When looking at survival gear, a good Firestarter tool should be at the top of the list. Being able to start a fire can save your life during a survival situation. You can use the fire to keep away bugs and predators, boil water, cook food, and stay warm. However, you can’t always carry around lighter fluid and a lighter.
We found a survival fire starter kit that is small enough to keep in the glove box of your vehicle, and is light enough to haul in your bug out bag. Better yet? It is a name we trust for great quality: Gerber.
The Firestarter Tool We Like the Most
Since 1939, Gerber has masterfully hand-crafted knives, tools, and equipment, in the Portland, Oregon facility – pioneering an industry and honoring a heritage. Local ingenuity and American spirit collide within these walls – where iconic products are born, tested, and shipped worldwide.
What is the best fire starter tool?
A simple firestarter tool can start fires even in damp, unfavorable conditions. A firestarter works by running a metal striker over a ferrocerium rod, creating sparks. These sparks will not only dry out damper wood, but ignite dry wood. This is important is you have ever had to try to camp when the ground is wet.
These are better than a firestarter brick, firestarter cubes, firestarter nuggets, and even paracord – which doesn’t really do a good job of starting any kind of campfire.
Just check out this video on how paracord doesn’t really work well:
The Gerber Bear Grylls Firestarter is one of the best firestarters on the market, especially for the price. The Gerber firestarter comes in a compact, waterproof container that pulls apart into the striker and rod.
The rod has a black coating that has to be scratched off before any good sparks will fly. The first few strikes won’t produce very good sparks, but once it’s been broken in, it will give off consistent, powerful sparks.
That is important to know as many people never take the time to scratch it off and when they have to put it to the test? It doesn’t work correctly. Take the time to make sure your tools are really ready for their intended use.
To use this firestarter tool, firmly place the sharp end of the striker against the rod. Then, quickly pull the rod towards you. This should give off a nice spark after a few tries.
The kit also actually has instructions for signaling for help. It includes the Morse code for SOS, the Alpine rescue signal, and hand signals to signal for air help. The SOS and Alpine rescue signals can be done with the loud rescue whistle on the lanyard. It is right on the handle of the tool!
The SOS signal is 3 short bursts of the whistle, 3 long bursts, and then 3 short bursts. Allow around a minute for a response, and then send the signal out again. The Alpine rescue signal is to be used in the event of mountain emergencies and consists of six bursts, all with 10 seconds in between them.
After the signal, allow a minute for a response. A response will sound like 3 bursts, and should mean that they’re contacting rescue services for help. Inside the end of one of the handles is a waterproof compartment for tinder, with a cotton ball already inside.
I know it seems funny, but the sound of a whistle can carry a lot further than the sound of a human voice AND it can’t go hoarse from overuse.
Now, let’s talk tinder. You can fill the rest of that bag with whatever tinder you choose to pack, though cotton balls are a great tinder. Optionally, you can rub some petroleum jelly on a cotton ball, which will make it burn longer and hotter. I keep those in a ziploc baggie so it doesn’t mess up the rest of the items in the the glove box and emergency bug out bag kit.
When starting a fire, the sparks should land on the tinder, and once the fire starts, you should pile on kindling to keep the fire going, and eventually larger pieces of wood to burn as fuel.
I know that might not be practical in a real emergency situation. You may find yourself with a paracord animal snare and roasting a fresh rabbit over the fire, or just boiling water to pour over your MRE.
Whatever you end up eating, having a great fire is the important thing. And with a good firestarter tool, you should be ready to go!
Most people have heard of a paracord survival bracelet, but very few people know all that paracord can actually do – and WHY you would even want to have it on you!
If you’ve met someone dedicated to the outdoors or survival, the chances are high that they had something made from paracord on them. Paracord is any survivalist’s best friend because its uses are practically limitless and it’s extremely tough.
All About Paracord Emergency Uses
As long as you know how to tie a few good knots, it can replace anything from worn-out strings in clothing to dog leashes. Paracord is also extremely inexpensive, so it’s a great idea to add some to your bug out bag.
Paracord Planet sells high-quality Type III 550 Paracord at an affordable price. The main reason outdoorsmen love paracord is that it’s extremely tough in all conditions. The 550 in the item’s title refers to the amount of weight it can hold with one strand before snapping: 550 pounds.
Paracord emergency uses
This makes it almost impossible to break by just pulling on it, so people use it to secure their items without worry. For example, if you have a crab trap in a river and want to secure it to a tree right next to the water, you can tie the paracord around the tree and to the trap, and won’t have to worry about currents or larger animals taking it away.
You can create a web out of it and make fishing nets – just in case your fishing line/hook isn’t doing the job for you. Although the inner threads can be used as a fishing line too.
You can also use the paracord to make snares for catching rabbits, coyotes, and other animals. The Type III in the title refers to the fact that the 7 strands that make up the cord are each made of 3 even smaller strands, which makes the cord MIL-SPEC, or military standard.
Paracord is great for securing cargo. When you are bugging out, you might have more things on board than you normally carry and it can help secure that canoe, few cases of water, or even a pet kennel in the car.
If you are making a quick shelter, you can use paracord for lashing together poles. That helps make a frame to pop a tarp over, or even use to keep your food out of the reach of bears, etc.
Have a hammock you want to hang up? Paracord to the rescue! You can lash that tarp OVER your hammock and not only be off the ground, but safer from the elements. There is nothing worse than camping out when it is wet or when it is cold.
Need a line to help someone up a cliff, out of a ravine, or help pull them out of a current that is stronger than originally thought? Paracord is great for assisting with water rescues.
