Author Archives: Survival Frog

Top 10 Natural Shelters every Survivalist must know

If an emergency situation is happening, it may be better to hide inside your house because it is easier to survive when you have many tools and commodities. But there are situations when it is necessary to leave your home. Even if your survival plan is all about hiding inside, you must have a backup plan that will help you to bug out if it’s needed.

One of the most important aspects of such a plan is to prepare your survival kit with items such as a tarpaulin and paracord. You can learn here how to build the ultimate disaster survival kit for free. But even if you create a great kit, you still can’t be sure that you’ll be able to survive without any problems. Of course, if you don’t have such a kit, you will face troubles. Unfortunately, even with a decent kit, you can’t always take everything you want with you, meaning you may have to leave some tools, a tarpaulin or even tent at home.

A tent is not the only thing that can be used as a shelter, but its advantage is that it is easier to set it up and there is no need to spend time searching for materials and building a shelter. One great idea is to know how to use shelters made by nature. Once you have the knowledge to look at objects in nature from a survival perspective, you’ll be able to find an emergency shelter almost anywhere you bug out.

The best survival shelters you can find in nature;

  • Caves. Here is the best shelter created by nature. A cave can help you to hide from bad weather conditions and also it is a great way not to be noticed by any wild animals that can hurt you. There is only one disadvantage in such shelters: some creatures are usually living there. So, when you find a cavern and you decide to go in, make sure if there are no people or wild animals already living there! You’ll find caves along rocky shorelines but also inland especially where the underlying bedrock is limestone or chalk.
  • Undercut riverbank. Such a bank can help you to hide if it’s raining, but unfortunately, it’s not as good as a cavern. If several trees are located right in front of this bank, then it may save you even from the wind. Undercut bank can be a great shelter but check them for stability first. Also be extra cautious of rising river levels if it is raining hard.
  • Underneath a fir tree. Many fir trees (and even cypress trees) have huge branches that are long enough to touch the ground. If you are staying under the branches, you’ll have enough space to feel comfortable. Don’t forget to cut some dead parts of these branches, so that it’ll be even more comfortable for you to stay there. Coniferous species such as this have the added benefit of providing a blanket of old foliage on the floor as well as drying the soil out in an area on the floor as large as the canopy.
  • Deadfalls. These can actually help you a lot in solving many survival problems ranging from dead wood for burning, to providing structural support for shelter building. The roots are strong enough and they can be used as a wall of the shelter, or you may find an uprooted tree with a cavity underneath the roots. You can cut or snap some branches from the underside of a fallen trunk which will create a comfortable space for you. Usually, deadfalls have other trees or even rocks that surround them, meaning that these deadfalls are protected well from the bad weather.
  • Rock structures. It is possible to find many huge rocks that are naturally located in formations that create great shelters. You can improve such rock structures by putting a tarp or foliage on its roof, for added protection. Such spots can also protect you from wild animals, or at least ensure that you can keep all sides except the entrance vulnerable.
  • Things left by people. It may sound a little bit unpredictable, but it is possible to find things that were built by people even in the deepest areas of the forest. Human beings have lived in different areas for hundreds of years and may have left structures that look abandoned or wild today. It is possible to find some buildings or parts of constructions that were created by them, although at first, it may look like unusable. Many spots may be used as shelters as they are, or just be raided for materials that can be used to create shelter.
  • Against a vertical face. Depending on the direction of the prevailing wind, it may be possible to find shelter from the elements by simply tucking in against a vertical face (such as against a rock face or embankment). Even if it is raining there is a phenomenon of ‘rain shadows’ against such faces. You may not stay 100% dry, but you’ll be guarded from the worst of the rain and wind.
  • Lairs of animals. There are wild animals that create lairs to sleep and reproduce. They remove all the plants and everything that may be uncomfortable for them. Animals often don’t sleep or rear their young in the same lair several times; usually, they create or use new ones leaving the previous lairs. So, if you are lucky enough to find such a spot, you can use it as a shelter, although it may be a little bit small or uncomfortable for you.
  • Trees. If you stuck in a terrible situation where you can’t find any natural shelter, just choose a big tree and create a camp under it. Sometimes if you’re sitting under the tree when it’s raining you may be completely dry. It depends on the thickness and type of leaves and the direction of rain. Be careful about choosing the tallest tree if there is lightning. Choose a smaller tree that is less likely to be struck by lightning.

  • Trees with hollows. If you find a tree that has a big hollow, it may be used as a cavern. These are generally smaller spaces which have the added benefit of being more comfortable for sleeping and will keep the warm in better than more open shelters.

Now you know the best natural survival shelters

By looking at the world from a survival perspective you’ll begin to observe the opportunities for shelter that are all around you. Natural environments have been lived in by our ancestors for hundreds or thousands of years. By learning to look for the opportunities presented by our environment there should be no reason to perish from the lack of shelter when we are faced with a bug out scenario.

