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6 Supplies to Stock with Food Storage

6 Supplies to Stock with Food Storage.

One of the first things most preppers begin stocking is an emergency food supply. This is great, but it’s only part of the picture. Canned and freeze-dried food is more than adequate for a short-term disaster, but when it lasts several weeks, you’ll need additional supplies to stay healthy.

Here are a few things you should stock along with your emergency food supply.

Seasoning

Stock up on the herbs and spices that you regularly use because if you want to stay healthy, you’ll have to eat your dried goods like rice, beans, and wheat in addition to freeze-dried food and canned food. Dried goods have less sodium, no preservatives, and more fiber to help you to stay regular, but they need seasoning because they’re bland on their own.

Healthy oils

Healthy oils like coconut and avocado oil are a great way to supplement calories and add flavor to your meals. This is especially important during a grid-down scenario since freeze-dried food has fewer calories than traditional food and you will likely face greater physical demands than normal.

Cooking fuel

Sure, you can eat cold food during a disaster, but you’ll get tired of it pretty damn quickly. You can avoid this by storing plenty of fuel such as:

  • kerosene
  • oil
  • propane
  • hardwood
  • charcoal

Lighters and matches

Whether you want to start a campfire, a grill, or even a lantern, you’ll need a lighter or matches. They are cheap and store indefinitely, so get plenty—you can never have to many.

Disposable dishes and utensils

Water will be in short supply during a disaster, so make the most of what you have by using disposable dishes and utensils that you don’t have to wash. I suggest paper plates, bowls, and cups because you can toss them into the fire when you’re done rather than dealing with the trash.

Vitamins

Your diet probably won’t be as robust or balanced as usual during a disaster and the added stress will place even greater demands on your body, so you should supplement it with a high-quality multivitamin. Be sure to store them in a cool, dark place, and pay close attention to the expiration date.

What Do I keep In My Bug Out Bag

rmactsc

For most SHTF scenarios I anticipate bugging in rather than bugging out.  However it is still essential to have a bug out bag packed and ready to go.  So with that said; what gear do I keep in my bug out bag? The following; in no particular order is a list of my Alice/Malice pack, bug out bag gear.

  • 3 pairs of socks
  • 3 pairs of underwear
  • 3 Tee shirts
  • 3 long sleeve shirts
  • 1 sweatshirt
  • 1 Jacket
  • 2 Pairs of Pants with Belt
  • 5 pairs of lightweight work gloves
  • 1 pair of shooting gloves
  • 1 pair of winter gloves
  • 1 Raincoat
  • 1 Boonie Hat
  • 1 Winter hat
  • 1 Complete First Aid Kit including Medicine
  • 2 Bottles of Hand Sanitizer
  • 2 Small compressed rolls of Toilet Paper
  • 9 Eyeglass Wipes
  • 1 Eyeglass Case
  • 1 Compass
  • 1 Set of area maps
  • 1 Fixed Blade Knife with Sheath
  • 1 Pistol Holster
  • 1…

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Who Couldn’t Use a Faraday Cage? (Plus How to Make One) / BePrepared

Who Couldn’t Use a Faraday Cage? (Plus How to Make One) / BePrepared.

WHAT IT IS

A Faraday cage, also known as a Faraday shield, Radio Frequency Cage, or EMF (Electromotive Force) Cage, is simply an enclosure built to protect electronic devices from electromagnetic radiation and electrostatic discharges. It can be anything from a small box to a large room, covered with conductive metal or wire mesh, which prevents surges from damaging the equipment inside.

The sources of these surges can be powerful lightning strikes, destructive solar flares (CMEs, or Coronal Mass Ejections) directed toward earth, or the effects of an EMP (electromagnetic pulse) from a nuclear bomb detonation high in the atmosphere.

The device is named for Michael Faraday, who observed in 1836 that the excess charge from a conductor remained on the outside of a container and had no effect on the interior contents. He experimented by building a room coated with metal foil and allowed high-voltage discharges from a generator to strike the outside of it. He used an electroscope to show that there was no electric charge present on the inside of the room’s walls. Though the device bears Faraday’s name, Benjamin Franklin is believed to have been the first to discover the principle.