Paracord is fantastic for first aid! If you’re severely bleeding and can’t make it to a hospital immediately, a paracord can be used as a tourniquet. It can also be used to lash together sticks for a makeshift splint. In a pinch, it can even work as a sling for a strained or sprained arm. There are actually a lot of first aid uses for paracord!
In a pinch, you can use those inner threads for sutures. This would be a last resort as it is NOT sterile, and there are better options for closing a wound.
You can even make a travois out of paracord if you need to haul a wounded or unconscious person from one location to another.
Let’s talk about securing your environment… you can create trip lines with it or even a poor-man’s alarm system with empty cans.
Catch someone looting your site? Paracord makes fantastic handcuffs in comparison to duct tape. What you actually do with your prisoner depends on you…
This paracord can also survive all kinds of conditions. It’s impervious to UV damage, mold, water damage, and heat up to 470 degrees Fahrenheit. You won’t have to worry about it giving out because it rained, or because it’s been sitting out in the hot sun for days on end.
If you’re going to be spending most of your time outdoors, the last thing you want is something that can’t stand up to the weather. If the shoelaces on your waterproof shoes gave out because of wear, you can replace them with paracord and keep your shoes fully functional.
When bugging out, you may have equipment failure of some sort – so paracord can come in hand for fixing broken straps or belts.
Have a dog? You can use paracord to make a dog collar, or even a dog leash.
Paracord comes in tons of different colors, designs, and lengths. Paracord Planet offers hundreds of different options – ranging from camo to neon orange to straight black. So if you’re using your paracord for shoelace replacement, you can make it look totally normal if you had colored shoelaces. You can even teach your kids how to tie knots and make bracelets with bright colors to make it more enjoyable.
It can be handy to take unique colored paracord and turn them into “wearable art” so you have it handy when the situation arises. Bracelets, lanyards, keychains, and so much more!
Let’s take a look at some of the most popular paracord projects that help keep it at your fingertips:
Paracord Survival bracelet
There are several different kinds of paracord bracelets to make, but my favorite? The Mad Max. It uses ONLY paracord, no additional clips etc., so it is quick and easy to dismantle when you need to use it. Here is a great video on how to make it:
paracord survival bracelet with a compass
Some people prefer the watch-style paracord bracelets that have a compass built in to them. We found a video lesson on how to make them for you:
It can be easy to wear paracord around your neck and have it hold your keys, a whistle, or even mace – whatever you wish to have at your fingertips.
We always take our keys with us and this simple keychain can give you enough paracord for an emergency. This video shows you how to make one in less than 2 minutes!
The bottom line? Paracord is great to have handy – no matter how you choose to package it.
Bugging Out Practice? Having a bug out plan is one thing but having to put it into action is another. Everything looks different when emotions are heightened and the possibility that your life could be at stake enters the picture. It can be stressful and when you add in the fear that young children experience during the chaos, your bug out plan could end up in disaster.
That’s why you need to practice various bug out scenarios so that your escape plan runs smoothly. You want everyone to know what to do, when to do it and how to react. You want everyone to know ahead of time that everything is going to be okay.
By having clear cut instructions that your family knows like the back of their hand, what can happen during chaos is that repetition can take over the fear. Everyone can act on autopilot because they’ve had what to do drilled into them.
Practice Your Bug Out Scenarios for a Seamless Escape
It’s not enough to have everyone act out the escape plan a couple of times. You need to hold ongoing Bugging Out Practice drills and various scenarios that impact that escape every single month. This way, your younger children won’t be afraid when something happens. They’ll know that everything is going to be okay.
You need to have a meeting point in place and each family member should know where it is and the route to take to get there. But everyone needs to also know a plan B in case the road leading to the meeting point is blocked or has been compromised.
You’ll want to practice getting to this meeting point when you’re at home as well as when the family is separated. Obviously, you’ll keep younger kids with you but older teenagers need to know how they’re going to get to the meeting point.
You need to know ahead of time what to do if everyone is at their job. This includes knowing who gets which family member if necessary. You want to know how to act when it’s needed. Trying to decide how to react in the heat of the moment always compounds the problem.
You need to practice for the different scenarios. This includes ones like natural disasters. Prepare flood evacuation, fire evacuation and if you live in a tornado-prone area, plan how you’re going to escape the area. You need to have an escape plan in place in the event of an EMT, an enemy airstrike, or biological warfare.
Go over your Bugging Out Practice plan during the morning hours, in the afternoon, and in the evening because things look different at night. Practice as if you didn’t have any power at all. Practice escaping both on foot and in a vehicle.
Make sure that every member of the family has an alternative way to communicate if cell phones go down. Have a spot chosen ahead of time where you can leave communication such as notes if you have to.
Run through your complete drill from beginning to end. It might be an inconvenience now, but in the long run, it could save your life and those you care most about.
Understanding the Terms Bug Out Bag, Inch Bag, and Go Bag
During a bug out situation, you might need to use different bags. The reason for this is because a situation could be different. Some are temporary and some are long term. Some are so awful and chaotic, you’ll never be able to come back to your house.
Bug Out Bag
That’s why you should have Bugging Out Practice that involves the need to have different bags prepared for different events. A bug out bag is also commonly referred to by its initials of BOB. This is a bag that can safely sustain your survival for at least 72 hours.
It’s not really intended for more than that. This is the bag that you grab when you’re exiting to get out of the chaos to somewhere safe. It contains the basic essentials. In this bag, you’ll have water, food, clothes for three days, shelter or a way to make it in nature, a way to start a fire, a flashlight, tools, a way to communicate, personal hygiene items, and whatever else you’ll need to make it for three days.
A bug out bag’s purpose is to get you out of where you are to safety. The INCH bag stands for I’m Never Coming Home and it’s intended to help you survive a SHTF event for a longer amount of time than a bug out bag is.
