CategoriesCamping Disaster Response Prepping Survivalism

A Brief Guide to Our Favorite Backup Generators

Loss of power is one of the most common scenarios in disaster situations. Whether you’re dealing with a severe storm, cyber-attack on the power grid or other foreign or domestic attack, you can almost guarantee the power will go out at some point. When that time comes, what will you do? How will you keep your refrigerated or frozen foods from spoiling within a few hours? How will you keep the lights on in your home? A good generator can help alleviate many of the discomforts and dangers associated with a prolonged power outage. Here’s a brief guide to some of our top picks.

Gas-Powered Generators

Gas-powered generators are only good if you have gas on hand to power them. But they’re very good at providing sufficient power to keep large appliances (such as critical medical gear and refrigerators) functioning when the power goes out. Portable gasoline or propane-powered generators are fairly inexpensive and some can crank out serious wattage. Some great options include:

  • Honda EU2200i Gasoline Powered Inverter Generator: This generator has 2200 Watts, which is enough to keep the essentials (such as a refrigerator and a few other devices) running in the average-sized home. It’s also pretty quiet and has a run time between 4-9 hours.
  • Westinghouse WGen9500DF Dual Fuel Portable Generator: If you’re looking for a little more power, this 9500-Watt generator will meet your needs. It has a 12-hour run time and can be powered by either gasoline or propane.
  • DuroMax XP12000EH Generator: For even more wattage, the DuroMax XP12000EH generator is a good choice. It is not the most affordable option, but you may find that the extra sticker price is worth the increased power of the 457cc OHV engine. This generator also takes gas or propane.

When it comes to storing fuel, propane tanks are generally safer to store than gasoline. Always store with the valve closed in approved containers. Keep in mind that a full propane tank is safer than an empty one, since empty propane tanks are more likely to contain explosive vapors.

Solar-Powered Generators

Solar-powered generators can be great life-saving devices in emergencies. They don’t require you to store fuel, and they operate cleanly and quietly. But they do have their drawbacks. Notably, you need to have sunlight to get power from a solar-powered generator.

They also have slow recharging times and higher up-front costs. They do make great backup power supplies though, in case you run out of fuel for your gas-powered generators. Here are some of our top solar-powered generator picks.

  • Goal Zero Yeti Lithium Portable Power Station: This generator comes in various models, including the 3024Wh model and the 428Wh model. The 3024Wh model is more expensive but it also has more power capacity than the 428Wh model. It provides more than 3000Wh of battery capacity. All models have two AC outlets, two 12V output ports, and three 2.4A USB ports.
  • Humless GO Mini Portable Solar Generator and Panel Kit: This kit comes with two 130-Watt solar panels (foldable), a plug-and-play connecting cable, and the Go Mini generator with 640 Watts of power. This silent system is great for powering small items but won’t power your refrigerator or other large appliances.
  • Suaoki 400Wh/120,000mAh Portable Solar Generator: This high-power unit can be charged from various sources, including AC outlets, solar panels and 12V/24V vehicle-based power sockets. It’s a great choice if you need a solar-powered generator to serve you on the road or at home.

These are some of our top picks, but we want to know which options are your favorite. Have you used a generator in an emergency? If so, what type was it and how did it perform? Let us know in the comments section below!

CategoriesCamping Disaster Response Hunting Prepping Survivalism

What To Consider When Picking a “Bug Out” Property To Buy

Times are changing, and it’s important to prepare for additional changes yet to come. Just as you probably never imagined you’d experience a toilet paper shortage in your lifetime, you may not have imagined you’d need to start looking for a “bug-out” property this year. But here we are. Wise preppers understand that when things get really bad, they may have to leave their homes and head out to the wilderness (at least for a while). The more prepared you are to handle such a situation, the more likely you will be to survive.

