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12 Survival Life Hacks:

Life Hacks

 You Won’t Believe Some of These!

Some people seem to think they only need one tool, a super-secret hideout or the right weapon to survive anything. The most important common attribute of those who will survive just about anything is creative thinking. If you are in a true survival situation, you won’t be able to walk into the grocery store or hardware shop and get what you need. You need to learn how to work many different materials to create items you need.

1. Getting your food into airtight packaging can be difficult. The bags that rice and beans come in can easily tear, reducing how long your food will last. You can transfer dry goods into 2-liter pop bottles. These bottles have an air-tight seal and have thick plastic. If you don’t drink soda, then ask your family and friends to save these for you.

2. If you need an AA battery, but all you have are AAA, you can use those smaller batteries. All you need to do is use a small ball of aluminum foil to fill the gap in the battery compartment. This can really be helpful when you need your weather radio or flashlight.

3. If you have kids, chances are there are crayons lying around your home. These make terrific emergency candles and you can melt the other end a little so it can be stuck to a piece of cardboard.

4. A can of Crisco only needs a wick to become a candle. A large can of Crisco will last 30 days burning continuously.

5. If you can’t find any dry tinder with which to start your fire, any snack chips like Doritos will work. They are highly flammable, but you’ll need to decide if the calories from the chips are needed more than fire.

6. An air compressor is not something that most people carry in their vehicle, so repairing a flat tire is not possible. However, a short-term solution is to cut some small holes in sidewall and fill it up with grass until the tire is relatively firm. You will need to replace your tire, as there is no repair for this temporary fix, but it should allow you to reach your destination as long as it’s not hundreds of miles away.

7. Instead of putting that headlamp on your head and blinding everyone, attach it to a gallon of water. The translucency of the water dispels the light through it, creating an area light like a lantern does instead of a flashlight-type beam.

8. For a fishhook, use the pop-tab on a soda can. Simply use your Leatherman to clip away a piece of the metal and file the remaining piece to a point. Attach your line to the other end and you have a no-frills fishhook.

9. Having to eat crappy food can make getting sufficient caloric intake difficult. No one says that you have to eat food without any seasoning in it. Those little Tic Tac containers are great for filling up with various spices to make your emergency food supplies a bit more palatable.

10. Keep a container of cayenne pepper with you when you’re having to sleep out under the stars. Sprinkle a line of it around your sleeping bag and bugs won’t cross it.

11. Keeping your toilet paper dry can be a problem in some areas. One way to do so is to use a large plastic coffee can. Cut a slit in the side of the can to pull the TP through and you can attach a wire at the top and the bottom to use as a handle.

12. A great arrowhead can be made from ordinary keys. Mark the key head to the shape of an arrow point. Cut the unneeded part of the key off with a hacksaw. Use a file to create a sharp edge on each side and the tip. Then mount the arrow to a shaft. These will easily penetrate animal hide and skin, so only take your test shots on non-living targets.

There you have it. A dozen hacks that can be very useful in any survival situation. There are dozens more out there, but it’s best to test some of the more complicated ones to make sure the results are what you are hoping for. In a survival situation, sometimes it just takes creativity to solve a problem.

Extreme Situations Preppers Must Consider

When you’re prepping for the worst-case scenario, you may be thinking about food, shelter, and basic survival. You need to know how to stay alive when you don’t have access to the things you take for granted. That’s fine, and it’s a good place to start, but there are many extreme situations you should keep in mind. Below are a few things that could happen if things go south. Make sure you’re ready.

The Government May Take Firearms

You may be stocking up on a few useful firearms so that you can protect yourself and hunt when something happens. That’s great, but are you sure you’ll get to keep those guns? What if the police take them? If not the police, what if the army scoops them up?

You may think this is a scare tactic, something that would never happen in the United States, where the Second Amendment has been upheld time and again. But a piece of paper may not help as much as you think. The government has already made a practice of taking firearms in situations like this. For example, when Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans, the police and military were sent in both to help and to take guns from people in the city. Around 1,000 people lost their guns. These people hadn’t broken the law, the police didn’t have warrants, and the whole thing probably felt unconstitutional to those citizens as it happened. But that did not keep it from happening, so you know that the government isn’t above doing it again.

