Creating a homeschool curriculum that suits both the academic and self-reliance goals of a prepping family is an exciting endeavor. If you thought setting up the homeschool classroom was fun, the thrill of designing the curriculum is going to knock your socks off! Finally, you have control over not just what your child is being taught, but HOW they are going to learn the material.
If you do not have a background in education, setting up a curriculum and making lesson plans understandably may feel like an overwhelming and daunting task.
There are a plethora of great free or inexpensive ready make curriculum packages available online from homeschool associations and groups. You can download or purchase any one or combination of the learning kits, based either upon a single unit, subject in weekly, monthly, and year-long increments. Once you have the material that covers all the state required and necessary objectives, you can tinker around with it, infusing it with out-of-the seat and hands-on training to make it your own.
Think of the ready-made curriculum packets and lesson plans as a springboard to guide your efforts and not an end point.
For the basis of this article, we are going to focus solely on how to infuse self-reliance training and skills into your curriculum and homeschool year. You just can’t find that type of material compiled by subject of grade level anywhere – at least not until I finish my Homeschool Curriculum Adventures for Survival and Homesteading Families book!
Self-Reliance Learning Adventures
Always try to incorporate multiple subjects into each learning activity. Taking advantage of this manner of teaching will reinforce and hone all of the child’s basic skills in a meaningful way.
• Teach children how to start their own seeds, grow fruits, vegetables, and herbs, create a compost pile, cultivate good soil, how to make their own natural pesticides and herbicides, and how to test its content, all reach not only nature science objectives while engaging in hands-on learning to keep them on the road to self-reliance.
• The gardening lessons also require the children to comprehend and build upon their knowledge, read and follow instructions, and further their math skills all at the same time.
• Have the children help make the pots for starting seeds by making their own out of newspaper and toilet paper rolls.
• With your assistance, depending upon the child’s age and skills, make raised wood beds, and cold frames for starting seeds and plants. Learning the basics of carpentry will add to your child’s skill set while again, teaching them how to follow directions, measure, work with angles, and understand the importance of having wood on the survival retreat and saving old materials from past projects because they could come in handy of future jobs.
• Make learning the names and parts of plants the art project for the day or week. Let the children draw the plants on paper, scrap wood, or an indoor or outdoor chalkboard to learn the parts and how to spell each item you are growing in the garden.
• To infuse more language, arts and science objectives into the project, have the child make a classification graph of the crops, keep a record graph of their growth, and write a daily journal entry noting what they learned that day about gardening, including hand drawn images of the plants, carpentry plans, etc.
• Tying history to gardening is a little difficult, but not impossible. Use the time spent working the land together to talk about the history of American farms, Johnny Appleseed, and the progression of manual agriculture tools and equipment to modern machinery. Discuss how the modern tools and methods used to tend to the family’s food supply would change during a disaster and how the task could be accomplished without the aide of fuel or electricity.
• During story time with younger children, choose books about gardening, growing plants, and farm life. Give older children a related book, preferably a non-fiction novel about a notable off grid family that has a successful garden, people who preserve and cultivate heirloom seeds, biographies of homesteading experts, etc. Have some fun with their book reports.
Sure, the kids do need to write reports during the school year, but have them showcase their comprehension of the material by doing a book report in a bag, giving a 5-minute demonstration on something they learned from the book, making up a song or poem to describe the book, creating posters to relay the progression of the storyline in the book, or making a storybook for little siblings based upon the book they read, complete with illustrations made by hand or on the computer.
Geometry in Construction utilizing hands-on learning - YouTube
• The educational opportunities stemming from the barnyard are nearly endless! You can do an entire learning unit on each animal that your have, or plan to have, over the course of a month – depending upon your survival homesteading plans. Many of these activities could, and should, be going on during the same day. Learning about animal care is of course, a science lesson, but there are many, many way to infuse all four remaining primary subject areas, language arts, math, and social studies, into the same lessons as well.
• Design an animal husbandry research and writing project to the age of your children. This type of learning activity is great if you work with children of multiple ages at the same time. The basis of the lesson plans and activities are the same, they are just tweaked a bit to suit each child’s age and abilities.
• Instruct the children to research the key aspects of husbandry for each animal in books and online. If working with younger children, download some free farm animal worksheets, you will be able to find many art, math, reading, and science sheets and mini-books to download – more than what you could go through if you spend a whole month on an entire animal breed.
• Have the children interview someone outside the family who has raised or bred the animals for a long time to give them the chance to conduct an interview with an “expert” as part of their writing lesson. Let the children take photos and videos during their interview. Discuss what types of questions the person should be asked beforehand based upon their animal husbandry research.
• Have the children keep a journal about their interaction and the behavior and health of the animal each day after doing their chores to help care for the animal.
• Instruct the children to make graphs depicting how much food the animal eats, water it drinks, milks it gives, or eggs it lays each day. This will require the child measuring out the food and water beforehand – a math skill. If the children are younger, create story problems. Based upon the animal they are learning about that week or month.
• This is a great middle and high school barnyard unit activity. Spend some time learning about what makes quality hay and straw, how much the animal eats in the different seasons and why, how to cultivate pasture to create quality hay and straw and devote a space in the homesteading survival retreat pasture to put the newly acquired knowledge to work.
To infuse some math into the lesson, give the child a budget to work from based upon a fictitious job that takes up X amount of hours. Next, task the child with buying seed and other supplies to put in X amount of acres of hay or straw. Factor in equipment rental for baling or fuel and baling supply costs for equipment you already have. Now, the child must factor in the time it will take to plant, harvest, and bale and the available non-work hours to get this done.
Teach the child how to use the farmer’s almanac to see long-range weather predictions to schedule the dry days needed to cut, rake, bale, and store the hay or straw. The project should be compiled as a report that shows the math work in story problem format, possibly graphs and charts, and essay question style answers to explain each step of the planting, cultivation, and harvesting process.
• Food preservation, cooking, and baking with the food grown and raised on the homesteading survival retreat should be included in this unit. The lessons offer the opportunity to teach about nutrition, math through measuring and yield activities, science via the cooking, baking, and food preservation activities, how to follow directions, and writing exercises stemming from a recipe book the children create while working on their edible projects.
The children should learn how to milk the animals on the homestead, make their own cheese and butter, as well. Put the children in charge of making a meal for the entire family out of only food grown or raised on the survival homestead.
• Allow the children to work along or together to make an ad campaign promoting their barnyard “business.” They should write their own newspaper and television commercial advertisements. Older children could even create (not necessarily publish) a blog for their business, and also create a video from their commercial advertisement writing project – complete with music or costumes they make to act out their words.
• Older children should be tasked with researching and writing a report about agriculture laws in the state so they can learn how the food grown and raised on the survival homestead could legally be sold for profit.
• Butchering should be introduced at the youngest age you are comfortable with and the skills expanded upon over time. An entire educational unit could be built around humanely slaughtering the animals, skinning them, butchering the meat, disposing of the unused portions, tanning hides, etc.
• Repeat the storybook and non-fiction reading and book report activities for the barnyard unit in the same manner as noted in the gardening lesson plans section.
• Help the children make simple stuffed animals depicting the animals they are learning about out of felt by using simple hand sewing stitches. Making a diorama of the barnyard area they are learning about can be part of a larger display that grows as they learn about more animals throughout the year. A plethora of meaningful art extension opportunities for barnyard units exist. Pinterest is a great place to look for inspiration and free pattern downloads and art project printables.
• Set up some targets and get ready to teach the children how to do a lot more than shoot! Shooting a bow and arrow will teach the children about velocity, gravity, measuring distance, angles through and aiming, just to name a few.
• Help the children make a bow out of PVC pipe to use during their archery unit. The project will cost about $10 or less and requires only the use of simple tools. The meaningful art project will require the child to follow instructions, read, and do a decent amount of math via measurement.
• Make arrows with the children out of natural materials or other inexpensive items after the children research primitive arrow making and write a report about their findings.
• Using construction paper, have the child draw or glue printed images, of arrows used from primitive times through today on one side and write an essay style description about each particular arrow on the other side. Repeat this exercise when working on the PVC bow to show the different types of bows that existed both long ago and now.
This will work some history into your project. A research project about the types of bows used by Native Americans and early pioneers in your area would be a great addition to this project – visit the local historical society or similar attraction while studying about early peoples and archery.
• Make targets with the children out of cardboard for their archery practice. The children should be measuring the cardboard or similar material to you exact specifications and then.
• Next, have them draw or trace an animal onto each target that is a natural predator in your area. The child should write a short report about each animal or complete learning worksheets about the wild animal – or both. This will work some more science into the archery unit.
• Have the child write and then give a how-to speech about how they made the bow and another about how the made the arrows and cite at least two science and historical facts during their speech – language arts, science, history, and a whole lot of fun while learning an important self-reliance skill that can help put food on the table one day.
• Once the targets are drawn and painted and mounted to straw bales, the children can put their actively engage in velocity, gravity, distance, and aiming lessons and extension activities.
Top 20 Survival Handicraft Learning Activities
These activities can also be turned into homeschool educational units to help teach self-reliance to children of prepping parents using the same format as the examples presented above.
2. Making simple machines
3. Basket weaving
4. Forge building
5. Knife making
6. Knitting and crochet
7. Sewing and pattern making
8. Growing your own pharmacy to make natural remedies
9. Ammunition reloading
10. Foraging wild edibles
11. Map making
12. Tree and plant identification
13. Water purification
14. Alternative energy
16. Fire starting and open flame cooking
17. Making your own charcoal
18. Making a rainwater collection system
19. Making portable and household water purification systems
20. Outhouse building
These are just a sampling of a few of the many ways you can use self-reliance skill building activities and common homesteading chores to teach valuable life and academic lesson in your prepper retreat homeschool classroom.
The ultimate beauty of creating a homeschool curriculum is that you can adapt it to meet the goals, beliefs, and lifestyle of the family while still maintaining a quality learning experience in core subjects for your children.
Have ideas for infusing survival skills into academic lesson plans? Share them in the comments section below!
Before we delve into a lot of facts, figures, and particulars about the backpacks you will find listed below, there is one very important thing I must share with you: there’s no such thing as a perfect bugout bag.
Bugout bags are not one size fits all, nor is any one bag best for all types of lifestyles or environments. While some sturdy rucksacks can definitely be deemed multi-use and fulfill the bugout bag, 72-hour bag, and get me home bag requirements, purchasing a backpack that fits your body, a specific need, as well as both the weather and terrain in your location may vastly enhance your survival chances.
Understanding the difference between the focus of each type of bag and the abilities and constraints of the person wearing it will help prevent the purchase of a bag that can’t house the necessary gear, it’s too large to be functional, or too weak to last from the time that it is needed to when it can be tucked away in a closet again.
72- Hour Bag
A 72-hour bag is not designed to help you survive long term. It needs to be only large enough to help you carry or house the essentials you need to make it through a few days.
A 72-hour bag does not necessarily ever have to be carried. Its contents can keep you alive inside your own home, vehicle, or inside a cabin or hotel room if you become stranded or quarantined during a disaster. Such bags typically house long term survival food, bottled water and a means to purify water, some first aid items, fire starters, and clothing.
A bugout bag (Bob) is designed to help your survive outside of your home for an extended period of time while your travel, perhaps on foot, to your bugout location. A BOB must be durable enough to withstand rain, sleet, snow, as well as excessive heat and cold. A bugout bag will hold clothing, a survival kit with some manual tools, food, water purification device or tablets, first aid items, and hunting and/or fishing gear.
I’m Never Coming Home Bags are the largest type of survival bags. If you strap one of these bad boys on, you will need a strong back and be carrying everything you will need to survive a long term disaster “out in the wild.” INCH bags should be built upon a lightweight metal frame to help distribute their weight evenly.
A Get Me Home Bag is designed to hold a survival kit that will help you during a several hour or day-long trip home…either on foot or by vehicle. It is a somewhat of a cross between a bugout bag and a 72-hour bag.