Faraday cages, or shields, are used all throughout our society. Some are used in the scan-rooms of MRI machines, in which the “cage” effect prevents radio frequency signals from being added to the data from the patient’s image. Some electrical linemen wear “Faraday suits” when working on live, high-voltage power lines to prevent accidental electrocution. Military planners and politicians who have reason to keep their communications private often meet in Faraday-protected rooms that are impervious to electronic “eavesdropping.” In 2013, the Vatican even used the technology to shield the Sistine Chapel from curious listeners during the deliberations to select the new Pope.

Many people buy Faraday bags to protect their cell phones and laptops both from electrical surges and from unwanted surveillance or tracking.

According to the National Weather Service, an automobile is essentially a Faraday cage, and it’s the metal surrounding you, not the rubber tires, that protects you from lightning (as long as you’re not touching metal inside the car).[i] A smaller example is a microwave oven, which is a Faraday cage in reverse, trapping the waves inside the device instead of keeping them out. In fact, an old microwave oven makes a good Faraday cage for small electronics!

Typical items that can be stored in a Faraday cage include

  • Laptop or notebook computers
  • Thumb drives or external hard drives
  • Cell phones
  • Ipads, iPods, and e-readers
  • Portable AM/Shortwave radios, ham radio equipment, and walkie-talkies
  • DC/AC inverters
  • Battery-powered radios

WHY YOU MIGHT NEED ONE

Why, you may ask, would it do any good for you to have working electronics when everyone else’s would be down or destroyed? First of all, you might still be able to communicate with people outside the affected area (and it may be very difficult at first to determine how large that affected area is).

Second, you won’t be the only “techie” who thought to protect valuable electronics in a Faraday cage. Some preppers do this as a matter of course, and eventually you would probably be able to communicate with them. (Cell towers, however, would likely be “fried” and need to be rebuilt).

Communication at such a time would be extremely valuable. Unless there had been well-publicized warnings of impending CMEs in the days before the event, many people would have no idea what had happened to our world. Ham radio operators, who could communicate with other Hams around the globe, might become the new heroes of the day.

Many AM/FM and shortwave radio stations believe that they’ll still be able to broadcast after an EMP or CME event, and without all the usual “noise” of our plugged-in society, their waves may be able to travel farther than they do now. Hopefully there would be Faraday-protected radios out there to receive their signals! There is, however, a likelihood that the earth’s electromagnetic field would be seriously disrupted by such an event, and it might take quite a while for things to settle down and not cause static on the airwaves.

HOW TO MAKE A FARADAY CAGE

To be effective, a Faraday cage must:

  • Be covered with conductive metal or mesh. Copper is the most conductive metal, followed by aluminum. (Well–gold and silver are better, but we assume you won’t be covering your cage with those!)
  • Be properly grounded (according to some experts, to prevent shocks when touched)
  • Adequately surround whatever it’s protecting.

In addition, whatever is inside should be adequately insulated from the cage itself, such as being placed on wood, in a cardboard box, or on a rubber mat so that it doesn’t touch any metal.

Faraday Box # 1—The Galvanized Trash Can

A Galvanized Trash Can can act like a Faraday Cage

You will need

  • A galvanized metal trash can with a tight-fitting lid
  • Several boxes of heavy-duty aluminum foil
  • Enough metal screening or mesh to wrap around the top of the can and fit over the lip
  • Cardboard boxes of assorted sizes that fit inside the can
  • Plastic garbage bags or plastic wrap
  • Cloth pieces to wrap items

Wrap the items you wish to protect first in cloth, then plastic, then 3-4 layers of heavy-duty foil, being sure that the foil is molded to the shape of the item and that each layer completely covers the previous one, with no tears or holes.

Place your wrapped items in cardboard boxes. Tape shut, then wrap the entire box with 2 layers of foil.

Line the trash can with cardboard, including the bottom, making sure there are no gaps. The foil-wrapped boxes must not touch the metal of the can. Set the can on wood or cardboard, not touching any other metal.

Several experts say that simply putting the lid on the can, even if it fits tightly, is an insufficient seal. They suggest folding a sheet of metal screening around the top of the can and over the top lid and then forcing the lid over that to maintain a constant, tight-fitting metallic connection.

Remember, this is for long-term storage of the appliances inside, not something that you can take your appliances out of to use and then return to the container without a great deal of trouble. A good idea is to look around for good deals on duplicates of things you use every day. Another important thing to remember is that you will need some type of charger—hand-cranked or solar-powered—to power up your devices once a crisis has passed. If you can wrap and store one of these in a protected Faraday container, you’ll be glad to have it. 