Author Bio

Based in the UK, Jim has been teaching survival skills as a countryside ranger for over 20 years. For more free survival tips visit his website at ClickSurvival.com

Let there be light MacGyver-style: How to create survival lights from everyday objects?

Knowing how to make light in a pinch is a key skill for any survivalist or really just anyone who doesn’t want to get caught unprepared in a crisis. So, whether you like hiking and need some survival tips, whether you want to know how to deal with a prolonged power outage at home, or you’re just looking for a fun DIY project to entertain the kids at home – here’s how to create survival lights from everyday objects.

When talking about “survival lights” we’ll usually either talk about modern survival lighting such as solar lanterns and lights that work on batteries or go old-school and talk about the many different ways to make candles. That’s because electricity is usually the first thing we loose when we’re in a tough situation.

Any good candle is made of two main ingredients – wax and a wick. So, the trick here is to find suitable tools for making both wax and wicks using everyday items found at home or in your camping gear.

What can you use for candle wicks?

There are lots of different things you can use for a wick as the purpose of a candle’s wick is to burn.

Any piece of cotton twine can make for a good wick. Heavy cotton Butcher’s twine is one of the best choices but you can also cut a strip out of an old cotton shirt or you can get a twine out of a mop.

Another thing to use is a balsa wood stick. You can get those from most craft stores or, if you’re camping, you can look for similar sticks in the woods. All you need to do after that is trim the stick with a pair of scissors to a length of your choice and soak it in olive oil.

Pro tip: If you dissolve 1 tbsp salt and 3 tbsp Borax in 1 cup (250ml) of boiled water and then soak your cotton (not wooded!) wick in it for a while, it will then burn brighter and longer when you light the candle.

Soaking it for up to 24 hours will have increasingly better results but even just 30-60 minutes will be helpful. Allow the cotton twine to dry off completely after that.

Pro tip 2: Freezing your cotton wick for up to 24 hours can also prolong its lifespan.

What can you use for the candle itself and the candle wax?

Cheese wax

This is one of those products that we usually get annoyed by as it seems like it just makes eating cheese harder. However, in addition to preserving cheese fresh for longer, cheese wax can also help you make candles as it’s just, well – wax.

Just cut as much of the stuff as you can, roll it around a string of wick, and light it up as you would a normal candle.

Crayons

Your children’s crayons are great substitutes for candles as they are essentially ready-to-burn candles themselves. Crayons are made out of wax and are covered in paper which can act as a wick even though it’s on the outside of the “candle”.

Just cut off the tip of the crayon and light it up – it will burn for up to 30 minutes.

Alternatively, you can take 3 crayons, wrap them together in foil with a piece of wick string between them, and light that up.

Cooking oil

Any type of fresh or used cooking oil can act as an emergency candle as well. Just pour it in a suitable glass container such as a jar, puncture a hole in the jar’s cap, put the cap on, and pass a wick through the hole into the oil.

A can of tuna

Tuna, sardines, or any other canned fish can work as long as it’s soaked in olive oil or something similar (not tomato sauce!). All you need to do is puncture a hole in the top of the can and put some wick through it. This “candle” can smell a bit like fish but hey – that’s the price a survivor has to pay sometimes.

And as a bonus – you’ll still be able to eat the fish after that as well as refill the can with oil and light it up again.

Shoe polish

Shoe polish is another household item you can easily use for a candle as it’s mostly made out of oil and beeswax. As with most of the methods above – just puncture a hole on top of the shoe polish’s can, put a wick through it, and light it up.

Do check out all the ingredients of your particular shoe polish before you start, though, there are thousands of different types out there. Still, those we know of are perfectly harmless.

Butter

All you need here is to stick a wick string in a rectangular piece of butter and light it up – that’s it!

An orange

Yes, the fruit. Oranges won’t make for the most effective candles but they can work for a while plus they are fun to play with. You’ll need to carefully cut out one half of an orange’s peel with the center pith intact. This video from Lab 360 offers a nice video guide.

After you’ve cut the peel properly, just pour some oil over the orange’s pith and light it up.

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Lip balm tins

Lip balm tins work just like shoe polish – puncture a hole in them, stick a wick string inside, and light it up!

Bacon grease

If you’ve been storing a jar of bacon grease or if you just have some bacon in your fridge with lots of fat on it, you can use that instead of wax. Just put whatever bacon grease you have in a jar, put a cap on it, stick a cotton string through a hole in the cap, and that’s it.

A can of Crisco

Do you have a large can of Crisco in your home? That can work as a candle for a very long time! As with any of the methods above, just stick a nice cotton wick through a hole in the can’s cap and light it up. If you’ve soaked the wick on salt or frozen it for a while it will further prolong the effectiveness of this huge DIY candle.

A headlight and a plastic jug of water

And lastly, for a non-candle solution, a camper’s headlight gear can also be quite helpful in a crisis. It’s usually too bright and its light is too focused for effective candle-like light, however, there’s a way around that.

