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!

CategoriesDisaster Response Home Defense Hunting Prepping Survivalism Weapons

How To Pick Your Very First Gun

You know you want a gun, but you have no idea what type of gun will best suit your purposes, right?  With so many different varieties out there, how can you possibly decide which gun should have the honor of being your “first”? While there is no single “right” gun for everyone, there are some things you can do to determine which gun is right for you. Here are some helpful tips to make the first-time gun selection process much easier.

Figure Out the Purpose for Your Gun

Before you purchase your first gun, you need to think about what its primary purpose will be. Are you buying a gun primarily for home defense or for target practicing at the gun range? Do you want a gun you can carry with you (concealed or open), or are you searching for a home-defense gun that will do the most damage to an intruder with murderous intent?

The intended purpose for your gun may not fall into a single category, and that’s OK. You may want to use it for both home defense and target shooting. But as long as you at least have an idea for how you’ll use it, you’ll be able to avoid purchasing a firearm that doesn’t meet your most important needs or expectations.

Try a Few Types

Remember how your mom always encouraged you to date a lot of girls so you get an idea of what’s out there? The same holds true when you’re gun shopping. You don’t want to make a commitment to the very first gun you hold in your hands, because you don’t know if there’s something better out there for you. Try a variety of guns. If possible, go to a gun range and test shoot multiple guns so you can see how they feel in your hands, how much recoil they have, etc. When it comes to choosing your first firearm, “playing the field” is a good thing. It will help you make a wise investment when you’re ready to commit to your first gun.

Consider Ammo Availability

As a first-time gun buyer, you may not be aware of how difficult it’s been to find ammo lately. Hopefully, everything gets back to normal soon, but it is wise to at least consider ammo availability before purchasing a gun. Though every type of ammo is more difficult to find right now than usual, there are some types of ammo that are more popular and are generally easier to find when there isn’t a general ammunition shortage. They include: .22, 9mm, .223, 12 gauge and .308. In normal conditions, if you have a gun that takes any of these ammunition types, you should be able to find the ammo you need pretty easily.

Figure Out Your Budget

Firearms can be expensive, but you can also get decent models for a reasonable price. When you’re shopping for your first gun, set a realistic budget, then look for a gun that fits within that budget.

In addition to these tips, you’ll also need to consider gun weight and size when purchasing your first firearm. If you’re still not sure what type of gun is right for you, don’t be shy about talking to a salesperson at your local gun store. He or she knows a lot about different gun models and will be able to help you select the firearm you need.

Are you an experienced gun owner who has a favorite gun you consider ideal for first-time gun buyers? Or maybe you have a few models you’d advise inexperienced gun owners to stay away from. Either way, let us know in the comments section!

CategoriesDisaster Response Home Defense Hunting Prepping Survivalism Weapons

22 vs. Shotgun for Survival

The world has gone a little bit crazy lately, and it’s time to start thinking about how you’ll protect yourself and your family if it ever comes to that. One of the most effective survival tools available is the one government is constantly trying to take away: the firearm. Though some people seem to think they’re all equally dangerous, the truth is that some firearms are more lethal than others. And no, it generally has nothing to do with how “scary” the firearm looks.

Those who have real-world experience with guns know that the .22 and the shotgun are both highly desirable for home-defense purposes. But what about survival in general? Which one is the better choice for your overall survival needs, including staving off predators (both the human and animal varieties) and obtaining food? It turns out the answer isn’t obvious at first glance, so let’s break down the pros and cons of each gun in detail.

Range

When it comes to your survival, the shooting range of your gun is very important. In this category, the .22 is the clear winner. The average .22 long rifle is effective at 150 yards. A shotgun, on the other hand, is meant for close-range targets. The estimated effective range of the average shotgun is just 25-40 yards with birdshot, approximately 50-75 yards with smoothbore slug, and closer to 100-125 yards with a rifled slug. So, in the category of range, the .22 wins if you’re planning to shoot targets far away from you. Of course, accuracy also depends on the skills of the person doing the shooting, as well.

Weight

It’s not unusual for shotguns to weigh as much as 12 pounds, though there are lighter-weight options available. The average .22, on the other hand, weighs just 5-7 pounds fully loaded and scoped. When it comes to survival purposes, even a few pounds makes a big difference. The lighter the gun, the less energy you’ll expend lugging it around. So in terms of weight, the .22 comes out on top.

Versatility

The more versatile a gun is, the better it generally is for survival purposes. A .22 can only use one type of ammunition, while a shotgun can take a variety of ammunition options. This can make it easier for you to choose the right variety for the type of food you’re trying to take down. In terms of versatility alone, the shotgun has the upper hand.