Where a bug out bag should last 3 days, an INCH bag can last as long as a week or more – until you find more supplies. It’s intended to carry the essentials you need as well as other important items you must have when coming back to your house just isn’t going to happen.
Your INCH bag should be packed with food, water, a way to purify water, clothes, a fire starter method, cash, guns, and ammo. It should also have a radio and a first aid kit. You’ll need to have a compass in this bag as well as fishing items, a wilderness or survival knife, a good flashlight, and an ax.
I like these kits from MedTAC and there is free shipping right now on $50+ orders!
Paracord goes into this bag along with a multitool, a solar charger for recharging things like the radio, and rechargeable batteries. You’ll need seeds, hygiene items, medications, gloves, rain items, and maps.
You’ll also want your important documents with you like your ID, passports, and anything that pertains to reestablishing your life. Pack a folding shovel, duct tape, and a machete. A go bag is also known as an evacuation kit.
This bag is not meant to be long term or indefinite like an INCH bag. In a go bag, you would pack all of your important information like your health information, and your financial documents.
You would have some hygiene items, clothes, and any prescription meds. The idea behind this bag is that you can get to another location and be okay for a few days until you can come home. It’s not suitable for a SHTF situation because it doesn’t contain the necessary survival items.
Get the printable version of my 3 checklists here:
The day or night that you’ve planned for has finally happened. Now the time has come for you to bug out. You’ve bought all your gear and the supplies you’ll need to exist wherever you’re headed.
What’s left now is something that you can’t buy. It’s awareness. You have to stay aware when you’re bugging out. It’s the key to your survival. You can’t afford to let your guard down – not even for a second – because if you do, you could end up getting hurt or even losing your life.
One of the threats that you’ll have to face when you’re bugging out is the potential danger from predators. This can be challenging when Bugging Out Practice is going on, but you can get a handle on what you might need BY practicing it. You could run into animals that would love to make a meal out of you.
Animals like bears, coyotes, and bobcats have been known to attack people in opportunistic moments as well as for no reason at all. Some people believe that animals only attack when they’re hungry or to protect their young, but that’s not true.
Animals of all sizes will attack if they’re startled or scared. They’ll attack if they’ve been hurt or they’re ill. They’ll also attack because animals are territorial. You have to be on the lookout for them as well as the two-legged kind of predators – humans.
In a world that’s governed by law and consequences, people still hurt others. They steal, they attack, they kill. Now imagine what those kinds of people will do when society has collapsed.
They’re only going to get worse. That’s why awareness is the key to you making it out alive against both kinds of predators. You need to make sure that not only do you have a secure area once you arrive at your bug out destination, but that you’re secure as you’re traveling.
You do that by scouting the area. Do perimeter checks of your arrival location and do perimeter checks as you’re traveling. Make sure no one is following you on foot or in a vehicle. Bugging Out Practice should include finding a defensible location.
Pay attention to people who are acting weird or those who are acting secretive. Be aware of what’s going on with the weather. By knowing whether or not bad weather is coming, you’ll be able to get to shelter before you get caught in it and have to deal with things like hypothermia.
You also want to be aware of the weather so that if you’re traveling near a creek or river, you don’t get caught up in any floodwaters. Be aware of what’s going on with your supplies, too.
Pay attention to the amount of water you have or the purification means that you have on hand. Keep alert with your food supply. If you’re traveling with friends or family, stay alert to their physical and emotional well-being.
Someone who’s ill or is suffering from shock can give your position away or draw attention to you and make you a target. Some preppers like to have 5-hour energy on hand in their bug out bags so that if they happen to be in a moment where being alert is extremely important, they won’t be prone to drowsiness.
Bugging Out Practice: Don’t Draw Attention to Yourself and Your Supplies
When you’re bugging out, you’re not going to be by yourself or your family. There are going to be scores of people out and about as you’re trying to make it to your bug out location.
As time passes, though, these masses start to thin out and your path won’t be as jam-packed as it was before. However, there will still be people around. This is when you want to make yourself as invisible as possible. Bugging Out Practice should include how to make this a reality for you.
It’s not the time to show off what you can do or what you have. When you stick out in a crowd of people who are shocked, worried, and growing increasingly panicked, it will only put a target on you.
By fitting into the crowd or by being invisible if you’re not in a crowd, you’re less likely to be singled out as a target. People are going to be looking for someone who has what they need.
Sometimes in a SHTF situation where you have to bug out, people are going to be looking for stuff they can steal to use or to barter with so they can get whatever they need for themselves.
If others know you have survival gear, you could be a target for anyone who wants what you have so that they can sell it to get their needs met. In a bug out situation, harmful people always grow bolder. It is a sad fact of reality. We saw how people fought over chicken and ground beef during the COVID-19 food shortages. Meat. They fought over meat. And toilet paper…
You can hide in plain sight by not looking like you’re prepared. Don’t dress in a way that makes you stand out. This means that you don’t want to be walking down the street with your weapons strapped to your hip.
Keep your knives and guns out of view. Wear clothes that blend in and that makes it difficult for you to be picked out of the crowd. Nothing colorful and nothing expensive should be on your body in full view of others. Bugging Out Practice can include how to layer your clothes to hide what you have.
Be casual about the way you move through crowds or around people. Cover up any distinctive feature that you have. “Guy with the mohawk and the dangling feather earring in his ear” is a lot easier to remember and locate than “guy in jeans and a dark shirt.” One stands out, the other fits in.
The same kind of discretion is key to protecting your supplies, too. The have nots will take from the haves, but it’s far less tempting if they don’t know you have it. Don’t carry a bug out bag that’s brightly colored or has any kind of memorable logo splashed across the back of it.