If you tape a turned-on headlight to a plastic jug full of water, the water can divert and diffuse the light and turn the whole thing into a nice “lamp”.

 

Is It Possible To Live Off-Grid In A Motorhome?

There is an undeniable romanticism tethered to the idea of living “off the grid”. Such a way of life seems natural, normal, and — though it is never mistaken for an easy life — all the hard labour is considered “honest”.

Off-grid living in a motorhome then seems even more romantic. Whereas living off-grid implies a certain rootedness to a particular plot of earth, motorhome off-grid living instills an even greater sense of independence and freedom because it no longer restricts to any one place, for any long period of time.

But is the off-grid lifestyle really possible in a motorhome? That depends on what your definition of “off-grid” actually is.

Defining the off-grid lifestyle

There is some debate over what really “counts” as off-grid living, but the most popular one seems to be: a general way of life independent of major public utilities such as electricity and water.

Hard-core definitions include avoiding all public infrastructure entirely, and at the opposite end of the spectrum we have people who live a sort-of nomad lifestyle, who are more engaged in full-time touring than anything else.

The hard-core definition is not compatible with motorhome living — mainly because public infrastructure includes roads. But while the softest definition of an off-grid lifestyle is certainly possible, the more orthodox view of off-grid living, a lifestyle independent of grid water and electricity, is not without its challenges.


The off-grid and motorhome combination is often associated with freedom

Off-grid motorhome living — what you can realistically do

Living full-time in a motorhome will inevitably make you dependent on the road network. There are advantages and disadvantages to this. One advantage is that, obviously, roads make it possible to travel almost anywhere pretty easily. But a life on the road is also one subject to government laws, rules and taxes — which will all dampen romanticism.

Life permanently on the road can be as tiring as it is exciting, and from time to time a break might be welcome. Especially if there is enough time to grow some food or source water. But it is not possible to just park your motorhome up by the side of the road, even in the middle of nowhere. In the United States, the authorities will demand a building or construction permit after a while; and in Britain planning permission must be produced after 28-days.

Here are some things you can do if you want to settle down for a brief period:

  • Look for a holiday or residential site that accommodates motorhomes. Not all of them are open all year round, but some of them are. It is mostly possible to stay at sites like these for very long periods. Though in some instances, certain legal requirements might ask you to leave the site for a few days, usually every quarter. But this isn’t really a problem, and could even be a great opportunity for some exploring.
  • Live off-grid on a friend or family member’s land, with their permission. “Land” in this instance can refer to almost everything, from a large field to a simple driveway. This is known as ancillary accommodation.
  • Root your address at a friend or family member’s house. Similar to ancillary accommodation, this option will allow you to travel around indefinitely, making only infrequent stops at your semi-permanent address to sort out taxes, insurance, and other life administrative duties.

And that is pretty much it. A fourth option — the most romantic one — of living permanently nomadic, with no fixed address, would come with enormous complications. Mainly from insurance companies and government red tape, of which both will not be keen on covering anything without some form of semi-permanent address.

The middle ground: full-time touring

As mentioned above, there is the option to go full-time touring. This is not an off-grid lifestyle, but I mention it here because when a lot of people dream romantically of living off-grid in a motorhome, what they really mean is they would like to have a free and independent life.

Full-time touring is the easiest, and probably the most desirable, way of motorhome living for most people. Even if it isn’t the most noble. Because it has all of the upsides and none of the downsides of off-grid living.

Someone who is full-time touring would have no hesitant thoughts about going to the supermarket for food; or signing up for a 24-hour gym just to get a hot shower at night. And they most certainly wouldn’t lose a night’s sleep over hooking up to the grid as the going gets tough in the depths of winter. But full-time tourists have advantages over other motorhome enthusiasts, as they will be more battle-hardened. For example, full-time tourists are more likely to settle on holiday sites with no power grid access. Such sites are usually very cheap and almost always empty, even on public holidays and in the midst of summer. And it is here that full-time tourists will often have a try at true off-grid living and self-sufficiency.

Sourcing power in a motorhome

Thanks to modern technological developments, achieving energy self-sufficiency is actually the easiest part of the off-grid lifestyle. Aside from fuel required to get around, there are four key components that, combined, should be more than enough to power your energy needs, and especially when settled down. They are:

