CategoriesHunting Survivalism

Ranked: The Most Realistic Reality Survival TV Shows

Survival TV shows are a lot of fun to watch. But what many serious preppers want to know is … are reality shows about survival real?

How Real Are Reality TV Survival Shows?

We’re not going to lie, the answer is probably going to disappoint you. Most survival shows are made for entertainment. Audiences tune in for drama and adventure. That means many scenes are staged, especially in shows with groups of people “surviving” together.

“Alone”? Yeah, most of it is fake. The same thing goes for “Naked & Afraid”, sadly. Still, that doesn’t necessarily mean watching all survival shows is a waste. Some can actually be useful. 

What Are the Most Realistic Survival TV Shows?

#1. “Survivorman”

Les Stroud knows what he’s doing when it comes to wilderness survival. He worked as a wilderness survival instructor for a decade before the first episode of Survivorman even aired. He also teaches survival techniques to Canadian military personnel.

The reason this show is so awesome? It’s just Stroud. No camera crew, no emergency backup, nothing. In fact, that’s why he called it quits in 2016.

During an interview with Reuters, Stroud said, “It takes a lot out of me as I really do what I do for real, with no camera crew, no nights in hotels like others do, and it takes a toll on my body… You can only do seven days surviving without food a certain number of times a year.”

What you see is what happens. You don’t get incredible camera angles or awesome shots of Stroud on the run from predators (the time he was being stalked by a jaguar was completely real) every episode, but that’s what actually survival is really like. He doesn’t waste energy or risk his life on stupid stunts. The info on this show is something you can trust.

#2. “Fat Guys in the Woods”

This show lasted on the Weather Channel until 2015. We were sad to see it go because it was one of the more realistic survival TV shows. There were some humorous moments, sure, but a lot of the episodes focused on teaching complete wilderness “noobs” real survival techniques. And the info was solid, we’ve got to say.  

#3. “Live Free or Die”

Want to know how to turn pine pitch into glue? Need a refresher on your trap-making skills?

Check out past episodes of this (sadly cancelled) show on The National Geographic Channel. Live Free or Die follows several people who live off the grid long term. There are camera crews, but reshoots are rare and there aren’t any prepared scripts. It’s just experienced survivalists sharing great tips with viewers.

#4. “The Walking Dead”

Obviously, the whole zombie apocalypse thing isn’t real. But the survival parts and SHTF scenarios you see are pretty realistic. The things that happen on the show probably would happen in an EOD situation or government collapse. Hopelessness, overconfidence, despair,  boredom, PTSD — all of these emotions are the real thing.

The reason for this is pretty simple: the show uses trained preppers as consultants. So while not everything you see is realistic (why doesn’t anyone hang some stupid tin cans as an early warning system against zombie attacks?!), a lot of the scenes can help you prepare.

The best survival TV presents trustworthy information and realistic situations you may face during a disaster scenario. That way, even scenes that are kind of staged can teach you important techniques.

CategoriesSurvivalism

4 Fundamental Steps for Learning To Draw Accurate Maps

Objectively, situational and location awareness is among the essential tools in a survivalist mental toolbox. Knowing where you are and perceiving potential hazards or threats allows you to calculate accurate responses to ensure your continued safety and perseverance. However, keeping a physical representation of landmarks and potential environmental dangers is better than relying on memory alone. 

Mapmaking or cartography has been used for centuries to identify landmarks and ensure accurate and safe travel. Learning to draw your own maps can prevent disorientation when fighting to survive in the wilderness or other confusing landscapes. While mapmaking might sound complex, the fundamentals are straightforward and easy enough to grasp in four steps.

1. Take Accurate Measurements

When in a survival situation, accuracy is critical. Whenever possible, you should use tools for accuracy to determine distance; however, in a true emergency, using what you have is acceptable, as long as the tool can provide consistent results. 

One tool or appendage that can provide somewhat reliable measurements is your shoe or foot. To gather accurate measurements, you cannot rely on average steps. Instead, you want to proceed using a heel-to-toe system. Place one foot directly in front of the other, like walking a balancing beam, touching the heel of one foot to the toe of the other. Count how many “feet” from one landmark to another.

Depending on your experience with the outdoors, you might be able to create a relatively accurate estimation from point A to point B. However, accuracy can be vital to survival, so consistency is key to the mapmaking process.

2. Research the Area

Before you travel anywhere, you should research the area. Websites about wild territories or hiking locations can provide valuable insight into the location, wildlife, water sources, acreage, vegetation, and so much more. Understanding these elements can help mapmaking by providing insight into possible terrain, weather patterns, and landscape.