The Police May Be Gone, or They Could Be Fake

Another thing people sometimes assume, even with a worst-case scenario, is that things like law enforcement and order will still be around. Perhaps it’s from watching disaster movies, where the police are always rushing around and trying to help — or where the hero of the movie is a rescue o

fficer trying to save the day. That’s fine for movies, but there’s a good chance that society is going to break down in a situation like this, and that could mean there simply isn’t any police presence. There may not be firefighters or rescue workers, either. It could be “every man for himself.”

Some have even speculated that fake police officers may spring up. Someone looking to get a free gun or some other supplies could take a uniform and impersonate an officer when the rest are all gone. This isn’t to say you should not cooperate with the police, but you need to be careful. Make sure you know whom you are talking to. Be wary that criminals will take advantage of any situation, no matter how dire it is.

trash on doomsday day

There’s Going to Be a Lot of Trash

As things calm down from the initial event, there’s going to be quite a lot of trash and garbage. For one thing, there’s no one around to pick it up anymore. For another, a lot of it could be spread by the event itself. If it’s a war or an invasion, for example, buildings and vehicles will be destroyed. Trash could be spread all over the place. More trash will accumulate from food packaging and things of this nature. It’s easy to overlook this in modern society, when it’s so easy to roll your bin out to the curb once a week, but things won’t always be like this.

The key thing to remember about trash is that it can spread sickness and disease. There was a lot more disease a few centuries ago, when people had less knowledge about germs and didn’t take care of their trash properly. We have the knowledge now, but that doesn’t help unless someone is doing something about it. You’ll want to have a way to take care of your own trash, and you’ll also want to stay away from polluted areas.

Sickness Can Ravage the Population

Similarly, sickness and disease will both become larger issues than they are now, and not just because they’re more common. They’ll also be more deadly. People used to die of the flu; now it’s far less common. Without medication, though, things that we don’t think are a big deal could become deadly again. This is especially true if nutrition is not good due to a lack of food. When sickness starts to spread, it’s wise not to be part of that community. One disease could wipe it out if no one can treat it.

Communication Will Take a Giant Leap Back

In recent years, we’ve progressed at an incredible rate when it comes to communication. At any time, you can call most of the people you know and get in touch with them no matter where they are. If you don’t want to talk, just shoot them a text message or head to social media. It’s fast, it’s easy, and we take it for granted.

If things go badly, though, communication lines will be shot. No one will be there to tend the physical lines for home phones, and cellphone coverage will be a thing of the past. The Internet could be entirely gone with the lack of electricity, server upkeep, and many other things that are crucial to its existence.

In some senses, there isn’t a lot you can do about this, but it’s good to be ready. Plan out ways that you can still communicate. Have meeting places where you can go on a regular basis or discuss ways to get messages through. Most of your planning, though, has to be in adjusting your lifestyle. Realize that you’re mostly going to be able to talk face-to-face, and get the things you need to survive with this basic principle guiding your actions.

5 Things You Will No Longer Have in a Long-Term Disaster

city power outage

Think about what you have around you right now. Now think about what you might not have if a disaster were to hit. For many people, the first things they think about is having enough water and food. But there is a lot more to consider. Each person will likely have his or her own list of possible dangers or complications and there will be some differences in those lists from lists belonging to other people. When you look at the overall picture, though, there are five things that you can be guaranteed to not have if there is a long-term disaster.

No Power
Imagining life without power is much different from living life without power. If our nation’s entire power grid was shut down, what would you do? One survey of Americans said that it would only take two weeks for them to die. That seems more than just a bit shocking, but are those numbers really that far from the truth?

No Water
Most preppers have a good understanding of what constitutes an adequate water supply. However, that train of thought might be a bit different if there is no water available due to contamination. It’s about more than just drinking water. Water would be needed for cleaning and sanitation purposes, too. Water will become a commodity and one many people will be willing to exploit.

No Internet or Phone
It’s not just the loss of Facebook, email or Pandora that most people will have to worry about. Virtually every person on this planet is dependent on the Internet, whether it controls your bank account, your latest prepper packages in the mail or your medical records. If yo

u haven’t considered how you will communicate with your friends, family and others if every phone line, fiber-optic line and wireless connection went down, it’s probably something you need think about now.

No E-Commerce
Cash may eventually become a thing of the past, but immediately after a disaster occurs, cash will matter. You won’t be able to reach your money in the bank and there won’t be any cashing out of 401(k)s. Consider some of the small-scale disasters, like storms or hurricanes, that have brought down the local power grid. Should e-commerce collapse, the problem will be intensified by the loss of anything in your bank accounts. You will only be worth as much as what you have on you. If your six-figure salary is in the bank, it’s not going to do you much good.