Bugging Out Practice Golden Rule: Don’t talk about your supplies for any reason – because people will remember that later when they want something, or they’ll be tempted to just go ahead and take it. You don’t want to open up your gear in front of anyone.
Only do that when you’re alone. You have to remember that none of society’s laws will be heeded by anyone who’s desperate enough. They’ll take what’s yours -even if they have to use force to do it.
Bugging Out Practice: Be a “Gray Man”
You might have heard the advice that you should make a good first impression. That’s great advice – except when it comes to a bug out event. During the time when you’re bugging out, making an impression could cost you your life.
If you look at a crowd of people, you’ll notice that some of them stand out from others. It could be because of their actions or how they’re dressed, their facial features, body marks or jewelry, what their voice sounds like, the color of their hair or their mannerisms.
They stand out because they’re noticeably different from the others around them. It’s not a good idea to be noticed during a SHTF event. You want to be a gray man. That means you don’t stand out in the mind of anyone else.
Don’t stand out
You aren’t enough to make an impression. You can still move through a crowd and even speak to others, but no one will recall you once you’re gone. It’s as if you disappear from the thoughts of others.
To be a gray man, you don’t dress in a way that attracts any attention. The clothes that a gray man wears are bland without a color that even registers with someone else. The clothes a gray man wears don’t carry the scent of any laundry detergent – no soap smells or clothes softener scents.
A gray man has nothing about his clothing or his looks that can be recalled to mind. His hair doesn’t carry a shampoo scent. His clothes fade into the crowd. He’s not noticeable for his actions, either.
You won’t see him obviously checking the people around him or the area. A gray man isn’t recognized because nothing he wears, does or says is worth noticing. That’s how other people miss observing a gray man.
A gray man doesn’t wear cologne. He doesn’t have jewelry. He doesn’t wear any logos, or designs. Nothing can identify him. Nothing is memorable. A gray man keeps his expression bland.
He doesn’t look like he’s focusing on any one person, thing or place. None of his actions will be anything that anyone will pay attention to. It doesn’t mean that you’re not on alert. You just don’t stick out. Bugging Out Practice should include this… what “Gray man” outfit can you put with your gear?
To be a gray man, you have to pay attention, stay calm and journey slowly toward your end goal. You don’t push other people out of your way. You move at a regular pace – not hurried – like you have nowhere to go and nothing to do.
A gray man makes sure that his face doesn’t stand out. If there’s something definable about his hair, he wears a plain ball cap. If he has arresting eyes, he wears sunglasses.
He makes sure that any distinguishing marks like scars or tattoos are hidden from view. He keeps his voice calm. His mannerisms are bland. He doesn’t interject emotion into his words when he speaks.
The person who is a gray man is one people don’t notice because to them, he’s not doing anything and he doesn’t look like anything worth noticing. He triggers no reaction within them, which, is what allows him to be safe during a bug out event.
Study Human Psychology to Help You Navigate Treacherous Situations
All bets are off when you’re in a bug out situation. You have to be street smart about people – especially if you’ve always been the type of person who easily trusts others. When the world has turned chaotic, you can forget trust.
No one is going to be on their best behavior – especially unsavory individuals. In fact, these people are going to be the first to loot, the first to steal from others, and the first to make a bad situation worse.
It’s in your best interest to know human psychology so that you’ll be able to deal with these kinds of people. You need to know body language. The type of body language a person is using can tell you upfront who you’re dealing with.
You might want to watch a few Youtube videos or get a psych book from the library to brush up on your Bugging Out Practice on this topic.
Watch body language
People who are out to steal from you or hurt you always have a way of projecting that intent. Look at how they’re dressed. Believe it or not, what someone is wearing can give you a clue into their nature and intents.
Look for Desperate people
Someone who isn’t dressed for survival can be a desperate person. If you come across someone who’s wearing clothes that aren’t warm enough for the situation or they’re wearing clothes that stand out, that means they didn’t prepare ahead of time.
If they didn’t prepare their clothes, they probably didn’t prepare their supplies, either. Pay attention to their posture. People whose body is tensed or aggressive can be a clue that they have adrenaline running on high.
They could be about to make a move. See if those whose mannerisms are jittery. That could be a sign of nervousness – but it could also be a sign of some type of addiction – and people who are addicted to substances can be unpredictable.
Pay attention to the way people pose their arms. Arm position can signal that someone is belligerent or angry. Look out for people who approach who keep their hands hidden. They could be holding a weapon.
You’ll also want to take the expression on someone’s face into consideration. An expression can give you a lot of insight into human psychology. There can be a noticeable expression like anger or there can be absolutely no emotion.
Both can be equally dangerous. One could present as someone who flies off the handle and the other as someone who may have sociopathic tendencies. Trust your gut instinct when it comes to treacherous situations.
Trust your gut
Your intuition can usually read a person quickly. If your gut tells you that you’re in danger, then you probably are – and you should be prepared to defend yourself.
Studying human psychology can help you understand what others are prepared to do in desperate situations – and how you can negotiate with them if and when the time comes. This is one thing you can NOT really handle with Bugging Out Practice without doing homework first.
Don’t Multi-Task When You’re Bugging Out
The SHTF and it’s time for you to get out and get to safety. In a bug out situation, most preppers concentrate on just getting out and away from anything dangerous. Survival is foremost on their mind.
They’re alert to everything that’s going on around them and are paying attention and avoiding people who look like they could be a problem. It’s good to have that awareness as you’re bugging out.
But what some people do is when they reach a spot to rest or their bug out location, they have a tendency to lower their guard. It’s understandable. Being in a high-stress situation where chaos is everywhere, you just feel like you’re tired, hungry and you want to get set up for the night.