  • Solar panels — Infinite, renewable, clean energy from the sun. It doesn’t get much more romantic than that. Over the last ten years especially, the cost of solar panels has plummeted. And a good one can easily last a decade or more if it is looked after. There are lots of different types of solar panels, but the mounted-roof panels are especially pertinent because they can be orientated to follow the sun, and neatly folded away at night to prevent theft.For two people, a 100-watt panel wired into two 110-amp leisure panels should be enough to get by, after some minor sacrifices (there is no real need in TVs, toasters, coffee makers and so on, you can watch TV on a laptop, and find easy alternatives to making toast and coffee).
  • Gas — After solar panels, the most important source of energy will come in a gas cylinder. Gas is important for keeping things cool (refrigeration) in summer and warm in winter. Without mentioning specific brands, a simple refillable gas system, along with a backup cylinder, should be all you need. It pays to shop around and look for systems that are the most cost-effective. Two cylinders should last about three weeks, but overall gas isn’t too expensive (but in the opinions of many it is still a type of “on-grid” source of energy as it requires purchasing from shops).
  • Generators — If the solar panel cannot generate sufficient power for your needs, as sometimes happens on short, overcast winter days, then a generator makes for a great backup energy source. Generators are noisy and smelly, so the less they are on the better. With some smart thinking, two people might be able to get along with a small 500-watt system. Purchase one from a reputable brand, and it should last ten years easy.
  • Car engines — If you are ever stuck for power and do not have a generator, the engine of another car or motorhome should do the trick. Engines have alternators that can help to charge up the electrics. Just be careful not to flatten the car battery in the process.

Sourcing energy is not too difficult, but can get expensive over time. But if you can afford it, energy sufficiency shouldn’t be a problem.


Being food and water self-sufficient is much more difficult than sourcing off-grid energy 

Sourcing water in a motorhome 

By far the most difficult part of off-grid living — motorhome or not —  is sourcing water. Even the most die-hard off-grid enthusiasts sometimes have to source their water from public utilities. On the road, without a permanent settled residence, it becomes even harder.

This is because most rivers and lakes are either polluted (by both chemicals and animal faeces) or home to microorganisms that, if ingested, can cause serious illness.

Digging a well is out of the question. Even in an area with a high-water table, sourcing water is no guarantee. Well-digging also obviously requires digging equipment, and an abnormally high-pressure pump to extract and deliver the water. It can cost thousands to dig a well, and you will almost certainly need some permission, or face reproach from the local authorities.

Sourcing food in a motorhome

So, for the water part, the answer is almost: definitely not. But for food self-sufficiency, the answer is: sometimes. It is possible to grow a surprisingly large yield of fruit and vegetables in a small area with careful management. Raised beds of about 24-inches wide should serve a couple of people well. And the fruits of the raised bed can be supplemented with more edible fruits grown in containers.

The big problem here is, in order to be food sufficient in this way, the motorhome will have to stay put for months at a time. There is a trade-off between food sufficiency, and your independence.

Growing food like this also requires a de facto vegan diet, and the meticulousness of an amateur biologist. Mother Nature will send pests, diseases, and bad weather — all of which will erode at the fruits of your labour. There is also a reality check to be had here. There are plenty of romantic notions around growing one’s own food, but many who have tried it have complained bitterly of stomach problems and developing bad breath. For most people, it is far more satisfactory to grow some food, often in planters, and the motorhome doesn’t have to be grounded in one place.

Conclusion

To answer the question posed in the title of this article, the answer is: it depends. Mainly, it depends on what you interpret “off-grid” living to actually mean. It is certainly possible to source power independently of the grid. This is actually pretty easy and mostly straightforward.

But with sourcing clean drinking water, and being food-sufficient, things are far from straightforward. At best, you might be able to obtain food and water self-sufficiency some of the time. Though it will not be easy, it will be good honest labour. And in those intermittent periods, where one can truly live independently off the Earth, there are fewer greater senses of accomplishment.


This Author

Neil Wright is a writer and researcher. He has an interest in travel, science and the natural world, and has written extensively about living off the grid and self-sufficient living on his website.

 

Safety at Home – Prepare Your Home for Emergencies

Why should we prepare for emergencies? Should we bother to do so?

Indeed, why should we?

There are many reasons why we should take a step to prepare for emergencies swiftly.

In fact, we should start preparing today.

Who knew, for instance, that the Coronavirus would become such a big international emergency. Just a few months ago, no one could have imagined that the world would get into the disturbed state it is today.

This illustrates that it is urgent to prepare for emergencies now.

Identify Likely Emergencies

The first step is to learn about the most likely emergencies that can happen in your area.

Some of the most likely emergencies in any area include hurricanes, earthquakes, tornados and flash floods.

Once you identify the kind of emergencies that are likely to occur, you will find it easier to put up an emergency response plan.

Such a plan should adequately address all your common concerns.

So, overall, what can we do to prepare for emergency disasters?

Think about the following practical steps:

Design a Personalized Plan

The first thing is that your plan to deal with emergencies must be personalized. This means it must especially cater to your personal and family interests.

Determine Escape Routes

It is important to determine a suitable escape route.

Remember that during emergencies the normal escape route may be blocked. Include at least two safe places where family members can meet in case they are separated. One suggestion is the place that hosts the mailbox just outside the house.

Choose a second safe meeting place for the same purpose. This should ideally be near the house. Just in case all these routes are blocked, you should identify a third meeting place outside the neighborhood.

This will work well in case of blockage or impassability of all the other routes.

Create a List of Emergency Contacts.

