Posts Tagged ‘Prepper’

Learn Something Dumby!

Posted: January 5, 2016 in Education
Tags: , , ,

You should always be learning.  Try and learn at least one new thing everyday.  It is very easy to get into a routine and become complacent.  Below are just a few free resources to stimulate your brain and expand your mind.  There is a lot of knowledge out there in the world that is free for the taking.  Take advantage of this glorious information age!

Khan Academy – started by Sal Khan as a series of instructional youtube videos that he created to tutor some of his family members.  Now a huge free collection of courses on anything from art history to multivariable calculus to computer programming.  All free and very user friendly.  Get badges for completing courses and tasks.  I took a class on Intro to Art History and I am currently taking a course on Macroeconomics.

edX – Collaboration of Harvard and MIT to “increase access to high-quality education for everyone, everywhere”.  These are actual Harvard/MIT courses by actual professors.  Most classes are free.  You can pay a small fee and get an official certificate of completion.

Duolingo – great little website and app for learning languages- completely free.  Spanish, German, French, Italian and many more.  I am currently at Spanish level 4 which apparently equates to 8% fluency.  You can test out of portions of languages that you already know and jump to a higher difficulty.  Also great for brushing off the rust of a language you already know.


  • Documentaries
    • Lots of great stuff that changes from time to time.  Find something interesting to you.  Then watch something that doesn’t sound very interesting to you.  Better yet let your spouse pick – guaranteed to sound awful at first but may surprise you!

TV Shows – Avoid the TV in general but if you must sit in front of it you might as well at least try to learn something.

  • Survivorman – probably the most legit of the survivor shows.  Les is a genuine survivalist.  He does his own filming and has no support.  This adds to the authenticity but makes the cinematography a bit rougher.
  • Fat Guys in the Woods – Creek Stewart is well known in the survival world.  He makes a good host for a show that drags overweight guys into the woods to survive for a week.  Entertaining and educational.
  • Man vs Wild – Bear Grylls is probably the most dynamic survivalist in front of a camera.  He has received a lot of flak for the authenticity of the show, but I enjoy it.
  • Doomsday Preppers – people like to make fun of this show and it isn’t seriously received among most preppers.  I have to admit that I have learned some pretty cool stuff on this show.  I am not ashamed to say that it does have some value.

YouTube – really the options are just endless.  Here are a few proven winners to get you started.

What are your favorites?  I am always looking for great resources, please share!


DSC00175You have less than two weeks until Christmas… Of course you haven’t managed to get all (or any? it is called preparedness after all..) of your shopping done yet.  You need some ideas? The Preppermanniacs have been clamoring for more gift ideas.   Not to worry, Preppermann has got ya covered!  With 2 day shipping from Amazon Prime you’ve got all the time in the world.  Check out last years gift ideas for even more suggestions.

Training – Grab your loved one the ultimate gift of knowledge and skill!

  • Self defense course – maybe Krav Maga
  • Gun Training  –  Nothing beats hands on 1 on 1 instruction, but if you don’t have access to any local courses check out the DVD series by Magpul
  • CPR or First Aid
  • Wilderness Survival Course
  • Cooking Classes – don’t know how to cook, bake, boil water?  Maybe a class would help get you started.
  • Gardening – hook up with your local County Agricultural Extension, they usually have free classes.  Join a local community garden and get practical experience growing your own food.  Start a square food garden.

Knives – nothing says I love you like something sharp and shiney.  A guaranteed hit with any guy.

Leatherman Wingman Multi Tool – I really like, nay LOVE the Leatherman Wave, but the price you can get almost 3 Wingmans.  The Wingman is really a great multi tool for under $30 at the time of writing.

Spyderco Byrd Cara Cara2 – One of my all around favorite knives is the Spyderco Endura or slightly smaller Delica.  They both run around $60.  The Byrd Cara Cara2 is basically a Chinese made budget version of the Endura.  Still produced by Spyderco under the Byrd line but under $20.  It isn’t as nice (steel, material, fit, finish, etc) but for a 1/3rd the cost it shouldn’t be.  Don’t get me wrong this is a remarkably good knife for the money.  If $60 is a ludicrous amount of money for you to spend on a knife (don’t read the next paragraph) then this knife is for you.  A great stocking stuffer.  This is the kind of knife I like for a beater knife.  If I happen to lose or misplace it I won’t shed a tear.

Spyderco Paramilitary 2  This knife is just plain ridiculous.  It is made at Spyderco’s flagship, American facility in Golden Colorado.  The quality of this thing is off the hook.  The steel (S30V) is top notch.  The weight and balance are great.  The G10 laminate scale handles have the perfect Goldilocks amount of grip.  If you need a nice knife for someone this will do it.  I got it in the sweet digital camo coloration and love it.

