It sounds hard to believe, but you can find some life-saving survival gear in the dumpster when SHTF.
People throw away all sorts of stuff. Old clothes that don’t fit anymore, cooking equipment, and old tools are just some of the things you can find.
The stuff we think of as trash in everyday life can be made into amazing tools when SHTF. Here are just a few of these “junk” items that you’ll want to go dumpster diving for, or hang onto, when SHTF.
It might not seem like it, but aluminum foil isn’t just junk…it’s a useful survival tool when SHTF.
You can change the shape of foil into anything you want. It’s especially helpful at mealtime where you can use it to make cups, bowls, and plates.
Aluminum foil can even be used to cook food without fire. Foil reflects light, which gives it some pretty cool solar uses. One of these uses is to build a solar oven.
Tilt each panel of the foil so the sun’s rays are focused in the center. This will allow you to cook food even if you don’t have the luxury of a fire.
Of course, aluminum foil found in the trash is going to be dirty, so you’ll need to clean it off first.
Trash bags are a versatile survival tool when you know how to use them. And luckily, they’re extremely common and mass produced, so there won’t be a shortage of trash bags any time soon.
The uses for trash bags are limitless. Here’s just a few of the most common uses.
Trash bags can be used as a makeshift water bladder, so you can bring water reserves back to camp. You can use them to carry pretty much anything. Water, food, or any extra supplies you need to gather.
Trash bags can be worn as clothes for protection against the elements. Wear one like a poncho to avoid getting rained on or wear one as a shield to protect against sun burns.
Trash bags can also be used to make cordage. Twist and weave the trash bag to create surprisingly strong home-made rope.
Aluminum and Tin Cans
Aluminum and tin cans are good for some of the same things as aluminum foil, but they aren’t as flexible, which limits their usefulness somewhat.
The obvious use for cans is that they can be used to store liquids. This makes them convenient cooking tools. Take the top off a can and you can use it as a small cooking pot or a stove.
You can also make a can into a makeshift shovel, an alarm system when strung together with other cans, and the tabs can be used as fishing lures.
A can also works as a self-defense weapon in a pinch. Pull the top off a can and the sharp edges of the top can be used as a jagged knife.
While trash cans aren’t as versatile as the other items on this list, they’re still worth scavenging for.
Trash cans are usually fairly durable and make good water containers. Having the ability to store large amounts of water is important because you never know when you’ll get another large supply.
You can also use them as pots to grow edible plants. This is especially useful during winter because you can bring your plants indoors to protect them from the cold.
They can also be used to make small animal traps. Catch small animals like squirrels and rabbits to add much needed protein to your diet.
There’s so much more that can be found in dumpsters than just these items, but this should give you an idea of where to start.
You’d be amazed by what people throw away. It’s true what they say: One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Go searching sometime and see what cool stuff you find! Let us know in the comments below what amazing stuff you’ve found on the side of the road or in dumpsters.
It takes willpower, discipline, brains, and money. Even though you’ll have to spend some money, there are ways to save money and prep without much money.
If you’re already strapped for cash or just want to save a little more, here are 18 ways to save money for prepping.
Stop Drinking Soda
Soda isn’t just bad for your body, it’s also expensive. It might not seem like a big expense individually, but you’d be surprised how much you spend on soda in a year. Drink tap or filtered water instead.
Stop Buying Bottled Water
The price of bottled water these days is outrageous, but many people continue buying it either for convenience, because they think it’s in the purest form, or because they don’t like the taste of tap water.
A lot of people don’t like the taste of tap water. After all, the pipes used in our water system are decades old, not to mention all the chemicals that get dumped in the water.
Get a BPA-free water bottle and buy a Big Berkey. It’s a bit of an investment, but it’ll pay for itself in less than a year if you’re someone who buys a lot of bottled water. And it makes filtered water just as pure as the bottled stuff.
Don’t Buy Pre-Cut Food
When you visit the store, you have the choice of buying pre-cut food or whole food. The pre-cut food is marked up for the convenience of having it done for you.
For example, packs of fruits and vegetables that come pre-cut are more expensive than buying those fruits and veggies whole and cutting them yourself.
This also applies to meat. Instead of buying parts of a chicken, you could save money by buying the whole chicken and cutting it yourself.
The good news is you don’t have to pay full price for your ammo. If you hunt or target practice, you can save money by reloading your own ammo.
Reloading ammo is when you assemble the individual components of shells or bullets yourself instead of buying them pre-made.
Since the manufacturer doesn’t have to assemble them, the savings are passed on to you. Plus, you can re-use the casings after you fire them which will save you even more money.
Save Money on Washing Clothes
Doing laundry isn’t just time consuming, it can be expensive too. Especially if you go to a laundromat or live in an apartment with machines that take quarters. Even if you own your own washer and dryer, they still consume a lot of electricity.
For the washer, try using a lower temperature setting. Hot water breaks up gunk on your clothes better, but depending on the quality of detergent you use and how dirty your clothes are, it shouldn’t make too much of a difference.