This includes the numbers for the nearest emergency room, the fire department, local police, water gas and similar utilities, the hospital, the family doctor, an established veterinarian, the workplace, a school or a day care.

Emergency Phone or Cell Phone:

Make sure these are available and easily located.

Make sure that your children know how to use the emergency call feature on the phone or cellphone. Make a printed copy of your plan and keep it in an open place within the home.

Make sure you review the plan with your family at least once in a year.

Prepare for Coming Hurricane:

Many states in the USA will soon face to the ravages of a raging hurricane.

As we all know, these hurricanes have the potential to create a big emergency of unimaginable proportions. Indeed, the degree of destruction is likely to be huge.

These hurricanes inevitably cause a break in the normal power grids. Ultimately, this means the power interruption in many areas will be horrendous.

What can you do to prepare for the destructive hurricanes?

Get a Quiet Portable Generator

It is quite a great idea to prepare for this by buying a small portable generator. This can help you survive such emergencies. They will ensure that you enjoy uninterrupted power even in the midst of a storm.

Of course, you would not want to disturb your neighbors by using a noisy generator at such times. They are already overburdened with the ravages of the storm and other problems.

To avoid creating a noisy disturbance or bothering your neighbors in this way, you should buy one of the quiet generators. Such a generator will allow them to sleep in peace.

Prepare an Emergency Kit

Have enough supplies to keep the family going during an emergency. These should last for at least three days. You can keep these safely in a special waterproof container.

In the US, the Homeland Security Department usually provides citizens with a disaster list kit. This generally advises on the basic supplies that a family should have. These include food, water, batteries, matches, first aid supplies and flashlights. You may also include items like cash, prescription medicines, pet food, warm clothing and copies of your most important documents.

Keep this kit in a place that can be accessed easily. Review the contents regularly. Create smaller kits that you can keep at the workplace or in the car.

Prepare a First Aid Kit

As noted one of the essential items that you should pack in preparation for a potential disaster is the first aid kit.

Keep in mind that in case of a disaster you may have to care for injuries yourself. This is because the health care services may be overwhelmed, if at all they are available.

If you keep your first aid kit ready, you will be sure that the needs of your family will be met at the worst hour. This will be possible even if you are unable to reach the nearest health facility.

First Aid Kit Essentials

The Red Cross Society recommends the following items for a first aid kit designed to cater to a family of four: Aspirin, antibiotic ointment, 25 or more adhesive bandages, 2 absorbent compress dressings, 1 roll of adhesive cloth tape, antiseptic wipes or spray, a blanket, tweezers, non-latex gloves, a blanket, and a hydrocortisone cream.

Others include a disposable thermometers, a pair of scissors, the instant cold compress, a 4-inch wide roller bandage, a 3-inch-wide roller bandage, triangular bandages, emergency phone numbers, a CPR breathing barrier, a booklet for first aid instruction, hand sanitizer, family prescription medications, and a flashlight with functional batteries.

Final Thoughts

We cannot imagine living without electricity.

What if you were also unable to access the grocery store because the roads are blocked? Meanwhile, your car is grounded due to a multiplicity of troubles. All these are frightening thoughts that none of us wants to think about.

Unfortunately, these are realities that we must face up to.

At any moment we may have to deal with a hurricane, an earthquake, an ice storm or a tornado. In some places, extreme heat may well convert into an emergency that calls for instant attention.

Yes, we have to swallow the bitter pill and accept that Mother Nature is essentially unpredictable. It is, therefore, important for all of us to know how to deal with such emergencies long before they happen.

This means we have to prepare for it.

We hope that this post will help you deal with any potential emergencies of this nature well in advance.

Slow the Spread: DIY Cloth Face Masks

As the coronavirus makes its way across our country, there are steps we should take to help slow the spread and flatten the curve. While we should all be actively practicing social distancing, which means keeping at least 6 feet of distance between yourself and another individual, this isn’t always possible. 

Because of this, the CDC recommends wearing a cloth face cover when out in public. It can be difficult to safely distance yourself from others at the grocery store or the pharmacy, so this added layer of protection is essential to have while running errands.  

Luckily, making a cloth face cover does not have to be challenging. In fact, it can be a fun activity and an opportunity to be creative. The CDC shared three different tutorials, two of which that do not require sewing, that can easily be done from home with supplies you already have. 

Below are three different ways you can make a cloth mask from the CDC: 

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Try it at home and show us what you’ve created. Bonus points if your fabric has frogs on it! Thanks for doing your part in flattening the curve. 

Coronavirus Pandemic Checklist

While the concerns for contracting the virus are high, especially for those over the age of 60, a larger fear for many is being self-quarantined for an extended period of time.

The typical quarantine period is 14 days. Two weeks seems like a long time to be stuck in the home, but it could go longer due to public safety concern. We recommend to have at least 3-4 weeks of supplies when planning to ride out a self quarantine situation. Think about what you’ll need to keep you and your family safe, healthy and happy. 