No Transportation
When Hurricane Sandy and Katrina hit, it showed how unprepared most people who live in urban areas really are for any type of disaster. In both of these areas, people who rely on public transportation weren’t able to leave the disaster zones once that transportation went down.

Unless you’ve done a bit of planning, personal transportation won’t get you far, either. Once the gas trucks aren’t delivering fuel anymore, you’ll need to have a plan in place for getting more. Gas stations still operating in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy were out of fuel within a few short hours. Those that still had it were limiting customers to less than five gallons.

Determine Your Threats
This list is meant to get you thinking about what would happen in a long-term SHTF disaster. Performing a threat assessment will help you improve your ability to handle the unexpected, manage threatening situations and protect the people you love. Remember, your threats will likely be a bit different from someone else’s.

There are several places where you can find information on how to perform a threat assessment.

The Best Prepper Foods

prep food that last

So you want to be prepared, and you know that means having food on hand, but there are some significant challenges here. You have to assume the grid is going to be down, so you need food that will last, even without electricity. You need food that you can eat with limited cooking ability.

You may still have power or a gas stove. However, it’s best to plan as if you won’t, and then anything you do have is extra. Below are some of the best foods that you can stock up on.

Bottled Water

It’s not a food, but it’s the most important thing you can collect. Clean, drinkable water is far harder to find than most people think. If you’re not near a water source, do you have the ability to dig a well? If you are near a source, like a local lake, is that water clean enough to drink? You need to boil and filter it. You’re going to have to do all of this eventually, but bottled water can help you tremendously.

Protein Powder

It’s not that exciting, but whey powder lasts for a long time, and it’s an incredible source of protein, providing as much as meat, and often more. Meat could be hard to come by, and you need to keep protein in your diet. This powder is an easy way to get it, as you can mix it into water, food, or even sprinkle it onto other foods. You turn any meal in a protein boost.

Powdered Foods

Similarly, you may want to collect other powdered foods, like milk and eggs. These things don’t last very long in their natural forms, especially without refrigeration, but the powders will keep. We know what you’re thinking: Do you really want to make meals of water and three kinds of powder? While that may not be all that exciting, you have to focus on nutrients above all else. This isn’t about making a tasty meal, but about making a meal that gives your body what it needs.

Powdered Drink Additives

Drink additives -— like Tang -— help in a number of ways. For one thing, they can help water taste better. Even after it’s been filtered and boiled, lake water or well water may not taste pleasant. Drink additives help cover this up, and they give you some variety. However, the more important additive is the sugar. We hear a lot about the over-consumption of sugar in modern society, but it’s a huge benefit when survival is the only goal -— which is why your body is hard-wired to like it so much. The additives can give you the raw calories that you need for instant energy.

Beef Jerky

It doesn’t have to be beef jerky; any type of dehydrated meat is a must-have. It gives you a lot of lean calories and a good amount of protein. It lasts forever, and you don’t have to store it anywhere special. Plus, you can get some excellent flavors and a lot of options. If you don’t care what your food tastes like and just want the nutrition, you may not care for all of the flavors. However, this is a great way to spice up your meals, which most people are happy about.

There’s an added bonus to dehydrated meat: It’s very light. You can carry it easily. Stocking up your bug-out cabin is a must, but you can also take this if you’re hiking, camping, and traveling on foot. You can pack enough to eat for days without much actual weight holding you back. Other foods, like soups and canned goods, get heavy, quickly. Plus, a soup may only have 300-400 calories. A bag of jerky could have twice that many. Therefore, the weight-to-calorie ratio is in your favor.

Canned Goods

Even though canned goods get heavy, they really do last. You may not prefer them for hiking purposes, but they’re ideal for stocking up the pantry at your cabin. Get things like soup, refried beans, and canned vegetables. You can also get canned meats, like tuna fish and even chicken. These have great lasting power and you can eat most without cooking them.

Metal cans are also useful when you don’t have much in the way of supplies. You can use them to cook in, heating up beans or soup over the fire. You can clean them out and use them as cups for drinking water. You can store other items in them, especially if you have tinfoil, plastic wrap, rubber bands, and other things to put a lid on the can.