Knife Sharpener

Spyderco Sharpmaker – if you are buying knives for someone it would be nice if they had a way to keep them sharp.  This is great sharpener that won’t break the bank.  Pair the sharpener with a nice knife and you have a nice themed Christmas gift.  It comes with an instructional DVD and pamphlet to help you get the hang of it.

  • If you look at this gift guide it reads like a total homer advertisement for Spyderco, Leatherman, and Olight.  This really wasn’t intentional.  These companies just make great stuff for the money.  I actually came up with all of these ideas independently of each other, they just happen to feature some of the same great companies.

Lights – Olight is just killing it lately.  They are making fantastic lights at great prices.

Olight S1 Baton – this is your new EDC flashlight.  Very small and light weight.  It dissappears in a pocket.  It takes a CR123 battery (I usually like AA or AAA better for convenience) and puts out a mind blowing 500 lumens.  Great clip too.

Olight Valkyrie – This is a weapon light.  Throw it on your Glock 19 or any handgun with a rail.  If you have a handgun for home defense you must have a flashlight with it.  Better yet, put a flashlight on it!  You must be able to see and positively identify friend or foe.  No friendly fire accidents here.  Enter the Olight Valkyrie.  It takes a CR123 as well (you should stock up on these).  It puts out 400 lumens and has a throw of over 100 meters.  The quality, fit and finish are top notch.  I love the feel and placement of the buttons.  This thing just blends perfectly into my Glock 17, its current home.  I suspect they designed it specifically to fit perfectly with Glock pistols.

Olight M20SX Javelot – Need a bigger light?  This is it.  This is more of your typical handheld flashlight.  It is handsized but still quite small and portable.  It puts out a retina scorching 820 lumens (seriously don’t look at it).  It has a much more tactical feel to it with strobe and tactical bezel for self defense in a pinch.  It takes two CR123 batteries or 1 large rechargeable Li-ion 18650.  I bought this to use as a weapon light on my AR 15, but like it so much I haven’t mounted it yet!  It will make a great weapon light with the accessory mount.

Grain Mill – are you storing wheat in your food storage? (You should be…)  You need a way to grind that wheat.  Whole wheat berries are edible (with some work) but if you want bread you need to grind it.

Victorio Hand Grain Mill – this baby runs off good old fashioned muscle power.  You crank it by hand.  If the power grid goes down you will be glad you have this.  The amazing Wondermill below will function as a nice paperweight when electricity has gone the way of the dinosaur.  But you, in your infinite prepper wisdom will be cranking away making precious powder gold sans the juice.  And you will be cranking away, and cranking and cranking…  Better yet buy two of these.  And make sure you have 10 strapling children to run it.

Wondermill – grinding wheat by hand is A LOT of work.  It is labor intensive and time consuming.  It is almost comical how much you have to crank for a pitiful amount of of wheat flour.  If you have electricity you’ll want an electric mill.  Enter the Wondermill.  We have had one for years and it is amazing.  We use it all the time.  This is a universal prepper staple for a reason.  It is great quality and has a nice powerful 1250 watt motor.  This is a two-edged sword as 1250 watts is a pretty good amount of energy.  It is marketed as quiet which is quite funny because it sounds like a Harrier Jet in my opinion.

Bread Maker – If you are grinding wheat you will want some way to make bread.  The old fashion way (make dough, knead, let rise, put in pans, cook…) is great but labor intensive.  A bread maker is very quick, simple and most important… automated.  Takes a couple mins to add the ingredients and push start.  60 mins later… presto!  Hot bread.  You’ll need electricity of course.  Steven Harris has a nice podcast on using an inverter hooked to your car to run a bread machine.

Improve your families health now by grinding wheat and making home-made, nutritious whole wheat bread.  Much healthier than white bread (don’t eat this crap).  Far tastier than store bought wheat bread.

Oster 5838 Bread Machine – this is a relatively cheap little bread maker that works great.  I have it for emergencies.  We typically make bread the old-fashion way and bake it in the oven.  You can use a bread machine to make all kinds of other things like pizza dough.  You can even let it make the dough, let it rise and cook it in your own oven.

Zojirushi BB-CEC20 Home Bakery  – if you are going to get into bread making prior to the apocalypse (a good idea for practice and health reasons) you might want to invest in something a little nicer like the Zojirushi.  It makes horizontal 2 pound loaves of bread.  Just look at the name, this is no mere bread machine it is a home bakery!

Water Filtration – For portable and simple filtration get a Sawyer or Lifestraw.  These are great stocking stuffers.  For filtering a lot of water for a family get Berkey.  These are highly regarded filters and a prepper staple.  Fill the top canister and let the dirty water filter via gravity into the bottom chamber.  The clean water is then drawn out by a standard spigot.  It takes some time but this is the best way to filter the large amounts of water that you are going to need.  Remember to buy extra filters.  A lot of people use these to filter their tap water for regular consumption.  They come in a range of sizes, I would get the Big Berkey or Royal Berkey for an average sized family.