Given a few days, what happens is their awareness dulls. The fight or flight adrenaline starts draining and they start to overlook something important – that the situation is precarious.
Safety can be a big illusion during a dangerous situation. The biggest mistake that you can make is getting too comfortable and starting to multi-task. It really is a natural reaction.
People tend to want to get comfortable when they’re on the go. They also drop right back into all their habits like doing more than one thing at once. It’s human nature to try to take care of things all at the same time.
But that multi-tasking mindset can spell trouble for you quickly. When you’re bugging out, you need to have a sharp focus. Keep your mind on what you’re doing and don’t make it easy to get caught unprepared.
One thing at a time
You might have to take off again in a split second. You can’t do that if you’ve got your supplies scattered all around your resting spot or your bug out destination.
When you’re bugging out, do one thing at a time – one chore or one thing that you have to do that aids your survival.
Be Ready to Go
Don’t attempt to cook food at the same time that you’re trying to wash your dishes or your clothes or yourself. Keep your sole focus on what you’re doing and only take the supplies out of your bag that you need for that single task.
Keep your supplies stashed in your bug out bag, because if you do end up having to grab it and flee, you can pick up a pot and leave quickly with that easier than you can try to pick up clothes, food, or dishes all at once. NEVER completely unpack.
If you end up having to run and you’ve unpacked a lot of your supplies, you could end up being forced to leave necessary supplies behind just to run from a dangerous situation. That mistake could end up costing you more than you realize.
Bugging Out Practice: The Importance of Speed
When you have a SHTF situation on your hands and you have to bug out, time isn’t on your side. Some people think they’ll have either days or hours to bug out – when the truth can be closer to five minutes or less.
In the chaos, you’re going to have hundreds (maybe even thousands) of people from your area trying to escape quickly just like you. Sometimes an unpredictable weather event causes abrupt and unexpected bug out situations.
In the event of a fire or a flood, you have to be able to go right then. There’s no time for decision making. If there’s a local or federal collapse of authority, there’s no time for you to waste. You have to get going. THAT is why Bugging Out Practice is important.
Whenever there’s a SHTF situation, everything gets worse from the moment it begins. The first step in the process is that humanity undergoes a change. People who feel like their way of life is going to be disrupted can panic and they’ll take it out on those who are prepared.
Stealing, assaults, and violent crimes like murder are commonplace when society begins to fall apart severely. You can’t wait around for that step to develop. When there’s a bug out situation starting, some people debate whether or not they’re staying or leaving.
Then within 24 hours, these people who stayed behind realize they’ve made a mistake. They start to feel desperate once they realize the seriousness of the situation and the anger and the complete breakdown of normal society picks up speed.
After a bug out situation is upon you, if it’s 24 hours later and you’re still not ready to go, then you’re right there stuck in the thick of things that are only going to keep on spiraling downward.
You might think the nice guy from down the street wouldn’t turn on you – but if he’s in a panic or he’s desperate to take care of the needs of his family, you can bet that he’s not going to be that nice guy anymore.
You can also bet that disaster breeds disaster. As they compound, everything unravels – your safety on the roadways, your ability to use communication devices, and your ability to find fuel for your vehicles will all become increasingly hard.
You can’t afford for this to be going on while you’re trying to pack enough survival gear to make it out. If you’re not prepared, you could find yourself giving in to the panic and making rash decisions. You could end up forgetting something important like medication or enough water. USE OUR CHECKLISTS!
Bugging Out Practice – Plan ahead and have all the bug out bags that you need to take care of your family ready to go so that when it’s time to leave, all you have to concentrate on is grabbing the bag and heading out the door.
Prepper Basics for Growing Your Own Garden? Putting aside canned foods for future use is a good idea. But before that food supply runs out, you’ll need another way to take care of your family’s food needs. That’s why many preppers use gardens.
Growing your own food for your family is a great way to stretch the budget, eat wholesome foods and prepare for the future. You don’t have to have acres of land to plant and harvest the foods from a garden.
You can start a garden anywhere you live – even if you happen to live in an apartment. If you live somewhere, space is limited; you can create a garden in containers. But if you have a nice plot of land where you can plant, you need to choose the location wisely because plants have to have sunlight to survive.
Prepper Basics for Growing Your Own Garden
A garden also has to have good soil. Use organic fertilizer to enrich your soil before planting. You can have your soil tested before you start planting if you want to make sure that it’s healthy enough to sustain a garden.
Irrigation and drainage are important. You’ll want to make sure the area where you plant your garden isn’t in an area that holds standing water in heavy rainfall. If the water has difficulty running off, it can drown the plants.
Positioning is everything. Write down the foods you want to plant and how much of it you’ll need. Check out the climate zone for your area. This will help you learn what kinds of gardening foods will grow best in your area.
Will the plants get along with each other?
Make sure the plants you choose can be good neighbors. The types of food you decide to plant need to be placed in conjunction with their compatibility with other plants. Some plants will make it more difficult for other plants to survive, so separate them.
Some preppers plant a garden using seeds, while others use starter plants. If you want to be able to keep replanting your garden from seeds, then you’ll need to buy the heirloom ones since they’ll last for many replants.
What planting style?
You can plant your garden using rows, or you can use the raised bed method. There are pros and cons to each method. By simply using rows, you don’t have to create the raised beds.
But with raised beds, you can easily keep track of what food is in what location, and you won’t have to worry about one food shadowing another food. Raised beds also make it easy to harvest the foods when it’s time for them to be picked, and if something goes wrong in one raised bed, it won’t wipe out the entire garden.