With prepping, you can go into all kinds of ‘what if’ scenarios. But it really boils down to making sure you have the following covered: 

  • Safety
  • Temperature Control (cold/extreme heat)
  • Water
  • Food
  • Communications (Radio, etc.)
  • Medical – Medications
  • Tools (Can opener, knives, shovel, etc.)
  • Lighting & Back-up Power
  • Hygiene
  • Comfort & Entertainment

Not sure where to begin? Here’s a list we put together for the coronavirus pandemic: 

Safety: 

  • First Aid kits: have a few. Get a book on home remedies and treating injuries/sickness. 
  • Thermometer (and several back ups) 
  • Self-defense: if you have supplies and someone doesn’t, this naturally puts you in a defensive position. We’re not saying you shouldn’t help, just watch yourself. Even having pepper spray or stun gun can add a lot of protection during a crisis. 
  • Have fire extinguishers in a few spots around your house. Working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. 
  • Lighting: available if power goes out. Flashlights, lanterns, etc. 

Drink: 

  • Water: In theory clean water should be available within your home. However, we suggest establishing some redundancy around water storage and filtration. You want to have 1 gallon of water per person, per day – this gives enough for drinking and washing. You can buy 1-5 gallon water tanks on Survival Frog (we recommend WaterBrick).
  • For larger storage, we like this 160 Gallon Tank (not a Survival Frog product).
  • Powdered milk, especially if you have kids/teenagers 
  • Alcohol of your choosing 
  • Flavored dry mixes (cool aid, etc) 
  • Frozen juices 
  • At a minimum getting the LifeStraw Personal Water Filter would be a good insurance policy. It can clean enough water for one person for a few years. You can capture water out of lakes or rivers then filter with LifeStraw. 

Food: 

  • Have redundant ways of cooking food (what if your stove goes out?). Have some camping stoves with gas. Have a few extra 20lb propane tanks for the outdoor grill. 
  • Have long term food supply (canned food, freeze dried food, etc). Most grocery store canned food lasts around a year, or you can get long term food storage which has a 25 year shelf life.
  • Just like it makes sense to keep your car full of gas, keeping your house full of fresh food makes the first week of a shelter-in-place situation a little better. 
  • Don’t forget pet food

Hygiene: 

  • Toilet paper 
  • Paper towels 
  • Feminine hygiene products 
  • Other toiletries
  • Disinfectant hand gel 
  • Disinfectant wipes (surface and hands) 
  • Chlorine Bleach (this does expire every few years) 
  • Soaps: Body, shampoo, dish soap, clothes soap, etc 
  • N95 masks – despite what you hear on the news, the N95 masks do work to protect you from the virus. Sorry, currently we aren’t able to source any for a reasonable price.

Health: 

  • Medicine. Try to stock up on prescriptions and any over the counter medicines. Buy a bunch of cough & flu medicine. 
  • Contact lens solution, extra pair of glasses 
  • Vitamins – staying healthy and keeping your immune system strong during a pandemic is critical

Power and Communications: 

  • Have a few radios to stay up to date on news events. We’re assuming (and praying) we always have internet, but what if we don’t? Radios are an important connection to what the authorities are doing. Crank radios allow you to keep power to the radio during blackouts. 
  • We’d like to assume we’ll always have electricity, but its good to have a few solar charging systems. The QuadraPro is all you need to keep your phone and tablets charged up.

Specialty: 

  • Baby food 
  • Diapers, wipes, creams, etc.

Other:

Also Consider: 

  • Think through how you’ll keep entertained; tablets, board games, etc. 
  • If you have school aged kids; home schooling will be needed.
  • Establishing a routine will help everyone. Have a workout schedule to get needed exercise. 
  • Keep your cars full of gas. Have an extra can of gas in the garage (gas has a shelf life so you can’t keep it more than a few years). 
  • What if the power goes out and it’s cold outside? Huddle everyone into one room in the center of the house or a room with a southern exposure. Have lots of blankets, pillows and sleep bags. If it gets real cold set up a camping tent in the room, everyone’s body heat will help to keep you warm. We also have some great warming products on Survival Frog.
  • Think through an office quarantine – what if you get stuck at work? That scenario needs its own list of things. Start with some of the above basics and keep them at work. Extra clothes, toiletries, etc. 
  • When sterilizing your area don’t forget to wipe down your cell phone, headphones, door handles, light switches, steering wheel and nobs in car. 
  • And please, stop touching your face! 

Now you know what you need, and it’s time to get prepared. Adding any special items to your list? Let us know in the comments below!

How to Bring Your Plants Indoors for Winter

By Clarence Washington

Source

Winter is the perfect time for hibernating. It’s the season for cozy fires, flannel sheets,
space heaters, warm puffy coats, and that all-important electric blanket. You can
survive winter’s freeze, but it’s a bit more challenging for outdoor plants if they’re not
native to the region. Frost occurs when the thermometer dips below 32 degrees
Fahrenheit, especially under clear skies. Ice crystals can damage or kill off tender
vegetation.

