Why?

This blog is to help you in preparing for an emergency. It also contains other information that you might find spiritually up-lifting. This is not an official website of "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints". This site is maintained by Barry McCann (barry@mail.com)

Friday, April 20, 2018

PREPAREDNESS TIP: MOTION ACTIVATED LIGHTS by Andrew Skousen

Burglars and thieves love to operate under the cover of darkness. Even if someone sees them, they can be hard to identify, especially if they are wearing a hooded sweatshirt. The easiest way to discourage them is with motion activated lights. These lights are particularly useful at startling intruders, and alerting yourself or your neighbors to movements around your property. They also use power very sparingly because they only light up when something is moving and then turn off after a set time of no more movement (usually 1 minute). Here are some aspects to look for among the huge array of options in this aspect of home security lights.

The sensor is the most important aspect of these lights. You want the light to illuminate as someone crosses onto your property but before they get to the house, or the cover of your bushes or trees. Some burglars will sneak around or under the sensor and unscrew the light bulbs, disable the unit or even steal your security light altogether. There are vandal resistant options, or you can cover them with a metal mesh, but usually it is just easier to keep it up and out of their reach. If you place them too high, however, you will need a sensor that can “see” further. Good units have a range of at least 30 feet or 10 meters. Some dome-shaped sensors can detect movement both side-to-side and up and down.

The best motion sensor light is the RAB Super Stealth 360. It is made of durable steel construction, has two independent flood lights and sports two excellent sensors, a long-distance forward facing sensor that reaches out to 60 feet along a 180 degree sweep, and a downward facing 360 degree sensor to keep anything from sneaking up underneath or behind. The sensor is designed not to be set off by blowing trees, but you can adjust the sensitivity if that is still a problem. There are two independent flood lights with up to 150 Watts apiece that require power from your conventional house electric wiring (110V AC). Each unit costs $95 but you can find it for as little as $82 apiece. You can wire other standard lights to also turn on with this sensor, up to 1000 watts total. Some people reports using LED bulbs without issue.

Solar powered security lights are very popular right now since they can go up anywhere and only rely on the sun for their daily power needs. Some of them put out a dim glow all night and turn bright when they sense movement. Even with LED lights, however, they have limited power and often put out 1000 lumens, or as much as one flood light bulb. There are hundreds of different lights from dozens of manufacturers, but unfortunately none of them seem made to last. Most use Ni-MH rechargeable batteries and are made out of high-density plastic instead of steel or aluminum. Here are the best options I have found thus far:

Litom Solar Lights are the best value for the price. They have various sizes from 8 LED for walkway lighting up to the 102 LED wall mounted light that puts out 1500 lumens for only $36. But even with this large size most people use two to light up the side of a typical house. The solar panels are built into the sloping top, so they do not perform as well on north facing walls. The sensor is accurate to 26 ft, but some complain that large items like cars will set it off from 30 ft away. These lights have over a thousand positive reviews on Amazon. The only downside is that the lithium ion battery is not meant to be easily replaced and the company only stands behind the product for 3 years, though most last for much longer.

For north facing walls or shaded areas, I recommend the “ANKO 182 LED Security Light" with a detached solar panel that can be mounted toward the sun up to 16 feet away. The sensor is good up to 30 feet and the lithium ion batteries are easily replaced. At $47 this is a good option for those dark areas with little traffic that a thief might prefer. The eLEDing “Smart” light has a bigger solar array to power its 1200 lumen motion light for only $56.

If you just want to use your existing exterior lights consider LED bulbs with motion sensors integrated into the top of the bulb. The sensors work best when the top of light bulb is pointed toward the source of motion, such as when you walk beneath a can light. There is also an adapter with a motion sensor for any typically sized light bulb that fits between the light bulb and the fixture that would be ideal for clear glass exterior fixtures. Neither of these options work in frosted enclosures.

Take steps now to put lights up on your property where burglars or animals might prowl. If it doesn’t frighten them away, at least it will give you a warning and highlight the intruder for you.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Food Storage I Get, But Water Storage?