A GMHB will house clothing to help you survive the elements (hat, gloves, rain gear, thick socks, etc.) and perhaps a single change of clothes, water and/or water purification tablets or straw filter, a little bit of survival food, a knife, extra ammunition, fire starters, maybe a tarp to use as a tent, first aid items, etc.
Pets, Children, and Small Women – Bugout or GMHBs for dogs and rugged backpacks designed multi-use purpose for children and smaller stature women unaccustomed to strenuous activity, also exist. Giving someone a bag they cannot carry because of either their size or work/school bag restrictions will not help them survive a disaster.
Color Matters Too!
Regardless of the type of bag you are buying, choose a color that will blend in with your surrounding – or is at least dark in tone to avoid being detected at night. Resist the urge to look full on tactical. Under no circumstances do you want a bag that will attract any unnecessary attention or appear enticing to steal.
Survival Bag Rating
Each survival bag on the list will include a notation indicating if it is best for an urban, suburban, or rural environment, or if the bag is equally suited for all three environments. If you live in one type of location but will be traveling to another to reach a bugout location or during your commute home, a survival bag equally suited for multiple environments is highly recommended.
If the survival bag is a great fit for small women, the elderly, or children, that will also be noted next to each recommendation.
Top 5 72-Hour Bags
#1. 5.11 Rush72 Backpack (Rural – Suburban)
This is the most durably constructed 72-hour bag that I have ever come across. It is as comfortable as it is sturdy…and has lots of pockets, too! The 5.11 Rush72 Backpack has a 23-inch X 13.5-inch X 8.5-inch main compartment. It also features a duel-zippered front and molded grip pulls for ease of handling.
The main compartment is large enough to hold a tightly folded change of clothes, a map, and long term storage food pouches. The tactical design of the bag along with webbing inside the pouches, will help you keep all of your survival kit items organized and at the ready.
This survival bag boasts 7 compartments to store emergency gear, and each pocket has its own grommet for quick drainage purposes. The main compartment of the Condor 3-Day Assault Pack has a separate hydration compartment capable of holing up to two 3 liter hydration bladders. Both the back and sides of the bag are foam padded.
The compression straps on the sides of the bag make it extremely comfortable to pack. The side and front pockets are webbed, increasing storage and organization of your survival kit items. The backpack’s D-ring attachments and contoured shoulder straps, sternum strap, and removable waist belt, make this a highly adjustable and form-adaptable survival rucksack.
The Condor’s dimension’s are 22 inches by 17 inches by 11 inches. It can hold 3,038 cubic inches of gear.
#3. Voodoo Tactical Mojo Bag (Urban – Suburban – Women)
This duffle style bag has an extremely large main compartment and 11 pockets around the sides of the bag. The Voodoo Tactical Mojo duffle weighs two and a half pounds and has 173 liters of survival gear storage space.
The PALS webbing on the exterior pouches create expandable survival kit storage options. This survival bag contains removable backpack straps that can turn it into a traditional backpack to allow for easy carrying during long treks. This feature would be especially helpful if the 72-hour bag becomes a bugout bag during an emergency that becomes long term, or the wearer’s location becomes unsafe causing relocation to be undertaken quickly.
#4. Nexpak 72 hour Tactical Assault EDC Backpack (Urban – Suburban – Women – Elderly – older Children)
The Nexpak ML118 “Falcon” Tactical Pack is only 18 inches tall when filled, giving it a low profile, and boasts a two liter hydration compartment. The survival bag also has a padded back section, 2 front pockets with durable webbing, two side pockets with four MOLLE straps on every pocket.
The main compartment is large enough for survival food pouches and a first aid kit. The bag also has two separate compartments in the top front pocket and a heavy duty zipper. The Nexpak 72 Hour bag has a 4,300 cubic inch capacity, is made of high density polyester with rain resistant lining. The bag is 22 inches, by 17 inches, by 11 inches.
#5. Lucky Bums Tracker II Backpack (Multi-Region – Children – Women – Elderly)
The only drawback to these durable and large yet lightweight backpacks for kids, are the colors. The somewhat bright back colors some are currently available in will work fine if bugging in for 72 hours, but will attract too much attention if the bags are carried outdoors. Consider covering the bags in dark-colored duct tape if they will be used outside of the home or car.
The Lucky Bums backpack, which is also advertised as being great for kids and “small adults,” boasts a hydration sleeve, four storage compartments, four exterior loops, and two water bottle holders on the side. The bag has removable hip straps, YKK zippers, a safety whistle in the buckle on the sternum, and an adjustable sternum strap. The bag’s dimensions are 18.5 x 4 x 12 inches and it weighs less than two pounds.
Top 3 Bugout Bags (Multi-Region – Rural)
#1. Direct Action Dragon Egg Backpack
This rugged survival backpack is comprised of 500D Cordura material that makes it extremely resistant to abrasions. It has also been treat with water repellent. Both the side and front pouches on the bag boast PALS and MOLLE webbing, making is very easy to keep gear in its place and organize your survival kits. The back of the bag has a woven mesh and foam contour to increase both air circulation and comfort.
The bag is also designed and specially treated to be almost infrared night-vision resistant. The D-rings on the outside of the bag make it easy to attach additional gear you want to keep within easily accessible reach. The Direct Action Dragon Egg Backpack has a removable waist belt.
#2. KIFARU EMR II (Suburban – Rural)
This huge survival bag has a 136 liter capacity but it can be quickly and easily compressed down to a much smaller bag that holds only 39.6 liters of emergency gear. It is comprised of 500D DWR coated Cordura nylon, making is weather resistant and durable.
The KIFARU EMR II features a full-length front zipper, two large and flexible exterior pockets, both interior and exterior PALS, is compatible with KIFARU Duplex rucksack frames, and weighs a little more than three pounds.
#3. Military Tactical Small Assault Backpack (Urban – Suburban)
This smaller bugout bag (11 inches by 18 inches by 12 inches) feels huge when you are stuffing it full of survival gear. It easily holds about four days of clothing in the main compartment. The MOLLE spacing on the bag is a bit unusual, ½ inch a part, but that does not attract from the overall value of this very durable and lightweight survival bag.
The Military Tactical Backpack can hold a 2 and a half liter hydration bladder. The padded shoulder straps distribute the weight appropriately and are very comfortable. The bag has utility pull cords, heavy duty zippers, and the durable and ventilated material is weather-resistant.
Top 3 Get Me Home Bags
1. Maxpedition Vulture II
The non-tactical looking bag is comprised of ultra-durable 1000D nylon. The Maxpedition Vulture II survival bag has a rubberized base to protect it from the elements. The MOLLE grids expand the storage options on this 34 liter bag.
It weighs about a little less than four pounds. The main compartment on the Maxpedition survival bag is 20.5 inches by 16 inches by 7.5 inches. It has a 15.5 inches by 12 inches by 2.75 inches front pouch. The slip pocket on the bag has roughly the same measurements. Multi-Region
2. TRIPLE AUGHT DESIGN FAST Pack (Urban – Suburban)
This everyday carry (EDC) backpack weighs about four and a half pounds and can hold almost 33 liters of survival gear. The dimensions and durability of this bag could easily allow it to double as a short duration bugout bag.
The Triple Aught Design Fast Pack boasts many internal and external pockets with webbing and a clam shell style opening on the main pouch to allow or easy access to the contents of the survival kit. The roll top compartment on the bag is substantially weather resistant and is supposed to offer enough protection to house sensitive electronics.
#3. COLFAX SDP_01 STANDARD ISSUE DAYPACK (Urban – Suburban)
This 3-pound survival bag can hold up to a 2.1 liter survival kit. The material the COLFAX bag is comprised of is both tear and weather resistant. The tear-resistant X-ply layer is backed by a laminated PET waterproof membrane. It also boasts a durable hydration sleeve , laptop style compartment, and a MOLLE style webbing system.
Top 3 INCH Bags
#1. Direct Action Ghost Tactical Backpack
This INCH bag was designed for law enforcement and military operator use. Despite its dimensions, the Direct Action Ghost Tactical Backpack has a decidedly low profile. It has a 31 liter capacity at a “Combat Vent System” that increases both air flow and comfort for the wearer.
The mesh inserts and contoured foam panels on the bag help decrease perspiration during wear on long and rugged trips. Shock cords attach an external pocket of the survival bag to an interior organizer, that also permits rain gear to be stored between the backpack an the attached pouch.
The pouch can be detached an carried separately via a handle. The survival backpack has two front pockets and side pockets designed to carry small items or gear as large as a canteen. It also boasts a laser-cut MOLLE/PALS system. The wide hip belt area distributes the weight of the filled bag evenly, as do the S-profiled straps on the shoulders.
The Direct Action Ghost Tactical Backpack has YKK Zippers, 4-inch detachable hip belts, and a detachable 3.5 liter external pocket. The INCH bag weighs about five pounds and is 7.1 x 11.8 x 20.5 inches. Rural
#2. Mystery Ranch 6500
This massive and durable bag boasts an interior frame to help support not just the 10 pounds it weighs, but the in-depth survival kit you can house inside.
The Mystery Ranch 6500 bag includes a removable day pack, a Speedzip Sleeping Bag Compartment, and is boy armor compatible. The survival bag can easily carry 70 pounds of gear, but is graded to stabilize loads over 100 pounds. Rural or for those fleeing through rugged terrain to rural areas.
#3. REI Crestrail 70 (Multi-Region)
This large INCH bag feature a sculpted free flow back panel so it comfortably contours to the body and reduces perspiration, while still allowing for a stable fitting survival bag. The ActivMotion hop belt pivots to work with the natural motion of the boy and hips and to help keep the rucksack balanced.
The webbing on the hip belt can be adjusted and includes two zippered pockets. The top loading main compartment on the REI Crestrail 70 bag also has two pockets and a separate access point to a sleeping bag compartment. The tubular aluminum frame on the perimeter of the bag is very lightweight and transfers the load to the hip area as it helps to prevent side to side swaying of the pack.
A large front pocket, bottle locking pockets on the sides of the bag, and speed hook attachments allow for ample storage and easy access to your survival kit. Compression straps keep the gear load close to the body and the floating top lid extends to permit the Crestrail to accommodate large survival gear.
The Cordura fabric the bag is comprised of make it extremely durable and moisture repellent. Water-repellent zippers eliminate the need for flaps to cover the opening, and deter simple access to the pockets.
The REI Crestrail 70 backpack inclues a hydration-ready design feature to allow for a drink tube from a your bladder to be routed over either shoulder for comfortable access.
Top 3 Survival Bags for Kids
1. Mochila Kids Military
This durable backpack can double as a school backpack for prepper children who are not homeschooled (at least, not yet) and as a Get Me Home bag. It weights little a little less than 13 ounces and is 15 inches, by 2 inches, by 11.2 inches. The Mochila Kids Military backpack is large enough to carry to carry extra water, food, a map, flashlight, some basic first aid items, a Mylar emergency blanket, or similar items.
2. Everest Digital Camo Backpack
This small camo backpack has padded shoulder straps, a key ring attachment that would be perfect for carrying a small flashlight, a spacious front zippered pocket, and is made of durable and weather-resistant material. The bag is 16.5 inches by 13 inches by 6 and a half inches and weighs about one pound.
Growing your own SHTF pharmacy, or perhaps more accurately, apothecary, should be near the top of your medical preps. You will not be able to call 911 or rush out to the emergency room during a doomsday disaster, you will be your own first responder. Having a natural apothecary growing on your prepper retreat or bug in location will allow help you stay healthy and treat a host of likely ailments that will affect you and your loved ones.
There is absolutely no reason to wait until the SHTF to start using natural remedies to treat routine medical issues and injuries. Ridding your body of potentially harmful chemicals that are commonly included in over-the-counter medications, salves, and ointments, should help you build a stronger body and help you to become more physically prepared for the demands that will be placed on it during a long-term survival scenario.
Replacing prescribed antibiotics for a chronic medical condition might not be necessary today, but learning how to grow and make natural alternatives would be a wise preparedness choice, indeed.
There are two superb and distinct advantages to growing your own pharmacy. One – you known exactly what is going into your medicine and will be able to pronounce the name of all ingredients. Two – you can prevent illness and help your body heal for mere pennies on the dollar.
