Preparedness

Skills: A Gear Weight-Loss Program

by Todd Walker

Skills: A Gear Weight-Loss ProgramDoing the Stuff with your gear is the most overlooked skill in the world of prepping and survivalism. In general, we tend to think un-tested gear will get us through any crisis. Just whoop out that new shiny object from your kit… you know, you’ve seen the YouTube videos.

Imagine this…

You and your family are forced, for whatever reason – really doesn’t matter why, to grab your bug out bags and get out of dodge… on foot. You’ve got 5 minutes to get out. Immediately you realize the weight of your bag alone will make your journey impossible.

Time to go on a weight-loss program – for your gear!

As some of our regular readers know, I’ve built a semi-permanent shelter in the woods. It’s my personal space where I go to get centered, re-humanized, and enjoy nature. From a survival point of view, my personal space gives me a convenient location to build skills.

More importantly, it’s a weight-loss center for gear. It does a pretty good job of keeping extra pounds off the body too.

On to the gear weight-loss program.

My first overnight outing in my shelter helped me lose extra gear weight. Granted, it was only a one-night-stand. But that one night with a new ALICE pack (All-Purpose Lightweight Individual Carrying Equipment) was needed to compare with my old 3-day assault bag.

You see, with larger packs, I tend to over pack. The smaller ALICE forced me to downsize and prioritize my gear. Anytime I head out for some dirt time I pack, at a minimum, the first five of Dave Canterbury’s 10 C’s of Survival. This trip was no different with one exception…. I overpacked ALICE to test her fit, finish, carrying capacity, and comfort.

Below you’ll see what I packed, what I actually needed, and what I’ll leave behind next time. I packed way too much stuff for an overnight trip. But remember, I needed to get ALICE in the woods for the first time.

Stuff I Packed

Dave’s 5 C’s

1.) Cutting tools. These items are the hardest to trim for me. My only excuse is that I love sharp stuff!

  • BK2 – A pure tank of a knife with a 1/4″ full tang 1095 steel blade.
  • Mora Companion – I find it more useful around camp for finer knife work. It rides around my neck via a lanyard.
  • Opinel #8 folder
  • Leatherman multi-tool
  • Swiss Army Knife – Stays in my right pant pocket whenever I leave the house.
  • Bacho Laplander –  This folding saw was used for a lot of cuts on my shelter.
  • Ax – Wetterlings 16″ Hunter’s Ax. Small enough to fit into my rolled up bedroll, yet large enough to handle most tasks around base camp.
  • Almost Free Ax – I know, overkill for one night. Told you sharp stuff was my kryptonite.

2.) Combustion. Fire is life out there.

Skills: A Gear Weight-Loss Program

Fire kit fits inside the tin at the top

  • Lighter
  • Ferro rod
  • Flint and steel
  • Char tin and charred material
  • Fat lighter’d (fat wood)
  • Water proof jute twine and other dry tinder material
  • Mini Inferno (water proof fire starter)

3.) Cover. My trapper’s shelter was my cover for the night. However, redundancy give you options…

Skills: A Gear Weight-Loss Program

Morning coffee!!

  • USGI poncho
  • Contractor trash bag x2

4.) Container. For cooking, water, etc.

5.) Cordage. Hard to make in the wilderness – easy to just pack some in your kit.

  • 50 ft. of paracord
  • 25 ft. of #36 tarred bank line
  • 50 ft. of climbing rope
  • Two short bungee cords for my bedroll

The rest of Dave’s 10 C’s of Survival

6.) Candle (lighting)

  • Headlamp for hands free illumination
  • Pak-lite LED Flashlight – Great for lighting your shelter is the weight of a 9v battery
  • StreamLight ProTac 2L – 3 modes: bright, dim, and strobe and will light up the woods – doubles a my EDC pocket light
  • LightSpecs – almost forgot these LED reading glasses that ride on my head

7.) Cotton. 100% cotton rag or bandana can be used for bandaging wounds, char cloth, and many other survival uses.

  •  Large bandana
  • Small squares of bath towel (future char cloth)

8.) Compass for navigation

9.) Cargo tape. This may be the most versatile item in your kit.

  • Gorilla tape
  • Electrical tape from my Cigar Fishing Kit – orange in color for marking trail or signaling rescuers to your path

10.) Canvas needle. From repairing gear in the field to removing splinters.

  • Sail needle
  • Dental floss

That’s the 10 C’s. Now for the other stuff.

Bedroll

Wool blanket with ax tucked into the roll

Wool blanket with ax tucked into the roll

  • 100% queen-size wool army blanket
  • USGI poncho liner
  • Section of the billboard for a ground cloth (already at the shelter)

Food

  • Poached my bug out bag food bag – overkill again
  • Coffee and tea

Water

  • MSR Miniworks Micro filter

Sidearm

  • Springfield XD 9mm
  • 2 magazines
  • No long gun this trip

Clothing

  • Extra long sleeve shirt and the clothes on my back
  • Homemade wool hunting shirt
  • Boonie hat

Book

Skills: A Gear Weight-Loss Program

Woodcraft and Camping

  • Woodcraft and Camping by “Nessmuk”
  • Journal and pencil

Stuff I Needed

The first 5 C’s

1.) Cutting tools

By far the most used knife was my Mora Companion neck knife. There wasn’t a lot of heavy-duty campcrafting needed so my BK2 stayed in its sheath. I did cut a sapling with the BK2 to mount a frog gig on the end. Also used the packaging tool on my SAK to tighten bank line lashing on the cooking tripod I made.

The Wetterlings ax saw minor action harvesting saplings for the cooking tripod. The Almost Free Ax was never unmasked.

The pliers on my multi-tool was used to remove a container of boiling water from the toggle on the tripod.

The Bacho folding saw was use to harvest dead-fall poplar wood for a bow drill set. To shape my spindle, the Mora was all I needed.

Cutting Tools I’d Leave Behind

  1. Opinel folding knife
  2. Almost Free Ax

2.) Combustion

Used a Bic lighter and feathered fat lighter’d stick to light the camp fire. I was lazy and didn’t feel like practicing primitive fire skills. That’s why I carry a lighter.

Combustion Items I’d Leave Behind

NONE! Fire is life.

3.) Cover (Shelter)

My shelter was already built. I still carried my poncho which came in handy as an extra layer of insulation over my wool blanket.

Cover Items I’d Leave Behind

NONE!

4.) Container

The cook set served me well alone. With more than one person, a larger cooking pot/pan would be needed.

Container Items I’d Leave Behind

NONE! Add a larger bush pot.

5.) Cordage

The 25 ft of tarred bank line was used to lash the cooking tripod. Since my shelter was already built, no other cordage was needed.

Cordage Items I’d Leave Behind

NONE! Pack 50 ft of tarred bank line next trip.

6.) Candle (lighting)

My LightSpecs, headlamp, and Pak-lite saw the most action on this trip. A couple of times I almost reached for my StreamLight as the coyotes got closer in the middle of the night.

Skills: A Gear Weight-Loss Program

Red light saves night vision

Candle Items I’d Leave Behind

Pak-lite LED flashlight. Although, for the small amount of added weight, I’d probably keep it in my kit.

#7-10 – Cotton, compass, cargo tape, and canvas needle (repair kit) would stay the same.

Other Stuff

It’s really not surprising, at least to me, that I didn’t drop much weight on the 10 C’s. Those items are essential to survivability. With these tools and the knowledge and skill to use them, you increased your odds of comfortably surviving a wilderness or bug out journey.

Lessons Learned

A.) The importance of thermoregulation can’t be overstated – even in 45º temperatures. By 2 AM, I woke up to cold feet. I had let the fire die down and had not collected enough fuel to see me through the entire night. I draped my poncho over the wool blanket to add an extra layer of insulation. This did the trick.

Another point worth discussing is the lack of insulation between me and the ground. Though the ground wasn’t frozen like our neighbors to the north, the ground cloth and poncho liner was too minimalist. My remedy will be to add a foot of dried leaves and straw with the billboard on top of that layer as a moisture barrier.

B.) On firewood: Collect two or three times the amount you think you’ll need for the night. The shelter was designed to capture radiant heat via the reflecting wall and the overhang on the front of the shelter. The cool weather wouldn’t have been a problem if I had harvested enough fuel.