The good news is that your bug-out property can also double as a recreational property where you go to camp and practice your survival skills. But you don’t want to buy any remote property you see for sale. Here are a few things you should consider when deciding which bug-out property to buy.

water

This may seem obvious, but many people forget to even consider the availability of water when looking for a property where they can lay low for a while. However, if you’re serious about survival, you need to make sure the property has some sort of access to fresh water year-round. This may be in the form of a lake, river, well or natural spring. Stock up on water purifiers as well and keep them in your bug-out bag so you can make any available water safe for drinking purposes. If there is no water to be found within miles of a property, it’s probably not worth buying.

distance

You may be able to find the perfect survival property for sale, but if it’s going to take you days to get there in an emergency, it’s just not a practical solution. When it comes to location, here are a few things the ideal property should offer:

  • It should be close enough to where you live that you can get to it on a single tank of gas
  • It should be far enough from the city that you aren’t in danger of being overrun by others who are trying to escape the dangers of the city
  • It should be no more than 60 miles from your home so you can reach it on foot if necessary

It may not be possible to find a good survival property that meets all of these recommendations, but do your best. If you can’t find a good bug-out property close by and you know you’re going to have to travel many miles in a SHTF situation, make sure you pack extra fuel and supplies to bring with you.

self-suffiency

When looking for the right property for an emergency, consider how it will help you be self-sufficient. Ideally, you should look for a place that’s located near:

  • Game and/or fish
  • Firewood
  • Sufficient space and sunlight for gardening
  • A source of electricity (such as water, solar and/or wind)

Don’t count on the electrical grid to power your needs when SHTF. Alternative sources of power are essential for any bug-out location.

security

When buying a property for survival purposes, take some time to consider how secure it is. Is it concealed by trees, fences, gates, etc. or is it located in a wide-open space? How many paths and roads lead to your property? Is your property located right next to a main road?

Generally, the more secluded your property is, the easier it will be to defend it from anyone with ill intent. You may also want to invest in Sentry Alarm Mines when situations become dire. They’ll alert you if someone trips the wire and trespasses on your property so you have time to react.

These are a few of the top things to consider when looking for a property you can purchase for your bug-out needs. Do you have additional suggestions we haven’t mentioned? Let us know in the comments section!

CategoriesCamping Disaster Response Survivalism

3 Times Someone Beat the Odds and Survived on Their Own

If you spend any time on survival webpages or forums, you’ve probably heard at least a dozen times that building your “survival team” is key to getting through whatever the future may hold. While it’s always great to have the contact information of like-minded individuals who have various skills to offer, you never know when you might find yourself in a survival situation. What if you’re out camping when SHTF and there’s no one else around to rely on? What if you’re in the middle of a cross-country vacation and your savvy group of bail-out buddies is a few hundred miles away when disaster strikes?

Well, you’ll be happy to know that you’re not doomed to certain death if you find yourself on your own in a survival situation. Here are three different times someone beat the odds and survived without help from anyone else.

Angela Hernandez

Angela Hernandez was driving down Highway 1 near Big Sur in California in July of 2018 when a small animal crossed the road in front of her. As she swerved to mix it, her SUV tumbled off the road and down a cliff, leaving her 200 feet below the road. Her vehicle had fallen partially into the water next to a rocky beach.

Angela suffered serious injuries during the crash, including a broken collar bone, collapsed lung, brain hemorrhage and fractured ribs. The initial impact caused her to pass out. When she woke up, she discovered water rising in her vehicle. She used a multitool to break her car window, then crawled out and swam to shore. Over the next seven days, she walked along the base of the rocky cliff, hoping to find a way up to the road above. She slept on the rocks of the beach and used a hose from her vehicle to collect water from moss she found along the shoreline.

Finally, a few hikers saw Hernandez’s vehicle and called for help. Rescuers eventually found her sleeping on the rocks and helped her get to a hospital where she received emergency care.

Juliane Koepcke

On Christmas Eve in 1971, Juliane Koepcke was involved in a plane crash after the flight she was on was struck by lightning. The plane began to fall apart in midair and crashed into the Peruvian rainforest with Juliane still buckled into her seat.