Dried and Canned Fruit

Unless your bug-out cabin is in the middle of an apple orchard, it could be hard to get fruit in a survival situation. However, fruit has a lot of nutritional value; you don’t just want to eat beef jerkey and drink Tang every day. You need foods that are actually good for you, but you also need food that will last. The key is to forget about fresh fruit, which goes bad in weeks and sometimes in days, and stock up on dried fruit -— like raisins and dried cranberries — and canned fruit. You can get oranges, peaches, pineapple, and much more.

As an added benefit, many of these canned fruits are stored in syrup. Again, do not forget the value of sugar when you don’t have many raw calories around. That syrup can provide a ton of calories and some hydration. It shouldn’t be your main source, obviously, but one can of fruit is actually doing triple duty by providing you with nutrients, a high caloric intake, and liquid. When space is limited, getting the most out of every item is key.

Stocking Up

This is a small sampling, but it shows how important it is to focus on the right foods, and it can help you start stocking today. Your best option is to diversify and have a wide range of foods so that you’re ready for any situation.

Hiding From or Hacking Drones

spying drone

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For those who are acutely aware of their surroundings, drones can be easy to spot. However, for those who would be going into unfamiliar territory when the SHTF, spotting a drone could be difficult before it actually sees you. If you’re not really aware of what a drone is, it’s a plane that is remote-controlled and it can have many uses, such as scientific research, rescue operations, surveillance and even deadly force.

The military uses drones for both surveillance and to attack specific targets. The number of these remotely-operated planes is quickly growing. In fact, in 2012, the Federal Aviation Administration predicted that there could be upwards of 30,000 drones flying over the United States within 20 years. As these become more common, it’s important to be able to recognize and identity them.

A Bit More About These Birds

Currently, 87 countries around the world have drone technology. With over 200 different types of drones, you would have to be able to use its silhouette to identify one of these pieces of flying spy machines. Drones are equipped with extremely powerful cameras, which can detect vehicles and people when the drones are several miles in the air. Most have FLIR sensors, infrared vision cameras or night vision. Even though most drones can find the proverbial needle in a haystack, there are a few ways you can try to hide from drones.

Hiding From Drones

If a drone is equipped with thermal imaging, it’s doubtful you will be able to cancel out your thermal heat signature. However, you might try using a Mylar emergency blanket, which are also known as a space blanket. It can block infrared rays. When used as a poncho at night, you will be able to hide some of your body heat from detection by FLIR sensors. In addition, if the outside temperature where you are is between 96 ͦF and 104 ͦF, the sensors could have more difficulty determine what is surrounding your body and what background you are in.

Camouflage can be used during the day and night. During the night, use natural and manmade types of camouflage. For example, hide in the shadows of trees, brush or buildings. Thick woods and forests can be helpful. You can use nettle for covering vehicles and camo patterns for other objects that can help confuse systems specializing in vision recognition systems. During the night, avoid flashlights, spotlights and campfires. Even if you were to use a spotlight at a long distance, it would be easily spotted at night by a drone.

Another option is to wait to move until the weather turns bad. Drones can’t fly when there are heavy rainstorms, high winds, smoke or other dangerous weather conditions. You should also avoid using any type of handheld communication device. GPS-based communication or cellphones (if they are even working) will compromise your location. Finally, you might think about using decoys, such as human-sized dolls or mannequins, to mislead the drone.

Hacking Drones

Sounds a bit sci-fi, doesn’t it? The truth is that it might not be as difficult as you think. Because drones are remote-controlled, the actual pilot could be several thousand miles away. The drone is controlled by a satellite transmitted datalink. If this signal is interrupted or jammed, it can interfere with the control of the drone. In some cases, the datalink could be encrypted, but not always. Here are some ways you could hack a drone:

• GPS Spoofing: Portable, small GPS transmitters can be used to send fake GPS signals to the navigation system of the drone. Theoretically, you could hijack the drone’s controls or fly it into the ground.
• Interference: You can broadcast on a pack of frequencies between the drone and drone pilot so that it would be disconnected.
• Interception: A complicated technique is to use a satellite dish with sky grabber software and a TV tuner to intercept the frequency of the drone’s control pilot.

Will all of the above work? It’s possible, but not guaranteed, just like it’s not guaranteed that you can avoid detection by a drone. It all comes down to the type of security on the drone’s control frequency and how good the “hacker’s” skills are. However, if a drone should become a serious threat, then you’ll want to try just about anything to get it out of the sky.