Damage

In a real-life survival situation, you’ll probably care more about the damage your gun can inflict than how much it weighs. You’ve probably already guessed which gun is the winner when it comes to mortal damage, and it’s the shotgun. For up-close encounters, such as if a robber is trying to kill you or make off with your supplies, a shotgun is more desirable than a .22. It also requires less accuracy, which is important when your adrenaline is pumping and your arms are shaking.

You’ll also want a shotgun at your side if you encounter large predators in the wild. A shotgun will probably take down an attacking bear quicker than a .22.

The bottom line is that both of these guns are great to have for survival purposes. However, out of the four categories listed above, the .22 wins two and the shotgun wins two. We hate to decide the outcome of a tie-breaker (though we’re leaning toward the shotgun), so we want you to let us know which one you’d rather have by your side in a survival situation. Have you had to use either of these guns for self-defense? If so, how did it turn out? Let us know in the comments section below!

CategoriesPrepping

Starting Your Prepping and Survival Planning on a Shoestring Budget

Getting started with prepping or survivalism is always a little challenging. You never know how much money you need to spend or what to spend it on. Many people believe that $1,000 is a decent budget for getting started, but a grand will not get you very far in reality. However, if you only have a small budget to work with, there are several things you can do to get started in your prepper journey, some of which will cost a lot and others that will cost a little.

Water and Food Supply

Anytime you start preparing for a disaster, you need to consider the essentials: food and water. You will need to figure on at least three gallons of water per person per day when it comes to a water supply. You want drinkable water. Therefore, you should purchase bottled water or a filtration system for rain collection or another source. For food, you will want to pick up dried goods and canned goods. Also, you will need to purchase a variety of non-perishable and shelf-stable products. 

Bug-Out Bags

A bug-out bag is an emergency kit for every person in your household. While it is wise to have multiple bug-out bags for each person stored in various locations, you should focus on creating at least one per person. These bags should be catered to the individual they are meant for, meaning you have their medications and food supply tailored to their particular needs. Depending on the bag’s size, it can be expensive to have multiple units, especially when you consider you will need to rotate inventory frequently.

Gardening Tools and Seeds

An inexpensive hobby that works well for developing survival skills is gardening. You do not need much to start a garden, some basic hand tools and some seeds. However, gardening does require continuous maintenance. You can plant produce that is easier to maintain, like cucumbers and beans, but they will not have the most nutritional value.

Before rushing into planting, consider researcher garden methods specific to your area. You can likely find resources for free online or at a public library. Getting educated before planting a harvest is a good idea, especially before your family will depend on it.

Protection and Security

While it comes to preparation, security and protection are vital to your strategy. If you do not own a gun or weapon, you should use part of your limited budget to purchase a firearm and training. While you do not need to purchase the most expensive gun, you will want one suited to your skill level. People with little to no firing experience might have better luck with a shotgun over a handgun because they are easier to control and the ammunition spreads, meaning accuracy isn’t critical. If you do not feel comfortable with a gun, you might want to look into alternatives, like bows and arrows or knives. All of these options are beneficial to hunting, not only as personal protection.

If you had a limited budget and wanted to start prepping, where would you invest your money first? Leave a comment below and share your opinions; help educate your fellow preppers and newcomers.

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.

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.

CategoriesHome Defense Hunting Prepping Survivalism Weapons

Best Gun Safes: An Introduction to Choosing the Right Gun Safe for Your Needs

If you own a firearm or plan to buy one, it’s important to have a safe place to store it. But when it comes time to buy the right safe for your needs, you might feel a little overwhelmed. There are so many different safe brands, sizes, prices and features available. To help you save a little time (and headache), here are some of the best safes out there, separated by price, size, security and ease of use.

Price

There’s no getting around the fact that safes can be pretty pricey. But if you buy a quality one, it will likely last a lifetime. Since not everyone has a few grand to drop on a safe, here are some of the best models you can get for under $600 (yes, really!)

The Barska AX11652 is an entry-level safe that is made fairly well. It doesn’t have any fancy features, which is just fine if you’re simply looking to store your firearm safely. It offers a biometric lock, which may not work for everyone, but is a pretty cool option if we say so ourselves. There’s no fire rating for this safe, and the steel gauge isn’t listed (however, it seems like it’s probably somewhere between a 14- or 16-gauge thickness).

Size

If you’re not super concerned about price but you are concerned about size, here are some of the best large and small safes available. If you’ve got a lot of guns, including rifles, shotguns and other long guns, you can’t go wrong with the Liberty ProVault. It can hold 24 guns and stands at 59.5” x 28.25” x 22”. It’s also a pretty affordable option at around $700 at most gun and sports supply stores.