As for the dryer…well, why use a dryer at all? Use a good old-fashioned clothes line. You can get a clothes drying rack really cheap or just tie some twine between two trees.
Your clothes will get wrinkly using a clothes line, so you can still use a dryer for your formal wear.
Part of being a prepper is knowing how to rotate food before it goes bad. Put the fresh food in storage or the freezer and eat the old food before it goes bad.
Buy Generic Goods
Brand name products are usually placed at eye level in the stores. You’ll find cheaper alternatives by looking above or below them.
These generic brand products are much cheaper and are usually pretty comparable in quality.
Buy in Bulk
Stores reward shoppers who buy products in bulk. When you buy in bulk, the total price tag is higher, but the price per unit is lower. The result is you save more money overall.
Of course, the catch is that you have to actually use it all to get the full value. So make sure to buy the right item in bulk that you know you’ll use. If you buy food in bulk but let it go bad, then you’re obviously just wasting money.
Negotiate All Your Bills
Your bills aren’t necessarily set in stone. Sometimes it’s possible to negotiate lower rates. This works best when the company sending the bill fears that you’ll either cancel your subscription or simply won’t pay at all in the case of credit cards.
Call the company sending the bill and tell (don’t ask) them you want your bill lowered and that you’re thinking about switching to another company. If you’re firm and luck is on your side, you could walk away with a reduced bill.
This can also work with property taxes. If your house is appraised at a higher value than what you paid, you could get your property tax lowered.
Ask your neighbors and anyone else in your area what they pay. Then contact your local government office and tell them you want your house re-appraised.
Hunt or Fish for Food
Food in the grocery store is expensive, but food you catch in the wild only costs a permit from the DNR.
Just one deer can provide meat for a few months. Skin and cut it yourself and you won’t have to pay processing fees.
Barter for Things You Need
There’s no need to pay inflated prices for everything. Trading goods with other people is free and can land you some great gear.
It’s said that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, so you never know what you’ll be able to find.
Cook Your Meals Instead of Going Out
Your bill at a restaurant isn’t really for the food; it’s for the service. Throw a 15% or more tip into the mix and you just blew $20 on a $5 meal.
Going out to eat is a nice treat, and I’m not telling you to stop doing it altogether. But if you find yourself going out multiple times a week, that can really add up and you’ll benefit from learning a few new recipes and cooking at home.
Get a Better Credit Card
If you’re in debt with a credit card company, your #1 priority is to get out as soon as possible. Money spent on paying off interest is wasted money.
Some credit cards offer grace periods where they don’t charge interest if you switch your balance to them. This could save you a lot of money and help you get out of debt faster.
Don’t take my word for it, though. Read the fine print for each credit card offer before committing.
Visit Nearby Yard Sales
You can find a lot of useful stuff at local yard sales. There’s usually a lot of baby and kid’s clothes, so if you have a young family, it’s definitely worth checking out yard sales.
You can also find used hand tools and power tools for much cheaper than you’ll find in stores.
Find Free Stuff on Craigslist
Craigslist has an entire section devoted to free stuff. It’s amazing what you can find on there that people are giving away for free.
Repair Instead of Replace
Instead of buying something new, why not try to fix the old? Fixing things rather than replacing them will save you the cost of buying something new or paying a repairman.
It’s getting tougher to fix your own car because of all the advanced electronic components in them these days, but if you’ve got an older car, you can save a lot of money by fixing it yourself.
You don’t need to know everything. Just look up your specific problem online and chances are you can do it yourself.
Cut Your Own Hair
The average cost of a men’s haircut is $28 and for women it’s $43. You can get a complete hair cutting kit for around $50, and it’ll pay for itself within two uses.
Start Your Own Garden
People pay premium prices for organic fruits and veggies at the grocery store, but you can have all you can eat for pennies on the dollar!
It takes work in the beginning, but once you get your garden going, it gets easier to maintain.
First, determine where you want your garden. Then remove the sod and break up the soil with a metal rake, removing any large rocks.
Body armor is used by police, soldiers, and other armed personnel to protect them in dangerous situations…but can preppers use it too?
Body armor is something that doesn’t usually get brought up when discussing survival gear, but it’s something that could save your life when society collapses and people turn on each other.
Before we dive into this, keep in mind that your state and local laws might regulate how you can use body armor as a civilian and might even outlaw it outright.
Clearing Up Some Myths About Body Armor
Body armor is sometimes called bulletproof armor. However, that name is somewhat misleading because it’s not actually bulletproof. It’s more like bullet resistant. Also, “bulletproof” is relative to the type of body armor and the bullets being shot at it.
Something that many people don’t realize is that not all body armor has the same effectiveness.
There are different levels of protection for stopping different types of bullets at different velocities. Body armor that’s strong enough to stop 9mm pistol rounds isn’t going to be enough to stop a 5.56 NATO round.
Another thing to be aware of is you can still get hurt even while wearing body armor. Even though bullets won’t penetrate your body armor, they still inflict a huge impact on your body.
People who’ve been shot while wearing body armor describe it as being hit with a baseball bat. This force is strong enough to leave a large bruise and sometimes even cracks the ribs of the wearer.
