fire lays? (a lost survival skill)

Fire Lays…

It surprises me that many people never heard the term “fire lays.”

But understanding it, lays the foundation for any person to light a fire in any condition.

Learn the fundamentals of the “fire lay,” here.

Note:  Fundamental skills are not sexy, but they are what separates the novice from the expert.

Check this video and become a MASTER FIRE BUILDER.

Stay Prepared, -Lou

Old World Cooking Methods with a Modern Twist

We’re spoiled with electric ovens, stoves, microwaves, and refrigerators. So what happens when the economy plummets, natural disaster strikes, or the country is attacked and we lose electricity and our means of cooking food the way we’ve always known how to? This is why it is essential to know how to use old world cooking methods.

While there are many items that you probably have stored in order to cook with in case you lose electricity, such as propane, kerosene, solar-powered stoves and ovens, knowledge of the primitive way of cooking is always a good skill to have. Open fire cooking was used up until the 18th century, so how did they do it and how can we make it our own in the 21st century?

Surely we’ve all done this sort of open fire cooking when camping. This is a very simple and quick way to get a fire going in order to cook food to nourish your body in the wake of an apocalypse. To cook in these open fire pits, you may use the familiar style of sticking the hot dog on the stick and roasting it. However, there are many other ways to cook more than just hotdogs and s’mores on the open fire with items that you probably have around the house, or items that are easily found among debris.

  • Foil — one of the quickest and easiest ways to wrap food up and throw it on the fire as it is. You can cook corn, bake potatoes, and make whole meals of meat and veggies! Deer steak? Squirrel on a skewer? Be creative here. Remember that you can use certain kinds of wood (like applewood) to add a smoky flavor.
  • Dutch Oven — you should have at least one of these. It could be made out the traditional cast iron or some newer versions are made out of aluminum. You can find old poles around the yard, off of the old swing-set, or among the debris in the wake of disaster, and construct a teepee like structure to hold the Dutch oven up over the fire and get cooking soup, stew, biscuits and more. You can also use the lid of the Dutch oven as a makeshift griddle.
  • The Grill — that gas grill you worship on the weekends can be useful in the wake of a disaster, even when no propane can be found. You can use the grill top to place over an open fire, using some old bricks or stones to raise it above the fire and get grilling.
  • Brick Stove — those same bricks lying among the debris can be used to make a small stove as well. You can make these stoves by creating a bottom compartment where the fire will be made and making a stone top over the fire, where you can heat pots and pans.
  • Can Stove — sometimes called hobo stove, can be extremely useful and easy to make out of an old can. This is definitely a more modern method. They are also useful because they are lightweight, unlike the Dutch oven or the grill top, and can be carried easily. Because they are so small, they can also use a wide array of heating mechanisms (candles, small twigs, alcohol, etc.)
  • Mud Oven — some food just needs time in the oven to taste good. While the Dutch oven works well, you may not have one, so making an oven could be the solution. You can build these ovens with clay or mud from the ground, creating a hard flat surface with a hood over it. The fire is put in the oven to heat it and then taken out and the food is placed in and cooked from the trapped heat. An oven could also be made out of old stones or brick. A makeshift oven can also be made with a hood made out of an old mailbox or scrap piece of curved metal.

To make survival cooking more convenient, purchase a good cooking kit made for camping. A Coleman Aluminum Mess Kit is only $10 and contains and aluminum skillet, pot, pan and mug.

To your survival,
Richard Marshall

Avoiding Deficiencies in a Post-Apocalyptic World

by Richard Marshall

Tactical and Survival

Out of food? Go to Trader Joe’s! But what if there is not a Trader Joe’s? 7-11 will do, right? Who doesn’t like a Slurpee and beef jerky? No 7-11 you say? Yes, when disaster strikes, there might be a possibility that stores will not be of service and you will have to rely on Mother Nature to supply your food. After all, 7-11 or no, you still have to eat. It’s crucial that you avoid vitamin and nutrient deficiencies if you want to stay alive!

If you want to stay nourished, you know you should keep a nice survival food stash. It’s only one of the most discussed survival topics! Dried or canned meats, dried fruits, nuts, peanut butter, and canned vegetables are good examples of highly nutritious foods to keep around. In order to survive, keeping yourself nourished is absolutely essential, especially if you want to avoid deficiencies.

Depending on the vitamin or mineral, deficiencies can affect the body in many different ways. Everything from major illnesses or depression can be attributed to deficiencies, and can affect all parts of the body, so deficiencies are not something you can take lightly.