What Urban Families Should Know About Preparing for Natural Calamities

crowd panicking in city It stands to reason that people who live in sparsely populated regions have an advantage over those who live in more crowded areas in the event of any natural calamity or disaster. The sheer population density found in cities greatly increases the risk of injury during the actual event, as well as the threat from violence in the ensuing aftermath. In addition, the presence of more people means that there will be more competition for any resources that are available and necessary for survival, such as food, water and medical care. However, not everyone has the luxury or even the desire to be able to make their home in a rural area, even if it might prove to be safer.  This week, our doomsday prep focus will be on the urban family and the things they can do to prepare themselves to survive and thrive should some type of natural calamity, terrorist attack or other disaster event take place.

Have a Backup Location

The recommendation to have a backup location may sound strange in a segment about prepping for the urban family, but actually, it is probably one of the most important preparations that an urban family can make. Unless you happen to live in a very rare urban area where you can depend upon having access to potable water, food and safe shelter, your family’s health and survival will depend upon getting to a less populated area, and doing so as soon as possible after the initial event.

The question of where you should go will depend upon your actual situation and what is available near you. It could be the home or farm of a friend or family member, uninhabited wilderness areas, state or national parkland or any area where you will be able to be safely hunker down and regroup.

When choosing the best location for your family, consider the following factors:

  • Depending on the size of the city where you live, look for a backup location that is at least a full tank of gas away from your urban area. This is because most people have less than a full tank of gas on hand at any time, and many have less than a half-tank. In the hours and days after a natural calamity or disaster, those that flee cities will likely be stranded once their vehicles run out of gas and you will want your backup location to be well outside this range. In order to make this work, you must begin now to ensure that your car’s tank is topped off frequently and learn to keep and rotate some additional containers of gas, if at all possible.
  • When scouting for the best location, look for one with access to a water source that is either potable or can be filtered, such as fresh water rivers, creeks, springs and lakes. In addition, look for an area that offers the best possible potential for food, such as an area where you can hunt, fish, garden or forage easily.
  • Make sure that the backup location you choose provides shelter in an area that is well away from major travel routes and roadways that are likely to be used by those also fleeing from the areas hardest hit by the natural calamity or disaster.
  • Lastly, determine at least three potential routes to get to the property and practice them often so that you will be able to pack quickly and easily make your way to safety when each second becomes critical.

Prepare for System & Supply Outages

In the event of a natural calamity or disaster, urban families will likely be impacted faster and more severely than those who live in a sparsely populated area. One reason for this is that urban apartments, condos and homes are typically smaller and lack abundant storage space for doomsday prep supplies and gear.

Even when living in small spaces, however, it is important that you prepare for system and supply outages to enhance your chances of staying safe in an extremely chaotic situation. Some suggestions for this include:

  • Keeping a supply of cash on hand to help you purchase fuel or food when ATMs, credit cards and paper or electronic checks are not being accepted. Make sure that the amount of cash you keep is ample enough to purchase food, fuel and water for at least several days and keep this cash in a secure, but easy to access location. DO NOT keep it in a bank account or safety deposit box as it may not be accessible to you when needed during a crisis.
  • Keep the gas tank full on each vehicle, as well as an extra can or two of gas, if you have a garage or other secure outdoor space to store them. If you cannot store gas safely where you currently live, keep some empty gas cans in the trunk of your car and fill them at the earliest opportunity after a natural calamity or disaster event.
  • Even though you will be leaving for your backup location quickly, make sure that even the smallest apartment is stocked with at least 30 days of water for each person who lives there. According to FEMA guidelines, you should stock one gallon of water per person, per day. If you cannot store enough water, make sure that you have some good quality personal water purification supplies on hand that will allow you to use most any available water source, such as water in the toilet tank, hot water heater or collected rainwater.
  • Stocking thirty days of food can be done in relatively little space by purchasing five gallon buckets of dry beans and rice and supplementing them with canned tunas, powdered milk, eggs and cheese and dehydrated fruits and vegetables. With careful planning, a family of four can store a month of food in a small closet or in bins under a bed.
  • Outfitting each family member with fully stocked bug out bags and having a small “get home bag” to be carried daily by each family member. Fully stocked bugout bags, complete with all the items needed for survival in an emergency can be purchased ready to use, or assembled from household supplies. In addition, make sure that all family members carry a small “get home” bag or pack in their cars, purses, backpacks or briefcase, with basic necessities such as a bottle of water, a few energy bars, a small flashlight and a small knife.