C.) For practice runs of one or two nights out, lose as much gear weight as you comfortably can. Make a note (an actual list) of what you needed and what turned out to be extra weight. Pack accordingly on your next outing.

For instance, I primarily used one knife. That knife should be a full tang, 5 inch high carbon steel blade or longer, 90º angled spine, and non-coated. For me it’s my BK2. Although I use my Mora as a backup.

D.) My water filter wasn’t working properly. I boiled water for cooking and drinking via the bottle cook set.

To loose gear weight, you have to test your stuff. Your bug out bag or bushcraft kit should be in constant state of evolution not a shiny object storage compartment. There’s no such thing as a perfect kit. But that doesn’t stop us from trying to create one.

As skills increase, gear will decrease.

What skill would help you lose gear weight?

Keep Doing the Stuff,

Todd

P.S. – You can also keep up with the Stuff we’re Doing on TwitterPinterestGoogle +, and our Facebook pageReady to trade theory for action? Join us in the Doing the Stuff Network on these social media sites: PinterestGoogle +, and Facebook. Use the hashtag #DoingTheStuff when sharing your stuff on Twitter.

Thanks for sharing the stuff!

Copyright Information: Content on this site (unless the work of a third-party) may be shared freely in digital form, in part or whole, for non-commercial use with a link back to this site crediting the author. All links in articles must remain intact as originally posted in order to be republished. If you are interested a third-party article, please contact the author directly for republishing information.

 

 

 

 

Categories: Bushcraft, Camping, Doing the Stuff, equipment, Gear, Preparedness | Tags: , , | 4 Comments

23+ Items You Need to Retool for Self-Reliance

by Todd Walker

Those who are paying attention are actively retooling to escape the noose of modern consumerism and become self-reliant producers.

23+ Items You Need to Retool for Self-Reliance

You can find these independent thinkers on different fronts of the preparedness movement:

  • Back-to-basics
  • Homesteading
  • Preppers
  • Off-grid living
  • Survivalists
  • Simple living
  • Bushcrafting
  • Self-reliance
  • Self-sufficiency
  • Resilience
  • Sustainability
  • DiY’ers
  • Farmsteading

Whether you’re in this movement as a hobby or a passionate pursuit, the common thread tying us together is self-reliance and breaking our dependence on our fragile system. One of the reasons we started the Doing the Stuff Network was to encourage people to learn and practice new skills. The journey we’re on will require us to retool for an uncertain future.

Hurt me with the truth but never comfort me with a lie. Here’s the truth – our fragile system of consumerism is not sustainable. Of course, you can take comfort in the lie that we can print and spend our way out of the hole we’re in – or – you can embrace the painful truth and get busy Doing the Stuff to build self-reliance.

Retool or Be a Tool

A person is a tool (blunt object) when he/she is being used without even realizing it.

You ever been used as a tool? Yes? Me too. It’s a nasty, degrading feeling when you realize a ‘friend’, coworker, or family member has you wrapped tightly in their grip. Those situations are often easily recognized.

But here’s the thing…

The vast majority of people rarely wake up to the fact that they’re a tool in the system’s matrix. That’s the ‘beauty’ of our system. We get used to being used for the good of the collective. We accept dependence and conform.

For those of you wishing to escape the system’s unsustainable human farm paradigm, if only in small ways, it’s time to retool!

Retool is defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary as:

1. to make changes to (something) in order to improve it

2. to reequip with tools

As #1 states, you have to make changes to something to see improvement. That “something” is you. There’s no better way to improve you than to learn new skills and enhance existing ones. New skills require new tools.

Sherpa Tip: Strive for progress, not perfection in your retooling. Buy/acquire the best tools you can afford. Cheap shiny objects from China are tempting but you’ll end up replacing them several times costing you more in the long run. Cheap tools aren’t good and good tools aren’t cheap. You can find quality, inexpensive tools at yard/estate sales and used online sites.

Get ‘em, you’ll need them someday when the power fails to help rebuild. Until then, make smart use of modern power tools while building your non-powered toolbox. Like any new undertaking, there’s always a learning curve, especially with forgotten pioneer tools.

Here’s my top 23+ human-powered tools that your grandparents or great grandparents used to forge a self-reliant lifestyle. Don’t be shy about jumping in and adding to the list in the comments.

Tools for Self-Reliance

  1. Scythe – This tool was used to cut grass at a camp I ran in Siberia in 1993. An American friend with good intentions wanted to help speed up the landscaping chores and bought a combustion engine lawn mower. It threw a rod in 15 minutes. The scythe never lost power.
  2. Hoe and shovel- There will be long rows to hoe and holes to dig.
  3. Posthole diggers – Job specific tool that is indispensable for setting fence posts and digging round, vertical holes.

    23+ Items You Need to Retool for Self-Reliance

    Scary looking fencing pliers

  4. Fencing pliers – A nasty looking tool no homestead should be without.
  5. Come-Along and block and tackle – Use mechanical advantage to lift carcasses for cleaning or persuade leaning trees to fall away from your cabin. 23+ Items You Need to Retool for Self-Reliance
  6. Wheeled carts – Based on a simple machine: lever. Give me a long enough lever and I can move the world.
  7. 4 pronged garden fork – Turns compost and sod.
  8. Containers – The most overlooked of all tools is the humble container. Collect metal, cast iron, plastic, glass, large barrels, stainless steel (milk pails), rubber, and clay containers. Animals have to be fed, water hauled, crops canned, food cooked, water stored, etc., etc.
  9. Carpentry - Hand saws (rip and cross cut), screw drivers, chisels, draw knives, shaving horse, brace and bits, spoke shave, froe, mallet, miter box, framing square, levels (4′, 2′, torpedo), hammer, pencils, and plenty of hardware.
  10. Handyman tools – Channel Lock pliers, socket set, adjustable wrenches, hand saws (cross and rip), hacks saw and blades, clamps, claw hammers (sledge, ball peen, claw), pry bars, pipe wrenches, measuring devices, heavy-duty vise, and files (all shapes and sizes).
  11. Cutting tools – Knives (fixed blade, folding, and everything in between paring to butcher), axes, hatchets, bush hook,two man saw,adz, broad ax, sharpening stones, and a butcher’s steel. I prefer high carbon steel over stainless steel for achieving razor-sharp edges. Plus, high carbon steel knives all you to create sparks with flint, chert, or other hard rock. Redundancy!

    DiY Sawbuck: Work Smarter in the Woodpile

    Buck sawing on the Sawbuck

  12. Blacksmithing – Forge, billow, anvil, hammers, tongs, post vice, files, and quench bucket. After acquiring these, you can make your own tools and needed items. Stock up on salvaged steel.
  13. Cordage – Natural and synthetic rope, twine, tarred bank line, and paracord of all sizes. Making your own takes time, resources, and skill. Stock up now. Don’t forget sewing thread as cordage.
  14. Food prep – Wood cook stove, cast iron cookware, utensils, pressure canner (relatively new tool), crocks, and churn.
  15. Personal care – Straight razor, strop, and sharpening stones.
  16. Weaponry –  Modern to primitive. Modern: At a minimum, a common caliber (for your area) shotgun (12 or 20 gauge), side arm (.45, .357, .38, 9mm, .22), high-powered center fire (30-06, .308,  30-30, .223) and rim fire (.22 cal) rifle. When you run out of cartridges… Traditional muzzleloaders: Black powder rifle, shotgun, and pistols. Primitive: bow and arrows, atlatl, slings.
  17. Music – Forgotten but important culturally and entertainment wise.
  18. Education – Books – lots of hard bound books from all genres. Writing utensils and reams of paper. Reading glasses.
  19. Trapping – Foothold,  bodygrip (Conibear), snares, and live traps. Check local laws and regulations.
  20. Beekeeping – Because we all love honey, right!? Bee hives, hive tool, smoker, hat and veil, gloves, and protective clothing.
  21. Leather work – Down and Dirty Basics: Cutting tool, punch, awl (ice pick works), needle, glue and clamps.
  22. Medical – Surgical kit that covers minor and major needs. Of course, if you don’t have the skill to use these tools, someone in your tribe may. Collect ‘em!