  • Vitamin A deficiencies may include slow bone formation, night blindness, dry eyes which can lead to blindness, increased susceptibility to cold and virus infections, and frequent infections of the bladder or urinary tract.
  • There are six different types of vitamin B: B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, and B12. Deficiency of any of these B vitamins can range from mild to severe symptoms like chronic fatigue, muscular weakness, or dry cracked skin to dementia and depression.
  • Vitamin C deficiency symptoms include dry hair and skin, weakness, nosebleeds. Severe deficiency of vitamin C can lead to scurvy which rare but not impossible.
  • A deficiency of Vitamin D can lead to irritability and depression, as well as bone and muscle problems including, but not limited to, rickets, osteoporosis, and skeletal deformities and retardation in young children. Vitamin D deficiencies can also increase your risk of Type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure. Vitamin D is a critical vitamin found in many foods ranging from egg yolks, salmon and sweet potatoes, and has many healthy attributes ranging from mental clarity and focus to maintaining the proper amount of calcium in your blood.

Given that other vitamins and minerals perform essential functions in our bodies, deficiencies can cause major problems for our bodies if we don’t properly keep up with healthy food intake. Deficiencies can lower our chances of survival during a chaotic situation such as a major disaster. While the effects of vitamin deficiencies may take a while to appear, the effects tend to linger once they do.

Many crucial nutrients can be found in nature. The most essential nutrients are (in order of importance) protein, carbohydrates, fat, salt and potassium. Protein is most commonly found in meat and fish, but protein is also found in dairy and nuts. Carbohydrates are found in grains, fruits, and a lot of dairy products: dairy products actually contain more carbohydrates than protein. Fat, which is critical for energy and protecting the body from extreme temperatures, is found in many foods, but the most preferred portable sources of fat are peanut butter, canned fish (sardines in particular), nuts, and dried coconut, as well as many food bars. Salt and potassium, which regulate heart and muscle functions, are also found in many natural foods. Potassium is commonly found in fruits and vegetables, such as bananas, cantaloupe and broccoli, but is also found in yogurt and white beans. Salt is found naturally in meats and nuts, and most vegetables have at least some natural salts.

Disaster can strike when you least expect it, so it’s good to be prepared! Proper nourishment is very important in everyday life, but imagine if you had no other option butto stay properly nourished to stay alive. To survive in the wild with limited resources, keep the following in mind:

  • Fish has a ton of survival nutrients, including many necessary vitamins and minerals (something many people aren’t aware of);
  • Some sort of edible wild berries grow in most US states and are rich in vitamins, C, E and K;
  • Meat is rich in protein fat, iron and minerals;
  • Mushrooms are a great source of vitamin D;
  • Many US states have watercress and asparagus, which are rich in vitamin C, B, Folate and a lot more;
  • Dandelions make a good salad.

Get ready now by studying local edible plant live, make sure you have plenty of seeds to plant a garden and continue to grow your food stash. A fun fact before you go: most basic essential vitamins can be found in broccoli and Brussels sprouts!

EXPEDIENT FIELD GEAR REPAIRS

For want of a nail the shoe was lost.
For want of a shoe the horse was lost.
For want of a horse the rider was lost.
For want of a rider the message was lost.
For want of a message the battle was lost.
For want of a battle the kingdom was lost.
And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.

One of the biggest problems facing the individual in the field can be equipment failure (blowout). Whether it’s your LBE/LBV or ruck coming apart at critical stress points, or your boots deciding to blow out due to hard use, these issues can and will happen in the field. Considering the importance of your boots and your load bearing gear, having some items to perform hasty repairs is very important to the Survivalist.

More…

h/t WRSA

Source: The NC Renegade
Preparedness

Intro to Keeping Chickens

Having chickens is a homesteading and prepping must, but interestingly, it is becoming a hip trend, even in the city. People are starting to look for better, fresher foods and having your own eggs in the morning is just plain appealing and fulfilling. Keeping a flock of chickens in your backyard makes good sense regardless of whether you live in an urban or rural area.

There are different varieties of chickens that you can rear like layers, broilers or you can opt to keep cockerels. You don’t have to start with a large flock. I recommend you begin with about 25 to 35 chicks.

The best place to buy chicks is from a commercial hatchery because the chicks are already vaccinated for different bacterial and viral diseases. Hatcheries have a variety of chicks; make sure you buy those that thrive in your area.

Pros of Keeping Chickens

They Provide Vital Foods

Obviously, we keep chickens for food. Both eggs and meat are rich in protein and minerals that our bodies need to thrive. We know where our food comes from and can eat without fear of getting deadly diseases from various chemicals used by large commercial producers.

They Eat Everything.

Having chickens is almost like having a garbage disposal. They eat almost everything. From the leftovers of rice, fruits and grains, to grass and insects, nothing goes to waste.

They Will Help Control Pests In Your Home

When I open the chicken coops during the warm months, chickens roam around scratching in the grass and raised beds. They eat insects, which provide them with extra protein that is necessary for egg production. Some of these insects can affect the produce you are growing, so the work that my chickens are doing is a huge plus in my book.

Cons of Having Chickens

Expensive feed

I recommend giving your chicken’s free range and adding kitchen scraps to their diet. Only buy feed when absolutely necessary. If you plan on buying chicken feed exclusively, you should know that it is expensive. It gets especially expensive when your chickens quit laying eggs. This generally happens after 2-4 years. Chicken feed on average costs 50-80 cents per pound, which means that you’ll be spending hundreds of dollars keeping chickens that don’t lay eggs; unless of course you make broth out of them (they don’t taste as great when they get old). Obviously, if we live in an SHTF scenario, satisfying gourmet tastes is not going to be our priority and we’ll be happy to have less than perfect chicken.