Although herbs, spices, bark, and roots typically are used in alternative home remedies, because they are natural materials, that doesn’t mean they are all safe for children to consume, or will not cause allergic reaction in some people.
Research any item which will be grown in your SHTF pharmacy, consult your doctor and tell them exactly which plants you intend to take. If they give you the OK, try the natural remedies in very small doses at first to ensure you will not have a negative reaction to the ingredients.
The information in this article is provided “as is” and should not be mistaken for or be a substitute for medical advice. Always consult your physician before trying any of the advice presented on this page. Always seek the help of a professional when delivering a baby. Neither the author nor www.SurvivalSullivan.com or the company behind the website shall be held liable for any negative effects of you putting into practice the information in this article.
How to Grow Your Own Pharmacy
Pick Your Spot
Most herbs, spices, and roots do not require a lot of space to grow. The space and type of sunlight needed to grow the apothecary will depend upon what you will be growing.
Make sure to research companion plants for each item placed in both your indoor and outdoor natural pharmacy to ensure not only a bountiful harvest, but also so you will known what shouldn’t be sharing the same plot.
Growing your pharmacy around and intermingled with your traditional garden may garner benefits for both. Some herbs make great companion plants for specific crops – and help keep some bad bugs away from the growing area.
To conserve space and churn out a maximum yield, consider growing colorful and fragrant herbs, spices, and medicinal plants in decorative planters and traditional landscaping areas around your home. This will keep the natural medicine ingredients close at hand while they valuable preps are hiding in plain sight!
Garlic draws out and removes germs from the bloodstream and our bodies in general. There are many ways to use it to combat cold and flu symptoms, but one of the simplest involves finely chopping one clove of garlic and putting the tiny pieces into a shot glass.
Fill the shot glass all the way to the top with olive oil (or your favorite carrier oil, like coconut or almond oil) and let the garlic infuse into the mixture in as warm a place as possible for at least 5 hours. Rub the mixture thoroughly onto both feet, cover them with socks, and go to bed. In the morning, the garlic and oil mixture should have pulled a ton of germs from your body. Repeat this process for several nights, if necessary.
Add a few extra rows of onions to your traditional garden so they too can be used as a part of your SHTF pharmacy. Like garlic, onions pull germs and toxins from the body and also help enhance our immune systems.
You can slice one onions thinly and sleep with a few slices on your feet beneath socks or make a natural cough syrup to drink when your feel a sore throat, cold, or flu coming on. To make the cough syrup, thinly slice one large onion, put the slices in a skillet along with 2 cups of honey, and simmer on low heat for approximately 30 minutes.
Feel free to throw a few garlic cloves and a little bit of ginger root or cinnamon into the skillet as well – the ginger and cinnamon will not only improve the taste of the cough syrup, but help kill germs and soothe congestion relate pain as well. The natural cough syrup home cold remedy will keep in a sealed container in the refrigerator for about two weeks. Take 1 teaspoon of the mixture up to 4 times per day to combat cold and flu symptoms.
To make a simple elderberry cough syrup. Mix together ½ cup of dried elderberries with three cups of water and bring the mixture to a boil. Turn the heat down and simmer the natural cold remedy for 30 minutes. Strain the mixture into a Mason jar and ad 1 teaspoon each of cinnamon, cloves, and ginger, and 1 cup of honey. Allow the syrup to cool enough to drink before sipping on the natural mixture several times per day until the symptoms subside.
4. Tulsi or Holy Basil
This herb has been used in Indian natural remedies for centuries and has truly earned its “Queen of Herbs” nickname. Holy Basil is not the same herb as the basil commonly found in the spice section on grocery store shelves.
Tulsi boasts high amounts of iron, calcium, chlorophyll, vitamin A, vitamin C, and zinc. It has been used in recipes to treat stomach ulcers, bronchitis, joint pain, eye diseases, diabetes, and malaria.
This herb pack a powerful anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, and anti-viral punch. In addition to being a common ingredient in a plethora of salves, syrups, and tinctures, yarrow can also be rubbed directly onto the kin to help heal cuts and minor to moderate wounds.
To make yarrow poultice, tear apart and steep the leaves of the plant (preferably the young leaves) with about 1 cup of hot water for approximately 20 minutes. Dip a clean cloth into the mixture to coat it thoroughly, wring it out only slightly and then place it on the wound.
If you don’t have access to water and a heat source, crunch up the leaves in your mouth, coating them liberally with saliva, and then place them onto the wound and press them into place as firmly as possible.
You can also put yarrow leaf bits into a Mason jar filled with vodka or rubbing alcohol and let the mixture infuse thoroughly for six weeks to make a topical liniment to have on hand for wound care purposes.
This dandy orange spice seems like it can do just about everything! Its anti-inflammatory properties help heal sprains and strains. Make a muscle or joint turmeric poultice by mixing two parts of the herb to one part salt, and only enough water to make a paste.
Spread the paste onto the inflamed or inured area and allow it to harden against it, while the body absorbs the compounds for about 20 to 45 minutes daily until the injury has healed. Add some turmeric to your homemade natural toothpaste mixture to help heal the gums and keep them healthy while whitening your teeth – it seems teeth are about the only thing turmeric will not temporarily stain orange!
Turmeric can also be added to soaps and lotions to help infuse moisture into the skin and combat damage caused by free radicals. This spice is also used in natural medicines designed to treat stomach aches, cirrhosis, Alzeimer’s Disease, arthritis, and when brewed into a tea with some honey and ginger, might even help increase your longevity.
Dried leaves from this herb are often mixed vodka to make a common cold symptom reducer. Echinacea naturally help to boost the immune system and fights infections. Teas and tinctures comprised of echinacea can help fight respiratory infections and urinary tract infections.
8. St. John’s Wort
This herb is known to help reduce or eliminate inflammation of the muscles and the soreness that accompanies such conditions. St. John’s Wort also often helps calm nerves and reduce stress. Because the herb also boost circulation and enhances blood flow, the leaves are often rubbed gently onto bruises to facilitate healing.
9. White Willow Bark
This bark is often referred to as nature’s aspirin. White willow bark is comprised of salicin compounds that are converted to salicylic acid once they reach the stomach. Way back when, Hippocrates instructed his patients to chew on the bark from the white willow tree when they suffered from various types of pain, inflammation, and fever.
Both the dried and fresh oregano have anti-bacterial, expectorant, antioxidant, diuretic, and antimicrobial properties. The herb boasts a high content of vitamin C, vitamin A, potassium, iron, manganese, vitamin E, copper, niacin, and zinc.
If you feel a cold coming on or are struggling with a sinus infection, mix together one teaspoon of a carrier oil (coconut oil or olive oil are recommended) with about 2 drop of oregano oil into a pan of water and soak your feet in them to help alleviate the symptoms.
You can also mildly heat and inhale the mixture or rub it onto your hands and feet to draw out the infection. To stave off the flu, or to get rid of it more quickly, use the anti-viral component in oregano to rid the body of the sore throat, general stiffness, headache, and vomiting that usually accompanies the sickness. Mix several drops of oregano oil in a glass or water and drink it once each day for up to five days.
The leukotrienes and prostaglandins compounds in ginger enable it to act much like ibuprofen. It helps to reduce inflammation and in pain reduction. Ginger has also been known to help eliminate acid and fluid around the joint of people who suffer from arthritis.
The root of ginger can help reduce morning sickness, treat various stomach problems, curtail nausea, prevent motion sickness, and reduce pain. Ginger can be used a an ingredient in natural remedies as soon as it is harvested, or when dried into a spice or turned into either juice or oil.
To make a ginger flu treatment tea, steep about ½ of a teaspoon of dried vinegar in 1 cup of hot water for approximately 10 minutes. Strain the mixture, add honey to sweeten if desired, and drink up to two cups per day. Some folks have found that ginger can cause heartburn or an upset stomach if taken too frequently or in high amounts. Pregnant and nursing women should not consume in excess or 1,000 milligrams of dried ginger a day.
The 36 different compounds in clove help make it a potent antiseptic, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant natural remedy ingredient. Cloves are rich in vitamin C, vitamin K, fiber, magnesium, omega 3 fatty acid, iodine, calcium, and phosphorus.
Rubbing just a small amount of clove essential oil (or chewing on a clove) will reduce or eliminate tooth ache pain and gum pain. Pregnant women have long used cloves as a natural means of combating morning sickness. You can either inhale the smell of clove oil that has been poured upon a rag for a few moments, or chew on several cloves for a minute or two before spitting them out, to help get rid of morning sickness.
To reduce or stop vomiting, mix equal part of cloves and honey in a glass of Luke warm water and sip on it slowly until the nausea passes.
13. Angelica Root
The root helps to reduce or eliminate pain from menstrual cramps naturally and may also help a woman struggling to deliver the placenta after giving birth. Angelica root can also work as a pain channel blocker and a stimulate for the lungs when the body is battling chest congestion.
Bark from the birch tree can be brewed into a tea or made into a tincture and used to treat psoriasis, kidney stones, bladder infections and problems, and gout. Birch bark, due to its betulinic acid composition, is used by some cancer patients in alternative natural treatments.
15. Rose Hips
This beautiful bush contains more vitamin C than oranges and is a great natural immune system booster. Rose hips are also often used alone or as ingredients in natural remedies created to treat urinary tract infections, high cholesterol, stomach ailments such as diarrhea, gall bladder problems, constipation, gout, kidney infestions and problems, as well as leg and back pain.
You can eat the rose hip fruit raw, but not until they have been washed and crushed in a food processor or blender. Typically, rose hips are soaked in a pot of water overnight and then cooked over medium heat for approximately 30 minutes before being used in a home remedy, brewed into a tea or turned into wine.
16. Aloe Vera
Not only does aloe vera juice from inside the leaves help ease the pain of burns and heal wounds, the plant can also be used as an ingredient in natural remedies to treat viral, fungal, and bacterial issues.
17. Black Walnut
While you do not want a black walnut tree growing anywhere near your garden (it will kill or harm a host of crops, including tomatoes and peppers) you should cultivate the trees somewhere on your survival retreat or bug in location. The bark and leaves from the black walnut tree can be used in natural poultices and salves designed to treat poison ivy, poison sumac, warts, an a variety of fungal infections.
Common to popular opinion, dandelions are definitely not useless weeds. They can be used in natural remedies designed to treat the symptoms of menopause, menstrual cramps, and various ovarian problems. Dandelions also taste great when turned into either a hot or cold tea and wine.
19. Stinging Nettles
This weed grows almost everywhere in the United States. Even though you have to wear gloves to pick it and clean it, the benefits far outweigh the time it takes for the added precautions.
Stinging nettles have a high fiber and calcium content that helps to promote strong bone health. It is often used in natural remedies, or eaten alone, to treat common season allergy symptoms, skin rashes, kidney infections, and urinary tract infections.
This colorful herb is known to possess anti-inflammatory and anti-septic properties. Lavender is often used in natural remedies to treat anxiety, insomnia, depression, and to help heal both bug bites and minor wounds.
Raising your own bees has many benefits, the copious amount of medicinal uses of honey being chief among them. Honey is one of the best wound healers nature has to offer. Honey has been known to help speed up the healing process of both burn and wounds due to its hydrogen peroxide and..
Of all the factors that one considers when preparing to defend yourself and loved ones with a firearm, ammunition selection is one that is most immersed in conventional “wisdom”, folklore, and outright falsehoods, and as such is one where most newer gunhands, and more than a few seasoned gunslingers, fall victim to bad info.
All the common handgun cartridges- 9mm Para., .38 Special, .357 Magnum, .40 S&W and the much beloved .45 ACP, all have their vocal fans, and seething critics. We’ll touch on the most common myths, but with all the noise surrounding the topic, it is often best to forget what you think you know, and begin with a fresh take. Below, I’ll take you through an overview of how bullets do their work, and what makes good ammunition, well, good. Let’s get started!
How Do We Stop Our Attacker?