Well there are just a few Christmas gift ideas for preppers, survivalists, emergency preparednessers, etc.  Let me know if you have any other ideas or recommendations.  Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas!


In a previous post (The 2 Most Important Thins You Can Do) I talked about acquiring skill and getting in better physical shape.  I suggested these are the two most important things you can do in your life to improve your preparedness.  An able body and mind is much more likely to overcome difficult obstacles.  For the most part both of these things are free.  You can gain knowledge and skills with little to no cost.  You are doing it now!  You can also get into better physical shape for free.  Eat better, walk more, ride a bike to work, excercise.  Don’t fret if you don’t have any equipment or an expensive gym membership.  Body-weight exercises like pushups, lunges, planks, burpees, etc are great exercises.  There is one thing I would like to add to the above.  Get your financial affairs in order.

Money – we have a major debt crisis in our country.  Not just the country as a whole but as individuals.  We borrow way the hell too much money.  The median house hold income in the US is $53, 657.  The average indebted household has $15k in credit card debit.  Credit cards average about a 15% interest rate.  The average car loan is over $30,000.  Average student loan debt is $31,000.  Predictably, only 60% of people have at least $500 saved.  What if any little emergency hiccup happens.  Individual job loss?  Death or disability?  Global economic downturn?  This whole thing is a house of cards.  Get out of debt!  Stop borrowing money!  Cut your expenses.  Live within your means.  Start saving money.  Everyone should have a 1 month supply of food and water.  You should also have at least a months worth of money.  Ideally, you should have an emergency fund of 6 months worth of living expenses.  This way you are much more likely to be able to weather a short-term emergency like a job loss.

I highly recommend a couple of websites that I regularly read

Mr Money Mustache – this guy is great, and funny to boot!  He is all about efficiency.  He recommends saving 65% of your income and retiring in 15 years.  Sounds crazy right?  He did it. Check it out!  Even if he doesn’t convince you to save that much, some of his ideas are going to rub off on you.  From his homepage click on “Start Here”.  Read that article and click on all the linked articles.  Then keep reading.  I guarantee this will make you better with money.  One of my favorite articles “The shockingly simple math behind early retirement” shows that drinking Starbucks everyday and having cable TV end up causing you to have to work an additional 8 years.  This compared to saving that little bit and investing it.  Is cable TV and Starbucks worth 8 years of your life slaving away in a cubicle?  Do yourself a favor and start investing some time into mastering money.

The White Coat Investor – I read this guy’s book during my residency.  It is directed at doctors because although we may be intelligent and educated; we suck with money.  His website is full of wonderful advice about investing.  This is what you need to do with the money you are setting aside.  Make your money make money for you.  It’s a beautiful thing.  He loves Vanguard funds.  For that matter so does Mr Money Mustache.  Topics range from financial advisors and student loans to how to execute a backdoor Roth IRA.

The better control you have over your finances the better prepared you will be for… anything!

  • Get out of debt
  • Stay out of debt
  • Save money
  • Invest
  • Diversify
  • Learn to lead a more efficient life so that you don’t NEED so much STUFF

All of these things lead to independence.  Independence is truly a beautiful word that very few of us truly try to apply to our personal lives.  Financial independence is a huge piece of the pie.  Work on it!

As a reminder… (After all repitition is the mother of learning – as our Russian comrades like to say)

Move!  Get out there and move.  Go for a walk.  Walk to the store.  Leave the car behind.  Ride your bike.  Just do something other than sit at a desk or in front of the TV.  Find something heavy and pick it up, lift it over your head, repeat.  Do something difficult everyday.  Do something physically difficult.

Read!  Read a book.  Read for pleasure.  Read for education.  Read the above websites.  Turn the TV off.  The average american watches 5 hours of TV a day.  How is that even possible?  It boggles the mind.  Read a book instead.  Do something mentally difficult everyday.  Add to your mental library.

Save! Put some money away for that inevitable rainy day.