By having cash, fuel and basic food and water storage on hand, you will be able to keep your family safe without venturing into dangerous situations, such as the unruly crowds that are likely to form near grocery stores, banks and gas stations after a natural calamity or disaster. In addition, you will have supplies that can quickly and easily be loaded into the car before heading to your backup location to improve your chances of survival.

In the next segment, we will take an in-depth look at food security during a natural calamity or disaster event, including specific information to ensure that both nutritional and caloric needs are met. In addition, we will look at specific storage issues for these foods and how you can safely and easily manage long-term storage for this food. 

What Your Perfect Cabin Needs

Isolated Cabin on Mountain

Nothing beats a cabin when you have to leave society behind. A cabin is remote, comfortable, and able to protect you against the elements. It’s the perfect place to go when you don’t need all of the bells and whistles in your residence—like crown molding, plasma TVs and granite countertops—but when you need a rustic, dependable place to live.

In short, if everything breaks down, you want to have a cabin where you can settle in. It needs to be stocked and ready to go at a moment’s notice. So, what does your perfect cabin need?

A Remote Location

It has to be remote. Don’t buy anything within a few miles of town. Don’t buy a cabin on a lake with another cabin every 50 feet. Some would say you shouldn’t even buy anything with a paved road leading to it.

Think about it: You’re trying to hide out from something. It could be a pandemic, it could be a revolution, it could be an invasion. These things have happened time and again over the course of human history, and they’re going to keep happening. The people who fare the worst are always the ones in the cities. They’re easier to find and more susceptible to danger. Don’t be one of them. You want your cabin as far from everyone else as you can get, and you don’t want anyone to know where it is.

The Ability to Function Off the Grid

If you need to head to the cabin, the grid is gone. Plan for it. You’re not going to have cellphone service. You’re not going to have water and sewage services. You’re not going to have electricity or someone who can drop off propane tanks. This thing has to work for you when you’re all alone and you have nothing. Everything else is just a bonus.

A lot of people forget this when building a cabin. It feels secluded and secure, but the heat is all propane based. They stockpile propane so that they’re ready, but how long is that going to last? A few months, a few years? You don’t want a timetable like that, where your cabin is useless when time runs out. You need things like a wood-burning stove, solar panels for electricity, and a water filtration system. You need to be able to go to the cabin with nothing and live there indefinitely. Plan it as though the grid is already down.

Plenty of Storage

Cabins are often very small. When planning yours, make sure you plan for plenty of storage. You need far more food than you probably think. You need canned goods and salted food and water and things that will last.

There are other ways to get food, and you’re going to have to address them eventually. You need to know how to farm, how to hunt for animals. Your stored food isn’t going to last forever. But it does need to last for as long as possible, so that you’re not entirely reliant on finding food. If you have nothing and whether or not you eat tonight depends on your ability to shoot a deer, do you really feel that good about it?

Plus, some situations don’t last forever. Wars end, diseases burn themselves out. You may only need to live in the cabin for a year or so before it’s safe to come out. Plan so that you have plenty of food storage and you can make it through.

Insulation

This depends on where you live. If you’re in a cold-weather state, though, be sure you have as much insulation as possible so that the cabin stays warm and livable in all weather conditions. Many older cabins, like the ones they built on the American frontier, were not insulated at all. That requires a tremendous amount of energy to heat, though, and there’s a reason the settlers often did better in the south than the north. Know your location, your seasons, and plan for them.

If you can pick any location, experts suggest going somewhere with a moderate temperature. You don’t want it to be 120 degrees in the summer, and you also don’t want it to be 20 below in the winter. Either one can kill you. Find something that is in the middle and build your cabin there. This has the added benefit of extending your growing season when you start farming.

A Water Source

Water is another thing that people often take for granted in the modern day. Any home you go to in the United States has water as soon as you turn on the tap. Your cabin needs to have a water source.

Digging your own well isn’t the worst thing you can do. Many cabins run off of their own wells for years, and it may last your entire life. However, considering the equipment used to dig modern wells, this isn’t something you can probably do if you start having issues with it. You may be wise to find a water source like a river or a stream, which provides water without any work on your part. You will need to boil that water to use it, to make sure it’s safe, but this is how people survived for hundreds of thousands of years. There’s a reason most major cities are built on water sources.

