicken, etc…

Dr Prepper’s Making the Best of Basics – Great book with more of a preparedness slant.  Great book for before and after a disaster.

Where There is No Doctor – You definetely need a medical reference book.  This one is nice because it assumes you don’t have all the “normal” medical resources and supplies available.

SAS Survival Handbook – Covers how to make shelter, fire, traps/snares and much more.

I think all of the above are worth having in a hard copy in your home.  There are many more worth you consideration.  The above make a great start.

The Digital Prepper Library Project:kb-slate-04-lg._V324779290_

I recently started a new project for my library.  I purchased a cheap Kindle during the holidays ($59 at the time).  It is one of the old black and white ink type e-readers.  I have had multiple tablets (Ipad type) that I use for everything else.  I bought this to be a dedicated prepper digital library.  It weights 6.7 ounces (very light).  You can read it outside in sunlight.  It will hold thousands of books (again for under 7 ounces!).  Lastly, it is very energy efficient.  It will last for weeks on a charge.  Power may be difficult to come by in a disaster so this beats the pants off of a larger color tablet that might last a day on a charge.  Once it displays a page it doesn’t actually use power anymore until you have it do something else.  Really, the Wi-fi is what drains the battery.  Turn on the airplane mode to cut the wifi off and save the battery.  It is almost as if these were made for preppers!  I am sure you could find an older model used for very little money.

The next thing I did was start loading all of my books onto it.  It uses wi-fi and can pull down any kindle (amazon) books you already have.  Obviously we want anything that we can use as reference material in a disaster or emergency.  It will also read PDF files and this really opens up its possibilities.  The FM 21-76 Army Survival Manual, Marine Winter Survival, Marine Summer Survival are all available on PDF.  The army alone has dozens of these types of books that you can get in PDF.  You can also make your own PDF files.  Important contacts, documents, etc can all be saved in PDF form and loaded onto the Kindle.

The next thing I did was load dozens and dozens of free classical books like The Count of Monte Cristo, Swiss Family Robinson, A Tale of Two Cities, Les Miserables, etc.  There are hundreds of them for free.  Having something to read is a great cure for boredom.  You may want them to read to your family or children.  This particular Kindle is not backlit so you would need light at night to read it (just like a normal book).  You can get versions that are backlit, but they cost more and will drain the battery faster.

This project is fairly cheap and very versatile.  You can end up with thousands of books all on a device that weighs under 7 ounces and is about the size of a paperback.  Throw this in the car or your bugout back and your library is now mobile.  An ounce of preparation is worth a pound of cure.  In this case 7 ounces of preparation is worth an entire digital prepper library!