Covert or Overt Body Armor?
Before we get into whether or not you should prep body armor, let’s separate body armor into two categories: Covert and overt.
Covert body armor is meant to be concealed. It’s usually not as strong as overt body armor, but it’s smaller and easier to wear under clothing. It’s good for people who aren’t guaranteed to engage in combat and need to basically look normal. Think of bodyguards as an example.
Overt body armor is pretty conspicuous. It’s usually much stronger than covert body armor and can even block bullets from high powered rifles. The trade-off is that it’s bulkier and can be harder to move around in. It’s good for people who regularly engage in combat, like soldiers.
Should You Wear Body Armor as a Prepper?
So, should preppers wear body armor? And if so, which type is better for preppers?
As a prepper, you should obviously avoid combat as much as possible. After all, combat puts your life at risk and you have no obligation to fight. Your only goal is to get you and your family to safety.
However, even if you try to avoid combat, you might still be forced into that kind of situation…especially if you live in a city.
Even if you do manage to avoid engaging in combat, there’s still the possibility of being hit by stray bullets from other people.
That’s why I would recommend playing it safe and minimally investing in a body armor vest just in case. You can buy a good one for around $250, and it very well could save your life.
The question then becomes: Which type is better…covert or overt?
For preppers, I recommend going with covert body armor. First, it can be concealed. Staying under the radar is important in a SHTF situation. Covert body armor will protect you without identifying you as a target or a threat.
The other reason is that heavy-duty overt body armor just isn’t necessary. If you’re avoiding combat like you should be, then there is no reason you would need so much protection. You won’t be taking hits from high-powered rifles. The most likely thing that would happen is getting clipped by stray pistol shots.
If you live in a rural area, you can probably go without body armor. There are less people to deal with in rural areas, and those that do live there are fairly well prepared and self-sufficient already, so they won’t come after your gear.
Where to Buy Body Armor
We don’t sell body armor here on Survival Frog. But if you want a quality body armor vest, I recommend checking out Safeguard Clothing.
They have a good selection of body armor for you to choose from. You can choose whether you want covert or overt body armor and even customize the level of protection you want.
I recommend getting a vest with level II ballistic protection and some stab protection. This will give you a good mix of stealth and protection for what you’re most likely to encounter in a SHTF scenario.
For preppers, winter brings the added responsibility of figuring out how to heat the home.
Whether you’re looking for tips to survive a crisis or just want to lower your energy bill, this article gives you some practical ways to make it through winter.
Seal Off Unimportant Rooms
The bigger the area, the harder it is to keep it warm. That’s why you can save a lot of energy by limiting the area you’re trying to keep warm to just your immediate living space.
You probably have a room or two that are rarely, if ever, used. Close the vents in those rooms, close the door, and then put a towel at the base of the door. Once you stop heating it, more heat will flow to the rooms that really matter.
Work Your Fireplace for All It’s Worth
This one’s obvious, but I’ll give you a few worthwhile tips.
If you have a fireplace in your home, you have a big advantage when it comes to staying warm in a wintertime crisis. Hopefully, your stash of firewood will last long enough. But if you run out and it’s truly an emergency, start burning inexpensive wood items from around the house.
Be careful not to burn any synthetic materials like foam or plastic because they release toxic fumes.
If you’re out of wood and can’t use the fireplace anymore, it’s time to seal it up to prevent warm air from escaping. Most fireplaces have a damper that helps with this, but it can help to totally block the entrance.
Plug the Gap Underneath Your Doors
Doors aren’t always sealed very well and have a small gap at the bottom of the door. You might not even be able to see this gap, but it’s there and it’s letting warm air escape.
The quick and easy way to fix this is to place a towel at the base of the door. This will plug the gap and keep your house nice and warm.
Insulate Your Windows on the Cheap
The biggest loss of heat in a house comes from the windows. You don’t need expensive insulated windows to stop the heat from escaping if you don’t mind getting creative.
You can buy do-it-yourself window insulation kits that come with plastic sheets and double-sided tape. They’re cheap and effective. You can also get the same effect with regular plastic wrap and tape, which will cost you next to nothing.
Insulate Hard Floors with Blankets
If you have a hard floor like wood, laminate, or tile, you’re letting a lot of heat go to waste through your floor. Carpet doesn’t have this problem because it’s not solid and retains heat better.
A quick fix for this is to cover up the hard floor with rugs, towels, and blankets. Plus, it feels warmer on your feet and is more comfortable to walk around on.
Stock Some Hand Warmers
A lot of times when we think we’re cold and need to turn the heat up, it’s actually just our fingers or toes that are cold.
Fingers and toes are the first parts of our body to get cold. Our bodies consider them “expendable” and redirect the blood flow to more important things like organs when it gets cold.
Instead of turning the heat up just to keep your fingers and toes warm, use hand warmers instead, preferably electric hand warmers which will last longer and there’s no recurring cost of replacement.
Dress Warm and Turn the Heat Down
If you use propane to heat your home, you’ll want to save as much of it as possible. You can save energy on heating by turning it down and dressing warmer instead. Wear thermal underwear to keep your legs warm, a wool sweater, and most importantly a hat because a lot of body heat escapes through the head.