They Can Kick The Bucket Quickly In The Event Of Disease

If there is an outbreak of disease, your birds can start dying off pretty rapidly. Diseases spread fast in chicken communities, and within a week, you can have all your chickens dead.

They Are Highly Sensitive

Chickens are highly sensitive and they need close monitoring. Though they are easy to keep, they can get distracted and become moody or unable to lay.

Housing

Chickens need a lot of space especially if you are giving them free range. During the day I keep my chickens in a large area enclosed by a chain link fence. Even you don’t have a fenced area for them, don’t worry. After a couple of days, chickens get used to their house and will return home every night.If you keep chickens for eggs, ensure you have nests where they can lay.

Thinking of getting chickens? Assess your yard and figure out where you can keep them efficiently, while providing them the space they need; determine what they will eat and whether you will raise for meat or for eggs.

To your survival,
Richard Marshall

Tactical Vs. Regular Fitness

During the past decade, a new fitness genre has been developed.  Fitness programming comes and goes over time, but rarely is an entire new category created.  This new type of fitness training is now called Tactical Fitness.  What we once called Military, Police, Fire Fighter, and Special Ops Fitness programs is now categorized into the ever-growing group of Tactical Fitness.  Even major strength, conditioning, and personal training associations like the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) has a program with a peer-reviewed journal and certification program for Tactical Strength and Conditioning (TSAC).  So, I do not see this genre losing ground like some overused concepts like boot camp workouts and functional fitness.

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE?

Tactical Fitness is not about workouts, it’s about work. It is not about working out to get good at working out, it is about creating programs that carry over into real life movements like lifts, carries, crawls, runs, rucks, swims, and mobility, even analytical and creative thinking. It uses non-traditional equipment to lift and carry loads that are not equally balanced.

Tactical Fitness is about choosing a profession where your fitness may one day be the difference between life and death for you, your buddy, or someone you are trying to help.  Not only does your health and fitness need to be developed, but your ability to react as you have been trained and think clearly under stress is an absolute must.

Knowing how to be a team player is critical too.  Find workout buddies with like goals and play sports to learn how to be part of a team.  Your workout today must make you better tomorrow in your job.  This means not only having a healthy heart, blood pressure, sugar levels, and weight, but your workout must help you with the following elements of fitness:

  • Speed and Endurance – Run and ruck farther and faster.
  • Strength and Power – Lift equipment, gear, and people too.
  • Flexibility and  Mobility – Move easily over uneven terrain and in between obstacles.
  • Muscle Stamina – Move yourself and gear up, over, under, and through space.
  • Old Man Grip – Hold gear, climb rope / mountain, grab things and people without tiring.
  • Skills – Swim to save a life, to cross a river, meet up with a ship or sub for extraction, and to be effective on 75% of this planet.
  • And more – Anything and everything in your job.

TACTICAL ATHLETE VS AVERAGE ATHLETE

It is possible to achieve excellent results with each of these elements of fitness.  You will be naturally stronger and enjoy certain routines, but you will also have weaknesses.  You have to determine what these weaknesses are in order to fix and improve them.  When you are a Tactical Athlete, training for all of these elements will not make you the strongest or fastest person in the country, but you will be well above average in both strength and endurance, stamina, and other areas.

It is very common for an advanced Tactical Athlete to be strong enough to do 20 pullups and dead lift two times his bodyweight of 200 or more pounds and still be able to run a six-minute mile pace for several miles.  Those are excellent numbers, but a cross country runner will beat you by a minute in a mile run, but likely fail at strength events.  The strong man will almost double your lift weights, but take a bus when the mile run is tested.  The Tactical Athlete’s definition of optimal is different than the normal single-focus athlete where certain fitness elements do not matter.  They all matter to the Tactical Athlete.

GETTING TO  AND THROUGH TRAINING

There are specific stages for the Tactical Athlete in training.  As a recruit or candidate, you have to score competitively to enter these public service professions on what many refer to as the entrance exam. These are your typical fitness tests of pull-ups, pushups, sit-ups, 1.5 mile runs, and maybe a sprint or swim test depending on the service you are training for. Training to get to these boot camps, academies, or special ops selection programs is one thing, but training to get through them is another.

MAINTENANCE AND GROWTH CYCLES FOR ACTIVE TACTICAL ATHLETES

The post -training and active-duty worlds of a Tactical Athlete’s profession are even more different.  Your training year will require you to prepare for job specifics, and that may require you to run and ruck more, swim and dive more, or lift and sprint more. It all depends on what your mission skills will be.

Maintenance should be programmed in a way where you systematically stay strong, fast, well-conditioned in cardio, and flexible with periodic growth and peaking zones through the year. Learning about periodization is key to arranging workouts to help you with your job requirements in-country, overseas, and seasonally in your community. It also keeps you healthy and injury-free.