Faraday Cage # 2—A Metal-Clad Box

Any box made of non-conductive material such as plywood, and then totally covered with metal, metal mesh, or metal screening can serve as a Faraday cage. The metal must touch at all the corners and over and all around any opening for the protection to be complete, as an electrical charge will find its way through any gaps or crevices in the construction. The smaller the holes in the mesh or screen, the better the protection—but either mesh or screen is believed to work better than solid metal. The metal can be attached to the wood with staples or screws, whichever seems to work best for you. You might consider applying the metal mesh so that it folds around the corners. Then let the next piece overlap the edge of the first, securely fastened together and to the wood so that there is no break in the conductive shield.

Updated: Living Off the Grid

For those who don’t rely as heavily on electronic equipment for day-to-day life, the idea ofLiving Off the Grid is more realistic. Those who live off the grid don’t need to worry quite as much about EMP’s or CME’s causing havoc and chaos to their daily routine because they have already given up a lot of the equipment that would be affected by those electromagnetic pulses.

However, living off the grid doesn’t always mean going completely electronics-free.  In this case, living off the grid may not protect you from the aftermath of EMP’s or CME’s even if you produce your own electricity from an alternate source.  Faraday cages can benefit a variety of lifestyles to protect you and your electronics.

There are many uncertainties about exactly what would happen in the case of an enormous release of electromagnetic energy in our civilized, plugged-in world. We can hope that nothing will happen to damage our electronics, but in case our hopes are vain, we’ll be happy for every measure we’ve taken to prepare!

Water Filtration vs Purification: A Basic How-To / BePrepared

Water Filtration vs Purification: A Basic How-To / BePrepared.

By Scott Pedersen, Vicki Tate, and Barry Crockett

Next to air, water is what man needs most. In a challenging situation, it is critical to be able to find, store or treat water. Our bodies are about 80% liquids. We lose water in three ways: perspiration, breathing and urination. Dehydration of 6 to 8% of the body’s weight results in decreased body efficiency. In the summer heat, we lose about one gallon of water per day. Within three days of water depletion or loss, the body and organs can experience severe damage. Blood loses its density; heart attack and stroke possibilities increase; the kidneys begin to fail; the brain begins to hallucinate.

Bubbles breaking the surface of water

Not only is drinkable water essential to maintaining health, it is also important for cooking, personal hygiene, sanitation, cleaning wounds, sprouting seeds and reconstituting dehydrated foods including baby formula. Because water is so essential for survival, it is wise to have both a stored supply of drinking water and a way to acquire water for your continuing needs.

WATER CONTAMINANTS
In order to understand how to make water potable (suitable for drinking), we must first understand what things make water unsuitable for drinking. Most surface water (rivers, lakes, streams, reservoirs) contains some types of microorganisms (protozoa, bacteria, viruses) and/or pollutants (chemicals, foul odors, sewage, spilt fuel).

Microorganisms are living microscopic cells that, when consumed, can cause diseases such as dysentery, cholera, typhoid and hepatitis. Some microorganisms can even cause death for those with weak immune systems (children, elderly, sick).

Protozoa (the largest of all microorganisms) include such parasites as Giaridia Lamblia and cryptosporidium. Bacteria (medium-size microorganisms) include E. coli, Vibrio Cholerae, campylobacter, and salmonella, all of which are found in human and animal waste. The most common occurrences are in preparing and processing food at home and in the food industry (especially associated with not washing hands after using the bathroom). Viruses are the smallest of all the microorganisms. They include hepatitis A and E, Norwalk virus, rotavirus, poliovirus and echovirus.

Pollutants generally fall into two categories: man-made and natural. They include water contaminants such as minerals (salts) and heavy metals. Man-made pollutants are introduced into water sources by manufacturing plants, poor waste and disposal management, air pollution, and so on. Most often these pollutants are chemicals, fuels, sewage, or their by-products. These pollutants can cause water to taste foul, and they can cause physical ailments or death.