Miraculously, Juliane survived. She was the only survivor of the flight and was completely alone. Her collarbone was broken and her body was badly battered. She only had a bit of candy to sustain her, but she did find water in a small stream.

While she searched for help, Julianne dealt with slow starvation and a maggot infestation in her arm. After traveling downstream for nine days, she found an empty encampment. She located some gasoline and poured it into her maggot-infested arm. After a few hours, lumber workers discovered her in their encampment and took her to an area where she could be airlifted to a local hospital.

Aron Ralston

One of the most well-known reports of solo survivors beating the odds is the story of Aron Ralston. He became trapped between two boulders while hiking alone in Blue John Canyon in Utah. After days of attempting to wriggle out from beneath the boulder and surviving off of his own urine, he did the unthinkable and amputated a portion of his own arm.

After this incredible feat, he descending down a 65-foot-wall with just one hand. Six hours after amputation, Ralston was rescued. He had nearly died from blood loss but found the will to survive.

These stories prove that it’s possible to survive terrible situations all by yourself. Do you have any other gripping tales of solo survival? Let us know in the comments section.

CategoriesCamping Prepping Survivalism

How To Bug Out in an Abandoned Building

Not everyone can choose to bug out in the woods. Abandoned buildings can be a great spot for city dwellers if you know your stuff. Here’s what to do.

1. Scout Ahead

Before you take your family into unfamiliar surroundings, take the time to scout out potential locations yourself (or with a fellow prepper). Move quietly, stay alert, and avoid looters at all costs. You probably won’t be the only person interested in finding shelter. If another group has “claimed” a location, move on. It’s not worth the trouble and injuries to fight over it, especially since the noise can attract other groups looking to mop up afterwards.

2. Choose the Right Abandoned Building

Take some time to evaluate your options. Here are some things to focus on:

  • Location: It’s better if you can find a spot with a good view of your surroundings. An abandoned building with a large parking lot, or one on the outskirts of town, lets you see people coming toward your property well in advance.

  • Structural condition: Obviously, an abandoned building isn’t going to feel like a luxury hotel, but it should have pillars, roofing and walls in solid condition. Be especially careful when checking out buildings that have been marked as condemned.

  • Size: Ideally, you want a one-story building with only a few entry points to defend.

  • Type of building: Certain buildings are probably going to be looted frequently, so it may be best to steer clear. Gun shops, liquor stores, supermarkets, police stations and gas stations are going to be on everyone’s target list when hunting for supplies.

3. Perform a Thorough Sweep

Check carefully for dangerous animals, broken/weak floorboards, exposed nails and other hazards. Stay alert in case someone is hiding in the building. Pick one room or area that is going to be your “camp.”

4. Set Up a Perimeter

Now turn your abandoned building into a fortress. Start by locking all doors and windows. If you have the supplies for it, board up most of the windows while leaving enough space to see everything outside clearly. Create an early warning system for all possible entry points using tripwires and empty tin cans, glass jars or bells.

5. Stock Up

Once your building is adequately defended, you’re ready to replenish your supplies. Check water lines for water that you can purify, including water from any toilets. Gather any food supplies you find, such as candy bars, in one central location you can defend.

6. Keep Guard

Your “castle” needs defending every night. If possible, have one person keep guard over the fire and another keeping tabs on the perimeter. This helps you keep your family safe.

7. Check for a Wood-Burning Stove

Lighting an open fire inside an abandoned building is dangerous because of the carbon monoxide fumes. Wood-burning stoves make things easier since they already vent outside. If you have to build a fire to stay warm at night, do it near an open window or door and use a metal container such as a wheelbarrow or cooking pot.

Finally, create an emergency escape route. It’s hard to imagine leaving your refuge behind after all this work, but you should be prepared to bug out in case of attack, military sweeps, flooding and other hazards.