Water Storage TanksIt makes sense to have at least three days worth of emergency supplies in your home at all times. Depending on where you live and your particular situation, you may want to keep more supplies than this available, but three days of emergency food storage is a good starting point. The idea of gathering in these supplies may seem overwhelming, but with a little planning, you will soon have what you need.
Select food items that are shelf stable, easy to prepare and things that your family will eat. It is relatively simple to determine how much food to set aside for three days, but determining your water needs are a little more challenging. In addition to having water to drink, you also need water to prepare food and clean up. In general, plan for a minimum of one gallon of water, per person, per day. So if you have a 72-hour kit made for four people, you’ll want 12 gallons of water to go with it. In hot weather, or if you will be performing physical labor, you may need up to twice that amount. When putting together your emergency supplies, make sure to remember your pets, and have an emergency stash of food, bandages, blankets, cloths, cash and prescription drugs.
Storage
To make using stored water as easy as possible, have it stored in a variety of container sizes. Gallon jugs are perfect for food prep and clean up, but having some smaller bottles for drinking means you won’t need to dirty glasses unnecessarily.
Purchasing unopened, sealed water is the safest and least labor intensive way to store water. This can be expensive, and is not necessary as long as you are willing to take some steps to ensure your water is stored correctly.
Wash empty soft drink bottles with soap and water and rinse well. You can now use these to store water. Soft drink bottles are ideal, because they wash out easily and are a convenient size. Juice or other drink containers which are made of PETE plastic are also acceptable, although it can be difficult to get all of the juice residue washed out of the container. Do not use milk jugs, as this plastic quickly breaks down and is not designed for long-term storage.
You can simplify food storage by purchasing items that are shelf stable. Select items that your family will eat, and that you will be able to prep with no electricity. Store a manual can opener with your food supplies.
It is important to store food in an area free of pests. Rodents, insects and other pests can chew through packaging, so check your stores frequently to make sure there are no signs of pest infestation.
The ideal temperature for food and water storage is between 40 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Humidity should be low in the storage area, as moisture will increase the risk of mold damage and bacteria growth, as well as speed the breakdown of packaging materials. It is also important to keep food and water supplies away from direct sunlight and heat sources, which can speed the breakdown of both food and packaging.
Water Safety
It can be tempting to use your own tap water and containers to prepare water for storage. It is much less expensive than purchasing water, and you can easily rotate in fresh supplies without feeling wasteful. If your water comes from a clean source, pre-treated with chlorine, which most public water supplies in the US are, you only need to put the water in clean containers for storage. If your tap water is not chlorinated, add 1/2 to 1 teaspoons of unscented household bleach to every five gallons of water. Be sure to use plain bleach, rather than the type with added thickeners. Your water will be safe to use when needed, although it is advisable to rotate through your entire emergency stock of food and water once a year.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Maintaining A Steady Supply of Water

There is no more fundamental need than a steady supply of water. Without it, our bodies cannot survive more than a few days. Yet when natural disasters or other emergencies take place, municipal water is often one of the first victims. And large-scale terrorism is likely to target water distribution as a key element of infrastructure to disrupt.
So it’s critically important that we take whatever steps we can to ensure that we can maintain a safe and adequate supply of water under whatever circumstances may occur.
The most important things are to educate yourself and then to prepare. Make sure you understand the implications of line breaks. Understand how to handle a boil-water advisory. And then get your home and your family ready for how to handle a disruption in water.
As you plan for the very real possibility of a water outage, there are some major areas of concern you should address.
Starting Off Right
Water failures are rarely caused by damage at the distribution points or purification sites. It’s generally a result of line breakage. Earthquakes are notorious for creating ground shifts that twist pipes and break their joints apart.
But other failures are less sudden. A period of unusually wet weather can leave heavy soils shifting and moving, causing rocks and other buried objects to rub against water lines and create leaks that can ultimately become large enough to disrupt service.
The ideal water pipe is reinforced with a chrome carbide overlay that will resist this type of damage. If you don’t know whether your utility has built lines with such materials, try to find out and then urge them to make the change if necessary.
Maintaining Your Own
Inside your house is the most complex part of the water delivery process. The many fixtures and appliances requiring water create a maze of pipes that must be carefully monitored and maintained.
It does you no good to have a great municipal water system if your own system will fail you! Slow leaks in crawlspaces may never impact you until the pressure from your supplier drops. And other malfunctions may be okay until the system shuts down, then reactivates with a surge of pressure that finally breaks a joint or connection that had barely been hanging on.
Keep your own equipment in top running order so that outside disruptions won’t be made worse.
Conserve & Plan
Although our home’s water supply is pressurized in most uses, it’s still functional when we operate with stored water. Toilet tanks can be easily refilled with jugs or bottles that you keep on hand. Water can be heated and dumped into the tub for easy bathing. You can even do laundry with a stockpile of water.
You’ll get creative if your system shuts down, but you have to make sure that you have first stored that water. Hang on to used milk jugs, juice containers, water bottles, and any other sanitary vessel you can get, then fill them with water and store them safely. Other containers can be used for non-potable water for toilets and laundry.
Even the best municipal water system will experience a failure here and there. You must be prepared to operate on your own when it happens. If you make the proper plans, you can get through until repairs are made.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