For a long-term emergency plan you need to have a method to make questionable water “potable” and safe. You should also have a method of replenishing your drinking water. There are three primary methods to convert “raw” undrinkable water into safe “potable” drinking water: purification, filtration, and stilling (solar). Each method has its advantages and disadvantages. NOTE: Start with the cleanest, salt-free, and least polluted water in your surrounding living area. Cold river water that is running is preferred over warm stationary water. Realize that no method is perfect and sometimes combining methods is the best solution.

METHOD 1–WATER PURIFICATION
There are three general ways to make surface water free from disease-causing microorganisms: A) add extreme heat to the water (boiling and distilling), B) add disinfectant ( purification, chemical or silver), and C) add light (ultraviolet).

BOILING
Historically, boiling water has been the main way to disinfect water from microorganisms because it kills them all if done correctly. Recommendations are to boil water for at least three minutes to kill all viruses. Bacteria and protozoa are dead at the first bubbles. But there are drawbacks to boiling water. First, boiling can require a lot of fuel and cooking equipment. Second, you must consider the long cool-down period. Third, some of the water will evaporate before it is ready to drink. Fourth, the water will still have particulate substances in it, so you should use a clean handkerchief to filter it before drinking. Last, boiling water does not eliminate pollutants, poor taste or foul odors. In fact, boiling can give water a stale taste. A helpful hint to improve the taste is to transfer water from one container to another several times while boiling.

CHEMICAL
Two primary chemicals are used for purifying water: iodine and chlorine. These two chemicals are lightweight, low-cost and relatively easy to use.

Iodine has been found to be very effective against viruses, bacteria, and protozoa with the exception of cryptosporidium. Using iodine has some drawbacks. The colder the water you wish to disinfect, the more required time is needed for disinfecting. Because iodine is absorbed into dirt and debris, which is found in water, its purification dosage varies. Pregnant women and people with thyroid conditions should not drink water purified with iodine. Additionally, iodine is a short-term water-purification solution and should not be used regularly for more than three months. Iodine does not change the clarity of water but it does change its taste. Iodine is not necessarily a flavor that people enjoy. This taste can be improved by adding a sugar-based drink/juice mix. A good product is Potable Aqua™ Iodine Purification Tablets—Just add two tablets per liter of water.

WP-T160

Chlorine bleach can also be used to purify water. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Clorox® Company and the Red Cross have recommended using Clorox Bleach to purify raw water. Their pamphlet states, “…use regular household bleach that contains 5.25% sodium hypochlorite. Do not use scented bleaches, color safe bleaches or bleaches with added cleaners.” When using bleach to purify, “add 8 drops of bleach per gallon of water, stir and let stand for 30 minutes. If the water does not have a slight bleach odor, repeat the dosage and let stand another 15 minutes.” The process of chlorination will cause dirt and debris to settle to the bottom of the water container and make the water visually clearer. There are some drawbacks to the chlorination method. If the household bleach is over six months old, it may not have enough potency to disinfect. You must be very careful if you attempt to use household bleach as a purifier. Chlorine is very poisonous and adding too much can cause illness, internal organ damage or even death. If you decide to use bleach, be sure to add it at the time you intend to use your water, NOT when you store it.

ULTRAVIOLET (UV)
Because ultraviolet light requires electricity, it is mainly used as a home filtration method for water; it is not typically practical otherwise. Water enters an ultraviolet-lighted chamber and swirls around a high output, low-pressure mercury vapor lamp, which emits powerful ultraviolet light. The energy components of microorganisms absorb the light energy, which disrupts their DNA preventing them from reproducing. UV lighting literally sterilizes the microorganisms rendering them ineffective in making one sick. UV lighting adds no chemicals to change water’s taste. Beyond requiring electricity, UV methods demand some form of filtration to remove dirt, debris, chemicals, tastes and odors. UV purification is considered a good “stage” of the purification process, but it is not complete by itself.

WP-P525

METHOD 2–WATER FILTRATION
Water filtration simply means to strain out the impurities from a water source. The larger the impurity particulate the easier it is to filter. The opposite is true also, the smaller the impurity particulate, the harder it is to remove. Thus, the size of the filter pore and the durability of the filtering element are important to the filter’s longevity and ability to perform. Most filtering elements are made of ceramic, glass fiber, hard-block carbon, or materials that resemble compressed surgical paper.