The ammunition industry has seen great leaps forward in the last 30 years. Modern projectiles are more effective and reliable than they have ever been. Thanks to modern wound ballistic analysis we now know there are only two methods by which bullets will result in incapacitation of an attacker. One is psychological the other is physiological, i.e. your bad guy will either give up after he is wounded, or you will wound him enough that he is physically incapacitated, typically from blood loss or central nervous system damage.
This cannot be overstated! Psychological factors are the reason why some people, when shot, will give up instantly upon sustaining a minor wound, even one that is not immediately life-threatening, where others can sustain dreadful, fatal wounds and continue to fight for short periods of time. It is for this reason that psychological incapacitation is a factor you just cannot count on: it is an unpredictable and highly variable human element, and completely independent of the size or type of projectile you hit with, no matter what it is (I’m looking at you, .45ACP guys!).
On the other hand, physiological incapacitation has more “rules of thumb”, you might say. The speed and intensity of a physiological stop is determined by what vital tissues and organs are struck or disrupted by the bullet’s passage. An instant stop may be achieved in this case also, typically resulting when one of a two vital nervous system targets are struck. These are 1.) the brain and 2.) the upper portion of the spinal cord.
It must still be said, a hit from a common handgun to one of these targets is still no surefire promise of dropping your attacker instantly. You must always plan for multiple, well aimed shots being necessary to have effect, even from large caliber weapons. Besides the central nervous system, the most promising targets to affect a physical stop are major organs and blood vessels in the torso, i.e. center mass.
Bullets that damage either will start to let blood out, and air in. The resulting loss of blood volume and pressure will eventually, assuredly, cause physical incapacitation, though the amount of oxygenated blood still in the body can allow a mortally wounded individual to continue functioning for a time. Once again, multiple, well-placed shots are the rule, not the exception, in stopping the assailant in a life or death encounter.
Bullet Wounding Mechanisms
When struck by a bullet, tissue in the body is damaged through two mechanisms: tissue in the path of the moving projectile is destroyed, or crushed, by its passage, while tissue surrounding the path of the projectile is temporarily stretched.
The destroyed tissue left behind the immediate track of the bullet is referred to as the permanent cavity, or wound channel. In simple terms, the hole left behind by the bullet. Bullets of larger diameter leave a larger permanent cavity. This is where you will see proponents of large caliber pistols preach the benefits of a .40 or .45, but in reality, with modern projectiles, the difference in performance between them and the smaller 9mm, .38 or .357 is so slight as to be an afterthought. Hold onto those comments! We’ll address the final tally in a bit! Moving right along…
Back to our wounding mechanisms, stretched tissue is pushed aside laterally, outward from the bullet’s passage, resulting in a empty space called the temporary cavity. This tissue may be damaged, as the factors that determine the degree of injury are from temporary cavitation are extremely variable and furthermore influenced by the anatomy and other physical factors of the target. Think for a moment about the composition of your own body; some tissues are soft and stretchy, such as skin and muscle, and are less likely to be seriously wounded by temporary cavitation. Others, like many of your organs, are far more likely to rupture or tear under the same stresses.
Summarizing the above, bullets that pierce the body will only cause tissue damage via one of the two mechanisms: crushing, destroying tissue in the bullet’s path, or the transient stretching of tissue immediately adjacent to the bullet’s path. How much harm from either is owed to a specific make or caliber of bullet is dependent on the bullet’s attributes, which we will explore below
Enough With the Anatomy Lesson! What Cartridge Is Best?
Hold your horses, prepper! We’re getting to everybody’s favorite part: me telling you what works best, and why, and you telling me why I’m wrong in the comments. For starters, the physical qualities of the bullet play a part, as does the class of cartridge. So, are we talking about a handgun, or a rifle? For either one, the size (caliber), weight, shape, material, velocity and depth of penetration all play a part.
Bullet type or design influences bullet behavior in the body. Many projectiles will yaw or “tumble” through tissue, increasing the size of the permanent cavity, causing a somewhat more serious wound channel. Hollow point bullets (or controlled expansion bullets) do the same thing by increase their frontal cross-section by peeling open, or “mushrooming” when they enter the body. This also reduces the chances that a bullet will exit the body and present a danger to people or property behind the target.
Heavier, wider bullets will crush more tissue, and perform better through barriers, but one loses positive weapon attributes in the exchange: larger cartridges have more recoil, lower capacity and cost more (which means less training). None of the common pistol cartridges show any significant damage resulting from temporary cavitation.
Of those factors above, depth of penetration is key. Any bullet that is called on to stop a human reliably must be capable of reliable penetration to a depth of at least 10-12 inches in order to strike vital targets in the body from any angle, and do so through an obstacle like heavy clothing, or an upraised arm. It is worth noting that a very large person, either heavily muscled or just plain fat, will pose more challenge for the bullet.
Handgun bullets, be they fired from a pistol, sub machinegun or pistol-caliber carbine, will only consistently cause harm from the crush mechanism. None of the common pistol cartridges show any significant damage resulting from temporary cavitation, handgun bullets lacking the necessary velocity to cause significant stretch effect.
Rifles bullets are different. Modern intermediate caliber rifle projectiles will typically exhibit, with certain bullet types, a fragmentation effect inside the body. This results in multiple fragments of the bullet spreading out radially along the main wound channel, each one cutting its own smaller channel through tissue. This has a synergistic effect with the temporary cavity: tissue so perforated will lose that elastic quality I mentioned earlier, and will be unable to stretch. This can easily result in a very large area of destroyed tissue, or even detachment.
Note that handgun bullets do not generally exhibit this beneficial fragmentation effect, and those that do will not produce the same effectiveness that a rifle cartridge will. The fragments resulting from a handgun bullet are too small, and lack the velocity needed to travel far in tissue and this fragmentation effect typically only results in decreased bullet mass and penetration, yielding a smaller permanent cavity.
For this reason, one should completely ignore the use of any specialty handgun round promising an “explosive” effect from either pre-fragmentation or from a filling in the bullet of small shot or BB’s. These bullets are hideously overpriced, and all feature very shallow penetration. Ignore them! Don’t get taken by slick marketing. Examples of brands like these are Glaser, Extreme Shock and MagSafe, among others.
The Bottom Line on Handguns
Handguns are just not that effective, at least, not compared to a rifle or shotgun. But they can do the job: In countless analyzed shootings, and ceaseless FBI testing, virtually all of the major service calibers, 9mm Para., .38 Special, .357 Magnum, .357 Sig, .40S&W 10mm Auto, and the venerable .45ACP show adequate penetration and effectiveness with a quality projectile, and none of them is so superior in terminal performance that it is the “only real man-stopper” contrary to what legions of gun-counter sales guys and internet commenter’s will tell you.
.41 Magnum, .44 Special and milder .45 Colt loads are entirely adequate performers for self-defense with modern bullets, but are legacy cartridges uncommonly encountered today. I have purposely omitted the .44 Magnum, and other large, heavy big-bore magnums owing to their typically great size, extreme recoil, overpenetration hazard, blast and low capacity seriously limiting their suitability for self defense.
It should go without saying, but I’ll say it anyway before someone gets the wrong idea: even these mighty stompers are a far, far cry from a rifle, and no guarantee of the fabled One Shot Stop. Do not choose one for self defense against humans unless you have no other choice. They may, though, be the best choice for a handgun if defense against large animals is a concern.
Selection should therefore be made based on other criteria: which pistol is most reliable being foremost, which do I shoot most accurately, which suits my likely engagements, which can I practice most with, which has the highest capacity, etc.
Just Tell Me What I Should Pick!
It is the current opinion of the FBI and the most experienced professional trainers (including the author) that the 9mm Para. is the current ideal cartridge for self defense, owing to its combination of capacity, light recoil and more than adequate terminal effectiveness when coupled with modern ammunition. Its low cost of ammo makes for more plentiful practice, while its light recoil lends itself to both quicker follow-up shots and less fatigue. If you are in the market for a new gun, make it a 9mm. You will have the most advantages across the most situations.
When selecting ammunition, look for major makers like Federal, Remington, Winchester, Speer or Hornady. They make several varieties of hollow point bullets, and they are not equals. I have listed their premier, best performing loads with great track records below:
Federal – Tactical or HST lines
Remington – Golden Saber
Winchester – Ranger-T
Speer – Gold Dot or Gold Dot 2
Hornady- Critical Duty (not Critical Defense)
You will run across in your travels people encouraging you to seek out particular, older brands of hollow point bullets, such as the Winchester Silver Tip or Federal Hydra-Shok. Of nearly mythical lethality is the infamous Winchester Black Talon, who some old-timers hoard even to this very day as a legendary and un-survivable bullet. Banned because they were just too good, ya know?
Ignore these people. I would not turn down any of them if I had no other options, but the facts are this: Those bullets were state-of-the-art 20-30 years ago, and none exhibit the effectiveness and consistency of the more modern ones above.
Save the Black Talons, many of the older legacy bullets are still made and marketed, because people keep buying them. This is not an indicator of effectiveness. Make no mistake; they are only sold because people keep buying them. Buy the best, buy modern!
I will now address in a simple list the most common lies, falsehoods, half-truths and outright idiocy that you will typically see brought up by the uninitiated. Hold on tight, you yourself may even believe some of these! Response in italics.
“The .45/.44Mag/ .500 Deer Bazooka will drop ‘em in one hit! You’d need to shoot them 3 times or more with that puny 9mm to get the same effect!” Handguns are not that powerful. We cannot count on the bad guy giving up. Multiple shots will statistically be required in nearly every encounter.
“A .22LR is the best for self defense cause it will bounce all over inside their body and just shred them to bits!That’s why assassins use them!” Legends of assassins using .22’s for their work have a basis in reality, but this is owing to their small, easily concealed and comparatively quiet nature compared to other guns. Reality shows us pistol bullets lose momentum very quickly inside the body, and certainly do not retain much energy after glancing off bones. The humble .22LR, while still very dangerous, is in no way an ideal performer for self defense.
“The .357/ .40/ .45 is best because it causes the most hydrostatic shock / has more foot-pounds of energy / has more kinetic energy!” Hydrostatic shock, while not entirely bunk science, is not a wounding factor with handguns, and is still poorly understood. Measureable statistics about bullet energy or velocity is useful for comparing the attributes of one cartridge to another cartridge, but none by itself is a proof of effectiveness. Bullets wound by penetrating and destroying tissue and organs, per the explanation above.
“My uncle/dad/brother/cousin shot a guy with a 9mm and the guy didn’t flinch! My other friend shot a guy with a .45 and he crumpled where he stood!” Poor comparison. The variables between any given shooting are enormous, and must be examined in totality. Differences in individual state and body composition alone and shot placement alone are enough to drastically skew results. The modern consensus has been formed over a very long time, many investigations of actual shootings and relentless testing.
Handgun bullets wound by crushing or displacing tissue and vital organs. Period. Reader, all of the standard service calibers will do the job if you do your part- PRACTICE!- and select modern, high quality ammunition. It is true though that substandard cartridges or plain lead or full metal jacket bullets will reduce effectiveness, and if you are serious about pistolcraft you should be stoking yours with the highest quality loads you can afford.
Assuming you have a quality handgun in one of the calibers listed above, you will be far more effective by spending your money on training and practice than chasing the latest heat-seeker bullet or en vogue pistol modification. I hope you found this article helpful.
What do you think, reader? Learn something new? Am I completely wrong? What is your current go-to cartridge and pistol? Let me know in the comments!
If you wish to learn more about this topic from a reputable source, seek out the works of Dr. Gary K. Roberts, Dr. Martin Fackler and Special Agent Urey Patrick of the FBI’s Firearms Training Unit. The FBI’s tests and findings are one of the most in-depth sources available, and should be consulted by all serious gun carriers:
Procrastination. It is such a bad word it really should have only four letters. Preppers are not procrastinators by nature, but it has been known to happen, especially when there are so many big items on the preparedness “to do” list.
Neglecting to prepare thoroughly and expeditiously can, and likely will, get you killed during a SHTF scenario.
There are many tasks you may be postponing and shouldn’t be, but here are ten survival things you shouldn’t postpone any longer.