A Tiered Approach to EDC One is None and Two is One



My Current EDC Bag
Preppers naturally apply their prepper mindset to analyze threats to themselves, with regards to which items belong in their Every Day Carry (EDC) items, Bug Out Bags, Survival storage, etc…  Most Preppers I know have developed their own structured approach to EDC, and their own list of items they feel are necessary for themselves.  However, there are many Preppers who have not yet developed a structured approach or are not yet fully understanding of how EDC works or can work. This article presents a philosophy.  There is no “right way” to do it.  In fact, it is regularly adapted and changed, as one’s situation changes.  This approach is meant to give a baseline to consider what may be helpful.

The Tiered approach:

Tier 1: On your Person

Tier 2:  In your EDC bag carried with you

Tier 3:  Kit in your home, office, or your vehicle

Redundancy

To properly utilize this tiered approach, REDUNDANCY is critical.  In every day, and especially disaster, situations, it is very easy to misplace, damage, or otherwise loose essential items that belong in your EDC kit.  We obviously can’t carry 10 of everything with us everyday so it is important to ensure an item’s functionality is duplicated in other Tiers.

Minimalization

Tier 1 items are typically smaller versions of items in the EDC Kit from Tier 2 and Tier 3.  These smaller versions provide basic functionality, until the EDC kit from Tier 2 or 3 can be used.  This allows one to carry, where appropriate, full-sized items in Tier 2 and 3 EDC kits with greater functionality.

Specialty Kits


Mini-Kits organize the contents of my EDC Bag
Many Preppers design their kits with specialization in mind, including sub or specialty kits in their Tier 2 and Tier 3 kits / locations.  These may include Medical, Defense, Entry and so on. A Specialty Kit is typically self-contained in a small bag or pouch to allow one to extract all the tools for this purpose at once.  This facilitates urgent retrieval of necessary tools and allows one to hand-off a tool kit to a buddy and move on with confidence that they have been provided with everything needed for the task at hand.

 The “Ten Essentials”

Every Prepper tends to have their own list of “Ten Essentials”.  These Ten Essentials are the ten most important things one would never want to be without.  The APN already has some articles on this, and have some that will be published shortly.  What is important, is that once you’ve identified your Ten Essentials, you will want to analyze each of the following Tiers and in each Tier make sure that you have as many of your Ten Essentials covered as possible – yes, in every Tier.  As one goes from Tier 1 to 3, they will be able to include bigger and better items to meet those essential needs.

Mundane Items

An EDC Kit is not used only in a disaster!  It is something that you will potentially use every day.  It can and should contain mundane items in addition to survival items such as: toothbrush, toothpaste, contact solution, pens/pencils, phone and accessory chargers, items needed for your work and so on.  If you might need it, you should consider the impact of not having it when you need it and determine whether that is worth carrying it all the time.

Tiers in detail:

This Tiered Approach has been developed over time by myself and other hardcore Prepper friends.  It is constantly being tweaked and refined, and has served us very well. Every Tier must be capable of standing on its own, or with the help of the Tier before it.  The previous Tiers are expected to be augmented by the following Tiers.

Tier 1 – On Person

Every Day Carry Tier 1
The minimum on my person everyday
Items are carried on your person at ALL times.  The only time you do not have them on you is when you are sleeping – and then they are still in your clothes by the bed and will not be removed until you transfer them to new clothes in the morning.  This allows you to quickly dress if needed and know you have everything with you. This Tier typically adapts to your daily situation and perceived threats and possibilities. This gear must be capable of supporting you by itself.  If one was dropped into a situation where there was  no access to other Tiers, Tier 1 has to provide  the bare minimum essentials. Tier 1 List:  (Suggestions to develop one’s own solution)
  •  Smart Phone (a Smart Phone as an EDC item is a complete article in itself and will be out soon)
  •  Credit Cards & Cash
  •  USB Thumb Drive (a separate article will detail using this)
  •  Firearm/Magazine
  •  Folding Knife
  •  Fixed Blade Knife
  • Lockpicks
  • Mini-Compass
  • Lighter
  • Flashlight
  • Ferro Rod