Planning Your Prepper Garden According to Your Region
This is important when considering Prepper Basics for Growing Your Own Garden. Gardening is not the same in every state. If you’ve ever planted food in your garden and had it fail, you may have made the mistake of planting foods that are outside your region. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has a map that can help show preppers which foods will grow the best in their region and when they should be planted.
Whether you buy seeds or plants, foods are labeled by their hardiness. Those labels are referring to the specific areas of a state where the plant will thrive. There are eleven regions divided by temperature into zones 1 through 11.
Southern states are divided by whether the area is coastal and tropical and whether they fall under the upper, lower, or middle South zone. A state can be all of one particular region or a mixture of two or three. For example, Florida’s region is entirely coastal and tropical, while South Carolina is a blend of coastal and tropical and lower and middle South.
Some states are located in the Southwestern Deserts region. California is divided into zones by whether it’s northern or southern California, and divided b coastal regions and inland valleys.
The Pacific Northwest is a region, and the Western Mountains and High Plains is another. The remaining regions are the Northern Central Midwest, the Middle Atlantic, and the New England Region.
To locate your region, look on the USDA map for your state, and it will tell you what zone you’re in. The map will also tell you when to plant your garden. When planting a survival garden, you want to plant what will grow well in your region.
Grain and corn can grow well in almost all the regions, as will beans and peas. You can grow staples such as oats and barley, as well as tomatoes. Potatoes and carrots grow easily in most regions.
Cabbage, lettuce, and squash make excellent foods for gardening as well. Broccoli and herbs should be in a survival garden, and you don’t want to forget to grow fruits for making jams and jellies and for use in pies and other desserts. Fruits from the berry family (blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries) are easily grown. Don’t forget to plant a section for herbs.
Almost everything you grow in a garden, fruits, and vegetables, can be scanned and safely stored as long as you make sure the food boils for at least 10 minutes. Foods that you can from your garden can keep for years; they’re healthier for you and will hold their fresh taste. Survivalist Seeds Are Vital to Long-Term Nutritional Needs
When there are no longer ways to purchase the foods needed for long term survival, you will have an alternative solution. The best solution is to have seeds that can be harvested from the foods grown and replanted again. These kinds of seeds can continually provide for your family year after year.
Picking the type of seeds you’ll want can be done in one of two ways. You can individually choose the seeds you want, or you can buy them in prepackaged containers. What you’ll want to look for are seeds that are clearly labeled as survival or heirloom seeds.
You want to be specific with this because these are the seeds that are packaged in a way so that their viability is guaranteed. Whichever seed choice you make, be sure that you look for ones that say they’re hermetically stored.
The way they’re packaged will keep them safe no matter when you need to open the container. They also continue to produce food gardens. You want these continually producing seeds because when there is no access to grocery stores and the types of prepackaged foods we get now if you plant seeds once and that’s it, you’ll be in trouble.
You can choose individually according to the types of seeds you get. You can buy vegetables in one group of seeds and fruits in another. You can also purchase what’s called medicinal seeds. These are seeds that will produce plants that are well known to treat specific ailments.
Some people, however, choose to create their own survivalist seed supply rather than buying them. If you decide to do this, you’ll have to follow a few rules. Don’t use wet seeds.
The seeds must be completely dry before you store them. The storage containers you use are vitally important. You have to protect the seeds from the ability to grow fungus, from marauding insects and animals, and heat.
For the best results, you’ll want to store your seeds in glass containers. You’ll want to maintain the right temperature for the seeds, and remember that some seeds can handle a colder storage temperature while others can’t.
Light and humidity will negatively impact a seed’s ability to produce a viable plant. You want to keep the seed’s temperature-controlled below 50 degrees and remember that while some seeds can last in storage for up to six years and still produce a crop, other seeds can’t. You’ll want to do a seed rotation to check and make sure that the seeds are still good before you need them.
Other articles you may find helpful if you liked Prepper Basics for Growing Your Own Garden:
The Basics of Homesteading in America? The Homestead Act of 1862 promised 60 acres of land to families who stayed on the property for five years and farmed it for prosperity. Today, cities and towns are once again resurrecting homestead incentives – but for different reasons.
Instead of populating an area that’s never seen activity before, it’s now because of the need to settle places where homeowners and businesses have gone bankrupt and abandoned the location.
The Basics of Homesteading in America
In just about every state in America, you can find properties and locations that are being given away for free – as long as a few provisions are met. For example, there might be a requirement that you have a contractor within a certain amount of time to begin building on a lot.
Another incentive is the tax break you get from developing one of these properties. Some cities give a generous 70% tax break for a while. Whether it’s a home or commercial development, you might even get a higher tax break.
But not all free property is a suitable property for homesteading. As a prepper who wants to be self-reliant, you can’t just go into any area and take land and consider it worthy of raising a family.
You may want to pay for your property instead – if it has good soil, an ample water supply, and is positioned in a way that enables you to have quick access without being readily found by the masses.
Homesteading was officially repealed as a law in 1976, but you can still look for opportunities that specific places are offering for future developments. Cheap land is abundant, too – but the price isn’t the only qualifying feature.
It would be best if you prioritize your needs. If you want to focus on farming, you need to secure land with rich, fertile soil that will yield a high dose of crops to feed your family. If your primary concern is isolation, then you’ll want more land at a cheaper cost.
Land in the South will typically be less expensive than land up North – and the Southern states will have a longer growing season for those of you who want to farm and grow your crops.
Make sure you understand the tax issues for the property you’re considering purchasing. Every state has different tax requirements, so while the per-acre price might be attractive, it might end up costing more in taxes than in another area where the initial price is higher, but taxes remain low.