    23+ Items You Need to Retool for Self-Reliance

    Surgical tools a good friend gave us but I have no experience using – yet

  23. Animal husbandry – This list of tools can get long really quickly. Take care of your animals and your animals will take care of you. So here goes… Species specific halters, leads, and restraints; wound care, hoof care, syringes, oral dose syringe, etc., etc.

Some of these tools and the skills to use them were common in earlier generations. After a reset, you’ll be proud you retooled with a collection of human-powered pioneer tools. Think muscle over motor to rebuild a strong, self-reliant future for your family.

Even if you never learn how to use all these tools, they’d make great barter items for stuff you do need at your local SHTF swap meet.

What would you add to the retool list?

Retool and Keep Doing the Stuff,

Todd

P.S. – You can also keep up with the Stuff we’re Doing on TwitterPinterestGoogle +, and our Facebook pageReady to trade theory for action? Join us in the Doing the Stuff Network on these social media sites: PinterestGoogle +, and Facebook.

Copyright Information: Content on this site (unless the work of a third-party) may be shared freely in digital form, in part or whole, for non-commercial use with a link back to this site crediting the author. All links in articles must remain intact as originally posted in order to be republished. If you are interested a third-party article, please contact the author directly for republishing information.

Categories: Gear, Homesteading, Lost Skills, Preparedness, Self-reliance | Tags: , , , , | 16 Comments

The Size of Your Ferro Rod Matters – Go Big!

by Todd Walker

ferro rod size matters

I once held the opinion that the size of your ferro rod didn’t really matter. As long as your little rod throws enough sparks to ignite a tinder bundle or char cloth, that’s all you need, right?

For the record, I’ve started many fires with thin $5 ferrocerium rods. No survival kit is complete without this essential fire starter. I bet Tom Hanks’ character (Chuck) wished he had one in his pocket in the movie Cast Away. But then again, he would never have experienced the thrill of fire by friction.

Ain’t Hollywood great!

Seriously, life and death situations are not the time to trust primal fire-making methods. These techniques are great skills to develop, but don’t play around with combustion when fire could save your life. Always carry fire redundancy.

The Size of Your Ferro Rod Matters - Go Big!

Pocket dump… this pocket-sized ferro rod and hacksaw blade striker rides on my key ring.

If all you can afford is a $5 ferro rod, buy it and learn to use it. Keep in mind that these are a consumable item and will eventually be depleted with use.

That’s why size matters!

Making fire is a hot topic with many arm-chair warriors on the internet. Some argue for small, light-weight rods to get the job done. I carry a small ferro rod everyday for those just-in-case times. A Bic lighter too. But for long-term survivability, I’m fond of big, substantial, molten steel for spontaneous combustion.

It’s been said that the key to lasting success is… lasting. The same applies to your survival gear. In the combustion department, you want a ferro rod that will last through years of use.

Allow me to introduce you to my new “little” friend!

The Size of Your Ferro Rod Matters - Go Big!

Measuring 1/2″ x 6″, this is a pyro beast!

Last weekend I spent some dirt time testing this fire wand. The amount of 3,000º sparks raining down from this fire tool is insane!

I ordered mine from the Pathfinder Store. No fancy bone or wood handles. Just a blank ferro rod.

My down and dirty handle is made of several feet of Gorilla Tape and a loop of paracord. Here’s my reasoning for this handle:

  • Extra Gorilla Tape is never a bad thing in a crisis
  • Epoxied handles tend to come loose with heavy use over time – not so with this tape
  • The loop allows me to clip the rod on the inside of my bushcraft bag or B.O.B.
  • My pinky finger fits inside to secure the grip when pulling the rod across the spine of your knife or metal striker

The One-Strike Fire

The importance of fire for wilderness survival can’t be overstated. If you only have once chance to make fire, this ferro rod increase your odds.

Use a knife with a 90º spine or other sharp object to remove the black coating from the rod. The coating is there to prevent oxidation. Note to self: Do not test this bad boy inside your house or over your feet. Trust me on this one. These globs of molten metal burn for a couple of seconds once they hit the ground.

DSCN0473

No amount of sparks will start a fire without properly processed tinder. Here I’m working natural tinder (cedar bark) into a fine fiber. Just to the left of my hands is a hat full of Beech leaves. Foliage from Beech trees is hanging around (late March) just asking to help make fire.

DSCN0474

Get the angle right with your scraper on the ferro rod and pull the rod back across the spin. My closed Opinel #8 worked fine. You want a high carbon steel blade for this task. The high carbon part isn’t as important with ferro rods but comes into play when using flint and steel to make sparks.

[High carbon steel is pyrophoric. Pyrophoric materials are substances that ignite instantly upon exposure to oxygen. We'll discuss the science behind flint and steel in an upcoming post.]

DSCN0475

The increased surface area of my new pyro wand produced fire in my tinder bundle with only one strike. What if you only get one strike to make fire? Bring a big bat to the plate!

DSCN0476

DSCN0477

In an emergency scenario where fire determines your survivability, rescue, life or death… SIZE MATTERS! Once you go big, you’ll never go back.

Update: For those interested, below is a progress photo of my semi-permanent bushcraft shelter. We all need a place to practice our Doing the Stuff skills… a place to trade theory for action!

DSCN0480

 

Keep Doing the Stuff,

Todd

P.S. – You can also keep up with the Stuff we’re Doing on TwitterPinterestGoogle +, and our Facebook pageReady to trade theory for action? Join us in the Doing the Stuff Network on these social media sites: PinterestGoogle +, and Facebook. Use the hashtag #DoingTheStuff when sharing your stuff on Twitter.

P.P.S – If you find value in our blog, DRG and I would appreciate your vote on the Top Prepper Sites! You can vote daily by clicking here or on the image below. Check out all the other value-adding Prepper sites while you’re there…

Thanks for sharing the stuff!

Copyright Information: Content on this site (unless the work of a third-party) may be shared freely in digital form, in part or whole, for non-commercial use with a link back to this site crediting the author. All links in articles must remain intact as originally posted in order to be republished. If you are interested a third-party article, please contact the author directly for republishing information.

 

 

Categories: Bushcraft, Camping, Doing the Stuff, Gear, Preparedness, Survival | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments

Here’s Your Sign: Turning Trash Into Survival Treasure

by Todd Walker

It’s well documented by DRG that I’m a container freak. Plastic jugs, metal tins, glass bottles, clay pots – I hoard collect them all.

Here's Your Sign: Turning Trash Into Survival Treasure

A small sampling of my metal tin fetish

Wooden pallets – don’t get me started! This free wood can be used to build bird houses, fences, furniture, compost bins, and other useful stuff with a little sweat equity, imagination, and simple tools.

Here's Your Sign: Turning Trash Into Survival Treasure

A bluebird outhouse built from old barn and pallet wood

Yesterday, I received a sign from above pointing out my inability to turn down “trash”...

Here's Your Sign: Turning Trash Into Survival Treasure

Here’s Your Sign! How could I turn down a 14′ x 40′ used billboard!?

If you’ve priced tarps this large at retail stores, you’d spend a decent wad of your hard-earned cash. One box store sells 20′ x 30′ heavy-duty tarps for over 100 bucks. My tarp sign set me back $14. They don’t look this large when you pass them on the freeway.

I won’t be using it with the printed side exposed. The backside is solid black and can be used for projects like ground cover or emergency roof repairs.

I may use this portion as a training aid for our dogs. If I could only teach “Moose” and “Abby” to read.

Here's Your Sign: Turning Trash Into Survival Treasure

Doggy boot camp

I cut a section of the sign and plan to use it as a tarp for my base camp shelter I’m building. Modern debris for a debris shelter. It pays to have a possum mentality!

Here are a few more up-cycle ideas for fellow dumpster divers:

You don’t have to break the bank to get prepared. With consumerism gone wild, people have to have the latest stuff. If you’re anything like me, which I suspect you are, other people’s “trash” is survival treasure!

What’s your best method of using other people’s “trash”?

Keep Doing the Stuff,

Todd

P.S. – You can also keep up with the Stuff we’re Doing on TwitterPinterestGoogle +, and our Facebook pageReady to trade theory for action? Join us in the Doing the Stuff Network on these social media sites: PinterestGoogle +, and Facebook. Use the hashtag #DoingTheStuff when sharing your stuff on Twitter.