#1. GET YOUR TETANUS SHOT
Vaccinations are never fun, but neither is lockjaw or dying of suffocation. If you haven’t had your tetanus booster within the past ten years, it is time to make an appointment with your doctor to set up an appointment or go to the nearest health clinic for your shot.
When you think of what you need to do to prepare for when SHTF, getting vaccinated is more than likely not on the top of your to-do list. You may not think it is important now, but what if you step on an old rusty nail or get even a small slice on your arm from a piece of wire, wood, or metal that has been contaminated by feces? Or, what if you get an insect bite or animal bite that breaks your skin and tetanus bacteria infects your wound?
Tetanus lives everywhere in the dirt or on wood, or anywhere that has animal fecal matter around, so it could be life-saving to prepare for this now while you still have the chance.
Some people are not capable of receiving this vaccine because of a life-threatening allergic reaction to the dose or having a severe reaction to their last dose, such as: brain or nervous disease, seizures, or a high fever.
The information in this article is provided “as is” and should not be mistaken for or be a substitute for medical advice. Always consult your physician before trying any of the advice presented on this page. Always seek the help of a professional when delivering a baby. Neither the author nor www.SurvivalSullivan.com or the company behind the website shall be held liable for any negative effects of you putting into practice the information in this article.
If you or a loved one cannot receive this vaccination, here is how to attempt to fight tetanus naturally, if need be:
soak your wound in boric acid water and Epsom salts
make some colloidal silver and do your research to see how much you should take daily (my family takes 1 tbsp a day)
consume more vitamin-C
take cod liver oil
make bone broth (boosts your immune system)
massage lavender oil in olive oil on your neck and shoulders for less stiffness
take garlic to help fight infection
get fish oil (cleans your arteries and heals your heart)
take olive leaf extract (fights infection)
consume grapefruit extract
calcium and bromelain (reduces muscle pain)
one capsule of milk thistle daily for a liver cleanse
glucosamine sulfate with MSM (optimizes joint function, protects cartilage and connective tissue)
take oregano and echinacea
#2. GATHER PROOF OF IDENTITY AND ESSENTIAL DOCUMENTS
If you haven’t already, you need to gather all your family’s IDs and make copies of them. Make sure to have at least one ID that contains a picture of each of your family members. This way, if you and your loved ones are trying to reach each other’s destination, you will be able to show a picture of him/her to people that you’re passing by to see if they have seen them and what direction they were headed. Also, keep at least two photos of your children in your wallet and make sure the pictures are current.
You should also keep copies of everyone’s birth certificates and social security cards. If there are any allergies, medical conditions, or current prescriptions being taken in the family, you should make at least one copy of their medical records.
Do not forget to create a list of contact information for both yourself and extended family and friends. Keep this information in your bug-out bag, so if your children are forced to go on without you, they can try to find their way to a safe space with family or friends.
Gathering all your family’s documents and making copies might sound like a hassle, but you will be thankful for doing it in the end.
#3. STOCKING UP ON BABY NEEDS
If you are a mother or father already, you already know how crucial it is to be stocked up on all your baby’s essentials, so your baby does not go without. Most parents forget to buy extra baby products until last minute due to the busy life of being a parent. Can you imagine waking up one morning to the world changing completely, you hear your baby screaming in the other room wanting a bottle, you run out to the kitchen, open the cabinet and see an empty cupboard?
It’s time to start putting a container of formula back each time you go out to buy a can of formula (if your baby is formula-fed, of course). Let’s say you get a can of formula every other three days, if you buy an extra container to put back to stock up every time you go get one, you would have an extra three cans a week. Keep those in your stockpile and you will have 12 cans of formula within a month to save back.
For mothers that cannot breastfeed or choose not to, formula is an absolute must. If you cannot afford to purchase extra cans of formula to just put back, you should make your own formula.
Below is an amazing recipe for homemade raw milk formula for babies that you should print out for when SHTF:
cow’s milk (whole raw) – two cups
homemade liquid whey – ¼ cup
lactose – 4 tbsps.
bifidobacterium infantis – ¼ tsp.
good quality cream – at least 2 tbsps.
cod liver oil (high-vitamin fermented) – ½ tsp.
high-vitamin butter oil – ¼ tsp.
expeller-expressed sunflower oil – 1 tsp.
coconut oil – 2 tsps.
extra virgin olive oil – 1 tsp.
nutritional yeast flakes – 2 tsps.
gelatin – 2 tsps.
acerola powder – ¼ tsp.
filtered water – 1-7/8 cups
In a Pyrex measuring pitcher, put two cups of filtered water in, then remove only 2 tbsps. which will give the 1-7/8 cups of water total.
Over a medium flame, put half of your water into a pan.
Next, you will want to add your lactose and gelatin to the pan and stir while letting it dissolve.
After the lactose and gelatin dissolves, you need to remove the pan from heat and add the rest of you water.
After your mixture has cooled down for a couple minutes, you will need to stir in high-vitamin butter oil and coconut oil. Don’t stop stirring until it melts.
Grab a blender and mix the rest of your ingredients together.
Blend for approximately three seconds after adding your water mixture.
You can now pour your homemade formula into a glass jar or glass bottle and refrigerate.
Voila! Your baby is ready to eat!
Stocking up on diapers and wipes is also a very wise choice. With as fast as infants and toddlers go through diapers a day, it’s safe to say you will run out of these essentials quickly. Learning how to make your own cloth diapers would be the right route to take, especially because you won’t ever run out this way.
Even if you are currently not a parent, anything can happen when SHTF. Prepare for the unexpected. You could become pregnant during a world disaster, so it is best to educate yourself on these baby essentials now. Maybe even stock up little by little each month and put them back for when a disaster will occur. If it’s not you that becomes pregnant, it could be your sister, daughter, or other female loved one.
Stocking condoms and other types of birth control is also highly recommended.
#4. ATTEND A FIRST-AID CLASS
There are so many opportunities to join a first-aid class, but this is one task that a lot of us have yet to do and keep putting off. Learning how to treat burns, cuts, bandage wounds, and knowing how to care for various medical emergencies could save a life.
Hopefully you will have a nurse or doctor in your group but there is a chance you will not. If one of your family members are out hunting for food and cut themselves with their hunting dagger, you will need to know how to accurately treat his cut before an infection would begin.
After your first-aid class, get your first-aid kit out and teach your spouse and children what each item is used for and how to use it. Who knows if that could be you on the ground in too much pain to tell your loved one how to care for you. It’s best to teach them the basics now while you can.
#5. MAKE A TRIP TO THE DENTIST
As silly as it sounds and as much as you don’t want to, going to the dentist now could save your life when SHTF.
Dentists are known to detect health issues before they become too serious. However, if you neglect your dental hygiene and have a gum disease that goes untreated, chances are it will lead to heart disease. Therefore, you should call to make an appointment to get your gums checked and to make sure you are still cavity-free with no dental problems what-so-ever.
After you go to your check-up, start educating yourself on dental care so you can prepare post-SHTF. Did you know that one simple abscessed tooth could kill a person? You will not be able to run to your nearest dentist office after SHTF, so you will need to know not only the basics of dental hygiene but also for emergency dental care.
While gaining more knowledge in dental care and hygiene, you should look up ways to make your own toothbrush and toothpaste. As a prepper, you should already be stocked up, but eventually you will run out, so it is best to find recipes now while you still have access to a computer or phone. Don’t forget to switch out your toothbrush after every illness you experience so the germs can’t re-enter your mouth after you overcome the sickness. The less illnesses passed around during SHTF, the better.
#6. PREPARING MENTALLY
While thinking of different case scenarios to happen during TEOTWAWKI, you may think you are ready…but are you truly ready? Are you just thinking of the basics such as stocking up, and planning an evacuation plan? That’s the easy part of prepping.
As a human, it is in our nature to help others in need and to help care for everyone. When SHTF, you can no longer think of everyone else and need to put your own first. Everyone had the same opportunity as you to prepare for different types of SHTF scenarios.
If you give in to a family and give them a jar of your canned food, guess who will be back for more? That jar you just gave away is also a jar of food taken right out of your kid’s mouth. On the other hand, what if you stand your ground and tell the family no and they pull out a gun? Will you be ready to protect your family and shoot first? If not, your family could lose you, all the food supplies (lead to starvation then death), possibly raped and murdered. You must always put your family first in a situation like this, no matter what.
You need to start preparing yourself mentally and think about every possible scenario you can think of and how you would react. Get with your family and whoever else you will have in your group and over-talk to make sure everyone agrees and will be on the same page.
#7. WORK OUT
If you are a very busy individual, working out will more than likely be postponed because of your schedule. When you think of preparing for when SHTF, staying in shape is more than likely not on the top of your list.
Exercise has so many amazing benefits (releases endorphins, builds stamina, increases likelihood of living longer, etc.) and is extremely crucial to your health.
There are hundreds of reasons you should start working out more before SHTF. Some examples include:
carry more equipment for a further distance
outrun punks and win in hand-to-hand combat
strength to carry buckets of water from your watering source to bugout location or home
be able to walk 100+ miles, depending on if you were home or out running away
holding your kids while walking them to bugout location or home
#8. EDUCATING LOVED ONES
You may be postponing teaching your loved ones’ survival tactics because you want to take care of everyone and let them know they can depend on you. As much as they would love to not have to worry about anything because you will be taking control and keeping them safe, what if something happens to you? While there is still time left, you need to teach your loved ones’ the basics.
There are so many different tactics they will need to know to survive but the most important: food. Does your child, spouse, sibling, parent know how to shoot a gun? If not, now is the time to engage in target practice. Show them how to re-load and how to clean the gun afterwards.
Now that you feel comfortable enough to let them shoot on their own, hunting comes next. Teach them everything they need to know about hunting and take them, so they can get hands-on experience before their life depends on it. Once your loved ones are familiar with hunting, you need to teach them how to butcher.
After you have educated them on meat for food, move on to the plants and berries. Take your loved ones out in the woods and show them what they can eat and not eat. Make sure to quiz them on it later so you don’t have to worry about them not knowing the difference between the poisonous and non-toxic berries and plants.
#9. EXTRA CLOTHES FOR YOU AND YOUR LOVED ONES
As a prepper, you are already aware of the importance of stocking up. But, did you think about getting extra clothes in different sizes for you and your loved ones?
If you haven’t already, you should go check out clearance sales or yard sales for clothes that are a couple sizes smaller than your current size. When SHTF, you are going to lose weight by not eating as much and more physical activity.
For children and teenagers, make sure to stock up on sizes for them to grow into and several pairs of shoes for each individual because they will be living on a rugged terrain and ruin the shoes more frequently.
During the winter time, go get cheap summer outfits and during the summer, make sure to stock up on warm snow gear for everyone. You never know what season we will be experiencing when SHTF, so it is best to get all the extra clothes now, so you don’t have to worry when the time comes. If SHTF during the winter, you don’t want to be walking around in a tank top, shorts, and flip flops. We must always be prepared.
#10. EDUCATE YOURSELF
Even if you are one of the most experienced preppers, there is always something new you can learn. Buy or download books, magazines, DVDs and become more knowledgeable in new survival tactics to enhance your skill set and then share your knowledge with your family.
Go to meetings where you can discuss the basics of prepping and the lifestyle. Join online prepper forums so you can make new friends that share the same interests as you and share your beliefs, ideas, and how you would handle SHTF situations. You could broaden your prepper knowledge more than you could imagine and feel accomplished helping others, as well. Who knows what information they gave you could have benefited you and your family by saving your life or if your information to them could have saved their life.
With the state of the world today, it’s likely that you’ve begun to see some changes in your neighborhood. If you’ve witnessed increased activity in your area at night or an increase in “strangers” that seem to be visiting your neighborhood at various times of the day and night, it may be time to step up security. Luckily, there are some quick things to improve your home security that you can do gradually or in phases, without breaking the bank to do it.
#1. Use Your Locks…
…that are already in place to keep would be intruders out. You’d be surprised how many thieves will simply move on to the next home if doors at your house are locked.
#2. Beef It Up…
by swapping the standard short screws in your locks and door frames with longer less easy to compromise screws. This reinforces your existing locks quickly and easily. When feasible invest in a metal frame and metal door.