Homesteading Acreage Options
When you talk about how many acres are needed to get off the grid and become self-sufficient, the battle begins between those who say you only need 1 acre and those who say you need much, much more.
But you have to consider many things – such as raising a dairy cow. If you want to cut costs for hay, it has to graze in a pasture. If that’s the case, then it needs plenty of room, and an acre (that houses your home, garden, and other elements) wouldn’t be quite enough.
It’s not impossible, though. If you have the means to buy feed and hay instead of allowing grazing, then you could own a dairy cow on a small property like this – but your costs and inconvenience would increase, as would your reliance on the outside world.
Raising a Homesteading Dairy Cow
Many homesteading prepper families decide to invest in a dairy cow for their property. This will provide plenty of milk for your family – and possibly extra for your pigs if you’re raising those.
You can drink the milk or create yogurt, ice cream, and other items from her milk. Each type of cow and size will produce a variable amount of milk, so you may want to find a smaller option (like a goat) if your family doesn’t use much milk.
Or, if you live in a prepper community, you could share the milk with another family – along with the responsibilities of raising it. It would be best if you milked it at the same time every day, so scheduling is essential.
Some people wonder about the safety of drinking raw milk, but you can also buy a pasteurizer for your family to use. They’re not expensive, and it will provide you with the same safety you get off the grocery shelves.
It can get expensive to raise a dairy cow if you have to buy all of your hay, but many prepper families grow their own, so that cuts down on the cost of raising your dairy cow enormously.
You can sometimes go to a dairy farm and ask if they have any lower production cows they want to get rid of. If the volume isn’t enough for a dairy farm, they’ll often sell off the cows to a family that requires a much lower milk volume.
Most families recommend that you get a Jersey dairy cow, but there are many options. You want a gentle one and won’t be hostile to you or your little ones in a farming situation.
You have to make sure that your property has room for her to graze and roam around. If you get a Brown Swiss or Dexter cow, you can allow for more grass grazing than hay feed, saving you money in the long run.
Your dairy cow will provide milk twice a day for almost a year. After about ten months, give her a break for a few months and then let her produce another calf to begin milk production again.
Keep in mind that your water supply must be significant to provide for a dairy cow’s needs. They can drink anywhere from 25-40 gallons of water each day. Make sure you have enough water for her and your own family’s needs.
Your dairy cow might produce anywhere from 2-8 gallons of milk per day, so make sure you don’t over-invest in something that’s going to make all of the milk production go to waste.
It also depends on how large your family is and how many people you have to sustain on your property. It’s going to take more of everything to support a family of five than it would a couple.
Back to the Property…
Some people want a large piece of property only for the barrier it offers not to have neighbors bumping right up against your property. This could make a difference in civil unrest or crisis when people are fighting for survival supplies.
You can’t neglect the fact that price will factor into the equation. Unless your pockets have no bottom to them, then you might have to consider how much you’ll be paying per acre – or how much money in taxes the government will require from you each year.
Some families opt to invest in large plots of land so that when their children are grown, the family can expand and build a second, third or fourth home on the property. This is what families use to do in the old days, but now they’re all spread across the country.
Some preppers will tell you that your land’s size is nowhere near as important as the quality of it. If it offers more than one entry to the property, rich soil, and a water source – that’s worth more than a larger plot.
Prepper Homesteading Basics
If you’re going to homestead, you need to know the basics. But the first thing you need to realize about homesteading is that the goal is to become self-reliant. That means you can provide and care for your family entirely with what you can grow or make yourself.
There are some skills involved with homesteading, but it’s not difficult to learn the skills. You’ll want to be prepared with food. You want to prepare with food supplies that can serve you for repeated cycles.
So you would want to plant a garden that can be replanted again and again. You can do this using heirloom seeds. You’ll want to plant what you’ll consume throughout the year and when the growing season is over, you’ll want to make sure that you preserve some of the garden bounty to use during the months that the garden doesn’t grow.
You’ll also want to save and store the seeds from the fruits and vegetables for replanting the following gardening season. It’s also smart to learn how to construct chicken coops so that you can have the eggs that are produced.
You can also raise pigs for meat. You’ll want cows for milk (and/or meat) and goats for producing dairy to use for cheese. Some preppers that homestead also prefer to raise honeybees. Not only is the honey usable, but the bees can help pollinate the fruits and vegetables that you grow.
Water needs to be planned for when homesteading. You can’t survive without access to clean water. You need to set up rain barrels for water that your livestock can drink, and the collected rainwater can also be used to irrigate your garden. The fastest way to collect rainwater is to set a barrel up beneath a downspout.
You should have a way to purify your water and a way that you can store the water. If you bring the water to your homestead site from a creek or pond, then you’ll need a way to transport it.
Protection is paramount when you’re homesteading. You’re going to need weapons to protect yourself if someone decides to rob you or commit other crimes against you. You should be armed with both knives as well as guns. Both of these are great for protection and are handy to have around for hunting or food prep.
If you choose to have firearms, seriously think about storing them safely. I found this $100 off coupon for you though a company I really like:
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Education for children is a necessity when you’re homesteading. You want to make sure you have educational supplies. You can find educational supplies at homeschool stores if you’re going to stock up in advance.
You can also order and store homeschooling supplies in advance. But education can also be taught using just the necessary tools like classic pieces of literature. Teaching things like math can be done using real-life concepts such as measuring items in a recipe or measuring wood for cutting when building something.
Studies have shown that children who are educated using real-life ideas often excel in life.
I know there are a ton of great mini lessons on my kid’s site Sarah Lyn Gay.
When you decide to go off the grid and build a family property that allows you to be self-sufficient and safe in the event of a crisis or disaster, you need to make sure it meets several requirements in addition to food and water.