P.P.S – If you find value in our blog, DRG and I would appreciate your vote on the Top Prepper Sites! You can vote daily by clicking here or on the image below. Check out all the other value-adding Prepper sites while you’re there…

Thanks for sharing the stuff!

Copyright Information: Content on this site (unless the work of a third-party) may be shared freely in digital form, in part or whole, for non-commercial use with a link back to this site crediting the author. All links in articles must remain intact as originally posted in order to be republished. If you are interested a third-party article, please contact the author directly for republishing information.

Categories: DIY Preparedness Projects, Doing the Stuff, Frugal Preps, Preparedness | Tags: , , | 15 Comments

A Simple Fixin’ Wax Recipe for Fixin’ Stuff

by Todd Walker

Need another DiY fix? Stay tuned, I’m fixin’ to give you one!

Wouldn’t it be great to have an all-purpose, all-natural, miracle substance that, when applied, fixes most stuff?

Stuff that would fix chapped lips, busted knuckles, ax-heads, wooden tool handles, bow strings, a squeaky hinge, wooden spoons, leaky tents, rusty metal, leather sheaths, and… be edible!

First, for those unfamiliar with Southern speak…

Fixin’ means:

  • About to do stuff or in the process of doing stuff – replacing such worn expressions as ‘about to”, ‘going to’, ‘preparing for’, etc. Examples: “I’m fixin’ to cook dinner.” Or, “I’m fixin’ to go fishing.”
  • An accompanying food dish to round out a meal. Example: “Grandma made Thanksgiving dinner with all the fixins.
  • The process of repairing stuff. Example: “The fence needs fixin’.”

Then there’s the simple, multi-functional stuff called fixin’ wax. It’s also an edible emergency lamp fuel (replace the olive oil with fixin’ wax).

Ingredients for Fixin’ Wax

  1. 2 parts tallow – click here to make your own
  2. 1 part bees wax
  3. shea butter (optional) – 1 tablespoon
  4. essential oil (optional) – a few drops
A Simple Fixin' Wax Recipe for Fixin' Stuff

Tallow and bees wax are the must have ingredients

A Simple Fixin' Wax Recipe for Fixin' Stuff

Optional ingredients

Fixin’ Wax Procedures

The ratio of tallow to bees wax is 2:1. In hotter climates, you may want to make it half and half to keep a more solid consistency.

Step 1: Melt the tallow and bees wax together in a container. Remove from heat and stir occasionally while it cools to ensure these two ingredients combine.

A Simple Fixin' Wax Recipe for Fixin' Stuff

Double boiler method is best

If you choose to add the optional stuff (shea butter and essential oil), do so while over the heat. For a pine scent, add chopped pine needles and strain the liquid through a clean cloth to remove the needles from the liquid wax.

Step 2: Line your mold(s) with wax butcher paper. I used the press n seal wrap in my tins. Wax paper would work better as the thinner press n seal wrap made removing the fixin’ wax from the tins more challenging. Live and learn. I had to use a butter knife to pry the product out. Not a problem.

A Simple Fixin' Wax Recipe for Fixin' Stuff

The benefit of using the sticky press n seal stuff was that it formed to the tin and produced beautiful, tin-shaped fixin’ wax! I’m guessing you could use a muffin tin for larger batches. Maybe insert cupcake liners in the individual forms for easy removal when the fixin’ wax sets.

Step 3: While liquified, carefully pour the stuff into your mold. The half-pint jar filled one and one half tins.

A Simple Fixin' Wax Recipe for Fixin' Stuff

Ready for some fixin’

Step 4: Allow a few hours for the fixin’ wax to cool and set. Once solid, rub it with your finger. You should get a film on your finger tip. Apply it to your lips so you don’t waste any. I used a few drops of peppermint essential oil. I like the cooling effect on my skin.

Step 5: Remove from the form. Wrap the fixin’ wax in butcher paper – wax side touching the fixin’ wax. I placed the partial block back in the Altoids tin for use around the house.

A Simple Fixin' Wax Recipe for Fixin' Stuff

For my bushcraft kit, I wrapped the full block in wax paper, placed in a brown paper lunch bag, and tied it up with a length of jute twine. This gives me an excellent emergency fire starter – jute twine, brown paper, and fixin’ wax are known to burn well.

A Simple Fixin' Wax Recipe for Fixin' Stuff

Wrap it up, I’ll take it!

Wrap it up and give it as a gift to someone for their bug out bag.

Here’s an old leather screw driver pouch I repurposed for my Bacho Laplander folding saw sheath. It needed some fixin’ wax love.

A Simple Fixin' Wax Recipe for Fixin' Stuff

Before

Rub the bar of fixin’ wax all over the surface and massage in with a cloth. Rejuvenating and sealing leather and dried wood is easy and effective with fixin’ wax.

A Simple Fixin' Wax Recipe for Fixin' Stuff

After 

Do you have a recipe or other uses for this amazing fixin’ wax? Drop us a line in the comments.

Keep Doing the Stuff… with Fixin’ Wax,

Todd

P.S. – You can also keep up with the Stuff we’re Doing on TwitterPinterestGoogle +, and our Facebook page. Ready to trade theory for action? Join us in the Doing the Stuff Network on these social media sites: PinterestGoogle +, and Facebook.

P.P.S – If you find value in our blog, DRG and I would appreciate your vote on the Top Prepper Sites! You can vote daily by clicking here or on the image below. Check out all the other value-adding Prepper sites while you’re there…

Thanks for sharing the stuff!

Copyright Information: Content on this site (unless the work of a third-party) may be shared freely in digital form, in part or whole, for non-commercial use with a link back to this site crediting the author. All links in articles must remain intact as originally posted in order to be republished. If you are interested a third-party article, please contact the author directly for republishing information.

Categories: Bushcraft, Doing the Stuff, Frugal Preps, Preparedness, Self-reliance | Tags: , , | 5 Comments

The 2% Solution to Prepper Paralysis

by Todd Walker

Stuck in a paralyzing paradigm? Want to improve your skills but feeling overwhelmed?

If so, 2% is your solution.

The 2% Solution to Prepper Paralysis

Your preparedness equation

The American Heritage Dictionary defines paradigm as…

“A set of assumptions, concepts, values, and practices that constitutes a way of viewing reality for the community that shares them”

Paradigm and mindset are closely related. The emphasis on paradigm is geared towards our preparedness community. Mindset, for our purposes, will focus on the individual.

According to the Oxford American Dictionary, mindset is…

“an established set of attitudes held by someone”

Many believe mindset determines actions. Hipster life-coach gurus tell you to get your mind right before tackling a new skill, shedding pounds, or reaching goals. Your body follows your head.

This theory may sell books, but will it work in the real world?

Too often people believe they have to get mentally ready to start doing the stuff. A common result of information overload is prepper paralysis – drowning in a sea of knowledge.

It’s not complete gobbledygook that our thoughts determine our actions. However, I have found that my actions determine my mindset – for good or bad.

The act of doing a new skill or honing an existing one builds confidence in your ability. This cycle creates a circle, if you will, with no beginning or end. However, your circle remains broken until you take the first step… Action! Thoughts won’t get the job done.

Think of it this way…

The 2% Solution to Prepper Paralysis

Left: Closed – Right: Open  

Image source

Action (Doing the Stuff) is the light switch in an electrical circuit above. Flip the switch “On” and your circuit is closed or completed allowing electrical energy to flow to its target. Turn it “Off” and your circuit is open or incomplete. The energy is there but can’t bridge the open gap without action.

This should be applied to your preps – and life in general. And the good news is that it only takes 2% more time, energy, and resources to give you a slight edge.

Overrated Moments

There’s a dangerous mindset that new preppers embrace. This kind of thinking will sink you before you start. You have to have X amount of beans, bullets, and Band-Aids to be prepared. Once you’ve reached that defining moment, you’re prepared… for anything.

Nope.

Any veteran will tell you that preparedness is a journey, a marathon of skills, not a sprint to some illusive summit. Preparedness is a culmination of the tiny things over time.

Meaningful improvements happen with consistent, minimal changes. Don’t fall into the trap of large visible events.

The 2% Solution

The beauty of this mindset is that you only need an extra 2%. That may not seem like much, but over time it has a huge impact. This is why I say a daily process is more important than setting lofty goals.