Source

Frosted leaves shrivel and turn black or dark brown. Ice crystals soak into plants and
keep water from moving through vegetative tissues. Damage on outdoor plants often
appears in early spring, but a quick temperature drop after a mid-winter thaw may cause
barks and stems to split. Frost injury affects branches, twigs, ground cover, and
shrubbery. It will also kill indoor houseplants left outdoors.

While it’s not possible to bring shrubbery and established outdoor greenery inside, you
can protect potted plants from the harsh temperatures by bringing them indoors.

Step No. 1: Monitor the Temperature

Most houseplants can’t tolerate temperatures below 45 degrees. Keep an eye on the
thermometer and start the process of acclimating the plants when lows reach 50
degrees. Light and humidity are very different from outside to inside. An abrupt transfer
can send the plants into shock, causing their leaves to wilt and drop.

Step No. 2: Inspect the Foliage

Source

Houseplants that have enjoyed the summer sun may now be infested with insects. Check the plants for spider mites, mealybugs, aphids, and other tiny critters. These pests would love the opportunity to jump on other indoor plants.  With a water sprayer, hose off the plants before bringing them inside. Apply neem oil as a precaution.

Step No. 3: Prune or Repot

Soaking up the sunshine provides food and energy for greenery; chances are your
plants have grown. If you prune them back, do not clip off more than one-third of the
leaves and stems. Prune the roots the same amount as the foliage. Use bigger
containers when repotting.

Step No. 4: Choose a Location

Source

Before bringing your plants inside, determine the location that best suits them — even
shade plants need filtered light. The best place is near a south-facing window, but you
can place them wherever the light streams in. If need be, plant lights are available at
your local garden store.
Drafty window panes and poor insulation can damage greenery and blooms. Dry air is a
problem for windows near heaters and radiators.

Step No. 5: Alternate

Start the acclimation process by bringing plants inside at night and taking them back
outside in the morning. Do this for several days. Increase the number of hours that
plants are indoors until you can keep them in all day. Indoor plants won’t drink as much
water as they did when they were outside. Water them only when the soil is dry.

Bringing Plants Outdoors

When spring temperatures remain above 60 degrees Fahrenheit both day and night, the
plants are ready to go outside. Much like taking them indoors, you’ll want to keep them
out for a few hours a day so they can get used to the new environment.

Plant Health

Unhealthy plants are not always easy to spot with the naked eye, but tell-tale signs are
often there. When leaves are yellow and wilting, appear fuzzy and have holes in them,
the plant is in trouble. If a plant is yellowing, it may be in soil that’s too warm, have
insufficient light (or an overabundance of it), or it may have grown too big for the pot.
The roots need room to spread. Older plants may be lacking nitrogen, potassium, or
magnesium. Root rot and overwatering also contribute to sick plants.
Bringing plants indoors for the winter keeps them alive so you can enjoy them again in
the spring. The greenery also improves the air inside and helps you through those long,
drab days of winter.

Clarence Washington is a longtime landscaper sold on native plants and biodiversity.
His backyard is a certified wildlife habitat.

 

Survival Frog 2019 Gift Guide

It’s that time of year again! Where we look at the last 12 months and highlight the best survival and outdoor gear available. We pull the data on the top-selling products of the year as well as those with the best 5-star reviews. Being one of the top-selling websites of survival/outdoor gear we’re able to see a lot of the trends before the market has picked up on them. And yes, everything on the list is “staff approved” meaning we at Survival Frog get to take them home and play with the gear listed here before we add it to our annual gift guide. So here’s the 2019 list…

#1 Tough Tesla Lighter 2.0 – Outdoor, Waterproof Dual Arc Plasma Lighter

This lighter is tough! The new “top-facing plasma arcs” design replaces the previous version.

  • Windproof, waterproof, shockproof – works great in rainy or windy conditions 
  • No flames, no smoke, no fuel 
  • Top-Facing Dual Arc Electric Lighter 
  • Plus paratinder lanyard, rescue whistle & waterproof flashlight with three settings!  

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#2 QuickHeat Rechargeable Hand Warmer with Portable Power Bank

Keeps your hands toasty and phone charged. Top seller in 2018 and 2019, it’s the most requested product for the holidays.

  • Heats up to 104-140 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Charger for your small USB electronic devices (phone, etc)
  •  Lasts 2-6 hours, and is rechargeable

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#3 QuadraPro Solar Power Bank with Wireless & Dual USB Charging

Keep your phone charged wherever you are! Redesigned in 2019 to be even better.

  • Charges fast with solar, or USB power outlet
  • Charge 3 cell phones at once, includes wireless charging
  • Water-resistant and built-in flashlight
  • Built-in loops and magnets for easy hanging in the sun

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#4 Tact Bivvy® 2.0 Emergency Sleeping Bag w/ HeatEcho®  Technology, Paratinder Drawstring, & Whistle

The top selling emergency sleeping bag. Redesigned in 2019 with all new features.