CategoriesCamping Disaster Response Survivalism

Top 6 Natural Shelters Every Survivalist Must Know

Quick, what’s the first thing you should do when you find yourself in a survival situation? If you said locate food and water, that was a good guess. However, in most survival situations, building or finding shelter should be the number one priority. Without shelter, you won’t last very long even if you immediately locate a water and food source.

If you become stranded or lost without a tent or any other type of shelter, you’ll need to act quickly and create a natural shelter from your environment. Here are six of the top natural shelters every survivalist must know about.

1. Caves

If you’re fortunate to find a cave, you’re in good shape. This is nature’s best shelter and doesn’t require you to do any extra work. A cave can immediately help you get out of bad weather conditions and keep you from being easily spotted by predators.

There is one very important thing to consider when making a cave your shelter though. It may already belong to an animal or even another person! So before you dive in, approach carefully and make noise so you can find out whether someone or something else is already living there.

2. Deadfalls

Deadfalls are simply fallen trees that can come in handy when you’re surviving outdoors. They can provide you with structural support for a lean-to or other emergency building. You may find a tree with a cavity beneath the roots, or you can use the roots to provide the walls of your shelter. You can also simply snap or cut branches from the underside of the deadfall and huddle beneath the main trunk of the tree.

3. HollowedOut Trees

If you can find a large, dead tree that is hollow inside, you may be able to turn it into your own personal cavern. If possible, create a hole in the side of the trunk that’s large enough for you to enter. You may have some other roommates, such as termites or ants, but as long as they don’t bite, you’ll likely find your new living space to be quite comfortable. It will certainly be warmer than if you’re fully exposed to the elements.

4. Vertical Faces

If the wind and/or rain are blowing in a certain direction, you may be able to quickly find some relief by locating a vertical face that protects you from the wind. This could be an embankment or a rock face. You may not be able to stay completely dry, but vertical faces are associated with “rain shadows” which are phenomena that refer to the dry areas immediately around vertical faces. This should not be a long-term shelter for you, but it could temporarily help you avoid getting soaked and hypothermic in certain situations.

5. Rock Structures

Depending on where you’re located, you may be able to find large formations created naturally by rocks. These formations may include hollowed-out areas where you can add a tarp or foliage to protect yourself from the elements. Rock structures may also help protect you from hungry wild animals, or at the very least seal off the area behind you so that you can see if an animal approaches you from the front.

6. Low Branches

If you have very little time to construct a shelter, you can always look for low-hanging branches on fir trees. These branches may provide some shelter for you and act as a sort of roof. If you have the ability and the time, gather additional fir branches to reinforce your shelter and add walls and a bed. It’s always a good idea to insulate your body from the ground when sitting or sleeping, and pine needles can function as extra insulation and padding.

Do you know of any other excellent natural shelter ideas? Let us know about them in the comments!

CategoriesCamping Prepping Survivalism

Insects That Can Sustain You

If you find yourself in a survival situation with little to no food on hand, what will you do? Ideally, you’ll be able to subsist on wild game. But you’ll soon discover how hard it can be to hunt or trap when you’re already starving and weak, or when game is scarce. That’s when insects can literally be a lifesaver and tide you over until you can obtain a more substantial source of calories and nutrition. Here are insects that can sustain you for a short period of time.

Grubs

If the thought of munching on a grub makes you a little queasy, you’re in good company. Many people have no problem with crunchy bugs, but bugs of the squishier variety are another story. However, grubs can be quite filling, and some of them are even small and crunchy (such as mealworms).

The best place to find grubs is inside fallen, rotting logs. You may also be able to find some under leaf litter, beneath rocks, or hiding under the bark of living trees. They’re not fast, so you should be able to grab them and extract them with your fingers pretty easily once you locate them.

Skewer grubs lengthwise with sticks and cook them over the top of an open flame. You’ll know they’re done with their skin is nice and crispy. Just imagine you’re eating a thick potato chip or something.