In our Doing the Stuff Network, everyday people are challenging themselves to learn a minimum of one new skill this year. This is what we’re learning…

Our skills and abilities are not fixed… unless we decide they are.

Use 2% of Your Time and Energy

You’re life doesn’t have to come to a complete stop to learn how to safely pressure can your harvest or start a friction fire. Simply start giving 2% of your time to learn the basics. That translates to 30 minutes in a 24 hour day to learn a new skill. Take a Doing the Stuff lunch break.

When I coached football in the 80′s, I never understood why we asked our players to give 110%. Not a realistic goal. That’s when I began to understand the 2% Solution. I only asked my players to give 2% more than the guy they were competing against in practice or the player across the line of scrimmage in a game.

This was a mindset teenage jocks could understand and employ. They pushed themselves an extra 2% in fundamental drills, conditioning, strength training, and nutrition. Doing this stuff over the course of two seasons led to small gains over time which helped land us in the state playoffs after a years of losing seasons.

You can find 30 minutes a day to work on your skills, right? Set boundaries on common time sinks. Social media sites are one of the worst offenders. I mean how many cute cat videos are really necessary!?

Set a timer to budget the amount of time you’re willing to spend on Facebook or Twitter. When time is up, move away from the mouse! This saves you valuable time to devote 2% to your skill set.

Using 2% of Your Resources

Hopefully no one remembers my epic fail at fire by friction. Actually, failure is our best teacher if we fail forward. I created a bow drill on training wheels a year ago. What I learned from this experiment is that I don’t need training wheels to create an ember with a stick and string.

I successfully created an ember and fire with a bow drill last night with my friction fire kit!

The 2% Solution to Preparedness Paralysis

Fire at last!

Here are the tutorials I watched (took less than 30 minutes) on the finer tips and tricks of friction fire by David Wendell at Bushcraft On Fire.

<iframe width=”640″ height=”360″ src=”//www.youtube.com/embed/sNcYyUn38qY?feature=player_detailpage” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen>

Resource gathering is an important part of preparedness. If you’re like me, you don’t have time to waste looking for value-adding resources. I’ll save you some time and point you to our Doing the Stuff Trusted Resource list. There are more out there, but these folks I know and trust. You’re welcome to add suggestions to our list.

The modern convenience-store mindset conditions us to want immediate results. If we could only reach that big event, we’d be ready. In reality, preparedness is not an event. It’s a chain of tiny stuff linked together over time.

How do you plan to leverage your 2% this week, month, or year? Share in the comments if you don’t mind.

Keep Doing the Stuff,

Todd

P.S. – You can also keep up with the Stuff we’re Doing on TwitterPinterestGoogle +, and our Facebook page. Trade theory for action and join us in the Doing the Stuff Network on these social media sites: PinterestGoogle +, and Facebook.

P.P.S ~ If you find value in our blog, DRG and I would appreciate your vote on the Top Prepper Sites! You can vote daily by clicking here or on the image below. Check out all the other value-adding Prepper Sites while you’re there…

Thanks for sharing the stuff!

Copyright Information: Content on this site (unless the work of a third-party) may be shared freely in digital form, in part or whole, for non-commercial use with a link back to this site crediting the author. All links in articles must remain intact as originally posted in order to be republished. If you are interested a third-party article, please contact the author directly for republishing information.

Categories: 180 Mind Set Training, Doing the Stuff, Preparedness | Tags: , , | 8 Comments

How to Build a Bushcraft Tripod for Your Outdoor Kitchen

by Todd Walker

Southern Ice Storm Cooking Check List

  1. Propane cooker and fuel: √
  2. Camp stove and Coleman fuel: √
  3. Lump charcoal for the Green Egg: √
  4. EmberLit stove: √
  5. Firewood: √

We stock up on all these items in case of emergency events like the latest ice storm. Fortunately, we were without power for only three hours. Other Georgians didn’t fare as well.

Our Plan-B cooking methods were in place but were never called into action.

Today, cabin fever struck. I needed some back yard dirt time. What to do???

I know… make a tripod for our fire pit!

How to Build an Outdoor Cooking Tripod

Roast me!

The first two emergency cooking fuels on my list are non-renewable. I’m sure I could make lump charcoal but not something I’ve done before. I don’t count on a method until I’ve practiced it. Always trading theory for ACTION!

Firewood is plentiful and gives us one more cooking option. Now I needed to build cooking equipment for our primitive outdoor kitchen.

Materials and Tools

Here’s what you’ll need to build your own sturdy cooking tripod:

  • Three green saplings – each about 6 to 7 feet tall
  • 20 feet of thin, strong cordage – tarred bank line works great (find it in Hunting and Fishing departments of box stores)
  • Cutting tool to harvest saplings
How to Build an Outdoor Cooking Tripod

All you need is wood, cordage, and cutting tools

 

Cut the three saplings and trim branches. The base of my trees were about forearm size with the tops about wrist size. Don’t discard the branches. You’ll use these resources later in your build.

Lay the saplings side by side. Tie a Timber Hitch with bank line onto the end of one of your poles. Here’s an animation for a tying a Timber Hitch.

How to Build an Outdoor Cooking Tripod

Simple Timber Hitch

For this application, skip the half hitches if you’re using tarred bank line. Fold over a 4 inch tag and twist the loop several times. Then pull the long tag line through the loop and cinch it tight about 4 or 5 inches from the top of one of your poles.

With poles laid flat, wrap three revolutions of cordage. Use a stick, screw driver, or attachment on your Swiss Army Knife to pull the loops tight. Now make three more passes and pull tight again. Keep the cord as tight as possible while keeping the poles side by side – don’t allow them to bunch together.

How to Build an Outdoor Cooking Tripod

The packaging hook is a jewel for pulling cordage tight

Next, thread the cordage between the first and second pole below the previous six wraps. Pull the cord up and over the top of the six cords. Repeat this until you have three revolutions around the six strands running perpendicular to your poles.

Tighten your cord every third wrap. You now have six wraps running horizontally with the poles. Tie off the tag on the sixth wrap with a half hitch.

How to Build an Outdoor Cooking Tripod

Lashing between two poles

How to Build an Outdoor Cooking Tripod

Joint on left needs two more wraps

Spread the poles out and set up over your fire pit. Mark where the ends meet the ground and fold your tripod back up. Place the poles on a wood anvil and trim the ends to a point for a better bite.

Re-install the tripod around your fire pit.

You should have a long tag of cordage dangling down the center of the tripod. Use this to hang cooking pots over the fire. If you don’t feel #36 bank line is sufficient, you could use a metal cable or small chain.

How to Build a Killer Cooking Tripod

Prefect!

Toggle

Make a toggle out of one of the limbs from your sapling. I made mine about 8 inches long. Cut a notch in the middle and secure the bank line in the notch.

Slip the toggle through the wire handle to suspend the pot. You can adjust the pot height by looping the cordage over a pole stub at the top of the tripod.

How to Build an Outdoor Cooking Tripod

Toggle holding cast iron squirrel pot

Hook and Toggle

I also made a hook for the toggle system. Notch the top of the hook safely with a knife and tie a 12 inch piece of line around the notch. Tie a loop in the long tag end for your toggle stick to go through. This hook will allow you lower the pot close to the fire keeping the bank line farther away from the heat.

How to Build an Outdoor Cooking Tripod

Squirrel stew pot ready!

This set up is simple, sturdy, and functional. Wrap your tripod in a tarp or canvas drop cloth to smoke the thawing meat in your freezer. Just a thought.

Only thing missing is a few squirrels.

Keep Doing the Stuff,

Todd

P.S. – You can also keep up with the Stuff we’re Doing on TwitterPinterestGoogle +, and our Facebook page. Trade theory for action and join us in the Doing the Stuff Network on these social media sites: PinterestGoogle +, and Facebook.

P.P.S ~ If you find value in our blog, DRG and I would appreciate your vote on the Top Prepper Sites! You can vote daily by clicking here or on the image below. Check out all the other value-adding Prepper Sites while you’re there…

Thanks for sharing the stuff!

Copyright Information: Content on this site (unless the work of a third-party) may be shared freely in digital form, in part or whole, for non-commercial use with a link back to this site crediting the author. All links in articles must remain intact as originally posted in order to be republished. If you are interested a third-party article, please contact the author directly for republishing information.