Ceramic elements (most expensive, most durable, and maintainable) have the smallest pore size (0.1-0.5 microns) and are used by some of the leading portable water filtering companies in the world. Portable ceramic filters boast an impressive list of long-term users, such as: International Red Cross, World Health Organization, Armed Forces (USA, Germany, Portugal, Switzerland, and US Navy Seals), United Nations, and the FBI. Ceramic elements can filter only free floating particulates and microorganisms. They do not remove chemicals, poor tastes, odors, or pollutants.

Glass fiber elements and compressed surgical paper (mildly expensive, medium durability, and usually not cleanable) also have small pores (0.2-1.0 microns). Like the ceramic filter, they remove only particulates and microorganisms, but they do not help much with pollutants. These are good low-cost filtering elements for home, backpacking and scouting needs, but they are not good for long-term storage because they can develop mold and mildew and they are hard to clean.

Hard-block carbon elements (less expensive, brittle, and not cleanable) have a small, but still effective pore size (0.4-2.0 microns). They are also used as an absorption filter. The best contribution that carbon makes to filtering is its ability to reduce chemical quantities, poor taste, odors and many pollutants. Because carbon is only mildly effective in filtering out particulates and microorganisms, it is mostly used as a second or third stage filter in home and portable water use. It is seldom used as a stand-alone filtering unit.

METHOD 3–SOLAR STILL
Solar stills operate upon the “greenhouse effect.” A clear plastic barrier (a plastic bag, ground cloth, or a plastic grocery sack) is placed over a “source,” such as the ground, tree branches or other organic materials. The sun’s (solar) energy passes through the barrier and heats the source material. Moisture from the source vaporizes, rises and then condenses on the underside of the plastic barrier. The moisture is then collected as drinkable water. Solar stills are capable of distilling almost any tainted water, even seawater. Solar stills can condense drinkable water from substantially anything that contains moisture. The only source materials that it cannot distill drinkable water are materials that give off toxins, such as fluids with high amounts of chemicals, radiator fluids, and fuels.

Solar stills are easy to assemble and require only two essential components: 1) a container to catch the water, and 2) a large sheet of clear plastic (from 6’ x 6’ to 9’x 9’). Optional items include a long plastic drinking tube with end cap, a small shovel, and duct tape.

Solar stills are inexpensive to make and most of their component parts can be purchased at a hardware store. However, solar stills should not be your only method for finding drinkable water during an emergency. This distilling process is extremely slow and only small amounts can be collected daily. A solar still is good when you have exhausted other methods.

PLAN AHEAD TO COMBINE METHODS
Combining methods can make water safe to drink and taste better. Become aware of your area’s surrounding surface water and determine what methods work best to make that water safe to drink. Educate yourself to know what works, what doesn’t, and how you could get more drinkable water if needed.

We hope this information has proved to be valuable. The time to store water is now. The water that we take for granted becomes absolutely critical in an emergency. Water is not an item you can afford to overlook in your preparedness program.

Editor’s Note (3/26/2014): The Hydropack is another method that can be used to filter and purify water.

The Hydropack has .05 micron (5 angstrom) sized holes for water to pass through when dropped into a water source. Simply drop the Hydropack into your water source and let it absorb the water, filtering out chemicals and other contaminants to create an electrolyte drink much like a sports drink. However, there could also be situations when the pollutant in the water is small enough that the Hydropack won’t solve the issue.

How to Barter | The ReadyBlog

How to Barter | The ReadyBlog.

When you are caught in a disaster, either natural or economical, supplies can be in short demand. Bartering is a great skill to have to be able to trade your unique goods and services in order to help you and your family during an emergency.

Imagine that the economy collapsed. You’d be able to barter for food and other supplies instead of using currency.

Or better yet, money is really tight in a lot of homes right now! Imagine being able to barter with your neighbors to trade goods and services for items that your family needs right now!

How to Barter
If you’ve never bartered, here are some steps to get you started:

BarterFigure out what you want.In an emergency situation, assess your needs. What things do you need and what things do you want?

Figure out what you can give. Think about what things you would sell if you had a garage sale tomorrow? Is any of it valuable? What skills or hobbies do you have that you can teach someone? What chores do you enjoy doing?

Identify a trading partner.Try to find someone that you know is in need of one of the skills or goods that you have. If you can’t readily find someone, make a list of those you know that might need a skill or good that you have.