Security

Again, it depends what you’re trying to get away from, but security may be incredibly important in the event of a civil war or a revolution—two things that often feel far more likely than most people like to admit. You need a cabin that is safe, that is hidden, and that you can defend. Build it with that in mind.

Hiding it may be the most important step. People have build cabins in the midst of a dense forest or in the side of a hill. Some have even built underground bunkers that can’t be detected from the surface. A cabin that is right out in the open could put you in serious danger, no matter how well stocked it is or how well it’s built. At the very least, find a place without roads and heavy traffic lanes, where people are less likely to stumble upon you.

Water Sources, Purification and Filtering

Humans can only live three or four days without water. When you’re in a survival situation and you find water, you have to address two concerns. First, is the water drinkable? Second, if the water isn’t drinkable, how to you make it so that you can drink it safely?

Two decades ago, you could find drinkable water from streams, lakes and rivers in the north. However, Giardia has spread in recent years, which has greatly increased the risks of drinking water right from a stream, lake or river.

Giardia is an organism that can infect your digestive tract. It can be seriously debilitating, and researchers once believed it was spread through beaver droppings. Unfortunately, recent research has shown that there are other animals that spread it, too.

Pollutants such as those from chemicals or industrial usage can also be dangerous if ingested through contaminated water. This is more common than it was a few decades ago.

Below, you’ll find some tips for assessing the purity of your water and how to purify it when needed.

Assessing the Purity of Your Water Source

Here are some quick rules for assessing water purity. Each situation, though, will have its own unique factors:
• Look for clear water.
• Remember that running water is usually better than still water.
• Water that is coming out of the ground, such as that from a spring, is generally more pure than water running over the ground.
• Avoid water with algae growing in it.
• Avoid water in swamps or marshes.
• Avoid water near roads, as the pollutants from cars don’t all go up in the air.
• Avoid water that flows downriver of cities, towns, industries, mining sites or factories.
• Avoid water that flows from agricultural lands, as this may contain pesticides or fertilizers.

Purifying Water

The best way to purify water is to boil it. This gets rid of the bacteria and microbes. However, not everyone agrees on how long water must be boiled to kill all of the microbes. Boil water for at least five minutes, but boiling water for 20 minutes will be the safest.

balling water over fire

Heat is obviously required for boiling water, so you’ll need a fire. You will also need a container of some sort. Using a container that you can put directly into the flames is best. However, if you don’t have one, you will need to proceed with rock boiling.

Rock boiling is the process of placing stones into a fire and heating them up. Once hot, you place into a container of water. The water heats up quickly as the heat transfers from the rocks to the water. Put enough rocks into the fire so that you can add the rocks to the water and it will start to boil. Boil for the minimum time listed above.

There are also several things you can add to water to purify it. For example, you can add chlorine dioxide tablets and water drops, AquaMira water treatment drops, or chlorine bleach. However, do not use scented bleaches or those that have added cleaners. Do not use pool chlorine, as this is much stronger than household bleach.

Another means of purifying water is to filter it. There are several types of filters that can be used, including water filters that are available commercially or those you create yourself. The commercial filters will remove most of the bacteria and other contaminants, including Giardia. However, if you don’t have one of these filters available, you can use one of the following methods:

1) Build a water filter from birch bark. While this will not filter out all of the bacteria or chemicals, this is a good choice for an emergency situation. Roll a large piece of birch bark into a funnel, leaving a hole at the bottom that is about the size of a penny. Place several small rocks in the bottom of the funnel, then fill the rest of the cone with alternating layers of sand, grass and charcoal.

2) Use the Earth to filter water. For this, you dig a well about two to four feet from the source of the water. Let the hole fill with water. While there are no guarantees, the water in the hole will be purer than the water source.

3) You can also remove some contaminants by using an item like a coffee filter or clean piece of clothing.

A Final Thought

Finding water only benefits you if you can drink it. Purifying your water is a must in many situations to avoid getting ill and ending up more dehydrated. If in doubt of your water’s purity, it’s best to bypass the source and look for another.

Your Options for Takedown Rifles

Nemesis Arms Vanquish

A takedown rifle is an excellent style of firearm that is easy to transport since it breaks down quickly into a number of separate parts. It can then be carried in a backpack or a briefcase, but you can get it out and assemble it in seconds. If you’re putting together a bag and a disaster kit, you absolutely want to have a takedown rifle as part of the kit. There is no handgun in the world—not even the vaunted .44 magnum—that can match everything a long rifle provides. A takedown rifle is nearly as easy to carry as a handgun, so you get the firearm you really want without compromising on space. Let’s look at some of your options.