Categories: Bushcraft, Camping, DIY Preparedness Projects, Doing the Stuff, Frugal Preps, Preparedness | Tags: , , , | 6 Comments

A Waterproofing Hack That Guarantees Fire

by Todd Walker

What’s the best tinder material when making a fire is essential?

The best answer is dry, fibrous material which catches a spark even in wet conditions. Fire starting woes are compounded when the dry stuff isn’t available. Every bushcraft, camping, hiking, or emergency kit should include redundant layers for making fire.

The usual suspects for combustion tools include:

  • Lighters
  • Fero rods (ferrocerium), AKA firesteels
  • Flint and steel
  • Magnesium bars
  • Fire pistons
  • Plain ol’ matches or storm matches

A flic from your Bic doesn’t guarantee fire. It may produce a flame (depending on conditions) but you’ll need dry tinder in your fire lay to get warm. Preparing a fire kit ahead of time will help you avoid a freezing night or worse.

Commercially produced fire starters are available. Why pay 8 to 10 bucks for a pack waterproof fire starter tabs when you can make your own? I’ve been making my own out of jute twine and wax for years.

A 500 foot roll of jute twine cost less than $10. Plus, you can never have enough cordage. The same goes for wax. If you don’t have wax on hand, poach a few crayons to melt from your child’s school supplies. Just so you know, peeling paper sleeves is tedious and time-consuming. Save time and buy some paraffin wax from the canning isle at your store. I used soy wax I have for candle making.

Here’s how to make your own waterproof emergency tinder bundle…

Gather Stuff

  1. Jute twine (10 to 12 feet) – find the thicker twine if possible
  2. Wax (half-handful)
  3. Double boiler and stove (heat source)
  4. Nail or metal pin like a door hinge pin
  5. Variable speed drill (not necessary but I like power tools)
Step 1:

[Skip this step if you've ever melted wax in a double boiler] Set up your double boiler with enough water in the bottom container to make the top container float. In my shop, I use an old camp stove. Your kitchen stove will work. To avoid igniting the wax, don’t use open flames or high heat directly on a pan with wax in the bottom.

A-Waterproof-Tinder-Bundle-Hack-That-Guarantees-Fire

Double boiler set on a camp stove

While bringing the water to boil, prep you twine.

Step 2:

Measure and cut about 12 feet of jute twine… about 2 arm spans for me. Roll it around 3 of your fingers to make a loose bundle. Place the entire bundle in the melted wax. Flip it over to completely saturate the jute. The twine is very absorbent and won’t take long to soak up the liquid wax.

A-Waterproof-Tinder-Bundle-Hack-That-Guarantees-Fire

Your coated bundle should look something like this

Set bundle aside and prepare your drill.

Step 3:

Don’t attempt this step unless you have variable speed drill. You don’t really need a drill to make the bundle. You could wind the twine around a nail or metal pin by hand. But it is way more manly to do it with power tools!

A-Waterproof-Tinder-Bundle-Hack-That-Guarantees-Fire

A door hinge pin chucked in my drill

Place the drill in a vise. Tie one end of the twine to the head end of the pin with a basic slip knot. Do this fairly quickly after removing the bundle from the wax. The longer you wait, the more stiff the waxed twine becomes.

With one hand on the trigger of your drill and one holding the tag end of the twin, slowly squeeze the trigger to begin winding the twine around pin. You’re trying to coil the cord almost to the drill bit opening on your first pass. When you reach that point near the drill, guide the twine back towards the other end. I make my bundles oblong – skinny on the ends and fat in the middle.

Step 4:

Remove the pin from the drill. Hold the bundle in your hand and press it gently down on a hard surface causing the head end of the pin to emerge from the top of the bundle. Grab the head end and pull. If you used a smooth metal pin, the bundle will slide off with no resistance.

A-Waterproof-Tinder-Bundle-Hack-That-Guarantees-Fire

Slight pressure needed to remove the pin

 Tie the loose tag end at the middle of the bundle leaving a 1 inch tag to hang free. This loose tag end is where you’ll start unrolling pieces from the bundle. 

Step 5:

While the wax is still liquified, hold the knot end of the bundle and coat with the remaining melted wax on all sides. Hang it from the knot with a clip to dry. Once dry, repeat this step two times.

A-Waterproof-Tinder-Bundle-Hack-That-Guarantees-Fire

Use something other than your fingers if you don’t like hot wax on your skin. Some do ;)

Now, to make your time productive between dippings, create a Paracord-Duct-Tape-Lighter. I know, it’s a bonus DiY Preparedness Project for you. You get 2 for 1 today… No extra charge!

Bonus DiY Tip

A-Waterproof-Tinder-Bundle-Hack-That-Guarantees-Fire

Remove that pesky child-safety thing from the lighter

Grab the child-safety strip that runs over the striker wheel with a pair of needle-nose pliers. Twist up and out of the lighter housing. This step makes it easier to get flame when your fingers and hands are numb from cold.

A-Waterproof-Tinder-Bundle-Hack-That-Guarantees-Fire

Create a loop of cord at the base of the lighter

Cut a piece of paracord a little over double the length of the lighter. Burn the ends to prevent fraying. Make several wraps of duct tape (Gorilla Tape) around the lighter.

DSCN0324

A-Waterproof-Tinder-Bundle-Hack-That-Guarantees-Fire

Use a carabiner to attach the lighter to your kit

Add a whistle or other useful emergency items and attach it to your kit. No more fumbling around for fire when you need it!

Waterproof Tinder Bundle continued…

Your bundle will resemble a honeycomb (or drug smuggling cache) with three layers of wax.

A-Waterproof-Tinder-Bundle-Hack-That-Guarantees-Fire

The finished product

Step 6:

To use, find the short tag end at the middle of the bundle from Step 4. Untie and roll off a 2 inch section. The wax will crumble but won’t affect the waterproofing. No worries, the whole bundle is waxed.

Process the piece by pulling and fraying the individual strands to create a fibrous, hairy looking nest. This only takes a few minutes. Time well spent if using a ferro rod or other sparking device. Of course, if you’re lighter works, you can simply light the cord and make hot chocolate.

A-Waterproof-Tinder-Bundle-Hack-That-Guarantees-Fire

Below is a comparison of waxed and unwaxed jute. They both ignite immediately by a ferro rod but the waxed version will give you a much longer burn time. You need all the advantages you can get when building fire.

A-Waterproof-Tinder-Bundle-Hack-That-Guarantees-Fire

Non-waxed fibers burned in less than 15 seconds… like flash powder.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A-Waterproof-Tinder-Bundle-Hack-That-Guarantees-Fire

The waxed twine had to be extinguished to prevent burning a spot on my board

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Build it… and it will burn!

Keep Doing the Stuff!

Todd

P.S. – You can also connect with us on TwitterPinterestGoogle +, and our Facebook page. The Doing the Stuff Network community can be found here: PinterestGoogle +, and Facebook. Lots of good stuff going on here… check it out!

P.P.S ~ If you find value in our blog, DRG and I would appreciate your vote on the “Top Prepper Sites“! You can vote daily by clicking here or on the image below. Check out all the other value-adding Prepper Sites while you’re there.

Thanks for sharing the stuff!

Copyright Information: Content on this site (unless the work of a third-party) may be shared freely in digital form, in part or whole, for non-commercial use with a link back to this site crediting the author. If you are interested a third-party article, please contact the author directly for republishing information.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Bushcraft, Camping, DIY Preparedness Projects, Doing the Stuff, Preparedness, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | 10 Comments

Live Like a Prepper but You Don’t Have to Be a Prepper: A Tale of Two Cities

[Todd's note: Follower's of this blog know that I am a lover of unconventional wisdom when it comes to health, nutrition, and fitness... which I consider your most important prep. I discovered Dr. Dan Stickler (Paleo Doc) in his post at SurvivalBlog a few years ago. His advice confirmed my Primal prepping lifestyle. He graciously agreed to write this article for Survival Sherpa readers. Thanks, Dan! Enjoy! To connect with Dr. Stickler, see his bio below.]