In my introductory post on food storage I recommended getting extra of the foods you already eat.  If you are completely new to food storage I still recommend starting there.  Once you have a bit extra stored away it is time to go “beyond the basics.”  What do you do next?  Below is a list of tried and true prepper food storage staples.  Let’s make a run to Sam’s Club and load up a cart (imagine whatever warehouse store you want here if Sam’s offends you – it’s just and example…)sams club

  1. Peanut butter – packed with calories and protein.  Plus it tastes great.  Sam’s has 2 packs of large 40 oz Jif.  Grab a couple of these.  They have a 6 pound Peter Pan container as well.  Both are just under $10.  PB is shelf stable for years.  I like to try to rotate it as we use it.  You can also buy PB powder in #10 cans from companies like Emergency Essentials = much longer shelf life.
  2. Pancake mix – grab a 10 pound bag or two for $7.  Nothing beats just add water (this is a simplicity thing, you can obviously just make it as well).  Make sure to grab some syrup as well.  Syrup can also make other things more edible (like oatmeal) as well.  Just picture the movie Elf.
  3. Oats – speaking of oatmeal.  Get quick oats or regular oats, or both!  Good for cooking and breakfast.  Large bags or individual packets.  Both are good.
  4. Flour – grab a 25 pound bag of flour for about $7 as well.  Great for bread, biscuits, tortillas etc.
  5. Sugar – grab a 25 pound bag of sugar as well.  Sugar is nice because it is very shelf stable.  Just keep it from getting wet or absorbing water.  (FYI no oxygen absorbers for this or salt, more on this later)
  6. Salt – get 4 large boxes of food service salt, regular old iodinated stuff.  They are about a buck each so get more if you want.  Too much salt will never be an issue.  (Except in your current american diet, but I digress.)
  7. Baking soda – get the large orange bag, super cheap and already stored very nicely for you $7 for 14 pounds..  Essential for baking.  Good for cleaning as well.
  8. Baking powder – 60 oz for $6.  Essential for baking.
  9. Yeast – get a brick of the instant stuff and toss it in the freezer.  Essential for bread.
  10. Beans – get the biggest bags of whatever beans you like.  Get some variety.
  11. Rice – you want white rice.  Brown rice although more nutritious goes bad much more quickly.  25 pounds – $9.50.
  12. Canned meat – lots of options.  Get all of them.  Canned beef, chicken, tuna, Spam.  Don’t forget the spam!  It is just ham and a bit of pork shoulder all mashed up.  This will serve as your bacon in a pinch.  Drop the loaf of meat out (man that is so wrong…) and cut it real thin like.  Then fry it up until crispy.  We did this last weekend as a family test and guess what?  Everyone ate it!  Even my picky kids and wife.  Try it if you don’t believe me.  The canned meats are quite a bit more expensive than the above stuff but you will be glad you got them.
  13. Oil – the cheapest and easiest route is to get the huge jug of fry oil.  This is essential for baking.  35 pounds for $20.  It comes as a big jug in a box.  Set it aside in a dark corner of your basement.  I am not going to argue with you about how unhealthy this is!  We are talking about survival and starving to death!  You will love it and eat in that situation!  Survival is about calories not so much nutrition.  If you can’t bring yourself to get this then get peanut oil (for much more) or other oil that does not offend you so deeply.  Smaller jugs can be placed in the freezer.  This has the added perk of keeping your meats and stuff colder longer during a power outage (think of it is a cold battery, or block of ice, which it is…)
  14. Soup – nothing like just add heat right?  Or for that matter don’t add heat and pretend it is gazpacho.  Lots of options and varieties here.  Just get what you like and can afford.  Get variety.
  15. Spices – Sam’s is great for this stuff.  Get lots of different spices.  You’ll need this to make things edible and add variety.  Black pepper, red pepper, garlic, etc
  16. Canned fruit – you can get huge #10 cans but I would probably get the packs of smaller cans.  You may not want to eat 60 oz of peaches all in a few days.  Get what you like.  Get some variety.
  17. Canned vegetables – same as above.
  18. Drink mix – you will drink more water if it is flavored, this is science.  May also help get your kids to drink.  We also want the Vitamin C which may become scare (fresh fruit).  If you are working hard surviving the sugar is helpful as well.  Tang is good choice.
  19. Pasta – I prefer macaroni noodles but anything works.  1 pound x 6 packs for $4.
  20. Spaghetti sauce – need something to go on all of those noodles.  You can also get cans of cheese sauce.
  21. Honey – obvious uses.  Interestingly this is one of very few things that has an indefinite shelf life.  It never goes bad.  Makes sense to store it.  Expensive though.
  22. Powdered milk – can make milk or cook with it.  Lots of protein.  4.4 pounds for $15.
  23. Candy – M&Ms, hard candies, etc.  This stuff is very important as a moral booster.  Also good for kids.

Now run over to Home Depot or Lowes.  Get some 5 gallon food grade buckets.  NOT the orange Homer buckets, they are not food grade and can leach chemicals into your food = bad.  Ask if you are not sure.  They are usually labeled as food grade.  Get the appropriate lids.  While you are there grab a rubber mallet for securing the lids.  They also make these handy wrenches for prying the lids off the buckets.

Even better order these Gamma Lids.  They are worth their weight in gold.  They are wonderful for things you get into frequently.  I like to get different colored lids to easily identify the contents.  White for four, yellow for noodles, etc.