#3. Leave the Light On…
…outside to make it more difficult for would be thieves to sneak around your yard and get close to your house, shed, or garage without being spotted.
#4. Keep Your Mouth and FB Status Shut.
You’d be surprised how many would be thieves and other criminals monitor social media and eavesdrop at local businesses to find out who will be out of town, when, and for how long. Be careful who you brag to about that next vacation or your latest big purchase, it could cost you everything.
#5. Security System Warning Sign…
…may not do much to deter intruders once SHTF but up until then, just getting a decal for your window or sign in the yard can be enough to make would be robbers think twice.
#6. Home Automation…
…via light bulbs, smart curtains, and other tricks to make it appear like you are home when you are out of the house.
#7. Keep a Clear Line of Sight…
…between your house and the neighbors on each side as well as the street by trimming bushes and hedges down below eye level. This not only lets you see what’s out there but makes it more likely a neighbor or passerby will intervene if they see something going down at your house.
#8. Take Advantage of Technology.
Whether it’s a simple game trail camera in the backyard or a more sophisticated security camera, installing cameras around your home lets you see if someone is casing your home and sends a clear signal to thieves that you are watching.
#9. Make Getting In Harder.
Reinforce sliding doors and all entry doors with floor locks and put window stops on the windows to make it that much harder for intruders to get inside. Sure they can break glass but that’s noisy and they risk attracting the attention of your neighbor or waking you. Add safety glass window film to windows. Most thieves will take the path of least resistance.
#10. Build Your Network.
You don’t have to share all your secrets with your neighbors but keeping in occasional touch with them and playing nice can make them more likely to give you a heads up when they see someone lurking about your house.
#11. Capitalize on Cynophobia.
Many people have a fear of dogs. It won’t work on all thieves but you can capitalize on this by putting up a beware of dog sign and some other little things in plain sight such as dog toys, a huge dog bone, and a food bowl or dog chain by your back door.
#12. Install a driveway gate and keep it locked.
Don’t allow people access to your property unless you can verify their identity, especially in times of crisis.
#13. Hang something noisy over doorways at night…
…to give you a heads up if someone is getting in and possibly startle them enough to make them run the other way. Anything that will make noise such as bells that brush the top of the doors when they open will work. The downside is you have to remember to drop them down low enough each night before bed and hook them up in the morning or listen to them any time someone goes in or out.
#14. Make Use of a secure indoor safe…
…for valuables, documents, and weapons. If someone does get in when you aren’t home, don’t make it easy for them to get your most valuable items.
#15. Use solar powered lights or solar powered motion sensors…
…to keep your outside lighting working for you even when the power is out. Power outages are an opportune time for people to try to break in, don’t make it easy for them.
#16. Use unfriendly plants and other landscaping around the perimeter of your home that will deter intruders…
…and even those who are just curious. Thorny plants or flowers, impenetrable hedges, and even a lattice with vining or climbing plants can deter unwanted company from coming onto your property.
#17. Don’t hide your spare key in the usual places
Any thief with experience and even most new thieves know that people hide spare keys under the welcome mat, above the door, or in a fake rock or other item near the door. Don’t use these usual hiding spots.
Use an item that blends into the surroundings that is away from the door where thieves won’t think to look. On the side of the house beneath your bedroom window or behind the shed or the barn will be less obvious. Better yet use a key vault with a code like real estate agents do.
#18. Have important mail sent to a PO Box rather than to your home mailbox…
…to keep your most critical mail safe. I doubt even SHTF can stop the U.S. postal service so better safe than sorry.
#19. Eliminate hiding places around your home
Cut back shrubs and trees or bushes near or under your windows and around your doors or along the driveway.
#20. Identify and gradually fortify a safe room or area
No matter what security measures you take, there is always the chance that you will fail and an intruder will get into your home. Once this happens your best bet is a safe room or area that you’ve fortified in advance.
#21. Use decoy supplies and weapons
Most thieves won’t know in advance if you have weapons or supplies. They’ll take what they see or can find easily and be happy with that. If you leave an old gun and small bills where it can be easily found, you may trick the thieves into thinking that’s all there is and they won’t look further.
#22. Email a list of serial numbers and photos of appliances, electronics and other assets to yourself every three months.
If things are stolen during non-SHTF times, you’ll have something to start from for insurance purposes.
#23. Close It Up
Don’t leave your garage door open during the daylight hours for everyone to see the great toys and other things you have that they may want. You’d be surprised how often thieves decide their targets by cruising through and checking out open garage doors.
#24. Keep your vehicles locked up
This includes your car, motorcycle, ATV, boat, or RV. You’d be surprised how often vehicles are ransacked simply because the thief found it unlocked.
Two of the best ways to improve security around your home are to stay alert to your surroundings and learn self-defense. Both of these skills may mean be the reason you get to keep your life in some situations and can certainly help deter a would-be thief.
Containers are a vital survival commodity that will nowrt necessarily be easy to produce or procure if or when SHTF. They are vitally important for gathering, carrying and storing things, yet older more traditional containers such as wicker baskets are often thought of now a novelties or purely decorative items.
Photo: a grass coil basket used for collecting a delicious meal of St. Georges Mushrooms.
While it is true that they are decorative and beautiful in their own right, these things are very functional and may be your only option when modern options are hard or impossible to find. Baskets and containers have been made for millennia from the materials found in nature.
Popular options for container manufacture are the folded bark of birch, elm and some species of poplar. These types of container can even be made watertight, in a similar way to a birch bark canoe and used to cook food and boil water using rocks heated on a fire.
Wicker basketry was traditionally done with flexible hard wood wands such as willow, these rods are sometimes called withies, strictly though withies are young shoots which are processed in such a way as to make them particularly flexible and therefore suitable for use as improvised bindings.
Before they are cut they are bent and twisted along their entire length to separate the fibers of the wood from each other and then they are cut off at the base. These withies can then be coiled up are incredibly strong, they have been used to secure rafts, dwellings and for other secure bindings for centuries. The best species for these withies are things like willow, hazel and alder.
Whether you are harvesting withies or strait rods for basketry and other tasks they should be harvested from hard wood trees as when cut hard wood trees will sprout new shoots rather than dying. This method of harvesting hard woods without killing the tree is called coppicing and has been done historically to obtain material for survival and traditional crafts.
Traditionally, oak was coppiced so that it’s bark could be harvested and used for tanning animal hides into leather, sweet chestnut was coppiced and used for timber framed buildings, fence posts and other construction projects.
Elm was coppiced for its moisture resistant wood and used to build jetties and even pipes. Alder was coppiced for arrow shafts and later used to make exceptional charcoal for gunpowder manufacture. Hazel is one of the most commonly coppiced species and because of it’s straight and relatively fast growth it was, and still is often used for making ‘hurdles’ or small mobile fence panels.
These might be particularly useful for penning animals, indeed that is what they were used for traditionally. If your survival strategy is going to include bugging into a location where you will keep livestock.
These hurdles can be built from round rods or they can be split along their length, which makes them more flexible and lightens the hurdle, being able to produce these hurdles will allow you to effectively fence in your homestead even without modern wire.
Photo: a hurdle made from split hazel rods
These are just a few examples of the use of coppiced hardwood rods but to produce baskets and containers willow is likely to be the first choice re is a use for a range of coppiced woods but willow is particularly valuable as it regrows so fast. Nowadays it is often grown as a sustainable fuel source which can be harvested and chipped up and used to form wood fuel pellets for biofuel boilers to heat homes.
In this instance though we want young willow wands for making baskets and containers, they can even be used to make fish traps. If you can be selective and prepare in advance for your basketry you should harvest your willow during winter as this promotes the best regeneration for the tree but in terms of your basketry project it doesn’t matter when you harvest them.
In fact, if you want to strip the bark off your willow before using it for basketry, like in the pictures here, it is easier to do that with willow harvested in the summer. When the sap is up in the spring and summer and the leaves are growing it is really easy to peel the bark of willow and this can then even be used to make strong cordage.
Willow which has been stripped of its bark will look pure white at first, but as it dries will take on a pale brown color and is known as ‘buff’ willow. You don’t have to do this though it’s just as easy to make baskets with willow with the bark on as off.
One benefit of weaving with the bark on is that you can take advantage of the color of variations in the color of bark, there are many species of willow with bark ranging from black to various shades or brown, green and grey but dog wood can also be harvested in suitable dimensions and mixed with the willow to give bands of color with it’s bright red or yellow bark.
Photo: coppiced willow rods with bark on stacked in the workshop ready for using for hurdle making and basketry
Once you have collected your materials; the project I show for you here was all done willow but other materials are acceptable, it can be stored. The rods will dry out and last for ages if kept dry. These dry rods can then be re-wetted and used at your leisure for your projects.
To produce a regular supply of suitable basketry willow you will need to regularly coppice the plants you are going to be using, the ideal thickness for most of these projects is no more than about 5 millimeters (0.2 inches). Anything much over a year old will be far too thick so you will need to coppice regularly.
Before we get started with the basketry projects, become familiar with the terminology, it will help the rest of these instructions make sense and is essential as you practice your basketry skills:
Base:The bottom of a basket or container.
Spokes: The foundation of a round or oval basket. They fan out as the spokes of a wheel at the base and also then go up the sides of the basket vertically. Known as stakes in square or rectangular baskets.
Weaver:Individual horizontal rods woven horizontally into the around the sides of the basket.
Packing: Pushing the weavers tightly together.
Splicing:Adding additional weavers to the basket when the previous one has grown too short.
Shaping: Using your weaver to splay out or pull together the spokes or stakes of a basket under construction..
Photo: dried ‘buff’ willow soaking up the dew in wet grass to make it more supple ready for weaving.
I would always suggest drying and re-wetting the material you want to use for basketry as once it dries it will shrink slightly, if the willow is used fresh this shrinkage will warp the completed container and allow gaps to open up in it.
Drying and re-wetting, on the other hand, will negate this shrinkage as the re-wetting does not swell the willow back to its original size rather it just makes it more supple and flexible. An hour or two of soaking in water should be enough to make willow supple enough to work with, this is important as the thin ends of the willow rods will be far too brittle and will break as you try and flex them without this wetting and the ticker ends will not bend enough.
You can see in the above photo that as well as wrapping alternately around the front and then back of each ‘spoke’ of the basket the two rods alternate from being on top to underneath. This makes the basket very secure.
Primitive Funnel Fish Trap
The project I will show you is a fish funnel trap, so it doesn’t need a flat bottom. It has one open end which is then filled with a smaller wicker funnel to allow small fish, eels and cray fish to enter but not escape and the other end tapers to a point.
To achieve this point, the ends of several rods can be bound together with another one. Once the ends are lashed you can start weaving your fish trap from the other end allowing the spokes to protrude beyond where the first weave begins. These can be trimmed to the right size later as can the ends of each rod as you come to its end and need to splice in new ones.
This process of splicing in new rods as you finish the previous one is very simple, as one weaver runs out a new one will need to be spliced in to allow the basket to be completed.
Photo: starting a fish trap
You will gradually build up the walls of the basket or fish trap by packing each layer of weavers tightly together. For a basket this packing is essential to produce a tightly woven, strong basket which can be used for carrying things, particularly for foraging for things such as berried which might fall through a loose weave and be lost. The weave of a fish trap can be slightly looser as long as the small fish and cray fish can still be contained without being able to swim out.
Photos above: a completed fish trapping basket ready for some bait and for the funnel to be fitted
If you want to create a basket with a flat base so it will stand up without falling over you will need to start like this:
Four rods must be split through their center for a few inches and then another four rods pushed through the splits forming an ‘x’ shape. This cross becomes the center of you basket. To secure it take two more rods and these will need to be woven around the cross, the ends can be secured in the splits, one rod will need to be woven alternately over and then under the arms of the cross with the other rod being woven in the reverse pattern.
Once you have reached this stage you can bend the rods forming the cross away from each other so that the cross begins to resemble the spokes of a bicycle wheel and then from then on weave between each individual ‘spoke’. From there continue exactly as you did with the fish trap to create a basket with a flat bottom.