Live Like a Prepper but You Don't Have to Be a Prepper: A Tale of Two Cities

by Dr. Daniel Stickler

I live half of each week in Asheville, NC and the other half of the week in Charleston, WV, these cities are of similar size but the mindset of each group is very different.  Asheville would be a wonderful place to be if there were an “event” that took society back a century or two.  The population of Asheville has the mindset that makes them a great prepper society.  Many people raise their own chickens, have permaculture yards, have gardens, and there are many small farmers.  You have people with bees, people making butter, old-fashioned soap makers, and even people making clothes.  These are just some of the things you can find at any of the five or so farmers markets that are going on around town on various days of the week.  People here are also very environmentally conscious and active in promoting it.

Charleston, WV is very different, it has the potential to be like Asheville, but it is not and I am not sure why, especially with its recent history.  In July of 2012, Charleston was one of the hardest cities hit by the derecho.  Power was out over most of the state, the shortest power outage in our area was five days and these days were in the upper 90’s.  Gas stations could not pump gas, stores were closed but it did not matter because they had no drinks after day 2 and we had a boil water advisory.  People were panicking….no food, no water, no gas to get anywhere, and no air conditioning.  This was the first wake up call, some heeded this warning and did some stocking up but many sat back and blamed the government for their failures.  Round two occurred just two weeks ago; a toxic organic chemical used to process coal leaked around 10,000 gallons into the river a mile upstream from the water processing plant that supplied water for over 300,000 residents.  Not sure who allowed this chemical to be stored upstream in the first place but the tanks had not even been inspected for 23 years.  The EPA was not even familiar with the risks of the chemical.  Residents are told do not use the water for bathing, washing clothes, and certainly not for drinking.  All restaurants are shut down, stores are out of water and drinks within 24 hours.  The chemical is finally low enough after five days of this to allow some residents to flush their pipes, three days later we are told a new reading shows the level too high again.  People leave town because they have no water and cannot clean, cook, or stay hydrated.  You would think that most of these people would have been prepared.  Unfortunately, most did not learn their lesson the first time and now complained again about the government failing to take care of them.  Now, Charleston is the chemical valley, there are major chemical plants all up and down the rivers.  Coal and the chemical industry is the life-blood of this region and the reality is; this was going to happen at some point.

I tell this story to first illustrate the point that few people are prepared for these short term emergencies and live in a world where, in their opinion, the government will be there to help.  This demonstrates two emergency situations in a short time frame in one town.  Secondly, I bring this up because it is a real test of preparation.  I had water and food and at no point did panic set in.  I also had a back-up, Berkey water filters, and so I did not concern myself about the water running out.  The black carbon filters along with the PF-2 chemical filters can pretty much make any water potable.  I do not keep a huge stockpile of dehydrated and canned food (3 months for 7 people) and you will see my reasoning in the next part of this article.

Why Prep?

Let’s start by asking: what are you prepping for?

Financial collapse of society?

EMP, solar flare, computer attack that shuts down the grid?

Super volcano or major environmental shift?

Massive pandemic?

It’s really not possible to adequately prep for all of these so you are really taking a gamble if you select one to be your focus.  Also, lets face the fact that in some of these scenarios – does it really matter?

Let’s first eliminate super-volcano and major environmental shift, not only would survival be near impossible but life would be pretty miserable for those that did.  Now pretty much all other scenarios will involve a significant culling of the population but the time frame for this culling is what will dictate the adequacy of the preparations.  If a massive pandemic quickly eliminates 80-90% of the world population then the mindset of most preppers will be justified.  By this, I mean having a retreat or homestead with plenty of stockpiles would be beneficial.  However, the other scenarios where the culling is gradual then this type of mindset could get you killed.

If the grid goes down, people will get desperate and the more hungry they become the more desperate they become.  Desperate people will not reason with morality in mind.  Violence will undoubtedly run ramped and gangs will form up knowing the power in numbers.  The cities will quickly empty and these gangs will head for the countryside’s.  You say you have guns but so do they and they will significantly outnumber you.  Unless you are prepared to spend a few years in a nuclear missile silo then you will lose your preps.  No matter how fortified and well armed you are, you will eventually be overrun.

What about food?  You cannot sustain yourself on years of dehydrated and canned foods.  The slightly unbalanced nutritional mix will eventually catch up with you.  Some have said they could hunt for their food.  Think again, based on the deer population and the number of hunters, the deer herd will be completely wiped out in a few weeks and besides a gunshot in the woods will be like a dinner bell for everyone else out there with a gun.

What about the heirloom seeds you plan to plant to get your garden going?  Again, those marauding hordes will enjoy feasting on that garden when they come.

So what is my recommendation?

We need to get back to basics and learn to live like humans did for hundreds of thousands of years – like hunter-gatherers (HG’S).  Those that are successful at this will be the ones that will go on to build the next generation after an apocalyptic event.

Start Here

Where to begin?

Something that I have spoken about many times before is your health and fitness level.  So many preppers focus on their “preps” but that will be a limited resource.  If you are truly anticipating some major apocalypse then you need to focus on your own health and fitness.  HG’s generally do not survive long if they do not possess a certain degree of fitness.  First, you need to get any excess weight under control and work on resolving any health issues.  Those that are relying on medications to survive will likely not last too long.  Exercise, I am not talking about treadmills and nautilus machines.  I am talking about functional fitness.  Train like you will live.  Strengthen the movements that will be required for daily function.  Basic movements can consist of push-ups, squats, and pull-ups.  Add some long hikes with a pack and also throw some sprints in there.  When I say sprints I mean short bursts of running at your top speed.  Climb things.  Jump around.  Parkour training is an excellent option.

Water: This is life or death.  Learn to identify safe sources of water.  For several months you may be fine using portable filtration devices but these will eventually become depleted.  Learn how to derive water from sources in nature and how to use items in our natural environment to filter the water.

Nutrition: As I said, dehydrated foods will only get you so far and that assumes that you are able to keep your cache.  We must learn to forage off the land.  In most post-apocalyptic scenarios, we are going to need to be mobile at least for the short-term (a few years).  Our forests are full of life-sustaining nutrients and we need to learn how to obtain them.  Buying a book on edible plants and thinking that you will use it when needed is a recipe for disaster.  Many people will look at plants and identify them incorrectly in their field guide and end up poisoning themselves.  There are many available weekend courses on foraging.  Getting a good understanding of plants can also help with being able to identify medicinal species.  You will also need a source of meat.  One of the most successful hunting techniques is trapping.  These small animals are abundant and few of the surviving population will understand the techniques to obtaining them.  This also does not require a gunshot.

As things begin to settle down then you should also consider settling down but not as a mountain man hermit type.  Successful living will require community support.  Once the gangs have dwindled and died out, survivors will begin to gather together in communities to rebuild society.  It is helpful to possess a skill that can contribute to these groups; farming, making clothes from hides, medical care, bee keeping, and other more basic crafts.

I am not telling people to abandon their current ways of prepping but rather to think about contingencies.  Prioritize the process.  No matter what the scenario, your health and fitness level will be paramount so if you have neglected this area so far then make it a higher priority.  Spend some money on a personal trainer or nutrition coach instead of another gun to add to your stockpile.  Take a course on foraging instead of adding another 3 months of dehydrated food to your stores.  Lastly, organize around a group of people who have complimentary skill sets.

I will add that I am not someone who expects this societal collapse to happen but these types of events can be highly unpredictable so it is always good to be prepared as I have learned from experience.

Author bio:

Live Like a Prepper but You Don't Have to Be a Prepper: A Tale of Two Cities

Dr. Stickler trained in allopathic medicine and held board certification in General Surgery for more than ten years; performing general and vascular surgery as well as over 3,000 gastric bypass weight loss procedures. He had a thriving surgical practice and was a specialist in weight loss, treating over 10,000 clients in both the surgical practice and at the wellness institute. The busier he became the more he began to realize that true health is not a result of pharmaceuticals and stainless steel. He discovered that the clients at the wellness institute were making remarkable progress through nutrition, fitness and lifestyle counseling and hormone optimization.  Not only were they resolving disease, they were optimizing health, regaining vitality, improving neuro-cognitive status and creating lasting changes.

This realization led him to the understanding that he could leave the old methods behind and fully embrace the new paradigm of health optimization. He retired from surgery and now knows that each individual has within them the ability to achieve optimal health and live a life full of vitality. He works closely with each client to develop individualized treatment regimens and provides extensive guidance throughout the year to assist the client in achieving their goals.