Grasshoppers and/or Crickets

Depending on the time of year and the area you’re in, you may find grasshoppers and crickets to be plentiful. They are both very high in protein, which makes them an important component of survival.

Grasshoppers taste a little bit nutty, and they’re usually easiest to catch in the early morning hours. Crickets are easier to find in dark, damp places such as beneath logs and rocks. Once you catch either of these tasty morsels, pull their heads off (which are connected to their entrails). Removing the entrail is an important step for reducing your risk of parasites. Next, remove the legs and wings, put the bugs in a pan, and dry roast them if possible. If you don’t have a pan, skewer them and cook them over an open flame.

Termites

Like grasshoppers and crickets, termites are also a good protein source. They’re also less likely to transmit parasites to you because most of their lives are spent underground or hidden away in wood.

You can find termites in wood. Just break open a cold log and shake them out as quickly as you can, before they have a chance to crawl deeper. Roast them in a dry pan if you have one, or eat them raw if you must. But remember, any bugs you eat raw carry a risk of giving you parasites or making you sick.

Ants

Ants aren’t very big, but they are plentiful, which makes them a food source you could subsist on for a short period of time. Just be careful when collecting them, or you could end up with a lot of painful bites.

The best way to catch ants is by scanning the ground until you find an anthill. Poke the anthill with a stick a few times, then set the stick down so the end is sticking into the opening of the anthill. Wait for ants to bite the stick, then quickly put the stick into a container of water. Keep this up until you have at least a few hundred ants. Boil the water for at least six minutes to neutralize any acid within the ants’ bodies. You can also eat them raw, but it might be a more painful experience.

Keep in mind that not all bugs are edible. Always avoid brightly-colored bugs or those that emit a bad smell. Staying safe and avoiding poisonous creatures is always the best approach when surviving in the wild.

CategoriesCamping Hunting Survivalism

How To Build a Fire in Any Weather

Anyone can build a fire in clear, still weather. But if the wind kicks up, the temperature drops and the rain starts falling, that fire may become more of a matter of survival than comfort. The skill to build a fire in any condition will get you through if you end up stranded in a remote location as the clouds close in.

Find the Right Spot

If you can safely move around, you should find a spot that offers some respite from the wind and the rain. Try to build your fire in a sheltered tree stand, under an overhang, against a rock wall or in an alcove of some kind. When you are incapacitated or cannot find an appropriate spot, dig a deep pit or make a lean-to that will help keep the weather out.

Prep Your Fuel

For a fire that lasts all night, you’ll need to gather a pile of logs measuring 5 to 6 feet long and about 3 feet high. Bring work gloves and an axe so you can chop large pieces of fuel from dead trees. Up to 25% of the logs you gather can be green since they will burn once the dry fuel creates enough heat.

If the weather is cold and windy but relatively dry, you can break off small branches and twigs (no thicker than your thumb) to use for kindling. When conditions are too wet, you’ll need to create your own kindling by splitting some of your smaller logs into even smaller pieces. Aim for a pile about the size of a watermelon.

Bring your own tinder to avoid searching for dry grass or moss in a rainstorm. For tried-and-true techniques that don’t take up much room pack a stick of resin-soaked pine, fire-starting packaged tinder cubes, paper towel chunks dipped in melted wax or cotton balls soaked in petroleum jelly.

Build Your Base

Once you’ve gathered your supplies, raid your kindling pile for small shavings of bark and wood along with pine needles. Make this material into a nest about the size of a softball, then place your tinder inside. Next, use the rest of the kindling to shield the tinder by surrounding it with a pyramid-shaped structure. Use smaller pieces of kindling for the inside of the pyramid and use the larger twigs and branches for the outside. According to engineers from Duke University, cone-shaped fires with a height that matches the base width tend to have the best longevity.

Get It Lit

While windproof matches are a popular survival supply, they won’t work well if they get wet. Instead, pack sparking steel that can stand up to the wind and a durable, reliable butane lighter. In fact, you may want to have several butane lighters in your pack in case of failure. Light up the tinder and get the fire going. Once it’s hot, add crossways branches about the width of your wrist, then build out the structure with larger pieces of fuel.