Negotiate and ask. Come with an idea of what you want. For example, “I would like to exchange my first born child for your flock of geese.” Don’t go to the trade without an idea of what you want.

Tips to bartering like a professional
We’ve collected a few tips that you can use while bartering. Let us know your bartering techniques too. What do you find helpful in a bartering situation. Comment below!
Assess a dollar value. Try and research the price of the item that you’d like to barter. That might give you a better idea of other items that you can barter for. Remember though that many times a value depends on the person’s needs, wants and preferences.

Set a time frame. Come into an agreement with your trading partner when the services will be exchanged. If there is a deadline, you need to decide that. If the good or service is on an ongoing basis, consider meeting again to re-evaluate and make sure everyone is still OK with the deal.

Taxes with bartering. Some bartering items require that you report the transaction on your tax return. Obviously, you won’t have to report things like mowing your neighbors lawn in exchange for his homemade beef jerky. However, a barter between two businesses is considered taxable income and should be reported.

Get it in writing. If at all possible, get the deal in writing so that you and your trading partner are in agreeance. This will come in handy too if someone tries to alter the agreement later down the road.

Triangular bartering. Bartering doesn’t always have to be between two individuals. If you have three people who all want each other’s goods or services, you can still strike a deal. You can mow a person’s lawn, in exchange they will give eggs to a neighbor and the neighbor will give you milk from their cow.

Be skeptical if you need to be. If someone is trying to trade an item that you’re not as familiar with, don’t feel bad asking questions. It’s not wrong to ask questions about the item or to ask more details about the person’s skill set.

Essential outdoor survival gear – Outdoor Canada

Essential outdoor survival gear – Outdoor Canada.

Whenever you head out in the great outdoors, always bring along a few items that, just in case you need them, will better your chances of survival. So what do you grab? Well, that depends. Where are you going? What’s the activity? What time of year is it? Narrowing it down to just one or two things to throw in your pockets can be tricky given the variables involved in outdoor adventure.

If you’re sending me off on a winter trek in Canada and you’re giving me just three choices of what to bring, for example, I’d likely choose a sharp axe, a waterproof butane lighter and, as long as I’m already dressed properly, a small pot to boil water in. Now I have a way to split wood, make a huge fire and boil up some spruce tea. In the summer, meanwhile, I’d trade in the axe for a good tarp. This is the minimalist approach, however.

Ideally, you want to carry five main things with you at all times, either in your pockets or in a fanny pack: something to start a fire with; something to boil water in; something to make a shelter with; a hunting or fishing device; and something to split wood with. Do not share a survival kit—if you get separated from the person with the kit, you have nothing.

You must also know how to use everything in your kit. But don’t let that give you a false sense of security—no single item is as important as some actual survival training. Kits can be lost, after all, so survival should depend on your ability to adapt and your will to live, not on a single item you left back on the portage trail.

First aid aside, here’s what you need at the minimum for a survival kit. Keep these items in your pockets or hanging from your belt at all times.

  • Sharp, high-quality belt knife
  • Multi-tool with a saw blade
  • Compass
  • Solid matches and striker in a waterproof container
  • Butane lighter
  • Magnesium flint striker
  • One or two large orange garbage bags (for signalling)
  • Metal cup (for boiling water)
  • Rope or parachute cord
  • Whistle

Also carry these items in a fanny pack or small container, such as a coffee tin with a lid that you can also use for boiling water.

  • Dried foods
  • Insect screen (seasonal)
  • Signal mirror
  • Small flash-light with spare batteries
  • Snare wire
  • Fishing lures, hooks, sinkers, line
  • Small folding saw
  • Candle
  • Flares

10 Non-Power Tools You Need for Survival

10 Non-Power Tools You Need for Survival.

The Survivalist Blog

I knew we were in trouble the moment I saw the Black and Decker battery-powered adjustable wrench.  I’d encountered screwdrivers with dead batteries, saws without extension cords, and drills with easily over-heated motors, but an electric wrench?

By Doc Montana, a contributing author of SurvivalCache.com

Frankentools

Even the Craftsman electric hammer wasn’t as frightening as a AAA-powered wrench. What was the world coming to?  Since that time I have considered what essential but simple tools have crawled their way out of the primordial tool box and evolved into electric-powered, motor-driven, battery-dependent versions that grind, drill and saw through anything in seconds as long as their copper circulatory system has a steady flow of electrons.  If theGrid goes down, the these highly advanced tools are collectively no more useful than a bright yellow bag filled with boat anchors.