From Tactical Training Tips

More survival hacks.

If you’ve ever been in a real survival situation, you know how quickly your brain kicks into gear to create makeshift tools, weapons and other necessities that you don’t have with you out of whatever materials you can find laying around.  Survivals hacks are these bit of wisdom that real survivors, experimenters, innovators (and bored out of their mind people) have created over the years. Below are a few top hacks. Hopefully, you’ll find them useful.

Soda Can Life Hacks

  1. A pop can opener can be fashioned into a fishing hook.
  2. Fill a soda can with oil and insert a rolled up paper towel into the opening. Light the paper towel and enjoy and oil “candle” that will last for hours.
  3. Make a light out of the Coke can by cutting the side to make a “window” with the flaps that you cut serving as shutters. Place a candle inside of the can. As the candlelight reflects, it will be significantly intensified and you will have a relatively bright lantern.

Duct Tape Life Hacks

  1. Use duct tape to repair:
    1. Your water bottle
    2. Hydration pack
    3. Backpack
    4. Tent
    5. Clothing
  2. Stick some duct tape on a lid of a jar that won’t open, leaving a piece loose. Pull on the piece and twist – the jar will open.
  3. Stick a piece of duct tape on a deep cut or onto a chunk of flesh that was partially cut off to seal it when you have no bandaging material. This helps to piece the skin and flesh together. The downer? You’ll have to keep it there until you can get to a decent first aid kit (ripping it off is not pleasant.)
  4. Freezing? Wrap duct tape to seal the gaps between your sleeves and your gloves, as well as between your boots and your pants to keep the heat from escaping.
  5. Use duct tape as a brace and as a sling to protect the broken limb until you find more suitable materials (if you do).

Milk Jugs Life Hacks

  1. Use empty milk jugs to build a raft.
  2. One milk jug hack I saw recently relates to making a light. Fill the milk jug with water. Strap a headlamp onto it with the light facing in. Turn on. You will have a much brighter light.

Other Cool Survival Hacks

  1. Place any kind of improvised wick into a jar of Crisco and light it. Now you have a functional candle that will burn for weeks!
  2. Use any type of greasy chips (Doritos and Cheetos seem to work wonders) as tinder if there is none around.
  3. Use a coffee can to create a portable stove (cut an opening on the side towards the bottom to feed in branches and other fuel.) It creates a concentrated source of heat to cook your food.
  4. Apply some baby oil on the exposed skin to prevent (or at least delay) frostbite if you have to be out looking for food or supplies in freezing temperatures.

Have you discovered some hacks of your own? Don’t keep them to yourself! Share them with us or blog about them.
To your survival,
Richard Marshall

Do Your Kids Know these Survival Skills?

by

As a parent, it didn’t take me long to realize that I was different.

Like the other parents, I also realized that the world is full of dangers (and is quickly getting worse).

But, where all of the other parents were doing everything in their power to shield their kids from the dangers, I felt compelled to prepare my child.

In fact, I feel an obligation to make sure my child knows how to survive when SHTF.

 

Teaching Your Children the Survival Mentality – It is Never Too Early!

Survivalism isn’t about knowing a bunch of tricks (though that certainly helps). Survival readiness is a mentality.

And, while a 2-year old won’t be ready to light a fire or read a map, it is never too early to teach your kids the survivalist mentality.

It can be really challenging to teach your kids the survival mentality. It means telling them that bad things do happen, that there are bad people in the world, and that things aren’t as stable as they seem.

These are cruel life lessons. But, trust me, kids can handle it. And not telling them is much crueler because they will be unprepared when bad things do occur.

Aside from teaching my daughter specific survival skills, here are some of the things I do to teach her the survival mentality:

  • Take her out of her comfort zone: Whereas some parents never take their kids out of a 3-block radius of their homes, my daughter goes to all sorts of places. This includes the great outdoors, big cities, the metro, ethnic restaurants… By going to as many different places as possible, my daughter has learned to be comfortable and find herself in multiple settings, with multiple types of people.

Ask her what she thinks should be done to solve problems: I want to encourage critical thinking skills in my daughter. If I am always telling her what to do, then she isn’t going to learn to think for herself. So, when a problem arises, I ask her what we should do. Even at 5, she was able to make decisions like whether we should wait for the next bus or walk. These aren’t life-or-death decisions, but they do build the survival mentality.

  • Letting her explore, fall, and sometimes get hurt: As a parent, it is really hard to watch your child get hurt. But this is how we learn important life lessons. For example, there is one mom at the park who never lets her kid climb on the playground equipment because she is too worried that he will fall and get hurt. As a result of being coddled, the kid is one of the most uncoordinated 5 year olds I’ve ever seen. Yes, he could fall. But the chances of him dying or getting seriously injured are practically zero. So, before you tell your kid not to run, jump, climb, etc. out of fear that he/she might get hurt, think of the bigger picture instead!