Your head is the only thing exposed when in bed at night, so wearing a hat to bed will keep you warm and allow you to turn the heat down even more at night.
Open Blinds During the Day
You can use the power of the sun to help heat your home during the daytime. Instead of keeping your curtains closed all the time, open them during the day. Even during winter, the sun provides a significant amount of heat.
You might be giving up some privacy, but the extra few degrees of warmth will be worth it.
Warm Up with a Hot Drink
Drinking a hot beverage will raise your body temperature. Tea, coffee, and hot chocolate are all good choices and feel great on a cold winter day.
You should avoid drinking alcohol when it’s cold. The reason you feel warmer after drinking alcohol is because it brings blood to the surface of the skin. But this is superficial, and it actually lowers your core body temperature…not good!
Blast Yourself with Cold Water Before Getting Out of the Shower
No, I’m not pulling your leg. Briefly standing under cold water will actually make you warmer…in the long run.
The reason this works is because the cold water increases your circulation and promotes healthy blood flow. You should still end your shower with hot water so you aren’t freezing when you step out, though.
Make Your Own “Portable Heaters” Out of Rocks
Rocks can be used to make homemade portable heaters if you have a fireplace. Keep a pile of rocks nearby your fireplace for easy access.
Keep the rocks near you and they’ll act like primitive heaters. The gentle heat from these rocks feels really nice on a cold day.
Put them in the fireplace again when they get cold and repeat the process.
A word of caution: Don’t use rocks that have been submerged in water for a long time such as those from rivers, ponds, or lakes. These types of rocks might still have moisture trapped inside them, which could expand and explode when heated in the fireplace.
Try This Weird Ceiling Fan Trick
The blades on ceiling fans are tilted, which makes them push air in one direction. If you reverse your fan it will push air the other way.
Why is this important? Because heat rises and then escapes through the roof. Reversing the ceiling fan will push that hot air back down and keep your house warmer.
Stop Blocking Vents with Furniture
If you have the heat on high but still feel like it’s cold inside, it might not be an insulation problem. Sometimes, the problem is as simple as something blocking airflow to a vent.
If you have furniture in front of or on top of a vent, you should move it to the side so hot air can circulate through the house better.
I know vents can be ugly and it’s tempting to cover them up, but you can worry about aesthetics after the wintertime crisis has passed. And you can put the money you saved on your energy bill towards something important, like your own bug-out location.
Nature provides us with many useful plants that have healing properties and other survival uses. However, many of these plants are considered weeds and people remove them from their lawns and gardens without considering their usefulness.
A “weed” is simply a plant that is considered ugly and thrives in neglected lawns…but you’ll change your mind about this common backyard plant after discovering what it can do for you.
Today, I’ll show you a common weed called “plantain” that grows all over the U.S. that has been used for survival for many centuries…even before the Americas were colonized.
Don’t let the name confuse you. I’m not talking about those fruits that look like large bananas found in grocery stores.
This plant grows nearly everywhere and can be found in most people’s lawns. If you keep your lawn in great condition, you’ve probably killed plenty of plantain before.
How to Identify the Two Common Plantain Species
There are over 200 species of plantain found all over the world. However, we’re only interested in the two most common species found in the U.S.
Two types of plantain grow here: broad leaf plantain and narrow leaf plantain. Both types of plantain can be used for safe and effective treatment.
The plantain’s roots, leaves, flowers, and seeds can all be used for medicinal treatment. It can also be ingested or used topically.
Broad Leaf Plantain
Broad leaf plantain’s scientific name is Plantago Major.
They have broad leaves with three to five veins. The flowering part of the plant is long and narrow.
An image of the broad leaf plantain is above on the right.
Narrow Leaf Plantain
Narrow leaf plantain’s scientific name is Plantago Lanceolata.
Unlike the broad leaf plantain, they have long narrow leaves. The flowering part of the plant is shorter than those of the broad leaf plantain.
Common Survival Uses For Plantain
Now that we’ve covered what the two common types of plantain are, let’s get into some real world uses for this helpful plant.
If you’ve been burned, one of the first steps is to apply aloe or some other burn cream to the damaged area. However, if neither of those are available, you can use plantain as a substitute.
Plantain is a known herbal remedy for treating pneumonia and other respiratory problems like lung infections, allergies, and asthma.
Use to Stop Bleeding
Plantain also helps stop bleeding, which makes it great for healing wounds. This natural “bandage” will slow blood loss and help your wound heal faster.
Use as an Anti-Inflammatory
Plantain is an anti-inflammatory and can be used to reduce the swelling from bites and stings. Its anti-inflammatory properties also make it good for those suffering from allergies. This is especially helpful to anyone allergic to bees.
Plantain is also a natural antibiotic. Use it to disinfect wounds before wrapping them to prevent infections, or use it to help overcome a current infection.
How to Consume Plantain
Once you’ve gathered some plantain, you can use it in the two most common ways for healing.