In a later post we will get into the specifics of how to store the food to make it last longer.  There are lots of fancy techniques like nitrogen flushing, freeze drying, dehydrating, vacuum sealing, canning, pickling, and oxygen absorbers.  For now I would put the flour, sugar, oats, rice, beans, salt into buckets with lids.  This protects the products from water and a bit from air.  Most of the other stuff is fine in the container it came in.  Next we will get into mylar bags and oxygen absorbers which will make this stuff last even longer.  Use the stuff in the buckets and refill them as needed.

Prepper Christmas Gift Ideas

Posted: December 5, 2014 in Gear
Tags: , ,

leatherman waveSo Christmas is around the corner and you’ve still got shopping to do.  Here are some great prepper related ideas for your loved ones.  There is nothing like giving a gift that gives back!

$10 Gift Ideas

  1. Double USB Car Charger – Most USB chargers put out 0.5 Amps.  This puts out 2 Amps per port.  It will charge your phone much faster.  Ditch that piece of junk that you got with your phone and use this.  If you don’t have anything to charge your phone in the car then buy this right this second!  Also nice because it has 2 ports so you can charge your significant other’s phone or tablet as well.
  2. 3.4A USB Wall Charger – wall version of above but even better because it puts out 3.4 Amps.  Again faster charging.  Technically $12.

$20 Gift Ideas

  1. Kershaw OSO Sweet – this knife is Oh So Sweet!  Decent weight.  Great feel.  Sturdy, with a nice blade.  I dare you to find more knife for under $20
  2. Rite in Rain – tactical clicker pen and notebook.  Works in almost any conditions, even wet!  Great for a bug out bag or car kit.
  3. Mechanix Wear Gloves – These are my favorite all-around gloves.  Great fit, great dexterity.  Light weight but rugged enough to save your hands from a lot of abuse.  I wear these for just about everything.  They are in my BOBs, car kits, tactical gun kits, etc.

$25 Gift Ideas

  1. Fenix E12 – this single AA flashlight is small, light and puts out 130 lumens.  It has a nice tactical look and feel.  Great EDC light.
  2. Bestek 150W Inverter – This awesome little inverter plugs into your car’s cigarette lighter and then has a normal AC plug to allow you to run normal household things off your car.  The device needs to draw less than 150W.  It also has 2 USB ports for added versatility.

$35 Gift Idea

  1. Sawyer Water Filter – This water filter is lightweight, easy to use and just plain awesome.  This $35 gem has totally replaced all of my expensive water filtration systems for backpacking.  Great for a bug out bag, car kit, backpacking or for an emergency water filtration backup.

$40 Gift Idea

  1. 5.11 Taclite Pro Pants – I love these pants!  I wear these everywhere, anytime I can.  You’ll never need another pair of pants again.  Light weight water-repellent fabric.  Lots of great pockets.  Lots of color choices.  I really like the Tundra color (kind of an olive-green).  These are a 10/10.  They have also gotten cheaper over time.  I used to gladly pay over $50 for these.  They are under $40 at the time of this writing.  These are truly Hall of Fame pants!

$60 Gift Idea

  1. Spyderco Endura – very similar to my beloved Spyderco Delica but slightly larger and who doesn’t like a bigger blade?  Awesome knife and comes in many great colors.
  2. KA-BAR Marine Knife – this full-sized knife is a beast.  For the times when a folding knife won’t do.  This is a true survival and combat knife.  Been used by the Marines for decades and it is easy to tell why.  Don’t mess with a guy holding one of these.
  3. Sog Flashback – This knife is just plain cool.  It is an assisted opening knife so once you get the blade moving it flings open on its own.  It is the next closest thing to an auto-knife or “switch” blade.  The tanto blade, black titanium nitride finish, and silver metal handle make this knife pretty cool looking as well.  If you need a tacticool knife for someone this is it.  It will be sure to impress.  (I won’t tell you how long I have sat there just flipping this knife open and closed)

$80 Gift Idea

  1. Leatherman Wave – fantastic all-around multi-tool.  Suggested multiple times in other posts.  This list wouldn’t be complete without it.  10/10 tool.

$100 Gift Idea

  1. Kelly Kettle – this little stove is highly efficient for boiling water.  Perfect for freeze-dried meals, sanitation, etc.  It burns just about anything but little twigs, bark, and wood chips are perfect.  Perfect addition to your food storage in case the power is out and you need warm water.  Also great for camping.  All work and no play make Jack really pissy if he doesn’t get his hot chocolate in the morning.