Tier 2 – Carry Bag


My previous EDC Bag – A Maxpedition Fatboy
One’s EDC Bag is generally always with them.  It rides on the passenger seat of the car, it rests at the foot of one’s desk, it is slung over the shoulder everywhere one goes.  If one finds them self in a situation, their EDC bag is designed to be there. What one uses for a bag should be carefully considered.  Some factors to take into account include:
  • Durability – the EDC bag will get severely used and abused.  It will also potentially carry multiple rigid objects that will wear it out quickly
  • Size – it will need to carry everything needed, but not be obtrusive.
  • Accessibility – retrieving items from the bag should be quick and easy.  If possible, items should be able to be retrieved from it while on the move.
  • Organization – multiple compartments and sections are very helpful to keeping items organized and easy to retrieve
  • Mini-Kits – organizing similar tools or tools that accomplish similar jobs makes it much easier to grab what is needed.  Small pouches are great for this.

Mini-Kits allow you to quickly grab related items without digging through everything.
Tier 2 List:  (Sample list, tailor each list to one’s needs)
  • Lighter
  • Flashlight
  • Vaseline Soaked Cotton Balls in Altoids Tin (firestarter)
  • 10 Essentials Kit (This is a specialty kit I keep that can quickly and easily be transferred to a different bag if needed)
  • Handgun Magazines
  • Medical Kit (beyond First Aid)
  • K-Bar knife
  • Rope
  • First Aid Kit
  • Hygiene Items
  • Urban Entry Kit
  • Passport
  • Scriptures
  • Small Notebook & Pens
  • HAM Radio
  • Water Filter
  • Other Items as needed

Tier 3 – Vehicle/Office/Home Kit


A Trauma/First Responder Kit (one of several that work together)
Tier 3 Kits are nearly always nearby.  They are kept in the vehicle, office(work), or at home.  Each Tier 3 Kit typically specializes in what it carries.  Here are a few examples:
  • Get Home Bag – this Specialty Kit stays in the trunk of the car and is designed to provide  everything  needed should an event occur that prevents one from driving home.  At a MINIMUM it should include:  Trail food, water bottle, firestarting equipment, and first aid supplies. The make up will vary depending on one’s situation, how far one expects to go and so on.  If work clothes are unsuitable for trekking home in, a full change of clothes, including shoes, should be in the Kit.  If the trek home would take overnight, there should be a small shelter, fire starting gear, cooking equipment and extra food.
  • Office Bag – Depending on the type of Office, this bag should be customized to support oneself and potentially co-workers if a catastrophic event occurred, and it was not possible to leave the office.  It is also intended for day-to-day usage and contains common medicines for headache, stomach-ache, fever and so on.  It might have candles, water filters, rope, harness and carabiners (to exit through a window).
  • Trauma Kit – If one has advanced First Responder training, they will likely want to carry a bag that contains multiple meds, intervention devices, splints, bandages, etc.  This can be useful in the vehicle if the first on the scene at a car accident, or if an earthquake hits and people are isolated from immediate medical attention.
  • Vehicle Kit– this kit would include jumper cables, tow rope, fuses, repair tape, wiring, spare fluids, tire repair kits and so on.  Depending on one’s abilities, this kit should at least temporarily fix one’s vehicle to get to safety.

    A Pandemic Kit – meant to enable safely providing support in a pandemic situation
  • Urban Survival Kit – This kit contains the items needed to bug out in a large city.  Mine contains entry tools, disguises, rope and many other items.
There is an endless variety of situations and Tier 3 kits that can be assembled for them.  Tier 3 is an important part of the EDC structure, because it allows one to carry less in their Tier 2 kit, knowing that specialty items will be in their Tier 3 kits.

Day to Day

Every Day Carry is a philosophy that allows one to feel safer and be more prepared, not just for emergencies but, for everyday occurrences.  I would encourage everyone to consider their Threat Assessments, Environment, and nearby people, to determine their EDC needs.  One cannot lug everything around that they might possibly need, but by analyzing and structuring it, proper gear and supplies can be staged and utilized more effectively.