A poultice is a layer of wet plant material that’s applied to the body and covered with a cloth. This is a good method for when you want to treat an open wound. The purpose is to get the healing benefits of the plant while the cloth keeps it in place.
If you’re doing this in your home, you can just use a blender, but if it’s a SHTF situation, there’s a few other ways to make the poultice.
You can crush the leaves between the palms of your hands and rub them back and forth, you can grind them between two rocks, or you can chew them up and spit them out…a bit gross, but when SHTF, you gotta make do.
Then apply the plant material to the affected area and wrap it with a cloth or piece of clothing.
Tea made from plantain also has healing benefits.
Bring some water to a boil and then pour it over a mass of plantain leaves. Then strain the leaves out and drink the tea once it cools.
You can even store the discarded leaves and use them in a poultice.
As always when it comes to your health, check with your doctor before trying plantain. Any medications you are taking could conflict with the medicinal properties of plantain and be harmful to your health.
Burns are one of the worst injuries you can have…especially during a crisis. They’re dangerous, scary, and extremely painful.
Getting burned during a crisis can easily put your life at risk, but only if you don’t know how to treat them.
If you think your odds of getting burned are too small, consider this. Burns aren’t just caused by fires. They’re also caused by electricity, chemicals, and the sun. Yes, even sunburns can be deadly if you’re exposed long enough.
The good news is you can learn to treat your own burns if you don’t have access to medical help. Even some severe burns can be brought down to non-life-threatening levels if you know how to treat them.
Here are some quick steps for what to do if you get burned in a crisis.
Step #1: Cool Down the Burnt Skin
Your first job after getting burned is to limit the damage.
Immediately remove any clothes from the burnt area and run cold water over it. This removes harmful substances, eases the pain, and cools down the skin. Always use water to wash a burn. Contrary to popular belief, using something like butter, oil or grease will actually trap the heat and increase the pain even more.
Even though you want the water to be cold, don’t apply ice directly. Ice is too cold and will restrict blood flow to the burnt area, which will slow down your body’s natural healing process.
Step #2: Apply Pain Relieving Gels
The next step is to get quick relief. Relieving the pain of the burn will lower your risk of going into shock and will keep you from panicking so you can think straight.
The best gel you can use is one that’s made to treat burns. Aloe vera is a good choice, though any burn gel or cream will work fine. You can also use honey if you don’t have any burn gel because it’s a natural disinfectant.
A word of caution: when applying the gel to the burn, don’t rub it in. Rubbing it will disturb the wound and increase the damage. Just squeeze it onto the burn and leave it.
Step #3: Determine the Damage and Treat the Burn
Now that you’ve limited the damage and relieved some of the pain, you should feel reasonably calm. This is the time to look at the burn and assess the damage. Keep in mind that while they can appear gruesome, most burns aren’t deadly.
Death from burns usually only occurs if:
They threaten the respiratory system
They cover 10% or more of your body (Quick Tip: the surface of your hand is roughly 1% of your body)
The wound becomes infected
The injured person is very young or very old
Burns are classified differently based on how severe they are. Here’s a quick overview of each burn type so you can determine which type you have.
1st Degree Burn
1st degree burns are minor burns that only affect the top layer of skin. The skin will turn red and there will be mild pain. A 1st degree burn won’t have any blisters.
Applying some aloe vera to the burn will relieve the pain and allow you to recover faster. You can also apply essential oils to the burn to help the skin heal. Lavender works well. You can expect to heal quickly, usually within in a few days.
2nd Degree Burn
The tell-tale sign of a 2nd degree burn is the formation of blisters on the burned area. The blisters may pop, which can lead to infection.
Once the blister pops, you first need to remove the dead skin from around the blister. Wash the wound with soap and water if available. Apply antibiotic gel to the burn and wrap it with gauze. The gauze should be changed daily or whenever it gets wet or dirty, whichever comes first.
If you’ve done everything correctly, the wound should heal in roughly three weeks, hopefully with minimal scarring.
3rd Degree Burn
A 3rd degree burn is when the burn goes deep enough through the skin that it creates an open injury. The damage goes deep through the tissues and can affect muscles, nerves, and fat. The skin around the wound will turn white.
Don’t be surprised if the burn doesn’t hurt that much. A 3rd degree burn can destroy the nerve cells of the burnt area and cause the area to feel numb.
Treatment for 3rd degree burns is the same as the treatment for 2nd degree burns. The dead tissue will eventually turn black, and you’ll need to remove it to allow new skin to grow.
Recovery time for a 3rd degree burn is a few months at the very least, and there will definitely be a scar after it heals.
4th Degree Burn
There’s no way to sugarcoat this. A 4th degree burn is extremely serious.
There’s no real way to treat a 4th degree burn on your own. Without access to proper medical help, the victim of a 4th degree burn probably won’t survive.
The best-case scenario for a 4th degree burn is to treat the wound well enough to buy enough time to find proper medical help. Even with professional medical help, a 4th degree burn may require amputation (I’m not telling you to do this! I’m just telling you what to expect.)
Hopefully, you won’t have to deal with burns, but now you’re a little more prepared if an accident happens.