While it is true that no amount of research will prepare you for the physical experience, knowing these elements before your journey can prepare you for specific survival situations. It can also provide a greater overview of the area so you can perceive landscape features when creating your map, allowing you to estimate distances to potential landmarks and gain your bearings.

3. Identify Landmarks

Even if you research an area, an emergency can alter your perception, making it hard to focus and grasp your approximate position in the larger area. In these rare instances, take the time to identify landmarks in the immediate area. You want to slowly establish a more detailed and expanded map by working your way out from the elements you know and understand. Eventually, as you work your way out, designing a more in-depth map, you will likely stumble across something familiar or connected to your research, allowing you to identify where you are in the larger area.

4. Use Aerial References and Tools of Permanence

Whenever possible, draw a map of the area you are planning to travel to ahead of time. You want to use aerial photos to make the process easier. Aerial views will allow you to identify specific sites, like clearings and waterways, before making your way to the area.

While it is fine to sketch out your map using a pencil, you always want to finish it with a pen or permanent ink. For ultimate protection against the elements, laminate your map, ensuring it will be in pristine condition throughout your trip.

As a survivalist and a prepper, do you have any other mapmaking tips? Leave a comment below.

CategoriesHome Defense Hunting Weapons

How To Navigate Online Gun Auctions

There’s no question that buying a gun online is simpler than the alternative. Plus, it’s much easier to discover unique and collectible firearms online than it is to find these rare gems in gun stores. If you purchase through an online gun auction, you can get some incredible treasures for a steal of a price.

Whether you’re an enthusiastic gun collector or you’re just getting ready to purchase your first home defense weapon, it’s important to know where to go to find high-quality firearms through online gun auctions. Here are a few things you should know about navigating online gun auctions effectively.

Take Your Time to Find the Right Bidding Service

As with all things in life, some online auction webcasting services are exceptional, while others fall short. Here are a few tips for finding the best online bidding services when you’re looking for your next firearm.

  • Make sure the bidding services provider utilizes a secure website so your purchases are protected.
  • Take time to research various bidding services to make sure they have a trustworthy history and consistently good reviews.
  • Don’t waste your time with online bidding providers that don’t bother to work with licensed auction companies. You want to make sure the auction company is licensed so you have peace of mind that your firearm is coming from a trusted source.
  • Choose a provider that provides access to auction archives. That way you can research the market value of any firearms you’re interested in placing a bid on.
  • For the best possible experience, look for a provider that offers live streaming of the auction.

The best online gun auction providers are also great at communicating. Before deciding which provider to go with, check to make sure you can speak with an auction specialist as needed to make sure you understand what’s going on and that your needs are being adequately met.

How to Bid Effectively

If you don’t know how to navigate the fast-paced world of online bidding, you’re likely to miss out on a lot of great gun-buying opportunities. Here are some tips to help you play the game like a pro, whether it’s your first time bidding or your 100th.

  • Take time to educate yourself so you make wise purchasing decisions. Don’t bid on a firearm simply because it looks cool. Spend time researching it before placing a bid to make sure it’s something you really want. Research can also reveal whether a gun seems to be authentic or if there are subtle indications it may be a counterfeit.
  • Don’t get caught off-guard by unexpected shipping and buyer’s fees. Make sure you review the terms and conditions of the online auction before you agree to them.
  • Quickly register for events so you have enough time for approvals.
  • Bid early and often if you’re serious about a particular firearm. If you’re not engaged and vigilant, you could easily miss out on the opportunity of a lifetime.
  • Keep in mind that if you get the highest bid on a gun, you’ll need to have it shipped to an FFL dealer near you. Contrary to popular belief, you cannot simply buy a gun in an online auction and have it shipped directly to you. Laws do not allow guns to be shipped to anyone without an FFL license via interstate shipment. So do your research in advance and locate an FFL dealer near you.

Once you become familiar with the process, you’ll see that bidding online is easier than you think.  It can also be a fun and exciting process that can yield great rewards in the form of cool and unique firearms you couldn’t find anywhere else.

Are you a gun collector? Let us know what kinds of tips and tricks you use to navigate online gun auctions.

CategoriesFinance

Preventing Identity Theft: 4 Strategies

Identity theft is a significant issue in the modern age. With the rise of the internet and conversion to digital commerce, stealing identities has become somewhat easier for the savvy criminal. Therefore, protecting yourself is more important now than ever before.