Monday, April 9, 2018

The Reality of 2 Weeks of Food Storage

The thought of food storage can be very overwhelming, especially if you are new to being self sufficient. You have just realized the need for food-storage and the dangers of what is happening in the world. So now what are you going to do about it? You may find some very good answers in the video below.
The best answer that I have is research and lots of it. You Tuber ObessivePrepperAz shares her thoughts on an easy and affordable way to start off making sure you have two weeks’ worth of food. She walks you through how to calculate food storage for your family and points out some very helpful hints.
However, ObsessivePrepperAZ is just touching on the bare minimum you will need in her video, but by adding things like rice or noodles to some of your storage you can turn one can of soup into a pot of stew. Her tips and secrets are very helpful for a beginner prepper.
She focuses on how many cans of Campbell Chunky Soup you would need for one meal a day. One of her viewers suggested a very effective way to stretch those cans to feed four people 2 or 3 meals per day. That is a LOT more than one can of soup for one person.
“Tip: Double that food storage with one bag of rice, one bag of dried potatoes, and two packs of cubed bullion. Take two cans of that chunky soup, add I cup rice OR potatoes, and a bullion, add at least 3 cups water; make it into a large pot of stew. Feeds four, 2-3 meals per day. Stew is salvation.”
We hope you enjoy her suggestions and please feel free to comment some of your tips and advice to help the newbies!! We all have to help each other become reliant on ourselves.

The Reality of 2 Weeks of Food Storage


Friday, April 6, 2018

How to Adjust Rifle Scope Windage Elevation

If you want to use a rifle, then the first and foremost thing you need to know is hitting your target at the right spot. The modern rifle has an average range of 100-200 yards. The moment bullet is fired it bends its way while on its journey towards the target. It happens mostly due to wind condition as it travels quite a distance from the rifle to the target. So when you lock through your scope of your rifle, you need to make few adjustments in the scope. This adjustment comes as features attached to your muzzleloader scope.  And this feature is called windage and elevation adjustment.
 Adjusting the windage and elevation is the first step for using your rifle. It’s the primary or key step of adjustment before target practicing through your muzzleloader scope. This adjusting process helps you get the clean and accurate shots. You can quickly determine the right spot of your target with these few steps of adjustment in your rifle scope. Even if your target is surrounded by an obstacle that blocks your sight, this slight adjustment features windage and elevation will show your way out.

Identifying The Windage and Elevation

First look through your scope you will see your target point. The target point is basically the rector tube which adjusted with two screws inside the central tube of your scope. Two knobs control these two screws in scope. The one at the top is for elevation, and the one at the side of your scope is for windage. The rotate the elevation knob the target point through your will move up or down, and if you switch the windage knob, the target point will move left or right. Now you know the basics to bring a change. But you need to know when it is required in order to adjust the windage and elevation according to your requirement. 

The Technical Features of Windage and Elevation

If you are a first timer for shooting practice with a target sheet, follow the steps. First, shoot two or three times at target sheet that might be at 200 yards distance. You will see that gap between your shoots and the target point.  These differences are converted to minute-of-angle (MOA) in relation to the length. You need to make impact point exact to the desired target point. Now it is the time for you to make the adjustments. 
 Look at your target sheet to identify the proper distance from target point as it moved up/down and left/right.  Put your rifle at a resting first to measure the gaps. This adjusting is referred to Zoro-ing your target point, or you can say adjusting the mechanical zero to the actual zero.
There are two ways to make this adjustment.

The First way
Look through your scope you will see the measurements in hash bars. Rotate the elevation screw clockwise or counterclockwise; you will hear the clicks. Each click will move the target one hash bar up or down. Thus you will adjust the elevation in your scope. In the same procedure by rotating the windage screw, you will move the target point left or right. 
The Second Way
Remove the cap from the elevation a windage screws. Inside you will see the rotation signs for moving it clockwise and counterclockwise. It’s a very easy where you can change by seeing the signs. The clicks will also help here to determine each moving measurements.

The Measurements for Adjustment

To make the adjustment, now you need to know about each of the hash bar measurement or clicks in this situation. For the first time adjust to follow the second way to make the adjustments. 
Each click of the alteration changes shot effect at 100 yards by the amount showed on the windage and elevation adjustments. The adjustments are aligned in minutes of angle. One moment of the point is near to 1 inch at 100 yards. To compute the click value at distances other than 100 yards, use the following processes: separate the length  (number of yards) by 100.
Then multiply this number by the click value stated on the windage and elevation adjustments. This will tell you the actual click value of the scope at that distance. For example, your range is 200 yards. Divide 200 by 100, and that equals two. Multiply the quarter by a minute indicated on the adjustments by 2 and the adjustment at 200 yards is half an inch per click. For 400 yards, you would multiply quarter by 4, and that would give 1 inch per click and so on. After doing this, please put elevation and windage caps back at their place.
This measurement differs in different scopes. In some scopes quarter of a minute is one click and in some are half a minute, and some are a full minute. Now go out with your rifle scope and adjust your elevation and windage.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