As usual, the best option is to prevent accidents from happening in the first place. Keep sunscreen in your bag to prevent sunburns, know the hazards associated with any chemicals you use, and don’t mess with broken electronics.
Here’s a quick video with helpful images that explains the different burn classifications and treatment methods.
If you think your regular pair of blue jeans is good enough for when SHTF, I’ve got bad news for you. Your regular pair of pants isn’t going to last long, and when they give out you’re going to be at a major disadvantage.
When SHTF, jeans won’t cut it. You’ll need a good pair of tactical pants. The problem is that many survivalists don’t know where to look for a decent pair.
So, let me give you some simple tips for selecting the best tactical pants. These are the four biggest factors that make a good pair of tactical pants.
Are Tactical Pants Really Necessary?
When you’re busy building your bug-out bag and stocking up on supplies, buying a good pair of tactical pants might be the last thing on your mind. But tactical pants aren’t “just pants”…think of them as an important survival tool.
Regular pants don’t offer the freedom of movement, durability, and carrying capacity that tactical pants do. Regular pants rip and tear in everyday life…so what do you think will happen when SHTF?
Tactical pants can withstand all the abuse you put them through without falling apart. Imagine being in a survival situation wearing jeans filled with holes that are coming apart at the seams.
Choosing the Proper Fabric
The fabric your tactical pants are made from makes a big difference in comfort and safety. There’s no one correct choice for everyone, so here’s a quick guide to find the best fabric for you.
Consider what kind of climate you live in. If it’s hot and humid where you live, you’re going to have a miserable time running around in heavy cotton tactical pants. If your tactical pants are too uncomfortable, you’ll fall back to wearing your regular pants instead, which defeats the purpose of having them in the first place.
If you choose a light fabric in a cold climate, it’ll be a bit chilly. I’d recommend going with a lighter fabric if the temperature in your climate varies. You can always wear thermals underneath if it’s too cold, but you can’t do anything if it’s too hot.
Another thing to consider is what material to use. Poly cotton is a popular choice for tactical pants thanks to its overall comfort. However, some people prefer the feel of natural cotton.
When choosing between synthetic and natural fabric, consider this: Natural cotton takes longer to dry when it gets wet, but it doesn’t melt like synthetic fabric does. If you’re wearing synthetic fabric and it catches fire, you’re going to have to deal with severe burn damage.
Consider Your Carrying Capacity
The thought of tactical pants brings to mind images of pants littered with pockets, but there are also tactical pants that are designed for freedom of movement over carrying capacity.
When shopping for tactical pants, you’ll need to balance between the carrying capacity you’ll need and being able to move unrestrained. You could buy a pair with lots of pockets that you’ll never need…but an abundance of pockets often entices people into buying them.
Most people don’t need that many pockets and would be better off keeping things basic. It should have enough to carry standard gear, like knives, a flashlight, a multi-tool, some ammo clips, and a few other small things you want with you.
If you still want a pair with tons of pockets, make sure to put your gear in the same place every time. This will help you remember where everything is. The last thing you need is to struggle to find the right piece of gear during a critical moment.
Pattern and Color…Which is Best for You?
You can get tactical pants in a camouflage pattern or a solid color.
I recommend staying discreet by wearing a dull solid color, such as desert tan, olive drab, or black, because you’ll be able to wear them in public without attracting much attention. Some of them are even discreet enough to wear in the workplace.
This is important because you’ll have a major advantage when SHTF if you’re already wearing your tactical pants, no matter where you are.
Of course, camouflage patterns do have their advantages. Camouflage makes it easier to avoid being seen by potential threats in more wooded or rural areas, whether they come from looters, bandits, or our own government.
Two of the most popular camouflage patterns are UCP (Universal Camouflage Pattern) and Multi-Cam. These two patterns are designed to work well in most environments and are an excellent choice if you’re unsure about a more targeted pattern.
Sugar might not immediately come to mind when you think of things to pack in your bug-out bag, but this household ingredient is more useful than you might think. Some of the things you can do with sugar are downright amazing.
Here are 9 survival uses for sugar that you can use when SHTF or in everyday life right now.
Create a Sugar-Based Food Preservative
If the power goes out for an extended period of time, or if the grid goes down permanently, you’ll need a way to preserve food without the use of a fridge or freezer.
We all know that salt is used as a preservative, but did you know that sugar is also used as a preservative? Sugar kills bacteria by depriving them of the oxygen they need to survive, which in turn means the bacteria can’t ruin your food. Store food inside jars of sugar to increase their shelf life.
Easy Remedy for Hypoglycemia
Hypoglycemia simply means you aren’t taking in enough energy through food to meet your body’s needs. It happens most often to people who lose a lot of energy through physical exertion, but aren’t taking in enough energy to replace it.
Sound familiar? It should, because it describes a situation preppers can expect to experience in a SHTF scenario.
It’s worth carrying some sugar with you in your bug-out bag because the symptoms of hypoglycemia will reduce your chances of survival. Prepare for hypoglycemia ahead of time, or you’ll have to deal with dizziness, lightheadedness and shakiness.