Identity protection is about building access barriers. You should use multiple strategies to protect your information in both the real and digital world. The remainder of this post will discuss four practices to prevent theft and ultimately protect your identity.

1. Do Not Give Out Personal Information Over the Phone

It is happening more and more often. Unsuspecting people, typically senior citizens or the elderly, receive a phone call explaining they owe money to the IRS or that a relative has left them a small fortune. In both situations, the caller requires some information: name, birthday, social security number, address, etc. While a majority of potential victims will blow these calls off, others feel compelled by the supposed legal repercussions or emotional appeal.

Do not, under any circumstances, give out personal information over the phone, unless you are certain of the person or agency on the other end of the line. Any official government institution will use the mail to notify individuals of any crucial information or debt. 

If you receive a suspicious phone call, instead of giving your information willingly, tell the caller you will contact the agency or person they claim to represent and verify the information. It is amazing how much a scammer can do with only a little information.

2. Protect Personal Documents and Trash

Have you ever left mail in your mailbox because you were too tired to make the short walk down the driveway? One of the most popular ways identity thieves gain access to personal information is by snooping in neighborhood mailboxes. It doesn’t take long either. If possible, collect your mail as soon as it is delivered. If you cannot, consider getting a secure and lockable box installed on your property.

Another popular theft method is going through your trash for personal item, such as prescription bottles, junk mail, utility bills, etc. To prevent the invasion of your privacy, get a crosscut paper shredder for your mail and a blackout stamp for your pill bottles.

3. Password Protect Everything and Use a Password Manager

Worrying about physical theft of personal items is not the only concern. Many identity thieves are tech savvy, meaning they are learning to hack devices and steal passwords. While protecting all your digital accounts with a complex and non-personal password is advisable, it is best to use a password manager to create unique passcodes for every account.

Many people fall into the trap of using a single password for all accounts. Even if the password is excellent, if a thief gets ahold of that single password, they now have access to your entire digital life.

4. Avoid Suspicious Emails and Texts

It is becoming more and more common for thieves to use email and text message links to try and entice unsuspecting users to enter sensitive information. These cyber attacks are called phishing attacks. Some of the links you’ll find in emails or on mobile devices have encrypted malware, meaning once you click the link, the thief has access to your device and any personal information stored on it. Do not click on suspicious links, and verify anything you are unsure of by contacting the supposed institution.

Have you ever been the victim of identity theft? Leave a comment below discussing your experience and anything you learned that could be helpful to other contributors.

CategoriesDisaster Response Prepping Survivalism

Best Livestock to Prep for SHTF Situations

Food storage is important for serious preppers to have, but it can only last so long. If the world plummets into an extended SHTF situation, you’ll need to have a reliable source of food available to you. In addition to storing up heirloom seeds and learning how to collect seeds to propagate your own produce garden, it’s also important to know how to raise, butcher and prepare livestock. Animal products are rich in protein, which is an important dietary building block your body will need when you’re working hard to survive.

Whether you’ve owned livestock before or you’re looking into it for the first time, there are a lot of things to figure out. In addition to determining where you’ll keep your livestock and how you’ll protect and keep your animals safe from predators and thieves, you also need to determine what type of livestock is most sustainable in emergency situations. Here are a few of the top livestock animals to consider buying when you’re prepping for SHTF situations.

1. Chickens

Chickens are small animals that don’t take up too much space but provide a delicious and reliable source of food. It’s important to keep in mind that some chicken breeds are louder than others, so opt for quieter breeds if your goal is to be discreet and avoid unwanted attention.

Another benefit chickens offer is that they are low-maintenance animals. While they are outdoor animals, you can move them into your garage or other covered area in a pinch. Their droppings can be composted to help your fruit and vegetable garden grow a more plentiful harvest. Additionally, they can help eat up mosquitos and other pests.

2. Small Goats

While large goats require a lot of space to raise, Nigerian dwarf goats and Pygmy goats can thrive in much smaller areas. These goat breeds are also good at foraging food for themselves, even on land that isn’t particularly rich in foliage.

Nigerian dwarf goats are commonly used as dairy goats, while pygmy goats are frequently raised for both milk and meat. If you’re worried about the wellbeing of your goats when SHTF, you can bring them inside your pole barn or large garage for temporary safekeeping. Keep in mind that goats are known for their uncanny ability to eat practically anything, so never house them near your food storage, seeds or even “non-edible” items such as backpacks and sleeping bags. They’ll try to eat anything they can possibly chew.

3. Pigs

Pigs are exceptionally easy to feed, as they’ll consume almost anything you give them. They’ll also root around on the ground to find anything edible in the area. Since they’re so adept at self-feeding, pigs are a favorite animal for preppers to raise.