Dr. Stickler is an avid outdoor enthusiast who thrives on rock climbing, mountain biking, snowboarding, hiking and world adventure travel.  He is a member of the Wilderness Medicine Society, Age Management Medicine Group and is CrossFit Level 1 certified and trained in Mountain Athlete. He and Mickra have five active teenage boys who live for adventure.

Website: Synchronicity Wellness

Blog: PaleoDoc

Facebook: Paleo Doc

Categories: Preparedness, Primal/Paleo Lifestyle | Tags: , , , , | 6 Comments

Best Prepper Practices: Add a 4th B to Your 3 B’s

by Todd Walker

Best practices exist in all endeavors –  sports, business, education, and… preparedness.

Best-Prepper-Practices-Add-a-4th-B-to-Your-3-B's

“Best” practice (BP) is used to describe a method that has consistently produced superior results over time compared to techniques yielding lessor outcomes. Methods of Doing the Stuff should change with new discoveries and better techniques.

Pleeeese, try to leave egos at the door to avoid holding on to less than best practices.

Ask ten preppers for their best food storage practice and you’ll likely get 11 different opinions. We’re an opinionated lot. No problem with opinions. But opinions are highly subjective. The aim here is to discuss stuff proven to work and can be applied by novice and experienced preppers.

Keep in mind that BP’s can and should be individualized to fit your situation. For instance, I don’t eat wheat and grain products. On rare occasions that I eat a slice of pizza, my body pays dearly. I store food that I eat now. Whatever your diet, some food storage is a best practice for preparedness.

Again, practicing the best method for Doing the Stuff of preparedness is our purpose here. We’re not covering all Best Practices in one post. We’ll discuss the first one today… the 4th B.

A good a place to start is at the beginning…

Discovering the online “prepper/survivalist” movement 7 years ago, I realized that I was one and had been for most of my life. I’d just never known what label to paste on the stuff I was doing. I’m still unsure. Maybe it’s my hatred for labels.

Labels aside, there are trillions of bytes of information floating through the preparedness community. At last count, I’ve devoured 2.39% of that mountain of data. I chew on the hay and spit out the sticks.

Searching for hay to chew on, I rarely find survival and prepper blogs mention health and fitness in their apocalyptic lists. This needs to change. I mostly find beans, bullets, and band aids – and lots of shiny objects to collect. DRG and I do a fair amount of stuff collecting too.

But…

Two years ago Dirt Road Girl’s cancer destroyed our best practice paradigm. Today, our #1 concern is staying healthy… in a sustainable fashion. This post was partly inspired by Dr. Dan Stickler (PaleoDoc) and his SurvivalBlog post when he stated…

“I would like to see the 3 Bs change to the 4 Bs: Beans, Bullets, Band-Aids, and Body.”

Being able to use the other 3 B’s depends on how well we develop the 4th B… your Body. You’ll never regret focusing on the 4th B as a prep!

Best Practices to Build Your Body

1.) Destroy the Food Pyramid

Pyramids are built by slaves.

80% of your body composition is determined by what you eat. The obesity epidemic in America is directly linked to our government food pyramid. The problem is compounded by nutritional “experts” recommending food that the human body was never meant to consume.

Here’s a chart showing how the obesity epidemic is fueled by High Fructose Corn Syrup.

cornsyrup

Is your pantry filled with HFCS? Read my post on how dropping the F-bomb could save your live.

Owning years of stored food, guns, water filters, first aid supplies, and bug out bags won’t be of much use if you’re body shuts down from chronic disease.

Type 2 diabetes or high blood pressure may “run” in your family. That fact doesn’t have to sentence you the same “fate.” There’s a better way…

Leave SADisease Behind 

  • Develop a lifestyle of eating what your body needs. Conventional nutritional wisdom promotes the Standard American Diet (SAD – Processed foods, sugar, High Fructose Corn Syrup  - chemically created sweetener with little to no whole foods). Our bodies aren’t designed to ingest SAD stuff. SADiet leads to SADisease.
  • Stop counting calories! A calorie restricting diet is one more stressor your body and brain can’t afford. Starve your body and your brain goes into survival mode… to store fat.
  • Eat real food. Processed stuff imitating food leaves you overfed and under nourished.
  • Perimeter shopping. The interior isles of your grocery store are filled with boxes, bags, and cans with labels. You can try to pronounce the chemicals resembling food on the package only if your food has labels. If you can’t pronounce it, avoid it. Adopting this simple strategy alone can transform your health.
  • Nourish your noggin. Eat these excellent brain foods: Eggs – the yellow yolk are high in protein, fat, and other essential vitamins and minerals. Fish – your brain is 60% fat. Feed it high quality, wild caught, oily fish for an Omega-3 feast. Nuts – excellent for your grey matter. Check out the Brain Pyramid here.
  • Get to know your local farmers. Find farmers who produce naturally raise grass-fed animals, free-range poultry, and non-GMO fruits and vegetables.

Here’s a few resources to help you locate local food producers:

  1. Eat Wild
  2. Local Harvest
  3. Locally Grown

If you’d like, you can read more my nourishing thoughts here.

2.) Functional Fitness

Functionally fit means having the ability to be physically useful in everyday life and emergencies. This simply means be strong to be useful… or Be ready to go when the SHTF. 

Doing a set of B.O.B. pushups.

Doing a set of B.O.B. push ups.

Being active and exercising are different. Both are important in becoming functionally fit.

But here’s the distinction…

Exercise should be performed in brief, intense sessions with a purpose in mind. Walking the dog, hiking, cycling, and chasing your 2 year-old is not exercise. These activities fail to meet the requirement of brief and intense. You may be thinking I haven’t met your toddler!

You’re right. I haven’t.

These are all activities that keep you moving and helps pump toxins out of your body – an important part of optimal health. Do activities you enjoy that keeps you moving regularly a minimum of 2 hours per week.

Workout Hacks

More exercise doesn’t mean better. Whether exercising at a gym or not, you should learn hacks that save time and pain while maximizing benefits. Don’t have time (or money) for a gym membership? Me either… but I manage to stay fit.

Here’s my top shortcuts to functional fitness:

a.) Use your body weight: An intense, short session of push ups, squats, and pull-ups works all muscle groups. Lifting heavy stuff adds lean muscle mass – very important for those of us on the backside of 40. Another plus is that you can lift your body weight most any place. No gym required. (1-3 times per week)

b.) Max Out (Sprint): Skip your long slow run and do a 10 minute sprint session. You’ll only need to do this once every week to ten days. Your done in 10 minutes or less. My advise is to take it slow and build up to max effort.

c.) Keep moving at a slow pace: This one goes back to being active; hiking, walking, dancing, swimming, and chasing your toddler. (2-5 hours per week)

d.) Be consistent: Practice doing the stuff for your body – Splitting firewood without hydraulic machinery, carrying heavy stuff (safely), taking the stairs (with leaps and bounds), walking a mile with your bug out bag, etc. 

e.) Be safe: Consult your physician before starting a new program. Learn proper technique. Monitor vital signs like blood pressure, heart rate and breathing. 

If you made it to this point in the article, there’s hope no matter the condition of your body. Even if the term “push-up” automatically means the frozen push up treat in your mind, no worries, you can redesign your body and survivability with simple lifestyle changes. I said it’s simple, not always easy. But totally worth the effort!

Is adding the 4th B on your Best Practices radar? If so, we’d like to know how you’re doing the stuff for your body. 

Keep Doing the Stuff!

Todd

P.S. – You can also connect with us on TwitterPinterestGoogle +, and our Facebook page. The Doing the Stuff Network community can be found here: PinterestGoogle +, and Facebook.

P.P.S ~ If you find value in our blog, DRG and I would appreciate your  vote on the “Top Prepper Sites“! You can vote daily by clicking here. Check out all the other value-adding Prepper Sites while you’re there. 

Thanks for sharing the stuff!

Copyright Information: Content on this site (unless the work of a third-party) may be shared freely in digital form, in part or whole, for non-commercial use with a link back to this site crediting the author. If you are interested a third-party article, please contact the author directly for republishing information.

 

Categories: Doing the Stuff, Functional Fitness, Preparedness, Real Food | Tags: , , , , , | 13 Comments

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