Cockroaches might not be the first thing you think of when SHTF, but the reality is that cockroach infestations are effective disease spreaders. If you don’t have access to medical treatment, even an ordinary disease could be fatal.
If you do have a cockroach infestation, don’t worry. There’s an easy and natural way to kill them using household ingredients.
Mix sugar and baking soda together to create a natural cockroach killer, and then spread it throughout your house. This is effective because the cockroaches are attracted to the sugar, but the baking soda kills them when they consume it.
Eliminate Nasty Odors with a Homemade Sugar Scrub
You can make your own “salt” scrub that kills germs, eliminates odors, and feels great on your hands. You’ll need a clean container, sugar, liquid soap, and your favorite essential oil.
Pour a small amount of liquid soap into the container and then add the same amount of essential oil. Finally, add the sugar and carefully mix it up without creating too much foam.
Get a Quick Burst of Energy
We all have our own physical limits, but sometimes you absolutely have to go a little further and do a little more.
A quick burst of energy is exactly what you need during those times when you need the extra push…and the fastest way to get that burst of energy is with sugar.
Sugar is already a basic molecule, so it doesn’t take much effort for your body to break down and digest. That means eating sugar gives you short-term energy much faster than eating something with complex molecules like carbohydrates which need time to break down.
You don’t need to carry granulated sugar to get this boost. Even a small candy bar is enough to give you the boost you need.
Barter with Fellow Survivors
What will you do if you run out of something you need or just didn’t pack it in the first place? The good news is that you can trade with someone who has what you need…assuming you have something they want in return.
Due to its all-around usefulness, sugar will also be a valuable bartering item. Even if you don’t use much sugar yourself, it might just be worth its weight in gold to someone with a craving for sweets.
Start an Instant Fire Even if Everything is Wet
You’re probably aware that using a striker is one of the most reliable ways to start a fire, but it’s less widely known that you can also easily start a fire chemically…with sugar.
It’s really easy. All you need is sugar and potassium permanganate. Mix them in equal amounts and then rub them with a blunt stick to create heat through friction. A chemical reaction will occur, and you’ll have a fire in a matter of seconds…even if everything is wet from rain.
Check out this neat video to see just how easy it is to start a fire with sugar.
Treat Open Wounds and Prevent Infections
Hopefully, there’s at least a basic first aid kit in your bug-out bag, but with the frequency you’ll be using it there’s a good chance you’ll run out of supplies quickly. When your first aid kit runs out of supplies, you’ll need a way to treat wounds and prevent infections. It turns out that sugar works great for both of those.
Clean the wound with water first as best you can, and then dry it off with a clean cloth. Sprinkle sugar on the wound until a small pile is visible, then keep still for about an hour and repeat the process. Cover the wound with a clean cloth afterwards and the wound should be disinfected.
Distill Your Own Home Brewed Alcohol
Alcohol is a useful bartering tool and can help relieve some of the stress of surviving when SHTF. Unfortunately, alcohol is heavy and takes up a lot of room, just like water. One way to get around that is to distill your own alcohol at home.
One of the primary ingredients needed to distill alcohol is sugar, which is used to make the “sugar wash” or “mash”. Check out the video below to learn how to make it yourself.
North Korea’s aggressive behavior recently has Americans concerned about the threat of nuclear war.
Polls show that 82% of Americans fear the threat of a North Korean nuke, split somewhat evenly between the political parties. It’s no wonder people are concerned when there’s a rogue nation eager to use its nuclear weapons to destroy us.
To separate facts from rumors, we’re sharing an infographic that compares and analyzes the military capabilities of the U.S. and North Korea. Check it out below.
As expected, the U.S. is superior in military strength in most areas. However, what’s surprising is that North Korea actually does have an advantage in some areas.
Even though North Korea has a relatively small total population, their number of front line reserves is almost three times the size of ours, which means they have more combat ready troops than us.
The good news is that when it comes to the number of people fit for service, our number dwarfs them. “Fit for service” means anyone that falls between the age of 16 and 49 and doesn’t have disqualifying health issues.
A “fit for service” individual isn’t currently trained for combat, but they theoretically could be. The issue with this is how long it would take to train a new soldier from scratch, and how efficient training would be during a nuclear war.
The next area where North Korea has an advantage is naval power. North Korea has more ships available. They have 967 ships total while we only have 415.
That statistic looks pretty bleak, but we need to consider the overall quality of the ships and their capabilities. It’s safe to assume that U.S. ships are higher quality and have more powerful capabilities, lessening the disadvantage of fewer numbers.
In a nuclear war, the most important factor is, of course, nuclear weapons. The U.S. has 6,800 total nuclear warheads compared to North Korea’s 60.
Unfortunately, when it comes to nuclear weapons, the total number isn’t as important given the catastrophic effect of just one nuclear warhead. Even one successful nuclear strike on the right location at the right time could secure victory for either side.
What that means is that we still need to prepare for the worst even though we have an overwhelming military advantage on paper. If you don’t already have a way to protect yourself against radiation, I urge you to buy iodine tablets right now while you still can.