Any number of gathering baskets or even makeshift back packs can be made with woven willow, and they are light, strong and they look good but woven baskets are not your only option for making containers from natural material, while the wicker work does lend itself to fish traps like the one shown here there are other methods of making very functional and strong baskets. Alternative materials can be used like the basket here made of just a few willow rods and stinging nettle stems.
Another alternative to wicker baskets is a very old method of basketry which is much simpler than weaving, requires no tools, no special materials or carefully selected willow wands but just a little bit of patience. This method is used to create what are called coil baskets:
Coil baskets are simply that; baskets made of coils of, well almost anything really. In the example pictured I have used hay and lime bast. Lime bast is the fermented and dried inner bark of the lime tree. Through a process called retting it is separated from the outer bark and becomes soft, supple and flexible and can be used to make strong cord or used as it is in this basketry project. Making bast takes a lot of time though and is not a vital part of this project, you could use raffia, wool or jute twine.
Photo: lime bast ready to be turned into strong cord or used for your coil basketry project.
First you need to select your materials, your bulk material, hay in this case but it could be any fibrous material from dry grass to raffia or dried reedmace leaves, which will form the basis of your basket and the ‘coil’ that it will be made from, and your wrapping material which will be used to tightly wrap the bulk material forming the coil that will become your basket and also securing each layer of the coil to the one below.
Once you have selected your materials, you need to form a little twist of material that will become the center of your basket, this needs to be tightly formed from your bulk material and wrapped with your binding material:
Once you have this central point, you need to continue to wrap your bulk material. Using this first twist of material as your central point begin to coil everything else around it. It is easiest to form up to a foot or even two of twisted, wrapped material at a time before coiling it.
As you coil it, you will need to secure each new coil to the one inside it using the same wrapping material that you are forming your coil with. When securing the layers make sure you don’t pull them so tight that the layer are cinched so tightly that gaps open up between the layers.
To get your wrapping between layers you can use a large needle or a marlin spike, but a net needle works just as well. You won’t need to thread the wrapping material through the needs, it probably wouldn’t fit anyway unless your needle has a really big eye but just use your tool of choice to open up a gap between the layers to give yourself a big enough hole to work with.
These baskets once complete can be fitted with a handle or left as they are if you decide you don’t need the handle. To fit a handle form a robust wrap of material in exactly the same way that you have made the coil, probably slightly thicker though.
Tuck one end through the coil of the basket towards the top edge, I would go two or even three layers down from the edge though to add strength. Once it is tucked through fold the end up and double it over against the handle, now use your binding material to securely whip the end of the handle in place. Now bend the rest of your handle over and repeat on the other side of the basket. Now you have a useful basket for collecting foraged food or gathering other resources.
The beauty of this method of basketry is that you can create any shape you want, you can easily go on from a simple open topped basket to form vase shaped vessels which you could waterproof and use to hold liquids. Because there are no significant gaps between the materials of the basket you can easily coat the inner surface of this kind of container with something like birch tar which you can also source from nothing but natural materials and which will make these containers completely waterproof.
With all these options for basketry and weaving you can go ahead with lots of projects and equip yourselves with a skill that will be vitally important post SHTF.
It is that time of year again fellow preppers. Sure, spring is just around the corner (finally) but that is not what I’m talking about. Preparedness expo season is beginning anew. All around the country survival, homesteading, and off grid experts will converge both indoors and out, to teach their fellow Americans how to become more self-reliant.
Prepper Expos used to be nothing more than glorified survival shopping extravaganzas, but not anymore – at least not the good ones you should spend your time and money attending.
In my personal opinion, I think Prepper Camp provoked a massive change in the way events for the survival community are designed. The 3-day hands-on preparedness and self-reliance event held annually in North Carolina was the first of its kind. Prepper Camp does not happen until September, so it is not on this list, but honestly, it usually sells out by June, so if you are interested in going, it is best to check it online now.
Top 5 Survival Expos of Spring-Summer 2018
1. Ohio Prepper & Survivalist and Firearms Show
June 9 through June 10
Wood County Fairgrounds 3800 W Poe Rd, Bowling Green, Ohio 43402
For some reason I still don’t understand why most survival expos tend to take place in either the South or the West. Few such shows are ever located in Ohio or surrounding states. The Ohio Prepper & Survivalist and Firearms Show appears to be working very hard to change that.
Providing quality resources to “fellow patriot survivalists and preppers” and folks interest in hunting, fishing, and camping, is the guiding light behind the Buckeye State preparedness expo. More than 40 preparedness classes are scheduled to take place at the Ohio prepper expo this year.
Bushcraft and survival training classes for both children and adults, are also part of the planned events. The list of presenters for this year’s show will be posted on the prepper expo website once it is completed. If the quality of presenters who offered training and spoke at the 2017 Ohio Show is any indication, the 2018 event will be quite an educational (and potentially life-saving) experience.
Some of the presenters last year included: Dr. Bones and Nurse Amy, Nick Getzinger one of the founders of Oath Keepers, Ryan Sawyer, a leader trainer and senior member of Oath Keepers, Challice Finicum, the daughter of LaVoy Finicum, also spoke at the 2017 event. Classes last year included a wide array of emergency medical training, black powder cap making, medicinal herbs, cache burying, and aquaponics and hydroponics.
In addition to self-reliance training classes, there will also be fun activities for children, a monster truck show, tons of vendors located both indoors and out, as well as live entertainment. CCW holders, you will be permitted to open carry at the gun show held during the Ohio survival expo.
Mesquite Convention Center 1700 Rodeo Drive in Mesquite, Texas 75149
The Self Reliance Expo is one of the largest and longest running survival expos in the United States. Approximately 50,000 preppers and homesteaders interested in self-reliance and sustainability attend the event each year. In addition to learning from skilled presenters, you can also browse more than 650 vendor booths while at the Mesquite Convention Center.
The Texas survival expo is produced by the National Self Reliance Project The group’s mission is to empower and educate both families and communities so they can become self-reliant.
The Self Reliance Expo uses a back to the basics approach to further those goals by focusing on the four basic pillars of self-reliance:
The preparedness speaker line-up for the upcoming Texas prepper expos features an extremely well-rounded group of folks, renowned for their off grid living, homesteading, and survival skills.
Dr. Bones and Nurse Amy – of Doom and Bloom fame will offer a wound care, stitching and suturing class.
Marjory Wildcraft from the Grow Network will be speaking about treating yourself after a venomous snake bite and preparedness.
Mary Macaluso of Preppers Asylum, a registered nurse, will also be among the featured presenters at the Texas survival expo.
David Jones the “NBC Guy” will be speaking about WMD protection.
Kadie Lynn – America’s Got Talent semi-finalist will be singing country music live on Saturday at the Self Reliance Expo.
The National Self Reliance Project also hosts an expo in Denver each September.
Meet Eivan and Eve Kilcher and Fowler SELF-RELIANCE EXPO 2017, DENVER COLORADO – SEPT 22~23, 2017 - YouTube
3. Greater Chicagoland Survival and Green Living Expo
Saturday March 17 through Sunday March 18
Lake Country Fairgrounds 19822 West Peterson Road Graylake, Illinois 60030
This RK Prepper Shows Survival Expo is focused upon helping attendees learning how to survive a long-term disaster Attendees can educate themselves about survival and brows the many vendors at the Chicago area event who will be selling bugout kits, long-term storage food, solar power materials, tactical gear, and a host of other supplies that will be necessary for off the grid living during a SHTF scenario.
Two days of seminars filled with preparedness seminars are scheduled during the prepper expos.
A sampling of some of the classes that will be offered during the March 2018 survival event:
• Society Ending Events – The First 180 Days
• Nuclear, Biological & Chemical Defense: A practical guide to surviving in an NBC environment.
• Overcome Disaster: How to Live and Thrive
• The Ins and Outs of Water Storage
4. Survival Outdoor & Gun Show – Bloomington Illinois Prepper Show
May 5 through May 6
Interstate Center 1106 Interstate Drive, Bloomington, Illinois 61705
The Cloe Group has created a preparedness show that truly encompasses all the major facets of survival. Attendees at the Illinois prepper expo can immerse themselves in an in-depth melding of an outdoor show, gun show, hunting expo, survival expo, knife showcase, camping event, and angler expo.
The family owned business decided to design the ultimate outdoor show because they what they believe to be a decline in attendance and individual events. By bringing all of the interlinked shows that largely appeal to the same demographic together, the attendees get far more bang for their buck.
You won’t find Scentsy dealers or a hodge podge of vendors at Cloe Group outdoor expos. Only vendors that truly fit the niche are permitted. You will be doing a whole lot more than shopping for a good deal on a new rifle or gas mask at the 400 tables of vendors at the Survival Outdoor & Gun Show. A full slate of seminars with presenters focused on educating the event attendees are part of the reason the Cloe Group shows sell out quickly.
5. PrepperCon – Sandy Utah Prepper Show
May 18 through May 19
South Towne Expo Center 9575 State Street, Sandy, Utah 84070
This is one of the largest survival expos of the year., with more than 80 preparedness classes are currently scheduled to take place. PrepperCon featured experts will be sharing their expertise about the fundamentals of prepping, first aid and emergency medicine, survival skills, long-term food and water storage, firearms, alternative power, self-defense, and homesteading.
The list of presenters is still in the process of being completed for this year’s show, but a few of the special events are already being shared with the public. Updates to the list of events will soon be posted to the PrepperCon website and the event’s Facebook page.
Highlights of the 2018 PrepperCon Event:
• Prepper Fash – Yep, there is even a survival-themed fashion show, featuring clothing for the entire family, at this Utah survival event.
• Hurricane Simulator – Find out what it feels like to be in the midst of a powerful hurricane courtesy of Kustom Containers. A 500-horse power engine inside the customized wind tunnel can subject you to up to 142 MPH winds.
When you approach prepping as a lifestyle choice, as “Life Assurance,” you often get to test your self-reliance skills and stockpile. One of the greatest preparedness assets should be what is beneath your feet…your home.
It took us close to three years to find the perfect land for our survival homesteading retreat. Once the search was over, the new beginning – and the real work, began. By work, I do not just mean all of the blood and sweat we spilled turning a fixer upper 56-acre farm into a usable home (but man, that was indeed a LOT of work) but the most essential and fulfilling part of the project – turning the 56 acres into a fully-functional survival retreat.
The price was right, the location was superb, and the land attributes were outstanding. But even with all of those preparedness blessings, it takes a massive amount of time to create and maintain a sustainable and defensible homesteading survival retreat.
Our survival retreat has two natural and two man-made water sources, is remote, looks like no one on the land from the low-traffic 2-land road, the house is situated a little over a ½ mile from the uphill dirt sole access driveway entrance, multiple barns, fenced (freshly repaired) entirely, is partially wooded, producing nut and fruit trees and bushes.
Photo above: our man-made pond was still a work in progress when this photo was taken. We used an old backhoe that we worked in (along with a host of other old but still functional farm equipment) when purchasing the property. This area was perfect for a pond and due to the run-off from the hillside ridge and rocky soil beneath, wasn’t a lot of good for anything else. The area has also is used as a home shooting range.
With a set up like that, how could you go wrong, right?! Well, we didn’t exactly go wrong, but we sure could have gone a bit more right. The good dirt is in two places on our homesteading survival retreat, in the hay pastures that produce well and provide for our livestock over the winter (and can be harvested by us without aid of machine, when it comes to that) and in a 2-acre section by an old barn area that also once served as a hog pen, near the entrance to the property.
Growing your groceries in full view of even a remote 2-lane road is NOT a good idea. While cultivating lower quality soil on one of the other three tiers of the property, along with growing in containers, we went ahead and planted our garden in the good dirt after moving onto the property. Neglecting to put in a garden because the spot was not covert enough to suit our OPSEC goals would have left us with far less food to preserve come fall.
Enhancing the quality of soil is not a difficult task, it is just a chore that involves following a finite set of rules over time, time being the key component to the equation.
When the creek floods it is not uncommon to find bicycles, coolers, and other various forms of junk not just floating down it, but winding up in our field. We knew the creek would jump its banks during excessive rain or snow, but we underestimated the threat the high waters could pose to our garden area.