Some pigs can grow very large, but they don’t need a lot of space to thrive. In fact, the smaller the wandering area, the bigger and fatter pigs tend to be (which is ideal for getting the maximum amount of meat from a single animal).

One of the nicest things about pigs is that practically every part of their bodies is edible. Even the skin can be made into chips. A single pig has the potential to feed a small family of 2-4 people through an entire winter.

4. Dexter Cattle

Beef is a great survival food, but it’s not easy to raise cattle because they require a lot of space and a lot of food. However, there is a miniature breed of cattle, called Dexter, that does not require as much roaming space or food. You won’t get as much meat from a Dexter cow as you would get from a standard cow, but you’ll still be able to harvest a decent amount for your survival needs.

Are there any other types of livestock you’re currently raising or would recommend for a SHTF scenario? Tell us all about it in the comments section below.

CategoriesSurvivalism

The Art and Styles of Camouflage

Camouflage or cryptic coloration is a tactic used by the military to disguise soldiers from perception. While many camouflage styles are popular as clothing, designers originally intended the material to hide soldiers, keeping them safe from enemy surveillance and fire. The years have seen many camouflage patterns, but the concept and purpose remain steadfast as a stealth operations tool.

Understanding Camouflage

At close range, camouflage does not seem like it would fool anyone, but the uniforms can create confusion at a distance and in the right environment, making it hard to find a target. To understand camouflage, you need to understand its four variations:

  1. Concealing coloration: When a color is chosen to match the surrounding area, allowing the target to blend into its surroundings, making it more challenging to see, that is concealment. Military typically use this method of camouflage.

  2. Disruptive coloration: This form of camouflage uses patterns to disrupt boundaries or outlines, making it hard to discern the tail from the head. Consider zebras or cheetahs in the wild.

  3. Mimicry: A form of disruptive coloration, mimicry is when a species or object mimics the model. For example, butterflies often have wing designs that mimic larger predators to keep actual predators away.

  4. Disguise: Camouflage used to make an individual or animal look like an object in the environment is a disguise. Think of stick bugs.

The military will use all four variations to make the most effective camouflage. When deciding what a soldier will wear, higher-ups must consider the environment, enemy, and distance from combat.

Terrain Camouflage

Most people think that camouflage only comes in green, gray, or white, not realizing that the colors, designs, and textures play a critical role in the material’s effectiveness. If a soldier is fighting in a desert but wears green camo, the suit does little to hide their position. The design must match the terrain to be effective as a life-saving device.

Urban Camouflage

Urban camouflage typically uses gray, black, and white abstract patterns and is most useful in more developed areas. These patterns are better in cities and industrial areas with buildings and facilities. Because of the coloration, this type of camo is helpful in areas with lots of concrete and less greenery.

US Woodland Camouflage

US woodland camouflage is often used for training purposes in the states. It is an abstract blend of greens and browns meant to blend in with forest surroundings. Despite the name, the camouflage is helpful for any forest or woodland tactical need.

Desert Camouflage

Many people know what desert camouflage looks like; It is browns and beiges, meant to blend with the sandy textures and colors of the desert landscape. This camo style became popular during middle east conflicts and wars.

Snow Terrain Camouflage

Similar to urban camouflage, snow camo uses whites and grays to blend in with snowy landscapes. Some forms of this style will also use blacks, depending on the specifics of the area — trees, brush, etc.

Camouflage is an effective and necessary military tool. While it has become a fashion statement, there is no denying the importance of these materials in keeping soldiers safe. Do you know of any other popular camo styles? Leave a comment below.

CategoriesDisaster Response

CDC’s Zombie Preparedness Tips: Hogwash or Helpful

While a tongue-in-cheek take on emergency preparedness, the CDC’s Zombie Preparedness tips are a credible resource for those wondering how to prepare for any legitimate crises or threat — or even reanimated corpses. As the CDC proudly points out, it would be the first on the ground to find answers should a disease start turning citizens into the walking dead.

Though a marketing tool, the Zombie Preparedness guide is legitimate. It started after the rise of popular tv shows to reach more people and provide potentially life-saving advice. Only 17% of the American population takes disaster preparation seriously, meaning the majority — 83% — are ill-prepared for a natural or human-made disaster.

While you will not find details about zombie-killing weapons, the CDC guide does provide valuable tips for emergency preparation. The primary pieces of advice deal with building an emergency kit and developing a plan.