Special thanks to HuntingMark.com for providing this infographic. Be sure to check out their survival gear reviews!
Winter is on its way, and some parts of the country have already had plenty of snowfall. Preppers living in areas that get lots of snow have a difficult challenge to face, because they need to prepare for winter storms.
A winter storm could be as short as a day but have a devastating and potentially lethal impact. At minimum, it could last several days and disrupt the normal flow of daily life. In either case, you need to be prepared for the worst. Here are some tips on how to survive a winter storm.
It shouldn’t be any surprise that your first priority during a winter storm is to stay warm. Try to stay indoors.
Your first line of defense against the cold is to wear warm clothing. Fleece is very warm, and pretty much anything made of fleece (or wool) is a good bet.
If the power goes out in your house, you might not be able to heat your house properly. In that case, you should do some rudimentary insulating around the house.
Put towels at the bottoms of doors to prevent drafts, and plastic wrap can be taped around windows for insulation. You can also buy inexpensive plastic insulator kits.
If you’re really cold and you don’t have any other means of heating your home, there’s a neat trick you can do to create homemade heaters.
Start a fire outside and place rocks in the fire. After they fully heat up, bring them inside and set them on something that won’t catch fire like a baking sheet. Then swap them out once they get cold. Just don’t use river rocks, because they might have moisture trapped inside that will explode once they heat up. Land rocks will work best.
You will also benefit from having cold weather survival gear prepped ahead of time. The electric hand warmer provides plenty of heat, and the TACT Bivvy sleeping bags will save you if all else fails.
Next up is securing water sources so you don’t die of dehydration. People tend to think dehydration only happens in the summer months, but it happens in winter more often than you’d think.
A common but incorrect survival tip is to physically exert yourself to stay warm. This is bad because it’ll cause you to sweat. When the sweat evaporates, you’ll become colder after you’re done exercising, and it’ll also cause you to waste fluids and become dehydrated.
The easiest way to prevent dehydration is to stock water reserves in your home. An adult drinks about one gallon of water per day, so assume five gallons for each person to survive a winter storm just to be on the safe side.
It’s a good idea to have a backup water supply, too. You can bring snow inside and wait for it to melt and then purify it, though this is less desirable because you would be letting heat out to get the snow. Never eat snow while it’s still cold because you’ll just waste your body heat melting it into water. Instead, wait for it to melt. The Sawyer Mini is a great little water filter you can depend on.
Stocking Up on the Right Gear
Since you’ll be staying in your house the entire time, you only have access to what you’ve already stockpiled.
Take some time to verify you have all the gear you need ahead of time. Check to make sure you have enough batteries, warm clothes, food, and water.
You might also want to buy an extra snow shovel and sidewalk salt or sand just in case you need to leave in an emergency.
If the power goes out, you’ll need some way to see. Flashlights are the first thing that comes to mind for many, but it turns out they’re not so great for house lighting.
Flashlights are meant to be mobile and shine in a specific direction, not to provide general light to an entire area. Instead, the better option is to use a battery or hand crank lantern, or some other powerful light.
Solar isn’t an option during winter because there’s not enough light, and you’d have to go outside to use it. Batteries should last long enough to get through a winter storm, but hand cranks are better.
You could go without food for the span of a winter storm if you had to, but who wants to go through such a miserable experience?
Eat perishable food first, such as whatever you have in your fridge and freezer. Only after you’ve eaten the last of your perishable food should you dig into your stockpiled survival food.
Also, don’t depend on getting much of anything from the grocery store. Not only is it unnecessarily dangerous to make a trip to the store, but you probably won’t find anything worthwhile. Stores tend to be out of stock before a big storm hits because everyone panics and buys it all. Good thing you stockpiled non-perishable survival food, right?
It’s pretty common for the power to go out for extended periods of time during winter storms, and the power companies are pretty slow to repair them, so it could be a while before it comes back.
You’ll need electricity to power things like cell phones, radios, and other vital equipment. Small electronics can be powered with a personal power bank so you can call for help if needed or check on loved ones.
During a winter storm you’ll be mostly on your own, but it’s still a good idea to maintain basic contact with others.
Make sure your cell phone has a charge and you’re able to make a call. Buy a power bank for your cell phone just in case.
Prepping for a winter storm would be much easier if you had advance warning that it was coming. The weather channel is usually good enough, but sometimes the news just slips past you. A special purpose weather alert radio gives you emergency alerts specific to your county.
Depending on how bad the storm is, you might not be able to get regular medical help. You should always have a first aid kit in your home, and this is usually enough to take care of minor to moderate issues.
It’s interesting to note that frostbite isn’t your biggest issue during a winter storm…it’s your other medical issues. The elderly have an increased risk of blood clots and heart attacks when their body temperature drops. It’s especially important for the elderly to stay warm for this reason.
Who knows how long you’ll be cooped up in your house, possibly without power? It’s normal to go a little stir crazy when that happens.
An easy and fun way to take the edge off is to have some form of entertainment that doesn’t require electricity. It’s a good idea to keep a few board games in the house, as well as having a few decks of playing cards.
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