A good piece of property is first and foremost on the checklist. It should be away from the city, but not too far that it becomes an inconvenience to access whenever you need to replenish your supplies.
It would be best if you had a spot that’s easy to access but is hidden from public view. You want to know where it is but not have it visible from the roadway where others might approach if there’s a disaster and they’re scouting for supplies.
A good water supply source would be a great addition if you can find one. If it’s a flowing river or stream that would offer you freshwater, you can’t beat that since water is necessary for you to survive.
Plenty of room for gardening and grazing animals is a perk. You need to figure out what kind of crops and animals you plan to raise since some will require more space than others.
Good soil goes along with that last perk. If you’re gardening, you don’t want to be reliant on a store to sell you bags of fertilizer to enrich the soil. You want to land that’s already rich in nutrients and will help your plants thrive. How to Make Effective Garden Compost is a good article to read.
A method for generating your own electricity – hydro, solar, or wind would help your family survive. The running water with a drop in elevation would be good for hydroelectricity. Plenty of sun for solar, and winds of at least 9-10 mph for wind-generated electricity.
Formidable building supplies should be brought onto the property. Concrete is a good building supply for protection from the elements. A safe room built into the property is wise for all kinds of events. You want it to withstand weather and prevent easy entry by unwanted guests.
Ample storage facilities are necessary. You need storage for items that can’t tolerate temperature swings, like your food stores and water supplies. Outdoor storage for tools, equipment, and other items are also needed.
Protection from harm needs to be on your mind. Gates built around the property will help somewhat. Locks that come with doors and fences are often flimsy, so you may want to shore those up with something stronger.
Firearms and a security system with rechargeable batteries can help protect you. Fire-resistant roofing material will help prevent your home from burning down if you’re in a wildfire situation.
Concrete homes built right into the side of a mountain offer the best form of protection for the actual shelter itself. Then the property it overlooks could meet the rest of the requirements.
Prepper Checklist for Cooking and Canning? Cooking and canning foods at home is so easy that even a beginner can quickly learn how to master it. Making and canning foods at home is also an inexpensive and healthy way to provide food for your family.
It’s a method where you can set aside provisions in the event of a disaster. But if you’re going to use canned foods, you’ll want to follow this checklist to ensure that you have the right supplies and follow the important safety guidelines.
Prepper Checklist for Cooking and Canning at Home
The first items that you’ll need to line up are enough jars to hold the foods you want to store. How will you know how many jars you need? One way is by checking out what the recipe says. Home canning recipes will usually tell you how many batches of food the recipe will produce.
You can find jars that are specific for home canning. When you have the jars you need, you’ll want to wash the jars along with their lids and bands like you would hand wash dishes. This is done to remove germs and sterilize the jars.
The next thing you’ll need is utensils. You’ll need spoons and a spatula. You’ll also want to make sure that you sterilize the utensils you use. When you’re canning foods, you don’t have to have many items, but you do want to make sure you have a sturdy stockpot.
Once the water has simmered in the pot, you’ll want to fill the jar to the level that the recipe calls for. Don’t put warm foods in cool jars because this will cause the jars to shatter. The jars need to be at least room temperature.
To get out the air bubbles, make sure you don’t stir – just run a flat utensil around the inside of the jar. Put on the lid toppers and the rings, then place the jars in the jar lifter. If you don’t have a jar lifter, you can use tongs in a pinch, but it’s easier for the jar to slip with tongs.
Using a jar lifter, you would lower it by the handle into the stockpot until the jars’ tops are completely covered by water. Let the water boil however long the recipe says to let it boil.
You don’t want to count the time before the water boils. Once the jars are cool, some people put labels that are dated on the outside of the jars so that they can rotate the foods while they’re in storage.
Which Prepper Recipes Should You Compile?
What Prepper Checklist for Cooking and Canning would be complete without talking about recipes? When it comes time to live off of your survivalist food stores, life might make a chance for you and your family at mealtime. You can no longer run up to the corner store for foods to go in a recipe – you have to have it on hand or make do with what you do have.
You’ll want to look for certain types of recipes that work with the kinds of foods most preppers store – but also locate recipes for your files that create meals your family loves.
The primary focus for many preppers is on beans, bread, and canning recipes. But that’s not your only option. You will probably be storing lots of rice, freeze-dried or dehydrated foods.
You want to be able to turn those staples that your family has worked hard to store into an almost gourmet meal that you’d be proud to serve to dinner guests during a typical celebration.
Start organizing your recipes offline. Many people have them stored on sites like Pinterest, but if there’s no electricity, you won’t be able to access those recipes at all. It’s better to print them out and save them in a small filing storage container.
Organize your recipes according to what staples your family has on hand. If you find a recipe that calls for something you don’t yet have, add that item to your checklist of food storage items to get. We like this list we found here: 45 Pantry Meals for Tough Times or Tight Budgets.
Put the recipes in categories for entrees, side dishes, bread, and desserts. You might even want to have one for beverages if you’re able to store different types of ingredients to make delicious drinks.
Too many preppers who are just starting out think that emergency food stores would mean you have to live on meals ready to eat or plan meals that offer no sense of enjoyment.
During a crisis, you want to provide your family with the most normal routine possible. Sometimes that means being able to serve up favorite family meals. You may have to create substitutions for certain things, but it’s better than living on a protein bar day after day.
Using your prepper food stores means rotating items out of commission, and you can invest in survival cookbooks and test out your prepper culinary skills using a variety of methods – including solar ovens and other forms of cooking without electricity.
If you have children, make sure you have them help you compile a list of their favorites, too. They can even help you make a test batch to see if it passes muster with the whole family and earns its spot in the recipe container!