8 Survival Skills Your Kids Need to Know NOW

How to Build a Fire

When my daughter was 3, I taught her how to make a safe fire pit by surrounding it by rocks (and to be careful lifting the rocks when in snake country!), and how to make the “tee pee” out of sticks.

When she turned 5, I let her light the fire – with supervision, of course! If she is ever lost in the wilderness, she will be able to stay warm, keep wild animals away, and signal for help with the fire.

How to Read a Map

Do you know about the sport Orienteering? It is a race where you have to use a map and a compass to get to certain points in the fastest amount of time. My dad took me Orienteering when I was a kid. I think I was about 6 when we started, and was running through the woods by myself when I was 7.

Start by taking your kids out the first few times. LET THEM GET LOST! Then let them find their way back again. Once they are versed in map reading, you can let them go out on their own.

You can find a local Orienteering club at their website here.

 

What to Do If They Get Lost

Make a safety plan and go over it with your kids! Otherwise, they will likely panic when they get lost and it could lead to disastrous outcomes. Here is what they need to know:

  • When lost in the wilderness: Stay put! Do not go anywhere unless you have a specific reason to do so (like recognizing a landmark or going to a water source). The more they wander in hopes of finding their way back, the more lost they are likely to get.
  • When lost in public places: Stop and observe! Often, the parents are just a few yards away. If the kids immediately panic and start running around looking for you, they will likely just get more lost. If they cannot find you within a few minutes of waiting, they should seek out an adult. First look for police officers. If none are around, then they should (ideally) approach a woman with children and ask for help.

 

What to Do During a Home Invasion

This is every parent’s worst nightmare – and a nightmare which unfortunately happens quite frequently. I recommend that you make a home invasion plan and run test drills with your children.

In the ideal situation, your children will sleep on the same floor as you (such as everyone being on the second floor). Then, if you suspect an intruder is on the first floor or outside, you could gather everyone in your “safe” room and call 911.

If you are unable to gather everyone in a safe room, then you need to have a code word or other signal which can be used from across the home. At the signal, the children should know to HIDE and not come out.


Recommended Reading – Bulletproof Home Defense: Tactics You Can Enact Now to Secure Your Safety


How to Find Drinkable Water

If your children ever get lost in the wilderness, they can go without food for weeks – but they will need water if they are going to survive. The problem is that most natural water sources are contaminated. This could lead to diarrhea, which in turn could lead to dehydration and death.

As soon as your children master the art of making a fire, you can teach them how to boil water to purify it.

But, there is a chance that your kids aren’t going to have a pot for boiling water if they ever get lost in the wilderness or are in a similar survival situation.

Teach them how to locate the safest sources of water – such as to drink water from the moving parts of streams and not from stagnant areas.

Also teach them tricks like using a piece of cloth to absorb dew and moisture from plants, and then wringing it out into a bottle or directly into their mouths.

 

To SCREAM, kick and fight!

If you ever go to a self-defense class, one of the first things you are going to learn and practice is screaming. The same applies to many martial arts.

Unfortunately, most people don’t send their kids to self-defense classes. Instead, we train our kids to be quiet, obedient, and listen to our elders.

So if your kids are in a threatening situation (being attacked, raped, kidnapped…), they might freeze up and become passive.

This is NOT what we want them to do.

As Safe Women and Girls points out,

“the biggest obstacle that most survivors report is the ‘fight, flight or freeze’ response to trauma. Many women report that they didn’t realize what was happening until it was too late and then they were in such shock they were unable to think clearly or act in the way they would have thought they should.”

Teach your kids to SCREAM if they feel they are in a threatening situation.

If screaming doesn’t save them, they should fight back with everything they have!

Fighting back (no matter how seemingly hopeless because the attacker is bigger, stronger) could earn them a few extra seconds, during which time someone notices the struggle and is able to help.

Go ahead and get your kids into martial arts classes so they can practice this.


Recommended Reading – Essential Guide To Self Defense


How many of these survival skills do your kids know?  Are you preparing your kids for survival?  Let us know in the comments.

From Primal Survivor.

EDC Essentials

EDC, or everyday carry, is one of the most important aspects of the prepper way of life. After all, it is a key component to the “hope for the best, prepare for the worst” mentality. Even in your day to day life, you will encounter certain situations from time to time that requires simple tools – having these on hand, ready to use at a moment’s notice can make a big difference. You might even save someone’s life.

There are different levels of EDC, depending on what you do for a living and where you live. While a first responder may always have a comprehensive medical kit easily accessible at all times, you may find that your lifestyle allows for a bare minimum EDC configuration. We’ll cover exactly that; the bare minimum every day carry.

Why EDC?

The concept of everyday carry captures the entire philosophy of prepping in general and brings it to everyday life. The implications of doing so benefit the prepper in practical ways, for sure: having the tools on hand to deal with emergency situations, however big or small, is important. There are also mental benefits of doing so. Every day, as you gather your EDC tools and begin your day, you feel more of a sense of preparedness, which is a highly useful and satisfying attitude to have.