PREPAREDNESS TIP: THE BEST OFF-GRID BATTERY by Andrew Skousen

Once you have prepared the essentials of food, water, shelter, and self-defense you should prepare to generate your own power. Don’t waste your time with hydro or wind power, unless you have ideal conditions–very high fall height for water, and very high, uncomfortable winds. Otherwise, they are rarely cost-effective compared to the constantly dropping solar prices. 


A properly sized solar system will generate power in a slow, steady stream all day but you have to capture and store that power for use at night, during cloudy days and for high power draw projects using batteries. Battery banks are expensive and, depending on the type of battery you choose, can be a very frustrating part of the system. Solar panels easily last decades with hardly any maintenance, but the typical lead acid battery banks require frequent water level maintenance and the extremely heavy batteries need to be replaced after just 5 to 10 years. Fortunately, there are better, lighter battery options out there.


At the time of this writing, the best off-grid battery option is the Lithium Iron Phosphate or Lithium Ferrous Phosphate (LFP) batteries from SimpliPhi Power. At first glance these batteries look incredibly expensive at $1,000 to $3,000 apiece which seems like 10 times the cost of an equivalent voltage and amp-hour rated lead acid battery (such as the Trojan T-105, a popular deep cycle golf cart battery)—until you compare them to their lifecycle cost. As I wrote last week, lead acid batteries lose life cycle capacity faster when they are deeply discharged. Even so-called “deep discharge” batteries are most efficient when only discharged by 20%. The T-105 golf cart batteries get about 3,000 cycles at this depth of discharge and then they need to be hauled out and disposed of. Compare this to the LFP batteries from SimpliPhi which are rated for 10,000 cycles all the way down to 80% discharge. AltEStore.com (which sells both batteries) did the math and found the LFP batteries were almost 10% cheaper over their life span. 


So not only are the LFP batteries cheaper in the long run but they are lighter, smaller, recharge faster, release power faster and don’t need to be ventilated. That means they can be stored anywhere, including a crawlspace. They won’t overheat, unlike other lithium-iron-cobalt based battery technologies, and SimpliPhi’s batteries come with embedded circuitry to avoid over-charge, over-discharge, shorts, or unbalanced cells. Also, a built-in 80 amp breaker eliminates any risk of over-current and provides a convenient on-off switch to that battery. But the biggest advantage is that they require no maintenance. You will never have to check the water level and rarely, if ever, replace the batteries. The only drawback is they can’t be linked in series for higher voltage systems—48V is the highest unit right now. The cheapest prices I have found are at the Alt-E Store and at Northern Arizona Wind and Sun.


There are other battery products out there, but none of them compare to SimpliPhi at this time. Tesla’s Powerwall 2 is impressive, but they are Lithium-iron-cobalt which isn’t as safe and they aren’t designed for off-grid use at this time. Their website says this aspect is “coming soon” which is a common promise from Tesla that could mean anything from “soon” to “much later” or “never.” Other manufacturers of Lithium Ferrous Phosphate batteries so far have failed to provide the same number of cycles and depth of discharge. ReLion, for instance, shows their slightly cheaper batteries losing up to 40% capacity after 10,000 cycles at 80% depth of discharge. SimpliPhi warranties their batteries for at least 80% remaining capacity after 10 years or 10,000 cycles. 


We expect further improvements in the world of batteries in the future, with continued dropping prices, but if you are installing a backup power system in the near future, the LFP batteries from SimpliPhi are currently your best option.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Ten Must-Have Items to Pack in Your Survival Kit

A survival kit is an essential part of any prepper’s inventory. In a nutshell, this is a portable pack that you can take with you in the event of an emergency. It’s stocked with the basic necessities you’ll require to stay alive and keep your family safe while you await or prepare a more permanent living situation. While each person’s idea of “necessities” might vary, these tools are universal in nature and can prove immeasurably useful in an extreme situation where your survival depends on your preparedness and resourcefulness.