  • Now includes paratinder, whistle and carabiner
  • Waterproof, windproof, tear-resistant
  • Reflects 90% of your body’s heat back to you
  • Reusable and now comes in larger stuff sack

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#5 Pocket Jumper Pro Car & Truck Jump Starter

Never be stranded with a dead battery and never have to ask a stranger for help.

  • Can jump start 20 cars on 1 charge
  • Includes jumper cables and zip-up storage case
  • Charger for USB devices (cell phone, etc)
  • Redesigned in 2019, now powerful enough to jump diesel and trucks

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#6 EasyPower Solar Power Bank 2.0 – 6,500 mAh Battery Capacity with Dual USB Charging Ports

The charger that keeps batteries full wherever there is sun! New 2.0 edition!

  • Works with any device that has USB port
  • 2 output jacks to charge 2 devices at once
  • No-slip, water resistant & shock proof

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#7 Crash Escape 6-in-1 Emergency Car Tool – USB Charger, Seat Belt Cutter, Window Breaker, Dual Flashlight & Power Bank

The tool every car needs, so every driver is prepared.

  • Seat belt cutter, window breaker to escape after accident
  • Portable power source for your cell phone
  • Plus a flashlight so you are ready for anything

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#8 EasyPower™ USB Rechargeable AA Batteries with 4-Port Charger

Durable and long-lasting AA rechargeable batteries.

  • Charges anywhere there is a USB port
  • Gives over 500 charges

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#9 Pocket Light Collapsible Solar Lantern Rechargeable LED Light, Portable Power Bank with USB Charging Port

10 hours of light and can fit in your pocket. Our collapsible lantern is perfect for casual camping and signaling for help.

  • Recharge with sun
  • Settings for camp light and emergencies
  • Use as a charger for USB devices

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#10 LifeStraw Personal Water Filter

Cleans dirty water in your times of need!

  • Goes from dirty to clean water in seconds
  • Filters up to 1000 gallons of water
  • Durable, lightweight and compact
  • Chemical & Battery free

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#11 COMING SOON:  Zombinator Hatchet – All Purpose Survival Tool

This hatchet is replacing a similar top selling hatchet – but of course this one is way better!

  • Grooved grip & lightweight for easy use
  • A powerful pickaxe for tough materials
  • Easy to sharpen when dull

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#12 Pocket Stove Folding Camping Stove with Hex Fuel Tablets

Simple and lightweight (3.8 oz!) for the easiest and best cooking experience!

  • Small and compact
  • Self-contained – fuel tablets fit in stove – for easy packing
  • Smoke-free & super durable

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#13 Ultimate Access Lock Pick Set + Free Ebook

You’ll never need a locksmith again!

  • High quality picks that can open nearly any lock you’ll encounter
  • 12 different picks, 3 tension wrenches, 1 see-through padlock & a leather pouch included
  • Lightweight, compact, tough & durable
  • Free Ebook download included!

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#14 Essential Tact Machete Knife with Full Tang Blade

Whether you are facing dense brush or surprise predators, you’ll be glad to have this 15” inch blade for protection.

  • Razor-sharp steel
  • Corrosion resistant & stealthy
  • Non-slip handle & lightweight

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#15 BioLite Solar Home 620 Kit

Get a high-end solar power system for your home without the high price tag. Simple & sustainable.

  • 3 lights, plus security light
  • Radio, speaker and USB device charger
  • Easy home or shed installation
  • Waterproof & durable

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#16 The Digger Folding Shovel with Pick

Gardening, camping or digging out of a danger? Our new folding shovel can do it all.

  • Saw edge and pick to get through the toughest materials
  • Foldable and lightweight for easy packing
  • Pick attached and bag included

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#17 HydroStop Lightweight Dry Bag

Lightweight dry bags that will keep your gear safe and all water out. Just roll down the top and lock the buckle.

  • Gear stays dry even while completely submerged in water
  • Medium size has 20 liters of space & large has 40 liters
  • Ultra-lightweight, folds up small, & durable

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#18 Aura Plus Digital Night Vision Monocular

Hands down, the best low-cost night vision on the market!

  • Take pictures and video
  • Great for camping, home surveillance & blackouts
  • Sleek design & small enough to fit in the palm of your hand

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#19 Tesla Select Lighter Dual Arc Windproof USB Rechargeable Plasma Lighter

The Tesla Select Lighter is simple and elegant. Easily start a fire wherever and whenever you need one.

  • Dual arc of electricity
  • Perfect for camping, cooking and emergencies
  • Water resistant & windproof

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#20 BioLite Campstove 2 with Flex Light

Charge your cell phone with fire!

  • Turns heat into electricity to charge your devices
  • Powered by natural fuel (twigs, sticks and wood)
  • Battery detaches to use as portable backup battery
  • Boils water in under 5 minutes