For best results, the fire should be about as long as your body and feature a rock or log wall at the back to shield the fire and hold in the heat. Add the green logs to a fully established fire to help it last throughout the night.

The best way to learn to build a bad-weather fire is lots of practice. Check the forecast each week and book some time in your backyard with the essentials. If you’ve never built a fire in the wind, cold and rain before, it will be even more challenging to do so in a survival situation. Each successful practice session will boost your confidence for the real deal.

CategoriesCamping Disaster Response Hunting Prepping Survivalism Weapons

Best EDC Weapon Combos

Everyday carry (or EDC) items are those that you consistently carry on your person every day. These defensive items can help you prepare for unexpected, dangerous, and/or potentially deadly situations. Whether you’ve carried daily for years or you’re just getting started this year, it’s very important to choose your EDC items strategically. The wrong weapon choice could hamper your ability to protect yourself in the future, while the right weapon choice can maximize your chance for survival.

Ideally, EDC weapon combos include both a handgun and a tactical knife. Both are ideal weapons for different types of situations. For example, if an assailant is already within 20 feet of you and closing ground quickly, it may actually be faster for you to pull out your knife than it would be to draw a gun from a holster, aim and fire.

Guns, of course, are better for any situation where your assailant is more than 21 feet away but is clearly a threat to you. A gun is also the only weapon you want to have on-hand against another gun. Fortunately, when you carry both a knife and a gun, you always have access to the right weapon for each situation. Here are some of the best EDC weapon combos to consider.

Sig P938 Extreme and Spyderco Paramilitary 2

The Sig P938 Extreme is a lightweight firearm that is easy to carry concealed, thanks to its short barrel. Many users also report that they love the single-action trigger and the included full-size Night Sights. This gun also has ambidextrous safety features that make it an ideal option for both left- and right-handed shooters.

The Spyderco Paramilitary 2 knife is also lightweight and is 8.28” long (including the handle). The blade alone is 4.22” long. Both weapons have excellent reviews and won’t weigh you down. Their lightweight appeal makes them ideal to carry along while hiking, camping or engaging in any other warm-weather activities.

Ruger SP101 3” and Mora Classic 2/0

Do you like the look, feel and reliability a revolver can offer you? If so, you may want to make a Ruger SP101 3” your EDC weapon of choice. It has some serious stopping power and can give you a great deal of confidence, especially when paired with the Mora Classic 2/0 knife. The Ruger SP101 3” has solid steel sidewalls, which makes them highly dependable (a very desirable feature in self-defense situations).

The Mora Classic 2/0 knife has a blade length of 4”. The sheathed weight is just 3.3 ounces, so you don’t need to worry about it feeling heavy in your pocket or bag. The blade is made from carbon steel that continues throughout the length of the handle to provide superior support and strength.

Smith & Wesson Performance Center Ported

M&P​ ​9 Shield and M&P Oasis

Smith & Wesson offers a convenient Performance Center Every Day Carry Kit which makes it easy to select an EDC pistol and knife pair. One of the best combinations is the M&P 9 Shield and the M&P Oasis. This gun/knife combo is a great combination for your everyday carry needs. The M&P 9 Shield is one of the most popular carry guns in the United States, and it weighs only 18 ounces. It features a narrow, attractive design and modest 6-inch overall length that makes it very easy to conceal.

The M&P Oasis folding knife has a titanium coated, high-carbon stainless drop-point blade that is 3.25” long. This lightweight knife is only 4.75 ounces, which makes it easy to wield and easy to carry. It also opens very quickly and has a Linerlock locking system.

If you’re serious about having a reliable EDC combo, consider one of these three options. You’ll have greater confidence that you’ll be ready to handle any dangerous situation that comes your way.

Do you have any other favorite EDC combos you rely on every day? Let us know in the comments below!

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