Before we get into what should go inside your pack, let’s review the pack itself first. This isn’t the place for a super heavy container that you have to lug around everywhere you go. If an emergency strikes, you’ll need to be able to move quickly and get out fast. To that end, pack a bag that’s easy to carry, preferably a backpack. Fill it with what you need, but keep in mind that you may be walking a while over various terrain, so make sure it’s light enough that you can wear it for a few hours without needing to take a break. 

Here are a few items that will fit in your pack, and won’t weigh it down:

1. A fire starter kit. This one tops our list because of its practicality. If you find yourself stranded in the wilderness, you don’t want to rely on the old Boy Scout trick of rubbing two sticks together to get a fire started for your family. While that’s certainly a viable technique, it takes a while, and depending on your location and climate, you might not have the luxury of time on your hands. A fire starter kit gets the job done quickly and efficiently. Pack at least three means of starting a fire so you’re not dependent on only one. Solid choices include a lighter, matches, and a striker, as well as some additional tinder to stroke a small flame. Store them in water-tight containers and keep them in a special place in your pack. A fire isn’t just a means to stay warm. It can also be a beacon to call for help, as well as a way to cook your meals. So get that fire started soon, and you’ll be glad you were prepared.

2. A sturdy, sharp knife. From warding off predators to aiding in hunting, a sharp and solid knife is an essential part of your survival kit. Your best bet is to choose a survival knife that’s designed specifically to be used in wilderness situations, though a multi-purpose tool with a top-notch one fine in a pinch. From skinning wildlife to cutting strings and sharpening wood, your knife should be able to do a variety of tasks. Make sure it’s as sharp as possible and pack an equally reliable backup just in case you need it.

3. An emergency radio. If you’re in the wilderness, but still need to communicate with the outside world or to stay abreast on what’s going on, you’ll need an emergency radio. Designed to work and remain functional even in the absence of power, it’s a critical communication tool that some preppers tend to overlook when packing their survival kits. To maintain power as long as possible without going out, many are designed to include a hand-cranked generator in addition to a rechargeable battery. The generator will pump power to the battery to keep the radio working and finding a signal. Expect to receive the general AM and FM bands, and some will even pick up weather radio data. News sources could deliver important messages via this medium in the event of a national or local emergency, and you won’t want to be cut off from receiving those critical updates.

4. A map and compass. Even if you’re looking to get as far away as possible, you likely don’t want to be stranded with no means to determine where you are. That’s where a map and compass come in. While your GPS is certainly a helpful tool, it could go out at any moment and you’ll be happy you packed a backup. These tools are lightweight and fit easily into a backpack, adding to their convenience. In addition to a traditional road map, a topographic map can prove incredibly useful in wilderness and off-road environments. If you’re unfamiliar with how to read a map and compass, consider brushing up on a little training so you’re ready to move when and if the time comes.

5. A first-aid kit. This is a no-brainer, and an absolutely critical component of your survival kit. While you likely don’t have the space to pack an extensive one, your first-aid kid should be equipped with enough tools to help tend to a variety of minor wounds, from cuts and scrapes to bruises and sprains. Core components include antiseptic, gauze, bandages, pain reliever, tweezers, and scissors. Here’s a handy list of other can’t-miss items to ensure you’re covered. Especially in the wilderness, falls, tumbles and other accidents can happen at a moment’s notice, and you’ll need to be prepared to treat such issues when they arise so you can keep moving.

6. A water filtration system. If you’re traveling in the wilderness for an extensive period of time, you don’t want to load down your pack with heavy bottled water. Instead, pack a simple water filtration system to help turn stream and creek water into drinkable fluid for your family. You can’t survive longer than about 72 hours without drinking water, and if you foresee being away for longer than that, this system is absolutely essential. One easy tool to pack that takes up virtually no space is a LifeStraw. This system lets you turn 4,000 liters of contaminated water into drinkable water with ease. You’ll simply put it into the water source and drink, making it easy to keep everyone in your group hydrated throughout the journey. 

7. A light source. This one doesn’t say “flashlight” because unless you’re packing an arsenal of backup batteries, you shouldn’t rely on a flashlight alone to light your way. Plan to pack one, of course, but also keep a survival torch on hand as a backup in case of a power outage or other emergency. These are lightweight and will fit inside your pack, and will provide you with the ease of mind that no matter how dark it gets, you’re stocked with a way to light the path. 