Emergency Kit

The CDC guide quickly describes the Zombie Emergency Kit supplies as useful in all disasters, from hurricanes to pandemics. It stresses the importance of having enough materials to get you through the first couple of days until you find a refugee camp or shelter.

When putting the emergency kits together, remember to make one kit per family member. It is also helpful to have multiple kits on-hand in different locations because you never know where you will be when disaster strikes. Every kit should include, at a minimum:

  • Food

  • Water

  • Sanitation and hygiene supplies

  • Tools

  • Medications

  • Important documents

  • Clothing and bedding

  • First aid kit

You will want to have a healthy selection of non-perishable items for food, and for the water, you’ll need at a minimum one gallon of water per person per day. Medications will be family-member specific, but you should also have some non-prescription medicines on-hand. Tools will include necessities, like a utility knife and duct tape, but you will also want to have a battery-powered radio for emergency broadcasts. Finally, essential documents include your passport, driver’s license, birth certificate, and anything else of value.

Emergency Plan

The emergency plan is an essential four-step proposal that includes meetup locations and contacts discussed with all family members. If you are ever in a crisis, like a zombie apocalypse, knowing where to go and who to call is paramount to your survival. The four-steps include:

  1. Emergency identification: Compile a list of all possible and credible threats in your area — for example, tornados, wildfires, floods, earthquakes, etc. Along with the list, you should include disaster-specific necessities. If you need help identifying possible disasters in your area, contact your local Red Cross for more information.

  2. Pick a designated meeting place: Whether zombies invade your home or a hurricane causes an evacuation, you need to have a place where your family can regroup. You should have at least two meeting places, one directly outside your home for local disasters, like house fires, and just outside of your neighborhood for largescale disasters requiring evacuation, like wildfires.

  3. Identify emergency contacts: While many people make a list of family and friends, your list needs to include practical points of communication as well. You will want the details of the local police and fire departments at a minimum.

  4. Plan several escape routes: When disaster strikes, you will have little time to think. Before an emergency, practice emergency routes to your family meeting places. By having options, you are sure to find your way in any disaster, even the zombie kind.

While the CDC’s Zombie Preparedness tips are a marketing ploy, you can find helpful emergency preparedness information. What do you think of the guide? Leave a comment.

CategoriesPrepping

3 Steps To Ensure Your Bug-Out Bag is Always Up To the Task

While it is almost natural for a knowledgeable prepper to have several go-bags stashed throughout their property — at least one for each family member — many people neglect to pack even a single bag, despite the federal government explaining the importance of such precautions. However, even those who do pack emergency bags can get lax on staying up-to-date with their contents. While having the portable kit is crucial for survival, it is only as good as the items and materials inside. When was the last time you examined your go-bags? Is everything still relevant to your family’s needs? Consider the following three steps to ensure your bags provide the most benefit during an emergency.

1. Create an Inventory System

Food and water are essential elements of even the most basic go-bag. While you might have used shelf-stable products when you packed the bag, even those have an expiration. When you first fill your go-bags, be sure to create an inventory system, something to let you know when it is time to cycle old elements out and new ones in. The system can be in a notebook, or if you’re computer savvy, you can use Excel or some other dataset program. You might be able to find an organizational app that you can use on your phone. The point is to track expiration dates and to rotate food and water.

2. Keep Track of Medical Changes

As children grow or parents get older, medical needs change. Prescription medications are crucial to pack in emergency bags, but you need to keep track of dosage requirements and expiration dates. Whenever there is a significant change in medicine, make sure to update that family member’s packs. Also, keep tabs on the amount of medication stored in bug-out bags. You do not want the prescriptions to expire. If you must store pills in a bag, make sure the bag is in a secure location and out of reach of children or other interested or curious parties.

3. Update With Technological Advancements and Environmental or Global Changes

As a survivalist or prepper, it is crucial to keep up with the news. Technology is always paving the way for new survivalist equipment, like better and portable filtration devices. Local and global news can also provide insight into possible disasters or emergencies on the horizon. For example, medical emergencies can make packing protective equipment, like masks and gloves, more important than some other typical go-bag elements.

Staying informed about current events is essential for any survivalist and prepper because it ensures you pack and have access to the tools and products you need. If you try to avoid the news, it is possible you will not know when an emergency is imminent, leaving you and your family ill-prepared.

A go-bag or bug-out bag is an essential disaster preparation tool. Governments and survivalists alike recommend it because you never know when or if you and your family will need to leave your home without notice. Do you think a go-bag is crucial for survival? Do you have any other tips or friendly advice? Leave a comment below.

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