Essential Prepper Medications

Posted: December 4, 2014 in Medicine
Tags: , ,

Your family emergency preparedness plan should include medications.  Some of these may be life saving.  Some of them may be quality of life saving.  Having a good stock of medications on hand is prudent.  These are all very shelf stable.  Keep them in a cool, dry and dark place.  Disregard the expiration dates.  These are arbitrary made up numbers based of nothing at all.  No science whatsoever goes into these seemingly important dates.  The government, in its infinite wisdom mandates that these be on there.  The companies comply because they have to.  It is also great for the companies because you then keep buying the same things over and over.  The government has a study (they try to keep it quite) that looks at the efficacy of medications decades later.  They test the drugs they stockpile for the military.  Guess what?  Nearly everything they tested was totally fine decades later.  They found that Tylenol lost of bit of its potency but none of the meds were dangerous or anything.  So be educated and warned.  Don’t toss those “expired” (big, huge, exaggerated, air quotes!) meds!

  1. Acetaminophen – Generic for Tylenol.  Good all around pain-killer safe for just about anyone.  Can cause liver toxicity, stay under 3000-4000 mg/day.
  2. Ibuprofen – Generic for Advil.  Great pain-killer.  More powerful pain-killer than Tylenol.  600-800mg dose is anti-inflammatory.  Can be taken with Tylenol for added pain control if stronger meds are not available.  Can cause kidney toxicity.  Stay under 2400 mg/day.
  3. Aspirin – Generic for Bayer Aspirin.  Often overlooked pain-killer.  Don’t take with other NSAIDS (ibuprofen, naproxen (Aleve), etc)).  Inhibits platelet function = blood thinner.  Good if suspected heart attack or stroke.
  4. Diphenhydramine – generic for Benadryl.  Anti-histamine (allergies), sleep aid, anti-nausea med.  Makes most people pretty drowsy.  Give to someone if they are having an allergic reaction or anaphylaxis.
  5. Cetirizine – generic for Zyrtec.  Non-drowsy allergy med.  Great if you need to be active and working (no Benadryl here).  May make some people a bit drowsy.  Can’t take with the above – same class of drugs.
  6. Ranitidine – generic for Zantac.  Different type of anti-histamine for reflux and heartburn.  Typical OTC dose is 75mg which is pretty weak.  150mg is “maximum strength”, you can take 300mg if needed (doctor directed if available).  Can also give this in anaphylaxis in addition to Benadryl.
  7. Bacitracin – antibiotic ointment.  I like this better than triple antibiotic (Neosporin).  Can still cause skin sensitization but less so than neosporin.
  8. Clotrimazole – generic for Lotrimin.  Antifungal, great for ringworm, jock itch, athletes foot and vaginal yeast infections.
  9. Hydrocortisone – 1% is the strongest OTC you can get.  Good for eczema, rashes, bug bites.
  10. Loperamide – generic for Imodium.  Anti-diarrheal.  If things get bad sanitation is going to be a big problem.  Diarrhea is going to be rampant.  This may be a life saver.
  11. Caffeine – in general I don’t like caffiene and think it is vastly overused.  BUT if you are pulling guard duty or driving your pimped-out bug out vehicle and have to stay awake and alert this may be helpful.  Use sparingly and try to avoid in general.
  12. Meclizine – generic for Bonine.  It is an anti-motion sickness medication.  It works as an anti-nausea medication.  If some one is profusely vomiting dehydration is an issue.  This may help.  SImilar concept to diarrhea.  Benadryl will work as well if you don’t have this.
  13. Potassium Iodine – these tablets are often called radiation pills.  I want to dispel a myth here.  These pills help protect your thyroid (which is very sensitive to radiation).  It does nothing to protect anything else.  It may help a little from getting thyroid cancer from radiation exposure years down the road.  They are good to have but as you can see somewhat limited in their scope.
  14. Docusate – generic for Colace.  Stool softener.  This and senosides or Senna are both safe meds for constipation.  Other constipation meds need a bit more expertise.
  15. Antibiotics – I list these for information.  I think they are a great, awesome, and a wonderful thing to have saved up.  They will literally save lives.  The problem is they are somewhat complicated to use.  You need specific antibiotics to treat specific things.  You need specific, weight based doses.  They can be toxic and are down right dangerous in the wrong hands.  If you stock these get advise from a doctor.  If you stock these you need a doctor to tell you how to use them.  These are not OTC as you know (in the U.S. at least).  You can buy these online as fish antibiotics.  They are a little known prepper secret.  (Less so nowadays with the internet).  They are the exact same drugs from the same manufacturers intended for fish so you can buy them.  My go to source is Fishmoxfishflex.  I will write a separate post on this because the demand exists.  Please, please heed what I said above.  Fish Mox Forte is amoxicilin (500mg) and Fish Mox Flex is cephalexin (500mg).  Both are all around good drugs.  You can’t give these to someone with a penicillin allergy.  Again, you have to know what you are doing.  But if you must stock something these are both good choices.

I think the first 10 items are the most important.  I would start there.  Please feel free to ask questions.  As always have good written instructions for everything stored with your medications.  Get some education about how and when to use these things now before you need it.