Most people have experienced the failure of an electric screwdriver and have quickly remedied that situation, so manual screwdrivers were too obvious to make this list. But how about the other essential non-power tools necessary to rebuild society, or at least repair your domicile after a hurricane or civil war? Here’s a list of 10 non-power tools to have handy when the grid hits a speed bump.

What You Need

1. Cross-cut saw:  Very few people today have tried to cut through a large tree with a handsaw, and with good reason.  Doomsday PreppersBranches, yes, but trunks, never.  Now imagine a SHTF situation where you can’t use or don’t want to use a noisy, smelly chainsaw.  Not hard to imagine actually, but as you look at the tree blocking the road, laying across your roof, or soon to be turned into your bug out cabin, you’ve got a lot of sawdust-making ahead of you.  This country was built with cross-cut saws, and while not as efficient as their internal combustion descendants, a pair of muscles and a sharp cross-cut will make short order of any tree outside our national parks.

Cross-cut saws come in one and two person versions that differ by length and handles. If you live in a place where you know you will need to cut trees, the two-man version is best. For some strange twist of physics, twice the manpower is more than twice as fast. But if space is an issue, the one-man version is smaller and a makeshift second handle can be bolted onto the end of the blade if needed.

2. Hacksaw: Most of us are quick to grab our reciprocating saw like a Milwaukee Sawzall (the Kleenex of such things) for just Doomsday Preppersabout every non-precise cutting task whether pipes, plywood, or plastic.  Even fire/rescue folks have their trusty lithium-powered Sawzall on board to cut future hospital patients out of their current predicament.

Useful hand hacksaws come in two classic sizes, 10 inch blades and 12 inch.  The standard looking solid-frame hacksaw uses a 12 inch blade while the mini saw uses the 10 inch. For the price, I recommend at least one of each, and you can use 12 inch blades on the mini versions, but it’s easy to break the non-supported portion of the blade if you’re not careful.  And even if you do snap it in half, just keep using whatever piece fits in the saw.

3. Standard Hand Saw: This is the traditional looking saw with a wood handle attached to a slightly triangular blade Forge Survival Supplytapering as it goes from grip to tip.  They come in various lengths and tooth sizes, and of course, price points.  The useful length of a hand saw tops out at about 30 inches, but a 26 or 20 inch blade works very well for most tasks.  I have a handful of 15 inch saws floating around and they work as good or better than most camp saws when you don’t need to carry the saw in your pack.

As the teeth get smaller, it is easier to cut because less material is removed with each stroke.  So the there is a tradeoff between cutting speed and necessary muscle.  If  you are in a region with harder woods, go for a tooth count above 10.  If your world is more of softer woods like the pine forests of the west, then fewer than 10 teeth per inch will serve most needs just fine.  Either way, the high-carbon steel will rust and pit if left alone outside.

4. Large Hand Drill: Hand-powered drills seem to be something that has fallen off the radar of most folks due to their doomsday preppersproliferation in antique stores.  Oddly, the same “antique” hand drill can be found in larger hardware stores for less money.  Hobby shops often have a few on hand as well, but either way, there are plenty of options still in production.

Larger hand drills come in two popular designs. One looks like a bigger version of the standard small hand drill which is little more than a vertical shaft with a geared-crank wheelattached to the center, a handle above it, and a chuck below it.  The other design called a brace drill looks like a bowed shaft of metal with a chuck on one end, a spin-able knob on the other and a rotating grip in the middle.  Either design will allow you to place a considerable portion of your body weight on the shaft while drilling, but the cost of the more complex geared version increases exponentially as it goes up in size.

Brace drills are much less expensive and often have a ratchet mechanism like a socket that allows drilling in confined spaces where a complete revolution of the offset handle is not possible. Most brace drills have chucks that take up to half-inch bit shafts, but reduced-shaft wood bits give your brace drill up to a two inch diameter drilling capacity assuming you have a bit that size, let alone a need for a hole that big and the time to drill it.