EDC can look very different for everyone, based on a number of factors. Where you live, what you’re prepping for, and even certain conditions you might have can affect what you carry with you each day. For example, someone with asthma will surely find that an inhaler is an essential component of their EDC kit. For others, this would extraneous.

That said, certain items are agreed upon as essentials for EDC no matter who you are or where you live. There a few things to keep in mind when choosing EDC items:

  • Size – You’ll want to look for something that is big enough to get the job done, yet small enough to fit on your person without being bulky. (A lot of this depends on your height and weight. Someone who is over 6 feet will probably have an easier time lugging around a full-size pistol on their hip than someone who is 5’5”.)
  • Weight – It is important to keep the weight down to an amount that won’t be cumbersome after extended periods of carrying. (Particularly important for lighter everyday carriers.)
  • Durability – Make sure to filter out low-quality items, as they tend to disappoint when you need them most. (Such items as a poorly made knife can end up causing a grievous injury.)
  • Ergonomic – Keep in mind how things fit and feel in your hands. You’ll want to be able to have a firm, yet comfortable, grip. This particularly important for items that you expect to be used over an extended period of time since don’t want your hands to start cramping up from discomfort.
  • Satisfaction – This is a key factor since a specific item could be the right size and weight, have good durability and ergonomics and still be to your disliking for whatever reason. If that ends up being the case, you’ll be less likely to carry it with you every day – and that completely defeats the purpose.

Should I Purchase A Ready Made EDC Kit?

As you’re probably aware, there’s been a definite increase in awareness about disaster planning and preparedness in general over recent years. This is a good thing but comes with some interesting developments – one of which is some companies capitalizing on the trend in ways that really aren’t beneficial. One of these is the manufacturing of ready-made kits that are of little value to the prepper.

Kits like these pop up in all areas of prepping: food storage, medical supplies, and yes: EDC. While not already made kits are necessarily bad, the vast majority of the time it is more worthy of your time and money to assemble supplies yourself.

The problems with ready-made kits of all kinds are pretty consistent:

  • Substandard quality of tools and supplies
  • Incomplete items – you’ll often find too many of the less useful items and not enough or any of the more valuable ones
  • Inflated price – you pay for the convenience of having everything together and lose the quality you could get by assembling items yourself
  • Lack of knowledge – you learn more about how to use items when you do the research and shopping yourself. Don’t underestimate the importance of this!

Folding Knife: A good folding knife will come in handy, no matter what your usual daily activities are. A handy box opener when necessary as well as the perfect pry bar for stuff that requires more leverage than a fingernail; these easily concealed knives are generally the first thing that beginner EDCers set their sights on. Let’s not forget they provide a viable defense option in a pinch.

Look for blade lengths ranging anywhere from 2.5” to 3.5”. You can spend a lot of time learning about all the different types of steel available, but you mainly want something that is corrosion resistant, has good edge retention, has working hardness, and is wear resistant. A good knife can cost anything from $30 to $150, anything more had better be a collector’s piece.

Here’s a short list of some common quality steel: 154cm, VG-10, CPM D-2, 440 XH, S30V, ELMAX, M390, and ZDP 189.

If you’re not sure about which brands to check out, try these first: Benchmade, Spyderco, Al Mar, Victorinox, SOG, and Kershaw.

Multi-tool: Multi-tools can be a lifesaver in any number of situations. Jampacked with various tools that you find yourself in need of on a daily basis, they tend to be the most used item in your EDC setup. When it comes to choosing one, Leatherman and Gerber rule the industry. These two brands will provide a wide variety of configurations suitable for any type of person. Common prices for a solid multi-tool will be $50 to $150. Gerber and Leatherman both have specialty multi-tools for military and law enforcement that tend to run a bit higher price wise.

A few you may wish to check out first are: Leatherman Wave, Leatherman Juice S2, and the Gerber Diesel.

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Flashlight: Having a good flashlight is a must. A large number of everyday carriers will find themselves using their flashlight for tedious chores, such as trying to see where they dropped their keys in the dark, making a flashlight a very convenient sidekick. The reason these are essential, though, is because of their signaling capabilities and not so much because we tend to drop things.

You’ll want something that has multiple setting, such as a low setting with about 5-10 lumens and lots of battery life, for when you’ll be using it for extended periods of time (power outage). The high setting should be able to last at least 2 hours and is recommended that it be around 100 to 200 lumens. Many come with special settings such as a strobe or SOS which can be immensely helpful for extreme scenarios, though it would be wise for you to learn how to signal SOS regardless. (It’s extremely simple)

Sidearm: No one wants to have to use a gun unexpectedly, but then again, no one wants to be caught without one either. Unfortunately, in today’s society, it is becoming increasingly harder to own firearms, let alone get the ammunition to practice with them. However, not only is it important to be able to exercise your rights but also to protect you and your loved ones in case of an emergency. A sidearm is the least used item in your EDC, and with any luck it will never be used outside of practice.