Buy them in bulk from Costco or Sam’s.  Most drug stores are an unbelievable rip off.  You can find a lot of them on amazon from Costco.  Get the rest at Walmart or the like for the best prices.  Lastly, check your local drug store.

Emergency Car Kit

Posted: December 3, 2014 in Gear
Tags: , ,

Winter is upon us.  This is a great time to build an emergency car kit if you don’t have one.  If you already have one (you get an attaboy!) this is a good time to review and update it.  We spend a lot of time in our cars.  Most of us travel thousands of miles per year.  This is a great place to target some of your preparedness energy!

I would like to relate the tragic story of James Kim and his family.  He was a senior editor for CNET.  I pasted most of the article from Wikipedia to save me the time of rewriting it.

After spending the 2006 Thanksgiving holiday in Seattle, Washington, the Kims (James, Kati, and their two daughters, Penelope and Sabine) set out for their home in San Francisco, California. On Saturday, November 25, 2006, having left Portland, Oregon, on their way to Tu Tu Tun Lodge, a resort located near Gold Beach, Oregon, the Kims missed a turnoff from Interstate 5 to Oregon Route 42, a main route to the Oregon Coast. Instead of returning to the exit, they consulted a highway map and picked a secondary route that skirted the Wild Rogue Wilderness, a remote area of southwestern Oregon.

After encountering heavy snow at high elevation on Bear Camp Road, they turned, by mistake, onto one of hundreds of unpaved logging roads supervised by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). A road gate intended to prevent such mistakes was open despite BLM rules requiring that it be closed. Media outlets reported that vandals had cut a lock on the gate, but a subsequent investigation showed that BLM employees had left it open to avoid trapping local hunters and others who might have ventured past it.

Early on the morning of November 26, the family stopped because of fatigue and bad weather. As more snow fell around their immobilized Saab 9-2X station wagon, the Kims kept warm by running its engine. When the vehicle ran out of fuel, they made a campfire of dried wood and magazines. Later, they burned their car’s tires to signal rescuers. Search efforts began shortly after November 30, when coworkers of Kim filed a missing persons report with the San Francisco Police Department. After investigators learned that the Kims used their credit card at a local restaurant, search and rescue teams, including local and state police, more than 80 civilian volunteers, the Oregon Army National Guard and several helicopters hired by Mr. Kim’s father, Spencer Kim, spent several days looking for the family along area highways and roads, to no avail.

On December 2, James Kim left his family to look for help, wearing tennis shoes, a jacket, and light clothing. He believed the nearest town (Galice) was located four miles away after studying a map with his wife. He promised his wife he would turn back the same day if he failed to find anyone, but he did not return.

On the afternoon of December 4, John Rachor, a local helicopter pilot unaffiliated with any formal search effort, spotted Mrs. Kim and her two daughters walking on a remote road. After he radioed the family’s position to authorities, the three were airlifted out of the area and transferred to a nearby hospital.

On Wednesday, December 6 at 12:03 p.m., Mr. Kim’s body was found in Big Windy Creek.  Lying on his back in one to two feet of icy water, he was fully clothed and had been carrying a backpack which contained his identification documents, among other miscellaneous items. He had walked about 16.2 miles (26 km) from the car to that point, and was only a mile from Black Bar Lodge, which, although closed for the winter, was fully stocked at the time. An autopsy revealed that Kim had died because of hypothermia and that his body had suffered no incapacitating physical injuries. The medical examiner who performed the autopsy guessed that Kim had died roughly two days after leaving the vehicle.

James Kim and Family

There was an excellent 2 hour-long special aired on 20/20 called “The Wrong Turn”.  This tragic story illustrates how easily something like this can happen, to anyone, at anytime.  There are a lot of lessons to be learned from this.  The one thing I want to underscore is the usefulness of a well thought out emergency car kit.

As usual you can buy car kits premade.  This is better than nothing but I would recommend making your own as it will be better and cheaper.  This looks like a decent kit but I don’t have hands on experience with it.  AAA Severe Weather Road Kit

Emergency Car Kit List:

Put this all in a backpack, duffel bag, or Rubbermaid plastic bin and leave it in your car

Jumper cables – longer and bigger is better.  Smaller gauge numbers mean bigger cables = good.  Go with 8 or 6 gauge.  Heavy duty jumper cables.

Wool blanket – wool works even when wet.  A sleeping bag or heavy blanket works here as well.

Heavy Duty Emergency blanket – Not the flimsy foil things.  Get the Grabber Space Blanket.  It will reflect heat.  It is substantial.  Get the orange one to double for signaling.

Extra clothes – have the appropriate warm clothes in general.  We get spoiled with warm cars, warm homes and offices.  Exposure kills.  Have extra (for everyone).