5. Small Hand Drill: Most household drilling jobs will settle for a hole one-quarter inch in diameter or less which just so Get Out of Dodge Bug Out Baghappens to be the capacity of smaller hand drills.  It is very easy to snap off small drill bits when using a larger drill so small hand drills are essential if your drilling needs require holes pin to pencil-sized.  Small hand drills do not generate as much torque as the larger versions, so both small and larger hand drills are necessary since one size won’t drill all.

Most of us, myself included, have many powered options when it comes to drilling holes and driving screws.  But charging a 28v advanced lithium power cell is not the same as charging a cell phone battery with a crank-powered emergency radio. Without a gas-powered generator or a roof covered in solar panels, power tools are not really tools at all.

6. Battery-free Battery Tester: These days, batteries can sit on a shelf for a decade and still have some useful juice left in TEOTWAWKI Survival Gearthem. Even the Sanyo Eneloop rechargeables are good after a year in the drawer. But how will you know if the cache of batteries you just discovered is any good. And as you know, one dud in the device kills all the others.

A battery tester that does not itself use a battery won’t give as reliable a reading as a powered tester, but still it is a helpful reading for most situations. The powered versions can test the battery under load, but most folks use a tester to give the thumbs up or down to any given battery. Just make sure the particular tester you have can test all the batteries you use including 12v CR123 and 3v button cells.

7. Battery-free Circuit Tester: Why would you need an old-school Survival Blogcircuit tester if there is no electricity? Simple, how do you know there is no electricity? As one of the cheapest tools on this list, it is also one that could save your life. Since the indicator light won’t kick in until the volts approach three figures, its not going to work for car batteries. But that’s what a screwdriver is for right? You know, shorting the battery to check for a spark.

If you plan on building an off-grid solar panel array, you will need a multimeter with decimal-level voltage and amperage capabilities, but for encountering the errant wire or circuit box the old design works fine. In fact, you can go years on traditional battery-powered voltage detector, so toss one of those in your 72-month bag as well.

8. Hand-powered Grinding Wheel: From plow blades to hatchetApocalypse 101 heads, nothing makes sharpening large metal easier than moving the stone instead of the blade. Even at just a few hundred RPMs, the spinning stone will spit enough sparks to set your shop on fire if you’re not careful.

The spinning inertia of a hand-powered grinding wheel is only enough to do very small tasks. For any job of substance, the cranking must accompany the grinding so for those times, which happens to be all the time, an additional hand or two is helpful. And spinning the grinding wheel might be the most post-apocalyptic fun a kid can have.

Due to the extremely high chance that a speck of stone or metal will fly into your eye, your kid’s eye, or your dog’s eye, exercise caution by putting a transparent barrier between any living cornea and any remotely conceivable missile trajectory launched from the other side. If you need to use a hand-cranked grinding wheel then I sincerely doubt a hospital is just around the corner.

9. Hand-powered Air Pump: In case you didn’t know it, you can use abicycle air pump to inflate a car tire.  It will take you survivalist bloga long time, but nothing is preventing it except maybe the wrong valve connector-which is an easy fix.  Motorized vehicles use relatively low pressure tires with cars, trucks and motorcycle tire manufacturers suggesting something in the 25-45 psi range. But vehicle tires are also incredibly high volume spaces to fill compared to bicycle tires.  Most bike pumps are designed for lower volume but much higher pressures, some over 200 psi.  Either way, you’re SOL if all you’ve got is one air compressor and zero electricity.  No matter how many hours of pumping it takes, a bike pump will get the job done.  Raft pumps, on the other hand, are designed very high volume but extremely low pressures like 2 psi, so don’t bother going there except for air mattresses, and rafts of course.

10. Scythe: In addition to being an authentic Halloween prop, the scytheSurvivalist Blogis an indispensable tool when you need to mow down weeds so you can reclaim a gardening plot, or turn over a field after harvest.  At it’s simplest, a scythe is little more than a wooden shaft with a pair of handles, one in the center and one at at an end.  On the opposite end is a long narrow blade attached perpendicular to the shaft. From there it can get complex with numerous variations in shaft shape, handle design, and replaceable job-specific blades.  No matter how modern a scythe’s design becomes, it is still quite recognizable as such since its function and use have never changed, only its comfort and efficiency.

Long after the lawn mower engine has seized and the push mower’s blades are too dull and chipped to cut anything, the scythe will keep going since using only the tools listed above, you could easily build yourself a new scythe from little more than a solid branch and a leaf spring.

 

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