When it comes to choosing one to carry everyday, it is largely up to personal preference. It is recommended that you do no go for a caliber any smaller than a 9mm. Generally, most people are going to choose between a 9mm, 40 S&W, or a 45 ACP. A 45 ACP will pack a larger punch but will limit your magazine capacity. So, for the most part, you’ll be choosing between power and the number of rounds you’ll be able to carry. No matter what you choose, get in lots of practice with it.

Check out these brands, if you don’t know where to start: Beretta, Springfield Armory, Ruger, Sig Sauer, Smith & Wesson, and Kimber.

Bag: While many people would not think of a bag as being essential to you everyday carry setup, you may find that having one with you can provide a certain amount of convenience. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a large backpack or messenger bag, a fanny pack will do just as well in most cases. The idea is to allow for a carrying system that gives you the ability to take other items that are essential to your specific needs. Many people will have basic first aid things with them (band-aids, gauze, ibuprofen) as well as other random tidbits.

When deciding on an EDC bag, it is not necessary to go with something fancy. In fact, most bags that are labeled “EDC bag” are actually a bulky, over-the-top, military assault packs. The camo colors on a bag you carry everywhere isn’t going to do much to keep you concealed, that goes for the O.D. green and tan (classic military camo is still camo). Don’t go for anything that has exterior MOLLE webbing, it’s just another thing that will attract attention and make people think they should follow you around if something goes wrong. It should be the same mentality as a bug out bag, you DON’T want people to know you came prepared. Check out 5.11 Tactical’s COVERT line of bags to get a better idea of what to look for in an EDC bag.

Some good brands are: 5.11 Tactical, Condor, Blackhawk, and Maxpedition.

Miscellaneous – As well as the basics listed above, there are a few other items that you’ll want to consider adding to your EDC layout:

  • Band-aids – dress minor wounds, prevent infection
  • Ibuprofen – reduce inflammation from wounds and injuries
  • Gauze – use for various first aid needs
  • Tweezers – endless uses: you’ll be surprised at how often you can use tweezers when you have it on you
  • Nail clippers – besides the obvious, use for cutting small items and first aid
  • Spare knife – handy for situations when you don’t want to dull your “good knife.”
  • Pen, notebook/notepad – obvious uses for recording data and/or sending messages
  • Paracord – a sturdy enough rope for many emergency needs, a length of paracord could be handy. You’ve probably seen bracelets made from paracord around: many of these can be unraveled to up to 20 feet.

You’ll also know personally what types of items you would need that would benefit you on a day to day basis.

The Difference EDC Makes

What makes EDC such an essential part of preparedness is the fact that it’s one of the most likely components of your prepping to be put to use in day to day life. Not convinced? Consider the following scenario:

You’re driving home at around midnight, getting back from whatever keeps you out that late. Barely any other drivers on the road. You come up to a bridge and you see a driver coming from the other direction. No big deal, but you notice that he still has his brights on and is within a hundred yards and closing, not very courteous of him. Oh well, it happens. You flash your brights at him a couple of times, but he seems not to notice or care. As you two are within seconds of passing each other, he drifts over into your lane.

You have a split second to make a decision; slam on the brakes or swerve. Either way, you’re SOL. So you swerve out of the way, directly into the barrier, over the barrier, and for a split second, you feel as light as feather before crashing into the water below. Now you’ve just gone from one bad situation directly into another; out of the frying pan and into the fire. You have a limited amount of time before your car is completely submerged and the cabin is filling with water fast. you move to undo your seatbelt but it’s jammed.

Luckily, you have your multi-tool on you, which has a saw blade. You quickly pull it out of its holster and get to work, simultaneously fighting off your nerves. After what feels like a lifetime, the seat belt is off. A rush of relief washes over you as reach to open your door only to find that pressure build-up from your submerging vehicle is too much for you to get the door to budge. Your nerves are screaming louder than ever as you find that you’re waist deep in cold water. You realize that your pocket knife has a pommel on it that might just be enough to break your window. You grab it, take a firm grip, and, while covering your face, swing as hard as you can. In the blink of an eye, you’re blasted with shivering cold water.

Wasting no time, you pull yourself out the window and float up to the surface. Gasping for breath, you swim to the shore and drag yourself onto dry land. Relieved to be alive, you stand up only to fall over. You seem to be quite a bit dizzy as well as exhausted. Instead of trying to stand again, you crawl up to the shoulder of the road. Taking a look around, you only see faint headlights in the distance, on a nearby interstate. The guy that ran you off the road probably didn’t even take a second glance behind as you swerved out of his way; he was most likely drunk or high. A little shaky from exhaustion, you rest your back up against the edge of the barrier and pull out your flashlight. Setting it on high mode, you start flashing 180 lumens in an SOS pattern directly at the faint headlights. After about 15 minutes of doing so, you see emergency lives heading towards you. With a sigh of relief, you stop flashing SOS and just leave it on a steady beam pointing in front of you.

Now, imagine the same scenario without any of your EDC items on hand – not quite as happy an ending, is it?