  • Jacket
  • Beanie
  • Work Gloves – I like mechanix wear
  • Shoes/boots
  • Warm gloves

Ice scraper

Extra food – crackers, trail mix, jerky, anything with calories.  I like these Emergency Survival Rations.  They are used in survival rafts.  They are good for at least 5 years regardless of temperature (very good if sitting in your scorching hot car).  They taste like flatbread cookies.

Bottled water – Gatorade and sugared drinks may provide needed calories.

Knife – having a good knife or multi-tool is a huge must for your car.  Check out the All-star knives post


  • Multi-tool – having a leatherman wave or similar would be a huge addition to any car kit
  • Wrenches
  • Screwdrivers

Flashlight – a headlight comes in very handy if you are attempting any repairs.  Blackdiamond Spot is a great headlight.  Energizer headlight is cheaper and decent.  I would also consider a nice big D-Cell flashlight.  D-Cell Maglight is a great flashlight.  It has a lot of mass and could be used in a defensive role.  It puts out a lot of light.  Put high quality alkaline batteries or even better lithium batteries in your emergency lights.  I like Energizer Lithium batteries and Duracell alkalines.

Spare batteries

Duct tape – do yourself a favor and get gorilla tape it is amazing stuff

Whistle – you will lose your voice quickly when calling for help.  A whistle carries much farther and doesn’t fatigue.

Shovel – useful for digging out of snow if you get stuck

Cat litter (good for traction in snow and ice)

First aid kit

Fire extinguisher

Fire (ability to make it) – lighter, matches, flint

Extra cash

Battery powered radio

Ham radio

Emergency reflectors or flares and bright-colored flag


  • Keep your car at least half full of gas
  • Tell people where you are going and how you plan to travel
  • Check weather before travel
  • If stuck make yourself visible
  • In general it is better to stay with the vehicle.  It is your best source of shelter.  This is of course situational.
  • Adjust as appropriate for your environment
  • You can always use your floor mats for traction if you get stuck in snow (place in path of tires)

This list is just a starting point to get you thinking.  There are lots of useful things.  What do you have in your kit?

Preparedness Apps – Android

Posted: December 2, 2014 in Communication
Tags: , ,


I have talked a lot about how useful cell phones are for emergencies.  Smartphones offer even more utility via apps.  There are a lot of great apps out there for preppers and survivalists.  I would like to highlight a few.  I have an android so I don’t know much about the offerings for Iphones.  The principle remains the same though. You may be able to find similar apps that do the same things.

Flashlight – This is the first thing I would get for my phone.  Now your phone doubles as a light.  I still think a dedicated flashlight is better but this is a great back up.

There are some others that let you adjust color which can be useful.  I really just want a simple light.

Maps –

  • Mapdroyd – This allows you to have maps with no internet (Google Maps requires a data connection).  If data is down or you are out in the middle of nowhere Google Maps is worthless (this happened to me two days ago, it sucks!)  You can get maps for anywhere in the world (handy for international travel).  Make sure to download them ahead of time!  I got my state and the surrounding states for starters.

Scanner –

  • Scanner Radio – This nifty little app lets you use your phone as a police scanner.  You can select your local PD or FD and listen to what is going on.  Someone has to upload this for your area (I live in a rural area and had lots of options people had uploaded) so there is a chance there won’t be anything for you locally.  You can also listen to other cities all over the country which could be useful in a large scale disaster.

News Aggregator

  • Proclivus – This app is amazing.  It pulls in all kinds of preparedness related articles and posts.  You can sort by catergories as well.  This is great for getting exposed to new ideas and resources.

Survival – 

  • Survival Guide – This is a copy of the Army Survival Manual in app form.  Very useful resource to have around.  It is full of great information.  You can find the Army Survival Manual FM 21-76 in pdf and load it onto any phone or tablet.

Knots – 

  • Knots Guide – this little app can be very handy.  Having some familiarity with knots is very useful.  This will help you remember or learn how to tie them.

First Aid –

  • First Aid – Red Cross – This is is great in an emergency as well as teaching you first aid.  It has step by step instructions, pictures, and videos.  You can learn about how to treat different things and take quizzes.

Compass – 

  • Compass 360 Pro – This has come in handy many times.  I have used it to help with garden planning and for navigation when backpacking.  A “real” compass is still a must but this is very handy and a great back up compass.  This also helps for those times you don’t quite trust what your compass is telling you – you can compare it to this for reassurance.


  • Kindle – An app like this can turn your phone into a massive survival library.  Check out the books page for some great ideas to start your collection.

What have I missed or overlooked?  Feel free to suggest your favorites in the comments.

Shout out to my Apple people.  If I get a chance I will use my wife’s Ipad and see if I can find some suitable offerings for you.  In the meantime feel free to let me know what you like.  It’ll help me make an Apple specific post.  Thanks!