The Nemesis Arms Vanquish

Let’s get this one out of the way first. It’s the king of takedown rifles, a military grade sniper rifle that gained a bit of fame when it was featured in The Bourne Legacy. That rifle that he pulls out of his backpack and sticks together while he’s on the run in the mountains isn’t some gadget they dreamed up for the film. It’s a real, world-class rifle that you can buy. It comes with interchangeable barrels in multiple calibers, so it’s really like buying a handful of excellent weapons at once. You can carry it in a backpack, like he does in the move, or in a briefcase.

Now the downside: The Vanquish is going to run you about $4,500. If you have that type of money to drop on a takedown rifle, go for it. This is the best one you can get. It’s handcrafted and immaculate. But, for most of us, it is overkill and eats up too much of the budget.

The AR-7 Survival Rifle

This rifle was originally developed for the military. Pilots would carry it so that, if they were shot down, they’d have at least a small firearm with them. It’s a .22 caliber rifle, so that’s far different than a combat weapon, but it’s better than not having a gun at all. The storage system for the gun is what makes it unique. The barrel and the receiver both break off of the stock. You can then take the plate off of the back of the stock and store the pieces in the stock itself. Replacing the plate keeps them safe and dry.

The upsides to a rifle like this are huge. It saves an incredible amount of space, so you can easily just drop one in your backpack and know it’s there if you need it. Plus, it’s cheap. You can get one at places like Cabela’s and Gander Mountain—typically thought of as over-priced stores—for around $250 to $280. And that’s brand new. You can do much better if you shop around a bit. In a lot of ways, even if you have a different firearm that’s your main one, it may not be a bad idea to have an AR-7 in your bag as a backup.

The Browning Lever Action 81

The BLR 81 is a traditional level-action rifle from a company known for making very nice hunting firearms. It looks a lot like Browning’s standard BLR, but the barrel can be taken off to reduce the rifle’s size. It’s a limited breakdown compared to the AR-7, but it does what it’s meant to do and makes the gun fit in a backpack. It’s also a fairly light rifle, but the quality is still quite high.

The upside to the BLR is that you can get it in many typical hunting calibers, like .270, 30-06, or 7mm Rem. Mag. You can also get it in .223. The BLR is reliable and well-made, and it’s as accurate as everything else Browning puts out, which is to say you can hammer the target from long distance with ease. You do have to pay for it, as it’s going to run from $1,000 to about $1,200, depending on which one you get. That is over the mark set for standard hunting rifles, like the Browning X-Bolt, which you can get for around $700. You’re paying the extra $400 for the takedown. That said, the BLR 81 is a legit hunting rifle, so you’re not stuck with something underpowered if you need a bigger round. If you want a takedown rifle and don’t want to compromise, this is a great option.

One downside is that Browning makes the gun with laminated wood. If you paid this much for a high-end X-Bolt—like the White Gold Medallion—you’d get solid wood with a beautiful finish. The laminated wood looks fine, but purists may feel like the quality is a bit under what they’d prefer in that regard.

The Covert Carry Kit

This isn’t a takedown rifle, per se, but a kit that turns (almost) any AR-15 into a takedown rifle. The AR platform is already versatile and lends itself to breakdowns, but this makes it even faster and more reliable. It also helps to ensure that your AR is accurate when you put it back together. The kit consists of a few different barrel nuts that have to be replaced, and you can do this yourself or have a gunsmith do it. It also comes with a fore-end tube, which you slide down over the barrel and use to tighten the nuts, screwing it down. The kit also comes with a black briefcase.

Basically, you break the gun down into three parts: the receiver, the barrel, and the tube. The first two snap together, the tube tightens down and forms the grip, and your rifle is ready to go. The case has room for both a magazine and an optic to stay mounted.

The upside here is that it works on just about every AR on the market, and it’s only $250 for the conversion kit. You can get a full 16-inch AR, like the Underground Tactical Bacon Maker, and have a takedown rifle for around $1,250. This can cost less if you simply buy a less expensive AR, so the price point—and quality—is up to you. For those who already own multiple ARs, this is a cheap and easy way to transform any of them.