The Liberty brand is well-known for its durability. It’s also US-made, which is definitely a plus. Keep in mind that this large model will only work if you have space for it. So measure carefully before making the investment.

As far as small handgun safes go, the Fort Knox FTK-PB is a great option. It will keep your handgun securely tucked away while making it easy for you to retrieve it if things go “bump” in the night. It’s a pretty heavy safe at around 20 lbs., and it uses a Simplex mechanical lock, which is easy to use even in minimal light conditions. This safe is large enough to hold up to three pistols, depending on how large they are and how you stack them.

Security

There are a lot of very secure gun safes, so it’s difficult to say we know which one is the “best.” However, American Security gun safes have exceptional reviews. They are made with 12-gauge inner still and 11-gauge outer steel. They have a 2-hour fire rating and enormous, 1-1/2” locking bolts. They also offer a lifetime warranty for fire and burglary, which is a great feature.

Liberty is a step above American Security in terms of fire protection. Liberty safes offer 2 ½ hours of fire protection and are built with 7-gauge steel. Some models also come with fire-rated gypsum board insulation.

Ease of Use

When fast and easy access is of the essence, you don’t want to bother with a gun safe that has a complicated locking mechanism. For ease of use, you’ll love the Sentry Safe Quick Access Safe. As the name suggests, this safe is really easy to get into. It has a biometric lock (which means it scans your fingerprint to open). It’s ideal for  bedside use and has a pry-resistant door.

These are all great safes, but they may not be right for everyone. To determine which one is the best buy, consider what features you value most, then focus your search on those. Do you have another excellent gun safe you recommend? Let us know below!

CategoriesDisaster Response Prepping

Survival Tips: How Some Families in Texas Could Have Been Better Prepared

Is there anything Texas homeowners could have done to be prepared for the freak weather and power outages that happened? Preppers would be ready with these six things:

1. Generator

Propane generators are less likely to freeze in winter weather, and propane is usually cheaper than gasoline. Generators can keep power going for your furnace and stove, and keep your water heater running. Remember to keep the unit outside, with the exhaust facing away from any entry points. This way, you don’t have to worry about carbon monoxide problems.

2. Heating Fuel or Firewood

Make sure you have some kind of non-electric method of heating your home. Gas heating helps your family stay warm if electric power disappears. That doesn’t mean you can’t use electric heat at all. Some modern HVAC systems are hybrids, offering the option to run on both electricity and natural gas. Firewood can also work if your home has a fireplace and chimney. Don’t forget to fill up your home’s tank with propane, natural gas or fuel oil in preparation for winter.

3. Full Gas Tank for Your Vehicle

It’s always a good idea to have enough gas in your tank for emergencies, but especially during winter weather. Gas pumps operate using electricity, so trying to fill up your truck during a blackout isn’t going to work. A full tank of gas can help you warm up and let you recharge your phone.

4. Water

When people think of disaster prep, they often think about food but not how important water is. “But the water in my tap is fine,” they say. Yeah, maybe until water pipes break because of freezing temperatures.

You need one gallon of water per person per day. The authorities recommend having enough for three days, but we like to prep beyond what the so-called “experts” think. We recommend being ready for at least a week without drinkable water and preferably two weeks (55 gallons is plenty).

5. Food You Don’t Need To Cook

Don’t get us wrong — you should absolutely cook meals if possible. It’s all about the psychological effects of survival. Something warm heats you up and helps your family feel safer. It brings a degree of “normal” to a crazy situation.

That said, good survival strategy involves preparing for what-if moments. What if a severe winter storm lasts weeks instead of days? You’ll be happy to have non-perishable goods that don’t require any cooking: trail mix, dried fruit, beef jerky, protein bars, crackers, canned beans and tuna.

One thing to remember about canned foods in winter weather is that the liquid inside can freeze and expand. Broken cans aren’t safe to eat later. Keep canned goods (during a power outage) wherever your family gathers to stay warm. Or, stock up on dehydrated cold weather rations (MCW or RCW).

6. Insulating Materials

To stay warm in an emergency, choose one room (preferably one without windows or one that has a fireplace) and use thick blankets to insulate entry points such as windows. Duct tape is amazing for sealing leaks. You also need a stockpile of blankets and heavy clothing just for this type of emergency. Thermal underwear, sweaters, gloves, hats and insulated coats can make a huge difference inside and outside.

Did we miss anything? If you live in Michigan, Minnesota or another cold climate, share some of your winter-weather survival wisdom with fellow preppers down south.

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