8. A heliograph. When the threat of danger has passed and you need to be found by emergency personnel, you may be sought after by helicopters circling above. In this situation, you need to be able to quickly signal to them where you are. A heliograph or signal mirror will be your ticket to safety in this case. Designed to reflect light from the sun, it reflects the light in flashes and alerts first responders to your location. As it’s fragile and breakable, store it somewhere padded and safe in your pack.

9. Thick cord. From climbing over mountains to dragging freshly killed game, strong cordage is a necessity when you’re in a survival situation. Don’t scrimp in this category, but invest in sturdy rope that will do the trick no matter the task. High-quality cords can also be used to fish with, to bundle firewood, to dry clothes, and a variety of other helpful functions. Don’t weigh your pack down with tons of mediocre rope, but purchase enough top-notch material to handle all the tasks you foresee requiring.

10. Layers. Pack enough clothes for everyone in your family to ensure that even if temperatures dip below freezing, you’ve got layers to put on. Be sure to keep the weather in mind when gathering these items, and pack plenty of rainproof gear as well. To keep these clothes from taking up too much space in your pack, roll them as tightly as possible, and pack them toward the bottom. Worried you’ve packed too many warm clothes? Don’t be. Research reveals that cold kills 20 times more people than heat, and you can never be too prepared or too protected against the threat of hypothermia.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

5 Odd Things You Can Do With Razors: You Never Know When You’ll Need It

Today disposable safety razors are a $34 billion dollar industry. The funny thing is, rocket scientists even work in the safety razor industry. It seems shaving hair effectively is a serious business.

 While big razor businesses are constantly looking for the next cutting-edge technology in tiny blades, the rest of us look at these sharp packages and wonder “there’s gotta be more we can do with these.” When a safety razor is the of the only sharp objects you’re allowed to bring onto an airplane, you might too be wondering what else it’s capable of. 
 In the next few paragraphs, I’ll give you exactly that.

1. A Surgical Tool for Snake Bites

Most snake bite kits will include a razor. But if your kit doesn’t have one or you accidentally grabbed your shaving kit instead, a safety razor should be your go-to surgical tool.
Of course, there is no real alternative to professional medical care when it comes to rattlesnake bites. Get to a medical professional as soon as you can and get a dose of antivenom and steroids/antibiotics.
But when you’re miles into your hike or run, it’s imperative you do something. A snake bite kit should include suction cups, a razor, disinfectant, antibiotic cream, and gauze. It should also include instructions on how to cut around the bite and suck the coagulated and poisonous blood out. 

2. A Safety Razor as a Spoon

Ok, women’s safety razors are going to be more useful for this than men’s. But the wide end near the head or the thick and comfy end (women’s razor handle) can be scrapped and molded into a spoon. 

If you lose your knife, you can try (wouldn’t recommend it) using the blades to scrape out a spoon. But this will be easiest if you have a sharp knife on hand. And what prepper goes without an essential such as a knife?

3. Three Razors as a Camera Tripod

You’re on an epic adventure and you want to capture yourself doing something epic. Then you realize you left your GoPro tripod at home. No worries! You did bring a pack of safety razors, some super glue and your old broken tripod for some reason. 

You’ve got this! Simply glue the razor heads to the old tripod head, and then fill in the joints with glue. You will need to keep the razors stationary while the glue sets, but once they do, you’ve got a small portable tripod for any adventure.

4. Preparing a Surgical Site

If you don’t have access to medical care, whether that be due to inclement weather or the collapse of society as we know it, you might have to perform basic surgery yourself. While you should report to a medical professional when possible, sometimes you have no choice.

When preparing a site for surgery, it’s important you disinfect the site to reduce the chance of postoperative infection. If hair interferes with the surgery site, you will need to clip and shave the site. 

If no scissors are available, you can use disposable razors to both cut and shave hair. When cutting hair with a safety razor, create tension in the hair and scrape at the hair until it breaks.

Be sure to not use the same razor for cutting as you do for shaving. 

5. Seed and Plant Marker for Your Survival Garden

You’ve used all your popsicle sticks as kindling to build fires. It’s time to plant and you need a way to mark your plants in your garden. You’ve got a sharpie and safety razors. 

Break that safety razor into pieces. Each blade could be a useful marker. Simply write the name of the plant on the razor and stick it in the ground. You can even use the handle if you have disposable safety razors. 

Bonus: A Tracheotomy

I mentioned how safety razors are one of the only sharp objects you’re allowed on an airplane. If you have a peanut allergy, you’ll know that anaphylaxis is a scary thing. And one way to save a person who’s airway has closed up is to perform a tracheotomy.