Photo above: this photo of our creek was taken when it was only mildly misbehaving. There is a large rock formation you drive over to cross it. We have no desire for a bridge, which drives our non-prepping loved ones nuts. If you look up the hill beyond the creek you can tell how high the water flowed up when it jumped its banks.
Not until this winter from hell, have the water gotten close to our garden plot. Had the growing area flood now, before the SHTF, we would not starve. Sure, we would have wasted a whole lot of time and money putting the garden in and lose seeds we would have preserved for the following year, but we would not have gone hungry.
But, if the flood of ’18 happened post-SHTF, it would have been devastating and quite likely, life threatening. Simply because an area hasn’t flooded in a decade, three decades, or even 100 years, does not mean it won’t flood in the next 48 hours. How hard that lesson is to learn depends on whether or not you have time to correct your lapse in planning before the end of the world as we know it, happens.
The destruction of our growing food supply would have caused us to dig very deeply into our stockpile of preserved and long-term storage food, eaten more of our livestock than anticipated, fished the pond dry, and put too much pressure on the wild game in our woods.
The treeline on the left is along the bank of the creek. If you look deeply into the photo you will notice the rim of exposed dirt – that is how far the flood waters reached during the most recent bout with rain. This is the lower pasture side of the bottom tier of the property. If the water had gotten this far up the other side of the bottom tier, the half of the garden, while dormant this time of the year, would have been under water.
This flooding we experienced this year was far more than the typical spring high water. It came after two straight months of heavy snow, making the ground too saturated to hold it all, even in places that routinely go untouched by the heavy spring rains. It isn’t even officially spring yet, so a lot more rain will likely be on the way.
As I have said before, the best way to test your preps is to be forced to use them. It is the only way to find any holes in your well laid plans. We should have anticipated a short-term flooding disaster could impact our temporary garden and vastly enhanced our container gardening plan.
We have a greenhouse and ample room to grow in containers while cultivating the soil in our permanent garden spot. The only thing we apparently had in relatively short supply, was insight. We could have and should have been growing our groceries in far more containers than we were, until we had a garden growing in our covert and far from the water, spot.
While looking at the big picture and making long-range plans, we neglected to think of short-term natural disasters that could destroy our food supply. If the water had gone just a little further and the apocalypse had already occurred, our grand plans for a perfect garden and too few containers growing crops, would not have sustained us until the next growing season.
We are less than 3 months into 2018, and due in large part to a recent string of highly publicized, tragic shootings perpetrated by the murderously deranged, our 2nd Amendment rights are once again under assault.
Reactionary opposition groups, political partisans and politicians themselves have wasted no time in seizing the initiative, counting on a tide of grief and anger to carry their agenda through to implementation. Make no mistake: a widespread, radical ban on firearms in the U.S. is as likely as it has been in decades.
It is my intent that this article will serve as a primer on why a gun ban is certainly a possibility, and what you should be doing to help stop it.
A Brief History of Gun Control
While gun control measures have been a political hot-topic since at least the late 1960’s, America has a long history of gun control.”Gun control” here will be defined as a political effort to institute government force in the regulation of citizen acquisition and trade of firearms, ammunition and any other related parts or equipment. In the list below, you will find an overview of major gun control legislation that was made law, and continues to affect political maneuvering in the country today. This article would be very long indeed if we analyzed each of them, so I recommend you familiarize yourself with all of them if you have not already:
National Firearms Act of 1934, or NFA
Gun Control Act of 1968, or GCA
Firearm Owners Protection Act of 1986, or FOPA
Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act of 1993, or Brady Law
Federal Assault Weapons Ban of 1994, or AWB, now defunct as of 2004
In addition to laws, there have also been a great many trials concerning 2nd Amendment rights. These in particular have influenced public opinion, and more importantly case law in their wake. You should also endeavor to be familiar with them:
United States v. Miller
United States v. Emerson
Parker v. District of Columbia
District of Columbia v. Heller
The evidence is plain: there has been concerted, consistent erosion of our 2nd Amendment Rights over time. There is a precedent for continual, if not immediate, infringement of gun rights in the U.S. Those efforts are underway, right now, today, with a strength and zeal unseen since the 80’s.
It will take the combined efforts and activism of every gun owner and freedom-loving American to turn back the Leftists who would see our rights relegated to the dustbin of history.
Proposed Gun Control Today
In the immediate aftermath of the Parkland, FL high school shooting, as predictable as the tide, Leftist political partisans swooped into action from coast to coast and especially on Capitol Hill. Several Liberal states struck first: Illinois’ House of
Representatives passed 4 brand new gun control measures, further burying that beleaguered populace under even more ineffective gun control measures. California, predictably, pushed forth 10 new gun control bills.
I did not think there was a slingshot left in that state, much less a gun, but I guess they are taking no chances. Their laws are among the most stringent in the country, and there is no sign of relief for gun owners there.
Florida and several New England states rolled out bills proposing to curtail or ban the ownership of semiautomatic rifles, and magazine capacity restrictions. We also saw national news coverage of the fact that several major department stores and sporting goods retailers pulled semiautomatic rifles, most prominently AR-15’s, from store shelves, and instituted policy changes raising the minimum age to purchase a long gun to 21 years old (the federal age requirement is 18).
Further adding to the general panic and mayhem rippling through 2nd Amendment proponents is the overnight reversal of opinion held by the 45th President regarding gun control, saying on live T.V. that he was open to making a deal with prominent, powerful anti-gun politicians.
To say 2A supporters in his base are horrified is an immense understatement. It has been reported by the NRA-ILA (National Rifle Association-Institute for Legislative Action) that after a late night visit and meeting with the President that he has backtracked on that comment, and all is well, but this has created a feeling of severe uncertainty, of a “waiting for the other shoe to drop” among conservatives .
The single biggest threat to gun ownership today is bill HR 5087. This bill, if passed intact, will restrict entire categories of firearms and magazines. A few highlights include restriction or total banning of:
“semiautomatic assault weapons”
“large capacity ammunition feeding devices”
HR 5087 will also mandate storage and ownership transfer requirements, and fund government “buy-back” programs that, if disobeyed, will create an entire class of criminals out of citizens. Do I have your attention? This bill is active today.
The sad fact is that Conservatism loses almost every time in the political arena against Progressive Leftists. The idea of just “digging in and hanging on” is no defense against the slow but inexorable march by the enemies of decency and freedom.
It is not enough to tell friends or relatives trapped “behind the lines” in non gun-permissive states to “just leave.” It makes sense, considering our opponents control entire cities and institutions of social and political capital, right? No. If we keep giving up ground they will drive us in the metaphorical sea.
The time for a political grassroots offensive is now, and you, yes you, dear reader, are the single cell, the atom, that when harnessed will halt the Leftist march. But for that to happen, you must act.
Action in the Right Place, At the Right Time
You certainly don’t have unlimited time, and you probably don’t have unlimited funds. You must determine where is best to apply both. Pro-Tip: it is not slinging memes and insults on the internet.
Talking crap and grandstanding isn’t worth two steel pennies. Replace both with political action, and bringing the undecided people in the middle of the debate over to our side. Action! Not words.
You can spend all the time in the world correcting anti-gun advocates in message threads, insulting their incorrect use of nomenclature and spamming Pro-2A memes all over social media, and you will not bring a single person to support our cause. You won’t convert one hardened anti-gun Leftist. You won’t stop one bill from winding through Congress.
Sure, it feels good to lash out at our opponents, and the memes are funny. I have posted plenty, and fired off my share of witty zingers. But before you congratulate yourself too heartily for defending the 2nd Amendment, you need to remember that, in reality, you are sitting on your butt screwing around while real work, for and against you, is being done elsewhere. Time for a gut check.
Action Items for the Present
Don’t waste breath or typing on anyone that cannot make a difference in the current fight. That means hardened anti-gunners, as well as staunch Pro-2A guys and gals; don’t sow pearls before swine, or preach to the choir.
If you are going to take the time to reach the undecided in the middle, that may be a worthy effort. Adding numbers to the cause is a benefit, but be cautious to not overload them with rhetoric and politicking on their first time out on the range. It should instead be a fun and enjoyable time with good people.
Everyone started somewhere, start them right. Who should be hearing from you regularly are your elected local, state and federal representatives. How you get in touch with them matters: Mass-mailer petitions, form letters, and the like may be of dubious utility. Coming from the National Rifle Association, they may have some impact, but are weak compared to an actual, unique letter, written well and candidly, addressed to them, signed by you.
Your letter should detail your expectations concerning even the discussion of any anti-gun bills, and detail what they should expect if your interests are deserted come election day. These letters should be sent to all your elected reps at every level of Government at the following times:
When a gun control bill is announced
When a gun control bill is approaching a vote
After a bill is passed or dropped, and suited to their vote
If we all sent letters like this, en masse, it would have the full and total attention of our politicians. Another step you should be taking, in accordance with sending letters, is calling those same representatives.
Tell them you expect them to oppose any and all new gun control legislation (Capitol Switchboard: 202-224-3121 Contact your reps!). Be vocal, be heard, and pay attention! It will take both your time and effort, things that you do have if only you will stop wasting it on fruitless activity!
Becoming a member of and donating to an effective gun-rights organization is in your best interest. This is a contentious topic among Pro-2A supporters, and the arguments have raged since I was little as to which organization is most effective, or betrayed their members, or whatever. Bottom-Line Up Front:
If you have only enough funds to join and donate to one, make it the NRA. No other organization has the membership or political horsepower that they do. However, I am a firm believer in being a member of as many as you can: The Gun Owners of America and Firearms Policy Coalition are good groups, and do make a difference. Pay attention to what all of them are saying about political rumblings and successes. Join, participate and stay focused.
Stop Eating Our Own
Any of you that have been around the gun scene long enough are no doubt familiar with a sort of grudge that has been stewing for many years. The feud, as it were, is between Hunters, or Sporting Shooters, and the Tactical Shooters. I am painting with a broad brush here, so don’t get too wrapped up in my language. I don’t care if you belong to one, the other, or both (and neither should you). Pejoratively this grudge is called the Fudds vs. Mall Ninjas. It revolves around the hunters and sport shooters holding the tactical shooters’ guns and methods in contempt, to the point of even agreeing that AR-15’s, “assault weapons” and similar should be banned! Conversely, the Tactical shooters dismiss many hunters that cling to their sport and ways as being hopelessly out of touch and antiquated.
This is a bad deal for a host of reasons, but primarily because we, as 2nd Amendment Supporters, must present a united front politically. Division and mutual enmity is the opportunity the Leftists will use to pounce, and enact their laws. Then it will be too late. If you don’t care about modern “black guns,” start caring: The loss of them will certainly affect other, more “traditional” firearms. If you don’t care about hunting, and hunting grounds and legislation affecting it, start caring: any loss of ground on those fronts will affect all gun owners. The Left has nibbled away our rights for decades, bit by bit. A law here, a bill there. One or two more regulations piggybacked on other legislation. Every, single one matters. Start acting like it.
Stop giving friends or strangers grief if they don’t belong to the “correct” gun-rights organization of choice. Encourage them to do the things I have outlined in this article. If they are, compliment and encourage them. Get them to approach their like-minded friends and family, and then you should do the same. We must come together as gun owners. Our opposition has, and they show no signs of backing down. There will be no compromise. They will win, or we will. Win or lose. There is no more time for bickering, no more time for excuses. Get involved politically where it matters. Nothing else will make a difference.
A massive gun ban is possible in the U.S. It is more possible than it has been in a long time. The Left is perched, waiting for the slightest lapse in political resolve, or concentration. Now is the time to stop wasting our words on those who cannot be reasoned with, and instead start talking to the ones that, right or wrong, put pen to paper and change our laws. Call your representatives. Write them. Move your family and friends to take the same action. This is what will turn the tide, not fighting on the internet.
What are you doing today to support the 2nd Amendment? Do you have gun-owning friends who are apathetic, or lazy? Any family members that are in opposition? Let me know what you need help with in the comments!