EDC Bag

So, where are you going to put it all? Having a bag gives the option of consolidating much of it into the different pockets and compartments, which is great for the miscellaneous items and random tidbits but refrain from putting the more basic items in your bag. You’ll still want to be able to have easy access to your gun, knife, multi-tool, and flashlight instead of them becoming mixed up into a pile in your bag. The exception to this is that some of the high-end EDC bags will have specific slots for those items.

Commonly, people with have a quality gun belt to use for carrying their gun, multi-tool, and flashlight while their knife is clipped into their pocket. Galco Leather has superb belts when it comes to quality. In most cases, multi-tools and flashlights will come with quality holsters already. The same is not true for firearms, they are notorious for coming with no holster or a joke of a holster. Avoid buying the generic holsters you see at local gun stores as they are not made for any specific gun and you’d be just as well off sticking your gun in your pocket (which you should never do). Instead, shop around online and make sure that you get a holster that is made specifically for your model of gun.

EDC Bag vs. Bug Out Bag – What’s The Difference?

Don’t confuse having an EDC bag with the tools you’ll keep with you each day with having a bug out bag – a bag of supplies that you’ll need should disaster strike and you’re forced to evacuate, flee, or otherwise “bug out.” While the differences between the two are many, a few of the most obvious ones include:

  • Food. Unless you’re a diabetic or have other types of blood sugar issues, you won’t likely need food in your EDC bag. Food definitely has its place in a bug out bag, however: a 3-day supply is commonly advised.
  • Shelter. It’s a good idea to carry a tarp or even a small tent in your bug out bag, this would be extraneous as part of an EDC kit.
  • Essential, non-everyday items: the bottom line is there are a lot of essential items you’d need in a bug out situation that would just be too much weight to carry every day.

You might find that you think certain items have their place in your EDC layout and find later that you’ve been carrying them around for weeks and that maybe you misjudged their value. There’s nothing wrong with reevaluating your EDC items from time to time – in fact, it’s smart to do so. Virtually no one will assemble the perfect array of tools the first time, and even if you are lucky enough to be one of those people, needs do change over time!

As you can see, EDC is a great place to start with your preparedness efforts. Think about the day-to-day and begin with the threats and risks closest to you.

Always watching out for you,

Sterling Mason

Are You Prepared For WW3 or Nuclear Strike?

How to survive nuclear war…

How prepared do you feel?

The topic of survival in a radioactive environment is a very broad one. You need to know how to shield yourself, how long to stay inside, when to eat and drink and how to hunt and eat animals safely after the blast. Here are a few basics to remember:

  1. A nuclear blast, leak or other event cause 2 types of radiation effects: initial and residual. You need to know how to reduce your exposure to minimize both effects. Initial radiation is radiation that occurs between the time of the explosion and 1 minute from the time of the explosion. During that short minute, the most intense gamma rays are produced by the explosion and they usually cause fatal exposure.
  2. If there is a nuclear blast, you may be injured by the blast itself, thermal radiation and nuclear radiation (including nuclear fallout). If you are too close to the blast, you are unlikely to survive due to the direct injury from the explosion or due to receiving a fatal dose of radiation, so hopefully, you have protected yourself by not living in large urban centers or close to nuclear power plants. Other injuries can be avoided or minimized by hiding in the shelter, shielding, washing and first aid.
  3. When talking about explosions, we can name 3 kinds of nuclear bursts: subsurface burst, surface burst, and air burst. Each of these has very different effects and therefore your chances of survival and actions you take under each circumstance vary. Learn about surviving each type of burst.
  4. Shielding is the easiest and best protection against penetrating radiation in a survival situation. When shielding, keep in mind the half-value thickness rule: if a shelter of prescribed thickness reduces the radiation by 50%, adding another layer of the same thickness will reduce the remaining radiation by 50%. For example, if 9 inches of wood reduce radiation by 50%; this means that adding another 9 inches of wood reduces the remaining 50% of radiation by another 50%. Essentially, this means that 19 inches of wood will reduce the original radiation by 75% and your exposure will be limited to 25%.
  5. Other very effective protective measures against penetrating radiation are time and distance. A couple things you need to know about time. First of all, radiation effects are cumulative and the longer you stay in the radioactive environment, the more it will affect you. Secondly, the longer the time from the initial nuclear event, the less radiation remains in the area. The general rule concerning distance is that radiation intensity decreases by the square of the distance from the source.
  6. Radiation exposure alters your blood chemistry and makes you susceptible to infection. Make sure you wash all wounds and burns to rinse off radioactive particles (even washing with contaminated water is better than not washing at all) and cover wounds properly. Do your best to practice good hygiene and prevent colds and flu.
  7. If you are sick to your stomach, it is likely from radiation sickness and there is no treatment for that. However, you should get better with rest, fluids and food.

These are just a few facts about surviving the initial few hours. Your life after the blast is a whole other story.

Will you be ready? One little item you can add to your EDC and bug out bags is goggles. They will protect you from particles entering through your eyes.

Always watching out for you,

Sterling Mason